Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds  (8-11)
5 11 0
Pittsburgh Pirates  (9-11)
6 12 1
W: Hughes (1-0) L: Hoover (1-2)
Box Score  |   Play-by-Play    |    Photos    |    Depth Chart    |    FanGraphs Win Probability

Positives

The Reds scored a Hamilrun in the first inning when Billy Hamilton was hit by Francisco Liriano’s first pitch of the game. Hamilton advanced to *third* base on Joey Votto’s soft ground ball and scored on Brandon Phillips’ ground ball to 3B when catcher Russell Martin dropped the ball on the tag. Fun to watch when he gets on, but Hamilton isn’t anywhere close to providing lead-off level at bats for a contending team.

Brandon Phillips, who came into the game on a 1-for-16 streak, had three hits and an RBI. In the third inning, the Reds ran one of their favorite new plays, the back-to-back doubles play with consecutive extra base hits by Phillips and Todd Frazier. Devin Mesoraco had three more hits, including knocking in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning.  Frazier had three hits and two walks in five plate appearances.

Those early season offensive worries? This was the ninth game in a row the Reds have scored at least four runs.

The Reds were able to rest bullpen aces Sam LeCure, Sean Marshall and Jonathan Broxton this game. Didn’t even need ’em.

Negatives

The Pirates scored four runs on four consecutive pitches off Mike Leake in the fourth inning. In case you got up to get a cold one at the wrong time and missed it … Pitch 1: Andrew McCutchen golfed a single into left field. Pitch 2: Pedro Alvarez smashed a double off the RF wall. Pitch 3: Leake hit Neil Walker. Pitch 4: Ike Davis hit a broken-bat grand slam into the right field bleachers.

The Reds rallied for two runs in the eighth inning to take the lead. But they blew a huge opportunity to increase their advantage through a combination of a(nother) bad decision by the third base coach, a bad slide by Jay Bruce, a bad at bat by Zack Cozart and a routine out by Chris Heisey.

In one of many head-scratching managerial moves tonight, Bryan Price brought Manny Parra in to start the eighth inning. Parra had thrown 33 pitches yesterday and recorded only one out. Parra had to face right-handed NL MVP Andrew McCutchen who has hit .334/.421/.579 in his career against LHP. Of course, McCutchen homered on Parra’s second pitch. I have no idea why Price used a LHP in that situation. That is not a manager putting his players in the best position for them to succeed. It’s the opposite of that.

Both Parra and J.J. Hoover were ineffective. In 1 2/3 innings they gave up 4 hits and 3 walks. Hoover was left on the mound in the ninth inning when he was clearly struggling. I have no idea why Price didn’t have someone ready to replace Hoover after he walked the first hitter in the ninth.

Neil Walker’s game winning bloop fell safely into right field when Brandon Phillips turned the wrong way. Then Jay Bruce’s throw to the plate narrowly beat the runner, but took an unfortunate high hop over Devin Mesoraco.

Not so random thoughts

In the second inning, Manager Dusty Baker Bryan Price had Mike Leake (.222) sacrifice his AB for the second out to bring up a hitter who was batting .210. Mike Leake had doubled and homered in his last game against the Pirates. Both of those were better-hit than anything off Billy Hamilton’s bat this year.

One of the reasons I love watching MIke Leake play is the way he helps the team in the field and at the plate. In this game, he picked Starling Marte off at first base and got down a perfect sacrifice bunt.

The Reds would have scored at least two more runs tonight if Devin Mesoraco’s ABs had taken place in the sixth spot in the batting order. He led off three separate innings. It really requires a What-Would-Hank-Aaron-Do level of stubbornness to keep someone hitting .541/.571/.946 batting that low in the lineup. It’s the anti-Maddon philosophy of lineup construction. Instead of moving your hitters around where they can do the best, you leave them where they are, no matter what.

The Reds have lost 7 of 9 one-run games. This should eventually even out.

How in the world can the Reds take a one-run lead into the eighth inning against the Pirates, face twelve batters in the eighth and ninth innings and never use the three best pitchers in the bullpen? Maybe it was a fit of charitable equity being practiced by Bryan Price. After all, the Pirates best three bullpen pitchers were unavailable tonight. Maybe the Reds’ skipper thought it was only fair for the Reds to tie their three best arms behind their collective back.

Fatal bullpen performance + fatal bullpen management = Baseball death

Top game thread comments

Vegastypo: MesVP

JDX19: (Billy Hamilton is) terrible (at bunting). He’s got the lowest success % of any hitter in the majors who has at least 1 bunt hit.

John Walsh: As Hoover throws ball after ball, you’d think it was the Reds who were playing with a depleted bullpen.

187 Responses

    • zaglamir

      Thank you. You took a bit of the sting out of the loss, because I simply can’t read that without grinning.

    • renbutler

      Cubs just loaded the bases with no outs and failed to score. At least there’s a team more frustrating than ours…

      • jdx19

        If you start the timer at the decision of the 3rd base coach to send Bruce home, that’s exactly what the Reds did. Sacks jacked with no outs and scored 0 runs.

      • renbutler

        Okay, but I still say their team is more frustrating, based on, oh, about a century’s worth of evidence.

      • Sparky

        Sending Bruce with no outs was a mistake…But that being said, The Reds were real aggressive tonight on the base paths, going 1st to 3rd like 3 times. I hate the Bruce play but do like the running Reds!

      • jbemis44

        The decision to send Bruce really didn’t bother me. Just about everything else did. But Price was exactly right that it was an aggressive move and it required a perfect throw from McCutchen, which he unfortunately made. As bad as the Reds were last night (the last play was little league, it really was) you have to tip your cap to Andrew McCutchen, he looked like an MVP keeping them in the game and then tying it up.

      • greenmtred

        They are only more frustrating objectively. The fans only pay lip service to caring about the game; they are there to groove on the wonders of their ancient ballpark and the drollness of the cubfan experience.

  1. jdx19

    Good write-up, Steve. And quick!

    The good news? We get to play tomorrow! That’s why I like baseball SO much more than football; and I love football. I have to dwell on Marvin Lewis’ shortcomings for a full week. Only have to dwell on tonight for 21 hours.

  2. jcredlegs

    Only two comments and them I’m done: the guy in the 3rd base coaches’ box needs to be replaced and Bryan Price needs to get his act together in a hurry. The honeymoon is already over.

  3. Mutaman

    ” I have no idea why Price used a LHP in that situation. That is not a manager putting his players in the best position for them to succeed. It’s the opposite of that.”

    This is well written

  4. vared

    Add to that McCutchen OWNED Parra. Parra is quite literally the LAST guy you bring in to start the ninth. This one really hurts, not because of the loss, but because it tells me a lot I didn’t want to know about Price. It’s a sick feeling. Hope someone asks him some tough questions and doesn’t let him wiggle off the hook.

    • Pete Rose

      Have to agree about Price, for a pitching coach his ability to strategize is extremely poor. He may be able to work with pitchers to fine tune them but as far as managing them and pull the right trigger – the verdict is still out. Parra did not belong out there in the 8th under any circumstances. He was tired after throwing a third of a game on Sunday. And Brian, stop babying your expensive talent. it should have been Marshall in the 8th and Jonathan in the 9th – if Marshall had shut them down in the 8th and the Reds still had the lead. Or if you wanted to test unchartered waters, then send Broxton into face McClutch in the 8th and leave Marshall to close in the 9th. As someone has already stated – WAKE UP – the honeymoon is over.

      • Pete Rose

        Right Mr. Price now your killer instinct appears to be A BIG FAT ZERO !!

      • AnnapolisHoosier

        Price said Marshall wasn’t available

      • redmountain

        Bring in a different LHP to pitch to McCutcheon?

  5. concepcion13

    “Hamilrun”=best new baseball term. Ever.

    And since he’s killing us, best to know the name of our third-base “coach”: Steve Smith. His two claims to fame are
    1) being on the Amazing Race, and
    2) being terrible as a third base coach.

    • Steve Mancuso

      Thanks. If I was in the mood, I’d trademark it. 🙂

    • charlottencredsfan

      1) is interesting and 2) is…………

      No doubt that the bullpen management was the issue tonight. Heck who knows, they may have lost with Sam, Brox, and Marshall anyway. But just like a pitcher doesn’t want to get beat on anything but his best pitch, a manager in that situation should not lose a game using anything other than his best arms. If Price thinks that JJ Hoover is one of their best pitchers, we have bigger problems than we realize.

      JJ has good stuff but looks absolutely lost at the moment. Put him in nothing but the lowest of the low leverage situations until he regains his footing.

      • Pete Rose

        Actually JJ does look lost – he has little if any confidence in his off speed pitches -. something that he might actually get worked out as the season progresses. But in a highly stressful situation (pitching the 9th in a tie game on the road in Pittsburgh) – there were other more experienced and qualified pitchers lounging in the Red’s bullpen. And when I hear that Ondrusek was warming up – I thought what the f…

  6. Steve Mancuso

    On the play at third base: Yes, it took an amazing play by Marte and a bad slide by Bruce for the 3B coach’s decision to end up wrong. However, in that circumstance, you error vastly on the conservative side since there are no outs. Someone provided the research in the game thread that Cozart has been excellent with runners at third. It’s EXACTLY the third base coach’s job to know the capabilities of the OF and the batters on deck.

    • Pete Rose

      Couldn’t agree with you more Steve – it’s definitely the 3B coaches job to know the capabilities of the opponent’s OF as well as the hitter on deck, and that includes the arm strength and speed of the opponent’s OF – man, that’s almost 1/2 their job right there. Mez seemed to know as he popped up at 2B and took 3B on the Pirate’s RF which eventually led to a Red’s run. So while we are at it, is there enough coffee in the dugout to keep the manager and coaches awake – because right now they sure seem to be snoozin’ or asleep at the wheel – take your pick.

      • lwblogger2

        I’m starting to wonder if Price pretty much managed the bullpen even during most of Baker’s tenure here. In fact, I’m not sure his bullpen management hasn’t been worse than Baker’s so far this year.

    • lwblogger2

      Yes Steve. With nobody out and the 8-hole hitter up, with the bases loaded, you absolutely don’t send Bruce from 2B there. I was talking to the TV saying “Maybe, just maybe if you have Hamilton or someone running… Or maybe just maybe if Johnny Damon or Juan Pierre or someone else with no arm is out there, you send him. But dang, you don’t send him in that situation unless you absolutely know he’s going to be in there.”

  7. jdx19

    To update your point in the write-up about Leake/Hamilton:

    Leake: .273/.273/.636
    BHAM: .203/.246/.266

    Therefore, until Hamilton proves his ability to be a major league hitter, Leake should NEVER sacrifice bunt if Hamilton is leading off.

    • Steve Mancuso

      Even worse, Leake’s *career* batting line: .250/.280/.335

      Better average and better power than BH over quite a few AB.

  8. CharlieHustle

    Just curious, has JJ Hoover ever pitched more than 1 inning and not allowed a run. I guess Price is using the same strategy as last year when Dusty felt the need to let him pitch out of his awful start to the season. I understand he got better, but still I don’t ever recall him going more thAn one inning without allowing a run

  9. WVRedlegs

    Give the Pirates credit, they assessed their weaknesses and went out and did something about it. They picked up Ike Smith and that has paid early dividends twice now for them. They didn’t wait around until July, they did something now.
    While Walt Jocketty fiddles around waiting for guys to get off the DL, another one goes into the loss column that you cannot get back.
    Can Jeff Francis pitch from the bullpen? At least he throws strikes, he only has 3 BB’s at Louisville.

    • charlottencredsfan

      How much does it matter if Price does not know the best pecking order? He’d probably have Francis closing. Granted the BP is the weak spot of the club but we do have 3 pitchers that are good and Parra is too.

      Like Steve said Parra threw 33 pitches yesterday so he had no business coming into this game., not just to face McCutchen but anyone. I believe Parra will be alright if handled properly.

      • Pete Rose

        Has Brian Price even been watching the Reds games the past few years? You have pitchers sitting in the bullpen making millions of $$$ – why? Because they can produce more often than not when the game’s on the line. So who do you bring in? Parra and Hoover in a very big early season game. Middle of the 8th – Reds up a run. Brian, wake up and figure out NOW who your high leverage pitchers are – and btw, they aren’t Hoover and Parra – they are the ones earning the huge paychecks – just like in any business. And btw, one of them is so big there is absolutely no way you can miss him. Brian, you simply don’t bring in the janitors to make serious decisions about your business – they clean-up after a day’s work. The front line workers make the business $$$ during the day, janitors come in and mop up after the serious matter of running the business have culminated for the day.

      • Moses

        Whoa, whoa, whoa! While he didn’t make the best decisions tonight, I find it surprising that there’s so much trashing of Parra going on (the guy’s been incredible this season outside of the last few days) and praising of Broxton (the guy’s been lousy outside of the last few days). Some of our best bullpen arms over the last two years have been the cheapest (LeCure, Hoover, Simon) so the whole more money equals better performance is not a winning argument. Hoover is not pitching well this year and perhaps should be sent down to straighten it out but don’t tell me that Pena is better than Mez just because he’s paid more, or that Santiago is better than Cozart. Is Schumaker twice as good as Heisey and a third as good as Ludwick because of their pay? No, but that’s what the market will bear.

      • tct

        Exactly! Price has made some questionable moves, but he doesn’t have many good options right now. Chapman is out. Marshall just came back and has pitched like 8 innings in the bigs since 2012. If Price puts Marshall in and he blows the game, everyone would be crying about it being too soon to put him in a high leverage spot like that. And Broxton is a mediocre pitcher. His velocity and strikeout rate have been declining for years. LeCure,Parra, Simon, and Hoover were the reds best relievers last year. Sam has had decent results, but his velocity is way down and something looks wrong with him. Simon has been amazing in the rotation. Hoover and Parra were in the high leverage spots last night and they lost.
        The only really bad decision was letting Parra face McCutchen. Price probably should have used a rightly for him and then let Manny go after Alvarez and Walker

  10. wildwestlv

    I’m going to be really interested to see how BP manages the bullpen when Chapman does return.

    • ci3j

      Didn’t know DatDude had become DatPitchingCoach.

      • Pete Rose

        Two BPs now – make that 2 (pretty easy to keep them straight – one blew a pop-up and one blew the game)

      • RedinInd

        Make that 5 PB’s:
        Batting Practice
        Bull Pen
        Brayan Peña
        Bryan Price
        Brandon Phillips

        I almost whined about this a couple of weeks ago because my small brain usually has to figure out which “BP” is being discussed at the moment.

      • RedinInd

        Uhhh…. I think I meant to say “BP” not “PB”.

  11. ci3j

    Re: Mesoraco batting so low

    I don’t think it’s stubborness that Price hasn’t changed his position yet, I think it’s more he’s waiting to be sure this isn’t just beginners luck. How terrible would it be if Mez gets moved up and then promptly goes cold, thus meaning he should be moved back down?

    Baseball: It’s a marathon, not a sprint. If you had “optimal” lineup construction whereby your hottest hitters were always batting near the top, you’d have a different lineup every week.

    As an aside, though, I do think Mez will be hitting 3rd, 4th, or 5th before the first day of summer.

    • Steve Mancuso

      I get that. It certainly is beginner’s luck. But a hitter as hot as DM should bat higher than seventh – at least sixth. Some managers do use different lineups every week – heck, Joe Maddon has a different one practically every day – and it works. I agree that waiting on more data is probably necessary before doing something like moving DM up to third or fourth. But then again, move him up and when he comes back to earth move him back down. As Reds fans, listening to Dusty Baker for so many years, we’ve grown accustomed to the notion that having players hit in the same spot in the order is important for making the hitters comfortable. I’m just not so sure that’s really true. See Tampa Bay.

      • charlottencredsfan

        It’s hogwash and putting players before the team. I’m darn sure that is true. It’s not like Mes is just hot, the guy is literally on fire. Has JV, JB, BP ever had a streak like this because I sure can’t remember one? It is malpractice not to move him upward.

      • renbutler

        He’s LITERALLY ON FIRE?

        Good Lord! Somebody get a hose!

      • ci3j

        JB for sure has had streaks that would equal or match what Mez is doing now. He can carry the team when he gets hot.

        JV, probably in 2010 he had something like this.

        BP…. Possibly?

        Keep in mind, we’re talking 30 ABs here. He’s been on fire for about 2 weeks. If a month from now he’s hitting .300 still (which does seem fairly likely), I’m willing to bet Price will take the hint.

      • charlottencredsfan

        I was a little over exuberant. I amend the statement to be “figuratively” on fire. Good call, Ren.

      • Pete Rose

        Charlotte – spot on once again as I can’t remember a Reds hitter hitting over .500 for 10 games for a very, very long time. Maybe 4 or 5 games – but 10 – that’s sick (in a good sort of way). Devin is absolutely on fire. Why don’t you ride him while he’s hot. And it got me thinking – has Price ever managed anywhere – and I mean anywhere – even little leagues? Don’t even tell me the Reds went out and hired a manager with zero – and I mean zero – experience in decision making – where it was always up to someone else to make the key decisions. That could mean Price has left the tough decisions up to someone else – always. Eh gads, what have the Reds gotten themselves into. We might just find Mez starting at SS tomorrow. That was very, very bad managing and coaching tonight. You would have done better as you had it pegged all along that it was going to be a long night – and that 4-2 Pirates wasn’t going to hold up. Get Price into an executive’s training course on decision making pronto – because it appears he badly needs it – and with the way the Brewers are playing and who they host at home this week and where the Reds are playing this week (on the road against 2 NL playoff teams) – the Reds could still find themselves 10 games out by the end of April – especially since they are already 2/3rds of the way there..

      • ci3j

        Ok, people are getting a little carried away with this Devin Mesoraco thing. He’s having a pretty good stretch, but to say you “can’t remember a Red doing this in a long, long time”, apparently last May was too long ago.

        Jay Bruce, from May 11th to May 20th last year, 34 ABs (same as Mez in this hot stretch):

        .455 AVG, 6 2B, 4HR, 12RBI

        Again, not to belittle what Mez is doing, but hot stretches happen for most players. It’s sustained success that we care about. Mez isn’t quite there yet.

      • Pete Rose

        .455 is nice – .541 is nicer – its like comparing a .280 hitter to a dude hitting the north side of .325. Big, big difference. So I stand by my statement – Mez has 6 doubles, 3 HR and 11 RBIs during that time – hitting from the 7th hole while being protected in the line-up by one Zach Cozart (who can’t seem to find his way off the expressway 1##). . Who know what Mez RBI #s would be during this span if he had instead been hitting 3rd or 5th – or how many games the Reds would have won instead of losing. And my last point, was Bruce hitting 7th at the time last year during his hot spell? (btw, tic)

      • greenmtred

        Didn’t Jay start out hitting something like .600 with power? He was, briefly, the toast of the baseball world. It seems unlikely that Mes or anyone would hit at his current pace for a season, but he certainly has a nice, economical swing.

      • lwblogger2

        There were definately spots in the order where I felt more comfortable hitting than other spots in the order. Consistency and routine also did help some. However, at the end of the day, it wasn’t THAT big of a deal. There’s no real reason that MLB hitters can’t be shuffled around in the lineup without serious consequences. Heck, getting moved up in the lineup is usually a good thing.

  12. sultanofswaff

    Did I miss something? Hamilton single handedly created a run in his first at bat that no other human could, then he drove in a run with a sac fly that was tattooed. He did his share to contribute to the cause tonight.

    Billy’s baseball IQ is high, he just needs experience at the major league level. I’d rather him getting that experience now than in the heat of a playoff chase. Call it a rookie tax, but you almost never get out of paying it.

    • ci3j

      BHam is doing pretty well. He had a rough start to the season, but he has an OBP over .300 since being given the day off back on April 6.

      He’s improving before our very eyes, but some don’t have the patience to watch him grow into his role.

      • charlottencredsfan

        As long as the trend line is going up, we wait it out. I worry about the popups but that can be fixed. If he starts to look like BJ Upton, where the guy cannot make contact with a baseball, we are in trouble. So far so good. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “this guy is ready now”. He has shown big time improvement every year.

        A couple of the guys are not sold and they could be right but money is on BHam. Better chance of being a legend in Cincinnati than a bust, IMO.

      • lwblogger2

        RE: Hamilton’s sac fly… Part of that was on Martin/Liriano. Hamilton missed the first pitch slider by over a foot. Then Liriano threw him a fastball down where he could handle it. Nice job by Hamilton to do what he needed to with that pitch but also poor pitch selection by the Pirates’ battery.

    • Steve Mancuso

      Our expectations have become so low for Hamilton that routine fly balls now are “tattooed.” Balls that are tattooed get to the warning track or over the fence. Hamilton’s ball wasn’t close to that. I said his AB (not base running) weren’t good enough yet. His big baseball brain didn’t help him much in AAA or winter ball. I’d move Hamilton down in the order, so he could gain experience there.

    • Pete Rose

      Saltan – yes Billy Hamilton’s baseball IQ is extremely high (as is Mez’s) – regretfully for the Reds their manager’s and 3B coach’s doesn’t appear to be – SAD day for the Red’s indeed.

      As for Billy, he reminds me a lot of Pete Rose when he came into the league as a 2B. What was Pete best noted for at that time – HUSTLE. Not for driving the ball in the gap or hitting home runs or having a laser for an arm. But hustle. And that made Pete and the Reds a winner. And if the current Reds can stay patient with Billy, I predict the same for him and the Reds – the kid is a bona fide winner (plus he hustles just as Mez does).

      • Steve Mancuso

        Hustle doesn’t often get you to first base. Pete Rose was a much better hitter than Billy Hamilton. No comparison. Lots of players hustle. Pete had talent.

      • Pete Rose

        Funny, when Pete came up did you hear anyone saying – “man that kid could hit” – no – they said he hustled and made things happen, just like Billy. Let him grow on you a little. Pretty sure there were distractors of Pete 51 years ago when he first came up and was at the same age that Billy is now. How did Pete hit those first 2 years? .273 and .269 – with 6 and then 4 HR. How has Billy Ham hit since his disastrous opening series? (.250) Something kept Pete around – the same thing that should keep Billy around – hustle as well as demonstrating the traits of being a winner. Pete didn’t start hitting .300+ until his 3rd FT year with the Reds. Patience is a wonderful thing, often it pays off.

      • pinson343

        Pete Rose was not a gifted player. He had to work very hard to develop that talent.

      • Reed Tom

        I agree with ‘Pete Rose’. Patience will pay off if it is applied to Billy Hamilton. And Pete Rose was a ‘diamond in the rough’ who worked very hard to become the great ballplayer he was.

  13. sergeant2

    Just as I tried to post a comment right after Leake gave up the grand slam, the internet went down in a large area, including mine, and just now came back on. A shortened version of what I said was: Oh well, its still early the Reds can still win the game if Price manages the game to win. What I mean by that is that Price has to take Leake out if its obvious he doesn’t have it, not wait till the game is out of hand) What I also meant but didn’t say was that managing to win also means not bringing in relievers that are struggling if the game is close. I think Price is suffering the lingering effects of being influenced by Dusty’s philosophy of needing to “get a player going” even if its at the expense of winning a game. If it sounds like I’m making excuses for Price, I am. Is the excuse valid? Actually I think its wishful thinking on my part.

  14. ToddAlmighty

    I’m surprised the challenge situation didn’t get mentioned. Mesoraco clearly steals second base with 0 outs, no challenge. Apparently he was saving the challenge for when Bruce clearly got thrown out at home for whatever reason.

    • Steve Mancuso

      I don’t think either of those plays were as clear as you imply. I thought DM looked safe at second, but Price has shown a willingness to challenge, including stolen base calls. He must have got information that it wasn’t clear cut. The Bruce play was far from clear, and the risk-reward much higher with a run scored.

      • Greg Dafler

        I was watching the game on ESPN. They showed a replay of one of the bench coaches on the phone with their video guy. Price was looking in at him, and the coach made a face and made a gesture with his hand to say that replay was iffy.

    • VaRedsFan

      It wasn’t clear cut…too close to call and waste a challenge on something that wasn’t downright obvious

  15. Richard Fitch

    For what it’s worth, Price said not everyone in the bullpen was available tonight. Which likely explains why Hoover was in there for so long and Parra was in there at all.

    Hopefully, Marshall is feeling okay.

    • charlottencredsfan

      Did he say anything about Broxton or Lecure?

      • pinson343

        Broxton was warming up in the Reds 9th in case they went ahead, so he was being held back for the save. Sam was probably a little sore after about 30 pitches yesterday. Marshall also threw about 30 pitches so they were being cautious with him. I think Parra has a bit more of a rubber arm than Sam.

    • ci3j

      But, again…. Parra threw 36 pitches yesterday. Why was HE available, but others weren’t? Especially to pitch against someone like McCutchen?

      • Richard Fitch

        Who did you want in there? Ondrusek?

      • pinson343

        Ondrusek was warming up to pitch the 9th if Bruce got on (walked) but the game was still tied.

      • Steve Mancuso

        If the Reds went into tonight’s game without being able to use Marshall or LeCure, with Broxton limited to one inning, with Ondrusek and Christiani being as unreliable as they’ve been – then that’s a general manager issue. Get a different arm or two up for Ondrusek and/or Christiani.

      • ci3j

        I honestly would have taken the rested, righty Ondru to face McCutchen over the tired, lefty Parra.

      • jessecuster44

        Broxton. High leverage, getting the MVP out in the 8th inning.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Terrible, would rather die by poison or gunshot?

      • CP (@nomoresalads)

        McCutchen up with no one on with 0 outs does not make a situation high leverage.

        I would have been completely fine with Broxton pitching, but Price didn’t do anything that 99% of all MLB managers would do in holding him out until the 9th inning.

      • Pete Rose

        Ondrusek was rested – Parra wasn’t. And as we all know, McClutch is a big time talent. And by the way, did everyone happen to see how McClutch hits LHP – certainly better than RHP – thus the clear choice was Ondrusek – even if he happened to walk him. A tired Parra against one of the game’s best RH hitting power hitters was a piece of meat for McClutch – and thus he had no trouble tying a game that by that point in time should not have been close.

        And as a result the Reds drift further and further out of 1st place.

      • CP (@nomoresalads)

        Pete, you are lying to yourself. If Ondrusek comes in and Cutch hits that homerun, you are on here talking about how bad Ondrusek is and how stupid Price is. It’s ridiculous.

      • Pete Rose

        Hey salad man, you are right – just ticked it didn’t go better for the Reds last night. Well, unlike football have a chance to remedy the situation starting this evening.

    • pinson343

      Marshall was probably “not available” but I would assume he’s OK. He threw nearly 30 pitches yesterday in his first outing of the season, they’re being cautious with his shoulder.

      • charlottencredsfan

        If Sam, Parra, and Sean all threw over 30 pitches yesterday; that changes things. Lord, to have Chappy and Mat back would solve a lot of problems. JJ just looks like he can be of no help at the moment. Actually I’m starting to have more confidence in Ondru if you can call it that.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Sam only threw 24 pitches yesterday, he could have came in and at least faced McCutchen. We had the lead at that point and Price needs to be creative in that situation.

      • CP (@nomoresalads)

        Charlotte, are you really making a distinction between 24 and 30 pitches? Haha, really?

        LeCure may have more things going on than has been made public given his velocity drop, trouble warning up. All part of the problem of being subject to incomplete information.

      • pinson343

        Charlotte, if you really want to be picky, LeCure’s 24 pitches were over 2 innings and everyone says that’s more stressful than 24 pitches in one inning. The important point was already made by CP: Le Cure was not available, and we don’t fully know why.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Okay, I will concede the point, but please tell me how the better relievers were burned out in a 8-2 win so they could not pitch in 6-5 loss? Price is obviously still learning the craft and I’m confident he will be an expert before long. He appears to be struggling with either identifying his best bullpen arms or he is identifying them but doesn’t know how to maximize their value.

        The last couple of games have not been a study in proper bullpen management.

  16. John Walsh

    That means a lot to have earned a Top Game Thread Comment — especially since I’m certain that I put more thought into it than Bryan Price did his bullpen management tonight. Good grief.

    I’m fine with mistakes from the first year manager, really. Just gotta keep getting better each day. But right now, it feels like we’re seeing a patter of regression in the the decision-making (and not just one game).

    I wholeheartedly agree with the poster who said it’s starting to look more and more like it was actually Price managing the bullpen last year. No bueno.

    • Steve Mancuso

      There’s no comparison between Price’s management of the pen and Baker’s. Baker would never have had Parra in there against McCutchen. Baker believes in match-ups and Price doesn’t. Price has stated clearly he favors having pitchers throw against batters on both sides, so get through entire innings.

      • John Walsh

        That’s true. I meant it mostly tongue-in-cheek, with the primary point being that he seems to lean heavy on generally unreliable pitchers for completely inexplicable reasons.

  17. pinson343

    There’s more to the bullpen story. If Bruce walked in the top of the 9th to load the bases, then Bernadina was going to pinch hit for Hoover. If he then made an out and the score remained tied, then Ondrusek, who was warming up along with Broxton, was coming in tp pitch the 9th. Why else would be be warming up ?

    Yesterday after taking an 8-0 lead thru 6, Parra was awful and that led to a lot of pitches by LeCure. Marshall was going to pitch one inning anyway. It’s second guessing but I’d rather “show confidence” in Ondrusek or Christiana with a late 8 run lead than in a close game.

    • Steve Mancuso

      The bullpen usage hasn’t worked out for Price going back three games. Remember the loss to the Cubs? Using Ondrusek and Christiani in letting a one-run game get away. Then the next night in an 8-run lead, you use up guys who you need the next game. Some of that is just bad luck and bad performance. But if Price had used the good guys on Saturday and the second-tier guys yesterday, he might have had LeCure and Marshall tonight. Admittedly, we’re way off into second-guessing land now. But all of that still doesn’t exonerate all his decisions tonight. Leaving Hoover in after he walked one, then a second hitter in the ninth was rough.

      • Richard Fitch

        Again, Steve, not everyone was available tonight, according to Price via Fay. Ondrusek has to be used because the bullpen is a mess right now. To shorten the bullpen even more by showing a no-confidence vote in your guy at the end of the pen just isn’t a luxury Price has right now.

  18. jessecuster44

    Meso was safe on the steal, Bruce looked safe despite the bad slide, DatDude turns the wrong way on a flare that sliced instead of hooked, and Bruce’s throw takes a bad hop over Meso’s glove. These are bad luck events.

    What isn’t bad luck is leaving your best pitchers on the bench in high leverage situations. This is exactly what Dusty did last year. I am not happy, because given the lack of punch the offense has had at times, the bullpen has to be managed correctly.

  19. RedAlert

    Steve very well written recap; Price better get his house in order quickly ; There simply has to be better options in Louisville than Ondru or Hoover right now; both these dudes are simply taking someone else’s roster spot at this point;biggest head scratcher issue from my standpoint is Price’s bullpen blunders > just inexcusable for someone as well respected in the pitching circles as he has been

    • ohiojimw

      Agree it was well written. It got my blood to boiling and I didn’t even watch the game

    • lwblogger2

      Who should the Reds bring up from L’ville to replace Ondrusek and/or Hoover? Hoover is a better pitcher than he’s shown and Ondrusek is a better pitcher than Francis (at this stage of his career) or Beato.

  20. sergeant2

    On a positive note, it is very encouraging that the Reds offense is scoring a fair amount of runs on a regular (small sample size) basis. For a while there if the Reds scored two runs we would have thought it an offensive outburst. I expect the Reds to kick butt tomorrow. Go Reds!!!

  21. ohiojimw

    For the last however many years, Dusty kept telling the world that Price was his “pitching coordinator” and ran the pitching like a coordinator in football ran his side of the ball.

    The world seemed to be filled with folks who chose not to believe this. Are you believing yet??

    • Richard Fitch

      I honestly do not know what you are talking about, Jim.

      Price’s poor results with the bullpen should not be mistaken for Dusty’s curious decision-making. Price has already eschewed the pitching matchups that ruled Dusty’s world. I’m happy about that. If Chapman was here, we would have almost certainly seen him in the 8th inning by now because Price has said he’s going to do that. Never happens in Dusty World.

      The bullpen has been missing some of it’s best pitchers this year to injury. One has had to go into the starting rotation to fill in for Latos which has made matters that much worse.

      To act like this isn’t having a severe and negative impact on Price’s options makes no sense to me.

      • ohiojimw

        Price wasn’t going to have a closer but in truth he does (Broxton). He just doesn’t call him that; and that will be Chappie when he is back and Broxton will be in the 8th even if he doesn’t use the words. LeCure went what, a week, without pitching in a game because he was being held for situations that never developed later on in the game. Somebody else was held back because they’d burned their powder warming up in the pen. All these things which sound like Dusty explanations have happened this season.

      • pinson343

        The ONE thing that Price has in common with Dusty, as far as bullpen management goes, is holding back whoever he has in mind to close until the Reds take the lead. I don’t like that, and though it’s going by the book, not every manager is going by the book in that way any more.

      • Pete Rose

        Rich, my man, if the Reds don’t get their bullpen or 3B woes straightened out fast we are all going to be fishing this summer when Reds games are on.

    • CP (@nomoresalads)

      The bullpen hasn’t been managed anything like how Dusty managed the bullpen, so I don’t know what you’re talking about.

      • ohiojimw

        it has been mismanaged just as badly or even worse. That’s a common thread it is pretty hard to hide from

      • Richard Fitch

        If it’s so hard to hide from, you should be able to give some examples. Implying that Price was making Dusty’s bad decisions last year and is continuing with them this year just doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. I realize everybody is frustrated, but can we let this team get healthy before we bury them and the manager?

      • pinson343

        Price was burned tonight by having a lefty face McCutcheon, something Dusty never would have done. If Price is making the wrong decisions, at least admit that that they’re mostly different decisions. Price explained his decision in the mlb.com article about the game. At least he explains his decisions in an understandable way, rather than just getting angry at the question.

  22. ohiojimw

    This was a frustrating night for me from the get go. DISH did not show the CBJ FoxOhio feed on a free alternate channel and NBC/SN was blocked. So I missed the hockey game which CBJ frittered away late about like the Reds did their game. The only good thing was that I was so mad I decided not to watch the Reds game; so, at least I didn’t have to see it live.

    • lwblogger2

      The hockey game was disappointing. The Jackets never really looked sharp even after taking the two-goal lead. They fell into the trap of playing the Pen’s game and allowing a track-meet instead of grinding and grinding. Bob was the only thing that let them keep the lead into the 3rd and then Bob got beat on some nasty deflections. I love my Jackets but they can’t play the Pen’s game or they will get beaten.

      • ohiojimw

        who’s your provider? Did you have to pay extra to see it? In the past DISH has shown the alternate feed for no charge on my package but last night they wanted me to pay 11 bucks a month for the expanded sports package to get the alternate feed. I told them I would pay 10 bucks a game on an event basis but I wasn’t going to pay 11 bucks a month for something they usually give me free bundled with a bunch of junk sports (NFL for the most part) I’d never watch.

      • lwblogger2

        Time Warner Cable. It was on the alternate channel that is right after the standard FSOH channel. It was listed in the guide as the Reds game but it had the Blue Jackets’ game and the Reds game was on the original FSOH. Hope that helps.

  23. BearcatNation

    This was a Dusty Baker game for Price. Saw way too much in common with last year all around. One of his worst games IMO. I have still have complete faith in him, but these games better not become a habit.

    This loss hurt. Big time. We had this one it felt like the whole game and we just let them have it. Man this team is so frustrating. It really does feel like we picked back up where we left off last year.

    • RedAlert

      “Baker tendencies” were most certainly on display in this game –

  24. Jeff Morris

    I am guessing, but I think Price had Parra in the game in the 8th, because Pedro Alvarez, a left hander was batting second in that inning. But….because of McCutcheon hitting well against left handers, why not have LeCure pitch the 8th inning? Not sure why Price is sooooo reluctent to use Le Cure? I’m sure he wanted to save Broxton for the 9th to save the game, but Parra is not who you want after pitching alot yesterday, and Hoover has had a bad year for the Reds. After barelyyyyy excaping that one inning with the bases loaded (Hoover), they should have brought in Le Cure for the 8th inning. This is like a play off game, so you have to use your “best” pitchers when facing playoff teams or good teams like the Pirates, Cardinals, Dodgers, Braves, ect……It amazes me how these teams keep trotting out these pitchers in the late innings that keep blowing leads and/or giving up runs. Pitchers like Carlos Marmol when he was with the Cubs, Mitchell Boggs when he was with the Cardinals, Tyler Clippard of the Nationals (who gave up runs tonight), Logan Ondrusek with the Reds. I just hope JJ Hoover doesn’t become like this??

  25. sezwhom

    The Reds have lost 7 of 9 one-run games. This should eventually even out.

    Not necessarily. That does not have to even out. I had no idea why Parra was brought in last night. Head-scratcher. McCutcheon now 7 or 15 vs. Parra. No way I bring him in to face him.

  26. jb44

    Baker got fired for mismanagement of the bullpen and the game. We don’t need Price channeling Baker or using one of his old playbooks. Where is the sense of urgency and the use of good baseball sense?

  27. doctor

    Tough loss but what annoys me the most is the lousy slide by Bruce at home, cost Reds 2 runs given way the inning played out. Terrible slide to tagged out closer to the butt than the knee while your other leg is suspended over the plate but not touching it.

    Tough deal for Price if the bullpen is in such a “handle with care” state from injury recovery and ineffectiveness. Well at least Marshall, Lecure, Broxton should be ready for today.

    As mentioned above, the 1 run record is bad, and technically can count another loss there with the NYMet grandslam game on Hoover. Sure hope it evens out.

  28. eric nyc

    Anyone else notice that while Hoover was looking like he would implode and lose it for us in the 8th the only pitcher we had warming up in the bullpen was Logan Ondrusek? I know Price is learning on the job, but I’d say at least 75% of his bullpen decisions so far this season have been questionable to straight up bad, and that might be a conservative number. Add in the terrible base running and questionable batting approach and the coaching of this team has been dreadful. There was always a lot of talk of the Dusty Tax and I think a lot of people estimated it probably cost us something like 5-6 games a year. I can point to at least 3 games this year that have been straight up lost by the coaches already and it’s not even May. In what looks like it could be the toughest division in baseball that is just devastating. We’d better go on a run soon or this is going to be a tough summer.

    • charlottencredsfan

      I agree with everything you say. By all rights, they should have a pretty nice winning streak going. No doubt in my mind Price has struggled with bullpen decisions but he will get better; he just has to. This team is set to go on an extended run of winning baseball This team is looking more and more like a legit playoff team and it is only “APRIL”.

    • jessecuster44

      Agree that at least three games have been poisoned by bad coaching/managing decisions. It’s still April, so there’s time to right the ship, and the team has been hitting and playing better for the past week. I can’t put too much stock in just one game, essentially decided because a throw took a funky bounce over Meso’s glove.

      However, it appears that there are issues that this organization seems happy to put up with:

      Bad baserunning
      Bullpen mismanagement
      Misdiagnosis and late treatment of injuries

      You rarely get what you deserve, but you always get what you put up with. Until someone decides to stop putting up with incompetence in key areas, this team’s dynamic and character will largely remain the same.

      • eric nyc

        The thing that baffles me about the bullpen management is that by all rights that SHOULD be the one thing that Price came into the job with the best understanding of. No one expected him to be a genius at constructing lineups or in game offensive strategy. He was hired because of not only his expertise with pitching staffs but his expertise with THIS pitching staff. To bring in Parra, fresh off an awful 30 pitch outing the night before, who might be the worst pitcher in the entire Reds organization at facing right handed hitters, to face arguably the best right handed hitter in the NL in the 8th inning of a divisional game you lead by 1 run…I haven’t read any interviews with Price about last night yet, but I can’t imagine there being a shred of justification for that decision. If his answer is anything but “I’m a rookie manager and I did a dumb dumb thing and I won’t do it again” then so much for the new regime of accountability.

  29. cfd3000

    I’m not as upset with Price as many others on this board. Not happy about the game though. Things I didn’t like: sending Bruce with no outs – his poor slide should never have mattered; 4 pitches to relinquish 4 runs from Leake – brief loss of focus? in any case something he has to learn from; no production from Hamilton or Votto after the first Hamilrun; Hoover’s complete lack of control – seems like he has no idea where the strike zone is right now. Games always hurt when what should have been a win turns into a loss. But it’s a long season and there will be games that “should” be a loss that the Reds will somehow win. They won’t continue losing 7 of 9 one run games, and those wins count as much for the Reds as this loss counts against. First pitch 7:10 tonight, new game.

    • jessecuster44

      How many times this season has the third base coach sent a runner home with no one out, only to have that runner be cut down? I know you want to be aggressive on the basepaths, but this coach is making Wendell “Send ’em in” Kim look absolutely conservative.

  30. Kyle Farmer

    Things I believe –

    1. Price is going to make mistakes. Some of those mistakes will cost the Reds games. Bringing in Parra to face McCryBaby was one such mistake.

    2. Price will learn from those mistakes, evolve, think outside the box from time to time, and become a much better manager. Dusty would make the same mistakes over and over and over and over (and over and over) with no hope of change ever coming.

    So, while I was really disappointed with last night, I have to believe that things can and will get better. Here’s hoping that Manny and JJ get back into form quickly. Otherwise, the bullpen is a real problem.

  31. vared

    The Reds really need another flamethrower in the bullpen, even with Chapman returning. I’m not a fan of all these guys relying on junk to get outs – that seems to eventually catch up with you. Need more guys that can throw the ball by batters. If I’m using fangraphs correctly, when you rank NL relievers by velocity you have to go all the way to 38th to find the first Red (Christiani). 38th in the NL only! The Cardinals, on the other hand have 3 in the top 12.

    • Eric NYC

      To say nothing of the Pirates, who I assume also have their share up there. Then again, with Chapman and Simon back I’d imagine that ups our ranking quite a bit.

  32. ProspectCincy

    Steve

    I’m getting awfully tired of the “I don’t like Billy Hamilton” rhetoric. His numbers after the third week of the season are improved from his numbers after the second week of the season, which are improved after the first week of the season. He’s played an almost perfect outfield as well (something that you’ve never recognized) …

    Your desire to move him down in the order is unwarranted; especially because he’s only useful if he’s at the top. The absolute best scenario Billy Hamilton can have when coming to the plate is nobody on, nobody out, and that happens exponentially more often in the 1 spot than anywhere else in the line-up. Moving him down makes him useless.

    Every comment about him and every wrap up you written always knocks him. STOP BASHING BILLY HAMILTON. For God’s sake he plays on the Reds.

    • jessecuster44

      Should we have stopped bashing Dusty because he managed the Reds?
      Hamilton’s numbers are getting better – however, he’s still Stubbs-like in terms of getting on base. I think he’s be better suited as the 2nd leadoff man, batting 9th.

      I love Billy Hamilton, but he needs to improve. I also think that TELLING someone to not voice an opinion is perhaps not healthy for the “Comments” section.

      • jessecuster44

        Totally agree with the “thread count” of negative comments on Hamilton. But look at the thread count of negative comments about Votto last year. This place is richer because of the different opinions that people express; telling someone to stop making comments because you don’t agree with them is a bit like censorship, yes?

        If you don’t like Steve’s argument, present one of your own – which you have, and it’s a good one. Billy needs time to develop, and he’s improving.

        Or you can do what many have done about Marty – just stop listening to him.

      • CP

        August? You can’t be serious…

        You realize that being moved down in the order isn’t a lifetime banishment, right?

      • ProspectCincy

        Yes, but again, Steve writes content on a Reds Fan site … he’s not one of the random Reds fans who spouts the “Votto can’t get RBI’s” mantra.

        Keeping his content overtly positive helps keep these comments positive / and when there are positives to note about Hamilton, he choose to only write the negatives. Why?

        We all know he loves Homer Bailey very very much too, and yet when Homer has been bad (which has been all but his last start) he writes one line “Homer wasn’t good today”. Where’s the rhetoric about how he should be embarrassed to have taken $100 Million and to have the start he’s had?

        Objectivity … that’s all I’m asking for. Of all the players on this team, Hamilton deserves the most rope; so how bout you give him some Steve.

      • Steve Mancuso

        If you want objectivity, read John Fay or Mark Sheldon. That’s in their job description. I write *opinions* for a sports blog. I defend them as best I can. They aren’t born out of personal animus or a hidden agenda. I’m at every home game on my feet cheering for Billy Hamilton. My criticisms about him are far more directed at the Reds’ front office than they are of the player. You’re free to defend Hamilton here with facts and opinion all you want. Or free to turn the dial to the right. Do you realize how silly it is to complain at a blog that no one forces you to read that you’re tired of reading a viewpoint there? Keep your discussion about the Reds, not the blog, please.

      • greenmtred

        No. You should have stopped bashing Dusty because he wasn’t playing. And because they played much better during his tenure than they had in a good long time. I doubt that managing in mlb is either as easy or as important as many of us would like to believe.

    • CP

      I don’t think Steve is bashing Hamilton, but rather the Reds’ use of him.

      Even if you take completely ridiculous step of excluding the first 3 games, Hamilton’s OBP since then is 0.286. He’s hit a little bit better, but still hasn’t show any capacity to get on base consistently. I have zero faith that someone with Billy’s lack of power can provide meaningful offensive value without taking walks.

      Billy does a lot of exciting things on the basepaths, but he HAS TO. All these exciting plays are baked into his value.

      Honestly, unless Votto hits 40+ HRs, it’ll be a miracle if he hits > 75 RBIs.

    • VaRedsFan

      I agree Prospectcincy. Billy is growing and getting better after a slow start. He’s done that at every level he’s played. I guess the 0-5 from Votto didn’t warrant a negative, but the rbi and run scored from Billy did.

      • ProspectCincy

        And he included a top game comment of “Billy Hamilton is terrible at bunting”

        Hamilton is 2/10 on bunting in terms of hits (one of which Russell made just a terrific play). Again, he’s new at this so the only way for him to get better is to bunt in live game situations. Let him figure it out.

  33. nyredfanatic

    I live in NY and have the opportunity to listen to some very good talk radio host. Last night when listening to Ken Rosenthal talk to Merril Hodge about the NFL he came up on the topic of Rex Ryan… Merril had the great idea that even though someone has coached a very long time, they still needed to learn how to be a “head coach”… It is a different type of coaching and it can really only be learned by going through it. Hodge even said he saw it weekly when playing with Bill Cowher. He said he saw so many coaching mistakes from Cowher it would make your head spin. But in time, he learned to be the best.

    I think this same principle could be used when evaluating Price. He is a first time manager… We all knew that when he was hired… and most of us were excited for his hiring. We are quick to throw that all out when he makes some questionable decisions. He is still early in his head coaching career. Heck, it is still early in the season. We are 10% in an we expect him to be managing like he has done it for years.

    We need to step back, take a breath, and let the guy learn. For those of us that feel he needs to be fired now, or that the honeymoon period is over, at this point in the season just who do you think we could get in to do a better job? Would anyone really want a job where the coach has been canned twice in a 7 month period?

    It’s ok RLN… It’s ok

    • Eric NYC

      I understand preaching patience with Price, but you’d better be willing to forfeit the 2014 season to give him that year of training. The way the Brewers and Cardinals look, it’s going to be another dog fight – and that’s assuming the Pirates don’t end up right in that pack as well. We are throwing away games for the benefit of Price’s education. I don’t know much about Jay Bell at all, but it might have been smart to hire a bench coach with some major league or at least AAA managing experience to help advise Price.

      • nyredfanatic

        I see what you are saying… But anyone brought in would face a learning curve. It is the unfortunate truth about bringing in a new manager.

        Realistically though, even with a great coach, the way this team is constructed and with the injuries that they have faced early on we knew it was going to be a tight three way race until the end and a lot of people predicted the Brewers to be much improved this year. These were all things that were visible at the start of the season. We have very little depth and very few options. Our bullpen was decimated. At full strength we were still going to struggle to win the division

        I guess what I am saying is that we would be in a dog fight the entire season regardless if we hired Price or another first time manager, or had Sparky back on the bench. It is a very tough division in the NL that sent 3 teams to the post season last year.

      • Eric NYC

        Well Castellini and Walt had to account for that – They knew they had a roster that should be a contender in 2014 and they knew they wanted to keep Price, so every possible attempt should have been made to surround him with experienced coaches so that the learning curve didn’t torpedo the season. This is the big leagues – you don’t get to waste games.

    • lwblogger2

      Good point… Matheny was in the cross-hairs when he took over in St. Louis and made a lot of questionable decisions when he was starting out.

  34. lost11found

    I’ll cut the 3B coach some slack here. I thought it was a good risk to send bruce. He got a good jump on Mes’ single and it took a perfect throw from marte to get him. Even with tha throw a better slide still gets the run. Just one of those baseball things that happens, like bruces out in the ninth, a well struck ball that was caught to no fault of his own.

    Parra and Hoover had better get it together though. Middle relief is a volitile thing but hoover really had trouble throwing strikes last night

    All in all a tough loss to take as the main culprit was Ike davis who is turning into another Bill Hall.

    • VaRedsFan

      and Ronny Cedeno, and Neil Walker.

      • lwblogger2

        In all fairness, Neil Walker can hit some.

  35. RedsAk19

    Parra has been our best reliever so far this year. That’s why Price brought him in to face McCutchen. It is ridiculous to make all these speculations about the bullpen use. None of us know how Marshall, Lecure, or Broxton’s arms were feeling. Parra was able to go and Price used him. He made a mistake pitch to last years MVP who deposited it in the bleachers to tie the game. ITS BASEBALL. That happens. Anyone who thinks Ondrusek should have been in there instead of Parra to face Cutch is crazy.

    • jessecuster44

      Cutch owns Parra, and Parra threw yesterday. Broxton was the better choice, but he was being “held for the save.” Except there was no save opportunity, because Parra served up a gopher ball.

      Cutch is the most dangerous hitter in that lineup. Using Parra against him wasn’t smart and it didn’t work. Hopefully Price learns from that.

    • nyredfanatic

      I agree with you.

      with an extra inning game looming you had few options on who to pitch. Parra and Hoover were the best options. Broxton was being held for a save. Who knows how Marshall felt after pitching the day before in his first appearance from the DL. LeCure is realistically the only pitcher you have who can / should go multiple innings. I would rather have seen Parra than Ondrusek in there as well.

      • jessecuster44

        No extra inning game was looming if Parra doesn’t serve up that tater.

        I disagree with the philosophy for planning for extra innings on the road with a suspect bullpen. I agree that Price’s options were limited, but find his selection of Parra confusing at best. Broxton, Hoover or LeCure should have faced Cutch.

  36. Matt WI

    Last night highlighted how much the Reds need Latos back, which puts Simon back in play in the bullpen. What are the odds on any given night that Marshall, LeCure, and Simon would all be spent? Watching Hoover miss the strike zone was so frustrating. I just don’t understand.

  37. Nasty Boys Nasty Groove

    Somebody done broke JJ Hoover.

    • lwblogger2

      ^^Like^^ I love Hoover and hope he gets it sorted out. The guy is a decent pitcher and better than we’ve seen so far this season.

  38. Drew

    I am amazed how much people think they know with so little access to all the information the manager has.

    • Eric NYC

      Unless that information was that every relief pitcher on the Reds active roster was mysteriously unavailable last night, including it’s 3 best arms, then I’m not sure what you’re hoping Price knew. If that’s the case, then it’s still a managerial blunder for having so many unavailable pitchers on your roster. What we DO know is that, historically, Parra has been awful against McCutcheon. What we also know is that as of today, he is even worse against McCutcheon. Did he tell Price “I’m totally going to get that guy out!” before the game? Hardly seems like relevant information. It was simply a very bad decision. You can argue how much flack we should give Price for it, but it’s very hard to argue that it was not a very bad decision.

      • greenmtred

        Well, of course, McCutcheon hit a homer, so it was a bad decision, though whether that bad decision was using Parra, or Parra’s choice of pitches, we can’t know. Just as we can’t know the condition of the other arms in the pen. The number of pitches they’ve thrown recently may not be irrelevant, but it certainly isn’t the whole story. It’s baseball. It’s still early. The Reds are hitting. The injured guys are going to be coming back.

      • Eric NYC

        Yeah but Parra is very bad against right handed hitters and McCutcheon is a VERY good right handed hitter. The outcome, much like the outcome of Hurdle’s decision to pitch to Mesoraco in the 7th, was statistically predictable. If we’re just going to ignore the numbers and go by gut then we might as well have stuck with Dusty. At the very least, Dusty would have had a righty in to face Cutch so it wouldn’t have been Parra. Stupid reasoning, but at least it would have kept Parra off the mound in that spot.

    • nyredfanatic

      Are you kidding me…. we could all do a much better job at running the team.

      Hopefully my sarcasm came across there

  39. preacherj

    I suppose the positive is that all of Marshall, LeCure, and Broxton should be able to pitch tonight if needed. Right?

    • Matt WI

      Give ’em all an extra day off. Cueto is going to work on improving on that 3 hitter.

      • preacherj

        That’s the attitude! Save the ‘pen, Johnny!

    • Ethan

      Ondrusek didn’t get his work in last night. He’ll be first out of the pen! It makes all the sense in the world.

  40. Drew

    We have n o ideal what information Price has access to and such. We assume to think we know as fans, and base our judgement off of that. We are fans, we watch the game and make judgements of very little actual facts. Maybe Sam woke up yesterday not feeling well and told Price he couldn’t go. Didn’t Marshall pitch the other day, maybe they (the Reds) have a plan on usuage of him over the coming weeks to see how does and make sure not to overstress his arm. We are less then 20 games into the season, playing a very tough start of the season with not a fully healthy roster and people are already questioning Price. Sorry but I am willing to give someone new to the job a little more time.

  41. Eric the Red

    1) I don’t think our 3rd base coach has made a single correct decision all season. Literally. That’s not good.

    2) Leake’s bunt was a bad idea, as was Mesoraco’s attempt to steal with no outs. On top of all the other reasons those were questionable calls, the Pirates had a gassed bullpen and we were driving up Liriano’s pitch count. Free outs hurt that process.

    3) I believe Price’s decisions on the bullpen were driven by availability; if mistakes were made there, they were made during the Cubs series as Steve pointed out. On the other hand, Clint Hurdle’s decision to give an IBB to Ludwick to bring up Mesoraco with the bases loaded was just nuts. He kills LHP, and not just this season when he’s wearing a Superman cape. I have no idea what Hurdle was thinking.

    • Eric NYC

      Yeah I almost wonder if there was a typo on Hurdle’s scouting report on Mes and I’m not even kidding. I couldn’t believe it when I saw them walking Ludwick. That’s baffling unless Ludwick has some kind of insane career numbers against that pitcher – but even so, they couldn’t possibly compare to what Mes is doing to LHP so far this year, and had done all night up until that point.

      • Eric the Red

        Ludwick had decent career numbers vs Liriano–which probably also helped Price decide to keep him batting in front of Mesoraco–but not crazy-good numbers that would justify walking the bases full with no one out to get to Mes. Maybe Hurdle planned to lift Liriano for a RHP and then realized he had an exhausted ‘pen, although the way Mesoraco has been hitting even that seems far fetched. In any event, it was a way worse decision than the ones we usually criticize our managers for.

      • Eric NYC

        Liriano was out. It was Justin Wilson pitching to both Ludwick and Mes. Mes had one AB against Wilson before last night (which did happen to be a K, but that’s not exactly a basis for playing matchups). Ditto for Ludwick. Just can’t possibly imagine what Hurdle was thinking.

      • lwblogger2

        The only thing I could think of was with 1B open, Hurdle wanted to setup a force at home and was also hoping maybe for a GDP with the catcher running. Never mind that Mes runs pretty well for a catcher. Hurdle was pretty much going by the book I think, even if the book was wrong in this case.

  42. Ethan

    I have a few questions. Why is Hoover on the Big League roster? Why is he on the mound in a contested game? Why the heck was Ondrusek warming up in the pen in the 9th?

    Sometimes I question the desire to win based off of decisions relating to the bullpen. It makes no sense. It’s so frustrating to see Hoover, Ondrusek and company throw away game after game. Price needs to manage to win.

    • Eric NYC

      So far I have seen Price manage from a position of real timidity. It shows up in his continued reliance on sacrifice bunts and more than ever his bullpen usage. I think the injuries had him really spooked to begin this season and the way I read it the one thing he is more afraid of than anything is finding himself deep in a close game and suddenly without his only real major league arms because it’s been beaten into him that that’s what it means to be out-managed. Consequently he doesn’t use guys like LeCure, Broxton, and Marshall in a high leverage situation in the 7th and 8th. Hopefully he loosens up and allows himself to be more aggressive, not worrying so much about what MIGHT happen in the 9th inning and instead focusing on what’s happening on the field at any given moment. Hoover never should have been pitching after walking the bases loaded in the 9th – Even if it was for the final out, Price should have brought in his absolute best arm at that moment. Instead he was warming up his worst because he was already worrying about extra innings. It’s what Dusty would have done, but he did it for different reasons I think. Hopefully seeing it backfire the way it did last night helps him shake off Dusty’s influence and open up his gameplan a bit.

      • Drew

        Your making these assumptions on no actual proof or discussions with Price but just from your seat at home or at the game?

      • Eric NYC

        I’m saying how many unknowable factors do you suppose there could be? Outside of physical availability (injury, fatigue, etc) what is it you are saying Price knew that none of us could know? Yes, he knows the individual personalities better and he knows his long term plan better than any of us, but from my somewhat baseball knowledgable seat on the couch at home I can’t imagine any of those things factoring into the decisions he made last night. So again, barring some physical issues we don’t know about which rendered practically our entire active bullpen out of commission for an important division game, I’d be curious as to what you are implying. You must have something specific in mind.

      • Eric NYC

        And I’m not just using this as a forum to bash Price for his decisions last night. Managers are human and they often simply make bad decisions. You don’t have to look any further than Clint Hurdle last night walking Ludwick to load the bases for Mesoraco against a LHP. Not only is Mesoraco the hottest hitter in the universe right now, but he has always been an absolute lefty killer. He had already collected two hits against their lefty ace that night. In every conceivable sense it was a mistake to walk Ludwick to bring up Mesoraco and he ended up hitting a go ahead double on the 2nd pitch. Had the Reds held onto that lead, you could squarely blame a Pirates loss on that decision from a seasoned manager. It happens. No one’s calling for anyone’s head, but it’s not unreasonable to accuse a manager of simply having a brain fart.

      • renbutler

        I generally give managers the same benefit of the doubt, as you have (repeatedly) asked for in this thread.

        However, the bullpen management the last two games has been a massive blunder. There’s no way around it.

      • Eric the Red

        It seems pretty clear LeCure wasn’t available. Maybe he shouldn’t have pitched in the last Cubs game, or maybe that has nothing to do with it. (Same thing with Marshall, although pitching him in the Cubs game made sense.) So imagine you’re Price: No LeCure, no Marshall. No Simon, who has been your long man. Close game. So you pretty much can’t burn a RHP on ‘Cutch in the 8th. After that didn’t work out, now you have Ondrusek, Hoover, Broxton and Christiani (assuming Christiani was available, which he may not have been.). You’re in big trouble at this point. If you use Broxton in the 9th, best case he gets you to extra innings where, if you get a lead, you’ll have to rely on one of the other guys to close it out. The fact that Ondrusek was the guy who would have come in for Hoover makes it understandable that Price stuck with Hoover.

      • Eric NYC

        If LeCure is really hurt, as has started to become widely surmised, then he shouldn’t be in the pen at all. At best it takes up a roster spot that could be used by someone who can physically pitch when needed, at worst it presents both Price and LeCure with the temptation to put him in when he’s not 100% healthy. If there’s anyone in that bullpen who isn’t available to pitch for anything but fatigue reasons, they need to be on the DL. It is too much of a liability as it is and it needs to have healthy bodies.

      • Drew

        I guess we disagree, I don’t see it as a manager blunder, I see it as the player put in the position failed. Parra had a great year last year, there is no reason to think he wouldn’t get the job done this year. We don’t know and will never know why Price decided on him over the others in the pen. I have faith in Price that while he is learning he will overall put the players in a position to succeed. No manager is ever going to get it 100% right in the view of the fans.

      • Eric NYC

        Last year right handed batters hit .310 off Parra. I agree he had a good year, but that was partly because Dusty rightly kept him away from righties whenever possible. I like Price’s philosophy of not platooning his relievers, but if a guy has THAT kind of split it can’t be ignored. If anything, I would hope that if Price wants to manage that way that he works with management to keep guys with unbalanced splits off of his roster because otherwise things like this are going to happen – that’s just the math talking.

        Yes, Parra had to execute, but he was asked to do something he has shown he’s not very good at doing. That’s not a manager putting a guy in a position to best help the team. It would be like asking Cueto to pinch hit when we need a homerun and then blaming him for not being able to execute what was asked of him.

      • Eric NYC

        FYI, last year this was McCutcheon’s line against Parra in 16 AB’s:

        .467/.500/.933 with 2 HR’s and 5 RBI’s.

        Face it. It was a bad decision. It won’t be the last one Price makes in his career. I’m not calling for him to be fired, but it was a bad decision that led to predictable results.

      • Eric NYC

        Sorry that is Cutch’s career numbers against Parra. Still, not good.

  43. PRoseFutureHOFer

    Glad to see others bring up Bruce’s bad slide. I have seen so many guys do this in recent years – sliding in a way that one leg hovers over the bag so that the back leg reaches the bag two feet later, turning safe into out. Does no one know how to slide so that your front leg reaches the bag first anymore?

  44. Eric NYC

    Pena starting for Mes tonight. I suppose Mes needs a day off at some point during a 10 game stretch, but I’m starting to get a little worried that Price is setting up Pena as Cueto’s personal catcher because of the Spanish connection. I suppose there could be worse things. Pena has proven to be much better than anticipated at the plate and in the field and I guess if you can afford a day with a slightly weakened offense it’s when Cueto is on the mound. But I’d hope if Pena’s numbers dip back to where we all probably expect them to be that we won’t see Pena starting in any important games just because he’s Cueto’s guy. Imagine if we did that through the season and then Cueto started game 1 of a playoff series?

    • renbutler

      So is Mes going to start a night/day back-to-back on WED and THU? I sure hope he doesn’t get TWO games off in three days…

  45. Drew

    Had a chance to see the Bats play last night in Indy, outside of Tucker, who is not very big but I do like his game, is there anyone on the starting roster that is even anywhere in the Reds future?