Final R H E
Chicago Fuzzy Cubbies (49-42) 4 8 0
Cincinnati Redlegs (41-49) 5 8 0
W: Mattheus (1-1) L: Grimm (1-3) S: Chapman (19)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score

The Good
–Todd Frazier and Jay Bruce were the offensive stars. Frazier hit a solo homer in the first, his first home run since totally dominating the world and winning the Home Run Derby. Bruce hit a two-run homer in the sixth (scoring Frazier) that gave the Reds their winning margin. Frazier was 2-3 with a walk on the night; Bruce was 2-4.

–Good work by the bullpen tonight. Mattheus, Badenhop (though he was a bit shaky), Hoover, and Chapman combined for four scoreless, one-hit innings. It was the difference in the game.

–Eugenio Suarez tripled tonight. The kid is hitting .311/.348/.509 with the Reds this season. I know his defense has been shaky (small sample size; he’ll be fine at SS, even though he won’t be as good as Cozart), but he’s a legit MLB middle infielder. Fun to watch him develop.

–Aroldis Chapman was a joy to watch tonight, despite throwing 44 pitches last night. He retired the Cubs on 13 pitches in the ninth inning, striking out two. It’s almost like he can perform well, even with an increased workload. (See my piece for Cincinnati Magazine tomorrow.)

–Marlon Byrd hit a solo homer in the fourth. He’s adequate.

–Brandon Phillips made a gorgeous play at second base tonight. I feel like I’ve written that in a thousand different recaps.

–Billy Hamilton made a pretty good defensive play too, a throw to nail Dexter Fowler at second base in the fifth inning. I know he can’t hit, but I really enjoy watching Hamilton play defense and run the bases. Just wish he’d get on base more often (0-3 tonight).

The Bad
–Rough outing for Michael Lorenzen. Five innings, four earned runs on seven hits and three walks. He’ll have better days.

Not-So-Random Thoughts
–The Reds beat the stupid Cubs, and that’s always a good thing.

–I know everyone wants to hate on Jay Bruce, but look at his statistics. He’s hitting .255/.340/.481 with a .351 wOBA and a 122 wRC+. Those are good numbers. Just love Bruce. Please? (And don’t trade him, Walt.)

–Suarez, Phillips, Zack Cozart. Next year, what do you do in the middle infield if you are the Reds?

–Raisel Iglesias will take the hill tomorrow, as the Reds try to grab at least a split in this series. Go Reds.

74 Responses

  1. Kurt Frost

    The Reds better get a healthy haul for Jay Bruce. They already can’t hit.

    • Gonzo Reds

      Prefer to keep Bruce and Frazier and keep our middle of the order intact for next year. Trade Leake in a package to the Cubs for Kyle Schwarber who is from the Cincy area and is a huge Reds fan. Think most of you saw the interview recently when he used the word “we” and changed it to “you” when discussing the Reds. He’d much rather be playing for us and he’s a local player “we” could really get behind. Meso/Schwarber can split time behind the plate but also play other positions subtracting Byrd from the picture. Healthy, I think the guys we have under control will bring the lineup around, we’ll just have to have young guys step up for our pitching staff to compete. Think it’s possible, not giving up on 2016 yet, if we make the right trades.

      • Tom Gray

        Not so sure the Cubs would trade him for Leake.

        Leake is a 3 Month FA Rental who wants to P in California next year.

      • tct

        I am absolutely sure that the Cubs wouldn’t trade Schwarber for Leake. He’s not worth that kind of prospect and their pitching staff has been nails; it’s not even clear if Leake would be one of their top 5 starters.

        The Cubs problem has strangely been their hitting. Soler, Castro, Russell, and Fowler have underperformed. But unless they want to bench one of their young guys, there is no obvious place to upgrade. The middle infield hasn’t hit, but are they going to bench Castro and Russell?

      • vegastypo

        Not sure where Marty gets his info, but he said flat-out that the Cubs weren’t interested in any ‘rental’ players. I haven’t heard the Cubs linked to Cueto, who might really give them a lift, much less Leake.

        No way they give up Schwarber for a rental.

    • Harvey

      Keep Bruce. The move I want to see is Cueto to the Stros for Tony Kemp and whatever else they can get. He can be Billy Hamilton….only the version that gets on base.

  2. Andy

    I know we see Bruce and Chapman’s names thrown out a lot, but I really expect they’re just being dangled for a Godfather offer. I expect to see Cueto, Leake, and Byrd go any day now, but would be surprised if anyone ponied up enough for chapman/ Bruce.

    • pinson343

      I agree, Andy. And I’m with Chad, I don’t want to see Bruce traded either.

      • sunbreakthedawn

        +1 please don’t trade our mashing LH RF that if cost controlled for 2 more full seasons and wants to be a red for life.

      • lwblogger2

        We all know how I feel about Bruce. Nobody is off-limits for the right return but if a team wants Bruce they’d have to blow me away. I agree with an earlier piece saying that you either move him and Frazier or you move neither. I want to see this team compete again sooner rather than later and that means keeping Bruce and Frazier. The only way I move either is for huge returns and I don’t move one without moving the other.

  3. Andy

    Another idea… If cozart + Phillips return, can Suarez play LF? I want his bat to stay.

    • PDunc

      I’d guess that, just based on his athleticism, Suarez could play a passable LF. I don’t think his bat would look as good as a corner outfielder though. Compared to other middle-infielders his bat looks great, that probably wouldn’t be the case in the outfield.

      • Tom Gray

        Cozart is a better SS. The Reds had this dilemma in mid 1980’s. Stillwell or Larkin.

        Larkin was better SS (and obviously, much better player = HOF).

        Reds had similar dilemma in early 1970’s. Concepcion or Duffy. Davey was better SS but Duffy maybe the better hitter at the time. Concepcion was better player obviously, as it turned out.

    • Redgoggles

      I think the major consideration is contract and age, which both obviously slants towards Suarez but I wouldn’t mind seeing them sign Cozart to an incentive laden 1 year deal and use Suarez to back up both Cozart/BP. Cozart could be a late inning defensive replacement and Suarez a PH threat. Skip will be gone so we’ll have to find some grit, but we should have everything else covered.

      • Redsfan48

        You cannot do that without first non-tendering him because he is arbitration eligible. If you non-tender, that allows him to sign anywhere and if it were me, I wouldn’t want to re sign with a team that non tendered me unless that was my only offer.

    • vegastypo

      I asked the same question the other day, about Suarez to left field, assuming that Winker isn’t ready, and nobody else plays their way into legitimate consideration.

      My only reservation was whether he would hit for the power that teams typically want from a corner outfielder, but I could see this working out. If the Reds have Votto-Frazier-Mes-Bruce supplying some power, I don’t think that would be so critical for Suarez to provide. Besides, I think he’ll have decent power on his own anyway, especially at GABP.

  4. kmartin

    Chapman pitched in the All Star game Tuesday night, against Cleveland on Sunday, and the Cubs tonight. In those three appearances he faced six All Star hitters. They are Holt, Moustakas, Teixeira, Kipnis, Bryant, and Rizzo. The result: five strikeouts and one fly out.

  5. Kyle Sea

    I always hear people say Bruce’s contract is “team friendly”. If that’s the case, then why would this team trade him?! It’s exasperating to see the young fellow get pigeon holed as the streaky guy. He’s far better than average, steaky or not, and besides, Frazier is slightly older and is unlikely to continue producing at his current level for much longer. I’d put both these gents in my lineup, but then again I’d make A. Chapman my opening day starter.

    • ohiojimw

      My guess would be that they are shopping Bruce in search of a big return of probably two MLB ready players who would help the Reds at the MLB level no later than next year. Guys who are (position) blocked at the MLB level like Yonder Alonso was with the Reds or guys like Desclafani/ Suarez who are ready for their opportunity. Not saying the money doesn’t matter because $25M is not chump change; but the money is probably secondary to sacrificing a some quality now for what they see as more total quality a year or two down the pike.

      And as was said on the game thread, sometimes the best trade is one not made if it was just being going to be made to make a trade.

    • pinson343

      Brue’s horrible start, which was understandable considering his coming back fro playing most of a season with an injury – even worse than coming back from an injury, he developed a lot of bad habits while favoring that surgically repaired knee.

      And Bruce has been hot since May 16, more than 2 months ago.

      • lwblogger2

        His HR yesterday with me sitting in 416, was a nice Birthday present for me. BP and Suarez on that great grab and flip was a nice present too.

  6. Randy W

    On my drive home from the game tonigh, I was thinking about who is going to play in the OF if they trade Bruce and Byrd. I know it’s a lost season and all, but I’m really trying to brace myself for Skip Schumaker, Everyday Starter.

    • Tom Gray

      Doubtful. SS is a good PH and spot starter, not everyday O.

      Rodriguez and Boesch get First Dibs on OF spots when Byrd and if Bruce traded.

  7. pinson343

    Great recap, Chad. Happy to see you post one when you can.

  8. pinson343

    BP’s blind behind-the-back toss was just amazing. And there’s no way that he could get that critical out without doing it that way. I don’t know how often he goes behind-the-back when he doesn’t have to, but usually it’s necessary, I’ve never seen him screw up a play in that way, and he sure doesn’t go blind behind the back unless he has to.

    Among 2nd basemen with the required number of total chances, he has the highest fielding pct. in MLB history. That’s a pretty convincing argument that he makes the routine plays. And he makes spectacular plays on a regular basis.
    People like Joe Morgan and Tim McCarver have said he’s the best defensive 2nd baseman they’ve ever seen. McCarver says some dumb things but I would trust him on that one.

    Yet thanks to “old schoolers” who don’t like his flash or they way he enjoys himself when he plays the game, he’s been snubbed at least twice for the GG.
    I would love to know who voted against BP and went with Darwin Barney and DJ LeMahieu (I’m more open-minded about LeMahieu, haven’t seen as much of him).

    The GG process is in need of reform, for one thing needs to be more transparent. Defensive metrics will eventually improve to the point where the GG vote becomes irrelevant, and I hope when that happens they can be applied retroactively to some degree.

    • RedInInd

      That play at second is a thing of beauty. (Thanks for the link, Chad.) We’ve seen plenty of that kind of stuff from Brandon over the years, but I really think Suarez deserves at least as much credit on that one tonight. So fluid, no hesitations or stumbles. Just grab the ball and step on the base. How simple!

      • pinson343

        You’re right about Suarez on that play. The beauty was in how they worked together. I lost track long ago of how many SSs BP has worked with.

      • lwblogger2

        Was going to make that same point. Good call.

      • vegastypo

        No doubt. I would miss seeing BP’s glovework artistry if he is moved to another team. Just amazing. I was trying to imagine him playing second with Ozzie Smith at short!

  9. pinson343

    In 87 plate appearances batting RHed, Hamilton has drawn 3 walks. That’s just crazy.
    It being his natural side, he seems to think he’s a power hitter from that side, taking huge swings with no strike zone discipline whatever.

    I was listening to the Reds radio broadcast when he was batting in the 7th inning with runners on 1st and 3rd, 1 out. Doesn’t he realize that a walk is a positive outcome in that situation ? That with a 3-1 count, the pitcher needs to throw a strike ?
    According to the broadcasters, the 3-1 pitch was a ball, and the 3-2 pitch was not even close to being a strike. What is he coached to do in that situation, “be aggressive” ? In this case aggressive was stupid.

    • PDunc

      7th inning was the only one I watched last night. Not 1 pitch that Wood threw to Hamilton would have been a strike. Every pitch was well outside.

    • [email protected]

      Yes all pitches were outside the zone. Horrible at bat as strike 3 looked end to be 5 inches off the plate.

      Maybe bunt the there?

      Billy needs time in AAA

      • lwblogger2

        I think they considered the bunt but both corners were in and Rizzo was charging hard on every pitch. Too bad Jason hit an at ’em ball. If that one would have been a few feet in either direction then Hamilton’s K wouldn’t have mattered.

  10. pinson343

    “Billy Hamilton made a pretty good defensive play too, a throw to nail Dexter Fowler at second base in the fifth inning. I know he can’t hit, but I really enjoy watching Hamilton play defense and run the bases. Just wish he’d get on base more often (0-3 tonight).”

    Yep. That play was more than just pretty good, I’d say. The hard part was cutting off the ball so quickly. His defense and base running are so strong that the Reds have to do whatever they can to teach him to hit. People who think it’s not possible might be right, but he’s extremely athletic and just a change in mental approach (my comment just above) would help.

  11. pinson343

    After a single day off, Todd interrupts his free fall, at least for 1 game (even draws a walk !). I appreciated Steve’s in-depth analysis, but maybe that rise in chasing bad pitches was largely due to fatigue.
    Look at what 4 days off has done for Joey, who is “miraculously” elite again, with a .400+ OBP and a .500 slugging pct.

    And as pointed out by Chad, “Over the Hill” Bruce is now at .255/.340/.481, all above his career average.

    I would love to see the Reds lineup with these 3 plus Mesoraco (and Suarez at 2nd base or LF?). I know it won’t help if the pitching staff is terrible – I remember 2005, when the Reds led the NL with 820 runs scored but only won 73 games.

    Assuming that (Cueto/Leake) are traded, that leaves the Reds with the worst starting rotation in baseball, for now. Can it get significantly better in 2016 ?
    I can only cite some hopes and prayers:
    Get a major league ready starter for Cueto.
    Stephenson gets on fire.
    Cingrani pitches well again in starting rotation.
    Homer comes back strong from TJ surgery.
    Disco and Lorenzon improve.

    And one more: a new manager who works Chapman often and hard, making him as valuable as great relief pitchers used to be (Elroy Face was 18-1 in 93 innings in 1959).

  12. pinson343

    Note to Steve: Just read your Sunday game recap now.

    “It’s hard to command the strike zone when your heart is breaking.” Sad but you couldn’t have been more on point. And watching Cueto that game was heart breaking.

    In any case, I was too depressed to read that game recap until now, but thank you.

    Hamels, who of course has been with the Phils his whole career, is also having problems – 14 earned runs in about 7 innings in his last 2 starts.

    • vegastypo

      I heard some speculation/comments attributed to scouts at the game that on a very hot day, Hamels looked totally uncomfortable and like he didn’t really want to be pitching that day. Not exactly a professional approach, but I’m sure it happens. Then pile the never-ending trade talk, and Hamels was probably eager to get to the clubhouse — and maybe the training room, or someplace else off-limits to the media.

  13. Jeff Morris

    Yes….I for one get on Bruce alot. His inconsistency gets me really mad and frustrated. But…..if the Reds trade him, will they get the great defense he plays in RF? Will they get someone who may be more consistent, but have the overall numbers that Bruce has? If you can’t get two quality players in return, then don’t trade him, just because he is maddening and frustrating to watch. The two people we get in return might be worse! i think definitely Cueto and Leake will go. Byrd may go, and also Shumauker. The next week to week and a half should be very interesting.

  14. John W.

    Depending on the offer I would trade Bruce, but I would do what I can to keep Frazier.

  15. John Wick

    Are Blue Jays, Mets and Astros still buyers or did Reds wait too long?

  16. big5ed

    I don’t quite understand the surrender that trading Bruce would represent, especially with the local TV contract ready to be negotiated. The Reds should have a very strong middle of the order next year: Votto, Frazier, Bruce, and Mesoraco. Saurez is on the verge of convincing me as a hitter. Cozart and Hamilton are excellent defenders. The offensive hole, as always, is left field, but I think Winker will be ready. The beauty of Winker is that he doesn’t strike out, and has the nice short swing that should translate well to faster pitching.

    The Reds’ weakness in 2016 will be having to rely way, way too much on young starting pitching. But they have some excellent arms: Lorenzen, Cingrani, Stephenson, and Iglesias (and even Desclafani) all have big upsides and at least a couple of them should have good years next year.

    In return for Bruce, they would get either get a young hitter, but unlikely one who could equal Bruce’s production over the next two years, or another good young arm. While you can probably never have too many good young arms, that is one thing the Reds do have a lot of. And by trading Cueto, Leake and probably Chapman, they should be able to fill some holes in the the farm system.

    Yeah, you would save payroll by trading Bruce, but I’d try to move Phillips instead if the motivation is payroll. If they do trade Bruce, I think the return would be greater either this off-season, or this time next year.

  17. Eric the Red

    1) The good: I actually thought Lorenzen did a much better job with his secondary pitches last night. I was very encouraged by that.

    2) The bad: the ump. It was bad in both directions, but the squeezing on Lorenzen early in the game was off the charts, and really hurt him down the line. We’ve seen some bad performances, but that was ridiculous.

    3) The encouraging: Frazier’s walk. (And what do you know, he scored after the BB! Props also to his manager for resting him Sunday). Jay Bruce. Chapman pitching even after heavy work on Sunday. Jocketty in the stadium instead of on the beach in Florida.

    4) The discouraging: The idea of trading Bruce. Cheap, and just entering his prime. I’d be looking to extend him, and if he rejects a reasonable offer then maybe I’d look to move him.

  18. cfd3000

    Two cents: trade Cueto (can’t afford him), trade Chapman (wasting his potential), trade Byrd (if there’s a market), sign Leake. Wait and see on catchers and SS. Teach Hamilton to get on base – focus should be on walks, bunts, infield hits. Find a new long term left fielder from Winker, Waldrop and YRod, starting this September. There has to be a solid staff between Leake, Bailey, DeSclafani, Cingrani, Lorenzen, Iglesias, and Stephenson in some combination. If Price does nothing more for this club before he leaves that should be his focus. But that’s just me.

  19. sultanofswaff

    Bruce is cost controlled while giving you above average production………but the Reds want to trade him?!? I’m not buying it in the same way I’m not buying the idea that Chapman will get dealt.

    Suarez/Cozart/Phillips is a strange situation. Cozart’s health and career track record mean put him in the same camp as Billy Hamilton. Can the lineup afford two well below average hitters? Suarez has a very good bat, but to me he profiles as a second baseman. Phillips is basically untradeable unless you can tie him to Cueto or eat a lot of salary. No clear cut options. I suppose Suarez could be the utility infielder who actually plays all 4 infield positions (looking at you Schumaker), but would another 2 years of Cozart/Phillips feel stale……….as well as very risky???

    We’ll have 2 openings in the rotation soon. The team has no chance of making the playoffs. I can’t think of a better time to try Chapman in the rotation. Of course I said that a year ago as well………

    • Tom Gray

      Cozart has a MUCH better career batting track record than Hamilton.

      You can’t just “try” Chapman in the rotation. It would take some time to stretch him out to be a SP.

      • sultanofswaff

        He threw 44 pitches sunday and was lights out last night. He could easily throw 75 pitches for 2 or 3 starts, then 90 for 2 or 3………

        It won’t happen, but there’s absolutely no reason he can’t do it physically over the course of a few weeks.

      • Big56dog

        I do not watch MLB network too much and being out of the market, I just follow on Gameday, but they usually go to end of the game live. SO you get to see Chapman mow hitters down occasionally like last night. They got into a discussion more than once over how effective he could e as a starter. Comparing him to Randy Johnson as to why he could be effective over a full start. Does anyone know if the Reds even consider this? Or are there legitimate factors that have deemed him as the closer because he just does not have the ability to start?

  20. WVRedlegs

    Bruce’s BA since May 1 is .277.
    Since June 1 it is .290.
    Since July 1 it is .340.
    Bruce isn’t going anywhere. He isn’t going to be traded. He is part of the solutuion, not a part of the problem.

    • Nick Carrington

      Bruce has been excellent since May 15th. He has started swinging at more balls (40% O-Swing%) this month and needs to stop that or we will see one of those slumps. But man, he has just raked for over two months now.

      • citizen54

        I think he’s been pretty good the whole year, even when his BA was in the .100. Back then, several people here had been saying not to worry too much about Bruce because it was mainly due to having bad luck with his BABIP. His walk rate and contact rate, I believe were above his career norms. My opinion is that we should keep Bruce unless a killer deal comes up.

  21. WVRedlegs

    Brandon Philllips and Eugenio Suarez’s play was very special last night. That was one great defensive play. You see that, and you can’t wait to see the next BP web gem.
    Then you listen to his post-game interview and talking about the play, and you can’t wait for BP to be traded.
    Love the player, hate the attitude. The dude is just not right in the head.

      • lwblogger2

        Just was it (off work today) and it was all about him, him, him and how awesome he is and how good it was. Honestly though, some of that is just his act, his shtick, his swag as he calls it. I was ok with the interview.

  22. tct

    As for the question about the infield; if Cozart and Meso come back strong next year, I would go with the opening day infield with Suarez and Tucker as backups. I would use Suarez as kind of a super utility guy, giving BP at least 2 days off per week and Cozart at least 1. If he could play third base, you could use him to spell Frazier and Votto, too. He should get at least 300-400 PA, even if everybody is healthy. I think you could get more production out of BP by giving him regular rest and not letting him play through injuries, like he seems to do every year.

    Having this infield depth is good, and if the Reds are serious about retooling instead of rebuilding, then they need to keep all their infielders.

    • Tom Gray

      Cozart will have many questions in 2016. He may be fully recovered by 2017.

      Mesoraco somewhat the same. Not sure if he can ever C every day again.

      • lwblogger2

        If the surgery was successful then he should be good to catch 120 games. My bigger worry is the concussions.

      • WVRedlegs

        Thom B. said last night on the telecast that Mes was at the stadium on crutches. He said Mes told him he has no pain in the hip at all. Things are going great he said. So far, so good.

      • Steve Mancuso

        Good to hear. I’ve been watching the dugout shots on TV to see if Mes was around. I figure he’ll be there as soon as he can. Not safe during the game if he’s still on crutches though. Makes me sad to see Homer Bailey in the dugout and it will when Mesoraco is there, too.

    • sultanofswaff

      You’re right TCT. Lack of depth is precisely the reason the Reds can’t keep pace with the Cardinals the last 2 seasons.

  23. lost11found

    Regarding Suarez…. The bat will play. Filipe Lopez was proof of that.

    Picking nits, I would like to see his OBP a bit higher considering the BA. Does anyone know is %BB off the top of their heads?

    Looking down the road. If for some reason he cannot stick at SS defensively, can he move to 2B, does he have the arm to move to LF/CF?

    • tct

      He’s only walking about 4% of the time right now, which is a concern. But his walk rate was always between 9-11% in the upper minors, so he should be able to put up something around a league average walk rate.

  24. Eric the Red

    Am I the only one that thought Lorenzen’s secondary pitches looked much better last night?

    • Steve Mancuso

      I did too. Thought the sharp breaking ball, particularly as the game went on, looked pretty good. He struck Anthony Rizzo out on one that Rizzo missed by a mile. Lorenzen left his fastball up a couple times and it really hurt him. Soler’s 2-run double was him just sticking his bat out at a high-outside pitch.

      I remain highly positive about Lorenzen. His raw stuff is electric. He’s just a beginning when it comes to experience at starting pitching. The Reds did a great thing bringing him up early this year so he could get big league starts.

      I’m going to the game tonight. Looking forward to seeing Iglesias.

      • Eric the Red

        For all the abuse we heap on Walt, being a GM is a tough job. IF Lorenzen and Iglesias develop quickly, and IF Bailey comes back strong, and IF we catch a break on health next year, this club might be competitive. But if you bet on that and those IFs don’t come through, the organization will be toast for a lot of years.

      • Big56dog

        Kind of bummed me out when Soler got the hit, I think he got quickly ahead 2 strikes and had a borderline pitch called a ball before the hit. Lorenzen is learning how to pitch out of trouble and hopefully this season is giving him plenty to build on and he can quickly evolve and put all together next year.
        If Cingrani and Iglesias can devlop into starters then this team will not be too far behind

    • Redgoggles

      He reminds me a bit of Homer when he first came up. Inconsistent, 5 inning guy who keeps me optimistic for the future because of his stuff and how he competes.

  25. WVRedlegs

    Bryan Price trying to pull a rabbit out of his……hat, I guess. Marlon Byrd in CF tonight with Schumaker in LF. Rest of lineup about same, except Iglesias batting 9th.
    Byrd in CF? This ought to be interesting.

    • lwblogger2

      Byrd in CF and a sub-optimal defender in LF. Man, I sure hope there aren’t too many fly balls. The only thing I can think of is he desperately wants Schumacher in there for some reason. If you wanted to just give Hamilton a day off, why not just start Bourgeois in CF?