Titanic Struggle Recap

Reds winning streak reaches 3 behind youngsters Stephenson & Winker

The Reds showed flashes of a better future tonight behind two rookies. Robert Stephenson dominated the Pirates over 5.2 innings, allowing just 2 hits, and throwing just 81 pitches. Jesse Winker hit his second home run in as many days, and tonight it broke a 2-2 tie in the 7th inning.

Adam Duvall gave the Reds some big insurance in the top of the 9th, when he blasted a 2-run bomb to give the Reds a 5-2 lead. Raisel Iglesias pitched two scoreless innings to secure the Reds third consecutive win.

The Reds are now 8-1 against the Pirates in 2017. The Reds last three starting pitchers (Castillo, Bailey, and Stephenson) have allowed a total of 3 earned runs combined in the last 3 games.

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (44-63) 5 10 0
Pittsburgh Pirates (51-56) 2 5 0
W: Lorenzen (6-2) L: Benoit (1-5) S: Iglesias (18)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

Biggest Play of the Game

According to Fangraphs WPA statistic (winning percentage added), the most important play of the game was Jesse Winker’s solo home run off Joaquin Benoit with 1 out in the 7th inning, giving the Reds a 3-2 lead. That play increased the Reds chances of winning by 21.9% (from 46.2% to 68.1%).

Player of the Game

Positives

Robert Stephenson put together his best start of the season by a mile: 5.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K. He only threw 81 pitches tonight, and while he could have certainly pitched deeper in the game, it appears Price wanted him to leave the game feeling good. The only run Stephenson allowed came off a bunt single from Starling Marte, who advanced to second on a ball in the dirt, and Lorenzen allowed him to score after Stephenson left the game. The most encouraging part of this start was that he only walked 2 batters (he walked 7 in his last start), and his pitch efficiency.

So much for Jesse Winker lacking power. Winker blasted his second home run in as many days, giving the Reds a 3-2 lead in the 7th. He had two hits on the night.

Adam Duvall hit his 24th home run of the season off the Pirates closer Felipe Rivero. Duvall now has 62 home runs in just over his first 1,000 AB with the Reds.

Jose Peraza increased his hit streak to 6 games. Peraza is 10 for 22 at the plate over the last 6 games, and even more encouragingly has 3 walks.

Joey Votto had a two hit night, and now has a 7-game hit streak of his own. So much for Votto “cooling off.”

Tucker Barnhart walked with the bases loaded!

Eugenio Suarez had a two hit night, including hitting his 18th double of the season. Suarez entered play tonight with a .900 OPS in the second half.

Raisel Iglesias did give up 2 walks and a hit, but he pitched two scoreless innings. He now has a 1.88 ERA on the season.

Negatives

Michael Lorenzen came in with a 2-0 lead, and gave up back to back hits to allow the Pirates to tie the game. Lorenzen did pitch a perfect 7th inning. Lorenzen is starting to look pretty average as a reliever, as he now has a 4.04 ERA/4.13 FIP on the season. He is only 25, and has terrific stuff, but he is certainly not the relief ace the Reds were hoping for….yet.

Not so random thoughts………..

Cool moment of the night: After Michael Lorenzen blew Robert Stephenson’s chances of getting a win, the first guy to greet Lorenzen and pat him on the back was…….Robert Stephenson.

Bryan Price got a lot of hate for pulling Stephenson after just 5.2 innings tonight. I personally liked the move. Price had a well rested Lorenzen, and really wanted Stephenson to leave the game feeling good (something he really needed). It didn’t work out, but results don’t always justify a decision being good or not. Also, Lorenzen got the win tonight #KillTheWin.

Joey Votto had a ball go through the webbing of his glove, and had to go borrow Patrick Kivlehan’s glove. The TV picked up Votto saying “nice glove” to Kivlehan. It is the little things that keep us entertained in a rebuild.

Up Next:

Reds at Pirates
Thursday, 7:05 PM
TV: FOX Sports Ohio
Sal Romano (4.57 ERA) vs Chad Kuhl (4.84 ERA)

 

All statistics are used courtesy of Fangraphs, ESPN Stats & Info, and Baseball-Reference.

95 thoughts on “Reds winning streak reaches 3 behind youngsters Stephenson & Winker

  1. Couldn’t watch the game but game day looked like Lorenzen gave up three ground balls in a row. First two found holes. Not that bad an outing? Am I wrong?

    • Thing I am feeling in my occasional following the game, he is not that great of a reliever. I imagine he could be at some point, but he seems to have a much better make up to be a starter and they are missing a golden opportunity to stretch him out if they are planning to start him next year.
      I know someone but up a stat he is 2nd in the league in Clutch (I think as a joke???) but a quick look at that list shows other leaders were pretty mediocre if not bad

      • Lorenzen really hasn’t pitched as much as most 25-year-old MLB pitchers, and I expect that he’s still learning to get a feel for it. Too early to draw conclusions about him.

        • The logic (according to interviews I have seen with Price) is that he is not starting because they need him in the bullpen- to pitch 2 crucial innings before going to the closer, I think the point is he is mediocre at his role when he probably could be more effective as a starter since the Reds have one of the worst rotations in history or at least in my memory

    • I think Chris Welsh did an excellent job describing some of Lorenzen’s struggle with his mechanics. Not sure why he has so much recoil now as opposed to earlier in the year. Great stuff but seems like a guy who will struggle with consistency until he straightens that out. Definitely affecting his command. He’s wild in the zone right now.

      • I agree. It was interesting. Welsh is very good but he has to work with George “Great-Buccos” Grande which can’t be easy. Everybody and everything is “great”. Huh. Huh. Huh.

        • Someone on the game thread was complaining bout Welsh. He’s one of the more listenable of the Reds’ announcers in my opinion. Thom is the worst for me and George Grande is a nice guy but I get tired of listening to him after about 2 innings.

        • I’ve noticed this year that Welsh frequently contradicts the feel-good stuff that Grande says. Grande evidently doesn’t relish conflict and likes to say nice things about everyone. Better than the opposite, I guess, but wears on me quickly.

          • I can barely stand George. I resorted to muting the game the other night. Between hearing ‘Buccos’ every 2 minutes and his constantly ‘great, everything’s great’ demeanor, it’s hard for me to take. Yeah better than someone who’s sarcastic, angry, but surely there’s a midway point that can work.

            I think Chris Welsh, on the other hand, is really good and has interesting things to say.

          • Agree about Welsh: Thoughtful, knowledgeable and not afraid to call out bad play. My favorite Reds’ announcer.

          • I feel the same about Grande. I can barely stomach him talking about players having “great respect” for one another, veterans “taking rookies under their wings”, etc., when I’m fairly certain he hasn’t the access necessary to make this determination. Drives me crazy, and my wife and son just laugh at me as I mutter, complain and roll my eyes.

    • One of the hits was a soft multi bouncer found a hole between Peraza and Suarez. The screamer up the middle almost took off his head; play should have resulted in an out at the plate on Billy Hamilton’s great throw, but Marte jarred the ball loose, Barnhart should have secured the ball better for a bang bang out at the plate.

      • You’ve got the wrong two ABs. You’re right that “The screamer up the middle” was hit off Lorenzen (by Bell) and then Freese hit another screamer off Lorenzen to the left off a diving Votto.

      • That was a tough throw for Barnhart to handle. Marte didn’t jar the ball loose. It was a short hop and Barnhard couldn’t corral it. It would have been a damn good play if he could have done that and then gotten Marte.

    • Check Statcast (there is a link on the box score I provided above). The hits Lorenzen allowed had an exit velocity of 106.6 & 106.8, and a hit probability of 65% and 68%.

    • Tucker saved Votto from costing the Reds a run. Votto failed to advance on Duvall’s 400 ft out to Cutch at the warning track, and then he would have scored on Scooter’s infield hit.

        • I don’t know how a guy who comes across as cerebral as Votto does can look so lost on the bases. If he parks himself a few feet off second base and waits to see what happens on the fly ball, he can step back, touch the base, then go to third on the catch. And if the ball drops or hits the wall, he can take off and score easily. Am I oversimplifying it? … The radio call said Votto was three-quarters of the way to third when the catch was made.

          • He definitely wasn’t 3/4 of the way to 3rd base. His 1st step after the ball was hit was actually back to 2nd but as the ball kept carrying it looked like it was going to burn McCuthen so he went a little less than 1/2 way. There’s no way he would have scored “easily” if he was a step off of 2nd and the ball dropped, he’s not very fast.

  2. I know it was commented on but I do not get the logic in Pulling Stephenson. Why not pinch hit for him in the top of the inning? then he feels really good leaving with a lead especially if the pH gets a clutch hit. Crossed my mind at the time but I thought it a good move as getting Stephenson a chance to go 6 or 7 innings, why not see what he has got considering only 81 pitches?

    • He left Adleman in too long last time. Then he left Homer in too long in NY. He was trying to win a game. I think Bob Steve dove for a ball too and may have got banged up?

      • I think Reds are beyond trying to win games, maybe they could have dealt for Darvish and Sonny Gray had that been the case or thrown in an extra million to have BP play 2B all year. Maybe if Stephenson got hurt then I can see but is this really the case? They are babying him in my opinion…he has averaged 5 IP, 86.5 pitches , 3 H, and 0.5 runs as he exited the game over the last 2 starts until the bullpen allowed his inherited runners to score to mess his line.

        • Should have made a play for Sonny Gray. Said so many times earlier. Team control until 2019? Pretty sure.

          • So the Reds should give up 3 prospects….all of whom they have control of for at least 6 years for 2.25 years of Sonny Gray.

            Given the Reds are out lf it this year …and are unlikely to contend next year ….so you’re giving up 3 players for perhaps 1 meaningful year of Sonny Gray.

            Not something a smart team would do

          • I haven’t seen Sonny enough to make my own opinion but if the Reds thought he was a #2 type guy then give him some of Homer’s pile of cash when the time comes. He def wouldn’t need to get all of it!

          • I agree Chuck. Let the pitching sort itself out without giving up valuable assets. If healthy, the rotation should be at least average in 2018, with a good deal of upside.

      • Couldn’t reply to your lower comment but honestly, assuming Sonny stays healthy, he’s going to make more on his next contract than Homer as far as average annual value of the deal. #3/#4 guys are making $13-million to $16-million a year on the open market.

    • Go find video of Price’s post game comments. You might still not agree but he had specific reasons for both letting him hit and taking him out.

      • Could not find it, I hope there was some logic, just curious if others had as much an issue as I did or felt the comments made sense.

        • Agree with you vicferrari. the decision tree goes along the lines of the benefit of having Stephenson pitch at most one more inning with a short leash versus the cost of having his very poor batting skills with the bases loaded two outs instead of having a pinch hitter take his place. I’d have pinch hit for Stephenson under those circumstances. If Price thought of letting Stephenson go another couple innings, then I might be in favor of leaving him to hit and wasting the bases loaded opportunity against a pitcher who had just walked in a run.

      • I’m not buying it being precautionary. He faced 2 batters and got them out after he landed on his shoulder.I do kind of understand wanting to get him out of there feeling good about himself but man the Pirates had no answers for him, let him finish the inning.

  3. It was interesting to hear about Lorenzen’s change in mechanics – he now springs back up into a straight position after throwing the pitch. It sounds like the Reds coaches don’t really like this change Lorenzen did on his own and even Chris on FSO seemed to think it was a short-term comfort move that would never work if Lorenzen wants to start. Chris said he asked Lorenzen about it and said the reason had to do with arm slot.

    Don’t know if this tweak Lorenzen has made is what is causing him to fall to just average, but interesting to hear about nonetheless.

    • He did get 3 groundballs in the next inning atleast. His groundball/flyball ratio is now 96 to 66. It was 86-49 last year. Thats why I like his potential as a starter. We just can’t get by with all those HRs allowed in gabp.

      • Agree. Can’t help but wonder if the change in mechanics relates back to a potential health issue with his arm. Know ML says it is about “arm slot”; but,changing arm slot could be about lots of things including protecting his arm.

        • Interesting conversation, Lorenzen’s been somewhat of a mystery to me. He’s of course made it known that he wants to start, and Price has said he’ll get a chance in 2018. Even with a fair chance, I’m not sure he’s good enough to make the starting rotation: in addition to Disco, Homer, Castillo, and Stephenson, there will be a lot of competition.

          I think it’s plausible that both Lorenzen and Finnegan end up in the bullpen in 2018. As long as the starting 5 is made up of better pitchers ….

          • It is an interesting conversation on Lorenzen. I’m rooting for him to make it as a starter due to his having multiple pitches that are effective (when he gets them where he needs them). It would also be great if Stephenson really does step up and make the rotation next year but I’m still not holding my breath on that one.

          • He has 4 pitches yes, but he doesn’t command that curve ball which routinely gets tattooed for home runs

  4. I’m telling you WInker looks like Will Clark lite! Thats exciting! Clark wasn’t very athletic and kind of soft but he knew the strike zone and could hit the ball deep or get the key hit. Maybe Winker will be 60% of that which would be a pretty good player and long time starter!

  5. We still need to get Cozart back quickly at SS, and get Scooter at 2B. Thats are best lineup right there…and Peraza should take more batting practice, to work on his hitting. He is indeed doing better these last six games, but could not get a run in with the bases loaded tonight, and he couldn’t get a hit with Suarez at 2B with a Double.

    • I’m not sold on Peraza either, but in all fairness, plenty of very good hitters (Votto, even) have failed to get runs in with the bases loaded.

      • Practically the whole team suffers this phobia. Love him or hate him. Brandon Phillips was great at getting that runner home from 3rd.

    • I love Gennett, but he looks lost against LHers. He needs to work on hitting them. I’d be afraid to even look at his splits.

      • In 2017 he has a .537 OPS against left-handers and 1.023 against right-handers. For his career those numbers are .501 and .812.

        For comparison Votto’s career OPS is .964. Billy Hamilton’s career OPS is .634

        So that means against a right-handed pitcher Scooter is close to Votto-level at the plate but against a left-hander he is worse than Billy at the plate.

        • hmmm…if Cozart gets back, maybe you platoon Peraza and Gennett at second…Gennett will still get his fair share of ABs given there are more righties than lefties. Also, Gennett may need to be more defensive with 2 strikes.

          • Scooter shouldn’t start against a LH starting pitcher. He’s never hit them well. He’s a prime example of a LH side of a RH/LH platoon. He crushes RHP. Reds don’t seem to like platoons though.

    • Joey Votto often fails to drive in runners. Should he just take more batting practice as well?

  6. Really happy for Bob Steve tonight. It’s great to bounce right back after taking a beating. Bob Steve is like Homer Bailey Jr. to this fan base. Unrealistic expectations and not being able to meet them. As far as players go, they both get a lot of flack for things (contract, stubbornness, performance, etc). I hope both of them prove the haters wrong, finish the season strong, and year it up next year. Go Reds!

    • Great to see B.S. finally get the chance he should have received LAST YEAR to develop.

      Who called Bob Steve stubborn? Seems to have materialized from thin air….if anything, Price is just terrible at development and doesn’t trust young talent. Cries about pitchers not throwing strikes….if they have problems, then DO YOUR JOB and help them find a solution. Don’t *itch and moan about it, FIX IT. Someone please hand Reed a pair of correct, current prescription googles, pitching into a blur is like depending solely upon luck to determine one’s fate….

      • It wan’t Price who called Stephenson “stubborn”. It did develop out of thin air, mostly or maybe entirely due to writers.

        Price isn’t the pitching coach at Cincy or Louisville. And I think his patience about promoting Stephenson is paying off.

        • The Reds made it pretty clear that Tony Cingrani’s stubbornness about relying too much on the fastball was the reason they gave up on him. Maybe parting ways with Cingrani was a way of sending a message to other pitchers who aren’t progressing but still insisting on doing things their own way. …. Heck, it was no secret that the Reds weren’t happy with John Lamb’s work ethic, and he didn’t stick around either.

      • His AAA manager called him out very publicly last year; that was not Price. And I don’t see anything wrong with a manager publicly stating that he will hold pitchers accountable for throwing strikes – seems like a message meant for all pitchers who aspire to be on the Reds major league roster. After years of some pitchers being promoted despite not throwing enough strikes, he seemed to be publicly pushing all pitchers in the organization to place a higher value on their control. Such comments show me that he is indeed doing his job and using the his leadership position to take and communicate a stand. Price may not become a good manager – I, too, have my doubts – but he has a good track record as a pitching coach, and I very much liked his public statements about control.

        • Never said it was Price who made those comments….I asked where they came from. Thanks for answering.

          I however still maintain Price is terrible at developing pitchers. You and I can also say we want pitchers to throw strikes. Anybody can say that, doesn’t take half a brain to desire that from a pitcher. Not just any of us can guide a pitcher to better form, to make them better. The Pirates pitching coach has done this time and again, JA Happ, Edison Volquez, AJ Burnett, Liriano (to a lesser extent) – he has improved his pitchers’ performance.

          When Price was hired as a manager, he had ZERO managerial experience. He learned from Dusty, who while a decent manager of personalities and egos, is less than desireable from a tactical standpoint. Price essentially learned from an average or below average strategist, and for the most part has continued to implement those same flawed policies.

          Price was hired as manager imo to use his superior ‘pitching coach’ skills to guide the Reds with young arms during this period of rebuilding. He was lucky to have had the good fortune to preside as ‘pitching coach’ when the Reds didn’t need one – in 2012 the Reds ran out 5 guys who pitched every single game but one – thanks to a doubleheader. By then Cueto was already Cueto, Arroyo was already Arroyo, Latos was traded for Grandal (on the LA Dodgers who are tearing it up), Alonso (a bit overrated but a great bat blocked by Joey Votto), Boxletter (sp…sorry) who turned into a great closer for the Rays, and one other person – A HAUL – because Latos was Latos the second ace of the staff, Homer Bailey had grown into Homer Bailey, and Mike Leake was college ready made to serve and perform.

          Price got undeserved credit for the awesome pitching performance. No matter. I’d have no issues with him if he was a pitching whisperer to the young up and comers. He has had little to do with Castillo’s performance – Castillo was showing lights out in AA and brought it to the majors. Did Price have anything to do with Castillo developing the slider, changeup and for fastball control? If he did….(somewhat doubtful)….than kudos to Price. Otherwise, the guys Price has had hands on time with – Lamb, Reed, Stephenson, Davis, Romano, Garrett, Cingrani – have either underperformed or regressed under his tenure. Guys like Peralta and Finnegan, Price appears to have had a positive influence, or at least they’ve performed better or improved. Lorenzen came out the gate strong, regressed badly after his mentor Johnny Cueto was traded away, then came back from mono pretty decently last year. This year has been mixed, however, as his talents could have been better utilized as a starter had the manager or front office seen the elephant in the room – the reds sport a historically bad starting staff.

          In 1990 Lou Pinella smartly used Norm Charlton where he provided the team the greatest marginal utility – in the bullpen as a part of the nasty boys or as a starter when they needed better starting pitching. In 2017 had Lorenzen been used in this capacity, and Peralta too, maybe they are where the Cards are, only 5 or 6 games out and still in the hunt (though the Cubs acquiring Quintana might close out the window)….especially if Price reacted quicker to Schebler’s drawn out struggles at the plate (kinda expected….until Schebler corrects that long, loopy swing) and put in and discovered what the Reds have in Winker sooner….a guy in the minors with similar stats to Joey Votto’s minor league career. A guy who got on base 4 out of 4 times …and was promptly rewarded with being sent down to AAA again. 2/3 of Winker’s potential 2017 MLB development time was wasted.

  7. Ya I liked him pulling Stephenson when he did. Give Stephenson afgood start to hang his hat on. Better than leaving him out for one batter too long.

  8. I sometimes get tired of hearing that “speed causes chaos”, because often the chaos is for your own team. But I did feel that Hamilton got into Rivero’s head last night after two were out. The Pirates were convinced at that point that Hamilton would be running, and after Rivero started throwing over to first a lot, he throws two pitches wide and then hangs a changeup. Romero’s very tough, it was uncharacteristic.

    Of course, Duvall still had to hit it out of the park.

  9. If Cozart is not with the Reds in 2018, the lineup that was put out in the 5-2 victory should be the one that opens the 2018 season.

  10. On top of the mechanics issue mentioned by Welsh, I would say he’s got a problem with his backup stuff. When his best stuff is there, he’s fantastic. When he doesn’t, it’s a train wreck. We watched Cueto so many times over the years when he didn’t have his best stuff, but still figured out how to get by. Lorenzen needs to figure out how to get by on days without his best stuff.

    • Given how little Lorenzen has actually pitched, since he was primarily an OF in college, I think he has a good chance of “figuring it out”.

    • This is an excellent point and one you can say about any pitcher. I thought Lorenzen’s stuff looked good last night. Solid velocity and good bite on his breaking pitches. But, too many pitches in the middle of the zone.

  11. I wonder if the radar guns in Pittsburgh are still setup like last year? Homer was at 91-92 mph. BobSteve was at 92-93. Iggy was at 94-95. Iggy has been up to 100 earlier this year and usually around 97-98? Lorenzen was 94-95 and he’s been at 99 quite a bit lately. Weird?

    Either way…I was pretty impressed w/Homer and Bob Steve. They weren’t overpowering but had good offspeed stuff and were able to jam several people inside despite not throwing 98.

  12. With a two-run lead, if the throw had gone to second rather than home, the tying run would never have scored. Lorenzen would have gotten through with only the one inherited run scoring. It seems I heard that in a movie once.

    • If you’re taking an extra base then Billy and Adam are coming up firing! If Barnhart hangs on then he’s out!

    • I agree with Indy. That ball was blistered to CF, and Billy (playing shallow) was up and throwing quickly. A 1-hop strike to Tucker, who had the ball jarred loose on the collision.
      You can’t let teams believe that they can run and take extra bases at will.

  13. Duvall tattooed the ball 3 times. Good to see him get rewarded on the HR.

    It boggles my mind how Alcantara still has a job. Until Cozart comes off the DL, surely the Reds could survive with Peraza as the main guy and Suarez in a pinch. With Cozart, the rationale for keeping Alcantara on the roster becomes even more flimsy because you have 2 capable shortstops and Vincej waiting in the wings in Louisville. Blandino and Dixon are more capable hitters by a wide margin and the defense from what I’ve seen of Alcantara is average. Makes no sense……..

  14. Does Alcantara have some pictures of DW or Price in some kind of David Carradine activities? How do you go 6 for 52 (.115) with 0 walks since April and still keep getting a big league paycheck? Kivlehan has been pretty bad too since May (.182 w/6 hrs). Why not give Alex Blandino a shot? He’s had a good year w/30 doubles, 8 hrs, and a .377 obp!

    • If Cozart and Schebler both come off the DL before the Sept. 1 roster expansion, Alcantara may go. If not, he’ll play out the year. But he won’t be on the 40-man winter roster. They’ve learned what they needed to learn about him.

    • I’m not a huge fan of Alcantara and although I like Kivlehan, I never thought he was more than a 25th-man kind of guy. That said, it’s very, very hard to be productive when you don’t play. Neither Alcantara nor Kivlihan play much at all. I’d keep Blandino just where he is and maybe give him a taste in September. Give him a shot at a bench spot in 2018. Also, sometimes it’s even more hard for young guys who are used to playing every day in the minors to learn how to be bench players. That’s why a lot of teams seem to bring in vets for the bench who have been doing it for a while.

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