Titanic Struggle Recap

Sal Romano, Keep It Up, Okay?

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (54-74) 4 7 0
 Chicago Cubs (68-58) 2 7 1
W: Lorenzen (8-2) L: Strop (3-4) S: Igelsias (24)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score

The Good

–Sal Romano has had two really good starts in a row. Overall, he’s been very solid since being called up. Some rookie mistakes, sure, but with the exception of Castillo, he’s been the best of all the young pitchers called up.

–Joey Votto got on base twice. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

–Jose Peraza had and incredibly clutch hit to give the Reds the lead in the 8th.

The Bad

–I can’t find anything to complain about. I’ll admit that I wasn’t paying perfect attention the whole game (I’m about to move and the attic needed to be cleaned out), but I saw most of it and it was a good, fun game to watch between two teams that both played well today. And the Reds won. That’s always the best part when it happens.

Not-So-Random Thoughts
–I like when the Reds beat the Cubs.

–Boy, that was a boneheaded play in the ninth when Jay tried to steal second. Sure will take it, though.

–I really don’t think enough can be said about how good Suarez has been this year. He was on twice tonight and has just been fabulous. In terms of WAR, he’s been equal to Jose Ramirez of the Indians. If he were in the American League, he’d be tied with Ramirez for the best WAR in the league among 3Bs. In the NL, he’s fifth among 3Bs and 14th in the entire league. (Yes, there are a lot of good players at third in the NL.)

–The Reds are probably going to win the rest of their games and squeak into the playoffs, right?

75 thoughts on “Sal Romano, Keep It Up, Okay?

  1. The Cubs broadcast is really talking about Maddon leaving Happ in CF in the 8th. He batted in the top of the 8th. They’re saying Almora would’ve caught it easily. I don’t know but we’ll take it!

    • I’m sure Billy would have caught it and suspect that the broadcasters for the Cubs are right about Almora.

    • I will never fault a manager for a late inning defensive sub in an effort to preserve a slim lead, esp up the middle of the D.

      That being said, if I were a Cubs fan then I’d be blaming too. Why is the ‘bat’ out there in that situation and not the ‘glove’?

      • Disco and Finnegan led this team in IP last year with 170+ each. Need at least one of them back to form at least but that won’t be sorted this year. Neither will Feldman as an innings eater. So many questions. It’s good to have one more answer materialize.

  2. Crazy to think Garrett had six starts if 6 innings or more allowing 2 runs or less, saw he got lit up again tonight. Encouraging to see Romano improving

    • I really want to know what happened to Garrett. How can he go from being such a highly regarded prospect who was initially successful at the MLB level to one of the worst pitchers on the AAA staff?

      Seriously, what happened?

      • Isn’t he basically just a 2.5 pitch starter? I think his first weeks of success really messed with his psyche too.

        winker needs a start and Billy needs a rest. Don’t look at team AB totals or you’ll grow discouraged. Why a guy averaging .245 with a .300 obp should dominate is beyond me.

        Can Pat or someone smarter than I pretend SB don’t exist and contribute the bases to an Xbh total and the throw outs to the negation of average and see where his speed would quantify if he were just hitting into these bases? Does that make sense?

        • Makes perfect sense and the Old Cossack was working on it before Mrs. Cossack confiscated her computer in retaliation against the Old Cossack’s big noggin. My computer can’t access MLB, FG, BP or ESPN data, making such calculations difficult. I can easily hypothesize that the results are going to look ugly, very ugly.

          • Well he has 53 SB so you could preserve his current xbh ratio and say that equates to roughly 16 doubles, 6 triples and a homer. That would impact slugging but wouldn’t inflate his average and limit the repercussions. I don’t even think lumping them as generic extra bases would hurt. It’s all the same – just pretending he earned them with his bat instead of his legs.

            If my math is right, and it probably isn’t, then his slugging increases for about .424, about a 95 point increase.

            But you gotta factor the throw outs. So they don’t leave the fake category and make problems with average they should just be subtracted from TBases since swiped bags were just added. So this would be 209 bases against 507 at bats for a .412 xsSLG% which is my new speed adjusted slugging percentage. 🙂

            This would make his OPS a more palatable 720ish or so. Now I’m not losing as much faith as I had.

            Still, he is striking out more while working a near 7% walk rate. He has got to be putting the ball in play and get his K% sub-20. That’s an absurd percentage for a lead off hitter, no?

          • Stolen bases don’t have the same value as extra bases from XBH hits because they don’t drive in runs.

  3. Price pulled another one of his infamous, ludicrous double switches, for no real reason than his ability to over-manage. After Price replaced Romano with Schebler as a pinch hitter in the 7th inning, he turned around and pulled Winker and replaced him with Lorenzen. Lorenzen pitched one inning before he had to be pulled in favor of another pinch hitter. The double switch accomplished nothing other than allowing Price to show the baseball world that he was actively managing the team. He’s pulled this move time and time and time … again. Price really doesn’t grasp and understand the on-field mechanics of managing the team.

    • I have said it time and time again he just does stuff like this for no apparent reason.Trying to match wits I guess with the guy in the other dugout I guess.Its not rocket science just read the book.

    • This was a genius move, if Winker had not been taken out – his spot would have come up, Cubs bring in a lefty, they still bring in Peraza and then maybe let Lorezen bat in the original 9th spot. Price thinking 3 steps ahead out-managed Maddon who was stuck with Strop just like Price envisioned.
      The only thing smarter would have played Schebler over Hamilton in the 1st and flipped WInker and his spot but hey we can’t expect Price to make every move that gives the Reds an advantage.

    • Price is too small minded to understand you use a double switch to DELAY the pitcher’s next turn to bat, not accelerate it by two spots as he accomplished in this and other instances. It’s the many little things he does incorrectly that adds up to numerous unnecessary losses.

  4. The batting order really doesn’t matter this season since the bigger issue is (or should be) preparing the team to become competitive as early as 2018, but…

    #1 => 0.402 OBP & 0.902 OPS
    #2 => 0.382 OBP & 0.881 OPS
    #3 => 0.447 OBP & 1.046 OPS
    #4 => 0.403 OBP & 0.971 OPS
    #5 => 0.342 OBP & 0.880 OPS
    #6 => 0.312 OBP & 0.830 OPS
    #7 => 0.306 OBP & 0.784 OPS
    #8 => 0.336 OBP & 0.723 OPS

    That’s the lineup that Price COULD be putting on the field right now and COULD be the lineup starting the 2018 season. That’s a seriously dangerous offense that could easily lead MLB in runs scored. Does anyone want Price managing this team in 2018? That would be like giving ultimate authority and control of the most dangerous fleet in history to someone whose priority is self-promotion and sounding good to special interests while his destroyers are running into oil tankers and cargo ships.

    • I’m fine with Price not managing in 2018 but who might the manager be then, and more importantly, will that manager put out a batting order resembling what you posted? I’d like to say yes but I am not the least bit confident that would happen. And who might the manager in 2018 be? I’ve asked multiple times and no one has speculated who is, or might be, available that would be more forward thinking than the current occupant. I don’t have a clue.

    • The thing with that lineup is it gives Winker extended playing time and prominent role. It lets other guys like Suarez get accustomed to hitting to a new, and different, spot in the lineup in preparation for next year. That is all in addition to making the team a lot more dangerous in terms of run scoring.

      Even playing fewer games Billy has more PA than Duvall or Suarez. The effect of batting 1st is very real. One thing of note. In reviewing his stats, no HBP all season. That’s pretty crazy since everyone else with over 100 games started for this team has at least 7. Don’t know what to make of it besides noting it as an outlier.

      • Pitchers fear walking Billy more then him hitting the ball so they say here it is hit.He struck out twice last night and grounded out twice.

        • Yes, he did. In the 13-9 loss, he was on base 3 times, created a run with a stolen base and a score on a passed ball that few could have taken advantage off. Also saved, in all probability, two runs with fine diving catches. It’s certainly reasonable to wish he hit better and wish that he batted 8th. It’s also reasonable to give credit where it’s due. The Reds have good offense, better than good defense and bad pitching. That’s the story of 2017. My minority opinion is that fixing the pitching and weakening the defense would not be a good answer to the problem’s they face, not least because good pitching is in part a function of good defense.

          • I am convinced now that he sets up too far away from the plate. I notice it more on the right side. His strike zone seems artificially large when watching Coz immediately after.

            Bob C should hire Ichiro as a consultant to help with Billy.

          • I am convinced now that he sets up too far away from the plate. I notice it more on the right side. His strike zone seems artificially large when watching Coz immediately after.

            Bob C should hire Ichiro as a consultant to help with Billy.

    • Price does not value getting on base period and he won’t next year either.

  5. Kudos for Big Sally, that’s now two out five spots filled-up for 2018

    • I am very encouraged, but we thought that about Garrett earlier in the year also. I need more consistency from him before I’m ready to say he’s earned a spot for next year.

      • It is very encouraging. But I, like you, want to see the consistency from all 3 of Castillo, Romano, and Stephenson through September. It’s a big step toward 2018 if all 3 of those do well for the next 5 weeks.
        That is very puzzling as to what has happened to Amir Garrett at AAA this year. Getting beat around like he did last night has become common for him this year. That has been a big discouraging thing, the de-development (going backwards) of Garrett and Reed. Without Garrett and Reed, the Reds will need for Finnegan to rebound from injury this winter, as they have no LH starters now.

        • Maybe they should be sent down to AA, it doesn’t make sense to keep them struggling at AAA

        • I do not think Reed is in the same area as Garrett, he does have a ERA under 4.00 and struck a batter per IP- walks seem to be his bugaboo- sending him to AA seems drastic

      • Well said Tom and you are right.Just hope we see him get 6 or 7 more starts then we will know a little more then we know now.

  6. Didn’t I see an article on this site that based on data, the actual order of the line doesn’t really make much of a difference in runs scored. It seems like harping on the batting order is a popular (and understandable) pastime but does it really make much of a difference or are we just upset that the lineups don’t appear to be logical?

    • You did see an article here about that. It does get very old hearing the same complaints about batting order night after night.

      Fact is Billy is batting .321/.371/.463 leading off the game. He leads the majors in runs scored in the 1st inning.

      He is pretty bad when batting right, and should hit 9th when facing a lefty or be platooned out.

    • It’s low-hanging fruit.

      Putting out an optimal or close to optimal lineup will only make a small difference in the long run. But,go look how many teams have missed the playoffs by a game or a game and a half over the last 10 years.

      Yes, it’s matters very little, but it requires no effort or thought to do it correctly, so the manager should do it correctly. That is why people get frustrated when the worst hitter gets the most trips to the plate.

      I’ve done a lot of math and analysis about this very topic on this website, so feel free to do some searching for some past things I’ve published. You’ll see the difference is indeed small….but why not try and get every run you can over the year?

      • I agree you should take advantage of every option available but the degree of angst is way out of proportion to the impact. But I do understand the frustration because it seems to be so obvious and requires so little effort.

      • Putting your team in the best position to win is the manager’s job and it starts before the first pitch with the line up.It may mean very little but its just a given to me.Its not hard just look at the data and go from there.Well said Patrick

      • Those small differences are smoothed over because of the number of games involved. On a per game bases perhaps an extra 0.3 runs don’t seem like a lot, but that’s 50 more runs over a season can mean an extra 10-20 games won which as you alluded to is HUGE in terms of season end standings…. I suspect the results oriented win-loss difference is far larger than it seems from just a runs per game basis….

  7. Great win for the good guys.Well played on both sides.BIG BIG hit by Peraza.One out away from seeing Wade Davis in the ninth but instead we see Iggy to close it out.Big Sal was good especially when Price extended him in the 7th.I liked the idea but thought he might not get through it without them scoring but he did.You can tell a lot about a pitcher when he is down late in a game and still is making the pitches to get people out.

    • Also encouraged by Sal. I like when players respond when being put to the test late in a game like you noted

  8. Big Sal staking his claim to a spot in 2018 rotation. Would love to see Stephenson keep taking his small steps. Right now we have 3/5’s of our rotation settled. Romano, Bailey and Castillo.

    • And we may be able to add Lorenzen into that line-up. He’s proven that he can compete.

      So then it’s one spot for Stephenson, Disco, Reed, Garrett, Finnegan, Mahle, Feldman, or hopefully a solid FA pickup. Those that don’t fill that fifth spot are still valuable because the bullpen and injuries will require their services sooner or later. The rest of the year is critical – keep improving, keep learning (a la Jose Peraza!) and watch Joey win an MVP!

      We’re starting to see some depth develop with the position players, OF in particular.

      Color me too optimistic, but I’m starting to look ahead to competing in 2018.

      • Spot on BrunsFam. As disappointing as the 2017 season has been, the 2018 season could be the beginning of the next competitive Reds team and DW needs to be ready. The lineup is nearly set, with a couple of issues to still resolve. The bullpen appears ready, despite recent issues with some of the stalwarts from earlier this season. The starting pitching is the only real issue or concern and it’s beginning to show signs of life. The most significant questions, Disco and Finnegan, will not be resolved during this season, so we can only hope for the best. Bailey, Castillo & Romano will continue to their efforts to improve performance and consistency. It should be a busy off season for the list of candidates who still have something to prove. If the pitchers can just avoid those stupid injuries that have decimated the staff for the past 2 seasons.

  9. As bad as this year has been I will give Price a pass if a couple of the youngsters step up and close the season strong in the rotation. Right now we have two Castillo and Romano. Stephenson is showing signs. If Bailey avoids the injury bug and finishes the season healthy I will be happy. We found a closer in Iggy. The offense has been a plus.

    We should continue to sort through the starting rotation and bull pen for next year. Next year we replace Cozart with Peraza and wait for Senzel to get here. In the meantime Winker is getting a taste of the biggs. We get another high pick in next years draft.

    • The Reds are sixth in MLB in OPS, seventh in slugging, 10th in OBP, seventh in walks, seventh in homers, 11th in runs and fourth in fielding percentage. As has been clear all season, the team would be in a position to compete with decent pitching. There is no question that job number one for Dick Williams is to find starting pitching that can get major league hitters out consistently.

      • The Reds are tied for 14th in road OPS. They have an average offense. I’m glad it isn’t the glaring weakness that the starting pitching is, but to ignore the effect of GABP and be complacent about about the state of the offense would be unwise.

        • So how about you guys use park adjusted figures like wRC+? No point wondering. The info is out there. 😉

        • Reds are 13th in MLB and 5th in NL in wRC+.

          And despite having the best base runner in the MLB, the Reds are below-average in base running.

          Overall, the Reds easily have an above-average offense.

        • The offense really only needs a couple of tweaks and decisions made. A healthy Mesoraco next year helps solidify the C spot. Just add whatever he can to the great job Barnhart is doing, could be big.
          The first domino to fall for the offense, though, will be what they decide to do with Cozart. Let him go or an extension? That has to be decided first. Cozart or Peraza at SS? That then leads into the 2B question, Gennett, Peraza, Herrera, Senzel, Suarez, or Blandino?
          Then 2 little questions to answer about CF. Is BillyHam the CF for the next few years? Where will he bat?
          Who wins the RF job? That decision will have to be made.
          For a good defensive team I hate having the big questions being right up the middle of the defense though. SS-2B-CF.
          And then the 5 outfielders for 3 spots issue will have to be decided.
          One thing that caught my ear last night during the telecast was when they mentioned that Duvall has only hit .200 over the last 2 weeks or so. He did this last year too, faded late in August and September. This is where a 4-man OF rotation will come in handy. To give Duvall and BillyHam some rest during the season so both will be still be going strong late in the season. BillyHam has spent the last 2 Septembers on the DL. That is, if both are on the team next year.

          • Let’s not disprage my white-haired sex goddess!!! Uh, that’s not targeted for Mesoraco…

  10. I would love to see Winker, Suarez, Votto 1-2-3 next year, especially if Cozart doesn’t come back. I can dream right? This was a good game and especially so on defense. The Cubs made several really good plays that I don’t normally associate with that team. They seem to be waking up at just the right time and can still make a run at a repeat, though I’m not sure they have the starting pitching depth needed. As for the Reds I’m not ready to anoint Peraza as the anything of the future but it was nice to see him aggressive and driving the ball. And a tip of the cap to Joey Votto on 10 years of service time. It’s fine with me if he wants to play ten more.

  11. I went back and watched Lorenzen’s inning. He struck out the side! He just pulled a change-up out of thin air at about 86 mph and it was dropping like a rock. He made Rizzo look bad and Rizzo usually destroys ML and every other Reds hurler.

    The point I’m trying to make is the guy has a ton of talent. You can’t teach a live arm w/alot of movement on the ball. He changes his mechanics and pitch selection almost from appearance to appearance so there are going to be growing pains. It seemed like he was hanging a lot of sliders in his recent slump, so maybe he will have better luck with the changeup? I’m still high on him!!

    • Lorenzen did look better. Probably because it was past my bedtime and concentration wandered, but I didn’t see him throw any fastballs. Could that be right?

      • Not many….maybe 3 or 4 at 96 mph. Changeups at 86 & 88 and a few cut fastballs at 93. We really need him to start, but if he can master the changeup then he could atleast be a better high-leverage reliever like Familia (Mets) or Fernando Rodney.

        • I’m still hoping he gets the chance to start next spring and let the chips fall where they may. Last night just reinforced it for me. Nice to see him have that command again. It’s been missing for awhile.

      • He threw 4 hard sinkers (his main fastball) and one cutter. Everything else was off speed or a breaking ball. 7 Changeups (he’s only thrown 23 all season) and 5 sliders.

        • He was nasty and showed his complete arsenal.Looked like starter stuff to me but in reality that hard sinker will serve him well if he can throw strikes with it.His issues lately were hanging sliders and they always go a long ways.He got Bryant on 3 pitches and as Indy said that pitch that was dropping like a rock was really unhittable.

  12. Although Duvall got things started with a 2-out single & Peraza did the heavy lifting, another huge double by Gennett. Without Scooter the Reds could be challenging for the #1 pick in next year’s draft. How Williams handles Gennett this off-season could be key to the Reds possible success in 2018 (or 2019).

    • Scooter is set up for arbitration the next 2 seasons….not a free agent until 2020. He made 2.5 mil this year. I don’t know how that works or how much he’ll get?

  13. Not that it will happen under Price, but Votto should bat 1, 2 or 4. This is in response to all the lineup talk that includes Votto 3rd. That’s the worst spot for him in the top 4, due to the fact that a 1st inning where he bats with 0 on and 2 outs lessens the relative run expectancy increase of whatever he does.

    And since the plate appearance construct in the 1st inning happens every game, and there’s no guarantee on any other construct due to the irregularity of guys getting on base, you should plan for the known to maximize output!

    /end rant

    • Patrick, with what you are saying, and with what VAREDFAN mentioned above,
      “Fact is Billy is batting .321/.371/.463 leading off the game. He leads the majors in runs scored in the 1st inning.”
      you sound like this advocates for BillyHam to stay in the leadoff spot. Batting him 9th, or 8th, or anywhere else, then would negate this advantage. Is this correct? Do you support BillyHam leading off the game for the Reds lineup?
      Maybe Price had it right all along then.

      • I don’t know where to find Billy’s stats for leading off the 1st inning for his career, but he’s at .274 (.323 obp) leading off overall. A .323 obp overall and nobody would be talking about replacing him. Problem is, he drops to .226 (.282 obp) with 1-2 out and nobody on. That might make batting 9th a problem?

        Billy obviously brings pros/cons, but I think its pretty obvious that he shouldn’t be getting 635 atbats or whatever he’s on pace for this year? He’s hit .207 for his career in September. He’s too frail and too active and needs a lot more rest then what he’s given? Prepare for the future…or atleast open up your possibilities! Give Suarez some time at SS and Schebler & Ervin some time in CF. Won’t happen though.

  14. I came across this about Brian Price talking about Feldman and the rotation for next year. It was on mlbtr, but I think it originated with Zach Buchanan.
    “with manager Bryan Price crediting Feldman as “a tremendous competitor”, though the skipper also hinted that the organization will be aiming to minimize the health risk in building out its rotation over the winter.”
    Feldman made $4.0M with incentives this year, the article stated. Affordable for 2018, but not really what The Plan calls for.
    However, that mention of minimizing the health risk for the rotation in 2018 seems to lend credence to a rumor I have heard recently. That the Reds may try to move Bailey to the bullpen in 2018 to be a co-closer with Iglesias and multi-inning reliever. The same role Lorenzen had earlier in the year, but has faltered in for a couple of months now. They would basically switch Lorenzen’s and Bailey’s roles, but would enhance the role of Bailey as a reliever. Bailey is a take charge kind of guy, and the bullpen could really use that for 2018. But so could the rotation.
    If Lorenzen is going to be moved to the rotation, one of Bailey, DeSclafani, or Finnegan will have to go to the pen. And Bailey might be that guy, not Finnegan.

    • I came up with this concept before Bailey ever came back. Of course, my thinking was that Garrett and a few of these other guys would be flourishing, so they could eventually move Bailey into a Cody Allen type role. Iggy would do the heavy lifting as the fireman in high leverage situations (Andrew Miller) and Bailey might just handle the 9th. I think I looked up Bailey’s stats and he’s been fairly good with his 1st-15 pitches of an appearance. I could be wrong?

      • Bailey has allowed a .298 average for his career in his 1st-15th pitches for whats that’s worth.

  15. However the Reds starting pitching corps shapes up for 2018, they need at least one lefthander in it and that means Finnegan, Garrett or Reed if a trade or FA doesn’t appear in the offseason.

  16. Suarez is having a great year overall and has been fun to watch. Upon review of his home/road splits, we can see that GABP has certainly been a factor in his offensive numbers. Home: 242 PA, 163 wRC+, 20 HR, .369 ISO, .397 OBP. Away: 271 PA, 97 wRC+, 4 HR, .102 ISO, .369 OBP. The most encouraging thing I see is the walk rate is 14% both at home and on the road and is up quite substantially over past years (8% in 2016 and 4% in 2015). With his solid defense, increased plate discipline, and power increase (at GABP), there’s a lot to like with him and he’s only 26.

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