Titanic Struggle Recap

Schebler, Gennett, Stephenson lead Reds to win

With the series win, the Reds have achieved non-contender payback for Atlanta taking two out of three at GABP in early June. The Reds are 5-4 on the road trip and have a three-game winning streak. They go for the sweep tomorrow afternoon on Luis Castillo Day.

Welcome back Scott Schebler! The Reds right fielder made his first start since July 30. He’d been on the disabled list with a sore left shoulder. Schebler walked his first plate appearance, singled to right his second time up, doubled to left-center in the sixth inning and doubled to right-center in the eighth. He scored two runs. Remember that through July 7, Schebler had hit 22 home runs and was batting .258/.332/.537.

Billy Hamilton and Jose Peraza began the game with identical on-base percentages of .299. Out of 157 major league hitters who qualify for the batting title, Peraza and Hamilton are #140 and #141 in that category. They are two of the bottom four in the major leagues in power. So naturally, Bryan Price gave them the most at bats, because they’re fast. Meanwhile, Eugenio Suarez (OBP .379) hits 6th, Scooter Gennett (OBP .341) hits 5th and Jesse Winker (OBP .383) rides the bench.

Hamilton (0-5) and Peraza (1-4) combined to go 1 for 9 with a walk and infield single. Batting Hamilton lead-off has become self-parody. If you didn’t know better you might think it was something opponents make the Reds do. A bit of news you weren’t sure whether or not it was from The Onion. If Bryan Price is going to manage the Reds like this the rest of the season, Dick Williams should fire him right now.

Cincinnati Reds 11  Atlanta Braves 8 || Box || Play Log || Statcast

Somehow, Robert Stephenson has only made four starts for the Reds this season. Overall, tonight was a successful start. He went 5 innings and gave up 1 earned run (a Brandon Phillips solo homer) on 3 hits and 3 walks while striking out 4. He was lifted for a pinch hitter in the fifth after throwing just 75 pitches.

Stephenson might have been pulled early because it was his first start in a while. Or because there was a runner on third and two outs and Price thought the value of scoring another run was greater than another inning from Stephenson. In Stephenson’s last start, he gave up 1 run and 2 hits to the Pirates in 5.2 innings. In between, he pitched two shutout, hitless innings of relief against the Brewers.

Asher Wojciechowski relieved Stephenson and pitched the 6th and 7th innings. He had been a candidate to take Scott Feldman’s rotation turn on Wednesday, but Bryan Price had said if he needed to use Wojciechowski in relief, he would and that would make it less likely he’d get the start. Wojciechowski gave up four hits and two runs in two innings. He struck out two.

Wandy Peralta pitched the 8th and worked around two base runners without giving up a run.

Blake Wood won’t be putting this road trip on his resumé. It started with Wood giving up five runs without recording an out in Milwaukee. He gave up a walk-off wild pitch in Chicago. Tonight, Wood came in to pitch the 9th with a seven run lead and gave up two hits, a home run and another hit before being pulled.

Michael Lorenzen gave up a couple hits, but also struck out two in closing out the ninth.

Scooter Gennett hit a grand slam because of course he did. He also had a sacrifice fly, a single and a walk.  Joey Votto drove in a run with a double down the left field line and had a single. Adam Duvall had two hits and a walk. Tucker Barnhart had three hits.

Gennett made a fantastic defensive play in the 2nd inning, charging a weak ground ball and shoveling it with his glove hand to Votto. Two runners were on base. Duvall made another superb play in left field, charging a sinking liner and diving for an out in the third inning. Peraza made a nice backhanded grab of a hard-hit ground ball to get a force at second in the 6th.

On the other side of the defense ledger, Peraza made an error in the first inning, missing a line drive hit right to him. Stephenson committed two errors. He dropped the ball covering first base when he looked down to find the base. In the fourth inning, he threw wide to first on a bunt. It wasn’t that bad of a throw, but Gennett was covering the bag. A regular first baseman probably makes the catch.

Amir Garrett pitched for the Louisville Bats tonight. Remember when the Reds interrupted Garrett’s good start to the season by sending him down to the minor leagues for service time reasons? Garrett had made six starts for the Reds, in five of those he pitched at least six innings and gave up two or fewer runs. Garrett’s line tonight: 5.2 innings, 4 runs, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts.

I’d like to see Cody Reed get Scott Feldman‘s spot in the rotation starting Wednesday. Reed has made one start (against the Cubs) with the Reds this year.

From the “Where Are They Now” department: The Yankees have removed Aroldis Chapman from the closer role due to ineffectiveness. Chapman, who is 29, signed a 5-year, $86 million free agent contract with New York this offseason.

53 thoughts on “Schebler, Gennett, Stephenson lead Reds to win

      • You are right on Steve, about having both B Hamilton and J Peraza at the top of the lineup. I wonder if a reds reporter asked Price why he does that with them at 140 and 141 in the league, as you mentioned, what he might say?

  1. I was at the game. Your summary doesn’t do justice to how ugly that game was. Stephenson had a decent start in the box score but it was a struggle. Too many walks, hit batsmen, and hard hit balls. At one point the Braves had 2 hits but 8 base runners (three on errors, but two of those were his own errors). Sloppy defense. Three errors plus a Schebler whiffed throw that wasn’t an error only because the batter slid head first into second and didn’t know what had happened. And of course the relief corps was bad across the board. Then add add to that the black hole in the lineup that Price created with Pitcher-Hamilton-Peraza at 9-1-2. I was thrilled to see a Reds win. Delighted for a healthy, effective Schebler. Loved Scooter’s grand slam, Barnhart’s bulldog play and of course Votto being Votto. But man. Let’s hope that all the sloppiness has been shed from the system. There sure was a lot of it. Now if we can just wake up Price about the batting order. Thank goodness this one belongs to the Reds.

    • Totally agreed – A different line-up approach would have made some wins difference this season. A more aggressive Manager should on board next season.

  2. Schebler showing he’s not ready give up his spot in the OF. He had some great ABs tonight. Seriously… what can we get for Hamilton over the winter? Every time BH bats I find myself thinking “easy out” . He’s not a major league hitter.

    Has anyone benefited more from having Votto as a teammate than Suarez? I see him try to emulate Joey in everything from his approach at the plate to choking up.

    Romano and Stephenson have shown some grit and promise. Next step is adding consistency. It’s going to be exciting when their potential has turned into consistent results when it matters most.

  3. +1 on Reed starting Wed. Reds should put Stephenson, Reed, and Garrett in the rotation the rest of the season.

    • Couple of things about Amir Garrett:

      -That Milwaukee start on April 24 “broke” him in a way he has yet to recover from at the MLB level. That night, he was totally rocked, giving up 10 runs in 3.1 innings, including 3 HR’s (two by Thames) (shock).

      Since that night, he has not come close to stringing together starts like he did in the first 3 of the 2017. In particular, the HR problem. Yikes.

      http://www.fangraphs.com/statsd.aspx?playerid=14375&position=P

      He had issues developing before he was sent down. xFIP, K’s, Game Score all were trending in wrong direction.

      -Garrett threw 101 pitches tonight in 5.2 IP, allowing 9 hits.

      Garrett and Reed are consistently running WHIPs of 1.50-1.60 or higher in their starts.

      They aren’t dominating in AAA.

      So, if they start in Cincinnati over the last 6 weeks and struggle, will it be the player’s fault or the organization’s, for pushing guys up?

      • If Garrett still hasn’t recovered from an April start in which he got hit hard, I’m concerned about his ability to compete at this level, period.

        If you read comments on here, everything is Price’s fault. However, continuing to hit Billy leadoff is ridiculous, if not a firing offense. If he’s doing it because Williams is telling him to, then my confidence in this front office being different from the Jocketty era will take a big hit.

        • I think Jazz Man is on to something. As a first-time manager BP doesn’t have the credibility to make game decisions without GM approval. DW says the right things but either gives BP too much leeway or is part of the head scratching decisions.

      • Thanks for posting this. I was going to mention that Garrett was starting to trend in the wrong direction before he was sent down. I also believe he said he’d been dealing with his hip issue for a while before saying anything about it, which I believe led to some struggles.

        The fact is, he had a nice ST and a couple strong starts to begin the year. Then he started to regress, was dealing with an injury, and was exposed. He never dominated AAA, even last season and had issues with BBs then. I think it’s pushing a false narrative to say that the Reds messed him up by sending him down.

        • The stats don’t support this. Garrett had two starts after the Milwaukee blow up. He pitched 7 innings and gave up 2 hits and 2 earned runs vs. Pittsburgh. Then he pitched 6 innings giving up 5 hits and 2 earned runs. Those starts are indistinguishable from his pre-Milwaukee starts.

          I’m not trying to push this too far. Garrett has been disappointing in Louisville. He would have been unlikely to maintain the quality of his early season starts with the Reds. But I don’t think it’s accurate to say he was declining already when they sent him down. He made six starts with the Reds. One of them was awful, the other five were about the same.

          • How do the stats not support this? In the two post-Milwaukee starts he posted game xFIP of 5.50 and 7.46. He had 7 BBs and 6 K’s in those 13 IP. I know you’re not just basing it off ERA. What other numbers support he was pitching well?

            He had 3 good games to start the year, followed by 3 poor games, then was sent down. At some point during this time he began dealing with a hip injury.

            I don’t think the Reds sending him down had much to do with his performance as he was already showing the peripheral signs of regression.

      • If Mahle isn’t being held back because of innings pitched, he should get a few starts ahead of those two in September.

    • Despite Reed & Garrett not exactly dominating AAA, I would also agree that they need to be in the Reds the rest of the season. Even though I really REALLY want to see Mahle up here, it’s probably more important for them to know what they got in these 2 guys first.

  4. 3 in a row, and a strong showing on this road trip. Go for the sweep tomorrow!

  5. Steve, are you in favor of an outfield of Duvall (LF), Schebler (CF), and Winker (RF) with Winker leading off?

        • That outfield would be horrendous defensively. Schebler would be bad in CF and Winker is as bad in RF. Defense matters. I start Hamilton.

          • Offense matters. I start Schebler. He’s got some speed and I like the way he hustles down to first base on a routine play. Yet to be proven is his arm strength in centerfield.

    • I’m also in favor of this. I keep hearing from C. Trent, D. Gray, and others that they HAVE TO HAVE Billy’s speed/defense in center field, but at what cost? The guy has over 1800 major league at-bats, with an average around .245 and an OBP under .300!. That should be enough of a trend for the Reds to make a decision. I personally think Schebler would do great in CF, but we need to find out. Price is driving me nuts by putting in the lineup every single day, and batting him lead-off.

      • I have no issue with BH starting in center. The issue is he should be batting 8’th not first.

      • You realy need to check Schebler’s numbers. Good power, yes, but the Reds are not deficient in that, and his avg./obp aren’t markedly better than Billy’s. How much of an upgrade would it be if his defense is worse, which it almost certainly would be? I like Schebler, too.

    • Yes. Duvall. Winker. Schebler. Good bats. Keep it, until one of them proves otherwise

      Billy H. should be what he does best–a pinch-runner when you need a run, and a late-inning defensive replacement (and on occasion to give one of the others a day off). You won’t lose all of Billy’s defensive value,

      And you have him on base in key game situations–and he does not even have to get on base himself to be of such great value!

  6. Somehow, Robert Stephenson has only made four starts for the Reds this season.

    I was also shocked when I read this and had to look it up to confirm. Unbelievable.

    How is it guys like Arroyo, Feldman, Adleman, Wojciechowski, and Bonilla can get starts but a guy who until very recently was viewed as the Reds top pitching prospect gets a start about as often as a total solar eclipse? Would he really had done much worse?

    To wit, Feldman, Adelman, Arroyo, and Garrett lead the Reds in games started this season. What happened to the sorting?

    • The Reds never committed to sorting their young pitchers.It requires letting them pitch and take their lumps while they gain experience.They chose to use the guys you mentioned to start while the rest watched.

    • Couldn’t agree more. Giving starts to Adelman, Bonilla, Wojo in June/July/August, in inexcusable. Those starts should’ve been given to Stephenson, Reed, Garrett, or Mahle without question. I just don’t see the logic from Reds’ standpoint….you are OUT of the race, you are re-building, so put your potential future starters out there.

  7. Wojciechowski was one pitch away from turning in a real nice outing.

    On the flip side, Stephenson’s box score may look good, but I agree with cfd3000. He was all over the place tonight. Lots of 2-0 counts and lots of pitches that weren’t even close to the plate.

    If Blake Wood isn’t DFA’d this winter to make room for someone on the 40 man roster I swear I will literally set fire to something.

    On a side note, have they done a bit or anything on how to actually say Wojciechowki?? The Reds announcers insist on emphasizing the “h” sound, but everyone I’ve ever known and every time I’ve seen that Polish/east European structure the “c” is always what’s pronounced

  8. Blake Wood needs to be DFA’d today! And, if Mr. Price still has Mr. Wood at his disposal for the remainder of the season and puts him in to pitch, regardless of the score, then Mr. Price should be fired immediately following that game!

    • So the GM should fire the manager for using a pitcher the GM put on the roster?

      When you have a limited number of pitchers you can’t just not use one indefinitely. That just overworks everyone else and they ultimately are as bad as the guy you’re not using.

      • Sure why not?Very little has made sense they have done.Batting Billy lead off,going with the old bodies as your starters for half a year and watching Peraza for over 400 at bats before benching him.

        • So in what was expected to be a 90 loss season, giving Billy Hamilton every opportunity to see if he can get on base enough to bat lead off doesn’t make sense? Giving Peraza, who they actually traded for, every opportunity to see if he can hit doesn’t make sense? Using retread starters so they can take a tough love approach with Garrett, Stephenson and Reed in order to not rush anyone else doesn’t make sense?

          • Billy Hamilton has had over 2000 major league plate appearances spread over 5 different seasons. He’s had 532 this year alone. It’s 100% clear what Billy Hamilton will be at the plate. Despite the hopes people have had for him, he’s shown zero improvement.

            Career: .247/.297/.333
            2017: .246/.296/.329

            And he’s even worse relative to the league because hitting is up league-wide. Career wRC+ 70, 2017 wRC+ 62.

            So no, I would no longer give Billy Hamilton “every opportunity” to see if he can get on base enough. In fact, I consider that quite a stubborn mistake, as I said in the game recap.

            That sentence does make sense with the words Jesse Winker replacing Billy Hamilton, though.

          • Steve,

            I agree that Hamilton no longer deserves “every opportunity” to prove that he can get on base. If Price is making the decision to lead him off than that is a horrible mistake. If Williams is directing that Hamilton lead off then I believe that Williams shoulve run out of patience by now.

          • Its the 400 at bats and the fact the warm bodies with now less then 50 games to play still have started more then the young guys individually and collectively.Its not what they did its how long they went with it.We don’t even need to discuss Billy.

      • Agreed Mr. Schick! However, a major league manager is paid to make in-game decisions and those decisions, in part, should be made based upon stats and recent performances. One observation about Mr. Price (a former pitching coach) is that he always seems to wait one (1) batter too late to remove a pitcher who’s struggling. How I long for the days of Captain Hook, aka George (Sparky) Anderson!

    • I agree about Wood, but if he can’t pitch in an 11-3 game, when can he pitch?

    • Nice analysis, Derek. Comparing a 32 yr old never has been to 3 still young pitchers that have shown flashes of talent, if not consistency. And that’s to say nothing of the fact that their individual performances really don’t compare to Wood’s.

      • My analysis is that all 4 of those pitchers are bad. Reds better off without any of them.

        • There is nothing that suggest that Lorenzen is bad. Reed and Garrett are incomplete…..no one knows if they will be good or bad at this point.

  9. If Bryan Price is going to manage the Reds like this the rest of the season, Dick Williams should fire him right now.

    What do you mean IF? Of course, Price will manage this way the rest of the season. Captain Vanilla.

  10. I’ve said it a lot this season, and it still remains true in my view, the Reds offense will suffer from having both Hamilton and Peraza in the line up at the same time. Too many easy outs, no pop, very little ability to get on base. I think the Reds can get by with one, especially if that one is a standout defender, but not both. Combined with the pitcher’s spot that makes a third of your lineup relatively easy outs. There’s also not a good way to put them into a batting order without grouping them together (1,8,9. 7,8,9. 1,2,9 etc) or interrupting the team’s better hitters.

    The problem I see is there’s very few options to address this situation internally without significantly sacrificing defense or hoping less heralded prospects rise to the occasion.

    In CF, you could go with a non-CF option in Schebler and create room for a great offensive OF of Duvall, Schebler, and Winker that is below average in CF/RF. Or you could go with Ervin who’s done well throughout his career in every offensive area except hitting for average, and would be an average defensive CF. Beyond that you’re looking to A ball before you get to another CF option in the minors.

    At SS there are less ideal options. One is move Suarez to SS. I don’t love the idea of moving him off a position he’s found success at back to one he struggled at. (As far as Senzel, he played 2B in college and I would transition him back there next season and leave Suarez where he’s at.). Or you could play Blandino there, knowing he’ll be a below average SS defensively or play Vincej there knowing he’ll have a below average bat.

    A better solution may be to develop platoons where neither Peraza or Hamilton is in the same lineup often. Hamilton is so much better from the left side of the plate. This season in 339 ABs he’s hit 265/329/357/686 against RH pitching against a 209/225/277/502 slash line against LH pitching in 148 ABs. Ervin is a RH batter and a natural platoon option in CF against LH pitching. As a RH Peraza could also play on those days. On the days Hamilton plays, Peraza becomes the super utility guy off the bench and Blandino plays SS.

    Of course that does nothing to relieve the surplus of corner OF guys, and Schebler isn’t a good platoon choice for Winker or Hamilton as they’re all LH (or best from left side). But that’s going to have to be solved by a trade this offseason, in my opinion. Maybe we could get a better SS option in trade which would make most of this moot.

  11. The one thing that needs to be tried is to bat Billy left handed all the time. At least try it until the end of this lost season. He gets out of the box quicker left handed, and he probably wouldn’t hit worse than his right handed stats have been over the years.

    • Or we could really roll the dice by moving Billy back to shortstop with Cozart assumedly leaving. Irvin could than man center, with Schebler playing center when Irvin needs a day off. That would also relieve the outfield jam somewhat, but we wouldn’t be as good defensively in center field.

      • Billy moved to the outfield because there is zero chance he can play SS at the major league level. He actually couldn’t play it in the minors.

  12. I always find it interesting how intelligent fans play both sides of the fence. “Pitch the young guys”, followed quickly by “Why does Price leave the young guys in?”. How else are they going to gain experience unless they fail? You have to let them face the line-up the 3rd time through.

    Or “We need the young guys to get reps” followed by “That young guy is no more than a platoon player that has no plate discipline.” The game is all about adjustments and young guys have to learn that. They’ve been successful at every level and may not realize they have to adjust.

    Our post-game hindsight makes us look brilliant here on the blog! We analyze numbers and make judgements but have zero visibility to the hours of practice, training and film study that go into making a ballplayer.

    It’s fun to study, critique and “play” general manager or manager. But we are not qualified (except Old Cosack who communicates extremely well!).

    We’re going to win some sloppy games (like tonight) and lose some well-played games (like last Saturday in Milwaukee). That’s baseball – don’t confuse good and perfect.
    Let’s finish with 20+ wins in our final 40 and then let the GM evaluate. Young guys are getting a taste (Romano, Stephenson, Peraza, Castillo, Suarez, Ervin, Winker, Turner, etc.) – so let’s enjoy watching them!

    • WHOA!!! Mrs. Cossack read this and launched a major rebuttal and objection. The Old Cossack has now been banished for an unspecified time period from using Mrs. Cossack’s computer to garner any useful data.

  13. I started to type my thoughts, but there is still so much sorting to be done for this team, that in a season of sorting it makes a person dead inside to see how much still needs sorted.

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