Let’s recap today’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Houston 0
Cincinnati 2

W: B. Arroyo (9-12)
L: W. Rodriguez (11-11)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Brandon Phillips had three of the Reds’ five hits, and scored one of the runs. Miguel Cairo accounted for the other run with an eighth-inning homer.

–Bronson Arroyo had a rare strong outing: a complete game shutout, scattering six hits, tossing only 91 pitches. Even better, he gave up no homers!

NEGATIVES
–None.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–The Reds won the final home series of the season today. Cincinnati finishes the year 42-39 at Great American Ballpark.

–The Reds’ attendance for the 2011 home schedule was 2,213,498. That’s an increase of 152,948 over last year’s total.

–Cairo’s homer was his eighth, a new career high.

–Time of game: two hours, twelve minutes. Shortest of the season.

–Final road trip of the season begins Friday with a trip to Pittsburgh and New York.

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! 37 Comments

  1. I think I read that Arroyo needed two complete games to reach 200 innings on the year. One more to go.

  2. What a great season for BP. He’s a joy to watch. It’ll be interesting to see what he feels his value is compared to what the Reds feel when extension talks get going. He just said he won’t be giving the ‘homeboy hookup’ because this will be his last big contract and it’s hard to blame him for that logic or the logic that other guys on the Reds got their extensions so it’s only fair he gets his. While Bruce signed for below market value, Arroyo got full market value, so I get where BP is coming from.
    I think some of the CoCo money will find it’s way to BP in a backloaded deal. A 3 year deal (which includes 2012) w/ an option is the most likely, but for how much???

  3. I don’t think I’ve ever seen as predictable a thing as the Cardinals getting breaks and winning games. It’s nearly unbelievable. Every night they are losing, and every night they get lucky breaks followed by 2 out doubles or homers. You can almost bank on it.

    Tonight, they are down 4-3 in the 7th, 2 outs no one on, and they get seeing eye singles from Pujols and Berkman both, and I’m thinking, here comes a double or homer from Freese, and sure enough, he hits a homer. They’re going to the playoffs, and I think they’re going to knock off Philly and go to the World Series. No one in the media seems to be paying attention, but Craig Kimbrel’s one real screwup about 10 days ago, when he blew a save by walking Furcal and Theriot with 2 outs and a 2 run lead in the 9th to get to Pujols, is going to end up launching one of the greatest comebacks (or collapses, depending on one’s point of view) in baseball history.

  4. @Sultan of Swaff: Not if they sign Cordero it won’t…

  5. @Sultan of Swaff: And I don’t understand why people would think Phillips would sign a 3 year deal including the one year he already has. He can simply play out the string and sign a 5 or 6 year deal with someone.

  6. BP is about to get into that danger zone age for 2ndbasemen plus he has slowed a step. Anything more than 2 years is a big risk to me.

    Just a couple of examples: Look at the drop in Utley’s games played since his age 30 season. Both Luis Castillo and Orlando Hudson had a spike in their injuries in their 30s.

  7. @Dave Lowenthal: On the Cards… It pains me to say this where the Card’s are concerned; but, there is a large element of truth to Bill Russell’s (the one time basketball player) axiom that it is better to be good than to be lucky because the good create their own luck.

    And before you say yes but, Dave, let me add that one side of the Russell axiom is that when these freaky things happen, the good teams jump on them and turn them into “lucky breaks” we remember while the many instances where similar opportunities are frittered away by lesser teams and players often go unnoticed.

    And as for teams being saddled with bad breaks, a lot of the same applies inversely. Think of Cueto during the peak of his run this season. It did not seem to matter what potential “bad break” happened to him. If he got put into a situation where he had to have a K or pop up, he got it. If he had to throw a DP ball, he threw one. In short there were no “bad breaks” because he simply would not allow a potential bad break to yield damage to his cause.

  8. @Dave Lowenthal: It’s hard to say the Cardinals have been lucky this season, even if you believe in luck. They’ve had a streak of injuries this season that’s as least as bad as any other team, including Wainwright, who likely would have been the ace of the staff.

  9. @yoobee: Oh, no, sorry. I didn’t mean that. I meant on the current streak, I’ve not seen anything quite like it. Even during the Crew’s streak.

    The Cards are the best team in the Central. They’ve had a lot of injuries. I can’t stand them, or their fans, but facts are facts. The current streak though, I mean, it’s practically unbelievable the kind of luck they are getting.

  10. @OhioJim: So Cueto didn’t know how to make his own luck in August, but he did in July?

  11. Drew has a good point about the Cards: they are indeed old. But still, the Reds better start thinking, how are they going to beat:

    Wainwright, Carpenter, Garcia, Lohse, Westbrook
    Lineup: Furcal (SS), Schumaker/Jay/Craig (CF), Pujols, Holliday, Berkman, Freese, Molina, Greene, P

    With Motte, Salas, this Scrabble guy in the pen.

    If you haven’t been paying attention, this team is just better than the Reds. I expect Berkman to sign a one year deal after Pujols signs, and the Cards to carry a hefty payroll next year. The Cards role players are actually good too. But their everyday lineup, this year, had one guy with an OPS+ under 100, and that’s Schumaker at 2B at 91. And they have 3 guys over 150 and their catcher at 120. Sheesh.

    • But their everyday lineup, this year, had one guy with an OPS+ under 100, and that’s Schumaker at 2B at 91.And they have 3 guys over 150 and their catcher at 120.Sheesh.

      You’ve answered your own question as to how the Reds can possibly be better than the Cards next year. The only Cardinal batter to materially underperform this year vs. his career OPS+ is Pujols, while several have outperformed. Most notable is Berkman, who is basically the same age as Rolen (10 months younger) and actually had a lower OPS than Rolen in 2010. This year he’s putting up a career-best OPS+; do you really think he’ll repeat that next year?

      In contrast, the only Reds batter significantly outperforming his career OPS+ is Phillips. So by pure reversion to the mean, I would expect the Reds batters on the whole to improve or at least stay the same while guys like Molina and Berkman will cause the Cards to regress.

      Finally, you can throw in the fact that on a Pythagorean expected win-loss basis, the Reds are only four games behind the Cards; they were even closer a couple of weeks ago before the Cards current streak. I don’t think it’s at all clear which team will be better next year.

  12. @Dave Lowenthal: He wasn’t quite as good later.

  13. I don’t know or really think they would have made the playoffs, but the 15 or so starts that Bailey and Cueto missed due to injury might be worth +5 wins in the total.

    Add that and a better use of the lineup could have made things a bit more interesting.

  14. I think La Russa and Dave Duncan like their pitch-to-contact guys in Lohse and Westbrook. However, I think they would do well to make an offer on Jackson. He can be up and down, but when he’s on, he is dominating. If the Cardinals don’t sign him, he would be a decent pick-up for the Reds. Obviously, it depends on what he wants in terms of money and term.

    Also, I agree that they will likely have a hefty payroll. The indications point toward Pujols staying with the club, and that will probably make it tough to keep both Berkman and Furcal. If they don’t get Berkman, the outfield situation will be a big question mark. They sold the Rasmus stock when it was high and they could still get something good for him, right when Craig and Jay started to come back and pound the ball. But who knows if those guys will have sustained success. While their bullpen is starting to come together, it will turn over quite a bit in the off-season, and it will likely still be a weakness.

    Also, not that this comes as a shock to anyone, but the loss of Prince for the Brewers will be big. While I don’t think the Brewers would be smart to re-sign him for the money he’s asking (they’d have to sell their future for sure), that will be a big hole. Ryan Braun, Corey Hart, Nyjer Morgan, Casey McGehee–they’ll all suffer from not having that bat before/after them. If the Reds can repeat the offensive production they had in the first 2/3 of the year, their offense will be better than the Brewers. Also, I think they’ve benefited from stellar performances by mediocre pitchers this year. I doubt that will repeat next year.

  15. The Cardinals aren’t the best team in the NL Central this season, the Brewers are.
    But the Cards are the hottest team in the NL right now, and at playoff time, that’s what matters most. This Cardinal team is better than the 2006 Cardinal team that was barely over .500 but won the WS.

    In the meantime, the Phillies got bored with winning and have fallen asleep. But having said all that, I still predict the Phillies will go to the WS.

  16. I think the BP situation could get ugly. He’s an emotional proud guy who feels he deserves a lucrative long-term contract. But as Clint Eastwood said, “deserves got nothing to do with it.” He’s 30 and won’t play as well over the next 5 seasons as he has over the last 5. WJ won’t want more than a 3 year deal (counting next season).

    WJ is counting on having BP in the fold in 2012 whether a contract extension is worked out or not. But that wouldn’t be a happy BP, and I shudder to think of what an unhappy, bitter BP would be like. He’s already said he’s losing sleep over his contract situation.

    If an extension can’t be worked out, then even as a big fan of his I feel he has to be traded. He could bring a lot in return, we tend to take him for granted.

  17. @yoobee: They sold Rasmus when his stock was high? Are you joking?

  18. Listening to castellini on the radio yesterday almost made me sick to my stomach….i mean, it’s hard to explain my feelings about this season and he just kinda kept talking about how much talent we have and next year will be different. And then hearing him get excited about arroyo striking his 2nd batter of the game out in the eighth. I’m pretty sure the people running the reds are very old school! God how can u not view 2011 as a TOTAL JOKE! and it’s even MORE depressing now that the cardinals are about to catch the braves, it’s like the reds were RIGHT there with them a month ago!!!!! but the cardinals have a team and a FO that NEVER folded! unlike my beloved reds! completely wasting a season seems ok with the reds and mr. castellini! especially disgraceful when u are rolling joey freaking votto out there everyday! completely unacceptable and i would be tearing heads off in the offseason! but i suspect status quo from the reds with chapman our closer and arroyo going 12-12 again! FML!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. @pinson343: The Cardinals are 4.5 games behind the Brewers despite playing the entire season without one of the best 5 pitchers in the league, along with reasonably long stretches without Pujols, Berkman, and Holliday. Sure, Berkman is expected, he’s old, but the injuries to Pujols and Holliday were flukes.

    Try to imagine the Reds without Cueto *all year*. The Cards have done that, and are only 4.5 back of the Brewers. And they lost their big hitters for significant time. They are the best team in the division this year. They are not better than the Phillies, and I am not picking them because they are hot; I am picking them because I believe they match up great against the Phillies in a 5 game series. In a 50 game series, the Phillies win every time. The Phillies are easily the better team.

  20. @Dave Lowenthal: cards are good and scary and pujols is pujols suddenly! but the reds could be doing what the cards are doing now if they would have made a couple moves and never quit! and stayed the course even when things looked bleek! but i think everyone on this team gave up! and for that! something has to change!!!!!! but i KNOW it wont!

  21. @pinson343: I think this is accurate.

  22. our big offseason move is going to be siging BP to a 3 year deal……and then officially i’m going to be sick of the reds until april

  23. If i was running the reds i’d let BPs agent tell me what he wanted, i would then laugh and ask his agent if he as any pitchers available

  24. @GeorgeFoster: There are some good points there but I think also you are glossing over a few things. First, Carpenter has been extremely unlucky this year, with the 5th best FIP I think but an ERA a point higher or something. Second, Wainwright has had zero starts. Third, their bullpen won’t have Franklin blowing about 5 games in the first month.

    Then, Holliday isn’t outperforming. The third base position is way underperforming, because Freese will presumably be healthy. Furcal is making noise about signing for below market value, so you replace whatever mess they had there with him, which is an improvement if he’s healthy. Pujols is Pujols. It’s a good thing they traded Rasmus.

    I would expect a modest decline from Molina and a significant one from Berkman. But overall, unless Wainwright isn’t at all recovered from TJ, I’d expect the Cards to be a better team, while the Crew will be worse (losing Fielder). The Cards are going to win in the low 90’s this year. I’d place a guess of at least that next year. How are the Reds going to compete with that?

  25. Marty and castellini were even talking about this losing season being a GOOD THING!!!!!!!!!!!! a learning experience for this team! I’m sorry, i totally 100% disagree with that! and with our OWNER saying this! we are in trouble fellas!

  26. @Dave Lowenthal: oh yeah, we are going to be back to being the cardinals floormat in 2012 no doubt! and our FO can’t even see it yet, that’s the saddest part

  27. @Dave Lowenthal: Yeah right, at age 32? Uggla signed his deal in his mid 20s.

  28. @LVW: So you’re saying: 1. BP has slowed a step? Find me one play he didn’t make this year that he made two years ago and I’ll find 10 plays he DID make that he didn’t when he was younger. 2. All players get injured in their 30s, so by extension, Phillips is bound to get hurt? C’mon. This guy’s been the model of consistency, w/ his only appreciable time missed being because he got hit on the hand w/ a pitch.

  29. @Dave Lowenthal: I don’t know if Rasmus’ stock was very high, but I guess my point is that it was decreasing rapidly. He’s always been a player with a lot of “promise” (I hope Jay Bruce is not trending this way), and they were able to sell that to the Blue Jays in order to fill holes. And it worked pretty well for them: Dotel and Scrabble have been solid in the bullpen, and Jackson has pitched well down the stretch.

    When they traded Rasmus, most people criticized the Cardinals for getting too little in return. I think they knew if they waited too long, they wouldn’t be able to get anything.

    By the way, Rasmus is hitting less than .200 in 29 games with the Blue Jays, after hitting .246 with the Cardinals this year, and .276 last year.

  30. @Dave Lowenthal: I’m seeing contract projections for Berkman in the $15-20 million range. I don’t think Berkman will be back if that’s the case (unless Albert is let go).

    “We’ve been pretty clear what it would take,” Berkman said. “I want to make clear this is not an adversarial situation. They want to get a deal done as well. But they have a bunch of moving parts. We’ll see how they all fit together.” What initially looked like a quick signing of Berkman has slowed because of wrangling over dollars. Berkman stated Monday that he is not interested in attaching options or incentives to his next deal.”It’s always about money,” Berkman said. “No matter what people say, it’s always about the money.”

  31. @yoobee: The Cards could have gotten more for him this offseason. They simply panicked. Rasmus had a brilliant 2010 and a not as good half a season this year, and they gave up on him because Larussa hates him, simple as that. Bruce is “trending” that way? Based on what?

    We’ll see what Rasmus does next year. It’s really silly to say they wouldn’t be able to get anything. Rasmus was in demand.

    And what they got is overrated too. It might make the difference in the end, we’ll see. But they’ve been very lucky with it, for example, Jackson must have the best strand rate on the planet since coming over.

  32. @CP: He also said he was coming back with whatever team he ended the season with.

  33. @Sultan of Swaff: Yeah, right. It only takes one team, Sultan. I say he gets a 5 year deal, minimum, after next season.

  34. @Dave Lowenthal: I wonder if that was before he sold his soul to the devil for 160 OPS+ ? I’m sure the Cards have the big advantage over everyone else but Berkman made himself a LOT of money this year so he’s looking to cash in big time. It’s difficult to imagine the Cards could sign Pujols for $250-300 million plus take on an additional $20 million contract in Berkman.

    Btw…Berkman apparently is about equal to Bruce in dWAR. My faith in WAR is rapidly decreasing.

  35. Well twitter is now reporting that Berkman has signed an extension…but no dollar amounts yet. This should be VERY interesting.

  36. Real friggin easy –

    the Reds are young and ARE GOING TO GET EVEN BETTER. The Cards are old – don’t just count on Pujols being back with the Cards – didn’t the Cards try that once and Pujols said ‘no mas’ during the season. He is going to Chicago with Tony anyway.
    I did like the proposed trade of Votto for Bautista being mentioned during the All-Star break as Joey (who is not a leader) would be in Toronto and re-united with Encarnacion.

    Put Yolander at 1B, BP 2B, Cozart SS, Rolen and Juan F 3B, Bautista LF, Sappelt CF and Bruce RF. Bruce, Sappelt, Yolander, Juan F, Cozart are young.

    The Cards (Carpenter and your RF are OLD) – Cards fans get over yourself, you are in for a RUDE awakening.

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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