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 to a thousand ground ball hits, bad defense by Joey Votto and a bunt.

What about Iggy’s back-up, the Spiders Bullpen from Mars?

Ahh, wham bam.

Reds 3, Marlins 14 | FanGraphs | Ziggy Stardust

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. 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. 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. 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 is Marlon Byrd in left field. 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 nine (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.

49 Responses

  1. pinson343

    Excellent recap of an embarrassing meltdown. FWIW Parra is still a decent reliever with some trade value. His ERA took a serious hit (1.65 to 4.41) but ERA for a relief pitcher means little.

    He was seriously snakebit with the 3 first hitters he faced. His only mistake with them was forgetting that with Dee Gordon up, you’d better be ready to cover first base without hesitation.

    Beyond Parra, Hoover, and Chapman, this bullpen has no depth whatever. And as has often been pointed out, Hoover and Chapman are used in highly limited fashion.

    • Steve Mancuso

      April counts in “has been one of the worst…”. He’s given up more walks than strikeouts in May and July. xFIP above 5.00 every month but one.

      • Tom Gray

        So what? He stunk in April but has been decent in May, June, and July so far.

    • Vicferrari

      Would agree that 7 innings 3 months ago destroyed a pretty solid season. I think Steve made excellent points that were spot on except for this one. Pretty harsh to criticize a pitcher for allowing 1 hit. I somewhat see the logic in arguing bringing your better pitchers in high leverage situations but it was the fifth inning and beyond Chapman, Parra or Hoover Price is pretty much stuck with AAA level choices. No reliever could survive a season if they were brought in to ever high leverage situation that comes up. The real issue is your starter has to go beyond the fifth after dominating the line up

      • redmountain

        This is certainly true and points to what the Reds will need to address either now or in the offseason. Next season there will be a number of young arms in the bullpen and they cannot be expected to pitch 8 innings every time out. Therefore, middle relief must be found to be able to get to your shutdown late inning guys. LF is a problem that may have solutions in the minors, but unless there are five arms to be counted on this team will suffer these same losses again next year.

    • VaRedsFan

      Burke B routinely allows inherited runners to score. Doesn’t hurt his ERA while doing so.

      • Steve Mancuso

        Badenhop has let 11 of 21 inherited runners score (52%). The worst of his career. League average is 27%. Interesting side note: Aroldis Chapman has let all five of his inherited runners score this year.

      • wizeman

        Nailed it here. Did not know numbers… but knew his line on this had to be bad.
        As I said below…. think Diaz is back up pronto. Kick in the ample posterior seems to have worked for him.

      • CP

        The amazing part of that stat is that Chapman has only inherited 5 runners. Now, that is how you use one of the best relief pitchers in the league. Nothing but clean innings…

      • MrRed

        To be fair, gentlemen, we are letting a pretty small sample size rule here. If we want to criticize him, and that’s fair game, look to the fact that his GB% is up above career norms. He relies on getting the groundball and has not been successful in doing so. And if he isn’t going to get a lot of outs otherwise via strikeouts, his future looks dim.

  2. BigRedMike

    Reds pitching is bad, what really is going to hurt is losing the best pitcher on the team.

    Cardinals lose Wainright and still have given up 120 fewer runs than the Reds.

  3. Tom Gray

    This (…Skip Schumaker knocked in the Reds third run with his MLB-leading 11th pinch hit…) is why WJ signed him, not to start in LF.

      • Tom Diesman

        Well, if you mean slightly below average when you say successful that is a true statement. Over the last 5 full season the average PH put up about a .620 OPS.

        Skip Schumaker as a PH

        Year PA BA OBP SLG OPS
        Career 228 .244 .293 .321 .614

        That would definitely be a true statement if this were a Chris Heisey discussion.

        Year PA BA OBP SLG OPS
        Career 156 .281 .333 .583 .916

      • MrRed

        Not worth the contract they gave him if he’s only given them 11 pinch hits and plays terrible defense. That shouldn’t have to be explained to you.

      • Tom Reed

        What are the chances that Schu will be extended as a pinch hitter?

  4. jessecuster44

    Not defending Votto – he should get in front of every ground ball that he can.

    But honestly, infielders aren’t taught to field like that anymore. In so many situations, even shortstops field the ball to the side. I don’t know why this is, but it’s happening.

    Votto certainly ought to go back to basics.

    • Tom Reed

      Similar to catching a fly ball in the old-fashioned way, with both hands.

    • ohiojimw

      The most irritating part about Votto’s fileding style is that he didn’t used to play grounders like he was a matador. It seemed to start when he was hurt and probably couldn’t move laterally; but is that still then case? It certainly doesn’t seem like it otherwise.

      • jessecuster44

        good point. Maybe it’s a bad habit from 2012.

  5. jessecuster44

    Billy Hamilton with a steal that wouldn’t work versus a good high school team. PLEASE – someone find a way to increase his OBP!

  6. Keith

    Suarez is hitting .326. That is awesome.

    Marlon Byrd… I don’t remember a single moment when that move seemed like a good idea. It’s really hard for me to believe that Donald Lutz couldn’t have offered a similar package out there in LF this year. Maybe not as many HRs, but I’d settle for that.

    I really, really try hard not to think about what this team would be like with a starting rotation of Chapman, Cueto, Leake as the top 3. The Reds have completely wasted one of the best arms they’ve ever had. I hope he gets traded to a team with the good sense to unleash the Missile and see what he can really do. #FreeAroldis

    • jessecuster44

      It’s not necessarily the Reds choice – It’s Chappy’s. He prefers to close. He prefers not to make $30MM per year when his contract comes up.

      That said, I don’t think the Reds worked particularly hard to convert him to a starter, and now it’s too late.

      • kmartin

        I assume that unless there is some stipulation in his contract, it is entirely the choice of management. For example, earlier this year Cingrani was told he was not going to be a starter, much to the chagrin of Cingrani. I think with high probability we owe Chapman being a reliever to Baker.

      • Joe Bearcat (@JoeDobby)

        As management,you can tell Cingrani where and when he’s gonna pitch. You don’t (successfully) tell a talent like Chapman. You, as a fan, may not like that reality, but it doesn’t change it any.

      • kmartin

        What do you mean by “successfully?” If management told Chapman he was going to start, are you suggesting his response would be: “I am a talented pitcher, therefore I will not do what you tell me.” Or, are you suggesting he would simply not try to do his best as a starter?

      • VaRedsFan

        Kmartin…think of it like Lebron. You can’t bench him if he disobeys the coach or you won’t be coaching him anymore

      • greenmtred

        I recall reading that Chapman indicated that he wanted to close, not start. We can speculate about why that is, but we don’t know. Of course management could tell him that he has to start regardless of his wishes–ask peasants and serfs throughout history about free will and self-determination–but that sort of solution doesn’t always yield satisfactory results.

    • Evan armstrong

      I am willing to bet Chapman is always going to be a closer no matter whom he plays for. He is to far along in his career…he is a two pitch pitcher at best and doesn’t want to be a starter.

    • redmountain

      You are spot on here, and while I do not know why, the Dodgers have been teaching that since the 1980s.

  7. kmartin

    Hamilton versus Gordon: hits plus walks for Hamilton = 82, hits plus walks for Gordon = 134 yet Gordon has scored 46 runs to Hamilton’s 41. I realize scoring runs depends on the other hitters in the lineups, however this is a striking comparison.

    • Vicferrari

      Is there a stat those shows the efficiency of a base runner ability to score runs? I would think Billy’s would be up there. Not advocating moving him to lead-off but you would think he probably would have scored more than Gordon if he was not moved to the 9th hole. Over 50 more times on base for Gordon is mind blowing, hopefully he will figure it out.

      • VaRedsFan

        Dee did bat .228 and .234 in 2012 and 2013, although he was a part time player at the time.

  8. Vicferrari

    I know that advanced metrics do reflect good for Lorenzen but after seeing what happened to Iglesias you start appreciating what Lorenzen has been able to do so far.
    Hopefully both can build off their different types of success and develop into front end of rotation type starters.

  9. Vicferrari

    Any word on the seriousness of DeSclafani’s injury. I though that they were getting in serious jeopardy with his innings. I would think he is going to have to top out around 150 160 and he would have been near 110 had he pitched yesterday’s schedule start. They essentially can give him 2 weeks off the way the schedule works out.

    • VaRedsFan

      I believe he has no innings restrictions this year…He pitched around 160 last year.

  10. Evan armstrong

    While I don’t like it either fans need to come to grips with certain things in baseball. One of those being set roles in the bullpen. You can moan and gripe but the majority of teams use that philosophy and its not going to change anytime soon.

  11. wizeman

    I think Iglesias is going to be a really good pitcher. His stuff is something. Next July rotation of Bailey, DeScalfini, Iglesias, Stephenson and pick one from Cingrani, Lorenzen, Moscot will be interesting to see. Hoover, Cingrani on the back end probably.

    I think we see Diaz back up no later that next week. Seems to have found himself at Louisville.

    • jessecuster44

      … Like Boesch found himself? I hope that Jumbo is more than a AAAA pitcher. Bullpen help is needed. Fortunately, the stakes aren’t very high to call him back up.

      • ohiojimw

        Important to consider about Boesch is that he plays every day getting multiple ABs at AAAA. I’m not saying that ultimately he isn’t at his ceiling as a AAAA player, just that it can make a big difference in how a guy gets used. I think it is fair to sayn at this point Boesch is not a straight up MLB bench player but he ,might still succeed as a platoon guy getting regular ABs.

  12. Playtowin

    The Reds have too many weak spots. The outfield is maybe the worst in baseball. The starting pitching is below average. Middle relief is weak. There is no depth and there is a lack of position player talent in the minor leagues. Reds face an extended run as a 4th or 5th place team in the NL Central. The music stopped playing in 2013. They need to get some decent talent in the upcoming trades. I fear other teams will not give them much. Reds have no leverage.