Final R H E
  St. Louis Cardinals (80-64) 5 10 0
  Cincinnati Reds (67-77) 0 3 0
W: Miller (9-9)    L: Parra (0-3)
 FanGraphs Win Probability |  The Worldwide Leader’s Box Score    |   Game Photos

Another Reds player goes down with injury, but reliever David Holmberg puts together a very strong outing in an emergency relief situation. Holmberg pitched 5.2 shutout innings, allowing just 4 hits, 2 walks, and striking out 5.

The Reds only had three hits, but Brandon Phillips had two of those hits in three trips to the plate.

Everything else.

It took the Reds 4 relievers to get through the 7th inning tonight.

Shelby Miller came into the game allowing 4 walks per nine innings. Tonight, the Reds patiently drew zero walks in Miller’s seven innings.

Can we finish out the season without any additional injuries?! The backups are starting to get beat up now. Dylan Axelrod had to be pulled from the game after retiring just one batter with an oblique injury. Pedro Villarreal (who was actually finished the miserable 7th inning and pitched a good 8th) had to be pulled in the 9th inning after getting hit by a comebacker.

David Holmberg bridged the game from injured starter to the setup guys, and the 7th and 8th inning relievers failed this team again. Tonight it was Manny Parra’s turn to give up two runs while retiring just one batter.

We may get to see what David Holmberg can do as a starter for the rest of this month.

Reds players not named Brandon Phillips or Devin Mesoraco were 0-for-22 tonight. TOS.

How did the Reds bullpen, which by many measures was #1 or #2 in all of baseball the past couple of seasons, fall to such depths this season with essentially the same cast of characters?

I don’t want to see the Cardinals just run away with this thing! Hopefully, Mike Leake and the Reds will come back strong tomorrow night and make the Cardinals work the rest of this series.

66 Responses

  1. RedAlert

    This is like watching the Titanic sink – this season falling off into the abyss – Price is getting nothing from this group – they are not even competing – and that is HIS job – how can Castellini just sit here and take this game after game after game

    • shannon bubnick

      trade bruce, cozart ,and simon . bring in some offense for next year toronto has alot of good hitters and they need pitching

      • pinson343

        The Rockies also have a surplus of hitters and a shortage of pitchers. But the only pitcher you mention is Simon. The Reds will have to trade better than him to get some offense in return.

      • ToddAlmighty

        The Rockies hitters are mostly smoke, mirrors, and a mile above sea level. If you think most of the Rockies hitters would be half the player they are there, I have a .286/.328/.475 hitting Drew Stubbs to sell you.

        (.352/.377/.618 home and .205/.269/.298 away split if you were wondering. In 213 and 176 PA, respectively.)

        Even .340/.432/.603 hitting Troy Tulowitski is hitting .417/.497/.748 at home and .257/.364/.447 on the road.

      • Bob S Jones

        Toronto may be in néed of pitching; but I don’t think Bruce or Cozart can pitch. Toronto has outfielders and a shortstop that can hit, so why would they want to give us their guys that can hit for our people that cannot hit? Get a grip!

      • lwblogger2

        You’d be trading low on all three of them… Bruce is likely to bounce-back to at least his career norms. If you don’t think they are adequate, then I think you’re expectations may be a bit too high for today’s MLB. Toronto may want Simon but they wouldn’t give up too much for a guy who’d probably be their 4th or 5th starter. They would be unlikely to give up a player as good as Bruce (career Bruce, not this year’s Bruce) for example.

  2. doublenohitter

    This is absolutely the worst team in baseball and one of the worst Reds teams ever. If this team was a horse, someone would have shot it long ago.

    • ohiojimw

      This is absolutely the worst team in baseball…..

      But how did it get from 97 wins in 2012 to where it is today?

      Votto missed a third or more of the season in 2012 when they won 97 games.

      Cueto was essentially a nonfactor in 2013 and they still won 90 games.

      Do this season’s injuries really amount to that much more than those losses?

      • ohiojimw

        I keep coming back to the thought that this 2014 team looks a lot like the Reds did before Rolen arrived on the scene. And there is also Arroyo gone from the pitchers’ side of things.

        They need a leader among the players. The media folks keep talking up Frazier but he seems to have issues of his own with mental errors and lapses in concentration. Once upon a time folks just sort of assumed it would be Joey. But now he also is one of the guys who looks like he needs to be led sometimes.

      • pinson343

        The last time the Reds had a 2 month stretch this bad was just before they traded for Rolen.

      • tct

        You could be right, but since none of us are in the clubhouse I don’t think we should blame lack of leadership. I mean, they did fine without Rolen last year until the last week. And it’s not like Rolen helped them any in the playoffs in 2010 and 2012. And Arroyo was definitely a guy who the younger pitchers could look up to, but it’s hard to see him as a rah rah guy. Plus, he was only on the field once every five days and it’s hard to be a team leader from the bench. I think his 200 league average innings every year were his most important contribution.

        It’s very possible that this team just isn’t as talented as we thought they were. Remember in the preseason when the projections came out and they all had the reds as a 500 team or worse? We all thought it was crazy. Plus, the division is even better than we thought because of how the brewers played for most of the year. With the cubs improving, the division looks like a monster over the next few years and is one of the big reasons why I am skeptical of the reds being a legit WS contender next year. You mix those things with some bad luck, injuries, poor strategic decisions, and a bullpen that can’t hold a lead to save their lives and this year is what you get.

      • greenmtred

        Good questions. Frazier played way above expectations when Votto was out, but otherwise, it’s hard to figure. Different years, maybe. I’m told that some British bartenders will say, if you ask for the same again, “not the same, sir, but similar.” The faces are the same, but something else certainly is not. Not even similar. I think they do miss Rolen, for one thing, and, yes, the injuries have been overwhelming, but it’s beyond discouraging.

      • CP


        I really don’t think is that complicated. Aging plus injuries have taken their toll. Not only have the Reds’ offense missed Votto, the Reds have 4 of the worst hitters in the NL playing consistently: Cozart, Bruce, BP, and Hamilton. 2 of the guys were hopefully affected by injuries. Ludwick isn’t the same hitter he was in 2012. 1B was filled in by a journeyman catcher who would also qualify as one of the worst hitters in the league if he only got more ABs.

        Really, you only had 2 good offensive players, and both are streaky hitters.

        Add to that the bullpen situation and the injuries to key players in that area, as well as some of the starters, and this team died by death of a thousand cuts.

    • sergeant2

      The worst team in baseball is, well I’m not sure, but Shirley it isn’t the Reds. (fingers crossed)

      • ohiojimw

        I keep reading that if a person took a current snapshot, it would the Reds or Rangers. So at least the Reds don’t have a corner on falling far and fast.

      • pinson343

        The source of that is that coming into tonight, the Reds and Texas were tied for the worst record since the All Star break. Now the Reds have the worst, no tie.

      • George Mirones’s David Schoenfield had this take on the Cardinals
        Despite the various setbacks the Cardinals faced during the season — the lengthy injury to (Michael) Wacha, the season-ending injury to Jaime Garcia, the nearly two months without Yadier Molina — they’re also getting things lined up. Wacha is back, Molina is back, Holliday’s power has returned in the second half, Matt Carpenter is quietly eighth in the NL in OBP, and rookie second baseman Kolten Wong has slugged .474 since July 6.
        Back in March, everyone raved about the Cardinals’ depth. That depth won’t lead to a 97-win season like they had in 2013 but it did help them survive and get to this point. In fact, think of the struggles this year of the Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers, three deep-pocketed franchises regarded as preseason World Series contenders. In Boston’s case, its young players didn’t play up to expected levels; the Rangers were unable to overcome a slew of injuries (granted, it was a lot of injuries); the Tigers may yet make the playoffs but their lack of depth, especially in the rotation, has hurt them down the stretch.
        The Cardinals always seem to have somebody to plug in (they’ve used 11 different starting pitchers for at least four starts). They bide their time, don’t overreact or panic and understand it’s a 162-game season, and you don’t make the playoffs just because you have a hot April (that’s you, Milwaukee).
        They’re going to win the division and return to the playoffs. Get used to it, America. There’s a reason they’re the best organization in the game.

      • lwblogger2

        They also very shrewdly picked up A.J. Pierzynski when Molina went down. Look, I can’t stand Pierzynski and I really wouldn’t want him on my team. That said, he adequately filled in behind the plate in both production and leadership while Molina was out. He wasn’t “Good” by any stretch but he was better than what they had. What did the Reds do when it was learned that Votto would miss significant time? Who did they pick up? What about when it was learned BP would be out for almost 2 months? The Cards didn’t have the depth at catcher and they knew it, so they went out and got a player who was DFAed and provided leadership and the kind of production you’d expect from a backup catcher.

      • Michael Howes

        Oh the Reds aren’t even close to the worst team in baseball but they are among the worst.

        In order: Rangers, Rockies, DBacks, Twins, Astros, White Sox, Red Sox, Cubs, Phillies, Padres and then our Reds.

        The Padres and Phillies are about to pass the Reds, the real question is will the Cubs. No way anyone catches the Rangers, they are the worst.

        Here is a different way to put it. The Reds are as close to STL as they are to Texas and they are far away from both.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Cracks me up. Home town discount?

    • pinson343

      Which means the Reds will be eliminated in this series if they are swept in 4 by the Cardinals.

  3. ohiojimw

    If you are Jocketty or whomever the task falls to where do you even start on putting together next season?

    Right now I can’t even order my thoughts to say anything more.

    • RedAlert

      I’m with you on that – have run out of things to say about how disappointing this entire organization has been this year – and I don’t even live close to Cincinnati – lifelong Reds fan from NC – I will stick with them thru this as I always have though

      • ohiojimw

        Actually you are correct about contracts. The end of the World Series starts the clock and contract events are driven from there by the lapse of time or following fixed dates. Options have to be exercised or declined. Eligible players have to file for Free Agency. The team has the period of exclusive negotiations with them. Then there is the tender date for returning players not eligible for Free Agency. Setting the 40 man roster etc.

        For the Reds this season I would suppose these processes will for the most part be about shedding players.

      • George Mirones

        If money was an issue this year Bob C. will bring Walt back because Bob approves the contracts and had as much, if not more, to do with the lack of player activity due to injuries. If money was not an issue then Walt should be gone. In such a case it is like raising the dickens and divorcing your mate because what is spent on groceries when you expect to eat steak every night. Just a thought.

    • greenmtred

      Start by trying lure Rolen out of retirement to coach. A team leader doesn’t have to be on the field: these guys spend considerable time together, and professionalism and attitude can be communicated. Hope for fewer injuries (not unrealistic), and really really get a good bat for left field. Hope Joey comes back as some semblance of his former self. Hope the same for Jay. Hope must spring eternal.

  4. sergeant2

    If the Reds brass didn’t care about winning, they wouldn’t have gone out and spent a little extra to get a genuine first baseman. A lot of teams would have just moved their 3rd baseman to first base, even if that 3rd baseman was excellent at that position and one of their best hitters. If you think I’m being sarcastic, you would be right.

  5. Mister D69

    This marks the 109th time the Reds did not lose by one run. At least that’s something.

  6. George Mirones

    There was a small positive on this blog tonight; the lectures about “Saber stuff” and the true meaning and value of FIP were missing. 🙂

    • Mister D69

      Yes, what a relief. Sometimes bad is just plain bad. You don’t need a degree in math to figure that out.

    • pinson343

      After the Sunday loss to the Mets also, I didn’t see any mention of FIP. Forgot to mention that as a positive.

  7. sergeant2

    All sarcasm aside, its really mind boggling that a team with championship aspirations would do little to nothing in response to the injuries to the starting lineup, and especially the inaction to address the struggling bullpen. The Cardinal T.V. announcers said Jocketty said he was happy with his job with the Reds, in addressing rumors that he Jocketty would join LaRussa in Arizona. Who wouldn’t be happy with a job with a million dollar salary, and a mediocre job review was considered grounds for a raise.

    • greenmtred

      We should all consider the Red Sox in the depths of our own misery. It must, if anything, be worse for their fans.

  8. ohiojimw

    Either the money was extremely tight or somebody is just flat out a terrible evaluator of MLB level talent to have thought the Reds did not need to make move(s).

    The guys the Cards have traded in the last year would have made the Reds nigh onto unbeatable even with the shaky 7th inning slot in the pen. Yet the Reds apparently are not willing to part with any of the mediocre guys they have or prospects 2 to 3 levels away from MLB. And with that far to go, how many of them will be washouts eventually anyway??

      • lwblogger2

        That is a very real possibility.

    • tct

      it still blows my mind that they have given almost 50 starts at first base to a 31 year old backup catcher with a career wRC+ of 74 and an OBP this year under .300. League average hitting first baseman do not have a lot of trade value, and the reds should have been able to get someone who could hit better than Pena without giving up any of their top 6 or 7 prospects. The Pirates have been able to get guys like Ike Davis, Gaby Sanchez, Marlon Byrd, etc. over the last couple years without giving up any of their top ten prospects. And if they couldn’t find anybody to trade with, then try giving Soto or Lutz the job for a couple weeks to see what happens. Try something. Instead the reds just used their backup catcher. I like Pena, but he doesn’t even hit enough to start at catcher. The reds have gotten very little offense out of left field and first base since Votto went down, and those are the 2 easiest positions to play.

      • Grand Salami

        This is a great post and indicative of the Reds inaction this year. Pena was hot earlier in the season and Reds plugged him into first. A lot has changed since his first game at first but the front office has not seemed to notice Pena’s offensive decline.

        The Reds have essentially relied on bench players to fill gaps for significant injuries without a single acquisition. Because of this inaction, it looks as though they are now dealing with a tired, frustrated, and overwhelmed group of players.

  9. RedsfanPa

    Well if Shelby Miller 3 hit them tonight, won’t be surprised if Wacha no hits them tomorrow. I wonder what kind of bench coach Rolen would be….sure miss his leadership on this team. No one on the current team is stepping up.

    • pinson343

      The Reds offense was even worse than the 3 hits would indicate. Two of the them were singles with the base runner erased on a double play. Zero walks. The Reds were only one batter over the minimum last night – 28 batters. That’s “worst game of the season” bad, at least for most teams.

  10. pinson343

    I had the thought that Holmberg pitcher better tonight because he didn’t have the last 5 days to get nervous about this start. Brantley made the same point. Hopefully know he’s picked up enough confidence to deal with that pressure.

  11. pinson343

    I am not encouraged by BP’s 2 hits. One was a bouncing ball up the middle. He had a chance to do something after Mes doubled to lead off an inning and he hit a bouncer to 3rd. In Sunday’s game he killed a rally by hitting a bouncer to the pitcher with the bases loaded and none out.

    So many bouncers indicate his swing isn’t right or his timing is still very off, or both.

    • sultanofswaff

      It says to me that home runs are a thing of the past for dat dude.

    • Steve Mancuso

      BP has always had a long swing. Now it takes an eternity.

  12. pinson343

    Cozart made a key misplay in the 7th. After Grichuk’s pinch hit double, he was dead at 3rd on Wong’s ground ball to Cozart. But the ball slipped out of Cozart’s hand on the throw. Not called an error but instead of a runner on 1st and 1 out it’s 1st and 3rd and none out. No one’s perfect but Cozart is not in a position where he can make anything close to an average number of misplays on defense.

    • Steve Mancuso

      Take this opinion for what it’s worth – I was at the game, so while I saw it live, I also didn’t get a replay look. But I think it’s unfair to describe it as a misplay. My impression was that Cozart made a tremendous effort just to get to the ball (if it gets past him, that’s a run). He didn’t have the time to straighten up or square his shoulders. It wasn’t a routine ball for him on the third-base side. Yes, his throw was bad. But it was also made from an off-balanced stance with little margin for error.

      • VaRedsFan

        I agree with Steve’s assessment. Cozart was shaded to the middle (holding the runner), and had a long way to go into the hole. I think a perfect throw doesn’t get him. IMHO

  13. pinson343

    If the Reds continue their post-All Star break pace of .333 baseball, they’ll finish the season at 73-89. 90 losses is within sight.

  14. WVRedlegs

    Silver linings. Though hard to find, are nonetheless there. Somebody mentioned the Red Sox above. They went 69-93 in 2012 and then went 97-65 in 2013 with a World Series championship. And now in 2014 they are facing another 90 loss season. At least they have a WS title to soothe their wounds. The LA Angels last year were mired in a terrible season with terrible contracts hanging around their necks like mill stones. But the LA Angels have the best record in MLB right now.
    What did those two teams do? They didn’t stand pat in the off season. LA made trades with ARI and StL last winter. The Red Sox big trade with the LA Dodgers at the end of 2012 set them up for 2013. The Reds will shake up their lineup this off-season. Or it will be more of the same ole, same ole.

    • Shchi Cossack

      The Old Cossack appreciates any silver thread of hope going forward. Two significant issues with the examles profered. 1) The LAA and BoSox have opened the bank vaults to fund their roster to the tune of $160MM for 2014. The Reds probably don’t have the financial wherewithall to take on significant additional salary and fund their existing roster going forward. 2) The BoSox have a dynamic, effective baseball organization, headed by Ben Cherington, that the Reds simply can not match.

  15. Dave E.

    Well, this team is just not very good, and it wasn’t when healthy.

    Bruce has been very bad. Phillips and Votto are clearly past their primes. Cozart needs to go. Ludwick/Schumaker/Santiago are not everyday players; fine depth for a winning team, but overpriced old/bad players — you could have Lutz/Negron/anybody at AAA replace them easily for $10MM less a year. Latos and Bailey have been hurt and/or ineffective.

    The bullpen, despite Chapman and Broxton, have been terrible. Part of constructing a good team is constructing a good, cheap, bench (including bullpen). The Reds / Jocketty have been good at that in the past. They get an F this year for that skill. Combined with severe drop offs for the big three position players stars and this year is a disaster.

    Question is, clearly what to do? Options seem to be something like :

    1) Blow it up — trade Phillips/Bruce/Latos/Cozart/Simon/ and one of Leake or Cueto. All for young, good, cheap talent, anywhere, with the idea of having a good team in about three years (hoping Bailey/Votto/whoever is resigned between Leake/Cueto are effective).

    2) Do little — hope this year was an injury plagued aberration — move nobody, consider signing none of the pitchers long term, but don’t trade them, and make an “all-in” run for 2015. If the team stinks you can trade any of the starters at the deadline (for pennies on the dollar,of course).

    3) Some crap in between — Among Cueto/Leake/Latos — sign the cheapest “long term,” trade one for prospects, and keep one unsigned for 2016, leaving you flexibilty headed into the season. Hope Bruce and Cozart bounce back with the bat. Hope Votto is healthy enough to play even if he has no power. Make a mild run at a LFer/rental, ala Gomes and Ludwick in years past.

  16. Shchi Cossack

    Try reading but substitute Reds for Braves in the article.

    A specifically poignant point in the article really hit home:

    “You can make a mistake. You just can’t make a lot of mistakes,” McGuirk, the Braves’ CEO said. “Small-market teams can make very few mistakes. The big guys like the Red Sox, the Dodgers, the Angels, the Yankees, they can afford to make big mistakes. We don’t have that luxury.”

    One of the biggest issues facing the Reds and diverging from the Braves situation is the role of McGuirk as CEO of the Braves and Castellini as CEO of the Reds. I might be completely mistaken, but I do not see McGuirk as driving a lot of decisions within the baseball operations for the Braves, but I do see Castellini as driving a lot of the decisions within the baseball operations for the Reds, specifically regarding contracts.

    • George Mirones

      In a recent post I addressed Bob C. and contracts from the point of view that ego and “legacy” were part of the decision making process . If money was the issue for failure to improve the last 2 years then the current situation is /should be on Bob C. His is the final yes or no.

    • WVRedlegs

      I saw this article this morning. I also saw Ken Rosenthal’s article asking if the Braves should blow up their roster. I was thinking then, and now afer reading your post that maybe the Reds and Braves should try to pull off a RedSox-Dodgers type of trade this winter. Both teams seemingly could benefit.

  17. George Mirones

    The Reds are starting to look like the Philly’s and need to create positive change. The hope of current position players coming up from the minors and creating an improved offense is slim. Many fans who hype or develop “a man crush” on a player or two at AA or AAA need to get a grip. They are prospects period. They haven’t seen a major league curve ball or slider. At first pitchers will want to see if they can hit a fastball then comes the crooked stuff. Heisey and Bruce are examples. There are no “Trout’s, Puig’s, or Votto’s” in the Reds system. It will take the acquisition of proved Major League talent through trades this winter to have a serious impact on 2015. The other GM’s know this. Yes there are contractual issues Brandon’s 5-10 status but first somebody has to want him. Votto’s medical history is not what a GM wants for what he is owed. For everybody else it should be open season. The words “if”, “could”, “might”, and “maybe” in relation to prospects need to be replaced with the words “can”, “is”, and “currently doing” of major league players.

    2014 Results of projected position starters;
    Billy H. 563 PA. .316 BABIP, 85 wRC+
    Zack C. 491 PA, .258 BABIP, 56 wRC+
    Votto 272 PA, .299 BABIP, 127 wRC+
    Todd F. 596 PA, .315 BABIP, 121 wRC+
    Devin M. 390 PA, .318 BABIP, 151 wRC+
    Jay B. 493 PA, .267 BABIP, 81 wRC+
    B. Phillips 439 PA, .291 BABIP, 81 wRC+
    R. Ludwick 364 PA, .309 BABIP, 92 wRC+

    Reds results of 2014 projected position starters from 2010 through 2013
    Billy H. 547 PA. .310 BABIP, 82 wRC+ (2013 AAA)
    Zack C. 1256 PA, .286 BABIP, 82 wRC+
    Votto 2568 PA, .365 BABIP, 165 wRC+
    Todd F. 1186 PA, .286 BABIP, 108 wRC+
    Devin M. 589 PA, .248 BABIP, 70 wRC+
    Jay B. 2567 PA, .309 BABIP, 120 wRC+
    B. Phillips 2651 PA, .298 BABIP, 105 wRC+
    R. Ludwick 1723 PA, .294 BABIP, 106 wRC+

    What I see and some 2015 projections
    Billy H. – basically is what he was in AAA should improve some peripheral’s but not overall numbers
    Cozart – offensively went from bad to worse, his defense will decline as will value
    Votto – Even a hurting Votto is better than no Votto
    Todd F. – The HR’s plus some improved plate discipline, will need to adjust as pitchers adjust
    Devin M. – opportunity given and taken, 2015 will be year of adjustment
    Jay B. – results of no “hot streaks” (is what it is)
    B. Phillips – loss of power will continue, defensive range will start to decline
    R. Ludwick – actually close to historical 4 year average.

    The average BABIP for hitters is around .300. If you see any player that deviates from this average to an extreme, they’re likely due for regression, but the best hitters in the league are capable of sporting BABIPs in the .350 range while the worst hitters might hang around .260. Research indicates that you need about 800 balls in play before a hitter’s BABIP “stabilizes.” In reality, there is no magic threshold at which one’s BABIP becomes predictive of future BABIP, but about two season’s worth of data will give you a decent indication of true talent

    wRC+ is the most comprehensive rate statistic used to measure hitting performance because it takes into account the varying weights of each offensive action and then adjusts them for the park and league context in which they took place.

    • lwblogger2

      I’m with you on most of what you have to say. Where we diverge is:

      I think we will see an improved Jay Bruce next season as he’ll have the off-season to get his knee back near 100%, he’s not old, and this season has been far and away his worst season. It isn’t just the lack of a hot-streak but overall just a bad year. I think you’ll see something close to his MLB career averages next year and while that may not be All-Star, it is very solid.

      I also believe that Hamilton will see more than just a slight bump in peripherals. Votto isn’t really a 30-35HR hitter. That season was an outlier. I wouldn’t say he has no power either. I think a mostly healthy Votto will put up a nice wRC+, great OBP, and give you 20-25HR over 150 games. I’ll take that.

      The Reds need Votto to be at least to his 2013 self as well as Bruce to produce near his norms to improve the offense next year. They also need Hamilton to keep developing. They really could use an upgrade in LF and maybe one at SS; although finding a SS who can really field and is a significant offensive upgrade over Cozart isn’t exactly a piece of cake.

  18. Jason Birkle

    Is someone willing to at least give Dusty Baker his due? For all of his mismanaging on the micro level, he really knows how to manage a team over the great 162.

    I think it would be remiss to not give him a little credit for the past couple of years….

    • Grand Salami

      He was a solid regular season manager. He had some annoying tendencies but he provided stability and consistency. Those are huge factors in the baseball psyche.

      It was the games immediately following the 162 that highlighted his deficiencies.