Another professional team has demonstrated the fruits of going through the dreaded “rebuild” process through which the Reds are currently slogging.

The NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers have made the NBA playoffs, riding the momentum of a 15-game winning streak at the end of the current season. This is a team that following the 2013 season, decided to basically start from scratch, with the idea that continuing on the organizational strategy they had been on for decades would lead to more decades of mediocrity.

This chart, that first appeared on SBNation.com, shows the win trajectory of the Sixers and every other NBA team that finished within five wins of their 34 total following the 2013 season.

You can see that the Sixers were the lowest of the low in the NBA for years, but stubbornly stuck with what became known as “The Process:” Intentionally shedding established talent and big contracts with the idea of having a poor record that would result in high draft choices. Along the way, the Sixers used those choices to add star-caliber players Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. This year, they signed veteran shooting guard J.J. Redick to add a veteran presence.

The point is that “The Process” appears to have worked. But it wasn’t without embarrassment along the way. And, it took five full seasons.

As with the beginning of every baseball season, I was excited and had high hopes for the Reds this year. The first 11 games have demonstrated that there is no depth to speak of in the organization to cover for the barrage of injuries that have befallen both the pitching staff and the everyday lineup.

The Reds are starting year four of their version of “The Process.” You can see in the chart that the Sixers began an upswing in year four, and hopefully, that will still be the case for the Reds once the walking wounded return.

Other teams that have successfully completed a rebuild – the Royals, Astros, and Cubs – went through years of being the dregs. All of the data shows that year four of “The Process” was a bit too early to expect a return to competitiveness.

I’m not giving up, but trying to temper my disappointment in this early season stretch with a little empirical data that indicates competitiveness in year four was too high of an expectation. The Year Four Reds try to start the process of digging out of the major league cellar in terms of winning percentage (.182) with a home game against the St. Louis Cardinals at the early start time of 6:40 p.m. Eastern time.

Starting Pitchers

Name IP ERA xFIP K% BB%
Michael Wacha 9.2 5.59 5.58 15.6% 15.6%
Sal Romano 11 5.73 5.71 6.1% 10.2%

Wacha burst onto the Major League scene in 2013, and had two great years to start his career. Since then, he has a combined ERA approaching 5.00. The Reds seemingly have a chance to get their bats going tonight.

Romano has been passable in his first two starts. He’s looking to recapture the sharpness he demonstrated at the end of the 2017 season.

Bullpen

Each member of the eight-man bullpen should be available, with the possible exception of Raisel Iglesias, who pitched two lights-out innings last night. In the past when Iglesias has pitched two innings, he has been rested the following day. But through the first 11 games, Iglesias has appeared only four times, covering a total of 5.1 innings.

As I was thinking yesterday about writing this game preview story, I was thinking about a theme of, “Where in the World is Raisel Iglesias?” Clearly, the Reds have not had many ninth-inning leads. But to have the best pitcher on your team pitch only 3.1 innings over the first 10 games seemed a bit daft. I hope the way Bryan Price used him last night is indicative of how he will be used moving forward. Until some of the injured bullpen arms get back, what’s the point of inserting someone like Kevin Quackenbush in the eighth inning of a tied or one-run game? Give your team a shot in the eighth or ninth by using Iglesias then, if you have already used guys like Jared Hughes, Wandy Peralta and Amir Garrett. There is no point in saving Iglesias for a save situation that will likely disappear with the use of someone who likely won’t be with the team next month.

Starting Lineups

Today is the first game since September 2016 that Joey Votto has not started. C. Trent Rosecrans reported on Twitter that Manager Bryan Price said it is just a day off for Votto. Price said he would like to give him more days off than in the past couple of years.

Cardinals Reds
RF Dexter Fowler  CF Billy Hamilton
CF Tommy Pham  SS Jose Peraza
3B Matt Carpenter  LF Jesse Winker
LF Marcell Ozuna  1B Adam Duvall
1B Jose Martinez  2B Scooter Gennett
C Yadier Molina  RF Phillip Ervin
SS Paul DeJong  C Tucker Barnhart
2B Kolten Wong  3B Alex Blandino
P Michael Wacha P Sal Romano

News and Notes

Some positive news from our Doug Gray:

A very bad streak for Adam Duvall has bridged two seasons …

Join the conversation! 107 Comments

  1. So, Price’s response to all of this is to bench Votto? Unless Votto asked out of the lineup for his own version of accountability–or injury–then Price shouldn’t make it through the weekend.

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    • Not only that but he sits Votto against a RH pitcher and replaces him with a RH Hitter who is slumping terribly. A Recipe for a loss.

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  2. Glad Votto getting a day off. Not happy about the record and wondering if Mr. Price not a bit daft… but the quality of the starting pitching has given me a glimmer.
    Knew it ha been a rough patch for Duvall but those numbers are going beyond a “small sample size.”

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  3. Among other things…if this is a “scheduled off day” for Votto, choosing to do that in a home game against your chief rival seems somewhat tone deaf.

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    • …particularly when the necessary outcome for the team is to (a) come home (b) against their rival and (c) try to get two wins back-to-back. More than anything else this would lift the weight of a mountain of this team psychologically.

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    • A spin on that would be Price/Votto (who said this during spring training) trying to show the young guys this is their team and they need to step up. Peraza 2nd, Winker 3rd, Ervin and Blandino starting. Votto will be around all weekend. I have no problem with this.

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  4. Alex Blandino is back starting at 3B tonight.

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  5. The prognosis for Suarez has apparently been upgraded to a possible return within a month.

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  6. At least we know Price has moved away from considering small sample batter vs pitcher stats. Votto has a .382 avg and 1.097 OPS vs Wacha. Our leadoff hitter vs Wacha has a lifetime .091 avg with an amazing .303 OPS.

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    • It’s a crazy game. Two of the weakest hitters in baseball both get on base their first two times up. Nice bunt by Peraza his second time.

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  7. Only explanation for what’s going on in cincy,is ownership is tanking,votto on bench is inexcusable,manager is worst in baseball by a ton and yet he still there,not even trying to win

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  8. tough room. he is getting older. probably got in late last night. need him for 5 more years.
    unless he is Ponce de Leon and has found the proverbial fountain… perhaps its time to take the long view with him.
    If we want him on the “next good Reds team?” a day off makes sense.

    Reply
    • Agreed. Like we’re going to fall out of contention if he sits out a handful of games this season?

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      • It’s the 12th game of the season, and we’ve had multiple off days. We’re at home against the Cardinals, and not facing a tough LHP or something. But, yes, this won’t make a difference in our playoff odds.

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  9. It will be interesting to see how many times Winker comes to bat with nobody on base, a la Votto.

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  10. More bad defense, and losing in the first inning. Amazing.

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  11. Already enjoying the broadcast team of Welsh and Day.

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  12. Pitcher had thrown 5 straight balls, so Peraza swings at a borderline pitch. (And then hits a soft-serve double. Go figure.)

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  13. Sorry if I’m being overly negative but just not a fan of Romano really. No change of speeds really. No real movement. Its down which is good. He keeps the ball in the park a little better then average but no put away pitch either? He showed Fowler a decent changeup but it ran outside and never looked like a strike. Same thing with Reed. It makes me think that the Reds pitching coaches are failing at the minor league level?

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  14. Tie game, Winker delivers !!!

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  15. Wacha is really struggling…how’s the time to hit him

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  16. Jim Day comparing Winker to Sean Casey…..don’t know why I didn’t think of that? Thats a good one….hopefully he’ll develop a little more power then Casey

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  17. Odd sequence. Anger the guy by nearly hitting him in the belt buckle, and they give him one right down Brantley’s “Broadway.”

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  18. Maybe we should think about having Romano do his learning in Louisville, and let Stephenson do his learning in Cincinnati

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    • Also intrigued with this lefty Justin Nicolino they picked up late in March. He pitched really well in Lville the other night. 5 ip, 3 hits, 1 er, 6ks. He doesn’t throw hard but has really good control and changes speeds. A lifetime 2.98 era in the minors caught my attention. He’s only 26

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  19. Billy Back on Board

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  20. Nice bunt. Clogging the bases for Winker !!

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  21. I’m watching on game day and they didn’t tell me what Peraza did wrong with that hit

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  22. Bad call on strike 3 to Winker, but then, Romano got a very high strike call on Carpenter, too.

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  23. Winker took strike 3 with 2 men on and no out. Send him back to Louisville.

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  24. Peraza is 11 for 31 this month. 354 average. Good for him.

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  25. I was not trying to troll you Mr. Vegas or is it Mr. Typo. ?

    I meant it in fine

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  26. Scooter!! Wasn’t the 4-homer game against the Cardinals, too ???

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  27. Scooter: the man, the legend

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  28. Best TOOTBLAN ever.

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  29. Molina with the error. Let’s make ’em pay

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  30. Barnhart goes from 0-2 to a walk, and none of the four pitches were even close. C’mon, Blandino !

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  31. Someone may play worse then the Reds tonite? Who knew? Walking Duvall on 4 pitches when he’s ice cold. Can’t get the out there either?

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  32. What is this “4” next to “runs”? It seems unfamiliar

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  33. I knew I should have listened when that fortune teller told me “Hamilton and Peraza will score 4 runs in the first 3 innings. Bet on it.”

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  34. The pen scares me tonite though? Hughes won’t be available. Garrett/Peralta should be good for 1. Iggy went 2 so he’s prob unavailable….maybe 2 guys or something.

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  35. Man, that’s annoying. A missed strike call costs Romano a 1-2-3 inning and probably an inning of pitching down the line.

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  36. Interesting trend with Big Sal so far:

    1st inning era : 18.00 (opponents scored 2 runs in all 3 starts)
    Rest of the time : 3.00

    I’d say he needs to warm up a little harder!

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  37. Sheesh, Billy got the worst of two close calls there.

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    • It’s ridiculous how much benefit Molina gets.

      Speaking of which, I could go without a whole inning of talk about Molina by Welch and Day like we had earlier.

      Reply
  38. Any scorers know whether Molina could have been charged with an error earlier? No runners advanced due to his drop, but it was a basic play and Duvall was nowhere near the bag. (Oh, and he should have been suspended a lot more than a game for manhandling an ump.)

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    • Hey, somebody POINTED AT HIM! LOL

      I actually heard somebody saying he should have received no punishment because ANYBODY would have reacted to being pointed at like that.

      What is going on in the world today?

      Reply
  39. Wow. Hamilton needs to take over there.

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  40. Good Lord, Peraza, get out of the way. And here we go again.

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  41. Peraza is not a good defensive player! At any position.

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  42. It’s time get Romano out of there. I hope they have someone up in pen.

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  43. Yep let’s rest Votto at home.

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  44. Seriously, this team has the worst game calling ever.

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  45. Is it me or does Romano always last about 5 innings? Throws a lot of pitches. Maybe him and Garrett should switch.

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  46. They needed that from Molina!

    Not sure about Romano though? Nice movement from the breaking stuff after the 1st, but then he started walking people? I guess they run with him for a while, but I’d consider Garrett, Stephenson, Nicolino, and Lorenzen when he gets back. I don’t expect Finnegan to look much better then Romano either? He hasn’t been sharp at all in spring or Lville.

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  47. Brice! Nice! Weiss? No dice. 🙂

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  48. Nice escape there, have learned to expect the worst.

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  49. Again. 1-2 count, 4 straight FBs and then boom. Amazing.

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  50. Thats the game today…middle infielders hit it out. Everyone hits it out. Hernandez/Kingery hit HRs in Philly. Thats why Peraza doesn’t work. He could hit .280-.290 but its ultra-soft with no walks. We’ve been outhomered 19-7 now on the season.

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  51. Shatters the guy’s bat, and he still gets a weak hit out of it. Bad luck on top of all of this team’s shortcomings.

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  52. Where did THAT play come from??? SCOOTER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  53. That was big! Actually have good expectations when Garrett comes in and thats rare for this staff.

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  54. I got home just in time to watch scooters play! Hooray!

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  55. It’s past time to let the machines call balls and strikes.

    Nights like this make for illegitimate games, IMO.

    Reply
    • Blandino was wise to keep his mouth shut.

      That up is going to toss somebody out tonight.

      By the way, if you haven’t noticed I was wrong about the Price being fired tonight. I guess they’re waiting until the off day

      Reply
    • True, this game is clearly an issue with the umpires, the Reds obvious talent level is not allowed to shine

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    • Good luck getting the umpire’s union to agree to that.

      Reply
  56. oh, boy. Well. so much for that. Bad teams lose games.

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  57. 20-7 Hr deficit for the Reds now. I hate the Cards but they get out there and find people. Never heard of DeJong or Jose Martinez 2 years ago and they’re not that young either.

    Make that 21-7. This is one beatdown season. They may drop 100?

    Had enough tonite

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    • Because the Cards organization is arguably the best in baseball at developing players. Lose Pujols and Allan Craig steps in, lose Craig to injury and Matt Adams steps up. When Adams became ineffective Carpenter moves to 1st and Wong to 2nd.. Lose Heyward to FA and Taveras tragically to car accident, Piscotty & Grichuk step up. When both became ineffective Pham steps up. Lose Peralta to injury and Diaz steps in and becomes all-star and when Diaz became ineffective, DeJong steps in. Almost all these guys except for Grichuk were not highly drafted and were called up in their mid-20’s.

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  58. Bullpen. Face palm

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  59. That’s it for me too.

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  60. Batting Practice now in progress. Another smooth move.

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  61. This is so sad. Weiss gets the heck beat out of him and now Rainey issues a 4 pitch walk. Bases loaded and no one out…

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  62. I Dare someone to say Price likes Garrett!!! Or even say Dick Williams likes him.

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  63. I’ve seen enough for awhile. Be back after hockey is over.

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  64. Thats what I keep saying….Its Rebuilding Tryouts again. Reds keep putting pitchers out there, to see what they can do. Its been the same thing over and over again, the last couple of years. Price will keep saying, “Only way they can overcome having a bad night and nights, is to keep having them pitch again and again.” Then the Reds will send down pitchers to AAA to see if they can work on stuff, then bring them back up later, or others up later, and we have the same issues. Thats why you can’t tell me that the Reds want to win, or that Price wants to win. They just want to basically play everybody, so the players can tell people some day, “Hey, I got to play for the Reds at a MLB level.” I know I won’t last long there, but at least I got to be in some games. We ended up losing at bunch of games, but at least I got to play for a MLB Team.

    Reply
    • You really think Price doesn’t want to win? The only shot he had at possibly keeping his job was if the Reds exceeded expectations. That’s not happening so he’s as good as gone, whether it’s a matter of days, weeks, or months.

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  65. It looks like I picked a bad day to stop sniffing glue

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  66. This team is in need of a check up from the neck up. Let’s not forget Price had the F bomb meltdown. Hey Mr Castellini. How we looking. Not good.

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  67. I get that this game is awful, but I’m not sure I follow all the blame assigned to Price on this one. He only has the pitchers that are available, so what exactly is he supposed to do? He has 5 pitchers on the DL and players named Dibble, Myers and Charlton aren’t coming out of retirement. Sure, he makes plenty of his own odd decisions (bunting with 2 on and no out, seeming to simply avoid putting Iglesias in, etc.), but he can only do so much with the players the team has.

    All that being said, this season is not over. There are still 42 games to go until the 1/3 of the season mark. If some guys come back from the DL, the hitting keeps improving like it has the last 2 games, and maybe some major league-ready pitchers get back on the squad, it’s possible that we don’t feel so bad about this rebuild in late May. I like to be optimistic.

    Reply
    • I concur in regards to Price. He has no business being a manager in MLB, but, the players on this roster do not have the talent to compete in this division. That is on management. Not sure how even the most optimistic Reds fan can see a path to contention with the current 40 man roster.

      The Reds are now last in opponent OPS, Finnegan is not going to fix that.

      Reply
    • A bullpen of Iglesias, Peralta, Garrett (should be a starter), Reed, Hughes, Lorenzen & Hernandez (when they return) should be decent. Not great but not bad. Price has used his worst bullpen guys in close games and wasted Hughes to mop up games the Reds had no chance to win and used Garrett too often when they were down several runs rather than using Garrett when the Reds were losing by only a run or two.

      A pitching coach background who doesn’t use his pitching resources well (Garrett starting is a no brainer), a guy who fills out suboptimal lineups (BH batting leadoff mostly from his weaker side, batting 9th from his stronger OBP side), a guy who couldn’t help young kids like Cingrani reach their potential while the Dodgers make a simple change noted from analysis resulting in superior performance…., a mgr who doesn’t know how to execute double switches to extend the length his relievers can pitch before pinch hitting for them…..

      Doesn’t matter who you use to manage your resources. If they don’t manage the given resources well, replace them (Price) with someone who will (most average competent reasonably logical human beings).

      Reply
  68. I’m all for optimism but this is so disheartening. We’ll get ’em tomorrow.

    Reply
  69. Did I miss that Reed was no longer a starter? Finnegan going to make the next start?

    Reply
  70. Mlb.com says that Cliff Pennington is pitching. Is that true?

    Reply

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2018 Reds, Game Thread

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