Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL — 10 innings
Cincinnati 6
Pittsburgh 5

W: J. Hoover (5-5)
L: K. Farnsworth (1-1)
S: A. Chapman (38)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–I do not believe what I just saw.

–The Reds were down 5-2 as the game entered the top of the ninth inning. That’s when the magic started.

With one out, Ryan Ludwick singled. Jay Bruce grounded out for the second out, but a Pirate error allowed Todd Frazier to reach second, and Ludwick scored, drawing the Reds to within two runs. Zack Cozart then blooped a single over the 2B’s head, putting runners on the corners with two outs.

After two pitches, Dusty Baker sent Billy Hamilton out to pinch-run for Cozart (not sure why he did it after two pitches, but I’m not complaining). On the first pitch, Hamilton stole his tenth base of the season. Then Devin Mesoraco put together an epic AB, fouling off four pitches, and on the ninth pitch he saw, he hit a ball that went off Pirates 3B Pedro Alvarez’s glove for an infield single.

And Billy Hamilton scored the game’s tying run, from second base, on an infield single.

Then, in the top of the tenth, Joey Votto lifted a fly ball to left field that barely cleared the fence for the game-winning homer. Clutch.

A few minutes later, Aroldis Chapman had blown away the heart of the Pittsburgh lineup and the game was over. Biggest win of the season.

–Mesoraco went 2-4 with a double and two RBI. Ryan Ludwick was 3-5 with a run scored and an RBI.

–Todd Frazier hit a homer, but his biggest contribution was on defense, where he made two gorgeous plays.

–Outstanding relief work by Manny Parra, JJ Hoover, and Chapman.

NEGATIVES
–The Reds might have won in regulation, but Shin-Soo Choo dove head-first into 1B, and was retired for the third out of the ninth inning. If he had kept sprinting through the base, he very likely would have been safe and the Reds would have scored the go-ahead run.

That’s not really a negative. Choo has been great this year. But I still don’t understand why major league players do this.

–Not sure why Logan Ondrusek would ever pitch in an important game like this one.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–Are you kidding me? The Reds were down 5-2 in the ninth, and dead in the water. Somehow they won. This feels like an important win, although that may just be wishful thinking.

–The Redlegs are now tied with the Pirates for second place in the NL Central division.

–The Reds took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, but Mat Latos surrendered that lead immediately. The Pirates started the game with back to back homers, a walk, and a single, before Latos recorded an out.

Fortunately, Latos settled down, but he wasn’t sharp tonight. At the end of the day, he had thrown six innings, allowing four runs on eight hits and two walks.

–Billy Hamilton is a game-changer. There is no question whatsoever now that Hamilton will be on Cincinnati’s post-season roster. And he may have won next spring’s CF competition today, too.

–Look at that FanGraphs chart below. Love it.

–Sam LeCure hit Andrew McCutchen to lead off the eighth. With two strikes. With the Reds down 5-2 and needing to keep the game close. And the Pirates — as we have become accustomed to seeing — got their panties in a bunch, as if the Reds would ever hit a batter in that situation. Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle came out to argue when both benches were warned, and he ultimately was tossed out of the game.

This whole act by Pittsburgh is so tiresome. Why do they get so irritated over things that clearly aren’t intentional? Seems like it happens every single time these teams play.

–Homer Bailey vs. AJ Burnett tomorrow night. All of a sudden, I really regret not driving up to Pittsburgh this weekend, as I had planned.

Source: FanGraphs

Blame Chad for creating this mess.

Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.

You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

Join the conversation! 136 Comments

  1. The FanGraphs chart is a thing of beauty.

    • @Steve Mancuso:
      I almost feel sorry for them, Outside of the HBP, they seem to be a class bunch, what they do not need is a distraction.

      Just hope hope no one gets hurt

      • @vicferrari: Seems a bit hypocritical for the Pirates to complain about their batters getting hit by pitches when their pitching staff leads all of Major League Baseball in hitting opposing batters.

  2. Reds absolutely stole that win tonight, but by far is the biggest win in 2013. Tied for 2nd with 8 to play, wow. Wish the Brewers could have helped us out tonight, but hopefully they make it up to us the next 2 days.

  3. Tie game in Milwaukee!!

  4. DISH only blacks out the non market games for 3 hours, so I’m watching the end of this Cards Brewers game on channel 418.

  5. Brewers just tied it up.

  6. Nice job by the Brewers in the ninth. Too bad Carlos Gomez couldn’t get the run in from third with one out.

  7. This night is unbelievable. If the Brewers win this last week could be amazing.

  8. Don’t know how the Cards do it. They get out of a bases loaded, one out situation by having Carlos Gomez hit into a double play (you know if they were playing us, he gets that sac fly in). Now they took the lead in the 10th.

    • @docmike:
      Its baseball, Cards had beases loaded yesterday in the 15th, hit ininto DP. Major league hitters stink

  9. Out-freaking-standing!!! I had given up on this game around the 7th, and figured Dusty did, too with his bullpen choices. Tonight’s game shows why we love the Reds. The Pirates gotta be demoralized after this one. Has everyone seen Todd Helton giving Matt Carpenter a lesson on paying attention? http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mlb-big-league-stew/wily-veteran-todd-helton-fools-matt-carpenter-hidden-215955541–mlb.html Go Reds!

  10. Lot of chatter on twitter about Pirates hitting one of the Reds best players tomorrow. I didn’t think the McCutheon HBP was intentional.

    • @AnnapolisHoosier: They never are.

    • @AnnapolisHoosier:
      If Mccutcheon sees one hittable pitch its a disgrace. If the war was not already started its too late, hopefully no one gets hurt
      Dusty probably could have avoided it, but Hurdle needs to know what is important

      • @vicferrari: Dusty could have avoided it? Clearly an unintentional HBP, given the situation. Looking at Hurdle, and seeing a stroke or heart attack around his corner (not wishing for it, though), I think he’d be happier all around if he didn’t get so excited over the wrong stuff. Don’t believe for a second that the Pirates will quit, but that was a lot of fun, thanks to Billy and Joey and others, and what’s to come will, I hope, be fun as well.

  11. McCutchen has been hit with a pitch 9 times this year, 4 coming from the Reds. I’m guessing he finds this a bit tiresome too. Hope JV is on his toes the next 5 games against the Buccos.

    • @CharlotteNCRedsFan:

      Do you seriously think the one tonight was intentional? On what grounds?

      • @docmike: McCutchen was the first player LeCure has hit with a pitch this season. You could easily interpret that two different ways. IMHO.

      • @docmike: Just wonder why Jody Mercer never get’s hit. No way of telling but every now and then a purpose pitch is thrown – really it is. Could it have been intended as a brush back and got away? Sam has nearly flawless control so if it was Votto? Darn right, I would think it was done with intent.

        • @CharlotteNCRedsFan:

          It was an attempt to tie him up inside that simply got away. McCutcheon is one of the best hitters in the league, you can’t get him out by throwing everything over the middle of the plate.

          I’m not going to sit here and say that a HBP is never intentional. But if you wanted to plunk someone, there are times to do it and times to lay off. A very important game still within striking distance in the 8th, and a very speedy perosn leading off the inning? That is NOT the time to do it, and I can’t fathom any reason why anyone WOULD do it.

          To me, the clincher is the count. If you wanted to plunk him, why run the count to 2-2 then do it?

          • @docmike: I agree. Why on earth would the Reds intentionally hit McCutcheon in that situation ? Because they want a speedy runner on base to lead off the inning ? Because they want to fire up McCutcheon even more than he already is ? Because they want to see the Pirates retaliate and possibly injure a Reds player ? Because they want to injure McCutchen ?

            If LeCure is going to pitch McCutcheon inside with his fastball (which was 87 mph on that pitch), he’d better pitch him inside off the plate.

      • @docmike:
        I have no doubt, talk about about adding insult to injury.

    • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Intentional or not, their fans are calling for the Pirates to “take care of business” by drilling Choo with the first pitch in Saturday’s game. This insight courtesy of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette commenters.

      • @RedInIN: I hope the Pirates do that. Choo knows how to get hit without getting hurt and it would get him on base to possibly score the first run of the game.

      • @RedInIN: Post Gazoo was advocating a beanball war 2 years ago without ever once getting a comment from the Reds about it. It’s bush-league journalism designed to promote clickthroughs. In that first foray, they advocated attacking Brandon Phillips — the next time he played, since he sat out that series with a hammy issue. They didn’t advocate hitting Votto or Bruce.

  12. I hope Ondrusek failed his audition for inclusion on the post season roster tonight.

    • @MikeC: I would hope so. There’s no way he belongs on the post-season roster. And I would hope that from here, anyone who clearly does not belong on the postseason roster only enters a game in a mopup role.

    • Hit Cutch again today!

  13. Let them hit who they want as long as they donot get hurt it helps us!!! I say BP will be the target. Plus their manager will get tossed again!!! I’m still in shock that this team came back from a deficit!!!!! Hamilton is the spark that his team needed!!!! Votto is the man and too the haters bagging on him this whole season suck on that hr that he hit!!!! What a fun game to watch!!!!

  14. A Pirates beat writer (@Dejan_Kovacevic) keeps rambling on twitter about how the Reds intentionally hit McCutchen.

  15. Choo wouldn’t have made it and Hurdle was clearly angry that his bench got warned just because LeCure hit someone…and he had a point

    • @CaliRedsFan: In recent years, whenever I’ve seen a warning issued, it’s been to both benches, and the manager of the team whose guy got hit got real pissed off and ejected. That’s obligatory.

      • @pinson343: and every once in a while the manager argues to re-ignite the crowd and dugout. I’ve also seen it suspiciously used to give the bullpen more time. There are a lot of theatrics happening. I do undertand Hurdle being upset at that warning though. It could make someone hesitant to pitch inside, and if it’s your guy and it wasn’t his fault, it stinks.

        I worked the night shift and got to listen to Marty and the Cowboy call it. I was missing the ‘nation. I’m really tired, but I am looking forward to reviewing the game thread tomorrow.

        • @preach: Agreed. But the post called out the Pirates for always thinking that teams (or we) are throwing at them intentionally. I don’t think that was the case at all. I think Hurdle was just pissed because his bench was warned for essentially doing nothing. Theatrics were certainly involved as well.

  16. Did Choo get banged up sliding into first?

    • @PeteRose_HOF_NOW:

      I don’t know, but even if he didn’t, you wonder why guys still do that (slide into first). Not only do you run the risk of getting hurt, but you actually decrease the chances of getting a safe call.

      • @docmike: The only time it makes sense to slide into first is when the batter/base runner is trying to avoid a tag after a bad throw.

  17. I was listening to the game on my car radio, turned it off when I reached my destination with the Reds down by 5-2 after 8. It had been a bummer listening, given how the game was going and the obnoxious statements by the Pirate broadcasters (more on that below).

    I return to my car with virtually zero hope of a win and tune in to the Brewer game to listen to Bob Uecker’s call. Then he says “Big win by the Reds tonite” and I just start yelling. Couldn’t believe it.

    Then it’s almost a double dip, while I’m still listening to Ueck, as the Brewers rally in the 9th and Carolos Gomez is about to win the game. Oh well, still the best baseball nite so far this year for me.

    • @pinson343: When the ball caromed off of Alvarez allowing the Reds to tie, that last Friday game of 1964 game we were discussing on a previous thread came to my mind.

      It brought to mind the little blooper behind second which neither Leo Cardenas or Pete Rose quite caught which set up the rally that cost the Reds the game and most likely the pennant. Tonight was an inning later in the game and the Reds did not administer the coup de grace until the following inning but still that was what it reminded me of.

  18. This team sure is breaking our hearts, ain’t it?

    • @CI3J: Since the debacle on Sunday in Milwaukee, they have actually played a lot like an angry, desperate hockey team coming down the stretch (and thank goodness baseball hasn’t gotten around yet to deciding the last playoff spot with a tie breaker.

  19. The Pirates radio broadcasters are butt heads. I say this based on the many occasions I’ve listened to them call a Reds game in Pittsburgh. Tonite one of them said, and the other supported the statement, that “LeCure was gutless for hitting McCutcheon with a breaking ball”. Their point was that if you’re going to “send him a message”, do it like a man and hit him with your fastball to make it a definite messsage instead of a possible message. They didn’t know that 87 mph is a fastball for Sam.

    The thing is, don’t call someone “gutless” unless you’re willing to say it to his face. Considering what happened afterwards, the baseball gods didn’t seem to like it.

    • @pinson343: clueless homers

    • @pinson343: Blass started that ball rolling very early in the pre-game with his “everybody is wondering … well, some people (MEANING: he and his leedle friend) are … ” and then realized he was making it up before he alluded to the plunkings he was sure were going to happen.

      The Parrots broadcasters bring this up every game and they are just part of the crew. They had bloggers with the print media all over it two years ago — asserting that the only way to get even was to hit Phillips, who wasn’t even in the games when the first one happened. Smelled kinda racist to me and I wrote to the blogger, told him that — he didn’t reply, naturally.

  20. For the record, Chad, I don’t believe what you just saw, either. I heard the radio call, then watched it through mlb.com after the fact, and I don’t believe it either.

    So, just to get this straight, Hurdle is ticked off because the warning meant that he didn’t get a chance to retaliate?

    • @vegastypo: The manager always acts real pissed off in that situation, even if he isn’t. Some discussion of that above.

    • @vegastypo:
      Total reaction of a team that has not been there.

      what is the opinion, are the Reds dirty in this situation?

  21. Now for the math. With nine games left and 2 behind the Cards we have to hope the birds go something believable like 5-4. IF they finish the season 5-4 then for us to win the division we’d have to finish 8-1. Yuck. Won’t happen. We’re playing for the wildcard. Though we could go 7-2, but that leaves us tied for first and we’d have to play one game playoff to see if we play the one game wildcard.

    Sigh. If only (Cubs or Brewers series)

    • @tpteach: 9 games left and 2 behind is not out of it.
      Two games can be made up in two days. Teams have come back from much worse odds. Baseball teams have winning and losing streaks.

      It would help the Reds chances if the Nats are still in it when they play the Cardinals (still in it because the Reds have swept the Pirates).

    • @tpteach: If the Nats have still something to play for when they get to StL next week, they are certainly capable of taking 2 of 3 or possibly even sweeping the the Birds.

      The Reds just need to focus on what is in front of them to make sure it is the Bucs the Nats are chasing and that the Reds are in position to capitalize on any bobbles by the Birds.

      And why not 8-1 or even 9-0 for the Reds in this last stretch? It is not that infrequently that teams finish with those kinds of flourishes. Desperate teams playing against teams finishing the string create that sort of environment; and that is what the Reds and Metz will represent if the Reds can finish off the Pirates the next two games.

      • @OhioJim: oh, believe me, I’m hoping 9-0. But the cards must finish no better than 6-3 for that us to win the division. I’m hoping, but the post is merely stating that the odds are not in our favor.

        We will be in the Hunger Game.

    • @tpteach: Logic says you’re right, but they do have the Nationals left (who they knocked out of the playoffs last year and might enjoy the opportunity to hurt the Cards in return) and the Cubs who always seem to play the Cards tough. We can continue to hope.

      • @Bill Lack: Agree, Bill. Hope is reasonable at this point, and, of equal importance, baseball is fun again. The lads are looking like fighters.

  22. Just saw the Rays win it in the 18th against the Orioles.

    • @pinson343: I wanna see three or four teams tied for the wild card in the AL. Talk about great theater! Can’t imagine how Uncle Bud would explain to the networks if they had to delay the AL playoffs because four teams tied for the second wild card!!

      • @vegastypo: And such a scenario (4 way tie)would probably grease the skids for a dreaded tie breaker system as I alluded to above unfortunately.

  23. And the Reds and Pirates are 7-7 head to head so far? If they finish tied in the wild card standings, the better record head to head will get the home field. Still shaking my head at Friday’s game. Tonight’s game thread must have been a real lulu.

  24. The Reds can indeed still win the division. All they need is to TIE STL to force a tiebreaker game for the division title, which would be held in STL. The negatives to that is having to play that game, and then having to, if you lose, play the WC game at home vs PIT or WSH.

    I believe in order for the Reds to make up 2 games on STL, they must sweep, yes sweep, the Pirates this weekend. Doing so would still keep Washington very much in the race, while all but clinching a post-season berth for the Reds (Magic number would be 2). With Washington still in the race, and Pittsburgh going to Chicago, Washington would be forced to pull all the stops out of the series against STL and could win 2 of 3. If STL drops one game this weekend to the Brewers and the reds win 2 of 3 against the Mets at home, that would leave CIN and STL tied going into the final 3. Of course, now the reds have to match the cards while playing the pirates again, while the cards get the stupid cubs. However, there is a pretty viable scenario that gets the reds tied for the division going into the final weekend.

    I honestly believe the Reds can take at least 3 of the next 5 from the pirates and sweep the mets. 6-2 would force STL to go 5-3 to avoid a tiebreak game. With a white hot washington team trying to catch the reeling pirates, the Reds still have a chance.

    • @abox03: I’ll mention this again, just to highlight how stupid an idea it was to make up the SF game as a DH. Right now the reds would be 1.5 games out if they did not play that game in SF. This would basically mean that if the above scenario happens, the Reds would actually get to play SF first, on the day after the season, for a chance to go from .5 up to 1 game up and win the division without having to play any tie-breaking game.

      • @abox03: Are we assuming that playing the game in Cincy would have automatically been a win? Seems like the Reds won the other game as visitors so winning in SF was more than a remote possibility.

        • @Johnu1: We were forced to pitch Reynolds. West Coast trips are hard even without extra games. We’re .500 on the road and 20 over at home. In other words: It was certainly worth keeping the Giants in town a few more hours and/or standing up to MLB to keep that game at home.

          • @Eric the Red:
            Totally see your point, I say a game in Cicinnati where the Giants have to fly in with nothing on the line gives the Reds a huge advantage over a game they actually lost.

            dumb to agree of they had a choice, but more than likely it is not going to make a difference

          • @Eric the Red: Well, we should have played better then.

  25. The heartening, or maybe disheartening thing about the Reds season this year, is I think the old saying “you are what you’re record says you are” isn’t accurate. Over the course of the season, I firmly believe the reds lost 3-5 games in the standings due to horrible management, in one form or another (think Dusty’s Sunday Special line-ups, or bullpen management).

    I also think that, despite the gaudy RBI numbers, Brandon Phillips is having a very down year, one I hope isn’t the start to his decline. Joey Votto has been good, great even at times, but we can and should expect a little more from him. He’s very capable and no doubt expects it of himself. Missing a consistent big bat in LF, with no true clean-up hitter with power. Cozart and Frazier, each with struggles that went on for many weeks and Frazier especially not having performed to last years numbers, not really even close. Cueto missing for a large chunk.

    Yet, with all that, the Reds are 3rd (and 5 away from 2nd) in the NL in runs scored. Adding in the 4 games accounting the “Dusty Tax” as some have mentioned, the Reds would have the best record in the NL.

    This tells me three things:

    1. A common sense manager with a sense of urgency to push/motivate the team throughout the season is needed.

    2. Pitching really makes or breaks a MLB team.

    3. This Reds team is so close. They are good and are perhaps one tick away from being World Champions good. It won’t take much, and here’s hoping ithe pieces fall together in October !

    • @abox03: You must have a serious ax to grind to pick today to slam Dusty…..the flipside of his Dusty tax sunday lineup BS is players are rested and backups are ready……he manages a season,he HAS to look at the BIG picture………he spends hours with these guys…he knows who needs to rest and who needs some work…..its a bottom line business…..cant cherry pick the 4- 6 games DUSTY lost..Dusty coming to the mound last night early with Latos might have saved a meltdown…your bullet points at end are correct on #2 and #3 ….but slamming Dusty now really speaks of your bias against the man……I don’t agree with everything he does,but I accept that he has more info than I do and I accept the ups and downs of a long season….the last few years have been great….someday Dusty will be missed…….just MY opinion

      • @Bruno: Yeah because is it’s a sign of extreme thinking to wonder how things could be different when the manager undoubtedly cost your team 5 or more wins in a season that may come down to one or two.

      • @Bruno: No need to defend Baker; there is no defense of Baker. He has no rep of in-game strategy. He has no rep of developing young players. He has no rep of winning the “big one”. His Sunday lineup? If Baker has his way, he would have played Stubbs, BP, Bruce, and Votto 162 games each year. His “rest” theory is this:

        If you are one of his boys and you start to slump, you need to play through it. If you aren’t one of his boys and you start to slump, then you must need a rest.

        Baker has been quick to rest players like Frazier, Cozart, Heisey, etc. But, he gives a leash as long as the Panama Canal to players like Stubbs and Gomes.

        I will agree, Baker manages for the season. Too bad he doesn’t manage to win “the big one”, and that’s the bottom line business. Too bad he doesn’t manage the ups and downs, because he manages the same way all season. No cherry picking there. Just look at his post season record. It’s atrocious, abyssmal. Could be a lot fo reasons. Maybe one, he never pushes the team during the season to “step it up” against a certain team for a certain series since he manages for the season, to where when it comes to the post season, the team never knows how to “step it up” against that certain team when it counts?

        Baker coming to the mound last night. That was a joke in my view. Latos had performed like that several times during the first inning this summer, a 5.52 first inning ERA. Where was Baker all the other times? A meltdown during those games could have just as much a detrimental effect as it has now, possibly even more since it could have affected Latos for the entire season. But, Latos got along just fine without Baker all of those times, didn’t he?

        How has Baker won all of those games? Just consider, in SF, they aren’t going to fire one of the best friends of two of the franchise’s most storied players. So, they are going to go out and find the players to win. Baker was just along for the ride. Losing overall record in Chicago, a worse finish in the division each year he was there. Then, here, he goes crying to the papers mid-season about wanting an extension in 2010 when he hadn’t won anything yet.

        Frankly, I consider it insulting that, here we effectively have two hitting instructors on the field everyay (Baker came up as a hitting instructor), and the strength of this team is pitching and defense? Past pitching, what improvements? Bruce is hitting better to the opposite field, but his K’s are still up and his averages haven’t gone anywhere. BP is hitting better with RISP, but his overall averages are down. Votto’s numbers are down while his K’s are way up. The only real offensive improvement this season has been from CF. And, we had to trade for that. Then, all the TOOTBLAN’s. Just an entire lack of discipline. I remember when I heard Chris Welsh talk of how the locker room was loose before a big game, something that would come from the demeanor of the manager. That’s when I felt we were in trouble. And, we got demolished that game. I wouldn’t want a loose locker room before a big game. I would want a fired up locker room before a big game. Shoot, even in a marathon, there are times when the runners would actually sprint and other times where the runners would loaf it.

        • @steveschoen: I am not trying to defend or criticize Dusty here, I just think your statement about Votto is inaccurate. His strikeout percentage this year is 19.2% compared to 17.9% last year, so that would be about 10 more strikeouts over a whole season. His strikeout percentage is still lower than his MVP season, though, when it was 19.3%.

        • Frankly, I consider it insulting that, here we effectively have two hitting instructors on the field everyay (Baker came up as a hitting instructor), and the strength of this team is pitching and defense?

          Not sure why this is “insulting” particularly, but the reason the strength of the team is pitching and defense is that the GM has emphasized acquiring pitching in trades and in retaining players. Most good teams do. I’m certainly not going to defend the hitting approach that Baker and by extension Jacoby teaches his players, because I’m not a fan of it either. But I don’t feel insulted by the fact that Walt Jocketty traded hitting for Mat Latos.

  26. I wonder what Baker thought he was doing out there the first inning. It’s not like Latos had done something like that before this season, and Baker never went out there before.

    Loved the finish, as everyone else. After dropping so many in the late innings, I would say we were due one like this. Like others have said, the biggest win of the season so far, beginning, middle, or end of the season.

    I can understand Hurdle arguing. I do think there is something with it. Like someone mentioned, McC has been hit 9 times this season, 4 by the Reds. LeCure’s control is good, so he doesn’t mess up much. And, Baker has been known to hold a grudge for a long time (if I recall correctly, Baker having Derek Lowe getting hit because of a HBP on a Reds player several years ago). It could be something even going back to Baker’s and Hurdle’s playing days. If I was Hurdle, though, I wouldn’t come out to argue it, not in that situation.

    • @steveschoen: This may be nit picking, but Derek Lowe wasn’t HBP if I recall correctly. Dusty asked for a brush back not to deliberately hit him. Of course, my memory could be faulty.

      To me, there is a big difference between brushing a guy back and hitting him.

    • @steveschoen: Dusty went to the mound in the first inning when Latos was getting rocked in St Louis a few weeks ago.

  27. What an amazing game! Love the way the guys fought through adversity. Joseph Daniel Votto is amazing. I really hope we see more of Choo in LF and Kid Lightning (or whatever nickname is chosen) in CF. It’s really unfair to Ludwick to ask him to jump into the middle of this after the injury and be 100%.

    I would say the use of Ondrusek as the first man out of the pen in back-to-back critical pennant chase games was insane, but it’s just Dusty being Dusty. The run he gave up very nearly cost the Reds the game. I’d love to have some understanding of his rationale but, alas, I am pretty sure none of our beat reporters will ask. I seem to remember a Pittsburgh reporter ticking Dusty off with a real question the last trip in there……maybe it will happen again! As long as Dusty is the manager, Chad’s sentiment from earlier this week that this is a tough team to fall in love with will be true.

    Is Andrew McCutcheon the biggest baby in MLB? If not, he’s in the top five for sure. The Pirates are making the WLB’s look reasonable and that takes some doing. They seem to forget that Liriano nearly decapitated Choo an inning or so earlier in the game.

    I want to preface this comment by saying that I’m a HUGE Mat Latos fan and believe he is the ace of this club. However, Homer Bailey has owned the Rats in the past and there is no question that Matty was shaky last night. If Homer pitches lights out again tonight, is there enough time and wiggle room in the remaining schedule to shuffle the rotation so that Bailey gets the Wild Card start and Latos get the NLDS game 1 start?

  28. One little tidbit I noticed looking at the box score is that JJ Hoovers record for the year is back to .500 at 5-5 with a 2.84 ERA. Kind of wild to think back on June 9th he was 0-5 with a 5.40 ERA.

    That is a pretty big turn around, especially for a bullpen pitcher in a little over a half a season.

  29. I’m kind of thinking that even though Sean Marshall threw that clean inning a couple of days ago, he’s not ready to pitch. I’d figure he would be used sometime this weekend.

    I wonder where Cingrani stands on being ready to use. I got to figure if he is healthy, he is one of the lefties in the pen for the playoffs.

    • @earl: Honestly, Marshall is off the DL because there ain’t no DL now. He’s not going to help this team. I think he went out there in a no-brainer to see if he could pitch. He probably can’t. Marshall did the same thing in April. I also think he’s not stupid.

      As for Cingrani, I think the writing is on the wall for him in post-season. If he could pitch, he would have.

  30. Got to watch the game on MLBN last night. The camera shot of the 9th inning single was very cool, you could see hamilton take off for third as soon as alvarez dove, start to stop at 3B, then see him take off again as berry waved him in. He’s 2/3 the way home by the time SS picks it up. His speed is truly amazing.

    • @Lost and Found: Kid Rocket seems to have very good instincts on the bases, which will be tested severely by Mark Berry’s mediocre coaching.

      • @Johnu1: I will concede that Speier was rusty and fairly bad as a third base coach, but this is the first time I’ve heard anybody say anything bad about Mark Berry’s job doing it.

        I don’t understand ceaseless negativity.

  31. Late starting to watch (out with the wife)and I turned it off when we went down 5-2. I figured that was that and I didn’t need the frustration since there would be 5 more Rats games coming. Checked in via espn.com and … HOW DID THAT HAPPEN???

    Got to see Votto’s flair down the line and then listened to Chapman do that thing he does going to pick up a kid. What a night.

  32. Amid all the other completely insane comments I make on these threads, every so often I mix in a strike or two.

    Johnu1
    9/20/2013 at 8:51 pm (Quote) Β· Reply
    @vicferrari: Coming back is possible. What hurts is giving up more runs in the meantime. Reds are usually very good at scoring runs late. Can’t be down by 5 or 6 by then, though.

  33. I honestly see no evidence that the Cardinals can’t squander this. They were within a Carlos Gomez moment of losing last night. Sadly, Gomez was hitting.

  34. Phillips is at 259/306/400. And I thought he was sacrificing OBP for RBI. I wonder if Marty still thinks that without a doubt, Phillips is the MVP of this ball club.

  35. FWIW … Reds and Indians mathematically could meet in Columbus to decide the World Series.

    • @Johnu1: The Old Cossack is ALL IN for an I-71 series and if they would decide to play in Huntington Park, I’m there too.

  36. Did anyone get a report on Choo? Watching the post game highlights, he looked like he jammed his right hand into first base on the ill advised head first slide. He was shaking his hand and holding it while still on the ground after the play. Not Good.

  37. By the way the Pirates pitchers lead all of baseball with the most HBP (67).

  38. After two pitches, Dusty Baker sent Billy Hamilton out to pinch-run for Cozart (not sure why he did it after two pitches, but I’m not complaining).

    Thought the same thing. Why wait two pitches? Amazing how Hamilton changes the dynamics of not only an inning but an AB.

    • @sezwhom1: Actually it was only a 1-0 count. But, someone had to nudge him and interrupt his nap to remind him that there was a game still going on.

      • @George Culver: None of us has any idea what was going on in the dugout. Maybe Hamilton was taking a whizz.

        • @renbutler: And who should be Managing things so Billy isn’t taking a whizz at that moment? (Or whatever was going on.) I’ll give you a hint: the answer is in the question/job description.

          I, too, was wondering why Hamilton didn’t immediately replace Cozart. The Reds were either indecisive or unprepared, both of which are bad. I agree the jokes may be lame, but the point is a valid one.

          • @Eric the Red:
            Seriously, you think a MLB manager needs to keep a track of his players’ pissing?

          • @ChrisInVenice: I think he needs to make sure they’re available when needed. He needs to create a culture where guys have a clue when they might be needed so they’re not off stretching or taking a bathroom break or whatever. Argue all you want, but there are only two possible explanations for what happened: 1) Not sure what to do (bad); 2) Not ready to do what they wanted to do (worse).

        • @renbutler: If Billy was on a bathroom break, he needs to be pelted with empty beer cans.

  39. 1. Glad everyone has pointed out how dumb the headfirst slide was. It was pretty clear to me that Choo slowed down a bit to get himself in position to make that slide, and it cost him. (And I knew immediately that he was hurt – hope he’s OK.)

    2. SuperTodd Frazier would have routinely handled Mesoraco’s groundball in the ninth. Every day we see other teams not make plays that we make. This is one GREAT defensive team. I love that.

    3. I agree that hitting McCutcheon was likely unintentional (the guy was practically standing on the inside corner), but it always bothers me when people argue whether a HBP was intentional solely based on the game situation, i.e.: “It was on 0-2 count, why would he hit him with an 0-2 pitch?” “We were only up by 1 run, why would we put the tying runner on base?” You NEVER know what a pitcher is thinking. If a pitcher wants to drill somebody, he’ll do it regardless of the situation. Plus, they ain’t always the brightest bulbs.

    4. If the Cards had lost last night…! We are going 6-2 (or better) over these next 8. That may very well be enough to pick up two games.

    5. Will Selig let Pete throw out the first pitch of game one of the WS?

  40. I had forgot about the up and in pitch to Choo from Liriano. It does make me wonder if Lecure was ordered to pay back Cutch. From my observations, this is more about the managers not liking each other than it is about the players not liking each other, which would be silly. I mean Dusty comes out to argue when Hurdle is arguing/getting tossed. What was to be gained there? (Or was it all theater, as he had to know the warning would happen?) Maybe they should just meet after the game somewhere and take care of it.

    • @Redgoggles: Looking at the replay 12 times, which is the MLB minimum when somebody thinks controversy is useful, Sam was trying to push McC off the plate on an 0-2, which is sound strategy.

      I thought it was curious that the second the event happened, the camera immediately panned to the Parrots dugout to record their reaction. It seems like there’s a scripted reason to force this to be an issue that it really isn’t.

  41. Fans of Pittsburgh are delusional at this point…

    Not smart enough to know that the Rats have hit Reds batters more than the Reds have hit Rats batters. Also not smart enough to know that the Rats have the most HBP in regards to pitching.

    Clint Hurdle needs to just shove another wad of gum in his mouth, him going out there and acting like a 87mph “heater” from Lecure on a 2-2 count was anything more than normal HBP is just idiotic.

    I hope AJ Burnett does something stupid against Choo, he is the easiest to get to in the 1st inning, and that only adds fuel to the fire.

    • @rfay00: I’m thinking maybe some Reds fans aren’t smart enough to realize that the hometown boys lead the bean ball wars 12-11. Of the last 7 HBP’s, 6 were by Reds pitchers. I expect a Reds hitter to get lite up today or tomorrow. IMO, it will be Votto. He is the most comparable player to McCutchen.

      • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: They wrecked our RBI leader for a month. McCutchen getting tapped by an 88 MPH pitch doesn’t even begin to even the scales if you want to play that game.

  42. I thought Baker’s trip to the mound in the first inning was smart and helpful. You can’t compare that game to others that Latos had been in before, other than a postseason game. It was important to settle Latos down to limit the damage to two runs. Latos is known, for better or worse, of being really emotional on the mound and it occasionally gets the worse of him. It worked, Latos settled down and got out of the inning.

    That was a big, successful move by Baker and he deserves credit for it.

    • @Steve Mancuso: As an aside, I recall a game last year when somebody realized Latos was tipping his pitches. At that time, he also modified his stretch motion. If I knew the game date, I could show where it’s clear.

      In any case, one wonders if Latos would be wise to revisit that discussion. Perhaps he is tipping pitches again.

      • @Johnu1: Good thought. I’m not that worried about Latos, though. He’ll never be an extreme elite pitcher like Clayton Kershaw or Felix Hernandez. He just doesn’t have the same stuff. But he can be in that next tier, and has been most of his career. One or two swings per game can have a big impact on a pitcher’s line. Latos’ strikeouts have been down recently, which is a little concerning.

  43. This is only tangentially related to the HBP war on McCutchen, but there was an article in FanGraphs yesterday that documents how Starling Marte has an unusually high rate of getting hit by pitches when he’s down two strikes in the count. The author implies pretty strongly that Marte is deliberately allowing himself to get hit when down 0-2 or 1-2.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/starling-marte-gets-on-base-the-hard-way/

  44. I’m glad we won. But I’m very worried that Dusty would do the exact same thing in a playoff game that he did last night–pitch his worst reliever in the 7th, down 2 runs. He just doesn’t seem to get that even if you’re trailing you pitch good relievers to give yourself a chance to come back. Why on earth would you pitch Ondrusek in that situation last night? It’s Managerial Malpractice.

    The Pirates–especially McCutchen–have been incredibly whiny about HBP for a couple of years. I predicted a couple of days ago that this would happen, and that it’s a sign that they still don’t know how to focus on what’s important. Thank goodness. It’s part of why they coughed up the game in the 9th, with an error and a hit that should have been an error (how do you NOT charge Alvarez with an error in the ball that tied the game?)

    • @Eric the Red: So you’re saying that his decision didn’t give the Reds a chance to come back?

      • @renbutler: I’m saying his decision decreased the chances for the Reds to win. I’m saying it was a bad decision. In this case, it’s not even a “but it worked!” decision, since Ondrusek gave up a run. So, we won despite Dusty’s decision in this case.

        Other decisions he made were good, and helped contribute to the win. But decisions like pitching Ondrusek in the 7th inning of a very important game, down two runs, can get you killed in the playoffs.

    • @Eric the Red: In determining if a play is an error, the scorer asks one simple question: would it have required a “good” fielding play to get the out? If so, it’s not an error. If not, it is an error. I thought Alvarez would have had to make a good play . . . so no error. I’ll agree, there’s still a lot of interpretation involved. We all see things differently.

    • @Eric the Red: What has McCutchen said? I must have missed it. Don’t recall seeing a lot of whining by either team. The fans? You betcha.

      Of the last 7 hitters plunked, 6 were by Reds’ pitchers. If I was a Pirate fan, I would be waiting for justice to be served but maybe Pirate fans just aren’t as good a people as Reds fans. That’s sarcasm.

      • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: For starters, watch him and listen to him after he got plunked by Chapman last year.

        • @Eric the Red: One time, huh, after a 100 mph fastball. What a baby.

          • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: See if you can go back and find the video – that’s exactly what it was, a grown man acting like a little, vulgar baby. And, I’m not sure the ball Chappy hit him with was 100 MPH. Again, my memory could be faulty.

          • @Kyle Farmer: I did. A 101 mph above the letters, first pitch. Given the situation, I think Andrew acted like a gentlemen. Took first base calmly and didn’t stare down Chappy. They cut the TV broadcast off after that the third out so I didn’t see him in the dugout. Was he mad? Yes, who wouldn’t be. What would have made you happy?

            I am a Reds fan, through and through, but I’m no homer. Everything I have seen about Andrew McCutchen is that he is a class act, on and off the field. Charitable, fan friendly, liked and respected by his teammates, and soft spoken. He is no Molina.

          • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: He went nuts in the dugout, a freak out that has been shown many times. Are you just being argumentative, or have you really missed his behavior and all of the mouthing off done by the Pirates? I’m not going to go back and search out every article, but I assure you that if they hadn’t been behaving this way for two years I’d be rooting for these Plucky Pirates and McCutchen. They’ve turned my natural goodwill towards them into loathing.

          • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: I guess that “for starters” part slipped past you.

          • @Eric the Red: What did he say?????

  45. Ondrusek was actually pretty good in 12 of his previous 13 appearances before last night. Go see for yourself.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.cgi?id=ondrulo01&t=p&year=2013

    • @renbutler: Brantley seemed to have an issue with Ondrusek’s game, and was pretty sharp in pointing it out. I think the big guy has lost something … and he’s probably not the guy I want in there to hold the game. But he’s not been awful historically.

      Pedro Villareal, anyone?

    • @renbutler: Not sure how you reach that conclusion of “actually pretty good”. In August and September, Ondrusek has appeared 17 times and thrown 17.1 innings. In those appearances, he’s given up 20 hits and 5 walks (not good) and given up nine runs (not good) and three home runs (not good). He does have 18 strikeouts (good).

    • @renbutler: In roughly two thirds of his appearances since July, he’s allowed at least one base runner. Steve’s already posted a bunch of other terrible numbers.

      In the 7th inning, down 2, after an off day, Dusty’s legitimate choices for the next two innings included: Latos, Ondrusek, LeCure, Hoover, Parra, Duke, Simon, and Marshall(?). If we managed to tie the game and needed to pitch a third inning then Chapman was also in play. Covering the 7th with Ondrusek was an unnecessary–and ultimately unsuccessful–gamble. His past results simply don’t justify using him in that situation. At this point in the season, if you wouldn’t put a guy in with a two run lead in the late innings you probably shouldn’t put him in down 2 in the late innings. A mistake I fear Dusty will make again not just late in the year, but in the playoffs.

    • @renbutler: This why I say, don’t be surprised when Ondru is on the Playoff roster and used just as much as during the regular season. It ain’t rocket science.

  46. Hurdle wasn’t arguing about McCutchen getting hit; he was arguing about his team getting a a warning when they had done nothing. The exact same thing happened a few weeks ago. His interpretation: they can hit my player with impunity and I’m not allowed to reciprocate. You punch me, but I’m not allowed to punch back. He has a point.

    • @Carl Hudson: Well, I hope he was worried about the ability of his pitchers to pitch inside, and not get tossed for hitting someone accidentally. Because if he wants to “reciprocate” an unintentional HBP then he deserves to be warned/ejected.

  47. I believe this happened in reverse last year. If history repeats itself, then the Pirates will hit a Red in the top of 1st both benches will be warned again and everything is settled. Or settled until the next game. I think it is 2 managers unable to let the other get the last word, which is stupid if true as it exposes their best players to injury at a critical junction of the season.

  48. That was a titanic win!

  49. I hope they warn both benches before the game tonight just so we get to see the color the Hurdle will turn! 😳

  50. Has anyone else seen tonight’s lineup? Robinson in CF? What? Why? How is that possible?

  51. regarding the warning to both benches last night. possibly because of the up-and-in pitch on Choo the previous inning, made worse because Choo was leaning for a bunt, that the plate ump may have been thinking as enough reason to issue warning after Lecure hit Cutch.

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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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