Titanic Struggle Recap

How the Tables Have Turned

Final R H E
San Diego Padres (49-62) 3 8 0
Cincinnati Reds (46-66) 11 8 0
W: Wood (1-4) L: Chacin (11-8)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score

The Good
–Joey Votto. Lord. He’s out of his mind right now. And with Joey, that’s saying a lot. His post-ASG slump seems like a distant memory now. He has now hit 30 homers for the second time in his career and has a solid shot to hit 40 for the first time.

–Zack Cozart had an equally awesome night. Even with the injuries, he’s continues to have he best year of his career.

–Duvall (who hits the ball hard) and Hamilton (who is fast) also contributed. In fact, the top 4 hitters provided literally ALL of the offense until the 8th, when the bottom half of the order made the game delightfully silly.

–Tucker Barnhart had a couple of defensive gems. He’s so good behind the plate, it’s easy to take him for granted.

–Bryan Price was aggressive with his pitching changes tonight and I liked it. No waiting one batter too long. We can argue about it, of course, but I liked the approach.

–And the pitching WAS good tonight.

The Bad
–None. Great night.

Not-So-Random Thoughts
–After the debacle that was yesterday, this was a fantastic rebound to see.

–Joey Votto continues to cement his status as one of the greatest Reds ever. Tonight, he tied Big Klu for fifth on the franchise home run list. Also, according to Baseball-Reference’s various HOF tracking measures, his 7-year peak is now above average for a HOF first baseman. At this point, I don’t understand how he still has doubters. We’ll likely never see a hitter like him again in Cincinnati.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

–If the pitching is remotely decent, this team is still pretty fun to watch. This is why I continue to think they’re closer to being competitive than their record suggests. I know they need at least two more legit starters and that is A LOT. But, I don’t know, stranger things have happened.

–Blake Wood faced one batter and got the win. Wins are a silly stat for pitchers, but s good stat for teams.

–On a personal note, I’ll be taking my 5-year-old to his first Reds game tomorrow (he’s seen a lot of the Bats already). If the Reds could do this again, it’d be cool, though I suspect he’ll be happy as long as he gets some ice cream.

68 thoughts on “How the Tables Have Turned

  1. Joey is good.We walked 6 times and 4 of them scored.Walks are good.We homered 4 times.Homers are good.It was just a good night all around.Oh Yeah Alcantara got a 4 pitch walk.That was really good.

  2. Gotta go for the ice cream helmet – great photo-op for a five-year-old.

    When I was five, it was the popcorn box that had a handle on the side and would fold open at the bottom to form an instant megaphone. Nothing like it. Of course, I was also five in….hmm…1976. Yeah, the Reds had a decent run that season, as I recall. 🙂

    GREAT effort from the guys tonight – ya keep those bats hummin’ and good things will happen.

    • Hey, when I was 5, I got an ice cream (maybe it was sherbet) on a stick, and the stick was actually a plastic cutout of a baseball player. And yeah, it was awhile ago. Crosley Field-ago.

      • Lucky – wish I could have seen Crosley for myself. That ice cream stick sounds neat-o!

    • Wow, does that bring back memories! I was a year older than you, Eric, but boy did I love that popcorn box megaphone.

      A cool feature I discovered was that it conveniently fit over the armrest when not in use…

  3. Hey Jason. Always a pleasure to read your musings. I agree that this team is not far off, and that the key will be finding a couple of starters. Castillo MAY be a front end of the rotation guy, but he has a good deal yet to prove. Disco could be a solid #2 IF he can get healthy. Can Bailey return to form? Can Finnegan get healthy and continue to grow as as starter? Who amongst a half dozen youngsters can take a giant step forward?

    So many possibilities; it would stand to reason that some of these possibilities will mature into reality.

    Just like we can’t expect 5 Reds’ starters to start 30+ games, we should be able to expect that we won’t see 14 or more starters in a season going forward like the last 2 seasons.

    • “Just like we can’t expect 5 Reds’ starters to start 30+ games”: fond memory of 2012 regular season. It’s still too soon to talk about that postseason.

  4. Nice recap, Jason. Turning point of the game, in my view, was Price’s taking out Adelman before the Padres took the lead. If he leaves Adelman in with 2 outs in the 5th, maybe the final score is Padres 11, Reds 3.

  5. Really well played game by the Reds. Cozart makes such a difference, on offense and defense. Difficult play to get an out at home in the 5th.

    And a nice throw by Gennett to cut down Margot at 3rd in the 4th.

  6. To Chad, wherever you are: I’ll remember Kivlehan 10 years from now !
    There’s his name, for one thing. But more to the point, I won’t forget that one losing season the Reds picked up a LHed bench bat that got promoted in July after hitting 15 or so HRs and a RHed bench bat that hit 7 HRs by early August.

    • I’m not suggesting that any of the current outfielders be sent to the bench, but it would be very interesting to see what Kivlehan would do with an extended period of starting in the outfield. He’s already waiver gold, but I suspect he has potential to do a lot more.

      • My impression was that he missed some plays early on in OF, so I have it my head he is a horrible fielder who is not that great hitter but can provide some pop off the bench, therefore he is utilized perfectly

  7. Last night’s game made clear Adleman may be a good option for the bullpen, as middle reliever, if no one else steps up. So far the pitching staff has so many questions and so few answers that’s really hard to tell how it’ll look next year. Assuming Disco and Finnegan both return from DL, Bailey keeps healthy and Castillo continues performing there’ll be only one rotation spot to battle for about six contenders.

  8. The more logical move looks to let Cozart go in order to clear the infield jam, but it’d really hurt the team. Once Senzel takes over 3B, Suarez can move back to SS and Gennett can remain in 2B. Yet, there’ll be the likes of Peraza, Blandino and Herrera in the hook.

    • I don’t see Gennett in the mix once the dust settles. He is subpar against left handed pitching.

      • I tend to agree that he has to be a platoon player. There needs to be a righthanded batter to start at second against lefties. You don’t want that to be Peraza at this still-early stage of his career. Gennett is also not that good defensively.

        • I don’t think Scooter is as bad as people say he is? He cut down Margot at 3rd last night….that was a big play otherwise Adleman may have had a Bailey inning.

          Alex Blandino could be the platoon w/Scooter. He’s up to a .386 obp (828 ops) or even Kivlehan. If they resign Cozart, then Scooter could be a Ben Zobrist floater next year after Senzel arrives. Scooter is coming back down to Earth playing this much, but I think he could be really productive with about 350 atbats per year. Match him up w/righties without great breaking stuff. He can turn around a fastball!

          • I think you have hit on a very valid point. Give Gennett every chance to succeed, and we know that it is against righthanded pitching. I like him in the Zobrist-type role. But not as an everyday second baseman on a good team. He bobbles, drops and misses balls that DatDude would never have flubbed. We have had the opportunity to see over the past decade-plus what top-flight second-base defense is, and Gennett is nowhere close.

  9. I think the Reds should give it one more season to see how some of the starting pitching prospects pan out and what they have for the rotation. Then, they should fill in the gaps with a free agent starter in the loaded 2018-2019 free agent class. Doesn’t have to be a top tier pitcher, but Drew Pomeranz, Drew Smyly, or Carlos Carrasco would be nice to have in the rotation.

    • That is a good time to jump in….but the reds do need a top of the order rotation starter to win.
      Joey Votto and Zach cozart are in their prime…it would be a waste to not be competitive until Votto is fading in 2020-2021.

      An alternative very bold move would be to fast forward the rebuild to take advantage of several players in their prime and several more moving in that direction .After the World Series:

      1.) Sign Zack Cozart to a 3 year deal.
      2.) Sign Billy Hamilton to a 3 year deal…buying out his arbitration years and first year of FA.move him to the 8 hole. Winker to lead off.
      3.) Move Nick Senzel to 2b for AAA.

      4.) Mega-trade
      Reds trade Hunter Greene. Sal Romano and Dilson Herrera to the Rays for Chris Archer and the Rays #1 pick in 2018 draft.
      Archer is controlled through 2021 and a bona-fied Ace. The reds also would have ~ #4 overall pick and ~ #20 overall pick in 2018 to quickly acquire 2 more elite young players and keep building for the next wave in 2020/21.
      Castillo appears ready to be a #2 and the rotation could fill from there. The defense is already the best in the NL .the bullpen is good and Senzel and Winker would elevate the offense even more.

      • Blockbuster!! I like the guys that dream big but I think the ship may have sailed a little on Archer? He’ll be 29 so he prob is what he is. A 3.32 era at their pitchers park but a 4.30 era on the road. I’d rather go for Dylan Bundy or Jose Urena…..maybe Alex Wood if LA craps out and wants to retool a little bit?

        • If you are one pitcher away from a top rotation and solid contender status, maybe you make a trade like that. But the Reds are four starting pitchers away from that. Castillo is the only one at this point you can pencil in next year (barring injury, which of course, we can never overlook with this team’s pitching fortunes). Bailey will be there if healthy, but he is clearly not consistently reliable. Hopefully that will change, but you can’t count on it with a post-TJ pitcher.

          • I hear you but sorting won’t identify a staff ACE. The free agent market is too expensive as well. It’s comfortable to think the committee of pitchers will sort itself neatly 1-5…. but other than Castillo I don’t see anyone capable of winning a playoff game or becoming a dominating SP in the NL.

            Archer has 4 more years of control…2018/19/20/21. That’s unheard of.
            He is 5th in WAR in the AL..an innings eater with 154 already ..11k/9 innings and an All star with great peripherals. The reds need a hammer. Castillo is my number #2 and then it’s a lot easier to fill in 3/4/5.

            Hunter Greene could land such a player.

      • Old-School, I hate to rain down on your trade scenario. I like trade speculation, especially blockbuster types, but in MLB draft picks cannot be traded. Only competitive balance picks can be traded I believe, along with International free agent bonus slot money amounts.
        I liked the idea the other day about going after Marcus Stroman this winter. If not Archer, maybe Stroman. Stroman would be our new Johnny Cueto.

        • Thanks for the info…The rays had the 31st overall pick in 2017 as a CB pick this year and the 40 th pick too….both picks were RHP. Either is fine.

          The point being get an elite starter now and add to the wave of talent in the lower minor leagues. Or risk wasting Joey Votto’ s prime years

        • Hunter will be a minor league player pretty soon though? When are they tradeable? Stroman is listed at 5’8″…lol. He can’t be that short? A groundball-flyball ratio of 272-159! That’s amazing….they’d be crazy to trade him but they need a major rebuild. Bautista, Tulowitski, etc…..ton of guys getting old fast!

  10. Ice cream makes about anyone happy. 🙂

    Crosley was such a little, dumpy stadium. It sat about 29,000. When the Reds would put on a rally, the fans would pound their feet on the floor. You could feel the old steel grandstands shake. Awesome but scary for a 10 year old kid back in 1966.
    The field was beautiful, manicured perfect green. I-75 was just beyond the scoreboard. One time Lee May hit a homerun THROUGH the scoreboard and out onto I-75.

  11. Price continues to tell everybody he is trying to win a game in regarding him pulling Aldeman.His decisions are mind boggling most of the time and his words are even worse regarding why he does this or that.Isn’t the goal to try and win every game?Starting Aldeman tonight made no sense to begin with if we are indeed sorting so what was the harm to let him try and get one more out.He is always trying to extend guys yet tonight he is trying to win a game.His logic makes sense to know one except him.He is so inconsistent in how he manages a game.Everybody and their brother knows what is going to happen in the 4th or 5th of every Aldeman start but this game is where he says he was trying to win a game.How foolish.

  12. Crosley Field or formerly Redland Field dated back to 1912 so even in the 50’s and 60’s it was an old ballpark but it definitely had it’s charm. Most ball yards in those days, other than Yankee Stadium and Comiskey Park, had a capacity of around 30,000. Crosley as ‘a little, dumpy stadium’ is new to me.

    • I loved Crosley. Greenest grass I ever saw. Loved the leftfield terrace (even if visiting leftfielders didn’t).

  13. I get why there are Votto doubters out there—he takes goofy swings a lot to spoil pitches, he runs weird, he chokes up a ridiculous amount, he stares at the sky and talks to himself between pitches. Not exactly Joe DiMaggio, right? None of it matters because the numbers are so overwhelming!

    Count me as a believer that Cozart’s success is sustainable, albeit with a bit of regression from a career year. The proof for me is that he has maintained his plate approach well into the 2nd half, something he couldn’t do in previous years. IMO the Reds would be crazy to hand the job to Peraza when we could probably get Cozy at a hometown discount w/o committing to a lot of years.

    Anyone else tiring of the Billy Hamilton act or should I be mad at Price for batting him leadoff? I mean, he’ll put together a few weeks where his weak contact finds some holes and everyone thinks he’s turned a corner, then can’t hit a lick for 3 months, rinse/repeat. I guess it’s all this false hope offensively that frustrates me……that, and the fact that he’s 160 pounds soaking wet and it looks like the bat is swinging him. Just makes me question if this guy is doing everything he can to get better. He’s had multiple offseasons to add upper body strength and yet here we are. Yeah, he’s not part of the problem, but at this point I’d be more than willing to sacrifice a little defense for more offense. It wouldn’t kill me to package him with a couple prospects to acquire an upgrade.

    • He is what he is? I’ve said it too often but trading him to Colorado makes the most sense for both teams. They have good young pitching (Hoffman?) and Billy fits Coors perfectly. They can’t play him that shallow because if he hits it in the gap or over their head then its a standup triple or inside-the-park HR. Therefore a lot of dunkers fall in. I can’t get yahoo to cooperate for the stats, but he’s hitting like .350 in Coors. Not to mention all the balls he could run down in that park. They could easily move Blackmon to a corner. Arizona would be another one. I have no problem keeping Billy either…just bat him 9th

      • Just a point for discussion — I see a lot of people who say Billy Hamilton should bat ninth. I totally get and agree with that he should not be batting leadoff. But I don’t fully understand the rationale for batting ninth. He’s not a terrible hitter — he just doesn’t get on base enough to be a top-flight leadoff batter. I’d think you’d want someone with a .249 career average up more often than nearly any pitcher I can think of. I understand the train of thought that says he could become an “inning leadoff” batter by batting ninth after the pitcher makes his obligatory out.

        Wouldn’t you basically forfeit a number of run-producing opportunities by having a pitcher batting eighth with people on base rather than a .249 batter? I’m interested in the thoughts and perspectives on this.

        • Possibly, but if he bats 8th, and reaches, what are you going to have the pitcher do? Bunt him to 2nd? Bunt him to 3rd? He can steal both of those bags. bunting him to the next base is wasting his best asset.

    • The ironic issue with Cozart at this point how long can he continue to play field and be at least an average SS. The cracks are showing.

      Even that “great play” he made to throw the guy out at home last night was in a way like a guy in the OF who initially misreads a ball then makes a great grab at the end. In this case, Cozart did not misread the ball; however, he was unable to stop, plant and make a spot on accurate throw home as he would have done not that far into the past.

      They were lucky that Barnhart was able to make a grab and athletic tag on the throw which was tailing up the line and into the runner because the throw was something of a side armed fling. Increasingly his throws are like this which is evidence of the depth the leg issue he is experiencing. At his age, there is no guarantee it will ever truly resolve. That’s the risk if a team is counting on him to play field. His best future is in the DH league.

      • I saw the Cozart play a little different. There was know time to plant and throw (since he had to move a little to his left. He unloaded the ball lightning quick, which gave Tucker a chance to adjust and make a great tag. The leg might not allow him to be the Cozart of before, but he is still elite, and with offseason healing, he can continue to be a plus defender.

        • I saw it the same way. There was no time to stop and plant. You might want to go back and look at that again . Great play by both people.

        • We will have to disagree on this. As I saw it he was in position based on his past play to step forward and through the ball except that he can’t do this anymore, at least not right now. The slide step toward 1st what he does now to get his body into position to throw side armed in order to avoid planting and pushing through, i.e. in part throwing with his lower body as much as with his arm. He side stepped to make a throw on a routine ground out just a bit later in the game.

          In the first homestand after the ASB there was one game where he couldn’t complete a play on three routine instances. When all was said and done they scored as 2 hits and 1 error; but they all could have just as easily been scored as errors. If Peraza had bungled the three plays, there would have been an outcry. But because Cozart did it, there seems to be a presumption that something unusual was happening.

          The guy is out there doing the best he can on a leg and half. He is finding ways to make plays that he can’t make the way he used to make them. I applaud him for the effort. However from the business side, a team has to say is it a reasonable risk to sink big money on him moving forward. If the plan is to have him playing SS 5 or 6 days a week, I doubt it. If the plan is to let him DH several days a week and play field on a limited basis, probably so; and, even more if he were to be a FT DH.

          • Jim, I am with you on this. His age and injury history make a big-money, long-term investment very risky, particularly for the Reds. They already have tens of millions locked into a couple of players who will likely never regain their pre-injury form (Bailey and Mesoraco). I would offer Cozart a one-year contract for under $10 million since there is no obvious heir apparent at shortstop, but he will get a much larger offer than that from some other team.

    • Not sure what (or if) you’ve been watching Sultan, But since June 24 (6+ weeks) Billy is batting .286/.327. He struggled for a month when Price kept playing him while he was injured. But since then he has been more than adequate

  14. Gennett and Kivlehan give the Reds a good lefty/ righty offensive combo off the bench which at least in the short term can also cover any defensive position except C and SS.

    Teams aren’t built from the bench out; but, until somebody makes an offer on them too good to walk away from or they get too expensive, this is a good development.

    • I’ve got Peraza and Schebler on the trading block this winter.
      Gennett and Kivlehan were the two I picked to build the 2018 bench around. I don’t know what will happen to Mesoraco this winter, but having him on the bench half the time would be extra nice, but expensive. The other INF spot and OF spot would be open competition for spring training. Blandino and Ervin could be the top 2 contenders. There is pop, there is speed, and every position is covered.
      Now if we can just get the rotation taken care of. Sigh.

  15. If the Reds want to pay him 6 million so be it.Giving him the most at bats and hoping he develops some pop and cuts down on his strikeouts is foolish after 4 years of doing the same thing.Its more realistic to believe he will continue to have more and more nagging injuries and will lose a step.Pitchers fear walking him and say here it is hit it.

  16. Fun game to watch. I was flipping local channels and got to see Blandino hit one out at DBAP.

  17. No way Peraza and Schebler should be traded unless the return is two guys ready at the big league level.Peraza is 23 and should improve and Schebler slumped recently but was it because he was injured.I am hearing he may be out several weeks.

  18. Winker is not exactly taking advantage of his opportunity since Schebler’s been out.
    .192/.276/.423 – SSS applies, but this is his chance to shine, and so far he isn’t

    • He’s hit 3 balls in the seats….they just caught one of them. He’ll be fine….needs to work on taking the ball the other way. Those HRs might have stuck in his head. It happens to Suarez for weeks at a time.

      • Plus it’s not like Winker gets the best pitches to look at batting 7th. Wirh Barnhart , the pitcher and Billy behind him that doesn’t scare the pitcher much. When he was batting 2nd in front of Votto he did good.

        • Kind of interesting, would you offer the same explanation for Peraza’s lack of hitting last month? he also was followed by TB, the pitcher , & BH ? It appears to me some people get the benefit of the doubt—- while some don’t.

  19. He hasn’t so far as you stated which is exactly why you give guys ample time to prove or not prove they belong.I am not ready to anoint anybody after a few starts for a pitcher or a few at bats for a hitter.Winker passes the eye test as does Castillo as far as looking like big leaguers.Both have a long way to go however.If it was me I would put Winker in the lead off spot the rest of the year and of course give the ball to Castillo every 5th day.Then we can have some data to talk about.In reality 400 or 500 at bats and 25 to 30 starts would be the correct way to sort but well you know the Reds don’t do normal stuff.

    • I agree, that he should play 6 out of every 7 games. Hopefully he can step up soon, because mangers won’t always be patient with young guys, and it won’t be fair unless he gets a steady diet of AB’s.

      Not a complaint, but can you hit the reply button when you are replying to other people? It will stay under the same general topic, and people won’t have to fish back to what you are replying about. Thanks.

  20. Tom, My take on Billy is that he doesn’t hit the ball hard enough or often enough to bat him anywhere other then 9th but at his worst he is better then the pitcher so maybe 8th would be better.I don’t know how he is with runners on base but I do know the infield plays in and the outfield is shallow when he hits regardless of the situation.

    • I know there have been managers over the years — including LaRussa and Maddon — who have batted the pitcher eighth. The rationale I always heard was that the presumption is the pitcher will make an out, and often it’s the third out, so the guy batting ninth becomes a leadoff batter for at least one inning without batting leadoff in the first inning.

      I have no idea what the numbers are on how many runners are typically on base when the number eight batter comes up, and whether they are in scoring position or not. Just seems to me you are in essence forfeiting more at-bats during a game with a pitcher batting eighth as opposed to ninth.

      Using a very unscientific example, the 15th and 16th best hitting teams in baseball currently are the White Sox and Kansas City, .254 and .253, respectively. That puts them right in the middle of the 30 MLB teams in batting. I know it’s not scientifically accurate, but that projection might indicate that the average MLB batter hits around .250 (which has been the presumption I have been aware of since I was a kid).

      With that premise, Hamilton is an average MLB hitter. Using the same method as above to chart the batting averages of pitchers, the midpoint is about .110. So to me, the tradeoff of

      a batter hitting .250 vs. .110 coming to bat three or four times a game, perhaps with runners on base in scoring position

      or

      speedy .250 hitter batting ninth with a chance to lead off an inning or two during the game, get on, steal and start a rally

      is what the manager faces.

      Most managers presumably prefer the former choice over the latter. But many of those managers may, like the Reds, be batting speedy guys higher than they should. Or maybe they always want the player with about a 10 percent chance of getting a hit to get the fewest at-bats in any given game.

  21. That was really bad timing for Stephenson! He looked pretty good against Pittsburgh but so did Homer. I don’t really like his chances to stick? He’s not throwing 96 anymore? On the positive side….his breaking stuff looked good and he kept it low in the zone. To me…he needs to reinvent himself as a Dan Straily type. Throw so many breaking balls and change-ups that the 93 mph straight fastball suddenly looks pretty quick! He needs to get back in the rotation and make as many starts as possible!

  22. This may be why you want Billy leading off for the Reds:

    Billy is batting .340/.392/.489! when leading off the game! (102 games)
    Billy is batting .312/.370/.410 when leading off an inning. (189 PA’s)

    By the looks of these numbers you don’t want him batting down in the order. since you can only control the order in the 1st inning, they HAVE to take advantage of this.

  23. Billy is around 250 so if he is hitting 340 when leading off would that mean he hits 160 after the first inning?

Comments are closed.