FINAL
Cincinnati 6
St. Louis 8

W: C. Martinez (1-1)
L: M. Parra (1-3)
S: E. Mujica (35)
BOX SCORE

–Here’s your mini-recap: Cincinnati jumps out to a 4-0 lead, leads most of the game, then completely blows it against the Cardinals. Again. This disaster culminated with JJ Hoover surrendering a grand slam to Allen Craig in the seventh.

I give up.

–It’s really strange how this Reds team seems ten times more frustrating than those crappy early-2000s teams. Expectations, huh?

Write your own recap, gang. I just don’t have it in me.

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! 245 Comments

  1. Very fitting TSR. I am still betting that the sun will in fact come up tomorrow though in time for the game.

    It always amazes me the lengths people will go to in order to be miserable.

    • It always amazes me the lengths people will go to in order to be miserable.

      I know but I will be back tomorrow to risk getting another dose. Would be great if I really didn’t care…………..but then I really wouldn’t care.

      • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: If you didn’t care, the great things wouldn’t be as fun. You see, it all depends on how you look at it. 😉

      • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Hmmm. Well, right now I really don’t care. I’ve found the same apathy these past weeks that I had right after they titanically blew the Giants postseason series. The apathy came while they were reeling off the wins too. The team this year has been frustrating and who needs this aggravation.

  2. There’s already been three recaps of this game. Oh! wait! there’s only been two recaps of the game. Sorry I kinda lost track.

  3. Go Reds! We will get them tomorrow. Much love all!

    laus Deo

  4. It was just one game, but it was very important to win it. Yet Dusty shows little urgency and leaves Leake in too long, AGAIN. The Umps squeeze the Reds’ pitchers AGAIN, and AGAIN the Reds cannot overcome bad luck.

    Good teams play with urgency and overcome.

    Until this team behaves differently in important moments the results of big games will be the same. You just can’t go on autopilot and expect to win. Good teams know this.

    • @jessecuster44:

      Thank you for pointing out that the home plate umpire’s strike zone was awful. One batter Leake threw three pitches in a row that were strikes and were called balls. On the flip side Devin should have walked, flipped his bat away, and then the ump called a late strike. And every borderline pitch thrown to Joey was called a strike. Dusty should have come out and defended his guys and got thrown out. Instead he stays in the dugout chewing his toothpick.

  5. Reds showed up early, realized, “Uh oh, it’s the Cardinals,” and proceeded to pee down their leg. Typical outcome when these teams hook up. Ugh.

  6. Baker with help from Leake, Parra and Hoover blow yet another winnable game and lost a chance to cut the lead to 1 1/2. Of course Choo, Votto and BP were completely lifeless and looked lost. SWEEP

  7. Positives: The much maligned Reds offense scored 6 runs tonight.

    • @Steve Mancuso: Non-so=positive: They lost anyway, because the 3-4 hittres contributed 0, and the bullpen was awful, which it has been increasingly of late. It can be ovrcome, of course, but it was a really bad loss.

  8. “It always amazes me the lengths people will go to in order to be miserable.”

    If you care about the Redlegs, beging miserable about this performance tonight seems perfectly normal to me. Don’t see anything “amazing” about it.

    • @Mutaman: Well said.

    • @Mutaman: I don’t mean to be misinterpreted. I feel like I got the rug ripped out from under me. I’m not saying don’t care or don’t be sad. I’m saying don’t pile on to the point of depression. Baseball is supposed to be fun. I just like enjoying it I guess.

      • @Mutaman: I don’t mean to be misinterpreted. I feel like I got the rug ripped out from under me. I’m not saying don’t care or don’t be sad. I’m saying don’t pile on to the point of depression. Baseball is supposed to be fun. I just like enjoying it I guess.

        Always thought the feeling bad when you lose is a much more intense feeling than the feeling good when you win.

  9. I made the comment in the game thread about Votto forgetting how many outs there were and blaming it on coaching and then the Metro went through the tunnel and I lost service. When I checked back, I noticed that it was questioned as, how the MVP forgetting how many outs there were could be attributed to coaching and then it was even assumed I was being sarcastic. I was being dead serious. It is because there is ZERO accountability on this team. The TOOTBLANS didn’t come from the dugout but they continue. The mental mistakes are the fault of the coaching staff for letting them continue. EVERYONE needs to be held accountable. Including Mr. Votto.

    On that note, it was mentioned a couple days ago how McCutchen has put his team on his back and carried them. Well, tonight it was Cozart for the Reds. I wonder how far Zack Cozart can carry us. We need somebody to step up and it NEEDS to be Votto.

    • @RedTitan19: Would Dusty sit any player on this team for that? Dale Sveum sat Starlin Castro a game for forgetting the count (ironically, also against the Cards, maybe it’s mind control?).

    • @RedTitan19: Great post RedTitan19. I have said before that the players have to manage themselves. The players seem to be left to their own devices to make any adjustments to whatever aspect of their game that needs work.

    • @RedTitan19: I agree with this wholeheartedly. Baker does not hold his players anywhere near accountable, at least with playing time. No player is ever docked for mental mistakes. Players have set roles, so by definition they don’t face internal competition for playing time.

      Remember earlier in the year, the first time Cueto went on the DL, Cingrani was called up and pitched really well. Many people thought that when Cueto came back that Cingrani would stay in the rotation over Mike Leake. Baker/Jocketty eventually chose Leake. And maybe that was the right decision, maybe not.

      But regardless of what side one was on for that decision, Baker came out and not only said of course it would be Leake but that “there was never any competition over it” as though having competition was an unthinkable negative thing.

      That right there, is why Baker is a player’s manager. Once you get yourself established, whether you are Votto or Willy Taveras, you don’t face competition for your role any longer.

      I suppose there are differing views on the wisdom of internal competition, but I certainly favor it as a means of motivating your players and holding your established players accountable.

      • @Steve Mancuso: Internal competition is certainly a good thing. Mike Leake, who has improved from 2012, admitted that it helped him when Cingrani was pitching so well.

    • @RedTitan19: In terms of accountability, I made a similar point in yesterday’s recap about Choo’s failure to slide and his ringing up yet another TOOTLBAN. If the players were being held accountable for their mental errors, they wouldn’t keep making them.

      If the Reds keep playing like this and get in as a 2nd wild card team, I feel like they won’t deserve to be in the playoffs.

  10. If not for the really cool give away the Reds are offering at the Reds/Cards game next Monday and already having tix, I would not sit in 92+ heat to watch us get hammered by the cards next Monday…

  11. A cardinal fan friend of mine and I got into a facebook discussion tonight. He posited that Cardinal fans were, in his words, “nice.” I disagreed.

    Him: The meanest I’ve ever seen Cardinal fans be is when they boo Brandon Phillips.

    Me: Really? The meanest I’ve ever seen them be was how they treated Albert Pujols after he signed with LA.

    This was a 50 comment facebook discussion. I made that comment 20 minutes ago. So far, no rebuttal from him. It is the silver lining on my evening.

  12. To give a football analogy the Cardnials own the Reds the way the Packers own the Bears.

  13. Baker said after the game he left Leake in because Beltran was 2 for 18 against him and batting .375 against Parra.

    That reasoning is unbelievably awful.

    First of all, it’s based on a whopping ten plate appearances over six seasons. Ridiculously small sample size.

    To make it worse, two of Beltran’s three hits against Parra came in 2008. Gee, I wonder if Beltran or Parra are different now than they were five years ago. Beltran was one for three last year against Parra.

    This year? Parra has gotten Beltran out both times he’s faced him.

    Baker’s “thinking” also doesn’t allow for the fact that Leake had already thrown 100 pitches.

    This demonstrates one of the many reasons the Reds could do better for manager.

    • @Steve Mancuso: I hope Dusty is fired no matter what happens at the end of the year.

    • @Steve Mancuso: Bad baserunning. Uncharacteristic fielding errors and mental lapses from the team’s best players. An inability to overcome bad calls. An overall lack of focus and mental toughness.

      Dusty often says that he can’t swing the bat for his players. However, he can lead. He can set a tone of urgency, and he can drill fundamentals. He can demand excellence from his best players. However, I think he chooses not to do these things. I have no idea why not.

      Most of us think Dusty’s game management is questionable at best. It’s fairly clear now that his “intangibles” are questionable as well.

      The next two days will be telling. I’d feel better with someone else at the helm.

    • @Steve Mancuso: I mentioned in the game thread that Beltrans 2-18 record didn’t include any at bats Beltran had against Leake after Leake had thrown over 100 pitches. The fact that something that obvious never occurred to Dusty is very telling. (I’ll leave it at that).

    • @Steve Mancuso: To add to your argument about that, Beltran is a good RHed hitter but more dangerous batting LHed. You want to turn him around if you can. I had just assumed that Parra would come in when Beltran came up.

      Beltran’s splits this year:
      LHed: .326/.366/.542
      RHed: .268/.284/.486

    • @Steve Mancuso:
      I irrationally was rooting for Leake to get 7 for some reason and when I saw that 2 for 18 stat, I felt like it makes sense, but thinking about it, …Parra was coming in to face the next 2 batters there is no possible reason not to bring him in other than thinking a 100 pitch Leake was going to keep up an obscure streak to an obvious good hitter.
      29 managers make that move.
      Anyone see any positives, Baker follows some weird statistics to lead him to some of his hunches.

  14. Baker after the game: “Leaky pitched a great game.”

    Only three strikeouts in 6.1 innings. A home run. A walk. Seven hits and five earned runs. Man, I’d hate to see a less than great game.

    • @Steve Mancuso: Why is he so calm. I despised Tony LaRussa, but sometimes the man would at least show some emotion and get angry after a loss. Dusty’s a robot–it’s infuriating. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It’s better to be respected than liked and I can’t say honestly that Dusty is respected.

    • @Steve Mancuso: I agree. Leake pitched “okay” but Dusty really sets the bar low with this comment.

    • @Steve Mancuso: Leake might have walked away with a good game and a W if Dusty had taken him out before facing Beltran.

    • @Steve Mancuso: Good point. Parra def. should’ve pitched to Beltran.

  15. J.J. shoulda had a K on the batter before the GS. Ump squeezed him on pitches that Kd our batters (see Choo 2x).

  16. Evidently, being a “player’s manager” involves coming up with all kinds of cool, creative nicknames for your guys.

  17. I thought Baker should have pulled Leake as soon as a batter reached in the 7th. However given the performance of Parra and Hoover, I can understand why he left Leake in. I wonder who would have pitched the 8th if the Reds had tied or come out ahead in the 7th.

    • I thought Baker should have pulled Leake as soon as a batter reached in the 7th. However given the performance of Parra and Hoover, I can understand why he left Leake in. I wonder who would have pitched the 8th if the Reds had tied or come out ahead in the 7th.

      Which is exactly where the problem is: When you are coming into a game in that point of the season, that much on the line — why aren’t these pitchers bringing their A game and their guts? Easier said than done … yeah, but Allen Craig stepped up, as USUAL …

  18. Playoffs?? Playoffs??? Are you kidding me?? Playoffs??

  19. @wildwestLV: Wheres the “like” button for this?? : )

  20. I refuse to sound like a Badgals fan; but, it seemed like the Reds couldn’t get a close call.

    Holliday was caught looking but not called out in the 7th. Carpenter had no grip coming if he had been rung up on two of the pitches he took for balls.

    And just as bad, was the out call on on the Votto ball “caught” by Jay in the Reds 7th.

    • @OhioJim: Stop it. Stop blaming bad calls and bad luck. Good teams overcome bad luck. Hoover needed to forget about the bad call to Holiday, man up, and make a better 1st pitch to Craig. This team is not mentally tough, and that’s on the coaches.

      • @jessecuster44: I agree 100%. The facts are they walked two and they both scored.

        However,there is a difference between telling the whole truth which is that there was a brutal string of close calls all of which went against the Reds and blaming those calls for what happened.

        As you said, it comes down to mental toughness to overcome them.

        • @OhioJim: However, I am not sure how the “coaches” instill mental toughness. This is not high school or college.

          At this level a club house enforcer like Greg Vaughn (1999) or Scott Rolen or Tony Perez going back 40 years is what instills mental toughness.

    • @OhioJim: Everyone seems to be jumping on the umps for the calls in the 7th; but looking at Brooks Baseball, the strike zone was pretty consistent. It looks like all of the borderline-outside pitches that were called balls were in fact outside the zone. It looks like Cardinal pitchers got the benefit on one outside pitch, but aside from that the Reds’ pitchers got the same calls.

      It’s possible the outfield camera was not directly lined up with the plate.

      • @yoobee: The only one that really torqued me was the ball 4 to Holliday. It was a perfect pitchers’ pitch (front corner at the knees then unhitable)and the ump was caught looking along batter.

        We talk about it in basketball and even football that the home team seems to get the benefit of the doubt many times on close calls but never it seems with baseball. I think that pitch to Holliday is one where if it were in Cincy, the ump maybe does a double take and makes a delayed strike three call.

        I also thought the noncatch on Votto’s ball was pretty sad. It was a razor close call but the Fox replay seemed to indicate the ball struck the ground and tip of the glove simultaneously and then pop up a couple of inches to where Jay could smother it. That Thom and Creeper kept calling for one more replay (that would have been the super slo mo stop action) yet it never came convinced me the call was clearly blown and would have been revealed if that shot had been seen.

        • @OhioJim: Should have added about the call on Votto that a man is safe until the ump sees out; not out till the ump sees safe. And I see no way the ump sees out on that call. He called it in reverse to my philosophy.

        • @OhioJim:

          I saw the same thing and moved the DVR back and forth to make sure. It was indeed a blown call. Again, where was Dusty? He should have been out there arguing that but was instead in the dugout chewing his toothpick.

  21. Is it just one game? Not really… It’s a two game swing when you’re trying to catch the team ahead of you. Worse than that, we’ve seen this scenario before… Reds score a bunch early then the offense stalls and the bullpen implodes.

  22. Shocker….embarrassed by the Cardinals as usual. I’ve wasted enough time this year watching this lifeless team. I’ve had enough. Every frigging game, nothing but mental mistakes, but the manager still has a job. I bet if any of us sucked at our job, we would all be unemployed. It’s a joke.

    • Shocker….embarrassed by the Cardinals as usual. I’ve wasted enough time this year watching this lifeless team. I’ve had enough. Every frigging game, nothing but mental mistakes, but the manager still has a job. I bet if any of us sucked at our job, we would all be unemployed. It’s a joke.

      Problem is the Reds don’t suck, they like 16 games over .500 and will make the playoffs while having key injuries, so exactly why would Bob fire Dusty?

      • @dn4192: Because he took a team with first place talent and managed it into third place. Are you serious with this question?

        • @ToledoRedsFan: A team with 1st place talent who’s #1 starter has been out injured 2/3 of the season and whose left field/ clean up hitter was out injured from the first game of the year until two weeks ago. A team which has gotten virtually nothing out of one of its top relievers due to injury and about 1/3 of a season from another. The starting catcher also has missed about a month and the #4 outfielder 2 months piled on top of the aforementioned loss of the LF on opening day.

          And through all of this not one bit of reinforcement has been brought in from outside the organization.

          I don’t like the manager’s in game skills but to have his team +16 to .500 at this point given all the injuries, he’s had to have done quite a bit correctly.

        • @dn4192: Because he took a team with first place talent and managed it into third place.Are you serious with this question?

          I got castigated for making this observation earlier today. This team was supposed to WIN this year, not contend.

      • @dn4192: Because Bob said that this was the year to WIN NOW. Because currently all the Reds will win is perhaps a short one-game trip to the postseason.

        Because chances like this (PITCHING DEPTH) do not come around very often. See the years 2000-2009.

        If you set expectations on just making the playoffs, that’s probably all you’ll get. Were you happy with last year? I wasn’t. George Steinbrenner demanded excellence, fired managers at will, and it got him quite a few World Championships.

        The Brewers fired their manager(Ned Yost) late in the season in hopes of a rally, so the precedent is there.

        I’d love to see Bob axe Dusty tomorrow. At least it would send a message that he demands better.

  23. It kills me to think how much better we could be if Dusty had a little Sparky in him. Where’s Captain Hook when you need him?

  24. “To give a football analogy the Cardnials own the Reds the way the Packers own the Bears.”

    Except the packers have ARod and the Bears don’t so that ownership is understandable. Cards aren’t better than the Reds on paper.

  25. Let me see if I’ve got this straight: folks here are so obsessed with Baker that they are blaming him because Votto can”t remember how many outs there are?

    • @Mutaman: No. The discussion was about the culture that exists in a clubhouse that would even allow something like Votto losing the count, numerous TOOTBLANS (too many to recount) to happen. The question was about accountability.

    • @Mutaman: Look at last year’s Votto. Compare him to the Votto that this year has made lots of fielding errors, as well as a shocking brain fart tonight. I have to think that coaching has something to do with Votto’s struggles in the field.

    • @Mutaman: Didn’t you know it’s Baker who continually leaves runners stranded at third with less than two outs? Or that it’s Baker who grooves a pitch for a grand slam? And don’t forget that before the slam, Baker foolishly forced the switch-hitting Beltran to bat left-handed, where he was hitting .268 with 7 homers, when it would have been much better if he had brought in a left-handed reliever so that Beltran would have hit from the right side, where he is batting .326 with 16 homers.

      • @kywhi: What is Dusty’s record vs. St. Louis as manager of the Reds? He’s the manager. He’s ultimately accountable.

      • @kywhi: You’ve got your stats backwards. Those are his numbers from the left side.

  26. Like I said before, I didn’t like hearing that the clubhouse was loose. If you aren’t in there to get to work, to get the job done, to win the game, etc., then get out so we can get some players (and managers) in there who will.

    I believe this is where we would be missing Rolen. I believe that might be what Rolen helped this team with, to show some leadership, to step us, etc. Because, Lord knows, the Bakerman isn’t going to help this team with it. And, what’s he suppose to do now, change? Just because it’s the end of August? He won’t change. The Bakerman didn’t win all those games because of his greatness. His teams won all of those games because of the players and payrolls his teams were able to take on, to get him the players to win. You can’t win if you don’t do that? Tampa’s doing it. Showalter is doing some in Baltimore. I believe Hurdle is doing a good job of it. So many people thought the Cards were going to lose some with Pujols gone. Look what they’ve done.

  27. “Reds are the best team in baseball if they had a manager with half a brain.”

    Guess the inmates have taken over the asylum. Night all. Get en tomorrow.

    • @Mutaman: I would LOVE to see where this team would be with someone besides Dusty at the helm. They’d be at least 5 games better than they are right now, through bullpen management alone.

      • @jessecuster44: Absolutely.

      • @jessecuster44: Others might say we’d be five games better than we are if Cueto wasn’t injured, the bullpen hadn’t been without Marshall and Broxton for much of the season, and the offense hadn’t been in a prolonged slump for much of 2013. Of course, that means little to the hate-Dusty-at-all-costs crowd.

        • @kywhi: Stop making excuses. Other teams with better records than the Reds have had injuries, and Dusty’s hitting philosophy hasn’t helped the offense at all during the slumps.

          Dusty has had success as a manager, but he does not adjust. He does the same thing all the time, when situations dictate alternative courses of action. Example: He left Leake in too long, AGAIN.

          You can blame the players, but ultimately this is Dusty’s team to run.

        • @kywhi: At what point DO you blame the manager? What’s the point of having one if everything wrong with the Reds is the players? Seems as though you anti-anti-Dusty-ites defend him at all costs and have nothing to complain about regarding him.

          For once, I’d love to hear from that group what they do not like about Dusty as a manager. If the answer is nothing, then, again, why even have a manager?

  28. I’m not being the least bit sarcastic when I say that I think Baker mentally checked out some time ago. Whether it was the stroke, the contract extension, or just time catching up with him, I don’t think he really much cares what happens on the field anymore. Sure, all things equal he’d undoubtedly prefer to win every game, but it’s not terribly important to him at this point. This is why he so rarely argues with umpires (has he ever been tossed from a game as a Red? Nobody seems to recall), doesn’t seem to get very excited or very upset about anything, seems perfectly wiling to tolerate numerous mental errors, leaves pitchers in when it’s obvious they should have been removed a couple hitters ago, and is often seen yawning in the dugout. I almost never yawn during Reds games, even when I’m tired and sprawled on the couch, but Dusty is often yawning during games he’s MANAGING. He’s literally somewhat bored by all this. At this point he’s perfectly willing to lose games by relying on his stupid hunches and his stupid theories and his stupid “logic” because it’s simply too much of a bother to question himself or seek guidance from anyone else. He’s beyond that point in his career. It’s beneath him. He’s an arrogant egotist who cares more about proving how smart he is than he does about making sure he’s putting the team in the best position to win every game, and on top of that, he’s just plain tired and bored and ready to go home. For the life of me I don’t know why the organization continues to tolerate this when they have millions upon millions of dollars at stake. I know there are many badly run businesses in America, but it’s rare to see a company that allows its mistakes to be made in such a public way day after day. I simply don’t know what to make of it.

    • @Baseclogger: I just want the guy out. Get a Cincinnati guy in there, like Larkin.

    • @Baseclogger: To begin with, if you watch Dusty’s post-game news conferences after these tough losses you would know he certainly does give a damn whether his team wins or loses. Second, it’s this sort of criticism that makes people like me take up for Dusty even though we know he’s certainly not above reproach and can and does make some mistakes. But the hatred some of you have for him just seems ugly and juvenile.

      • @kywhi: I’ve watched. He would definitely prefer to win. But he’s not willing to work for it. Every guy in sports would prefer to win and gives a damn, but some of them aren’t willing to work for it. Dusty is one of those guys. I’m sure there was a time when he worked as hard as anyone, but those days are long gone.

        • @Baseclogger: Where is the evidence that Dusty isn’t willing to work for it?

          • @standage: Much of it was mentioned in my original comment. He doesn’t argue with umps, doesn’t get very excited, yawns a lot, doesn’t seem willing to look outside his own brain for any insight into how he might improve the team, rarely deviates from whatever ideas he settled on at the beginning of the year, no matter how badly the appear to be working, doesn’t seem willing to confront players and hold them accountable, leaves pitchers in beyond the point where they should have been removed. At every stage of the game, he takes the easy way out. He prefers inaction to action. He prefers getting along with everyone to confrontation. He prefers going with his set theories rather than exploring new ones. He tells guys to swing at everything instead of patiently working the count, as if he’s in a hurry to just cut to the chase. He gets testy when questioned by reporters instead of trying to carefully and thoughtfully defend his actions. Everything about the way he manages and interacts with everyone around him suggests he isn’t willing to work very hard even if it means losing more games than the team ought to lose.

          • @Baseclogger: Everything you list here suggests that you disagree with Dusty’s current approach to managing. It’s unfair to Dusty to collapse that into Dusty not caring enough about winning or not working hard enough.

          • @standage: Well, the alternative is that he’s a moron. Which do you prefer?

            Let me ask you this: which is the lazier approach to running a team? Writing Choo’s name at the top of the order as you’ve done almost every game this year, or actually sitting down and thinking about which player makes the most sense to hit at the top of the order tonight? Baker prefers the former. He can claim it’s all about players needing “roles,” but Choo has been consistently bad in his “role” as a leadoff hitter against lefties, and undoubtedly there are guys on the team who could do better than hit .190 in that role. Which path does Baker take? He takes the one that requires no effort. That’s either lazy or stupid. I think I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt by saying he’s just too bored by all this to put much effort into it. If you prefer that I call him a moron for making an obviously wrong choice, then so be it, but I’m not prepared to say he’s literally too stupid to understand statistics. But it’s GOT to be one or the other, because there’s no rational, logical, mathematical reason to do what Baker did in this very important game.

          • @Baseclogger: Ok, so you set up the binary that Dusty is either lazy or a moron. What might be a third option? Perhaps there is SOMETHING that you think Dusty does well as a manager (if you don’t, you really lose alll credibility in my view). If Dusty can do at least one thing well as a manager, then it would probably be inaccurate to state that he is a moron or an idiot or just plain stupid. So, we can then say that Dusty is not a moron and possibly not lazy. We can say that Dusty is good at doing at least this one thing and that he may indeed still know a thing or two about how to manage well. Indeed, we might then be in a position to surmise that Dusty Baker knows more about how to manage well than you do. That, my friend, is also how we might reasonably conclude that Dusty is not lazy or does not care enough.

          • @standage: *and does care enough.

          • @standage: So, then. You set it up… what does Dusty do well that is quantifiable?

          • @prjeter: I set it up that Dusty can manage at least one thing well. I did not say that it had to be quantifiable. Criticisms that Dusty is lazy or is a moron are not quantifiable either. Both criticisms are value judgements, not hard facts. My acknowledgement that Dusty can manage at least one thing well demonstrates my willingness to give a decades long professional manager the benefit of the doubt that there is at least one thing that he can do effectively. Framing the so-called “data” as supporting the conclusion that he is either “lazy” or an “idiot” is not a statement of the facts. Rather, it is a statement regarding the evaluator’s agenda and motivation to simply smear Dusty. By contrast, my approach is more open and dare I say, more ethical. While I’m not presenting quantifiable facts, I’m at least willing to entertain the possibility that Dusty knows something about how to manage well and that he might be a reason for why they have won some games this year.

          • @standage: I’m afraid I don’t follow your argument. If we can cite one thing Dusty does well as a manager, it suggests he’s not lazy? How so? I can show you a ton of lazy people who are very good at some aspects of their job. Go to any fast food restaurant and I promise you’ll see at least one incredibly lazy employee who can make fries way better than your or I can.

            If it helps any, Baker seems to be good at getting his players to like him. There are probably players for whom this is somewhat beneficial. I think some of these guys couldn’t handle playing for a manager who yells a lot. That said, I think it’s also a sign of Baker’s lazy approach. It’s much easier to try to get along with everyone than to confront guys who aren’t doing their jobs very well. Some of these guys may benefit from Baker’s easygoing style, but some of them don’t, and Baker isn’t willing to deal with that fact. Why? Because it’s easier to just do whatever comes natural, and for Baker that means letting guys make mistake after mistake and never getting too upset about it.

          • @Baseclogger: You set it up as an either/or proposition. You said we had to look at it as Dusty being either lazy OR a moron. My acknowledgement that Dusty might actually do something well argues that Dusty is not a moron. So, right there, I bust open your binary thinking by suggesting that it is possible that Dusty falls into another category. I suggest that he might very well be something else: a better manager than either you or I. He may be “lazy” (or anything else for that matter) but not in a way that impacts his ability to manage well. The criteria for determining his value as a manager is not whether he is lazy or not lazy, but rather, whether he can manage well or not. It’s not about being either lazy or a moron. It’s about managing well or not.

          • @Baseclogger:

            The Bakerman does care if the team wins or not, I would say that. However, how to do it, I really don’t think he has an idea about that. I mean, why would he put Stubbs and Cozart in the 1-2 holes last season. “But, we were winning with them there.” And, just imagine how many more runs we would have and, thus, how many more wins we would have if we had our best hitters in the 1-2 holes.

            He plays the players more along the lines of not making them feel bad rather than winning the game. His first priority should be to win the game, and thus put his players in the best position to win the games. That’s the only thing that should ever matter. Was he doing that when he was trying to trot Harris out there last season instead of Frazier? Was he doing that leaving Cozart in the 2 hole so often this season? I do believe he would gladly sacrifice a game if it meant he could please the player. How many games has he left Homer in when he would pull any other pitcher? That all came down to Homer pleading with him to keep him in to get a complete game, and the Bakerman gave up and gambled, leaving Homer in. Worked or not, that showed he holds no control in that clubhouse. In that situation, he was willing to risk the game on Homer’s completing the 9th.

            Summarizing, the Bakerman does care if the team wins or not. He just has little clue how to get it done. At least managers like Hurdle and Showalter are developing talent and, thus, teams who play hard most every game. But, Baker’s team playing hard? When was the last time we’ve seen a Baker team play like the Brewers team played against us just last series?

          • @Baseclogger: Perhaps there is SOMETHING that you think Dusty does well as a manager (if you don’t, you really lose alll credibility in my view).

            Can you name anything you don’t think he does well as a manager? I’d love to hear from the Dusty lovers what they do not like about him. For credibility’s sake.

          • @tpteach: Sure, I could list a number of things, things that some of the Dusty-bashers constantly bring up. My critique is focused on the tenor and ethics of how the debate has been predominately constructed over all these months on this website. The predominate view of the Dusty-bashers on this site is that Dusty is THE reason this team is not as good as it could be. If Dusty was fired, the reasoning goes, then the team would magically become better. Singling out Dusty as THE reason for the team’s limitations leads to outrages claims such as “Dusty is a moron” or “Dusty is just lazy and doesn’t care about winning.” Hyperbolic statements like these have the effect of poisoning the debate by regulating a complex problem to a SINGLE cause and unfairly calling into question the integrity and professionalism of a single individual. These kind of statements make it difficult to imagine Dusty being good at anything as a manager. These kind of statements make it virtually impossible to think of Dusty as anything other than THE primary problem with this team. Given how the debate has been framed on this website, my request for an acknowledgement that Dusty might possibly do SOMETHING well is simply a request that the Dusty-bashers be reasonable in making their arguments. Otherwise, the Dusty-bashers look like they are just setting out to smear Dusty.

          • tptea

            @tpteach: Sure, I could list a number of things, things that some of the Dusty-bashers constantly bring up.

            @Baseclogger: So, you could name some things but choose not to? I just can’t figure out why people AREN’T bashing Dusty more. Seriously. So many things wrong with his managing. So when I hear people defend him, with no critique (other than a vague “sure I could critique him” response, I’m dumbfounded.

            Forget the “tenor” of the responses and focus on the details. Things like his love affair of the sac bunt. His team’s inability to run the bases well. His stated philosophy that hitters need to be swinging rather than taking. Bring up his use of the bullpen and letting starters stay in two outs longer (and I am not talking hindsight on this one – I mean when we ALL can see it coming).

            We want, no..we NEED a new manager. We’ve got great players. We need a great manager to take us to the next level. Someone who can out-strategize the other manager in a 5-game playoff series. Someone who can actually win a playoff series.

      • @kywhi: I dont think its hatred as much as its just we are tired of the same mistakes over and over. Its like watching the Coyote in the Roadrunner cartoons. He never learns and keeps jumping off the cliff only to be hit with the anvil.

      • @kywhi: And if you really think it’s “juvenile” and “ugly” to say a manager has lost his fire and doesn’t care as much as he should, then I submit you’ve lived a very sheltered life.

      • @kywhi: I want the Reds to win a world series. You want people to stop being so mean to Dusty.

        Ridiculous.

        • @jessecuster44: So kywhi doesn’t want the Reds to win a World Series because he makes the observation that people shouldn’t be hating on Dusty. Makes sense.

      • @Baseclogger: To begin with, if you watch Dusty’s post-game news conferences after these tough losses you would know he certainly does give a damn whether his team wins or loses. Second, it’s this sort of criticism that makes people like me take up for Dusty even though we know he’s certainly not above reproach and can and does make some mistakes. But the hatred some of you have for him just seems ugly and juvenile.

        I think my problem with Dusty is that he and his philosophy were stale a year ago and even more stale now. This is a team of nice guys. Jacoby’s coaching style is completely pointless. There’s no notion of how to run bases, pick up the tempo, get aggressive in a useful way. So this isn’t about “hating” Baker. I don’t think anybody hates him. I think it was time for DB to go last year and he’s not only back, he’s got another year. What we’ve seen … frankly, I’ve seen enough of. And if this team doesn’t begin to be more interesting, those 33K attendances are going to go down, down, down.

    • @Baseclogger: You know, you really don’t care about whether the Reds win or not, simply because I say so.

    • @Baseclogger: I for one could not agree with your analysis of the situation more. Very astute observations if you ask me.

    • @Baseclogger: I don’t think Dusty Baker is either stupid or lazy. And I think he cares tremendously whether the team wins. Other than the games I attend in person, I watch almost all the rest on TV and I’ve never seen him yawn once in the dugout let alone the many times you suggest. Quite the opposite, he seems extremely involved in game management all the time.

      I will agree that he’s reluctant to consider ideas outside his own established beliefs, but that’s an indication of narrow-mindedness or just having done something for so long that you’re set in your ways. It is not being stupid, lazy or disinterested.

      It’s easy to explain his managing style that accounts for everything you observe but doesn’t end up with your characterizations. He believes in establishing roles for players and then being as least disruptive as possible because he thinks that steady, constant approach will help the players relax and perform. He bats Choo first against LHP not because he’s too lazy to think about it, but because he doesn’t want to move his batters around the lineup because he thinks they feel more comfortable with less day-to-day change.

      I’m not in any way saying that I agree with this approach. I don’t at all. But it’s simply unfair (at best) to interpret that as either laziness or a lack of intellect.

      • @Steve Mancuso: Good points, Steve, but I would still argue that in the face of overwhelming evidence, Baker not being willing to change his mind about lineup construction represents a lack of intellect rather than dogged determination to make players comfortable. Almost definitely, someone at some point has told Dusty something along the lines of “batting a poor hitter 2nd makes your team have an increased chance to lose. Here’s the math on it, Dusty.” If he doesn’t accept the numbers or doesn’t beleive them, in my opinion, that shows a lack of intellect. Also, the fact that he moved Frazier there given Frazier’s slightly higher OBP versus Cozart shows he is willing to go half-way, but not all the way. Against righties, it should be Choo-Votto in the one and two spots. That will give the team the highest chance to score runs. Against lefties, things are slightly more open to debate given Choo’s bad AVG but still serviceable OBP.

        He can still make his players comfortable, too. All he has to do is change the lineup once or twice and declare it to be the new norm. That might get the hitters’ minds readjusted and then he could go from there.

        I admit I’m probably arguing somewhat about our opinions of what “stupid” or “lack of intellect” mean, but I honestly think Dusty lacks the understanding of mathematics and how they play out over large sample sizes.

  29. Dusty Baker has been in baseball a long, long time, he has seen it all and done it all. There is nothing new under the sun that surprises Dusty. And therein lays the problem and it shows.

    • @Sergeant2: Bingo. His many years of experience are usually tossed around as being one of his greatest assets, when in fact they may be his biggest weakness. Some of the most dangerous drivers on the road are the ones who drive the most. The fact that nothing ever seems to phase the most experienced truck driver is exactly why I try stay as far away from his truck as I possibly can.

  30. Here’s the bottom line for me. It comes down to who you trust more–Walt or Baker. Walt knows how to build a team that can win consistent division championships, go deep into postseasons, and do so repeatedly. Dusty has been deep in the postseason, what, once (2002) arguably twice (2003, but he lost)…I can’t think of another one….

    Gun to your head, who do you trust more–Dusty or Walt. If you answer Dusty….I dunno, I guess we just have fundamentally different worldviews.

    • @ToledoRedsFan: My point is that Walt gave Cincinnati a team that is built to win, and it isn’t, and I think the reasons why can be fairly traced to Dusty.

  31. A team that has spent the entire season showing it is unprepared is finally also showing its true character. This has been a .500 team since the middle of July despite the recent “surge.”

    Get the wild card, take the 1-and-done and start over next year with the same expectations and the same brain-dead coaching staff.

    Good luck with that. If you can’t bring your game with you to the ballpark against the Cardinals, don’t expect the fans to have a high opinion of the product.

  32. I wish someone had screen captures of Giants and Cubs boards from Dusty’s last days. I wonder what ideas those fans were discussing? You know, I get a lot of Padres games on my cable out here, and it was really interesting to watch, over a steady, developing period, of the press and the fanbase become increasingly frustrated and then outraged by Edinson Volquez’s ineptitude at developing into a consistent, MLB starter. It completely echoed what all us Reds fans thought/felt about Volquez, right up to the point where it became good riddance. Sometimes a player can leave an organization and really change, really grow and prosper into someone completely different. And then, sometimes, a player (or a player’s manager) goes from one organization to another, and proves that he is what he is: his potential has peaked, regardless of his surroundings. Most MLB players who fall into the latter, however, are not given a very long leash on their careers, at this level.

    • @wildwestLV: My sense is that the Cubs boards were pretty ugly. There were disgusting, racist incidents that marked his departure. I’m not trying to tar all Chicago fans that way (some of my best friends are Cubs and White Sox fans). But there is little doubt that Baker was unpopular [despite having taken the Cubs farther than previous managers] in Chicago – beyond the merits.

      In San Francisco, Baker remains popular to this day with the fans there. He receives lusty applause at ATT and their spring training games. Baker left San Francisco over a financial dispute with the management. It’s widely reported that Baker over-played his hand, asked for too much and they let him go.

  33. Clearly, there is enough talent on this team to contend.

    What’s bothersome is that the little things that beat the Reds are the things that happen consistently. This is the kind of system that has allowed that to permeate throughout the games. It’s almost like you can call it in advance. The 6th inning comes, pitcher gets 0-2 count, then 2 foul balls, finally ends up nibbling away until he walks the guy. Next guy gets a double, Dusty waddles to the mound … here we go again.

    No WAY should Allen Craig have gotten that first pitch. It’s not like the guy is a rookie.

  34. There are games when the Dusty apologists have valid points they can make, tonight’s game is not one of those games.

  35. I heard the meltdown on the radio, from highly biased Cardinal broadcasters, didn’t see it, so that might color my statement. While I agree that Parra should have been brought in to face Beltran, I don’t have much confidence in him and Hoover to pitch against the toughest hitters. I welcome dissenting opinions on that, they both had very good runs.

    This loss reminds me way too much of the miserable loss to the Cardinals in St. Louis on Sunday June 9. Then too the Reds led by 2 going into the 7th inning, only to have the bullpen blow it. That was the nite Hoover gave up 6 runs in 2/3 of an inning in the 10th (3 of them coming in on Holliday’s grand slam against Patch).

  36. In late situations with a slim lead and runners already on base, I like Sam LeCure the best among the Reds set up relievers. In any case, let’s look at how Sam has been used since his save against the DBacks.

    On Friday, it’s 3-3 in the 8th vs. the Brewers, and Simon is brought in, gives up 3 runs and the Reds lose 6-4. No sign of Sam. On Sunday, the Reds trail by 3 late, so Sam comes in to pitch 1 and third useless innings. Tonite, game on the line with 2 tough righties coming up, Sam’s not brought in. With the way Hoover has pitched, I’m not going to 2nd guess that specific move. But the pattern is hard to comprehend.

  37. Baker should have never been brought back after last year’s playoff collapse. This team needs a new approach and a new voice. I would fire Baker and Jacoby this off season and offer Barry Larkin the manager job and hire Eric Davis or Joe Morgan as the hitting coach. Bryan Price is other guy who I would love to be the manager.

  38. I’m going to reiterate a point I made above. I think there’s a ton of evidence indicating Dusty isn’t willing to work very hard at this job. I don’t mean to suggest he’s a lazy person in general or that he never took managing seriously, but I think he’s reached the point in his career where he’s little more than a highly-paid fan. Sure, he cares about the guys and he wants the team to win, but he’s not willing to put too much effort into it. There are zillions of things he does that lead me to this conclusion, but the decision to insert Choo at the top of the order in this game is really all the evidence anyone should ever need. Why did Choo lead off in this game? He was hitting .190 against lefties and was 1 for his last 11. So why IS he leading off, when probably anyone else on the team (including Leake) would have made more sense. So why Choo? I assume Baker would say something about “roles” or “consistency,” but the fact is that Choo has been rather lousy in that role, so that answer makes no sense, because Choo has been lousy in that role against lefties. We have no idea how Mesoraco or Votto might do in that role, because of course Baker wouldn’t dream of it. Heisey has been hitting quite well lately, especially against lefites, and defensively you lose nothing, so why wasn’t he in center? I’m left to think that either Baker is literally too stupid to understand what a .190 average means, or he’s just too lazy to spend time thinking carefully about what a better lineup might look like. I do think he’s smart enough to understand .190, so what other explanation can there be other than he’s not really willing to work very hard at this job? People will say it’s a “philosophy,” but when your philosophy makes no sense, doesn’t work very well, and you NEVER bother to question it, that’s laziness. Everyone knows it’s much easier to just keep doing what you’re used to doing. It’s much easier to fall back on established routines than to figure out what’s really working for you and what’s not. It takes effort to question your own assumptions and challenge yourself to be better. Baker prefers not to do that. He prefers to write Choo’s name at the top of the order because it saves him the trouble of having to think very hard, even in a game that everyone is labeling “important.” It’s one of MANY examples I could cite, but this alone ought to be enough to convince people that Baker lacks a seriousness of purpose and just wants the wins to come effortlessly.

    • @Baseclogger: You are entitled to disagree with his decision-making (as I often do myself) but I don’t think you’re going to convince many people here that Dusty doesn’t work hard or simply doesn’t care. His job depends on winning games. He knows this. He has made no inclination that he wants to quit managing, so obviously he’s gonna try to win every game and make long postseason runs.

      If I had my way, Dusty wouldn’t be managing this team next season. But its not for the reasons you stated above. (Okay, I *would* like to see some more arguing with the umpires out of him too…)

      • @dc937:

        My feelings on Dusty are well known, but at this point his job does not “depend on winning games”. He has a contract that pays him no matter whether they win any games or not. He still gets paid through the end of that deal.

        Now, I’m not saying he doesn’t want to win or care about winning. I don’t know if this is the same way he managed in SF & CHI.

        But am as frustrated as anyone by his many unexplainable lineup decisions, many of his pitching decisions, and by this team making the same mistakes in the field and on the base paths OVER and OVER again, when it doesn’t seem that there is any accountability required.

    • @Baseclogger: So if Dusty doesn’t agree with your position regarding whether Choo should bat against left-handers then Dusty is acting lazy. Makes a lot of sense. Dusty and the rest of us have to agree with you on this instance, or we are being lazy or acting like morons. There cannot possibly be any sound positions regarding this issue other than the one you provide. Geez, you sound as narrow-minded as the Dusty that you characterize.

      • @standage: If Dusty doesn’t agree with ME, that’s one thing. But what Dusty doesn’t agree with is mathematics and common sense. Choo is mathematically a particularly bad choice to lead off that game given his season-long statistics. He also hasn’t been hitting very well of late. And he recently committed one of the most inexplicably boneheaded running gaffes we’ve seen all year, suggesting maybe he’s suffering a little mental fatigue. There are other people who make more sense to lead off — both in mathematical terms and in how-have-they-been-hitting-lately terms. Put those things together and there isn’t a single mathematical or logical reason to have Choo leading off. But Dusty did it, just as he’s done it practically every other game this year. Can you offer ANY explanation other than he didn’t feel like putting the effort into figuring out a more intelligent lineup? Good luck with that.

        • @Baseclogger: See Steve’s response to your post above where he gives an extremely sound set of explanations regarding Dusty’s approach to lineup construction. Steve says it as well as I could ever say it. As Steve says, it’s fine to disagree with Dusty’s approach but you cross the line when you start accusing Dusty of acting lazy or stupid.

        • @Baseclogger: These, for starters:

          1. That he didn’t want to insult his lead-off hitter.
          2. That he didn’t want to shuffle his line-up at the start of a big series.
          3. That he thought Heisey wouldn’t handle Lyons’ curve ball well
          4. That Choo still walks and takes HBP when he’s facing a lefty
          5. The the starting pitcher might only be in for a few innings

          I’m not saying I agree with any of these (I don’t, I would have not played Choo, probably). But it’s just unfair to say Baker “didn’t feel like putting the effort into figuring out” the lineup.

          • @Steve Mancuso: I don’t think it’s unfair to have the opinion that he does not understand the mathematics underlying modern lineup construction theory. That doesn’t make him “lazy” or “stupid,” since the word “stupid” seems to imply willful negligence in the cases we discuss. Of course Dusty wants to win, I just don’t think he understands the numbers.

          • @Steve Mancuso: As far as I’m concerned, there’s really no difference between saying “this is a belief I’ve held for a long time and I’m not going to question it” and not being willing to exert mental effort. Baker has been going with this same philosophy all season, and what has it produced? Choo has continued to be a lousy leadoff hitter against lefties. The team has been lousy against lefties in general. His philosophy has not worked, but he sticks with it. What DO you call that, if not mentally lazy? You certainly can’t say it’s the mark of someone who really spends a lot of time searching for a solution to a problem he’s faced all year, can you? Would a reasonably intelligent person who spends, say, an hour each day thinking about his lineup decide that Choo is the best choice against almost every left handed pitcher? It’s just not possible.

          • @Baseclogger: Baker likely doesn’t perceive his approach as not working. The bottom line to him isn’t whether Choo hits left handed pitchers more than Heisey. That isn’t the bottom line. It’s winning. Baker may feel that taking Choo out against LHP would hurt his performance against RHP. Baker’s approach is about managing a group of people, not shuffling numbers.

            Again, I don’t agree with it. But you break this down into such oversimplified criteria. Baker produced a 97-win team last year. His team this year is 15+ games over .500. I doubt he shares your view that his approach isn’t working. He probably views his career as being largely one of success. As uncharitable as you are being toward him right now, you’d probably say he’s been a failure. So it’s not surprising that you don’t see eye-to-eye with how he manages a team.

            Lineup decisions are details. Guys like him look at the big picture. His entire philosophy of established roles depends on it paying off over the course of a six or seven month season. He’s convinced it works.

  39. I’m going to predict it right here and now. The Reds pull a Giants, back into the playoffs, everyone writes them off, but they find a way to win it all. I’m predicting the spark for this team comes in the one game wild card game. Someone crushes a homer, or maybe Homer throws a shutout, but that’s my prediction. Because at the moment there definitely isn’t a spark, not even much of a pulse.

  40. I’m reading the book “The Wire to Wire Reds” by John Erardi and Joel Luckhaupt. I got it because it was recommended on this site. The forward by Marty Brennaman talks about Lou Piniella and so many of his quotes made me think and compare them to Dusty. He talks about how Lou showed with his actions that no single individual was more important than pulling out all stops to win the game. How some managers in regard to pinch hitting would say “I can’t pinch hit for him. He’s a regular player. If I pinch hit for him I lose him.” (I wondered if he was quoting Dusty there.) Lou didn’t care about things like that and the players knew it. Another time he talked about the players psyche and how if they knew their manager was going to go out and fight and defend them that they would bust their butt every second but if they know they have a guy sitting in the dugout who’s going to be passive and they are hung out to dry arguing by themselves they aren’t going to care as much. Regardless of how you feel about Marty he does know the players and how they feel better than those of us who post here.

    Dusty might be the nicest guy in Cincinnati but I sure wish the Reds had a Lou Piniella type in the dugout instead of him.

    I think I’ll just depend on Redlegnation to find out how they do tonight. I don’t think I’ll watch. Like I heard a fan say at a playoff game last year – I just wish I didn’t care so much. But I do.

  41. I’ve backed Baker this year but last night is another example of when we really need to win a game, this team falls short. I hope you’re right Latos_intollerant (clever name) but I have zero faith in Dusty during must-win games. Remind me again how many World Series he’s won?

  42. After the game, I asked myself this question – Why would I expect a team that is 0-1-1 in its last two series against the Brewers to beat the Cardinals in St. Louis?

    For a whole variety of reasons, including the injuries and coaching, this team is falling short of its potential and is probably exactly what they’ve shown themselves to be – a wildcard team. If we get Pittsburgh in the wildcard game, I like our chances. If it’s St. Louis, then I don’t know if I’ll even be able to bring myself to watch it.

    • @Kyle Farmer: I don’t know if you could expect the Reds to win, but based on the Reds 3-4 in two series against the Brewers, you wouldn’t necessarily expect the Cardinals to win. The Cards went 3-3 in two recent series against the Cubs, and went into last nite 41-36 in their last 77 games.

      The Cubs BTW have been playing a whole lot worse than the Brewers recently.

  43. At this point my best case scenario is we host Pittsburgh in the wildcard game, play Atlanta in the division series and hope the Dodgers knock off the Cards. We just can’t compete with the Cards. It has to be a bit mental at this point. But there are some serious flaws in our roster. As well as Cozart and Frazier came through tonight, the left side of our infield has a combined .236 BA. Choo is so inept at hitting left handed pitching that its gotten to the point where I don’t even know why you’d play him on days when a lefty is starting. If rather just sit him and let Heisey start and lead off, then have Choo off the bench for a righty reliever late in the game. And then there’s Votto. We can all worship at the altar of his OBP, but the fact is he’s the highest paid position player in the NL and he’s 5th in WAR behind Carlos Gomez and Paul Goldschmidt. He might not crack 80 RBIs this year, and while I am totally on board with that not being a great indicator of a players worth, it does seem to point to the fact that he probably shouldn’t be batting 3rd with this roster around him. And the pitching has me really worried. Assuming our playoff rotation is Latos/Arroyo/Bailey (even though it should be Bailey/Latos/Leake if you ask me) then we’ll be tossing coins on Bad-rroyo showing up in some really pivotal games and I just don’t trust out bullpen as far as I can throw them. Although I can throw them a lot farther now that Broxton’s out (See? I still have a sense of humor).

    • @eric nyc: You would put both Leake and Arroyo in front of Cingrani in the playoff rotation? Maybe you’re just saying Dusty will, which I agree with 100%.

      Does burning a pitcher in the wildcard game mean that they will have to go with a four man rotation for the NLDS? I haven’t looked at the possible schedules.

      • @Kyle Farmer: Cingrani has only been marginally better than Leake this year statistically and the fact is he’s a rookie. A rookie who just got injured at the end of August. Also a rookie who you probably couldn’t count on to go further than 5 innings in a post season game. Granted, you’ve got a beefed up bullpen for the post season (including possibly Cueto), but I’d still take the guy with 3 years of big league experience who’s having a great year. I still think Cingrani’s numbers are a little inflated just because rookie pitchers like him sneak up on guys who have never seen him before so his first couple months were against guys with little or no film on him. Not that it matters. Neither one of them will start in the post season. There’s no way Dusty puts Arroyo in the pen.

        • @eric nyc: Management won’t start him, but Cingrani (if healthy and back in a groove) is a better matchup against the Cardinals. They’ve had problems against LHed pitchers, and Cingrani misses bats. Cingrani did beat them in the last series with the Cards.

          Accepting reality, I’d be happy with Cingrani in a relief role. I also hope Cueto can return in a relief role. And Marshall of course. Having any one of them in the pen would have helped last nite.

    • @eric nyc: Big thumbs up. Only thing I would disagree with is the playoff rotation. If either Cingrani or Cueto are back from the DL, they need to be starting playoff games. But the way this team is going, the rotation will look like this: 1.) Latos – see ya next year.

  44. At what are the players held accountable? Where is Mr. MVP, where are the pitchers makeing the pitch when they need to? This team needs to look in the mirror and see the problems start there….its not all Dusty or Walt or the umpires…

    • @dn4192: As much as the grand slam was the final punch in the gut, the pitch that really lost the game was Leake hanging one for Holliday in the 3rd. We were up 4-0 and then Leake went out and had a 5 pitch inning. We looked like we were going to steamroll the game. Then in the 3rd he let two runners on with 1 out and Holliday comes to the plate. Holliday hits into more DP’s than any player in the NL. I would have rather Leake walked him on 4 pitches in the dirt than throw him anything above his knees. What does he do? Grooves a lazy fastball right down the middle of the plate at belt level. Yeah, the grand slam gave them the final scoring advantage, but tossing a reliever into a bases loaded situation is a different animal than having your starting pitcher who’s on a roll with a big lead making a dumb mistake in the 3rd inning.

      • @eric nyc: I agree that without the mistake pitch to Holliday, the Reds win the game, probably easily. But I’ll add that my optimistic projection for Leake was going 6 and allowing 3 runs. He did accomplish that.
        He pitched well otherwise thru 6, getting his ground ball outs.

        He was left out too long in the 7th, never should have faced Beltran. Dusty knows by now how quickly Leake can lose it, especially approaching 100 pitches. Steve M. covered this topic above.

  45. My thoughts after last night were, “I wonder if Dusty learned anything from tonight’s game?”

    He left Leake in too long, bringing his reliever in with men on 2nd & 3rd with a 2 run lead. Basically, he put his reliever in a precarious situation where he would have to be perfect to prevent the score from being tied.

    Unfortunately, I have to admit Dusty does not seem to have good ability to look ahead in game situations when it comes to managing pitching changes. Remember game 3 of last year’s playoffs? This is still just a regular season game. The Reds could still win the division and will most likely make the playoffs either way. But when playoff time comes, I do not have faith in Dusty’s in game management and will remain concerned about how it affects this team’s chance to become World Champions until proven otherwise.

    • @MikeC: If he hasn’t learned by now that Leake can lose it quickly, especially nearing 100 pitches, then when will he learn it ?

      Steve M. commented above on Dusty’s bogus explanation. I added that Beltran is more dangerous LHed, you want to turn him around if you can.

  46. One additional comment: Choo is terrible hitting against left handed pitching. Why not let Heisey get some starts against LH pitching? Can the results be much worse? It doesn’t seem like a huge gamble to try it when you factor in Heisey’s strong fielding.

    Heisey can get in some games in CF while Ludwick continues to get some playing time.

  47. Hoover has gone from “lights out” to “serve ’em up on a platter”. Could we be seeing the effects of Baker overusing (abusing) him early in the season?

  48. 1. I think it would have been a mistake to bring in Parra to pitch to Beltran. Yes, Beltran this year has better splits against righties, but the flip side is that Parra is awful against righties. He yields a .930 OPS against RHs, and a .536 against LH. Further, Parra is typically lifted against the better RH hitters, so even the .930 is understated. I think, then, that Leake (even at 100 pitches) was the better option against Beltran. Dusty couldn’t very well tell reporters last night that “I sure as hell wasn’t going to use Manny Parra against a good right-handed hitter,” but that is almost certainly what his thinking was. Maybe the better choice would have been to use Hoover strictly against Beltran.

    The real option, however, was to bring in Chapman. In 1978, all 26 major league managers would have brought in their stopper in the 7th inning last night, because that was the precise point on which the game hinged. In 2013, all 30 major league managers would have held Chapman in reserve for the save. Insanity; the team that ditches the closer role will have an instant competitive advantage over every other team. In the famous Bucky Dent game in 1978, which I attended and kept score, the Yankees (with a 2-run lead) removed Ron Guidry with 1 on and 1 out in the bottom of the 7th, and Gossage got out of the inning and recorded a 8-out save. In other words, it was the exact same situation as last night, except it would never occur to any of the current 30 MLB managers to use their stud in the crucial situation.

    2. This team is not “built to win this year.” The overriding weakness is bad right-handed hitting–at an Astro/Marlin level. Every lineup twist that Dusty has come up with, to me, is an attempt to get around this weakness. (He is nuts, however, not to platoon Heisey with Choo against LH pitchers.) Cozart, if he had hit the way he did in 2011 and the way he has the last week or so, was the best option in the 2-hole. Alas, he didn’t; Frazier hasn’t been able to adjust to the pitchers’ inevitable adjustments; and Phillips is pretty much a league-average offensive player miscast as a cleanup hitter.

    3. Last night I figured the Reds would throw in the towel on the season. But if they win behind Latos today, then . . .

    • @Big Ed:
      Another factor to consider if Heisey started against LH pitchers. Imagine if you had Choo on the bench when the opposing manager replaces the starter with a RH reliever. Now you can pinch hit a player with a .400+ OBP against RH pitching. Depending upon the situation, Choo could take the field afterward with Heisey sliding to left to set up the late game defense.

    • @Big Ed: Excellent point about the Parra vs. Beltran match up. I argued for bringing in Parra above, but during the game last nite had the same thought as you about bringing in Parra – righties clobber him.

      More interesting, I had the same thought about bringing in Chapman last nite. That would have turned Beltran around against a pitcher who gets righties out. And then two lefties coming up. A good chance that the Cardinals don’t score at all in the 7th if Chapman is brought in. The season he was in the pen but Cordero was the closer, he had great value in being used in this way.

    • @Big Ed: That is an excellent point. It’s pretty easy to see the Chapman shutting down that inning and keeping the 2 run lead at least into the 8th, if not into the 9th. I’m totally happy with Lecure, Hoover, or Simon getting a 3 out save with a 2 run lead.

      That was the play last night, but not a single manager would do it.

    • @Big Ed: Big, big applause re: Chapman in the seventh. Exactly. I was screaming about this when the season started – the only way keeping Chapman in the pen makes any sense is if you’re willing to use him in Gossage fashion. Otherwise, he is a waste. The role of the closer is the biggest fraud ever perpetrated on Major League Baseball. As Paul Daugherty has written many times, this would have been the PERFECT year for a manager to go against the book. Not with this manager, sadly.

  49. I’m just getting tired of seeing our players seem to play with no life in them. Too many times too many games. From what I saw from the Brewers last series, I would almost rather take their starting 8 and switch each one player for player. They seemed to play much harder than we did.

    Does the Bakerman care if we win games? Sure. I just don’t think he has any idea how to win them, at least no idea anymore. That’s one reason why the teams he’s been with, they would have to go find better players for the Bakerman. Why would the Bakerman play Harris so many times before Frazier last season? Why would he let Homer stay in the game when the Bakerman came in to pull him? The Bakerman may care about winning games, but he cares what his players want more, to keep them happy, to be a players manager. Homer wanted to stay in the game; the Bakerman gave in. He wanted to play Harris. Why? “We need to get him going.” What, we didn’t need to get Frazier going, our 3rd baseman this season? He was willing to risk the game to keep Homer in to finish it. He was willing to risk the game to play the worse player. In the meantime, other managers are out there actually developing talent.

    I can’t help thinking that we have the physical potential to be an outstanding club. But, we are missing things like a clubhouse environment, a fun but business-like environment, leadership, etc., some of the more “softer” aspects of what makes a team, things that I just don’t see the Bakerman being able to provide, at least not anymore.

    I had a bad impression when I heard Chris Welsh talk about pre-game that the locker room was feeling loose. Loose? Possibly the biggest series of the year, and we are loose? Sure, that’s better than being tight. But, how about an attitude of coming in to do a job, getting some work done, studying what adjustments to do I need to make, where would our best/worst matchups be, etc. Shoot, I remember the Bakerman taking Parra out for a RH pitcher to face a RH batter, when the RH batter’s stats show he bats worse against LF pitchers.

    • @steveschoen: I’d love to think the Bakerman has stats like these. But, then, if he did, why didn’t he use it?

      • @steveschoen: Speaking of interesting stats, LeCure is tougher against lefties than righties, especially this season. You would never know that, with the way he is used. Or not used, actually.

  50. I was going to throw out a couple of thoughts on the game and this thread, and here comes Big Ed with most of the same thoughts. So now we’re building some momentum:

    1. I was quite surprised to see Choo in the leadoff spot. Not only does starting Heisey make sense from a statistical perspective (a LOT of sense?), it sends the Piniella message that no player or role is more important than the team or the win.

    2. Hoover just finished a run of 23+ innings without allowing a run (ironically, by giving up a grand slam) so I wasn’t too upset seeing him come in the game, and Parra is supposed to be able to get lefties out. So I don’t fault Dusty Baker for those decisions even though in hindsight they were ineffective. But I would have LOVED to see Chapman in that 2 on, 1 out spot. Let Sam Lecure finish the game if need be, but use Chapman in that highest of leverage situations.

    3. Was Bryan Price jumping up and down, trying to get someone’s attention to say “First pitch breaking ball to this guy – he’s a first pitch dead red monster”? Somebody must know that’s the wrong pitch to Craig in that situation.

    4. Positives: Clutch hits from Cozart (twice) and Frazier. They’ll be needed (along with Ludwick and Phillips) if the Reds have any chance to win the division. Which, for the record they still do. What will this board look like if Latos pitches great tonight and Bailey outduels Wainwright on Wednesday?

    5. This probably says more about me as a fan than it does about either the Reds or the Cardinals, but how is it that both teams are in the heat of a pennant race, both have purportedly good lineups, and yet there is not a single player on the Reds that I expect to hit a home run in a critical game? There’s nobody in the Reds lineup that I would fear as an opposing manager, player, or fan but the Cardinals have at least two, maybe four – Holliday and Beltran for sure, and Craig (though more as a power hitter than a home run hitter), and Adams (though more as an all or nothing beast of a guy rather than a professional hitter). Where are those guys coming up from the Reds farm system? It’s been a long time since Votto and Bruce burst on the scene, and Votto seems so worried about not making an out that he doesn’t seem to instill fear the way he has in the past. I’d be curious to see the scouting reports on him now…

    6. Baseball is still the best reality show going. Despite all the gloom and doom here I’ll be watching tonight and expecting a win behind Latos, especially with a case of the red (Reds?) ass working in that clubhouse. And I won’t be surprised if Bailey has a really good game in him for Wednesday. So I’ll be watching and it will be fun. And I’ll be rooting hard. What else am I supposed to do – start caring about college football? Jeez. Go Reds.

    • @Chris DeBlois: Great point on number 5. I was stuck in amongst the Cards fans last night and as soon as Leake came back out for the 7th I conceded the game. You could tell a real difference in each of the Cardinals batters (with the exception of Jay). It was like they truly UNDERSTOOD the concept that the pitcher is the one who is under pressure in those situations. The Reds, on the other hand, seem to put all the pressure on themselves at the plate. Coaching.

    • @Chris DeBlois: Great points, especially number 2. When Chapman was in the pen and Cordero was closing, Chapman would be used in situations like that. Or even bring him in to face Beltran. He probably shuts them down without a run scoring, and LeCure can get the save from there.

    • @Chris DeBlois: I disagree on #5, in that I think it’s pretty clear that opposing teams still fear Votto. Say what you will about him being worried about not making outs, he still leads the team in hits, walks, runs scored, and slugging percentage.

      I think the real thing that you’re feeling in #5 is that Jay Bruce has hit.241/.315/.421 in the second half, and .210/.297/.358 in August. That’s why our lineup feels like it is missing an enforcer, because it is. Jay had a really nice first half, but he’s totally collapsed now, and without him, it’s Votto, Choo and a bunch of good but not great guys.

  51. They are who they are at this point. A good team with some persistent flaws that would be left just outside the playoffs if this weren’t the wild card era. But we’ll get in because of the expanded playoffs and most likely get schooled by one of the several better NL teams (LA, STL, or ATL).

  52. The Reds are equipped to play post-season baseball but they are not equipped to win anything. I think my expectations are consistent with those realities.
    Doesn’t mean I don’t care about it. I don’t like football.

  53. You know what I hate? The way the Reds handled Leake/Chapman in spring made some small part of me dislike Mike Leake a little bit… not his fault at all, but now that he’s putting on a clinic in why FIP works, I get extra annoyed for no reason other than wanting to say “told you so” to the organization for putting on the dog and pony show in the first place. A team scores 6 runs, they need to win.

    • @Matt WI: The Chapman decision has been gnawing at me lately. As I hear the analysts discuss the starting pitching rotations for the post-season, they hone in on how many elite starters each team has. The Dodgers, Tigers, Rays, have several. I know there is disagreement about Chapman’s potential as a starter, but I’ll side with Bryan Price on this one, believing that with appropriate development, Chapman could be an elite starter. Look how far along Cingrani (another hard-throwing lefty with little more than a fastball) has come this year, and Chapman is WAY ahead of him in terms of development and experience. You need elite starters in the post-season to shut down the big offenses. As much as I like Mike Leake, he’s not that guy.

      A friend of mine wondered out loud yesterday if it was still too late to get Chapman ready for the post-season rotation.

      It looks like Chapman’s underdevelopment will go down as one of the biggest failings of this organization’s history. Four years now and we still don’t know if the guy could develop his slider and change-up with the right work.

      • @Steve Mancuso: After strongly advocating that Chapman start for years, Price was oddly quiet about it this spring. Of course there’s a good chance management told him to shut up. But ever since Chapman said he wanted to close, Price has said nothing about his starting. We don’t know everything, Price could feel, given Chapman’s reputed “mental complexity”, to back off from his starting for now (still hope for 2014 ?).

        Chapman could still be valuable out of the pen, if only he were brought in when the game was on the line. He would have matched up excellently against Beltran, Carpenter, Jay last nite. And if the Cards don’t score in the 7th, I believe the Reds win.

      • @Steve Mancuso: 2011 will always be a painful year for the Reds in my memory because of this. It makes me wish that the Reds had missed the post-season in 2010. Maybe Dusty would have been fired, but at the very least, they would have stuck with the program on Chapman.

        Instead, Dusty got obsessed with having Chapman in the bullpen during the stretch run of 2010, and wanted to have him relieve again the next year. In 2012 we had 5 healthy starters and 3 injured relievers, so you can almost understand why they wanted him in the pen that year. But that misses the point, the year to do it was 2011.

        In 2010, Chapman had started a half a season in AAA, and then pitched a good amount of innings in relief. So he was ready to be stretched out further. Then injuries (some in spring training) led the Reds to give 20 starts to the combination of Dontrelle, Lecure, Maloney, and Reineke. And of course the Reds had a losing record for the season.

        Those 20 starts should have gone to Chapman. It would have cost the Reds nothing and they would have answered the questions once and for all.

  54. I realize that people have said it before but I give Heisey a shot in center against left handers. Only way Choo gets on against a lefty is with a walk.

    Parra has done a great job… more than we expected but why is zach duke not up here. you can find a way to get him on the 40.

    This team has made more mental mistakes that any reds team in a long time. choo not sliding on sunday… votto not getting lead runner last night. leake not taking his time on double play ball with molina slowly heading to first. This is the fault of coaching and not holding guys accountable.

    i make sure i have bryan price signed long term and i look hard for a new direction at the end of the year.

  55. At least I was spared seeing the game, try as I might, by MLB’s mind numbing blackout rules. Check out Iowa, all lit up like San Francisco:

    http://cdn.fangraphs.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/MLBBlackoutMap.png

    I’m blacked out any time the Reds play:
    Cubs
    Cardinals
    Brewers
    White Sox
    Twins
    Royals

    I get WGN, which doesn’t play many games anymore. I don’t get local channels for any of the rest. I paid a lot of money for MLB.tv. Blacked out. Last night’s game was on ESPN. Blacked out. I tried my last ditch effort of a stream from somewhere in Europe, but it wasn’t working.

    Good riddance, I suppose.

  56. Thoughts–

    –The Reds vehement denials about the Cardinals being in their heads rings a little hollow this morning, doesn’t it?
    –Walks will haunt (two in the 7th)
    –Hoover is a bit too much like Kerry Wood for my taste. Wild in the strike zone and not able to paint the corners. Not a recipe for success against quality hitters. Yes, LeCure was the better option there.
    –The team has played 18 games in a row and they’ve been playing baseball every day for 6 months. To expect them to have a come-to-Jesus soul searching moment after the last two days is simply unrealistic.
    –They either have the talent to do it or they don’t, so let’s cut the crap about the manager instilling a ‘sense of urgency’. yeah, his moves lack urgency, but leave the rah-rah cheerleader stuff to the coaches of sports like football and basketball where getting jacked-up can increase performance. That’s not baseball.

    • @Sultan of Swaff: I made a similar comment about Hoover/LeCure above. Hoover is OK for starting an inning but I don’t like him coming in with the go ahead runs in scoring position and very tough hitters coming up.
      LeCure is better under pressure, is not at all bothered by bases loaded situations, and can strike out the best hitter when he’s on.

      Hoover said that he was afraid to come inside to Craig with the bases loaded, fearing he’d hit him. You can’t think like that.

  57. As Chad commented in the game thread last night, we’ve noticed that the server/site gets overwhelmed when the number of comments for the game approaches about 400. Tonight, we’re going to try starting a new Game Thread after the number of comments reaches about 250 and see if that keeps things up and running at full speed all the way through the exciting finish of the Reds’ win.

  58. I don’t want to see it happen this way, but the Reds could be one of those teams (like the Cardinals last year) that backs into the playoffs as a second wild card team and then is dangerous. Why ? Imagine last nite’s game but with Cingrani, Cueto and Marshall (or any two of those) in the pen. It’s a whole different game, I don’t see the Cardinals coming back late to win.

    • @pinson343: I’ll be ecstatic if just one of Cueto or Marshall is able to play this season. Sadly, I think Marshall will be going under the knife for his shoulder.

  59. Choo’s OBP against lefties: .326
    Heisey’s OBP against lefties: .317

    C’mon, guys. Choo hasn’t been fantastic against LHP, but he’s still the best option on the roster.

    I will refrain from commenting on the general armchair psychology being practiced in so much in this thread, which I am *never* comfortable with – but Votto’s little misadventure last night, though harmless, was troubling. What the heck, JV?

    Still, like I said before the game yesterday, this is essentially a playoff series. And last time I checked, playoff series aren’t won in one game. (Well, except for that new wild card play-in game, but we’ll fall off that bridge when we come to it.) Last night said something about this team. Tonight may well say even more. Go Reds!

    • @RC: Um… no. Not even close. Choo’s OPS against lefties is .541. Heisey’s is .858. Those numbers actually do mean something. On top of that, Choo was 1 for his last 11. Heisey was 3 for his last 11 with a HR and a double. Heisey has hit lefties significantly better all season and has been hitting better in the last week. His defense is just as good as Choo’s, if not better. Heisey starting over Choo is an easy call, and if you’re going to use Choo instead, you need to have a REASON for it. Dusty’s reason is something like “Choo is my guy.” That’s just lazy thinking, plain and simple. That’s a guy who finds it too stressful to consider the possibility that he might be wrong about something.

      • @Baseclogger: Choo is the leadoff hitter. The leadoff hitter’s job is to get on base. Period. Paragraph. I don’t care if he hits .000.

        There’s my reason.

        • @RC: I’ll ignore the absurdity of suggesting a guy who gets on base 5 more times every 1000 plate appearances is somehow worth sacrificing power, and I’ll ignore the fact that Heisey has been reaching base at a much higher rate over the last several games. But if OBP is all that matters, then Mesoraco makes much more sense (.397 OBP against lefties), Frazier makes more sense, Votto makes more sense, and BP makes more sense. So why didn’t one of those guys lead off if the job is to get on base? Now you’re forced to tell me another story, in which there’s more to leading off than JUST getting on base. And eventually you come back to the same place you started: “Choo leads off because Dusty thinks it’s a good idea.” And why does he think so? “He just does.” You’re defending a lazy decision, I’m afraid. The fact that you’re forced to invent reasons that have nothing to do with statistical facts should be telling you something.

          • @Baseclogger: Sorry, I pulled a Dusty there. Of course Choo reaches base NINE more times every 1000 plate appearances. Don’t mean to shortchange him those 4 walks.

          • “The fact that you’re forced to invent reasons that have nothing to do with statistical facts should be telling you something.”

            I did that? No, you attempted to do that for me. I gave only one reason, and it was a statistical one. You helpfully extended my reasoning far beyond what I intended, much less what I actually said. Good luck with that debate style, sir. I’ll waste my time elsewhere.

            “I’m forced to tell you another story” indeed.

    • @RC:
      That’s quite Dustyish logic you are displaying. Heisey can replace Choo as a starter but does not have to assume his spot in the line-up. 858 OPS will help the team a lot more than 541.

  60. “I was telling Joe Morgan you would prefer that guy to be a left-handed batter to make use of that hole over there when the leadoff hitter gets on and a guy that takes pitches for your leadoff guy to steal.”

    That is a word-for-word quote from Dusty as reported by Mark Sheldon. This is how dense the guy is. He has the solution right at his fingertips, in his own brain and he doesn’t even recognize it. Votto is the perfect 2 hole hitter for this team. Just perfect.

    Choo
    Votto
    Phillips
    Bruce
    Ludwick
    Mesoraco
    Frazier
    Cozart

    Now that’s a productive line-up.

  61. I’m surprised more isn’t being made of Brandon Phillips almost run-in (again) with Javier (public enemy #1) Molina. Molina almost tripped Brandon while going after a foul tip. Brandon then patted Molina on the chest protector several times. Was anyone else holding their breath waiting for Molina to go after Brandon for touching him and then for Cueto to run out on the field cletes first, spiking someone other than former Red Jason LaRue this time?

  62. For those who take issue with my analysis that Baker is basically just phoning it in, can anyone tell me ONE thing he does to make this team better? He obviously doesn’t spend much time thinking about lineups, or making sure his players are as focused as they need to be, or working on fundamentals like base-running or situational hitting, or thinking of new and innovative ways of managing. (If I’m wrong and he IS spending time on those things, then he’s absolutely incompetent.) We all know it’s Price who’s working with the pitchers. So what does he DO all day to improve this team? If he’s really working as hard as some people like to imagine, how does he conclude after looking at all the stats and recent performances that Choo is the best guy to lead off last night’s game? How can that possibly be explained other than to say it’s just easier for him to keep going with the same guy at the top of the order to avoid having to think about it every day? It’s mathematically impossible to explain that decision, so you’re left with concluding something about Dusty having a “philosophy” or a “hunch.” As far as I’m concerned, that’s just another way of saying “I’m too lazy to think about these things more than once in a while.” I mean, with all the stats and video replays now available, anyone who sits back and says “I know what’s best, because I learned it 30 years ago” is practically the definition of lazy. He’s like the tenured professor who hasn’t bothered updating his course in 20 years and lets his TAs do all the work. You can call that a “philosophy” of teaching, but I call it laziness.

    • @Baseclogger: I’ve already given several answers to this. Others have pointed out Choo has a higher OBP than Heisey against LHP. Maybe Baker values that more than he does OPS in a leadoff hitter. Unless one of us in the locker room or team area, we would have no idea what Baker (or any other manager) does during the day. Meetings with players/coaches, batting practice, looking at film, etc. are all things Baker could be doing. He claims that he spends a lot of time thinking about his lineups. Just because you (or I) don’t agree with him doesn’t mean that he doesn’t agonize over his choices every day.

      Look, I don’t think it’s particularly controversial to say that Baker is an old-school manager who is set in his old-fashioned ways and doesn’t seem to have much curiosity or interest in changing the way he’s managed for 20+ years. And I think that statement basically makes your essential point.

      I don’t understand why you feel the need to push it (repeatedly) to such an intensely personal level and attack his work ethic and intelligence – when you don’t have the slightest bit of first-hand information about it at all. And I think that’s being really unfair to a person who I think passionately cares about his team, his job and winning.

      • @Steve Mancuso: Well said. And that comes from a guy who would almost be willing to miss the playoffs this year if it meant getting a new manager.

      • @Steve Mancuso: And as to why I feel the need to make this case? Because nobody else is making it, that’s why. When Baker first got this job I was among the few (at least on the blog I was paying attention to at that time) who was highly critical of him — I said he made some of the dumbest moves I’d ever seen and he had no business managing any team — and I got a ton of flack for it. People RUSHED to defend him. I mean, they came out of the woodwork to explain how brilliant he is, and how his record clearly demonstrated his brilliance. People wondered why I was getting so bothered by it. NOW they understand. Now a lot of them are actually more upset about him than I am. Baker is phoning it in, and somebody needs to call him (no pun intended) on it.

        • @Baseclogger: You might want to cool your jets a little on the argument that no one here has been critical of Baker’s managing style other than you. Since you post here anonymously, it’s hard to know when you started reading. I started saying Baker wasn’t the right person to manage the Reds in 2009. I’m not sure what other blogs you frequented where people “rushed to defend” Dusty Baker, but it wasn’t here.

          Just because you aren’t finding many buyers for your claim that Baker is lazy, stupid and indifferent doesn’t mean people here don’t question Baker’s managing. Because obviously we do. In fact, if anything, your wild accusations have caused people like me to feel the need to come to Baker’s defense.

          • @Steve Mancuso: I’m not sure what you’re trying to accomplish here, Steve. I thought the purpose of this blog was to discuss the Reds. To hear different viewpoints. I’m staying well within the bounds of the rules, and I don’t think I’m overwhelming the site with too many posts. So why are you so determined to get me to stop? I think that’s an even better question than the one you’re posing.

          • @Baseclogger: Nobody is forced to respond to me, you know. And most of my posts here have been responses to responses. I’ve only posted a few comments that weren’t responses to other people. Admittedly they were long posts filled with serious accusations, but why is that a bad thing? Why would you try to discourage that? If people don’t want to discuss it, they can just skip over it and eventually I’ll stop saying anything.

          • @Baseclogger: I’m not trying to get you to stop commenting. You’re generally one of the most thoughtful commenters at the site. I’m just responding to you. The only place where I said you should slow down is when you started attacking others here for not having your view of Dusty Baker.

            “No one else is making the argument” is not about the Reds, it’s about the people who write here. “People RUSHED to defend him” again is not about the Reds, it’s about the fans.

            I only said you should be careful when you characterize the opinions of other fans and people who post here. As far as your opinions about the Reds – in this case Dusty Baker – if you’re going to continue to repost the same comment, don’t you expect people to continue to answer them?

          • @Steve Mancuso: You said you didn’t understand why I was posting these comments, so I gave you the reason, and the reason was that nobody else has made these observations, and I felt they should be made. That’s not an attack on anyone any more than it’s an “attack” to post any opinion about anything. You (and others) started making it personal. I was talking about Dusty, and then some of you (you in particular) started questioning my motives, as if that’s somehow relevant.

  63. Heisey’s OPS is 300 points higher than Choo’s against lefties, and he’s been hitting better than Choo lately. Mesoraco’s OBP is 70 points higher than Choo’s. There’s no explanation for Choo leading off other than “I didn’t feel like messing with it, because this is how I do things.” You can call that “old school” if you prefer, but I see no difference between “I stick with whatever I learned 30 years ago and refuse to learn anything new or pay attention to anything anyone is trying to tell me” and mental laziness. As I said above, it’s a lot like the tenured professor who hasn’t updated his syllabus in 20 years and lets his TAs do most of the heavy lifting. They’ll call themselves “old school,” but in fact most of them are just not that interested in teaching. They’re not necessarily lazy in other aspects of their lives, but they’re lazy teachers. They’ve lost interest in improving themselves. Dusty is human, just as they are. He’s made a ton of money and had a great career, and now he’s coasting. I’m not calling him a bad person, I’m saying he’s just not that interested anymore.

    • @Baseclogger: You’re making awfully strong allegations for someone who doesn’t carefully address what other people are saying.

      It could have been as simple as Heisey is a fastball hitter and Lyons is a curve-ball specialist. End of case.

      Baker has, on countless occasions, talked about how specific pitch portfolios affect his lineup (and pinch hitting) choices.

      To say there is “no explanation” other than the straw arguments you create and Baker is lazy is just wrong.

      • @Steve Mancuso: As to your claim that I’m not carefully addressing what others are saying, I think I do a better job of that than most. As I’ve repeatedly said, I’m aware Baker will offer some justification of what he does. But if it’s a bad justification, it suggest a lack of thought. He’s been offering justifications all year, and all year he’s continued running Choo out there against lefties (almost always leading off), and almost all year it’s failed. So at some point if he keeps offering the same kinds of explanations, I’m going to say he’s just phoning it in. It simply can’t be that EVERY game against a lefty Choo just happens to be the better choice than Heiesey, but almost every game that’s what Baker settles on. How you can think he’s really giving this matter any serious thought is beyond me.

        • @Baseclogger: Yes, you are more careful than most about addressing other people’s arguments directly. Absolutely. But at least today, you’re also pushing some pretty personal and ugly conclusions about Dusty Baker.

          As I said way above, guys who manage like Dusty Baker have an approach that they view as successful where they focus on managing people through establishing roles and getting out of the way. It means they do value lineup continuity – but as a means to a broader end. Maybe it does get some fewer hitting points out of the leadoff spot some nights. But I’m sure Baker would say that platooning is disruptive to continuity. That means you give Choo bats vs. LHP to help him perform better against RHP. So it’s not as simple as just who is the best in this individual spot. At least that’s the way Baker and people like him (Jim Leyland is another) manage.

          Managers like Joe Maddon take a different view. They manipulate their lineups every night. Maddon moves his players around the field and up and down the lineup, wherever he thinks it gives the Rays a small edge. He thinks the benefits of established roles are outweighed by these accumulated edges he can squeeze out by tinkering.

          I agree with Maddon, strongly. I don’t agree with Baker’s approach. But that doesn’t mean I don’t respect his view. He’s been a highly successful player and manager over several decades and his approach has been used by many other managers with success.

          It’s where you cross the line and make the — unfounded — attacks personal that you lose me.

          • @Steve Mancuso: On a daily basis this blog is loaded with attacks on Dusty Baker’s intelligence and commitment. On a daily basis there are calls for him to be fired. The editors themselves have been known to attack his sensibilities from time to time. I am offering a new way of looking at it. I’m not questioning his IQ or his character. I’m saying he’s reached a point in his career where he just doesn’t want to work very hard anymore. That’s a pretty common thing in life. Surely you’ve known people who allow inertia to take over their work lives? Surely you’ve known people who start daydreaming about retirement and their productivity drops? Surely you’ve known seniors in high school who stop doing all their homework because they’ve already been accepted into the college of their choice? I’m basically accusing Dusty Baker of being a normal human being and doing what many normal human beings do at this stage of their career. Why THIS would be so upsetting, as opposed to the daily attacks on his IQ or common sense (many of which have come from me, ironically) is rather odd. My hunch is that I’ve touched a nerve because what I’m saying is actually at least plausible, whereas it’s not really plausible that Baker is literally a moron. Perhaps it’s the plausibility of my attack that makes it so uncomfortable. I assume you’ll disagree, but then I wonder why you’ve never told me to cool my jets when I call Baker a moron?

          • @Baseclogger: Fair enough. I went back and reread all your comments on this thread. I’m still not comfortable with characterizing Baker as someone who “doesn’t want to work very hard anymore.” But I recognize you aren’t pushing the extreme line.

            Honestly, the comments here about Baker being stupid or a moron really sicken me. In my ideal for a blog, all those comments would be deleted. Along with the personal attacks on players. I have deleted a few of them in the past, especially the ones that seem particularly personal.

            Every one of us, me included, too easily slip across the line from (A) that was a stupid decision, to (B) that person is stupid. I try to rationalize that when most people make comments like “Baker is a moron” that they really think his managing decisions were wrong, not that they really are saying the person is a moron, which he clearly, obviously isn’t.

            I suppose the reason I engaged your comments so thoroughly this morning is that I attributed a lot of thoughtfulness to you from your previous posts, and I thought you had veered slightly across the line into (B) that person is stupid.

            You might be right that Baker is phoning it in. But you certainly don’t have any real evidence for it. Not arguing with umpires, lineup decisions, etc. that’s all circumstantial and could be explained by other theories that are at least equally plausible.

          • @Steve Mancuso: This is not meant to further the argument, I’m just asking if certain comments I’ve made have been out of line for this blog. If so, I will cease to make them.

            I made this statement: “I don’t think it’s unfair to have the opinion that he does not understand the mathematics underlying modern lineup construction theory. That doesn’t make him “lazy” or “stupid,” since the word “stupid” seems to imply willful negligence in the cases we discuss. Of course Dusty wants to win, I just don’t think he understands the numbers.”

            As a moderator, is this a fair post? I’m not necessarily calling him stupid, but I do think (my humble opinion) he lacks the mathematical prowess to really understand the sabermetric arguments presented to him.

            Thanks for you opinions.

          • @prjeter: (I’m only speaking for myself here.) I don’t find that line of reasoning offensive. But I’m not exactly sure what you mean. You don’t have to be a math whiz to get this stuff. In most cases it’s more conceptual. Managers don’t have to be able to sit down and figure out FIP. They just need to understand conceptually why it’s better than ERA. They don’t need to know how to calculate OBP, they only have to understand why it’s a better way to evaluate a hitter than looking at RBI.

            Baker doesn’t reject modern baseball ideas because he can’t do math. He rejects them because in his view the old ideas have served him well. He views himself as a successful manager who has always looked for “RBI guys” to bat sixth.

            From times I’ve heard him talk, I actually think Baker is a pretty smart, perceptive guy. I don’t think he has the slightest bit of difficulty understanding the argument that OBP is more important than speed for a lead off hitter. But understanding it is one thing, buying it is another.

          • @Baseclogger: No one has come out and said it explicitly, so I will. I think the main issue is that black people in this country have historically been classified as lazy and stupid as a means of discriminating against them. This has certainly carried over into the sports world, and so I think that that specific characterization is a little bit sensitive.

            Now, I’m not saying that you had any bias whatsoever in your statement, and I think your analogy to a tenured professor is pretty decent actually (I mean, the guy did have a stroke last year, maybe he just isn’t fully into it).

            But I think there’s due cause to be mindful of our history, and at least err on the side of caution when it comes to using characterizations that have been pretty harmful in the past.

            Just my two cents.

          • @al: Some pretty valuable two cents.

          • @Steve Mancuso: You’ll be happy to know that I’ve got other things to do, so I’ll leave it that for now. But I reserve the right to continue making the argument that Baker isn’t willing to do the hard work of giving serious thought (not just cursory thought) to each and every game.

  64. Clearly, the best the Redlegs can hope for now is to go into post-season with something of a head of steam. Winning the division is going to take some doing now and that may not be the end-all, be-all objective.

    Despite all that, losing games like last night is hard for the fans. I don’t think it is fair to criticize board contributors who vent frustration on an internet forum. Aside from reading it, what harm has it caused?

    A lot of what we write here is so redundant as to be pointless. But it’s OK to want to express those opinions. I am glad there’s a place to do that.

    • @Johnu1: Just to be redundant, yes, we need a place to vent. Last nite I badly needed RLN. The venting should never involve personal attacks on any of the players, bloggers, Reds management, etc. but – compared to other blogs – there’s very little of that here.

    • @Johnu1: Just as beans are good for your health, well so is venting. Venting, venting good for your heart, the more you vent the more you… Go Reds!!!! Tonight’s game will be the revenge of the Redlegs. Go Reds!

    • @Johnu1: Agreed. I was just discussing with a coworker of mine that I’m happy to have a place where I can vent my frustration. It keeps me from accidentally snapping at my wife or feeling the need to punch a granite countertop. 🙂

  65. As an aside, the Reds KNEW about Choo’s numbers against lefties. They traded for him anyhow. It isn’t like he suddenly stopped hitting lefties.

    All I know is, last year with Stubbs in CF, the Reds won 97 games. This year, maybe 87.

    • @Johnu1: Is that really all you know about the Reds? That may be the single most misleading statistical analysis I’ve ever seen.

  66. It’s only the first game. Six to go against Louie.

  67. Reds better watch out for them pesky Nats too!

  68. Marlon Byrd has been claimed off waivers by either the Reds, Pirates, or Orioles. I would think the Pirates, but maybe the Reds would block them ? He’s having a freakishly good year.

    I’ve been clamoring for a bat off the bench but I don’t see where he would fit in. He can’t replace Hannahan.

    The Mets are unloading a bunch of players. Anyone who can help the Reds ?

    • @pinson343: It’s a NL team, I would think the Pirates. But with only a few days to go before rosters expand, maybe WJ is trying to do something tricky.

      • @pinson343: Yeah, makes more sense for the Pirates. Don’t see how the Reds could carry him. He’d probably be an upgrade over Ludwick and Heisey, but hard to see the Reds cutting one of those two players. I guess we could cut XP but he’s out best LH bench bat.

        • @Steve Mancuso: Right but it’s so close to September 1, I’m not sure. And WJ might not want the Pirates to add Byrd.

          • @pinson343: Blocking move sounds right. I saw Willingham was also placed on waivers.

          • @Steve Mancuso: The Reds didn’t block. Byrd is with the Pirates. At mlbtraderumors:

            “He’s owed just $130K for the remainder of the season before he will be a free agent, so he’s an affordable upgrade for the Pirates, financially speaking.

            Given that salary, it’s a surprise to see that the Reds didn’t place a claim to block the Pirates from acquiring him.”

          • @Steve Mancuso: Willingham a wreck after his knee surgery.

      • @pinson343: With Marte on the DL, the Parrots could just be looking for somebody to tide them over.

    • The Mets are unloading a bunch of players. Anyone who can help the Reds ?

      David Wright.

  69. And pardon me for making this observation. The thinking here is that the Reds need to establish a sense of urgency against a team that is only .5 games ahead of the Parrots.

    The Cardinals aren’t sitting around, unaware that the Reds are jacking up for the game. They’re also in a state of needing to win.

    It comes down to execution and, so far, I have seen the Cardinals better prepared, regularly, than the Reds ever are.

    Preparation is more than clubhouse chemistry. It started in spring training with the coaching philosophy.

    • @Johnu1: Yes, the Cardinals seem to have benefitted from their new hitting approach. To a man, they talk about the importance of hitting the other way or up the middle. They have intentionally given up on some power (yesterday’s game notwithstanding) to hit line drives to the opposite field. Not just occasionally, but all the time. It’s their consistent, winning approach. Allen Craig talked about it again last night. I haven’t seen Beltran hit anything other than opposite field line drives the past month.

  70. Wish these guys would show up for these nationally televised games. Feels like about 0-10 but I’m sure it’s not that bad. I do know there have been 2 embarrassing incidents on nationally televised games – the non-slide tag out at 3rd a while back and not knowing how many outs there were last night. At least put you best foot forward when everyone’s watching.

  71. To me, it looks like the Reds are playing scared. Instead of taking the fight to the Cards, they appear to be waiting around for something to happen.

    The relievers especially looked scared. Both Parra and Hoover tried to nibble and that got them in trouble. It was like they were scared to throw a strike. JJ has a nice curveball. I don’t think he threw it once.
    The only guy that really attacked the hitters was Ondrusek. He pitched like he didn’t have anything to lose. I’m not an Ondrusek fan but I loved his approach last night.

    Jocketty needs to find some bullpen help. The Reds are in trouble if he doesn’t. The Reds only have 2 relievers with ERAs under 3. One of those is Christiani, the other is Chapman. It seems like everyone the Reds are playing has 3 or 4 guys with ERAs in the 1s.

    • @Hunt4RedsOctober: Both Parra and Hoover reminded me of poor, mortified Calvin Schiraldi on the mound in the 1986 World Series in a delirious Shea Stadium.

      The bullpen is tired, except for probably Chapman. But everybody else has a tired bullpen, too, so they have to nut up and power through it.

      • @Big Ed: I heard the radio call on XM. The Cardinal broadcasters were having a great time, could see that Parra and Hoover were choking. They kept calling Parra “sub Parra”. His control is sub Parra, as a starter he was sub Parra, etc.

        With the game on the line, I prefer LeCure (redundant statement).

    • @Hunt4RedsOctober: Ondrusek pitched like there was nothing to lose because at that point there was nothing to lose, the game had already been lost.

    • @Hunt4RedsOctober: Jocketty taking the same approach toward the bullpen as he did the LF situation: wait for players to return. Players who might not even return. Broxton at this point is obviously not returning. Marshall not returning any time soon, if at all. I’ve been a supporter of WJ, but very disappointed with his in-season paralysis.

  72. The Pirates have made their move. Granted, none of these players are earth-shattering but they definately send a message.

    Pirates acquired OF Marlon Byrd, C John Buck and cash considerations from the Mets for INF Dilson Herrera and a player to be named later.
    Anthony DiComo of MLB.com was first to report the full details of the trade. Byrd is a solid fit for Pittsburgh, as he’ll provide some thump out of right field. The 35-year-old has enjoyed a resurgent campaign in 2013, batting .285/.330/.518 with 21 home runs and 71 RBI in 117 games. He’ll be a free agent after the season. The trade is bad news for Jose Tabata, though he figures to play left field until Starling Marte (finger) makes it back from the disabled list.

  73. I’m surprised no one mentioned another reason Dusty might have stuck with Choo last night: Lyons actually has reverse splits. You could talk small sample sizes, but it’s the kind of thing a manager could definitely consider, especially if he’s considering all of the available evidence in a non-lazy, non-checked out manner.

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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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