I’ll go out on a limb here and defend Dusty Baker’s lineup today. My reasons:

  1. The bench players do need a start from time to time. Even Castro, if he’s going to be here.
  2. Hamels is an especially tough lefty, and nobody on the Reds except EE (2 for 4 and a walk) has any success against him.
  3. Junior needs a day off.
  4. Both Hatte and Votto are struggling, and probably aren’t going to be helped by facing Hamels.

I heard Dusty on yesterday’s post-game show, and it sounded to me like he was happy with getting 2 wins against the Phillies, and considered today to be gravy, especially with Hamels throwing. I think he figured that the Reds would have a hard time outscoring Hamels and the Phils today, even with a good lineup, and that made today a good day to “sacrifice” one game for the sake of the long season.

Frankly, I can live with that. To win the division, the Reds are going to have to win series, not split them – especially at home – but on this day, given all the circumstances, I can live with the lineup. The truth is, I don’t think that adding Griffey, Votto, and/or Corey Patterson makes much difference. Not the way Arroyo pitched.

(Baker also has a somewhat-goofy theory about slap hitters being more likely than sluggers would be to succed against Hamels. Not sure I buy that. A couple of slap hitters have done okay against him, but it’s mostly guys like Cabrera, Hanley, and Chipper at the top of the list.)

Your thoughts?

17 Responses

  1. GregD

    Listening to him on the pre-game, I can see sitting Griffey. He’s going to sit from time to time. I’m also OK with him taking a full season approach to lineups, getting guys playing time, etc. A game like to day shows more of the roster deficiencies than anything else:

    The team’s primary RH catcher is on the DL.
    The team’s primary RH SS is on the DL.
    The team has Juan Castro on the 25-man roster.
    The 1B “platoon” is two left-handed hitters.

    It does sound like Dusty is focusing on the 12-game intradivision stretch, and starters won’t be getting any off days during this stretch.

  2. Chris

    Greg makes a great point about roster construction. This team’s bench is mess right now. As individual pieces, they’re not terrible (Castro aside). As a unit, they’re useless.

  3. Shawn

    Agree with Greg. It wasn’t the lineup that was the problem so much as the roster construction that left that to work with. Why didn’t the Reds deal Stanton for Wes Helms, again?

  4. preach

    Anytime you bat Castro second in your lineup you have a problem. If Keppinger has been ‘annointed’ the ideal #2 hitter, then perhaps he needs to be there instead, or even Hopper following Freel, but not Castro. I am one who feels that your place in the lineup tends to be less important than whoever hits around you, but you need people at the top of the lineup to do something to tableset your middle guys. It does show that at least for now have difficulty putting together a right handed lineup. That problem is magnified when it is a game you are resting Jr. I know this is beating a dead horse, but I really would have liked to see Cantu in the lineup today.

  5. daedalus

    I didn’t mind it at all. We have six games against the NL Central coming up, Cole Hamels was pitching, our offense has been pretty shite since we opened the season. Granted, Castro starting is a no no, but he shouldn’t be on a Major League roster. It’s not Dusty’s fault he’s there. Besides, having those guys on the bench at the end of the game nearly pulled off a comeback against a Phillies bullpen that hasn’t exactly been stellar in this series.

  6. Chris W.

    I think most of us will agree that winning series is great, but I’d say that if we win 4 out of every 7, we’d have a great shot at winning the division!

  7. Chad

    I can’t argue with much of this. Very sensible. Only caveat is that it is NEVER permissible to bat Castro second. He’s just terrible.

    If he has to be in the lineup, let him hit 8th. Or 9th.

  8. Y-City Jim

    If the Reds go out and beat the crap out of the teams in the division, I’ll forgive Dusty’s concession of today’s game.

  9. Lefty

    Why didn’t the Phillies play their second-string today?

    I don’t get it. I saw the lineup and thought the Reds are basically conceding a loss. Why would you ever do that? You want to give Griffey the day off, fine, stick Hopper or Freel in right. But to play Hopper, Freel, Bako, and – gulp – Castro… all in the same game… doesn’t make sense to me.

  10. Lefty

    And I agree, this Hatteburg, Votto, lefty lefty platoon makes little sense. My guess is that as the season progresses, we are going to see Gonzo at short and Keppinger at 1B vs. lefties. Hatteburg and Freel or Hopper seem trade bait to me, preferably for a right-handed bat with some pop that can play in the OF.

  11. brublejr

    Th biggest problem was having Castro in the 2 hole…should have been freel/hopper 1-2, Castro should be kicked out of the league for being so terrible.

  12. Mr. Redlegs

    Was Castro in the 2-hole dumber than a bottom of the order of Castro-Bako-pitcher? Castro in the 2-hole, where he’d see more fastballs, is for one game. Why get so bent out of shape over the lineup in Game 8 of 162? And oh, that play Castro made in the hole? Keppinger never makes that play.

  13. Mike

    If Keppy was batting 2nd like he should’ve been, he would have been the one up in the ninth when we needed a single to tie the game. How do you bat a guy hitting .450 in the six hole?

  14. Chad

    Yes. Juan Castro, a historically bad hitter, is ALWAYS a bad idea in the 2 hole. The guy in the 2 hole ideally will have some ability to get on base so the best hitters can drive him home. Castro’s history of getting on base is spectacularly bad, worse than Cory Patterson.

    Yes, it’s a TERRIBLE idea.

    Note I didn’t say it’s a bad idea to play him. Yes, it’s a bad idea to have him on the roster at all, but if you are going to carry him on the club, it’s not a bad idea to get everyone some playing time. But decreasing the chances of scoring, even marginally, makes little sense to me.

    There’s a reason you put bad hitters at the end of the lineup. They get fewer ABs that way, and your better players get more ABs. Very logical.

  15. preach

    Right. He’s a DEFENSIVE specialist, and no matter where he bats in the order it does not impact on his fielding, which is the only thing he’s on the roster for. Bat him 8th. Period.

  16. Lefty

    “Why get so bent out of shape over the lineup in Game 8 of 162?”

    If you don’t know the answer to this question, I suggest you go here