Time for a recap of tonight’s titanic struggle….

Chicago 2
Cincinnati 1
WP: Zambrano (4-2)
LP: Owings (3-7)
S: Gregg (10)

–Micah Owings pitched a decent game. Six innings, five hits, two earned runs, six strikeouts. I’ll take that from my fifth starter any ol’ time.

–More great work from the bullpen, namely Nick Masset, Arthur Rhodes, and Francisco Cordero. The ERAs for those three guys: 0.95, 0.47, 1.57. Wow.

–Ryan Hanigan pinch-hit in the ninth, and lined a ball up the middle for yet another hit.

–Chris Dickerson made one spectacular catch in CF, and another pretty good one. Willy Taveras would have been jogging after both of them.

–Brandon Phillips struck out twice in four at-bats, but he crushed a ball for a triple, driving in the Reds only run of the night. He hustled, too.

–Unfortunately, BP was just about the only Red who hit the ball solidly tonight.

–With two outs in the ninth, Jerry Hairston came to the plate as the potential winning run. He proceeded to have one of the worst ABs I’ve seen this entire season. He just looked clueless up there. (Yet, in another example of why I love baseball, JHJ reached first after striking out on a wild pitch — yep, you read that right. He swung at a wild pitch that would have been ball four.)

–That’s two straight games in which the Reds just couldn’t put the bat on the ball. I’m worried about this team’s ability to score going forward without Joey Votto, Edwin Encarnacion, and Good Jay Bruce. Have the Reds been scoring runs using smoke and mirrors for the first two months of the year? I guess we’ll find out.

–Stupid Cubs.

–Bruce got on base three times in four ABs (a hit, two walks). He didn’t look particularly good, frankly, but it’s a start.

–Looking up there, I am surprised that I found so many positives in a game like this. Especially since I’m feeling a bit pessimistic about our guys right now.

–Why isn’t Taveras on the disabled list? Someone wake up Walt Jocketty.

–Before the most recent road trip, we all talked about how the Reds really needed to do well against these division rivals if they were going to be competitive for the remainder of 2009. Well, the Reds are now 2-6 against Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Chicago over the last week-plus. Those are our main rivals in the NL Central, if you haven’t noticed.

Bad time for the team to slump.

Blame Chad for creating this mess.

Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.

You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

Join the conversation! 27 Comments

  1. To borrow from Marty Feldman’s (Igor) line in Young Frankenstein:

    Offense? What offense?

  2. It is amazing that this team is 2 over with all the injuries. Yes it has been with smoke and mirrors. The Reds are going to fade until they can get JV and EE healthy.
    Rosales swung at ball four (and later got out) in the 9th as did Hairston. X(

  3. The hitters tonight, especially in the 9th inning, were swinging at anything…ugh.

  4. when JHJ was up and swung at ball 4 they showed a shot of Dusty who seemed sorta pissed but I couldn’t tell if he was pissed or bummed that he didn’t get a hit.

    anyone have any idea of Dusty even has a clue that he swung at ball 4?

    of course, most Reds fans WANT the batter to swing at ball 4, even swing a MISS, see their anger and hatred for Dunn taking ball 4

  5. Bruce is clearly slumping, swing right through fastball down the middle BUT despite the slump I think the 5 BB in the last 5 games is a sign he’s seeing ball

  6. I didn’t hear Marty. What was he ragging Owings about? Yeah, he walked three in the first inning, but he pitched himself out of trouble giving up only one run, which wouldn’t have scored at all but for some questionable strike calls. He gave up a gopher to Zambrano, but besides that he was fairly efficient. If you are going to give your 5th starter grief for giving up 2 runs you are a bitter, bitter man.

  7. This offense is just not good right now, at all. I’ll take Owings start every single time, especially with our bullpen. Maybe someone needs to do a voodoo ritual or something to get the bats going because this has been hard to watch.

  8. I would not use the last two nights to evaluate the offense. They drew Carpenter and Zambrano on consecutive nights. The offense is spotty and is going to struggle with cogs like EE and Votto missing, but the last two nights were about two aces having good outings.

    As for the comment on Phillips hustling, perhaps he could run really, really hard to first as he is making out after out like Rosales?

  9. Unbelievable.

    Perhaps if Phillips HAD been hustling back in April, when he was hitting terribly, then he wouldn’t have made quite so many outs.

    I can think of at least three occasions where his loafing cost either an out or an extra base. He’s not absolved of that just because he’s hitting well now.

  10. Uh, Marty was only ragging on Owings for walking three in the first inning. Y-City hates Marty and always blows what he says out of proportion. Marty was not out of line with what he was saying and I listened to the entire game.

  11. I dunno. I listen ed to about 3/4 of the game,and I thought Marty was pretty harsh on Owings all night too. Every time he got in trouble (which was often last night, I admit), Marty was pretty condemning of him. Fact is, he got outo f those jams, pretty much.

    I’m not sure what he or others expect out of a fifth starter. I’ll take what Owings did last night. Beats Josh Fogg.

  12. Re: comment 6— Preach.. Marty was all over Owings in the first inning, repeatedly saying “this is just more of the same” from Owings. He decried his high pitch count and the fact he hasn’t been making it out of the 5th lately. The most damning statement was wondering aloud if the Reds should seriously consider replacing Owings as the 5th starter. Of course, in true Marty fashion, he was complimenting his overall performance by the 6th inning.

  13. Carpenter and Zambrano aren’t the point. We had big chances to win against the Cubs relievers, and their relievers have struggled big time.

    Owings and our relievers did what they were supposed to do – kept us close until Zambrano left, and shut down the Cubs after that.

    Leaving Phillips stranded at 3rd with 1 out (big pop out to the catcher by Nix),
    then in the 9th Rosales makes an out on what looked like ball 4 and Hairston swings at a ball 4 wild pitch, moving the tying run to 3rd base but Dickerson can’t come thru.

    The Fantasy advice columns say Dempster will have an easy time against the “Votto-less Reds.”

  14. Bad time to slump, but if you had told me we would be over .500 with neither Bray or Burton pitching well out of the pen (really its overall performance has been remarkable when you think about how much we were counting on those guys and Lincoln coming into the year) and with EE and Votto missing big chunks of time I would have taken it.

    We knew they were going to stuggle to score runs going in, until Votto and EE get back it is going to be a constant struggle. Just have to try and hang on until then.

  15. Outside of the nine run outburst against the Cards, it’s been time to bring back “TOS” to the recaps. This is me putting up a “bat signal” in the sky asking for the return of Joey Votto. And Edwin.

  16. PS Our pitchers have allowed a total of 5 runs over the last 2 games. Regardless of who is on the mound for the other team, you’ve got to win one of those games, and the Cubs handed us big opportunities to win in late innings last nite.

  17. Considering the comments on the bad swings in the 9th, and some of Bruce’s struggles, what are everyone’s thoughts about Jacoby as a hitting coach? I do not see enough games first hand to evaluate.


  18. Agree with all of course about hanging in there until EE and Votto return, but that’s beginning to feel like a long time.

    This team is definitely better than I thought it would be, and I’m underwhelmed by our competition, they’re all so beatable.

    We’re above .500 because the starting pitchers have kept us in games and the Big 3 in the bullpen have been lights out. We can’t yet call them the “Nasty Boys II” but they sure haven’t been the “Nice Boys” we were putting out there for a few recent years.

  19. If Marty was frustrated with Owings in the 1st, I could understand it. He couldn’t throw a strike, and was taking forever between pitches. But overall, you have to be really pleased with his effort as a #5 starter. In theory, there should be a difference between what fans think, and what a professional, HOF announcer says out loud. But that’s just me.

    What I find strange is that he has different grading scales for different players, and it’s really not tied to anything rational. Consider the different treatment given to “stars” Dunn and Phillips, for example. And “scrubs” like Owings are held to a high standard, while a similar-talent guy like Rosales can hit .227 (616 OPS) with “just okay” defense, and nary a word is said.

  20. I’ve never been impressed with Jacoby, but I am not close enough to the team to really determine how he works with the guys and how helpful he is to them.

    @Cary…Yes, Carpenter has been on fire, but Big Z hasn’t been that great lately and the Reds have hit off him well in the past, so I don’t use that as an excuse. Plus as stated above the game was really winable against Marmol and Gregg.

    I just wish they would put Taveras on the DL just to see what Stubbs can do…what is it really going to cost? He wouldn’t be a super 2 player, and it would just cut down option years down by 1 but if he isn’t going to get to play by then, he will never play anyways. If he performs well, then you can use Taveras as trade bait for a team looking for a CF or lead-off guy.

    Despite the bad streak of late, they are getting valuable evaluation time to some guys to determine where the mid-season trade deadline and off-season is going to take the team. I would much rather have EE and Votto in the lineup, don’t get me wrong, but really who thought the Reds really had a great shot of winning the division this year? At least some of these guys are getting experience and the front office SHOULD (who knows with the way the run the whole DL thing) have a great idea where they need to go with player moves. At least they are staying within distance right now. How many teams can stay afloat with two or three of their best hitters out of the lineup.

    It seems like this team just can’t get over the hump, they get 5-6 games above .500 then go on a bad streak that takes them back down to a game above or so. I just hope Joey can get his business taken care of and join the team ASAP.

  21. Matt-Comment #12, I was thinking the same thing since Owings had been awful for several starts in a row and started the first with walking three guys. He was speaking the truth.

  22. Yeah, Owings could have been better, but you have to admit he was getting hosed on the strike zone in that first inning. But, as we know, your performance history often determines the type of strike zone you will get as a pitcher or a hitter. Maddux always gets the close one, Puhjols gets the benefit of doubt as well. I credit Owings for not getting off his game after that first inning and grooving them down the middle. The umpire did seem to loosen up the zone after that. I understand frustration after that first inning, but surely everyone had to be satisfied with the performance for the following five. Wouldn’t have been too long ago that Micah would have been in the running as our opening day starter. He is also one of those rare pitchers (like Zambrano) who can make up some runs with his bat. If you can get a ‘quality start’ (I hate that term, but you get the point) out of your number 5 guy, who can hit a little as well, I am more than satisfied.

    Question is, if the Reds stay close in June, what moves do you make. The announcers (at behest of management, I’m sure)have been talking up Gonzo like crazy, so I don’t think he goes anywhere. Right now I would not want to see Nix/Gomes replaced in left field (unless you could move Nix to CF). The rotation and the bullpen are solid. Our catching situation is as good as it’s been since…..well, in a long time. Looks like corner infielders are the current main concern. I’ve never observed Gomes at first, but a lot of people say he’s brutal. However, I heard that about him in the outfield and he seems pretty decent. It would be helpful to have a time frame on Votto.

  23. I agree with Cary to the extent that a big part of the offense’s problem was that they drew Carpenter and Zambrano on consecutive nights. However, it the Cubs’ closer would have been facing hitters with any plate discipline at all he’d have never made it through that inning with a save.

  24. BTW, has anyone heard any info on how Votto is doing? Its like he dropped off the planet or something.

  25. Annapolis— we’ll agree to disagree. I think I run closer to Chris’s (#19) point of view. Marty is holding Owings to a standard only Marty understands. I’m still pretty comfortable running him out there as a fifth starter. He gave up 2 runs. I’ll take that any day. I say concentrate of finding some offense, then worry about fine tuning pitching.

  26. I have no problem with Owings either, but you have to admit he had been struggling. I don’t think it is Marty’s job to concentrate on finding some offense.

  27. This is why I can’t listen
    “What I find strange is that he has different grading scales for different players, and it’s really not tied to anything rational.”

    oh there is rational alright but it’s based more on Marty’s mood and general anger than anything actually happening on the field. It’s been almost a year now since I listened to him and I enjoy baseball so much more since I stopped listening

    I don’t remember the last time Marty said a single thing that gave me an incite into the game.

Comments are closed.

About Chad Dotson

Blame Chad for creating this mess. Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, "The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds" is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad's musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine. You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.


2009 Reds, Titanic Struggle Recap


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