Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL — 10 innings
Cincinnati 5
Miami 3

W: A. Chapman (3-1)
L: S. Cishek (1-4)
S: J. Hoover (3)

–Very strong start, once again, for Mat Latos: 8.1 innings, two runs allowed on four hits and a walk. Latos’ ERA is now down to 2.91 this season.

–Jay Bruce was 2-4 with a double, a walk, and three RBI (including two in the tenth inning). Bruce is heating up, and his hot streaks are more fun to watch than anyone else’s.

–Shin-Soo Choo reached base three times, because that’s what great leadoff hitters are supposed to do, you know.

–Brandon Phillips hit a homer, and drove in two runs. One of the RBI came on a sac fly in the tenth, with the game tied 2-2. BP, of course, leads the NL in RBI. That will happen when you hit behind Shin-Soo Choo and Joey Votto.

–Donald Lutz got the game-winning rally started with a leadoff, pinch-hit single in the top of the tenth inning.

–Aroldis Chapman blew the save opportunity by allowing a two-out run-scoring triple in the ninth. On the other hand, he threw five pitches 100 MPH or higher, so nothing’s wrong with his arm.

–Two straight sweeps!

–That’s six wins in a row, and ten of twelve, for the mighty Redlegs. Cincinnati is now 25-16; that’s pretty good, if you were wondering.

–The Reds have blown three saves this season, and all have come at the expense of Mat Latos. Unfortunate, especially since Latos has pitched so well this year.

–Dusty. I will never approve of the sac bunt when it gives away a free out and takes the bat out of Joey Votto’s hands, as happened in the tenth tonight. I will never be convinced that it’s a good strategy. Feel free to disagree, but I’m not changing my mind on this one.

–It’s fun when the Reds are on a roll, huh?

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.

You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

Join the conversation! 50 Comments

  1. How far would a deep run into the post season go toward getting Choo re-signed? I know Boras is his agent, but would it all be about straight money for him?

    • @preach: I think the best hope is that Choo would want to take the money now and not have to risk Boras setting the price/years too high and getting passed over like Bourn did. Choo isn’t exactly a youngster. … Not saying that scenario is too likely, but I can hope.

  2. Last year we had two months when we killed it and the rest of the year we played 500 ball. May is one of those months this year and I believe last year. Jay Bruce gets hot and we win? With Cueto coming back, will the rotation go on a tear? Love the competition in our starting rotation. You know there is some real razzing going on with all of the boys being mid-20’s. Enjoy the ride!

    • @SFredsfan: The Reds had a crazy streak last year where they won something like 30 out of 35. It started in July just before Joey got hurt.

  3. I did not at all mind Cozart bunting in that situation. Earlier in the season, Dusty had BP bunting in that situation, which had me cursing. But in Coazart’s case he’s probably going to make an out anyway, and then you’ve got first and second with one out instead of based loaded with one out.

    The chances of scoring are much better with bases loaded and one out, unless you think BP and Bruce really suck, which they don’t.

    • @pinson343: I agree. You can’t let Cozart swing the bat in that situation because he is more likely to hit into a DP than do anything good. Two outs with a man on 3rd is not as good as no outs and the bases loaded even if Votto got walked to load them.

      Cpzart has either got to bunt or go up there taking until he is two strikes down then at that point let him try to butcher boy pitches to spoil them and get a walk or just take strike three.

      • @OhioJim: Right. And Cozart is not good at working a walk.

      • @OhioJim: That is an emotional statement, I understand. But it’s simply not true. He’s grounded into 18 DPs in his *career*. His on base percentage is higher, I have to believe, than his chance of a DP.

        What’s true is that the strategy isn’t nearly as idiotic as having Phillips bunt (and, note, he has a higher DP chance!), like they did opening day.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Literally you are correct no doubt but situations like that 10th inning are tailor made for appearances by Mr Murphy.

          It would be interesting to know how many of Cozart’s DP’s have come in high leverage situations like that. I think he is a guy who doesn’t yet understand his own limits at the plate which adds to the problem in those situations.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Unlike OhioJim, I wasn’t worried about a DP with Cozart. I still liked the bunt.

          • @pinson343: I didn’t quite understand the comment of “chances are better scoring with bases loaded, 1 out”. (Compared to what?)

            I’m sure that in general, the bunt’s the right move there. But Votto isn’t “in general”, he’s a guy with a .450 OBP. That means that if Cozart makes a single out and the runners don’t advance (which is certainly the most likely outcome), there’s a 45% chance that the Reds either load the bases with 1 out, or take the lead, after Votto’s AB. With Cozart bunting, he might be unsuccessful (which the pro bunt people never consider). Just saying.

            I think the right move there is pretty complicated to compute, it depends on the pitcher too. But I’d bet (without knowing) that the right move is for Cozart to hit away. Still, the bunt is certainly a move that I’d term “within reason”, i.e., a relatively small difference. If it’s Phillips batting #2, it’s an idiotic, ridiculous move.

    • @SFredsfan: @pinson343: definitely the right thing to do. Bases loaded/1 out has a run expectancy about 1/10th of a run higher than 1st and 2nd/no out. Also, it was Phillips and Bruce coming up, not Hanigan and Arroyo. Good bunt.

  4. It was too bad Latos didn’t get the win. There was some grumbling in the game thread about his display of anger in the dugout. I did not mind that at all. He didn’t say a word to Dusty, just ran off the field. And all he did in the dugout was let off steam, talking to Bronson about how he’d hung that slider.

    I don’t like it when Latos makes a mistake on the mound because he’s angry about an umpire’s call or a misplay on defense. That’s the stuff I don’t want to see anymore.

    • @pinson343: I agree. I think the misconception comes because last night’s tantrum happened one game after he didn’t cover first in the middle of a tantrum. The former was understandable while the latter was inexcusable.

      In the end, I’d far rather have a player who gets really ticked off for giving up a triple (which is how I read the situation) than one who really doesn’t care all that much.

  5. Yeah, I’m as anti-sac bunt as they come. But Cozart is such a terrible hitter, in addition to a double ball machine, that I don’t mind it in that specific situation.

    The real issue, as it’s always been, is slotting the worst hitter in the starting lineup between your 2 best hitters.

    • @CP: I really would like to know if the bunt is ever good there. For example, suppose Mat Latos were batting in front of Votto. I have to believe that Latos should bunt. So the question is how bad you have to be to make bunting in front of Votto a good idea.

  6. The Reds are now a ridiculous 16-1 when Xavier Paul starts.

    I’m not letting go of this Fun Fact until it stops being fun.

  7. Ozuna hits a triple off Chapman, it happens. I was relieved it didn’t leave the park. Any major league hitter can get a hit off any major league pitcher.

    But I didn’t like how it happened. For one thing, Chapman was afraid to throw a slider with a runner on 3rd, which why his throwing so many wild pitches is a problem. But OK, he’s still got the great fastball.
    I was nervous about Polanco because he doesn’t strike out often and he’s the master of swinging bunts and bloop singles. Chapman is overthrowing, two very high fastballs for balls, but then strikes out Polanco on a high fastball. Whew, I think, from here Chapman can settle down, any kind of out will do.

    But he’s still too amped up, another two very high fastballs, one of them Hanigan has to leap for, then of course the get it right over the plate fastball at a “mere” 98 mph that gets belted. In short, a lack of command.

    His striking out Ruggiano was huge and I was confident about the Reds winning in extras.

    • @pinson343: Agree with everything that you said. I also have to retire my semi-theory that Chapman has some undisclosed injury that is affecting his velocity. However, I do think that what we saw last night illustrates why he may not be ready to start: Any starter needs more than one pitch that they’ll throw with confidence; as Pinson correctly says, major league hitters will hit grooved fastballs when they know that they’re coming. Even high octane fastballs.

  8. Dusty is such a creature of habit that I think Hoover as the backup closer has become a habit. The first time he closed he was the freshest arm. The second time it was still not clear who else was available. But this time ? Baseball managers and players deal with stress thru repeating something that works, to the point of superstition.
    I’m not suggesting that Dusty views Hoover as a good luck charm, but I believe Hoover will be the backup closer now until he blows one.

    • @pinson343:

      As I said in the another thread, I’m fine with this. Heck, I’m fine with Hoover being the FULLtime closer. I really believe he could do as good of a job as Chapman closing.

  9. The twitter comment by Old Hoss saying that maybe if Chapman blows a few more saves he can be demoted to the rotation was hilarious. Just hilarious.

  10. Side note: I am so glad Edinson Volquez does not pitch for the Reds any more.

  11. It’s pretty tough to hang any blame on Chapman for this “blown save”. The expected runs with a runner on third and one out is nearly 1. You’re basically asking Chapman to be perfect for two straight batters, since even some outs can score a runner from third.

    • @jonrox: YEAH! There should be a different classification between having 2 outs to keep a guy scoring from 3rd and having 3 outs to keep a team with no one on from scoring 3 times.

      The Save is a stupid stat.

  12. I was happy reading the game thread that most commenters seemed to agree with how Dusty handled Latos in the 9th, even after it didn’t work. I think it speaks to the fact that many people aren’t inherently “anti-Dusty”, we’re just willing to question his often puzzling moves. Commenters on this site are smart enough to see failed moves like that for what they are–reasonable choices that just didn’t work.

    • @Eric the Red: I was in the (small) camp who thought that he should have gone to the pen to start the 9th. However, I don’t think that makes me inherently “anti-Dusty.” I just happen to think he made (and often makes) a poor in-game decision when it came to the pitching staff. Was it a reasonable decision? Sure. Was it the right decision? I’ll let the results speak for themselves. And, for me, it wasn’t a hindsight thing, but I have absolutely no way to prove that beyond my wife signing up for an account! 🙂

      • @Kyle Farmer: I believe it wasn’t hindsight 🙂 I think your position was perfectly reasonable, and if Latos had 105 pitches or something going into the 9th I might even have agreed with you. What I liked is that not too many people criticized Dusty’s moves, which would have been easy to do–especially in hindsight. He ended up being wrong, but it wasn’t an inherently “wrong” set of moves and this site’s commenters saw the difference.

  13. I’m really disappointed with the way this season is going. I think we need to trade Bruce. Dusty has no business being a major league mana… wait, what? Did you say the team is winning? Oh…………..

    I am really happy with the way this season is going. Bruce is on a role. I have to give Dusty a little credit for going out and getting Latos last night.

    Signed – Typical Cincinnati sports fan.

    • @TC: In the first half you forgot to add in angry comments about Votto’s contract and performance expectations, and maybe some insinuation that Mat Latos’s tats are indicative of the kind of human being he is, and especially how it impacts his job performance.

    • @TC: We’ll get ’em next year!


      Cincinnati Sports Fan since 1991.

  14. Saw the reply of Bruce’s hit in the 10th last night… that man had no business pulling the ball that hard on a pitch that was on the outside half of the plate. What a beast.

    • @Matt WI: I was streaming it on MLB.TV and the 9th and 10th inning became very choppy, with a lot of lags in the connection. When Bruce hit that ball, the feed paused just as the ball was about to land on the right field line, leaving me to sweat out for the next 15 seconds whether or not it struck fair or foul…by the time it picked back, boom, 5-2. Worth the sweat.

  15. One question I had from last night’s game – Why do the Reds not hold the runner on base? Is the defensive positioning for Joey really that much better that it’s worth allowing the guy to waltz into scoring position?

  16. Why was the Reds front office brain trust in Miami for the 3 game series?? WJ, Bob Miller and Steve Williams were all there watching the games. Was this a working vacation and they took the wives to South Beach for a few days?? Or is the groundwork being laid for a Chapman-Stanton deal?? Once Stanton comes off the DL. I’m not so sure they were there to figure out what they were going to do when Cueto is activated off of the DL. They could have done that from Cincinnati.

  17. “Bruce is heating up, and his hot streaks are more fun to watch than anyone else’s.”

    Yes they are. Bruce is just about to hit his stride for one of his streaks. Bruce as Will Ferrell in Old School “We’re streaking, we’re streaking!”

    Bruce is on the loose.

  18. We praise Votto for a walk in just about any situation, but if Dusty manufactures the walk, and moves a runner into scoring position, we criticize him. This was Cozart at the plate, in the 10th inning, so if there is any time to bunt, that was it. I am no Dusty defender, but the stat we really care about is the probability of a run. The argument of never taking a bat out of one guy’s hands is weak in this situation.

  19. I was against the bunt in the tenth inning last night. Partly because it gave up an out, partly because it predictably took the bat out of Votto’s hands.

    If you’re playing for one run, it’s a close call. I’ll note for the record that the Reds needed more than one run.

    • @Steve Mancuso: I would argue that if the Reds only led by one run after the top of the 10th, they most likely would have still won the game. If things played out the same in the bottom the 10th, (which is a HUGE assumption, but one used all the time in determining ERA), Votto would not have been off the bag so Green would not have advanced to 2nd on defensive indifference. Therefore when Diaz singles, the Marlins do not score a run and a Pierre groundout ends the game with Reds winninng 3-2. Again it’s hard to know exactly how it would have played out but I think the Reds would have won anyway.

    • Mommas hide your babies and impressionable children; the Old Cossack is back in the saddle and ready to rattle a few sabers. After almost four miserable weeks, the quacktor finally got it right, allowing the Old Cossack to take the kids to the park and even mow the grass. Mrs. Cossack is relieved and happy now, so life is good.

      I will never approve of the sac bunt when it gives away a free out and takes the bat out of Joey Votto’s hands, as happened in the tenth tonight.

      @Steve Mancuso:Most of my points regarding the 10th inning have already been proferred, but I don’t mind a little rehash. The following 2013 slash lines are for the 8 players who have no business and should never be hitting at the top of the order:

      .250/.250/.333 Homer Bailey
      .250/.250/.350 Mike leake
      .208/.236/.342 Zack Cozart
      .190/.227/.238 Mat Latos
      .173/.195/.293 Chris Heisey
      .111/.111/.111 Tony Cingrani
      .083/.083/.083 Bronson Arroyo
      .000/.000/.000 Johnny Cueto

      Shin-Soo Choo reached base three times, because that’s what great leadoff hitters are supposed to do, you know.

      Six of the 8 slash lines (including the best 2, belong to pitchers. Of the 41 games played by the Reds to date, Heisey started 7 games in the #2 hole and Cozart started 29 games in the #2 hole. That’s 36 of the 41 games played. Pardon me while I spit to get the bad taste out of my mouth…

      Has anyone noticed that opposing pitchers have stopped absolutely pitching around Votto now after BP has repeatedly made them pay, to the tune of 36 RBI? Has anyone noticed that opposing pitchers are now pitching around Choo, so that they can face Cozart, especially with 2 outs and runners on base?

      For the Reds’ offense, big, multi-run innings are a good thing, right? More runs mean more wins, right? Giving up fewer outs, especially sandwiched between 2 of the top 10 hitters in the league, would increase the chances for more base runners and more runs scored, right?

      .208/.236/.342 Zack Cozart

      .261/.378/.406 Xavier Paul
      .304/.448/.304 Derrick Robinson

      C’mon, let’s give this team the best chance of winning every game.

      With Cozart hitting in the #2 hole and AB with runners on 1B & 2B (TY Big Lutz and Choo), with no one out in the 10th inning, I would be very hesitant to have Cozart do anything other than lay down a sac bunt.

      Although neither result with Cozart bunting is a positive result, since the sac bunt will result in giving away an out without scoring a run, the chances of either Lutz or Choo being thrown out advancing a base on the sac bunt, are pretty small, so the likely end result would be either a successful sac bunt leaving runners on 2B & 3B with 1 out or an unsuccessful sac bunt, leaving runners on 1B & 2B with 1 out.

      If Cozart swings away…

      24% chance of reaching base with 0 outs:
      04% chance – walk
      20% chance – base hit

      44% chance of an outcome that just gives up 1 out:
      12% chance – strike out
      32% chance – fly out

      That leaves a 32% chance for a result that could possibly cancel any advantage created by the 1st two hitters reaching base with 0 outs to start the inning and Cozart has a 12% probability of GIDP. I don’t like those odds. Now, if someone with appropriate, top-of-the-order hitting skills was slotted in the #2 hole, I eschew the sac bunt every time.

  20. Okay, using a run expectancy matrix, with runners on first and second & 0 outs, a team will score 1.556 runs. With bases loaded and 1 out, a team will score 1.631 runs.

    The likelihood of scoring a single run in both situations:

    Runners on 1st & 2nd, 0 outes: 0.643

    Bases loaded, 1 out: 0.679

    Again, the problem gets difficult in that there are factors that work both for and against the sac bunt. The run expectancy matrixes don’t take these factors into account because they are based on averages…

    Factors for laying down a sac bunt:

    -Cozart is terrible, terrible hitter who is extremely ground ball prone.
    -BP is an above average hitter
    -BP, according to Dusty, Marty, and friends, apparently has a special skillset that makes him an “RBI machine”. Votto doesn’t have that skillset anymore 😆

    Factors against laying down a sac bunt:

    -Votto is extremely awesome at not making outs, therefore you want him to bat
    -BP, albeit an above average hitter, is also prone to hitting ground balls and double plays
    -BP, if he gets out, will make Jay Bruce hit with runners on base, with 2 outs. Marty says that Jay Bruce isn’t an “RBI guy”. 😆

    • @CP: I guess the point is, it’s an extremely close decision either way. In the grand scheme of things, even if Dusty is “wrong” in sac bunting in that situation, that his wrongness is probably the “least wrong” that he can be. I like watching Joey hit, but I’m pretty much indifferent in this situation. Cozart is the proverbial wet blanket to Joey’s fire.

      Now if BP is the one hitting in the #2 spot there (which happened earlier in the season if I recall), at least 2 of the factors making the sac bunt more favorable go away.

      Dusty is almost always gonna take the decision that shifts blame away from himself in these situations. If the sac bunt goes wrong, he can point to “the book”.

    • @CP: Cishek is also very tough on righties and very weak against lefties.

      I usually think the 1st and 2nd 0 outs bunt, late in a close game, is a pretty decent play. with Cozart being a righty, I thought it was a fine out to give away, since he had very little chance of not making an out anyway.

      Here’s my question though: Do they still walk Votto if it’s Jay Bruce hitting 4th?

      One of the things that drives me the craziest about Dusty’s lineups is his idea that two lefties can’t hit back to back in the middle of the order. The justification that I’ve seen him give is that it ensures that the other team’s manager can’t use a LOOGy against us late in a game.

      But doesn’t it also cut both ways? If the other team’s manager couldn’t look ahead to a RH hitter with their RH pitcher, would they be as quick to take the bat out of Votto’s hand with a lefty power bat up next?

  21. Top of the 10th on the road, men on 1st & 2nd with no outs. If you are ever going to sacrifice bunt, this situation is the place to do it. The team needs at least 1 run to prevent a loss by the other team scoring a run in the bottom half of the inning. Plus you are putting 2 runners in scoring position. With one of them on 3rd, a decent fly ball scores the go ahead run.

    What I don’t understand is why Dusty has Cozart bunt in the 1st inning. Why play for one run at that point of the game?

Comments are closed.

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.


2013 Reds, Titanic Struggle Recap


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