Final R H E
Tampa Bay Rays (7-6)
 4  7  1
Cincinnati Reds (4-8)
 12  13  0
W: T. Cingrani (1-1)   L:  C. Ramos (0-1)   S:  None
Box Score   |   Play-by-Play    |    Stats    |    Depth Chart    |    FanGraphs Win Probability

The Good

Channeling the Cobra, one Mr. Dave Parker, the Reds found their dancing and their hitting shoes just when the fan base was in full panic mode.

Not today, Zurg.

That Joey Votto is just too darn selective, isn’t he? He only wants to crush baseballs. A 452 foot batter’s eye bomb by Joey and a 443 foot second deck blast by Devin Mesoraco set a new tone everyone in the dugout could dance to today.

The capper to the day was the grand slam by my boy, Chris Heisey. I’ve always wanted the Reds to just give Chris the job for a couple of months and tell him not to look over his shoulder—and see what he could do.

Tony Cingrani just keeps turning baseball bats into sawdust, don’t he? The streak remains intact. Kid Furious still hasn’t given up more than 5 base hits in a start—EVER.

The Bad

Another major TOOTBLAN early in the game threatened to ruin the fun at GABP. But, all of that is washed away by the rest of the day’s festivities. It would seem the players are having a hard time walking that fine line between putting pressure on the defense and making silly mistakes.

The Ugly

Not so much.

Not so random thoughts …

A Mat Latos MRI revealed no damage and the ulner collateral ligament looks strong. But, push his schedule back another two weeks. We’ll take any good news we can get right now. Amirite?

Is Jay Bruce turning into Joey-lite? On base 5 times today, 4 via the always underrated base on balls. Question for the McRBI Crowd: if a slugger walks 4 times, but scores 4 runs… does it make a sound?

Another 3 hit day for Brandon Phillips. DatDude has been DatGood early in the season.

And can we get some love for Zack Cozart? A double, single, walk and two RBIs should provide a slight respite from those in the peanut gallery calling for his banishment to Siberia. The young man is one of the best fielding shortstops in the major leagues. It’s not his job to be an offensive force. Just contribute. Did that today and then some.

The Daily Billy: 1 for 5 today. An OBP below .200 now. I’m no expert by any means, but I wonder if the Reds should abandon Billy’s switch-hitting approach. I know they want to get him that edge coming out of the batters box from the left side, but perhaps concentrating on hitting from just his dominate side would help him by simplifying things for him at the plate. Just spitballin’ here.

Time to punch the Jolly Roger in the mouth. The Pirates come into GABP having lost 3 straight to the Brewers.

62 Responses

  1. MikeC

    Agree about Heisey. If the Reds take your suggestion to have Billy only bat RH, he could start against lefties with Heisey starting against righties. Heisey could take LF a few times to give Ludwick some days off, giving him 80 – 90% of the starts.

  2. vared

    Reminds me so much of last year: Averaged over 4 runs per game for the series so not too bad offensively right? Really great to see some runs on the board though.

  3. Mike Gilmore

    Heisey had every chance to win that job last year, and did NOTHING with it. I’m glad he’s playing well, I’m just saying.

    • MikeC

      Actually he was injured early in the season after Ludwick went down. When he came back, Heisey was the top Reds RH hitter. Then Ludwick came off the DL and Dusty sent Heisey back to the bench. Neither he, with his inconsistent playing time, nor Ludwick did much the rest of the year.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        I have to agree. People think Heisey is such a PH force when actually his numbers last season and for his career show that his numbers starting and as a PH are fairly consistent. It’s his energy, that’s what I believe this team needs out there on the field right now.

        He might have not shown anything last season to win the job. But, in 2012, when Baker finally made the LF competition a true competition (as in one goes first for a while, the other goes then, and see who does better afterwards), Heisey went first, starting something like 32 of 42 games and batted 288/324. Then, it was Ludwick’s turn. That was when Ludwick’s bat got hot and, thus, Baker understandably couldn’t bench Ludwick. Heisey didn’t do anything to lose the job; he did all he could to win the job. The other player’s bat simply got hot at the right time, that’s all.

      • eric nyc

        Actually his wRC+ and OPS+ are both around 98 as a starter and 110 as a PH. I’ve said it before: Chris Heisey is a very valuable 4th outfielder and bat off the bench, but he’s only an average starting OF. If Ludwick or Hamilton really skid, I’m all for giving him more starts (and I think he should be starting in LF right now) but let’s not pretend that Chris Heisey is a secret weapon that could come in and transform the offense if he finally got his big break.

  4. Mutaman

    Heisey hits a HR and all of a sudden he’s Carl Yastremski. Hes had plenty of chances over the years.

    • Kory Estes

      Heisey has done what a good player should do, and that is make adjustments in the offseason. I believe it was written not too long ago he is on his third batting stance in as many years, trying to find a stroke that works for him. Given what we’ve seen out of Spring Training and the few dozen games, on a small sample size, is a guy who has found something that works.

      He may have had plenty of chances in the past, but he’s certainly not hurting his future chances either.

      • Mutaman

        He’s had a good spring and a decent start, but I’m not ready to put him in the HOF yet. Folks over react too much.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Not one person here is looking to put Heisey in the HOF. I’m a Heisey fan, and I wouldn’t be thinking that. Please don’t blow something up that just isn’t there.

  5. jcredlegs

    Good day for the boys today so I’m not going to complain. But I have serious doubts about this offense long term, especially against high-caliber pitching like we would face in the playoffs. Go Reds!

    • ohiojimw

      Teams that win only 1/3 of their games don’t have to worry about hitting playoff pitching. Obviously the Reds over time are going to improve to better than a .333 record. But four consecutive series of 1-2 have put them in long haul mode. Getting back to .500 is one thing. getting to that .550 or higher level it will take to make the playoffs is quite another.

  6. Shchi Cossack

    Quetions regarding Hamilton’s effectiveness switch hitting and wondering if simplifying things at the plate would help…

    That sounds like development questions and needs. On the 25-man roster at the major league level is neither the time nor the place for development. There is absolutely no question that Hamilton’s speed is elite and game changing. Even the threat of his speed is game changing. Just ask Votto! I’m a huge Hamilton fan and Hamilton supporter, but the Reds did the kid no favors by bringing him up before he had demonstrated he was ready. I believe Hamilton will end up back in Louisville with his development set back by a year. He’s looking less and less confident at the plate. Major league infields are playing at near little league depth to take away any infield hits. Hamilton is having difficulty reading the strike zone and has begun hitting the ball in the air. This is not the Hamilton the Reds need leading off and if he can’t lead off, any value on the major league roster is minimal.

    • Jared Wynne

      How long do you figure they will give him to figure it out before he gets demoted?

      • jdx19

        I think he gets dropped to 7-8-9 way before he gets demoted to AAA. Which, by the way, should have already happened.

        His speed, save 1 bunt hit, has not come into play yet getting on base. Sure, he stretched a double to a triple. I was all ready to expect any groundball not hit right at a guy to be a hit. Turns out, he’s getting thrown out easily on groundballs so far, due to the defensive positioning.

  7. redmountain

    It is early and he is facing guys he has never seen. Patience.

  8. sezwhom

    100% agreement on Heisey. Nobody asked me, nobody is going to ask me but I say let the man play and see what happens. Remember, last year after 12 games, we were 5 & 7. In 2012, we started 4 & 8. How’d we finish?

    • Mutaman

      “How’d we finish?”

      I think last year we finished by losing our last six games and getting embarrassed against the Pirates. Year before i recall we lost our last three. Might be wrong, I’ve tried to put it out of my mind.

  9. RedsfanPa

    Nice start by Cingrani. Devin looks good swinging the bat. Great to see some hits and runs. Happy to see Heisey getting some swings. Let’s take it to the Pirates and get out of the cellar! Bailey usually pitches well against them.

  10. Greg Schiller

    The walks by votto and bruce are good except the reds don’t have enough good hitters to make the other teams pay for the walks.

  11. Kyle Farmer

    I said in on a recap thread a couple of days ago and got some big time negative reaction, but the ridiculous “contact play” must be eliminated. See the ball go through – it’s not a difficult concept. I know some would rather see runners gunned down at home repeatedly, but it must stop!

  12. jas428

    I think Heisey is getting even less playing time under Price. Is he the sixth outfielder now? He would get even fewer chances if Schumaker were playing. It was HUGE to see him hit with authority to RF – that is a rare event and a weakness. And Heisey is our hometown hero (after Gene Garber and Bruce Sutter)! I would love to see Heisey get half the opportunity that Drew Stubbs got, but alas Stubbs was blue chip, 1st rounder. Reds cannot and will not offer such a chance to 17th rounder from D3 school – and it makes sense – even if he was Reds minor league POY a few years ago. Everyone knows Heisey’s strengths and weaknesses, but would two months of playing nearly every day result in Heisey seeing and adjusting and undo four years of stagnating on the bench? Do folks even understand how rare it is for D3 player to have this kind of success?

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      It’s not unusual at all. Not the norm, granted, but not unusual.

      • jas428

        Do you know how many D3 position players are in MLB right now? I thought it was just three or four.

  13. Jason Linden

    There are lots of opinions about Heisey, but in basically 2 seasons of PAs over his career, he’s generated 5.2 WAR, which makes him average to above average when he plays. And, frankly, he’s almost certainly better than Ludwick.

    • Mutaman

      Frankly hes not. Almost certainly not. frankly.

      • greenmtred

        You evidently only consider hitting when you evaluate position players. Heisey runs better and fields better than does Ludwick. If Ludwick is crushing the ball he needs to start, obviously, given the state of the Reds’ offense. But if the difference between Heisey and Ludwick as hitters isn’t big, Heisey should start.

  14. Matt WI

    Fun game today. Got to catch most on MLB Network, so that was fun to actually see it instead of listen. Keep bringing it, Devin Mesarco. Now we need some Homer Time.

  15. Jerry Davis

    It’s good to see joey swinging for the fences instead of trying to draw a walk, let’s hope he keeps this approach.

  16. Jerry Davis

    Also, I agree with the thought of stopping the switch hitting experiment, Billy has enough to learn at the Major League level without adding hitting from the other side.

  17. jessecuster44

    Great win today! Nice to see the bats wake up. Spread the O out evenly during a series, and things will look bright.

  18. Earl Nash

    If Billy Hamilton struggles, Chris Heisey is going to get a chance to play. I like the guy and he has had some great moments as a Red, but the few times he has gotten to play for a couple weeks straight or so, he seems to go into a funk. Then you spot start him and pinch hit Heisey and he has big hits and you think he should get more playing time.

    That said, Heisey definitely should have gotten more at bats that last year Stubbs was here and really struggling, that I concede. Last year he wasn’t doing that well, got hurt for a good long while and then really didn’t work a ton after he got back.

    • ohiojimw

      I think Heisey’s durability is an issue in determining his viability as an every day player. In addition to the long DL stint he had last year, he has been unavailable a number of times for several days. Injuries are not (necessarily) a players fault; but they do impact a players’ value to the team.

  19. Mutaman

    Tomorrow Heisey will strike out and the same folks who are ready to put him in the HOF today will be posting that he should be DFAed.

      • Mutaman

        I’m a Redlegs fan so I’m a Heisey fan. But I don’t over react.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        It sounds like you are the only one over-reacting. Not one person on here has said anything about putting Heisey in the HOF.

    • greenmtred

      You’re probably correct. We’re very changeable, prone to mood swings (BH is great after his good game, should be sent down after his bad games). This is why I think that we collectively need medicating. Wonder if any doc would write a large group prescription.

      • Shchi Cossack

        Perhaps an idea for the next RLN fundraiser?!

  20. Spro

    Sorry if this has been commented in another post, but is anyone befuddled by the reds not getting an MRI for Latos until now? If the decision was to shut him down for 2 weeks based on the results, wouldn’t that have been better off to do instead of sending him on a AA rehab start? Especially with going through the ordeal with Broxton and his forearm, I think they should’ve had the MRI immediately.

    • ohiojimw

      Based on what Brian Price said on the pregame radio show, I think this latest setback for Latos is more than just adding a couple of weeks to the time Latos will be out.

      Price said Latos will be shutdown from throwing for 10-14 days. When he starts back (Price continued), Latos would begin by throwing from flat ground then advance to bullpen sessions/ simulated game situations and eventually rehab starts. Price said the good news was that Latos was “not back to square one” and that he should be ready to throw 3-4 innings a stint when he reached the point of making rehab starts.

      Price dodged stating any kind of timeline for Latos; but, just add the steps and days on your fingers and a month to six weeks I’d think is optimistic and six weeks to 2 months not out of the question,

      • Bill Lack

        As I said on our latest podcast, I’m long past believing ANYTHING the Reds medical staff says. How often have “day to day” ended up being a couple months? Or “not serious” ended up being a long stint on the DL? I’m getting to the point where I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s out until July…and I’m more optimistic than Chad is. He said the two words that must not be spoken…

      • greenmtred

        I’m not disagreeing with you about the medical staff, because I just don’t know (although I can’t think of a viable reason why they would consistently misstate injury information), but I do know, being oft-injured myself, that the state of an injury evolves, even during rehab.

    • preacherj

      I thought the same thing regarding the MRI. Heck, I’d put a machine in the team’s hotel and have a spare for the plane ride. Sore shoulder? MRI. Stubbed finger? MRI. Stomach flu? MRI. Ready to sign a new contract? MRI. New shoe contract? MRI. You get the idea.

  21. Earl Nash

    Got to say the Rays seem like a pretty likable club. I’m definitely someone that watches a fair amount of baseball, but really it’s mostly NL Central baseball as the Reds and Cubs games are always on TV. The Rays have an interesting roster and their pitchers were pretty impressive.

    I know I would like to have Ben Zobrist on my club, he would be a handy player on pretty much any roster being able to hit like that and play that many positions.

    Reds have a pretty tough April schedule, I just hope they can fight back to .500 before the month’s out. They got to start out winning tomorrow night against the Pirates, then winning a series next.

  22. ToddAlmighty

    Man, who would have thought that Bruce going 1-1 would be so encouraging? I hope some of the other players look at Bruce’s day, see that he had four walks and four runs scored, and realize how walks can really benefit an offense.

    Heck, scoring runs aside, taking walks leads to a FB down the middle that Bruce slapped for a double. Doubt he would have gotten such a nice pitch if he was swinging at garbage.

    • jdx19

      Yep! Who woulda t hought there is a positive correlation between getting on base and scoring! 😉

      Looking at last year’s Red Sox should convince anyone. I’m fairly sure they saw the most pitches, walked the most, and scored the most runs, if memory serves.

      Oh, and something about DET and BOS leaving the most men on base in the baseball, but scoring the most and second-most runs.

      Walks are good! 🙂

  23. Anthony Stevens

    It sure doesn’t seem like Heisey has ever gotten a fair chance at playing every day. I don’t consider 3/5 days for a few weeks like last year a fair shake. I’d love to see him get a chance to start 8/10 or 9/10 games for a couple of months and see what happens. Couldn’t be any worse than what Ludwick and Hamilton are doing right now.

    • ToddAlmighty

      Yeah, we’re starting to creep out of “small sample size” territory with Heisey this year. He’s now 25-79, 6 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR, 17 RBI since the start of Spring to today. He needs a nice prolonged look.

      Ludwick has hit .188/.263/.188 in his last 7. Now’s as good of time as any for Heisey to start for a month. I think people forget that Heisey did good things in LF in 2012. It’s just that Ludwick came back and went on that rampage when Votto got hurt, but Heisey hit .283/.338/.455 in LF in 2012,

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Exactly. I’ve stated it before with Heisey. Baker made the LF position a true competition that season. During that season, Heisey went first, started 32 of 42 games, batted 288/324, respectable, serviceable, definitely not bad. It’s just, when Ludwick took his turn next, his bat got hot and Baker understandably couldn’t take him out. Heisey definitely didn’t lose the LF job. Ludwick won it with a hot bat, one of the few times Baker has kept a hot bat in the lineup.

  24. Dan in Dayton

    This is Awesome…..

    “Question for the McRBI Crowd: if a slugger walks 4 times, but scores 4 runs… does it make a sound?”

    • greenmtred

      It IS awesome, in a “when did you stop beating your wife” sort of way. If a slugger walks 4 times in a game and scores 0 runs, does THAT make a sound? Most of us probably view this as nuanced issue.

      • greenmtred

        That’s true enough, Kurt, but teammates DO suck often enough. Walks ARE (I seem to be unusually emphatic today)a good thing, it goes without saying, but judging their value has to situation-specific to have much meaning. Yes, obviously, getting on base correlates well with scoring. Duh. I don’t believe that those of us raising these questions are doubting that, but winning strategy is going to vary team by team, to some extent: If you have a lineup that simply can’t hit, one guy who gets on base a lot won’t make much difference if winning games is the goal.

  25. Ethan

    I hereby nominate Chris Heisey for the baseball hall of fame. All in favor, say “I”.

  26. eric nyc

    Whenever the Heisey conversation comes up people seem to forget that having a really good PH off the bench is a very valuable thing. I’d be willing to bet that in a hypothetical full starting season Heisey and Ludwick would have very similar numbers. The difference is I don’t think Ludwick would be very valuable off the bench given his plate approach. So if you swap them, you actually make the team weaker by taking away its best late inning PH. Sucks for Heisey, but there’s a reason he’s stuck in this role with this team as long as he has.

  27. Eric the Red

    We scored 12 runs, and our 3-hole hitter didn’t drive any of them in. We’re not paying him to go 3 for 5; he only has one more RBI on the season than Zack Cozart! /s/

    Seriously, though, baseball is a funny game. We scored 12, our #3 hitter was 3 for 5, and he didn’t drive in or score a single run. I bet that doesn’t happen very often.

  28. preacherj

    I just want a series without any TOOTBLANS. Baby steps.

  29. Earl Nash

    Chris Heisey has had a couple opportunities, the thing is that a couple of his big hot streaks Dusty seemed to get weird and just forget him for a couple weeks.

    Heisey got quite a few starts after Jay Bruce got hurt late in 2010 when the Reds swooned a bit in Sept. I remembered the outfield with Heisy just giving bupkus for performance in losing 6 of 7 from Sep. 3 and 9. I think this might be the longest consecutive starts he had.

    2011- Heisey never had as long a streak as the September 2010 starts, but he did start quite a few games in July hitting not much and in September with the Reds out of story he hit decent.

    2012- Heisey actually started quite a bit in May and June of this season. He didn’t hit with much authority, about his average.

    I’d say Heisey has gotten two extended periods of at least a month to six weeks where he has played and got regular at bats as a starter in 2010 and 2012 with quite a few regular starts down the stretch in 2011 when the Reds out of it in Sept. In those stints, just by a quick eyeball look at the numbers, at best he’s been his average.