2012 Postseason / 2012 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

NLDS Titanic Struggle Recap: Complete Insanity

Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

National League Division Series, Game One
FINAL
Cincinnati 5
San Francisco 2

W: S. LeCure (1-0)
L: M. Cain (0-1)
BOX SCORE

Reds lead series, 1-0

POSITIVES
–With one out in the first inning, Johnny Cueto was forced to leave the game with back spasms. I’m not sure you can think of a worse way to begin this National League Division Series. Every fan in the Nation felt sick to their stomach. For a while.

Well, Sam LeCure came on to pitch and tossed 1.2 innings of shutout relief. Then Game 3’s scheduled starter Mat Latos emerged from the bullpen — on three days rest — and threw four very strong innings, allowing only one run (on a Buster Posey homer). Outstanding work by Latos and LeCure.

–Brandon Phillips was the biggest, brightest star on the field tonight. BP went 3-5 with a run scored and 3 RBI, and with everyone still nervous about losing Cueto, Phillips slugged a two-run homer in the third to give the Reds a 2-0 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Phillips also did a nice job on the basepaths, and defensively, as usual. On one particular play, in the sixth inning, Scott Rolen threw a ball away (more on that in a moment), but BP was hustling all the way to back up the play. BP made an incredible diving save that kept the ball from scooting away, and kept a runner from getting into scoring position.

–He’s been slumping for a while, but Jay Bruce was absolutely locked in tonight. I don’t have to tell you: that’s a great development for the Redlegs. Bruce was 2-4 with a double and a long homer off Matt Cain. He also crushed a ball to center field that was caught.

–And let’s not forget Sean Marshall and Jonathan Broxton, either. In all, LeCure, Latos, Marshall, and Broxton threw seven and two-thirds innings of one-run ball.

–Ryan Ludwick made two very good defensive plays in left field.

NEGATIVES
–Scott Rolen threw two balls away tonight. Both were tough plays, admittedly, but still…I don’t remember Rolen throwing two balls away in three years.

–Aroldis Chapman gave up a run in the bottom of the ninth, and he looked very shaky. I don’t worry about Chapman, though. (He did strike out Buster Posey with a 100 mph fastball to end the game, though.)

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–A win! Now that’s the way to begin this postseason. I can’t put it into words, but you’ve probably noticed: there’s a different vibe around this team. They seem confident, they don’t get rattled. It’s just a different team than the 2010 version who clearly weren’t ready for prime-time.

–That game was complete insanity from beginning to end. A rollercoaster, from Cueto’s injury to BP’s homer to some tense moments late in the game. Playoff baseball is fun.

–If Jay Bruce gets hot and stays hot in this postseason, the Reds are going to be very tough to beat.

–We’re all worried about Cueto, but there’s some thought that he might be able to pitch in game three. Cueto only threw eight pitches tonight, after all. If he can come back in game three or four, it changes the complexion of this series.

–When Cueto was injured, the television cameras focused on Mat Latos in the dugout. Latos was standing up, raising his hands; he clearly wanted to come in the game. It was kinda awesome, honestly. You just gotta love that guy.

That’s a great point by Chris. Mat Latos wasn’t an obvious choice; he could have let LeCure keep going. It was the right choice, however. Kudos, Dusty.

–Raise your hand if you thought Homer Bailey would be the first pinch-hitter in the NLDS.

–Admit it: we would have been very happy if the Reds were only able to win one game in San Francisco. Well, that’s out of the way. Cincinnati is really in the driver’s seat now.

–There was a floating DeLorean in McCovey Cove, and it was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.

–If you had told me in 1995 that Cincinnati’s next playoff win would be in 2012…well, I wouldn’t have believed it.

–San Francisco fans gave Dusty Baker a huge ovation before the game. Of course, they proceeded to ruin that goodwill by cheering when Johnny Cueto got injured.

–Those were the first runs Matt Cain has ever given up in the playoffs.

–Reds only need ten more wins!

–Game two tomorrow, same time. A win tomorrow would be huge. Bronson Arroyo will make the start, and I’d love to see good Bronson.

Woooo!

88 thoughts on “NLDS Titanic Struggle Recap: Complete Insanity

  1. @hoodlum: To me, the main point is Chapman was excessively wild. There’s no reason to be nibbling with a 4 run lead.

  2. Wow ..last night’s game was total torture … but geeezzzz .. Is Baseball a grand game or what ? .. Lets pounce on them Giants again tonight .. Go Bronson!

  3. While I think SOME credit goes to Duaty on the move (it worked) it’s not as though this wasn’t PRE-PLANNED. Cueto had back spasms prior to the game. There was a question of whether or not he would even pitch game 1. They (Jocketty, Dusty, Speier, Price) way before the first pitch. And, when it happened, Dusty simply followed the plan.

    It turned out to be a good plan, but it’s not like it was some last-minute managerial zen moment.

  4. There was some good fortune in favor of the Reds but (i) there always is when a team wins an evenly matched contest, (ii) you still have to catch the “at-em” balls and the Reds did, and (iii) there were also a couple of “at-em” balls hit by the Reds also. Things tend to even out over a series, so be ready for some eventually going the other way (unless you are the Braves).

    No one mentions it, but I thought Chapman was nervous–rushing his motion and pace a bit. He is young and hasn’t pitched in an important series like this at this level, so I don’t know why that would be surprising. It is probably best that he got his “playoff feet” wet with a 5-1 lead, he’ll do better with his nerves and pacing next game I would think. Also, note that Dusty had Hoover warming up in the ninth, so it’s possible we may see Hoover at some point tomorrow.

  5. Here’s to a hopeful great day of CIN sports.

    How big would it be for the Reds to be up 2-0 heading home for 3 games?

    Who-Dey! Let’s go Reds! Woooooooooooooooo!

  6. Pitching thoughts:

    Chappy will simmer down. When he does, he will be able to prove to the ump that he has his command. If the ump is convinced, Chappy will be unbeatable. That’s what happened when he had that hot streak. The umps were convinced his 100 heater was going to be close enough. Hitters, knowing that, are helpless.

    Arredondo may come down with a mystery injury between now and the flight home that will allow Leake to be added to the roster.

  7. I don’t know how you could have watched that game last night and not thought that this team is poised to go all the way. They have absolutely everything going for them right now and after pulling out a win – and really a pretty dominant win – after losing Cueto the way they did must make them all feel like freaking Iron Man right now. There are just way too many things about the game that I loved to list, and I’m sure everyone here feels the same way, but one thing I did want to mention was Todd Frazier. He spent the entire game on the top step of the dugout, batting gloves on, bat in hand. From the first pitch to the last. I’m not making any statements about Rolen or playing time or anything of the sort, but that kid is a gamer and he loves this team. And so do I. Like a lot.

  8. Uh, where’s the game? It’s the bottom of the 1st and it’s not on TBS as advertised! 😡

  9. @Johnu1: Important point. The ump did not give Chapman some borderline calls on the first two hitters and he was visibly upset about it. He’s used to getting borderline calls and to be fully effective he needs to. The good thing here is that now when he gets in trouble, he raises his game.

  10. For the way the pitching staff was handled yesterday, Bryan Price also deserves a lot of credit. I just read how Cueto told him and the trainer about the pain he felt while warming up. He seemed like he might be OK and Price formulated “the plan” that he suggested to Dusty. Of course it was on Dusty to make the tough decision.

    Price and Dusty together have done a great job with the pitching staff this season.

  11. @eric nyc: Yeh the broadcasters will pick a story and then make it into a bigger story than it is. They did give Joey credit for that crucial DP on Belt’s line drive.

    Saying he could have made a play on Rolen’s throws made no sense. But the most egregious thing was their statement that Joey hasn’t hit since coming back. Since when is an OBP close to .500 (which was not mentioned) not hitting ?

    • @pinson343:

      But the most egregious thing was their statement that Joey hasn’t hit since coming back. Since when is an OBP close to .500 (which was not mentioned) not hitting ?

      Yeah, a .300+ BA and a .900+ OPS since coming back from the DL. I’ll take that not hitting all the way to the bank!

  12. @Bill Lack: Bill about not pitching Latos right away. Latos wasn’t going to go deep into the game. He would have been taken out by the 5th inning (3 days rest, 20 pitch bullpen session). Now you are really using your bullpen up starting from the 5th inning on. Using LeCue who has mental toughness and has improved his pitching this year made sense to use him as the bridge to Latos.

  13. I might buy the argument if the Reds were convinced they were only going to get 4 innings out of Latos, but has that been stated anywhere or is someone assuming that?

    I thought Latos looked like he could have went longer, which means (to me at least) like he could have come in earlier.

    Using how well something worked as a reason for it being a good decision is faulty logic…

    • I might buy the argument if the Reds were convinced they were only going to get 4 innings out of Latos, but has that been stated anywhere or is someone assuming that?

      I thought Latos looked like he could have went longer, which means (to me at least) like he could have come in earlier.

      Using how well something worked as a reason for it being a good decision is faulty logic…

      Well I guess the argument about whether he could have gone longer is open for debate, but I have to believe the time it took to get him in was more about just getting him warmed up than any kind of strategy. I’m sure they wish they could have brought him in right away but he just had to have SOME time. He’s never come in as a reliever in his life.

    • I might buy the argument if the Reds were convinced they were only going to get 4 innings out of Latos, but has that been stated anywhere or is someone assuming that?

      I thought Latos looked like he could have went longer, which means (to me at least) like he could have come in earlier.

      Using how well something worked as a reason for it being a good decision is faulty logic…

      Bill – I thought Dusty said something to that effect in the post game press conference. Of course, by then I was delirious from exhaustion so maybe I just imagined it!

  14. The good news is that this was a pretty unique situation (we hope) and there really is no “right” decision, just a number of options with different pros and cons. Sounds like they may have had their plan set in advance based on the Cueto injury complaint during warmups, so they stuck with it.

  15. Yes, great decision making by Dusty last night in terms of handling the pitching staff, but a hit here or there would’ve exposed him. Broxton was one hit/walk away from being in deep doo-doo, yet there was no one up in the bullpen. Same thing in the 9th, another base hit and Chappy would’ve been on the ropes, yet Hoover had just started to get loose. I’d like to see him be more proactive in having guys ready before you need them.

    I don’t get the hand wringing from Price after the game about burning up the bullpen in the first game of a series. C’mon, they just had 3 days off, they’ll play two and then get another day off. If anything I’m a little concerned that we’ll have a few guys who’ve been off nearly a week w/o pitching in a real game. I think it was a great move to use Latos because expecting 6 or 7 guys to all put up zeros would probably not work out, but the concern should’nt be about overuse.

    I think you have to take a wait and see approach before making any decisions about the pitching rotation. If we win, you hold back Latos/Cueto to games 4 and 5 and use Bailey. If we lose, then you have to more seriously consider Cueto’s availability for game 4 and save Latos for 5.

  16. Aside from game management stuff… anybody else see the crowd going crazy at the start of the game and just think: That should be Reds fans in GABP. Loved taking that game.

  17. @Bill Lack: Price said in an article by John Fay how pleased he was Latos went 4 innings. As stated before on 3 days rest and a bullpen session. I’m assuming the bullpen session was the day of the game. Either way it worked out well. LeCue normally wouldn’t be used in a game anyways unless something goes wrong so using him there was ok with me.

    It worked out very well and must be a big confident boost to the whole team.

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