Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL — 13 innings
Washington 2
Cincinnati 1

W: C. Stammen (2-0)
L: S. Marshall (0-1)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–A vintage Bronson Arroyo outing: 7.1 innings, no runs allowed on three hits and one walk, with four strikeouts. You can’t ask for much more out of Bronson at this point.

–Joey Votto was the lone offensive bright spot. Votto reached base five times, going 2-3 with three walks.

–Some good relief work in this one, from Aroldis Chapman, Logan Ondrusek, and…wait for it…Alfredo Simon! Believe it or not.

NEGATIVES
–The offense is struggling, ladies and germs. No other way to put it, and I don’t know what the answer is. (Of course, that wasn’t exactly the strongest lineup I’ve ever seen on the field.)

–After Bronson Arroyo left the game, it took Bill Bray precisely two pitches to give up a homer and the lead. (Some of you thought Ryan Ludwick should have caught that ball, but that’s a very difficult play.)

–Sean Marshall had a rough outing in only his third game of the season. Marshall only notched one out in the bottom of the thirteenth inning before giving up the game-winning hit. It seemed like the strike zone got squeezed pretty tight for Marshall during that inning, for what it’s worth.

–Can’t blame Bray or Marshall for this one, though. The responsibility for this loss, once again, falls squarely on an offense that simply is not producing.

–Drew Stubbs (.129/.182/.129) and Wilson Valdez (.250/.250/.313) were each 0-6. Scott Rolen (.115/.179/.192) and Jay Bruce were 0-5, but at least Rolen drew a base on balls.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–That wasn’t fun, was it? “Deflating” is the proper term, I’d say.

–Votto reached base five times. The rest of the Cincinnati roster reached base five times. That’s ugly.

–If you have been a loyal reader for any amount of time, you know that I am generally patient with players. I try not to make sweeping pronouncements about players when they are struggling. So all I’ll say is this: I’m starting to get very concerned about Drew Stubbs.

–The Reds have now lost four out of five games. They have scored a grand total of nine runs during that span. Is that good?

–Brandon Phillips made an appearance for the first time since signing that big contract extension. He pinch hit in the thirteenth inning, but did not get a hit.

–The good guys are going to win tomorrow, right? Right?

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! 76 Comments

  1. Bray is a good relief pitcher. But Baker said Bray wasn’t ready for late inning, high-leverage situations. He then proceeds to put Bray in there, who just so happens to cough up the lead (it happens). I’m fine with Bray being used. I’m not fine with Baker defying his own logic (if you can call it that). Marshall and Chapman should have finished off the 8th and 9th. I mean, it’s just idiocy that they weren’t used with the one run lead.

  2. The pen isn’t as depleted as it could have been (Lecure, Arredondo, and Bray should be good to go) but they’re still going to need Bailey to go deep. Fingers crossed on that.

  3. We have lost four out of five, but I don’t think we should be totally bummed. In the last two games are pitchers have allowed 5 runs in 23 innings, over the course of the year I’ll take that. In the five games we are talking about the pitchers have allowed 18 runs in 49– that’s a 3.30 ERA — not something to get upset about.

    Yes we aren’t hitting — but we will, it’s only 8 games in, and we have faced three clubs thought to have tremendous pitching. we’re 3 and 5, we win the next two and we are at .500, with the first eight at a sub .200 BA.

  4. By the way, what’s high leverage about pitching to a pinch hitter with no one on base?

  5. GAME 8

    That is all.

  6. >> –If you have been a loyal reader for any amount of time, you know that I am generally patient with players. I try not to make sweeping pronouncements about players when they are struggling. So all I’ll say is this: I’m starting to get very concerned about Drew Stubbs.

    Drew Stubbs is 27 and this is his 4th season in the bigs. If he doesn’t get going quickly I absolutely agree. 27-28 tends to be the “peak” for hitters. 29 is the beginning of decline for most players (other than the GREATS). It’s right now(!!) or NOTHING for Stubbs, no matter how much that hurts to say

    and to add to the age/experience thing. Cozart, Bruce, Bailey, Mesorasco, Cueto, Latos, Leake and Chapman are younger than Stubbs.

    and since I’m talking about age. I just want to say I have a problem with the fact that Rolen, Cairo, Arroyo, Valdez, Harris and Ludwick are all on this team.
    Oh I’m not saying toss them all…..What I’m saying is that too much “veteran leadership” is a bad thing. The old fools who got lucky do not teach the young guns things. Rolen is the ONLY one of those who deserves to be here. He is a HOFer and has had a great carer. But the others? Marginal at best.

  7. A one run lead in the 8th inning when playing on the road? That’s high-leverage.

  8. Over the last three years Nady is .251/.297/.351/.648. As a pinch hitter in his career he is .238/.352/.381/.733.

    So that hitter, with one out, and no one on base. Seems to me that this is not a high pressure situation.

  9. There are too many “25th man” type of guys on this roster.

  10. Stubbs is 27 yrs. old, he is what he is.

  11. When your team’s offense has not produced and you have a one run lead on the road in the 8th inning, yeah, I think that’s “high-leverage” no matter who’s at the plate.

  12. I am just saying that the High Leverage parameters are a little silly. A big league pitcher should be able to deal with this kind of situation as a normal course of things. And on the road? c’mon, you are still pitching from the same distance aren’t you?

    And Ludwick should have caught the ball, anyway. A routine fly ball hits his glove at an 8 ft fence that he is clearly reaching well above. That is what bothers me, not Bray pitching to a guy who seems to be done as a hitter with one out and no one on base.

    • I am just saying that the High Leverage parameters are a little silly.A big league pitcher should be able to deal with this kind of situation as a normal course of things.And on the road? c’mon, you are still pitching from the same distance aren’t you?

      And Ludwick should have caught the ball, anyway.A routine fly ball hits his glove at an 8 ft fence that he is clearly reaching well above.That is what bothers me, not Bray pitching to a guy who seems to be done as a hitter with one out and no one on base.

      I don’t know. I’ve not been thrilled with Ludwick but honestly, that’s a tougher play than you are giving him credit for. He had to find the wall at an away park, go up, and snag it. The wall definitely comes into play there. Yeah, he should have broken back hard, found the wall, and then gone up for it but he still may not have caught it. Ludwick will probably say he should have caught it but it would have been a very tough play. Overall, Ludwick is a decent defensive LF and I bet he’d make the play over half the time. Still, it was a tough play.

  13. I don’t have a problem with Bray pitching (as I initially said). I have a problem with Baker going against his own words of wisdom to not use Bray in high-leverage situations (which we’ll just have to agree to disagree on what the parameters are in determining these situations) and then put him in that situation. At least practice what you preach, you know? Especially when you have one of the league’s best relievers (Marshall) available.

  14. I read almost all of the comments on the game thread, and a whole lot of people wanted to see Marshall pitch well before he did because of the high leverage situation. As it turned out, a lot of pitchers did better in these high leverage situations than Marshall did in his– by the way, he created the highest leverage situation of the night. I think the point is that if Bray handles that situation– or Ludwick makes the catch — then we would have seen if Marshall would have handled the high leverage situation any better with a one run lead than he did with a tie score.

  15. Fair enough. Still though, I’d have preferred to have seen Marshall earlier. I’d also prefer to see the offense score runs and see those black holes in LF and CF addressed. But, hey, now we’re just nitpicking.

  16. Hard worker or not, Brook Jacoby is not the man for the job as a hitting coach at this level.

  17. And as to Baker ‘practicing what he preaches’ I see your point– in a vacuum. The point he made– what you are holding him to — was not made with a tired bullpen and four games in a row. If Bray succeeds– or, again, Ludwick catches the ball — we don’t have to pitch Chapman and he’s ready for tomorrow. Of course, you would have used Marshall to close tonight in that scenario, but that would leave you Chapman along with Lecure and Arrendondo along with Simon for tomorrow. It seems like it was a reasonable choice.

    And one more time…

    And if ludwick would have caught the ball it would have paid off.

  18. @PeterNincompoop: thanks for the civil discussion of two different view points, I would say that we are definitely nitpicking when we are complaining about the high quality pitching we have received. Now for the bats, we have every right to be loudly complaining, but I don’t think it’s any coaches fault that two thirty year old major leaguers (Ludwick and Rolen) aren’t hitting their wive’s weight.

  19. The thing is with the comments about using Marshall in a high leverage situation, is that he, or Chapman, should have been there in the 8th inning. Where they belong, not later on in the game where Baker used them.

    The score was 1-0, Reds in the 8th. If Chapman is available, then use your best reliever then. Or use Marshall.

    Baker goes in reverse with the bullpen in late innings without the lead, and tonight he did with the lead. That is what drives everyone crazy. Use your best relievers first, so that the other team does not score runs. Marshall and Chapman are weapons, use them to protect the one run lead. Not Bray, Ondrusek, and Simon. Those guys are good relievers, but you use your best options first.

  20. @mike: You make some valid points about age and veteran leadership but I do not agree at all with you lumping Cairo in with the others. He has been as good a bench player as you can find the last two years and I think there is no reason to believe he is done.

  21. @RedLeg75: Except that Marshall gave up the winning run. While Simon and Ondrusek didn’t give up any runs.

    Three things:
    You don’t always have your ‘best’ available.
    Your ‘best’ isn’t always your best. (like tonight)
    And if you use your ‘best’ tonight, who will you pitch tomorrow?

    I agree with your concept– In a Vacuum. It doesn’t allow for the imperfect world of baseball. The best thing you can do in the imperfect world is develop all of your pitchers so you can have faith in more than just your ‘best’.

  22. I just thought of a way to explain what I think the big picture of tonight pitching Bray is.

    Tomorrow you have Bailey pitching. Would you rather have Bray pitch in the eighth tonight with no one on base and one out, and have Chapman available to go two innings tomorrow knowing that Bailey might not give you a good start.

    Tomorrow you could have Lecure, Arrendondo, and Chapman, along with Simon available if you have to pull Bailey after 4 Innings. Doesn’t that seem to be a safer alternative for tomorrow? That’s what pitching Bray tonight was about. It just didn’t work.

    Of course, I contend that it would have if…

    …you know…

    …say it with me…

    If Ludwick would have caught the ball.

  23. He didn’t catch it and pitching Bray instead of Chapman there was dumb.

  24. Stubbs is 27, and his peak was 2 years ago.

  25. @67stats33eyes: Everything you said about Marshall’s results is irrelevant. People wanted him to pitch because he’s the Reds’ best reliever. I actually didn’t mind Bray pitching in the 8th and feel its kinda ridiculous people were second guessing that decision, particularly since the same people want Chapman to start (since virtually EVERYONE does). I still don’t understand the decision to lift Bray after 1 hitter when your bullpen is tired, and then to use Chapman unnecessarily for 1, then Simon.

    I don’t care that Marshall got the L, I wish he didn’t, but thought process matters to me. Marshall should have been pitching in yesterday’s “high leverage” situation but instead Dusty kept Simon out there, presumably b/c it wasn’t a save situation. Then he does it AGAIN today, for the same reason. This is apparently becoming a habit. It didn’t hurt us so much with Coco b/c he wasn’t really the Reds’ best reliever …but Marshall is pretty obviously the guy that needs the ball in his hands. Obviously argument could be made for Chapman as well but he’ll hopefully be in the bullpen for only a month or two more.

    I guess I should point out that Chapman, a guy who’ve they have repeatedly talked about protecting his health, and who Dusty said that he would prefer not to throw today, was sent in to pitch a meaningless inning when there was a reliever who hadn’t pitched since April 10th, in which he threw 8 pitches and has thrown 19 on the season. Gee, I wonder why Sean Marshall was rusty???

    Still, not much you can do when you only score 1 run in 13 innings.

  26. Two years ago he hit well. Either he got lucky, or, hell, he got lucky. Cause he can’t tell the difference right now between a fastball or a curve out of the pitcher’s hand.

    Last year I proposed the idea that he might need Lasik, that was brought up again tonight, some one else’s original thought. Great minds think alike. Other than that, I guess he just is not that good at hitting a baseball. Or, he thinks so much at the plate, he’s just guessing horribly at what is going to come next. Who knows?

    I’d love to see Stubbs clear out his head at the plate and just let instinct take over and hit the stupid ball. This team needs him to succeed.

  27. CP, well put. That’s what I was trying to put together in words, but could not.

  28. As fans, sometimes I think we get caught up in our own biases & who or where we place blame when the Reds are playing poorly simply exaggerates those biases. It’s easy to complain that Chapman isn’t starting or isn’t brought into relieve during every high-leverage situation… it’s easy to shake your head at Ludwick’s start of the season… to curse Drew Stubbs’ strikeout pace… to second-guess Dusty for the shade of toothpick he chooses or where he had dinner or that whole lineup thing…

    But having grown up with the Big Red Machine & having enjoyed watching the 1990 wire-to-wire World Series champs while in my 20’s, and having watched, played, & coached baseball for most of my lifetime (I don’t think I swung a bat before the age of 2, but then again–I may have)… the one constant is that the MLB season is about endurance, adapting to what is available to you, and putting forth a consistency of effort. After all, every player & every team has periods where they play poorly & lose 3-4 or more in a row. This doesn’t happen for the elite teams in football or basketball. Baseball is a grind.

    So here’s how I saw tonight’s game. Arroyo was A+ & although some may complain that he only threw 94 pitches, when he left the game with one out in the 7th, the Nats were bringing in a pinch hitter & after that Arroyo would have been facing the top of their lineup for a 4th time in the game. (advantage Nats here) Chapman was brought in for the bottom of the 10th not so much for who he was facing in their lineup–8th/9th/1st hitters–but because in the top of the 11th the Reds had Valdez, Votto, Rolen & Bruce coming up (2nd thru 5th). Being honest, Valdez thru Bruce would be the most likely place to expect to score runs so having Chapman pitch the bottom of the 10th simply preserved their opportunity to bat in the 11th. Then in the top of the 12th, Ludwig (hated here & elsewhere in the blogosphere) starts with a double, Cozart (sem-adored here) fails to bunt him over to third & then Hanigan, Heisey & Stubbs fail to put the ball in play to allow Ludwig the opporunity to maybe score from second. Eventually, the Nats found a way to work a couple walks, get a timely hit & score the winning run. The Reds lost because the execution from their hitters was subpar; they didn’t lose because of any managerial decisions from Dusty or Ludwig not making a highlight reel catch or Stubbs wearing the strikeout sombrero or the effort of anyone on the pitching staff.

    Personally, 8-10 games into any season is not reflective of the potential of the Reds or any other team to work their way into playoff contention by the time we reach games 152-162. My greater concern for this team is overall plate discipline, having a plan for each at-bat & having a consistency of effort, especially in making adjustments each game.

    I remain optimistic they could get hot tomorrow & finish the season 157-5!! 😀

  29. Dusty decided before the game that Chapman would not pitch last nite, unless an urgent need developed. I agree with those who wanted Marshall brought in sooner. Using Chapman, whom he was trying to rest, and Simon before a well-rested Marshall made no sense. If Marshall comes in earlier, maybe the Reds lose earlier, but that’s not the point. Anyway CP said it well above.

    Marshall got squeezed on a nice curve ball or two and it seemed to bother him. Walking LaRoche, who’s 0 for 8 in his career against him, was the key to his loss.

    But as others have said, when you score 1 run in 13 innings, the bullpen is not the biggest problem.

  30. This is not a second guess, I’m tired of second guessing, just a question for advanced strategists out there. The best way to get out of a bases loaded one out jam is with a double play.

    I know Werth is fast, but when he was up in the 13th, how about playing your corner IFers in and the middle IFers at double play depth ? The ball he hit was actually a perfect DP ball.

    • This is not a second guess, I’m tired of second guessing, just a question for advanced strategists out there. The best way to get out of a bases loaded one out jam is with a double play.

      I know Werth is fast, but when he was up in the 13th, how about playing your corner IFers in and the middle IFers at double play depth ? The ball he hit was actually a perfect DP ball.

      Yeah, but you really need to cut down the winning run at the plate there. Perhaps they could have played the IF a hair deeper since there was below-average speed at 3B, and a force at the plate. I don’t think they could have played normal DP depth though. I think most managers would have made the same call Dusty did there as far as where to play the IF.

  31. @pinson343: One answer to my own question. If Werth were batting with runners on first and third, maybe you do play the corner IFers in and the middle IFers at double play depth.

    But with the bases loaded you have a force at home, so a better chance to get an out at home if a ground ball is fielded cleanly by a middle IFer.

  32. Well, that was a damn shame. Arroyo pitched great. Hopefully last night was an indication of things to come for him this year. Vintage Bronson.

    Can’t even put this loss on Bray or Dusty for not using Chapman instead of Bray. One run doesn’t cut it.

    Like the day before, Dusty’s biggest mistake happened pre-game – Stubbs leading off….0-6, 3SO, 3 LOB…In 31 AB’s Stubbs has SO 11 times and drew 2 BB’s. Same old Stubbs – He is what he is. Does he have any options left?…Just sayin’.

  33. I will add this….Early in the 2010 season many people on this forum (including myself 🙄 ) were calling for Jacoby to be fired because the Reds came out of the gate slow and just weren’t hitting…They ended up leading the National League in runs scored and batting Avg and winning the division. 😯

    • I will add this….Early in the 2010 season many people on this forum (including myself ) were calling for Jacoby to be fired because the Reds came out of the gate slow and just weren’t hitting…They ended up leading the National League in runs scored and batting Avg and winning the division.

      2010 means NOTHING at this point

  34. 800 AB since Stubbs has done anything, and now you’re STARTING to become concerned? lol that’s laughable IMO…..

  35. Let’s see the FO have a little urgency this season, lord knows they had 0 urgency in 2011……castellini shelled out a bunch of money, i’m sure he wants to win NOW…….I still blame FO WAY more than i blame players…..just a poorly constructed line-up……No lead off hitter, no speed, no great contact hitters, and a couple of black holes (rolen, ludwick) no way you can score more runs consistently with this group……and i watched all of 2011 games, offense was a problem last year too, i don’t care what stats u throw at me, this is a continuation of last season 😈

    • Let’s see the FO have a little urgency this season, lord knows they had 0 urgency in 2011……castellini shelled out a bunch of money, i’m sure he wants to win NOW…….I still blame FO WAY more than i blame players…..just a poorly constructed line-up……No lead off hitter, no speed, no great contact hitters, and a couple of black holes (rolen, ludwick) no way you can score more runs consistently with this group……and i watched all of 2011 games, offense was a problem last year too, i don’t care what stats u throw at me, this is a continuation of last season

      Could have not said it better.

      Beltran would have been a better investement than Madson, and look where the Reds are. Beltran is with St. Louis, the closer gets hurt because he’s a pitcher and pitchers seem to get hurt all the time nowadays. The Reds won’t hit the cover off with Votto – Beltran – Bruce. They’re much more likely to repeat 2011 and lose well over 20 one-run games where they’ll score three runs or less. The front office sloppily evaluated their personnel this offseason.

  36. @CP: Irrelevant? The fact that Marshall failed and allowed the winning run is irrelevant?

    See this is where everything runs right off the rails. When projection is correct, and actual results are irrelevant. That’s the problem with your point. I submit that Bray made one mistake. Marshall walked two guys and didn’t get the strike out that he needed to get. How can you look at those two situations and tell me that Marshall was the better choice, because he’s the better pitcher.

    And more importantly, the use of Bray comes down to more than one game, it’s about the next day, too. The choice is this:
    Do you trust Bray to get a guy out with no one on and one out, up 1-0, in the eighth?
    Or do you trust Bailey to get you 7+ Innings on Saturday?
    Because that’s the decision Baker made.
    Not who is the best pitcher right this minute for this one batter in this one game?

  37. @pinson343: I totally agree with you about double play depth, that ball certainly looked like a routine DP grounder. But can you imagine what the uproar would have been if Dusty hadn’t followed the book on that one. The villagers would have lit their torches and stormed the castle.

  38. Ok, since one of the things we’re discussing is Dusty’s thought processes…can someone explain to me the logic if using Brandon Phillips with a runner on first and two outs, in I believe the 13th?

  39. After 8 Games?

    The offense is a continuation of last year? After 8 games? The Front Office needs to act ‘urgently’ after 8 games? That’s not urgently, that’s instantly. ‘No lead off hitter?’– Phillips has played 3 1/2 of the 8 games? ‘No great contact hitters’– Cozart looks like a contact hitter, Hannigan statistically is a contact machine, maybe someone else will emerge IN THE SECOND WEEK OF THE SEASON? ‘No speed’– see Phillips comment above, Bruce, Cozart, Stubbs, Heisey? Valdez had two bunt hits in one game, doesn’t speed have something to do with that? 8 games isn’t even 5% of the season, isn’t that a pretty small sample size to declare what the team is?
    Oh yeah, one more thing, ‘2010 means nothing’ but ‘2011 means everything’?

  40. @Bill Lack: Who was left at that point? Mesoraco was the only position player left, I guess you could have used him. Or Leake? Or Bailey (if he hadn’t already been sent to the hotel by then)? I think phillips would be the one most likely to knock in a guy from first with two outs of that group.

    • @Bill Lack: Who was left at that point? Mesoraco was the only position player left, I guess you could have used him.Or Leake?Or Bailey (if he hadn’t already been sent to the hotel by then)?I think phillips would be the one most likely to knock in a guy from first with two outs of that group.

      Agreed, and you really don’t want to use your backup catcher there anyway.

  41. @zab1983: Then I guess Stubbs previous 800 AB’s you referenced means ‘NOTHING at this point also’? 😕 …Come on man, at least try to be consistent. 😳

  42. @67stats33eyes: “After 8 Games? The offense is a continuation of last year? After 8 games? The Front Office needs to act ‘urgently’ after 8 games? That’s not urgently, that’s instantly.”….Totally agree. Seems someone is prone to hyperbolic rants.

  43. Really can’t believe the panic some of you guys are showing after only 8 games.

  44. @67stats33eyes:

    Yes, its absolutely irrelevant. Because baseball has a random element and results often vary from effort/skill, it’s actually counter-productive (possibly even destructive for managers/GMs) to be results-oriented. Unless you are saying that Dusty knew Marshall would perform that way…in which case I would immediately hire Dusty Baker to be my personal psychic.

    The problem with being completely results-oriented fans is that it places objectivism with subjectivism. Which is one of the reasons that so many fans incorrectly blame Dusty for EVERY loss and yet rarely gets any credit for good results.

  45. I’m not trying to “ruffle feathers” with anyone in here, and if i had or ever will then i apologize, i’m just a 29 y/o lifelong cincy native who loves bengals/reds/bearcats. I can now barely remember the 90 WS and would love to experience a SB or WS again in Cincy soon! I really hope something lights this team up soon! I hope to not get overly pessimistic here, but remember it’s reds or nothing for me so it’s frustrating when the Reds do bad. I am a realist though and am seeing some things the past couple of years that are somewhat troubling for me as a Reds fan. btw did anyone see Harang K 9 straight guys? wth?!? 👿

  46. Once upon a time I heard someone say: “You can’t win a division in April but you sure can lose one.” One thing Walt has shown in the past is patience. Several years of patience in some of these cases with no change. Yeah it’s been eight games this year but it’s also been 162 last year and the year before. Show me who’s improving with age?

  47. @George Culver: totally agree man, but u can’t cut loose a ton of players, usually a spark is sought out through managerial change (agree or not). If Reds go 10-20 to start year (praying not) dusty’s gone man

  48. It’s right to be concerned about the offense. Ludwick/Heisey, Stubbs, and Rolen have all ben worse than even the most pessimistic fans were thinking. The pitching has been somewhat encouraging overall. Though their bullpen without Chapman is pretty darn suspect.

  49. This lack of offense hasn’t all been a managerial issue. Look at the stats and see. This team is not stealing first base and the opportunities to score are few. This management needs to realize that it’s time to play the small ball card cause the big hit isn’t going to be a frequent event.

  50. I still don’t understand why the Reds (or any team for that matter) would dole out long term contracts. Especially to men over the age of 30. It baffles me that this front office didn’t learn anything from the disasterous long term contracts in past years for the reds (griffey, rolen, arroyo) phillips and votto are, i hate to say it, almost guaranteed to bust at some points given their contracts. You take any chance for reward away, and only leave the door open for disappointment. Teams that are successful use up players for more than they are getting paid, and then dump when it’s time for them to get paid, it’s been a pretty simple formula repeated by successful teams. Even more disappointing is the Reds cannot be considered a “young” team anymore, so if they bust this year, it’s not like u can fall back on the “well, the future is really what’s important” . Houston is looking good (I know it’s early). But some of the guys they dumped are now paying dividends (schafer for bourn) (Happ for Oswalt)

  51. The bullpen issue has been discussed to death, so I won’t go into it too much. Long story short, I don’t think Dusty mis-managed it last night. If Bray gets the out, no one’s having this conversation. And if you can’t trust Bray to get an out in a close game in the 8th inning, he shouldn’t be on the roster. I don’t think anyone really has a problem with Bray being on the roster. So baseball happened, move on.

    But the offense is a legitimate concern. This isn’t just a slump by key players. This is indicative of how our roster is built and how Dusty sets his lineups. He doesn’t want to talk about it, but it’s killing us. Ludwick is showing he doesn’t belong on a ML roster anymore. Rolen, god bless him, might very well be done despite still having an elite glove. Our bench is comically thin – BP goes down for 4 days and we are suddenly starting Wilson Valdez, Willie Harris, and Ryan Ludwick? That’s not something a contender does. I dont’ know what the answer is. It’s not just batting Bruce cleanup or starting Mesoraco more. It’s not making Chris Heisey the everyday LFer. It’s not bringing up Todd Frazier. It clearly has to be bigger than that. A major trade. Firing Jacoby. Sending Stubbs down (for the life of me I can’t figure out why that hasn’t happened for at least a week in the last year and a half…he clearly needs it). I don’t know if those are rela answers either, but they at least look like serious moves. This is a seriously flawed team and, as happy as I am to know Joey and BP are going to be around for a long time, I don’t know what our options are now to improve. When we made those deals the fine print read “And Jay Bruce will become an MVP candidate, Mat Latos will win 18 games, and Drew Stubbs will hit 30 homeruns.” If those things don’t happen, there’s no one knocking on the door in Louisville to help this team out anymore.

  52. @CP: wow, what a leap. From pointing out that the actual results of last night refute your claim of what should have been done to having it framed as being “completely results oriented”. Try to stick with what I have said rather than an extreme viewpoint crafted to fit your point.

    Your are talking long view, but are demanding short view actions. Yes, Marshall had not pitched in a while. That does not change the fact that we have Bailey and Leake the next two days and two games in a row after that. You want to pretend that every game exists separately from every other one. If Bray gets the out, then it is a brilliant move because it keeps our powder dry for the weekend’s games– Games where we can’t necessarily count on the kind of performance we got from Arroyo as the starter.
    Additionally, it gives you a check on where Bray is in terms of his abilities at this time– If Bray becomes a solid late inning reliever, not just a specialist, then you are one step closer to getting Chapman in the rotation. One step closer of many, another step last night was JJ Hoover closing well at AAA, another was how well Simon pitched in a High Leverage situation last night.
    If Bray, Simon and Hoover can hold down the fort eventually, and allow Chapman to start, then if Bailey falters we are ready. Or if Bailey pitches well enough to intrigue someone, maybe we can pry loose a bat.

    So pitching Bray, if successful, not only sets your bullpen up for the weekend, gives you an indication where your bullpen is in terms of overall depth, has the potential to increase Bray’s confidence and moves the team more to a point where Chapman can be used as a starter.

    And your idea of pitching the best pitcher, period. Does nothing to develop depth, doesn’t set you up for the weekend as well and to re-iterate the obvious based on the results of last night’s game, does not guarantee you any different of a result.

    The fact is Bray LOST THE LEAD, while Marshall LOST THE GAME, so the fact is that Marshall did pitch in the HIGHER LEVERAGE SITUATION LAST NIGHT– and he failed.

  53. Only Cozart has reached double figures in hits with 10. Only 3 players have hit 1 HR and only 1 player has more than 1. Rolen is 3 for 26 and that equals .115 BA. Stubbs has the most official AB’s with 31 and has 4 hits and 11 K’s ( a .129 BA). Once again living up to the back of the baseball card. You may not be able to cut many players but there are a few who can be used to shuffle the deck without losing them all together. Could they use a different voice as a hitting coach and maybe see some weaker pitching ( see AAA ) to gain some confidence? Cooul some pitch recognition drills couldn’t hurt either because guessing is not working? What was spring training for anyhow? For some it wasn’t long enough.

  54. I’m going to throw this out there, i think Castellini has more control of personnel then people think, I believe he has the final word on more things then people think. I also believe he has “Big Red Machine” dreams, I’m sure he was all about the Big Red Machine in the 70s, hence signing guys to long term deals and really trying to create a powerhouse team that is all reds and guys who will always be known as Reds, noble as this may seem, i believe the big red machine was a once in a lifetime thing and was 40 years ago, i think the dynamics in the game have changed immensely.

  55. I like Drew Stubbs. I want him to succeed. The Reds have a lot of money and effort invested in him as a first round draft pick. I don’t think you can give up on him yet. At minimum however, he needs a day to get out of his own head. He has vapor lock at the plate. It’s as bad as anything I’ve ever seen. So, my lineup for today would be:

    2B Phillips
    SS Cozart
    1B Votto
    RF Bruce
    3B Rolen
    CF Heisey
    LF Ludwick
    C Mesoracco
    P Bailey

    If BP isn’t available, I’d go:

    SS Cozart
    3B Rolen
    1B Votto
    RF Bruce
    CF Heisey
    LF Ludwick
    C Messoraco
    2B Harris
    P Bailey

    Baker may want to rest Rolen, but I don’t think you can do so unless BP is in the lineup. If Rolen is rested I’d use Harris at 3B as he’s a LH hitter and RHP Edwin Jackson is going for the Nats…

    Ahhhhh, imaginary lineups. The season has officially begun.

  56. …and one more thing about High Leverage situations. The High Leverage situation idea treats all games equally. That’s rubbish. There is no way that the 8th game of the season is as High Leverage of a situation as the same scenario in September with the pennant on the line. You know it and I know it — but there is no allowance statistically for that.
    Nor is there an allowance or adjustment for a game vs your primary foe in your division.
    Nor is there an allowance for the Playoffs.

    Please don’t tell me that there is no difference in the 8th game of the season in Washington and the 154th game in St. Louis. It’s just not reasonable.

  57. FYI Valaika is hitting .324 @ Louisville. Soft J is hitting .345 If it’s helping them could it do some other players some good?

  58. @67stats33eyes: How far out of the race are you by the time that 154th game comes around? I’m a firm believer in the “every game counts” philosophy. That’s why it’s inexcusable to trot out a lineup like the one Dusty did last night. You have one of your best hitters down for a few days – that’s when you need your best hitters to step up and maybe not take a scheduled rest day. There is no excuse for not starting Cozart last night except that it was written on Dusty’s calendar a week ago.

    • @67stats33eyes: How far out of the race are you by the time that 154th game comes around? I’m a firm believer in the “every game counts” philosophy. That’s why it’s inexcusable to trot out a lineup like the one Dusty did last night. You have one of your best hitters down for a few days – that’s when you need your best hitters to step up and maybe not take a scheduled rest day. There is no excuse for not starting Cozart last night except that it was written on Dusty’s calendar a week ago.

      But when do you develop guys?
      If you were to only use your best pitchers in high leverage situations (and by some miracle that worked out with quirks in the schedule, bad starts and extra innings), what would your circumstances be when one of the guys you had been using comes up lame in the heat of the pennant race? You would be sending someone into the high leverage situation having never really faced it before. The only way you can be confident in your depth is if you use your depth.
      And how do you know that your bench guys are ready to perform? Is it reasonable to only use the bench on a need basis? Don’t you want them to have some comfort level?
      And what about keeping guys fresh? Won’t they be more productive if they don’t wear down?
      I think that early in the season is a better time to get everyone working together, it builds the teams depth, and let’s everybody be involved. Then when needs arise, players are ready.

  59. I know it’s only been eight games. However, without a cleanup hitter, Votto will walk 130 times and the offense will not be as effective as it needs to be. It is painfully obvious that Rolen needs to be further down in the lineup and that LF is not looking like a bright spot. What about Carlos Lee? . . . Would he help in the cleanup spot (I know his defense stinks)? . . . I’m sure he could be had relatively cheap (player wise), provided Bob pick up a portion of the salary.

  60. @sayhibill: Exceptionally well stated. I agree with most everything you said.

  61. @LWBlogger: All right, I’ll grant you that Ludwick makes that play half the time. Now, Nady has hit at a .250 clip in his last three years and worse for his career as a pinch hitter. In those three years, he has hit 11 home runs in 591 PAs (1.8%). Bray, since coming back in 2010, has allowed 8 HR to 320 BF (2.5%). Bray and Nady had faced each other three times with Nady getting one single.
    Given all of that, generally, wasn’t it highly unlikely that Nady hits a home run?
    And specifically, given our agreed upon 50% rate of Ludwick catching the ball that was hit.
    Wasn’t it statistically, incredibly, microscopically unlikely to have what happened happen?
    So wasn’t it a reasonable move to pitch Bray in that situation?
    Wouldn’t you bet that the outcome would have been different in the vast majority of instances?
    I think we just had one of those things happen that happens, and blame doesn’t need to be assigned to anyone?

  62. @George Culver: I’ll throw out the names of a hitter and a pitcher who have improved with age… Jay Bruce and Johnny Cueto certainly seem to have improved with age. Maybe Bruce isn’t a super-star yet, but he’s a very nice RF and he’s gotten better each season.

  63. @67stats33eyes: Yes, it was a baseball thing that just happened. Bray left a fastball up to Nady. Nady hits fastballs up. He didn’t miss it. The park almost held it… If he was trying to avoid using Chapman for one more day, going to Bray there wasn’t a horrible move. He ended up using Chapman anyway but he had to think that Bray was going to burn Chad Tracy (the LH pinch-hitter) and at least keep Nady in the park.

  64. Until the clean-up hitter is resolved, the Reds offense will not get better. What good is Joey Votto for the next 12 years if nobody will pitch to him. It’s like buying a brand new Ferrari and driving it 100 miles a year the next decade.

    Joey walked 110 times last year and is on pace for 140 this year roughly. He gets on base, which is great, but they paid him to hit. Rolen has a spot on this team, he plays a great third base, but in no universe should a 37 year old player with multiple shoulder surgeries and back injuries be protecting your MVP and long term investment. His bat just isn’t there and giving him more AB’s than Jay Bruce is a travesty.

    Finding a LF (as Rolen is worth playing for defensive reasons but should not hit anywhere above 7th in the lineup) who can protect Joey and make pitchers actually face him is a priority and needs to be fixed immediately if the offense will turn around.

  65. I didn’t really want to look at the totals today but I finally made myself:

    Hitting– .204/.268/.326/.593 for perspective:

    Paul Janish ’11 — .214/.259/.262/.521
    Wily Taveras ’09 — .240/.275/.285/.559
    Paul Bako ”08 — .217/.299/.328/.626
    Corey Patterson ’08 — .205/.238/.344/.582

    wow are we not hitting

    • I didn’t really want to look at the totals today but I finally made myself:

      Hitting– .204/.268/.326/.593 for perspective:

      Paul Janish ’11 — .214/.259/.262/.521
      Wily Taveras ’09 — .240/.275/.285/.559
      Paul Bako ”08 — .217/.299/.328/.626
      Corey Patterson ’08 — .205/.238/.344/.582

      wow are we not hitting

      A team OPS of .593 and a team OBP of .268 is beyond miserable. There is no way this can continue for the season. While I had some questions about 3B, LF, and CF going into the year, it is very unlikely that all 3 spots will continue being as miserable as we’re seeing. These would be historically, epically bad numbers. I don’t think our offense will be nearly that bad.

  66. @nelly33: except if you bought the ferrari and only drive it 100 miles a year it would appreciate.

  67. Yes we are presently below the JanTavBakoPat line…

  68. @zab1983: It’s all good. We’re all Reds fans here, I guess I’m just eternally optimistic when it comes to my Reds. It was early August last year before I accepted that they just weren’t very good. 😯
    …I do think (hope?) Walt make some moves if things don’t start looking better over the next month. But it’s only April 14th. Have faith my friend. Have faith.

  69. @zab1983: Totally agree..Stubbs has had plenty of time to figure out the strike zone..he is now swinging at pitches 2 feet ouside.. if he makes contact at all it’s a accident

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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. You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

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2012 Reds, Titanic Struggle Recap

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