After sweeping the NL East leaders in Cincinnati, the Reds (22-27) travel to Philadelphia to play the last place Phillies (19-33) for a three game series. The Phillies are in the midst of a seven game losing streak, their longest since July 2013. They’ve scored one run or less a major league leading 14 times already this year, and find themselves dead last in most offensive statistical categories.

The Phillies have only averaged 3.02 runs per game and have the league’s fewest homers with 27. Ryan Howard is the only everyday regular with an OPS+ in excess of 100, which is the MLB average. Howard and Freddy Galvis are the only everyday players with an OPS+ in excess of 80.

While the Phillies offense is 15th in the National League, the Reds only rank slightly better at 11th with 3.9 runs per game. Most folks attribute these teams (and poor scoring teams in general) as high strikeout teams. However, the Reds and the Phillies have the 3rd and 4th fewest strikeouts per plate appearance in the National League.

The Atlanta Braves have struck out the least this season (18.1%), while the Reds are third at 19.1%, the Phillies 4th at 19.5%, and the Cubs have the worst K% at 25.5%.

The Phillies boast Cole Hamels and Aaron Harang atop their rotation, and the Reds are scheduled to face each of them the next two nights. Tonight, Johnny Cueto is scheduled to return to the rotation against Phils #5 starter

2015 stats for tonight’s probable starters:

Johnny Cueto 3.03 3.30 1.0 4.7% 23.5%
Sean O’Sullivan 4.81 6.57 2.4 5.5% 12.3%

Johnny Cueto is pitching for the first time since May 19th due to elbow stiffness. Cueto is typically hurt by low run production, as the Reds have scored two or fewer runs in five of his nine starts.

Twenty-seven year old righty Sean O’Sullivan is already with his 5th MLB organization. He’s only lasted 5-6 innings in each of his six starts this season with the Phillies. In 33.2 innings, he’s walked eight but also only struck out 18. In his last outing, he was roughed up by the Mets, allowing seven runs on 11 hits and four homeruns in 5.2 innings.

Today’s Reds lineup features the regular starting eight:

  1. Brandon Phillips (R) 2B
  2. Joey Votto (L) 1B
  3. Todd Frazier (R) 3B
  4. Jay Bruce (L) RF
  5. Brayan Pena (S) C
  6. Marlon Byrd (R) LF
  7. Zack Cozart (R) SS
  8. Johnny Cueto (R) P
  9. Billy Hamilton (S) CF

The lineup for the Phillies features rookies at third base and left field. Grady Sizemore started the year in left field but was released two weeks ago. Jeff Francouer had been getting starts in right field but has now been delegated to the bench.

  1. Ben Revere (L) RF
  2. Freddy Galvis (S) SS
  3. Chase Utley (L) 2B
  4. Ryan Howard (L) 1B
  5. Maikel Franco (R) 3B
  6. Cody Asche (L) LF
  7. Odubel Herrera (L) CF
  8. Carlos Ruiz (R) C
  9. Sean O’Sullivan (R) P

Todd Frazier was named last week’s NL Player of the Week. Frazier led the majors with a .500 batting average including four homeruns. His week-long slash line was .500/.560/1.227 (AVG/OBP/SLG.)

Going back past last week, Todd Frazier has been on base in 12 straight games. During that stretch, Frazier has six multi-hit games including the past four consecutive games and is hitting .413/.460/.783.

Joey Votto has been on-base in ten straight games. He has three doubles, two homeruns, and is hitting .278/.381/.528, which is a nice rebound from his slumping May numbers.

Jay Bruce has pushed his on-base streak to 14 games. He’s hitting .354/.456/.563 to bring his overall OPS up to .735 from .605.

After two off days over the past five days, the Reds will play 20 in a row without a scheduled day off. The first nine games will come against sub-.500 teams (six against Philly and three against the Padres.) Things feel a little more upbeat after sweeping the Nationals this past weekend.


158 Responses

  1. jdx19

    Guys getting on base. That’s what I like to see.

  2. Tom Reed

    And getting them across the plate.

    • jdx19

      Certainly! One is a function of the other, however. 🙂

  3. seat101

    Rather than a lot of strikeouts, wouldn’t double plays be a higher indicator of lower scoring teams?

    • jdx19

      The exact opposite, in fact. Teams that hit into a lot of double plays score more runs because, once again, they have a lot of guys on base.

  4. Eric the Red

    One aspect of the “bat the pitcher 8th” thing is that when Price did it he was working with an unusually talented set of hitters (for pitchers) and/or guys who were pretty likely to get lifted after two at bats. Cueto doesn’t exactly fit that bill.

    There’s little question that dropping Hamilton has lowered the pressure he’s admitted he feels. It’s a good thing, and I can only think of one or two cases where the pitcher batting 8th has come up at a bad time. I imagine we’ll keep doing things this way for awhile, even with Cueto on the mound.

    • jdx19

      Good point, Eric.

      I also think it might have somethign to do with Billy’s unique skills. They are largely wasted in front of a pitcher, making him a poor choice for 8th. The different between 8th and 9th if very little, but having 9-1-2 be a favorable inning beginning later in the game, rather than a not-so-great one can sometimes be big, I’d guess.

      Ultimtaely, I’d bet it doesn’t matter much either way, but probably Billy 9th is better than Billy 8th.

    • Citizen54

      I’m curious, has Hamilton been performing better at the bottom of the order?

      • Eric the Red

        Very much so. But my point was really more about the pitcher: with better hitters (Marquis, Leake, Lorenzen), as well as a decent shot at an early PH opportunity (Marquis, Iglesias, Lorenzen), Price was less worried about having the pitcher bat 8th. Dropping Billy in the order was clearly necessary, and Price was right that 8th didn’t make a lot of sense; with a more typical set of pitchers maybe he’d have batted him 7th.

  5. Jeremy Conley

    How long would it take teams around the league to stop shifting on you if you bunted regularly? A month? And during that month, if you could get down a bunt half the time you’d have an OPS of 1.000 in those situations.

    Unless you have a Barry Bonds OPS, you should be bunting when they give it to you a free base like that.

    • User1022

      That assumes players know how to get a bunt down, something many Reds don’t seem to be able to do.

      • jdx19

        Yep. One would hope it’s something Bruce (and other lefties around MLB) has been working on, at least a bit.

      • Jeremy Conley

        I’ve heard that, but I just have a hard time believing that someone who has grown up with a bat in their hand can’t learn to do something that pitcher’s are expected to learn how to do. No one said these guys have to get a good bunt down, they literally just have to put it on the ground on the left side.

        I’ve seen David Ortiz and Ken Griffey Jr. do it, both when they were over 35. Jay Bruce at 28 should be able to learn how to get a bad bunt down half the time.

  6. jdx19

    “I feel like being an MVP today.” – Joey Votto

  7. Indy Red Man

    I think BP is def tradeable if we aren’t in contention and he wants to have a shot at the playoffs

    • jdx19

      If he keeps dropping base hits, I think you’re right.

  8. jdx19

    Regarding the Hamilton pick-off earlier… I feel like he should never stop when he’s picked off. Run hard to 2nd; you may beat it or force a bad throw. As soon as you stop, you’re dead. Can’t really get around someone w/o going out of the baseline unless they are asleep.

    • Jeremy Conley

      I agree, it’s probably a good call for everyone, but Hamilton will probably beat it more times than not if they throw to first, like this guy did.

  9. jdx19

    Two bunts = Run? My head just exploded.

    • indredsfan

      Hitting the ball hard off this guy and yet they play for one run? Just don’t like the strategy by Price at all

      • jdx19

        Me neither. But a run is a good consolation prize.

  10. ProspectCincy

    After a lousy top of the 1st in execution … Reds looking GOOOOOOOD.

  11. Kurt Frost

    Can we get a Marlon Byrd plate appearance estimate in every recap?

  12. jdx19

    Todd heard he had more WAR than Mike Trout and decided to boot a few balls tonight.

  13. I-71_Exile

    The kids kicked me off the TV. How is Cueto’s velocity?

    Fingers crossed.

    • jdx19

      I haven’t been watching the gun, but seems fine to me. High pitch count through 4 innings, though.

    • mwvohio

      Velo is fine, been a lot of deep counts on him though. He’s also had some balls up in the zone a little compared to when he’s really “on”. Encouraging first start back.

      • Jeremy Conley

        He’s also had a couple of strike threes not get called, including to the first batter who then fouled a few more off.

    • Jeremy Conley

      Pretty standard Cueto. Fastballs at 92-93 with a lot of movement. I’m sure that if he wanted to he could get it up to 95+

  14. jdx19

    Seems like every time Votto tried to uncork one he swings and misses. All his HRs are very controlled swings, it seems. Any else notice this? If it’s true, I wonder why he does those hard, violent swings every once in awhile. They don’t work.

    • Jeremy Conley

      I do know what you mean. During his slump he would take those swings and at best hit a hard liner for a single. It didn’t seem to give him the trajectory for extra-bases, even when he did make good contact.

    • mwvohio

      Nah, it’s confirmation bias. I can’t speak for this year but in years past some of those violent swings result in very violent hits. I do know exactly what you’re talking about though, Votto to me is that controlled precise “you will never get a pitch past me in the zone” kind of swing. Then when you see him just unleash on one it’s almost a disappointment because it’s more like every other slugger’s swing. I would agree with you so far this year just going by the old eyeball test. He has not had good contact on those full-force rips in 2015.

      • jdx19

        Yeah, confirmation bias or ‘observers’ bias’ is probably the right answer, as usual, with the eye ball test. 😉

      • mwvohio

        It has it’s place though. It’s almost always the eyeball test which leads to notions that make you want to look for the data to confirm or deny. At least that’s how it works for me when I’m not being overly lazy.

  15. mwvohio

    Anyone been over to the Phillie’s park? I haven’t been to that one myself and it’s hard to really see it from the FSO camera work. From what I have seen when they pan around it looks sort of bland. I really love a lot of the western parks with all their unique touches and atmosphere.

    • jessecuster44

      It’s a great place to see a ballgame. Seating is a little funky, esp on upper levels, but watching from SRO in the outfield is great.

    • mtkal

      Nice park. Big improvement on their old Veterans Stadium for sure.

  16. Vanessa Galagnara

    Brandon looks like he is seeing the ball very well this year. I am curious as to what his numbers would look like if he didn’t have turf toe

    • mwvohio

      His power has disintegrated though even before he had turf toe. Tons and tons of singles.

      • jessecuster44

        W/o turf toe, maybe that long fly gets out?

      • Vanessa Galagnara

        As good as a walk or so this blog says nothing wrong with singles especially if he is going to be a lead off hitter.

  17. jessecuster44

    WOW – very impressive inning by Mattheus. I like him!

    • vegastypo

      Yeah, me too. We’re carrying 13 pitchers, but I don’t think Marquis or Badenhop have seen the mound in a week.

  18. tgarretson82

    Such a huge relief that Cueto look pretty good tonight. Was worried this was an injury that would derail him and our trade deadline haul

  19. jessecuster44

    Well I hope this game doesn’t go extras, because the bench is pretty thin right now…

  20. jessecuster44

    Jay Bruce… WTF is your problem with the lights in Philly?

    • jessecuster44

      Chappy should be warming up….

  21. mwvohio

    Horrible pitching by Diaz tonight. Nothing but rockets on every single contact against him.

  22. jdx19

    “Hello, old friends. I’ve missed you.” -8th Inning Meltdown

  23. ProspectCincy

    Any particular reason the Reds went with Diaz instead of Cingrani tonight (with two lefties up in the inning)?

    • jessecuster44

      Because Bryan Price is a fricking moron.

    • Redgoggles

      I wondered the same. Love him, but Jumbo’s ERA is Marquisish.

  24. jessecuster44

    Good Grief. What was wrong with keeping Mattheus in? I do not and will not ever understand bullpen roles.

    • Michael E

      Amen! When one guy gets three outs and doesn’t struggle, he should be back the next inning…EVERY time.

  25. ProspectCincy

    This is just mind boggling … Jumbo lost this role a month ago because of this very problem; and with a completely full and rested pen, Price puts him right back there with a switch hitter and two lefties up in the 8th.

    The inning was designed for Cingrani … WTF PRICE?!

    • jdx19

      Yet, the righty takes him deep!

      ERA up to a tidy 6.43.

  26. msanmoore

    I hate drama … 1st game I’ve been able to watch in forever and THAT happens.

    • jessecuster44

      no kidding. Free game on and it’s the typical horror show in Philly for the Reds.

  27. CommonSense

    Here comes a column on how hard Jay Bruce hits the ball and he’s just really unlucky. He also can’t catch or throw the ball anymore.

    • jessecuster44

      Prove that he can’t catch or throw. He lost that one in the lights.

      • CommonSense

        He hasn’t been able to throw for several years and how many balls has he dropped in RF over the last five years? Quite a few.

    • jdx19

      Have you been following the Reds at all the last 2 weeks? Bruce has been doing quite good.

      Same tired arguments…

      • CommonSense

        .230 .337 .412

        He’s been good for two weeks.

      • CommonSense

        LOL that’s not an argument that’s a fact. Love stat guys that only want stats when it backs up what they believe.

    • jdx19

      Also, if you don’t like the writing of the site, they’ll give you a full refund.

    • mwvohio

      Huh? Have you seen Bruce’s stats lately? He is absolutely demolishing the ball in the last dozen games or so. He has like a 14 game on base streak with like 7 multi-hit games in that span. He’s white hot.

      • CommonSense

        Yes, I’m talking the entire year not the last two weeks.

  28. Michael E

    I love it, by the book use of best reliever, don’t bring him in with game on the line, no, lets save him for…nothing. BRILLIANT!

    As per a previous comment, I am with you on Cingrani. Diaz has shown he is terrible this year, just one level better than Gregg who was sent packing two weeks ago. Diaz needs demoted, benched for a week…or released.

  29. jdx19

    Phillips and Votto start 4-4 and finish 0-6.

  30. docmike

    Seems like Diaz gives up A LOT of homers.

    • Michael E

      straight as an arrow fastball will do that to MLB hitters. He has NO movement, just BP gas.

  31. Michael E

    By the book 1 inning relievers and by the book rolling out the shakiest pitcher in the pen in the 8th. Come on Price, I was happy you took over, but don’t be so bone-headed and brain-dead!

    • Michael E

      I bet he was achin’ to put old friend Gregg in…probably even called out his name on the bullpen phone and corrected himself…Fatboy can serve ’em up too, he’ll do.

    • jessecuster44

      the heck with him. and this was the pitching coach. anyone else probably uses Cingrani in the 8th.

  32. jessecuster44

    This looks like a walk off win for the Phils in about 10 minutes…

  33. docmike

    Bad at-bat by Frazier. He swung at 3 sliders out of the strike zone.

    • Michael E

      The Reds hitters the past two decades in a nutshell.

  34. ProspectCincy

    Now Cingrani, with Ruiz and Francouer up.

    Price has completely lost it.

    • jdx19

      So, you want him to dogmatically stick to handedness matchups?

      • ProspectCincy

        No; I want him to throw Cingrani in the 8th, where he belongs.

      • CommonSense

        No, just use the best pitchers in the right situations.

      • jdx19

        Welp, Tony about to blow the game anyways…

      • jessecuster44

        No. I want him to be smart. Price isn’t smart. He can’t be.

  35. ProspectCincy

    Herrera cannot hit a curve ball, almost demoted because of it, and Price brings in the guy without one.

    Unreal how this fell apart so fast. For the 8,00th time; Price needs to go.

  36. jessecuster44

    why is there no intentional walk here?

    • CommonSense

      Even the Phillies announcers were stunned

  37. CommonSense

    Embarrassing. End the Price era now.

  38. ProspectCincy

    4-1 w/ Cueto on the mound and a full pen; and a perfect inning from Mattheus.

    How the hell did Price blow this. Just incredible.

    • jessecuster44

      Because he’s a crap manager. Everyone can see it except the people who matter.

    • vegastypo

      Price has that ‘Dusty streak’ in him of not wanting to give up on guys, no matter how many losses pile up. I swear it wasn’t until I began to hear national media criticism of the Reds over Gregg that he was finally DFA’d.

      If management thinks this team can compete, then why worry about hurt feelings? Play the best guys. Otherwise, look to next year.

      • jessecuster44

        Know who gives up on players when they can’t get it done? Bill Bellichick. Bruce Bochy. i.e. Championship winning coaches.

      • Michael E

        I am with you Jesse. We need a no-nonsense manager. Not a players manager that is likeable or whatever Baker and Price were/are. Neither would play talent and results over locked-on personal favorites. Galling.

  39. jessecuster44

    I hate Bryan Price. GIFT-WRAPPED the game to the Phillies. If I was Cueto, I’d demand a trade right now.

    And post-game, the excuses will be the weather, and Bruce losing the ball in the lights. Always the excuses.

    Whatever goodwill the weekend sweep had is gone. You’re up 4-1 vs a horrid baseball team, and you find a way to lose it.

    FIRE PRICE and start the fire sale.

    • daytonnati

      I am sick. Maybe we don’t need a fire sale, just fire Price. Maybe the pieces are there and they are not being played.

  40. PARedsfan

    Just when you see a faint glimmer of hope….they blow a lead and lose to the Phils… this team with this manager and this GM = ugh!

  41. hof13

    Bottom line is this … both Diaz and Cingrani were crappy tonight. No one knows if Cingrani would have done better in the 8th than Diaz, he sure didn’t show it in the 9th. To say things would have been different is just guessing. If Bruce catches the line drive no one says a thing about Diaz.

    • ProspectCincy

      I don’t disagree that Diaz got the three outs he needed, but it doesn’t bode well that with a little adversity, he corks a homer.

      This game was set-up too well. The big lefties up in the 8th, I simply don’t understand why you throw Diaz, a guy who has been just awful in the 8th inning, vs Cingrani, a guy who has done very well against lefties (and in general).

    • CommonSense

      Yes Bruce needs to catch the ball. But Diaz has given up a ton of home runs and why not pitch Cingrani against their left handers? All we want is to do the right thing. Sometimes the right thing doesn’t work and we can live with that. What they did tonight was dumb (including not walking Ruf).

      • jessecuster44

        “Do the Wrong Thing” – A Bryan Price Joint

      • hof13

        I agree about Cingrani probably being the most logical option. The two things that bug me are people saying things would have been different if Cingrani had pitched the 8th and blaming Price for the meltdown. He didn’t pitch the 8th and Diaz should have gotten out of the inning unscathed. Blame Bruce or blame Frazier for the errors but I don’t blame Price for the 8th … not walking the batter in the 9th is another story.

    • jessecuster44

      Was Cingrani crappy? He allowed two opposite field hits.

      • hof13

        If you are going to blame Price for the bottom line of losing then blame Cingrani for giving up the hits and losing the game … that qualifies as crappy – and consistent.

      • jessecuster44

        I’ll blame Cingrani for the 1st hit – but the blooper? C’mon. In my mind the game was already lost because of the 8th.

  42. Ted

    Life is too short for bad baseball. I’m done with the Reds.

  43. Kywhi

    I guess it goes without saying that we will now be swept by the Phillies with Hamels and Harang next. How can ownership justify allowing Bryan Price to manage another game for the Reds?

    • CommonSense

      I will not spend another dime on the Reds until Price and Jocketty is gone. I will still watch, but I’m not buying a ticket, hat, shirt, nothing. Not going to the All-Star game either.

      • Kywhi

        Don’t blame you one bit. I was hoping they would be playing decent ball by the time I travel to Wrigley Field to see them next week, but I’m betting that’s going to be pure misery watching them melt down against the Cubbies and their far superior manager. Tonight’s is the most disgusting loss I can remember in seemingly forever. The errors and misplays make the loss a team effort, too.

      • CommonSense

        are gone not is gone. My typing is as bad as Price’s managing.

  44. wildwestlv

    Why would anyone be surprised if the 2015 Reds followed up a sweep of the first place Nationals with being swept by the last place Phillies?

  45. ElPasoRed

    LMAO! This is just too ridiculous for words