Today, Cody Reed made his second consecutive start against the powerhouse Chicago Cubs lineup.  In his last start at GABP, he gave up 7 ER in 4 IP.  Some of that was perhaps Adam Duvall’s fault.  Today, Reed gave up 8 R (4 earned) in 4 IP at the Friendly Confines. Does that qualify as progress?

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BOX SCORE | FANGRAPHS WIN PERCENTAGE | SOLDIERS

The Good
-Watching baseball in America on Independence Day is one of life’s best things.  No matter the outcome, today was a good day.

-Joey Votto got on base three times, with 2 singles and a BB.  He’s doing that a lot lately.  He has a .477 OBP since the start of June.  He also had a heads-up base running play on a missed “neighborhood play,” advancing to 3rd and allowing Duvall’s fly ball to medium-deep right field to score the first run.

-Zack Cozart doubled and homered.  That is encouraging, given that he’s been scuffling for awhile, batting only .200/.296/.364 over the last month.  In the 7th, he went back-to-back with Eugenio Suarez, which cut the Reds deficit from 10-1 to 10-4.

The Bad
-Cody Reed has drawn the short straw, with half of his MLB starts coming against the Cubs.  Regardless, he hasn’t helped himself.  In the first inning, he hit rookie Willson Contreras on the foot with a pitch in a 1-2 count with 2 outs in the inning.  If he gets Contreras, he saves himself 3 runs.  Overall, his command has been pretty poor just about every game.  He’s got the stuff, he just needs to put it together.  There will be better days.  Worrying about a 23 year old after 4 starts is not something I’d advise.

-Brandon Phillips made an error on a somewhat routine grounder as he ranged to his left.  The next batter, Kris Bryant, homered.  Bryant leads all position players in the NL in Wins Above Replacement (WAR).  Phillips now has 10 errors on the season.  He hasn’t had 10 errors in a season in over a decade.

-Eugenio Suarez let a routine grounder go through his legs in the 4th with 2 outs and the bases loaded.  That allowed two runs to score.  Suarez has 14 errors on the season.  According to the Error Runs (ErrR) component of Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), his errors have allowed about 5 more opponent runs than an average 3rd baseman.

-The Reds bullpen, while not giving up an exorbitant amount of runs (for them), allowed a lot of base runners.  Another bad performance.

Somewhat Random-ish Thoughts
-The Reds are now 0-5 in games I recap, if memory serves.

-Today, the Reds announced the firing of Mark Riggins as pitching coach.  Read about it here. This likely won’t matter much, but I think people just wanted blood with how historically bad this staff has been.

-It can’t feel good to be Reed, struggling to find your command and your infielders are booting the ball all over the field.  Or your outfielders are having balls carom off their jaws.

-If you lower the IP requirements to fit Reed into the sample, he began the day 3rd in the NL in K/9, behind Jose Fernandez and Max Scherzer.  At least that is something.

-The Cubs reached base 8 times via BB or HBP. The non-Votto Reds reached base 0 times via BB or HBP.

-Perhaps Willson Contreras stole an “L” from Welington Castillo.  A victimless crime, to be sure.

Tweet of the Game
ToTG

StatCast Update
Today’s game featured the following hard-hit balls:

Addison Russell, 1st inning RBI single, 101 mph
Jason Heyward, 1st inning RBI double, 105 mph
Kris Bryant, 2nd inning homer, 107 mph
Willson Contreras, 2nd inning homer, 108 mph
Joey Votto, 6th inning single, 105 mph
Anthony Rizzo, 6th inning single, 102 mph
Addison Russell, 6th inning homer, 101 mph
Jay Bruce, 8th inning single, 106 mph
Jason Hammel, 8th inning single, 104 mph

(Cozart’s homer was 93mph, Suarez’s homer had a StatCast malfunction)

Every single ball hit at 100mph or harder this game was a hit. Hitting the ball hard is important. Hard hit balls turn into hits more often than balls not hit hard. The magnitude of the importance of hitting the ball hard can be seen with this chart:

exitvelo

Brandon Phillips has a .566 BA and a 1.200 SLG on pitches hit 100+ mph.  That’s basically worst on the team.  Worst in the majors is Lucas Duda, still with a .417 BA.  Hit the ball hard consistently and you’ll be a productive hitter.

Tomorrow’s Game
For those of you “looking forward to” tomorrow’s game, it can be found same time and same place.  Brandon Finnegan will square off against John Lackey.