Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL — 10 innings
St. Louis 11
Cincinnati 4

W: T. Rosenthal (1-0)
L: J. Hoover (0-5)

–Bronson Arroyo was pretty shaky at times (and he took a batted ball off the knee), but he ended up with a decent line: six innings, two runs allowed on six hits. I’ll take that every time from Arroyo.

–Jay Bruce was 2-3 with a double and 3 RBI. Shin-Soo Choo had two hits (including a double) and a walk, scoring two runs.

–Aroldis Chapman pitched a dominant ninth inning. But only one inning. He’s only allowed to pitch, at most, one inning. Remember that.

–Sam LeCure surrendered two runs and three hits without registering a single out. Not a good outing for Sudden Sam.

–JJ Hoover gave away the game in the tenth inning, giving up six runs on four hits and two walks in two-thirds of an inning. Probably his worst outing of the season.

–During this homestand, the Cincinnati bullpen gave up 23 runs in 18.1 innings. That’s not going to get it done, fellas.

–Joey Votto was thrown out at third base when he didn’t slide (a slide would almost certainly have evaded the tag). He didn’t slide because fill-in third base coach Chris Speier didn’t give him the signal to slide. Just terrible.

–The Reds were up 4-2 and things were looking good for the good guys to win the series. Then the wheels fell off.

–After a dominant ninth inning, Dusty Baker refused to use Aroldis Chapman for a second inning in a tie game. We all see how that worked out.

It’s called a double switch, Dusty. Sometimes, this intricate managerial maneuver can be utilized in order to keep your best pitcher in the game.

–Bunts. So many stupid bunts this season. Why would you ever bunt with your second hitter in the first inning of a game, when the leadoff hitter has doubled? The guy’s already in scoring position. You’re just giving the other team a free out. Sigh…

–With the Cardinals leading 5-4 with two runners on base, Dusty Baker had Manny Parra throwing in the bullpen. Why in the name of all that is good and pure would Dusty Baker think Manny Parra was a good option here? Seriously…someone, please defend that.

–Curtis Partch made his major league debut at the end of this game. For whatever that’s worth. He does have some fabulous red hair, I’ll give him that.

Oh yeah, and he gave up a deeeeep grand slam to the first hitter he ever faced in the big leagues. Then there’s that.

–A week after Dusty scolded Joey Votto for his language, ESPN caught Baker cursing on national television.

–Okay, I’ve hammered Dusty a bit here, but let’s not pin this entirely (or even mostly) on him. The Reds made a ton of dumb errors tonight, and just looked every bit like the Not Ready for Primetime Players. The guys have to perform better than this if they want to be what they can be.

–That was a complete disaster.

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! 88 Comments

  1. I posted this on the game thread as the lead thread was changing so I am reposting here then heading off to bead where hopefully I will get some sleep…..

    This team simply lacks focus as you detailed in your first paragraph.

    The Reds beat the bad and even mediocre teams because they are good enough to win despite their foibles.

    They struggle to compete against the good teams because of their foibles.

    I’ve largely been a support of Dusty Baker or at least avoided being a part of what I felt was largely over the top criticism of him based on game tactics. But the team lacking focus is a critical error in a realm that supposedly is in the heart of his strength. Something needs to change and sooner rather than later.

    • @OhioJim: I agree. I defend Dusty all the time because of what he does that we, as fans don’t see. When the team has a completely lackluster performance like last night and really just didn’t seem to have their collective heads in the game, then I’ve got a problem with the manager. It’s his job to have his team ready to play and last night, in the rubber-game of the series against their divisional rival, on national TV, the Reds didn’t seem ready to play. That’s the first time I can really say that in a long time. And that, falls on Dusty.

  2. Hoover deserved better. Yes, he walked a couple hitters (one intentionally). But Descalso’s double was a routine fly ball, according to the TV broadcasters, aided by the wind. Then Hoover strikes out Kozma for the second out. Then Hoover shatters Carpenter’s bat but the ball falls in for a two-run single. Then Hoover gets Beltran to pound the ball into the ground, unfortunately, it lands softly between the mound and second base. Hoover wasn’t great, but he wasn’t a disaster.

    • @Steve Mancuso: Hoover pitched a whole lot better than his line. Even the espn gamecasters were impressed by his stuff.

      But walking Craig was not a good way to start the inning. And the broadcasters predicted that Freese would hit an outside fastball hard to right, exactly what happened. An 0-2 count and then nothing but outside fastballs not a good idea.

  3. The Cardinals are really hitting the ball right now. They did that for a while last year, too, but not all year.

    The Reds only have a few pitchers who can contain them. Cueto (on the DL), Latos (pitched and won), Arroyo (when good, like tonight), Marshall (on the DL) and maybe Homer Bailey (didn’t pitch in the series).

    Another person on that list is Aroldis Chapman, who recorded a save last night and pitched an inning tonight. Leake, Broxton and Hoover are decent, but they’ll be inconsistent at best against this competition. Ondrusek, Parra and LeCure are overmatched.

    For most of the regular season schedule, the Reds pitching staff will be more than adequate to pile up the wins and saves. But against teams like the Cardinals and every post-season series, they need their best pitchers on the mound the most innings. In my opinion, that includes Aroldis Chapman as a starter.

    • @Steve Mancuso:

      I wrote this earlier this season, but I’d like to say it again:

      I think the team has internally concluded that Chapman does not have the proper makeup to be a starter. Physical tools? Sure. But maybe they concluded he lacks the emotional maturity to start and therefore that is why he was made to close again. That was NOT Dusty Baker’s decision, at least not entirely. Jocketty and his scouts must have concluded that Chapman did not have what it takes to be an effective starter.

      The solution? Trade him to a team that still thinks he can start. A team is bound to overpay to get someone with Chapman’s talent and like you is probably salviating at the idea of converting him to a starter. Can he do it? The Reds obviously don’t think so. I’m not sure if I think so either. But if another team is willing to go all in to give it a shot, all the better for the Reds.

      I hope Chapman can go to the Marlins as part of a deal for Stanton.

      • @CI3J: Even Brantley has said there was a concern about Chapman being “a complicated young man” and not responding well if he was made a starter when at this point he has a preference for closing.

      • @CI3J: Yeah this teams needs to trade away their best bullpen arm since the bullpen is doing so well right now. I dont disagree with the logic of trying to maximize Chapman’s trade value, but the timing is about as off as it could be. If Marshall and Broxton were both killing it right now, maybe.

    • @Steve Mancuso: Agree with your assessment of the pitchers except LeCure. He is not overmatched by any team when he’s hitting his spots and getting ahead in the count. He wasn’t tonite, which made me nervous right away.

      No comment either way on the opinion that Chapman should start.

    • @Steve Mancuso:

      Other than last night where he was actually efficient, Chapman throws about 21 pitches every time he goes out there. How will he ever make it to the 5th inning as a starter? With the bullpen in the shambles that it is right now, now is not the time to be talking about moving him to the rotation. IMHO.

      • @Truman48: @Truman48: I have to agree. If they somehow fall out of wildcard contention, which I think very unlikley, then you can try to move him. Either that or during the off-season. Of course the pen simply isn’t good right now.

  4. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, the weakness of the team is that they have to self manage themselves. Whether its hitting slumps, pitching kinks, base running errors or fielding the ball (infield or outfield) they are pretty much left to their own devices to figure it out. That is Dusty’s style of managing, and it trickles down to his coaches. I think its Dusty’s way of retaining a link to still being a player. Its almost like he’s saying, hey I’m one of you guys.

  5. I’m so sick of the Chapman issue I just want him gone. Here’s a guy who was signed as a starter, flirted with a starting role a few times in spring training and in the minors, and finally just settled in as a 3-out pitcher who only pitches in the 9th, and rarely in high-pressure situations.

    I simply do not understand why a guy who was drafted as a starter and was groomed more than once to assume a starting role cannot throw more than 20 pitches in a major league game. It’s ridiculous and it’s a major reason why this bullpen stinks. When you baby your best pitcher and throw inexperienced pitchers to the wolves, you end up losing 11-4 to the Cardinals.

    Dusty has completely jacked up this bullpen and none of them are pitching worth snot besides Chapman, who basically is just mailing in his two 3-out, 15 pitch appearances every week and making a gazillion dollars and probably laughing all the way to the bank. I know I would if I worked for an idiot who didn’t ask me to do much and paid me a ton.

  6. The way I look at Dusty Baker is this.

    Can the Reds make the post-season with Dusty Baker as their manager? Yes. They’ve proven that twice before and this year’s team, if they can get a bit more healthy will also. They have one of the best records and that’s without Ludwick, Cueto much of the year and Marshall for most of the year. Dusty Baker, and his manager style, is good enough to get to October.

    Second, can the Reds win in the post-season with Baker as their manager? Not if they can’t overwhelm teams. The small strategic mistakes can be decisive in close games. Close post-season games require pro-active and creative thinking that he’s demonstrated he can’t or won’t do. He’s too much same-old, same-old when it comes to making decisions.

    One of the reasons I really wanted Jocketty to stick with his original idea of making Chapman a starter (and why I advocated they make a trade for a left-fielder after Ludwick was injured) was that I thought the Reds need to have dominating talent to win. A starting rotation of Cueto, Latos, Chapman, Bailey and Arroyo could be that dominating force. Guarantee? No. But they should have tried it.

    Baker’s managing this season, including decisions this series, just reinforce my opinion.

    • @Steve Mancuso: The Reds can win in the postseason with Baker. If Homer Bailey doesn’t hit a batter in game 3, they win 1-0. If Bruce puts one in the river in the 9th of game 5, they win that.

      He made a WS with the Giants.

      That said, you clearly decrease your chance of winning playoff type games with Baker. Baker is not smart and is a mistake for this team.

  7. Apparently Dusty Baker has a sign in his office which reads, ‘The most important two things in life are a good family and a good bullpen’– or something to that effect. Thank God Dusty has fabulous kin because his pen is terrible. Ondrusek and Broxton have surrendered just as many hits as innings pitched– and worse have blown leads. Parra has given up twice as many hits as innings worked. LeCure is quickly becoming unreliable. Jocketty sleeps at the switch and Dusty chomps on toothpicks while the Reds sink. Ugh!!

  8. there is no reason not to use chapman for two innings, we play the cubs next series, maybe we cant win in the post season bc we never play big regular season series as if they were post season games with a certain tenacity. Cards were sitting dead red on hoover’s FB. The sorry bunting, I love Chris Speier as a coach but what are you doing on the Votto play? This team needs another piece, an aggressive-minded 4-hole hitter. The bullpen is good enough when managed correctly to be more than serviceable for us and if marshall is healthy it changes a lot. I often find myself wondering if we are wasting chapy’s talent, but if he cant show me he can throw a slider or any other second pitch consistently for a strike then he has to stay in the pen.

  9. Isn’t this the fourth Sunday in a row the bullpen has lost the game? We better hope for a complete game from the starter next Sunday to stop this trend.

  10. Yes the Cards were sitting on Hoover’s fastball. They were doing nothing with his curve ball. So what was his 2 strike pitch ? His fastball.

    The espn broadcasters said Speier was too late several times on signaling base runners rounding second.

    The 4-hole hitter of course was Ludwick, he’s not coming back until late in the season, if at all, and needs to be replaced.

    Agree that with a healthy Marshall, it is a different bullpen. He says his arm is finally pain free and will start long tossing in Chicago.

    • @pinson343: I don’t understand the Marshall part. He pitches the 7th. Until this week the 7th wasn’t an issue, yet the bullpen was.

  11. As I’ve been saying for a long time now, going back to last year….

    Trade. Chapman. Now.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: @Hank Aarons Teammate: Hank – Well said – and congratulations again on 755!

      Keep up the good work.

      And as far as Chapman, go get a boatload for him while you still can, as some team will make him into a bonafide starter and the Reds will one again look like buffoons holding the bag. Doesn’t he know you trade high (Cozart anyone – how bad did he look tonight – thought he was trying to swat mosquitoes)?

  12. If Baker uses Chapman in the 10th, and he retires the side with no runs, it puts Matheny in a box. He either has to use Mujica in a tie game, or go to a lesser reliever. (Or, I suppose, Rosenthal for a 3rd inning, but I doubt it).

    The Reds had 2-3-4 coming up. Yes, if you don’t win it, then you have Hoover out there, but I’d have tried to win it in the 10th.

  13. More Baker below. I don’t even understand some of the stuff he’s saying. Is there a rule that you have to pinch hit for a pitcher that I haven’t heard about? And Broxton hurt his arm by going 2 innings in LA. Good lord. What is he talking about?

    “We were hoping Chapman could go two,” Baker said. “But we couldn’t chance that. He was the third hitter the next inning. We don’t have a one- or two-man bullpen. We’ve got to get those guys together.”

    Baker says he’ll resist the urge to go more than one inning with Chapman and Broxton.

    “We’ve got other guys to do that job,” he said. “We talked to Broxton about that. That’s how he hurt his arm in L.A. going two-inning stints. We’re trying to piece this together. You really can’t hurt your two horses at the end by going away from the other guys.”

  14. How about not blaming Dusty one bit? I have heard many on here say time after time that Hoover and Lecure could be closers on their clubs. Those 2 absolutely choked and costs the Reds tonight. Nothing Dusty can do when relievers dont get it done. But the admins on this sight are the smartest fans on earth and know the game better everyone else. It get comical sometimes Chad, it really does.

    • @RisingRed: Who’s blaming Dusty for Lecure and Hoover meltdowns? I wish he’d have pitched Chapman 2 innings and I hate the bunts. Other than that, yesterday wasn’t Dusty’s fault. Problem is that it was a close game, so managing matters.

  15. Glad I fell asleep before the 10’th inning.
    I think Dusty did too!!!

    Nothing says monday like another L in the loss column!
    I hate mondays and I hate to see the reds getting beat every sunday!

  16. Forgot to mention that I’ll be at next sundays game sitting behind the Brewers dugut. I’ll be the one spreading the bad JuJu on the Brewers in hopes of a reds win on sunday!

  17. It’s the manager’s and coaches’ job to have the team fundamentally prepared (which the Reds definitely showed they were not on Sunday night). As it is, I’ve coached baseball for years and if my team wasn’t executing – well, I felt it was on me to correct. To begin, the Red’s hitting approach is miserable (with the Cards so much more fundamentally sound than the Reds), Choo is a defensive liability in CF (as his market value continues to dive day by day – btw, Dexter Fowler is a lot, lot more fundamentally sound, quicker and faster and is hitting .304 10 HR for those who wondered about his upside as well as being 4 years younger), the Reds fail to execute the bunt, the players simply do not stay engaged in the game and lose their focus. That is the manager’s job and for what Dusty and Walt are getting paid, if the owner was engaged at all as they are going to damage his business and would be gone by now as they are performing at a very low level (more like a high AAA team).
    This team’s poor performance is on the manager and as long as the Reds have a fundamentally unsound manager, they will continue to beat the weaker teams and lose to the more fundamentally sound team as the Cards definitely showed they definitely were in this series. All 3 games winnable by the Reds, and won only one. Add to that the finale to the Cubs and Pirates series and you have poor game management.

    Come playoff time – 1 and done. Nice record probably which they can all talk about as the Braves and Cards play for the right to represent the NL in the World Series.

  18. Speier was just bad as 3rd base coach. Not signaling Votto to slide caused the last out of the inning at 3rd base. On Bruce’s two RBI double, he had 3rd base easily but Speier didn’t signal him to keep running until after Bruce held up when rounding 2nd.

    The great bullpen of 2012 has not emerged this year. I like to think getting Marshall back will start turning this around.

    • @MikeC:

      Speier was just bad as 3rd base coach. Not signaling Votto to slide caused the last out of the inning at 3rd base. On Bruce’s two RBI double, he had 3rd base easily but Speier didn’t signal him to keep running until after Bruce held up when rounding 2nd.

      The great bullpen of 2012 has not emerged this year. I like to think getting Marshall back will start turning this around.

      It wasn’t clear on the replay, but it looked from my seats in 433 that Speir actually gave Bruce the stop single as he rounded second…he was headed for third and really jammed on the brakes about 3 steps around second. He’s simply a horrible 3rd base coach…makes me long to have Mark Berry back, and I thought he was awful.

      I hope Marshall can help the bullpen reset, though from the paper this morning, doesn’t sound like that will be anytime soon. LeCure’s struggles were predicted here (can’t remember by who) b/c of his unGodly low BABIP. I’m simply beginning to wonder if there isn’t as much talent out there as we thought and maybe last year was a fluke (in terms of bullpen success).

      • @Bill Lack: I certainly agree that many of us overestimated the talent on this team. They are certainly good, but the bullpen at present really isn’t, and the starters don’t go deep in games, so the bullpen is regularly tested, and that’s a problem. The hitting seems overrated, as well; no matter how you configure the batting order, there are 5 1/2 guys in that order every night (the 1/2 is Bruce, since he does streak) who are not likely to inspire much fear in the opposing pitcher. They do field well, though, and a “fix” that changed that would not, in my opinion, fix anything.

        • @greenmtred: Actually, many of “us” think the Reds shouldn’t ever lose a game. If they’re on track for 95 wins, that’s not good enough.

          The issue simply is that the Cardinals are good. The Reds are going to at the least be in the mix for a wild card, and are more likely than not to get a wild card.

          • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I assume that this is tongue-in-cheek: of course the Reds will lose games. I wonder, though, how good do you think that the roster is? Better than the Cards? Detroit? The Rangers?

  19. Trading Chapman ain’t gonna happen, there is zero chance it happens just as there is zero chance he pitches mire then one inning per outing.

    • @dn4192: There is zero chance they trade Chapman this season, but I could see it in the off-season. Dusty has said that Chapman may go more than 3 outs later in the season, but not now, so we will see what happens in August.

      The bullpen is lousy. Chapman is the only real power arm, although Broxton on some nights has his good fastball, and Simon to a lesser extent. Other contending teams just have more power in the bullpen than the Reds do. And the Reds have no plausible LOOGY.

      The offense lacks depth. They are fine at the the 3 to 5 holes, and Frazier is adequate. But Choo is hopeless against lefties; Cozart is hopeless altogether, although once a month he hits righties very well. Hanigan is still on the interstate, and left field has been a hole since Adam Dunn left, if not before. Josh Willingham would solve some problems, and I’d use Heisey in center against lefties rather than Choo.

      Chris Speier was awful last night. Stevie Wonder would have done better.

    • Good lord, what would this bullpen look like without Chapman right now?

      Trading Chapman ain’t gonna happen, there is zero chance it happens just as there is zero chance he pitches mire then one inning per outing.

  20. I’ve been thinking this for the last month or so but haven’t posted it yet. I was hoping I might be wrong, and I guess by posting it now I’m hoping to be proven wrong, but anyway. This is an odd year, literally, and lately it has reminded me of 2011. Obvioiusly they have a better record than they did the first part of 2011 but like 2011, the Reds have never seemed in sync, something is missing. It’s like a car with the timing off, it seems to run fine until it reaches a hill, then it coughs, sputters and lurches it’s way to the top. I’m not sure what’s missing, maybe it’s Ludwick. I do know that it’s Dustys job to figure it out. He’s supposed to be good at that. Now there is hope. The ’75 Reds weren’t great the first half of the year and we all know how that turned out. Right now however it seems more like a 2011 year; not make the playoffs at all or 1 and done in a wild card game. I hope I’m wrong.

  21. Game wasn’t televised here, I’m delighted to say. Concerning Chapman: He was, evidently, finally used in a high-leverage non-save situation. He was fine, but those who followed didn’t get the job done. But the comments are that he should have pitched two innings. He pitched the night before, and has not looked good in the past pitching multiple days in a row. As for his trade value, I’m sure that he’d bring something, but it wouldn’t be the moon and the stars. I don’t happen to agree with many of you that Reds management is stupid, and I doubt that management of other teams is stupid. Chapman has two plus pitches (one that he rarely will throw for strikes), control issues (I know he doesn’t walk many, but he gets behind in the count frequently–damaging to a starter), and a mediocre record as a minor league starter (small sample size, I know), plus whatever maturity issues baggage he may carry. Of course, we all know that he’d be a dominant starter, while Reds management inexplicably, despite actually knowing him and dealing with him, lets the season fall apart by not accepting our wisdom. I don’t buy it.

    • Concerning Chapman: He was, evidently, finally used in a high-leverage non-save situation.

      Dusty has used him multiple times in a tie game at home in the 9th… it was less about the actual game situation and more about what time in the game it was. Using him in the 7th when you needed to get a lefty out without Marshall around, that would have been something.

  22. Also need to weigh in on the Dusty is stupid Dusty is an idiot crap. You guys demean yourselves with this stuff. You have no idea how smart he is or isn’t, but resort to personal attacks based on 1)He disagrees with your astute strategy opinions and, 2)He lacks glibness when interviewed. Glibness is not synonymous with intelligence, my friends: the U.S. Congress proves this beyond any reasonable doubt.

    • @greenmtred: batting Cozart second all season b/c Ludwick was injured – not smart.

    • @greenmtred: It’s not like he says stupid things in interviews and then does smart things during the game. He is an unintelligent manager.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Hank’s teammate – spot on. The Reds bumble so much they need to be referred to as the Dreads from now on. Way too much wrong with this team to be considered a true contender for the flag at this point. Even the ESPN announcers indicated that they made numerous errors in judgement as well as fundamentally. They looked like a minor league team on national TV. If they were a good team, they would have buried the Cards early. Poor execution with good talent = early exit even if they should have the good fortune to reach the playoffs.
        Should never have re-signed Dusty, Didi should be at short and Dexter in CF. Walt and his troops are simply overmatched.

  23. This just in. The Reds are good. The Cardinals are better. Offensively and defensively. And that’s ok, for to be better than the Cardinals, you’d be the best team in the Majors. Who here is ready to proclaim the Reds as the best in the majors, or that they should be? With or without certain managerial positions entrenched? Look, we lost and we looked pretty stupid in doing so but it’s not a microcosm of the season. That would take repeated, patterned efforts like last night. If that were truly the case, we’d be the stupid Cubs.

    • @RedManifesto: I could not agree with this more.

    • @RedManifesto: That’s well said… I said something similar last week in that much of the animosity toward the Reds is probably related to the fact the Cards have been so darn good. Credit where credit is due.

      • @Matt WI: Exactly, the frustration is real. But look at it this way, imagine how the Pirates feel. For as well as they’ve played, they’re looking up at 2 stalwarts and 20 years without playoffs! I don’t envy that. 🙂

    • @RedManifesto: That about sums it up.

  24. The good news (yes there is some) and the bad news.

    Good News – Reds face the stupid Cubs and Brewers in the next 7 games.
    Bad News – The Cardinals face the Mets and Marlins in their next 6. Reds almost have to win 5 of 7.

    Good News – Reds starting pitching continues to get it done.
    Bad News – Reds bullpen is flat out bad. Except for Chapman, LeCure (until recently) and Simon, everyone else has been terrible. This has to be a priority right now to get this fixed. Unfortunately, there isn’t anyone in the minors that can help. At least it appears that Marshall will be back in a couple of weeks.

    Good News – Looks like Choo is coming out of his slump and Bruce is heating up again.
    Bad News – Hanigan and Cozart have become a complete black hole at the bottom of the lineup. More Mesoraco, please! He is at least a threat. Todd Frazier looked like he was coming out of it as well but Frazier hasn’t hit a home run since April 24 and has only driven in 6 runs in a month.

    Tony Cingrani will get the start tomorrow. Johnny Cueto may come off the DL on Sunday. When he does, I would keep Cingrani with the Reds and have him pitch out of the bullpen. The Reds cannot continue to let the bullpen kill this team. It would give them a power left-handed arm. The bullpen is a complete and utter disaster and has to be fixed, pronto. If this team is going “all in”, then they need to have all their best players on deck.

    The bench, the bullpen, left field production (lack of power or RBI) and ss production are keeping this team from being a great team.
    This is a good team. They are not a great team. Hopefully, they will continue to feast off of the mediocre teams. But they have to find ways to beat the better teams because, if they make the playoffs, they won’t be facing the Cubs, Mets, etc.

    Walt Jocketty has got to find some way to improve this team. Heck, I’d take a flyer on Rick Ankiel. He has a great arm, can play CF if needed and would give the Reds a power threat off the bench (something they just don’t have). They cannot continue to depend on Lutz, Izturis and Hannahan. With a barren farm system, Jocketty is going to have to think outside the box.

    We have no idea if or when Heisey or Ludwick will make it back. Heisey had another setback and is still at least 2 weeks away. We may not see Ludwick until September, if at all. They can’t just keep waiting around for injured players to return. The Reds need to get proactive instead of reactive (I know this is never been there M.O.).

    There are 100 games left. Plenty of time to fix what is broken.

    • Tony Cingrani will get the start tomorrow.Johnny Cueto may come off the DL on Sunday.When he does, I would keep Cingrani with the Reds and have him pitch out of the bullpen.The Reds cannot continue to let the bullpen kill this team.It would give them a power left-handed arm.The bullpen is a complete and utter disaster and has to be fixed, pronto.If this team is going “all in”, then they need to have all their best players on deck.

      I couldn’t agree more.

  25. A lot of fans this morning are sounding like Randy Quaid’s character from Major League II… Those first two Major League movies are a guilty pleasure of mine for sure.

    Right now, if I were to call it as I see it, the Cards are the better team. The thing is though, it is a long season and we are still less than half of the way through it. A lot of things can still happen and anything, I mean anything can happen in the postseason.

  26. Any chance Cairo can be the 3rd base coach going forward. Or would doing that hurt Speir’s feelings?

  27. A couple of things I am convinced of at this point:

    1) The Cardinals will not play this well all season.

    2) We will all look back on the Dusty Baker era as an immense waste of talent and opportunity.

    • @Jason1972: You’re saying the Cards won’t win 110 games. I agree. But they are good. Really good.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: 110 no, but 100 is certainly within reach for them. They are a good 8-10 games better than I thought they were and I thought they’d be pretty good.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Hank’s teammate – spot on – again. The Cards are really good, and so sad that the Reds with some tweaking could have been the same (and with that being said, they clearly are not). If Jocketty had pursued a quality CF (D Fowler who the Dreads can’t touch now who is trending upward) instead of the defensive liability the Reds are playing in CF – the Dreads could have filled one hole in their version of the Titanic. As it is, there are just too many to fill. Maybe addressing one at a time might improve this version of the team. So address the 3B coaching situation – who actually knows what he is doing).

    • @Jason1972: An “immense waste of talent” is what I don’t get. Joey Votto is a Hall of Famer. Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce are sometime All-Stars. Frazier and Choo can contribute, but have weaknesses; Choo can’t hit lefties, and he is a bad defensive centerfielder. The rest of the offense is lame. There really isn’t that much talent on offense. Baseball Reference has similar batters for Phillips as Aaron Hill, Jhonny Peralta and Mark Ellis; for Bruce, it is Carlos Quentin, Bo Jackson and Nelson Cruz. All nice players, but nobody laments the “immense waste of talent and opportunity” for these guys (ex-Bo, of course). Yes, Cueto and Latos are good, but Cueto has only once thrown more than 186 innings, and won’t this year. Latos hasn’t even made an All-Star team yet, but should this year, but he needs to go deeper into games to save the bullpen. Homer is having a decent career, but ins’t yet consistent enough to be considered elite. I think the Reds are over-achieving their talent level right now, and did last year.

      This is a one-man team, frankly, albeit one with good starting pitching. It is the Ted Williams-era Red Sox. How they had their hot streak last year without Votto remains a mystery to me.

      • @Big Ed: I agree that people here overstate how much talent the Reds have, but Dusty’s a bad manager nonetheless.

        If there’s one thing that drives me nuts it’s the Jay Bruce thing. He’s on pace for 201 strikeouts! How does that continually go unnoticed? He is not capable of getting on base, either; if his BABIP reverts to something normal, his OBP is going to drop below .300. And I don’t even usually care about strikeouts, but 201?

        I stress, I like Bruce, but I don’t like the way he’s playing. Now I’m going to duck.

      • @Big Ed: I didn’t say a waste of immense talent, I said an immense waste of talent. This Reds team has its best starting pitching staff in decades in addition to pretty decent offensive talent and a once in a generation player in Joey Votto. There is easily enough here to win a playoff spot and make a playoff run, especially with a Cueto-Latos-Bailey 1-2-3 punch in a short series. Dusty’s flagrant tactical mistakes in game management means the likelihood of this team being utilized to its potential is very small in my opinion. I think we’ll look back at this era as a failure.

  28. BTW, Reds/Cards on Saturday was on ESPN radio. Color guy Chris Singleton, and I can’t remember the very long name of the PBP guy. But they were great. Believe it or not, the PBP guy said “FIP” and explained it. And Singleton gave a non-geek justification of it using Vizquel and Alomar playing defense behind you as an example.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Don’t you just love commentators that provide actual insight? You know, teach you something? Baseball isn’t the worst sport for commentating, football is the worst, by far. Mundane, obvious commentary that you want to just shut the volume off because of.

  29. Setting aside everything else that drives me nuts, this game very likely would have turned out differently if the Reds don’t fail to execute 2 sacrifice bunts. How long has the inability to get down a simple sacrifice bunt been a problem for this team, and why has it not been fixed?

    • @vared: Are the Reds worse than other teams at this? I would be really interested if someone kept that stat. Maybe they are terrible; I just don’t know.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I did a study on that but it was 3 years ago. Maybe a new study is in order. It’s a time consuming study because you have to use play-by-play data.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: One would think that since BA is historically down and pitching stats are historically up, then bunting ability would also be down, comparing year to year. So it makes sense the Reds look worse than other years in this category; but your question vs other teams is a good one.

    • @vared: After Choo’s double why were the Reds bunting him to 3B? The BRM (I know distant memories) would have been piling it on – this team’s best effort is anemic. I know a good bet, so if Vegas has odds, take them – the Reds will not make it to the NLCS or WS in 2013. Count on it!

  30. Man, some of you guys really need to step off the ledge. We have the pitching, the Cardinals don’t, end of story. There’s no way there 3/5ths of their rotation will make it thru the league a couple times while also hitting their innings limit and NOT break down or get hit around. Advantage Reds. Heck, even Lynn hasn’t proven he can do it a full season.

    Barring a blockbuster trade by the Cardinals, this is the Reds division to lose.

    • @Sultan of Swaff:

      100% agree. And personally, I think the bullpen will come around. We have all seen whole offenses slump, whole pitching staves slump, and whole bullpens slump. I believe the pitchers in the bullpen are much better than what they have shown recently.

      They will come around. As long as the Reds stay close, they will reclaim first place when the Cards finally come back to Earth. It has taken longer than I originally believed, but I am 100% sure it WILL happen.

      Basically, the Reds are playing about as well as they should while the Cards are playing over their heads. I don’t doubt that the Cards are good and will be in this thing to the end, but I still feel, in the long run, the Reds will prevail.

      • @CI3J: I’m not certain about the bullpen coming around. When three of your guys (Parra, Broxton, and fill in the blank with guys up and down including Ondrusek) you’re not going to get it done. What worried me is that Baker ran his best three arms in the active bullpen last night and not only could they not hold a lead, they gave up 4 runs in 2 2/3 innings. (I’m not going to count all the runs in the slam.)

        • @TC: There needs to be a serious conversation about keeping Cingrani up here and in the bullpen. Lecure is just hitting a rough patch, and hopefully Marshall gets healthy. That leaves you with Chapman, Simon, Cingrani, and the contract albatross Broxton. Let Parra eat up innings in blowouts.

          • @walshjp: Meant to throw Hoover in there, too. At any rate, it’s not great, but it’s better than where we’re trending after the homestand. The schedule isn’t getting any easier in June.

          • @walshjp: Cingrani is the best 6th starter the Reds have to offer… no way would I tank that given Cueto’s two DL stints and whatever else may happen to anyone else… I don’t know how reasonable it would be to ping pong him between bullpen stints and starting stints as the case arises. If he becomes a short man, that’s trouble in August if another starter goes down.

        • @TC: @vared: After Choo’s double why were the Reds bunting him to 3B? The BRM (I know distant memories) would have been piling it on – this team’s best effort is anemic. I know a good bet, so if Vegas has odds, take them – the Reds will not make it to the NLCS or WS in 2013. Count on it!

      • @CI3J: What would you lay odds at? Just curious.

  31. one more run in the 8th (or any other time) and we would have turned it over to chapman to close it out and we would have won the series, then how would the team look? its just one game, horrible way to end, but just one game.

  32. A few other things that haven’t been mentioned on this thread:

    1) I generally appreciate Robinson’s efforts over the last two games, but he has to do a better job at sacrificing and is it really necessary to catch every ball with a leap like he’s intercepting a pass? He did that at least two, maybe three times last night, and when you do so unnecessarily, you lose control of your body.

    2) Choo has been great, but two months into the season his defense has already cost a few games. I know those balls off his glove are hard ones to catch, but he doesn’t get very good breaks, doesn’t take good lines to the ball, and gets a bit antsy at the end. It’s a probably THAT MANY balls ricocheting off your glove. Why we didn’t run Bruce out there in Spring Training is beyond my comprehension.

    3) The manager’s job is to put the team in a position to win. If there was ever a time to run Chapman out for just one more inning, last night against a division rival was the time. Is he even going to be available today against the Cubs after pitching two in a row? Push all your chips in for the game against the division leader that’s worth two in the standings.

    4) The Reds will hang around until the end, but as painful as last season was against the Giants, this is getting to be almost as painful — death by 1,000 cuts…

    • @walshjp: Hey walsh, good insight. And I am a seller on Choo – as his value is dropping (poor defensive CF). Dex Fowler would have been the answer and it wouldn’t have cost them Didi – who should be manning SS right now instead of Cozart who is doing his best to be the 2nd coming of Drew Stubbs (and yes, Dusty is as dumb as a rock to have Cozart hitting 2nd for the first 1/3 of the 2013 season).

      • @cincyreds14: It’s not clear that Fowler was ever on the market. The rumors from back in December were that the Reds would have had to give up Homer Bailey or Mike Leake plus prospects. Fowler is having a great year, but not one that could have reasonably been predicted.

  33. Can’t think more useless way to waste a Sunday night and start my work week sleep deprived than the game last night.

  34. Just getting home from the game….thanks to MLB and ESPN for forcing us to miss Saturday’s game and blow our hotel budget on the Sunday meltdown. The single most fan unfriendly thing that happens at GABP is changing these 1:10 start times to 8:10. Here are my thoughts:

    1. The Cardinals are better than the Reds right now. I don’t know if that will stay true through October, but even if they fall off some, the Reds have to improve to catch them. Which leads to my second thought….

    2. The Reds are never going to consistently beat the Cardinals making really stupid mistakes/decisions – sac bunting into a double play, making the third out at third base without even a slide (from 536 I couldn’t tell whether this was Votto or Speier’s fault but I’ll bet Votto never got the slide sign from Speier who is just lost out there), pitching Chapman only one inning. This stuff is just silly and should be easily corrected, but I have no confidence that Dusty Baker and his staff will make the corrections.

    3. The bullpen is bad. It was average to pretty good when LeCure could get an out, but that’s two meltdowns in a week from him. Without him, they are bad. Once Cueto gets healthy (and I still think he won’t pitch again until after the All-Star break), I think they have to keep Cingrani in the pen. I understand that it creates problems for next year, but the whole rationale for the Chapman decision was a short window to win…..which is exactly the same rationale that should lead to Cingrani staying up.

  35. Not a huge fan of Bleacherreport.com and not so sure that the bunt is as foolish as this story claims. The report does have some good raw data in it as far as some graphs and is worth a read however.


  36. All three of the Reds wins against the Cardinals this season have come with Latos on the mound. Maybe we should trot him out for all three games in the next series against the Cards. Now that’d really be thinking outside the box. :mrgreen:

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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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