The Short Version: A huge day by Billy Hamilton and solid work by the Reds pitching staff leads the Reds to their first victory over the Cardinals in ten games this season.

Final R H E
St. Louis Cardinals (35-28) 3 11 0
Cincinnati Reds (23-43) 6 5 1
W: DeSclafani (1-1) L: Martinez (3-3) S: Hughes (4)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score

The Good
–Big day for Billy Hamilton, who tripled and walked, scoring two runs. He also made two leaping grabs at the fence and threw out two runners on the bases (look below for some of the highlights). Day like today remind me why this guy is such a fan favorite. He’s electric when he’s doing the things he does well.

–Anthony DeSclafani was good in his second start since returning to the big leagues. Disco pitched into the sixth, but was removed after giving up a couple of hits to begin the inning. His final line: 5 IP, 2 runs allowed on 10 hits and 2 walks, with six strikeouts. He only threw 85 pitches, so it wasn’t a bad outing. As he gets stronger, he should continue to gain more stamina (one would hope).

–Classic Joey Votto game: 0-0 with 4 walks. He’s now the National League leader in OBP. Eugenio Suarez reached base three times, with a single, a walk, and a HBP. He’s now the National League leader in RBI. Scooter Gennett had a couple of RBI. He’s now second in the National League in RBI.

–Excellent bullpen work from Amir Garrett, Michael Lorenzen, and Jared Hughes.

–In addition to Hamilton’s good glove work, Jesse Winker also made a fine play on a ball at the fence that he had to leap for. Replay showed that it bounced off the wall before going into Winker’s glove, but it was a great effort for a guy that has given us little to be excited about on the defensive side of the ledger.

The Bad
–I know we’re all happy with today’s win, and I don’t mean to throw water on everything…but the defense and baserunning demonstrated by this club continues to be nothing short of disastrous. They only committed one error today, but they committed two more TOOTBLANs today, both in the seventh inning. Once, Eugenio Suarez got caught up between second and third when the ball got away from the St. Louis catcher (that one may have been caused by Jesse Winker, who took off hard for second when Suarez took a big secondary lead). Then, later in the inning, Adam Duvall got picked off first.

I don’t know where the fault lies. This team has generally been pretty good defensively in the recent past, but not so this season. And the dumb mistakes like getting thrown out on the basepaths and missing cutoff men and throwing to the wrong base. Seriously, if my son’s team made these mistakes, we’d disband the team and start looking for a new sport.

And for all his bluster in the newspapers about working on the fundamentals, Jim Riggleman’s Reds have been worse, if anything, in terms of making these little mistakes than they were before he took over.

If a team can’t do the little things correctly, why should we expect them to get the big things right?

Not-So-Random Thoughts
–After 13 straight losses — and eleven consecutive at GABP — to St. Louis, the Redlegs finally got a win. What a time to be alive.

–Down 2-0 in the bottom of the third, the Reds got on the board. Hamilton tripled to left center field and scored when Scott Schebler grounded out.

The score was 2-1 when the Reds grabbed the lead in the following inning and again, Billy was the instigator. Hamilton walked to lead off the inning, then Schebler drew a walk. A Tucker Barnhart single tied the game up, and a Votto walk loaded the bases. Scooter Gennett then singled home two runs and Eugenio Suarez singled home another. The Reds had a 5-2 lead and the upper hand.

–The Cardinals got a run back in the sixth inning, but the Reds scored one in the seventh (and should have scored more). Suarez and Winker walked to lead off the inning. Jose Peraza flied out and, with Adam Duvall hitting, Suarez was tagged out on the TOOTBLAN mentioned above. Duvall proceeded to single Winker home, making the score 6-3. He was picked off moments later, so the Reds had three of the first four runners reach base in the inning, but two were retired thanks to baserunning blunders.

–The Reds drew eleven walks as a team. That seems like a lot.

–Cincinnati is off tomorrow, and they’ll head out to Kansas City for a two-game series that begins on Tuesday. Sal Romano is the scheduled starter for the Redlegs, and you’d have to imagine that his leash is short.

Today’s Tweets

Blame Chad for creating this mess.

Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.

You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

Join the conversation! 42 Comments

  1. The Reds are far from an outfielder and and an ace away from good.
    But is it out of the question that we have 3 deserving Allstars on this team?

    Reply
    • There’s still a significant amount if time before the all star break, but I have to believe that Scooter and Suarez are (or should be) locks to at least make the all star team. As always, 1B is a competitive environment and at least 1 deserving player will be left off the all star roster because he plays 1B. Freeman adn Belt are probably locks at 1B. After those 2, the competition is stiff between Votto, Martinez, Goldy & Hosmer.

      Reply
  2. Not trying to be THAT guy, but billy struck out twice today. Can’t expect this every game. He will be available to a playoff for what displayed today

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  3. Well not to be a party pooper but we will never get rid of Hamilton now. I mean he has one good game every 10 days, they hype it at the Reds official website like its the reason Billy has to play… and its like so its ok for him to stink for 9 days because on day 10 he will shine. Its absurd, we need consistent hitters who have consistent ABs. Yes he has speed and defensive value but these can be used off the bench in close games. They will just never get it and keep running him out there as a starter because of days like today.

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    • There is no way the Reds ca n give him arbitration money. This has got to be his last year. If Duvall had his speed I wouldn’t mind him in center. At least he hits a dinger once in awhile. But for now it’s Billy. Hopefully he is gone after the trade deadline. By the way before today he was 1 for 25.

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    • You get rid of Hamilton, and that awful starting pitching just became significantly worse. He saves so many runs with his defense.

      Hamilton is the Paul Blair of our time. With the average MLB batting average at .246, stick him in the nine hole and forget about him.

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    • I don’t think it’s because of days like today as much as it is that he’s really the only legitimate center fielder they have. Days like today (yesterday, now) don’t hurt, since they show what he could do if he got back on track. They’re talking about ending the switch-hitting, which might help, or might not. Not everybody believes that, at a magic age, a player is unable to learn and change his approach.

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  4. Joey Votto is doing it again…

    Since May 4th, Votto has raised his offensive production in a workmanlike fashion…

    AVG: +0.051 to 0.310 (10th in the NL)
    OBP: +0.042 to 0.433 (1st in the NL)
    SLG: +0.051 to 0.444 (32nd in the NL)
    OPS: +0.093 to 0.877 (14th in the NL)

    and we’re not even halfway through June. Prior to today’s 4-BB performance, Votto averaged 2.0 WAR through 66 games. Without any additional improvement, Votto would finish the season with an extrapolated 4.9 WAR, but Joey just seems to get better and better every season as the season progresses.

    It’s a shame that contract is such an albatross around the Reds neck and Votto simply can’t shake off that darn regression.

    Reply
    • His stats are indeed trending up, but they have also been very empty stats. He needs to start driving the ball out of the park in key situations. Basically, 4 rbis since May 14th….and 3 of those came in the last 3 days

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  5. I really hope that we can get past this narrative that Winker is a terrible fielder. Winker is not fast, but he’s also not a plodder. Winker will never even be considered as an outside shot to win a gold glove, but he can hold his own defensively, especially in LF.

    Winker certainly needs to contribute more xbh offensively, but he’s getting better with barrelling up the ball. During his 1st 14 games, Winker had a bad 0.237 AVG and a pathetic 0.000 ISO, but since that time, Winker has produced a 0.271 AVG and a 0.132 ISO. That’s trending in the right direction and approaching respectable results when combined with his elite OBP.

    Reply
    • You have to admit his running is amusing to watch though… I am pretty sure his home run trot the other day is about as fast as he can go. I will agree his hitting should keep him in the lineup as a regular and his defense should only get better with experience and hopefully hard work.

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      • He reminds the Old Cossack of…well…the Old Cossack in his younger days. Those just aren’t fast-twitch muscles driving those legs.

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    • I think we all hope that Jesse Winker’s terrible defensive metrics are simply small sample size aberrations. He hasn’t really done anything out there via the ol’ fashioned eye test to prove otherwise, but he will get plenty of opportunity out there to show his defensive prowess. True, he isn’t a bumbling buffoon out there. He just doesn’t have any range, has pretty poor instincts, and has a below average arm/accuracy.

      I don’t detect a difference between his LF and RF play, but hey, hopefully you are right. As far as I can tell, he is very Gomes-esque out there, which is going to be hard to overcome.

      Reply
      • Agree and well stated. But is does seem like (almost) being benched has lit a fire under Winker. On the one hand, its good it is lit but on the other why did it take so long and not light itself?

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      • @CP … +10 for use of “Gomes-esque.

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    • I think Winker is a terrible outfielder that costs the team runs. His offense does not make up for his bad defense.

      Reply
  6. The Reds now have 3 of the top 15 OPS in the NL and by the end of this week, that could realistically (and easily) be 3 of the top 10 OPS in the NL. That’s a solid foundation on which to build an offense, it’s just not broad enough to build a complete offense. In addition, Schebler is just 12 PA shy of qualifying status. If he continues to lead off and start, he will pick up the additional 12 PA this week and his current .822 OPS would give the Reds 4 of the top 30 OPS in the NL.

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  7. How important could Disco be to the starting rotation? Today’s game was certainly not a gem, but Disco’s performance was a positive step and his experience proves he belongs on the mound and knows what he needs to do on the mound. Could a solidifying performance by Disco serve as an emotional relief and stabalizing force for the young starters? This is the role that we thought Bailey would fill, but unfortunately he failed miserably. I’m certain that the Reds intend to bring Bailey back into the starting rotation, replacing Romano, after the next pitching cycle, but I don’t expect any better results from Bailey this time around. I think his career as a starter is toast. He may be able to make a positive contribution from the bullpen if he can emotionally adjust to a bullpen role.

    I may be grasping at straws, but a solid veteran presence heading up the starting rotation could provide a calming influence for the young starters and allow their innate talent to emerge over the next few weeks. The individual pressure is one thing, but when every one of the young starters also feels the pressure to produce for the team because no one else is producing, they may understandably struggle. You don’t begin your MLB career as a ace; you work and develop and evolve into an ace (see Cueto, J.). There’s a lot of season left in 2018. The starting pitching is collectively the obvious weakest link in the chain right now, but there is time to right that ship and Disco might be the factor needed to catalyze that development.

    Reply
    • He’s big Cossack. Disco, Mahle and Castillo need to get the ball every 5th day the rest of the year and see if they can gain some traction to the beginnings of a rotation for 2019. The Reds need a lefty in the starting rotation and they need to answer the question this year if they have an internal candidate. If Finnegan and Reed can’t assert themselves in 2018, then Garrett is the only remaining internal candidate for 2019 and beyond and must be moved out of the bullpen. I can’t see the Reds active in FA for a Dallas Keuchel type or even Gio Gonzalez when they still owe Homer $30 million for 2019/2020 + buyout.

      Matt Harvey is down to 5 starts. If he can build some trade value- great. If not, DFA him at the All star break.

      Congrats to the Reds on a big win over the Cards against a good pitcher who has given them difficulty.Billy did a great job today as well. Looks like Votto will get some much needed rest the next 4 days with 2 days off and at least one DH role in KC. Dixon should get a start at first with Votto as the DH and give Blandino a start at 2b and let Scooter DH the other game. The offense is getting on base and scoring some runs. The bullpen is solid. Disco could be a huge stabilizing force for not only the rotation, but the team. Lets hope is does in 2018 what he did in 2016.

      Reply
      • Dixon should get the start if Votto DHs; but, I bet it is Duvall unless they are facing a LH starter and BHam sits.

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      • If Disco makes it through the year in good shape and performing well then they face one of those multi million $$$ questions don’t they? Do they try to lock him down for 3-4 years (he is out of team control after the 2020 season); or do they hold off to see if his body can weather the winter shutdown spring restart cycle which it hasn’t been able to do successfully since 2015. If they don’t make a move this off season and he comes up big in 2019 then the money is going to large to do anything for several years when he has only 1 year of control left. Or if he finishes 2018 strong, go on and try and flip him this off season.

        I’m not sure there is a right answer. Unless the medical and sports sciences folks can supply it for them. pay your money or not and take your chances.

        Reply
        • Think you have to wait.
          The risk is too high to give too much money to him, at this point.

          Reply
          • That’s my first impulse too; but, if Disco pitches this year like he did in 2016 once he finally got going and none of these other guys show marked improvement, that decision might not be so easy to make come October/ November.

          • I would lock AD down now on the cheap

            It was our only chance with Cueto.

            Love that Billy is now talking about scraping switch hitting with Mark Sheldon. 2 years too late for his career, and I have been calling for it for that long. He will probably do we he is in the independent league in 2 years

    • The bullpen and Billy Hamilton saved Disco today Schebler and Winker both made bad throws to home and that’s caused runs. Billy is their best defensive outfielder

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  8. Under the bad, we also need to add the end of Peraza’s hitting streak.

    Reply
  9. Looks like Disco is on track to become a workhorse again, let’s hope Bailey and Finnegan can join him as well in the near future. Paired with Mahle and Castillo it should be a decent starting rotation for the second half or so.

    Reply
    • Your dreaming about Bailey and Finnegan isnt getting called up for quite a while.

      Reply
      • Dreaming indeed

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      • He did say hope, which is what we all hoped for at the beginning of the year. Healthy productive Disco, Bailey, Finnegan, with a repeat from Castillo. None of that happened and a fifth starter has failed to be found from all the “prospects”. I think we all hope that a few of these guys figure it out, otherwise it will be another losing record next year. The Reds can’t sign four free agent SP and add either a SS or CF

        Reply
        • The really depressing part is that even if Bailey suddenly gets things back together and Disco’s body stops failing him, they are both most likely relatively short timers with the Reds. Where is the starting pitching which will carry the team beyond 2020 when the strong crop of position guys on the farm are taking over at the MLB level?

          Reply
          • Beyond 2020 who knows at this point. Hopefully you have Castillo and Mahle, maybe someone else emerges from the rest of the group in the minors. Bailey will be gone next year, Maybe Disco gets extended or a FA serves as the “veteran stability”. There are some trades that can be made. There is no good answer right now, which is why the rebuild is not working. The team thought they were stockpiling pitching prospects and a few of them were going to be successful and combine with Bailey to form a good rotation.

  10. Yesterday was actually a bittersweet day for me. I of course reveled in the victory over the hated Cardinals. But my joy was tempered when I read the account of the Minnesota Twins game. Seeing Jake Cave ( yes that Jake Cave) go 3-4 with a HR and 3 RBI’s I harkened back to a day in my youth. I hear a haunting voice It was that of Ernie Harwell. And I hear those poignant words again. The saddest words of tongue or pen. ” What might have been”

    Reply
    • Yeah but these sort of moments always happen from time to time.

      In recent history the Reds traded Yonder Alsonso, Yasmani Grandal, Brad Boxberger and Edinson Voluquez for 2 good years of Mat Latos and whatever they eventually get from/ for Disco. All of which was made worse when the catching prospect the Reds kept over Grandal, Devin Mesoraco, had the wheels fall off of his body just as he was starting to blossom into his prime.

      Or Didi Gregorius (and Drew Stubbs) for 1 year of Sin-Soo Choo.

      And for we long timer super veteran Reds fans, Frank Robinson for Milt Pappas and whoever else (Jack Baldshun and Dick Simpson for the record).

      Reply
      • We needed Matt Latos to put the Reds over the top to win the division in 2012 and 2013 (Wild card). The Reds SHOULD have been in the World Series in 2012 (eventually won by the Giants) except for the bad luck of Cueto getting hurt in the first inning of the playoffs, and then failing to score much at all in 3 straight home games to eliminate the Giants. Still hard to believe after all these years.
        And Homer pitched a pretty good Game 3, too.

        Who would have thought that Gregorious would turn out to be THIS good?

        And remember, Grandal was suspended for 1/2 a season for substance usage (performance enhancing), as I think Edinson was too.

        Poor unlucky Dev. Maybe he gets it together this year for the Mets.

        Reply
  11. Nice day for Billy but I’m done. Luckily for him, the owner loves Billy like a son and the Reds have zero center fielders above High A.

    Reply

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About Chad Dotson

Blame Chad for creating this mess. Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, "The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds" is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad's musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine. You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

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2018 Reds, Titanic Struggle Recap

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