2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: Dusty Baker’s Magical Bunt Extravaganza! (Oh, and the Reds lose.)

Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL — 16 innings
St. Louis 5
Cincinnati 4

W: C. Martinez (2-1)
L: L. Ondrusek (3-1)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Bronson Arroyo had a good start: seven innings, two earned runs on seven hits and no walks. Who doesn’t love Bronson?

–Aroldis Chapman was simply dominant again, throwing a perfect ninth inning, striking out two hitters. The velocity was just as good as last night. This guy is so much fun to watch when he’s on his game.

–Brandon Phillips doubled and homered. The solo homer represented BP’s 100th RBI, the first Reds second baseman to collect 100 since Joe Morgan. But Dusty had him bunting in the fifteenth inning.

–Zach Duke struck out the only batter he faced. He had no business being in the game in that situation, but he absolutely delivered, and I tip my cap to him.

–JJ Hoover pitched a perfect tenth inning, then allowed a hit and a walk, but prevented the Cards from scoring in the 11th. Hoover has been up and down this season, but I love that guy. He’s a future closer. And he has a great beard.

NEGATIVES
–Joey Votto made his thirteenth error of the season. As we noted on the podcast, Votto has been very shaky defensively this season.

And Votto also went 0-7 at the plate. One of the worst games of his career, no doubt.

–Dusty Baker ordered the Reds to bunt ninety-three times tonight. Approximately.

–A suicide squeeze with two outs in the fifteenth inning. Just imagine that for a moment. How insane is that decision? (If, in fact, it was actually a suicide. There’s a possibility that Heisey and/or Choo were just doing something dumb. Let’s consider the possibility that Dusty didn’t actually call for that.)

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–Are you kidding me?

–Someone, please, explain this to me. In the eighth inning, the game was tied, 3-3. Sam LeCure had allowed a walk and a hit, and runners were at the corners with two out. With a left-hander coming to the plate, Dusty needed to use a LH reliever. Isn’t this a great situation to use Aroldis Chapman?

Well, you’d think so. Instead, Dusty Baker brought in Zach Duke. Sure, Duke made an All-Star team once upon a time. I don’t mind having him on the roster. He’s been pretty good in AAA this year. But in a tie game, in an extremely tight spot in the middle of a pennant race, against one of your division rivals…does it make any sense whatsoever to use a guy who was brought up from AAA one week ago? Why not use Aroldis Chapman in that situation???

Duke got the job done, and I’m appreciative of that. I like Duke, and he should have been in Cincinnati instead of Logan Ondrusek months ago. But he had no business pitching in that spot. Period.

–More Dusty absurdity. In the bottom of the 14th, with the Reds down one, Ryan Ludwick singled. On comes Billy Hamilton to pinch-run. That was a fine decision by our manager. But then he orders Zack Cozart to bunt!!! After three pitches where Cozart fails to lay down a bunt and waste one of the three precious outs Cincinnati has left, Hamilton steals second. Then Cozart singles up the middle and brings Hamilton home.

Let me make this clear: it is completely moronic to bunt with Billy Hamilton on first. Managerial malpractice, as Joe Sheehan puts it. And then Dusty immediately asks Devin Mesoraco to bunt. That’s just poor managerial strategy, but ol’ Dusty loves him some bunts. Ugh.

–BP collected his 100th RBI, but Dusty had him bunting in the 15th inning.

–And then Dusty bunts again on a suicide squeeze with two outs in the 15th inning because STOP BUNTING, DUSTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Again, I want to believe that even Dusty isn’t crazy enough to call for a suicide in that spot. So maybe he didn’t. But there’s no question that Dusty has taught his team that bunts are the greatest thing ever invented. He doesn’t escape all responsibility.)

–Tonight’s game was the longest in Great American Ballpark history, but it felt even longer than that.

–Okay, I’m done. If the Reds can win tomorrow, it’ll be 3 of 4, and all will be forgiven.

Source: FanGraphs

92 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: Dusty Baker’s Magical Bunt Extravaganza! (Oh, and the Reds lose.)

    • @kywhi: Chad clearly says he didn’t think Baker ordered a suicide squeeze, even though it might have looked like it. My guess is that Heisey was trying to bunt for a hit, which wasn’t a terrible idea. Not sure how to explain what Choo was doing there, other than that it was a base running mistake.

    • @kywhi: Until Baker and/or Heisey say what happened, we can’t say what is factual – except that it was another blown opportunity because of bad fundamentals or decisions, which this team and its manager constantly fall victim to.

      • @redskaph: Dusty said that Heisey made the decision on his own, that he was bunting for a hit. Dusty said that Choo didn’t see the ball pass Heisey and so he ran towards the plate and was hung to dry.

      • @redskaph: The AP reports Heisey in fact bunted on his own. That said, anyone who folows the Reds has to believe Baker calls for far too many buts, and did so when it wasn’t the best move multiple times tonight.

  1. This recap is perfect. I am hoping enough Reds fans rise up in a united voice and it leads to the ouster of Mr. Dusty Baker. We’ve had enough. Enough! Tonight was a microcosm of all that is wrong with that man as manager.

  2. Chad – no Billy Hamilton in the positives? What gives?

    Otherwise great recap with just enough humor to make this debacle bearable.

  3. ABSOLUTELY PATHETIC LOSS. No way do you bunt Mesoraco and Phillips in that sitation. Pure garbage and a blown chance to gain a much needed game on the Pirates, not to mention we’d be going for a 4 game sweep tomorrow against a demoralized Cardinals team who won’t have Craig and Molina in the lineup. Mujica already gave up the tie run and Dusty bunts, PATHETIC. Let Mes AND BP swing the bat, the pressure is on the pitcher. Votto is not right, he is pulling the ball almost every AB, something is up, worst he has looked his entire career and we are paying him 200 M? WOW. BLOWN CHANCE tonight and Dusty is completely to blame, along with Votto.

    • ABSOLUTELY PATHETIC LOSS. No way do you bunt Mesoraco and Phillips in that sitation. Pure garbage and a blown chance to gain a much needed game on the Pirates, not to mention we’d be going for a 4 game sweep tomorrow against a demoralized Cardinals team who won’t have Craig and Molina in the lineup. Mujica already gave up the tie run and Dusty bunts, PATHETIC. Let Mes AND BP swing the bat, the pressure is on the pitcher. Votto is not right, he is pulling the ball almost every AB, something is up, worst he has looked his entire career and we are paying him 200 M? WOW. BLOWN CHANCE tonight and Dusty is completely to blame, along with Votto.

      We? I didn’t know you co-signed his paycheck.

    • @Josh: It’s not like there is a salary cap, there is just the amount of money the owners are willing to take out of their substantial profits to pay players.

      Votto’s proven he’s going to be a league-leading OBP player (4 years in a row if he hangs on), which is extremely valuable. Argue if you want over the $200MM, but I don’t mind the owners making less money so I can watch Votto for seasons to come.

      • @prjeter: As a business owner, I can tell you there is a finite budget you have to work with. It is how you allocate those scarce resources that will make or break you. Unless you are the Yanks and Dodgers, that is. I have no problem with the wisdom of Bob C’s spending in general as there are ample cases of good and bad investments. The book is out on JV and we will not know the value the Reds receive from his contract, for several years.

        Personally, I just hate the length of these contracts as they are one hell of a risk (see Albert Pujols) but what are you going to do, you have to compete.

  4. “If the Reds can win tomorrow, it’ll be 3 of 4, and all will be forgiven.” – No, this loss is unforgivable, no matter what happens Thursday or the rest of the season.

    • @redskaph: Agreed. This shows that it can and has happened other times. As close as the pennant race is, it is being as close as this game was. And, decisions like what Bakerman pulled tonight definitely don’t help the situation, aka we have to win games already starting from behind.

  5. Does anyone on this team actually practice bunting? I mean as often as they are called, shouldn’t it be more than a mere exercise at the end of BP? Seriously.

    • @preach: It would help if their bunting was even worse. The Reds win on Tuesday thanks to Frazer bunting foul before his game winning hit. Last nite Cozart bunts foul before the Hamilton steal and his game tying hit.
      Without his failure to sacrifice bunt, the Reds lose in 14.

      Mes lays down a fair bunt to set up Hannahan’s double play, losing an opportunity to win in the 14th. BP lays down a successful sac bunt in the 15th, giving away an out that helps the Reds lose another opportunity to win.

      Heisey is the team’s best bunter, which gave him his stupid idea that threw away another chance to win in the 15th.

      It would be best if every time they bunted, they just bunted foul. (Except the pitchers.)

      • @pinson343: And, just as many times as it has worked, it hasn’t worked many times. That’s one thing I would like to see, the percentage of how many sacrifice bunts actually have worked. For a professional team, I can’t imagine it is a very good percentage.

        As well as, it’s almost seeming to me that you could almost predict that Bakerman is going to sacrifice in certain situations. I have been starting to call the situations recently and have been 100% correct. If I am calling it correct, you know the other team is reading it and, thus know to play for it, thus keeping it from working even more. Whatever happened to fake bunting? Fake bunt-half swing? Etc.?

    • @preach: Whether you believe in bunting or don’t….and whether you believe all major league hitters SHOULD be able to bunt, to ask someone to do it that you know can’t….is just crazy. Bunts make me crazy to begin with….

  6. Crap… Crap… Taking 3 of 4 would be acceptable, but who says we will win tomorrow for sure. Cards are due for a break out game…and most importantly, we gave this game away…when u r 3 1/2 games out and have blown games due to poor management and fundamentals, and have only 20 games left, this one game is what separates a 163 game season versus few more.

    Crap management tonight. Valiant pitching effort….

    I have been a harsh fan of Votto…and let me reiterate – he aint a great player…ain’t worth 1/2 the money ownership pays him.. His approach to game and defense stinks. Just crappy performance. Crappy throw to first… Tired of him watching 3rd strike…

    • @tae: Troll gonna troll.

      Votto’s approach stinks? Say what you mean; you are frustrated that he’s in a slump. We all are. The guy’s hitting .300 (for the time being) with over .400 OBP. How many other NL players can say that? Exactly zero.

      Get a clue, man.

      Also, I haven’t seen it mentioned yet that if Votto is, say, Prince Fielder or Matt Adams, he doesn’t even get to that ball. Single to right field, run scores anyways. Yes, he should have put the ball in his pocket and not made the throw, but the ball was a hit if Votto doesn’t make a good diving stop.

  7. I will call votto “Mr Look at my strike 3″ from now on until he pulls his head out of his rear end.

    Geez…

    I m sure some of you fans will come back and say there is nothing wrong with your 200 mil man…( of course you would if you were the one paying him that money )

    His fielding is atrocious… Acts like OBP is route to hall of fame aparently…

    Get him off the field pls

    • @tae:

      Votto does need to hit. The pitchers are starting to challenge him by throwing strikes, and you cannot walk if the pitchers aren’t throwing balls.

      This is something I felt the OBP crowd always overlooked: Walks don’t just depend on how good a hitter is, but also if the pitchers give you anything to hit.

      This is the extreme flipside of an argument made earlier this year about the imortance of OBP, that went something like “If you had a team of players who walked every time up, how many runs would they score?” The answer was infinity, of course.

      So I ask “If pitchers never throw a ball 4, how many walks will you be able to take?” The problem is, Votto is in that situation now. Pitchers are DARING him to hit and not just get on base by walking, and so far they are beating him.

  8. A good summary of the madness, Buntapalooza Gifts Cards with a W, is at
    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130905&content_id=59637778&vkey=news_cin&c_id=cin , an unusually good article for mlb.com.

    But neither it nor the recap mention the most bizarre managerial decision of all.
    To lead off the 12th, Dusty goes with Neftali Soto instead of Ryan Ludwick.
    The Reds tv broadcasters tried to come up with an explanation and couldn’t.
    With Ludwick leading off (and Hamilton available to pinch run), the Reds might have won it right there.

    • @pinson343:
      If you thought enough of Corky Miller to bring him in, Do you really think Soto has a better chance than Miller? With the pinch runner option still available it make no difference other than who you feel is more likely to get on.
      Not sure why you pinch hit for Hannigan either

    • @pinson343:
      Our only hope in the playoffs is that Dusty’s strategies continue to fail miserably during the regular season so he becomes reluctant to employ them in the playoffs.

    • @pinson343: Ha, this is what blew my mind as well, far more than the bunting.

      I was at the game, and what enraged me was that Dusty had Mes up and walking around in the dugout with a batting helmet on and then proceeded to send Soto out there to hit instead of him.

      In what world is an 0 for 3 hitter ON THE YEAR better than one of the Reds’ currently hottest hitters? Especially when you are going to have to send said hottest hitter in to play defense anyway!? Like you said, there is just no logical explanation for this.

  9. What a waste of a whole lot of good pitching. Other than Adams’ 2 HRs, almost a complete shutdown for 16 innings. Simon and Ondrusek, who gave up the HRs, went a total of 5 innings. That shouldn’t have been necessary.

  10. Votto needs to sit for a game. I said this on Sunday after the loss and I will say it again. If last nights performance doesn’t warrant it what does? I love Votto but he needs a mental break I feel.

  11. Boy, as soon as we all think Bakerman has learned something after Hamilton’s “first steal” game and now this? One step forward, 3 bases backwards. I can’t even begin to describe it any other way. Bottom line, with Bakerman, his strengths are what? Sorry, I don’t see them. Players manager? Why, because he pays for their dinner at times when they are on road games? Oh, yes, that’s the first thing I look for in a manager. Does he have a reputation of developing players, especially young players? Nope. Does he have a reputation of keenly utilizing his pitching staff? Nope. Does he have a reputation of in-game strategies? Nope. Sorry, but I can’t help thinking a high school baseball coach would be able to coach this team than Bakerman.

    Bakerman may know more about baseball than I do. But, then, why doesn’t he use it? For, it sure doesn’t seem like he is using it.

  12. That game was a little window into the entire season: failure to capitalize on offensive opportunities, bunts, long stretches where the offense goes totally AWOL, great pitching, mental lapses on defense, more bunts, throwing the ball around like a little league team, staggering misuse of the best left-handed pitching asset in the organization, even more bunts, TOOTBLANs, and being completely out-managed by the other team.

    I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating after tonight’s debacle: this team has taken on the personality of its manager. You can’t play like they have all season and then hit some magic switch and get rid of the errors and mental lapses because the division in now on the line. Excellence is not an act but a habit.

    I’m not sure what is wrong with Votto right now, but there is something wrong. Maybe it is serious, maybe it is not. I certainly hope for the latter, but it needs to be addressed. Sometimes Joey is a victim of the expectations we have for him, but tonight he was just dreadful regardless of expectations.

    • @Kyle Farmer: Entirely agree, Kyle. I’ve said before, good teams don’t wait for the other team to make a mistake, they don’t wait for the other team to lose the game. They go win the game; they take the game. Or, at least, they play like it.

      As well as, the other night when I heard Chris Welsh say how the locker room was loose before a big game. I’m sitting there thinking, “Oh no, we’re dead.” Because, in Bakerman’s World, loose means lazy.

      Votto hasn’t seemed the same to me since Bakerman reprimanded him for dropping the F-bomb after striking out. Players mananger, right? Why couldn’t he let Votto be Votto, then?

      • @steveschoen: I absolutely agree that Baker’s public reprimand had a much larger effect than many realized. I went on a rant at the time about how I want Joey cursing at failure and how I want my kids to see Joey cursing at failure.

        That incident was a good example of how Baker views the game.

      • @steveschoen: Votto hasn’t been the same since Baker reprimanded him (or rather, lightly criticized him) in MAY?? People come up with some crazy ideas to justify a slump. How sensitive do you think Votto is?

        • @FWIW567: he actually is pretty sensitive. Wouldn’t surprise me a bit if that incident shut him down a little. And then to watch what the lets BP get away with. But whatever the reason there is clearly something amiss mentally right now. He needs a couple days off but the won’t give it ti him.

      • @steveschoen: When are you going to stop calling Dusty Baker “Bakerman”? At least have the decency to call him by his given name, even if you don’t like him.

        You don’t call Votto Vottoman or Phillips Phillipsman.

        • @ChrisInVenice: I’m not defending him, but has he ever stated it’s a derisive nickname? Sometimes I call Cozart “Cozy” because I think it sounds cool. Maybe he thinks “Bakerman” sounds cool. I dunno.

        • steves

          Let’s see. A person who calls himself “Hunt4RedsOctober” is getting on me for calling Baker “Bakerman”. Alright. . .

    • @Kyle Farmer: he’s a victim of himself then because the kind of contract he has comes with those kind of expectations. He has got to be the man. He asked for it and now it’s time to pay the piper. That’s how it works.

      • @homerandbruce: I could not disagree with this more. He more than earned that contract and continues to be one of the best players in all of baseball. My comment was limited to just the last week or so and especially last night.

  13. In a close game situation, having Dusty as manager is like having both hands tied behind your back.

  14. I find it interesting all this hating on the bunts when I can bet you just about every manager in the game today would have been doing the exact same thing, yet we just gloss over Vottos horrible game.

    • @dn4192: As far as the bunts, I know there were several post calling for them in Tuesday’s game.

      The strategy is one thing, but it is just the execution that is disturbing. I am pretty impressed by Arroyo getting down 3 straight with runners on 1st & 2nd. Anyone know if this is a record?

      Also, Votto is not exactly getting a pass…

    • @down with dusty: Excellent point.

      The same point could be made regarding swinging at the first pitch when a more patient approach is warranted. Dusty is so adamant about being aggressive at the plate that it only makes sense that the players hear that message and go up hacking regardless of the situation.

  15. Maybe someone can help me with something, for I did not see the play. Some are saying Heisey was bunting for a suicide squeeze play. I thought those were always called plays by the manager. The players would call those plays? I’ve never heard of that. Just looking for confirmation. Because, if Heisey was bunting, I would think he was bluffing (it for whatever reason), where then Choo wouldn’t know to be running on the play. But, Baker is saying Heisey was trying to bunt for a hit, which I could understand. But, then, why would Choo be running on the play?

    It sounds like to me if it was a suicide squeeze play, it was a poor call by Baker (with 2 outs, with 2 strikes). Or, if Heisey was trying to bunt on his own, Choo shouldn’t have been trying to run on the play.

    • @steveschoen:
      1- It could not be a suicide squeeze, I am not sure where anybody got this idea. The sole purpose of the squeeze is that you make contact and give up the out, but the 3rd out make no difference.

      2- If Heisey gets a bunt down that he can reach first safely, Choo for sure scores.

      3- The only explanation I have is that Choo screwed up. He got picked off of third. He did not even go hard into Molina. He either thought he missed something or that the ball got away.

      Surprised more people are not ripping Choo, his throw that allowed Beltran to get to 2nd and score on the Votto error was a pretty dumb play and he was not exactly clutch with his AB earlier in the game with runners in scoring position.

      • @vicferrari: correct. If it was a suicide, Choo would have taken off on the wind up. Heisey bunted on his own and Choo got picked off third. The fundamentals on this team stink.

  16. Let us all hope that last night was rock bottom for Votto. He has got to start coming through.

  17. You could have saved a lot of time and just used this for your recap:

    3-Votto: 0-7
    4-Bruce: 0-5
    5-Heisey: 0-7

    Not going to win too many games when the meat of your lineup goes 0-19.

    • Heisey just is not a good player at all yet many on here think he should play alot. Just like how people on here wanted Paul janish who was utter garbage.

  18. If we are trying to do a full accounting of all the Baker Blunders in this debacle how can we fail to mention Neftali. Dusty needs someone to pinch hit for a catcher against a tough lefthander. Does he bring in the CATCHER who just happens to be his best hitter against LHs? Nope. Puts in some minor leaguer fresh up from AAA. Then he has to go ahead an put Mesoraco in anyway as a defensive replacement. Don’t worry. He did get a plate appearance later in the game. I wonder how that one turned out.

    • @down with dusty: To me, this was the worst move of the game. The bunts were stupid, but there is absolutely no explanation for putting in Soto there when Mesoraco kills LHP and has to come into the game anyway (and Ludwick is on the bench). It was the 12th inning of a critical game and Dusty went with a guy with 0 MLB hits. Completely indefensibile. It made em think of Narron pitching for Josh Hamiltion with Ray Olmedo (or whoever it was that pinch hit for him). I’ll also add that the second worst move IMO was bringing Duke in during the 8th. Again, critical game and you bring a guy in who has an 8 ERA and has made one appearance in Cincy, It worked but that was stupid. As bad as the bunts were (and they were awful), I thought they were well behind those two moves.

      • @Kyle:
        I kind of posted a similar thing earlier. I can see not pinch hitting Mes in that spot then you cannot pinch run. But why not let Corky Bat in that spot?
        Switching Hanahan for Frazier was also kinds dumb

  19. In the 6th inning with runners at 1st & 2nd base, 1 out. Arroyo was at the plate, Choo on deck, a LH reliever in the Cardinals bullpen. I would have PH for Arroyo. Maybe the PH doesn’t get it done either, but the odds of scoring there have to be much better with a pinch hitter than what Baker strategized. He had Arroyo sac bunt the runners to 2nd/3rd, 2 out and Choo facing a LH specialist.

    • @Greg Dafler:
      That was huge mismanagement. There 50 relievers in the bullpen, but Dusty decided to give up a great scoring opportunity and squueze another inning out of Arroyo

  20. I hate the bunt anyway except with the pitcher up. But the Reds failed to reach base 19 times in a row from the 6th inning on. Expecting anybody to drive in a run was folly at best.

    This game was less lost by the dugout staff than it was by the ineptitude of the hitters — all coached by the dugout staff. (See how I did that.)

    All in all, the optimism is a little apparent for me today, owing to how the bullpen pitched.

    But I am less inclined to say the game was lost in the 15th inning instead of it being lost in the first inning, when no bunt was attempted.

    • @Johnu1: You are definitely right. Going from the sixth inning to the twelfth inning (or something like that) without a single batter reaching base was absolutely nauseating. The nadir of that was the Axford inning. They just gave that turd 3 outs on 7 pitches. That was the absolute epitome of the Reds’ offensive approach in 2013.

  21. Definitely a Dusty Classic along with another favorite: asking Zack to bunt with Billy Hamilton on first base with no one out. What are the odds Billy steals second on his own vs. Zack getting a bunt down and oh yeah, sacrificing an out as well? Excellent call there.

  22. I don’t agree with the idea that calling on Zach Duke was necessarily a bad idea. Duke needs to pitch for the Reds. He really does. He’s a veteran, not a scatter-arm. Could we have used a different lefty? Parra wasn’t around, as I learned later. He was on paternity leave. Could have used Chapman, I suppose. That’s not a dealbreaker on a game like this one. The loss is on the lack of hitting — AGAIN.

    • @Johnu1:

      That’s not a dealbreaker on a game like this one.

      Really? I think it was one of several huge deal breakers. By pitching Duke in the 8th inning with 2 outs, Dusty burned both available LH relievers unnecessarily. With 2 outs in the 8th and runners on 1B & 3B, the Reds needed a sure out against a LH hitter. Chapman was the ONLY call that made sense, at least made sense to anyone with any sense. Chapman embarassed the Birds’ hitters the day before and was going to pitch the 9th inning anyway. Another 1/3 of an inning would make zero difference to Chapman, but would save the only other available LH reliever for another critical situation later in the game, like pitching to a LH power hitter in extra innings maybe?! :evil: Combine that decision with the catcher replacement and pinch hitting fiasco (which Dusty had done previously and equal stupidity, proving he is consistently stupid) and Dusty once again proves that he really has no idea what he is doing, but it’s nice to have a player’s buddy managing the team and making the decisions.

      • @Shchi Cossack:

        But you are comparing two unrelated topics (relief pitching and pinch hitter usage) in an effort to put the onus on Baker. One or the other might work, but they are not the same thing.

        I don’t recall saying there weren’t dealbreakers. I am saying that using Zack Duke in that situation is NOT what cost the Reds the game.

        The relief pitchers come into the game to get outs, not score runs. Relievers did their job, excepting for the two home runs, which were only salt on the wound.

        • @Johnu1:

          I am saying that using Zack Duke in that situation is NOT what cost the Reds the game.

          But it likely did cost the Reds the game. It wasn’t the only thing that cost the Reds the game, but it certainly was one of the things that cost the Reds the game.

          Follow me on this since you missed it the first time. If Chapman pitches to Adams in the 8th and then pitches the 9th, he mows through 4 batters rather than 3 batters and the game goes to extra innings with Duke still available in the bullpen. Hoover pitches the 10th & 11th then exits the game. Simon pitches the 12th & 13th then exits the game. Neither pitcher is overextended to pitch a third inning. The 14th inning has Adams, Jay & Descalso (all LH hitters) due up 1st, 3rd & 4th. That’s the situation for the bullpen’s last available LH pitcher, rather than Duke pitching to one LH hitter and waisting him for the rest of the game.

          The mention of the pinch-hitting fiasco was simply another example of misusing the available resources and that ‘onus’ is on Dusty every time. Using the team’s resources effectively is suppose to be his job and he does his job miserably.

        • @Shchi Cossack: You are assuming Chapman mows down 4 hitters in a row. In this scenario, if Henry Rodriguez had come in to get an out, the fact is … the out was needed. Lefty-righty doesn’t seem to matter much to the Birds. As a result, the only really bad relief we got were on the 2 HR balls that Adams hit. Over 7 innings, that’s an acceptable amount of bad pitching, regardless of results.

          I still don’t connect Zack Duke to going 8 innings with zero baserunners.

          If you are managing a bullpen for extra innings, you are a soothsayer. You get outs at home in GABP and score a run in the 8th inning, or 9th inning. You are giving me a scenario that suggests you KNEW the game would run 15 innings.

        • @Johnu1: Shchi Cossack is saying that in a critical situation in the bottom of the 8th with 2 outs and 2 guys on and a dangerous LH hitter up, who do you want pitching: Duke or Chapman? Who has the higher probability of getting Adams out? Chapman and it’s not close. Plus, add in that Chapman was going to be used in the top of the 9th as it was a tie game (thinking about extra innings is something I hope my manager is doing at this point), I wholeheartedly believe Chapman should be pitching. You can’t say that S.C. assumes Chapman mows down 4 straight and then turn around and defend the Duke move by saying he got the guy out. All S.C. (based on my interpretation) and myself are saying is that Chapman should’ve been pitching there because he gives us the highest probability of getting Adams out and thus, giving the Reds a better chance to win.

        • @Johnu1: John, DDM and Cossack are correct. By using Duke for only one batter, Bakerman used a player for only one out in an extra inning game. As soon as he brought in Duke, he should have left Duke out there for the 9th. Bakerman should have brought in Chapman instead of Duke and left Chapman out there for teh 9th.

  23. Biggest mistake for me last night happened as soon as I got comfy to watch the game—Heisey starting and batting 5th. Squandered opportunities early on set the stage for Buntapalooza.

    Ludwick has been raking, but you sit him for the second time in a week? Look at his reactions the last two nights–the dude is jacked up and ready to go. Xavier Paul hasn’t sniffed the field in forever. He wouldn’t be a better option vs. a two pitch rightie? Either one should’ve been playing before Heisey. The guy is AAAA material and shouldn’t sniff the field more than once a week.

  24. Allen Craig left the stadium in a boot. With his injury, the iffy status of Molina, and the inconsistency of their pitchers, the Cardinals are hanging on by a thread right now.

    The more you look at the it, the Reds and the Dodgers will be the teams to beat in the NL playoffs. That’ll make this weekend’s series all the more interesting.

  25. This was a terrible game to be a Reds fan. There’s not much worse than toughing out 16 innings and losing – better to just lose in 9. The only good news there is that the Cardinals will be just as burned out as the Reds today. And there are obviously plenty of places to look for reasons why the Reds didn’t win. But for me this game all turned on the first inning and, to a lesser extent, on other missed opportunities early. If the Reds convert even a small percentage of those opportunities the game never makes it to extras and a sweep becomes possible. Runners on 2nd and 3rd, no outs. Votto, Bruce, and Heisey coming up against a pitcher who hasn’t yet found his groove. How often do the numbers suggest that the Reds score zero runs in that situation? I went from really excited to “oh no” in a flash. All I can say about that game is that I’m glad I had it on TiVo and could fast forward through the painful parts (meaning most of the game). I feel for whoever sat through all 16 innings in real time for some heart break in the wee hours. Unforgivable, perhaps. But it happened so now it’s time to take 3/4 from the Cards and look forward. Go Reds.

  26. Boy, people sure don’t like Dusty.

    Anything goes wrong or a player fails to perform their job, it’s Dusty’s fault.

    Something goes right, it only happened in SPITE of Dusty or because Dusty got lucky.

    Seriously, I really don’t think this team would be in this position if Dusty is as bad as you guys make him out to be. Say we had the perfect manager. With the talent on this team, how many games better do you think they’d be than where they are now. 5? 10? 15?

    You guys honestly think this Reds team has the talent, top to bottom, to have the best record in all of baseball? They are still one of the top teams, but I don’t think they are the best. However, I DO think they can get hot and beat teams better than them, just like the ’90 Reds.

    But come on, stop blaming Dusty for everything. Sometimes, players themselves have to actually perform. Dusty didn’t go 0-19 yesterday, although I’m sure that’s somehow his fault too.

    • @CI3J: I believe you, as well as a few others, misinterpret people’s issues with Dusty. Sure, some posters DO overtly blame Bake for a loss. Any reasonable person knows that is hogwash.

      HOWEVER, Baker’s strategic decision DO affect the possible outcomes of certain situations. Such as using Soto against a lefty instead of Mesoraco and then having Mesoraco bunt. Those two decisions left the Reds is a worse position to win. Baker made those decsions. Therefore, Baker contributed to the loss. By no means did he “lose the game.” If you want to assign blame you have to start at the break point and go backwards. Ondrusek gave up a homer, but he was only in that position because Simon gave up a homer. They were only in those positions because the Reds hitters were terrible in extra innings. But they were only in that position because 3-4-5 couldn’t get a run in in the 1st inning, etc, etc, etc.

      Blame can be cast on any number of players on the field. Each person had culpability in the loss, but Baker is the only person who acts in a vaccum and is not affected by the “teammates.” If Choo/Phillips don’t get on in the first inning, no one is talking about the failure of Votto, Bruce, or Heisey to get a run in. Players and their actions are dependent varibles. Baker is an independent variable. His job is to make decisions that give the Reds and increased chance to win. He routinely does the opposite.

      I hope I captured that accurately.

      • @prjeter:

        I do understand that, but there are posters on here who are trying to blame Votto’s slump on something Baker said to him back in MAY.

        That is just lunacy.

        • @CI3J: Maybe for you it would be lunacy. But, in reality, it would be exactly like trying to play through an injury for several months instead of taking time off. The only difference, the injury would be mental. It is very common and not a-typical at all.

          Not to mention, as mentally sensative as Votto is, that can very possibly occur.

        • @steveschoen:
          Except Votto hasn’t been slumping since May.

          And really, if a professional baseball player has THAT sensitive of an ego, get him off the team, even someone with the potential upside of Votto.

        • @CI3J: Maybe for your average player he isn’t. But, when Votto goes 388 in May, 297 in June, 287 in July, and 275 in August, as well as a record number if K’s in a season for him ever and his lowest SLG as a pro, I don’t call that as “Votto playing normal”.

    • @CI3J: To answer one of your other questions; I don’t think the Reds currently have the talent to be the best team in baseball record-wise. If you took all injuries out of the picture for every team, I think LA and STL are still more talented and better teams all-around.

      My guess, backed by no statistics whatsoever, is that if Dusty managed the games like some of us want him to and had been putting out lineups that make sense all year rather than just the last 2 weeks, the Reds would have about 3 more wins. Not huge, but there. (Again; this is based on nothing whatsoever than my whims) ;)

      • @prjeter: I believe we would probably have more than 3 wins. Maybe not much more like 15-20, but most likely more, like 4-8. I mean, Baker has pulled some real “tricks” out of his bag. Things that make you go Hmmm. . .

        The thing is, look at what even just 3 additional wins would put us right now. Ahead of the Cards and right on the Pirates tail, at lot better position that we are now.

  27. Anyone wanting Dusty fired, who is your replacement? Please dont say anyone in the Minor Leagues, last thing we need is another Dave Miley who was a joke. Narron was horrible also.

    • @gschiller13: Jim Riggleman wouldn’t be a joke coming from AAA.

      I think Barry Larkin would be an excellent candidate although I do worry about guys who have never managed at the big league level before.

      Despite what I just said, my dream candidate would be Cal Ripken, Jr. who recently indicated an interest in managing. He’s probably feeling out the Nationals job but I would love to make a run at him.

      How about Bryan Price? My guess is he’d be the top choice of many RLN regulars.

    • @gschiller13: The same answer as “Who is going to bat in the 1-2 holes if not Stubbs and Cozart?” Most anyone else. Seriously, I would think we could put most anyone else in the same position and get this much out of this team. And, that would save the team money, money that we could possibly put into hiring more hitting coaches for the entire organization, better hitting coaches, better players, etc.

  28. Didn’t read all the comments, but among the many idiotic moves by Dusty last night to me he made the biggest mistake in the 12th inning. Instead of using the lethal Ludwick/Billy combo to lead off the 12th and get us a win, he sent the minor leaguer Soto up there, who struck out on 4 pitches. Then Luddy/Billy were used in the 14th to tie the game and prolong the torture. In a game like that don’t you go for the win? Not hitting Luddy there in favor of a guy with a handful of major league at bats only speaks to the magnitude of Dusty’s stupidity.

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