The Reds 2-1 series win over the Pittsburgh Pirates this weekend is a little deceptive. A person who didn’t watch the games might think any of a number of baseball cliches about the Pirates (even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes, anyone with a bat is a threat, and so on), but those who saw the games can’t dismiss the outcome with a pithy phrase.
While the young starting pitchers who led the charge–Homer Bailey, Edinson Volquez, and Johnny Cueto–were total bad-asses, they had to overcome not just the Pirates’ offense but also the Reds’ lack of offense. Throw in some relievers who weren’t up to the challenge, and there wasn’t a win to be had for any of them. Two games required extra-inning heroics to bring home and one was already too far out of hand for even that.
Folks are pretty down on Francisco Cordero, who put Sunday’s game out of reach and hasn’t exactly been what you’d call “nails” for a couple outings now. Rocktman65 wants Aroldis Chapman to take over as closer. Red Reporter wants closer by committee. Dusty Baker has some level-headed words on the matter:
We all feel terrible for [Cordero],” Baker said. “We need him badly because he’s our closer. Nobody else is really ready to close. He’s our closer. I know people are hollering for this person and that person. What happens when the next person doesn’t do it? Then you’ll be hollering for somebody else. You can’t keep doing that.
Personally, I don’t want to see Cordero officially replaced yet. For one thing, that’s terribly demoralizing, and he’d probably start walking even more people than usual. For another, GM Walt Jocketty would refuse to take him off the roster and we’d be looking at a 25 man roster that’s really only 22 (counting Jim Edmonds and Jay Bruce, who are too hurt to play but still taking up spots).
A more insidious problem, in my estimation, is the offense that goes mysteriously dry from time-to-time. Should the Reds really have been going into the ninth inning with only a 0-1 lead against one Brian Burres? His 5.22 ERA might be pretty good by Pirates’ standards, but this was the number-one-and-pulling away team in the division they were up against. Asking for three more runs from the Reds’ offense doesn’t seem unreasonable when you might reasonably expect them to pull down five more than they did against this guy.
But that is, as the pithy statement goes, why they play the game. The already-eliminated Diamondbacks visit GABP tonight, bringing with them their 57-86 record. Hopefully they won’t prove to be a much of a challenge as the last crappy team who came to town.