2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: TCB

Let’s recap today’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Cincinnati 11
Pittsburgh 3

W: B. Arroyo (14-11)
L: J. Locke (10-7)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Cincinnati went into Pittsburgh and did what they had to do, winning the series. The good guys are now tied with the Bucs for second place, 2.5 games behind St. Louis. The Cardinals will play later tonight.

–The Reds scored batted around in the first inning, scoring five runs. They never looked back.

–Billy Hamilton got another start, had a double, two singles (one bunt hit, one infield single), two runs scored, and two more stolen bases. He’s now 12 for 12 in SBs. It’s hard to overstate what Hamilton has done for this team in such a short time.

–Jay Bruce drove in four more runs, giving him 106 MVPs, err, I mean, RBIs on the season. Bruce cleared the bases with a double in the first, and added another single later.

–Chris Heisey was 3-5 with a double, three runs scored, and two RBI out of the #2 spot in the lineup. This team looks different with a productive hitter in that spot.

–Joey Votto was 2-4 with a double, a walk, two runs scored, and an RBI. Brandon Phillips was 2-3 with a walk and a sac fly RBI. Zack Cozart was 2-5 with a double and a run scored. Todd Frazier hit a line-drive two-run homer.

–Nice relief work by Alfredo Simon, Manny Parra, and Logan Ondrusek.

NEGATIVES
–Pittsburgh continued this HBP nonsense, throwing a ball behind Brandon Phillips. The Pirates just need to play baseball. This behavior is asinine. It’s not 1945 anymore.

–No errors defensively today, but there was one hiccup on the basepaths, if you can call it that. Votto was on first with two away in the second inning when Frazier hit a ball sharply up the middle. Votto took a wide angle to second because he thought it would get through and he’d be heading to third. Well, Clint Barmes made a nice play to keep the ball on the infield, then Votto didn’t slide into second. He was forced out, and what could have been an infield single for Frazier was erased.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–A huge win for the Reds, really. This club had to win this series in order to have a shot at the division title or, more realistically, hosting the one-game playoff. They took care of business this weekend. Kudos to the Cincinnati Reds National League Baseball Club.

–That’s 89 wins for the ol’ Redlegs. Think they’ll get 90? I do.

–Bronson Arroyo was under the weather, and he pitched like it. Staked to a big lead, he threw 30+ pitches in the first, and struggled the rest of the day. Just like you’d expect from Bronson, however, he battled, and ultimately made it through five innings, giving up three runs on five hits.

–Arroyo won his 14th game today, if you are into that sort of thing. The last time Cincinnati had three 14-game winners? 1975.

That was a good season, wasn’t it?

–I’m not sure Billy Hamilton could have scripted a better start to his big league career. All that kid has to do is slap the ball on the ground and run. He’s unlike any player I’ve ever seen.

–Reds pitching broke the club’s season record for strikeouts in a season (1,249). That record was set all the way back in 2012.

–The Reds have a magic number, I’m told, but we aren’t really quoting it here. It doesn’t really count unless it’s a magic number to win the division. Clinching a spot in a one-game playoff is a bit different.

–Okay, Reds go into Pittsburgh and win two of three. That’s what they needed to do. Things with the Pirates are all tied up with six games to go, and Pittsburgh has to come to the Queen City next weekend. The Reds have the advantage in hosting that Wild Card playoff, which could be huge.

Source: FanGraphs

177 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: TCB

  1. Watching the Pittsburg feed: my favorite= run #11, “It’s like they’re trying to rub our noses in it, now.”

  2. They may me look like an idiot for saying so, but I think we caught a break with the pitching rotation this week. The Mets were supposed to run their stud rookie Zack Wheeler out there tomorrow, but due to some soreness have decided to shut him down for the year. Our old buddy Aaron Harang will move up a day and go tomorrow instead.

    The end result is that we traded a game against Wheeler in this series, for one against Dice-K Matsuzaka. That should be a plus overall. Hopefully, we go out tomorrow and do to Harang what we SHOULD have done when we faced him earlier this season.

  3. The 2 HBP situations have fueled the Reds and has backfired on the Pirates. We need to take care of business against the Mets starting with knocking around Harang tomorrow. Hopefully the Brewers beat the Cards tonight, that would be huge. Also, lets hope that the Cubs play spoiler against the Bucs, same with the Nats vs the Cards. GABP is going to be rocking and rolling, cannot wait to be at the park. 6 games left, time to stay hot and make a statement. Cueto in Game 1 tomorrow, lets go!

  4. Is it bad that I see what Hamilton/Heisey/Frazier did today and it just makes me all the angrier that Robinson and Hannahan got a start yesterday?

    • @ToddAlmighty: You need to remember what Frazier and Heisey have done all season: better than Robinson and Hannahan, yes, but not world beating. Also, decisions need to be made about the playoff roster, and regulars need rest when possible because, yes, they are headed for the postseason.

      • @greenmtred:
        Totally agree, who knows if Burnett messes up their timing and they stink today. Sometimes managers actually try to give guys a rest when they need it, get role players playing time, and this is Baker’s strong suit.
        He probably should have started Heisey in place of Bruce on Saturday as Bruce really needed to step up and he did not. But he gets a pass after today

  5. From what I’ve seen, you put Hamilton in the game and he just changes it. Barmes doesn’t make that error ever but with Billy’s speed he rushed the throw, and oh well. When he is on base, he gives the Reds hitters such an advantage with pitchers constantly checking to see what Billy is up.

    If this guy ends up being a real player, he may set the all-time record for most errors created by opposing teams. Following BB since 1969 and I’ve never seen anything like it. Hope he gets many more starts before the season’s end.

    • From what I’ve seen, you put Hamilton in the game and he just changes it.Barmes doesn’t make that error ever but with Billy’s speed he rushed the throw, and oh well.When he is on base, he gives the Reds hitters such an advantage with pitchers constantly checking to see what Billy is up.

      If this guy ends up being a real player, he may set the all-time record for most errors created by opposing teams.Following BB since 1969 and I’ve never seen anything like it.Hope he gets many more starts before the season’s end.

      Exactly why I’ve always advocated for reaching on errors to count toward OBP. It would reward players who put the bat on the ball and players who have the speed to force errors.

    • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Hi Charlotte, yes, team’s need a catalyst as well as chemistry. Knew all along that the Reds would surely benefit from the addition of Hamilton – mainly because of his energy level. Choo was an improvement over Stubbs (his Ks were a downer), and trust me, Hamilton will be, if he isn’t already, an improvement over Choo. The energy level he brings to the Reds is undeniable. CF will be in good hands for years to come. And where would the BRM have been w/o Pete leading off or for that matter Joe hitting 3rd, Johnny clean-up, Tony hitting 5th and George 6th. The Reds have the pieces to make a solid run. Will they? Only time will tell. The point is they can.

      • @cincyreds14: Red, you definitely called Hamilton and with more vigor than anyone else, as I recall. You know a little something about the Great Game.

        • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Thanks Charlotte. Jumped on the Billy Hamilton train when I started seeing his improvement as a hitter during his 2nd half of season with the Bats. And was pretty ticked off when I read a scout say he would never learn to hit (moron). Drew Stubbs had all the tools as well, but absolutely lacks lacks any tangible baseball IQ. As everyone is witnessing, BH’s is off the charts (like Pete’s).

        • @cincyreds14: Baseball IQ (instincts) are simply not learned – a player either has them (Pete and Billy H) or should simply play another sport (D Stubbs – who I always thought would have made a fine football player).

  6. Considering what Hamilton has done in his short span, I’d love to see

    1. Hamilton CF
    2. Choo LF
    3. Votto 1B
    4. Bruce RF
    5. Phillips 2B
    6. Frazier 3B
    7. Cozart SS
    8. Mesoraco/Hanigan

    For the entire Mets series and into the Pittsburgh series. Let Ludwick be the right handed PH off the bench. No way in Hades Dusty does that and sits his veteran Ludwick that long but it would be nice. Of course, that all hinges on whether Choo can even play against the Mets. If he can’t, then Hamilton still needs to be in CF, Ludwick/Heisey can go to LF and then just shuffle the lineup some.

  7. IMO. Hamilton has to stay in this lineup. Choo to LF. Platoon with Ludwick v. LH pitchers. There is just too much value to his presence in this lineup. He is too much of a game changer. That ability to beat out a bunt at will is almost impossible to defend. Follow that with the ability to immediately steal into scoring position and you have taken away Dusty’s ability to give away outs with sac bunts.

    I would give Choo a couple more days to rest the thumb and see how it goes.

    Will Dusty do this? Probably not because it makes too much baseball sense and cause him another stroke.

    • @George Culver: Hamilton has provided an element that the Reds and most other teams lack, and has also provided enormous excitement. I hesitate, therefore, to sound a note of caution, but I’m going to anyway: BH is hitting over .400: is that likely to continue? He is 12 for 12 in stolen bases. In the minors he was successful a little over 80% of the time, not 100%. Which is more likely? Do you remember Jay Bruce’s first few weeks? Didn’t he hit .600 or something? I certainly think that BH should get playing time, and be used as a weapons-grade pinch runner, but he will regress. If Dusty annointed him the starter in center for the playoffs and he goes 0 for 4 his first couple of games (yes, I have faith that there will be more than one playoff game for the Reds), Dusty will be excoriated by any number of the posters here for doing just what we’re calling for now.

  8. Reds and Bucs have the same magic number to close out the Nats.

    Let’s hope the Reds step up and TCB right out of the Chute versus the Metz while the Cubbicles trip up the Bucs and give the Nats reason to believe versus the Cards.

  9. As long as the Reds can take (at least) 2 of 3 versus the Metz, I’d be perfectly happy to see the Nats win their next 4 starting tonight.

  10. Tabata was hit by an inside 86 mph slider by Arroyo on a 1-1 count, nobody out and nobody on base. Cutch was hit by an 88 mph two-seamer by LeCure on a 2-2 count, nobody out and nobody on base. Both situations put a base-stealing threat on base with nobody out in a contested game. BTW, Simon threw a pitch to Tabata today in the exact same location as the pitch by LeCure that hit Cutch. The pitch was so far inside that Tabata didn’t even flinch at the 96 mph four-seamer.

    Phillips hit by an 96 mph four-seamer thrown behind Phillips by Pimental on a 0-0 count, 2 outs and 1B open and the Bucos trailing 7-3 in the 6th inning. The pitches that hit Cutch and Tabata and didn’t hit Tabata were simply inside pitches intended to back hitters off the plate that got away from the pitcher with absolutely no malice intended. The pitch that was thrown behind Phillips was thrown with malice and intent. The Bucos had already put Phillips on the D/L previously this season with the same malice and intent. The umpiring crew was advised prior to the series to closely monitor such shenanigans. That warning by the league office resulted in the absurd warning to both benches after the inside pitch hit Cutch, who was crowding the plate. The umpiring crew (or at least the home plate umpire) did not over-react to the pitch that hit Tabata and issue absurd warnings. The pitch to Phillips was blatant and decisive. Obviously, bench warning were needed and justified, but how the heck did no ejections occur. Such actions are backhandedly sanctioned by the league and umpires since no immediate penalties are issued in a blatantly obvious violation, so we can count on the same dangerous tactics being used by Hurdle and the Bucos again.

    Hurdle is a cheap, gutless manager to employ such tactics, especially without any provocation, but the league office and umpiring crews shoulder the ultimate responsibility for condoning such tactics. The ultimate result will be another bench-clearing brawl after a beaning or near beaning with suspensions issued and players injured. Wouldn’t immediate ejections for such blatant violations or suspensions for such blatant violations be better than catalyzing a bench-clearing brawl?

    • @Shchi Cossack: Stat: Last 8 HPB, 7 by the Reds’ pitchers. I wish it would end, I have no beef with Hurdle and think he is a fine manager. Hopefully today can be an end to it and BP doesn’t even have a bruise to show for it.

      Phillips was “not” hit today. Only guy hit was another Pirate.

      • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: I echo your sentiments that I hope today is the end of it. A HBP is unavoidable as the pitcher and batter seek control of one side of the dish. Any pitcher who allows ahitters to crowd the plate and cover the entire plate as a prime hitting zone will have ineffective, short-lived careers. Hitters who notoriously crowd the plate will get hit by inside pitches (i.e. Choo & McCutchen). Some hitters will even seek out a HBP, especially in poor hitting counts, by either not avoiding contact or leaning into contact. That’s all part of the game.

        The intentional, malcious throwing at batters is not part of the game and that’s my issue. If the league doesn’t control the situation, then the individual teams have to try to control it themselves in a tit for tat game that will escalate out of control. Players like Choo and McCutchen know that they are going to get plunked periodically, usually by breaking pitches or two-seamers that get away from the pitcher, because of the stance and approach at the plate. They are fighting for plate coverage just like the pitcher.

        • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: I do have a problem with throwing 96mph fastballs with the intent to hit an opposing player. That is potentially lethal. This is, after all is said a done, just a game. BP has already been injured this year by a pitch, and he wasn’t even the guy who threw the pitch that hit the Pirate. It’s childish enough to be funny, but too dangerous to laugh at or admire.

        • @greenmtred: Agree, I’m sure that Andrew feels the same way about the Chapman fastball that he took on his upper shoulder last August. If he hadn’t moved just in time, he could of caught it in the face. Yeah, I stay with my case. Hurdle not only has the right but the duty to protect his players.

        • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Of course McCutchen has a right to be upset, and I was, too, at the time: It’s not right no matter who does it, and a manager doesn’t protect his players by having his pitchers throw at the opponents–he simply guarantees that that the dangerous idiocy will be perpetuated. Human history stands as stark proof of what I say.

        • @greenmtred: Ah, no history tells us anything but. If a bully is left unchecked, will this stop the bullying? That is regardless if the Reds are a bully or not, perception can trump reality. Adolph Hitler would love your line of reasoning. If JV was subjected to the same treatment as Cutch, we would be calling for heads to roll.

        • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: History tells us precisely what I said: Can you name one era without war? To point this out is not to advocate allowing bullies to have their way. The retaliation from the Bucs (and usually from every team) is drama-queen stuff: how often was a HBP intentional? Not often, because putting a guy on for free is bad strategy. But Hurdle (and others) treats every incident as if it were an attempt to hurt his player and usually orders retaliation, and the beat goes on: retaliate appropriately only when the offense is intended.

        • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Please. There’s a big difference between accidentally hitting a guy who crowds the plate and intentionally throwing at someone. Once again the Pirates chose to do the latter.

          Doesn’t it tell you something that the Reds don’t have this problem with any other team, but the Pirates do? Like I’ve said before: this pattern of behavior has curdled me on the Pirates. The only good thing is that they keep focusing on silly vendettas while we stay focused on winning games.

        • @Eric the Red: I thought we had some issues with the Cards? When was the last bench clearing brawl for the Pirates? Dusty’s response to all this? Players need to do a better job getting out of the way of pitches. Nice.

          Bottom line the Reds have hit Pirate batters seven out of the last 8 HBP’s, between the clubs. I personally think the Chapman pitch was on purpose last year. Don’t you think it a little odd that the 4 out of the 9 times McCutchen has been hit are against the Reds? Maybe your love of the Reds is clouding your reasoning abilities. The Reds are the aggressors, there is no doubt in my mind.

          By the way, I don’t believe this is just bad blood. McCutchen lifetime numbers against the Reds are way below par, especially since the Chapman beaning. I’m sure that Dusty and Clint are both well aware of this. It is effective but it comes with a price

        • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: We don’t have a HBP war with the Cards. Bottom line, again: they threw at us intentionally yesterday. The provocation? Unintentional HBPs. And so far, the only injury from all of this was (another) intentional HBP of Brandon.

        • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: I’m certainly NOT sure that the Chapman pitch was intentional–it’s not unusual for pitches to get away from him–but I was, indeed, sickened by it, just as I would be if JV were nailed.

      • @steveschoen: I agree with you completely. Part of the mantra instilled by Hurdle was to create an ‘us against the world’ attitude for a team that had grown accustomed to losing. Hurdle teaches and coaches that every game, every play, every pitch is important and should be handled as such. His team plays with intensity and desire. I simply fault the league and upires for allowing him to take it to extremes and endangering players unnecessarily.

        • @Shchi Cossack: Agreed, Cossack. Baker can be included in that, also, having one of ours intentionally throw at Derek Lowe, I believe, based off an argument that’s gone on for several years now. Even if it didn’t hit Lowe, it came awfully close, close enough to be concerned that someone was going to get hurt.

          I don’t doubt we were or weren’t throwing at McC. I mean, when you consider how good Lecure’s control is. When you consider that, I believe McC has been hit by a pitch 9 times this season, someone said, and 4 have been by Reds pitchers. But, then, why hit him in that situation? Who can tell with the guys sometimes.

  11. What worries me moving forward are the missed opportunities.

    Hanigan is now below the Mendoza line. As if that’s not bad enough, we’ve seen all year that his pitch calling abilities are no better or worse than Mesoraco. It would’ve been nice to see Mez catch Arroyo, because in essence, Dusty is saying Hanigan will be our catcher for 2 out of every 3 playoff games. That’s insane.

    Likewise, it would’ve been useful for Frazier to get some ABs vs. Burnett yesterday. Even if you take an O-fer, at least you’re building up a database of information on the guy that you can apply moving forward……because under no circumstances should Hannahan ever start in the playoffs.

    To that end, Hamilton should play ahead of Robinson. Whatever Robinson’s skill set, Billy has all those tools, but exponentially better.

    And lastly, free Xavier Paul. The guy hits RHP very well, and yet he has to defer to Ludwick and Heisey. Makes no sense.

  12. Bham is too fast for even the official scorers to keep up. The error credited to Barmes should have been ruled a hit. Even a good throw probably fails to beat Hamilton, but because the throw bounced and would have beat every other baserunner except Hamilton, the official scorer rules it an error.

    BTW, I think George Grande may have coined the perfect nickname for Hamilton, “Happy Feet”. I really hope it catches on and is picked up by other announcers and reporters.

        • @Kurt Frost: 30 HRs & 106 RBIs?

          There is no clear-cut MVP this year, IMO. Sure don’t think it unreasonable to nominate JB this year.

        • @Kurt Frost: Votto has been pretty bad defensively which should kill his chances. Bruce had been really good. Votto has too many base running blunders as well.

      • @Zabka84: absolutely… HRs, 100 + RBI, great field work, pretty consistent all year.

        votto – sure he has his OBP, but has RBI less than Frazer, field work is worse than my girl who plays softball, and throws like a girl.

        Not even close in my one person view…

        Take Bruce any day over Votto. Votto is over hyped. Whereas Bruce doesn’t get enough attention

        • @Zabka84:absolutely…HRs, 100 + RBI, great field work, pretty consistent all year.

          votto – sure he has his OBP, but has RBI less than Frazer, field work is worse than my girl who plays softball, and throws like a girl.

          I’ll give you $100 to say this directly to any current Reds player.

        • @Zabka84: You say this with nothing to back it up.

          Votto’s fielding component of WAR: 3.2
          Votto’s baserunning component of WAR: 0.9

          Both positive numbers. He’s added to wins with his baserunning and defense, even if small.

          Oh-by-the-way… offensive part of WAR.. Votto at 44.3 to Bruce’s 15.1.

          Team Defense:
          Frazier: 11.6
          Phillips: 7.4
          Bruce: 7.1
          Cozart: 6.4
          Votto: 3.2
          Choo: -16.1

          So another way you could look at it is Votto’s defense has been 1/2 as important as Cozart’s to producing wins.

          I’m not saying Bruce isn’t a stud. I would want him over any other RFer right now, even Stanton. But he’s not on Votto’s planet. Until you guys give up relying on counting stats, I don’t think any of my words will ever mean anything. (Might want to think how many RBI Bruce would have if Bruce batted in front of Bruce.)

        • @prjeter: Votto leads all MLB 1B’s with 14 errors. Next highest is LaRoche in Washington with 11. I’m sorry, my MVP can’t lead the league in errors at his position. My opinion.

        • @Zabka84: I get what you’re saying. Fourteen errors isn’t good. However, stating errors only and saying he’s no good at defense because of it is akin to saying Jay Bruce is a terrible hitter since he’s near the top of the league in strikeouts.

          Like greenmtred says below, there are a lot of great plays Joey makes that a lot of 1st basemen (i.e.-Prince Fielder) don’t make. That’s why his advanced defensive metrics are positive, despite his error total.

        • @prjeter: I think that Joey’s fielding this year is interesting: He makes excellent, athletic plays, then screws one up, later. He seems to me to have regressed defensively, and I wonder why, since it seems (no stats to back me up) to coincide with the decrease in power. As for stats: I certainly recognize that advanced metrics measure Joey’s value more effectively than do the traditional ones, but really think that both sorts of stats have value. Yes, RBI are dependent on people being on base in front of you, but they are also dependent on you capitalizing upon the opportunity, just as OBP, to have value to your team, is dependent upon people behind you capitalizing upon that opportunity. Or something.

        • @prjeter:

          Thanks for these numbers, I appreciate seeing them, but what it tells me is that I still can’t trust defensive metrics.

          I’ve watched Votto all year and he’s made a few great defensive plays, but it seems that the majority of his errors have been on routine plays b/c he rarely fields the ball in front of him (getting in front of the ball) and he leads MLB in errors by first baseman. I see no way that he’s a positive defensively and to say he’s half what Cozart is, that just simply doesn’t pass the smell test to me.

          I think Joey’s a great player and on a HOF trajectory, but his defense this season has been horrible.

        • @Bill Lack: Bill, I definitely agree advanced defensive metrics can’t be trusted 100%! Unforunately, a few numbers, as well as the smell test, is all we have to go on. At that point, it’s all observer’s bias. Votto has been a poor defenseive 1st baseman this year by most measures, but does that mean he’s detracted from the team? That’s a hard point to argue either way, I’d say. Thanks for the input.

        • @tae: I know this is beating a dead horse, but Votto would have a lot more RBI is he hit behind Votto. That is such a cotnext dependent stat.

          OBP is severely underrated by a lot of baseball fans. Votto leading the league (for the 4th time in a row) is huge. People also forget about his batting average. because Votto gets so many hits, he has a higher slugging percentage than Bruce.

          Votto is so much better at hitting than everyone on the team (Choo is the only one in the same zipcode) that it makes up for his defensive shortcomings.

          If Votto has a rival for team MVP, it’s probably Bruce, who is having the best season of his career. Bruce makes up a lot of offensive ground between him and Votto with defense.

          That said, I really think it’s still Votto in a cake walk. He’s become underrated by some fans because his RBI aren’t where people expected them to be.

          Let me just put it this way. Votto is pretty much a lock to finish with the OBP lead. As mentioned above, this will be the 4th time in a row. The only other players who have done that are Hornsby, Williams, Boggs, and Bonds.

          Take Bruce, Phillips, whoever else you want, no one else on the team has done anything that puts them on that kind of level. RBI… it’s a decent team stat, but a poor individual stat. And why do so many people consider it more important than runs? Shouldn’t they be weighted the same if anything? I mean, you can’t drive a guy in with a groundout if he doesn’t get on base in the first place.

        • @Jason Linden: I can’t weigh in on Votto’s worthiness for MVP, though another relevant stat is that he has gotten on base 300+ times. Insane. He’s turned himself into the table-setter, though, not the guy who clears the table. You obviously need both, but MVP voters probably tend to favor the guy who drives ‘em in. I do think, also, that any stat other than team wins is co-dependent. OBP has value only when paired with runs scored.

        • @greenmtred: Oh, I agree that Votto has no chance of actually winning. He is the best player on the Reds though.

          Also, frankly, I’m not interested in discussions of “value” other than those that deal with identifying the best player. Sure, you can argue that Trout, for instance, has no value because the Angels aren’t going to the playoffs, but how is that his fault?

          If a player gets on base a lot, that player is valuable. Whether or not the team is able to take advantage of that is another thing entirely.

          Last, Votto can certainly set the table, but he leads the team in slugging. He’s second in homers and doubles. He isn’t “clearing” the table for two reasons: 1. As mentioned, he can’t hit behind himself. 2. For much of the season Phillips has hit behind him. Brandon Phillips is a fine player, but I’d rather pitch to him than Joey Votto with a RISP 100 times out of 100.

          I actually think that if Bruce had spent more time hitting 4th, Votto would have more RBIs because the gap between them is smaller than the gap between Votto and Phillips and because Jay has that raw power that can scare the crap out of other teams.

        • @Jason Linden: You make excellent points, but I wasn’t implying that a player is valuable only if his team wins–far from it. I was saying that individual accomplishments must be weighed by how they affect outcome, and that the most valuable player directs his talent, to the degree that it’s possible, to the areas that help the team. That’s what “valuable” means–or should mean–in this context. Joey is certainly a highly talented and valuable player, and, likely, the most valuable on the team, because his presence clearly alters the opponent’s approach. But his performance this year does raise a few questions: What happened to the doubles? And the homers? (he’s been hitting them lately, yes, but was languishing earlier). This, as noted elsewhere, seems to coincide with increased defensive lapses and tempts me to formulate theories, which I will mercifully avoid doing.

        • I will take Votto because of what he “can do”. But, he has clearly had a bad season for him. Defensively, that’s obvious. Offensively, some like to talk about how important OBP is. The thing is, with OBP, if that was so good, we could have kept Adam Dunn and have saved a lot of money. He had a 400+ OBP himself, with more HR’s and RBI’s than Votto’s been having. Votto’s OBP has been coming from walks. In that respect, I will agree with Marty B, Votto isn’t being paid to walk. He’s being paid to hit. We could have kept Dunn and have gotten a good number of walks right there, and saved a lot of money, with more HR’s and RBI’s. If we are going to have Votto for his OBP with the numbers of his walks, then he needs to be batting in the 1 or 2 holes, not the 3-5 holes. It’s not like his walks are driving in 2-3 runs a week or something.

          Now, I will agree that for Votto not to walk, the other pitchers need to give him something to hit, also. And, with no real threat of a hitter behind Votto, pitchers aren’t going to pitch much to him. Thus, we have someone who’s increased the walks as well as their K’s this season.

          That’s why I believed last season as well as this coming off season priority #1 for me is to find a competent 4 hole hitter. If we aren’t going to support Votto with giving him some protection, I would “almost” rather let Votto go.

          How can protection help? Why would the Cards go get players like McGuire, Holliday (sp?), Berkman, etc.? And, look what the club there has done protecting their big hitters. Many heard of Cabrera before Fielder went to Detroit. But, now that Fielder is in Detroit, Cabrera is going to Triple Crown races, for Christ’s sakes. Because teams are having to pitch to Cabrera now.

        • @steveschoen: Adam Dunn had one season with an OBP of (exactly) .400. His OBP during his Reds career was .380. Votto’s OBP for his career thus far is .419. For his career, Votto also has a higher slugging percentage than Dunn had with the Reds AND he’s been better defensively.

          If you’re paying a player to drive in Runs, don’t put Cozart in front of him. Additionally, go look at Votto’s ABs. I mean really look at them. Now tell me how he should handle it differently. He only swings at pitches he thinks he can do something with.

          For Votto this has been an off year. But he’s still the best player on the team and one fo the half dozen best players in the league.

        • @Jason Linden: Jason, if you want to pay someone $25 million for walking, go for it. But, that is a waste of money. Dunn was never paid that much, which would have freed up more money to go elsewhere. Remember, I never said we should get rid of Votto; I specified I want Votto because of what he can do. But, BB’s shouldn’t the sign of a $25 million player.

          As far as the batting order, you have been reading the posts, right, as to who has been putting unproductive hitters in front of and behind Votto? Baker has been an absolute ignoramus in that facet the last 2 seasons. It took Uncle Walt to trade Stubbs off and bring in a leadoff hitter for the 1 hole to be productive.

          As for his batting approach, you are incorrect with that. Votto has specified he will take pitches to get to see a lot of a pitcher. Why do you think he lets so many pitches go by that come right down the middle? That causes him to get 2 strikes on him right away. Then, he has to play protection. Now, this strategy can be good and bad. Good for seeing a lot of the pitcher. It gets the pitcher to throw a lot of pitches, hopefully, getting him tired out. But, bad, also, because it gets you closer to only a walk or a strikeout (when you may need an actual hit to drive in some runs), the latter which Votto has increased this year by almost 60%. Which would mean that, if your “he only swings at pitches he thinks he can do something with”, then he would really be having an unproductive season. It would be more realistic that the book is out on Votto. He has no problem allowing 2 strikes on himself. So, if you get that, then you just have to get him fishing for something close.

          If I had to pick players to be on my team, salary not an issue, then yes, I would definitely pick Votto; he is definitely one of the best half dozen players in the league, in general. But, if based on this season, the best half dozen in the league? That would be very debatable.

        • @steveschoen: Steve, please see my post below to one of your other posts. The notion that all Votto does is walk, as you are implying, is nonsense. He’s in the Top 10 is nearly every single category that exists… including home runs. Yeah, really.

          As much as you many not want to admit it, a guy who hits over .300 and walks over 10% of the time is more valuable than ANY player who hits .270/.330, even if they had 150 RBI.

          Im not trying to argue against Bruce, because i love the guy, BUT he is 7th in the NL in outs made. (BP is 3rd, just for fun). This is partly because he’s played in all but 2 games, but it’s also go to do with the fact that he still has holes in his swing which can be exploited by the right kinds of pitchers.

        • @prjeter: Never said all Votto does it walk, Peter. Saying I am implying it is incorrect. However, why would he have such a high OBP, then? Because of all the doubles he’s hit? All the singles? All the HR’s? Of course, it’s bacause of the BB’s. There’s a reason why he has about 20 more than any other player in the league, Peter.

          As much as you may not want to admit it, if that guy who hits over 300 and walks 10% of the time only has about 70 RBI’s batting in a spot in the order that is suppose to get hits to drive in runs, then one can make an argument that the batter with 270/330 and 150 RBI’s is just as if not more valuable than the BB guy, especially if the BB guy is getting paid $25 million and the other guy is getting paid, oh, anywhere from $8-15 million.

        • @steveschoen: Thanks for the reply.

          I would submit that the measure of “value” based on money spent is erroneous in baseball, given the fact that there is no salary cap. EVERY team could spend more. It’s the owner’s decision to have more profit now or try and build a winning team to have more profit later. If Votto made $10 million less, his value would not change. All that would chance is how much money Castellini has in his bank account.

          Also, look at every team’s top RBI guy. They, in every case, happen to be the person who has batted after the first two “high OBP” guys in the order. For the Tigers, it’s Cabrera in the 3 spot, since 1-2 have had high OBPs all year (Jackson/Hunter). For the Reds, it’s the #4 spot, which has been Phillips and Bruce. Notice that when Bruce went to #4 and Phillip to #2 that Bruce started to get the RBIs instead of Phillips? It’s because, no matter who is hitting there, the person who bats after Choo/Anyone/Votto will lead the team in RBI. It’s a simple opportunity analysis. Sure, Votto could lead the team in RBI’s if he were batting .450 with RISP, but that’s an unrealistic expecation to put on someone, in my opinion.

        • @steveschoen: But why aren’t walks worth it? Also, since when does Votto just walk? As noted, I believe, twice now, he leads the team in slugging. That does not involve walking. It involves hitting with power.

          Also, the OBP difference between Dunn and Votto is enormous. It’s the difference (more or less) between Cozart and Bruce.

          There is a belief out there that getting on base is some how less valuable than hitting for power. But that’s unprovable. In fact, the evidence would support that getting on base is more important because (too take it to the extreme) if you never make an out, you score infinite runs.

          You guys act like getting on base as much as Votto does is easy. His OBP is 20th all-time. Not all-time for the Reds. All-time for baseball. Ever.

          It just boggles my mind that because this year he hasn’t been exactly what was expected, he hasn’t earned his keep or something. Again, it is a down year for him. But it’s still a HOF year.

        • @Jason Linden: Yes, the difference between Votto and Dunn is enormous, like how much we paid them to produce.

          OK, getting on base is important. So, let’s see. Player on second, Votto up, one out. Pitcher pitches around him, intentional BB. Next batter, hits into a double play. Oh, but Votto got on base, increasing his OBP. The thing is, a single would have gotten him just as many bases, would have helped his OBP just as much, and he would have been more productive for the team by actually driving in a run.

          Listen, Jason, if you want to play around with your advanced sabermetrics, that’s fine. Just remember this, if the advanced sabermetrics were the end all cure all, then a vast majority of the time, they would also show up as increases and improvements in the more basic stats as well, since there is still items like strategy, situational hitting, etc., many things that the advanced sabermetrics don’t show. Like the example I gave, the advanced sabermetrics will show Votto’s numbers just as good with a walk as a single. But, a single drives in a run; a walk doesn’t. Like I told you before, the only 100% correlation for a team’s offense is how many times they cross the plate. Literally everything else isn’t as good a statistic, as good a correlation, as that. They might be good correlations, but not as good as crossing the plate.

        • @steveschoen: In your own example you say “pitcher pitches around him”. So what would you like Votto to do–start lunging at pitches down in the dirt away? In which case he’ll make an out and your theoretical 4 hole hitter won’t hit into a DP because there will already be two outs.

          If, using your own example, Votto takes the walk when he’s being pitched around then your cleanup hitter has two men on and one out. That’s a good thing, and hopefully he doesn’t hit into double plays all the time. Which is another reason to have Bruce, the NL leader in extra base hits, batting 4th instead of Phillips.

        • @steveschoen: If you want to cherry pick situations to try and give credence to your points, that’s up to you. I can do the same thing.

          Runner on 2nd, Votto walks. 4th spot hitter hits a 2-run homer. Yay, walks!

          That’s a silly example, as is any example involving a hypothetical.

          Over the course of a season, a player who gets on base a lot is going to help the team score more runs than a player who swings at bad pitches to try and pad his RBI numbers. This is shown in a stat called “Runs Created,” in which Votto is 1st in the NL.

          Perfect example was the game Saturday. Votto walked, moving Phillips from 1st to 2nd. Ludwick then singled in Phillips. On that play, all three things (Phillips getting on, Votto getting on, Ludwick singling) were all equally important in producing the run that put the Reds up 1-0. It’s extemely silly, in my opinion, to give Ludwick all the credit on that play, since the RBI would not have happened without the contribution from each player.

        • @Jason Linden: Jason, I agree again, but must point out that Cozart hasn’t been the only guy batting in front of Votto. Choo has been, too, and HE has the 2nd highest OBP in the league, so the explanation appears to be more complex.

        • @greenmtred: The explanation is that every high RBI guy needs 2 high OBP guys in front of him. Check every team’s top RBI guy then look and see if 2 of the 3 players in front of him are high OBP guys. The answer, almost invariably, is yes. The two high OBP guys for Cincy are Choo and Votto. Whoever is directly behind those guys (Phillips for most of the year, with a sprinkling of Bruce and Ludwick) is going to have the most opportunity for RBI and, therefore, the most RBI.

        • @tae: Also, too many people forget how little real difference there is between players defensively. Players make nearly all the plays. You have to be REALLY great or REALLY terrible to make up for huge differences in offensive performances. Votto has been bad this year, but not REALLY bad.

        • @Jason Linden: His bad is still above average for 1B. His fielding component of WAR is 3.2 according to fangraphs.com (I’m not sure what the unit is), but I know 3.2 is greater than 0, meaning Votto’s defense has added, rather than detracted, to Reds wins this season.

        • @Zabka84: The 3.2 figure takes into account his whole fielding performance, so yes, even with 14 errors he’s added to the team with his defense.

          I’m not arguing, and never have been, that he’s been “good” defensively this year. He hasn’t been. However, a player who makes a lot of diving plays to take away hits gets some leeway if he has a lot of errors. Good with bad. Would you rather have Prince Fielder defensively? I thought not.

        • @prjeter: Come on!, When you make the most errors at your position, and you are somehow helping the team, then the stat is flawed.

        • @VaRedsFan: Yes, there is a lot more to being a good fielder than not making errors. An apt illustration might be Conception vs. Bowa.

        • @VaRedsFan:

          Andrelton Simmons has 13 erros. Zack Cozart has 14 errors.

          By all accounts, Simmons is a generational talent with the glove, he’s worth 5.5 WAR by his glove alone. By most accounts, Cozart is slightly above-average, at best.

          If you really think Cozart and Simmons are in the same planet defensively, perhaps you should learn about this game we call baseball. I won’t post any more on the subject. It’s clear to me now that ya’ll have no desire to be open-minded about the “error” stat and its utter worthlessness.

    • @Kurt Frost:
      @Zabka84:

      How is Votto not in the MVP discussion?

      …because Bruce is more valuable to the Reds.

      Votto and Bruce are both in my MVP discussions. It will be hard for either Votto of Bruce towin the NL MVP award since they both play for the same team and both will garner votes away from each other. Both are deserving of consideration and both should finish in the top 5, but with Kershaw going after both the Cy Young and MVP awards (that’s another discussion entirely), even a top 5 for both will be tough.

    • @Kurt Frost: Because Votto simply isn’t have a good year for him, not a year for MVP material. One might able to argue how he is still a threat offensively, which would/could be true. But, being a threat is different than achievement. And, players aren’t going to win MVP’s just because they have a high OBP when a big reason for that being because they walk so much. Votto isn’t top 5 in BA, doubles, HR’s, RBI’s, and SLG. He’s tied for 5th in hits. The only things going for him are his OBP, OPS, runs (tied for 3rd), probably the more advanced stats. And, from what I’ve learned, people will run numbers as much as you want and eventually make the worst hitter in the league look like an All-Star. A vast majority of the time, if the more advanced stats were always good and always held, then eventually, they would also show up in increased numbers in the more basic stats.

      • @steveschoen: One of your statements makes absolutely no sense. I’ve got a BS in Mathematics and a Masters’ in Finance and I could not make Zack Cozart look like an all-star with the numbers.

        You arbitrarily pick top 5 as meaning that stat is “going for him.”

        Votto’s in the Top 10 (a more traditional cut) in: drumroll…

        WAR
        OBP
        SLUGGING
        OPS
        GAMES PLAYED
        PLATE APPEARANCES
        RUNS SCORED
        HITS
        TOTAL BASES
        HOME RUNS (really)
        WALKS
        ADJUSTED OPS
        RUNS CREATED (1st. This is my most important stat)
        ADJUSTED BATTING RUNS
        ADJUSTED BATTING WINS
        EXTRA BASE HITS (Tied for 10th)
        TIMES ON BASE (302. Wow)
        OFFENSIVE WIN % (A measure of what the team’s WP would be if all 9 players were Votto, this would be .771 or 125-37)
        INTENTIONAL WALKS (1st. The league thinks he’s good)
        BASE-OUT RUNS ADDED
        WIN PROBABILITY ADDED
        SITUATIONAL WINS ADDED
        BASE-OUT WINS ADDED

        The only other players even remotely close to this in the NL are McCutchen and Goldschmidt, which is why they are in the MVP talk.

        • @prjeter: And, you honestly think the voters are going to go over all of these individual stats in order to determine who’s the most “valuable” player?

          Like I said, people can run numbers all they want and make the worst players in the league look like All-Stars. You have heard of “Moneyball”, right? Like, just now, right here, I gave some stats that made Votto out most likely not an MVP winner. You gave some that do most likely make him a winner. “But, I showed more than you, Steve.” Yes, and you also used top 10 numbers; I used top 5 numbers. We read the stats as we saw fit. My case is proven. Thank you for proving my point.

          I never said Votto wouldn’t get some MVP votes. I even specified I would pick him for my team, as in right now. But, as for the original post for this thread, why isn’t Votto in the MVP discussion, because the discussion would be directed towards who’s going to win the award, aka the 3 players in the league, maybe the top 5. Votto’s numbers are more likely to keep him out of it this season. But, hey, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, either. But, you all make it out like it’s some conspiracy or something. Even Barry Bonds had seasons where he finished in the MVP voting as 8, 12, and even 24. “So, Steve, you really think Barry Bonds was the 24th best player in the league that season.” No, I never did say that, like a lot of people around here like to do, putting words in other people’s mouths. I said he finished 8, 12, and 24 in certain years in the MVP voting. Now, if you want to take that as he is the 24th best player in the league, that’s your call.

          If I had to put Votto somewhere, I would have to think he would be out of the top 3. I think he will be around the top 5, up/down from there. I’d be surprised if he wins. With Goldschmidt, Freeman, McCutchen, Molina, Wainwright, Liriano, Kershaw, maybe a couple more, with the years they have had, it would be difficult to say that any of these would be more or less valuable than Votto’s been to us this season. Shoot, it could still even come down to who’s team goes further in the playoffs. And, that should really have something to do with this award? But, it seems to many times.

        • @prjeter: And, you honestly think the voters are going to go over all of these individual stats in order to determine who’s the most “valuable” player?

          Like I said, people can run numbers all they want and make the worst players in the league look like All-Stars.You have heard of “Moneyball”, right?Like, just now, right here, I gave some stats that made Votto out most likely not an MVP winner.You gave some that do most likely make him a winner.“But, I showed more than you, Steve.”Yes, and you also used top 10 numbers; I used top 5 numbers.We read the stats as we saw fit.My case is proven.Thank you for proving my point.

          I never said Votto wouldn’t get some MVP votes.I even specified I would pick him for my team, as in right now.But, as for the original post for this thread, why isn’t Votto in the MVP discussion, because the discussion would be directed towards who’s going to win the award, aka the 3 players in the league, maybe the top 5.Votto’s numbers are more likely to keep him out of it this season.But, hey, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, either.But, you all make it out like it’s some conspiracy or something.Even Barry Bonds had seasons where he finished in the MVP voting as 8, 12, and even 24.“So, Steve, you really think Barry Bonds was the 24th best player in the league that season.”No, I never did say that, like a lot of people around here like to do, putting words in other people’s mouths.I said he finished 8, 12, and 24 in certain years in the MVP voting.Now, if you want to take that as he is the 24th best player in the league, that’s your call.

          If I had to put Votto somewhere, I would have to think he would be out of the top 3.I think he will be around the top 5, up/down from there.I’d be surprised if he wins.With Goldschmidt, Freeman, McCutchen, Molina, Wainwright, Liriano, Kershaw, maybe a couple more, with the years they have had, it would be difficult to say that any of these would be more or less valuable than Votto’s been to us this season.Shoot, it could still even come down to who’s team goes further in the playoffs.And, that should really have something to do with this award?But, it seems to many times.

          The vote is cast before the playoffs start.

        • @Kurt Frost: Right. And, with the Reds going to the playoffs and the D-backs aren’t going to the playoffs, that can easily spell more votes for Votto than Goldschmidt, whether Votto deserves them or not, because of what the team did.

        • @steveschoen: I’m not sure what you don’t understand.

          Do the same with Zack Cozart, offensively. You can’t.

          Yes, we can take an MVP-caliber player and slice it two ways. I agree with you. You said you can do it to anyone. Ok, so do it with Cozart. Or Hannigan. Or anyone on the team not named Votto, Bruce, or Choo.

        • @steveschoen: And also, I’m not saying he’s the MVP. He isn’t. I’m just saying that your statement about making numbers say whatever you want is patently false. To prove it to me, present an argument for Zack Cozart. I will mail you a $100 bill if you are able to convince me with his numbers.

        • @prjeter: @prjeter: Just have to say, the OFFENSIVE WIN % is a goofy stat. I mean, a lineup with 9 Vottos wold score a ton of runs but it would give up as many or, probably, more, even without factoring in the pitching.

        • @redskaph: Exactly, just another statistic that the sabermetricians look to play with, “What if we do this. . .?”

        • @redskaph: I didn’t pick it for its veracity. I picked it because it was on the list. I looekd at EVERY measure baseball-reference.com shows. It was there, so I listed it.

          Also, we’re talking offense. Not pitching. It’s not my fault you don’t understand the statistic I presented. It doesn’t insert Votto as a pitcher. Think of an AL-DH lineup with a league average pitcher.

  13. Hamilton has almost now certainly solidified his spot on the post season roster. There is absolutely no way Dusty can justify putting Robinson on the roster at the expense of Hamilton – Billy is an absolute terror for opposing teams to deal with when he is on the baspath. He completely changes the dynamic of a game. I realize it is only a small sampling of games at the major league level, but he does not seem to be intimidated or fazed by the pressure of a pennant chase – Very, very impressive thus far.

  14. Bruce needs to really work on his stroke to LF during the offseason. Some of the IF shifts against him are just ridiculous. All he needs to do is slap a ground ball or line drive down the 3B line and he has a gift 2B every time.

    Robinson, Hannahan, Izturis, Miller, Rodriguez and Soto have no business starting any game the rest of this season, baring an injury to BP or Frazier.

    I was glad to see Ondrusek come in to pitch the 9th inning today in a complete blowout. The only relievers who should see action the rest of this season are LeCure, Hoover, Simon, Marshall, Parra and Chapman, except in blowout situations. I think Cingrani is probably done for this season and needs to concentrate on a complete recovery, strengthening and rehab program in preparation for the 2014 season, not just resting during the offseason like Cueto did last year.

    Why is Reynolds listed as the starter on 9/25 in the finale against the Mets? Reynolds should not see the mound the rest of this season. Latos will be on a regular 5 day rotation on 9/25 and that would also set him up for pitching either the wildcard playing game on 10/1 on a regular 5 day rotation or the opener of the NLDS on 10/3. It would also set up Bailey, Cueto and Arroyo to pitch the final series against the Bucos.

  15. I love these type of days– when the Reds and Bengals win. Admittedly, the Reds have been hot and cold this year, but now is the time to get really hot– like sf did last year. I’m dreaming of Cincy’s sixth World Series championship and first Super Bowl championship

  16. “This section offers news briefs on sports events and personalities as of April 1982. Chicago Cub Pitcher Dickie Noles delivered a pitch that hit Cincinnati Reds Batter Clint Hurdle on the helmet, just above the right eye, causing Hurdle to momentarily lie motionless on the ground. Tucson Radio…”

    This was the scariest thing I have ever seen in person at a sporting event. I was with my wife right behind home plate and thought the guy might be dead. Clint Hurdle knows all about how serious getting hit by a pitch can be. Happy to report, I can find no video of this event.

  17. Fun game to watch. Loved Hamilton rising to his start. The kid’s a gamer. Casey (I can barely stand him in the booth) was saying how Delino DeShields says he’ll be able to hit at the MLB level. Small sample, but he’s certainly doing that. And he seems to have an innate skill for reading pitchers. Just plain fun to watch.

    I told my Pie-Rat friends I hope they sweep the Stupid Cubs, we sweep the Metros, the Angry Birds tank against the Harpers, and next weekend is a full-contact sprint to the championship and not just game 163.

    • @msanmoore: Hamilton is one sharp cookie -the way he reads plays, the way he reads pitchers, simply the way he plays the game. He is raising the Reds level of play to a new level. And remember the moron (opponent scout) that stated in spring training that BH wouldn’t be able to hit to save his life? Well, as bad a scout as he is turning out to be, just hope he works for the Cards or at the very least the Pirates.

  18. I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for the first time Billy gets caught stealing. It will be shocking for sure.

    • @down with dusty: I’m eager to see if it’s going to be Hamilton slipping during acceleration, or the catcher making a pin-point throw, or the pitcher employing a quick slide step that will ultimately lead to his first caught stealing.

      The numbers dont support him ever being caught, but we all know he will, so it’ll be interesting to see what causes him the most problems!

      • @prjeter: More likely will get picked off than gunned down. No catchers left in the season who can throw him out. The stop watch suggests that in an ordinary steal attempt, there is no way to get him on the throw.

  19. Love Hamilton – brings anticipation, excitement, speed, a game changer…potentially, any time he is on base.

    Look forward to many years … Ricky Henderson watch out,…

    Lets go Reds . We need to win 5 of 6 and we r at home for WC…

  20. Brews up 4-0

    Keep that up and we will be 2 out with 6 to go…

    We go 5-1 and card go 3-3 ? Nationals are out of playoff, more or less, but if they play hard, certainly capable of winning that series… Giving cards 2 losses..

    Cubbies can possibly give one loss to the cards. They play cards tough..

    Anyone biting this scenario

  21. And the Brew Crew put up a 2 spot in each of the 1st 2 innings against the Birds. Brew Crew up 4-0 after 2.

  22. Wish the Reds would have held onto Dioner Navarro and traded Hanigan last winter. I heard the package teams were calling about was Hanigan/Corcino. We’d pick up a prospect and have the perfect catching duo.

    • @Josh: Maybe I’m too fond of defense, but I wasn’t too bummed to see Dioner go. Similar boat as Ramon Hernandez. Having HR power from the catcher’s spot is nice. But in my mind, 90% of his job is to to help the pitcher get the batters out (pitch calling, preventing WP/PB/SB, pitch framing). I don’t remember Dioner being any good at those aspects of the position.

    • @Josh: I’d rather have the Dinosaur than I would Corky in a tough spot, but not by a lot. No way I’d rather have him than Hanny.

  23. 4-1 Milwaukee in the middle of the fourth. Neither pitcher looking great, but defense being the difference between the two teams tonight.

    Scoreboard watching is pretty fun after a Reds win, ain’t it?

  24. A few notes:

    1) McCutchen may win the MVP, but he sure came up small compared to Bruce in this series. (He came up small compared to Heisey, too. In fact, he just came up small.)

    2) Hanigan is killing us offensively. Nevertheless, I expect him to get his third start in a row in the opener of the Mets series. And he is almost certain to start 66-75% of the games in the playoffs.

    3) I know it’s only one series, but the fact is we got way more production out of LF than the Pirates got out of Marlon Byrd (aka, The Cheater) this weekend.

    4) Somehow, the Mets are 7-3 in their last 10 games. Let’s stay focused and win this thing. Go Reds!

    • 4) Somehow, the Mets are 7-3 in their last 10 games.Let’s stay focused and win this thing.Go Reds!

      Six of the seven wins were versus the Fish (in NYC) and Pfils in Philly. In between, they lost two of three to the Giants in NYC. They may be on a little bit of a high because they just swept the Pfils in Philly but given the opposition, I don’t think the 7-3 in the last 10 necessarily indicates they are playing really well. After their recent experiences with Brewers and Cubs, the Reds certainly have not excuse for not being ready.

  25. Having Hamilton on the team and not playing him every day the rest of the year is akin to having a weapon like Aroldis Chapman and only using him as a one inning closer. Oh, never mind.

  26. Gotta say this for Ron Roenicke. It’s the starter, then Hand, then Kintzler (maybe Wooten) and Henderson. Anybody else need not apply.

  27. It is official and final that the Brewers beat the Cards after some tense moments in the top of the 9th for all of us wanting this result.

    Here’s the math as I as see it. The Cards magic number stands at 5 against both the Reds and Pirates. Against 5-1 by either the Reds or Pirates (and only one could do that since they play each other 3 of 6) 3-3 gets the cards a tie, better wins them the division, worse loses it.

    So let’s pull for our Reds to run the table and force the Cards to win 5 to close them.

    • @OhioJim: I am more or less being realistic thinking I need to decide who I want to have the best NL record. Atlanta seems poised. I think the Reds can beat the Birds best of 7, but not best of 5.

      • @Johnu1: Given the last two weeks and the Reds performance versus the Brewers and Cubs, the toughest part of the road starts right off, getting the sweep or at least 2 versus the Metz.
        Since the early debacle in Pittsburgh, the Reds have won 2 three game series in Pitt and split a four gamer and won a three gamer against them at home.

        Thus I think 5-1 is very possible for the Reds in the last 6 if they don’t mess it up versus the Metz.

        • @OhioJim: Also I think the Nats have take at least 2 of 3 if the Cards are to be held to 3 wins in their last 6. If the final series was at Wrigley, the Cubs might be able to scratch together something but with it in STL they will Cub but hopefully win 1.

  28. Cueto pitching Monday on a 100-pitch (max) diet. Assuming that gets him 5 innings, the challenge is how to go about winning the game without taxing the guys who need to be sharp the rest of the week.

    Here’s hoping for a break — and another 6-run first inning.

  29. I love Jay Bruce and all, but just isolating offensive contribution alone, Bruce isn’t even in the Top 5 in the NL for RIGHT FIELDERS (120 wRC+).

    Votto is top 5 for ALL players in the NL w/a 156 wRC+. Heck, Choo is right behind him at 150 wRC+.

    As usual, some posters are getting caught up with a hot couple games and some RBIs…whoever has the most gets the title of MVP! :D

    At least nobody is trying to seriously argue Brandon Phillips should be the MVP anymore.

  30. Food for thought and comment on two fronts:

    Billy the Kid / Happy Feet / Kid Kwik – Whatever you want to call him, Billy Hamilton now has 12 steals in the big leagues. Against 14 at bats. Clearly an unsustainable rate. But nevertheless, he’s now T-26 in the NL for steals in 2013. Of all the players ahead of him on that list, the one with the FEWEST at-bats has 223. Next lowest is 301. That’s right – there’s only one player ahead of him who has fewer than 20 times as many at bats. Kid is fast. It’s going to be fun watching him run.

    I’ve seen a bunch of speculation about who the Reds can or can’t beat in a playoff series. They can beat anyone. Dodgers, Cardinals, Braves. Red Sox, Tigers, A’s. Seriously. In the last month they’ve taken 3 of 4 from St. Louis on the road, 2 of 3 from Pittsburgh on the road, and swept the Dodgers in 3 at home. Against, Greinke and Kershaw. This is not the Big Red Machine, but it is a decent lineup with a very good top four or five (depending on Dusty Baker’s order). With very good starting pitching and a pretty strong bullpen (especially if you ignore the mop up guys that shouldn’t appear in a short series). I’m not predicting any particular outcome, but for those who have already decided this team will disappoint us – you may be wrong. This Reds team is good enough to beat anyone, and they’ve proven it, at least at times, very recently.

      • @OhioJim: What bugs me big time would be if the Reds had to travel to Saint Louis to play the Cards for the Division and then if they lost return home to play the wild card game against the Pirates.

        And it could happen (and it sure would not be fair to the Reds) as the Pirates could very well benefit by staying put in Cincy and resting and not having to make a one day trip).

    • @Chris DeBlois: The St. Louis games were in Cincinnati, but I basically agree. I also believe they have the tools for a deep postseason run. The question/worries a lot of us have involve the number of head-scratching mistakes they make and how they are managed. The latter are largely the reason they won’t win the division, barring a perfect last week of the season. It at least should be interesting. Like someone posted the other day, following the Reds in like opening a box of chocolates, you never know what you’ll get.

  31. I will say, I am glad to see Baker using Hamilton. I don’t take it as Baker is doing a masterful job of using Hamilton, though. I take it as he should be using Hamilton, exactly like he has been, as expected, as other managers would probably do as well (well, except for our loss Sat night, when Baker should have put him in for Ludwick in the 9th, poor use coming from no use there). I’ve heard some talk about how Baker has been masterful at his handling of Hamilton. Sorry, I just don’t see masterful. “Masterful” as in maybe we would expect worse of Baker, then yes. But, how Hamilton’s been used I believe is how anyone would/should be using him.

    • @steveschoen: Hamilton hasn’t been around long enough for the league to get a book on him, but the way he hits, anything in the hole is effectively a double. They might start playing in on him (alleging he gets to the plate) and I don’t know for sure how many teams have the infield to manage that. I think Pedro can do it, Freese can’t. Descalso can, Barmes maybe. No idea about the Braves. Hanley could get him out. Those would be atom balls, though. If it hits twice, Hamilton is on base.

      • @Johnu1: I entirely agree. It seems like Hamilton is a player who has embraced his strength, unlike that “other speedster” we had the last couple of seasons. I hope he doesn’t become just a slash and run type of hitter, aka Pierre, but more like Michael Borne (sp?), with a little bit of line drive power, lack of better word.

        Someone said he defense is good enough. If so, I would have to think as long as he has something like anywhere near a 300 OBP, then bring him on up. I wouldn’t mind/could understand maybe another half season of seasoning, though.

        • @steveschoen: As far as Hamilton’s defense, Chad & Doug Gray has a very informative conversation on the Nation’s Podcast RNR #92. Gray’s opinion is that Hamilton is already an excellent fielder and this guy primarily writes about the Reds’ Minor League players. Check it, there is a lot of very good stuff there. By the way, I listen to most the Podcasts here and there are an invaluable source of Reds information as well as wise opinion/analysis. Chad – don’t say I never kissed up to you.

        • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: I think Walt also said that his defense was ML ready.

          I have been watching Billy in the boxes all year and been commenting on his season as it does seem that Walt is very high on him.

          The switch hitting comment that Johnu1 makes below is so true. His OBP on one side of the plate is actually ML passable.

          The debate ran that he was not an 800 combined player, but my point all year was that with this guy, Slugging is nice but you have to look at it differently because he turns every single into a double.

          I wonder when dusty will let him steal third?

        • @reaganspad: I’d like to see it, at the first available opportunity. Bunting him to third just might be giving up an unnecessary out.

        • @steveschoen: Hamilton’s problem early on was that he was being converted to a switch hitter. So the learning curve on that in pro ball is pretty severe.

          I saw the guy play a couple of times with Dayton and it’s amazing how he intimidates defenses. Pitchers are fumbling with the ball, catchers are stepping out, moving around, trying to get a look. Infielders shading up the middle, outfielders playing in. It’s fun to watch. But like all speedy guys, eventually somebody will know what he can’t hit. Then … (ahem) it gets back to the hitting coach, who is still Brook Jacoby.

      • Hamilton hasn’t been around long enough for the league to get a book on him, but the way he hits, anything in the hole is effectively a double.

        I agree with this… if I’m the Pirates, I set my best scouts on scouring what gave Billy fits most of the year in AAA. Can’t stop his speed, but he is hitting above his weight class for the moment.

  32. I feel it is more probably that the Reds and STL tie for the division than make up 3 games with 6 remaining. That isn’t too far fetched if STL drops series to WSH and loses 1 to Cubs they go 3-3 and the Reds could go 5-1. The issue here is now you have to travel to STL to face the Cards in a one game tiebreaker for the division on Monday 9/30. If they lose that, they then have to travel back to GABP and face PIT who, no doubt, will have stayed in CIN from their weekend series with the Reds. Could spell trouble if you don’t win that that game in STL, but who knows.

    Another, far-fethced, but possible scenario.

    STL goes 1-5, being swept by WSH and losing 2 of 3 to the Cubs – Finish 92-70
    CIN goes 3-3, taking 2 from the mets, and 1 from PIT – Finish 92-70
    PIT goes 3-3, taking 1 from Cubs and 2 from Reds – Finish 92-70

    Then, this is what MLB says happens:

    Three-Club Tie for Division Championship & Two Wild Card Spots:
    After Clubs have been assigned their A, B and C designations, Club A would host Club B on Monday, Sept. 30 (tentatively). The loser of the game would be declared one Wild Card Club. The winner of that game would then host Club C on Tuesday, Oct. 1 (tentatively) to determine the Division Champion. The loser of the game would be declared the other Wild Card Club.

    In this scenario, PIT would choose designation first, then STL. Could be crazy.

    The division winner would be sent off to LA to start the 5 game series and the WC winner would be sent off to ATL. Talk about messed up rotations !

    • @abox03: As a side note…if this happened and you could choose your designation, would you pick A, B, or C?

      I think I would consider C. Sure, you’d have to go on the road to face either the A or B winner, but you only have to play 1 game for the division title. A or B might get a home game, but would have to win 2.

  33. Mlbnetwork radio has been giving – every hour – incorrect information about a Reds-Cards WC tiebreaker. They’re saying that the Reds are 7-8 this season vs. the Pirates – actually the Reds are 8-8.

    They’re saying that if the Cards win the division and the Reds-Pirates tie for 2nd, then the Pirates win the tiebreaker even if the Reds win 2 out of 3 from them in Cincy, because that would tie the season series at 9-9 and the Pirates would win the tiebreaker based on Central Division record.

    Actually the Reds would win the tiebreaker in that scenario, because they would win the season series 10-9. Another nice thing about winning today.

      • @pinson343: The 19-game schedule seemed weird to me at first but after thinking about it, it makes perfect sense. It makes the tie-breaker automatic. The bad part is one of the teams gets one fewer home games.

    • @pinson343: COming from the same radio station that says Carpenter doesn’t have enough RBIs to even be considered for an MVP and calling Pirates fans “great fans”, I don’t really go to them for consistent and rational opinion, much less facts.

      The Buster Olney BBTN podcast and Mo Egger’s baseball talk are my two favorites.

  34. People sometimes say here at RLN that we (at least partly) blame losses on Dusty but give him no credit for wins. I liked some of his decisions yesterday.

    First I agreed (BEFORE the game) with having Hanigan and Heisey in the lineup. There was some grumbling about that on the game thread. You didn’t want to pick yesterday’s game to tell Bronson he’s not pitching to his regular catcher.
    And Heisey was in because Bronson’s a fly ball pitcher and his defense is so much better than Ludwick’s. Not something I’d always want to see with Bronson pitching, but he needed whatever help he could get yesterday.

    I also liked the decision to have Simon pitch the 7th after he showed he was on in the 6th. That set up Parra to pitch to Walker and Pedro Alvarez in the 8th.
    Parra has continued to be tough on LHed hitters.

    • @pinson343: Yes, I did want to pick yesterday’s game to tell Bronson he wasn’t pitching to his regular catcher. Unlike Homer, he did fine with Mes earlier in the season. He’s a veteran. Hanigan has been terrible offensively, and vs LHP the gap between him and Mes is enormous.

      Dusty has painted himself into a position where a terribly slumping Hanigan is likely to get the bulk of time in the playoffs–even if we’re in an elimination game vs a LHP. That’s nuts.

      I’m cool with the ret of your post :-)

  35. Reds back home and should just run the table from here, 6 straight wins at home to finish the regular season.

  36. Reinserting Grilli full time as the closer looks like another panic move to me. Take care of business against the Mets and I’m pretty confident about–at least–hosting the Wildcard.

    Facing Liriano in that game won’t be any fun, but I’d much rather do it at home.

  37. This week in Dusty quotes– Has Dusty had a light bulb moment? “Those guys set up some big innings,” Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said. “You need guys in your lineup to drive in runs but it’s just as important to have guys to get on base so they can be driven in.” Which ever way the wind blows today, Dusty. Whichever way the wind blows for you.

  38. Heisey is a decent platoon player, but unless he gets his pitch, in his zone on 3-0, he should never be swinging. And would jump his case as he was lunging 3-0(indicating he was clearly off balance as he definitely did not get his pitch). Clean it up Chris, you are better than that – DISCIPLINED AT BATS, REDS – PLEASE!!

    • @cincyreds14: That is maybe his problem: does he really know what his zone is? To me, swinging on 3-0 is a privilege that few should enjoy. For the Reds that is Votto & Choo, and on occasion Jay Bruce. That’s it, IMO.

      • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Your comment got me curious about swinging 3-0. While I wasn’t able to find a split about swinging and missing or fouling off pitches on 3-0, ESPN has a split for putting balls in play.

        Turns out, so far, Votto and Bruce have both put 4 pitches into play on 3-0 (both going .500/.500/1.250). Phillips and Frazier have both put 1 pitch into play on 3-0, and Choo and Cozart haven’t put any in play on 3-0. I really wish I could see the swing/miss splits, though! As you might guess, there are loooots of walks on 3-0.

  39. During the month of September the Reds went 13-7, where St. Louis went 13-8 & Pittsburg went 10-11 down the stretch. We take 2 of 3 from Pittsburgh in their place & blow them out in the last game. I get on here expecting to read some positive up lifting post & all you get is what Dusty did wrong or will do wrong or has did wrong & that Pittsburg’s manager is so much better. Can we just have one day to celebrate taking the series from Pittsburg & their great manger in their place, & maybe post positive comments. I know some of you would say, that’s drinking the kool aid, & that we’re not being true to ourselves if we don’t point out every little deficiency. Please don’t get me wrong, even the posters who can’t stand Dusty and will never stop bashing him, have insightful, intelligent points on the Reds and baseball in general. I’m not saying change who you are, or your opinions, but can you give us just one day? well maybe just me lol. One thing for certain, one thing for sure Dusty is going to be the manager of this team during the 2013 playoffs & hopefully to the world series so can we choose one day to just enjoy it. I know quite few of you won’t admit it, but the same ones criticizing Dusty for his use of Hamilton were just last month suggesting Hamilton shouldn’t have a playoff roster spot & was a one trick pony.

  40. On the whole, rather rediculous Votto “debate”, let’s simplify it as much as possible shall we? Among NL players who have the majority of their plate appearances in the 3-hole, only Goldschmidt, Holliday, and Gonzalez have more than 90 RBI. Only Goldschmidt has 100 or more. Joey’s 73 put him at 6th in the NL among 3-hole hitters and many of those 3-hole hitters got RBI while hitting in the 4-hole as well. So, when it comes to just driving in runs, Votto hasn’t been stellar but sure hasn’t been bad. Now consider that he’s 9th in SLG%, which has nothing to do with walks. He’s also 10th in Avg, so he’s generally hitting the ball. He gets pitched around a lot! He leads the NL in intentional walks and gets pitched around frequently. Lastly, he is by no means a speed demon on the bases and a few people here have remarked that he’s actually bad on the bases. Well, he’s tied for 3rd in the NL with 100 runs scored. To say he’s having an MVP season is probably a stretch but to say he’s been anything less than excellent is equally flawed.

    No smoke or mirrors in the above numbers. These are just traditional, old-school stats. The only area that Votto hasn’t been exceptional is in RBI but honestly, not many 3-hole hitters drive in 100 runs. It’s flawed perception to think they do.

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