2017 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Recap: Reds snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Again.

The Short Version: Leading 4-2 entering the bottom of the eighth inning, Michael Lorenzen and the Reds snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, as an Ian Happ home run gave Chicago a 5-2 win.

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (67-93) 4 8 2
Chicago Cubs (91-69) 5 9 0
W: Duensing (1-1) L: Lorenzen (8-4) S: Grimm (1)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score

The Good
–Down 2-0 as the game headed to the fifth inning, Jesse Winker led off with a ground rule double and Jose Peraza singled him to third. Scott Schebler and Tucker Barnhart each singled, and the game was tied at 2.

After Robert Stephenson bunted into a double play, Phillip Ervin singled to left, scoring Barnhart. After a Zack Cozart walk, Joey Votto singled in Ervin and the Reds led 4-2.

–Votto was 2-4 with a double and an RBI; that was Votto’s 100th RBI of the season. It’s the third time in his career that Votto has topped the RBI century mark, and the first time since 2011.

–Winker — hitting fifth in the order — doubled, walked, and scored a run. Barnhart singled, walked, scored a run, and drove in another.

–Stephenson wasn’t efficient — once again — but he was fairly effective — once again. Bob Steve went five innings, throwing 83 pitches and allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits and two walks. Oddly, he didn’t strike out a batter, but no one really made hard contact against him either. Stephenson’s continued inability to throw a strike when he needs it is going to hamper his development if he can’t harness that command, but you can’t argue the fact that he has made great strides this season.

–Kevin Shackelford gave up a hit in a scoreless sixth inning, but struck out the side.

The Bad
–That 4-2 Reds lead I referenced above lasted all the way until the bottom of the eighth inning. Amir Garrett was on the mound after pitching a scoreless seventh inning, and he surrendered a one-out single before he was removed in favor of Michael Lorenzen. Cubs 3B Taylor Davis greeted Lorenzen by squibbing one down the third base line for cheap infield single.

After Lorenzen struck out Kyle Schwarber, he was within one out of escaping the inning unharmed. That’s the precise moment when Ian Happ crushed a three-run homer to give Chicago a 5-4 lead.

–Votto and Eugenio Suarez each made uncharacteristic throwing errors.

Not-So-Random Thoughts
–Votto’s fourth-inning double extended his on-base streak to 30 games. That’s the longest active streak in the majors.

In related news: Joey Votto is good.

–Is this season over yet?

Tonight’s Tweets

50 thoughts on “Recap: Reds snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Again.

  1. Some good pitching from Stevenson and Shackelford and the offense does it’s job but the lose mirrors the season.

    • Wait a minute.Yes they should have won with a two run lead into the 8th but they got 1 hit the last 4 innings and got 0 hits the last 4 inning the night before.Both losses were by one run.

  2. I was hoping Steve had this recap, no offense to you Chad, for the fact of Price hitting Winker 5th and Ervin lead off. Was looking forward to a witty yet sharp comment that he usually brings to Price’s lineup decisions. Seems like to me he definitely goes by the “who is faster” question. I just don’t get how he wouldn’t want more guys on base in front of Votto. Being fast has nothing to do with that. Our analytics department has to be talking with Williams this offseason about this.

    • No offense taken. It’s a good point. You and Steve are exactly correct about the lineup decisions.

      On the other hand, I thought it was interesting to see Winker in the middle of the order. I dunno, I feel like Price is trying a number of things this month to see what works and what doesn’t.

      But please, give me Winker hitting first or second in the lineup for about 140 games next season.

      • Price is still our Manager so if BH is still with the team next season, there’s no way Winker bats leadoff. Price = Captain Persistent. Cozart is the enigma. If still around, Price will bat him 2nd. He never wavers.

    • If Lorenzen cannot excel in relief, how can anyone believe he will excel as a starter?

      • He’s young, has done relatively little pitching compared to many of his peers, and is evidently still tinkering with mechanical issues. Great arm. Tough competitor. Give up on him if you like, but it seems premature.

        • “He’s young, has done relatively little pitching compared to many of his peers, and is evidently still tinkering with mechanical issues.”

          You’ve just described many of the young pitchers on the roster, several have surpassed him with similar total professional innings pitched. And, he is one of the older, younger pitchers.

          Yeah, he seems to have a great arm and seems to be a tough competitor, but so far that hasn’t helped him be anything but a reliever.

          • Lorenzen, remember, was a centerfielder in college who pitched in relief. I’m not ascribing all of his struggles to this, and you’re right that the general description of him applies to most of the Reds’ young pitchers. My guess, though, is that most of the other guys were settled as pitchers–not position players–earlier in the process.

  3. Both errors were really stupid throws. All I can say is BLARGH!!!! Can’t believe a less-than Stupid Cubs team crawls back in and wins on a walk-off with the wind blowing in.

    Two.More.Games.

    GO TRIBE!!!

    And it makes me wanna throw up in the back of my throat a little, but … GO NATS!!! Sweep the ever-loving Stupid Cubs!!

      • Can’t quite go that far Chad … the only NL teams I want to see make the full trip will be the Snakes or Rockies. I watched some of the beat-down the Rocks gave LA last night. Our old friend Tony the Tiger Cingrani looked pretty average and, well, “Red-like” when he pitched.

      • I would love to see Dusty win it all this year. Of course I wouldn’t mind Cleveland winning it all or the Twins winning it all either.

  4. Not feeling good right now about Lorenzen as a leverage man in the Reds pen next season. Feeling clueless about whether his results as a starter would be any better; or even where he ranks among the candidates. I know he will be Super2 eligible. Maybe it is time to shop him or wrap up in a package deal. (or alternately since I’ve been known to harp about it) Get him a gig playing OF and batting in a high level winter league to see what he has left in that role (only half in jest).

    • Well, Jim. It’s been a disappointing season for Lorenzen, no doubt. And that’s not going to help with a potential trade since he may be Super 2 eligible. Selling way too low. I think he bounces back next year. Just too much ability and youth to not be at least tepidly optimistic. He’ll be a part of the BP next year (cuz the Reds need arms) but I’m bearish on his prospects as a starter after watching these last few months.

      • He has to do better to be worth more. If he doesn’t improve then they’d be selling even shorter, right? Maybe better to find an org with tepid optimism about him and move on for what he will bring. I certainly don’t see him as a lead piece in a significant trade as of now; but, I think he is more than a sweetener and could generate greater return as a secondary piece with a given Reds lead piece or lower the value the Reds lead piece required for a specific given return.

        • And I agree he is one of those guys who could burn the Reds either way. They might keep him another year or two and get little production and little or no eventual return on him; or, they could move him this off season for modest return and watch him come up really big elsewhere. I guess I believe the Reds have enough up and coming pitching that they shouldn’t let him get in the way if he continues to struggle; and, the best way to solve that is move on.

          • This is what kills me – we are so afraid that if we trade a guy, he will explode and make us look bad. I understand the sentiment, but where’s the expectation that he progress and explode while he wears a Reds uniform?

            Where’s the demand for excellence coming from within the Reds organization? The Manager, the GM, the Owner??? Where? Scooter has had a great year – but he’s the exception. I know we have some success stories, but the leadership that oozed from Pinella is missing. Who is the man that can put a young team in a frame of mind to compete?

            We have sorted players all year long – but I’m afraid that we haven’t sorted at the top – where we need it most.

        • I think relievers are prowl to good year, bad year, good year syndrome.

          There is no value in trading him now so you look to see what happens next year. Still cheap, too good an arm, too good a competitor not to have him in the fold.

          We are not talking about Blake Wood here

      • He pitched, he got some people out, he’s not on the DL.

        That to me is a successful 2017 for Lorenzen. Baby steps.

        • Baby steps are the issue here. He will finish the season less than 2 weeks short of a full 3 years of service time (2.159). Next year is his age 26 season (turns 26 in January). He has already had center stage at the MLB level for nearly 3 seasons; and; we still don’t know what he is or isn’t once the shine is off. Others are in line awaiting their chance.

          • Young pitchers are notoriously inconsistent. He’s just 25. I haven’t lost hope for Lorenzen yet, anyway.

            I’m not sure how he’d perform as a starter and, frankly, I have some doubts after watching him this season. But I see NO downside to giving him a shot at the rotation.

          • I agree with Chad… He isn’t worth a ton in trade right now and as a super2 he’s due a raise but shouldn’t be making outlandish money. I think there is some potential there for him to get better. He may not ever be a good starting pitcher but as a RP he worked with a pitch mix similar to what a starter would use. I don’t think the dropoff will be as bad as with some pitchers making that transformation from RP to SP. If however he is destined to stay in the pen, I think it may be in his best interest to ditch a couple of his secondary pitches and work with his two best offerings like most RP.

    • I’m glad you brought that up Jim. I root for ML and I think the Reds may have mishandled his talents, but I don’t see how he could be a starter if he is struggling to relieve. However, Homer seems (no data to back this up) to struggle early and then zero in as he goes on. Maybe Lorenzen needs one inning to kinda get it together and he’s Homer, jr. Or as I like to call him HoJu. Sorry Simpsons.

  5. The push to number five is still alive. Stephenson finished the season fairly well. I think putting him in the bullpen at the start of the season wasn’t the worst idea but not pitching was a bad decision

  6. I think I’ve figured out why the powers-that-be have relegated Winker to the bench with only limited, sporadic playing time. When Winker gets any playing time at all, he simply makes the decision-makers look foolish for not playing him.

    After today’s game:

    1.033 OPS => Votto
    0.939 OPS => Cozart
    0.895 OPS => Winker
    0.880 OPS => Gennett
    0.832 OPS => Suarez
    0.799 OPS => Ervin
    0.798 OPS => Schebler
    0.768 OPS => Duvall
    0.746 OPS => Barnhart
    0.707 OPS => Kivlehan
    0.638 OPS => Hamilton
    0.617 OPS => Peraza

    Yes, that’s Jesse Winker with a 0.895 OPS, 3rd on the team ahead of Gennett, Suarez, Schebler, Duvall, Hamilton and Peraza.

    We can run the same exercise for OBP and get virtually the same results with Jesse Winker (0.370 OBP) 3rd on the team ahead of Suarez, Barnhart, Gennett, Ervin, Schebler, Kivlehan, Hamilton, Duvall and Peraza. This is even more embarrassing than Winker’s OPS, because not only do the decision-makers opt to keep Winker on the bench with just limited, sporadic playing opportunities, when he does play, the decisions-makers opt to drop him into the 2nd half of the lineup and minimize the impact of his on-base skills. UGH…two more games.

    • Two more games and another season ahead with Bryan Price at the helm. I’m not a Marlins fan but I like what soon-to-be-owner, Derrick Jeter, is doing: change.

  7. I found today’s game particularly encouraging for Bob Stephenson. He wasn’t striking out hitters to cover his walks, but no one was barreling up his pitches either. Stephenson obviously has top-of-the-rotation stuff if he can harness his control, but I think his performance right now plays in the starting rotation to keep the team in the ballgame and allow the bullpen or offense to win the game.

    • Still very worried about the command. But I’m continually impressed by his stuff. You can see why he has gotten so many chances in this organization. I can see him throwing a no-hitter on a day when he’s throwing strikes.

      I just hope there are a few days when he’s throwing strikes.

  8. Wind blowing in so he sits Billy, the one time Billy Ball actually has merit, i.e. singles, SB score. So yea pinch hit Duval with 2 outs in the 9th to see if he can hit a home run into the teeth of the wind despite being ice cold for 2 months. If we are jockeying for draft position, this is genius. If we are trying to win games, its god awful managing.

  9. I saw headlines earlier saying “Price resigns” and I thought “What? Really? WOW, THIS IS GREAT!”

    Then I thought “Wait, why is this national news?”

    Then I read the stories.

    ……

    Fun feeling while it lasted.

  10. Joey Votto is good. Tucker Barnhart has been a godsend. Eugenio Suarez is good. Zack Cozart would be very useful at shortstop and in the lineup again next year. Jesse Winker is a professional hitter. There’s a solid core there, and if the pitching continues to improve this will be a contending team soon. Stephenson needs to work on his mechanics and control and could be an ace. I agree with Chad that there’s little downside to giving Lorenzen 10 starts next year to see if he blossoms there. From a draft slot perspective I’m fine that the Reds lost yesterday, but I’m still optimistic about 2018. Until then…

    Votto for MVP. Votto for Captain. Go Reds.

  11. It’s time to part with Cozart. Older now, injury prone, not worth the bank. Move on.

    • I understand the rationale behind shopping Cozart. On the other hand, he is still a near top of the league defender and a top of the league hitter at shortstop. Considering the change in plate discipline and change in swing mechanics Cozart has made, this improvement is not likely a fluke based on lucky BABIP; it is more likely who he is as a player now. Plus, he is a veteran who has improved and not just relied on freakish talent. There are some young Reds I’d love to see follow his example at this stage in their careers. Having him in the lineup alongside Votto, even with scheduled precautionary rests, can bring lots of benefits to the team. Besides, the moves that I have seen discussed result in a decline at shortstop both offensively and defensively, which is tough to absorb for team with a negative run differential.

      • He is indeed a free-agent after the season though… The question will be, what will he cost going forward? For the right 2-year deal, I’d love to extend him. I don’t think 2-years or 2 and an option will get it done though. I also foresee an AAV in the $12-million to $15-million range. If those are indeed the numbers, then should the Reds still sign him?

  12. Nolan Ryan, Sandy Koufax,Randy Johnson all had control issues early in their careers. When you have elite stuff, it can take some time to harness it. I would counsel patience for now.

      • I don’t believe Reed’s stating that Bob Steve will be equal to those pitchers – and there is certainly a long list of guys with great stuff that never were able to harness it and flamed out of the game. I think his last line about being patient is the message. And given Bob Steve’s improvement the 2nd half of the year, the trend is positive.

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