2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: Trade/Bench/Deport Votto!

Let’s recap today’s Titanic Struggle…

FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
Cincinnati 2

W: J. Locke (9-2)
L: H. Bailey (5-9)
S: J. Grilli (30)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Homer Bailey was mostly fantastic today. 12 strikeouts and only one walk. He lost it a bit in the sixth, but it’s pretty hard to complain about Homer today.

–The Bullpen was similarly excellent with Hoover and Partch combing to strikeout four in 2 2/3 innings.

–Shin-Soo Choo reached base three times.

NEGATIVES
–In the eight inning, with the bases loaded, Joey Votto grounded into a double play. A run scored, but it killed any potential rally and cost the Reds a chance to take the lead.

–The bats evaporated today.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–A series win against the Pirates is a good way to start the second half, though they were achingly close to a sweep and that would have been spectacular.

–There’s been a lot of discussion about Votto’s performance in clutch situations lately, so I want to spend a minute on the concept of “clutch” hitting, RISP, etc. Every year, there are some players who hit really well in important situations. It happens and no one should deny that it happens. But it isn’t a skill any more than guessing right on a coin flip is a skill. I say that because it isn’t consistent from year to year. That is, a player may be great in the clutch one year and terrible the next while his overall numbers remain consistent. It’s just a sample size thing. If it was really a skill to hitting with RISP (or whatever your preferred clutch stat), there would be some level of consistency from year to year. Instead, players almost always end up with career clutch numbers that look like their overall career numbers. Has Joey Votto been good in the clutch this year? Not especially (at least not for him). Does this tell us anything useful about him? No, it does not.

–San Francisco tomorrow. Let’s hope they pick up where they left off against the Giants last time.

 

Source: FanGraphs

119 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: Trade/Bench/Deport Votto!

  1. Say this about the Pirates they have great pitching. I still say the Reds will finish ahead of the Pirates at the end of the year.

  2. Any predictions on the upcoming west coast road trip? I think 5-6 would be great, but see more like 4-7 or 3-8.

  3. Saying that clutch doesn’t exist is like you are saying stress doesn’t either. Certain players overcome the pressure and deliver in key situations. Joey used to do that at will and he doesn’t anymore. Everyone is worried about his knee not being right, but I am more concerned with his head not being right. Do I have any stats to back that up? Nope. Just a hunch. For those saying he doesn’t think about the pulled foul balls and infield popups, HE is the one who brought that stuff up to Verducci. He is a cerebral player and I believe he will get right any day now. I just hope it isn’t too late when he does.

    On another note, what is up with that AB anyways? It is like he does the exact opposite of what his team does. Two Reds work a walk in front of him and he swings at the first two pitches. I think he is just playing games with us…

    • @RedTitan19: Select one:

      1. Votto’s not hitting quite as well as he used to because he’s just slumping a bit this year.

      2. Votto’s not hitting quite as well as he used to because he’s not quite 100%.

      3. Votto’s not hitting quite as well as he used to because he does not mentally have it any more.

      I’d put (3) at less than 1% likelihood. This is the same “reasoning” people used in April, before he had a great May where apparently he finally mastered the mental part of hitting.

    • Saying that clutch doesn’t exist is like you are saying stress doesn’t either.

      Exactly, anyone who has played sports knows there are people who thrive under pressure and people who choke. Joey seems to choke this year. I think he is a very cerebral hitter and unfortunately it seems he is putting too much thought into it. I don’t know if it the pressure of the monster contract or what the issue is, but the team really needs Joey to turn it around.

    • @RedTitan19: That’s just the thing. No players have that ability. If they did, they’d do it year after year. But they don’t. They’re good one year, bad the next. It’s almost completely random. That’s the whole point. Provide evidence if you want to argue otherwise.

        • @RedTitan19: Hmm. No evidence, I see.

          What???? How do you suppose one gathers evidence of stress? Is there a lab somewhere compiling statistics on nervous twitches, sweat droplets, or scared facial expressions that I don’t know about? I assumed we could just call that one automatic without evidence based solely on the fact that MLB players are members of the human race.

        • @RedTitan19: The greatest clutch player of my lifetime: Michael Jordan. That is IMO, of course. Ice water in the veins. The bigger the situation, the better the results. He alone should discourage anyone of claiming there is no such thing as “clutch”.

        • @RedTitan19: The greatest clutch player of my lifetime: Michael Jordan.That is IMO, of course.Ice water in the veins.The bigger the situation, the better the results.He alone should discourage anyone of claiming there is no such thing as “clutch”.

          In the playoffs, Michael Jordan was 9/18 in game tying/winning shots.

          In 1997 and 1998 he was 1 for 3 in each year, which is below is overall average. I guess he sucked in 1997 and 1998, huh?

        • @Chris Wilson: 6-time NBA Finals MVP including 1997 & 1998. No he didn’t suck. Maybe you are too young but Michael not only dominated in the Playoffs but took over whole games. It would be worth your while to go see some tape.

        • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Um, maybe he was the best player in basketball. It’s not the same thing.

          I’m done, your arguments aren’t arguments, they are statements. I shouldn’t have stuck around this long.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Heehee. Very funny. I thought you were old enough to have seen him play. My bad. Do a Google search on Greatest (Best) Clutch Players in NBA history. Michael Jordan will top every list. You might get a Bill Russell every 25th link or so and then MJ will most certainly be #2. He was a marvel to watch and never more-so in the biggest games. Unbelievable under pressure. Should be enough stat stuff to satisfy you as well. Have fun and good luck!

          Kind of look at Michael as the Secretariat of human beings.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Heehee.Very funny.I thought you were old enough to have seen him play.My bad.Do a Google search on Greatest (Best) Clutch Players in NBA history.Michael Jordan will top every list.You might get a Bill Russell every 25th link or so and then MJ will most certainly be #2.He was a marvel to watch and never more-so in the biggest games.Unbelievable under pressure.Should be enough stat stuff to satisfy you as well.Have fun and good luck!

          Kind of look at Michael as the Secretariat of human beings.

          And I put Magic ahead of Jordan, and I was around for those days. Jordan doesn’t win 6 titles in the NBA without league expansion and the Bulls never win 72 games in a season had the league not ridiculously expanded during his time in the league. Magic played in 9 NBA finals and won 5 in a decade in which it was much tougher to win championships.

        • And I put Magic ahead of Jordan, and I was around for those days.Jordan doesn’t win 6 titles in the NBA without league expansion and the Bulls never win 72 games in a season had the league not ridiculously expanded during his time in the league.Magic played in 9 NBA finals and won 5 in a decade in which it was much tougher to win championships.

          I respect your opinion. Magic was also a tremendous player when the chips were down. No doubt. Reasonable people can differ and again I respect yours.

        • In the playoffs, Michael Jordan was 9/18 in game tying/winning shots.

          In 1997 and 1998 he was 1 for 3 in each year, which is below is overall average.I guess he sucked in 1997 and 1998, huh?

          Your argument was about him being clutch! In 1997 and 1998, he didn’t seem to be very “clutch”. Yet he still won the finals MVP, meaning he did plenty of other things in those series to win the MVP.

          Thanks for proving our point! Votto may not be “clutch” right now, but he’s doing plenty of other things right. Jordan didn’t hit the game winners at the same rate in those 2 seasons, but he still did other things to win the MVP. Votto may not be coming up in big situations, but he’s doing enough to be considered a top hitter in the game!

        • @Chris Wilson: Chris< I could not be in more agreement than what you state in your second paragraph and I have never said otherwise. Thank you for making the point clearer than I apparently could. No sarcasm.

        • What????How do you suppose one gathers evidence of stress?Is there a lab somewhere compiling statistics on nervous twitches, sweat droplets, or scared facial expressions that I don’t know about?I assumed we could just call that one automatic without evidence based solely on the fact that MLB players are members of the human race.

          This will probably not help the discussion (since it is a major tangent), but yes, you can measure stress in meaningful ways, in some ways similar to what you describe. But a topic maybe for another forum …

        • @MORed: You are right. It didn’t help the discussion but it is as legitimate of a question as the one being asked of me.

  4. I’ll post something similar to what I posted in the game thread in regard to Dusty today. Contrary to popular opinion, I don’t think this was a prime example of him failing to pull a starting pitcher to early (although his comments about trying to get Homer a win undermine the support I’m about to partially give him). I thought Homer looked great going into the 7th and his pitch count was just under 100. He had a great AB facing Jones, who he K’d. Then, McKenry had a game changing AB, where he saw 10-11 pitches and finally ripped a double. I think it is a tough call on whether to pull Homer for Hoover there, you don’t have any certainty that Hoover pitches well and I’d have stuck with Homer (who again had been looking dominant) too. Then, he gives up a hit that just found a hole. Then, there is Barmes weak grounder that is in a perfect location where Cozart can’t make a play. I’d probably pull him there, especially with the pitch count. Tabata ripped his hit and that was that. I don’t think this was an easy call at the time and am hesitant to fault Dusty too much for it.

    Where I do fault Dusty in this game are: 1) there is no reason Partch should have been brought in for the 9th of a 1 run game (it worked out and he looked great, but this was a bad decision) and 2) Mesoraco should’ve hit against the LHP instead of Soto in the 7th, especially since he was coming into the game anyway. I don’t understand either of these calls at all.

    The double play by Votto was brutal. Someone questioned his approach earlier but I liked it, especially going at the first pitch. Melancon knows that Votto is a patient hitter and that he has walked two guys. I thought he would try to get a strike in there on the first pitch and Votto did as well. He just missed it. And then he hit that slow grounder that was probably the difference in the game. This was a frustrating loss and it felt like the Reds had some things that went against them. The Pirates could say the same thing yesterday though.

    This was a very competitive series. I’ll take 2 out of 3 but the sweep was really needed today. Eyeballing the schedules, I think the Reds have the easiest road of the 3 Central contenders but not by much. This west coast swing, followed by home games against the Cards and the A’s is the toughest stretch they’ll face. The Cards have a tough road the next few weeks as well. Cincinnati needs to play well here and, at worst, not lose any more ground.

    • @Kyle: The only thing that’s irritating is if Baker really said he left Bailey in to try to get him a W.

      I love how Votto is criticized for swinging at the first couple pitches. They were both pitchers’ pitches but I believe both were strikes. If he takes them, and it’s 0-2, the howling would be deafening.

  5. I can’t imagine a universe where a player with a .317/.435/.500 slash line needs to “get right.” Votto had a bad at bat. Criticizing him for that is fair, but condemning him for it is illogical and misguided. He is our best hitter. I could care less about his RBIS. It’s probably the worst way to evaluate a player’s offensive performance (not to mention he’s hitting .313 with RISP). It is stat of opportunity more reflective of the overall lineup than any one player. If two players get hits in front of say, Brandon phillips, and he comes up with runners at the corners and hit’s a sac fly, who is more responsible for the run that scores. The two players who reached base or the one who created an out? Based on the rationale that RBIS are the most effective way to measure performance, Zach Cozart is only a slightly worse player than Vott.

    As far as I’m concerned WOBA and WRC+ are far more useful because they measure everything a player does offensively and it’s in these statistics that Joey excels. If we go by RBIS Zach Cozart is only slightly worse than Joey Votto.

    What bothers me is when I hear and read criticism levied at Votto it almost always seems anecdotal. It doesn’t “feel” like he’s having a good year. It doesn’t “seem” like he ever gets a big hit. The problem is the numbers don’t bear that out. By the numbers he’s having a very good year, a year most major league players would kill for. Is it not quite as good as previous seasons, sure I’ll concede that, but a couple hot weeks he’s right back at his career numbers.

    And this nonsense about clutch hitting is really getting old. The stat FOX sports loves to show is his batting average with two outs and runners in scoring position as well is his average with the bases loaded. I believe 26 at bats and six at bats. In both cases the sample size is ridiculously small and not statistically significant.

    So folks, take shots at the players in the lineup who aren’t actually carrying their weight, not our best hitter.

    • What bothers me is when I hear and read criticism levied at Votto it almost always seems anecdotal. It doesn’t “feel” like he’s having a good year. It doesn’t “seem” like he ever gets a big hit. The problem is the numbers don’t bear that out. By the numbers he’s having a very good year, a year most major league players would kill for.

      @aweis09: Okay: 71.

      That is the total number of RBI’s he will have for the season at the current pace. You like? Me neither.

      For now, bat him second where he will be of the most value to the club until the Slugging ability returns. Not compared to others Slugging ability but to Joey’s historical value. Even if it does and the team has taken off in the meantime, I would keep him in the 2-hole. Back-to-back .400+ OBP guys at the top of the lineup would be incredibly nice to have.

      • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: I actually agree with putting Votto in the 2-hole. The problem, of course, is that Baker is of the glorious old-school. “The best hitter in your lineup MUST bat third, no matter what.”

      • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Arguing that the highest OBP guys should be at the top of the lineup is fine, but the other part of this doesn’t make sense.

        Why should Votto’s position in the lineup be based on how he’s doing relative to himself in the past, rather than how he’s doing relative to the other players in the lineup?

        Typically the middle of the lineup is reserved for sluggers, i.e. players with high slugging percentages. Votto has the highest slugging percentage on the team at .500. Period. Is it as good as his career SLG? No. But what sense would it make to put a guy with a lower SLG in the heart of the order?

        • @al: That is a great question. If the Reds had a more ideal option at the #2 slot I would definitely want Joey there as I believe, in general, the #3 hole is where you put your best overall hitter. But if my option is a guy with .435 OBP versus Cozart (.264), DRob (.338), Heisey (.276), Paul (.330): I want Votto. Especially, this year, BP has not been chopped liver driving in runs and Bruce’s Slg % is virtually identical to Votto’s. In the end, I am proposing getting rid of the back hole and thus giving JV more AB’s, BP & Bruce more opportunities for RBIs because the amount of outs in the #2 hole go down significantly. It is not optimal but given the constraints of the current roster, IMO it is the best we can do to maximize opportunities to score runs.

          The Reds are so weak in the 6-8 holes that in order to max run production, I would bunch up the 5 best hitters on the team. Just my opinion but that is my reasoning.

        • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Yeah, I really have no issue with batting Votto second, or any lineup that gets Choo, Votto, and Bruce up in the first 4 guys, since they are by far our best hitters.

  6. That’s what I love about stats. You can throw out the ones you don’t like. Bad with RISP? Meaningless!

    • @RedZeppelin: Please provide evidence that RISP tracks consistently from year to year like every meaningful stat. Alternatively, I’ll assume your dismissiveness indicates you are aware of how weak and logically flawed your argument is.

      These kinds of arguments are getting old. Many of you assert things, but never address counter arguments. It doesn’t make you look good. Just stubborn.

      • @Jason Linden: It may not track year to year, but it certainly made the difference in today’s game. Let’s dismiss it anyway because it makes us uncomfortable.

        • @RedZeppelin: But it it doesn’t track year to year, it’s not a repeatable skill, so why bother tracking it? If a batter can’t control how he does with RISP then it’s not a useful stat.

        • @RedZeppelin: But…You can’t simply expect Votto to get a hit every single time he’s in that situation. That’s just silly. He’s one of the best players in a game that considers it a success if you only fail two times out of three as a hitter.

          I know, that’s a cliche, but the reality is that we’re not “dismissing” the stat, we’re simply saying it’s less important and more prone to extreme fluctuations than, say, WOBA, WRC+, etc.

          It’s just like BABIP, which fluctuates wildly based on luck.

        • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Yup. Clemente was 11% better than normal w/ RISP. Most of that (as will probably be the case at the end of Votto’s career) came because he walked a lot more. In fact, all 153 of Clemente’s IBB came with RISP. In 2500 PAs with RISP, he walked 273 times total. In his remaining 5270 PAs, he walked 266 times.

        • @Jason Linden: Yup. I’m betting that Joey ends up with higher RISP average than batting average as well. Just like Pete Rose, Henry Aaron, etc. Many of the greats have this peculiarity. Even some not so greats: Joe Rudi. Some guys just deliver in the “clutch” better than others.

        • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: There are a very small handful of players who consistently performed better (Rose is a great example). That’s why I’ve consistently said “virtually all players,” etc. when talking about. But it’s such a tiny subset it’s ridiculous to ever expect any player to conform. And very, very, very often much or most of the variance, even in these players is the result of being pitched around.

          I’m probably going to waste my time writing a giant post about this that will be full of research and facts convince no one because FEELINGS!, so I’m going to stop wasting my time not convincing anyone for now and watch a movie.

        • @Jason Linden: Exactly. So they do indeed exist but not many as one should expect. Joey has been in that rarefied air – .346 vs .319. Too many ABs to be an outlier or an anomaly. He has been a clutch performer and so we expect him to be a clutch performer. The very rare gem, indeed.

        • @Jason Linden: By the way, I have no idea what walks have to do with batting average with RISP. My guess is that Clemente was IBB so often with RISP is that the guy was an absolute terror in clutch situations. How it would effect the RISP average, I haven’t a clue.

        • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: I was looking at OPS+ for increased performance as it’s a better indicator of a players overall offensive contribution (slugging and getting on base still matter with RISP, right).

          I should have clarified that, though. That’s my mistake.

    • @RedZeppelin: We throw out stats with small sample sizes. For example, like throwing out Gregorious, Kozma, and Cozart’s first 100-150 ABs, where all three were awesome.

  7. And by the way, Gregorius has been so bad since his hot April that he’s not even playing regularly anymore…he’s sharing time with Cliff Pennington, who has a .568 OPS this year.

    But they traded the wrong shortstop!!!

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: And that doesn’t even account for the point that Arizona had no interest in taking Cozart. The deal got done solely because their GM was very high on Gregorious.

      Baseball is littered with guys who hit incredibly well for 150ABs and then regressed to the mean. Gregorious and Cozart are great examples (Kozma, too). Check out Jose Iglesias for the Red Sox, who is the next regression candidate. He is a great defensive shortstop who never had a bat in the minors. He came up to Boston red hot and is hitting .360/.410/.452. He was over .400 for most of the past month. The numbers don’t lie. At the end of the year, he will be hitting well under .300. It is rare that guys outperform their minor league numbers (Votto is an example of a guy who did).

      Sample sizes don’t start to normalize until around 200 and even with 200 ABs, you will have your share of outliers if you look across the 300 or so major league hitters.

  8. Remember this: this team played their best baseball of 2012 season with Votto on the DL. Now, I am not saying that this team is better without Votto in the lineup but he is not the be all to end all player that we want him to be right now and he needs to be managed as such. Hitting in the 3 hole is not a sacred right and juggling a lineup to fit the opposing pitcher of the day should be a consideration. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to give him more days off to rest the knee that everyone suspects is guarded if not 100 percent. No matter what he says to the contrary.

    Of course Dusty won’t but:

  9. Mr. Jason Linden, I compliment you on a great comment that demonstrates a very good understanding of the statistics and also, quite frankly, what a great hitter Votto truly is, if one were to read between the lines:

    –There’s been a lot of discussion about Votto’s performance in clutch situations lately, so I want to spend a minute on the concept of “clutch” hitting, RISP, etc. Every year, there are some players who hit really well in important situations. It happens and no one should deny that it happens. But it isn’t a skill any more than guessing right on a coin flip is a skill. I say that because it isn’t consistent from year to year. That is, a player may be great in the clutch one year and terrible the next while his overall numbers remain consistent. It’s just a sample size thing. If it was really a skill to hitting with RISP (or whatever your preferred clutch stat), there would be some level of consistency from year to year. Instead, players almost always end up with career clutch numbers that look like their overall career numbers. Has Joey Votto been good in the clutch this year? Not especially (at least not for him). Does this tell us anything useful about him? No, it does not.

    • @joelie1274: But historically his RISP numbers have outperformed his “normal” numbers bt a lot too. He is not alone, see above. There are special guys that thrive in these situations and generally it is the few that you might suspect. Current day examples: Ortiz, Y. Molina, Kevin Youkilis – Youk killed with RISP. As Bum Phillips once said of Don Shula, “He takes Yourns’ and beat Hissins’ “.

      • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: I don’t know. Career slash lines for Ortiz, Molina, Youkilis and Votto, total then with RISP:

        Ortiz: 287/381/550; w/RISP: 299/410/533
        Molina: 284/340/481; w/RISP: 307/385/406
        Youk: 281/382/478; w/RISP: 316/426/542
        Votto: 317/418/547; w/RISP: 346/447/601

        Votto’s ’13 RISP slash line is 314/475/477, on a ’13 total slash line of 319/437/504. All four hitters have RISP slash lines better than their career average, but only one (Votto) has a significant jump, though Youk’s does pop a bit too. My point is that I’m not buying 1) that Votto is not as good as some others with RISP, in fact I’d take that career slash line over any of those other guys above (all of whom are great hitters) and 2) that RISP is significant as a statistic in that it tends to revert to the mean, which means that generally a hitter will hit in any given situation, so long as there is enough sample data, somewhere close to his long run average. The guy is a great hitter, and his very good .314 average means that 68.6% of the time he registers an AB he will also register an out. It just so happened that he did it today when we all wished he did what he does the other 31.4% of the time.

        • @joelie1274: Historically, JV is one of the very best with RISP. I have pointed that out more than once. He is normally great with RISP. By his measure, in 2013 he is having a time of it. I have made my point and I’m done. All I have learned there are certain Reds you dare not criticize. I’ve learned and I’m over it.

  10. Numbers can be twisted to prove any point you are trying to make, to me it comes down to the eye test and my eyes tell me that Votto for whatever reason is not performing on the level he was pre injury.

  11. Joey Votto is an elite hitter. He belongs in the All Star Game every year. His WAR makes him worth his mammoth contract, even for a small market team like the Reds. That being said, I think we all have to get used to the idea that Joey is possibly not the HOF player we all hope he can be. He is an incredibly accomplished hitter and a very good fielder, but I don’t know if we’ll be talking about him in 30 years the way we talk about Pete and Joe and Tony. He’s going to help us win a lot of games and he’ll hopefully help bring a ring back to the city, but he’s not really the second coming.

    • @eric nyc: Actually up until 2013, I think he has been better than the three you mention. I hope the knee doesn’t curtail that. Anything other than that, he can and will overcome.

    • @eric nyc: Exactly! No player on this team is the caliber of Pete, Joe, Johnny and Tony. Different era, but also different caliber of player. Don’t get me wrong, Joey is darn good – but a great potential HOF?

      An emphatic and resounding – NO -!

      • @cincyreds14: I’m sorry, this just sounds like old curmudgeonly “these young whippersnappers will never by like they were in my day” talk.

        Joey Votto is well on his way to a HOF career. At age 29, his win totals are almost exactly the same as Tony Perez’s and Pete Rose’s. Morgan and Bench were higher, but that’s because they came into the league when they were 19. Votto has done about the same in his first 6 seasons as Bench did, and a lot more than Morgan did.

        Who knows how long he will play, and those guys did have really long careers, but mostly they’re just legends now. Maybe Votto won’t be as good as some of them when all’s said and done, but I bet he’ll be better than some of them too, and that’s a good list to be in the middle of.

  12. Yesterday, I talked about how Joey Votto’s “clutch” score was negative this year for the first time since 2008, but that only compares Joey in certain situations to his overall performance (and is based on Win Probability Added). I thought I would take a closer look at how he has done compared to others. Here is what I found:

    Before today’s game, Joey Votto had had 60 plate appearances in high-leverage situations. (Here is a site that shows what type of leverage each situation is: http://www.insidethebook.com/li.shtml)

    In those 60 plate appearances his slash line is .333/.500/.578 with a wRC+ of 180. The wRC+ places him 22nd in MLB and the best on the Reds.

    The plate appearance in the 8th inning today was in an extremely high-leverage situation, but I don’t see a way to filter for that on fangraphs.

    For more conventional stats, with men on base, his slash line is .291/.453/.430 with a wRC+ of 139, placing him 33rd in MLB and first on the Reds.

    With men in scoring position his slash line is .314/.475/.477 with a wRC+ of 145. He is relatively lower here, 39th in MLB and behind Brandon Phillips and Shin-soo Choo on the Reds.

    In late innings of close games (this is according the MLB.com, I am not sure how they define this), he has 60 plate appearances with a slash line of .348/.500/.609.

      • @RedZeppelin: I am not sure what your point is here. I will take any player that has that slash line with runners in scoring position anytime. But given the choice, I would just take someone that performed well overall and ignore their “clutch” stats.

      • @RedZeppelin: You need to look at what everyone is saying. Also, that is actually pretty good, all things considered. Think about what you’re saying before you actually say it rather than just indignantly react to differing opinions.

        I don’t think you’ve given a single fact to support your claims.

      • @RedZeppelin: Out of 420 position players (14×30), Votto ranks 39th in that particular stat, as well as ranking higher in almost every other one. That’s good.

        The fact that he’s doing well in every other “traditional” stat besides the entirely luck-based RBI also proves his greatness, to those that look at those.

  13. The main thing that upset me about that game is Dusty keeping a guy in way too long, playing for a starting pitcher win rather than a team win… again. He does it all the time, and it rarely ends up with the starting pitcher getting a win, and more often than not the Reds losing.

    Someone needs to tell him that Bailey can go 1-9 for all I care, as long as the REDS win most of those 20 or so other no decision games he starts. Team W-L is more important than starting pitcher W-L.

  14. The debate shouldn’t be if Joey is having a bad year/physically healthy/whatever. The issue is, at present time, Joey’s biggest help to the team would be batting second. You kill 2 birds with one stone. You get the two highest OBP% in the NL at the top of the order and you keep the Cozarts, Heisys, Pauls of the baseball world where they should be hitting.

    The recipe for scoring runs, whether Dusty likes it or not, is having people on base. For whatever reason, Votto has decided he is not going to chase pitches to attempt to drive the ball. If the pitch isn’t right where he wants it, forget about it.

    The Reds have a blessing in disguise, let’s hope Dusty has the fortitude to utilize it properly.

    • @nelly33: Votto still has the highest slugging percentage on the team. To talk about him like he’s just decided to walk instead of hit, and not “drive the ball” makes no sense. Highest SLG on the team.

      Just keep saying it until it sticks. Highest SLG on the team. Until that isn’t the case, what is the argument for moving him from the middle of the order? If anything he should be hitting cleanup.

  15. I really think the lack of power from votto has much more to do with the way he is being pitched. He’s not going to chase (as he shouldn’t) and when he is thrown a strike, it typically is a “pitchers pitch” that he normally fouls off. He rarely gets a fastball on the outer third that’s waist high. ( his sweet spot) I think the solution to this would be to have more of a power bat behind him. IE Bruce or Ludwick when he returns… or someone in a trade. Right now pitchers are just thinking ” Im not gonna give him anything to hit hard, so I’ll either walk him, or maybe he’ll find a hole for a single.
    Infields are also shifting to the right more against him than ever before. He used to make a habit of hitting the ball between first and second, but with the shift, a lot of those are easy outs.

    Baseball is a game of adjustments, and so far this year the pitchers have adjusted to him/this lineup… I think by years end, we’ll see him make an adjustment. It might be such a small adjustment that we can’t quite put our finger on it, but he’ll make it. He always does.

  16. People that think there is no such thing as “clutch” because you can’t attach a number to it, I think are missing the point.

    Why do so many 88% foul shooters miss two free throws when they are down by 1?
    He will probably hit 19 out of the next 20, in future games, and thus, his average will steady back in at 88%. But when it mattered, he didn’t come through.

    Why are certain golfers (Westwood) not able to close the deal in major golf tournament? I’ll tell you…pressure. It’s a clutch situation and the performance isn’t the same as a low stress situation.
    Anyone that plays golf, knows this. You can make 9 straight 5 footers, but when you need to make the one to win the tournament, or a bet with your friends, you can “feel” how much more stress/pressure the situation is…and often times you choke on the putt.
    Your statistics say you are great at foul shots and 5 foot putts, but when it is really needed, the failures come more often.

    Maybe Votto drives a runner in early in the game…statistics say that it is no less important of a run than one late in the game. Maybe he drives some in when the Reds are up 8-1 or down 9-2. Again, the stats grade these as the same. Like the foul shooter or the golfer the success might be coming when it means the least.
    I want Votto to succeed “when it matters” just like everybody on this board, he’s done so before. Be it his health, approach, or whatever else that contributes, we want the Votto that mashes.

    Your guess is as good as mine. Wonder if the cursing gag order Dusty applied has any affect? ;-) lol

    • you can’t compare basketball and golf to baseball. especially when it comes to hitting, which is all about reacting to what another play does with the ball.

    • @VaRedsFan: Do good foul shooters really miss more often in the closing minutes of a close game? Do golfers really perform poorer overall close to the lead late in a tournament? Or do we just notice these situations more? I would really like to know if any studies have been done on this.

  17. You CAN attach numbers to the theory of “clutch.” It’s all over the Internet. As Jason said above, it’s precisely the inability to repeat those numbers of the overwhelming majority of baseball players that disputes your assertion.

    The examples you cite are valid examples of how pressure can affect an athlete negatively in situations where the athlete initiates the action on his own: like hitting a stationary ball on a tee or shooting a free throw with a game stopped.

    But hitting is reactive. Muscle memory takes over. Which is why players tend to hit their career average when enough repetitions are taken into account. They are neither “clutch” nor “chokers.”

      • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Yeah, but you’re cherry picking examples. You’re picking a few guys that do have better numbers in clutch situations, just as there are a few guys that have worse numbers in clutch situations. But the point that Linden and others are making is that most–almost all, in fact–players’ career statistics are very close to their clutch statistics. The ones who have great deviations one way or another are anomalies.

        • @mdgwsu: Why of course. I didn’t say the landscape was littered with these guys. They are exceptional and that does not make my claim any less relevant than if there were hundreds. Point is they have and do exist. Joey Votto is in very select company.

      • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: I don’t have the numbers handy, but I believe that over the years the aggregate MLB hitting stats are better with RISP than without (probably because the pitcher’s in the stretch). So if someone is slightly better for the career, then that’s expected.

        Of course there are counterexamples where a guy is well above. I don’t think that proves anything in and of itself.

        As for your Jordan example, what are the stats? Forgive me if I don’t just believe your assertion without some kind of data. He was a great player, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he was great in and out of “clutch” situations.

        Someone else claimed Lee Westwood. You know, it’s funny, but if you replace Westwood with Mickelson, then that was exactly what people said 10 years ago. It’s embarrassing when golfers who consistently finish high up there are labeled chokers. They’re great golfers. As soon as Westwood wins one, which he will, people will say he’s absolutely great.

  18. @Richard Fitch: Joey has been such a clutch hitter in the past that we have come to expect it. We may even expect too much from him. I would say that maybe he expects too much from himself and is pressing too much in those situations, but I can’t provide a statistic to back that up so it must be impossible.

    • @Richard Fitch: Joey has been such a clutch hitter in the past that we have come to expect it.We may even expect too much from him.I would say that maybe he expects too much from himself and is pressing too much in those situations, but I can’t provide a statistic to back that up so it must be impossible.

      I agree with this

    • @Richard Fitch: Joey has been such a clutch hitter in the past that we have come to expect it.We may even expect too much from him.I would say that maybe he expects too much from himself and is pressing too much in those situations, but I can’t provide a statistic to back that up so it must be impossible.

      I’ve been saying for weeks that I think he thinks too much. Just relax and do what comes naturally. I know, easier said than done.

  19. If Joey’s clutch situational hitting included more RBIs we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Obviously extending innings, working walks, getting a base hit, or moving up runners is essential – and Votto excels at these skills. But, truth is, our #3 hitter needs to tie games or put us in the lead more consistently.

    Votto doesn’t seem to be doing that with his approach at the plate this season.

    Yes Votto might work a walk to “drive in” a run. He might hit into a double play to “drive in” a run. But the Reds desperately need the threat of consistent power from that part of the lineup. Votto doesn’t seem to provide that threat any longer.

    • @tpteach: Votto has the highest batting average on the team, and the highest SLG on the team. He hasa the second most extra-base hits on the team behind Bruce.

      This is all just anecdotal BS. The conventional wisdom as perpetuated by Cincy media.

      Votto is 24th in MLB in SLG, and he never came up as a pure power guy! He is 7th in baseball in overall offensive output (wRC+) because he combined good power with outrageous plate discipline. That’s why he’s one of the top 10 hitters in baseball.

      If you want more consistent power from the lineup, how does it make sense to blame it on the guy with the highest SLG on the team? What about our cleanup hitter slugging .410? Frazier is at .396, Mesoraco at .358 etc, etc etc.

      The Reds do have a need for more consistent power. We’re 6th in the league in OBP, but 16th in SLG. Guess who’s fault that isn’t. The guy slugging .500.

      • @al: methinks you missed the point. Votto, it seems, doesn’t drive in runs when the game’s on the line. You always knew Will Clark would. you always knew Pujols would. Hamilton. Etc. With Votto, you may get the walk to extend the inning. Fine. But I’d love for our top SLG % guy to be able to do it in clutch situations. You’re right, though, that it speaks poorly of the rest of the guys if Votto is our best hope for the extra base hit in clutch situations.

  20. Jason, are you under 45? Thought so, and thus you were not a fan of the Cincinnati Reds when Hall of Famer Tony Perez played. Your point that a player is clutch for a year and that’s it is pure nonsense and hogwash. Perez earned his rep over a half dozen years and it put him in the HOF. Players get a CAREER rep for hitting in the clutch. Players that hit .270 for a career can earn the rep. Remember Mr. October Reggie Jackson? He earned his rep for WS performances. Alas, Sean Casey was pretty good himself.

    But it is so very sad that current day Red’s fan have absolutely NO IDEA what a ‘clutch hitter’ is. It is a player that you want at the plate with a game on the line and within inches of sweeping the team in front of you as the season nears the 100 game mark. The Reds have not had a clutch hitter in so many years that the younger generation has no idea what they are. Dave Parker, Ronnie Gant and Kevin Mitchell are a few players to remember – and sadly that was over 25 years ago (before 1990). They are players that raised the level of their game when the game is on the line. The current Reds don’t have that and alas have very little leadership.

    And trust me, it’s not JV, as he may have come through a handful of times in his career, but TP Tony Perez did it weekly!

    That’s my friend is a good/great team – not this Red’s version.

    • I’m not Jason, but I am over 45. I think that your asertion that Joey Votto is not as good in clutch situations when he has one MVP already and was on pace to be in the discusion last year until he was injured. Why not let his career finish before you judge him?

      I have watched/listened to the Reds for 40 years and “I think” we are lucky to have Joey Votto playing for our team. Comparing Joey Votto to Ronnie Gant and Kevin Mitchell is just absurd. They neber reached Votto’s level and frankly it lends no credibility to your arguement.

      It seems to me that most of this would be water under the bridge if he didn’t have the contract that pays him so much.

      • @MilnersGhost: I agree Milner, just incredibly frustrated that the Reds have not been able to get over the hump (so many failed opportunities in Sunday ball games all the way back to May). This team does not have ‘IT’ – what ever ‘IT’ is (maybe leadership, maybe a decent manager, maybe a quality batting coach (is big Klu or even Eric Davis still around?), maybe consistent clutch hitting, maybe consistent hitting with RISP, maybe a ‘REDS WAY’ that compares to the ‘Cardinals way’, maybe a killer instinct). The Reds just don’t have ‘IT’. Time to clean house and find a SS,3B (Todd is a great kid, but so is Tebow, but that does not make Todd a solid 3B just like it doesn’t make Tebow a solid QB – some of the most rotten men were great players), CF (that doesn’t take 2 1/2 months off during the season) that have ‘it’. And for Exhibit A – watch a few Cardinal games – because whatever ‘IT’ is, the Cards have ‘IT’!

        And I like Joey, but I’m into trends – Joey will be 30 in September and based on the 2012 and 2013 seasons he is trending downwards. JV hitting .315,25,70 will only get JV into HOF if he buys a ticket and pays the price of admission. Sorry Reds fans calling it like I see it.

    • @cincyreds14: I don’t want to be too negative, but this is probably the most ridiculous thing I have read on here. Fangraphs only has the splits going back to 2002, but in that time Joey Votto is the overall best hitter in MLB in high leverage situations (.404/.521/.739 with a wRC+ of 225). He is second overall with men in scoring position to Barry Bonds (.346/.477/.601 wRC+ of 175). He is also second to Barry Bonds with men on base (.334/.454/.570).

      Reggie Jackson played in 11 post-seasons consisting of 17 series. His career slash line in the regular season is .262/.356/.490. His line in the post-season was .278/.358/.527. He did perform somewhat better in the post-season, but not drastically so. I think he known as Mr. October primarily for that one WS game where he hit 3 home runs. He was the only player other than Ruth to do that at the time.

  21. By the way, I think it’s a little unfair to criticize Votto for his RBI numbers without adding that he has consistently had a poor on-base guy immediately in front of him in the lineup. Choo had a cold June, too, and how many times were we lamenting the number of times that Joey had to lead off innings?

    Lo and behold, Phillips gets to bat with the league’s two best on-base guys among three spots in front of him, and he’s leading the league in RBIs. (Or, at least Votto and Choo were 1-2 for most of the season, if they aren’t now.)

    I’m actually surprised that Joey is actually on pace for about 80 RBIs given his slow start and the No. 2 dead zone.

    • @vegastypo: Intereseting stat: Total number of runners in scoring position per ABs not plate appearances:

      Votto: 96, Total guys on-base: 204
      BP: 123, TGOB: 265

      RBIs
      Votto: 44 deduct 15 HRs = 29
      BP: 78 deduct 12 HRs = 66

      Percentage RBIs of guys in scoring position:
      Votto: 30%
      BP: 54%

      Percentage RBIs of guys on base:
      Votto: 14%
      BP: 25%

      Indeed, BP is certainly getting more opportunities to drive in runs but he is also doing more with those opportunities. So my thinking is give BP even more opportunities by hitting Votto in the #2 spot. Let alone Bruce, Fraz, etc.

  22. Tony Perez, hmm…

    Tony Perez (career) “high leverage” — .300/.359/.491

    Joe Votto (2013) “high leverage” — .329/.450/.519

    Tony Perez (career) “late and close” — .300/.370/.490

    Joey Votto (2013) “late and close” — .321/.493/.536

    Conclusion based on facts: Joey Votto has hit better in high leverage and late/close situations *this year* than Tony Perez did over his career.

  23. Career stats for “high leverage” (Baseball-Reference):

    Kevin Mitchell – .282/.364/.498
    Ron Gant – .255/.331/.480
    Dave Parker – .313/.368/.517
    Pete Rose – .318/.404/.428
    Johnny Bench – .271/.337/.475
    David Ortiz – .295/.393/.555
    Tony Perez – .300/.359/.491

    Joey Votto – .361/.470/.661

    You can wax nostalgic all you want about players you remember who “came through in the clutch” and say that Joey Votto doesn’t belong in the same category. You’re right about that. Joey Votto’s numbers are *far and away* better in the clutch than any of those hitters. He’s one of the all-time greats in clutch hitting.

    Oh, you say, well not this year.

    Joey Votto (2013) – .329/.450/.519

    They may not be up to his own incredible career numbers right now, but still compare extremely favorably to those previous generation players. Even in a “down year” Votto’s numbers are better than Perez, Gant, Mitchell, Rose etc.

    • Steve, it’s always difficult to convince people who base their opinions on “gut feelings” or intuition that “feelings aren’t facts”. Facts are facts.

  24. Joey Votto’s HOF worthiness? It’s way too early to judge his career, but how’s he doing so far? His career OPS+ (which adjusts for park and era) is 155. That ties him for 22nd all time in that stat. Babe Ruth is first. Ted Williams, Bonds, Gehrig, Mantle, Hornsby, Cobb, Mantle and others are ahead of Votto.

    The three people tied with Votto at 155?

    Hank Aaron, Joe Dimaggio, Mel Ott

    Votto’s OPS+ this year, as of today? 155

    • @Steve Mancuso: Yes, too soon to judge Votto’s HOF worthiness. The only hitter in Reds history who was comparable to “Joey’s productivity so far” was Frank Robinson: .303/.389/.554 in his 10 seasons with the Reds. His OPS+ with the Reds was 150. His career OPS+ was 154.

  25. One thing I notice is Cozart hitting in the 7th spot. Dusty was absolutely immovable on leaving Cozart in the 2nd spot. Maybe Management told Dusty, “You WILL move Cozart down to the 7th spot, got it!!”

    • @JEFFMO: The “Cozart batting 2nd” thing had become a media focus and a distraction in the clubhouse, where Zach got to listen two days in a row to mlbnetwork (correctly) saying that he was hurting the Reds in the number 2 spot. This kind of attention was not good for him (obviously) and his teammates were pissed off. Dusty’s stubborn but a change had to be made.

      Batting Heisey 2nd has worked well so far.

      • @pinson343: So sick of hearing that Dusty is the main nemesis for the Reds demise. He is one of the greatest managers of all time and deserves all the credit for getting the Reds into the post season in 2010 and 2012. He is 2nd to none.

  26. Yes, Votto grounded into a DP but BP also weakly grounded out to end the game with tying run on 3rd. Hey, we took 2 out of 3 from a team in front of us. I’ll take that.

  27. How are we not chatting about how the Bruce has crawled back into the bag he calls Douche! You can see it when he walks to the plate….Please bring back mediocre
    or hot Bruce.

  28. Ah, the Old Cossack was done last night by the time he got home and tucked in the little Cossack, so I had to wait until this morning to share some of my observations.

    Sometimes the wisdom of children just amazes me. Prior to THE AB yesterday, the Old Cossack was on his feet and screaming like a maniac riding the wind across the Steppes. I had to stop and explain to the little Cossack what all the excitement and noise was about (she is still learning the game and players). Part of the Old Cossack’s explanation involved something about ‘these moments are why we drive for hours to come and sit through 3+ hour games’. Well we all know how THE AB turned out and how the game turned out, but while we prepared to leave our seats and the stadium after the final out, the little Cossack leaned over and pointed out to the Old Cossack that she had a great time and loved going to the games with me and after all, the Reds can’t win all the games, but maybe they’ll win next time. The next few hours driving home were some of the best hours the Old Cossack can remember. Thank God for a child’s perspective and for keeping the Old Cossack focused on the important aspects of the baseball game.

  29. Homer Bailey pitched a whale of a game yesterday through 5 innings. After 6 innings, Homer had thrown 96 pitches. That’s a lot of pitches, but he worked through the heart of the Bucs lineup in the 6th inning successfully and looked capable of pitching the 7th inning. The 7th inning was obviously going to be Homer’s last inning of the game, even if he finished the 7th inning unscathed.

    Homer had to throw 19 piches in the 6th inning, so that was a concern. I applauded Dusty’s decision to send Homer out in the 7th inning, but hoped that Dusty had Homer on a short leash with someone (I hoped that someone was Hoover or LeCure) warming up to start the 7th inning, but I couldn’t see the Reds’ bullpen to verify any activity to start the inning. Bailey struck out Jones on 6 pitches to start the 7th inning. That was a good start but it also put Homer over 100 pitches on the day. McKenry smashed a double after a 9 pitch AB, oputting Homer over 110 pitches on the day. That was the red flag and no-brainer moment. Bailey was done. He’d given the Reds a superb outing and had the Reds tied at 1-1 in the 7th inning, but he had given everything he had to give yesterday. Dusty not removing Bailey immediately after the double was classic Dusty bullpen mismanagement. 1B was already open with 1 out and a runner on 2B, so even if the reliever struggled with his control to the 1st hitter, no harm done and it would even set up a possible double play. Dusty once again remained with a fading starter until after the damage was done.

    I have no idea was Dusty was thinking in the bottom of the 7th inning. With 2 outs and Bruce on 1B, Dusty replaced Corky Miller (that’s another issue) with XP to force a pitching change or get XP hitting against the RHP. Hurdle obliged and brought in a LHP to face XP, so Dusty replaced XP with a RH hitter. Since Meso had to enter the game anyway as a defensive replacement at catcher after Miller was pulled for a pinch hitter, Mesoraco would have been the logical (and better) choice for a pinch hitter, but nope, Dusty sends Soto (on a temporary callup from AAA for some extra bench depth) then replaces Soto with Mesoraco after Soto strikes out. I’m sorry, but that move was just stupid and wasted a pinch hitter that could have been useful later in the game.

    Now, getting back to Corky Miller. The only role Corky should be filling on a major league roster is an EMERGENCY backup catcher and I’m defining EMERGENCY as there is no one else available to insert as catcher and the catcher must be removed from the lineup due to injury. Miller can’t hit (as atested to by his pitiful .100 BA) and he can’t even catch at league average ability any more. Having him at AAA as a mentor and developer of young pitchers is one thing, but PLAYING him on a major league roster is stupid and desperate.

    • @Shchi Cossack: I agree with all three of your main points. Baker explained after the game that he left Homer in because “man, Homer was dealin’ out there” and “trying to get Homer a win because he hasn’t had one since his no-hitter.”

      The second comment there really sickens me that Baker would put Homer’s win-loss record above the needs of the team to win the game. Especially when the pitchers like Homer, Leake, Latos etc. have been so clear (and awesome) this year about saying publicly that their own wins don’t matter to them.

      I said at the time, Clint Hurdle is managing this game like it’s the most important of the year to his team and Dusty Baker is managing to be BFF with Homer Bailey.

      Baker’s decision to bat Soto ahead of Mesoraco was equally inexplicable, for exactly the reasons you say. Mesoraco is one of the best hitters on the team against left handed pitchers, which is what he would have faced. Baker was embarrassingly outmanaged in that flurry.

      The organization has made many good roster moves this year, but it’s a big negative that they have to rely on Corky Miller in this situation as the third catcher.

  30. I can’t believe that we’re even having this discussion about Votto not being a “clutch” player. Votto is a very good hitter. Even if he was underperforming in the clutch, which in my opinion overall he isn’t, he’s still the guy I’d want at the plate with the game on the line. If I were calling a game, Votto would be the Red that I’d say “I’m not letting that guy beat me.”

    Yes, some guys can be “clutch” throughout their careers. There have been a handful of such players. All of them were very fine players to begin with. There have been many, many players who have been clutch during certain years and not clutch during other years. That deviation is normally attributed by researchers to be based on luck. I agree that luck is the most likely reason for the deviation, and that most players, given enough ABs, are going to revert to their career hitting line in clutch situations. Another variable that I’ve been asking some of my friends in SABR to consider is how much confidence and momentum factors into those single-season runs of exceptional clutch performance. A guy gets on a roll in those sorts of situations and it kinda snowballs. He just sees the ball better, he’s more relaxed at the plate. He just knows that “this guy can’t get me out” and he time and again he delivers. Maybe he goes on such a hot streak for a few weeks in a row and it skews his overall clutch numbers for the season. It’s such a small sample normally that such streaks can certainly inflate clutch hitting numbers.

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