2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: Back on top of the world, right?

Let’s recap today’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Cincinnati 7
Milwaukee 3

W: H. Bailey (11-10)
L: J. Hellweg (1-4)
S: A. Chapman (36)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Shin-Soo Choo doubled, homered, and walked in four plate appearances. He scored three runs and drove in three runs. Choo, ladies and gentlemen, is the perfect leadoff hitter, as far as I’m concerned.

–Joey Votto was 2-3 with a 470-foot two-run homer, a walk, and 3 RBI. Votto pulled the homer down the right field line, which is a rare feat for him. It clanged off the foul pole, giving the Reds a 6-3 lead and a little breathing room that they would need later.

–Todd Frazier and Ryan Ludwick each had two hits, and Frazier drove in a run with a first-inning single.

NEGATIVES
–The Reds were victimized — again — with some lousy baserunning. Today, Frazier and Votto were the culprits.

–Sam LeCure was pretty bad, walking two and surrendering one hit, while only recording one out.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–After losing three out of four to a couple of pretty bad teams, the Redlegs win one and now have a chance to eke out a victory in this series.

–Homer Bailey was okay today. Seven innings, three runs allowed on five hits and four walks; Homer only struck out three. It was good enough to win, which is good enough for me.

–Before the game, Dusty Baker evidently held a meeting with some of the players. If that’s all it takes to get the bats working, I wish he’d have done that months ago.

–I hope the Reds pull out all the stops to re-sign Choo after this season.

–Dusty Baker brought Aroldis Chapman into the game in the eighth inning (with a 7-3 score), after Sam LeCure loaded the bases. Chapman struck out Jonathan Lucroy to end the inning. Lucroy, you will remember, hit a walk-off homer against Chapman last month at Miller Park.

Not today.

–I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, Nation, but there is something you need to know: this team is only going to break your heart in the end. Don’t get too emotionally invested.

–Bronson Arroyo will pitch tomorrow in the rubber match.

Source: FanGraphs

88 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: Back on top of the world, right?

  1. “–I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, Nation, but there is something you need to know: this team is only going to break your heart in the end. Don’t get too emotionally invested.” Ya, sadly, we all kind of know this is true.

    • @tpteach: Yes really interesting statement there by Chad. Kind of like a father warning his young son to not get too emotionally invested in the hot girl that Dad knows is going to break his heart. I get it Chad, this team is a tease, but I’ve always been a sucker for that.

      Except for fans of the WS team, every contending team’s fans will get their heart broken this fall. And what’s there to look forward to after ? The cold autumn, shorter days, and the colder winter. Giamatti wrote an essay about this, including the statement: “Baseball was invented to break your heart.”

    • @tpteach: Gonna have to respectfully disagree with Chad on this one. The reason baseball is so fun to watch is because of the emotional investment. I’ll take the heartbreak to go along with all the thrills and wonders and moments where you feel like you’re a part of something special, even from as far away as we fans really are from what goes on down there on the field. This season has not been as disappointing as some have portrayed it, at least not for me.

      Yeah, I want every game to be a win but even if they somehow bungle things at the end.. there have been some incredible stories written on that field this year. Manny Para? Teddy Kremer? Chapman’s last few flashes of absolute dominance? That insane home run today by Votto that clanged so far up the foul pole that the camera didn’t even catch it? Those are the reasons I watch the Reds, winning just makes it sweeter.

      • @Mwv: Great statement but I don’t think you’re in disagreement with Chad, in terms of the big picture. He’s made statements similar to yours. Without the risk of heartbreak, there’s no joy.

        • @pinson343:
          But in the big picture, it like saying why bother livin’ life as you are only going to die. Louis CK says best case scenario you meet your soul mate and you die alone because you outlive them, spending your final years carrying groceries to your retirement home where you eventually die

        • @vicferrari: That strikes a personal chord with me, my parents were married for going on 70 years, my father recently passed away and my mother is the survivor.

        • @pinson343:
          And I am sure she rarely regrets a year of “wasting” her life with him. If he was a Reds fan in the lost decade, then they may have had some trying times.

          Thanks for sharing something real, as I fear offending someone in my silliness in between hanging out with my kids and watching NCAA FB while letting off some steam taking in a few adult beverages and typing ridiculous posts.

        • @vicferrari: I enjoy your posts. My father was a lifelong Cardinal fan, and we could still have passionate talks about baseball without pissing each other off.

          He fell for the Gashouse Gang Cardinals, Dizzy and Daffy and the rest. I could understand that, they were a fun bunch. Actually I liked the Cardinals until LaRussa and Carpenter came along.

      • @Mwv: The Votto HR, and his leaning his body to will it to stay fair, was a classic moment. It’s cool that the camera can’t even capture how high it went, you have to use your imagination.

        If it had gone higher than the top of the foul poll, that could have been a problem, because then the umps don’t know if it was fair or foul.

        • @pinson343: Yep, I love stuff like that.. it shows you just how bad they want it sometimes. They’re all big kids at heart playing that game, or at least a lot of them are.

  2. On a lighter note, love it when the Reds win a day game and their rivals are playing at nite. Can relax tonite and root for the road warrior Cubs and the fighting’ Phils (with Hamels). And hope the Mariners at least don’t just give away the game to the Cardinals, like they did last nite.

    Here’s a question: which team would you most want to lose tonite ? I’m going with the Pirates, want the Reds in position to pass them.

    • @pinson343: After the fact post, but I’ll actually take what happened. We need teams like the Seattle Mariners and the Phillies to help us out a little since we don’t play the Cards again this season (post season excluded).

      Will definitely take a little more breathing room and a little closer to 1st any day. The Reds can take care of the Pirates themselves in due time (hopefully).

      • @cincyreds14: And isn’t it amazing what a difference a day makes. Reds win; Nats lose; Cards lose; and, we are all looking ahead instead of back over our shoulders.

  3. “–I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, Nation, but there is something you need to know: this team is only going to break your heart in the end. Don’t get too emotionally invested.”

    Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and easter Bunny are not real. So what can you believe.
    Unless you root for the Yankees or Cards your team will be lucky to win 3 world series in your lifetime, what you need to have is the belief, and in despite of Dusty I believe for no particular reason

    • @vicferrari: Well, the Reds have won 3 WS in my lifetime, and I do consider myself lucky to have become a Reds fan early in the BRM era (1970) – very lucky – and to have been lucky enough to get to see those teams plays many times despite living 2 hours from Cincinnati. Really, I should consider everything else gravy, but I lose that perspective most of the time. Thanks for reminding me.

  4. Everyone knows the REAL reason the bats woke up isn’t because of a meeting Dusty called or anything, it’s due to high socks. Choo, Votto, and Frazier all rock the high socks today. Combine for 6/10 of the Reds hits, 3/3 of the teams XBHs, 7/7 of the teams RBI, 4/7 of the team’s runs scored, 2/4 of the team’s BB.

    High socks = Offense

  5. Listened to parts of the game on my car radio, with Uecker calling the game.
    I like Ueck. After Frazer’s TOOTLBAN, my frustration level peaked.
    If the Reds blew this game, the fan base would be so demoralized the Reds would be listening to crickets when they play at home.

    What was Frazier thinking ? The only thing I can think of is that he was trying to protect Homer from getting hit again by Hellweg, who’d already hit 2 guys that
    inning.

  6. The Chapman-Lucroy matchup in the bottom of the 8th was interesting, to say the least. Lecroy’s walkoff HR was on the first slider Chapman threw him after a bunch of fastballs. After that game Lecroy was saying that Chapman did him a favor with the slider, that “it’s easy to slow down your bat for it.”

    Then he trash talked about how when Chapman came up Aroldis was all excited and throwing 105 mph fast balls, and “that’s not cool” so he was happy to get payback. He didn’t mention the somersaults, which is probably what really bothered him.

    Anyway, no sliders today and according to Uecker, Chapman struck him out on a wild pitch. Maybe Lucroy was a little too eager for more payback.

    • @pinson343:
      Like that Chapman out thinks the hitters, I always like the idea of Mario Soto’s circle change, not sure if he has this in his repertoire

      Does Chapman just have his 98-102 Fastball and slider or does he have someone teaching the changeup?

      • @vicferrari: Price has off and on worked with Chapman on developing a changeup. During the spring training of 2012, when Chapman was starting regularly and trying to make the starting rotation, his 3rd pitch was a changeup. Price was encouraged by Chapman’s progress with it and said it could become a useful pitch for him.

        With Chapman’s going to the bullpen and eventually becoming closer, the changeup has been dropped in favor of developing better command of the fastball and slider.

        BTW I enjoyed watching Mario Soto pitch more than any other Reds pitcher, before or since. He was electrifying.

        • @pinson343:
          I have posted on here that I became a true Red’s fan in 82 and that probably is attributed to at least 50% to Soto

          I wonder how many short term fans, pre-1995, can appreciate what this era’s team can accomplish but this is an amazing run by a very average team

        • @pinson343: Pinson, definitely appreciate all your comments but I will take Jose Rijo with Mario Soto a close 2nd. The Reds pitcher who was primarily instrumental in the Reds winning their last championship gets my nod.

  7. Just give me another game like our last playoff game- just with a different outcome. Buster won’t be in the playoffs, so it our turn to have some luck. The pure thrill of Homer Bailey pitching in a playoff game or Latos. Huge at bats will come for Frazier or Cozart and they will produce. Let’s write one hell of a heart breaking story ( for our opponents) in the post-season!

  8. It didn’t matter so much after his mighty HR, but Joey managed to get himself thrown out twice in the 9th. The first one was cancelled by catcher’s interference.
    The second time, I don’t know why’s trying to score on a short fly single to RF with
    one out and Cozart, who’s hit well lately, due up. He shouted at Cozart for not signaling him to slide. He should have slid anyway (“when in doubt”) but RLN bloggers have noted previous times when a Reds runner should have slid, didn’t, and the on deck batter had not signaled to slide.

    How does that sort of fundamentally bad team habit not get corrected for an entire season ?

    • @pinson343: How does that not get corrected, you ask? …..Wasn’t there a quote from Dusty awhile back saying, in essence, Don’t ask me why the players can’t get it right, go ask them. I’m tired of bringing it up. … If Dusty can’t or won’t fix it, I don’t expect any changes. … How could the on-deck batter NOT know that he is supposed to tell the base runner whether to slide into home, and to which side of the plate to approach? It’s entirely possible that Joey doesn’t want to slide if he doesn’t have to, given his leg injury. … Of course, Joey had a third-base coach not bother to tell him to slide either, so why would it bother Dusty if a mere player didn’t do it either.

  9. I nearly hit “publish” on this post, then I went back and made the statement about the Reds breaking your heart. And I agree with every comment you guys have made about it, even Mwv’s respectful disagreement.

    Mostly, I guess I put it in there to see what you guys would say. Because my head says what I typed in the recap. My heart says that I love baseball and I love the Reds and I want to believe in them.

    If you can believe it — and this is probably evidence of my insanity — I’m still bummed over the fact that I really believed in the 2012 Reds, and they broke my heart completely. I don’t know if I can ever let myself believe in a Reds team again. Doesn’t seem worth it, frankly.

    • @Chad Dotson:
      It’s not worth it, but how else are going to pend April through October?
      We all feel exactly like you do, no need to justify your comment

      • @vicferrari:

        Ditto …

        Maybe, can we, we might, possibly …

        That is what 10 teams (and after the WC games – 8) will be wondering as MLB enters the month of October. At least the Reds will be in the discussion – better than the Phils, Giants, Rockies, Mets …

        And I like the Reds chances as much as any of the other challengers – and that’s why there are diehard fans and the reason MLB plays the game.

        No doubt about it, even though its been a grind, there have been some great moments and maybe many more.

        GO REDS!!

    • @Chad Dotson: Yeah, 2012 was a crusher but I just tell myself that they are going to get a shot this year to make it all up to us. If that doesn’t pan out then who cares? Knowing it could happen will keep me enthralled until it doesn’t.

      • @davidphillips6</@Mwv: I am with you. The Reds definitely have the talent to get hot this next month – maybe it has been a back and forth drama of a season to simply set up a grand finale to the season.

        And if the Reds do indeed make the playoffs (as only 4 teams make the playoffs – the loser of the WC game does not as its a 1 game playoff to ENTER the playoffs), they have the talent to run the table. And since there is really no dominate team in baseball this year (based on the consensus of the media as well as the fact no team in MLB will win 100 games – my personal definition of a dominant team – remember the BRM won 102 and 108 in 1975 and 1976).

        Defense and pitching wins in the post-season and when I was in Cincy last week I had a great conversation with a Braves fan. And he also agreed – its all about pitching and defense and that could, I repeat could, get them over the top.

        The Giants, as indicated by their team’s record this year, were a one year wonder.

        Well, the Reds could be too.

      • @Mwv: And, if nothing else, there’s always next year. And the next. It’s not like this team’s window is about to shut.

        • @redskaph:
          As a fan its the year in year out thing. This team is about to make the playoffs for the first time in back-to-back years since 1976.
          A ton of guys are in their prime, if Stephenson can be effective in a few years, they just need a few pieces even with an Arroyo, Choo, or even Bailey departure

          A good GM keeps this franchise relevent just hope the players stay healthy

  10. I shudder to think it took (presumably) losing the game and knowing Washington was within striking distance for Dusty to have a talk with his team. Dusty has his one last reserve bottle of urgency and reluctant to use it?

  11. “I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, Nation, but there is something you need to know: this team is only going to break your heart in the end. Don’t get too emotionally invested.”

    Unbelievable. Yeah, let’s all go walk the plank right now, never watch another game, and so forth. Great job with this post. Fabulous in fact. Why should anyone come back? Season’s over, right?

  12. Re: Chad’s statement about breaking your heart

    Isn’t that what being a Cincinnati sports fan is all about? We have to be the most heartbroken, pessimistic fanbase in the country. True there are cities with a longer history of losing (Cleveland, Detroit, etc) but we are continually teased with talent only to fall short. Kenyon Martin’s injury before the Big Dance comes to mind. For the Reds that Chicken Little attitude is manifested most prominently in the Brennamans, who have influenced generations of bitter fans. We just know that Reggie will strikeout, Griffey will get injured around the ASB, Halladay will pitch a no-hitter, Rolen will make an error, and Posey will hit a grand slam.

    And yet, as someone else mentioned – to experience true love you have to risk the heartbreak. I maintain that with our current roster (minus the manager) we can beat anyone. I even put money on a Reds WS victory last time I was in Vegas. (I always trust the bookies. They have no allegiance other than money, and they gave the Reds better odds than all but two or three teams.)

    I agree that this team will break our hearts. But I also think they will come through within the next 3-5 years. I’ll never forget seeing the Reds celebrate the sweep in 1990 as a 4-year old kid. I haven’t given up on them since, and I know we’ll experience that joy again.

    Someday.

    • @schottzie_sabo: As a die hard Reds fan who was at games #1 and #2 of the 1990 World Series in Cincinnati (tickets that I have proudly displayed in a nice frame on my bedroom’s wall for the past 20+ years), I can assure you its a …

      BLAST!!

      GO REDS!!

    • @schottzie_sabo: only other correction that I may offer is its going to be the ‘blind squirrel’ who breaks our collective hearts – not necessarily the effort of the Reds players.

      And Reds owner and front office – after this season lets go out and get that tougher but fair manager. One that will know how to kick the tail of Reds players while patting them on the back at the same time (in my little league managing days – that is how I always defined a good head coach – tougher than nails with a good heart. The Phillies may have found theirs (Ryne Sandberg) – maybe its time for the Reds to get theirs.

  13. There are 30 MLB teams. 10 will make the playoffs. All but one will end the season heartbroken. Baseball–hell, sports in general–is a losing proposition. If rooting for a good team that’s going to make the playoffs and at least have a shot of doing something is too depressing for you to follow, then by all means, see a counselor or walk away all together. I appreciate an honest perspective, but I don’t need this defeatist nonsense. My goodness.

    • @davidphillips6: Then feel free never to return here. No one has a gun to your head.

      “I appreciate an honest perspective”

      Redleg Nation is probably the ONLY place on the internet where you’ll get an honest perspective on the Reds. And you are critical of that?

  14. In the last sixteen games, the Reds have scored two or fewer runs four times. Over the same time, the Cardinals have scored two or fewer runs eight times. Including tonight.

    Cardinals lose 4-1.

    • @Steve Mancuso: I’ve been watching all 3 games of interest. The Cardinals offense was very quiet tonite. Young James Paxton shut the Carinals out on 2 hits over 6 innings. Interestingly, the Cardinals are now 6 games under .500 vs. LHed starting pitching.

      Molina’s hurting and not quite right, same with Beltran. Craig is out, Freese hasn’t hit all year. The Cardinals broadcasters thought Adams may have hurt himself at 1st base tonite, and he looked bad in his final AB.

    • @Steve Mancuso: The Cards don’t appear to have it this year. But you never know, that’s why the post-season is played to its robustest outcome.

      Need the pitchers who have been out for a while to get back with the Reds these last 2 weeks. And I specifically mean Cueto and Marshall.

  15. You know, I probably shouldn’t have to clarify this, but… I certainly hope the Reds don’t break our hearts. They certainly have the talent to win, and they could go on a big run in the playoffs. It isn’t out of the realm of possibility. But they are very poorly managed, and I’m afraid that will come back to haunt them in a short series (or in a one-game playoff).

    Anyway, I’ve been writing about this club here at RN nearly every day for nine seasons now. Most of those seasons have been awful. My devotion to this club has been well-established. I don’t apologize for being realistic.

    • @Chad Dotson: And there’s no need to apologize. The bloggers who have gotten to know you know where you’re coming from. You’d never give up on the Reds, even if you tried !

    • @Chad Dotson : I 100% get your sentiment, Chad. Like you, I was crushed by the 2012 team. Despite watching every game, it’s only now, in September, that I’m starting to wrap my brain around the playoffs. Yeah, the hangover was that bad.

      If I were to put a number on your reluctance, I would cite the high number of strikeouts from Bruce, Votto, Choo, and Frazier. It’s simply not a recipe for turning your lineup over and scoring runs. If we’re gonna have a shot at the World Series, it will be on the backs of our pitchers.

    • @Chad Dotson: Chad, I get your sentiment. The Reds for 3 of the past 4 season may, repeat may, end up playing in the NL playoffs (and the Reds, in my book, would either need to win Division or the WC game to qualify for the NL play-offs).

      Now I have been one of the most vociferous complainers about Dusty all year.

      But I love the saying, “even a blind squirrel sometimes gets a nut”. Maybe it is Dusty’s time to get the nut (blind squirrel that he is).

      Let’s everyone here at Reds Nation hope and have a positive outlook on the Reds. Sometimes it works wonders.

      God Bless and Go REDS!

    • @Chad Dotson: No need to apologize, Chad. You are being realistic. As noted by others, the fans of only one team are not disappointed (depending upon their aspirations, of course). I don’t agree, however, that this team is loaded with talent and held back by its manager: managers don’t make much difference and this team largely can’t hit. There is little that a manager can do about fundamentals, just as professors don’t teach punctuation to graduate students. Cozart failing to tell Joey to slide is somehow Dusty’s fault? That is the sort of fundamental he would have been taught long before mlb, probably before college ball. It’s likely that all of these guys know this stuff and, for whatever reasons (brain cramps, injuries)don’t always execute. They are better than I thought they’d be and, while I do expect to be disappointed, they’ve been fun–sometimes–to watch, and there is always next year. And who knows….?

  16. Phils beat the Nats 5-4. The Nats broadcasters are so obnoxious that I enjoyed their losing even more than the Cardinals losing. The game shouldn’t have been so close, the Phils (terrible) OF helped the Gnats with a physical and mental error in the 7th.

    • @pinson343: Yes, and that’s the very reason the Nats have to be continue winning and remain viable so that when they take on the Cards in 9 days they play them tough.

      If the Nats are completely out of by then, they might simply roll over. Thus, the Nats absolutely have to stay close enough to stay viable.

      • @cincyreds14: Absolutely. From when I first noticed the Nats on the Cardinals schedule, I had that thought: I hope they’re still in it, or at least think they are. BTW the Nats broadcasters were saying all they have to do is stay within 5 games of the 2nd WC and then hope that the Reds-Pirates 6 games will result in 5 losses for one of them.

        The Nats do have 3 games coming up with the Braves, who have owned them this year.

        • @pinson343: As has been said oh so many times … its not over till its over … but 5 1/2 games feels a lot better than 4 1/2. But the Nats also have to keep believing. And I will do my part by going to the Rockies games this week against the Cards.

          I sense that is not going to be an easy series for the Cards.

          Now what happens if there is a 3 game tie for the Division and the Reds win the season series against the Pirates, the Pirates win the season series over the Cards and the Cards win the season series over the Reds?

          What then?

        • @pinson343: If the Nats win the rest of their games this season (and end the season on a 14 game winning streak) and the Reds go 8-5 – they tie. And don’t say it can’t happen because the Rockies finished the 2007 season in an unbelievable fashion (21-1 until the WS).

          So if the Rockies did it, a lot of solid clubs could do it as well if they only believe, get hotter than a hen house, and go on a run.

          And I’m not putting the Rockies down, just saying that any team could go on an unbelievable run these last 2 weeks – so I’m definitely glad that we/the Reds have a little more breathing room (distance) on the Nats (who had the tying runner on 2nd with no out in the bottom of the 9th and couldn’t get him home against Papelbon).

          These last 2 weeks are going to be a blast – ENJOY THEM – this is what its all about Reds Nation.

          GO REDS!!
          Here’s hoping its the Reds.

  17. Before I make a constructively critical comment: As Chad said, Homer pitched well enough to win today. It was good to see him keep them at 3 after the one bad inning, and allow the Reds to pull away.

    My complaint is about how Homer/Hanigan pitched to Khris Davis on his double. A number of people on the game thread were understandably upset about that. Ryan Hanigan is supposedly a very smart guy, it’s puzzling.

    We all remember Davis’ crucial 2 run HR off Homer in late August. After getting ahead of Davis 1-2, Homer threw nothing but fastballs. After that lost game Homer said: “I probably should have done a better job of mixing my pitches in that at-bat. I’ll know better next time.”

    So now it’s next time, he gets ahead of Davis 1-2 again, and throws a thigh high fastball right over the plate for a scorched double. I realize it missed location, but how does Hanigan call that pitch ? If Homer wants it, go the mound and tell him no way.

    Other teams have not had nearly as much trouble with Davis. With two strikes, they strike him out with a slider in the dirt.

    • @pinson343: I certainly wondered what was going on all through that inning on pitch selection.

      Part of the history Homer has labored so long and hard to put behind him was a penchant for being burned by consecutive batters when he was ahead in the count and ending up with a train wreck inning often on days when he actually seemed to have great stuff.

      I thought the reason Hanigan took over catching him was to guide him through such spells.

      I missed seeing or hearing the description of when he was HBP. The thought occurred to me that perhaps he was in some physical difficulty relating to that incident when he got tagged in the 4th; because otherwise he seemed pretty sharp other than a couple of walks later on.

  18. Reds magic number to clinch the play-in game is now 9 (Reds wins + Nats losses).

    We have 13 games left, what say we finish the year at least 9-4 and not worry whether Washington wins or loses?

  19. Still not too worried about Washington. Even if we lose tomorrow, then split the remaining 4 series ( a 6-7 ) finish, the Nats would have to finish 12-2, and that includes 3 against the Braves, 3 with the Cards, and 3 with the D-backs.

  20. Without reading all the comments before posting, I think the plea to avoid emotional investment comes about 55 years too late for me. Being a Reds fan isn’t something I thought up one day while waiting for a bus.

    • @Johnu1: But don’t you you kinda think John that this “emotional involvement” with a sports team seems to mean something different to a lot of these younger folks that to us older folks. Or, is it just me??

      In some of these posts and comments I get the sense that being “emotionally involved” some how reflects on the folks’ personal self worth or how others will think of them. I’m emotionally involved in that it bothers me when the Reds lose and gives me a bit of a lift when they succeed. However I don’t recall ever thinking or feeling that being a Reds fan reflected badly on my self worth if/ when they did poorly.

      • @OhioJim: Yeah, I sort of “get” what he meant by it … and it’s more about getting excited about winning because the odds suggest it won’t happen.

        At the end of the day/month/year … or any time frame you put on it, if you are a Reds fan, you will always be one. If the team won every year, you’d be accused of being a front-runner.

        It could be worse (think brown bears in windy cities) … but those fans wear their loyalty proudly and every year, they get their emotional teeth kicked in, as well.

        I keep saying this 2013 team isn’t very interesting, but I think I lie about when talking amongst co-fans. This team is interesting, but it’s bi-polar. I think most of us would prefer something a little more predictable, albeit better.

        Still, if we think back to 2007, and remembering that we were thrilled to have 35 wins by the all-star break … yeah, we’ve come a long way.

        With this bunch, the optimism of next year is much more illuminating than it will be in Chicago — on either side of town.

      • @OhioJim: Perceptive and thought-provoking comment. Being a sports fan is, looked at objectively, pretty weird and not always healthy. It has only taken me 60 years or so to put it in some sort of reasonable perspective.

    • @Johnu1:
      I’m right with you, John. Been a Reds fan since 1963 and hope to celebrate the 50th anniversary in style. Long time fans have experienced the joy of 3 WS champions – 1975, 1976 & 1990. We also lived through the collapse of 1964, the WS losses in 1970 & 1972, playoff losses in 1973, 1979 & 1995, missing the playoffs in 1974 despite winning 98 games, 1994 being canceled with the Reds in 1st, the 1981 team having the best record in baseball and not making the playoffs, 1999 loss to the Mets in the one game play-in and the recent version of the Reds playoff losses.

      That is a lot of fun and excitement and resulted in a lot of heartbreak along the way. But if your not in the playoffs, you can’t win it. It’s as simple as that. I’ll take my chances on the heartbreak, let’s just get in.

  21. Hey Chad, about the ‘heartbreak’ part? With ya all the way …

    Toward the end of last season, when Mr. Fitch was ridin’ high on his “believe” campaign, I resisted as long as I could, not wanting to get sucked in to false hopes…………But after Bronson’s masterpiece in Game 2 in San Francisco last postseason, with the Reds coming home needing just ONE WIN in three tries if necessary, I remember letting out a hearty “I BELIEVE.” And look how that turned out.

  22. I saw some quotes from Sean Marshall that he is ready to go, and waiting for the Reds to say when he’s coming back………Interesting that Brantley said on radio Saturday that maybe the Reds are expecting Marshall to be more, um, vocal that he is ready to come back NOW ?? … Maybe I’m missing something, but if Marshall says he’s ready, and the Reds have no reason to doubt he’s ready, what does Marshall have to do, take out an ad in the Enquirer??? Activate the guy and see what he’s got!!!

  23. Wow. This is an unusually reflective recap thread.

    Last year was incredibly painful. We had a very good team, had the 2-0 lead with three to go at home, and coughed it up to the team that went on to win the WS.

    The funny thing is, this is probably a better team. Choo is certainly a better lead off hitter, Joey had no power at this point a year ago, Jay was more prone to slumps, Rolen was on his last legs. If we get anything useful from Cueto and/or Marshall then even our pitching will actually be improved.

    So take heart, Reds fans. Maybe last year can be redeemed, and used to remind our boys: once you’re in, you’ve got a shot to win it all.

  24. For those of you who have access to the Enquirer (subscription site with metered free access), Dusty delivered what for him was a severe public scolding of the team following the game yesterday.

    http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20130914/SPT04/309140077/Votto-Choo-lift-Reds-over-Brewers-7-3?nclick_check=1

    You could tell from his demeanor during the walk off that he was seething about something. The only two players I saw crack a smile during the walk off were Bruce and Cozart. Wonder if they got personal face time in the Mgr’s office later.

    • @OhioJim: They have been playing exactly this way for the entire season. The time to address this was in May or June rather than September. The team has taken its personality and approach to the game directly from their manager. If Dusty wants to place blame then he simply needs to find the nearest mirror.

      Absolutely pathetic if not at all shocking.

      • @Kyle Farmer: “When you play ugly games at this level and you play them this late in the season and you’re making the same mistakes, it makes you wonder about the baseball intellect of the team,” Baker said. “It’s something we’ve got to be working on all spring and continue to work on.”

        Dusty even knows it’s been this way all year, because he says that they’re making the same mistakes. It just took him 5 months to get upset about it.

    • @OhioJim:
      At least he is paying attention/glad this is addressed…
      “We’re playing ugly baseball,” Baker said. “I’m seeing things I haven’t seen in a long time. Even though we’re winning, I’m not real happy because I’m seeing some things over the course of a year that I haven’t had a team do, especially running the bases like this. I’m just in shock sometime.

    • @OhioJim: I had a completely different take-away from that article by C. Trent.

      “We had to go get Chapman, not because we wanted to, but because it was a necessity,” Baker said.

      “Every game, from my perspective, is as important in April as it is in September…” Votto said.

      Once again. Joey’s wisdom and insight just dwarfs Dusty’s wisdom and insight. How many other ‘necessities’ were simply ignored by Dusty this season because they didn’t fit his narrow sense of urgency. These decisions didn’t relate just to the utilization of Chapman, but the entire bullpen and position player roster. Jay Bruce is 3rd in the NL in HR and 3rd in the NL in 2B, but until Dusty’s urgency kicked in, Bruce was locked into hitting 5th rather than hitting 4th where he could protect Votto and deliver from the cleanup position. Had Bruce been hitting cleanup all season, he would be leading the NL in those ‘supremely important’ RBI and it wouldn’t even be close. Who knows how much impact Bruce’s production from the cleanup spot would have impacted Votto’s performance, but NL pitchers would have certainly been more concerned about pitching to Bruce with Joey on 1B rather than pitching to BP with Joey on 1B. Dusty’s quote and his actions from April through August pretty much clarifies and rationalizes how he manages. It just doesn’t much matter until September. Unfortunately, come crunch time in September and October, Dusty routinely gets out-managed with his in-game decisions.

  25. The Reds may end up breaking my heart, but I’ll always the base running blunders to cherish.

  26. On the topic of Choo, I have pined after him for years and was thrilled when the Reds brought him in. And after that, all he’s done is exceed expectations. So yeah, I’d love to have him back too.

    The issue is he shouldn’t be playing center field. He’s given up about 15 runs in the field so far this year, he may end up closer to 20. He could be in the top ten in WAR, ahead of Votto, if he was an average defender. He needs to be in a corner spot.

    But the Reds stupidly signed Ryan Ludwick. So the only way I could see bringing him back is if they are positive that Billy Hamilton needs another full year in the minors. You live with Choo in CF again next year (or at least give Bruce a try, he is significantly younger after all), and then after Ludwick’s contract is up you move Choo to left.

    Because of Ludwick I don’t see it happening, which is just another reason that contract was stupid.

  27. Baseball and heartbreak: don’t they go together? I’ve had some good days and a lot of bad ones as a fan of over seventy years. But, nevertheless, I’ll always love the Reds.

  28. @Chad Dotson:

    Shin-Soo Choo doubled, homered, and walked in four plate appearances. He scored three runs and drove in three runs. Choo, ladies and gentlemen, is the perfect leadoff hitter, as far as I’m concerned. I hope the Reds pull out all the stops to re-sign Choo after this season.

    Chad, you and the Old Cossack are in complete agreement regarding Choo. The question of economics and priorities come into play regarding the decision to re-sign or extend Choo. If the Reds decide that re-signing Choo is a priority, then they will need to create room in their budget. I see 5 contracts that would inhibit resigning Choo: Votto, Bruce, Phillips, Ludwick & Broxton. I’m not sure the Reds could unload Broxton’s contract with a dozer and dumptruck. Votto’s contract is secured with a full no-trade clause. Bruce could be traded in a heartbeat, but that would create more problems than it would solve. Ludwick’s contract will pay him $13MM for 2014 or 17.5MM for 2014 & 2015. Ludwick will be 36 in 2014 and his shoulder injury during 2013 would create some concern regarding his production, but his end-of-season performance (.298/.327/.426 in 49 PA) speaks positively to his full recovery so he may have some trade value. Phillips’ contract will pay him $50MM for 2014-2017. Phillips will be 33 in 2014, but his contract would be viable for one of the large market teams needing a solid 2B or even possibly a SS(?). The real issue, as with any trade, is how much return the Reds could receive for what they are giving up in Ludwick and/or Phillips.

  29. Today was heartbreak personified. Bruce missed a three homer by inches and the Brewers then pot one to win 6-5. Toughest loss of the year. Shades of 1999.

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