Let’s recap today’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Cincinnati 9
Atlanta 10
WP: Kimbrel (1-0)
LP: Cordero (1-3)
BOX SCORE

—–

DISASTER

—–

I don’t really want to tell the story of this nightmare, so I will leave it to ESPN:

The ball went over. Game over.

Conrad hit a pinch-hit grand slam Thursday to finish off a seven-run ninth inning that gave the Braves a 10-9 victory over the Cincinnati Reds, who fell out of first in the NL Central and can only hope the stunning loss doesn’t leave a hangover on their surprisingly strong start.

“It was a horrible ending,” said Reds manager Dusty Baker, who appeared close to breaking down after the game. “Boy, that was a tough one.”

The Braves put together the biggest ninth-inning comeback since the Cleveland Indians rallied from six runs down against the Tampa Bay Rays on May 25, 2009, according to STATS LLC. …

Atlanta fell behind 8-0 against rookie sensation Mike Leake and was still down 9-3 heading to the ninth. Four straight hits, including Nate McLouth’s two-run single, gave the Braves hope. A walk to David Ross loaded the bases with no outs, bringing the potential tying run to the plate.

Martin Prado hit a grounder to third that looked like a sure double play, but Miguel Cairo couldn’t get the ball out of his glove — Cincinnati’s fourth error of the game. Jason Heyward struck out against Arthur Rhodes on a 3-2 pitch, and Cincinnati turned to closer Francisco Cordero (1-3) for the last two outs.

Instead, Conrad hit a drive that deflected off Nix’s glove as he reached over the top of the wall at the 380-foot sign. Standing near the mound, Cordero ripped out his jersey and looked toward the dugout in disbelief.

The Braves won their third straight game in the final at-bat, beating the Reds 5-4 with Heyward’s ninth-inning double Wednesday. Atlanta has won eight of 10 to climb above .500 (21-20) for the first time since April 22.

The remarkable rally overshadowed Joey Votto’s first career grand slam, the highlight of Cincinnati’s eight-run second inning, and Leake’s attempt to improve to 5-0. Craig Kimbrel (1-0) quietly picked up his first major league win with a scoreless ninth.

Leake certainly did his part, allowing only one earned run on five hits in six innings. He gave up three runs in all, but the others could be blamed on a leaky defense that eventually caught up with the Reds. Right-fielder Jay Bruce fumbled away a fly ball at the warning track, and shortstop Orlando Cabrera dropped a throw on a potential double-play grounder.

Cabrera also mishandled a hard-hit grounder in the ninth, a play that was generously ruled a hit.

“We gave them their first three runs, and in the ninth we got two double-play balls,” Baker said. “It was shocking, all right.”

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–The left side of the infield today was the worst excuse for defense that I’ve seen in a long time. Orlando Cabrera is a complete disaster defensively, and there’s no way that his “offense” makes up for the gap between what he and Paul Janish provide on defense. It is a complete scandal that Janish never plays.

–Miguel Cairo has no business on a major league roster. Of course, he was playing third today because (A) Dusty Baker hates Paul Janish, and (B) Scott Rolen was, according to Dusty, “very sore and tight.”

–Mike Leake is, simply, brilliant. That kid is the best pitcher on the team; he’s now 4-0 with a 2.91 ERA, and he was robbed of a fifth win today. Oh yeah, he also went 2-3 at the plate with a double and a run scored.

–Dusty’s beloved veterans should buy Mike Leake an ice cream cone and apologize to him.

–Good teams don’t blow eight-run leads. I’m worried about what this game says about our team.

–Drew Stubbs is awful.

–I’m not going to catalog the moronic moves made by our illustrious manager today; check out the game thread, where you guys and gals did a good job of that. This loss is not Dusty Baker’s fault. The Cairos and Corderos and Cabreras and Lincolns and Bruces and Massets of the world deserve their share of the blame. But a large portion of that blame lies at Dusty’s feet, as well.

–Four errors? Where was the good defense we’ve been seeing lately? Oh yeah, it was picking up the bats between batters, and it was “sore and tight” too.

–Free Micah Owings. Free Paul Janish.

–Arthur Rhodes is the greatest pitcher in the history of the universe and he should’ve been left in the game to face more than one batter in that fateful ninth inning.

–I said in yesterday’s recap that it wasn’t a bad loss. Well, today’s loss wasn’t just bad, it was monumental. One of the worst losses I’ve ever experienced. This one was pretty bad, and this one is the only one that I might consider worse than today’s. Today’s game hurts pretty bad, mostly because the Reds gave away first place in addition to losing a game.

–Over on Twitter, someone said that the next few games will tell us a lot about our team, and it’ll tell us a lot about our fan base, as well. I agree with that.

–All that said, the Reds are just a half-game out of first, so let’s not give up hope just yet. The guys are headed to Cleveland to take on a pretty bad Indians team, so they can right the ship in a hurry. This one will sting for a while, sure, but it’s too early to jump ship.

55 Responses

  1. Matt WI

    I’m sick. Sick. Sick. Sick. Didn’t even listen to the game, just found out about the madness. It kills me Dusty had the need to bring Cordero in just looking at the box score, but I’ll defer to Chad on the fact there was blame to go around.

    • pinson343

      It kills me Dusty had the need to bring Cordero in …

      Matt, he didn’t have to bring in Cordero. He had brought in Rhodes with the bases loaded and none out, tying run at first, who struck out Heyward on a full count. That was exciting, I settled in to watch
      Rhodes close it out. Then CoCo was brought in to face a light hitting switch hitter.

      • Matt WI

        I’m with you… I was saying it killed me that Dusty FELT the need to bring in Cordero, presumably for the honor of the save. I meant he shouldn’t have and I wished he had let Rhodes get the job done.

        Matt, he didn’t have to bring in Cordero. He had brought in Rhodes with the bases loaded and none out, tying run at first, who struck out Heyward on a full count. That was exciting, I settled in to watchRhodes close it out. Then CoCo was brought in to face a light hitting switch hitter.

  2. Veteran Leader

    Stopped watching due to work and other crap at 9-1 in the 6th or so. What a terrible feeling hearing the final. Let’s see how they react to it. Hopefully, as we VLs like to say, it will “build character”.

  3. Chad Dotson

    By the way, I made an effort to be charitable to Dusty in the recap, but I’m sympathetic to the arguments that this is entirely his fault. You can’t argue that he is simply a very bad manager.

  4. Greg Dafler

    At the least the schedule is sympathic to their 2-game series against the Braves. They have the Indians for 3, Pirates for 4 and Astros for 3. After those 10 games, they have a 3-game set against the Cardinals again. It would nice to shake this one off, get back ahead of the Cardinals and be in a position to protect the division lead in the next head-to-head matchup.

    • pinson343

      Is that 2nd game the one where Gravey flipped off the fans?

      No, that 2nd game was May 2, 2005, toward the end of Graves’ tenure as the Reds closer. After some more blown saves, he was removed as closer. Then, in a non-closer situation in Cincy, against the Mets, he got hit hard. He got booed as he left the mound, and flipped the fans. He was DFAed within a couple of days.

  5. Phill

    Paul Janish isn’t allowed to pinch hit. Ok, so he’s the defensive sub. Why isn’t he subbed in? Is there something I’m missing? A nagging injury he’s quietly going through?

    I’m not saying Paul Janish is a great player but he could’ve made those Cabrera errors and he DEFINITELY could’ve made that BS Cairo error.

    Unbelievable. There is a lot of blame to go around though. It’s a blowout getting closer, put your best defensive team out there and let the cards fall. I’m sick of washed up love. I got no problem and I don’t think we’ve seen the veteran love that Dusty gets a rep for. If a guy is old but produces go for it. Play him. I’m just sick of these old guys who are washed up after a long career of being the last guy on the roster.

  6. Truman48

    Of all the questionable decisions (and there were several) I think the worst was running Lincoln out for a third inning. It just does not make any sense whatsoever. Additionally, if he wants to play Cabrera and whomever in left field he needs to recognize that defensive substitutions are necessary. I know that will tough for O.C. to have someone come in defensively in the late innings but he will get over it.

    I am really concerned with our bullpen. I am afraid we are going to have a closer with an ERA in the 3.90 range and tons of blown saves.

    • Tracey

      Additionally, if he wants to play Cabrera and whomever in left field he needs to recognize that defensive substitutions are necessary. I know that will tough for O.C. to have someone come in defensively in the late innings but he will get over it.

      Cabrera’s a veteran. He should be able to handle that and know that’s how the game is played, and do it happily for the good of the team. Maybe I’ve been a Reds fan too long, but isn’t that what happens on winning ball clubs? Doing things for the team versus individual players? Cabrera, who has been on winning teams, as we’ve been told time and time again, should know that.

    • pinson343

      Of all the questionable decisions (and there were several) I think the worst was running Lincoln out for a third inning. It just does not make any sense whatsoever.

      This horrible decision was dictated by an earlier decision – the one to lift Owings from the game – after he pinch hit – without throwing a pitch. The same Owings who has thrown 5 pitches since May 7. That was a decision that, the more you think about it, the less sense it makes.

      With a 6 run lead and 3 innings to go, you’d rather not use up any of the 3 big guys. You also can’t trust Fisher and Herrera (of late) with a lead. So that leaves Owings and Lincoln. That’s not so bad, between the 2 of them they can hold a 6 run lead over 3 innings.

      But once Owings is removed from the game after PHing, the plan is to use Linclon for the final 3 innings ?
      It was hard to fathom, but there he was in the 9th, with no one warming up, allowing 4 straight hits (yes one should have been scored an error).

      How can you make sense of the decision to remove Owings without his pitching ? Is he unable to pitch 2 days in a row ? Is his shoulder still a problem ? Or does Dusty just think he’s unable to pitch 2 days in a row ?

  7. Truman48

    @ Jason: Its baseball’s version.

  8. vermilion red

    Good night Reds. See you next year. No decent team loses this game.

  9. Chris Garber

    @Truman48: I was actually pleased when he let Lincoln come back out for a SECOND inning. It blows my mind to think Dusty sent him back out for a 3rd.

  10. Tom Diesman

    Ahhh……. There’s our lovable losers we’re all so fond of. I can’t say that I’ve missed them. I was growing fond of that winning thing they had started doing for a change. 🙂

  11. pinson343

    Interestingly, a Braves announcer called Cabrera’s misplay in the 9th “the Reds 4th error.” Of course, it wasn’t scored that way. The 4th error was still yet to come, and it was a doozy.

    After the game Dusty talked about 2 double plays that should have been made in the 9th inning. Will he do any thinking about why those double plays weren’t turned ? Does he make connections between his decisions (such as don’t put in Janish) and their consequences ?

  12. Kyle

    I still can’t believe the Reds lost this game. I agree that the next few games will tell everyone a lot about who the Reds are. We’ve seen these decent starts before and a game like this can send it into a tailspin. I don’t think this team will do that, but I don’t know. The next few games will be interesting. This one was painful. Really, really painful.

    I think Lincoln starting the 9th is a frontrunner for worst decision, although I can’t give up Cairo in the 2 hole (which didn’t hurt the Reds today- the 2 hole part at least). I’ve said this in several posts, but I have never seen a play like the one he made in the 9th. It was flat out unbelievable. I kept thinking two, then after two seconds thought he could recover and get one and then he just never got the ball out. Miguel Cairo will have to do something dramatic in his Reds career for me not to always think of him as the guy who couldn’t get the ball out of his glove in one of the worst collapses I’ve ever seen.

  13. pinson343

    Chad, I’m very impressed by your having the dedication and courage to post a recap. I came home late, after an evening of not being able to take my mind off this truly monumental loss, and the recap was somehow a comforting surprise.

    The Reds frittering away 3 runs of the lead, with 3 errors in the middle innings, was ominous and reminded me of the first loss you link to, where we blew a 9-0 lead to the Brewers.

    In the 9th I got uneasy as soon as I saw Lincoln come out again. A 9-3 lead in the 9th always make me remember that 2nd game you posted, where Weathers and Graves, with 2 big assists from Sean Casey, blew a 9-3 lead to the Cardinals in the 9th.

    Now when we have a 6 run lead in the 9th, I’ll have two games to remember.

  14. BIGred053

    I have been avoiding all sports media to escape being reminded of today’s colossal failure. I have never hated Dusty Baker more. I don’t know whats worse- Dusty trying to send Lincoln out for 3 innings or Cairo’s failure to get a single out on a double play ball.

  15. mike

    I do think it’s time to
    a. release Cairo
    b. Send Stubbs to AAA for a while to get it together. Giving Heisey a shot for now
    c. Give Cabrera rest day like Rolen

    anyone seen how Alonzo’s LF defense is?

  16. nick in va

    @pinson343: I was really surprised when Owings came in to pinch hit and didn’t stay in the game to pitch. What could the logical explanation of that be? Why not let him pitch an inning or two? He could have used the work.

    Dusty may be good with the players, but when it comes to managing the game he’s absolutely terrible.

  17. TC

    When did everyone lose sight of the fact that this is an AVERAGE baseball team with a lot of holes? I keep hearing solid pitching, solid defense, etc. There is nothing solid or proven about this team. So don’t be shocked when the team lets you down.

    I’m not saying don’t give up on the team. I’m simply saying that if your expectations were so high that you are crush when they drop a game like yesterday you’ve lost perspective. This IS a .500 team. It is on the rise and every once in a while we see the way the team will play in the future. But they aren’t there yet.

    Just enjoy watching a .500 team. It’s better than what we’ve had over the years. Don’t raise your expectations so high that a loss (not matter how big a disaster) spoils your feelings about the team.

    Guaranteed everyone in that club house has forgotten about it already. Maybe you should too. Tonight is a new game; a new drama. Enjoy it.

    • pinson343

      When did everyone lose sight of the fact that this is an AVERAGE baseball team with a lot of holes?
      I’m simply saying that if your expectations were so high that you are crush when they drop a game like yesterday you’ve lost perspective.This IS a .500 team.

      TC, I for one think of this as a .500 team, give or take a few. As a fan of a .500 team who does care about their playing at least at that level, I felt let down by the way they played after taking the 8-0 lead. A .500 team doesn’t play that badly, it’s not clear – with current personnel and manager – that they are a .500 team.

      I was not upset by the 9th inning yesterday in terms of being shocked. To the contrary, I was upset because what took place was NOT shocking, the makings of a meltdown were in place before Lincoln threw his first pitch. Here we had a 6 run lead in the 9th, and I felt before a single Brave got on that we had an excellent chance to blow it, thanks mainly to Dusty backing himself in a corner with the bullpen, as discussed above.

      On an emotional level, whether I’m bothered by a loss is a matter of how you lose. Wednesday’s loss didn’t bother me at all. Yesterday was a terrible way to lose. I still have a hangover from it.

  18. Greg Dafler

    @TC: .500 teams win games that they lead 9-1. .500 teams don’t drop 7 runs in the 9th inning.

    I can’t imagine that ANYONE in that clubhouse has already forgotten that game. They will do their best to put it behind them tonight…and many of them will…but they wouldn’t be human if they had already forgotten about it.

  19. Greg Dafler

    And if Baker doesn’t think Carlos Fisher can pitch an inning without giving up 5 runs or less, he should be in AAA for someone else.

  20. Sultan of Swaff

    One freakishly bad game isn’t the end of the world, but management has a duty to ensure the culprits don’t put us in that position again, which means roster changes. Lincoln, Fisher, and Cairo need to go.
    We have a great opportunity over the next month to stack up some wins vs. sub-.500 teams.

    • Matt WI

      I choose to believe it’s a fluke. We’ve won our share of late inning games, and we got taken down. I do agree that this loss exposes some flaws, but I hate we can’t trusy Dusty to make some logical choices to minimize these flaws. No contract for you!

      One freakishly bad game isn’t the end of the world, but management has a duty to ensure the culprits don’t put us in that position again, which means roster changes. Lincoln, Fisher, and Cairo need to go.We have a great opportunity over the next month to stack up some wins vs. sub-.500 teams.

      • pinson343

        I choose to believe it’s a fluke. I do agree that this loss exposes some flaws, but I hate we can’t trusy Dusty to make some logical choices to minimize these flaws. No contract for you!

        Matt, I don’t believe it was a fluke, in that already twice this year we’ve almost blown 5 run leads in the 9th – against the Astros in Houston and against the Brewers recently. I’m not predicting another 9th inning meltdown of that proportion, but we definitely have a problem with holding big leads in the 9th. This is related to our lack of depth in the pen, and to Dusty’s refusal to use Owings late in games, except for extra innings.

        Yes, not trusting Dusty has become a problem for me too. It makes it harder to enjoy Reds games.

    • Greg Dafler

      Lincoln, Fisher, and Cairo need to go.

      Lincoln needs to go? I would say Baker’s misuse of Lincoln is the problem. Before his 3rd inning of work yesterday, his season line was 15.1ip, 10h, 6er, 7bb, 9k. Not great, but no one obviously sticks out as a better option in AAA.

  21. pinson343

    TC: “Just enjoy watching a .500 team. It’s better than what we’ve had over the years.”

    Yesterday’s loss brought back bad memories of those bad years. The two games that Chad linked to are my two worst memories of those years. And two of those years, BTW, the Reds had records of more than 10 games over .500 well into June, and then fell apart. It’s not clear at all that the “bad years” are behind us.

    As you point out, the holes are there, and our current manager makes them bigger.

    PS I would love to be entertained by an interesting .500 team. We might be that, yesterday might just be a blip. Your bigger point, to enjoy the positives, is well taken.

  22. VTNReds

    Re: bringing in Cordero w/ one out. Don’t you have to get three outs in order to be credited w/ a save?

  23. pinson343

    @VTNReds: No, you can get a save as long as you come in with the tying run on deck, and in fact the tying run was on first. There are one out saves.

  24. VTNReds

    @pinson343: Oh, okay. Did not know that. Thanks.
    Had to watch Baseball Tonight last night for some reason–closure? I don’t know. They showed the ball bouncing off of Nix’ glove a couple of times. Brutal. It actually made me feel a little better–maybe seeing all the other teams and their struggles helps to put it in perspective a little.

  25. Chad Dotson

    Wow, just watched the replay of Orlando Cabrera’s error in the ninth yesterday.

    That was the single worst scoring decision I’ve ever seen in my life. There is no way that should’ve been ruled a hit. I’m amazed that anyone could have scored that as anything but a brutal error by OC.

    Pathetic.

  26. pinson343

    @VTNReds: It was brave of you to watch espn last nite. I watched the video hilites on my laptop, it was painful enough listening to the Braves broadcasters and crowd go nuts when the HR off Nix’s glove happened. I had no stomach for “witty” espn coverage.

    But the espn coverage isn’t always so bad, and other teams out there are struggling too, with holding late leads, etc. So glad it worked for you.

    I also watched a video with Marty’s call. When Nix came down, Marty thought the ball had been caught and said so at first. Glad I didn’t hear that live.

  27. pinson343

    @Chad Dotson: And that’s happened a number of times this year with Cabrera on defense, getting a gift from the official scorer. As I mnetion above, I saw the video on the Braves feed, and they said “4th error for the Reds.” They just assumed it was an error.

  28. VTNReds

    @pinson343: They also showed Cairo’s mishandling of the potential double-play ball. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a major-leaguer do that. They were talking a lot about the Hanley Ramirez drama, and how Andre Dawson and Tony Perez had to give him a talking-to. It made me glad that we don’t have that sort of thing going on.

  29. TC

    I realize my optimism may be a bit over the top. But I’m just trying to help everyone keep things in perspective. If you don’t think I was pissed in the 9th yesterday, you would be mistaken. But I guess over the years I’ve gotten pretty good at shrugging it off and looking forward to tomorrow. History shows that when the Reds have a disasterous day (which they’ve had many over the past several years) they come out the next day and play well. It’s when they play mediocre and get beat soundly 5-2 or 6-1, they start extended losing streaks.

    I do reflect and to a point am swayed when I read the replies to my posts from weighty figures such as Pinson343 or Greg. But then I remember, none of this matters. It is meant to be enjoyed and I WILL enjoy it else I’ll move on to something else. Right now I just don’t feel the need to get so wrapped up in giving up 7 runs in the bottom of the 9th inning in ONE game. In the grand scheme of things (in life or a 162 game season), it just doesn’t matter a whole bunch. 😉

    I do think, though, the players have already forgotten about yesterday. Yes, they are human, but they are also professionals. That’s what professionals do.

    • pinson343

      I’m just trying to help everyone keep things in perspective.If you don’t think I was pissed in the 9th yesterday, you would be mistaken.But I guess over the years I’ve gotten pretty good at shrugging it off and looking forward to tomorrow…. none of this matters.It is meant to be enjoyed and I WILL enjoy it else I’ll move on to something else.

      Very well said, TC, and of course you’re right. Baseball is about enjoyment and entertainment. And the Reds certainly are entertaining. I was really impressed yesterday by your putting a perspective on the loss immediately afterwards. For a loss like that, it takes me a while to digest.

      But now I’m ready to enjoy tonite’s game, and gave myself a talking to about stepping back a bit and not taking it so seriously. There’s so much to enjoy in life. And in my case, to be so involved in the Reds, it means I don’t have any serious problems of my own right now, for which I’m grateful.

  30. adaircam4

    I was at the game. As soon as he hit that homerun, I just turned around and walked out of that place without saying a word. Some stupid Braves fan tried to talk smack to me, but I just ignored them. Defense was awful, and I just couldn’t understand why Dusty was leaving Lincoln in so long. We had a 6 run lead, so even I didn’t think Dusty could screw this up. I was wrong. It’s not all his fault obviously, but there was a lot of blame to go around.

  31. VTNReds

    @Greg Dafler: I agree. He pitched two decent innings yesterday; sending him out for a third was obviously pushing your luck. I felt that way even before the debacle happened.

  32. TC

    Can we all agree it is time to do the following:
    1.) Release Cairo and bring up Sutton
    2.) Move Drew Stubbs back to AAA when Dickerson comes back
    3.) Split the Closer Role between Rhodes and Cordero (Rhonda is 1 and 2 run ballgames)

    • pinson343

      Can we all agree it is time to do the following:
      1.) Release Cairo and bring up Sutton
      2.) Move Drew Stubbs back to AAA when Dickerson comes back
      3.) Split the Closer Role between Rhodes and Cordero (Rhonda is 1 and 2 run ballgames)

      Yes, yes, and yes.

      Number 3 will never happen with Dusty as manager. I don’t know why lefty/righty tandems aren’t used more often as co-closers. In 1961, the Reds had such a tandem in Jim Brosnan (righty) and Bill Henry (lefty). They each had 16 saves, for a total of 32, a huge number in that era.
      Big factor in the Reds winning the ’61 pennant.

  33. pinson343

    @Greg Dafler: @VTNReds: Absolutely, Dusty is always talking about a pitcher “doing his job.” That was his defense of course for lifting Rhodes yesterday: Rhodes had done his job, and now it was time for CoCo to do his job.

    Well, by Dusty’s own thinking, Lincoln had done his job, pitching 2 shutout innings. Now it was time for someone else.

    And my complaint about the non-use of Owings is that he and Lincoln could have been used together to finish out the final 3 innings, not that Lincoln should not have been used, he’s pitched pretty well.

  34. David

    I finally got the courage to watch the replay of the grand slam on MLB.com. That’s just freaking brutal. If he doesn’t try to catch that ball, it’s at best a double. At least it didn’t bounce off his head.

    • VTNReds

      I finally got the courage to watch the replay of the grand slam on MLB.com.That’s just freaking brutal.If he doesn’t try to catch that ball, it’s at best a double.At least it didn’t bounce off his head.

      That’s funny. Gotta keep your sense of humor in times like these.
      Now, as TC and pinson343 said, let’s get back to enjoying some baseball! 😀

  35. Greg Dafler

    And my complaint about the non-use of Owings is that he and Lincoln could have been used together to finish out the final 3 innings, not that Lincoln should not have been used, he’s pitched pretty well.

    And if not Owings because of pitching back-to-back days, Carlos Fisher didn’t pitch the day before.

  36. Matt WI

    @RiverCity Redleg: I wonder how much the $48 million contract plays a factor in the inflexibility to utilize a team bullpen for closing.

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