2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: THIS is why we watch Reds baseball

Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Atlanta 4
Cincinnati 5

W: J. Broxton (1-1)
L: C. Kimbrel (0-1)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Unbelievable. Simply unbelievable. Before we dig into the specifics, let me show you what we tweeted just before the beginning of the ninth inning:

I told you so.

–After trailing the entire game, the Reds entered the ninth inning down 4-3. Atlanta sent their all-world closer Craig Kimbrel to the mound. Reds manager Dusty Baker countered with…Jack Hannahan and Corky Miller? Not surprisingly, those jokers struck out pretty quickly.

With two outs, however, Devin Mesoraco (pinch-hitting for Jonathan Broxton) homered to tie the game and Shin-Soo Choo delivered the walkoff blast that gave the Reds a 5-4 win in the most exciting finish of this young 2013 season. What an amazing game.

–Choo finished the game 2-5 with two runs scored and two RBI (on two solo homers).

–Joey Votto had two hits, including a double, and he’s really starting to look like he’s getting locked in.

–Superb relief work by Sam LeCure, Sean Marshall, and Jonathan Broxton, who delivered four perfect innings to keep the Braves in check long enough for the offense to deliver a win.

NEGATIVES
–Homer Bailey gave up four runs on five hits and four walks in five innings. Not a strong outing, but he did settle down and kinda battled to keep the Reds in the game, despite not having his best stuff.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–Good grief, I love the Cincinnati Reds. These are the types of games that keep me coming back for more, season after season after season.

–It’s inexcusable that Dusty let Corky Miller hit in the ninth, when he could have easily pinch-hit Mesoraco for him:

–Guys, Sean Marshall is an elite reliever, whether the majority of Reds fans want to believe that or not. We are lucky to have him, and I’m going to keep beating this drum. He’s great. I wish he were Cincinnati’s closer.

–You know, the more I watch this Atlanta team, the more I believe that they are every bit as good as the teams expected to be the best in the National League (Washington, Cincinnati, etc.). It would be very nice to get a series win against these guys tomorrow afternoon, eh?

–That was Mesoraco’s first career pinch-hit homer.

–The win gave Dusty Baker his 1600th career win as a manager, which moved him past his old skipper, Tommy Lasorda, on the all-time list. Pretty cool.

–Twitter talk:

Source: FanGraphs

121 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: THIS is why we watch Reds baseball

    • @CincyGuy: Same here. I will admit I was watching Soul Surfer, which by the way I do suggest if you haven’t seen it. I knew Corky was starting. When I saw Devin hitting in the 9th, I thought Baker may have been ejected or something. I thought surely Baker wouldn’t do that, hit our pinch hit our backup catcher. That just isn’t like him.

    • @CincyGuy: a nearly opposite experience for me: I gave up and went to bed after the 4th (had to get up early, but still..). If I had kept watching, Mes probably would have struck out, though, so it’s the sort of sacrifice I’ll make again.

  1. And I scoffed at the 3rd run. I figured that while it may raise the odds in general a lot, it doesn’t with Kimbrel as closer. Shows what I know.

  2. I have to say, watch the celebration at the plate. Miller is wearing his gear. So if Choo makes out, instead of leaving Mesoraco in to catch, Miller was going to stay in the game.

  3. Hoping tomorrows game is just as good as tonights. I’m going to my second game ever tomorrow and it’s my birthday tomorrow. Hoping to bring home a game and series win.

    Go Reds!

  4. Well, that was fun.

    I have to admit when the ball left Mesoraco’s bat I didn’t think it would carry. It was a classic, GABP front-row shot. What courage from him to lock and load like that with a full count and two outs against Kimbrell. Hopefully this will generate some confidence for him and get him back more like he was in spring training. The game-winner was a no-doubter.

    I’m glad the Reds won in part because, unlike Monday night, I think they deserved to win. Every break in that game went against them, starting from the first pitch. Not sure if Cozart wasn’t ready for the first pitch of the game, but he took a terrible route to the ball and still should have caught it. Two of the Braves hits in the first were broken bats. Homer wasn’t great (all the walks) but he deserved much better in the first. Corky’s single just missed going out by about a foot. The Reds hit a few balls hard right at the Braves.

    Pretty big crowd tonight for a Tuesday in early May. Lots of people stayed to the end, then also stuck around to celebrate. I had moved down from my seat (about the 20th row) to about the 10th row in the seventh inning, which is where I was when lightning struck twice.

  5. The Reds win yet again despite the “manager.” The biggest need on this team isn’t another left fielder, or a middle reliever to replace Ondrusek. Its a real, honest to goodness baseball manager in the Davey Johnson/Bruce Bochy/Larussa/Leyland/McKeon mold. Even Ozzie Guillen would be a significant upgrade, warts and all. Baker has managed a string of talented clubs and minimized their chances to win a World Series one game at a time.

    • @D Ray White: Not all those managers are improvements over Baker. Jim Leyland is exactly the same in the way he manages his team as Baker. Davey Johnson is the best of the ones you mention. Bochy is pretty similar to Baker except worlds better at managing a bullpen, which is important.

      • @Steve Mancuso: I love Davey, but during the Nats series I noticed that he also has this inexplicable tendency to bat his worst hitter second and his much-better-hitting catcher eighth. Just sayin’.

      • @kywhi: While negative, I do have to agree. While I don’t know who would replace Bakerman, I would think the list of candidates would go all the way up I-71 to Columbus. I would think we would have our choice of type of candidate we wanted.

        • @steveschoen: Unfortunately, the guy I wanted went a little further up 71 and seems to be doing a pretty good job in Cleveland. We waited too long.

  6. Every day this past week I have looked at the records of the LA Dodgers, LA Angels and Toronto Blue Jays and in disbelief. It isn’t so much that I can’t believe it is happening, its just that expectations couldn’t have been set higher for these clubs, and they are putrid.

    I read through a lot of the game thread, and the absurd and insane vitriol directed at the Red’s manager made me sad. And I say this in total agreement with the criticisms leveled at the guy. The fact is, this is a good team, in contention with a lot of upside (Hanagan, Cueto coming back in a week or two). I don’t know if the guys commenting are really as angry about Dusty Baker as it comes off in the comments, but man oh man, how can anyone enjoy the game if they are stuck in a perpetual state of anger where ever ebb and flow of each game is all about how bad Dusty is?

    • @brynhoe: Other than the final two at-bats, what was so enjoyable about that game? More often than not, it’s painful to watch. The ridiculous managing, the swinging at bad pitches, the willingness to stand there and watch strike three… it’s just not very fun. The outcome was fun, but the process was fairly painful.

      • @fakename: Seriously? Homer’s first six outs were all strike outs. Sam LeCure, Sean Marshall and Jonathan Broxton were awesome. The Reds did score three runs before the ninth and held the Braves to just one run over the last eight innings. Lots of positives other than the two lightning bolts.

        • @Steve Mancuso: @Steve Mancuso: Yes, seriously. I find it incredibly difficult to appreciate good pitching when I have very little reason to believe the team can score enough runs to overcome the deficit. It’s like asking me to appreciate the music that was being played as the Titanic sank. I’m sure it was lovely, but if I’m writing comments as the ship is sinking, I’m likely to focus on the part where we’re probably going to die and completely overlook the pretty music.

        • @Steve Mancuso: I agree, Steve. That doesn’t mean a critique isn’t warranted when it should be. But, there were great things last night, also. First, we won. Second, Homer calmed down after the first inning. Third, the pen kept us in the game. Fourth, the back to back jacks to win the game. It isn’t how I would like to win games, coming from behind like that in the 9th. And, I will take it. But, we can still work out of that. I believe they mentioned something last night like 5 of the 13 victories at home have been walk off variety. That’s too much for me.

      • @fakename: That is my point. At no point in tonight’s game, as much as I almost turned it off early, did I think anything about Dusty Baker, or that this team at three freaking games over five hundred is analogous to a sinking ship.

        I felt that as soon as the Reds got to 4-2 it was a solid game till the end, which happened to have a great outcome. I would have liked it even if the Reds had lost. I’m not a fan of Dusty’s, but I just think its sad evaluating the game based on how pissed off you are at the man no matter what happens in any game.

        • @brynhoe: Do you think the offense is looking good overall? Do you generally enjoy watching these guys hit? (Other than Votto, Choo, and BP?) Is it a fun experience to watch these guys make the same mistakes night after night after night? For me, you can’t just put a team on the field called “Reds” and expect me to enjoy watching them no matter what they do.

        • And let me add: I think there’s almost always going to be a negative bias in forums like this, no matter who’s managing. When a Red hits a home run, rarely do I feel like running to a blog to cheer about it. I just cheer. When Baker makes a stupid decision, my reaction is a lot more blog-ish. I don’t think I’m alone in this.

        • @fakename@fakename
          5/7/2013 at 8:33 pm (Quote) · Reply
          This organization is run by children. Manager is an idiot, TV/radio announcers are almost impossible to stomach, only a handful of players exhibit any kind of discipline, the stadium rituals are inane (“everybody clap your hands”), and apparently nobody at the top of the organization has any problems with any of this. I’m on the verge of losing interest altogether. Woooo!

          With your continuous negativity you might be doing us a huge favor if you follow your ‘verge.’

        • @kywhi: I love the irony that it’s apparently just a horrible thing for people like me to complain about Dusty Baker on a Reds blog during a Reds game, but after a big win it’s perfectly fine to show up on the same blog, which is supposed to be about the Reds, to complain about people like me. Funny how that works, isn’t it? Other people’s criticisms are “unwanted negativity,” while one’s own criticisms are always perfectly justified by the circumstances.

        • @fakename: I agree with you, to some extent: they aren’t always fun to watch. But sometimes they are–same can said for any team. The thing is, it’s a very hard game to master. We mostly agree (all of us, I mean), that Votto is an exceptional hitter, and he still succeeds less than half the time (I almost said one third, but remembered OBP–old dogs learning new tricks). I also can’t blame Dusty for all of the mistakes on the field. He’s not perfect, but he’s being made a scapegoat: his fault when they lose, in spite of him when they win.

        • @greenmtred: I NEVER complain when guys make outs if they’ve taken a decent approach. I complain when guys don’t seem to know what they’re supposed to be doing. When a guy goes up there after seeing the last guy walk on four pitches and swings at the first pitch 2 feet out of the zone, that’s not “failing because the game is hard,” it’s willful stupidity. And when the same guy takes strike three down the middle later in the same at-bat, that just further demonstrates the willful stupidity. And I think it’s fair to ask why so many guys on this team do that kind of thing on a regular basis. I never complain when a guy like Votto or Choo strikes out — because I know they know how to play the game.

        • @fakename: I, like you and all fans, have similar reactions to “stupid” at bats. However, the factor that none of considers in those heated moments is that the pitches in question were thrown by a major league pitcher and certainly look different from the batter’s box than they do from the tv screen. I, and most of us, would just as likely to hit those pitchers with our eyes closed as we would be with our eyes wide open.

        • @brynhoe: Seriously? I thought of Bakerman before the game ever started. As in, Devin should be starting. Homer hasn’t played well enough long enough to have his own personal catcher.

      • @fakename: Well, it’s a baseball game. Some of us like baseball games. It turns out that in most innings of a baseball game, one’s favorite team doesn’t score.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Exactly. I’ve said before, I have rarely if ever blame one person for a loss. For, there is simply too much going on in a game for that to happen. But, that doesn’t mean someone shouldn’t be critique’d when warranted for a decision or action or inaction.

    • @brynhoe: The game comments are pretty much a disaster right now. There are a couple of commenters who insist on unloading repetitive, brain-dead negativity non-stop. Without reflection. Without adding anything meaningful to the conversation other than gratifying their most immediate negative impulses. The rest of us have to read through that and it isn’t pleasant. It’s not just about Baker, but about players, too. Every time Jay Bruce fails to hit a home run, someone has to comment about how bad he is.

      I know I contribute my share of negatives about the Reds. Every fan occasionally succumbs to frustrations. But as long as (a) there are positive comments that more than balance the negatives and (b) there is some thoughtful reasoning associated with the negativity instead of just pure blackness, the negativity is OK.

      • @Steve Mancuso: Steve, I have to say that although I don’t comment much around here, I am here everyday because of the amazing work Chad, yourself, Bill, Chris (where ever he went) and the other guys do. I read everything you write and while I don’t agree with every word of every point, I know that the main contributors are positive fans. I know your writings have pulled me back from the brink on more than one occasion. Beyond that, as I said, I agree with the criticism of Dusty, I wish he did things different.

        Keep up the awesome work, I love it, and this team.

      • @Steve Mancuso: I agree, Steve. Even with Bruce, I wonder a bit myself what all the talk is about. It’s not like a player can hit a HR at will off any pitch. I believe HR’s are more likely to come from bad pitches. And, Bruce just hasn’t been able to pinpoint those, if he’s had any. But, he has been able to hit to the opposite field very good IMO this year. Also, he’s hitting lefties well this year. I do believe he’s working on something, possibly to become a more complete player. As long as he doesn’t let it drag him down too bad, I’m fine with it.

  7. I realize that Corky Miller ran into one tonight and finally hit the ball out of the infield (and that he still has a higher batting average than Ryan Hanigan) but he really has no business in the major leagues. I’m sure he’s a tremendous asset to the organization with what he does for the pitchers in AAA, but it’s an incredible organizational failure that he was the next guy in line. Everyone thought it was so brilliant when Jocketty brought in Miguel Olivo this spring to be the third catcher and incentivize Mesoraco. Problem was that Olivo didn’t stay in the organization when he didn’t make the team.

    And Dusty Baker, of course, compounds the issue by insisting on playing Miller two out of five games.

    • @Steve Mancuso: I agree, Steve. But, then, Corky is what he is, a 3rd string catcher. If we had a catcher able to hit 300 and multiple HR’s, he would probably already be starting, or we probably would already have traded him elsewhere for something. I look at it like a football team. The 3rd string QB is 3rd string for a reason. Even with his BA up here the only thing I don’t like about Corky has nothing to do with Corky, really. It’s Bakerman putting him in there. Like, since being called up, Corky has 5 starts up here quicker than Devin got his first 5 starts this year. As well as, when Hanigan comes back, Corky goes back down. Devin is still going to be here. He’s the one who should be playing even more than he is now.

      I have to see the rerun of the game; I have to see Devin’s interview at the end of the game again. Was that a dig against Baker?

    • @Steve Mancuso: At this point, I would have no problem letting Ludwick go and offering Choo that money plus whatever we can get. I think Arroyo comes off, also, right?

      • @steveschoen: Arroyo does come off the books except for the deferred payments. Votto also takes a significant pay cut due to his backloaded contract. The problem becomes, the Reds also need to look to extend a starting pitcher or two. Ludwicks contract is also heavily backloaded (he only makes $2MM this season). That makes trading him a problem unless the Reds send some cash along with him. Only WJ and his staff know how much budget is or is not really available going forward. We’ll just have to leave that aspect to WJ and his staff, with approval from BC of course.

  8. Agree with the recap about Marshall. Ironically, because he isn’t the closer he is often used in higher leverage situations (or at all) like tonight. Baker’s bullpen roles don’t really recognize that games when you’re one run behind are just as important as the games when you’re one run ahead. Luckily the Reds have enough good arms in the pen that the “losing” side of the bullpen includes Sam LeCure, J.J. Hoover and occasionally Marshall. Simon pitched two amazing innings last night, too.

    • The Cubs play against the Reds and don’t seem to care whether they @Steve Mancuso: I like it that Marshall is used in high leverage situations instead of as closer. I also like it that LeCure’s “role” with Dusty is to not have a role. (Dusty has said that.)

      Tonite Marshall and Broxton were used with the Reds behind because the other arms were tired.

  9. The Reds really are catching Kimbrel at a good time. He was struggling a few games before this series. I think he blew a save the same day Chapman got rocked in Chicago. …

    Yeah, what has to happen financially to keep Choo in Cincinnati beyond this year?

  10. I was at the game tonight with my nephew (almost 9) .. I have to say. At the 3-2 count on Meso, he was convinced the Reds had lost. I said to him .. they game isn’t over til the last out. Hold your disappointment until that happens. We were both jumping up and down after the HR. And then I told him, this team never gives up. Remember that. Its a great lesson. Our precious Reds … they keep fighting for the win. And even if the pitcher struggles, they really try to keep the game in check so the team has a chance to rally back and win. That is huge.

    • I was at the game tonight with my nephew (almost 9) .. I have to say. At the 3-2 count on Meso, he was convinced the Reds had lost. I said to him .. they game isn’t over til the last out. Hold your disappointment until that happens. We were both jumping up and down after the HR. And then I told him, this team never gives up. Remember that. Its a great lesson. Our precious Reds … they keep fighting for the win. And even if the pitcher struggles, they really try to keep the game in check so the team has a chance to rally back and win. That is huge.

      Love this comment!

  11. And where are all the people now that say the Reds don’t have heart, don’t care, etc. Those criticisms are so far off base. Heck, they “had heart” and “cared” last night just as much as tonight, but Votto K’d last night, and Mesoraco his a HR tonight. Everything is based on the result. Silly.

    The Reds try just as hard as the Cardinals. Or any other team.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate:

      I agree! Even in a majority of their losses this year, there has been a decent chance at a late comeback. The best teams rarely play .600 baseball, and just the battling at the end of games is pretty special (the loss to the braves last nite an example among many). I was watching hockey for most the nite but listening to the Reds to the last out – which never came – and this one was pretty great.

  12. Wow. That was my first game of the season to make to down to GABP (and my first since the infamous extra innings “Wooo!!” game against the Pirates last season). That makes 2 consecutive walk-offs for games I attend. Anyone wanna buy season tickets for this good-luck charm?

    About 5 seconds before Meso’s shot, I said to my friend: “Sure would be a nice time for his first home run of the year…”. From my seat near the LF foul pole, it looked like Upton snagged that ball out of the first row. I didn’t know for sure til the fireworks started blasting. The Choo shot was a no-doubter off the bat though.

  13. I read something today on MLB Network where a certain team’s (I forget the team)front office wanted a player to play more instead of every now and then. Wonder if the Reds front office can tell Dusty that they want to get Cozart out of the #2 spot, move Frazier to #5 and Bruce to #6, among other things….

  14. Congratulations to Dusty on his 1600th win ! Passing LaSorda in the win column has to mean a lot to him, as a player he helped LaSorda win a lot of games.

    Dusty’s saying it might be his “top one” is really cool.

  15. Byrnhoe: “I felt that as soon as the Reds got to 4-2 it was a solid game till the end, which happened to have a great outcome. I would have liked it even if the Reds had lost.”

    I had the same thought several times from the 6th inning on, that it’s cool how the Reds bullpen is pitching pure filth and the offense keeps putting the pressure on.
    Even if the Reds lose tonite, I thought, this team looks like it’s going to win a lot of games.

    At the same time I was feeling the frustration that others felt. On BP’s fly ball with the score 4-2, the tv camera is focused on the LF upper deck, I thought the game was tied. At the last second they show Upton catch the ball in CF. Later
    Paul hits a line drive that for an instant looks like it’s going to tie the game, but right at the 3rd baseman. Choo hits a bullet off the pitcher’s leg that goes for an out. The Ks by Bruce and Frazier with the tying run on 3rd …

    All of which, of course, is baseball. And 8 and 2 thirds innings of frustration/anxiety, defeat seemingly certain, with an unforgettable happy ending is also baseball. As a baseball fan and as a Reds fan, I loved that game.

  16. I too get tired of the sheer volume of negative comments about Dusty. But sounding out when you don’t like certain patterns of the manager is part of being a fan.

    A good example is his reluctance to use the catcher on the bench as a pinch hitter. As a thought exercise, suppose Robinson was available to pinch hit against RHed pitching tonite (my understanding is that he wasn’t). Then what would Dusty do in the 9th:

    A. Pinch hit Robinson for Corky and then Mes for the pitcher.
    B. Let Corky hit and then PH Robinson for the pitcher.
    C. Let Corky hit and then PH Mes for the pitcher.

    I and (I think others) feel A is the best chance to win. B is the worst choice, almost certainly a loss. With certain managers, I’d feel sure they’re going to go with A. With Dusty, I’m afraid he’ll go with B. He might not go with B, but I’m unsure because of his reluctance to use the catcher on the bench to PH, even late in a game.

    On the other hand, maybe Robinson was available to PH LHed tonite. If so Dusty made the right choice to go with Mes instead (but why not PH Robinson for Corky ?).

  17. The Cubs play against the Reds and don’t seem to care whether they win or lose. Then the Cardinals come into Chicago and the Cubs play like it’s the NLCS. They’ve been doing that for years.

    So why do we call them the stupid Cubs ? I wish every team had their mentality.

  18. PS Already know the answer to my own question. We call them stupid because they’re the Cubs.

  19. Don’t you love how Dusty always gets massive criticism for every single wrong move he makes, but then nothing but crickets for his good decisions?

    Mesoraco pinch hitting tonight? That must have been his own idea, nobody sent him up there to hit. Deciding to pitch Lecure, Marshall, & Broxton out of the pen tonight? They must have drawn straws before heading to the mound.

    Having some of the best bullpens & defenses in the game the past 2-3 years when both were pretty dismal during the previous decade? 2 playoff appearances in 3 years with none in the previous 16? Nope, that had nothing to do with leadership, philosophy, & mindset of anybody commanding the team.

  20. B…But…..But…… I thought the game was over after Homer gave up 3 runs in the 1st?

    It is truly amazing to me some posters on here can call themselves baseball fans when they surrender so easily. Cowards.

  21. “On the game thread Brian Van Hook said: “OK, onto the important question, did Marty forget to say ‘And this one belongs to the Reds?’ What a fantastic finish…. Marty didn’t realize that either of those balls were hit that hard, seemed surprised by them both.”

    I watched the game on tv but just watched videos of the 2 HRs as called by Marty. Brian was right, Marty was fooled by Mes’ HR (even more so than Thom) saying a “high fly ball to right” in a resigned voice. Then was also surprised by the Choo HR, which I don’t get. So surprised he indeed forgot to say “And this one belongs to the Reds !”.

  22. “Anytime we’re here, the ballpark is kind of an excuse,” Medlen said. “But that Mesoraco fly ball is a fly-ball out in a lot of places.”

    Wow, talk about sour grapes.

    • @CI3J: Did they move the fences back when the Braves were hitting? What a perfect example of a loser’s mentality.

      • @TC:

        “Anytime we’re here, the ballpark is kind of an excuse,” Medlen said.

        Meaning that GABP intimidates the heck out of opposing pitchers because that want to be protected from their mistakes and GABP protects no man. The Reds pitchers have had to learn and minimize their mistakes to almost nil and for some it has been a hard lesson. Take a look at the Padres pitching staff as a prime example. Prior to this season the Padres pitchers produced some pretty decent numbers, but those numbers were masked by the ballpark they played in. This season they moved the fences in to entice more hitters to view the Padres as a possible career option rather than a death sentence (see Ryan Ludwick) and their journeyman pitching staff looks very mediocre, especially their strating pitchers. I’m looking forward to seeing Medlen on the mound at GABP again. The Reds and GABP are now in his head, big time.

      • @TC:

        I don’t deny what he said is true, but I do deny he has a right to use it as an “excuse”. Both teams played in the same park.

  23. Votto has lead the league in BB all season and continues with a significant lead to BB. That’s Votto being Votto. Votto now has 8 2B, trailing the league leaders by just 3, after hitting 4 2B in the past 3 games. Last season he was on pace to hit a league record 2B prior to the knee. Votto will soon take over the league lead in 2B. This is Votto being Votto. The really fun, season-long, hitting contest may be the race for the league OBP crown between Votto, currently 2nd @ .463, & Choo, currently 1st @ .465, and the league OPS crown which currently has Choo 2nd @ 1.052 and Votto 11th @ .963.

    Then of course, there’s this…

    .333/.465/.587 Shin-Soo Choo
    .325/.463/.500 Joey Votto

    with…

    .208/.244/.336 Zack Cozart

    sandwiched between aurguably the 2 best hitters in the league and negating a lot of offensive benefit derived by having those two hitters in the same lineup.

    Having Corky behind the plate didn’t do much to help elevate Bailey’s game tonight, but to Bailey’s credit, he battled through 5 innings and kept the team in the game. The starters, including Cingrani, have all demonstrated the ability to put the team in a winning position when they don’t have their best stuff. How encouraging is that, knowing that when they do have their best stuff, they are dominating.

    And it turns out it wasn’t my meds after all. The Reds actualy had a supremely exciting walkoff win that could challenge some of the great historical walkoff wins in Reds history. This could be a breakout moment for the 2013 team.

    Let’s do it again in a few hours…GO REDS!

    • @Shchi Cossack: @Shchi Cossack:

      The starters, including Cingrani, have all demonstrated the ability to put the team in a winning position when they don’t have their best stuff.How encouraging is that, knowing that when they do have their best stuff, they are dominating.

      I think this is an EXCELLENT point. We had “Bad Bronson” on Monday night (though not as bad as we’ve seen in the past) and a struggling Homer last night, but both nights were still in the ball games. Our starters, even on off nights, are keeping the team in the game.

      The Reds are hanging in, with 7 guys (I think it’s 7) on the DL, our starters struggling a bit right now, Bruce and Frazier struggling, Cozart being horrible offensively and Miller playing more often than he should. All of those but Miller could/should change (though I’m becoming convinced that Cozart is going to be a problem, more because of the lineup than his bat, all season) fairly soon.

  24. Jack Hannahan and Corky Miller? Not surprisingly, those jokers struck out pretty quickly.

    I’ll give ya Corky but not Hannahan. For a guy who has been buried on Dusty’s bench, there’s always one person every year, Hannahan’s actually PH very well. Not his fault he never sees PT.

    • @sezwhom1:

      Also, is it possible that Dusty was saving Mesoraco to pinch-hit in the 9 spot? Unless you use Leake (or maybe Robinson?), I believe the bench was empty. I think the point is Miller, god love him, shouldn’t be on a major league roster. But in hindsight, I don’t completely fault what Dusty did there, unless I’m missing something.

    • @sezwhom1: I agree. With how he’s been hitting. You have to consider starting Hanrahan at 3rd at Todd in LF. Todd has said LF was his favorite position.

      • @steveschoen: Could we try the reverse? If Todd is the long term Reds 3B (and I sure as heck hopes he’s right there for years) then I think you have to leave him there. However, I don’t think it’s beyond possible for Hanahan to move into LF for a stretch.

        It’s probably too far out of the box to be done, though.

  25. BP got off to an amazing start and really helped fill the void at cleanup, but he is regressing back to career norms. The Reds don’t have a better cleanup hitter option available inhouse. Either a more appropriate option for cleanup needs to be obtained from outside the organization or the #2 hole needs to be resolved with a better option than Cozart (and that the Reds have inhouse), in order to keep the offense improving to expectations. Of course both needs could be addressed, but I’m not sure the Reds want to pursue a temporary cleanup hitter, from outside the organization, to use until Ludwick returns.

    • @Shchi Cossack: Exactly. Not as much as we need one. I believe we all can see that. But, what do we do once Ludwick comes back? That’s the question mark with it. I don’t see us bringing in someone from outside unless we have to, as a last minute deadline thing, Uncle Bob opening his pockets that little bit more, etc. But, I’m still not sure I’m willing to see that happen. For, I’m not sure how much we would have to give up to bring in someone for possibly a half season rental.

  26. We all know Dusty’s not going anywhere yet we continue to beat that horse. Can’t we just sit back and enjoy the Reds and understand no team is perfect.

  27. Miller did CRUSH a single to left field in the 5th inning that setup the Donald Lutz run-scoring single, which cut the lead to two. That ball almost got out of the park.

    Looking at the team’s daily lineups through last night, game 34, there is only a 1 game difference between how many games the backup catcher has caught.

    Ryan Hanigan caught 12 of the teams first 17 games. Devin Mesoraco caught 11 of the teams next 17 games.

    A few caveats:
    — Hanigan caught 7 of the Reds first 8 games. I think that is in the memory of many fans when complaining about the current catchers playing time splits.

    (Also, I think Hanigan’s first week playing time load could have contributed to Hanigan’s re-injury. I say “re-injury” because he was bothered by the oblique early in spring training.)

    — Splitting 17/17 may not be completely fair either. Game 18 was Bronson Arroyo pitching and Hanigan was still on the active roster. Mesoraco ended up catching that game…it was the first time since the latter half of 2011 that someone other than Hanigan caught Arroyo. Hanigan went on the DL prior to game #19.

    — It looks like the current setup is Mesoraco catching 3 of 5 turns through the rotation (Latos, Leake, Arroyo.) While Miller gets Cingrani and Bailey.

    • @Greg Dafler: The thing is I see is that as soon as Henigan comes back, Corky is sent back down. That means Cingrani and/or Homer are going to have to get use to seeing Devin behind the plate. And, they aren’t because of Baker.

      As well as, with that comparison, one could argue that is similar to saying Corky is similar to Devin when Hanigan is here. I think Devin is way better than Corky, fairly obvious there.

      I’m still wondering where is Dusty “mixing up the catching duties. After all, all the pitchers and catchers need to be ready to work with each other.” Just how is Bakerman doing this mixing when each starter has their set catcher?

  28. I agree with those that think that the criticism of Dusty has gone too far in the comments section. I too wanted to pinch hit for Miller in the 9th. But, I say the following not to suggest that this is what Dusty was thinking necessarily (and I know most people here think that he doesn’t, I get it), but to point out that these decisions aren’t as easy as it may seem from our vantage point as fans. So here goes:

    Two runs down in the 9th, as most have pointed out endlessly, a team has a weak chance of winning, less than 30%. A team has a slightly better chance of scoring one run, not two. One run would have meant extra innings which would have come with other high leverage situations where you’d want to pinch hit for someone. The Reds had only Mez and Robinson available, so using both in the 9th, if they only tied the game would have meant that you would have to put in a guy like Leake, who is tomorrow’s starting pitcher, to pinch hit in the next high leverage situation. Then if you hit Leake so late in the game, you’d have to put him in the field, which you might not want to do the night before he pitches a day game. And you would also have to question whether winning one game against a non-division opponent in May is worth risking over-working your #5 starter who is average (not bad, not great) and may be very useful later in the season or worth risking having to move all your starters up a game which may screw with all of their routines. This is all still with over 100 games left to play. As mentioned before, I would want to pinch hit for Miller too, but the point is that the decision isn’t as easy as it may seem, there are more things to consider than just the fact that Robinson’s (few) numbers are better than Miller’s.

    Another way to say that is if we pinch hit for Miller, Robinson didn’t get on, Mez homered, and Choo was out, people would post that Dusty was so stupid for burning out the bench so quickly in a tight game.

    • @joelie1274: Seem to be assuming a little there. Like, “Then if you hit Leake so late in the game, you’d have to put him in the field”. Why? Why couldn’t Leake pinch hit for the pitcher, with another pen pitcher coming in next inning? Quite feasible.

      Then, if Robinson is that hurt, then he and Baker need to speak up. For, if he is unavailable, then we are again playing down another player that we could very well need.

      • @steveschoen: Sure, Leake wouldn’t have necessarily had to play in the field. But my point still stands that the decision in the 9th is not as easy as it may appear. And it’s also true that I’m assuming a lot, but it’s in essence the same assumption that people make when they say that Robinson should’ve hit for corky.

        I don’t whats going on with Robinson. Hurt? Not hurt?

        • @joelie1274: Oh, I don’t know anyone said the decision for the 9th would be easy. As well as, it could all depend upon what happens. I would have played for Devin hitting (or starting) for Corky and Leake hitting for the pitcher, though. You have to play for the tie first at least. And, having Corky hit then a pitcher, that’s almost saying, “Take it”. After fighting that long, I don’t think that would be the move to make. Something needed to be done. Lots of ways to go many times with this team. Fun to be able to say that, that we have choices now, rather than not having those choices.

    • I agree with those that think that the criticism of Dusty has gone too far in the comments section

      Hoping he gets hit by lightning… yeah. They don’t mean that. We all like Dusty as a person. He’s a great guy.

  29. I’m going to throw this out there……

    If the Reds make the playoffs, Choo comes back to Cincinnati. I try not the view the world with rose-colored glasses, but I think a competitive offer might just keep Choo here (Boras notwithstanding). The guy is such a gamer and, I’d have to believe, likes being on a team that has a serious chance to win a ring and is packed full of gamers like himself and not your typical prima donnas. The Reds have all the pieces in place to be competitive for at least the next 3 years. That’s got to be attractive. Meanwhile, for the Reds ownership, I think Choo has captivated so much of the fan base and proved such a valuable, worthwhile asset that it’s hard not to make a serious push to retain him.

    Without having taken any kind of a serious look at the contracts, I don’t know if there’s any room for more financial engineering with the back-loaded contracts. But boy, it would be something special to see the ownership group go all in with a Choo resigning. Hell, institute a “Choo tax” on all the tickets and raise them by $4 across the board. I doubt anyone would mind.

  30. Chad, you say you wish he was Cincinnati’s closer. And I understand why you say that (though we won’t go in to all that.) But him not being the closer means he is available for high leverage situations so I’m glad he is not.

    • @TC: I was thinking the same thing. Since Dusty does not view a closer as a high leverage pitcher, just a last inning with a 3 run or less lead pitcher, using Marshall as the Reds’ closer would be equally counter-productive as using Chapman as the Reds’ closer.

  31. One very enjoyable item that I’ve noticed over the past couple of weeks is that both the Cubs/Braves announcers somewhat nervously point out (while holding a lead) that the Reds lead THE MAJOR LEAGUES in runs scored after the 7th innning. I love that this is in the back of the opposing teams mind, and of course I love it when the Redlegs come off the mat time and again.

  32. There can be no justification for starting Corky in 40% of the games. Most managers wouldn’t have him starting 1out of 5, but I can live with that. Let him catch Cingrani (although people seem to forget Mes caught Cingrani’s first start) even though it means in the future Cingrani won’t have as much experience throwing to Mes as he could have. But Homer? Mes caught him once this year–Homer’s first bad game in a long time. But it was against the Cardinals in St. Louis. Since then, Homer has thrown to Corky. And what do you know, now he’s had another bad game in St. Louis and a bad start against the Braves so maybe it’s not Mesoraco’s fault.

    Here’s the thing: even if it’s “Dusty’s way” to give his backup catcher a lot of work, with Ludwick (and Heisey) out we’re really missing a decent RH bat. You’ve got to adjust to that reality, and not play the guy with the .183 career average who moves like statue more than is absolutely necessary. It’s just indefensible.

    • @Eric the Red: 100% correct. With Hanigan out, Mez should be starting as often as Molina in StL. The kid has the plate discipline and power, now he just needs consistent playing time, something Molina benefitted from early on. He’s getting jerked around, plain and simple.

  33. Best game of the year so far. Hard to find anything to criticize after a gutsy performance like that. Great to reward what sounds like a decent Tuesday night home crowd, too

  34. The feeling from this game is the exact same as from the Mother’s Day game last year, which I consider to be the turning point in the season. I can’t wait until the World Series preview post when we’ll be talking about how the team caught fire after this game!

  35. I wonder if RedForever still thinks Mesoraco is a bust this morning! *crickets*

    I also wonder if Chapman’s feelings were hurt because the Reds hitters were calling Kimbrel the best closer in the NL in their postgame comments.

    • I wonder if RedForever still thinks Mesoraco is a bust this morning!*crickets*

      I also wonder if Chapman’s feelings were hurt because the Reds hitters were calling Kimbrel the best closer in the NL in their postgame comments.

      Maybe “bust” wasn’t the right word. Let’s say he hasn’t lived up to the hype. I hope I’m dead wrong and he becomes Yadier Molina (without the attitude and tattoos). I think the biggest problem is Baker not giving him enough playing time. He should be starting 6 of 7 games, even after Hanigan comes back. He should be playing every game with the occasional day game after a night game off. Corky Miller should ONLY play in an emergency.

      He came out of spring training looking like a #1 catcher. Baker proceeded to sit him on the bench. I like Hanigan but the Reds need the threat of Mesoraco’s bat, even if it hasn’t been great. Hanigan isn’t really a threat with the bat (although he is a decent singles hitter).

      Great job by Mesoraco last night making me look bad! Ha! I hope he does it every night.

      • @RedForever: I think part of why he’s playing Corky is that the Reds simply can’t afford to have both Hanigan and Mesoraco hurt at the same time. It’s pretty conservative, but the team would be up the creek if they were stuck with Corky and the #4 catcher for a month.

  36. A few late comments before the Reds tee it up this afternoon:

    As a Reds fan in Atlanta, I loved the end of last night’s game.

    I mostly agree with Chad’s assessment, but I would only put Bailey’s first inning struggles (which weren’t all his fault) in the Negatives column. The rest of his outing was good, especially after a long first. Definitely a Positive and it made the win possible.

    I would list as a negative the inability to cash in runs earlier in the game. I know there were some hard luck outs, but how does Votto lead off with a double with 4-5-6 coming up and not score? Very disappointing.

    The bullpen was terrific last night. Imagine how good they could be if Chapman could be more than just a mop-up closer!

    No complaints about Baker’s decisions last night. Seriously. Mesoraco was not going to catch last night and this afternoon, so breaking up his starts with Miller is fine with me.

    Baseball is fun. No matter how frustrated I get with Baker, how tough it is to see my favorite guys and favorite team strike out in a key moment or lose to a probably inferior team, it’s fun plain and simple.

    • @Chris DeBlois: Why can’t a 24 year old player catch a day game after a night game? This isn’t Scott Rolen we’re talking about. The idea of having a regular rotation of two catchers is a relatively new phenomenon.

  37. I saw something interesting when I watched the replay of Mesoraco’s homerun: Votto went over to Brook Jacoby with a big smile on his face and shook his hand. He said something that the camera caught, but my lip reading skills aren’t up to the task of deciphering it. Makes you wonder if Jacoby saw something in Kimbrel that he thought our batters could exploit, and when Mes hit it out Votto went to congratulate Jacoby for it….

    • @Eric the Red: Mes said after the game that the coaches had told him that with two strikes to look for Kimbrel to throw his hardest fastball away, so he knew exactly what was coming. Might have been what Jory was reacting to. Have to go back and look at Joeys K from Monday, but I wonder if that’s the pitch that got him out.

  38. Here’s today’s lineup. If I were manager, I’d have taken advantage of last night’s events and swapped Mesoraco for Cozart today.

    1. Shin-Soo Choo (L) CF
    2. Zack Cozart (R) SS
    3. Joey Votto (L) 1B
    4. Brandon Phillips (R) 2B
    5. Jay Bruce (L) RF
    6. Todd Frazier (R) 3B
    7. Donald Lutz (L) LF
    8. Devin Mesoraco (R) C
    9. Mike Leake (R) P

  39. I have to believe that this Corky playing time business is solely based on the fact that Dusty is giving the guy as much playing time as he can because he knows this will be his last time in the majors. I can appreciate the sentiment, but how can Jocketty and Castillini stand by and watch that kind of thing go on? On a contending team? We absolutely should have lost that game last night, and Corkys 4 ABs were a big part of that. That’s at least 3 automatic outs that you have to chalk up before a pitch is thrown. That’s one inning that you just give away to the best team in the NL. How can Dusty look his boss in the eye and say he’s sincerely trying to win every single game when he makes decisions like that? And batting him in the 9th is flat out inexcusable, especially when you are clearly willing to trot out your other catcher RIGHT AFTER HIM. Dusty, it seems, is going beyond his usual “Aw shucks” old timey baseball wisdom and just flat out losing it. He still thinks of himself as a player and he would rather be adored by his team than win.

    • @eric nyc: I respectfully disagree. I really think Homer has a problem with Mesoraco, and that’s what’s driving that spot for Corky. And with Cingrani, Corky has been catching him at Louisville and provides a lot of experience for the rookie to lean on. I can sort of defend the Cingrani starts–though we’re sacrificing in the longer term by not having Mes work with him–but then giving the extra Homer starts to Corky is nuts. Especially with our situation with RH bats thanks to the Ludwick/Heisey injuries.

      • @Eric the Red: Where are you getting that Homer has a problem with Mesoraco? First I’ve heard of that. Cingrani, fine. That makes a LITTLE bit of sense if you want to start Corky 1 game out of 5. But I can’t imagine Homer Bailey has so much of a “problem” with our 24 year old catcher of the future that Dusty would not put them in games together. Just don’t see that as even a remote possibility.

      • Give me a break with “this pitcher can only throw to this catcher” crap already. It’s getting old year after year You’re a friggin major league pitcher. I’m sick of this prima donna BS. Mesoraco is 24 yrs old, let the kid play to see if he CAN play. Corky Miller wouldn’t start for an Independent League team, yet he’s starting every other day for a contender.

    • @eric nyc: Well, he wasn’t going to play Mes both last night and then again on a day game the following day. He may as well keep the Leake-Mes team together.

  40. The Braves are definitely running out their B team lineup today. Neither Upton, no McCann, no Johnson at 3B. Still playing their back-up catcher in LF. Still, Minor is a tough lefty.

  41. Interesting stat – Only 1 current Red has ever had a hit off Minor. Zach Cozart is 2 for 4 with a tater against him.
    Bruce 0-2
    Frazier 0-3
    Izturis 0-2
    Mesoraco 0-3
    Phillips 0-3
    Votto 0-1

    No other current Red has faced him.

    Very small sample size.

    I think the Reds bust out the whoopin’ stick today!

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