Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Houston 4
Cincinnati 6

W: H. Bailey (9-7)
L: B. Norris (6-11)
S: F. Cordero (34)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Jay Bruce was 3-5 with 2 RBI. Juan Francisco and Dave Sappelt had two hits each. Brandon Phillips and Devin Mesoraco each homered.

–Homer Bailey was 3-3 with a run scored. On the mound, he gave up two runs on six hits over 7 innings. Good night for Mr. Bailey.

NEGATIVES
–Jose Arredondo and Bill Bray tried to let the Astros get back into the game.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–Reds beat the Astros. Yippee. It’s the 101st loss of the season for Houston.

–We offer our hearty congratulations to Drew Stubbs on the occasion of his historic 200th strikeout of the season. As C. Trent noted — and you may be surprised to learn this — those Ks count only as 200 outs. Not 400 or 500, like some people seem to think.

–Reds got 14 hits tonight after totaling eight in the Milwaukee series.

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.

You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

Join the conversation! 21 Comments

  1. Can one single person explain to me why I should think the Reds are going to finish ahead of the Cardinals next year?

    There seems to be this “obvious” thing I’m missing, as in “obviously the Cardinals are going to go way downhill next year”. Perhaps that assumes Pujols signs elsewhere, which I highly doubt. The Cards were supposedly well behind the Reds this year, yet they’re far better. They’ve gone out and retained a rotation that is likely to be better than the Reds’ next year, and they definitely hit better, and they’ve finally figured out a lot of the bullpen problems were due to their own idiocy. They have a pretty good chance to overtake the Braves, who are inept, for the wildcard this year, and I really just don’t see where the Reds are going to be better next year. Without significant moves.

    • Can one single person explain to me why I should think the Reds are going to finish ahead of the Cardinals next year?There seems to be this “obvious” thing I’m missing, as in “obviously the Cardinals are going to go way downhill next year”. Perhaps that assumes Pujols signs elsewhere, which I highly doubt. The Cards were supposedly well behind the Reds this year, yet they’re far better. They’ve gone out and retained a rotation that is likely to be better than the Reds’ next year, and they definitely hit better, and they’ve finally figured out a lot of the bullpen problems were due to their own idiocy. They have a pretty good chance to overtake the Braves, who are inept, for the wildcard this year, and I really just don’t see where the Reds are going to be better next year. Without significant moves.

      Couple of reasons why the Reds may pass the Cards in 2012.
      Age, the cards have a lot of key players past 30. Pujol, Theriot, Schumaker, Holliday all 31 this year. Brekman 35, Furcal 33 and cards are talking of resigning them both. All of them have had recent injury issues. Molina will be 29 and has been worked hard by Larussa.

      The starting pitchers Carp, Lohse, Westbrook, Wainwright are 36, 32, 33 and 30 respectively this year. With Wainwright coming off TJ surgery, likely limited with his innings for 2012.

      Only CF Jon Jay at 26 and J Garcia at 24 are the youth of the lineup/rotation.

      Next, defense, the cards are in the bottom tier defensively in the league based on various metrics. Furcal may help there if he can stay healthy but thats been a problem for him lately. The lack of defense adds more stress to age-ing rotation.

      so thats part of how Cards come back to the Reds. I agree that Reds need improvement. In the rotation, Bailey, Leake, Cueto have to got to start putting in full seasons/200 innings/30+ starts, that would help the bullpen a lot. Hopefully Arroyo’s issue was all mono-related and gets back to being league average. Reds hitters as a group must start to be more consistent offensively.

      At least thats how I see. 😀

      Go 2012 Reds!

    • Can one single person explain to me why I should think the Reds are going to finish ahead of the Cardinals next year?There seems to be this “obvious” thing I’m missing, as in “obviously the Cardinals are going to go way downhill next year”. Perhaps that assumes Pujols signs elsewhere, which I highly doubt. The Cards were supposedly well behind the Reds this year, yet they’re far better. They’ve gone out and retained a rotation that is likely to be better than the Reds’ next year, and they definitely hit better, and they’ve finally figured out a lot of the bullpen problems were due to their own idiocy. They have a pretty good chance to overtake the Braves, who are inept, for the wildcard this year, and I really just don’t see where the Reds are going to be better next year. Without significant moves.

      Age plain and simple, their key players are getting older. Holiday had a injury plaqued season this year, Berkman if he is back isn’t going to get better, Carpenter is gettin gup there in age and so on. Age is the great equalizer.

  2. 200 Ks to go along with a .670 OPS

  3. @Dave Lowenthal: Agreed. It is not going to happen without lots of changes. The last two nights just underscore that even a #1 or #2 starter isn’t going to solve the problems because other than Cordero and LeCure there isn’t a single reliable arm in their pen.
    Unless newly acquired top of the rotation guys would always pitch complete games, there is no reason to believe they wouldn’t be just setting up 8th and 9th inning heart break on a slightly more regular basis than we have it now.

  4. Tonight I was watching something other than baseball on the TV (DWTS) and following the game on MLB.com Gameday via my laptop. I saw that Bray was up to 9 or 10 pitches on that guy and had pounded the zone on him and baited him but couldn’t put him away. I was thinking to myself, just walk him and go after the next guy because there is no way you are going to get him out. Just about then the marque started flashing “HOME RUN!”. I guess could just sense it coming….

  5. @Dave Lowenthal: The other operative point is that during the season this year, the Cards actually evaluated what was going on with their team and made significant changes on the fly while the Reds sat on their hands and did nothing save eventually dumping Gomes (then having the mgr decline to use the guy he was dumped to make room for).

    Even though the Brewers probably were uncatchable regardless given the run the went on and the fact the Reds had only 3 head to head games with them after the middle of July, there is no reason the Reds couldn’t have made a couple of moves and done as well as the Cards over the last two months (and thus in the end been in the WC chase).

  6. @OhioJim: Maybe. But the Braves collapse was practically unbelievable. I mean, it took a bunch of almost unbelievable games (e.g., yesterday, when Chipper Jones lost the game ending grounder…in the lights (?), along with their #1 and #2 starter both missing the last 1.5 months, and Lowe and Hudson tanking. If you evaluate it in July, you don’t really see that one coming.

    Plus, the Cards trades didn’t exactly really do *that* much. What’s really done it for them is (1) the players that started the year on their team are hitting the hell out of the ball: Pujols, Holliday, Berkman, Freese, Molina, Craig, hell, even Schumaker. Then you’ve got Lohse pitching well, for god’s sake. You’ve got them pulling their head out of their rear and finally figuring out Motte should get high leverage innings, and now they’ve got a good late inning guy. Yes, they improved the pen with Dotel and the Rezp guy, but they hurt themselves in many ways with Rhodes.

  7. The July pickups that have helped the Cardinals the most are Edwin Jackson and Rafael Furcal. With Furcal they have a genuine major league SS on defense and his hitting has come along, .424 slugging pct. with the Cardinals.

  8. Strong start by Homer. It’s good that he went 7, as the bridge to CoCo has become so shaky that it looks like it’s going to collapse altogether.

    Just 3 outs for the “bridge”- 3 pitchers, 2 runs, 3 hits, a HR and a double that just barely missed going over the wall to tie the game. Bray did give up the HR, but I do not agree with bringing in Burton. One foot higher and that double was gone, and he could barely throw a strike.

    That was the first HR that Bray has allowed to a RHed hitter this season – his stats against lefties and righties are just about identical.

  9. Nice nite for Jay – it was good to see how he hit the pitch hard the other way on the 2 run single.

    As for Joey, I’d sit him tomorrow to allow him 2 days of consecutive rest. But the last time I said that, he had a big day the next day.

  10. That base running blunder by Homer was one of the worst I can remember. Not as bad as talking with the 3rd baseman while getting picked off, but bad just the same. Don’t take a nap until you get your foot back on the base.

  11. Martinez of the Astros looks like a hitter. Good idea of CoCo to throw him nothing but sliders. But if he hung one, tie game.

  12. @pinson343: And for that matter, Arredondo pitches just as well against lefties as righties. Dusty screws around too much with lefty/righty matchups. Highly likely that either Arredondo or Bray could have gotten thru the inning allowing at most 2 runs instead of using Arredondo, Bray, and Burton to do the same.

  13. @pinson343: How many RHed batters has Bray even faced this year? To say that’s the first HR he’s given up against a right hander isn’t saying much…

  14. @rayman5000: Imagine my surprise to see 77 AB (before last night) for right handers against Bray. Evidence for the unreliability of eye witnesses…

  15. does mes hit the ball anywhere but left field?

  16. I know many Reds fans are concerned about Dusty not playing the “kids” this fall, but I don’t know that Dusty was truly in the wrong.

    I do think that Yonder Alonso and Devin Mesoraco should play every available moment, but I don’t think the other guys are the prospects that many of us hope (Paul Householder-Duane Walker-Eddie Milner –Wade Rowdon alert!!!)

    For a reference for the following, check out this Redleg Nation link: http://redlegnation.com/2010/03/04/prospects-or-suspects/

    Chris Heisey is 26 and has an OBP of .299

    Todd Frazier is 25 and has an OBP of .284 (Frazier has played LF for the past two seasons in Louisville, rarely in the infield—Frazier is more of an outfielder than can play IF; Cairo is an IF who can play some OF).

    Dave Sappelt is 24 and has an OBP of .289

    Zack Cozart is 25 and has an OBP of .324…but no walks in 38 plate appearances.

    Chris Valaika is 25 and has an OBP of .333 (.302 at AAA Louisville)

    Juan Francisco is 24 and has an OBP of .289 (it was .334 at AAA Louisville)

    Even the “grizzled” veteran trying to catch on in the outfield, Jeremy Hermida…was only 27.

    Most of these guys are already in their “prime baseball seasons.” Just like expansion team players have done in their first big league seasons, a small uptick can be expected with experience, but not enough to be regulars on a good big league team.

    (caveat—I think Cozart will field and hit with enough power to justify his spot at Shortstop—but, he won’t be a star player). I also think Sappelt can be a useful part, but he needs more consistency.

    Now, Devin Mesoraco is only 23, he’s a bit younger, but his OBP is still just .258. Catchers typically take a little longer to develop, but keep in mind, Johnny Bench had won MVP awards at ages 22 and 24. (mighty big shoes…)

    As for Yonder Alonso…he’s 24 and his overall big league numbers are very good this year. However, big league pitchers may have found a hole. In the last 14 days, Alonso is hitting .174 with a .574 OPS. At GABP, Yonder is hitting .211 for the season and only .154 against lefties (15 plate appearances). The platoon differential has been a concern since college. Yonder is a good hitter, but he’s not a hitter that’s going to carry a team like Votto. The Reds must keep Votto long term…

  17. @Steve Price: Prime age for hitters is about 27. All of the guys on your list are younger. I’m not saying a guy like Juan Francisco is going to take the same career path as Jose Bautista, but the point is to give these young players more of an opportunity to show the organization what it has.

    Frazier has 109 PAs, Sappelt has 100, Cozart only 38, Valaika sits at 67, Francisco has 160. To write off any of these guys as being “not enough to be regulars on a good big league team” with such small sample sizes is pretty drastic.

  18. @Steve Price:

    I get your point but if all those guys become league average or a tick better, the Reds are pretty well off in having a deep lineup and strong bench. I am trying to remember correctly but most of them were never considered to become stars like a Votto or a Bruce, except for Yonder and Devin. These two along with Stubbs (if he can harness his talent) can become near stars or actual stars, then lookout for the Reds.

    Go 2012 Reds!

  19. Prime hitting age is generally considered to be 24-28. It moved to about 25-29 or may be even 26-30 during the steroid era, but is moving back.

    Anyway…the player’s careers didn’t start when they reached the majors. They all have years of minor league experience to be counted and measured, too. They don’t have small sample sizes, only small “major league” sample sizes. Analysis starts way before now…

    Click the link to the Redleg Nation article. Impact players are making impacts before the ages of our current group of “young” players. One of management’s biggest mistakes in the last few years is not having dealt the guys we considered “prospects” before that label wore out. Our scouts needed to be able to separate the prospects from the suspects. They’re now in the age of minor league agents or potential major league bench players. And, yes, there could be an exception, but success doesn’t come from banking on exceptions.

    Yonder has to be able to hit left handed pitching to be considered a star…I believe Mesoraco will have a better chance.

Comments are closed.

About Chad Dotson

Blame Chad for creating this mess. Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, "The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds" is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad's musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine. You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

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2011 Reds, Titanic Struggle Recap

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