There’s an episode of Cheers where Norm has an interview for his dream job as a beer sampler at a local brewery. At the bar before the interview, Rebecca Howe tells Norm a story of her blowing an interview so badly she ended up singing knick-knack-paddy-whack-give-a-dog-a-bone. Rebecca’s story gets stuck in Norm’s head. When Norm met the president of the beer company well, the results were predictable, if humorous.

The moral: overthinking and the power of suggestion about disaster can cause serial repetition of that disaster.

I believe that phenomenon, although less funny in this context, is the best explanation of Reds pitchers continuing to groove offerings to Eric Thames. Knick knack paddy whack.

In Monday’s recap, I joked about hoping the Reds that night hadn’t scored all the runs they were going to in April. It was a joke, baseball gods, a joke.

Cincinnati Reds 0  Milwaukee Brewers 

Box Score || Win % || Reds Pitcher Stats || Reds Hitting Stats

Tyler Mahle has started four games in 2018. During his 21 innings, the Reds have scored exactly one run. Today, he gave up four walks (one intentional) and struck out six Brewers.

Mahle’s highlight – possibly the best pitch of his season, or career – was in the fourth inning against Christian Yelich. The Reds had walked Thames to load the bases with two outs. Mahle started Yelich’s at bat by throwing three balls. After that, Mahle didn’t back down or give in. He threw three fastballs 95-95-97 mph, with Yelich swinging at the final pitch. Mahle’s last fastball, that painted the outside corner, was clocked at 96.8 mph, a full 1.3 mph faster than any other pitch Mahle has thrown this year. Yelich missed it.

The Reds offense struggled again today. Now 19 innings without a run. 4 shutouts in 18 games. Some of that is the loss of Eugenio Suarez and Scott Schebler to injury. Some of it is veterans like Joey Votto and Adam Duvall not living up to their career numbers. Zack Cozart’s production last year was huge. A big chunk of it though is lousy, terrible, soft at bats.

Since Suarez was injured, the combination of Cliff Pennington, Phil Gosselin and Alex Blandino have had 51 plate appearances. They’ve managed 3 singles and 3 walks and the rest outs. That’s a line of .058/.117/.058.

Take the first inning (please). Jesse Winker led off by lining a double over Christian Yelich in centerfield (Winker power alert), a ball that gets mis-played into three bases. With Winker on third and no outs, Jose Peraza swung lunged at the first pitch, way out of the strike zone and tapped it to the third baseman. After the Brewers walked Votto, Duvall tapped a pitch back to the mound. Then Scooter Gennett popped out. No runs.

Knick knack paddy whack.

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 48 Comments

  1. BLARGH!!!!

  2. Place your bets folks…. is Price filling out the lineup card this Friday?

  3. The ineptitude of scoring runners from 2nd or 3rd is really quite impressive in its own way.

    Sure don’t mind the thought of Mahle and Castillo running out there the next few years.

    • The problem, more immediately, is getting runners to second or third. Suarez and Schebler being injured doesn’t help, probably, but the Reds were not hitting with them in the lineup.

  4. What did Price do wrong? He’s got the roster that the Front Office gave him. Schebler and Suarez are hurt.
    We can’t trade Billy Hamilton, he’s a Red Forever.

    And Peraza is the shortstop of the Future….Today!

    Really. This is what it is.

    • Steve suggested hitting Barnhart second .I think Winker scores in the first if Peraza isn’t hitting in the #2 hole. That would shake things up. Schebler comes back Friday.

      But. No one is hitting. Scooter has zero home runs on April 18. That’s not helping his trade value. Massive power outage.

      • Personally, I think Reds fans underestimated what Cozart’s leaving would do to the lineup. He usually hit second and did well. Peraza— not so much.

        • Not fans…Reds management. It wasn’t just his bat or glove, but those were significant contributions.

        • The thought was he would regress and had a career year, plus he was an awfully expensive guy (18 million) on a rebuilding club that targeted 2019/20. Peraza or maybe Senzel was supposed to be the guy long term.

          But yeah, with Peraza pounding gophers every AB and the trio at third (if you call it that with Blandino buried behind two career backups), he’s sorely missed.

    • Price is bunt happy and it seldom works. He gives up outs all the time. That’s on him.

  5. Anyone know when today’s game starts? I Hope Thames doesn’t hit another two run homer like he did yesterday and the Reds lose 2-0.

  6. I was sure that RLN was down for a period today during the game, because the Reds must have actually got a runner home from 3rd with no outs and it broke the internet. I was wrong, but what else could have explained it?

  7. Again….for the Millionth Time, Owner Bob, GM Dick, and Manager Bryan—You are NEVER going to score many runs, very very few, with hitters like Peraza, Pennington, Gosselin, Hamilton, and obvisiouly the Pitchers spot. Hitters like Votto and Duvall are not hitting up to their standard, but note that Votto, Duvall, and Gennett (especially Voto) are not going to get good pitches to hit, when other teams pitchers can pitch around them to get to the bad bad hitters.

  8. Talk about rinse, wash, repeat. I got on MLB.com this afternoon to check the score and saw the story about Thames hitting a homerun and the Reds losing 2-0. At first I thought it was an article about yesterday’s game.

  9. 4th time shutout in 18 games for the Reds.

    Most HRs allowed by any MLB pitching staff.

    Worst record in league.

    Not often does a MLB team commit 3 errors and win, but that’s what happened today.

    Adding back in Suarez and Schebler will help by what…5 WAR? Moving up to say, 63 wins from 58 and avoiding a 100-loss season?

    If this doesn’t turn around soon, a case could be made to play kids every single inning, including platooning/rotating Scooter, giving Votto a few days off, and count on getting no. 1 pick. (Miami is pesky to play against so far).

    Hopefully, Mahle getting every start he can is part of the good that comes from this current train wreck. As that Yelich confrontation showed, Mahle is raw enough still to get into a lot of trouble. But, his stuff is so swing-and-miss good, he can get himself out of the jam, as well.

    Not many of the young Reds SPs can say that yet.

    • As I said on an earlier RLN blog, if the Reds don’t get their house in order, the National League is going to trade them for a triple A franchise somewhere.

    • The plus side is that WAR only correlates about 70-90% to actual wins (r=.68-.92 in studies I’ve seen). Maybe we squeeze a sixth or even seventh win in there? Price will blow that, I’m sure. Sad all around.

    • If it makes you feel any better, my 2nd favorite MLB team, my AL team of choice, is the Baltimore Orioles. They are 5-13, which means my two teams have the market cornered on futility. It could be worse I guess. I mean my AL team could be KC (3-13).

  10. At this point, I’m absolutely stunned multiple heads have not rolled.

  11. I love that the “not great stuff but throws strikes” guy can hit 97. Maybe some of the guys with “great stuff” (Reed, Stephenson, Finnegan) could take a few notes. All of the greats, minus a few Randy Johnson/Nolan Ryan freaks, save a few ticks. And Ryan wasn’t much of a strike thrower (all-time leader in walks). Mahle is going to be great, as is Garrett and possibly Romano (very good at least). We should be running them all out there every five days…sigh.

    • You are correct. The pitching has been a glimmer of hope in the dismal start to this season. The starting five should be Bailey, Castillo, Romano, Mahle and Garrett. It’s time to give these pitchers concentrated experience to get established in this last year of the rebuild. Finnegan and Reed should be in the bullpen or at Louisville.

  12. The scary thing is that the Reds’ run differential, which is a better indicator of future performance than their record, is the worst in the majors.

  13. When you’re 12 games under .500 before the end of April, there’s not much hope. I honestly can’t believe Price is still Manager. Worst team in baseball. I’m sick of this crap.

  14. Well so far the recaps have been the most enjoy part of this season. Tip of the hat to the RLN team for making the best of a potentially historically bad season

  15. To keep this season from being a complete crash and burn, we ought to make lemonade – dedicate this season to anemia awareness or something.

  16. So, who do we pick first in the 2019 draft? Hope there is a can’t-miss stud hitter (or pitcher) there, and they’re starting in Cincy at age 20 or 21.

  17. Well it’s over. But they replaced him with Riggleman. Oh well at least they did something. I like that Darwin is the pitching coach.

  18. Price has been let go!!!!

  19. I’m eager to see tomorrow’s lineup and see if there is any player shakeup. Eager to see what Darwin does with Garrett and the staff.

  20. Darwin probably knows the young pitchers better than anyone.

    My calculations yesterday were that, aside from Gallardo, Rainey & Weiss, the team ERA is 4.46, or about a full point lower than with them. I think offense is the real problem.

    • I’m glad to see this post, and thanks for it. I made a comment some time ago about that (90 innings in 10 games, 8 runs from Gallardo = worse ERA than it should be as a team). Nice to see someone actually run the math – 4.46 isn’t great, but we’ve had a few rough outings by Castillo to inflate that, as well. It certainly isn’t bad enough to have led to this start alone (add in a terrible offense so far, you’re right). That makes me feel better about moving forward with the young guys and 2019.

  21. I’ll wait for the official RLN…but he should have been non-renewed last August.

  22. If you like Price, you’ll love Riggleman.

  23. Who knows what it means that they will hire a permanent replacement “later in the year.” I would rather have the guy in place by August or so, to give him some familiarity with the team, including the coaching staff, going into the off season.

    • I agree as long as they do a REAL search and not just hand it to some insider. This includes Larkin. I love the guy, but can he manage? And I’d hate for his reputation to be tarnished.

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About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

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Titanic Struggle Recap

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