2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: Votto seems to have “found it”

Let’s recap today’s titanic struggle….

FINALrntitanic-copy
Miami 6
Cincinnati 10

W: Ondrusek (1-0)
L: Sanabia (2-2)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
– The Reds blew a 2-2 game open with 8 runs in the bottom of the 7th.

– Votto was 3-5 and homered for the second day in a row and hit the ball HARD today. The last two days have been like he threw a switch and started seeing the ball better (or something).

– Choo was 2-2 with a walk and 2 HBP. He also scored twice in the 7th inning. He’s an OBP machine. I have a serious man-crush on this guy.

– SuperTodd was enjoying the day off when called off the bench and, in his second AB, delivered a bases loaded double, driving in 3 runs.

– Paul got the start in LF and contributed 2 hits.

– Bailey didn’t really have his good stuff today, but he gave the Reds 6 innings, allowing only 2 runs.

– Ondrusek threw a VERY IMPRESSIVE 7th, striking out the side. Simon gave them a solid 8th also.

NEGATIVES
– Parra was bad in the 9th, allowing 4 runs on 4 hits. A decision will have to be made on Tuesday, assuming Marshall is activated, and Parra is making the decision easier.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
– I’m tired of the Reds (i.e. Choo) getting plunked with no retaliation. I’m not saying all the time, but if you hit my guy 2X in the same game, I’m having my pitcher knock someone down and the Marlins best player was leading off the next inning after Choo was hit the 2nd time. Dusty’s supposed to be “old school” and I’m surprised he allows this.

– Attendance today was 28,882; but looking around the stands, it seemed like more. But who wants to see the Marlins, I guess.

95 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: Votto seems to have “found it”

  1. -Are you serious about the retaliation? It’s pretty clear Choo is partially to blame…it accomplishes nothing.

    -Phillips, Bruce & Mes had some great/important at bats in the 8th.

    -Mesoraco needs to be batting 7th for the next couple weeks.

    • @CP: I’m with Bill on this. I don’t usually agree with retaliating, but this can’t continue. Choo’s been lucky so far, but i don’t want to see him get hit in the head, or throat, or fingers, or foot. If it continues it is a mathematical certainty.

    • @CP: I’m really surprised with this retaliation talk. It has echos of Carlos Quentin.

      Has everyone missed the fact that Choo always gets hits by a ton of pitches? Yes, this year is extreme for anyone so far, but this is what he does.

      He turns into pitches rather than jumping out of the way. He never moves his feet, he just rotates so that he doesn’t get hit in the face or knees. He doesn’t lean into pitches so I think it’s fair, it’s not like these are strikes that he’s getting hit by. But to call for retaliation knowing this seems a little childish.

    • @CP: I agree with you CP. Choo actually stands very close to the plate and the guy leans into it. He’s gonna get plunked and there is no need for retaliation based on the fact that Choo’s approach is a big reason he gets hit so much. It reminds me of how Biggio used to go about getting on base. The guy got it all the time and it was part of his game. Getting hit is part of Choo’s game, especially when he’s leading off.

      If I thought pitchers were head-hunting him then perhaps I’d feel differently. I’m just not seeing that in the cases where Choo has been hit though.

  2. I totally agree with protecting Choo and disagree that he is partially to blame. He isn’t crowding the plate. There is nothing wrong with throwing some brushback pitches to get a point across.

    • @eastcoast redsfan: Right, NL pitchers just hate Choo. C’mon…

      If the Reds retaliate everytime he’s HBP, they’ll run out of pitchers from all the suspensions.

      Token retaliation is just a waste of time. Opposing pitchers aren’t going to stop throwing inside against Choo b/c their afraid some scrub RP will hit their good players. It’s pointless.

  3. I should have said 7th or higher

    Well, I assume the Reds’ starting lineup won’t include Paul, Hannahan, and Izturis. Mes should be hitting ahead of all these guys anyway.

    He should also be hitting in front of Cozart but we know that ain’t happening.

  4. Yeah it seems like whatever is going on, Choo is part of his own HBP numbers. I haven’t seen him lean into any purposefully yet (there was one last week in the thigh I thought he could have easily gotten out of the way of, but that was it) but you just don’t get hit that much without it being something in your approach. That being said, I can’t imagine a single one of those HBP has been intentional. He’s turning so many of them into runs any opposing pitcher would be stupid to do it intentionally. And honestly, we’ve been in a lot of close games lately. Why put runners on base for the other team?

    Anyway, the BP’s at bat in the 8th was a thing of beauty. My brain is telling me he can’t keep this up, but he just looks like he’s doing what he does only more consistently. If he does keep it up he has to be in the MVP conversation.

    • @eric nyc: Choo got hit 14 times in 686 PA last year and 6 in 358 PA the year before. He says he isn’t doing anything different and he isn’t crowding the plate. He is getting hit because he is hitting everyhing over the plate. Outside pitches he goes the other way, inside pitches he pulls. He got on base 6 times Saturday and the Reds only scored 3 runs. Which is more stupid: Throwing way inside where the worst thing that happens is Choo gets hit, setting up a double play for the black hole at number 2, or throwing it somewhere where it gets scalded for possibly a double or homerun.

      • @eastcoast redsfan: Teams are obviously pitching him inside, but are you arguing we should start hitting opposing batters in an attempt to make them stop? Right now it’s part of his league leading OBP so I say take it. Plunking Giancarlo Stanton isn’t going to make teams start throwing him strikes on the outer third of the plate all of a sudden.

    • @eric nyc:

      Yeah it seems like whatever is going on, Choo is part of his own HBP numbers. I haven’t seen him lean into any purposefully yet (there was one last week in the thigh I thought he could have easily gotten out of the way of, but that was it) but you just don’t get hit that much without it being something in your approach.

      Early in the season, Dusty said that Choo has an improper technique for getting out of the way of inside pitches. Something about the way he turns his lower body.
      Dusty knows a lot about hitting technique, but I couldn’t understand what he was saying. He expressed concern that Choo would eventually get hurt.

      BTW I would add that pitchers aren’t necessarily upset right now when they hit Choo.

  5. Bruce’s at bat right after that BP at bat was very nice as well. I love when Bruce goes up there and forces them to throw him 8+ pitches just to attempt to get him out.

    • @Mwv: yeah, Bruce has a couple new tricks this year. (I’m also referring to his oppo hitting). Perhaps he can use them to reduce the length of his slumps.

      • @TC: Perhaps, but his season hasn’t been great. No, I’m not worried, players don’t generally change that much. I expect him to start hitting bombs and having streaky hitting.

      • @TC: Bruce’s “new tricks” do reduce the severity of his slumps. A number of people observed on the game thread that right now when Jay is taking his power swing, he’s pulling away from the ball.

        So in that sense he’s in one of his slumps right now, but he’s confining it to a “power slump” with the hitting adjustments he’s made. In addition to the walks and opposite field hits, I like the screaming line drives that he’s pulled into RF a number of times.

        And just as I wasn’t concerned about Votto’s power stroke, I’m not concerned about Jay’s either. He’s feast or famine with HRs, we’ve seen it many times.

        • @pinson343: Not true in its entirety. Bruce is walking less this year than last year. And he’s striking out more this year.

          It’s amazing how hitting 35 points higher has changed a lot of people’s opinion. And that could be explained solely by BABIP luck.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Batting 35 points higher is a lot if he keeps it up. But I think people are more enthused about how relatively well he’s doing in one of those stretches where he doesn’t have his power stroke.

          I agree that he’s still essentially going to be a streaky power hitter.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Actually, he’s walking at a faster clip than last year. He had 61 BBs last year. He currently has 8 for this year, projected over the season is 72 walks. What concerns me are the SOs. But this sudden ability to extend an AB is helping. You are right about his power stroke, but wasn’t it just 4 days ago you were worried about Votto’s power stroke?

    • @Mwv: @Mwv: I liked that AB too. Down 0-2, he takes and fouls off pitches until he draws the walk.

      Reminded me of his 7th inning walk against Cliff Lee on Jackie Robinson Day.
      He was also 0-2 then, but Lee couldn’t put him away, and during that AB threw a WP that scored Votto with the first run of the game.

    • @Mwv:

      I think I recall seeing something about Bruce trying out a new technique to shorten his swing when he’s in a hole, like choking up on the bat or something. That could explain why he’s having longer at-bats and fouling off more pitches and also why he seems to lack power; while before he’d be swinging for the fences ever pitch of the at-bat and could get a hold of one even down 0-2, now he only has that chance if he’s ahead in the count.

      Either way, I like this approach and hope Bruce finally finds that happy medium to become a balanced hitter like Votto, just lower average and more power.

  6. My worries about Votto’s injury are decreasing fast. I’m happy.

    I still don’t get that his slump was due to him putting pressure on himself because of the contract…given that he’s had that contract for over a year now.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Definitely. His homer yesterday was good to see, but it was just a hard hit line drive that managed to go over the short porch in right field. If it was in any other stadium it would have been a double off the wall. However, his one today was one of those long, arching bombs that comes when he really wacks the hell out of it. It’s good to see that he’s truly got his power back.

  7. Homer didn’t have his A+ velocity today, but he had his good curve and splitter. From what I could tell, he was pounding the lower part of the zone on the edges of the strike zone that could have been either balls or strikes, and the ump was calling them balls. Hanigan is a good pitch framer, and it will be interesting to see if this is something that we will see more of while he is out of the line-up.

  8. From the two Reds games I’ve seen on television — I’m a long way from Cincy — and then from today’s highlights, it looks like Choo does indeed crowd the plate, especially compared to most hitters in baseball.

    I have to think that Choo himself would have shown some reaction to being hit so many times, and the Reds’ pitchers would have offered some retaliation by now, if Dusty thought Choo wasn’t somehow asking for it — and willing to take it.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if part of the reason is that pitchers want to try to brush back Choo off the plate, but they’re so unused to pitching inside that the pitches get away from them.

    • @Brian Van Hook: Ive watched just about every game. He MIGHT crowd the plate a bit, but only maybe 2 of his HBPs have been brushes. At least 4 or 5 of them would have been solid hits if he was well off the plate. He doesn’t sprawl out of the way the way some guys do, but honestly I’ve always thought more major league players should man up and take a hit to the thigh or back every once in a while if they can keep their reflexes in check.

      • @Brian Van Hook: @eric nyc: Repeating what I said above (just now):
        Early in the season, Dusty said that Choo has an improper technique for getting out of the way of inside pitches. Something about the way he turns his lower body.
        Dusty knows a lot about hitting technique, but I couldn’t understand what he was saying. He expressed concern that Choo would eventually get hurt.

        Pitchers aren’t necessarily upset right now when they hit Choo, so that’s probably a factor too.

  9. I don’t think Choo crowds the plate any more than most high OBP guys do, especially in the leadoff spot. I guess I’m old school, but someone should be dusting themselves off once in a while. I’m not saying have Aroldis uncork one at someone’s helmet, but you do have an obligation to protect your leadoff guy. If the guy couldn’t hit, maybe I’m not so quick to retaliate (if it was Stubbs, let him take the shot), but Choo can drill one at anytime and use the whole field to do it. It’s hard for me to believe that it’s accidental. I believe that the thought is since he’s so good at getting on base anyway, might as well give the two hole hitter something to think about. I could be wrong, and maybe over the course of the season this will work itself back to normalcy, but if it keeps up he will be pretty sore by June. I would never try to hurt someone, but I think heated rivalries are part of the game and you need to be prepared to guide your pitches with a little more precision if you are going to plunk our leadoff man.

    • @preach: the problem is, maybe some of their pitchers are just trying to make him fall into the dust, but he turns into pitches and gets on base.

      that could easily happen in the situation you’re saying you want to happen. that seems stupid to me. the reds pitchers are getting guys out, let winning be the retaliation.

  10. I was fortunate enough to be in section 116 today. I was very surprised that the attendance was reported shy of 30K. However, I always did lose those “guess the number of pieces of candy in the jar and win the jar of candy” contests in elementary school.

    Boy, Votto continues to look worse and worse this year (figure some sort of reverse ju ju is at work here-since it was the inane Doc sentiments that seem to coincide with Votto’s recent performance) . . . I’m not sure he’ll ever hit another home run.

    Regarding Choo, the first HBP looked totally incidental. However, the second one was the first pitch of the AB and was square in the back (above the waist). Choo is on the plate. However, I don’t believe he is as close as his HBP numbers suggest (they suggest that he is conjoined with the plate). In a one run or tie game, nothing is going to be or should be done. However, it may have been worth buzzing their CF later in the game just to let Choo and the other hitters know the pitchers have their backs. . . and, yes, I do believe that hitters pay attention to whether or not their pitchers will protect them.

    My biggest take from the past few games is Mesoraco. He is a legit bat and should add quite of pause in the minds of opposing pitchers. While I love Hanigan’s overacheiving self as much as the next guy, I believe this may well be Mesoraco’s time to shine.

    Finally, since “para” is (I believe) a common term for money in southern Europe (old Ottoman currency), do you believe the Reds could get many para for Manny Parra? . . . At this point, I believe I would pay many para for someone to take Manny Parra.

    • Finally, since “para” is (I believe) a common term for money in southern Europe (old Ottoman currency), do you believe the Reds could get many para for Manny Parra? . . . At this point, I believe I would pay many para for someone to take Manny Parra.

      Great stuff. Or could the Reds get any manna in exchange for Manny ?

  11. Some players are shining while others are not, yet the Reds are tied for first. This really could be a scary good team this year and to in years to come. There seems to be a nice cycle of players coming through the minor leagues- once the long term contracts expire. Love the idea of Mesoraco playing well, another bat to thump opposing pitchers

    • @SFredsfan: I have the same feeling that a new era of Reds baseball has begun that’s going to last for a while. It started in 2010, although there was a hiccup in 2011.

  12. Joey said 10 days ago that he had not had a swing he was happy with since the injury, but he was “close” to regaining his swing. Maybe more people will believe him next time.

    • Joey said 10 days ago that he had not had a swing he was happy with since the injury, but he was “close” to regaining his swing. Maybe more people will believe him next time.

      Joey Votto isn’t paid $20 million to think about these things!

  13. I was a little surprised at the announced attendance, too. My guess was a couple thousand more. What might have happened was that all those high school baseball players who were there today (had to be more than 1,000) may have received free tickets and not counted.

  14. I’m plenty okay w/letting our staff throw exactly how Bryan Price has had them throwing for over a year now. I also think retaliation beanings are stupid, especially when it’s really only one guy getting hit, and the pitchers throwing the ball are young and inaccurate.

    Plus, Choo starts with his hips cocked way around and doesn’t open up/lean back/jump out of the batters box to dodge anything; I’m not saying he’s leaning in to them, but simply holding your ground and twisting your right hip around certainly does nothing to improve your positioning in the box or in relation to the incoming pitch. Plus, as Eric NYC wisely pointed out, Choo smokes a ball a game the other way and has shown no worries about denting the fences in GAB(S)P…pitchers are trying to jam the ball in on his hands and missing, that’s all.

    • Plus, Choo starts with his hips cocked way around and doesn’t open up/lean back/jump out of the batters box to dodge anything; I’m not saying he’s leaning in to them, but simply holding your ground and twisting your right hip around certainly does nothing to improve your positioning in the box or in relation to the incoming pitch.

      Well stated, that’s what Dusty was saying early in the season about Choo’s tendency to get hit by pitches.

    • Actually Choo has gone out of his way to avoid several pitches that would have hit him otherwise. Even in yesterday’s game there was one he dove out of the way of that was far inside. Not saying he has a perfect approach to avoid inside pitches but he’s definitely not just standing up there and taking every one that comes in at him.

  15. BTW, Votto was out a bit on his front foot on the HR (changeup down), but he was sitting on a change, first pitch. When you’re that smart/well-studied at the plate, sometimes you get in your own way/focus on guessing the pitch a bit much and take a few awkward “oops” swings. I’ll take his stat line, his talent, and his leadership everyday and, if the man says he’s fine, he’s one athlete I believe knows himself well enough to be fully trusted. I also would be okay with sending Jacoby down the Ohio and making Votto a player/batting coach, lol.

    • @Halfwayd: If he says he’s fine about his stroke, I trust him. If he says he’s fine about his health, I strap him into the nearest MRI machine :-)

  16. I agree with the comments about the announced attendance. seemed to be closer to 32,000 to me.

    As for retaliating for all the HBPs I’m on the fence. I really dont think any of them have been intentional, but that doesn’t mean it’s right. Choo steps toward third base a little in his swing and i think that has more to do with it than anything. Now if he starts getting hit up around the shoulders, then let the bean balls commence.

  17. My point on the “protecting Choo” was two fold…one is, you might make a pitcher think about pitching him inside, thus giving him less plate that he needs to cover and the other is you let him know that you’re aware that he’s taking one for the team and that this isn’t acceptable. I know it’s a “kinder and gentler baseball” these days…but he’s been hit now what 10 times in 19 games or something?

    • @Bill Lack: I can see your point. And if it keeps up against the Cards and Nats I say go ahead and plunk Harper or Holiday in the right spot. But against offenses like the Pirates, Phillies, and Marlins I wouldn’t bother wasting the easy outs. If they hit Choo in the head, that’s a different story.

    • @Bill Lack: I can’t believe you actually think that us throwing at some guy on the other team is going to stop their pitcher from pitching inside if he wants to. You may be getting wrapped up in the soap opera of the whole thing.

  18. anyone see the baker interview after the game on sunday. Piecoro asked him about choo and votto being 1, 2 in OBP in the league. baker immediately said OBP is good but RBI are better, quickly changing the subject to BP and how he leads league in RBI. lol @ baker, he hates “base clogging”

  19. Good morning Nation! So nice to open the old google machine and see the Redlegs right where they belong – at the top of the NL Central standings! Enjoyed a day at GABP yesterday.

    I agree with those of you who thought that the attendance was 30,000+ yesterday. Steve makes a good point about the teenage players who might not have been included in that number. Another thing I thought after they announced it was that nearly all of the 28,000 who were there were crowded into the seats where there was sunshine. We were up in 536 in the shade and it was pretty darn cold. We had hoodies, gloves, blankets, etc. Meanwhile, we watched as those in the sun were in shirt sleeves and shorts! Most of the people who were up there with us had bailed out for a warmer spot by the third inning. It was pretty sparse up in the shade – kind of the 180 opposite from what Sunday games will be in July and August!

    One observation that I took away from yesterday was that the Reds seem to play VERY conservatively on the basepaths. I’m not sure if this is just Speier’s style or if he’s still acclamating to coaching 3rd. I noticed two or three situations where he held runners that I thought should have been sent home (in two cases it cost Votto and BP an RBI). I seem to remember thinking the same thing a couple of times during the Nats series when we were there as well. I like the idea of putting the pressure on the defense to make the play, but then again, I’m not coaching third base for the Reds for about a million reasons!

    • @Kyle Farmer:

      One observation that I took away from yesterday was that the Reds seem to play VERY conservatively on the basepaths. I’m not sure if this is just Speier’s style or if he’s still acclamating to coaching 3rd.

      There is no question that Speier is taking a very conservative aproach at sending runners around 3B, especially if that runner is named Votto, but his decisions have not been limited to just Votto.

      I am a huge fan of all out aggression in baseball, put the pressure on the other team to make the play, take the extra base. I have no knowledge of Speier’s style when he coached 3B for Dusty in Chitown, but I’m OK with a little more discression right now at least. We’ve already lost Ludwick for months. Cueto is down for weeks. The Reds do not have the roster depth to absorb more critical, extended injuries without a significant dropoff in production. If another key player goes down to an extended injury, WJ could be forced to make a move he really doesn’t want to make in order to salvage this season.

      • @Shchi Cossack: I had not even considered the injury angle but you are absolutely correct. That may be a big part of the conservative decision making in regard to sending the runner from 3rd.

  20. I pretty much agree with CP about retaliating for Choo’s HBP’s: I don’t think that he’s being thrown at; I don’t even believe that they’re purpose pitches. I think that pitchers are afraid to use the outer part of the plate against him and are not adept at pitching inside (due to metal bats in lower level baseball?). Also, Choo, for all of his manifest virtues (please sign him long-term!), does not move his lower body out of the way when he turns to avoid a pitch. Retaliation works both ways, you know: Do we want Votto and Choo and Phillips, etc. being dumped when our pitchers are using the inside of the plate? Do we want our pitchers suspended? Do we want to put opposing runners on base? After all, a HBP is as good as a walk is as good as a single, eh? On the subject of Dusty’s comment concerning OBP and RBI: Runs have, evidently, joined other discredited stats from my youth as an old school metric. I do understand the valid point about needing runners on base to be driven in, and I accept that many of the innovations in stat use identify values that were overlooked in days of yore, but it seems incontrovertible that the old style stats did identify the great players. Mays, Aaron, Robinson, Mantle, Williams, etc. were not frauds.

    • @greenmtred: If the Reds plunked a few guys here and there, it would be a rather insignificant thing and notably done when game action dictated it was any kind of reasonable. But, yes, ultimately, HBP is the same as a BB, and run prevention is the name of the game. Nobody here would advocate for more BB’s or base runners in general. Run prevention and runs scored are the most important things around. Runs are only “discredited” insofar as a guy being somehow significantly responsible for the runs he scores… that’s a team stat, in the larger picture.

    • @greenmtred: all the stats identify those guys as great. it’s not like WAR missed on Mickey Mantle. But there are a lot more misses using AVG and RBI than there are using OPS and WAR.

  21. As for attendance, the Reds are 7.9% ahead of last year’s gate after 13 games.

    However, a portion of that increase can be attributed to the fact that the first 13 games this year included two Friday games, whereas only one Friday game was included in 2012.

    Bottom line: attendance is just slightly ahead of where it was last year.

  22. Going into the bottom of the 7th inning, the score was tied 2-2. The Reds had pounded the ball all day, but everything was finding a glove rather than a hole. Sanabia was pitching a good game but there was no question, he was getting very lucky. Then the bottom of the 7th started:

    Walk
    Single
    Single
    Single
    Walk
    Single

    The Reds hitters were having excellent AB, but the Reds were simply going one base at a time. After six straight batters reached base to start the inning, the Reds had plated the minimum 3 runs and the bases were loaded. Then Heisey pops out in the IF and Izturis pops out in the IF, leaving 2 outs, the bases loaded and the Reds hitters failing to put the game away.

    Up steps Todd Frazier and after two strikes and two pitches no where near the strike zone, Frazier unleashes his fury on the baseball and scorches a line drive to the opposite field. The ball didn’t clear the RF wall, but the only reason it didn’t damage the wall was the extensive padding used on the outfield walls to protect the outfielders. That my friends was the play of the game. That play took a scaling knife to the fish and put 3 nails in their coffin. Then Choo and XP follow with two more doubles. BALLGAME!!!

  23. In terms of Baker and RBIs: the Reds LEAD THE LEAGUE in runs, and Votto and Bruce have combined for 15 RBIs. The Reds are 5th in slugging percentage, and 1st in on base percentage, and LEAD THE LEAGUE in runs. The Reds leave tons of runners on, and they LEAD THE LEAGUE in runs.

    Good grief, Dusty. Maybe it’s time for you to go back and really think hard about how to hit better with runners in scoring position. The Reds are winning, yet Baker doesn’t understand why.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: To add to this: According to Baseball Reference, the Reds have had 549 baserunners on with someone at the plate. The next closest team in the NL is LA Dodgers with 489. Wow.

      And, if I’m reading right, the Reds have had 15% (T-5th) of runners score by “the batters play”. NL average is 14%. The WLB’s are in at impressive 20%.

      It’s almost as if you put on a ton of runners, you’re bound to leave some out there. Huh. Deep. :)

  24. I haven’t heard anyone mention this, but Choo has gotten on base 11 times in a row now. That seems like it has to be getting close to either a Reds, NL, or MLB record. I know those kind of stats are hard to come up with, it would probably take Elias to do it. But I am curious.

    • @al: That or Wikipedia.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Major_League_Baseball_individual_streaks

      Consecutive plate appearances reaching base (unofficial) (includes all possible ways of reaching base: base hit, walk, hit-by-pitch, error, fielder’s choice, dropped third strike, catcher’s interference and fielder’s obstruction)
      17 – Earl Averill, Jr., Los Angeles Angels – June 3 through June 10 (first game), 1962 (7 hits, 8 walks, 1 error, 1 fielder’s choice)

      Ted Williams holds the official record not including errors and fielder’s choices with 16. Nothing on a NL record. Williams also holds the record for consecutive games on base with 84. So Choo has a ways to go on that one.

      • @eric nyc: nice, thanks.

        well, it’s a lot to ask, but if choo gets on base 5 more times tonight, he’ll tie the all-time record. that’s something.

    • @al: According to Baseball Almanac –
      All time record – 17, Frank Ward, Reds, 1893
      Modern record – 16, Ted Williams, Red Sox, 1957

      Not sure about the modern NL or modern club record, though.

    • Ted Williams holds the official record not including errors and fielder’s choices with 16. Nothing on a NL record. Williams also holds the record for consecutive games on base with 84. So Choo has a ways to go on that one.

      Anytime a hitter’s name comes up in any reference or comparison with Ted Williams, people should sit up and take notice, and the Reds have TWO! players that fit that mold.

    • @RedFan4Life: I would have taken that .344 out of Stubbs. If that happens for the whole season, the Indians should be fairly happy. I still would rather have Choo but a .344 OBP would be a big improvement for Stubbs. His career OBP is .313 and last year he posted a career-worst .277 (yikes!). I hope Stubbs has a decent year for the tribe this year.

  25. So I’ve been thinking more and more about the possibility fo a Choo extension. I’m still pretty convinced we simply won’t be able to afford it, but let’s assume a few things: We sign Choo to a 4-5 year deal, we trade Ludwick to get his salary next year off the books, Hamilton is ready to start in CF Opening Day 2014. The way I see it that leaves us with a problem.

    I love Todd Frazier. We all love Todd Frazier. He definitely has some thump in his bat and he’s playing great this season. But I simply don’t see him being a consistent 30+ HR guy who can bat cleanup for a top team. Ditto for Mesoraco. So that leaves us with an amazing 1-3 in terms of OBP then a giant hole at 4. And for those thinking we might finally put Bruce there, that would be 3 lefties in the first 4 spots – plus it would make Hamilton’s switch-hitting ability almost useless since he would almost always be batting from the right side.

    So as much as I hate to say it, I think that signing Choo long term would mean we would have to trade Frazier and likely a few prospects to get a real power hitting 3B to bat cleanup. Ideally you’re getting that production from your corner outfield. Those guys are a lot easier to come by. Your Ryan Zimmerman 3B types are a little tougher. We might even find ourselves looking at Edwin Encarnacion. It’s all hypothetical, and like I said I just don’t see how we can afford Choo assuming we extend Latos and Bailey who are much higher priorities, but if we do something would have to give. I suppose trading a 28-year-old third year utility infielder with a ceiling of 20-25 HR’s wouldn’t be the end of the world.

    Food for thought. Feel free to tear me apart now.

    • @eric nyc: Not tearing you apart, but the real stereotypical “cleanup hitter” doesn’t exist anymore. Teams now focus more on defense, so the big ol’ boppers of years past don’t exist. You basically have have a few guys around the league, mostly AL, like Prince Fielder and David Ortiz.

      The Reds aren’t going to trade Todd Frazier, who they have control over for peanuts until 2018, to acquire another third baseman. Ain’t happening. Todd is looking more and more like a top 10 3B anyway, at a fraction of the price.

      If Hamilton is ready for the MLB by next year and can put up something like a .340-.370 OBP (a big, massive IF), and the Reds can somehow afford Choo, well look out, BP/Bruce/Frazier/Mesoraco will put up a ridiculous amount of RBIs. In any order, this team will compete for best offense in baseball every year.

      • @CP: Plus, the goal shouldn’t be to maximize RBIs from the #4 spot, but to maximize runs scored versus minimizing runs given up.

        If Frazier’s contract permits the Reds to sign Choo & extend the contract of Latos/Bailey, then I’d rather have Frazier than a (likely) small upgrade.

    • @eric nyc: Just figure out a way to compel another team to pick up Ryan Ludwick’s full contract. Easier said than done.

      It will make for an interesting offseason.

        • @Bill Lack: Well we might have to give up some cash, but I’d think we could find someone who’d want him for 1 year. It’s not THAT massive of a contract. And I don’t think he’s done with this injury. In any case, assuming the scenario I described we’d have to figure out SOMETHING to do with him.

    • @eric nyc: against a RH starter, what is wrong with having the front 4 in your lineup be LH? Also, 80% of pitchers are RH.

      I’ve never understood what people are so worried about.

        • @al: Well I’m also assuming a team managed by Dusty Baker. Maybe I should have included that. In theory, there should be no problem having Bruce bat cleanup. In which case you have your prototypical power bat coming from the standard corner outfielder spot and you’re set. But clearly Dusty isn’t going to do that. I suppose we could always leave BP at 4, and lord knows he’s showing he can handle it right now. But he’s so far ahead of his career numbers now and everyone knows he’s not a long term solution there.

    • @eric nyc:

      I simply don’t see him being a consistent 30+ HR guy who can bat cleanup for a top team. Ditto for Mesoraco.

      Why, because they haven’t done it before? That sounds like someone mimicking Dusty. You want Zimmerman playing 3B? You want Encarnacion playing 3B? Zimmerman is a 7 year veteran starting 3B who has hit 30+ HR a total of 1 time (2009) in his career. How does that satisfy your criteria for “a real power hitting 3B to hit cleanup”? The only position Encarnacion can field without being a huge liability is DH and Encarnacion is a 10 year veteren who has hit 30+ HR a total of 1 time (2012). Again, how does that satisfy your criteria for “a real power hitting 3B to hit cleanup”?

      How about Headley or Wright? I’m sure SD & NY could be pursuaded to part with either of those players for chump change and then the players could be pursuaded to forgo their exhorbitant salaries in order to fit within Cincinnati’s small market budget, just for the privilege of playing for Cincinnati.

      GEEESH!

      • @Shchi Cossack: I think you’re all kind of making my point, which is that signing Choo to a big extension kind of poses a decent amount of problems. With a more progressive manager it could work out great. With Dusty? And his sway with Castellini? I just see us going a more conservative route.

  26. I’m tired of the Reds (i.e. Choo) getting plunked with no retaliation. I’m not saying all the time, but if you hit my guy 2X in the same game, I’m having my pitcher knock someone down and the Marlins best player was leading off the next inning after Choo was hit the 2nd time. Dusty’s supposed to be “old school” and I’m surprised he allows this.

    Choo is one of those infuriating batters (Votto is another who has been HBP 2x, tied for 5th in the league), who will drive pitchers crazy. He does not yield the plate to anyone and he will deliver consistently with devastating results. Remember how much the Reds’ pitchers (ask Arroyo) hated to face Choo?

    Are the pitchers deliberately trying to throw at Choo? No, with 1 or 2 very probable exceptions this season. Are the pitchers trying to intimidate Choo? Without question, and Choo is not a hitter who will allow a pitcher to intimidate him, even if it means being plunked 9X in 89 PA. I have no doubt that a couple of Choo’s HBP & 1 of Votto’s HBP were intentional. Votto & Choo are both top-self, class players who will simply let their bats do their talking. Harper and Zimmerman should have been drilled previously and Stanton should have been drilled yesterday. Of course there may very well be some behind the scenes discussions with the commisioners office and the umpires regarding the continued assault on Choo that we don’t know anything about. Until we see pitchers being immediatley tossed for throwing behind Choo, for throwing at Choo’s knees or throwing above his shoulders, we won’t be aware of any league action to address the problem.

  27. Has anybody been keeping track of what Choo is being hit with? It seems like he’s being hit by lots of breaking pitches, rather than fastballs thrown right at his body. Seeking retribution because another team wants to put the Reds’ leadoff hitter on base seems silly. I mean, don’t we want the leadoff hitter to reach base in any way possible? Isn’t that what we were hoping for when the team searched for a replacement for Drew Stubbs?

    As far as conservative baserunning calls by the thirdbase coach, I think this year the Reds just have more faith in their hitters to drive in runs than they did in the past. In some cases there are now issues with slower baserunners – in Choo the Reds have less baserunning speed than Drew Stubbs offered, and many more occasions with Choo reaching 3b to analyze. Situations where they would have sent Stubbs sometimes result in the somewhat slower Choo being held up, which is fine with me. I don’t want Choo getting thrown out. Also occasional attempts by the Reds to be aggressive and steal bases seem to go badly.

  28. I’m not sure a Choo extension necessitates getting rid of Ludwick’s contract. From a strictly financial standpoint, there is only one season to worry about. If the budget necessitates a bit of backloading, do it.

    From a non-financial standpoint, Choo’s extension can delay Billy Hamilton’s arrival by a year. Choo could play 2014 in CF while Ludwick finishes his contract and might provide the clean-up thumping bat for 2014. Then in 2015, if Hamilton is ready then, he plays CF and Choo moves to LF.

    I’m not sold on Billy Hamilton being ready at the end of this season. Remember, he hits for zero power. His contribution to the offense then, depends strictly on getting on base and then stealing. If he can’t get to a plus OBP (say better than .350) then I wonder about his overall value.

    Regarding Frazier’s bat, he has 5 homers already this year and his 162-game average in the majors is 26. I’d take that from a clean-up hitter, as long as he also got on base (took walks). Frazier’s walk-rate is decent.

    • @Steve Mancuso: First off, I think it’s a little unfair to say that Hamilton hits for zero power. He doesn’t hit HRs, but he had 22 2B and 14 3B last year in 132 games. That’s a 44 extra base hit pace in the big leagues, and that’s hardly nothing. His speed turns singles into doubles and doubles into triples.

      My biggest problem with a Choo extension is that the Reds would likely be paying a premium, if he comes off a great year, for his decline. Choo for 2 years $30mil would be great. But paying him a ton to play when he’s 35? I don’t know.

      • @al: Billy Hamilton does hit for zero power, he doesn’t hit the ball hard and/or far, he gets extra base hits by hitting the ball in a gap and outrunning the outfielder. If a pitcher hangs a pitch right down the middle the most they have to fear is a triple. He’s got speed, which shouldn’t be confused with power.

    • @Steve Mancuso: Off topic a little, but it seems like they may have moved Hamilton off of SS a little early. If there’s a spot on the field where it looks like Hamilton could really threaten someone’s playing time, it’s Cozart. He’s had 3 good games, but is still hitting .225 with 2 walks.

      • @al: At SS, Hamilton would likely be at best an average defensive player. At CF, he could potentially be elite with his speed. Foot speed isn’t going to help you too much at SS.

      • @al: I agree with Eric in his assessment and could even argue that he’s being generous about Hamilton’s defensive upside at SS. Hamilton has much more upside defensively at CF. Even when he was drafted there were some questions as to rather he had the chops to play a quality SS professionally. His first few seasons in the minors would suggest that the move to CF was probably warranted.

    • @Steve Mancuso: Personally I believe that if they sign Choo to an extension they might as well trade away Billy Hamilton. Hamilton would become a valuable trade chip and Choo provides the leadoff hitter the Reds need. Keep one or the other, not both.

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