David Holmberg didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning. Then out of the nowhere, the no-hitter, and the 1-0 lead were gone. Justin Upton smoked a 2-2 pitch for a home run to right-center, and the Padres took a 2-1 lead. Holmberg did give the Reds his best performance of his young career, as he only allowed those two runs through 6.2 innings. Pedro Villarreal got Holmberg out of a bases loaded jam with two outs in the seventh inning.

Earlier in the game, Jay Bruce hit his 200th career home run in the top of the second to give the Reds a 1-0 lead. The Reds offense walked six times off Padres starter Ian Kennedy, and chased him after just five innings. They however could not get any of those walks to cross home plate.

The Reds offense couldn’t get anything going against the Padres bullpen either, as they were held scoreless for four innings of relief. Craig Kimbrel closed out a 2-1 win in the series opener for the Padres.

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (49-61) 1 4 0
San Diego Padres (53-60) 2 7 1
W: Kennedy (7-10) L: Holmberg (1-1) S: Kimbrel (32)
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 David Holmberg allowing a 2-run home run to Justin Upton in the 4th inning, giving the Padres a 2-1 lead. That play decreased the Reds chances of winning by 28.3% (from 57.6% to 28.5%).

Positives

Jay Bruce hit his 200th career home run. Bruce became just the fourth player in Reds history to hit 200 home runs through his first eight seasons. He joined this list:

Adam Dunn: 270 (2001-2008)
Frank Robinson: 262 (1956-1963)
Johnny Bench: 212 (1967-1974)
Jay Bruce: 200 (2008-2015)

David Holmberg pitched pretty well tonight. Holmberg only allowed 2 ER over 6.2 innings, and would have made it through 7.0 innings if not for a couple cheap hits in the inning. Overall, you have to be pleased with what Holmberg has given the Reds through his first three starts in the big leagues. His line on the night: 6.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K.

Billy Hamilton walked twice! I repeat, Billy Hamilton walked twice! Hamilton entered today with just 21 BB on the season. Keep walking Billy!

Billy Hamilton and Jay Bruce both made some nice sliding catching in the outfield tonight.

Negatives

Todd Frazier looks so lost at the plate right now. Frazier struck out two more times tonight. It is getting pretty painful to watch his free-fall.

Joey Votto has cooled off quite a bit. Votto struck out three times tonight, and is just 3 for 25 in his last 9 games. Votto has walked 14 times in the last 9 games though, and still has a .436 OBP over his last 9 games. You probably shouldn’t worry about Joey.

Not so random thoughts…………..

Todd Frazier: .256/.309/.519, 123 wRC+
Jay Bruce: .249/.328/.474, 115 wRC+

Jay Bruce just might end the season with better numbers than Todd Frazier. That would be something, eh?

Our old pal Johnny Cueto absolutely dominated the Detroit Tigers tonight in his Kauffman Stadium debut. Cueto pitched a 4-hit shutout, striking out 8, without walking a batter. Cueto threw 116 pitches, 86 of which were strikes.

Up Next:

The Reds will face off tomorrow night against the Padres top pitching prospect Colin Rea. He will be making his MLB debut for the Padres. Rea is listed as the Padres #2 prospect overall.

Reds at Padres
Tuesday, 10:10 PM
TV: FSN-Ohio
Michael Lorenzen (16 GS, 4.84 ERA, 5.73 FIP) vs Colin Rea (18 GS, 1.95 ERA, 2.36/4.67 FIP)*
*numbers at AA/AAA

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

38 Responses

  1. wildwestlv

    I just scroll my screen down enough to make Ryan Braun disappear from that list. Congrats to Jay!

  2. Tom Gray

    The 2015 starts are not Holmberg’s first 3 MLB starts.

    He started a game or two in September 2014.

      • Tom Gray

        I only read what you wrote but Mayor Daley (old name, not young one) used to tell City Hall reporters to listen to what he meant, not what he said.

      • lwblogger2

        That’s where The Simpsons’ writers must have gotten it. Homer Simpson shook his fist at Lisa and said “Listen to what I mean!”

  3. jveith1991

    Shocking…the Reds batters again show no signs of offense whatsoever. As I was listening to one of the hosts on WLW last week, a caller described the Reds as something like a “bad team with excellent pieces”. That certainly seems to be an accurate description. The starting rotation has been the most consistent aspect of the team all season, even now as it is filled with rookies learning on the job. The bullpen has had its ups and downs throughout the season, with the only two consistently solid performers being Chapman and Hoover. To be fair, Badenhop has improved dramatically after his horrible April, and Parra has been effective in his role. The most frustrating component of the Reds, both throughout 2015 and in prior years, has been the anemic offense.

    Mesoraco’s missed season certainly downgrades the catcher position offensively. Cozart being out since June hasn’t helped either, but Suarez has filled in nicely in terms of his bat (his glove is another story). Votto is having his best season since his injury midway through 2012. Phillips is having a excellent season in terms of batting average and stolen bases, as well as his usual Gold Glove-caliber defense, but is completely lacking in his usual power. Frazier had an All Star-worthy first half, at least through the end of June, but has fallen off ever since. Bruce is as streaky as ever. He had a horrific month of April, followed by good months of May and June, and an excellent July. He is certainly one of the most frustrating players when it comes to consistency. Byrd has lived up to the expectations fans had when the Reds traded for him. He is a power-hitting left fielder, but is clearly not the left fielder the Reds will have for future seasons. Billy Hamilton is perhaps the player with the most untapped potential the Reds have right now. This is not only due to his spot in the daily batting order (ninth), but his lack of ability to reach first base with any regularity whatsoever. Obviously, his ninth spot in the order is based on the fact that he struggles with his OBP. If he could just find a way to get on base even a third of the times he goes to the plate, his stolen base numbers, as well as runs, would dramatically increase.

    It’s unknown what Jocketty (or another GM if Castellini chooses to go that route) will do this winter to upgrade the Reds’ offense. Given that Cozart will be back at shortstop, Suarez’s position next year is a question mark. Will the Reds try Suarez in LF, or will he be a bat off the bench? Maybe the Reds will try once again to dump Phillips’ contract (though it will take Phillips’ approval to be traded anywhere) and put Suarez at second. Will the Reds finally trade away Bruce, and if so, who will play RF? Will Mesoraco be able to catch again, and if not, what is the contingency plan? Will the Reds use some of their pitching prospects to obtain a top hitting prospect?

    • jazzmanbbfan

      A couple of observations/thoughts: I hope that Cozart is healthy enough to play defense at the level I’ve become accustomed to. If so, then I think he should be the SS and I would be interested in seeing if Suarez can play LF. I wouldn’t trade Bruce as I don’t think the Reds will get equivalent value back and, although some disagree, I don’t think his contract is THAT onerous. Too late now but I question the wisdom of trading for an aging LF when it wasn’t realistic to believe the Reds were better than a 3rd or 4th place team. I really hope someone can help Billy figure out a way to get on base because he may be the make-or-break when it comes to finding ways for this team to score more runs.

      • Tom Gray

        I hope you’re right but I highly doubt it. Cozart had a severe knee injury. It may a year to recover. His future mobility may be affected.

        Byrd has done pretty well as Reds LF. HR and RBI numbers comparable to his in 2013 and 2014 (and also to Ryan Ludwick for Reds in 2012, namely 25 HR and 80 RBI that season).

        Byrd was a good trade. Reds needed power hitting LF and got him.

      • Jazzmanbbfan

        I am also concerned that Cozart won’t be healed by next season, if ever when it comes to range and mobility. I don’t have a problem with Byrd’s production. It is about what I would have hoped for. I just question whether it was necessary given what I, and many, expected from this team as far as being in the mix for the playoffs this year.

      • Ken Goldsberry

        “Byrd was a good trade. Reds needed power hitting LF and got him.”

        The Reds needed any player with a high OBP and still haven’t gotten him. Byrd has made zero impact on the Reds season overall. They already have plenty of players who swing for the fences.

    • Ken Goldsberry

      “Bruce is as streaky as ever. He had a horrific month of April, followed by good months of May and June, and an excellent July. ”

      How is that streaky and just simply not a slow start to the season? Jay has been pretty steady this year, his most consistent in his career IMO. Give the guy a break for having one bad month at the beginning of the year where he was still trying to find his swing he lost during last season.

  4. Mister D69

    Associated Press:
    ” (Said Cueto:) ‘The crowd really gave me an extra boost. This is the most I’ve felt from a crowd; the intensity is by far the most.’ Cueto received a loud cheer as he went out for his warmup pitches, and the standing ovations grew after every scoreless inning as he walked to the dugout. When Cueto came out for the ninth, the Kauffman Stadium announced crowd of 36,672 rose in unison with a deafening roar that did not stop until long after he retired Victor Martinez on a fly ball to right fielder Alex Rios for the final out.”

    I, for one, do not recall a scene like that at GABP when Johnny pitched ever. Sure, the Reds haven’t had a season like the Royals are having in a while, i.e. one to get excited about, but still. Not saying that having crowds that weren’t the typical near-dead would have kept him in Cincinnati, but it’s embarrassing nonetheless. I imagine JC is putting Cincinnati in the rear view mirror fast.

    • jveith1991

      You have to consider that the Royals were not only relevant for the first time in decades in 2014, but made it to Game 7 of the World Series. Now in August 2015, they have a 12-game lead in their division (where they are the ONLY team with a winning record). Of course fans are going to be excited.

      Compare that with the Reds, who were swept in three postseason games in 2010 (as well as no-hit). 2011 was a lost season. 2012 was the Reds’ opportunity to get to the World Series, but they simply couldn’t win a third game against the Giants in the NLDS. Cueto injured himself in the first inning of game one and never pitched again in the series. Votto was not himself in the series, as he had just come off the DL a month prior. (Had either of those players been healthy, the Reds would have easily advanced.) I don’t remember how fans reacted to Cueto throughout the 2012 season, but the season the Reds had then is nothing like the one the Royals are experiencing this year.

      I will say this: I was at Game 3 of the 2012 NLDS. I arrived in the bottom of the first inning, when the Reds were batting. The ballpark was the loudest I have ever heard it with fans cheering when Bruce singled and Cozart scored that inning.

      • pinson343

        Nice reply. Back when KC was winning on a regular basis, such as when they were in the 1980 WS, their fans were known for their being quietly polite. Losing for decades and then sudden success will ignite a fan base … for a while.

    • Vanessa Galagnara

      I’m guessing the Royals fan base also didn’t criticize the manager for having him throw over 100 pitches.

      • lwblogger2

        That’s generally not as much of an issue for veteran pitchers. There’s also a difference between pitching 100+ when many pitches are coming out of the stretch and are in higher-leverage situations as opposed to 100+ when a pitcher has been cruising. The other thing to consider is rather or not the pitcher has recently had other high pitch-count games… As a fan, I wouldn’t have had a problem with Cueto’s 116 pitches last night. That’s not to say that I’d never have a problem with letting a guy go over 100 though.

    • pinson343

      This was a special occasion for KC fans who have been out of their minds with excitement since last August or so. I don’t see it as a put-down of Reds fans by Johnny (not that you said it was) and I don’t see it as embarrassing for Reds fans at all.

      In Game 5 of the NLDS against the Giants, after the Giants went ahead of the Reds 6-0 with Latos starting, the Reds fans raised the decibel level off the charts, willing the Reds to keep fighting, and didn’t stop until Bruce flied out.

      If Cueto were pitching that game – as he would have been were it not for his injury – he would have experienced electricity as he never has, including last night.

      I know KC and over the years it’s been a sleepy baseball town, no comparison with the passion for baseball in Cincy.

      Did you really need to say: “I imagine JC is putting Cincinnati in the rear view mirror fast.” I imagine that JC would not appreciate or understand that statement.

      • Mister D69

        Not sure what you mean by “did you really need to say…” Surely JC would understand that statement, to the extent that he understands English, generally. As to whether he would appreciate it, it is odd that of all the statements made on this blog about him or all the other players, coaches, owners, et al, you would single out this one as being “unappreciated.” Oh, well. But just to be clear, my statement suggests that Johnny’s sentimental feelings towards Cincinnati and the Reds are sure to fade with the opportunities of playing in and for KC, to say nothing of what lies ahead for him. Cincinnati was very, very good to him, but now he is moving on to better (if not bigger) things. This, of course, is only my observation as I have not had the chance to speak with him and discover his truest, deepest thoughts.

    • Joe Atkinson

      I went to a game at Kauffman in 2013, during the stretch when the Royals were the long-shot that everyone wanted to earn a Wild Card. It wasn’t much of a game – they put an 8-0 beating on the Twins – but my takeaway from the game was how great the fans were there. I chalked it up to being hungry for a winner after all of their years of futility, but even watching games on TV this year, the noise and excitement generated by fans at Kauffman is pretty cool to see. If Cueto had to go somewhere, I’m glad he is getting to be a part of that.

    • ohiojimw

      Sure, the Reds haven’t had a season like the Royals are having in a while, i.e. one to get excited about…….

      ******************************************************************

      Is 2012 really all that long ago? 97 wins. 2nd best (to 98 wins by the Nats) in all of MLB. Votto goes down in the middles of an MVP looking season; but, the slack is picked up by Frazier and others. Cueto goes down in the first inning of the first playoff game; but, the Reds still jump out to a 2-0 lead in the series. The only reason not to have been really excited about that season is if one had a crystal ball and knew ahead of time what was coming in games 3/4/5 of the divisional series.

      IMO, too many “fans” around Cincinnati simply don’t let themselves be real fans.

      • lwblogger2

        Yes! I agree with that. It’s just an opinion and not all Reds’ fans are this way but in general, Reds’ fans always seem to be waiting for the worst to happen. Maybe it’s the years and years of losing but many in this town seem to struggle to believe in their team.

      • ohiojimw

        I think it would be neat if MLB and the NFL had some sort of relegation/ promotion system similar to most nations in world football (soccer).

        Maybe something relatively simple like the bottom 10 finishers in any given year aren’t eligible for the playoffs the following year regardless of their record and the team loses its first draft pick and some share of its league distributed revenues.

        Given the last couple of decades in CIncy, imagine the Reds or Bengals in multiple relegation and/ or promotion battles. That would bring out the real fans in a hurry.

  5. jveith1991

    Three more (quick) thoughts based on the article:

    1) I hope the Reds don’t end up regretting not trading Frazier at the deadline when his value was at an all-time high. He is still under Reds’ control for two more seasons. Hopefully they are like 2014 and the first half of 2015 and not like 2013 and the past month of this 2015 season.

    2) The Reds face a rookie starting pitcher tomorrow. We all know what that tends to mean for the Reds’ batters…

    3) Johnny Cueto got his first win as a Royal today in his third start. Hopefully his success continues on and he can get his first career postseason win in two months.

  6. pinson343

    After Kennedy walked Hamilton and then walked BP on 4 pitches, Suarez is up there with the bases loaded. Ball one. Then he pops out to end the inning. If he doesn’t have the sense to take a strike in that situation, then give him a take sign. Was that even considered ? I doubt it, why bother.

    • lwblogger2

      Not sure I’d want him taking a strike there but at the least, I’d want him swinging at what he would consider his perfect pitch.

  7. Tom Billings

    So can we say we need a clutch rbi and that our problems might actually lie on the core for not having the ability to win close games?

    • lwblogger2

      You can say it but that wouldn’t make it true. The team (not just the core) struggled last night in clutch situations. That is an accurate statement. The team has also struggled in close games over the last two seasons. That’s also an accurate statement.

  8. sultanofswaff

    Upton has Holmberg’s number. I remember sitting in GABP almost a year ago to the day when Holmberg pitched vs. the Braves. Upton crushed one that night that still hasn’t landed.

    2 walks by Phillips. I keep thinking the next time I check the Reds stats I’ll see his OPS over .700, but alas……..(it’s .699)

  9. jamesgarret

    We don’t hit with RISP.Last I looked we were next to last and it won’t change.We play in GABP and our team is made up of guys that swing for the fences.Our core of Phillips,Votto,Frazier,Bruce have hit 25 homers or better in a season.Throw in Meso and Byrd and they have or will do the same.Its been the same since they all came up to the big leagues.We hit homers we win and when we don’t we lose.Guys like this don’t grow on trees however so blowing up this team and starting over would be suicidal.What we need is new leadership in the front office and at manager.Somebody that has no friends and doesn’t want any.Somebody that can start acquiring guys that get on base.Somebody that uses data rather then gut.Somebody that has new and fresh ideas on how to build a team.

    • lwblogger2

      It Cueto actually stops in his delivery, then technically it’s a balk. I don’t think Cueto really stops though. Kershaw on the other hand often stops his delivery. There are a couple Asian pitchers who have stopped their deliveries as well. It isn’t called and Ausmus was just using some gamesmanship.

      • jdx19

        Yep, certainly agree. Although, gamesmanship often looks like whining after a shut-out loss! 😉

  10. vegastypo

    Nick, I beg to differ on one point. … The Biggest Play of the Game was actually before the game, when I bought my tickets. The win expectancy rate at that point went from 50-50, OK, maybe 40-60, to ”no chance in heck.” I was at last night’s game, my one shot per season, hoping to change my luck from seeing heartbreaking losses. I really need to check back on the last four or five games I have attended. I suspect if I do, Redleg Nation will be paying me NOT to go to any more games.

    Having Kennedy on the ropes in the first few innings seemed too good to be true, so of course it was. … I was critical of the timing of Joey Votto’s last day off, so maybe the baseball gods were repaying me with his 0-for-4, and three strikeouts. Time for another day off? Frazier just looks lost, yes. …Pinson might have heard me in the seats yelling for Suarez to take a few pitches there.

    Nice effort by Holmberg. Unsure what to think of his long-term prospects, though. Seems like it’s extra hard on pitchers who don’t have a hard fastball to fall back on. … Was Holmberg getting away with called strikes that Kennedy wasn’t? My angle to the third-base side of home plate made it hard to judge. Sure not the same as having the camera looking in from centerfield!

    • VaRedsFan

      kennedy didn’t get any of the borderline pitches. Holmberg got 1 or 2, but nothing outlandish. Ump was consistently tight.

      At least let us know the next time you attend a game….so we can at least profit from it 😉

    • jdx19

      Haha! I’m glad you decided to go! I didn’t end up going to any at all in 2014 and I regretted it.

  11. ohiojimw

    Homberg is demonstrating he is a pitcher and just a thrower. The question is whether he can maintain upon or improve the results he is producing.

    He looks to have improved his conditioning quite a bit; and, his is only his age 23 season (per BB Ref). He is still young enough that if he does more conditioning work, with the proper instruction he might even pick up a couple of MPH on his heater. Welch pointed out last night that Holmberg’s 87-88MPH fastball plays quicker because of deception in his delivery. If he could get into the 90 range to with the rest of his repertoire , he might be a real find. Even if he doesn’t he could be an effective bridge allow some of the other guys more time to develop at AAA.