2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: Razing Arizona

Let’s recap today’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Arizona 1
Cincinnati 2

W: M. Latos (13-4)
L: E. De La Rosa (0-1)
S: S. LeCure (1)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Mat Latos. Mat Freaking Latos. That was a great start. 8 innings, one run, six Ks, and no walks.

–Sam LeCure answered the call today against the heart of the Diamondbacks order and did a fine job closing out the game.

–Shin-Soo Choo reached base twice. Joey Votto reached base three times. Not much offense otherwise, though.

–The Reds took three of four from Arizona, effectively clinching a playoff spot.

NEGATIVES
–Hits, where art thou?

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–Jonathan Broxton’s season is over as he’ll need surgery. Yet another illustration of why you don’t drop money on relief pitching.

–As of this moment, the Reds are seven up for the Wild Card, one back of the Cards and two back of the Pirates. If one or both of those teams looses tonight, it’s going to be really interesting. The NL playoff teams are basically set now (yes, I know it’s August, but the odds of Arizona making a comeback are tiny), the only question now is who wins the Central and who hosts the Wild Card game.

–That was a rough series to sit through, but the result was fantastic. Now it’s on to Milwaukee. After the Brewers, the Reds will play 9 of 12 against the Cardinals and Dodgers. I’d guess that’s the stretch that will tell us if the Reds might win the Central.

Source: FanGraphs

78 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: Razing Arizona

  1. Razing Arizona. Nice.
    From the aptly named Ohio Players:
    Fire……Fire…..

    Excellent outing by Latos. Only gave up 5 hits and all singles. NO extra base hits at all. That is picking them up and laying them down.

    Lets go skewer some Brewers !!!

  2. They definitely put the onus on AZ, but to say they “effectively clinched” a playoff spot is a tad premature, IMHO.

  3. Great job by Mat, Choo, Votto, and Sam. Even Ludwick had some better swings. Hot Mes continues to improve. If Jay, Todd, and Brandon get even a minor amount of stroke going, we can do this. 3 at home with the Brewers on tap … let’s break out the brooms while the Cards face my new 2nd favorite team – the Braves.

  4. I turned the game on at the right point, just as Frazier was bunting Choo to 3rd. Joey willed that wild pitch, he’s done it before with a runner on 3rd. Joey doesn’t need RBIs, he can get runners home as a sheer act of will !

    I was fine with LeCure coming out to pitch the 9th. Latos had already received his congratulatory handshakes, after 103 pitches on an August day he apparently had enough. My concern was that LeCure was facing some very tough hitters. Then I became concerned when the home plate ump squeezed him on a couple of pitches. But the called strike 3 on Kubel was generous, so that worked out.

    • I was fine with LeCure coming out to pitch the 9th. Latos had already received his congratulatory handshakes, after 103 pitches on an August day he apparently had enough. My concern was that LeCure was facing some very tough hitters. Then I became concerned when the home plate ump squeezed him on a couple of pitches. But the called strike 3 on Kubel was generous, so that worked out.

      Umpires will say they don’t do “make-up calls.” Yeah, right. They’re human, they think maybe they missed one, they give it back……..Funniest part of that strikeout of Kubel was Thom flat-out saying “strike three and Kubel knew it!” Of course, as he’s saying that, Kubel was bent over from trying to undo his leg guard and walk to first base. … Welsh called it accurately pretty quickly thereafter.

  5. Had to pause the game for almost an hour to run a necessary errand. I had stopped at the single by Mes and came back to watch the double play ball from Cozart.

    You have to feel pretty good about a 3 of 4 from the Snakes. They are a good team that can hit almost anybody.

  6. I couldn’t believe my ears. Reds are trying to get Aaron Harang from Seattle for the bullpen.
    Might just be a very smart move. A sly WJ move.
    I don’t know if he was exposed to waivers and cleared or not. I couldn’t find anything out about that.

  7. I witnessed a postgame debate between Harold Reynolds and an Idiot whose name I don’t know. The Idiot made Reynolds look like a genius, which is hard to do. The Idiot claimed it made no sense to have Chapman pitch a 2 inning save yesterday and not use him today. “Why is the one game more important than the other ?” he asks.

    He makes the remarkable statement that “Dusty had decided in advance of the game that Chapman would pitch a 2 inning save on Wednesday.” He did shrug his shoulders and say: “He let him (Broxton) walk a guy.” Remarkable. Not only was he unaware that Broxton had allowed a HR, he was unaware that Broxton had left with a season ending injury. None of which is pointed out by Reynolds. Grounds for dismissal.

    He goes on to assume that Chapman, after throwing 35 pitches over 2 innings the nite before this day game, has a MUCH better chance of saving the game than LeCure.
    Reynolds seems to agree with that too. Some of this is just plain ignorance about LeCure, he’s spoken of as a mediocrity. Anyone who’s watched Sam over the last 2 seasons knows that he’s a good bet to pull off that save.

    • @pinson343: Yeah, that was a mind-bogglingly stupid discussion. First, a fresh LeCure (one of the few guys who didn’t pitch Wednesday) is a better option than a tired Chapman, especially against the right-handed power hitters due up in the ninth. Goldschmidt, Prado and Hill would have feasted on the straight 95-mph fastballs Chapman throws when he’s out of gas. Second, even in a Bizarro world where Chapman is at close to full strength the afternoon after throwing 35 high-leverage pitches at night to get six outs, today’s game was marginally less important than last night’s precisely because the Reds won last night to ensure at least a series split.

      • @ChipJake: Yep, yep, and yes. I didn’t even bring up the mismatch between a tired Chapman and 3 strong RHed hitters, as I didn’t want to make my post too long, but that was a major factor.

        There was yet more stupidity from the Idiot. He felt that Dusty put a lot of emphasis on winning Wednesday nite so the Reds could distance themselves from the DBacks.
        Therefore, isn’t a Thursday win over the DBacks just as critical ? Reynolds finally corrected him on this point. The Reds are trying to win the division, he said, and will need Chapman down the stretch.

        • @pinson343: I saw the same exchange. I guess it came on right after our game and I didn’t change the channel quickly enough.

          I just don’t understand programming like that and shows like Sports Center/Baseball Tonight. How can executive producers not see the difference between smart commentators and idiots? I’m sure there are plenty of smart analysts out there who could do a great job talking about baseball a few hours every night.

          I’ve given up on ESPN for a couple years now. I used to like the MLB Network, but it has now almost become unwatchable – or at least it really depends on who is on the show. Harold Reynolds is impossibly dense. But the network has so much invested in him in Mitch Williams (incredibly, they are promoted as “the best minds in baseball” – I guess because they strike such serious poses when they spout their nonsense) that they can’t afford to let them go.

          I have the same issue with all the NFL pregame shows (especially ESPN). There *have* to be smarter analysts than the same awful, boring people they wheel out there every season.

      • @ChipJake: Plus, you invest Chapman in the game (Wednesday) that you know with certainty is on the line. You don’t know if you’ll even need a closer on Thursday. Baker made absolutely the right call. See, my keyboard can type those letters in that sequence.

      • @pinson343: Yeah, that was a mind-bogglingly stupid discussion. First, a fresh LeCure (one of the few guys who didn’t pitch Wednesday) is a better option than a tired Chapman, especially against the right-handed power hitters due up in the ninth. Goldschmidt, Prado and Hill would have feasted on the straight 95-mph fastballs Chapman throws when he’s out of gas. Second, even in a Bizarro world where Chapman is at close to full strength the afternoon after throwing 35 high-leverage pitches at night to get six outs, today’s game was marginally less important than last night’s precisely because the Reds won last night to ensure at least a series split.

        Chapman was throwing a lot of 94′s on Wednesday. He hit 100 a couple of times but he wasn’t all that sharp, IMO. Another trot out the for him would have been (a.) a loss (b.) an emotional bummer for the team and (c.) would still leave the Reds in the same predicament on Friday.

  8. In the 3rd inning, Choo leads off with a single to CF. Frazier then strikes out after swinging at 2 pitches more than a foot out of the strike zone. Cahill throws 2 wild pitches while walking Votto, sending Choo to 3B. Cahill throws another wild pitch to Phillips sending Votto to 2B before Phillips grounds out, scoring Choo from 3B. Without the 3rd wild pitch moving Votto to 2B, Phillips probably grounds out into a double play with no run scoring.

    In the 8th inning, Choo leads off with a single to RF. A throwing error by the pitcher on an attempted pickoff sends Choo to 2B. Dusty gives up an out by having Frazier sac bunt to move Choo to 3B. De La Rosa throws a wild pitch while walking Votto, scoring Choo from 3B. Phillips is out on an IF popup and Bruce strikes out. Dusty looks like the genius of the baseball diamond by aniticipating an IF popup and stike out, knowing the only way to score was another wild pitch.

    I can not recall a worse hitting performance by a major league baseball team. The home late umpire did his best to choke the pitchers by raising the bottom of the strike zone WELL ABOVE the knees and calling a VERY tight (and inconsistent) top of the strike zone. The inside and outside calls were also pretty tight. Nevertheless, the Reds’ hitters continually hacked early and often, despite numerous wild pitches. Besides Choo and Votto, this team is sorely lacking in plate discipline, even when the opposing pitcher is trying to make it easy to take pitches.

    Mesoraco is looking more and more like the real deal. Since the all star break, BP has an OPS of .693. Since the all star break, Frazier has an OPS of .680. Since the all star break, Mesoraco has an OPS of .794. Since coming off the DL, Hanigan has an OPS of .729 (mostly from OBP) which isn’t particularly good but it is certainly much better than BP or Frazier. I would be a strong supporter of hitting the catchers between Votto and Bruce, with BP hitting 6th behind Bruce and the LF hitting 7th. I can’t envision Dusty ever opting for a young Mesoraco and an OBP machine like Hanigan hitting cleanup, but BP certainly isn’t working as a cleanup hitter any longer. Dusty certainly couldn’t accuse Hanigan of ‘clogging the bases’ in front of Bruce and Phillips and Mesoraco might just explode hitting cleanup between Votto and Bruce.

  9. Another point about the media not knowing much about Sam. The play-by-play guy on the mlbnetwork broadcast was talking about how LeCure’s main challenge would be keeping his cool in this “unfamiliar situation”. “Pitching in the 9th is different from pitching in the 8th”, the guy said. LeCure losing his cool ? Ha ! He might have lost the game, but there was no way he was going to lose his cool.

  10. Al on the game thread: “I’ve been one of the people who’s said LeCure could close. I’m glad to see him get the shot. He’s a very smart pitcher and has very good control. Mostly, that’s what I want from a closer.”

    I agree. And I’m a partial believer in the “closer mentality” thing. That is, it’s overstated but it’s not total BS. Sam thrives on high leverage situations.

    Hoover and Marshall are also capable of being reliable closers, which brings us back to that familiar topic …. in 2014, any chance that Chapman starts ?

    • It seems obvious that most view it a mistake Chapman should start. If he starts next year is he even available for this time let alone the playoffs? If they ever do make him a starter, now would be the time for the sole reason to let him use his dominance in the playoffs. Just curious why people still push 2014 as a possibility and no mention of making him a starter now.
      I am torn on this year, but see no realistic reason to ever start him in April. Any thoughts?

  11. Managed to make it to the game today. I was the guy loudly applauding when BP took a first pitch….

  12. OK, y’all help me. In the 9th last night, the ground ball to Votto, forcing the runner at 2nd. Then they flipped the ball to the ump who threw it out of play to Dusty. I cannot find out why this happened. I scanned the threads, didn’t see a reference. I went back over the replay and Thom, too self-absorbed in hyperbole, didn’t mention it.

    They don’t throw a ground ball out of play unless it’s a special event.

  13. As far as I know they don’t reuse a ball that is hit anywhere or even pitched into the dirt. I think they don’t want scuffs on the ball.

    • As far as I know they don’t reuse a ball that is hit anywhere or even pitched into the dirt. I think they don’t want scuffs on the ball.

      That would simply mean they throw it to the ballboy. This was more ceremonial than that. Dusty would not be hand-delivered a ball that Cozart flipped to the umpire, who sent it to the Reds dugout.

    • @Krenchicki:
      I’ve witnessed this at games several times. Dusty will ask for the ball that was taken out of play and will flip it to a young fan in the stands.

      FYI all balls that touch the dirt are taken out of play.
      If you ever get a chance at a game, watch the process. When a ball comes out of play, it is handed directly to an authenticator, who slaps a sticker on it. then its handed to another guy that documents it. These balls are sold as game used items in the stores.

  14. I buy that Arizona can’t win the West and probably doesn’t have the pitching, but I still think this team is an arm and a catcher away. I need to see the Reds win these games against the Parrots and Birdies … rather than hope the Snakes falter. That is a good baseball team and they have a manager who isn’t going to give in. Can they find a pitcher? Cahill was supposed to suck. He didn’t.

  15. Bye Bye Broxton, what a waste. Great job by Latos and Sammy.
    8.5 M on Madson, blown. 21 M on Broxton, wasted. 15 M on Marshall, one year’s worth. That is almost 45 M dollars that we have crapped away on relief pitchers, I think for a small market team that is completely unacceptable

    • @Josh: You can’t blame WJ for guys getting hurt. And why aren’t you railing about Cueto, Ludwick, or Hanigan? Hell, Votto missed 50 games last year.

      • @vanwilder8: He can be blamed for taking needless risks. Pitchers get hurt a lot. Relievers are famous for being great one year and terrible the next. There is absolutely no evidence that relievers merit significant spending.

        • @Jason Linden: The sad part is the good back-end pitchers WILL get that kind of cash and if you don’t sign them, you end up with a roster full of Curt Partch types who might get you past the post, might not.

          Broxton probably was a bad signing. I don’t think Marshall was a bad signing, despite him being out. Honestly, the process for building a pitching staff puzzles me.

          The emphasis on specialty relief, all that that’s been discussed a zillion times, I’d rather have 3 guys on the staff like LeCure or Simon, go with 6 decent starters and a slop reliever for blowout games … and load up my bench with decent hitters.

          I’d probably finish 5th.

        • @Jason Linden: @Jason Linden: Not disagreeing that spending cash on relievers is stupid, because it is.

          But it’s not like there are a lot of spots where you could spend to improve this team. Outside of shortstop. I guess you could have gotten a better option than Ludwick. And maybe someone for the bench, though Dusty would surely figure out a way to screw that up.

        • @al:
          Nick Swisher 2013: 32 years old, $11m for .243/.340/.407 which are all well below career averages and still has 3yr/$45m to go.

          I don’t see how that would make it “solved”. It’d just be putting even MORE money into an equally old and declining player.

        • @ToddAlmighty: With all due respect, the degree with which so many blast the work of the current ownership/management responsible for making this franchise great again just boggles my mind. I just don’t get it.

    • @Josh: And all of that money spent just to grease the wheels for getting Chapman out of the closer role. Every one of those contracts was based on the idea at the time that the pitcher was going to become the closer.

    • @Josh:

      I don’t recall anyone complaining about the Madson signing, when it looked like a steal on an elite closer. Or on extending Marshall, after the Reds traded for him. The Broxton deal though…ugh.

      • @Bill Lack: I was meh about the Madson signing but I thought it wasn’t bad because it was a 1 year deal. I liked the Marshall signing because he has some nasty stuff. I think very very few people were ever happy with the Broxton signing.

        • Honestly, I can understand all the signings. Now, I wouldn’t have done some of them, but I can understand them.

          Madsen and Broxton both were signed so that Chapman can start. They both got injured; Chapman moved to the closer role.

          Broxton was initially traded for, for a left handed reliever, Daniel Joseph I believe. At the time, I didn’t think we really needed any relief help. And, left handed relievers if not any left handed pitcher can be really difficult to get. And, look what we are missing in the pen now. I would have kept Joseph. And, given how Joseph came along, we may have been able to let Marshall go.

          The “Chapman starting” experiment would still be interesting to see, I believe. If he was to have any success as a starter, it would up his trade value for us, since as a closer he wouldn’t have as much probably. I just don’t think the experiement would work.

          You can’t blame injuries on Walt. Contract signings maybe. But, not injuries. So, was money wasted on Madsen? Sure. But, was it Walt’s fault Madsen got injured? Sorry, I don’t accept it.

  16. Just got back home from making it to the last 3 games in a KEY series vs. ARI.
    1) Latos was huge today. We effectively only had Simon and LeCure today. Pitching shut it down. Both pitchers came up big.
    2) MLB Network right now is talking about Dusty’s “good playoff” decisions. That misplay on the double-switch could’ve been big, making Chapman hit for the first time in the big leagues ever. But I think in general, Dusty managed like a playoff series after he realized Gibson was managing like-wise.
    3) 3 out of 4 vs. the Dbacks is AWESOME!
    4) Let’s catch those Pie-rats and dirty-birds.

  17. Possible for Arizona to still get a WC spot? Sure. But, likely? Nope. We can’t let up. As I stated at the beginning of the season, the earlier we can wrap up the whole thing, the more rest our players can get going into the post season. I wouldn’t look at just not playing them; play them enough to still stay sharp. But, still get them a rest.

    I want to know what the heck happened to Dusty (right, I said Dusty and not the Bakerman). Bringing in Chapman in the 8th? Pitching him 2 straight innings? Having someone else go for a save? Having a reliever hit? Having Frazier bunt? Playing Devin as much as he is? All of the players actually seem to be taking more pitches, trying to have better AB’s, whether an out or not? Don’t worry, I won’t say I want the old Dusty back.

    • Possible for Arizona to still get a WC spot?Sure.But, likely?Nope.We can’t let up.As I stated at the beginning of the season, the earlier we can wrap up the whole thing, the more rest our players can get going into the post season.I wouldn’t look at just not playing them; play them enough to still stay sharp.But, still get them a rest.

      I want to know what the heck happened to Dusty (right, I said Dusty and not the Bakerman).Bringing in Chapman in the 8th?Pitching him 2 straight innings?Having someone else go for a save?Having a reliever hit?Having Frazier bunt?Playing Devin as much as he is?All of the players actually seem to be taking more pitches, trying to have better AB’s, whether an out or not?Don’t worry, I won’t say I want the old Dusty back.

      Sounds like the Duster has decided to go for the cheese this year instead of the crumbs.

    • @steveschoen: Don’t get your hopes up. Chapman came in yesterday only because of an injury. Dusty screwed up the double switch, so Chapman had to hit. Lecure got the save today because Chapman had to go 2 innings yesterday. Hannigan’s thumb has still been bothering him, which probably explains most of Mesoraco’s playing time.

      I think this is a case of the hand playing Dusty rather than Dusty playing the hand.

      • @al: From what I was led to believe, Chapman being asked to pitch 2 innings will happen more often now. Having the guy hit was probably a mistake only if he reached base! Actually, if Hoover had gotten the job done, I think the 2-inning stint by Chapman wouldn’t happen.

        • @Johnu1: I think it’s very possible that it might. When a pitcher gets injured on the mound, the team can take as long as they want to warm someone else up, so Dusty didn’t have to pitch Chapman then. It was clearly his choice to.

          I was just noting that if Broxton hadn’t been injured, it wouldn’t have happened. I don’t think Dusty was planning on it going that way, so I don’t know how much we can expect him to plan on doing it in the future.

    • @steveschoen: Many have advocated for the occasional 4 out save. I sure hope people don’t think a two inning save is a good idea except in very very rare circumstances.

      Taking more pitches? We should have destroyed Cahill and hence the depleted Diamondbacks, if not for a number of extremely impatient at-bats.

  18. Pitchers get hurt, that’s the breaks. If they didn’t have Broxton or Marshall, it would have only been 40+ more appearances for Ondrusek, Parsch or some other reliever that people mostly complain about.

    Reds have like $52.5 million tied up in Ludwick, Marshall and Broxton combined . Indians have $56 million tied up in just Swisher. That’s not exactly a fair comparison.

    Madsen was last year and really it’s a wash on their budget, as he just got paid what they didn’t pay to Coco to resign him.

    • @earl: I think it’s a pretty fair comparison, because those totals are from a bunch of different years. The total isn’t what counts really, it’s what the team has to pay each year that matters.

      Last off-season, the Reds said they had about $15 mil to spend on free agents. They decided to spend it on Ludwick and Broxton. There were a lot of guys they could have signed with that money (or at least a lot of guys who signed for about that much money per year, whether or not they would have come to Cincy we’ll never know).

      My point has always been that they could have had gotten a real solution to LF, rather than a retread, if they didn’t feel it was necessary to get Broxton.

  19. That’s it though, it’s a crap shoot. Maybe they would have signed someone else and maybe it would have played out, but maybe not.

    There really wasn’t that many good options out there for LF. Cody Ross and Swisher both got signed for pretty good sized deals for more money and more years than Ludwick.

    Reds are in fantastic shape considering they lost their starting left fielder on opening day, they have been without their #1 starter for about 3/4 of a season, lost their two main setup men in the bullpen and their starting catcher has missed about 50 games. Add in to that, both Frazier and Cozart have had a bit of a sophomore slump at the plate.

  20. Posted in the wrong spot earlier:
    It seems obvious that most view it a mistake Chapman did start at the beginning of the season. If he starts next year is he even available for this time let alone the playoffs? If they ever do make him a starter, now would be the time for the sole reason to let him use his dominance in the playoffs. Just curious why people still push 2014 as a possibility and no mention of making him a starter now.
    I am torn on this year, but see no realistic reason to ever start him in April. Any thoughts?

    • @vicferrari: Clearly I am in the minority here, but I trust in Walt Jocketty and company to know whether Chapman should be starting or relieving. As Mr. Jocketty, Mr. Castellini and yes, Dusty Baker, know far more about the inner workings of a Major League Baseball team and the players who make up that team’s roster than I do, I will defer to their expertise as to when and how the players they sign and pay should be used.

    • @vicferrari: You can’t convert a guy who is a one-inning reliever to a starter at this point in the year. That’s true even for a guy who has been a starter, like LeCure. With Chapman, there’d be way too many factors in play to make a conversion possible right now.

      I’ve said all along that the real tragedy of making Chapman a closer is that it robs us of what could have been the best playoff rotation in MLB, so I wish it were possible.

  21. As a die hard living in St. Louis, the Reds need to take care of business this weekend so I can get yelled at and hated on Tues and Wed in StL. That is all.

  22. The Reds really need to find a pitcher to help them through the stretch run, what with all the injuries. Any reason why they couldn’t pick up Matt Lindstrom (ERA 3.24, FIP 3.25, xFIP 4.21) who cleared waivers?

  23. Since I don’t like to criticize Dusty after a win, I’ll pick on Kirk Gibson. What on earth was he doing pitching to Joey Votto in the eighth with one out and a man on third? Walk him, and then let Phillips ground into a DP. Managing 101. At the very least, once it got to 3-1 I thought they’d give him the IBB.

    Speaking of which, Joey swung at ball four on that 3-1 pitch. Either he was trying a little too hard to get the RBI, or he was smart enough to know that a walk there would actually help Arizona. Except, you know, if they threw a Wild Pitch on ball four….

  24. The Reds look like a near lock for the playoffs this season. The division title looks like it will depend on the head-to-head play of the division leaders since the 3 teams are pretty much treading water in the dicision race. Of course someone could get blazing hot and someone could tank, but that doesn’t look likely since each team has some real strengths and some real issues.

    I thought a quick review of the current roster with a look toward next season might be appropriate.
    Current Season ….. Since All Star Break
    .254/.313/.392 ….. .292/.323/.483 for Mesoraco @ $0.5MM
    .232/.321/.391 ….. .213/.292/.370 for Frazier @ $0.5MM
    .238/.271/.361 ….. .for Cozart @ $0.5MM
    .264/.312/.405 ….. .258/.289/.383 for Phillips @ $11MMM
    .268/.324/.484 ….. .240/.321/.413 for Bruce @

  25. The Pirates may have lost their rookie all-star LH starting pitcher last night for a time. They took Locke out after 4 innings in a 10-3 game. One more inning and he would have qualified for a win. The Pirates scored a bunch in the top of the 5th and Locke didn’t come out to pitch the bottom of the 5th. I didn’t watch anymore after the 6th innning, so I don’t know if the TV announcers made any comment on it later. That certainly can’t be good for the Pirates now entering the homestretch.

    • @WVRedlegs: I didn’t see anything on the Pirates that would suggest Locke is hurt. They likely are just restricting his innings. Plus, he had thrown 73 pitches in 4 innings and was struggling with his command, and the Pirates had had a long inning, so I guess they just were being conservative.

      Now if we could get Wainwright out after 4 innings . . .

  26. I believe the 2 St. Louis series and Dodger series, along with Colorado away, all in a row, is going to be very important for us. That’s 10 games against top teams, as well as 3 games against a team who’s nothing to sneeze at in the Rockies in Colorado. I believe we need to go 6-4 against the Cards/Dodgers, 7-6 minimum in that 13 game stretch, for us to have a chance at the division. After that, we have 3 what should be easier series against the Cubs, Brewers, and Astros, before we end with two Pitts series sandwiched around the Mets.

  27. Good job by the reds to take the series, but they don’t clinch anything until its clinched (hatching chickens and all that). They need to continue to bank wins until they get their head-to-head opportunities and take advantage of that. The poor strech that both the pirates and cards went through a week or so ago has given them a fresh opportunity. What they do with it is up to them.

    Regarding MLB network analysts, etc. Former players are, by-and-large, going to stick up for other players & managers, I like their insight on what a pitcher or hitter is trying to accomplish mechanically in a given situation. Its a unique viewpoint, however, their estimations of value and long-view perspective is clouded by their close ties to the game, which makes for strange comments. No use griping about it. MLBN is still far and away the better option over ESPN (although I am curious as to to what FS1 does).

    • @Lost and Found:

      FS1′s “SportsCenter” equivalent, which I think is called “Fox Sports Live,” has two anchors who seem to be new to the scene and a panel which includes Donovan McNabb, Andy Roddick, Gary Payton, and Gabe Kapler (also, a pretty decent looking female “host”).

      I watched the other night for 5 minutes and it was Andy Roddick with STATS trying to make an argument against McNabb and Payton regarding Ichiro being “in the same league” as Pete Rose. Donny and Gary were just saying “No” without any reason and Roddick actually had nice stats about how Ichiro has the BEST 13 season stretch in MLB history (for hits and times-on-base, I think).

  28. We’re highly unlikely to have an opportunity to rest anybody or set our rotation at the end of the year. Either we’ll still be fighting for the Division, or at the very least the six games with the Pirates will determine who gets the homefield for the Wild Card game.

    Speaking of the playoffs, I hope it doesn’t come to this but would our 4-3 advantage in the season series vs the D’Backs prove useful if we end up tied with them?

  29. Milwaukee usually plays the Reds tough but we need a sweep of the Brew Crew before we play St. Louis seven of the ten games starting Monday.

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