2012 Post-season / 2012 Reds

For better or worse, the rotation is set for the Division Series

Make of this what you will:

“We’ve been planning this for a while. It didn’t take a genius to see how we planned it,” Baker said on Tuesday. “What you see is what it is right now.”

Judging by the current rotation — it’s Johnny Cueto, Bronson Arroyo and Mat Latos for the first three games.

Would they use four starters?

If they decide to go with four starters, you have to imagine that Homer Bailey will be waiting in the wings to take that start.

So…what about the decision to start Arroyo in game two, rather than Latos? Bizarre, no? You all know that I’m an unabashed member of the Bronson Arroyo Fan Club, but I don’t see any legitimate reason to start Arroyo over Latos. If they only go with three starters, wouldn’t you rather have Cueto and Latos pitching two games each (if the series goes five)?

I imagine Dusty’s reasoning has something to do with “splitting up the hard throwers.” Perhaps it has something to do with Arroyo’s post-season experience (ignore the post-season ERA of 6.04, please). Heck, they probably have a bunch of other reasons too, reasons to which I’m not privy. On the surface, however, it seems awfully strange.

One can only hope that Dusty re-thinks the rotation for the NLCS (assuming the Reds get there). I want Cueto and Latos being the two hammers at the top of the rotation, getting two starts per series, if necessary. I don’t think that’s too outlandish a request. After all, Cueto and Latos are the two best starters on the team, right?

115 thoughts on “For better or worse, the rotation is set for the Division Series

    • The saddest thing is none of the Reds beat “writers” will even press Dusty on the issue..

      The Reds beat writers are, without question, the worst in major league baseball. I saw on twitter the other night Fay basically tell a fan that how dare he question Price and Dusty.

  1. They’re Major League players for God sakes, and good ones at that since they’re in the postseason. They’re going to be able to adjust. The logic of the fast-slow-fast order is the most ridiculous reasoning and logic I’ve ever heard. We can talk about the 162 regular game season all we want: the NL Central title, the potential number 1 overall NL seed, etc. These decisions are the things skeptical Reds fans have been worried about through all the wins. I guess we’ll see how it all plays out.

  2. There is no doubt that Cueto and Latos are the two best starters on the Reds team, but I like the idea to have Bronson in between them based solely on the fact I like Arroyo starting in San Fran/St. Louis/Atlanta over GABP. I think he has a better chance for success in a non-hitter friendly park as he relies on off-speed stuff to keep hitters off balance while Latos has a more powerful arsenal and can shut an opponent down regardless of park. If you really wanted my honest opinion, I would throw Bailey on the road in between Cueto and Latos.

  3. If you have to pitch Bronson in a playoff game, would you rather not have him pitch in a ballpark like SF over Cincy? To me it’s a no brainer. To ME the issue is why is Cueto getting game 1. I like Cueto, but there is no doubt that our best pitcher right now is Latos. Add in his history against the Giants I pitch him in game 1 and have him available for game 5 if needed. Pitching Bronson in SF is the right choice given the style of pitcher he is.

  4. DatDudeMp: couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately, it feels like we’re choosing the lesser of 2 evils with Arroyo; I’d rather him not pitch at home too. But same goes for Bailey, even though he’s been pitching so well everywhere as of late. I still have that bit of insecurity about Homer that he can get rattled so easily at GABP and then blows up. But with this crazy NLDS format, I would feel very good about Bailey in game 2 for a couple reasons. One obviously is how much better historically he’s pitched on the road compared to GABP. The other is that we’ve got to find a way to make these first 2 road games as advantageous as possible, and that would be pitching Bailey (or Latos) in game 2.

  5. Moving this over from the recap thread -

    Okay, I’m trying to breathe deeply. Chad’s article on ESPN about Dusty earlier this year was one of the most enlightening things I’ve read all year about the Reds. Since then, I’ve really tried to not second guess everything the man does and have come to think he should be back next year.

    However, if Arroyo gets two LDS starts and Latos gets only one, then that has got to be one of the most boneheaded things to ever happen. I’m dumbfounded that it’s even being considered. I’m nearly at a loss for words and that is pretty rare for me!

    The fact that Dusty doesn’t seem to have a concept of the schedule of the playoffs sends up some serious red flags about his health and the decision making going forward. The Reds struggling offense is minor compared to this.

    Am I making too much of this? Please tell me I am!!!

  6. It’s not the rotation I want, but remember this team has allowed the least amount of runs in the national League this season… with 81 games in what is considered one of the top 5 NL hitter’s parks (and honestly those numbers are interrelated with how good the pitching is in). It’s such a testament to how while pitching is not necessarily ideal, you can’t possibly, truly mess up the rotation here.

  7. I agree 100% with everything you said especially about Homer’s mindset in games at home, GoMrRedLegs. If he gets hit, he seems to continue to battle, but it’s as soon as he makes a good pitch and somebody hits a HR, then he loses it. The park gets in his head and he tries to make perfect pitches which just leads to walks and pitches over the plate and well we all know how that start ends for him.

    Back to Arroyo, I think Dusty has the right idea to have Arroyo pitch on road rather than at home but feel like this is another veteran bias on Dusty’s part. Arroyo has had a great year and a year no one expected from him after his down year in 2011. Dusty is rewarding him for it with the start in game 2.

    On the flip side, Dusty has referred to grooming Bailey to be a future ace so what better way than to have him pitch on the road in the playoffs?

  8. I’m not sure why you wouldn’t just make Bailey the #4 guy in the NLDS.

    In the 7-game rounds, Bailey would likely be lined up to pitch game 4. Cuervo, Latos, and Arroyo would each get two starts if the series went 7, but yes, you would think you’d want Cueto & Latos pitching games 5 & 6.

    • The saddest thing is none of the Reds beat “writers” will even press Dusty on the issue..

      Press Dusty on the issues? Which team they play and how long the series goes could be really important. Whether the Reds are leading the series 2-1 or losing 1-2 could influence whether they go with Bailey or Cueto again on short rest. I don’t blame Dusty for leaving his options open… and beat writers pushing him won’t result in a quicker decision.

      I’m not sure why you wouldn’t just make Bailey the #4 guy in the NLDS.

      In the 7-game rounds, Bailey would likely be lined up to pitch game 4. Cuervo, Latos, and Arroyo would each get two starts if the series went 7, but yes, you would think you’d want Cueto & Latos pitching games 5 & 6.

      I expect that Bailey will be the #4 guy in the NLDS, especially if the Reds are ahead in the series. I don’t think this rotation will exactly hold up, as it would change significantly depending on Cueto’s useage. If Cueto pitches twice in the NLDS I expect Latos, not Arroyo, to start game one of the NLCS (with Arroyo in game 2).

      I think Cueto and Latos will be starting the first games of the various series while Arroyo eats games between them and I think this is being misportrayed too much as a snub of Latos.

  9. I still believe that Latos should pitch the first game of the series, but acknowledging the reality that Cueto will start game one, Latos should pitch game two.

    I’ve written in a comment before that I heard Cal Ripken once say he thought the idea of hitters not being able to adjust from one game to the next was stupid.

    But I don’t think that’s the main reason why Baker is throwing Arroyo second. It wouldn’t surprise me if he was also factoring in “veteran status.” And maybe he doesn’t want Arroyo pitching in GABP.

    Either way, we’re suffering the Baker tax.

    Over the course of a 162-game season where most of the games are against weaker teams, the Reds superior talent won out. But in very close series against good teams, managers can make a vital difference.

    While I don’t think the Reds were going to beat the Phillies in 2010, Baker’s insistence on pitching Volquez in game one, instead of lefty Travis Wood, was easy to question.

    • I still believe that Latos should pitch the first game of the series, but acknowledging the reality that Cueto will start game one, Latos should pitch game two.

      I’ve written in a comment before that I heard Cal Ripken once say he thought the idea of hitters not being able to adjust from one game to the next was stupid.

      But I don’t think that’s the main reason why Baker is throwing Arroyo second. It wouldn’t surprise me if he was also factoring in “veteran status.” And maybe he doesn’t want Arroyo pitching in GABP.

      Either way, we’re suffering the Baker tax.

      Over the course of a 162-game season where most of the games are against weaker teams, the Reds superior talent won out. But in very close series against good teams, managers can make a vital difference.

      While I don’t think the Reds were going to beat the Phillies in 2010, Baker’s insistence on pitching Volquez in game one, instead of lefty Travis Wood, was easy to question.

      Right on on all counts. Baker managed the 2010 rotation in the playoffs horribly, giving game 1 to a guy who can’t throw strikes. But that series wasn’t going to be won, whereas the Reds are the favorites this time.

      I said what you said many times, that over the course of a season a manager doesn’t make that much difference, but in a short series, especially with lineups, yes.

      The idea that a soft-tosser in between two harder throwers will make a difference is ludicrous. It seems lame to me in one game, but between one day and the next? Come on…

      If the Reds pitch Arroyo in game 5 of the NLDS, Baker should not be re-signed. The GM must maintain some control over the use of the roster that the GM himself created.

      • Right on on all counts.Baker managed the 2010 rotation in the playoffs horribly, giving game 1 to a guy who can’t throw strikes.But that series wasn’t going to be won, whereas the Reds are the favorites this time.

        I said what you said many times, that over the course of a season a manager doesn’t make that much difference, but in a short series, especially with lineups, yes.

        The idea that a soft-tosser in between two harder throwers will make a difference is ludicrous.It seems lame to me in one game, but between one day and the next?Come on…

        If the Reds pitch Arroyo in game 5 of the NLDS, Baker should not be re-signed.The GM must maintain some control over the use of the roster that the GM himself created.

        Dusty Baker, Bryan Price, Chris Speier, and whoever else agreed on this rotation after considering all the options. Jocketty and Castellini probably also had an opportunity to voice any concerns they had. None of them are getting fired for the decision they made. Clearly the soft-tosser between two hard thrower ideas seems ludicrous to you but so far their joint decisions, many of which you have disagreed with, have resulted in the winningest team in baseball. They make the decisions and have earned the fans’ trust, the same can’t be said about you.

        Arroyo started game 2 of the 2010 NLDS and gave up 1 earned run in 5.1 innings. The Reds lost that game 7-4, but Arroyo didn’t let them down or cost them the game. You make it sound like he cost them the series. Cueto gave up 1 earned run in 5 innings and was charged with a loss in game 3, although it’s hard to win while being shutout.

        • Dusty Baker, Bryan Price, Chris Speier, and whoever else agreed on this rotation after considering all the options.Jocketty and Castellini probably also had an opportunity to voice any concerns they had.None of them are getting fired for the decision they made.Clearly the soft-tosser between two hard thrower ideas seems ludicrous to you but so far their joint decisions, many of which you have disagreed with, have resulted in the winningest team in baseball.They make the decisions and have earned the fans’ trust, the same can’t be said about you.

          Arroyo started game 2 of the 2010 NLDS and gave up 1 earned run in 5.1 innings.The Reds lost that game 7-4, but Arroyo didn’t let them down or cost them the game.You make it sound like he cost them the series.Cueto gave up 1 earned run in 5 innings and was charged with a loss in game 3, although it’s hard to win while being shutout.

          As usual, you never, ever address the issue: do you think Arroyo should get two starts over Latos in the NLDS? I will not expect an answer.

          Where did I say that Arroyo cost anyone the game? I said that Dusty Baker’s choice of game 1 starter, which was based on non-performance reasons, was disastrous. That was Volquez. The Reds’ rotation in 2010 wasn’t nearly as good as it is this year, so starting Arroyo in game 2 in 2010 was not ludicrous. That said, Arroyo didn’t pitch great, giving up 4 hits, 3 walks, and 2Ks in 5.1 IP, though the defense was also awful.

          I suppose it’s possible that Jocketty signed off on the idea that his signature acquisition, Mat Latos, will take an inferior role to Bronson Arroyo. However, that would go against all research into human behavior. In fact, the typical reaction would be for Jocketty to push for Latos to be the #2 (or #1) starter even if Latos didn’t deserve it (to justify the expensive acquisition)—but he does deserve it.

        • As usual, you never, ever address the issue: do you think Arroyo should get two starts over Latos in the NLDS?I will not expect an answer.

          Where did I say that Arroyo cost anyone the game?I said that Dusty Baker’s choice of game 1 starter, which was based on non-performance reasons, was disastrous.That was Volquez.The Reds’ rotation in 2010 wasn’t nearly as good as it is this year, so starting Arroyo in game 2 in 2010 was not ludicrous.That said, Arroyo didn’t pitch great, giving up 4 hits, 3 walks, and 2Ks in 5.1 IP, though the defense was also awful.

          I suppose it’s possible that Jocketty signed off on the idea that his signature acquisition, Mat Latos, will take an inferior role to Bronson Arroyo.However, that would go against all research into human behavior.In fact, the typical reaction would be for Jocketty to push for Latos to be the #2 (or #1) starter even if Latos didn’t deserve it (to justify the expensive acquisition)—but he does deserve it.

          I addressed the issue by saying that neither Arroyo or Latos should get two starts in the NLDS. I think Cueto should get 2, if necessary, with Arroyo, Latos, and Bailey each getting one, with either Cueto or Latos opening the NLCS, depending on who is available.

          Mat Latos’ performance has sometimes been unpredictable, I think it’s really unlikely that he’ll start a game on 3 days rest. I think Cueto and Arroyo are more capable of adapting their routine, if necessary, and that’s probably something the Reds considered.

          You implied that Dusty’s choice of starters in 2010 was detrimental to the Reds. I disagree. Volquez didn’t pitch well but I felt he was the best candidate to start game 1. In his 2010 start Arroyo was indeed harmed by poor defense, something that I don’t expect to be as much of a problem this year. Overall I think Arroyo has pitched very well and deserves more respect than you’re willing to give him.

          I think you’re misportraying Latos as taking an ‘inferior role’ – Jocketty acquired Latos to be a big game pitcher and, as a result, Latos is likely to start the big games; the NLDS home opener (game 3, which would also be the end of the NLDS if they sweep), maybe the NLCS game 1… while Arroyo starts less notable games inbetween. What do you think means more to Jocketty, that Latos starts the BIG GAMES or that he is officially listed as #2? I say the former, you say the later.

        • I think you’re misportraying Latos as taking an ‘inferior role’ – Jocketty acquired Latos to be a big game pitcher and, as a result, Latos is likely to start the big games; the NLDS home opener (game 3, which would also be the end of the NLDS if they sweep), maybe the NLCS game 1… while Arroyo starts less notable games inbetween. What do you think means more to Jocketty, that Latos starts the BIG GAMES or that he is officially listed as #2? I say the former, you say the later.

          There’s another option. Whatever number in the rotation assigned to him, I want Latos to have the potential to pitch in AS MANY big games as possible.

      • If the Reds pitch Arroyo in game 5 of the NLDS, Baker should not be re-signed.The GM must maintain some control over the use of the roster that the GM himself created.

        Hank’s teammate: I really like Bronson, but I agree. It’s bad enough pitching Cueto on 3 days, but pitching Bronson on 3 days rest for Game 5, the biggest game of the season if it happens ? The depth of the Reds starting rotation should be a strength, how could it come to that ?

        It’s even worse BTW if we play the Braves, their lefties pound Bronson, Chipper Jones and McCann have always taken batting practice off him, and now there’s also Freeman and Heyward and Bourn.

        But maybe we’re assuming too much and overreacting, a separate comment for that.

    • I still believe that Latos should pitch the first game of the series, but acknowledging the reality that Cueto will start game one, Latos should pitch game two.

      I’ve written in a comment before that I heard Cal Ripken once say he thought the idea of hitters not being able to adjust from one game to the next was stupid.

      But I don’t think that’s the main reason why Baker is throwing Arroyo second. It wouldn’t surprise me if he was also factoring in “veteran status.” And maybe he doesn’t want Arroyo pitching in GABP.

      Either way, we’re suffering the Baker tax.

      Over the course of a 162-game season where most of the games are against weaker teams, the Reds superior talent won out. But in very close series against good teams, managers can make a vital difference.

      While I don’t think the Reds were going to beat the Phillies in 2010, Baker’s insistence on pitching Volquez in game one, instead of lefty Travis Wood, was easy to question.

      The reason Arroyo is throwing game 2 is the same reason that Cairo and Valdez will be on the playoff roster when they should have been gone a long time ago.

  10. Over in the game recap thread they’re discussing the same topic and it seems there are two distinct issues here:

    1. Who should start on the road Bailey or Arroyo.

    2. If Dusty indeed tries a 3 man rotation with pitchers on short rest, as he eludes to in the interview, which two pitchers should get two starts.

    Arroyo will start game two over Bailey for the same reason that Cairo and Valdez will be on the roster. As long as Dusty’s at the helm stuff like this will never change.

    For me the scary thing is this – as it stands now, Arroyo and Cueto get two starts. Bailey gets one. And Latos, who is pitching the best on the team right now, gets one. How does this make sense in any way?

    • For me the scary thing is this – as it stands now, Arroyo and Cueto get two starts. Bailey gets one. And Latos, who is pitching the best on the team right now, gets one. How does this make sense in any way

      It doesn’t make sense. But that is the crux with Dusty-ball. Oakland has Money-ball. Cincinnati has Dusty-ball.

      • With Baker, it’s all about veteran status.You may remember his “reasoning” that Volquez should start game 1 because he’d pitched in big games on a different continent.Not “he’s my best pitcher”, or “he’s pitching lights out right now”, or anything intelligent.

        I would be nearly certain that Arroyo is getting games 2/5, if they go that route, because of his veteran status.And that he’s pitched in big games before, blah, blah, blah.So, Latos apparently will never be able to pitch that “big game”, because after all, he’ll never have any experience pitching in a “big game”.

        On the other side of the country, the A’s gave ONE HUNDRED starts to rookies this year instead of trading for vets with experience when they had injuries.They’ve just won 5 in a row, in crunch time, with all rookies starting those games.Today, it’s Dempster, a grizzled veteran with a 4.64 ERA for Texas, versus AJ Griffin, with a sub 3-ERA.Baker would want Dempster, and anyone with a bit of logical reasoning would want Griffin.Yes, of course, any one game can go either way, but I’m talking about what’s most likely to happen.

        Volquez started game 1 in 2010 because he was at least as deserving as any other starting pitcher on the 2010 Reds. I don’t remember much disagreement at the time. Well, he has been replaced by Cueto as the #1 guy.

        Certain Arroyo is getting games 2 and 5? I think you’re picking out the option you least want to see and blindly assuming that Dusty and the Reds will go that direction without any evidence. You’re not choosing what is likely, you’re predicting your worst-case scenario. Whether Cueto or Arroyo pitch games 4 or 5, instead of Bailey, may depend on how their first start goes.

        Hank, lucky for you Dusty Baker doesn’t trade for players, Jocketty does. He’s also not the pitching coach, Bryan Price is. Dusty has said all along that Bryan Price plays a big part in figuring out how to best use the pitching staff. Assuming that Price has been kicked in the closet and ignored by Dusty is pretty silly.

        @redsfanman: I don’t care about snubs.Can you address the issue (I’m guessing “no”).Would you pitch Arroyo twice or Latos twice in a 5 game series, were you forced to go with a 3 man rotation?

        I don’t think that’s a fair question, they’ll be carrying 4 starters including Homer Bailey. I’d definitely be more concerned about sending Latos out on three days rest than I would with Arroyo. You generally know what you’ve got with Arroyo, who knows how Latos will respond both under pressure and on short rest?

        I think Bailey and Arroyo both deserve one start in the NLDS… rather than giving Arroyo or Latos starts on short rest. Let co-ace Mat Latos make his second start for game 1 of the NLCS.

        It doesn’t make sense.But that is the crux with Dusty-ball. Oakland has Money-ball.Cincinnati has Dusty-ball.

        The Reds have NOT said Arroyo is making two starts in the NLDS. Oakland’s 2012 team finished with a worse record than the 2012 Cincinnati Reds. Castellini’s Reds organization includes Jocketty, Bryan Price, Chris Speier, and Dusty Baker, all of whom have to come to an agreement on an issue like this – it’s not some all-dusty show. Dusty is the field manager but I think it’s being misportrayed as him having the only voice or say in the organization.

  11. The biggest issue here is that it sounds like he is wanting the 3 man rotation for the first series. If that is the case, having Arroyo instead of Latos twice is just stupid. I think that we will have the 4 pitchers not three because of the one less off day that you normally get so having Arroyo pitch in SF and Latos in GABP makes perfect sense. And when we are in the NLCS, we are set up great if we have homefield so long as Cueto and Latos through in games 1 and 2, and Bailey and Arroyo get to pitch on the road in whatever gigantic ballpark we play in.

    I guess we will see. I really hope Dusty doesn’t screw this up.

  12. I’m sorry that should have read Arroyo and Cueto get two starts. Bailey gets none. And, Latos gets only one. I’m so bumfuzzled that I can’t type.

  13. Two questions:

    1. If Reds go 3 man rotation, is Arroyo starting game 5 (if there would be one)? Almost would have to be, right? I can’t imagine throwing Bailey in there if he wouldn’t go game 4, and Latos wouldn’t go on 1 day rest.

    2. Anybody have stats on Arroyo on short rest? I feel like he’s actually been better through career on short rest. And didn’t he once even say he prefers to pitch on shorter rest?

  14. Yes, yes, I agree with everything you guys are saying. We need some explanation from Dusty. That said, I think the pitching is a rather known commodity with this team. I’m reasonably confident they’ll perform as expected.

    The bigger question for me is, which Reds offense will show up? Will we be overly prone to strikeouts like 2010? Will we robotically follow a swing early game plan even into the latter innings as we’ve done at times this year?

  15. With Baker, it’s all about veteran status. You may remember his “reasoning” that Volquez should start game 1 because he’d pitched in big games on a different continent. Not “he’s my best pitcher”, or “he’s pitching lights out right now”, or anything intelligent.

    I would be nearly certain that Arroyo is getting games 2/5, if they go that route, because of his veteran status. And that he’s pitched in big games before, blah, blah, blah. So, Latos apparently will never be able to pitch that “big game”, because after all, he’ll never have any experience pitching in a “big game”.

    On the other side of the country, the A’s gave ONE HUNDRED starts to rookies this year instead of trading for vets with experience when they had injuries. They’ve just won 5 in a row, in crunch time, with all rookies starting those games. Today, it’s Dempster, a grizzled veteran with a 4.64 ERA for Texas, versus AJ Griffin, with a sub 3-ERA. Baker would want Dempster, and anyone with a bit of logical reasoning would want Griffin. Yes, of course, any one game can go either way, but I’m talking about what’s most likely to happen.

  16. @redsfanman: I don’t care about snubs. Can you address the issue (I’m guessing “no”). Would you pitch Arroyo twice or Latos twice in a 5 game series, were you forced to go with a 3 man rotation?

  17. Since we are on the topic if Dusty-bashing (my favorite American pastime), there is another potential question that hopefully won’t need to be discussed later: the handling of Joey Votto.

    I just read Paul Daugherty’s blog addressing Votto’s injury and lack of power since return. Votto came back on September 5th at a time when the club was still playing extremely well after his extended absence. Of course everyone was happy to have him back, but something wasn’t quite right. Votto admitted himself that he would not be back to 100% until the offseason, and he said that very shortly after his return. Votto himself knew things weren’t quite right yet.

    For all intents and purposes, the Reds had the division and a playoff spot in hand. The offense has suffered greatly over the past few weeks. I’m just wondering if Votto was brought back too soon. The extra few weeks off may have really helped the recovery process more. Votto may have his power back right now. Instead of offensively limping into the post season, the Reds may have received a shot in the arm at the start of the Pittsburgh series over the weekend with one of the best players in baseball returning to the lineup right before the postseason.

    I just wonder if Baker should have stepped in, said “this isn’t worth it right now,” and put Votto on the shelf for a few extra weeks.

    • Since we are on the topic if Dusty-bashing (my favorite American pastime), there is another potential question that hopefully won’t need to be discussed later: the handling of Joey Votto.

      I just read Paul Daugherty’s blog addressing Votto’s injury and lack of power since return. Votto came back on September 5th at a time when the club was still playing extremely well after his extended absence.Of course everyone was happy to have him back, but something wasn’t quite right. Votto admitted himself that he would not be back to 100% until the offseason, and he said that very shortly after his return. Votto himself knew things weren’t quite right yet.

      For all intents and purposes, the Reds had the division and a playoff spot in hand. The offense has suffered greatly over the past few weeks. I’m just wondering if Votto was brought back too soon. The extra few weeks off may have really helped the recovery process more. Votto may have his power back right now. Instead of offensively limping into the post season, the Reds may have received a shot in the arm at the start of the Pittsburgh series over the weekend with one of the best players in baseball returning to the lineup right before the postseason.

      I just wonder if Baker should have stepped in, said “this isn’t worth it right now,” and put Votto on the shelf for a few extra weeks.

      I don’t think Votto was brought back too soon considering how well he’s hit. He hasn’t been hitting for power but he’s been running and fielding well and remains an on-base machine (.527 OBP in September). He has a career OBP of .416 – as long as a hitter has an OBP ~.100 higher than his career numbers I think he’s fine. It’d be another story if Votto had returned and couldn’t field or reach base.

      The Reds offense is struggling. Is the solution in September to remove the guy putting up a .527 OBP? How would you have responded, if Joey Votto says he’s fine. Dusty stepping in and sitting Votto because he wasn’t hitting enough homers, I don’t think you’d like that.

  18. @redsfanman: First, I didn’t do any worst-case scenario. I was assuming until last night that Bailey would start game 4, which I think is the right move (well, I’d do Bailey/2 and Arroyo/4, but that’s a minor difference). However, I read Baker’s own words, where he said that “usually you go with 3 starters in the NLDS”. You tell me, is he just kidding? One thing about Baker, he doesn’t joke around. Please read the article, and then tell me whether you think that the Reds are going to go with a 4 man rotation.

    Second, the A’s season is more impressive than the Reds. They will win perhaps 4 or 5 fewer games, playing in a tougher division, with the lowest payroll in the major leagues. Anything else? The Reds season is great, but the A’s season is better.

    • @redsfanman: First, I didn’t do any worst-case scenario.I was assuming until last night that Bailey would start game 4, which I think is the right move (well, I’d do Bailey/2 and Arroyo/4, but that’s a minor difference).However, I read Baker’s own words, where he said that “usually you go with 3 starters in the NLDS”.You tell me, is he just kidding?One thing about Baker, he doesn’t joke around.Please read the article, and then tell me whether you think that the Reds are going to go with a 4 man rotation.

      Second, the A’s season is more impressive than the Reds.They will win perhaps 4 or 5 fewer games, playing in a tougher division, with the lowest payroll in the major leagues.Anything else?The Reds season is great, but the A’s season is better.

      Dusty also admitted in recent interviews that they still don’t know WHO they will be playing, WHERE they will be playing, let alone how the team and its pitchers will have done in the first three games. All could be important factors. I think Dusty’s acting like a politician, leaving all his options open rather than shutting any doors before he has all the facts. One thing about Baker and Jocketty, sometimes they’ll feed the media something to shut them up (Joey Votto’s inner ear infection, maybe Chapman will move to the rotation eventually) but they rarely let people in on the details.

      The Reds and A’s have both had successful seasons, in the Reds’ case through the joint efforts of guys like Jocketty, Dusty, Castellini, Price, and Speier… all guys who I think have a say in how this postseason rotation is handled.

  19. If the Reds end up the top seed, you’d (probably) see Cueto vs #2, Arroyo vs #3, Latos vs #1. THAT sounds good to me.

    If we end up playing the Giants, Dusty’s right: it doesn’t take a genius to come up with the rotation HE came up with.

  20. @GoMrRedLegs: He needed this time to get the strength back in his knee. The best way to do that is to perform the activities that he would normally be performing.

  21. @Hank Aarons Teammate: Bottom line, if you are the opposing team, you look at the Reds rotation as currently stated by Baker and say: “I’m glad I’m not getting their best if it comes to it.” Hopefully the Reds will sweep and make it all moot.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Bottom line, if you are the opposing team, you look at the Reds rotation as currently stated by Baker and say: “I’m glad I’m not getting their best if it comes to it.” Hopefully the Reds will sweep and make it all moot.

      The opposing team better hope to win the first two home games, including one against Johnny Cueto, because the Reds will have their co-ace Mat Latos on the mound for the Reds’ home opener of the NLDS. Mat Latos getting the win in a sweep, the first postseason victory by the Reds in Cincinnati in over a decade, I think that’s the kind of big game they acquired Latos for. Game 1 of the NLCS, I think that’s also the kind of big game the Reds acquired Latos for.

  22. @redsfanman: Is there such a thing an unimportant playoff game? In my book, they’re all big.

    You’re dead on if they sweep… but contingencies must be planned for. It’s negligent not to.

  23. Do the Reds have a homefield disadvantage? It feels like they do, more or less for their pitchers. Why is Latos not starting game 1, hes been lights out.

    • There’s another option. Whatever number in the rotation assigned to him, I want Latos to have the potential to pitch in AS MANY big games as possible.

      As a young hard thrower I think it’s important that Latos gets his regular 4 days of rest between starts rather than using him as often as they can. I think Bryan Price and the Reds factored this into their decision – whose performance would diminish with decrease rest… even if that’s not popular with the fans. I think Bryan Price knows what he’s doing.

      @redsfanman: Is there such a thing an unimportant playoff game? In my book, they’re all big.

      You’re dead on if they sweep… but contingencies must be planned for. It’s negligent not to.

      Yes yes, a win is a win, but if it were that simple nobody would care who pitched which game.

      On the other hand the Reds play 2 games in some other city before returning to Cincinnati – it’s almost like having a separate series, and you want a strong pitching performance on the home opener. The Reds’ are breaking up their 1-2 punch, Cueto and Latos, to give each the key start that sets the momentum for the following games in town. That’s a particularly big game, and the type of thing I think they acquired Latos for.

      Do the Reds have a homefield disadvantage? It feels like they do, more or less for their pitchers. Why is Latos not starting game 1, hes been lights out.

      They get homefield advantage starting in game 3, when they come home for 1, 2, or 3 games. Latos is scheduled to start the first game at home.

      The Reds want their ace, Johnny Cueto, to go in game 1, fine. The Reds don’t want Latos to pitch on short rest and want to use their co-aces in big games, fine. That explains the rotation order.

  24. Ultimately, I can live with this for the NLDS… I can find some measure of comfort in the fact that if Bailey or Bronson are going, it should be on the road. The scheduling made this more difficult than it should have been.

    • Ultimately, I can live with this for the NLDS… I can find some measure of comfort in the fact that if Bailey or Bronson are going, it should be on the road. The scheduling made this more difficult than it should have been.

      Matt – The problem isn’t Arroyo starting game 2. It’s Arroyo starting the deciding game 5 on short rest while Latos watches from the Bench.

      • Bronson’s clearly the 4th best pitcher right now.But that’s Dusty for you.

        Bronson looks like the 4th best pitcher after Bailey pitched his no-hitter, but I think Bailey could realistically go back to the 4th best depending on tonight’s start.

        The only thing that concerns me is three pitchers.I’m not saying it’s wrong.It comes down to if you want Bailey or Cueto on 3 days rest?Not sure I know.What does that do to Cueto if they advance.

        BTW – There is a good chance Latos starts game one of the NLCS if they make it.I don’t mind that too much.

        I think the team’s record through the first 3 games will be important in choosing between Cueto on short rest and Bailey, and I think it’s too early for Dusty to make that decision – I’d only consider starting Cueto in game 4 as a last ditch effort with the Reds down 1-2. in the series.

        I expect Cueto to pitch well on 3 or 4 days rest, but I definitely don’t have the same confidence in Latos to adjust. I get the feeling that other people consider rest to be irrelevant in Latos’ case.

        Matt – The problem isn’t Arroyo starting game 2.It’s Arroyo starting the deciding game 5 on short rest while Latos watches from the Bench.

        The Reds have NOT said Arroyo would start the deciding game 5 – Cueto (on 4 days rest), Bailey, or Arroyo could make that start, and I don’t think you should be worrying yet about what you consider to be a worst case scenario.

        • The Reds have NOT said Arroyo would start the deciding game 5 – Cueto (on 4 days rest), Bailey, or Arroyo could make that start, and I don’t think you should be worrying yet about what you consider to be a worst case scenario.

          But Dusty HAS said that he’ll likely go with a 3 man rotation. So if Cueto pitches game 5 then who pitches game 4?

        • But Dusty HAS said that he’ll likely go with a 3 man rotation.So if Cueto pitches game 5 then who pitches game 4?

          Dusty has not said for sure that Homer Bailey is out of the NLDS rotation. He might pitch game four. Dusty said that teams usually go with three starters, not necessarily that they will. Some people are trying to spin Arroyo in game 5 as a fact when it absolutely isn’t one.

        • Dusty has not said for sure that Homer Bailey is out of the NLDS rotation.He might pitch game four.Dusty said that teams usually go with three starters, not necessarily that they will.Some people are trying to spin Arroyo in game 5 as a fact when it absolutely isn’t one.

          Fair enough. I hope you’re right, if you’re not it’s a potential disaster that could be very easily avoided. Even with Bailey starting game 4, it wouldn’t be my rotation but there’s about a hundred million reasons that Dusty’s the manager and I’m not. Heck, they could announce that they’re running Ondrusek out there for all five games and I’m still pumped about the playoffs!

          Harpers are leading 2-1. Go Phils!

        • Dusty has not said for sure that Homer Bailey is out of the NLDS rotation.He might pitch game four.Dusty said that teams usually go with three starters, not necessarily that they will.Some people are trying to spin Arroyo in game 5 as a fact when it absolutely isn’t one.

          Redsfanman: Exactly. Beyond the first 3 games, we don’t know who’s pitching.
          Dusty implied that if someone (such as Bronson) is in bad form early, then Homer is an option as the long man. He would prefer Homer to Leake in such a situation, which is not at all crazy. If Homer does pitch long relief before game 4, Dusty will have to figure out what to do for games 4 and 5, and we’re just making guesses.

          But suppose Homer is not needed for long relief. Then I would bet any amount that he starts game 4 and a rested Cueto starts game 5 if needed.

  25. For any series that goes longer than 3 games, Arroyo splits up the hard throwers anyway if he is slotted 3rd. So why put him in the rotation above a better pitcher in Latos?

    • For any series that goes longer than 3 games, Arroyo splits up the hard throwers anyway if he is slotted 3rd. So why put him in the rotation above a better pitcher in Latos?

      Exactly.

  26. Nats and Phils tied 0-0 in the third inning.

    For whom are we rooting? Personally, I’m torn…

  27. @renbutler: maybe i’m the minority, but i want to stay away from the Giants. Go Phillies, then Go Reds, especially since the Cardinals don’t have anything to play for. …

    • @renbutler: Then forget about the matchups. Do you want the Reds to have the best record in the NL?

      That’s not so important to me.

      I have tickets to NLDS Game 4, and I’d prefer that it be played on Thursday instead of Wednesday. So in that regard, I hope the Reds are #1. And if it’s the Braves, I’ll take #1 all the way.

      However, even though I don’t fear the Cardinals, the emotional stress of a series against them might be too much for me.

  28. So, where is the outrage at the lack of a soft thrower to split up our #’s 3 and 4? If Bailey can follow Latos, I’m pretty sure Latos can follow Cueto. I know Dusty has mentioned this, but I have to believe there are other greater considerations in this decision. Although it makes as much sense as the rule that you cannot bat LH’s back to back even though 75% of the lineup is RH back to back.

  29. The only thing that concerns me is three pitchers. I’m not saying it’s wrong. It comes down to if you want Bailey or Cueto on 3 days rest? Not sure I know. What does that do to Cueto if they advance.

    BTW – There is a good chance Latos starts game one of the NLCS if they make it. I don’t mind that too much.

  30. The idea that Volquez was the right choice in 2010, or that there was no outrage, is wrong. I agree that some people thought he was the right guy to pitch, but there were also a lot of people unhappy.

    He had the 5th best ERA among the 7 guys that got starts for the Reds. The reason Volquez pitched is because Baker did not trust young pitchers, in other words, he did not want to put out Cueto or Wood. Cueto and Wood had far better success that year.

    Baker stated, publicly, that Volquez big game experience in the Carribbean was the reason for him getting the game 1 start. This is typical of the anti-meritocracy approach that Baker takes.

    Why not just start the best pitcher? And not worry about experience?

    • The idea that Volquez was the right choice in 2010, or that there was no outrage, is wrong.I agree that some people thought he was the right guy to pitch, but there were also a lot of people unhappy.

      He had the 5th best ERA among the 7 guys that got starts for the Reds.The reason Volquez pitched is because Baker did not trust young pitchers, in other words, he did not want to put out Cueto or Wood.Cueto and Wood had far better success that year.

      Baker stated, publicly, that Volquez big game experience in the Carribbean was the reason for him getting the game 1 start.This is typical of the anti-meritocracy approach that Baker takes.

      Why not just start the best pitcher?And not worry about experience?

      http://marksheldon.mlblogs.com/2010/10/02/volquez-to-start-nlds-game-1/

      Alright, I read some articles about it – Dusty’s reason for starting Volquez in game 1 was that he had been pitching well and had been effective against lefthanded hitters like those in the Phillies’ lineup, not because of Carribbean experience. Other people seemed to favor Bronson Arroyo in game 1. I guess you can selectively remember whatever you believe.

      The Reds thought they were choosing the best pitcher in Volquez, at least the guy with the best arm, rather than Arroyo or Harang. This season they’re starting the best pitcher (Cueto) to start the playoffs and the second best pitcher (Latos) to start the home games, fine.

  31. This is really selfish, but I’m rooting for the Phillies simply because I want my kids to be able to watch at least part of a playoff game. If we end up in SF, it’s likely we start two games after 9:30 PM, which is just absurd.

    Starting an eastern time zone team at 9:30 PM for a playoff game is about like only starting Mat Latos for one game in the LDS! :D

    • This is really selfish, but I’m rooting for the Phillies simply because I want my kids to be able to watch at least part of a playoff game.If we end up in SF, it’s likely we start two games after 9:30 PM, which is just absurd.

      Starting an eastern time zone team at 9:30 PM for a playoff game is about like only starting Mat Latos for one game in the LDS!

      With Oakland, Texas, Detroit, and the Cardinals in the playoffs, the Giants won’t necessarily play their home games at 9:30 ET. Any of those teams could host games in those slots. In fact, MLB probably wants their biggest markets and high-profile teams in those games, such as New York or Detroit.

  32. Let’s not even compare the decision that was made for the 2010 team to the 2012 team. Those are two totally different situations.

  33. Any thoughts on Latos pitching on 3 days rest? Good idea? Bad idea? Something to shoot for because he’s good, or something to avoid? If Bryan Price doesn’t think it’s a good idea of asking him to start on three days rest it shoots down the whole Latos for Game 2 argument.

  34. @redsfanman: I’m actually OK with Latos for Game 3.
    Game 3 is either a chance to sweep or a must win or a pivotal game.

    And it’s good that you mention Bryan Price. He’s done a great job in 2012, and it barely gets mentioned. I trust his judgment.

    • @redsfanman: I’m actually OK with Latos for Game 3.
      Game 3 is either a chance to sweep or a must win or a pivotal game.

      To me, this assumes that Cueto wins Game 1. If he doesn’t, I’d really want Latos pitching Game 2, rather than risking coming home down 0-2. Bronson hasn’t exactly been light’s out lately. If that were to happen, even a Latos win in Game 3 wouldn’t get the Reds back out from that hole. ….

      I think most of this is from Dusty’s (or Price’s, or whoever’s) dogged determination to tell guys as far in advance as possible when they’ll be playing/pitching……Way back when, many of us were not happy with Baker giving two and even three regulars the same day off. That happened in part because he had told maybe one guy that he WAS gonna be off that day, then when another guy came up really needing the day off or got hurt, Dusty wasn’t gonna go back on his plan for the first guy…..As it stands now, Dusty has said who his first three starters are gonna be, so all three can prepare accordingly. Just don’t come home 0-2 !!!!

      • To me, this assumes that Cueto wins Game 1. If he doesn’t, I’d really want Latos pitching Game 2, rather than risking coming home down 0-2. Bronson hasn’t exactly been light’s out lately. If that were to happen, even a Latos win in Game 3 wouldn’t get the Reds back out from that hole. ….

        I think most of this is from Dusty’s (or Price’s, or whoever’s) dogged determination to tell guys as far in advance as possible when they’ll be playing/pitching……Way back when, many of us were not happy with Baker giving two and even three regulars the same day off. That happened in part because he had told maybe one guy that he WAS gonna be off that day, then when another guy came up really needing the day off or got hurt, Dusty wasn’t gonna go back on his plan for the first guy…..As it stands now, Dusty has said who his first three starters are gonna be, so all three can prepare accordingly. Just don’t come home 0-2 !!!!

        I hope the Reds don’t start off 0-2 but the ‘homefield advantage’ thing only kicks in in game three. If the Reds start off 0-2 suddenly game 3 becomes a pivotal and must-win game in which you want a co-ace on the mound – worst case scenario after two games Mat Latos starts the pivotal game as the Reds’ final chance to reach the World Series. That’s a big game, a situation we want to see Cueto or Latos in, not Arroyo. On the other hand, best case scenario, the Reds win the first two games on the road and Walt Jocketty’s prize acquisition, Mat Latos, gets the win as the Reds sweep the NLDS.

        ‘Dogged determination to tell guy as far in advance as possible’ – yep, the starting pitchers have routines and prefer to be informed days in advance about when they’ll pitch. That’s not something new or unique to Dusty. Keeping those guys on a set schedule and routines is probably important to why Bryan Price’s rotation has avoided injuries all season.

        I was never bothered by guys getting days off when they were told they would. As a former player Dusty understands that aspect of his job better than any of us. The routine was all about keeping the players ready for the postseason. Here we are.

        • I hope the Reds don’t start off 0-2 but the ‘homefield advantage’ thing only kicks in in game three.If the Reds start off 0-2 suddenly game 3 becomes a pivotal and must-win game in which you want a co-ace on the mound – worst case scenario after two games Mat Latos starts the pivotal game as the Reds’ final chance to reach the World Series.That’s a big game, a situation we want to see Cueto or Latos in, not Arroyo.On the other hand, best case scenario, the Reds win the first two games on the road and Walt Jocketty’s prize acquisition, Mat Latos, gets the win as the Reds sweep the NLDS.

          ‘Dogged determination to tell guy as far in advance as possible’ – yep, the starting pitchers have routines and prefer to be informed days in advance about when they’ll pitch.That’s not something new or unique to Dusty.Keeping those guys on a set schedule and routines is probably important to why Bryan Price’s rotation has avoided injuries all season.

          I was never bothered by guys getting days off when they were told they would.As a former player Dusty understands that aspect of his job better than any of us.The routine was all about keeping the players ready for the postseason.Here we are.

          What makes no sense is to say that (a) you want Latos pitching game 3 and not Arroyo if they are down 0-2, and at the same time (b) based on that you don’t want Latos pitching game 2 and Arroyo game 3. What? Is Latos somehow going to be different in game 3 than game 2? Will Arroyo be different in game 2 or game 3?

          Every playoff game is a big game. To say you are saving Latos for game 3 because it’s pivotal, whereas game 2 isn’t pivotal, is just a fallacy.

  35. IF we play the Giants & Latos doesn’t pitch Game2, it’s beyond stupid. Check out his stats at AT&T.

    • IF we play the Giants & Latos doesn’t pitch Game2, it’s beyond stupid.Check out his stats at AT&T.

      If the Reds are going to face the Giants we will find out in the next few hours, but to get the guys on schedule the Reds had to adjust the rotation a few days ago. It’s too late to mix and match without disrupting the guys’ routines.

      If the Reds try to start Latos on 3 days rest in the playoffs it’s beyond stupid, and I think Bryan Price knows better. They acquired Latos to pitch big games and every 5th day. Currently he’s likely to pitch in two pivotal games – the first home game and the first game of the NLCS. Fine, leave it at that.

      • If the Reds are going to face the Giants we will find out in the next few hours, but to get the guys on schedule the Reds had to adjust the rotation a few days ago.It’s too late to mix and match without disrupting the guys’ routines.

        If the Reds try to start Latos on 3 days rest in the playoffs it’s beyond stupid, and I think Bryan Price knows better.They acquired Latos to pitch big games and every 5th day.Currently he’s likely to pitch in two pivotal games – the first home game and the first game of the NLCS.Fine, leave it at that.

        Talk about assuming things you have no way of knowing…they acquired Latos to pitch big games and every 5th day—who told you that, Walt Jocketty?

  36. It is looking like tonights game is going to be meaningless for both teams as Nationals lead the Phils with not much left to play…

  37. I agree with a lot of the posts here, the surprising thing from the article isn’t Bronson starting game 2, it’s going with a 3-an rotation (if what Dusty hints at is true).

    Bailey has been one of, if not the, best Reds starter over the last month. He just threw a no-hitter of Pete’s sake. Why not let him start game 4? If the Reds go with a 4-man rotation, I really don’t care who starts when, as long as Cueto gets games 1 and 5.

    But if they’re going with 3, I would rather see Cueto, Latos, and Bailey.

    • I agree with a lot of the posts here, the surprising thing from the article isn’t Bronson starting game 2, it’s going with a 3-an rotation (if what Dusty hints at is true).

      Bailey has been one of, if not the, best Reds starter over the last month.He just threw a no-hitter of Pete’s sake.Why not let him start game 4?If the Reds go with a 4-man rotation, I really don’t care who starts when, as long as Cueto gets games 1 and 5.

      But if they’re going with 3, I would rather see Cueto, Latos, and Bailey.

      ‘What Dusty hints at’ is not something he passed off as a fact. He listed a possibility (probably to shut people up) while not suggesting that he had made a final decision. He’s said all along that who they play could be a factor and he has not boxed himself into anything yet.

      Bailey was been the best Reds starter when he threw a no-hitter. I think he was the #4 starter before that and becomes the #4 starter again after tonight’s game. I hope and expect that Bailey will start a postseason game, whether that be game 4 or 5 (if Cueto pitches game 4 on short rest).

      • Bailey was been the best Reds starter when he threw a no-hitter.I think he was the #4 starter before that and becomes the #4 starter again after tonight’s game.I hope and expect that Bailey will start a postseason game, whether that be game 4 or 5 (if Cueto pitches game 4 on short rest).

        What I said was that Bailey has been the Reds best starter over the last month, which is easily verifiable.

        Bailey and Arroyo have nearly identical season ERAs, but Bailey had a 2.01 ERA in September, a run less than Arroyo. That’s why I said I would prefer Bailey.

        • What I said was that Bailey has been the Reds best starter over the last month, which is easily verifiable.

          Bailey and Arroyo have nearly identical season ERAs, but Bailey had a 2.01 ERA in September, a run less than Arroyo.That’s why I said I would prefer Bailey.

          Don’t worry, your words will be twisted. Trust me.

        • What I said was that Bailey has been the Reds best starter over the last month, which is easily verifiable.

          Bailey and Arroyo have nearly identical season ERAs, but Bailey had a 2.01 ERA in September, a run less than Arroyo.That’s why I said I would prefer Bailey.

          As I said the rotation has been set since before Bailey threw his no-hitter and his recent numbers are great as a result of that one night. I think his numbers over the past month will more closely resemble Arroyo’s after his start against the Cardinals hitters tonight… but we’ll see. Bailey was the Reds’ #4 starter, then became infinitely better, but after tonight I expect he’ll be back down to #4.

  38. Well we know starters for WC game…Cards send Lohse..Braves counter with rookie sensation Melden…should be interesting..Guess Braves don’t care about vet creaminess…

  39. I think you guys are reading much more into Dusty’s statement than what he really said. If you read what Dusty said, he actually said nothing, which is probably what he intended.

    If they get to Game 4 and Homer hasn’t pitched and there hasn’t been rainouts, then it is 99% sure that Homer will pitch Game 4 on October 10. Why would they pitch Cueto on 3 days rest, when he hasn’t done it all year, and when they will need him in the next series? And why show your hand, when you don’t know who you’re playing or how the games will play out? Somebody could get hurt, or a game could go 16 innings, so why bother explaining what the plan is?

    I would prefer Mike Leake as the 25th player than Cairo. Leake is a better baserunner, bunter and hitter, and probably a better infielder.

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