I don’t even know what to say at this point. I do not understand what is going on. Certainly, Finnegan was not great, but the Cardinals only scored 4 runs today. The Reds should be able to win games like that.

There was reason to think the team might regress offensively this year, but this seems impossible. It can’t continue. It simply can’t. I’m not being optimistic or hyperbolic. This is impossible over a 162 game season.

I’m speechless, except for these things:

  1. Start Amir Garrett. Start him. NOW.
  2. I worry that the Reds have some players (Duvall and Gennett) who might be really hurt by the fact that current studies show the ball is significantly less juiced this year.
  3. I do at least mostly look forward to whichever starting pitcher is on the mound that night. That’s something.

Ugh. Ugh.

Uggggggggghhhhhhhh.

Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at jasonlinden.com.

Join the conversation! 42 Comments

  1. Top of the order (plus Hamilton) is hitting.

    • Billy came into this game hitting .172/.284/.241 (a 48 OPS+), and reached base once. Votto entered the game with an OPS+ of 65 and reached base once. Peraza entered the game with an OPS+ of 54 and reached base once. Winker is getting on base, but he’s still got a low average and only one extra base hit.

      In fact, there are only two people in the lineup with an OPS+ north of 90. Jesse Winker (91) and Tucker Barnhart (144). The team as a whole (excluding pitchers) came into the night hitting .224/.307/.327. Jason is right, it’s absolutely shocking how little hitting this team is doing.

    • A 55 and 53 wRC+ is considered good hitting?

  2. The Reds actually out-hit the Cards tonight (9-8). What they didn’t get was timely hitting.

    They’re hitting the ball, they’re just not “stringin’ ’em together”, as the old baseball folks say.

    • Yup, Cl3J.

      Very related to that, the Reds have 11 HRs through 19 games. No bueno.
      That is down there with Kansas City, Miami and Tampa at the bottom of MLB.
      The top ten HR hitting teams have hit at least 22.

      Suarez and Schebler will help somewhat, but no one is playing 162, not even Votto now with his day off. Ervin, Blandino, anyone at Louisville should continue get looks to add depth for next year.

      If they can’t develop it, this team needs to off its wallet and go after a 2019 version of Zobrist, Desmond, etc. in free agency that can be WAR positive and fill in at several positions. Not dumpster diving on Pennington, Gosselin.

      The over-reliance this team has on an age-35 season Votto for offensive consistency in 2018 reflects on how (not) completed this rebuild is.

    • The Reds are getting some wood on the ball even without Suarez and Schebler. They’re in one of those periods where a well hit ball goes toward the opposition, and the other teams hits go through. That will change. I like to see Riggleman, Kelly and Darwin walk in the dugout and talk to the players instead of standing there like a statue. And other positives are using Floro in 3 innings of scoreless relief, and Blandino looks like a part of the rebuild and a future second baseman. Negatives are that Peraza, as a free-swinger, should not bat second in the order. Also, it’s clear to me that Finnegan is not ready as a starter but should be in the bullpen or AAA.

  3. Now that Cody Reed was sent down to the minors, the excuse to not start Garrett will be because we need two left handlers in the bullpen. Finnigan probably will not fare much better in the bullpen with his shaky control. Meanwhile in the minors, David Hernandez gives up 3 hits and hits a batter in 1/3 of an inning. Robert Stephenson commits 3 errors. Ouch!!

    • I saw that about Robert Stephenson. He allowed only 1 ER but committed the errors that allowed 2 unearned runs to score. His last outing he allowed zero earned runs; but yes, you guessed right, committed an error which allowed an unearned run to score.

      Tonight he ran his pitch count up and only made it through 5 innings (88 pitches, 50 strikes) but “just” 2 walks (too many for 5 innings but how do you throw 38 balls in 5 innings and not walk even more).

      Skip the fact that RS committed the errors which allowed the unearned and his line tonight was reasonable, especially considering he hadn’t pitched for over a week because of their weather postponements.

      5IP; 4H; 3R; 1ER; 2BB; 5K 1HR

  4. This Reds team has set low standards for itself and cant even live up to them.

  5. I am 45 years old and a lifelong Reds fan,could it be that this team is just THAT BAD,HAS NO DIRECTION,AND IS NOT EVEN CLOSE TO BEING REBUILT? At first i thought the rebuilding is inevitable and didn’t like it but understood it. I questioned the rebuild when the didn’t get good prospects back,which happened alot. I started thinking that this team was like the Reds of the early 80’s. Terrible team for a year or 2 but good young players on the horizon. But i was wrong,there is no Eric Davis in AAA,no Nasty Boys in the pen,no young Larkin or O’Neill. This is not Bryan Price’s fault,this is all on the GM and ownership. I hope i am wrong by saying this but i still think even with only good decisions from here on out that we are still 3-5 years away from being a Playoff team. We may have a few good prospects but nothing like what this team is lacking.

    • I feel your pain. As a 61-year-old who came of age during the Big Red Machine era, I used to dream in my teenage years of retiring to the Cincinnati area and attending all the Reds games I wanted. That dream has turned into the nightmare possibility that I may not live to experience the thrill of the Reds winning another championship. Am I over-reacting? I can only hope so.

      • One thing i liked about the current ownership was the honoring of the past players and teams but is that all we are going to have from now on is living through the past. I love the Reds history,the Big Red Machine,the 90 team,but a pennant every 20-30 years and a Championship every 50 years is all we as fans are asking for.

      • I’m 56 and also a lifelong Reds fan. Unfortunately I just don’t see this “rebuild” working. I know there has been injuries but there isn’t an abundance of talent anywhere in the organization. There are some good players but not a solid foundation for a winner. Unfortunately I think the rebuild will have to be rebuilt but not with the current ownership or front office who botched the rebuild in the first place.

  6. Brandon Finnegan is not the same pitcher.
    He might have hit 93 mph twice and mostly was 91 mph with his fastball.
    His off speed was low to mid 80’s/ The majority of 18 year olds the Reds are scouting for the June draft are better than that. Finnegan has something majorly wrong. The Reds fired Bryan Price. That means what was last week isn’t now ……That also means Brandon Finnegan doesn’t get 15 more starts and is owed nothing. Stop. He earned nothing tonight. Put Amir Garrett in or the Price firing meant nothing.

  7. That’s 10 losses in a row to the Cards…. TEN LOSSES IN A ROW!! And then having to listen to Williams give an interview about the thought process of going into this season… they EARNED this team – they’ve lovingly built this )()@*#$))@ dumpster fire that never goes out.

  8. Early in the game, several times FS/OH showed Pat Kelley and Danny Darwin somewhat off to themselves discussing things with a bit of a shell hocked looks on their faces. Other than thinking they must have been wondering what they’ve gotten into, the thought occurred to me that while Riggleman is running the team day to day, this duo may well be the ones charged whipping the troops into shape. If so that could certainly lead to an interesting dynamic among the coaching staff as the season plods along.

  9. About the baseballs being “unjuiced”… I noticed that both tonight and the other night in Milwauke, when Duvall hit a warning track fly ball for an out, he immediately grimaced in recognition from the feel of contact that he did not get enough of the ball to get it out of the park. What we don’t know of course is if he felt like he was on the pitch or felt he had “missed” it by smidge.

    Add in that neither Winker nor Votto have hit a single HR yet. On the other hand, I saw a tweet that said both of Winker’s singles tonight had triple digit exit speed and almost certainly would have carried for home runs on a higher trajectory.

    • Jim- not sure about juiced balls. We will see better in a month or two but the Reds are not making hard contact and the opponents are. Jesse Winker did lace both of his balls last night. I think Winker’s power will come but the average and the OBP are there and he is giving good at-bats.

      Several folks have commented on Peraza having more doubles than Votto or WInker but he is not hitting the ball hard. He “serves” the ball. Several of his doubles have been 70 mph bloopers over the first baseman’s head that basically die in the outfield before the right fielder can get there. That wont hold up over 600 plate appearances, especially without the walks. He may be a .275/.295/.345 guy.

      I went to the Nats/Reds game the first series. Harper had no problem with the un-juiced ball and crushed a ball. Rendon blasted a home run off Romano that hit off the electronic scoreboard in LF, ironically off Rendon’s name being displayed. It was a blast on a cold day. It remains to be seen if the ball is different this year, but good hitters barrel up baseballs and the Reds aren’t doing that. The temperatures are finally starting to warm up so I expect more balls to start flying out at GABP, hopefully the good guys. Scooter Gennett is the player with the most concerning power outage. Zero home runs from a guy who hit 27 a year ago with an OPS of .874. He is making $6 million and is not part of the next good Reds team. The Reds need him to be a power lefty bat , a 15-18 home run + guy in July who has trade value, but 10% of the way in, its not there.

  10. Wacha is good and flat out owns us. Give him credit. Allow Riggleman, Kelly and Darwin time. This crap won’t turn around overnight but I did see some more aggressive base running last night. A small positive but anything is better than Price. You’ll see changes soon.

  11. I had a frightening thought during the game: what if the Cardinals do what they should do and let Matheny go at the end of the season…would the Reds front office be able to resist? An ex-Card! A “proven winner”! “We’re thrilled a guy of Mike’s proven track record, with his leadership ability and history of winning was available….”

    I haven’t stopped shaking since that thought crossed my mind. It’s almost enough to make me root for the Cardinals this year in hopes of staving off Matheny’s departure.

  12. If you ask anyone outside of Redleg Nation, we are light years away from contention or even competitiveness. We’ve all( myself included) have been looking through rose colored glasses made by the Homer Co.

    • I don’t know how many truly expected to be competitive, it was more a bunch of if x happens the Reds will be good in 2019. Without developing at least four starting pitchers within the organization there is no chance of being competitive. They also need to remember how to hit, which unlike the pitching they at least have proven they have the ability to do in previous seasons. This year the season was resting on the ability of Bailey, Disco, Finnegan, Castillo, and one young guy stepping up. Disco is still hurt, Finnegan showed up not ready, got hurt again, and probably needed some more time before being expected to start. Castillo has not been the ace everyone hoped for, Mahle needed more time in AAA, and the guys like Stephenson who should have been up by now still struggles with consistency.

      • You’re right.I hoped but didn’t really expect to compete this season but the degression! I didn’t expect that. It’s early I know. Outside of Rainey, Gallardo, Weiss, the pitching has been pretty good. Duvall and Votto have not been and Schebs and Suarez hurt. Things should improve.

  13. I think Walt Jocketty/ Williams needs to get more blame for the way he mishandled the beginning of the rebuild. I think we all agree trading Chapman Frazier Cueto and Bruce were the right moves. The problem is the prospects we got back are not great prospects like the cubs got when they rebuilt. The Cueto trade at the time was a “win” for the reds but not looks like an absolute bust. The Chapman trade was an absolute joke. We all knew when they traded for Peraza that he probably wouldn’t be anything special but the reds loved him probably for his speed. Herrera is just hurt all the time and who knows if we will ever see him play and if we do how long we will see him play.

  14. The Old Cossack missed the game last night, but noticed multiple comments in the game log about Peraza’s improved plate approach. I’m not seeing it, so I did some checking…

    P/PA O-Swing%
    3.9 ***** 29.9% => Scooter Gennett
    3.4 ***** 17.7% => Joey Votto
    3.7 ***** 31.4% => Adam Duvall
    3.1 ***** 44.1% => Jose Peraza
    4.3 ***** 27.5% => Billy Hamilton
    3.8 ***** 26.1% => Tucker Barnhart
    4.2 ***** 20.8% => Jesse Winker
    4.0 ***** 30.7% => Phillip Ervin
    3.7 ***** 18.3% => Eugenio Suarez
    4.8 ***** 24.7% => Cliff Pennington
    3.8 ***** 29.6% => Phil Gosselin
    3.6 ***** 30.0% => Devin Mesoraco
    3.5 ***** 16.2% => Alex Blandino
    3.6 ***** 34.5% => Scott Schebler

    Jose Peraza has the worst plate discipline on the team and it’s not even close. In fact, Peraza is in a class by himself when it comes to poor plate discipline.

    There’s more to hitting than just plate discipline.

    Peraza leads the team in GIDP (4), GO (30) & SAC (3).
    Peraza has the worst BB% (1.3%)

    • Yeah, I agree. The naked eye tells you the same thing, too. He has an awful, handsy swing that is a big chocolate mess. I advocate sending him back to A+ and start all over, but I don’t see him ever making it. This would require the Reds to admit defeat on Peraza, which they may not want to do, any more than they want to admit that they vastly overpaid for Cuban shortstop Alfredo Rodriguez.

      The dilemma is that there is literally no one in the organization who can play shortstop at the MLB level. Luis Gonzalez is closest, and he’s only played 5 games at AA. (Count me as one who believes that neither Suarez nor Senzel is a viable MLB shortstop, other than in a stop-gap role.)

      The Reds do have one great chip this year, Raisel Iglesias, whom they can turn into something this summer. And there are rich, contending teams in need of bullpen help, including the Angels, Dodgers and Nationals, and maybe even the Astros or Red Sox. I would prioritize getting a MLB-ready shortstop in return.

      We Reds fans, then, can still root for something – for contending teams to have bullpen meltdowns.

    • His double last night was a blooper. He did have a solid Sac Fly but I’m not seeing plate discipline or exit velocity- but I haven’t looked up the EV.

    • Good stuff there, thanks for posting. Yeah, the Peraza experiment is still flailing in year 2. Still some time to turn it around, but the results are not promising and tend to show that we should expect more of the same. Even though the Frazier deal may prove to be the best return of all of our major trade chips (which says A LOT in itself) I still am frustrated that the Reds had such a hard-on for Peraza that they moved heaven and earth to bring him into the organization through two different trade scenarios. I mean for a guy who even at the time had major questions about his ability to make hard contact, draw a walk, or even field a position consistently.

  15. Why isn’t Hamilton running when he has the chance? I can understand when Hamilton was leading off with Peraza hitting in the #2 hole and swinging at the 1st pitch and/or 2nd pitch. The benefit of Hamilton hitting 9th with Winker leading off is plenty of opportunities for Hamilton to run when he does get on base. In the 3rd inning, Hamilton reached base with 1 out. Winker took 2 pitches and Hamilton was still standing on 1B.

    If Hamilton is on 2B with Winker batting, there is a pretty good chance Winker will either drive him in or will walk, putting runners on 1B & 2B with the meat of the order coming up. Right now with Schebler and Suarez out of the lineup, the meat of the order is kinda meatless, but Hamilton on 2B with 1 out and Winker up has a much better chance of scoring run(s) than Hamilton on 1B with 1 out and Winker up.

    • I tend to agree with this, too. However, he would be running on Yadier, who understands the same thing and would be ready for it. Hamilton’s had good results against Molina, but . . .

      • Molina is a factor, but he would have been running against Wacha. Wacha has a career 27.0% CS (not good) and for the 2017 & 2018 seasons, Wacha has a 20.0% CS (even worse). I’d wager Molina caught the vast majority of those games over that past 6 seasons.

  16. Dfa Pennigton and replace him with Rosel Herrara. Plays SS and switch hitter.
    Dfa Gosselin be and bring up Brandon Dixon. Admit the mistake and give these 2 a chance. They could not be any worse be and you get to see what you have.
    Garrett to the staters role be and Finnegan to the pen.

  17. Am I missing something here or how much longer until someone realizes Finnegan just isn’t that good?

    • You may be right about Finnegan, but it was his first start after a prolonged injury recovery/rehab.

      • Technically his second start, neither of which have been good. The problem is those starts should have happened a AAA so he would be ready (hopefully) to be competitive against ML hitters.

  18. Any organization that thinks an every day lineup including Gennett, Duvall, Peraza, and Hamilton does not understand what winning baseball looks like. Those 4 have combined for almost 8,000 PA’s with a wRC+ well below 100.

    As others have noted, there are no replacements for those players. So, here the Reds are at 3-16.

    • Yup. Seriously should have traded Scooter last year. He now returns to his regularly scheduled programming.

      Saw on Sportscenter this morning that the Boston Red Sox have more grand slams than Cincy has wins.

  19. Worth repeating so here it is.We lost Zack,Scooter will not repeat his break out year and we did nothing to replace our holes at short and in center from the outside or giving guys in the minors a chance.It has been mentioned we don’t have guys in the minors that are ready.Probably or maybe its true but how do you know.Let Blandino play every day,DFA the two vet infielders and bring up the two guys as Redfaned said and lets move on.Put Schebler in center and Winker in right every day and platoon in left if needed.Billy and Peraza have to set down because they bring nothing offensively and everybody knows it.Last year we got cookies to hit because we were out of the game early almost every day but we just lost 2-0,2-0 and last night 4-2.You have to win those games because our young starters are going to have bad games because well they are young.Please ront office forget the Billy 5th year experiment,forget the vet bench that nobody and I mean nobody would want and play young guys.Last night down 4-2 with two out in ninth and one on and the best we have to send up there is Pennington.Come on he shouldn’t even be here.

    • Good points here. We had two offensive holes in the offseason and did nothing to address either, hoping against history and projections that they’ll magically get better. We also have a 2B (who isn’t really a good fielder) who doesn’t hit LH pitching. Yet our answer was to maintain the status quo, and bring in unproductive vets to fill out the bench. Eventually I believe both bench vets should be cut when Suarez is back and Senzel is ready to come up. An INF of Suarez, Senzel, Gennett/Blandino, and Votto and an OF of Duvall/Hamilton Schebler, and Winker is much closer to being offensively competitive especially if appropriate platoons can be used for Hamilton, Gennett and Duvall.

  20. We certainly are not this bad. Votto will end up .300/.400./.500, Winker and Suarez will hit, BHam won’t, the young pitchers will alternate quality and non quality starts like all young pitchers do.

    We’re still gonna lose slightly more games than we win. It’s possible that final record looks more like 70-92 than 78-84 like many of us predicted – but honestly… what’s the difference?

    Finnegan is not serious about his craft and needs to go. Trade Mesoraco for Matt Harvey — a fresh start for that guy and a buy low for us.

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About Jason Linden

Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at jasonlinden.com.

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2018 Reds, Titanic Struggle Recap