Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Washington 6
Cincinnati 9

W: S. Marshall (1-2)
L: H. Rodriguez (1-3)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Joey Votto. Joseph Daniel Votto. There aren’t enough superlatives for me to describe Votto and his performance today.

With nearly everything going wrong for Cincinnati, the Redlegs climbed on Joey Votto’s back and he carried them to an unlikely victory. On the day, Votto was 4-5 with three homers, a double, 6 RBI and four runs scored. The last homer, however, was the most important.

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Votto strode to the plate with the bases loaded (Ryan Hanigan singled, Drew Stubbs and Chris Heisey each walked) and the Reds down 6-5. As you would expect from our MVP, Votto drilled a fastball over the right-center field fence for a walkoff grand slam. Pandemonium promptly erupted among the twenty or thirty fans who remained in the park after a nearly four hour rain delay at the start of the game.

This is the only way to describe it:

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–Ryan Hanigan was the only other Red with more than one hit. He’s hitting .300 with a .355 OBP this season. I’d love to see Hanigan hitting first or second on this team.

NEGATIVES
–Everything other than Joey Votto, basically.

–Once again (for the third time this season), Dusty Baker used Devin Mesoraco to pinch-run for Ryan Hanigan (today, it happened after Hanigan got his hit to start the 9th inning rally). Someone please explain to me why Dusty thinks this is a good idea.

–Every Reds pitcher was bad today, and I’m not in a mood to expound upon that. Joey Votto!!!

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–For most of the game, I figured that this recap would be nothing more than a picture of Milton, the goat with braces. This whole series has been ugly.

Thank you, Joey Votto, for giving us something to smile about tonight.

–Jay Bruce had a double, but it was mostly due to Bryce Harper looking a bit foolish when he lost the ball in the lights.

Today’s game thread is kinda hilarious to read. So much negativity, followed by pure unadulterated joy. That’s baseball, my friends.

–Last walkoff grand slam for the Reds? My guy Adam Dunn, back in 2006 vs. the Indians. Remember that game?

–Mike Costanzo made his major league debut as a pinch-hitter in the fifth inning. He hacked at the first pitch and hit a sacrifice fly, driving in his first MLB run. Welcome to the show, Costanzo (or should we call him T-Bone?)

–The Reds lost two of three to the Nationals, and looked pretty bad in the process…yet Joey Votto’s heroics means that the Redlegs gained a game on the first-place Cardinals over the weekend. Baseball is a funny game.

Blame Chad for creating this mess.

Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.

Join the conversation! 86 Comments

  1. I posted this in the game thread but thought it was worth mentioning again

    Votto had 14 total bases and 6 RBI today
    only 5 Reds since 1918 have had a game with 14 or more total bases!!!!!!!

    Hammonds 1999
    Rose 1978
    Thurman 1956
    Bell 1956
    and Cooper 1949

    and only 2 of those players had 6 or more RBI
    Bell and Cooper

  2. MVottoP! what else is there to say.

  3. The ending to this game leaves me to question, are the Reds unsweepable?

    • @Josh M:

      The ending to this game leaves me to question, are the Reds unsweepable?

      Except if we play the Phils in October.

    • The ending to this game leaves me to question, are the Reds unsweepable?

      As far as that goes, the Reds will get severely tested on the road this week. A two game sweep isn’t a real sweep to my mind, but then they’ll get tested in 3 at Yankee Stadium.

  4. Costanzo would like to be called T-Bone, so we should call him CoCo, as in CoCo the Chimp.

    • Pinson: Costanzo would like to be called T-Bone, so we should call him CoCo, as in CoCo the Chimp.

      I couldn’t help but take a shot at George, I’m actually on board with T-Bone. Keep hitting those sac flys, T-Bone !

  5. @mike: 14 total bases…damn…how many is that??
    Willie Harris and Wilson Valdez have combined for 12 total bases this SEASON

  6. @mike: That would be Bob “Big Swish” Thurman

    • That would be Bob “Big Swish” Thurman

      Thurman has always been a curiosity for me.
      Not a bad player at all, Career 100 OPS+
      Which isn’t bad when you think he didn’t make it to the bigs until he was 38!!!
      He played from age 38-42

  7. I remember Adam Dunn’s walkoff very well. The Reds were down by 7 runs or so in the 8th inning.

  8. Good thing they bunted in the 9th inning. 11th dimensional chess. 11th dimensional chess.

  9. Against a Nationals team that has 2 starters with ERAs under 2 and two more with ERAs under 3, not hard to see how the Reds would look bad this series. And yet, as of tonight, only 2.5 back of the Cardinals.

    There’s a reason why they call it the Big 162.

  10. A key to the 9th was Hanigan leading off with that little single. Ramos is not dominating once there’s a runner on base, with all the wild pitches, worse command, and losing a bit off his fastball. I liked it that Hanigan was leading off because he would not swing at balls and would shorten his swing. I was OK with the sac bunt by Valdez because Ramos throws so many wild pitches. (The Nats catcher saved 3.) Very disappointed in Cairo swinging at a 2-0 pitch in a situation where by far his best chance to get on was a walk.

    After Heisey went 0-2 on that nasty change up I was just waiting for strike 3, game unhappily over. It almost happened on that check swing. “Almost over” in baseball is unlike “almost over” in any other sport: It ain’t over until …

  11. @Johnu1: I didn’t know this but Bob Thurman played 3 years in the Negro Leagues. Looks like he had a crazy career. Was a great hitting in the Negro leagues.

    3 years in the negro leagues
    4 years in AAA for 3 teams
    2 years playing in the Dominican Republic
    before becoming a Red and going back-n-forth between the Reds and AAA

    • @Johnu1: I didn’t know this but Bob Thurman played 3 years in the Negro Leagues. Looks like he had a crazy career. Was a great hitting in the Negro leagues.

      3 years in the negro leagues
      4 years in AAA for 3 teams
      2 years playing in the Dominican Republic
      before becoming a Red and going back-n-forth between the Reds and AAA

      Thurman was in that group who was in the wrong spot at the wrong time. More blacks were getting into MLB by the mid-50s and only the best ones got much playing time. By then, Swish was past his prime.

      He was a great pinch hitter with the ’56 Reds, as I recall from my youth.

      That was a monster hitting team and Thurman didn’t play very much.

      His career was mostly over by about that time.

  12. If the Reds can spit and win every series through this stretch (maybe with the exception of the Yankees), that’s good.
    There are a lot of problems and a lot of great things on this team. Most importantly, there are still a lot of games left.

    Sound the alarm if we’re double digits back by the end of the month, but I think the Reds are in good shape.

  13. Mike C. is the savior at 3rd base!!!!

    Just kidding.

  14. That leverage chart is a thing of beauty at the end.

    Oh, and +1 for T-Bone.

    • That leverage chart is a thing of beauty at the end.

      sure is

      when you look deeper into the #s you see something shocking but that we already know from watching the game.

      The Reds did not play well….so how did they win?

      Win Probability Added
      1.022 Votto (a crazy high number!)
      .136 Hanigan
      .128 Bruce
      .040 Marshall
      .038 Valdez

      the rest of the team in the NEGATIVE

      I just looked it up, since I didn’t remember ever seeing a Red have a WPA greater than 1

      Since 1918 it’s only been done by 4 Reds (before Votto today)

      Jr in 2000 vs Houston in an 8-7 win. He went 3-4 with 2 HR and a 2B and 4 RBI
      Rose in 1974 vs Atlanta in a 7-6 win. He went 3-5 with 2 2B and a BB
      Art Shamsky in 1966 vs Pit in a 11-14 loss. He went 3-3 with 3 HR and 5 RBI
      Wally Post in 1954 vs the Cubs in a 6-5 win. He went 2-5 with a HR and 4 RBI

      I think you combined these #s with the #s I posted in the 1st post of this thread and I’d be safe to say……………

      We just witnessed one of the most clutch, best and single-handed games from a Reds hitter in history.

  15. @pinson343: By “Ramos” above I meant Henry Rodriguez, of course. Don’t know where I cam up with Ramos, I’m getting senile.

    How many people remember Pedro Ramos, he was a near-great pitcher.

  16. @rfay00:
    Who needs Josh Hamilton anyway?

  17. How did Hoover get charged for that run that was clearly unearned! That AWFUL scoring.

  18. @mike: I remember the Shamsky game. To quote Wikipedia: “Shamsky tied a major league record by homering in 4 consecutive at bats for the Reds on August 12 and 14 of 1966. Perhaps most remarkable, the first three home runs were hit in a game in which he was inserted in the eighth inning as part of a double switch. He homered in the bottom half of that inning and remained in the game to hit home runs in his next two extra-inning at bats, extending the game each time.”

    They don’t mention it, but Shamsky also tied the game with his HR in the 8th. The Reds lost anyway, to the Pirates.

  19. @mike: Might have had something to do with the fact that Thurman was a black man and could not get through the color barrier any sooner…

    I don’t know this for certain with him; but, it is the case with many guys from that era who played only a few years in the majors at a very advanced age.

  20. One guy yesterday had a comment about Votto hurting the team by not swinging when he’s ahead in the count. I think today proves that Votto knows better than all of us non-professional-baseball-players-yet-avid-Reds-fans-who-watch-even-when-they-don’t-have-talent-like-this when he should be swinging. Don’t get me wrong though…I get it…it seems like lately, when everyone else in the lineup is hitting, Votto isn’t…but it’s May. Let’s be patient. This team has something that they can build on.

    Now, let’s all just sit back and gaze with awe at a HITTER, who can completely dominate a game: thanks, Joey.

    Now, why is ESPN still only talking about Hamilton?

    • I think today proves that Votto knows better than all of us non-professional-baseball-players-yet-avid-Reds-fans-who-watch-even-when-they-don’t-have-talent-like-this when he should be swinging.

      I agree

      we all might nit-pick and mostly have valid arguments but there is one thing. Anyone who makes a statement like that is wrong. GREAT hitters know hitting better than we could ever imagine. I never have ever questioned anything going on with hitters like Votto, Pujols, Bonds, Frank Thomas, Manny, ARod, Bagwell, Henderson, etc. They are great and clearly produce more at the plate than most humans in the history of the game.

    • One guy yesterday had a comment about Votto hurting the team by not swinging when he’s ahead in the count.I think today proves that Votto knows better than all of us non-professional-baseball-players-yet-avid-Reds-fans-who-watch-even-when-they-don’t-have-talent-like-this when he should be swinging.Don’t get me wrong though…I get it…it seems like lately, when everyone else in the lineup is hitting, Votto isn’t…but it’s May.Let’s be patient.This team has something that they can build on.

      The man had a .454 OBP (league average is .316) coming into the game today. There are maybe 3 people on the planet that are able to critic Joey’s pitch selection.

      To show how rare a WPA > 1 is, here is an article linked from BBTF to Fangraphs, It’s from 2008. Quick notes, 19 players had a WPA > 1 from 1990-2008, and 35 total in the fangraphs database (Don’t know the exact year they started WPA tracking)

      • To show how rare a WPA > 1 is, here is an article linked from BBTF to Fangraphs, It’s from 2008. Quick notes, 19 players had a WPA > 1 from 1990-2008, and 35 total in the fangraphs database (Don’t know the exact year they started WPA tracking)

        damn cool…thanks.

        Is ANYONE questioning signing him to the huge deal now?

      • The man had a .454 OBP (league average is .316) coming into the game today. There are maybe 3 people on the planet that are able to critic Joey’s pitch selection.

        I love this quote…so I decided to come up with the 3 people 🙂

        Barry Bonds (duh)
        Frank Thomas
        ugh…tough either Edgar Martinez or Pujols

        all 4 players are in the top 22 ALL-TIME in OBP%
        everyone above them is dead, with the exception of Todd Helton who I have never liked so I left him off 🙂

  21. @pinson343: If I recall correctly from memory (I haven’t checked), Swish’s big day was part of a 22-2 (or maybe 22-3) thrashing of the Cubs..

  22. Quick Pitch on the MLB network opened with Votto highlights.
    Gave tons of stats about his game…showed all his HR and did a quick post-game interview.

    all about Votto today

    (note: and I think there was another walk off grand slam today)

  23. @rfay00: You’re right, Hoover got charged with an earned run because Bernadina was credited with a stolen base.
    The interpretation of the scorer was that it was a delayed steal. (Or maybe there’s some rule that says he had to interpret it that way.)

    But it was not a delayed steal. Bernadina got hung up between first and second base, standing still with the ball in Hanigan’s hand. Bernadina only made it to second because of Hanigan’s throwing error. But the ruling was stolen base with Hanigan charged with the error that allowed Bernadina to make it to 3rd. The advance to 3rd was really Valdez’ fault for not blocking Hanigan’s throw.

  24. @joelie1274: Right I remember reading the blogger’s comment and having the same thought as you. The blogger was saying that Joey was looking for walks, taking too many fastballs right over the plate with 2-0 and 3-1 counts. But I had the thought that Joey has ALWAYS done that, and often homered on the next pitch. No way we can tell Joey how to hit.

  25. @mike: Saw that too. One thing is that Joey is the first player ever to have a 3 HR game that included a walkoff grand slam.

  26. @joelie1274: I almost posted last night that Votto seemed angry with himself after he walked in late in the game.

    My guess at the was that he thought he had missed a pitched he should have hit out of the park on what became strike 2 or the AB.
    The Nats tried to get a called strike three on the next pitch but when the call when Joey’s way, they basically walked him intentionally by throwing two straight well high and way.

  27. Hoover and Marshall both pitched pretty well. Hoover got charged with an earned run because of a “stolen base” that was really due to a throwing error by Hanigan (see above).

    Marshall definitely pitched well. He gave up a single on a seeing eye grounder and another single on a ground ball that Valdez somehow whiffed on. I thought Valdez was on the team because he can play “major league shortstop”. I only watched from the 6th inning on, and he made two terrible plays, wasn’t charged for an error on either.

  28. @hokieneer: I can’t even think of 3 people who could critique Joey’s pitch selection. Ted Williams is the only one I can think of, who might have something meaningful to say.

    • @hokieneer: I can’t even think of 3 people who could critique Joey’s pitch selection. Ted Williams is the only one I can think of, who might have something meaningful to say.

      I could only come up with 2 names:

      1) Bonds
      2) If you could find someway to thaw his head and get a working Futurama jar: Ted Williams.

      I was being generous by saying 3, though I have no idea who.

  29. @mike: Mike Stanton also hit a walk off grand slam today, off the Mets.

  30. @pinson343: yup…I’ve been enjoying watching greatness all day. That is the only reason i watch baseball. To see great things and Votto did something great today….historic really

  31. Is there a better 2-strike hitter in baseball today than Votto?
    The man is cooler than a penguin wearing sunglasses.

  32. @OhioJim: Minnie Minoso nearly had a Hall of Fame career, after being blocked from starting his major league career until he was 30.

  33. @hokieneer: Maybe Frank Thomas. In his prime, still the best batter’s eye I have ever seen. In 94-95 the big hurt had a 21.1% BB rate and only a 11.6% k rate while jacking a HR every 11 AB or so. That’s ridiculous.

    • @hokieneer: Maybe Frank Thomas. In his prime, still the best batter’s eye I have ever seen. In 94-95 the big hurt had a 21.1% BB rate and only a 11.6% k rate while jacking a HR every 11 AB or so. That’s ridiculous.

      –I agree. The Big Hurt was the best 2 strike hitter I’ve ever seen………until now.
      —Because he looks so much like Elvis, how can we not call Costanzo ‘the King’??

  34. Wouldn’t it be sweet if the Reds took advantage of Votto’s ability by putting the highest OBP guys ahead of him and protecting him with the team’s best power hitter? Imagine the numbers this guy could put up. Dare to dream. Dare… to… dream.

    • @zippy: Absolutely 100% with you…but here is a tricky question. Who are the Reds best OBP guys after Votto and Bruce?

      One is absolutely clear (including a rookie).
      Bat the Catchers 2nd.

      but who leads off?

      I just looked it up….it’s not an easy question…

      Phillips
      Hanigan/Mesoraco
      Votto
      Bruce
      Frazier
      Cozart
      Ludwick/Heisey
      Stubbs

      yes right now Cozart looks to be more productive with the bat than Ludwick, Heisey or Stubbs. Now…IF you were concerned about clogging the bases you could just swap Cozart and the catchers.

      the main point being Ludwick, Heisey and Stubbs looks to be lost causes
      now….trade for a big RH bat to play LF and we have an offense.

  35. Ludwick|Heisey/Stubbs/Pitcher – that’s three straight outs.

  36. @Myles: and better at the bottom of the order than in front or behind Votto/Bruce 🙂

    as someone much wiser than I once said….your 5 best hitter should no matter what hit 1-5

  37. @hokieneer: Ted Williams could articulate his hitting philosophy and would have loved to talk/debate with Votto about hitting. Bonds, I don’t know.

  38. @mike:

    I don’t think it’s just a question of checking the season stats. I think you’ve got to pay attention to the kinds of at-bats everyone is having. When Stubbs is hitting the ball, he’s a good guy to have ahead of Votto. When he’s off, as he usually is, he has no business hitting up there.

    If I’m running this team, my leadoff hitter is probably BP now that he seems to be hitting again. Hanigan is my number 2 hitter unless Stubbs or Cozart is really hot. Then Votto and Bruce. Get BP on base, hit and run with Hanigan, and Votto comes up with either BP on second or third, possibly Hanigan on first, and Bruce on deck. I like my odds of scoring at least one. Then I’ve got some combination of Cozart/Frazier 5th and 6th and Stubbs/Heisey 7th and 8th. Minimize the ABs for guys who don’t reach base, maximize the number of runners on base for Votto and Bruce, and force teams to pitch to Votto as much as possible. Use Hanigan’s ability to make contact and hit to the right side instead of wasting it. This is subject to change based on who’s hot and who’s slumping, but that’s my default lineup.

    • I don’t think it’s just a question of checking the season stats.

      didn’t look at current stats at all

      looked at history and projections
      current stats don’t tell me much…except…”what have you done for me lately”

      now I think the tough part with this Reds roster is what you do vs LH. vs RH is easy

      • looked at history and projections
        current stats don’t tell me much…except…”what have you done for me lately”

        Well, let me clarify and say I wouldn’t pay attention to stats OTHER than “what have you done for me lately.” If Votto is in a bit of a slump, I’ll ignore that because a slumping Votto is still the team’s best weapon. But otherwise I think you’ve GOT to pay attention to what these guys have been doing lately, because most of them are streak hitters, and you need to adjust accordingly.

        As for what I do against lefties: I suppose I’d have Cozart lead off most of those games and stick BP at cleanup. I don’t think a lefty would give Votto anything to hit with Bruce on deck.

  39. If anyone has a link to Marty’s call of the walk-off, I’d appreciate it.

  40. Heisey’s AB was the key. He was 0-2 then got a favorable call on a check swing. I’ve seen less called a strike. He then works a Walk. That was a nice AB in a tough situation.

    • Heisey’s AB was the key. He was 0-2 then got a favorable call on a check swing. I’ve seen less called a strike. He then works a Walk. That was a nice AB in a tough situation.

      Heck, Ludwick got got rung up to end the game Saturday night on a “check swing” that wasn’t even close, imo. I thought it was going to happen two nights in a row.

  41. Isn’t it nice to know Votto is going to be in a Reds uniform for his ENTIRE career! Just let that swirl around a little.

  42. Only thing I can think of regarding pinch running Mesoraco for Hanigan, is that with essentially having two starting catchers, Dusty would rather play both in games that potentially could go to extra innings, and I assume Mesoraco is a faster runner (though I have no idea whether that is the case). That being said, I’d rather it happen on a double switch and/or not burn a bat, but I can see why Dusty does it and I don’t think any added or lost value in that move would be significant.

    On a related note – pitching Marshall in the top of the 9th, down a run? Perhaps Dusty’s improved bullpen management might actually become a trend. Hope it’s not just a case of “giving Marshall some work.”

    • and I assume Mesoraco is a faster runner (though I have no idea whether that is the case).

      I’ve wondered this myself. As silly as it seems to pinch run a catcher for a catcher, I’ve never been convinced Mesoraco is any faster or a better baserunner. Hanigan seems like a speedier-than-average catcher to me, and I don’t see Mesoraco beating him by more than a step or two, if that.

  43. Fellows, how blessed are we to have 3 guys playing at Hall-of-Fame levels?

    Mr. Votto
    Mr. Cueto
    Mr. Cuban Missle

    What a great base to have on our favorite team and a real joy to watch. Let’s all bask in it’s glory while we can. Who knows when it might cross our paths again.

  44. Love that WPA stat. Shouldn’t JV earn 1.0 WAR for yesterday alone? A clear example of where one player made the difference in one game.

  45. Comparing Heisey to Ludwick at this point feels a little unfair in my thinking. Ludwick has been a starter for years and his numbers have been on the decline for a while. He looks totally lost at the plate and swings at everything out of the zone. Some of his strikeouts have been on pitches so far outside, it leaves you scratching your head. Heisey, on the other hand has not had the same career AB’s or chance to work on hitting off speed/breaking balls that Ludwick has had (remember Jay Bruce before he could hit a breaking ball?). I think he’ll get it together if he has the chance, but it’s tough when you only are out there every now and then and worried about being replaced by “a veteran presence”. How about that throw from Heisey yesterday to home plate? Wish DB would give him a consistent shot at LF.

  46. Mesoraco is 100% faster than Hanigan. This is one of the few areas Baker doesn’t even have to use his personal judgment…the Reds almost certainly time their players from home-to-1B, 1B-to-3B in spring training, etc.

    I’m not saying he’s correct in using Mesoraco over someone else on the bench, but a “step or two faster” is a pretty big deal in baseball (or any sport really).

    • a “step or two faster” is a pretty big deal in baseball (or any sport really).

      Rarely does a guy who’s already on first base get thrown out by a step or two when trying to advance. It happens, of course, but not very often. And if a step or two is really so valuable, then the runner should have been Cozart or Leake, who are both at least a step faster than Mesoraco. If we really want to invent justifications for Dusty’s decisions, it’s certainly possible, but in my book you’re not making a great decision if you replace the fourth best option with the third best option while ignoring he second and first best options.

  47. Last night’s game could serve as a model for “How the Reds Win Games Despite Dusty.” Other than putting Votto near the top of the order and Marshall’s scoreless inning, I’m not sure a single one of Dusty’s decisions actually worked the way he hoped/expected. He left Arroyo in too long and LeCure in too long, and, while Hoover’s run wasn’t exactly Hoover’s fault, obviously that inning didn’t go the way Dusty had hoped. The top two guys in the order were 0-8 with two walks, three strikeouts, and no steals. Cleanup hitter was 1-4 with 2 Ks and no RBI. Bruce’s one hit should have been an out. Outside of Votto, the only guys who hit the ball hard a few times were batting 7th and 8th.

    I guess Costanzo’s sac fly could be considered a minor success, but pinch hitting Ludwick in the 8th with the tying run on 2nd resulted in a predictable strikeout. (Why Cozart wasn’t used in that situation is one of life’s greatest mysteries.) The sac bunt in the 9th with Cairo and an 0-4 Stubbs due up next was only “successful” in the sense that Rodriquez suddenly forgot how to throw strikes to Stubbs and Heisey, which I doubt was Dusty’s theory when he called for that sac bunt. Pinch running a catcher for a catcher made no difference, as Hanigan could have duplicated what Mesoraco did. With a slightly worse bunt, pinch running a catcher in that situation (with Cozart STILL on the bench, not to mention Leake) could easily have cost him the game.

    And yet the Reds won — thanks mostly to a fly ball that got lost in the lights and one of the most impressive individual performances in team history — and Dusty’s supporters can now add one more victory to the list of reasons why nobody should question his managing.

  48. Reds currently 1 of 3 teams in all of MLB with multiple hitters who have a wRC+ of 150 or higher: Joey Votto (184) & Jay Bruce (157).

    Sadly, currently the only other above average hitter on the team is Zack Cozart with wRC+ 107. The Cardinals have 5 players over 140. 😯

  49. @sezwhom1: I talked about Heisey’s check swing call on the game thread. He may have gotten a favorable call because Ludwick was wrung up on a check swing call by the first base ump to end Saturday nite’s game, and Heisey had been wrung up on a check swing call (expressing a lot of anger) in his previous AB. The keys to the rally were Hanigan leading off with a single – a base runner negatively affects how Rodriguez pitches – and Heisey’s walk. When he was at 0-2 after a nasty change up, I thought the game would end right there on a K.

    It turns out that Joey had struck out in all 3 of his previous ABs against Rodriguez. It was the same scenario as the Casey at the Bat poem. The two previous hitters unexpectedly extend the game, bringing up Casey as the winning run. Would have been no joy in Mudville if the mighty Joey had struck out.

  50. A number of living people could critique Votto — Gwynn, Morgan, Carew, Mattingly, Helton all come to mind. I have no idea what they’d TELL Votto, but they were all qualified to hit.

    But I agree that there aren’t many people who can hit like Votto has learned to hit.

    I’d venture to say that Brook Jacoby hasn’t had much to do with it.

  51. @pinson343: So who was the closer in that fateful Mudville game? I know that I’d have walked Casey intentionally, if you remember how the story went.

  52. @Johnu1: See, that’s totally unfair. You have no idea to what degree Jacoby works with either Votto or any of the guys who are slumping.

    • @Johnu1: See, that’s totally unfair.You have no idea to what degree Jacoby works with either Votto or any of the guys who are slumping.

      So it can’t be discussed? What can we discuss? What do we really know about any “behind the scenes” activities involving the team? You might be a little strict? No?

    • @Johnu1: See, that’s totally unfair.You have no idea to what degree Jacoby works with either Votto or any of the guys who are slumping.

      Sultan, that’s a good point and I have no idea if Jacoby works with Votto or not. Inside a clubhouse, a million conversations are held, I’d guess. They have technology that didn’t exist last April.

      Votto may indeed be the only guy who gets help from Jacoby. That would be a better premise for me to follow.

  53. @zippy: Just one thing – I was OK with the sac bunt by Valdez for precisely the reason you give – Rodriguez forgot how to throw strikes. This wasn’t a coincidence. Rodriguez throws a LOT of wild pitches – Flores made 3 outstanding blocks – on his breaking stuff, which he was then uneasy about throwing. Doesn’t explain why he couldn’t throw fast ball strikes, but he’s inexperienced and having a runner in scoring position seemed to unnerve him.

    • @zippy: Just one thing – I was OK with the sac bunt by Valdez for precisely the reason you give – Rodriguez forgot how to throw strikes. This wasn’t a coincidence. Rodriguez throws a LOT of wild pitches – Flores made 3 outstanding blocks – on his breaking stuff, which he was then uneasy about throwing. Doesn’t explain why he couldn’t throw fast ball strikes, but he’s inexperienced and having a runner in scoring position seemed to unnerve him.

      Really? He got the next batter out, and Heisey was fortunate not to be called out on strikes. Was that really what Dusty had in mind? And are you suggesting he wouldn’t have called for the sacrifice bunt with a different closer on the mound? If that’s what you’re suggesting, then you don’t know Dusty.

  54. @Johnu1: Good point, there were only two base runners on when Casey came to bat. Maybe an intentional walk in that situation wasn’t considered good sportsmanship in those days.

  55. @Johnu1: PS No closers in those days. A starting pitcher was disgraced if he didn’t finish what he started.

  56. @CP: I had no problem with pinch running Mesoraco and don’t understand the fuss about it.

    • @CP: I had no problem with pinch running Mesoraco and don’t understand the fuss about it.

      The problem is that Baker made the decision.

      That’s all it takes to generate complaints around here.

      • The problem is that Baker made the decision.

        That’s all it takes to generate complaints around here.

        Show me another manager who has pinch run a catcher for a catcher three times this season. Show me a manager who uses a catcher to pinch run in a must-score situation when he’s got a shortstop and an athletic pitcher available. I don’t blame Dusty for being Dusty, I blame him for making Dusty-like decisions.

  57. I am not a Dusty fan, but as a friend of mine said, it’s easy to not have the presure and make decisions. He also points to Dusty’s overall record as a manager and says that it didn’t happen in spite of him or by luck. To a degree I agree, none of us here have all the information Dusty haves.

    • I am not a Dusty fan, but as a friend of mine said, it’s easy to not have the presure and make decisions.He also points to Dusty’s overall record as a manager and says that it didn’t happen in spite of him or by luck.To a degree I agree, none of us here have all the information Dusty haves.

      Just as I said. Virtually none of his decisions worked out the way he hoped/expected, but he still gets credit for the win because he was managing at the time, and so we now add this game to the list of reasons why we shouldn’t question him.

      Not too long ago I had my tires replaced, and when I got home I heard a noise coming from one of the wheels. Eventually I took the car to a mechanic who noticed the lug nuts hadn’t been tightened. If I’d complained about Firestone’s shoddy work on Redleg Nation (which I guess I now am), I wonder how many people would have chastised me for daring to question the tire-changing abilities of a shop that has changed MILLIONS of tires. How many people would have said “hey, the guy who changed the tire works in a tire shop – he must know something about tires, and the tires did stay on the car, didn’t they? So what are you complaining about? You must just like to complain about Firestone.”

  58. Ever wonder why there is so much discussion about setting a rotation only to see that when a series starts, more often than not, it seems the back end of the rotation starts the series against their ace? Then, our ace comes up against their No. 2 guy. Five-man rotations don’t divide very well into 3-game series.

    As well, I also realize that the 2-5 record against the Nats did NOT include Steven Strasburg. (Gulp!)

  59. @zippy: Evidently Mesoraco is a good baserunner. I have little evidence to prove that and I’ve heard he is fast — for a catcher. This seems like a no-brainer but I agree it’s the type of decision that always will make you go “hmmmmm.”

  60. @Johnu1: Eh, maybe we can give Dusty credit for doing something unconventional. Leave it to him to do something unconventional that probably isn’t helpful… what if Mes tears his ACL (’cause that’s going around for some reason) pinch running, or breaks his ankle sliding? What if he hurts himself barreling into the opposing catcher? Corkie can’t get there that quickly. On the other hand, if Mes can actually outrun Frazier, Leake, or whoever is on the bench, then I guess you can be a little more comfortable rolling the dice.

  61. Not that this is all that meaningful, but in his combined AAA and major league career, Meso has 1 SB and 3 CS, whereas Hanigan has 1 SB and 0 CS. (Apparently Hanigan has never attempted a steal in the majors.) Both of them sound like catchers to me. Between AAA and the majors, Cozart has 40 SB and 6 CS. I think he’s probably faster.

  62. Wade Boggs also had a pretty unbelievable eye at one point in his career. Not the same power, but I have read more than a few pitchers state he was the toughest out in baseball during his peak.

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About Chad Dotson

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

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2012 Reds, Titanic Struggle Recap

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