2013 Postseason / 2013 Reds / Believe

Still playing

The Cincinnati Reds, the baseball team we cheer for, is still playing.

The two teams in New York City can’t say that, including the one with a payroll over $200 million.

The two teams in Chicago can’t say that. They both finished in last place.

Last year’s World Series champion can’t say that. Ten games under .500.

That Washington Nationals team all the pundits said would win 120 games. They’re done.

Same with those Blue Jays that were going to win the AL East. Last place.

Buck Showalter’s media darling Baltimore Orioles. Done.

The Phillies had a payroll over $165 million. Sixteen games under .500.

The Angels, who’ve signed Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton the past two seasons. At home again.

The Reds didn’t accomplish everything we’d hope for this year, but they’re still in it. For now, forget about all the losses to weak teams in August and September, forget the crazy lineups, the bunt-a-paloozas, the controversy over Votto’s season, Chapman in the bullpen, Ludwick’s shoulder, Ludwick’s statement, the paralysis of the front office … forget it all for now. There will plenty of time to take an accounting of all that. Months.

If you dwell on the negative tonight, shame on you. There’s a word for those people and it starts with an “L” and ends “OSER.”

For the next 24 hours, get excited all over again because your baseball team is still in it.

Think about Johnny Cueto, master of the Pirates, controller of the running game, taking the mound. Think about Shin-Soo Choo and Joey Votto working the count to get on base. Think about Jay Bruce launching one of his majestic home runs, and maybe Super Todd Frazier, too. Think of Ryan Hanigan gunning Starling Marte out at second base and Zack Cozart and BP turning a fabulous double play or two. Close your eyes and watch the blur that is Billy Hamilton stealing second base and third, if you can. Then, imagine Sean Marshall, J.J. Hoover, Sam LeCure and Aroldis Chapman shutting the door. Two innings for Chapman.

Most of all, get excited tonight and tomorrow that the team is still playing. Don’t cheat yourself out of that.

The Reds may yet break our hearts, sure. But what’s the point of being a fan if you’re going to worry about that?

115 thoughts on “Still playing

  1. This is an excellent attitude to take. It wasn’t that long ago that we’d all have given our right arms to still be playing in October.

  2. Hear, hear. Even if our postseason lasts all of one game, it’s still a rare and exciting thing to witness — and who knows? Maybe they’ll surprise us. Nothing to lose, right?

  3. Well put, Steve. I’ve never doubted the talent of this team (its clearly improved from last year’s squad), and in a 162-game season there will always be plenty of games to be upset about. But this is a very good team. They could embarrass the Pirates just as easily as they embarrassed the Reds over the weekend. Tomorrow’s game will be INTENSE, and I’m looking forward to it.

  4. I just ran through a wall. Thanks, Steve. That’s not going to be easy to replace. Oh well, Go Reds.

  5. Love it. Perfect post. I retract everything I’ve said the past few days. This is why I love this site.

  6. Love that positive vibe, Steve.

    RN members, no matter how you may feel about Votto, bunts, OBP, RBI, Chapman, Ludwick, Dusty, batting second, etc, remember one thing:

    WHAT BROUGHT YOU HERE?

    No matter what, we are all Reds fans here. Now is the time to come together and will this team to victory in the upcoming games. Who knows, maybe Ludwick was onto something.

  7. And we are one of three – count them THREE teams from the “weakest division in baseball” still playing.

    Let’s get tomorrow done and live to play another series.

  8. Just for fun, here’s my prediction for the WC roster.

    Pitchers (10): Cueto, Leake, Chapman, Marshall, Duke, Parra, Simon, Lecure, Ondrusek, Cingrani

    Starters (8): Choo, Ludwick, Votto, Phillips, Bruce, Frazier, Cozart, Hanigan

    Bench (7): Mesoraco, Paul, Heisey, Robinson, Hamilton, Izturis, Hannahan

    Perhaps Corky will be there in place of one of the bullpen guys. I’m hoping our AAA guys (Soto, HRod, Christiani, Partch, Reynolds) don’t sound tempting to Dusty.

      • @Steve Mancuso: Dusty has said that he told Latos that he definitely will not pitch on Tuesday, so he won’t be on the play-in game roster. He has a bone chip in his elbow that’s bothering him.

    • @dc937: According to the Enquirer, Cingrani has been sent to Arizona to throw some innings in whatever it is they have going on in the camp out there.

      Jocketty is quoted as saying they hope to have him ready for action (late) in the Division Series if the Reds get that far and figure he would be ready (barring a setback) for a Reds LCS appearance should that happen.

    • @santa barbara reds fan: Depending on your age group and what you consider success, I would add 1961 to any list, even though the W.S. didn’t exactly wash out. That season was more magical than real — for me, as a teenager, and the first pennant in more than 2 decades. That team was supposed to finish 6th.

      • @Johnu1: Yes, I’ve heard great stories about the ’61 Reds. I just turned one year old during the Series that season. Like you, my magical memories of the Reds occurred when I was a teenager (1973-1979). I sure was spoiled those years. Like the rest of us, I suffered through some bleak years in the early ’80s before a resurgence of excellent Reds baseball in the late ’80s, culminating in a title in 1990. That was a long time ago. This year, I’d love to see younger Reds fans rejoice (with the older fans) in a World Series championship for one of baseball’s most storied franchises. I love my Reds! Go Reds!

        • @santa barbara reds fan: Someone recently posted a great tidbit about the Reds game on September 30, 1964 – the day I turned 5 and was in the 1st grade in Delhi. Two years later our family moved down the street from Oak Hills HS in Bridgetown – the same year I got Pete’s autograph at Crosley Field.

          And I remember when in the early 1970s (40 years ago) when Pete signed for $100,000 and was he ever ecstatic (and Cano wants $305M? – ESPN baseball analysts are telling the Yankees to let him walk).

          For reference purposes:

          Reds vs. Pirates in playoff baseball:

          1990 NLCS – Reds W
          1979 NLCS – Reds L
          1975 NLCS – Reds W
          1972 NLCS – Reds W
          1970 NLCS – Reds W

          Current Reds – you have a history of playoff baseball with the Pirates – keep up the stellar tradition. Play like champs!

        • @cincyreds14: Sorry to the younger Reds fans that were not around back in the 1970s or even for the 1990 festivities. Maybe Tuesday’s Reds-Pirates wild card game will start a new tradition that the younger set can carry forward with pride – we at Reds Nation surely can hope and support that notion whole-heartedly.

          GO REDS!!

        • @cincyreds14: Of particular importance to tonight’s game the Reds-Pirates playoff tradition is Game 5 of the 1972 NLCS. We forget that the Reds were down 3-2 with three outs to go. Bench tied it on a solo HR, Perez singled and Foster pinch-ran, Denis Menke singled him to third and then Bob Moose put one in the dirt all the way to the backstop. Reds win. The Redlegs had fate on their side that game, but unfortunately the reverse was true for the ’72 World Series.

        • @ColgateCrew: Wow! I barely remember the game but as you rattled it off (like it was yesterday) it all came back to me – and I still feel how exciting it was. Definitely made me smile. When they say timeless – they mean it!

          Thanks!

        • @cincyreds14: Oh, also. People can be forgiven for wondering why a Game 5 might have been a win-or-die situation. The LCS in both leagues was not extended to 7 until l985. So the Pirates were 3 outs from the World Series in ’72.

      • @Johnu1: The 1961 Reds team will always be my favorite. I was 10 years old. Right they were picked to finish 6th out of the 8 teams. After their good start it was assumed that the Dodgers would catch them.

        In the WS they did win 1 game in Yankee Stadium against one of the greatest teams in major league history.

        • @pinson343: Thanks Pinson… Between you and a handful of the other regulars, I don’t feel like such an old-timer around here. :wink:

  9. Your note about the Natinals makes me wonder how upset their fans are…both about the outcome of this season and about how they used & subsequently shut down Strasburg last year.

    • @Greg Dafler: I don’t think they have much to compare it to (great grammar) … though last year was a bizarre one. Still, the Cardinals just lived with an angel in G. 5. I suspect they fully believe they will win the pennant next year.

    • @Greg Dafler: Your post makes me think of something someone on Baseball Tonight said last year. Might have been Manny Acta. He said something like “There are no guarantees you even make it back to the playoffs. Use your best players, because 1 World Series is better for a team and city than 10+ years of Strasburg w/o winning.”

      I bet they are wishing they kept him going last year in an effort to advance!

  10. How Motivated did I get after reading this article? So motivated that I did a small load of laundry (and I hate, hate and hate doing laundry) just so my Reds t-shirt would be fresh and clean to wear while the Reds are winning the WC game. Go Steve Mancuso and Go Reds!

  11. Stumbled across this Keith Hernandez interview on SportsNet New York:
    http://web.sny.tv/media/video.jsp?content_id=30896661
    See the 5:30 mark. Umm…excuse me? Joey Votto is not going to mortgage his at bats over a season just to drive in runs? What the is he supposed to be doing during those at bats but driving in runs?!? I am a big Votto fan but whoa..Joey..get some perspective, dude. Driving in runs = winning games.

    • @LTC_Geek: The funny thing about all of this RBI controversy is that one of these years the Reds will get some people on base in front of Votto , have a big bat behind him in the lineup and he will drive in some crazy amount of RBIs. You know if that happens every blow hard with a microphone is going to be talking about how much more Votto was going up there swinging to drive in runs instead of working walks.

      • @earl: More likely is that certain things (I.E.- BABIP) will go back to normal in the future.

        Votto Career BABIP: .359
        Votto 2013 RISP BABIP: .333

        Phillips Career BABIP: .291
        Phillips 2013 RISP BABIP: .347

        Another interesting note:

        Votto had 193 PAs with RISP. He was intentionally walked 19 times in those situations. He had the bat taken out of his hands 10% of the time with RISP over and ENTIRE SEASON. That’s wild. If he had those 19 ABs back and gets 5 hits, I think many people would have a completely different view.

        • @greenmtred:

          Choo did not bat directly in front of Votto, and there were plenty of times he got erased by the #2 batter hitting into a double play. And for those times he didn’t, Votto can’t exactly drive him in from first with a single, and often even a double couldn’t get him in.

          But even though those hits with Choo on first may not have driven in a run, they certainly set Phillips up with plenty of RBI chances, didn’t they?

    • @LTC_Geek: Thanks for posting that, that interview was fantastic. Joey comes across as easily the most intelligent sports guy in the business that I’ve seen. He doesn’t quite have the poise of Joe Morgan in the booth now but you can see him considering and laying out what he wants to say instead of just tossing out generic answers.

      Also your indignation about his comments is a bit odd. The entire core of Joey’s hitting is his unchanging chase after perfection in the hitter’s box. He goes up there with the same approach every single game in nearly every single situation (or tries to) and that is what makes him great. He does not give away at bats when the team is up 10 runs or down 10 runs. He does not give in to pitchers pitches and he strives to make every single out count.

      If he became more worried about how to drive in those runs his production would diminish considerably. Rather, that is what he himself believes and tries to convey every time he is interviewed about it. As a fan I just do not understand how anyone can sit back and tell him that he can have his cake and eat it too.

      • @Mwv: The thing that stuck out the most to me was his analysis of Lincecum’s pitches. He gave examples of all three pitches and supported them with actual principles of physics in explaining why he has trouble hitting Lincecum; they exist in the same plane of motion and, thus, give his eye fewer points to measure differences between the pitches, making htem harder to recognize.

        Much better than “see the ball, hit the ball” attitude which many hitters have.

      • @Mwv: I would never argue that Joey is not a great hitter. I might argue with the idea that one’s approach shouldn’t change situationally (bases loaded, 2 outs, bottom of the ninth, down 3 runs), but I would certainly argue that this year, though a fine year for him, has been a departure from his norm–injury? He has intimated as much.

    • @LTC_Geek: Do you honestly think it’s as easy as saying “I want to drive in runs, therefore, I will drive in runs.”

      Many conditions have to be met before driving in runs can occur. And maybe you didn’t listen to the rest because you were so off-put by his comment, but he did say if it was tied in the 9th and 1 run is all that matters he’d do anything he could to get that run in.

      The FACT of the matter is, the fewer outs every hitter in the line up makes all yaer means more overall runs and more wins. I am really confused as to why this is a difficult concept.

      • @prjeter: The concept is obviously valid and understandable. Concepts, though, get tested by the real world. If you get on base all of the time, and nobody drives you in, you have a great OBP and play for a losing team. This does not invalidate OBP as an important predictor, but it seems clear that it–like every other stat–must be evaluated in relationship to yet other stats and, ultimately, wins.

  12. It’s easy to get dreary as everyone wants the Reds to win when things don’t go right. Keep in mind, this is still the 3rd best Reds club since 2000. This is only 1 of 6 Reds clubs that won 90 games since 1980.

    They are pretty good and considering some of the missing pieces over the year, that’s solid. They got a shot, give it a go and see what happens.

  13. Saw a good question posted on twitter. Maybe we can get a poll question going.

    Is Dusty Baker managing for his job tomorrow?

    I say yes. With a win, he most likely keeps his job. With a loss, I think he’ll face a lot of critisism and could lose his job. I feel he should lose it either way, but that’s just me.

    • @WedgieSanders: Dusty keeps his job unless he walks away of his own choice.

      I’m within 3 weeks of the same age as DB, and let me tell you there are days and weeks when a person looks at their projected retirement income and wonders if they are insane to keep on putting up with all the stuff to make a few more bucks….

      And I work 5 miles from home; and, I am limited by contract obligations to a 40 hour week,Monday through Friday except in very special circumstances. At this stage of my life, I can’t imagine being on the road 7 months of the year with half the time on the road even from my home away from home, regardless of the pay.

      • @OhioJim: If it was up to you, would you keep him around? It probably would depend on who else they think is available. That’s what I’m not sure of. Is there anyone out there that’s worthy of taking over a playoff/world series contender?

        • @WedgieSanders: The only scenario I can see them changing managers would be if losing Brian Price was something they are not willing to do ,and/or Dusty decides to move on

    • @WedgieSanders: My take …….he is signed for next year .the GM picked him, the owner likes him, the team won 90 games, and set an attendance record.they made the playoffs(sorta)……only someone with a bias would suggest he should be fired……just MY opinion

      • @Bruno: The GM absolutely did not pick him. Baker has a longer tenure with the organization than Jocketty.

        So, if you win 90 games with a team that has the talent to win 95 you should keep your job? Huh? Makes no sense.

        • @Kyle Farmer: We keep saying, as biased fans, that the Reds have the talent to do much better than they have. Questions about Dusty aside (I’m as bored with saying the same thing over and over as you are with reading it), I never thought that they were better than they have proven to be. What they do have, though (pitching, defense), might play better in the postseason than in the 162

        • @Bruno:

          Walt does not have complete autonomy. He still answers to HIS boss, Mr. Castellini. And the owner loves Dusty.

        • @Kyle Farmer: Bottom line says he is competent……your opinion may say im only right about 1 thing……..but my other points are valid…how did you decide this was a 95 win team?……….did any of his decisions over 162 games help us win?…….or do you only scrutinize the losses?…..your bias is not based on bottom line facts…..just cherry picked opinions

    • @laus Deo: I am sick of the job argument. Joey Votto is paid to not make outs.

      The “job” argument is something straight out of the 70s. It’s something that Hank Aaron told Dusty about.

      Just for fun:
      Player A – batted 3rd 119 times – 17 HR, 94 RBI, 132 BB (led league), 107 R, .327/.466 (led league)/.508
      Player B – batted 3rd 161 times – 24 HR, 73 RBI, 135 BB (led league), 101 R, .305/.435 (led league)/.491

      Player A is 1975 Joe Morgan, Player B is 2013 Joey Votto.

      I doubt Marty was complaining about Morgan walking back in ’75.

      • @vanwilder8: I don’t think you can overlay two separate sets of stats from separate eras onto a standard platform and come to a common conclusion about anything. If you don’t compare apples to apples, you end up with fruit salad.

        • @Johnu1: Yes, baseball is different in different eras. But I’m not comparing Votto to Honus Wagner.

          The point I was trying to make is that both players hit #3 and both put up similar numbers.

      • @vanwilder8: The predominant stat that was conveniently forgotten was SB:

        JV: immaterial (no impact)

        JM: 67 (1975) – 58 (1972), 67 (1973), 58 (1974), 60 (1976) and 49 (1977).

        If Joe walked, he was on 2B and quite often starting a huge Reds rally. If JV walks – he’s on 1B – patiently waiting to be the front end of an inning ending DP.

        A case of mixing apples and oranges.

        HUGE DIFFERENCE

  14. Consider who is “painting” the picture. After looking over Votto’s batting splits at baseball-reference.com, specifically his Bases Occupied and Clutch Stats data, he has been given very few opportunities to do damage when the game is on the line. For example, with 2 outs and RISP, he has logged only 37 AB, which proves that pitchers are approaching him differently this year than ever before – they don’t let Votto beat them. When it comes down to it, his ability to avoid making outs is exceptional and highly undervalued.

    • @rymatt830: Well actually a Mets announcer asked Votto and the reply was same thing so I don’t think we can blame Paul D. on this one. Just saying.

      You can throw all the stats at me you want to make the picture pretty, however when a $200m player says he wont hit a fly ball to get a run in, well that is mind boggling to me…. And in one of the links above someone posted he says this. He himself said he was not going to give away his at-bats for rbi’s. I am sorry but what other superstar says that? lol.. Anyways, He is on my Reds team so I will cheer for him. IMO, it is sad he feels this way thou.

      Lets Go Reds! We got this game today!!

    • @rymatt830: When a team that is as inconsistent as the Reds have been, every at-bat with runners on base means the game is on the line. You always have to give your pitcher an edge. The 3rd inning is as important as the 8th and “old school or not,” sometimes the game is won or lost on a ground-ball double play in the 1st inning.
      It doesn’t depend on one player.

  15. My hope is that Liriano is overthrowing, at least at the start of the game, and the Reds don’t chase. It helps that they’ve seen him 4 times this year.

    If Cueto is on, the Reds have an excellent chance.

  16. STEEEEEEEEVE!!…….YOU DA MAN …..Just what the doctor ordered………I believe we are capable of taking the first step to greatness,my heart is ALL IN

  17. It’s OCTOBER and magical things happen in October. Every stat begins with ZERO and it doesn’t matter how you start only how you FINISH! It’s time to shake the 162 game season off, get fired up, and every Red wether in uniform playing, on the bench or cheering thorough the TV; in the words of Larry the Cable Guy…”Geter DONE!” If you don’t like that one then how about Turtle Man from Kentucky..”LIVE ACTION! Whichever way the games goes, Relax, give every plate appearance your best effort, look the ball in your glove and shut it down on the mound and we will WIN!

    (1) We have have a better team up and down the line up
    (2) We have been here before and have experience
    (3) REVENGE is a dish best served cold!

    GIVE He!! BOYS! We are the NEW RED MECHINE and it is the HUNT for RED OCTOBER!

  18. This post made me smile :-)

    I told my dad that we have tickets for Sunday and he promptly said that there was no way they were winning tonight. My response was to remind him that nobody expected San Fran to win it all last year and asked him if he thought that the Cards really had a chance the year before. Baseball isn’t like other sports. The best team doesn’t necessarily win, even in a short series, let alone in a single game. Then there’s the fact that the Reds may still be the better team.

    If there is any power in positive thinking, Reds fans need to pick their chins up and cheer for their team tonight. Thanks for posting this Steve.

  19. I really want the Reds to win.

    I really want the manager to see he is not effective and retire or be fired.

    We win either way.

    Go Reds

  20. my E Davis throwback is coming out tonight. prepare accordingly.

    let’s go redlegs, let’s go reds.

  21. Maybe I’m overthinking things, maybe I’m too antsy for the WC roster to come out… but am I the only one who isn’t 100% convinced that Latos might be healthy enough to pitch? Try to fake the Pirates out into preparing their hitters for Cueto’s stuff? I remember first hearing about Latos’ elbow maybe two weeks ago, and I *do* believe there is/was a minor issue there, but part of me thinks we could be seeing him tonight…

    Crazier stuff has been done.

    • @dc937: Sadly, when it comes to the Reds medical staff, it’s usually way worse than they make it out to be.

      That said, I don’t doubt for a second they’ll throw Latos in the NLDS. Look what they did with Broxton.

      • @Sultan of Swaff: Well, assuming we are getting the truth and the problem is indeed bone chips. It is an ailment where lots of pitchers can perform well with them, then they get their arm scoped/take care of it when the season is over. I do know this though; Latos wants the ball, the guy is a gamer. He will pitch even if it is a little painful as long as it is not going to lead to something worse. As long as we are being told the truth here, he’ll likely be fine, at least medically. Hope he’s good on the mound too.

  22. Pittsburgh Roster is out … 9 pitchers / 16 position players (Cole the only other SP)

    Anyone seen the Reds roster yet?

  23. Reds roster according to a friend I trust in these matters:

    Pitchers (10) – Chapman, Cueto, Duke, Hoover, Leake, LeCure, Marshall, Ondrusek, Parra, Simon

    Position players (15) – Hanigan, Mesoraco, Votto, Phillips, Cozart, Frazier, Hannahan, Izturis, Ludwick, Choo, Bruce, Hamilton, Heisey, Paul, Robinson.

  24. I am hoping they have Cueto for 4 innings (if he struggles, Leake for 2 innings, Hoover, Marshall and Chapman. Any news on Phillips….but remember Izturis is hot right now?

  25. It would be great if we can somehow rattle Liriano. I hope to God that our guys are PATIENT at the plate!!

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