After the Reds blew a big lead last night, I turned the game off. I can’t watch that mess any more.

So, no recap last night. Thus, here’s your quick recap:

Reds 8
Brewers 6
Final (13 innings)
Box Score

–Corky Miller = good. Welcome back to Cincinnati, Corky. Miller went 2-5, with a walk and 2 run-scoring singles.

–Bronson Arroyo = good again, his 6th straight quality start. 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R. Once again, however, Arroyo’s teammates screwed up the game for him.

–Laynce Nix = good. Two homers.

–Scott Rolen = good. 4-7, 2 runs, an RBI, a double, veteran leadership.

–Joey Votto = not so good. He hit the homer that won the game. That’s very good. But he was also brutal in the field, committing two ugly errors back to back. We still love the guy, though.

–Jared Burton, Arthur Rhodes, Francisco Cordero = TERRIBLE. Simply terrible.

50 Responses

  1. RiverCity Redleg

    The error Burton made in the 9th was just ridiculous. All he had to do was pick up the ball and tag the runner, but for some reason he wanted to making a running scoop and off balance throw to first. It didn’t work.

  2. GRF

    I would add Fisher and Herrera as positives. With the trades we need them to provide depth to the pen and they did it last night.

    Maybe we could use a little infield practice?

  3. RiverCity Redleg

    I’m glad to see they changed the error from BP to JV on the pop up behind 1st base. It was clearly BP’s ball, he clearly called for it, but for some reason Votto tried an over the shoulder catch and ran into Phillips. Initially they gave the error to Brandon, but was clearly Votto’s.

  4. Steve Price

    Comment from Chris during game last night:

    “Until tonight, Francisco Cordero had inherited ONE runner all season (49 G). Tonight, he came in w/ bases loaded & let all 3 score.”

    My feelings about this:

    Seriously…couldn’t almost ANYONE on the Reds be a closer to pitch one inning per game, entering the game with no one on base with a major league defense behind them?

    We’re paying $12 million for this?

    I honestly think, and this is not hyperbole, my 10 year old son could do that job as long as there was someone playing defense behind him.

  5. Matt WI

    Who doesn’t love them some Bronson Arroyo? And the Yankees passed on his 2.19 ERA since Jully 10th? Throw in the fact he’s a straight shooter about steroids, and you’ve got yourself a ball player to respect.

  6. Matt WI

    Can anyone explain why Jason Kendall owns an .857 OPS career against the Reds? Sure, some of it’s from his glory days with the Pirates, but if someone has the ability to look up his performance vs the Reds during the last two years, my guess is that the numbers will be higher than what he put up for the rest of the year. Though, I was surprised to see he has a career OBP of .368.

  7. RiverCity Redleg

    Steve, I find it ironic that you say that, since you critcized the Reds in your trade reviews (which I love, by the way) for trading away all of their (potential) closers in the late 80s and early 90’s. And then we ended up with a crappy, makeshift bullpen for it. And we both know that is indded hyperbole. With that said, I agree CoCo did not do his job that he’s being paid rather handsomely for. Those are the exact situations he gets the big bucks for and he didn’t deliver.

  8. RiverCity Redleg

    I am just as disappointed with Rhodes for walking Counsel (lefty on lefty) with a 3 run lead to load the bases, knowing Braun and Fielder were up next. Ridiculous. He didn’t even come close to the strike zone.

  9. GregD

    Another reason the Reds had a better than expected record in the 1st half – CoCo. He’s normally good for about 6-8 blown saves a year. Last night was just his 2nd BS.

    That’s another reason he’s a sell high candidate. Market his abnormally high, and likely unrepeatable, save conversion rate.

    Surely, it doesn’t cost $12 million to have someone, with the bases empty, pitch 3 outs before allowing 1-3 runs.

  10. Matt WI

    I don’t know… over the course of 162 games, it’s bound to happen, and quite frankly it has happened that often this year. I’m ok with calling it a “perfect storm” (no reference to David W###### intended) and would doubt the same thing would happen 99 times out of hundred. This team is not exactly a well oiled machine, and even the healthy parts can break down when the rest of the machine is on life support.

  11. Steve Price

    My points on closers….

    1. Almost anybody can be a closer…especially given a “clean” inning…so, why pay one $12 mil?

    2. For the guys we traded…some of them could have been used as set up or converted to starters because our pitching staff went south right after we dealt them

    3. We got virutally nothing in return…even if closers are overvalued, those were valuable arms and we gave away talent more or less to purge the system rather than improving the team

  12. JasonL

    @Matt #6:

    Yes, there are two reasons:

    1. Bad pitching
    2. Sample size

  13. Matt WI

    I’ll just stick with the bad pitching portion of the answer. I’m simply filing it under the same class of observation as when the Reds have been letting mediocre pitchers destroy them this year.

  14. RiverCity Redleg

    I guess my point on CoCo is that, as a fan, I would much rather overpay for a good bullpen, than underpay for a crappy one.

  15. Matt WI

    Elsewhere in the big leauges: The Rangers gave up four runs in the ninth to the Yankess for a 10-9 win. Brad Lidge blew a save for the Phils by giving up a 2R HR to Andrew McCutcheon. Point being, craziness happens in bullpens everywhere. Not sure if this supports the “may as well let anyone do it” camp or the “I’d rather have one guy do it well” camp. Just interesting is all.

  16. Andy

    You’re looking at it in a vacuum, RiverCity. When you’re a team with limited resources like the Reds and you overpay in the bullpen, you’re adversely effecting other areas that have more of an impact with winning such a positional players and starting pitching. Relievers are second line line of defense.

  17. GregD

    So, I guess you can put players on the DL for reasons other than injury? On Cueto:

    “There’s nothing wrong with him,” Baker said. “This is equal to a guy skipping a start. His arm feels great. He just didn’t have much life in it.”

  18. GRF

    I think the problem with overpaying is that reliever performance is so highly variable. Lidge was dominant a couple years ago, stuggles this year. Indians thought they had solved their bullpen problems for this season by overpaying for Wood and look what happened. There are very few Rivera’s out there who are dominant season after season. Given the opposition, I would rather stockpile a bunch of Roenicke, Fisher, Manuel young arms and see who works in a given year than have 12 million wrapped up in one reliever.

  19. erik

    edit: id rather underpay for a crappy one, because for a team on the verge of losing 100 games, 12 million on a closer is a mammoth waste of money. i would rather see Rhodes or Masset (or Roenicke), than Cordero if it means we get a good starting SS, LF, or P.

  20. GRF

    If Cueto’s arm is “lifeless” why not just let him have the rest of this year off and get him ready for next season? Given the increase in his innings over the last two years he is already at an increased risk of a more serious injury, just shut him down.

  21. Dan

    I agree… and this is where a guy like Kip Wells can actually be very useful. He’s not going to be a Red next year… If we’re worried about the young guys’ arms, let’s just work Kip Wells into the ground.

    Heck, it might even help the guy get a job next year if he does OK.

  22. GregD

    I don’t see the “lesson” in risking Cueto’s 2010 season.

  23. Glenn

    You hit it on the nose River City. Was it three years ago when there was no such thing as a same lead for this team? The bullpen lost so many games, they WERE the reason that the team did not have a winning season. Like you said, I’d rather over pay for a good bullpen then underpay for a bad one.

  24. Glenn

    Votto hit the ball hard three times last night but only had one hit to show for it. Maybe he’s starting to come around again. I’d love to see hit get hot to finish this season.

  25. Dan

    Glenn and RCR, you can’t think about it in isolation like that though.

    Cordero has been good, yes. Overall the bullpen has been good. And of course, that’s a good thing.

    But who’s not on this team today who would’ve been if not for Cordero’s $12 million? We can’t really know for sure, but you can rest assured there would be SOMEONE here — probably several someones — who we had to say no to b/c the payroll was already maxed out.

    Basically, I think it’s likely that we’d have a better offense if Cordero were not here. And I also think it’s likely that that would make us a better team, overall.

    I just can’t believe that it’s good business to pay any one guy 1/6th of your payroll just to pitch 65 or 70 IP. I don’t care how good he is. That’s not a good use of limited dollars.

  26. pinson343

    I too am on the side of overpaying for a good bullpen, a bad one frustrates and wears down a team.
    This team of course has had a lot of other factors to frustrate it and wear it down. When Cordero was picked up, losing 100 games was not in the plan.

    As far as the 9th inning meltdown goes, I can forgive Cordero for giving up singles on 98-99 mph fastballs on the corners to good hitters.
    I am much more bothered by Burton’s sloppy error and Rhodes afraid to throw anything close to a strike for 4 straight pitches to Craig Counsell with the big guys coming up. Rhodes is an emigma to me – he’s been mostly brilliant this year when coming into an inning clean, but bring him to a clutch situation with men on base and facing a lefty who should give him no problem and it’s a walk, often a 4 pitch walk.

    Arroyo must be close to the boiling point as far as frustration goes, the worst thing about the 9th inning antics was his being robbed of the win. Harang has made it clear about his level of frsutration, what if both want to be traded.

    Anyway, congrats to McD, Corky Miller, Carlos Fisher, Herrera, and the other unlikely heroes.

    Almost overlooked is our 17 hits in the 13 innings – the lineup looks so much better without Taveras and Rosales.

  27. pinson343

    PS I was pleased to see Coffey go out there for a 3rd inning. I preferred that to seeing Chad’s favorite reliever brought in. The sight of Coffey giving up 2 HRs brought back such vivid memories.

    Nix is awfully strong. On some of his HRs he looks like he’s been fooled, but keeps his weight back. Definitely a guy who can hit a HR without his best swing.

  28. Steve Price

    We’ve confused the terms here. I’m all for having a good bullpen; it’s the $12 million closer that’s the question. YOu get a good bullpen by having lots of arms available in the majors and AAA and watch for the guys getting people out. The Reds did this regularly from about 1960-2000. Who left that was giving the good advice?

    As mentioned in the early portions of these comments, last night was only the second time all year that Cordero entered the game with inherited runners. THe first time it was one who didn’t score. This time he got three, and all three scored.

    My argument is that ANYONE can do that without being paid $12 mil. It’s low pressure situations…and, if you think about it, when the score’s tied, Cordero has not exactly been lights out either…or in the other “non-save” situations. He’s been very good 26 times in save situations with no inherited runners.

    Also, pointed out in the last few days, most saves are lost by the middle relievers. It could be said that’s because the closer is better. I’m thinking, especially in the Reds case, it’s because the middle relievers come into games with runners on base…and there’s more innings to pitch than just the ninth. The low paid guys are getting the high leverage innings, not the $12 mil dude.

    The “closer”-middle reliever comparison may even be an apples-oranges argument. I”m not so certain that the tougher job is handled by the middle reliever. Have Cordero pitch the tough innings and may be he’s worth $12 mil.

  29. RiverCity Redleg

    Of course all of these arguments (should we trade CoCo, Harang, Arroyo, Phillips, etc) are predicated on what we get in return and/or with the saved money. It’s impossible to say it makes sense or doesn’t make sense unless/until we know the full picture. i.e.) if you told me Toronto was going to give us Halladay and pay most of his salary for CoCo, then yes, I would say ship the bum.

  30. Dan

    You’re right – it does rely on the Reds spending the $12 million saved in a smart way, which is a big question mark these days.

    Spent smartly, I think you can do a lot more good for the team overall by spending $12 million elsewhere – not on a guy pitching 60-70 IP when you’re already ahead by 1-3 runs usually.

  31. GregD

    Let’s say you have a choice between David Weathers or CoCo for your 2010 closer. The closer will be used primarily in the same manner as this season – 1-3 runs leads at the start of the 9th inning with the bases empty – or tie games in the 9th and later.

    All the other relievers are the same. How much better does one closer make this team than the other?

  32. Dan

    You mean assuming that the other 24 guys on the roster are the same?

  33. RC

    Well, when we start talking about the Reds Org spending the money ‘wisely’, the jig’s pretty much up, isn’t it?

    I don’t know that anyone, including me, has a great deal of confidence that ‘wisely’ will happen. But what else to do? Jocketty’s here, he’s done some stuff in the past, and I don’t see that the Org has much choice other than to free up as much money as we can, hand the checkbook to him, and see what he does with it.

    Believe me, I wish I felt like I saw other, more concrete options…

  34. Dan

    My gut-level reaction is that the switch from Weathers to Cordero as closer makes the Reds 1 to 2 games better over a 162-game season.

    Does that sound about right to you?

  35. RiverCity Redleg

    GregD, ask that question to everyone here two years ago, when everyone here would have given their left arm to replace Weathers as our closer. Just ask Chad, he’ll tell ya.

  36. GregD

    In 2008, Cordero had the same save conversion rate as Weathers in 2007.

    Cordero has been worse than Weathers at allowing inherited runners to score both in Cincinnati and over the course of their respective careers.

  37. Dan

    I’ll stand by it — Cordero better than Weathers, but only be a win or two.

    If we had taken that money and (for example) signed Bobby Abreu and Orlando Hudson this offseason (Phillips to SS), I think that’s — I don’t know — 5 to 8 wins better than what we’ve got?

  38. REDS1

    I like both Coco AND Weathers. But I think there would be a greater difference than a 1 or 2 wins if Weathers was in the closer role (or any other Reds reliever). The Reds are 45-0 when leading after 8 innings and most of that is because of Cordero.

    I remember those AWFUL bullpens of the past. I support paying for a closer. Also, if the Reds hadn’t spend the $ on Cordero there is no guarantee it would have been spent wisely elsewhere.

    I cannot imagine how frustrated Harang and Arroyo are right now. I would think they would love to be traded from this S.S. Poseidon.

  39. REDS1

    Also, I would be shocked if our bullpen is nearly as good next year as it was this year. Not having Cordero would really magnify how important a quality bullpen really is.

  40. GregD

    I don’t understand the “overpay for a closer because they won’t spend it wisely elsewhere” argument. If they can’t appropriately evaulate the other 24 players on the roster, then the issue is the organization & the front office, not who the closer is.

  41. Steve Price

    Let’s go back to where we came from…

    Francisco Cordero has come into pitch with four runners on base all year, three of which were last night and all of them scored.

    In other words, he’s pitched 40 games entering with no one on base.

    Do we not thing that almost any other pitcher on the Reds team would nearly, or just as successful as CoCo for $2 million? If we had spent the $10 million on, say Abreu and Hudson, couldn’t we have overcome any “lost” games by that bullpen, plus been competitive in more games providing more save opportunitie?

    And, as we won those games, wouldn’t more fans have come to the games, giving the Reds more funds to have secured a “real” closer, if necessary, at the trade deadline?

    My feeling…is horse, then cart…

  42. pinson343

    If we’d picked up Abreu or Hudson with saved Cordero money then maybe we’re about as good with him as without him. That’s the kind of move I thought we’d make with the money saved from letting Dunn go. (I know I’m recycling the “not trusting the organization” argument, which people have rebutted.)

    I agree 100% with the importance of middle relief, of bullpen depth. But that’s exactly where Cordero’s value lies, what is our bullpen depth without him ? A couple years ago our bullpen blew 45% of its save opportunities, that was because (as Steve has poited out) the middle relief was terrible. Bringing in Cordero allowed us to move Weathers to a setup role and was the biggest single step in improving our middle relief.

  43. pinson343

    PS Maybe in the old days you could have a closer like Franco or Brantley without paying much money, but can you do that now ? Even middle relievers are making a bundle of money.

  44. GregD

    Bringing in Cordero allowed us to move Weathers to a setup role and was the biggest single step in improving our middle relief.

    Exactly. In the bullpen, Cordero replaced Coffey. That’s one of the biggest reasons you saw improvement from 2007 to 2008.

  45. Dan

    Abreu or Hudson would’ve helped this team win more games far more than Cordero has. As good as he’s been, pitching one inning, with no one on base, leading by 1 to 3 runs, just isn’t that hard and therefore isn’t that valuable.

    Replacing Taveras with Abreu? Hugely valuable.

    Replacing A-Gon/Janish/Hairston with Hudson (and moving Phillips to SS)? I think that would be hugely valuable.

    Replacing Cordero with, say, Roenicke or Fisher all year is worse, but just not that much worse.

    Good players who get 600 AB’s (and who replace terrible players — that’s a big part of the equation here) help a team win games a lot more than a guy throwing 65 IP can, no matter how good that reliever is.