They say that successful athletes - and successful anythings - are able to quiet all the voices that invite failure, possibly through the power of self-delusion. I wasn't able to do this as an athlete. My constant inner-monolgue that told me, "You're not that great, dingus" played an important role in my early retirement.
This struggle continues as a fan. You may have encountered an hysterical Reds fan last night in the throws of Loss Derangement Syndrome. Or that fan may have been within.
I had an argument between my rational and reactionary sides throughout Game 4. I realized that both have their place. And in the end, I won:
MIKE LEAKE?! YOU SHOULDN'T START MIKE LEAKE
Well, he was bad last night, you're right. And you shouldn't start Mike Leake. What did they think was going to happen, with their worst starter -- who has the worst home splits of any pitcher on staff - pitching after a 10-day layoff? But they didn't have much choice, especially with Latos sick. Losing Cueto finally caught up with them.
MIKE LEAKE?! YOU SHOULDN'T LET HIM PITCH THIS LATE INTO THE GAME
Stop yelling, I agree. Even though we're talking deck chair rearrangement. Mike Leake pretty clearly didn't have it, even though he faked it for a little while. You needed him to go at least 3, probably 4. But he was allowed to go two doubles and three batters into the fifth.
DREW STUBBS SUXX
I hate myself for finding this harder to disagree with, but he definitely wasn't the problem last night.
WHAT IS HAPPENING TO JOEY VOTTO? HE'S SUB-SUPERHUMAN
He's not totally healthy, if that's what you mean. And he LOB'd 4 last night. But he's had like 2 RISP chances and he's hitting .359 and OBPing .470 this series and let's not do this. I just can't. Not right now. Not ever.
Nice wordplay. That roster spot was his, unless you wanted to give it to Mike Leake, which I think we agreed that you/we don't. I don't think he should've been pitching in the 7th inning of a close playoff game though. He's been putting up red flags for months now, but skating by because his ERA is a split-finger below 3.00.
THE REDS SHOULD HAVE WON THE GAME