Messy, or was it sloppy?

The Reds should have left town with a split and they knew it. Mistakes galore cost them two leads and culminated in a 9-6 loss to the Phillies. That meant dropping three of four in the series.

There were leads of 3-0 and 6-4 that became dust in the wind because of self inflicted gaffes.

In the third inning, Chase Utley hit a two-out inside-the-park homer to center field. Willy Taveras was too close to the wall when the ball caromed and Chris Dickerson wasn’t backing up from right field.

In the fourth inning, a Shane Victorino liner spun off of Brandon Phillips’ glove and scored two runs.

Reds starter Micah Owings gave up seven earned runs and eight hits over 4 1/3 innings with four walks and a strikeout. He threw 97 pitches. 

In the decisive fifth inning that included four walks from three pitchers and only two hits, reliever Josh Roenicke was late covering first base on Paul Bako’s would-be inning-ending double play. Three runs scored in the inning and put the Reds away.

Quotes from Dusty Baker:

“You can’t be walking people, not in this ballpark against that lineup. They’re already tough enough to get out. They don’t need any help.”

“Young Roenicke was late breaking to the bag and didn’t get to the bag and that cost us three runs.”

“It’s just disheartening. We should have at least come out of here with a split.”

From Phillips on the liner off of his glove:

“It was knuckling and I almost caught it. It was the toughest one. If it was higher, it would have been easier to catch. When it’s at your ankles, it’s hard to catch those balls. I didn’t even feel the ball touch my glove, to tell you the truth. I wish I would have caught it. if it was any other person out there, I felt they would have done the same thing I did. It was just a tough break.”

This loss also put 41-43 Cincinnati into fifth place, 4 1/2 games behind St. Louis. The Reds need a good weekend at New York to get some momentum into the break.

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8 Comments

Yeah, a bad night all around. And it appears the Pen is unwinding little by little. Fatigue? Bad luck? Getting their revenge from the lack of help earlier? That last one was a joke, of course…

That loss was definitely one of the tougher ones to swallow, but we shouldn’t get too down on the Reds just yet. The team is in 5th place, but only 1 game out of third, and 4.5 out of the division. That is NOTHING. Obviously staying in the pennant race will be a bit of an uphill battle, but this team has a lot of fight. We have 4 with the brewers and 3 with the cubs immediately following the all-star break, so there is a lot of good, fun baseball left to be played. Cueto vs. Santana tomorrow should be fun to watch in that pitcher’s ballpark. Go Reds.

One more thought, its good to see the offense show a little life, especially E^2 with the Home run and 2-run triple.

That loss was definitely one of the tougher ones to swallow, but we shouldn’t get too down on the Reds just yet. The team is in 5th place, but only 1 game out of third, and 4.5 out of the division. That is NOTHING. Obviously staying in the pennant race will be a bit of an uphill battle, but this team has a lot of fight. We have 4 with the brewers and 3 with the cubs immediately following the all-star break, so there is a lot of good, fun baseball left to be played. Cueto vs. Santana tomorrow should be fun to watch in that pitcher’s ballpark. Go Reds.

One more thought, its good to see the offense show a little life, especially E^2 with the Home run and 2-run triple.

That loss was definitely one of the tougher ones to swallow, but we shouldn’t get too down on the Reds just yet. The team is in 5th place, but only 1 game out of third, and 4.5 out of the division. That is NOTHING. Obviously staying in the pennant race will be a bit of an uphill battle, but this team has a lot of fight. We have 4 with the brewers and 3 with the cubs immediately following the all-star break, so there is a lot of good, fun baseball left to be played. Cueto vs. Santana tomorrow should be fun to watch in that pitcher’s ballpark. Go Reds.

One more thought, its good to see the offense show a little life, especially E^2 with the Home run and 2-run triple.

sorry about that

I’m still burning over Baker’s post-game press conference last night where he singled out Chris Dickerson for criticism for not backing up the play on the inside-the-park home run by Utley.

First, Dickerson hustles as much on every play, every night as any player on the Reds. He has made countless plays running and diving at full speed. He charges base hits in the OF to set up good throwing angles and strong throws. He rushes to get in position to catch fly balls.

If any player on the Reds team deserves to be commended for the hustle they display, and how it positively affects the team, it should be Chris Dickerson.

Contrast that with the nightly horror show of Willy Taveras. He misplays balls over his head repeatedly. I’ve never seen him dive to make a play. The worst, by far, is that he loafs when charging base hits. I think he does this to deflect attention from his awful arm – if he is slow getting to the ball then there is “no chance” of throwing the runner out, so why try.

I’ve never heard Baker utter a single word of criticism of Taveras. That was OK with me until last night. If Baker wants to avoid criticizing his players in public I respect that – assuming he’s taking care of it in the clubhouse. But once he chooses to attack players in public, he has to be fair about it.

A less charitable reading of Baker’s criticism last night would be that he is trying to justify his increasingly irrational decision to start Taveras ahead of Dickerson by selectively choosing who to take down in public.

Even on the play in question, the primary failure was by Taveras, for running too close to the wall. It’s the second time in the series that he’s made that glaring mistake – which I interpret as being too indifferent to focus on getting better. It’s as much of a mental mistake as Dickerson’s play.

Did Baker criticize Taveras for “making the same mistakes as before”? No.

Anyone with any objectivity would say that Dickerson has clarly proven himself a better centerfielder than Taveras. Hustle, judgment, arm.

Baker’s continued insistence on playing Taveras over Dickerson, Nix and Gomes is an utter embarrassment. Of course it wouldn’t surprise me if Baker “punished” Dickerson for his lack of hustle by not playing him tonight. That would only punish the team and its fans, who deserve better.

I agree smancuso! My way of protesting is I don’t watch any games that Arroyo pitches anymore nor do I watch when Taveras leads off for the team. He has never been a good lead off hitter because of his impatience. He is a mediocore fielder at best and I am questioning if the relationship of Taveras and Baker goes beyond the diamond. I just don’t understand why is sticks it out with him more than any other struggling player. From day one when Taveras had the flu Dusty has been making excuses for this guy. Dickerson should be an every day player and every day lead off for the Reds. We don’t want to see an over paid under achiever out there just drawing a pay check and looking for excuses. Taveras is an excuse and I am thinking that is only reason Dusty plays him just about every day…. so Dusty when he gets called onto the carpet in from of upper management he can say that our “all star free agent signing isn’t playing very well”.

I’m tired of sports writers protecting Baker here is my list of what he does wrong.
1) doesn’t play the hot bat. (case in point he benched Gomes when he was batting .350 didn’t play him again for almost a week)
2) doesn’t know when to bench a player (Taveras,Bruce, Gonzalez,Encarnacion… from earlier prior to injury)
3) doesn’t get on players for not hustling (case in point gonzalez first two games of the season were horrible non hustling on the field and did he get a tongue lashing no! instead Dusty made excuses for our has been shortstop)
4) doesn’t know what situations to pull or position relief pitching
5) Overly critical of rookies and non critical of veterans
6) his desire to sign players that he has had previous relationships with
7) Not bringing in extra help for either pitching or hitting instruction during periods of struggle
8) team chemistry is faltering… can only be blamed on the manager
9) spends to much time saying everything is going to be ok instead of trying to fix what is broke. He doesn’t see what needs to be fixed apparently.

I said my peace I’m sure Sheldon will get on here and defend Baker to the teeth as normal.

I’m not with you guys at all on this one. Taveras made a horrible play, yes, but Dickerson should have been backing up. It’s called the basics of fielding. You back up your fielders no matter what. Dickerson hustles his butt off all the time, yes, but does that give him the excuse to loaf around here and there? Of course not. A player should hustle and do what they’re supposed to do the entire time.
And as far as Baker not getting on players for not hustling, that’s not true at all. I recall Baker getting on Phillips last year for something like that, and he also got on him this year because he swung on 3-0 wen he was supposed to be taking. Baker publicly singled out Dickerson, and I’m glad for that. It was a turning point in the game, and the public criticism will help Dickerson. The worst that can happen is that he gets mad and hustles every single play to prove a point. That’s not exactly a bad thing.
The only thing I do agree with is Baker has an irrational love for Willy Taveras. The man doesn’t get on base, and Dickerson should have the starting job. I go back to what I’ve said earlier, though… they signed Willy to be our starting center fielder and that is why he plays. They’ve gone haflway through the season with him and we’re two games under .500. Since that’s pretty dang good for a Reds team this late in the season, they won’t bench Willy.

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