Titanic Struggle Recap

Thanks, Steve Smith

Final R H E
  Cincinnati Reds  (50-44) 5 11 1
  Pittsburgh Pirates  (49-45) 6 13 0
 W: Wilson (3-1) L: Hoover (1-7) S: Gomez (1)
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Photo courtesy of Sarah (@ValentineSmiles)

The Reds had another huge comeback. They came back from a 4-0 deficit to take a 5-4 lead, thanks to a 5-run, 6th inning. It would prove not to be enough though. Last year’s NL MVP, Andrew McCutchen hit two homers late in the game to give the Pirates a 6-5 win in 11 innings. It doesn’t take away from what has been an incredible week from the Reds, who are still only 1.5 games back in the NL Central (Cardinals and Brewers are now tied for 1st). You still have to give this team a lot of credit for the resiliency they continue to play with, especially with the huge injuries that have occurred.

Biggest Play of the Game

According to Fangraphs WPA statistic (wining percentage added), the most important play of the game was Andrew McCutchen’s solo HR in the 11th inning, giving the Pirates a 6-5 lead. That HR decreased the Reds chances of winning by 42.5% (from 59.3% to 16.9%).

Other important plays (+/- is the percentage each play increased or decreased the Reds chances of winning):

  • +12.1% – Chris Heisey’s 2-run HR in the 6th inning, cutting the Pirates lead to 4-2
  • +11.8% – Jumbo Diaz gets Ike Davis to ground out to end the inning with runners on 1st and 3rd
  • +10.6% – Todd Frazier walked, putting runners on 1st and 2nd with 0 outs in the 10th inning
  • +8.9% – Manny Parra gets Gregory Polanco to ground into a force out. 1 out, runners on 1st and 2nd
  • +7.5% – Ryan Ludwick’s leadoff single in the 9th inning
  • +7.5% – Ramon Santiago leadoff walk in the 10th inning
  • +7.3% – Zack Cozart singled, moving Pena to 2nd base with 1 out in the 9th inning
  • +6.4% – Ramon Santiago’s BB in the 6th inning, putting runners on 1st and 2nd with 0 outs for Frazier
  • +6.3% – Mike Leake strike outs Sanchez with the bases loaded and 2 outs in the 1st inning
  • +6.0% – Billy Hamilton’s single in the 6th inning with 0 outs
  • -35.2% – Andrew McCutchen’s game tying HR in the 9th inning off Jonathan Broxton
  • -17.5% – Ryan Ludwick struck out with the bases loaded and 1 out in the 10th inning
  • -15.1% – Brayan Pena struck out with the bases loaded and 2 outs in the 10th inning
  • -10.4% – Billy Hamilton popped out with runners on 1st and 2nd with 2 outs in the 9th inning.
  • -9.3% – Neftali Soto struck out with runners on 1st and 2nd with 1 out in the 9th inning.

Player of the Game

Andrew McCutchen: 3 for 5, 2 HR, 3 Runs, 0.84 WPA

McCutchen. Man, that guy is good.

Positives

Todd Frazier did it again.  Frazier hit a 3-run absolute bomb in the 6th inning to give the Reds a 5-4 lead. Frazier is now hitting an incredible .291/.354/.496 on the year with 18 HR and 51 RBI. Frazier is now on pace to hit 31 HR, which would be the 4th most ever by a Reds third baseman, and the most since 1970.

Frazier

Chris Heisey hit a pinch hit, 2-run HR to cut the Pirates lead to 4-2 in the 6th inning. That got the ball rolling on another big Reds comeback. This just once again shows why Skip Schumaker should NEVER start over Heisey.

Ramon Santiago just continues to be a super-fill-in player for the Reds. In Santiago’s last six games, he is hitting .476 (10 for 21) with a .557 OBP. Santiago now has a .352 OBP on the season. Who saw that coming?

Billy Hamilton stole a base in the 6th inning. It was on a pitch out too. Amazing.

Jumbo Diaz came in with 2-outs, and runners on 1st and 3rd in the 8th inning (Reds were up 5-4). Diaz got Ike Davis to ground out to end the inning. That increased the Reds chances of winning by 11.8%. It was great to see Jumbo get the job done in a very high leverage situation.

Logan Ondrusek pitched a perfect 7th inning, striking out two. Ondrusek hasn’t allowed a run in 13 of his last 15 appearances.

Negatives

Reds third-base coach Steve Smith made a horrendous decision in the 10th inning with 0 outs. He decided to send Ramon Santiago home on a hard hit single by Jay Bruce. Santiago was out at the plate on a great throw by Gregory Polanco. Devin Mesoarco (and his .964 OPS) would have come to the plate with the bases loaded, and no outs, in a tie game. It was just an inexcusable decision by Smith. You have to be 110% sure the runner will score if you send him there.

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Mike Leake had a really tough luck night. 7 of the 9 hits he allowed were on ground balls (several not hit very hard). Leake certainly didn’t help himself by walking three batters, and hitting one. He did however leave a lot of base runners stranded, and kept the ball in the park. Leake’s line on the evening: 6.0 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, -0.21 WPA, 4.46 FIP.

Jonathan Broxton, who was filling in for the overworked Aroldis Chapman, gave up a game tying homer to last year’s NL MVP Andrew McCutchen. It’s hard to be mad at a guy who’s ERA jumped all the way up 1.13.

J.J. Hoover pitched a perfect 10th inning, striking out two, and was on his way to a perfect 11th inning. But then Hoover gave up a 2-out, go ahead HR to last year’s NL MVP Andrew McCutchen. It was a mistake slider to McCuthen right down the middle of the plate that you just can’t make. You just can’t give a hitter as good as McCutchen that good of a pitch to hit in that situation. If you have to walk him….walk him.

Not so random thoughts….

One thing that I absolute love about Bryan Price is that guys like Todd Frazier and Zack Cozart have become stolen base threats. Frazier stole his 14th base in his 93rd game of 2014 (he had 10 career SB in 319 games prior to this season). Cozart stole his 3rd base of the season (he didn’t steal a single base in 2013).

Thom Brennaman and Cliff Floyd were absolutely brutal to listen to. Their conversations and “analysis” in this game put baseball back about 97 years. In the third inning, Thom and Cliff raved and raved about Walker moving McCutchen over to third base with 0 outs on a ground out to the right side. That play actually decreased the Pirates chances of winning by 0.9%. Later in the game, our boy Thom said “Jumbo comes up huge” after Jumbo Diaz got out of a jam in the 8th.

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171 thoughts on “Thanks, Steve Smith

      • LOL JJ Hoover has given up EIGHT home runs in 40 innings. EIGHT. He has SEVEN losses as a reliever before the All-Star break. That is hard to do. Has Broxton or anybody else done that? Careful who you call ignorant.

        • look at Hoover’s ERA.

          if Hoover pitches more than an inning, he is statistically going to allow a run or more ….so if he faces 6 batters, he is bound to make mistake or two like he did tonight.

          so in essence he did exactly what his stat indicated.

      • When? This isn’t one game. It’s been all year. He pitches well in non-high leverage situations.

  1. WORST LOSS I have ever seen personally. First Broxton blowing the save my throwing a 2-2 fastball right down the middle of the plate, 2nd STEVE SMITH (worst 3rd base coach in MLB) taking a unnecessary risk by sending Santiago, it would have been bases loaded with 0 outs and Mes coming up. Then that causes Mes to be walked and I knew Ludwick wouldn’t get it done. Pathetic display of baseball. 3rd, Hoover throwing a first pitch fastball to the reigning MVP, you do NOT LET HIM BEAT YOU< walk him.
    The Reds absolutely should have won this game and Broxton and especially Smith caused the Reds loss. Hoover should be sent down. Call up Contreras.

    • Ludwick’s at bat with the winning run on third and less than two outs was as costly as Smith’s decision to send Santiago.

      • Yes, Ludwick failed too. As did Pena. But they likely would have never even batted had Smith done his job.

        • That is again assuming Mesoraco would have come through. Let’s say Smith holds Santiago and Mesoraco doesn’t come through. The game still falls to Ludwick who can’t hit a plus fastball unless he cheats on his swing. Which he did on strike three when he swung at a pitch no where near the strike zone.

      • Luddy was flat out bullied. From what I have seen of him, he appears to be a considerably better fast ball hitter than say curveballs or sliders. So getting beat by repeat heat is concerning. Granted they were all 97+ mph.

        • Yes Ludwick is supposed to be a fast ball hitter. Wilson made his swing look slow, very slow.

        • If Luddy keeps failing on his strengths and does not develop new ones, then yes, his MLB career is prolly over soon.

        • It was a bad AB from Ludwick, but he has a wRC+ of 105 this year, which means he’s having a better year at the plate than all but 2 guys on this team. I think he has another year or two in him as a bench player somewhere, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Walt brought him back next year instead of paying him $4.5 million to walk.

      • No it wasn’t. Bases loaded nobody out and Mesoroco up is a heck of a lot better than bases loaded one out and Ludwick up.

    • Hoover’s first pitch to McCutcheon was a slider that he hung right over the plate. Not that it makes much difference. With 2 outs and none on, Hoover should not have been pitching him anywhere near the center of the plate.

      • Hoover specializes in hanging sliders when the game is in the balance. Can’t get beat with a slider up in the zone to the other team’s best player. Walk him and let the next guy beat you.

        • What kind of pitches do you think Votto would have gotten with the game on the line in the ninth and 11th inning in 2011 and 2012 before his injury? And yet most on this post want to blame Smith for the loss.

        • Despite what was said about my “chin music” comment by some else. I expect Votto would have been spun like a top then pitched away because I’ve seen it happen time and again.

        • Come on man. McCutchen has hit a homerun in 3.3 % of his plate appearances for his career. It might be a slightly higher chance in that situation because it’s in GABP against a pitcher who gives up a decent amount of home runs. But still, it’s no greater than a 5 or 6% chance he goes deep there. You don’t put the go ahead run on base in extra innings on purpose just to avoid something that has at best a 5 % chance of happening. It was the right decision to pitch to cutch, Hoover just hung one.
          You need to grow up with all that chin music and throwing at people crap. I would guess you’ve never stood in the box versus real heat if you think pitchers should just throw at people for no reason.

        • You guessed wrong. As I soph in HS I had AB’s versus two guys (I know for sure) who threw in the 90’s and signed professional contracts.

          It is a misunderstanding of the game to think “chin music” mean throwing at some one. Chin music means moving a guy’s feet by coming up and in on him. If you put him on his butt so what? Time was when that was standard fare for a guy next time up after hitting a big HR. Ask any MLB guy who ever hit a big HR against Gibson or Drysdale or Ryan or Jim Maloney to name a Red etc.

          Precisely because Cutch has a 3.3% or whatever HR rate and was clearly dialed in tonight, you don’t let him beat you, especially when you are home team and 3 outs guaranteed left you. You make the next less talented guy hit the gap shot or homer.

        • I know what chin music means. But anytime you throw one up and in, close to a guy’s head there is a good chance you will hit them. If Hoover could put it exactly where he wanted it every time he wouldn’t have hung that pitch to mccutchen. And what’s the point. Do you really think the reigning mvp is going to be intimidated and move off the plate cause just Hoover came up and in on him. Come on. He seems to get hit at least once in every series with the reds and I haven’t seen him get scared yet.
          I’m too young to have seen Gibson and Drysdale pitch, but I’ve heard plenty of stories from my dad. If I’m not mistaken, Drysdale was especially known as a headhunter. But it’s still bush league in my opinion to throw at a guy, except in very certain circumstances, and it’s always bush league to throw at someone’s head. It may intimidate players in little league, but professionals don’t get rattled that easy

        • Chin music or pitching inside is an obvious hole in JJ’s arsenal. IMO, hitters tee off on him more then any other Reds pitcher. Agree with Jim on his point.

          Jim Maloney, as Jim points out, was another that owned his half of the plate. Really like to see JJ toughen up and I’d think he would be much more successful.

  2. Nick, objectively I agree with you that Thom & Cliff had some blunders. TV commentary, in general, is not as good at predicting/prognosticating as RLN (for example). But I don’t think it’s going to change any time soon. Somehow, the populace seems to relate to the relatively superficial analysis/commentary.

  3. Sending Santiago in hindsight was a bad decision but it did require a perfect throw and the Reds still had the winning run on third with less than two outs. Ludwick’s at bat was pitiful. He has to put the ball in play. The pitch he swung at to strike out wasn’t even close to the strike zone.

    I love the energy of the team and it is great to see Hamilton, Frazier and Mesoraco becoming the leaders that Bruce and Votto have never been.

    • Not even in foresight was it a good decision. You just can’t make the out at home plate there. If you send him, you have to be absolutely sure he’s going to make it and Polanco has a strong arm out there. There’s a decent chance that he throws Santiago out and sure enough, he threw him out. You have Mes coming up with nobody out and the sacks juiced. Mes might well be the best hitter on team this year. Santiago needed to be held and Mes given a chance to win it.

  4. Is anyone keeping track of the Reds record when they are on National TV? I am talking about last night. It just seems like, to me, whenever they are on national TV, they lose.

    • They’ve always lost on national tv. The reason for this is due to always playing the best teams in mlb when they are on national tv. They usually draw STL in these games.

  5. I agree with Nick Kirby. The decision to send Santiago was indefensible. I don’t care that it took a good throw to get him; why take that chance? Maybe with 2 outs and Neftali Soto in the on-deck circle, you send him and hope for the best. With none out and Mesoraco coming up? Absolutely moronic.

      • Moronic? That seems a bit harsh. In hindsight a bad decision but the Reds still had chances to win the game. Oh well time to admit I’m a lone wolf on this discussion.

        • I actually love the aggressive thought to send him w none out so your not alone Robby. Seems like the 3rd base box has been a house of horrors for anyone who takes that gig of late. What’s moronic is pitche to McCutchen like we used to pitch to Pujos time and time again and have them just kill us!!! Walk him from now on and make somebody who is a non-MVP beat you!!

        • Before the season started, Price said they would be aggressive on the base paths. They still need to find where the guardrails are at. Smitty is probably not the man for the job but in general I like the aggression. I don’t consider it a major blunder.

          Reds win today and take 2 of 3, I’m satisfied. Rematch of the play-in WC game last October. Go Johnny Go.

    • Won’t defend the decision to send Santiago but will say the Reds still had two shots at getting the run in from third. To say the Smith decision cost the Reds the game seems a bit misplaced. Broxton, Hoover and Ludwick are just as much to blame for a loss that should have been a win. Reds gave two away this week they could have won. But then they won two they normally lose so I guess it evens out.

  6. what is up w. critical of Thom and new guy. i listened whole game and they were fine.

    now back to the game,

    we don’t need to say anything other than the fact we have had 20 outs at home in 1/2 season …..

    this figure is a Key Performance Indicator for 3rd base coach….and tonight’s call to send the runner was horrendous.

    it is a terrible call. Mes was coming …no body out…and favorable match up… and we just needed a fly out to win the game.

    that is stuff u rarely see at this level. amateurish at best.

    20 outs at home folks….my God

  7. For the week, the Reds go 6-2 including sweeping a DH but somehow it seems less than that because both the resulted from stupidity. What else is there to say? I haven’t heard what the manager had to say about either of dumb moves in extra innings tonight. But it seems to me that you simply don’t send that man from 3rd with no outs when the ball is front of the OF. And needless to say you don’t give Cutch a second shot to burn you, especially not by trying to slip a first pitch get ahead pitch by him. After the the situation with Valbuena on Thursday, I think it was incumbent on the manager to make sure the pitcher and catcher understood this.

    • Hopefully Bryan learned a valuable lesson regarding McCutchen. He is the Pirates money player and in that situation, he can’t be allowed to beat you. I think Price will get better at these calls.

      Have to admit, on Thursday night if you told me we’d be in a great position to take 2 of 3 this weekend, I’d have been happy.

  8. “Thom and Cliff raved and raved about Walker moving McCutchen over to third base with 0 outs on a ground out to the right side. That play actually decreased the Pirates chances of winning by 0.9%. ”

    Then Martin hit a sacrifice fly scoring McCutchen. So Walker’s ground out did turn out to be a big play.

      • There’s a lot that the “pct. chance to win” calculation, as currently used, does not take into account, such as the skill sets of the players.

        • It’s not like Waker’s Babe Ruth. Seems to me like him making an out to put the runner in a position where he can score on a fly ball is not a bad play.

    • Or….Walker’s groundout prevented the Pirates from having a big inning. That run was only the 2nd run of the game. It took 6 runs to win tonight.

        • They may have scored 5 in that inning if they weren’t handing the reds the only thing they have. Outs.

      • You act like he was trying to ground out to 2nd. That is sooo funny. Do you not think he was trying to get a hit to the right side? Blindness

        • I’m not saying moving the runner over to third was a horrible play, but it certainly isn’t one that should be praised at the level of a grand slam like Thom and Cliff were doing. I just wish these guys who are paid good money to announce baseball games would do a little better research.

  9. Baserunning mistakes continue to haunt this team ( and it doesn’t help that your 3rd base coach has no clue whatsoever as to what he is doing)

  10. base running and coaching at 3rd base…all basics…and we stink at it. bad running faux pas since last year continuing this year and bad 3rd coach making bad calls continuing with two diff coaches since last yr

  11. Painful loss. Maybe second only to the 8-0 game against the Blue Jays, but there have been some other bad ones this year. I was upset about Ludwick not trying to choak up a little or shorten his swing a little against some serious heat. My first angry reaction was to think that it said something about the Reds and their inability to pull out these games, and poor JJ Hoover and how he’s just where should-be wins go to die. But really, this is a great rivalry right now, and in a great rivalry, both teams are going to have incredible wins that are super exciting for their side. Pirates fans are loving this right now. We had one last night and they get one tonight. It sucks to throw away games we should’ve had, but hopefully JC is feeling the effects of this great rivalry and will really go for us tomorrow. Overall, it’s been a great couple of weeks.

    • why cuz we beat the cubbies 4 times…? what is so great about that.
      all the injuries last two weeks. what is so great about that
      losing to Padres and being swept?

      only saving grace was brewers losing all week long….

      • Great rivalry. Rivalry between two teams. Reds and Pirates. Last 2 weeks we gained a lot of ground on 1st place.
        Believe me, I was as mad as you losing this game. I was mad about the last game against the Cubs; it shouldn’t have happened. The Padres sweep was inexplicable. But that kind of stuff happens all the time and fortunately it goes in our favor every once in a while. Last night it did and it was a game the Pirates probably shouldn’t have lost.
        To be honest I’m in NYC and couldn’t see the game. I saw the Ludwick at-bat online but it was so slow I had to turn it back off after the at-bat was over. Now that I just saw the highlights, the problem looked to be that Santiago thought the game was over. Watch it again, he wasn’t running hard. And then he tried to pick it up at the last second when he realized it was going to be close. And then he was cursing himself after play. Seriously, it looks like he was more in a trot around 3rd than a hard sprint. Steve Smith has a pretty tough job. If Meso and Ludwick had struck out and we would’ve lost anyway, we’d be mad at him for not sending Santiago. Not saying he was right, I think he was wrong, the 20 outs things is insanity, but just saying it’s tough making a split second call. And he might’ve been fine if Santiago had gone full out the whole way. Polanco didn’t exactly sprint up to the ball Bruce hit.
        The loss stings bad and it shouldn’t have happened. But we’re still in a pretty good spot, and we can only hope that this rivalry with the Pittsburgh Pirates spurs on the Reds players. I hope our man JC is angry and throwing his butt off tomorrow.

      • There was also that sweep of the Giants right before we got swept by the Pads and still having a winning west coast road trip, despite that sweep by the Pads.

    • Good comments. I was also disappointed that Ludwick did not adjust at all in that situation. After the first swing and miss you could see he needed to adjust. He’s supposed to be a veteran hitter who knows how to help win games, and all he had to do there to win the game was to punch the ball into the OF.

      Hoover’s pitching better but the final result has been the same – the “get it over” slider to McCutcheon was a real bad idea.

    • The near perfect game by Josh Collmenter, in Phoenix, was my personnel low point. At the end of the game, I was calling for the Fire Sale to commence. Wonder what the team’s record is since that game?

  12. Because it’s always great to take 4 out of 5 in a series, no matter if it it’s the Cubs or whoever. Discounting those wins just because it was the Cubs makes no sense.

    • It will all come down to JC and whether we win tomorrow. if we do, its been a wonderful home stand. In we don’t, not so much.

    • Agreed. The Reds are now 7-3 on this home stand. A win by Cueto tomorrow would make it 8-3, an excellent home stand.

    • no one is discounting here… you can only play the schedule given by MLB…

      but i don’t think it has been two great weeks…..with votto and BP out for long stretch, i think these injuries will come and haunt us for next month. i absolutely don’t have confidence in Santiago, Lutz, Soto and Pena…they can have a good game or two…but 20-30 good games, not likely.

      with all these injuries, why does anyone think we have had great week….someone said earlier this is a marathon. yes it is. and with two key players missing and with front office that is missing in action, i think we r at peril

  13. I haven’t been crazy about all the third base coaching decisions this year. But I don’t think the one tonight was indefensible. It took a nearly perfect play by both the outfielder and catcher to get the out. Probably a 95% chance that sending the runner will win the game right there. If the throw is off by a foot or two either way or if the catcher doesn’t come up with the ball on the hop or if he drops it, Santiago is safe.

    Even if he’s thrown out, you still have a runner at third base and an out and soon to be bases loaded.

    When Ryan Ludwick came to the plate, the Reds WPA was still over 85%. I’ll take that plus the 95% chance Santiago scores.

    With Mesoraco at the plate and no outs, his odds of driving the run in with a hit or a walk plus a fly ball are pretty good, but they aren’t anywhere near 100%. A ground ball could be a double play.

    If you hold Santiago and Mesoraco doesn’t get the run in, you know where you are? With bases loaded and Ryan Ludwick up at bat with one out. (Assuming Mesoraco doesn’t hit into a double play.) Sounds familiar.

    So the risk to weigh is did Santiago have a better chance of scoring on the play or did Mesoraco have a better chance of driving the run in with bases loaded and no outs?

    My sense is both of those are high, but Santiago scoring was higher.

    It’s gotten to the point that every time the Reds get a runner thrown out at home, we demonize the third base coach. And I don’t think he always deserves it.

    • I think you’re being awful generous saying that there was a 95% chance Santiago scores on that play. He’s not fast and was out pretty easily, even a lesser throw likely nails him too. I would say the chance of him scoring when he was sent weren’t much above 50%.

      On the other hand, while the chance that Mesoraco would have gotten the run in weren’t 100%, they were not far from it. Again, consider the situation: bases loaded, no out, batter who crushes lefties, and merely a deep fly ball will get the job done.

      I do agree that what Smith had to do was to weigh whether the Reds had a better chance of scoring by sending Santiago, or by letting Mes try to win it. My take is that the chances were MUCH greater by playing it conservatively there.

      If you as coach truly feel there is a 95% chance the runner scores in that situation, then yeah, by all means send him. The error was in believing that he had that good a chance at being safe.

    • Again, you have to weigh the situation. Like I said earlier, if there’s 2 outs and Neftali Soto on deck, you probably send him because there’s a better chance that the RF will make a bad throw and allow Santiago to score, than there is Soto will get a hit to win it. In this case, conservative baserunning would have been prudent.

    • 95% your out of your mind, son… that outfielder Polanco fielded the ball cleanly with momentum towards home plate… less than 33% chance of scoring there.

    • He was on third base when the RF had the ball. It really wasn’t that close at home plus you are taking the bat out of the hand of Mesoroco.

    • Only way to avoid it, is to always hold the runner if there even the slimmest of doubt. No thanks, it comes with the territory.

      • Chris Speir did that last year, filling in for Mark Berry. He was awful. I didn’t like the green light last night. You send him with 2 outs for sure… but i think with no outs, then no. I agree with Doc’s POV

        • Completely disagree. You specifically DON’T send him with 2 outs. You never want to make the last out of an inning on the basepaths. With no outs and two other guys already on base and your power hitters coming up it makes perfect sense to send him. If he had been safe (which he would have most of the time) we wouldn’t have even thought twice about the decision to send him. We’d just be talking about Jay Bruce’s walk-off hit.

    • “With Mesoraco up and no outs…a ground ball could be a double play.” Correct. And since there were no outs, that double play results in the winning run. True, Mes wouldn’t get an RBI in that situation, but at the bottom of the pile of happy players I doubt that’s what he’d be thinking about.

      The scouting report on Polanco says he has a very good arm. Sending the runner with nobody out, the bases loaded, and a guy having an MVP season coming up was not smart. If the Pirates had done it with Cutch in the on deck circle and Bruce in RF, we’d have been thanking them. (Yes, I know the players in that example have longer track records. Still.)

      • A home-to-first double play is the downside.

        The issue is whether Santiago had a better chance of scoring than Mesoraco did of driving in the run in *his* at bat.

        • Well, yeah. He also could line into an unassisted triple play, which would be even worse. But in addition to getting the run in via hit, walk, and sac fly, Mesoraco’s opportunities also included grounding into a normal double play; your post made it seem like a normal GIDP would have been bad. Oh, and fielding a ball with a drawn in infield and firing home puts stress on the defense, too; as long as we’re assigning odds to things I’d put the odds of a drawn in Alvarez fielding a smash from Mesoraco and then firing home cleanly to start a DP at approximately 0%.

          Mesoraco–who has two Grand Slams this year, which I’m betting is two more than he has weak tappers to the pitcher to start a DP–against a LHP, with the bases loaded and no one out. Sorry, but that alone–never mind the guy or guys behind him with a chance to drive in a run–has got to be a higher percentage play than sending Santiago on a sharply hit ball to a guy with a cannon and a good catcher waiting for the throw.

          Like I said, if the Pirates did it with Bruce and Cutch in the Polanco and Mesoraco roles we’d say thank you very much. (Of course, if the Pirates did that Walker or Davis would then have hit a game winning grand slam….)

        • Mesoraco strikes out 23% of his at bats. His infield fly ball rate is 9 percent. Leaving out short fly balls and ground balls, you’re looking at least 30% chance of failure by Mesoraco, without even considering the double play. (With the infield pulled in, as it would be, a ground ball fielded could turn into a double play even without being back to the pitcher.)

          The “guys behind him with a chance to drive in the run” batted in exactly the same situation either way. Ludwick batted with bases loaded and one out. The post-Mesoraco scenario, if he fails, is the same as with Santiago getting thrown out. So the comparison is what are the odds of Santiago scoring vs. Mesoraco driving them in. I’d put both above 50% but it’s not so obvious which is higher that Smith’s decision was indefensible. The odds of the Pirates making that perfect play were much lower than 70 percent in my opinion.

        • Everyone loves aggressive baserunning except when it doesn’t work. You have to take the bad with the good. We put pressure on other teams to play perfect defense and most teams aren’t capable of doing that all the time. In extra innings with a chance to win the game and more opportunities coming up, that was a perfectly good aggressive move to make. I’m guessing Smith got a sign from the dugout to send Santiago on anything hit to the right side. Wilson is one of the best relievers in the NL – it was perfectly fair of Price and Smith to assume he could strikeout the next 3 batters, including DevinMVP. He was trying to win the game, and he came about an inch away from doing it.

        • Does anyone know if there’s an easy way to compile stats of fielding AGAINST us? I’d be interested to see how many errors have been committed against us this season versus last season. I’d also be interested to see how we compare this year versus last year in terms of extra bases taken. Might be a good idea for an article by Michael Maffie – Trying to put a number on what Price’s aggressive approach has either gained us or cost us overall.

        • I’ll give you that the decision is defensible. I just think it was wrong, and I wish we had a guy coaching at 3B who was wrong less often. I don’t think it was wrong because it didn’t work out, I think it was wrong because even if the odds are finely balanced but one side of the scale has 2014 MVP-caliber Mesoraco batting against a LHP with the bases loaded and no one out, I’d put my thumb on the scale.

          Another frustrating element, for me, is that all of the “arguments” supporting both decisions were available to Smith before the ball was put in play. The only real variable was how hard the ball was hit. He knew Polanco was playing in, that he has a good arm, that Mes would get walked, etc., so it’s not like Smith had an incredibly challenging split-second decision to make. Given that the ball was hit so hard, the only “new” input should also have suggested caution over aggressiveness. I just think he makes too many poor decisions, not that this decision can’t possibly be defended.

        • Eric NYC, great question about the errors against us. I would be shocked if we are not #1. Billy alone should have us in the top 5 and you’re likely right, the aggressive base running, in general, should put us on top. Obviously, it comes with a price but I love this style of baseball. Take it to your opponent.

        • I’m compiling some numbers. There’s some interesting stuff to look at, actually. I’ll probably post it in a more recent thread rather than keep this old game recap thread alive any longer.

  14. I know in the NFL, when special teams fail because of bad kickoff coverage or punt coverage, ect…..they will fire the special teams coach. Maybe, the Reds should consider that. I just watched the relay of Palanco throw out Santiago. He was out by a mile, as Martin was sitting there waiting for him. Though you never know? The odds are better with 0 outs and Mes coming up to the plate. But Ludwick not at least making contact, is simply inexcusable.

  15. The players are always 99 percent responsible for the outcome of the game and the same is true tonight. Mike Leake’s error. Not scooping Cozart’s low throw. Cozart’s low throw. Soto’s out. Other players making outs with runners on base. There are dozens of failures by the players, not to mention Santiago not running hard. Broxton and Hoover grooving pitches to McCutchen. Ludwick striking out. To isolate a decision by a third base coach and saying that was responsible for the loss is wildly inaccurate.

    • Amen! Speaking of failures at first again tonight, any chance the Reds get a first baseman or are the Reds going to just hope for the best?

    • Is there a video which shows Santiago was not running hard. Are we sure about this? If true, that’s pretty bad.

    • You think Santiago wasn’t running hard on that play at the plate? I think he was doing the best he can. He’s not fast, and it’s part of the base coach’s job to know just how fast his baserunners are.

      • The video of the play on ESPN shows that as soon as Bruce hit the ball Santiago ran. Would like to see some evidence that he was not running hard.

        • I just watched the video on reds.mlb.com, and they show Santiago running all the way from third to home. He was going hard all the way.

        • With all due respect Steve, you’re seeing things. That video shows me that Santiago got a good jump and was running hard all the way. Just a big time throw by Polanco.

        • I’ve watched that video multiple times, and I don’t see any indication he slowed down at all. He’s just not that fast.

          He was out pretty easily. The throw beat him by a few feet, so much so that it looks like even a decent throw probably would have had him. The only way he scores there is if it’s a bad throw by the RF. I’d say the runner is out on that play at least 40% of the time.

        • Usually agree with you (except about Hamilton, when I never agreed with you), but I think you are wrong on this one all the way around.

    • That’s baseball, a lot more failures than successes. It was built that way. Great point.

  16. After checking and double checking all those charts, graphs, percentages, leverage index, +/- calculations, I need a new pocket protector. (I kid cause I love) Go Reds!

  17. There is no one person at fault here. It’s awesome they came back from 4-0. Andrew McCutchen is an awesome baseball player. Makes me wish Joey Votto were 100% healthy. On reds.com you can go to the game recap and watch a video entitled “Polanco’s perfect throw”. When I watch it I see Santiago rounding 3rd widely and pulling up as if he’s going to trot in and celebrate, and then have to try to go in a bit harder. But he’s not the fastest runner and maybe that was as hard as he can go. Who knows, but I agree with Steve that the loss falls on a lot of shoulders. Let’s get them tomorrow and forget all about it. We’d forgotten all about the 8-0 debacle the very next day because they won big. Let’s go JC!

    • I just watched the video. They show Santiago all the way from rounding third into home, and he doesn’t look to me like he is pulling up at all. I see him going full speed, then having to slide to the side to try and avoid the tag.

      Smith has to recognize the difference between sending Billy Hamilton in that situation, and sending Ramon Santiago.

      • That’s the video I saw- from MLB.com Absolutely no indication that Santiago was not running hard all the way. No way you can say from that video that he was “pulling up as if he’s going to trot in and celebrate”. Just shows how rumors get started on the internet.

        • haha, I certainly don’t want to stir up any “Reds fan that no one knows or cares about reports Ramon Santiago not playing hard enough” articles. Damn world wide web. The real point was that I’d hate to have Smith’s job in that situation. But the 20 outs thing is hard to argue with. It was just an observation, I can’t tell.

      • It’s tough to tell. Doesn’t look like someone going full out to me but it gets less clear the more I watch it. The safe call was to hold him. Ah well. At least it’s a day game tomorrow and we’ll have something else to cheer or worry about.
        The question is: who’s going to start next Friday at the Yankees? I’m going to that game and I’ve never seen JC in person. I’ve seen Leake (and Bronson) a thousand times. I’m happy to see anyone, but man I’d love to see Johnny.

        • So it sounds like you are retracting your statement. Good. If Santiago was not giving 100% that would be quite an indictment of him. No evidence of that.

        • I agree. For all his athletic limitations, Santiago doesn’t seem like the kind of player that would give anything less than 100% on a play like that. Fortunately, the video backs that up.

        • Nope, that’s what it looks like to me, but what do I know. We’ll keep the statement on the record with that caveat. And I wasn’t saying he wasn’t playing 100%, he might not’ve even realized the throw was coming. Might’ve thought it was over, he couldn’t look back. Just a shame of play really, and a great throw.

        • Problem is you write a cogent post saying Santiago didn’t hustle in a game winning situation. And your post some how convinces Steve Mancuso of the same thing. And I would have believed your charge except I decided to find the video and see for myself. People need to be careful when they post things.
          I think the problem was Smith didn’t realize what a cannon Polanco has and he should have known that, rookie or no rookie.
          Bottom line Santiago hustled and was beaten by an amazing throw. Get em tomorrow.

        • Well, if he did slow up because he didn’t think the throw was coming, then that would be an inexcusable mistake. Doesn’t matter if he thinks the throw is coming or not, you run hard unless you see your teammate at the plate give you the sign to come in easy. He would have all the time in the world to slow down after he touched home plate.

          But, like I said, I see no indication he slowed up at all.

  18. I’d have to agree, listening to Thom and Cliff gush over McCutchen for the whole game got old real fast

    • Understand but LM is one of the very best in MLB. True 5-tool guy that plays hard all the time. He can play on my team anytime. Have to wonder where the Buccos would be without him.

      Gushing about the greats never bothers me, it’s what keeps a lot of people coming out to the games. But I can appreciate your POV. They did the same with Hamilton.

  19. Maybe on his season numbers, McCutchen was only 5% to hit the ball out in the 11th, but he is a Reds-killer, he loves GABP, its a hitter’s park, he was dialed-in, plus Hoover was on his 6th-out and tiring…. All that adds up to more like 20% chance, so PUT HIM ON, and make someone else beat you!

    Of course, Hoover wouldn’t have been tiring, and still pitching, if Price hadn’t burned both Parra and Diaz (two of his more trusted bullpen arms) by pitching stupid match-ups in the 8th. (Which Price promised us he wasn’t going to do, before the season started)

  20. Sorry but couldn’t disagree more on sending runner in tenth. You force a rookie just called up a few weeks back to make the perfect play. There is no way to know what Mez would do and you have to be aggressive in that situation.

  21. I was at tonights game…hard to believe largest crowd ever except for opening days or playoffs. Team looked dead and tired through first five. As for whom is to blame…simple Price. Horrible magt of pen tonight…horrible instructions to Hoover on pitching in 11th. Also partial blame to Walt…neither Soto or Negron have any business in ML. As for ludwick and his AB…you have to make contact…same goes Pena.

    • I don’t think his use of the pen was horrible with what was available and healthy tonight… I thought he did a great job with it. Had Broxton came through we would have been saying he did wonders with the pen tonight. Now, if you want to say he has done a bad job the last couple of days managing the pen then you have more of an argument. The usage of the pen the last few days has put them in the situation last night. But keep in mind the previous 2 games the starters have left early due to injuries… So, the pen has been taxed out of necessity more than the poor management of Price.

      Feel free to put a lot of blame on Walt for the guys on the field and bench… That is on his shoulders for having a paper thin farm system when it comes to position players.

  22. I will say it again….I really wish that Reds Owner Bob C, Walt, Price, Smith, and all the Reds players or most of them anyway, logged on to Redleg Nation and looked at each post, I think they would really learn something! I really wish the Reds hadn’t used Chapman on Thursdays lost to the Cubs in extra innings. With the game tied, I didn’t think it was necessary to use him….that is very Dusty like, in the way he used to manage. I knew these games with the Pirates would be tight. It would be interesting to see how many of Hoover’s losses are in extra innings. If the game is tied, and Hoover comes in for the 10th or 11th or 12th, it seemed like it started last year….he gives up a run, usually a home run, but somehow and someway, gives up a run, and the Reds lose. One

  23. Two things I like this year with Price managing, is the Reds are stealing more bases with Frazier, Cozart, among others going to second. And, Price is doing a better job pulling pitchers quicker. When Parra gets an out or two, especially the Lefty Lefty matchup, Price will pull him for another reliever. Dusty usually left relievers in when it was too late, and the Reds lost. I think also the bullpen got tired, because Cingrani only went 5 innings and threw Alot of pitches each time he went out, forcing the bullpen to come in early.

  24. Please walk McCutchen and force a non-mvp to beat you please!!!! I do not care if you have to walk him 4 straight at bats either! Force somebody else to be the hero!!! Reminds me of the Pujos days!!!!!

    • Agreed. In fact regardless of the fact that Johnny Baseball is pitching today, I vote for walking him 4 times this afternoon; provided he doesn’t come up bases-loaded.

      Actually, even then, it might make sense….!

        • And going back George Foster and Sparky Anderson saying if he was sitting in the opposite dugout he’d walk Foster with the bases loaded more than actually happened .

          You hear Brantley and Welch and just about every ex-pitcher who now does radio and TV say pitchers should pick out a guy in the opposing line up and say this guy is not going to beat me, if I work around him and the next guys get me so be it but this guy is not going to beat me..

        • Yep, I remember Buck Schowalter walking him once with the bases loaded. I’m sure it happened other times too… McCutchen is no Bonds though. He’s an excellent hitter but not sure I would have flat out pitched around him. Hoover hung a slider to him. You know most MLBers hit that pitch hard somewhere.

  25. Nick, I think your assessment of Thom and Cliff is a little rough. Now I hate listening to Thom because he bugs me… and maybe they were over the top here. I wasn’t tuned in at this point. However, moving the runner over is not a horrible idea, and in this situation it turned out to work for them. You get the runs when you can in baseball and you prevent them when you can. You are never guaranteed more chances and the “probabilities” and “percentages” do not always add up.

    You cite that the play decreased their chances of winning by 0.9%… This a pretty small number over the course of a nine inning game. This play happened in the third inning… still a lot of ball to play. And as we learned in this game, especially with looking at a lot of the numbers you put up in your post, percentages do not always play out… If they did, the Reds nearly 60% chance of winning in the ninth might have held up.

    • Broadcasting is a thankless job. I’m a bit nutty, but for the most part I think nearly all of them do a decent job. IMO, it’s one of those jobs that look much easier then it is. Thomm & Cliff are not the greatest in the world but they were far from getting under my skin. I do appreciate Thomm’s enthusiasm for the game, in general.

      • Agreed, although this was the first game all year (and I’ve seen ‘em all), I actually resorted to the mute button from the third through the fifth inning. When someone’s mother takes over in the booth–and Thom gets all gooey–I’m John Muir and go looking for peace and quiet.

  26. 20 outs at home plate is a lot for the number of games played. I wonder how many of them have been “run on contact” plays when a player is on 3rd and the batter puts the ball into play. I hate that play because it’s failure rate seems to be so high, yet I have seen the Reds fail it more times than I would like. I prefer to let the runner judge how the ball is hit and decide whether or not he can make it home.

  27. I don’t know why we’re letting Broxton off the hook. He grooved one right down the middle to McCutchen in the 9th. I’m willing to believe it was a mistake of sorts, but he was still clearly challenging him. Hoover is getting blasted in this thread for not staying away from Cutch but not Broxton? We should never be pitching to that guy in high leverage situations. He kills us every time. Oh well, Cueto Day. If you told me in May that we could be going into the break 1.5 games out of first place I would have laughed in your face. If you told me we would do it with Votto and Phillips on the DL…

    • Broxton made a bad pitch. He’s been really lucky with fly balls this year (given up zero home runs) and it was bound to catch up with him. His BABIP is still .167, which is crazy low. That said, Broxton had worked McCutchen to a 2-2 count and, most importantly, there were no outs. Hoover’s home run pitch was the first in that AB and there were two outs. Hoover had more latitude to walk him with two outs than Broxton did with none. That’s minor, but something.

      • I’m not letting Hoover off, just wondering why Broxton is getting an automatic pass (“It’s hard to be mad at a guy who’s ERA jumped all the way up 1.13.”)

      • And with two outs and nobody on base, Cutch probably is looking to hit a home run, at least until he has two strikes on himself.

        After a good sleep, I can see where the slider idea wasn’t all bad but the ball has to be low and away or in on his ankles. That said I still stand by what I said here last evening, I think the first pitch should have been NOT intended to hit him but hard up and in to disrupt him.

        I wouldn’t bet the the first dime out of my pocket that if the situation allows Cueto won’t come in early on Cutch today to establish who is boss.

  28. Also, count me in as not thinking sending Santiago was a bad idea. Yes, we have made a lot of outs at home this year and some have been on very questionable if not downright bad decisions by Smith, but I don’t think this was one of them. Price clearly wants this team to be very aggressive on the bases. That doesn’t just mean stealing bases. It means putting pressure on opposing defenses to make PERFECT plays all the time. Making perfect defensive plays is hard. Smith sent Santiago knowing that we had a chance to win the game right then and there if the Bucs didn’t make a perfect play, something that statistically they won’t do most of the time. And if they do make the play, we still have 2 mote outs with RISP and two power hitters coming up to bat. It was a risky but solidly aggressive decision that didn’t work. If Polanco had made a slightly less perfect throw then Santiago scores, we win, everyone’s celebrating another come from behind win, and no one is even thinking about Steve Smith today even though he would have made the exact same decision in the exact same spot.

  29. It took a solid throw by Polanco and a flat out fantastic short hop pick by Wilson to nail Santiago. Very few catchers make that play. Let’s not forget Ludwick and Pena had chances to win the game too and got crushed by Wilson fastballs.

    I tip my cap to the Pirates on this one. Tie it in the 9th against an excellent Broxy, hold on in the 10th, win it in the 11th. The thought did cross my mind to walk McCutchen in the 11th. There were two outs and nobody on.

  30. Something to keep in mind with Santiago appearing to slow coming around 3rd then reaccelerating is that professional athletes are not exempt from the laws of gravity and motion; and a 90 degree change of direction at speed is not a simple thing to do.

    Players seem to have a variety of different methods to try and make the turn as quickly as possible and without losing any (or as little as possible) speed. Some “gooseneck” ahead of the 3B bag. Some make a rainbow turn. Some slow enough to make a hard tight turn then get back on the gas. The point is that they want to make the turn as quickly as possible but not add to the total time it takes them from the 2nd base side of 3B to home plate.

    So it is entirely possible and even probable that both of the statements are true and congruent those being that, first, Santiago slowed then reaccelerated as he came around 3B and secondly that he was giving 100% all the way,

  31. The Old Cossack was juggling multiple tasks and I did not see Santiago thrown out at the plate as it was happening. My initial reaction upon hearing the play in the background was fairly neutral regarding the decision to try and score since both runners followed Santiago to put runners an 2B & 3B with only one out.

    Once I had the chance to see the details of the play, I was feeling much more critical of the decision. Polanco was not playing deep in RF. Santiago did not have a good lead off 2B due to the shift. Polanco has a very strong arm and Santiago is not a fast runner. Mesoraco was standing in the on deck circle with Ludwick following Mesoraco to the plate. Those are all details available to the 3B coach before the play even starts developing.

    Bruce smoked the ball to RF and Polanco charged the ball hard. Under normal circumstances, I’ve seen the OF grass bring the ball to a virtual stop before the RF can get to the ball, but with Polanco playing as shallow as he was and with Bruce hitting the ball as hard as he did, the defensive play developed quickly. I think a good 3B coach can assimilate those details in making a quick decision. I think the proper call to ensure the highest probability of plating a run that inning was to hold Santiago at 3B and roll the dice with Mesoraco at the plate, bases loaded and no outs, but either way, the Reds should have plated a run that inning.

    The bottom line measure of a good 3B coach has to be the success of his decisions and Smith simply does not have a good success rate for the decisions he makes as a 3B coach. Aggressive baserunning must be tempered by good decisions and not giving away outs, especially at 3B and home.

    • I saw it in real time. My reaction to the speed of the batted ball and Polanco’s play was bases loaded Meso coming up then the angle widened and I saw that Santiago was coming all the way; and, I thought no way.

      Agree that it wasn’t as close as some have stated.Martin had the ball and was waiting. Santiago made it look close with a strong move on his slide, aided by the fact that Martin was being (I thought) very cautious about being sure he did not get called for obstruction under the new rules.

  32. I tuned in just in time for the 5-run comeback in the 6th & thought, “no matter what happens the rest of the game, I’m happy with this.”

    I was wrong.

    Smith should have been smart enough to know who we had coming up & what the situation was, and held Santiago. Smith has been HORRIBLE this year at knowing when to send runners. Having said that, I’m willing to give him,oh, let’s say, a 10% pass on this one. Maybe the excitement of winning in walk-off fashion got his adrenaline running. But overall, it was a bad choice & took the bat out of Mes’ hands.

    You know McMVP is their best player & the one most likely to hurt you….and you don’t pitch around the guy?? Unacceptable.

    I’m a Price fan. But he hurt himself and his team by only allowing Jumbo to face one hitter, then pulling him for the top of the 9th for Broxton. That was too Dusty-like. You know, “gotta give the 9th inning to the designated closer”. We were playing with a short bullpen (no Chappie, and assuming Contreras was also thought of as unavailable…although Carlos has starting experience, you’d think he could bounce back after tossing 2 innings the day before) & needed to get maximum performance with who we had. The decision to pull Diaz led to “No Way JJ” pitching 2 innings. Should have stayed with Jumbo to start the 9th. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. Hindsight, you know, but think outside of the Dusty-box, Bryan.

    Having to rely on Lutz, Soto, and Negron to come through in clutch situations dramatically illustrates how poorly Jocketty has managed the 25 & 40-man roster. Injuries happen, but as the GM you simply HAVE to have capable backups on the bench and in the minors. Soto is terrible. So far, Lutz isn’t much better. Negron managed to hit a AAA home run last night, which translates to warning track MLB power. I’m hoping SOMEBODY will get suckered into taking Soto as part of a trade package – but of course that assumes Walt can actually make a trade, which he has shown no inclination to do. We should be seeing if anyone has interest in Broxton (I’m not piling on the guy, but we have a surplus of closers & despite his contract, maybe we can deal from our excess & try to leverage Broxton for a major league 1B/OF type)

    Thom and Cliff Floyd were awful….and I could barely understand Floyd. It was as bad as trying to understand Sterling Sharpe on the NFL pre-game shows. How do you get a job as a color analyst when you can’t enunciate at all? And for goodness sakes, what the hell was up with the love shown for Josh Harrison and his family? OK, so the guy’s a local player, on the all-star team, but you’d think he was Derek Jeter wrapped up in Babe Ruth with the REPEATED showing of his family members over the last 4-5 innings.

    Rant over. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that Johnny Beisbol is Cy Cueto today, and the offense comes through. Be nice to head to the break only 1.5 games back.

    • The thing I don’t get about WJ and the organizational depth is why he signed a boatload of AAAA and misbegotten former 1st round picks who at least have some MLB bench experience as position players for the AAA team but then defaults to his prospects (who are not world beaters either to say the least) when he needs immediate help at the MLB level.

      I understand the simple answer is that it is about the 40 man roster and not losing a prospect but I guess I’m not buying that.

    • Reluctantly agree about Broxton as trade bait to bring real bench help. Jumbo looks up to the job of replacing Brox but I’m a little worried about what exactly is going on with Chapman and his limited availability. The reds need two of those three or else they’ll be right back where they were early in the season in regard to the back of the pen.

      • Chapman had pitched 4 days in a row before last night, and on the 4th day he struck out the 3 guys he faced with 103 mph fastballs. Nothing wrong with Chapman at all. He was never going to be available last night.

        • Yeah I think last Sunday he surprisingly didn’t come in to close a 1-run game against the Brewers and they said he had some tightness in warmups, but he came back all this week and threw as well as I’ve ever seen him throw. His last couple outings were just ridiculous.

      • The real problem was that the 4 day run is that in the middle of it Chapman “closed” a game against the Cubs that we were leading 4-1. Knowing we were in the middle of a long stretch of games and that we had a big series this weekend, Price should have been a little more careful about racking up consecutive outings. It’s no guarantee that the outcome would have been different last night, and we very well might end up needing him today, but I would have rather had Chapman available than use him to close a gimme game like the one against the Cubs.

    • “As the GM you simply HAVE to have capable backups.” Yes, and those capable backups were starting due to injury and kept us in the game despite the shaky starting pitching/horrible umpiring. So late in the game we were relying on the backups’ backups.

      You’re expecting a lot from the guy backing up the guy backing up Brandon Phillips? (In Negron’s case, he’s backing up Schumaker, who is backing up Santiago, who is backing up Phillips.) A GM can’t have an infinite number of top caliber guys ready and waiting in the wings. The Reds have had injuries–in quantity and quality–that would severely weaken any team.

  33. The crazy thing is the Pirates have McCutchen locked up basically through 2018 on a smaller contract than Jay Bruce’s. If he was a FA right now he’d get $250 million easy. As it stands he won’t hit FA until he’s 32. Bet he’s regretting that contract right now…

      • I’m not huge on WAR numbers, but a 9.2 is bordering on a ridiculously fantastic year, even if I don’t love the stat as a whole.The guy can flat play and he’s doing it for relative peanuts as you point out.

  34. Heisey hits his 3rd home run of the year and that’s why Skip should never start over him? That’s brilliant logic.

    • Heisey has better numbers across the board than Skip and plays better defense. That being said, to me it’s basically a coin toss between the two and I do think Skip brings some Freel-esque energy to the game when he plays so I don’t really have any problem with the two of them getting about the same amount of playing time. Neither one is a game changer and it’s good to keep them both sharp since like it or not they’re our main two bench players.

  35. Today’s lineup:

    BHam – cf
    Cozart – ss
    Frazier – 3b
    Heisey – if
    Bruce – rf
    Mes – c
    Pena – 1b
    Negron – 2b
    Cueto – p

    CH in the cleanup spot. Mes catching day after a night game. Couple of interesting items. Maybe JC can pitch another SHO.

    Go Reds!!!

    • Love seeing Mes in, after extra innings no less. Can’t quite figure out why Heisey is batting cleanup. LHP on the mound, sure sounds like the time to have Bruce and Mes right there in the middle. I wonder if Santiago is a little dinged up. He had that hand thing in the first inning last night but played through it.

      • I was very surprised to see Mes catching yesterday. I wonder if Mes lobbied to play because it was Liriano going for the Pirates?

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