2013 Reds

Reds (Arroyo) vs. Giants at 4:05 p.m. ET

Wish I could say the pain was gone. But it’s going to take some post-season series winning before I get over the 2012 NLDS. And every stinking time the Reds play the Giants, it’s going to make the anguish fresh again.

The Reds host the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants today in Goodyear. Wince.

The good news: Shin-Soo Choo’s OBP is up to .478 and Devin Mesoraco has hit .471/.526/.941 this spring. Nation commenter Brian Van Hook, last night: “For those who didn’t hear it late at night, Mesoraco came up with the bases loaded and two out and had a really good at-bat. According to Brantley, Meso was able to hold off swinging at a tough pitch that wasn’t a strike, then got a better pitch to hit and the result was a bases-loaded double. Brantley and Marty were really praising him for the type of at-bat, not just the result.”

Devin Mesoraco has clearly won a job over Miguel Olivo, but is the 24-year-old making the case for an expanded role in 2013? He caught 2 of 5 games (Bailey and Leake) for most of last season. If he continues to hit for average and power while playing solid defense, should Mesoraco take a few starts from Ryan Hanigan? File under: Good problem to have.

Here’s today’s lineup, per C. Trent Rosecrans, who is now writing for the Cincinnati Enquirer. (While working for CBS Sports, C. Trent took this shot at Reds’ fans last October. That’s kicking a fan base when they’re down. And he was dead wrong, too. The fan support in Game Five was unlike any baseball game I’ve ever witnessed.)

Keep your eye on Cesar Izturis. He’s the one with a shot to beat out Jason Donald for the second utility infielder roster spot.

  1. Shin-Soo Choo CF
  2. Zack Cozart SS
  3. Neftali Soto 1B
  4. Ryan Ludwick LF
  5. Jay Bruce RF
  6. Todd Frazier 3B
  7. Cesar Izturis 2B
  8. Miguel Oliva C
  9. Xavier Paul D

Bronson Arroyo takes the mound today for the Reds. He’s pitched once in 2013, for two innings. You might have missed this interesting article by John Fay on Arroyo. The pitcher candidly discussed coping with reduced velocity on his fastball. Arroyo: “Most days, I’m going to be 87 to 89. That’s enough for me to be successful. I wanted to push it to see if I could bounce back to 90, 91. But I really can’t, except on exceptional days. As long as I can throw 88, 89, I feel like I can command a ballgame.”

Sean Marshall, Jonathan Broxton and Jose Arredondo are also scheduled to throw an inning today.

Reminder: tomorrow I’m posting on the Reds financial situation and future payroll, and their implications for fighting the big money stacks in New York and Los Angeles. It’s based on my 2,000-word article “Modern Moneyball” in the Redleg Annual, which you can still buy for $4. The annual contains more than two-dozen in-depth articles about the Reds.

A bit of news that John Fay just reported, Billy Hamilton has a hamstring issue. Manager Dusty Baker: “He’s not ready. For a guy who depends on his legs, you don’t want it to linger.” Hamilton was listed by John Sickels today as the #14 minor league prospect in baseball.

41 thoughts on “Reds (Arroyo) vs. Giants at 4:05 p.m. ET

  1. saw this on rotoworld today : “I’d like to make a decision in the next week or so, so I can get my team together,” said Baker. “The decision is not only mine, it’s ours. But I got my opinion.” Word is that Baker would prefer Chapman in the closer role, but he might not get his way. The southpaw allowed one run on three hits over four innings this spring and will make his next start on Saturday. If the Reds determine that Chapman will stay as closer, Mike Leake would get a rotation spot while Jonathan Broxton would slide back into a set-up role.

    2 things: I thought the decision was already made?!?! and does this lean towards chapman closing again?

    • @zab1983: Fay has the same quotes over on his blog now.

      We’ve gone through all the nuances of the Chapman argument, and I think there are valid points that can be made on either side. What I don’t like about this is why can’t Dusty just work this out with the team in private?

      It just seems so melodramatic for him to keep going to the media and saying, “I have my opinion…” (wink wink). Yeah Dusty, we get it, you want him to close. How ’bout we just keep a little dignity and not turn this into a media backstabbing exercise.

      Now are all the writers going to go to Jocketty? Price? See if they can get some juicy quotes from them too to get a real controversy going? Reds.com had a video up today talking to a bunch of players about Chapman too. Maybe we can get a good split in the clubhouse going, huh?

      And what happened to Dusty always talking about how competition in spring training is a good thing. He seems to just say what he needs to say in any situation without much conviction.

      How hard would it be when asked what’s going on with Chapman to just say “we’ll have a plan figured out, don’t worry about it.”

      • @al: Great post, Al. Dead on. Absolutely no need to make this public knowledge, other than covering his own rear. Oh well, just so long as he refused to take credit for any success that comes with it. If Chapman starts and wins the WS clincher, Dusty should have to forgo his ring!

        • @Matt WI: For real.

          Why, as the manager, would you want to put yourself on the record so many times as being opposed to your front office? It doesn’t make you look good in general IMO, and like you said, what if it works?

        • @Matt WI: Actually, the more I think about what he’s said here, the more it rubs me the wrong way. Trying to goad people into a quick decision is also goading them into a decision based on less information – which might lead to the “safer” choice, maybe?

          I don’t know, I *am* probably reading too much into it (as someone will be along to point out shortly). But “get my team together” is no reason to rush a decision this important. That whole Mesoraco/Olivo thing is no doubt causing problems, too. Let’s get that sorted out immediately…

        • Actually, the more I think about what he’s said here, the more it rubs me the wrong way.Trying to goad people into a quick decision is also goading them into a decision based on less information – which might lead to the “safer” choice, maybe?

          I don’t know, I *am* probably reading too much into it (as someone will be along to point out shortly).But “get my team together” is no reason to rush a decision this important.That whole Mesoraco/Olivo thing is no doubt causing problems, too.Let’s get that sorted out immediately…

          I think you are reading too much into it. The starting pitchers need to get on a 5 day rotation and they need to get their pitch counts up… while the catcher, shortstop, and bullpen jobs can be settled on the final day of spring training cuts. They can’t decide how many relievers will make the team until they decide if Mike Leake is on the 25 man roster.

        • @RC: Hadn’t actually thought about it that way, but yeah you’re right, that’s another reason not to like this.

        • @RC: Heck, while we’re at it, let’s just invite the active 25 man roster and a few call-ups to spring and start taking this seriously from the get go.

        • @Matt WI: Actually, the more I think about what he’s said here, the more it rubs me the wrong way. Trying to goad people into a quick decision is also goading them into a decision based on less information – which might lead to the “safer” choice, maybe?I don’t know, I *am* probably reading too much into it (as someone will be along to point out shortly). But “get my team together” is no reason to rush a decision this important. That whole Mesoraco/Olivo thing is no doubt causing problems, too. Let’s get that sorted out immediately…

          This is one of the reasons why I don’t like Baker. He did the exact same thing back in 2010 midseason, went to the front office for a contract extension before the team ever won anything. Then, when he didn’t immediately get it, he went to the papers. If he doesn’t like it, don’t let the door hit you on the way out, as far as I am concerned.

          Didn’t Baker ever think that, maybe if Baker would have pitched Chapman and Leake enough, the front office may be able to make a decision? Here, with 17 games done with, and the one decision we have to make on the major league squad, being with Chapman if not between Leake and Chapman, and Leake’s been in only 2 games/6 innings and Chapman with 2 games/4 innings. Baker really expects the front office to make a decision between Leake and Chapman given those numbers?

          Geez, Baker makes much of the trouble by himself. And, he’s calling out the front office for this?

        • @steveschoen: I agree Steve. I won’t feel bad one iota for Duty having to deal with Cincy press when he tries to manipulate them just as much as anything.

      • @al: what did I say? Now Fay is saying that it’s been “reported” that Price prefers Chapman closing and went to him for answers.

        Price said: “I’ve been clear that I like the idea of Aroldis getting ready as a starter. But, at the same time, we’ve got to look at what is best for the team. I’ve never said that I prefer him to close. I’d be disappointed if I was characterized as saying that.”

        So now we get more media controversy.

        • @Matt WI: I love Hal, though I don’t always agree with him. I grew up reading his columns. What can I say? I heard him on the radio last night as I was driving home. and he’s very much in the Chapman for closer forever camp.

          Ah, well… he’s certainly put his foot in it from time to time, but I’ll always have a soft spot for the guy.

  2. Well, the “decision” was always pending performance and the absence of injuries (to others) of the type that got him stuck in the pen last year.

    Dusty has a position and has never made a secret of it. But so far, I don’t think anything has happened that would change the organization’s plans. Knock on wood.

  3. Please stop hitting Cozart in the #2 hole. I understand that BP will hit in the #2 hole when he returns from the WBC, but Cozart should not even be an option to hit #2 when BP sits during the season and Dusty insists on slotting Cozart in the #2 hole whenever possible this ST.

    The SF lineup looks completely unfamiliar, with the exception of our old pal Wilson Valdez.

    • @Shchi Cossack: I live in the Bay Area, and have to deal with Giants new all the time (blerg). But I can tell you that the reason is the Giants have a ton of guys playing in the WBC. I think 9 or 10.

      • @al: I thought that might be the case, but TY al for the confirmation. I hope this past offseason wasn’t to hard for for you as a Reds fan living in the Giants backyard. I also hope this next offseason allows you to gloat a bit in return for any angst you received.

        • @Shchi Cossack: Losing to the Giant’s was terrible. I really think that Giant’s team just got hot at the right time, I’d still take the Reds over them all day this year.

          Revenge would be sweet.

  4. Here was the quote from Baker I was talking about:

    “I’d like to decide soon and get my team together,” Baker said. “I don’t like having guys in the middle. That’s a bad situation when you’re in the middle of anything. An unknown. Then everybody else is in an unknown situation.”

    The number of times Baker has talked about how competition is a good thing in spring training is off the charts. But now competition is bad? Seems like it’s bad when it’s not what he wants.

    • @al: It’s a shame! U would think the decision would have been made months ago, and u just go with whatever choice u made ups and downs included. It won’t be easy him converting to starter but let’s say by next year if he is an ace it will be well worth the headaches IMO

    • @al: It’s a shame! U would think the decision would have been made months ago, and u just go with whatever choice u made ups and downs included. It won’t be easy him converting to starter but let’s say by next year if he is an ace it will be well worth the headaches IMO

    • Here was the quote from Baker I was talking about:“I’d like to decide soon and get my team together,” Baker said. “I don’t like having guys in the middle. That’s a bad situation when you’re in the middle of anything. An unknown. Then everybody else is in an unknown situation.”The number of times Baker has talked about how competition is a good thing in spring training is off the charts. But now competition is bad? Seems like it’s bad when it’s not what he wants.

      Agreed. Isn’t ‘getting guys out of the middle’ the precise point of Spring Training? And unless I’m missing something, an ‘unknown situation’ allows you to, oh…..MANAGE the team you have to get the best out of the players that come North (East). You only pitch guys an inning or two a game for most of the spring, you hit Olivio as your DH in the 9th spot of the order, etc. All of spring training is about being in the middle! None of this stuff happens during the regular season. Just manage the freakin’ team.

    • @Shchi Cossack: I agree, he’s one of the best pickups we’ve had in a few years.

      for fun sometime you should go look at xavier paul’s and chris heisey’s minor league numbers. it’s ridiculous how similar they are. having both of them on the bench as a L/R combo is fantastic.

  5. Choo & Votto may very well be the best 2 strike hitters in MLB & the Reds have them both in the lineup this season.

  6. RE: Rosencran’s article … I don’t blame Rosencran’s for taking his shot. Reds’ fans in general do seem more negative than fans of some other MLB teams. I mean sometimes the negativity drives me away from trying to follow my fellow fans’ opinions about the team. Heck, it drove me away from Fay’s blog for over two years now and don’t even get me started on the fans calling in to talk radio shows… The fans at the ballpark for Game 5 were remarkable however. They never seemed to lose hope. It was very refreshing and a nice reminder that there are some fans out there that really love their Reds.

    • @LWBlogger: I reread that article from the link above, and my thought was that it wasn’t really a bad article, but it wasn’t a great time for that article. What exactly was the point? That Reds fans weren’t happy enough after losing Game 4? How many times have you seen a friend be down in the dumps, criticized him for being down in the dumps when things are that bad, and seen him cheer right up? Not really a recipe for success if what you want the fans to be is more upbeat.

      And for the record, I don’t think it was just blind pessimism. I freaked out when the Reds lost Game 3, and a friend out here in SF said “what’s the big deal, it’s one game, you guys are in great shape.” To which I said, well, we have to start Leake in game 4, so we’re probably going to lose that one, and then it’s game 5 and the other team has all the momentum, which doesn’t seem great.

      And that’s exactly how it played out. I think it was a pretty reasonable pessimism, not just fans being negative.

  7. Regarding Game 5 — I actually got my tickets last minute (2 hours before the game) for a rather inexpensive price.. because I never thought I’d be able to afford the prices. And I met a lot of other people at the game around me who were in similar situation. I was sitting down by the end of the first base line. I’m not really familiar if this is something thats typical… fans that wouldn’t necessarily be able to afford the game but love the Reds showing up due to low prices? Or if its even indicative of the entire crowd that was there that day.. or just the section I was in. All I know it brought a lot of really passionate fans to my section and we tried hard to push for rally cries cheering the Reds on.

  8. I have never seen a more involved, raucous crowd at a baseball game than the crowd at GABP for game 5 during Bruce’s final AB. I was uncertain that the old Cossack would survive the epic poetry of that AB, a true thing of beauty I will vividly remember as I await the Reds next world series run.

    • @Shchi Cossack: There was a huge part of me that thought Bruce was going to win it when he had his big AB. And the crowd was electric. I wasn’t even at the game and I could sense the energy in the park right up until the last out.

  9. I guess Big Don can’t smash every pitch. The worthless piece of horse pucky isn’t even hitting over .400 now!

  10. Shin-Soo Choo, yeah, he plays for the Reds, right?

    My question regarding Mesoraco is which pitchers he would caddy for this season. … Hanigan always caught Chapman, even if it meant entering the game in the ninth inning when Chapman did. Would Dusty/Price shift Latos or Arroyo over to Meso? And if Meso actually gained the 60 percent to Hanigan’s 40 percent in the split, which two pitchers would stay with Hanigan?

    • @Brian Van Hook: after the season hannigan just had, i have to assume that he’s getting at least 3 of 5 out of the gate, and mesoraco can earn more playing time by playing well, as hannigan did.

      when hannigan only caught one pitcher it was arroyo, for years, so i have to assume that he’d be the last off hannigan’s list. latos obviously improved pretty dramatically with hannigan, though maye it was just coincidence, and then bailey through his no hitter after he switched to hannigan. i wouldn’t be surprised if both of those guys wanted to keep hannigan as well.

      so if i had to guess, i would say mesoraco might get cueto and the 5th starter. or maybe just one or the other.

  11. So…. 18 days left until Opening Day, right? Isn’t it about time they slowly started taking games more seriously? Maybe try to get a couple wins? Even in Spring Training it pains me to see where a relief pitcher was left in to pitch .1 innings with 7 hits, 6 runs, 2 HR… even in Spring Training there has to be a limit to how much you let a guy get pummeled, right?

  12. Pingback: Reds (Arroyo) vs. Giants at 4:05 p.m. ET | MLB Blog Pile

  13. Re: Dusty Baker and his quotes about Chapman….

    Man, that is a load of bull. What does he mean, “He has to get his team together?” You know, Chapman and Leake can keep pitching on the same days for all of Spring training. That’s what the whole split squad/minor league games are for. So no Dusty, you don’t need to “get your team together” soon, you can wait until the very last day of Spring Training and keep Chapman and Leake pitching on the same days.

    Dusty is playing politics, and there is no room for that in baseball. Just shut up and let the players make the decision for you. “Getting your team together” can wait.

    • @CI3J:

      Exactly. But, then, what does Bakerman do? One of the biggest questions the team has in ST, and he pitches each of them (Chapman and Leake) only 2 games so far. Now, I know they have probably been pitching outside gametime, but those don’t translate to game situations. There have been plenty of chances for Baker to play these guys more so that the front office would have more evidence to make a decision on. But, Baker hasn’t played them. Shoot, he still thinks Olivo could make this team. I think I would puke if I see Olivo make this team. Forget Devin, Corky would be a better pick than Olivo for the major league club.

      Baker had a question to answer in ST just like he’s had so many other times, just like every manager has for so many years in the history of baseball. That means you need to play those guys to see who would be able to perform. And, Baker doesn’t play them? Then, Baker runs to the papers wanting a decision from the front office?

      Sorry, guys, but I just won’t miss Baker one bit when he is finally done here. The players may need a season or two to get over missing him, maybe even some personnel moves. But, I won’t miss him one bit.

  14. He has his team together. The GM spent 7.0 mil per year for 3 years for a guy who is a closer to close.

    The GM spent 30 mil for a young developing number one starter.

    If he needs closer beyond Broxton, there are young guys in the system in Hoover and Logan.

    Closer is over rated. There was an article about when to use your strike out pitcher, and it is seldom in the 9th. Dibble used to pitch before the 9th and it made a lot of sense.

    Closer is a 2 pitch pitcher with a short memory. Cordero and Chapman were the same guy with different approaches. Shoot David Weathers could close

    just when I thought Dusty had turned a corner, he does the major pout. Just be happy you have a healthy Joey Votto because you are going to win 100 games.

    Shoot, Sparky Anderson could do that with 2 rookies closing on his club, Eastwick and McEnany. And he would be touting the rookie who was going to contribute to the team…. I miss Sparky

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