2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: Reds lose fourth game in a row

Let’s recap today’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Pittsburgh 8
Cincinnati 3

W: V. Mazzaro (8-2)
L: B. Arroyo (14-12)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Brandon Phillips went 2-3 with a run scored and an RBI. Joey Votto reached base four times: 1-2 with three walks and a run scored.

–Seven Reds pitchers took the mound, and some of them did okay, I guess.

NEGATIVES
–Four straight losses for the Reds on the most important homestand of the season. Now the final game of the homestand, and the regular season, is meaningless.

–BP fouled a ball off his shin, and a pretty gruesome knot popped up under his sock almost immediately. Fortunately, x-rays were negative (check out the picture at that link), but he had to be removed from the game. He won’t play tomorrow, and we’ll just have to wait and see if he’ll be able to play on Tuesday.

–In what may have been his final start as a Red, Bronson Arroyo was pretty bad. Arroyo surrendered five homers, six earned runs, and eight hits in four and two-thirds innings.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–Playoff fever: Catch it!

–With today’s loss, it’s official: the Redlegs will travel to Pittsburgh on Tuesday for the Wild Card playoff game.

–If that does turn out to be Arroyo’s last start in Cincinnati, it’ll be a bummer. Arroyo is a Reds Hall of Famer, and I hate to see him go out like that.

–We have had some criticisms of BP’s play this year, but can you imagine Cesar Izturis starting at second base in the wild card game? Yikes.

–I’ll say it again: all the Reds have to do is win on Tuesday, and some of this angst will dissipate. Hope and optimism will take its place. I can almost guarantee it.

They gotta win on Tuesday first, however.

A terrible showing tonight, Redlegs. Just awful. Milton looks happy, but he's disappointed.

A terrible showing tonight, Redlegs. Just awful. Milton looks happy, but he’s disappointed.

Source: FanGraphs

190 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: Reds lose fourth game in a row

  1. Cueto needs to start on Tues. Hamilton and Mesoraco need to start as well, but we all know it’ll be Ludwick and Hanigan.

  2. I don’t think I have the emotional stamina to withstand the coinflip, especially if the lineup from today rears its ugly head. Godspeed to those that do.

  3. I know Bronson Arroyo pitched badly in an important game, and i know this is probably going to be an unpopular opinion here, but i was still disappointed by the reaction from everyone when Arroyo was taken out of the game. I was down at the ballpark, and i was literally the only one in my section who stood up and applauded him(regardless of today’s game or other recent games), which saddens me. He gave his all to the Red’s for years now and while he’s not being the greatest pitcher ever he still has been very solid and i felt he deserved better than that consider it was possibly the last time we’ll see him walking off the mound in that uniform.

      • @Just A Fan: That’s an unfortunate situation.

        There have been numerous times at games where I’ve wanted to boo Dusty Baker but thought it would be misunderstood as booing the player. Sometimes I’ve booed sometimes I haven’t.

        That’s what happened today, probably. Between people being upset with Baker and also how the game had gone they just weren’t in any mood to celebrate Arroyo’s career. And that’s sad but totally understandable.

        • @Steve Mancuso: Bronson maybe ought to have pitched better. He’s already said strongly he isn’t coming back. Reds needed to win this game, not be warm and fuzzy to their starting pitcher. His paychecks don’t bounce.

        • @Johnu1: The post was about the fans, not the Reds. It’s very disappointing the fans didn’t reward Arroyo for his years of effort on the mound for the Reds. Your comment was about something else completely. It’s not wrong, but it’s in the wrong place.

        • @Steve Mancuso: Yeah, i totally understand. I’m not here to berate the fans or anything like that, only to say it was just a bit disappointing. I know that he isn’t perfect or anything of the sort, and when he gave up four home runs i really didn’t expect him to get a great reaction, but i was still saddened that even though we’re in the midst of a team spiraling downward, we couldn’t take a brief moment to realize we had a class act professional here and he probably won’t be back, and i felt that his years of play and service were worthy of applause, regardless of his performance in today’s game. like i said, i don’t expect this to be a popular opinion, just how i felt.

    • @CorkyMillersMustache: Bronson’s the ultimate pro and that’s in short supply with this team. What I’ve always respected about Bronson is that win or lose, good or bad, he always stood in front of his locker and took responsibility. Like Scott Rolen last year, his positive example of how to go about your business will be missed much more than his statistical contribution. Unfortunately, in our attention span of a gnat society there too little appreciation for those that play the game the right way.

      • @Jetsons Dog: My thoughts exactly. It was obviously a tough situation considering what all happened in the game today, i just had some hope that people would remember all the good he’s done as a red. I mean the guy never missed a start and amassed 100 wins. That’s pretty significant.

    • @CorkyMillersMustache: The mlb.com coverage said there was “polite applause.” On the radio I could hear some booing. As pointed out by Steve, the booing was for Dusty. It’s just unfortunate. But Bronson knows how things go, and feels appreciated in Cincinnati. This will not affect his wanting to stay, and in any case he has said all along that in the end he’ll be making a “business decision”.

      Bronson has been one of my favorite players since he joined the Reds. Even so, considering that he’ll want at least a couple of years at a high salary, it’s time to say good bye. I’m still hoping for a happier good bye.

  4. Records of other teams with something to play for the past week or so:
    Tampa has won 7 of their last 10.
    Cleveland 8 wins in a row and winning now.
    Texas 8 out of 10, 6 in a row.
    St. Louis 8 out of 10
    Pittsburgh we’ve seen up close and personal.
    Reds – It’s not urgent yet.

    • @vared: About the Pirates….

      Last week they were 2-5 (at home) including losing two to the Reds and three to the lowly Padres. This week they are 4-1 (on the road) including 2 wins versus the Reds and two versus the lowly Cubbies.

      Last week the Reds were 5-1 (on the road)including winning three from the lower than lowly Astros and 2 from the Pirates. This week they are 1-4 versus the Metz and the Pirates.

      Prior to the Metz series, the Reds were tied with somebody for the best MLB record in their last 30 games, 18-12 (.600). That included I believe, 3 of 4 versus the Cards and 2 of three versus the Dodgers, both division winners.

      My point is the “Big 162″ as some call it is about cycles because teams simply cannot keep their edge seemingly indefinitely (unless they are some aberration like the 1976 Reds). Tuesday will be a new day; and other than deciding where the game is played, what has happened this week means nada. And looking at the figures above, it is not at all clear that being the home side for this one game coin toss really is very significant at all.

    • @vared: Concerning urgency: I don’t know (nor do any of us) exactly what Dusty meant, but it seems absurdly unlikely that he meant that winning is unimportant. He may well have meant something along these lines: most people in any field perform better when they’re relaxed.

    • @dn4192: It won’t matter as I am officially going on record that the Reds behind Johnny Cueto will win the Wild Card game. The Reds want to be redeemed for looking so miserable this week and for some unknown reason the Reds play the Pirates tougher in Pittsburgh. But consider two important points:

      1. Unless the Cards lose tomorrow, the winner of the wild card game will go onto play the St Louis Cardinals.

      2. There is no #2, next week at this time, the Reds will be playing the Cards in the NL Divisional Series.

      Bank on it.

  5. It could be worse, they could have lost these two games to the Cardinals. If the Reds lose the play in game I hope Pittsburgh goes all the way.

      • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Did you watch the Pirates throw behind one of your team’s players the other day? Do you remember them intentionally hitting your team’s second baseman, limiting his production for a month? Do you realize Marlon Byrd was suspended for steroids last year, but is having a magical career year closer to his 40th birthday than his 30th? Normally I might have agreed with you and rooted for the underdog Pirates, but not this team. No way.

  6. I’m sure Dusty with all of his major league experience knows a lot more about baseball than me. But in 50 years of watching baseball, I don’t recall any other time when the starting pitcher was left in to give up 5 homeruns in a late season game with playoff implications.

    • @MikeC: To be fair to both Dusty and Bronson, the last one was the only one that really put it out of reach. The others were all solo shots and thanks to our only offensive inning (the other 8 were pretty offensive but in a different way) we were right in it. That 2 run shot in the 5th was the killer. That’s when Dusty wrote off the game. Which is his way. We still could have made a comeback, but Dusty threw in the scrubs.

      • @eric nyc: But it was the last HR, which put the game out of reach, that was avoidable. With the score tied 3-3, Bronson struggling and the heart of their order coming up, Dusty HAD to have someone warming up at the start of the inning, to face Byrd if necessary. He didn’t. Here was his defense:
        “We had [reliever Sean] Marshall ready for Alvarez, but we couldn’t get anybody loose quickly enough for Byrd,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “It’s not fantasy baseball. You have to give these guys a chance to get loose and you can’t have somebody ready all the time. You’ll just run through your whole bullpen.”

        YOU”LL JUST RUN THROUGH YOUR WHOLE BULLPEN !!!!????

        Obviously, losing is a better option than tiring out your bullpen, regardless of the urgency of the game.

  7. I posted this a couple of days ago: If I’m Bob C., I meet with DB sometime before Tuesday night’s game and say to him, “Dusty it is all about winning from here. I don’t care how you do it but you have to get it done”. Not give it your all, do your best, whatever……..just win baby. Dusty strikes me as he is never had the meat clever over his head and it is time. He really needs to focus his mind on winning, nothing else. No, how Hank did it, got get ‘em going, really want ‘X’ to get that win stuff.

    • @Steve Mancuso: I love it when a plan comes together. I give Dusty props for this move. Somehow, I just feel more confident in Cueto starting over Latos. And we still have Latos to go if something happens (i.e. SF, last year). Now, if Dusty will just keep Izturis out of the 2-hole.

      • @Johnu1: Ego fodder. If the Reds win the play in, I predicted Latos will be ready for game 1 or game 2 of the divisional series.

    • @Steve Mancuso: And that was the only choice to make IMOm the “wildcard” pocket ace in the Wildcard game.

      An BTW, the last time Liriano started versus the Reds at PNC, the Reds won the game….

      And before someone else says it, yes he dominated the Reds for 8 innings but had to pull himself because he was gassed. We don’t know to what degree the Reds might have torched him if he had come out for the 9th, only that they got the job done versus the Pirates pitchers who did pitch in the 9th.

    • @Tennessee Red: Hopefully we can benefit from the same infield fly rule call 250 feet from home plate like the Cards got in Atlanta last year. If there was ever a play that exemplified the charmed life of the Cardinals it was that one.

        • @Tennessee Red: True, but it has to be catchable with ordiary effort by an infielder. The infield fly can be handled by an outfielder running towards the infield, but still, the ball must be catchable by an infielder. When do infielders normally play 3/4ths of the way to the outfield wall?

  8. Arroyo is a Reds Hall of Famer.
    _ Uh, no (and not just because of today. He’s been serviceable, but that’s all).

      • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: OK. His stats with the Reds are better than I thought. But he’s still been a No. 3-4 starter, with a nice mix of good starts and bad starts. I just thing your team Hall of Fame selections should have higher standards.

        • @redskaph: He’s a Reds Hall of Famer if for no other reason than being part of the most positively lopsided trade in Reds history. He and BP could have an exhibit together.

    • @redskaph: I think the Reds H of F needs to be more selective than a guy who pitched with them for a long period of time. If it was about durability, Tony Taylor would be in Cooperstown. Bronson was a nice pitcher, interesting, certainly not dull — but his numbers are based on being able to pitch. That’s not a mark of greatness. He was healthy. But if he gets in, I also won’t moan about it.

      • @Johnu1: Ah, we’re talking Cincinnati not Cooperstown. What pitcher since the early 1990′s would you suggest? You have to have someone in there. The place just can’t be an empty cavern. Can it???

        • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Is it a rule you have to add someone? I went there. It’s far from an empty cavern.

          I just think he’s been a very good pitcher for the Reds … not one of the greats in team history, which is what a Hall of Fame ought to do.

          If we’re on that, the list for next year is pretty average when Brantley is among the choices.

          But if Bronson is representative of the Reds and the fans say he belongs in the team H of F, that’s fine with me. I re-assert I am not likely to want to argue with it.

    • @redskaph: Considering the Reds HoF includes Dan Driessen and considered (or nominated, whatever) Danny Graves, Bronson Arroyo is in, easily.

      • @jvanhorn: I’ll say this: I would take Bronson over Driessen. But that wuld be about the only reason I could see it. And it BA does get in, I won’t launch a protest. Overall, I’d say he’s been better than I thought he would. I still think even a team HoF should be for bona fide stars, and I don’t condiser Arroyo one. Good, not a star.

    • @redskaph: dude, I had to put my fan vote in this year for one of Jeff Brantley, KG jr or Reggie Sanders. So yes. Arroyo is a slam dunk Reds Hall of Famer. So are Bruce, Votto and BP.

  9. All week all any of the players said was “It doesn’t matter where we play the game.” There was absolutely zero energy or motivation to win this series. It’s been sad to watch and REALLY tough watching how amped up the pirates dugout and fans at GABP have been. Liriano is 11-1 in Pittsburghthis year. If I had to bet, I’d say BP will not play and if he does he won’t be 100%. Ludwick will almost certainly bat 2nd. Choo, he who is incapable of hitting even mediocre lefty pitching, will lead off and give up 4-5 automatic outs. I’m having a really hard time seeing a Reds win Tuesday. That’s not pessimism, it’s realism. Right now the Pirates are a better team playing with more passion and purpose and we will be in their house with a rabid crowd. If we go out like this it really should mean Dustys job. I’d like to see Price get a shot.

    • @eric nyc: It might have been nice to alert the 80,000 fans who’ve shown up this weekend that it doesn’t matter. I am sure they would have had other plans.

      • @Johnu1: Dusty really isn’t cut out for this. Chad said it best the other day. He might be one of the best regular season managers in the game. But when it comes to notching up the intensity when it matters, not only is he bad at it, he flat out said he DOESNT BELIEVE IN IT. He thinks playing with urgency in urgent situations is a BAD thing. It’s why he wins a ton of regular season grind games and never has postseason success. I think this should be his last stint with a contender. Some cellar dweller clunker rebuilding might bring him in to “change the clubhouse culture” but no ones going to trust him with a Ferrari again.

        • @eric nyc:
          It was interesting that during the game the announcers were talking about how the games had a different flavor this time of year – that there was a sense of urgency. Don’t they know that Dusty said having a sense of urgency only results in angst?

        • @eric nyc: To toss the guy a rose, Dusty could be one of the most influential ambassadors for the game — ever. He’s a marvelous asset to the Reds — in the right spot. As a field manager, his philosophy was stale 3 years ago and even moreso now.

          I’d boot the guy upstairs, maybe even offer him a job in the league president’s office. Maybe even commissioner. Why not: the job will be open soon and somebody needs to replace Selig.

          That’s how much I respect Dusty’s contributions to baseball.

          But I am also a fan of my team and I want them to win.

    • @eric nyc:

      The Pirates aren’t the 1927 Yankees. I have a sense that psychologically the Pirates might be spent or simply gassed just by getting there after all these years.

      The Reds, on the other hand, have something left in the tank after stinking to high heaven this week (you don’t make it to the bigs w/o adjusting to the highs and lows of this sport) – and I sincerely believe that Red’s players do have plenty of pride and playing on the road could very well help them from pressing and trying too hard.

      And yes, being there before does count as it will help the Red’s cause (as the stage will not appear quite as large to the Reds who will definitely be ready to play as it will to the star-struck Pirates who may end up pressing).

      Seen it happen too many times in the NFL, mediocre teams like the Reds at 37-29 .560 and Pirates at 37-31 .544 since All Star Break, just can’t stay up for an extended period (unless they are indeed great and heads and shoulders above their competition like the Cincinnati Reds of 1976 were in comparison to the Yankees). Nor conversely can a group of talented big leaguers (yes, the Reds have talent) stay down for an extended time. The Reds will end up demonstrating their talent level by rebounding from a horrible week to win this game.

      So count on the results surprising you.

      Plus, BP is right, the Reds like to play behind Johnny C – who will end up redeeming himself after getting hurt in last year’s playoff opener.

      Reds win 4-2.

    • @eric nyc: Choo may not hit LHP, but his OBP against them was pretty high so he’s not exactly the lead off disaster you suggest. And Liriano was not 11-1 at home this year–that was an incorrect stat that McCarver kept repeating in between times his partner thought Miguel Cairo was coming to bat. And Dusty wont be fired even if Simon pinch hits for Votto and Hanigan runs for Billy. Otherwise, I agree with the thrust of your post, so I apologize for the tone of mine–I just finished watching that train wreck.

  10. What is sadder is that Choo and Votto are among a handful of duos to have 300 on-base reaches in baseball history … and stuck directly between them was a guy who couldn’t get a base hit this week with a tennis racquet.

    • @Johnu1: Speaking of lack of urgency, you could see it in the starting lineup. Morton is tough on righties and very hittable by lefties. So I was hoping that Xavier Paul, who had been very hot and paid the price by not being used by Dusty for more than a week, would be in the lineup. (No hope of his putting Hamilton in the lineup.)

      In the first inning, all 3 lefties get on and all 3 righties are out. No runs.
      In the 3rd inning, only 1 of the first 5 hitters makes an out: Ludwick. That might have been a huge inning.

  11. Also, I know it’s just the Cubs, but the Cardinals are, as usual, going completely ballistic right about now. Glad the WC is against Pittsburgh, even though it’s going to be @ PNC. You would not want it to be in Busch the way they are heating up.

  12. Cuteo over Latos for Tuesday? Sorry that is wrong Latos has earned that start, if I am Latos I am pissed and tell Reds to go blow on any talk on a contract extension.

  13. Dusty quoted as saying he’s hopeful Latos will be ready for Atlanta. So the good news is, we’re expecting to get past the Pirates on Tuesday, so no need to worry (or feels any urgency) about that game.

  14. How tough would this week have been if it was two years ago and there was no second wild card. Thanks Bud Selig for adding it or the Reds would be going golfing on Tuesday instead of playing in the “playoffs”

    • @RedsAk19: I don’t know for sure if it made the game better but it did allow me to have another week to ponder whether I might get the chance to razz my friend’s son-in-law.

  15. tomorrow will be a great showcase of Neftali Soto’s ability…maybe that was what Dusty was planning…makes as much sense as the lineup

  16. Izturis has been a punch line all season. And rightly so. But here is where you see what a truly horrible decision this was from Walt and the front office. There’s more than a decent chance that we are going to go into the most important game of the season with a starting 2B hitting below the Mendoza line. That’s the chance you take when you build your bench with a “What’s the worst that can happen?” mentality. A contender needs a solid bench not just for the occasional Sunday afternoon special, but for when your starters actually get hurt at in opportune times. It’s been a trend in the Jocketty era. Cairo, Valdez, Traveras, Hannahan, Izturis…it just goes on and on. And every year the trade deadline goes by and we don’t even make the easy small moves to bolster the bench.

    • @eric nyc: I think the most important game of the season was on Wednesday. But since we’re on a roll here (buttered) … it’s clear that Sunday’s game will not be useful. Izturis can get going.

      • @jessecuster44: I like Cairo, but he represented the Jocketty ideal of not caring who’s on your bench. As if Dusty isn’t going to use them regularly. Valdez/Cairo last year was an unmitigated disaster that ended both of their careers.

        • @eric nyc: Agree. Cairo was awful last year. But before last year, he was about as good a bench player as you could have.

    • @eric nyc: You’re right about the bench, but I expect that the Reds don’t have much money to spend on it–the burden of small-to-mid-market teams with postseason aspirations: you sign as much starting talent as you can afford and scrimp on the bench. That’s why the injuries hurt more.

  17. Know what’s a coin flip? Whether Dusty leaves Cueto in too long and Latos enters in a 5-1 hole.

    Cueto needs to throw a shutout Tuesday.

  18. Anyone know if the game on Tuesday is an afternoon game or an evening game? If evening, normal 7:10 EST start time?

      • @Johnu1: Well, now I can’t say for sure it’s an evening game. Heard earlier that it would be. MLB is not committing. It’s on TBS, however.

        • @Johnu1: Thanks, John. I already requested the day off work, but if it’s an evening game I can save the vacation time! I wish they would commit!

  19. “We had [reliever Sean] Marshall ready for Alvarez, but we couldn’t get anybody loose quickly enough for Byrd,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “It’s not fantasy baseball. You have to give these guys a chance to get loose and you can’t have somebody ready all the time. You’ll just run through your whole bullpen.”

    I love it. Not only does this show just how terrible Dusty Baker has been this season (how he didn’t have anyone warmed in the pen before the 5th homer is just ridiculous) but he thinks he can run through 11 bullpen pitchers in half an inning.

    No Dusty, this is not fantasy baseball. You should listen to your own advice.

  20. At this point, there is no reason that Ludwick or Hanigan should be playing. When healthy, Ludwicks only value is hitting, and he is obviously too injured to contribute. Hanigan is like having another pitcher batting and the way this team is not scoring, you cannot afford that. How in the world can you leave a pitcher in to give up 5 HR? at what point did Dusty realize that Arroyo didn’t have it? And first guy in is Ondrusak? Why not Partch? Why not Corky throwing his knuckleball? This game (and series and season) has been totally mismanaged by one Johnny Baker. From the lineup choices to bullpen management, this has been an epic fail. The talent that this team is the only reason they are at 90 wins. We can only hope he has worn out his welcome, but I thought the same last year when he botched the series vs SF. He’ll probably get a lifetime deal.

    • @DK in Erie Pa: Dusty just has to win. Whether it is his way or someone else’s. If he doesn’t, I will be shocked beyond belief if he returns. Bob C. didn’t make his money by being an idiot. Just wish he would warn Baker up front so we might have a better chance..

      • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Bob seems to have a blind spot where Dusty is concerned. I’m sure we’ve all worked with someone who didn’t really know what they were doing but that for some reason the highly intelligent and successful boss was enamored with because they just clicked. In my opinion, that’s Dusty and Bob.

        • @Jetsons Dog: I’ve fired a couple of employees I liked personally. It isn’t easy, that’s for sure but Dusty is in too great a position of responsibility. If DB was the stadium’s head janitor, than I would agree with your point.

        • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: I agree with you, but I’ve also seen employees marginalized for pointing out to the boss that his favorite didn’t know what he was doing. I don’t think he should have been brought back after last year’s debacle and I believe that if he answered honestly Jocketty didn’t want him back either. Yet. Here he is.

        • @Jetsons Dog: That was last year. This has not been a fun season and if it ends badly, so will Dusty Baker. Bob C’s loyalty has to be to one thing: his customers.

        • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Right. You would think he has to consider that aspect of it. I can see how it, to this point, would be difficult to can Baker because of the 2 division titles (even though I think they came because the team’s talent level is much greater than what it had been the previous 10+ years). But even with the injuries, this year – and especially this week – has shown his shotcomings as a manager.

      • @CharlotteNCRedsFan:

        Dusty was given a two year extension last year after leading his team to three straight HOME losses after taking a 2-0 lead on the road. Plus, he took away any chance for his team to win by leaving the starting pitcher too long in game 5.

        And you think the owner will fire him if he doesn’t win a one game winner take all game on the road?

  21. Somebody should hang a bag of marbles in the Reds clubhouse… Like Tanaka in major league.” This Reds team has no marbles.”

  22. If Reds fail to make noise this postseason Dusty has to go. I know Bob loves him but his lack of urgency has cost him close to 2million dollars for not having a home playoff game. (40000 x 35) + at least 200000 for concessions just a rough low ball estimate.
    Plus for all that think he will never be fired because he is mid contract remember the team ate 8mil on Madsen and he didn’t even play one game so I don’t think letting Dusty go will hurt the coffers too much.

    • @redsfan11<@redsfan11: Actually it is probably the opposite. If the Reds have a classic fail either in the WC or NLDS, the fans base is going to be feeling very let down. Hiring a new a manger would breath new life into the team and the fans.

      For Baker, it’s win or bust. He has to and I hope he realizes this.

    • @redsfan11:

      If Reds fail to make noise this postseason Dusty has to go. I know Bob loves him but his lack of urgency has cost him close to 2million dollars for not having a home playoff game. (40000 x 35) + at least 200000 for concessions just a rough low ball estimate.
      Plus for all that think he will never be fired because he is mid contract remember the team ate 8mil on Madsen and he didn’t even play one game so I don’t think letting Dusty go will hurt the coffers too much.

      No matter what happens Tuesday Dusty is going to return next year.

  23. I suppose over the long haul, we may actually want to define what “urgency” means …

    1. Is it panic? Fear? Internal turmoil? Sweaty palms?
    2. Is it playing with a sense of pride? Giving the fans a reason to root for you, instead of flapping their hands at your blunders?
    3. Is it playing like there is a must-win game that you have to win?

    Arguably, no game is a must-win game. You can lose all of them. You can even do it cheap, like the Astros are doing.

    So what exactly is “urgency” to a team that is headed for the playoffs? I’d say:

    Bring your ‘A’ game and we will let the definition speak for itself. And try to not throw 5 groover balls to guys who are looking for … groover balls.

    • @Johnu1: I’d be happy for any sign of life from these guys. Maybe they could get in a brawl with each other in the dugout tomorrow – like in Major League 2. It would be the first time in a month that Hannigan hits anything.

  24. Took a look at a Pirate Blog and they started freaking when it was known that Cueto was starting Tuesday. 13-4 against the Buccos and 8-2 with an ERA of 1.90 in Pittsburgh. JC might have to pitch a shutout but I think he could, if necessary.

  25. I will be really bummed if whatever B team Dusty runs out tomorrow beats whatever B team Hurdle sends, only for our A listers to lose on Tuesday. Hopefully this gives our guys a mini mental and physical break needed to get reset. More confident than I was now that Cueto’s going (and I believed we’d win with Latos). BP may start, but I’m worried how effective he’d be. Even when his bat is slumping, his defense is irreplaceable, unless he’s playing hobbled. Izturis can field just fine, even if it’s the critical one-game. But he should, under no circumstances, bat in the 2-hole. Or does he? Ludwick in the 2-hole vs. Izturis? Discuss. Anyway. Remember this Pirate team is on cloud nine right now, much like the 2010 Reds. Time for our “veteran-y-ness” to shine through. I’m still optimistic about our chances. Really bummed that tomorrow’s game doesn’t mean a thing, and now I’ll have to spend my Sunday watching the NFL and rooting for my office pool picks.

    • @wildwestLV: Does anyone watch the NFL for just the game itself? Pools, fantasy, and gambling drives the NFL, contrary to what the NFL offices want you to believe

      • @VaRedsFan: Ha. No. Contrary to what Roger Goodell & the NFL want to accept: the NFL is this Nation’s MOST POPULAR SPORT b/c of betting. Whether it be at the office, bookie, or sports book (our, meaning, Las Vegas, biggest pull). College Football, Basketball, boxing & the NBA all follow (at least, out here). Baseball is far from the wagering. And Pete is a Las Vegas resident! Go figure. BTW, “Goodbye, Bud!”

  26. Chad there was a positive you forgot to mention. The whole starting eight accept Hannigan wore the high socks today, even Brandon and Bruce, don’t think I’ve seen those two wear them before.

  27. Watching the PHI/ATL game on MLB Network. Braves are very beatabl–oh, wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.

  28. I’ll also give Dusty props for the timely decision on announcing Cueto’s start (when Bronson was imploding, he was already preparing it, I’d guess). It’s almost like psychological warfare. Let Pittsburgh stew on this for the next three days.

  29. Like everyone else, I’m hoping for a real October surprise on Tuesday. But, if the Reds are toast come Wednesday morning, I really don’t think I’ll be as disappointed as I was last year. In a way, I think I might even be relieved that such an aggravating season is over. Thank God the Bengals are both exciting and good. Who Dey!

    Speaking of exciting, I turned off the Reds game in the sixth inning today (the first time this year that I gave up on a Reds game). I went to watch a community college baseball game between San Luis Obispo and Bakersfield. It was such a pleasure watching the zeal with which those collegiate players contested the game. I haven’t seen that passion much with this bunch of Reds.

  30. If the team wins the WC game Dusty will be back next season, no ifs ands or buts about it. Even if the Reds make an early exit from the playoffs Dusty will back next season to do that voodoo he does so well. Why is that you ask, well I’ll tell ya. When you have to pay a guy 3.5 mil. even if you fire him, its easy to magnify the positives in keeping him and dismiss the negatives, even if the negatives far outweigh the positives. IMHO.

    • @Sergeant2: I hope you’re wrong and as a way of deluding myself I point to the old example of Rheal Cormier who Krivsky traded for in 2006 and had to give an extension for 2007 to get him to okay the trade. The Reds were desperate and it turned out that Cormier had played his best baseball at the right time and was old and not very good. He was released about a month into the 2007 season and was paid $2 million to do nothing but go away. Of course Krivsky eventually got fired. By the way, has anyone ever seen Rheal Cormier and Ryan Ludwick together?

      • @Jetsons Dog: There are ways to give Dusty a job, so to speak, and allow the Reds to profit from it. You can kick him upstairs, write a lifetime deal into it and have him say it was about his health. Privately, he can be fired. Publicly, the Reds look like geniuses.

        • @redskaph: Dusty’s been a great ambassador for the sport. I think I wrote that somewhere else that I would even like to see the guy in the commissioner’s office in some role — even maybe the commish himself. (Hey, why not? Selig can’t fill out a lineup card either.)

          That aside, his time is indeed past as field manager and if he can be “divorced” in a friendly way, I could go for that. Somebody will hire Dusty after he leaves the Reds, health permitting.

          But a lot of this seems like deja vu all over again — we can’t really reach a consensus on the guy, can we? Other than what appears to be obvious.

        • @Johnu1: Baker would probably go whining to the papers that it was all a scam for the FO to get rid of him. Which then, for me, I would stand up and applaud.

  31. Well, I’m done, until Tuesday. Tomorrow is an exercise only. Maybe Cingrani gets a start & can impress Dusty enough to take him over Leake into the postseason. Doesn’t really matter. Best you can hope for is Cueto is Cueto, on Tuesday, and the Reds show up to play. Have fun, and…well…GO REDS!

  32. Do we wager that Reynolds gets the start on Sunday? Dusty can therefore “set” his rotation for the long and winding trip that will assuredly take them to Cleveland for the World Serious of Baseball.

  33. Most of our frustration is directed at the manager and, I believe, in Baker’s case it is deserved. This year’s Reds team presents a situation in which its parts are greater than its whole. I mean that the sum of the talent of the individual players is better than the team. You know this already, but we have outstanding players at first, second right and center field. Short and third are improving and the catching situation is at least adequate. Left field is a mess, granted. The starting pitching has been solid until recently and the bullpen has depth. Chapman is an elite closer. Injuries have hurt and the bench is thin, but with the talent mentioned this team should have won 100 games. Instead, the team has limped along at least 10 wins short of its potential. Why? Because we have a manager who doesn’t know how to manipulate the obvious his talent into a team that reflects that talent. If you gave Dusty a set of delicious ingredients for tonight’s meal, he’s accidently set fire to the kitchen. Welcome to the 2013 Cincinnati Reds.

  34. Speaking of lack of urgency, but how about letting Hanigan bat, instead of PHing with Mesoraco, with the bases loaded and Arroyo already out of the game ?

    I mentioned above how Paul (or Hamilton) would have a been a better match up than Ludwick today vs. Morton, who’s much tougher on righties than lefties. Morton got none of the 3 lefties out in the 1st and 3rd innings, both might have been huge innings without Ludwick’s outs.

    Speaking of Paul, he was hitting well going into the final week, on a 5 for 9 streak, so he isn’t used at all this week until today’s game is out of reach.

    • @pinson343: Yup. Plus, Mesoraco needs some at bats. If the Reds had won and Cueto started Sunday/Latos Tuesday, Mes would start after not playing for a week.

  35. Santa Barbara Reds fan: “Like everyone else, I’m hoping for a real October surprise on Tuesday. But, if the Reds are toast come Wednesday morning, I really don’t think I’ll be as disappointed as I was last year. In a way, I think I might even be relieved that such an aggravating season is over.”

    Well said, I feel the same way. I believe in the test of the 162 game schedule, the Reds had a great regular season last year. This year they came up short and are in because of the 2nd wild card. In that sense there’s more pressure on the Pirates on Tuesday.

    • @pinson343: Bingo, pinson – you hit it on the head – the Pirates will succumb to the pressure of the moment. Reds-Cards series starts next Thursday in Saint Louis.

  36. I’ve been a big fan of BP’s thru the years. This year a lot of the charm has worn off, and he reached a new low for me after the Friday nite game. But today, after thinking he’d broken a bone in his leg, he insists on staying in until after he’s gotten his 2nd hit and hobbled down to first. I love THAT BP.

    • @pinson343: Gamer. His “act” is tiresome, he needs to run out every ground ball, and he needs more plate discipline, but DatDude has a lot of heart.

      • @jessecuster44: He might have heart. But, it is trumped by his act. I knew exactly what he was doing last season, playing himself up as the face of the team during a contract year. Just consider, have you heard of him doing anything like he did last season, here with him making even more money? Granted I am not a Twitter follower of his. But, last season, much of it was posted in the Enquirer. And, they haven’t had a lick of anything this season from BP like last season. BP played it, and he got it. And, he has the nerve to complain about Votto being signed first.

        • @steveschoen: Can’t disagree. The whole C Trent thing made me ill. I do follow BP on twitter, and he does a lot of nice things, it seems. The Cincinnati magazine article was a head-scratcher with the timing.

          However, I’d complain if my organization lied to me. Not sure if I’d do it in public tho.

  37. Just saying this. If the Reds lose Tuesday, and if the Reds then keep Dusty for 2014, count me out for the duration. An organization needs accountability, and if the Reds don’t acknowledge it, I will.

  38. Dusty clearly wants no part of Cingrani, even though he’s been cleared to play. Do we think that’s because: A) He’s protecting Ondrusek’s postseason roster spot because he’s irrationally attached to him; B) Cingrani’s in his doghouse for pitching hurt and putting the team in a bind; C) He’s just a rookie, so his lefthandedness, results, and strikeout ability mean nothing? I vote B, with a dash of C and a bit of A.

    While we’re all celebrating Cueto’s start, let’s pause a moment to realize it also means one of our best bats vs LHP will be riding the pine so a .200 hitter with no power or speed can start vs a devastating LHP. “Ladies and gentlemen, batting 8th for your Redlegs, Ryan Hanigan. Hanigan.”

    • @Eric the Red:

      All too very real. All of our points are valid, the most likely scenario is B. Seems like Baker has taken the ball out of Latos’ hands as well, thus the punishment for not telling him about his injury either.

      Baker doesn’t have an excuse for a lot of things, but to me Cingrani is going to be his biggest mistake. The way he’s treated him this year has been deplorable, and I would rather see Tony flourish with another team, then have him continuously held back on this one. If we don’t see Cingrani in today’s game for at least two innings, then there’s no doubt in my mind Tony won’t even be a starting pitcher on next year’s team out of the gate. Baker will find a reason to either start him back at Louisville or simply bull-pen his ass, like they did Chapman.

      Reds will go sign veteran pitcher nobody, and the rotation will be Cueto / Latos / Bailey / Leake / Nobody. Just terrible.

        • @standage: He hasn’t used Cingrani since he’s been cleared to play. Which means he won’t be on the playoff roster, because taking him with no game action will be too big a risk. Coupled with Dusty’s comments about Cingrani from Friday (Saturday?), it’s clear Dusty doesn’t want him on the playoff roster–not even for the WC game, with Pittsburgh carrying a lot of dangerous LH bats. It’s ridiculous.

          Frustrated Reds Fan sees a deeper issue, I assume based on Dusty’s comments about Cingrani when he first pitched well–that there was no way he’d stay in the rotation over Leake. Then Cingrani was bounced around, put in the bullpen, etc. Personally, none of that means anything to me. But Dusty’s approach to Cingrani right now, before the playoffs, looks to me like he doesn’t want him around for this crucial time of year. Since I can’t imagine anyone NOT wanting a power LH arm in the playoffs, my guess is Cingrani has ticked off the team, or at least Dusty. Hiding the injury is the only thing I can speculate on as the cause.

        • @standage:

          Setting aside five options back to Louisville and Arizona (just an unfortunate situation)

          (1) Tony has been pulled three times without throwing 95 pitches with a chance to pitch the next inning for the W. Milwaukee, Atlanta, San Francisco were games in which Cingrani gave up 1, 2 and 1 ER and rather than let him pitch the 5th (after Cincinnati already had a lead) Baker pulled Tony. There isn’t another pitcher on this staff he does that to.

          (2) After being asked to go from starter to bull-pen pitcher (throwing every 5 days to every other day), Cingrani threw an inning @ Oakland on a Thursday. Two days later, Cueto get’s hurt in the first inning against TEX, and Baker summons Cingrani out of the blue. One would think that Tony would come in to throw an inning or two … but Baker leaves him out there for 79 PITCHES. That’s the kind of game where you tear something because you’ve been overworked (taking the arm from length, to frequency back to length so quickly is a disaster)

          (3) After Cingrani had established himself as a ROY candidate and a great starter in this league, Baker calls up Reynolds to pitch the back-end of a double header in San Francisco. Before the game, Baker says “Whomever pitches better vs the Giants will get the next start in LA”. Cingrani had been terrific, and yet if Reynolds threw just one good game against the Giants (which he didn’t), Baker was prepared to option Cingrani yet again. As luck would have it, Cingrani kept the job and threw the best road start in LA for any team in over a decade. 10 great starts under his belt, and his job is on the line if this next one goes poorly? Gimme a break.

          (4) Cingrani wanted to pitch against AZ, Chicago, and now … and Baker refuses, yet other starters are allowed to pitch through injury on this team. For God’s sake, Arroyo said yesterday he though a rib was out of place! And Dusty tried to stretch him through five. There is 0 reason not to pitch Tony today against Pittsburgh to see if he can be a valuable member of the playoff roster, and Baker won’t even consider it.

          Baker hates Cingrani … I will fight anyone to the death about that statement because it’s 100% crystal clear.

        • @FrustratedRedsFan: Huh. You are definitely frustrated :-) I follow the Reds pretty closely and am not a huge Baker fan, but even I wasn’t aware of all this. I doubt Cingrani, his agent, or even his Mother is aware of all of this.

          I think not letting Cingrani go back out for the Win even though Dusty always does it for the Arroyos and Baileys of the world has less to do with hatred for Cingrani and more to do with Dusty’s respect for veterans. Also, if I’m not mistaken he tended to have high pitch counts. So I won’t roast Dusty for not sending a young guy back out with 94 pitches under his belt in 4 innings or something like that. (Nor is it a good thing Dusty DOES pitch those other guys to get the Win.)

          Still, I respect your passion and appreciate your bringing lots of interesting information to the discussion. (And you’re 100% correct that Texas situation was terrible, though again I think it’s incompetence rather than hatred.). Good stuff.

        • @Eric the Red:

          If it were one issue, fine … chalk it up to incompetence. But we’re talking about an entire season here.

          Against Milwaukee, Reds had a 3-2 lead after 4 innings and Cingrani had thrown 82 pitches. He was pulled and not allowed to start the 5th. The VERY NEXT DAY, Mat Latos had thrown 87 pitches through 4 innings, giving up 4 ER. Baker let him pitch the 5th (gave up another ER). Baker LET HIM PITCH THE 6th (giving up 2 more ER). In total, Latos threw 109 pitches, gave up 7 ER and got the W. That’s more than vet and rookie to me … that’s clear cut “I don’t like you” kind of managing.

          Tony has four losses this year. In those losses, he’s given up 5 ER, and his team has scored a total of 1 run in those 4 games while he was on the mound. (Hell, Tony lost a game this year against SD where he didn’t give up an ER!).

          I need you to explain to me why the Reds would not be bending over backwards to get him ready to pitch in the post-season. Tell me why this teams best, most consistent pitcher all season is an afterthought?

        • @FrustratedRedsFan: I like your use of evidence. Very compelling. I think it’s a vet vs rookie thing, but there’s no way of knowing and you make a good case.

          My explanation for why they’re not rushing to get him back? That’s how I started this whole thing. My theory is that Cingrani is in Dusty’s Doghouse, probably because he concealed an injury, potentially costing us a game and throwing off the pitching. Maybe it goes deeper: maybe Cingrani was asked if he was hurt, and he lied to Dusty’s face. I don’t know. But I think it’s not just his health. The rest of the season I chalk up to 1) rookie; 2) incompetence. I have no problem believing in season-long incompetence with this group, unfortunately.

      • @FrustratedRedsFan: Throwing Cingrani just to let him pitch on the last day of the season isn’t useful if he is still nursing an injury. I really don’t think this game is going to hinge on that. If he isn’t hurt, he still doesn’t figure to help the team in the playoffs.

        • @Johnu1: He’s been cleared to play by the medical staff. Which either means he’s ready, or he’s having TJ surgery on Wednesday….

        • @Eric the Red: It was just tweeted that Cingrani is going to Arizona to get stretched out. Looks like more people than Dusty think that Cingrini needs a lot more innings than he could have ever gotten pitching a only few innings since he has been medically cleared.

        • @standage:

          Don’t you find that hilarious? Cingrani’s season is effectively over, and the Reds are simply going to tack on innings that don’t matter.

          Demand a trade Tony. This organization is the worst in baseball.

        • @standage:

          Comon. Cingrani has missed 3 weeks and the Reds are acting like he needs three starts to get back in the swing of things. Cueto missed 3 months and started before throwing a single rehab inning.

          For Cingrani’s sake, hopefully the Reds lose Tuesday so he doesn’t have to throw useless innings in Arizona.

        • @standage: I view that as Dusty saying “No, I won’t play him!” and Jocketty thinking “This guy should probably start for us vs St. Louis even if he can only go 3 innings, so the only way I’m going to get him ready for that is to send him to Arizona. I’ll do that and then worry about the intervention with Dusty, Bryan, and Mr. Castellini in Mr.C’s suite at the St.Louis Hyatt after we beat the Pirates.”

        • @Eric the Red: Well, that sounds really conspiratorial to me. An easier explanation would be that everyone involved from the outset believed that Cingrani needed to pitch a lot more innings before he could be game ready. And of course, after Sept. 1 there were no rehab games for him to pitch in in the minors. Why is it so hard to believe that everyone has simply believed that Cingrani has needed a decent amount of rehab innings before he could game ready?

        • @standage:

          Maybe because he beat the St Louis Cardinals on September 5th, and pitched 18 days ago against the Cubs. You make it sound like Cingrani has missed too much time; the Bryan Price has been quoted as saying “He doesn’t need any innings to stretch him out, he hasn’t missed much time at all”

        • @standage: 1) Because that’s not what they said. 2) Because Dusty’s comments sounded like a lot of his other “I’m going to get my way!” comments. 3) Because it’s not like it’s been months since he pitched. 4) Because the upside is high enough that they should be taking a shot; it’s not like they haven’t had chances the last few days. And because of what Frustrated said.

  39. Well, I am glad that the Reds at least made the playoffs. However, in evaluating the season, I can’t help thinking of without the 2nd WC team, this team doesn’t make the playoffs, that we went from the 2nd best team to the 5th best team in the NL.

  40. Today’s line-up … I’m speechless.

    Choo
    Ludwick
    Votto
    Bruce
    Frazier
    Cozart
    Mesoraco
    Izturis
    Reynolds

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