2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: This isn’t fun

Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Cincinnati 1
St. Louis 6

W: J. Kelly (6-3)
L: M. Latos (13-5)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–None.

NEGATIVES
–The Reds simply cannot beat the Cardinals. (How’s that for analysis?)

–Mat Latos gave up four runs and nine hits in six innings. Alfredo Simon gave up two runs in one inning, but it hardly mattered, because the offense was anemic. Again.

–Terrible baserunning (Bruce and Cozart ended up on third base at the same time, through a confluence of events that I do not care to describe to you. Here’s the video.)

–Terrible defense. Bruce had an error. Choo misplayed a ball. Some nights, this team looks like a bunch of Little Leaguers. Tonight was one of those nights.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–This isn’t fun. Baseball is supposed to be fun, and this isn’t fun.

A terrible showing tonight, Redlegs. Just awful. Milton is disappointed.

A terrible showing tonight, Redlegs. Just awful. Milton is disappointed.

Source: FanGraphs

120 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: This isn’t fun

    • I’ve been reading for a while, but this is my first post.

      I was at the game tonight with my fiancee and future in-laws, all of whom are huge Cards fans. That was one of the worst games I’ve seen. A pretty pathetic effort overall. SMH

    • Sir, you owe Little Leaguers an apology.

      This belongs in the RLN equivalent of ESPN Top Plays. Well done.

  1. I didn’t think I’s ever laugh again but those two guys at the end of the line in their jammys and loafers had ne roaring.

  2. Some time in the off season or maybe years from now when the peronalities have rolled over, somebody will get around to telling us what has really been going on with this team behind the scenes.

    The injuries to the pitching staff, i.e. bullpen, are the probably the only reason they haven’t succeeded having the best record in the division in spite of themselves but there has to be something going on under the surface that leads to these regular keystone cops episodes.

  3. If they play as badly tomorrow as they did today and nobody loses their job, then there’s basically no justification for firing anyone, ever, for any reason. It’s one thing to lose, but to be this unprepared, unfocused, impatient, lackadaisical, etc. in a series of this magnitude is simply inexcusable. If this isn’t a fireable offense, then nothing is.

  4. Just awful on every level. This team is not ready, who is the leader on this team? We have no passion or direction. That is why last night’s game was so important, we’d leave St Louis down 3 1/2 instead of 5 1/2 out. Mistakes in every phase of the game, something is lacking on the 2013 Reds

  5. Can’t win the division if you can’t beat the teams in the division.

    8-7 against the Brewers
    4-9 against the Cardinals
    6-8 against the Pirates
    13-3 against the Cubs

    So they’ve pretty much feasted on the Cubs (who doesn’t), but have not played well against the rest of the division. (Yes, I know 8-7 against the Brewers is a winning record, but 8-7 against a 58-73 team is NOT playing well.) I simply don’t see the hustle/motivation/determination in the team this year. Combined with continued poor batting instruction and approach as well as Dusty’s normal loss causing decisions, and I have zero confidence in this team winning the division, and possibly less confidence in them winning a 1-game Wildcard.

    ….and it kills me to admit it.

    • @ToddAlmighty: Not that it matters, but you’ve got most of the records wrong.

      The Reds are 9-7 vs. Brewers, 6-7 vs. Pirates, 4-10 vs. Cardinals.

      There is one team that hasn’t feasted on the Cubs. Remarkably, the Cardinals are only 9-7 vs. them.

  6. The top of the 4th – after Bruce’s bloop double, the terrible ABs by Ludwick and Mesoraco, then the big base running blunder, was painful.

    By the bottom of the 8th, I was numb. I decided to watch to the bitter end, but enduring Simon in the bottom of the 8th was like being subjected to Chinese water torture.

  7. “We’ve still got to learn about playing winning baseball and it’s the little things that cost you games,” Baker said.

    “We’ve got to worry about ourself from now on,” Baker said. “We’ve just got to get better.”

      • @pinson343: Can’t ask about who starts, can’t ask about batting lineups, can’t ask about screw ups… really running out of things for the media to ask about that anyone cares to know the answer to. Hah

        • @pinson343: Can’t ask about who starts, can’t ask about batting lineups, can’t ask about screw ups… really running out of things for the media to ask about that anyone cares to know the answer to. Hah

          What exactly is left for us to know? Despite the ongoing arrogance in a clubhouse that the fans don’t understand how the game is played because we don’t play it, that’s wrong. A lot of us played ball, or at least tried. We had coaches and read about it and talked about it. When we see bad baseball from men who are supposedly the best at their craft — and well-paid, we have a right to complain. We were lured in as fans, told to be fans, encouraged to be fans and actually deemed necessary for the team to win. When Baker insists on blathering out some useless drivel, it’s even more painful.

          What I want to know is: When are Baker and his brain-dead staff going to resign? After watching lately, I am even down on Bryan Price, and he was the only ribbon-winner of the pack for a long time.

          What questions? I would just go to Dusty and tell him we have no more questiions.

  8. The epitome of the game, along with Bruce and Cozart standing on 3rd base together, was the bunt where Mesoraco, who had a play, let Votto, who didn’t have a play, call him off.

    • @pinson343: Hard to blame Meso in that situation. Regardless of what the books says, you let Votto call you off. Votto’s a gold glover and potential Hall of Famer.

      • @David: I see that my wording put all the blame on Mes. It was a 2 way thing, Joey should not have called him off. Mainly it was yet another defensive and mental blunder.

  9. Does anyone else think that the FanGraph really should start about a quarter of the way up the Cardinals’ direction when we play them?

    Heard a sound bite from Dusty on Quick Pitch this morning about the team needing accountability. It was like it never even occurred to him that part of his job as the club’s manager was to provide that accountability.

    I guess the only good news is that it looks increasingly likely that we will play Pittsburgh in the Wildcard game. But that is a classic example of good news that really is bad news.

  10. This is a third place team playing like a third place team. It’s been shades of 2011 all year long, but a little better.

    Can’t blame injuries. The Cardinals win no matter what. They don’t make huge mistakes. They capitalize on everyone else’s. They have leadership, fundamentals, and focus.

    Looking ahead to next year, if they don’t re-sign Choo, rebuild the left side of the infield with impact players rather than replacement level scrubs, dump some dead weight coaches, and get some middle relievers in here, you’re looking at a rehash of this year or worse, another losing year like 2011. Baker’s already throwing guys under the bus rather than taking the heat himself. His complaining to reporters about them asking questions is bush league, yet he does it all the time. Dusty must think he’s perfectly safe as long as he keeps the podunk press at bay. Walt, too. Both of them need to go, but it’ll never happen. Uncle Bob has his “proven leadership” in place and he’s put close to $100m on the field (mostly pitchers and three players, but whatever). They all must think they have enough to win. It ain’t.

      • @John: Cards have bigger payroll and more depth……apples and oranges

        They have more depth because they develop players to play at the top level, not just the next level. They ran 6 rookie pitchers out there this year and didn’t miss a stroke. Their catcher (Roider) was down for 2 weeks and they struggled just a little. The payroll is a discussion as much as the color of your ceiling. It’s a ceiling. Depth isn’t something that comes along by accident. The Cards also have a much better front line at 4 positions. And they know how to hit. It isn’t apples and oranges. It’s fruit.

        • @Steve Mancuso: good point…..so its depth by development,not payroll….but we simply do not have the tools they have,we don’t have seemingly endless supply of young talent…so injuries do impact us more

        • @Bruno: If you subtract Chris Carpenter’s salary then the Reds ($106 million) actually have a larger payroll than the Cardinals ($104 million) this season.

          If you get to subtract Carpenter’s salary from the Cards do you get to subtract the $20 million or so going to Cueto, Ludwick, Marshall, and Broxton from the Reds?

          I can’t imagine money worse spent than the $15 million on Broxton-Marshall-Chapman unless we traded for Barry Zito. A combined WAR of 1.1 for 15 percent of the payroll.

    • @John: I have to agree. Honestly, I could take a couple more seasons of average ball if it was to mean putting more personnel, better personnel, into scouting and developing the talent we will get and have. You know, what Krivsky and Obrien were doing. I believe we lost that aspect a bit too much, went too much with a “win at now all costs” mentality with coaches like Bakerman and Joke-oby who seemingly have little idea at how to develop players.

      I’d be afraid, though, that whoever we bring in here, their play will be affected by the Bakerman and Joke-oby. I mean, just look at what a couple we had are doing:

      Stubbs – .242 .311 .376

      I’d take these numbers from Stubbs any day of the week. He’s on pace for 147 K’s this season, the fewest number of K’s he’s had in his short career so far, for a full season. His OPS+ is up 33 points over last season.

      Gomes – .233 .340 .426

      I would have taken these numbers from Gomes. He does seem to be playing platoon a bit; either that, or he was injured. His numbers with Oakland were even better, .262 .377 .491.

      These players are playing better elsewhere, especially Stubbs. Why couldn’t he do it here?

  11. * Three losing seasons under Baker.
    * Two division titles followed by embarrassing playoff exits.
    * Whatever the heck happened this year.

    All the losing ought to be enough for a change.

  12. I think I have figured out Walt’s and Dusty’s plan and its brilliant. Part One is to allow the Cards to win the division, we and Pirates take WC, we beat Pirates then we play Braves while Cards play Dodgers in the NLDS, then we face the Dodgers in the NLCS. The second part is we are lulling the other teams into a view as the Reds just can’t win big games then Bam we turn it on in the playoffs….

  13. No favorite in-game tweets or comments? Here’s mine from last night’s game thread:
    CP
    8/27/2013 at 10:01 pm Log in to Reply
    The guide to pitching to the Reds:

    1. Pitch around Choo
    2. Throw Frazier a bunch of breaking balls, preferably outside the strike zone
    3. Pitch around Votto, the cleanup hitter has a 0.715 OPS. I
    4. Pitch to BP. He doesn’t walk, and his SLG% is barely above 0.400, but be careful, he’s “clutch!” Throw a bunch of pitches outside the strike zone.
    5. Pitch around Bruce, If you get two strikes, throw a slider down & inside..

    6-9: meh, who cares. Besides the pitcher, they’re definitely swinging at the first pitch.

    The offense could use a shaking up. It’s time to go all Ruth-Gehrig or Maris-Mantle and move Bruce into the clean-up spot behind Votto. If Baker is questioned about it, I would love to hear him say it has nothing to do with Phillips performance and everything to do with trying to score some more runs and win some games.

    • @MikeC: You’ve summed things up perfectly. I think this is another area where Dusty has taken it upon himself to prove the stats guys wrong: “see, lineup construction DOES matter!”

      • @Eric the Red: Does it really matter if half the lineup is easy out,and/or cant deliver clutch hit?…..its not like the bench offers any options……show me a great manager and ill show you great players

        • @Bruno: Yes, it does, for the reasons noted by the OP. The bench doesn’t offer any options? Try starting Heisey for Choo against a LHP once in awhile–or even pinch hitting for him. Try starting Mesoraco against a LHP, even if Arroyo or Homer is on the mound. That’s just the beginning.

          Regarding the lineup, you could try putting Bruce behind Votto, so we score more early even if occasionally a team brings in a LHP to face them in the late innings. You could tell someone close to you, “if I ever try to bat Izturis in the 2-hole, slap me before I get to the umpire with the lineup card.”

        • @Eric the Red: Heisey for Choo against lefties is good call……..RH starter yesterday….Choo doesn’t HIT lefties but he still manages to get on base,walks,HBP…my point is the bench is weak and the options are limited

        • @Eric the Red: We all know Dusty won’t bat his two best lefties back to back. He’s gotta keep his lefties broke up, which is why his lineup cards looks like a 4th grader filled them out. L-R-L-R-L-R-R-R ala last night’s card.

        • @Bruno: Yes, but the opposite isn’t always true, “Show me great players and I will show you a great manager”.

        • @Johnu1: You still need good hitters….a .220 doesn’t turn into .300 hitter by moving him up or down in lineup

        • @Bruno: But, if you don’t have a good batter behind your best batter, the team is just going to pitch around your best batter. Why do you think Cabrera is having the numbers he is right now? He’s got Fielder behind him now. Before Fielder, he was still a good batter. But, with Fielder behind him, the other teams have to pitch to Cabrera more, thus giving him better pitches to hit and, thus, more success.

          I will agree, moving a 220 hitter won’t make him a 300 hitter, and vice versa. But, without good batting order construction, you can still devastate the offense of a team.

  14. To add insult to injury, the instructions for ordering playoff tickets arrived in the mail yesterday. Talk about rubbing salt in an open wound! :cry:

  15. “We’ve still got to learn about playing winning baseball,” Baker said.

    Didn’t we win two of the last three Division titles? (Cards in that time: zero Division titles). If our team still hasn’t “learned” to play winning baseball, doesn’t that call the coaching into question? I mean, Dusty apparently believes this is something you can learn, so if our guys haven’t learned it even after winning two titles then the coaches should take a long look in the mirror. And Big Bob should take a long look at them, too.

  16. Bad base-running has been an issue all year, not just last night. Somebody’s culpable. I have zero faith in Dusty in must-win games. We’ve still go to learn about playing winning baseball? Ummmm…Dusty, it’s almost September.

  17. I read this blog everyday just to see what the Dusty haters have to say……..its getting old and stale.I understand he gets all the blame and none of the credit…Teflon Walt built this team around pitching,a few top notch players,the rest of roster is full of young or over the hill players (CHEAP)….I don’t know how you juggle the lineup to cover for a bunch of .240 hitters who all cant bat 8th,and very little from the right side. I will say this in defense of Dusty (im not his cheerleader…….but he has some strengths)….letting players and personalities be themselves in hope that they perform…….BP would not be welcome on a lot of teams because of his “flair and style”(hotdog)….Homer is stubborn …latos is emotional …Chapman is a Cuban mystery….but they manage to come together as a team and give us meaningful baseball in late summer…that’s SOMETHING. I thought Baker coming to mound in first inning to talk Latos down from meltdown was Dusty at his best…..it kept the game close,it was important…..and seems to be overlooked.

    • @Bruno: Please. On a day when the manager admits “we’ve still got a lot to learn about playing winning baseball” and “sometimes a guy has to be held accountable for his actions” without recognizing he’s the one who is supposed to do the holding to account, this Dusty Defense rings particularly hollow. His coaching staff botches routine decisions–go look at the statistics on Jay’s arm posted late in the first game thread–and his players make mental mistake after mental mistake. (And our “veteran leader” can’t do something as simple as advance a runner to third.).

      The number of games lost to in-game mismanagement is more than equal to our Division deficit, but we’ve always been told that Dusty’s intangibles more than make up for it. Well, his intangibles haven’t “taught” us how to play winning baseball, so I’m not sure they’re worth all that much.

      • @Eric the Red: Are you saying Dusty should be teaching major leagers basics?….they have not learned that by now?…he cant hit run or pitch for them ……3B coach get any credit for that screw up??

        • @Bruno: That’s all this is. These players got to this level because they have supposedly mastered the basics. So, then, why would so many of them make their errors and TOOTBLANs? As a coach, that comes from a coach not working the players out like they should be worked out. That comes from a lack of discipline in the environment that the coaches lay out, a lack of accountability. Teach basics? No, of course not. But, does that mean they shouldn’t keep the basics strong? Dude, even with basics, if they aren’t consistently practiced, they will become not-basic.

          Or even to the point of making adjustments. I seriously wonder if anyone on this team knows what “make an adjustment” means. Assuming they do, if a player is trying to make an adjustment that just isn’t working, what are they suppose to do? Obvious answer, they go to the coach, where maybe they can make another adjustment.

          Seriously, Dude. If there were no need for coaches, why are we even paying the Bakerman and his bakers this much money in the first place? Using your logic, let’s go get a pee wee ball coach out there to manage the team since these players are suppose to know how to play baseball anyhow. Obviously, that would be the wrong thing to do.

  18. I don’t think Sparky…Sweet Lou..or any manager is going to be able to turn flawed players into hall of famers

    • @Bruno: Spot-on. The players are accountable for 95% of what we’re seeing, yet Dusty takes all the heat. I want the guy fired yesterday, but he’s the last guy I’m looking to blame for the last 2 losses…..or the ones where the Cardinals blew us out of the water. It’s lazy analysis. What you never read on these sites are guys commenting on pitch sequences and execution……because they simply don’t understand it or don’t care enough to delve that deeply into their game experience. So yeah, I get it when managers and players tell the fans ‘you think you know, but you really don’t’.

      • @Sultan of Swaff: There are often comments about pitch sequences and execution. When Homer gave up a big HR to Khris Davis of the Brewers after throwing him nothing but fastballs, after Hoover was afraid to throw a curve ball the other nite to Holliday and Craig. Chapman’s pitch sequences get microscopic attention.

        As far as execution goes, the players’ mental lapses have been a major focus here. A serious and steady pattern of that of course leads to the manager.

        There are way too many Dusty comments, both for and against, I’ll agree with that.

  19. Votto looks bad right now. He can’t keep up with outs; he makes bad decisions on when to let Phillips or Mesoraco go after balls; he’s had a TOOTBLAN or two lately; and he hasn’t hit the ball on the barrel all series. (He never could throw.) But it is hard to justify sitting him, to “hold him accountable.” I trust Votto to hold himself accountable, but he seems wired right now.

    We are going to find out what Homer’s made of tonight. The team needs a complete game shutout. If he can do it, then he moves into the elite ranks, in my book.

  20. Once you get to the post season, to win the World Series, a division winning team has to win 11 games out of at worst 19 games. That breaks down to 3 of 5, 4/7, 4/7. A wild card team has to win 12 of 20.
    At worst the Reds would have to play .600 ball to win a World Series, against a team with a winning record. At their best, the Reds do not play .600 ball against any team with a winning record.
    Not a case to be optomistic in.

    • @WVRedlegs: I believe its possible….maybe unlikely……but possible,we are not the Cubs,we are going to have a ticket to the dance……it aint over

  21. I say any “baseball fan” who wants to use the same answer for every question is LAZY……everything cant be Dustys fault….that’s too easy,changing lineup or manager is not going to be the magic bullet…..players play,how do you make Votto accountable?? Bench him?? Does anyone really believe that we have best team on paper, and its just being botched by 1 guy??? be smarter,dont take the easy answer

    • @Bruno: Not a single person here – even the worst so-call Dusty Hater – thinks that everything is Baker’s fault. That’s just a straw argument you put out there so you can say something that’s actually right. There has been criticism expressed of virtually every player. You haven’t read the criticisms of Votto here lately? or Ludwick, or Phillips, or Cozart or Choo or the bullpen etc?

      The fact that everything isn’t Baker’s fault and that the manager depends to a great extent on the talent of his players doesn’t insulate him from fair consideration of how he’s doing his job.

      I don’t think it’s even mostly his fault. I’d assign less than 25% of whatever blame has to go around to Baker. Yet, if you ask me whether I think he’s doing a good job, I’d adamantly say no, with plenty of well evidenced reasons.

        • @Bruno: I thought it was bush league. Seriously, what could Dusty possibly say that Latos didn’t already know. Stop sucking? Get a ground ball? Calm down?

          I’ve never seen him do that once all season. If anything, it reeked of desperation.

        • @Bruno: I think it worked…I don’t know what he said….be he was on the edge….whatever he said it wasn’t a pat on the back….and it seemed to help.

        • @Steve Mancuso: @Bruno: That was a deft touch, in my opinion. And I’m sure that he has more of those kinds of moments with players that we never see.

          But that doesn’t exonerate all of the rest of his shortcomings – lineups, playing time, bunting, hitting approach, failure to hold the players accountable through playing time, bullpen management etc.

        • @Bruno: I thought is was strange, but I’m okay with Dusty actually doing things that show some urgency. However, I don’t think he would have ever done it with one of his favorites. No way he’s doing that to Arroyo or Bailey. He doesn’t like Latos (in my humble opinion) so he doesn’t mind taking the risk of showing him up.

        • @Bruno: I loved his first inning trip to the mound. Latos was visibly frustrated, we all know where that can lead. I felt Dusty would get him back on track, and he did. In the past when Dusty or Price didn’t visit Latos on the mound during one of his funks, they’ve been criticized for that.

          There were two OF defensive miscues in the first inning, Latos has in the past let stuff like that get to him.

    • @Bruno: As one of the more vocal Baker-haters around here, let me assure you that I’m aware Baker doesn’t actually play these games himself. Obviously the players most directly determine the outcome of each game. But when almost every player consistently exhibits the same kinds of problems over and over and over, year after year after year, at some point you’ve got to ask how that can be possible if he’s being coached and managed well. Either the Reds just happen to have a collection of incredibly stupid/stubborn players who can’t/won’t learn how to run the bases and can’t/won’t understand what it means to try to hit the ball the other way when you need to advance a runner, etc., or there’s something wrong with the way they’re being handled. I find the latter far easier to believe — especially when the manager consistently makes bad choices himself and never seems to hold players (or himself) accountable for repeated mental mistakes and lazy play. If you get terrible service at a restaurant almost every time you go there, do you blame whomever happens to be waiting on you that day, or do you blame the management? You would apparently blame all the employees because ultimately they’re the ones who aren’t doing a great job, but I’d primarily blame management because I don’t think it’s a coincidence that none of the people working in that restaurant seem to know what they’re supposed to be doing and/or don’t care whether they’re doing it right.

      • @Baseclogger: I don’t mean to give Baker and his staff a free pass,I just think its crazy to blame him for everything…the players and Walt deserve their fair share…..that being said,we are still just a hot streak away from winning division,and possibly making some noise in the playoffs…..Good pitching and hot bats cure all ills……..GO REDS!!

        • @Bruno: As Steve said, nobody around here is assigning 100% of the blame to Baker. But it’s impossible for me to know what sort of options Walt has at any given moment, so I can’t really say he “ought” to have done X, Y, or Z. By contrast, I have a very good sense of what Baker’s options are, and it’s easy to see when he chooses the wrong one. Choo leading off the other day was clearly a bad choice based on all the statistics we all have available. But was it a bad decision not to trade for Pence or Rios? I don’t know, because I don’t know what the options were. Is Izturis on this team because Walt likes him or because Baker keeps telling Walt that Izturis plays a very valuable role in the clubhouse? I don’t know. I also think this team has enough talent to play in a World Series with proper management. There are certainly areas in which it could be improved, but that’s true of every team. Even the mighty Cardinals have a third baseman with 6 home runs and 83 Ks, a SS who hits about as well as Cozart, and were forced to use a starter with an ERA over 5 in this very important series. They manage to overcome those issues because they’ve got a lot of guys who attempt to hit to all fields, make adjustments during games, don’t make a lot of boneheaded running plays, understand how to work the count, etc. The Reds don’t overcome their weaknesses because the manager likes to have the weakest link batting second, or when they finally reach base they can’t manage to stay on base, or when they get a guy to second they have no idea how to move him to third. And so on.

  22. The front office has to know that the fans are basically saying the same thing.
    Levels of blame or credit aside, it is quite clear that the perception of a lack of leadership is pervasive and NOT irrelevant. The front office (ownership) can hide its head in the sand and pretend it has its “championship” team in place — and continue to see more of this in 2014.

    There is simply zero reason to believe that these guys will come to Jesus in the off-season and realize what they did wrong.

    The sad part is that we have to be careful what we wish for. It could be worse and even if it’s better, a new dugout regime won’t fix it in one off-season.

    What is wrong? This team can’t hit. All other sins can be forgiven with a decent pitching staff, that is in place, and better hitting. And for God’s sake, when you have Aroldis Chapman, well … never mind. In three years, he’s gone.

    Shin Soo Choo, btw, can leave town any day he wants. I won’t mind.

    • The front office has to know that the fans are basically saying the same thing.Levels of blame or credit aside, it is quite clear that the perception of a lack of leadership is pervasive and NOT irrelevant. The front office (ownership) can hide its head in the sand and pretend it has its “championship” team in place — and continue to see more of this in 2014.There is simply zero reason to believe that these guys will come to Jesus in the off-season and realize what they did wrong. The sad part is that we have to be careful what we wish for. It could be worse and even if it’s better, a new dugout regime won’t fix it in one off-season.What is wrong? This team can’t hit. All other sins can be forgiven with a decent pitching staff, that is in place, and better hitting. And for God’s sake, when you have Aroldis Chapman, well … never mind. In three years, he’s gone.Shin Soo Choo, btw, can leave town any day he wants. I won’t mind.

      John, not to be a contrarian, but a new dugout regime has worked well in Cleveland and Boston in just one year. Why couldn’t that happen in Cincinnati??

  23. Some random observations (and a token “well, that sucked”):

    The Cardinals seem to be very good at hitting up the middle and to the opposite field. The Reds two best hitters (arguably) do that well: Votto, and this year’s version of Jay Bruce. I hear constantly from Chris Welch (I know some of you aren’t fans but like it or not he’s the guy they put on the broadcasts for me to listen to) something to the effect of “you know he’s starting to see the ball better when he starts hitting the opposite way”. The Reds aren’t very good at it (eye test only of course – somebody prove me wrong with some stats if I am actually wrong). Difference in philosophy? Difference in player ability? Interesting in any case…

    I can’t remember a game with so many of these two outcomes: 1) First pitch swinging, out; and 2) Ahead in the count 3-0, ends up striking out. This seems to be the worst of both worlds. Too aggressive, or too passive. Can we have “Learn to Hit” week? Everyone gets fined who makes an out on the first pitch, or who takes strike three. Double for both if there’s a man on base in the first case, or if the count was initially 3-0 in the second. This offense does stink at times, but I don’t think it’s a lack of physical talent. I mean, have you seen some of the swings Frazier gets hits on ? And has anyone noticed that he rarely makes an out on those bizarre swings?

    Save for Chapman (who is a binary pitcher – 85% lights out, 15% awful) there is no pitcher in the bullpen that is in lock down mode right now since Hoover’s dominating streak ended. Tired arms? Lack of talent? Statistical blip? Just wondering…

    Rumor has it there’s another game tonight. As usual, I’ll be watching. And rooting. It’s still just a game boys (and girls). Go Reds.

  24. Man, if you’re frustrated now, wait til Dusty keeps batting Phillips high in the order the next couple years when his decline phase really takes hold. Will the fans still love him unconditionally? Will he hold his tongue if they don’t? Somehow I don’t see a happy ending.

    • @Sultan of Swaff:

      …wait til Dusty keeps batting Phillips high in the order the next couple years when his decline phase really takes hold.

      THIS!!! My take on the BP contract was that there weren’t any other immediate options available if BP walked, so the Reds signed BP at a discount (still a bad contract), but did not include any no-trade clause in the contract (unlike the Votto contract that has a straight-up no-trade clause). BP and his contract needs to be moved this off season for the best prospect package that WJ can obtain.

      Now if Broxton and his contract could be moved for anything or nothing this off season…

      • @Shchi Cossack: When you go to church on Sunday and they ask for prayer requests, please request next year is Dusty’s last year as Reds manager and that they hire Bryan Price as the new manager.

      • BP and his contract needs to be moved this off season for the best prospect package that WJ can obtain.

        Wait! What?

        Let me digest this before I go with my first reaction and blow up a good friend at RLN. ;)

        • @TC: I don’t think a major overhaul in personnel is really going to fix anything and, in the short run, would create even more problems. It’s not about the money.

          There’s more concern right now over pitching depth than hitting, and it’s hitting that’s the primary problem.

          So unloading contracts of franchise players won’t address the need to fix the leaks.

        • @TC:

          Wait! What?

          Ah, a good debate is never a bad thing and I’ve heard it’s good for clearing out an Old Cossack’s GI tract.

          …please request next year is Dusty’s last year as Reds manager and that they hire Bryan Price as the new manager.

          There are much more pressing items on the Big Guy’s agenda than Dusty’s contract with the Reds. Quite frankly, the 2 year contract pretty much speaks for itself as Dusty’s final contract with the Reds. Even if it doesn’t, the Reds performance next season without Choo leading off and no one on the roster to effectively hit in the #1 or #2 slots does not portend a competative team next season and that will be Dusty’s last horrah.

          I like Price’s demeanor and his relationship with the pitching staff. I don’t know if that would translate to the full responsibility of a manager, but I’ve seen nothing to give me pause in that respect. It’s very tough to evaluate someone in a position they have never handled at any level, but some of the very best have been flyers and I certainly get tired of recycled managers who have already proven themselves ineffective.

  25. I think the Cardinals got out ahead on the Moneyball notion that guys who don’t strike out a lot are undervalued. I always believed that “a strikeout is just another out” logic was beyond goofy. A strikeout means that you didn’t put strike 3 into play. Jay Bruce hits .385 when he puts the ball in play; Joey Votoo, .408; Choo, .360; Frazier, .308; and Phillips and Mesoraco, .311. Duh, put the ball in play more.

    The Reds whiff too much. Almost all of them. The Reds are slow; Sean Casey would be fast on this team. They will get faster this winter with Hamilton, but they need to find somebody at third, short and/or left who can run a little bit.

    And Jocketty should be drawn and quartered for the awful Phillips contract and for bad contracts for Broxton and Ludwick. Young is good. Old is bad. Amateur scouting and development are the most important long-term pieces for the Reds; Jocketty isn’t good at it. The business has past him by, and he should retire.

    Finally, start Chapman. The worst thing that could happen is that he blows his arm out. Big deal; he is going to leave at his first opportunity, anyway. And because Closers are fungible, anybody can do that job.

    • @Big Ed: Though I haven’t given up on Walt, yet, I always wondered why Krivsky and Obrien (sp?) were let go. They are the ones who brought some talent to this organization. What we need now are people who can develop that talent.

      • @steveschoen: They both had successes at talent evaluation. There’s more than that to being a good GM. No one else has wanted them as GM, based on what they did with the Reds.

    • @Big Ed: I agree with your points, just wanted to correct your BABIP numbers (from FanGraphs.com):

      Votto: .368
      Choo: .337
      Bruce: .334
      Phillips: .278
      Frazier: .276
      Cozart: .273

      Something else odd I noticed… Frazier is 3rd on the team in WAR (Behind Votto and Choo) due to his fielding and relative lack of TOOTBLANing.

      • @prjeter: These aren’t BABIP numbers, but what the guy hits when he puts balls in play, including homers. Also, when you don’t swing at ortake strike three, there is a chance that you draw a walk instead. Nothing good happens on strike three.

  26. To add insult to injury, today I keep reading the the Cubs and Cardinals will be going after Choo this winter. A man can only take so much before he snaps!!

    • @TC: Whoever gets Choo will be woefully overpaying for a 32 year-old with diminishing speed who can’t hit LH pitching to save his life. Not to mention, the Reds will get a sandwich pick for him from whoever signs him.

  27. Out of all the responses here, most think Dusty is accountable. The truth is: Dusty IS accountable, by default as the team’s MANAGER. That’s the manager’s job — to take a roster of 40 guys, trim it to 25, put the team in uniform and lead it onto the field.

    These guys have filtered through the process by becoming big-league ballplayers. They all know the drill. They know the fundamentals. They have scouting reports, radar guns, video, training centers, coaches, trainers, equipment managers, meal money and big contracts that allow them to not worry about a lot of stuff.

    That established, the way they play is based on the overall philosophy that is presented to them from the first day the MANAGER takes the job.

    What we are seeing is the result of passive leadership. It fails in the midst of success. It always did.

    This team is a failure because its leadership didn’t put the pedal to the metal.

      • @Bruno: I like your “It ain’t over” attitude and statements. The team played horribly last nite. The bullpen was exposed the nite before. But as recently as 5 games ago, after winning 3 of 4 from the DBacks, people were saying that this was the best they felt about the Reds all season.

        I would not bet on the Reds to win tonite. But the game hasn’t been played yet. Last nite the Cubs beat Kershaw in LA (thanks to our old friend Travis Wood). Wainwright has had surprisingly little success against the Reds. He might shut them out tonite, but it hasn’t happened yet.

        Tonite is a huge opportunity for Homer Bailey to step up against a team that has battered him. One little win tonite and the mood in Reds nation is a whole lot better.

        Even if the Reds are swept, passing the Pirates and placing first in the WC chase is a realistic goal.

  28. What a talented, spiritless team. Could it be the manager? Wainwright at home today against Homer. Oh boy! Arizona is coming up in the rear view mirror.

  29. If the season ended today, the Reds would be a playoff team. So I have a hard time considering them a failure. However, with the schedule the way it is over the next two weeks (1 more in St. Louis, 3 in Coors Field, 4 at home against St. Louis and 3 at home against the Dodgers) it is quite possible that the Reds will be in a dogfight with Washington and Arizona for that last wild card spot. And if they lose that last wild card spot, the season will have been a failure regardless of record. The silver lining will be that maybe (just maybe) Dusty and Jacoby will be invited to leave the premises and never return.

  30. What kind of a crazy schedule has us on a St. Louis-Denver road trip? Anybody remember something that odd?

  31. I spoke of how “it ain’t over” above, but if the sloppy play continues, it might as well be. Barry Larkin used to wake up the Reds from this kind of malaise. He’s not around of course, but it can be turned around.

  32. One thing hasn’t been mentioned, both as far as this year goes and the future. The Reds have a strong starting rotation, especially if you include Cueto. That’s the core of a team, the first thing that needs to be in place.

    The future of this season and this team is bright if the Reds can get it together on other fronts. And come on, they do have some good position players in place.

    BTW I was surprised last nite when the Cards announcer said Kelly is their number 2 starter. Miller has been struggling that much ? And Lynn ? Kelly is not that good for a number 2, the only weakness I can see in the Cardinals.

  33. Chris DeBlois: “I can’t remember a game with so many of these two outcomes: 1) First pitch swinging, out; and 2) Ahead in the count 3-0, ends up striking out. This seems to be the worst of both worlds. Too aggressive, or too passive. Can we have “Learn to Hit” week?”

    The best example of that last nite was top of the 4th. Jay Bruce on 2nd, no outs. Ludwick swings at a first pitch “pitcher’s pitch” and grounds out weakly to SS, no advance by the runner. Then after Mes goes 3-0 he becomes completely passive. He gets a fastball right down the middle on 3-1 and takes it. As the Cards broadcasters said: “What was he looking for ?” He continues the statue imitation and Ks looking.

    If either of them had even advanced the runner, then Latos’ single scores a run, and no out on the bases, two runners on with Choo up.

  34. The Reds have a realistic chance of catching the Pirates. That’s my focus right now. A win tonite would be a huge lift. And if the Reds are swept, maybe it will wake them up a bit. The last time they were beaten down by the Cardinals, after that 15-2 game, they went on to win 8 of 9 with some of the best baseball they’ve played all season.

    And maybe, just maybe, it would wake them up in time to play some good baseball against the Cardinals in Cincy.

    • @pinson343: As of Monday morning, the so-called “next goal” was to catch the Cardinals. Now it’s the Pirates. At this rate, I suppose the next goal will be to catch the D-Backs.

  35. Bottom line for tonite: Come on, Homer, step up and show them what you’ve got ! At the least I want to see some fight, some intensity, from the guys. Go Reds !

  36. Every single night this team makes mistakes, I learned when I was 8 years old. Nothing is done about it. Same crap every night. They show the dugout and the genius manager is yawning or eating, like the dugout is a friggin buffet. How bad is the National League as a whole, if this team has a 5 game lead on somebody??? I’d love to hear a “stupidity” statistic that involved boneheaded baserunning mistakes or guys not knowing how many outs there are. I’m calling this right now. Based on the schedule coming up, this team WON’T make the playoffs. A team with HEART and CHARACTER is just 5 games behind. Now bring it on all you Dusty apologists. You don’t realize sticking up for him makes you look clueless about the game of baseball.

      • @pinson343: 4-11 is the series record against teams over 500 with a couple splits. They are like the Cardinals little brother. The Cardinals pick on them about 18 times a year and the Reds do nothing about it. The only thing they have to show for it is a swollen face and bloody lip.

      • @pinson343: I think the Reds will make the playoffs in spite of their poor play— unless the D-backs put together a long winning streak. But, I can see the reds making a quick, uneventful exit from the post season. I don’t think they can compete with the cardinals and dodgers.

      • @Big Ed: Because they are a bunch of no names playing better than they are. Did you watch that series? Nobody on that team wasted at bats like this team. Give it 2 weeks and they might be 5 games up. Open your eyes.

  37. I’m really looking forward to tonight’s game. Outside of Opening Day, more than any other. Very intriguing because:
    1) How will Bailey do? This is a really good chance to prove the naysayers wrong and I’m one of them. To me, he is a mediocre starting pitcher with great stuff and has an occasional unbelievable game. To me, he is the #5 guy in the rotation and the sixth best starting pitcher when you include JC. Please prove me wrong, Homer.
    2) How will the players respond to being humiliated last night? Will they remember such details as how many outs there are, what base they are on, what base(s) the opponent baserunners are on as it relates to the game situation (I’m looking at you BP), when to slide, etc.
    3) How will Dusty manage this game? Like his life is on the line? Pull Homer at the first sign of losing it. Use the best pinch hitters first before Izzy? Maybe if we get a crappy umpire call, he will actual risk getting tossed from the game?

    I really expect a huge Cardinal blowout tonight and anything less than that will be a pleasant surprise. Historically Homer is terrible against the Cards and especially at Busch. The boys look beaten down but if we are lucky they could make a real mark tonight. Improbable but possible. Go Reds!!!

  38. I’m really looking forward to tonight’s game. Outside of Opening Day, more than any other. Very intriguing because:
    1) How will Bailey do? This is a really good chance to prove the naysayers wrong and I’m one of them. To me, he is a mediocre starting pitcher with great stuff and has an occasional unbelievable game. To me, he is the #5 guy in the rotation and the sixth best starting pitcher when you include JC. Please prove me wrong, Homer.
    2) How will the players respond to being humiliated last night? Will they remember such details as how many outs there are, what base they are on, what base(s) the opponent baserunners are on as it relates to the game situation (I’m looking at you BP), when to slide, etc.
    3) How will Dusty manage this game? Like his life is on the line? Pull Homer at the first sign of losing it. Use the best pinch hitters first before Izzy? Maybe if we get a crappy umpire call, he will actual risk getting tossed from the game?

    I really expect a huge Cardinal blowout tonight and anything less than that will be a pleasant surprise. Historically Homer is terrible against the Cards and especially at Busch. The boys look beaten down but if we are lucky they could make a real mark tonight. Improbable but possible. Go Reds!!!

  39. Having just read through this entire thread, I am amazed at the relative pass that Jocketty gets on this site.

    In the face of devasting injuries to the pitching staff (top starter; two of the projected top three relievers), Jocketty has done nothing but tell the team to soldier on with the guys who were leftovers, wannabes, and neverwillbes.

    There is a lot of talk on this site about how reliable relievers are so easy to find and that money shouldn’t be spent on relievers. So, if you really believe this why aren’t you skewering WJ for not going out and getting one or two for the Reds by now? Despite all the other shenanigans that have gone on, if this guy had had an additonal relaible arm in the pen over the last month, they might well be even with or ahead of the Cards right now instead of downing in their exhaust.

    Do you suppose some of the dispiritedness that draws so many comments here might just result from seeing other teams try to strengthen themselves while the Reds do nothing? I wonder

    • @OhioJim: Very little of my dispiritedness comes from that. I don’t think our biggest issue is who isn’t on the team, and I don’t think many useful parts were available for reasonable prices. (And Byrd, specifically: I wouldn’t want to win with a juicer.)

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