The Reds released their roster for tonight’s Wild Card play-in game.

No, none of these guys are on it. Pirates roster is here. Josh Harrison, Princeton High School grad and Cincinnati native made it. Joe West will be the home plate umpire. Here’s an article at FanGraphs discussing West’s strike zone. Burn this into your identity. Back goes Clemente, at the fence …

From the Reds: The Wild Card matchup between Johnny Cueto and Francisco Liriano is just the third in postseason history between two starting pitchers from the Dominican Republic. In both 1999 and 2004, Pedro Martinez faced off against Bartolo Colon.

In case you didn’t already know, the game takes place at PNC Park in Pittsburgh and starts at 8:07 p.m.

(To the person who asked, no, the Reds can’t leave Dusty Baker off today’s roster.)

No big surprises on the roster. Only two starting pitchers then loads of bullpen help on both sides. For the position players, it’s the basic roster players plus Derrick Robinson and Billy Hamilton. I thought there was a case for including a third starting pitcher over Ondrusek just because I can’t imagine a situation where Ondrusek should be in the game, but I can for a third starter.

Pitching:  Cueto (starter), Leake (backup starter), Hoover (R), LeCure (R), Simon (R), Ondrusek (R), Duke (L), Marshall (L), Parra (L), Chapman (closer)

Hitting: Starting eight, Mesoraco, Izturis, Heisey, Paul, Hannahan, Robinson, Hamilton


Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 96 Comments

  1. The Reds are 1-for-1! No issues with this roster.

    • @prjeter: Joe West’s strike zone appears to favor Liriano with the low, outside strike. Someone get this info to Choo, Joey, and Jay!

      Conversely, if our righties can lay off of pitches high and wide, they may be able to work some walks.

      • @prjeter: Just seeing Joe West’s name gave me the willies. Though I freely admit that came from some pre-programming over the years by Marty and his rants on “Country Joe West.”

  2. Why am I so nervous? It’s not like I’m playing.

    • @LWBlogger: You are playing, you are playing your heart tonight.

    • @LWBlogger: I’m actually not nervous in the slightest. You have to hand it to these guys – over the last week they have really lowered the expectations. They’ve completely tapered me off of having any emotional connection to this game. I’ll be watching and rooting for them, but I fully expect them to lose and I won’t feel a thing if they do. But if they win, I’ll be absolutely ecstatic. There’s really no downside.

    • @LWBlogger: The the “emotional hedge” betting strategy! Bet heavily on the Pirates, so if they win, you win! And if the Reds win, you won’t care you lost because you’ll be so happy the Reds won! Best of both worlds!

  3. It sure would be nicer if the season doesn’t come down to one game.

  4. Bruce really struggles against Liriano. Will this change tonight?

    • @jas_428: What worries me more is the 4-5 automatic outs we’re going to give them by starting Choo. I love Choo and I know how insane it would seem to not start him in such a critical game, but against Liriano you’re just tossing him into a wood chipper. He’d be much more valuable off the bench in a critical late inning PH against a righty.

      • @eric nyc: I’m too lazy to look it up, but I’m pretty sure Choo’s OBP vs LHP is .350+, so that’s not where we’re giving up automatic outs. (Starting Hanigan instead of Mes: there are some automatic outs, singles instead of doubles, and failures to score from first on a shot in the gap…)

      • @eric nyc: Here are the year-end vs L splits for the Reds hitters, sorted by PAs, in parenthesis. What you’ll notice is that Dusty and Homer and Bronson and whoever else not being able to use Mesoraco against lefties has destroyed many of plate appearances for the guy with the highest OPS on the team against lefties this year. Any time Mesoraco does not start against a lefty, Dusty is essentially leaving runs on the bench. It’s inexucusable. And while we’re on that, what is wrong w/ the pitchers? Are they really that delicate that they can’t throw to Mesoraco? I don’t get it.

        Anyways, without further adieu:

        Votto (239): .251/.377/.447
        Bruce (221): .246/.291/.443
        Choo (221): .215/.347/.265
        Phillips (198): .254/.328/.418
        Frazier (178): .236/.311/.471
        Cozart (162): .245/.275/.411
        Heisey (98): .259/.316/.494
        Robinson (92): .288/.367/.375
        Mesoraco (88 AKA Travesty): .321/.386/.487
        Hanigan (63): .222/.311/.296
        Izturis (37): .257/.278/.343
        Leake (30): .214/.241/.321
        Ludwick (28): .269/.321/.462
        Paul (21): .158/.238/.158

        Based on this, a linupe like Choo/Votto/Phillips/Mesoraco/Bruce/Ludwick/Frazier/Cozart/Pitcher would be the most optimal against a lefty, it seems. Unforunately, that will not closely resemble the actual lineup.

      • @eric nyc: Choo doesn’t have to be a great hitter tonight but he does need to get on base a couple of times. So even if he runs into a sloppy fastball, I will overlook the probabilities.

  5. So is it Hanigan or Mes with the start? Because if it’s Hanigan I wish we had Miller…I hate that Dusty makes me wish that, but it’s the only way we’d have Mes available off the bench.

    • @eric nyc: Pretty sure with Cueto starting that it will be Hanigan. From an offensive perspective, a big, big downgrade over Mes. I’m hoping that Hanigan has a huge game though.

      • @LWBlogger: This is an understatement, even. Mesoraco has a higher OBP than Votto against lefties, a higher average than ANYONE on the team, and 2nd in slugging to Heisey, of all people.

        Basically, you’re leaving a player on the bench which would be a combination of Votto and Bruce. It’s inexusable in my opinion.

        Maybe a former pitcher could explain to me why a pitcher would want the team to be at a disadvantage so he can throw to his “favorite catcher.” I doubt there is any quantitative evidence to suggest a pitcher being “comfortable” with his catcher leads to a better performance. But, I don’t know that for sure.

  6. I disappointed that Corky didn’t make it. He has more RBI in the last 2 weeks than BP.

  7. going to be grilling out with my son for a pre-game celebration. I’m assuming this is a FSO broadcast game, correct?

  8. Ok, answered my own question. For anyone else interested:

    2013 NL Wild Card Game Info

    Who: Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

    When: Tuesday, Oct. 1 at 8:07 p.m. EDT

    Where: PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pa.

    Watch: TBS

    Season Series: Pittsburgh leads, 11-8


    • @preach: not sure if this is what you were going for, but if you add a bit e.g. d:) it is a happy little boy in a baseball hat. Man I am bored at work. GO REDLEGS!

  9. “Patience” is the key word for the Reds hitters today. Can’t wait for the game to start. Go Reds!

  10. Anyone have a Tony Sands, Ira Joe Fisher or Skipper Ryle weather report?

  11. More concerned about the batting order than the roster…hopefully Ludwick is 5th or 6th just not 2nd in the order. Here’s my order:


    Dusty MUST have a quick hook, no personal favors tonight. Hit and run often to stay out of the DP and don’t forget you have a couple of lethal weapons in Hamilton and Chapman, don’t be afraid to use them. Remember Dusty, THERE IS NO TOMORROW!!!

    • @Benchwarmer: If Dusty is really worried about the LH hitters, and for once he might have good reason to be, I’d even consider letting Super Todd hit 4th, Bruce 5th, Ludwick 6th.

  12. Sooo, is THIS the time for a sense of urgency?

  13. Aaaaannnnddddd … Discuss:

    Reds NL Wild Card Game lineup:
    Choo CF
    Ludwick LF
    Votto 1B
    Phillips 2B
    Bruce RF
    Frazier 3B
    Cozart SS
    Hanigan C
    Cueto P

    • @indianajoe: Figured as much. Hopefully Ludwick isn’t a DP machine and Reds hitters show some patience, making Liriano throw strikes. Hanigan catching Cueto was a no-doubter, even though Mesoraco is one of the Reds’ best hitters against LHP. With no Corky, it is unlikely Mes even gets an AB. I hope Hanigan has a career day and knocks the cover off the ball. I’d love to see the Reds pounce early and then keep the pedal down for a runaway win. It will probably be a tight game though.

      • @LWBlogger: Yep, he won’t get an AB, and if he does it’ll be against a righty. There is no way in hell Hurdle lets Meso bat against a lefty. Unlike the Reds, the Pirates look at statistics.

    • @indianajoe: The only silver lining in this is if we lose, it’s going to be impossible to not put a lot of the blame on Dusty. He just concocted this lineup out of thin air 3 games ago and it has already lost us every game he’s tried it in. If it loses us this one, too, that’s too big of a blunder for Castelini to ignore.

      • @eric nyc: I will make a bold prediction. I think the Reds are going to win but even if they lose 12-0, there is no way that Baker gets fired.

        • @LWBlogger: I’m not so sure anymore. He only has one year left on his contract and Jocketty has got to be livid about these lineups. They gave up a lot to get Choo this offseason on a one year rental and if Dusty throws that away with his same boneheaded mistakes and yet another one-and-done playoff appearance it might be hard for Castellini to ignore it anymore.

    • @indianajoe: What, suddenly, has provoked this infatuation with Ludwick in the 2 spot? Obviously it hasn’t worked. Dusty appears to be looking for his Billy Bates moment to seem like a genius.

      • @Johnu1: I agree. If Ludwick goes 0-4 with a GIDP as he’s wont to do, Dusty can blame the player’s performance for the loss. If Ludwick goes 3-4 with a homer and a walk, Dusty can praise himself for batting Ludwick 2nd.

        Dusty is afflicted with the same disaease that caused Marvin Lewis to kick a FG on 4th and 3 in the 2nd half, down 7, on the road. He wanted to deflect blame to the players for not winning, rather than blaming him for calling to go for it on 4th and 3 and missing it.

        It’s a common coach strategy in all sports among less-than-aboveboard coaches, in my opinion.

      • @Johnu1: Bingo!

  14. I hesitate to even comment on this, as I’m fired up about this game and it can be construed as a negative but I’m disappointed in the probable likelihood that one of our better hitters against LHP (Mesoraco) will not start, nor likely PH since Miller is not on the roster. Not to mention that he has several clutch moments this year, including one in this very park a few weeks ago. I know he hasn’t been real consistent in September (name a Red who has.) What does it take for Mesoraco to “earn” the Dusty-trusty? Or, is the game-calling/D of Hanigan so much better that is makes up for Mes’ O? Am I the only one that feels this way? (And nothing against Hanigan, but if there were ever a year for Mesoraco to start 4/5 games this was it.)

    • @Redgoggles: Cueto and Hanigan great at stopping the run game. Important in a game like this.

    • @Redgoggles: Really I don’t even think that it’s the difference in their defenses. I think it comes down to Cueto being more comfortable with Hanigan. I think that Dusty has allowed the pitcher to make the call as far as who he is throwing to in cases where there wasn’t an injury involved. No way to be sure but that’s how it appears to me. I can see an argument for doing it that way but it is hard to not have Mesoraco out there against a LHP in a “win or go home” game. Hopefully Hanigan kicks butt.

    • @Redgoggles: I think he should be starting, too, but to be fair I seem to remember a clutch AB I think in St. Louis a while ago when Dusty did use Mes off the bench even without Corky. It must have been an emergency, but he did it.

  15. Standard issue lineup construction complaint.

  16. Well it’s official…


    Same lineup that we trotted out to tank the last series. Should work better this time against a lefty who’s 11-1 at home though, right? Am i right guys? Guys? Guys? Where are you all going?

  17. Huge drop off hitting Hanigan instead of Mesoraco vs. LHP.

    Hanigan: .222/311/.296 = OPS .608
    Mesoraco: .321/.386/.487 = OPS .874

    Devin has only caught Cueto for one inning this year. Cost of the way Baker manages the catchers through the year. Baker Tax.

    • @Steve Mancuso: .270 points of OPS is the difference between Jay Bruce (.807) and Cesar Izturis (.530).

      • @Steve Mancuso: @indianajoe: If only Dusty could add and subtract. (I jest, of course.)

        Yep, I think these incredibly horrendous lineups probably turn us from a 4.8 runs per game team to a 4.0 runs per game team.

        • @prjeter: The last time the Reds scored 4 runs was …….

          • @Johnu1: I know you aren’t a numbers fan, but I don’t know how else to attempt to accurately represent an vague idea of a bad lineup in pseudo-real terms without mentioning something like average runs per game. Perhaps, a measure of variance to the league, and standard deviation from their own mean would be more beneficial?

            September 22nd. They scored 11 at PIT.

    • @Steve Mancuso: I think Baker is allowing the starting pitcher to choose his catcher. It isn’t particularly unusual to do it that way. Of course, if I was pitching, I’d want Mes’ bat in the lineup against Liriano.

    • @Steve Mancuso: So, not to be negative on a day when I REALLY am trying to be positive about this team … but if Dusty survives the offseason as the Reds manager, can we all agree to make #dustytax happen next year? I feel like that needs to be a thing.

      • @indianajoe: I want to be positive, as well, but Ludwick batting 2nd is lunacy. Let’s hope he goes 3-4 with a homer and walk, but I’m seeing Liriano plunking Choo to start the game, the Ludwick swinging 1st pitch and GIDP. Take it to the bank.

        • @prjeter: I was banking on HBP followed by a sac bunt. But, you know, we could both be right … HBP, failed bunt, and a two-strike GIDP.

          Wow. That was crazy negative. Changing the music in my office to create an attitude adjustment in 3 … 2 … 1 …

  18. I thought there was a case for including a third starting pitcher over Ondrusek

    It’s ironic that Cueto is just about the only healthy starter that the Reds have. I figured that with (1) Latos’ injury, (2) Bailey and Arroyo both pitched recently (and also each admitted to some physical issues) and (3) Cingrani is rehabbing in Arizona, that we weren’t going to see any other starters on today’s roster. Hopefully after the Reds win tonight, all the other starters can be healthy enough to pitch the rest of the post season.

  19. Well. I’m going with this thought: Ludwick hit pretty pretty well in the playoffs against the Giants. Great things can happen. Not going to get psyched out by the paper match-ups. Go Reds. Wooo!

  20. I bet there will be more sports fan eyeballs on this game than for the world series. It’s literally the only thing on tonight….unless you count drag racing as a sport.

    To that end, the pressure is all on the Pirates. Given their lack of experience in these situations and the expectations of their fans and the national media, it wouldn’t suprise me to see them lay an egg like we did in 2010.

  21. This is the opening day starting 8. It’s identical to the opening day lineup except Ludwick and Phillips are flipped.

    Is there any reason to think that Baker would have somehow change his lineup approach? I understand the complaints, I’m just not shocked by it any more. In fact, I would have been shocked by anything else.

    • @Greg Dafler: If you step back and just think of batting Ryan Ludwick, with his challenges hitting this year, second, and Brandon Phillips, who has been in a terrible month-long slump fourth, it’s simply breathtaking.

      And I hope they score ten runs tonight.

      • @Steve Mancuso: Gotta get em going for the NLDS…*facepalm*

      • @Steve Mancuso: And that actually might be the worst part. If we do manage to win tonight with this lineup, THIS is the lineup for the rest of the playoffs. No question about it. “It worked in an elimination game so it must be right!”

      • @Steve Mancuso: Don’t forget trading Mesoraco’s OPS vs LHP for Hanigan’s! Like I said the other day, Dusty is choosing suboptimal players for 25% of his offense–and 40% of his RH offense–vs one of the toughest LHP in the game, so that he can get some “veteran leadership” and perhaps throw out a runner.


    • @Greg Dafler: If this was LITERALLY the opening day lineup I’d say there’s a perfectly good case for that. Dance with the one who brought you. But this idea of batting Ludwick 2nd to “get him going” doesn’t make any sense. Even if you could rationalize it in the last week of the season, this is a must win game. Why are you putting your second slowest runner and presumably more powerful hitters in the 2 spot? You’ve tried it exactly 3 times and you’ve lost all of those games. It doesn’t make sense on paper, it doesn’t work in games, and you’re just going to give it another try?

      • @eric nyc: See the insanity definition above…Dusty is just being Dusty (old and stubborn). A #2 hitter should be patient, have good strike zone discipline, contact hitter with decent speed. Ludwick has none of those attributes. Heck put Cozart back in there, he’s been hot recently.

        • @Benchwarmer: I think you might be guilty of a Dusty-ism here. Those reasons, although flawed, are why Dusty wanted Cozard #2 for most of the season.

          Your #2 hitter should be your best hitter, if you want to score the most runs. The ONLY correct #2 hitter on the team is Joey Votto. See “The Book” for reference.

      • @eric nyc: Did the “get him going” quote come from Baker today?

    • @Greg Dafler: I think the shocking thing is that it is unconventional. And it’s not “good unconventional,” like batting Votto 2nd would be. It’s “lunatic unconventional,” like batting a guy with horrendous plate discipline 2nd in the order ahead of your “run producers.”

      Like you, though, it’s really no surprise. A team with immense talent is continually hamstrung by a manger who willfully ignores statistics. It’s so incredibly frustrating.

    • @Greg Dafler: I think the Ludwick we see now is a fraction of the one who came out of Goodyear. I can’t believe that a shoulder injury ever really repairs.

    • @Greg Dafler:

      I’m just not shocked by it any more. In fact, I would have been shocked by anything else.

      This ❗ This is simply Dusty being Dusty. Everyone knows what to expect. There is no rhyme or reason. It makes absolutely no any sense. It routinely handicaps and handcuffs the offense, but Dusty will continue to manage the same way as long as he is the manager. There’s only one person who can force a change and that person ain’t a member in good standing of The Nation.

      The sad fact is that if the lineup works tonight and the Reds pound Liriano (or even just barely win the game), Dusty will be vindicated and proclaim his superior baseball knowledge and strategy. If the Reds lose, it will be the player’s fault for not p[laying up to Dusty’s superior wisdom.

  22. The smell of fresh cut grass in the early fall. The hint of chalk dust in the air. The contrast of the infield dirt against the green playing field. The aroma of popcorn and hotdogs waft over the seats in the stands. Organ music playing.
    General quarters. Battle stations.
    All hands on deck.
    Time to do battle.

    RLNation, “We will be united in our common interests. We will once again be fighting for our freedom… Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution… but from elimination. We are fighting for our right to live on. To exist. And should we win the day, the day will no longer be known as a wild-card play-in game, but as the day the Redleg Nation declared in one voice: “We will not go quietly into the night!” We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive! After tonight, it’s on to St. Louis!”

    Let’s play ball!!

  23. Anyone else see Ron Washington leave Ogando in for a full inning last night and immediately think of Dusty’s ‘lack of urgency’? The guy was getting shelled and yet there was no one up in the bullpen in an elimination game. I’ll be shocked if Washington still has a job in February. Dusty, not so much.

    • @Sultan of Swaff: Washington at least had a bit of an excuse that his bullpen had been killer-stressed for the previous week, including the day before. Several of his relievers had pitched three or four days in a row going into last night. Baker has no such excuse if he is slow to the hook tonight. Sparky will be watching from above.

  24. If there are a bunch of pitching changes on both sides tonight, coupled with all the TV commercials, this game may last until midnight. May have to have an xtra bag of chips on stand-by tonight. Can you only imagine if this game goes into xtra innings. The season could boil down to their #6 reliever and one of the Reds bench guys.

  25. Choo

  26. Gotta give some credit to Baker for putting Ludwick in the 2 hole. He is pretty reliable there provided you’re relying on an out.

  27. FYI:
    ” Cueto is 8-2 with a 1.80 ERA in his career at PNC Park.”

    “Ryan Ludwick on Sept. 20-21 in Pittsburgh: 5-8, 2RBI’s.”

  28. [Iraqi Information Minister]There is nothing wrong with today’s lineup. Dusty has truly put the best team on the field for this important game.[/Iraqi Information Minister]

  29. Last weekend (Sept 20th) when the Reds last faced Liriano, Ludwick went 1-for-3 against Liriano with a single in the first inning, scoring Phillips. He then went on to go 2-for-2 against the bullpen with singles in each of the 9th and 10th innings.

    • @Greg Dafler: @Greg Dafler: Tell us how Ludwick performed this past weekend batting 2nd against the Pirates…

      • @Benchwarmer: Does his performance this most recent weekend mean that he is an automatic out in today’s game?

        • @Greg Dafler: I hope not, but based upon his most recent AB’s it’s about as automatic as you can get in this league. Do you really see more fast ball strikes just because Joey Votto is on deck? Guess it doesn’t matter if you are always jumping on the first pitch.

  30. You can give up offense for defense at one position, maybe. But you can’t do it at two positions, representing 40% of your right handed bats. (And in Ludwick’s case, we don’t get better defense, we get “veteran leadership”.)

    Please don’t tell me after the game “it’s up to the players to play. Dusty can’t bat or field for them!”

  31. The bold thing would be to play Hamilton in center and Choo in left, hitting Hamilton in first or second. The Reds ain’t bold. I’d rather have Heisey than Ludwick; Heisey is better at every aspect of baseball than is Ludwick.

    Ludwick may well be Hall of Fame at contributing to charities and helping little old ladies across the street, but he can’t play baseball at this level.

    • @Big Ed: Heisey has never been one of Dusty’s favorites. Most of the minor league call ups filled in nicely in place of Ludwick this season, didn’t really miss him. I would have liked to have seen Heisey get more consistent playing time.

  32. I figure if I predict this in writing, it won’t happen:

    Choo walks on a 3-2 pitch. Liriano looks rattled.
    Ludwick–a RH bat–bunts straight back to Liriano. He fires a bit wild to second, but they get the out.
    Votto walks on a 3-1 pitch. Liriano looks rattled.
    BP hacks at the first pitch, grounding to short. Barmes bobbles the ball, so the Pirates can’t quite turn the DP. Liriano glares at Barmes. He appears rattled.
    Bruce walks on a 3-2 pitch. Liriano angrily takes the ball from Martin. He looks very rattled.
    Frazier swings at the first pitch, a slider three feet off the plate and in the dirt. It gets past Martin, and Ludwick just beats the throw home to put the Reds on the board.. Votto moves to 3rd, Bruce to second. Liriano looks rattled.
    Frazier swings wildly at an 0-2 pitch in the dirt, striking out to end the inning.
    Cueto shuts down the Pirates in the first. Cozart leads off the 2nd with a double that would have cleared the bases (too bad we gave up that out with the bunt!), but then Liriano settles down.

    The game stays 1-0 until the 9th, with the only Reds offense being two BB by Votto, a Choo HBP, and a two out double by Cozart.

    Aroldis Chapman comes on to pitch the 9th. Rusty, he throws two balls to the backstop, puts a 99MPH pitch just under the batter’s chin (which sends the crowd into a frenzy), and doesn’t get the call on a 102 MPH pitch which GameDay shows was a clear strike.

    With a runner on 1st, Marlon Byrd hits the first pitch he sees–a 100MPH fastball in the middle of the plate–over the centerfield wall. Pirates win 2-1. After the Pirates lose Game 7 of the NLCS to the Atlanta Braves–with surprise roster addition Sid Bream, Jr sliding in just under the tag–Byrd tests positive for steroids for the second time, receiving a 100 game ban. Rather than serve his ban he signs a contract with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, and breaks the one year old homerun record in Japanese Baseball.

    • @Eric the Red: You forgot the blame for Dusty Baker for taking out Cueto…

      • @rfay00: Nope. Perfectly reasonable. There’s no way Cueto could pitch a complete game, unless the Pirates showed no patience and he was at 85 pitches through 8. Even then, I wouldn’t blame Dusty for lifting him. (I do blame Dusty for how rusty Chapman will be. Normally he’s terrible after a long layoff, except a month ago when he terrorized St.Louis and LA. All we can do is hope he’s in that kind of form again.)

  33. 3 hrs. to go. Super Todd is pouring the milk over his Wheaties. Johnny is feeling loose. Great things will happen.

Comments are closed.

About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.


2013 Postseason, 2013 Reds, Believe


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