2010 Reds / The Brandon Phillips Show

Something’s wrong with Brandon Phillips

It’s quite clear that Brandon Phillips has not been right since being hit on the hand with a pitch on August 25, out in San Francisco. This morning, I wondered how bad it has been. The answer: worse than I thought.

In the 19 games since the hand injury, Phillips is batting a robust .132/.203/.147. That’s an OPS of 350, if you are scoring at home (or even if you’re alone). He has nine hits in 74 plate appearances, no homers, two RBI. Phillips has struck out 13 times and grounded into three double plays.

Wow. Either that hand is still hurting him, or he’s in the worst slump of his career. Why hasn’t Dusty Baker given BP a few games off?

49 thoughts on “Something’s wrong with Brandon Phillips

  1. The most frustrating part is that you have a solid young player (Chris Valaika) rotting on the bench. He would most definitely do better than the stat line above. But he hasn’t sniffed the field lately.

    • @MikeB:

      The most frustrating part is that you have a solid young player (Chris Valaika) rotting on the bench.

      Don’t disagree with your thinking but I guess I would rather put in Janish as the defense would be improved over Valaika.

  2. It would seem the prudent thing to do would be to give BP quite a bit of rest down the stretch here to get that hand right. He’s not helping the team this way, and the Reds won’t need him to make it to the playoffs, so there’s no advantage at all to playing him right now.

    On a completely unrelated note from yesterday’s game… I think it was the bottom of the 5th, and Quintero was up. He ended up singling to left in what turned out to be an UGLY sequence by the Reds defense. I’m not seeing anyone question the decision to pitch to Quintero in that situation. It was a well-pitched scoreless game to that point. They weren’t going to hit for Myers that early in a scoreless game. Don’t you have to walk Quintero and see if you can coerce a double play out of Myers? Even if he strikes out, there’s two outs when the leadoff man comes up. The Reds would have had a very good chance to get out of that inning with no damage done at all. What am I missing? Why does no one else seem to be questioning the decision to pitch to Quintero?

  3. That is BRUTAL.

    Also, Jonny Gomes hasn’t hit a cutoff man in 7 weeks. His effort level on throws to the infield is ridiculous, and the type of thing you see out of a little leaguer on Red Bull.

  4. “a little leaguer on Red Bull.” What a descriptive, ah, description.

    You almost hope that it’s NOT the hand that’s bothering BP. If it is, then playing him like this is unconscionable (sp). An injury like he suffered only responds to rest. What if it’s not the hand? Is it just a slump of all slumps? Could there be another explanation?

  5. It looks like even with abysmal numbers like those, Dusty will continue to hide behind the “we need his defense” excuse

  6. On an unrelated note: Did anyone see Tyler Colvin get ‘impaled’ with a maple bat that split apart? He is still in the hospital with an air tube to assist in keeping his lung from collapsing. Someone has to deal with this maple bat issue. This is beyond ridiculous now.

  7. Even if Dusty insists on starting BP for his defensive abilities…you CANNOT continue to hit him leadoff. How awful is it that every time the best hitter in the NL gets to the plate, no one is on base? 3-5 yesterday with 2 doubles, and NO RBI. If the Reds had already clinched this thing, then fine, let BP work out of his slump. But with the Cards taking 3 of 4 from the Padres, we can’t afford to lose much more ground. Oh yeah, and the Cards have 6 games left against the Pirates.

  8. Nothing Dusty makes sense and whats worse is were are going to be stuck with him for another 2-3 years. So I have almost come to the point that questioning what Dusty is pointless because we are stuck with him due to our success this season.

  9. The game where I really noticed BP was in a terrible slide was the 3-1 loss last Tuesday to the Diamondbacks. Obviously he’s been struggling, but in that game alone, he made the last out in the 3rd, 5th, and 8th innings…and looked awful doing so. Don’t know why, but that game sticks in my mind…he K’d twice and grounded out to third and short the other 2 times.

  10. @preach: I haven’t watched the video yet (I’m working up my courage), but I saw Colvin play a bunch when he was at AA (Tennessee Smokies; my parents have a place about a mile from the stadium).

    He always struck me as the type of guy that would be popular in Cincinnati…played very hard, seemed like a good guy (for a Cub farmhand, anyway). Scary stuff.

  11. He has a double? I don’t remember a double.

    A .147 SLG is kind of ridiculous for a standard slump. A slump is when you have an OPS of .550 or .600 for a while.

    Frankly, if the Reds *were* to blow their lead, the playing of a hurt Phillips every day in the leadoff spot is going to be the main culprit why they blew it. (Note: not saying they are going to blow the lead.)

  12. To be as fair as possible, he did have a BA, OBP *and* SLG of .171 in a 9 game stretch from Aug 4 to Aug 15.
    That’s an OPS that’s worse than the one over his current slump.

    However, this slide is 16 games. That’s a bit long for just a slump like this.

  13. What I can’t figure out is why people are even calling it a slump. When you have a major injury like phillips has, i don’t think it’s far to call it a slump, he just can’t perform and should not be in there until he is 100%, and i am unclear why that is so hard to see by Dusty?

  14. Phillip’s slump fits in nicely with the bigger issue I’ve seen with the team all month—that they’re neither playing to prepare for the playoffs nor playing to win now. You either have to ride the starters hard and clinch it sooner than later, or start resting guys now w/ the assumption the division is unwinnable for St. Louis. I’m afraid this middling around will leave us vulnerable to a Cardinal comeback or (worse) unprepared for the playoffs.
    There have been teams that coasted thru September only to catch fire in the playoffs (90 Reds, ’05 ChiSox), but these guys look like every other team just playing out the string. FLAT.

  15. @Sultan of Swaff: Of course anything is possible, but the Reds are going to make the playoffs. They are six games up with 12 to play. That would go down as one of the greatest collapses of all time.

    The isssue with the Reds “backing into the playoffs” is a little more complicated. With the way Philly is playing, I think it is relatively clear that the Phillies are going to be the No. 1 seed. The Braves, are likely the wildcard. Since the Braves cannot play the Phillies in round one, the Reds want to be in the No. 2 seed, so that the Reds face the Braves rather than the Giants, Rockies or Padres. So you rest guys as much as you can while staying in the two seed to face the Braves, but you have to stay ahead of the NL West teams. That is, unless you want to be eliminated by Philly in the first round.

    Interestingly enough, the team with the best shot of beating the Phillies is probably the Giants. Lincecum v. Halladay, Cain v. Oswalt, and Sanchez v. Hamels would be one helluva series.

    As to the main issue of the thread, I agree the numbers make it appear something is going on with Phillips. Especially given that he had raised his BA about nine points in the 10 games prior to getting hit on the hand. That said, he seems to be fielding and throwing without issue. I’m not going pass judgment because I’m not about to second guess the Reds on medical issues when I’m not privy to any of that information.

    • We have seen other teams have great failures down the stretch and given how this team has played so far this month, I am shocked at how many people feel this is wrapped up. Since the first of the month we have won I believe 5 games, and with whom and where we still have games, and with the issue of how poorly we have played offensivily, until I see the Reds players jumping up and down and wearing CD hats and shirts I am not considering this race over.

      @Sultan of Swaff: Of course anything is possible, but the Reds are going to make the playoffs. They are six games up with 12 to play. That would go down as one of the greatest collapses of all time. The isssue with the Reds “backing into the playoffs” is a little more complicated. With the way Philly is playing, I think it is relatively clear that the Phillies are going to be the No. 1 seed. The Braves, are likely the wildcard. Since the Braves cannot play the Phillies in round one, the Reds want to be in the No. 2 seed, so that the Reds face the Braves rather than the Giants, Rockies or Padres. So you rest guys as much as you can while staying in the two seed to face the Braves, but you have to stay ahead of the NL West teams. That is, unless you want to be eliminated by Philly in the first round. Interestingly enough, the team with the best shot of beating the Phillies is probably the Giants. Lincecum v. Halladay, Cain v. Oswalt, and Sanchez v. Hamels would be one helluva series.As to the main issue of the thread, I agree the numbers make it appear something is going on with Phillips. Especially given that he had raised his BA about nine points in the 10 games prior to getting hit on the hand. That said, he seems to be fielding and throwing without issue. I’m not going pass judgment because I’m not about to second guess the Reds on medical issues when I’m not privy to any of that information.

      • We have seen other teams have great failures down the stretch and given how this team has played so far this month, I am shocked at how many people feel this is wrapped up.

        It IS wrapped up. The Reds have a 6 game lead over STL. If the Reds go 2-10 to close the year, the Cards have to go 9-5 to tie. This is a team that since August 1, is 19-25. Their best 14-game stretch over that period is 8-6.

        The division is won.

        • It IS wrapped up. The Reds have a 6 game lead over STL. If the Reds go 2-10 to close the year, the Cards have to go 9-5 to tie. This is a team that since August 1, is 19-25. Their best 14-game stretch over that period is 8-6.
          The division is won.

          Thank you Chris. Put it this way folks: If the Reds were 6 games back today, would you really believe they would catch up?

          And for good measure, the world won’t end in 2012 either, but worry about it if you want to. It’s technically possible.

  16. @Sultan of Swaff: Just checked the schedule… I didn’t realize the Braves and Phillies play six times before the end of the year. The Giants have to play the Padres and Rockies. Those four series could determine everything.

  17. Regardless whether the issue is physical or mental, there is most definitely an issue. He either needs to be sat and rested a couple of days or if he needs to play through it, he should be dropped out of the leadoff spot.

  18. There is a physical injury. BP confirmed it just 2 days ago when he said the hand is “almost normal” now, that the swelling is almost gone and the “knot” in his hand has reduced in size.

    Swelling and knot almost gone ??!!! After all this time ! It confirms that he’s been playing hurt, which has hurt the team and slowed down his recovery.

    This is the kind of thing where Dusty drives me nuts. He’s given two reasons for playing BP every day, they’re both irrational.

    One is that he’s an outstanding defensive player. He sure is, but we can survive without his defense for a few days. We have capable backups.
    And after his hand is better you have a full player, who can hit also.

    The other reason is that
    “everyone’s hurting at this time of year, they have to play until we clinch.” He followed that with a statement of how when he played his legs would feel heavy toward the end of the year, but the manager would tell him to keep playing.

    Applying this to BP’s situation is just inane. He’s beyond sore and nagged by minor injuries, he has an injury that’s disabled his hitting, and it can only get better with some rest.

    Hopefully after all this time it’s pretty much healed despite Dusty and we’ll see BP back in form soon.

    A frustrating thing about the whole situation is that I saw the game in SF the day before BP got hit in the hand, and he was hitting as well as I’ve ever seen him. A powerful stroke, he hit 2 HRs, including one that went about 430 feet.

  19. @RiverCity Redleg: The issue has been and still is physical. Now it’s mental also, judging by the way BP is swinging at off speed pitches out of the strike zone.

    Either way, the best remedy is rest. We have an off day coming up, hopefully that’s used as an opportunity to give him at least 2 days off.

  20. @preach: You’ve got that right, and what makes even less sense is that BP is not only playing every day, he’s leading off every day.

  21. Final vent on this thread: a batter hits with his legs, arms, etc. but above all his hands. He holds the bat with his hands. Duh.

    With an injured hand, he can’t hit.

  22. @David: I agree about not speculating about things we know nothing about…but Phillips and Baker have both said the hand is still bothering him. As of two days ago…

  23. @David: BTW, does anyone know, aside from the well-discussed Phillie Phold in 1964…where they lost 6 games in the standings in 12 games….has there been a worse collapse?

  24. @Dave Lowenthal: I think that’s the gold standard for collapses. It’s important to note, for all the chicken littles out there, that in that collapse, as well as the Mets collapse in 07, the collapsing team got swept by the overtaking team in the final week of the season.

  25. @dn4192: I think that Chad has said it’s over, but most people are saying that the Reds very nearly have it wrapped up. I mean, again, there’s math. Even if Dusty isn’t good at math. Saying the Reds are almost certain to win it is correct. Saying that I will send Uncle Guido out to “visit” Baker if they do not win it….well, never mind. )

  26. @Dave Lowenthal:

    how about the Mets just a couple of seasons ago, Had a pretty decent lead with like 13 games to go and not only didn’t win the division, didn’t even make the playoffs.

  27. @Chris Garber: Check that, Chad *and* Chris have said it’s over.

    Chris, though, conditioned on the Reds going 2-10, I’d be pretty nervous. I think most rational fans right now would say that if the Reds go 2-10, they have a reasonable (not 50-50, but probably 25% or so) chance of losing the division. I’m sure that the Pirates could go 9-5 over 14 games, i.e., it’s not anywhere near impossible, no matter what a team’s done up until now.

    The point is the Reds are not going to go 2-10. Even *I*, who could believe any bad thing can happen to a sports team I root for, don’t think that will happen.

  28. @Chris Garber:

    I wonder how many Mets fan’s were saying that exact same thing in 2007 when they were up by like 5-6 with like 13 games to go…

  29. @dn4192: No head to head games makes a huge difference, Drew. Again, I know where you are coming from, but you have to consider the math.

  30. @dn4192: The Phillies swept the Mets to go from 6.5 games up to 3.5 games up in a matter of days. It’s not an apt comparison.

  31. Looking at the final 12 games for the Reds, of the 6 on the road i see the Reds winning 2, going 1-2 against both the Brewers and Padres. That leaves 6 games at home vs. the Stros and Brewers. I see us wining 3 of those 6, thus going 5-7 over the final 12. The cards can pick up full game on our two off days with wins, so while not easy, given who they play, they have the talent to win each of the series they have left.

  32. @dn4192: We have won the division, we are playing for home field and playoff seeding now. Which is why I was actually rooting for St Louis to beat San Diego this past weekend.

  33. @dn4192: If the Reds go 5-7, the Cards would have to go 12-2 to tie, or 13-1 to pass. That is not happening, not this Cardinals team.

  34. @dn4192: If the Reds win 5, the Cards have to go 12-2 to tie. That’s not very likely. They can’t just win series, they have to sweep at least 2 of their series.

  35. Okay lets say we have this wrapped up, so why not then rest some of our players. I mean lets give Joey a day or so off, put Yonder at 1st and see what happens. Put Janish at SS and Chris at second and let those two guys get some game time while Orlando and Phillips rest up, play Juan at 3rd some and give Heisey, Edmonds and Bloomquist some playing time also.

  36. @dn4192: I think in the case of Phillips and Rolen that makes sense. But you also want to keep players sharp. Votto should still play most every day.

  37. Did anyone else notice how John Fay quoted Chad’s entry on Brandon Phillips and said it was from Rob Neyer? I know Neyer quoted Chad but I thought it was funny

  38. I’m happy to report that the magic number is SEVEN. Fla 4, Stl 0, final!

  39. I know the answer to the question! Why hasn’t Dusty given BP a few days off?

    Answer: Because Dusty’s a bad manager. I’ll take National League Central for 200, Alex.

  40. Not sure if this has been posted, but pretty cool Chad getting some love on espn.com

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/powerrankings

    Power Rankings for Week 25

    7 (6) Reds 84-66 The Reds will need more from Brandon Phillips in October; the second baseman is hitting .132/.203/.147 in 19 games since being hit by a pitch on the hand. (Chad Dotson, Redleg Nation)

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