2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: THIS is NOT why we watch Reds baseball

Let’s recap today’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Atlanta 7
Cincinnati 2

W:  M. Minor (4-2)
L: M. Leake (2-2)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Mike Leake was very good today. He would have had an excellent start if he hadn’t come out for the eighth.

–Homers from Bruce and Cozart, two players we’d all like to see get going.

NEGATIVES
–Bullpen fail today.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–I firmly believe this loss is entirely on Dusty Baker. There was no reason to send Leake out in the eighth. And that’s not second guessing. There are plenty of people who were mystified when he stayed in. Start the 8th with Marshall, Chapman or Broxton in the ninth. Then extras assuming the Bruce homer. Yeah, the Reds could have scored more, but that was a good pitcher today and Baker did not maximize the Reds chances to win.

 

Source: FanGraphs

78 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: THIS is NOT why we watch Reds baseball

  1. Dusty made a very bad gamble, and it didn’t pay off.

    Oddly enough, I think his reasoning was because he was trying to get Leake a WIN.

    Gambling for a silly, mostly irrelevant stat. Just like Chapman and the SAVE stat.

    Dusty let’s stats like that dictate his moves too much instead of just playing to win the friggin’ game.

    • @CI3J: Wasn’t a gamble. Gambles have good payoffs if you win. It was just a really stupid move capping a plethora of stupid moves throughout the year, putting the bowtie on his career of bad game management. That’s why in 20 seasons as a manager, he has all of 1 NL Pennant. His teams can have a winning record (if they are talented) but how many games a season does he cost them?

      Then when playoffs roll around and he has to actively manage, they never do much.

      Highly doubt that Castillini will eat Dusty’s $4m 2014 salary.. so assuming Dusty is around until the 2015 season, you know what that means? The next manager will have 1 year of Cueto, Latos (both of which will be likely gone after that season seeing as how they’ll get FA Ace money), no Choo, no Ludwick, no Arroyo, no Bailey, no Hanigan, 1 year left of Marshall, an arbitration eligble (and thus too expensive) Aroldis Chapman.. a 29-year-old Frazier, nearly 33-year-old Brandon Phillips, 29-year-old Zack Cozart, 2 or 3 years left of Jay Bruce…

      Basically the only bright spots for the new manager would be Joey Votto, Tony Cingrani, JJ Hoover, Billy Hamilton (provided he can actually start hitting in AAA), and then some aging guys plus whoever comes up from the farm system.

      —-

      I suppose my whole point is, it is ***DEPRESSING*** to see all this talent just get utterly wasted on Dusty Baker’s management, because by the time he (hopefully) finally gets the heck out of here, the next Manager won’t have anything nearly as good to work with.

  2. I choose to place some of the blame on the all of the pitchers who pitched the 8th, including Leake, since he was actually throwing the pitches. I also choose to put some of the blame on the struggling offense who again could only muster 2 runs.

    • @Truman48: Against a tough LHP with a low-3 ERA. So far in May the “Feast or Famine” offense has been pretty consistent. They’ve only scored less than 3 runs twice and both times it was 2 runs.

  3. Frustrating loss. I’m not sure why Baker sent Leake out in the eighth. Both Hoover and Marshall were ready in the pen. Off day tomorrow so no concerns about using the bullpen. Being a run behind I don’t see the “get Leake a win” reasoning here, although I’ve certainly seen Baker do that several times before. The two batters Leake was going to face – Schaffer and Simmons – each already two hits off of him. Leake’s pitch count was plenty high and he’s not exactly known as a guy who gets better as the game goes on. Fourth time around the batting order. Sheesh. Just makes no sense.

    The only thing I can figure is that Baker was sheepish about sending Leake up to pinch hit in the bottom of the seventh (a decision I agree with). Maybe he was worried how it would look (to his bench players, not fans) if he had Leake hit and then pulled him from the mound.

    No matter what the reason, it was an awful and fateful choice. The Reds might not have won – they were still a run short at the start of the eighth inning.

    • @Steve Mancuso:

      I think his idea was he wanted to give Leake one last chance to pitch and then hope the Reds could score in the bottom of the inning so Leake would be in line for the win. I actually see a lot of managers take that gamble.

      • @CI3J: You might well be right. But the Reds would need to have scored twice for Leake to actually get a win (as opposed to avoiding the loss). Plus, in that case, his leash is one batter, right? You don’t really think he’s the right guy, you’re just cutting him a break for his own personal achievement. But he lets the first guy on base, you yank him. It’s puzzling and your theory is as good as any. None of them make any darned sense.

        • @Steve Mancuso:

          Yeah, even if that was his reasoning, as I said in my first post, he shouldn’t be managing for pointless stats, he should be managing to WIN.

          But maybe that’s why players like him… He helps them pad their resumes…. But at what cost to the team?

  4. I’m not sure why Zack Cozart was covering second on the hit-and-run play with Simmons – a right-handed hitter – up to bat. I’m not sure – no replay – but I think both Phillips and Cozart were at the bag. Usually the person to the opposite side of the hitter covers the bag. It’s a lot easier for a hitter to pull the ball into the hole at will. Occasionally teams will switch that up to throw the hitter off if they are expecting it. But then BP shouldn’t have been at second.

    • @Steve Mancuso: The Reds are going to get burnt badly by their decision to keep Cozart (ask Brandon why the Reds kept Cozart and Frazier and not Didi, Encarnacion or Francisco). Didi was the obvious choice and based on how electrifying he has already been (and btw the Diamondbacks have already moved Didi to 2nd in their batting order) he could end up being a star (Kevin Towers, Diamondbacks, who made the call to acquire Gregorius in the deal that sent top pitching prospect Trevor Bauer to the Cleveland Indians (and Choo to the Reds), went on to relay a story that skipper Kirk Gibson told him.

      “He said he was standing next to (infielder) Cliff Pennington [Tuesday] in the dugout, and he said ‘Didi Gregorius is the best player in baseball right now,’” Towers said.

      And Didi’s 23!

      The Reds and good old Bob C are going to start wondering what ever happened when the Titanic (the Reds) start to sink.

      Sad but true!

      • @cincyreds14: And Choo is loved in Cincy right now, but next year when he is gone (via free agency) everyone in Redsland is going to wonder what the heck happened.

      • @cincyreds14: That is all such revisionist history. People railed against Edwin when he was here. Railed. “He doesn’t have heart, he doesn’t care, he sucks” and on and on and on.

        Time will tell on Didi over Cozart… but GM’s don’t get to make decisions and trades based on this weeks box scores and call for a “do-over.”

        • @Matt WI: I agree. Maybe Didi will be the better player but based on his MiLB numbers and what my eyes saw, I really didn’t think he’d hit much at the MLB level. There was no doubt in my mind he was an exceptional defender at SS but I didn’t think there was much of a bat there. So far he’s proven me wrong. The question is will he continue to hit at the MLB level? I don’t think we know that answer yet. We don’t know if he’ll be better than Cozart. Right this minute it seems like he is but that may change by the end of the year or some other time down the road. Only time will tell if the Reds traded the right SS. It’s also possible that the deal for Choo only would have happened with Didi and Cozart wasn’t an option.

        • @LWBlogger: In his first 64 PA of 2012, Cozart was hitting .293/.359/.483… and I imagine if we went back into Redleg Nation records, we’d probably see a few early calls for Rookie of the Year in the making.

          I agree with you… Did’s minor league numbers don’t scream that his current production is legit. He’s young, and certainly can outperform those numbers, but let’s give the kid a couple of months and scouts a few rounds of learning him.

  5. The Reds have no credible bench hitters against a LHP. Mike Leake does, in fact, have a better career batting average and slugging percentage against LHP than Hannahan, Izturis, Miller and Paul. I left Robinson out because he’s had so few AB.

    What kind of contending team allows themselves to get into this situation? And it’s been this way for more than a few days.

    This isn’t a Dusty thing it’s a Jocketty thing. Yes, injuries hit Ludwick and Heisey, the two right handed bats. But the GM has to be prepared, even a little bit, for an eventuality like that. And even if he isn’t he has to act right away and do something. I’m not talking about the big trade to replace Ludwick idea that I’ve advocated. I’m just talking about picking up some schmuck of the scrapheap and bring him in to be a bigger threat off the bench than a PITCHER.

    It has to be embarrassing to the position players on the bench to have a pitcher hit ahead of ALL of them.

    • @Steve Mancuso:

      That is a pretty bad situation. They need to do something. Everyone keeps talking about making a trade, even a significant one, but isn’t the problem that no one makes a big move this time of the year?

    • @Steve Mancuso:

      The Reds right handed bench was to be Heisey, and, on days they didn’t start, Hanigan and Ludwick.

      Riddle me this: What do those 3 have in common?

      Be patient. Hanigan and Heisey should be back soon, removing Miller and…. I guess Robinson? From the equation. Actually, I’m betting Robinson goes on the DL once Heisey is back since he apparently can’t hit from the left side now due to some rib injury.

    • @Steve Mancuso: I agree with your overall point about being in bad predicament with righty batters, but we should not invoke Leake as best bat vs LHP with so few plate appearances – 75ish in his career and many of them sacrifices. Leake doesn’t draw walks, and isn’t expected to.

  6. Power Outage
    % of hits which are extra-bases
    Votto
    10 .424
    11 .389
    12 .460
    13..317
    Bruce
    10 .371
    11 .407
    12 .525
    13 .314

    Assuming these guys regain their pop things should seem a LOT better.

  7. Sheldon has Baker saying this after the game – that Leake is his best right-handed hitter off the bench.

    “Not to take anything away from our guys, he’s the best right-handed hitter we had on the bench,” Baker said of Leake. “It didn’t work. I’m not going to make alibis or whatever when it doesn’t work. It’s not always going to work.”

    No reporting on if anyone asked Baker why he left Leake out for two batters in the eighth.

    • @Steve Mancuso: But Dusty did answer that question: “Since we let him hit, send him back out there to get at least part of the way through that inning,” Baker said.

      That’s just plain bad logic. Whether you’ve been in baseball 40 years or not, bad logic is bad logic.

    • @Steve Mancuso: I truly believe Dusty Baker is a really intelligent man. And, I agree 100% with his decision to let Leake hit there. Heck, I’ve been arguing for Leake to be used as a situational hitter more.

      However, why in the world does it never occur to the man that he can let Leake hit in the 7th and still bring in Marshall in the 8th? It seriously seems like he didn’t even see this as a possible course of action. Why?

      • @Kyle Farmer: He just did it with arroyo 2 days ago, so the thought has occurred to him. Why he didn’t start Marshall with a clean 8thy inning today we’ll never know cause our beat reporters are chumps

  8. If it’s a getaway day game in the middle of the week with Leake starting, I just don’t want to know what happens cause I have followed more than a few of these type games over the past few years.

  9. In the 8th Mike Leake let two runners on and they turned it over to Sean Marshall and JJ Hoover. They blew it for him, no question about it. Marshall gave up an RBI single and Hoover gave up a Grand Slam. Two runners (charged to Leake) scored. It’s silly to blame this game on Dusty or Leake (unless you consider trusting Sean Marshall or JJ Hoover to get out of a jam to be a mistake – I don’t). Mike Leake was on a roll and his replacements cost him a quality start, tabbing him with the loss.

    I thought you guys wanted to see the big guys – like Chapman, Marshall, Broxton, and Hoover – used in high(er) leverage situations. That’s what you saw today with Marshall and Hoover. They both failed. Hindsight is 20/20.

    • @RFM: In yesterday’s recap Chad posted:
      –Guys, Sean Marshall is an elite reliever, whether the majority of Reds fans want to believe that or not. We are lucky to have him, and I’m going to keep beating this drum. He’s great. I wish he were Cincinnati’s closer.

      I agree with Chad (except about wishing he was the closer, Chapman is great). Silly Dusty Baker, trusting Sean Marshall (and JJ Hoover) to get Leake out of a jam.

  10. Jocketty will make OF move eventually. I suspect Heisey and Ondrusek might be part of the deal with a minor league pitcher, maybe Leake, or both.

      • @CI3J: Heisey+Leake+Ondrusek will get you nothing. A bench player, a below average reliever, and a 4th starter just isn’t worth that much. It won’t get the Reds enough of an upgrade to be worth trading the depth that Leake provides.

      • @CI3J: Right! And for Leake and a couple minor league guys, the Reds had better get back a really good player. Mike Leake would be a #3 or #4 starter on some teams. Fans really, really undervalue him here.

  11. I don’t think Jay Bruce would have been hitting against Varvaro in a one run game.

    • @AnnapolisHoosier: No way for us to know until (if ever) the Reds were to reveal it, but I wonder whether Chapman is hurt. Note his recent control problems. Note his drop in overall velocity. Note hitters making more contact than usual (inevitable result of first two). Note how little he is used. I know Dusty critics assume that Chapman pitching so little and in such meaningless situations is just wretched bullpen management, but an injury of some sort would actually explain all of the facts more satisfactorily.

  12. It’s fact that Leake just can’t go too deep into games. Leaving Leake in to pitch the 8th was a very stupid move, if you look at previous data. Why not Chapman? He’s got to pitch in meaningful situations.

    I have no problem in Leake hitting in bottom 7, but heads up Walt, if Leake is your best RH option off the bench, that’s just unacceptable. If Ludwick is really out until August, you have to pick up a credible RH bat posthaste.

    The Braves are good, and there’s no shame in going 1-2 versus them.

    I worry about what happens if one more hitter gets hurt, and I worry that Dusty has no clue about how to manage a pitching staff after the 6th innning.

    • @musicjoker319:

      Someone writing that article is absolutely clueless and have nothing better to write about on a slow news day. Dallas addressed this both on Twitter and on her blog. Her explanation is pretty legitimate to me. The menu is not THAT extravagant. The guys just played a huge game.. go straight from game to airport…sit on runway for an hour.. don’t get to stadium until 10pm… what restuarants are open at that hour?? What food is in the house after a 10 day Road trip if they don’t have gf or spouse?

      Common, this is just silliness

      • @Love4Reds: I don’t have a problem with the menu. I’m just curious about the fact that she was on the plane to tweet the pictures. Is that the norm for wives to fly with the team? (Not that I have an opinion about it one way or the other, just curious.)

  13. Speaking of Chapman, his usage pattern is just about right on what we’d expect of a Baker managed team. He’s thrown 15 innings this year, so he’s on pace for about 70. Last year, assuming that he’d have been the stopper all year, he’d have thrown 67. (He actually threw 71, but 1/4 of the season he wasn’t the stopper, and if you aren’t the stopper on a Baker team you pitch more.)

    So this is just the way it will be. Chapman may well throw around 20 innings against good teams (over .500). I’d guess 25, myself. Pitiful.

  14. I’m on board that sending Leake out for the 8th cost the Reds any chance of winning; but one cannot presume what might have happened otherwise since they were in a losing position already and the back end of the Bravos’ pen is strong despite what happened Tuesday night.

    I am also in agreement that Leake was probably the best bat available in the bottom of the 7th given that the Bravos had a lefty on the mound.

    So, riddle me this, why does Dusty always catch so much of the heat and the front office so little when they (FO)can’t seem to give him a competent bench to work with? Does anyone think Leake would have still been in the game if the Reds had had a legitimate RH bat on the bench to use in the bottom of the 7th?

    • @OhioJim: Ludwick, Hanigan, and Heisey would all be RH available today if they were healthy. They are also $5.3m that’s unavailable right now.

      Are there even any good right handers out there (preferably outfielders) that are available at a price the Reds can afford? Castillini’s already went and spent a bunch more money than last year. I don’t know if he can sign off on the extra millions it would take to get someone. (I don’t know the context, but I remember someone mentioning Josh Willingham the other day, and he’d cost $7m this year and next. The Reds are already spending $100-110m… which is a big bump from last year.

      Money aside, who do you trade to make a deal happen? Can’t trade Leake right now because Cueto isn’t healthy yet. That leaves you with mostly prospects (the best of whom are pitchers)… with the prospects the Reds have dealt away recently, they probably need to give their system a year so that the tons of talent at the low levels have a chance to reach up to AAA levels.


      I can’t be upset with the FO when they spent the big money and put together one heck of a good roster. Just some bad luck with injuries this year is all. Nobody to be blamed for injuries. I think the only thing I disagreed with the FO on was Broxton. No way did they need a third closer for 3yr/$21m.

      ** Dusty controls his decisions. He chose the horrible choice of putting Leake back in for the 8th inning. Jocketty didn’t choose for Ludwick, Hanigan, and Heisey to all be hurt. **

      THAT is why Dusty catches so much heat while the the FO doesn’t. At least in my opinion.

      • @ToddAlmighty: Injuries happen and need to be planned for. It looks like the sum of the Reds organizational outfield depth was one player, Robinson.

        I think you are mixing two issues, the need for a replacement in LF and lack of bench depth. Finances more than likely are and will be an issue in locating a LF replacement. They shouldn’t be in building and maintaining bench depth.

        For instance, Micah Owings is playing as a position player in Syracuse (AAA) now. He’s OPSing at around .725. He demonstrated in his time with the Reds he had the skills to be a good PH. I don’t know what the Nats might try to bleed the Reds for in return for him right now (he is not on their 40 man BTW); but my point is there are any number of guys like him around that could have been brought into the org to build organizational depth that would cost the minimum or little more.

  15. Simply put, the Reds, and more specifically Baker and Jocketty, have made some horrendous decisions since last fall, and it all started with the Reds re-hiring Dusty. Good old Dusty is currently mis-handling his catchers (let the kid play and learn – what is the benefit of starting a 36 year old catcher?), by batting Cozart 2nd (Dusty, everyone knows you hit your best hitters at the top of the batting order (not a .200 hitter, thus move Joey V up to 2nd until Ludwick is healthy), and finally by completely butchering games by mishandling his bullpen (can’t Dusty rely and trust his bullpen coach who watches relievers warm up and can tell whether they they got it before inserting them into the game?) No, as that would make simply too much sense). And finally Walt J – by trading the wrong SS (Didi G. simply showed last September that he is electrifying – so what does Walt do – he trades him), and wrong 3rd baseman (Juan Francisco or Juan Encarnacion ) would fill the bill nicely, and by not picking up D Fowler from the Rockies (and thus keeping Didi a Red) in the off season for Leake and Stubbs. Someone even posted a question as to where Didi would play – if they really aren’t sure, they can simply ask a Diamondback fan, since I am sure they would know who he is.

    Ana another excellent point on the complete befuddled mishandling of Chapman by Dusty and the Reds. The Reds are now off for 2 1/2 days – why couldn’t Dusty have used Chapman for the 8th and 9th innings today? What a total waste. The Reds are surely not getting what they are paying for in Dusty (unless the Reds wanted a has been – which I’m pretty sure isn’t what they wanted).

    And I never thought I’d say it, but the current management of the 2 Cincy professional sports teams that I trust more after a 4th straight fine draft is not the Reds but the Bengals. Who would have ever thunk it?

    Oh well, so fun to watch the local team’s offense (Rockies) rock, and conversely, so, so sad to watch the Cincinnati Reds continue their mighty (projected to be season long) struggle.

    • @cincyreds14: So….. you would rather have Fowler instead of Choo? Or Rolen in 2010(clubhouse leader and big bat), when Encarnacion was never going to pan out in Cincy? And I’m not sure how you could keep Francisco, when he showed up overweight and unprofessional last spring. I don’t buy any of that.

      Agree that Dusty is terrible with lineups and bullpen.
      Agree that Chapman has been mishandled by everyone.

      • @jessecuster44:

        No, I would rather have had Fowler and Didi G at SS and not Cozart.

        One thing that so many posters on this and other Red’s boards fail to realize is that Choo is going to want $10m+ after this season. So many Red’s fans think big time money grows on trees – it doesn’t and the Red’s are not going to be able to afford him – and Billy H is going to be a bust. If you thought Stubbs was an automatic out – be prepared for another – and soon (like next year).

    • @cincyreds14: I call BS on the Reds trading the wrong SS. Cozart wouldn’t have brought Choo (you know, the guy who’s leading the NL in Runs Scored and OBP while also leading the team in Home Runs and Doubles) to the Reds. That alone already tells me that they didn’t trade the wrong SS. What would the Reds be without Choo this year? I don’t know, but probably below .500…

      I also call BS on the Reds trading the wrong 3B. Don’t you remember WHY the Reds traded him away? He had a bad attitude, was out of shape, and didn’t do his rehab seriously in the offseason. He also can’t hit ANYTHING other than a fastball.
      Juan Franciso in 2012: .234/.278/.432 in 93 games (205 PA) with 17 runs, 11 doubles, 9 HR, 32 RBI, 11 BB, 70 K (Also a .935 fielding percentage) for a total of 0.2 WAR
      Todd Frazier in 2012: .273/.331/.498 in 128 games (465 PA) with 55 runs, 26 doubles, 19 HR, 67 RBI, 36 BB, 103 K (Also a fielding percentage of .968 at 3B and .994 at 1B) for a total of 2.1 WAR

      When Joey Votto went down, who became the starter at first base, rallied the Reds, gave them toughness and character, and was a LARGE part of why the Reds ended up with 97 wins? That’s right, Todd Frazier. While Juan Francisco had an OBP of only .005 higher than Todd Frazier’s batting average, Todd Frazier filled in for JOEY VOTTO and the team didn’t miss a beat. You’re just feeling a little bum hurt over Francisco’s grand slam, but they traded the right 3B.

      —-
      Without those “mistake trades” or whatever you want to call them, the Reds surely wouldn’t have gone to the playoffs last season without Frazier, and they would almost certainly have a losing record this year without Choo. Saying that the Reds made a mistake with either of those is downright ridiculous.

      /rant

    • @cincyreds14: It’s Edwin Encarnacion, not Juan, and he failed at 3rd base. He didn’t start hitting for Toronto until after they moved him to first base. The Reds already have a 1st baseman.

      The trade for Choo was a bust ???!!!

      Juan Francisco is a career .262/.306/.444 hitter who strikes more than once per 3 ABs. He is a temporary measure for the Braves at 3rd base, until they find someone to replace Chipper.

    • @cincyreds14: What is the obsession with Dexter Fowler? Talk to me after the season; I realize he’s had a hot start. I think he’s a fine player, but not nearly a great player.

  16. Okay, I pretty strongly disagree with Leake hitting. Ignoring the fact that pitchers typically get pitched to completely different than everyone else, even if Leake has more pop in his bat, he wasn’t suited to hit in this position.

    Leake is a decent hitter with a career .275/.306/.354 and I agree, I would let him hit over Corky and Cesar Izturis.

    But Derrick Robinson was on the bench, the guy isn’t anything special, but he has hit “okay” since he was called up, is fast as ****, and can take a walk. Leake is a decent hitter and all, but his primary goal there should have been to get Choo an at bat. Leake has 7 BBs in 210 PAs. Not good.

    In short, Leake just wasn’t the best person in this specific situation.

    • @CP: To support your point: Limited plate appearences, of course, but Robinson’s OBP is .423.

      Just the same, the decision to have Leake go out and pitch in the 8th was even worse, given his history as he approaches 100 pitches. But enough has been said.

    • This whole Mike Leake to position player is ridiculous. He’s not a position player, he’s a pitcher. It’s extraordinarily unlikely that he could be anything but a horrible hitting position player.

      His career OPS+ is 77. I mean, I can’t even believe we’re having this discussion. How’s Micah Owings doing? He’s got a career OPS+ of over 100, I believe.

      They’re PITCHERS!!! Sheesh.

  17. Donald Lutz has only had 15 plate appearences so far, but his approach to hitting has been a whole lot different from what I expected. He’s not been overmatched, hitting line drives and only striking out once.

    In 15 ABs, 4 singles, 1 K, no walks for a .267/.267/.267 line.
    At AA a .211/.294/.513 line in 76 ABs with 4 2Bs, 2 3Bs, 5 HRs (only 5 singles), and 21 Ks. You’d expect a guy with those AA numbers to be striking out every other AB.
    And from no singles to all singles ?

    Very small sample size, but has he shortened his swing after coming up ? He’ll be back in the minors soon in any case. Might have a bright future.

    • @pinson343: Pinson – Lutz has already demonstrated his ability to make adjustments – something Jay Bruce is still trying to figure out how to do after being up for 4 years. And that’s huge for Lutz – actually could end up being a difference maker.

    • @pinson343: Maybe a bright future, but he doesn’t belong here yet. Rick Ankiel was just released; I wonder if he’s got anything left in the tank as long as we’re digging this deep in the LH LF barrel anyway.

  18. Yes overall I’m impressed. I’d like to see him get back to playing every day in the minors, but he could be the answer for the Reds in LF soon.

    • @pinson343: I don’t see this *at all*. As a 23 year old, he was posting a .325 OBP in A ball. He’s got power, but I would be very surprised if he can hit at the big league level.

      You’re taking 15 ABs and making a conclusion. I don’t agree; I think he’s not the answer. We’ll see, I guess.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Lutz came to the game a lot later than most other players–very likely still early in his learning curve and may have a greater upside than other guys his age with his minor league stats.

  19. Letting Leake bat in the 7th made sense. It’s unfortunate, but injuries have cost us 4 RH bats: Ludwick, Hanigan, Heisey, Robinson’s Ribcage*.

    Sending Leake out for the 8th made no sense: off day the next day and key bullpen arms fresh anyway, first two batters EACH had two hits off Leake already.

    Pulling Marshall after one batter made no sense. Even with a RH batter up, the guy behind him was a LH batter with power (who can’t hit Marshall’s specialty, off speed pitches.)

    Putting Hoover in for Marshall made no sense. He’s overworked, and we’ve seen what happens when he’s overworked. Plus, even assuming LeCure was unavailable despite tomorrow’s off day, you’ve got Broxton and Chapman. Heck, Chapman needed the work since he hasn’t pitched in awhile.

    Speaking of Chapman, when he blows a two run lead vs the Brewers Friday night because “he’s not sharp since he hasn’t worked in nearly a week”, don’t be surprised.

    None of these things are hindsight. I was yelling them at my TV as the moves were being made. Heck, I doubt there are many people other than DB who couldn’t see this coming. (seriously: sending Leake out to face guys who have already hit well off him? Giving Marshall one batter but letting Hoover pitch to both RH and LH guys?). What an unbelievably poor job of managing.

    (* = Robinson’s Ribcage would make a great name for a band.)

  20. This team is one win streak away from putting a lot of these fears to rest. Let’s get back Cueto, get some guys healthy, and start winning some ball games in between now and the end of June. If the Reds are 7 games back at the All-Star break, then I’m worried. I know we all hoped they’d storm the division and never break a sweat, but that’s not the way it’s breaking at the moment. Sit tight, it all works out in the end.

    • The @Matt WI: I completely agree. The Reds didn’t hit full stride last year until the May 18-20 weekend series against the Yankees. They lost the Friday night game to fall to .500 and then never looked back. That Sunday game where Cueto matched up with Sabathia was, in my opinion, a big turning point.

      I don’t know if the numbers back this supposition, but the Reds always seem to start slow. Maybe that’s an across the board MLB thing. Maybe our guys are more deliberate and need to find their strokes. Maybe the ball just starts jumping at GABP come May/June. Regardless, step back from the ledges for a few more weeks, let them get healthy, and then re-evaluate.

      I seem to have remember the sky falling at the start of that Diamondbacks series last year when it was announced with lost Votto. Keep calm and carry on.

    • @Matt WI: At about this time last season, somebody on RLN made a comment to the effect of, just wait until late August or September when we’ve about got the division wrapped up, and we’ll look back on the early season and laugh. … Didn’t see it coming last year, but it did. Need a spark this year.

  21. I defend Dusty all the time here. I’m one of the few. That said, I was surprised when Leake came out for the 7th. Then, after going 1-2-3 in the 7th, I thought “ok bottom of the order, good call by Dusty.” Then when he was sent out for the 8th, with the top of the order due up for the Braves, for the 4th time and 97 pitches thrown, I thought “bad call but I’ll give Dusty the benefit of the doubt and maybe he lets Leake go until someone reaches.” Instead, he sent him out and after the first batter reached, kept him out. I defend a lot of what Dusty does but really a big mistake yesterday having Leake out there. Last night’s loss can’t be pinned completely on Dusty but he didn’t really give the Reds their best chance to stay close. Big, big mistake.

  22. The calls for a trade are getting louder each day. This from USA Today Sports MLB section: “Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins

    Miami’s star outfielder has a Grade 2 right hamstring strain. You can bet the Marlins won’t rush him back and risk a setback or a bigger tear. A strain of this level requires two to six weeks recovery, and the Marlins said they think he’ll miss about a month.”

    Many want WJ to pony up to the bar and pay the price for a Stanton. I am included in this group. However, that may have to wait several weeks before Stanton is healthy and off the DL. If not Stanton, who should the Reds seriously consider and pursue??? The Reds may not be able to wait for Stanton to come off the DL before making a move. And could WJ really pull off a blockbuster trade?? Something that would really shake things up a bit. One where an already established Reds player, or two, is/are included in a trade??

    Maybe that could be the quick question of the day. Who should the Reds REALISTICALLY pursue in a trade?? No Kemps or Trouts or Brauns should enter this conversation, but who in reality could the Reds target?? When you get down to the brass tacks, that list isn’t very long. Thus, WJ’s conundrum.

  23. The Reds aren’t going to acquire anyone significant until July at the earliest.

    Look at the injuries and the underperformances they’ve gotten. It’s too much to overcome with new guys, especially when no one is on the market.

    Look at these OPSs against a ballpark of what was expected:

    Bruce: .667 – .830
    Mesoraco: .663 – .730
    Cozart: .617 – 700
    Heisey: .448 – .700
    Hannigan: .261 – .670

    And that’s to say nothing of losing Ludwick outright.

    There’s no one trade they can make that makes up for losing Ludwick and having 5 key contributors an average of about 150 points of OPS off what you expected.

    I hate Dusty Baker as a manager. Most of his defenders say that what he’s good at is motivating his players to play well. Well… now’s the time.

    The only one way that the Reds are going to win more than we’ve seen so far is if those 5 guys start contributing a lot closer to their expected levels.

    • @al: The biggest one in there is Jay Bruce. He has an OPS+ of 78 at the moment. He hasn’t had an OPS+ of less than 100 since his rookie season in 2008. The last three years 2010, 2011, and 2012 have gone 124, 118, 119. This team counts on Bruce to be a big bat and so far this year, that isn’t happening. Based on his past performance and his age and assuming he is healthy, we have to assume he’ll put up numbers closer to the past few years. Your ballpark OPS of .830 would be about right. If he were to do that from mid-May on out, his OPS at the end of the year would be a decent .814.

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