Final — 13 innings R H E
Kansas City Royals (72-46) 3 12 0
Cincinnati Redlegs (51-66) 1 5 1
W: Medlen (1-0) L: Mattheus (1-4) S: Holland (27)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score

The Good
–Raisel Iglesias continues to impress on the mound. Tonight, he tossed seven shutout innings, allowing just three hits and one walk. So good. Too bad the bullpen couldn’t get him the win.

–Eugenio Suarez hit a first-inning home run that looked like it would be the winning margin for a long time.

–No, Billy Hamilton can’t hit. But sheesh, what an awesome glove. In the top of the 11th, his spectacular defense turned a potential triple into an out at second base. Hard to describe, but go see if you can find a replay.

–Dylan Axelrod came on in a tough spot in the top of the 13th, and escaped without permitting further damage. That’s a good thing.

The Bad
–Your Redlegs are fifteen games under .500. Ugh.

–Five hits in thirteen innings. Not good.

–Aroldis Chapman — who hadn’t pitched in six days — couldn’t be used in the eighth inning of a one-run game because he’s the “closer.” Kill me now.

Honestly, I think Bryan Price isn’t an awful manager, when compared to his contemporaries around the league. Overall, I think he gets a bit of a bad rap. But his rigid use of traditional bullpen roles drives me up the wall. Especially so, when you consider that he’s been quoted as saying he’d use Chapman for more than one inning. He knows better. Which makes it worse.

–Then again, Chapman blew the save by allowing a leadoff homer to Ben Zobrist in the top of the ninth. It was his first blown save in his last 57 chances at home.

–Marlon Byrd: 0-5 with four strikeouts. I’m not anti-Byrd, and he’s been better than most Reds fans think in 2015, but if the Reds allow him to get enough plate appearances to permit that 2016 option to vest…well, that would be a disaster, frankly.

–I really don’t want to write about Ryan Mattheus. But he made a terrible throw on a sac bunt in the 13th inning and gave the Royals the lead. Then he was late getting to first on a grounder to second a few minutes later, permitting the third KC run to score. Mattheus didn’t distinguish himself tonight, as he was unable to retire a batter.

–Then again, we can blame the bullpen, but the Reds offense didn’t score a single run after the first inning. Hard to win when the offense is so punchless.

Mattheus isn’t an awful pitcher (is he?). I just wish he were better.

Not-So-Random Thoughts
–Tough loss. Iglesias was dominant. Get used to this as the Reds “reboot.”

–Honestly, I think the Reds go to extra innings or have a rain delay (or both) every single time I am scheduled to write this recap.

Add Homer Bailey to that group, and it makes you want to be a little optimistic, eh?

–Johnny Cueto didn’t pitch, but he returned to Great American Ballpark for the first time since his trade to Kansas City. Reds fans gave him a nice ovation in the second inning. I miss that guy.

–We always knew that Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto would be in the starting rotation of a World Series contender.

–Another former Red, Ryan Madson, pitched for KC tonight. I really don’t have anything against Madson — this wasn’t his fault — but he is the reason that Aroldis Chapman never got to be a starter. I’ll never forgive him.

–If you don’t love Ay-yoo-hay-nee-oh Suarez, despite his faults, we can’t be friends.

–Each team used eight pitchers tonight.

–In the top of the ninth, as Chapman was in the process of blowing the save, the Reds executed a fundamentally poor rundown between third and home. I mean, if the 14u girls’ softball team that I coach had performed a rundown like this, I would have been upset.

Essentially, Suarez — I still love that guy — ran a Royal towards home in the run down. It’s Baseball 101: you don’t run the guy towards home, you throw it, and run him back towards third. Then, Frazier tried to apply the tag, but the umpire called him safe, temporarily giving KC a 2-1 lead. But the runner (Lorenzo Cain) didn’t touch the plate. Instead of just going ahead and tagging him out and removing all doubt, Todd Frazier tried to convince the umpire he had tagged him. Kind of a brain-dead play all the way around.

Somehow, the Reds won the replay challenge and survived the ninth. But it could have been much worse.

–The Reds actually won two replay challenges tonight. Can’t remember that happening before.

–Frustrating game. So, instead of thinking about it, go read my latest piece (this is an order) over at Cincinnati Magazine, reminiscing over the last good Reds team.

59 Responses

  1. RedAlert

    Nice recap Chad – well stated ! Can’t even imagine how hard it is for all you guys to keep writing about this disaster of a year for Reds fans. Thanks though, you guys do awesome work !

  2. wildwestlv

    40% of the rotation looks set for years to come, but if this lineup doesn’t dramatically change over the winter, get ready for another season of more of the same. And by, “dramatically change”, I’m not just talking about the return of a healthy Mesoraco and Cozart.

    • sultanofswaff

      40%? More like 80% when you include Stephenson and Bailey. That’s a pretty comforting thought moving forward and is what has me excited that we can compete in 2016, not 2017 like many suggest.

      Moving Chapman for a legit position player (CF?) would go a long way toward realizing that goal.

    • lwblogger2

      It isn’t like the players are bad. It’s more that they just don’t have a good mix of guys who get on base and are above league average as hitters. Guys like Bruce, Byrd, and Frazier are awfully similar as hitters. Then there’s Hamilton and Pena. When a guy like BP is really and honestly the best option to hit leadoff, you’re going to have some struggles. BP is a nice player and I like him but he really should be hitting 6th or 7th in a good lineup.

      NL Average without including pitchers is .260. Frazier hits .257 (close), Bruce hits .242, Byrd hitting .237, Hamilton hitting .226. The only one of them that has a good BB% is Bruce at 10.3% (league average is 7.7%) but his low batting average means he is right about league average as far as OBP at .321. Bruce’s power allows him to have a wRC+ of 107, and Frazier’s power allows him a wRC+ of 122. The two of them along w/ Suarez and Votto are the only guys who have a wRC+ of over 100 (league average).

      • ohiojimw

        Good explanation of the mismatched pieces.

        Hamilton’s failure to blossom offensively is perhaps the greatest disappointment and an underlying cause of the offensive funk.

        The accountability should fall as heavily on those who thought he was the solution as on the player himself.

    • Michael

      Totally agree. Have been saying it for a while, our pitching is not the issue. The issue is our terrible offense. Nothing seems to be changing on that aspect again this year, like it did the last 3 years. Same faces, all a year older.

  3. Littleleo1

    Yes thanks Chad…and all of you regulars who contribute to this great blog. You are all appreciated !

  4. pinson343

    Great effort, Chad, after yet another long, frustrating loss.

    No point to talking about an offense that can’t score, but I wonder how many consecutive extra innings the Reds have now gone without scoring a run ? They’ve lost their last 5 in extras, and most of those have been long, very long.

    • pinson343

      Correction: The Reds have lost their last 6 in extras.

  5. Pooter

    Tonight was a sad night. I had a feeling in my gut telling me we’d find a way to lose it. Good to see Iglesias pitch well. Marlon got the dubious Golden Sombrero. Fyi, former Red Adam Dunn is tied for fourth on the all-time Golden Sombrero list.

  6. pinson343

    Chad on Price: “But his rigid use of traditional bullpen roles drives me up the wall.” This is my main problem with him too, and I don’t have many others, but it’s a BIG problem.
    His refusal to use Chapman on the road except for save situations led to Chapman’s coming in to pitch for the first time in 6 days, and he was ill-prepared to pitch in a high leverage situation tonight. The Reds tv broadcasters were concerned before he’d even thrown a single pitch.

    He had nothing on his fastball when facing the first two batters, and the fatal pitch of course was a slider he hung to Zobrist, the first batter he faced.

    I know that Chapman may have hung a slider to Zobrist anyway, he’s human. But that’s not the point. It’s about giving your team the best chance to win. I just don’t see how Price does that.

    • ohiojimw

      Morales (LH batter hitting .345 with runners on base) facing a struggling Hoover in the 8th with the game in the balance and Chapman not even up. Did Price not know or not care that Yost was sitting on Morales as his ace to ph there? Of course Hoover survived and Chappie hung the slider in the 9th so that gives Price some cover.

  7. pinson343

    Chad: “Mattheus isn’t an awful pitcher (is he?). I just wish he were better.” He’s not an awful pitcher, he has decent stuff and control, but last night he was a lazy, indifferent pitcher, and he should be DFA’d for that. Please, some accountability.

    For those who missed it, two runners reached base against Mattheus in the losing 13th inning because of sheer laziness on his part. On a bunt by Medlen (their pitcher at that point) that was an easy out, Mattheus strolls to the ball and bends over slowly to make it a close play, and then makes a terrible throw to Votto, who’s only a few feet away. And another batter reaches base when Mattheus doesn’t cover first base in time on a bouncer to BP.

    This was laziness on display right there on the field with the game on the line – if that’s tolerated, can we believe that all the Reds players are doing their best to prepare for every game ? DFA him now.

    • MrRed

      The same thought was going through my mind when watching that debacle. This team can’t afford to have players who display such indifference and just bad fundamentals. There are a lot of young, hungry pitchers who could take his spot and they certainly don’t need to be watching Mattheus showing “how it’s done” up in the big leagues.

    • sultanofswaff

      I couldn’t disagree more. Sure, the throw was off, but look at Votto’s feet. He had his left foot on the bag instead of his right. THAT’S lazy…….too much watching Phillips do the same garbage. If Joey’s right foot is on the bag and he’s standing in an athletic position instead of straight up and down, there’s a great chance he’ll have that extra stride length in order to reach the ball. ASSUME NOTHING!

      • pinson343

        Then they were BOTH lazy, Sultan, which is even worse. Mattheus made the play close by taking a stroll in the park.

        And you’re right Votto watches BP way too much, in particular trying to do things that BP can do and he shouldn’t even be trying.

      • ohiojimw

        I agree that in real time I thought Votto’s setup looked awkward; but, Matheus throw was so bad that it also went behind BP who was trying to back up.

        I played some 1B in the day; and, throws like that were my absolute least favorite thing. I’ve always marvelled at how the MLB guys seem to handle them so well. Last night the Reds looked more like my old high school team or Pony League even.

    • lwblogger2

      Yeah, I’m starting to think his stuff and production isn’t what ended up getting him DFAed from LAA. They seemed like it was a numbers game and they were sorry to lose him but there had to be a reason they picked him as the odd man out.

      • ohiojimw

        Is it politically correct to say head case? His mental errors lead to physical problems. Mr Murphy seems to always be sitting on his shoulder.

  8. pinson343

    Speaking of lazy game preparation, Chapman had a good pickoff move when he arrived from Cuba. Picked off 4 runners one season. What’s happened to it ? It’s disappeared out of indifference. Cain stole 2nd and then 3rd without a throw, Pena had no chance. On the steal of 3rd, Chapman didn’t even give Cain a look.

    BP shrugged his shoulders as in: “Hey, I was close to 2nd.”

  9. pinson343

    Congratulations to Iglesias on a great performance. He’s just baffling hitters right now. But a real shame he didn’t get the W. Starting pitchers do care about that, a lot.

    • lwblogger2

      As fans we don’t put a ton of stock in that “W” for a starting pitcher but the players, especially starting pitchers, sure do. You nailed that one.

  10. sezwhom

    Honestly, I think Bryan Price isn’t an awful manager…

    Debatable. He won’t be back next year. His use of Chapman is awful. Props to Iglesias though. Star in the making.

    • Evan armstrong

      What leads you to believe Price won’t be back?

    • Hotto4Votto

      I agree, I don’t think Price is awful. I’m not sure he’s that great either. I do know he’s been hamstrung by injuries, and poor roster construction. The bullpen and bench with the way they were built has left him little good options too often.

      With that being said, the bullpen management (as mentioned above), the reliance on giving away outs through the sacrifice bunt, allowing young players to rot on the bench when called up (Lutz, Soto, YRod, Waldrop to varying degrees) and his communication (with the media and his players) are definitely strikes against.

      I do like that he has played with the batting order, been willing to bat Hamilton 8th. And I feel he’s been willing to try something different when things feel like they’re in a rut, something I wished his predecessor did more often.

      But overall, he’s not been given a full team for a long enough period of time to determine how he is as a manager. Which is why I think he may get one more chance.

      • jazzmanbbfan

        @HOTTO: I have to agree with pretty much everything you wrote. I think Price should get another year but his bullpen (mis)management really has surprised me along with at least a sense that for all of his talk when hired about accountability, that hasn’t really shown itself to be true. I’m also guessing that everyone who thought Brook Jacoby was the problem as hitting coach should be choking on their words now. It’s the hitters, not the coach.

      • CP

        I don’t 100% know what people were expecting regarding accountability (benching? a good tongue lashing?), but it’s really hard to be hold guys “accountable” if there are no alternative options. It seems like real accountability is controlled by the front office.

      • pinson343

        CP: From everything I’ve read and heard, the manager can do a certain amount about accountability but it works best when the players hold each other accountable. Barry Larkin held his teammates accountable. Greg Vaughn was the leader in that area in 1999. No one talked back to Vaughn, and he ran a players’ court which levied fines. Orlando Cabrera played that role in 2010.

        In Matthheus’ case last night, which was really flagrant, I think it is up to the front office to do something. I said DFA him. Or send him to Louisville for a stretch.

      • lwblogger2

        @CP – I’ve made that point until I’ve been blue in the face. The best way to hold players accountable is to deny playing time. When you have no other viable options to take over that playing time then you have lost your main weapon in holding players accountable because you really can’t bench them.

      • CP

        I like the idea of player-controlled accountability. I think in practice it is probably extremely difficult to pull off, and most teams don’t have the types of personalities that can handle it. Not many high performing “elder statesmen” exist around the league any more. Sounds great when teams win, but when teams lose, it’s one of those types of stories the media no longer writes about.

        Also, you wonder how effective it would really be on a team like this? Barry Larkin played on some really bad teams in his career with the Reds. We just remember the good times.

  11. DHud

    I left essentially the same thoughts (complaints) about the rundown on the game thread.

    I shut the game off at that point because I was so disgusted

  12. Paul

    “–Tough loss. Iglesias was dominant. Get used to this as the Reds ‘reboot.'”

    Get used to this?? You could replace Iglesias with Bailey, Cueto, Leake, et al in that line you wrote and that’s a recap we’ve seen fifty times in the last five years. Starting pitcher was dominant but the Reds can’t score any runs from him.

    I’m not sure that will take much getting used to.

    • Paul

      …can’t score any runs *for him. Shouldn’t type before my first cup of coffee.

  13. jessecuster44

    I don’t see how a good organization allows Price to come back. There were some bad fundamentals on display last night, and while the players physically blew a few plays, Price is responsible for the culture the players work in every day.

    Example: This is not the first time Mattheus has been late covering first.

    Couple in Price’s misuse of Chapman (would it have been hard to get him some work in on Saturday’s 8-3 loss?), as well his dinosaur thinking re: the sac bunt, and he just isn’t the person that should be in charge of the team.

    • WVRedlegs

      Price ain’t the problem Jesse.
      The mismanagement starts in the front office. Joe Torre couldn’t win a division title with a roster that Price has had to deal with for 2 years straight. This is Jocketty’s 8th season as GM and this is the best product he can put on the field? Terrible, absolutely terrible front office management. Can’t build a bullpen, can’t build a bench, can’t build any depth at AAA, persistant problems getting a LF, bad contract decisions, and they have taken a talented team and reduced it to a 4th place in the division team. Two years in a row for a 4th place finish. At least the Brewers are being pro-active and ushered out an old-school jurassic GM. The only team in the NL Central with a jurassic GM are the Reds now.
      Will this winter be like last with Jocketty saying they want more players with high OBP and strike out less, and then go out and sign more players like Marlon Byrd, Brennan Boesch, Chris Dominguez?

      • jessecuster44

        Absolutely those are bigger problems. They are more worrisome problems, and you have articulated them well.

        However, given the chicken salad that Price has had to work with, he’s turned it into chickensh… less tasty chicken salad.

        I firmly believe that there are many other mlb managers would be doing a better job than Price. Price is not, by any definition, a capable mlb manager. He was overwhelmed in April, which led to his 77 f-bomb tirade, and since then, he has regressed overall. Kudos to him for batting Billy 9th, but after that?

        The Chapman issue is ridiculous. Even if we go by the closer rules, there’s no supportable reason not to give Chappy regular work. Unless Chappy is hurt – which, given the Reds’ comical medical philosophy, could be the case.

      • jay johnson

        Great point about Walt.He needs to go.But Price needs to leave first.Last night 3 things support both of them departing.Probably 10 but I’ll point out 3.
        1)Walts signings.KC’s bullpen consisted of at least 2 off season free agent signings.Madson and Morales.Both have ERA’s under 2 have been terrific and were very cheap.Walt signed Marquis and Gregg.
        2)Iglesias swinging away after showing bunt with Pena running.Where’s that been all year?Never once has our beloved manager attempted that play before this year.He has no idea how to get the best out of his players.But the players get the blame.
        Time after time teams are setting up in exaggerated shifts against us and we continue to hit right into there strengths.One time all season I have seen Bruce,Votto,etc attempt to lay down a bunt to the uncovered side of the field.1 freakin time.Thats an almost automatic man on first.Too easy and they have the skills to drop down a bunt.I think.
        3)Prices continued misuse of Chapman.When he entered the game in the 9th(2 batters later than he should have)he obviously wasnt right.His first 2 fastballs were 96 mph and no where near the plat.Price calls for a slider.Boom.How as a former pitching coach do you call for his third best pitch when he hasnt even gotten warm yet.At the time I turned to my son and said”Zobrists going to take him deep”.Just awful.
        Blame is constantly put on the players not coming thru in situations,but imagine if those situations were made easier.This current roster would be a .500 team or better,if Bochy or Madden or many other guys were at the helm.

      • jessecuster44

        “imagine if those situations were made easier” A good manager can do this often.

        Well said, Jay.

    • Evan armstrong

      You are assuming that Walt has an issue with how Price manages the team and uses the bullpen.

      • jessecuster44

        We all know what happens when we assume.

  14. peter ponds

    Thank You Chad, my favorite Recap writer. Always enjoy your Titanic Struggles even if the Reds Lose. But, today was certainly a day for Milton and a big TOS.

    Encouraging outing by Iglesias. Now, if they could develop hitters as they do with Pitchers…

  15. wizeman

    everybody just waiting on the word with stephenson

  16. lwblogger2

    I didn’t make the ending but I guess that’s a good thing. I got through 11, missing a bit of the early action including the Reds’ highlights (Byrd’s catch and Suarez’ HR).

    I’m in very nice seats for tonight’s game (section 132) which is a nice change from the seats in my package (section 417, not bad). I’m afraid there’s a good chance we’re gonna get wet tonight though.

  17. james garrett

    Great recap Chad and everything you said I agree with.Its a sad time to be a Reds fan but I will remain one forever.

  18. sultanofswaff

    Really poor at bat by Frazier in the 6th. Votto just walked to put two men on, Volquez’s pitch count over 100, and Todd check swings on the very first pitch. Talk about giving an at-bat away.

    I tell ya, if we move Chapman in the offseason, I’m not so sure Hoover is my closer. Outside of the home runs (which is probably an aberration), Jumbo’s peripherals are better than JJ and as good if not better than the vaunted arms in the Royals bullpen. Diaz would get the first crack if I’m calling the shots.

    • pinson343

      Frazier has had a real lot of poor ABs over the last couple of months. In his own words, “I’m always aggressive but sometimes I’m not in a hurry and sometimes I hurry, which is a problem.” Lately he’s been hurrying a lot.

    • pinson343

      I don’t want Hoover as closer either. He had to pitch around Morales last night, and if he didn’t, another game losing blast off him was a strong possibility. He’s tough on RHed hitters but right now good LHed hitters are killing him.

      Maybe Jumbo but he has to be more consistent. He gave up a lot of HRs in the first half.

    • lwblogger2

      Frazier is a pure guess hitter and when he guesses wrong, it is really ugly.

  19. Tom Foster

    Hi Chad,

    Has it ever been addressed as to why Chapman can decide that he wants to be in the bullpen? Isn’t that the manager’s decision? Sounds like the inmates were running the asylum. You do what’s best for the team. I seem to recall the same thing happening with Votto a few years ago. Does this happen with a lot of teams? Just curious…

    • pinson343

      At the point that Chad refers to (the Madsen injury), Dusty made it clear that he wanted Chapman to close. WJ of course had to go along with it. It wasn’t until a following year that Chapman publicly stated his preference for closing.

    • pinson343

      “I seem to recall the same thing happening with Votto a few years ago.” What same thing was that ?

      • ohiojimw

        Maybe the question of whether Votto would move to LF to open a spot at 1B for Yonder Alonso. JV was pretty clear that he thought it was up to Alonso to learn an alternate position as a recall. And I believe JV had just won the GG back then

      • docmike

        Votto >>>> Alonso

        Asking Votto to learn LF instead of Alonso would have been an insult. If you’re a minor leaguer, and the only position you play is blocked at the major league level by one of the best hitters in the game, you better be working on learning a new position during the off-season.

  20. pinson343

    I didn’t know that Hamilton hurt his shoulder when making that spectacular play in the 11th inning.

    • ohiojimw

      Enquirer says jammed shoulder; status day to day. More info expected later in the day

  21. pinson343

    I didn’t see but I read that Reds fans gave Cueto a big ovation. Nice.

    • Steve Mancuso

      Yes, standing ovation. The Reds recognized Cueto in between innings for a charity program he’s involved with. Scoreboard video focused on Cueto in Royals dugout. He waved. Crowd stood and applauded for a while. Nice recognition.

  22. big5ed

    The ugly rundown was caused when Brandon Phillips, who fielded the ball, threw too early, rather than running right at the trapped base-runner, as we were all taught at age 9. The rest of them didn’t play it well, either, but at least they got the out.

    Mattheus is bad defensively. Frankly, so is Votto. That play was doomed from the start, given who was involved. And, as long as we are picking on people for standing around defensively and not playing their position, Bruce should have come in more strongly to back up the play, and might have had a shot at home. In one game–and I know it is a long season and the Reds are out of it–Phillips, Votto, Bruce and Mattheus all got lazy with their footwork.

    I wish Price would allow a reliever who has been effective to pitch more than one inning. That way, in a long game, the Reds don’t have to count on 6 straight relievers to be effective to win the game.

    • ohiojimw

      Frazier did the same thing last week in I believe it was SanDiego as Phillips did last night when they had a guy caught between 1st and 2nd on some sort of play. He ran half way across the infield then threw behind the runner (to votto) before he was between the runner and a base. Votto then ran the guy toward 2nd but the guy escaped and got back to first because when Votto threw to 2nd, nobody had filled behind him at 1B.

      This play was more complicated than last night because there was a runner at 3B so the Reds had to cover all 4 corners. However if the first man makes the Little League level play (not to mention not hustling to the base he just threw toward) they almost certainly get an out.

      Here are two prime examples of basic plays fundamentally bungled inside a week for those who would hold B.Price blameless in this mess of a season.

      One question I have about the play at 1B in the 12th last night was why Votto was staying at home all the way? Pitcher batting; almost certainly a bunt was coming. Could a missed signal or misunderstanding of the coverage at least partially explain why Matheus was so slow to get over to the ball?