Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Houston 5
Cincinnati 3

W: H. Ambriz (1-0)
L: A. Chapman (5-5)
S: W. Lopez (3)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Nice start by Homer Bailey: 6.2 innings, two runs allowed on five hits. Homer struck out nine and walked just one. Good stuff.

–Chris Heisey has really started to pour it on lately. Tonight, he was 3-5 with a triple, two singles, and two runs scored.

–Brandon Phillips returned to the leadoff spot and had a couple of hits.

NEGATIVES
–Aroldis Chapman blew this game. Can you believe it? With the Reds holding a 3-2 lead in the ninth, Chapman surrendered two bloop hits, then gave up a three-run homer that provided Houston’s winning margin.

What’s up with that?

–Wilson Valdez was 0-3. He’s now “hitting” .192/.217/.212. Why is this guy still in the big leagues?

–Miguel Cairo actually got a hit tonight, but he’s “hitting” .178/.206/.274. Two worst bench players in the majors? You make the call.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–That was a gut punch of a loss. Fortunately, it only counts as one loss in the standings. They’ll play another one tomorrow, I’m told.

–Y’know, Heisey is now hitting .294/.330/.441. That ain’t bad. Should the Reds give him a shot at the center field spot?

–Chapman had converted a club-record 27 consecutive saves before tonight’s disaster.

–Good grief. If you are freaking out over this loss, please just go away. You are irrational.

Go read this. Some guy said that Joey Votto’s return sucked the fun out of the clubhouse, so the Reds aren’t playing loose.

I really need to just delete my twitter account. Too many nutjobs.

–If you were wondering, the Reds are still my favorite team.

Source: FanGraphs

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! 113 Comments

  1. The truth is most teams would have shown Valdez and Cairo the door by now. Not all, but most.

  2. Also, comment on the game thread is correct: the Cards simply crush Gallardo regularly. They will win today, with very high likelihood. (And Lohse is pitching, too.)

    So probably a 7.5 game lead on Sep. 7. That’s pretty good.

    And for people that hate Dusty Baker, look on the bright side: either the Reds win the NL Central, or if they collapse and lose it, Baker goes elsewhere next year.

  3. LOL at the guy on twitter saying Joey sucked the fun out of the clubhouse.

    Oh yeah, we should just trade that clubhouse trainwreck before he messes with our chemistry. Think he would clear waivers with that huge contract?

    Cincinnati fans really are a different breed.

  4. I don’t care what anyone says about how much better Stubbs is defensively (which I don’t believe), it is time to give centerfield to Heisey and let Stubbs earn it back. To think that Cairo and Valdez are on an MLB roster is laughable.

    • I don’t care what anyone says about how much better Stubbs is defensively (which I don’t believe), it is time to give centerfield to Heisey and let Stubbs earn it back.To think that Cairo and Valdez are on an MLB roster is laughable.

      Stubbs is back in the line-up tomorrow night. You can book it. Why you would not leave Chris in there while he is red-hot and this team is struggling to score is one heck of a mystery.

      Tomorrow night is an important game and if they manage to lose it, Sunday’s is even bigger and then Pittsburgh. The Pirates are through at this point but it would make their season to take down the Reds in that series after the HPB incident. I don’t expect any of this to come to pass but this offense is really struggling to put runs on the board right now.

      • CharlotteNC: Tomorrow night is an important game and if they manage to lose it, Sunday’s is even bigger and then Pittsburgh.

        Yeh I’m mainly pissed off that now I have to worry about tomorrow’s and Sunday’s games. Just the thought of losing a series at home to the Astros, ugh.

    • I don’t care what anyone says about how much better Stubbs is defensively (which I don’t believe), it is time to give centerfield to Heisey and let Stubbs earn it back.To think that Cairo and Valdez are on an MLB roster is laughable.

      I have to agree. I could even accept that Stubbs is better defensively. But, it isn’t like Heisey looks as bad as Alonso out there. The thing is, what we gain offensively with Heisey, I believe that is more than what little we lose defensively with Heisey. I could even accept that Stubbs starts, but he shouldn’t be seeing the light of day above the 7 hole. He’s just too weak offensively. All of his runs? How do you think Heisey has scored his runs. Not only by getting on base (a Stubbs’ weakness) but also from people driving him in, having little to do with who’s on base. If the CF position is going to bat 2nd, it has to be Heisey. That batting order position needs to be better offensively.

      Anyone who blames these losses on Heisey, why not just blame this one on Votto, also? Heisey is farthest to blame either of these losses on. Just like when the others stepped up with Votto was gone, when Stubbs isn’t in there, the others have to step up.

  5. Sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear gets you but saying this doesn’t make it feel any better.

    Two flukey hits and blast won it for the ‘Stros; a couple of flukey hits came to naught for the home side. And it still doesn’t feel any better.

    Frazier looks like he needs a blow but Rolen is down; that is something to be concerned about over time I think.

    • Sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear gets you but saying this doesn’t make it feel any better.

      Two flukey hits and blast won it for the ‘Stros; a couple of flukey hits came to naught for the home side. And it still doesn’t feel any better.

      Frazier looks like he needs a blow but Rolen is down; that is something to be concerned about over time I think.

      Two flukey hits to guys who Chapman needs to strike out. He was facing three horrible hitters to start that inning. Normally he K’s them. Let guys make contact, they might get lucky. He just wasn’t bringing it tonight.

  6. You can not lose a game like this to the Astros sorry unacceptable they better win the next 2 games.

  7. Most “bloop” hits are not fluky; but due to the pitcher getting the ball up where the batter can do something with it; get the pitch down instead and it’s a weak grounder or a swing and miss.

    • Most “bloop” hits are not fluky; but due to the pitcher getting the ball up where the batter can do something with it; get the pitch down instead and it’s a weak grounder or a swing and miss.

      I guess I’m not sure how flukey is defined. Balls in the air are usually outs.

  8. @Hank Aarons Teammate: Agreed. It was clear he didn’t have his “A” stuff from the start. I thought the Reds were going to pull it out anyway after Navarro picked that one off of the screen. But it wasn’t to be.

    Ironic that his slider looked to be his best pitch tonight.

    • Ironic that his slider looked to be his best pitch tonight.

      OhioJim: His slider was easily his best pitch tonite. Threw it 5 times for 4 strikes (swinging or called) and 1 ball. After the HR his fastball dropped to 93-94 and Wallace, a LHed hitter (!), ripped it. After that he struck out Maxwell, a RHed power hitter, with two sliders.

      And it’s not really so ironic, in that in spring training and early in the season, some people said his slider was his best pitch. I don’t necessarily believe that, but I think tonite for example he could have gone with it more prior to Maxwell. In any case I trust Hanigan to make the right calls for him. For a while Dusty was bringing in Hanigan (if not already in) to catch Chapman in the 9th, I think he should resume that.

  9. Was the tweet from Richard in Springboro?

  10. Is Chapman all right, his speed has been down since the game in Az a week and a half ago.

  11. I don’t feel as badly as I thought I would after a loss like that. I didn’t really feel like the Reds deserved to win, should have had more than a 1 run lead. Bottom of the 5th, the Reds had just taken the lead on a bloop hit of their own, bases loaded, 1 out, and Frazier swings at a pitch well out of the strike zone, grounds it softly to the pitcher, and Ludwick gets caught off third for a double play. Terrible baseball.

    • I don’t feel as badly as I thought I would after a loss like that. I didn’t really feel like the Reds deserved to win, should have had more than a 1 run lead. Bottom of the 5th, the Reds had just taken the lead on a bloop hit of their own, bases loaded, 1 out, and Frazier swings at a pitch well out of the strike zone, grounds it softly to the pitcher, and Ludwick gets caught off third for a double play. Terrible baseball.

      @pinson343: Not to mention in the first inning the Reds have the bases loaded, with no one out, and can’t push a run across the plate. Scoring 3 runs on 10 hits isn’t exactly efficient.

      • @pinson343: Not to mention in the first inning the Reds have the bases loaded, with no one out, and can’t push a run across the plate. Scoring 3 runs on 10 hits isn’t exactly efficient.

        The Reds scored 2 runs after they loaded the bases with no out, actually. Then they had 1st and 2nd, no out, and didn’t score. Bruce ripped a liner to center that was caught, and Frazier had a DP. It was really only one bad AB, too bad it was a DP.

  12. Probably wouldn’t hurt to move Jay to the clean-up spot as Ludwick is struggling a bit. If Joey doesn’t get adequate protection, 2 or 3 walks a game, for him, will be no great surprise.

  13. @pinson343: Yeah that was the turn right there (the 5th inning DP). Second time in the game they let the Astros off. That’s a pitch that this year’s Todd Frazier has been leaving alone. Part of the reason I observed that I thought he looks like he needs a blow right when Rolen isn’t available.

  14. I threw a bit of an adult temper tantrum about that one, I was 10 times more pissed tonight than I was about the Valdez game in Houston last week. Then I looked at the box score and got super excited. IT’S ALL GOOD GUYS! Things are going awesome right now regardless of the Chapman incident tonight. Our 1-2 hole hitters had a collective .500 OBP with 3 runs scored tonight. Are you kidding me? Read that again, .500 OBP with 3 runs scored. I don’t care if Drew Stubbs is the greatest defensive center fielder in the history of the freaking universe or whatever, I want me some more of that. And Chris Heisey, god bless him. The triple and the 2 runs scored, I would love to see him keep getting this kind of playing time and he has deserved it by doing nothing but perform this year. I’m sorry, I just needed to get out my excitement about the top of the lineup tonight and quite frankly I’m surprised why everyone in the Redlegnationverse isn’t having a giant party about it right now

    • ….I just needed to get out my excitement about the top of the lineup tonight and quite frankly I’m surprised why everyone in the Redlegnationverse isn’t having a giant party about it right now

      Because in the end the only numbers that really count are the score and the Reds were on the wrong end of it tonight

  15. I forgot to mention, Joey’s 0-1 with 3 BB line tonight might be one of my favorite stat lines ever. I literally laughed out loud when I read that.

  16. That 9th inning HR sucked all the fun out of getting pizza and ice cream….

  17. The two bloops were off high fastballs, you can’t say they were poorly located. Chapman lives off the high fastball, or more accurately, moving it up and down, in and out. He didn’t have his usual velocity and movement tonite (though the fast ball on the bloop by J. D. Martinez was 98 mph), so the hitters were able to fight those 2 pitches off.

    The HR pitch to Dominguez was NOT well located, right down Broadway and slightly above the belt. Chapman threw a similar pitch to Wiggingtion the other nite, who just got under it, almost a blown save the the Phillies.

  18. @OhioJim: Exactly I felt like the game turned that inning. From a possibly easy win to just hanging on.

  19. @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Yeh I missed the first inning. Bruce hit the ball hard, I’m told. I don’t know what happened with Frazier’s DP. If he hit the ball hard, those are the breaks. If he hit a weak grounder, then wow he had one terrible nite at the plate.

    • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Yeh I missed the first inning. Bruce hit the ball hard, I’m told.I don’t know what happened with Frazier’s DP. If he hit the ball hard, those are the breaks. If he hit a weak grounder, then wow he had one terrible nite at the plate.

      I’m still not sure how Frazier is doing as well as he is. Watching him hit makes me want to put the little leaguers to bed. It’s often ugly. He doesn’t have real good plate discipline. He’s a very good bad ball hitter, and when he gets his pitch, he never seems to miss it.

  20. @Hank Aarons Teammate: Plus as I’ve said above, you can’t fault Chapman for throwing a high fast ball. That’s like faulting INSERT NAME OF GREAT PITCHER for throwing INSERT HIS BEST PITCH.

  21. Chapman could not go forever without blowing a save, and has recently had a few outings where he didn’t have his best stuff and I feared “this will be the night.” I was VERY nervous during his latest save, against the Phillies. I had a feeling that he would throw a 97 mph fastball right down the pipe to Wiggington to lose the game. He did just that and Wiggington nearly hit it out.

    • Chapman could not go forever without blowing a save, and has recently had a few outings where he didn’t have his best stuff and I feared “this will be the night.”I was VERY nervous during his latest save, against the Phillies. I had a feeling that he would throw a 97 mph fastball right down the pipe to Wiggington to lose the game. He did just that and Wiggington nearly hit it out.

      I think he got that pitch to Wiggington in far enough that he just missed the sweet spot. I stood up when he first hit it because I thought it was gone.

  22. @Hank Aarons Teammate: Good to know about that pitch to Wiggington. Thanks to my mlb.com connection going down for a second, I missed the actual pitch to Wiggington, got the connection back in time to see Heisey settle under the high and deep fly. The tv broadcasters then said it was just like the pitch to Willingham that he crushed for Chapman’s previous blown save. I’ll believe your account over theirs.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Good to know about that pitch to Wiggington. Thanks to my mlb.com connection going down for a second, I missed the actual pitch to Wiggington, got the connection back in time to see Heisey settle under the high and deep fly. The tv broadcasters then said it was just like the pitch to Willingham that he crushed for Chapman’s previous blown save. I’ll believe your account over theirs.

      It also could have been the same pitch (a bit in) but Willingham is just a way better hitter, I suppose.

      • Willingham is just a way better hitter, I suppose.

        My exact comment after the Phils game that nite.

  23. Cards up 2-1 in the 6th. So far Gallardo is way outperforming his usual against the Cards. His career ERA is 7.05 against them, and nearly TWENTY percent of his career homers given up are against the Cards.

    However, Lohse is on the mount and pitching, as usual, very well.

  24. @pinson343: On the FoxOhio feed they had a slo-mo where you could see that guy tonight actually pulled the bat head in at midswing to get the sweet spot on the ball. Nobody has come close to being able to do that to Chapman as I recall. Did any feed actually show the speed? I’m wondering if it was a slider so misthrown it didn’t even look hung and was in effect a batting practice fastball.

  25. Regression. She is a fickle lady. At some point during a season, the same … mojo? … that gives a team a .600+ record with their best player / MVP on the sidelines will fall away, and that team – remember April? – will struggle.

    Chapman has had a short bad run before. July and August Ludwick more than averaged out April and May Ludwick. We retired Rolen in July. Every pitcher but Cueto has been written out of the playoff rotation here this season by more than one Nation member.

    In the end, you get to the postseason how you can and then do what you can to win 11 games. You only have to go 11 of 19 to hold the trophy over your head. Better to have that run of bad … mojo? … now (we’re not blaming the lineup or bullpen management tonight, right?), stress a little, and have it out of the system by September 25 or so. Like many of you, I’ll hold my breath until then.

  26. @OhioJim: GameDay said the pitch was a 98 mph fastball, and it looked that way to me live and on video. BTW the hitter, M. Dominguez, has hit with power for Houston this season in a very small sample size.

  27. Certainly happier to have a game like this on September 7th as opposed to October 7th. Maybe it’s a good thing. You can’t just coast on any given night even against a subpar team like the Astros. Post-season is coming. Be strong.

  28. Many of us have feared that the Reds lack of depth at certain positions will hurt them at some point. I’m a little concerned about Cozart, he might be out for a while. Dusty said pre-game that when he took batting practice today (Friday), the pain “moved forward, from the back to the side”. Could be the dreaded oblique strain. Also Dusty said that Valdez will play (and not Didi G.) with Cozart out, as “He’s been thru pennant races before.” I’m not lobbying here for a lot of playing time for Didi, he might go 0 for the season. But if Cozart is out for a week or more, he should get a share of the playing time (1 game so far).

    • Many of us have feared that the Reds lack of depth at certain positions will hurt them at some point. I’m a little concerned about Cozart, he might be out for a while. Dusty said pre-game that when he took batting practice today (Friday), the pain “moved forward, from the back to the side”. Could be the dreaded oblique strain. Also Dusty said that Valdez will play (and not Didi G.) with Cozart out, as “He’s been thru pennant races before.” I’m not lobbying here for a lot of playing time for Didi, he might go 0 for the season. But if Cozart is out for a week or more, he should get a share of the playing time (1 game so far).

      I’m just thoroughly disgusted by this news. Valdez has sucked through pennant races before, that’s true.

      Gregarious isn’t going to be some kind of savior either (but at least he can field). The error is in not improving the depth when they could have done so in August nearly for free. It really gets me.

    • Many of us have feared that the Reds lack of depth at certain positions will hurt them at some point. I’m a little concerned about Cozart, he might be out for a while. Dusty said pre-game that when he took batting practice today (Friday), the pain “moved forward, from the back to the side”. Could be the dreaded oblique strain. Also Dusty said that Valdez will play (and not Didi G.) with Cozart out, as “He’s been thru pennant races before.” I’m not lobbying here for a lot of playing time for Didi, he might go 0 for the season. But if Cozart is out for a week or more, he should get a share of the playing time (1 game so far).

      Dave Concepcion has been through pennant races before, also. Maybe we should call him up.

      That argument only goes so far. You have to go with what is best for the team.

  29. @lthedaug: Great post. One could write a song, “Regression be my lady tonite.” It could turn out to be a good thing for the Reds to deal with some adversity now, overcome it, and clinch by … it’s interesting you say September 25. The Reds start a 3 game series at home then against the Brewers, who have been hot.

    I definitely want the Reds to clinch before September 28, when they start their final road trip of the season, 3 in Pittsburgh and 3 in St. Louis.

  30. @pinson343: On the topic of lack of depth, Cairo pinch hitting for Valdez in the 9th. Good grief.

  31. Putting DiDi in now may be a trial by fire type scenario, but the guy has to learn sometime, who better to learn against than the Astros? Valdez is just…terrible. If Cozart can’t play and your only other option is that guy, I’d even take Stubbs at short ha! Worthless V isn’t doing anything though, a miracle he’s still on a major league club. For him at least.

  32. I think in addition to the regression factor that it seems to be a function of human psychology that when teams first reach the point where they see the end of the road ahead (regular season) and realize the prize is all but in hand, they often have trouble maintaining the drive or focus that got them to that point to quickly and cleanly close the deal out mathematically.

    To a man players will tell you this doesn’t happen; but, the anecdotal histories indicate it does. I remember even the great Reds teams of the 1970s exhibiting some of the same issues.

    Now is the time that Dusty and the clubhouse leadership have to really bear down to get the team over the hump.

  33. @Tourniquette: I agree, Valdez sucks.

  34. @pinson343: How true about Cairo to lead off the 9th even if it did work out for the moment.

  35. Brewers lead Cards by 4-2 in the 8th. But Francisco Rodriguez coming in. Scary.

  36. Something I want to throw out before I call it a night….
    Does anyone have any theories or insights on Mesoraco’s apparent total fall from grace?

    He really could have been sent down based on performance any time from July on but they wait then make the move seemingly out of the blue at an unexpected juncture. Now he is back as promised but seems buried at the deep end of the bench.

    I’m not faulting the change, just wondering what might have prompted it after they avoided making it for 6 to 8 weeks.

  37. It was Henderson, not KRod. And Molina just tied it up with a 2 run HR.

  38. @pinson343: Most clutch players I can grudgingly respect but I have real trouble doing that where Molina is concerned. Not really sure if it him or because he is a Card and therefore so much gets made of his exploits…

  39. @OhioJim: I don’t know what’s happening with Mes. I thought he’d be getting some playing time, such as against teams (like the Astros) that like to run. With Homer pitching, I thought he might catch tonite. Dusty said – when he was sent down – that Mes still had a shot at the postseason, but seems like he doesn’t have a prayer.

  40. @OhioJim: Don’t know, but Molina really impressed me in the 2006 NLCS agains the Mets, when the Cardinals beat the heavily favored Mets. And he’s played very well against the Reds.

  41. @OhioJim: Another thought about Mes. He suffered a concussion and those can cause problems for months. He might be having problems with dizziness, etc. And catching is a very tough job.

  42. Anyone think Yadi is doing some sort of juicing? He’s had a sudden and unexplained jump in power the last 2 years and he recently made an awfully quick recovery from that serious injury he suffered on the Josh Harrison collision.

    • Anyone think Yadi is doing some sort of juicing?He’s had a sudden and unexplained jump in power the last 2 years and he recently made an awfully quick recovery from that serious injury he suffered on the Josh Harrison collision.

      Yes, the possibility has occurred to me. It’s not unprecedented for a player to go from a scrub hitter, to an average hitter, to a hitter in Jay Bruce’s class. But it’s very rare. And offense league-wide is going down, too.

      I really have no idea if the guy is, but I have to admit I’d sure like it to be true.

  43. @pinson343: The other day on the radio pregame, Dusty unequivocally said that Meso is “now #3” and that he would have to work hard and stay prepared for whatever opportunities might come his way but nothing was guaranteed.

    The way the whole suspension thing seemed to drag out then end unexpectedly, one has to wonder if perhaps there was some really nasty behind the scenes disagreement between the team and Meso/ his reps about how it would be handled. Or maybe the guy had become something of a pain in the clubhouse and the suspension was the last straw.

    • @pinson343: The other day on the radio pregame, Dusty unequivocally said that Meso is “now #3″ and that he would have to work hard and stay prepared for whatever opportunities might come his way but nothing was guaranteed.

      The way the whole suspension thing seemed to drag out then end unexpectedly, one has to wonder if perhaps there was some really nasty behind the scenes disagreement between the team and Meso/ his reps about how it would be handled. Or maybe the guy had become something of a pain in the clubhouse and the suspension was the last straw.

      Or maybe he’s just not hitting.

      I am really disappointed about the way it’s going with him, and I now expect that he will not be on the 2013 Opening Day roster. I think that will be either Navarro or someone similar to Navarro that they’ll sign in the offseason. The organization seems to be very down on him, as I’ve said before, and it frustrates me. Maybe they are seeing things we don’t.

  44. @Hank Aarons Teammate: Yeh when WJ said “We don’t need Overbay, we’ve got Xavier Paul”, it really ticked me off. As if there was no need to replace Cairo with a LHed bat (or any bat).

  45. @OhioJim: Mes doesn’t seem like a “pain in the clubhouse” kind of guy. Something happened though, having to do with the suspension, the concussion, or both.

    • @OhioJim: Mes doesn’t seem like a “pain in the clubhouse” kind of guy. Something happened though, having to do with the suspension, the concussion, or both.

      I believe Meso’s performance has something to do with how much playing time he’s been getting, IMO. Think of it. A young guy goes from catching almost nightly to not even getting 50% of the playing time. How many times has Baker said himself about how it would be better for a player to play regularly in AAA than playing part-time in the majors. If the team was absolutely confident Meso was ready for the jump, they should have been giving him most of the playing time. I love Hanigan and how he plays. I would feel bad for Hanigan. But, at some point, Meso was/is going to have to step into the position in order to show he can step up and be the guy.

  46. @Hank Aarons Teammate: And in the meantime Grandal is raking.

  47. Ryan Braun homers in the top of the 13th, Brewers take 5-4 lead, for anyone else still awake!

  48. Been listening to Bob Uecker’s call on the radio. After a couple of miraculous escapes by the Brewers bullpen, Ryan Braun homers in the 13th. I assume Axford goes for the save.

  49. hey pinson, how ya doing, tough loss tonight…

  50. Hey there, Vegas. Now we get to sweat out the bottom of the 13th.

  51. @vegastypo: Yeh very tough. If the Brewers hang on here, I’ll feel a little better.

  52. you and me BOTH. that saves streak had to end, but to the Astros? gawd …

  53. Molina’s out. I wish Uecker wouldn’t say: “There’s a drive …” Made me nervous.

  54. Two down ! Berkman up.

  55. @vegastypo: The Astros, who would have thought. Worst road team in baseball. You just never know in baseball.

  56. Wow, I thought that game ended like an hour ago. Hope the Boozers can hang in there!

  57. Throw a freakin’ strike, Axford !

  58. As ugly as tonight was, magic number still goes down. 16!

  59. The Brewers win !!! Magic number at 16. Now that they’ve gotten some help, time for the Reds to beat up on the Astros.

  60. Good nite all.

  61. Well, at least tonight ended on a bittersweet note and not a horrible crap-fest

  62. yeah, still 8.5, and lets the pirates hang close to the Cardinals, too. I’d rather the Redbirds not play in the postseason!

  63. Four facts about the game:

    1 – Chapman is human after all (who’d a thunk it?)
    2 – We still struggle to hit with runners in on base (but Harrell is a decent pitcher)
    3 – Dirty Birds lost as did the Pie-Rats
    4 – “Magic Number” is down to 16 which is the lowest of any division leader

    Shake it off and take the next two.

  64. I hope the Reds do give Heisey an extended run in CF. Stubbs has not hit well this year and really struggled lately. Stubbs is a good fielder, but Heisey is no slouch, so not much difference in the field. The Reds can use September to figure out who’s playing in the playoffs.

  65. I wonder how menu fans still at cards game when it ended near 3 am…

    Giants beat LA again..looks like it will be us vs SF in the LDCS, with first two games where?

    What happen to having Bridging close some games?

  66. That’s Broxton closing some games…

  67. This team continues to struggle offensively….I like the lineup construction (other than Valdez being in it)…

    And they said on the broadcast last night that Rolen has 2 bulging discs in his back….how much he’ll be available (and how effective) from here on out, we’ll have to see…

    • This team continues to struggle offensively….I like the lineup construction (other than Valdez being in it)…

      And they said on the broadcast last night that Rolen has 2 bulging discs in his back….how much he’ll be available (and how effective) from here on out, we’ll have to see…

      Well, that’ll solve the problem of getting Frazier in.

  68. Heisey goes 3 for 5 & scores two runs. Oh yeah, also makes a nice diving catch in CF. Probably not good enough though so I fully expect to see Stubbs in CF tonight. Unless Toothpick gives struggling Ludwick a rest & lets Heisey play LF? Probably wisful thinking but there’s no doubt Heisey should be in the lineup everyday.

    • I fully expect to see Stubbs in CF tonight.Unless Toothpick gives struggling Ludwick a rest & lets Heisey play LF?Probably wisful thinking but there’s no doubt Heisey should be in the lineup everyday.

      By Dusty’s usual pattern, Ludwick will get either tonite or tomorrow off. If Stubbs only plays in one of the two games, Heisey can play in both.

  69. Baker thought asking about Chapman’s velocity was ridiculous. “Down from 100 to 98?”

    It’s true that velocity varies, of course. My question is why his velocity always is down to the first batter or two.

    • Baker thought asking about Chapman’s velocity was ridiculous.“Down from 100 to 98?”

      It’s true that velocity varies, of course.My question is why his velocity always is down to the first batter or two.

      There is such a thing as a “live” 98 and a “dead” 98 though. I thought some of the slo-mo on Fox showed that his fastball was finishing early and going straight through the hitting zone with no run or tail or vertical action at all

    • Baker thought asking about Chapman’s velocity was ridiculous.“Down from 100 to 98?”

      Typical defensive Dusty answer. Also defending his player, but does Chapman need that kind of defense ?
      He was throwing 96-98 before the HR and 93-94 after. That’s not close to his usual. Dusty also made a sensible statement: “The ball doesn’t come out of your hand the same way every night.” As has been mentioned above, Chapman’s fastball did not have its usual movement, for sure not on the pitch to Matt Dominquez.

  70. Why Stubbs plays CF over Heisey should be obvious from this quote from Dusty Baker:

    “I need Stubbs in center field,” Dusty Baker said. “He’s the center fielder. We’re giving him a couple of days to try to make some changes in his approach. Lack of ability is not the issue here. He has more ability than damn near anybody in the league.

    It’s not just that Dusty Baker thinks his defense is better (though he certainly does). It’s that he is convinced that Stubbs is going to be a superstar. He compared Stubbs to Encarnacion, saying it takes guys different amounts of time.

    I don’t share Dusty Baker’s view about Stubbs ability, but if one really believed this about Stubbs ability, you’d have to play him.

    • Why Stubbs plays CF over Heisey should be obvious from this quote from Dusty Baker:

      “I need Stubbs in center field,” Dusty Baker said. “He’s the center fielder. We’re giving him a couple of days to try to make some changes in his approach. Lack of ability is not the issue here. He has more ability than damn near anybody in the league.

      It’s not just that Dusty Baker thinks his defense is better (though he certainly does). It’s that he is convinced that Stubbs is going to be a superstar.He compared Stubbs to Encarnacion, saying it takes guys different amounts of time.

      I don’t share Dusty Baker’s view about Stubbs ability, but if one really believed this about Stubbs ability, you’d have to play him.

      And, that shows a flaw with Baker. That may be why players love to play for him so much. But, that can also be to the detriment to the team’s success. Baker thought the same about Gomes, “He’s got a bat that can carry a team.” Why? Because he can hit a HR? There are several people who can do that. There are 4 other tools that make a total baseball player, one that should be playing everyday. With Stubbs, 2 of the 5 directly involve swinging a bat, and he can’t do that well. I do think Stubbs is a good defender, but some consider him some god out there. He’s far from that. I do think he’s the better defender than Heisey, but Heisey isn’t any slouch out there, not by a long shot. Like with Tavaras and Patterson, I think Baker is blinded by Stubbs speed, wrongfully.

  71. @steveschoen: Agree with your comments on Mesoraco. I thought (and said here) that once it was apparent he was not going to displace Hanigan as the 60 or 80% starter and that Navarro seemed to be back on his game that it only made sense to switch the two so Meso could play every day (at AAA) and (theoretically) be ready to start every day at the MLB level should Hanigan go down.

    I guess my question last night really was why after they resisted making this move all season, why did they essentially dump Meso with a week left in August and now treat him like the red headed step child in September.

  72. Pinson
    The only time people find Molina likable is after they have just spoken to Carpenter. Concerning Mesorosco, i believe, fwiw, this is a ‘tough love’ approach by Dusty. Maybe the concussion plays a part, it is an interesting thought, but that is above my pay grade.

    The bulging disc problem is like any other back problem, entirely idiosyncratic.

  73. @Hank Aarons Teammate: On the catching situation…..

    I also believe that Meso is long shot to make the MLB team out of spring training next year. If Cotts is accurate, Navarro is beyond arbitration. So they’ll probably be looking to sign 2 free agent catchers (one may be Navarro) to vie for the back up spot on the MLB roster. Nice spot to have because history says Hanigan needs two days off a week to remain effective.

    I guess the other question is do they dump Meso as the heir apparent and move on to Tucker Barnhart or leave Barnhart at AA and Meso at AAA.

  74. @Hank Aarons Teammate: Chapman’s velocity is down for the first batter or two I think because he’s not fully warmed up and he’s concentrating at first on throwing strikes. Last season he’d sometimes come in throwing hard (100+) to the first batter and throw a 4 pitch walk and get into trouble from there.

    Velocity picking up as he goes along is something that I see with a lot of flame-throwing relievers.

  75. @steveschoen: Stubbs’ speed is a very big factor to Dusty. In his pregame interview last nite he said that Stubbs is still the regular CFer. “He’s our CFer. We need his defense. We need his speed on the bases.”

    Heisey is just too hot to bench right now, he’s 12 for his last 25. Hopefully Dusty continues to play him, this weekend at the very least, putting him in LF to give Ludwick a breather when Stubbs returns to CF.

  76. I resarched Matt Dominguez. His only 2 major league HRs are against the Reds. He has no history of power hitting his entire minor league career. This past season at AAA his slugging pct. was below .400.
    But he sure took a good swing on Chapman last nite.

  77. @OhioJim: You and I discussed it last nite. Dusty and the powers that be decided that Meso needs a wakeup call. Also are betting that Navarro’s hitting better than Meso will more than compensate for the downgrade in defense.

  78. This comparison to Grandal is silly. Grandal is getting consistent at bats. Mes isn’t, and never really was. The fact that Grandal started the season in the minors, spent a decent amount of time on the DL, and has just about the same number of at bats as Mes is pretty darn telling.

    Also, I guess everyone here forgot Dusty placing so much importance on defense, making numerous comments that Mes had to develop relationships with the pitchers, learn the scouting reports, before he could be the major league catcher. But then Navarro comes along, with his extensive knowledge of NL hitters that he picked up playing 64 games in the NL during the preceding 5 years of his career, and having developed excellent relationships with the Reds’ staff while catching a few games during spring training in Goodyear.

    Of course Dusty couldn’t be overweighting 31 at bats, could he? I mean, Mes hit .300/.389/.433 in his first 30 at bats too. But I guess Mes doesn’t have Navarro’s career OPS of 0.662 to fall back on.

    • This comparison to Grandal is silly.Grandal is getting consistent at bats.Mes isn’t, and never really was.The fact that Grandal started the season in the minors, spent a decent amount of time on the DL, and has just about the same number of at bats as Mes is pretty darn telling.

      Also, I guess everyone here forgot Dusty placing so much importance on defense, making numerous comments that Mes had to develop relationships with the pitchers, learn the scouting reports, before he could be the major league catcher.But then Navarro comes along, with his extensive knowledge of NL hitters that he picked up playing 64 games in the NL during the preceding 5 years of his career, and having developed excellent relationships with the Reds’ staff while catching a few games during spring training in Goodyear.

      Of course Dusty couldn’t be overweighting 31 at bats, could he? I mean, Mes hit .300/.389/.433 in his first 30 at bats too.But I guess Mes doesn’t have Navarro’s career OPS of 0.662 to fall back on.

      “Mes had to develop relationships with the pitchers”

      How is he suppose to do this if he doesn’t catch the pitchers? I can understand the thinking. But, in order to do that, he needs to be playing a lot more that 2 out of 5 games. As well as, it is a 2 way street. The pitchers need to develop a relationship with him. Hanigan isn’t going to be there forever. They need to know that and be able to step up themselves.

    • This comparison to Grandal is silly.Grandal is getting consistent at bats.Mes isn’t, and never really was.The fact that Grandal started the season in the minors, spent a decent amount of time on the DL, and has just about the same number of at bats as Mes is pretty darn telling.

      Also, I guess everyone here forgot Dusty placing so much importance on defense, making numerous comments that Mes had to develop relationships with the pitchers, learn the scouting reports, before he could be the major league catcher.But then Navarro comes along, with his extensive knowledge of NL hitters that he picked up playing 64 games in the NL during the preceding 5 years of his career, and having developed excellent relationships with the Reds’ staff while catching a few games during spring training in Goodyear.

      Of course Dusty couldn’t be overweighting 31 at bats, could he? I mean, Mes hit .300/.389/.433 in his first 30 at bats too.But I guess Mes doesn’t have Navarro’s career OPS of 0.662 to fall back on.

      @CP: I realize you are a big Mes backer and I understand that but I have had many opportunities to watch Grandal play and I believe he is for real. Great bat speed with power, nice eye at the plate, better than average base runner (great for a C), and a better than I was led to believe, defensive catcher. In short, a very impressive young ball player. I have not seen that out of Mes yet but I still am hopeful, if not optimistic. But for right now: Grandal > Mes by quite a distance, IMO.

  79. @CP: One area where I do believe Mes has a big edge: pure strength. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was the strongest guy on the Reds. Also, Grandal is probably not going to stay a catcher for long with his speed and value with the bat. Gonna want to save those knees.

    I’m not a Saber guy, like a lot of guys here, so I go mainly on what I observe and I feel much more comfortable with Navarro’s hitting than Mes. Mes is obviously far superior behind the plate. But if it came down to only two catchers on the postseason roster, I would go with Navarro. But three would make the most sense as it would allow Navarro to pinch-hit without hesitation. They could could leave one pitcher at home and right now that should be Ondru.

  80. @CharlotteNCRedsFan: I won’t be surprised one iota if Grandal is a better hitter in the majors. He’s an excellent hitter and has everything you look for in, hits for average, power, a great approach, etc. His defense has always been a question mark, however. I’m not sure where you’re getting your scouting report there. He’s not as bad as Jesus Montero defensively, but his defense has never been considered above average. The best I’ve seen his defense described is “solid” by Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus.

    All of this is kind of besides the point though, comparing Grandal and Mes on 150ish at bats is pretty meaningless, even more so when they accumulated the at bats in a completely different manner. These guys will be linked together by Reds fans for years, but for all we know, the Latos deal couldn’t have been completed with Mes. It is a little curious whether the Reds apparently kept Mes because he was closer to the majors, only to treat him like a backup catcher who never gets to catch the better pitchers, and rarely gets to play in consecutive games. In that case, it makes way more sense to trade the older prospect and sign a cheap backup.

    • comparing Grandal and Mes on 150ish at bats is pretty meaningless,

      @CP: Isn’t this what we do though. Nonetheless, I’m going by what I see. Just my opinion and could be wrong just as well as right. I think the Pads probably insisted on Grandal so I’m not downing the trade, in general, I just think Grandal is likely to be a superior major league player, “at this point in time.”

      Your points are all well made and I do respect them.

  81. @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Re: leaving a pitcher at home. Does that include Leake? Because there is absolutely no need for Mike Leake to be on the post season roster.

    • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Re:leaving a pitcher at home.Does that include Leake?Because there is absolutely no need for Mike Leake to be on the post season roster.

      @CP: I considered that but I would go with Leake becuase:
      1) In a blow-out, he could pitch many innings and he can hit
      2) Pinch-hitter
      3) Pinch-runner

      I am also assuming that Cueto & Mat get the majority of the starts, especially if the Reds go deep, with off days, and I would like generally they go 7+ innings. Are we going to need as many short men?

    • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Re:leaving a pitcher at home.Does that include Leake?Because there is absolutely no need for Mike Leake to be on the post season roster.

      I hate to say it, but pinch hitter?

  82. @CharlotteNCRedsFan: There’s Saber, and then there is judging a career very bad hitter (Navarro) based on 30 at bats. Not the same thing.

    • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: There’s Saber, and then there is judging a career very bad hitter (Navarro) based on 30 at bats.Not the same thing.

      @Hank Aarons Teammate: Again, basing my opinion on the eyeball test and Navarro has been a very good hitter this year. Maybe he started to shorten his stroke because he has an impressive approach at the dish. This is based on my opinion and I don’t expect anyone else to share it. If they do, fine. If not, oh well, it won’t change mine until I “see” it differently.

    • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: There’s Saber, and then there is judging a career very bad hitter (Navarro) based on 30 at bats.Not the same thing.

      @Hank Aarons Teammate: Anyway, he reminds me more of Javier Valentine than Mike O’Berry. 😀

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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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