2011 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap – This was NOT fun to write

Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL – 11 innings
Los Angeles 11
Cincinnati 8

WP: J. Guerra (1-0)
LP: C. Fisher (0-3)

-Johnny Cueto turned in the kind of start I have been waiting to see from one of our starting pitchers.  Cueto went 7 innings, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits and 1 walk while striking out 3.  What makes me like the start even more is the fact that he went 7 innings and only threw 88 pitches!  Too bad the Reds bullpen could not hang onto the lead for Johnny.

Joey Votto went 2-4 with a homerun, single, walk, a run scored, and 3 RBI.  His 3-run homer off of Kershaw in the 6th inning appeared to put the Reds up for good.

Drew Stubbs, Brandon Phillips, and Ramon Hernandez had 2 hits each. They combined to score 4 runs.  Chris Heisey entered in the 7th inning as a pinch hitter.  He drove in 2 runs with a base hit and ended the game 2-3 with 2 RBI.

-Today’s Nick Masset was the April version. Masset allowed 3 runs on 3 hits in the 8th inning while only retiring 1 out.  Masset has been great of late.  Today wasn’t one of those great days.

-Billy Bray and Logan Ondrusek were not able to clean up Masset’s mess.  Bray walked the only batter he faced.  That batter would later score when Ondrusek served up a game tying grand slam to Matt Kemp in the 8th inning.

-Jonny Gomes went 0-3 and struck out twice.  His batting average is now down to .186.  Scott Rolen added an 0-5 day at the plate.

-Carlos Fisher looked bad in the 11th inning.  After allowing 2 runs, Fisher air-mailed the shortstop on what should have been an inning ending double play.  Two batters later, Fisher walked the pitcher who was making his first at-bat of the season.  When the dust settled on Fisher in the 11th, he had allowed 4 runs on 4 hits and a walk in just .2 innings pitched.

-For 5 innings, the Reds batters looked helpless at the plate.  Clayton Kershaw faced 15 batters in the first 5 innings, allowing only 1 base runner when Joey Votto singled.  Kershaw promptly erased Votto on a pick-off at firstbase.  But after that 5th inning, the Reds bats woke up and scored at will on Kershaw.

-Games like this one just eat at you.  The Reds looked comfortably ahead, leading 7-2 going to the top of the 8th.  But 5 Dodgers runs later, the game was tied.  Then the wheels fell off in the 11th and a Reds win turned into a Reds loss.

-At just after 6:15 pm ET, Chad sent me a text asking if I could write today’s Titanic Struggle.  I agreed.  He then replied that today’s should be a fun one to write.  Perhaps we can blame Chad for the loss.  And no, this was not fun to write!

-The Reds will try to win the rubber match tomorrow and win another home series.  Hopefully Reds fans can pack the stadium again on Sunday like they did today.

18 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap – This was NOT fun to write

  1. So, Wood is starting tomorrow? Alright! C’mon, let’s go get ’em! GO REDS!

  2. These types of games really sting … Reds have come back on Halladay, Lee, and Kershaw in the past two weeks only to go on to lose the game … I guess at least it shows that they are competing better against the top flight pitchers this year than the past year, but man, they sure need to start pulling these games out.

  3. Couple of key points as I saw it. One, on the Carrol hit and run single with 1 out in the 8th….. with a 5 run lead why were the Reds even concerned with contesting the attempted steal? If BP stays at home on that play, there are 2 outs with a man on second and the Reds five ahead. Even if the rest of the inning plays out the same, Reds take a 1 run lead to the 9th.

    The other point goes back to the Reds 7th. I’m guessing if Bruce scores in the 8th giving the the Reds a 3 run lead with1 out, Cueto bats and stays in to pitch the 8th.

    We can pick on Dusty; but if somebody other than Massett starts the 8th for the Reds and doesn’t get the job done then we would be carping about Dusty not taking ths Dodgers seriously etc.

    This is going to be tough to over come.

  4. I honestly didn’t think Masset pitched as bad as the boxscore looked. He gave up a few grounders, one of which would have been a double play ball but turned out instead as a nicely placed grounder on a hit and run. Still, you can’t lose these types of games. Can we stop requiring this or that guy to pitch the 8th inning, though? Can’t it just be based on who is coming up? Play the matchups! Oh, and sending Bruce on that grounder to right was horrible. He was rounding 3rd as Ethier fielded the ball. I honestly don’t know what Berry is thinking at times.

  5. @royhobbs: Keltch and Cowboy were saying Bruce got a terrible jump; but that does not explain why he was sent. Anything less than a perfect throw and Bruce does make it; but , with just one out, it seemed like a questionable decision to me.

  6. @OhioJim:

    Personally, I thought Bruce would have been safe had he plowed their catcher. Everyone is gun shy now because of Posey and his agent.

  7. @OhioJim: Your points are right on. I thought at the time (before Heisey’s clutch single seemingly put it out of reach) that if Bruce only scores, Cueto pitches a complete game–only 70-something pitches to that point. Then I figured, doesn’t matter because we’re up 6-2.

    Almost no one said a thing about Masset coming in. My issue is the use of Bray.

    If it’s really a 95% of scoring, say, it’s not necessarily a bad play to send Bruce. It’s not 100% of scoring with guy on 3rd and one out.

  8. @royhobbs: I think we should stop making decisions based on what the outcome is. I think I therefore agree with the sense of what you are saying.

    I will say every single time, or at least almost every single time, that I hate using our bullpen pitchers to pitch to one batter. They are good pitchers. It is a complete waste. There are exceptions, of course, but today most certainly was not one of them, with the tying run not even at the plate, for god’s sake.

  9. @Dave Lowenthal: Ondrusek has hung enough pitches in big situations, that it hardly made sense to me to bring him in there. Bray couldn’t have done any worse. The debate over how to use Chapman is legit. But today showed that this team was built assuming Chapman would be brought in to clean up a mess like they were in. He would have stayed in to face Kemp. I wonder what Dusty said to Ondrusek when he handed him the ball? It should have been that he had 3 runs to work with and that a walk was not a terrible outcome.

  10. This game shows again why I like to look at a players’ stats without regard to how he does in high leverage situations. To me, all runs are important. The Reds have shown that quite a few times this year—for example, Heisey’s HR against the Cards making it 9-2 in their 9-7 win over the Cards.

    If Phillips, say, singles in Stubbs in the 7th, the Reds probably win the game, but at the time it’s a “no big deal” run.

  11. @OhioJim: In no way do I think that Ondrusek is anywhere near as good as Masset (some people suggested Ondrusek was better when Masset blew chunks in April), but the guy has not exactly hung a bunch of pitches this year. I can’t really argue with bringing Ondrusek in over Bray, though I would trust Bray to get Kemp out—I just wouldn’t have ever brought Bray in for a situation where he’s pitching to one batter. No way. Not a chance. Bray is a two inning pitcher. He could have given us the 11th and 12th instead of Fisher. Or I could live with just bringing in Bray and saving Ondrusek for later. Either way. I just don’t want Fisher in the game by the 11th.

    There is no excuse in a game in which your starter goes 7 to be at your mop up man 3 innings later! Jeez is that bad bullpen management.

  12. @Dave Lowenthal: I’m thinking of my recollections of Ondrusek on his entire body of work including last year. My impression is that he is much better starting innings than in situations like today. As a default, he’ll leave a pitch over the plate rather than miss off the plate. Heck, the thing to have done might have been to plunk Kemp in the ribs then gone after Blake. Rhodes would have done that. Chapman has shown he is not adverse to the same.

    I think what I was trying to infer with my remarks about Chapman above 9previous post) is without anybody in the hammer role they foresaw for him, except for Coco, this whole pen is in disarray as far as roles and that leads to the type of misuse you are pointing out.

  13. There’s no excuse to give up 11 runs in a game where almost half the lineup you’re facing is Navarro, Gwynn Jr., Carroll, and Miles(the last 3 go 9 for 13; are you kidding me). NOW to make things worse Pujols is heating up, we lose another game in the standings to the WLBs; I’m telling everyone, and I’m dead serious when I say this- when they get Holliday back and Carpenter turns things around the Reds are in SERIOUS trouble. I see all of their games on tv because that’s the area I live in and their bullpen is a lot better than they have been getting credit since now they have pitchers with real major league stuff in the important roles and not the impostor Franklin.

    Salas 1.82 ERA 9.2 K/9
    Motte 2.25 ERA 7.9 K/9
    Sanchez 2.28 ERA 11.0 K/9
    Batista 2.28 ERA
    Miller 2.38 ERA
    And that doesn’t include the 6 1/3 shutout innings of 1 hit, no walks ball they pitched today.

  14. @LVW: No kidding. I had this argument when people were saying the Cards deserved to lose all those games they blew because their bullpen sucked. I argued that no team is going to lose all those sorts of games and that Sanchez was good enough to win most of those games. And so are the guys you list, except Batista.

    I still think that yes, the guys you list will turn it around, but they have as much downside as upside (Lohse, McClellan, Berkman, etc). But the point is they aren’t going to lose a bunch of ground when those guys start declining because of Pujols and Carpenter. So basically, the Reds are a solid 5 games back. Things are not good. The Reds are not by any means out of it but are a clear underdog to win the NL Central. And in the set of scenarios that the Reds do overtake the Cards, there’s the Crew also to deal with.

  15. @LVW: The Reds are in serious trouble period.
    They can’t count on any consistent offense from the left side of the diamond. Only the fact that the three guys on the right side are all arguably the best in the league at their positions masks that.
    As your post pointed out there is no one in the bullpen who can step up and take charge of any role other than CoCo who has experineced something of a rebirth this year.
    The starting rotation is mercurial and injury prone.
    Overall the team lacks the kind of cohesion and sense of focus and purpose they exhibited last year.
    Other than that things are going great.

    Also, good notation that the presence of other teams as contenders (plural since the Pirates are hanging right in as of now) also greatly complicates things as it may not be a freebie so to speak everytime somebody else helps out by beating the WLB.

  16. Just arrived at my hotel after a long flite. Every time I’m on a flite with DirecTv, the Reds suffer a horrible loss. Last time was the 19 inning loss to the Phillies.

    My only comment about Dusty’s use of the pen was already made by Dave L: Dusty went thru too many relievers too quickly. No way that you should need Fisher to pitch the 11th after Cueto has gone 7. Actually, I would have preferred Horst to Fisher, but that’s a smaller point.

    Otherwise just yesterday I was saying how terrific our bullpen has been, so I can’t turn around now and complain. The 3 guys who blew it in the 8th have pitched very well of late. But some weaknesses were exposed. Masset has had trouble with lefties this season, batting .357 against him and he’s walked 8 in the equivalent of 9 innings. (Not that he pitched so badly today, as has been pointed out.) I know Ethier is a good hitter, but Bray can’t walk him in that situation to bring Kemp up as the tying run. And from there I’m with Dave on leaving Bray in, I trust him more than Ondrusek with the bases loaded and why burn him on 1 hitter.

    A little bit of good news regarding the bullpen: Sam LeCure threw from a mound today.

    We need to win a series like this at home, big game later today.

  17. Agree that Bray cannot walk Either. A three run johnson would have been better than a walk because at least then they could have pitched around Kemp. That is why I suggested above that they should have been so sold out on getting into Kemp’s kitchen that they were willing to walk or hit him before leaving the ball over the plate.

  18. On a side note- 10 of Kemp’s 15 HRs and been against a pitcher the 1st time he’s faced him in that particular game.

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