Aroldis Chapman hadn’t given up a run all year before yesterday. He’s now surrendered the losing run in two consecutive games. That’s the law of being human taking a victory lap. But the pitching staff only allowed two runs which should be good enough.
The Reds haven’t hit well enough to win. Billy Hamilton, Marlon Byrd, Joey Votto and Todd Frazier combined to go 0-15.
Roster management continues to be a significant headwind. Bryan Price had no one who could pinch hit for a player batting .103 at the end. This was the first game it really hurt to not have another infielder on the roster — that’s the opportunity cost of carrying Devin Mesoraco. To make matters worse, Price sent up Skip Schumaker instead of Mesoraco in the one pinch hitting opportunity that was available. The Reds manager is still apparently letting left-right platoon issues dominate his thinking on that, instead of reasoning that one of those two players is a washed up veteran and the other one isn’t.
Mike Leake pitched six innings, the first time in three games he’d allowed a run. In a few innings he was sharp. In others, he needed a Houdini act. Leake struck out one and walked two.
The Reds were facing a tough pitcher in Shelby Miller. The one run they scored came on an infield hit, a Jay Bruce ground ball that found a hole, a HBP and a sacrifice fly. They managed only four hits – two by Brandon Phillips – Ã‚Â and two walks. Jay Bruce missed a two-run homer by a couple feet.
Kris Negron made three outstanding defensive plays tonight. He was a last-minute substitute at shortstop for Zack Cozart. Negron hasn’t hit much yet this year (understatement) but he’s been super-valuable as a competent defensive replacement all over the field.
In the top of the sixth, with the score tied 1-1, the Braves had the bases loaded and it looked like the Reds might need to bring in a relief pitcher with the game on the line. Bryan Price had Pedro Villareal warming up. When the situation called for bringing in one of the bullpen’s best pitchers, it was breathtaking to realize that Price would have chosen the worst. Price must have decided that Villareal’s role was the sixth inning, regardless of the situation.
You can take away all the Kevin Greggs in the world, but you canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t stop Bryan Price from using a 10.13 ERA reliever in a tie game.
— Chris Garber (@cgarber8) May 12, 2015
Aroldis Chapman aside, the bullpen has been a disaster under Price’s management. What has he seen in the past year or so that leads him to believe his slavish devotion to The Roles is working?
The Reds shedÃ‚Â Kevin Gregg today, putting a spotlight on a series of bad decisions made by the organization. The worst of those was Bryan Price’s judgment to put Gregg in the 8th inning set-up role at the start of the season.
Meanwhile, Tony Cingrani struck out the side in the seventh inning. Seems he’s a lot sharper when he hasn’t rotted on the bench for a week. Jeff Brantley, former relief pitcher, made the same point on the TV broadcast. “I did that job a long time, I’d rather you wear me out than not pitch me.” Ditto for Jumbo Diaz who pitched a clean eighth.
Aroldis Chapman pitched the ninth and gave up his first run at GABP in over 33 innings. He pitched well, but allowed an uncontested steal of third base and then threw a wild pitch. Little things like that make a big difference when the offense is struggling.