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!

Blame Chad for creating this mess.

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

You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

Join the conversation! 88 Comments

  1. I am, indeed, very happy with 1 win in SF. Obviously I want more, but if the Reds lose tomorrow, I still like their chances…assuming that Cueto is pitching game 3 or 4. If he isn’t, and Mike Leake is, then the Reds are still favored if it’s 1-1, but I’m not nearly as confident.

  2. Another thing, the Reds should give serious consideration to Frazier at 3rd tomorrow. I like how Rolen looked in his first AB and his first couple chances in the field, but he really looked old, crusty, and maybe slightly injured to me the rest of the game.

  3. And if the Reds finish this series in three or four games, Latos would be ready to open the next series. A long way to go yet to get to that point, but just sayin’, a lot could fall into place, such as having your hottest starter ready to open the LCS

  4. Wow, first playoff win since 1995. With Sam LeCure the winning pitcher for 5 outs in the first and second innings. A little unpredictable, this game of baseball. Great defense, very good pitching, and BP and Bruce on fire after their rest.

  5. Playoff Baseball is fun! Really? Tell that to the red paddle marks on my chest. Go Reds! All jokes aside, it was a tremendous win for the Reds, all things considered.

  6. And later, when Rolen had a simple grounder, he double and triple pumped before aiming his throw across the diamond. Wonder if the two prior mistakes were in his head.

    Baker is so loyal to his vets. Only reason I can think of that Cairo is on this postseason roster.

  7. @Hank Aarons Teammate: Yeh, Rolen didn’t look good out there, in the field or at the plate. I don’t think we’ll see Frazer tomorrow though.

    Related to Rolen’s bad throws, the TBS guys were saying that Joey didn’t look good either. They felt that a healthy Joey would have scooped the first throw and would have come off the base to at least stop Rolen’s wild throw on the bunt. They mentioned his knee limiting his flexibility. But it seemed to me that Joey made a mental decision to keep one foot on the bag and no way he could have stopped the bad bunt throw once he did. Anyway, lucky that BP was backing up the play.

  8. I would love to see the Giants taking big, bad, Bronson Arroyo lightly going into tomorrow’s game. He can induce a lot of lazy fly balls on his good nights, and he definitely has the potential to go for 7 shutout innings at AT&T Park.

    Favorite parts of tonight’s game: LeCure’s beard on national TV, Phillips’ baserunning, both Reds HRs, Ludwick’s catches, and perhaps my favorite, Broxton’s striking out Gregor Blanco to end the 8th.

    This game has given me such great enthusiasm about the rest of the postseason. Last time the Reds won a postseason game I was just shy of seven years old. 😀

    • dc937: Favorite parts of tonight’s game: LeCure’s beard on national TV, Phillips’ baserunning, both Reds HRs, Ludwick’s catches, and perhaps my favorite, Broxton’s striking out Gregor Blanco to end the 8th.

      Great choices. Broxton’s called strike 3 to Blanco got the biggest shout from me. BP’s base running play was the most unusual.

      I would add: Chapman striking out Posey with a high fastball to end the game.

      Instead of LeCure’s beard, I’d go with his surviving the 2nd inning without a run scoring. He was sailing along, retiring the first 4 batters he faced, the heart of their order, and then didn’t get a couple of borderline strike calls (that everyone else was getting) with Belt up. He wasn’t the same after that. What a sigh of relief when I saw Bruce settling under Cain’s line drive.

  9. Dusty Baker really deserves credit for how he managed this game. I’ve been a critic of Dusty, but he and the coaching staff seem really made a smart/bold move with bringing in Latos.

    I think this could still be a tough series, but I’m impressed that the Reds won largely with their depth as whole. That seems to be the strength they have over all the other playoff teams, but I think a lot of people thought a short series would negate the perceived advantage the Reds have with their pitching depth.

    This series is pretty interesting. Most experts were picking the Giants it seems. Maybe the Reds have the Giants rattled after Game 1. I think this was quite a blow to the Giants confidence for the rest of the series.

  10. @Sergeant2: You got that right, Sergeant. I was so tense it felt like a long, long game. Every inning had my pulse rate up, especially toward the end.

  11. If the Reds swap Leake for Cueto and subsequently advance to the NLCS, by my understanding of the rules, Cueto would be ineligible for the NLCS; so, I don’t see them making that move except as a last resort. However, in that same scenario, Cueto would be eligible to come back in the WS if the Reds got that far.

    A good bit of damage control tonight was accomplished by getting Latos out after 4 innings. That should make him available to start game 4 on a day’s short rest.

  12. The word from tonight’s Recap: “Rollercoaster”. I love playoff baseball.

  13. @pinson343: Rolen and Votto….. Except for getting up to snag that liner, I thought Votto looked about as bad as Rolen. If Votto and Rolen would both be out for a game, I’m wondering if Ludwick has ever played any 1B as I shudder to think of Cairo at 1B or Valdez at 3B.

    • @pinson343: Rolen and Votto….. Except for getting up to snag that liner, I thought Votto looked about as bad as Rolen. If Votto and Rolen would both be out for a game, I’m wondering if Ludwick has ever played any 1B as I shudder to think of Cairo at 1B or Valdez at 3B.

      Votto did look horrible today. But you don’t take him out. The Giants still pitch around him. Plus, if Votto looks as bad as he did today, he’s still better than Cairo, both fielding and hitting. And that goes for putting Valdez at 3B too.

      There’s no way I put Ludwick at 1B when he hasn’t played there all year.

  14. @JerBear: The “experts” don’t seem to know what to make of the Reds. All of them I’ve heard or read either pick the Reds to go out quickly or to make it to the WS.

    Dusty managed the Cueto emergency perfectly, I think. Chad mentioned Latos standing up in the dugout, raising his hands, he also had his pointer finger up on each hand, communicating something with Dusty.
    That and the look on his face expressed how eager he was to come in, it restored my hope that the Reds had a good chance to win. The broadcasters were saying when Matt entered the game how starters are creatures of preparation and habit, but that his being a “free spirit” might make it just the situation for him.

    Latos said that everything (AT&T Stadium and the Giants hitters) was just what he expected, except for the fact that he was “pitching instead of not pitching”. He said that like it was just a detail, funny.

  15. @Hank Aarons Teammate: I’m not sure Ludwick has every played 1B but the way Cairo has fumbled around the last half of the season, it would be hard to be worse. They’d probably play Frazier at 1B and Valdez at 3B

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I’m not sure Ludwick has every played 1B but the way Cairo has fumbled around the last half of the season, it would be hard to be worse. They’d probably play Frazier at 1B and Valdez at 3B

      Yeah, I suspect Ludwick could at least tag out a runner when the runner is just standing there.

      But the alternative, Valdez at 3B, is so bad, that I’d rather them just wheel Votto out there even if he can barely walk.

  16. @OhioJim: Votto sitting out games ? No freaking way. Since he’s returned from surgery, his OBP is close to .500. And bad knee or not, he’s still easily the Reds best defensive first baseman. Usually I would scoff at leadership, presence, etc., but not in his case. The Reds feel better with him on the field. The other team feels worse with him on the field.

  17. @dc937: No way that the Giants will take Arroyo lightly. In any case Bronson will like pitching a big game in that park.

  18. Nearly another IF fly controversy ! Hanigan made an outstanding grab on that popup, the wind carried it. The broadcasters were saying that was a ball that usually one of the corner IFers would catch, commenting on how Rolen and Votto weren’t moving well.

  19. BP and Bruce were the two guys who homered against the Phils in Game 2 of the 2010 NLDS. Some days off helped them. It’s already been said how the days off don’t seem to have helped Votto and Rolen. I’m not sure about Ludwick, a couple of good catches in the OF (OK, the second one probably shouldn’t have been so tricky), but his bat is needed.

  20. Exciting and thrilling victory that tore apart all our rotation predictions from the past week, probably satisfied many critics who expected the Reds to get shut out, and probably guaranteed Dusty Baker the opportunity to return next season, if he wants.

    Some people wanted Latos pitching game one. Others wanted Cueto in game one (including me). Well, we got to see both of them and have no idea whatsoever who will start games 3, 4, or 5… and can go back to guessing or blindly speculating. I say Bailey in game 3, Cueto game 4, and Latos in game 5, respectively, if necessary. Latos pitched on short rest today and, although he didn’t throw too many pitches, I doubt they’ll ask him to pitch on short rest again unless Cueto is injured pretty badly.

    I was disappointed that they charged Rolen with an error on something that should have been a hit.

    I definitely disliked the TBS announcers as they often didn’t seem up on the details, like the status of Votto’s knee (he’s been an OBP since his return and has fielded fine, but they were making it sound like he can’t stand up without a cane) and Ludwick’s fielding ability. Otherwise they were being overly critical. I also felt they were overly-hyping fielding percentage when they keep referring to the Braves as the best defensive team in the NL. Ludwick’s nice catches were nothing new to Reds fans. My opinion improved slightly when they referred to Marshall, Broxton, and Chapman as the ‘new Nasty Boys’, but oh well.

  21. Marshall pitched the best among the back end guys. Broxton made the big pitch when he had to. Chapman’s either automatic or way too big an adventure. Buster Posey with the bases loaded is not what the Reds wanted to see in the 9th. And the situation might have been worse if Sandoval hadn’t helped out by swinging at everything. Scutaro on the other hand did a great job of not swinging at a pretty good 2-2 slider.

  22. Right the TBS guys said nothing about Votto’s OBP, talked like he hasn’t hit at all since returning. On his defense, they were saying he didn’t make a couple of plays that he ordinarily would have, they were tough plays and I don’t now whether they were right.

    They’re calling the Braves the best defensive team in the NL based on fielding pct. was lame. Other metrics such as “runs saved” are widely used now, even by traditional sports media.

  23. I don’t think Joey looked horrible at first tonight. He didn’t look “Votto” at first tonight but that’s a far cray from being as bad as people are making it sound. We get spoiled I think. If I had to guess he was a little stiff out there in a big game for whatever reason. As usual I think he will recognize it and step up his game from here on out. That’s just the kind of player he is. As for Rolen I’m really not sure what was going on with him.

    That’s just nitpicking though; that was the best game of baseball I’ve seen in a long long time simply because of the win and all the circumstances involved. Also, I said it before and I’ll say it again.. other teams should fear us in the playoffs. All it takes is a few guys having a hot night (check) and our defense (check) and pitching (double and triple check) will bring it home for us.

    AT&T park also might as well be our home away from home. It’s the kind of park our pitchers drool about visiting and clearly our guys still have enough pop to push it out of that place.

    • I don’t think Joey looked horrible at first tonight.He didn’t look “Votto” at first tonight but that’s a far cray from being as bad as people are making it sound.We get spoiled I think.

      Mwv: Actually that’s the point that the TBS broadcasters were making. Not that his defense was horrible, but that he wasn’t making plays that “healthy Joey” would make. They were referring to Rolen’s two throws and also the attempted DP throw in the dirt from BP. They thought he ordinarily could scoop the two low throws and stop the bunt throw by Rolen.

      But I’m not sure they were right. The first throw by Rolen was much tougher than a routine scoop. And on the bunt throw, Joey tried to make the catch while keeping his foot on first, and I don’t see how anyone could stretch far enough to make that play.

      • Mwv: Actually that’s the point that the TBS broadcasters were making. Not that his defense was horrible, but that he wasn’t making plays that “healthy Joey” would make. They were referring to Rolen’s two throws and also the attempted DP throw in the dirt from BP. They thought he ordinarily could scoop the two low throws and stop the bunt throw by Rolen.

        But I’m not sure they were right. The first throw by Rolen was much tougher than a routine scoop. And on the bunt throw, Joey tried to make the catch while keeping his foot on first, and I don’t see how anyone could stretch far enough to make that play.

        The two throws by Rolen were uncatchable. At least not while keeping a foot on the bag. And the unassisted DP he pulled on the line drive was a gorgeous defensive play. He shot up, reached full elevation, spun in the air…He didn’t look like his knee was bothering him one bit on that play. He might only be at about 90% right now, as evidence by his lack of power at the plate, but a 90% Joey Votto is still one of the best players in the game.

  24. *far cry

  25. The offense was alive and well – 9 H, 2 HR, 5 R. Chapman was scarey. He ended up throwing more pitches in his one inning than LeCure threw in his 1-2/3.

    I thought Dusty handled the pitching emergency well, bringing in the reliever LeCure first and allowing Latos plenty of time to warm up. Not so sure about his pinch hitting choices – Baiey in to bunt in the 3rd when Valdez was available. I was holding my breath hoping he didn’t get hurt running the bases. Guess there was no reson to worry as he struck out. Cairo to PH for Latos? Latos probably had a better chance of getting on base.

  26. I really thought Dusty handled last night brilliantly, and I have been critical of him at times. The knee jerk reaction would have been to bring in Latos right away, but bringing in a starter cold is not a good thing. So he let Sam LeCure pitch until his spot in the batting order came up, so Latos would have plenty of time to warm up. Very smart. Now we can go Cueto in game 3 if he is healthy or Homer Bailey if Cueto can’t go. We are set up well moving forward

  27. Partly because he gets a lot of flack, I want to add Stubbs to the positive list: 1 H with a run scored and a run scoring play cutting off a ball in the gap that I’m very doubtful Heisey would have made. That’s a pretty good game.

    Reading through the game thread, I have give give kudos to Hoodlum for his pregame prediction:

    Drew Stubbs. He’s gonna get an important hit and make a big play on D.

    I would never have guessed the important hit part.

  28. Holy crap. I’m still wrapping my head around that game. I’d never seen anything like it. I think a lot of teams would have been rattled seeing their ace go down in the first inning on the road. I love how the Reds responded, and as others have pointed out, Dusty handled it brilliantly.

    Seeing Latos jump up and ask for the ball made me a Latos fan for life.

  29. I sometimes get the feeling that starting pitchers take ownership of the game they are scheduled to start only, and they are just spectators for the other games. But Latos really showed me last night that he is a team player and would do whatever it takes to help the team win. The way he immediately volunteered to go in the game earned major props with me, more than he already had.

  30. Just arrived back in the US, arrived at our rental home about 10 minutes before game time – what a great way to start a vacation, especially after Lufthansa left all six of our bags in Frankfurt.

    Even better, my daughters are walking around singing Bronson’s sweatshirt song this morning…….lets go up 2-0 tonight Bronson!

  31. @mthomas5810: Yeah, Latos looked like a big kid in the dug out. He wants to pitch and he wants to win. “Put me in coach, I can do it!” It sure is looking like he is worth everything we gave up for him.

  32. Wow. Just wow. What a night! In the ninth, I turned to my wife and said that I don’t know if I can handle three weeks of this, but I’m happy to try! Based on how I felt last night, I cannot imagine how people felt during game 6 in 75!

    Lots of kudos to Dusty for how he handled the Cueto injury, but I’ve got to say this – he should have had the rotation set up that way from the beginning. It was silly not to have Latos pitching last night in the first place.

    What LeCure and Latos did was legendary. We know how starting pitchers are creatures of habit, but I’m pretty sure that LeCure wasn’t mentally in a place ready to pitch in the first inning with the team ace on the hill! Outstanding work by a couple of warriors.

    After the triple pump throw to first, which was also a bit off target, I said that I think Rolen is injured. Wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Frazier tonight.

    Speaking of Frazier, is there any logical reason at all that Frazier is sitting on the bench while Cairo is pinch hitting? I’d love to hear it. Pretty much squandered all the Dusty goodwill I built up in the first inning!

    Joey is doing something incredibly unselfish – playing hurt without telling a soul. I’ve got to think he’s in line for another surgery the day after the season ends. I hope I’m wrong, but it sure doesn’t look like it. It makes what he’s able to do all the more special.

    Even when Chappy is bad, he’s pretty darn good.

  33. If the Reds go on to win the World Series, people will still be talking about last night’s game in 50 years. People will still be talking about our 2010 playoff debut in 50 years, too, but I much prefer this one.

  34. Agree with everyone that Dusty handled the Cueto situation perfectly, and Latos now stands alongside LeCure as my favorite Reds pitchers. Latos was an absolute beast given the situation, and I expect him to continue on and be our ace moving forward.

    My biggest quibbles from the game would be Homer pinch hitting (honestly, isn’t that type of situation the reason Cairo is on the postseason roster?), and both Brox and Aroldis had me pretty worried.

    Looking forward to tonight – I’m guessing we see Frazier at 3B, and am a bit curious to see how we handle the back end of the ‘pen if needed given the amount of pitches Aroldis threw last night. Of course, I hope to see how we handle it as that would mean we’re ahead late in the game…….

  35. @reagansdaddy: To say that pitching a Cy Young candidate in game one of a playoff series is “silly” is, frankly, silly. You can reasonably disagree with the decision, but silly? Really?

    • @reagansdaddy: To say that pitching a Cy Young candidate in game one of a playoff series is “silly” is, frankly, silly.You can reasonably disagree with the decision, but silly?Really?

      I’ll let what Mat Latos has done at AT&T Park and vs. the Giants along with what he did last night speak for themselves. Johnny Cueto is a stud. He would have been the right call against every other team in the league in every other ball park in the league. It was silly not have Latos pitching last night.

  36. The game was great! The best part was watching the Reds and Buckeyes at the same time on separate TVs we had set up in one room. Never down to long! At one point we are upset over a fumble then yelling “other TV” to watch Bruce hit a home run. Great stuff!

  37. If we win tonight then the Cuteo issue is less, but going home 1-1 forces the Reds to make a tough choice, but you got to believe Homer is going in game 3 no matter what.

  38. For all the noise we make about Dusty, I thought the moment of the night on him was the shot of him with his arm around LeCure in the dugout after Sam had finished. Both were genuinely happy to be in that moment with each other. That really says a lot to me. X’s and O’s is part of his job, but so is leadership. He showed me some last night.

    Lets go redlegs.

    • For all the noise we make about Dusty, I thought the moment of the night on him was the shot of him with his arm around LeCure in the dugout after Sam had finished.Both were genuinely happy to be in that moment with each other.That really says a lot to me.X’s and O’s is part of his job, but so is leadership.He showed me some last night.

      Lets go redlegs.

      That is really well said hoodlum! That was a great moment!

  39. I worry that Dusty’s going to think the Marshall-7th-Broxton8th- Chapman9th is a recipe that will always taste good. If Arroyo has about 80 pitches after 6 and is leading or tied, I say leave him in. It is great if you need them, but I think Latos could have gone 2 more innings…if Cueto can go in game 3 or 4 then no worries, but I would think if he cannot get himself ready for Game 1 how is he going to recover in a few days? Possibly this is just a fluke, but the look reminds me a lot of how Rijo looked in 1995 (I imagine they are totally different injuries)-it only took him 7 years to return.

  40. I know that I’m in a minority of one here apparently, but I still think Dusty was wrong in his decision last night. IF he was going to use Latos, then there was no reason to use LeCure b/c as I understand the rule, he had as much time to get ready as he needed. There was no need to use LeCure.

    It’s great that he pitched well, but that doesn’t prove that this was a good decision.

    Rather than using the rules and taking their time to get their best pitcher ready, they went with a lesser talent, then went to their best pitcher. I have to wonder if folks would still be claiming this was a good idea if LeCure got shelled.

    • I know that I’m in a minority of one here apparently, but I still think Dusty was wrong in his decision last night. IF he was going to use Latos, then there was no reason to use LeCure b/c as I understand the rule, he had as much time to get ready as he needed. There was no need to use LeCure.

      It’s great that he pitched well, but that doesn’t prove that this was a good decision.

      Rather than using the rules and taking their time to get their best pitcher ready, they went with a lesser talent, then went to their best pitcher. I have to wonder if folks would still be claiming this was a good idea if LeCure got shelled.

      Bill – I totally understand your logic there. Here’s my shot at an explanation.

      Because it was Latos’s throw day, they knew that they were only going to get three or four innings out of Latos because he had already thrown 20 in the bullpen that afternoon. Therefore, they were going to have to go with a LeCure-type pitcher at some point to get them to the 7th.

      By going LeCure then Latos, you give them both the opportunity to get loose that most closely resembles what they would do in a normal situation. Latos gets to go get on a jock and his spikes in the clubhouse and then go through a quasi-normal warm up. LeCure is more used to a “hurry up” type situation which anyone is going to feel given the circumstances and I assume he’s got his glove, spikes, jersey, etc. ready to go.

      You’re probably right about what we’d be saying had LeCure gotten clubbed. Thankfully it worked out last night!

      • Bill – I totally understand your logic there.Here’s my shot at an explanation.

        Because it was Latos’s throw day, they knew that they were only going to get three or four innings out of Latos because he had already thrown 20 in the bullpen that afternoon.Therefore, they were going to have to go with a LeCure-type pitcher at some point to get them to the 7th.

        By going LeCure then Latos, you give them both the opportunity to get loose that most closely resembles what they would do in a normal situation.Latos gets to go get on a jock and his spikes in the clubhouse and then go through a quasi-normal warm up.LeCure is more used to a “hurry up” type situation which anyone is going to feel given the circumstances and I assume he’s got his glove, spikes, jersey, etc. ready to go.

        You’re probably right about what we’d be saying had LeCure gotten clubbed.Thankfully it worked out last night!

        If they knew Latos could only go 4, then there’s really no difference between bringing Latos in in the first or the third. Either way, Lecure is pitching 2 innings—either on the front end like he did, or the 5th and 6th innings if he comes in after.

        • If they knew Latos could only go 4, then there’s really no difference between bringing Latos in in the first or the third.Either way, Lecure is pitching 2 innings—either on the front end like he did, or the 5th and 6th innings if he comes in after.

          Well, my point was that the difference is that by doing what they did, each guy got to warm up in the most effective manner – which makes a huge difference in my opinion. So, yes, there is a difference if you read my response to Bill. It’s right there in the 3rd paragraph – you might disagree which is cool – but the explanation is right there.

    • I know that I’m in a minority of one here apparently, but I still think Dusty was wrong in his decision last night. IF he was going to use Latos, then there was no reason to use LeCure b/c as I understand the rule, he had as much time to get ready as he needed. There was no need to use LeCure.

      It’s great that he pitched well, but that doesn’t prove that this was a good decision.

      Rather than using the rules and taking their time to get their best pitcher ready, they went with a lesser talent, then went to their best pitcher. I have to wonder if folks would still be claiming this was a good idea if LeCure got shelled.

      I don’t think that’s mismanagement though. If LeCure gets shelled I think we’d hear a lot more of “rough break with our ace going down” than we would “stupid Dusty why didn’t you pitch Latos???”. Just speculation but I know that’s what my own reaction would have been. As for going to Latos instead of LeCure I think that’s just flat out a judgement call and I’m glad I didn’t have to be the one making it. Either choice has upsides and downsides. Just glad we got through the moment and our guys toughed it out. We have the best staff in the league, period. I don’t care what anyone else says, last night proved it.

    • I know that I’m in a minority of one here apparently, but I still think Dusty was wrong in his decision last night. IF he was going to use Latos, then there was no reason to use LeCure b/c as I understand the rule, he had as much time to get ready as he needed. There was no need to use LeCure.

      It’s great that he pitched well, but that doesn’t prove that this was a good decision.

      Rather than using the rules and taking their time to get their best pitcher ready, they went with a lesser talent, then went to their best pitcher. I have to wonder if folks would still be claiming this was a good idea if LeCure got shelled.

      The question really is: mentally, is it the same thing coming in right off the bench, or going through the exact same routine you always do? I can’t say. Latos seems to think it was better the way they did it, and while I’m usually hesitant to believe what players say, there’s just no way to know.

    • I know that I’m in a minority of one here apparently, but I still think Dusty was wrong in his decision last night. IF he was going to use Latos, then there was no reason to use LeCure b/c as I understand the rule, he had as much time to get ready as he needed. There was no need to use LeCure.

      It’s great that he pitched well, but that doesn’t prove that this was a good decision.

      Rather than using the rules and taking their time to get their best pitcher ready, they went with a lesser talent, then went to their best pitcher. I have to wonder if folks would still be claiming this was a good idea if LeCure got shelled.

      Problem is Latos would have rushed himself to get ready. My problem is Cuteo should have never been the Game 1 starter. The rotation should have been Latos, Homer, Cuteo, Bronson. This should have been it and its now put us in a situtation where we may have no game 4 starter.

  41. Even if Latos has “as long as he needs” under the rule, the inertia of the moment would have made him hurry if he didn’t know LeCure was giving him time to breathe. Nobody should have second guessed Dusty for bringing in a reliever to relieve, even if he got shelled. Thankfully he didn’t.

  42. @reagansdaddy: The fact that Votto hasn’t said anything about being hurt…it’s pretty obvious to everyone that he’s not right.

    • @reagansdaddy: The fact that Votto hasn’t said anything about being hurt…it’s pretty obvious to everyone that he’s not right.

      Yeah, that’s exactly what I said. He’s not right but he’s toughing it out and not saying a word because that’s what is best for the team at this point. It’s pretty rare in today’s world of pro sports.

  43. OK, I throw in my two cents worth of observations, although that’s probably up to six bits now since when I started as a Reds fan.

    I am thrilled with the decision making after Cueto’s situation. Two people, intimately and significantly involved in those decisions, Chris Speier and Bryan Price, have not been mentioned.

    The pitching situation that occured and the possible ramifications that may evolve from this situation, screamed for someone to come in and take over for Cueto without disrupting the bullpen or pitching rotation. That someone was Mike Leake, who was left off the roster in favor of Simon as the long reliever. Game 1 worked out but the possible ramifications may still have a negative impact on the starting rotation for this series and next series because Leake was not included on the roster.

    Drew Stubbs singles leading off the 3rd inning. Stubbs doesn’t steal when he =hits at the top of the lineup because that would open up 1B and lead to a Votto BB. So when Stubbs hits in the #8 hole, he doesn’t steal because the sacrifice bunt is such a formidable offensive weapon? Stubbs steals at better than an 80% success rate. What’s the success rate for sacrifice bunts by the Reds this year?

    Phillips is locked in as only Phillips can lock in, both offensively and defensively. That’s really good news for the Reds and really bad news for the Giants.

    XP comes up big as a PH. Cairo comes up blank as a PH. I wonder what Navarro might have done as a PH if he didn’t have to be held out as an emergency defensive catching replacement, possibly after a successful steal attempt by Stubbs in the 3rd inning, rather than giving up an out.

    I am absolutley convinced that Uncle Walt made the right move in getting Latos, even with the high cost involved and other prospects also available other than Latos.

    This was a very good game for Chapman. The SO of Posey was simply huge for his confidence. Chapman’s immaturity as a ML pitcher showed when he got squeezed by the umpire on multiple calls. He should be back to his dominating self in his next outing (possibly another shut down performance today for a 2-0 lead coming back to GABP?) after a good solid visit with Bryan Price.

    Go Reds!!!

  44. @redsfanman: I think that’s a legitimate error on Rolen. I would agree that most of the time that’s scored a hit, but I felt that a typical 3rd baseman with ordinary effort gets that out. The ball definitely beat the runner, so a good throw gets him.

    I see Ludwick as a competent LF at best. It’s why they put in Heisey in the late innings.

    Votto has been mostly fine at 1B since his return, but he didn’t look good last night over there.

    My guess is that the Reds go Bailey, Cueto, and Latos also, OR Bailey, Leake, Latos, if Cueto’s injury is really bad. Bailey pitching game 3 would be on 5 days rest. It might work better that way anyways as it keeps him roughly on an amount of rest he’s had at some points this year.

  45. @Hank Aarons Teammate: You are exactly right, I think. LeCure was going to pitch a couple of innings either way. He’s much more used to coming out of the bullpen than Latos, so why not throw him in their first, see what happens, and give Latos a couple inning to get into the game mindset. It’s one thing to say that they have as much time as they need, but it’s a whole other thing to go through your “normal” 20 minutes of warm up on the game mound in front of tens of thousand of people. And it worked. A good outcome doesn’t necessarily incate a good decision, but it is certainly evidence of a good decision. I think Dusty did everything exactly right here, even though the option he chose wasn’t immediately obvious (to me, anyway).

  46. @reagansdaddy: I wasn’t disagreeing. Just trying to say that since Lecure was pitching 2 innings anyways (if they knew Latos was going to go roughly 4), then given that it doesn’t matter which order you use them in, you may as well use them in the order that keeps them both on the regular routines.

  47. I found it pretty interesting that Baker came out to talk to Chapman. I am not sure I remember a single instance all year where Baker came out without a hook. He was out there for a while, too, I really wonder what he said.

    I’m not sure what to make of Chapman. I did not think he really got squeezed; in fact, the ump was calling some of those pitches off the plate for Cain early, and we were mad here. He threw up to 100, so that’s not so much a concern, but his location was terrible. He’s also again taking 2-3 batters to jack up the velocity, which drives me nuts. Can’t he do that down in the bullpen, so he comes in throwing hard?

  48. A win is a win so I won’t quibble but two moments stand out: Yes, Lecure was a savior but he barely got out of the 2nd. Cain ripped a liner with the bases juiced but thankfully, Bruce caught it. Let’s not forget Brandon Belt’s screamer vs. Latos where Votto caught it for a DP. Either one of those gets down and we probably aren’t winning Game 1.

    There is absolutely no reason for us to attempt a bunt anymore. Except for Cueto and Heisey, we can’t do it. Don’t give up the out. It’s mind-numbing how this team can’t advance a runner via the bunt so why bother! Bailey & Cozart both failed.

    BP was definitely the MVP of Game 1. Kudos to Latos but he loves AT&T so I wasn’t surprised. He should have been scheduled to pitch either Game 1 or 2. He loves facing the Giants and proved it again last nightl

  49. Cain getting those pitches early is precisely why I thought the Missle got squeezed.

  50. Cain getting those pitches early is precisely why I thought the Missle got squeezed.

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

  52. 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!

  53. 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.

  54. 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.

  55. 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!

  56. @Billy Joe in Chi-Town: He pitched in 2010 in the NLDS, and was much better in that outing.

  57. 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.

  58. 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.

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

  60. @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.

  61. @BloodyHo: The game’s on mlbnetwork.

  62. 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.

  63. @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!

  64. @Hank Aarons Teammate: Thanks for that reminder, I had forgotten about that.

  65. @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.

  66. 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!

  67. Just wondering how many able to see Tigers vs A’s game 2?

  68. 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.

  69. 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.

  70. 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.

  71. @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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About Chad Dotson

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

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2012 Postseason, 2012 Reds, Titanic Struggle Recap

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