2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: Future Games Against the Cubs Should Be Easier

Let’s recap today’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Chicago Cubs 0
Cincinnati 1

W: M. Latos (1-0)
L: J. Samardzija (1-4)
S: A. Chapman (4)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Mat Latos was fantastic today and has been all season. Good to see him finally get a win today. The Reds really do have an excellent rotation.

–Jonathan Broxton really slammed the door in the 8th. That was an excellent performance.

–Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Shin-Soo Choo was on base more than once today.

–Todd Frazier homered. That was important.

–Zack Cozart made a great play in 8th to keep the Reds in the lead.

–Chapman gonna chap.

–Reds finished the homestand 8-2. That’ll do boys, that’ll do.

NEGATIVES
–None

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–I have been a really big supporter of Ryan Hanigan and we are certainly still looking at small samples with Devin, but I’m really starting to feel the roles should be reversed when Hanigan comes back. The staff certainly isn’t imploding from pitching to Mesoraco.

–I have been listening to Marty Brennamen call games since I was a kid. He’s been irritating for several years, but his criticism of Votto is absolutely the height of idiocy. I do believe the game may have passed him by. He’s completely unwilling to change his views based on new information. Thus, his analysis is intellectually worthless.

–For all the hand-wringing preseason, I feel like Choo has been fine in center. He has his moments, but I don’t dread him running out there.

–I’m probably in the minority, but there really isn’t anything I like better than a 1-0 game. So much tension, it’s a great time.

–The Reds head out on a ten game road trip tomorrow against the Nationals, Cardinals, and Cubs. Let’s hope this one goes a bit better than the last one.

148 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: Future Games Against the Cubs Should Be Easier

  1. That’s a great win and Marty’s been dead to me for years. I do love to hear clips of his calls, but can’t stand the “commentary” in between. He’s almost crabby for the sake of being crabby. But he “tells it the way it is.” :I

    Go Reds!

  2. Uhm, how is Parra the losing pitcher? Is he that bad that he loses games when he doesn’t even pitch?

  3. Great game, probably pretty close to what Dusty and Bryan Price wanted. Great pitching and defense with enough offense to run. One run, but come on, whatever works. Mat Latos looked like an ace, even though they ended their streak of striking out over 10 batters. I do like pitching duels and the game was exciting from beginning to end.

    Cozart was both the huge drag on the offense with two double plays and the hero of the game with his great game-saving defensive play. Nice work. It was nice to see Broxton prove that he’s alright after getting hit. I also continue to be impressed by Devin Mesoraco’s work behind the plate.

    I’m saving the video of Frazier’s homerun.

  4. FINAL
    Chicago Cubs 0
    Cincinnati 1
    W: M. Latos (1-0)
    L: M. Parra (1-4)
    S: A. Chapman (4)

    We can only hope that this is not a misprint and Parra has actually moved back to Chitown.

  5. Did anyone hear how far Frazier’s HR actually went? I saw the replay and they said it bounced off of the deck of the steamboat… but I never saw/heard a ft distance.

  6. Your dislike of Marty Brennamen is so over the top it takes away from any valid points (if any) that you make about him. You really need to dial it back a bit. IMHO.

    • Your dislike of Marty Brennamen is so over the top it takes away from any valid points (if any) that you make about him. You really need to dial it back a bit. IMHO.

      Marty has turned into an asshole. And god love him for being around baseball so much he sure doesn’t know a whole lot about it.

  7. I think fact the Reds bats were largely spell-bound by Cubs starting pitching (Votto, Cozart, and Phillips specifically) is a negative. Cozart is 2-20 with one walk over his last 5 games. Much longer and the cries and execrations will become quite distracting.

    Has there ever been a more hot/cold offense for the Reds?

  8. RE: Jason’s thoughts on Marty – My word his play-by-play skills are a thing of beauty but his analytical input is preposterous. His constant harping on Reds’ hitting with RISP is just fallacy as the Reds are hitting better with RISP than without and that’s only the beginning. The worst part is that so many average Reds’ fans take his comments as gospel. If Marty gets down on a player, the general fan-base tends to follow. It borders on depressing for a fan like me.

    Marty is a HOF broadcaster but I really wish he would be more like Vin Scully or Jon Miller and just call the dang game without trying to get into what he feels the Reds’ problems are.

    • @LWBlogger: I don’t believe the average Reds fans are the lemmings you think they are. Now if you would have said that about the Rosie Reds I would have agreed.

      • @Sergeant2: No, LWBlogger is right. It’s incredible how many think that his word is gospel fact. It got to the point where, like I said below, he almost singlehandedly ran Dunn and Griffey out of Cinci. If only he could use his powers for good…

  9. He almost singlehandedly ran Dunn and Griffey out of town…
    Although I have to admit, when I saw Votto go 1-4 with 3 Ks, my first thought was, “When was the last time he had a day off?” So yeah. I don’t really have room to talk.

  10. I will say one thing. I can’t say “for sure” about handling the pitchers. But, anyone who says Devin’s catching costs the Reds runs, I just don’t see it, so far.

  11. I absolutely LOVE Cozart starting at SS for our Cincinnati Reds. Cozart is NOT one of the 7 best hitters in the starting lineup and he should NEVER even sniff hitting in the top of the lineup. Meso has proved to my satisfaction that whatever his issues or problems were last season, they are behind him and he has moved on, focusing to the future. Meso is now definitely one of the top 6 hitters in the starting lineup. If Dusty really can’t think and reason a proper batting order, then he can simply put the names of the top 6 hitters in a baseball cap and randomly select the batting order, but otherwise hit Choo, Votto & Bruce in the #1, #3 & #5 holes, respectively, hit Meso in the #6 hole and put Frazier & BP in the #2 & #4 holes, in whatever order suits him. Also, use Heisey selectively in situations he excels while platooning XP & Robinson in LF and hitting in the #7 hole.

  12. I also love the apoplexy of a 1-0 game, especially when 2 of them sneaked on base in the 8th and Broxton wrestled them to the ground. Joey does look a bit “lost” at this point, but he’ll get out of that funk. And give credit to the filthy stuff some of these young Cubbie pitchers are throwing!!! I was happy to get to their bullpens every game.

    • @msanmoore: I’m with you on all counts. I was on the edge of my seat for every batter the last few innings. Exciting baseball and a well-played game. The top of the 8th was as exciting as it gets, with Broxton’s strikeout of Soriano followed by Cozart’s play.

      Also yes the 3 Cub starters pitched extremely well.

  13. I dont like Marty’s analysis, but I do love his tempo and style. He’s the HOF for a reason, and I’ll miss him when he’s done. I like him in combo with the Cowboy, but Cowboy does need to learn how to not sound excited when the &^%$ hits the fan on us. Listening to other broadcasters (which I end up doing a lot on the XM radio feed – can’t get WLW here) makes you appreciate how great Marty is.

    He shouldnt be digging too hard on Vottomatic. And Vottomatic needs to stop getting K’d so much. That’s my happy medium solution.

  14. I read this site all the time and for the most part enjoy it, but the constant ragging on Marty because he doesn’t embrace the current rage in stats is annoying. With some people it is almost as if the modern day stats are a religion, if you don’t embrace them you must be struck down. Marty called a great game before these were in vogue and he still calls a great game.

    • @Tony Larussa’s Tissue: The comparison of stats to religion is a fallacy. The two are in no way similarly. Stats, if used properly, serve an important scientific purpose (at least as far as baseball is concerned).

      Astrophysicist Neil Tyson has a quote that covers this – “The great thing about science is it’s true whether or not you believe it.”

      Marty might not believe that OBP is more important than average w/RISP, but it is. Data has proven that very, very thoroughly.

      • @Jason Linden: Aside from which, one shouldn’t need either religion or science to see the importance of OBP as it relates to actually scoring runs. All you should need is common sense and the ability to apply basic logic.

      • @Jason Linden: It’s not a fallacy to say the fanaticism of hating on Marty because he doesn’t embrace the same stats that you embrace. I’d wager Marty has seen a lot more baseball than you have, so you can cling to your love of certain statistical categories and that is fine. I find the religion correlation to how upset the statboys get when someone doesn’t embrace their view.

        • @Tony Larussa’s Tissue: I’m going to have a post on this in the coming days (I’ve been planning it for a while, just getting the time to write it), but the old “he’s seen a lot of baseball” argument is another fallacy. I would wager, for instance, that Bill James has seen every bit as much baseball as Marty and they would completely disagree on most statistical issues.

          Statistical studies can look, literally, at every baseball game ever played.

          It’s not about “embracing stats” it’s about embracing what the evidence tells you. If anyone can find a shred of good evidence for paying attention to the stuff Marty rants about, I am more than willing to change my views. No one ever does that, and therein the argument falls apart.

          If you want to start reading up on stuff, I think the book Baseball Between the Numbers is a great place to start. As are sites like Fangraphs and Beyond the Boxscore, though websites are not good places for beginning understanding as they tend to assume that readers are already with them.

          Again, if you have evidence, I’d love to see it.

    • @Tony Larussa’s Tissue: I don’t think it has anything to do with advanced stats. If you listened to Marty’s analysis the last two years and didn’t actually know the scores you would think the Reds were one of the worst teams in baseball. I grew up with Marty, but you have to wonder if Joe kept him a little more positive. It would be pretty hard to be negative hanging out with Nuxy every day.

      • @eric nyc: I agree 100%. I thought that once Joe retired, Marty started to get more and more crabby and negative. I felt that Joe kept him more positive and would challenge him from time to time. Everyone else is afraid of the HOF’er and will not provide a different opinion.

    • @Tony Larussa’s Tissue: I have no problem with Marty not using SABR stats, the problem is that he’s just wrong about things all the time. Like the batting with RISP example. It’s not just that it’s a stupid stat (it is), it’s that he’s wrong about it.

      He does call a great game, and that’s why he’s in the hall. He should stick to what made him great, rather than trying to talk about things he doesn’t get.

      He’s probably got a great scouting eye at this point, having watched baseball for so many decades. I’d much rather hear him talk about how a guy looks off at the plate, or is falling off the mound or something, than his rants about stats that are outside of his grasp.

      • @al: God, this. Marty can really call a game and he does see things at times, but he’s so busy being grouchy and willfully ridiculous that it kills the things he does well.

    • @Tony Larussa’s Tissue: I think my criticisms of Dusty Baker and Marty Brennamen are pretty much the same. Both have well documented strengths, and one of them is not flexibility of opinion. I’ll admit, I put a lot of emphasis on stats. I’m also willing to admit that there are points to the game that I can’t measure, and that “the old school” has a better grasp on. I try to take their word for it and incorporate that to some extent into my opinions on players and management situations (except bunts. I HATE bunts. Only pitchers and suicide squeezes please).

      What is particularly troubling about Marty and Dusty is that they seem to be completely closed to any and all information that comes from the “new school” of analytics. There are plenty of ways for anyone to get better at what they do, but two figureheads of the Cincinnati Reds seem pretty determined not to learn anything from, in my opinion, a pretty useful source. That, to me, is not really ignorance, but conceitedness. Would the Reds be better off if they employed a purely sabermetric approach to management? I can’t say that. Does that mean that they should never employ the basic principles of sabermetrics in an attempt to put a more successful team on the field?

      Marty lost me last year when he and the Cowboy went on an inning long tangent bashing sabermetrics as something that has no place in baseball. Absolutism is a dangerous game, and one that is seldom ever correct.

      • @Jared Wynne: I think Joe Maddon is pretty much the perfect manager. He seems to take everything into account and is very open-minded. I’d pay him twice what Dusty makes (okay, not really, but I’d love to pry him away from the Rays).

        • @Jason Linden: I also really like Terry Collins. He mostly has an old-school approach but doesn’t dismiss modern statistical analysis. He also is a huge advocate for his players. He loves them like they were his kids.

      • @Jared Wynne: Nice statement overall but I’ll add that the Reds, like every major league organization, employ a staff of math and econ majors as data analysts. They work for the GM. A number of baseball insiders have talked about this on mlbnetwork interviews. Plus I know a guy who did that for Brian Cashman, he too said every team does.

        Clubs are quiet about it because of baseball’s spy vs. spy mentality.

        • @pinson343: Sorry, I didn’t mean to come off as stating that the Reds as an organization don’t believe in advanced stats. I don’t believe that is true, and I would be shocked if there was a team in the majors that doesn’t do some degree of statistical analysis. What I am saying, is that there is only so much that analysis will do when the results it yields are deliberately not used by the field manager.

        • @Jared Wynne: Nice statement overall but I’ll add that the Reds, like every major league organization, employ a staff of math and econ majors as data analysts. They work for the GM. A number of baseball insiders have talked about this on mlbnetwork interviews. Plus I know a guy who did that for Brian Cashman, he too said every team does.

          Clubs are quiet about it because of baseball’s spy vs. spy mentality.

          I don’t think the phillies do and last I heard they were proud of it.

        • @Kurt Frost: It’s a bit unclear with them; they may hire non-in-house guys for all we know. But they do disdain any metrics (not even advanced). I mean, they don’t care about OBP at all, it seems.

          Maybe someone should ask Amaro how things are going for him with his huge payroll, and why that payroll didn’t result in a good offense last year.

          It must be nice to have the luxury of throwing out the kind of cash they have.

      • Absolutism is a dangerous game, and one that is seldom ever correct.

        Unless of course it agrees with your side of the debate (Not you, just in general). I’ve never met anyone more absolutist than sabermetricians. That doesn’t mean they’re wrong, by the way, but they usually don’t suffer debate much.

        Marty has seen a lot of baseball. I’ve read a couple of books. While I may disagree with him on his analysis now and then, I don’t think I’m qualified to say he’s flat out wrong.

        • @RedZeppelin: I’ve had precisely the opposite experience. It’s people like Marty and Dusty who seem absolutist to me. They refuse to learn or change. I’ve worked reasonably closely with a decent chunk of the analytical crowd, and they are all very open about the shortcomings of the available measurements.

          What they won’t argue about is the validity of things like RISP which, as I noted, has just been destroyed by reasoned analysis.

        • @Jason Linden: This is it. Once was a time that anybody who likes the “new stats” paid attention with rigor to the old ones… but read a few articles, a book… and it just gets down to logic.

          Certainly there is something to be said for the person who can only see the stats and can’t like a guy or enjoy the game outside the numbers… everyone can take it too far afield. But Marty’s world is still flat. And just as badly, he just uses emotional reasoning: The Reds could have benefited fromn scoring, therefore it’s a problem that they didn’t score. You’d think someone in the game as long as he has been would have a better sense of the long game of numbers.

        • @Jason Linden: It wasn’t Marty’s griping about RISP in general that bothered me. I hear baseball people talk about hitting with RISP and how important it is all the time. My issue was that Marty was flat out wrong when he said the Reds are bad at it. The Reds slash line is .259/.348/.409 overall and with RISP they are at .279/.391/.426. So, even if you believe that hitting with RISP is a skill and varies greatly from the clutch performers and the non-clutch performers, you can’t ignore that the Reds are actually hitting better with RISP than they are overall.

  15. I would put Cozart’s performance at the plate (including a double play grounder and a double play pop-up) as a negative if I had higher expectations for him. I don’t, and I love the way he has not let offensive struggles detract from his glove work. Very nice play to save at least a run and maybe the game in the 8th.

    I WOULD put Votto’s performance at the plate as a negative. I really like watching Joey Votto hit, but not lately. He looks a bit lost, clearly frustrated, and at least to my eye so focused on not striking out that he doesn’t seem to be driving the ball much at all, and actually strikes out more than we’re used to seeing. I don’t worry about home runs from him, but one double so far? Last year in exactly 5.5 times as many games played he had 44 times as many doubles (44 to 1). I agree with the general consensus that he will hit well, and probably sooner than later. But I miss watching the fine craftsman at work. Get well soon, Joey Votto!

    • @Chris DeBlois: He has been frustrating the last two days, but this year’s performance is still ahead of last years in terms of his rate stats.
      2012: .276/.442/.414
      2013: .297/.485/.459

    • I would put Cozart’s performance at the plate (including a double play grounder and a double play pop-up) as a negative if I had higher expectations for him.I don’t, and I love the way he has not let offensive struggles detract from his glove work.Very nice play to save at least a run and maybe the game in the 8th.

      I WOULD put Votto’s performance at the plate as a negative.I really like watching Joey Votto hit, but not lately.He looks a bit lost, clearly frustrated, and at least to my eye so focused on not striking out that he doesn’t seem to be driving the ball much at all, and actually strikes out more than we’re used to seeing.I don’t worry about home runs from him, but one double so far?Last year in exactly 5.5 times as many games played he had 44 times as many doubles (44 to 1).I agree with the general consensus that he will hit well, and probably sooner than later.But I miss watching the fine craftsman at work.Get well soon, Joey Votto!

      I was wondering about that…IS he striking out more than we’re used to? More for this point in last season? Just wondering…b/c it sure does SEEM as if he’s striking out a lot more than we’re used to.

  16. Jeezle Pete! Choo is hitting friggin .392! His OBP is more than .140 higher than his BA & his SLG is .608. This guy has been hot since the season started, but he just keeps getting better. Choo really took off last season when he was inserted into the leadoff position, but small sample size caveat prevented any trend analysis and that move also coincided with Choo getting fully healthy. Choo is only 30 and will be 31 after this season. He is going to cost someone a lot of money to sign as a FA, a LOT of money. His game does not rely on power or speed, so his age isn’t a huge factor and his consistency over an extended period of time bodes well for maintaining his productivity over several more seasons. His continued defensive improvement in CF will do nothing but enhance his FA contract. The Reds will almost certainly have to be happy with one year and a supplemental draft pick, but I’m certainly going to enjoy watching him as a Cincinnati Red as long as it lasts.

  17. Dusty running into 2 outs in the first inning was a big negative to me. Cozart is hitting .200, he’s hardly a good hit and run candidate right now. Phillips should have been up with 1st and 3rd, one out, and with Samardzija’s bloodied hand, who knows where that inning would have gone from there.

    • @al: Absolutely. The Reds had a chance for a big inning in the first, and came away with nothing thanks to running into 2 outs on the bases.

      I’m not going to criticize a hit and run play just because it backfires, there’s always that risk. The question is whether the situation calls for it.

      Samardzija was bothered by a bleeding right hand and having command problems. Choo on first, no one out, the count is 2-1 to Cozart. The 2-1 pitch to Zach is well inside, and – who knows he may have swung anyway – but with the hit and run on he feels he’s supposed to and takes a terrible swing and pops into the double play.

      And why run Joey on a 3-1 count to BP on a pitcher who gets a LOT of swings and misses ? Joey isn’t fast and doesn’t even slide well, so he’s an easy out at second.

      Three of the first 5 Reds hitters got hits, with nothing to show.

      • @pinson343: I’ll agree, there is a time and place for the hit-and-run, and certainly one failure doesn’t mean that the play should never be tried.

        For instance, Dusty used to hit and run with Hannigan a lot, and that always made sense to me. Hannigan makes a lot of contact and is very slow, so he’s a good DP candidate. And he doesn’t have much power, so he not likely to just hi a HR, making the point moot.

        But the last 3 hit-and-runs that I’ve see the Reds try (though I may have missed one) have all failed, and they’ve all been questionable.

        There was the one today, but then there was Mesoraco running with Leake batting and Frazier running with Heisey batting. Leake is good for a pitcher, but c’mon, he’s going to swing and miss plenty. Heisey has barely made contact all year.

        • @al: Yes I liked hit and run plays with Hanigan batting. They often worked and he is a double play risk – a lot of ground balls.

  18. The irony is, the better Choo’s numbers get, the more expensive he’ll get. Not that I ever thought there was much chance he’d be back next year. My fondest hope has always been that he’d demonstrate the importance of OBP over raw speed at the top of the lineup in an unmissable way. So far, so good ;-)

  19. Also, I watched the game, so I didn’t hear Marty’s take on Votto, anyone have a synopsis?

    What I don’t understand about the stuff I’ve read/heard bashing Votto this year is that just hitting .297 and slugging .459 is good. It’s not MVP season good, but it’s still pretty darn good. And that’s not even looking at his walks.

    When you have starters on your team that are hitting below .200, what’s the point in bashing the guy hitting .300 with decent power?

    • @al: His comments were nothing completely out of bound, but unwarrented nevertheless. Got on him a bit for the K’s. Made a snide comment about how Votto, Phillips, and Cozart might appreciate getting to a bigger ballpark in Washington to have a better chance of getting a hit. Just a low level disdain…

      He’s just a few steps away from being Richard from Springsboro and joe fan who just lets the contract dictate unrealistic expectations. You said he’s hitting with decent power. I’d imagine Marty thinks he should have at least 3 more HR’s and 6 more doubles… all with RISP, preferably with 2 outs.

  20. I agree on Marty, his intense negativity and harping on certain players is just tedious. I used to turn the volume down on the TV and crank up the radio, but now I don’t even bother.

  21. Gotta get Cozart out of the 2-hole. Never happen but it should. Can’t have guy hitting .205 behind Choo and in front of Votto. Oh wait? Dusty’s the Manager. Never mind.

  22. Brook Jacoby should of been standing next to Dusty in the unemployment line after last seasons choke job. I’m sick and tired of watching the same BS every single game. Pathetic approaches night after night to go along with horrible situational hitting. Somebody has to be accountable for a team with this much talent looking clueless at the plate against full-fledged bums. And Corky Miller….Corky Miller!!! Really? You’re telling me there is nobody better in the minors? Maybe his family is in town. I wonder if Dusty takes the team out for ice cream after the game also.

  23. The Reds pitching and defense deserve a lot of praise today. Latos did not have his strikeout stuff, and said after the game that his breaking pitches were not working.
    Yet he went into the 8th with a shutout, 4 hits and no walks. The way he walked Navarro leading off the 8th, it was clear he was gassed, and I got real nervous.

    Broxton pitched Soriano flat out nasty with inside fastballs. Soriano used to swing and miss for strike 3 by chasing a breaking pitch off the plate outside. His outside plate coverage has improved, so Mes and Broxton went after him inside.

    Cozart’s play was fabulous. When I saw the ball hit, I think: “Cubs lead.” Then I was surprised to see Cozart glove it, and I’m thinking “Game tied.” Then he throws out DeJesus while running towards RF. Did DeJesus think it was through the IF and take it easy out of the box ?

    Also a nice cach by Choo to save a run.

  24. I think we’re giving the Reds too hard a time about the closeness of the 3 games.
    The Cubs have mostly been losing close games, that’s what they do. They had two hot starters in the first two games and their ace in the 3rd. It was a bit of bad luck that the Reds got their 3 best.

    The Reds could have hit better against their bullpen, for one thing taking more pitches from Marmol. But they beat their bullpen in game 1 and won the series. Good enough for me.

  25. The Cubs stating pitching has been strong all season so far and it continued against the Reds. I don’t want to read too much into the Reds struggle to score against them. The series was a good one because the Reds starting pitching matched theirs and the Reds came up with just enough offense to take 2 out of 3.

    The upside of Parra’s performance in game 2 is that his positive first inning of striking out the side was wiped out by his next inning. The overall performance won’t mislead Dusty into thinking he has something in Parra.

  26. I didn’t notice anything odd during the inning while watching the game live, but after seeing the highlights on MLB.com I’m very curious as to what was going on with Mesoraco and Chapman after the last pitch?
    The highlight i’m refering to is “Chapman picks up the save”
    maybe i’m just paranoid but it looks like Mesoraco is asking Chapman what’s wrong? Either Chapman was mad at him for something or he was worried Chapman had hurt himself????
    Anyone else feel this way after seeing it?

    Also Mesoraco was talking to BP as they were getting ready to leave the field, he had his glove over his mouth so you couldn’t see what he was telling him.

  27. I can understand Marty’s critism. He is very old school and expects players that are paid a bunch of money to deliver, especially in the clutch. Votto really struggled this series. I think part of the problem is, that 1. I think he is pressing and trying to hard. 2. Reds don’t have a legitimate power hitter after Votto. Phillips hits for average, but is not a true power hitter. And with Heisey or Cozart not hitting well in at #2, and with Bruce being inconsistent at #5. Votto is not going to see many fastballs. It will be a while before Ludwick is healthy, and still not sure if he will have the kind of year he had last year (especially the second half of the year). Everybody kept saying…Stubbs is not the answer at leadoff for 2-3 years now, we need a better leadoff hitter. Finally the Reds got smart and now have Choo. Same thing with Volquez. Never thought he would be a quality starter, and now look we traded for Latos. Now, can the Reds wisen up and get a quality power hitter that produces RBI’s at the #4 spot.

    • I don’t understand this. Going into today Philips was what, second in the league in RBI’s? What more do you want from our #4 hitter? Cozart hitting #2 is a travesty for certain, we were saying that last year and it’s no less true this year. It’s not fair to him and it’s certainly not good for the team. Why Frazier (if Dusty insists on a righty there) or Bruce (if lefties are allowed) isn’t in that spot I really don’t know. Almost anyone else really. Cozart needs to be down in the bottom of the order.

      • @Mwv: Personally, I’d like Ludwick back in the 4 slot and our current #4 guy in the 2 slot! Seems that has some problems attached to it.

        Bruce in the 2 spot is an interesting idea. I swear, if they get someone there who gets on, Phillips will drive in a LOT of runs.

  28. I guess I’ll chime in on my opinion of Marty. I love listening to him. I often watch the game on my iPad while listening on my laptop. I don’t agree with Marty all the time, but then I don’t agree with anyone all the time, not even myself. I look at it this way, Marty calls a great game and his opinion on other stuff doesn’t really matter. It’s his opinion and he is entitled to it. He just happens to have a job where he can voice his opinion to a lot of people. Unlike Dusty, it doesn’t matter if Marty’s opinion is valid or not because his opinion doesnt affect the outcome of the game. I also think that people that tune in to the radio broadcast and then complain are like students that sign up for a class and then complain about the teacher when they knew what the teacher was like beforehand and there were other options available to them. Just about every game has 2 video feeds and. 2 audio feeds …pick one you like better. Ultimately the way to have things change is for listenership ratings to go down. When enough people agree, it will change. Until then, complain about something important…like Dustys insistence on bunting, or his ignorant view of OBP…things that actually change the outcome of games.

  29. Oh boy is this going to get things going around here:

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/mlb/news/20130423/joey-votto-jayson-werth-taking-pitches/?sct=uk_bf3_a2

    REALLLLLLLLY interesting article on the current state of hitting featuring Joey Votto very prominently…as an example of why OBP-centric thinking might not be such a great thing. Hope the editors make a new post for this since I’m sure it’s going to be a LENGTHY debate.

    At the very least this gives some concrete data to the sect that aren’t quite as impressed with Votto the Human Walk Machine as others.

    • Just got done reading that article and my initial impression is that there’s a lot of correlation being assumed as causation going on. A broad note.. pitchers “winning” more as the years go on doesn’t mean that batters are “losing” due to their increased patience at the plate. It more likely means that the current state of sports and technology has favored pitchers more than hitters. Other factors could also play into it, namely that we’re exiting the “steroid” era etc.

      Definitely an interesting article but it just left me feeling like the writer had an agenda to create controversy rather than understanding. Thanks for the link though, a good read.

      • @Mwv: Just to stir the pot a bit, I always find it a bit funny that everyone rails and rails when Dusty puts Votto in a situation to be intentionally walked, but whenever Votto draws a walk himself at the plate he’s lauded for being such a phenomenal on base machine. There’s a reason teams are willing to pitch around certain guys and walk them intentionally sometimes – walks really aren’t the same as hits, especially with runners on.

        I think even Votto would tell you fit now that he’s not seeing the ball or making contact as well as he’d like to or is capable of and I expect that to correct itself. But simply hanging our hats on his incredible walk numbers isn’t going to cut it for a full season. He needs to start driving in more runs – and not because of his contract or his name or his MVP trophy, but because he’s the best hitter on the team and the entire offense is predicated on him driving in runs, not walking. The walks are certainly much preferable to outs, but not the same.

        • I think the dynamic of the Reds has shifted (and will continue to shift this year) away from being so Votto-reliant though. I think the value of those walks are going to be greater this year than they were last year and the year before, etc. The Reds lineup has improved so much that guys like BP in the 4 hole, Bruce, Frazier.. are going to convert those walks. It’s no longer Votto who -has- to produce for us to win games at a good rate. That’s my hope anyway.

        • @eric nyc: Please understand the issue you raise: people hate making an out on purpose in front of Votto to advance runners, because that means that (usually) Votto is intentionally walked. As you say, he walks a ton anyways, so why waste an out to have Votto walked, when he’s both the best hitter on the team AND a guy who often walks as it is.

          You can argue it, fine, but please don’t misrepresent what people who don’t like small ball in front of Votto think.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Hey I don’t love the small ball either. But what I generally hear is “Dusty took the bat out of Vottos hands” which, to me, sounds like people are more upset Joey isn’t getting the chance to bat with runners on than with the wasted out. Obviously it’s a bit of both, just responding to what I see in game threads often.

        • @eric nyc: It’s the latter: wasting an out when a guy who walks a lot anyways is coming up. Heck, I don’t usually like giving up an out, but at least give it up sensibly if you’re going to give it up.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Interesting question: If you’re Davey Johnson and at some point tomorrow Cozart bunts Choo to 2nd in front of Votto, would you automatically walk Votto? The way he’s hitting right now, I don’t think it’s as sure a thing as we’ve become accustomed to. At least not right this minute. Again, I expect him to come around sooner than later, but right now I think I’d pitch to him.

        • @eric nyc: I’d pitch to him if I had Carlos Marmol on the mound, or in an early inning, yes. Marmol is on the Cubs, so that’s out.

          Late innings: no way. Phillips is not a good enough hitter to be worried enough to pitch to Votto.

        • @Mwv: Just to stir the pot a bit, I always find it a bit funny that everyone rails and rails when Dusty puts Votto in a situation to be intentionally walked, but whenever Votto draws a walk himself at the plate he’s lauded for being such a phenomenal on base machine. There’s a reason teams are willing to pitch around certain guys and walk them intentionally sometimes – walks really aren’t the same as hits, especially with runners on.

          Excellent observation. The problem I have with stat worshipers is that they consider the number infallible, and that those numbers rely on “all things being equal.” Yes, all things being equal, OBP is more important than AVG. However, in some situations that isn’t always the case. That’s why, as you point out, pitchers sometimes pitch around good hitters. Situationally a walk can be much less valuable than a hit. But for sabermetricians it’s a black and white issue.

        • @RedZeppelin: Oh, please. You make it sound like people who understand statistics are complete idiots. No one argues that a walk is equal to a single when there’s a runner on third. A strikeout is worse than a long fly out when there’s a man on third and only one out….but better than a grounder to short when there’s a man on first and third and only one out. Smart managers/GMs/radio announcers/fans recognize that statistics can help make better decisions or drive more understanding in a given set of circumstances. It’s not “one size fits all”, and numbers are not Holy Writ.

        • No one argues that a walk is equal to a single when there’s a runner on third.

          But yes they do when it comes to crunching numbers. That’s what drives me bonkers, and that’s the crux of the Votto argument. People such as Marty criticize Votto for not getting that single when a runner is on third (ZOMG BA/RISP!!), but then people get mad at Marty and say “B-B-B-But OBP! U DONT NO BASEBALL.”

          I’m not calling stat-worshippers idiots — I just think sometimes it can lead to a “forest through the trees” situation. And naturally both sides of the debate are prone to having blinders on, so it’s not just one-sided fanaticism.

        • @RedZeppelin: Give me a break.

          Runner on 3rd, 1 out, Votto up. Votto walks. Now:

          1. I go with Marty, a numbskull, who criticizes Votto for walking.

          or

          2. I go with the modern day Ted Williams, who believes that he did not get a reasonable pitch to hit.

          That’s an easy choice.

          No one is saying a walk is better than a hit there. The bottom line is that you, and many with the same opinion, want Votto to be more aggressive with pitches that are either barely in the strike zone or out of the strike zone. You have zero proof that this would lead to better overall results. So in the absence of any evidence, you side against the best hitter in the game. It’s conceptually possible that the Reds would be better with Votto swinging at balls and pitchers’ strikes (e.g., Vlad Guerrero), but without evidence, why should I believe it at all?

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I love love love Joey Votto…but maybe he can win a batting title before we all agree he’s the “Modern Day Ted Williams” and take everything he does as the gospel according Joey? Dude’s not even 30. He’s clearly still making adjustments in his game. I doubt even he would say that he’s figured it out quite yet.

        • The bottom line is that you, and many with the same opinion, want Votto to be more aggressive with pitches that are either barely in the strike zone or out of the strike zone.

          I’m trying to find the post in which I said that and I can’t.

        • @Eric the Red: I think when the dust settles on Joeys (most likely HOF) career, he will be the guy that everyone looks back on as having really settled a lot of sabermetric arguments. I think the discussion is a really interesting one to have rot now and honestly I’m not sure which side I lean towards. I certainly have much more of an appreciation for advanced metrics than many old timers, but at e same time I don’t quite cringe at some of the Dusty-isms regarding RBI importance as much as some around here. I think there’s value in both schools, and Joey is likely going to give the baseball historians 15 years of excellent data to draw conclusions from. I absolutely agree there are no conclusions to be drawn from a month of games (or even really 2-3 years of games when we’re talking about a subject like this). But when it’s all said and done i think Joey will either be the new standard for what a modern hitter has to be, or some tried and true old school baseball wisdom may shine through. Can’t wait to watch it play out, either way.

    • @eric nyc: It’s such a horrid article that it Verducci should be embarassed

      -Verducci is basically the king of confusing correlation with causation.

      -Using 50 ABs to bolster his argument? And Vernon Wells? LOL really?

      -Not a single mention of a little policy change that occurred in 2006…really?

      -He mentions all the data being available. Perhaps 1 side has a bigger advantage than the other…?

      Votto leads all mlb hitters in clutch score since 2007 he came up. Hey, that seems relevant to the article. Oh, and since RISP is so important, his career line with RISP is .348/.477/.607. Well lets just ignore that! 50 ABs outweighs all the others.

      • @CP: I would never dream of making a judgement on a player like Votto based on 3 weeks of games, but it is a bit hard to ignore the extreme swing that he’s shown this season putting up walks at a historic pace at the expense of virtually all of his slugging power. Again, I’d put my money on it correcting itself, but as someone who’s watched just about every pitch Votto has taken this year, he does seem to have become more conservative than I’ve noticed in the past. Verducci shouldn’t be jumping to conclusions as much as he is, but he’s a sports writer for a mainstream outlet and they get paid to write columns like this. It’s not Fangraphs. Point being I have noticed a change in Joeys approach this year and his numbers are reflecting it. And I simply don’t buy that he’s just responding to what pitchers give him. He’s been one of the most feared hitters in baseball for 3 years, has never had any real protection behind him, and he’s being thrown plenty of strikes.

      • @CP: Yeah, right, there’s no possible other explanation for decreases in runs.

        Also, since the data is available, it would be nice to know how many of these strikes Votto is looking at that are hitter’s pitches. Verducci is acting like Votto’s a statue up there on pitches down the pipe. Has Verducci considered that as Votto’s gotten better in his career, pitchers pitch around him more, which means both more balls AND more “pitcher’s strikes”? That data is available, so why doesn’t he report it? Maybe Votto is watching pipe fastballs, but I kind of doubt it.

        And yes, Votto’s a horrible clutch hitter. You didn’t know?

    • @eric nyc: It’s astounding to me how far behind the times SI has gotten even in the last couple of years. Verducci has some good material every now and then, but, much like Marty, incidentally, he usually impresses me unfavorably when he tries to put on his analyst hat.

    • @eric nyc: Did Verducci think that maybe the pitching has gotten better in the last 10 years? In addition to the extra video and stats pitchers now have (someone mentioned it before), pitchers are now much more skilled. They can now throw their off-speed pitches for strikes early in counts and locate their fastballs more accurately to take advantage of a hitter’s weakness. I would be willing to bet that the percentage of first pitch fastballs has gone down over the past 10 years as well causing hitters to take pitches early in counts more often. We are entering a new era of pitching where the average prospects/MLB pitchers are way more advanced than their counterparts 10 years ago. Pitchers have more resources and talent to work with so hitters are now at more of a disadvantage than in the past.

      • @DatDudeMP: I think pitching has taken a quantum leap, but I also ink that’s one of the more interesting things in the article – talking about how the strategy of taking pitches and trying to drive up counts to get into the bullpen doesn’t work anymore because bullpens are becoming stacked with guys who can throw 97+ mph.

  30. On the Brennamen thing, there are two independent things:

    1. Does Marty embrace any new thinking?

    2. Does Marty go over the top ragging on players.

    I don’t really care that much about (1). But (2) is just outright ridiculous—nonstop criticism of players like Bruce, and criticism of Votto and Phillips. The guy’s not very smart, I get that, and I don’t care because he describes play by play well. I don’t care if he thinks Dante Bichette is the greatest player on the planet when he’s a Rockie, but I hate when he rags on Reds players who are good players. Did he rag on the 1976 team? It doesn’t seem likely, but I wasn’t there…

    • Did he (Marty) rag on the 1976 team? It doesn’t seem likely, but I wasn’t there…

      My recollection is that he was less rabid but still pretty quick to point out when runners were left in scoring position if he felt it might possibly have any bearing on the outcome.

      In regard to the above, I think one of the skills which set him above so many others was that for years, he seemed to have a 6th sense about when a game was settled and did a pretty good job of transmitting these feelings by inference in his play by play.

  31. Speaking of announcing by Marty, he asked “did he get enough” on Frazier’s blast (just watched the replay). Good lord, I think he got enough. That’s unlike Marty to not recognize a 482 foot blast!

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I noticed that during the game… it went from a “maybe” to the 7th longest HR in the park. That’s actually started to happen a bit more with him. I began noticing similar delays and unsureness last year. On the other hand, even the camera couldn’t keep up with that blast!

      • @Matt WI: Last year especially, depending on the parks the Reds were playing in, it seemed obvious to me that Marty was having a tad more trouble picking up the flight of the ball off the bat. Washington and Pittsburgh come to mind. Pittsburgh, I seem to recall he and Brantley talking about how far up the announcers are, making it harder to call the game.

        Maybe it’s beginning to happen at home games, too. The guy is, what, 70 years old?

  32. Another thing: who ever said the goal of an AB was to get a walk? You don’t go to the plate looking for a walk except perhaps in very specific circumstances (wild pitcher, bad hitter, down by 2, ninth inning, 2 outs, no one on, for example).

    I don’t want Votto taking pitches down the pipe. But he doesn’t that often from my viewing. That’s what these “swing” guys like Marty don’t understand. I look at the way Gregg pitched Votto yesterday: he threw one strike in the whole AB, Votto fished at a pitch and K’d, one ball was called a strike, and then one strike that was right at the knees was called. It’s not like Votto sat around taking good pitches.

  33. What I find perplexing about Marty’s attitude is that the Reds are good. I could tolerate it, even understand it, if we were putting a bad product on the field every day, but clearly that isn’t the case. He’s covering a team that’s won the division two out of the last three years.

    I guess what bothers me isn’t so much his complete lack of understanding of some of the more modern baseball metrics (it would be nice, but I don’t expect it), but rather that his default settings seems to be criticizing players. He’s earned a certain amount of latitude over the years, and he has a right to express his opinion, but when your first instinct is to revert back to slamming players I take issue.

    • What I find perplexing about Marty’s attitude is that the Reds are good. I could tolerate it, even understand it, if we were putting a bad product on the field every day, but clearly that isn’t the case. He’s covering a team that’s won the division two out of the last three years.I guess what bothers me isn’t so much his complete lack of understanding of some of the more modern baseball metrics (it would be nice, but I don’t expect it), but rather that his default settings seems to be criticizing players. He’s earned a certain amount of latitude over the years, and he has a right to express his opinion, but when your first instinct is to revert back to slamming players I take issue.

      I logged in to say something very similar. You made it easy. +1

  34. I hear Marty quite a bit, and I don’t see the games on TV. (Though, compared to Thom, and the illustrious George Grande, I’d probably turn down the TV volume and still listen to Marty anyway.)

    My inference is that Votto looks (to Marty) to be just plain lost at the plate more often than Reds fans are used to. Fewer fly balls or grounders, for example, when he makes outs, and more strikeouts instead. The last few days it seems to be with a minimum of pitches. There was at least once in the Cubs series when I was sure they’d walk Votto and didn’t, and he struck out on three or four pitches……..Factor in Votto’s own quote several days ago that he hadn’t had a swing that he liked in literally months, and it seems like it’s not too far off-base to say that Joey isn’t really Joey yet.

    Obviously, to overlook the on-base factor isn’t fair, but has Votto looked as “lost” at the plate as Marty is making it sound?

  35. I should clarify by saying…I love Phillips in the lineup and he has always hit for average and driven in his fair share of runs. And, is ranking high up right now for RBI’s. But, I don’t think that will last the whole year. Phillips is better at #2 or #3. Its unfair to ask Phillips to drive in 100 to 125 in a year. Phillips had 77 last year, which was good! When I think of a good #4 hitter, I think of good clean up hitters as players like, Ryan Braun, Buster Posey, Miguel Cabrera, Matt Holiday, Prince Fielder, Josh Willingham, players like that.

    • @JEFFMO:

      When I think of a good #4 hitter, I think of good clean up hitters as players like, Ryan Braun, Buster Posey, Miguel Cabrera, Matt Holiday, Prince Fielder, Josh Willingham, players like that.

      .324/.438/.620 5 HR Fielder
      .284/.384/.613 6 HR Braun
      .367/.440/.519 2 HR Cabrera
      .234/.410/.447 2 HR Willingham
      .279/.388/.441 2 HR Holliday
      .262/.347/.462 2 HR Posey

      I see your point. You mean players like:

      .263/.352/.553 6 HR Frazier

      • @Shchi Cossack: I think we might see Frazier in the cleanup spot before the summer. Even Dusty isn’t going to ignore Cozart stinking up the 2 spot forever. He dropped him to the bottom of the order to begin the season – he got his hopes up thanks to a couple good games, but he’ll realize he had it right eventually. At that point, assuming Heisey is still being Heisey, I think BP will go back to 2 (his numbers are already cooling fast at 4) and Frazier’s really the only candidate. None of that is wishful thinking. I don’t think Dusty will have a choice and he’s already started to loosen up a bit (see: batting Mes at 6 the other day).

    • @JEFFMO: It sure isn’t a problem to ask Phillips to drive in 125 runs if he bats #4 all season. He could probably hit .200 with RISP and do that with Choo and Votto ahead of him.

      But I wouldn’t bat him cleanup, I agree.

  36. First off: Very interesting reading this morning! I believe Marty is a little over the top with his “telling it like it is” way of broadcasting. As a Red fan it’s been more noticeable over the years when he is blasting another team, or teams’ fans’ (cubs). I”m pretty sure he still bites his lip to a point when talking about reds’ team or fans but as he gets older i’m sure that line gets blurrier and blurrier. I do believe saying your quote of “intellectually worthless” is a little over the top as well (although i can understand your frustration with Marty) it still comes off as a little “harsh”. 2nd: In regards to Votto and his obsession with OBP. I think it’s best for everyone to chill on Votto unless there is evidence his knee is bothering him. If that’s the case then all bets are off. If Votto’s knee is fine he will be fine.

  37. I agree that Marty still calls a great game, but I also agree that his constant negativity has become fingernails on a chalkboard to me. While I do complain occassionally about his misuse of stats, I actually could care less if he accepts or uses any sabremetrics in his broadcast. It’s the constant negativity and railing on the Reds players based on the smallest of issues.

    FACT – Joey Votto had a bad series against the Cubs. He was 2 for 14 with just 1 walk and 7 strikeouts. OK. But he’s still hitting .295 on the season if you want to talk about his batting average. Problem is that Marty’s tone, and even his own words, would give you the sense that he’s batting .200 and that Votto and the Reds are failed to doom.

    After all the bad seasons Marty has had to endure, you’d think he’d just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride because this is a very good team.

    • @Greg Dafler:

      After all the bad seasons Marty has had to endure, you’d think he’d just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride because this is a very good team.

      I’m guessing I’m on the older end of our demographics here, so, I’ve been listening since ’74 and I’ll say that I think the really bad teams in the ’80′s started the negativity, which he’s never shaken, and Joe’s passing released any braking mechanism/filter that was there.

    • After all the bad seasons Marty has had to endure, you’d think he’d just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride because this is a very good team.

      Yes and yes. Like I said above, you’d think he’d have a better sense of the long view of things. Instead, he reacts like the most knee-jerk fan: Expectations are high, therefore all things should go well or else it’s failure.

      It’s a whole separate argument whether it’s fair to hold Votto’s contract against him, but it sure seems like that is what’s going on. Regardless, even as everyone is entitled to react toward him as they wish… hearing Marty harp just takes away from enjoyment of the game. Baseball if fun for me. It’s one of my escapes. I don’t get too much joy from hand-wringing over each regular season game or at-bat, so I try not to. I like thinking the Reds are always going to come back from a deficit, and I like thinking whoever is slumping is just a swing away. This doesn’t mean ignoring problems and not wanting to fix them, but it doesn’t mean criticizing all the time either. Once it’s game time, it’s go Reds…. Titanic Struggle Recaps are for fixing things :)

  38. On the whole Marty/metrics thing:

    I’ll be honest, to a certain degree I agree with Marty in one respect: The guys who hit in the middle of your order are NOT paid to walk, they are paid to drive in runs. To do that, you need to hit.

    Now, I do appreciate the value of OBP; I have never doubted it. However, I DO think it’s more beneficial in certain spots of the lineup than other spots. For example, I think the top of the lineup (#1 and #2) should have very high OBPs. Speed is nice too, but OBP is king.

    The #3, #4, and #5 hitters, however, I value AVG over OBP, because those guys need to drive in the runs. The #3 guy should be the best hitter on your team, both in terms of average and OBP. #4 and #5, I don’t care if their OBP is .400 if they are only hitting .235. Those guys need to HIT.

    For #6-#8, there should be some kind of balance between OBP and AVG.

    In that respect, yes, I agree Votto, Bruce and Frazier are not paid to walk. They are paid to hit and drive in runs. I don’t mean they should chase bad pitches, but they should have a swing-first mentality with RISP.

    • @CI3J:

      I second this as well.

      Runs and RBI’s have alwasy been a chicken and egg sort of problem. Now in the era of advanced stats that has, in some way, shifted to OBP vs SLG.

      Singles and walks are a great way to set the table, but to score runs in bunches, XBH are ideal.

      I think the criticism of Marty’s criticism goes a little overboard too. I would rather him be critical of the team, letting us the fans defend the players, rather than have him get out the pom-poms like the Hawk, Tom McCarthy here in Philly, or the Cubs crew. Sure he may go over the top from time to time, but he is seeing what we are seeing. A team getting people on base and not cashing those opportunities in. There is no certainty that people will continue to get on base as these rates, so it would nice to see this team strike while the iron is hot and bank some wins. Tuesdays game is a great illustration of that.

      I do agree that he and Joe had a very good relationship, one that was entertaining to our benefit. Once we recognize that the lightning is out of the bottle, it’ll be easier to move on.

      Is Marty’s opinion the biggest problem the Reds have? If so, things will be okay.

      • @Lost and Found: But that’s the problem. Some people are saying that the Reds aren’t cashing the runners in but they are. They are leaving a lot of runners on because they are getting a lot of runners on. They are also cashing in a lot of runners. Tuesday’s game was the exception, not the rule.

        Reds overall avg/obp/slg is: .259/.348/.409
        Reds with RISP are: .279/.391/.426

        The Reds are 2nd in the NL in runs scored at 114 although they are one of only 3 teams who have played 22 games. That said they are 12 runs over the next closest team with 21 games played (STL). The Mets at only 19 games played are only 6 runs behind. When it comes to runs per game, the Reds are 3rd in the NL. The average NL team has played 21 games and has scored 86 runs.

        Yes the Reds have seemed to have a “feast or famine” offense but it isn’t as bad as some would seem to think and it appears to be a trend in baseball this year. It’s still way early in the season so sample sizes also come into play. For example, although the Reds are actually hitting better with RISP at the moment than they are overall, I expect at the end of the year the numbers will be fairly close.

        • @LWBlogger:

          I pointed out one instance of this but there are plenty of examples just in the last couple of weeks. All three cubs games, two against the Marlins, at least one against the phils, and (going by memory here) two of the pittsburg games.

          yes, I know what they’ve done overall, but the blowouts have perhaps skewed that a little (ie your feast/famine comment).

          My basic point is valid, that being that majority opinion says Choo/Votto are not going to keep OBPing at >500. So when that starts drying up, if the team keeps turing OBP into runs at the current rate, where will the run production be? No one knows, but it bears watching.

          My concern is that while they have set the table well, they let sopme opportunities slip away, losing winnable games in the process. The wealth of opportunities are not likely to last forever.

    • @CI3J: Yes, OBP at the top is, IMO, more important than OBP in the middle. But this post is contradictory. You value AVG over OBP, but you want to move Phillips out of the #4 slot. Phillips hits for a high average, low OBP, and has a swing first mentality. Isn’t that your perfect #4 hitter?

      In addition, this would mean that Bruce should be moved out of the #5 spot in favor of Ryan Hanigan, who is likely (at least based on the last couple years) to hit for a higher AVG than Bruce.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate:

        You’re right, I misspoke a bit. What I meant was you want contact and POWER hitters in the middle, and you want you OBP and faster guys higher up.

        Case in point. I was never a fan of moving Hanigan to 2nd in the order like a lot on here talked about last year. Why? He would, quite simply, clog the bases. Imagine Hani draws a walk, and is on 1st for Votto. Votto hits a double. Hani holds up at 3rd. If that’s Phillips, he could probably score AND possibly draw a throw home, allowing Votto to advance to 3rd on the throw.

        Phillips has a career .322 OBP. It’s a little low, but it’s not terrible. He’s well suited to the two hole. Likewise, Frazier and his propensity to power swinging would be great in the 4 hole.

    • @CI3J: Votto entered the series batting over .300. He’s at .295 now. Marty’s rants would make you think he was struggling to hit .200 and that his season has been terrible, so far.

      • @Greg Dafler:

        Marty just has high expectations for Votto. He’s entitled to his opinion.

        But yeah, you’d think he’d back off a bit and give it some time. It’s early still.

  39. Votto is a well-known devotee of Ted Williams, whose first rule of hitting was “Get a good pitch to hit.” Votto seems to be over-thinking that concept right now, almost turning it into “Get the perfect pitch to hit.” As I have said, pitchers and scouts will pick up on the fact that Votto can be challenged right now, and they will quit walking him. The Cubs pretty much quit walking him, and neutralized him to a large extent. I thought high school pitching was tough to hit, so I have no answers, but Hitting 101 for Votto would be to go back to the maxim, “Get a good pitch to hit,” regardless of when in the count that pitch occurs. I think that is Verducci’s general point in his article–they get so involved in working the count, etc., that they forget to compete.

    Note that Ted Williams said, “get a good pitch to HIT,” not a good pitch to walk on. If they don’t give you one, then take the walk, as both Williams and Votto did/do. The Reds are going to score more runs–and win more games–if Votto trades some walks for extra base hits.

    I think the traditionalists have the upper hand over the numerologists on one thing–they take into consideration the fact the game isn’t played in a test tube. Players compete to win the game, and players and teams make adjustments within games and over time, according to what the other team does. As Verducci noted, for example, the “work-the-count” theory of getting “into the bullpen” has been thwarted by bullpens populated with about 5 fireballers. Every team has the Nasty Boys now; remember last week how good even the Marlins’ bullpen pitched against the Reds?

    • @Big Ed:

      My biggest concern with JV is that the longer this goes on my question becomes, “Is the knee completely healthy?”

      A conspiratorial view could say that it was not a torn meniscus after all but something ligament related. It wouldn’t be the first time a team’s medical staff underplayed an injury.

      He had looked okay at times, but even during his ‘struggles’ last april, he was making hard-hit outs. This year, it doesn’t seem that way. Perhaps, I am jumping at shadows.

    • @Big Ed: Yes, the Cubs neutralized him, so that’s the way it’s going to be from now on. Right. Baseball has figured out a way to make Joey Votto into just an ok player. Based on 3 games.

      I love how Ted Williams is invoked as having a different philosophy from Votto, when Votto is being criticized for EXACTLY the same thing Williams was.

      Yes, I’m sure that Joey Votto has “forgotten how to compete”. That’s just preposterous.

      In terms of getting into a team’s bullpen by working counts, on that point I agree. If the sole goal is to get the starter out, by taking a lot of pitches, you’re probably only going to get him out of there an inning earlier. Just not worth it because you don’t play the same team every day. If you did, that might be a different story, as you could blow another team’s bullpen out. But you only see a team for 3 games at a time. This is especially true when playing a starter who’s average or below. I’d rather face the starter than the bullpen.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I did not invoke Ted Williams has having a different philosophy as Votto; I invoked Ted Williams for having the exact same philosophy as Votto. Votto just isn’t executing it now. Ted Williams didn’t execute it all the time, either.

        I don’t have any real concerns about Votto over the long haul, but he’s not hitting well now. Teams have noticed, and they are going to pitch him differently, in his case by not nibbling so much on him and challenging him. When he starts hitting like Ted Williams again, and there is no reason to think that he won’t, then pitchers will re-adjust.

    • I think the traditionalists have the upper hand over the numerologists on one thing–they take into consideration the fact the game isn’t played in a test tube.

      THIS

      • @RedZeppelin: That’s funny because what statistics measure are simply the events that take place on the field. It’s the non-stats people who believe in the importance of intangible factors like chemistry etc.

        These idiotic characterizations (“test tubes”) of using statistics destroy the credibility of the other side.

  40. @Lost and Found: While I’m not as concerned about the knee as I was, I’m still somewhat concerned. When I see Votto run, he doesn’t quite look fluid. Maybe I am imagining it.

  41. By the way, Ted Williams finished top-10 in MVP voting for 5 straight years near the end of his career, and never broke 90 RBIs in that span.

    It’s interesting that at the tail end of his life, Williams was the most popular ex player there was with current players. He seemed a hero to the media. I guess everyone forgot about him walking too much. And when he played, the media seemed to think he was an ok player.

  42. Science is right whether you believe in it or not, okay. Or until further research disproves what was assumed to be true. I agree that OBP is usually more relevant than batting average, despite my being old school, but also agree that watching the game is as important as watching the stats. Joey’s stats are, if one agrees that rbi has no importance, not a cause for concern. I do get concerned watching him bat lately, however; he may not be lost, but something is bothering him. He has, in years past, produced some of the best at bats I’ve seen in 60 years of watching the great game, and I feel pretty confident that he will adjust to whatever is going on (and I do believe that at least some of it is the way pitchers are approaching him), but I’m not buying that his stellar OBP is sufficient proof that nothing is wrong; his swings on strikeouts have reminded me of Jay Bruce in one of his frequent slumps. As for Dusty’s mismanagement of a great team, I’m not qualified to judge this, really, and certainly have my share of uneducated opinions, but I will reiterate that, at least as far as offense goes, this is not a great team, though it is likely a good one. The reds have 3 reliably good hitters and 2 or 3 more who are good in streaks. Combined with excellent pitching and defense, I expect that this will make them competitive, but no manager or managerial decisions would make them great.

  43. I’ve been listening to Reds games on radio since before Marty started broadcasting for them. He’s always been somewhat “negative”, but in the 70′s there wasn’t much to be negative about. If you notice, almost all of Marty’s criticisms are about production (or lack thereof). He is saying this is a business. MLB players are professionals, the best of the best and are paid to produce. He criticizes when, in his opinion, they arent producting at that time. He isnt saying they arent trying. He isnt saying they wont get “better” (his opinion of better). His idea of production may be (is) somewhat outdated but we all have our opinion. Personally I think people get way too worked up about Marty. I’ve always hated broadcasters that were ‘homers’ so it would irritate me more if he were the opposite way. He calls a great game and his opinions are just another view I factor in (along with everything I read at this site) in forming my own opinion. Tell me what you think is right, tell me why you think someone else is wrong, but don’t attack the person. Isn’t that supposed to be a guideline for this site, or does that not always apply?

    • @HOF-13: True enough, but a good ballplayer is going to fail to produce ~70% of the time, in the clutch or out of it. Getting on a guy for not producing in a particular game or a particular series isn’t really sensible. Sometimes Marty lets the small picture totally obscure the big one.

    • @HOF-13:

      You make an excellent point. Marty may not be more negative before, but he used to call games for the Big Red Machine, which would have made being negative difficult. Of course, there was the decade of the 80′s…..and most of the 90′s…..and the 00′s……

  44. Marty is Hall of Fame and he’s had a great career. But, as a Reds fan of over 70 years I don’t need anyone calling the game including Marty. I just turn the volume off, watch the game and come to my own opinions.

  45. In my biased opinion he is the best play caller out there. While I don’t agree with his opinion on many things, I would never say that his analysis is intellectually worthless. I fully embrace Sabermetrics, but there is still a lot more analysis and insight to the game beyond the embracing of OBP, OPS, etc. And while he may care too much about Votto striking out, I know that it is usually just Marty speaking out in frustration at that moment, like many fans would. As a Reds fan, he takes you through all of the emotions of the game and better yet, he does so without being a homer. You don’t find that with many broadcasters in baseball.

  46. Don’t confuse a basic premise: Guys who like small ball do not like bunting in front of Votto. I LOVE small ball, when played correctly, and the point is to have guys on base so your big hitters can drive them in. That’s not what happens when you bunt in front of Joey. It’s not that small-ball is ineffective, it’s the use of small ball by Dusty that is ineffective. Big difference.

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