2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: The boys are back in town, and the bats should arrive any day now

Let’s recap today’s titanic struggle….

FINAL — 13 innings
Los Angeles (AL) 3
Cincinnati 1

W: M. Lowe (1-0)
L: J. Hoover (0-1)
S: E. Frieri (1)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Reds baseball is back!

–Johnny Cueto was very, very good today: 7 innings, three hits, one run, nine strikeouts. Classic Cueto, and it was fun to watch.

–It is so nice to have a legitimate leadoff hitter at the top of the lineup. Shin-Soo Choo was hit by a pitch in his first AB, doubled in his second, and singled later in the game. If Choo can get on base three times and score a run in every game, I’ll be okay with that.

–The Reds got good relief work from Jonathan Broxton, Aroldis Chapman, and Sam LeCure.

NEGATIVES
–Reds not named Shin-Soo Choo were 1-for-37 today.

–Ryan Ludwick left the game in the third inning with a dislocated right shoulder. He’s scheduled to undergo an MRI tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed.

The injury happened when Ludwick made a fine baserunning play by going first to third on a wild pitch. He slid head-first into third, and when he came up, he was in real pain. On the television broadcast, you could clearly see Ludwick tell the trainer that the shoulder popped out.

–Jay Bruce struck out four times. Not a good start, eh?

–Brandon Phillips was 0-5 and committed an uncharacteristic error.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–Tough loss, but I did enjoy watching the ol’ Redlegs play some hardball today.

–I’ve been saying for weeks that the only thing that could keep these Reds from being a very good club would be injuries. Right on cue, the starting left fielder gets injured in the first game.

–JJ Hoover’s outing wasn’t good, though I’d say there were some extenuating circumstances. In his first inning of work, however, he gave us a fun moment. After surrendering a one-out triple to Bourjos in the top of the twelfth, Hoover struck out the almighty Mike Trout before inducing a weak ground out to end the inning. Exciting…but then he gave up the winning runs in the following inning.

–We gotta say it. On that Bourjos triple mentioned above, there’s an excellent chance that Drew Stubbs would have made a play on that ball. I think Choo will be fine in center field, but that’s one ball already that might have been an out (or at least held to a double) last year. Fortunately, Choo’s bat is going to more than make up for the fact that his defense won’t be elite.

–Hoover threw 47 pitches tonight. Guess how many times he’s thrown that many in the majors? How many times has he thrown 40+ pitches? The answer to both questions, you may have guessed, is zero. Seems like a strange time to ask him to throw so many pitches, on Opening Day.

–First questionable Dusty bunt of the season today. Eighth inning, score tied at one. Xavier Paul reaches on an error, and Choo singles. First and second, no outs. Brandon Phillips bunts…which permits the Angels to intentionally walk the best hitter on the planet, Joey Votto.

So, once again, a managerial decision takes the bat out of the hands of the Reds’ best chance to get a hit. Of course, Chris Heisey and Bruce proceed to strike out, ending the inning.

I dunno, Dusty knows more about baseball than I do, but I’d rather not give the other team a free out. I’ll take my chances with three straight hitters, one of whom is the team’s best player.

–Four hours and forty-five minutes of baseball, in front of the largest regular season crowd in GAB history: 43,168. A good time was had by all, or at least by the 15,000+ that stayed for the entire game.

–Home plate umpire Dale Scott should be embarrassed by his performance today. Disgraceful.

–There was some belly-aching about Aroldis Chapman only throwing one inning, since he had recently been stretched out to be a starter and, presumably, should be able to go longer. I think it was a defensible decision by Dusty. Of course, as the season goes on, I think it would be a great idea to let Chapman pitch two innings or more as often as possible.

–I’ve been more apathetic about baseball than I’ve ever been, since the day last October that the Reds finished their epic NLDS collapse. Finally, that changed today. I’m so glad that baseball is back.

–Get ‘em tomorrow, Redlegs. Well, get ‘em Wednesday. No baseball tomorrow. Stupid scheduling, every single year.

Source: FanGraphs

137 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: The boys are back in town, and the bats should arrive any day now

  1. Overall a great day by the Reds pitching staff, holding the Angels to 3 runs in 13 innings. It’s unfortunate that the hitters couldn’t produce enough runs.

    The question I have is what now – what happens with Ryan Ludwick out? Suddenly the great and non-controversial lineup is gone, and Dusty has to make a controversial decision about the cleanup spot. Bruce, Phillips, and Frazier are all candidates, but none are perfect fits. I hoped we were past this, but we’re back to it again.

    What happens now in LF?
    -sign Scott Rolen, move Frazier to LF?
    -does Shin-Shoo Choo move to LF?
    -platoon Chris Heisey and Xavier Paul in CF, and promote Derrick Robinson?
    -rush Donald Lutz or Billy Hamilton?
    -trade for a new starting LF?

    • @redsfanman: I think you see Robinson promoted.

      Reasons why:
      1. Robinson is a natural CF. Choo proved tonight he lacks the natural instincts/playing time (for CF). This also gives Hamilton all the time in AAA at CF.
      2. Robinson is a natural #1 hitter (speed). Choo will look good in left and the #2 spot.
      3. Votto will hit 3
      4. Phillips falls into the 4 hole (I hate this) I would put Frazier here.

      The biggest hole we have is a right handed “power” hitter.

      • @seadog: How exactly is Derrick Robinson a natural leadoff hitter? He has a lifetime OBP of .321. Choo’s is .381. Choo isn’t being bumped from that spot by a light hitting 25 year old rookie.

        I agree Heisey/Robinson should/would become the CF.

        • @CP: led the Carolina League in stolen bases with 69 in 2009 … tied for the ninth most hits in the Carolina League with 125 … set a career high with 146 hits in 2010 and led the Texas League in stolen bases … rated best athlete in the organization entering 2011.

          Yes this was in the KC organization, But.—

          1. He is a rookie (25 years old).
          2. He has never been given a chance at the pro level.
          3. He is our “Todd Frazier” of 2013 mark my words…

        • @CP: Come on dude.. Did you watch the game today.?? Do you really think Choo is a CF.

          Choo is an awesome baseball player. He is a natural LF hitter. He is not a CF. Never has been/never will be.

          Robinson is a natural CF–Plays the position with zest and he is a natural #1 hitter.

          Choo showed us tonight he is a 2/3/–5/6/7 hitter. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY– that he CAN’T man CF.

        • @seadog: While I agree with Choo not being a natural CF, I don’t understand your LEADOFF MUST BE A CENTERFIELDER logic.

        • 3. He is our “Todd Frazier” of 2013 mark my words…

          I think Derrick Robinson is our “Xavier Paul” of 2013. You know, the guy who comes out of nowhere to become an asset to the bench in very specific roles.

        • @CP: Agreed. Choo is going to stay leadoff. Baker would never go with two left handed hitters in a row. But, even more, Robinson isn’t on the 40 man. If Ludwick isn’t move to the the DL like Masset was last season, we would have to make another personnel move. I like Robinson, but too much to do.

      • @seadog: I’m a big supporter of Derrick Robinson and I think he deserves to be promoted. That said, they acquired Choo to hit leadoff and I think he’ll stay there. If Robinson got promoted I think he’d find himself hitting 7th in the order… as would Chris Heisey or Xavier Paul.

        Maybe last year Robinson would have been leading off, but that changed with Choo’s arrival.

        Actually, interesting note, Derrick Robinson won a Gold Glove last year in AAA for playing LF. He’s supposedly a good CF but I don’t think he’s a threat to take playing time away from Billy Hamilton in CF – after winning a Gold Glove he’s probably content to play LF.

        I’ve said this a few times here already, but I’ll say it again – I think it’s really unlikely that Phillips will get asked to hit cleanup again. I think the Reds are happy with the top 3 in the order (Choo, Phillips, Votto) while, at this point, Frazier seems just as capable of filling the cleanup role as Phillips. I think it’s Frazier’s job to lose at the moment, but we’ll see on Wednesday.

        • @redsfanman: Choo—is awesome. I am glad the reds have him..

          He is a left/right fielder. He is a #2/3 hitter. He is not a leadoff/Cf.

          Derrick Robinson will be given the chance to be the CF. Choo showed today he is not a CF.

          Ludwick going down changes everything. The reds will go small ball.. they have to. They have no other choice.

        • @seadog: Choo is awesome, I agree with you on that. He’s better off in left/right field, I also agree on that.

          Choo finished second in MLB (after Mike Trout) in OBP by leadoff hitters in 2012. Like Alex Gordon (third with a .379 OBP in that role) he isn’t a prototypical leadoff hitter but he is still one of the best there is. That’s why the Reds acquired him.

          Derrick Robinson is like a switch hitting version of Drew Stubbs without the homerun power. He has the speed to steal bases but lacks the ability to reach base enough. I think the Reds’ days of needing to accept a speedy guy as the best candidate to hit leadoff are behind them.

        • @seadog: I remember someone else who wasn’t a prototypical leadoff hitter. He only ended up with over 4000 hits. Speed was never a requirement for leadoff hitter. Sure, we would like every position to have world class speed. But, it just isn’t going to happen. Choo isn’t slow by a long shot. He will be fine in CF.

          That said, I would think Heisey would be better in CF and Choo in LF.

          All kinds of combinations I can see Baker and Walt going with. I just hope Baker doesn’t do any kind of 3 headed monster again. Go with someone and stick with him.

      • @seadog: Why does Choo lack the instincts? Because of the triple? Sure, Stubbs could have gotten it, but that’s because he plays so far back, because he goes back horribly to the wall. He has to give himself some leeway because he lacks the natural instincts of going backwards for a flyball.

        Will Choo’s D give up some runs this year that Stubbs wouldn’t have? Very possible. But, also, it was because of Choo that we scored one run this game anyhow. Choo scored just over 80+ runs when healthy on an Indians team. With this offense, I would bank Choo scoring more runs than he would cost us.

  2. Two things I’m curious about with Ludwick’s injury, which I have to think would have him sit out for a bit.

    1. If they go with Heisey to get the lion share of playing time, do the Reds go with him in CF, since he is more of a natural at that position while Ludwick is out?

    2. If Ludwick is out for a bit, do they perhaps bring up Henry Rodriquez or someone else to maybe play 3rd and move Todd Frazier into LF. It seems to me that the Reds have more ready players in the infield than outfield at Louisville.

  3. Tough loss. Plenty of chances to drive in runs throughout the game. The pitchers threw well until the 13th inning. Two extremely questionable managerial decisions:

    1. Bunting in the eighth inning with no outs and runners at first and second, taking the bat out of Brandon Phillips and JoeyMVPs hands was an absolutely horrible decision. The #4 hitter was no longer Ryan Ludwick, but Chris Heisey – who looked terrible at the plate all day. Then – predictably – a tough lefty was brought in to face Jay Bruce. If either Phillips or Votto had gotten a hit, they likely would have driven in the winning run.

    I guess the old adage “be careful what you wish for” may be coming true. With Shin-Soo Choo, we now have a lead-off hitter who may get on base 40% of the time ahead of Joey Votto. But of course the manager will rush immediately to bunt Choo over – effectively neutering Votto. We’re going to have to get used to this, though. You can see it coming a mile away. Choo gets on, Phillips sacrifices, Votto walked. Rinse, repeat.

    2. Leaving J.J. Hoover in to pitch a second inning was questionable. THEN leaving him in to face Ianetta with bases loaded was even more dubious. None of the relief pitchers (other than, ahem, Aroldis Chapman) were stretched out to pitch multiple innings. Brantley said it was highly unusual to use a relief pitcher for two inning on opening day. We still had Simon and Marshall in the pen. Dusty always gets “OMG what if the game goes twenty innings” and mis-manages.

    Otherwise I thought Baker/Price had handled the pitching pretty well all day. Cueto pitched the right amount. Broxton in the 8th inning was the right call. Marshall was up throwing in the 8th in case Hamilton came to the plate. Chapman in the ninth was OK. I’d have probably had Chapman pitch the 10th, but that’s a close call. I’d have probably not had LeCure pitch a second inning either. Could have always brought Leake in for an inning or two in an emergency.

    • @Steve Mancuso: Agree or disagree’ rightly or wrongly, I think one of those old axioms known by those of us of a certain age is that you don’t bring a new pitcher into a bases loaded situation late in a game unless it is something like you’ve got the other team backed into a lefty on lefty match that strongly favors the pitcher being brought on.

      In this case, do I trust Marshal to come and throw his breaking ball for strikes on a cold raw day ? I don’t think so. Also, Simon has been known to have issues finding the strike one.

      Now sending Hoover out to start the inning? That’s another issue. I’m with you there.

      • @OhioJim: They left him in for the batter after Ianetta, too. It worked out–unless Hoover’s arm falls off–but it was indefensible and it suggests Dusty wanted him left in. Maybe because for the next two years he’ll be able to resist “Hoover can close so let Chapman start” arguments by pointing to today’s poor late-inning pressure result.

  4. Replacing Ludwick. If Ludwick is out for a month or more:

    1. I’d move Bruce up to #4 and then slide everyone else up and have the Heisey/Paul platoon bat #6. Baker will not do this, despite the *fact* that Votto hits LHP just fine.

    alternatively

    2. I’d try Frasier batting fourth. Baker will not do this, either. He’ll move Phillips to #4 and Cozart to #2 – both terrible moves.

    • 2. I’d try Frasier batting fourth. Baker will not do this, either. He’ll move Phillips to #4 and Cozart to #2 – both terrible moves.

      Why do you say he won’t allow Frazier to bat 4th? I think he will. Because you think moving Phillips to 4th and Cozart to #2 is worse (which I agree about) you assume Dusty must prefer that option?

      • @redsfanman: Frazier going from AAA this time last year to batting 4th now. Probably the best move. Just shows how thin the Reds are with power hitters. Pitching will carry this team. How far they go depends on hitting.

        • @seadog: Regardless of where Frazier was this time last year he’s the Reds’ starting thirdbaseman now. He’s no longer a rookie or a utility player, which might have been concerns of Dusty’s last year.

  5. It will be interesting to see the move to replace Ludwick. Dusty takes to much heat for bunting/not bunting. Brandon bunting was a coin flip… His handling of pitchers though is atrocious. JJ Hoover on day 1 throwing 40+ pitches is a disgrace. Throwing your closer (Chapman) one inning when you are tied… UGH. Did the Angels save there closer?? Broxton (closer b) 1 inning. Hoover should have been in first. Pitch him an inning, then go to Broxton/Marshall/Simon. Chapman has to be your closer…period or put him in the starting five. My son’s 13u coach could have made better pitching calls. Absolutely horrible handling of pitchers. Absolutely horrible handling of pitchers

    • @seadog: I’m not sure if you’re joking, but you realize that the Angels did leave their closer for the save situation, right? The closer doesn’t get preserved for save situations in extra inning games by the home team – any runs scored would then result in a walk-off win, not a save.

      With the tie game I wanted to see Broxton or Marshall in the 8th and Chapman in the 9th, and I’m glad that’s what I saw. LeCure did a great job. I wanted to see Marshall or Hoover after LeCure. In the end the bullpen gave up 2 runs in 6 innings – if that’s horrible handling, yikes.

      • @redsfanman: The bullpen was awesome. As it will be, just handled wrong. As always with Dusty. Dusty just does not handle pitchers properly. Never has and he never will. He never will.

        Dusty is a good (if not great) handler of players, But he has no business handling pitchers…

        The way he handled Hoover tonight and Chapman and Broxman were just wrong.

        YOU DON’T PUTT YOUR CLOSER IN A TIED GAME IN THE NINTH (AT HOME).. Just sad to see

        • The way he handled Hoover tonight and Chapman and Broxman were just wrong.

          YOU DON’T PUTT YOUR CLOSER IN A TIED GAME IN THE NINTH (AT HOME)..Just sad to see

          Wait, so explain to me again why Chapman shouldn’t have pitched? He should have been preserved to pitch after the Reds got a walk-off win? Or Dusty should have kept him available to pitch on Tuesday’s off day? And how Broxton was mis-handled?

        • YOU DON’T PUTT YOUR CLOSER IN A TIED GAME IN THE NINTH (AT HOME).. Just sad to see

          @seadog:
          Why don’t you? I’m the farthest thing from a Dusty apologist, but I agree with this move. At home in a tie game, you start with your best relief pitcher and work your way down. Once you get to the ninth inning, you can’t get a save. The only questionable handling of the pitchers was letting Hoover pitch 50 pitches on opening day and possibly not letting Chapman come back out in the tenth, but I don’t really have a problem with that.

        • @seadog: That is actually very, very conventional baseball practice. The offense wasn’t there this game, the pitching decisions went pretty well. You can’t hold a team like the Angles off forever.

  6. I agree he will hit phillips #4 and cozart #2. Why is Dusty so hesitant to hit Bruce in the cleanup spot?

    • @clemsonreds: Can’t have two lefties hitting in the order together because it makes it too easy for the opposing manager to bring in a left-handed relief pitcher and deal with both of them. Three problems with that:

      1. It only applies to relief pitchers – which means probably one out of four AB per game at most. The game may be decided by then.

      2. Joey Votto hits LHP as well as RHP.

      3. The Reds don’t have a credible right-handed #4 hitter to scare opposing managers from doing it anyhow.

    • @clemsonreds: Because Jay Bruce does things like strike out 4 times in 5 ABs, like yesterday. When he’s hot, he’s great. When we get Awful Jay, like yesterday, he is hopelessly over-matched, and hitting him 4th would just encourage teams to pitch around Votto.

  7. Ah heck, I’ll defend Dusty a little bit. Intentional walk to Votto or not, moving the runner to third does increase your odds of scoring one run, and given that said run would have been the go ahead run in the bottom of the eighth, it’s a defensible move at the very least. Maybe not such a good idea with Heisey having replaced Ludwick, but as they say, baseball is a game of percentages, so I don’t think it’s fair to kill Baker over a move that increased their likelihood of winning the game. Even if it was probably by accident.

    • @Brien Jackson: I’m not sure that is accurate. The statistics you’re impliedly citing are based on the average of all situations. BP + JV hitting are way above average, and Heisey is below average to average, so bunting does not necessarily increase their run expectancy (it could, but I don’t think the stats compellingly show this is true). Anecdotally, if the expectations of scoring 1 run are so close bunting v. not bunting, then it would seem to me that letting Joey Votto hit is the best choice.

      • @CP: I agree. Brien, with all due respect, is almost surely mistaken here. With the way Votto walks and Phillips hits just in general, it just has to be the right percentage move to let Phillips hit.

        This move has happened ad nauseum, and it will happen forever. Baker’s consistent, if nothing else. He always bunts to have the bat taken out of Votto’s hands.

      • @CP:

        Fair enough, but if you’re going to go that route, there’s a whole host of variables you have to take into account:

        1. Phillips is a bit of a ground ball hitter in his career (GB% just shy of 48%), so there’s a better than 50% chance he either strikes out or gives the Angels a chance at a DP if you let him hit, based on his career averages.

        2. There’s no guarantee that the Angels even convert an out on the bunt. Someone could bobble the handle, make a bad throw, foolishly try to get one of the lead runners, etc.

        3. Walking Votto gives you an extra base runner for the guys behind him.

        4. In isolation, the difference between Votto’s career .316 batting average and Heisey’s .258 average isn’t really that big (58 additional hits per 1,000 at bats), and it gets even smaller when you consider that Heisey would have been abl to score the run while making an out.

        Anyway, the point is that you can argue it if you want, but to say the decision to bunt is absolutely indefensible is taking it way too far. And I say that as someone who is decidedly not a fan of bunting.

  8. What I’m getting out of this is that there should be a new rule – Brandon Phillips is never allowed to bunt. Ever. So much for playing small ball.

    I had no problem with leaving Hoover in for a second inning. I thought he could get out of it. In hindsight he was in for too long but if everyone was limited to one inning and Dusty was forced to turn to Mike Leake for long relief… yikes. And the last thing I wanted to see was Manny Parra blow game 1.

      • @CP: I’m in for no bunting for ANYBODY but a pitcher. I’d like to see the Reds finish dead last in bunt attempts this season.

        • @Matt WI: I’d have bunted with 1st and 2nd, 0 outs, with 1 run very likely to win, in certain circumstances. Actually many circumstances. Just NOT the one where Joey Votto gets walked. It makes such little sense to me to take the bat out of the hands of the best hitter in baseball.

    • @redsfanman: with an off day tomorrow, I think we could have used more guys in our bullpen tonight. Hoover is a fantastic pitcher, but he went too long tonight. I’m not saying bullpen management lost the game for us tonight (bats were clearly left in Arizona), but Chapman should have been stretched out a bit and we had studs in the bullpen who were not utilized and should have been.

  9. “And the last thing I wanted to see was Manny Parra blow game 1.” Hoover would have had his arm fall off before that would have happened. I didn’t like Hoover staying in the extra inning, but he does have good stuff, so I can’t question that move too much. I think the willingness (nay, eagerness) of having Brandon bunt calls into question the choice of him as your next in line clean-up hitter. I think that speaks volumes to leaving him number two or dropping him considerably if you are forced to remake the lineup. If you are bunting him in that situation, even in the eighth with the score tied, he shouldn’t sniff 3-5 in the order.

  10. Even if you are OK with letting Hoover start a second inning, there’s no way you let him throw 47 pitches and face Ianetta for a second time, right after loading the bases with a HBP. If the Reds don’t have Simon ready to come in then, shame on them.

    • @Steve Mancuso: I think the Reds chose to show confidence in young JJ Hoover, who made the bullpen by out-pitching everybody else this spring. I guess I wouldn’t be in such a hurry to pull him. Maybe they won’t trust him so much anymore.

      • @redsfanman: . I agree that they should no longer “trust” JJ Hoover throw 50 pitches in 40 degree weather, with numerous options in the pen.

        The manager’s job is to put players in positions where they can succeed. Not to force guys to the point of eventual failure.

        • @Chris Garber: Just be happy that Baker didn’t have him throw 95 pitches, like the guy whose name is escaping me (in that Philly 37 inning or whatever it was when Valdez was the winning pitcher).

        • @Chris Garber: Just be happy that Baker didn’t have him throw 95 pitches, like the guy whose name is escaping me (in that Philly 37 inning or whatever it was when Valdez was the winning pitcher).

          Carlos Fisher is the one you are referring to.

      • @redsfanman: The biggest issue I see with letting Hoover come out for the second inning is that after he has pumped himself up to get out of the man on 3rd with one out situation in the 12th, he has to have diminished capacity left. That’s just law of nature type stuff, i.e. he used his shot of adrenalin and also peakedf his mental focus.

  11. Frazier hitting 2nd & BP hitting 4th, or

    BP hitting 2nd and Frazier hitting 4th are pretty much interchangeable.

    I think Dusty will put Cozart or Heisey #2, because he doesn’t care about getting on base.

    • @CP: If Dusty is going to move Cozart or Heisey up in the order, someone please convince him to lead one of them off and drop Choo to #2. That way at least if Choo gets on, Votto will be guaranteed to bat with him on base.

  12. Give Ianetta some credit on that AB in the 13th. At 1-2 he laid off a pitch he likely couldn’t have gotten the bat on; and fortunately for the Angels, sold his take well enough to get the call on a pitch which could have been called either way. He also spoiled a couple of pretty good pitches.

  13. Has Frazier even played LF in spring training??? If so, I like him out there in certain matchups with Hannahan at 3B.

    Honestly, I’m not comfortable with Heisey anymore. Like I said before, the league has largely figured him out. I’d rather try and catch lightning in a bottle with Hamilton for 3-5 weeks. Go with the guy they don’t know anything about over the guy they have a book on. If that’s a nonstarter in their eyes, I’d settle for a platoon of Heisey/Paul.

    Gheesh, one game and the whole situation is messed up. Can’t wait for the justifications from Dusty about the new batting order. Hoping against hope it’s more logical than ‘Brandon hits a lot of balls on the ground. We wanted to stay out of the double play there’. *facepalm*

  14. It is Bill Hall luck that the Reds would face that Angels lineup and Chris Ianetta would be the guy that would drive in 3 runs today.

  15. I have a hard time getting worked up about Baker’s handling of the bullpen today. We saw some very good pitching – even from Hoover pitching around a triple, and certainly I liked what I saw from Broxton, LeCure, and Chapman. It was a 13 inning game. In those games somebody eventually loses, and today it was not the pitching that made the difference it was the offense. Anemic.

    Bruce looked totally overmatched, and several other hitters weren’t much better. Not only were there no hits, but there were hardly any hard hit outs. In that scenario, Baker has to figure out a way to manufacture one run when the obvious chance presents itself. I agree that taking the bats out of Phillips’ and Votto’s hands and giving the Angels an out for the privilege is a horrible decision. In my opinion, that decision right there exemplifies the reasons that I’ll be glad to see Dusty Baker go when the time comes. The Reds may even win a World Series for Dusty but I expect it will be in spite of him rather than because of him. Team chemistry and camaraderie are a big deal over 162 games, but strategy can be crucial in a short series. Terrible decision today.

    Now having said that, why not bunt in the run? Disastrous outcomes for Heisey’s at bats are: strike out, line out, pop out, double play. He may be the best bunter on the team (after Cueto?) I would have loved to see a safety squeeze there. Anyone else agree? Disagree?

    Oh well. The Reds will lose 53 more games this year. Maybe even a few more than that. I’m actually glad tomorrow’s an off day so the bullpen and my blood pressure can recover!

  16. You know, I haven’t been paying proper attention I guess…who in the world is Derrick Robinson? I thought he played WR for the Tennessee Volunteers.

    Seriously, is this really the backup plan, a guy who can’t hit or get on base being stuck into a pennant contending team? I’ll take Heisey in CF over him, and I’m no Heisey supporter.

    Why did Ludwick have to go injure himself opening day? I’m going to go bang my head against a wall somewhere.

  17. So to put things in perspective, Dusty Baker’s pitching staff gave up 3 runs in 13 innings to the Angels (with a lineup including Trout, Pujols, Josh Hamilton, and Trumbo) and we’re reallllly disappointed in how the pitching staff was handled. That’s what, a 2.08 ERA against one of the most fearsome lineups in MLB?

    The Reds’ cleanup hitter got knocked out of the game and we’re disappointed by the offensive production. It seems to me like things should look better again when Chris Heisey is out of the cleanup spot.

  18. It’s only one game in a long season. Wash, rinse, repeat! Been a Chris Heisey fan from Day 1. It’s time for him to seize the moment. Did not get out of the gate well yesterday. Looked awful. I know, 161 games to go. Just sayin’.

  19. I just looked up Conger’s stats. It seems he can’t hit lefties. Hoover was gassed, so he clearly was done after the 13th even if he got out of the inning. We had the heart of the order coming up in the bottom of the 13th. Why not bring in Marshall to finish them off? If we don’t win in the bottom of the inning, he pitches the 14th. After that, Leake and Simon could have taken us through the next 8 innings if necessary. It’s just one loss, but we saw a lot of the things that make Dusty a frustrating game-manager. (Or, maybe Marshall was unavailable due to illness or something…..)

    • @Eric the Red: Marshall was up and warming in the 8th in case Josh Hamilton batted, but Broxton did not allow that to happen. I have no problem with Hoover starting the 13th, but at some point before Ianetta, Marshall or Simon should have been brought in. I think the reason they weren’t was b/c the pither’s spot in the order was due up in the home half of the inning and he was out of players to double switch and didn’t want to use a pitcher for one or two batters in extra innings. He would have let Hoover pitch that inning until his arm fell off.

    • @Eric the Red: That’s a good point. With Conger’s splits, you have to bring a lefty in there to face him.

      Good grief, we have THREE left-handed pitchers in the bullpen and only had used one. We’re carrying Manny Parra EXCLUSIVELY to get out hitters who are weak against LHP. Either Parra or Marshall would have been preferable to a flagging Hoover at that point.

  20. …..and the losing streak reaches 4.

    Seriously, yesterday’s game did nothing to cure my hangover from last year. Bad day for an off day.

  21. My three thoughts on yesterday’s game, etc:

    1) Choo in CF. Based on one play everyone is NOW saying he can’t play CF. Come on folks, come off the ledge. I can remember a number of plays where a ball was hit over Stubbs head off the CF fence also on balls we thought he should have caught. Whether the Ludwick injury moves him to LF or not, I don’t think has any bearing on whether he can play CF.

    2) If you haven’t listened to the interview with Chris Welsh, he felt that if there had to be a move made at #4, that Dusty would move Bruce there. We’ll see what happens. I tend to believe it’ll be Phillips, but only b/c I believe Dusty usually does the wrong thing.

    3) Did anyone else think that Hoover looked like a completely different pitcher in the 2nd inning (and I won’t attempt to judge why (stamina, emotion, etc). He just seemed like he really pitched in inning 1 and just THREW in inning 2.

    • @Bill Lack: Hoover looked fine even in the second inning to me. With Ianetta, he made 2 good pitches w/ 2 strikes, but only got foul balls. Reminds me of the grand slam Pujols hit off Stormy Weathers in July of 2011 I believe. Stormy actually popped him up in foul territory on the pitch before the homer, but it landed on top of the dugout. A game of inches.

      Sometimes you make the right pitch but don’t get rewarded with a good result.

      • @Sultan of Swaff: Watching Hoover labor in his second inning, I thought he looked anything but fine. His command waned and, most telling, his fastball velocity had dropped to a consistent 91. I thought it was clear he was running on fumes . . .

    • @Bill Lack: Hoover did look different. The prudent move would, of course, have been to take him out after one inning. After all, it was the first game in the cold for these guys and Hoover was obviously amped up after finishing up his first inning of work. Marshall would have been just fine for an inning following Hoover.

  22. Back in November, Michael Engel had this writeup about Derrick Robinson’s outright release by KC

    Derrick Robinson was one of the fastest players in the Royals organization and despite some promising developments at the end of 2009 and in 2010, he never had the bat to compel the Royals to give him a longer look. He doesn’t have much power and has been inconsistent in regards to getting on base. Speed is his only weapon. Many suggest that his defense is still raw and that he doesn’t seem to be on the road to improving it and the Royals.

    Robinson had a great ST, but it was just ST. No credible major league team throws an untested and unproven minor league prospect with a marginal (at best) minor league history into the major league starting lineup based on one AT performance. That’s sheer lunacy. Robinson has some speed, period. He can’t hit, he can’t get on base and he has no power. He is not a plus defensive CF. KC didn’t even want him enough to offer him a minor league contract. He was signed as minor league OF depth for the Reds’ organization, period. He is no more valid as an emergency major league replacement than Ryan LaMarre right now, who happens to also be fast, has plus CF defense and does get on base. Unfortunately, LaMarre, like Hamilton, is also not major league ready.

  23. I’m all for putting Bruce in the four hole, but only against rightys. Wednesday we facwe a lefty in CJ Wilson, so what he does Wednesday, may not be the norm going forward while Ludwick is out.

    • @RiverCity Redleg: Everything I’m reading is that (depending on the damage done to the should structure at the time of the injury) the minimum healing time for a dislocated shoulder is 4 weeks.

      This means they are going to need someone for an extended period. Whatever the Reds say regarding Ludwicks time, add 50% (as they say, “we won’t be fooled again.”) There are lots of options but knowing Dusty as we do, Phillips will move back to the 4 hole and Cozart to the 2. (sigh) Heisey (whichever field he plays) will be the replacement starter and bat 7th. I don’t think they’ll bring up Lutz to sit. At least I hope not.

      I think they’ll bring Jason Donald back up and let Frazier be the 5th outfielder.

  24. Is this where we come to bash Dusty Baker’s decisions and blame him for the loss? He made some debatable moves for sure, but I don’t recall seeing him strike out with RISP.

    Pick apart Dusty all you want, but lack of execution at the plate lost that game, not him.*

    *This comment is a repeat from October, 2012.

    • @RedZeppelin: Your point is valid, but the bigger point is that everybody has to do their job to give the team the best chance of winning, including the manager. If you thought Dusty did his best to give the team a chance to win, then I don’t know what to tell you.

  25. And, I wasn’t thrilled with the bunt in the 11th… Joey on by error, bunt Heisey, and then Bruce gets intentionally walked. Dusty constantly gets outmanaged on that point… takes the bat out of the hands of the very guy he wants to hit. I understand they were playing for one run at that point, and Heisey isn’t our “cleanup” hitter… but the free outs just aren’t working.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but I wonder if the Reds are lower in the league in terms of producing runs after bunt attempts, and screwing up bunt attempts in the first place over the last two years.

    But, as someone said upthread, Baker is consistent in his bunt ideaology if nothing else. I want BP, Joey, and the 4 hole getting a chance to swing.

    Regardless, a hit here or there and the bullpen discussion is moot. Oh well, live to fight another day. Latos on Wednesday sounds good.

  26. Aside from that being a mostly boring game to watch, I can’t find all that much to complain about. Yes, the offense was atrocious, but it was Opening Day and really for the first few weeks of the season you just can’t be sure what you’re going to get from guys. I agree with all of the positives listed, especially about ancho. If he keeps that up, the rest of the numbers will come around and we’ll score a lot of runs.

    I just don’t know what it is about Cueto and run support. Don’t have the numbers in front of me but I know he had by far the worst average run support last year and it cost him something in the range of 4-6 wins. That’s a Cy Young award. A lot of that was because he got the Dusty Sunday Special lineup a lot, but with all of your starters in and 7 innings of Angels relief pitching ONE RBI shouldn’t be too much to ask.

    We can all sit around and argue about the lineup, but its going to be Heisey at 2 and Phillips at 4. I’m not crazy about that either, but unless Frazier shows he’s a legit power hitter (don’t see that happening, but fingers crossed) or Dusty miraculously gets over his lefty-lefty phobia (never gonna happen) there really isn’t another option. If I hear one more person suggest Hanigan in the 2 spot…Let it go, people. And no one else on the roster has ever bat cleanup. It is what it is. It sucks. Honestly, regardless of what the MRI says, I’m not expecting anything from Ludwick this year now. He’ll likely be out at least a couple weeks, then even if he comes back relatively healthy he’ll need a couple more weeks to get back into form and he’s a slow starter to begin with, and then who knows what kind of effect it’ll have on his power over the couple months after that. Suddenly it’s August and MAYBE we’ve got a 34 year old cleanup hitter with 10 HR’s? I think we’ll be on the trade market for a power hitter before the deadline, and maybe ats for the best because Ludwick was always a bit of a gamble this year.

  27. I’m just wondering, how is everyone sure what Baker’s going to do with the injury to Ludwick. Funniest is that several people are “sure” that different things are going to happen.

    I happen to think (in other words, guess), that eric nyc is right, but we really don’t know, right?

  28. I don’t mind the bunts. Your bats are stone cold, all you need is one run. If you can’t trust Heisey to at least put a ball in play in that spot then he shouldn’t be on your roster and he certainly shouldn’t be your 4th (and now starting) outfielder. It’s not like it was Wilson Valdez or a pitcher coming up to bat. Heisey pops one to RF and we’re all singing the praises of small ball today. Given what Dusty was seeing from his offense, he was smart to go for the easier run. The problem is this team, for whatever reason, always seems to crumble when put in easy spots like that. It has made Dustys bunting decisions look so bad overall because we’re so bad at executing.

    • @eric nyc: Actually, no, I would be criticizing the move that results in Joey Votto being walked. Count on it. Every time they bunt and he’s walked, I will say it’s a bad move, no matter the outcome.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Ask me in May and ill probably agree with you. But yesterday even Joey looked like he wasn’t ready to bat. His one strikeout was one of the worst ABs I’ve ever seen from him. It was the same for the Angels superstar hitters. Call it a combination of weird start time, cold weather, Opening Day jitters, dominant pitching all around…It just wasn’t a good day for offense and I didn’t hate that particular bunt call.

    • If you can’t trust Heisey to at least put a ball in play in that spot then he shouldn’t be on your roster and he certainly shouldn’t be your 4th (and now starting) outfielder.

      It has made Dustys bunting decisions look so bad overall because we’re so bad at executing.

      This.

    • @eric nyc: First, bunting (as a general rule) is stupid. There are some exceptions to that rule: Bunt a pitcher to sacrifice guys over… okay. Bunt a guy who is fast enough to beat out the throw… fine. Drop one unexpectedly because of a shift… awesome. Safety squeeze… sounds fun. Otherwise, just hit the ball.

  29. Someone please explain why Chapman didn’t come back in the 10th… Please… PLEASE!!!!! He looked great last night. He’s been training as a starter all spring, right?! Shouldn’t he get more work in the season opener than half an inning and a dozen pitches??? What’s the reasoning here?

  30. Whether the call-up is Lutz, Robinson, or someone else, I don’t see that guy playing every day. What surprises me the most about everyone’s posts is that no one is advocating seeing what XP can do with some regular playing time. We’ll probably see about a 70/30 split of playing time between Heisey & Paul. Chris may have hit his ceiling by now – I hope I’m wrong – but based on last year, I’d like to see what Paul can do. So I’d like to see a 60/40 or 70/30 split with XP getting the majority of the time unless & until he proves he’s not worthy of the time.

    Even if it is Heisey, I don’t see Dusty being bold enough to move Choo to LF, even though he’s inferior to Heisey (and maybe even Paul) in CF. He played CF all through spring training and we all know Dusty well enough to know he won’t move a guy to another position (unless his name is Valdez).

    Thinking way out of the box, they could call up Henry Rodriguez to play 3B (or split time with Hannahan there) & move Todd to LF, but defensively, Rodriguez was terrible in spring training; until he improves with the glove I don’t think he gets the call.

    As far as cleanup goes – who knows. We all suspect, based on his 5+ years as manager, what Baker will do. If & when Walt calls me & asks for my opinion, I’ll tell him to be bold, disregard conventional baseball wisdom and “the book”, and either go Choo/LF/Phillips/JoeyMVP/Bruce/Frazier/Hanigan/Cozart (yes, I know, “your best hitter always bats 3rd” and “the catcher must bat 8th” are being thrown out the window in my lineup), or just alternate between Bruce & SuperTodd at cleanup & fifth depending on the matchup. Never ever bat Zack higher than 7th.

    • @concepcion13: I wouldn’t move Choo if it’s a short term injury, say 2-3 weeks. The guy’s got to get experience playing center.

      Obviously, if it’s 8-12 weeks, say, that’s different.

  31. Can someone tell me about Lutz? Looking at his minor league stats, I’m not really that impressed with a 23 year old at AA putting up not good numbers. Is he just raw because of his background?

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: It’s down to a ‘best of what’s around’ situation. OF depth just isn’t there right now, and we knew that. There’s no perfect choice. They don’t have a Jay Bruce Jr. in AAA. Lutz, Robinson, it’s all a stretch, but it’s what they have.

    • Can someone tell me about Lutz? Looking at his minor league stats, I’m not really that impressed with a 23 year old at AA putting up not good numbers. Is he just raw because of his background?

      Lutz is a big boy. He’s only played 1st and LF. He’ll hit for power, but also strike out. He is still raw, but had an excellent spring, showing he may have turned a corner, but who knows. The main thing is that he is our only OF on the 40 man, ergo will be the call. They would have to manuever something to get Robinson or Phipps up. That is unless Ludwick’s injury is more serious and he goes on the 50 day DL.

      • @RiverCity Redleg: Point of correction: Yorman Rodriguez is also an OF on the 40 man, but has no chance at being called up as he is no where close to being ready (too young, too raw). But also, it appears that they only have 38 or 39 men (depending on if the move Masset to 50 day DL) on the 40 man, so they could add Phipps or Robinson and bring them up with any extra manuevering. So I’m tempering my prediction on it being Lutz a tad.

  32. As much as I hate the prospect, the answer may be Rolen, assuming that Rolen even wants to play again. I think getting Rolen back in the lineup will cost more than he’s really worth now and will open Pandora’s Box with Dusty’s managerial decisions, but I don’t like any of the immediate options available in the Reds’ minor league system and asking Dusty to manage some sort of platoon with Heisey and XP is equally disturbing. None of us are paid to make these decisions.

    Of course, the ‘all in this season’ attitude could result in an even more drastic development on the trade front.

    • @Shchi Cossack:

      For exactly the reason you mentioned above, I don’t think rolen is the answer. Was he working out on his own, waiting for the phone to rimg. If so, it would still be dicey. If he wasn’t, then no thank you.

  33. Deja vue all over again. The offense, regarding timely hitting, looked much like it did in 2012, awful. It would have been even worse without Choo.
    I am not much of a Dusty fan or Dusty basher, but this defeat lies at his feet. Terrible managerial decisions in the 8th inning caused this defeat. First having Phillips bunt which then takes the bat out of Votto’s hands was incredibly stupid. Then having Heisey NOT bunt was even more stupid. Heisey is a good bunter and should have been given the sign to lay one down. That is when you play small-ball, not two batters early and taking the bat out of Votto’s hands.
    And Bruce earning the Golden Sombrero Award on Opening Day, 4 K’s in a game, just an absolutely pitiful day for Bruce. Please no more Bruce is an MVP chatter on here. Bruce couldn’t hit the ocean with a batted ball if he was standing on the beach.
    The silver lining from the Opening Day blunder is Ludwick getting hurt. Maybe now the Reds can go out and get themselves a legit #4 RH hitter. This is exactly what hte Reds and their offense needs. It doesn’t need Ludwick, Heisey is not an everyday player, and calling up a young prospect is not the answer. The Reds have a surplus of arms, bullpen or otherwise, to go out and get a good #4 hitter. Time for WJ to bite the bullet and go get what is needed. A legit #4 RH hitter. I was not on-board when Ludwick was re-signed as a saw it as wasted millions of $$$. We can’t sit through a 161 more games like this, where the offense fails to show up again and again.
    Who’s big idea was it to bring Baker back for 2 more years?????? Uuuuuggghhhh!!!!!!

    • @WVRedlegs:

      Re: Ludwick. Yes it would be nice to go out and get somebody, but other teams are not likely to give up someone this early in the season. Best bet would be to go over the final ST cuts and see if there are any people worth taking a chance on.

      Barring that, Reds may have to deal with it internally for until June then start shopping!

  34. Okay, I posted some of this in the game thread:

    Bad News:

    I was thinking about Ludwick. I hate pure speculation and we don’t know the severity of the injury, but shoulder injuries are terrible for hitters, they often don’t get their power back the rest of the season. There is a good chance he isn’t the same hitter for the rest of 2013. This really stinks.

    Also, I debated on whether to bring this up: yes, Ludwick was hurt on a freakish play. But 34 year olds tend to get hurt more often than younger players. Hopefully the Reds dodge a bullet and don’t regret allocating valuable resources to a aging corner OF (resources that they could’ve spent extending Latos or Choo).

    Good news:

    Ludwick is probably the position player that the Reds could most afford to lose. Last year, he was just a 2 win player, which should be relatively easy to replace, and he’s probably the player most likely to regress in 2013. His defense isn’t great, and his offense, while okay, isn’t special.

    Hopefully, Ludwick is okay, but his injury isn’t isn’t that bad to the team.

    • @CP: That’s how I look at the Ludwick injury. I just don’t see him being our cleanup hitter this year, and maybe ever again, but that also doesn’t bother me that much because I wasn’t expecting too much from him. The only problem is we don’t have another natural (right handed) power hitter really anywhere in the system. I think we’re going to have to tread water for a while until some teams start falling out of contention and then look at the trade market. Not sure if we have the bullets, but how about Stanton? The Marlins should be out of contention by June.

      • @eric nyc: Just going to throw this out there to REALLY stir the pot: Chapman for Stanton straight up.

        By June, we should know a lot more about Broxton and, more importantly, Hoover. Walt knows he can’t go into next season with so much money tied up in three back end relievers. He HAS to be ticked off about what was most likely a coup from dusty in torpedoing his plans to move Chapman to the rotation and I have to believe Walt is smart enough to know Chapman isn’t worth what he’s going to get in arbitration in 2 years as a closer. Hoover looks like a future closer and, honestly, could probably take the job right now and end up with almost the same number of saves as Chapman, albeit with not as many K’s or 105 mph fastballs.

        Then you look at the Marlins. They are in shambles, especially on the pitching front. They have said Stanton is off the table, but the one thing that could persuade them is a young stud pitcher they could move to the rotation without any of the Dusty drama. He’s under team control for three more years, I think, afterwards they have plenty of money to give him a monster extension if they want. And on top of ALL OF THAT, Chapman is probably the biggest Cuban ball player in the world. He would be more famous than LeBron in Little Havanna. They would fill that giant new stadium every time he pitched.

        Take Chapman and Arroyos salaries off the books next year and we have more than enough money to pay Stanton, who still has several years of team control. I’m sure he can play left field. Stick him in at 4 and we have a lineup that rivals anyone in baseball and it maybe gets even better next year if Hamilton develops on schedule.

        Pure fantasy…but is it? That’s an awful lot of pieces in the right place.

        • @eric nyc: I think that ship has sailed. Chapman’s value plummets unless other teams see him as a starter. I don’t think the Reds could get Stanton for Chapman plus Hamilton, Stanton is just way too valuable.

          Plus, with the Rangers giving Andrus a big deal, they Stanton for Profar+Olt/a bevy of other prospects makes too much sense. Profar is as MLB ready as you’ll ever see. SS prospect versus a closer on a crappy Marlins squad is a pretty easy decision, even for the Marlins.

        • @CP: As a closer he’d pack the stadium every day for them. And they have the payroll to overspend on a closer. We don’t. They made a lot of questionable moves last year based solely on publicity. I think Walts a better baseball mind than whoever is running that organization.

          Chapman + Hamilton could probably get you just about anyone you want from any team. But I don’t think it would take that to get Stanton. Maybe Chapman and another prospect or two, but no one as big as Hamilton. I don’t think it will ever happen, and we’ll probably ride an ailing Ryan Ludwick into the ground this season, but its worth thinking about.

        • @eric nyc: Hitters like Stanton are substantially more valuable than even the best relief pitchers. Chapman’s WAR last year was 3.3 and Stanton’s was 5.7 – and Stanton missed over 100 AB with injury. Other teams would surely convert Chapman to a starter’s role, where he could have full value.

        • @Steve Mancuso: Well that was my original point – I assumed they would convert him to a starter. But I was just saying that EVEN IF they thought he was purely a closer, they’ve already shown that they’re willing to dump money and resources into overpaying players for publicity’s sake. But yes, anyone trading for Chapman would most likely convert him to a starter, where he could be much more valuable than Stanton. At the very least, a fair trade. I don’t think it’s an absurd notion. Last year, I’d say no way. But Walt’s been handcuffed now and if he has the authority to do it, I could see him making the move just to reestablish some control over the team.

        • @eric nyc:

          You’re totally off your rocker, dude. I don’t think the Marlins would trade Stanton for Votto straight up, let alone Chapman.

        • @Brien Jackson: Well no…I wouldn’t trade a 23 year old franchise hitter for a soon to be 30 year old franchise hitter either. But potentially elite franchise ace pitchers are a different story. Totally different value scale. We traded Josh Hamilton for freaking Edinson Volquez. We knew what Hamilton was going to be and we bet on POTENTIAL from a pitcher like Volquez. Chapman’s potential dwarfs Volquez and Stanton is no Josh Hamilton.

          It’s not that far fetched of a suggestion. I wouldn’t bet a dollar on it happening, but I am certainly not “off my rocker.”

        • @eric nyc: Chapman’s a difficult player to value. The Reds haven’t done him any favors.

          He’s got 3 years left under control. The team most familiar with him doesn’t think he can start apparently (they can say they do, but if they did, he’d be starting.) He’ll be treated as a project in the market by the GMs who would like to start him. If the Reds wanted to maximize their trade value, they should have traded him prior to last season, or even traded him this offseason. He’s valuable, he’s just not as valuable as a Profar-type package.

          Perhaps the Marlins sell out a couple weeks with him, but fans aren’t going to pay to see a closer when the rest of the team stinks. He’ll pitch like once a week…

        • @eric nyc: Also, “Stanton is no Josh Hamilton”

          1) Stanton is arguably better than Hamilton right now. For like 1/1000th the price.

          2) You think the Reds knew what they had in Josh Hamilton? The Reds thought they were trading an above average starting OF. Not a potential MVP. Stanton is a known quantity whose floor is much higher than Hamilton’s.

          The Reds made an awful trade, with very little excuses for it, it doesn’t provide a good measuring stick for other trades.

        • Maybe not a PERFECT analogy, but Hamilton didn’t cost $100 million when we traded him. And I don’t know…I seem to remember just about everyone in Reds nation seeing Hamilton as an elite power hitter and MVP candidate. I know I did. I certainly was not a bit surprised when that’s what he turned out to be. Meanwhile Volquez was a complete unknown who had done practically nothing at the big league level. At least Hamilton’s potential was easier to gauge. Maybe Stanton ends up being better. He certainly has the tools. But for the sake of the example I wasn’t factoring money into it. I was just using it to show that teams value pitching potential over hitting potential in general. Look at how much we gave up for Latos, and everyone agrees that was a fair trade for both sides.

        • @eric nyc:

          You don’t trade a hitter as good/young as Stanton for a “potential” ace straight up. If you want to put together a package for Stanton that includes Chapman you might get somewhere, but proposing a one-for-one swap gets you hung up on before they even have a chance to start laughing.

        • @Brien Jackson: Chapman isn’t just an ace. Depending on who you talk to around the league, he’s the next Randy Johnson. We can all disagree on whether that’s hyperbole or not, but if someone high up in the Marlins organization thinks that way then it’s an easy trade to make. If they think he’s maybe just a pretty good top of the rotation starter or elite reliever, you’re right it’s not even a conversation. All about perspective. Do you trade a 23 year old MVP candidate hitter for a 25 year old Randy Johnson? I do every time. But that takes a lot of optimism and the Reds, as CP pointed out, certainly didn’t do themselves any favors as far as boosting Chapman’s trade value by sticking him back in the pen.

        • @eric nyc: This is why you don’t compare prospects to Hall of Famers just because they’re both left-handed and throw 100 MPH fastballs.

        • Well you make trades in professional sports based on potential future performance. We gave up a ton of really good players to get Latos, who had only put up one marginally good season but was widely believed to have the upside of a top starter. Randy Johnson wasn’t always Randy Johnson. It took him the better part of 10 years and was bounced around for all kinds of minor league prospects.

    • @CP: I also think that Ludwick is the position player who the Reds could most afford to lose, but at the same time, as the cleanup hitter replacing him is probably more controversial than replacing anybody else. There are at least three reasonable candidates (Bruce, Phillips, Frazier) to hit cleanup and Dusty will be criticized for his decision regardless of who he chooses.

      I don’t think losing Ludwick to an injury will cost the Reds lots of games, but I think it will lead to weeks or months of lineup squabbles. Every poor performance by the offense will be blamed on Dusty’s poor lineup decisions, just like we heard last year. Except now the question is the cleanup hitter, not the leadoff hitter.

      Also people who want to see Heisey play everyday, people who want a Heisey/Paul platoon, and people who want a prospect promoted will all reemerge. No matter who gets playing time in the outfield we’ll hear lots of objections.

  35. Hoover is getting a bad rap on this. Yes he hits Conger and ends up loading the bases but let’s remember he was pretty solid until Captain Over Manage decided to intentionally walk Kendrick who had not smelt a hit all day just to use up the Angels bench. Only Baker intentionally puts a guy in scoring position with 2 outs in a tied extra innings game. If he leaves well enough alone they might still be playing.

  36. My one take away from yesterday is that nobody in the league (now that Drew Stubbs is in the other league) looks as lost at the plate when they’re in a funk that Jay Bruce. It’s almost painful.

    I was expecting a regression from Ludwick this year (might just be my pessimistic nature) but the real problem with him out of the line up is that it would be really nice to have a manager that can react out of the box to situations that come up in games and in the course of the season. We, unfortunately, do not have that.

    April for the Reds is like the NCAA tournament – Survive and Advance. .500 on May 1st is okay!

  37. I can understand “the bunt”. I wouldn’t have done it. It’s fairly simple. In short, it would come down to who would you want to try to get a run in, BP or Heisey? The answer has to be BP. But, Baker wanted to let it up to a bench player. I’m a Heisey fan, but I would have let BP swing away.

    But, at least I can understand “the bunt”. For me, better than some of Baker’s other bonehead decisions like bunting Stubbs over to 2nd instead of getting him to steal it.

    For the Bourjos triple, I would think that Stubbs would have caught it, also. But, that would be because Stubbs plays so far back, not necessarily because Stubbs is quick. Stubbs goes back to the wall horribly, one reason why he plays so far back.

  38. If (and only WJ could say how big that ‘if’ is and he most certainly wouldn’t say) the Reds decide they need to start pounding the phones for a replacement in order to salvage or at least protect this season, I don’t see any 3B out there as a possible option and the more I see Frazier play, the more I like him at 3B. The only two RH OF I see as realistic, possible options would be Willingham and Soriano. If the Reds do make such a move and Ludwick comes back healthy, strong and productive, then the Reds would have a real trade chip available near the trade deadline. All three of those OF are signed through 2014.

    • @Shchi Cossack:

      There are options out there for the Reds. It just depends on how bad Ludwick’s injury is on his MRI. What team has extra OF’s now. The Reds could talk to the ChiSox about Keppinger for 3B and move Frazier to LF. Keppinger gets $3.5MM this year in a 3 year deal thru 2015. I don’t like moving Frazier though. Or maybe go with Alex Rios for LF. Has Bruce-like numbers and is a RH. But is owed $12.5MM this year and next. Probably a bit too stout of a contract to take on.
      Could look to Arizona and do an all out blitz to get CF Adam Eaton and move Choo over to LF. Kubel and Parra are LH so that doesn’t help.
      Could look to Oakland. They have 5 OF’s. Maybe try and get Yeonnis Cespedes for LF. A Cuban buddy for Aroldis. That could be expensive in prospects, but could be well worth it. Could even pair Chapman with Cespedes and talk to Miami then about Stanton for LF.
      However, it looks like Kansas City may have an answer. Frenchy Francouer for LF could be a possibility. The Reds may want to look at one of KC’s CF. Lorenzo Cain just burned up spring training this year now that he is healthy. And Jarrod Dyson is another CF. He had 30 SB’s in about 290 AB’s last year for the Royals. Both are affordable. Obtain one of these two CF’s, move Choo to LF and then have Choo or Phillips bat 4th.
      There are options out there, it just depends on how creative WJ wants to get and how much more payroll they can take on.

  39. I love all the angst about whether to bunt or not. “Why if we didn’t but, we would have got the hit and won the game”

    really? nobody hit, including Joey other than Choo

    The one run we did score came from getting a guy to 3rd base who scored on a passed ball. You don’t score from second base on a passed ball, so I will disagree with this point

    “Ah heck, I’ll defend Dusty a little bit. Intentional walk to Votto or not, moving the runner to third does increase your odds of scoring one run, and given that said run would have been the go ahead run in the bottom of the eighth, it’s a defensible move at the very least.

    We do need to hit. I agree with redsfanman that Todd looks like the clean up hitter for this team as it sits.

    I don’t criticize dusty for bunting. I save my criticism for the use of the pen in the 9th. You warm up Marshall and then don’t use him? Then bring your closer into a tie game in the 9th. What was your strategy there coach, hope with hit in the bottom of the 9th?

    Sure it was Hamilton, but it was a tie game and Marshall was warm and capable.

    Do not like this “Chapman can only pitch the 9th mentality”

    Of course, far be it from me to criticize how this manager is using Chapman

    • @reaganspad: Actually using your closer in the top of the 9th in a tie game is pretty common practice. You always have to go with the assumption that you’re going to score. It’s like assuming you’ve got a 10 coming in blackjack. Obviously a lot of the time you’re wrong, but it’s the play you have to make.

      I DON’T understand leaving Hoover in as long as he did and I don’t understand not letting Chapman pitch another inning since he had been stretched out as a starter all spring and could easily handle it. Plus if he got in trouble there are something like 73 other pitchers in our bullpen for some reason. Marshall has to be the highest paid LOOGY in the history of the game.

      • @eric nyc: Same question here… It was opening day for Charlie Hustle’s sake, throw Chapman for at least 2 innings, he’s fun to watch (I.E., “How fast is he gonna throw this next one?!?!?!?!”) and looked dialed in yesterday. I just don’t get it. WHY DUSTY WHY???????????

        On a lighter note, LeCure looked like a hobo. I mean, he threw fine, but for real looked like he just rolled out of a cardboard box from under a bridge. Maybe he lost a bet.

      • @TC:
        not really TC

        it was a tie game, no save situation when Chapman came in.

        And Eric, I understand that Chapman can only pitch the 9th inning in Dusty’s world.

        My point is, then why even warm up Marshall? To pitch to one batter in the 8th inning potentially (Hamilton) who did not come up till the 9th inning?

        Closer is over rated. Chapman should have faced Hamilton in the 8th with 2 outs if you know he is going to pitch the 9th anyway.

        the way we were hitting, it was one of those games where we were going to need all our arms

  40. Can we set up any sort of vote for who will be the cleanup hitter on Wednesday? I still think it’ll be Todd Frazier, who led the Reds with 5 homeruns in spring training. He’s right handed, more consistent than Jay Bruce, and younger than Brandon Phillips.

    What the Cleveland Indians got is a guy paid $12m/year to put up a ~.350 OBP (Michael Bourn). That’s why Stubbs is hitting at the bottom of the order :)

  41. How many pitches did JJ Hoover throw in his first inning? Enough that he shouldn’t have been permitted to pitch a second inning?

    How many pitches did Hoover throw before issuing the intentional walk? What was his pitch count at when Hoover and Hanigan both stared at the umpire, thinking that they’d completed a strikeout to get the final out of a scoreless inning?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s