Monthly Archives: October 2012

October 11, 2012

5 ways to prepare for the Reds’ game

Last Game
Unlike the first game at GABP, where Homer Bailey rocked but the team lost, last night Mike Leake sucked and the team still lost. Giants 8, Reds 3.

A lot of people are putting the blame on Dusty Baker, who probably gave Leake too long of a leash and who also saw fit to bring in Jose Arredondo at a moment when the team really needed to not give up 3 more runs, but Baker isn’t the one who stranded 10 runners.

Next Game
For the first time in the postseason, today the Reds face elimination. It will be a redux of the first game with Matt Cain going against Mat Latos, though Latos starts in the first inning this time. First pitch at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Learn to Protect Yourself
We were riding high in the first two games of this series, but with our ace not even on the roster anymore and our offense off in that alternate dimension it likes to disappear into for weeks at a time, we’re forced to face the minute possibility that this might not be the year after all.

Some will say that a true fan believes 100% until the it’s all over, but not everyone can handle getting their heart torn out of their chests right now. Some of us need to batten down the hatches, just in case. So here are my five tips to prepare yourself for the possibility of elimination today:

Chris Heisey, Zack Cozart, and Mat Latos spraying an elephant with a hose

#1. Appreciate all the good stuff you have.
Even if the Reds’ season ends today, no one can take away how much you enjoyed those first 2 games. Plus, you probably have your health, right?

#2. Think of all the fun things you’ll be able to do with your spare time and money.
Cheering on a team takes a big investment of time (and cash, if you’re going to the games in person). Once elimination happens, you’ll be able to dedicate that time and money to things like decorating the house for Halloween and storing away all your summer clothes.

#3. Remember that everything that doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.
An early post-season exit would encourage the Reds’ brass to keep strengthening the team. Maybe we’d have 5 closers by this time next year, or 4 aces. If you’re in the anti-Baker camp, remember that losing is the best way to get a manager fired.

#4. Focus on something else.
One way or another, the baseball season is going to end. It’s just a matter of when. So why not start scheduling time to vote for Todd Frazier for the the Roberto Clemente award or planning your trip to Redsfest? There are plenty of other activities that can keep your mind off elimination.

#5. Don’t forget: it could always be worse.
At least when you say, “there’s always next year,” there’s some truth in it. Not all teams are so lucky.

What to Say to Sound Smart at the Water Cooler
The Reds haven’t lost 3 games in a row at home all season. But there’s a first time for everything (#6. Keep your expectations low.)

October 10, 2012

Cueto out till WS; Leake to pitch game 4

Mike Leake makes his last start of 2012 against the Pirates (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)The mystery is finally solved: Mike Leake will pitch in today’s game.

As you know, Leake didn’t make the post-season roster, so to make room for him, the Reds had to take someone off the roster. It is apparently not as easy as it is during the regular season, or else they would have sent down Miguel Cairo in short order and settled this matter days ago.

Rather, replacing someone on the post-season roster takes special approval from MLB. You have to replace one player with the same type of player (pitcher for pitcher, for example) and apparently you have to replace the specific guy who’s injured (no pretending J.J. Hoover is the one who needs to be DLed, for example).

There are further implications for Cueto as well. Since he’s been taken off the NLDS roster, he’s ineligible for the NLCS roster. The earliest we can get him back is the World Series.

After the game last night, the Reds weren’t ready to say this was the plan, but everyone seemed to know it was going to happen anyway. The second-most likely result would have been to have Mat Latos pitch on short rest again, but going with that approach would have left the Reds in a spot for game 5, if it should come to that.

By bringing Leake in to pitch today, they’ll have Latos for tomorrow if needed. If not needed (fingers crossed), Latos should be good to kick off the next series.

October 10, 2012

NLDS Game 3: Reds defeat themselves

Giants (1-2)0010000001230
Reds (2-1)1000000000141
W: Romo (1-0) L: Broxton (0-1)


Scott Rolen bobbled a ground ball and threw late to first, allowing the Giants’ go-ahead run to score.

The Cincinnati Reds had a chance last night to eliminate the San Francisco Giants from the playoffs and advance to the next round. But before the game, they received news that ace Johnny Cueto had a strained right oblique muscle. If the Reds didn’t win game 3, then a difficult decision about who would start game 4 would have to be made.

The solution? Win game 3.

And the Reds tried, but they were playing under way too much self-imposed pressure. They took an early lead, going up 1-0 in the first inning thanks to a single by Jay Bruce that knocked in Zack Cozart. That was the end of the scoring, and the batters looked to be pressing all night, especially as the innings advanced.

The pitching was awesome, though. Homer Bailey started and was amazing again, showing he was more than up to the task of taking the mound at Great American Ball Park. He lasted 7 innings, allowing 1 run on 1 hit and 1 walk, while striking out a career-high 10. The bullpen picked up where he left off, with Sean Marshall, a sharper Aroldis Chapman, and Jonathan Broxton pitching their asses off.

Unfortunately for the Reds and Broxton, the defense slumped a bit in the top of the 10th. Ryan Hanigan had a passed ball that allowed runners to advance. And with runners on 2nd and 3rd and two outs, Broxton coaxed a ground ball to third baseman Scott Rolen that seemed sure to end the inning. Instead, Rolen bobbled the ball and was late in his throw to first for an error.

The Reds went weakly in the bottom of the 10th, letting another great starting effort slip away. Sweeping a team during the regular season is always difficult, and it’s even harder during the playoffs. Still, the Reds need to relax a bit before tomorrow’s game.

The Reds have 2 more chances to advance. Game 4 is tomorrow at 4:07pm. Barry Zito will start for the Giants, while Mike Leake, Mat Latos, or the bullpen will be starting for the Reds.

October 10, 2012

Who feels the worst about the Reds loss?

Last Game
Homer Bailey was great in game 3 of the NLDS series with the Giants, but the Reds failed to give him the run support he would have needed for the sweep. They ended up losing in 10 innings, 2-1.

Bailey struck out 10 in his 7.0 innings of work. Even though he earned a run thanks to a hit-by-pitch and sac fly, he actually had a no-hitter going in the sixth. He was well short of 100 pitches when they pulled him, but that makes sense with a well-rested bullpen.

So on came the closers. Sean Marshall struck out 1 in the eighth. Aroldis Chapman struck out 2 in the ninth. Jonathan Broxton struck out 3 in the tenth, but not before he gave up up 2 hits and the run that would turn out to be the game-winner.

Next Game
Game 4 is at 4 p.m. in Great American Ball Park. Barry Zito will be pitching for the Giants. And that’s all we know.

Dusty Baker isn’t prepared to say who’s pitching for the Reds. The options are:

  1. Johnny Cueto, if his oblique is feeling better. The official word is still day-to-day, but rumors are floating that Cueto actually has a mild strain (not just a spasm) which is the same injury that had Zack Cozart out for a month.
  2. Mat Latos, who would be going again on short rest. Again, the team isn’t saying it, but the scuttlebutt is that Latos has the dreaded flu-like symptoms.
  3. the bullpen.
  4. Mike Leake, but another pitcher would have to be taken off the roster to make room for him, and that person would be ineligible for the NLCS series, should the Reds make it that far.

In a post-game conference, Homer Bailey said that Mike Leake is starting tomorrow as if it were common knowledge. He also said “shitty” on t.v. Tee-hee.

Brandon Phillips is out trying to snag third on a passed ball. (AP Photo/Michael Keating)So Many Chances
The Reds lost last night, but it wasn’t for lack of chances. Several people made blunders that probably had them kicking themselves. That list includes, but is not limited to:

  • Brandon Phillips getting caught stealing in the first inning. Had he just held his position at second base, he would have been knocked in by Ryan Ludwick, plus Scott Rolen’s strike out wouldn’t have been the one to end the inning.
  • With 2 on and 2 out in the tenth inning and Joaquin Arias at the plate, Ryan Hanigan let a ball get past him, which put Buster Posey on third.
  • Later in that same at-bat, Arias hit a grounder to Rolen, which he bobbled. Rolen couldn’t get the ball to first in time to get Arias out, so it counted when Posey crossed the plate.

That’s not all, of course. Bailey might have beat himself up over the HBP or Broxton might have been unable to sleep thinking about what he might have pitched differently.

The great thing about this team, though, is that while guys might be putting the pressure on themselves, you know they aren’t pointing the fingers at each other. As a group, they’d put this loss behind them before they left the part and are ready for today. On the bright side, they get an extra NLDS game to hear all of Cincinnati cheering for them.

What to Say to Sound Smart at the Water Cooler
Today we have another tidbit from everyone’s favorite source of baseball history trivia, Elias Sports Bureau. They say that Dusty Baker (who managed the Giants to the World Series in 2002) is only the third manager in MLB history to face a team in a postseason game that he previously led to the World Series.

The other two were 1) Joe McCarthy, who faced the Cubs as the manager of the Yankees in 1932 and 1938, and 2) Billy Martin, who managed the A’s against the Yankees in 1981.

October 9, 2012

Interviews with Baker and Bailey

After yesterday’s workout at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, manager Dusty Baker and game 3 starter Homer Bailey both sat down to answer questions from the assembled media.

Dusty Baker
Baker went first, and the topic turned, of course, to injured ace Johnny Cueto. Baker was optimistic, but was clear in placing the health of Cueto ahead of the team’s desire to win.

“We’re going to do what’s best for him. I just hope that’s good for us, too.”

The growth of Brandon Phillips as a leader during Baker’s tenure was touched on, as well. I remember when Baker came to the team, there were often instances of Phillips loafing and not running hard to first. I remember one instance where Phillips not running hard out of the box turned what would have been a double into a single.

But the “B” is the “B.” I’ve seen him grow big time since I’ve been here. When I first got here I was having to spank him once a month, do you know what I mean? Now it’s probably once every three months.

Phillips has grown a lot, as has Baker. He’s a much better manager now than he was with the Chicago Cubs and when he arrived in Cincinnati. There’s a lot more to tide you over until today’s game and distract you from working here.

Homer Bailey
Bailey also faced the press and fielded questions about his start of game three this evening, including when he learned he would be moved up one game.

“I found out about the middle of the first game. After that I asked if I could fly home early so I wasn’t quite as jet lagged. Actually worked out good. I threw a regular bullpen that day and stayed on my regular rest anyways, so no excuses, right?”

I like the confidence. After the gutsy performances by both Mat Latos and Bronson Arroyo, tonight it will be Bailey’s turn. If he turns in a comparable performance, the Reds are likely advancing to the next round. What is Bailey’s strategy?

“Try to get strike one hitter on Angel Pagan and then we’ll go from there. That’s what I’m thinking.”

I like that plan. If he wants to throw another no-hitter, I’ll be on board, too. You can read the rest of the interview here.