Titanic Struggle Recap

Glorious, improbable things are not impossible

Today is the 10th anniversary of Joey Votto’s major league debut. For six innings I was convinced — and there was nothing you could have said to change my mind — that the two teams had agreed that as a tribute to Votto, the only permissible RBIs in today’s game would be on bases-loaded walks.

Cincinnati Reds 5  Milwaukee Brewers 4 || Box || Play Log || Statcast

Homer Bailey, making his first September start since 2013, was dominant for the first 6 innings. Between the 2nd and 6th innings, he retired 14 consecutive batters, breaking a lot of Brewers bats. Added with his previous game, Bailey threw 11 shutout innings in a row. Bailey struck out four and didn’t walk anyone. He only reached a 3-ball count on a handful of hitters. Bailey’s fastball was 94-95 mph much of the day, hitting 96 mph once.

Bailey ran out of gas in the 7th inning, giving up a leadoff home run to Ryan Braun then two more singles before being lifted.

Homer Bailey has started 14 games this season. He’s had some really bad ones. But in 7 of those starts he’s given up 2 or fewer earned runs. He gave up three today, although two scored on home run after he’d been removed.

Bailey even contributed on offense, with a single on the 10th pitch of his at bat in the 3rd inning. He came around to score on a bases-loaded walk by JoeyMVP, scoring the first run of the game.

Bryan Price brought Michael Lorenzen to relieve Bailey with two runners on and no outs in the 7th inning. Lorenzen retired the first two batters before giving up a game-tying 3-run homer.

Kevin Shackleford worked around two singles, including starting a nifty 1-6-3 double play, in pitching the 8th. Raisel Iglesias retired the side in order in the 9th. His last pitch was a 100-mph fastball to strike out Stephen Vogt.

Billy Hamilton drove a 95-mph fastball into the left field bleachers for a wonderful, if extremely unlikely, walk-off home run in the 9th inning. Tucker Barnhart blasted a bases-loaded double in the 6th to drive in a pair of runs, making the score 4-0.

The Reds turned in a couple nice defensive plays. Hamilton and Barnhart teamed up for the third out of the 1st inning, with Hamilton gunning down Neil Walker at the plate. Barnhart made a deep tag on the hop. In the 2nd inning, Scooter Gennett made a nice play on a broken-bat flare into right field, fielding the ball over his shoulder.

Home runs. Home runs. Power. Home runs. I’m looking forward to a day when Reds employees who are in charge of things quit talking about building offense around creating panic/chaos with speed. Don’t they watch any games?

47 thoughts on “Glorious, improbable things are not impossible

  1. So, at Billy Hamilton have been batting 9th The game would’ve been over one batter sooner, right? Someone should tell the manager!

  2. Had given up all hope until Billy SMACKED that pitch over the wall. Unlikely and improbable indeed … and yet it happened.

      • ML ball is a pretty amazing and strange game!
        The margin for error is so small. Milwaukee’s pitcher, Josh Hader, who is having a solid year, couldn’t believe it. He just stared at the bleachers for a few moments. Billy, batting RH, squares up a 95 mph fastball and deposits it in the LCF seats – not a cheap home run!
        Last week we lost a 1-0 game where the only run scored was homer by the Pitt pitcher.

  3. In a year of disappointment and frustration….nice to celebrate a walk off Reds win…

    • Seems like Bailey has a shot of bouncing back from all of his injuries. He has put together a string of good starts mixed in with a couple of horrible outings. Hopefully its just rust and he will be good to go for next year. It looks like his strike outs have been pretty low. Is that a result of coming back from all his injuries and just doesn’t have then same stuff. Is he “pitching” instead of trying to strike everyone out. For those who have watched him pitch, what are your thoughts?

      • Several comments on TV today about him not just trying to overpower hitters. I think command has been one of his problems and that can/will be corrected by continuing to throw regularly. I’m an optimist so I think he will be a useful piece in the starting rotation next year, not lights out but better than what we saw the first half of this season out of the starting rotation.

  4. Great win! Great hit by Billy!

    Not so great managing by B. Price. Reds have a huge chance to get a big inning in 6th, but Price leaves Bailey in to hit. He weakly grounds out, then runs out of gas in 7th, leading to the game being tied up.

    I know Homer had been pitching well, but if you have a chance to step on the other team’s throat, do it. Especially since 6 innings seems to be Bailey’s limit. It’s confusing, since Price has been playing to win all year,

    I totally get the argument that you should leave Homer in to see what he can do in 7th, but I don’t agree with it.

    • In postgame comments Price said he never was going to take Homer out regardless of what Tucker did and sending Kivlehan up was just a decoy (not his exact words).

    • Yes this is true. Of course Kivelan comes in later a strikes out. As he was batting I was wondering when was the last time he got a hit. Can’t remember.

    • I commented on the game thread basically the same thing.I understood why he left him in I just didn’t feel it was necessary and thought an extra run would be better.Homer is a vet,he was pulled 2 starts ago after 3 innings as a precaution and even if he gets them out without any damage so what.I don’t think Homer needs to prove he can go 7 innings in a meaningless game in Sept.Like I said I understand but just didn’t see the benefit and to be honest in that situation the worse thing that could happen did happen.Homer still was lights out for 6 innings and that’s all that matters

    • The way Homer was pitching prior to the 7th I definitely wanted him to come back out and would have been mad if Price HAD pinch hit for him

      So there really was no wrong answer in that situation (without the power of hindsight); just difference in opinion

  5. Really great to watch bailey pitching so well ver the past couple of weeks
    Bailey
    Stephenson Castillo Mahle Romano and Garrett last night. Mid August seems a long time ago

  6. It really seems that Billy Hamilton is more comfortable batting right handed? Maybe he and the Reds should consider ditching switch hitting for next year. I memory serves that help Marino Duncan?

    • Somebody needs to post his splits. I was thinking the exact opposite but still think he should ditch the switch.

      • I’d buy a 262/323 batting line with his speed/defense any day. He should platoon with a right hander, but both Schebler and Winker are lefties. I believe a trade is in the horizon.

        • Schebler has hit lefties better than righties this year, at least if batting average is any indicator. Don’t know if that’s been typical of him over his career though.

          • He has an interesting split this year:
            283/296/504 vs left for OPS of 800 with wRC+ of 103
            216/321/482 vs right for OPS of 803 with wRC+ of 104
            So the sum is pretty even although a different way of getting there

            Career 804 OPS and 108 wRC+ vs right
            734 OPS and 88 wRC+ vs left

            Still much better at hitting lefties than Hamilton but not exactly an ideal platoon partner.

      • In 2015 and earlier his splits were opposite of this year. As I recall, he’s a natural right handed batter.

      • His splits were just the opposite in the 2015 and earlier seasons. He’s a natural right handed hitter, and after the 2015 season, many thought he should give up switch hitting and go back to hitting exclusively right handed.

        • Yes… This year, his RH platoon split may really just be a small sample size thing. It could also be that he really is struggling against LHP because he isn’t getting enough reps batting RH. Hard to say really.

    • Billy Hamilton career numbers:
      vs left-handed pitchers 237/269/337 wRC+ of 61
      vs right-handed pitchers 253/309/333 wRC+ of 74

      Billy Hamilton over the last 2 season (1054 PAs in 246 games in 2016 and 2017)
      vs left-handed pitchers 221/254/306 wRC+ of 45
      vs right-handed pitchers 267/330/352 wRC+ of 82

      His numbers against right-handers are acceptable when added to his defensive and base running value. He should rarely if ever play against left-handed starters.

      Someone who can a reasonable defensive centerfield and hit lefties needs to be on the roster next season. Can that be Ervin or Schebler? Does someone else need brought in? Who is moved to make room in the outfield? Duvall, Schebler, Hamilton, Ervin and Winker all have their strengths and weaknesses. How the outfield looks next season will be interesting.

  7. Dick Willlams is not THE primary decision maker for the Cincinnati Reds. It’s time to dispense with the notion that the Reds “changed” with a transition of power from WJ to DW

    They did not. The Reds executive round table is the same. The decision makers are the same. Ownership is the same. Phil Castellini is the same. The partners are the same. Community fund is the same. Corporate partners are the same. Procter and gamble support of RBI baseball is the same..Bryan Price is the same. Walt Jocketty is mostly same.

    In 2018…a lot will be the same. Billy Hamilton batting leadoff in CF the same.Joey Votto hitting 3rd same. Duvall 4 same…Gennett 5 same…Suarez 6 same barnhart 8 same.

    90 loss team 3 years in a row…..same.
    Leadership the same. The only off season drama is who plays right RF and shortstop. There could be 1 trade involving an outfielder named Winker or schebler and a young pitcher.
    Everything else….same.

      • Nope…when Billy Hamilton is the same player, I will remind you.
        .247/.299/.330 with a wRC+ of 65
        If Jesse Winker plays for a team….Ill remind you of his wRC+ of 120 and .287/.389/.440

        My point is the Reds are not moving in the direction of modern baseball analytics.
        Your point of difference is what exactly?

        • You seemed resigned to the inevitable. 🙂

          Seriously, this is and has been the problem with Bryan Price and the Reds. Bryan is not a terrible person, but he seems to thing batting Billy Hamilton leadoff is “winning” baseball. Well, maybe next year the light goes on for Billy. Really. Really. And that’s the way Bryan and Williams and the rest think.
          Winker.Suarez should be 1/2, or bat Joey 2 and Suarez 3. Schebler can handle center , at least at GABP. He runs better than Shin Soo Choo, who played center for the last Reds team that made it to the playoffs.

          • You are absolutely correct. Zack Cozart was an anemic hitter for years and 3000 at bats later….Wow. Hamilton has had 4 years and 2000 at bats. They are going to give him 6 years and 3000 at bats. Id rather see Winker get 600 at bats.

        • Hear you but this team, despite its lineup defenciencies, is two good starting pitchers away from competing for a wild card.

          I was harping on Billy and the lineup hard last week.

          Btw I think Lorenzej deserves to compete for that role. There is zero evidence that Rookie or other young bucks are more viable candidates. This is guy who learned to pitch late and his endurance is coming into bloom. He’s the Lorenzen flower – a rare ultra-muscled variety.

          • Team might be one good leadoff hitter away from a division title.

            Why settle for better than mediocre when you can shoot for truly great?

            Trade Duvall or Schebler, insert Winker at leadoff, bat Billy 8th, and see what happens.

            To me, Hamilton is more of a curiosity – like Chapman – who just isn’t used correctly. He puts fans in the seats – to watch him run and make great defensive plays.

            But OBP matters, and the person who bats the most should have a high OBP. Billy doesn’t, and there’s little to show that the light will turn on after three full seasons in the bigs.

          • I can’t disagree with you, Jesse. Move Billy down in the lineup, platoon him if there is a guy who can play decent centerfield and hit lefties, and Bob’s your uncle if the pitching continues to shape up.

          • Bat Billy 9th…never 8th in front of the pitcher, who will just waste his speed by giving up an out on the bunt

  8. If cozart gets the same amount of interest Stephen drew got a couple of years ago, can we see zach getting a one year contract from the reds?

    • If the Reds make ZC a Qualifying Offer player. I’m guessing he takes it unless he has significantly more guaranteed money elsewhere because it would be 1.5x ($18M) more than he has earned in salary to date and allows him an opportunity to test free agency again next year. I’m thinking it would take ~$30M guaranteed over three years to best that in terms of risk/ reward.

      If he doesn’t get a QO from the Reds or walks on it; and, comes back later hat in hand because of a dearth of other offers, that will set up an interesting situation.

      • Let’s hope Cozart doesn’t have to come back to the Reds with hat in hand. If the Reds do not pursue Cozart, or at least keep contact with Cozart and his agent, shame on the Reds. The Reds certainly shouldn’t overpay for a Cozart contract, but offering a standing 3 yr/ $24MM contract as soon as Cozart becomes a FA, with an understanding that the Reds might be willing to negotiate that contract, should be a given.

        • I don’t claim to know the market, but 3/24 seems awful low. I’m guessing he gets close2 to 3/30-36 million

          • You are absolutely correct, 3/24 is low and I would be stunned if Cozart had to sign for that paltry amount. If the Reds want to lcok up Cozart immediately, they would have to open with 3 yr/$30MM and be willing to go higher. As the contract moves north of $30MM, the risk/reward scales start to teeter.

  9. Bailey’s getting to where he needs to be. Just hope he stays healthy through the end of this season and is able to pick back up in the spring.

  10. Looked at the box score and saw the Reds pitchers did not give up any walks. When is the last time that happened?

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