2017 Reds / Game Thread

Reds vs. Cardinals – August 4, 2017

As the “dog days” of August arrive and find the cellar-dwelling Reds preparing for a three-game home series against the St. Louis Cardinals, it’s time for a bit of perspective on how the “rebuild” is going.

Much like the Kansas City Royals a couple of years ago and the Cubs last year, the Houston Astros have become the latest poster-child for how to properly rebuild. Their 69-39 record is far and away the best in the American League. Don’t forget that between 2011 and 2013, the Astros had a combined record of 162-324, losing more than 100 games all three years. They, along with the Philadelphia 76ers in pro basketball, were the pioneers in the “complete teardown” version of rebuilding.

The cornerstones of the process are:

  • Rid yourselves of high-salaried veterans
  • Don’t sign high-priced veteran free agents
  • Take advantage of terrible records by acquiring great young players with high draft choices

During those “teardown” years, the Astros went through a bunch of players at the major league level. Fifty-two different position players and 46 pitchers saw action for Houston during those three miserable seasons. As part of the process, you have rid yourselves of your veteran talent, so before the draft choices can develop, you try to identify players inside (and outside) of your organization who might have potential for the future.

After the 2013 season, the common sentiment in Houston was that the team would begin to improve, partially due to a promising rotation of rookies that included Brett Oberholtzer, Jarred Cosart, Brad Peacock and Paul Clemens. Of those four, only Peacock remains four years later – which shows that the current Reds crop of young starters probably won’t closely resemble the rotation in a few years when the Reds hopefully have become great again.

Going through scores of players is an exercise the Reds have also gone through in the past three years, which will all end with more than 90 losses if this year’s current trend continues. From 2015 through 2017, the Reds have had a total of 35 position players on their big-league roster, but have cycled through 62 (!!!) pitchers.

97 players in three years

In three terrible years, the Astros went through 98 players on their major-league roster. Over two and two-thirds similar years in their own rebuilding cycle, the Reds have gone through 97. The number of pitchers (62) is a combination of an incredible rash of injuries and the fact that many of the secondary options and minor leaguers just weren’t worth a darn. (Tonight’s starting pitcher might be an exception — more on him below.)

There is much hope that 2016 first-round pick Nick Senzel will emerge soon as a star-caliber player from the Reds farm system, much as George Springer did from the Astros system after the 2013 season. Hunter Greene is probably two or three years away at the minimum. Many other stellar performers have followed Springer out of the farm system and into the Astros lineup. How well the Reds are able to duplicate that success in the next two to four years will determine how successful the rebuild has been.

The current Redlegs are often very frustrating to watch. Keep in mind that General Manager Dick Williams is following a blueprint that has worked successfully for other major league teams, and that the results are still very likely several years away.

But as for tonight, don’t forget …

Starting Pitchers

Name IP ERA xFIP K% BB%
Mike Leake 128.2 3.29 3.99 16.3% 6.0%
Asher Wojciechowski 34 4.50 4.53 25.2% 5.8%

Old friend Leake has been pitching well in recent weeks, and is performing much more like the Cardinals expected when signing him to a long-term contract. Wojciechowski is a rotation place holder after the demotion of Tim Adleman. “Wojo” has been lights-out in recent relief appearances, and appeared to be on the inside track to a position in the Reds 2018 bullpen. It will be very interesting to see how he does in a return to the rotation, which will likely be only until Scott Feldman or Anthony DeSclafani return. (See News and Notes for news today on DeSclafani’s condition.)

As a starter, Wojciechowski has a 7.79 ERA in 17.1 innings earlier in the year. As a reliever, he has a 1.08 ERA in 16.2 innings of work. In his recent games, he has been pounding the lower strike zone, and not walking anyone to speak of – two traits Manager Bryan Price and any Reds fan endorse.

 

Bullpen

Everyone should be available. Three Reds relievers pitched an inning or less last night. Raisel Iglesias should be available following a day of rest after his two-inning save Wednesday. The afore-mentioned Adleman will be the long reliever if Wojciechowski runs into trouble early.

 

Starting Lineups

Cardinals Reds
1B Matt Carpenter CF Billy Hamilton
CF Tommy Pham RF Jesse Winker
SS Paul DeJong 1B Joey Votto
RF Stephen Piscotty LF Adam Duvall
C Carson Kelly 2B Scooter Gennett
2B Kolten Wong 3B Eugenio Suarez
LF Randall Grichuk SS Jose Peraza
3B Greg Garcia C Tucker Barnhart
P Mike Leake P Asher Wojciechowski

Several Reds in tonight’s lineup have a history of success against Leake since he left the team, according to MLB.com:

Adam Duvall: 11-for-22, 2 homers, 9 RBI

Billy Hamilton: 7-for-17

Tucker Barnhart: 5-for-10

Joey Votto: 7-for-20

Scooter Gennett is 9-for-32 including his time with the Brewers

 

News and Notes

Some possible good news on the Anthony DeSclafani front …

 

 

 

A new acquisition …

He’s an outfielder with the Braves’ Class A farm team.

 

Jose Siri just keeps on keeping on …

 

Adam Duvall is in some select company among Reds power hitters …

 

Tony Cingrani’s Dodgers debut didn’t go well …

 

Tonight’s wardrobe …

46 thoughts on “Reds vs. Cardinals – August 4, 2017

  1. The lesson that Cody Reed and Robert Stephenson were supposed to learn in the bullpen earlier this year, was to be ready to throw strikes when they came into the game.

    Asher seems to have learned that lesson. He is older, and has bounced around a little. Perhaps he pitches well and gives the Reds 6 innings. Interesting that they did not see the need to “stretch him out” to prepare to pitch more than 3 innings.

    Throw strikes, trust your stuff. I hope Stephenson and Romano are beginning to learn that lesson.

    • David, my guess is that they’ll be looking for between 60 and 70 pitches from Wojo tonight. If he’s as pitch-efficient as he has been recently, that should get him through at least five innings. Remember, he pitched five innings of relief when he came in for Feldman after he went only one inning a couple of weeks back.

  2. Excellent article! Votto until 2023 and Bailey until 2019 are a luxury Reds should not afford.

  3. Did the reds take out an insurance policy on Homers contract? How do those work when a player has a major injury?

    • Just a guess, but I think the player has to miss the entire season to collect on insurance policies.

      • I think someone quite awhile ago also mentioned that the premiums have become so high that teams are less likely to take out a policy or take out one that only pays out if the person’s injury is career-ending. I have no idea if that’s actually the case though.

    • The premiums and deductibles associated with pitchers makes it cost prohibitive. It would be like paying 400k to insure a 500k house with a 100k deductible.

  4. Not at all familiar with proper positioning for umpires, but why was blue on the same side of the plate as the direction of the throw? If the play is going to come from right field, wouldn’t he have a better angle standing behind the right handers the batters box?

    Seemed he had a very poor view of the play, hence the bad call.

  5. I’m still a couple innings behind on the DVR, but why do you even have replay if you can’t fix an error like the call against Barnhart at home?

    Good freakin’ gracious.

  6. Bad that Hamilton got picked off, but the change in tone of voice by Thom was funny.

    “Look at all the chaos Hamilton causes” …. quickly going down to the level of a librarian “and the inning is over.”

  7. Reed had a solid start tonight, going 7 innings, giving up 5 hits and 1 ER but four walks against a good Indianapolis team.

  8. Thom may have been away for a few days, but it did not lessen his view that he knows more than any of the Reds players or the manager.

    Could not hide his shock that Lorenzen was not pulled, “Bryan Price is two steps away from the field in the dugout”, implying he was torn on removing him.

    Then, “No way he throws a breaking ball on 3-2.”

    He is a piece of work.

  9. Adam Duvall and Eugenio Suarez are on the verge of Gold Gloves.
    Billy Hamilton is there.
    Riveting high leverage bullpen work. Give Price credit for pushing the right buttons and challenging Lorenzen to figure it out.
    Lorenzen may have the “grittiest” situational wins of the year.
    Striking out Paul Goldschmidt in Arizona to preserve the win a few weeks ago and absolutely trusting his stuff with a 3-2 slider with the bases loaded to K Grichuk on a 3-2 pitch. Its a foregone conclusion based on the discourse of Cowboy that Lorenzen is coming to ST competing to start.
    Peraza made an error that inning…that was not an infield single. Cozart…..or Suarez????? flips that to 2b for a routine force out.

    • No chance for a gold glove while Arenado is around. Eugenio is excellent; Arenado is simply on a whole different level than anybody else

  10. A good five inning outing for Wojo with 1BB and 5 K’s. He’s not a future starter but he has his act together to be a dependable relief man. The Reds late inning duo has not been as sharp as earlier in the year and last season, but they got it done before one of the few big crowds this season.

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