2013 Reds / Big Red Machine / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: Votto and Leake and Chapman, oh my

Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Los Angeles 2
Cincinnati 3

W: M. Leake (12-6)
L: J. Howell (2-1)
S: A. Chapman (35)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Joey Votto broke out of his 0-for-13 slump by going 2-2 with two walks, two runs scored, and two RBI. The RBI came on a huge two-run homer (his 22nd) that gave the Reds the 3-2 lead.

–Mike Leake came through with an outstanding start. After a recent run of poor performances, it looked like he was starting on the wrong foot when Hanley Ramirez went deep in the first with a two-run homer. Leake settled down almost immediately, though, going seven and two thirds, and giving up only those two runs, on five hits and no walks. An excellent performance.

–So Aroldis Chapman pitched again. Fourth day in a row. As you’ll remember from yesterday’s recap, I was in favor of using Aroldis to finish last night’s game. I think it was the right idea. But when Chapman entered the game tonight, I confess to being concerned about what we might see.

What we saw was sheer, unadulterated dominance by the Cuban Missile. He struck out Yasiel Puig to begin the inning, on fastballs of 99, 101, and 102. He then blew through Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez to strike out the side. Facing the meat of the Dodgers order, Chapman was untouchable.

Wow. Just wow.

–Billy Hamilton, eh? Brandon Phillips led off the eighth with a single, then limped down to first (the quad injury from last night was bothering him). No worries; in comes Hamilton to pinch-run. It was amusing to watch Dodger lefty Paco Rodriguez lose his concentration as he openly worried about Hamilton at first, and ignored Votto at the plate (Votto would ultimately walk).

It didn’t matter how much attention he paid to Hamilton. Stolen base #3 for the young guy. He’s fast. Have you noticed that?

–To Dusty Baker’s credit, he removed Leake at precisely the correct moment. Manny Parra came in to finish out the eighth in fashion.

NEGATIVES
–None.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–That’s four wins in five games for the ol’ Redlegs, after struggling through three straight series. Good stuff.

–Billy Hamilton is tied for 5th on the Reds in stolen bases this season. And he’s never had a single plate appearance in the majors.

–I would have had the recap posted sooner, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. Tonight, after the game, they held a “Great 8″ ceremony, in which the Big Red Machine starters returned to the field in Cincinnati. It was pretty darn cool but, then, I love dumb stuff like this.

Johnny Bench turning his cap around and crouching behind the plate was the best moment. And though I long ago tired of the Pete Rose debate, it was certainly a nice moment when he stepped onto the field and teared up at the ovation he received.

–All of a sudden (as tHom would say), the Reds are playing some good baseball. This week has been…fun? I didn’t expect that, but I’m enjoying it.

–Mat Latos vs. Zack Greinke tomorrow. Should be a good ol’ good one.

Source: FanGraphs

73 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: Votto and Leake and Chapman, oh my

  1. When will Jocketty be fired?? I mean the decision to have Leake start and Chapman in the pen has just been HORRIBLE!!! Leake can’t pitch well against good teams and Chapman only enters games that have already been decided. Oh wait 8)

    • @RisingRed: even if Chapman were the best closer in the league, which he hasn’t been this year, it wouldn’t justify the contract we gave to Broxton because we thought we needed him to be the closer…

      • @mlb:
        A dumb decision there, but I have not felt they have been letting players go because of finances. Arroyo and Choo probably go because they will be aging & over-valued
        Sometimes the best moves are the ones you do not make

  2. It was too bad that Ludwick had such a tough night at the plate. Would have been nice to see him rake a couple.

  3. That was as much fun as I’ve had watching a full Reds game all season. Thought we might get good Mike tonite even after the Ramirez HR, because that was the only hard hit ball of the inning (Puig was on base with an IF single). And as I kept saying on the game thread, only two hard hit balls off Mike the whole game, both by Hanley.

    And good going, Dusty, taking him out at just the right time.

    • @josephneely25: The problem with the BRM memory is that a lot of folks are satisfied to contain it to 75-76. That team actually got its roots in 1969 and was still very good through 1979. The ’74 Reds won 98 games.

      • @Johnu1: Right, the Reds won 970+ games in the decade of the 1970s, by far the most of that decade.

        It’s also good to remember that the Reds made it to the WS (but lost) in 1970 and 1972, and lost to an 82 win Mets team in the 1973 NLCS. At that point the national media and their followers said the Reds were chokers and couldn’t win in the postseason. They didn’t shed that reputation until they won the 1975 WS.

        • @pinson343: The 1970 team basically had the arms fall off several of guys in the rotation over the second half of the season; and had little more than a wing and a prayer going for it in the WS.

          If I recall correctly they were 70-30 in their first 100 games on their way to a 102-60 regular season.

          When they fell flat on their faces in 1971 the talk was that team didn’t fit the new stadium, i.e. AstroTurf and bigger dimensions. But there was also the issue of needing to rebuild the pitching. Never forget that Jack Billingham came over with Morgan in that blockbuster deal between the 71 and 72 seasons.

        • @OhioJim:

          Billingham was a good big game (playoff) pitcher for the Reds, but for my money, in the BRM era, I’ll take Fred Norman, who came over in ’73 over Billingham for effectiveness for the Reds.

      • @Johnu1: Not only that, it annoys me a bit when people automatically pick the ’75 Reds when they’re talking about all-time great teams – and ignore the ’76 team. The ’75 team won more regular season games, but almost every starter except Bench had better seasons in ’76, the ’76 team swept through the postseason, and we would not have been a dynasty if not for ’76. As Sparky said, that team just toyed with people. The greatest team of all time.

  4. Solid effort again by pitching staff.
    Good one game by Votto.
    Ludwick needs to move down the batting order
    Good confidence building win

    Two tough games to go but a good start.

    Hamilton brings excitement and the only speed we got

    Go get them tomor…

    Latos and Baily – like our chances at home..

  5. NY Reds fan here. Anyone have a link to video of the BRM ceremony? DirecTV cuts the feed immediately after the game is over (still don’t know why the MLB Extra Innings package doesn’t include pre- and post-game).

    Thanks. What a game! Thank you, Joey! I can’t remember the last home run that felt that good!

  6. Yup i love pete.. one of my fav all time

    Hope he does make it to the Hall…before his time is up…
    But depends on the commissioner and other sentiments i suppose

    Great to see big red machine players… brings fond memories and
    All the grit and hustle that i rarely see any more….

    Good wknd

    • @tae: Leaving Rose out of MLB (hence, the Hall of Fame) now just borders on intentional cruelty. There’s no reason for that.

      • @Johnu1: Agree that he should be in the HOF. It’s a Selig thing at this point. I believe Pete is in once there’s a new commissioner.

        I was tough on him for a long time, but he’s owned up. And made an emotional genuine statement of regret a couple of years ago at a dinner with some of his BRM teammates present. What’s to be accomplished by waiting for him to pass away to get into the Hall ? Enough is enough.

        • @pinson343: 100% agree. Very nice post.

          Pete is still my favorite player of all time but I too was angry with him for many years. It may have taken a little longer, than most, to fully mature but Pete has.

        • @pinson343: I was never a big fan of Rose but I agree 100%. I actually teared a bit along with him tonight.

          That MLB has allowed Rose to be part of several events like tonight’s says to me he is forgiven but for whatever reason MLB cannot let itself forget.

          I suspect the protectors of Bart Giamatti’s legacy honestly feel like the Rose situation hastened his demise; and, that they continue to lobby behind the scenes against any reinstatement of Rose or normalization of Rose’s status.

        • @OhioJim: Bingo. I think you nailed it: those guys literally blame Rose for Giamatti’s death, at least in part. So they will fight to keep him out of the HOF, because that’s the only they can balance the scales of justice a bit.

        • @pinson343:
          Since I didn’t see the game last night, I watched this clip of the Great 8 from MLB.com on the Reds web site.

          It shows video clips of all the players being introduced and taking the field except for Pete Rose. He was there as part of the celebration and MLB refuses to show his introduction on their site. It’s beyond cruelty and on to insanity to pretend he doesn’t exist.

          http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130907&content_id=59814252&vkey=news_cin&c_id=cin

        • @MikeC:
          I need to retract my comment because I don’t know how to remove it. I watched the clip a second time. My feed was interrupted twice the first time so I missed Rose’s intro.
          He is shown being introduced.

        • @MikeC: The absolutely powerful voice of PA man Paul Sommerkamp. When the team was announced, player by player, they would take their positions on the field and you just knew they were going to kick some butt. Oddly, the games at old Crosley hardly drew enough fans to play the light bill.

      • @Johnu1:While I am not in favor of the lifetime ban in light of the punishments being brought by the steroid era, Rose knew the punishment for his crime. They gave him a ladder out of the mess if he had just confessed. He continued to lie. Rose brought it on himself.

  7. Chapman has learned how to be a closer. His first full season, he had a problem with pitching 2 days in a row. As of last year, you still didn’t want to see him used 3 days in a row. His 4th in a row tonite was the first time he did that. No doubt Dusty and/or Price asked him earlier in the day about how he felt, and Chapman convinced them he was ready to go.

    Three of the best hitters in the NL, and they couldn’t manage a foul tip.

  8. Did Joey look like the old Joey or what? How many slumps end with a solid single through the box? Got a feeling he is ready to go on a serious tear.

    Don’t look now but our boys are smoking hot.

  9. Great win tonight. This was one the Reds needed with the LA pitcher going out and having to face two of the best tomorrow and Sunday. Luckily, LA has to face two of the best as well. Reds need at least one and have to play lights out the rest of the way. And we need the Pirates to win over the Cards if possible. STL has an easy schedule from here on out while the Pirates have a pretty rough road.

    • @Kyle: I favored a Cardinals win tonite. Now I’d like to see the Pirates win the next two.

      All kind of nonsense going on in St. Louis tonite. With the Cards leading 9-1, a Pirates pitcher throws a breaking pitch that gets away and almost hits Molina. The stupid ump issues a warning and of course the crowd goes crazy, wanting to lynch the pitcher. Molina then homers. Major celebration.

      Next Axford throws a fastball right at a Pirate batter’s head, hitting him. Methaney gets ejected for pulling a LaRussa.

  10. Joey and Bruce, for the 2nd nite in a row, both more than hold their own against a tough lefty reliever. Keep them at 3 and 4 in the lineup !

  11. Scary, seeing the Birds’ bats come to life again. They have a lot of home games now against some pretty ordinary teams.

    • @Johnu1: Burnett got clobbered and had to exit early just after Liriano did. The Pirates have starting rotation problems. So do the Cardinals. The NL Central is winnable for the Reds.

      • @pinson343: Regarding the Pirates and their rotation, keep in mind that they don’t have an offday until the day before the final series of the season, in Cincinnati. …… And the Cardinals get an offday this coming Monday, but then THEY don’t have a day off until the day before their final series of the season.

  12. Hopefully tonight was the start of a RED HOT Votto the rest of the year, we need him. Chapman was utterly dominant and nasty. It’d be nice to not need him tomorrow. Leake was fantastic and needed a nice bounce back outing. The Great 8 was the best lineup in the history of MLB, no doubt. Great moment after the game. It would be HUGE if we could win tomorrow’s game, we need Latos to pitch like he did against the Cards. Can you imagine how many fastballs down the middle Votto would get next year if our line up in front of him was:

    Choo
    B Hamilton
    Votto

    • @Josh: While I agree with everything else you stated, I don’t feel that Chapman had his ‘Nasty’ stuff going tonight and he didn’t need it, obviously. His ‘Nasty’ stuff is him throwing that wicked-a$$ed slider, or what ever you want to call it. He threw 13 pitches, I think, and all but one was a fast ball. Extremely effective, but not ‘nasty’ in my opinion.http://redlegnation.com/wp-includes/images/smilies/icon_sad.gif

  13. Nat’s and DBack’s both lose (the DBack turned out to be a 1 hitter for them).

    I hope things break in such a way that the Reds have a legit shot to pull out the division. However if they are still in third place two weeks from now and 2 or 3 games back, they are going to have some interesting decisions to make about how they play the Pirates in those 6 head to head games.

  14. The great 8 celebration was pretty good stuff. I wasn’t alive when they won to 2 ws titles but my dad says to this day Bench is the best catcher to ever play the game and he is an Indians fan. I’m happy for this huge win! Glad to see Votto start to get out of his funk. Hamilton puts the fear into the opposing pitcher/team no doubt. Glad too see a reds player able to do that for a change. As far as the division race goes I still feel that STL will take it w their cupcake schedule left. We have got to overtake the Pirates for the 1 wc spot at all costs. This team is so much tougher at GABP!

  15. I was just reading through the posts from the last couple of days. In everyday conversation, if someone even remotely alludes to Joey Votto and his approach at the plate as being something that is holding the Reds back, then I would lose all interest in hearing anything else that person has to say about baseball. For example, I wouldn’t talk geography with someone who thinks the world is flat. Just sayin.

    • @Pete Snow: when i read the quote from votto yesterday saying he felt great physically and at the plate, i knew everything would be ok…..baseball is a funny sport….everybody slumps

    • @Pete Snow: when i read the quote from votto yesterday saying he felt great physically and at the plate, i knew everything would be ok…..baseball is a funny sport….everybody slumps

    • @Pete Snow:
      Even if Votto falls in the .290 range and does not hit another homerun this month, its not too troubling. The hits will come

      The 0-7 game was a bit troubling, when the walks drop off you begin to suspect somethings wrong. He draws a walk or 2 in that game it disrupts many things like pitch counts, strategy, approaches to Bruce

  16. Chad, you’re not the only one who likes that “dumb stuff.” I was soaking up every moment of the Great 8 being on the field again. That was one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen. I could practically smell the Hudy and cheap cigars of Riverfront as the players were being announced.

    BTW: No mention of 1st-and-3rd and bases loaded without a single run scored in the “Negatives”? I know it was a great night overall, but those innings were pretty sad.

      • @RedZeppelin:

        The bases loaded situation in the 8th was just bad luck…Ludwick hit that ball hard and it went right into Wilson’s glove…nothing Hamilton could have done, he was toast.

        It was bad luck, but of all the time Bunty Baker could have bunted, this was it. If they had just saved one bunt from the 16-inning Cardinals game, it would have taken all the drama out of the last inning.

  17. Can someone explain why if Pete can go on the field last night and be part of this weekends events why cant the Reds retire his number on honor him?

  18. didn’t get to check the game out last night but was looking at some stats this morning and found an interesting one to me: Choo has has many HRs (20) as Freese and Craig (20) combined ! lol

  19. Great game, great win. Even Dusty had a good game.

    I know it’s not a nice thing to say, but in “negatives” you could have put “this game practically guarantees Leake will get the nod over Cingrani for a playoff start.”. (Cingrani’s probably the fifth starter in Dusty’s eyes. Sixth if Cueto gets back. And Dusty loves LHP relievers….)

    • @Eric the Red: Well, the plus side is that if Leake gets a playoff start then that means we’ve made it to at least the NLDS. I agree 100% with you that Cingrani should get a start in the NLDS, however.

  20. I haven’t looked ahead at the pitching rotation, but what’s going to be interesting to me is what happens if these NL central teams are tightly bunched together entering the final 4 days or so. If you’re 3 back with 4 to play do you save your ace for the 1 game playoff? What if your most dependable guy is due to pitch when you’re 2 back with 3 to play? It may be that 1st is decided but home field for the play-in game is up in the air – then what do you do? Going to make for some interesting decisions. No reason to think thay won’t be pretty tightly bunched at this point.

    • @vared: If I counted correctly, if we stay on schedule then Latos is set up to pitch our first playoff game. Meaning Homer would be ready to pitch 2nd, or start the 2nd round for us. So for us, at least, we probably don’t make any changes, unless things are set in stone so we skip Cingrani to keep his innings down. If Cueto is actually pitching, it might shake things up.

      • @Eric the Red:
        If you look at it from strictly a stacking of the rotation, there is an off day before the final Pirate series. Pitch your wild card starter on Friday, they go on short rest, pitch them the game before they 5 days off between starts but they miss the Pirate series.
        I am not sure if you factoring in off days, I see Latos pitching the 13th, 18th, and 23rd or 24th
        Possibly they pitch Reynolds a few turn to give everyone some added rest

  21. I’m going to ramble a moment so please forgive me in advance.
    I grew up in northwestern Ohio during the BRM era and the only member of my family NOT born in Michigan. I remember fondly wondering why my grandfather spent countless hours sitting in his rocking chair listening to the Tigers on his radio day after day, he even gave me a Tiger penant once that I am sure spent most of its time buried under toys in the floor of my closet. Looking back I wish I still had it just for sentimental reasons. I lost my father 4 weeks ago totally unexpectedly. I was hoping the Reds would face the Tiger in the World series but it never materialized for the Reds, sure would have loved to attend that game with my dad, we never saw a major league game together.
    I loved the BRM so much as a youngster and spent many hours in the front yard pitching a popup high into the air and throwing a catchers mask off my face a diving for the ball and thinking to myself, Johnny Bench does it again! I loved Bench so much that in little league I wanted to be a left handed catcher, but at that time there were no left handed mits to be found, thus relegating me to pitcher and 1’st base.
    The saturday morning Baseball bunch show that Bench had was my favorite show!
    But all my love for Bench faded in my adult years as he turned on Pete Rose, Pete should be in the HALL of FAME!

    SORRY about spewing out my feelings,
    Go REDS! :)

  22. A few things pointed out as possible “negatives” … the truth is, when you win, the only negative is that the other team has its feelings hurt. But a few points that could be construed as “objective criticisms” … so there might be a reason to modify the format to account for that.

    An example would be … leaving 12 guys on base, even though having 12 extra baserunners is sometimes a nice bonus. Depends on if you scored one more run than the other guy did.

    As well, a few other intangibles might be considered — for one, I think Mesoraco did a masterful job calling the game. Nobody wins anything without good catching.

  23. To OhioJim: The 1970 Baltimore Orioles played 162 games during the regular season, won 108 games, lost 54 games. The also had a guy named Frank Robinson with three starters called McNally, Cuellar and some dude named Palmer. They were the better team. However, the series will always be remembered for the stellar “D” of Brooks Robinson at 3rd. To quote Pete Rose after the Reds lost: we would have given Brooks a car!

    Back to the here and now: great win last night. Felt playoff-like. Let’s not forget, Mattingly had to go deep into his ‘pen due to Capuano going out early. However, nice to see Votto break out of his slump. Hamilton is simply electricfying. Gotta find a way to get that young man an AB. I agree with PRoseFutureHOFer on DirecTV dumping out of games immediately after it ends. Two things: I’m paying for it so I should at least get a half hour before and after plus no Blackouts EVER. I know it’s being debated.

  24. I thought this was a huge game for Leake. When he was sreaking earlier this season, it was a trend of the Reds staking him to an early lead. Also, with Leake, the trend had been if the other team gets out to an early lead, Leake would blow it wide open at some point in time. 2 in the first that quick, I was expecting more in the second if not the third. But, Leake just kept putting up zeros. Against this Dedger team! Job well done.

    I do think Rose should be in the HOF, also. I can’t help thinking the commissioner will be doing something along those line when the All-Star game is here.

    I grew up on the BRM myself, listening to their games on my 70’s I-Pod (transistor radio) hidden under my sheets from my parents. When I first moved up here, never hearing of the Reds Fest in December, that year they all were going to be there, I planned my entire winter around that Reds Fest. They all were special to me. But, I would have to say my favorites were, in no particular order, Bench, Rose, Morgan (with his elbow pop at bat), and Foster. Some team might put together a talented starting lineup like this again for a year or two. But, with the success the BRM had, I don’t think we will see another dynasty like that in my lifetime. The Braves of the 90’s always fell short. I don’t think the Yankees of the 90’s were as talented. I mean, including catcher, I believe with 4 of the 5 starting IF in the HOF, I just can’t imagine seeing that talented of a lineup ever again. We were hugely spoiled.

    • @steveschoen: I think it’s possible, short term, to build an on-field team with that sort of success. You can BUY it. That isn’t the same thing as 8 individually talented players producing a team. Of course, the parts are inclusive. Geronimo would not be in a Great 8 of anything if he was with the 1969 Expos. But that’s what successful teams do — find the positives in each player. The Chief could play CF!

      There were other great teams in the past — all the Yankees teams from 1947 forward were that good. Milwaukee was very difficult to beat from 1956 through the early 60s, then left for Atlanta. Oakland — pretty darned good baseball team.

      Of the modern era (to mean, the years prior to free agency and after the expansion era) … no team was as dominating as the BRM.

      The free agency years muddle the conversation though I think the Braves teams of the 90s are lacking one or two more W.S. titles to qualify. That was/is a very strong franchise. We dismiss it too easily because they only won a single W.S. title.

      • @Johnu1: Short term, I said we could see that, yes. But, that much talent, with that much success, for that long a time? I don’t think we will see a team like that again.

        • @steveschoen: Got this from a post at MLB.com in the Comments section:

          “Those eight now well-fed guys started 107 games together over the ’75-’76 seasons, fewer than a lot of us might think.

          However, when all 8 did start, the Reds record was 88-19. Not too shabby. That’s just above an .820 percentage, which would have translated to a 132-30 record for a single season.”

        • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: To wisely compare the 107 times starting line up stat, you need to compare it to something else. For, all we know, that could be a high mark for all teams of that time. Also, in making out the starting lineup each day, much of it can also come down to injuries, how much of a leash a manager has for a player in a slump, how much a manager is going to try to keep the bench and starters fresh with regular starting subs, etc. When was the last time anyone has ever seen an entire 8 man lineup start every game? I would be willing to bet never. But, as mainstays of each and every team, like this 8 were during the seasons that put the BRM over the top (75-76), we will not see a better starting 8 in my lifetime. Not to mention the prior years with the other players we had, like Tolan, Carbo, McRae, May, etc., the club was definitely the dynasty of the 70’s.

          Now, I would compare that team to, the 70’s team, for example, the Braves and the Yankees of the 90’s. But, that 75-76 team, many of which were here for the other years, also, I don’t think we will see it in my lifetime. As successful as they were in all instances on the field, with as many titles, then so many HOFers? Nope, not in this lifetime. Like someone said, some team may buy it. But, with this many HOFers on it, for as long as they were on it? Nope.

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