Let’s recap today’s titanic struggle….

Cleveland 2
Cincinnati 4

W: J. Broxton (2-1)
L: N. Hagadone (0-1)
S: A. Chapman (13)

–Joey Votto struck out in the first inning and filled the air with some very loud profanities. In the eighth inning of a tie game, however, with a runner on third (but a base open), the Indians decided to pitch to Votto. Bad idea. Votto drilled a two run homer to give the Reds a winning margin. Votto is good.

–Another strong start for Mike Leake: 7.1 IP, one earned run allowed on five hits. Leake struck out seven and walked none, as he lowered his ERA to 3.02. Good stuff.

–Shin-Soo Choo had two hits, scored two runs, and drove in another run on his first inning homer. Zack Cozart had two hits, including a double, and a walk.

–Jonathan Broxton and Aroldis Chapman pitched an effective inning and two-thirds to finish out the game.

–Brandon Phillips made his third error of the season.

–Back on the winning track. The Reds have won six out of seven, and 13 out of 16.

–Things got a little interesting in the ninth inning. Aroldis Chapman struck out the first hitter, then Nick Swisher came to the plate. Chapman threw a wild 100 mph fastball to the backstop, then threw another 100 mph pitch right at Swisher’s head.

There is no reason whatsoever to believe that Chapman would be throwing at Swisher. It was a close game, and putting Swisher on base would have brought the tying run to the plate. Two pitches got away from Aroldis. It happens. Yet Swisher stepped out of the box and had a few words for the Cuban Missile (“Bro, don’t do that.”). The Indians dugout all jumped up onto their top step. It got tense for a few moments.

Then Chapman retired Swisher on a fairly hard-hit fly ball (after which Swisher and Chapman jawed at each other again), followed by a strikeout to end the game and secure the win for the mighty Redlegs.

Prepare, however, for the Indians to act like they are mad tomorrow. If and when they throw at Votto, you’ll see how absurd this whole situation is. The Indians will have manufactured a controversy where reasonable people should be able to see that none exists. That’s my prediction, anyway.

–Choo homered in his first AB against his former club.

–Mike Leake is really pitching well. Fun to watch.

–That was the fourth straight sellout crowd for the Reds. There were reports that this was only the second time the Reds have sold out four games in a row since moving from Crosley Field. That was 1970. That can’t be true, can it?

–A 2-2 day with a walk raised Cozart’s OBP up to a dazzling .258. Your #2 hitter, ladies and germs.

Source: FanGraphs

Blame Chad for creating this mess.

Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.

You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

Join the conversation! 71 Comments

  1. This Chapman thing is almost as absurd as the Cueto DeJesus situation. Stupid.

  2. It was good to see Drew Stubbs. When he came to bat the first time, the Reds played his old walk-up music which I thought was classy. Zack Cozart made one of the best defensive plays of the year on a ground ball to get Stubbs out in his first AB. Stubbs got a hit his second time up and when he advanced to second base, he and Cozart definitely had a moment of friendship talking to each other – could tell from the body language. On the Reds’ second run, Stubbs made a strong and accurate throw from right field that would easily have nailed Cozart at the plate if the catcher hadn’t missed it.

    • @Steve Mancuso: I noticed that, too, about Stubbs’ and Cozart’s body language during the broadcast. You could tell they were real glad to talk to one another.

    • @Steve Mancuso: When they played the walk up music for Stubbs, my wife went on about how cool that was. I said to her “Why wouldn’t they play his walk up music?” She politely reminded me that he now plays for Cleveland and that I am an idiot. True love at the old ball orchard! 😆

      Also, I noticed the complete lack of the unintelligible Gary Glitter song from GABP this weekend. I say good riddance!

    • @hoodlum: Problem is, Dusty violated his own ‘rules’ yesterday by criticizing Joey IN THE PRESS and calling out another team’s player IN THE PRESS. If one of his players had done that, they’d get a talking to.

      And Chad, I can’t understand how you don’t see intent on the two balls thrown by Chapman, especially the second. We know so little about the lives of these players, who’s to say there’s no history between these two? A slight here, some disrespect there. I mean, this IS Swisher we’re talking about. Who doesn’t want to slap that smug look off his face?!?

  3. Another trend continued, Stubbs got on base and the Reds won.

  4. Am I the only Reds fan who is frustrated by the fact that the Reds are playing this well 13 out of 16 and they cant gain any round on the Cardnials.

    • @Larry1980: You gotta look at this way. Imagine the season is Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid all over again. Right now Butch and the Kid are looking back at the Reds and saying “Who are those guys?; They are pretty “darn” good”.

      And we know who wins in the last reel.

    • @Larry1980: I’m sure you aren’t the only one, but to me it’s too early to worry about things like that. As long as the Reds are playing well, I’m happy. ‘course, they should have won 15 of 16, but…

      • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Should have won 16 of 16 if not more. 2 blown saves by Chapman plus whatever the hell that was yesterday.

        • @eric nyc: One of the blown saves ended up as a win (Marlins). But yes, interestingly, all 3 losses in the last 16 were games decided in the 8th inning or later. The Phils game before Chapman’s 2 bomb 9th was the one were Marshall/Broxton had all the crap happen in the 8th when the game was tied.

  5. Chapman looks to me to be a genuine mess on the mound right now. I don’t think he has a clue where the ball is going when he lets it go whether it turns out to be a pin point spotted fastball, a fastball into the screen, a 55′ slider or a one of the the most beautiful sliders ever seen. Fortunately for the Reds right now at least the good pitches are coming often enough for him to be successful in the role he is in.

    He is a baseball savant of sorts.

    • @OhioJim: I agree. He has lost all semblance of control. He’s just begging for one of his crazy spurts where he starts walking 10 batters in a row. We have ruined that poor kid.

    • @OhioJim: I didn’t see Chapman today, but overall I’ve liked how he’s pitched since blowing the save to the Phillies. He’s made the adjustment he needed to make: throwing more sliders, and throwing more of them for strikes. He had two called strike 3s on sliders today, and didn’t walk a batter.
      That’s being effectively wild.

  6. As a grown man, I have really come to love Joeys outbursts. I can understand if I was paying $100 a seat to bring my 5 year old kid to the game maybe not appreciating his outbursts, but as a Reds fan I just don’t know how you can’t love that kind of intensity out of a guy who is legally within his rights to phone it in for the next 12 years and still make a quarter billion dollars but still gets that mad after striking out in the first inning of a regular season game in May. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the modern day Ty Cobb. Grown man playing in the big leagues and he wants to be the greatest hitter ever. Seriously Dusty, you have a hard time teaching your kid what to pay attention to while watching Votto play? He’s never heard an F-bomb before? We’d all be lucky to raise kids who take their professional obligations as seriously as Joey Votto and pay for it with some foul language.

    • @eric nyc: Couldn’t agree more! Interesting to see that Pete Rose and Votto have struck up a connection. I have coached for years and determination is a major key to success. Every moment inside the lines is you and me, who wins? I love that moment- too old for it but love to watch it. Go Votto every at bat is crucial!

    • @eric nyc: I agree. But I would compare Joey to one of his idols, Ted Williams. He hits more like Williams than anyone since Williams, has memorized much of the Williams’ book on hitting, etc. Williams had a temper, was a perfectionist, would have loud outbursts.

      Pete Rose idolized Cobb, but Cobb was a tormented, violent man full of hate.

    • @eric nyc: A week or so ago (I think it was in Miami) the mics caught one of Joey’s outbursts after a strikeout. I was sitting with my nine year old daughter and she just kind of broke out in a smile knowing that she just heard something not appropriate for her ears.

      Within a couple of days, she struck out for the first time ever in a softball game. By the time she made it back to the dugout, she was in a full-blown cry. As a father, it broke my heart, but in the immortal words of Tom Hanks – there is no crying in baseball. After the game, I explained to her that I understood she was frustrated and upset which led to the tears but that I would rather her react like Joey Votto (minus the inappropriate language). Get mad, analyze what went wrong, correct what you can, and then knock the cover off the ball the next time up.

      My point is that Dusty is a doofus in so much more than just bullpen management. I WANT Joey to cuss like a sailor after he feels he screwed up. And, I want my daughter to have a similar reaction as well. That leads to success in life.

  7. I think that the bunt was a good play. With Choo on first, I hate the bunt, because then there’s a high probability Votto is walked. With Choo on second, they can walk Votto anyways. Cozart is exceptionally unlikely to draw a walk himself; he’s also a bad hitter, so he’s not likely to drive the run in. Therefore, given that a run there means an 85% chance of winning the game, I want that run, and the bunt (assuming it’s successful) increases the chance of getting at least one run.

    I sure wanted Leake to stay in for the 8th if the choice is Leake or Broxton. A guy pitching well at 91 pitches, or a reliever who is really unreliable? Easy call. (Of course, Broxton pitched well today, but that’s not the point.)

    What I’d have really done is pitch Chapman the 8th and 9th (and this wouldn’t be the first time, so he’d be in shape to do it), but we know that’ll never happen.

    The idea, though, that we should be expecting 110-120 pitches from our starters at this point in the season (mentioned by someone in game thread) is silly. Leake and Arroyo are never going to do that. Really, only Bailey is conditioned to throw tons of pitches.
    Also, if everyone threw 110-120 pitches, they could get rid of half the bullpen pitchers.

    On a leftover note on whether Ondrusek is good from last night, it was mentioned that he’s been unlucky on fly balls, hence his xFIP of high 3’s. My response is that his xFIP and FIP both last year were the 2nd worst in all of MLB for a reliever. He’s only at 20 innings this year, it doesn’t, to me, make up for a career FIP of 4.73 and career xFIP of 4.59. Unless he’s really figured something out that has allowed him to walk fewer guys this year (and strikeout more)…it’s possible, but I don’t see it as probable.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Latos and Cueto are more than capable of throwing 120 pitches. Arroyo, not a chance. Leake, only if he’s rolling like he was today. In fact, I wouldn’t have been too nervous about leaving him in after the Giambi homer. That was a good pitch. That’s four starters who I wouldn’t be nervous taking above 110 pitches.

      • @eric nyc: Cueto almost never threw 120 pitches last year, and I think it’s pretty clear he tired (even without lots of huge pitch counts) in the last 4-6 weeks. He’s not a real big guy.

        Latos never went more than 117 pitches last year.

        Leake had 7 games over 100 pitches last year, max 114.

        I guess I don’t know what you mean exactly. If you mean that theoretically they can throw 120 pitches, of course they can. Should we be expecting it? No.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I’m not saying I want any of them to throw 120 pitches ever. Outside of a near no-hitter we shouldn’t be touching that. But I was the one in the game thread who you were referring to, and I was responding to someone who was mad when Leake, at 92 pitches with no ERs and no walks and 6 Ks, went out to pitch the 8th. That’s a no brainier to me. We lost yesterday because we overplayed Broxton and Chapman in relatively easy save situations and had to lean on our lesser relievers. Well you avoid that by leaving guys in when it looks like they’re having dominant outings. Leake might have been in line for a CG if it wasn’t for that homer.

          • @eric nyc: First, there’s no way on God’s green earth that Leake would have gone for a CG if the score was 2-1 in the top 9. 4-1, maybe. Also, I agree Leake should have come out for the 8th.

            Second, the Reds did not lose because they overplayed Broxton and Chapman. I just don’t really understand. First, Broxton isn’t any good. Second, they pitched Saturday because Bailey didn’t have his best stuff early and was pretty gassed after 6, AND because there is a long-standing law that Sam Lecure cannot pitch 2 innings. The real reason the team lost yesterday is because the “lesser” relievers were brought in by the manager, instead of the better available relievers. Which is a longstanding problem. (Yes, I know that they could have lost anyways, but it would have been a lot less likely.)

            At the current pace, the average Reds reliever (assuming a 7-man pen, which is what they are using) would pitch 67 innings this season. That’s not a lot, except that the bullpen pitchers have way too many appearances to pitch those 67 innings. Too many one batter appearances, too many 1 inning appearances.

            If starters consistently went 110-120 pitches, what would the bullpen be doing? I think you need to balance workloads. I don’t think that the starters going 6 innings is killing the pen, I think it’s the bullpen usage.

          • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I was hoping to not have to get into the Broxton/LeCure/Chapman lesser reliever debate just for the sake of brevity. I agree with you, Broxton is horribly overrated and LeCure is criminally underused. All I was saying was, at least in Dustys head, yesterday we had to make due with the bowels of our bullpen and that’s what cost us the game. I temper everything I say here with the understanding that we are working with a Dusty Baker managed team.

            On the front office side, Manny Parra should not be on this roster. It cannot possibly be that hard to find a lefty reliever out there who is better than him.

          • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Any law that states Lecure can’t pitch 2 innings is nothing but a Bakerman law. Lecure came up a starter. If any reliever can pitch 2 innings, he can.

          • @steveschoen: He can and has, often.

          • … because there is a long-standing law that Sam Lecure cannot pitch 2 innings.

            Sam has pitched 2 innings 4 times this year, and another time pitched 1 and 2/3 and then ran out of gas (largely because an error or two in his first inning of work). And prior to this season, Dusty would use him regularly as a two inning guy.

            What concerns me is that he has not pitched 2 innings recently, and for that matter has not pitched one inning much recently. I wonder if his arm is bothering him, as it was during the Pirates series when the Reds got swept.

          • @pinson343: That’s my concern, too, that LeCure isn’t healthy.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: The part about Leake vs. Broxton in the 8th? I’m with you there. I wasn’t real comfortable with Leake, but of those two, might as well see if Leake had a few more batters of magic in him. Too bad Giambi got him.

  8. I want to repeat, this would be a good time to trade Chapman.

  9. They’re not going to throw at Votto, at least not tomorrow in Cincinnati. They don’t want to start a fight here in a packed ballpark. If anything they’ll throw at Choo, he has already said he doesn’t want any retaliation pitches from the Reds staff because he gets hit so often. It’s a prime opportunity to get a cheap one it before they head back north. And so it begins… 😈

  10. This stupid brawl/yelling stuff, I wish Baker would just keep his mouth shut. Opening it is removing all doubt. A boxing match? Then, he wants Votto to stop swearing? Good god. Swearing? Who knew there was swearing in baseball? I’m sure tomorrow Baker will say that Luke Appling once said you should say “gosh darn” when you strike out.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I was somewhat surprised with Dusty’s the comments about Votto’s outburst. Young Baker, Darren, I believe is his name, seems to have the run of the clubhouse much of the summer based on past media stories. So, I’d bet he has heard those words a time or three before.

      I’m wondering if Dusty speaking out could be an attempt at some sort of preemptive action to ward off a formal public rebuff of Votto by MLB.

    • This stupid brawl/yelling stuff, I wish Baker would just keep his mouth shut.Opening it is removing all doubt.A boxing match?Then, he wants Votto to stop swearing?Good god.Swearing?

      Then, Baker challenges Garza to a fight, essentially. So, let’s see. It’s not alright to have an outburst. But, it is ok to pick a fight. Stupid Bakerman

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Here we have a day when Cozart hit well, bunted well and fielded brilliantly. Broxton pitched well. Dusty pushed the right buttons (consider what you’d be saying if he’d left Leake in longer), and the Reds beat a decent team. Gotta have something to get on Dusty for, right? Swearing doesn’t bother me–I do it a lot–but baseball is billed as a family game, and if I were watching with the grandkids, I’d be a little annoyed at how audible the f-words were. Somebody else chastised Dusty for being inconsistent when he defended Chapman and pushed at Garza. What would we all be saying if he had done the opposite? It’s perfectly reasonable for fans to argue with a manager’s strategic decisions and use of personnel, but we seem to be well into hating on Dusty no matter what is actually happening. One would think, reading many of the posts here, that the Reds were 13 games under .500.

      • @greenmtred: I would agree if it wasn’t for the fact that the kids probably hear 20 times worse at school as well as in the stands of those Reds games the parents are taking their kids to. It would be different if Votto did something like give the crowd the finger or something, or even if Votto’s words were a common thing Votto would do. But, it’s been anything but a common. Parents simply need to tell the kids how it can still be good to watch Votto, to just understand that people will get angry and how it isn’t always a good thing to show it in public, or something of that sort.

        • @steveschoen: I guess, though it seems to me that someone as evidently disciplined as Votto could change words or volume. My kids make an effort to not swear around my grandkids, and I doubt that swearing is terribly common in their schools (at least not in 1st and 2nd grade). That said, I do swear a lot (not around the grandkids, though), and seem to have unwittingly put myself in the position of being prudish about the practice, which I certainly am not. I think my main point is that this has become yet another unreasonable vehicle for the expression of Dusty hatred; has nothing to do with game decisions. For Christ’s sake, the guy was asked what he thought about the swearing and gave a mild answer.

  11. Dusty just going to Dusty. Though, really, his post game comments just keep getting curiouser and curiouser.

  12. Joey Votto gave credit for his HR – or at least for getting a pitch he could hit for a HR – to Choo, Cozart, and BP. And I believe he’s sincere. He’s like the modest, true hero out of an old Hollywood movie.

  13. Just like the Giants have used Lopez & Affeldt as left handed specialists and they have won two world series in the last three years, the Reds need to do the same. In the playoffs, when things get tight and you get great pitching, if the game is tied or you have a one run lead, and you have a left handed power hitter coming up (just like Giambi today), you need to bring in a left hander to pitch to them. The Giants did that to profection and it worked. Reds will need a healthy Marshall and another left handed pitcher in tight games. Parra is not the answer either!

  14. Come on guys, let’s stick to criticizing Baker for baseball strategy. (Speaking of which, Francona made the biggest managerial mistake, failing to walk Votto or at least pitch around him. Most of us would crucify Dusty in this space if he did something similar.) Garza’s comments were punk comments, and I’m glad Dusty was willing to call him on them. He’s sent the message that his club won’t be intimidated; the next move is up to the Cubs. As for Votto, Baker responded to a question, and what’s he supposed to say: “Yes, I think it’s great when Joey curses so loudly it gets picked up on TV”?

    • @Eric the Red: How about this for what he should have said – “Joey plays this game with an intenisty and passion that is seen too rarely these days. I wish more players, including my son, approached the game like Joey Votto.”

      The old “he was just answering the question” thing doesn’t work for Baker who manages to hide behind nonsense every time he needs to due to one of his unexplainable managerial moves, like leaving Sam LeCure in the bullpen while running Logan Ondrusek out to the mound to cost the Reds a win and a full game to the Cardinals. I wish he’d directly answer those questions as well as he directly rebukes the best player on his team.

      Baker is pathetic.

      • @Kyle Farmer: I mentioned in a game thread the other day that I wouldnt keep the mic on Votto after an AB and I am somewhat surprised MLB hasn’t said something to him about it. More than football and basketball, baseball must be a family friendly sport to consistently get good attendance. Like it or not, there are many families with preteen kids that don’t appreciate hearing “obsenities” yelled out and there will come a point where they won’t come to a game if it continues. These are the fans that aren’t that interested themselves but go to a game specifically to do something for and with their kids. They will do something else instead. How many of those kids then don’t become baseball fans that might have otherwise? Also, I guess I don’t quite understand how someone has enough self control to not swing at a pitch 2 inches off the plate, but can’t control the volume or the content of what he says after a bad AB.

        • @HOF-13: I guess I just don’t see the big deal. Do I want my kids talking that way? No. But, I guess I just realize there’s no way that I’m going to insulate them from it, so I try to teach them when/where it could be appropriate and inappropriate. They both know that it’s NEVER appropriate for them and they both know that it is a symptom of Joey’s drive for perfection – which I hope they emulate. If they ever become pro ball players, they know that it will be okay to let a curse word or two slip if they strike out.

          Maybe that makes me a bad parent. I do respect the other point of view, however.

  15. I think some of you missed the point regarding the Swisher “situation”:

    Swisher has every right to be angry at Chapman. Chapman is going to kill somebody if he can’t learn to control where the ball goes. Not all crimes require intent…

    These types of situations always show how absurd the old school “unwritten” rules of baseball are. Perhaps we’ll see some cheesy retaliation today where the Indians hit Votto square in the middle of the back, perhaps not. That’ll teach Chapman a lesson. Give me a break.

    Or perhaps we’ll see a Tom Glavine versus Dale Murphy-style retaliation. Google that if you want to see even more absurdity.

    It would be pretty stupid for the Reds to miss the playoffs because Latos was forced to “protect” his teammates, ends up effectively missing 2 starts, and taxes the bullpen.

  16. I’m going to the game tonight, and will be prepared to charge the field if the Indians throw at Votto…

    I’m kidding, but only because I am in right field and jumping over that wall would be silly.

  17. If Votto gets hit tonight, then we have a job for Manny Parra when they get to Cleveland for the next two games. Put Parra in when Swisher gets an at-bat and then promptly put one in his earhole. Case closed.

  18. I will preface this by saying that I haven’t seen it, but based on my understanding of what happened – Dusty is right on Votto’s reaction. I like intensity, and I love Vottomatic, but it just isnt classy or appropriate to cuss and stomp. Tip your cap to the major league pitcher who did his job well, and go back up there and get him/ them next time (see, e.g. the bottom of the 8th). And given who Joey is, he has to rise above that nonsense. Vent in the dugout or the tunnel, then go back to work like a professional. If I acted that way when things didn’t go my way in my job, I would be looking for a new one.

    • @hoodlum: Problem is, Dusty violated his own ‘rules’ yesterday by criticizing Joey IN THE PRESS and calling out another team’s player IN THE PRESS. If one of his players had done that, they’d get a talking to.

      And Chad, I can’t understand how you don’t see intent on the two balls thrown by Chapman, especially the second. We know so little about the lives of these players, who’s to say there’s no history between these two? A slight here, some disrespect there. I mean, this IS Swisher we’re talking about. Who doesn’t want to slap that smug look off his face?!?

      • @Sultan of Swaff: I don’t know… how much interaction could they have had… anyone got stats on whether Chapman has pitched to Swisher before yesterday? One interleague series against the Yanks maybe?

        • @Matt WI: o for 2 with 0 SO against Chapman.

          • @Shchi Cossack: Gracias. Obviously that doesn’t mean anything in between the lines, but it’s less overall evidence that he and Swisher have reason to have a history…. However our noble manager Dusty does have a history of holding grudges against Indians players. Last thing we need is another Derek Lowe drama. 🙂

          • @Matt WI: Yes indeed, the Derek Lowe situation. Now that was dealing with someone face to face, mano e mano. Just like Dusty professes the way things were handled old school and should be handled now.

  19. I tend to think that fans overvalue whether players think about a game situation when their adrenaline gets flowing. For example, I’ll buy that the first pitch to Swisher just got away. But that second one seemed to me to be, OK, HERE’S how you’ll know when I’m TRYING to pitch inside … Not considering that it would bring the tying run to the plate if he actually him, or even how badly injured Swisher could have been if he got hit……

    And I said during the game thread, when Frazier came up first-pitch swingin’ after a five-pitch walk to Jay Bruce, I don’t think players these days think as much about what happened previously. Frazier wanted to ambush a pitcher who he expected would throw a strike, and it didn’t work. We’ve all seen this happen lots of times previously, even with pitchers as wild as Carlos Marmol on the mound.

  20. suprised no one (that I’ve seen) has mentioned anything about Chapman throwing only from the stretch yesterday? Wonder if that will be the case for a while now. I dont mind it. A lot of guys throw better from the stretch and have better balance. I just wonder if it was his own decision or if the idea came from price.

    Also im not sure if chapman and swisher were jawing at eachother after swisher flew out… Chapman could have been apologizing and saying it was unintentional for all we know. just a thought.

  21. A 2-2 day with a walk raised Cozart’s OBP up to a dazzling .258. Your #2 hitter, ladies and germs.

    Since you broughtit up Chad, for his last 5 games, Cozart has a slash line of .450/.476/.650 with a BABIP of .600. Even with his recent hitting succes, the real impact is his SLG and not his OBP. Cozart has 1 BB during his 5 game hitting spree. Just like his season-to-date performance, that plays much better farther down in the lineup than the top-of-the-order. I’m ecstatic that Cozart is making an offensive contribution, but that success is so grossly unsustainable as to be laughable. If it wasn’t so grossly unsustainable, he needs to be hitting cleanup behind Votto.

    The washer was loaded and running, the dishwasher was loaded and running and the kids were busy playing or entertaining themselves. We all know how bad Cozart is hitting in the #2 hole, even with his limited recent hitting success. I thought I would look to see HOW absurd (or if it was simply common practice) was Cozart hitting in the #2 hole for the Reds in the context of the rest of the NL lineups.

    There are 19 qualified (regular) players in the NL with an OBP <.300. Many (about a third) of them are SS & CF. There are also a lot of regular SS & CF hitting in the top of NL lineups. There are only 2 NL players with an OBP <.300 regularly hitting in the top of a NL lineup, Cozart and Simmons (ATL). In ATL's defense, their designated, high-priced, free agent leadoff hitter (BJ Upton) has been a complete bust and he has been appropriately relegated to the bottom of the lineup and even less frequent playing time, leaving a serious hole in the top of the Braves lineup. Someone has to hit at the top of the lineup and the Braves choices become more difficult when two of the regular players both have an OBP <.300 and a third player has an OBP of .303. Of the 15 NL teams, Simmons is the only other exception besides Cozart to a player with an OBP <.300 regularly hitting in the top of the lineup. Unlike the Braves, Dusty not only has another option, but an excellent option, besides Cozart for the #2 hole, but Dusty simply refuses to acknowledge or implement any other option.

  22. I’m not really a fan of Votto’s outbursts. I like the intensity, and I like that he cares so much about his ABs, but get a grip.

    He looks crazy when he does it. I’m less concerned with the kids heearing bad words than I am with them being exposed to the rantings of a maniac.

    Everyone’s entitled to get frustrated, hell, to get mad. But think about the situation yesterday (and it’s happened in times like this before): first inning, Reds up 1-0. Does anyone think his reaction to a strikeout in that situation was in anyway balanced with the importance of the situation? No way. So what does that make him? Kind of crazy if you ask me.

    The last thing I want is for Votto to miss more time with mental health issues, and he doesn’t look very stable from my perspective. I hope Dusty or someone talks to him about a little anger management.

    • @al: I didn’t see Votto’s reaction to his 1st AB yesterday as a reaction to an isolated instance. Votto has not looked happy after several recent SO, and I saw yesterday’s outburst as a culmination of that frustration. I wish I could function at a superior level of excellence in anything like Votto does with hitting a little round ball, thrown in his direction at more than 90 MPH, with a round bat. I will never know what that feels like and I can only imagine the frustration he must feel when he is not performing at his personal expectation of excellence. I think it’s much ado about nothing. Votto seemed to have gotten it out of his system and refocused during subsequent AB.

    • Does anyone think his reaction to a strikeout in that situation was in anyway balanced with the importance of the situation?

      Based on that recent article on him, which was filed under “Cranking it up to 11” here at Redleg Nation, Joey specifically approaches each bat as a focused and unique opportunity, regardless of game scenario. For him, that process has helped him became a master of craft. If he didn’t do that, on his own terms, he may not be the Joey Votto we’ve all admired for so long.

      But as to the mental health side of things, let’s be careful to separate A from B. He missed time before due to anxiety he experienced after losing his father, something he has spoken very openly and eloquently about. I appreciated his candor, and it certainly added to his sense of humanity for me.

      It is much more likely his “outbursts” are related to his extreme level of focus that let’s him be great… and he may over time find different ways of dealing with that frustration, but let’s please not turn it into blanket mental health issues. I’ve long fretted and posted here that as soon as Joey doesn’t hit like Joey, the backlash against his anxiety and general reticence would be swift and furious…
      and please note that I’m not saying you are doing all of this Al, for by and large I love the way you write and think here, but I did want to address the larger sense of where some people take the mental health issues.

      • @Matt WI: I actually appreciate your comment a lot, because it expresses exactly how I feel about Votto and the anxiety issue.

        I was reluctant to say anything about it at all, for the fear that it would get taken as a judgement or generalization, or start a conversation that went in that direction.

        I’ve been close to a lot of people with anxiety issues, and it’s no fun. I think my main sentiment re: Votto, is that outbursts like that show me that he might be wound a little tightly, and because I love the Reds, I worry about him like I would worry about a friend.

  23. Why isn’t #WhiffCity pitching?

  24. Oh wait, wrong thread LOL.

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About Chad Dotson

Blame Chad for creating this mess. Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, "The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds" is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad's musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine. You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.


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