2013 Reds

Titanic Struggle Recap: Reds win series!

Let’s recap today’s titanic struggle….rntitanic-copy

FINAL
Cincinnati 5
Los Angeles (AL) 4
W: Arroyo (1-0)
L: Blanton (0-1)
S: Chapman (1) 

BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
Bronson Arroyo continued the streak of excellent starting pitching for the Reds. The Angels bats were finally waking up, but Bronson kept them under control for the most part. He finished with 5 Ks and only 1 BB.

Shin-Soo Choo hit Joe Blanton’s first pitch into the left-field seats. He must have been confused and thought Bronson Arroyo was still on the mound. Choo also singled and scored later in the game on Chris Heisey’s home run. I’m convinced Choo is going to score over 100 runs. It’s going to be fun watching him destroy right-handed pitching this year. Choo also threw a dart to home plate, well ahead of sliding Albert Pujols. There may be some question about Choo’s range in CF, but there’s no doubt he’s got a gun for an arm.

Chris Heisey (here) and Super Todd Frazier (here) each homered. Frazier also chipped in a great defensive play fielding a sharply hit Pujols grounder down the third base line.

Sam LeCure struck out the side in the eighth inning. He’s a credible high leverage relief pitcher – any circumstance.

Brandon Phillips had two hits and made a great defensive play late in the game.

NEGATIVES
— The Reds must have not scored any runs and lost because they were 0-for-3 with RISP.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
— Great start of the season for the Reds winning the series from the Angels. All three games were extremely close and it was nice to see the Reds find ways to win the close ones.

– With the news that Sean Marshall has been unavailable the past three games with a tired arm, I wonder if that impacted the team’s roster decisions coming out of Goodyear. It possibly strengthened the short-term case for Manny Parra in the eyes of those who believe arm-side is more important than stats. When Marshall returns, as he is expected to do this weekend, maybe Jose Arredondo will be recalled from AAA.

– Not sure why Dusty Baker double-switched César Izturis for Zack Cozart heading into the seventh inning. Unless Baker thinks Izturis is better defensively (doubtful) or that he wanted to keep open the possibility of using Simon for two innings (equally unlikely), an injury to Cozart is the only other logical explanation.

– Yay warmer weather. All things considered, strong attendance for the first three home games. With great weather expected this weekend, I’d be surprised if the series with the Harpers doesn’t draw 100,000.

TOP GAME THREAD COMMENTS

– [90reds] I’m sick of Votto coming up with the bases empty today! C’mon leadoff guys, stop clearing the bases.

– [rfay00] Choo is really making me want to trade Billy Hamilton in a package for a stud LF and then extend Choo. I know it’s not financially feasible, but it would be great. [RiverCityRedleg] Why can’t you extend Choo and make HIM your stud LF?

– [RC] I like Heisey in the two spot, if for no other reason than he gets a close up view of how Choo handles his business at the plate. Osmosis, do your thing!

91 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: Reds win series!

  1. That was an excellent win. Trout had a lousy defensive game, but his bat is ungodly fast. Other than him, I’m not sold on the Angels. The starting pitching is so-so, and I think both Hamilton and Pujols are on the decline. Who knows how old Pujols actually is-nobody has an incentive to be honest about it–and Hamilton had a bad last half of the season last year.

    The Reds are going to be a lot better if Heisey continues to play the way he has the last two games. He hit two hard line drives to left field today for outs.

    And who doesn’t like Sam LeCure?

  2. After a depressing opening day, if the Reds can win two out of the next three series, I will be very happy knowing that they have went up against some of the best in the NL and stood their ground.

  3. Is it at all financially possible to extend Choo and put him in LF? Probably not, but just thinking about it makes me smile.

    My goodness, the NL would be our own personal stomping ground for the next 5 years if we did that…

    • @BearcatNation: If the Reds can find someone who’ll trade for Ludwick/Broxton or Ludwick/Chapman it would be. Ludwick making his $7.5m and Broxton making $7m would be more than enough to sign Choo, wouldn’t it?

      • @ToddAlmighty: Interesting note, Ludwick’s contract is almost designed to be tough to trade – like Arroyo’s, it’s all back-laden. He gets ~$2m this year, then whatever amount next year, then the rest as an option buyout. If the Reds trade him they need to find a team willing to pay ~$13m of his salary, not just $7.5m. Following Ludwick’s injury I think we can be certain he won’t be going anywhere.

        At least Broxton they could probably trade if they really wanted to.

    • @BearcatNation: I gotta believe that Scott Boras will be the reason Choo goes elsewhere. The Reds are on a Catch-22 with him. If he plays real well, as now, then other teams will outbid the Reds. If he plays poorly or is hurt, then do the Reds really want him? He needs a long-term deal, and the Reds can’t really give it to him. But I will enjoy him while he is here.

      • @Big Ed:

        Maybe we should sign Choo to an extension before it’s too late! I’d love to have his OBP in our lineup for years to come, (Dreaming)

        I think I really like having Heisey in the 2 hole and B.P. in the cleanup spot!
        Seems to be working out pretty smooth so far!!!!

        And SuperTodd strikes again!

        This is gonna be a GREAT season! :)
        I’m taking my wife to see the last 2 games of the season this year, I just hope they are playoff bound when we see them, it will be on our 25’th anniversary.

    • @BearcatNation: The Reds’ payroll increased this year from approximately $82 million in 2012 to $105 million in 2013. Given the favorable financial landscape for the Reds, this is just the first step increase of several. As I’ve written, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Reds have a $160 million payroll by 2017. I’m not saying the Reds should or could use that to sign Choo to an expensive extension. They may have other priorities, plus some of the current contracts are going up.

  4. Another excellent and exciting game, I thought. So far I don’t miss Ryan Ludwick very much.

    I liked Steve’s negatives today – 0-3 with RISP. Silly Reds, hitting too many homeruns.

    Interesting season debut by Alfredo Simon. I remember his debut last year, when he gave up a solo homerun to the first batter before striking out the side. He gave up 1 run in his first inning this year, but it was less exciting. Oh well. At least it looks like he is indeed ready for the season after the WBC.

    Cozart vs Izturis – once Cozart’s spot in the lineup was finished for the game he was removed in a double switch. I didn’t have any objection to that, giving Izturis one chance to lead off one inning. It was one AB that could have been given to Xavier Paul, Jack Hannahan, or Derrick Robinson… but giving it to Izturis didn’t seem like a big deal to me then or now. I think some people are reading too much into that if they assume an injury to Cozart. Old or not I get the impression that Izturis still fields pretty well.

    I’m kinda curious about Cozart, he hasn’t hit very well yet, through three games, which is the opposite of what I expected. Jay Bruce has drawn most of the criticism (in part because people hope for more from him) but I have an impression of Cozart as a quick start guy. He got off to a hot (albeit brief) start with the Reds in 2011 and 2012. Fortunately it’s early enough that he can turn his whole season around with one good game.

    Hopefully the Reds’ offense keeps hitting this weekend. I got my tickets to see the Nationals. I’m looking forward to seeing Bailey, Leake, Marshall, and Mesoraco make their debuts.

  5. Not sure why Dusty Baker double-switched César Izturis for Zack Cozart heading into the seventh inning. Unless Baker thinks Izturis is better defensively (doubtful) or that he wanted to keep open the possibility of using Simon for two innings (equally unlikely), an injury to Cozart is the only other logical explanation.

    I agree, the move made absolutely no sense. I certainly hope that no injury was involved, but I also certainly hope that Dusty is not starting another veteran utility player infatuation.

    On a related note, Jason Donald cleared waivers and was assigned to the Bats and is starting at SS tonight. Soto is also starting the season on the D/L. Has anyone see any info regarding his injury?

  6. Anyone know where I can find a decent replay of the Choo throw to home? I missed the game and I’d like to see it, but my Google-Kung-Fu is not strong today?

    • @Zach: It’s on MLB’s website.

      Was listening on the radio & Brantley was the play-by-play guy so I was super confused. Hanigan should get an error for that. The ball beat Pujols by 3 strides!

      • @CP: Yep. They were giving Hanigan a hard time about that play at mlbnetwork radio, and after watching the video replay, I see they were right. Hanigan was out of position, too far in front of the plate, so Pujols was able to sneak by while Hanigan’s swipe tag missed.

        Their main point was that Hanigan’s biggest screw up was applying a second tag, showing the umpire that he had missed the first time.

  7. I remember this was discussed a bit last season, but every time Hannigan comes up with two outs and no one on then gets a nice base hit or double, I think about it. Doesn’t it make sense to move Hannigan up to the 7th spot? To me, he’s a good enough hitter to consider elsewhere in the lineup, but I can’t say that I mind spots 1-6 as it stood today. Hits like his sac fly today is just more evidence, imo, that he’d be more effective ahead of Cozart, not behind.

    Not that I think Cozart is bad. I have high hopes that he’s going to develop into a much better hitter as he gains experience and had one nice rip during this series that unfortunately went right to an outfielder. But for now, I don’t think we’d lose a lot if he was hitting 8.

    • @joelie1274: Cozart is actually the worst hitter in the lineup, but I could see him being even worse at #8 because he’s so inpatient.

      It’s not really a big deal either way, because they’re both probably the 2 worst hitters in the starting lineup. I like Hanigan’s on-base skills, but having almost zero power really hurts his offensive value.

      • @CP: Makes you wonder if maybe an extension for Choo could move Hamilton back to SS. As an outfielder, he’s going to have to be an above average hitter to maximize his value. If he can be an average fielding SS, his speed will let him be a marginal hitter and still be valuable. If Cozart can’t hit even at the bottom of the order, he’s just a second rate Paul Janish.

        • @eric nyc: I agree. 2011, when Janish was starting and got injured, Cozart had a big bat going, for several months. But, since then, he pretty much hasn’t been around. The reports from the minors in comparison with Janish was Cozart was Janish with a bit more speed and a bit more power, nothing else. I’m hoping he finds that bat he had going back. But, without it, he is what he is.

        • @eric nyc: Cozart was league average at the plate last year, I for one will take that. Give the kid more than a series, here. If Choo was signed longer, I think you’d still bring up Hamilton (if ready) and go Choo, Hamilton, Bruce. Choo > Ludwick.

        • @eric nyc: Sillyness… Zack Cozart in his rookie year had more than twice the WAR Paul Janish has ever had in a single year before. (2.5 vs 1.2)… Paul Janish has a career 1.1 WAR (379 games) while Cozart has a career 3.2 WAR (in 151 games).
          Paul Janish’s career line: .216/.286/.291
          Zack Cozart’s career line: .248/.286/.399

          To ever call Zack Cozart a second rate Paul Janish is just ridiculous.

          There’s a reason why Billy Hamilton can’t be a SS in MLB. The guy had back-to-back 30+ error seasons in the minor leagues. Now imagine him getting balls hit at him twice as hard, and Brandon Phillips throwing him balls from behind his back and stuff in order to turn a quick double play with defensive ability that got 30+ errors a year in A-AA ball. It wouldn’t even be two weeks before you and all the Red’s pitching staff begs for Cozart’s defense.

        • @ToddAlmighty: Cozart is a short stop who can get you 40 doubles/20 HR and a gold glove. It’s his job until he gets too old to play at his level.

        • @ToddAlmighty: Yeah, I’d agree. I find it difficult to believe the Reds actually moved Hamilton because of Cozart. Cozart being moderately successful at the plate gave the Reds a polite way to move him while keeping him at a premium position.

          Hamilton’s offensive production should be plenty to be an above average CF (as long as he maintains his on-base skills)

        • @ToddAlmighty: Todd, as I specified, “the reports from the minors”. Zach did have a huge bat going his rookie season, one of the reasons he was called up, along with Janish being injured. But, before that, he is exactly what he is now and has always been. No one ever called Cozart a “second rate Janish”. I specified Cozart was “Janish with a bit more speed and a bit more power”. But, numbers like BA and OBP were pretty much the same during the minors, again with the exception of when Cozart got in the zone the beginning of his rookie year, which started in the minors, and kept it going when he got up here, before he got hurt.

        • @steveschoen: Oops, sorry, Todd, I see the reference to “a second rate Janish”. You are correct, Cozart isn’t a second rate Janish at all. But, he is what he is (at least until he picks up the zone he was in early his rookie season), Janish with a bit more speed and power.

      • @CP: Agree that Hanigan’s patience makes him a better number 8 hitter. Cozart would see very little to hit batting 8th, and his impatience would likely get worse.

    • @joelie1274: I think Hanigan in the long run is the best 8 spot option we have. I know it may not be the best reason, but Hanigan does a very good job at clearing the pitcher to get back to the top of the order. Like you said with 2 out and no one on he does a good job at getting that base hit that allows the pitcher to come to the plate instead of leading off with the pitcher the next inning. Now that we have a true leadoff hitter and he is getting on base, it is very important to get him to the plate and let him get on to start an inning. If Cozart is batting 8th and up with 2 outs and is struggling (like he is prone to do until he gets more experience) then we are leading off with the pitcher a lot of innings and thats almost giving them an out to start the inning.

      • @tsj_31: I think this is a perfectly sound argument actually. You can also expand it that having a high OBP guy infront of the pitcher is going to give pitchers a lot more sac opportunities (if there are less than 2 outs) over the course of the year, which is arguably the best thing that most of these guys can do while at the plate.

        I actually think that if you’d were outside of the box, Hannigan would be a great candidate to bat 9th, as all the stats say that spot is best for a high-OBP low-SLG guy.

  8. Dusty made a 9th inning “defensive” switch of Izturis for Cozart last night, too. Didn’t understand that at the time either. Maybe a very very minor injury to Cozart or it may just be some Dustyism where he actually thinks Izturis is a better fielder. I’ve stopped trying to figure out what goes on in Dustys head.

  9. As for Choo making Hamilton expendable, you do have to seriously think about what kind of ridiculous return we could get for Chapman+Hamilton. I’m going to keep ringing the Giancarlo Stanton bell. Only question there would be if we could afford a Choo AND a Stanton extension with Arroyo and Chapman off the books. I think we could swing it. After this spring I’m not nearly as big on Hamilton. The speed is hypnotizing, but I don’t know if the guys ever going to have a big league OBP that will let him take full advantage. Unless he becomes an above average OBP guy then all of that speed will be worthless and hell be just another replacement level player.

    • As for Choo making Hamilton expendable, you do have to seriously think about what kind of ridiculous return we could get for Chapman+Hamilton. I’m going to keep ringing the Giancarlo Stanton bell. Only question there would be if we could afford a Choo AND a Stanton extension with Arroyo and Chapman off the books. I think we could swing it. After this spring I’m not nearly as big on Hamilton. The speed is hypnotizing, but I don’t know if the guys ever going to have a big league OBP that will let him take full advantage. Unless he becomes an above average OBP guy then all of that speed will be worthless and hell be just another replacement level player.

      I have been saying this the last few days now, that Chapman and someone else for Stanton. Only way I would do this though is if he would sign at least a 3 to 4 year extension. The only down side to this is that means Choo signs a 3 year extension, and leaving to question will he be able to patrol center field for another 3 or 4 years when he is 33 and 34. Do you slide Bruce to center at that point if Choo is here long term? And this especially comes to be a important question what do we do with Hamilton if Choo in fact comes out and says he really likes playing in Cincy and wants to stay. Stanton would look good in the 4 hole for us though and would be a dangerous looking lineup on paper at least.

  10. Also, why was there so much talk about Frazier being a liability at 3B? I mean Rolen is a HOF caliber defender so it’s hard to say anyone isn’t a downgrade, but I don’t remember Frazier looking bad at all last year at either corner and he’s looked superb so far this year. I’m sure he’ll have his blunders, but so did Rolen. He definitely has the arm. I think the time with Rolen was invaluable for him.

    • @Love4Reds: First time I saw the video. He was DEFINITELY out. Not even close. Not sure why the home plate ump would have gotten into a better position to see the play. You know where the slide is going to happen so you stand directly behind the catcher so that his body blocks your view of the exact place the tag has to happen? Baseball officiating drives me crazy. If tennis can make rulings based on laser sensors I don’t know why evey sport can’t. It’s not even hard to use regular video technology anymore. That call would have taken 15 seconds to review and get right.

      • There is a second link now that has several different camera angles :

        http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_04_04_anamlb_cinmlb_1&mode=video&content_id=26005541&tcid=vpp_copy_26005541

        from these … I can see where on the initial swipe he didn’t actually touch Pujols leg, which would make him safe because he was on the plate by the time he tagged him the second time. Pretty unfortunate. But it happens. Regardless, Reds got the W.

        @eric nyc:

        • @Love4Reds: Ive watched it about 30 times from all the angles. It’s not even close. He was definitely out and I can’t even understand why the ump couldn’t see it from where he was standing. There’s also the really strange 2-3 second pause before he makes the call. It’s almost like he’s thinking “Future HOFer Albert Pujols…Maybe I should give him one?”

          Dude was out.

        • @Love4Reds: I can’t tell from the video angle on mlb.com but the broadcasters felt Pujols was safe after viewing a replay.

          In any case, Hanigan was out of position, too far in front of the plate, so Pujols was able to sneak by while Hanigan’s swipe tag (apparently) missed.

          Hanigan’s biggest screw up on the play was applying a second tag, showing the umpire that he might just have missed the first time.

  11. Actually. Pujols was safe. I was at the game and very upset at the time of the call, however upon seeing the replay I thought Hanigan may have missed the tag. Hanigan also felt the need to tag Pujols a 2nd time after Pujols’ foot was on the plate and that 2nd tag confirms my suspicion. that he may have missed him the 1st time.

  12. I think what the Reds should have done is trade for Choo for LF, use the Ludwick & Broxton money for Michael Bourne, and then trade Hamilton for the top tier starter Chapman was supposed to be.

    But that would have required knowing what they were doing with Chapman during the offseason rather than a week before the season.

    Now that we have Ludwick in the fold, I don’t see how it can happen. Ludwick’s hurt, and he’s old, and he’s getting paid, so I can’t really see that they’d be able to get any value for him. I’d much rather have Choo for years, but that ship may have sailed.

    • @al: Unless Big Bob absolutely forbids it, I think Walt trades Chapman this offseason. Between Broxton and Hoover we obviously have contingency plans, and that’s assuming Masset never throws a pitch again. Walt got screwed on the Broxton deal. He’ll find a way to salvage it. We clear up a ton of salary next year with Arroyo gone and a likely Chapman trade. Tie some of that up in a Latos/Bailey extension and there’s still cash to go around. Payroll will go up even more. We still haven’t finalized the new TV deal.

        • @al: I think Walt is smart enough to look beyond 2014 and Bob can be convinced. There’s a decent chance we’re going to have to cut Ludwick next year as it is. If he doesn’t come back full strength from this injury then it will just go dwindling as a risky veteran contract that backfired.

    • @al:

      You are absolutely right. The Ludwik signing was odd at the time (for the amount) and it looked worse and worse as Bourne was unsigned for so long. Oh we’ll.

      • @al:

        @al:

        You are absolutely right. The Ludwik signing was odd at the time (for the amount) and it looked worse and worse as Bourne was unsigned for so long. Oh we’ll.

        Bourn would have cost more, required a longer commitment, blocked Hamilton, and cost a draft a pick. Ludwick is making like 2.5 mil this year i think where as Bourn is making closer to 10 or 12. Would have been nice but probably not possible. Also Ludwick had an awesome second half last year and seemed poised to have a solid year this year. Between the player and the creative contract, i liked the Ludwick deal.

        • @RisingRed: If you read my post, you would have seen that I said trade Hamilton for the top starter that Chapman was supposed to be.

          Think about it this way, we had $15mil to spend and Stubbs to trade, and we wanted to improve the outfield and rotation, and keep the bullpen good.

          There were many ways to go about doing that. One was to sign Ludwick and Brox ($15mil), trade for Choo, and move Chapman to the rotation. Outfield+, rotation+, bullpen same(ish).

          Another would have been to sign Bourne ($15mil), trade for Choo for LF, and trade Hamilton for a good starter, while keeping Chapman in the pen. That’s outfield ++, rotation +, and bullpen same.

          Instead we got outfield+, rotation same, bullpen +.

  13. I’m soooooooooo glad the frigid, winter baseball games are apparently over and the spring games are starting this weekend. Maybe Votto and Bruce will thaw out their hitting strokes against the Nats.

    With both Votto and Bruce getting off to very slow starts, I’m absolutely thrilled with Super Todd’s start. What if, and I say this most hesitantly, what if Super Todd is more than capable of contributing at the major league level at the same level he contributed at the minor league level, if not better. Super Todd had an .827 OPS over 6 minor league seasons with average defense. That’s good but it doesn’t knock anyone out of their chair. Now an .827 OPS at the major league level does start rocking some chairs. That’s Ryan Zimmerman, Jason Heyward, Andre Ethier, Martin Prado or Justin Upton good. Super Todd had an .829 OPS last season with average defense, but I get the sense that he is ready to take his game to another level.

    It’s happened before with an .862 OPS over a 6 year minor league career with average defense at best maturing into a .967 OPS with gold glove defense at the major league level. The difference in their rookie seasons was that Super Todd broke into the show with an impact at age 26 and finished 3rd in ROY voting last year while the player who fully blossomed at the major league level broke into the show with an impact at age 24, finished 2nd in ROY voting that year, won his 1st MVP 2 years later and his 1st GG 3 years later. What if…

  14. Steve, Good point about the possible impact of Marshall’s tired shoulder on the Parra-Arredondo decision, I had the same thought. It still should have been Arredondo who stayed with the Reds, as he gets batters out better than Parra (especially LHed batters) but I have the same hope that after Marshall returns, Parra is sent down and Arredondo is brought up.

    • Steve, Good point about the possible impact of Marshall’s tired shoulder on the Parra-Arredondo decision, I had the same thought. It still should have been Arredondo who stayed with the Reds, as he gets batters out better than Parra (especially LHed batters) but I have the same hope that after Marshall returns, Parra is sent down and Arredondo is brought up.

      Yeah, but someone needs to realize that Arredondo’s splits have worked that way for his entire career and begin treating him as a lefty. He was actually on a closer’s track until his injury. There is no way ever I would support keeping Parra over Arredondo. Of course, my Arredondo man crush is well documented and goes back to when I first saw him snapping that split finger pitch off with the Angels. Just a bad move, IMO. It’s also good to ‘see’ you Pinson.

      • @preach: Hi Preach, good to “see” you too. It’s a mystery to me that Dusty won’t treat Arredondo as a lefty, as far as match ups go. He’s aware that Arredondo’s numbers are better against lefties (been quoted as such) but treats that as meaning “he can also pitch to lefties”. He still prefers a lefty reliever to face lefties, regardless.

  15. Speaking of Marshall, I hope he’s back in action against the Nats. Like many of us, I’d like to see him used more often in the 8th inning. But I wouldn’t have minded at all if he came in to pitch the 7th inning today, with the top of the Angels order coming up. Having Simon instead was scary, especially in that he didn’t even pitch much this spring, because of the WBC.

  16. “Shin-Soo Choo hit Joe Blanton’s first pitch into the left-field seats. He must have been confused and thought Bronson Arroyo was still on the mound.”

    Great stuff. Just seeing Bronson on the mound seems to get Choo going. And as for Bronson, he’s probably counting the number of HRs Choo hits for him, to see if/when it reaches the number of HRs Choo hit against him.

  17. I was excited with the Choo signing from jump street, and he is quickly rising on my list of roster favorites. I would love to extend him and shift him to a corner if need be. He definately seems to be a team oriented guy. My assessment is not based on a series, but on his body of work. I hope we get past the ‘stop gap’ mentality and can lock him up. The idea someone floated of Choo-Bourne-Bruce in the outfield would have been awesome. All the ground Bourne can cover with those two cannon arms on the corners would have been a crazy good outfield, on top of what our lineup could have looked like. Oh, well. But if we extend Choo, perhaps something similar can be a goal for next season.

  18. Boy, the Reds better hurry up and make a trade to replace Ludwick before they fall in too deep of a hole!

  19. Cingrani was overpowering in his first AAA outing tonight for the Louisville Bats. He struck out 14 in six innings with 1 walk and no hits.

  20. OK, those of you who thought I was being SO UNFAIR to a certain center fielder last year – Choo had 4 hits and scored 4 runs in our first 3 games – he whose name will not be spoken is now batting a robust .143 – but I’m sure he’s saved countless runs in the Tribe’s outfield!!!

  21. OK, those of you who thought I was being SO UNFAIR to a certain center fielder last year – Choo had 4 hits and scored 4 runs in our first 3 games – he whose name will not be spoken is now batting a robust .143 – but I’m sure he’s saved countless runs in the Tribe’s outfield!!!

  22. Here’s a big problem I have with signing Choo long-term: He doesn’t profile as a middle-of-the-order hitter, which is what we really need, someone to hit between Votto and Bruce.

    Ok, say you sign Choo and put him in left with BHam in center. I would assume your top 3 hitters would go:

    CF BHam
    LF Choo
    1B Votto

    Then what? We have to hope Frazier or Mesoraco can round into form to fill that 4th spot in the lineup, unless you guys are comfortable with BPhil hitting there until he retires. The other problem is Choo is a lefty, and we all know how loathe Dusty is to hit lefties back to back, so I’m not even sure Dusty would let him hit 2nd in front of Votto.

    If we let Choo go after this season, we could try again with our plan of having Phillips hit 2nd with BHam leading off and then we could try to fill left field with our middle of the order power hitter.

    • @CI3J:

      Basically, the big problem I have with Choo is, knowing how Dusty thinks, Choo can only hit 1st or 7th. Otherwise, he would be in danger of crossing the streams and hitting directly before or after Votto, and reality as we know it would come crashing down and cease to exist.

    • @CI3J: Kind of a weird thing to focus on. WJ shouldn’t even care what Dusty would like to do. Just collecting good hitters is enough to optimize the lineup.

      Hamilton could easily start as a #2 hitter. Choo’s on-base skills are likely more advanced anyway. Hamilton sac bunting isn’t actually a sacrifice bunt, he’ll be bunting for a hit every time he puts the ball on the ground, plus he’ll get a nice little boost from having the 3B playing on the grass all the time.

      If the Reds start collecting great OBP guys, it’s extremely difficult for Dusty to screw up anything.

    • @CI3J: Choo hit third in Cleveland, and he’d be a great 2 hole hitter. The problem isn’t Choo, it’s Baker.

      Against a RH starter (80% of the league) a middle of the order of Choo, Votto, Bruce would be devastating. It’s just that Baker plays for the 8th inning instead of the 1st.

      Bruce was 3rd in the league in HR last year and got a decent amount of MVP votes. Anyone who doesn’t think he could hit cleanup in this league is drinking Baker’s coolade.

  23. If someone told you Votto and Bruce went 2 for 23 combined would you have expected the Reds to have won 2 out of 3 against the Angels?

  24. As @hoosierdad: pointed out, Tony Cingrani had an excellent first AAA start with 6.0 ip, 0 r, 0 h, 1 bb & 14 so for the Bats. Cingrani was followed to the mound by Justin Freeman in his 1st AAA appearance with 2.0 ip, 0 r, 1 h, 0 bb & 3 so in the 4-3 opening game win for the Bats. Mike Hessman, the 35 year old corner infielder signed as AAA depth, was 2-3 with 2 HR and Felix Perez began another season in AAA, going 1-4 with 1 HR, after a successful 2012 AAA season hitting .301/.348/.401.

  25. The Blue Wahoos had a successful opener with a 7-3 win over the Smokies. Chad Rogers returned to AA where he finished the 2012 season and pitched 5.0 innings with 2 er, 4 h, 1 bb & 4 so to earn the victory, followed by Yohan Pino, a 29 year old minor league aquistion, who pitched 2.0 innings with 0 r, 0 h, 0 bb & 1 so. Cutis Partch finished the game in his return to AA pitching 1.0 inning with 0 r, 0 h, 0 bb & 2 so. Bryson Smith was 1-5 with 1 HR; Donald Lutz and Travis Mattair were both 1-4 with 1 HR; Tucker Barnhart was 2-4 with 1 HR; and Brodie Greene was 2-3 with 1 bb.

  26. El’Hajj Muhammad finshed the 6-2 Blaze loss, in his 1st A+ appearance as he stepped up from A- last season, pitching 1.0 inning with 0 r, 0 h, 2 bb & 2 so. Ryan Wright went 2-4 with 1 2B & 1 bb in his return to A+ after hitting .271/.284/.521 in limited A+ experience last season. Yorman Rodriguez went 1-4 with 1 2B as the talented, toolsy OF continues to try and establish himself in the lower minor leagues.

  27. The Dragons dropped a 6-7 battle in their opener as Robert Stephenson, the young, highly-rated prospect, pitched 5.0 innings with 3 er, 6 h, 1 bb & 6 so.

  28. Absolutely ecstatic about Cingrani’s performance. I know he won’t keep that pace of K’s, but if he continues to pitch well at AAA, there is no reason to keep him at AAA. He is ML-ready. Somebody could find themselves expendable very soon. I’m sure it makes WJ’s job a little easier to go out and get a bopper for LF and the #4 hole.

  29. “Not sure why Dusty Baker double-switched César Izturis for Zack Cozart heading into the seventh inning. Unless Baker thinks Izturis is better defensively (doubtful) or that he wanted to keep open the possibility of using Simon for two innings (equally unlikely), an injury to Cozart is the only other logical explanation.”

    I thought Dusty did a double switch since it was the #8’s turn in the lineup.

    • @TC: The pitcher was due up second the next inning. All the double switch does is avoid having to pinch hit. Baker could have just had Izturis pinch hit for Simon, knowing that LeCure was coming in for the eighth. The double switch essentially puts the pinch hitter in the game. The only reasons to double switch instead of pinch hit are (a) if you want the pitcher to stay in the game a second inning, or (b) if you prefer the pinch hitter to the starting position player, in this case Izturis to Cozart. It seems kind of unlikely that Simon would be considered to pitch a second inning, although there’s an outside possibility of that. It’s hard to believe Baker would prefer Izturis in the field to Cozart. So the move was just puzzling. The simple pinch hitter (in which case you could use a BETTER pinch hitter than Izturis) would have worked fine.

      • @Steve Mancuso:

        @TC: The pitcher was due up second the next inning. All the double switch does is avoid having to pinch hit. Baker could have just had Izturis pinch hit for Simon, knowing that LeCure was coming in for the eighth. The double switch essentially puts the pinch hitter in the game. The only reasons to double switch instead of pinch hit are (a) if you want the pitcher to stay in the game a second inning, or (b) if you prefer the pinch hitter to the starting position player, in this case Izturis to Cozart. It seems kind of unlikely that Simon would be considered to pitch a second inning, although there’s an outside possibility of that. It’s hard to believe Baker would prefer Izturis in the field to Cozart. So the move was just puzzling. The simple pinch hitter (in which case you could use a BETTER pinch hitter than Izturis) would have worked fine.

        Ok, so I wasn’t crazy in the game thread when I kept saying it made no sense….thanks, Steve.

  30. One thing I didn’t see mentioned enough in the post-game wrap was Heisey’s start. Giving credit where it’s due, in the first two games I haven’t missed Ludwick at all. If Heisey can keep playing at this level, the Reds are going to be just fine.

  31. As far as the double-switch, the only thing I can think of was with a short bullpen, Baker was hoping he’d get 2 innings out of Simon.

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