2017 Reds

Cardinals sweep Reds

This series went as expected when one team can’t afford to lose and the other can. Or when one team is better than the other.

The Reds missed a chance to win the season series against the Cardinals, which would have been the first time since 2011.

Cincinnati Reds 5  St. Louis Cardinals 8 || Box || Play Log || Statcast

Homer Bailey pitched four innings before being lifted for a pinch hitter with the tying run at second base. Bailey had thrown 65 pitches. He struck out 3 and walked 1 batter unintentionally. The Cardinals had seven hits and scored four runs.

Bailey said before the game that he’s looking forward to offseason training. He feels like missing 2.5 months of that because of his February surgery is the primary reason he’s still “missing a little bit”” this year. He was referring to hitting an effectiveness wall around 90 pitches.

Kevin Shackelford relieved Bailey. getting four outs, striking out two and walking two. Wandy Peralta worked around a walk and hit to finish the 6th. Michael Lorenzen gave up a couple runs in the 7th. Hard to argue he’s still an indispensable arm in the bullpen. Maybe Lorenzen has pitch his way into an opportunity to start. Irony alert.

Cody Reed got an out then gave up a walk and a single. Price brought in Ariel Hernandez who got his two batters without allowing a run. Raisel Iglesias came in to pitch the 9th, his well rested arm pumping 100 mph fastballs. The Cardinals got a couple runs off the Reds closer, the first they’ve scored on him in 12 appearances.

Phil Ervin got a start in center field. He lined a 2-run homer run above the left field fence in the 4th inning. He also failed to make a couple plays on defense – a catch and a throw – that maybe Billy Hamilton would have.

Scott Schebler hit lead off for the first time all season. It was a curious decision by manager Bryan Price. Schebler is hitting .233/.311/.481 while Jesse Winker has hit well in the leadoff spot, with a .292/.375/.509 line. With a little digging, it became clear what Price was up to. In 11 plate appearances against Carlos Martinez, Schebler had two walks and two singles. If Price relied on past batter-pitcher history as the basis for his lineup, it’s more evidence that he doesn’t know what he’s doing.

Winker, who was making his first start for the Reds in left field, doubled and singled his first two times up, going 2-for-3 against the Cardinals starter. Schebler went deep – really deep – to right field in his fourth AB against Martinez. Schebler was 1-for-4 vs. Martinez.

Schebler hit another home run, his 29th of the year, in the 9th. Schebler > Duval.

Tucker Barnhart made a fantastic defensive play on a pop-up, sliding in front of the Reds dugout. Zach Buchanan has an interesting article about Barnhart’s relationship with Yadi Molina. Barnhart has grown up idolizing Molina. But the Cardinals catcher has notice the job Barnhart has done behind the plate. “He’s got a pretty good shot to win a Gold Glove. I like the way he catches.”

Great news via Tweet from Nick Senzel tonight regarding his health.

The Reds top hitting prospect was sidelined at the end of the season due to a case of vertigo. Recovery rates from that illness are highly variable and can last a long time.

49 thoughts on “Cardinals sweep Reds

  1. Geez…let’s hope that’s the end of the issue for Senzel. Senzel is simply a factor the Reds can not afford to miss. Now how about a tweet from Eugenio anouncing a contract extention for the Reds’ 3B.

    • If there’s a player that should be tendered a contract now, that’s Suarez

  2. I try really hard to find positive observations for Price’s ability as an effective manager. After all, he’s going to be the manager of the Reds for at least another season and we simply have to make the best of the situation. Alas, it’s just not there.

    • Shchi,

      Good perspective on Price, and I agree with you.

      I do hope someone catches up with Price during the off-season…RedsFest, start of Spring Training, etc. and gets a data dump from him on his strategy and how he plans to manage the Reds in 2018.

      It would be interesting just to read/hear the things he values most and why.

      • I think we know how he’s going to manage the Reds in 2018. SOS. Head scratching lineups and decisions.

    • Hey maybe Price is starting to get progressive in realizing a .444 OBP line is a great candidate to lead -off. But if willing to do that with a power hitter like Schebler why not with Votto?

  3. Bryan “Milton” Price – Reds will never win anything with this guy as field general. He is as clueless and inept as they come a far as managers go. Doesn’t matter what type of talent he has at his disposal , he WILL find a way to screw it up and not maximize his best chances to win ballgames . Irregardless of whether it’s lineup construction or in game strategy , he possesses ZERO managerial skill set required for modern day baseball.

  4. Steve,

    Great recap. Lots of people played a part tonight, and I think you covered them all.

    Tonight’s game re-affirms for me that MLB really needs to institute pitch clocks and re-examine the teams’ use of rosters in September.2

    10 pitchers, 5 pinch-hitters, 3:12 game time for 9 innings.

    Once you are used to attending games with pitch clocks, games like tonight are just painful.

    I get to a couple of Reds games every year, but never go in September. Now I remember why.

    (Well, also because of this on-going re-build, too).

  5. Catching is such a key position and Barnhart has come into his own this season. A good receiver with an accurate arm and he holds his own at the plate. Like many I’m disappointed that Price returns in 2018 but what will be will be. The Reds have the makings of a contending team, probably not next season, but it’s not too far down the road.

    • I think with the right manager, they definitely could contend next season. They need someone who knows how to plant the seeds and nurture them so they will bloom. Granted, these young players are going to bloom regardless of how Price manages them, but I have no confidence in his ability to maximize their potential.

      I think a good analogy is a good manager is someone who plants watermelon seeds in orderly rows in their garden, watering and tending to them every day so they grow quickly and most effectively. Price is a guy who throws watermelon seeds scattershot in his backyard and is shocked a month later when some plants are sprouting up here and there.

      • Agreed. Like a lot of fans I was hopeful that managerial change would be a fact in 2018 but that’s not to be at least to start the season. Bryan Price has had a reputation as a good pitching coach and I think the Peter Principle (an outdated sociological concept) has put Price in the manager’s chair. It’s called being promoted to your incompetence. Eventually, when the FO gets fed up, Price will return to his competence as a pitching coach with another team.

      • The only “managers” that can make the impact you’re referring to is if the Reds hired Mike Trout to player/manage and hired Chris Sale to player/coach the pitching staff.

        Otherwise the vast majority of impact a manager has is not on the field making decisions. It’s in his office, on the bus or airplane, it’s in the locker room before and after the game.

        • That’s simply not true.

          There’s several million reasons the Cubs hired Jon Maddon or the Indians hired Terry Francona and not a guy like Bryan Price.

          However….in a different way I would submit that anyone even without a baseball background but with the ability to understand data, to go along with great observation skills, can manage a baseball team. Optimizing resources and using strategy is most definitely not a soft science, let alone rocket science.

        • I agree about the- It’s in his office, on the bus or airplane, it’s in the locker room before and after the game part.
          That is why you get rid the one guy in charge of all this when nothing is improving and there is no indication the work done in his office is contributing to the improvement/ Since depression era- No Reds manager was allowed to stay for 3 losing seasons until Dusty and now Price is working on his fifth in a row

  6. If the Reds go 2-7 in their last 9 games they will match last year’s won/lost record. So we’re talking about almost no improvement, year over year. Nevertheless, the majority of criticism posted here & other Reds sites is directed at Bryan Price. I’d say from the point of view of the ownership & general management , BP is doing a bang-up job. Why would they replace him & redirect much of that criticism at themselves?

    • Phillips has a 93 wRC+ and WAR of 1.6. Gennett in 100 PAs fewer has a wRC+ of 127 and WAR of 2.7. I wouldn’t say that Phillips is doing all that great. Yes, it’s better than last year, but it’s not that great. And, his “replacement” is doing better than him.

    • Good point and why would we assume they are ever going to hold him accountable for what happens on the field.He has got a pass for yet another year so we get to watch his pitiful line up construction,his meaningless double switches and his arrogant almost defiant unwillingness to use data.Finally he lets Iggy watch Monday’s winnable game and uses him last night in a lost cause in the ninth.Maybe he wasn’t available on Monday but what was the point last night.Trying to keep it at two runs?Trying to get him some work with less then 10 games left in the season?Nobody else in the pen?None of these make any sense which is what he does.

      • Reds were off on Monday. Iggy should have been available on Tuesday.
        Bryan Price reverted to his old stupid self waiting for the ‘save situation’ that disappeared before the 9th….could not bring himself to use Iggy in a tie ballgame, and like you said, like so many times before, that led to Iggy not being used in so many days BP felt the need to use Iggy to ward off rust and the rustiness revealed itself.

        • That irritated me as well, why Shakleford- he will be 29 next year and is pitching below replacement level, what could you possibly be trying to figure out

  7. Reds extend Barnhart thru 2021 with team Option 2022. Great move.
    Eugenio???

  8. I once heard a politician described as a “dumb person’s idea of a smart person.” That phrase crossed my mind when I saw Price’s batting order last night. Not exactly analogous, but …

    • It’s a pretty amazing thing to watch. Month after month he mindlessly assumed Hamilton was the best guy to lead off no matter what. No serious thought required, because Hamilton is very fast. Then when he actually has a guy available who makes perfect sense to lead off every day with no thought required, NOW he starts “thinking” about the leadoff hitter to prove how clever he is.

    • What if his excuse was “I’m in the process of sorting and this game is meaningless, so I’m experimenting to learn more about my young talent?

      • And the experiment is for what purpose? Is Schebler going to be the future leadoff hitter if he has a few good games right now?

        • Maybe lead off was impacted by experiments elsewhere. If he wanted Winker in the middle, and didn’t care where Schebler batted, then why not just lead off?

          My point is – let’s destroy him for the things that are relevant and for which there is reasonable evidence. But lineup shuffling in late Sep is flimsy and inconsequential for a 95 loss team wouldn’t you say?

          • Isn’t the first time that Price has used pitcher-batter histories to determine batting order. Really dumb.

          • What’s bothering me so much about this is that he’s trying to be “smart” now that it doesn’t really make any difference, but back when there were still 100 games remaining he wasn’t interested in thinking about the leadoff spot because he had a really fast guy on the roster. This is more than a one-meaningless-game problem. The man simply lacks any real understanding of statistics and repeatedly demonstrates an unwilling to question his irrational beliefs.

  9. Alot of disdain for Price…but I’m still not convinced he deserves all of it. Would Maddon have finished with a better record with playing 17 rookies and pitchers that can’t seem to get beyond the 5th inning. Would all of his savvy made that much difference? Would the Reds be in a better place going into next year? I dunno…who can really say. What is apparent, the team is holding together…no apparent disgruntlement with his leadership in the dugout. Of course, with a team of rookies, maybe that’s to be expected. But Joey seems he likes him (and I’ve noticed Joey really gets excited when the young ones do something great). Bailey looks a little pissed, but … ??

    • Yes, Price deserves a lot of disdain for being a poor manager. He might be a good person but he is terrible at resource utilization. Maddon would have used youngsters more frequently and developed them that much faster. Maddon does not hesitate to use productive bats and put his players in different positions to field the best lineup possible while attempting to minimize defensive liabilities. Guys that don’t produce sit or get sent down until they refind their swings. Schwarber being one example. Ervin would have played ahead of and more frequently than Schebler, Duvall or Hamilton. Winker would have played and stayed with the ball club since his initial callup in April or May.

      With Maddon lineup constructions make sense or change daily to optimize run production or avoid long losing streaks and adjust as productivity of his players go up and down. When the Cubs were in a minislump midway through the season Maddon even batted Rizzo at the top of the order. Price held strong and true with his lineups as the Reds suffered multiple 9 game plus losing streaks and had that horrible stretch winning something like 20 out of 80 games? Maddon wouldn’t have set up Reed and Stephenson for failure early in the season, sitting them for several games only to start them against teams with loaded lineups.

      Holding a team together is not an accomplishment. What major league manager hasn’t? Name one team that has quit? Meanwhile teams with less talent like the San Diego Padres or the Minnesota Twins facing more difficult competition achieve greater success than the Reds. A team with equal expectations at the outset like Milwaukee gets managed into a playoff hunt (granted, better pitching staff at the outset, but worse hitting than the Reds).

      • I agree with you basic premise, but Maddon does a TON of stupid stuff. He batted Kyle Schwarber leadoff for 3 months, hitting about .180

  10. Cards caught a huge break with Eugenio Suarez being on paternity leave for all 3 of these games. Games 1 and 3 were very competitive. It seems likely Eugenio might have been a difference maker in either or both of them. If the Cards slip into the playoffs they should vote a partial share to young Ms Suarez’s education fund, 😉

  11. I read several people defending Price as if no one else could do better with the talent he has been given. And while it may be true that the won/lost record might not be “much” better and we were certainly not going to the playoffs this year particularly with the starting pitching we had, the point is the manager’s job is to put the team in the best position to win. Now anyone can argue that playing Billy in center gives the team its best chance to win, but it is very difficult to defend batting Billy in the leadoff spot because he is fast, especially when there are much better options. You can argue playing Duval and Schebler over Winker but you cannot argue to continue playing Duval when he is obviously worn down, nor can you defend batting Schebler leadoff over Winker. Wonder what the game would have been like had Schebler been hitting behind Winker, Mozart and Votto instead of in front of them. You might be able to defend the use of the sacrifice bunt but you can’t defend sending up a pinch hitter to bat for the pitcher and then having them lay down a sacrifice bunt. Nor can you defend some of the baffling double switches Price has made. Our only hope is that somewhere between now and next year someone sits Price down and talks some sensible strategy into him or that somewhere around May the FO decides enough is enough and lets him go. Unfortunately I don’t see either happening.

    • You make mostly good points.

      I’d add however there is NO argument for Winker sitting behind Duvall or Schebler. Over 162 games Winker’s far better batting eye and discipline will help the team in 60 or 80 more games versus the 10 or 15 games where Duvall or Schebler hit more meaningless home runs while the Reds are 3 runs or more ahead or behind in the game. Winker is better defensively than Schebler and about equal to Duvall.

      Price was quoted after the game extolling Winker and Ervin’s success in their limited playing opportunities. The follow up question to Price should have been ‘why have you limited their playing time’? Both players rotted on the bench in April and May, spent the next few months in the minors, and now in August & September Ervin in particular has been used very little while Duvall’s production slid obvious to anyone with a pulse due to his wearing down probably related to his diabetes, and Schebler after an initial hot burst returning from the DL also went through a long stretch of being nonproductive. Or hitting like yesterday a couple solo shots while the Reds are behind by 3 or more runs.

  12. I’m all for a good pile on but the BP stuff is getting crazy. This is a 92 loss team. The most aggressive estimates suggest managers impact what, 5 games per year? It’s probably more like 3-4 tops.

    Winker, Ervin, Schebler, Peraza, etc are not learning how to play baseball for the first time or learning how to make swing adjustments for the first time. These men have been playing baseball since they were in diapers. They’re adults now. Either they figure it out (by learning from Votto, their own trial and error, etc) or they don’t. Peraza underperforming this year is not BPs fault.

    • When it comes to the Reds and Price/DW…it means a TON more then 4-5 games!
      Castillo was throwing 99 in spring training too? Reds vs futures game…1 run in 5 ip. Think Arroyo could’ve done that? Lorenzen got rushed up when he was 23 so why not 24 yr old Castillo by late May? You think Maddon would’ve sat on Winker and kept him in AAA til mid-August? No way….not even if the Cubs were in last. Its not like he’s 21 and in his first year of AAA. The Cubs would’ve found a spot for him to atleast get 3-4 starts a week.

      Between DWs roster shenanigans and Price’s idiotic in-game moves and lineup construction….I’ll say 9 wins turned upside down minimum. Look at Tuesday…up 1 in the 8th and Peralta and Iggy are nowhere to be seen. They’re only our 2 best relievers for the entire season?

      • Maddon wouldn’t have sat on Winker? Suddenly, I’m not sure you know how baseball teams operate with that comment. Maddon is a manager, you meant Theo Epstein right?

        Arroyo situation? See above.

        I’m not saying BP is something special. I’m not even saying he deserves to be an MLB manager.
        What I am pointing out is that the vast majority of complaints against him are misguided.

  13. Its not just Price either? DW and the front office have to be held accountable. Arroyo? Cmon? Stupid publicity stunt for a semi cult hero former Red. Billy Hamilton leading off. Winker leads his AAA league in obp, but still spends 80% of the year in the minors? It took them 1.5 months of Duvall severely slumping to pull him out of the cleanup spot? The bad decisions always seem to outweigh the good with these guys? Am I wrong? They keep losing 90+ so I don’t think so.

    If Price is inept and can’t change this losing culture and Dick Williams keeps rehiring Price…then that makes DW inept as well! Nebraska football just lost at home to a MAC team. They hired a loser coach in Mike Riley and gave him an extension. The brass at Nebraska didn’t fire him yet, but they fired the Athletic Director that hired him and extended him. Something needs to change….they have enough emerging talent to atleast approach .500 next year at a minimum!

    • You’re right wrt the front office Indy…..but Bob Castinelli isn’t going to fire himself. Given Dick Williams family connections the former hedge fund baby is unlikely to be fired too. Walt Jocketty is a friend of BC’s so his advice won’t be ignored until their friendship ends.

      We are stuck with this front office. And with DW’s inept decision to retain BP. The only thing that can be done is raise a stink over Price’s idiotic managerial moves until Price sees the light and changes to become a better manager and use his resources better.

  14. There hasn’t been a valid study conducted to determine how many games a manager affects over a 162 game season. There have been suggestions but such a determination is not really possible. How does one conduct a test versus base case?

    The lack of starting pitching at the beginning obviously isn’t all Price’s fault. Losing Finnegan couldn’t have been foreseen. Bailey has pitched well below his contract mostly in accordance with expectation. DeSclafani is one example of several of Reds front office or medical staff not producing optimal results. See Latos.

    The use of garbage AAA pitching might mostly be on the front office.

    What the manager can control is the optimization of his given resources. Maybe the best you can do is out produce a baseline manager several games in a season. To the downside a manager can easily cost a team many more games than just several – it’s not an even distribution.

    The problem with Price is he makes several suboptimal decisions. Ones that affect daily in the short term on a game by game basis. Some that affect longer term and many more games such as with Reed and Stephenson and Winker and Ervin and Duvall and Schebler. That may or may not have affected the Reds chances of making the playoffs this year….but it most certainly will next year.

      • Just want to take another shot at this organization by saying it is on all of them and not just Price.Its the good ole boy network at work where everybody joins hands and marches to the same beat.Time after time Price has applauded his team for battling but never giving up so of course they have his back and you won’t hear he has lost the team or they don’t like him etc etc.The reality is the whole organization has accepted losing and it becomes just another day and in baseball there is always another day.Every day they go to work and do they expect to win or hope to win or know they won’t win?After 4 years of the same thing including the same message from the same manager wouldn’t you just join hands and march on?My opinion is that players play because they love the game and love to win but win they lose they aren’t happy at all and it shows.This team is as laid back as they come.They need leadership on and off the field that demands performance and not just playing hard.They need leadership that holds themselves and others accountable and get mad and upset when they lose.Its called passion and refusing to lose not just playing hard.You can play hard and accept losing which is still unacceptable.

  15. So, the rebuild probably should have started right after 2014 season ended but it didn’t really start in earnest until the trade deadline in 2015. The Reds started 2015 with a stated desire to try to compete. A mistake? Yes, but I don’t fault them for that since the AS game was in CIncy that year and they were one year removed from playing pretty darn good ball (not trading Chapman and Frazier earlier can certainly be argued).

    I think this whole “culture of losing” argument doesn’t hold much water since the Reds front-office has pretty much stated that the goal in 2016 and 2017 hasn’t been to be competitive. There is no accountability in the W-L record because the expectation given to the owner was the Reds were going to take some growing pains and were going to lose games the next couple years. The fans were told 2018 may be the year to be competitive again but Price’s option being picked up means that ownership expects perhaps 2018 to be another rebuilding year. It is during the 2018 season that I suspect the Reds may start having more accountability as far as improving the W-L record. If Price still isn’t bringing home wins, then it is during 2018 that I’d expect he’s fired. I’m not a Bryan Price fan but there isn’t a manager out there who wins more than 5-6 more games with this team and that’s if they were really, really trying to win games. I honestly don’t see the Castellini family and ownership group putting up with more losing into 2019. At that point yes, Williams would probably be fired. That’s my expectation at least.

    • I disagree. Just from better bullpen utilization Price cost the Reds several games this season. He wasted Iglesias several times by not using him when Iglesias was well rested in tied ballgames. For optimal utilization see how Francona uses his best relief arm, the lefty they acquired last year from the Yankees….(sorry the memory isn’t working so well). High leverage situations, even if that’s in the 6th or 7th inning.

      He used Cingrani in such a spotty manner it was only a matter of time before Cingrani lost his feel. Not to mention the lack of guidance or coaching to encourage Cingrani to throw more sliders. If Cingrani was truly stubborn he wouldn’t have listened to the Dodgers simple suggestions that are working out favorably for him.

      Price could have used Stephenson and Reed more often early in the season, keeping ballgames close before the third time through the lineup resulted in Bailey or Garrett or other starters getting shelled in the middle innings.

      He could have employed Duvall and Schebler in a more optimal manner with frequent resting that didn’t result in both being run down. He could have used Winker and Ervin from the outset when the front office called them up to the team instead of ignoring them like red headed stepchildren.

  16. I respect your opinion however I must disagree.I remember 2015 and the compete words which were echoed again this year even after as you said 2016 and 2017 were not going to be good years.Now on to 2018 which some feel will be another year rebuilding year and is the reason why Price was brought back just as you said.Sounds to me like we are seeing what happens and maybe we hear those compete words again like in 2015 and this year and well if it doesn’t work we said it wasn’t going to again so on to 2019.I think this organization has accepted losing and by telling folks its going to happen doesn’t make them any less accountable or responsible.

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