Javier Valentin had a HUGE hit in 7th inning of the Reds 11-5 win last night, driving a single to right field that plated two runs (the third scored on an error by Reds killer Bill Hall).

But was it the right move? Was it smart baseball?

Before Valentin came to the plate, Milwaukee reliever Greg Aquino had intentionally walked Scott Hatteberg and then walked Alex Gonzalez on 4 pitches. The count on Valentin went to 2-0…so he’d thrown 10 straight pitches out of the strike zone.

What did Valentin then do? Hacked at a pitch out of the strike zone. Then what? I believe, he hacked at another pitch out of the strike zone, taking the count to 2-2…whereupon he delivered his big hit.

My question…was the swing on 2-0 or even 2-1 the right move? And if so, would you be saying the same thing if he had popped out to first or struck out, rather than getting the big basehit?

Just because something works, does that make it right or smart?

About The Author

I've been a Reds fan since the late '60's, with my luck of being able to attend plenty of games at Riverfront during the BRM era. I was sitting in the Green Seats in the OF when Pete came home in '84 and was in the Red seats when Glenn Braggs reached over the fence in '90 to beat the Pirates. I have had many favorites from Jim Maloney to Johnny Bench, Barry Larkin, Adam Dunn, and Jay Bruce.

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10 Responses

  1. GregD

    To say that he threw 10 straight pitches out of the zone doesn’t help support your point when 4 such pitches were intentional (unless one of those pitches went over the catchers head. 😮 ) I would call that 6 straight pitches out of the zone. I didn’t see this at-bat.

    How close were the pitches out of the strike zone? How close had he been on his previous 6 pitches? And were they the type of pitch that started in the zone and tailed out.

    But yes, generally after that sequence, you want to make the pitcher throw a strike before you start swinging.

    Was it good, smart baseball to intentionally walk Counsel to get to Bush with 2 out early in the game? Counsel is not exactly an offensive threat. With two outs, I think you go after the 8-hole hitter and have benefit of the pitcher leading off the next inning, especially the first time through the lineup like that. And I’m not just saying that because Bush got a hit. I was complaining about it while watching before Bush got the hit. I figured the move would “work” ie Bush would get out, but I still think the better move is to go after the 8th hitter in that situation.

  2. Jay

    You have to take the four pitches for the IBB into account because that sometimes takes a pitcher out of their routine and normal motion.

    But whether you take those 4 pitches in account or not, the fact that the pitcher had thrown 6 or 10 straight balls, you have to keep taking. Make the guy throw a strike before you take the bat off your shoulder. And even if he’s throws one strike, I might take another.

  3. Sultan of Swaff

    It was good baseball, just not good execution. In that situation, the get-me-over fastball is the norm. Where Valentin erred was not being specific enough in his desired pitch location. Hard to fault him, though. These guys are sharks, and there was blood in the water. With less than two strikes, you gotta try and drive the ball.

  4. Ken

    Aquino was dying out there – I think they should’ve made him throw a strike. He walked Hatteberg only after air mailing one to the backstop which left 1B open. Brantley said something like “it’s hard to throw strikes with your right hand when your left hand is around your neck.” Heh.

  5. Daedalus

    I was screaming at the TV when Valentin swung at that first pitch.

    On a related note, can you believe all of those runs scored with two outs?

  6. doug

    I was at the game, but had seats right by 3B so I couldnt tell where the pitch was, but before the 2-0 pitch was thrown I said out loud to take it all the way. He swung. I would have given the take sign myself, but I surely see the logic in giving him the swing away. The pitcher had to throw a strike, and if he did then I would have loved to see Javy pound it. Seeing you say it was a ball kind of sucks, but that happens sometimes and players swing at bad pitches.

  7. Justin

    He was bound to pitch a strike eventually, sadly he was given one. But you have to figure the green light was on. They were in a groove at that point in the game.

  8. Glenn

    Greg, I understand what you are saying. You’re right, but having watched Ross stand there and take strike three calls since the season started, Valentin’s aggresiveness at the plate was refreshing.

  9. Joe

    Aquino was WILD. He only walked Hatte intentionally because a wild pitch moved the runners up. None of the balls to Gonzalez were even close, and the 4th one was about 4 feet outside. the first 2 to Valentin were not too close. I agree that he was hoping for a grooved “just get one over” fastball. But the 2-0 pitch was a slider (I think) out of the strike zone. I think Javy was OK to swing on 2-0, but only if he got that grooved fastball right in his zone. I think he was a little anxious.

    That being said, I am SO SICK of Thom on TV. I think he is OK on the radio, but when he tries to be more of the analyst, I just wish he’d shut up. He acts like hitting is so simple, and he never gives the pitcher any credit for getting a Reds batter out. It’s always the Reds fault. This from a guy who didn’t even play HS baseball, I don’t believe.

    Back to Valentin, he should be in there more than Ross. I also wish he would give up batting RH. I haven’t seen him do it this year, but in years past I always thought, he couldn’t do any worse as a lefty against a lefty. Maybe thisn would change if he could play every day ang bat RH a bit more.

    Sorry for going off topic a bit.