Mike Leake got off to a rough start, and could never recover on Wednesday afternoon. Leake allowed two walks in the first inning, before surrendering a three run bomb to Nolan Arenado. After Frazier cut the deficit to 3-1 with a home run in the bottom of the first, Leake then allowed a two run bomb to Charlie Blackmon, which gave the Rockies a 5-1 lead. The Reds tried to crawl back, and even had the bases loaded with 1 out in the 8th, only trailing 6-4. They would however eventually lose 6-4. The Reds have now lost 10 of their last 11 games.

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (19-27) 4 6 0
Colorado Rockies (19-26) 6 10 0
W: Kendrick (2-6) L: Leake (2-4) S: Axford (8)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score | Game Thread

Biggest Play of the Game

According to Fangraphs WPA statistic (winning percentage added), the most important play of the game was Mike Leake allowing a three run home run to Nolan Arenado in the first inning, giving the Rockies a 3-0 lead. That home run decreased the Reds chances of winning by 27.9% (from 50.3% to 22.3%)

Other important plays (+/- indicates how much each play increased or decreased the Reds chances of winning):

  • -15.1% – 2nd inning: Leake allowed a 2-run HR to Blackmon. Rockies lead 5-1.
  • -14.4% – 8th inning: Cozart flied out to end the inning with the bases loaded. Rockies lead 6-4.
  • -13.7% – 8th inning: Byrd flied out with the bases loaded, 2 outs. Rockies lead 6-4.
  • +13.1% – 8th inning: Bruce RBI single with the bases loaded. Rockies lead 6-4, 1 out.
  • +9.2% – 8th inning: Frazier walks with the bases loaded. Rockies lead 6-3, 1 out.
  • +8.6% – 1st inning: Frazier solo HR off Kendrick. Rockies lead 3-1.

Player of the Game

Nolan Arenado: 2 for 4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 0.28 WPA


Todd Frazier hit his 14th home run of the season, doubled later in the game, and had a CLUTCH WALK with the bases loaded in the 8th inning. Frazier has 43 HR since the start of 2014, which is the 7th most in the MLB (behind Cruz, Stanton, Trout, Encarnacion, Abreu, and Carter). While I would hate to see Frazier go, he would likely be the one player that would get the biggest return. Frazier is signed through next season, and only making $7.5 million. There are a lot of teams that would love to have a Todd Frazier at 3B or 1B for their team.

It didn’t help in the series, but credit is certainly due to Bryan Price in this series for mostly putting the optimal lineup out. Batting Votto second, Frazier and Bruce 3/4, and Hamilton 9th is definitely the smart way of doing things. I have certainly been critical of Price, but it does take some guts to bat the pitcher 8th. Batting Hamilton 9th is smart.

Tucker Barnhart is a very good defensive catcher. He showed that off in the first inning with a ridiculously fast throw to third base to gun down Charlie Blackmon. Tucker also hit his third home run of the season in the 8th inning. The more that I see from Tucker, the more I think this guy could actually be a decent backup catcher in the big leagues.


Jay Bruce made a very nice defensive play in the second inning.

bruce rockies bruce rockies2


The Reds bullpen did a great job today. Parra, Badenhop, and Cingrani combined to pitch four scoreless innings (4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K). It was Manny Parra’s first appearance since April 23rd. Also, don’t look now, but Badenhop hasn’t allowed a run in his last four appearances (only allowed a run in 1 of his last 7 appearances).


Mike Leake was really, really bad again. He gave up two home runs, but what really killed him were the walks. Leake allowed two walks in the first inning, and eventually a three run home run to Nolan Arenado. Leake then allowed a two run home run in the second inning, and the Rockies lead 5-1. Leake would at least settle down enough to get through five innings, and save the Reds pen a little. Leake’s last three starts have been about as bad as they possibly could be (14.0 IP, 20 ER, 27 H, 8 BB, 6 K, 6 HR, 12.86 ERA).

The Reds offense scored a total of 10 runs in the 3 games series against the Rockies. That might not sound too terrible, but the three pitchers they faced were Eddie Butler (5.19 career ERA in 12 starts), Chris Russin (making his first start of the year after being called up from AAA–where he had a 6.29 ERA), and Kyle Kendrick (6.58 ERA entering today).

After he seemed to be making strides, Marlon Byrd has come back down to Earth. Byrd went 0 for 4 today, and is now hitting .208/.279/.448 with a 96 wRC+. While a 96 wRC+ is only slightly below average, the Reds need more than that from a guy who is a defensive liability in LF.

Zack Cozart went 0 for 4, and is looking more and more like that Cozart we expect. Still, a .759 OPS with that glove is very valuable.

Not so random thoughts……………..

It sure feels like the Rockies are a lot better than they actually are in recent memory. The Reds are 17-32 against the Rockies since the start of 2008.

The Rockies were very aggressive with their shifts in this series vs the Reds (most surprisingly against Votto, who they did a Bruce-like shift against). It paid off for the Rockies too.

Skip Schumaker should never be playing at second base while Kris Negron is on the bench. Schumaker entered today with -48 career DRS (defensive runs saved) at second base.

Nolan Arenado is about as good as it gets defensively at third base. It was a joy (sort of) to watch this guy play defense. There is a reason the guy entered play on Wednesday with 57 DRS since the start of 2013. That is 10 more than any other 3B since 2013, and the second most of ANY position player (Andrelton Simmons has a ridiculous 78 DRS since the start of 2013).

I have heard a lot of whining about Joey Votto’s struggles in May. Sure, a .619 May OPS entering today is not great, but I refuse to complain too much about a guy a .834 OPS on the season. Joey will be fine.

Around the NL Central

Pirates: beat the Marlins 5-2 The Pirates rallied from a 2-0 deficit by scoring 5 runs in the 7th inning.

Brewers: currently trail the Giants 2-1 in the 5th inning.

Cubs: 8:05 vs Nationals; Lester (3.56 ERA) vs Scherzer (1.67 ERA)

Cardinals: 8:15 vs Diamondbacks; Lynn (3.46 ERA) vs Collmenter (5.19 ERA)

St. Louis Cardinals 30-16 –
Chicago Cubs 25-20 4.5 GB
Pittsburgh Pirates 24-22 6.0 GB
Cincinnati Reds 19-27 11.0 GB
Milwaukee Brewers 16-31 14.5 GB

Up Next:

The Reds mercifully have tomorrow off, and then will begin a three game series in Cincinnati against the Nationals on Friday night. If you are looking for relief for the Reds struggles, this series will probably not bring that. The Nationals entered play on Wednesday with a 27-19 record, and are 20-6 since April 28th.

The Reds will send DeSclafani and Iglesias to the mound on Friday and Saturday, but have listed Sunday’s game as TBA. Price said to Mark Sheldon: “There is a chance Cueto could get that start. We’ll make a decision on Sunday as we move forward. We’re waiting on Cueto, and Jason [Marquis] is a little banged up. It’s nothing he can’t pitch with, but he’s banged up as well.”

Nationals at Reds
Friday, 7:10 pm
Stephen Strasburg (9 GS, 6.50 ERA, 3.65 FIP) vs Anthony DeSclafani (9 GS, 3.46 ERA, 3.98 FIP)


All statistics are used courtesy of Fangraphs, ESPN Stats and Info, and Baseball-Reference (including Baseball-Reference Play Index). All photos are used courtesy of the Cincinnati Enquirer, and are used by permission.