In a game, which could not be less meaningful, the Redlegs of Cincinnati did their best to somehow lower the bar.

Starting a lineup that included neither Devin Mesoraco nor Todd Frazier on a day when Johnny Cueto was not to take the mound likely left many Reds fans failing to find a reason to engage with this contest a mere two days before the end of what has been a dismal season.

Fortunately for those in attendance and those who were listening or watching at home, Michael Raymond Leake came prepared to show the playoff bound Pirates that he, at least, had some fight left for them. For seven strong innings, Mr. Leake did his best Johnny Cueto impersonation. Walking only two and striking out eight while allowing but a single runner to cross the plate.

The intrepid Leake even did what he could to spark the offense, blazing through the stop sign held up by the beleaguered third base coach and scoring the home team’s only run.

Alas, it was not to be tonight. Despite collecting eleven hits to the six contributed by Pirate batsmen, that Redleg did what they have so often done this year and managed to fall short in a winnable game as the Pirates plated three runs despite the lower hit total.

Sadly, Reds’ fans. This is the way the season has gone. So many opportunities left in the open. Injury, misfortune, poor play. These things have done the home team in time and time again over the course of the year. In two days, the sun will set on this dreary season and, after setting aside some time to grieve, the fans will begin to hope again in the way the young man hopes for the young woman to notice him. Spring will come, my friends, and with it, hope. As members of the human race, what more can we ask? What more can we ask?

41 Responses

  1. wildwestlv

    The lineup, and then Villareal, was a joke, or possible a giant insult by one Bryan Price to one St. Louis Cardinals ball club. Otherwise, it was yet another 2014 Reds ballgame: lifeless, boring & borderline embarrassing at moments.

  2. sergeant2

    Price is a rookie manager, and managed in every way like a rookie manager. Next season will be telling in if Price has learned and grown from the experience of this season. I’ll probably get hammered for saying this, but Price needs to add some LaRussa to his managing style if he hopes to be a successful manager in the majors. LaRussa had a burning desire to win, and hurting a players feelings, or being worried if he was considered “one of the guys” was of no concern to LaRussa. Players respected LaRussa’s competitive nature, and his burning desire to win. Price needs to assert his leadership, not tip toe around it. Go Reds!

    • BigRedSaguaro

      actually very true, these guys need no more friends. Need someone to kick them in the pants when they play crap baseball.

  3. Jake

    11 hits and nothing but a single run to show for it

    • pinson343

      And that single run due to the pitcher running thru the 3rd base coach’s stop sign.

  4. jessecuster44

    If you don’t have a burning desire to win… you shouldn’t be a major league manager.

  5. pinson343

    I’m glad that (so far) no one is bashing Bruce for his misplay. If he weren’t in RF in the 9th, Hoover gives up 2 runs while recording 1 out.

    • Mister D69

      Well, then, here you are: Jay Bruce’s terrible fielding likely cost the Reds this game. For eight innings he showed (for the how many-ith time?) how terrible and disengaged he can be. That miff gave up the tie. Another run later and the team was completely out of it. The fact that he flailed like a child for S3 in the bottom of the inning cemented that. His two very good catches in the 9th were meaningless: By then, with 7-8-9 due up, it was too late.
      I’d like to think that humiliation got to him and/or he chugged a 5-Hour Energy vial before coming out it the 9th. Or maybe the man feels some shame/pride. I do hope so.
      His play– and attitude– on the field CANNOT be ascribed to an (alleged) leg injury. You don’t wiff like that because your limb hurts. I can see reduced speed or reduced power (Joey) resulting from weakened legs(s). Bruce’s terrible play cannot.

      • greenmtred

        Too late with my comment, I know, but it looked to me as though the Bruce error was due, at least in part, to the ball hooking wickedly and, possibly, his losing it in the lights at a critical moment. He certainly did not look unconcerned in the aftermath.

  6. pinson343

    Is Parra thru for the season ? Sure would have made sense to bring him in to pitch to Snyder in the 8th. That’s what LOOGYs do.

  7. pinson343

    Price gave the Reds next to zero chance to come back with the 3 hitters he used in the 9th. Supposedly, he still cares about winning games, but I just don’t see it. And I’m not talking or complaining about his playing the call ups.

  8. pinson343

    Leake allows 1 run over 7 innings, doubles and scores a run. With a performance like that, a starting pitcher might just expect to get a win.

  9. pinson343

    I didn’t see it, so I don’t know if it was such a bad play, but Cozart’s TOOTLBAN cost the Reds a run. I wish that Leake, who runs the bases aggressively but rarely (if ever so far ?) gets thrown out, would coach the Reds position players on how to run the bases.

    • ohiojimw

      Cozart was in shock from getting a hit. He was confused and not sure what to do. His instincts kicked in and he tried to get to 2nd because it was where he would be if he was on defense.

      • ohiojimw

        To be marginally more serious, the Cozart TOOTBLAN probably did not cost them a run because most likely Leake would have been instructed to sacrifice Cozart to 2B.

      • take2billy

        Clearly the FUNNIEST comment all year! Thanks!

    • ohiojimw

      The ball was struck reasonably well into the SS/3B hole. Mercer, on the edge of the OF grass, took a cross body stab at it without leaving his feet. The ball hit the tip of his glove and rolled to a stop some distance out onto the grass (30′, 40′? not a lot reference to judge the distance), Mercer just sort of meandered out to pick it up. Cozart saw this and that Mercer did not seem to be watching him and kept going toward 2nd. Mercer arrived at the ball, calmy picked the ball up, turned, and fired a strike to Walker who was standing on the 2B bag. Cozart was out from here here to there and back (I’d guess at least 15′). A person almost has to wonder if Cozart was deked by the Pirates because Mercer seemed to be unaware and loafing along yet his arrival at the ball was perfectly timed and then he turned and unhurriedly threw perfectly and with intent to nail Cozart.

      • Steven M. Nelson

        It was a deke. I was sitting in the first row on the third base side. Mercer had it timed. When it knocked off his glove, he started after it very slow, keeping an eye on Cozart and the other on the ball but just gliding. When Cozart made the turn, his whole manner changed.

  10. redmountain

    My worry would be that the Reds figure that Yorman and Borgeois can split LF next year. I do not believe either has shown that is the answer. I do believe in the playing of kids to see how they will do against the better pitchers and teams. Two more days and it will be time to get busy with figuring out how to make this team better next year. I think that Bruce and Votto will be more themselves next year. That should mean 50-60 HR and Mesoraco and Frazier will add another 50+. Phillips should be good for something in the teens and Hamilton something in single digits. That leaves LF and SS along with redoing the pitching staff. It better be a winter of change.

    • pinson343

      As disappointed as I have been by WJ’s LF decisions over the last two years, I don’t believe it’s possible he would consider Yorman/Borgeois as the 2015 solution in LF. Yorman needs to be in AAA.

      • Tom Reed

        The hesitancy of the WJ administration to strengthen left field offensively indicates that a Y-Rod/Borgeois duo in that position is not out of the realm of possibility for 2015.

    • Michael J Hampton

      My worry is they will think a platoon involving Schumaker is the answer. Price already gave him way too much playing time this year. Now, they have the “but he was playing injured” excuse for his performance when really all you have to do is look at his career numbers and his age.

  11. pinson343

    The Reds bullpen is now what, 0-16 since the All Star break ? The mathematical odds against that are astronomical, even if you assume that the odds are 2 out of 3 that they’ll get a loss when they get a decision.

    • I-71_Exile

      Since the Reds can’t score, the bullpen has no one to bail them out. Also, even though I’m old, I still hope that women notice me.

      Nice write up, Jason. 🙂

      • Ohioindiaspora

        How different it would have been though if we had put Chapman in for the 8th! It probably would have saved a few runs and maybe have given us the momentum to pull ahead…
        Wishful thinking I guess…

  12. pinson343

    How many times have the runs come back from a 2 run 9th inning deficit, even if just to tie the game and later lose ? I can’t remember any. Price hasn’t helped in that department.

    • ohiojimw

      To me Price is yet to distinguish himself as an in game manager on either side of the ball. Many folks have sold out to the injury bug and bad luck theories which essentially absolve Price of any blame. I do not agree with this point of view.

      Yes, it was probably expecting too much to think the Reds could have contended for the playoffs given all the injuries (and no help form the front office). However there have been many games that could have been managed much better; and, I don’t think it is unreasonable to believe that the team should be at or very close to .500 versus where it is.

      • Eric the Red

        For almost the entire year Price has been working with a bullpen with at most 3 reliable arms. (Before Jumbo and after the Broxton trade, the maximum number has been 2. Yesterday was probably 1, with Chapman gimpy.) The extremely shallow pool of reliable relievers made it almost impossible for Price to distinguish himself with matchups, or long outings for Broxton or Chapman, or in any other way I can think of.

        Meanwhile, almost every guy on the team has low OBP numbers and we have little speed outside of Hamilton. So there’s not a whole lot Price can do on the in-game strategy front to try and score a lot more.

        Other than maybe being willing to pinch hit for his LF platoon more often when conditions changed–such as Schumaker starting against a RH pitcher but still batting when a LH reliever came in–I can’t see where Price had much scope to change his in game management a whole lot. When you have 2-3 decent relievers, your backups are playing because your starters are injured, and no one gets on base consistently, there’s not a lot you can do. (Although I’d have liked to see him fire Steve Smith mid-game a number of times, and it would have helped!)

      • ohiojimw

        Price has managed a lot like Dusty likely would have, i.e. with little to no urgency about anything. That works for the “Big 162” when a manager has “the horses”. However precisely because Price did not have the horses, he needed to be more aggressive across the board and try to grab every small opportunity which he hasn’t.
        Witness the Reds 9th last night (and the Central title or at the least WC seeding is still very much in the wind for the opponent). Or last week in StL when he could have thrown a righty with very good OPS numbers vs LH pitchers against the Cards LOOGY but let Bruce bat and K where even a productive out would have scored the tying run. And then there is the mother of the entire collapse at Coors when he left Chapman in for at least 2 batters too long when even the broadcasters were pointing out that Chapman wasn’t physically right and appeared not to have been a night earlier when he luckily staggered to a save despite several rockets being hit off of him.

      • Eric the Red

        What would you have done differently last night? Down 2, it made sense to hold back a hurting Mesoraco unless someone was on base. Regarding Bruce, I kind of agree but in a lost season I think managing the overall relationship with him trumps a given game situation. With the DH nightmare in Colorado, I once again refer you to the difficulty of managing a bullpen with hardly any pitchers you trust. It’s not like the guys who came in after Chapman managed to stop the bleeding.

        I imagine that with a healthy team next year, and in his second year, we’ll see an even better Price. But I really think that he did fine this year, especially given what he had to work with. This year was lost to a run of injuries that no team or manager can realistically be expected to overcome.

      • ohiojimw

        Price himself has been quoted at least three times in the media over the last month as saying the team (even with the injuries) did not play to its potential, left winnable games on the field (almost a direct quote on this one), and starting with the manager and coaches, everybody needed to do a better job. He even said on one of the occasions he thought even with the injuries they should have been able to contend for the playoffs.

        As for last night, he might have spent the 25th and 26 outs better (Bourgeois for Barnhart maybe?); and once you are down to your 27th out, you can’t use a strategy predicated on somebody not making an out to get somebody else to the plate. You’ve got to go with your most likely chance to extend the game and play it a batter at a time.

      • Eric the Red

        “We didn’t play to our potential” is boilerplate. (It’s also true; players like Hamilton and Bruce can potentially deliver much more. The team was disappointing. But the injuries destroyed the season.)

        Tucker had two hits last night. Bourgeois was ultimately used, so batting him for out 26 instead of out 27 really doesn’t excite me too much. Price’s options last night, even with all the September call ups, show how tough his situation is: His choices to PH in the 9th included Bourgeois, a dinged-up Mesoraco, a washed-up Ludwick (who would struggle to hit Melancon’s fastball), and an OBP-challenged Lutz. So on the pitching side (basically, only Jumbo available and fairly “trustworthy”) and the hitting side, last night’s game is a good example of how limited Price’s options have been.

        Look, I’m not saying he’s perfect. And I’m not trying to be a jerk in arguing with you. I really think the injuries and the pressure they caused the rest of the team make any evaluation of Price’s in game skills premature. I saw one obvious “strategy” moment last night, and Price (correctly, IMHO) tried a hit and run with Negron on and Peña at the plate; the result was a foul ball.

  13. Mister D69

    Here’s something to think about. When the Pirates reach for a PH, they grab a 285 hitter (Tabata). When the Reds need one… well, they don’t even have anyone in their entire system hitting 285.
    OK, I exaggerate, and there may be circumstances that I’m not considering by which Tabata is in the PH role, but you get the idea.

  14. Steven M. Nelson

    I attended that game. What a slap in the face to the fans. 3 “starters” in the lineup, assuming you consider that zombie wearing Jay Bruce’s uniform one of them. Close game, but go ahead and bring in Hoover (no doubt we’ll want Chapman fresh for next week). The topper was the last play: Instead of Mes or Ludwig, Price sends up Bourgeois to pinch hit. He’s called out at first on a play that everybody around me thought was a missed call… but the Reds just decided to cash it in rather than ask for a review. And no pizza.

  15. redsfan06

    I didn’t get to see the game and was wondering about Leake running through the stop sign at 3rd. Was it obvious he should have kept going or was he just lucky to score on the play?

    It’s pretty amazing how bad the 3rd base coaching has been this year. The Reds need to address it in the off season.

    • ohiojimw

      (From FSN’s feed) Smith was clear down the line (maybe half way to home) like often deploys. To tell the truth I wasn’t sure if he was giving that waist level “go” sign or trying to stop Leake.

      It was one of those plays where under the traditional rules, Leake almost certainly would have been out. Martin took the throw standing right at the front of the plate and tried to make a spinning tag as Leake slid behind him. Leake just got his foot by and on the plate before the tag was made (no replay asked or given). In days past, Martin almost certainly would have been set up on the baseline and muscled Leake around the plate and made the tag for the out.

      CAVEAT…I was in the middle of cardio with the volume down an music in my ears. However I did not pick up any comments on the closed caption about Smith tryong to stop Leake.

  16. redsfan06

    The only thing left to root for this year is for Cueto to get 20 wins. Whether or not the Reds can help or hurt another team’s playoff chances is meaningless to me.

  17. Kurt Frost

    I was just checking out the national league stats, Frazier is third in home runs. Offense is really down in the National League this year.

  18. Eric the Red

    Smith was probably right to try and stop Leake. But he can’t even do that right. He was late with the sign, then he held up one hand at chest level. I’ve seen him do that a lot: fail to put up a clear sign. I mean, how hard is it to put both arms above your head with the palms out?

    He has to go. Next year, with a healthy team (knock on wood), we can’t afford to waste any runs with a terrible 3rd base coach. His judgment is terrible, and he can’t even do something basic like put his arms above his head.