Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Cincinnati 3
Pittsburgh 4
WP: Dotel (1-0)
LP: Masset (2-1)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Mike Leake turned in another strong performance, going 7 innings in his second major league start. Leake gave up three runs on seven hits; he walked 5, though, and I’d venture a guess that Leake has never walked 12 men in two games in his life.

NEGATIVES
–TOS* Sure, this looked like a split-squad lineup, but still….

–Threee straight losses. What was I thinking?

ETC.
–The Reds battled to get back into this game — though, to be honest, the Pirates gave the Reds two of those runs, free of charge — only to blow it in the bottom of the ninth. So frustrating.

–Mike Leake has been the best starting pitcher on this highly-touted staff so far in 2010. What does that tell you?

–Joey Votto (back and flu) and Scott Rolen (old) weren’t in tonight’s starting lineup. If that’s a recurring trend, we’re in trouble.

–It’s part of what I love about baseball, but tonight I’m dying. What I mean is that the high of coming back to tie the game was doused just minutes later when the Pirates won in the bottom of the ninth. Highs and lows….

–Some nights, they look like the same old Reds, don’t they?

*This Offense Stinks.

41 Responses

  1. pinson343

    Joey V. got sick last Friday and it bothered him all weekend. Now he’s sick this Friday. Did he ever recover ?

    Without him and Rolen, TO definitely S*.

  2. Kurt Frost

    We were switching between the Reds and the Predators. The hockey game had more offense than the Reds.

  3. pinson343

    And they’ve both hit Duke hard.

  4. Steve

    I just got home from being out of town and haven’t had a chance to read through the live blog comments for tonight’s game yet, so sorry if this has already been posted.

    Regarding Leake’s walks, Jeff Brantley made the point late in the game tonight that Leake has received small strike zones the first two games which are typical of what umpires do to rookies. Brantley: “Let’s face it, Mike Leake is not receiving the same strike zone as Zach Duke tonight.”

    So that might help explain Leake’s anomalous number of walks in his first two games.

    But that is a relatively minor thing compared to how well he has pitched overall. He seems to do a great job of learning from early AB and pitching to the same hitters better later in the game. That’s a great sign. It is usually the opposite with rookies, they dominate at first and as the game goes on the veteran hitters begin to outsmart them. At least in our small sample size of two games that doesn’t seem to be the case.

    Regarding the rest of the staff, I’m just not worried yet. It’s too early in the year. I’m not even too stressed out over Harang.

    I’m way more worried about the hitting, particularly the abysmal OBP of Stubbs, Cabrera, Phillips, Hernandez, Bruce and Gomes. That makes us streaky.

    Way too many AB for Votto with no one on base. That’s on Stubbs, Cabrera and Baker.

  5. Kurt Frost

    Why would Leake have a smaller strike zone? Is the strike zone not the strike zone?

  6. pinson343

    @Kurt Frost: Unfortunatety, no. The umpires have their code and do things their way. It’s always been that way.

    I was listening to mlbnetwork radio before the game and they said how Leake is going to get an especially small strike zone, because he’s skipped the minors. “The umpires will show him that the strike zone is smaller up here.” I forget who was talking, but one was a player who had made his pro debut at the major league level. They said it like anyone who knows ML baseball would just take this for granted.

    Anyway Leake has been great at maintaining composure, once he settles in. The next step is to get composed before the first pitch.

    • Bruce in the OV

      Calling balls and strikes in the Majors is a huge ego trip for umpires. Instead of simply doing their jobs (enforcing the established strike zone), they get to pick and choose. They love it.

  7. mike

    quick, without looking anything up, which 2 Reds do you think are the top run producing Reds so far this short season when compared to their positional average?

    a clue….the top 2 Reds are NOT starters 🙂

    RARP
    2.5 Hanigan
    2.1 Janish
    1.9 Gomes
    1.3 Rolen

    the Reds offense ranks 27th in baseball, only Seattle, Cleveland and Houston have been worse.
    add to that I don’t expect Janish or Hanigan to hit that much. Well I think it’s safe to say Hanigan WILL get on base and could very well LEAD the team in OBP but in both their cases I think their defense makes up for their lack of offense. Add to that both seem to be swinging the bat well and I see now reason they shouldn’t be the starters.

    plus I SWEAR the pitchers look a LOT better when Hanigan catches. So I decided to look it up. Hanigan has started 3 games.
    Arroyo pitched his 8 innings allowing 1 run with Hanigan started. Arguably the best start by any Reds starter
    Hangian started when Harang pitched 7, walking none, strikeing out 7 allowing 3 runs
    Hanigan also started Arroyo’s not so good game in which he allowed 5 ER
    and he started today.

    and Dusty (and other managers) MUST see that Cabrera’s range is GONE….right…right? Do you think this obvious observation is something Reds managers talk about?

  8. mike

    something I think that has gone unnoticed.
    so far the best closer in baseball has been?

    yup Cordero

  9. Steve Price

    About the strike zone, there’s another side to this, too.

    Major League hitters will not give in like college hitters. It’s the same moving up the level by level in the minors and then to the majors, too. With each level of talent, the abilities improve, and the hitters will work the count (well, may be not the Reds’ offense).

    I realize the pitch f/x graphics we see on TV aren’t exactly right, but the ones I’ve seen with Leake pitching seem to verify the umpires calls….of course, they haven’t showed every pitch.

    • mike

      Major League hitters will not give in like college hitters. It’s the same moving up the level by level in the minors and then to the majors, too. With each level of talent, the abilities improve, and the hitters will work the count (well, may be not the Reds’ offense).

      I agree. This was my major concern with Leake not getting any minor league experience. He is having to learn how to adjust to the major league game right in front of our eyes.
      I’m VERY impressed. Sure the walk rates are frighteningly high but the stuff is there for sure.
      this begs the question, do the Reds having a pitching coach that can help in any way?

  10. Furniture City Red

    “Joey Votto (back and flu) and Scott Rolen (old)” 😆 😆 😆

  11. Furniture City Red

    @mike: I read somewher that Bailey and Hanigan are good friends, and Homer is more comfortable with Hanigan catching him – but Hernandez has caught both of Bailey’s games. It seems like a no-brainer to me, if you got a young pitcher that is more comfortable with a particular catcher then thats who catches him.

  12. 18to88

    As a baseball lover, the Reds half of the 8th was one of the most painful displays of ineptitude by both teams that I’ve ever seen.

    That was little league ball. 5 walks is atrocious, but to only get 2 runs from an inning with 5 walks…ouch.

  13. Y-City Jim

    I think the Reds starting pitchers should get to pick the line-up to play with. I bet Cabrera and Hernandez see a lot less playing time if that were to happen.

  14. preach

    Not only 5 walks, but multiple pinch hitters, and two walks. Pitiful.

    Say what you want about Cabrera, as truthful as it might be, but if we have a runner on third with less than two outs there is no one I would rather have in that dugout at the plate other than perhaps a healthy Votto.

    It is telling though about how this early in the season he can have a 6 game hitting streak and still be batting aroun .200.

    • Steve Price

      Say what you want about Cabrera, as truthful as it might be, but if we have a runner on third with less than two outs there is no one I would rather have in that dugout at the plate other than perhaps a healthy Votto

      I understand what you’re saying…Cabrera makes contact…but, I’d be happy if ONLY played in that situation….if there’s a runner on first, he makes contact…and hits into double plays…and, if he’s in the field, the ball is finding its way through.

  15. The Mad Hatter

    @Furniture City Red:

    That’s all fine and dandy but how is Hernandez supposed to get to 120 games played and get his option vested if he doesn’t catch 40% of the pitching staff? Not to worry Dusty will make it happen, gotta keep the veterans happy.

    • Y-City Jim

      @Y-City Jim: April 2009 – Hanigan and Janish got their once a week spot start mostly on Arroyo’s starts.

      I’m betting most of the staff would like that luxury.

  16. The Mad Hatter

    Mike Leake amazes me compared to every other pitcher, Red or not, that I have watched recently, 21 outs, 7 hits, 5 walks and the game before 19 outs, 4 hits, 7 walks and still he keeps his pitch count under control. I’m looking forward to watching pitch every 5th day this year, it’s obvious he really has a great grasp on getting hitters out.

  17. Furniture City Red

    @The Mad Hatter: Exactly! That’s why it’s called ‘Pitching’ not ‘Throwing’…hope Cueto and Bailey figure that out real soon.

  18. Furniture City Red

    Any guess as to how many more bad starts Homer is from being sent down? Maloney and Wood are both pitching very well for Louisville…plus Chapman…Or, how about Cueto?(being sent down) – what’s the situation with his options?

    • Y-City Jim

      Any guess as to how many more bad starts Homer is from being sent down? Maloney and Wood are both pitching very well for Louisville…plus Chapman…Or, how about Cueto?(being sent down) – what’s the situation with his options?

      Neither is going to be sent down. Wood and Chapman will get their chance when Harang and Arroyo are no longer Reds.

      • Furniture City Red

        Neither is going to be sent down. Wood and Chapman will get their chance when Harang and Arroyo are no longer Reds.

        Spoken with authority, I like that…Don’t know if you’re correct, but I like the way you stated it.
        * ‘typed’ with authority just doesn’t sound right * 🙂

  19. earl

    Similar to the thoughts above, Bailey’s late season strides also took place when Hanigan and the chubby dude with the stache was catching last year, not with Hernandez.

    I think the real countdown is how bad a start will it take the pull the plunger and send Dusty packing? Would Bob pull the trigger if they are just playing middling ball early on?

    At least Cabrera did get in the run last night, while I wish he would have hit a jack, he got the job done. Stubbs on the other hand didn’t do too well at all with the situational hitting taking that called third strike, which to give credit to Dusty’s odd quote from a couple of days ago, that was a situation where it fit.

    • Y-City Jim

      Similar to the thoughts above, Bailey’s late season strides also took place when Hanigan and the chubby dude with the stache was catching last year, not with Hernandez.I think the real countdown is how bad a start will it take the pull the plunger and send Dusty packing?Would Bob pull the trigger if they are just playing middling ball early on?At least Cabrera did get in the run last night, while I wish he would have hit a jack, he got the job done. Stubbs on the other hand didn’t do too well at all with the situational hitting taking that called third strike, which to give credit to Dusty’s odd quote from a couple of days ago, that was a situation where it fit.

      Hernandez seems just a bit too comfortable with his job security right now.

  20. earl

    Just finally remembered that catchers name: Corky Miller. That guy can’t hit a lick, but he did seem to get some good starts when he was behind the plate.

  21. nvilleredsfan

    A couple observations watching the game last night:

    1) Cabrera is slow and old, not only on defense but running the bases.
    2) Masset got ahead in the count to Milledge and then started nibbling at the edges instead of coming at the guy after making him look bad. Shook off Hanagan several times.
    3) Leake pitched way better than his line.
    4) I hope this team is not as bad as what they have been the last 3 games or it’s going to be a long season…

  22. preach

    If only Reese were the SS and Wells the pitcher when Miller was catching. Then on a pitchout you would have had “Kip to Corky to Pokey”. Add a “Corey” in CF and that would have been an up the middle full of suck.

  23. Chris Garber

    @earl: That guy’s going to be a manager someday, IMO. Saw him at a Bats game the other day. Teammates respect and like him, and he’s always in control of what’s going one. Plus, he looks like a (only slightly) younger, fatter version of Lou Brown.

  24. Jason1972

    So is Orlando Cabrera being designated as the official scapegoat for 2010 by RLN?

    • Y-City Jim

      So is Orlando Cabrera being designated as the official scapegoat for 2010 by RLN?

      He’s well-qualified for the role.

  25. Furniture City Red

    @Jason1972: I wouldn’t say that…It still falls on Baker – He’s the one starting OC over a guy with superior defensive skills and a better bat,or at worst an equal bat.

  26. Matt WI

    @Jason1972: This whole team has issues right now. No way one player can hold any blame. As was said in the recap: When your best picthing is coming from your rookie 5th starter, what does that say? Dusty could do some things differntly though, that’s for sure.

  27. Furniture City Red

    @Matt WI: I agree. i didn’t mean to imply that this teams problems would be solved if Baker started playing Janish everyday. The Reds do have lots of issues right now, from manager, hitting coach, on down to most of their players….It’s still early and I’m still optomistic 😀

  28. Matt WI

    How much to you think it gets Dusty upset that the Pirates hit their pitcher 8th? I know they aren’t the first to do it, but seriously, that’s already “mate” if you’re coaching against Dusty and getting him riled up. “Check mate” is only a few moves away.

  29. al

    Here’s my post on Cabrera.

    I’m pretty much done with cabrera, i can say that. Last night he:

    biffed an easy play at short that was ruled a hit,

    hit in to a dp, and didn’t run it out,

    hit into another dp, and didn’t run it out,

    hit into what would have been a dp if stubbs hadn’t stole second but still failed to move stubbs to third with no outs,

    and got a key sac fly.

    To me that looks like a -3 on the Veteran Move +/- system (a new RLN stat? thought about it when Welsh claimed taht Cairo covering second on the rundown last night was a “veteran move”). I know he’s been on winning teams, but it’s looking like they won in spite of him rather than because of him.

    The best advanced defensive metric that has data for this year is Revised Zone Rating. By RZR Cabrera is getting to 2/3 (.667) balls hit in his zone. By comparison, Janish is at .833, and career .859. Cabrera himself has a career mark of .810, but went down to .763 last year.

    What seems clear to both the untrained eye and the advanced metric is that Cabrera’s range at short this season has been woeful. Defensive stats need a pretty large sample size, so take it with a grain of salt.

    Taking it one step further, if you’re still reading this post, by one rather rough method, the difference between Janish and Cabrera at these rates would be 66 plays made over a full season, or the equivalent of about .280 points of OPS. More simply, Cabrera would have to out OPS Janish by about .280 points to make up what he’s giving away in the field.

  30. Y-City Jim

    The thing that stands out the most from your observations, al, is that the Reds have acquire yet another veteran player that doesn’t play real hard. If veterans are supposed to provide leadership then the Reds made another poor acquisition. Big shocker there.