Let’s recap today’s titanic struggle…

FINAL

Cincinnati Reds 6
New York Mets  3
WP: Arredondo (3-1, 2.41 ERA)
LP: Rauch (3-2, 4.60 ERA)
S: Marshall (7)

Boxscore
Video Highlights
PitchFX for Aroldis Chapman

POSITIVES

• The Reds are now 2-1 on the road trip. They look to sweep the Mets tomorrow afternoon in this short series, with Mat Latos pitching.

• Mike Leake delivered on the mound, at the plate and on the bases. Does any pitcher help himself more with his athleticism and all-around game? It was a great bounce back performance, 6 innings 1 earned run. Perfect sacrifice bunt, too. Raise your hand if you wouldn’t mind seeing Leake as the DH in Yankee Stadium this weekend instead of Ryan Ludwick.

• Todd Frazier (.293) broke out of a short slump with two home runs, including an enormous two-run blast to centerfield. His first homer was to the opposite field. He has such tantalizing potential with his power. Here’s hoping he can put together some consistent play.

• Dusty Baker made absolutely the right move in pinch hitting Jay Bruce for Ryan Ludwick at a crucial moment of the eighth inning. Baker could have played it safe and waited to have Bruce pinch hit for the pitcher slot two batters later. Instead, he benched a veteran and invited a lefty-on-lefty match-up with Bruce. The move paid off when Bruce hit a sacrifice fly to deep right field.

• Drew Stubbs, Joey Votto (.311) and Brandon Phillips triggered the decisive rally in the eighth inning with consecutive hits. Votto took an extra base with some aggressive (risky?) base running.

• Jose Arredondo, Aroldis Chapman and Sean Marshall dominated the Mets over the last three innings. Arredondo’s splitter against left-handed hitters is sick. Using Chapman has almost reached the point of being unfair to the other team. Throw in Logan Ondrusek and JJ Hoover and it’s hard to find a better bullpen in baseball. Nasty Boys x 2.

NEGATIVES

• Joey Votto committed a throwing error that led to two-unearned runs in the sixth inning. He rushed it, attempting a flashy high-risk play instead of settling down for one sure out.

• Ryan Ludwick continued to struggle mightily at the plate. In the seventh inning, he led off the inning and at a 3-1 count, fouled off a down-the-middle fastball from Johan Santana. Jeff Brantley commented, “Boy, you can’t be late on an 88 mph fastball in that situation.”

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS

• Jay Bruce is hitting .290 against left-handed pitchers and is leading the NL in extra-base hits. Brandon Phillips is batting .190 against left-handed pitchers. Ryan Ludwick is hitting .240 against left-handed pitchers and is leading the NL in making outs. Right now, Bruce and Joey Votto are the only reliable impact hitters on this team. They need to be in the lineup every day and batting third and fourth.

• Joel Luckhaupt tweets that the Reds have bunted with one out twelve times this year and not scored a run in any of those occasions. Scored on 7 of 37 in 2011.

• Top game thread comment (Sergeant2): That would have been a HR at GABP. Great at bat for Bruce, drove in the go ahead run. (also) Wow! Runs given up by Bullpens: Reds 29 – Mets 69

104 Responses

  1. George Culver

    “Right now, Bruce and Joey Votto are the only reliable impact hitters on this team. They need to be in the lineup every day and batting third and fourth.”

    I posted the same thing in yesterday’s recap. It’s the difference between managing not to lose versus managing to win.

    IMO it is just asinine to worry about the end of the game and how relief pitchers face your LH hitters rather than stacking the lineup with your best hitters and trying to score throughout the whole game. Don’t be afraid to succeed and the best chance to succeed is stacking your best hitters back to back. Get a lead and let the late innings be the other team’s problem.

    • zippy

      IMO it is just asinine to worry about the end of the game and how relief pitchers face your LH hitters rather than stacking the lineup with your best hitters and trying to score throughout the whole game.

      Agreed. Like so many other managers and coaches throughout sports, Dusty is convinced that the last 20% of the game is more important than the first 80%.

      And just to add to the absurdity: both Votto and Bruce hit lefties almost as well as righties. In fact, Votto was actually better against lefties last year, and Bruce’s OPS was higher against lefties in 2010 than against righties. Bruce’s rookie season was really the only year where he was significantly worse against lefties, and he’s currently hitting 100 points higher against lefties than Phillips is. But apparently Baker either hasn’t managed to notice any of that or his gut is telling him the stats are lying.

    • Eddie Milner

      IMO it is just asinine to worry about the end of the game and how relief pitchers face your LH hitters rather than stacking the lineup with your best hitters and trying to score throughout the whole game. Don’t be afraid to succeed and the best chance to succeed is stacking your best hitters back to back. Get a lead and let the late innings be the other team’s problem.

      That’s no opinion – it’s flat-out fact. Basing your entire year’s lineup on the possibility of facing an elite LHRP in the 8th inning of some games is beyond stupid. You could probably tell Dusty that his lineup is costing the Reds 0.1 runs per game on average and he’s reply, “who cares? you can’t score a tenth of a run anyway!”

    • LWBlogger

      “Right now, Bruce and Joey Votto are the only reliable impact hitters on this team. They need to be in the lineup every day and batting third and fourth.” I posted the same thing in yesterday’s recap. It’s the difference between managing not to lose versus managing to win. IMO it is just asinine to worry about the end of the game and how relief pitchers face your LH hitters rather than stacking the lineup with your best hitters and trying to score throughout the whole game. Don’t be afraid to succeed and the best chance to succeed is stacking your best hitters back to back. Get a lead and let the late innings be the other team’s problem.

      @George Culver – I have to agree. I mean the Phillies regularly hit Utley, Howard, and Ibanez back-to-back-to-back and it seemed to work pretty well. As a RHP early in the game, that would scare the crap out of me.

    • TC

      [stack your best hitters back to back,] get a lead and let the late innings be the other team’s problem.

      That is the most succinct argument I’ve read regarding moving Bruce to 4th. I’m tired of The Heads saying the Reds lack a leadoff and cleanup guy. One of the best cleanup guys in the NL is hitting 5th.

  2. Johnu1

    All in all, despite our whining about the lineups, there are games you have to win if you expect to contend. Getting 4 in the 8th against a team that we knew had a shaky bullpen … that counts. Conventional wisdom earlier in the day didn’t give the Reds much of a shot at this one.

    As the season wears on, my criticisms of a team tend to mellow out, although I still think our hitting philosophy is counterproductive.

    But still hanging in there and looking at the rest of the league, nobody has me convinced of much yet.

  3. rfay00

    Anyone else feeling good tomorrow? Get away game and afternoon?

    Could we field the Dayton team and win?

    • Steve Mancuso

      Anyone else feeling good tomorrow? Get away game and afternoon?

      I do. The Mets lineup doesn’t impress me. Latos has been getting better. Not much of a ‘get away’ – I guess Queens to the Bronx. 🙂

  4. Johnu1

    Just checked the Giants-WLBs game and the Giants had Bumgarner batting 8th ahead of Burris, evidently to give them two “leadoff guys” in a row.

    I rarely advocate this but it seems in some cases, it would work.

    Yeah, and pigs fly.

    • vegastypo

      Just checked the Giants-WLBs game and the Giants had Bumgarner batting 8th ahead of Burris, evidently to give them two “leadoff guys” in a row.I rarely advocate this but it seems in some cases, it would work.Yeah, and pigs fly.

      A co-worker who is a Giants fan told me that batting Burris 9th behind the pitcher is a “punishment” because Burris bunted last night in a run-scoring situation with the pitcher due up next. I’m not familiar with how last night’s Giants game played out, but I’m not recalling Bochy as ever pulling a LaRussa to hit the pitcher 8th …

      • Johnu1

        A co-worker who is a Giants fan told me that batting Burris 9th behind the pitcher is a “punishment” because Burris bunted last night in a run-scoring situation with the pitcher due up next. I’m not familiar with how last night’s Giants game played out, but I’m not recalling Bochy as ever pulling a LaRussa to hit the pitcher 8th …

        Giants fan on the blog said Bochy had used Lincecum in the 8 spot once this year.

  5. joelie1274

    I asked this a few days ago and Mancuso was kind enough to answer (much appreciated). But, still I have to ask, why do people want Chapman to be a starter? He can dominate 1-2 innings. After 3 or 4 innings, will major league hitters begin to find weaknesses? And I’ll iterate a previous point, that we don’t know if Chapman can pitch well for more than an inning or two. Moving to the rotation introduces a potentially disruptive unknown.

    Another point, “Jose Arredondo, Aroldis Chapman and Sean Marshall dominated the Mets over the last three innings. Arredondo’s splitter against left-handed hitters is sick. Using Chapman has almost reached the point of being unfair to the other team. Throw in Logan Ondrusek and JJ Hoover and it’s hard to find a better bullpen in baseball. Nasty Boys x 2.” I’m a believer.

    I also believe that even if a starter wins every game he pitches, that’s still only 1 of every 5 games. On the other hand, a bull pen pitches nearly every game. They win ballgames, and they win World Series. You want to be able to put pressure on your opponents so they feel that if they don’t put the game away early, then they risk facing a bullpen they can’t score against. Plus, the bats that the Reds have are just getting warm. If this group pitches in later innings with a lead (which seems rare so far), our beloved Reds be a very tough team to beat.

    Or am I just looking back through rose colored glasses, remembering the team that only needed a lead at the end of 6 before they turned the ball over to Charlton, Dibble, and Myers for the nearly guaranteed win?

    • Racine Red

      I asked this a few days ago and Mancuso was kind enough to answer (much appreciated).But, still I have to ask, why do people want Chapman to be a starter?He can dominate 1-2 innings.After 3 or 4 innings, will major league hitters begin to find weaknesses?And I’ll iterate a previous point, that we don’t know if Chapman can pitch well for more than an inning or two.Moving to the rotation introduces a potentially disruptive unknown.

      Another point, “Jose Arredondo, Aroldis Chapman and Sean Marshall dominated the Mets over the last three innings. Arredondo’s splitter against left-handed hitters is sick. Using Chapman has almost reached the point of being unfair to the other team. Throw in Logan Ondrusek and JJ Hoover and it’s hard to find a better bullpen in baseball. Nasty Boys x 2.”I’m a believer.

      I also believe that even if a starter wins every game he pitches, that’s still only 1 of every 5 games.On the other hand, a bull pen pitches nearly every game.They win ballgames, and they win World Series.You want to be able to put pressure on your opponents so they feel that if they don’t put the game away early, then they risk facing a bullpen they can’t score against.Plus, the bats that the Reds have are just getting warm.If this group pitches in later innings with a lead (which seems rare so far), our beloved Reds be a very tough team to beat.

      Or am I just looking back through rose colored glasses, remembering the team that only needed a lead at the end of 6 before they turned the ball over to Charlton, Dibble, and Myers for the nearly guaranteed win?

      Yes, there will be weaknesses. I’m certain Chapman will not have a 0.00 ERA as a starter. The answer is, though, that a starter is more valuable. I think maybe you answered your own question, that is, they have plenty of good bullpen arms, so losing Chapman won’t hurt that much. Exchanging Mike Leake with Chapman though will be a big improvement.

      If a starter won every game he pitched he would get a contract of 40M per year. A reliever who had say a 0.50 ERA for the year would not.

  6. Johnu1

    @joelie1274: The trick is for the bats to warm up as you suggest. I haven’t seen enough evidence to support that over a week, 10 days, 2 weeks.

    There appear to be tendencies, then they drop off the radar.

    Like any baseball team, you come up against games you can’t win, I suppose.

    The NL-C can be won but part of that means winning the interleague games. Those … won’t be easy. We really need our bats to come to life this weekend.

  7. hermanbates

    In regards to Chapman as a starter, he’s started before and has been successful, albeit against inferior competition.

    Chapman should start. If Dusty would use Ondrusek and Marshall interchangeably in the eighth and ninth innings, our bullpen could definitely be as good as it’s been. Chapman was successful starting in the spring, and apparently that split change Madson taught Aroldis was getting nasty at times, but obviously still a work in progress.

    Randy Johnson was pretty dominant as predominantly two pitch pitcher, with his fastball and his slider. If there is a pitcher Aroldis could be compared to, I would say it’s Randy Johnson. If Aroldis becomes mean on the mound, he can throw no-nos with what he has already. Sure, some hitters might make solid contact and hit some homeruns, but he’d more unhittable than hittable. It’s the right move to send Chapman to the rotation. Just by sheer stuff in comparison, nobody would argue Randy Johnson or Sandy Koufax would have been better in the bullpen in any capacity. Aroldis has that type of potential. His future is as a starter.

    • Bill Lack

      In regards to Chapman as a starter, he’s started before and has been successful, albeit against inferior competition.

      Chapman should start. If Dusty would use Ondrusek and Marshall interchangeably in the eighth and ninth innings, our bullpen could definitely be as good as it’s been. Chapman was successful starting in the spring, and apparently that split change Madson taught Aroldis was getting nasty at times, but obviously still a work in progress.

      Randy Johnson was pretty dominant as predominantly two pitch pitcher, with his fastball and his slider. If there is a pitcher Aroldis could be compared to, I would say it’s Randy Johnson. If Aroldis becomes mean on the mound, he can throw no-nos with what he has already. Sure, some hitters might make solid contact and hit some homeruns, but he’d more unhittable than hittable. It’s the right move to send Chapman to the rotation. Just by sheer stuff in comparison, nobody would argue Randy Johnson or Sandy Koufax would have been better in the bullpen in any capacity. Aroldis has that type of potential. His future is as a starter.

      Mario Soto was a two pitch pitcher also…

  8. Johnu1

    @hermanbates: I agree with that but I still stand on the notion that it’s not one of the biggest problems the Reds need to address immediately.

    I’d venture he stays in the setup role until at least July.

    Leake obviously gave himself another 6 days in the rotation.

    • Racine Red

      Leake obviously gave himself another 6 days in the rotation.

      Yes he did. It will be interesting to see him face the Braves. Enjoyable, maybe not so much.

  9. hermanbates

    @Johnu1: I am not arguing that he gets put there now. Don’t mess with a good thing right? But Aroldis’ future is in the rotation, not as a set up man. If I had to bet on anything, I’d say by July, if Marshall has a couple of rough outings, Chapman finishes the year as the ninth inning guy. But his future is definitely in the rotation.

  10. hermanbates

    I have a question I may bring up in a more populated thread:

    Is anything going on with Robert Stephenson? Has he been throwing in extended spring training? Is he gonna be in Billings or go to Dayton at some point? Anyone have any idea?

    I appreciate any and all responses in regards to this.

    • Johnu1

      I have a question I may bring up in a more populated thread:

      Is anything going on with Robert Stephenson? Has he been throwing in extended spring training? Is he gonna be in Billings or go to Dayton at some point? Anyone have any idea?

      I appreciate any and all responses in regards to this.

      Unless the guy changed his name, he isn’t showing up on any of the MiLB rosters. Not sure what gives there. Follow it at your whim.

      http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/mlb/minorleagues/affiliates/index.jsp?c_id=cin

    • Bill Lack

      I have a question I may bring up in a more populated thread:

      Is anything going on with Robert Stephenson? Has he been throwing in extended spring training? Is he gonna be in Billings or go to Dayton at some point? Anyone have any idea?

      I appreciate any and all responses in regards to this.

      He is in extended…my guess, Billings. Slight possibility, maybe Dayton very late in the year. Starts in Bakersfield next year.

  11. pinson343

    The Reds used the necessary (most realisitic) route to winning this game – staying close and getting to the Mets bullpen, which ranks 28th in the majors. The Reds of course is first in the NL.

  12. pinson343

    Here at RLN, we kept saying “Start Heisey Start Frazier”. Hopefully they’re the regulars now, given the other options. I love Frazier’s pop.

    • CharlotteNCRedsFan

      Here at RLN, we kept saying “Start Heisey Start Frazier”.Hopefully they’re the regulars now, given the other options. I love Frazier’s pop.

      @pinson343: There are not alot of moving parts to this team. The best 8 position players are the best 8. Period. I guess some will argue that Mes should be in a more even time split with Hani but I’m not one of them.

      Basically run the same 8 out there every day through slumps or whatever. There are no better options on this bench. By the way, I believe these 8 can get it done in the long run.

  13. CP

    @hermanbates: He pitched in an extended spring training game on May 12. Showed off a new circle changeup according to Jamie Ramsey. I guess we found out one of the reasons they’re taking it slow.

  14. pinson343

    I’m a fan of Mike Leake. I’ve been quiet about that so far this season (for obvious reasons), but I was really happy about his overall performance tonite. The guy can hit, and he can motor on the bases. I bet he’s even faster than Dusty’s favorite pinch runner (Mesoraco).

    Hopefully he can get on a roll like last season. When Chapman moves into the rotation, I hope Leake is pitching well enough to remain (and Bronson joins the pen). I’m a Bronson fan too, but he just can’t get lefties out.

    • Racine Red

      I’m a fan of Mike Leake. I’ve been quiet about that so far this season (for obvious reasons), but I was really happy about his overall performance tonite. The guy can hit, and he can motor on the bases. I bet he’s even faster than Dusty’s favorite pinch runner (Mesoraco).

      Hopefully he can get on a roll like last season. When Chapman moves into the rotation, I hope Leake is pitching well enough to remain (and Bronson joins the pen). I’m a Bronson fan too, but he just can’t get lefties out.

      The day Bronson Arroyo pitches out of the bullpen is the same day you’ll stumble upon Dusty Baker locked in a closet somewhere.

  15. pinson343

    Mets radio broadcaster Howie Rose emphasized that Costanzo’s last name is not Costanza. If T-Bone goes much longer without getting a hit, we might have to go with Cantstandya.

  16. pinson343

    Joey’s a great player of course, but one flaw is that he’s a little too fond of those high-risk off-balance throws to 2nd base.

  17. jamesp50014

    Worst part: Frazier continues to swing at first pitches. Thanks a lot, Dusty Baker. It’s almost like you knew better than the rest of us.

    • zippy

      Worst part: Frazier continues to swing at first pitches. Thanks a lot, Dusty Baker. It’s almost like you knew better than the rest of us.

      If every player swings at every first pitch, sometimes they’ll hit home runs on first pitches. If those are the only first-pitch swings you ever notice, then it’s going to seem like a brilliant strategy.

  18. pinson343

    Edwin Encarnacion’s swing is looking great this season. Seems like he’s finally figured it out.

    • LWBlogger

      Edwin Encarnacion’s swing is looking great this season. Seems like he’s finally figured it out.

      @pinson343 – EE’s bat has always played. Even with the Reds, when healthy, he was a fine hitter. This year he has started as an exceptional hitter. This could be a career year for him, a huge hot-start to the year, or the beginning of a run of a few years as one of the better hitters in the league. I always liked EE’s bat but there were questions about his defense. I thought a move to 1B or LF was in order. He’s a DH quite a lot with the Jays and that works very well for him.

  19. pinson343

    Love it that Chapman is striking out guys with the slider too now.

  20. pinson343

    Love those Bruce/Byrdak matchups. Yet another good memory.

  21. jamesp50014

    That swings both ways–if you only ever notice the failures, it will look like a bad strategy.

    • Swatch

      That swings both ways–if you only ever notice the failures, it will look like a bad strategy.

      Doesn’t matter… I still don’t think I want EE on my team. Let him have his career elsewhere.

      • Racine Red

        Doesn’t matter… I still don’t think I want EE on my team.Let him have his career elsewhere.

        Well, um, if he has 40 jacks I think we’d probably take him, even if he looks like some kind of Steve Sax throwing the ball.

  22. zblakey

    When will Walt admit a mistake with Ludwick? There have to be some better options out there. Where is Dimitri Young (LOL).

  23. LVW

    Interesting matchup in San Diego tomorrow night- Harang vs Volquez. I wonder how EE would have done defensively as a left fielder.

  24. RiverCity Redleg

    @sezwhom1: Thank’s for the link. It’s obvious that Baker only cares about winning THIS year (understandedly). It angers me to read it though. It sounds like Chapman will be stuck in the pen all year. At least Jockety still sounds open (even hopeful) to getting Chapman in the rotation. Is there a better baseball mind in the game than Joey Votto?

  25. 67stats33eyes

    This one comes up a whole lot:

    Dusty/Walt are accused of “not admitting/acknowledging their mistakes”.
    Besides the poster/blogger getting to say ‘I told you so’, who benefits from ‘admitting the mistake’?

    1) The Player? If you are a guy who is trying and failing, hearing the mgr/gm state for the record that you are a mistake, this doesn’t help. No positive result here.
    2) The Player’s possible trade value? Ludwick has been terrible for a while, yet he continues to end up playing somewhere else. Does it help to openly admit publicly that a guy is worthless? No positive benefit.
    3) The other Players? If they see a guy working his tail off and failing, and then hear the management publicly say the guy is done, while behind closed doors are encouraging the guy, doesn’t that effect you? Doesn’t it break the code of ‘keeping things within the team’?

    I can go on but I think the point is pretty clear: why do something that is counterproductive to everything you are trying to accomplish? And that being the case, why are Baker/Jocketty repeatedly criticized for not doing something that would not help?

    • Racine Red

      This one comes up a whole lot:

      Dusty/Walt are accused of “not admitting/acknowledging their mistakes”.
      Besides the poster/blogger getting to say ‘I told you so’, who benefits from ‘admitting the mistake’?

      1) The Player? If you are a guy who is trying and failing, hearing the mgr/gm state for the record that you are a mistake, this doesn’t help.No positive result here.
      2) The Player’s possible trade value?Ludwick has been terrible for a while, yet he continues to end up playing somewhere else.Does it help to openly admit publicly that a guy is worthless?No positive benefit.
      3) The other Players?If they see a guy working his tail off and failing, and then hear the management publicly say the guy is done, while behind closed doors are encouraging the guy, doesn’t that effect you?Doesn’t it break the code of ‘keeping things within the team’?

      I can go on but I think the point is pretty clear:why do something that is counterproductive to everything you are trying to accomplish?And that being the case, why are Baker/Jocketty repeatedly criticized for not doing something that would not help?

      I don’t know what you are referring to, but the common way to admit a mistake is to play someone else. Would players actually get their feelings hurt or look over their shoulder if Ludwick was cut tomorrow?

  26. RiverCity Redleg

    @67stats33eyes: Noboby cares if WJ/DB publically say that x player is a mistake. We want them to show through their actions by benching/sending down/cutting said player. The benefit would be that he would be replaced by a more productive player (see Harris, Willie).

  27. CI3J

    I think making Chapman a starter is a pretty simple process if the Reds would just commit to it.

    Chapman’s stuff is obviously good enough to get major league hitters out (and then some). He is already pitching 2 innings at a time sometimes here. Why not just do this: Make him the starter, and make it clear he has, say, a 50 pitch limit to start. No matter if that gets him to the 3rd inning or the 5th inning, after 50 pitches, no matter the situation, he comes out. Then in comes Sam LeCure to bridge the gap to the 7th when you can pitch the bullpen like normal.

    You would only need to do this a few times. Next time out, Chapman has a 60 pitch limit.

    Then 70.

    Then 80. By that time, it’s entirely possible he could be reaching the 7th inning on his own.

    This way, you don’t burn through the bullpen. It puts things a bit on shaky ground, but like I said, it would last no more than 3 weeks. Then Chapman would be at full force, then you can trade Bailey for whatever help the Reds might need at the deadline.

    Why not?

  28. hokieneer

    What was this 4 times n 6 games that Dusty has left the pitcher in to bunt with runners on only to pull him for a reliever next inning. Well he left Bailey in for the 7th against the Braves, but I’m pretty sure the other 3 pitchers were replaced immediately starting the next inning.

    Is there some new stat Dusty has about giving away outs?

    • Racine Red

      What was this 4 times n 6 games that Dusty has left the pitcher in to bunt with runners on only to pull him for a reliever next inning.Well he left Bailey in for the 7th against the Braves, but I’m pretty sure the other 3 pitchers were replaced immediately starting the next inning.

      Is there some new stat Dusty has about giving away outs?

      It preserves the bench so Wilson Valdez can pitch the 19th inning.

  29. nvilleredsfan

    Does Jay Bruce have horrible numbers against Santana? I’m trying to figure out why Dusty had to play Ludwick yesterday…

  30. CP

    Reds lineup today has a typo. Heisey doesn’t have a L-U-D-W-C or K in it.

    Also: let’s hear Dusty’s rationale for batting Ludwick in front of Frazier…

  31. 67stats33eyes

    “• Todd Frazier (.293) broke out of a short slump with two home runs, including an enormous two-run blast to centerfield. His first homer was to the opposite field. He has such tantalizing potential with his power. Here’s hoping he can put together some consistent play.” — Mancuso

    Noticed that after blaming Frazier’s Problem’s partially on Baker’s comments about him on Monday, that you neglected to point out that Frazier ‘broke out of a short slump with two home runs” BY…

    …HITTING FIRST PITCH HOME RUNS.

    Call ’em both ways, please.

  32. Johnu1

    @67stats33eyes: As for making or admitting to mistakes, there’s more about the transition of a team than anyone can evaluate in advance or as it happens.

    Ludwick’s contributions may not be apparent or they may be obvious, depending on the chain of events that follows. I guess the question is: If not Ludwick, then who?

    I recall some of the trades that occurred in the winter of 1960 and into the spring of 1961 that riled and angered the fans. NONE of these deals made sense.

    The result was a perfectly blended blue-collar baseball team that won a most unexpected and most-appreciated pennant.

    Ya kneffer nose.

  33. 67stats33eyes

    I am sorry, but it is really quite amazing:

    Monday:

    “• Todd Frazier is really struggling with his plate discipline. That probably wouldn’t have anything to do with the public pressure put on him by his manager to swing at the first pitch.” Mancuso

    Wednesday:

    “• Todd Frazier (.293) broke out of a short slump with two home runs, including an enormous two-run blast to centerfield. His first homer was to the opposite field. He has such tantalizing potential with his power. Here’s hoping he can put together some consistent play.” Mancuso

    And no mention of the fact that both homers came on first pitches.

    I guess that moderators and bloggers are like GMs and MGRs…

    …can’t admit their mistakes.

    • Racine Red

      I am sorry, but it is really quite amazing:

      Monday:

      “• Todd Frazier is really struggling with his plate discipline. That probably wouldn’t have anything to do with the public pressure put on him by his manager to swing at the first pitch.”Mancuso

      Wednesday:

      “• Todd Frazier (.293) broke out of a short slump with two home runs, including an enormous two-run blast to centerfield. His first homer was to the opposite field. He has such tantalizing potential with his power. Here’s hoping he can put together some consistent play.”Mancuso

      And no mention of the fact that both homers came on first pitches.

      I guess that moderators and bloggers are like GMs and MGRs…

      …can’t admit their mistakes.

      Not that I’m the target of this, but probably you could point this out to Mr. Mancuso in a different way. You know, the handle 67eyes33rude is still available.

      As for swinging at first pitches, has anyone said that swinging at the first pitch is always bad? As for Frazier, he just does not look like a good hitter when you watch him. He flails away and misses pitches by a mile too often for me.

      • CI3J

        As for Frazier, he just does not look like a good hitter when you watch him.He flails away and misses pitches by a mile too often for me.

        Funny, I remember people saying the exact same thing about Brandon Phillips when he first came here.

  34. lookatthathat

    @nvilleredsfan: Santana is classified as a “tough lefty”. Bruce is 2-11(the 2 hits are both doubles) lifetime against Santana, with no walks and 3 K’s. Or if you prefer a .182/.182/.364. That’s too small of a sample size to sit him in a vacuum, but my guess is that Dusty just wanted him to have a day off in the middle of the long game stretch.

  35. Steve Mancuso

    @67stats33eyes: I’m glad Frazier had a good game, first pitch swinging or not. Are you saying that two AB proves the wisdom of a particular plate approach? Hindsight is always 20/20.

  36. 67stats33eyes

    @Johnu1: I agree with you. And to go one step further, 6 weeks is not very much time to evaluate a trade/acquisition, we are not out of May, yet fans are calling for writing off the move now. I’m not crazy about Ludwick, nor his acquisition, but I don’t have a problem with a reasonable time period passing before we throw 2 mil to the wind.

  37. rfay00

    I think I saw this posted before, but I like this idea when Chapman moves to the rotation:

    Ondrusek is the closer, Marshall is the one or two inning setup guy, Arrendondo could be the first guy out of the pen in any situation. Hoover is used sparingly so we don’t kill his arm in his first year. Simon continues to be the mop man or a 6th or 7th inning option.

    In reality, Simon could be a 7th inning guy, but they still need for him to improve his control.

    Question to the ones who know:

    Who is the next reliever coming up from AAA? Jordan Smith? This is if we need one and Bray or Masset aren’t capable.

  38. lookatthathat

    @lookatthathat: Really, I like that I heard no “sitting Jay against a tough lefty” stuff as the reason that Bruce was sitting. Jay is at the point now where he should hitting consistently as a pillar of the Reds offense and not being sheltered versus the best of the best. Much like Votto or Phillips, I think that Bruce shouldn’t need to be excused from the line up based on “protecting the young guy” anymore. It’s refreshing to see that Jay is getting a day off from the field and nothing else is said about it.

  39. 67stats33eyes

    @Steve Mancuso: Nope, not saying anything about baseball at all. My comments are directed to the idea without objectivity one loses credibility.
    If I had called out Baker’s comments as a reason for Frazier’s problems and then congratulated Frazier for coming out of a slump by doing exactly what I had criticized, I would at least acknowledge that it had happened.

    • Johnu1

      @Steve Mancuso: Nope, not saying anything about baseball at all.My comments are directed to the idea without objectivity one loses credibility.
      If I had called out Baker’s comments as a reason for Frazier’s problems and then congratulated Frazier for coming out of a slump by doing exactly what I had criticized, I would at least acknowledge that it had happened.

      Welcome to the fan club. It’s never been about procedure, only the product. I cursed players for years and decided to remember the one moment when they made me glad.

      All us are full of “yabbits” in baseball. Throw the fastball, but not in that count and not in that location, unless, of course, it gets the guy out. Then it’s genius. (Or blind luck, but after all … luck is part of the game.)

      I’d agree that we’re pretty redundant in criticizing the manager when things go wrong — that’s why we’re fans, not front office people.

      I get very upset when guys go 1-for-4 and realize that if they go 2-for-4 tomorrow, they are 3-for-8 and that will get them into the Hall of Fame.

  40. Johnu1

    @CP: Thanks, I finally gleaned that after about 20 minutes of groping through data about guys I never heard of. Cheesh, a minor league system is mind-boggling.

  41. Steve Mancuso

    @67stats33eyes: Fair enough. I’ll keep my eyes out for future posts by you where you admit you were wrong about something. I’m wrong about things here all the time – we all are. We come here to express hundreds of opinions about the Reds, some are right, some are wrong. It’s the discussion about the Reds that is so enjoyable. As someone pointed out the last time you posted, you seem more interested in policing the views/opinions people express here than you do the substance about the discussion. Are you willing to defend first pitch swinging? Nope. You came on to make a point about another blogger, not the Reds.

  42. Steve Mancuso

    Today’s lineup:

    1. Zack Cozart (R) SS
    2. Drew Stubbs (R) CF
    3. Joey Votto (L) 1B
    4. Brandon Phillips (R) 2B
    5. Jay Bruce (L) RF
    6. Ryan Ludwick (R) LF
    7. Todd Frazier (R) 3B
    8. Ryan Hanigan (R) C
    9. Mat Latos (R) P

    • rfay00

      Today’s lineup:

      1. Zack Cozart (R) SS
      2. Drew Stubbs (R) CF
      3. Joey Votto (L) 1B
      4. Brandon Phillips (R) 2B
      5. Jay Bruce (L) RF
      6. Ryan Ludwick (R) LF
      7. Todd Frazier (R) 3B
      8. Ryan Hanigan (R) C
      9. Mat Latos (R) P

      I wonder if these are the guys with the best knuckleballer stats? This is about the only game where I would want veterans who have seen a knuckleballer before.

  43. CP

    @67stats33eyes: Perhaps you should start your own blog then? 😀

    Frazier’s plate discipline did indeed suck the previous games. There is a difference between swinging at bad first pitches and good first pitches. Both Joey Votto and Josh Hamilton have shown that you can be both patient hitters and aggressive with the first pitch. This pretty much applies to all pitches btw.

    But here’s the thing: some times, a player/manager/organization can do stupid things and they turn out well. Steve can correctly point out dumb things in one post, and praise player accomplishments in another.

  44. 67stats33eyes

    @Racine Red: Yeah, anyone who speaks against the blog’s anti-dusty slant is rude, I get it.
    But a guy who constantly rails at Baker with half of the comments being specious, isn’t rude?
    Or a blogger who makes no effort what-so-ever to at least acknowledge what anyone who was paying attention already noticed, isn’t lacking in integrity?

    look at the two quotes:

    Monday:

    “• Todd Frazier is really struggling with his plate discipline. That probably wouldn’t have anything to do with the public pressure put on him by his manager to swing at the first pitch.”Mancuso

    Wednesday:

    “• Todd Frazier (.293) broke out of a short slump with two home runs, including an enormous two-run blast to centerfield. His first homer was to the opposite field. He has such tantalizing potential with his power. Here’s hoping he can put together some consistent play.”Mancuso

    On Monday he blames Baker for some of Frazier’s problems because Baker said “swing at the first pitch”*.
    On Wednesday he talks about Frazier breaking the slump…
    …and doesn’t mention he did it on first pitch homers.

    Please let me know how I should politely point out the lack of integrity for the future

    * by the way, What Mancuso said Baker said was not what Baker actually said, either.

  45. Johnu1

    @Steve Mancuso: Cozart is struggling a little. This is where I think a hitting coach is valuable. Watch the uppercut, the jerking at pitches off the plate and all that jazz. Cozart can work his way out of a slump pretty easily at this stage of his career.

  46. CP

    Time to guess Dusty’s logic in starting Ludwick and batting him 6th today, ahead of Frazier:

    a. Ludwick is 2-6 w/1 HR against Dickey. Ludwick was 24 when he hit the homerun.

    b. Frazier/Heisey’s never seen a knuckleball!

    • Steve Mancuso

      a. Ludwick is 2-6 w/1 HR against Dickey. Ludwick was 24 when he hit the homerun.

      Good point. That was even before Dickey became a knuckleballer, so I hope that wasn’t part of the batting order decision.

      • Johnu1

        Good point. That was even before Dickey became a knuckleballer, so I hope that wasn’t part of the batting order decision.

        The odds that anybody aside from Ludwick and Cairo having seen a decent knuckler are pretty slim. BP maybe has seen Wakefield, who is the only other one I can think of who has been respectable.

  47. Johnu1

    @67stats33eyes: I have been more inconsistent in my life about sports, work, women, dogs, landscaping and highway driving than I care to remember.

    All in all, I think we’re about baseball here, lauding and complaining, whining and moaning … fans have been doing that since the Red Stockings took the field in 1870. The first year, not much to complain about, I think.

  48. rfay00

    @CP: What are the stats on Cairo against a knuckleball? Maybe he should be in over Frazier.

  49. Johnu1

    @CP: The logic that Ludwick will get a couple of hits makes sense … the guy has played baseball and he’s truthfully due for a game that matters. But Dusty said in the spring that Ludwick would get starts against the soft-tossers, so there’s no mystery there.

  50. 67stats33eyes

    @Steve Mancuso: Nope. I came on here to read about the game and NOT post. What I normally do. But today, the comment about Frazier’s success without acknowledging how he garnered the success made me feel the need to point out that you were acting in a manner that showed little integrity.
    I didn’t plan to come on here and point out your lack of integrity. It never crossed my mind. But since it was so obviously necessary to point out that a man who has shown nothing but integrity with his managing of the reds was being attacked by someone who has so little integrity that you avoided mention of the first pitch homers I felt it was the right thing to do. An egalitarian gesture.

    • zippy

      Say what you will about the anti-Dusty theme here, but the people I find most annoying are those who contribute nothing to the discussion other than occasionally taking swipes at what other people have said. It’s like “I don’t really care enough to get involved in a discussion about the Reds – until someone says something I don’t like, and then I’m compelled to complain about that person and start an argument.”

  51. earmbrister

    @zblakey: Yeah, it’s a crapshoot when you go to the salvage pile to fill out your roster. I was calling for them to sign Fukodome. Well he’s batting .167/.289/.194/.483. in 36 AB’s. Others called for Damon, (I personally think his arm disqualifies him for the NL). He’s batting a whopping .160/.236/.220 for an alarming .456 OPS, albeit also over a small sample size of 50 AB’s.

    They’re still looking for that diamond in the rough. They may have to re-open their wallet and/or trade window to get the bat they need.

    • Johnu1

      @zblakey: Yeah, it’s a crapshoot when you go to the salvage pile to fill out your roster.I was calling for them to sign Fukodome.Well he’s batting .167/.289/.194/.483. in 36 AB’s.Others called for Damon, (I personally think his arm disqualifies him for the NL).He’s batting a whopping .160/.236/.220 for an alarming .456 OPS, albeit also over a small sample size of 50 AB’s.

      They’re still looking for that diamond in the rough.They may have to re-open their wallet and/or trade window to get the bat they need.

      And the guy we coveted (or I did) Dave Sappelt is playing in Des Moines.

  52. CP

    If this guy isn’t SecondGuessingfanbase using another account, I’d be shocked.

  53. rfay00

    @67stats33eyes: Hey man, I am not going to sit here and tell you what to do, but if I wanted to hear Reds fans argue, I would go to the ESPN boards where that is the basis of all conversations.

    Who cares if someone didn’t own up to a false statement? Have you always been right about what you predicted? No.

    Let’s just keep it civil before this blog turns into a place where good conversation turns into a bashing fest.

    Like I said above, I am not telling you what to do, but I really want to keep this blog away from what you see at ESPN.

  54. CP

    @Johnu1: Yeah, but seeing knuckleballers are so few and far between that I doubt there is any appreciable advantage there. Baseball is all about practice, practice, practice.

    There could be some truth that with age, Ludwick is less “jumpy” at slow pitches. Of course, everyone has fed him a steady stream of curveballs/sliders this year to horrendous results too. Hopefully, Ludwick can hit a couple dingers today. 😀

  55. Steve Mancuso

    @67stats33eyes: You don’t know me at all, so please don’t judge my integrity based on two blog comments that you see as inconsistent (which is debatable). I didn’t say everything you wanted me to, that’s all it is.

    Here’s my point (and my last comment about this): you could have come on this morning and made the point: “See, Todd Frazier swung at the first pitch when he hit those two home runs last night. Maybe there is something to be said for Baker wanting hitters to swing early.” When given the chance to defend first pitch swinging, you declined. The underlying substantive point is interesting and maybe even important.

    Instead, you saw your role – anonymously – as policing the ‘integrity’ of individuals who you have never met before. See the difference? First pitch swinging (about the Reds/baseball) vs. my integrity (personal quality of other commenter) ?

    People here disagree strongly on many things about the Reds and baseball. The way we keep it civil is to avoid attacking each other personally. Do you see anyone else here attacking someone else personally?

  56. rfay00

    @Johnu1: He was alright, but I don’t think he was going to be great. Never know though!

  57. Johnu1

    @CP: Ludwick is clearly pressing and IMHO, again, this is where a hitting coach needs to take charge, even with a veteran. Watching Ludwick hit isn’t particularly amusing but it’s easy enough to see what he’s doing wrong. Now, as a fan, I’d be hard-pressed to tell the guy how to fix it. Timing matters, I guess. Bat speed, vision … all that … but I’d just tell the guy to crouch more at the plate. After 20 years, that wouldn’t be easy for him to achieve.

    But it would keep him off the high pitches because he’d see them as balls, not hittable strikes.

  58. Johnu1

    @rfay00: Sappelt was a feel-good story but he had some value as a 4th or 5th outfielder.

    I retain my belief that Chris Heisey is still the guy we want. We keep looking for better options but:

    Heisey is a good bunter and has great baserunning skills. (Great being a relative word.)

    He has enough doubles power.

    I would like to see him get the kind of coaching that turns him into a regular leadoff guy.

    As an outfielder, he’s lousy in LF but better in CF … so he needs to work on that. His arm is awful but he plays the corners well enough.

    Looking for a replacement in LF would be more difficult than working with what we have. I’d get a hitting coach to help Hi-Z cut down on his K rate.

    We’re in after that.

  59. dn4192

    To me this whole discussion on hitting is interesting, especially I doubt anyone here has ever actually hit professional pitchers in real game situations. Hitting a baseball is by far the toughest thing to do in baseball and the approach for me is a game by game, pitcher by pitcher process. The idea of having a set view on how to approach hitting is not good. You have to look at whom is pitching, how they are doing when you go to the plate, what they have been doing in teh game and such. It is a complicated issue that I feel each player has to do what best suits them.

    • Johnu1

      To me this whole discussion on hitting is interesting, especially I doubt anyone here has ever actually hit professional pitchers in real game situations.Hitting a baseball is by far the toughest thing to do in baseball and the approach for me is a game by game, pitcher by pitcher process.The idea of having a set view on how to approach hitting is not good.You have to look at whom is pitching, how they are doing when you go to the plate, what they have been doing in teh game and such.It is a complicated issue that I feel each player has to do what best suits them.

      For me, as a fan and somebody who did try to hit a baseball, though not very well, it’s not a question of better results, but improving the odds that better results are possible.

      The best-hit balls are frequently snared by the pitcher or fouled back to the screen. Round ball, round bat.

      But to let a hitter figure it out on his own is self-defeating. Balance, setting up in the box, adjusting to the count and situation … you don’t actually need to PLAY the game to understand the rudiments of all that.

      But you do need to have a set of fundamentals that are consistent and adaptable. A coach can do that.

      I can’t go to the stadium and yell down over the dugout and tell Drew Stubbs to tighten up his stance, but it’s clear he needs to do that. They have film rooms and coaching. Some of that, I fear, ain’t happening.

      Much of hitting is natural — vision and bat speed. Some of that can’t be taught.

      • dn4192

        For me, as a fan and somebody who did try to hit a baseball, though not very well, it’s not a question of better results, but improving the odds that better results are possible.The best-hit balls are frequently snared by the pitcher or fouled back to the screen. Round ball, round bat. But to let a hitter figure it out on his own is self-defeating. Balance, setting up in the box, adjusting to the count and situation … you don’t actually need to PLAY the game to understand the rudiments of all that.But you do need to have a set of fundamentals that are consistent and adaptable. A coach can do that. I can’t go to the stadium and yell down over the dugout and tell Drew Stubbs to tighten up his stance, but it’s clear he needs to do that. They have film rooms and coaching. Some of that, I fear, ain’t happening.Much of hitting is natural — vision and bat speed. Some of that can’t be taught.

        What leads you to think Stubbs needs to “tighten” this stance?

  60. rfay00

    @Johnu1: For sure, Heisey can figure it out and that’s why I am happy he is seeing more time. At this rate, Ludwick’s option won’t get picked up and hopefully we can use him on a daily basis more often throughout this year and the many after.

    I just hope when we go looking for a 4th outfielder next year (or maybe this year) we don’t sign some lousy veteran. I would rather pull from the minors and save the money towards extending the players we want and keeping our bullpen strong.

  61. earmbrister

    @Johnu1: and rfay00:

    I also got excited about Sappelt. Don’t know if he has value as a 4th or 5th OF’r, unless that is his role in Des Moines. 😉

    I’m not convinced that either Heisey or Ludwick is the answer in LF. What I do like is the fact that they are both plus defenders. I think many here give way too much weight to the effect of the hitting coach. By the time an MLB hitting coach gets his hands on a player, that player has some 20 years of playing time under his belt. It takes an exceptional student to make more than just minor tweaks to his game. The major holes in most players’ hitting are (in most cases) well ingrained long before he ever gets to MLB.

    The most obvious example of an exceptional student, albeit not in baseball, is Tiger Woods. He completely scrapped his golf swing, and started over. Of course, this all time great hasn’t quite pulled off the feat.

  62. rfay00

    @earmbrister: Unless the Reds are wanting to pay big bucks for a LF stud, then we need to focus on the development of Heisey for now. He deserves his chance, and at worst Heisey will be the Reds first guy off the bench for years to come.

  63. Johnu1

    @earmbrister: Minor tweaks would matter to Chris Heisey. He would cut down on his whiffs a little. That’s all he needs to do. And please don’t ask me to do the metrics on that. What if it was only one less strikeout a week? That’s 26 for the year … a .250 hitter would get 5 hits.

  64. earmbrister

    Went to the game last nite with my 7 yr old son. There were Reds fans spread throughout the stands: we always seem to be well represented at Met games.

    One guy who stopped me to have a conversation, was going to 3 of the 5 games vs the Mets and Yanks. Nice guy (who I’m jealous of his ticket stash) who was in from the Queen city.

    An old timer tapped me on the shoulder at my seat and asked if I was visiting (no). He offered up that he has been a fan since 1938. God bless.

    Late night for the son, but it was worth staying until the deal was done, and the W was in the record books.

    Great night of baseball.

  65. tgarretson82

    I might be getting too negative and complaining about the same thing everyone does, but with the way Ludwick has been at the plate, why is he in the lineup instead of Heisey? Secondly, WHY OH WHY IS HE AHEAD OF FRAZIER IN THE ORDER?!?!?

  66. CP

    The “leadoff” hitter has become the fans/local media’s white whale. Lance, who I generally like, was talking about yesterday (paraphrasing here) how the Reds would prefer a guy with a .400 OBP, would be okay with a guy with a .375 OBP, and would settle for a guy with a .350 OBP. Ummm, really? There are 4 guys in the entire MLB leading off that has an OBP > .400 (Furcal, Jackson, Jeter, and Andrus). I doubt anyone on this list finishes higher than .350-.360.

  67. earmbrister

    @rfay00: I’m ok with Heisey getting his chance. If he can’t cement his role as the starting LF’r, he has great value as the 4th OF’r and a potent bat off the bench.

    I also understand what the front office has tried to do in getting an OF’r on the cheap. I would think that LF is the easiest position in which to do so. They signed Ludwick at a modest price and hoped for a resurgence. He showed some life early before going into a funk. The FO had to sign an OF’r with ML experience to provide some depth, and thankfully they did not sign Fukudome (whom I wanted) or Damon.

    Mgmt did a great job landing 2 top relievers and a front line starting pitcher this past off season. They have made a major commitment over the last two years to sign the core of their team to long term contracts (Bruce, Cueto, Marshall, Votto, Phillips, as well as the big $ to Arroyo and the Chapman contract). I’d fully expect them to extend some of the relievers and Latos this winter, assuming continued production this year. The drafting, as well as international scouting/signings, has been solid in recent years.

    I have no problem with mgmt trying to fill out the roster (Ludwick or Alfredo Simon) using modest investments. It’s taking risks like those, that land you players like Arredondo every once in awhile.

    • TC

      It’s taking risks like those, that land you players like Arredondo every once in awhile.

      I agree with Simon, but I don’t think picking up Arrendondo was like Ludwick. Arrendondo and Simon were good gambles because were low risk and possible high reward. Ludwick is high risk due to his contract with a low possibility of return.

  68. Johnu1

    @earmbrister: We live in a new instant rewards world and baseball was never set up to provide that. Over 162, Ludwick will drive in enough runs in key spots to make his role useful. We probably will want to mark them down just to review later on.

    Heisey gets 6 hits in 2 games and cements his role in LF … until he goes 0-for-18 and we want him out of them.

    We aren’t patient even though we tell ourselves that we have to be. Pennants aren’t won on May 17 and they aren’t lost on May 18.

    And the team that won the W.S. two years ago can’t find five guys who can hit over .240.

  69. earmbrister

    @TC: @TC: I guess it’s all in how you define “high risk”.

    Is it high risk to sign Arredondo to a 2 year deal, knowing that he will be recovering from Tommy John surgery the first year? You don’t know what you’re going to get the second year, and then he could be gone.

    Is it high risk to sign Simon, when he had a career ERA of 5.18 in Baltimore? There were plenty of people questioning his signing here.

    Is signing Ludwick for 2.5 Mil that “big” of a risk? You could have had Fukudome for 1 Mil (and his .167 BA). Or Damon for 1.25 Mil (and his .160 BA and pop gun arm). You know with Ludwick (like Heisey) that he is a quality fielder, with some pop in his bat. Do you really think that they were counting on him to be much more than a platoon type of player?

    How much do you need to pay to get a chance of high reward? Probably more than the Reds had budgeted.