Let’s recap today’s titanic struggle….

Cincinnati 5
St. Louis 3

W: A. Chapman (1-0)
L: M. Batista (1-1)
S: F. Cordero (3)

–Excellent come-from-behind win. The Reds (and the Nation) really needed that.

–The bullpen was outstanding once again. Aroldis Chapman, Logan Ondrusek, and Francisco Cordero tossed 2.2 innings of hitless ball to keep the Reds in the game. CoCo, in particular, was outstanding in picking up his third save of the season.

–Just when it looked like the Reds were going to roll over and die, Joey Votto hit a big two-run homer to tie the game.

–After an excellent Jay Bruce AB (where he drew a bases-loaded walk to tie the game), Miguel Cairo came through in the clutch with a two-run single off embattled St. Louis ex-closer Ryan Franklin to give the Reds a 5-3 lead.

–Travis Wood wasn’t great, but he wasn’t bad: 6.1 innings, three runs on eight hits, five Ks, one walk. The Reds really needed Wood to pitch into the seventh, at least, and he came through in a big way.

Joey Votto (The Enquirer/Cara Owsley)

–For some reason, the stupid Braves were on my local Fox affiliate, so I didn’t get to see the game. I had to depend on Marty, which is great, and Brantley, which is miserable.

–TOS*. Only five hits.

–You can probably overestimate the significance of any win in April, but this one felt big. The Reds have struggled against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium for a long time now. It’s good to get one in a comeback fashion.

–The Cardinals made two errors and, as Marty said on the radio, that’s one of the most significant differences between our guys and theirs. St. Louis’ defense is porous.

–Classic Brantley: he spent a minute talking about how significant it was that Tony LaRussa was walking Votto in the 8th, because LaRussa just hates to issue intentional walks, according to Cowboy. Marty’s polite response: “Well, he has issued ten intentional passes already this season.” Brantley: “Wow!”

–A victory tomorrow equals a series win for the good guys, and that would be a great thing.

* This Offense Stinks.

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.

Join the conversation! 34 Comments

  1. Yeah, I was stuck with the darn Braves game here in NC also…Would have loved to watch the Reds, in fact I planned my day around it, but I’m glad they won…I’ll sleep better tonight.

  2. Biggest moment of the game for me was Bruce somehow holding up on 3 straight to walk in the third run. Under that kind of pressure its hard for anyone to hold up but its even more impressive to see Bruce, with such a hot trigger finger, to really zone in during that AB. Game changer.

  3. The offense definitely needs to step up. Chris Carpenter is the best pitcher they’ve faced this year, but 2 hits in 6 innings…those kinds of numbers are getting too common. If it wasn’t for the Cards error in the 8th this would have been another ugly one.

    But it was good to see Cairo keeping the rally going in the 8th after Bruces good AB. For the life of me I can’t figure out why Dusty keeps insisting on putting Hermida in games. I would have much rather seen Heisey in there to try and get Bruce in from third and keep it rolling a bit. Hermida just seems utterly useless.

    How phenomenal is the back half of our bullpen? For all the other struggles this team has had – starting pitching, streaky offense, questionable managing calls – our back three guys (and you can include Bray in there for 4) are just unreal. And Cordero is the weakest of the bunch. So much for missing Arthur Rhodes. If Masset can get on track, Cordero keeps this up, and Leake and/or LeCure move to the pen for long relief when Cueto and Bailey come back there’s not a better bullpen in baseball and I don’t think it’s even close. I still think were horribly misusing Chapmans talents, but when he comes out of the pen I just chalk up a couple automatic outs at this point. Imagine him doing this over 6-7 innings? Seriously, Dusty, please imagine that. Quickly.

    Great win. Hopefully the offense picks it up tomorrow. I think it’s Garcia pitching? And I guess it’s still a crap shoot as to whether Volquez will start. I’d consider giving Heisey a start for Gomes. I don’t know why playing time has been slashed so much lately and Gomes has slowed down and could probably use a day off.

  4. Agreed on Brantley. It really seems like he doesn’t follow baseball very closely. I would think that should be part of the job, but what do I know. Color guys are only supposed to talk about ribs anyway.

  5. Well managed game by Dusty. Letting Votto swing 3-0 was huge. Chapman was the go to guy in need of a big K with a man on 3rd and 1 out. Sending Bruce up against he lefty which led to the game tying walk. Flawless.

    • Well managed game by Dusty. Letting Votto swing 3-0 was huge. Chapman was the go to guy in need of a big K with a man on 3rd and 1 out. Sending Bruce up against he lefty which led to the game tying walk. Flawless.

      Given his plate discipline and hitting skills, I’d guess Joey has the automatic green light except for very rare occassions.

  6. offensive production, since the beginning of the slide, has to be a concern. Most everyone thought we would not get the production fron Hanigan/RH that they provided a year ago, and that improvement from Bruce and Stubbs would have to compensate. With Rolen out it puts even more pressure on those two and Gomes. Phillips and Votto are going to hit, the key to improved offense is what the others do. Batboy seems to be holding up his end of the bargin and as is the bench (Cairo, Heisey, and Renteria ). Unless the starting pitching improves drastically, the offense will be the key to sucess of this team.

  7. A big reason the Reds won this game today was that BP and Joey were tougher mentally there in the 6th inning than were Chris Carpenter and Yadier Molina.

    And give the Reds team props for manning up on Friday night and keeping that one from going to heck in a handbasket when it looked to be headed that way. They did not get the big hit when they needed it to steal the game back; but it wasn’t becasue they rolled over or caved in. It was because they were too anxious and eager in the clutch and wasted a couple of key ABs. Today that wasn’t the case; and they came away with the win.

  8. @lookatthathat: I agree too on Brantley – it’s a real chore to listen to him sometimes – but I thought about what he was trying to say on intentional walks, and I think what he really was talking about was LaRussa’s bit of gamesmanship where he has the pitcher throw three “unintentional” balls, to see if the batter will be overeager and swing themselves into an out. Only then does he stand up the catcher on the fourth pitch for the intentional walk.

    With Votto today, it was just straight-up 4 intentional balls. LaRussa knows, firstly, that he’s got too good a batting eye to be going out of the zone; and secondly, if the pitcher misses his outside target just a little bit, Votto loves driving those pitches the other way. So LaRussa didn’t take any chances foolin’ around.

  9. @eric nyc: The Cards seem to have Westbrook scheduled. Both Westbrook and Garcia pitched Wednesday; Westbrook threw 68 pitches and Garcia 101. I find it hard to believe that Larussa fears the Reds so much that he’s going to risk his young pitcher going on 3 days rest after a fairly long outing this early in the season. But you never know.

  10. Check this out from the St Louis paper:

    It actually says “If Kyle Lohse makes the All Star game”. I almost passed out. I mean, anything is possible, but the guy has a career 94 ERA+ and a best season of 113.

  11. Seeing Votto take Carp deep on 3-0 will be one of my favorite moments of the year. I mean, think about it, offense is struggling, you know a juicy one’s coming down broadway on 3-0, so Votto violates that stupid tradition of don’t swing on 3-0 to kickstart his offense. Beautiful. The icing was that it was off of the co-chair of the WLB committee.

  12. at the risk of sounding treacherous, are their cardinals who we can not hate? like i’ll still root against them, but wainwright and franklin are okay guys. and rasmus cant stand larussa. so how bad can he be?

  13. @Dave Lowenthal:


    Followed your link to the St Louis newspaper and saw they had a poll on which team is the Cards most bitter rival. The Reds are leading the vote with 50% of the repondents. The Cubs are 2nd.

  14. I guarantee you a lot of guys if they had gotten the green light on 3-0 like Votto did would have tried to pull that pitch and flied out to right or missed it.

    • I guarantee you a lot of guys if they had gotten the green light on 3-0 like Votto did would have tried to pull that pitch and flied out to right or missed it.

      True, that is why most guys don’t have the 3-0 green light. Votto was no doubt looking for a certain pitch in a certain spot and knew what he whated to do with it if he saw it. He saw it; and he did what he wanted with it. If it would would have been a different pitch, even still at good looking strike, he probably would have watched it go by without ever giving a hint he had the green light. You can bet he is not going to see a thigh high fast ball over the outer half again for a while at 3-0 unless it is a physical mistake.

  15. I really love our chances when RH catches πŸ˜‰

  16. The starting pitching will come. Volquez and Arroyo will carry this rotation. By July once again it will become apparent that this team has a surplus of pitching that our competition doesn’t have in addition to the Reds’ superlative defense.

    A surplus of pitching in the heat of the summer + the best defense in the league = a team that will run away with a playoff spot.

  17. I thInk Volquez was a one year wonder and will never be more than a fourth starter again.

  18. […] Nation (Reds) – Chad recaps the Reds come-from-behind win against St. Louis on […]

  19. @Jason1972: I don’t know about all that, but I don’t think he’s an All Star anymore and will likely not get back to that level. He could still be good, just at this point I think it will be for someone else. He turned down a 4 year deal worth around $45 million this offseason so one of two things is going to happen. Either he’s going to bounce back and have a big year then demand WAY more than the Reds are willing to spend on him, or he’ll continue to be inconsistent and the Reds will cut their losses after his one year deal is up and continue developing the youngsters like Leake, Wood and god help us Chapman.

  20. Dusty Baker is an idiot, part 1,235.

    He says Votto “just doesn’t have the power numbers he had last year” even though “he’s hitting .400”.

    Votto, 2010: .324/.424/.600 for a 1.024 OPS
    Votto, 2011: .392/.505/.649 for a 1.154 OPS

    Again: Baker would be best keeping his mouth shut.

  21. @Dave Lowenthal: To be fair, you’re comparing a full seasons numbers to a 3 week sample this year. Yes, Votto is off to an incredible start average-wise and hitting a lot of doubles, and that is driving his OPS. But Dusty is obviously talking purely about HRs. And he is a bit off pace in that regard so far. Although he seems to have turned it on again in the last few days which I expect will continue.

    Over the first two weeks I saw Joey hitting a lot of floating fly balls into the outfield. It was a strange thing to see because usually when Joey gets a bat under a ball, it’s gone. So I suspect that’s what Dusty was referring to. Also curious about when that quote was from? I can’t imagine it was in the last three days because Joey has hit two absolute bombs since then. But before that he was sitting on 3 HRs and it was a reasonable question to ask. Still, I don’t think anyone was ever seriously worried about Joey Votto, including Dusty.

  22. @eric nyc: It’s *Dusty* (and you, previously) who was comparing his season to date this year with his season last year. If you project his home runs for the year based on his first 3 weeks, you get 28. Last year he had 37. We are so early, that if, say, he goes yard today, he’ll be *right on par* with last year.

    It’s ridiculous for people to say he’s not hitting with power so far this year. I’m sorry, but I don’t keep track of “floating fly balls” or whatever.

    It’s not reasonable to wonder about Votto’s HRs. Joey Votto is not Jay Bruce. Bruce has not proven anything yet. What I mean by that is that Bruce has a huge variance to his projected performance this year. On the other hand, in my mind Votto is Albert Pujols. They are incredibly likely to reach their projected numbers, no matter what they do in the first three weeks. Bruce’s bad first three weeks does have me worried a little bit.

  23. Calm down. I was basically agreeing with you. My only point was you were usi a very small sample size this year to compare Joeys “power” with last year when I am assuming Dustys comment was solely about HRs, which as you e just said are on pace to be lower than last year, and when Dusty made the comment (again I’m assuming it was more than three days ago) he as on pace for about 18. And I guess I DO keep track of little things like “floating fly balls” because they are usually outs and wasted ABs and, most importantly to this discussion, NOT home runs. I only brought them up because they are uncharacteristic of Joeys hitting. Usually he’s either hitting a line drive into a gap or knocking one out of the park. You don’t often see him hit lazy fly balls and I saw a lot of them over the first two weeks. Again, I was never really concerned. Someone, might have even been you, made the point that last year he only had 3 or 4 HRs in April as well. That’s the only real argument you have to make. Hell even if Joey only hit 25 HRs this year he could still be a front runner for MVP the way he’s hitting for average. But I think he really wants to break that 40 barrier, and I don’t like to bet against Joey Votto when he sets his mind to something.

    You’re right about Bruce, too. I’m hoping it’s just nerves and he’ll settle down soon. His plate discipline is slowly improving, but if he doesn’t cut down on the strikeouts he’s going to just end up being Adam Dunn Lite with a better arm.

  24. http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2011_04_24_cinmlb_slnmlb_1&mode=preview&c_id=mlb

    I love this. Standing up to the Cardinals is so fun, it’s nice to a have legit rival, although we have been the aggressors and the team acting like the little brother (BPhil comments, Gomes’ comments). Even still, it’s fun to be in the thick of this Baker v. LaRussa hatred.

  25. @eric nyc: If he was usually hitting HRs or doubles, he’d hit .900. I suspect he hit just as many fly ball outs this year as last year. (prorated, of course)

  26. Well Votto appears to have changed his approach, particularly with 2 strikes. That said, if his “power” is down b/c he’s not hitting quite as many homeruns…well then, we’re overestimating the benefits of the homerun. His numbers are up across the board–his OPS is 130 points higher than last year, his OPS+ is currently 213 (ridiculous!), his slugging percentage is up .049 points, and he has walked 17 times to 10 strikeouts.

    And I aplogize but the “floating fly balls” comment is just wrong. It’s natural that your perception of events last year is different than the present…humans tend to only remember the good things for example, gamblers rarely remember the times they lose. Votto’s groundball to flyball ratio has actually increased from 1.47 to 1.53 and his line drive ratio has remained constant at 22%.

  27. Has there been any word on Rolen yet? They’re keeping this pretty hush hush. I’m not sure how much the Reds benefit from him going out there and playing hurt. Let him get healthy and have Cairo/Valaika fill the void.

  28. I really don’t get the need to delve this deeply into stats like a .05 percent change in ground ball to fly ball ratios over a three week sample size. That is some straight up stat nerdery right there. The only stat that really matters in this particular conversation is a really simple one: HRs. Again, since we are talking about a specific Dusty quote (still haven’t seen the date on that quote, by the way) it’s fair to say that if Joey was on pace to hit 18 HRs when the quote was given, its a little off base to call it “stupidity” on Dusty’s part. Maybe overreaction, but not stupidity. It was a valid concern there for a few weeks but it looks like he’s correcting, just like he did last year. Dusty didn’t say “Man Joeys playing like crap because he’s not hitting home runs. I should probably bench him.” I’d bet Joey was hoping he’d come out with a few more homers. But then again it doesn’t seem like anything is good enough for Joey. That’s why we love him.

  29. @CP: Formal term for it is “availability bias”

  30. @eric nyc: It was stupidity. And I love how you call CP a “nerd” when he simply pointed out that you are wrong with proof.

  31. MVottoP’s power is down this year. Lets see how untrue this is:
    April 2010: 80 ABs 4 HR .225 ISO
    April 2011: 74 ABs 4 HR .257 ISO

    Looks pretty dagum similiar to me.

  32. @LVW: How dare you delve into stats.

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.


2011 Reds, Titanic Struggle Recap


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