Let’s recap today’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Cincinnati 3

W: J. McDonald (3-3)
L: J. Cueto (2-1)
S: J. Hanrahan (12)
BOXSCORE

POSITIVES
–Jay Bruce was 2-4, with two homers. Don’t look now, but Bruce’s OPS is 811 and rising.

–Chris Heisey got the start, and reached base twice from the leadoff spot, scoring one run. Brandon Phillips had a couple of hits.

–Bill Bray pitched another shutout inning, striking out two. His ERA is now down to 1.17.

NEGATIVES
–Johnny Cueto was not sharp. He went five innings, giving up three runs on five hits and three walks, striking out five.

–Jordan Smith gave up a run on two hits and a walk, in just two thirds of an inning.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–The Reds have lost two in a row, and the loss today drops Cincinnati back into second place in the NL Central, a half-game behind St. Louis. The Reds have still won 8 of 11. Things could be much, much worse.

–I guess if you are going to get swept by the Pirates, it might as well be in a two-game series. I guess.

–Cincinnati has now lost five of six games to the Pirates this year.

–Today was Jay Bruce’s 11th career multi-homer game.

–Ramon Hernandez’s modest 11-game hitting streak was snapped.

–The Reds finished up the homestand with a 5-2 record. Now the good guys hit the road to face the Cleveland Indians in the first interleague series of the year.

49 Responses

  1. pinson343

    For better or worse, due to a quirk in the schedule, the Reds have no more home games against the Pirates this season. So 1-5 is where our 2011 home record against the Pirates will stand. Ugh.

  2. Furniture City Red

    Going back to last year this Reds team has always bounced back after a ugly series…No reason to expect anything different now.

  3. Furniture City Red

    …And anyways – Since when do you need to ‘bounce back’ from a 5-2 home stand?

  4. Furniture City Red

    So, for some reason the Pirates have had our number this year…ok. Good for them. Things like that happen.
    The Reds have a very good team and will win the N.L. Central.

  5. OhioJim

    A week ago at this time, who among us would not have taken a 5-2 homestand particularly if neither of the losses were to the Cards????
    But greed can be the driving force to put a team over the top. Get greedy guys.

  6. pinson343

    The positives about Heisey on base twice and BP having a couple of hits omit the negatives about Heisey getting doubled off first, BP getting caught stealing, and BP thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double leading off the 7th. Dusty had some strong words about that gaffe:
    “Aggressiveness is fine, but at the same time, there are no outs and it’s 4-1,” Baker said of Phillips, who was also caught stealing in the fourth. “You’ve got to make that almost standing up. … [It] just wasn’t the appropriate time trying to make it happen in that situation. Invariably, it seems like every time you get thrown out, the next guy gets a hit.”

    “The next guy” was Bruce who singled, then Cairo lined out to right and then Lewis singled, at which point McDonald was removed. You could comment that if BP hadn’t been thrown out, McDonald would likely have been removed sooner, but just the same, an opportunity to turn the game around was blown.

    • AnnapolisHoosier

      The positives about Heisey on base twice and BP having a couple of hits omit the negatives about Heisey getting doubled off first, BP getting caught stealing, and BP thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double leading off the 7th.Dusty had some strong words about that gaffe:
      “Aggressiveness is fine, but at the same time, there are no outs and it’s 4-1,” Baker said of Phillips, who was also caught stealing in the fourth. “You’ve got to make that almost standing up. … [It] just wasn’t the appropriate time trying to make it happen in that situation. Invariably, it seems like every time you get thrown out, the next guy gets a hit.”

      “The next guy” was Bruce who singled, then Cairo lined out to right and then Lewis singled, at which point McDonald was removed.You could comment that if BP hadn’t been thrown out, McDonald would likely have been removed sooner, but just the same, an opportunity to turn the game around was blown.

      Dusty is absolutely right. It was a terrible play by Phillips.

  7. pinson343

    I don’t think it’s entirely a random event that we’ve had a problem with the Pirates. Their offensive numbers are weak, but their lineup is loaded with lefties and switch hitters who hit better lefty. Our pitching staff has only 2 lefties (not that I’m suggesting that anyone be brought up just because he’s a lefty).

    Who pitched well today ? Bray and Arredondo, who has pitched better against lefties his whole career.

    • OhioJim

      I don’t think it’s entirely a random event that we’ve had a problem with the Pirates. Their offensive numbers are weak, but their lineup is loaded with lefties and switch hitters who hit better lefty.Our pitching staff has only 2 lefties (not that I’m suggesting that anyone be brought up just because he’s a lefty).

      Who pitched well today ? Bray and Arredondo, who has pitched better against lefties his whole career.

      Agree 100%. An advantage to having a vet like Willis at AAA is that if he is healthy and sharp, they could spot him in for a turn or two in the rotation if the schedule seemed to call for another leftie. For what they are getting from that last spot on the pitching staff (Smith), it is not like they would be sending down a contributor to make room for him. The bigger issue would be which starter to pass over or put on pen duty.

  8. pinson343

    Of course 5-2 is a good home stand, but as was pointed out on the game thread, the Reds did not play well after the Cardinal series. They got very fortunate against the bumbling Cubs.

    I think the hangover is over and expect the Reds to play well in the upcoming road trip, one of the toughest of the year with 10 games against the Indians, Phils, and Braves.

  9. jkbetz07

    To be fair to Cueto, the ball in the fifth that plated the first run was a play that Brandon makes at least half of the time. If he fields that, then he’s out of the inning with no damage at all. The next hitter was Walker, who hit the 2 RBI double. I’m not saying the play SHOULD have been made, just that it’s a play Brandon probably felt like he could have had. Most other 2B don’t make it, I guess I’m just spoiled by Phillips usual spectacular-ness.

    That play along with 3 outs on the bases, an error that led to a run, and a tough play that Cairo didn’t make down the line and we just made to many small mistakes to win the game with a pitcher on top of his game today. Oh well, it was a great homestand that was nearly a spectacular one. Let’s go beat up on the Tribe now. Hopefully this is the year that the NL finally breaks through and can beat the AL in the head to head series. The gap has been closing for some years now, and adding in the emergence of players like Votto, Tulo, and CarGo along with young guns Posey, Heyward, Stanton, Garcia et al and the NL is becoming stronger as a whole.

    • AnnapolisHoosier

      To be fair to Cueto, the ball in the fifth that plated the first run was a play that Brandon makes at least half of the time.If he fields that, then he’s out of the inning with no damage at all. The next hitter was Walker, who hit the 2 RBI double. I’m not saying the play SHOULD have been made, just that it’s a play Brandon probably felt like he could have had. Most other 2B don’t make it, I guess I’m just spoiled by Phillips usual spectacular-ness.

      That play along with 3 outs on the bases, an error that led to a run, and a tough play that Cairo didn’t make down the line and we just made to many small mistakes to win the game with a pitcher on top of his game today. Oh well, it was a great homestand that was nearly a spectacular one. Let’s go beat up on the Tribe now. Hopefully this is the year that the NL finally breaks through and can beat the AL in the head to head series. The gap has been closing for some years now, and adding in the emergence of players like Votto, Tulo, and CarGo along with young guns Posey, Heyward, Stanton, Garcia et al and the NL is becoming stronger as a whole.

      I hope the American League wins every game but the ones the Reds play.

  10. pinson343

    @jkbetz07: Nice post, good perspective, you’ve cheered me up. I’ve noticed that the NL has been closing the gap on the AL in interleague play. From hitting bottom at .380, the NL was almost .500 last year. Time for the NL to go over .500.

    Maybe the Indians great record is due in part to their playing in “the weaker league.” 🙂

  11. earl

    I’d really like to see the Reds put Jay Bruce put down in the #2 spot in the linup. I think he would see more strikes there and force teams to maybe pitch a bit more to JV.

  12. Dave Lowenthal

    @pinson343: And Dusty can go take a hike on that one. He’s the one always talking about how great aggressiveness is, while never seemingly understanding that aggressiveness has a cost. Obviously there’s aggressiveness and there’s stupidity, but aggressive outs are still outs.

    • AnnapolisHoosier

      @pinson343: And Dusty can go take a hike on that one.He’s the one always talking about how great aggressiveness is, while never seemingly understanding that aggressiveness has a cost.Obviously there’s aggressiveness and there’s stupidity, but aggressive outs are still outs.

      Come on Dave, there is a difference between being aggressive and being smart. Phillips had no chance at being safe on that play and you have to know the situation. It was bad baseball. I think if Dusty said the world was round you would take exception. I’m not a Dusty fan either, but he’s right on this one.

  13. Dave Lowenthal

    BTW, the Phillies are absolutely terrible right now, so they’ll probably turn it around just in time for Monday. I would like almost nothing more than to kick the crap out of that team.

  14. OhioJim

    @Dave Lowenthal: I’d enjoy the Reds kicking the Pfils even more if it were part of a 10-0 road trip 😀

  15. JD

    We’re catching the Phils at a good time, imo. Looks like the stupid Flying Hawaiian and Blanton are DL-bound. Utley still out. Polanco been hitting terrible. I think our pitching can handle them.

    The big thing will be our offense. Law of averages states Halladay won’t no-hit us again 🙂 We owe him some big-time payback! They beat him once last year, it can be done again. The key is DON’T START GOMES, PERIOD! Or Renteria. I think a series split is plausible.

  16. RiverCity Redleg

    @AnnapolisHoosier: I don’t think he is disagreeing with Dusty there. I think he is opining the hypocricy of his statement. Arguing that it is Dusty who is constantly touting and praising the aggressiveness, but as soon as it doesn’t work out, he calls it stupid in hindsight. Personally, I don’t neccessarily agree with Dave here. I think, though he prefers agressiveness, even Dusty is smart enough to know there are bad times to be agressive and that was one one of them.

    • AnnapolisHoosier

      @AnnapolisHoosier: I don’t think he is disagreeing with Dusty there. I think he is opining the hypocricy of his statement. Arguing that it is Dusty who is constantly touting and praising the aggressiveness, but as soon as it doesn’t work out, he calls it stupid in hindsight. Personally, I don’t neccessarily agree with Dave here. I think, though he prefers agressiveness, even Dusty is smart enough to know there are bad times to be agressive and that was one one of them.

      Agreed

  17. Dave Lowenthal

    @RiverCity Redleg: I’ve actually defended Dusty on some decisions in the last week that others have criticized. For example, I have consistently defended him keeping Volquez in the rotation; not everyone has (though I understand why, as the guy is pretty irritating to watch).

    Yes, there is aggressiveness and stupidity. But there has to also be an admission that when you keep pushing aggressiveness, it’s going to occasionally end up in stupidity. It’s impossible to push the envelope perfectly.

    Also, as people here probably know, I don’t like that aggressiveness gets a free pass—for example, if a team steals at a rate of 55%, hypothetically, no one criticizes them if they have a lot of steal attempts, but if a team doesn’t steal very much because they are slow, people do criticize them for not playing aggressively and playing small ball. In this example, that latter team is smart and the former team is dumb, though you’d never know if from baseball people and media.

    • AnnapolisHoosier

      @RiverCity Redleg: I’ve actually defended Dusty on some decisions in the last week that others have criticized.For example, I have consistently defended him keeping Volquez in the rotation; not everyone has (though I understand why, as the guy is pretty irritating to watch).

      Yes, there is aggressiveness and stupidity.But there has to also be an admission that when you keep pushing aggressiveness, it’s going to occasionally end up in stupidity.It’s impossible to push the envelope perfectly.

      Also, as people here probably know, I don’t like that aggressiveness gets a free pass—for example, if a team steals at a rate of 55%, hypothetically, no one criticizes them if they have a lot of steal attempts, but if a team doesn’t steal very much because they are slow, people do criticize them for not playing aggressively and playing small ball.In this example, that latter team is smart and the former team is dumb, though you’d never know if from baseball people and media.

      OK, I understand what your saying now

  18. francijx

    @pinson343 Heisey getting doubled up wasn’t really a “gaffe”, I don’t think. I was at the game and McCutcheon made an outstanding play to catch that ball. Everyone in the stadium thought it was going to get down and I like that aggressiveness in the first inning.

    BP’s aggressiveness in the eigth was a bit much, however. You have to know that 1 run isn’t going to make the difference and play it more safely than that.

    • eric nyc

      @pinson343 Heisey getting doubled up wasn’t really a “gaffe”, I don’t think.I was at the game and McCutcheon made an outstanding play to catch that ball.Everyone in the stadium thought it was going to get down and I like that aggressiveness in the first inning.

      Oh that was most definitely a “gaffe.” And I think gaffe is a nice word for it. Boneheaded mistake is probably a more accurate one. If the ball isn’t caught, it’s a double to the wall and Heisey makes it home anyway. Worst case scenario he’s standing on third with no outs and Joey Votto coming to the plate. But you HAVE to at least allow for the POSSIBILITY that it is going to be caught, regardless of who’s in CF (and McCutchen is probably the second fastest CFer in the league after Stubbs). He HAD to at least turn his head as he hit 2nd base to see what kind of break McCutchen had on the ball, if he was closing on it, etc. He holds up for ONE SECOND at 2nd and he has plenty of time to get back. But he put his head down and tore ass the moment he heard the crack. He was running like it was a bloop single he was trying to get 3 bases off of.That’s a rookie mistake that cost us a run. BP’s getting thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double was aggressive baserunning that didn’t work out – Heisey was up there trying to do it all like he usually does when he gets the start and he got burnt on a mental error.

      There was some discussion about this before the game yesterday here. Heisey plays great off the bench, but whenever he starts he seems to get very antsy, like he’s trying to prove he should be there every day and it usually leads to less patience at the plate, on the bases, etc.

  19. francijx

    @eric nyc: Maybe you’re right. I hadn’t really considered that he might have scored anyway had he taken it easy.

  20. dn4192

    Just wondering here, but wouldn’t the best possible lineup for this weekend series in Cleveland be:

    Stubbs – CF
    Heisey/lewis – LF
    Votto – 1st
    Phillips – 2nd
    Bruce – RF
    Rolen – DH
    Hernandez/Hanigan – C
    Janish – SS
    Cairo – 3rd

  21. eric nyc

    @dn4192: Good luck with keeping Gomes out of that DH spot…

    I’d rather keep Rolen at 3rd, Heisey in LF and Lewis as the DH.

    Stubbs
    Heisey
    Votto
    Phillips
    Bruce
    Rolen
    Lewis
    Hernandez
    Janish

    Although I STILL think Phillips is a better fit at 2 and Rolen has shown plenty to be put back at 4.

    • AnnapolisHoosier

      @dn4192: Good luck with keeping Gomes out of that DH spot…

      I’d rather keep Rolen at 3rd, Heisey in LF and Lewis as the DH.

      Stubbs
      Heisey
      Votto
      Phillips
      Bruce
      Rolen
      Lewis
      Hernandez
      Janish

      Although I STILL think Phillips is a better fit at 2 and Rolen has shown plenty to be put back at 4.

      Dusty has already said Gomes will be the DH all three games. He “knows” how to do it since he was a DH in Tampa.

  22. doctor

    @eric nyc:

    I agree with your last comment moving phillips to #2, more along lines like this.

    Stubbs
    Phillips
    Votto
    Rolen
    Bruce
    Hernandez
    Lewis
    Heisey
    Janish

    the bottom three should provide lots of hit and run/bunt opps and hopefully have a guy or two onbase for Stubbs to take one deep and not be a solo shot. However, i will be surprised if Gomes is not DH for all 3 cleveland games. Hopefully, he is able to do some damage.

  23. jrob45601

    Dusty has already said that Gomes will be the DH in american league stadiums. Makes perfect sense for this weekend, since all 3 starters we are facing are right handed. Oh, wait….

  24. dn4192

    I put Rolen at DH to give him some rest over the weekend, it’s a good time to me to do this.

  25. eric nyc

    @dn4192: That makes sense, but his handful of recent errors aside he’s still our best defensive 3B so I don’t think you’d want him off the field for the whole series. Plus, Lewis is a better batter than Cairo (who started the season decently but lately has just been a waste of an out) so I’d rather have his bat in the lineup.

  26. jdm00

    I would consider DH’ing Ramon if he is not catching. Or, if he really wants to play with it, how about giving Votto a stealth day off, keeping his bat in the lineup, by DH’ing him and having Ramon play first?

  27. jdm00

    Something like this:

    Stubbs CF
    Bruce RF
    Votto DH
    Phillips 2B
    Rolen 3B
    Hernandez 1B
    Lewis LF
    Hanigan C
    Janish SS

  28. dn4192

    WARNING…WARNING..

    Before looking over today’s lineup card vs. the Indians…I advise you not eat and be seated because OMG it will knock you out…

  29. al

    @dn4192: no idea why that lineup is worth freaking out about.

    gomes in the 2-hole makes a lot more sense than janish or renteria, as he has at least been walking a fair amount, and, like bruce, he’ll probably see more fastballs in front of votto.

    heisey gets the start in left, like so many have campaigned for, and everything else is pretty normal. janish 9th, makes sense to me.

    • dn4192

      @dn4192: no idea why that lineup is worth freaking out about. gomes in the 2-hole makes a lot more sense than janish or renteria, as he has at least been walking a fair amount, and, like bruce, he’ll probably see more fastballs in front of votto. heisey gets the start in left, like so many have campaigned for, and everything else is pretty normal. janish 9th, makes sense to me.

      So you put your 2nd worse hitter in the 2 spot? Really? First of why is Gomes your DH? Second why in the heck is he hitting second. Hit him 8th and janish 9th, move Heisey up to the 2 spot…OMG this is such a joke.

  30. Dave Lowenthal

    @al: For 2 or 3 games this just doesn’t matter. If Dusty were to put Gomes in the 2 spot permanently, that would be very bad.

  31. al

    @dn4192: Gomes has a 97 OPS+, slightly below average. Janish has a 57 OPS+, WAY below average. That’s a big improvement.

    Heisey is hitting really well, but I think people’s faith in him is a little unfounded. He got a pretty good amount of playing time for stretches last year and put up an OPS+ of 103. I would be fine with him hitting second in this lineup, but I think over the next few months he’s likely to cool off and Gomes is likely to heat up. I think they are probably roughly equivalent at the plate, maybe a slight edge to Heisey, especially now, but it’s not worth going crazy over.

    To me, Heisey’s real advantages over Gomes are that he’s a better fielder and he’s a quarter of the cost. Cost is sunk at this point, and the DH takes care of the fielding, so I’m fine with this.

    • dn4192

      @Al: Gomes has a 97 OPS+, slightly below average. Janish has a 57 OPS+, WAY below average. That’s a big improvement. Heisey is hitting really well, but I think people’s faith in him is a little unfounded. He got a pretty good amount of playing time for stretches last year and put up an OPS+ of 103. I would be fine with him hitting second in this lineup, but I think over the next few months he’s likely to cool off and Gomes is likely to heat up. I think they are probably roughly equivalent at the plate, maybe a slight edge to Heisey, especially now, but it’s not worth going crazy over. To me, Heisey’s real advantages over Gomes are that he’s a better fielder and he’s a quarter of the cost. Cost is sunk at this point, and the DH takes care of the fielding, so I’m fine with this.

      I just don’t get that, you are alright for having Gomes who couldn’t hit a ball off a tee in your DH spot. Heck with Woods pitching tonight I would just let him hit, he has a better chance of helping the team at the plate over Gomes.

  32. al

    @Dave Lowenthal: i feel like i’ve learned to live with some of dusty’s old school nature and i work within those bounds.

    my lineup would be pretty different than dusty’s, something like: phillips, votto, stubbs, bruce, rolen, C, LF, janish.

    but that ain’t happenin.

    so to me, the lineup tonight is pretty decent, considering what we’ve seen in the past.

  33. al

    @dn4192: you and i just think about a players future potential very differently, and we can leave it at that. you clearly think gomes is terrible because he’s hitting .182 or whatever. that’s fine, it’s your view.

    i think he’s a guy with a .787 career ops, who’s still in his prime, and there’s no real reason he would fall off a cliff. i think gomes potential to hit going forward is just as good as heisey’s. put yourself in that position and then see how you would feel about this lineup.

    if i, like you apparently, thought that going forward, gomes would be a worse hitter than travis wood, i would also be upset about this lineup. that just doesn’t make sense to me.

    • dn4192

      @Al: you and i just think about a players future potential very differently, and we can leave it at that. you clearly think gomes is terrible because he’s hitting .182 or whatever. that’s fine, it’s your view. i think he’s a guy with a .787 career ops, who’s still in his prime, and there’s no real reason he would fall off a cliff. i think gomes potential to hit going forward is just as good as heisey’s. put yourself in that position and then see how you would feel about this lineup. if i, like you apparently, thought that going forward, gomes would be a worse hitter than travis wood, i would also be upset about this lineup. that just doesn’t make sense to me.

      My issue with Gomes is he is nothing but an average hitter at best and a average fielder on his good days. Heisey to me brings much more to the table at the plate and the field. As for the DH role I would have put Cairo at 3rd this weekend and hit Rolen at DH to give his body some rest before heading to Philly and Atlanta. To me Gomes is a great guy, just not a very overall good ballplayer on a team with much more better chocies.

  34. doctor

    @dn4192:
    Well there sure seems to be no doubt that Dusty is doing every move he can to get Gomes productive and be his primary(and pet favorite) LF.

    Hopefully “Johnny” can take advantage of the gift leash he is being given.