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John Fay
John Fay has been the Reds beat writer for the Enquirer since 2001. Prior to that, he served in a variety of roles for the Enquirer: backup Reds writer, UC beat writer, backup Bengals writer and as a general assignment reporter. He is a Cincinnati native and a graduate of Elder High School and the University of Dayton.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Mets 3, Reds 2

There's a fine line between being reckless and being aggressive. Ryan Freel went for a diving catch in the fifth. If he makes it, people are talking about how they love the way he plays.

But he didn't make it, and Lastings Milledge scores the winning run from first on a single. If Freel played the ball on the hop, Milledge stops at second.

Brandon Phillips tried to go from second to third in the ninth on a groundball to shortstop. If he makes it, he's a wild pitch away from scoring the tying run. But he didn't come close to making it, and a potential rally had lost its steam.

“Both Freel and Phillips, I know they feel terrible about what happened,” Reds manager Pete Mackanin said. “They were aggressive mistakes. They play all out. Sometimes you’ve got to reel it in a little.”

The Reds only had four hits on the night, so they may have lost anyway. But when you're playing a team like the Mets on the road, you can't afford mistakes -- aggressive mistakes or not.


at 12:01 AM Blogger JerBear said...

Great points on both Freel and Phillips. Especially with Freel.

Phillips just made a dumb mistake and he knows it. Other players this year have made the same dumb mistake.

But Freel's all-out style can sometimes back-fire. It's somewhat of a catch 22.

He's saved games with his diving catches and agressive play before, but then tonight as you mentioned he hurts the team being over-agressive.

In the end, I don't think he has an on-off switch. I guess you take the mostly good and great hustle from Freel and just expect some costly mistakes like tonight from him.

at 2:16 AM Blogger RedwoodsSteve said...

"But Freel's all-out style can sometimes back-fire. It's somewhat of a catch 22."

If it had been a catch 22, Freel would have been the hero of the game. :)

at 5:59 AM Anonymous Mike Silvati said...

David Ross continues in a season long offensive funk! He either strikes out or homers. Usually he strikes out. I think he's too straight up and down when he's in his stance. He cant reach anything outside. By the way, this team has got to be leading the world in striking out.

at 7:27 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, I have to disagree with you on this one. I never like to see an aggressive ball player hold back. Neither of these plays was a mistake in baseball fundamentals. In each case, Freel and Phillips made decisions about their own physical abilities.

The fact is that if you are going to give up only 3 runs, you should be able to win that game. The guys who made the mistakes in this game were the guys who failed to drive in the two runs the Reds needed to win. Period.

at 8:06 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Freel has not saved any games with his aggressive play.

He simply lacks talent.. he missed the same catch last week in another game

Its amazing that people are still analyzing this team

The chemistry is all wrong, the team lacks heart, direction and toughness

Stick Pete Rose on 3rd base and Johnny Bench behind the plate, this current team would be pretty darn good. Those two... and other members of the Big Red Machine refused to let other teams beat em.

Bengals football starts when ?

at 8:11 AM Blogger Jeff Lehner said...

Good point about Freel. I hadn't thought of that.

I thought Phillips' gaffe was worse. Hard to say what he was thinking, staying put at second on a ground ball to short is BASIC. Arroyo was pretty good last night after the first inning.

Hey John, what's your sense on Mackanin as far as the possibility he be the guy next year? I know a lot of people want a big name but is it a done deal that he's going to be a caretaker, then gone, or does he have a chance at landing the job if they have a good second half?

at 9:19 AM Blogger philmann said...

I personally believe Freel is overated and should be relagated to backup only. He is average at best and just because he hustles does not make him a worthwhile player

at 9:21 AM Anonymous BobThe RedsFan said...

I think both points are completely wrong.

Freel almost makes the catch with a great effort and who knew Milledge could score from first on that play. Couple Milledge's scoring run with Reyes' getting a double off a nice single in the eighth and you can see the Reds lack of team speed is a bad thing, forcing them to play long ball too often.

The second point, Phillips is thrown out at third, maybe a bonehead play, although the prior jockeying at second with pitcher Wagner probably made it inevitable. Encarnacion stealing second after Phillip's out leaves the Reds in exactly the same position they would have been in anyway; man on second with two outs. Encarnacion probably put in a little extra hustle; it would have been nice to see him go the other way. Oh, he never goes the other way!

No, there were two other stories from the game; one the Reds really are lacking in bat skills. They went five innings without getting a man on base (third inning, second batter thru eighth inning) and it's tough to win games when the home run seems to be your only weapon (with apologies to Hatteberg); and two, it was nice to see a little effort at the end rather than just going gently into that good night.

at 10:09 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Willie Mays Hays, Jr. is all about himself. He said as much when he bitched about Homer, Griffey and Hamilton getting all the pub.

Freel is an overrated utility player that doesn't have the proper sense to play the game. He dives when he doesn't need to and makes the catch --- he dives when he shouldn't and costs the team.

at 11:15 AM Blogger hammer said...

Freel has a rag arm. A 6 hopper from 200 feet away is unacceptable. Reyes ran on him too. They wouldnt have run on Hamilton like that.

Phillips thought he was in the Mets head and got too carried away, but arent we used to the creativity the Reds use to lose games?

Nice job by Burton pitching out of Stanton's 8th inning mess.

at 12:09 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Freel is a great utility player to have on a team. He is not an every day center fielder, he doesn't have the range, the arm or the talent.

It's way down the list of the things Castellini has to fix, and hopefully the outfield of the future is taking shape in Hamilton, Bruce and Stubbs / Votto.

at 12:36 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are just certain times when a CF should never dive for a flyball, and last night's dive by Freel is an example of one of those times. I've been saying all along that Freel is no better of a CF than Griffey is. Although he has a big advantage over Griffey in speed, he lacks in positioning, getting jumps on flyballs, and good judgement.

at 1:24 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Freel plays hard, no doubt, but I think he is a bit of a hot dog as well. There are times he ends up diving or going to the ground after making a catch that he could have stayed on his feet & caught. The fans like this & most can't see through the "false hustle." But last weekend against Arizona, he had a ball go off his glove as he went to the ground that he should have caught about belt high. He turned a fly out into a double with his hot dogging. Or maybe its not false hustle, maybe he can't judge a flyball.


at 1:30 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The dive was one thing. But a decent throw would have had Milledge. Instead, Freel's throw took about 5 bounces from short center to home. It was sad. Don't let the salary or energy fool you -- he's a backup utility player.

at 2:49 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...


at 2:56 PM Blogger Daedalus said...

The thing about the Phillips gaffe is that on the previous pitch he had to scramble back to second. That should have woken him up, but it did not.

at 3:04 PM Blogger John Fay said...

One of reasons he didn't make a good throw was he had to get up and set himself, so he was throwing with nothing behind it.

at 4:12 PM Anonymous Andy said...

John, werent' there two outs when freel dove? with only a runner on 1st and two outs, you let that ball drop every time. no reason to take a chance there. freel plays hard, which nobody can seriously argue, but he rarely plays smart in the field or on the basepaths. I think he's a liability more often than is acceptible, even for a utility guy or super-sub. maybe it's the 40 concussions clouding his judgment out there.

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