Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (13-13) 7 12 0
Pittsburgh Pirates (12-14) 1 3 0
W: Lorenzen (1-1) L: Locke (2-2)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score

The Good
–Rookie hurler Michael Lorenzen picked up his first major league victory tonight, so Redleg Nation offers the kid our heartiest congratulations. Lorenzen was solid over six-plus innings, surrendering just one run on three hits; he struck out four and walked three. Hopefully the first win of many.

–Marlon Byrd went 2-5 with a double, a homer (his 4th) and 4 RBI. Byrd has now homered at PNC Park as a member of four different teams. The two-run double to the right-center field gap in the ninth opened the lead to 7-1, and later in the inning, it was looking like the Reds were going to need all those runs. (See below.)

–All Todd Frazier does is hit home runs. Frazier opened the scoring with a solo homer in the second inning; he leads the National League with 9 homers. Before he singled* in the sixth, Frazier’s five previous hits had all been home runs. I like home runs.

*Yes, Frazier singled. All Todd Frazier does is hit home runs and singles.

–Billy Hamilton, Joey Votto, and Brandon Phillips all had two hits. Kris Negron singled and walked, stole third base and scored a run.

–Jumbo Diaz pitched a perfect seventh inning, which was a relief. (Pun intended.) Diaz entered after Lorenzen had surrendered a single and a walk to begin the inning, but Diaz ultimately induced a double play ball that ended the inning.

–Tony Cingrani walked a hitter, but otherwise shut the Bucs down in the eighth.

–Hamilton scored two runs, and he collected an RBI in the ninth inning on an infield hit. Have you noticed that Billy Hamilton is fast?

The Bad
–Aroldis Chapman walked the bases loaded, and struck out the side in a scoreless inning of work. Just like they drew it up.

Not-So-Random Thoughts
–The Redlegs are back to .500! Get excited, Reds fans!

–Byrd’s batting average is .193. He’s sneaking ever-closer to the Mendoza line.

–Tonight was the first appearance for Aroldis Chapman — the Reds’ best pitcher — in a week. Criminally under-used.

Tonight, Chapman was throwing very hard (at least a couple of pitches were 102 MPH), but he was not sharp at all, as evidenced by three bases on balls. It’s almost like Chapman should be permitted to pitch more than once a week in order to stay sharp. That’s crazy talk, I know…

Manager Bryan Price’s strict adherence to “roles” in the bullpen isn’t just outdated, it’s actively hurting this team. When Price was hired, I was optimistic. Never in a million years would I have expected that Price — a former pitching coach, for crying out loud — would do pretty well with his lineups and be completely lost in his management of the pitching staff. But here we are.

–With Zack Cozart ailing, Negron looks to get more playing time in the near future. Let’s hope he can improve upon his less-than-stellar slash line: .077/.226/.077.

–Why isn’t Todd Frazier considered a bigger star in Cincinnati? For three of his four full seasons in Cincinnati, Frazier has been a well-above average hitter with a good glove; last year, he posted 5.3 WAR.

Maybe I’m wrong — and I’m sure you’ll let me know if I am — but it doesn’t seem like the Toddfather is as popular as he should be around town. The kid has played some really good baseball for this team. I’m glad he’s a Red.

–So, is Tony Cingrani the 8th-inning setup guy now? Wasn’t it just a couple of weeks ago that Bryan Price seemed unwilling to let Cingrani step foot onto the field? What’s going on out there in the bullpen?

–Some nights, this team is really fun to watch. Of course, I’m starting to wish that the Reds could play the Pirates and Brewers every game. The series continues tomorrow with a pretty good pitching matchup, Mike Leake vs. Gerrit Cole.

67 Responses

  1. Kathy Bryan (@Kelby59)

    Put me in the Toddfather fan camp too. The only Reds Caravan I have attended (with my younger brother in Lexington) Todd was there as still a rookie (split the season between 3rd and 1st) but had his jersey on, and Billy Hamilton was not even called up yet. Wearing a t-shirt like the rest of the mere mortals. So happy to meet them both and tell them how much I looked forward to them as the future of the Reds. Checked on the game from time to time tonight. Looked like it was well in hand. Life is good. April is over.

  2. jessecuster44

    Great win! Yes, one day a reporter should corner Price and ask why Chappy isn’t used more.

    • Tom Reed

      If Price is cornered by a reporter it could result in a … bomb explosion.

  3. Hoodlum

    “Yes, one day a reporter should corner Price and ask why Chappy isn’t used more.”

    I suspect lots of F bombs would follow. That would be like telling the public that a catcher was on a bus.

    • Vicferrari

      I understand this comment on the surface but when should Chapman have been used? Outside of starting him, which to me I would have like to have seen for at least a few months at some point during his tenure, there is no argument to have him in any game. I think Cueto was at 85 pitches when he was last used and he probably could have been used then.

      • Chad Dotson

        There are plenty of opportunities to use your best pitcher, if you aren’t married to the idea that he has to be used ONLY in the ninth inning.

      • jessecuster44

        Do you only take a ferrari out to drive once a week? I’d drive that thing as much as I could.

  4. kmartin

    The reason why Chapman is not used more is simple. It would violate the closer rules. Price appears every bit as wedded to the closer rules as Baker. I don’t know whether to scream, cry, or just laugh.

  5. Jeremy Forbes

    I was pretty critical against Byrd batting second, but he was big today. I’m hoping he just took awhile to warm up and there’s plenty more of these days to come.

    That said, he needs to be used in a platoon. Before today he was hitting .318/.348/.545 against lefties and .131/.169/.230 against righties. He hit both his homer and double against LHP tonight. So start him against LHP and find someone to go against RHP. It’ll solve two problems. One is horrible line against right handed pitchers, and the other is the fear of his $8m option vesting at 550 PA.

    • jdx19

      That’s probably the idea and reasoning I’ve heard in awhile.

      Find someone who can hit righties on the cheap and platoon him with Marlon. I love it! Unfortunately, the Reds are not the A’s. They’ll use his success against lefties to justify him being in the lineup against righties.

      • jdx19

        Somehow I forgot the word “best.” That is the BEST idea and reasoning I’ve heard in awhile.

      • Jeremy Conley

        How about lefty Brennan Boesch. Easiest solution is to at least give Boesch some starts against righties to see if he helps.

    • jdx19

      Here’s a list of guys who have had 300+ PAs against righties from 2013 until now, sorted by OPS who also play outfield. I think there are a few guys on that list that could be traded for without much fuss, who also OPS over .800 against righties. Super platoon goooo!

      http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=of&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=300&type=c,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,39&season=2015&month=14&season1=2013&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=23,d

      • Jeremy Forbes

        I’ll take #1 on that list, please. Then we can just forget the platooning all together, hah.

        More seriously, Daniel Nava would probably be one of the better options. The Red Sox have way too many outfielders, he’s making under $2m, and his L/R split in his career is heavily tilted to the right.

        Not sure what it’d cost to get him though.

    • earmbrister

      Byrd’s career splits vs lefties and righties are nowhere near as drastic as this year.

      vs RHP: .272/.328/.410
      vs LHP: .288/.339/.466

      This may have more to do with sample size this year, than anything else.

      • Jeremy Forbes

        True he’s not had quite so much of an extreme split in his career, but he’s had years before with extreme splits towards LHP in recent past.

        2013:
        .268/.318/.480 vs RHP
        .344/.376/.583 vs LHP

        2012 (small sample size):
        .149/.188/.160 vs RHP
        .327/.353/.408 vs LHP

        2010:
        .267/.328/.389 vs RHP
        .357/.390/.526 vs LHP

        He had actually a better split against RHP in 2011, and was about even in 2014 (though still a slightly higher OPS vs LHP).. but in the previous 5 years, it’s tilted pretty extremely towards LHP overall. When a 37-year-old, his recent past is more important than when he was in his late-20s.

      • earmbrister

        So, to summarize:

        2014: About even

        2013: Better vs LHP, but solid vs RHP

        2012: 153 PA, meaningless

        2011: MUCH better vs RHP

        2010: A good deal better vs LHP. but it was 5 years ago !!!

        So, if we are to follow your line of reasoning, wouldn’t the more recent past (2014 and 2013) be more indicative of his 2015 splits than 2010?

        I just don’t see a compelling reason for a platoon.

      • Jeremy Forbes

        My line of reasoning is that since the start of 2012 (so last 3 years + this year so far), Byrd has hit .307/.343/.524 vs LHP and .247/.295/.411 vs RHP. That’s out of a 1,462 PA sample size right there, all no more than three seasons ago.

        That’s a platoon player right there.

    • Carl Sayre

      I have been very critical of Byrd from the start of the season, the last 11 or 12 games he is making me eat some crow. I will say this I like my crow crispy fried with hot sauce I hope he serves me a massive portion. I have said all along that a .250 season with 25 to 28 HR’s would be a huge success. The last almost 2 weeks he is making that look entirely possible.

      • lwblogger2

        I’m hoping that DeSclafani and Latos make me eat a big dish of it too. WVRedlegs said it is best served BBQ.

  6. I-71_Exile

    Excellent win by the good guys. I’m on board with a Byrd platoon. Maybe Boesch?

    • Jeremy Forbes

      Boesch also has more success against LHP than RHP. He has a career split of .283/.348/.422 and .247/.296/.406, respectively.

      Same with Negron, albeit in a small sample size. .218/.295/.336 vs RHP and .288/.351/.596 vs LHP.

      Schumaker has had better success in his career against RHP, but more recently the word success is very tentatively used. In 2014: .238/.288/.327 vs RHP, .222/.286/.222 vs LHP.

      Whoever would platoon with Byrd would need to be added to the 25 man roster.

      • Grand Salami

        Even Mes’ splits suggest that he prefers hitting lefties but he is probably the most competent to hit righties from among that group . . .

  7. ohiojimw

    Here is the link to Mark Sheldon’s full article about Mesoraco…..

    http://m.reds.mlb.com/news/article/122530266/reds-catcher-devin-mesoraco-holding-off-on-hip-surgery-for-now

    They’ve done PRP injections and injected some sort of “lubricant” directly into the hip joint, so far all to no avail. Sheldon says Meso seems resigned that surgery is just a matter of time.

    As was said on the game thread, it is not really surprising that surgery is likely. However I think the Red’s handling of the situation is still a head scratcher.

    • vared

      If the 4 month recovery is accurate (and I’m skeptical), wouldn’t it have made more sense to do this two or three weeks ago and get him back for the end of the season as opposed to DHing? Is Mes DHing that important? What’s gonna happen is they say they’re keeping him around to DH, then he’ll end up DHing about half of those games only – and over a month of recovery time will have been lost.

      • Grand Salami

        He’s gone for the season. So it’s get what you can or shut him down and give him a longer window of recovery. I am guessing that besides looking to all their front loaded AL schedule, the Reds are making sure that they don’t lose a corner OF or Joey before shutting down one of their top three or four hitters for the season. Since it’s early in the season and he is still a clubhouse presence, I think it’s one of the few times the slow play has been a good move.

      • jessecuster44

        He can still be a clubhouse presence after the surgery. He’s taking up a roster spot now, and hasn’t gotten a hit in almost a month.

        This does not help the team.

      • lwblogger2

        I don’t know… I can see where you’re coming from but if he has the surgery now, the Reds might also find out if he’s going to be able to catch in 2016 or if a position change is in his future. It also would allow him to work on that new position over the off-season if it was warranted, rather than having him recover over most the off-season.

    • lwblogger2

      I read that too. It makes almost no sense to me. He’s on the roster and even less useful than Thome or Giambi in 2012. At least they made about 17 appearances at 1B for their respective NL teams that season. Mes apparently is going to be strictly a DH and PH. You can’t have a guy on your NL roster with that job description. You just can’t. Yet here the Reds are.

      I’m guessing the “lubricant” is the hip equivalent of the knee “lubricant” Synvisc. I have debated it for my knees but my ortho says it only has about a 50/50 chance for it to work with me, would probably only work for 6-months or so, and it’s expensive.

  8. rhayex

    I have a friend who told me a story they heard from someone who works for the Reds re: Cingrani. He was apparently being kept in case Bailey had to be taken out of a game early. When Bailey’s elbow blew, he wasn’t needed in that role anymore. It was also apparently Jocketty’s decision to have Bailey pitch when he wasn’t ready, not Price’s.

    • vegastypo

      Gee, so there could have been some substance to the part of Latos’ rant about being rushed back from injury? … Once that decision had been made, it wouldn’t be a surprise for the player to profess to be rarin’ to go, the whole macho thing. … Not that I trust Latos a ton, but the Jocketty-Bailey comment gives me pause.

    • lwblogger2

      That would mean Cueto and although I’m for trading him if the Reds fall too far out of the race, I’m against trading him at the moment. Trading Cueto would tell Reds fans that the team has already given up hopes of winning this year as it would effectively end the small chance the Reds have of being a playoff team.

  9. ohiojimw

    Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Cody Ross were both released within the last 24 hours and one would presume are available for the prorated MLB minimum salary.

    For a team using a lame catcher as their RH bench bat, I’d think the Reds might have some interest in Ross. Salty is a switch hitter but skews strongly better as a left handed hitter.

    • lwblogger2

      I saw that too. Ross has only appeared in a handful of games and Salty, although a butcher behind the plate, has shown he can hit a little.

  10. jdx19

    Reds 0-5 in games that would put them above .500 since the start of the season (not counting opening day). Let’s hope Leake ‘bucs’ that trend!

    • charlottencredsfan

      Off topic,

      I read and reread the the Batted Ball link you provided and it is informative, as well as excellent. It raises many thoughts and questions.

      There are holes to be sure and to me they are relevant to full understanding. This will in the end, I believe, shake off the remaining “luck” factor until it can be pinpointed as basic randomness. Case in point: they do not show AVG and SLG for liners above 97.5 MPH, nor do they breakdown liners by degree of vertical exit angle of batted balls. The new data is a start on a path that will revolutionize how we evaluate BABIP – it’s a beautiful thing.

      • lwblogger2

        The new data will actually revolutionize how we evaluate a lot of stuff. It is going to be able to tie a lot of what scouts see with what the analytics department sees. It is almost like the missing link as far as evaluating players. I think the next few years will be really exciting with this data available.

  11. RP

    No mention of Votto’s continued blunders on the base paths…picked off and breaks toward home on a ball hit directly at him, must have been running through the days Sudoku, yikes!!! I think we all agree that he is a great hitter even if we can’t all agree on his approach but he is a liability in the field and on the bases.

    • Reds Fan in Indy

      Exactly – I thought for sure this would show up as a “Negative”

      He did not have a great night on the bases. Couple of TOOTBLAN!

  12. HerpyDerp

    Just out of curiousity, what’s the record for teams going into the 9th inning with a 6 run lead? I didn’t bother watching it since I was already falling asleep…

  13. HerpyDerp

    It was nice to see Chris Welsh questioning the use of closers, and the entirety of the save stat when Cingrani was pitching to the top of the order – a higher leverage situation than if Chapman came in for the 9th against 4-5-6.

  14. tct

    Frazier is underrated because he is not great at any one thing. But he is average to above average at everything you can do on a baseball field. He is the type of player that WAR really helps you appreciate because he adds value offensively, defensively, and on the bases, where he is a sneaky good base runner.

    He’s they type of player that you want to surround your offensive stars with. He can’t carry a lineup, but if he’s your third or fourth best hitter then you are probably in good shape. The Reds problem is that he’s their second best hitter right now.

    • greenmtred

      If he doesn’t have a great glove, he doesn’t miss it by much.

      • tct

        Yes, he’s turned into a well above average third baseman. But he’s not really known for that by most fans. He hasn’t got the recognition that comes from winning a gold glove.

        His power is also well above average, but when most people think of the games best sluggers, Frazier’s name isn’t one of the first to come to mind.

        I think he’s criminally under rated by the national guys and by his own team’s fans.

    • Carl Sayre

      He has talent and i mean above average talent but where he really shines is “baseball smarts”. That was phrase from an old baseball coach “baseball smarts” is partially what you learn about the game but is also a lot of instinct that can’t be taught. Tom (the old coach in question) had a lot of oppertunities to coach D-1 level and stayed with the kids said he could make a bigger difference there.

  15. Paul

    I somewhat sympathize with Price’s handling of Chapman of late. Yes, we all want to see Chapman pitch more, but I can understand wanting to save him for when the Reds have the lead late, because there’s no one else in the bullpen (Cingrani aside, lately) I’d trust to hold a close lead.

    Of course for that to happen, the Reds actually have to have the lead late in a game, which hasn’t exactly been a common occurrence. So you risk using Chapman in a losing effort just for the sake of using him when you may need him to shut the door the next day.

    • i71_Exile

      Or for the next three or four games. With the lack of other options, B. Price is pretty much hosed either way.

  16. OhioStateRedsFan

    Lets get Winker up here to platoon with Byrd (wishful thinking, he’s probably not ready yet). Can’t wait to see that kid running out onto GABP as the everyday LF

  17. sultanofswaff

    I love this quote from Lorenzen about giving up the solo home run early:

    “I just played it in my mind, how would a young person react to that normally?” he said. “They would get shy pounding the strike zone, be a little scared. I gave up four home runs in two games. I just told myself I’m not going to do that.”

    Brilliant and so self-aware for his age. This guy is going to be a big part of the Reds staying in contention.

    I’ll reiterate from my post yesterday—-regression to the mean. Our outfield/bullpen/bench can only go up. That’s bound to lead to a few more wins, and then we’re in the hunt.

  18. tgarretson82

    I’m very optimistic about Lorenzen. He’s got some great stuff but most of all he seems to have it all together in the head. Knows how to handle adversity.

    On a different note, Matheny treats his bullpen very different from Price. He uses some of his best relievers with no disregard for innings pitched or roles. It seems Bochy and other successful managers do this. It would be great if Price would do this (or is it Jocketty that is handling reigns?).

    • charlottencredsfan

      IMO, Bochy took Methany to school in the NLCS and Methany was wise enough to learn.

      As far as Price? Doctrine.

  19. lwblogger2

    RE: Todd Frazier

    He isn’t as popular as he should be because fans put too much emphasis on batting average. He’s hitting .224 this year and to most fans, that seems like a terrible batting average. He’s “only” a .256 hitter for his career, which is only very slightly above average. A lot of fans seem to ignore his .324 career OBP and .456 career SLG, both well above average. His defense also seems to get lost on a lot of fans. For a lot of fans though, it’s all about AVG/HR/RBI and Frazier isn’t .280/25/90 every year so “he’s nothing special!!”

    • charlottencredsfan

      To add, outside of BA, Todd is a complete a player as the Reds have: fielding base-running, power. He is a keeper, without a doubt. I would expect him to finish the year at ~.256 as he is a little streaky.☺

  20. Jeremy Conley

    This was a fun game. Lorenzen looked great, and the explanation he gave for his first outing, that he wasn’t able to do his normal routine because of all the chaos of getting called up, made a lot of sense to me. If you watched that workout video he released in the offseason, you can see that he’s a kid who loves his routines.

    All of his pitches looked great, and the pitch selection was way better than the last game.

    Byrd also deserves some praise, and I totally agree with the idea of platooning him for a while. I wouldn’t bench him against every righty, because eventually I’d want him in there more if he can hack it, but for now, 50/50 seems good. Let him get his swing back against more lefties.

  21. Jeremy Conley

    The bullpen has to be the biggest mystery on this team. I posted an article from SI yesterday that was talking about how relief pitchers have never been better than they are now, or not for 50+ years at least. Somehow, with that as the context in the league, we’re running out Kevin Gregg?

  22. Eric the Red

    1) I don’t think a single RLN poster–myself included–would have done what Price did and put Byrd in the 2 hole. But he did, and Byrd pounded the ball and drove in 4 runs. There may be some sort of lesson in that.

    2) I still don’t think Byrd can hit a fastball; in fact, I think he has one hit in the past couple of weeks on a pitch above 90 MPH. But he does seem to be adjusting, and at least he’s no longer swinging at everything.

    3) Price managed the bullpen perfectly last night. Most notably, he was proactive and ready to replace Lorenzen if he got in trouble in the 7th. Cingrani seems to be the 8th inning answer. If he keeps it up and Price keeps using him–with perhaps the occasional use of Chapman for an out or 2 in the 8th–we should win a few more games that we’re currently losing.

  23. Eric the Red

    Oh, and another smart but non-obvious thing Price did: he had Peña catch Lorenzen. Tucker caught his first game, and had caught him in Louisville. But Price switched catchers, and Lorenzen did just fine.

    I’m sure there were a lot of reasons he did that, but one of them may have been because Price really likes Tucker’s work with Leake. Look for Tucker to get the start tonight, so it wouldn’t have made sense to start him last night.

  24. vegastypo

    Still no Cozart tonight……So Price has, what, two guys off the bench who could come in and play in the field, Schu and Boesch? I guess three if you include the backup catcher, but he’s saved for an emergency. I don’t care for a lot of what Price does, but having to deal with this short-handedness gets ridiculous.

    Hurry back, Zack!

    CF: Billy Hamilton
    LF: Marlon Byrd
    1B: Joey Votto
    3B: Todd Frazier
    2B: Brandon Phillips
    RF: Jay Bruce
    SS: Kristopher Negron
    C: Tucker Barnhart
    SP: Mike Leake

    • lwblogger2

      I wish there were stats for how often a team played with 1, 2, or even 3 guys short on a roster. I’d imagine the Reds would be near the top. I also need to see if I can dig up if anyone is keeping track of total “Man games lost due to injury”

    • lwblogger2

      Found the man games lost to injury one… In 2014 the Reds had the 3rd most man games lost due to injury with 772 Total man-games injured. Colorado was 2nd most and Texas had an unbelievable 1531 man-games lost due to injury last year.

      http://www.mangameslost.com

  25. whereruklu

    The Toddman has always been a favorite of mine. With his attitude and personality, I see him as the future “spokesperson” for the team. If you’ve not seen him yet, he is great in front of a camera.