Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL — 10 innings
New York (NL) 2
Cincinnati 3

W: M. Parra (2-3)
L: G. Burke (0-3)

–The Reds have clinched a spot in the post-season. Unfortunately, the Cardinals won, so the Redlegs remain two games back in the NL Central race. Still, the Reds will play at least one game in the playoffs.

–Walkoff win was secured in the tenth when Devin Mesoraco and Derrick Robinson each singled, then Shin-Soo Choo drilled a ball off the left-center field fence. Missed a walkoff homer by a foot, but he isn’t complaining. Neither am I.

–Good start by Johnny Cueto: 7 innings, one earned run on three hits, 99 pitches. Exactly what I had hoped to see. You have to think Cueto is a realistic option to start the wild-card play-in game.

–Choo had three hits and two RBI tonight.

–Joey Votto walked five times tonight, tying a Cincinnati club record. Only two other Reds have ever accomplished that feat. Votto’s line tonight was crazy: 0-0, 1 RBI, 5 walks.

–The bullpen was pretty good again tonight. Specifically, Aroldis Chapman was brilliant in the bottom of the ninth, striking out the side. Sean Marshall was also outstanding in the eighth inning; he entered after Sam LeCure allowed two baserunners, but induced a double play to get the Reds out of the jam.

–Ryan Hanigan had two hits and a run scored.

–Here’s a positive: the Redlegs will be in the post-season for the second consecutive year for the first time since the Big Red Machine in 1975-76.

–In the bottom of the ninth, the Reds got Shin-Soo Choo — the winning run — to third base with no outs. Brandon Phillips, Ryan Ludwick, and Todd Frazier weren’t able to get him in. Frazier’s swing on the last pitch of the ninth was laughably bad, but it was classic “throw the bat at the ball” Todd Frazier.

–Ludwick was 0-5, and looked a bit lost at the plate. The Reds need him to get going soon.

–Fun, right? Cincinnati just won their 90th game, the third time they’ve done that in four seasons. Of course, I’m not nearly as excited about the Reds clinching a playoff spot as I was in 2010. Which means the Reds are doing something right.

–Dusty Baker used Billy Hamilton to pinch-run with two outs in the eighth inning. Hamilton promptly stole his 13th base of the season. Unfortunately, Chris Heisey couldn’t bring him around to score.

–Votto now has 132 walks on the season. That ties Joe Morgan’s 1975 mark for the club record.

–The Reds need to sign Choo to a contract extension.

–I know, we’re supposed to hate the Pirates, but watching them celebrating in the locker room (as they clinched their first playoff berth since 1992) is pretty darn cool. That was us in 2010.

I thought they’d fade in the race, but they’ve hung in there all year long. Gotta give ’em kudos. And I hope their fans are enjoying it.

–The Reds have won six of their last seven. Can they win enough to win the division? Who knows? I’m just glad the good guys still have a chance.

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! 99 Comments

  1. We need Gio and Zimmerman to be dominant and beat the Cards the next 2 days, obviously we need to sweep the Mets. Next goal is to host the Pirates at GABP. I want Billy in the lineup. Choo absolutely positively needs to be resigned, no doubt about it. Having Cueto and Marshall back is great to see. If we can get by the wildcard game, we could be a dangerous team in the postseason. Ludwick has NO business hitting in the 4 hole in a pennant race right now and Phillips must be patient.

  2. As exciting as the bottom of the tenth was, the highlight of the game for me was Jim Day’s interview with the 103-year-old Reds fan. He been rooting for the Redlegs for over 90 years. Pretty cool. God bless him.

  3. I feeling pretty good about Cueto and Marshall.

    What is the deal with Latos, a bit of a downer if he is hurt. Is there any reason why Hoover was not used in the 10th?

    Does not seem like he has been used much lately.

  4. Did the Reds pay Joe Morgan to walk in his MVP season in 1975?

    On the radio broadcast after the game, Marty and Chris were saying what an “amazing” (“you’re not kidding about that”) year that Shin-Soo Choo has had at the plate. True enough. Fabulous year. Wonder how they would describe a player who had more hits, home runs, RBI, walks and a higher average, on-base-percentage and slugging percentage? That would be Joey Votto.

    • @Steve Mancuso: I was OK with 5 walks for JV, wished somebody else was getting the walks, and JV was getting good solid swings. All the same, gotta be on a base if you intend to score. Harang wasn’t pitching to JV.

    • @Steve Mancuso: No. But in a way moreso than Joey. Morgan stole a lot of bases, you know, and had some pretty good RBI guys behind him. This is not to knock JV. He gets pitched around, when not getting IBBs, and should be appreciated for not hacking away in frustration. Bottom line for the team: the guys behind him gotta get hits.

      • @redskaph: Excellent point. The objective of a lineup is to churn, get baserunners and keep the rally going. If Votto is on base, why isn’t he scoring? Well … he sort of … was … with Phillips in the 4 hole.

        • @Johnu1: And with Bruce, too, in limited at-bats. Ludwick is an unmitigated disaster in the 4-hole, I think. A year older and a recovering shoulder means use that man off the bench as a PH! He’s slugging .345 in 126 PAs. That’s a big enough sample size for me to conclude he’s definitely not (and won’t be) the same hitter he was down the stretch last year.

  5. I think you have to start Bailey in the play-in game, Cueto needs to pitch Sunday, the top 4 hitters are decent for the Mets, so is Altuve, but Cueto needs one more against a real team, before he gets to the playoffs.

    Do not start Reynolds Wednesday

    • @vicferrari: I’m not disagreeing in principle. But the only way to accomplish that in practice is to hold Bailey out the rest of the season. He pitched on Saturday. The earliest he could pitch on regular rest would be Friday. If he starts Friday, he can’t pitch on Tuesday on regular rest. Not sure how Bailey would respond physically to going ten days without pitching. As it is, he’s set up to pitch Game One of the NLDS, which is great if the Reds can get there.

      • @Steve Mancuso: I agree. Doubt Homer would handle the layoff well. I think Cueto will be vs. vs. Pittsburgh.

      • @Steve Mancuso:
        Why not pitch him Friday for 5 innings. Many pitchers can pitch on 4 days, just not regularly.

        If Latos is healthy then I am fine, but I do not think he is

  6. Sean Marshall ended any doubts tonight (not that there really should have been any) that he deserves to be on the postseason roster.

  7. While I’m thrilled the Reds won today, Baker made two big head-scratchers to me. (Pitching moves were by the book)

    Totally OK with Hamilton coming into the 8th, but totally not OK with Chris Heisey at the plate. There’s no point to have a LH pinch hitter if you’re not going to use him in that situation. Yes, Heisey had a good day yesterday, but Paul was the right move.

    Also not OK with taking Hamilton out of the game after the inning was over. Ludwick was just terrible tonight (his first four AB’s, his counts we’re 0-2, 0-2, 0-2, 0-1 (after four Votto walks mind you) and the obvious move was to leave Hamilton in the game (hitting 8th), and double switching to have the pitcher in Ludwick’s spot. Paul would likely have been the PH for that spot in the 9th, and instead of Ludwick’s pop out, you win the game then.

    Reds win anyway, but Baker made it harder than he had too … AGAIN.

    • @FrustratedRedsFan: On your first point, the Mets had a LHP ready in the bullpen. If Baker brings in XP, he faces a LHP, so advantage back to the Mets. Given the flexibility the Mets had at that moment, it was inevitable that the matchup would either be RHB vs. RHP or LHB vs. LHP. So maybe, given his crazy backwards splits over his career (not in 2013, but career, yes), Heisey was the best choice there. That’s at least a way of looking at it. His AB was awful, granted.

      • @Steve Mancuso: I saw a whole raft of lousy at-bats tonight. The lethargy that this team exhibits at times is completely outside the scope of common sense.

      • @Steve Mancuso:

        That’s ridiculous. You announce Paul as the PH, then the Mets go to the lefty. Then Baker pulls back Paul, and goes with Heisey, and you now have a Lefty Right match-up.

        That’s textbook managing if you are the hitting team, and a terrible decision by Baker.

        • @FrustratedRedsFan: Heisey’s career splits are worse against LHP than vs. RHP. Plus your way you burn presumably the best LH on the bench. If Heisey is going to hit either way, I like Baker’s approach better than yours.

          • @Steve Mancuso:

            Are you just making stuff up Steve? Chris Heisey hits .265 vs Lefties this year, .215 vs. Righties. What in the world are you talking about?

            I’m beginning to think you are related to Dusty!

          • @FrustratedRedsFan: In both my comments, I said Heisey’s *career* splits were backwards. If you go back and read my first reply to you, in parentheses I even acknowledged that his 2013 splits were conventional, but he has a career split that’s backwards. Maybe you should read more carefully instead of rushing to refer to other commenters as “ridiculous” or saying they are “making stuff up.” Just stick to the facts, no need for name-calling.

          • @Steve Mancuso:


            You cannot argue that the right move was to bring Paul into the game in that situation. There is no logic of any kind to suggest that Heisey should face the right handed hitter. I’m fairly certain that career statistics have never been used by any manager to make a decision in-game. However, yearly stats are, and Heisey has hit LH much better than RH, this why he started yesterday against Locke (and neither of the first two games against RH pitchers)

            If you want to defend Baker, fine. But you have no leg to stand on because it was a terrible move for him to make, period. You have a roster of 40 players, double digit bench players. If you burn Paul, it’s no big deal because you still have Robinson, Hannahan, Rodriguez, Izturis as lefties if you need them. To suggest that “it was a lefty lefty or right right matchup no matter what” simply does not make sense.

          • @FrustratedRedsFan: You keep using rhetorical exaggerations like “ridiculous” “terrible move” “no logic of any kind” “making it up” etc. like a bad high school debater.

            Your point boils down to simply the difference between looking at a (relatively young) player’s career splits vs. their splits for one year. That is logic of a kind. Just because you’ve never thought of it before, doesn’t mean it isn’t a plausible or logical thing to do. Career stats, at least relatively recent ones, are often more reliable given the larger sample size. Especially for a part-time player like Heisey. Basing it on just 2013 left-handed AB means your sample isn’t even 100 AB, which is way too small to be reliable.

            I thought your initial comment was that XP should have hit. Based on reading your initial comment, you hadn’t even considered the Mets might bring in a LHP, which was an obvious move. Baker was ahead of you on that. Yes, Heisey hit against Locke – if that’s evidence that Baker understands match-ups, then why isn’t it equally good evidence that Baker let Heisey hit tonight. I’ll repeat, if XP is the best left-handed pinch hitter, burning him is an important cost.

            Look, I don’t really feel that strongly about this. As I said initially, Heisey had an awful at bat. All I said was considering Heisey’s backwards splits was “a way of looking at it” not necessarily that it was right.

          • @Steve Mancuso:

            We’re not seeing eye to eye here. It makes absolutely no difference to me who player X is and who player Y is in this situation. The Mets have a LH warming in the pen. You have the pitchers spot due up, tie game, bottom of the 8th, runner on second, 2 outs, right handed pitcher on the mound.

            You announce a left handed hitter period. Then, the Mets can decide whether or not they want Francisco to face Paul (unlikely) or to bring in the LH pitcher. At which point, now Dusty Baker has the bench to choose from for his right handed hitter. Maybe it’s Heisey, maybe it isn’t. Plenty of RH hitters available tonight, perhaps one has a better shot than Chris against the particular lefty the Mets will choose.

            The point is that by announcing Heisey, Dusty Baker has said “This RP, RH match-up is the best I can do right now” and that’s simply not the case. It’s that kind of decision that makes me furious, and continues to remind me that the Reds will be at an extreme disadvantage come playoff time. I feel as if any competent manager would have played that situation differently.

            You say “maybe this is the way Baker is looking at it” … I say Baker isn’t even looking at all.

          • @Steve Mancuso:
            Good point, but logically it would seem Heisey would eventually be better against lefties, its not like he is a switch hitter.

            Would not have minded seeing Mes bat in place of Ludwick since he was coming in regardless

    • @FrustratedRedsFan: Heisey’s “career” backwards splits are attributable to 2011, when he had 218 ABs and 17 HRs against RHs, and 61 ABs and 1 HR against LHs (which is an oddity in many respects). Last year, Heisey had a near .150 OPS “normal” split, and this year he has a normal OPS split of over .200.

      Baker blew that. Frustro is correct. He should have announced Paul, used him if the righty stayed in, and hit Heisey if the Mets brought in the lefty.

    • @FrustratedRedsFan:

      Am I the only one that noticed that with Hamilton on first base…the catcher thought they were pitching out, got up and the ball hit the ump in the chest (Hamilton stole the base). If it doesn’t hit the ump and goes to the backstop, Hamilton’s at 3rd. Probably wouldn’t have made a difference, but…

      Also, if you’re going to have him steal second..why not have him steal 3rd (especially with a RH hitter up). He gets a bigger lead, tougher throw, and sets up more ways for the run to score (WP, PB, etc). What am I missing?

    • @FrustratedRedsFan: The other thing that Baker did that frustrated me even more than all of the other stuff that you guys notice is that he let the Cards and Pirates win. How on earth are we going to win the division if he ignores basic things like that? I’m certain that any of us could have done better.

  8. Considering Cueto got better hacks than some of the regulars, gotta wonder what kind of conversations they actually have in the dugout from the 2nd inning on.

    Still, Cueto’s sharp enough to take the ball. Nice bullpenning generally, even with LeCure.

    Parrots haven’t seen Cueto in quite some time. That might be a deciding point.

    I HAVE to believe Hamilton makes the playoff roster. Somebody who runs this organization will have to make sure of it.

  9. Hamilton is tied for 25th in the NL for stolen bases with only 14 AB. Nobody else in the top 30 has less than 226 AB.

    • @ToddAlmighty: He’s also got 3.1 BsR (Baserunning component of WAR), which is…drumroll… 1st on the team.

      In just the 3 weeks he’s been up, he’s added more the wins than any other player on the team via baserunning for the entire season. That’s wild.

      Also, he’s up to 0.5 WAR, which is more than Izturs, Soto, Hannahan, Lutz, Hannigan, Paul, Robinson, and Miller COMBINED for the entire season.

      • @prjeter: Those are amazing numbers and are case in point of how speed kills (when the speed is on base Drew Stubbs).

        There are some fast players around the league. Cabrera from San Diego, the Mets own Eric Young, Davis from Toronto and Dyson from KC.

        But 13 for 13 with more SB than games makes his accomplishments quite incomparable!

  10. I think you leave Bailey alone to start Game 1 of the NLDS on regular rest if Reds get there.

    I think the choice for the play-in game is between Latos and Cueto. Cueto performed very well in his two starts since coming off the DL, but let’s be honest, those two starts were against the Astros and the Mets….not exactly the caliber of the Pirates. Move Latos to Wednesday, and let him pitch in the WC game. I think Latos has shown he is the “ace” of the staff over the course of the season and will AT LEAST keep the Reds into the game into the 6/7th, which may be what we need against a Liriano.

    Should the Reds get past the WC game, then you’ve set up Bailey in Game 1 and Cueto in Game 2, with Bronson in game 3…..I think that is best case scenario and should be more important than “trying” to win the home WC game.

    • @abox03: I like this approach. Under this plan, Latos could pitch game three of the NLDS.

      • @Steve Mancuso:
        But is Latos hurt?, someone said he tweeted he was.
        He was pulled after 6 with only 80 some pitches and his spot would have come up in the 8th.

        He has not been sharp opening up games of late and might be pitching on guts. Considering Bailey’s low pitch count Saturday, I would not mind seeing him get the call Wed to see if he can go on 3 days rest, but I guess Cueto is your #1, live and die with him if it comes down to it

    • @abox03: Funny thing is…after going to look at the numbers….. the following pitcher has this record this year against PIT:

      3-0 in 4 games
      3.28 ERA

      That would be Mike Leake.

      • @abox03: Wins is a team stat, not much of an indication how a pitcher performed. Leake had two good starts, one meh start and one bad start (admittedly the bad one was in April). But your broader point is fair. I wouldn’t be as worried about Leake pitching against the Pirates like I would be with him against the Dodgers, Cardinals or Braves.

    • @abox03: And finally completing the jumbled thoughts in my head….

      I think you have to make your decision after the game tomorrow. If the Cards win, I think you have to go ahead and set up your rotation to get the matchup you want for the WC game. 2 games back with 4 to go isn’t impossible, but with the Nats out of it now, and the Cubs at home being all that they have left, you can’t bank on catching STL. If they falter, great, but after tonight the Reds have a 7.0% chance to win the division, which is sure to drop to under 5% if the Cards win tomorrow. My money goes towards setting up the rotation for the 95% WC game.

  11. Looks to me like DB is setting this up for Cueto to start the Monday game.

    • @Johnu1: Cueto can start the first game of the postseason (or the 163rd game if tied for division lead) because of the off-day on Thursday.

      Today: Leake
      Wed: Latos (though Reynolds is listed as the probable)
      Fri: Bailey
      Sat: Arroyo
      Sun: Leake, though you have an option to use Cueto here if the outcome of game #162 is important.

  12. “… The Redlegs will be in the post-season for the second consecutive year for the first time since the Big Red Machine in 1975-76.”

    To me, the above quote speaks volumes and shows why many of us who were around for the Big Red Machine-era get frustrated when some today actually refer to this team as “a joke” as at least one person did tonight. While I certainly won’t be satisfied with simply “appearing” in post-season play for two years in a row, this statistic shows you how rare this feat can be, even with a team as storied as the Cincinnati Reds. The third-, fourth- and fifth-straight appearances will be even that much more impressive, hopefully including a couple or three World Championships along the way with this pitching staff.

    • @kywhi: Co-sign! Taking the Astros factor into account, this year’s team may have been more successful than last year’s.

      Not sure whether we should start considering the play-in game as the postseason. I can see arguments on either side. Nonetheless, there is simply no grounds at all for dissing the season the Reds have had thus far.

      • @Steve Mancuso: Did 1999 count as post-season? I think officially it did not. That would be the standard, I suppose, although the 2nd wild card effectively rewards teams, unlike the ’99 season when the Reds and Mets simply were tied on the last day.

        • @Johnu1: The official 1999 Reds record is 96-67. The official 1999 Mets record is 97-66. It was considered a tiebreaker to determine the final regular season standings.

  13. Look at Liriano’s record at home (PNC Park) compared to his record on the road, its vastly different and could be huge for the Reds. We MUST FIND A WAY to host the wildcard game at GABP, it could very well be the difference in advancing to the NLDS.

    In 11 starts at home: 8-1 with a 1.47 ERA Only 2 HR allowed
    In 14 starts on the road: 8-6 with a 4.16 ERA 6 HR allowed

    He is 0-3 with an 3.70 ERA against the Reds in 4 starts in 2013

    • @Josh: Wins are a team stat. ERA in a small number of games isn’t too reliable, and when you start looking at splits like home and away, you’re getting into some pretty small samples. That all said, even looking at more advanced stats that isolate the pitcher contribution, Liriano (and Burnett) have both pitched better at home than on the road.

      • @Steve Mancuso: However you look at it, Liriano (and Burnett) have pitched better at home. Home field advantage for the play-in game is important, and the Reds are in good position to get it.

      • @Steve Mancuso: Wins are a team stat is very correct. Another way to look at it is when Liriano pitches at home the TEAM is 8-1. When Liriano pitches on the road the TEAM is 8-6. On the flip side, the REDS are a .500 team on the road and play at a .653 clip at home. That alone, is a good reason to make sure you play the WC game at home.

        • @hoosierdad: I guarantee the Pirates aren’t 8-1 in 11 games . . .

          • @bearcats2004: Obviously, I was speaking in terms of the games in which he was given credit for the win or loss. The huge disparity is enough for me to want to make sure IF he is the WC pitcher for the RATS that the REDS face him at GABP. To look at it another way, his ERA is nearly 3X worse on the road than at home. Why not do everything in your power to make sure you get as much advantage, statistically, as possible.

        • @hoosierdad: I look at pitching and come up with Phil Humber or Don Larsen — I frankly don’t care what your stats are — you can be perfect some days.

      • @Steve Mancuso:
        You bring up some good points, but aside from players got to play it feels like you are arguing that playing at home does not matter.
        Statistically speaking do not almost every team play better at home? I think it is a huge advantage to have a playoff game at home, despite what happened last year or in 1999. It is like saying Dodgers do not have a huge advantage with Greinke and Kershaw because the Reds are 3-1 against them this year.

        But unless one team wins the next 2 and the other loses the next 2, the winner of the weekend series decides it. I hope they play it here (if the Pirates cannot play it in St. Louis)

        • @vicferrari: Not saying that at all. In fact, I said the advanced stats (FIP, xFIP etc.) show both Liriano and Burnett with a home field advantage. I was only saying the argument shouldn’t be made from pitching wins and less from ERA, too. I agree the home field helps (although Latos has betters splits on the road).

  14. Also, remember in 2010 the Reds hadn’t been in the playoffs in 15 years, we played tight, nervous, anxious and honestly we weren’t ready and we got handled, got no hit and got swept by the Phillies. That is what I hope happens to the Pirates in 2013, its more likely to occur if we they come to GABP in front of 47,000 loud Reds fans, in our atmosphere where the Reds are comfortable and confident. If we go to Pitt, the Bucs will be the ones comfortable, so these next 5 games will determine EVERYTHING.

    • @Josh: Agreed. I’m comfortable with the Reds at home vs. the Pirates in Cincy. Not nearly as confident if it’s in Pittsburgh.

  15. Stating it again here: Reds need to go 5 – 0 compared with the Cards 2 – 3 in order to win this thing outright. THAT would be perfection and, obviously, a minor miracle.

    • @tpteach: Tough odds. Just gotta hope the Cards fall right (pun intended).

      Also, hard to be too mad about PIT and STL pulling off 1-run wins tonight when the Reds just squeaked by as well.

      Did anyone else see the final play of the Pirates/Cubs game though? Cubs down a run in the bottom of the ninth, runner on first with two outs. Ryan Sweeney hits a decent gap shot between CF and RF, Byrd misses as he tries to snag the ball on a bounce. Nate Schierholtz gets waved home as the tying run. McCutchen was right next to Byrd to back it up, threw a laser to Morneau near the mound, who finished off the relay to get the final out at the plate. Gotta give credit, it was an excellent defensive play (excluding Byrd) and ya can’t fault the Cubs for sending the tying run home there.

      I guess the downside to the Reds getting to play the Cubs so often, is that the other good teams in the division get to play them just as much. CIN (14-5) and PIT (10-6) and even MIL (13-6) have taken more advantage of this than STL has (9-7).

    • @tpteach: If the Reds go 5-0 and the Cards go 3-2, they will play a game (no tie breaker rule) to determine who wins the division.

      • @pinson343: To put it differently, the Cards magic number is 4, not 3.

      • tpt

        Recheck that.

        If the Reds go 5 – 0 they would finish the season at 95 – 67. If the Cards go 2 – 3 they would finish 94 – 68. How would that not put us in sole possession of 1st place at the end of the season with no “tiebreaker” needed?

        • @tpteach: #LoseCardsLose needs to be the online slogan of Reds fans besides all variations of #goReds this next week. Spread the word.

  16. When does BH beat out Ludwick for playing time?

  17. The top of the 9th said everything about the Reds offense: 3 good LHed bats, and otherwise … After Choo’s leadoff double, even before his getting to 3rd, I knew the Mets (if the game wasn’t ended) would walk Votto and Bruce and pitch to BP, Ludwick, and Frazer.

    BP wanted so much to be the hero to drive in the walk off run that Aardsma knew it and didn’t throw him strikes. BP got himself out on two pitches not even close to the strike zone. In contrast Choo showed how it’s done in the 10th. Wait for a strike and then make an uppercut swing.

    • @pinson343: I like how Mes has been hitting lately.
      Three pitchers (Bronson, Homer, Cueto) having Hanigan as their personal catcher is too many.

      • @pinson343: Veterans getting preferential treatment is never going to stop under Dusty’s management. Hanigan taking back over majority playing time despite Mesoraco being better. Ludwick starting and batting 4th despite not being good and Hamilton being amazing. Last year it was a broken old Rolen over Todd Frazier who was killing the ball.

        I’ve almost gotten to the point where I am trying to not even get upset over it. Just accept it as a Dusty tax along with the other things he does.

        • @ToddAlmighty: On Hanigan, I don’t think it is Dusty preferring veterans so much as it is Dusty preferring letting the pitcher throw to the catcher he is most comfortable with. These pitchers all have big contracts on the line, involving tens of millions of dollars, and if they think they perform better with Hanigan, why argue with them?

          I do agree that Mesoraco needs about 550 ABs a season; see below.

          And on Hamilton, let’s not forget that he hit .256 at AAA this year. Hamilton’s hot, but Dusty wants to ease him in. (And there are about 14 advance scouts watching these games, probing for a Hamilton weakness.) But, yes, Ludwick is horrid and will never not be horrid. Too old, swing too long, mentally in knots; he will be DFA-ed sometime next year. I’d rather have Nick Christiani in left field right now.

      • @pinson343: I beat this point to death, but if Choo leaves, which he likely will, then Mes should be in left and Hamilton in center. We can find a defensive catcher cheap, but we can’t find a bat with Mesoraco’s upside cheap.

        • @Big Ed: Mez’s bat isn’t that good…he would probably </= Johnny Gomes.
          This is never happening.

          • @VaRedsFan: I agree with this. Meso has a good bat for a catcher, but one should expect more offensive production out of the LF position. Honestly I’d rather have Heisey, since he at least knows how to play the position. I could not find any evidence that Meso has played any outfield in the minors, and he definitely has not in the majors.

        • @Big Ed: Catchers are hard to find, period.

    • @pinson343: I meant bottom of the 9th, of course, not top.

  18. The 5 walks to Votto showed what the Mets think of Ludwick as a cleanup hitter. And he didn’t prove them wrong. Especially against a RHed pitcher, you’ve got to bat Bruce cleanup. And it isn’t like the Mets have some lefty in the pen who’s going to dominate Votto and Bruce.

    • @pinson343: I think the bases-loaded walk to Votto was more or less an intentional walk, and succeeded by limiting the damage to one run.

  19. LeCure was having problems tonite because he couldn’t throw his curve ball for a strike. He gave up the 2 singles but the biggest single out of the game for the Reds was his striking out Wright.

    Wright is by far the Mets best hitter (duh) and you could not walk him in that situation. After falling behind 2-0, Sam throws a cutter over the heart of the plate, Wright takes a HR swing and misses. Then Wright is looking for a breaking pitch, so Sam throws 2 fastballs, the first one right over the heart of the plate.
    He has some Bronson in him, throw them the opposite of what they’re expecting.

    Of course Marshall still needed to get the big double play to bail him out. LeCure had a big hug for him in the dugout.

  20. Just realized that even if Chapman pitches an inning in every game left this season, he still won’t even reach 70 innings. So wasteful.

    • @ToddAlmighty: Of the 20 MLB players with the highest save totals, Addison Reed of the White Sox leads in innings pitched with 69.2.

      Every major league team is underutilizing their Closer. The team that quits doing so will have an immedidate competitive edge over every other team.

      Alas, the Cardinals have gone to closer by committee.

  21. Making a “playoff” is nice but scary. I want to see us in the “playoffs”. As in, more than one game. That’s all I got right now.

  22. There are just some situations where there is not a bad decision that can be made. That’s pretty much how I feel about the Wild Card game at this point. Latos, Bailey, and Cueto are all good options and the Reds will have a great shot to win no matter who pitches the game. It’s a shame that it looks like the we’ll finish within the Dusty Tax of winning the division which forces the Wild Card game.

    Speaking of the Dusty Tax, do you think that there’s anyone on the staff who could go to Dusty and make the argument that Hamilton simply gives the Reds a better chance to win than Ludwick? Or, has he surrounded himself with yes men who won’t challenge his antiquated thought process?

    I feel a ton of sympathy for Ludwick. He’s been thrown into a postion that he’s not ready for, and it just is painful to watch. It’s a shame.

    • @Kyle Farmer: players have to go to Dusty to ask him to make changes. Example: BP moving to The two hole.

    • @Kyle Farmer:

      I agree. Ludwick had a good series in the two games he played in Pittsburgh. But Baker is not doing Ludwick or the Reds any favors by hitting him 4th. He hit pretty well in the 6th hole. Maybe even try him a game or two hitting second, but certainly not 4th or 5th. After last night, I don’t think we’ll see Ludwick hitting 4th anymore this season. Just an incredibly stupid move to have him bat 4th.

  23. Big Ed pointed this out, and I will again: Hamilton is an exciting weapon who, in a very limited sample size is vastly exceeding his output in the minors. Bruce did the same thing when he first came up. This is not to say that he shouldn’t play, just to say that he is not going to hit .429 and have a 100% success rate stealing. He’s very young, very inexperienced, and needs to learn the game at this level.

    • @greenmtred: Yes, he needs to learn the game. You learn by playing. I’ve watched more baseball than Billy Hamilton in my life and that, by no means, makes me a better player than him.

      Also, of course he won’t hit .429 with 100% steal rate, but if he just happens to be hot you need to ride him until he isn’t. If he gets two oh-fers in a row or something of that nature, then no one will be upset at benching him.

      It also wouldn’t be unprecedented for a player to become better in the majors than he was in AAA. Better supporting cast around him, access to “better” coaches, facilities, tape, etc. See Trout, Mike. (I know Billy isn’t Mike Trout, but he may be the rare 1/2% of players who, for whatever reason, turn it on when they reach the big show. He needs to be played until he becomes a detriment to to team, IMO.)

  24. It seems to me that we pretty much have to take 2 of 3 from Pitt in the final series to host the wild card game. If we lose 2 of 3, they will own the tiebreaker. Which means we would have to beat the Mets in the next 2 games AND Pitt would have to lose both games to the Cubs for us to be ahead.

    Conversely, if we do in fact take 2 of 3 in the final series, then we have the tiebreaker and in order for the Pirates to host the WC game they would have to win both games against the Cubs AND we’d have to drop the next 2 to the Mets.

    Correct me if I’m wrong

  25. Nice recap. I would like to add in one more positive from last night regarding Marshall. Did you see the reaction from Marshall and LeCure in the dugout after Marshall pitched the 8th?? Classic “I got your back, bro” moment. That kind of team chemistry is crucial in a tight pennant race. The bullpen has missed Marshall. Glad to see him pitching well. I can’t help but think that the Reds would be in first place if they had had a healthy Marshall all year. How many 8th inning bullpen meltdowns have there been while he was on the DL?

    • @WVRedlegs: Agree 100%. These guys sit away from the rest of the team most of the time. The bonds they forge down in the ‘pen can be the kind of thing that raises the entire unit’s performance for a short period of time (i.e.-playoffs). Let’s hope this is the case!

  26. Plaudits to Choo, for getting 2 big hits off lefties last night. He had struggled against lefties all year (and all his career, frankly), and it was sometimes hard to understand why he had stuggled. He has a simple, short stroke, so the numbers were a bit hard to understand.

    The money spent on Phillips will likely make it hard to keep Choo.

    • @Big Ed:
      It seems like Choo has been stepping up against lefties of late. Too lazy to look it up

      • @vicferrari: He’s currently at .210 for the year against lefties. I know earlier in the year he was well into the .100s, so without exact data, you are correct, I’d say.

    • @Big Ed: Even with his contract and antics, I am sure Phillips could be shopped to clear the space. Ludwick’s contract and Broxton’s are albatrosses for the Reds.

  27. The problem with Ludwick is not that he’s playing instead of Hamilton. There isn’t a team in the world that would suddenly put Hamilton in the regular starting lineup at this point in the season (and force Choo to move to a new position.) He is a heck of a weapon off the bench.

    The problem with Ludwick is using him as a middle of the order bat. At best, he’s a singles hitter. At worst, he’s an impatient and very slow-running out machine. And there’s no good reason to split Votto and Bruce, anyway. I desperately hope the silver lining from last night is that Dusty will stop this madness. But since it’s Dusty, I fully expect him to dig in his heels.

    Oh, and Mes needs to be playing more.

  28. “I thought they’d fade in the race, but they’ve hung in there all year long. Gotta give ‘em kudos. And I hope their fans are enjoying it.”

    I’m extremely happy for the Pirates and their fans. Baseball overshadowing football in a the biggest football town in America is a good thing.

  29. Serious question: two outs in the bottom of the 8th, tie game, Hamilton on 2nd, RHP on the mound/LHP ready to go in the bullpen. With Hamilton’s speed, all you need is a single. Who was the best guy to PH to try and get that single? Heisey’s main strength as a PH seems to be his doubles/HR power.

    I’m not asking this as second guessing. As Heisey was batting, I was trying to figure out who gave us the best shot at a single, and I couldn’t come up with a definite answer given the bench choices Dusty had to work with. Thoughts?

Comments are closed.

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.


2013 Reds, Titanic Struggle Recap


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