A loss to rival the Atlanta debacle

Dusty Baker said it before anyone had to ask.

“Boy, that one hurts as much as it hurt in Atlanta,” Baker said after the Reds lost 9-7 in 10 innings to the Phillies on a walkoff homer by Ryan Howard off Arthur Rhodes.

What really hurt on Friday was the Reds had a 7-1 lead going into the ninth. In the Braves game on May 20, the Reds had leads of 8-0, and 9-1 and lost 10-9 on a grand slam off Cordero in the bottom of the ninth.

Mike Leake had 83 pitches heading into the bottom of the ninth and had only allowed five hits and no walks to that point. I do not blame Baker for sticking with him. His limit is 100 pitches at the rate he was going, finishing the game in 17 pitches wasn’t a tall order. He averaged just over 10 pitches per inning.

Shane Victorino’s leadoff double started the mayhem. But Leake got an out and then a cheap RBI bloop single from Howard. Another cheapie followed in a broken bat grounder by Jayson Werth. Greg Dobbs hit the foul pole for a three run homer on Leake’s 100th and final pitch.

“We’re trying to save my bullpen for the next couple of days,” Baker said. “We wanted to stay away from Arthur. The right side pitched a lot last night, except for Masset and Owings. [Leake] had been getting Dobbs all night (0-for-3). He hit the screen up there. We still had a two-run lead with two outs to go.”

*Guess what? I don’t blame Baker for sticking with Leake in the ninth. Why? Because the worst that could happen was he’d give up those runs and the Reds would still lead by two runs. The two hits before Dobbs weren’t hard hit. Leake didn’t look like he was weakening, to me.

And, it’s a perfectly reasonable expectation for a veteran closer to get a two-out save with a two-run lead.

But Francisco Cordero, who had saved his last seven in a row, issued a two-out walk to Ben Francisco and then left a 0-1 pitch over the plate for Cody Ransom to tie the game with his first homer of the season.

*Cordero has allowed 20 walks and 41 hits in 40 2/3 innings this season. He has six blown saves in 30 chances.

“I have to cut out the walks,” Cordero said. “I’m walking too many guys. Every time I walk a guy, that run comes. We got two outs and I walked Ben Francisco and boom, tie game,  home run. I have to cut out the walks, especially when you’re pitching in a ballpark here or at home. It’s a small ballpark. You don’t bring the tying run to home plate. You just have to get that guy.”

*And as a little coincidence…Leake was the starter that missed out on a win because of the debacle in Atlanta.

“This one is a little tougher, for me, because I gave up the majority of the runs,” said Leake, who also had three hits and a walk. “It’s a tough one to swallow. It’s always tough when you’re winning by six. There’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to close a game.”

More quotes —

“That whole at-bat, I shouldn’t have even been in a 3-2 count that last at-bat. I should’ve put in play earlier than that. The leadoff hitter of that inning and Dobbs was the only bad part of that inning. It shouldn’t have even got to the point where it did in the game. I should’ve been able to finish it.” — Mike Leake

“We still had 7-5. One of the key plays was a walk to Francisco. Then he made a mistake to Cody Ransom to tie the game up.” — Dusty Baker on Cordero

 Volquez watch —

*By the looks of his line for Triple-A Louisville in his final rehab start on Friday, Edinson Volquez is ready for the big leagues again. Against Toledo, Volquez allowed one hit over seven scoreless innings with three walks and nine strikeouts. He didn’t allow his first hit until the sixth and struck out the side in the seventh.

*Volquez, who is returning from Tommy John surgery last August, threw 102 pitches, 61 for strikes.

***I’m starting my All-Star break a couple of days early because I am going home. Have a good weekend.

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Trying to save the bullpen, huh? What, is Micah Owings unavailable? He has pitched two innings in two appearances since June 26th! He was unavailable to pitch the ninth of a 7-1 lead? Or are the Reds no longer trying to conserve Mike Leake? This loss was inexcusable, and it is all pinned on Dusty Baker.

We need a new closer. thought so for most of the season and tonight’s ballgame has proved it yet again. i was watching Cordero pitch yesterday on MLB network and he just doesn’t have it this year. he either walks guys or grooves it down the middle on a line. his pitches have almost no movement, and quite frankly even bad hitters can hit his pitches out of the park.

“But Francisco Cordero, who had saved his last seven in a row”

You’ve probably seen most of those “7 in a row” haven’t you? He’s been “cruising for a bruising” for some time. I don’t think ANY of those 7 were 3 up and 3 down, and probably over half of them he’s allowed 2 or more runners to reach. He’s blown 6 saves now (in half a season, on pace for 12). He’s also not striking people out anymore. I don’t know when the last strikeout came, but it has not been recent.

I’d also like toknow, Mark, what you think of Dusty taking the bat out of Cairo’s hands (arguably the Reds hottest hitter inthe series) to put it on Stubbs (strikeout waiting to happen) and Hanigan (who can hardly swing the bat)


My last comment’s question about Cairo bunting the runner to3rd with no outs was from last night’s game (as you probably figured out)

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