In the middle of swirling trade rumors about Jay Bruce, Mike Leake, and Aroldis Chapman, the Reds delivered a 15-5 beat down of the likely playoff bound Pittsburgh Pirates. It had the feeling of one last farewell concert from the fading hit band.

The Reds got off to a quick start in the first of a four game series at GABP against the Pirates. After back-to-back singles to De Jesus and Votto, Marlon Byrd hit a three-run home run to straight-away center off A.J. Burnett. The Pirates starter entered today having only allowed a total of five earned runs in the first inning all season.

Brandon Phillips added a three-run home run in the 5th inning, and the route was on. Phillips then really put an exclamation point on the evening, hitting another three-run home run in the 6th inning. Joey Votto also continued his hot streak, reaching base five times.

votto

Things got so bad for the Pirates that they had to bring their backup outfielder Jaff Decker to pitch in the 9th inning. Decker did however get out of the inning without allowing a run.

David Holmberg pitched well in his first start of the season for the Reds. Holmberg allowed just two runs in six innings, and also got his first MLB hit.

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (46-54) 15 19 0
Pittsburgh Pirates (59-42) 5 11 1
W: Holmberg (1-0) L: Burnett (8-5)
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 Marlon Byrd’s three run home run in the first inning off A.J. Burnett, giving the Reds a 3-0 lead. That home run increased the Reds chances of winning by 23.7% (from 58.5% to 82.2%).

Positives

Brandon Phillips had himself a night tonight. Phillips hit a pair of 3-run bombs, and had a career high 7 RBI. Phillips hit 29% of his season total in HR (7) tonight. It was good to see him have a good night, as he entered today with just a .537 OPS in the second half.

How about that “non-elite” Joey Votto guy? Votto extended his on-base streak to 20 games tonight. Votto reached base four times (2 walks, a double, a single). Votto is now hitting .313/.432/.539 with a 169 wRC+. Yes, he is still the Reds best player.

Marlon Byrd hit his 17th home run of the year for the Redlegs tonight. Byrd does have a sub .300 OBP, which no one likes, but he has been a slightly above average hitter (107 wRC+). It will be interesting to see if Byrd has any trade value. If Byrd is traded it will most likely be through waivers.

David Holmberg pitched pretty well in his season debut with the big league club. Holmberg’s final line on the evening was 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K. Holmberg was just as recent as 2013 a top prospect in the Diamondbacks organization. He was also a second round pick. So maybe, just maybe the Reds could develop Holmberg into an MLB starter. Or maybe even a nice left-handed specialist with the all the starters they have.

Keyvius Sampson made his Reds debut tonight. He pitched a perfect 8th inning, striking out one for the good guys. Sampson does have some nice upside, as he was the Padres #9 prospect back in 2013.

Zack Cozart was in the Reds dugout for the first time since he was hurt. That was certainly a good sign to see.

Negatives

This could have been the last night we ever see Jay Bruce, Mike Leake, and/or Aroldis Chapman in a Reds uniform. If that is the case, best of the luck to those guys. They were all big parts of the Reds success in 2010, 2012, and 2013. Those were some fun regular seasons.

Ryan Mattheus also wasn’t very good tonight.

Not so random thoughts……………….

Brandon Finnegan made his debut in the Reds system tonight with the Louisville Bats.  He allowed two runs over three innings (3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO, 1 HR. 41 pitches, 27 strikes.). Finnegan was only scheduled to pitch 3.0 innings or 45 pitches. The Reds are beginning to stretch him out to be a SP. He hasn’t pitched more than 4.0 innings in a game this year.

Up Next:

Pirates at Reds
Friday, 7:10 PM
TV: FSN-Ohio
Michael Lorenzen (14 GS, 4.58 ERA, 5.83 FIP) vs Jeff Locke (19 GS, 4.15 ERA, 3.66 FIP)

MLB Trade Deadline

It has been an absolutely insane week leading up to tomorrow’s 4PM trade deadline. Here are some of the highlights from today ICYMI:

  • Cardinals get Brandon Moss from the Indians.
  • Blue Jays get David Price from the Tigers.
  • Dodgers got Alex Wood, Bronson Arroyo, Jim Johnson, and Luis Avilan from the Braves.
  • Dodgers got Mat Latos, and Michael Morse (who they DFA’d) from the Marlins.
  • Braves got Paco Rodriguez from the Dodgers.
  • Dodgers DFA’d former Red Chris Heisey to make room for their new additions.
  • Yankees got Dustin Ackley from the Mariners.
  • Astros got Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers from the Brewers.
  • Pirates got Joakim Soria from the Pirates.

Here is the full list of the trades that have occurred.

Reds rumors:

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

88 Responses

    • jdx19

      Same. Especially if the return is Wheeler + a throw-in. Wheeler’s a fine pitcher, but a huge gamble coming off Tommy John.

      • Nick Carrington

        Wheeler better not be the best person coming back especially since we have enough pitching. As you said huge gamble. I’m preparing to be sad and disappointed.

      • jdx19

        Yep, if they trade Jay for a terrible return I’m done for the season once Votto’s white hot streak ends.

      • Mutaman

        Rule #1 : You can never have too much pitching.

      • lwblogger2

        My thoughts too. Bruce is my favorite player and I’ll be sad if they trade him no matter what. That said, the blow can be softened if they get good, strong value for him. Wheeler is a lovely pitcher but coming off a torn UCL and TJ surgery? He’s only slightly ahead of Bailey’s timetable. Do we really want 2/5 of our rotation coming off TJS? Also, Wheeler would be the Mets’ 4th starter if he was healthy right now. Of course if healthy and if Bailey was healthy, then Wheeler would be our #2 right now. Still, a return of Wheeler isn’t enough for a strong MLB position player with a good bat, good defense, and a reasonable contract.

    • jessecuster44

      Trading one of the Reds’ best bats for a tommy johned pitcher seems very Walt.

      The Reds need to add, not subtract, good hitters.

      • jim t

        Bruce is as much a gamble as a hitter as Wheeler is a pitcher coming off TJ. depending on what day it is most fans want to trade,option of bench Bruce. Wheeler has a huge upside. if he is healthy getting him a teaqm controlled potential no.1 for Bruce is a win for the reds.

      • greenmtred

        I’m definitely favorably inclined toward pitching, but the Reds have added a ton of it (granted, most likely won’t help next year), and they really need to pay attention to adding–not subtracting–hitting.

      • lwblogger2

        Well and it harkens back to the Hamilton trade. Hamilton was 27 when the Reds traded him. How old is Jay Bruce? He just turned 28. Um, based on his current strong run (since mid-May) with reduced k-rate and higher bb-rate, better slash line, strong ISO, he just may be entering his prime.

      • Michael E

        Based on his previous horrible run before the strong run, he is still not improving…as streaky as ever. This has been the longest hot streak of his career, but we have such a long track record, we know its simply a matter of time before he hits .180 for 45 days and K’s 1 of every 3 ABs.

      • lwblogger2

        This has been shown in a few posts and dozens of comments to not be true. Bruce isn’t as streaky as it is often perceived.

  1. jdx19

    I am so glad we took the series from STL… they just came back to win in the 9th again. Seems like they do that every single chance they get. Hate those guys.

    EXCELLENT write-up, btw. Thank you.

    • jdx19

      And yes, I am posting this before it actually happens.

      • pinson343

        The Rockies bullpen is horrible, including Axford. Very disappointing that the Reds lost 4 of 6 to them.

    • Michael E

      I don’t have any love for Bruce and his 4 months a season of being a high school bench hitter, but he is the one I could stand keeping. I hope the find a way to move Parra, Byrd and maybe even Phillips (difficult, but doable). If Bruce stays, I will just have to hope he suddenly figures out how to be a steady MLB hitter…doubtful, but he is just in his prime, so maybe.

  2. Jake

    Wow, really great recap Nick! It is nice to see that you haven’t “mailed it in” on the recaps.

  3. citizen54

    Horrible if we trade Bruce for more pitching. Why create a hole when we have plenty of pitching?

    • jessecuster44

      Because Walt loves pitching.

    • Michael E

      Just get the best talent available and worry about the rest later. We could trade two itching prospects for a hitting prospect at a later time or for a proven MLB hitter.

      I agree we need more hitting, but just get talent, don’t trade for need. Trade for talent and to reduce payroll for mediocre players.

  4. Tom Reed

    I want Bruce to stay as part of the core with Frazier, Votto and Mesoraco. Trade Leake and Chapman for another haul.

    • Oklared

      agree keep Bruce trade pitching. We need more bats not less

    • jim t

      The teams who are looking to add Bruce aren’t offering hitters. That is why they are trading for Bruce. I like stockpiling pitching. Trade the surplus for hitting. I want talent don’t care if its pitching or hitting at this time.We are not contending next year anyway.

      • greenmtred

        Bruce IS a hitter. Why trade him?

      • Michael E

        He isn’t a good hitter. He is just a slightly better avg, worse OBP Adam Dunn. Too many months of sleepwalking, Ks, pulled groundouts and popups.

      • Michael E

        He was a big reason we were already falling out of division race after two months of being worse than awful. He made Skip Shumaker look like an all-star…then after the Reds were 10 games below .500, he finally woke up, 2/5 of the way through the season…Bruce is great when on, waiver fodder the other months.

      • Steve Mancuso

        This is completely wrong. Check your facts.

  5. Sam Spond

    Wheeler+ would be a great return for Bruce. Can never have too many young arms with big time upside

    • Michael E

      Bruce hot streak has man fans fooled again. We have seen this horror movie before…year after year. Next month at this time all those Bruce fans will be moaning “why didn’t we trade this joke of an MLB hitter” when he is back on a .180, two month long slump.

  6. Brian Rutherford

    It would be an awful trade. For some reason I like Jay Bruce more than any other player on the team. His at bat against Sergio Romo in the playoff game will be something I will always remember. Joey Votto is the best player on the team without question but I just seem to identify with Jay and his ups and downs. He always seems to take the bad streaks so hard and tried his best to get through them. Just a stand up guy and player I will root for no matter where he plays.

    Please….there has to be more for him than Zack Wheeler(no offense to Mr. Wheeler but I am done trying to be logical)

    • pinson343

      There would be more than Wheeler, but I feel the same way about Bruce. His comeback has been one of the brightest spots of the season.

      • PRoseFutureHOFer

        If we trade JB for Wheeler and throw ins, I will be sick. And I think we’ll all be sick watching our outfield next season. Some of us on this board should start shagging flies.

      • lwblogger2

        I’m on it! I’ll need to lose about 15 years and 40lbs though!

        I’m with you. We’d be looking at what, Winker, Hamilton, Byrd/Waldrop/Rodriguez? Yeah, sorry, that’s not very good.

      • Michael E

        and his two month swoon in April and May was the low point of the season, with 8th inning relief being a close second. Why do some fans forget how horrible Bruce is and how he, along with a couple of relievers, doomed our season from the get-go?

        I was a big fan years ago, and still a mild fan up until 2013 when I was growing tired of the 45 days of slumping, followed by 20 days of mashing, then another 45 days of slumping and 20 days of mashing.

        I’d take slightly less ability and have it more consistently over Bruce. Trade him IF the return is good. I am with many, Wheeler is not enough, even if he is very talented, potential SP1. I hope the Reds trade Bruce and Parra/Byrd and get Wheeler and another good prospect.

      • Steve Mancuso

        Again, Bruce pulled out of his early-season slump on May 16. On May 15, the Reds record stood at 18-18. It is wrong to say that Bruce’s early season problems “doomed the Reds season.” The 45 days slumping and 20 days mashing is wrong. This year, for example, he has been steady and excellent for 2.5 months.

    • jim t

      your comment is not logiocal. Bruce trys hard so we should keep him???If we can land a talent like Wheeler for him The reds should grab him. If Wheeler was not coming off TJ you couldn’t land him for 2 Jay Bruces. If he is healthy grab him.

      • Brian Rutherford

        Umm I did say that I am done being logical. That strong wind you felt is my comment going over your head sir.

      • lwblogger2

        And if Wheeler wasn’t coming off TJ surgery, I’d feel ok with this deal.

  7. pinson343

    Nice recap on a big night, Nick.

    Olney’s phrasing is that Wheeler would “front” a deal. I hope it falls thru.

  8. Jay King

    Just want to say this…. Boy we got rid of Latos and Simon at exactly the right moment. I know this has nothing to do with the topic right now but just had to throw that out there.

    • pinson343

      Yeh and an excellent return on those guys.

    • lwblogger2

      Latos has been pitching well as of late and his velocity has come up some. I think he’s going to be pretty solid for the Dodgers pitching in Dodger stadium. I like the returns we got for both of those guys but Latos is still a legit MLB SP.

  9. pinson343

    On the game thread, when it was noted that Frazier was getting a day off, I said BP also needed a day off. Hmmm. Well, they did rest him the final 3 innings.

    • lwblogger2

      That was a MONSTER of a day for BP. I was watching from the CBTS pavilion. My first game of the year out there after attending the CBTS Security Symposium.

  10. Armflapper8

    Bruce for Wheeler? Please, no. We have enough pitching prospects of the caliber that Wheeler brings coming off TJ, but who is going to replace the next 2 years of a cost-controlled, above average slugger and glove that Jay provides now and the next two seasons? Especially now that he really seems to be touching that potential we’ve all longed for?

    • Mutaman

      Reds don’t have any prospects the quality of wheeler.

      • Mutaman

        Wheler was rated the best pitcher in the mets organization- higher than Degrom or Harvey. Wheeler finished his first season in the majors at 7–5 with a 3.42 ERA in 17 starts. Coming back from Tommy John is no longer a big deal.

      • Michael E

        Stephenson is on par or better than Wheeler, but Wheeler was considered a future SP1 type (like Stephenson) and no other Reds prospect rates quite that high. Anything can happen of course. Garret or Travieso or anyone could surprise into ace level and Stephenson or Wheeler could bust…but they have the most upside and Wheeler would likely be our prospect #2 immediately (if he qualifies as a prospect given Mets innings).

      • lwblogger2

        I beg to differ. Some pitchers come back from TJS strongly but others haven’t. There is about an 85% success rate and even the ones that work out sometimes take a while to round back into form.

      • Michael E

        Agreed. It is a wait and see. The only reason they come back stronger is all the grueling rehab. If Wheeler isn’t hitting it hard, he’ll come back worse. Dr. Andrews made it clear, the surgery does not improve anything, and its always better to be normal healthy. If they come back stronger, its because of the extra hours each week one pitcher puts in over the other.

        So, will Bailey be working his tail off and come back throwing harder than ever? If he spends too much time hunting in the off-season, he won’t be better.

      • lwblogger2

        My father seems to think he’ll loaf the rehab. He’s already declared Bailey “done”. I’m hoping he proves my father wrong.

  11. Armflapper8

    Completely unrelated, but I know one of you guys can tell me the answer to this question.

    Who has the highest OBP for a season AND who has the highest for a career?

    I’m going to guess Barry and the Babe may be one of the answers here, but can anyone tell me for sure?

    I was fortunate enough to be at the game tonight (one of my all-time to 5 favorite Reds games I ever attended, BTW), and Joey’s latest ridiculous hot streak got me wondering about it…….

    And how about all-time OPS for both season and career while I’m asking?

      • Nick in Toledo

        That 2004 season was ridiculous. Probably will never happen again. He got walked 232 times and STILL hit 45 homeruns.

      • Michael E

        and shouldn’t be part of records. He was at his best POST age 35 and that NEVER happens for a hitter (or a pitcher really). No way to explain that other than PEDs and the evidence helps prove that.

        He was a huge cheater of the first order and that was not what Bonds would have done as a normal player.

    • pinson343

      Career OPS leaders: 1.Babe Ruth/1.1636, 2.Ted Williams/1.1155,
      3.Lou Gehrig/1.0798, 4.Barry Bonds/1.0512, 5.Jimmie Foxx/1.0376, 6.Hank Greenberg/1.0169

      • Michael E

        Sad that Bonds cheated so heavily and still couldn’t catch those other guys. I don’t consider hot dogs as PEDs, so Babe Ruth was clean.

  12. pinson343

    For a career, that’s easy: Babe Ruth. Then Williams, Gehrig, Bonds.

    • Armflapper8

      As always, Pinson343, u duh man!

      I was just debating this with a few of my buddies heading home (phones had to be off, haha), and you pretty much confirmed most of our consensus anyway.

      Gas station pit stop…..trivia question answered!

  13. pinson343

    On mlbnetwork they say the Giants are talking with the Reds about Leake. That’s the trade I’ve been expecting.

    • BigRedSaguaro

      MLB TV reporting that deal is done

  14. Josh Mohr (@MohrJMO)

    The Reds would be really make a monumental mistake if they traded Jay Bruce. He’s 28, in the prime of his career. Great dude, on and off the field. Build around Votto, Frazier, Bruce and Mesoraco. That is a solid middle of the order. Trade Leake. I’d even keep Byrd.

    • Michael E

      If he’d ever get rid of those two (or three) 45 day slumps each year, I’d love the guy, but mashing for two or three weeks, only to have sucked the two months before and after, is not very lovable.

  15. John Walsh

    I’m hearing that a Leake-Giants deal is very, very close. (And by I’m hearing, I mean Twitter is blowing up about it.)

  16. pinson343

    Mlbnetwork scrolling bar says Leake has been traded to the Giants. No other info yet.

  17. pinson343

    MLBnetwork: “Heyman says Leake to Giants for 2 minor leaguers.”

    • John Walsh

      I’m hearing that Giants are returning 6 American Rag t-shirts to the Macy’s in downtown Cincinnati. (Just kidding, I love Leake.)

      • pinson343

        Right, good one. An insulated athlete who didn’t know how you’re supposed to return merchandise. I’ll miss Mike.

      • Mutaman

        Ballplayers beating up women, taking drugs, cheating. And you’re still going on about some dopey mistake a kid made years ago.

      • John Walsh

        Yeah, I was totally kidding. You can tell that Leake 1) made a mistake, probably out of immaturity, and 2) has grown up a bunch since then. Don’t worry, humor is how you deal with the pain. Hasta luego, Leake.

  18. pinson343

    Heyman tweets: “rhp keury meila goes to reds in leake deal.”

    • Michael E

      He was #2 on the MLB SF list as of 7/14 (I saved a bunch of teams lists in prep for trades).

      Duvall was #16.

    • Michael E

      #2 and #16 by MLB as of 7/14, but many different lists (Baseball America, MLB, MiLB, etc).

  19. tct

    Wow, pretty interesting package for Leake. This seems like a package the analytics department might have picked out. Both guys with solid numbers . Mella is a legit prospect. Duvall is about to turn 27, so he’s probably not considered a prospect. But he’s already hit 26 doubles and 25 homers in AAA this year in the hitter friendly PCL. Walk rate a little low at 5%, but he’s been around 8% for most of his career. Maybe he’s just a AAAA guy, but hopefully he’s the corner bat off the bench that the Reds need. Either way, we should see him soon as he’s already got a cup of coffee with the Giants this year.

    • Michael E

      Duvall can step in now…something to placate a few Reds fans that don’t understand what prospects are. He may not have a position though with Frzier and Votto around.

      I think I would rather had Beede, but Muella is right there with him.

  20. Jim t

    If we get Wheeler for Bruce I would be ecstatic. He is a no. 1 stater. Coming back off TJ is no longer a huge issue. Adding him and Stephenson to rotation next year makes this a very exciting team. Like most I want a couple of bats but those can be had in off season. Wheeler is a talent and team controlled.

    • Redsfan48

      What would the rotation be with Wheeler? Wheeler, Stephenson, Lorenzen, DeSclafani and Finnegan or Iglesias, with the 5th starter returning to the bullpen when Homer is back?

      • lwblogger2

        Wheeler won’t be ready until about June/July. At least that is the estimate.

  21. Michael E

    They did this last year too (win streak)…lipstick, meet pig.