2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: All Is Forgiven*

Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
St. Louis 2
Cincinnati 6

W: T. Cingrani (7-3)
L: L. Lynn (13-10)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–The Reds took three of four from the Cardinals. That’s a huge positive. Is it hyperbole to say that this may have been the most important win of the season for the good guys?

–It’s home run or nothing here on Home Run Derby. The Reds hit four homers tonight: Todd Frazier hit two (his 14th and 15th), Shin-Soo Choo hit his 20th, and Jay Bruce hit his 27th.

–Choo reached base four times (HR, single, two walks), scored two runs and drove in one. Bruce also had an RBI single and a walk, in addition to the homer. Todd Frazier was 3-4 with the two solo homers.

–Strong start by Tony Cingrani in his first outing since returning from the disabled list: 5.1 innings, two runs allowed on four hits. He only threw 79 pitches, and it would have been nice to see him last a little longer than the sixth inning. But credit to Dusty Baker; Cingrani’s velocity was dropping, and Dusty got him out of the game at what seemed like the perfect time.

Cingrani also bunted for a hit (the Reds didn’t want him swinging the bat because he’s just returning from a sore back), and even stole a base. Gotta love this kid.

–In a big spot, just like last night, Zach Duke came in and got the job done. Tonight, he only threw two pitches, inducing a double play ground ball.

–Sam LeCure pitched a perfect eighth inning.

–The Reds turned three double plays, which really helped the cause.

NEGATIVES
–Brandon Phillips left the game with a left quad bruise. Precautionary, they say. It was suffered on the Duke double play referenced above.

–Joey Votto was 0-3, though he did walk twice. He just isn’t swinging the bat well right now, and his batting average has dipped to an even .300. But unless he’s injured, I’ll never waste a second worrying about Votto. He’ll be fine.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–Four days ago, the Reds were coming off three straight bad series (against the Rockies, Cards, and Brewers). I tweeted the following:

I can’t say I really believed they would actually pull it off, but I’m glad they did.

–We couldn’t have asked for any more from Choo than we’ve gotten. What a marvelous season: .287/.420/.470 with 20 homers and 48 RBI. From Cincinnati’s leadoff hitter, no less!

–Before tonight, Joey Votto was hitting .223 in the last month (since August 4). But his OBP was .372 If you include tonight, the average went down, but the OBP went up. Sure, selective end points, but it does point out that (a) Votto is struggling and (b) he’s still helping the team by getting on base.

–How about what Tony Cingrani has done for this club? If you can believe it, Cingrani has the best strikeout rate in the National League among pitchers with more than 90 innings pitched.

–There was some grumbling about Dusty using Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning with a four-run lead, but I think Dusty did the right thing there. The Cardinals had their big hitters up, and the Reds really needed this win. If they had somehow managed to blow this game and split the series, it would have been mass hysteria. Why take a chance?

Ultimately, far be it from me to complain about Dusty not managing by the book. I just hope Chapman is available for the weekend.

–The hit and the walk surrendered by Chapman in the ninth was worth it, just to see him strike out Yadier Molina to end the game and the series.

–Never let it be said that all we do is complain about Dusty. I’ve complimented him twice tonight. When he occasionally does the right thing in-game, we need to point it out.

–As I said in the recap last night, despite the frustration over yesterday’s debacle, a win tonight and all would be forgiven. All is now forgiven.*

–The Reds got great news tonight: third base coach Mark Berry is cancer-free.

–Okay, the NL West-leading Dodgers come to town next. If the Reds can take two of three, they’ll be flying high. My fingers are crossed.

Source: FanGraphs

*Forgiven. Not forgotten.

77 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: All Is Forgiven*

  1. Nice recap, Chad. I agree – it’s only right to compliment Dusty for a smart managerial move. How about a separate post dedicated to Mark Berry? He’s been very important to this club, and he received some great news today!

    • @rymatt830:

      I’m glad Berry is cancer free, that’s great news. But I’m curious as to how he’s been “very important to the club”? I think he’s a TERRIBLE 3rd base coach (and have said so for years.)

      • @Bill Lack: I thought Speier was terrible coaching third. If Berry is terrible, I’d hate to see where Speier fits on the spectrum!! But above all else, GREAT to hear that the cancer has been turned back!

  2. ‘Rats and Cards play next. What do we want to happen?

    Personally, I’d rather have the ‘Rats take 2 of 3. If the Reds take 2 of 3 as well, the Reds would keep pace while the Cards would fall another game back.

    Fun times.

    • @CI3J: Agreed. The Reds still have (6 games with) the Pirates in front of them so they should be more concerned about getting around the Cards first since somebody else now has to beat the Cards for the Reds to overtake them. This is why Matheny felt it was so absolutely vital for his club to get at least one win versus the Reds.

      • @OhioJim: Only 2 games back in the win column, can get those back with 2 series wins against them, just need the Pirates to lose after they knock off the Cards. and feel the heat the last week

        • @vicferrari:
          Two wins behind the Pirates but 4 more losses. The Reds need some help to close that gap or they will have to take 5 of 6 at the end of the season just to catch the Rats.

    • @CI3J: I’m with you. First, the Reds taking 2 of 3 from the Dodgers is optimistic of course but do-able. The Dodgers scratched Ryu for Friday’s game, Capuano will pitch instead against Leake. The Reds will score against Capuano in Cincy, Leake only has to pitch a decent game. From there it’s our top two vs. their top two.

      The Cards schedule becomes very favorable after the Pirates series and of course the Reds have 6 left with the Pirates. So I too would like to see the Pirates take 2 of 3.

  3. I hope many don’t lose sight of the fact that Cingrani set the tone for tonight. Pitching aside, he WANTED this win, and demonstrated as much on the base paths. Some say the 2013 Reds don’t have a leader in the clubhouse? Well, example 1A in Tony Cingrani. Hustle all the way. Pete would be proud. Awesome performance tonight.

    • @wildwestLV: I love the way Cingani plays. He created the Reds first run out of sheer will. And what a pickoff move. He’ll go further his next start.

  4. I don’t agree with the “All is Frogiven”. The Reds gifted the Cardinals last nite. Coulda shoulda been a 4 game sweep to stick it to the Cardinals and put the Reds ahead of them in second place and first wild card spot.

    • @pinson343: I just looked at the schedule for all three Central Division teams after this weekend. The Cards have to feel they are in the catbird’s seat as long as they avoid getting swept by the Pirates because they are finished with both the Reds and Pirates while the Reds and Pirates face off 6 times.

      Assuming the Reds hold their own versus the Dodgers over the weekend and there is not a sweep either way in StLouis, the division could go a long way towards being settled the next three nights when the Pirates face the Rangers in Tejas.

      Maybe I am underrating the Pirates but I think it is going to be harder for the Reds to make up that 1.5 games versus the Cards than the 3 versus the Bucs.

    • @pinson343:
      The Cards really battled, tough game to lose last night but in baseball the better team will lose often,
      felt like Lynn, Wacha, and Miller did not have their best stuff and hung in when they were close to wilting like Wainright. I know many posters will just refute it is the line-ups ineptitude

      I will take 3 of 4 the rest of the way.

  5. How about the 2 out rallies, Cigrani disrupting things with no body on and 2 out, and then 3 tough AB from the big 3 left handed hitters off a lefty who had not given up an earned run all year.

    I still do get the idea that people feel Sam can close but not feeling easy enough to face a limping line-up with a 4 run lead after a dominant 8th…

    Hopefully it will not matter this weekend, but Chapman is only available for 1 game.

    • @vicferrari: I grumbled a bit on the game thread about LeCure not being given a chance to close it out, because of the 3rd nite in a row for Chapman, 4 run lead, and upcoming series with the Dodgers.

      But I didn’t get upset about the decision because the Reds HAD to hold that lead and we know that a 4 run lead, especially against the Cardinals, is not a guarantee of a win. Don’t take your foot off their throat. In that sense I was OK with using Chapman.

      There was also a risk with using Chapman. On his 3rd nite in a row, he might tire after a certain number of pitches. He has 2 outs and 0-2 on Beltran and then throws 6 straight balls and then there’s the lucky bloop. Molina up with tying run on deck. Chapman still had it but what if he got tired and walks Molina on 4 pitches, who comes in to save the day ?

      Whereas if LeCure starts to get in trouble in the 9th, you could bring in Chapman.

        • @Steve Mancuso: Dusty or Price or both deserve a star for the way they handled the pitching tonight.

          Jay and Descalo were kept on the bench by the LH pitching until the game was all but settled and could not be dropped into the middle of a leveraged situation. Adams did not get to see a RH pitcher all night.

          That’s three certified Reds killers rendered useless.

    • vicferrari: How about the 2 out rallies, Cigrani disrupting things with no body on and 2 out, and then 3 tough AB from the big 3 left handed hitters off a lefty who had not given up an earned run all year.

      All of that was great stuff, gave me a big lift.

      • @pinson343:
        this is what gives me hope,

        missing most of the year, it becomes a trend and votto gets hot see them not lose another series the rest of the season

  6. Major credit to Dusty Baker for pro-actively pulling Tony Cingrani when he did. More of that, please.

    Also, while I hated to see Chapman used in a situation with a four-run lead (99% of all 4-run leads are held in the ninth inning, regardless of who is pitching), it makes sense since Hoover threw 39 pitches Wednesday, Simon threw 30 and Ondrusek 29. That’s two innings or more of work. Maybe LeCure could have pitched the ninth, but just the same, locking down the win was important.

    Cingrani’s pitching and offensive contributions seemed to fire up the team — perhaps helping them to get over last night. The push bunt, full-speed hustle beating the play to first base, stealing (!) second base and scoring the first run had to be inspirational. It would have been for me.

    The Reds scored in six consecutive innings.

    • @Steve Mancuso: As I discuss above, I was on the fence about Chapman in the 9th.

      More importantly, I agreed strongly with Dusty’s taking out Cingrani when he did. And I agreed with his choice of relief pitcher and the timing of all pitching changes thru 8 innings.

  7. Hopefully this series will put to rest the notion that the Reds can’t stand up to the Cardinals. They came within an eyelash of a four-game sweep, three of which included Yadi Molina, two of which included Allen Craig. As Richard Fitch wrote earlier this week, the Reds didn’t play poorly against the Cardinals because of something about the Cardinals. The Reds were busy playing poorly against Milwaukee and Colorado, too. If the Reds draw the Cardinals in a postseason series, I’d have no extra anxiety about it. The Cardinals have feasted on Arroyo and Leake a lot this season in the head-to-head matches. I’d have a quite a bit of confidence in a five game series where four of the games were pitched by Latos, Bailey and Cingrani.

    • @Steve Mancuso: For years I have hated the notion that the Reds can’t stand up to the Cardinals, because it’s been crap for years. The Reds won the Central Division crown 2 of the last 3 seasons. The Cards have won it zero of the last 3 seasons. The Cardinals postseason run to winning the WS in 2011 was awesome, but the 162 game grind should get some respect too.

      In terms of head-to-head, the Cardinals dominated in 2010 but in the Reds lousy 2011 it was about even and in 2012 the teams were dead even until the last game of the season, which was meaningless for both teams.

      People made a big deal of the Cardinals dominating the Reds this year but they never swept the Reds and in the end it was 11 games to 8. That’s not domination.
      The Reds blew 2 late leads to the Cardinals and then there was last nite’s 16 inning fiasco.

  8. The goal against LA has to be taking two of three. Facing Capuano (who dominated the Reds in July), Grienke and Kershaw is extremely tough. At least the Reds have Latos and Bailey in two of the games.

    Can’t wait for the Sunday night game – Kershaw vs. Bailey.

      • @pinson343: What worries me about Capuano is his left-handedness. That takes our lead-off hitter out of play. It will be up to the right handed hitters in the lineup (will BP play?, will Mesoraco?) to carry the load. Ludwick isn’t fully back yet, although showing some encouraging signs.

        • @Steve Mancuso: Point well taken. I haven’t looked up the numbers, but I feel Bruce and Votto can hit Capuano. The Reds need BP against the Dodgers. Ludwick, Cozart and Frazer are hitting better lately.

          The main thing is that Leake needs to pitch a decent game.

    • @Steve Mancuso: The goal should be a sweep and if necessary settle for 2 of 3. The goal of 2 of 3 sounds like something Dusty might say and I’m not crazy about that. Shoot for perfection and if you “have” to, settle for excellence. Just one man’s opinion.

  9. Honestly, I would plug Hamilton into the leadoff spot on Friday. It won’t happen, but … whatever.

    • @Johnu1: Agree, he hits LHP .260, with is 19 points higher than he hits RHP. Combine that with his speed and .190 BA against LHP. I hope Dusty will realize this and let the kid show us what he can do. I don’t think you’d be risking much of anything for a potential big reward.

    • @Johnu1: I was thinking more along the lines of giving Robinson the start, but I’d be fine with Hamilton getting the nod. Either way, it would be a great opportunity to get Choo and night off.

  10. I absolutely love what Cingrani did in his first plate appearance. Went up to plate knowing he wasn’t allowed to swing the bat, but still managed to score. Great hustle, smart baseball, and set the tone early.

    He’s been insane on the mound this year too. If it weren’t for guys like Fernandez and Ryu (and many other strong NL rookie pitchers this year) he may have made some major noise in the NL ROY race. I hope the Reds keep him in the rotation if they reach the NLDS, I really like the idea of using Cingrani and Cueto as tandem starters, each throwing 4 or 5 innings in the game. Could create some favorable righty-lefty splits, and eliminate pitch count concerns.

    Also, Frazier’s first multi-HR game since April 5th against the Nationals, and the 3th of his career. Bound to be plenty more of those to come, he has some of the most impressive raw power on this whole club.

  11. Reds finish season series with cards 8-11 and within a hair of being 9-10. The Reds had wins over the cards this year of 13-4, 10-0, and 8-3. I think over the course of the season the Cards have been slightly better, but to say they collectively OWN us has a whole, I don’t agree with.

    Reds and Pirates have played 13 times with the Pirates leading the season series 7-6. However, the reds were swept in PIT in early april. Reds are 7-3 vs pit in the last 10 (not to mention the blown save in June).

    Cards are limping to the finish after a 2-5 road trip to face the Pirates whom they can’t seem to beat (Pit leads season series 10-6).

    IMO, Reds need to root hard for at least a series win for PIT and maybe even a sweep. Even if the Reds struggle against the Dodgers, the reds do not control the 1.5 games they are behind STL, but they can control the games they are behind PIT with the 6 games remaining.

  12. In LA vs Capuano…. Reds lost 1-0 in 11.

    Capuano went 6 2/3 inning and gave up 3 hits with 4 SO. 2 hits for Joey and 1 for Mez. That was it….for all 11 innings, and all given up in the first 6 2/3 by capuano.

    This concerns me because mez is hurt and JV is not playing well.

    It should be noted Dusty started D Robinson for Choo in CF. Who responded by going 0 for 5 with 2 SO’s.

  13. I am still mad about gift wrapping the game last night, we should have swept the 4 game series and we’d be in 2nd place by ourselves a 1/2 game ahead of the Cards. We need to stay within striking distance of the Pirates, prob no more than 3 games back until we go to Pitt. 12 games before we head to Pitt, now would be a great time to reel of 6 or 7 in a row. MUST WIN against Capuano, especially when we face Kershaw and Greinke.

  14. It could be said that it probably wouldn’t hurt to give either Choo or Votto a start off, they both have played a ton this year and could come in later as matchups change.

    I’d be curious to give Billy Hamilton a start, but that is a whole lot to ask considering standings. I think it might be worth it to give him a couple at bats to try and maybe try to catch some energy.

    • @earl: I’d like to see them give Hamilton a couple ABs as the starter. If he looks bad you can still bring Choo in once you get to the bullpen. Plus it would be fun if he got on base. Doesn’t Capuano have a famous pickoff move? It would be exciting to see him go head to head with that right after his tilt with Yadier.

  15. With upcoming games vs both the Cubs and Astros I would sit Votto at least twice and maybe even have him just DH in one of the Astros games. I don’t care who you are sometimes you just need a mental break from your job.

  16. I don’t think Hamilton should be getting a start against the Dodgers. The games are too important. It would be nice to see him get a chance to pinch hit at some point. Or get into a game where the Reds are winning by a blowout to see what he can do.

  17. Just looked at the Pirates schedule. Tonight’s game is the start of playing 20 days in a row for them, while the Reds get a couple of days rest during that span.

  18. Congrats to Manny and his wife on their first born! Entirely legit reason to miss a game, Manny. Many blessings to you and your family!

    Congrats to Mark Berry for beating the cancer! Good job, Mark. We needed you back in there.

    I said going into the Cards-Brewers-Cards-Dodgers 13 games series that we would need to go no worse than 7-6 to even have a shot at winning the division. 2-1 against the Dodgers will make the 7-6 real enough. Honestly, I hope the Cards can beat up the Pirates a bit.

    • @steveschoen: Since the Cards have such an easy schedule the next couple of weeks aside from their games with Pittsburg, but the Reds have the opportunity to deal with the Pirates directly, we should root for the Pirates over the Cardinals.

  19. What a night for Cingrani! What a season for Cingrani! What a joy to watch Kid Furious blossom right before our very eyes. It sure doesn’t seem like it would have been possible for anyone to do better replacing the ace of the staff. The kid has earned a start in the NLDS…..I just hope the manager can see that.

    We are headed down to the old ball orchard for Saturday’s festivities. Going to fire up the DVD of game 7 from the 1975 World Series prior to tonight’s Titanic Struggle as a way to help my kids appreicate being able to see the Great 8 in person. I only wish that Sparky could be there as well.

    Grabbing 2 of 3 from the Dodgers would be huge. No better time than the present for the Reds to go. Go Reds!

  20. Sorry, I just don’t get Dusty. If you’re going to go slightly out of your comfort zone with Chapman, which situation makes more sense: two out in the eighth of a tie game, two men on and a dangerous Lefty at bat, when you know he’ll pitch the ninth anyway; or up 4, the third game in a row, with the prospect of a tight, low-scoring series on the horizon. I’d probably have left LeCure in, or let Reynolds start the inning with Chapman warming up.

    Also, if I’m the first batter against Chapman, with Hanigan catching, I’m sitting on the slider on the second pitch. Mix it up, guys–if I can see a pattern like that I’m pretty sure ML scouts will.

  21. I think this series illustrates the fallacy of the “but the Reds didn’t win before Dusty came” argument. Talent was enough to win three of those games; Managing might have flipped the loss to a win, putting the Reds in second place for the moment.

  22. MLB Network Radio First Pitch is going on about Votto all morning. I can’t leave my car. I think I will be late for work.

  23. Alright Mike Leake. Time to push back against turning into a pumpkin for a few more starts. Please let the middle summer version of you show up. And hit a HR too, so people can say you “have heart.”

    • @Matt WI: If the 2nd half Leake shows up again tonight (and I tend to think he will), is it time to at least consider skipping him in the rotation at least once and giving the start(s) to Reynolds? I say yes.

  24. Boy, you just never know in baseball. Frazier can’t his breaking stuff? Both HRs come on offspeed pitches. Bruce doesn’t give good at-bats? The HR and RBI single came with 2 strikes.

    Like I said yesterday and got ridiculed for—the Cardinals are hanging on by a thread. I’ll be shocked if we don’t pass them……and now the Pirates have 20 games in a row. Can their starters manage it?

    If we can take 2 of 3 from the Dodgers and then dominate the bottom feeders, our situation could rapidly improve. I’ve said all season we’re the team that’s gonna win the division, and I’m not changing my tune. Pitching, pitching, pitching.

    • @Sultan of Swaff: Love the outlook. I think the Cardinal’s schedule certainly will help them out, but no reason not to bet on the good guys (unless your name is Pete Rose).

    • @Sultan of Swaff: Our recent history suggests the Dodgers are a .750 club against the Reds. I would be happy with a split of the 3 games — 1 1/2 apiece.

      I agree it’s about pitching but the Parrots seem to be sound in that category. I do think Pittsburgh’s bullpen is overrated until they get to Melancon.

      What tickles me about the Birds is their sudden inability to score runs. Having Craig out for any time will hurt them, no matter what we remember about Matt Adams. Yadi, with a bad wrist, will suffer.

      Dominating the bottom feeders at this time of year is more daunting than it appears. A lot of new guys are showing up, and there’s no book on them.

      I HATE September callups for the non-contenders.

  25. If the Reds had taken 2 of 3 against the Parrots back in April instead of going 0-3, their record would be 81-60. Parrots would be 79-60.

    It’s easy to establish that we accept the games we win as a natural progression of events and wring our hands over the ones the other team won as being squandered.

    That’s what makes us totally impartial, unbiased, objective fans of the sport, with no particular team.

    • @Johnu1: This is an outstanding example that shows how ridiculous it is when some folks say that games in September are more important than games in April. It’s one of those things that drives me NUTS!

  26. Great way to close out the series after the extra inning game slipped through their fingers. The post about ‘death of a thousand cuts’ analogy yester day was prophetic as the reds scored in 6 of 8 innings, but only one run in each inning. Still it kept the pressure on the STL pitching staff.

    I was fine with seeing tony only go 5.1 IP and 80 pitches the first start back off the DL. His arm will be needed down the strech and playoffs in some fashion.

    Prescription for the rest of the season, try to win each 3 game series and just let the other chips fall where they may.

  27. You always have a few games where it slips through your fingers, but there are probably close to a Baker’s dozen (sic) that have slipped through the Reds hands this year.

    They are three games below on the Pythagorean win/loss on baseball reference site (82-59), which I will easily believe.

  28. Random question… where did our poster Hank Aaron’s Teammate go? Did he just stop posting or get the boot when I wasn’t looking or something?

    • @Matt WI: I wondered the same. I miss his posts. Can’t believe he would get booted and missed it if he did. Guy could be a little rough around the edges, sometimes, but always made thoughtful posts. Hate to see when any of RLN regulars are gone for any extended time. Including you, Matt.

      • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Thanks… I never stray too far. Some of the negativity and noise has been a bit much this season. I feel like several “regulars” have gone into a bit more hiding than usual… RiverCity, RC, where are you? Waiting for the super secret invite into Redleg Nation 2.0 (I know you’ll deliver, Chad!)

        • @Matt WI: I’d be all for another board where the negativity is far more reasoned and less obsessive. I’m not exactly one of those legendary regulars, but I’ve certainly reduced my time here because of the overall atmosphere.

        • @renbutler: Don’t worry, guys. Once the offseason rolls around, we’ll have 6 months of hype free discussion. The dropoff is pretty astounding considering how breathless some of the in-season posters can be.

        • @Sultan of Swaff: I’ve been on a lot of boards, and all of them tend toward this sort of discussion — how much negative is too much.

          The problem with the pollyanna group is that they don’t actually contribute much other than “wow, this team is wonderful.” Either that or the “we’re 2nd in runs so why are you beefing?”

          A lot of the negative is actually a critique of the team, which is effectively why these forums exist. Most of the in-game commenting is just emotional outlet for the fans who feel like this board and others like it contains a kindred group.

          I think the analysis threads on RLN is the reason I joined in the first place and the reason I came back after spending the summer on another board that went dead.

        • @Matt WI: I’ve been a lot more hit-and-run this year, and usually not on the computer at game thread times. And I think I might actually have gotten banned for a couple of days – at least, none of my posts would go through. But I had made a couple of the sort of “snark minus content” posts that I usually try to avoid, and if the powers that be felt I needed a break, I don’t begrudge them that. They do good work. I probably did need a break.

          I know there’s a fair amount of negativity in these parts, but given past experieces in other Reds comment joints, things are more reasonable here than elsewhere. Which is why this is my only Reds hangout nowadays. A drink to you all!

  29. It’s crunch time and the Reds need to be in second place taking at least 2of3 from the Dodgers while the Pirates take care of the Cards. Then the six remaining with Pitt are the key to the division or, at least, the playoff game will be at home.

  30. I think the Reds can hold their own if they get marginally efficent hitting and consistent relief pitching. What HAS to happen is the reduction in bad baserunning and poor defensive decisions in the outfield.

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