April 12, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker (12) in the dugout before the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Reds' Five-Game Skid Fully Digested

After allowing the proper period of mourning I feel composed enough to put into words what a sucky week the Reds had. They have been shutout, thumped, nipped, and have seen a five-run lead evaporate.

What does it all mean? Please don’t be the guy who says, “Calm down, it is just the middle of April.” If you are that complacent about a five-game losing streak, please turn in your fan credentials immediately, someone in Miami needs them.

Last season the Reds were 4-8 at this point. Good on ya’ Reds, you are one game better than last year. I don’t recall feeling nearly this crappy then. We waited until the 112th game, August 9, to lose five in a row last year. Looky here, we did it in 12 games, before the Ides of April and we may not be finished yet, with Cliff Lee and the Phitin’ Phillies coming to town. We sit most comfortably, in the middle of the division, looking up to both the St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates, as we are two games below the equator and two games out of first. I hate it!

They are losing so frequently that I already abandoned my “Assigning the Blame” series. I do, however feel compelled to assign the loss yesterday to Big Brox. That is correct, Jonathan Broxton looked like he was throwing batting practice to the Pirates the entire time he was in there. He made me pine for the days of Coco Cordero. He tossed 31 pitches and only 13 were on the mark. Did you read that? The man threw 18 balls and 13 strikes. That boils down to 58 percent.

Brox came into the game having worked four innings and boasted a 0.00 ERA. After Aroldis Chapman let an inherent runner score, he stood at 4.2 IP and an 11.57 ERA. I am not here to beat up on Broxton, I am here to praise him. Not really, but he shall not shoulder the entire blame. He does for this game, but read on.

Dusty Baker saw fit to use J. J. Hoover in five of the first seven games of the season. Then in the opener of the Pirates’ series he came in and surrendered a home run to break a tie and ultimately lose the game. Dusty hadn’t seen enough of him yet so he rolled him out again on Saturday. You know…get right back up on the ol’ horse thing…he did pitch better than he had, reducing his ERA by about a run and a half.

I fully expected Dusty to send Hoover down and bring Mark Pryor up so he could finish him off for good. What? Too soon? Sorry, strike that from the record.

Back to the crux of the whole thing. Just because you are not in a save situation, or even losing, does not mandate ignoring the back end of the bullpen. They need work just like everybody else. You cannot expect them to go for a week without any game experience. I believe we all can attest to that by the thuggery we witnessed yesterday.

I imagine Broxton feels terrible today. So do I and I don’t make $57,000 per game to assuage my pain.

Now we come to the loss of Johnny Cueto. I know the team hasn’t said anything yet, but watch the wire for Tony Cingrani to be recalled any day now. He only pitched two innings for Louisville on Sunday. He struck out five of the six Mud Hens he faced. Wonder if Klinger watched?

Cueto will no doubt be set on the shelf for at least the obligatory 15 days. Just when you thought things couldn’t get any bleaker right?

In tonight’s series opener Bronson Arroyo (1-1) will toe the rubber against former CYA winner Lee (2-0). Batters are hitting a paltry .167 against Lee so that should be interesting.

Please comment unless you are going to try to tell me to settle down or retort with some “pollyann-ish” trite like it is only 12 games in.

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Tags: Cincinnati Reds Dusty Baker

  • http://twitter.com/AdamTwelv Adam12 at Crutch

    Of course this team will be OK in the long run. But? The problem is the bull pen is STILL a mess over-use/under-use wise and that won’t change until arms are fresh/stretched out. the games aren’t stopping.

    Not a big believer in the Mgr having that much affect on a 162 game season, and DB certainly has his players respect, but I have never seen a mess like Baker has made of this start.

    • Cliff@RedsToTheBone

      How can we be sure the team will be OK. It wouldn’t be the first train to roll off the tracks after high expectations. The DL is growing, the shelves are stacking, and when your ace goes down, you will, I said, you will feel it, Cingrani or not.

  • Gary Lee

    Dusty Baker’s managerial skills have been non-existent thus far. He has mismanaged his bullpen, and has what appears to be a ho hum attitude towards this early losing skid. You should not be swept by the Pirates, period, end of sentence. It’s time for Dusty to get his head out of the clouds and become aware this is a brand new season. Oh, and it’s time to bring up Hamilton and stop the stupid philosophy of getting him a little more experience. He is ready, now, and it’s apparent we need his bat.

    • http://twitter.com/JordanBarhorst Jordan Barhorst

      Billy Hamilton’s bat will not solve our problems. First of all, he isn’t ready. A lot of fans like to think he is, but the truth is, he’s just not. Having seen him play in person in AAA, you can tell he’s nowhere near ready for the big league club. He’s fast, sure, but speed only does so much if you can’t get a hit when Billy’s on third.

      • Cliff@RedsToTheBone

        If we wanted just fast, we shipped him off to Cleveland for a hitter, who can hit.

    • Cliff@RedsToTheBone

      Agree with comments about Dusty but I disagree about Hamilton. If he came up now he would be Drew Stubbs, only smaller, and with no power. Speed does not account for everything. Remember, you can’t steal first base.

  • JD Rentz

    It’s becoming really easy to be “bearish” after watching the Reds flounder against an inferior Pirates team when I was “bullish” only days ago. I’m not one to single-out a manager much, but Dusty Baker (an appropriate image choice for your post) is going to be getting a LOT more attention for poor bullpen handling. Repeatedly.

    • http://twitter.com/JordanBarhorst Jordan Barhorst

      I agree. I hate placing blame on a manage, especially one with as much success as Dusty has. But at what point is enough, enough? I was scratching my head when Hoover was placed in the game in lieu of Broxton in the tied game against the Pirates earlier in the series, and as it turns out, Broxton probably would have given up the loss anyway. You just can’t go 7 days without pitching if you’re a reliever.

      • Cliff@RedsToTheBone

        It is no wonder that he got credited with destroying Pryor’s career. I didn’t even think Hoover would make the cut, but now he is the ‘go-to’ guy. Manager of the year, eh?

    • Cliff@RedsToTheBone

      I’m not so sure the Pirates are inferior to us anymore. When you look up and see ass, it makes you wonder. You can’t tell me those guys can’t hit. Now the thingy with Cueto, and who knows what next. 12 days in and three men on the DL, four if you wanna count Masset. I don’t

  • beeker

    It has been a true comedy of errors to this point. If the starting pitcher isn’t imploding, or the offense isn’t going 0-fer in RISP situations, then the bullpen is finding a way to notch the “L”. What I want to see now is how the team responds. Are they going to man up or roll over?

    • Cliff@RedsToTheBone

      Same here beeker. If they go to six straight it will be ugly.

      • http://twitter.com/JordanBarhorst Jordan Barhorst

        Don’t be surprised if they do go six straight. Cliff Lee is a hell of a pitcher.

        • Cliff@RedsToTheBone

          I know that. I don’t think the Reds hit him real hard either do they?

  • http://twitter.com/JordanBarhorst Jordan Barhorst

    I have to disagree with you. The fact is, it IS only April, and we don’t need to worry just yet. I’ve addressed this in my latest article. Just a friendly butting of heads :)

    • Cliff@RedsToTheBone

      OK turn in your badge. Just kidding. :-)
      I can’t believe you can be so warm and fuzzy about the slide we are in. I am not Chicken Little but I swear I think I hear the sky cracking

  • Gary Lee

    If I might reminisce a bit, I remember watching Pete Rose play in minor league ball. The naysayers said he was a singles hitter only, didn’t know what position he was best suited for and that ,overall, they would have said you were crazy if you had predicted he would become the greatest hitter of all time. Hamilton will find his way in the big leagues at the plate. if he doesn’t, the Reds will have shortened their time frame trying to develop him and can move on. Ever heard of the term, “Fish or cut bait”?

    • Cliff@RedsToTheBone

      I like Billy I just think he is still a year away. Just sayin’