Ah, the summer of 1989 … Tim Burton’s Batman was released with Michael Keaton as superhero and Jack Nicholson as the Joker … Robin Williams starred in Dead Poets Society … An album by New Kids on the Block topped the charts … George Michael wrapped up his Faith tour … Dynasty, Moonlighting and Miami Vice finished their runs … And a show named Seinfeld debuted, as did Saved By The Bell … Sega released Genesis … Kareem retired … Chinese tanks rolled through Tiananmen Square … Bill Clinton was the Governor of Arkansas … No one in the Reds current starting rotation had been born.

That summer of 1989 the Cincinnati Reds lineup featured Barry Larkin, Eric Davis, Chris Sabo and Ken Griffey Sr. Tom Browning led the rotation and Johnny Franco was the closer. Pete Rose started the summer as manager and was replaced by Tommy Helms late in the season. That 1989 team was 75-87 and finished fifth in the NL West.

1989 was also the last time the Reds went 30 innings without scoring. Before tonight.

In 1990 under Lou Pinella, the Reds went wire-to-wire for a World Series championship.

Reds 4 Diamondbacks 1 | FanGraphs | John Fay on Young Arms

In his second start for the Reds, Keyvius Sampson gave up just one run over six innings. He worked out of several jams, allowing three hits and three walks. He also struck out four. That’s two good starts for the 24-year-old Sampson and more outstanding pitching from the Reds young arms.

Billy Hamilton made a great play on a line drive in the gap in the first inning hit by Paul Goldschmidt, saving a run. He also was terrible at the plate. Hamilton has the lowest run creation score of any qualified player in major league baseball.

The 2-run homer that Eugenio Suarez hit in the fourth inning snapped a 30-inning scoreless streak, the longest such streak dating back to 1989 (CTR). Suarez also committed his 11th error in 47 games on a wild throw. By comparison, Zack Cozart had 10 errors all of last year.

Brandon Phillips had great at bats his first three trips to the plate. They produced a single, walk and his 8th home run of the season. The latter plated the Reds third run of the game.

Marlon Byrd hit his 19th home run and the 150th of his career. Tucker Barnhart also had two hits.

Jumbo Diaz pitched a strong 7th inning. J.J. Hoover gave up a walk but retired the next three batters, pitching to the heart of the D-Backs order. On the night when lefty Randy Johnson was honored by the Arizona organization, Aroldis Chapman came on to protect a 3-run lead against the D-Backs #6-7-8 spots in the order.

49 Responses

  1. seat101

    We’d best prepare ourselves for an (probably) inevitable rocky stretch from the young pitchers.

    I don’t see Marlon staying a Red much longer.

    Nice recap.

  2. jessecuster44

    Suarez certainly has been a pleasant surprise with the bat. Figures Reds break the scoreless streak with a game where all runs generated by the HR.

    Remember back in 1985 when Tommy Herr had 110 RBIs and only 8 HRs? Be nice for the Reds to look for hitters (and table setters) like that.

    • Coldheartedsemifacts

      Amen! A Sean Casey, Hal Morris, or Griffey Senior type of hitter sorely needed to balance out the numerous bad ball chasing HR or bust batters.

      • jessecuster44

        Wait, cross fingers… Sick of the same old lines.

    • Adam M. Singhoff

      Such an abundance of those type of hitters in the Majors these days. Can’t see any reason why the Reds haven’t found any lately….

  3. Zane

    Why is Suarez still batting at the bottom of the lineup doesn’t make any sense. I honestly would have him bat above Bruce and Frazier right now.

    • Adam M. Singhoff

      Let him hit how he has hit. We aren’t poising for a title run. He is essentially still a rookie. Let him give a boost to the bottom of the lineup and build a little confidence. “It won’t hurt because it won’t help.” I’m going to coin that phrase for the rest of the season.

      • Tom Gray

        If P Crawford gets healthy and returns to the level of promise shown before 2015, that Simon to DET for Suarez & Crawford will tilt in Reds favor (by a bunch).

      • docmike

        Even if Crawford ends up as a bust, it appears the Reds won that trade based merely on comparing Simon and Suarez’s 2014 seasons.

        Simon = 4.74 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, negative 0.3 WAR

        Suarez = .306/.333/.474 slash, 0.6 WAR

    • CP

      I care less about lineup construction than most, but Billy Hamilton batting ahead of anyone is a travesty, let alone Suarez.

      • Tom Gray

        Hamilton hit well in MiLB (at every level) until he got to AAA Louisville in 2013.

        He may not hit for high BA ever but his speed is a weapon, whether SB or OF defense.

  4. Jeff Morris

    Pitching has always been pretty good for the Reds, better than alot of teams. But, the Hitting is always the weakness for the Reds, at least the last few years. I know Suarez is hitting very well, but making many errors. You have to wonder if Cozart would be healthy and playing, if Cozart would be hitting as well, though he would be fielding much better. Steve mentioned this a time or two. Reds really need to get players with higher then average on base percentage. Its good they are getting pitchers in the two trades, but when there is a chance to trade again….especially for Chapman and/or Bruce, got to get better Bats then they have Now!

    • Coldheartedsemifacts

      Despite the poor hitting, reds have scored similar total runs as the Cards and Pirates. If the Reds had the bullpen of 2010 or 2012, or even 2013, there’s a decent chance they would be very competitive for a wild card spot. How many games have they blown? Chapman has lost a few games, Jumbo blew a few leads, Cingrani too, and lately Hoover’s blown three games. Not to mention the early choice of Gregg and Badenhop (though he has turned the corner). Add to that Price’s early managerial inefficiencies and especially poor bullpen asset management…. We can only wonder what might have been after a promising start to the season.

    • Adam M. Singhoff

      Cozart had a 243 obp in June. I think it’s safe to say that he was due for a regression. Granted, that’s a small sample size (9 games.) But to give it a little more perspective, he went from a May highpoint of a 369 obp on the 10th, to a season average of 310 on June 9th, at the point of his injury (a 1 month period.) I would like to think that Cozart is somewhere in between, but with what Suarez may lack in D, (positive D according to bwar) he has absolutely made up for on offense.

  5. lrgmnky

    Was at the game tonight although I missed all of the Big Unit hoopla as I was up in the high country most of the day. The highlight was hearing the Chase Field crowd react to Chapman. Everyone is impressed or, maybe, astounded by him. There was literally a collective gasp at every pitch. What could have been…

  6. Carl Sayre

    There will be times the rest of this season that I will need to be reminded how young these pitchers are. Sampson will not always be able to pitch out of the jams walks create. Lorenzon trying to be to fine and not getting to the sixth because of his pitch count, I could go on. These young pitchers are going to have growing pains IMO. The wonderful part of it is all this young talent on the mound will take some seasoning but look out as they mature. The core position players might make us relevant next season but the bench is a mess. IMO Hamilton should be a late inning PR or defensive player until he pulls his head out. The problem is he is so much better than any option on the bench and that is a sad statement.

  7. DHud

    Other than clearing a roster spot, what would it take to get Heisey back on the Reds bench? I bet he’d be appreciative of a league-minimum offer at this point

    • Shchi Cossack

      At this point Heisey is a FA and can sign with any team. The Dodgers are on the hook for the remainder of his $2MM salary for 2015. The Reds can actually sign him to a minor league contract. The kicker is that Heisey will be 3rd year arbitration eligible in 2016. Perhaps the Reds could sign him to a 2016 contract for $1MM-$1.5MM as an OF utility player for their bench to avoid his 3rd year of arbitration.

      • Tom Gray

        He hit .154 in 2015. He wasn’t all that much better as a Red in 2014.

        He is better off in MiLB trying to find his batting skills again.

      • Shchi Cossack

        Heisey’s .154 AVG in 2015s based on a total of 34 PA. That’s not indicative of relavent to any analysis, but if you want to analyze it, look beyond the BA. Heisey’s issue at the plate has always been that all or nothing, swing early and swing often approach. He is a dead red hitter and the league knows it.

        For 2015 in MLB (again a total of only 34 PA), Heisey has a 26% SO%, but this season, unlike previous seasons, Heisey has a 23% BB%.

        For 2015 in MiBL at AAA (248 PA), Heisey has a 22% SO% and a 13% BB%. Not since 2008 in A+ & AA ball has Heisey even managed above an 8% BB%.

        Yes, Heisey neeeds to continue to work on his plate discipline, but I believe the trade and minor league demotions in 2015 finally got his attention and he now sees the writing on the wall. He changes his plate approach and improves his plate discipline or he’s out of baseball, sooner rather than later. The Reds do not need Heisey at the major league level in 2015, but he might be a stabilizing element for the bench and OF in 2016, if he continues to improve his approach at the plate and his plate discipline.

      • Tom Gray

        Despite all those numbers, Heisey declined from 2012 to 2013 to 2014 to 2015.

        He needs to spend a year (or so) in MiLB to recover his batting stroke. He won’t find it off the bench in MLB.

  8. UglyStrike

    The thing I love about this season is the young pitchers are getting seasoned when it really does not matter if they win or lose.

    Interesting thing I noticed the other day was when you viewed the top 10 prospects for all teams, there were not really that many position players listed. Most of those listed were 2 or 3 years away or are considered untouchable by their current teams. Looking at that really improved my outlook on what we received for Cueto and Leake.

    • peter ponds

      + 10000000 Please do tell to some people here.

  9. sultanofswaff

    Sampson has had 2 decent starts, but in my opinion he’s a middle reliever at best. I’d like to see these starts going to John Lamb.

    • Shchi Cossack

      Sultan, the young starters are going to reach their innings limit soon for 2015, and opportunities will abound for other starters to prove their stuff from the mound at GABP. I certainly hope that is the plan anyway. Ted Power helped (again!) in making some changes in Sampson’s delivery and it has really paid off for the young pitcher. He now has ample time to prove he has the potential to stick as a starter or fill a real need in the bullpen going forward. That will be true for many of the young pitchers. The biggest problem facing virtually the entire pitching staff has been those raging BB and that must be corrected. Experience and opportunities will let the young pitchers work out their and prove or disprove their effectiveness. I think that is why so many of us like to see the youngsters get a chance rather than recycling aging veterans with known flaws and declining production.

      • jazzmanbbfan

        My question would be whether Power is more valuable getting young pitchers ready at AAA for MLB vs. working with the pitchers already on the Reds. I don’t know the answer but whatever they are paying him is probably not enough based on his work with the pitching prospects.

      • Shchi Cossack

        I believe you are spot on JazzMan. Although Powers would make an excellent pitching coach at the major league level, I believe his true value is developing and correcting pitchers at the minor league level, but he needs to be properly compensated and acknowledged (job title and responsibilities) for his superior work in developing and correcting pitchers at the minor league level. The Reds certainly don’t want to lose his expertise and services to another team.

  10. peter ponds

    Great to see yet another guy from a deal or claim pan out. Just this season: Disco, Suarez, Iglesias (signed last year), Sampson, Lamb pitched a very good game at AAA last night, Cody Reed. For as much heat WJ gets it’d be only fair to give him props for the good things too.

    • Tom Gray

      Like most GM, he does some good moves and some bad ones. Even Bob Howsam.

      I think his worst move (for Reds) was hiring Bryan Price as manager without interviewing anyone else. Maybe that was Castellini decision, who knows.

  11. Zane

    Should Suarez switch positions so we can have hit bat in the lineup next year and keep Cozart at short because he is so much better defensively?

      • Tom Gray

        Don’t agree. That weakens 2 positions. Leave Frazier at 3B. If necessary, move Suarez to LF.

        But more likely Suarez will play SS in 2016. Unlikely Cozart will be fully recovered.

      • jazzmanbbfan

        Cozart’s injury, from all reports I’ve read, was a bad one. If he isn’t ready to play at the level he was defensively then keep Suarez at SS and I’ll just continue to cringe when the ball is hit his way. If Cozart is healthy, I’d prefer to see him back at SS and Suarez in LF.

      • Shchi Cossack

        Suarez will almost certainly receive an intense offseason workout in SS fundamentals. His errors are almost always on routine fielding and throwing situations. Repetition and fundamentals can often correct such issues.

        I believe both Cozrt and Suarez have options remaining. If Cozart is not 100% physically ready to start the season playing SS at the major league level, then he should start the season on the 60-day DL until he is 100% ready to play SS at the major league level with Suarez cintinuing as the starting SS on the 25-man roster.

        Once Cozart is 100% physically recovered and ready, he should complete a full 20 day minor league rehab assignment and if he is not producing offensively and defensively at the end of a full 20 day rehab assignment, then option him to AAA until he is ready to produce offensively and defensively again at the major league level. The additional time (3 months minimum) as the starting SS on the 25-man roster should allow a more comprehensive evaluation of Suarez’ full capabilites as a starting SS at the major league level.

        Since the plan for 2016 (based on WJ’s own comments) is to prepare for 2017, the Reds should have plenty of opportunity tio answer all roster questions regarding the sparting pitching, bullpen, SS, LF, CF and bench during 2016, as long as the team management avails themselves of that opportunity and doesn’t fill gaps with aging verterans, blocking the youngsters and recovering veterans from full development opportunities and playing time necessary to prove their readiness heading into 2017.

      • Steve Mancuso

        If the young pitching develops faster than average, maybe 2016 won’t be consigned to rebuilding.

        On the major topic of your comment: Suarez’s errors seem to be losses in concentration – dropped balls, wild throws. They don’t seem to be related to pressure/rushed plays or physical things. His arm is way above average and his range is good, though not great. I like the way you talk about him focusing on fundamentals. I hope developing better concentration habits can be part of that.

        I think the Reds were planning on moving Cozart at the trade deadline before his injury. Cozart was hitting better, but if he was healthy, he could have brought back a nice return. I don’t think the Reds want to pay his Arbitration-3 salary. Now, maybe his raise won’t be as big. They won’t non-tender him. And they can’t trade him until he proves he’s back. It’s complicated, to be sure.

    • Tom Billings

      Nice ideas Cossack I would like to see the Reds trade Frazier if they can get a decent haul and move Susrez to
      3rd. The only thing I’m worried about is he will be the Negron of this year. Shoes great promise expect him to contribute the next year and doesn’t.

      • lwblogger2

        Suarez is just a better hitter than Negron. He has a better track record in the minors and had some good plate appearances for the Tigers last season. Suarez is younger too. There might be a sophomore slump but I’m doubting you’ll see SUarez regress to the point that Negron did. Negron was always considered to have the ceiling of an MLB utility player.

  12. Tom Reed

    I like the looks of Keyvius Sampson. He seems to be a low-key type guy who has a certain confidence on the mound. Sampson could be a solid addition to the bullpen in 2016.

    • lwblogger2

      Yes, if he can throw strikes, his stuff plays very well out of the pen and can work as a back-end starter as an upside.

  13. jamesgarret

    The strength is our young controllable pitchers.We ought to be able to fill our rotation and pen from within but we will be very very young so one or two vet starters and relievers will probably be needed.Its really up to Walt to improve are team and I have zero confidence in him to do so.I would love to say we have a shot next year but we have some many holes to fill and I can see him rolling the dice again.