Postgame: Baker behind Cordero

Sometimes with this job, especially on Twitter, trying to be pragmatic ends up making you look defensive. Of course, everyone is calling for Francisco Cordero’s head or for a demotion after his second blown save this weekend in a 3-1 Reds loss. Today on Twitter, I tried to do the former and came across sounding like the latter.

Obviously, it’s been a shaky season at times for Cordero and if I’m the Reds, I’d a little worried about his ability to put games away in the postseason. But is he going lose his job? No chance. And should he lose his job? No.

Cordero, who is 35 for 43 in save chances, never makes it look easy when he gets saves but until Friday, he saved 11 in a row since July 9 and he had converted 18 of 19. It’s not Dancing with the Stars or figure skating — there are no style points for how saves are made, even if he loads the bases with walks and hit batters.

These two times though, it wasn’t the walks killing Cordero and the Reds — just clean hits by the Pirates. Combine Friday and Sunday, he’s allowed seven hits and five runs. (***update, I screwed up…I forgot about the leadoff walk.)

“It was not my best. I’m not pitching my best right now. It’s real disappointing,” Cordero said.

Everyone is naturally calling for Aroldis Chapman to be installed as the closer. Sure he throws 103 mph, but do you really want a 22-year-old with seven career big league games holding down the toughest job during the postseason? At this point, the Reds and Cordero are locked in together in the ninth inning and that’s not going to change, according to Dusty Baker.

“We all feel terrible for Coco. He’s a heck of a teammate and we need him,” Baker said. “We need him badly because he’s our closer. Nobody else is really ready to close. He’s our closer. I know people are hollering for this person and that person. What happens when the next person doesn’t do it? Then you’ll be hollering for somebody else. You can’t keep doing that. Look at Philadelphia that went to the World Series with Brad Lidge. You have to stick with him and we have to get him together. Nobody feels worse than him, nobody.”

Quick notes –

*Orlando Cabrera hurt his left heel scoring on Joey Votto’s RBI double in the fourth. He remained in the game until Paul Janish took over on defense in the ninth.

*Brandon Phillips went 0-for-4 and his hitless in his last 12 at-bats. He is 6-for-43 (.140) in seven games since returning from a hand injury.

*The Reds six-game home winning streak is over.

More quotes —

“You can’t really go down looking in that situation like I did. I got some pitches I should have hit and just didn’t get it done. We had the game won today. We had a chance and I had a chance to get us back to a tie or take the lead. I just didn’t pull through.” — Chris Heisey, who was caught looking at strike three with the bases loaded to end the game.

“That whole inning guys put together some pretty good at-bats. To get to Cordero twice in one series is not easy to do”. — Pirates manager John Russell on the top of the ninth.

“It’s not like I was pitching to my little boy. He is a big league hitter. He’s a pretty good hitter. He’s young but he’s a big league player.” — Francisco Cordero on Andrew McCutchen, who hit the three-run double in the ninth.
 
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8 Comments

Mark, with all due respect, the fans that have messaged you have a good basis for calling for Cordero’s head. He has been awful and should lose his closing job until further notice.

– Cordero has blown the most saves of any qualifying closer in all of baseball this season.
– He has the 4th worst WHIP of any qualifying closer in the majors for the year.
– He is tied for the 5th worst ERA amongst qualifying closers this season.
– He is tied for the 5th worst K/9 in the majors among qualifying closers.
– He has the 9th worst batting average against in the majors amongst qualifying closers.

In addition, Cordero’s WAR is 0.4, which means his production this year has been worth $1.4 million, and we both know how much he is actually getting paid. If you look at his numbers this year, he is having the worst year of his career and he’s having at an extremely inopportune time. If Dusty really wants to win, he’ll let Masset close. Masset is more than capable.

Mark — I agree with your general assessment and the bottom line. We’re stuck with Cordero as our closer this year. He hasn’t been the most reliable closer, but he hasn’t been the worst, either, by a long shot. I do disagree that walks didn’t play a role today. He not only walked the lead off hitter, but he got behind the second hitter 2-0 and had to throw a fastball right over the plate to avoid a second walk. That pitch got hit into center field. His slider has been ineffective this year (it’s the pitch that McCutcheon hit for a double), which means the only pitch he trusts is the fastball, and the hitters know that so they are looking for it. The result is that he nibbles and that often leads to walks. The walks and hits are part of the same problem, not separate. –Steve

My fault on the walks. I screwed up on the leadoff guy.

I am dumbfounded that any Reds fan can actually defend Cordero at this point. Is there anyone who thought the game was over when you saw him come out for the 9th inning today? Well, I mean “over” as in the Reds would win. I thought the game was “over” as in, there’s no way he can hold a one run lead and the Pirates would come back to take the lead.

So what if Chapman has no experience in this type of situation, he can’t be worse…CAN’T BE! And if not Chapman, what about Rhodes or Masset? Cordero is the #1 reason why the save is the most overrated stat in baseball. Sure, he can come in with a 3 run lead, let in 2 runs and get the 3rd out with the bases loaded and still get credit for having done something positive (I’m not looking up this stat, but I’d bet he has done this more times than actually coming in and getting a 1,2,3 inning).

Sure, before Friday he hasn’t blown a save since July, but what about that game in Chicago where he came in with a 3 run lead, walked the bases loaded and then hit a guy before Baker pulled him? Masset came in to clean up his mess and Cordero actually got credit for a hold. He didn’t blow a save, but I’d hardly call that a successful outing.

If he’s doing this against the Pirates, does anyone think he’ll step it up against the Braves, Phillies (at least 2 of his blown saves this year), Padres or Giants if the Reds do happen to make the playoffs?

Cordero is paid awesome money today for less than great efforts. He should feel bad, and he needs to get his head in the game. I appreciate his honesty, but getting his salary for forgetting the runners he’s put on base??? That’s amazin’ – and I don’t mean that as a compliment!

I hate to see fans booing any player that is trying his best and just can’t, on a given night, get the job done. If CoCo or any other pitcher is having a bad game, why not remove him from that game? As long as he is contracted to pitch and is sent in by his manager to pitch, he has to try to get the job done as best as he can. He cannot remove himself from the game, someone else has to do that. Most times, coCo does an excellent job for us, but on those occasions when he just doesn’t have it, why not at least try someone else? I wonder are the fans actually booing CoCo, or are they booing Dusty for not doing anything?

C’mon Mark, give us all a break. I know you’re committed to the Deads for good reason but this is rediculous. First of all, eveyone knows that Dusty is full of it by trying to make people believe he has faith in OH NO. Not many closers get pulled from two games in a month. Many don’t get pulled at all. I think the first commentor on this page had it all correct with the stats. OH NO needs to GO. And Playoffs, Playoffs??? If this nonsense continues there will be no playoffs. They’ll be lucky to win two against the D Backs and after the next three city roadie I’ll be surprised of they’re still in first. As far as OH NO is concerned, I guess we needed someone to fill Weather’s shoes

I’m not committed to anyone but MLB.com @mookee. I cover the Reds objectively. I’m not a fan. All I’m saying is the closer isn’t going anywhere with 20 games left in the season.

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