2013 Reds

Major lineup change: BP at #2, Jay Bruce to #4

Wow.

Manager Dusty Baker has shuffled the top part of the Reds’ lineup for today’s game against the Cardinals. The Reds will be facing St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright.

Notably, Brandon Phillips moves back to the #2 spot for the first time since Opening Day, when he went 0-for-5. Baker has moved Jay Bruce to the clean-up spot, placing left-handed hitters back-to-back. Is snapping a three-game losing streak worth risking total protonic reversal?

Ryan Ludwick, who continues to struggle, moves up to fifth. Ludwick has started ahead of Chris Heisey all three games in this series.

For many managers, this kind of adjustment at the top of the lineup would be no big deal. But for Dusty Baker, who believes in players settling into comfortable and familiar roles, it’s considerably out of the ordinary.

UPDATE: Looks like Brandon Phillips tweeted about this last night.

68 thoughts on “Major lineup change: BP at #2, Jay Bruce to #4

  1. Back-to-back left-handers at 3 & 4! Is it a sign of the apocalypse? “Cats and dogs living together…mass hysteria!”

    Maybe it’s a sign that Baker is finally near panic mode & has to actually, you know, make decisions, instead of “it’s just another game, we’ve got plenty of time”, yada yada yada.

  2. While I applaud the change I still think Votto in the #2 hole would maximize the line-up. Flip Votto and Phillips and I think you’ve got something worth watching.

  3. This change might, after swearing I wouldn’t subject myself to another night of this, get me to tune in at least for the first inning.

  4. I wonder if this is a “Klonk, I could have had a V-8″ moment, or an act of desperation. Couldn’t hurt either way.

    Against the next LH starting opponent I’d really like to see Baker shake it up and put the RH hitters at the top and the LH hitters at the bottom just for a day.
    1. Meso, 2. Cozart, 3. Frazier 4. Heisey, 5. Phillips 6. Votto 7. Bruce 8. Choo.
    Just for one game. Switch it up just prior to game time. That would blow everybody’s minds.

    • I wonder if this is a “Klonk, I could have had a V-8″ moment, or an act of desperation. Couldn’t hurt either way.

      My guess is deperation.

    • @Steve Mancuso: I would like to see Phillips-Choo-Votto-Bruce at the top. I know Phillips isn’t the ideal lead-off guy but it eliminates a lot of double plays.

  5. “#WellAlright… After tonight’s loss, it was that time to talk to POPS about changing my role! NEED NEW RESULTS ASAP! #ALLREADY” -DatDudeBP 1:08 AM-28 Aug 13

    Had a feeling this was coming.

  6. I thimk Dusty is on the edge and it wouldnt suprise me if he quits after this year. I base that on how the last 3 Cardnials series have gone.

      • @Larry1980: He’s not going to leave 3 million on the table voluntarily, I can promise you that.

        Maybe a buyout would work. Then Baker could get a cushy studio job at ESPN, Fox, or MLB Network. I don’t see Baker in Bristol. Conn. Maybe LA and Fox or MLBNetwork. I don’t get MLB Network on my cable system, but I’ve read enough comments on here that maybe MLB Network could use a studio upgrade over Harold Reynolds. Anyone for Dusty Baker as MLBN analyst in 2014???

  7. I’d rather see BP down in the order rather than up. Why not Xavier Paul vs. Wainwright?

    Choo
    Votto
    Bruce
    Frazier
    Paul
    Phillips
    Mez
    Cozart

    • I’d rather see BP down in the order rather than up.Why not Xavier Paul vs. Wainwright?

      Choo
      Votto
      Bruce
      Frazier
      Paul
      Phillips
      Mez
      Cozart

      If I remember correctly Phillips himself said he would hit anywhere, 1-4.

  8. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Even Baker shows that he is capable of checking his ego at the door in order to turn things around. A big step for him if he ever wants to win a World Series.

  9. It’s still up to Homer tonight. I just don’t see the Reds getting more than 3 against Wainwright.

  10. Well guys, you can’t say tonight that “ole toothpick” isn’t changing his ways.

    Find something else to blame.

  11. So does this mean that BP is going to the plate with his 2-strike approach at the plate for the entire PA rather than just waiting for 2 strikes? If not and BP continues his hacking approach at the plate, this will be just the next in a succession of subpar performances from the #2 hole. Bp has a .310 OBP for this season and a .320 OBP for his career with a propensity for grounding into DP. I commend BP for pretty much forcing the issue with Dusty, just like he had to do when BP moved from cleanup to leadoff previously.

  12. So let me get this straight. Having managed over 3000 games, Baker has just concluded it’s okay to let lefties hit 3rd and 4th. Well, that’s nice. Unfortunately, he’s simultaneously decided to have his (currently) weakest hitter protecting those two, which probably means Bruce gets pitched around in any potential RBI situation. Dusty giveth, and Dusty taketh away.

    I’m at least slightly optimistic about BP hitting second, though. If he now sees his “role” as getting on base, he’s less likely to take his big home run swing, and maybe less likely to swing at first pitches. Both would make him a much better hitter.

  13. The crazy thing is, this actually makes me like Dusty less.

    This, or some form of this with the same top 4, has been the ideal lineup all freaking year. ALL YEAR. It was obvious, Brandon is a good guy for #2. But we all just accepted that Dusty had this rule of not batting lefties #3 and #4, even if there was no rational basis for that rule.

    Now to see him change, it’s like he just realized this was a possibility or something. What’s different now compared to May? The games mean more? Well, they don’t count more. If it’s OK to have Votto and Bruce back to back against a RH starter now, we should have been doing it all year, and it seems like sheer stubbornness and ego that kept it from not happening.

    I would like to hear Dusty talk to the media and say something to the effect of “people have been telling me to do this for a long time, and I was resistant for these reason, but now I’ve realized the error of my ways.”

    • @al: It really seems that what changed is that BP asked him to do it. If true, that should REALLY make you like him less.

      • @Baseclogger: Seriously.

        Just think for a moment, what if this change actually leads to a turn-around in the offense, and the Reds win the Central. Ownership will be thrilled with Dusty, when this shows that he has neither a clue nor leadership in the clubhouse.

    • @al: He has hit Votto and Bruce back to back this year. I think he will do it against the stronger RH starters, under the theory that he would likely go deeper into the game, and there would be maybe only one situation where a LOOGY would face them back to back.

      • @Big Ed: Do you think it’s just a coincidence that BP tweeted about talking to POPS about changing his role last night? Seems to me that it’s less about who’s pitching, and more about doing whatever BP thinks is best.

        • @Baseclogger: Hitting two lefties in a row is a separate issue from moving BP to the 2-hole. Dusty’s opening day lineup-the one he wanted to use all year-had BP at in the 2-hole. Dusty has to manage BP’s ego, so if BP wants people to think this is his idea, let him; maybe it was and maybe it wasn’t, but we don’t know. But we do know Dusty intended to hit BP second all year.

          I think STL only has one good LH reliever, so that factor plays into the Votto-Bruce situation.

          Jay Bruce isn’t Lou Gehrig, by the way.

        • @Big Ed: No one is saying that Bruce is an MVP candidate, but he’s been a better candidate for a cleanup hitter than Phillips all year. Leads the team in doubles and HRs, better than BP in just about every way at the plate.

        • @al: I have said many a time that Phillips is miscast as a cleanup hitter. But the other right handed hitters are also miscast wherever they were, with the primary problem that there was no logical 2-hole hitter other than BP. (I think Votto would balk at moving there, but that is a guess.)

          Frankly, Mesoraco should hit 4th against lefties, but I doubt Dusty believes him ready. I do.

          The general problem, which is Walt’s fault, is that the right-handed hitters aren’t very good.

        • @Big Ed: I don’t think it’s Walt’s fault that Ludwick got hurt, Frazier seems to have regressed somewhat, and Cozart (until recently) hasn’t improved at all. It’s also not Walt’s fault that Ludwick continues to be treated as if he’s a better option than Heisey or Mesoraco. Yes, it would be nice if Walt could snap his fingers and find a left fielder who’s so massively superior to Ludwick that Dusty would actually sit Ludwick down in favor of this other guy, but what trade should he have made? If you know of one that he opted not to make, do tell.

        • @Baseclogger: It is Walt’s fault as GM that the organization hasn’t produced a legit RH hitter in his tenure.

          I agree that Heisey is better than Ludwick, but reasonable people can differ on that. Heisey, as much as I like him, really hasn’t seized his chance.

        • @Big Ed: Walt brought in Ludwick to be his right-handed power, and he responded last year with 26 HR. If not for the injury, there’s no reason to assume he wouldn’t have been equally good this year. Does it really matter that Ludwick didn’t come up through the system? He also brought in Frazier, who, in his second full year is already toward the upper end of offensive stats among third basemen, and who could be an EXCELLENT hitter if someone would convince him to start taking more pitches. Is Walt supposed to do that? Is it Walt’s fault that Frazier goes up there hacking at almost everything? Walt can’t draft a guy who’s already an accomplished major league hitter. He just can’t. He can only draft guys who seem to have potential, which he’s done, and it’s up to the coaching staff from there.

        • @Baseclogger: Walt is fully and wholly responsible for minor-league development.

          That Frazier is OK this year for a third sacker is only an indictment of the present state of third basemenhood. His problem is an oddball swing, whereby he stiffens his upper left side immediately and leaves himself vulnerable to sliders low and away. He is a tough nut, and might can adjust, but he needs to spend the off season with a very good pro hitting Bosch like Reggie Smith.

          Good discussion; let’s win one.

        • @Baseclogger: Walt is fully and wholly responsible for minor-league development.

          That Frazier is OK this year for a third sacker is only an indictment of the present state of third basemenhood.His problem is an oddball swing, whereby he stiffens his upper left side immediately and leaves himself vulnerable to sliders low and away.He is a tough nut, and might can adjust, but he needs to spend the off season with a very good pro hitting Bosch like Reggie Smith.

          Good discussion; let’s win one.

          I’m not sure how Walt is supposed to make sure all these guys develop into major league hitters. Regardless, Frazier hit .273/.331/.498 in his first full season. That’s pretty good for ANY rookie at ANY position. Are we really blaming Walt for the fact that he seems to have regressed a bit this year? Is Walt supposed to be down there telling him not to swing at so many first pitches? Isn’t that sort of what the hitting coach and manager are supposed to be doing? Now, if you want to blame Walt for the fact that those guys are the coaches, fine. I’ll second that. But you can’t really say it’s his fault that Frazier didn’t at least maintain the pace he was on last year, which would put him somewhere around 25 HRs, 100 RBI, and 75 runs. Couple those numbers with what we thought we’d be getting from Ludwick, then add BP to the mix, plus a healthy Hanigan and/or Mes, with Heisey on the bench, and you’ve got yourself some decent right-handed hitting. Not a murderer’s row, but coupled with the lefties on this team I think it looks like a very powerful offense if everyone hits to their potential. The problem is they haven’t.

          @Baseclogger: Walt is fully and wholly responsible for minor-league development.

          That Frazier is OK this year for a third sacker is only an indictment of the present state of third basemenhood.His problem is an oddball swing, whereby he stiffens his upper left side immediately and leaves himself vulnerable to sliders low and away.He is a tough nut, and might can adjust, but he needs to spend the off season with a very good pro hitting Bosch like Reggie Smith.

          Good discussion; let’s win one.

    • @al: IN

      Now to see him change, it’s like he just realized this was a possibility or something. What’s different now compared to May? The games mean more? Well, they don’t count more.

      In a manner of speaking, these games actually do count slightly more, at least in so much you’re still within striking distance and most of them are inside the division (you either win or lose). But yeah, the point still stands.

  14. Credit where credit is due. I am very happy Baker changed the lineup for tonight. I’m also glad BP recognized his current approach to hitting is failing miserably and doesn’t fit with his game.

    I still believe. Go Reds!!

  15. Baker has had this “come-to-Hay-soos” moment before, allegedly when Phillips wanted to bat leadoff and … voila! it was a major development in baseball history.

    Now after watching 130 games of the most inconsistent offense in the National League (for contenders) he’s suddenly being told by the player what ought to work.

    This is wrong on so many levels, even if it does work. Does this dingbat manager have nothing useful to contribute?

    As for him next year, I’d see the Reds knocking a hole in a wall and giving Dusty some kind of “super-scout” job. Keeps him in the organization without some of the criticisms that might follow.

  16. Call me crazy but if it appears that DB is willing to hit lefties together, why not bat Choo & Votto 1&2 in the line-up. Seems to me if you have two great OBP guys, on the roster, why not bat them together at the top of the order?

    • Call me crazy but if it appears that DB is willing to hit lefties together, why not bat Choo & Votto 1&2 in the line-up.Seems to me if you have two great OBP guys, on the roster, why not bat them together at the top of the order?

      You’d be batting two great OBP guys together, but Choo is terrible versus lefties. Bruce hits lefties so well, it’s a wonder the lefty-lefty misnomer was even a concern to begin with.

  17. It shows how much control the Bakerman has over this team when the players can tell the Bakerman what to do.

  18. Maybe Dusty decided it the guys were too comfortable and needed to “cross the streams”.

    • @Hunt4RedsOctober: So what happens if it doesn’t work? I mean, any change in MLB requires more than a single event to create a sample size. It’s kinda like Phil Humber throwing a perfect game.

  19. I must say that BP is hitting second two weeks too late. Also, it speaks volumes about Dusty Baker for him to only bat BP second when BP asks him. Inmates running the asylum indeed.

  20. Well it only 133 games for Dusty to realize that if you are not hitting, you might as well put the best 4 all together so maybe they can drive each other in or something. Of course, the absolute BEST about this lineup change today was the fact they went out and pounded the crap out of the Cardinal’s best starting pitcher.

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