Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

Pittsburgh 4
Cincinnati 5

W: M. Latos (8-3)
L: A. Burnett (4-7)
S: A. Chapman (22)

–Brandon Phillips had another good game, with two hits in four at-bats, with a run scored and yet another RBI, his 78th. Zack Cozart was 2-3 with a double, a run scored, and an RBI, though things weren’t completely rosy for him (see below). Shin-Soo Choo had a couple of hits and scored a run. Choo always has a couple of hits and scores, doesn’t he?

–Joey Votto reached base a couple of times, scored a run, and had two RBI. One of those RBI scored on a walk! But Joey Votto isn’t paid to walk, according to some! How could it have helped the Reds?

–Alfredo Simon struggled, but otherwise, it was another strong performance by the Cincinnati bullpen. JJ Hoover and Logan Ondrusek were perfect, and Sam LeCure and Aroldis Chapman were good enough.

–Cozart made two pretty bad errors. I’ve been saying for a while that I didn’t have any problem with Cozart in the lineup, as long as he batted eighth. Of course, that assumed he continued playing well defensively. Well, tonight wasn’t good. But at least he hit the ball!

–The Reds are unstoppable in the second half, clearly.

–Frankly, this was a terribly-played game, by both teams. Looked like a bunch of little leaguers out there.

–Mat Latos wasn’t sharp. I guess we can blame it on the rain delay, but the Reds spotted Latos a four-run lead and he didn’t take advantage of it. Overall, Latos threw five innings, giving up three runs (though only two of them were earned) on four hits and four walks.

Oh well. He got the win, and the Nation still loves Mat Latos.

–With the Reds up by one run, with two outs and the bases loaded, in the eighth inning, Dusty Baker was forced to make a call to the bullpen. Now, I’m fully willing to concede that Dusty knows more about baseball than I do. I hit .250 in Little League one year*, after all.

But in that situation, the most important moment in the entire game, with the game on the line against a team like the Pirates…wouldn’t you think that’s a good time to use your best reliever?

Well, Dusty used Logan Ondrusek, and Ondru the Giant recorded the final out. It worked. But I can’t help but think that this was a perfect opportunity to use Aroldis Chapman for a four-out save. Maybe I’m crazy.

–Chapman, however, did create a two-on, no-out mess in the top of the ninth. In classic Aroldis fashion, though, he blew a few 100+ mph fastballs by some batters, and this one belongs to the Reds.

–I guess there are reasons Reds fans don’t like Andrew McCutchen, and I understand that. But sheesh, that guy is good. Can you imagine him in center field next to Shin-Shoo Choo in left?

–Choo has gotten a hit in fourteen straight games, the longest such streak in the National League, and the longest of Choo’s career. It’s also the longest hitting streak by a Red this season.

–The Reds are only two games behind the second-place Pirates now, and I’d guess they are hearing footsteps behind them.

–Homer Bailey will go for the sweep tomorrow. Wouldn’t that be a great way to start the second half?

Source: FanGraphs

*I don’t know if I really hit .250 one year. I wasn’t the best player in the league. That’s the point. Forgive me for not providing accurate stats.

38 Responses

  1. Hank Aarons Teammate

    But what was your BA with RISP in little league?

    • rhayex

      @Hank Aarons Teammate: I would guess it was .405, thereby making him the most valuable player in the league, per some. He’s an MVP in the making!

    • LWBlogger

      @Hank Aarons Teammate: Avg 2/RISP doesn’t matter anymore. It’s a guys avg w/RIPS and 2-outs that’s the measure of true offensive greatness. I mean you gotta make that sample size as tiny as possible.

      And no, Votto wasn’t supposed to walk. The walk only resulted in a single RBI. If he swings at one of those pitches, he surely would have gotten a bases clearing double or grand-slam.

  2. MikeC

    When I Knothole baseball, the father of the kid next door was the coach. After one season, the two of us kids went through the scorebook of all the games to see how we did. I had TWO hits all year. I remember thinking “How could that be? I stole a bunch bases and scored runs all year.” Then I realized the walk was my major offensive weapon. Little did I realize I was an MVP in the making – just gave up too soon.

  3. hayez00

    Chapman created a two on, no out mess by forcing two weak ground balls? Sure, he had a throwing error but Mccutchen shouldn’t have been on base in first place.

  4. WedgieSanders

    Chapman didn’t create any mess… Terrible defense behind him created a mess and Chapman saved the day. That might have been Chapmans best save ever… Though, I am writing this just hours after my near heart attack.

    • pinson343

      @WedgieSanders: I agree that “good enough” does not capture Chapman’s performance, he was brilliant. The inning started with 3 misplays (including one by Chapman). He had to get 5 outs. He had to get 3 outs with a runner on 3rd without allowing him to score. There aren’t many relievers who could have gotten that save.

    • greenmtred

      @WedgieSanders: The game wasn’t televised here, so I didn’t see it. As to why Chapman wasn’t brought in at panic time in the 8th, he may be the team’s best reliever, and he may not (see HAT’s Parra stat below), but he is as capable as any of throwing a wild pitch. In any case, the move that was made worked.

  5. Elio Chacon

    The question comes to mind “If this was the one game wild card game, does Dusty manage the bullpen the same way”? Season on the line, 8th inning, who gets the call?

    • preach

      The question comes to mind “If this was the one game wild card game, does Dusty manage the bullpen the same way”? Season on the line, 8th inning, who gets the call?

      A: Anyone other than Chapman. Yeah, I know…..

    • pinson343

      @Elio Chacon: I’m going to be bold and say that in that situation, which is an elimination game, Chapman comes in for the 4 out save.
      Dusty has said that Chapman will not be used for more than one inning “for now.” It’s not clear what “for now” means but I would think an elimination game classifies as later than “for now.”

      • Steve Mancuso

        @pinson343: That is pretty bold. Baker is the guy who managed the NLDS as though it was any other time of the year. Zero urgency. I don’t think he’ll ever change in that regard.

      • TC

        @pinson343: Yeah I have to agree with Steve. No way. I would say Manny Parra comes in at that point but recently Manny’s shiny new slider has apparently transformed him into a shutdown reliever. Fill in the blank with the RP struggling the most.

  6. pinson343

    Alfredo Simon did the same thing as tonite in a 1 run game against the Giants on July 3rd. That is, with 2 outs, walking a batter to put a second runner on base, getting ahead of the next batter, then plunking him to load the bases and exiting.
    He’s pitched pretty well in between those outings, but his command is iffy.
    In 50 innings, only 14 walks, but 6 HBP and 4 wild pitches.

    The bullpen had a great streak and has been just good enough to beat the Pirates. But cracks are beginning to show – too much reliance on Ondrusek. Partch is a mopup guy, how long will Parra’s scoreless streak (now at 16 outings) continue.

    Against offenses like the Dodgers and the Cardinals, more bullpen depth is needed. I hope Marshall’s “minor setback” is just that and he’s able to resume throwing on Monday.

  7. vared

    One thing I don’t get is when Dusty has to go to the bullpen earlier than expected why does each reliever only get an inning, even when they are effective. If that game had gone extra innings, and we know it probably should have after the way the 9th played out, the Reds were screwed with the bullpen. Nice win though.

    • greenmtred

      @vared: perhaps he’s trying to avoid making any relief pitchers unavailable for the next game(s)?

  8. dn4192

    I think to expect either Marshall or Broxton back anytime soon is foolish. I think Walt needs to approach it as neither well be back this year and see what he can do to add and arm. I also hope they don’t rush Ryan back either.

  9. TC

    Who doesn’t like McCutchen? That’s just crazy talk. The guy’s, like, awesome. Like Chad said, imagine him roaming center field at every home game played at GABP with Bruce to his left and Choo to his right. See? Now that’s better.

  10. sezwhom1

    Dusty is probably never going to change so even with 2-out in the 8th, forget about seeing Chapman. Dusty is Dusty. I’m shocked he moved Cozart down the order. Speaking of, am I the only one who thinks we can do better at SS? Coz is okay but that .237 avg. doesn’t scare anyone plus his 10 errors puts him 9th in Fielding Stats amount NL SS’s. We can do better.

    • greenmtred

      @sezwhom1: I recall, correctly I hope, that Dave Conception usually made more errors than did Larry Bowa. Your choice at SS? There are better shortstops than Cozart, but he’s a better fielder than those errors show.

  11. Hank Aarons Teammate

    Who has the best K/BB ratio on the Reds? That’s right, Manny Parra. Raise your hand if that was your preseason prediction.

  12. greenmtred

    It’s always good to be corrected for being a clueless idiot in the matter of Joey Votto’s value, or in any other matter, so thank you, Chad. I am thoroughly chastened. In the future I will try to refrain from saying things with which others might disagree.

  13. Hank Aarons Teammate

    Can someone explain why the Reds chose to allow the game to start with rain 15 minutes away? It just seems like one of the dumbest things I’ve seen. The team has many, many games coming up, including a doubleheader. I said this in the game thread, after the Cards game fiasco when the Reds pitched their starter (Volquez I believe) and the Cards pitched a reliever because they knew rain was coming (and the Reds hadn’t heard of weather.com?), you’d think they’d learn.

  14. RedZeppelin

    Votto’s clutch RBI walk was one for the ages, so I’m glad it’s getting a lot of attention. When I saw that walk last night it reminded me of Tony Perez in game 7 the ’75 series. Just think, someday I might be telling my granchildren about the time I saw Votto walk in the winning run in a World Series game.

    • Eric the Red

      @RedZeppelin: I hope you’ll tell your grandchildren about watching the Reds win the WS, rather than worrying about whether the win came thanks to a hit or a walk.

  15. LWBlogger

    Ok, quick opinion about Votto and clutch hitting. I think the thing that is driving people nuts is that Votto’s approach never changes. He absolutely refuses to expand his zone. He looks for a particular pitch until he gets 2 strikes and then goes into protect the plate mode. It doesn’t matter what the game situation is, that’s Votto’s approach. Some fans think he should try to do more to drive in those runs.

    The thing is though, it is usually the guys who don’t change what has generally been a successful approach, based on an RBI situation who are considered clutch hitters. Guys like Votto are good hitters rather there are RISP or not. Usually they are going to get their RBI. Votto hasn’t because of more limited RBI chances and because of some generally conservative choices by Spiers coaching 3B. He has also been pitched around more than in the past. I suspect he will have more RBI the 2nd half of the season. I also suspect that his avg w/RISP will be about what his overall avg is. If you look now, it is.

    • OhioJim

      @LWBlogger: Or as Sparky once observed about George Foster when hew was in his prime with the Reds, if I’m the opposing manager and Foster is coming to the plate with the bases loaded and game on the line, I might walk him intentionally and figure I well may have just saved 2 or 3 runs.

    • greenmtred

      @LWBlogger: I largely agree, but think also that Joey isn’t, for whatever reason, driving the ball with the authority with which we’ve all become so enamored. Of course he’s good–better than good–even when he’s not quite as good as usual, but the eye (that highly maligned instrument) tells me and others that he’s not quite “on.” Why is another matter, and I don’t discount the possibility that he’s not fully recovered; a knee that is less than 100% could certainly affect power.

  16. Eric the Red

    We’re focused on Dusty’s curious choices–the bunt in the first is almost as bad as his bullpen management–but how about Clint Hurdle? He didn’t even have a LHP warming up, and left a tiring AJ in to face both Choo and Votto. (And the night before: a LHP to face Brandon with the bases loaded? Odd.). He’s got good lefty relievers, but chose not to even have them ready to go. I believe he’s already managing with the memory of his bullpen leading to collapses the last two years, plus their overwork this year, in the back of his mind. Credit our 5th–and winning–run to Hurdle managing to preserve his bullpen instead of managing to win the game.

  17. Redsfanx

    A good day for the Reds with the Cards defeat. A sweep will be even better. McCutchen is a good looking ballplayer and with him or someone similar in the cleanup spot,this version of the Reds would be the successor to the Big Red Machine.