By the grace of God, the Reds won the series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, instead of losing it 2-1.

Out of 16 pitchers on the roster, is Coco Cordero the only one who can be entrusted to close a game?

 If so, we should just hand the Central Division trophy over to the Cardinals right now.

I had been griping about his performances until recently, as it appeared he had straightened himself out. He just blew two save opportunities over the weekend series with the Pirates. He was rescued from the first one thanks to Chris Heisey and Joey Votto, but not the second.

The scene Sunday was as familiar as a recurring nightmare. Cordero has loaded the bases, by walking the first batter and then sandwiching three singles between two outs.

That set the classic stage for calamity. One of their better hitters, Andrew McCutchen steps in with the opportunity to be a hero or a goat. He doubled to deep left field and cleared the bases, essentially winning the game.

If Dusty Baker is going to keep trotting Cordero out to the mound in the ninth inning to protect a lead, he should have him on a one-batter leash. In other words he should be hooked after he allows the first base-runner.

Cordero is streaky. By that I mean when he is not on, he gives up hit after walk after hit, ad nauseum.

With 19 games left, the Reds can ill afford a tailspin. With as many relievers as Baker has available, he should always have a fresh arm ready that can get one or two outs without catastrophe.

I have cringed all year long when he enters the game in a “save” situation. He trails only National’s reliever Tyler Clippard in blown saves this season.

Whenever you see a won-loss record for a closer, it is not good. In a perfect world a closer would have a 0-0 record with a decent ERA. Cordero is now 6-5 meaning that in 11 games he did not do what he was called upon to do.

Friday night Homer Bailey was pitching a spectacular game, giving the team seven strong innings, allowing just five hits and one run. He also struck out nine while not issuing any base on balls. He deserved a win, leaving the game with a 3-1 lead, but was saddled with a no-decision.

Sunday afternoon Johnny Cueto left the game with a three-hit shutout intact and a one run lead. I am sure by now that he had already kissed his win goodbye when he saw the Dominican head toward the mound.

How can a starting pitcher feel good about a guy who continually blows up and dismantles everything they had worked five to seven innings to accomplish?

Baker has the old philosophy that a person needs to get right back on the horse after he has been thrown off. Dusty please know this: a man cannot get back on the horse if he is dead. Stick a fork in Coco now. He is done!

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