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Thread: Is it the Bullpen or Catching?

  1. #1
    Passion for the game Team Clark's Avatar
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    Is it the Bullpen or Catching?

    I know I discussed this last year but to be honest...not much has changed. At least for the better.

    I have charted 12 Reds games. I've watched another 7 or 8. What strikes me most is the way the Reds bullpen staff attacks the hitters. Or should I say "approaches". What they are doing is not exactly "attacking". The starters, who have had pretty good success really work off the plate. Meaning they are getting guys out by pitching out of the zone when ahead in the count. Pretty simple theory. When applied consistently you will get overall good results. We knew Harang and Arroyo were quality guys. Lohse has stepped it up, IMO.

    What I CAN NOT figure out is the sequence of pitches when the Bullpen is called upon. This is the type of thing an advance scout would notice and have posted on his team's bulletin board. Every pitcher in the pen throws nearly the exact same sequence of pitches in identical situations. The Reds bullpen and even Arroyo from time to time are as predictable as they come. I have several theories on this if you will permit me.

    1) The pitchers in the pen are simply not capable of making any adjustments or hitting spots THROUGHOUT the strike zone. Maybe the talent just is not there???

    2) The Reds coaching staff is not picking up on these tendencies and don't care to evaluate. Possibly they have people telling them and choose to blow it off. Big egos in Baseball. No one is allowed to know more than you.

    3) The Reds advance staff (Pete Mackanin) is not able to pinpoint an accurate game plan to attack opposing hitters, therefore, leaving the Reds pitchers to fend for themselves. Pete cost the Reds at least 6-8 Wins last year in my humble estimation. Probably more. I'm just being nice.


    4) The bullpen arms lack the "quality" of pitches to get hitters out. The starters thus far, even Milton occasionally, have executed well. Harang, Arroyo, Lohse and Belisle all have two "quality" repeatable pitches. Even if you know it's coming quality pitches can be difficult to hit. I just don't see that in the Reds pen. Saarloos, Santos and Coffey are so predictable I was able to guess correctly on 38 of 42 pitches during one stretch. (I promise I didn't look at the signs) If I can do it I'm sure the Heltons, Hawpes, Berkmans and anybody else that has a clue can too.

    5) The Reds catchers are incapable of thinking through an entire lineup. It's not easy back there but you have to really grab hold of the responsibilities. You have to remember how Berkman reacted to your sequence in the 1st and 4th innings to help set him up in the 6th and 9th. From the looks of what I have in front of me the sequences are not that much diff't. They are not that much diff't from game to game or series to series. If EE is having a fielding slump why are you calling "pull" pitches instead of working away and trying to get the hitter to hit to Gonzo/Phillips? Granted it takes the pitcher to execute for any plan to work but at least you can TRY to call something diff't.

    Watch Coffey from now on. Same approach, same sequence of pitches...Over and Over. FB Middle in with no movement. Split/FB/FB/SL/FB= HR. Stanton falls in love with that deuce a bit much but you know...you can shake it off too. Arroyo gets a little antsy and really starts pitching too fast on occasion. Someone needs to tackle him in the 6th or 7th and give him a breather.

    Maybe I'm crazy but this team's overall pitching philosophy with runners on and tight jams is about as poor as it gets. I know it sounds like the obvious but the proof is in the details. Just my two cents.

    BTW, Josh Hamilton walks on water.
    Last edited by Team Clark; 05-07-2007 at 11:02 PM.
    It's absolutely pathetic that people can't have an opinion from actually watching games and supplementing that with stats. If you voice an opinion that doesn't fit into a black/white box you will get completely misrepresented and basically called a tobacco chewing traditionalist...
    Cedric 3/24/08

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  3. #2
    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Is it the Bullpen or Catching?

    I vote numbers 1 & 4
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

    Having better players makes "the right time" or "the big hit" happen a lot more often. PLUS PLUS

  4. #3
    Member mroby85's Avatar
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    Re: Is it the Bullpen or Catching?

    Quote Originally Posted by mth123 View Post
    I vote numbers 1 & 4
    i definately agree

  5. #4
    It's showtime! RedEye's Avatar
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    Re: Is it the Bullpen or Catching?

    Quote Originally Posted by Team Clark View Post
    3) The Reds advance staff (Pete Mackanin) is not able to pinpoint an accurate game plan to attack opposing hitters, therefore, leaving the Reds pitchers to fend for themselves. Pete cost the Reds at least 6-8 Wins last year in my humble estimation. Probably more. I'm just being nice.
    Holy cow, what a great post. I'm intrigued by #3 the most (although it may be the most difficult to pin down). How do you figure this? Do you have specific games in mind? Who are the best advance scouts in baseball, and are there teams that routinely win 6-8 more games because of the guy/girl they have working the job?
    "Iíll kind of have a foot on the back of my own butt. Thatís just how I do things.Ē -- Bryan Price, 10/22/2013

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    Re: Is it the Bullpen or Catching?

    TC.. i wish the Reds would hire you and you could give this feedback and THEY would LISTEN and fix the problems.. heck send it to BOB C>

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    Re: Is it the Bullpen or Catching?

    Holy cow, what a great post. I'm intrigued by #3 the most (although it may be the most difficult to pin down). How do you figure this? Do you have specific games in mind? Who are the best advance scouts in baseball, and are there teams that routinely win 6-8 more games because of the guy/girl they have working the job?
    I remember last year that it seemed every time the reds faced a rookie pitcher (besides Hirshe from the Stros - we killed him), the batters went up to the plate looking like they had no clue what pitches the rookie had. Some of that has to be on the scouts IMO. I know we're talking about reds pitchers here, but that's just something I noticed about the possible lack of scouting last year.

  8. #7
    Passion for the game Team Clark's Avatar
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    Re: Is it the Bullpen or Catching?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedEye View Post
    Holy cow, what a great post. I'm intrigued by #3 the most (although it may be the most difficult to pin down). How do you figure this? Do you have specific games in mind? Who are the best advance scouts in baseball, and are there teams that routinely win 6-8 more games because of the guy/girl they have working the job?
    I figure it from my charts and memory. I also use my judgement watching guys take strike after strike while looking for another pitch. "Freel last Sept was the standout. Dunn was next. On the pitching end you can really narrow it down with what I put into this post. Arroyo '06 from July to August. Even some of Sept. Everyone knew what was coming. If you watch the Dodgers attack the Rockies for example and see that the Dodgers held Brad Hawpe to a 1-15 series there is data. Pitches, counts, situations, etc... You have to evaluate how they did that to him. Hawpe comes to town and you pitch EXACTLY opposite of what the Dodgers did and he goes 10-15 with 4 bombs who's to fault? There are other variables involved but you are looking for "opportunities" and tendencies. In this dept the Reds are waaaaaaaaay behind the curve, IMO.

    The best advance scout in Baseball? Hmmmmm. There's a lot of 'em. Have to get back to you on that.

    Yes, there are teams that win more based on their scouting. It's funny that those teams typically go to the playoffs year after year. The Cards for years have employed phenomenal scouts, same with the Braves and now the White Sox and Indians. One of the better scouts works for the Royals so I guess it's not all about scouting sometimes.

    I brought up last year that there are about 6-8 teams that scout THEMSELVES. It's so important that I do not have enough time to even accurately describe it. The Cards, Braves and White Sox have been doing it for some time. Now it's starting to catch on.
    Last edited by Team Clark; 05-07-2007 at 11:41 PM.
    It's absolutely pathetic that people can't have an opinion from actually watching games and supplementing that with stats. If you voice an opinion that doesn't fit into a black/white box you will get completely misrepresented and basically called a tobacco chewing traditionalist...
    Cedric 3/24/08

  9. #8
    Passion for the game Team Clark's Avatar
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    Re: Is it the Bullpen or Catching?

    Quote Originally Posted by redsfan4445 View Post
    TC.. i wish the Reds would hire you and you could give this feedback and THEY would LISTEN and fix the problems.. heck send it to BOB C>
    Thanks for the comments but that will likely not happen.
    It's absolutely pathetic that people can't have an opinion from actually watching games and supplementing that with stats. If you voice an opinion that doesn't fit into a black/white box you will get completely misrepresented and basically called a tobacco chewing traditionalist...
    Cedric 3/24/08

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    2009: Fail Ltlabner's Avatar
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    Re: Is it the Bullpen or Catching?

    I'll go with #1 and #4 with a touch of #5.

    #1 and #4 are pretty straight forward. #5 is interesting. You gave the simple example that if EE is struggling, to factor that in, and call pitches that are more likely to end up with Gonzo or BP (if possible). Do our pitchers think that way?

    I've heard Arroyo talking many times about his game plan (he describes it) and it's obvious that he's always thinking about how to get a batter out. Sorta Maddux-very lite. I've never heard an intereview with Ross or Javy where they are talking about "their game plan". Doesn't prove anything, but interesting none the less.
    a super volcano of ridonkulous suckitude.

    I simply don't have access to a "cares about RBI" place in my psyche. There is a "mildly curious about OBI%" alcove just before the acid filled lake guarded by robot snipers with lasers which leads to the "cares about RBI" antechamber though. - Nate

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    Re: Is it the Bullpen or Catching?

    Last night was another example. Valentin was trying to get Coffey to pitch inside to Berkman and he simply kept sending that straight old fastball down broadway and look what happened. You have to be on the attack when you come out to pitch. Look at how many first pitch strikes and strikes overall our starters throw. You can't just passively throw to hitters, especially good ones. Actually after reviewing it the pitch may have been a changeup. I am not sure. Either way it was right down the middle. I was quite intoxicated by that time. In the 6th inning I go fix a gin and tonic...or three as I know the bullpen is coming up soon.
    Last edited by storrs19; 05-08-2007 at 08:19 AM.

  12. #11
    Member Strikes Out Looking's Avatar
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    Re: Is it the Bullpen or Catching?

    Great post TC. I agree with most of it and also would add:

    The Reds don't seem to utilize video scouting effectively either. For instance, if I'm in the bullpen and the Rockies are coming to town, wouldn't I go to the video room for a couple of hours and watch some of the Rockies previous games. Don't the Reds have someone breaking this down for the team? And the flip side is the hitters should be doing the same. I know in the book "3 Nights in August" or whatever it was called, the Cardinals extensively use the video room to break down the opposition. It looks to me that the Reds bullpen uses the video monitors to play x-box or something.

    As to number 4 on TC's post, I'd say some of the Reds bullpen had "quality' arms at one time. I mean Stanton and Weathers have been around for a long time and have been pretty good at times.

  13. #12
    Waitin til next year bucksfan2's Avatar
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    Re: Is it the Bullpen or Catching?

    I was last night and watched Coffey. Me and my buddy were talking about how Coffey doesn't have a second pitch. How Brantly mentioned how Coffey should be able to get out any hitter in the league with the stuff he has but he can't throw another pitch for a strike. First of all Narron made the mistake of leaving Coffey in to face Scott a hitter who kills right handed pitching and who also is a fast ball pitcher. That said Coffey should still have been able to get him out. Coffey preceeded to throw 4 straight 94 mph fastballs. I didn't see the hr pitch because I was watching the ball go over the fence but I would be willing to guess it was another 94 mph fastball. Any average major league hitter can time that pitch and can drive it when thrown over and over again. Something needs to be done with this guy. He has no confidence and needs to learn another pitch.

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    Redsmetz redsmetz's Avatar
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    Re: Is it the Bullpen or Catching?

    Quote Originally Posted by bucksfan2 View Post
    I was last night and watched Coffey. Me and my buddy were talking about how Coffey doesn't have a second pitch. How Brantly mentioned how Coffey should be able to get out any hitter in the league with the stuff he has but he can't throw another pitch for a strike. First of all Narron made the mistake of leaving Coffey in to face Scott a hitter who kills right handed pitching and who also is a fast ball pitcher. That said Coffey should still have been able to get him out. Coffey preceeded to throw 4 straight 94 mph fastballs. I didn't see the hr pitch because I was watching the ball go over the fence but I would be willing to guess it was another 94 mph fastball. Any average major league hitter can time that pitch and can drive it when thrown over and over again. Something needs to be done with this guy. He has no confidence and needs to learn another pitch.
    I mentioned it last night, but Marty & Jeff were discussing the whole scenario of that inning; how it was Stanton's job to come in and get the batter he walked out, then he would have faced the next batter, then we bring in Coffey. The walk threw it all akilter.

    I've come around to the thinking that it might do Coffey some good to drop down to Louisville and get himself straightened out. That would be easiest move, and could very well be very productive.

    I think any of our relievers have the ability, it seems to lose alot in execution and it's slaughtering us. We can't continue on like this. We've given away so many games that were winnable.

  15. #14
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    Re: Is it the Bullpen or Catching?

    Quote Originally Posted by bucksfan2 View Post
    I was last night and watched Coffey. Me and my buddy were talking about how Coffey doesn't have a second pitch. How Brantly mentioned how Coffey should be able to get out any hitter in the league with the stuff he has but he can't throw another pitch for a strike. First of all Narron made the mistake of leaving Coffey in to face Scott a hitter who kills right handed pitching and who also is a fast ball pitcher. That said Coffey should still have been able to get him out. Coffey preceeded to throw 4 straight 94 mph fastballs. I didn't see the hr pitch because I was watching the ball go over the fence but I would be willing to guess it was another 94 mph fastball. Any average major league hitter can time that pitch and can drive it when thrown over and over again. Something needs to be done with this guy. He has no confidence and needs to learn another pitch.
    It was a change, Javy wiggled 4 fingers. Coffey had thrown all fastballs to that point in his outing. Javy had called for one breaking pitch earlier in the Scott at bat and Coffey shook him off. Javy called for the change, but Coffey through it straight down the middle. Just to note, Welsh mentioned Coffey had success getting outs against Houston with the change last week.

  16. #15
    Passion for the game Team Clark's Avatar
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    Re: Is it the Bullpen or Catching?

    Quote Originally Posted by JLB5 View Post
    Just to note, Welsh mentioned Coffey had success getting outs against Houston with the change last week.
    Don't think for a second that Houston's staff did not take notice of that. Predicatability. It was a changeup. Might as well have been on a rope too.

    What happened to Coffey's split. If pitchers are shaking off Breaking balls and splits 8 out of 10 times it means their elbow is sore. Not good.
    It's absolutely pathetic that people can't have an opinion from actually watching games and supplementing that with stats. If you voice an opinion that doesn't fit into a black/white box you will get completely misrepresented and basically called a tobacco chewing traditionalist...
    Cedric 3/24/08


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