2017 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Reds walloped by Cardinals in 9-2 loss

Final R H E
St. Louis Cardinals (79-72) 9 11 0
Cincinnati Reds (66-86) 2 6 0
W: Luke Weaver (7-1)  L: Rookie Davis (1-3)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score | Game Thread | Statcast

On Tuesday, rookie Jackson Stephens hit a wall when facing the St. Louis Cardinals lineup for the second time. It was déjà vu on Wednesday night. Rookie Davis, another rookie pitcher, allowed five runs in only three innings of work as the Reds were clobbered by the Cardinals, 9-2.

Here’s how tonight’s contest went down:

The Hitters

There wasn’t much action from the Reds’ side of things tonight, as they notched only six hits and didn’t draw a single walk. Cardinals starter Luke Weaver allowed only two runs and five hits in five innings, striking out seven, while the St. Louis bullpen threw four near-perfect innings.

The only scoring of the game for the Reds came in the fifth inning. Patrick Kivlehan knocked in the first run, roping a double into the left-center field gap to score Jose Peraza from first. (Side note: Peraza is really fast.)

Jesse Winker knocked in Kivlehan two batters later. That was the Reds’ final hit and baserunner of the game until there were two outs in the bottom of the ninth, when Chad Wallach picked up his first career hit on a screaming line drive up the middle.

The Hurlers

The aforementioned Davis made his return to the starting rotation tonight, and it did not go well. The right-hander gave up a home run to the first batter of the game, Matt Carpenter, and that set the tone for the evening. His night was over after only three innings of five-run, five-hit baseball. He struck out three and walked no one.

After the Carpenter homer, Davis retired the next six hitters, but the third inning was not kind to the rookie. He gave up a lead-off double to Stephen Piscotty and had a chance to get out of the inning when he retired the next two hitters, but he gave up a two-out, RBI double to Tommy Pham followed by back-to-back home runs by Dexter Fowler and Paul DeJong.

Keury Mella became the 31st pitcher and 18th rookie to toe the rubber for the Reds this season when he made his major-league debut in the fourth inning. His first inning in The Show couldn’t have gone much better, as he retired the side on nine pitches and brought mid-90s heat with his fastball. His second inning, however, wasn’t quite as successful, giving up two walks (one intentional) and two doubles to allow two more Cardinal runs.

The keys were turned over to Luke Farrell in the sixth, but he couldn’t slow down the Cardinals either, allowing a run on two hits and two walks.

St. Louis hitters finally met their match once Deck “Shaggy” McGuire entered the game. The right-hander, who had a really nice season in Double-A Pensacola, allowed only one baserunner (a hit batter) in two shutout innings.

The ninth inning belonged to Alejandro Chacin, who gave up a run on two hits and a walk.

Not-So-Random Thoughts

— Joey Votto’s first-inning single marked his 300th time on base this season, the third time he’s accomplished that feat in his career. To no one’s surprise, that leads the majors by a large margin; Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon is the next closest player at 270. This year will go down as Votto’s fifth time leading baseball in that category.

— One way or another, the Reds need to make sure Winker is batting in the leadoff spot every day next year. I have my doubts that will happen if Billy Hamilton is healthy and Bryan Price is still the manager (plus, something will have to give with Adam Duvall and Scott Schebler), but Winker is the obvious best choice for the role. Big-league pitching hasn’t fazed him whatsoever, as he’s now hitting .282/.368/.495 with a 126 wRC+ through 118 plate appearances. That’s a small sample size, to be sure, but the hit tool and plate discipline are very real, making for an ideal hitter at the top of the lineup to set the table for Votto.

— Phillip Ervin made his first appearance in a game since Sept. 14 as a late-inning replacement. He struck out in an eight-pitch plate appearance during his only trip to the batter’s box. As Doug Gray wrote about today, it’s really puzzling that Ervin hasn’t received more playing time with Hamilton on the disabled list, especially with Duvall struggling so mightily in the second half.

Up Next

Homer Bailey (6.86 ERA, 4.91 xFIP) will look to follow up a solid performance last Friday as he takes the mound for the series finale against the Cardinals on Thursday night at 7:10 p.m. ET. The winner of the game will take the season series, which is currently locked up at nine games apiece. St. Louis will have its ace on the mound in Carlos Martinez (3.57 ERA, 3.59 xFIP).

24 thoughts on “Reds walloped by Cardinals in 9-2 loss

  1. Brewers have to be hoping the Reds display the same of indifference when they play the Reds next week as the Reds have shown in this series.

    • If only it were indifference. I believe it more to be managerial incompetence.

      • Agree that it is incompetence. Whether it is manager (probably) or FO for calling for these pitching moves. But Erwin not playing while Duval obviously needs to sit a couple of games is downright incompetent. And why has it been decided that Winker can only play right field. Why not Winker in left, Erwin in center and Schebler in right?

      • It’s not managerial incompetence. It’s back to lousy starting pitching. When I saw the prospective starters for the first two games this series I was praying for a split.

  2. As things stand now (SD still playing late game against AZ)…

    Four teams vying for the #1 selection in the 2018 rule 4 draft:
    60-93 (.392) —— SF
    60-91 (.397) +1.0 CWS
    61-91 (.401) +1.5 PHI
    62-90 (.408) +2.5 DET

    Six teams vying for the #5 selection in the 2018 rule 4 draft:
    65-87 (.428) +5.5 NYM
    66-86 (.434) +6.5 CIN
    67-83 (.447) +8.5 ATL
    68-83 (.450) +9.0 SD
    69-84 (.451) +9.0 PIT
    69-83 (.454) +9.5 OAK

    Three teams vying for the #11 selection in the 2018 rule 4 draft:
    71-81 (.467) +11.5 TOR
    72-80 (.474) +12.5 MIA
    73-80 (.477) +13.0 BAL

    • Given the hyperbolic pay jumps from 1st overall pick on down I’d rather the reds save the bonus money cash and spend that on better relief pitching depth. Pick 10th instead of 5th and you have enough to account for two or three league minimum pay jumps too.

    • The Reds have their work cut out for them if they are to end up higher in the draft order than both the Mets and Braves.

      The Mets finish with 3 vs Nats (starting Fri) then Braves (4) followed by Phils (3).
      The Braves have Nats today followed by the Phils (3), Mets (4) then end with 4 vs the Marlins (12 games in 11 days. In total they will have finished out playing 14 games in 13 days)

      Also keep an eye on Oakland. They just swept the Detroit to fall back to 11th in the draft order but all their remaining games are with the Rangers (7) and Mariners (3) both of whom, but particularly the Rangers, are in wild card contention.

      The “best” scenario for the Reds may be if somebody sweeps that Mets/ Braves series opening the way for the Reds to finish with the 6th pick.m, Otrherwise

  3. You’d think after getting shelled by Dexter fowler the day prior the reds might spend some time in the videotape room or on the internet looking for fowler’s weak spots. Davis’ pitch headed right for barnharts target in the lower inside corner of the plate. The next pitch to DeJong didn’t miss by much either. Reds catchers need to vary the eye level of the pitches, cards were looking right at the bottom plane of the strike zone. Batting practice.

    • This is so true. I might have mentioned it like 1000 times this season…Most Leftys LOVE the ball down and in. If you have to come in, do it up and in, or off the plate in. Instead of waste pitches on 0-2, 1-2…how about fire the fastball at the very top of the zone. It can be a very effective pitch….ask Scott Schebler.

      • Amen to that. Schebler loves to swing and miss by a foot those pitches at eye level.

        • He loves to swing at them but probably hates missing them. The missing them part just comes with the swinging at them, unfortunately…. “High fastballs. Can’t hit ’em, can’t lay off of them.”

  4. Reds need to make sure Winker is batting in the leadoff spot every day next year..

    With Price Manager! Not a chance if Hamilton is still on the team. I agree with you though.

    • Rookie wasn’t ready in April and he isn’t now but he maybe at sometime.As far as pure stuff he is way down the list.Hard to evaluate him right now but he isn’t doing anthing to help his cause for next year.

      • I’m rooting hard for Rookie Davis. Lots to like about him that make him easy to root for. The stuff is marginal for MLB though. He’s going to have to really have good command to be successful in MLB. Even then, he’s probably a #4 starter perhaps at his ceiling. He most likely is a #5 guy or long reliever. He could also end up a AAAA kind of pitcher who just isn’t quite good enough. MLB baseball is hard.

    • The only way Winker will be the regular leadoff man, as long as Hamilton and Price are still around, is for the front office to order Price to do so.

  5. Why does anything puzzle anyone that this manager or front office does? They have been doing the same things every year. And I understood that it’s not the catcher that makes the pitch call it’s the manager.

      • I have, on occasion, seen Bernhardt look to the bench before dropping a sign..not sure if it’s every pitch, or for every pitcher though.

        • Welch has commented on this several times that I have heard. He says throws to first (holding runners on) other pick off plays are often called from the bench; and, that is what the catcher is looking to the bench check out. He also says that very rarely if ever is a specific pitch to a batter called from the bench in MLB.

          • I have 100% confidence that this is correct. It is very rare that pitches are called from the dugout. I’ll add defensive positioning or specific defensive plays as another reason that catchers will look into the dugout.

  6. Billy will hit lead off when he returns.Price is on record saying he has never given a thought to replacing him.Kind of expected a repeat of the night before from Davis but the offense going up and down is puzzling especially when they drew zero walks.Guess when you are so far down its cookie time at the plate but only 6 hits.With Stephens and Davis it takes us back to the beginning of the year but its ok.Nothing against either they are just not ready

  7. I like Deck McGuire. He was the 11th guy taken in the draft in 2010 by the Blue Jays, out of Georgia Tech, but had never figured it out.

    He had been pitching well all year in Pensacola, so I started following him. His history had been to pitch fairly well at AA, for several organizations, then not do so well at AAA. His strikeout rates were pretty mundane. This year, though, he began to strike out more than a guy an inning; he had a 2.79 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP. But at age 28 he was deemed “not a prospect,” and was pretty well considered an organizational player. McGuire earned his way with a great season, then struck out 13 with no walks over 8 shutout innings in the AA playoffs.

    Doug Gray has more info at: http://redsminorleagues.com/2017/09/13/deck-mcguire-long-awaited-big-league-debut/ (I encourage all who can to support Doug’s excellent work.)

    Last night, McGuire hit 97 at least once, and was sitting at 94. He likely can’t match that as a starter, but his arm is good enough to get MLB hitters out. I saw a story, which I can’t now find, that he said he just finally figured out who he was as a pitcher at a late age and is living up to what scouts thought when he was a top draft choice.

    I think that older, late-developing pitchers are undervalued, and that it can be a mistake to hold a pitcher’s age against him. Heading into his age 27 season, for example, Corey Kluber had pitched 67 major league innings, with a -0.6 WAR. What difference does it make if he is 28 when he finally harnesses his talent? If he can get guys out, the Reds will have a cost-controlled guy through the prime of his pitching career.

    Give him a start next week; he’s earned it. The Reds might have just lucked into a guy who will contribute for several years at very little cost. But kudos to Deck for sticking it out and finally making it.

    • Excellent points, and you can look at Straily as an example. That’s also sound reasoning to let Garrett and Reed have some slack. Maybe not next year, but their stuff is too good to forget about them.

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