2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: Opportunity Squandered

Let’s recap this afternoon’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Cincinnati 4
Pittsburgh 5
W: J. Wilson (5-0)
L: A. Simon (4-2)
BOX SCORE

THE GOOD
The offense jumped on the Buccos from the get-go, plating 4 in the first.

THE BAD
They never scored again.

Perspective: a series win on the road against a divisional opponent with the third best record in the majors is no small feat.

BUT…

… it’s going to overshadowed by the way the Reds just threw this game away today.  You’re not supposed to lose games when you get into the other team’s bullpen after the first inning. You’re not supposed to lose games when Mat Latos pitches the way he did after being spotted a 4-run lead. It sure looks like the Club that usually grinds took the afternoon off after they got the lead.  The Pirates bullpen is really good–they’re not THAT good.

The Reds need to fire the clubhouse guy who broke in Joey’s glove this morning. Because I refuse to believe Joey could do what he did today in the field. Has Joey had a day off this year? It’s showing.

THE UGLY
Jonathan Broxton. Jonathan Broxton. Jonathan Broxton.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
The Cardinals finally lose a game. And the Reds responded by taking their foot off the Pirates’ neck. Getaway Day doesn’t mean you mentally check out after taking a large lead early. As noted philosopher Nick Swisher once said: DONT DO THAT. I get that LeCure was probably not available today. But, I sure wish Dusty could have let JJ Hoover go another inning. This adherence to “roles” is simply straight-jacketing the Reds’ bullpen. Don’t even discuss the 4-out Aroldis Chapman plan. Dusty doesn’t subscribe.  He was asked after the game. His response?

“I don’t know, man, maybe you should come down and manage.”

Props to Alfredo Simon. He did yeoman’s work today. All for naught.

 

133 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: Opportunity Squandered

  1. Good point about Votto. I like how, even Cozart gets to sit (strangely just after his bat starts to get going), but Joey does not. That must be what dropping the “F-BOMB” will get you in Dustyland.

  2. Give a good team like the Pirates 30 outs instead of 27 (thru 9 innings) and they’ll beat you most days…Even after spotting you 4 runs in the 1st.

  3. Three Sundays in a row, three getaway days when the 8th inning was a bridge too far (yeah, I know in Pfillie, Chappie soiled his mess kit in the 9th too but the stage was set in the 8th)

    Seems to me they need to be taking a look at the 8th.

    I’d put Dusty’s snarky comment to the question about why no Chapman in the 8th to face Jones at least partly to the fact he seriously thought about
    it but decided not to.

    All this send, there is some truth to Dusty’s comment about Latos not being pitch efficient. He is often still more of a thrower than a pitcher. Today every time he did not get a call on a border lline pitch at 0-2 or 1-2, it seemed like he overtthrew the next several pitches instead of staying focused

    • “Why don’t you come down here and manage the team?” Pretty darn petulant answer coming from a 63 year old man.

      • @Furniture City Red: Exactly. To be so hot, he must have been asking himself why he didn’t do it. As they say about umps/ officials, when they feel they were right, they’ll put up with a lot but when they know they’ve missed a call they tend to become hair triggered.

      • @Furniture City Red: I’m 104 and am still perfectly capable of petulance. Mark Sheldon’s column this morning deals with the Chapman issue, and I think that what he says makes good sense. The 8th does seem to be a problem, though. I’m having a harder and harder time defending Broxton. He throws hard, but location, location, location…

    • @OhioJim: Not pitch efficient? The guy has a 3.01 ERA and in 12 starts has only pitched less than 6 innings once this year, and more than 6 innings 7 times. That means more than half the time he starts this year, he’s gone over 6 innings.

      Sign me up for that inefficiency for all of my team’s pitchers ever.

      • @ToddAlmighty:Latos needed 5 pitches to retire the pitcher in the 3rd (less than 20 total plate appearances in MLB). He walked Marte in the 3rd off of a 1-2 count. From 0-2, versus Jones in the 4th it tool him 4 additional pitches to retire him. From 0-2 on Martin in 4th he ran the count full before grounding him out. He walked Marte in the 6th (on 5 pitches off an 0-1 count) which moved Presley into scoring position where he scored from 2nd on a single.

      • @ToddAlmighty: He doesn’t average 7 innings per start, though, and seems to hit some sort of wall at about the 60 pitch mark. He’s good, but he seems very much a work in progress. None of the starters go deep into games frequently (unless we accept finishing the 6th as the new deep), and I wonder how much this has to do with our much-discussed bullpen troubles. We blame Dusty, and some of that might be warranted (or not), but it can’t be easy trying to preserve those arms for the long haul with such a work load.

        • @greenmtred: Of course he doesn’t average 7 innings per start. In the NL, among pitchers who have thrown 11-12 games (in other words, not missed a start yet) there is a grand total of 5 who average 7+ innings per start.

          Wainwright
          Lee
          Kershaw
          Harvey
          Zimmerman

          That’s it for people who’ve started all year and average 7+ innings a start in the NL. Kind of a ridiculous qualifier.

        • @ToddAlmighty: Good info and, obviously, expectations for starters have changed. That 60 pitch anomaly doesn’t seem to be such a ridiculous qualifier, however.

        • @greenmtred: Fair enough, the 60 pitch thing is admittedly odd and probably not a good thing… but as long as he averages slightly over 6 innings per outing and an ERA close to 3.00, I have a hard time getting too worried about Mat.

  4. Good effort by Simon with what was asked of him. I just don’t understand how you ask for 3 innings out of a reliever when the other team has been in their bullpen since the 2nd inning….

  5. “Why don’t you come down here and manage the team?”

    I’d be glad to. And I bet I could out-manage him. In fact, my dog could out-manage him.

    I wish he would give me a shot. I guarantee you I would have brought Chapman in to face Jones.

  6. Totally agree that Bakers adherence to ‘Roles’ in the pen is a major problem. Broxton had to pitch the 8th inning today because that what he does. Apparently its all he does and no one else is capable of doing it. How he Manages his bullpen is probably the thing that aggravates me most about Baker.

    And btw – For how long (and for how much) did we sign Broxton for?

    • @Furniture City Red: While I won’t fault Dusty for offensive and/or defensive woes in a game, I will fault him in the mindless “roles” that every pitcher HAS to play, regardless of the situation (i.e, offensive and/or defensive woes in a game + given their most recent trend, getting outs). When he challenges someone to, “Why don’t you come down here and manage the team?”, I feel, given his limited thinking, outside of “the book”, anybody could give it a shot for a game, or two.

      Btw-too much.

  7. Anyone know what reporter asked Dusty the obvious question? I get all over the Reds beat reporters for being far too soft in how they deal with Dusty and I’d like to give a little credit to whomever asked that question.

  8. I do find it funny how those sitting at home think they can do better then those who have been doing it and been successful doing it…

      • @dn4192: You agree that Broxton was a better option against Jones than Chapman?

        I have no idea, we don’t have all the information that Dusty does. Also there is zero ability to know Chapman would have done better. We lost, we still took the series, I see no reason to dwell on a what if?

      • @Kyle Farmer: Probably not, but, again, read Mark Sheldon. We seem to selectively forget that Chapman has had injury issues recently. If you use him against Jones, I presume you aren’t considering that a one-off; you’d use him a lot more, which means getting him up to warm up a lot more (they don’t just get awakened from their kryogenic pods and come in and throw strikes). There’s legitimate reason to question whether he’s still pitching at the end of year if he’s handled that way. Using Broxton is another matter, of course, but we also have Ondrusek and Parra, totaling 3 guys in the bullpen who have been ineffective, and Dusty didn’t sign them.

      • @Richard Fitch:

        Reds have a top five record in all of baseball and without a key member, a loss of Cuteo for five weeks and other injuries, I would say the Reds under Dusty have done pretty good.

      • @Richard Fitch: I agree with the OP, but I also agree with this reply. For those who have never done it, managing people is really hard, and everyone seems to agree that Baker is good at that. Managing a baseball team is not just about probabilities, like fantasy baseball or a video game. It’s partially about making sure that a bunch of hyper-competitive millionaires are able to work together to achieve a common goal. It’s partially about making sure people feel like they can succeed in the positions they are placed in. I doubt the Reds would be where they are right now if Baker wasn’t good at these things, though like many have said in the past, this is impossible to measure.

        That said, Baker makes some very questionable in game decisions. Dusty could definitely be a better manager than he is. I doubt many of us could be better than he is, though.

        • @BenL: This is a smart and perceptive comment. But there are managers like Joe Maddon who also are successful at managing millionaires (at least a few). And Maddon doesn’t believe that players must have rigid roles in the bullpen or batting order to feel comfortable. He preaches flexibility from day one and his players respond. He gets more out of his talent year-in, year-out than Baker does.

          Basically, I think Baker manages like a lot of former players do — they extrapolate their own experiences to every other player. Baker probably loved knowing where he was batting every day. He valued that comfort. And I’m sure he gets positive feedback from his team about that. Who wouldn’t like comfortable roles with little to no competition. But could those players respond to a manager that was willing to ask them to do more? Joe Maddon proves the answer to that is yes.

        • @Steve Mancuso:

          While Dusty’s moves drive me nuts sometimes, Maddon only won one World Series over 11 years ago, he may make saber metric decisions but it hasn’t resulted in the big ring in over a decade.

        • @Tony Larussa’s Tissue: Yes, “sabermetric decisions” like pitching your best pitchers when it matters?

          Maddon hasn’t ever won a World Series as a manager. I don’t think that has anything to do with “sabermetric decisions” though.

        • @BenL: Really agree, and would also point out that (per the game comments) Francona was, reportedly, run out of Boston because he lost control of the clubhouse. You think that couldn’t happen here? Anything can happen anywhere.

    • @dn4192: How successful has he really been? Baker has managed some really talented teams in SF, Chicago and Cincy. Teams that have won their division in spite of their managers decisions – Not because of them….Once his teams are in the playoffs playing short 5 and 7 game series Baker is exposed….Good teams can get past his decisions over the course of 162 games, but in a short series not so much.

      I really wish the man had retired after last season.

      • @dn4192: How successful has he really been? Baker has managed some really talented teams in SF, Chicago and Cincy. Teams that have won their division in spiteof their managers decisions – Not because of them….Once his teams are in the playoffs playing short 5 and 7 game series Baker is exposed….Good teams can get past his decisions over the course of 162 games, but in a short series not so much.

        I really wish the man had retired after last season.

        I always live the “in spite of” view, especially when it comes from fans. I am much more willing to accept the views of those actually IN the game who actual experience with Dusty.

        This idea that any Joe Fan has more ability and knowledge then those who have been in the game for decades is laughable.

        There is so much more to this game then just the numbers on a piece of paper.

        Dusty has managed 3 different teams to the playoffs and 1 to the WS, how many other managers have done that? How many mangers have led both the Reds and Cubs to the playoffs?

        Do I agree with everything Dusty does, no but I seem to think some here seem to blame him more then the players. The team lost the game today.

    • 95% of this board can manage this team better than Dusty. He should of NEVER been brought back. He needs to retire and go blow his sons little league games.

    • I find it funny someone thinks Dusty is successful with all of his querky decisions. The thing is, his querky decisions get hidden in a 162 game schedule. Thus, the clubs he has managed for have done well in giving him the players to hide his querky decisions during the season. But, during the post season, when it’s a lot more difficult to hide those querky decisions, just look at Dusty’s post season record, absolutely horrible, nowhere near even 0.500 ball, in short Lastros or Cubs-like. Dusty makes a querky decision that puts the team in a worse position to win a game and even lose the game, the team could very well win the next 4 of 5, and everything is OK again. That can’t be “hidden” so easily in the post season.

      • @steveschoen: Just like hiding a counterfit bill with other bills. Easier to hide the bad bill among 161 other bills. Harder to do it among just 3-5 other bills. Thus, Dusty’s decision, players, and teams get exposed in the post season.

      • I Agree, it’s at the point where there is no point of getting excited because I know exactly what is going to happen in October. As good as the record is, who knows what it COULD be if Cozart wasn’t hitting 2nd all season or the right relievers came in, in the right situations. Plenty of other stupid decisions (Izturis) that other managers wouldn’t do.

  9. Ugh. Time to just move on. New game, new series tomorrow. Back at GABP. Very interesting mix of teams coming up. Reds need to win, in spite of Dusty, which, they actually didn’t do today. They beat themselves, and Dusty did nothing to help. Bronson’s due for a reset. GO REDS!

  10. I’m sorry, but I just don’t know about Broxton. It seems like “Coco 2.0″, always a circus if not worse. I can understand why we picked him up last season (I believe Walt had planned on him closing and Chapman starting). However, I felt we had plenty on staff to find a closer while still having Chapman starting. I just don’t believe Broxton was needed last season. And, he is showing me more and more that he isn’t needed.

  11. Think Dusty’s snarky comment is because he is gaining a reputation of not being able to manage a pitching staff for the 3rd time? SF and Cubs fans certainly are convinced of his inability. And last year’s playoffs didn’t demonstrate otherwise.

  12. I must say I was happy that Dusty didn’t bat Izturis cleanup just because he was filling in for BP. He does hit second when replacing Cozart.

  13. If you would have told me going into this series that we would take 2 of 3 I would have said “yes”!! It’s a tough loss, let’s keep it in perspective though, we have a .614 win% for the first two months of the season……we’re fine, relax.

  14. Baker and people’s excuses for him reminds me of that guy at your job who is “in” with the boss, and he’s basically incompetent at almost everything. You ask your boss about it, and he says “Well, he’s really good at a lot of things that you aren’t around to see.” Then, you think, I suppose that’s possible, but he sure does suck at everything that I actually witness.

  15. While we are talking about Baker’s quote, another quote I noticed over on the Enquirer blog:

    “I always told if you’re hot, you stay in there until you crawl,” Baker said. “When you cool off, then you get the day off.”

    Simply put, I couldn’t believe he said this. I guess the crawl for Stubbs was about the length of the Sahara Desert.

    • @steveschoen: Do you remember his answer last year when he sat Heisey after a 2 HR game? “When guys are hot their going to get cold, so that’s way I’m sitting him.” Must be hard to chew on that toothpick when you talk out of both sides of your mouth!!

  16. The whole “bring Chapman in in the 8th to get the last out” thing—I agree with it, but this wouldn’t be nearly such a big deal if Baker actually brought his best guys in in the 8th. Look at the Cards—Matheny never brings in Mujica in the 8th, but he has Rosenthal pitching the 8th, so the lead is rarely, if ever, lost.

    Lots of managers don’t bring in their stopper in the 8th, or rarely do…but they know how to order their bullpen. Baker does not, because, as Trent Rosecrans said, “he trusts Broxton, me, not as much”. It boils down to Baker being comfortable with a bad pitcher.

    Bottom line, the team has 4 losses this year, already, where they were leading going to the 8th. And supposedly with a great bullpen.

  17. I mean, give me a break, Dusty Baker can’t take a simple question. Why not provide an answer as to why Broxton was in, and/or why Chapman wasn’t brought in? I mean, he didn’t bring in Chapman, so there must be a reason, right? Insecure people refuse to answer questions like that.

    As to Latos being criticized by Baker, another example. He’s unhappy that Latos could only go 6. Fine, but if Latos goes 7, the exact same thing happens, because Broxton is the 8th inning guy. So, to do the job, Baker expects Latos to go 8 and hand it directly to Chapman? Really?

      • @steveschoen: Quote:

        “He’s got to get over that 90- to 100-pitch wall,” Baker said. “He’s bigger and stronger than that.”

        (My note: he always could have left him in, then, with 94 pitches. Latos finished the 6th with a very good K of Jones and a groundout by Martin. I’m not arguing with the decision to bring in a reliever to start the 7th, but I don’t actually even understand Baker’s criticism. It’s not like Latos went 120 pitches and gave up 3 homers during pitches 100-120.)

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I disagree with this. When a guy has to dig down and empty the tank like Latos did to escape the 6th, it is almost certainly asking for disaster to send him back out the next inning. I was sitting in front of the TV dreading the thought that Latos would be sent out to open the 7th because he finished the 6th with a flourish.

          Burning Parra and Hoover in the 7th meant Broxton was on an island. That misbegotten run allowed in the 6th was a real key I suspect. With a three run lead, Baker doesn’t burn Parra to face Alvarez as lead off man in the 7th; and thus Parra would have been available to face Jones in the 8th. And Baker has pulled Broxton for Loogy situations.

        • @OhioJim: Jim: you may well be right about how it would have played out had the Pirates not scored in the 6th. We’ll never know.

          However, I still just don’t understand the issue. That is, Latos had 5 easy inning and one more difficult one. Is that unusual in a 6 inning stint? Is the Dusty Baker standard that Latos has to have innings 1-6 or 1-7 all be easy innings? That’s basically impossible, for almost any pitcher.

          Again, Baker said he has to get past the 90-100 pitch mark. Unless Latos took himself out, which I doubt, if he throws 94 pitches in 6 innings, and has one difficult inning, that’s not that bad. If he’s going to throw 110 pitches per game, that seems about right to me for a guy with his build and experience.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I don’t believe a person can go by raw pitch count. If a guy is extended late, its more problematical for him to come back the following inning which by raw count would figure to be his last. Also probably has to do with that third/ fourth time through the order thing.

        • @OhioJim: That all is possible, but again, this means that the standard is that a starter has to finish the 6th inning with either no problematic innings, or, if he has any, they have to be early.

          I’m really just trying to figure out what Dusty is unhappy with Latos about.

        • @OhioJim: I don’t remember where I saw this (but I’m sure it’s googlable), but rough innings later in the game, are significantly more taxing than earlier in the game. I suppose it’s because it’s much more pressurized than in the first five innings, and pitcher’s strain to throw those pitches more. In fact, living in DC, I think I originally read that in the context of the great Strausburg debate of 2012.

          At any rate, I agree that per six innings most pitchers have at least one bad one, but one bad one creates more strain later and thus making it less wise to send him back out in the 7th… or at least so the argument goes as researched.

        • Only one person limits Latos’ pitch count. And, that’s Baker. He decides when to take him out, not Latos, unless Latos is saying to pull him. And, from what I’ve seen from Latos, I don’t think he would call himself out of a game.

  18. Votto needs a rest, could someone PLEASE let the Toothpick know this since he doesn’t seem to see it? Dusty sure does love to bring in a pitcher to throw just to one hitter, this really uses up your bullpen pretty quickly. It would be nice to see Chapman pitch in the 8th when we need him. It would also be nice to see us steal a base once in a while. Choo has stolen 30 in a season before and so has Cozart (in the minors). Frazier has said that he can steal bases and so can BP. This team waits around for things to happen, some times you need to make them happen!!

    • @stevechai: And Choo’s caught stealing in the 2nd inning cost the Reds runs; if he doesn’t run there, the Reds probably win the game. So, no, lack of stealing is not the problem. Also, Dusty was criticized by someone for not bunting Paul in front of Mesoraco in the 8th. Really? It would have been a terrible idea to bunt a good hitter in front of a below average one who’s followed by a historically bad one.

    • @stevechai: Or, maybe even better (or for the worse), how about Baker actually take control of that situation. He is the manager. He can tell Votto when to play and not play. He doesn’t need to ask Votto’s permission.

  19. Wondering about something today. Just wondering, not necessarily disagreeing with Baker here. Snider got the game winning hit, we all know that. But, I was thinking. The pitcher Wilson was on deck, a pitcher who was killing us the 2 innings he was in there. If we walk Snider, we force Hurdle to either keep the good pitcher in there or burn a player who hasn’t swung the bat today. The thing is, if we walk Snider, we load the bases for that next batter.

    Opinions?

    • @steveschoen: I’m with Baker. The kid had thrown a lot of pitches. If they bring him out, so be it; I like our chances. I bet he would have been pulled either way. I don’t load the bases.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I wouldn’t load the bases either. Wilson had thrown a lot of pitches and was coming out. Zagurski was warming up (57 pitches and horrible just two days ago). All the more reason to bring in Chapman to face Snyder. He gets the one out, the Reds are in excellent position to win in the 12th, might not even need Chapman to pitch the bottom of the 12th.

    • @steveschoen: Baker can’t see past his own nose let alone think that far ahead to force Hurdle to make a decision like that. If asked, Baker would say don’t load the bases.

      I agree with you because the next PH off the bench probably doesn’t have has good a stick as Snider and pitcher changed who may not have been as effective as the last one. That being said, Snider hit a pitchers pitch down in the zone.

      Once again, the guy who’s supposed to think of these things doesn’t or disagrees and welcomes you to come and try. I think it would be hilarious if we would all send resumes to Walt Jocketty as John Fay has suggested to tweeters who have asked these same questions..

      • @George Culver: It’s possible he thought of it and rejected it. Even a worse hitter probably has a higher OBP than Snider’s BA, which is what matters if the bases are loaded. It’s only a good idea if a pitcher’s going to hit because no pinch hitters are left.

  20. Amusingly, people are asking Fay on twitter if Lutz will not get more playing time over Paul. He got a walk and a hit today, the first in a couple weeks. So, of course, everything is what have you done for me lately, I guess. Paul’s so much better…Lutz should never, ever play over him unless it’s a day off. Plus, Lutz will be in the minors by this time next week.

  21. Joey Votto has started all 57 games this season. Did everyone see Votto play today? That was a player who not only didn’t have his head in the game but whose tank was completely dry.

    Last season, Votto got his first day of rest on May 30, at Pittsburgh. A day off didn’t appear imminent, indicated manager Dusty Baker.

    “I was always told that if you’re hot, you stay in there until you crawl,” Baker said. “Then, when you cool off, that’s when you get a day off.”

    “Let’s face it, Joey does a lot,” Baker said. “He works hard. He takes care of himself. He carries a lot of weight offensively, which is a lot of work on him. Defensively, it’s not like Mr. [Shin-Soo] Choo playing center field. Of most of the positions, he has the shortest route to the dugout. An outfielder runs a mile a day just back-and-forth to his position.”

    One of the prolific defenses offered by Mr. Baker’s supporters is his devotion to managing playing time so players remain fresh and healthy throughout the 162 game season. Invariably this defense was offered up in response to some of the extraordinarily idiotic lineup substitutions Mr. Baker routinely makes on getaway Sunday. Well defense in now royally debunked and rebuffed. Joey Votto has needed a rest for more than a week, but Mr. Baker offers up another of his lame excuses for not resting Votto. The type of lame excuse Mr. Baker manufactures to support his idiotic decisions, even though the excuse directly contradicts previous actions and excuses.

    Mr. Baker has never been concerned about resting a player when the player was sizzling hot before. In fact he has been routinely criticized for specifically resting players when they were sizzling hot. Votto has not even been hot. Votto was sizzling hot from May 1st through May 24th (.455/.548/.701 with 15 BB & 11 SO). From May 25th through June 1st, Votto has absolutely tanked (.200/.314/.400 with 5 BB & 9 SO). Joey Votto has looked almost pathetic in some of those SO during the past week and his defensive play today was certainly pathetic. That is not a criticism of Joey Votto. Votto has and will continue to give every effort possible, even when he has nothing left to give.

    I was always under the impression that Mr. Baker just stubbornly adhered to his antiquated ideas, but his comments over the past few years seem to demonstrate that Mr. Baker just isn’t very intelligent. At least Mr. Baker has not proved capable of demonstrating that intelligence over the past few years.

    I did not follow his managerial career in San Francisco or Chicago, except for reviewing some of the details after-the-fact, so I really don’t know how he handled himself during those years, but his overly reactionary and confusing and contradictory behavior and responses over the past few years leave me a little concerned for his health. I’m beginning to wonder if such a public and stressful position might actually be detrimental to Mr. Baker’s health. I hope this is not the case, but I have seen too many people (including a President) go through the early and late stages of such ravaging and relentless struggles.

  22. BloodyHo: “Mr. Baker has never been concerned about resting a player when the player was sizzling hot before.” You got that right.

    I listened/watched from the 6th inning on, and Votto was just not there mentally. Three defensive misplays in consecutive innings. I saw the missed foul pop on tv. As the Pirate broadcasters said, “All Votto had to do was hold his glove out to catch it.”

  23. I’m more pissed off about the non-use of Chapman than others. For me it’s not even a question of a 4-out save. If Chapman was brought in to face ONE batter, the Reds had an excellent chance to win. THE PIRATES HAD USED UP THEIR BULLPEN. In the 11th inning, they had Mike Zagurski warming up in the bullpen. He was horrible while throwing 57 pitches just 2 days ago. The Pirate broadcasters even said: “The Pirates better score now.”

    Chapman had already warmed up and Simon was obviously tiring. LHed hitting Snyder comes up with the winning run at 2nd, two outs. Bring in Chapman to retire Snyder.
    The game goes into the 12th. The Reds have a chance to not only go ahead but put multiple runs on the board. Maybe Chapman isn’t even needed to pitch the bottom of the 12th.

    Sometimes we say: “Dusty just uses his closer like other managers do.” My question: Is there any other manager in baseball who does not bring in Chapman in that situation ?

    • @pinson343: I do not think many, if even one, manager in 2013 would bring his stopper in with 2 outs in the bottom of the 11th of a tie game.

      In the postseason, sure.

      I think bringing him in would have been perfectly reasonable for exactly the reasons you give. But managers just don’t do that.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Well, you answered my question. But then every manager would be wrong. There were special circumstances here:
        1. Chapman had already warmed up. 2. Snyder was almost a certain out against Chapman. 3. The Pirate bullpen was spent, done. One out away from feasting on a tired Zagurski.

        You mentioned bringing in Chapman would have been reasonable. Then we’re right, the managers are wrong.

        • @pinson343: PS I have seen managers, in a tie extra inning game on the road, bring in their closer to pitch an inning when they felt the circumstances dictated it. I would have brought Chapman in to pitch the 11th. But that’s just me.

        • @pinson343: Definitely managers bring in the closer for the bottom of a tied inning. My comment was that I just never see it in the middle of an inning.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I think maybe a handful of managers would have brought Chapman in there. Had it been me in the dugout, I probably would have brought him in. They haven’t asked him to go 4 outs so far this season but I think that may have been a time to do it. I agree however that most managers wouldn’t have brought Chapman in.

      • @OhioJim: Of course, Jim. But I’m talking about how – after all that had happened – the Reds were just one out away from a probable win.

  24. About Votto,
    I don’t question that he needs a day off. I didn’t see the muffed catch in the 6th. Something happened in the room and I turned around just in time to see the ball on the ground behind Votto and wondered what the hey.

    However on the Parra play I will say this. As perspective, in my time, I played some first base. At 1B there is nothing more unnerving or that catches you more off guard than when a fielder cuts loose and fires a “perfect” two seamer or cutter at you on a play like that. The ball often just darts or explodes just as it reaches you. Not saying that happened there but I’d judge there was a fair chance something like that played a role in it. Position players are drilled early on so they naturally and typically throw “4 seamers” but with pitchers, anything goes.

    • @OhioJim: Jim, I saw the muffed pop up but only heard Votto’s two missed catches on Pirate radio. On the Iztruis throw in the dirt, they just said it’s a play that Votto usually makes. The Parra throw was right in his glove. A pitcher throwing the ball or not, that’s a play that Votto has to make.

      • @pinson343: And catchers sometimes don’t drop moving pitches that appear to hit right in their glove even knowing what is conming?? :)

        I played some 1B on a team that alternated our two pitchers between pitching and SS. It is a helpless feeling when you get one unexpectedly exploded on you.

    • @OhioJim: True, it can be tricky. When nursing a severe case of tendonitis in my elbow, I couldn’t catch because it required too many throws back to the pitcher and my arm just wasn’t up to it. During that time I DHed or played 1B. Most infielders are taught to throw across the seams but sometimes they just can’t and when that happens, it can be tricky to catch the ball as a first-baseman.

  25. There are so many decisions to criticize it’s natural we focus on the ones that didn’t work out. But we shouldn’t let this classic go by without comment: 8th inning, Reds up by two, two outs and guys on 2nd and 3rd. A single probably puts the game away. So Dusty chooses Lutz to pinch hit (and come in on defense) instead of Robinson. Seriously? Seriously?

  26. About Chapman not pitching in the 11th. I give a list of arguments for it above, even if it was only to pitch to Snyder. Chapman warmed up on Friday nite when the lead was 4-0 and didn’t come in. He pitched on Saturday. Then he warmed up yesterday and didn’t come in. There is a price to warming up, even if the pitcher doesn’t come in. Chapman has now warmed up 3 days in a row, which could affect how much he’s used against the Rockies.

    The warming up with a 4-0 lead and the non-use yesterday with a chance for Chapman to win a game strikes me as the kind of thing that, for example, Steve M., talks about: the irrational use of a closer.

    My main problem with Chapman as closer is his limited value, given how closers are used. Not exactly a new point here, but the series in Pittsburgh illustrates it well.

  27. There was a huge play in the game that hasn’t been discussed: McCutcheon’s IF single off Broxton that brought Jones to the plate as the tying run. Cozart was in position to field the ground ball without even backhanding it. Frazier makes a diving stop but can’t come up with the ball. The Pirate broadcasters estimated that Cozart had a 50% chance of throwing him out and Frazier close to zero. They exaggerate/glorify McCutcheon’s speed, I think Cozart had a better than 50% chance.

    Todd did what 3rd baseman are generally supposed to do: trying to field whatever ground ball he can. But in this situation, Cozart was playing McCutcheon to pull. Shouldn’t Todd know (before the pitch) where he is ? Also, being flat on the ground after his dive, he wasn’t going to be able to throw out McCutcheon even if he had come up with the ball.

  28. My god, did Dusty really say 1B is an easier defensive position to play than CF because it’s a shorter run to and from the dugout at the end of half innings? Seriously? That can’t be true. Please tell me this isn’t an actual quote. It’s a paraody of some sort, right?

    We can have a real debate about which positions are easier/harder to play and more important to the team, but that conversation should never, ever include any discussion about the length of the run to and from the dugout.

    That may well be the single dumbest thing ever to come out of Dusty’s mouth and that is really saying something. I’m bumfuzzled and more convinced than ever that this club will never win a World Series with Baker in the dugout.

    • @Kyle Farmer: In Dusty World, that must make RF easier than LF when we have the 1st base dugout but LF easier than RF when we have the 3rd base dugout.

      I wonder if Jay Bruce does extra cardio to prepare for a series when he knows the Reds will be in the 3rd base dugout?

      Does it affect Dusty’s bullpen management when the pens are located way out past the outfield fence versus places like Chicago where the pens are along the lines and therefore have a shorter run to the mound?

  29. Re: Chapman pitching to Jones in the 8th, Mark Sheldon said:

    “Chapman, at least until it’s crunch time in a late-season pennant race will likely stay in the bullpen until the ninth inning. I don’t think it’s always so much because manager Dusty Baker and pitching coach Bryan Price are clinging hard to some cliched managerial text book that says closers can only get three out saves. I think it has a lot to do with the fact they have generally protected Chapman’s arm from overuse and been extra cautious. In 2011, Chapman missed five weeks with left shoulder inflammation and some shoulder fatigue last September had Jonathan Broxton filling in for four saves.”

    So, again, why is Chapman a stopper?

    The article goes on to quote Baker as saying he was “trying to save Chapman for the win”, which is stupid. Sheldon does state that they feel they can’t get Chapman up and down too much because of his arm, and he’d have had to have been warming up at the beginning of the inning to face Jones. That may well be true, and again goes to two things: (1) if Chapman can’t come in in the 8th, you MUST pitch someone competent in the 8th, and Broxton is not competent. (2) It really seems Chapman’s arm is problematic in the Dusty Baker stopper role.

  30. This might be a can of worms, and I see valid points on both sides. However, as long as Marshall is on the DL, we need Cingrani in the pen. If this club is making decisions based on a short window being open then it’s time to get the kid up here.

    I know that creates problems for next year, but this is a fight and we need our best fighters. Cingrani has real value for this club out of the bullpen right now.

  31. Yesterday I had to leave PNC Park when they went to Extra Innings. I left my dogs in Columbus and it was reaching the magic 10 hours when my dogs… well, it’s not good.

    Anyway, I listened to the Pirates broadcasters as I took my life into my hands cross that bridge (are you kidding me!) over the bridge. I really enjoyed listening to them. They have some great guys. When I got far enough in to Ohio, I switched to 700 WLW and OH MY GOODNESS!! Cincinnati fans are the worst! The Reds deserve better fans. This site is an oasis in a sea of crappy Reds fans.

  32. Jocketty needs to get busy. The Reds depth is just horrible.

    Cesar Izturis is a terrible, awful baseball player. Believe it or not, he has a lower OPS+ so far than Wilson Valdez did last year. I did not think that possible.

    There must be someone who can play SS/2B and provide at least some semblance of hitting. Of course, Izturis was an All Star, just ask Dusty Baker. But if Phillips misses any amount of time, it’s a disaster with Izturis in the lineup.

    In yesterday’s game, the Reds bench at the start of the game had a combined 3 home runs…this year. 2 for Hanigan, 1 for Lutz. Bench players can be acquired, but, of course, that means admitting failure, especially in the case of Izturis.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I wouldn’t even count Hanigan’s two homers. Dusty will not use the back-up catcher as a pinch hitter as a general rule, so that player is just wasted. The Reds constantly play with 24 players against the opponent’s 25.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate:

      We don’t always see eye-to-eye, but you are right. However, if WJ gets a LF, the bench is strenthened by having Heisey (when he comes off the DL) and XPaul there. A backup SS/2B is needed. Izturis isn’t it. Its time for Lutz to take what he has learned with the Reds, go to AAA, not AA, and apply that knowledge on an everyday basis. He isn’t going to get better sitting on the Reds bench and PH once or twice a week. He needs to be playing everyday and getting 4 at bats a game. I think some moves are directly on the horizon.

  33. The whole idea of roles in a bullpen needs some analysis which I hope one of the brains behind this site conducts. I understand why they do it. Pitchers like the comfort of knowing which circumstances they’ll be used. But I also so the value in using your most solid pitchers in high leverage situations.

    As everyone knows, I am not a Parra fan. But he was actually used properly yesterday and at a time and circumstance in which he could have success. Broxton will get back on track at some point, when he does he will be as good as LeCure and Marshall. But until that time, Baker should find situations when he can have success like he did with Parra yesterday.

    • @TC: We would not be worrying about any of this, I bet, if simply Lecure and Hoover (on days Lecure couldn’t go) pitched the 8th. I think there are two problems: not using the best relievers, but more importantly, if you are going with roles, organizing the roles correctly.

    • @TC: This is actually something that’s right up my ally. What kind of research exactly are you looking for? If it sounds like something I can do, I’ll do it and submit it to Chad et al to see if they want to publish it.

  34. As a side note, the Pirates bullpen is now completely WRECKED. They have been overused for the past week. Three extra inning games in the past 7 days and 10 innings on the bullpen yesterday. There are 4 guys in the pen that will not be available for at least 2 days.

    Additionally, they play the Braves. This is the perfect time for the Reds to put a few games on the Pirates.

  35. This remark is from 20/20 hindsight, but 20/15 foresight.
    The inconsistent offense reared its ugly head again. Again. And again. No runs after the first inning. Brutal. Score a couple of more runs and there is no bullpen use debate.
    But holy cow. Broxton pitching to Jones was about as idiotic as you can get, managerial-wise. Jones hit that ball in the river on the fly. It looked like that ball popped out a parachute before landing softly in the water, just like the Apollo space capsules used to do.
    Just getting Marshall back is not going to solve all the 8th and 9th inning bullpen woes. And getting Heisey back is not going to solve the LF woes either.
    Can’t help but think that WJ is working on something big to improve this team. The solutions are not on the DL, nor are they at AAA or AA. There is quite a bit of room for improvement at the 3B position, LF position, and the late inning bullpen pitchers.
    Where has Frazier gone?? Hopefully not to the milk carton. I never expected a .230 BA from him, but from his late August/September last year we knew a sophmore slump was possible. He is in a Bruce-tonian type of funk. A funk that soap and water cannot wash away. Baker has played Hannahan a little at 3B lately but that rest hasn’t helped Frazier either. Or Hannahan.
    The Pirates are not, and certainly the Cards won’t, just roll over and concede the NL Central to the Reds. This is going to be more than a dog-fight. This is going to be trench warfare, hand to hand combat. And the Pirates have stepped up the assault by plunking and injuring BP. The battle is on.
    Its going to take more than the 25 men now on the roster and WJ needs to do his due diligence and get some top-notch re-inforcements.

    • The inconsistent offense reared its ugly head again. Again. And again. No runs after the first inning. Brutal. Score a couple of more runs and there is no bullpen use debate.

      I think this is an overplayed and less than robust concern. They scored 4 runs, which is league average. The offense isn’t any better if it distributes those runs across 3 innings instead of one. Sure it’d be nice to score 6, but that just can’t be done every game. Scoring is down, down, down. Pitching is up, up, up, across all of baseball.

      Overall, games the Reds have scored 3 or less runs: 21 (only two shut-outs)
      Games have scored 4-6 runs: 24
      Games scored 7+: 12

      They are 3rd in the NL in Runs/Game at 4.7. If you look at runs scored by inning across the season, it’s pretty well evenly distributed, with the exception of a weird 5th inning drop of about 2 runs.

      It’s just how the numbers are going to work. It’s highly unlikely to score 5 runs a game 10 games in a row. I’m willing to bet the Reds are not out of the ordinary in terms of how their runs are distributed.

    • @WVRedlegs: The offense is good, not inconsistent. There are no LF woes; Paul+Robinson are doing reasonably well. Of course, when Heisey comes back, then there will be LF woes again. And, Marshall won’t fix the 8th inning woes one bit, because he doesn’t typically pitch in the 8th inning. The only thing that can fix the 8th inning woes is Baker buying a clue and moving Broxton to a mop-up role, i.e., the one currently being performed by Simon.

  36. The title of the post says it all. Especially yesterday and last Sunday’s cubs game.

    Overall, taking 2 of 3 on the road agains a division rival is good though and we shouldn’t lose this in the shuffle.

    A couple of things are bothersome. Broxton has been shakey more often than not this year. That coupled with Marshall’s shoulder ‘grouchiness’ means that this bullpen is not currently a strength. Walt should be looking into this. A LHRP that might be available is the Phillies Bastardo. If Marshall can get fully healthy, more depth can only help.

    DB getting snippy with a reporter is par for the course and not my big issue, but the answer is. Can’t have Chapman pitch every game…give me a break…if broxton got out of the 8th with a lead Chapman was going to pitch the 9th, it wasn’t really a mystery. So even against a division opponent, with a chance to sweep, he won’t even consider a 4-out save. Roles are good for 80% of the season, but you need some flexibility too. Chapman had pitched 1 inning in the last 4 days, it was a great time to push the boudaries a bit…

  37. Interesting: Juan Francisco is traded to the Brewers for a pitching prospect and will be playing 1B for them.

  38. For starters, if the team could catch the ball yesterday then Latos may well have been able to pitch the 7th. That was the worst defensive game I recall seeing out of the Reds in a while… The same thing would have happened though because Broxton hasn’t been good and he’s working the 8th inning. I felt really good about the Reds bullpen when the season started. I figured we had 3 guys who could close (Chapman, Marshall, Broxton) and then had Hoover, LeCure, and Simon (a former closer). The only weak link I saw was Parra who I figured would be used as a long-man and earlier inning lefty-specialist. Marshall however has been hurt most the season and Broxton has been ineffective. I shudder at the thought of Broxton being the one to close games but perhaps if he was the “closer” then he would have been given a shorter leash? I’m not really sure what to do with the 8th inning because Hoover isn’t a great option to me and I doubt Baker will go to LeCure. What was thought of as a strength is actually the weak link on the team right now.

  39. Ludwick is almost certainly out until mid-August with a distinct possibility that he will be functionally unavailable for the rest of the 2013 season. Heisey is out until mid-June and his return is wrought with problems. The Reds certainly need another RH bat in the lineup. The bench needs strengthening, but XP and Robinson have proved invaluable as either a LF platoon or the utility OF.

    Corey Hart is also out until probably mid-June. The Brew Crew is going nowhere this season except digging a hole in the NLCD cellar. Corey Hart will certainly not receive a qualifying offer from the Brew Crew after this season so he will also certainly be available this season once he comes off the DL and I can’t imagine his price in a trade would be out of bounds as an end-of-the-season rental. If Heisey is included in the deal, then that would bring a much needed RH bat to the Reds’ major league roster. Hart could play LF, hit in the #2 hole, spell Votto at 1B with a RH bat and strengthen the bench by returning XP and Robinson to utility OF and pinch hitting roles without disrupting the 40 man roster. I’ve really got no problem with Izturis in a utility IF role, rolling the dice that BP and Cozart stay healthy this season so Izturis doesn’t see any significant playing time.

    • @Shchi Cossack: Like it… I’ve wanted the Reds to grab Hart for the last 3 years. The only problem might be that the Reds could be buying into the same lack of production/power problem Votto had coming off of knee surgery.

      • @Matt WI:
        The injury factor is my biggest problem with it. Production wise, he would be a good fit in either the 2-hole or clean-up (Phillips to 4), but his DL stints have been more chronic the last couple of year. If it was an accute thing like a broken arm or something, I’d feel better about it.

      • @Matt WI: Three things regarding his knee surgery: (1) the price required might not be much more than Heisey, (2) the Reds don’t need his power so much in the #2 hole & (3) it’s 6 months since his surgery and as WVR points out below, there’s the GABP factor.

    • @Shchi Cossack:

      I like Hart. Thats a good call. Big and strong with a very good arm. Can he regain his offensive form?? Hitting in GABP could be helpful.

      With the Rox coming in, watch two of their LH relievers, Rex Brothers and Josh Outman. They are both good and make ML minimum salary, I think. If Marshall is going to be out for some time or have surgery, might have to start scouting for a lefty for the bullpen. Reds play the A’s in a few weeks. Oakland has a few LH relievers and WJ should be scouting the A’s Jerry Blevins ($1.1mm) and Sean Doolittle ($492k). Very low ERA’s and BB rates too. There are some good low cost LH relievers out there. The price/cost in talent to obtain any of them might be prohibitive though.

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