Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
St. Louis 2
Cincinnati 8

W: M. Leake (6-8)
L: J.Garcia (3-5)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Mike Leake had a very nice bounce back start after getting knocked around last time out. Good to see. He certainly danced around trouble all afternoon, but the numbers were good at the end.

–Excellent game from the middle of the order. Brandon Phillips was a triple short of the cycle. Ryan Ludwick had three hits. Jay Bruce homered and walked. Scott Rolen had a hit and walked twice.

–For a pitcher, Mike Leake can really hit.

–J.J. Hoover did his best Aroldis Chapman impersonation and struck out the side in the ninth.

–A Really well played game all around by the Redlegs. It was very enjoyable to watch.

NEGATIVES
–Drew Stubbs, I guess. He struck out four times, but did manage a single.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–Did the Fox camera really have to linger on Stubbs after that fourth K? I mean, his expression obviously said something like, “I wish I wasn’t sucking so much right now. I feel terrible,” and we had to watch it for what felt like half an hour. It was, perhaps, a good reminder that ballplayers are human. Still, yeesh. Cut the kid some slack.

–I really, really, really enjoy watching Zack Cozart and Brandon Phillips play together. I am totally fine with that double play combination for the next five years or so.

–I love Barry Larkin. It was great to see him on the field, even if he wasn’t in uniform. A very classy retirement ceremony from the Reds. Very nicely done.

–Just like that, it’s a seven game lead again. I know it’s theoretically possible, but the idea that the Cardinals can make up 7 games with only 34 left to play, is pretty far-fetched.

Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at jasonlinden.com.

Join the conversation! 76 Comments

  1. –Just like that, it’s a seven game lead again. I know it’s theoretically possible, but the idea that the Cardinals can make up 7 games with only 34 left to play, is pretty far-fetched.

    Yet, to hear people talk after yesterday’s game, you would think the Reds’ season was over, that the Reds should just hand the NL Central to the Cardinals and save the trouble, that the Reds were going to lose every game for the rest of the year and finish with a losing record, that the Reds are not and never will be capable of winning against “elite” teams.

    It’s a marathon, not a sprint. One ugly game does not a season make.

  2. You know what–as a fan, I’ve been pretty frustrated with Stubbs for awhile, but yeah, that was painful to watch him in the dugout and I definitely felt for him as a human being. It was almost as if you could see his brain thinking, “Wait..is my career basically falling apart?”

  3. I had some other commitments this afternoon and only caught bits and pieces of the early part of the game on the radio and saw the last couple innings on TV. Haven’t had a chance to read the game thread, but will do that next.

    At the risk of veering into Thom’s Wonderland of Superlatives, this was one of the most important wins of the year. Not only that we won it, but how. Coming on the heels of the deflating loss last night and with the prospect of another Cardinals run out there. The Reds of 2012 are a very resilient bunch. Perhaps Dusty Baker has something to do with that.

    I was able to catch Marty Brennaman complaining about how Jay Bruce struggles against left-handed pitchers, mere seconds before Bruce hit another vitally important bomb.

    Pressure entirely on the WLB tomorrow. Come on Homer, pound in that nail.

    • At the risk of veering into Thom’s Wonderland of Superlatives, this was one of the most important wins of the year

      I have to agree. Just one win in this series put the pressure on St. Louis big time. Now the Reds can come out tomorrow and play loose rather than playing to avoid a sweep. Then we continue on our merry way vs. the sub .500 teams left on the schedule and make plans for the postseason.

  4. From the Reds twitter feed during the game:

    “@MikeLeake44’s third 2-hit game of season, eighth multi-hit game of career. Since his debut leads all Major League pitchers with 41 hits.”

  5. I really would like to see Drew Stubbs put it all together. He flashes signs of his potential from time to time but he simply has a lot of holes as a hitter. He is a drain on the Reds lineup, especially when he is hitting at the top of the order. The problem is – right now, there are few options. When Votto comes back, maybe you lead off Phillips, bat Hanigan second? He has a lot of the attributes (minus speed) that you’d like to have in a two hole hitter. I just hate that the Reds have 1-2 hole hitters with OBP’s less than .300 hitting in front of Votto.

    • (updated 8/2/12)

      I don’t blame Drew, I blame the manager. If he batted seventh or eighth nobody would complain about him.

    • When Votto comes back, maybe you lead off Phillips, bat Hanigan second?He has a lot of the attributes (minus speed) that you’d like to have in a two hole hitter.I just hate that the Reds have 1-2 hole hitters with OBP’s less than .300 hitting in front of Votto.

      I think Dusty will go with BP leading off, Cozart 2nd, and Stubbs 7th. Hanigan no doubt will still bat 8th.

  6. It makes me wonder how many college kids could come
    Up and hit in the majors sooner than the current rate of “paying their dues.”

  7. Stubbs’ struggles are so obvious and painful to watch, yet the manager keeps penciling him into the #2 spot in the lineup. It’s not that he would hit better batting seventh, but at least it might take some of the pressure off of him.

    It’s important to keep in mind that he does have 14 home runs and 28 stolen bases. He’s made some excellent defensive plays recently.

    Marty is really out on a campaign against him now – move Jay Bruce to CF to keep Frazier’s bat in the lineup after Votto returns. I’m not against that, but hate to hear Marty’s biased, negative broadcasting about a specific player.

    • Stubbs’ struggles are so obvious and painful to watch, yet the manager keeps penciling him into the #2 spot in the lineup. It’s not that he would hit better batting seventh, but at least it might take some of the pressure off of him.

      It’s important to keep in mind that he does have 14 home runs and 28 stolen bases. He’s made some excellent defensive plays recently.

      Marty is really out on a campaign against him now – move Jay Bruce to CF to keep Frazier’s bat in the lineup after Votto returns. I’m not against that, but hate to hear Marty’s biased, negative broadcasting about a specific player.

      The thing is, Stubbs is really “actualizing” what the scouts have said about him from the time he was in high school. I just went back and read some of Baseball America’s comments about him and they are very consistent from high school through the minor leagues. Plus power, plus speed, raw athlete, etc. At Texas, he struck out an average of one time per game…that’s a very high strikeout rate considering the pitching he was facing. It just seems that continues to be the same player he has always been. You’d like to think he would have been able to make the adjustment to higher level pitching by now. Frankly – after this many years in pro ball – , you have to think that it is “baked”; if he hasn’t made any significant changes to his offensive approach by now – it just isn’t going to happen. That’s a shame because he really has incredible potential. Good glove, great speed, good power.

      For me, I’d like to see him stay in CF — just put him in the eight hole and consider him a toolsy Cesar Geronimo. If he hits, he hits. If not, you live with a good defender who has a low OBP, decent power and great speed.

      • The thing is, Stubbs is really “actualizing” what the scouts have said about him from the time he was in high school.I just went back and read some of Baseball America’s comments about him and they are very consistent from high school through the minor leagues.Plus power, plus speed, raw athlete, etc.At Texas, he struck out an average of one time per game…that’s a very high strikeout rate considering the pitching he was facing.It just seems that continues to be the same player he has always been.You’d like to think he would have been able to make the adjustment to higher level pitching by now.Frankly – after this many years in pro ball – , you have to think that it is “baked”; if he hasn’t made any significant changes to his offensive approach by now – it just isn’t going to happen.That’s a shame because he really has incredible potential.Good glove, great speed, good power.

        For me, I’d like to see him stay in CF — just put him in the eight hole and consider him a toolsy Cesar Geronimo.If he hits, he hits.If not, you live with a good defender who has a low OBP, decent power and great speed.

        I could even go with that. But, nothing over the 7 hole. Just no reason to have him up there regularly.

      • The thing is, Stubbs is really “actualizing” what the scouts have said about him from the time he was in high school.I just went back and read some of Baseball America’s comments about him and they are very consistent from high school through the minor leagues.Plus power, plus speed, raw athlete, etc.At Texas, he struck out an average of one time per game…that’s a very high strikeout rate considering the pitching he was facing.It just seems that continues to be the same player he has always been.You’d like to think he would have been able to make the adjustment to higher level pitching by now.Frankly – after this many years in pro ball – , you have to think that it is “baked”; if he hasn’t made any significant changes to his offensive approach by now – it just isn’t going to happen.That’s a shame because he really has incredible potential.Good glove, great speed, good power.

        For me, I’d like to see him stay in CF — just put him in the eight hole and consider him a toolsy Cesar Geronimo.If he hits, he hits.If not, you live with a good defender who has a low OBP, decent power and great speed.

        @Greenie55: This is a sane post. He needs to hit eighth. Not second, not lead-off, not seventh. Eighth only. Only problem I can see is that he would be comfortable in that spot, start to produce and then DB moves him back to the top of the order and cwe start the whole process over again.

        By the way, I don’t think for a minute Marty is bias with Stubbs. t is all facts. When and if Frazier goes to the bench, with Votto’s return, all heck will break loose on this blog and elsewhere. Pure insanity. A lineup with Votto, BP, Frazier, Ludwick, Bruce, Hanigan, Cozart and Rolen has the potential to bring the Big Trophy to the Queen City “if” Jay can be at least serviceable in CF. It is certainly worth a try.

        • @Greenie55: A lineup with Votto, BP, Frazier, Ludwick, Bruce, Hanigan, Cozart and Rolen has the potential to bring the Big Trophy to the Queen City “if” Jay can be at least serviceable in CF.It is certainly worth a try.

          It’s an interesting thought experiment. On the plus side, Frazier hits a ton better than Stubbs and the Reds would certainly score more runs.

          On the minus side, in practice the Reds would probably go with Frazier in LF, Bruce in CF, and Ludwick in RF. I doubt they’d put Frazier in RF. Has he ever played there in the minors?

          You would lose defense at all three OF positions. The question is does the increased runs allowed exceed the increased runs scored.

          Add to this that Reds pitchers don’t strike out hitters like some teams do, so defense is more important to the Reds than it would be to a team like the Nats. Actually the Reds are backward, they strike guys out in the tail end of games. For the Nats, they could get away with a lineup of not great defense and then bring in the good defense guys later in the game.

    • Stubbs’ struggles are so obvious and painful to watch, yet the manager keeps penciling him into the #2 spot in the lineup. It’s not that he would hit better batting seventh, but at least it might take some of the pressure off of him.

      It’s important to keep in mind that he does have 14 home runs and 28 stolen bases. He’s made some excellent defensive plays recently.

      Marty is really out on a campaign against him now – move Jay Bruce to CF to keep Frazier’s bat in the lineup after Votto returns. I’m not against that, but hate to hear Marty’s biased, negative broadcasting about a specific player.

      I think I would prefer to see Frazier play LF, 3B and 1B five times per week and let Heisey spell Stubbs.

  8. Another point on the “they’re human” front, they did get in from Philly at 3:30am on Friday. I know these guys are paid athletes, but I imagine that played into a little of the Friday issues.

    • Another point on the “they’re human” front, they did get in from Philly at 3:30am on Friday. I know these guys are paid athletes, but I imagine that played into a little of the Friday issues.

      Greg: True. Dusty said that after the Friday nite game.

  9. I think we’ll see Phillips move up to 1 or 2 when Votto comes off the DL with Stubbs moving down in the order.

    • I think we’ll see Phillips move up to 1 or 2 when Votto comes off the DL with Stubbs moving down in the order.

      That makes too much sense, which means it won’t happen.

  10. @Greg Dafler: That is a good point, makes u wish they would have won thursday.

  11. It was great for the Reds to put that game out of reach like they did.

    Hoover keeps playing like that, and he’ll find himself on the playoff roster.

    • It was great for the Reds to put that game out of reach like they did.

      Hoover keeps playing like that, and he’ll find himself on the playoff roster.

      Somehow it seems like Devin Mesoraco’s suspension is going to end up a major positive for the Reds as it caused Ondrusek to be sent down to bring up Navarro for 2 days, then it caused Hoover to be called up after due to the 10-day rule.

  12. @Greg Dafler: I heard Thom mention that during the game. makes 1,000,000 % sense to me.

  13. @CI3J: people forget that mlb plays 162 games that = 10 nfl seasons. So many baseball fans are football fans now and they have that mentaillity about a baseball game.

  14. Oh My God…What shall we do? The Cardinals are clearly the superior team…There is no way we can hang on and win the division 😳
    Oh wait..that was yesterday… 🙄

  15. The Reds really only needed one of these three but an 8 game lead sounds so much better than a 6 game lead that I hope the go out and nail them to the wall again tomorrow.

    Hoover was very impressive in the 9th. Broxton wore a little on the nerves the way he ran the counts but in the end he was pretty good too. And let’s not forget the big high leverage out Marshall got in the 7th.

    • Hoover was very impressive in the 9th. Broxton wore a little on the nerves the way he ran the counts but in the end he was pretty good too. And let’s not forget the big high leverage out Marshall got in the 7th.

      Jim: The good day by the bullpen meant a lot to me. The pen has been a bit ragged lately and I’m looking to Broxton and Hoover for help. They both threw well – Broxton was OK after overthrowing to the first batter and going 3-0 to the second. Hoover was just throwing gas right past batters – his fast ball is clocked at 93 but gets on hitters as thought it’s about 98 – they have trouble picking it up or something.

      Broxton was hitting 97 and 98 – it’s a relief that his arm is OK.

  16. Early in the game some Cardinals fans near me tried starting up a “Let’s go Cardinals” chant until another guy held up a towel with a picture of fried chicken that said “St. Louis Sucks.” We all started cheering him and the Cardinals fans shut up pretty quickly. Fun game.

  17. For the record, I will admit Marty is too harsh on Jay Bruce. Suggesting Frazier plays instead of Stubbs is just good sense. I sense MB’s frustration with DB not DS. You want to be fully loaded going into Post-season. Will Dusty abide that is the questions.

    Really great start by Leake, great game by BP, nice outings by Marshall & Brox, lightning shot by Jay, and a huge clutch hit by Rolen. This team is something to behold.

  18. Negatives (and I apologize in advance to SuperTodd):

    Frazier missed two routine balls. Had the Cardinals capitalized, they would’ve been pretty important in such a tight game.

  19. Stubbs has been struggling for awhile – .205 BA/.536 OPS for August. I’m pretty he is batting under .200 over the last 10+ games. Dusty might be doing him a favor by dropping him lower in the line up and giving him a chance to straighten out. Or at least a day or two off. That seemed to help Bruce.

  20. How many more runs are the pitchers giving up with Bruce in CF and Frazier in RF?

  21. I thought Dusty made the right move by putting a short leash on Leake. He ended up only throwing 82 pitches. No need to save the bullpen with roster expansion around the corner.

  22. I believe Baker was quoted pre-game that he was thinking of giving Stubbs Sunday off.

  23. It took a while, but we are now looking at a 1 for 4 night lowering Scott Rolen’s average. Just think what it would do to his OBP!

  24. I guess the sky is not falling for all those nervous nellies out there. Kudos to Leake. I have not been a huge fan, but this might have been his best start of the year considering the circumstances. Let’s face it, this team is legit.

  25. I understand that stubbs struck out four times. But at least he managed a base hit. How he manages to be a “negative” while cozarts 0-5 goes without mention is beyond me. I understand that he is a rookie. I understand stubbs has been disappointing. But drew stubbs is not the plague. He is on pace for roughly 20HR and 40 steals. Fans seem to have a predisposition to point out stubbs bad games, while Cozart goes 0-5 and isn’t even considered a negative on this particular day. From what I’ve read, Frazier misplayed two balls, and yet “Super Todd ROY” can do no wrong. Homer Bailey is perpetually one bad inning away from once again being labelled a “head case.”

    I understand that a lot of it has to do with the relative seasons the players have had, but in a TSR, where the postings, negatives, and random thoughts are all related to that day specifically, I don’t think it’s fair to pick on stubbs bad night and gloss over the rest.

    Drew Stubbs amounts to a “first place problem” in that, while serviceable, he is the least good (but not bad) player. Baseball Reference actually has him as being above replacement player level offensively. But the grief I hear about him around here would have you believe he isn’t a major league player.

    But the most major point I want to make is this:

    It is asinine that the same fans who have been talking bad about how Bruce has regressed defensively, with both glove and arm, want him to play center now to get Frazier AB’s. Do you think his problems are going to instantly solve themselves? The difference between stubbs and fraZiers OBP results in roughly one more time on base per 18 PA, or once ever 4-5 games. I love Bruce, even more than most, but I have to think the drop off in defense is far greater than any benefit received from an extra baserunner once or twice a week. Let’s be serious here.

    • I understand that stubbs struck out four times. But at least he managed a base hit. How he manages to be a “negative” while cozarts 0-5 goes without mention is beyond me.

      This goes more back to the having Cozart and Stubbs at the top of the order issue and what our expectations of those two should be. Lots being said of their OBP failings this season, and rightly so. But Cozart is actually playing closer to his expected OBP than Stubbs is. Based on their minor league numbers, I’d be expecting Stubbs to be in about a .330 OBP and Cozart at about a .300 OBP. League average right now is about .320 for OBP. Stubbs is currently playing at far below his expected level from his Minor and Major league history, so he will more likely rebound eventually. If they can get him back to being more selective at the plate, like he was in the minors, I would not be opposed to him returning to one of the top two spots in the lineup once they get him out of his current funk and getting on base at a .320 clip again. Cozart on the other had, should never have been considered for the top of the order to start with since anything above a .310 OBP would be a complete surprise. He’s there because he plays SS and Dusty Baker is managing, and that means that if there is no obvious choices, the CF and SS bat in the top two spots.

      Stubbs BA OBP SLG OPS
      2012 .224 .289 .365 .655
      ML Career .245 .317 .398 .715
      MiL Career .268 .363 .399 .762

      Cozart BA OBP SLG OPS
      2012 .249 .292 .410 .702
      ML Career .255 .294 .415 .709
      MiL Career .270 .332 .421 .753

      • @Tom Diesman:

        This goes more back to the having Cozart and Stubbs at the top of the order issue and what our expectations of those two should be. Cozart is actually playing closer to his expected OBP than Stubbs is. Based on their minor league numbers, I’d be expecting Stubbs to be in about a .330 OBP and Cozart at about a .300 OBP. League average right now is about .320 for OBP. Cozart should never have been considered for the top of the order to start with since anything above a .310 OBP would be a complete surprise. He’s there because he plays SS and Dusty Baker is managing, and that means that if there is no obvious choices, the CF and SS bat in the top two spots.

        I believe that hit that round peg right smack dab on the head as Mr. Baker tries to drive it into that square hole. Any criticism of Stubbs and Cozart as players must be tempered with the simple fact that they are not being properly utilized. Should they be performing better? Well definitely yes for Stubbs but I’m completely very happy with Cozart’s performance as a rookie SS. I was also very happy with Stubbs’ performance as a rookie CF in 2010, but he has simply regressed from that performance level. The issue and the problem is the misuse by the ‘manager’. I was also very happy with the performance of Cesear Geronimo from 1972-1979 as a superbly talented defensive CF that hit #8 in the lineup. There is no logic and certainly no rule that the CF & SS MUST hit at the top of the order or the catcher MUST hit #8, despite what Mr. Baker claims what Hank says! I don’t care if Hank was one of the five greatest hitters of all time. Name dropping does not justify routinely inane decisions.

  26. @MikeC: Dusty said before today’s game that Stubbs will be getting Sunday off.

  27. @Greenie55: I’ve had that same thought about Stubbs playing a Geronimo role – that is, a primarily defensive CFer batting 8th. And he’d get to do more base stealing with the pitcher and then top of the order coming up. As it is now, you don’t know want to see him risk getting thrown out in front of the big bashers.

    • @Greenie55: I’ve had that same thought about Stubbs playing a Geronimo role – that is, a primarily defensive CFer batting 8th.And he’d get to do more base stealing with the pitcher and then top of the order coming up.As it is now, you don’t know want to see him risk getting thrown out in front of the big bashers.

      @pinson343: This is what I don’t get about the ant-basher bashers: we are suggesting that Stubbs bat way down in the order and since Dusty does not seem capable of that some of the same folks suggest maybe giving a look at Bruce in CF. Why is that some how seen as hate? I don’t get it? Why are these “suggestions” that irrational?

  28. @cliff: That’s why I gave him an “I guess.” I think people are way too hard on Stubbs, but four strikeouts is not good. Cozart put the ball in play four times, which would normally yield a hit or two. But, yeah. I almost put nothing under negatives. That’s probably what I should have done.

    • @cliff: That’s why I gave him an “I guess.” I think people are way too hard on Stubbs, but four strikeouts is not good. Cozart put the ball in play four times, which would normally yield a hit or two. But, yeah. I almost put nothing under negatives. That’s probably what I should have done.

      I didn’t mean to single you out, I was speaking about how most of the early comments were all down on stubbs, one even going so far as to wonder if stubbs was questioning what he had left of a career, while another player who had an (albeit arguably) worse day, without a single mention of it by anyone.

      Something people fail to remember is that, although Cozart is a rookie, he is only a year younger than Stubbs. He’s old for a rookie. So he shouldn’t really get so much more slack than drew. At the core he is an above average fielder with a career OPS+ of 88, where 100 is the average OPS of a major league shortstop(with adjustments made for park factors, etc) and this means he has been roughly 12% below average, including his hot start last year. He is 26, so he isn’t going to get a lot better than he is now(assuming the average middle infielder peak of 27-30). Drew has a career OPS+ of 91(meaning he has been just 9% below average) that includes his “disaster last year, when his OPS+ was 86. so 2% is the difference between disaster and a player we are content with?(mind you that 2% was just last year, stubbs has been 3% better, relative to position, for his career.) to me, it just doesn’t seem objective.

  29. A great day to be a Reds fan – the retirement of 11, and – to my mind – the most important win of the season so far.

    On Larkin’s ceremonial pitch to BP, just before he threw BP motioned to him to step back to the rubber, no cheating allowed. That was funny.

    Concepcion was Larkin’s idol. Larkin was BP’s idol. Who’s next on the chain ?

  30. In terms of most important wins, I would rank Mother’s Day as number one.

    • In terms of most important wins, I would rank Mother’s Day as number one.

      seat101: Oh right, Joey’s grand slam walk off that prevented a sweep at the hands of the Nationals. Arguably the turning point of the season.

      • seat101: Oh right, Joey’s grand slam walk off that prevented a sweep at the hands of the Nationals. Arguably the turning point of the season.

        I don’t know if it was more or less important than Mother’s Day or today’s win, but I’d say that comeback win against Arizona should rank right up there, too. Didn’t that win launch the winning streak? Granted, it was nice to have the CoCo magic in Houston to keep things rolling, but still, a 10-gamer is nothing to sneeze at.

        • I’d say that comeback win against Arizona should rank right up there, too. Didn’t that win launch the winning streak?

          Vegastypo: That win definitely ranks way up there. For starters, the number one Reds comeback of the season (6 runs down). That was a 4 game home series and the DBacks came in with a losing record, but pummeled the Reds pitching in 3 of the 4 games and were on the verge of taking 3 out of 4. Would have been a disheartening series without that big comeback win in game 4.

  31. @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Hi there, Charlotte. On this blog, my sense is that the consensus of people get more frustrated with Dusty than Stubbs, and appreciate what Stubbs brings to the table.

    If you look at the heavily populated Reds blogs, they’re brutal on Stubbs, it makes me sick. So I don’t mind Cliff’s statement, as he’s defending a Reds player. I get more upset by player bashing than blogger bashing.

  32. Stubbs frustrates me frequently so I mention my frustrations frequently. Yet as I sat behind the Reds dugout in Petco over a month and a half ago, I could see visible pain on the guy’s face when he couldn’t put the ball in play for the second or third at bat of the night, I believe. we’ve been there where we try to do something we know we can do and it just doesn’t materialize for a stretch of time. When he broke his hitless streak on the next at-bat, I screamed and cheered and grinned and high fived nearby Reds fans. I was so happy to see that.

    I can’t stress enough that while you have a right to your opinion, don’t bash the guys that don the red-and-white wishbones C’s every day when they are having a rough streak. Some of the stuff is his fault, but not all of it. He’ll be back in action soon enough, I think and hope.

    Great win today by the guys though. Mike pitched out of his mind.

    @pinson343: If you’re implying what I think you are, the fan-boy homer-ism in my veins waits for the day when we get to see BP and JV and whoever else it might be on the field for their rings, their Reds HOF plaques, on the Cooperstown stage for their enshrinement, and under the broadcast booth forever. These guys are special. The trade for Phillips in exchange for a guy who isn’t even in the majors anymore is something to fondly look upon.

    • Great win today by the guys though. Mike pitched out of his mind.

      I love to watch Mike Leake pitch when he’s sharp. Once I could see he was sharp today, I knew the Reds had a good chance to win. He thinks and battles like a young Bronson Arroyo.

    • Stubbs frustrates me frequently so I mention my frustrations frequently. Yet as I sat behind the Reds dugout in Petco over a month and a half ago, I could see visible pain on the guy’s face when he couldn’t put the ball in play for the second or third at bat of the night, I believe. we’ve been there where we try to do something we know we can do and it just doesn’t materialize for a stretch of time. When he broke his hitless streak on the next at-bat, I screamed and cheered and grinned and high fived nearby Reds fans. I was so happy to see that.

      I can’t stress enough that while you have a right to your opinion, don’t bash the guys that don the red-and-white wishbones C’s every day when they are having a rough streak. Some of the stuff is his fault, but not all of it. He’ll be back in action soon enough, I think and hope.

      Great win today by the guys though. Mike pitched out of his mind.

      @pinson343: If you’re implying what I think you are, the fan-boy homer-ism in my veins waits for the day when we get to see BP and JV and whoever else it might be on the field for their rings, their Reds HOF plaques, on the Cooperstown stage for their enshrinement, and under the broadcast booth forever. These guys are special. The trade for Phillips in exchange for a guy who isn’t even in the majors anymore is something to fondly look upon.

      I can understand what you are saying. However, after last year’s 200+ debacle, when he admitted he didn’t do much during the off season to work on his hitting, I learned all I wanted.

  33. @RichmondRed: Yep, you got my drift.

  34. @seat101: Mother’s day is too far back for me to remember. Why was a win then the most important of the year?

  35. @pinson343: Also upon review of Baseball reference I believe it put over .500 to stay

  36. @pinson343: He throws and grows his hair like it too.

  37. @cliff: Hang on a minute. Unless they changed something, OPS+ is park-adjusted, but not position adjusted. Shortstops do not have a 100 OPS+ on average. They are below average hitters as a group.

    Fangraphs’ equivalent is wRC+ (it accounts for baserunning and hitting). They have Shortstops, league wide at an 86 wRC+. Cozart checks in with an 89, making him a tick above average for his position.

    Stubbs, on the other hand, checks in at an 85 wRC+, but centerfielders, league wide, come in at 104. That places him well below average.

    To take it another route Baseball-Refernce has Stubbs at 0.4 WAR, whereas Cozart registers at 2.2. Fangraphs has them and 1.4 (Stubbs) and 2.5 (Cozart).

    So yes, Cozart is old for a rookie, but he doesn’t need to be cut slack because he is an above-average major league shortstop.

    I like Stubbs, relative to their positions, Cozart is a much better player.

  38. @vegastypo: I had forgotten about the Arizona win. Good call. If we had lost today, tomorrow’s win would be big, too. I belived we needed to win one of the first two of this series and we would be fine.

    • @vegastypo: I had forgotten about the Arizona win. Good call. If we had lost today, tomorrow’s win would be big, too. I belived we needed to win one of the first two of this series and we would be fine.

      We tend to be early bird sort of folks in these parts, getting all bent out of shape when things start badly. However I can recall a number of series where the Reds started strong then wilted late in the second game and eventually lost the series. So hopefully that template is what will transpire tomorrow and the Cards will leave down 8 games to the Reds.

      • We tend to be early bird sort of folks in these parts, getting all bent out of shape when things start badly. However I can recalla number of series where the Reds started strong then wilted late in the second game and eventually lost the series. So hopefully that template is what will transpire tomorrow and the Cards will leave down 8 games to the Reds.

        A number of series? Really? The Reds have lost very few series this year. Your facts don’t measure up.

  39. @vegastypo: True on the Arizona comeback.

  40. By the way, I’m also among those who think Marty wasn’t bagging so much on Drew Stubbs as he was on the idea of Frazier’s bat not being in the lineup…….Marty’s comment was something to the effect that he didn’t see where anybody could say that the Reds will be a better team when Votto comes if Stubbs’ bat is still in the lineup and Frazier’s is not. That sounds as much or more like comparing than condemning.

    But absolutely, Jay Bruce delivered BIGTIME today just seconds after Marty said Frazier had better get the tiebreaking run in from third, because “we all know about Jay Bruce and left-handed pitching,” or something very much to that effect.

  41. @OhioJim: From your lips to God’s Ear.

  42. As depressing as Friday night’s loss was, my anger was more a matter of a hangover from Thursday night and Dusty’s habit of resting multiple guys on the same day…He has done that, how many times this year? 10, 15, more? …

    I’m sure the Reds won a good number of those games despite what I see as Dusty unnecessarily handcuffing the team. But I also think that it probably cost the team maybe three to five other games, and those would look pretty good right now as wins if the Cardinals and Pirates were struggling to keep their deficits in single digits as opposed to keeping faint hopes alive of catching the Reds.

    That’s why it grates on me to read a statement or implication that Dusty shouldn’t be criticized just because of the current standings. Rant over.

    • As depressing as Friday night’s loss was, my anger was more a matter of a hangover from Thursday night and Dusty’s habit of resting multiple guys on the same day…He has done that, how many times this year? 10, 15, more? …

      I’m sure the Reds won a good number of those games despite what I see as Dusty unnecessarily handcuffing the team. But I also think that it probably cost the team maybe three to five other games, and those would look pretty good right now as wins if the Cardinals and Pirates were struggling to keep their deficits in single digits as opposed to keeping faint hopes alive of catching the Reds.

      That’s why it grates on me to read a statement or implication that Dusty shouldn’t be criticized just because of the current standings. Rant over.

      I hate Dusty’s line-ups and all of his bunting, but I don’t think you can kill him for this. He knows the team better than we do and the results have been pretty darn good as far as resting guys and then having them come back and produce.

      • @AnnapolisHoosier:

        He knows the team better than we do and the results have been pretty darn good as far as resting guys and then having them come back and produce.

        50-50 on Rolen. Could see Valdez at 3B instead of Cairo at 1B.

        I think, at least I hope, everyone is aware that players will need an occasional day off, especially during the dog days and extended streaks of consecutive games. The issue I have and I believe this is also the consensus of most fans is the way Mr. Baker assignes those days off. Stubbs and Heisey are pretty easy in getting days off since Mr. Baker uses those two players interchangeably with similar results. Hanigan and Meso have also been easy in divying up playing time. Rolen rests every day game after a night game in addition to his frequent injuries and rehabilitation. None of those 3 positions come into play as far as resting players. That leaves 5 positions to assign occasional rests. There is simply no justification for resting more than 1 of those 5 players at any time, yet Mr. Baker chooses to rest multiple of those 5 players routinely, thereby gutting the lineup for those games.

        Mr. Baker did make the statement that Rolen will play all 3 games in the Birds series when he rested him on Thursday.

  43. @vegastypo: It will be interesting to see what the line up looks like this afternoon (Sunday). Sundays and travel days, which tomorrow is, both usually trigger “restings”. On the other hand, there is the opportunity to put some more hurt on the Cards plus there is an off day on Thursday…

    I guess he has said Stubbs will sit. Beyond Stubbs what with the shaky job by Cairo the other night in the field, it is hard to see anybody else sitting out unless Rolen (or BP) truly needs the day. Also be interesting to see who catches. I wondered if the successful collaboration between Hanigan and Bailey in Pfillie was the final nail in Meso being optioned.

    • @vegastypo: It will be interesting to see what the line up looks like this afternoon (Sunday). Sundays andtravel days, which tomorrow is,bothusually trigger “restings”.On the other hand, there is the opportunity to put some more hurt on the Cards plus there is an off day on Thursday…

      I guess he has said Stubbs will sit. Beyond Stubbs what with the shaky job by Cairo the other night in the field, it is hard to see anybody else sitting out unless Rolen (or BP) truly needs the day. Also be interesting to see who catches. I wondered if the successful collaboration between Hanigan and Bailey in Pfillie was thefinal nail in Meso being optioned.

      There is no way BP is sitting and there is no way Hanigan is not catching. 50-50 on Rolen. Could see Valdez at 3B instead of Cairo at 1B.

  44. I gotta admit, I really thought there was a good chance we get swept after last night’s debacle. I was so irked I didn’t even want to get on RN to vent. Mainly upset at Latos for a couple mental mistakes, but also worried because I thought that was our best chance for a win this weekend. Glad I was wrong.

    I was really just wanting to make sure we got at least one win this weekend, so that at worst we head out to Arizona 6 games up. Mission accomplished, winning tomorrow would just be gravy.

    As for today’s game, Leake’s start was the proverbial bend-but-don’t-break outing. Runners on base all day, but he managed to strand most of them (with a bit of help from the defense). Good to see him pitch well, and I hope that Walt keeps him on the postseason roster, both as a long man out of the pen, and as a potential pinch-hitter or pinch-runner.

  45. If yo uever get mad at the Reds, just remember you could be a fan of this: http://deadspin.com/5937860/the-houston-astros-are-just-the-worst

  46. @docmike: Nice post, I had the same feelings as everything you describe. I like the “bend but don’t break” phrase for Mike Leake.

  47. @OhioJim: From what I’ve read (mostly Fay I guess), Stubbs will rest today and Rolen will play. When Dusty rested Rolen on Thursday, a reason he gave was to have Rolen playing all 3 against the Cards. Of course, if the back acts up …

  48. To kick Stubbs while he’s down like the jerk that I am,

    Mike Leake OBP+SLG: .706
    Drew Stubbs OBP+SLG: .664

    I know Leake has a smaller sample size, etc etc… but I’m pretty impressed with Leake on this.

  49. @Zach:

    Leake : .269/.283/.423/.706
    Latos : .196/.250/.275/.525
    Cairo : .169/.200/.266/.466
    Valdez: .197/.224/.219/.443

    or even

    Harris: .114/.170/.205/.375

    Now that’s a clear reflection of how weak the Reds’ bench has been all year until XP joined the Reds. I have a really hard time envisioning (although I admit I haven’t looked recently) any other serious contenders carrying one, not to mention two utility players/pinch hitters for the entire season with such weak hitting performances. That situation is even more tenuous with the marginal defense from those two weak-hitting utility players.

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About Jason Linden

Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at jasonlinden.com.

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