Week 9 Trends: Baker Baffling, Blown Save Sunday, More Leake/Cozart


Apr 24, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Mat Latos (55) tips his hat to the crowd as he leaves the game during the eighth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

There’s Bowtie Tuesday, and there’s Blown Save Sunday. Before anyone reads too much into games on Sunday, it’s worth noting that the Reds are 5-4 on the weekend get-away day for the season; however, if it feels like Sunday has become a day of arduous frustration, it’s probably because four of the six Reds blown saves have come on what should have been a productive Sunday afternoon. Jonathan Broxton might just consider coming down with something the next time the Reds roll into Pittsburgh for a weekend because PNC Park has proven to be a harvest of sorrow for the gerthy right-hander. Dramatic diction or factual statement? Broxton’s ERA at PNC Park stands at 27. In 2.2 innings pitched this year, he’s allowed eight earned runs off seven hits.

Which is why I was surprised to hear Baker’s post-game comments on Fox Sports Ohio. There probably is no worse time imaginable than to speak with a skipper after a loss where his team led 4-0, but his comments were somewhat out of character for a traditional player’s manager. Baker was asked about Latos’ start after the game, to which he replied, “That was so long ago, I don’t even know. He’s got to get over that 90- to 100-pitch wall,” Baker said. “He’s bigger and stronger than that.”

Mat Latos turned in six innings, allowed just three hits and two earned runs. While he was lifted at 94 pitches, it’s hard to argue that he wasn’t in control of the game his entire time on the bump. If Mat Latos needs to change anything on the season, it’s the luck he has when he exits games with a lead. He has seven no-decisions on the year and has been the victim of half of the Reds total blown saves. I thought Baker may compliment his starter on another solid (quality) outing; however, it seemed like Baker was projecting his internal frustrations on the young right-hander. That’s not a matter of me reading too much into it either – frustration oozed from Baker, especially after he was asked a pretty rational question on why he didn’t utilize Chapman in the 8th:

 “That’s a manager’s decision. “You can’t put in Chapman all the time. I was saving Chapman for the (save). It’s easy now to say. I don’t know, man, maybe you should come down and manage.”

Meh.  Frequent pursuers of this blog may know that I’m not a Dusty critic, nor am I an armchair manager. I don’t spend hours dissecting every move this man makes. But I do think as the manager with an obligation to be the face of this franchise, at least with the media, he could explain his rationale a little better than he did. The dismissiveness only reads like Baker knows he botched the situation himself. His response was pretty lame – all things considered, Baker didn’t cost this team the game, but if he won’t make a move that seems as clear as your windows, the least he could do is rationally explain why, so bloggers like me don’t have to waste words on the aforementioned bullsh*t.

More on Baker at probably every other Reds blog in existence.

The Reds still cashed in a productive week. In a week  where they played two series with two second place teams, the Reds went 4-3. They also improved their road record to .500. They’ll get more chances this week to improve their record against winning teams as they prepare to host the Rockies before a highly anticipated series with the Cardinals.

Checking in on some of the Reds notables from last week:

Zack Cozart continues his impressive streak of slump-busting. He hit .417 last week and amassed more hits than any other Reds in that span. On the flip side, Votto witnessed a less than stellar week at the plate, hitting just .222. He did drive in a team-high five runs for the week, though. Rough week for Bruce, too. He hit just .214 last week and led the team in strikeouts with seven.

Finally, can’t end the week’s recap without mentioning Mike Leake, has been nothing short of brilliant of late. He turned in a .68 ERA in the two starts last week, which means he’s allowed just one run in his last 13.1 innings.