Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Cincinnati 4
Milwaukee 5

W: C. Narveson (6-5)
L: H. Bailey (3-4)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Making his major league debut, Zack Cozart was 1-3, scored a run, and flashed some good leather on defense.

–Miguel Cairo, Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, and Ramon Hernandez had two hits each. Hernandez had 3 RBI, and a homer in the ninth that cut the lead to one.

NEGATIVES
–Homer Bailey pitched great…except for one inning. Unfortunately, that one inning lost the game. It was almost stunning, really. A hit, a four-pitch walk to the opposing pitcher, and a three-run homer. All of a sudden, a Reds lead had turned into a three-run deficit.

–The Reds were caught stealing three times, including a crucial CS in the ninth. Drew Stubbs drew a walk, and the go-ahead run was at the plate…and Stubbs was gunned down trying to steal. Game, set, match.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–I didn’t want to see the Reds win two games in a row, anyway.

–I’m not even frustrated, even though this was an eminently winnable game. I’ve come to expect results like this. Apathy is rapidly setting in, and I can’t believe it.

–Milwaukee’s four-run fifth inning was bizarre. Homer was cruising along before that inning, and he ended a six inning stint with an efficient 87 pitches. But he lost focus in that one inning, and that was that. Why didn’t pitching coach Bryan Price ever set foot outside the dugout to calm Bailey down before he threw the game away?

–Third straight game that Homer has surrendered a three-run homerun.

–Jay Bruce didn’t have a hit, but he walked and hit the ball very, very hard twice.

–I really wish the All-Star break would hurry and get here.

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! 110 Comments

  1. With the type of pitcher Homer Bailey needs to be to be successful, when he strikes out 1 man in 6 innings, he will give up a lot of runs. Personally, I am very disappointed in his performance today, and that includes every inning, not just the one where he gave up runs.

  2. I’m beyond frustrated. This was an excellent opportunity for a solid, routine win. Aa favorable pitching matchup for us. Bruan is out. Bailey once again had good command to go with his good stuff. And once again one bad inning by Homer that starts with either an IF hit or error. How do you walk the opposing pitcher on 4 pitches and then groove a first pitch fastball to Weeks ?

    And that’s not just on Bailey, Price and Ramon passively watched it happen.
    Before the HR the Milwaukee broadcasters were talking about how hard Weeks has hit Bailey.

  3. I did not see it but I am going to presume there must have been something funky about the IF hit in front of the 4 pitch walk to the pitcher which started Homer’s slide. Yeah it does seem to me that perhaps when he was half home to walking Narveson that might have been a time for a visit from the bench. Perhaps Dusty instead of Price. Just tell him it is the 5th he throwing the ball well and to just throw a stirke and not worry if Narveson gets the bunt down and if they get a run so in the inning so be it.

    There is no way they can trade Hernandez just to make a spot for Mesoraco unless they would do after falling out of the race. On the other hand if they can build a package around him for an impact player it is a risk (that Meso is ready) they may have to take.

  4. Just watched Micah Owings retire Matt Holiday and strike out Lance Berkman to shut down the Cardinals. He wasn’t the same pitcher with us because he was badly mishandled, not used for weeks and then thrown into an extra inning game.

  5. Didn’t get to see any of the game tonight, but listened to the last couple innings on my car radio. I have a few thoughts about the ninth inning.

    As Dave pointed out, there was no need for Renteria (who is the WORST hitter on the team, by far) to bat in the ninth. He could have gone into the game in the #7 spot, for Cozart after Heisey pinch hit, and kept the pitcher in the #9 spot and then pinch hit with someone who is actually a good hitter. Was Rolen available?

    By no criteria is Renteria “heating up.”

    Marty and Brantley were convinced that Baker called for the SB, that Stubbs wouldn’t do it on his own in that situation. Considering how much that reduced the odds of Votto batting in the ninth, I thought it was a poor decision.

    This is the second time recently that Votto has come up with the Reds needing a run (or two) to tie the game and a runner is on first with an out or two and he swings early in the count for a single to left field. While singles are better than outs, at some point he has to be swinging for a home run or extra base hit there.

    The people who are criticizing Homer’s make-up have no idea what they are talking about. I also find the comment ironic that Homer didn’t strike enough hitters out – his only strikeout came in the same inning of his one strike out.

    Hard to believe we lost the game now that Janish is off the team and instead we have a SS who went 1-for-4.

  6. Eh, it’s the story of this season – Reds get 12 hits but can’t get the one to bust it open and the pitching is decent but has one inning that sinks it.

    Close but no cigar and there has been a dozen or going on two just like it.

  7. We need Ramon’s hitting in the game, but I really hated to see that he was catching Homer. I hope that’s more a function of Hanigan catching extra innings last night than the natural state of things in a post-Volquez world.

    If Homer does have a concentration problem, which I’m not sure I buy, Hanigan would have to help fix that.

  8. It was sad in a way to see Hernandez hit a HR over the RF fence against Axford, same as he did opening day. Sad because the season was so full of promise then, and because it could easily have resulted in a win this time too.

    Axford did not have it. But Dusty engineers his favorite “clutch” hitter, Renteria, to bat in the 9th instead of a PHer. And then he allows Stubbs to run on a 0-1 count, when everyone in the park (except Dusty) is expecting a pitchout.
    That’s practically giving away 2 outs. A home run, a walk, 2 singles, and only 1 run. Unbelievable.

  9. @Steve: Well, Cozart was 1 for 3, but anyways, you’re exaggerating there a bit for effect (which is fine).

    I’m confused about your comment about Homer’s strikeouts. You mistyped something there, or else I have a reading problem. I’m the one criticizing his lack of strikeouts. I don’t see anything wrong with that criticism. It’s a holistic criticism, not specific to any inning. I do not understand why Homer does not blow more hitters away. It really irritates me. He will never, ever, succeed as a pitch to contact pitcher.

    • I’m confused about your comment about Homer’s strikeouts. You mistyped something there, or else I have a reading problem. I’m the one criticizing his lack of strikeouts. I don’t see anything wrong with that criticism. It’s a holistic criticism, not specific to any inning. I do not understand why Homer does not blow more hitters away. It really irritates me. He will never, ever, succeed as a pitch to contact pitcher.

      Homer ‘holistically’ strikes out plenty. He also does fine with swings and misses. He has dramatically decreased his walk rate this year and if that comes at the cost of some fewer strikeouts, I’d take it.

      I was poking fun at your disappointment with the fact that he didn’t strike out enough people in this game when the problem was that he walked the pitcher and grooved a fastball. If his K/9 becomes 1.0 then I’ll worry with you. But looking at one game and saying his one K means something is kind of a small sample, wouldn’t you say? And I was taking that a little further by showing there was no simple short-term correlation between K and giving up runs for Homer since his strike out of Prince Fielder was the same inning as the one he gave up all the runs, right?

  10. @Steve: I just want to be clear that I was not questioning Homer’s makeup. The bad inning pattern is clear. But I have no idea why it’s been happening.

    • @Steve: I just want to be clear that I was not questioning Homer’s makeup. The bad inning pattern is clear. But I have no idea why it’s been happening.

      I don’t get that if a pitcher has a pattern of having an inning when the game just gets away from him and some are contending that he might be getting “shaken” after a feeble hit or error, that this is some kind of character flaw. It is a “flaw” but not of character. Price should be charged with trying to figure it out and help correct it. The pattern is so clear. After the walk to Narverson, Price needs to go at to the mound and help Homer put things into prospective. Why do these shortcomings have to be a “mental disorder”?

  11. @Steve: I have to say also, if we’re to the point where we’re criticizing Votto for hitting singles, we’re in trouble.

    I appreciate the fact that Votto is way down in SLG this year; I’m bothered by it (and Jason wrote an article on it), but to say he should swing specifically for an extra base hit almost sounds like the Ted Williams “he shouldn’t walk” thing. At some point the rest of the team needs to do something.

  12. @pinson343: I was referring to the comments during the game by other people. Your comment about his proneness to a big inning in spot on. I think it’s probably due to bad luck more than anything.

    • @pinson343: I was referring to the comments during the game by other people. Your comment about his proneness to a big inning in spot on. I think it’s probably due to bad luck more than anything.

      That bad luck thinking theory should really stop. It makes excuses for ineffective play. Frankly it sounds like Dusty Baker.

  13. @Dave Lowenthal: I’ve been talking about the one inning but I agree with you that 1 K and 2 BBs is a very disappointing line for Homer, he can’t have success that way and if he’s “pitching to contact” it’s stupid.

  14. @Steve: FSN showed a shot of the Reds bench after the CS. Looked like Dusty was saying some pointed but not quite heated words to Stubbs. It was partially obscured by Heisey who was standing between them (actually behind Baker and in front of Stubbs. Do not want to give the wrong impression that Heisey was between them because of tempers. It was not that way).

    Later FSN showed Arroyo having a conversation with Stubbs. I’d guess whether Stubbs went on his own or on a given signal, that Baker (and Arroyo) felt like there was some late tip off of the pitchout that Stubbs should have picked up on and stayed home.

    The Reds were between a rock and a hard place there. They certainly did not want to take the bat out of Votto’s hands by getting an out on the bases but then again Cairo would was also prime DP bait which would have had the same effect.

    I think I would have stood pat unless the count got to 3-2 simply because if Stubbs had stolen and Cairo made an out even if it advanced Stubbs to 3rd, they would have walked Votto.

    • OhioJim: FSN showed a shot of the Reds bench after the CS. Looked like Dusty was saying some pointed but not quite heated words to Stubbs. It was partially obscured by Heisey who was standing between them (actually behind Baker and in front of Stubbs. Do not want to give the wrong impression that Heisey was between them because of tempers. It was not that way).

      Later FSN showed Arroyo having a conversation with Stubbs. I’d guess whether Stubbs went on his own or on a given signal, that Baker (and Arroyo) felt like there was some late tip off of the pitchout that Stubbs should have picked up on and stayed home.

      That’s extremely interesting. I’d love to know. I’m sure our dogged beat writers — the ones who accept without complaint the ridiculous assertion that Renteria is heating up — will ask Baker after the game. You’re right it was a close call. I think the odds of Stubbs being thrown out are greater than Cairo hitting into a DP, but I’m sure there are a bunch of other factors that outsiders like us aren’t aware of.

  15. @pinson343: Note I didn’t say he was, just saying that if he tries to win that way, I don’t think he will. His K’s are down in a year that K’s across MLB are up.

  16. @Steve: @Dave Lowenthal: Like Dave, I’m OK with Votto’s single. He was basically taking what they gave him, and it was better than drawing a walk in terms of getting Cairo to 3rd. They mentioned on mlb network tv how that took away Axford’s curve ball and gave BP a better chance.

    The odds of our tying the game were much better after Joey’s AB than before, so I’d say Joey did his job.

  17. @pinson343: Agree on Votto. At first I was upset he did not go for the downs but then I realized he did the most important things, extended the game and moved the tying run to scoring position. And in truth he just missed splitting their outfielders and scoring the run. if he would have had maybe 10 feet more of carry in the air off the bat it would have gotten by them I think.

  18. About Homer, it seems that everyone (especially opposing hitters) were sure that he’d have success once he threw a higher pct. of strikes and cut down on his walks. He’s done that, and every start, I expect him to win, especially tonite.
    Then very suddenly the game is lost – a bleeder, a walk, and a blast.

    I have no explanation for it. There’s a loss of concentration, but why ?

    • About Homer, it seems that everyone (especially opposing hitters) were sure that he’d have success once he threw a higher pct. of strikes and cut down on his walks. He’s done that, and every start, I expect him to win, especially tonite. Then very suddenly the game is lost – a bleeder, a walk, and a blast. I have no explanation for it.

      Homer has pitched eight games now and has given up: 0, 1, 2, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5 runs. I’ll take that. We’re really asking way too much of him.

      In the previous game, he threw over 100 pitches and only 25 balls. He went to a 3-ball count on exactly one hitter.

      Before tonight, Homer’s K/9 was 7.3, down from 8.3 last year. But his BB/9 rate has been cut in half, and in a third from two years ago.

      Homer’s trend line in K/BB over the past five years is:

      2007: 1.00
      2008: 1.06
      2009: 1.65
      2010: 2.50
      2011: 4.25

      He had an off night in that area tonight. But no reason to all of a sudden start asking fundamental questions about his concentration or holistic approach to pitching. He’s getting much better and if he can keep it up, and if the Reds could score some runs for him, his bottom line will start to reflect it.

      • Homer has pitched eight games now and has given up: 0, 1, 2, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5 runs. I’ll take that. We’re really asking way too much of him.

        The trend is the problem.

        • The trend is the problem.

          List is in numerical order, not chronological.

          • List is in numerical order, not chronological.

            Still doesn’t help much. Last four starts ER: 4,5,2,5, 22 innings total
            ERA: 7.28

  19. I didn’t mean to be critical of Votto and I said the single helped. I was pointing it out mostly as an observation and that I felt conflicted in seeing it happen.

    In both cases the Reds didn’t end up scoring. Swinging for a single later in the count seems better to me. Early in the count he should be looking to be the MVP and drive the ball for extra bases. Not a big deal, just kind of disappointing. We were all thinking/hoping, when he went up to the plate, that he could hit a home run, then he didn’t try.

  20. @Steve: I see. I was saying that *today* Homer pitched a terrible game, mostly in response to the people that were certain that he was a head case. My contention is that he was just terrible today (2 BBs, 1 K), and that his poor performance was due to him just not having anything today, not some concentration problem. I agree, he has reduced his walks, and that is worth reducing K rate to some degree.

    I couldn’t parse the sentence before (you said strike out twice), now I understand what you meant.

    I do take issue (not with you specifically) with this problem of “grooving a fastball”. I get tired of hearing that from announcers after a home run, when many fastballs and other pitchers are grooved every game, and then one of them is hit out and they make a huge deal out of it. Why isn’t anyone talking about the fastball Homer grooved to Narveson that he hit over Stubbs head, or the many fastballs he surely “grooved” that were popped up or grounded to short.

  21. @Steve: Fair enough. I was thinking jack myself, I admit.

  22. I’m about done waiting for Homer Bailey to be good.
    Time to make a deal for a pitcher.

  23. @OhioJim: That’s very interesting stuff, Jim, but why doesn’t Dusty give him a red light in that situation ?

    We’ve seen may times that Stubbs does not know when to stay put. So give him freedom to run but have a signal for a red lite. How hard is that ?

    And an 0-1 pitchout doesn’t even have to be tipped. You can expect it.

  24. It’s very easy to tell when things are going to go south for Homer. The man just starts nibbling on the black of the black, the fact is, he is not good enough to do that yet. Not a surprise

  25. Hey, I posted this way earlier today, but I wanted to make sure the evening crowd saw it.

    Question: What has been Edgar Renteria’s worst month of hitting the past three years?

    Answer: July, July, July (by far)

    Baker: “We’ve just got to get him to the hot weather.”

  26. @Dave Lowenthal: I agree that the phrase “grooved a fastball” is generally meaningless, in that it’s almost always results oriented. If the hitter misses the same fastball, they say the pitcher threw it by him.

    But I just watched the video of Honer’s pitch to Weeks. It was right down the middle with no apparent movement to a guy who’s a good fastball hitter and who has hit Homer hard. All of that with the tying and go-ahead runs on plate.

    I would have much preferred that rather than walking Navreson on 4 pitches, he challenge him with a fast ball right down the pipe. If Navreson got a hit, I would not have said he “grooved” that one, because he’d made the kind of pitch that makes sense with the opposing pitcher up.

  27. @Steve: We need to get Ramon into games playing at other positions.

  28. @Steve: Again, Steve, you are taking what I said out of context. I was referring to tonite’s start and why I felt that his poor performance tonite had nothing to do with “head case”. (See the game thread.)

    I do still think that Bailey is capable—given the correct coaching—of walking less than 2.5 batters per 9 and striking out 9 batters per 9, which would be better than what he’s doing now (which is good, he’s doing well in that category now).

  29. @pinson343: Sounds like Dusty called for the steal.

    “You’ve got to take a chance there to try to get into scoring position,” Baker said. “They guessed right. I called it. That’s why it’s called stealing. Sometimes, you get caught.”

  30. “You’ve got to take a chance there to try to get into scoring position,” Baker said. “They guessed right. I called it. That’s why it’s called stealing. Sometimes, you get caught.”

    Why does Baker say such stupid things? I mean, you don’t “got to” take a chance. You *can* take a chance, but you don’t “got to” take a chance. He could have just said he thought it was a good risk to take.

    Anyways, that clears up who decided to steal.

  31. @Steve: Homer’s peripherals are outstanding and it’s why I feel the Reds have a good chance to win when he starts. But 7 HRs in 48 innings is too many, and as we know most of those have not been solo HRs.
    And for that reason his ERA is good but not as good as it should be.

  32. @pinson343: Who knows what the hell game you were watching but Owings didn’t retire Holliday, he gave up a run scoring double to him and that was after giving up a single and a walk.

  33. @Y-City Jim: @Dave Lowenthal:Interesting. I’ll repeat that I don’t have a problem with Stubbs running, it was running when the other manager is expecting it and it’s on a 0-1 count. Dusty got outsmarted by the opposing manager.

    I honestly don’t know how much of a factor he’s been in our 13-19 record in 1 run games, but I have a bad feeling about it.

  34. @pinson343: I meant tying and go-ahead runs on base, not “on plate.”

  35. I don’t recall anyone’s pursuit of 3,000 hits getting one tenth the media attention that Jeter’s is getting. He’s getting press conference coverage after every game ! And his career hit total has already received huge media attention twice: most hits by a Yankee, most hits in Yankee Stadium.

  36. With all the attention giving to finally calling up Cozart, which should have been accomplished about a month ago, I was thinking what has Walt done to improve this team. Yes, they went to the playoffs last year, first winning season in forever, but who has he brought in or what contracts has he done that improves the current team.

    Votto, BP, Cozart, Janish, Heisey, Stubbs, Bruce, Hernandez, Hanigan, Arroyo, Cueto, Bailey, CoCo, Massett, Bray are all from the other regimes.

    Renteria, Rolen, Lewis, Gomes, Leake and Chapman, Walt’s.

    Don’t get me wrong I like most of the contract extensions over the winter, Cueto, Bruce, Votto, but what about Arroyo and his untradeable contract and Rolen’s extension. Throw in that Chapman is a LH setup man and not a starter and I’m beginning to wonder. Even when you look at AAA and the prospects down there, all are from another regime.

    I know I’m leaving other good things he’s done but I also know I’m leaving other weird things out. (infatuation with ex-Cardinals, for example). For all the “In Walt we Trust” I heard last year, I have yet to see him make decision that has vastly improved this team or it’s outlook in the immediate future.

    I end this utterly pointless rant but hoping they take the next three and give me reason to hope for another playoff run.

    • Don’t get me wrong I like most of the contract extensions over the winter, Cueto, Bruce, Votto, but what about Arroyo and his untradeable contract and Rolen’s extension. Throw in that Chapman is a LH setup man and not a starter and I’m beginning to wonder. Even when you look at AAA and the prospects down there, all are from another regime.

      I’ve said the same for a while. Remember some of his 1st moves? Sign Gomes and Hernandez. I really believe the team would be better if we did neither.

      On Chapman, I think he’s been terribly mis-handled. Right now he’s a 1 pitch pitcher and for his career a 2 pitch pitcher. You are not going to be a good starter with two pitches unless you are Wakefield. He needs to be learning/mastering another pitch. a middle reliever can’t easily do that, cept for the off season.

  37. @The Mad Hatter: Your general point is a good one, and I’m still sort of in shock that Edgar Renteria is still clogging our dugout. And that Chapman is being so horribly mismanaged.

    But to be fair to WJ, you also have to consider the impact his moves had on us making the playoffs last year, because that was a huge positive for the organization and us fans. The initial Rolen deal was pretty important for that, as was drafting Leake.

  38. @Myles: the rotation has been awful. I agree make a deal for a pitcher. But Homer is NOT the one to go if/when we make such deal.

  39. @Steve: I agree that some of the moves he’s done have been positive. Bringing Rolen in at the trade deadline when we were out of it, made no sense to me at the time but really aided the development of the team last year. The drafting of Leake and the willingness to start him in the majors was a great move. But by and large everyone hated Krivsky as a GM but the vast majority of players that form the core of this roster and the prospects in AAA are here as a result of him and not Walt

    • @The Mad Hatter: @The Mad Hatter:

      @Steve: I agree that some of the moves he’s done have been positive.Bringing Rolen in at the trade deadline when we were out of it, made no sense to me at the time but really aided the development of the team last year.The drafting of Leake and the willingness to start him in the majors was a great move.But by and large everyone hated Krivsky as a GM but the vast majority of players that form the core of this roster and the prospects in AAA are here as a result of him and not Walt

      I hated the Rolen trade when it was made, I was wrong, it worked out…but the Rolen extension (along with the Arroyo extension)= contract & personnel problems for this organization.

  40. 1. I’m about done with the waiting for Homer Bailey to be good.
    2. Crickets chirping in Jocketty’s office now qualify for retirement benefits.

  41. Not much to add..just this – After the 4 pitch walk to the pitcher why didn’t someone(Ramon or preferably Price) make a visit to the mound?…We’ve seen Homer do this before. He did it in his previous two starts. Giving up the HR to Weeks in that situation was almost predictable…So, again – Why didn’t Price make a trip to the mound?

    A first pitch fastball to Meeks with two runners on base after a four pitch walk? GEESH!! 🙄

  42. BTW, Love the headline over @ RedReporter –

    “Zack Cozart is a worthless, no good bum. Reds lose, 5-4.” 😆 😆

  43. I wanted to slink into the stadium floorboards and hide after that pitch out with Stubbs in the 9th… and has anyone mentioned that Brandon almost got picked off twice in the same inning? Why does this team hate running bases well?

    I was distraught that anyone would take the bat out of Votto’s hands in the 9th, assuming Cairo doesn’t hit a double play. Luckily, he still hit and Brandon just didn’t get the run across.

    One other run the Brewers scored that the Reds have had trouble with at times: Lead-off double, fileders choice, Sac Fly for Bentencourt. I’m not calling for small ball by anymeans, just noting the Reds stand some baserunners (when they aren’t getting picked off).

    Homer: Threw everything to the outside of the plate against the pitcher. Ramon should have been out there after ball two and told him to get after it.

    I was in a good spot to see Cozart’s slide at home. That was fun. All and all a good night for a game, but a bad result.

  44. I watched the game on Fox Sports Wisconsin, and the aanouncers for the Brewers were noting that they expected a pitchout on that paticular pitch.

    I was not shocked to see Stubbs run, bus was a bit shocked that he went on that particular pitch.

    The move that I didn’t get was Heisey batting for Cozart. Yes, a runner was in scoring position, but you only needed a hit here. Would Heisey been utilized if you needed an HR in the next inning? I like Heisey, but not sure that Cozart needed to be PH for there. Obviously, he then uses Renteria in the double switch an inning later anyway and we all knew what the result of that would have been, and was. All in all, is was really Renteria batting for Cozart, and quite frankly I would rather have Cozart. I’m not sure Renteria could beat Ramon in a foot race!

    I have no problem with Votto getting a single. Come on, he got a hit, extended the game, got a man to 3rd where he can score in multiple ways. I don’t get the problem with that.

    • The move that I didn’t get was Heisey batting for Cozart. Yes, a runner was in scoring position, but you only needed a hit here.Would Heisey been utilized if you needed an HR in the next inning? I like Heisey, but not sure that Cozart needed to be PH for there.Obviously, he then uses Renteria in the double switch an inning later anyway and we all knew what the result of that would have been, and was.All in all, is was really Renteria batting for Cozart, and quite frankly I would rather have Cozart. I’m not sure Renteria could beat Ramon in a foot race!

      I have no problem with Votto getting a single.Come on, he got a hit, extended the game, got a man to 3rd where he can score in multiple ways.I don’t get the problem with that.

      Heisey’s pinch hitting for Cozart was not only Dusty’s way of getting Edgar into the game, it was just the first of many head games he will be playing with Cozart. How ironic that it was Heisey who hit for him, the guy who’s been through this with Dusty the most.

      I didn’t think Votto looked all that good at the plate the whole game, so I was thrilled with the single. He took the pitch he got and went with it, hit it hard. If he’d tried to pull it, he would have ended up with a Sean Casey ground out to second base. Despite Votto’s great power numbers last year, he’s primarily a line drive hitter. Anyway, it’s the big leagues, you don’t just go up to the plate and “go for a home run”. Unless you’re Drew Stubbs, of course.

      • Heisey’s pinch hitting for Cozart was not only Dusty’s way of getting Edgar into the game, it was just the first of many head games he will be playing with Cozart.

        I agree.
        I wasn’t watching the game, I was bowling, but when I saw on my phone that he PH for Cozart I worried that this was the beginning of Dusty’s screwing with a young player. I was actually worried Cozart got hurt because I couldn’t think of anything else. That is a perfect opportunity to let a guy be a hero in his 1st game.

    • Bob Purkey:

      I watched the game on Fox Sports Wisconsin, and the aanouncers for the Brewers were noting that they expected a pitchout on that paticular pitch.

      I was not shocked to see Stubbs run, bus was a bit shocked that he went on that particular pitch.

      Bob, This is the point I’ve tried to make. I have no problem with Stubbs trying to steal 2nd with Cairo batting in the 9th. But on an 0-1 count, everyone in the park (except Dusty) was expecting a pitchout.

      • Bob, This is the point I’ve tried to make. I have no problem with Stubbs trying to steal 2nd with Cairo batting in the 9th. But on an 0-1 count, everyone in the park (except Dusty) was expecting a pitchout.

        This. Baker seems to get caught doing this too much in late inning situations, IMO

  45. If Stubbs steals second and scores on a base hit, it’s a brilliant call, and I wouldn’t try to run anyone else except maybe Phillips. Everyone is always complaining how Dusty isn’t proactive and “needs to do something,” so I see no problem with sending him. I also don’t see a problem if Stubbs went on his own. Kid’s got to try something when he does get on base.

    As for Bailey, it’s the same old story with the pitching staff. It’s not the homers, because you’re going to give them up to Milwaukee. It’s the walks that are mostly killing them. Bailey doesn’t walk many, so I see no need to pile on him. This team has to win some 3-2 games once in a while, but that doesn’t excuse all the runners LOB.

    I expect this team to lose every day at this point. I’ll be impressed if they manage 81 wins.

  46. Meh. Homer is what he is at this point, dynamite physical stuff hampered by being prone to injuries and mental collapses.

    And Jocketty is nothing impressive as a GM, most of this organization’s current strength was built up by people that came before him.

    If this team finishes out the year .500 or less, out of the playoff race, Castellini should make wholesale changes in management. There is simply no excuse for the lack of performance and mental mistakes this team makes week after week, and Jocketty has not addressed the team’s roster weaknesses at all.

  47. The walk to Narveson cost the Reds 2 runs–the one Narveson scored and the one they got with the 2-out single–and therefore the game. I wish that Rolen or Votto or Phillips would go to the mound on these occasions, like when Homer went to 2-0 on Narveson, and get him focused. But you never see it, and I don’t understand why not. It may not be in Votto’s nature to do it, but it’s his team now.

    It may not be statistically provable, or even true, but it seems like when a pitcher makes a screwy play such as an error or balk, you can almost count on further damage. Homer has a variation of this problem, tending to give up a 3-run homer after something goes awry. I suppose Homer has to find his own way to not lose focus.

  48. How the Reds ran themselves out of the tying run is beyond me. Renteria’s AB in the 9th was good, he just should have held back on the pitch he made contact with. And Bailey hasn’t been any better than Volquez since he has returned from his rehab assignment.

    Volquez since returning: 5.29 ERA, 5.2 IP per start in 6 starts

    Bailey since returnging: 6.00 ERA. 6.0 IP per start in 3 starts

    Volquez’s first 3 starts after returning: 3.5 ERA, 6.0 IP per start

  49. Went back and watched the replay of the 5th inning debacle. Right after the seeing-eye single by Lucroy, the first pitch to Narveson is 8-10 feet from the ground. I will bet money that if the same series of events along with the recent history with Homer had happened with Dave Duncan as PC, Duncan is out to the mound. The next pitch seemed to be just either a tad high or inside. Hard to see because the camera was not good for detecting pitch location, next pitch is low and outside, at this point Price “has” to go talk with Homer and say “look just groove the damn thing, let Narveson have his sac”. Look at the situation if he had successfully sacrificed: man on second one out and Weeks at the plate. Weeks is followed by Morgan, who is no power threat. Pitch around Weeks with his 16-homers if want because Morgan is not going to put one in the seats. Pitch four is a joke way high and outside. Does anyone visit the mound? Naw, let Homer figure it out on his own. Next pitch to Weeks: the worst 92 mph fastball you have seen in your life. Price doesn’t come out to the mound until the Morgan single. 🙄

    Sorry to bore everyone with this sequence but it is instructive. To me, a great pitching coach goes out to the mound after the first pitch to Narveson, a good PC after the third, any other pitching coach that should be in the profession should be out there after the walk. The discouraging thing is that if it happens in Bailey’s next start, they will do the same thing all over again: nothing.

  50. @CharlotteNCRedsFan: I’m glad you went through pitch by pitch because I wasn’t able to see the game, only listen on the radio. I wonder how much the pitching coach not going out is on the pitching coach or the manager. One of the ways Hanigan helps the pitchers is constantly trying to keep them focused. On almost every pitch he is encouraging them. Ramon seems much more passive.

    • I wonder how much the pitching coach not going out is on the pitching coach or the manager.

      Excellent point. Is DB a control freak? Is Price allowed to determine if a mound visit is necessary? That would be a great question for John Fay or Marty to ask Dusty.

  51. @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Correction: 6.56. There, I feel better now.

  52. @SJ: I’ve never once said Dusty needs to be more proactive.

  53. @Steve: And Hanigan is just as dumb about going after the corners when he should be calling for pitches down the pipe.

    • And Hanigan is just as dumb about going after the corners when he should be calling for pitches down the pipe.

      I’m sure, like all fans, I’m way off target on my assumptions about players. But, the last player on the team that I’d accuse of being dumb, or imply that he doesn’t know how to do his job, is Ryan Hanigan.

  54. @secondguessingfanbase: What in the world is your point? That the Reds should send Bailey down? He’s kind of similar to Volquez for the year: a 4.13 ERA, compared to a 5.93 ERA.

  55. @Jason1972: Once again, in a game where Bailey struck out 1 and walked 2, he did not have dynamite physical stuff. That is the more likely explanation than the “mental head case” one. Homer Bailey is a major league pitcher, which is a very small, select group of people. The mental head cases have pretty much mostly been weeded out of that group of people.

  56. @Steve: Both Reds catchers have the pitchers nibbling too much, which I believe is dumb. It doesn’t mean that they are dumb players.

  57. I’m sorry, but I’m really tired of this “Ryan Hanigan is a genius catcher” stuff. Hanigan is the catcher who had Bill Bray throwing at the corners with Schumaker up with a tight strike zone and Pujols on deck in the 7th inning Wednesday. Behind in the count. It just made no sense whatsoever.

    I don’t know if the Reds as an organization think that they have to keep the ball out of the center of the plate when behind in the count, but I have noticed that both catchers seem to set up off the center no matter what. Perhaps this is not Hanigan’s fault and the fault of the organization.

    I like Hanigan too, it’s nothing against him. I’ve just never seen so many people believe that Hanigan is worlds better than Ramon Hernandez as a player when he’s not. Hanigan is a low end starter or an excellent backup.

  58. @Dave Lowenthal: My point is that in the interest of fairness, Homer Bailey has not been good since returning. If fans are going to slam one guy (Volquez) and not another (Bailey), that’s not fair.

  59. @Dave Lowenthal: Let me make my point even clearer. Since Homer is apparently on the upswing and Volquez is headed down the toilet, let’s see who has had better numbers as a Red.

    ERA – Volquez
    WHIP – Volquez
    K/9 – Volquez
    BB/9 – Bailey
    H/9 – Volquez
    HR/9 – Volquez
    SO/BB – Volquez
    IP per start – Volquez

  60. @secondguessingfanbase: You’re way off base. If Volquez had an ERA of 3 coming back off the DL and had a couple rough starts, I don’t think the fans would be climbing all over him. (And, the fans ARE climbing all over Bailey, for the most part, by the way—read this blog, for example.)

    Why is so hard for you to understand the following thing: Volquez’s ERA this year is 5.93, which is among the worst ERAs for anyone with a lot of innings in the bigs.

    And I’m not even one of the people who’s on his back the most. Many just want him gone.

  61. @Dave Lowenthal: I think you’re the one having trouble with comprehension. Bailey has NEVER had a season like Volquez had in 2008 yet the stints where he has been good have been small. Somehow that has been forgotten and Bailey is the future and Volquez is the past. I feel Bailey could be very good. I also feel that NO ONE gets critiqued like Volquez on this thread outside of Dusty Baker, and those two individuals are two of the most accomplished Reds on this team, like it or not. Bailey has accomplished nothing.

  62. @secondguessingfanbase: I haven’t looked up the numbers, but that’s a really poor way to compare the two guys for two reasons. One is that Volquez is a good bit older while Bailey’s been completely mismanaged. Two is that there is one single stat that can eliminate a pitcher from being able to succeed in the major leagues, and that’s BB/9. If your BB/9 is over 5 you simply cannot succeed in the major leagues. So no matter what the other stats, Volquez will never succeed while his BB/9 is what it is right now.

    You have to face the facts: Volquez needs to go to AAA and try to get his career back together. Hopefully he will. But you know that is career is in jeopardy. Any pitcher who has had multiple seasons in a row of walking over 5 per 9 is. Maybe it’s the surgery, doesn’t matter what it is, it just is.

  63. @Dave Lowenthal: @secondguessingfanbase: it’s weird, but i sort of agree with both of you.

    there’s no doubt that volquez needs to go to AAA, the walks are too high, but it’s more the HR that scare me. He’s missing in the center of the plate too much, andhe’s giving up HR on over 20%(!) of flyballs. His xFIP is aournd 4, even with the walks, because when a guy strikes out 1/ip and has a GP% over 50% he should be dominant. But the HR has been killing him.

    But, I also think that Bailey isn’t really that good. People say he was mismanaged, but who knows, he wasn’t really that good in the minors either. When he lost his velocity he was never going to be a top of the rotation starter, for two simple reasons.

    1: His fastball is straight as his arrow tattoo. When it was 98, maybe he blows it by people as an out pitch, but at 93, he can’t do that anymore, and thus the k’s have come down.

    2: his fastball is still his best pitch. he’s never had a plus secondary pitch that he could throw for strikes. so he has to rely on the fastball, which often gets hammered.

    I give homer credit, he’s changed style and been able to have some success. I think that if he continues to work on his fastball control, and gives up a few less HR, he can be a serviceable 3-4 type for a while. But he’s just never going to be that good with the stuff he has.

  64. There are a couple emerging trends in this thread I take issue with:
    1) Blaming the catchers for the pitching calls. As stated the calls were on the corners, which isn’t a bad thing to call. The pitchers left the pitches up over the middle of the plate. Bailey threw a meat pitch in the wheelhouse of Weeks, Volquez fastball sails back over the middle of the plate, Bray, Arroyo…failure to execute on the part of the pitchers is the problem. This is a command issue not a call issue.
    2) Someone referred to a column that Cozart was a worthless at SS. Cozart was responsible for the Reds first lead of the game. Scoring from first on a single. No other player on the Reds scores from on that play except Stubbs. He added a charge into the lineup. Yes, he hit into a double play to end the inning with RISP. How many times have we seen this happen to veteran players on the Reds. Is Cozart immune from the same struggles on the Reds?
    3) Pinch hitting Heisey for Cozart. THis was a dumb call, as stated Dusty’s way to get Renteria into the lineup. Had the Reds let Cozart bat, we’re looking at being down 1 run in the top of the 9th with Heisey, Stubbs,Cairo. Agreed that the steal was a bad call/bad decision with an 0-1 count. They hadn’t thrown over, hadn’t put the pitchout on, the signs were there the steal was coming and a pitchout should be painfully obvious to a coach. Why not let Cairo work a count for a bit then send Stubbs? Poorly managed 8th and 9th.

  65. @secondguessingfanbase:
    This league is not a what have you done in the past it’s a what have you done for me lately, and frankly Volquez has done nothing since 2008 except serve a 50 game suspension, had Tommy John surgery, had an issue with gun violence scandal (music video in 09 I believe).

    • @secondguessingfanbase:This league is not a what have you done in the past it’s a what have you done for me lately, and frankly Volquez has done nothing since 2008 except serve a 50 game suspension, had Tommy John surgery, had an issue with gun violence scandal (music video in 09 I believe).

      gun violence scandal? please. don’t be ridiculous. there is no violence involved in filming a music video. that’s like saying that bruce willis is a serial killer because he’s been in 4 die hard movies.

  66. Here is our starting rotation by FIP (no numbers on Dontrelle):

    Cueto – 3.49
    Leake – 3.76
    Bailey – 4.01
    Volquez – 5.29
    Arroyo – 5.52

    Then there’s these two guys:

    Wood – 4.11
    LeCure – 3.45

    I have been advocating for a while to try Bailey out of the pen. I think that his lack of a great secondary pitch would be minimized there, and that if history is a guage, he can probably throw a little harder, which will make his fastball a better weapon. Potential closer of the future? That would be an awesome result to his career if it worked out, for my money.

    I also like the way LeCure pitches, as his slider and change are quality starter pitches and I think he might deserve another chance.

    If I was given total control to go wild with the team, here’s what I’d try:

    Cueto #1
    Leake #2
    Wood #3
    LeCure #4
    Willis/Volquez #5

    Arroyo to the DL.
    Bailey to the pen.

  67. @al:
    Why send Bailey to the Pen when his FIP is below the league average of 4.08 acc to fangraphs: http://www.fangraphs.com/library/index.php/pitching/fip/
    and keeping Volquez in the rotation.

    Lecure starter (ESPN): ERA of 4.79 over 4 starts with a line of.247 .301 .506 .808
    Reliever: 1.39 ERA .176 .238 .270
    Lecure’s best value comes out of the bullpen. His FIP would be affected by the skewed RP numbers he’s put up.

  68. Dontrelle Willis MiLB FIP was 3.12 according to Fangraphs
    http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=1703&position=P

  69. @Reagan Jay: i guess some of it is based on my own “scouting.” i don’t expect for bailey, based on his stuff, to have sustained success as a starter. i think he could be a dominant reliever.

    lecure has 3 solid pitches, and is better suited for the starter role. that said, i know he hasn’t had a ton of success (though it’s a small sample) and you’re right, he could be best used out of the pen as well.

    volquez has some very specific problems. his mechanics aren’t repeatable enough and he’s wild outside and inside the zone. however, he has three plus pitches and has a much higher ceiling as a starter than either bailey or lecure.

  70. @Dave Lowenthal: Wasn’t I the one that said the Reds should send him down to change his windup a day before they sent him down?

    As for mismanaged power arms, Volquez has been just as disrespected as Bailey has, if not more. As a September call up in 2005, just five months after starting his professional baseball, he flamed out in 3 starts followed by 3 relief appearances. Edinson spent all of 2006 in AAA, posting a 3.21 in 21 starts. He was wild, with 5.4 BB/9, but also just a 1.3 WHIP considering. They foolishly brought him up the first week of August and plopped him in the rotation, and got predictably poor results. They sent him down to rookie ball to start 2007 and what do you know, come September Edinson is back with the big club. He was traded to Cincinnati that December.

    Homer’s pro career started in 2005 like Edinson’s. Bailey made his major league debut on June 8, 2007. Volquez made his on August 30, 2005.

  71. @al: Al, that’s my point: he wasn’t good in the minors and this idiot organization called him up to boost ticket sales. At 21 or whatever it was. They had him pitching for years in the bigs when he had no business being there. If you would have seen my posts on the Reds list they were blistering. I mean, no one ripped Bailey more than me. And the organization, much more so.

    You may well be right. I don’t think I ever said Bailey was Cy Young. I don’t know what he’ll be and yes, I’m concerned that his fastball seems to top out at 94, but I’d also like to see him pitch healthy (if he even is) for a while. I don’t think his secondary numbers that he put up last year and this year suggest a 3-4 level starter though. Even if his fastball tops at 94. More like a 2-3, with a potential for a 2. To me the bigger problem is that he’s a significant injury risk, and perhaps with the straight fastball a significant gopher ball risk.

  72. @Dave Lowenthal: i just don’t know what you see in bailey’s stuff to think he could be a second starter. what’s his good pitch? he was throwing more sliders early this year, and having some effect, but now he’s backed off of it, and i assume it’s because throwing it was not good for his shoulder.

    it’s not that he’s topping out at 95, it’s that his fastball has very little movement and he doesn’t have another pitch (or pitches) to get people off of it. if you see something i don’t, let me know.

  73. As has been pointed out, Bailey’s problem is with the gopher ball. In particular, he’s given up a 3 run HR in each of his last 4 starts. I don’t think that trend can possibly continue. I expect him to improve, no idea by how much.

    I would say that to be a bona fide playoff team, it looks like we need to trade for a number 2 starter.

  74. Cozart had a fine debut, his scoring from first on Ramon’s single was the Reds hilite of the game.

    Someone on the thread seemed to misunderstand that the Reds Reporter headline (like Chad’s) was facetious.

  75. @mike: Bowling?

  76. @mike: Mike, you don’t have to tell us *everything*.

  77. I am still waiting to see the “greatness” in Homer, cause I don’t see it. I am also really hopeing Walt wakes up and sees that real change needs to happen and allows Dusty to return to ESPN. Anything besides that is not going to change the atmosphere and direction of this team this year.

  78. @Steve:

    Good enough for what…to be a 3 or 4 guy because right now, on this team I would list him on that level.

  79. I agree with Bill, I think LeCure has the pitches to be a starter, and at least deserves a shot beyond an occasional spot start every now and then.

    Move Bailey to the pen and see how he responds, give LeCure a shot.

    Willis’ start will be VERY interesting.

  80. I found this little interesting tid-bit regarding the Reds calling up Dontrell Willis for Sunday’s start and an appaulling number about our starting rotation.
    ESPN.com
    In 13 starts with Louisville this season, Willis has made significant strides in addressing some longstanding control problems. He’s 5-2 with a 2.63 ERA and has 67 strikeouts and only 20 walks in 75 1/3 innings.

    The Reds are a disappointing 44-45, thanks in part to inconsistency in the starting rotation. Cincinnati’s starters rank 15th among the 16 NL clubs with a 4.63 ERA.

  81. Who knows what will happen with Dontrielle, but i’m glad he’ll be getting a shot. He couldn’t do much worse than Volquez. But he’s not competing with Volquez for a spot in the rotation: he’s competing with Wood and Homer.

  82. I’m not opposed to Homer pitching in the pen, if we have 5 better options. But right now we don’t know that, let’s give him a few more starts.

    The topic came up as to how flat his fastball has been. But in previous seasons, ML hitters who have faced him (such as Pujols) have raved about his stuff. Makes me wonder if his shoulder is yet 100%.

  83. @mike: @Dave Lowenthal: Mike didn’t tell us everything, he didn’t say what score he bowled.

  84. Today’s lineup:

    Drew Stubbs cf
    Edgar Renteria ss
    Joey Votto 1b
    Brandon Phillips 2b
    Jay Bruce rf
    Scott Rolen 3b
    Chris Heisey lf
    Ryan Hanigan c
    Mike Leake p

    Renteria batting second. Sigh.

    • Today’s lineup:Drew Stubbs cfEdgar Renteria ssJoey Votto 1bBrandon Phillips 2bJay Bruce rfScott Rolen 3bChris Heisey lfRyan Hanigan cMike Leake pRenteria batting second. Sigh.

      Didn’t take long to get Renteria back in the line-up. Of I forgot, “he starting to warm up”. Whatever that means.

  85. @redtothebone: Oops, my bad. I saw Owings strike out Berkman (on mlbnetwork) and thought he had just retired Holiday.

    In any case Owings is pitching better this season, but we’re just as well off without him.

  86. @Steve: I. Give. Up.

  87. I prefer Heisey as leadoff and Stubbs further down in the lineup.

  88. @pinson343: I prefer Renteria a bit further down too, like around 12th.

  89. @Steve: Renteria, I hope, is a one-game thing. I’m guessing Cozart got zero sleep Wednesday night, because he got the call at 1:15 a.m., and it probably wouldn’t hurt to let him catch his breath and watch this one. If they don’t play him 9 games out of 10, though . . .

    It’s WAY too early to give up on Homer Bailey as a starter. When Cliff Lee was his age, he’d thrown 62 major league innings. Bob Gibson had been 3-6 and a 5.63 in his age-24 season, and led the league in walks in his 13-12 age-25 season. If Albert Pujols says he has good stuff, I have to believe him.

  90. Why does Dusty make it so hard on the fans? This is just damn ridiculous.

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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.

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2011 Reds, Titanic Struggle Recap

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