Cordero Blows Another; Reds Win 4-3 in Extras

Reds closer Francisco Cordero owes Homer Bailey. He owes him something. Within a span of five Pirates batters, Cordero turned Bailey’s gem into a lump of coal. Bailey tossed seven wonderful innings yielding only one run (a home run to Chris Snyder which was a good pitch) and marking a new career high in strikeouts with nine… and no walks.

The scounting report on Cordero is easier to read than Goodnight, Moon. Hard and fast away, breaking ball inside. I know Mariano Rivera has held the same recipe for success for counteless years, but Cordero is not Mo. When Cordero hit a rough patch earlier in the season, he re-established himself by pitching inside. What happened to that?

Reds manager Dusty Baker defended Cordero after the game. Coco hadn’t thrown in a game in almost a week. The Reds haven’t needed him as they were either well out in front or trailing by too many runs or letting a lead slip late. Generally, those are not scenarios in which a closer could properly operate or benefit.

There has been murmurs of replacing Cordero as the closer and I know it’s been discussed before. The main question to ask is who would become the closer if Coco is not the guy?

I’ve seen and heard Arthur Rhodes’ name. With Sir Arthur’s foot issues, he cannot be relied upon and that’s not taking anything away from the season he is having. Rhodes has shown he can get batters out, but Rhodes cannot be the guy to run out there on a nightly basis. Cordero can and has pitched three straight days. Rhodes, at this point, is unable to do such. Rhodes might be better in a one-batter situation.

The Cuban Missile? Aroldis Chapman was closing at Louisville before his call up to the Reds. The world has seen the 103 on the gun and witnessed the filthy 90 mph slider, but that may be too much to ask of the kid. I’ve heard numerous times that the Reds can utilize Chapman in the same manner as the Tampa Bay Rays used David Price in 2008. That’s similar to how Dusty is using him now, but without having the added pressure of closing games. It’s not a reach, it’s only ill timed and maybe even ill advised.

Nick Masset? Not yet. In a situation where Cordero hasn’t been available, Masset has been one that Baker has turned to for a save. With the limited availability of Rhodes, Masset is that one guy (despite the flub in Colorado) the Reds have been able to rely on in a save situation. I view Masset as the future closer, not the present.

Bullpen by committee? That rarely works.

I’ll throw this into the mix. You’re six games up in the NL Central. One of the reasons you’re there is because of Cordero, not despite him.

You could almost compare the Reds current Cordero dilemma as to that of what the Philadelphia Phillies have experienced over the last two seasons with Brad Lidge. He’s the best we have for that role. That may sound a bit extreme, but it’s not too far off base. One thing that has continually haunted Cordero is that of walks and hits. With every batter knowing what pitch is most likely coming as soon as it leaves his hand, it takes a lot of the guesswork out of an at-bat.

And we would be remiss if we didn’t send belated birthday wishes to Joey Votto. His 27th will be memorable. Not because of the three strikeouts or two times he was hit. But because of the gift of a win presented to him by the Reds…and Chris Snyder.