Titanic Struggle Recap

Spoiling Cardinals season on hold

A minor league pitcher named Deck calling off a bunch of major league position players from fielding a pop-up, only to drop it, is an apt summary of the Reds performance tonight.

Also that the same Deck was the Reds best pitcher.

No trouble tonight telling which team was still in contention and which one wasn’t.

Spoiling the Cardinals season will have to wait until tomorrow. Meanwhile, St. Louis has turned over a huge portion of the lineup and are still in contention.

Cincinnati Reds 4  St. Louis Cardinals 13 || Box || Play Log || Statcast

Robert Stephenson, making his 8th start for the Reds, gave up more than 3 earned runs for the first time since July 22. Stephenson (24) walked three batters (all of whom scored) and gave up a bunch of hard-hit balls. He did strike out 5 in his 3 innings of pitching. The Cardinals got two unearned runs in the 1st, after a Zack Cozart throwing error. Nick Carrington has it right:

Alejandro Chacin (24) relieved Stephenson in the 4th. Rookie Davis (24) pitched the 5th and 6th – remember that Davis was in the starting rotation on Opening Day. Ariel Hernandez (25) pitched the 7th. None of them pitched well. Hernandez was a particular disaster. He walked four batters while only getting one out. Hernandez has walked 17 batters in 17.2 innings.

Deck McGuire (28), who was called up today, came in after Hernandez in the 7th. It was McGuire’s major league debut. He signed a minor league free agent contract with the Reds during the offseason. He spent 2017 starting for AA-Pensacola. The Reds are his fifth organization. Last year he pitched in the Cardinals organization. On McGuire’s fifth pitch, he induced an inning-ending double play. He came back and pitched the 8th. McGuire didn’t give up a run.

#deckforstartingrotation

Zack Cozart turned a 91-mph Lance Lynn fastball around for a 433-foot home run in the 1st inning. It was Cozart’s 20th and the first time in Cincinnati Reds franchise history that six players have hit 20+ homers in a season. Hitting for power has been the key to the Reds improved offense this season.

Scott Schebler had two doubles. Adam Duvall had two hits.

Scooter Gennett, now the Reds clean-up hitter, left the game in the 4th inning due to “left hand inflammation.”

Jesse Winker started in RF and hit first. He went 1-for-4.

The Cardinals drew 9 walks. The Reds drew none.

41 thoughts on “Spoiling Cardinals season on hold

  1. Did anybody out there (that watched the game last night) believe Molina would take ball 4 last night in his 1st AB? Runners on 2nd & 3rd, 2 outs, down a run, Yadi plated both baserunners. He wasn’t up there to “not make an out”. I don’t like Molina, but I wish the Reds had a player like him.

    • Do you prefer someone who goes up there to make an out? Not making an out should always be the goal of the batter.

        • Then explain how you can win the game if a batter is going up to the plate looking to make an out? You do realize that either getting a hit or a walk would have helped, right?

          I think you’re barking up the wrong tree on this one.

      • I think that Bouwills is talking about an aggressive approach, not battting with the intention of making an out. Obviously. It’s hard to have a sensible discussion when the framing of the discussion is intentionaly misleading.

        • I don’t think i tried to mislead anyone. I asked a question.Did anyone think that Molina was going to take ball 4 in that situation? My point being not likely. Yadi is what was once called a clutch hitter. Even if the pitch is off the plate, he’s going to try to drive in those 2 runs. Stephenson’s pitch caught a lot of the plate, but Molina would have probably swung anyway. I like that brand of baseball, whether or not it’s the statistically correct way to play- or not.

          • I, too, like the way Molina plays (even if I dislike him as a rival), and I did not see the AB, but do not believe that Molina would have swung at at pitch in the dirt (or his eyes) instead of taking a walk. Did he swing at a particularly bad pitch to get the runners in?

          • You are saying he swung at a pitch that was probably a strike? If it was a foot off the plate with a 5% chance of making contact should he swing instead of taking ball 4? What good does it do if he strikes out with 2 outs and 2 on?

          • I didn’t think that you were misleading. It was the response to you –putting words in your mouth–that I objected to.

          • No, I don’t think he would have taken ball 4 there, which is exactly why that pitch caught too much of the plate for my liking. Throw it off the plate and he probably swings and makes an out.

  2. It was a great game. Complete game by the starter. Defense came up big in tight situations. Crowd was crazy.

    (I watched the Indians game)

  3. Votto had two hits as well, and we got to hear Chris Welsh utter the unexpected phrase “Votto showing some wheels there” on his 8th inning infield single. That call, Cozart’s 20th, two doubles by Schebler, Kivlehan’s triple and Deck McGuire’s major league debut all on the plus side. But the pitching was horrible. Are you sure Stephenson only walked three? It felt like he walked Carpenter alone about eleventy-four times. Ugly.

  4. From reading comments on this site, it seems most would agree that taking a walk has been an underappreciated skill. However, it is not the be-all, end-all of a plate appearance. A player may walk 10% of the time, but get hits 25-30% of the time. As an added benefit, a runner can take an extra base on a hit. A hit is better than a walk, but a walk is better than chasing pitches if the pitcher is not giving the batter a reasonable look.

    On a related topic, let’s also not neglect the situation. In general, getting on base is the best thing. However, with one out and a runner on third in a tie game, a sac fly can be the game winner.

    • No one says a BB is the be-all, end-all of a plate appearance. But if a player can increase their OBP by 10%, .100 points, instead of 4%, that makes the player a better batter. It makes a big difference.
      In many cases a BB is as good as a hit. In many cases a BB is not as good as a hit. Case in point, a runner on third base. A hit gets him plated, a BB does not. And sometimes an out gets the runner in. So, it just depends on the context .

    • And much more likely to get a hit if you swing at a ball in the strike zone rather than one outside the strike zone.

  5. That was a very comical play by Deck McGuire when he dropped the infield pop up. I don’t think he even opened his glove to catch it. It looked as if the ball hit the back of his glove and bounded away. It didn’t result in any runs, so no harm. Good learning experience for him to now get out of the way. With the catcher also converging on the play, the pitcher should be instructed to just automatically move towards the plate, quickly getting out of the way, and then be ready to back up the play. Most pitchers just casually walk to the side, but still get in the way at times.
    Joey Votto would have caught it. Or Barnhart for that matter. Both wouldn’t have let McGuire call for it, they would have called him off. But a rookie catcher and a rookie catcher playing first base that inning contributed greatly to the situation.

  6. Stephenson’s line could’ve been better. More than a few Cardinal hits were not well struck but found real estate. All the damage was done with 2 outs. BobSteve was living on borrowed time with that approach, but with a little luck he might’ve made it thru 5. Most importantly, the ball stayed in the park.

    Chacin, Davis, McGuire. These guys are the textbook definition of a AAAA player. I really don’t get the Davis love from the front office—average fastball, plus slider, below average changeup. Meh.

    Duvall isn’t all the way back, but the last couple games he’s gotten some bloopers to fall in. I think he’ll finish strong.

    • Until Stephenson stops walking people, I don’t consider him viable for 2018. I agree with Nick Carrington’s tweet above. Not only does he still walk folks, he doesn’t show consistent control in and around the strike zone. The strikeouts are cool, showing that he has the stuff to make guys miss when he can get it over. But he still can’t locate it where he wants to consistently enough to pitch effectively in the bigs.

      • Yes, he’s consistently living on borrowed time as long as he has a high walk rate.

        • At the same age, Sandy Koufax walked 100 guys in 175 innings; Corey Kluber was in AA. RS will come around (and it is safe to assume not as well as Koufax), but maybe he needs to face MLB hitters, not AAA hitters, to put the finishing touches on it.

      • Chris Welsh last night seemed bewildered on a couple occasions when he quipped that Stephenson had better control of his breaking pitches than he did his fastball. That might be just the thing that gets Stephenson traded this winter. He had a pretty decent run going. But he was bad right out of the gate last night.

  7. I agree that Molina was looking to drive in two runs with that early hit, and to accept a walk only if the pitcher insisted.

    In a game about a week ago, with the Reds down late and two on, I told myself, “Votto needs a double here, not a walk.” (It may have been the game he walked 4 or 5 times.) Votto walked, and Duvall made an out to end the threat. Of course, if the pitcher gives the hitter absolutely nothing to hit, then the hitter pretty much has to accept the walk. But I have no problem with a hitter, even Votto, being more aggressive in such a situation as both Molina and Votto faced, when “not making an out” is only a consolation prize.

    Votto’s OBP and his walk rate have been quite a bit higher since the All-Star break. Before the ASG, he had 62 BBs and 314 ABs; afterward, he has 58 BBs and 189 ABs. It is no coincidence that Adam Duvall has utterly stunk since the ASG. His OPS is .666; Billy Hamilton’s OPS since the ASG is .658.

    In other words, other teams are not stupid. They pitch around Votto, and Votto runs up OBP stats that, properly understood, show not so much that Votto is doing well, but that Duvall is having a bad, bad second half. This is not a criticism of Votto, who takes what the defense give him, but the defense gives what it gives for a good reason: Duvall is bad.

    • Duvall is not bad. He is near the top, if not at the top, of the list of the most RBIs of any NL outfielder in the past two years. Price is going to have to give him more rest, though. It seems clear after a couple of years of him playing every day that he wears down significantly in the second half. Might be at least in part due to diabetes. If he is still with the team next year, the prudent thing to do might be what others here have proposed previously — a four-man outfield rotation of Duvall, Winker, Hamilton and Schebler. There’s no guarantee all of them will be here next year, though.

      • A .666 OPS for a clean-up hitter is bad; it is a small sample but not all that small. I don’t disagree that his medical condition may play a part, but we don’t know that. It may just be that pitchers have figured him out. Don’t disagree with the 4-man outfield rotation, either, if they are all back.

        Duvall gets a lot of RBIs because Cozart and Votto have been on in front of him a lot. He’d have even more if he were producing like a 4-hole hitter should.

        Price has moved him to the 7-hole for the time being. Not sure why Suarez wouldn’t be a better fit there.

      • The 4 man outfield rotation doesn’t work for reasons I’ve stated elsewhere. That said, I fully agree Duvall needs more rest. There is no reason they shouldn’t be able to find 2-3 games a month off for him… As you said, assuming he’s with the club next year.

      • Tom, it isn’t the number of RBIs one has but rather of the given opportunities a hitter has to drive in runs, how often have they driven them in that determines how good they are as a run producer. Duvall definitely has experienced a large drop off in run producing efficiency. At one point midway through the season he was hitting .390 with runners on base or in scoring position (I forget which). He is well below that now I believe.

        I too am in favor of a four man or even five man rotation in the outfield. It works for the Cubs and the Cardinals who have no problems sitting people to give them rest or even sending down down to AAA to find their strokes. The Cubs even did that with World Series standout Scwarber. The Cards have sent down Diaz (an infielder) and Pham and Piscotty at times when they struggled until they played their way well enough to return and be productive.

        Meanwhile the Reds suffer as Schebler, Hamilton, Duvall have all had lengthy stints struggling mightily at the plate.

    • You are exactly right Big.We better get used to it because our pitching will improve next year and we will play a lot of close games and its a safe bet Joey will not get anything to hit which has been the way its been for the last 15 or 20 games.For two straight years Price has set and watched while Duvall has worn down big time and failed to give him any rest.His solution was to drop him down in the order rather then give him 4 or 5 days off and watch Ervin,Winker or even Kivlehan.Price is clueless and it will happen again next year in important games to us.

  8. Just a game between two teams going in opposite directions and it showed.One team focused on doing whatever they had to do to win and the other team just playing ball.Molina and Carpenter are veteran players that have been there and done that and always do what they can do to help the team.Carpenter will stand there and walk all day long because he hasn’t hit for the average nor power as in the past but he leads off so he knows that his job is to get on base.Molina is a hacker and always looks to flip anything away from him to right and jerk the inside pitch.More importantly they are professional hitters.I would take both of them all day long.They have some pop and get on base.Give me 8 of those type of guys and lets go play ball.My comment about the Reds just playing ball is not meant to be critical its just where we are right now.One day it won’t be that way.

  9. I just read an article on CNN Sports that gave an end of season ranking for all 30 MLB minor league systems. The Reds were 10th. I found it interesting that some of the older & depleted teams, also need some fresh blood in their minor league pipeline…Mets (27th),
    Detroit (17th), and Toronto (16th). Cleveland is 20th, and they have a guy I’m really high on in Mike Clevenger (3.30 era, .208 batt avg allowed, 121 Ks in 106 ip). He was back in AAA a few months ago and they seem to be jerking him around a little? He’ll be 27 this year. I think the Reds could get him for the right deal?

    • Yeah, no. Not a bad choice, though. He has a nice K rate, but a bad BB rate.
      Watch Clevenger have a great post season. It is just that Clevenger is set to be the Tribe’s #3 starter next year. Trevor Bauer is on a one year deal and will hit the free agent lottery this winter. Cleveland won’t be able to keep him. Issues with Danny Salazar’s arm and elbow keep creeping up.
      But I think you are on the right track though. The better trade partners this winter might be the teams entering the rebuild phase and the teams with weak farm systems that need an infusion of youth. The Reds have youth.
      That was too bad about the Tigers Fulmer needing surgery on his elbow.
      Neon arrows are pointing towards Toronto !!!

  10. Last night on the pre-game show Jim Day had a great, great interview with Joey Votto. I have never heard Joey Votto open up like that. I hope they replay it tonight or very soon. I’d like to see it again.

  11. I think I am in the trade Iglesias club. If they had plans to transition him back to a starter, I would not feel that way. I just think we could get a lot for him, and have a better than average chance of either signing or developing an adequate closer. Just my opinion.???

    • I heard an interview with the old long-time Dayton journalist a couple days ago. He seemed convinced that Iggy was going to get another shot at starting. That was the forst and only report I’ve heard about Iggy possibly starting again since he went to the bullpen. I don’t know how much validity his report held, but it certainly piqued my interest.

      • If true that has to be music to any Reds fans’ ears. A two ace staff led by Iglesias and Castillo matches the 2012 pitching staff led by Cueto and Latos. Mahle can be just as good or better than 2012 Homer, while Romano and Bob Stevenson or Reed/Garrett/Peralta or especially Lorenzen could match or exceed Arroyo and Leake.

        Those who don’t make starter status can provide long or closer relief.

  12. I enjoyed reading the mlbtraderumor article about Reds 3 needs. I only see one need for the Reds. They need to decide. Compete in 2018 or not. Don’t straddle the fence. If they’re not going to keep Cozart, they’ll probably be out of it by the time the rotation is established, the bullpen is set up, & Senzel arrives. 1 more year of committed rebuild is ok with me. Keep all the young prospects, shop Iglesias, Gennett, & Hamilton to restock the farm with some top prospects & invest on the scouting, coaching, & minor league systems. Concentrate on the 2018 draft. Then in 2019 emerge with a young rotation, bullpen, & lineup in place.

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