Titanic Struggle Recap

Reds bats quiet again, drop Mahle’s debut

Reds fans were part of a fascinating and exciting weekend of baseball in Cincinnati as rookies Robert Stephenson, Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle squared off against Pittsburgh. Overall, the Reds young arms held their own against the Pirates’ somewhat-featherweight offense.

But for the second day in a row, the Reds offense struggled. They did walk seven times (five by Joey Votto) but only managed six hits, one for extra bases.

The Pirates won the series, but the Reds still lead over the season 9-4 and have outscored Pittsburgh 65-44.

The Reds have tomorrow off, then host the New York Mets for three games. After that, the Reds travel to Pittsburgh for another series against the Pirates.

Cincinnati Reds 2  Pittsburgh Pirates 5 || Box || Play Log || Statcast

Tyler Mahle made his much-awaited debut. One of the Reds top prospects, the 22 year old was drafted in 2013 in the 7th round. Since then, Mahle has rocketed through the organization, splitting 2017 in AA and AAA. He threw a no-hitter for Daytona in 2016 and a perfect game for Pensacola this year.

The young right-hander got off to a good start, spotting a 94-95 mph fastball and retiring the Pirates in the 1st on 10 pitches. A bit of wildness surfaced in the 2nd inning when Mahle walked two, hit a batter and gave up a double for two runs.

Overall, Mahle threw 92 pitches over 5 innings. He struck out five and walked four. All three runs against him were knocked in on ground balls.

The Reds bullpen handled the final four. Some innings were easy, others not so much. Kevin Shackleford and Drew Storen pitched clean innings. Michael Lorenzen allowed runners to reach second and third (walk, double) before retiring the side with help of a double play. Raisel Iglesias came in to pitch the 9th. The first three Pirates got hits, adding two big runs.

Joey Votto saw 22 pitches in walking his first two times at the plate. Votto walked three more times, for a total of 40 pitches seen.

The Reds missed a big opportunity in the 2nd inning when they loaded the bases with no outs. But Adam Duvall, Scooter Gennett and Jose Peraza couldn’t get a run in.

Chad Wallach, 25-year-old catcher, made his first major league start. Wallach came to the Reds from the Marlins in 2013 in the Mat Latos-for-Anthony DeSclafani heist. Wallach is the 14th player – 9 pitchers – to debut with the Reds this year. He has been catching for Louisville and was called up with Devin Mesoraco on the DL and Stuart Turner on paternity leave. Wallach was 0-for-4 at the plate.

62 thoughts on “Reds bats quiet again, drop Mahle’s debut

  1. Wow! Duvall left ten men on base.
    Were the Pirate pitchers that good against him, or as someone said in the game thread, give that man a day off?

    • Duvall is WAY past due for some time off. The same thing happened last season, just sooner in the season. With the typical Sunday lineup by Dusty, uh Price, and no one backing up Votto in the lineup, Votto walks 5 times, going 0-0. Hurdle knows where his bread is buttered and where his toast can be burned. Every single PA by Votto was a pure pitch around. Every pitch was on the black or off the plate. Most of the strikes were on close pitches out of the strike zone that Votto fouled off to protect the plate with 2 strikes.

      • If I’m not mistaken, doesn’t Duvall have diabetes or something like that? I seem to recall he mentioned he can “run out of gas” because of it. He probably is too much of a competitor to ask for days off, but it would be nice if Price could help him out. It’s not like the Reds are playing to win, they have options on the bench who could take Duvall’s spot.

        I don’t want to keep on the “Price is literally SATAN!” hit parade, but this seems like something a different manager might account for. But who knows what’s really going on behind the scenes.

    • Price has a history of doing this. Billy, Cozart, and Duvall this year, Duval, Cozart and BP last year. Nobody knows the personnel better than Price…at least I think that’s it’s supposed to work

  2. Is Price managing as if he does not know his fate, and is trying to win every game in hopes of coming back next year?

    Two examples:

    -For the second straight season, Duvall’s second half is not shaping up to be as good as his first half. Ervin is on the bench. Why not play Ervin more? Even if you believe the Reds should try for a higher pick, playing Ervin would seem to further that goal.

    -Lorenzen came back today, after pitching last night. Adleman was an option, seeing how he warmed up in the 9th.

    That’s now 7 appearances, all of an inning or more, in 13 days.

    For a guy that had arm problems last year, and a scare this year…and is projected as a starter next year….why do this?

    • Iggy pitched the 9th inning. That was 4 appearances in the last 5 days for Iggy too. I was glad to see Shackelford pitch the 6th. Chacin had been warming up, but never made it into the game. He’s a young reliever the Reds need to see in game action, rather than Storen, Lorenzen and Iggy.

  3. Mahle performed as a talented, 22 yo rookie would be expected to perform in his MLB debut. If anyone listened to his post game interview, this is a mature, confident young pitcher with his head screwed on straight. His future looks bright. He knows what he can do and what he needs to work on to improve.

    I believe the adrenaline, excitement and pressure caught up with the young man in the 4th & 5th innings. I don’t know if the up and in pitch to Cutch was intentional or just got away from Mahle, but that pitch got in Cutch’s head and that’s saying something for a young pitcher making his MLB debut.

    Until the young pitchers reach thier innings limitations for 2017, we should see Bailey, Stephenson, Romano, Castillo and Mahle starting every 5th game going forward. That’s an excellent lead in to the 2018 season.

    • Agreed, but Castillo should hit an innings limit after 1 more start, two at most. Would love to see Zen Master get those starts the rest of the way. Reed still needs to get is control and mental issues worked out, but he’d be my second choice.

      Sentimentally, I would not object to Arroyo getting a one inning retirement send off start, out of respect to all he’s meant to the organization over the years.

      • Beyond any other option to replace young starting pitchers reaching their innings limit, I want to see Adelman and Wojo reamin in the bullpen for the remainder of the season. I especially want to see Wojo pitch from the bullpen in 1-3 inning stints. He may have a role in the 2018 bullpen. I think Adelman’s role will be in AAA as starting insurance in 2018. If Finnegan or Disco are fully healthy and stretched out, I would not object to some September starts for either or both of those two pitchers, but only if they are fully healthy and ready to pitch. I don’t even mind if they are just spring training ready and get knocked around like Bailey’s early performances.

        • Finnegan is out for the year following July labrum surgery on his non-throwing shoulder.

  4. As usual Cossack you are right on the mark.He was rushing in both innings although he gets the ball and throws it with not much messing around.Let the young guys pitch is my motto.As for Duvall he has a history and diabetes so get smart and give him a couple of days off along with Billy.Gee its so obvious they need it.

  5. Hamilton 1-5 with weak fly ball outs, weak dribblers in front of the plate outs or strike outs. There’s no question, Hamilton is the fastest hitter in the league heading back to the dugout after his weak outs. Hamilton is now slashing .244/.296/.323. Someone needs to inform Price that Hamilton isn’t even getting on base at a 30% clip.

    • Kudos to Bryan Price for explaining himself yesterday with his flawed thinking. There it is.
      It’s no.limger about Bryan Price. It’s what Dick Williams values in lineup construction for a manager. Not only that.. Price clearly doesn’t like young players. Jesse Winker and Robert Stephenson can rot on the bench.

      • The Old Cossack is right there with you Old School. Unless DW agrees with the actions and philosophies of Price as a manager, there is no excuse for Price still managing the Reds. An interum manager is long past due, unless DW supports Price as a manager. The other possibility may be that DW is handcuffed by BC and can not make the neccessary move to replace Price with an interum manager to play out this season.

        If DW refuses to replace Price even though he completely disagrees with the way Price manages the team, or…

        If DW feels no need to replace Price because he supports the way Price manages the team, or…

        If DW is unable to make the moves he wants to make because BC excercises executive control to prevent such a move…

        The Reds are in big trouble going forward. The fact that Price is still managing the Reds does not look positive for the Reds future.

        • You are pinning a scary picture. Unfortunately you are right. That is what is so scary.

        • The worse is yet to come.DW is on record as saying they weren’t losing games in the dugout or something close to that.The point is he wasn’t holding Price accountable.I feel strongly that he will be back primarily because he should have already been gone.The story on Billy is proof of that in my opinion because nobody would say something like that unless the GM or owner had his back.Nobody would be that smug or arrogant to know Billy’s obp,tell you what it is then completely ignore it.Kind of reminds you of how he backed Bronson while he continued to get hammered.

        • As a not too distant contending team is slowly coming together for the Reds, it would be a shame if Bryan Price is the manager come opening day 2018.

        • Obviously….he went a week without starting….or making an out. He is a AAA all star fir a 90 loss team…3 years running…and has 100 at bats.
          Go back to spring training ….Jesse Winker hasn’t played much on the 4th worst team in baseball.

  6. Is Phillips playing 3B for the Braves this season? He qualifies at that position in the MLB 9 Innings phone game (which is a really good game, give it a try, free in the Google Play Store! You can friend me in the game my team name is Farney.)

  7. Good thing we score plenty of runs with Billy at the top of the lineup. Otherwise the past two games would be difficult to watch.

      • Exactly WV. Reds have lots of streaky hitters. Their ‘average’ runs scored is decent, but a lot of runs score after they’ve been blown out.

        Their scoring is lumpy, and testament to Castillo’s 2-7 record, the Reds don’t score WHEN IT COUNTS. They need more Winkers who produce game in, game out, higher OBP guys….and fewer streaky hitters (nearly the whole team).

        • “They need more Winkers who produce game in, game out, higher OBP guys…”

          The Reds have those players at the major league level now and Senzel will add another some time next season.

          0.447 Votto
          0.402 Winker – 0.395 @ AAA
          0.399 Cozart
          0.381 Suarez
          0.583 Ervin – 0.328 @ AAA
          0.341 Barnhart
          0.339 Gennett

          That’s 7 of the 8 positions with at least an average OBP. Price just doesn’t use them or use them effectively. The two players with below average OBP, who deserve regular playing time, have superior ISO.

          0.314 Schebler – 0.257 ISO
          0.306 Duvall – 0.258 ISO

          Those are the only two ‘streaky’ players in the lineup using the OBP criteria. They should be hitting in the 5-7 holes after the top 4-5 hitters so they can utilize their power to clean up anyone left on base rather than interferring with keeping the line moving with the top 4-5 hitters. This isn’t the Reds. This is Price.

          • Tell it like it is Cossack.Data driven easy to see just plug it in and play ball.However it could be just to much to grasp for the Reds.

  8. There was the same debate years ago, with Stubbs, as there was with Hamilton. Dusty said Stubbs was very valuable in CF and “saved runs” for the Reds, even though he couldn’t hit worth anything, and seemingly striked out most of the time. Stubbs ended up playing for multiple teams, without sticking anywhere with any team. Billy Ham doesn’t strike out as much, but does hit weak grounders and pop flys, and should not be batting leadoff, of course…everybody in the world gets that, except Price, and it looks like the GM…Dick W as well.

    • In 2010, his first full year with the Reds, Stubbs hit down in the lineup and hit 22 home runs. I remember how excited I was about his future. Then the following year he was moved to the lead off spot because of his great speed and floundered for the rest of his career.

  9. Nice start from Mahle given debut jitters. I did say in the game thread that Duvall is going to need some rest and his recent performance suggests that is overdue. How about two or three in a row off with the off day? Winker (if healthy) and Ervin both need to play. Hamilton could stand a break too. Just as the starting pitching picture is looking a tiny bit brighter the starting eight is looking a little ragged. Sigh… Go Reds!

    • I agree 100% but neither of us get a vote.It was obvious yesterday that Joey wasn’t going to get anything to hit and Adam’s bat is slow right now.Hurdle and the rest of the world could see it but again we don’t count.I thought in the ninth it would have been a good time to pinch hit for Billy and of course he swings at the first pitch and dribbles it about 20 feet back to the pitcher who rushes in to pick it up.Sad to watch such a display every game.Great to see Mahle compete today and his future looks bright.Hope we see him every 5th day the rest of the year.

      • “The future’s so bright I gotta wear shades.” I was favorably impressed with Mahle’s overall composure and his postgame comments where it was clear he knew what went wrong. In his case I’m also confident that he will fix it.

  10. Very impressed with Mahle. You’d be forgiven if you didn’t know it was his first MLB start. Kid is 22 and looked like he belongs, and he’s only going to get better.

    Castillo/Romano/Mahle/Stephenson is looking like the foundation of the next good, young Reds rotation. Just need one more…..With Finnegan/Disco/Homer/Garrett/Rookie still in the mix, I have a lot of hope for the future.

    That hope would increase considerably if Dick Williams could bring in a solid analytical manager to lead the club to that future.

    • Who is that person(s) that would be a solid analytical manager? I’m guessing most managers don’t think that much differently than Price and no, I’m not advocating that the Reds keep him. No one has even speculated who might be out there that would be appreciably different in style (line-up, other in-game decisions) than Price or most “baseball” people.

      • That’s just it, isn’t it? Around MLB, with a few exceptions, the current crop of managers are mostly “old school”. The Reds hired Price as he was supposed to be part of the “new wave” of forward thinking, progressive managers, but it’s proven not to be the case.

        All that said, personally I like Kevin Cash of Tampa Bay. He’s a disciple of Maddon and manages in a similar style. From the young up-and-coming crop, Todd Greene and Joe McEwing come to mind. Of course, the problem is none of these guys have any ties to the Reds, so they’d be completely out of the box hirings. But if Dick Williams is serious, he should fire Price and have a long hunt for the next manager where he specifically quizzes them on how they would manage and why. The old “I played the game, I know a good player when I see one.” won’t cut it anymore.

        • “But if Dick Williams is serious, he should fire Price and have a long hunt for the next manager”

          Thoughts of Elmer Fudd hunting that elusive Wascally Wabbit quickly come to mind.

          • Shhh! Be vewy vewy quiet. I’m hunting a YoungAnalyticallyMindedManagerWhoMightConsiderJoiningTheReds.

            Huh huh huh!

      • Jazzman just look to the organizations that use more analytics. Cubs, Red Sox (leftovers from the current Cubbie GM), Astros, A’s….most organizations have made the switch in more aggressive fashion than the late adopter Reds.

        • Finally thank you for a couple of names. Cash is employed as a manager but McEwing might be interesting based on his bio anyway. Never heard of Todd Greene so I will need to look him up. I’m just hoping, if Price is let go, that they do a more thorough vetting of multiple potential candidates. And if they hire Riggleman or DeShields I may have to remove all sharp objects from my home.

  11. Given that Price doesn’t spend a single minute thinking about who should be leading off and getting the most at-bats, one might assume he’s using the extra time to think about who should be hitting behind Votto in the upcoming game. But one would obviously be wrong about that. What DOES this man spend his time doing when he isn’t sitting in the dugout giving the bunt sign?

    • Trying to find somebody who can get a timely hit with the bases loaded and no outs or 1 out.
      Trying to find somebody who can throw strikes out of the bullpen without walking the first batter they face. Or giving up 3 or more BB’s and Hits per inning.
      Trying to find a starting pitcher that can go more than 5 innings.
      Price can only go so far with what the front office gives him. With what the Reds front office gives Price, it is like running a NASCAR race with a Yugo.

      • Price has made zero attempts to see how another guy would perform hitting cleanup for even a few games, just as he’s made zero attempts to see how another player would do in the leadoff spot. He pays no attention to who’s hot and who’s cold, who’s nursing an injury, who the opposing starter is, or seemingly anything else. His thought process is “Hamilton, Cozart, Votto, and Duvall are playing today, so those are my first four hitters.” He has lots of talented hitters to choose from, but he’s made it clear that doesn’t spend time thinking about such things.

      • Well if he gave the 150 lb stringbean and the diabetic a day off once in a while then maybe they might be more effective? Everyone is physically and mentally worn down at this point but its really an issue w/Billy and Duvall. Duvall has hit some HRs in the 2nd half but his average has fell way off.

        I agree with you on Price overall….nobody is going .500 with the Reds pitching issues, but SD is 2.5 games ahead of the Reds and they have absolutely nothing….besides a bunch of games w/LA, Arizona, and Colorado. Price needs to go!

        • Excellent point. Talent wise Reds are far far more talented than the Padres. Despite facing a much tougher schedule, the Padres have outperformed the Reds.

          Someone managed to turn Reed and Stephenson who started okay in the bullpen into messups either via neglect or putting them in difficult situations to succeed. The same could be said with respect to Cingrani. Someone left Winker and Ervin early on to rot on the bench…. Someone couldn’t spot when Cozart, Feldman, Schebler were playing hurt which exacerbated their problems, and doesn’t recognize Duvall and BH need more rest than most players.

    • Every single game, no matter what? Even if someone else has been a much better hitter for the last few weeks and strikes out far less often? That makes no difference?

    • “Three out of four seem appropriate as top four”

      Hamilton with a .296 OBP and Duvall with a .306 OBP seem appropriate? If Cozart isn’t playing, then Peraza with a .300 OBP seems appropriate?

      When Dusty was managing, he really didn’t have any good options for the top 4 in the lineup except Votto, but he still utilized some of the worst options he had available. Now Price actually has some very good options and still doesn’t utilize them.

      • To be fair, Dusty batted Choo leadoff from the day he arrived. Price would probably bat him 5th or something.

        • Yes Choo was the outlier while Dusty managed the Reds. What a season with Choo and Votto at the top of the order! That was the season the Old Cossack plunked down his cold, hard cash for season tickets after the Choo trade was announced. Of all the criticism level at WJ, that move was simply brilliant, but he gave up a chunk for just one season of Choo to get it done.

          • It turned out to be a great trade for the Reds, but it almost didn’t happen. Before the Choo deal was made, Jocketty almost traded for three years of Ben Revere. It would have happened if Minnesota hadn’t backed out of it. So it’s not like Jocketty and the Reds were looking for a leadoff hitter like Choo. Their first choice was – go figure – a light hit, no power, no plate discipline fast guy. Although Revere was a lousy OF, too.

          • And yet, with all of that talent at the top of the order, the Reds still didn’t win a post-season series.

        • And Dusty shoehorned Choo into CF in order to make it happen. That was simply a classic example of using the best players available in the best roles to benefit the team.

          • Yes. I remember thinking that Jay Bruce might have been a better CF than Choo. But for some reason, the organization committed to having Choo play CF even before spring training and then stubbornly refused to try anything else.

          • I had the same thoughts regarding Bruce in CF and Bruce was on board and on record that he was willing and able to make tjhe switch for the good of the team.

          • Now I was trying to ba nice and supportive for a very fond memory while Dusty was managing, but yes, whoever played CF had to leadoff.

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