2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: I wanna keep playing the Cubs, okay?

Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Atlanta 7
Cincinnati 4

W: P. Maholm (4-3)
L: B. Arroyo (2-4)
S: C. Kimbrel (10)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Alfredo Simon was dazzling in his two innings of work, striking out all six batters he faced.

–Brandon Phillips doubled, singled, and knocked in a run. Zack Cozart had two hits, including a double, and scored two runs. Joey Votto doubled, walked, scored two runs and knocked in another.

NEGATIVES
–Bronson Arroyo gave up four runs on eight hits and two walks in five innings. He did strike out seven, but it was not a good performance for Arroyo.

–Logan Ondrusek surrendered three runs on three hits and a walk in just one inning of work. Ugh.

–Devin Mesoraco went 0-4 and committed an error.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–Cincinnati did not play well, but they had a couple of chances to win. Thanks to the fireworks during Ondrusek’s inning of work, it was all for naught.

–Cincinnati got a couple of runners on base in the bottom of the ninth, and Joey Votto came to the plate representing the tying run (with two outs). If you’re a Reds fan and your team is down three, you won’t get much better odds than that. Unfortunately, Votto struck out to end the game.

–Strange situation involving Votto in the eighth inning. Joey was on third base with no outs when Jay Bruce lifted a fly ball to Atlanta’s Jordan Schafer in LF. Schafer conceded the sacrifice fly, and threw the ball lazily into second base. For some reason, however, Votto didn’t tag up and score. I don’t know whether 3B coach Chris Speier held him up, or Votto chose not to run…but it was a bad decision. In the end, Votto scored later in the inning and the three runs scored by Atlanta in the top half made it a moot point anyway. Still…

–Logan Ondrusek must go.

Source: FanGraphs

125 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: I wanna keep playing the Cubs, okay?

  1. Yes, the “Logan Ondrusek is figuring it out” meme is probably dead for a while. How in the world do you give up a bomb home run to Jordan Schaefer?

    One problem with Ondrusek is that he pitches like a power reliever, but he doesn’t throw hard enough to be a power reliever. The other is that in his career he hasn’t ever had good control.

    I don’t have any particular problem with Ondrusek coming into a game in which they are down by a couple late; it’s a relatively low leverage situation. I just would rather him come into those types of games in Louisville.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Yeh it’s dead again for now. Fool me 9 times, shame on you. Fool me 10 times, shame on me.

      He does pitch like a power reliever, and he does have poor control. Challenging Simmons with a 90 mph slightly elevated fastball and then throwing one right in Schafer’s LHed wheelhouse.

      Hopefully this establishes that he’s now the mop up guy.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I recall (perhaps erroneously) that Ondrusek has thrown harder at times–maybe 94? He is inconsistent, though, and as the Cubs remind us, relievers with poor control can make any team resemble the Cubbies.

  2. God, seriously, if you’re up there…please give WJ a call tomorrow masquerading as a struggling team wanting to trade for Ondru-Sick. I’ll take any prospect. Literally ANY prospect to get rid of this guy and get Arredondo back. At least you could count on him half of the time. Also, please get Parra out of here too. Not averse to both of those guys going in a package deal for a second tier pitching prospect or something.

      • @pinson343: Ugh. Guess that’s the price we pay for a fantastic major league team. Skimpy minor league depth all around the board. Oh well, not gonna get bent out of shape. It’s the beginning of May and the big bats haven’t even started to heat up. Plus, our pitchers (aside from tweedle dee and dumb) are still top of the line. Brrrruuuuuuucccceeeee! (please heat up…)

  3. Even on a night when he faced good left-handed pitchers, Shin-Soo Choo found ways to get on base three times in his five PA (hit, walk, HBP). Even if he doesn’t hit much or with power vs. LHP, those on base skills are crucial if he’s going to lead-off against lefties.

  4. On other notes: Baker really is inept at managing a game. You absolutely have to pinch hit for Arroyo in the 5th. Once you get into the back end of the Braves bullpen, it’s tough sledding. If I’m deploying my bench resources, I deploy them against a tiring starter, not against Craig Kimbrel. Paul hit against Kimbrel.

    Then I’m still trying to figure out why Izturis would ever pinch hit for another position player. Good God. That’s embarrassing.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: The party line is that Robinson has an ongoing rib cage issue and can only swing from the right side. i heard this floated by Dusty over the weekend and Fay brought it up in response to the move tonight. Take it or leave, that seems to be the story and they are sticking to it.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Have to admit that both of those decisions were puzzling, especially the Arroyo sacrifice out.

      It also has to be pointed out that the General Manager has saddled Baker with one of the worst and most imbalanced benches in a long time. That’s entirely due to injuries, but the bench now consists of Corky Miller (R), Cesar Izturis (L), Jack Hannahan (L), Xavier Paul (L), and Donald Robinson (S). Baker was facing a situation in the eighth that if one more batter had come to the plate, it would have had to be a lefty pinch hitter going up against a tough lefty reliever.

      The bench shortage doesn’t exonerate Baker’s decisions, though.

      • @Steve Mancuso: True, the bench as it is now is due to injuries; however the front office has had 5~6 weeks to do something about building some organizational depth (at least) since Ludwick went down and has done nothing save this abortive trade involving this Teehan guy we learned about over the weekend.

        In addition to being “too left handed”, in Robinson they have a guy who probably could (should) be on the DL and Lutz who was brought up from AA because there is no other outfield depth in the minors. Considering that at this time last year we were being told that Frazier’s best position might actually be LF and that would indicate there is also no infield talent worthy of being brought up if Frazier were temporarily moved to LF and Hannahan put in at 3B.

        • @OhioJim: I think we’re in agreement here. Haven’t you been surprised at how passive they have been since the Heisey injury? It’s a hamstring, so they don’t really know for sure how long he’ll be out or if it will become chronic. Even absent a real trade for a serious piece, I can’t believe there aren’t unemployed OF who wouldn’t be better (and more right-handed) than Lutz.

        • @OhioJim: They’re not going to move Frazier to LF, even temporarily. His defense is improving at 3rd base and they’ll want to keep him focused on that.

      • @Steve Mancuso: You forgot another very competent right handed batter he had at his disposal who has better major league career batting stats than Izturis and Miller and is about the same as Paul. Mike Leake. .286/.286/.429 this year, and .295/.306/.443 last year…

        I am seriously considering starting up a “Keep Cingrani in the rotation and put Leake in LF” bandwagon. Keep Frazier where he is. He’s doing well.

        Leake and Paul (who’s hitting .270/.400/.351 this season while in LF. Only 37 AB sample size, but the 8 BB/6 K gives me a bit of faith in him) platoon in LF!

        • @ToddAlmighty: A team that considers itself to be a contender would not (should not)teach a pitcher to play outfield in the majors. One would suppose such a project would require significant time in the minors. Leake is an intriguing hitter, but remember that he hasn’t had many ABs–I wouldn’t be surprised if other teams figured him out if they saw more of him.

        • @greenmtred: Possibly, but he’s a below average starter, and an above average hitter.. so maybe the true insanity is not moving a pitcher to the outfield, but keeping a hitter as a pitcher.

        • @ToddAlmighty: Would solve the need for a RH bat off the bench, the need for better bench depth with Ludwick and Heisey being hurt… and then if you want to get real crazy…

          Leake could come in as a relief pitcher, or long relief in a game where the starting pitcher gets hurt or destroyed early (think what Latos did for Cueto in the playoffs, except that it wouldn’t be disrupting the rotation like having Latos pitch 2 times in a couple days since he’s not in the rotation), or he could eat up 3-4 innings in extra innings when it gets drawn out.

          It’s madness, but the more I say it, the more I like it.

        • @ToddAlmighty: Well…they don’t have much to lose, do they? Except that I’m not sure how that would work with his pitching, particularly if another starter goes down.

      • @Steve Mancuso: Not that it matters much, but Izturis is a switch hitter. He’s 2 for 6 this season batting RHed, so Dusty uses him as a big RHed bat off the bench, reminding us of Valdez last year.

        Whether it’s due to injuries or not, the Reds have no RHed bat off the bench. Last year at this time, there was no LHed bat off the bench.

        Where I fault Dusty is in his steadfast refusal to let the 2nd catcher pinch hit. Where the 2nd catcher is Corky Miller, one doesn’t mind. But when Hanigan returns, either he or Mes will be the 2nd catcher every game, and they will not be used to pinch hit.

  5. Jay Bruce has RBI in four consecutive games (five total) and should have had another on the fly ball discussed in the recap. His line-drive rate is one of the highest on the team and a career best for him.

    • @Steve Mancuso: Aaron Boone, of all people, said that “Now that Bruce’s terrible month” is behind him, the Reds can hope he’ll be OK from here. I like Jay, but when he has one of his “terrible” months, it’s a whole lot worse than he’s done so far.

    • Jay Bruce has RBI in four consecutive games (five total) and should have had another on the fly ball discussed in the recap. His line-drive rate is one of the highest on the team and a career best for him.

      His line drive rate is up but so are his strike outs. His power is basically gone. He has become a singles hitter who doesn’t make a lot of contact.

  6. God most assuredly is in his Heaven and He certainly has more pressing concerns than the Reds pitching. Still, maybe Jocketty can have a moment of clarity and realize, finally, that you can’t trust ondrusek. Sheesh, wasn’t that clear last year? Maybe he can move ondrusek and leake.

  7. One of the most obnoxious visiting fans I’ve ever sat near was in front of me tonight. For the first few innings, he was just sort of an aggressive, garden variety visiting fan. Stood up and was loud for every Braves success. But as the game wore on, he became increasingly provocative. I don’t think alcohol was the issue (not sure) he just seemed increasingly detached from good behavior.

    In the seventh inning, he would not sit down, insisting on doing the Chop (bleh). A little kid threw a peanut or something at him – totally harmless – to encourage him to sit down. He snapped. He turned around and shouted how he had a right to be there and had paid for his ticket. Then he launched into a string of top-of-the-chart profanities. A young woman laughed at him and he pointed at her and called her a [bad word] [bad word]. This caused her boyfriend to come to her defense, but just verbally.

    That caused the obnoxious Braves fan to announce that he was going to the ushers and would get everyone in the area thrown out. I knew this move was not going to end well for him, because he was clearly out of control. A few minutes later, he came back down to collect his stuff and announced that he was moving to a better seat to get away from “you [bad word] [bad word].”

    But in just a few seconds after that, he appeared in the aisle at the top of the section, repeatedly shouting that “you Reds fans are the worst [bad word] fans in all of baseball.” At this point he was being restrained by security, but he continued to shout.

    I talked to my usher afterward and he said that the guy threw a beer on one of the other ushers, so he had been escorted away.

    Sort of entertaining, really.

    • @Steve Mancuso: Don’t let the gate hitcha where the good Lord splitcha. Ever since 1995, I’ve had a burning hatred for the Braves, and this is simply another data point that I can add to the many others.

    • @Steve Mancuso: As I was walking to my car, eh-hem, in the 8th, I came across two fans (one in red, one in blue) arguing like someone was about to get shot. A bunch of people had to separate them.

      I have to admit, it is annoying when Braves fans come in to our house and do that stupid chop. I’ve NEVER seen Reds fans treat the visiting team’s fans badly, but if they keep doing that someone will get hurt. It was sooo worn out in the 90s.

      • @TC: It was worn out when they did it during the ’95 NLCS — though, I suppose that was partly our own fault for not having a tight sellout coming off the strike year.

    • @Steve Mancuso: Gattis bats right handed and can hit, right? I read the Bravos were between a rock and a hard place at C with McCann coming back. Maybe after this series, the Reds could strike a deal for him (only being half snarky)

      • @OhioJim: Yes. He’s been the feel-good story of the season for the Braves. Received some national news coverage last week about how he had gone from being out of baseball and diagnosed with depression to this. Not at all in the Braves plans heading into spring training. The Braves are carrying three catchers right now, with Jason Heyward on the DL (appendicitis). Nothing wrong with them testing Gattis out in LF. If it works, it helps a lot. He was very shaky out there, but they got away with a win anyhow. They’ll face a tough decision when Heyward returns soon.

  8. While I didn’t see the play, from what I heard on the radio broadcast is that Mesoraco’s error was a bad call. While a better throw wouldn’t have allowed the bad call to happen, you really can’t put a bad call on Devin. I’m not sure why Votto not going was a bad move, Votto didn’t know he wasn’t going to throw it in, and it wasn’t that deep. As far as we know the outfielder saw that Votto wasn’t in a position to test his arm and that’s why he threw it to second. Risking a double play for one run in a 4 run game doesn’t mean much, and as your post mentioned he scored anyway.

    Tomorrow is another day, and hopefully it’ll turn out better for the Redlegs.

  9. I saw the replay on that throw to second by Meso .. the guy was clearly out. Cozart had the ball and slide his foot over the bag. Why they called that an error, I just don’t get.

    Also the trapped ball in the 9th, which the guys on ESPN all commented that they thought it was strange that Reds weren’t raising any complaints over the call because it was obvious to them..

    I was beyond annoyed at the Ump Calls tonight. Ridiculous.

    • @Love4Reds: I was really surprised no one on the Reds argued the call at second base. Cozart clearly thought he had dragged his foot across the bag. And the trapped ball was important.

      The other play I wasn’t sure about because of my angle was whether Choo was safe or out at 2B on the pick-off/stolen base attempt. It was a funny looking play, but his reaction was one where he thought he was safe. No replays in the ball park, though.

      • @Steve Mancuso:

        I saw the replay in ESPN … it was really tough to see. They only showed one angle. It appeared he did get him on the tag between his legs. But it was a poor angle to see it from and I couldn’t be 100% sure on it.

        I was also really surprised by the lack of complaint by the Reds dugout on the Cozart/Meso play and the Trapped Ball Play in the 9th. Both were important. For the 9th .. it would have meant Brandon Coming up to bat .. that could have been huge.

        • @Love4Reds: Agree about the Trapped Ball play. Also I didn’t see it, but at the Reds mlb.com site people are saying Choo was safe, he was not tagged.

    • @Love4Reds:

      I saw the replay on that throw to second by Meso .. the guy was clearly out. Cozart had the ball and slide his foot over the bag. Why they called that an error, I just don’t get.

      Also the trapped ball in the 9th, which the guys on ESPN all commented that they thought it was strange that Reds weren’t raising any complaints over the call because it was obvious to them..

      I was beyond annoyed at the Ump Calls tonight. Ridiculous.

      I was annoyed a number of times by the lack of support from the Reds dugout, but one rarely sees Dusty get come out of the dugout to complain…it’s just Dusty bein’ Dusty.

      I thought the Reds also should have run earlier when they had Robinson on 2nd and Choo on first and Cozart at the plate.

      • @Bill Lack: The fact that Dusty refuses to stand up for his players and team with the umpires drives me nuts. Another example is when the Cards failed to tag BP in the rundown during the last road trip. For Dusty not to have come out and stood up for BP was inexcusable, especially from a “players manager.” I almost fell over when he came out when Lutz was hit in the Cubs series.

  10. I might opine about Votto’s not going home- what if he is not sure about his knee? I blew out my ACL and played tentative soccer for at least a year. Could Joey not quite trust his knee yet? He’s developed a new slide to protect the knee, so we will see. Trusting your body can be a weird thing for athletes.

    • @SFredsfan: Don’t buy it. He’s tagged up previously. He also legged out a triple earlier in the season. I think he was just told to stay at third for whatever poorly judged reason.

      Don’t know who the Reds are if not aggressive on the bases. Always tag up and advance when you can, always try to go 1st to 3rd when you can, sliding doubles are better than standing singles, and a lot of the people on the team always hustle down the first base line to make plays a lot closer than normal (it pays off for Cozart and Heisey an awful lot where they just out hustle a play).

      • @ToddAlmighty: Agree with you about the Reds baserunning. After Choo got caught stealing, Aaron Boone said that Dusty would shut down the Reds running game for Tuesday’s game ! What an ignorant statement.

        For the particular play with Joey, the ESPN broadcasters thought that Chris Speier had Joey hold, because the LFer had good momentum coming in, would have nailed him with a decent throw, and there were none out.

    • @SFredsfan: If Votto had blown out his ACL, I think you would have a valid point. He didn’t though – his injury was minor in comparison.

      However, I don’t think Votto had a say. I bet he was held by the 3rd base coach who for some reason thinks it’s rarely ever appropriate to challenge the defense to make a play.

  11. I would like to have seen Dusty at least protest a bit on Schafer’s trap. The espn crew called it a trap even before the replay and noted that the 2nd base umpire (who made the call) had looked to the 3rd base umpire for help.

    Not that it was an easy call. At one replay angle, you could see it had bounced, but it looked like it might have bounced inside his huge glove (it didn’t).

  12. At this point, I really hope we can pull out at least 1 win from this series.

    I like Corky, but I can’t get over him being almost an automatic out. So that hurts the offense tomorrow with him being the likely Catcher for Homer. Hopefully Homer can stave off the Braves batters .. and the offense can push through a few runs.

    And I’m nervous Leake’s pitching style is going to get lit up much like Arroyo did tonight. So unless the offense can out hit them in that game … ??

    I’ll be at both games .. so I’ll be cheering them on either way. Here’s for hoping!!

    • @Love4Reds: Yeh cheer them on for us. I’m not that impressed by the Braves, but as of now I’m concerned about this series. Not thrilled about the pitching match ups. We need “shutdown Homer” tomorrow.

    • At this point, I really hope we can pull out at least 1 win from this series.

      I like Corky, but I can’t get over him being almost an automatic out. So that hurts the offense tomorrow with him being the likely Catcher for Homer. Hopefully Homer can stave off the Braves batters .. and the offense can push through a few runs.

      And I’m nervous Leake’s pitching style is going to get lit up much like Arroyo did tonight. So unless the offense can out hit them in that game … ??

      I’ll be at both games .. so I’ll be cheering them on either way. Here’s for hoping!!

      I didn’t think Arroyo got “lit up”, he gave up one long homer…the big problem was lack of control and walks.

  13. Ondrusek was bad tonight. He has been pitching well, but struggled tonight. Not sure how he will be for the rest of the year, but he is too risky and inconsistent to be rely’d on for the whole years, especially when you play good teams like the Braves. I don’t want to hear any excuses on injuries anymore from the Reds. The Braves have had injuries and other players have stepped up. Time for Cozart, Bruce, and Mesoraco to step up now!

    • @Love4Reds: From all those different angles, I still can’t tell if the tag was made. But in any case, ball gets there on time, a tag is “maybe” made, the runner will usually get called out.

    • @Love4Reds: I don’t think the tag got Choo, but the ump was in a position where he couldn’t have possibly seen anything… it was a guess call, the ball was there on time, and so the odds were against Choo.

  14. I really, really hate losing to the braves. Missed all but the bottom of the 9th. Good to see xp, lutz, and choo all single back to back against one of the best closers in the game.

  15. Also, choo was definitely safe. Tag was made to the upper body. If you watch the web gem segment on espn’s site they slow it down real nice for ya.

  16. I was sitting at the top of the Pavilion near the tall stacks. Things got a little toasty when Simon was pitching.

  17. I would flip-flop Arroyo & Bailey in the rotation. Bailey’s ERA is 1 run better and it would help Arroyo to get more run support. I think Bailey would relish the challenge in the 3 spot and we could absorb more Arroyo-yo-ing starts out of the 4th.

  18. After watching this team for 5 weeks now, there are some things that are painfully obvious.

    This is a very limited offensive team. With absolutely no team speed (Reds are next to last in all of baseball in stolen bases with 10) and little power (Reds have 28 HRs which ranks 22nd and rank 25th in slugging), they have to depend on getting walks and trying to string together hits to score runs. They can’t depend on hitting home runs because they really don’t have any power.

    Their offense revolves around 3 players, Choo, Votto and Phillips. It is almost impossible to win consistently when you are getting little production from other positions.
    Catchers are hitting .157/.278/.194 with 0 HRs and 9 RBIs.
    There is only 2 HR from a left fielder (Heisey). Paul’s HR came as a pinch-hitter.
    There is only 1 HR from a right fielder (Bruce). Something is not right with Jay Bruce. He has become a slap hitter with no power. I know he tinkered with his swing over the winter to try and become more consistent but he is actually become a worse hitter. He is on pace to strike out 235 times. He has basically become Rob Deer with less power.

    Devin Mesoraco is a bust as a prospect. This goes all the way back to last year. When given any significant playing time last year, he did not do well. He was even benched in favor of Dioner Navarro. This year he is hitting .224/.319/.293.

    The Reds absolutely have to go out and find another bat. We have no idea whether if or when Ryan Ludwick will make it back from his injury. Even if he does come back, how much will he be able to contribute?

    The pitching has been good. It is generally good enough on most days to win. The exceptions being Leake and Arroyo when they face some of the better lineups. They need to end the Logan Ondrusek experiment.

    Just my thoughts. I’m sure I’ll get trashed about the Reds are 6th in Runs scored, etc. You have to remember that the Reds have had 4 games where they scored over 10 runs.

    • @RedForever: You could take away every team’s 10 run games and then re-compare.

      No one is a bust after 200 plate appearances.

      Bruce is indeed Deer/Reynolds with zero power, in the first 5 weeks of this year. Bring back the old approach!

      • @RedForever: You could take away every team’s 10 run games and then re-compare.

        No one is a bust after 200 plate appearances.

        Bruce is indeed Deer/Reynolds with zero power, in the first 5 weeks of this year. Bring back the old approach!

        Mesoraco’s career stats – .209/.284/.341 in 273 ABs

    • Devin Mesoraco is a bust as a prospect. This goes all the way back to last year. When given any significant playing time last year, he did not do well. He was even benched in favor of Dioner Navarro.

      In face, Devin was never given any significant playing time last season. He started only 30% of the games. He never started more than 2 games in a row. This by no definition is significant playing time. These aren’t dogs; they don’t perform simply because they are allowed to start one game (“You’re starting. Go out there and hit 4 HR’s” just don’t happen). So, your analysis there would just be incorrect. It could easily have been last season Devin went from being “the man” throughout all of minor league ball and now he was being asked to not even start half the time, entirely throwing off his routine, something many players at this level rely on. And, now that the other catcher he was battling time with is injured, to where he should be getting much much more playing time, he is still splitting time with a career minor leaguer.

      Corky has 5 starts this season quicker than Devin got his first 5 starts this season. And, looking at how Devin is producing twice as well as Corky is, that goes back to the Bakerman and two things:
      1) His veteran-ness. I’ve always said, if the Bakerman has a veteran for an option, he’s going to take it. With Stubbs, he had no veteran. With Bruce, he had no veteran. With Cozart last season, Baker has an option. Baker gave Harris more time at 3rd last season than Frazier. At catcher, Baker has an option. So, he’s going to take it.
      2) I still feel that Bakerman doesn’t like Devin. I could even understand playing Navarro last season during the playoff run and in the playoffs. But, Devin barely got a whiff of an AB, a pinch hit, with the Reds when Navarro came up. Devin should have been the 2nd string catcher during the playoffs so that Navarro, being a switch hitter, would be available for pinch hitting duties. Bakerman had a veteran for an option; he took it. And, when the veteran was able to perform, the young stud never saw the light of day again.
      But, then, now look. Who’s with the team now? Did the veteran stay? Did the young stud quit baseball? This goes to Bakerman’s flawed logic. Devin was the future of the team and was still going to be around; he needs playing time, not sitting time. Baker needs to get use to it and learn to bring him around. Come on, Bakerman, be a players coach, instead of intentionally dissing him in the papers.

    • @RedForever: It is early, but I certainly agree that the Reds are limited offensively, and that may represent the expectations for a small-market club: strong offense through the entire batting order (well, not 9th) is expensive. So’s pitching, of course, but the Reds seem to have made a de facto choice between pitching and offense and chosen pitching, which certainly dovetails with conventional wisdom. Pitching, defense, timely hitting and speed can get it done, but timely hitting was certainly in short supply last night and has been in a number of other games. And speed…many of the Reds are fast enough, but I suppose they (the Reds) don’t want to run themselves out of opportunities to score in the event that somebody doesn’t strike out or hit into a double play.

  19. Regarding Jay Bruce, I want to emphasize that he must play every day no matter what. And I do not dislike Jay Bruce. I like him.

    But, sorry, the Emperor has no clothes. He has been absolutely awful this year. It’s true that his line drive rate is 30%. That’s nice. But while his HR/Fly Ball ratio is way, way low, part of that is because his pop up rate has more than doubled.

    Look at his BABIP. It’s .371!!! So the increased line drives have probably paid off, and he’s probably still getting very lucky with BABIP. I don’t typically care about K’s, but he’s on pace to strike out about 200 times. What kind of line drive hitter, if that’s what he’s trying to become, strikes out 200 times? If he actually strikes out 200 times, it’s going to be a long year, I’m guessing.

    Yes, it’s true that there’s a pretty good chance he’s going to get hot, but I really don’t like the underlying numbers so far. Many people were thrilled with his “new approach”, and I said I hated it and it was brushed aside.

  20. The second base ump had a rough night with three missed calls; Meso double play through to Cozart, trap in the 9th on Paul flyball to Schafer and the Choo pick-off/steal (not certain SS got the tag on).

  21. Devin Mesoraco fields a sacrifice bunt and fires a rocket to Zack Cozart at 2B to get the force out on the lead runner. The throw pulls Cozart across the bag to the 1B side and Cozart catches the throw and drags his trailing foot across the bag for the force out, but the umpire calls the runner safe. This was not a questionable call. It was a horribly blown call by the 2B umpire. The video review clearly shows the runner was out. Mr. Baker stands in the dugout chewing on his toothpick while the official scorer gives Mesoraco an error for making an aggressive, spectacular play.

    Shin-Soo Choo makes an aggressive attempt at a steal on a pickoff throw to 1B. The throw to 2B is on time, but the tag at 2B is late and the play is close. The 2B umpire calls Choo out. The video review is inconclusive, but doesn’t show an out. Mr. Baker stands in the dugout chewing on his toothpick while Choo picks himself up and makes his way back to the dugout.

    Xavier Paul slices a hit to LF that Jordan Schafer clearly trapped, but the umpire called the play a catch and an out. Viewers of the live action play declared the play a trap and the video review clearly showed a trapped ball. Mr. Baker stands in the dugout chewing on his toothpick while Paul makes his way back to the dugout.

    These aren’t isolated instances. Mr. Baker routinely refuses to support his players on the field, and as a result, a large proportion of close calls go against the Reds. This includes inconsistent calls for balls and strikes when the home plate umpire starts squeezing the plate against the Reds pitchers. This lack of on-field support and lack of fire and passion during the game translates to the play on the field.

    Mr. Baker gets credit for a lengthy career as a manager, managing some of the very best teams and players that steroids could produce, while failing to lead any of those teams to a championship. Mr. Baker also gets credit for being a great player’s manager, while failing to support his players on the field. As others have said, I guess this is just Mr. Baker being Mr. Baker.

    I hate the Cardinals and their ego-induced attitudes, but I greatly respect the fire and passion they display on the field. The Reds do not display the same fire and passion, despite having equal or better talent on the field. Now the 3B coach who followed Mr. Baker from Chicago to Cincinnati has virtually cancelled any and all aggressive plays on the basepaths with the most consistent and prevalent play being the sacrifice bunt. I hope I’m wrong, but when I remove my Rosie Red colored glasses, I see the Cardinals running away with the NLCD this season and the Reds fighting for the 2nd wildcard spot to play against the Nationals or Braves in the wildcard playin game in a year where the Reds are all in, leaving the Reds on the outside looking in at playoff time. Then next season, Choo is gone. Ludwick is a year older, Phillips is a year older and Hanigan is a year older, with all 3 players rolling into the downside of their prime production. Arroyo is gone, leaving a 5 man starting pitching staff with no available replacements. The Reds again will have no proven or capable players to get on base in the top two lineup positions. In his final year as manager of the Reds, Mr. Baker will manage the 2014 team to a 3rd or 4th place finish in a 5-team division.

    • @BloodyHo: What a bleak outlook…I respectfully disagree with pretty much everything you said but I am entertained by it.

      They were wrong calls, but they were still close. Obviously not one of the three plays would have been overturned, even with a manager’s interjection.

      Also, I refuse to believe that the players in the clubhouse feel slighted because their manager doesn’t come out with guns a blazin’, throwing bases and getting kicked out. That’s just not Mr. Baker, I’m sure they all know that.

      I’m not defending Baker but I am saying that his lack of action in arguing close calls in overrated as a topic of discussion as if it somehow is a tangible piece of evidence of his managerial faults.

      As for his baseball decisions (not acting decisions), that’s a horse of a different color.

      • @RedManifesto: I agree, getting upset about how a manager reacts to blown calls is ignoring the real issue – that the call was blown. 3 bad calls in one game are going to hurt you. That’s the fault of the umps as well as baseball’s limited use of technology/replays to make correct calls.

        But some of the doom and gloom regarding the cardinals is an interesting talking point. With the wild card structure, winning the division is significantly more valuable than it used to be. I don’t think many of us want to play atlanta/washington in a 1 game playoff. We need to keep up with the cards and Dusty is costing us little by little and it adds up. I don’t attribute last night’s loss to Dusty, but I think he has played a roll in quite a few this season already.

      • @RedManifesto: I do believe somewhat in the idea that getting out there and arguing can influence the next close one… if an ump already knows he hurt Baker/Reds on a call, and got called out on it, it just may influence the next bang-bang call. Arguing will never change the outcome of the specific play in question, but it can’t hurt for the next time.

        Certainly there’s a difference between going apoplectic for no reason and getting out there and standing up for the team.

        • @Matt WI: There’s also a big difference in coming out to argue the pickoff of Choo play and a trapped call. The latter might actually be reversed, if he can get the umpire to ask for help.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: That’s true. I also think it is absolutely absurd that the umps don’t work better amongst themselves to get the call right. Instead, they refuse to make one guy look bad by overturning a wrong, thereby making all of them look bad.

    • @BloodyHo: I have to agree, Bloody. A players manager? Sorry, but I find that a joke. Why? Because he pays for their dinner when they are at the hotel? With as much money as these guys are playing for, that’s a joke. Because he starts them when they are around their hometown? I’ve seen plenty of instances he hasn’t done that. Because he tells them 2-3 days in advance when their going to start a game? “Oh, thank you for telling me I am going to start my one game per month 2-3 days in advance.” “How about fighting for me and us when an ump is making a bad call against us?” Just doing that can get that ump to consider, “Well, I don’t want to have to deal with arguing with Baker again. So, I will call him safe.”

      Baker’s rep is exactly what it is. He has no rep of making bad players good, good players great, great players exceptional. He has no rep of winning championships. He has no rep of arguing with umps even though he will have his plays continue a “fight” through throwing at other players. Bakerman is the prime example of “utility fielder” for managers. Even though they may not be the best “player” and not good enough to start, every team will specifically look for and need one, even though as far as having a year long positive effect on the team’s success, the team would probably be better pressed looking elsewhere. That’s one reason why Bakerman was able to hang around San Fran so long. They didn’t develop anyone; they just kept trying to piece together teams around Bakerman. Fire him? The godfather (I believe) and best friend (I believe) of two of the franchise’s heros? Never.

      • @steveschoen: The reason Baker is considered a player’s manager is that he seldom holds them accountable for their lack of performance on the field. He assigns players their role and that’s that. Cozart fails batting #2, stubbornly keep him there, etc.

        From his side of it, Baker would argue that it relaxes the players to know that no one is breathing down their necks. It creates loyalty from those players that it benefits, so they play harder “for their manager.”

        I don’t agree, but Baker does have a lot of experience managing professional baseball players and I have zero. On the other hand, there are other professional baseball managers – like Joe Maddon – who do hold their players accountable and will move them around the batting order or where they play on the field regularly. And his method works.

        Of course, there are certain players who get on Baker’s wrong side (Chris Dickerson comes to mind) or who can’t break through one of these set role situations (Devin Mesoraco) because of their youth — in which case Baker will comment adversely in public about them and pull them quickly. His extremely curious lack of faith in Sean Marshall is another.

        • @Steve Mancuso: One could consider a players’ manager as someone with patience. Baker is that. As you say, he also decides who he thinks sucks, and when he decides that, you’re not getting much of a chance. He decided Dickerson, Mesoraco, and Heisey, IMO, aren’t good. Frankly, IMO he’s right on Heisey and Dickerson, and he could be on Mesoraco (of course, he may also contribute to it).

    • @BloodyHo: Not just BloodyHo but any of you guys, tell me where a player has had something bad to say about Dusty Baker? He IS a players’ manager. No doubt about it. Players LOVE playing for the guy. Players all the time come to the Reds party because they want to play for Dusty Baker. Now his “strategies” drive me completely bonkers sometimes. I am not sure he’s the best manager for the Reds. As a field general he is below average at best. Doubting him as a players’ manager however is just plain wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

  22. I’ve been disappointed, too, in Devin Mesoraco’s start at the plate this year. Not in any global “he’s a bust” sense – way, way too early for that. But Mesoraco had such a promising spring training, I started to get excited to see his bat play regularly.

    I know, I know. Spring training is meaningless.

    But this was one of those possible exceptions – a young player getting to the next step.

    Then, the season starts and Mesoraco gets cut way back on playing time, even in relation to most of last season. Did that affect his momentum? Probably not, but who knows. Then he gets thrown into the lead role, catching pitchers with which he is relatively unfamiliar (Latos, Arroyo). Does the added pressure of preparing for that detract from his focus on hitting? Who knows.

    • @Steve Mancuso: I hope not. It really shouldn’t affect him.

      He’s just been horrible at the plate, both in how he looks and in the results. I really hope he can get it going here soon.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I heard him interviewed in spring training and he talked about how difficult it was last year to be worrying about calling a game – in between innings he’d be focusing on that – and at the same time thinking about his up-coming at bats, like studying what the opposing pitcher was doing. He said he felt like he was doing a better job this year of compartmentalizing it during his dugout time. I just wonder if throwing him into catching Latos and Arroyo anew has throw him backwards a bit.

    • @Steve Mancuso: I’m not really that disappointed in Mesoraco yet as a hitter. His OBP is .319, despite a low average, plus he’s faced some pretty decent pitchers lately in St. Louis and last night in Maholm The Reds Killer. He’s gone 3-for-his-last 23; before that, he was hitting .278, and everybody is entitled to a cold 7 games. Also, hitting 8th has its own set of challenges, because the 8-hitter gets pitched around a lot. Ryan Hannigan is perfectly suited for it.

      He’ll do better. It’s been cold, and he’s doing very well defensively, so I am not ready to call for his head.

      I’m more worried about Arroyo. If BJ Upton wasn’t so god-awful, Arroyo would have a K/9 of less than 4.5, or Chris Welch range. Yes, he’s had some good starts this year, but the cold-weather part of the season is likely over, and I wonder if he isn’t doing it with mirrors. Right-handed junkballers don’t last as long as lefties.

      • @Big Ed: To be clear, I’m not calling for his head at all. He’ll do better eventually. And I agree that his OBP makes his offensive performance respectable. My disappointment is born entirely out of his spring training line: .326/.420.535. I want that Devin back!

      • @Big Ed: Let’s not kid ourselves. We can lobby for Mesoraco to get playing time, but he’s been awful, with a capital A. Yes, his OBP is .319 or whatever, but have you seen his Valdez-like slugging percentage. When a major league baseball player has a slugging percentage below .300, he’d better be a pitcher.

  23. Last season, WJ hit the mother lode when he signed XP. After his call up in 2012, XP hit .314/.379/.465 in 96 PA. This season, XP is hitting .265/.368/.388 in 57 PA.

    I’m wondering if WJ may be making a reprise visit to the mother lode after signing Derrick Robinson this season. Robinson is hitting .286/.423/.286 in 26 plate appearances. I wasn’t very excited about this signing or call up, but I’ve liked everything I’ve seen from this kid in an admittedly very small sample size. If this 25 year old OF with stellar defensive skills and ++ speed continues to produce offensively, this could make for an interesting quandry once Ludwick returns to the lineup. The Reds can’t carry 3 utility OF on the 25 man roster and Robinson has options available, but if the Reds are in a serious hunt for a playoff spot, the best 25 available may have significantly more impact than available options.

    I certainly don’t expect Robinson to maintain his .423 OBP through the season, but his 19% walk rate in his 26 PA certainly is encouraging. We’ll just have to wait an see how things shake out for the youngster in his 1st trip to the bigs. He has at least 3 months to strut his stuff and being a switch hitter doesn’t hurt either.

    • @Shchi Cossack: He made a play in left some time around the 6th that (to me) was impressive. Because of my angle I saw his speed as he ran down and wait on a ball that I thought was for sure extra bases when it was sailing out of the infield. Anybody else back there (including Heisey) and it WAS extra bases.

  24. On Bleacher Report, there is a new article about what to do with Leake when Cueto comes back from his injury. Supposedly, Leake was a pretty good fielder in his day and so the writers threw out the idea of trying Leake at shortstop over Cozart given Leake’s batting prowess. While I laugh at the idea that Baker would EVER think this far out of the box, it’s always fun to think about the possibilities. Here’s the article if you want to check it out. Discuss Away.
    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1627355-tony-cingrani-or-mike-leake-the-reds-debate-for-both

    • @MrRedlegs3900: The part of that article where they talk about starting Leake at SS and then letting him pitch to some batters also, while moving the starting pitcher somewhere on the field, is totally absurd. Not a good idea, and not even in the realm of fantasy consideration.

      That said, I think Leake is a better hitter than Cozart is. Period. I would be fine with Leake becoming a position player at some point. I would also be fine with him hitting 2nd when he starts and having Cozart hit 9th.

    • On Bleacher Report, there is a new article about what to do with Leake when Cueto comes back from his injury.Supposedly, Leake was a pretty good fielder in his day and so the writers threw out the idea of trying Leake at shortstop over Cozart given Leake’s batting prowess.While I laugh at the idea that Baker would EVER think this far out of the box, it’s always fun to think about the possibilities.Here’s the article if you want to check it out.Discuss Away.
      http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1627355-tony-cingrani-or-mike-leake-the-reds-debate-for-both

      Never, ever, read Bleacher Report.

  25. three things are making this reds team look significantly worse than expected so far.

    1) No Power. It’s really insane how little power this team has hit for. A team .378 SLG puts them near the bottom of the majors, and this team was built to be league average or better in the power department. Losing Ludwick and Bruce (to wherever the real Jay Bruce went) is most of that.

    2) Arroyo and Leake being mediocre in the age of the pitcher.

    3) Bullpen being just ok.

    It’s not that the back of the rotation or the pen have been terrible, but the Reds won last year on the strength of their pitching and this year it’s just been ok. Part of that is that the league is pitching really well, and part is some bad performances.

    The Reds are still good, they’re 3 games over .500, but until some of these issues get addressed, they aren’t going to look like a World Series team.

  26. The Astros designated Rick Ankiel for assignement. He might be worth a look in LF until Ludwick comes back. Yes he’s hitting .194, but he has 5HR and aa .700+OPS, which is more than Heisey could say.

    Problem is he’s left-handed.

    • The Astros designated Rick Ankiel for assignement. He might be worth a look in LF until Ludwick comes back. Yes he’s hitting .194, but he has 5HR and aa .700+OPS, which is more than Heisey could say.

      Problem is he’s left-handed.

      That is part of the issue right now. They are too left-handed. The loss of Ludwick has been a lot bigger than I thought. They need make a trade. But I think they will wait (what a surprise) until Heisey is back. If he continues to struggle, then I think a trade for a left fielder is inevitable.

    • The Astros designated Rick Ankiel for assignement.

      Please stop right there and think about what you typed before continuing that statement. ;)

      • @TC: Well the Reds definitely need some depth throughout the organization, so I don’t see a problem signing Ankiel. Lutz probably loves the MLB paycheck he’s getting for sitting on the bench, but the Reds should be concerned with his development. It doesn’t make sense to keep a young, raw guy on the bench, might as well sign a cheap vet.

        • @CP: There is no room on the 40 man roster to sign anyone unless WJ makes a move to trade someone off the 40 man roster (or simply remove someone like Parra). That was the appeal of promoting the Big Lutz, he was already on the 40 man roster. There were other OF that would have been a better option than the Big Lutz, but they were not on the 40 man roster and there was no move WJ wanted to make to clear space on the 40 man roster to make those moves.

        • @Shchi Cossack:
          The Reds have so many minor league pitchers on the 40-man roster, it seems a little imbalanced. I follow the Reds pretty closely and I’ve never even heard of some of these guys.

          73 Carlos Contreras
          67 Daniel Corcino
          56 Justin Freeman
          74 Ismael Guillon
          71 Kyle Lotzkar
          75 Curtis Partch
          76 Josh Ravin
          65 Pedro Villarreal

        • @al: I’ve heard of them all, but I’m good with trading all but two of them for a player to be named later.

    • @al: Absolutely not to Ankiel. He is striking out in over HALF of his at bats, and his OBP is .231.

  27. Do the Reds take someone like Chapman, who they are using at only a fraction of his value, and parlay him into the big RH hitting LF the Reds seek?? Someone they would utilize much more and get their value from and fill a great need. It seems no matter what decision the Reds make on Chapman, there never will be a consensus on the decision. Whether that is in hte front office, the coaches and the players. It will always be a distraction, no matter where he pitches. Therefore, extract yourself from that position, trade Chapman, fill the RH LF batter in the # 4 hole void. The Reds can find internally a pitcher who can close at near the same efficiency as Chapman, but not near with the same flair. I think the time has come. WJ call the Angels and ask about MArk Trumbo. They are struggling and may be needing to fix their woes by making a couple of transactions.

  28. Do the Reds take someone like Chapman, who they are using at only a fraction of his value, and parlay him into the big RH hitting LF the Reds seek?? Someone they would utilize much more and get their value from and fill a great need. It seems no matter what decision the Reds make on Chapman, there never will be a consensus on the decision. Whether that is in the front office, the coaches and/or the players. It will always be a distraction, no matter where he pitches. Therefore, extract yourself from that position, trade Chapman, fill the RH LF batter in the # 4 hole void. The Reds can find internally a pitcher who can close at near the same efficiency as Chapman, but not near with the same flair. I think the time has come. WJ call the Angels and ask about Mark Trumbo. They are struggling and may be needing to fix their woes by making a couple of transactions

  29. I would trade Chapman if Dusty wasn’t the manager. I would use Hoover and Marshall as my closers depending on the situation. Dusty could never handle such complexities. I would also trade Billy Hamilton in the right deal. Would Hamilton and Leake get you Willingham? It just might.

    • @AnnapolisHoosier: If Dusty wasn’t the manager, you probably wouldn’t have to trade Chapman. He could become a dominant starting pitcher. I suspect that either Hamilton or Leake would get you Willingham. My guess is the twins will get a couple of minor league pitching prospects for him, and not upper tier guys, either.

      • @Steve Mancuso:

        If Dusty wasn’t the manager, you probably wouldn’t have to trade Chapman.

        You beat me to the punch on that response. I was already typing away when I noticed you response lurking below.:idea:

  30. Hello would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re using?
    I’m going to start my own blog soon but I’m having a difficult time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and
    Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design and style seems different then most blogs
    and I’m looking for something unique. P.S Sorry for being off-topic but I had to ask!

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