There’s an episode of Cheers where Norm has an interview for his dream job as a beer sampler at a local brewery. At the bar before the interview, Rebecca Howe tells Norm a story of her blowing an interview so badly she ended up singing knick-knack-paddy-whack-give-a-dog-a-bone. Rebecca’s story gets stuck in Norm’s head. When Norm met the president of the beer company well, the results were predictable, if humorous.

The moral: overthinking and the power of suggestion about disaster can cause serial repetition of that disaster.

I believe that phenomenon, although less funny in this context, is the best explanation of Reds pitchers continuing to groove offerings to Eric Thames. Knick knack paddy whack.

In Monday’s recap, I joked about hoping the Reds that night hadn’t scored all the runs they were going to in April. It was a joke, baseball gods, a joke.

Cincinnati Reds 0 • Milwaukee Brewers 2 

Box Score || Win % || Reds Pitcher Stats || Reds Hitting Stats

Tyler Mahle has started four games in 2018. During his 21 innings, the Reds have scored exactly one run. Today, he gave up four walks (one intentional) and struck out six Brewers.

Mahle’s highlight – possibly the best pitch of his season, or career – was in the fourth inning against Christian Yelich. The Reds had walked Thames to load the bases with two outs. Mahle started Yelich’s at bat by throwing three balls. After that, Mahle didn’t back down or give in. He threw three fastballs 95-95-97 mph, with Yelich swinging at the final pitch. Mahle’s last fastball, that painted the outside corner, was clocked at 96.8 mph, a full 1.3 mph faster than any other pitch Mahle has thrown this year. Yelich missed it.

The Reds offense struggled again today. Now 19 innings without a run. 4 shutouts in 18 games. Some of that is the loss of Eugenio Suarez and Scott Schebler to injury. Some of it is veterans like Joey Votto and Adam Duvall not living up to their career numbers. Zack Cozart’s production last year was huge. A big chunk of it though is lousy, terrible, soft at bats.

Since Suarez was injured, the combination of Cliff Pennington, Phil Gosselin and Alex Blandino have had 51 plate appearances. They’ve managed 3 singles and 3 walks and the rest outs. That’s a line of .058/.117/.058.

Take the first inning (please). Jesse Winker led off by lining a double over Christian Yelich in centerfield (Winker power alert), a ball that gets mis-played into three bases. With Winker on third and no outs, Jose Peraza swung lunged at the first pitch, way out of the strike zone and tapped it to the third baseman. After the Brewers walked Votto, Duvall tapped a pitch back to the mound. Then Scooter Gennett popped out. No runs.

Knick knack paddy whack.

29 Responses

  1. David

    What did Price do wrong? He’s got the roster that the Front Office gave him. Schebler and Suarez are hurt.
    We can’t trade Billy Hamilton, he’s a Red Forever.

    And Peraza is the shortstop of the Future….Today!

    Really. This is what it is.

    • Dewey Roberts

      Personally, I think Reds fans underestimated what Cozart’s leaving would do to the lineup. He usually hit second and did well. Peraza— not so much.

      • Dave Roemerman

        The thought was he would regress and had a career year, plus he was an awfully expensive guy (18 million) on a rebuilding club that targeted 2019/20. Peraza or maybe Senzel was supposed to be the guy long term.

        But yeah, with Peraza pounding gophers every AB and the trio at third (if you call it that with Blandino buried behind two career backups), he’s sorely missed.

    • sezwhom

      Price is bunt happy and it seldom works. He gives up outs all the time. That’s on him.

  2. citizen54

    Anyone know when today’s game starts? I Hope Thames doesn’t hit another two run homer like he did yesterday and the Reds lose 2-0.

  3. Jeff Morris

    Again….for the Millionth Time, Owner Bob, GM Dick, and Manager Bryan—You are NEVER going to score many runs, very very few, with hitters like Peraza, Pennington, Gosselin, Hamilton, and obvisiouly the Pitchers spot. Hitters like Votto and Duvall are not hitting up to their standard, but note that Votto, Duvall, and Gennett (especially Voto) are not going to get good pitches to hit, when other teams pitchers can pitch around them to get to the bad bad hitters.

  4. Sliotar

    4th time shutout in 18 games for the Reds.

    Most HRs allowed by any MLB pitching staff.

    Worst record in league.

    Not often does a MLB team commit 3 errors and win, but that’s what happened today.

    Adding back in Suarez and Schebler will help by what…5 WAR? Moving up to say, 63 wins from 58 and avoiding a 100-loss season?

    If this doesn’t turn around soon, a case could be made to play kids every single inning, including platooning/rotating Scooter, giving Votto a few days off, and count on getting no. 1 pick. (Miami is pesky to play against so far).

    Hopefully, Mahle getting every start he can is part of the good that comes from this current train wreck. As that Yelich confrontation showed, Mahle is raw enough still to get into a lot of trouble. But, his stuff is so swing-and-miss good, he can get himself out of the jam, as well.

    Not many of the young Reds SPs can say that yet.

    • Mike Adams

      As I said on an earlier RLN blog, if the Reds don’t get their house in order, the National League is going to trade them for a triple A franchise somewhere.

      • Jeff Reed

        The Reds are not going anywhere. It would be like moving the Green Bay Packers.

    • Dave Roemerman

      The plus side is that WAR only correlates about 70-90% to actual wins (r=.68-.92 in studies I’ve seen). Maybe we squeeze a sixth or even seventh win in there? Price will blow that, I’m sure. Sad all around.

  5. Jack

    Steve banging his head on the laptop repeatedly.

  6. TyGuy85

    At this point, I’m absolutely stunned multiple heads have not rolled.

  7. Dave Roemerman

    I love that the “not great stuff but throws strikes” guy can hit 97. Maybe some of the guys with “great stuff” (Reed, Stephenson, Finnegan) could take a few notes. All of the greats, minus a few Randy Johnson/Nolan Ryan freaks, save a few ticks. And Ryan wasn’t much of a strike thrower (all-time leader in walks). Mahle is going to be great, as is Garrett and possibly Romano (very good at least). We should be running them all out there every five days…sigh.

    • Jeff Reed

      You are correct. The pitching has been a glimmer of hope in the dismal start to this season. The starting five should be Bailey, Castillo, Romano, Mahle and Garrett. It’s time to give these pitchers concentrated experience to get established in this last year of the rebuild. Finnegan and Reed should be in the bullpen or at Louisville.

  8. turbobuckeye

    The scary thing is that the Reds’ run differential, which is a better indicator of future performance than their record, is the worst in the majors.

  9. sezwhom

    When you’re 12 games under .500 before the end of April, there’s not much hope. I honestly can’t believe Price is still Manager. Worst team in baseball. I’m sick of this crap.

  10. The_next_janish

    Well so far the recaps have been the most enjoy part of this season. Tip of the hat to the RLN team for making the best of a potentially historically bad season

  11. Mark Lang

    To keep this season from being a complete crash and burn, we ought to make lemonade – dedicate this season to anemia awareness or something.

  12. Michael E

    So, who do we pick first in the 2019 draft? Hope there is a can’t-miss stud hitter (or pitcher) there, and they’re starting in Cincy at age 20 or 21.

  13. Jack

    Well it’s over. But they replaced him with Riggleman. Oh well at least they did something. I like that Darwin is the pitching coach.

  14. Jack

    I’m eager to see tomorrow’s lineup and see if there is any player shakeup. Eager to see what Darwin does with Garrett and the staff.

  15. big5ed

    Darwin probably knows the young pitchers better than anyone.

    My calculations yesterday were that, aside from Gallardo, Rainey & Weiss, the team ERA is 4.46, or about a full point lower than with them. I think offense is the real problem.

    • Dave Roemerman

      I’m glad to see this post, and thanks for it. I made a comment some time ago about that (90 innings in 10 games, 8 runs from Gallardo = worse ERA than it should be as a team). Nice to see someone actually run the math – 4.46 isn’t great, but we’ve had a few rough outings by Castillo to inflate that, as well. It certainly isn’t bad enough to have led to this start alone (add in a terrible offense so far, you’re right). That makes me feel better about moving forward with the young guys and 2019.

  16. Keith

    If you like Price, you’ll love Riggleman.

  17. big5ed

    Who knows what it means that they will hire a permanent replacement “later in the year.” I would rather have the guy in place by August or so, to give him some familiarity with the team, including the coaching staff, going into the off season.

    • MBridges

      I agree as long as they do a REAL search and not just hand it to some insider. This includes Larkin. I love the guy, but can he manage? And I’d hate for his reputation to be tarnished.