The Reds have been waiting a long time to exact their revenge on Mat Latos in response to his nasty comments about the Reds and their training staff back in Spring Training. The Reds never got to face him when he was with the Marlins. Tonight Latos didn’t even make it through the 5th inning and allowed five runs (four earned) to take the loss. His brief Dodgers career has not gone well so far, he has a 7.36 ERA in 14.2 innings with Los Angeles. Tonight Dallas’ husband gave up 7 hits but struck out 7 Reds while walking only one — and that one walk was intentional.

Early in the game it looked like Latos was going to shut the Reds down, but the Cincinnati bats pieced together some timely hits and scored twice in the third inning. Tucker Barnhart led off the inning with a double and was then bunted over to third base by pitcher Keyvius Sampson. Billy Hamilton hit a sharp grounder to left field that scored Barnhart. With Hamilton on first base, Latos tried to pick him off and threw the ball down the right field line, allowing Hamilton to advance all the way to third base. That brought leadoff batter Brandon Phillips to the plate and he hit a crisp single up the middle to score Hamilton.

Todd Frazier seems to be emerging from the throes of a very deep slump. He led off the 4th inning with a double to left center. Frazier then attempted to steal third base and was thrown out by several feet, but third baseman Alberto Callaspo dropped the ball, allowing Frazier to reach the bag safely. The throw beat Todd to the bag by so much that he didn’t even slide. Following a Jay Bruce strikeout Marlon Byrd was able to drive in the run with a sacrifice fly.

In the bottom of the 4th, Dodger’s rookie outfielder Joc Pederson stepped to the plate and whacked a 380 foot home run to left center that whittled the Reds lead to 3-1. Pederson of course was Todd Frazier’s opponent in the semi-finals of the Home Run Derby.

In the 5th inning the Reds struck again. Billy Hamilton led off with a hard ground ball through the right side of the infield, then he stole second base on a very close play that was challenged by the Dodgers. The replay appeared to show that Hamilton should have been called out, but the replay crew found insufficient evidence to overturn the safe call. Brandon Phillips then doubled down the right field line to score Hamilton. Eugenio Suarez hit a double to the other side that brought Phillips around to score.

In the bottom of the 5th the Dodgers hit a pair of singles and a sacrifice fly to score a run off Keyvius Sampson. The rookie pitcher was pulled after five innings having allowed only two runs. He struck out three and walked three while giving up five base hits. It was another fine performance by Sampson, one that could lock him into the starting rotation moving forward. When the Reds called him up a couple weeks ago it was not expected to be a long-term thing, but Sampson has seized his opportunity by going 2-1 with a 3.16 ERA in four games, including three starts.

Sampson has struck out 7.94 batters per nine innings, which is good. He has walked 3.71 BB/9, which is a little high. Sampson has a .217 BABIP and an 80% strand rate, neither of which are anywhere close to sustainable. His FIP is 4.10 and his xFIP is 4.32, both of which show he hasn’t really pitched quite as well as his shiny 3.13 ERA indicates but I don’t think anyone really expects him to continue succeeding quite that well anyway. Sampson has been very effective thus far. Hopefully he can keep it rolling.

The Reds broke the game open in the 6th inning. With one out, Barnhart drew a walk. Jason Bourgeois pinch-hit for Sampson and singled to right. Hamilton got his third hit of the game, a single to center that loaded the bases. Phillips tapped the ball back to the pitcher, but it was good enough to score Barnhart. That brought Suarez to the plate for this three run blast, making the score 9-2.

The Dodgers scored in the bottom of the inning after the controversial Yasiel Puig reached on an infield single, then advanced to second when the erroneous throw eluded the first baseman. Carl Crawford advanced Puig with a single, then Joc Pederson brought him home on a sac fly to make it 9-3 Reds.

Hamilton’s fourth hit of the game was a surprising 393 foot round-tripper to left field in the top of the 8th while batting right-handed. I didn’t know he had that in him. I bet that is just about as far as Billy can whack one. You don’t often see a #9 hitter get four hits, jack a homer and score four times.

View the Highlights from ESPN

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (51-62) 10 15 1
Los Angeles Dodgers (64-51) 3 11 2
W: Sampson (2-1) L: Latos (4-9)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score | Game Thread

Player of the Game:

Billy Hamilton, 4 for 4 at the plate with three singles and a home run. He scored four runs, drove in two and stole a base.

Good Stuff:

— Eugenio Suarez had three hits and all of them were of the extra-base variety. Two doubles and a home run with four RBI. He also made a great play at shortstop.

— Todd Frazier is back to being Todd Frazier. He had three hits last night and two more tonight.  His six-week slump might be a thing of the past.

— Brandon Phillips continued his hot streak with two hits and three RBI.

— Jay Bruce made a nice catch while battling the lights.

— The bullpen only gave up one run in four innings. Mattheus allowed the run. Badenhop, Parra and Villareal each threw scoreless innings.

— The Reds went 7-14 w/RISP in the game.

— Billy Hamilton leads the league with 53 steals on the season.

— Prospect Jesse Winker has homered in three games in a row for Pensacola.

— Listening to Dodgers’ broadcaster Vin Scully smoothly narrate the ballgame is always a joy. Scully makes the price of worth it all by himself. He is the most prepared man in the business at the age of 87. He is still by far the best broadcaster in any sport and he is in his 66th season as the voice of the Dodgers, having started when they were still in Brooklyn.

Bad Stuff:

— How much can go wrong when you win 10 to 3?

— It is a bit of a concern that the young starting pitchers are not going deep into games. When you are lucky to get five or six innings from your starters day after day it is going to cause bullpen problems eventually.

— The Reds’ #1 prospect, Robert Stephenson, left Wednesday night’s game with an injury that sent a scare through all of Redleg Nation. Word out of Louisville is that it is a minor wrist injury. Let’s hope that is all it is.

Up Next:

Newly acquired pitching prospect John Lamb will make his major league debut tomorrow night at Dodger Stadium. He will be opposed by another pitcher the Dodgers acquired at the trade deadline in young lefty Alex Wood, formerly of the Braves.

Reds vs Dodgers at 10:10 PM Friday night.

Reds: LH John Lamb (0-0, 0.00) vs Dodgers: LH Alex Wood (7-7, 3.72)


60 Responses

  1. RedsDownUnderer

    Watching a good-‘ol-Latos-frustration-meltdown from the other side is a lot of fun, I gotta say.

    Suarez looks like he as all the tools to be an everyday SS going forward. Yes, his defense is certainly a downgrade from Cozart’s, but I gotta say: I don’t think Cozart will ever be the same. He might return to 95-7% post injury in terms of functionality (heck it might be 100% physically), but mentally he won’t have the same confidence on his knee, at least not for a few years, and that small margin of difference was what gave him the defensive edge that justified his playing everyday. I hope I’m wrong, because watching him put it together at the plate this year was great to see, and his defense was always lovely. But I just don’t think he’ll ever have the same range following such a catastrophic injury, especially at his age (this coming in part from my own experience with knee reconstruction).

    • Gaffer

      I think Suarez should start no matter what. The best case scenario is someone takes BPs salary and you could have Suarez, Cozart and a combo of others man the middle. Cozart always wore down playing everyday anyway.

      • doctor

        agree with this. I have to think behind closed doors reds mgmt is thinking Suarez is SS until Cozart proves himself able to field and hit. Now Suarez need to keep improving his glove,else that may be way opens the door for cozart.

      • Redsfan48

        I agree, you start Suárez no matter what. If they can trade Phillips and start Suárez at 2B, that works. If they have to just bench Cozart and make him a late-game defensive replacement and a backup, that works too. If they decide to non-tender or trade Cozart this offseason (kind of like they did with Heisey), that works too. Basically, they need to do anything they can to have Suárez starting as a middle infielder. His value isn’t near as high as a corner outfielder (LF)

      • Big56dog

        Shirley you can find away to get Mesoroco, Suarez, Frazier, Phillips, and Cozart in the line-up next year. If Barhart can continue to hit all they need to acquire are bench players in the off season

    • PDunc

      I think best-case scenario is Cozart coming back healthy next year, playing excellent defense at short while being at least average at the plate. Suarez can then play 4-5 days a week spelling Phillips, Cozart, Frazier and Winker? at 2B, SS, 3B, and LF. Getting some extra time off might keep Phillips healthier and let Cozart ease back in coming back from injury.

    • WestwoodEagle

      I think you need to remember that Suarez is only 24. I will take his offense with a slight decrease in defense (which can improve) over a 30 year old, light hitting SS who is coming back from major knee reconstruction.

    • lwblogger2

      Knee reconstruction huh? I’m sorry to hear that. I have way too much personal experience when it comes to knee injuries and subsequent problems. I feel for ya.

  2. jessecuster44

    One of the best wins of the season. Lots of potential on display last night.

    • doctor

      and more potential on display with Lamb pitching next. Good move to get Lorenzen down to get some success at Lville.

      • jessecuster44

        Yep. Send Lorenzen down, limit innings. Only upside for that move. Excited to see Lamb.

    • Big56dog

      I thought Royal fans were calling for his debut by the All-star break. Guy was a top 20 prospect until his TJ- maybe he can get near that level. I think he is the best chance to be a 1 or 2 outside of Stephenson at this point

      • JB WV

        Iglesias has electric stuff, and seems to be getting stronger as the year goes on. There’s plenty of talented arms coming in. Let’s wait and see. Stephenson has to prove he’s ready.

    • Matt WI

      What matters is less of the content and more of the nature of the disclosure in the first place. Latos left town like a sore loser, throwing the team (esp. taking a shot a Bailey), the trainers, and the general atmosphere of Reds baseball under the bus. It was unprofessional and a bush league statement, even if he felt it was true. It gave off an attitude of “nothing is my fault, I have no responsibility here.”

      What’s rule number one when being interviewed about your former employer? Don’t bad mouth them, no matter the circumstance.

      • lwblogger2

        ‘There were some things I didn’t agree with that were going on there. It’s good to get a chance to move on.’ … That’s probably about what he should have said.

    • docmike

      I remember last season when Latos was trying to come back from injury, he made comments to the effect of, “Hey, I want to come back and pitch now, but the team won’t let me and is making me do more rehab time.”

      Fast forward to this winter after the trade, and all of a sudden he’s saying the team rushed him back from injury. Could he be any more two-faced?

      • jessecuster44

        yes. He was a pretty good competitor here, with documented maturity issues. But once he left, he seemed happy to throw the team under the bus. I imagine there’s a kernel of truth to what he said, but HOW he said it? Dumb move.

    • tct

      Agreed that its way, way overblown. For every one negative thing he said about the Reds in that interview, he said about 5 positive things

      He always acted like he wanted to be in Cincinnati. I believe he even bought a house there. And there shouldn’t be any question about his desire to win. One of my favorite 2012 memories was in game 1 of the NLDS, when Cueto goes down and they show the bench and Latos is jumping up off the bench begging Dusty to put him in. It reminded me of Little League, with the kids bugging the coach asking to pitch.

      So I still have some love for Latos. His comments about Joey Votto in that interview, saying that it’s crazy to even suggest that Votto should change his approach, are endearing. And besides, if it wasn’t for Latos, we would never have found out about Homer Bailey roping the clubhouse attendants. Best story of the off season.

      • Big56dog

        Exactly how I felt about the playoff. That memory was brought to my mind when I read it, and I think enough people on here can say they see something close to what he referenced when the Reds go through swings like that.
        But Latos needs to back it up if he is going to say stuff like that.

  3. George Mirones

    Last night is what I think we all had hoped for this season, a dominating offense, solid starting and relief pitching and just plain fun to watch.
    Somewhere in the basement of GABP the thoughts for next year are stirring about and a few of the folks are looking at Walt with admiration and giggling when they think of next years rotation and 25 man poster. Getting Bailey, Mesoraco, and Cozart back will be like signing 3 FA over the winter without the costs.
    Lorenzen in AAA is a good move. Ted Power will fix him up and we will see him back in September.
    Actually this years lost season , may, in the long run, be the stage setter for 2016 and 2017. For those of us who remain faithful and watch or listen to the rest of the games this year, we may be watching the beginning, and that is a treat in its self.

    • ohiojimw

      Meso, Bailey, and, Cozart are three big ????? right now. We all hope for the best for and from all of them. However in reality only Bailey is coming back from an injury and surgery that has well established track record as to the recovery curve and post surgical performance level it is reasonable to expect over time.

      Everything we’ve heard about Cozart’s knee is essentially how bad it actually was when they went in to work on it. It sounds like they had to fix multiple points of damage any one of which would constitute a major injury and recovery sequence on its own. How does it impact recovery and long term prognosis when dealing with such things concurrently?

      Meso is in many ways, the first chapter of the book when it comes to catching after having the impingement surgery. We know position players who are not catchers have returned as good as ever. They found the one “minor league catcher” who says he was able to return after the surgery; and, the word is that hockey goalies who experience similar stresses to the hip area as catchers do have come back strong. This is all good. However the fact remains that to date no major league catcher has had the surgery; so, while there is reason for optimism, we don’t really have a road map to go by. To me the best part is that Meso is still young enough and appears to be otherwise mobile enough that he could be converted to a LF or flipped to the land of the DH for a strong return if he can’t catch 4 or 5 days a week.

  4. IndyRedMan

    Sampson def has some talent! He was up to 95-96 early and his curveball drops a ton! If they can get a leadoff hitter somewhere next year then this can be a elite offense again. I think the hitting might come down to Mesoraco and Hamilton. If Hamilton gets a little stronger and sticks to hitting RH then who knows? I’m not sure what the status is for Parra and Badenhop but they could def help the pen next year. I wouldn’t rule out 2016? The Cubs are going to be a monster but St. Louis is getting older and I’m not really sold on Pittsburgh.

  5. sultanofswaff

    Sampson looked a lot better this time around. He was repeating his mechanics much better. Were it not for a few 2-2 counts that he let get away from him, his pitch count would’ve been lower and he might’ve made it into the 7th. The changeup is a decent pitch. On a good team he is a middle reliever. Let’s hope that’s the case moving forward.

    Brandon Phillips OPS watch—now .711!

    I don’t want to make too much of Hamilton’s night since his OPS is a putrid .572, but slapping the ball thru the 5 1/2 hole as a left handed batter is not something I’ve seen from him before. More of that please.

    • ohiojimw

      Wondering why you see Sampson as a middle reliever versus a 4 or 5 in a strong rotation? He’s muddling through line ups 2~3 times with passable as is. If he tightens up as you suggested wouldn’t it be selling him short and a bit of a waste to limit him to middle relief?

      Thinking back to 2012, would Sampson push (what Leake was then) for the 5th spot in the rotation? (ceding Arroyo a spot because he was the bona fide innings eater)

      • lwblogger2

        I see him as a MR too but can see the upside of a #4 or #5 starter. The change-up and fastball command will be the two keys.

      • ohiojimw

        I like that in the last two games Sampson has been on the verge of being blown off the mound and had the composure and stuff to avoid a meltdown. And some of his big outs have come at the expense of big time hitters. Of course that skill is important in either (any) role.

      • lwblogger2

        He doesn’t seem to get too rattled out there and even smiled a couple times when Barnhart visited him on the mound.

        Speaking of Barnhart… Post below.

    • lwblogger2

      Not only slapping it but slapping it hard through the hole. I didn’t see his HR until the video this morning but everything he hit yesterday was hard and that was nice to see.

  6. peter ponds

    Good overall game. BP quietly having a very good season. Suarez with yet another great game. It seems “old-school Walt” can still make some pretty good deals after all, especially getting Disco for Latos, eh?.

    BTW, It seems Billy didn’t like that article comparing him with Taveras. 😉

    • docmike

      A 4-4 game is nice, but Billy has a long way to go to dig out of the hole he’s made so far this season at the plate…

      • jessecuster44

        Debbie Downer. Maybe this is a start.

    • vegastypo

      BTW, It seems Billy didn’t like that article comparing him with Taveras. 😉

      Very nice.

    • brmreturns

      “BP quietly having a very good season.”

      Sorry, but we must have differing views on ‘very good season’. A wRC+ of 95, BB% nearly 1% below career average (which is horrendously low to begin with), BABIP (.311) nearly 20 points above career average, and most importantly ISO .094. That ISO is lower than Tucker Barnhart.

      • Nick Carrington

        These are all true, and Phillips isn’t a great offensive player anymore. But he is hot right now, so let’s enjoy it! Having a fantastic month of August thus far.

      • Tom Reed

        Agreed. Brandon is on the down slope of his career but what a player and competitor. Few play or have played a better second base than Brandon Phillips. As long as he wants to remain a Red, it’s fine with me.

      • jdx19

        He’s been craft enough on the bases to generate good valu there… a place where we didn’t expect him to generate value.

        But, almost league-average hitting, plus good baserunning and defense equals a pretty good season for an aging 2B-man.

        BP has exceeded my expectations this year, even if they were fairly conservative coming into this year.

      • Nick Carrington

        Exactly how I feel. Solid year for Phillips. Better than I expected. When healthy, he is still providing value.

      • lwblogger2

        Yeah, that’s kind of where I’m at with BP’s year so far too. I’d love to see more doubles and the occasional walk but hey, I’ll take what I’m seeing. I agree with you and Nick.

      • peter ponds

        Please do not be sorry, as differing makes a good debate. But…his BB% is up from last year (still awful) and close to 2013. His OBP is the best since 2011, his K% is career low (a very good 11%), his BABIP is very close to his career numbers and league avg. His power is low at this point and so is his speed, but for his age & defensive value, BP is an asset. Especially hitting all over the lineup.
        He is at 1.9 WAR at this point, which makes his contract at a fair market rate. I really hope all those contracts extensions will play out as good as this one in their final years.

    • jdx19

      I think there was a large chunk of people that hailed the Alfredo Simon trade for Suarez. A lot of folks were second guessing it when Simon was, again, getting lucky in the first 6 weeks of the season… but selling high on Simon was the right call, and Walt made it.

      The man generally gets credit where credit is due, but that just doesn’t happen all that often.

      Suarez, Disco, Choo, and other trades/signing have been universally applauded here… but that doesn’t absolve him on Gregg/Marquis/Bosch-type shenanigans.

      • ohiojimw

        Agreed. WJ seems to be a set piece guy who defaults to hoping for cheap last hurrahs versus seeking more creative solutions when his purse strings are too tight to get a pretty sure large solution.

        But somebody picked Simon out of the pack to begin with and looks to have maybe done the same where Sampson is concerned.

      • lwblogger2

        I really thought Boesch and Satin would contribute positively this year. I really, really did.

  7. james garrett

    Billy is a game changer when he gets on base.Nobody like him in baseball right now.Hopefully he finishes the season on a high note.Latos is the kind of guy you love to hate when he plays on another team. He’s much better then he has pitched this year.

    • peter ponds

      If only Billy could evolve ala Dee Gordon would be huge. Latos’ health is definitely not right. And you’re right, he’s not a very likable guy playing on another team.

      • jdx19

        Agreed. He needs to study Dee’s swing and tendencies this off-season. I think to took Gordon a few years to put it together, but not hitting the ball in the air so often is step #1 for Billy. If he can’t change that, there is no hope for him.

    • lwblogger2

      His velocity was back up around where it’s been most his career. That was good to see. I don’t wish injury issues on anyone, even players I don’t like or don’t like anymore.

  8. vared

    Very nice recap for those of us that have no shot at staying up for even half a west coast game (love the Dallas’ husband reference). Thanks!

    • jdx19

      I failed last night. I’m in mountain time and even I couldn’t stay up until the end!

  9. lwblogger2

    Not sure if I’ve mentioned this before but it is an absolute joy for me to watch Tucker Barnhart behind the plate. He has soft hands, good feet, seems to frame pitches well, has a strong arm with a quick release, has the ability to make himself “big” on balls in the dirt (although he’s not a big guy), and most importantly he seems to have a real good feel for when his pitchers need his help. If his body can hold up to catching 120 games per year or so, I think there’s a decent chance that he may be a starting catcher in MLB for years to come. At worst, I see him as a guy that can be a go-to backup receiver who pitchers just enjoy throwing too. Defensively, Barnhart is my kind of catcher.

    • Tom Gray

      Very good points. TB has developed nicely in 2015. He may be a co-C in 2016 until Mesoraco gets fully 100% comfortable squatting to C again.

      I was C in the 1960’s and early 1970’s. Just amateur, but I can assure TB and the rest that their knees will HURT 50 years from now.

      • lwblogger2

        50 years from now? If they’re anything like a lot of catchers, they’ll start hurting a lot sooner than that. I’m sure you used to have to ice your knees after games in your early 30’s and maybe even your 20’s right? I know I did.

      • Tom Gray

        I was a teenager when I was C. I’m 64 now. My knees hurt. It’s been 50 years for me but they only started hurting a few years ago.

    • Shchi Cossack

      I believe Barnhart could start right now as a LH hitting catching platoon against RH starting pitchers. That role in itself provides well over 100 games a season. I do not foresee Mesoraco having any issues as a starting catcher coming back from the hip impingement surgery, but this coming season could still provide a perfect opportunity to get creative with the utilization of the talent available to the Reds. The big elephant in the room is the question of Cozart’s knee. That was a serious, catastrophic injury..

      • Tom Gray

        Of the 3 serious Reds injuries, Mesoraco has the best chance of playing in the line up on Opening Day 2016. Bailey by mid season. Cozart maybe, who knows.

      • JB WV

        Tom, unless i’m confused (which happens), Red’s media reported a couple of weeks ago that Homer is scheduled to pitch off a mound BEFORE spring training. I know some of our “homers” get overly optimistic, but that would still make you think he’ll be ready sooner than later. Where does this mid season stuff come from? Have you heard something different?

      • Tom Gray

        Nope. I’ll be stunned if Homer pitches by April 2016. Best guess is 12 months from surgery (on May 8th) for his P return, probably on rehab stint in MiLB, and maybe P for Reds in June 2016.

        Remember Homer had elbow surgery in 2014 AND 2015. If rushed back again, he may get injured again.

  10. redmountain

    Lets not get too excited, there is much to be hoped, but only time will tell us what will work and what wont. Suarez is a major leaguer, he is a better alternative at SS or 2b base than several of the teams in the Central can put on the field.