2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: Now that’s more like it

Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
St. Louis 2
Cincinnati 4

W: M. Latos (6-0)
L: T. Lyons (2-2)
S: A. Chapman (16)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Strong start by Mat Latos. In running his record to 6-0, Latos pitched seven innings, allowing two runs on eight hits, striking out five while walking none. The kid is a stud pitcher.

–Devin Mesoraco was 2-4 with two RBI, a run scored, and his third homer of the season. Jay Bruce was 2-4 with his tenth homer of the year.

–Joey Votto and Derrick Robinson were each 2-4 with two doubles. Shin-Soo Choo was 2-4, but he could only muster up a couple of singles.

–Zack Cozart went 0-4, but he did it from the eighth spot in the lineup. That’s a positive.

NEGATIVES
–None.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–Now that’s more like it. An entertaining game, a Reds win against a division rival. A good ol’ good one at the ol’ ball orchard tonight.

–The Reds had five batters finish the evening with two hits in four at-bats.

–Mat Latos has beaten the Cardinals three times this season. Those are the only wins the Reds have recorded against Saint Looey in 2013. Mat Latos is good.

–Derrick Robinson probably isn’t the answer in the two-spot in the batting order. But with Cozart’s demotion to eighth (where he should have been all along) tonight, Robinson contributed to a great night at the top of the lineup. The first three hitters were 6-12 with four doubles. That’ll get it done.

–Jay Bruce has 39 homers off left-handed pitchers over the last four seasons. That’s more than any left-handed hitter in the entire major leagues. Chew on that for a moment.

Source: FanGraphs

73 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: Now that’s more like it

  1. In terms of anticipation, this was the biggest game of the season so far for me. Given the pitching match ups, it was the Reds best chance to win a game this series. I was ready to watch every pitch (which I couldn’t, because of an mlb.com blackout even though the game was not televised in my region).

    Anyway I took it all in thru the voices of Marty and Jeff. That was a thriller of a game. I had a good feeling once Mes went deep to tie it at 2, but the outcome wasn’t clear until the last out.

    Big win for the Reds.

    • @pinson343: I thought Matheny managed like he considered it to be a playoff type game. That indicates to me that he sees the two teams as essentially even against the rest of the league and believes the head to head could well settle the division.

      Dusty/ the Reds should perhaps dig into the bag of tricks and do something out of the box tomorrow, like sneak Cingrani into town and start him. I believe it would be Cingrani’s “natural” day given when he last pitched; and, Arroyo wouldn’t figure to be unsettled a bit if they held him back to Tuesday when Cueto’s next turn comes up.

      • @OhioJim: Bronson doesn’t like having more than his usual rest, and he’s already getting an extra day. Right now I would prefer Bronson over Cingrani anyway.

      • @OhioJim: Yesterday many people thought that the division was lost, today the teams are even. Go figure.

        Tomorrow’s game is the most overblown game of the year to date, to me. These teams are not equal, in my opinion. Under that assumption, tomorrow’s game isn’t much more important than any other game. If I’m wrong, then sure, it’s important, but it’s still not *that* important.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate:

          It’s not a do or die game, but it’s a quick way to lose or pick up a game in the standings.

          Being only 2 games out sure looks a lot better than being 4 games out. That’s what’s in balance tomorrow.

        • @CI3J: What I’m trying to say is that if the Reds are better, then even if they are 4 games out, they have plenty of time to make up 4 games. But many people say “if the Reds lose the series, they are conceding the Central to STL”. Hogwash.

  2. Great nites from Mes and Derrick Robinson. I liked tonite’s lineup, with Robby batting 2nd, Mes 7th, and Cozart 8th. Robinson now at .340/.426/.377.
    And it’s next to impossible to double him up. He beat out a routine 6-4-3 tonite.

    • @pinson343: I couldn’t believe he beat that out. He is very fast. I was watching the game and when he hit it I said, Oh Crap, because I was sure he hit into a DP. Course, I said Oh Crap again just a min later when Votto hit.

  3. Bruce and Votto each hit bombs tonite, great to see that.

    As one can imagine, Marty and Jeff were not kind to them in the 7th, when they blew a chance to put the game away. It was surprising, a kid from AA making his second major league start, throwing only a fast ball, and each takes called strike 3 (In Votto’s case, called strike 2 also.)

    How close a call was strike 3 to Votto ? They called it an obvious strike.

    • @pinson343: It was the very same pitch as the one Bruce got rang up on.

      Son Thom made some comment that it was very close and Votto thought it was ball 4. It looked pretty good to me but Eastabrooke was going so far out on the other side of the plate (except with Molina at the plate) that it could not have been over the plate and the ones he was calling to the other side also over the plate.

      • @OhioJim: They also thought called strike 3 to Bruce was an obvious strike.

        I gathered from the game thread that the ball-strike umpire had a bad nite, and a different strike zone for Molina.

      • @OhioJim: Votto went into choke up mode on his bat grip as soon as he missed on the big swing at the first pitch which looked to be clearly high. He did not even begin to offer at the called strike 3. go figure.

      • @OhioJim: Just saw the 2 called strike 3s on video at the Cardinals web site. They were good, well located pitches, maybe 2 inches outside.
        Too close to take but tough to hit unless you’re looking out there.

  4. After video review: Bruce’s catch of Freese’s drive was fabulous.

    Votto’s back handed flip and Latos’ bare handed catch was ranked 2nd on espn’s top plays. If Votto keeps making back handed flips, he’ll never win another Gold Glove.

  5. Negative: Poor AB by BP in the 6th with Joey as insurance run on 3rd and none out. Swings at first pitch change up for weak grounder.
    Also a pop out to RF with Joey on 2nd and none out. Have RBIs gotten a little too much into his head ?

    • @pinson343: I’d guess maybe isn’t really all that healthy yet because he certainly had that SAC fly swing several weeks back.

      BTW, agree BP was anxious to chase the first pitch in the 6th but it was not a “weak grounder”. It was a line drive that nearly knocked Kousma down. They didn’t have a definitive replay but it hit either off his glove or body or both and fell right at his feet. If it hadn’t been virtually centered right at him, he doesn’t make the play and probably never even touches it.

      • @OhioJim: Interesting about the 6th inning AB. Had no idea from the Reds radio call that the ball was hit hard. OK BP, you’re forgiven.

      • @OhioJim: In the 4th inning, with Votto on 2nd and none out, BP was trying to go to RF. The out pitch was an inside, low slider for a strike, hard to hit well to RF.

        • @pinson343: Related note: where’s all the outrage that Votto didn’t just try to pull the ball in the 6th to get the runner over? That’s right, there won’t be any, because he doubled. People (not you) should ask themselves at the start of the AB, do I want Votto giving himself up? If the answer is no, as it should be, then he should just hit the way he always hits.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Yes and I don’t want BP giving himself up, with a runner on 2nd and none out. He got himself out (with no advance of the runner) by trying so hard to go to RF.

    • I didn’t see a discussion of this on the game thread. Marty and Jeff were sure that if Freese got on base against Broxton, Matt Adams was going to PH and Chapman was coming in for a 4 out save. Chapman had gotten warm soon enough for that.

      Of course, if Freese had homered and tied the score, too late.

  6. Was at tonight’s game. What a grand way to come back from the horror of last night and Wednesday night against the Rockies (both games of which I also went to…).

    And LOL at that Cozart point.

  7. Beautiful night at GABP. Packed house. Hated rivals on the other side. And a win. What more could one ask for?

    Mat Latos was good all night. The Cardinals never let him have an easy inning, but Latos seemed in pretty good control most of the way. I’m sure he felt that the second run shouldn’t have scored as Zack Cozart should have made the play for the third out. I was surprised when Baker lifted Latos going into the eighth. He was only at 95 pitches and seemed to have been getting stronger as the night went on. Maybe the long fly ball outs spooked Baker. And it worked out.

    Not sure what the problem is with Broxton. He was hitting 95-96 consistently with his fastball and his off-speed pitch was effective, too. I was glad to see him finish the eighth. Baker did have Chapman warming up throughout the eighth, though. The Cardinals had Matt Adams (lefty) up to pinch hit next and it sure felt like if he had been announced, Baker would have brought Chapman in for the last out of the eighth inning. Willing to do it against the Cardinals but not the Pirates, which I don’t understand.

    You’d think at some point people would quit worrying about Joey Votto’s hitting. Both his doubles were hard hit balls tonight.

    I’ll say it here again, it makes no sense to demote Zack Cozart against a left-handed pitcher. I’m happy to see the LF platoon in the #2 hole, but leaving Shin-Soo Choo batting first with a .150 average and .180 slugging, while moving Cozart down to eighth with a .280 average and .480 slugging just doesn’t figure. I’m fine with Cozart batting eighth against RHP which is most games, but against lefties the stats are what they are.

    • @Steve Mancuso: The larger point is that Choo hasn’t hit lefties all year, and there are going to be critical games where the other team starts a lefty, or very often brings a lefty in to face Choo in a high-leverage, late inning situation. There’s a potential problem here.

      To your specific point, I would leave Choo at leadoff and bat Robinson second against lefties. I understand your point, but I’d probably look at career numbers, where Cozart is .275/.299/.427 vs lefties and Choo is .242/.336/.344. Choo’s not pretty, but neither is Cozart enough better to warrant a dual batting slot. All IMO.

        • @pinson343:

          Yep, swapping Choo and Cozart against lefties is a pointless move, probably even a bad move. And since when did SLG become more important at leadoff than OBP?

        • @CI3J: Didn’t say SLG was more important. When the OBP is close (as it is with Cozart and Choo vs. LHP) and the SLG is dramatically different (again, which it is in that situation) then you take slugging into account. It’s an incredibly valuable asset. One that has made Choo a fabulous lead-off hitter this year with 10 home runs. (None against lefties, of course.)

      • @Steve Mancuso:

        How about career numbers?

        As HAT pointed out:

        @Steve Mancuso:

        To your specific point, I would leave Choo at leadoff and bat Robinson second against lefties.I understand your point, but I’d probably look at career numbers, where Cozart is .275/.299/.427 vs lefties and Choo is .242/.336/.344.Choo’s not pretty, but neither is Cozart enough better to warrant a dual batting slot.All IMO.

        In this situation, including all the intangibles Choo brings (working longer counts, for one) would you still consider SLG to be a tiebreaker to allow Cozart to leadoff?

        For me personally, I like leadoff hitters that get on base. That is their job, after all, so they can be moved up/driven in. I think hitters with higher SLG should bat lower in the order so they can drive in those guys that do get on base.

        Cozart’s skills don’t profile as a “table setter”. But he could be alright as a “run producer” (yeah yeah, I know, dumb terms, but you get my point) Therefore, he should be batting lower in the order, not leading off.

        If you still feel SLG is a good enough reason to bat Cozart leadoff over Choo’s superior OBP, then we’ll just have to agree to disagree. But for someone that likes sabermetrics as much as you do, I find it amazing you would make that argument.

    • Baker did have Chapman warming up throughout the eighth, though. The Cardinals had Matt Adams (lefty) up to pinch hit next and it sure felt like if he had been announced, Baker would have brought Chapman in for the last out of the eighth inning. Willing to do it against the Cardinals but not the Pirates, which I don’t understand.

      Steve M.: I just posted a comment about that. I was happy to see that Dusty had Chapman ready to face Adams. Dusty is stubborn but capable of adjustments. The Jones HR off Broxton obviously bothered him, he didn’t want a repeat of that.

      • @pinson343:

        Maybe Dusty drank some Espresso before the game. Cozart finally out of the 2 hole? Chapman warming up for a potential 4 out save?

        Dude musta been wired!

    • @Steve Mancuso: Agree that Mat Latos had good stuff and pitched well tonite, even though the Cards made him struggle and the Reds defense had to help a lot. They’ve just got a good lineup.

      Broxton has good enough stuff (fastball and slider) to pitch better than he has.
      He’s had trouble putting people away with 2 strikes due to a lack of command (fastball too high, slider too far outside, etc.).

      • @pinson343: I also think that command is Broxton’s problem. He’s still got high octane stuff, but a grooved 95mph fastball is hitting speed. Seems as though he could adjust, doesn’t it?

    • @Steve Mancuso:

      Steve, as someone pointed out in the game thread, despite Cozart having a higher AVG and higher SLG against LH pitchers, Choo still has the higher OBP. Plus, Choo sees more pitches per AB, something you want from your leadoff hitter.

      There is no justification for hitting Cozart leadoff against lefties. None. Give it up.

      • @CI3J: Talked about this above. The OBP difference between the two is pretty minimal – .314 for Choo, .301 for Cozart. One at bat or two would swing that in the other direction. Choo has seven HBP in 70 plate appearances on the left side, something that is super unlikely to continue.

        Cozart’s batting average is nearly 120 points higher against lefties. In terms of RBI, singles are considerably different than walks and hit-by-pitch as a component of on-base-percentage.

        Cozart’s substantially higher slugging percentage means a huge amount for driving in runs (Choo has 4 RBI in almost 90 PA) and is vastly more important than seeing more pitches.

        This is completely consistent with the point I’ve been making about lead-off hitting for a couple years. The lead-off guys like Ben Revere, Juan Pierre, Willy Taveras etc. who are entirely singles hitters, are vastly inferior to lead off hitters like Shin-Soo Choo because of all the power – not just home runs, but doubles, too.

        Unfortunately, when he’s hitting against LHP, Shin-Shoo Choo is even worse than Ben Revere or Willy Taveras.

        Instead of continuing to mischaracterize my view and repeating the phrase “no justification,” how about addressing my argument?

        When the OBP is close, as it is in this case, the SLG is an enormous tie-breaker.

  8. Guys, did I miss something………..Henry Rodriguez got an AB tonight. Who did he replace and when? If he pounds righties, maybe you entertain the thought of a platoon at third….

    Not that I’m rooting against Hanigan, but I REALLY want Mez to succeed. His HR tonight could only happen at GABP.

      • @pinson343: Just a clarification… HRod was recalled when Villareal, not Ondrusek, was optioned out. It remains to be seen who will be optioned out when Cingrani is recalled later this week. The Big Lutz may go out rather than HRod. Lutz needs regular playing time and regular AB in the minor leagues to refine his plate discipline and pitch recognition. The major league sliders are eating him alive. Lutz has much more upside than HRod. HRod, as a swith hitter, can also provide a RH bat off the bench which is sorely needed right now.

        Partch was recalled when Ondrusek was optioned out.

    • @Sultan of Swaff:

      If he pounds righties, maybe you entertain the thought of a platoon at third….

      HRod has proven an unmitigated disaster at 3B and replacing GG caliber defense from Frazier with HRod is a bad idea. HRod can play 2B if BP needs to be spelled or goes down with na injury, but HRod can not play 3B effectively. He can provide a switch-hitting pinch hitter off the bench which could help for the RH pich hitting vacancy on the roster.

  9. My takes. I will give Baker props for making the move with Cozart and our platoon LF. Or, should I say, it’s about time.

    With Leake the other day, for me, the trend I still seem to see from him continues. When faced with a 1-0 deficit, he rarely will be able to “keep the team in the game”. He seems to lose it even more. As soon as the Cards first run scored, I knew there was more coming. But, as a 5th man, I believe Leake is doing everything expected from him. I will still take him against any other 5th man in the league.

    Just too bad Devin is going to sit for 3 games now. I like Ryan, also. It’s like, Devin needs to play more to be able to get better at this level. Ryan deserves to play more because he is better. What to do?

    I thought the last out was a bad call last night, myself.

    I’d like to see the Reds do something to get some left handed pitching in the organization. I’m not just talking about some LOOGY’s up here but throughout the club, there doesn’t seem to be much “leftiness” in the pitching ranks. What about getting a half dozen lefties from this year’s draft or undrafted players?

    I do see a better team than last year, but that is only because of Choo. Even though Choo has been in a funk for over a month now, batting 221 since about April 28, his OBP is still a cool 382 during that same time! Even though he is batting 149 against left handed pitching, his OBP is still 313 (maybe platoon with Robinson?). Sorry, I still take him over Stubbs any day of the week.

    But, I still see a team who beats the teams they are suppose to beat and struggles against the playoff caliber teams. Like this season, we still have a losing record against teams with records 0.500 or better. Like last night, the great teams don’t wait for the other team to make mistakes. Great teams take advantage of the opportunities we had last night offensively.

    Broxton is reminding me of Coco so much, it’s ridiculous.

    Bruce is hitting 299 against left handers this season. Go figure.

    The one thing I don’t like about Votto’s hitting method, taking so many pitches, seeing as much of the pitcher as he can, it has a tendency of getting him to 2 strikes, where one more strike is a K. I can understand it, and I won’t be telling him how to hit. It just gets to me when I watch him take one right down the middle and putting him that much closer to striking out.

    • @steveschoen: On Votto… He has pretty much admitted he is something of a guess hitter. With less than 2 strikes, if he is sitting on a certain pitch and doesn’t get it, he will take the pitch rather than risk giving away his AB away on an routine out because he has confidence in his ability to spoil pitches at two strikes until he gets something to hit or the pitcher walks him.

      Last night I too would have rather seen take one of those slightly outside but somewhat elevated pitches and push it to LF for the SAC fly. And I guess he was still loaded up for the really big hit at two strikes because he certainly wasn’t in protect mode when he took strike three.

      • @OhioJim: Well, I’ve never heard him say anything like that. If you have heard him say that, awesome. I’ve only heard him say he takes pitches because he wants to see as much of the pitcher as possible (could possibly be both). But, either way, he still lets a lot of good pitches go by. That’s one reason why I still say, even though the whole doping scandal, I still say Bonds was the best hitter I’ve ever seen. He had a great theory, make the bat an extension, like a glove catching the ball, catch the ball with the “glove”. Bonds K’ed half the number of times Votto did. Votto is one of the best right now. For me, he still needs to cut the K’s.

  10. Dusty deserves credit for recognizing the Reds need more offense, particularly OBP, at the top of the line-up. Dropping Cozart to batting 8th and putting the switch hitting Robinson in the 2 hole was a good move.

    Having a good switch hitter brings the added benefit in matching up against the other team when they change to pitchers that throw from the other side. Hopefully Robinson can keep up his good start.

    • @MikeC: Yes, definitely. It’s just unfortunate that it was several weeks later than anyone else would have made the change.

  11. I would add as a negative that on two separate occasions late in the game we had the chance to blow it open and avoid the dramatics of the Cards 8th and 9th innings but couldn’t manage a run. Which leads me to nit pick a Votto AB, which I know is never a popular thing to do on here, especially when he goes 2-4 with a couple doubles. But in the 7th Joey came to the plate with Choo and Robinson on 2nd and 3rd and one out. First base open, everyone on the planet assuming Joey had to believe they were going to intentionally walk him. Instead, they bring in a lefty reliever to actually pitch to him. I don’t have time to do the research, but I’d imagine if you looked back at the last 2 or 3 seasons when Joey comes to the plate late in a close game with runners in scoring position and first base open you’d be able to count on one hand the number of times he was actually pitched to. I can’t think of a single logical reason to do it if I’m an opposing manager, especially with Phillips batting behind him who hits into an above average number of double plays. But last night, 7th inning, here we go. Matheny rolling the dice.

    At the very least, Joey has to believe they’re not going to give him anything to hit. He takes a hack at the first pitch high, maybe thinking he can catch them by surprise and drive one. Then come three consecutive pitches well outside…everything seems normal so far. Then Joey takes a 3-1 fastball right down the middle. Alright. Maybe he fell asleep a bit and didnt see that coming. Understandable. They’d just thrown him 4 straight balls and they can’t possibly want to do that again. So then…he watches another fastball go right down the middle. Doesn’t take the bat off his shoulder. Strike 3. Phillips is intentionally walked. Bruce Ks. Inning over, no runs score, still a 2 run lead and we have to watch Broxton clomp to the mound.

    Obviously everything worked out. Broxton and Chapman did their jobs, despite some theatrics. Good guys won. And Joey had a very Joey-esque day at the ballpark, complete with an AMAZING defensive play with Latos. But that AB really bothers me. We all know Joeys philosophy on hitting and we don’t have to have that conversation. Just about everyone on here is on Joeys side over Marty’s and I am certainly in awe of Joeys ability to get on base. But if ever there is an in game situation that might push you to adjust your approach a bit, it was that AB. Joey should have been going into that AB looking at it as a gift. An opportunity to blow the game open with a couple of RBIs and make Mathenynlook like an idiot for thinking he could send in a LOOGY reliever to get him out. He should have looked at that as an insult. But clearly, he was never looking for anything but a walk. And a walk would have been fine, giving Brandon and Bruce a crack at the glory, but as good of hitters as those guys are who do you trust more to drive in a couple runners in scoring position? Them or Joey Votto?

    It’s just a wrinkle in the Votto conversation. I love his approach 95% of the time. But EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE I think he could open it up a bit. Taking those two fastballs last night was a sign that he had actually shrunk his strike zone for that AB when it should have been the exact opposite. And against the Cardinals, that could have been a pivotal opportunity.

    Oh, also an inning later the bases were loaded and Cozart hit into an inning ending double play on one pitch and he is pretty much the anti Joey Votto. If anything, I’d tell him hes not allowed to swing the bat in that spot.

    • @eric nyc: Your entire post relies on the assumption that Votto was looking for a walk. That is unsubstantiated. Does any hitter go to the plate looking to walk? I wouldn’t think so.

      It’s possible, I suppose, that Votto was looking for a walk, but seems more likely he had a bad AB, or maybe guessed and guessed wrong.

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: My vote is Votto was still guessing at 2 strikes instead of shifting into his normal “protect and defend” mode. I think he was looking to drive a stake into their heart versus just bleeding them a little with a single run (not that I agree with this strategy).

        Also Votto knows that if he makes an out (without a run scoring) they are going to walk BP so the lefty can face Bruce and he knows Matheny is betting the game his pitcher can pull that off. So, there was probably a little bit of a reverse version of that psychology of a guy being torqued because somebody was walked to get to him going on with Votto.

    • @eric nyc: May be as simple a thing as Siegrest has great deception in his delivery. Or, put another way, the ball is hard to pick up coming out of his hand because he doesn’t show it until the last possible nanosecond. Looked that way to me. Bruce was turned into a statue on his strike three as well, and those two guys have been among the best at hitting lefties the last couple of years. 94-95 mph with the added bonus of not getting a good look at it.

    • @eric nyc: Maybe it’s just that Siegrist is a new pitcher. He’s 23. That was only his second major league appearance. He’s faced a total of six left-handed batters so far and struck out five of them. I’m willing to bet on Votto the next time.

  12. Mike C: Dusty deserves credit for recognizing the Reds need more offense, particularly OBP, at the top of the line-up. Dropping Cozart to batting 8th and putting the switch hitting Robinson in the 2 hole was a good move.

    Yes and no Mike C. Yeah, Dusty made the move but he’s always tardy making obvious moves by months! Sometimes years!

    • @sezwhom1:
      sez, no doubt this move should have been made much earlier. Cozart had no business batting 2nd in this line-up. However, I am willing to give credit where credit is due to Dusty when I have often been critical of him.

      Dusty is slow in making changes to line-up positions, pitching slots, etc. It is a part of his managerial style that us fans often find frustrating. Some attribute it to his stubbornness. I think it is more likely due to his overblown concern about players having and understanding their assignment. I’m just glad Dusty was willing to make a change in this instance.

      • @MikeC: I suspect that you are right, but am not certain that Dusty’s concern is “overblown.” It seems to me that his over-riding concern is managing his players for their long-term development, and his evident patience and loyalty are probably part of that. People who don’t think that intangibles matter are driven to distraction by this approach, of course, and it doesn’t always work. But no approach always works.

        • @greenmtred:

          If his over-riding concern with Cozart contributed to Dusty’s decision to pencil him in batting 2nd for most of last season and this season up till now, I would say that it is overblown. The point was proven long ago.

    • Yeah, Dusty made the move but he’s always tardy making obvious moves by months! Sometimes years!

      I did not see much of the game, only brief glimses, but I was thrilled to see Robinson hitting in the #2 hole and Cozrat hitting in the #8 hole, with Meso hitting in the #7 hole. I’m not convinced that Dusty’s stubborness has abated and the LF platoon with continue hitting in the #2 hole, but we shall see see the first indication tonight with the RH Lyons pitching for the Birds. Even if the move is permanent and Dusty’s stubborness has yielded to common sense, logic or even panic, the move is more than a month overdue.

      Dusty gets not credit from this quarter for not making this move previously and finally yielding to make the move. This move was just absurdly obvious.
      For the LF platoon (which also took Dusty way to long to establish and utilize properly), XP has an OBP of .383 & an OPS of .847 against RHP while Robinson has an OBP of .447 & an OPS of .822 against LHP. Could both XP & Robinson tail off from their superior performances to date? Certainly! They probably will, but the Reds don’t have a lot of options available to cover for the loss of Ludwick and the LF platoon hitting in the #2 hole would have been a good one for the past two months rather than the past game. The Reds need to ride that horse.

      Now the Reds need to get another RH bat to come off the bench. Maybe that’s HRod as another switch hitter, but I’m not counting on Heisey at this point.

      • @Shchi Cossack: There’s no way Paul/Robinson are going to post a .250 OBP, so they have a long way to drop.

        HRod as a key pinch hitter? Please. The Reds need to acquire someone.

      • @Shchi Cossack: The Reds might already have a decent RH bench bat sitting on the bench every day in the form of whoever isn’t catching that day. Swap out Lutz for a third catcher so they can use that guy without fear of coming up short a catcher due to an in game injury.

        Nevin Ashley is a 29 YO guy who seems to being most of the catching for the bats right now. He is also OPSing at around 800. He could fill that roll.

        That would put them down to 4 OF but as recently as 18 months ago we were being told that corner outfield was probably Frazier’s best defensive position so in a pinch he could play OF with Hannahan at 3B until they got reinforcements to town.

        • @OhioJim: I don’t know about Frazier’s best defensive position being a corner outfield spot. He’s looked pretty darn good at 3B this season despite how the people who wanted Rolen back warned us how much worse he’d be (his fielding % is higher than Rolen’s ever was for Cincinnati unless you count the 39 games he came over for late in 2009). He also looked really good at 1B last season for that 300+ inning stretch when Votto was down.

        • @OhioJim: Another viable option, yes. Of course, Dusty could also bite tye bullet and use the available RH catcher off the bench in late game, high leverage situations anyway even without bring up a 3rd catcher. To Dusty’s credit, I think he has actually done this twice this season. Adding another catcher does bring up the roster problem. There is currently only 39 slots filled on the 40 man roster, so a 3rd catcher could be added without any immediate problem. The probelm arises when an additional move on the 40 man roster becomes necessary, and it will. Then someone must be DFA’d and exposed in order to remove them from the 40 man roster.

        • @Shchi Cossack: Heisey is rapidly closing in on 60 days before there is any realistic reason to expect him back. He could always be moved to the 60 day DL to clear a spot on the 40 man without exposing anyone to waivers. And would they really sweat risking (or even losing) Villareal or Ondro, just to name two off the top of my head?

  13. Verducci said on the broadcast Dusty told him he’s not opposed to the 4 out save, but that he doesn’t want to go there this early in the season.

  14. Don’t look now, but Devin Mesoraco is hitting like a good NL catcher right now. He’s also improved his OBP by .080 from last season. Who knows, maybe with some more playing time he’ll even get better since he’s only 25 and has yet to play 162 games. Maybe you should look into that Dusty, for the future and all.

    • @ToddAlmighty: Meso looks at least as mobile to me as JB was at an early age; and he played some LF to keep his bat into the line up when he needed a blow from catching. Get Meso to shagging some flies and maybe stick him in the line up at LF versus a leftie or two if they are looking for more punch in that situation.

  15. Ok, we haven’t talked about the announcers and umpiring so I’ll step in it.

    Thom embarrassed me last night. If you call a national game you should at least appear to be impartial. I don’t like being on the other side of the equation so I don’t like it in my team’s favor either. Plus his asinine comments were on display for the world to see.

    There were several bad calls last night. Odd though the last call is IMO not one of them. Votto got his foot on the bag after he caught the ball and before Beltran got there. The HBP is my number three bad call. Second was Frazier’s strikeout on a ball 6 inches off the plate. And number one was Robinson being called out at first. Craig’s foot NEVER touched the bag during the entire play and be block Robinson. That was the most obvious bad call. I’m sure there were bad calls that favored the Reds too but I didn’t notice them. Again, the call that ended the game was right even though Lance and CTrent think otherwise.

  16. Robinson starts and gets another opportunity in the 2 hole. Here’s tonight’s lineup:

    Choo CF
    Robinson LF
    Votto 1B
    Phillips 2B
    Bruce RF
    Frazier 3B
    Cozart SS
    Hanigan C
    Arroyo P

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