I’m excited.  I’m nervous.  I’m sick. I’m anxious. I’m a mixed bag of emotions right now.  One game to decide the fate of the 2013 season.  Win and advance.  Lose and your season is over.  The roster has been announced.  All that is left to do now is play the game.

The Reds and Pirates played one another 19 times during the regular season.  The Reds won 7 8 of those games, dropping 11.  All eyes will be on Johnny Cueto.  Can he shut down the Pirates offense?  Is he healthy enough to win this one game playoff?  Was he the right choice over Latos?  Then eyes will be on the Reds offense.  Can they get enough hits and runs to beat Pittsburgh?  Will the Reds team that blasted Pittsburgh 2 weeks ago show up or will the same Reds team that got swept by the Pirates this past weekend rear its ugly head?  I wish I had these answers already.  It would probably help keep me from throwing up right about now.  Will this Reds team keep our hopes alive for a World Series title, or will they break our hearts?  We’ll know the answer by midnight.

Over the course of the 2013 season, I have asked you guys to do a lot of things in these game threads.  I have asked you to discuss the game,  cheer on the Reds, skip work, tell your boss to shove it, and probably even wooo a time or two.  I do not know what to ask you to do tonight.  Maybe pray, if that’s your thing.  Maybe sit intently and focus on the game or cheer loudly in a bar, perhaps.  If you’re like me, you’ll be sitting in your living room, beside your son who you’ve brought up to be a Reds fan as well, and you’ll cheer, scream (maybe cuss), and hope to goodness our beloved Reds can pull this thing out.  So what I ask of you tonight, Reds fans, is cheer your guts out, pull as hard as you can for the Reds to win, and hope that at the end of the night, you’re hugging your friends and family in celebration that the Reds have advanced!

Discuss the game here and…. Go Reds!!  Please!

184 Responses

  1. Mwv

    I cannot wait for this thing to start.. tonight’s theme is redemption. Redemption for last October and redemption for all the critique this year guys. Make us believe.

  2. ToddAlmighty

    1. Choo, CF
    2. Ludwick, LF
    3. Votto, 1B
    4. Phillips, 2B
    5. Bruce, RF
    6. Frazier, 3B
    7. Cozart, SS
    8. Hanigan, C
    9, Cueto, P

    …Because this exact lineup did such wonders in the past.

    • ToddAlmighty

      @Y-City Jim: Well, if you refuse to put Hamilton in instead of Ludwick…. then I would go Choo, Votto, Bruce, Frazier, Mesoraco, Ludwick, Phillips, Cozart, Cueto.

    • redskaph

      @Y-City Jim: Seems like since Luddy came back the offense was at its best with Phillips in the 2 hole, but putting Votto there is intriguing. I’d have to sep at least 2 of those top 3 lefties vs. Lirianao though. GO REDS.

    • D Ray White

      1. Choo, CF
      2. Ludwick, LF
      3. Votto, 1B
      4. Phillips, 2B
      5. Bruce, RF
      6. Frazier, 3B
      7. Cozart, SS
      8. Hanigan, C
      9, Cueto, P

      …Because this exact lineup did such wonders in the past.

      Paying the Dusty tax before the game even starts. Were it me, it’d be:

      CF-Hamilton
      LF-Choo
      1B-Votto
      2B-BP
      LF-Bruce
      SS-Cozart
      3B-Frazier
      C-Hanigan
      P-Cueto

      and I don’t like BP hitting 4th, but he’s been better than Frazier over the long haul. Ludwick has done nothing to earn a start or the 2nd slot in the lineup. If he starts, he should hit no higher than 7th. Anyway, we have what we have. Go Reds!

      • ToddAlmighty

        @D Ray White: I like how even our ideal dreams for the team still have been corrupted by Dusty. Phillips hit .211/.276/.263 in September, and now he has a fresh injury that I doubt will make him play better. Guy shouldn’t be any higher than 6 in the lineup.. but you have to have a righty to break up all those evil lefties. Despite the fact that Bruce is hitting .280/.407/.505 in the four hole this season compared to Phillips’ .265/.312/.404 line.

        Also it kills me that Hanigan is in this game despite the fact that Mesoraco is hitting .321/.386/.487 against lefties this season.

  3. Mwv

    @Matt WI: I thought it was only weird if someone catches you? Everything weird stays in Vegas? I don’t know. Go Reds!

  4. Hunt4RedsOctober

    The Reds WILL win this game. Guaran-dang-tee it! Bet the house, ranch, dog, wife, kids, car or whatever you have on it.

    I put my $2.00 on it as my wife won’t let me bet her.

  5. Richard Fitch

    If you’re like me, you’ll be sitting in your living room, beside your son who you’ve brought up to be a Reds fan

    Chris, you have the best seat in the house tonight.

  6. rfay00

    I ate sushi for lunch today. I love sushi. Sushi makes the day better. A better day means the Reds win.

    It’s only weird if it doesn’t work, love that commercial.

  7. Johnu1

    Looks like I picked a bad day to take my cat to the vet’s. Well, at least one of us will be calm tonight.

  8. topgun67

    not excited about our lineup.
    hope good Dusty shows up and manages the game tight…

    90% of the game is on Cueto…. he has to keep Pirates to less than 2 runs.. we all know we won’t score many runs against lefties, espec Liriano…

    good luck…

    hope it isn’t like Texas Rangers struggling against the lefty pitching last night…

    • Johnu1

      @topgun67: I think I’d just as soon Dusty not manage anything tonight. Just let the players figure it out. They’ve had all season.

  9. payinblood

    Alright. Let’s do this thing.
    Here we go Redlegs, here we go!

  10. bkjohn

    If Dusty was playing to win Mesoraco would be catching….we will need the offense. I am a long time and die hard reds fan, but if I was a gambler my money would be with Pittsburg.

  11. santa barbara reds fan

    I’m sending out positive vibrations from California: Go Reds!!!

  12. vanwilder8

    @Steve Mancuso: Come on, Cueto can bat a couple times, since the Reds are going to bat around in the first.

      • D Ray White

        @vanwilder8: We as fans have to hope that Dusty’s memory of games 3, 4, and 5 of last year are every bit as painful as ours. They have to be, because the strategy gaffes were many, and obvious.

  13. D Ray White

    @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Based on what? I’m genuinely curious. Must be “veteran-ness” or experience, because it can’t be on postseason success. Whatever though. I just hope Cincy wins; don’t care about the score or who does what; just win!

  14. RedsAk19

    Trying to figure out why everyone makes a big deal out of Votto only having 73 RBIs when Mccutchen only has 84 RBIs but he is widely considered the MVP in the league. Granted Mccutchen has led the Pirates to the postseason but still.

  15. jbemis44

    I couldn’t figure out which Reds shirt was luckier this season so I’ve got them both on

  16. jas_428

    Bruce is going to get off the schneid tonight vs Liriano. Votto will have good night too. The Reds have some guys off the bench who have had success too. By the time they get a swing, Liriano should be out of the game.

  17. laus Deo

    Hi all,
    Hope all is doing well and having a great day. I feel your pain Chris, but I have faith our team can get business done! So popcorn time soon and time to cheer on my favorite team! Go REDS!!

    laus Deo

  18. laus Deo

    @pinson343: lol.. I did the same thing except no dream so I am rested and ready to cheer on our victory!!! 🙂 Go REDS!!

  19. Hunt4RedsOctober

    Let’s Gooooo, let’s go!

    Clap, Clap, Clap Clap Clap!

  20. CincyStyle

    Tonight is all about….plate discipline and PATIENCE!!!

  21. TeddyBallgame

    I believe we will get some production tonight from an unexpected source. Maybe a two out, two run double from Cozart or a home run from Hannigan. Reds are due for something good – I’ve got a good feeling about tonight. GO REDS!!!

  22. George Culver

    Nervous. Lloyd Bridges type of night. “Looks like I picked the wrong night give up ______?

  23. OkcRedsFan

    Reds beat up on Liriano early and often!! Go Reds!!!!

  24. vanwilder8

    Good pitching + timely hitting + no stupid bunts = Reds win

  25. RedsAk19

    Lets go Reds!! It is time lady luck gets on our side.

  26. CincyStyle

    Pretend it is the Bengals playing the Steelers and show some grit and determination

  27. Jason Linden

    Kids in bed a little early.
    Wearing a Votto sherzy.
    Come on Reds, please win
    So Thursday we can do it again.

  28. OkcRedsFan

    I think its good for the Reds that all the experts are on the Pittsburgh bandwagon. Go Reds!!!

  29. vared

    When did Chapman last pitch? Who else would be nervous as heck if he’s called on to protect a small lead in the 9th? Of course, it’s better than no lead.

  30. laus Deo

    BTW thank you all for a great season of threads and comments. I want to thank Chad for another great year of RLN and all the writers and supporting cast. I want to thank all the posters for their input and blood sweat and tears. It has been another great year to be alive and all of you were a part of my life no matter how small and I want to thank you!! May you have a blessed year and great day! Thank you for being my brother or sister in the REDS! Thank you from the bottom of my heart and no matter what happens I look forward to your next comment.

    Go REDS!!

    laus Deo

  31. RedsAk19

    It sure is going to be fun to hear PNC dead quiet after Chapman strikes out McCutchen to end the game.

  32. jas_428

    So many talented baseball announcers out there but the post season yields the bad ones.

  33. sunbreakthedawn

    This will be a two Game Thread night for sure. Go Reds!

  34. jas_428

    Would like to see Choo adjust better down in the count.

  35. tpteach

    Choo’s Ab went as I thought it would. Ludwick’s AB follows the script as well. If we win this game, it will be because of Cueto going deep and some lucky break on offense.

  36. topgun67

    well, we haven’t hit against lefties all year… and can’t expect to start in the PO in an away game against one of the best pitchers, while we are on a no confidence losing streak…

    we will need a miraculous shut out pitching by Cuetos

  37. fiercev

    What an easy and un-inspiring inning

  38. FrustratedRedsFan

    Who’s hoping for a 0-0 game through 9 …

    I am. Only way I think the Reds can grab this is to get Liriano out of the picture.

  39. topgun67

    looks just like the past few games and most of the year… sleep walking… maybe Reds just want to get into off season fast so they can rest… Dusty did say they are “tired”…

    Ludwick is so uninspiring… does he belong here?

  40. OkcRedsFan

    A pumped up Liriano will not be able to keep the Reds hitters down. Cuetos shut the pirates down!!

  41. jas_428

    Some sure bets tonight: no Mesoraco and no Heisey.

  42. Sergeant2

    It will be huge if the Reds can pull the plug on the electricity in the air at PNC by getting ahead and quieting the crowd. Go like you never have before Reds!!!!!!!!!

  43. sunbreakthedawn

    Cueto has got to fire this team up. I know he can do it.

  44. jas_428

    If Reds hit McCutchen, will it motivate the Pirates or get them off their game?

  45. FrustratedRedsFan

    Smart start by Marte and the Pirates. Not sure if Cueto is full strength … make him make a play.

  46. tpteach

    Liriano down in the zone. Cueto up. This can’t be good going forward.

  47. pmedwards

    I would have rather ball 4 be strike 3 there, but that is just me.

  48. OkcRedsFan

    Good job JC!!! Lets go Reds Bats!!!!

  49. tpteach

    No score after 1. However, our batters looked overmatched against Francisco. Their batters hit it well and worked a walk. Seriously, please, let’s hope that 1st inning pattern changes quickly.

  50. pmedwards

    Votto had 24 HR and 74 RBI this year, he is considered to be off his game. McCutchen had 21 HR and 84 RBI and is an MVP candidate?

  51. FrustratedRedsFan

    Good. 8 more innings to go Cincy.

  52. Sergeant2

    After one inning already over a hundred comments. Redleg Nation is rockin’ tonight. Go Reds!

  53. BearcatNation

    The good news: Cueto out of the first.

    The bad news: He looked like he was missing his spots. Even worse, he was missing up over the plate.

    Here’s to hoping it was just adrenaline.

  54. tpteach

    This new Pittsburgh scouting defense is amazingly accurate.

  55. tpteach

    Bruce swinging at pitches off the plate for sure. Like, WAY off the plate.

    Ugly.

  56. jas_428

    Would have been radical to bring in 0-11 Bruce off the bench.

  57. FrustratedRedsFan

    HEY! First foul ball of the night. Whew … happy we got that off our backs.

  58. topgun67

    we look pretty bad… quick game i suppose.

  59. MrRedlegs3900

    reminiscent of the 2010 Halladay no hitter

  60. FrustratedRedsFan

    Domination … pure and simple.

    As bad as you can look in two innings at the plate, sadly nothing new. TURN IT AROUND.

  61. Hunt4RedsOctober

    Reds look completely and thoroughly out-matched at the plate.

    Liriano is throwing nothing but sliders so they need to sit on it.

  62. OkcRedsFan

    Reds don’t look bad. Wait until the second time through the line-up.

  63. fiercev

    so many swings and misses. Not a good sign. just lots of flailing around. even worse, Liriano is doing exactly what every expert and commentator said he’d do. everybody got the memo except for the Reds hitters apparently. cant touch an average fastball and then are prisoners and victim to the unhittable slider. wow

  64. pmedwards

    I am going to take the unpopular stance of Ludwick being the right guy to bat second. So there.

  65. vanwilder8

    Jesus. 6 batters and everyone has given up.

    • FrustratedRedsFan

      @vanwilder8:

      No … it’s been about 200 batters. Tonight is just an extension of what’s been going on. Nothing had changed / and the hope it had was just that.

      Hope.

  66. Sergeant2

    At least Frazier ran it out. Every Red needs to run towards 1st base like they were shot out of a cannon tonight. Go Reds!

  67. Johnu1

    Looks like Cueto needs a shutout just to tie.

  68. OkcRedsFan

    Bottom of the second and posters are already giving in.

    • topgun67

      @OkcRedsFan: if we had given up, we wouldn’t be here… but this is not a start.. 1-0 pirates and all the momo… and our hitters look terrible

  69. topgun67

    need to be more patient at the plate… how many times we’ve said that this year… these Reds never learn or change… Dusty doesn’t say anything, no matter what the results are..

    let’s give Pirates more confidence by doing what we are doing.. longer this goes, Pirates will win despite lack of post season experience.

    we need a HR to break this game and shift some momo to our side… a solo shot by unlikely ones like Cozart, Hannigan perhaps

  70. prjeter

    @Josh: Very. I think Papa Selig has instructed everyone to help Pitt win. He’s from the David Stern school of Commissionership.

  71. RedTitan19

    The Reds had a full day off to prepare for Liriano. Could have watched video on him, practiced on that breaking ball, or even game-planned. I sat here in my living room and knew without a doubt that Bruce was gonna strike out on down and away sliders. Knew it. Something has got to change with this coaching staff.

  72. prjeter

    That sure wasn’t hard to predict. Marlon Byrd, ladies and gentlemen.

  73. jas_428

    Please get the ball down. Predictable. There is a scouting advantage, it seems.

  74. laus Deo

    Wonder what the look on WJ face is right now? Just curious is all..

  75. Sergeant2

    I sure hope Leake doesn’t have to come in the game.

  76. BearcatNation

    As I said just after last inning. Terrible location. Was leaving pitches up. Bound to throw a fat one.

  77. tpteach

    I’ll keep the game on in the background while I work. But, as I’ve said for the past month, we already know the outcome of this game/season.

    Here’s to hoping Baker is not back next year.

  78. prjeter

    Cueto now given up 4 shots. Pretty lucky to be down 1-0. If he gives up any more hard hit liners that were just-miss-homers he needs to be OUT of the game. If he gives up 4 runs, then Dusty has failed.

  79. Hunt4RedsOctober

    Didn’t we just see this on Saturday?

  80. sunbreakthedawn

    You’ve got to warm up Mike Leake now

  81. topgun67

    Cueto is not Cueto of last year… better have ball pen ready today..

    can’t allow 1 run here and there… not w/ our offense-less

  82. FrustratedRedsFan

    Well ladies and gentlemen … that should just about do it right? Last five AB’s have been walk, Line Drive, HR, Line Drive, HR.

    See you all next year.

  83. ChrisInVenice

    Yeah, I don’t think I agree with the assessment that it didn’t matter where this game is. PNC is rocking.

    • FrustratedRedsFan

      @ChrisInVenice:

      It was an assessment made by people who have never played baseball where the location mattered. It was also an assessment made “after the face” because the Reds have played so poorly down the stretch “Ahhh, no big deal, what’s the difference”.

  84. BearcatNation

    I’m still trying to figure out if this was just my nightmare, because I can’t fathom a worse start.

  85. Hunt4RedsOctober

    Pirates hitting the ball all over the ball park. The Reds haven’t hit a ball out of the infield.

  86. FrustratedRedsFan

    10 straight HR’s against the Reds now for the Pirates. TEN.

  87. MrRedlegs3900

    Site is crashing terribly. And cueto should be pulled.

  88. down with dusty

    Thank god for Frazier. I thought this inning would never end.

  89. Hunt4RedsOctober

    Instead of getting someone up in the pen, Dusty better get his resume ready.

    See ya Dustbag!

  90. OkcRedsFan

    Come on Reds use your bats to hush the crowd. Go Reds!!!!!

  91. FrustratedRedsFan

    Cueto Pulled … comon. We know Baker will keep in him as long as the game is within 10 runs. I mean Arroyo gave up 5 HR’s and Cueto is his boy / so minimum of 6 HR here.

  92. prjeter

    I’m trying to figure out where the hell the HRs are coming from. I think that’s 10 HR in the last 29 innings. Unreal. God hates Cincinnati.

  93. prjeter

    2 Ks and 5 weak grounders. Liriano perfect through 2 and a third.

  94. jas_428

    Could LeCure go some extra innings tonight?

    • FrustratedRedsFan

      @jas_428:

      Honestly, I say this as a fan of baseball; watching this game. Does it matter?

      The number of Reds fan who know baseball that think Cincinnati will score even 2 runs tonight is less than 1%.

  95. MrRedlegs3900

    like i said… this is reminiscent of the hallday 2010 no hitter.

  96. Hunt4RedsOctober

    Liriano is going to pitch a perfect game! i’m calling it now.

  97. WVURedleg

    Just too many weak minded ball players!!!! This team doesn’t have enough determination and grit to win a tough game! Sad nothing but K’s and weak tappers! I guess they get it from their manager where he is to busy picking out wrist bands and chewing sticks to worry about managing a ball game!!!

  98. icee82

    Cueto is not fooling anyone. He needs to be on a short leash tonight. The Pirates have come to play.

    • prjeter

      @icee82: “Needed” to be. Too late. Baker is playing with fire. He’s given up 5 balls that were absolutely crushed. Two went for homers.

      Not to mention 2 lucking hits (Marte and McCutchen) and a Cozart error just now.

      CUETO SHOULD BE OUT. He’ll give up 5 runs before Baker pulls him. What a waste.

  99. vanwilder8

    Let’s just forfeit. This game is obviously over, we should all stop watching. Why did they even show up to play?

  100. topgun67

    pirates are having another HR derby at our expense..

    we are having another hack and ground out exhibition in a PO game..

    nothing yet shows that Reds want to win this game.. nothing..

    6 more chances… but 2 runs seem like 20 runs… and Cueto doesn’t look sharp (then again who does lately)

  101. Ih8Dusty

    Let’s face it, Pirates are a better team. Let us all be reminded that they were the most aggressive team in the trade market while our overrated GM sat on his hands and did nothing. This organization is content with mediocrity. They’ll keep Dusty, Ludwick will be our unproductive LF, and ownership and all the Reds lapdog beat reporters (see John Fay) will keep telling us to be happy with a winning season and making the playoffs. We are Reds fans. We have higher standards.

  102. FWIW567

    We are the more experienced team. When we get a couple runners on base – and we will – as long as it stays close there will be more pressure on the Pirates. This game is far from over.

    • kevinG11

      @FWIW567: Agree… Put a little pressure on them and see how they hold up…

    • TraviXDM

      We are the more experienced team. When If we get a couple runners on base – and we will might – as long as it stays close there will be more pressure on the Pirates. This game is far from over.

      Fixed for you 🙂

    • topgun67

      @FWIW567: experience in what ? losing in PO’s? that’s what we have done… choking

      • FWIW567

        @topgun67: Good point. The Pirates haven’t choked at all in the last 20-odd years.

  103. prjeter

    I’m glad someone showed up. GET “EM TODD!!!

  104. vanwilder8

    @FrustratedRedsFan: The Astros, which were the worst team in recent history, won 51 games.

    All it takes is one walk and one hit and it’s a tie game.

    • Hunt4RedsOctober

      @vanwilder8: Unfortunately, the Reds aren’t hitting as well as the Astros.

  105. redeyenation

    Frazier is MVP REDS!!! Games is not over Boys!!!

  106. prjeter

    ALfredo Simon, folks. Our first out of the pen. At least it’s not Ondrusek.

  107. prjeter

    So the Reds have NEVER come back from a 4-run deficit this year, right? Almost there. And Baker sits there and lets it happen. Cueto should have been OUT after an inning and 2/3. So frustrating.

  108. FrustratedRedsFan

    The Reds still do not have a 2 ball count in this game.

    Ludwick … PLEASE BUNT.

  109. TraviXDM

    And down goes Votto, he did not see a single strike…

  110. dmr11

    Can someone please tell me why Dusty kept Cueto in the game?

  111. BearcatNation

    Everyone wanted Votto to to swing with men in scoring position. Guess they got their wish

  112. 315redsfan

    How many swings and misses and swings at balls have the Reds had tonight? Make him throw strikes. Like that Jay!

  113. SGT Ethan

    Alright, we’ve killed the momentum. Now for the relentless climb out, up and over the hapless Pirates!

  114. Chad Dotson

    This is nerve-wracking. If Dusty just uses Marshall to pitch to one batter, I’ll be unhappy.

  115. Pete Jurewicz

    Why can’t the pirates swing at some of these pitches??? The reds are doing it!

  116. JEFFMO

    Why is Dusty bringing Marshall in, who just came off the disabled list? Parra has done pretty well after a bad start. But…it is a moot point. Pirates are hot at the end of the year, Reds are not. Plus…no way even if Reds won tonight would they have beaten the Cardinals in next round. Pirates play Cardinals pretty well overall, but still Cardinals will beat the Pirates next round.

  117. Ducksonthepond

    I haven’t lost hope, but at this point, this is just demoralizing…