2017 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Recap: Phillip Ervin and the Reds win a wild one to split series vs. Cubs

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (51-71) 13 12 0
Chicago Cubs (63-57) 10 12 1
W: Storen (4-2) L: Grimm (1-2) S: Iglesias (22)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score

The Good
–After a fairly pedestrian, and scoreless, first inning, Adam Duvall led off the top of the second with a single to right. Eugenio Suarez followed up with another single, and the Reds were in business with runners on first and second and no outs.

The floodgates were about to open.

Scooter Gennett singled Duvall home, and the Reds led 1-0. Phillip Ervin followed with another single that drove in Suarez. 2-0.

Stuart Turner and Scott Feldman made outs, so the Cubs were within one out of ending the inning with a tiny deficit. But Billy Hamilton walked and Jose Peraza singled to score two more runs. When Votto hit an opposite field home run — his 32nd of the season — the Reds were ahead 7-0.

But they weren’t finished. Duvall reached on an error, Suarez doubled to left-center, Cubs starter Jon Lester left the game with an injury, and Scooter walked. Ervin then doubled, scoring Suarez. Gennett was thrown out at home to end the inning.

Only two balls were hit particularly hard — Votto’s homer and Suarez’ double — but the Reds collected 9 runs on 8 hits in the inning. Ervin and Suarez each had two hits in the frame.

It’s a 9-0 lead. Game over, right? Right???

No. Nine runs wasn’t enough.

–After the Reds had blown that 9-0 lead (see below), Suarez walked to lead off the 7th inning. One batter later, Ervin blasted his second big league homer — his second in as many days — and the Reds had the lead again, 11-9. It was a lead they would not surrender.

–Ervin, of course, was the offensive star, with three hits — single, double, homer — a walk, 4 RBI and 3 runs scored. Votto had two hits, including the home run, and a walk. Suarez had a single, a double, a walk, 3 runs scored, and 2 RBI. Peraza had two hits, a walk, 2 runs scored and 3 RBI.

–Drew Storen wasn’t great, but he made a great defensive play on a comebacker, and ended up with a scoreless inning in his only inning of work. Wandy Peralta was perfect in the eighth inning, striking out two. It was the third consecutive day that Peralta took the mound, but he didn’t look any worse for the wear.

–Raisel Iglesias was dominant in the ninth, striking out the side with a wicked slider and live fastball.

–In the top of the ninth, Ervin scored from second on an infield hit. He’s fast, and it was an alert bit of baserunning. Judging on the last two nights, it’s clear that Ervin is the greatest player in the history of baseball.

The Bad
–Feldman is not healthy. He also wasn’t very good today. After being staked to a 9-0 lead, Feldman gave up a single run in the bottom of the second, then five runs in the fourth inning. On the day, Feldman went 3.2 innings, allowing six runs on seven hits, including five home runs.

In that disastrous fourth inning, Feldman threw exactly one fastball. He simply was not healthy, and it seemed pretty obvious to everyone. But it took forever for manager Bryan Price to get someone up and throwing in the bullpen, for some reason.

Michael Lorenzen gave up three more in the fifth and the Cubs had scratched their way back from a 9-0 deficit to tie the game.

Disastrous.

Not-So-Random Thoughts
–Well, that was a crazy game, eh? Only twice in the history of this franchise have the Reds won a game in which they surrendered six home runs. Those other games occurred in 1961 and 1894. I wasn’t even alive for those two!!!

–Votto has been on base three times or more in one consecutive game. Nice little streak he’s working on here.

–All of a sudden, Peraza has learned how to walk. It’s crazy. Also, his OBP has now topped the .300 mark for the first time this season.

–Lorenzen has not distinguished himself after such a nice start to the season. As Lance McAlister noted on twitter, in Lorenzen’s first 26 appearances, he posted the following: 34.1 IP, 10 runs allowed, 2.62 ERA. The last 26: 29.1 innings, 21 runs, 6.49 ERA. Something’s not right with this picture.

–Before today, the Cubs had won 106 games in a row when they scoring ten or more runs.

–Here we go, on to Atlanta. Sal Romano will face R.A. Dickey tomorrow night.

Today’s Tweets

74 thoughts on “Recap: Phillip Ervin and the Reds win a wild one to split series vs. Cubs

  1. Man, I hope the 2018 lineup is coming together…

    Starting Lineup
    LF Winker
    SS Suarez
    1B Votto
    RF Duvall
    CF Ervin
    2B Gennett
    3B Senzel
    C Barnhart
    Pitcher

    Bench:
    Hamilton
    Schebler
    Peraza
    Mesoraco
    Kivlehan

    Starting Pitchers
    Castillo
    Mahle
    Bailey
    DeScalfani
    ???

    Bullpen
    Iglesias
    Lorenzen
    Peralta
    ???
    ???
    ???
    ???

    • Well, Tom, in the paraphrased but apt words of Bon Jovi: “♫ Whoa! We’re (perhaps) one-third of the way there! Whoa-oa! Livin’ on a prayer!♫”

      • Haha. Well played, Mr. Red.

        The 4 starters are:

        1. Raw
        2. Totally newbie
        3. Have to start him because of contract, running a .391 BABIP, 5.22 xFIP this year
        4. Aren’t people on here thinking he should go ahead with Tommy John surgery?

        And, I don’t see #FreeLorenzen being enacted.

        That reads a lot like this year’s squad….positional players with some pop and excitement, but not a playoff caliber pitching staff.

        • Yep, that sounds like a lot of hoping and wishing and praying. And you’re just mentioning the starting rotation. There’s a lot of questions with regard to the bullpen too.

    • I think you’re discounting Peraza way too soon, he’s hitting @350 this month with an obp @440……and close to 300, 380 since the break.

      • Perhaps, Darrin. Let’s see what he shows us through September. I like the adjustments I’ve seen recently though.

        • He’s gonna need to play regularly during the rest of the season tho…..and that may be difficult…I think it should be a no brainer, but I also think I’m in the minority there.

          • You’re not in the minority. He should play 2B vs. all lefties and should start at SS every 3 days or so.
            It shouldn’t be hard for Price….but it is. Never start Scooter vs a lefty

    • I won’t agree or disagree (yet) with your projected starting lineup, but in any case there’s no way that the Reds will have both Hamilton and Schebler on the bench. if they’re not both starting, you have to trade at least one of them for pitching.

      And the Reds would have to be totally stupid to trade Schebler – with his quick, powerful stroke, his racing to 22 HRs before his shoulder injury was not a fluke.

        • The injury initially occurred on June 3 against the Braves. He sat out 3 games after then returned to the lineup on June 7.

          Prior to the injury: .241 avg, 16 HR, 21% K rate (187 AB)
          After the injury: .213 avg, 7 HR, 27% K rate (160 AB)

          Definitely a drop-off, especially during the month of July.

  2. When will Stephenson start? I’ve noticed he’s been quietly put in the bullpen and has pitched in one game since being back? Not sure what they’re doing

  3. Best game of the year.

    Will Reds history judge this one primarily as the “overcame 6 home runs” or the “Phillip Ervin announced his arrival” game?

    Listened to Cubs radio announcers on Sirius for first half of game while working. They respect the Reds as a thorn in Chicago’s side.

    Updated records, Reds vs. NL Central this year:

    5-8 vs. CHI
    4-9 vs. MIL
    8-5 vs. STL
    8-2 vs. PIT

    Stupid Devil Magic could very well be leading the division, if they had the Cubs and Brewers record against America’s Team.

    • I thought that was one of the stupidest games of the year, but if the Reds win, I’ll take it.

  4. The best series split so far in a not very memorable year. It appears Ervin will give the Reds some offensive pop in center field.

  5. The Reds never gave Winker a chance until Schebler went on the DL.Don’t expect Irvin to get much of one either.

    • If he is not demoted when Schebler returns, he should get the starts in CF vs lefties.

      • Regarding this and your comment about platooning Gennett (with Peraza getting the starts against LHP), I think it makes excellent sense. Strict L/R platoons and playing to the platoon advantage, especially when a hitter really struggles against same-handed pitching isn’t a new or revolutionary concept. I really have no idea why Price is so hesitant to incorporate a platoon for one or both of Gennett and Hamilton against LHP. Maybe it’s a mandate from above with Williams and the FO saying “I want to see what so and so can do against LHP”? That makes sense perhaps for Hamilton, who’s platoon splits going into the season were more normal than they have been in 2017, but it makes no sense for Gennett. There is enough data on Scooter to know that he doesn’t hit lefties hardly at all and hasn’t his entire career to this point.

  6. This is what happens when our current pitching staff, collectively speaking, throws “strikes”. 2BB(yeah!) 6HR(aww s**t!). Of course, I hope our staff will continue throwing strikes, bit those strikes gotta start missing bats (or at least stay in the park, if not the infield) or this rebuild becomes a demo job.

  7. I would still start Hamilton for his defense. Starting Ervin and Winker is a bad move in my opinion, not enough power. I don’t think disclafani will be healthy and keeping Lorenzen is troubling.

    • Assuming Ervin is replacing Hamilton, Ervin probably has more power than Billy. Yes, Winker will not be the power slugger that Schebler is, but I would think the positive difference between Billy and Ervin would make up for the negative difference in Schebler and Winker. Off course any discussion involving Winker or Ervin assumes they continue to play well – which I hope they do!

      • I don’t think Winker is a downgrade over Schebler. They are just two different guys. One will have a 60-70pt advantage in OBP and the other a 60-70pt advantage in SLG. Neither is a plus fielder, but neither is terrible. Schebler maybe with a slight base running advantage. Too bad they are both lefties.

        • You’re probably right. Right now, maybe an edge to Schebler because he does run well and I think his overall defense is better than Winker’s. He is more suited to LF though because his arm is crap. Winker doesn’t have a gun but he has a better arm then Schebler. He’s probably not suited for RF either though. So actually we have to LH hitting LF in my opinion, playing in RF … Huh!!!?!!??

          WInker may be the better overall hitter in the long run. I love his pitch recognition skills. Like you said though, two very different players who derive value in different ways.

        • I was just replying to the comment stating Ervin and Winker starting together is not enough power in the lineup and I said that Winker is a downgrade from Schebler in just power numbers not overall numbers. He is actually an upgrade in on-base skills.

          Ervin replacing Hamilton is also in regards to Ervin and Winker together – Ervin would likely replace Hamilton in this hypothetical lineup, not Duvall. Therefore, in terms of power only, Ervin would actually be an upgrade over Hamilton, thus this power upgrade would balance out power decrease from Schebler to Winker.

          All of this was seeing if hypothetical lineup with both Ervin and Winker would be enough slugging for the Reds, not necessarily giving Ervin a starting job in CF or comparing Winker and Schebler as overall players/hitters. I don’t think a lineup with Ervin and Winker together would lack enough power, as long as Ervin replaces Billy’s weak power and not Duvall or Schebler.

  8. Regarding Marty and Joey Votto. I listen off and on to the Reds radio broadcast, but Marty lately (last few months) has been very nice to Votto. Not sure when it started, but I did hear him on “Brennamen and Jones” one morning on WLW, saying that Votto and Pujols were two examples of Big contracts that were worth it and have paid off, while other big contracts to players have not (eg, Mesoraco and Bailey).
    I will take a guess and say that the Reds management had a gentle word with Marty, that their star player is a great guy, and that he should not disparage him with certain mild slights that Marty has done over the years. I have heard plenty of games where Marty praised a big hit, clutch hit that Joey had, but he has, indeed, never been a big fan of Joey, until lately. There has been a change in tone.

    • When Joey started off the last 2 seasons ICE COLD for 2 months…is when the criticisms came…and deservedly so. Heck, most of the RLN diehards were wondering the same thing…Where’s Joey’s wallet?

      Marty will always tell it like it is…no sugar-coating snowflake nonsense.

  9. Odd to say about a former 1st round draft pick, but Ervin is an underrated prospect for the Reds who could potentially man CF in the near future. Smart speed and On base skills.

    Also, Peraza is looking like a lot better option at SS for the future Reds. If his total season OBP is over .300 now, his recent OBP must be really good. Would be nice to see if he could play like this for an entire season – maybe that tweak was successful?

  10. Ervin is relatively old at 25 and really has not done much previously. Hehasn’t warranted publicity. I’m quite fine with perraza. Too much complaining about him.

    • Says guy who glass is half full… countered by a glass half empty guy, there is IF with some glimmer of hope but big contract first baseman’s prime years are waning, SS having a career year is gone, a waiver pick-up having a career year is most likely a flash in the pan and a defensive liability, future SS is creating excitement because his OBP just got over .300 has little power and adds little defensively, the only thing crowded is developing 3B may get pushed out by a AA prospect who has barley played a year of professional baseball.
      OF is crowded with a decent power hitting LF , a great defensive CF who has trouble getting on base, and some prospects who have limited skill sets

  11. SLIOTAR: Will Reds history judge this one primarily as the “overcame 6 home runs” or the “Phillip Ervin announced his arrival” game?

    I’ll remember it as Reds “blow 9 run lead but still win” game. The last time the Reds did that was on August 25, 2010, one of my favorite Reds wins EVER.

    As of late August the Reds had a 3.5 game lead over the Cardinals and we were all holding our collective breath as the Reds headed West for a 9 game road trip. To our amazement, they won 5 of 6 from the DBacks and Dodgers. Then they came into SF to face a very hot Giants team, who as it turns out had started their run to their first WS since 1954.

    I was in SF that week, it was extremely hot for SF weather, in the mid 90s during the day, and the ball was carrying unusually well at AT&T Park. On Friday night the Giants pounded Edinson Volquez and won 11-2. I attended the Saturday night game with 3 Giants fans. The atmosphere at AT&T was electric, the fans were more raucous and worked up than a NY or Philly crowd. The Giants took batting practice against Travis Wood and the Reds relievers, winning 16-5.

    After that game, the Reds lead over the Cards was only 2.5 games and there was the prospect of getting swept by the Giants and ruining the road trip. But with one teeny win, the Reds have a 6-3 road trip. I follow as the Reds take an early 10-1 lead, while I’m flying to Denver. But after I arrive at the hotel, it was 10-5 in the 6th. With a 6 run inning in the 8th, the Giants take an 11-10 lead as I watch the scrolling line at the bottom of the tv screen, mortified.

    I get interrupted and turn on Denver tv a little later to confirm the loss: all the sports news was about the Rockies coming back from 9 runs down that day to win. Not surprising coverage in Denver, but they kept talking about that and don’t mention that there was another 9 run comeback win that day. My slender hope gradually grows, the longer they go without mentioning the outcome of Reds-Giants.

    Then they flash the scores of a few games: Reds 12, Giants 11 (11 innings). I went from Reds Fan Hell to Reds Fan Heaven, just like that.

    The late game heroes: Drew Stubbs, who with his speed forced a hurried throw resulting in a 2 base error on a ground ball to 3rd (Sandoval) in the 9th; Paul Janish, who drove him in with a rolling ground ball to RF: Nick Massett and Cordero, who pitched 4 scoreless innings at the end; Joey Votto, who drove in the winning run in the 11th.

    Here’s the box score:
    https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SFN/SFN201008250.shtml

    The Reds pulled away from the Cards after that game. One week later, they had an 8 game lead and coasted to the NL Central title from there.

    Chad, you probably did the recap of that game.

  12. I like what Ervin has done but let’s slow down a bit on a guy that is a .238 hitter in 2 seasons at AA. Maybe he is figuring it out but 2 good games doesn’t mean he should be a starter all of a sudden.

    • Were you the one telling us not to pencil in Amir as a starter for the next few years in April?

    • I have always like Ervin and have followed his minor league career. Glad he is getting a shot now but you are right two games do not make him a starter.

  13. Not that it matters now, but what was Scooter doing in the 2nd inning? Ervin hit a double that they had to run down on the track w/2 outs, so why did the ball beat Scooter to the plate by 15 feet? Duvall jogged home on Suarez’s 2 out double. Scooter must have slipped or something? He’s not that slow?

    That game could be Ervin’s breakout? If they ever decide to cut Billy loose then Kivlehan & Ervin could platoon w/Schebler & Winker. As for Lorenzen…nobody throwing 98 w/movement should get smacked around like he does? He’s hanging sliders and missing Barnhart’s target by a foot on the fastball. He’ll go for the corner on a fastball and his ball has so much movement that it runs right over the plate. I’m still a believer but he needs to go back to the drawing board!

    • Back to the drawing board, or into the starting rotation? YOU MAKE THE CALL!

      In the end, remember that these guys are human beings, not statistical generation robots. That’s what makes it interesting to watch the games and the season progress.

      • I was big on Lorenzen in 2015 when 80% of this blog didn’t like him. He’s still raw…rushed thru the minors so he’s going to have growing pains. I’d love to see him in the rotation because he’s big/durable w/a live arm and gets groundballs. He’s a great athlete and can hit and run as well. The thing is…if you can’t get people out w/98 then how is supposed to get 18-21 outs w/pacing himself at 94-95 mph? He has to get his command back and work on his slider…maybe develop a split or changeup? Peralta is a former starter as well! I’d put him ahead of ML both as a late innings reliever or starting candidate.

        • You’re right about most of his attributes. Although I wouldn’t throw durable in there.
          Missed a half season last year, cant pitch 3 days in a row after only a combined 17 pitches in 2 days?

        • Back to the drawing board. Lorenzen has removed himself from the starting rotation discussion through his room temperature performance. He’ll have to fight for a bullpen spot, let alone a rotation spot. He shouldn’t have a guaranteed bullpen spot for 2018 because of his below average June, July and now August. Very below average. Lorenzen has been a huge disappointment in 2017. As much of a disappointment as the rotation has been. The 2017 season has been one big setback for Lorenzen and the Reds.

          • As of July 9th…his #s were 2.92 era, 1.22 whip, and .218 batting average allowed. This last 5 -6 have ruined his numbers but he had 3 pretty decent months. Castillo had more then twice as many ip in the minors. Lorenzen is still very raw

  14. That 4 man outfield rotation people have been discussing may take on a new look now. Duvall, Hamilton, Winker, and now Ervin. That seems like a more flexible rotation. Ervin isn’t a 5th OF, and maybe not even a 4th. Schebler isn’t a 5th OF either.
    Hamilton has had a good second half, but he hasn’t played a whole month of September since 2014. If Hamilton can play his this September like he has so far the second half, he should win the SB title and most likely a Gold Glove. That will be hard to justify trading this winter. Schebler needs to show his stuff after he gets off the DL soon, but Winker and Ervin are going to deserve more playing for evaluation purposes. Schebler’s bat has more value on the trade market for the Reds than it does as a bench bat 5th OF.
    And once Senzel comes up in late April 2018, the Reds will have 5, possibly 6 players to fill 3 INF spots with Blandino also entering the picture.
    Yes, the Trade Winds should be blowing in gusts and gales for Dick Williams this winter.

      • Schebler would bring the most back, because he has the highest upside. Trading him could be viewed with extreme regret later.

        • Not only could it be,it will be.Lets hold off on Scott being traded for awhile.Good grief guys he was on pace for 30 homers and a OBP at league average.He had a shoulder injury and surely it affected his swing.Guys that hit 30 bombs and get on base don’t grow on trees and again unless Billy’s 4 years of data are wrong he is the odd man out.He will bring the most in a trade because of what I just said and the Reds should listen but the return would need to be pretty good.

    • I think August has ruined Billy’s “good” second half. He’s hitting .219 (.269 obp, .598 ops). 6 steals/2 caught stealing and picked off atleast once. Its not hard for me to justify trading him. I like him and his good days can change a game like no other but if he was totally committed to his craft then he wouldn’t come to Arizona every March at 150 lbs

      • Muscle mass isn’t always the answer, especially in baseball. Sometimes it is actually a problem in baseball, although obviously not in Hamilton’s case. We also don’t know Hamilton’s training routine. He may be trying to build muscle mass and it just isn’t taking. Some guys really struggle to bulk up.

  15. One thing I don’t understand. Feldman, who rehabbed his way back from the DL, really looked to be in more pain than pre-DL. Why is he being sent out there if he is not fully recovered? It has to be that he was hiding his injury from the Reds, so he could make those $100K incentive starts.

    Same thing with Schebler, how long did he play with the bum shoulder before he told the team? And how long did the team let him continue to play?
    What was the actual date Schebler sustained the injury?

    • The Feldman thing is puzzling. How can he still be that injured and nobody from management realizes it? That is truly a wasted start from many perspectives.

      • I’m going to go and wash my mouth out with saltwater:)….but I think Chuck is actually right on this one. He said something about Feldman’s contract being laden with bonuses per start or something and the Reds don’t want to look they’re trying to nickel-n-dime a free agent and give their front office a shady reputation.

        • Reds certainly don’t want to look like they were trying to restrict his starts so if Feldman said he was healthy and the medical staff agreed, then they needed to put him out there. No reason to put him out there though if either he or medical staff had questions about rather or not he was ready.

  16. The trouble with trading is you will be dealing with people who know your need is more than there’s. One other thing why does Price send a pitcher out who he knows is noy a hundred percent?

  17. FWIW,
    Phillip Ervin has amassed an fWAR of 0.4 in 10 PA’s.
    Scott Schebler has amassed an fWAR of 0.6 in 388 PA’s.
    Hamilton has a 1.3 fWAR in 522 PA”S.
    Duvall has a 2.2 fWAR in 499 PA’s.
    Winker has a 0.2 fWAR in 77 PA’s.
    Who is gonna end up being on the trading block??

    • Billy’s WAR is all defense but hey the Reds will pay him 6 million for that and lead him off and give him the most at bats again next year He may get 40 extra base hits in 600+ at bats and will probably strike out 25% of the time and finish with an obp of around 300 but he’s fast and Price will be back and so will Billy.

  18. I’ve followed Ervin since he was drafted in 2013. I’m not going to try to be a fortune teller for the guy, but he really had a fantastic campaign as a rookie even getting to Dayton for a stretch. The next few years he battled through injuries, similar to Winker, if not mistaken, I think he hurt his right wrist at one point, and that really had an affect on his power. 2014-2015 His K-rate ballooned because he was pressing, trying to do too much too soon. In Double-A, Ervin’s OBP has jumped back up, and in his entire minor league career, he has 50 homers, and 100 doubles, I don’t buy the argument he doesn’t have power. Ervin’s not Adam Dunn, but has considerably more power than Billy Hamilton – a slap hitter. In 2017, Ervin’s numbers from Louisville aren’t great, but from Doug Gray, outside of one bad month – May Ervin’s slashed, .287/.363/.462. I’m buying Ervin stock.

  19. Phillip Ervin rewarded for his great day yesterday with a spot on the bench tonight.

    BHam
    Cozart
    Votto
    Duvall
    Gennett
    Suarez
    Winker
    Barnhart
    Romano

    Must be a RH pitcher going for the Braves tonight is the only excuse I can think of. It’ll be interesting to see what Thom B. has to say tonight. He said after the game yesterday, there’s no way the Reds couldn’t start Ervin again in ATL.

    • Rewarding the worst hitter on the team by giving him the most at bats. Of course.

  20. Let Ervin run with the Cubs series! Why not? Billy is on pace for 640 atbats or something? Its crazy? Meanwhile Suarez bats 6th? Eugenio has a 1.166 ops in August. Price? DW must condone this? Billy Beane told Art How(e) it was going to be when they disagreed on lineups. That wasn’t just the movie. Howe was cut loose after winning 20 in a row. This stupidity has to end at some point?

    • I have pretty much give up on Price and his unwillingness to do anything different with Billy.He just doesn’t get that nor does he understand with Winker in the 7 hole and Tucker,Romano and Billy next that Winker has nobody behind him to drive him in.A simple switch of Billy to the ninth spot and Winker leading off gives us a better chance to score more runs.It also gives Winker more at bats and anybody getting more at bats then Billy is a good thing.If Billy gets on then you still have Winker behind him and then Cozy.Price should have just set Billy and played Irvin after his game yesterday which would have helped both.Billy gets a break and Irvin gets a confidence boost.Insane is a better term then stupidity I think Indy.

  21. They are going against a knuckle-baller tonight, so I wonder how that figured into making the lineup. Probably good that Schebler doesn’t have to see that the first night back.

    • Since Price runs runs the same lineup out there no matter who is pitching, it probably had no bearing on the lineup Price inked.

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