Another Borek Morning: Talking Cincinnati Reds Baseball 5/18/2014


Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The oldest conundrum in not only a Cincinnati Reds fans life expectancy, but also any fan of any team in the game is quite simple: you cannot possibly win every day.

While perfection has only been obtained once in NFL history and never in basketball, those sports provide days off in between each stinging loss and heroic victory. In baseball, there is never any time to breathe.

Plain and simple, the Reds got whacked last night. Homer Bailey was dreadful in the fourth inning and as soon as Domonic Brown extended the lead to three, the game was over with the way Cole Hamels was pitching.

Many wasted hours of their lives before the game yesterday complaining about the lineup and how it would be the Reds downfall. While three hits certainly is not the offensive spark many hoped for, the pitching allowed 12 runs. No team is going to win with that effort.

* * *

Remember when Chris Heisey had a devout following that was nearly cult like? Me too, and it was only a week ago. Now, nary a whisper crosses the Twitter-sphere when Skip Schumaker is playing right field against a left-handed pitcher.

Not only did Bryan Price not want Heisey in the lineup, he wanted him not in so bad that he opted to bat Zack Cozart (he of the .209 batting average entering the game) in the two-hole.

Historically, Heisey has not hit left-handed pitching well. Then again, Schumaker has been even worse. Never mind what the fan base thinks of Heisey, this subtle lineup variation speaks volumes of where the Reds think they are at with the (former) fan favorite.

* * *

Maybe Homer should try submarine-style next. Reverting to his 2007 ways of yanking his hands back over his head to keep his balance has certainly failed him—at least in the fourth inning last night. Of course, it was just one poor inning, but that inning effectively handed the Reds a loss.

His next start will be Friday night against the St. Louis Cardinals back home at Great American Ball Park in what will be the biggest series to date at the time it takes place. The combination of the Cardinals’ familiarity with Bailey and his recent struggles of finding a comfort zone may prove to be a miserable mish-mash of issues.

* * *

When he signed a 3-yr/$16.5 million extension upon becoming a member of the club, I loved the move to lock up Sean Marshall long-term. Still on the hook for $6.5 million next year, the Reds may be watching their cash go up in smoke.

Similar to the way Nick Masset could never seemingly get past the starting blocks, it seems Marshall cannot pass Go and collect his $200. The guy is a tireless worker and a tenacious competitor, which explains as to why he does not want to admit he more than likely wants to tear his shoulder out of its socket every time he snaps off a breaking pitch.

In no way am I claiming to be in the mind of another person, especially a big league ballplayer, but this narrative has been seen before. Marshall knows how it would look if he too went back to the disabled list with mysterious shoulder soreness. It was just two years ago, the Reds gave Ryan Madson six million just to blow out his arm on their dime.

* * *

The possibility of shopping Alfredo Simon upon Mat Latos’ confirmed return seems likely. But, what if, they kept him in the starting rotation?

Tony Cingrani has shown flashes of dominance at times in his big league career. Even though that astronomical stretch he went on of allowing five or less hits in 20+ starts was impressive, the stat was extremely flawed by multiple short stints in which he walked a boatload of batters.

It is clear the Reds are going to do everything in their power to limit his innings and protect his arm.

As of right now, it is in my opinion that I do not believe Cingrani possesses a second plus pitch. In order to be an effective Major League starter for six months, Cingrani has to be able to throw at least his slider/curveball with regularity with at least above-average control—which he has not proven.

His biggest asset is, and always will be, his fastball. No one could have predicted this meteoric assertion by Alfredo Simon, so rather than pulling the plug on the bottle of lightning they have found, keeping Simon in the rotation and shifting Cingrani to the ‘pen in the coming weeks seems like a valid option.

Upon his entrance to the ‘pen, Cingrani can rear back for the ol’ heater as often as he wants. If something is indeed wrong with Sean Marshall, it also can never hurt to have another left-hander down there alongside Manny Parra.

* * *
In just a few hours, Cingrani will take the hill against Cliff Lee. He could make me look absolutely foolish and blow away the Philadelphia lineup that is now due for some regression. I would love to see it and hope it happens, but I still believe both the club and Cingrani are best suited with him in the bullpen—at least in the short term.

Beating Cliff Lee is never easy, but the club did it on Jackie Robinson Day last season. Winning a series on the road is never easy either, but it takes just one swing of the bat to decide who leaves Philadelphia victorious.