2011 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Non-Recap

Let’s recap today’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Cincinnati 4
Chicago (NL) 11

W: C. Zambrano (9-6)
L: J. Cueto (7-5)
BOX SCORE

–When the story of the 2011 season is written, unless something crazy happens, I think today may be the day that sealed Dusty Baker’s fate in Cincinnati (though it’s not all his fault.)

27 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Non-Recap

  1. I’m not the biggest Dusty fan out there but I think you are correct, it’s not all Dusty’s fault with the way the team has played. (Unless, of course, it was ALL Dusty’s fault that the Reds made the playoffs last year.) The manager gets the credit or the blame, much like a quarterback in football. This year, the Reds finally had legitimate expectations and they woefully underperformed those (that’s how most see it). In reality, it could be that the Reds amazingly surpassed expectations last year en route to the post season and now have reverted back to form…a quick look at the Reds’ record over the last decade+ would suggest that view is probably more accurate.

    And, objectively speaking, what players from the Reds would a playoff caliber team even want? Obviously Votto is good, and Phillips is pretty good…and then who? Bruce? Maybe in May, not so much since then. And how about the pitching? Someone would take Cueto (assuming they didn’t watch today’s game), but otherwise? Maybe Chapman.

    The Reds, as currently constructed, can’t win unless a bunch of the players play at the high end of their projections. Last year that happened (Rolen, Gomes, etc.). This year, it didn’t happen. For anyone to think the Reds are anything more than that is looking at things through rose colored glasses…

    • And, objectively speaking, what players from the Reds would a playoff caliber team even want? Obviously Votto is good, and Phillips is pretty good…and then who? Bruce? Maybe in May, not so much since then. And how about the pitching? Someone would take Cueto (assuming they didn’t watch today’s game), but otherwise? Maybe Chapman.

      that’s a good question but it’s also difficult to answer.
      the teams might want them but they might not be in the role they are in with the Reds
      playoff teams would love; Votto, Phillips, Bruce, Stubbs, Hernandez, Hanigan, Cueto, Leake, Wood, Chapman, LeCure or Masset

  2. While most of the blame must be placed on the players, there hasn’t seemed to be any accountability this season. “Oh, we’re playing like crap? Well, that’s OK. We’ll get hot soon.” That attitude is OK in April, but it’s continued all the way through August. This “players manager” attitude is a little troubling.

  3. >> –When the story of the 2011 season is written, unless something crazy happens, I think today may be the day that sealed Dusty Baker’s fate in Cincinnati (though it’s not all his fault.)

    we can only hope

  4. It would be rather poetic that Chicago sealed his fate. Cubs fans would take great pride in that.

  5. Well…it IS all Baker’s fault! It has been said he is not a good manager for younger players—-he prefers and has had success with veteran teams. A veteran team is usually able to police themselves—-experienced players tend to recognize where they are having problems and can figure out how to fix it. The Reds have a lot of younger players who are having a great deal of trouble and are not able to fix it themselves. They need coaches who will take them aside and show them what to work on. And they need a manager who will commit to a set line-up evry day, not just put evry spare part in just because “the match ups look good”.

  6. I was sort of listening on the radio while doing other stuff; and it just seemed like more of the same old same old to me.

    What happened today to make it the day any more or even as much THE DAY as the debacle versus Metz with all the unearned runs? Does that one versus the Metz get swept under the rug because they followed it by sweeping the Giants who seem to be in as much of a free fall as the Reds?

  7. It seems to me this team has been in disarray for the last month or so, some days more than others but never really right. Coming up to the AllStar break there was that loosely played game versus the Cards in StLouis which seemingly precipitated the meeting Walt had with Dusty and the coaches and then if I recall correctly Dusty also had a short players meeting.

    If you listen to Dusty on the pregame radio and/ or watch him on the post game TV, it seems to me he has not been the same person since then as before then. His demeanor in the dugout also seems changed. Over the same period the team has spiraled down and down starting with the 1-3 series in Milwauke that should have been a 3-1 or at the worst a split…..

  8. really odd stat

    The Reds are 28-18 vs STL, Brew Crew, Chicago and Houston
    2-7 vs Pitt, but that will change when we play them again

    5-12 vs the NL East
    6-12 vs the AL

    ouch

  9. Surprised the Reds actually have played decent against the Central, but last year they were really good against the Central.

    In defense of Dusty, the Cardinals fell apart last year by losing to horrible NL Central teams down the stretch. I’m sure many wanted Larussa fired. But the difference I think right now is that St. Louis still had a winning record. I think what would get Baker fired is if the Reds finished below .500, espcially only winning like 75-78 games.

    They’ve been fading for a long time though. I kind of suspected that playing these weaker teams wouldn’t really help the Reds make up any ground. When you’re going bad, you’re going bad.

    The talk of trading Votto is interesting. He’s really the only bigtime threat in the Reds order, but if you could trade him for 2-3 really good prospects in the offseason. Or even like a major league outfielder and a couple really good pitching prospects, you’d have to think about it.

    Finally, I see that Heisey finally went on the DL. Is it me, or does it seem like the Reds are always just keeping injured players on the roster for 4-5 days extra when that player can’t really perform? I don’t get it.

  10. I will say this up front, I don’t like Dusty Baker. I mean, I really really really don’t like Dusty Baker. Even last year I can’t remember how many times I was baffled by his managing. I still believe that the Reds won in spite of him. Not because of him. With that being said however, this team just confuses me. I am not sure if they are two or three players away from being a world series winner, or if last year was just a giant fluke. Have we really been duped into thinking this team was on the cusp of greatness when really it is just your usual Reds club that happened to have a year of plain dumb luck. This all reminds me of a couple years back when the Bengals went to the playoffs. They weren’t that great of a team. It was pretty easy to see. It raised the expectations sky high. Of course the Bengals let everyone down. They always do. The fans were just so hungry for a winner that they were easily fooled into thinking that they had something that they never really had. (Disclaimer: my loyalties switch to Cleveland during the football season) This all feels like what we had this season. Our expectations were sky high. We were so hungry for a winner that we did not really look at this team objectively. I think all the signs were there, but, hey, when it has been 15 years since the Reds were in the playoffs who cares. Now, here we are, in a spot that everyone in baseball except Reds fan saw coming from a mile away. We are fans though. We are supposed to have blinders on. That’s what die hard fans do. The ownership and GM are supposed to be ones that see through all that and make the moves to keep the ship afloat. Unfortunately our captain has fallen asleep at the wheel.

  11. I’m not saying this is THE problem but I have a question: Does any other manager in baseball play as many different line-up combinations as Dusty? Seems t me that, other than day games after night games or injuries, fans for most teams can pretty well bank on their starting line-up night after night. Sure, everyone gets a night off every now and then. In Cincinnati, other than penciling in Votto at first base/batting 3rd, it’s ALWAYS been a crapshoot as to who is playing and where they’re batting under Baker.
    I’m not talking about just now. Even when they were supposedly in contention everyone wanted to see the starting line-up because it was like Forest Gump’s box of chocolates – you never knew what you might find.
    Maybe I’m wrong, but I think that approach is somewhat unique and not good. This isn’t little league. No need to “play all the guys”.

  12. @hhscarletgray:
    “…We were so hungry for a winner that we did not really look at this team objectively. ….”

    I disagree, many on this site have looked at this team objectively. Its been cited often prior to the preseason the gaps at LF and SS, as well as a veteran “ace” starting pitcher to help lead a young staff.

    There is no reason the Reds not to be competing for the NL Central. they have a +34 run diff, look at the standings for similiar clubs, they are minimim +6 games in the win column. To me the killer has been all the 1-run losses, whether the offense not getting the key hit or the bullpen failing or Dusty leaving in a starter an inning too long.

    I agree with Chad that its not all been Dusty’s fault but if he is shown the door, I have not regrets in that event. This current melt down of the Reds reminds so much of his last two years in Chicago, expected to win but failed miserably. Too many excuses then, too many now with Gomes, Janish/Renteria “wait till the weather gets hot”, inability to get Stubbs and Bruce to take next step. Unable to see coco on fumes pre all-star. Definitely a frustrating season.

  13. I agree with the assessment that we had several guys have career years last year, (Gomes, Rolen, Votto?) but another thing with this years team is they just do not play fundamental baseball in that they seem to never try to bunt a guy over. We can get a guy on second with no outs and rarely do I see the next guy try to get him over. But then we also have so many guys that whiff so much (see Stubbs, Jay Bruce. As much as guys had career years last year, others this year have seemingly slumped the entire season. Inconsistent play by Stubbs, Bruce, the spin the wheel lineup that Baker throws out on a daily basis, the mental errors made by all just frustrates the crap outa me. We seem to play to our level of competition this year. Votto is not seeing much to hit or hitting against some type of shift because no one else seems to hit consistently. Bronson Arroyo, God love him, is good one start out of 5, Cueto has been the most consistent pitcher until he got roasted yesterday. Masset at times can be dominant but then he walks the leadoff man after we take a 4-3 lead in Houston and we proceed to blow another game late. I want a starting rotation next year of Cueto, Chapman, Willis, Leake and a pitcher to be acquired later, give me a bullpen of LeCure, Masset, Bray, Ondrusek, and Arredondo though he can drive you mad at times. Dump Janish, Renteria, Lewis, trade Stubbs or Bruce, Heisey,Hernandez, Cordero, Arroyo, Woods. Fire Baker, Jacoby bring in a manager who manages for the entire season and not minute to minute stubbornly. I would love to see Ken Griffey Sr. back as a bench coach next year or as hitting coach. Rolen? I want to see him in Spring training next year but if his shoulder is still messed up then its time to move on. I think somebody (Baker) forgot that while this is a game it is also a business and he lets his emotions get the best of him in some of his decisions. I would like to see the list of CF’s we have had since he came on board.

  14. I remember all of the complaining last year about Dusty mismanaging his starting staff in the first half because he was “trying to save his bullpen”. He seems to have the same problem this year in understanding when to pull the starters. The Reds batting stats show the #2 spot in the line-up has a .315 OBP while the #8 slot has a .351 OBP. The difference through 113 games would produce an extra 18 base runners in front of Votto and the heart of the line-up (with one less out). Dusty just can’t help from putting low OBP guys in that slot. The Reds opposing managers seem to have figured out the #8 slot is for the worst hitters – with an OBP of .294. Dusty is just the same old manager he has always been. Last year it didn’t hurt much, this year it’s contributing to the problem. It is not all his fault the Reds are not doing well, but he is not making moves to help the team. Some have disagreed that Dusty’s managing of the line-up makes a difference. If that’s the case, why bother to manage at all? Just deal out cards and let the high card lead-off etc. I think Bob Boone tried this years ago.

    I won’t miss Dusty if he is replaced. But what the team really needs in order to be a WS contender is a lead-off hitter, another middle of the line-up bat and a top of the rotation pitcher. 3B, LF, SS and another catcher need to be solved for next year. Some of the answers may be in the Reds system already. They might as well start figuring it out now because the “Redlegs are deadlegs”* this year.

  15. A friend and I went to Chicago to stay at my grandmother’s house for the weekend when we were 19. We caught a game at Wrigley which the Reds lost. Afterwards, we were standing outside the stadium watching the Reds board the team bus. There was an old drunk shaking a rattle, dancing around and singing “The Redlegs are deadlegs”. Tony Perez gave the guy a look like he was going to shove the rattle down the guys throat or somewhere else. Bench came out and skipped the team bus, hopping in a white vette convertible with two good looking blondes.
    For years since, we always pronounce the Redlegs to be deadlegs when the time comes. I believe the time has arrived this year.

  16. Pingback: This was supposed to be the week… « Senor Smoke

  17. The worst part about this season is that the glaring weaknesses were so obvious heading into the offseason, and not enough was done about them. We knew we needed a backup SS capable of starting, and they signed Renteria. We knew we needed a LF capable of matching or bettering Gomes’ career year from last year, and they signed Fred Lewis. We knew Rolen was unlikely to play as many games as last year, and likely not as well, and they didn’t do anything at all to address that. We knew we needed an ace, and while Cueto has exceeded expectations, they didn’t stretch out Chapman as a starter in the minors and won’t have him ready to pitch even 100 innings next season.

    You can’t cross your fingers and hope players will repeat career performances (and I’d even include Votto in this, simply because he was so damn good last season), even on a small-market budget. And when it’s clear the veterans aren’t cutting it, you’ve got to give the younger depth you’ve accumulated at AAA a chance. All of this is pretty damning to Jocketty and Baker, but I assure you that neither man is going anywhere. Hopefully they’ll address the same issues we had at the end of last season at the end of this season.

    • Travis G.: The worst part about this season is that the glaring weaknesses were so obvious heading into the offseason, and not enough was done about them. We knew we needed a backup SS capable of starting, and they signed Renteria. We knew we needed a LF capable of matching or bettering Gomes’ career year from last year, and they signed Fred Lewis. We knew Rolen was unlikely to play as many games as last year, and likely not as well, and they didn’t do anything at all to address that. We knew we needed an ace, and while Cueto has exceeded expectations, they didn’t stretch out Chapman as a starter in the minors and won’t have him ready to pitch even 100 innings next season. You can’t cross your fingers and hope players will repeat career performances (and I’d even include Votto in this, simply because he was so damn good last season), even on a small-market budget. And when it’s clear the veterans aren’t cutting it, you’ve got to give the younger depth you’ve accumulated at AAA a chance. All of this is pretty damning to Jocketty and Baker,

      I agree with every keystroke of this diagnosis.

      I’d add this about Dusty Baker. While there is legitimate disagreement about how big of a role he has played in the team’s success last year and underachievement this year, it’s really impossible to make a case that he’s the right manager going forward.

      The team needs a fresh start.

      It’s inconceivable that Dusty Baker is capable of being part of that.

  18. @doctor: Particualrly like you9r point about one runs losses. To me they scream lack of focus on the task at hand.

    This is a team that finds ways to lose close games while last year’s edition found ways to win close ones. Hard to figure what the differences are when there were so few personnel changes.

    However when you look at the games the pen has let slip way, I think it is hard not to wonder if the difference is not having Art Rhodes down there mentoring or scaring those guys into succeeding in spite of themselves.

    Brantley was talking about this yesterday. He was saying that ultimately, the drive to win has to come from the players if it is to be sustained. He’s been there; so I’ll accept what he says about it. However, the leadership from above can go a long way in setting the tone for the players’ side of the clubhouse and I think that leadership from the manager and GM has been missing too.

  19. @Steve Mancuso: That’s just it right there. The comments on this page and Red Reporter lit up with “not the right guy” stuff when Baker was hired, and after 3 losing seasons out of 4 with a young team, there’s no rational argument to be made for keeping him or most of his coaching staff.

  20. Today’s lineup. No Brandon Phillips, Janish playing 2B. Sappelt is batting first, playing LF. Todd Frazier batting fifth. Jay Bruce batting clean-up.

    1. Dave Sappelt (R) LF
    2. Edgar Renteria (R) SS
    3. Joey Votto (L) 1B
    4. Jay Bruce (L) RF
    5. Todd Frazier (R) 3B
    6. Drew Stubbs (R) CF
    7. Ryan Hanigan (R) C
    8. Paul Janish (R) 2B
    9. Bronson Arroyo (R) P

  21. To me, the most frustrating part of the season is the Reds have 26 one run losses including 11 walkoff losses. If they win 40% of those, they are currently in 1st place. Even with all the underachievement across the board and mismanaging they are SO close. Maybe if cozart would have been called up sooner, maybe if sappelt would have been given a shot sooner. Who knows, but you can only think what if when you think about this season.

  22. This is all second guessing and it is unfair.

    >> We knew we needed a backup SS capable of starting . . .
    Renteria hit .276 last year – and you have Janish and Cozart. BEFORE the season that looked pretty good.

    >> We knew we needed a LF capable of matching or bettering Gomes’ career

    We did? Well, a *few* did. But who was out there to being in that *wanted* to be here? It would have had to be a one year deal because of Heisey, Yonder, Sappelt.

    >> We knew Rolen was unlikely to play as many games as last year, and likely not as well

    Umm, Francisco. Again, anyone we would have signed would be a one year deal because of Francisco.

    >> We knew we needed an ace, and while Cueto has exceeded expectations, they didn’t stretch out Chapman as a starter

    Again, hindsight. We had Cueto, Arroyo, Volquez, Wood, Leake, Bailey, Maloney, LeCure, Willis, and who knows else. It did not look like there was going to be a need for him in the rotation. Plus they guy is a thousand miles from home with who knows what going through his head concerning his family in Cuba. This was NOT they year to depend on him.

    Show me where you posted these exact concerns before the season. There was a reason that the Reds were most expert’s pick to win their division this year. It looked like we had made the few moves we needed to make.

    We have the record we have because so many things went worse than anyone expected. Votto and Bruce have declined. We got nothing out of CF and LF. Nothing from 3rd (because of two separate players getting injured). Volquez imploaded (and how many of you equated him with Cueto or liked him better?). Arroyo has been hurt. Wood regressed.

    None of this is Baker’s fault. None of this is the GM’s fault.

    These things happen.

    And bear in mind that before the trading deadline most people here were screaming for all these trades that would have included both Alonzo and Sappelt – who you guys now are creaming your pants over.

    This is not xbox. We have a GM who knows how to build a LONG TERM winner now. He is not going to screw over the next ten years of Reds Baseball to make a splash. I don’t think we could win the pennant this year without trading for three a-level talents. That would have decimated our minors and our depth.

    And stop with all this “fire Dusty” crap. He is a really good manager and he is not going ANYWHERE. You are just making yourselves sound foolish.

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