Chin up. Raisel Iglesias is going to be a good starting pitcher. Really good.
Iglesias has shown flashes of dominance in several of his starts as he did today through four innings. That he hasn’t been able to sustain it is understandable. Iglesias didn’t pitch last year as he made his way to Great American Ball Park from Cuba and he’s been on the disabled list this year with a strained left oblique since June 5. But he has the stuff. Pencil him in next year’s starting rotation.
Rather, write it in ink.
That said, while Iglesias offers hope and this game had a promising start, like David Bowie’s fictional, alter-ego Ziggy Stardust, Iglesias and the Reds crashed — the pitcher’s death in the fifth inning due toÃ‚Â a thousand ground ball hits, bad defense by Joey Votto and a bunt.
What about Iggy’s back-up, the
SpidersÃ‚Â Bullpen from Mars?
Ahh, wham bam.
Raisel Iglesias was making his fifth start for the Reds. For a while it looked like he might duplicate his strong start of May 13 against Atlanta when he pitched 8 innings, giving up 1 run and 2 hits. His fastball reached 96 a couple times (“the hardest I’ve seen him throw it” – Jeff Brantley) and his off-speed pitches had the Marlins off-stride.
For the second game in a row, the Reds scored the first run on a second-inning homer, this time by Eugenio Suarez.Ã‚Â Billy Hamilton scored the Reds second run when he singled, stole second base, stole third when the catcher casually lobbed the ball back to the pitcher and tagged up to score on a deep sacrifice fly by Todd Frazier. Hamilton’s 44 stolen bases before the All-Star break are a new Reds record.
Skip Schumaker knocked in the Reds third run with his MLB-leading 11th pinch hit. No matter what value, or lack of it, Schumaker provides when he starts and plays in the field, his ability to come off the bench cold and make solid contact is an important skill.Ã‚Â Jay Bruce continued to hit well, going 3-4.
Joey Votto’s choice to make flashy defensive plays instead of just doing the boring basics once again cost the Reds.Ã‚Â In the fifth inning, Votto went to his knees and tried to backhand a ground ball that he could have easily fielded in front of him. It skipped past his glove and instead of an inning-ending double play or at least a second out, the Marlins had two runners on base. They went on to score four runs. Votto does this all the time – he swipes at the ball to make a dramatic-looking play, but ends up missing. It’s inexcusable from a major league baseball player.
While I’m complaining about defense, let me mention the ongoing farce that isÃ‚Â Marlon Byrd in left field.Ã‚Â In the third inning, Byrd didn’t get to a fairly routine fly ball hit by Ichiro Suzuki, extending the inning and Iglesias’ pitch count. In the seventh inning, he fielded a single and threw (wildly) to third base with no chance of getting the runner, allowing the batter to advance to second. He’s an ongoing disaster in the left field, yet I don’t recall a single time when Bryan Price has replaced him for defensive purposes late in a game.
Speaking of Price, his bullpen role-playing cost the Reds again. In the fifth inning, Burke Badenhop entered the game and gave up two inherited runners. Badenhop has been one of the worst pitchers in the Reds bullpen. But as we know, the effective pitchers are saved for the end of the game. That’s their role. The situation in this game called for a good reliever to come in and put out the Marlins threat. The role called for a one of the weak parts of the bullpen. Badenhop gave up two runs charged to Iglesias.
[Note that the top part of the bullpen, other than Aroldis Chapman, hadn’t pitched yesterday and there’s some kind of break starting Monday. I’m not sure what it is, but it’s been in the news.]
Badenhop’s failure was a mere appetizer for the Marlins, as they proceeded to feast on the Reds bullpen in the seventh. The first nineÃ‚Â (that’s not a typo) Miami batters got hits off of Manny Parra and Pedro Villarreal. They weren’t all hard hit balls, but whatever. Nine hits. One of those was by Marlin relief pitcher Mike Dunn, who no one will confuse at the plate for Adam Dunn. It was Mike Dunn’s first at bat of the season and the first hit of Dunn’s career. Sweet. Did I mention the All-Star FanFest?
The fact that half the bullpen stinks isn’t Price’s fault. The fact that he chooses to pitch them when it isn’t necessary is. But hey, roles rule.