Turn Off Ads?
Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: In Which We Come to Praise the Pitching

  1. #1
    Member membengal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Baltimore
    Posts
    9,059

    In Which We Come to Praise the Pitching

    It's obvious, but, the pitching has been good. It is the reason this team is still relevant, and why we can maintain some hope that if Joey V and EE ever get back and another bat is found, there still might be some interest in this season come August.

    It is the reason that this thing has not cratered yet. Despite taking the mound for about a month now knowing that giving up more than three runs likely means losing, and despite not having Volquez for a long stretch now, they have carried this team to a degree that I have not seen in a few decades.

    The team ERA stands at 3.89, good for sixth in MLB (5th in the NL). They are just a hair behind the Cards (3.86) and Cubs (3.84), so are within shouting distance of top 5. Their success has been something of a puzzle, as they BB a few too many for comfort (given up 247 walks, 8th most in the major leagues), and don't miss as many bats as you would expect (19th overall). Perhaps part of the reason for this is they are giving up a few less homeruns to date than in the past (13th overall in MLB right with 69 allowed), but a little closer look reveals the main reason for the improvement...their hits allowed. It ain't much. Right now they have only allowed 553 hits, 26th fewest in all of baseball. Wow. That helps.

    So, through June 19, 2009, their pitching improvement has been real, and is largely tied to a rather impressive rate of hit suppression to this point. That has allowed them to walk a few more than you would expect, and has allowed them to benefit even more from a slight improvement in the home run allowed rate.

    Is this sustainable? I don't know. I worry a bit that some balls will start to fall in at a greater rate, and that they could use a few more missed bats. Then again, EV's return (knock on wood) would help with that. And, we have to ask ourselves, is there a change with this staff that is allowing fewer basehits? Cueto, for one, seems to be thriving with getting more ground balls than I recall, and that may help. Owings, when he is on, also keeps the ball on the ground.

    The other factor here, certainly, is an improved defense. I hate Alex G's bat, a lot, but he is a vast improvement defensively at SS over what we had their last year. When Dickerson is in CF, their D is good, and Bruce over Jr. is a quantum leap forward defensively in RF. Since Nix has gotten more playing time in LF, we have seen a decided improvement there as well. Add in that Hanigan has been an assassin at wiping out baserunners from behind the plate, and an improved D clearly has helped the pitching numbers. As uneven as EE is, we have seen worse defense in his absence at the hot corner, and getting him back should help, as should getting Votto back at 1b.

    In short, I am hoping the return of Volquez along with decent gloves in EE and Votto will off-set any hit luck normalization to help keep the ERA around where it is now.

    And IF the team's pitchers and defense can sustain this, then with some offense, from somewhere (Dickerson in CF? Find a bat for LF? Get Votto back? Get EE back?), we still have a shot to see this team relevant in the WC and Divisional chase into the dog days.

    It is a bit of a "hold your breath" situation, but, so far so good. And it is nice to know that they can have as offensively incompetent a series as they just had against Atlanta and find a way to take two of three. Let's cross our fingers they can keep this up...

  2. Turn Off Ads?
  3. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Shelburne Falls, MA
    Posts
    10,124

    Re: In Which We Come to Praise the Pitching

    Nice post.

    Lately, it's seemed to me that almost every out, every scoreless inning recorded by the pitching staff is heroic. The mound is a steep hill they climb.
    "Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini

  4. #3
    Designated Threadkiller LincolnparkRed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    1,791

    Re: In Which We Come to Praise the Pitching

    It is a great post.

    Is there some kind of stranded runner stat that might go with this? I have not really searched it out but it seems we strand quite a few opposing batters almost every inning.
    Climbing down from the bridge, but keeping the torch lit until Dusty's fate is settled

  5. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    1,045

    Re: In Which We Come to Praise the Pitching

    Great post.

    And the next question: in looking for another big bat, how imortant is the glove that comes with it?

    The 2010 Reds say "very."

  6. #5
    BobC, get a legit F.O.! Mario-Rijo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Springfield, Ohio
    Posts
    9,052

    Re: In Which We Come to Praise the Pitching

    Quote Originally Posted by LincolnparkRed View Post
    It is a great post.

    Is there some kind of stranded runner stat that might go with this? I have not really searched it out but it seems we strand quite a few opposing batters almost every inning.
    Good observation. Tied with Philly, LA and Chi for 2nd in the NL at 75% of runners LOB, S.F. is 1st at 76%. Washington is the worst at 66% and league average is 72%. No one in the american league is above 74% and their league average is 71%.

    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/teams/
    "You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one."

    --Woody Hayes

  7. #6
    Member membengal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Baltimore
    Posts
    9,059

    Re: In Which We Come to Praise the Pitching

    Quote Originally Posted by Mario-Rijo View Post
    Good observation. Tied with Philly, LA and Chi for 2nd in the NL at 75% of runners LOB, S.F. is 1st at 76%. Washington is the worst at 66% and league average is 72%. No one in the american league is above 74% and their league average is 71%.

    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/teams/
    Thanks, I didn't have time to check into where the bullpen has excelled. That's pretty stout as well. Is it sustainable? Don't know...

  8. #7
    Socratic Gadfly TheNext44's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    4,228

    Re: In Which We Come to Praise the Pitching

    Quote Originally Posted by membengal View Post
    It's obvious, but, the pitching has been good. It is the reason this team is still relevant, and why we can maintain some hope that if Joey V and EE ever get back and another bat is found, there still might be some interest in this season come August.

    It is the reason that this thing has not cratered yet. Despite taking the mound for about a month now knowing that giving up more than three runs likely means losing, and despite not having Volquez for a long stretch now, they have carried this team to a degree that I have not seen in a few decades.

    The team ERA stands at 3.89, good for sixth in MLB (5th in the NL). They are just a hair behind the Cards (3.86) and Cubs (3.84), so are within shouting distance of top 5. Their success has been something of a puzzle, as they BB a few too many for comfort (given up 247 walks, 8th most in the major leagues), and don't miss as many bats as you would expect (19th overall). Perhaps part of the reason for this is they are giving up a few less homeruns to date than in the past (13th overall in MLB right with 69 allowed), but a little closer look reveals the main reason for the improvement...their hits allowed. It ain't much. Right now they have only allowed 553 hits, 26th fewest in all of baseball. Wow. That helps.

    So, through June 19, 2009, their pitching improvement has been real, and is largely tied to a rather impressive rate of hit suppression to this point. That has allowed them to walk a few more than you would expect, and has allowed them to benefit even more from a slight improvement in the home run allowed rate.

    Is this sustainable? I don't know. I worry a bit that some balls will start to fall in at a greater rate, and that they could use a few more missed bats. Then again, EV's return (knock on wood) would help with that. And, we have to ask ourselves, is there a change with this staff that is allowing fewer basehits? Cueto, for one, seems to be thriving with getting more ground balls than I recall, and that may help. Owings, when he is on, also keeps the ball on the ground.

    The other factor here, certainly, is an improved defense. I hate Alex G's bat, a lot, but he is a vast improvement defensively at SS over what we had their last year. When Dickerson is in CF, their D is good, and Bruce over Jr. is a quantum leap forward defensively in RF. Since Nix has gotten more playing time in LF, we have seen a decided improvement there as well. Add in that Hanigan has been an assassin at wiping out baserunners from behind the plate, and an improved D clearly has helped the pitching numbers. As uneven as EE is, we have seen worse defense in his absence at the hot corner, and getting him back should help, as should getting Votto back at 1b.

    In short, I am hoping the return of Volquez along with decent gloves in EE and Votto will off-set any hit luck normalization to help keep the ERA around where it is now.

    And IF the team's pitchers and defense can sustain this, then with some offense, from somewhere (Dickerson in CF? Find a bat for LF? Get Votto back? Get EE back?), we still have a shot to see this team relevant in the WC and Divisional chase into the dog days.

    It is a bit of a "hold your breath" situation, but, so far so good. And it is nice to know that they can have as offensively incompetent a series as they just had against Atlanta and find a way to take two of three. Let's cross our fingers they can keep this up...
    Outstanding post. Thanks for giving me hope for this season. I think that if this team can make the post season, they have a decent shot of going far, due to the pitching. The key to doing well in the post season is a few hot starters and a great bullpen.

    "Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

  9. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Bedford, KY
    Posts
    8,992

    Re: In Which We Come to Praise the Pitching

    Quote Originally Posted by backbencher View Post
    Great post.

    And the next question: in looking for another big bat, how imortant is the glove that comes with it?

    The 2010 Reds say "very."
    Good point, there. What team has a guy who packs both a good bat and a better glove that's also available? I'd guess not many are available.

    And as for being able to sustain these numbers, it's possible. Volquez's return will certainly help, as would the minor league depth of starters. (Bailey's recent minor league dominance means there's at least two guys who may be able to help.)

    Also, Arroyo should improve as Cueto comes back to earth a bit.

    The question, IMO, is whether the pen can sustain its dominance. That's certainly more difficult to do and those guys have major questions, from the closer down.
    "You can learn little from victory. You can learn everything from defeat."
    -- Christy Matthewson
    "Show me a good loser and I'll show you an idiot."
    -- Leo Durocher

  10. #9
    BobC, get a legit F.O.! Mario-Rijo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Springfield, Ohio
    Posts
    9,052

    Re: In Which We Come to Praise the Pitching

    Quote Originally Posted by membengal View Post
    Thanks, I didn't have time to check into where the bullpen has excelled. That's pretty stout as well. Is it sustainable? Don't know...
    Actually that's the whole staffs LOB%. Is it sustainable, I don't know but I'd lean towards probably not. We've had a handful of the staff pitch about as well as they are capable and very few who haven't. Although if Homers recent transformation can help him at the next level and Micah starts to go down hill we might find an improvement there.

    Pitched as well as they likely can:
    Cueto
    Owings
    Rhodes
    Weathers
    Cordero
    Herrera
    Masset

    Haven't:
    Volquez
    Arroyo
    Burton

    Have pitched pretty much on par with what they are:
    Harang

    Not Sure who they are:
    Lincoln
    "You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one."

    --Woody Hayes

  11. #10
    Member VR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Location
    Vancouver, Wa
    Posts
    8,586

    Re: In Which We Come to Praise the Pitching

    Critical to the pitching, has been the defense. There have been a freakish amount of extra outs via CS/ Pickoffs/ DP's/ Outfield assists......all of which are WELL above previous years.

    Add to that the limited bases acquired because of increased coverage in the outfield, fewer SB attempts, fewer PB's.....and the pitching has benefited greatly. I have really enjoyed that about this year's team......giving away fewer outs and bases. Over the course of the year....those numbers will be staggering.

    I've always thought there should be an 'unforced error' stat, similar to what tennis uses, that could reflect these performances. Many NBA Arenas track 'hustle points', which includes blocked shots, steals, etc...the little things that add up and impact the final score.
    Baseball is like church. Many attend, few understand

  12. #11
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    1,045

    Re: In Which We Come to Praise the Pitching

    Quote Originally Posted by VR View Post
    Add to that the limited bases acquired because of increased coverage in the outfield, fewer SB attempts, fewer PB's.....and the pitching has benefited greatly. I have really enjoyed that about this year's team......giving away fewer outs and bases. Over the course of the year....those numbers will be staggering.
    An interesting point that might explain the strand percentages. A runner on first is more likely to be stranded than one on second or third.

  13. #12
    Member membengal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Baltimore
    Posts
    9,059

    Re: In Which We Come to Praise the Pitching

    There has felt like there have been more runners cut down trying to score at home plate this year than in the last few years. Not sure if reality meets perception there, but plays at the plate have been friendly to the Reds in 2009. Having Bruce's gun in RF helps a ton on that score, as does having catchers who can, um..."catch" the throw and make the tag at the plate.

    That has to help as well.

  14. #13
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Bedford, KY
    Posts
    8,992

    Re: In Which We Come to Praise the Pitching

    I, too, think the Reds have done well in OF assists this season as opposed to season's past. They seem to have played with a higher baseball IQ for the most part.

    Though I think that may be more perception than reality and almost impossible to quantify.

    When I was a kid, my high school baseball coach had a category called "boneheads" in his book. Whenever we took a called third strike, didn't get down low enough on a ball, threw to the wrong base, walked a guy hitting below the Medoza line, or gave up an 0-2 hit, we got one. For each "bonehead," we ran.

    If one of us had swung 3-0 without his express permission, he may have murdered us.

    Still, it seems as if the current Red team has less boneheads than previous teams.
    "You can learn little from victory. You can learn everything from defeat."
    -- Christy Matthewson
    "Show me a good loser and I'll show you an idiot."
    -- Leo Durocher

  15. #14
    Member membengal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Baltimore
    Posts
    9,059

    Re: In Which We Come to Praise the Pitching

    Arroyo joins the pitching parade, with 6 2/3 innings of two run seven K baseball. Good night from him and three runs overall from the pitching staff, which will lower their ERA. Only allowed four hits on the night too, adding to their steller "hit suppression" work.
    Last edited by membengal; 06-19-2009 at 10:03 PM.

  16. #15
    Brett William Moore Will M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Crescent Springs KY
    Posts
    3,599

    ERA+

    ERA+ would be a better stat to compare the Reds pitching/defense to other teams.

    (NL only)
    Dodgers 118
    Giants 116
    Reds 115 (tied for 3rd in NL)
    Cubs 115
    Cards 109
    Braves 104
    DBacks 102
    Rockies 102
    Mets 101
    Brwers 98
    Pirates 97
    Astros 96
    Marlins 93
    Phillies 91
    Nationals 84
    Padres 83

    FYI:
    2008 Reds 99
    2007 Reds 94
    2006 Reds 103
    2005 Reds 83
    .


Turn Off Ads?

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Board Moderators may, at their discretion and judgment, delete and/or edit any messages that violate any of the following guidelines: 1. Explicit references to alleged illegal or unlawful acts. 2. Graphic sexual descriptions. 3. Racial or ethnic slurs. 4. Use of edgy language (including masked profanity). 5. Direct personal attacks, flames, fights, trolling, baiting, name-calling, general nuisance, excessive player criticism or anything along those lines. 6. Posting spam. 7. Each person may have only one user account. It is fine to be critical here - that's what this board is for. But let's not beat a subject or a player to death, please.

Thank you, and most importantly, enjoy yourselves!


RedsZone.com is a privately owned website and is not affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds or Major League Baseball


Contact us: Boss | GIK | BCubb2003 | dabvu2498 | Gallen5862 | LexRedsFan | Plus Plus | RedlegJake | redsfan1995 | The Operator | Tommyjohn25