Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Cincinnati 0
Milwaukee 2

W: W. Peralta (6-9)
L: T. Cingrani (3-1)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Tony Cingrani was good again: seven innings, two runs allowed on three hits. Cingrani struck out ten, but made one mistake, allowing a two-run homer to Milwaukee’s Logan Schafer in the fifth inning. The kid deserved better than this, but…

NEGATIVES
–TOS*

–Three stupid hits for the mighty Redlegs offense. Just terrible.

–Chris Heisey was removed from the game after being hit by a pitch. The players on this team are dropping like flies.

–Derrick Robinson replaced Heisey in the lineup, and later scored Cincinnati’s only run of the night. No, wait, the umpire called Robinson out as he tried to score on what would have been an inside-the-park homer. Replays clearly showed that Robinson was safe.

There’s your human element, for those of you who think that’s a good thing.

–The Reds just made Brewers pitcher Wily Peralta look like a Hall-of-Famer.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–Sometimes, it really seems like this year’s team is just snake-bitten.

As Lance noted, the Reds have lost four of their last five, to two teams who are a combined 25 games under .500. This team is struggling, and there’s no way to deny it. I don’t have any answers.

–Sigh…. I can’t really argue with those of you who contend that this is the low point of the season. I guess that means things can only get better, right? Right?

A terrible showing tonight, Redlegs. Just awful. Milton is disappointed.

A terrible showing tonight, Redlegs. Just awful. Milton is disappointed.

*This Offense Stinks

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! 117 Comments

  1. I guess it’s good that our worst slump so far has come before the break?

  2. I’m speechless. I don’t even know what to say.

  3. Bob, it’s time to start firing people. (Baker/Jacoby) You can’t lose to the Mariners and then subsequently drop the first two games of the series against the Brewers. The Reds haven’t been playing well against winning teams, these are the games they’re supposed to feast on to boost their record.

    When you get complete game shutout by Wily Peralta, then it’s time to fire your batting coach at the VERY least.

    • Mr. Castellini either A. Doesn’t care this manager is turning his team into a friggin embarrassment or B. He’s just another typical clueless rich owner that couldn’t tell the difference between a hockey puck and baseball.

  4. One “bright” spot (or perhaps just some consolation): over their last 10 games the Cards, Pirates and Reds are each 5-5, 4-6, and 5-5, respectively.

  5. Was out to dinner with a friend tonight so I didn’t see the game. At the table next to me was Phil Castellini.

    I read through the game thread. Sounds like I didn’t miss much from the Reds. Get ’em tomorrow!

  6. NOW was the time to make a move with the Cards and Pirates playing .500 ball, but nope this team is playing putrid baseball. We have no energy or urgency. We have so many holes, I think it might just not be the Reds year in 2013. Shame that Broxton isn’t healthy, he could have been trade bait.

  7. season = done what a pathetic disgrace

  8. Don’t expect the offense to know what to do with Johnny Hellweg (who?) tomorrow, either. Reds are notorious for making AAA call-ups unhittable. Not even joking here: tomorrow could very well be beyond brutal.

  9. lets trade all 25 guys to the marlins for stanton, surely we’ll be okay then

  10. Also, side note… what in the world did Heisey ever do to the Brewers? 2 games in the series, and 2 HBP and almost caught a third one under his chin.

    So I just want to know.. did he date the Roenicke’s daughter and then dump her or something?

  11. You don’t fire people because you got complete game shutout by a bad pitcher. People need to be evaluated over long periods of time. They have years of observation on Jacoby and Baker, so whether they are good or bad, one bad game vs Wily Peralta isn’t what one should look at.

    • You don’t fire people because you got complete game shutout by a bad pitcher.People need to be evaluated over long periods of time.They have years of observation on Jacoby and Baker, so whether they are good or bad, one bad game vs Wily Peralta isn’t what one should look at.

      It’s not the reason, but it can be the catalyst.

      The reason is because Jacoby simply isn’t a good batting coach. Who has he managed to help develop? His years with Stubbs? Cozart hasn’t gotten better from his rookie season, Frazier hasn’t gotten better from his rookie season, Bruce’s slumps didn’t improve until Votto taught him to hit opposite field. Mesoraco has gotten better from his rookie season but that improvement was from AAA coaching.

  12. Well, one positive is that the number of f-bomb laden comments should decrease after today.

  13. @Josh: Agreed that the Reds should have been making hay while the other two were cooled off. Sooner or later all three are likely to get hot again although probably not as hot as before. That was unreal to have three teams in a league playing like that at the same time let alone three in the same division.

  14. @ToddAlmighty: Could well be something in the baseball “code” that we outsiders will never know about. And in these times if a media person is savvy enough to pick up on it, they likely never will tell what it is (officially on the record at least, except maybe for C.Trent who seems to be a throw back in many ways).

    Or it could be something even squirrelier. Maybe somebody has heard through an agent that Heisey could be a piece in a trade that ultimately could impact the Brewers in a way they don’t like and don’t want to see happen.

    • OhioJim:

      Or it could be something even squirrelier. Maybe somebody has heard through an agent that Heisey could be a piece in a trade that ultimately could impact the Brewers in a way they don’t like and don’t want to see happen.

      Jim, you’re the ultimate conspiracy theorist. I don’t know how many of the plunkings of Heisey were intentional, if any. Heisey has been looking outside and hitting outside breaking pitches so the Pirates have been pitching him inside. I said last nite that I hope they keep doing that, as Heisey can turn so quickly on an inside pitch. Turns out I shouldn’t have wished for it.

  15. @ToddAlmighty: I’m not saying anyone should or shouldn’t be fired, just that today was a bad game, and making decisions after bad games isn’t typically a good idea. (Or good games, for that matter.)

    I don’t think batting coaches matter that much, and I blame the organization first and foremost for hitters not having discipline up there (though it’s possible that it’s just a physical limitation of some players).

  16. Brandon Phillips…yikes.

    Perhaps Dusty can rationalize BP’s plummeting offense as an excuse to drop Cozart to the bottom of the order?

    • Brandon Phillips…yikes.

      Perhaps Dusty can rationalize BP’s plummeting offense as an excuse to drop Cozart to the bottom of the order?

      Phillips is right at what he produced offensively last year. Or just a tiny bit below. He is a good player, no doubt. But not a great one by any means, and overrated by lots of people in my opinion. There’s plenty of room for good players. Phillips is not the reason the team’s not in a better position.

      • Phillips is right at what he produced offensively last year.Or just a tiny bit below.He is a good player, no doubt.But not a great one by any means, and overrated by lots of people in my opinion.There’s plenty of room for good players.Phillips is not the reason the team’s not in a better position.

        Actually, BP’s a bit under from where he was last season. But, also, since he came back from injury, he’s batting 202/254. That isn’t even Stubbs-like.

      • Phillips is right at what he produced offensively last year.Or just a tiny bit below.He is a good player, no doubt.But not a great one by any means, and overrated by lots of people in my opinion.There’s plenty of room for good players.Phillips is not the reason the team’s not in a better position.

        I mostly agree…

        I should have been more specific, BP’s last month + early July have been abysmal. .209/.269 /.279, & 231/.276/.346.

        I have no doubt that BP will likely end up with his typical slash line, barring injury. But BP has been terrible for almost 1.5 months now. Between Cozart & Hanigan, this offense can’t afford BP to continue hitting so poorly. I’m kinda resigned to Cozart, Hanigan, and the LF being weak hitters. So if 1 of Choo, Votto, BP, or Bruce go into a slump, this offense is going to struggle.

        (and yes I realize the HBP i partially responsible for his performance…as usual Reds would have been better of DLing the guy and letting him heal…but then again…Cesar Izturis… :cry:)

        Anyways, my original post’s point was that perhaps Dusty would “shake things up” by putting BP in the #2 spot, perhaps even stacking his 4 best hitters back-to-back. Wishful thinking, I know.

  17. Dick Pole exits and Bryan Price takes over, rotation and BPen seems to have gotten better, maybe luck, maybe different approach – just an opinion

    • Dick Pole exits and Bryan Price takes over, rotation and BPen seems to have gotten better, maybe luck, maybe different approach – just an opinion

      Latos wasn’t here in the late 2000s, Bailey was very young, Cueto was very young, Leake wasn’t here. And no pitching coach teaches Arroyo anything.

    • Dick Pole exits and Bryan Price takes over, rotation and BPen seems to have gotten better, maybe luck, maybe different approach – just an opinion

      Or it could be that the quality of players has gotten better.

      Think about it, in his last season, we had guys like Micah Owings, Kip Wells, Justin Lehr and Edinson Volquez starting a significant number of games for the Reds. You could have the ghost of Cy Young as your pitching coach, and you’re not going to do much with that group.

  18. @Hank Aarons Teammate: 3 years is long enough. Jacoby CANNOT coach hitters. Name one hitter besides Votto who has actually improved under Jacoby’s tenure.

    Something needs to happen. The last month has been a disgrace.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: 3 years is long enough.Jacoby CANNOT coach hitters.Name one hitter besides Votto who has actually improved under Jacoby’s tenure.

      Something needs to happen. The last month has been a disgrace.

      Honestly, I don’t really care if they fire Jacoby. I doubt much will change, but I suppose you never know. I wouldn’t say, though, that it can’t get worse, just because those are famous last words…

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: 3 years is long enough.Jacoby CANNOT coach hitters.Name one hitter besides Votto who has actually improved under Jacoby’s tenure.

      Something needs to happen. The last month has been a disgrace.

      I’m pretty doubtful that hitting coaches do much teaching of fundamentals at the mlb level, just as English profs don’t teach grammar to graduate assistants.

      • I’m pretty doubtful that hitting coaches do much teaching of fundamentals at the mlb level, just as English profs don’t teach grammar to graduate assistants.

        The thing is, they can teach the players to make adjustments to their swings, adjustments to their hitting methodology (like if they are in fact swinging at too many first pitches or being fooled too much on the low and away breaking balls). After all, if there was no use for them, does one really think any owner would pay for them?

  19. @josephneely25: Ha. So far.

  20. All true but it does seem that change has helped to change the pitching maybe a coincidence but I recall many for DPole firing and then it happened and seems like Pryce has helped to improve the pitching – good luck or dumb luck – just sayin

  21. How does that umpire miss robinsons hand touching home plate? The ump is literally 3 feet from the play, with a direct line of vision. You blow a call like that, you should get suspended without pay for a series.

  22. @CP: So you are saying that maybe now that Phillips never gets on base he’s perfect for the 2nd spot in Dusty’s mind.

    You may be right. I’m depressed.

  23. @CI3J: The notion that all the Reds need to do is get better hitters and make the hitting coach look good. This hitting coach has had the same vapid strategy for 4 years and almost no hitter has improved under Jacoby’s tutelage.

    Firing Jacoby now isn’t going to matter at all for this season. The same philosophy runs from the top down. What strikes me as bizarre is that the players know what results they are producing and are evidently satisfied with getting 3 hits off Wily Peralta.

    But while we’re on the topic — if you don’t plan to steal second base, then at least try to NOT get picked off of first base.

  24. @steveschoen: Yeah, my point wasn’t even to criticize BP so much as wishfully hoping Dusty would use BP’s 1.5 month long downslide to rationalize shaking up his lineup.

    I’m less worried than most about the offense. They can win with the guys they have. They have such a ridiculously small margin of error though with their horrid bench. They need to accumulate some useful spare parts, however.

  25. @Hank Aarons Teammate: Exactly…just keep in mind that as soon as BP egresses to the mean, Cozart is right back at #2.

    Being a Reds fan is weird.

  26. The one thing that really is irritating was the play by Phillips getting picked off. I don’t get how a guy can be so smart out there sometimes (for example dropping the infield fly and getting a DP) and so dumb out there other times (today, the game where he was goofing off with Rollins and got picked off a few years ago).

    • The one thing that really is irritating was the play by Phillips getting picked off.I don’t get how a guy can be so smart out there sometimes (for example dropping the infield fly and getting a DP) and so dumb out there other times (today, the game where he was goofing off with Rollins and got picked off a few years ago).

      BP can be a great example of what I consider a lot. I still remember BP getting picked off second by the Phillies a couple of years ago, I believe it was. And, he still doesn’t seem to make adjustments in his game to keep those things from happening. Even more directly, BP needs to consider, he’s not as fast as he once was. His stolen bases days are essentially over. Thus, there is little need for him to be getting any kind of wild leadoff first like that. He seems to have failed to make that adjustment to his game.

    • HAT: The one thing that really is irritating was the play by Phillips getting picked off.I don’t get how a guy can be so smart out there sometimes (for example dropping the infield fly and getting a DP) and so dumb out there other times (today, the game where he was goofing off with Rollins and got picked off a few years ago).

      I didn’t see the play live but the Brewers broadcast showed the pickoff later. Phillips was way off first and yet looked totally shocked when Peralta threw to first. Why is he even thinking about stealing ? He walks on 4 pitches and then Perlata gets behind on Bruce. He let Peralta off the hook.

      He’s not fast anymore anyway, and never did learn pitchers’ moves so he could get a good jump.

      So dumb it’s irritating is right. Reminded me of his chatting with his pal Rollins to get picked off second, leading to that horrible 19 inning loss in 2011.

  27. @wildwestLV: Hellweg was not pitching well at AAA, and has been a disaster at the major league level. This means – if the Reds manage to hit him – that it will be a bullpen game for the Pirates. It would have been nice to tax their bullpen last nite.

    First Brewer complete game in more than 400 starts.

  28. Just not your prototypical team. This team lacks to big pieces offensively. A #1 hitter and a #4 hitter. And they also lack a manager who could coach that line-up. They will succeed, just never win big with this line-up. They need a Jake Clark/Adam Dunn/Foster in the four hole. They also need a Deion/Rose/Billy Hamilton—OH WE ALREADY HAVE HIM??

    Please guys bring him up. Pick up a big bat. And make Dusty have to manage.

  29. @pinson343: PS Maybe he wasn’t thinking about stealing, but that makes his getting picked off even dumber.

  30. Heisey the one hot hitter in the lineup and he gets plunked and is out for who knows how long. Epitomizes the season.

  31. If you want to feel even worse about the Reds, read Fay’s blog article Catching Situation not Improved Much. Fay does not hide that Dusty is clueless about the situation. Actually, Dusty doesn’t hide that he’s clueless about the situation, as if he and Jocketty haven’t even spoken about it.

  32. PS Not the Pirates of course, the Brewers.

  33. Oakland beats Pirates 2-1 in Pittsburgh for the 2nd straight nite. They beat the Reds and Cardinals in Oakland. They just keep winning. I was impressed by their approach to hitting, quality ABs.

  34. @pinson343: Hellweg was pitching better at AAA than I thought, although a lot of walks allowed. His 3 major league outings have been awful. But then again, before last nite, Peralta had never pitched a shutout.

  35. If you own a business or have been in any business, if the players don’t produce, they either fire the players (or employees)or fire the coaching staff (management)….so the owner needs to figure something out. Even hitting in a friendly hitters park like Great American Ballpark, the Red’s slugging percentage and on base percentage as a whole is not good. There was an article in the paper about the Reds Owner being the best in baseball. Well…maybe it’s time he started kicking some butts. He needs to have a serious meeting with Jocketty & Baker @ Jacoby about the players. Anybody…Heisy, Robinson, Paul is better than double play Cozart at the #2 spot. He needs to tell Jacoby either the players improve…have some improvement instead of regressing on hitting or he is out the door, and Baker to start paying attention more to the team’s catching problems ect….or he is out the door too.

  36. Not to make excuses for the Reds, but Wily Peralta has been good lately. real good. like 0 runs allowed in 3 of his last 4 starts kinda good. I believe someone posted earlier on game thread that it’s time to give ty wigginton a call. sadly i believe he becomes maybe our 5th or 6th best hitter if he were to play in LF or 3b and Frazier play in LF. How embarrasing would it be for jocketty to pick up a cardinal waste product in the heat of the pennant race and then start him everyday? yikes! I’m happy that our pitching has held up during this awful last 30 games or so for the reds for if the pitching was bombing completely and the offense was rolling i’d be more concerned. Reds will hang in there until Cueto can come back and hopefully September will be our best offensive month heading into playoffs!

  37. Interesting last couple of years for former Reds’ player Yasmani Grandal. Last year he gets suspended for PED use, this year he is linked to another possible suspension, and then the dud e tears his ACL on top of it! Wow! So i’m guessing a year of rehab and then a year suspension after that? 2 years (if ever) before we see Yasmani Grandal again possibly

  38. The Brandon Phillips contract extension was a major disaster. As I’ve said, the Reds will regret it ala Casablanca, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of their lives.

    His OPS is.728, roughly the same as Ricky Weeks and Ben Zobrist, and against righties it is plunging to the nigh Cozartian level of .675. Why he hits cleanup is beyond me. He needs to hit either 2nd or 6th or 7th. He, as had bee pointed out, isn’t very fast, and is terminally prone to dunderheaded TOOTBLANs. The Jimmy Rollins blunder is one example, but the worst was getting thrown out at third for the first out in the first inning in the Giants series. That out was the Bartman moment for the series.

    They extended him because he was popular. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

  39. I love baseball, but I spent my whole life playing and coaching football, so I have to be very careful about my football mentality seeping into how I think about baseball. I know that baseball is not a rah-rah sport and that we have a team made up of guys who are even less rah-rah than a normal baseball team. However, I do believe that emotion does play a role.

    That leads me to this question. What exactly was our “players manager” doing when one of his players was called out at home after clearly beating the throw? I don’t necessarily think Baker has to become Lou Pinella, but I think standing up for his guys and getting tossed might light a fire and show how important these games have become.

    Maybe that’s a football mentality, but I’d sure like to see it happen once or twice just to get a feel for how the team would react. At this point as bad as these guys are playing, I am grasping for anything!

    • r

      @Kyle Farmer: You know, Baker rarely argues but it would have been a perfect spot for him to make a case for Robinson. The call was flat wrong and it was a play at the plate. Sometimes it’s even more effective when a guy who isn’t like Pinella goes out there and “emphatically” disagrees with a call. Perhaps even arguing so “emphatically” that he gets ejected.

    • I love baseball, but I spent my whole life playing and coaching football, so I have to be very careful about my football mentality seeping into how I think about baseball. I know that baseball is not a rah-rah sport and that we have a team made up of guys who are even less rah-rah than a normal baseball team. However, I do believe that emotion does play a role.That leads me to this question. What exactly was our “players manager” doing when one of his players was called out at home after clearly beating the throw? I don’t necessarily think Baker has to become Lou Pinella, but I think standing up for his guys and getting tossed might light a fire and show how important these games have become.Maybe that’s a football mentality, but I’d sure like to see it happen once or twice just to get a feel for how the team would react. At this point as bad as these guys are playing, I am grasping for anything!

      That’s just it. Baker isn’t that kind of guy. A players manager? Sorry, I just don’t see it. Because he pays for their dinner when they go out on the road, or because he tells bench players they are going to play 2-3 days ahead of schedule so they can make plans with family and friends? Oh, those are always priorities when I look for a “players manager”. How about being able to make the players better? How about being able to “make a bad player average”, “an average player good”, “a good player great”? How about going out to argue some calls every once in a while? Yes, I have seen Baker “discuss” some calls with some umps. But, there has to be times where he lays into them. I remember Red Auerbach (sp?) use to do that with the Celtics, with the sole intention of getting thrown out of the game, trying to light a fire underneath the players. And, many times, it worked.

      Baker just isn’t a fire-y guy. “Players enjoy playing for him”? Really? They enjoy playing like this?

      I am just sitting back expecting to hear the 2011 theme song again, the “It’ll Come, It’ll Come” blues.

  40. No heart, no energy, no emotion, no fight, NO COACHING….2013 Cincinnati Reds

    • No heart, no energy, no emotion, no fight, NO COACHING….2013 Cincinnati Reds

      @EastCoastVibes: I’m seeing a team that’s foundering but I’m not seeing a team that’s given up or that has no heart.

      • @EastCoastVibes: I’m seeing a team that’s foundering but I’m not seeing a team that’s given up or that has no heart.

        Honestly, I’ve been seeing that for about 2-3 years now. All kinds of ways to describe it. Or, should I said describe “it”? They just don’t have “it”. Like I’ve said before, good teams don’t wait for other teams to flounder. Good teams don’t wait for “it” to come. Good teams take “it”. Good teams demand “it”, from themselves and every other player on the team.

        One thing I have learned coaching for so many years, players will take on the personality of their coaches. Baker, a low emotional, laid back type of manager who seems like he doesn’t have a care in the world (except when it comes to getting a contract extension or wanting a decision on Chapman, where he then goes crying to the papers for action), that “It’ll come, it’ll come” pace of play. Then, look at how our players play.

        I remember someone asking about how Votto has been doing since he dropped an F-bomb and Baker admonished him for it. Votto’s numbers since then, 274/363/438. So, let’s see, Bakerman, those numbers are what you want from Votto? Or, the .351/.475/.555 he had up to that point?

  41. The simple truth is that according to my friend the Reds are just an average overall team and Reds fans have overestimated the teams overall level of talent and that the problems are not with Dusty and the staff….I then punched him.

  42. @Steve Mancuso: What restaurant did you go to?

  43. To all the people who were complaining that the Reds can’t beat the good teams, and that they only beat the bad teams… Are you happy now that they aren’t beating the bad teams? :mrgreen:

    I am supposed to see the Reds in Atlanta on Friday and I sure hope they are playing better. Of course baseball is a funny game. They may lose 4 or 5 of 6 to a couple bad teams and then take 3 of 4 from the Braves. Hey, a guy can hope right?

  44. @fiercev: I think it is a tad early to call it a season. They are playing horrible baseball this year but they’ve also had a couple stretches of very good baseball. I had them at 94 wins at the beginning of the year. I think that’s still a possibility. Of course 90-91 wins is also possible but even then, they are in the hunt for the wildcard. I remember when it was July 1st and the Reds really were out of contention and the season was effectively over. It wasn’t that long ago.

  45. If the Reds bat .000 with RISP and Marty Brennaman is not there to see it, do they still stink?

  46. @Mike: I agree.

  47. @RedZeppelin: I don’t think the Reds stink but I will agree that they have been stinking lately.

  48. Love the players attitudes.

    “Oh, well. It’s just a loss.”
    “Oh, well. We’ll get them tomorrow.”
    “It only takes one game to get it going.”

    I wish I could be that nonchalant about my job.

    I think this team needs a serious attitude adjustment.

  49. Johnny Hellweg has pretty good minor league numbers but has gotten blown up in his first 3 major league starts. At triple A this year he had a 2.82 e.r.a. in 76.2 IP, allowed only 55 hits while striking out 50. And that’s pitching in the PCL, which his a known hitters league.

    Don’t be surprised if this kid puts it together today against the struggling Reds.

  50. I think that what has happened is that a team of doppelgangers (called, appropriately the Queen City Stinkberts))has kidnapped the Reds and is holding them hostage at an undisclosed location. These guys just want a chance to play ball at the mlb level, and really aren’t bad at some aspects of the game. But they can’t hit. At all. They stand as living proof of Teddy Ballgame’s contention about the difficulty of hitting a pitched baseball. On another note, what has happened to the format here? I suspect that it has changed due to the vitriol of recent days, but I’m not computer savvy enough to figure out how to reply to anything. Maybe that’s good, of course.

  51. @rhayex: Rather not say. I was uncertain even revealing that I saw PC. Don’t want to invade his privacy any further.

  52. @greenmtred: You can reply to a post by hovering your mouse over the lower-right-hand corner of the post. The “Reply” control will show itself and you can click it. This is how the forum worked for a long time prior to the last time it was changed.

  53. How many times over the past twenty years have you heard a player on a really good team, i.e. a team that was supposed to win the devision “it just wasn’t our year.” I am getting that feeling about this team. It is just everything and it really began on opening day when Ludwick went down. Then it was Cueto. Then it was Hanigan and then it was Heisey. Then we had another Cueto issue. BP got dinged up with the HBP and it was Cueto again. Now it is both catchers as well as Heisey again. Over the past two years, we have seen the same inconsistency with RISP especially with runners in scoring position and two outs. Our offense is just putrid. As far as heart is concerned, I was very disappointed that Dusty did not make a case on that play at the plate. Where is the passion Dusty? Every once in a while a manager needs to “blow his top” and show the team that he has heart and passion. Dusty just sits there and chews on his tooth pick. I am not saying that he should go “Lou Piniella” and throw a base into centerfield but I would love to see him throw his hat on the ground and kick it around as well as getting up in the ump’s face.

  54. Report from Section 208 last night: Uh, um, it was a really beautiful night last night. Hot Dog set a record in the Sausage Race. I couldn’t handle a Maldanado screamer into the stands, but the kid in front of me got to take home the deflection. Closest I’ll ever get to that chance again. Joey made a beautiful catch in foul territory running right at us. And well, that about sums it up.

    I was feeling bad vibes after the game. The last time I caught the Reds at Miller Park, it was Cozart’s MLB debut. That was a close loss heading into the All-Star break that was a sign of the stuckness of the 2011 team. Here we are, approaching the All-Star break again, feeling slumpy. Hope something changes.

  55. @greenmtred: This is the way the posts used to go. I like it much better this way myself, it gets so hard to see brand new posts that are way up the thread because they got filed under somebody’s original conversation… but I think the way that it had been recently stopped a few posters from some of their crap because of the fact it would get burried. Then, new crap started, so there’s that. There used to be a guy, and, well, either he changed his name or got the boot when I wasn’t looking, who would reply incessantly or quote people, practically duplicating the entire thread over and over when the comments were under this structure.

  56. Yes, they’re struggling offensively. However, their pitching is still incredible; 4th in ERA, 2nd in BAA. I’d rather have the offense be problematic at this point because slumps can be turned around. Most everybody is playing under their averages the last month, right? It’ll come back around. Pitching, on the other hand, isn’t as streaky. You either have a good staff or you don’t. We not only have a good staff, we have an excellent staff and that will keep us in the season regardless. Just gotta tread some choppy water.

  57. @LWBlogger: This is classic EastCoastVibes talk; “The team is an embarrassment and the players don’t care.”

  58. WARNING: This is my annual post about the team being unwatchable right now.

    This team is unwatchable right now.

  59. @RedManifesto: This may still be treading water, but we are about to go under. Sorry, but “It’ll come” reminds me too much of Bakerman in 2011. That’s means to me that the players aren’t going to do anything to go get “it”. Good players don’t wait for “it” to come. They go get “it”. Good managers don’t wait for “it” to come. They press the players to go get “it”.

  60. Baker is a “player’s manager” because he doesn’t usually make the players compete for their jobs. His emphasis is on everyone knowing their role, both in the lineup and in the bullpen. There are countless examples of this. Shin-Soo Choo was anointed as the CF instead of having a competition with Jay Bruce. Being unwilling to change the lineup in the face of prolonged slumps is another.

    Once the roles are decided Baker locks it all in and stubbornly resists change. He does that because he thinks that’s the way to make the players the most confident and relaxed in what they are doing. That’s one approach – and it’s entitled to respect based on Baker’s long and relatively successful experience. He’s also not the first manager to do it.

    But the downside of that approach is that it lessens accountability, at least over the short and medium terms.

    I’ve always thought the argument that “the players love Dusty so they play harder for him” has been way exaggerated. Generally, players like their managers. To become a big league manager, you have to know how to motivate players and earn their trust. Sure there will always be exceptions to that. But it would be difficult to get promoted up the chain through all the managerial jobs if you weren’t successful at dealing with players.

    It’s almost impossible to measure accurately how hard players are trying. It’s equally hard to make the case that the Reds play harder because of their manager’s style.

  61. @Steve Mancuso: That’s right. The key aspect of his players’ manager philosophy is that generally, players get a lot of rope. There is something to be said for that. He does not make knee jerk decisions.

    I really do not like many things about Baker, but not making knee jerk decisions is a good attribute, IMO. Now, of course, the downside, as you say, is that when one needs to make a change (Jonny Gomes), it takes forever. Too long.

  62. I have resorted to scouting the lineup card to decide if I will watch/listen. Last night, my premonition was rewarded.

    The team needs a shake up, a change, but Dusty hasn’t even dropped Cozart in the order, let alone ‘shaken things up’. His approach typifies the cliched definition of insanity.

  63. There are a lot of things being thrown around because the team is playing poorly that I think are really off base. People are frustrated, I’m frustrated, I get it, but:

    1. The “no heart” comment, I mean, come on, this team is basically the same guys as last year that won 97 games. Did they have heart, did they try, last year, and they’re taking this year off?

    2. Baker should have argued the Robinson play? He said simply that from his point of view the guy was out. He admitted that the replay showed safe. So what? A lack of arguing is about #157 on the list of things I’d like to see Baker change.

    3. The season is over. The season can’t be over when you are one of the wildcard teams. Heck, the SF Giants’ season isn’t over, though it’s looking bleak for them (and my heart bleeds, really), and they are 6.5 games behind 3 other teams).

    4. Castellini doesn’t care. ??? How do we know that?

    • There are a lot of things being thrown around because the team is playing poorly that I think are really off base.People are frustrated, I’m frustrated, I get it, but:

      1. The “no heart” comment, I mean, come on, this team is basically the same guys as last year that won 97 games.Did they have heart, did they try, last year, and they’re taking this year off?

      2. Baker should have argued the Robinson play?He said simply that from his point of view the guy was out.He admitted that the replay showed safe.So what?A lack of arguing is about #157 on the list of things I’d like to see Baker change.

      3. The season is over.The season can’t be over when you are one of the wildcard teams.Heck, the SF Giants’ season isn’t over, though it’s looking bleak for them (and my heart bleeds, really), and they are 6.5 games behind 3 other teams).

      4. Castellini doesn’t care.???How do we know that?

      This all needed to be emphasized. If the season ended today the Reds would be in the playoffs. As we all know, MLB playoffs are a coin flip anyways. I think a lot of the panic is residual frustration from last year, where we were quite possibly the team to beat in the playoffs. Well, our regular season success didn’t matter in the playoffs last year, just like our regular season struggles won’t matter if we make the playoffs this year. I refuse to panic or be this negative about a playoff team slumping before the All-Star break.

      • This all needed to be emphasized. If the season ended today the Reds would be in the playoffs. As we all know, MLB playoffs are a coin flip anyways. I think a lot of the panic is residual frustration from last year, where we were quite possibly the team to beat in the playoffs. Well, our regular season success didn’t matter in the playoffs last year, just like our regular season struggles won’t matter if we make the playoffs this year. I refuse to panic or be this negative about a playoff team slumping before the All-Star break.

        I agree. But, this doesn’t mean at all that the Reds are currently playing good. Which doesn’t necessarily hold good vibes into the playoffs.

        Like, someone mentioned treading water. I agree, we are still treading, we are still in there. But, we are still playing poorly, also.

  64. @steveschoen: So they have “it” when it comes to pitching but they don’t have “it” when it comes to hitting? How does his philosophy rub off on pitchers one way and hitters the other? I just don’t understand the correlation. Are hitters more impressionable than pitchers? Would our pitchers be great regardless of the manager but our hitters would be great or bad because of a manager?

  65. In terms of the Phillips extension, I don’t remember which site estimates dollar value for players, but I bet Phillips will be worth about his salary at season’s end. The problem, as Big Ed said, is down the line. He’s getting older, in his 30’s, and yes, he’s likely to be worth less than his salary in the out years. But so is Joey Votto. The Phillips extension was a tough call. I’d have to have an idea of how they would have used the money had they not signed him to evaluate. Which we never will have.

  66. I have been frustrated for a long time by what appears to me to be a bad organizational approach to hitting. I have no idea if the numbers back me up, but the Reds hitters outside of Votto usually seem to me to be unable to give good professional ABs. Their discipline looks terrible and they allow way too many 10 pitch innings. I feel like if they just worked counts better and wore down pitchers their offense would pick up.

  67. @Steve Mancuso: I buy into the accountability of the players. I managed my own office pretty much that way. Folks knew their jobs and they did them with the comfort and ease that reduced the stress that follows micromanagement. That was not a baseball team, however.

    To that end, the players need to do what Dusty isn’t doing — if they are accountable, then do what you must to win. Stop looking in for signs. If the ball is in the dirt, go to second base.

    As well, go outside the system for help if you are in need of help.

    A degree of mutiny appears in order here. If this team doesn’t mind slipping into mediocrity, then please let me know. I can do other things with my day than watch this travesty.

    The Reds have exactly two rookies who are impact players — that means the rest of them know how to play better. If Dusty is preventing that, then they can finish third and blame Dusty, who will blame them for not doing their jobs.

  68. @Hank Aarons Teammate: Your points are all sound but that doesn’t mean we can’t, as fans, express all these emotions amid the frustration. Clearly, when the team won 10 in a row last year, there was no concern over “chemistry” in the locker room.

    As for arguing a call, I find the exercise amusing if not time-wasting. I never have understood how people think it inspires a team. It’s childish at worst, unproductive on any level.

    • As for arguing a call, I find the exercise amusing if not time-wasting. I never have understood how people think it inspires a team. It’s childish at worst, unproductive on any level.

      The point has been made, but I don’t think arguing is nearly as important for inspiration as it is simply a technique to work on “next time” with the umps. I think that matters. If a guy gets the riot act, and a play is bang-bang, he might be influenced (consciously or unconsciously) to think about which way the next break goes after a polite “discussion.” Certainly this could backfire and the ump might want to stick it to a manager, but that’s all in how the arguing is accomplished in the first place. Shoot, I’ll bet a lot of people on this board work on the same philosophy with choosing battles with their kids… they can yell/aruge all they want and it may not change your decision on a particular decision, but maybe there’s something else that goes their way later.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Your points are all sound but that doesn’t mean we can’t, as fans, express all these emotions amid the frustration. Clearly, when the team won 10 in a row last year, there was no concern over “chemistry” in the locker room. As for arguing a call, I find the exercise amusing if not time-wasting. I never have understood how people think it inspires a team. It’s childish at worst, unproductive on any level.

      Commonly done by many managers. The Boston Celtics won many games like that. When they would be playing very sluggishly, with no heart, etc., Red Auerbach (sp?) would argue a close call, or even just for the sake of arguing, for the entire goal to get kicked out of the game, to show the players something like, “Hey, guys, he really cares how we play. Let’s step it up for him.”

  69. This has nothing to do with the Reds, but someone just sent me a link to a video of Fieldin Culbreth’s crew screwing up a call in the recent Cards/Marlins series, where the HP ump (Culbreth) called the batter out on a foul bunt on which Molina tagged the guy, then the 3B ump called the runner going to third out on a force despite no tag being attempted (it wasn’t a force because the batter was out already), and then when the ump realized the mistake, instead of manning up and putting the runner back on third, they called him out for leaving the field (which he did because he was you know, called out by the ump).

    This crew also had the now famous screwup where they did not make a pitcher pitch to one batter (and Culbreth was suspended two games). And, they screwed up the play in the Reds/Giants game, allowing Panda to reach first when he struck out and the pitch hit him, which is another rule violation.

    When will baseball take serious action against umpires/umpiring crews that are simply not able to do their jobs? Forget bad ball/strike calls, this crew can’t even apply the rules correctly…

  70. The short-term issue with Brandon Phillips is that he got off to such a great start, fueled in part by Shin-Soo Choo and Joey Votto getting on base in about half of their at bats. Fans (and announcers) rushed to the assumption that it could stay that way.

    People like Marty B. rushed to declare him “clutch” and “a super RBI guy” ignoring the rest of his career. BP has now regressed to his career level. He’s not a clean up hitter and never has been. But because of Baker’s glacial approach to changing the batting order, he’s been hitting #4 for about a month too long.

  71. @Steve Mancuso: He has been hitting #4 for 3 months too long. Phillips really is better suited to down in the order, though on this team the #2 spot is a reasonable choice. He simply does not get on base, and he does not prioritize getting on base (his words).

  72. With the injuries piling up (both catchers barely able to play, Paul supposedly hurting, Heisey HBP & pulled from the game), the team is looking to be very short-handed today. With only 3 healthy outfielders, how about disabling either Paul or Heisey if necessary, & then recalling Soto to play 3B & have SuperTodd play LF?

    Hopefully Devin heals quickly, because we have no catching depth. As much as everyone loves Corky, he has no place on a MLB roster. And I’m afraid Baker’s spring-training love for Olivo will result in the team signing him. I wouldn’t be opposed to taking a flyer on Ramon Hernandez, but again he’s a typical Baker player & would get too much playing time if signed, and what happens when Devin & Hanny are healthy?

    At any rate, I have a feeling that today’s game will have only Izturis, Hanahan, & D. Robinson available off the bench. Not a pretty sight.

  73. @Hank Aarons Teammate: I would have let BP walk, myself. Reds have a strong tendency to hold on too long to aging players. But perhaps he is the future 3B. I wouldn’t saying his defense has dropped significantly yet, but he isn’t the guy that he was 2-3 years ago. I’m not sure if he’s even a 2+ WAR 3B in a couple years. I’m actually curious right now tbh how he’d rate over there compared to Todd.

    Getting old sucks.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I would have let BP walk, myself. Reds have a strong tendency to hold on too long to aging players. But perhaps he is the future 3B. I wouldn’t saying his defense has dropped significantly yet, but he isn’t the guy that he was 2-3 years ago. I’m not sure if he’s even a 2+ WAR 3B in a couple years. I’m actually curious right now tbh how he’d rate over there compared to Todd. Getting old sucks.

      I would have probably let him walk, also, only if I was confident we could get a decent player off FA for cheaper. That would free up some money for other things, also.

      Or, I would have done 3 years and not 5 years. Or, 5 years at lower money.

  74. OK, now I know the Reds management doesn’t care. I just got an email from reds.com saying they’ve changed their browser theme. Come on guys, go get Stanton instead of worrying about the browser. 🙂

  75. @Matt WI: I’ve always wondered about this, has anyone ever looked at it? I don’t believe it affects the next call, but it certainly could.

    • @Matt WI: I’ve always wondered about this, has anyone ever looked at it?I don’t believe it affects the next call, but it certainly could.

      I don’t know any studies… maybe it really is bogus. I just think that’s half the reason it happens in any sport… football, basketball, etc. Just some basic human psychology. Assuming the refs/umps are immune from that kind of stuff isn’t any less reasonable… like you said, it could or couldn’t. Maybe umps know that they blew it and appreciate Dusty doesn’t show them up. I guess somebody would have to survey the refs/umps themselves. Might work better in sport like basketball where more calls are made.

      • I don’t know any studies… maybe it really is bogus. I just think that’s half the reason it happens in any sport… football, basketball, etc. Just some basic human psychology. Assuming the refs/umps are immune from that kind of stuff isn’t any less reasonable… like you said, it could or couldn’t. Maybe umps know that they blew it and appreciate Dusty doesn’t show them up. I guess somebody would have to survey the refs/umps themselves. Might work better in sport like basketball where more calls are made.

        I can attest as a coach, it can have an effect on the officials. Everytime? Of course not. But, can it? Definitely.

        Just like Red Auerbach’s getting thrown out of basketball games in order to get his Celtics players fired up. Did it have an effect? Sure, it definitely did many times. Everytime? Most likely not.

        Whereas, for us, why not try it? Nothing else seems to be working right now.

        • I can attest as a coach, it can have an effect on the officials.Everytime?Of course not.But, can it?Definitely.

          Just like Red Auerbach’s getting thrown out of basketball games in order to get his Celtics players fired up.Did it have an effect?Sure, it definitely did many times.Everytime?Most likely not.

          Whereas, for us, why not try it?Nothing else seems to be working right now.

          I’d rather hear it from an umpire. With all respect, the coach doesn’t know what kind of effect it has on someone else…with certainty, anyway.

  76. I know this is considered bush league and isn’t a major deal, but I’m over Reds players getting plunked all the time without any sort of repercussions. I just view it as a lack of fire or attitude in the sense that the team isn’t sticking up for each other.

  77. @RedManifesto: It’s known very well that Bakerman lets Price deal with the pitching, since Bakerman comes from a batting instructor background. And, here, Bakerman comes from a batting instructor background, and what are suppose to be our strengths? Pitching and defense.

  78. @Jason1972: We have a winner here. Like I said, I can’t help thinking what Bakerman and Joke-oby work on. For, not only are there mechanics involved in batting but also things like mental approaches, scouting the next pitchers to prep the batters on what to expect, etc.

  79. @steveschoen: Like, we are about to go under if something doesn’t fire up.

  80. Where’s today’s game thread? I thought it would be up by now.

  81. @Matt WI: I can see it in basketball, but in baseball, it’s not as obvious. Plus, it seems equally likely that a human gets pissed off and makes the next call against the guy who argues.

  82. @Adam Hilton: I don’t think they could afford to retaliate yesterday because they were chasing two runs, but I’m sure the team noticed. Yesterday’s looked pretty intentional to me, and it took Heisey out of the game. If the Reds get a lead today, I think a Brewer is going to get plunked.

  83. Since the 4 game split with the Pirates the Reds have played 6 series and now lost 5 of them. I’m not throwing in the towel before the All-Star break, but that’s a pretty long stretch of mediocre play.

    Something needs to change, that seems pretty clear. So hear are the things they could do:

    1. Play better.
    2. Change the roles of players they have.
    3. Get new players.
    4. Get a new manager/coaches.

    Am I forgetting anything? Option 1 isn’t really changing anything, that’s just hoping. I hope they play better, but that’s not really being active, and it seems like after you lose 5 of 6 series, you should be active.

    Option 4 seems a little drastic if you’re talking about this ownership group and the manager. I could see replacing Jacoby, but that could just as easily upset the clubhouse if they love him or something and probably wouldn’t be that important.

    Option 3 seems good, and I’m sure they are trying to add new guys, but the ability to be active there is limited by the players we have to trade, the money we have to spend, and the players available. No deals seem immanent.

    So that leaves option 2, and it seems entirely appropriate to me. We’re still a winning ballclub, so you don’t want to blow things up, but losing 5 of 6 series is not really acceptable for a playoff team. So I think it’s time that the team got a shakeup in terms of the roles on the team.

    For me, this would mean that the lineup is redone and the players who are hitting are put in the spots for hitters. IF you aren’t hitting, you get put in the spots for people who aren’t hitting. If that means batting BP 7th, then fine. If it hurts his ego, then fine. We’re past the point of worrying about egos. It’s time to be accountable.

  84. @Hank Aarons Teammate: That’s why I said “Of course not” to “Everytime?” But, fact is, it has worked before.

  85. I just thought of something. Many of us are discussing things that Bakerman should be doing, needs to be doing. But, then, I started to think of, we are asking Bakerman to make more moves, make more decisions? Part of me just started to consider that might be the death knell of this season, if Baker actually has to play “strategy”.

    Just considering.

  86. @steveschoen: I’ve never been an ump but I can shoot an email off to a couple MiLB umpires I know and see if they have an opinion. I’m willing to bet that it works from time-to-time, if only on a subconscious level. I also think it depends on how the player/manager argues and who is doing the arguing. I rarely argued when I played so I’d like to think that when I actually felt I needed to say something, Blue was listening.

  87. I have a theory: it’s no coincidence the relief pitching has been better since Broxton got hurt. Not just because his results have been iffy, but because having him in a rigid “8th Inning With A Lead” role really handcuffed Dusty. Now things are a little more fluid (except for Chapman), so he’s matching up better, guys keep their heads in the game a little better, maybe there’s a little more competition, whatever. It’s ridiculous it takes an injury to make this happen–I don’t know why Broxton “deserved” his role–but it strikes me as a clear improvement. Thoughts?

  88. @LWBlogger: Thanks for the help. I will certainly die long before I am conversant with computers.

  89. @Eric the Red: I think that it probably is a coincidence, but maybe you’re right. I seem to recall that for awhile after Broxton got hurt the pen was wretched, but maybe I’m wrong about that, too. My concern in either event is that, with a little less than half the season to go, the only reason that the pen isn’t gasping and sucking air is that the starters have, usually, gone 6 innings or more. Can’t assume that will continue, so the pen needs to be at full strength.

  90. @Hank Aarons Teammate: Yeah. I am a BP fan, probably think a little more of his fielding than you do, agree with you about his hitting, but like the enthusiasm he brings to the game. He’s fun to watch, and baseball is ultimately an entertainment. That said, however, the pick off play was the point at which I turned the tv off and decided that it was time to read in bed.

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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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2013 Reds, Titanic Struggle Recap

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