2017 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Reds decide to take it easy on Pirates, don’t complete sweep

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (44-64) 0 4 1
Pittsburgh Pirates (52-56) 6 13 0
W: Chad Kuhl (4-7)  L: Sal Romano (2-3)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score | Game Thread | Statcast

For only the second time in 10 games against the Pirates this season, the Reds lost tonight. It wasn’t a particularly entertaining game, as Pittsburgh dominated in all facets from the first inning onward. The Redlegs end the road trip with a 3-7 record.

Here’s how the game went down:

The Hitters

It was a quiet night from the Reds offense after scoring 14 runs the previous two games. They scattered four hits and three walks but never mounted a serious scoring threat. Pirates starter Chad Kuhl silenced the Reds’ bats (7 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 2 BB, 6 K), minus Joey Votto, who went 1-for-2 with two walks. The first baseman’s mini-slump to start the second half is well in the rearview mirror at this point. His single in the first inning extended his hitting streak to eight games, and he added two walks for good measure. Votto has reached base in 20 of his last 35 plate appearances.

The Hurlers

Although he allowed four runs on eight hits in six innings, Sal Romano threw the ball much better tonight than in his last outing. The right-hander did a much better job pounding the strike zone, walking no Pirates batters on the night and striking out three. He dominated the bottom half of the Pittsburgh lineup, but ran into trouble against the top of the order the first two times he faced them.

Romano’s defense didn’t do him any favors in the first inning. He gave up back-to-back singles to Starling Marte and Adam Frazier to start his night. Left fielder Adam Duvall airmailed a throw to third base on Frazier’s single to allow Marte to score. Andrew McCutchen then brought Frazier home on a ground-out. After a 1-2-3 second, Romano again had trouble with the top of the Pirates lineup in the third, giving up two more runs on four hits. But he rebounded nicely, retiring nine of 10 hitters he faced in his final three frames.

Romano continued to show hesitance in throwing a third pitch early, but used his changeup more and more as the night went on. Inducing a pop-up from Gregory Polanco on the pitch in the third inning seemed to give him some confidence. After throwing the change only 12 times coming into tonight, he used it 13 times in his 102 pitches (12.7 percent) tonight.

It wasn’t the greatest of nights for Reds’ relievers. Kevin Shackelford was the first man out of the bullpen and allowed singles to the first three hitters he faced. He struck out the next batter and was lifted for Wandy Peralta, who allowed two inherited runners to score on a sacrifice fly and a single.

Blake Wood gave up a leadoff double in the eighth but retired the next three batters.

Not-So-Random Thoughts

— Billy Hamilton was ejected in the top of the fifth inning after arguing a called third strike. He had a legitimate beef, too; all three strikes were pretty poor calls:

— Hamilton was replaced in center field by Patrick Kivlehan, who has 98 innings of experience there in his entire professional career. Phil Ervin, meanwhile, has 260 innings at the position this season alone in Triple-A Louisville. The former first-round pick has not seen the field since being called up on Tuesday. (In fairness to Kivlehan, he had no issues in center field tonight.)

— Some bad news out of Dayton tonight. Anthony DeSclafani, making his second rehab appearance, recorded only one out and gave up eight runs, including three home runs. Results are obviously not the important thing here; his health is the real concern. He was visited by trainers and taken out of the game with what the Reds are calling right forearm discomfort. He’s set to be re-evaluated tomorrow. Hold your breath.

— In better injury news, Devin Mesoraco appeared in a game for the first time since Saturday as he recovers from a knee injury. He grounded into a fielder’s choice as a pinch hitter to end the seventh inning.

Up Next

After a 10-game road trip, the Reds will finally return home to Great American Ball Park for a seven-game homestand. They’ll kick off the weekend series against the Cardinals on Friday evening at 7:10 p.m ET. Asher Wojciechowski (4.50 ERA, 4.53 xFIP) is returning to the rotation after a solid stint in the bullpen. The Reds would probably be better off giving this start to a young pitcher, but they’re clearly trying to make Cody Reed, Amir Garrett, and Jackson Stephens earn their way back to the big leagues and aren’t ready to start the service clock on Tyler Mahle. Wojo will be opposed by former Red Mike Leake (3.29 ERA, 3.98 xFIP).

31 thoughts on “Reds decide to take it easy on Pirates, don’t complete sweep

  1. The 2nd strike probably gets called most of the time since it is the right height, and at least from that picture, it’s a strike easily. Strike 3 probably gets called 20-25% of the time. Strike 1… well, ewwww.

  2. Raise your hand if your surprised about the Disco news

    Anyone? No? Nobody?

    Same song and dance from the Reds. They continuously try to kick the can down the road on injuries when everyone in the world knows exactly what’s going to need to happen eventually anyways

    • You seem to think the Reds have more control over this issue than they do. The Reds don’t have the authority to order players to have surgery. Teams can suspend or even void the contracts of players who refuse to treat an injury, but players are entitled to receive more than the team’s opinion and can delay surgery if there is a reasonable chance that rehabilitation can solve the issue. Teams generally don’t want to mess with the MLBPA when it pertains to this issue.

      Who in their right mind has TJS if there’s a chance it isn’t absolutely necessary?

      If you’re Homer Bailey and you’re guaranteed generational wealth then you just get it over with.. If you’re Disco or Finnegan and you’re still working on year to year, low value contracts then you’d be nuts to have the surgery too soon.

        • There will be further examination of Desclafani today/tomorrow. It may not be the same issue and the ligament strain in the elbow. Might be a forearm muscle strain, which is just something that has to be treated and worked out.
          Let’s not abuse each other over something we just don’t know about yet.
          I think it is doubtful to expect anything at the ML level from Tony this year. I just hope his arm is ok, and he is ready for 2018.
          I am somewhat dismayed that Feldman gets such a priority with starting when he comes back from the DL. What is his future with the Reds? Zippo.

          • Feldman? Pointless.

            Its the same old thing with the Reds. What other team would carry Alcantara all this time? He’s hit .115 since April. They have enough trouble competing with the big boys at 100% capacity but they chose to run at 85%?

          • Feldman has proven to be perhaps their most reliable starter over the course of the year. He has contractural incentives that give him 100k per start over a certain threshold.

            When he returns, if the Reds don’t start him and deny him the cash his agent and the MLBPA are going to go nuts. You’re also creating a potential clubhouse drama in that players believe the Reds will ” screw you over” on incentives that your relative performance has enabled you to earn. Don’t stand between a momma bear and her cub….don’t stand between a baseball player and cash.

            I agree that pitching Feldman makes no baseball sense, but the ancillary factors sometimes outweigh what’s the best baseball decision. Dick Williams doesn’t want to anger agents and the MLBPA.

          • Valid point, Chuck. That said, when Feldman was signed, he was given the opportunity to compete for the starting rotation but wasn’t guaranteed a spot. He won the spot through attrition in ST as much as performance. Now, I agree he has been their most effective starter to date but that’s really a back handed compliment. He hasn’t been great and this is a team that could lose 100 games with him, much less without him.

            If I’m the Reds, I still find ways to give younger starters opportunities, even if it comes at Feldman’s expense. He’s already made more than he could have planned. In fact, they could elect to give him some incentive $ anyway to accomplish bigger objectives.

      • And yet here is Disco with a dead arm and a career in jeopardy.

        No one can force a player to do anything, but where there’s smoke there is fire. Just have the damn UCL surgery already.

        • Jesse…if you were Disco’s agent and your legal, ethical and moral obligation is to act in the best interest of your client…not the Cincinnati Reds…what would you advise? If he were your son, what would you suggest?

          Disco doesn’t have 100 million guaranteed nor a degree from Stanford to fall back on. Once he has the surgery he’s given a reasonable time frame to rehabilitate and then the Reds can cut bait. By delaying the potential surgery, he likely put himself in a position to get paid for at least 2 more seasons while he rehabs.

          I don’t always agree with you but I’m sure you’re a decent and reasonable person. Wouldn’t you advise someone to do what’s in his best interest over the Reds best interest?

          • Chuck, you make some very goods. Sometimes we forget these are real human beings with real hopes and ambitions and not just icons in a fantasy league. Sure, they get paid a lot, but that’s what the market produces. They need to manage their careers with their best interests in mind.

          • Further, surgery wouldn’t necessarily be in the Reds’ best interest, either. Surgery doesn’t always help and is often considered a last resort.

          • This x 1000 brother. We want wins and rings but at some point we have to remember these are men, with health and we’ll being to consider. Surgery is no joke. Ask Joan Rivers.

  3. The news about DeSclafani is very unsettling. Just hate it for the guy. He’s put in a lot of work for it to end this way.
    If it is going to be TJ surgery, then that will knock out his 2018 season too. Tough, tough break for him and the Reds.
    However, the silver lining for the Reds is that this does eliminate any uncertainty of DeSclafani’s status for 2018. They can proceed in forming the 2018 rotation with the knowledge that DeSclafani won’t be available for 2018. Removing that uncertainty helps a little with preparation for 2018.
    Going out this winter to obtain a very good SP should now be high on the Reds and Dick Williams agenda. The Reds have a much better minors system to undertake and withstand a 2011 Mat Latos style of trade.

    • I think they need two who can be under control until at least 2020. That is if they are serious about 2018 into 2019 as when they want to really go for a playoff birth.

      • Its going to be hard to find one? There isn’t squat available in the free agent pool imo? Alex Cobb is about the best we could afford and he’s not young or particularly talented. He might be 5-10% better then Dan Straily? They need to trade for a Jose Urena or someone like that?

        • I was thinking trade for a #2/#3 and sign a #4/#5 sort of free-agent… I think 2019 is really the year so this doesn’t absolutely have to happen this off-season. Also, even a #4 is going to cost some $$ and trading for a #2/#3 kind of guy is going to cost 2-3 good prospects. Reds have some prospect depth in some areas but most areas, there may not be much depth. Not sure how much they can afford to part with as the Reds will still need to do most of their building from within the farm system. It’s very tricky to be the GM of a smaller market team.

          • One I think checks all the boxes for the Reds in a Latos type trade and who very well could be available is Toronto’s Marcus Stroman. Two years team control after this year. Phenomenal GB% at 60%+. It would be expensive in prospects, but Reds are deep enough not to have to give up very top prospects. Three in the #5- #20 range might get r done.
            The Orioles’ Kevin Gausman could be a lesser expensive target. Good GB%. Iffy arm health.
            I don’t see Jacob de Grom or Chris Archer as likely Reds trade targets. Neither for the Pirates Garrett Cole and Ivan Nova.
            That back end of rotation free agent SP you speak of, could be SD’s Jhoulys Chacin, another with a very good GB%. Could be in Reds price range.
            Might as well as recruit, scout and target SP’s specific for GABP if half of their starts will occur there.
            Stroman would be priority #1 if the Jays are willing to discuss.

    • It doesn’t eliminate uncertainty until they know what the problem is, does it? I haven’t heard that there is definitive news about that yet.

  4. Chuck’s not wrong but I just don’t know? I can analyze a swing or a pitchers stuff but these medical/financial issues bore me. I’m probably wrong but if the Reds suspected that Disco might need TJ in May then why not try to talk him into it? I’m sure Disco would rather miss 1 season then 2? Miss 1 season and you get the benefit of the doubt in free agency. Miss 2 and you’re Zack Wheeler! Now, you’re getting a Feldman contract!

  5. What would it take for the Reds to get SS Andrelton Simmons from the LA Angels?? He is signed through the 2020 season with 3 years and $39M owed to him. He’ll be 28 next season. His age 28, 29, and 30 seasons.
    This would be a much better option than any type of extension for Cozart. LAA needs depth and pitching. They were rumored to have been exploring trading him at the deadline.
    A package of RHP Robert Stephenson, LHP Amir Garrett, OF/DH Scott Schebler, and SS Alfredo Rodriguez would be a good starting spot in negotiations.
    If the Reds could trade for RHP Marcus Stroman, mentioned above, and SS Andrelton Simmons this winter, that mega-accelerates the Rebuild at the two most glaringly weak positions the Reds have. Sets them up for a contending run through 2020 and well beyond with the deep minor league system. That would put them right up there with the Cubs.

    • Simmons has had a torrid late June, July, and early August. Currently in the midst of a 12 game hitting streak while going 20-48 in those 12 games. That has inflated his stats a little. Still a defensive wiz.

    • Simmons is playing at an elite level and perhaps a top 5 shortstop in the game at 28 in the prime of his career. It would take a ton.

      Simmons would be the perfect position player to add however. That’s a big idea.

  6. Word is, Disco has elbow tendinitis. What’s the deal with all the injuries in baseball the last 5-7 yrs. Did players not used to get hurt, or did they just play through their injuries?

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