2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: Okay, everyone…exhale

Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Arizona 7
Cincinnati 10

W: M. Leake (11-5)
L: B. McCarthy (2-8)
S: A. Chapman (32)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Shin-Soo Choo went 4-5, with a homer, a double, 3 RBI, and 3 runs scored. That’s a pretty good game.

–Aroldis Chapman wasn’t perfect, but the fact that he collected a two-inning save is a huge positive, as far as I’m concerned. Dusty Baker’s hand was forced by an injury to Jonathan Broxton, but let’s give him credit: he brought Chapman into the game, and let him finish.

I want to see that more often. Chapman is good. The more innings he is allowed to pitch, the happier I’ll be. (And my happiness should be the Reds’ chief concern, right?)

–Joey Votto reached base four times: 2-3, with a double, two walks, and an RBI. Never change, Joey Votto.

–Devin Mesoraco was 2-4 with two RBI and a run scored. Zack Cozart was 2-4 with two runs scored.

–The Reds scored ten runs. That’s a big-time positive, given the struggles of the offense this season.

NEGATIVES
–Mike Leake was great over the first four innings, but the wheels ultimately fell off. In all, Leake surrendered four runs on six hits in six innings. He did, however, hit an RBI double and he scored a run, too.

–Manny Parra and JJ Hoover struggled again. They’ve been great for most of the season, but this hasn’t been a good week, thus far.

–Jonathan Broxton appeared to have injured his elbow again. He had to be removed after giving up a hit and a walk, ultimately permitting two runs without recording an out. We will wait to hear the status of his elbow, but I don’t expect good news.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–I’m not gonna lie, I was seriously concerned that I was going to be forced to post a picture of Milton tonight. When Arizona cut the lead to 8-7, after Cincinnati had jumped out to an 8-0 lead…well, the Reds have broken my heart enough times over the years that I confess that I feared the worst.

–The Pirates lost, so the Reds are now 2.5 games behind in the NL Central. Still in third place, unfortunately. The Cardinals won tonight, and they are only one game back.

–Cincinnati’s lead over Arizona for the final wild card spot is six games. A win tomorrow in the series finale would really help the Reds’ chances of securing that wild card berth.

–That was the first career two-inning save for Aroldis Chapman. I hope it isn’t his last.

–You gotta see the ridiculous swing by Todd Frazier in the bottom of the eighth. He singled to drive in a run, but I still don’t know how he did it.

–Chapman got a chance to hit in the eighth inning. You won’t believe this if you didn’t see it, but he had a pretty darn good AB. Chapman ultimately struck out on a 3-2 count, but he had a pretty swing and seemed to have a good command of the strike zone. I was impressed, anyway.

–So Dusty Baker brought in Chapman in the eighth inning, but didn’t double-switch, which meant that Chapman had to hit. There has been some discussion that Baker tried to double-switch, but didn’t tell the umpires immediately upon walking to the mound, so he wasn’t permitted to make the move. I don’t know, but there’s no question that Dusty should have double-switched there.

Of course, maybe he knew that Chapman was a better hitter than Cesar Izturis, and he preferred to see Chapman hit there. It’s possible, right?

–Tonight’s game was flat-out exhausting.

Source: FanGraphs

63 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: Okay, everyone…exhale

  1. Welcome to the playoffs. The Dbacks knew that all along but it took the Reds several inning and false starts to finally get it straight.

    Gibby will probably play even more desperately tomorrow having come up empty tonight.

    It will be interesting to see if Dusty matches that intensity or is satisfied with a 2/2 push.

  2. Dusty’s FSN postgame interview was confusing on the substitution of Chapman for Broxton and whether they lost the double switch by not indicating it soon enough or maybe never even had it available because of it being an injury substitution.

    • @OhioJim: I don’t quite understand why you can’t make a double switch during an injury substitution. Maybe there’s a logical reason. There’s no way to prepare for an injury, so if you’re forced to bring in yet another pitcher in an injury situation, you ought to be able to protect yourself from stuff like Chapman having to bat.

      It just compounds the injury when you’re forced to bring in a reliever but can’t make a double-switch and avoid having him bat (and fan). I didn’t quite understand it either — sounded like Dusty tried to tell the ump he wanted a double switch, but the ump wouldn’t let him have it because Dusty already told the ump he wanted Chapman.

    • @OhioJim:
      The double switch would have been stupid/ who do you bring in… Ludwick for Heisey, Hanahan for Frazier? (Chapman most likely still comes up in Frazier’s situation) , so what if Chapman bats, I am just surprised he did not try to get the bunt down
      At best its a 10% chance of an upgrade of getting on base, a greater chance of a DP and a severe down grade on defense

  3. Chapman didn’t look as bad at the plate as I thought he would. Kudos to him for coming back after putting 2 on.

      • @OhioJim: I agree. Chapman looked a lot better swinging away than he did bunting. He has a power swing. He probably would have walked if he just did a statue thing but I preferred his swinging away at pitches he thought he could hit. It got the crowd worked up and I wanted Chapman to go walk back to the bench and rest anyway.

  4. Tonight was one of the wildest and most frustrating games I have been to in a long time, great night at the ballpark, lots of fun. That being said, giving Broxton 21 M was absolutely awful and one of the worst decision Jocketty has made. Chapman is good, he needs to pitch more. The AB was awesome and the crowd went nuts. Latos needs to be downright filthy tomorrow, we need 7 IP of 1 R or less and our offense needs to show up and take the series.

  5. One more thing, the Reds and Jocketty need to do EVERYTHING THEY CAN to keep Shin Soo Choo, must try and extend him. We are getting that HUGE TV deal so we might be able to pull it off. We wasted 21 M on Broxton which could have gone to Choo or Arroyo. Think of our lineup in 2014:

    Choo
    Hamilton
    Votto
    Phillips
    Bruce
    Mesoraco
    Frazier
    Cozart

    Ludwick off the bench

    • @Josh: Have to disagree on Choo. He only hits .185 against lefties, and he’s going to be one of the top 5 free agents available. He’s going to get overpaid by someone, and I don’t think it’s going to be the Reds.

  6. I’m with Chad on exhaling and that game being flat-out exhausting. I can’t remember taking so many deep breaths during a game. From what I saw of Dusty, he took even more deep breaths than I did. Gibson treated it as a “must win” game. Dusty did too, after the Reds took the 8-0 lead and the DBacks quickly scored 4.

    Both managers treating it like a postseason game added to the excitement/entertainment.

  7. As frustrating as that game was, I really enjoyed the win. Let’s get one more tomorrow. Anyone have any info on when Marshall is due back? We could really use him now.

    • @Krenchicki: Marshall and Cueto were tossing the ball to each other at a distance of 60 feet today. That means 2-3 weeks away without setbacks. The minor league season ending in early September might be a problem.
      Cueto’s only chance at this point is to come back as a reliever.

  8. I agree that Chapman’s pitchig was a huge positive, even though he wasn’t at his best. First and foremost, he kept his cool and got the 6 out save. After the routine DP ball that wasn’t turned and ended up making the game even tighter, he did not let the game get away.

    He got two of the biggest outs of the game: striking out Eaton with the tying run on second and getting Hill, who’s been on a tear, to pop up as the potential tying run at the plate.

    He only gave up 1 hit, the opposite field single by Goldschmidt.

    His walking Didi was frustrating but Didi should have been erased on a GIDP. The 4 pitch walk to Prado was a dangerous development, I felt he got squeezed on a couple of pitches. He was not getting the borderline high strike call, which makes it tough for him.

  9. It’s a bad thing to have a guy who “may be” healthy enough to pitch. Broxton was not used in game 2 because his troubled elbow was sore. He and whoever felt he was ready tonite: Dusty usually gives the player that extra day off, but Broxton was needed in the 8th. Anyway, almost caused the Reds a devastating loss.

    I’m concerned that if Cueto comes back, even to pitch relief, there will be a similar “maybe he’s OK maybe he’s not” situation, which could blow up in a big game.

    I feel better about Marshall coming back. He’s been declared healthy (unlike Cueto) and if he doesn’t have another setback, the Reds could really use him. Hoover and Parra have been excellent but they’re running out of stamina/luck.

    • @pinson343: What to do about Cueto … If he should make it back, Dusty will carry him on the postseason roster for loyalty as much as anything else, and if Marshall makes it back, they could have Broxton’s and Ondrusek’s spots, right? ……. But whaddya do when you only need 11 pitchers on the postseason roster? Somebody else has to go. A lot can happen before the end of September, but that decision would appear to be a really tough call right now …

  10. I felt like the baseball gods had decided the DBacks were going to come all the way back and win it, and Todd changed their minds with that swing on his RBI single.
    A perfect 2 iron swing, he kept his head perfectly still while looking down at the ball. I wonder what his golf handicap is.

  11. I’m a fan of Mike Leake but his giving up 4 runs that quickly is an example of why he should not be in the post season rotation (assuming the Reds get there). Latos, Bailey, Cingrani and Arroyo are all better.

    • @pinson343: Yeah… I’m getting a little worried the clock is striking midnight on Leake’s amazing season. Hope not, but it’s hard to not expect him to regress. Sell high, sell high!

    • @pinson343: I think you keep him on the roster, but out of the rotation. He’d be a potentially valuable long-man if we needed one. That way, all the other relievers can be used 1 inning at a time to make sure they are all available during each playoff game. With a day or two off in each playoff series, and time in between, you could realistically pitch all your relievers almost every game. Leake can sit the bench as insurance, IMO.

  12. I challenge anyone out there to come up with a worse lineup than Dusty, I bet Choo, Itzuris, Phillips, Ludwick, Frazier, Heisey, Hanahan, Hanigan

  13. It’s been 3 years, but I saw Chapman hit in a minor league game (when he was starting) back in 2010. He looked pretty good at the plate then…his first at-bat looked like his at-bat last night…up there swinging hard for the big hit. In his second at-bat, he took an outside pitch the other way and got a base hit. The crowd was all behind him then, too, and after he got on first base, he was pointing at someone in the dugout (or maybe the whole dugout) and there was a lot of animation, cheering and jabbering in the dugout (though, I didn’t see anybody collecting on won or lost bets.)

      • @vicferrari: Chapman had 11 plate appearances in 2010, the last time he was a starter for Louisville. He walked once, struck out five times and had four hits, one of which was a double. He’s also two for seven in spring training (with another double). I heard one of the Reds’ employees, maybe Brantley or Jocketty himself, say in the spring that Chapman is the best athlete on the team, that he’s the best fielding pitcher on the team and is a good hitter. His swing looked pretty good last night, considering it was his first at bat in a real major league game.

        • @Steve Mancuso: Seems like I recall someone asking if their was anyone on the team who could beat Robinson in a footrace and the answer was Chappy. I want to say it was Brantley who said it.

        • @Kyle Farmer: The reason I think that Brantley was the person I remember saying that Chapman was the best fielding pitcher on the team was that I’d have been completely skeptical of that claim made by anyone else. Both Mike Leake and Bronson Arroyo are A+ when it comes to fielding. But I remember thinking when I heard that statement “well, he would be the one to know” which I’m pretty sure would have had to be the Cowboy. It was back in the spring in the context of Chapman as a starter.

  14. The Reds have a huge pitching advantage in today’s game. Not only has Mat Latos been the Reds’ best pitcher, but the D-Backs are sending another shaky starter out there in Trevor Cahill. He’s only pitched once since coming off the DL, wasn’t that good before his injury and unlikely to go more than six innings at best.

    Their entire bullpen pitched last night, including their closer who threw 33 pitches in recording just two outs. Simon, LeCure and Ondrusek didn’t pitch last night.

  15. To paraphrase Denny Green – Mike Leake is who we thought he was. And that is a pretty good bottom of the rotation starter and that’s it.

    I was fine with Chappy striking out. I really don’t want him running the bases as a relief pitcher….too much injury risk there for me.

    I have become a real fan of the D’Backs. I enjoy their approach to the game and how they have taken on the personality of their manager. Unlike for the Reds, this is a good thing for Arizona.

    • @Kyle Farmer: The D-Backs Achilles heel is their starting pitching, as we’ve seen in this series. It’s pretty much Corbin and bust. But with Prado, Goldschmidt and Hill hitting the way they are right now, and their never-say-die approach to the game, they’re dangerous. After today, they literally have only seven games left against teams with a winning record (all vs. the Dodgers). The Reds, on the other hand, have sixteen such games (3 Dodgers, 7 Cardinals, 6 Pirates). The Red also have a three-game series vs. the Mets, and could face Matt Harvey in one of those games. The Reds really need to win today to build that cushion over Arizona while they have the chance.

  16. The Reds broadcasters reported last night that Tony Cingrani may not miss his next start. If that’s the case, here’s what I’d have done:

    Call Greg Reynolds up to pitch this Sunday against Milwaukee. Tell Mike Leake they are skipping his scheduled start on Monday. He could maybe use a break, anyhow. Move Cingrani from Sunday to Monday, so he can start the first game of the Cardinals series. Latos and Bailey pitch the second and third games on their regular turn. You have Leake to back-up Cingrani in case his injury flares up.

    Too late to do this now, the Reds let Reynolds pitch a meaningless game for Louisville last night.

    • @Steve Mancuso: Brilliant. Do you think that this sort of stuff never even occurs to Dusty or does he think about it and just dismiss it because it’s out of the box?

      • @Kyle Farmer: To be fair, the main person who needs to be thinking about this is Walt Jocketty and maybe Bryan Price. Jocketty would certainly have to get Baker to agree it’s a good idea.

        Reynolds isn’t on the 40-man roster, so he’d have to be moved up. Could he be sent down again? He passed through waivers just recently, so maybe he’d make it.

        But what really surprises me is that the Reds let him pitch last night at all. They have no idea how Cingrani will feel when he throws his bullpen session this week (Friday, I think). If he still feels the back strain, who will pitch on Sunday?

        Daniel Corcino is on the 40-man roster, so is Pedro Villarreal. But Villarreal hasn’t been starting for the Bats.

        I’m expecting they’ll call up Partch to take Broxton’s place.

        • @Steve Mancuso: I’d have to say the Bakerman would be in on that, also, Steve. One of his main responsibilities is to be a strategist. For this move, I agree, not solely the Bakerman, but I believe he would be in on it.

    • Too late to do this now, the Reds let Reynolds pitch a meaningless game for Louisville last night.

      Louisville had an off day yesterday. Reynolds started on Tuesday, same night as Cingrani. The Reds could still do this.

  17. When will GM’s learn that spending big on aging relief pitchers, even or especially FA closers, is sheer folly. Just a few extraordinary exceptions (ahem…Rivera) seems to warp a GM’s perspective. That’s just not a cost effective way to manage a team’s needs or budget and WJ has been among the worst offenders. Rather than spending millions on a craps shoot, spend a few $100K to keep and develop the relievers (Boxberger, Joseph, Maloney, Burton and Horst) through the minor league system then let someone else pay them as FA. Look at the benefit that obtaining young, talented relievers (Simon & Hoover) has paid as opposed to spending big bucks on aging relievers (Broxton & Madson). How many times does that lesson have to hit someone upside the head before it becomes obvious?

    • @Shchi Cossack: Yes, yes, yes!!! I hated the Broxton signing the minute they made it…..although the Madsen signing was a good value relative to the market. But on a macro level, yes, such a terrible waste of resources. If you pocket that money, then you can sign someone for double what Ludwick received, which puts you into a much better class of player.

      What I want to know is why Broxton even pitched last night given that he needed the last 2 days off for a sore elbow. Do the Reds even care that their manager is damaging their assets?

      Fortunately, September callus are right around the corner. I think we’ll see Partch and Ravin to go along with Cueto and Marshall. Use the first two in low leverage situations and save the core bullpen guys for the high leverage situations.

    • @Shchi Cossack: Yes, yes, yes!!! I hated the Broxton signing the minute they made it…..although the Madsen signing was a good value relative to the market. But on a macro level, yes, such a terrible waste of resources. If you pocket that money, then you can sign someone for double what Ludwick received, which puts you into a much better class of player.

      What I want to know is why Broxton even pitched last night given that he needed the last 2 days off for a sore elbow. Do the Reds even care that their manager is damaging their assets?

      Fortunately, September callus are right around the corner. I think we’ll see Partch and Ravin to go along with Cueto and Marshall. Use the first two in low leverage situations and save the core bullpen guys for the high leverage situations.

  18. A couple of late observations:

    Baseball is fun. That was a nail biter with the right outcome, but even more than that a fun game to watch right from the start with Choo’s leadoff home run. Frazier’s swat, Chapman’s debut at the plate, Leake’s double, and the relief of 8th inning insurance runs. Great stuff – go Reds!

    I don’t usually waste much breath being critical of Dusty Baker, and it clearly had no influence on the outcome of the game, but with Leake coming out after 6, WHY burn a pinch whiffer (Izturis) instead of just letting Leake take his at bat in the bottom half?

    Chapman’s at bat was high energy stuff. I really wish I had been in the stands for that. And I LOVED the look on his face after the K. It definitely looked like he was thinking “That was fun – now I want another crack at it”. How about from now on Dusty puts Chapman in for 3 out saves by letting him bat in the bottom of the 8th?

    I was not happy to hear these reports on consecutive nights: Tuesday – Cueto’s lat is at 75% strength. Wednesday – Cueto was out soft tossing. At this stage I don’t want them risking reinjury for a shot at a few unpredictable innings late in the season or worse in the playoffs. Let Johnny rest. See you next spring.

    Can’t wait for the afternoon tilt. Play ball!

    • @Chris DeBlois:

      Can’t wait for the afternoon tilt. Play ball!

      DOH!!! I completely forgot today was an afternoon game. Thanks for the reminder Chris.

    • @StealYourBase: Baker’s response to why Chapman had to bat rather than making a double switch…

      “The umpire asked me and [pitching coach] Bryan [Price] who did we want?” Baker said. “We said we wanted Chapman. Me and Bryan pointed out to Chapman, and we couldn’t double-switch after that. I’ve never been in that circumstance where you have the injured player, and I was sort of distraught by the fact I had to go get Chapman and the fact that we were going to lose Broxton.”

      Dusty is incapable of taking responsibility for anything he does unless it’s pointing out what a great manager he is and how many victories he has as a manager.

      Dusty has ‘never been in that circumstance where you have an injured player’? Pure unadultered bunk! Dusty just makes up excuses to try and cover his indefensible mistakes and attempts to deflect any responsibility to someone else. Dusty is the manager and he has the responsibility, but lacks the character of a leader. Compare Dusty’s comments with Votto’s comments and make an evaluation regarding the leadership qualities of those two men.

      Dusty also knew Broxton was injured before sending him out yesterday and sent him out anyway. He held him out of action while overestending the rest of the bullpen for the past several games. He pulled the same stunt when Broxton went in the DL last time, sending him out to pitch when he knew he was injured. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t trust Dusty with the keys to my first car, and that car has long since been scrapped for junk and given last rights, not to mention making decisions regarding the use of a multimilion dollar, major-league roster.

  19. Somewhat surprised, Dusty is still putting out the A-team for a day game. I’ve said repeatedly I dont’ understand batting Mez behind Ludwick, but I suppose that is splitting hairs. Just glad Itzuris isn’t batting 2 today.
    1. Shin-Soo Choo (L) CF
    2. Todd Frazier (R) 3B
    3. Joey Votto (L) 1B
    4. Brandon Phillips (R) 2B
    5. Jay Bruce (L) RF
    6. Ryan Ludwick (R) LF
    7. Devin Mesoraco (R) C
    8. Zack Cozart (R) SS
    9. Mat Latos (R) P

    • @bohdi: Wow! That is a pleasant surprise. Personally, I would rather see Heisey again but Ludz needs ABs. But, like you mentioned, the six hole is no place to get some work in.

    • @bohdi: Dusty’s managing like these games actually matter.

      Chapman in the 8th? A-team for a day game?

      He must be feeling sick.

    • @bohdi: It really shouldn’t be surprising. It’s an important game, and it serves as a further explanation for Sunday’s lineup against Milwaukee (a game they won, I might add): rest up the front-line players for a crucial four-game series.

      There’s usually a method to the madness.

  20. Chapman should have been taking on both 2-1 and 3-2. He may be a good natural hitter, but his best bet in those situations was to take.

    In keeping with my recent theme of not criticizing Dusty after a victory–although it’s not easy when he presents so many inviting targets–I’ll focus on the TV announcers. How can anyone who has been a baseball fan for any length of time–much less paid professionals–fail to:

    1) Comment/question/speculate on the lack of a double switch when Chapman came in. I was convinced he was only going to pitch the 8th since there was no double switch. Thom and Cowboy didn’t discuss the possibility of a double switch/question why Dusty didn’t do it/wonder if that meant Chapman was only in for the 8th/comment on it when he batted. It was unbelievable. Did the radio guys say anything?

    2) Ever inform us if LeCure was warming up when the 9th started or after Chapman got in trouble. I mean, it’s kind of important, and as a TV viewer I have no way of knowing if they don’t tell me. If he wasn’t warming up, they should have commented on that. (He certainly should have been warming up when the inning started; anyone know if he was?)

    The announcers are generally annoying–especially Thom–but not commenting on these things amounts to professional incompetence.

    • @Eric the Red: I agree that Chapman should have been taking on the 3-2 count. He struck out on a pitch that would have been ball four and would have put a runner in scoring position with the Reds ahead one run at that time.

  21. Chapman looks pretty good as a hitter. I imagine he did a lot of hitting at Holguin in the rough and tumble Cuban League.

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