2013 Reds

Don’t Panic, Nation

When I got up at 5:30am Kabul time Tuesday morning and learned that the Reds lost on Opening Day, my day started off bad. The runners left on base, the lost opportunities, a wasted brilliant pitching performance by Johnny Cueto. It all brought back memories— bad memories— of watching Game 3 against the Giants last year at GABP.

But when I read that Ryan Ludwick dislocated his shoulder, I picked up my size 12 combat boot and threw it against the wall.

The Reds have lost key players before. Dave Concepcion in 1973 when he broke his ankle. Young Don Gullett’s broken thumb in 1975. Junior in just about every season he was here. The difference with this injury is the time of year. We’re one game into a season in which this 2103 Reds team was the consensus pick to win their Division and the left fielder and cleanup hitter is lost for months. That’s the difference.

There’s two immediate things to resolve.

The first is the batting order. And brothers, this is a moot point. Dusty is going to put Brandon Phillips in the cleanup spot. I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t. It’s the safe choice, the conservative choice, the very Dusty-like choice. If it was up to me, I would minimize the disruption of the order and just move Todd Frazier there, keep Phillips at #2 and leave Zack Cozart near the bottom of the order. But it’ll never happen.

The second is the left field situation. The Reds might find it difficult to make a trade so early in the season. Few teams are going to want to make a trade at this point unless the Reds make an overwhelming, can’t refuse offer. Uncle Walt is not gonna do that. If that option isn’t explored, the Reds need to figure out how to replace Ludwick from within the organization.

Let’s not forget that Ludwick wasn’t much of a factor at the plate the first two months of the 2012 season. He didn’t heat up until June. As noted by our brilliant staff of writers at Redleg Nation, it was Ludwick and Frazier that sparked the Reds run when JoeyMVP got hurt last year.

As for leftfield, the Reds need to go with Chris Heisey and find out, once and for all, what he’s capable of doing. Stick with him for a month and give him at bats and steady playing time. We already know his defense is good, he’s got the experience and the time is ripe to find out what the Reds have— a utility player or an everyday player. Heisey doesn’t need to play like a superstar; he just needs to supply some pop, knock in a few runs and bat for a decent average. The Reds don’t need him to put up George Foster-type numbers. (Speaking of Foster, why wasn’t he allowed to throw out the ceremonial first pitch after being Grand Marshal of the parade? Joe Torre? What remote connection does he have to the Reds?)

Don’t panic Nation.

The Reds took a jolt on Opening Day. A big one. But good teams overcome injuries. A cliché, for sure, but true.

Will Chris Heisey emerge? Xavier Paul? Is Billy Hamilton ready? Someone else?

We’ll find out soon enough.

14 thoughts on “Don’t Panic, Nation

  1. Hoo-ahh to you John Ring. Take fire, take cover, return fire, take down the enemy. You and your men return home safe.
    The LF defense isn’t much of a concern as is the hole in the #4 spot in the lineup will be glaring. The Reds don’t have “that guy” they can go to and put that kind of responsibility on. They have to go out and find one. I bet the scouting departemnt is scouring over the MLB rosters to find WJ an affordable gem.

  2. As we did not have much of a clean up hitter last year ( for most of the year) why worry about it now. Choo will be a huge stud for us and I do believe that Heisey will play well enough for the Reds. I would move Choo to left and Heisey to center and play with the following batting order
    Choo
    Phillips
    Votto
    Frazier
    Bruce
    Heisey
    Cozart
    Hanny
    pitch

  3. Ughhh!!!!

    From John Fay:

    Baker knows his lineups are the subject of debate.

    “I’d appreciate if I didn’t get any help on the lineup,” he said. “I’ve been doing pretty good the last 20 years on my own.”

  4. I guess he considered Frazier for two seconds and then went with “Veteraness”

    From the same article from Fay:

    “I guess this is the spot I’m going to leave him in,” Baker said. “Brandon can hit all over the order. He’s a guy that’s done it. He’s guy that’s driven in 100 runs. He’s scored 100 runs. He’s not your prototypical four hitter. I thought about (Todd) Frazier. He’s too young. I thought about Heisey. He’s really not that kind of hitter. I had to break up some strikeouts. We’ve got a lot of guys who are prone to strike out between Joey, Jay Bruce, Frazier, Heisey.

  5. Ughhh indeed. This is exactly the wrong thinking. “He’s too young”? What does age have to do with anything? And Frazier’s not even that young! Having said that, I don’t think Heisey is an awful choice for the 2 hole, but please Dusty don’t just bunt Choo over and take the bat out of Votto’s hands (have I said that in every post today?) Super Todd for Cleanup!

    And since when is Joey Votto “prone to strike out”? I’m not a stats research guy but I’m willing to bet he strikes out less than the vast majority of #3 hitters in the game. Anyone got numbers on that?

  6. So, on the one hand, we have to bunt Phillips in the 2 hole because he is more likely to hit into a DP….Then what’s he gonna do after teams inevitably walk Votto? (after Heisey bunts, of course.) Phillips will suddenly hit fewer ground balls that turn into DPs?

  7. I think Fay should quit asking Dusty about his line-ups because listening to his inane reasoning is even worse than looking at the line-up.

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