The Short Version: Robert Stephenson and the rest of these jokers walked 11 Mets hitters, and the Reds embarrassed themselves in the final game of this series in New York.

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (50-65) 0 7 1
New York Mets (47-65) 8 8 1
W: deGrom (6-7) L: Stephenson (0-1)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score

Not-So-Random Thoughts
–At times, Robert Stephenson looked pretty good. Mostly, he looked like the same Bob Steve that we’ve seen before. I look forward to his next start, but he showed very little of the guy who had been putting up pretty good numbers in Triple-A.

–This looked an awful lot like the April Reds.

–Jim Riggleman again called for a bunt with Billy Hamilton on first base. Again, it backfired. This wasn’t the difference in the game, but it’s so tiresome.

–Would it kill Phillip Ervin to hit a cutoff man once in a while? On the bright side, however, Ervin did pitch a perfect 1/3 of an inning.

–That’s all I can stomach before turning the page on this one. Feel free to add your own recap below.

–The Reds will return home to begin a weekend series against the Diamondbacks on Friday. Anthony DeSclafani will take the hill.

97 Responses

  1. Bill j

    I’ve seen little league teams play better fundamental baseball than the Reds.

  2. Mark Moore

    Haunt like a nightmare with no hope of ending. Seems Bob Steve is a completely different pitcher when he’s on an MLB mound.

  3. Tom Mitsoff

    It literally is beyond comprehension that a major league outfielder cannot hit a cutoff man consistently. Ervin literally will not be able to play in the National League if that continues, no matter how well he hits. It’s also amazing that he spent several years in a major league farm system and this was apparently not addressed along the way.

    • Jim Walker

      When they get back to Cincy, on every game day they should have Ervin out early working on hitting the relay guys.

      The responsibility is on him to hit the guys; however it was pointed in a comment here that several days back an out of town game analyst had pointed out that Peraza sets up for relays in a nonstandard position. So, while they are at it, address this and make sure everybody is on the same page as to where the relay guy is to be and that he goes to the same spot every time.

      • James H.

        “…Peraza sets up for relays in a nonstandard position” What? Why!? Not saying that this is the reason for Ervin’s errors, but woah. Why isn’t Riggleman addressing much earlier? Dumb.

      • Jim Walker

        There is probably a simple explanation such as he “cheats” long or short based on his arm strength. However with different OF coming in, the team needs to make sure the OF know this.
        Also Chris Welch said remarked last week that it was difficult to get a throw past the runner on a really close play at the plate. Maybe he was subtly hinting he thinks the Reds set up too close to foul line and should be further out into fair territory to set up a clearer angle on the throw to the plate?

    • Jeff Reed

      Ervin’s erratic defense might be expected in a high school game but not at the ML level especially with the Reds, a team that has always prided itself on defense. it’s obvious why Ervin has been up and down with the Reds over the past few years.

  4. Va. Reds fan

    Not that it matters at this point, but is there someone more deserving of the spot occupied by Dixon? I think that’s a known quantity there – I would prefer to see the contributions of someone else.

  5. Jack

    Nothing is addressed in the Reds farm system. Billy cant bunt, pitchers dont have a third pitch, pitchers walk everybody, outfielders cant throw to the right base or cutoff man, infielders can cover second on a stolen base, nobody knows how to run the bases , pitchers cant bunt , hitters cant bunt, and on and on. When we all are watching games do you ever see the other team make any tootblans? It’s really hard to watch this team

    • Jim Walker

      Makes a person wonder what they do work on and also probably goes a way toward explaining how their talent can be rated much higher than the teams generally perform.

  6. Jim Walker

    The daily TOOTBLAN, at least the one I saw was a head scratcher too, presuming it was called from the bench; and, it would be even more bizarre if it was a player freelance job.

    It came in the top for the 1st with 2 outs, Ervin was at 3B, Gennett at 1B, Mason Williams batting. With a 1-1 count, on the pitch which became ball 2 Gennett broke toward 2B on a delayed steal attempt, apparently intending to get hung up in a run down to give Ervin a chance to score from 3B. The Metz obliged by throwing through to 2B. However Gennett ran too close to the base before pulling up and was caught and tagged out to end the inning before Ervin could come across home.

    Definitely a 1st cousin to all the crazy bunts Riggleman calls.

  7. Jack

    Yep Scooter knew he ran to far. I watch the visiting teams broadcast most of the time to hear what they say about the Reds. It’s never pretty. They point out the same idiotic stuff we all do. I have a hard time seeing a playoff team in the next couple of years because we just dont have pitchers who know how to win consistently. I just wish one of them would bring a bulldog approach to the mound. Be angry out there.

    • Jim Walker

      If I’m looking for something to like about the Reds pitching today, and admittedly this is digging deep, it would be that RS cleaned up his own mess in the 4th with the team still somewhat in the game. Without the bench’s intervention to order the IBB with 1 out, he actually might have gotten out clean or at least with just a single run instead of 2 allowed. This said, no excuse for the walks/

      • lwblogger2

        He did clean up his own mess, which is a big accomplishment. That said, I don’t think the IBB hurt him, especially since you don’t actually throw pitches to IBB guys anymore. Pitchers don’t have the “it throws everything off” excuse anymore. He proceeded to throw 4 straight balls to the opposing pitcher. In the case of the IBB to Mes (both of them), I would have done the same thing and I’m generally anti-IBB.

      • Big56dog

        anyone else feel there is a lot of negative perception about RS?- all points are good- walking Degrom inexcusable. But so is walking Mes. Do not get why he is lifted after 4th- potentially has a decent outing. Last season starts were very mediocre which goes along way with the fleeting mediocrity every pitcher on this staff shows. His 1st 3 starts were decent in 2016- last were horrible but can be attributed to an increased workload that seemed very unreasonable.
        Seems like if he can get BB controlled- he will develop into better than average SP who can work deep into games unlike Romano or where Bailey and Harvey are currently at

      • Jim Walker

        I had no issues with the one in the 2nd because there were 2 outs and still a base open afterwards. Actually I felt like it probably saved RS because he was reeling.

        Didn’t see the purpose of the one in the 4th because there was only 1 out; and, the likelihood of getting dsGrom to GIDP seemed very small. So, I thought they should have left 1B open and taken their chances with Meso versus Rosario, the lead off batter, with the bases loaded.

  8. gusnwally

    Strange very strange. Everything being reviewed here except for Robert Stephenson. Where Oh where are all the GM’s who have demanded RS be brought up and show what he can do.?? The FO has no idea what they are doing. RS should be in the starting rotation. And today, I am not really sure he even pitched.

    • Jim Walker

      See what I said above. He left with the team down 3-0 after 4 innings. That’s not good; but neither is it a disaster.

      He was through 3 innings with 1 run scored and 1 walk on a pitch count of 45-50. The wheels fell off for him in the 4th. A lead off walk was followed by double which put runners at 2B and 3B. He came back to get a K on the #7 hitter. The inning got nasty after the bench signaled for an IBB to the #8 hitter to load the bases. He then walked the pitcher on 4 pitches, none of which appeared to be a fastball, 2 of which might have been strikes on a different day with a different ump. That curious AB plated the 1st run of the inning. He came back to induce a routine fly out which scored the 2nd run then ended the inning with a pop on he infield.

      The question of the day and inning is what was going on when he faced the pitcher in 4th. Why didn’t they attack him? On the 2 following ABs, RS certainly had enough left in the tank to put away the 1 and 2 batters and end the inning with the his team still in a reasonable position.

      Worth noting that 2 of the 5 walks charged to him were IBB ordered by the bench.

      • greenmtred

        I didn’t see the early or late parts of the game and missed Stephenson entirely. Sounds bad, but not a basis for assignment to purgatory. He very possibly was suffering from jitters–his first MLB start of the year after a (possibly) over-long time in AAA. Subsequent starts should tell us more.

      • Jim Walker

        The bottom line for RS was no worse and actually somewhat better than a lot of what we saw early on from Romano and even Castillo. 3 runs (all earned) over 4 innings on 76 pitches (41 strikes) 3 hits; 0 HR. No doubt it was the 4 pitch walk to the pitcher to force in a run which really colored the perceptions of the day. So not good enough but hardly a meltdown or blowout.

      • lwblogger2

        I think he threw all those breaking balls and off-speed pitches because he lacked command of the fastball. That’s what I saw. That said, they needed to drop the number 1 down and stick with it. Even if you lay a meatball in there, the opposing pitcher may well not do much with it.

    • lwblogger2

      And it was his first MLB start of the year after pitching very well over his last several MiLB starts. He may have been amped up. He very well never get it. He very well may never have the command to be a MLB starting pitcher. In this lost season though and with no options next year, the Reds need to keep running him out there and find out once and for all.

  9. VaRedsFan

    Agree Jim. It was Mez, and we all know how much he struggles against off speed righties.

  10. Hotto4Votto

    He didn’t pitch well. What I think is amusing is that there are probably a lot of “Reds” fans that are happy about that. Doesn’t mean I don’t want to see him out there the rest of the year. 3 (unintentional) walks in 4 innings isn’t good. Not and excuse, but it’s also the first time he’s pitched in the big leagues since last September, maybe he overthrew a bit. The Reds shouldn’t make a decision on his future based off his first start in the majors this season. Just as they didn’t call him up based on one really good AAA start. He’d been good for a couple months in AAA, and dominant over the last 7 starts. Give him a chance to recapture that without the pressure of “perform or go down”.

  11. Bob Purkey

    Where are all of the BobSteve apologists today. As far as I,m concerned, he gets 1 more shot and if he delivers the usual. . .80 pitches in 4 innings, 5 walks, getting behind on every batter, etc., he’s back to Louisville for good. Enough is enough from that guy

    • jay johnson

      Couldnt disagree more.3 innings of 1 run,3 hit 2 walk baseball.Pitch count was far less after 3 innings than Degroms,league leader in almost every pitching catagory.
      Intentional walk followed by the 4 pitch walk to the pitcher was unacceptable.
      Certainly our wonderful pitching staff has performed equal or worse many times this season and last and the year before that.
      Give the kid a chance.
      Not just one outing of 4 innings and next game certainly dont intentionally walk to fill the bases in his next outing .

      • jay johnson

        Actually 1 run 2 hits thru 3 innings.

    • wizeman

      Hope they give him as much rope as the Pirates gave Bob Purkey his first two years in the bigs.

    • lwblogger2

      Why? He has no options next year and what’s the difference if he loses games for the Reds this year? The Reds need to find out this year, once and for all, if he can be a MLB starter. He’s shown enough this year at AAA, especially his last 6-7 starts, to suggest that he just might be able to do it. The Reds have invested money and time into Stephenson. They are justified in giving him all the chances they can in a season with zero playoff hopes. Maybe fans like you are right and he’ll suck, suck, suck, suck for eternity. Maybe you’re right and he will NEVER get it. The Reds need to be just as positive as you are and for that, they need all the data they can get this year.

      • Big56dog

        Seems very similar to what they did with Bailey first few years- not sure why Romano gets so much leeway

  12. Klugo

    On the bright side, it’s looking less likely that Riggleman will be the Reds manager next year.

    • lwblogger2

      I’m a bit of a gambler but I play the odds much more than I play my heart. Considering the Reds’ history in the Bob Castellini era, I wouldn’t make a bet that he won’t be.

  13. Old-school

    3 walks . Can’t count 2 IBB. He left down 3-0. They lost 8-0. They are also 14 under without him this year.

    Yes, his inability to throw a fast ball 94 mph over the plate is a huge question mark .He admitted post Game his slider is his best chance to throw a strike. Wow.

    Take that same accountability though and apply it to Jose Peraza at SS and bunting a pop up tp the pitcher and Billy Hamilton’s .600 OPS and the Reds offense and the other pitchers who made an OF pitch against a terrible team. Scooter TOotblan Philip Ervins outfield may be the worst in organized baseball in 2018 above 12u. Lots of bad baseball and really impossible to see this team playing postseason baseball in 2019.

    • Jim Walker

      Could you figure from what RS said what that mid 80’s pitch he kept missing with high on his arm side was?

    • greenmtred

      Really? Blaming Billy for this one, too? He went 1 for 3, stole a base and, I’m told, made an excellent play (I’ve toned-down George Grande’s description because, well, it’s George Grande’s) which, as you imply, takes on added importance considering how poor the outfield defense is other wise. Of course a better-hitting centerfielder who is a good defender is to be desired, but subtract Billy from this 2018 team and they are still in last place.

      • Scott C

        Wins and losses are not the issue, nor is where we finish this year. The issue is we need to get younger players in the game to see if they can man centerfield.

  14. Bill j

    I can’t fault RD because he was put in a tough setting. Pitching against the best pitcher in the NL, someone said, and know that the offense isn’t that good. It almost looked like the FO set him up to fail.

  15. Old-school

    He called it a slider. But again, RS doesn’t call the game. Tucker Barnhart does who ansers to the pitching coach who answers to the manager

    • lwblogger2

      It was Casali, not Tucker. The idea you’re putting forth is 100% right though.

  16. David

    In the end, when September is over, Riggleman will have about the same win/loss percentage as Bryan Price did.
    It’s going to be a rough ride the next two months. Too many offensive players hurt, and the starting pitching still pretty much stinks.

  17. DavidTurner49

    RS should pitch every 5th day the rest of the season. One spot start, good or bad, proves nothing.

  18. Daytonian

    @DavidTurner: Yes, every 5th day. Preferably at Louisville.

  19. Davy13

    I really looked forward to BobSteve’s start. Hoping that he has turned the corner and there’s a bright future. But dreams don’t always come true.

    I saw the game on (free game of the day) and what I saw from BobSteve was unacceptable, incomprehensible, and intolerable…walking a .125 BA pitcher with the bases loaded on all breaking balls! I know that I may be overreacting but the Reds should just move on from him. These “young pitchers” like BobSteve, CReed should be looked at as chips to cash in and be packaged for some proven, solid veteran pitching with other teams who may believe they can turn them around. The Reds system certainly can’t.

    I thought he was a power pitcher. Why was we throwing softballs for long stretches at a time. Arm fatigue? Nerves? Lack of command?

    Is Votto on the DL?

    Just venting frustration…this blog site should be called the RLN Support group.

    • msanmoore

      Hi, my name’s Mark and I’m a Redleg fan …

    • NorMich Red

      Did not get to watch or listen. Sounds like that was a good thing. With it being the free game of the day, sounds like it was worth every penny of the price!

  20. Jeff Reed

    RS should start every 5th. game for the rest of the season so it can be put to rest either he can or can not get it done at the ML level. It’s time to move on either way. And a national search for the next Red’s manager should move forward and not be short circuited. It’s more evident each day that Riggleman is not the answer.

    • greenmtred

      Riggleman may not be the answer, but who would have been? 3 of the 5 best hitters on the team unavailable, starting pitching that is, at best, wildly inconsistent, and a plague of poor defense. Tough for anyone to win with that.

  21. Eric

    So I got to thinking, “Hmm…if the Reds managed to somehow go 31-16 to end the season, they could actually GET back to .500, which would be a mammoth accomplishment! Yes…a pipe dream – I get it, but I was just kicking around the possibility.

    Then I looked at the rest of the schedule. The rest of August is all against teams who are at-or-above .500, and during September, they only play three teams who are significantly below .500 — hosting the Padres, at the Marlins, and the short two-game series at home against the Royals.

    This. Is going. To end. Ugly.

    • Jim Walker

      Don’t bet too much on them either way. This team seems to get up for challenges and have trouble beating teams they “should” beat.

      One thing I will say is when people have to play every day and have been all year, they run down. I’m thinking of the infield in particular. Why not try the following given that Herrera played 2B and 3B at AAA. Run a cycle every couple of weeks where he plays 3B with Suarez at SS for a day and Peraza off followed by a day with Suarez off then move Herrera over to 2B and give Scooter a day off? That’s 1 day off for each of three regulars and gets Herrera 3 consecutive starts. Is this stuff really so hard to do if a team has the commitment to just do it?

      • greenmtred

        Good idea, but it sounds ominously similar to the outfield rotation and, as such, will find little support in these parts.

      • Jim Walker

        Here is some data which suggests that Suarez, Scooter and Peraza all three may be running down, a comparison of their OPS lines before and since the All Star Break

        Suarez Before: .399/.574/.973; 20%K rate
        Suarez After: .308/.583/.891 30%K rate

        Gennett Before: .373/.521/.894
        Gennett After: .310/.338/.648

        Peraza Before: .339/.391/.730
        Peraza After: .253/.350/.603

        Most marked is that all of their OBP dropped very significantly; and with Suarez his K rate has gone up by 50%.

        Just as a bit of a cross check, Alex Blandino who had been subbing for the two middle guys went down for the season on July 20, the first game after the ASB.

        Gennett: Before:

      • Jack

        Good points Jim. Dog days of August are here. It doesnt come down to wins and losses. It’s how your team plays and how you each them. Are these players responding to your decisions. Right now no. Even without Schebler , Winker and Votto they fielded a better team than the Mets. Stop coaching for the win and start coaching for next year. Stop bunting. Stop taking Pitchers out and intentionally walking hitters. Everybody gets excited because we win. Why? 65 wins better than 61?

      • Jim Walker

        It might help if they would call in Riggleman and assure him he gets an interview and isn’t going to be judged by his record from here on out and then “suggest” he does things such as you listed and whatever else they think is important over the last 2 months.

        The scary part is that maybe such a conversation has taken place and part of the instructions to him were to try to win as many games as possible as if he were in a playoff chase.

      • Still a Red

        I agree, but also think the young guys need to learn how to win games, playing small ball if necessary, making the right decisions on the bases or in the field, etc. So its not so much about the final tally per se, but how to scratch out wins.I know this sounds dangerously close to the “winning way’ or whatever the term used that has been much maligned on this site.

    • Jeff Reed

      It started ugly and I won’t be surprised if it ends ugly. A rejuvenation was needed by the end of July with trades, especially Iglesias among others, and it didn’t happen, so here we are.

  22. sezwhom

    Jim Riggleman again called for a bunt with Billy Hamilton on first base. Again, it backfired. This wasn’t the difference in the game, but it’s so tiresome.

    No kidding. It’s the main reason I don’t want him back. Bunt happy. Just hate it. Give me forward thinking manager.

    • VaRedsFan

      Billy had already stolen 2nd base. They were trying to bunt him to 3rd.
      It’s right up Peraza’s alley to hit the ball to the right side. Please stop bunting.

      • Jack

        Not to mention that Degrom is an elite fielder. They were playing right into the Mets hands . Outcoached.

  23. Al Hicks

    Apparently, pitching to a pitcher is too intimidating, and accepting the catcher’s signals too much of a compromise…!

    That said, Stephenson had a sub-2.00 ERA at Louisville this year, and is worth another try—but only after Riggleman has a quiet, friendly talk with him!

    Doesn’t help that we ditched Duvall just as had two down with injuries. Only redeeming development is hitting of Phil Ervin!

    • NorMich Red

      I may be wrong here, but I’m thinking that BobSteve has had minimal if any interaction with Danny Darwin during his MiLB period of service. In spite of continuing inconsistencies of the pitching staff, my biased eyes keep trying to see positives coming from Darwin as a teaching and interactive coach. I wonder if 6-7 weeks in the majors with him mentoring and tutoring could be at least a partial solution to all of his past issues. From my viewpoint, he (Darwin) might be the only member of the coaching staff worth retaining for next season…along with Ted Power in the pen. The preponderance of TOOTBLAN’s, lack of situational hitting, and lack of adjustment to shifts (excepting JV19) all disqualify the manager and offensive coaches/base coaches from returns IMO.

  24. big5ed

    If it makes anybody feel better, when Jacob deGrom was Robert Stephenson’s age, he had not thrown a pitch in the major leagues. Corey Kluber had thrown an inning an a third at that age.

    Stephenson, like Reed, Garrett and Lorenzen and a few others (including Jackson Stephens with an elite spin rate), all have good live arms. They haven’t fully harnessed them yet, although Reed over his last 26 innings has 33 strikeouts and 3 walks.

    Patience is a very difficult virtue, but it is called for now.

    Unlike hitters, who age on a predictable curve, it doesn’t matter with pitchers as to when they reach the majors. If Stephenson or Reed don’t get good until age 26, that is not a bad thing, because the Reds would still have about 5 years of their prime, through age 30. And this applies to Hunter Greene. There is zero – zero – reason for the Reds to want him in the majors by age 21. They will have him for 6 seasons; it doesn’t matter when Season One is.

    • BigRedMike

      Stephenson needs to get starts the rest of the year. The Reds are going to need to make smart Free Agent decisions regardless. There is not enough quality Starting Pitching currently in the organization.

      The Reds have one elite position player going forward, Votto will be a good #2 hitter for the remainder of his career.

      Lot of sorting out to do at this point. Starting pitching is going to be the key.

      • big5ed

        I’ll give Stephenson a pass for yesterday. He likely was overpumped with adrenaline, plus he knew he had little margin for error against deGrom. It was a clunker, though.

  25. Mason Red

    Here’s the thing about giving pitchers starts who are considered to be top prospects: If there’s a possibility they will be used as trade bait it’s best not to give them many starts in the bigs. My view is the Reds would be better off to go after established starters either by trade,free agency or both instead of hoping the pitchers in the minors will develop. That’s adding years to the “rebuild”.

  26. jim t

    I was not in favor of bringing RS up but now that they have they should leave him in the rotation and let him pitch. He is now out of options. My preference was to leave him at Louisville and let him continue to perfect his mechanics and build on the success he was having. Then let him come to camp next year and compete for a spot in the rotation or trade him as part of a package for a established starter. If he fails now you have destroyed all the value he may have gained in AAA. Harvey should be traded by 31 Aug or shut down the rest of the year. Bailey should also be shut down and his starts should go to Reed. Neither Bailey or Harvey are in the long range plans for the reds. There is a slight chance Harvey could be traded but no one would touch Bailey and his contract. Neither will be moved after August. Having them pitch beyond that point would be a waste of starts.

    • VaRedsFan

      Shutting down Harvey/Bailey, when they aren’t hurt??? Nowhere does this happen….EVER

      • Old-school

        The Padres let Tyson Ross and Jordan Lyle’s go on waiver claims to the Brewers and Cards . The GM stated it’s about next year and looking at some guys who could be in the bigs next year.

        There is also an article the Padres are intensely evaluating their young outfielders now to decide who they keep.

        Mlb traderumors has interesting quotes from the SD GM on how they are using the last 2 months of the season to evaluate young guys

    • lwblogger2

      He was out of options at the beginning of the season as soon as they optioned him to AAA out of Spring Training. The option was used no matter if they brought him up again or not. That said, I agree he should be pitching every 5th day. No options for next year so the Reds need to see what he can do.

  27. cfd3000

    Can’t believe Riggleman called for two intentional walks with a pitcher who is all walks and strike outs. Can’t believe RS then walks the opposing pitcher on 4 pitches. Can’t believe Riggleman called for a bunt with the fastest man in baseball already in scoring position. More Stephenson please, but a lot less Riggleman.

    • Jim Walker

      Or as Johnny Fever used to say with proper inflection to make it work, “Les Nessman, more music.

  28. jim t

    This team is by far the worst reds team in my lifetime at executing the fundamentals of the game. Not covering a base, missing cut off men, base running, failure to advance runners and situational hitting are all areas that need correcting. They have blown at least 3 rundown plays that I can remember as well. No one and I mean no one is excluded from this failure. Whoever they bring in to manage this team will have his work cut out for him. The lack focus of this teams players has been apparent from day one. A perfect example for me was when in the early part of the season while playing in Philly Votto was more interested in making sure that no Philly fan would get a foul ball that rolled toward the stands. You think he would be more concerned that his team was on the way to being swept by the opposition instead of fooling around with the fans. This is the leader of the team and its highest paid player. His power and range are disappearing. My first order of business would be to explore any trade opportunities for him. His 25 mil a year is looking like it could very well be a sunk cost going forward.

    • big5ed

      Votto’s future salary is 100% a sunk cost, as it would be if he were hitting .355 with 34 homers.

      1. Votto has the right to reject a trade.
      2. Even if Votto allowed a trade, no team would take on all of his contract.
      3. You are correct that Votto is not the hitter he was 6-8 years ago. Hence, #2 above.

      No question, they are playing fundamentally bad baseball. As of now, they have an elite defensive catcher and center fielder. Every single other position is well below average, although Mason Williams isn’t bad. They would almost be better off having Ervin sit down and smoke a cigarette in left field, and let Hamilton take all balls hit in that direction.

      Defense is the reason that I can tolerate Hamilton more than most people. He is the only guy out there who can actually catch a ball and do the right thing with it. They would be a Appalachian League team defensively, without Hamilton. I will chalk a lot of it up to having been out of contention since April 8th. They played well for a while, then hit the Dog Days, and now they look to be playing out the string.

      • jim t

        Ed no doubt the reds would have to eat some of Joey’s contract if they could find a trade partner. And yes he would still have to approve the deal. I don’t think his regression started 6 or 8 years ago. His season last year was very good. This year he is starting to show signs. In the field and at the plate. He still gets on base but his lack of power is more then obvious.

      • Jim Walker

        For me an eye test sign Votto is in real decline is the number of called third strikes which are clearly strikes he has been taking. He is either not seeing the ball soon enough or more likely he is guessing along with the pitcher rather than simply defending the strike zone.

        Virtually all hitters do this. The difference with Votto is that in the past he either hasn’t guessed at 2 strikes or was quick enough to adjust and spoil pitches when he was fooled. Now increasingly he is being caught looking like the rest of the world.

        As the league realizes Votto is much less likely to hit the ball over the fence or even split the gaps, pitchers are going to become less cautious about throwing him strikes, especially when they are ahead or even on the count.

    • Bill

      The Votto decline is homething everyone, including Votto knows will eventually come. Everyone also knows the later years of the contract are not going to look as good as the earlier years. That is just how long term contracts play out for super stars. Votto messing with fans who are heckling him however, does nothing to show he isn’t trying. Despite the longstanding unwritten rules of baseball that don’t allow for fun, it is perfectly ok for guys to have somoe fun on the field. No one would have told BP to stop having fun on the field. This is exactly the reason baseball is struggling with the younger fans. Bat flips: not allowed, Watching your HR: not allowed, interacting with hecklers: not allowed, throwing 95+ mph pitches at someones head: allowed. Instead of worrying about shaving 10 minutes off the game time and complaining about teams wearing t shirts in batting practice maybe allowing players to have a personality would save “America’s pastime”

      • Jim t

        Bill when your playing as bad as the reds were I really can not see where the fun was. Laughing and playing with the fans DURING the game is not exceptable.

      • Bill

        Why is it not acceptable? The fun police outlawed it? Have scientist determined fun directly correlates into decreased exit velocity?

      • Bill

        Baseball needs to grow its fan base and that doesn’t happen by a bunch of old guys like Marty yelling at the kids to get off the lawn and stop breaking the unwritten rules of baseball

      • greenmtred

        I really agree with you, Bill. I’ve been worried for a while about baseball’s ability to attract a new generation of fans, and haven’t seen any signs that the problem is being addressed effectively. What the game had–quirks and out-sized personalities, many variables and a pace that allowed their contemplation–are being, in my opinion, edged out. There’s still great stuff to see, but it seems to be losing the color that attracted so many fans. Where’s Jackie Robinson? Ryne Duren? Sal Maglie? Wilie Mays? The Splendid Splinter? Where’s the straight steal of home? The eephus pitch? Eddie Gaedel? I know, the rantings of an old fart, but will there be old farts ranting about the game in 50 years?

  29. jim t

    I am not a Riggleman fan but to blame him for intentionally walking Mez to get to the pitcher is wrong. For all who wanted RS to be brought up to see what he can do you just saw it. Riggleman instructing him to IBB the 8th hitter to get to the pitcher was the right baseball move. If RS can not execute that without walking the pitcher then its more then obvious he does not have the control needed at this level. The idea in bringing him up was to see what he could do not to manage around his short comings. If we have a pitcher who the manager needs to forgo walking the 8 hole hitter to get to a pitcher because his control is bad I have to say that is RS’s failure not the managers.

    • Matt WI

      I think that’s fair. Those are the stakes at this level. An opposing pitcher ought to be every bit equivalent and/or less than the AAA hitters he was dominating.

    • Daytonian

      @JimT, Spot on! +10, unfortunately.

  30. CI3J

    Bob Steve does what Bob Steve does. To me, it’s the same issue last time he was up: MLB hitters won’t chase as much as AAA hitters, and his stuff is not good enough to overpower MLB hitters.

    Bob Steve looks like he’s going to be a AAAA pitcher, unless he suddenly learns how to adjust his game to get MLB hitters out. I have no problem with him starting every 5th game for these last 2 months, but from what I’ve heard he’s pretty stubborn, so I’m not expecting much of an improvement.

  31. WVRedlegs

    Stephenson wasn’t as bad as most have alluded to. The bases loaded BB to the pitcher skewed some thoughts, but rightfully so. That was about as pitiful as an AB from the Reds pitching perspective as they had all season. I didn’t see Stephenson shake off one pitch in his 4 innings. Someone other than Stephenson called for those curveballs, whether that is the C or the pitching coach. Stephenson didn’t execute the pitches and that part is on him. The 4th inning was not good, but the prior 3 innings were acceptable. Overall Stephenson had 76 pitches and 41 strikes. He was just missing by a couple of inches on several of his pitches. Who knows, it might have been 1st game jitters, pitching in NY, and Stephenson knowing how much is on the line for him this time all may have contributed to him being just a tad off on his pitches. He’ll have 5-6 days to settle in and get back into his routine. It is his next 2 or 3 outings that will be especially important to see how he responds.
    Stephenson was by far not the only pitching culprit of the day. Lorenzen was not very good in his 1.2 IP. He had 39 pitches to get 5 outs, and 22 were strikes. Peralta was back to his generosity with 2 BB in 1 IP, with 24 pitches and only 12 strikes. And Keury Mella was the worst Reds pitcher of the day, 1 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 1 K. Mella should have been the sent down to bring up Stephenson, not Reyes. But now Reyes cannot come back up for 10 days unless there is an injury and a P goes on the DL. At this point I’d send Mella back down today on this off day, and bring back The Quack. But that will take another 40 man roster move to accommodate that.

    • WVRedlegs

      Mella had 38 pitches and only 17 strikes. I didn’t include that.

      Quackenbush at AAA: 0-1, 2.39 ERA, 2.47 FIP, 3.29 xFIP, 39 G, 37.2 IP, 20 SV, 29 H, 11 R, 10 ER, 2 HR, 9 BB, 44 K.
      There is a lot to like in all that.

      • Jack

        There is but again he is throwing to rhe same AAA players as Strphenson is. I do agree with you on Stephenson not being as bad as some say. What I dont understand is him abandoning his fastball. I thought it was just me until Ron Darling said ” Apparently he is becoming and off speed guy. Why?” He needs to pitch the rest of the year. Then I think we can go from there. Look what the Brewers did to the rookie the Padres called up yesterday. He is suppose to be one of their stud pitchers. Its a lot different from AAA. What I dont like is the crap going on in the field. That’s embarrassing.

    • Jeff Reed

      I would rather have Reed brought up than The Quack. It would mean that either Bailey or Harvey go to the bullpen so we could see what Disco, Castillo, RS and Reed can do for the remainder of the season as starting pitchers.

    • Jim Walker

      Agree with your assessment of RS’s day and also Lorenzen’s. ML was worst of the day in the sense he let the game get away from them.

      The PA of deGrom in the 4th inning had to be one of the most surreal I’ve seen in some time. In the 2nd inning RS had dispatched him on three consecutive splitters (the gameday play by play calls them curve/ sliders but they were on RS arm side and dove down and away from the LH hitting deGrom. Had to be splitters). But then in the 4th he throws him no fastballs and no splitters. Then after he walks deGrom, he pitches two tough outs to get out of the inning with just a routine fly ball (which was a sac fly) and weak popup on the infield. The sac fly was on a 1-2 count; RS would probably loved to had that pitch back as much as any of the 4 to deGrom. But yeah, There were some kind of strange dynamics going on there in the 4th.

  32. bouwills

    Stephenson, Wisler, & Brice have no option available for next year. All 3 will have to make the 25 man roster or be exposed to the waiver wire. If Romano, Garrett, & Iglesias are not optioned this season then 9 Reds pitchers will enter the 2019 with only 1 option remaining: Iglesias, Garrett, Romano, Mella, Sims, Reed, Finnegan, Stephens, & R. Davis. Options will be a factor in about every pitching decision the Reds make next year.

  33. WVRedlegs

    Could the Reds dig down into their past for a bullpen arm? It says he is throwing 98 now as a closer. Maybe he was an idiot to too many people in Cincinnati to give him a shot. Walt is still around lurking the hallways at 100 Nuxhall Way. But some team probably will have him in spring camp for a look. It is at The Athletic, so a subscription is required to read it all.