Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

Cincinnati 6
Chicago (NL) 2

W: H. Bailey (4-4)
L: S. Feldman (5-5)

–Brandon Phillips drove in six runs, on a 2-4 night, thanks mostly to a third inning grand slam. BP now has 52 RBI this season.

–Homer Bailey pitched another outstanding game: 8 innings, one run allowed on four hits with eight strikeouts.

–Zack Cozart, in his return to the second spot in the lineup, went 2-4 with three runs scored. Xavier Paul was also 2-4.

–Alfredo Simon gave up a run on two hits and a walk in the ninth inning.

–Seems like I say this every time the Reds play the Cubs, but let’s say it again: the Chicago Cubs are good for what ails ya’. Tonight’s victory was the tenth straight win for the Redlegs at Wrigley Field. That’s crazy good.

–The fog was thicker than I’ve ever seen at a big league game. Even on television, you could barely see the action during the first part of the game. Bizarre.

–The Reds have won eight of their last ten against the Fuzzy Cubbies, and 17 of their last 20.

–Shin-Soo Choo was hit by a pitch for the 18th time this season. That leads the National League.

–Do you feel a little better about the Reds today?

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.

Join the conversation! 95 Comments

  1. Reds won. I deel good about that. But I still have very little confidence in Spier or Baker; for reasons already stated better by others

    On another subject, do we have a date for a RlN get together?

    And howdy everyone. Stii read a lot, but don’t have much time to post.

  2. The problem is that the Reds won’t have the benefit of playing the Cubs in the Playoffs. Close games, where astute managerial acumen is a necessity, will expose Dusty Baker again. Just like last series. Just like last year’s NLDS. Just like with the Cubbies. Just like with the Giants. We will have to be satisfied with Playoff appearances and quick exits unless something changes with the manager, the hitting coach, etc… I seriously hope the Reds win another World Series this year and vanquish the Cards in the NLCS to do it, but I have obvious doubts in the manager’s ability to hold up his end of the bargain.

  3. This is the longest winning streak the Reds have had at Wrigley. Keep in mind, that is through 99 years. So basically pre-WWI

  4. Our bullpen needs a little shakeup, I realize Marshall is back soon, but after Cueto returns to the rotation, Cingrani needs to be put into the bullpen for the rest of the year. He could be a nasty weapon in late inning situations. Also, I think Greg Reynolds to be called up to prevent the Reds from losing him, he’s got an opt out clause, he’s pitching extremely well. Until Marshall gets back, I would DFA Parra and call up Reynolds. I might option Hoover and let him regain his confidence a bit.
    After Cueto and Marshall return, the bullpen should be:


    • @Josh: Cingrani would add a much-needed LHed arm to the bullpen, and of course he was a closer in college.

      But it would be a tradeoff of what’s good for the Reds in 2013 vs. what’s good for Cingrani’s development as a starter.

      • @pinson343: I agree. On every part. Maybe is was the lost decade of conditioning, but I’d rather see Cingrani stay in Louisville and develop, join the team with the roster expansion, and stay during the postseason. Overall I think it’s best for him and what’s best for him is best for the team.

        Besides, (and I know it’s crazy to be thinking of this at this point, but….) with Cingrani’s two call ups this year, along with his month in the bigs last year, he is already a candidate to be a super two.

    • @Josh:

      It is too early in the season to let Cingrani move into the bullpen. Let the kid pitch in AAA for a few more months then bring him up once he gets a little control and command of something outside of the fastball. Without a doubt he will be brought up late in the season… Especially with the Sept call-ups. And if we make the playoffs he will be on that roster out of the bullpen

      • @NYredfanatic: Absolutely. That’s something the Cardinals have done with success, bringing up a stud AAA pitcher late in the season to bolster the bullpen.

  5. I was out of town for 10 days I just got back. I didnt have any internet. So I want to vent about Sunday Night. Dusty should have double switched for Chapman. I am all in with the people who say his game mananagment skills suck. That was a 2 game swing. I think the bullpen will get figured out. Dusty is the issue. He has to come to grips with the fact that some games are more important than others. This team is as good as the Cardnials assuming the bullpen gets it together. Mike Matheny managed the right way knowing that these Reds-Cardnials games are 2 game swings. Their next 10 games are the Mets,Cardnials and Cubs. The Reds could do 7-3 in their next 10 and not pick up any ground. They have 17 games left with the Cubs. Lets just hope they cool off.

  6. Dusty on the weekend series with the Cardinals: ” … we were embarrassed over the weekend — personally, as an organization and as a team.”

    By “personally”, I assume he’s referring to his cuss word that espn broadcast.
    “As an organization”, he’s referring to Speier’s not signaling Votto to slide ?
    Then there was Lutz’ forgetting the number of outs.

    Does terrible bunting count ?

    The 7 run 10th ?

  7. Look, I’m not a Dusty fan but stop the bashing. The guy can’t win. We’re 12 games over .500 and only 3.5 behind the best team in baseball. That’s really good people! Does Dusty do crazy, mind-numbing things? Yes. He’s not going to change but the Broadcasters and players constantly defend him. Are you in the dugout? Are you on the team plane? Baker drives me nuts but this year, I’m going to give him a pass and see what happens.

    • @sezwhom1: Agreed.

    • @sezwhom1:

      agreed… people just want a place to vent and make their bashing heard. these same people would line up to get his autograph if they saw him out

      • @sezwhom1:

        agreed… people just want a place to vent and make their bashing heard.these same people would line up to get his autograph if they saw him out

        No I wouldn’t, but the local media should what with the way they treat him with kid gloves.

    • @sezwhom1: Why did you pick this particular comment to go off? Pinson343 is one of the most fair citizens of the nation and I don’t see anything in his comment that is Baker bashing? Chill out.

    • @sezwhom1: Who was bashing ? I’m more than tired of the bashing. I was asking a fair question: What did people think Dusty was referring to. Not just one curse word, I would think. Everyone has let out a curse at the wrong moment, I let out the same curse just when he did.

      I respect Dusty and yes I would line up for his autograph.

      Thanks for having my back, TC.

      • @TC: @pinson343: I’m not sure that the comment by sezwhom1 was directed at or related to pinson343’s comment. I think it just happened to follow pinson343’s comment (at least I hope so).

        In response to sezwhom1, I think your parameters of “bashing” need defined in order to provide any credibility to your contention. If your point is as broad as we shouldn’t even question or debate Dusty’s decisions or motives, then I think you are way off base. If your point is that we should avoid unsubstantiated and slanderous accusations, I think you have a valid point.

  8. Good to see the Reds put up a W. Even better to see BP getting right back into the NL RBI race and apparently starting to feel better.

    I’ve been on the Cingrani to the pen bandwagon for a couple weeks, but it might take more than just that and the return of Marshall to get us where we were last year. I don’t keep track of the farm system like many of you guys do so I’m intrigued to hear about Reynolds. What about Prior? Has he been doing anything worthy of a possible place in the pen?

  9. I’m not bashing. The truth is the truth. Nowhere did I insult the man personally. We’ve all watched enough games to know what we’re getting with Dusty. IMHO, that’s just not good enough. It wasn’t good enough in the NLDS. It hasn’t been good enough in get out of town games this year. It wasn’t good enough for the Cubs and Giants organizations that let him go. Dusty seems like an interesting, worldly man, but those traits don’t win ball games for the team.

    • @D Ray White: The elephant in the room is that the Reds need to surpass the Cardinals or they’re going to have to play in that sudden death Wild Card Game. Is there anyone who wants to see Dusty manage that game?

    • @D Ray White: I’ll reiterate something I’ve said before, hoping that it will be taken as a discussion point rather than one side of a shouting match: I believe that it is primarily the players’ performance that determines who wins a given game. The manager likely has some impact, but much less than the players themselves have and, probably, less than fate has. It’s really hard to win the NLCS or the WS: You are competing against the best of the best and only one team ultimately prevails. The Reds were and are good enough to be competitive, but were certainly not presumptive favorites then or now–particularly without Cueto, whose very early exit from the playoffs is conveniently overlooked by the people who would like to pin the whole thing on the manager.

  10. It took 120 pitches, but Bailey kept the bullpen from blowing an 8th inning lead.

    • @MikeC: With the velocity he had at the end of the game, I am optimistic that the 120 pitches will not have hurt him at all. He seems to be in great condition this year and it looks like that arm troubles he had early in his career are a thing of the past, knock on wood.

  11. Impossible to overstate the job Homer did last night. That was badly needed. Of course Bailey has pitched that well before and taken a ND or a loss, so major kudos also to BP for providing the offense tonight.

  12. Do I feel better about the Reds today? Personally, I never felt bad about them. I find it interesting how so many in Cincinnati, even some here, live and die with each win and loss. We call that bipolar in the real world and if you’ve ever known a bipolar person you know how annoying they can be. Some treat a bad loss like it is a sign of things to come.

    Am I annoyed when the Reds lose. Sure.
    Does it sting? Absolutely.
    Do I get frustrated by Dusty’s decisions? Oh you betcha.
    Do I think the bullpen has become a liability? Starting to.

    I will remind folks here, in the second game of the series this weekend the Cardinals look horrible. They did not look like the best team in baseball. Errors, miscues, strike outs, double plays. Even Molina got in on the antics by waiting for the pitcher to pick of a ball hit right in front of him. I doubt “the best fans in baseball” didn’t feel like the season slipped away in that one game.

    Am I a coward for posting this today instead of yesterday? Uhhhhh, yup.

    • @TC: Well said, TC. It’s a hard thing to do sometimes, but baseball, of all games, is there to teach that you’ve got to breath and take in the whole picture. Makes it a lot less fun if you don’t, IMO, but to each their own.

      Can you imagine if the Reds were a market commodity? Buy! Sell! Sell! Bankrupt! Wait, buy! Day-trading sons of guns.

    • @TC: Excellent points, TC. The comments on the reacp after the Friday nite blowout were unreal.

      In Game 2, if Cozart made a throw like the terrible one Kozma did, there’d be a small riot in Cincy.

      News flash: Except for Molina and Jay, the Cardinal defense is crappy.

    • @TC: The “best fans in baseball” whine more than people here.

    • @TC: Luv the brutal honesty. Funny.

    • @TC: I agree. At the beginning of the season however I had the Reds picked to win 94 games and win the NL Central. Right now, I still have them picked to win 94 games and maybe even a couple more but still falling short in the NL Central. It isn’t so much about feeling better or worse about the Reds but more feeling much worse about the Cards. I thought they were a 90-win team.

  13. Hanigan needs to play less. At 170/276/250, he is a detriment to the team with a bat in his hand. Despite his injury, he has almost drawn even with Mes in terms of total ABs (109 to 100).

    He should be limited to catching Cueto and Arroyo at this point.

    • @rightsaidred:
      I watch all the games and I could not agree more. I love Hanigan, but he is an automatic out at the plate. I’m not sure if it’s injury or what, but Hanigan cannot hit the ball with any authority. If there was ever a weak .170, that’s it.I know he calls a great game and I know he stops the running game, but .170 is .170. The Reds have made the decision to go offense first in CF and I think the results are ok. I think that it’s time to make the same decision behind the plate.

    • @rightsaidred: It pains me to agree.

    • @rightsaidred: Hanigan has hit much better since coming off the DL. That said, the last 2 weeks have been tough for him. I am not ready to say he should lose his job yet as a 100 AB sample size is awfully small. I want to see where the Reds are with their catching situation at the AS break before calling for Mes to be named the starter.

      • @LWBlogger: He still hasn’t hit better than Mes since coming off the DL and there is no reason to believe things will change.

        Hanigan is still the starter and mentor but Mes needs to be able to catch anyone in this rotation at any given time. He is a catcher that should start whenever a left handed pitcher the opposing starter but under the current system it’s luck of the draw.

    • @rightsaidred: I’m happy to see Mes get his playing time, and when it’s clear that he’s better, I’ll be happy to see him get more playing time.

      But Hanigan had a .771 OPS in May, while Mesoraco had a .715. Mesoraco has been doing great in June and Hanigan has been bad, but each of them has about 15 ABs. I’m not willing to say that 3 games’ worth of at-bats means that the playing time should shift, especially when Hanigan is clearly the better defensive catcher.

      • @rightsaidred: I’m happy to see Mes get his playing time, and when it’s clear that he’s better, I’ll be happy to see him get more playing time.

        But Hanigan had a .771 OPS in May, while Mesoraco had a .715. Mesoraco has been doing great in June and Hanigan has been bad, but each of them has about 15 ABs. I’m not willing to say that 3 games’ worth of at-bats means that the playing time should shift, especially when Hanigan is clearly the better defensive catcher.

        First that is a small sample size of 14 games for Hanigan. There is no reason not to use Steve’s numbers from below which is through yesterday and show that Mesoraco is the better offensive option.

        Second, that tells me that Hanigan may have too high a workload. He comes back strong and now he is fading again.

        Third, that is an even smaller sample size for Mes of 13 games.

        • @rightsaidred: When you say he’s fading again, remember, you’re talking about a 2 for 16 stretch. Hard to get much of a read on anything in 16 ABs.

          And your point about the small sample size all around just furthers my point, which is that Hanigan has a track record. Consider, Hanigan has a .171 BABIP this season. In the numbers posted below he’s only 70 poits of OPS behind Mesoraco, and that’s with a .171 BABIP.

          I just don’t see Mesoraco as having definitely shown that he’s the better offensive catcher. Right now it looks pretty even to me, and Hanigan is clearly better behind the plate. Given that, I think a 3-2 split still makes sense.

          I would be happy to see Mes get more playing time if he keeps hitting like he has the last few games, I just want to see it for more than a week before I make the permanent change.

          • @al: You are right. It’s too soon to call it a fade.

            I think his abysmal BABIP is not bad luck because it correlates with his other problems. He is slugging .250, same as Leake. His line drive percentage is at a career low this season. 20% of his fly balls are on the infield. That BABIP isn’t going to change until he starts driving the ball. He has not proven he can do that this season.

            The goal should be to make Mes a more flexible backup – capable of catching any pitcher in the rotation. One thing that is obvious is that Mes is huge offensive benefit the team when facing LHP. To maximize that, the system needs to be tweaked.

          • @rightsaidred: The infield fly thing is alarming, but even with that Hanigans’ xBABIP is .282. So he’s clearly not been getting hits to drop.

            I like what you’re saying about flexibility. The whole “personal catcher” thing works a lot better when you’re doing a traditional 4 and 1 split between the starter and the backup. When you have two guys that you’re trying to work in pretty regularly, I agree that they should both be catching everyone, and playing more matchups with the other team’s pitchers/parks/defenses.

            That said, this is Dusty Baker we’re talking about. Change does not come easy to this man.

  14. I said it in the game thread Sunday and I’ll say it here: the Cards aren’t as good as they are playing. They will not win 100 games this season.

    • @Jason1972:
      100 games is outstanding. Not many teams do that. The Cards won’t have to win 100 to win the Central. But I don’t see them slowing down. Their schedule the next 10 days. Wow! Take a look.

  15. Giancarlo Stanton was activated off the DL by the Marlins on Monday. Let the trade negotiations get under way. Marlins have the worst record in MLB and Stanton can’t help them all by himself. Reds have the players to make the trade. And we know WJ has the moxy to make that trade. Time to pull the trigger. Don’t wait. If you wait until July after the All-Star break, the price will be higher and the competiton for him will be higher.

    • @WVRedlegs: I just don’t see this happening. I mean, I doubt we’ll see Stanton moved before the break. If we do, it will be for a monster package. I’m not sure the Reds could put together that kind of package without gutting what’s left of the farm system.

    • @WVRedlegs: The Reds aren’t going to trade Chapman. They probably should, but they’ve gone so far with him, they won’t risk another team turning him into a starter and making them look bad.

      So if you aren’t going to include Chapman, you’re talking about Hamilton, Cingrani, Stephenson, and another.

      I don’t know that that’s worth it, and I’m pretty sure the Reds would never do it.

      • @al: And I don’t really know that the Marlins would love to have Chapman. He’s likely due $2-million as a bonus and will be arbitration eligible at the end of the season.

  16. I voted 35 times today for everyone (except Ludwick and wrote in Mes instead of Hanigan). My name should be ‘homer’ too!

  17. I’ll feel a little better if we sweep Chicago and Milwaukee. JJ Loser will hurt those chances. That guy needs to go.

  18. I’m curious to see who catches Cingrani tonight. Mesoraco has caught him twice this year and Hanigan once. Corky Miller caught him the other three times.

    Hanigan has been back from his injury for exactly a month. Here is the hitting comparison over the past 30 days:

    Hanigan: .207/.324/.345
    Mesoraco: .256/.298/.442

    With Hanigan getting pounded the past few days by a couple foul balls, it’s possible that Dusty may start Mesoraco.

    • @Steve Mancuso: You know the answer to this question. Mesoraco plays 2 days week. I would be incredibly shocked if Mesoraco catches.

    • @Steve Mancuso: Actually Steve, starting Mes tonight does make sense, especially considering Hanigan has gotten banged up. I still feel Hanigan should be the overall starter however.

      • @LWBlogger: There is an even more important reason to start Mes tonight – he simply destroys left handed pitching: 343/439/519, are you kidding me. Those numbers would even make Yadi blanch.

        • @rightsaidred: Allow myself to correct . . . myself. Wood isn’t pitching until tomorrow night and ‘luckily’ (emphasis added) Mes will play.

    • @Steve Mancuso: Given Hanigan’s current offensive slump too, it makes sense. That said, I’ll believe it when I see it.

      That slugging difference is the crux of the matter. Getting on base slightly more often when you precede the pitcher isn’t nearly crucial as collecting extra base hits with better hitters in front of you.

      Hanigan is still the starter but it sure does make sense to let Mes catch Bailey a little with his current Latos/Leake duties and lighten Hani’s load and the team’s reliance on him.

  19. You want some Dusty bashing? Here you go. (Actually, I don’t “Dusty Bash”. Sometimes I question the decisions of the Reds’ manager, as a stimulus to discussion on a site loaded with Reds fans. But I digress.)

    Why was Simon pitching in the 9th with a five run lead? He pitched Sunday. Chances are high based on experience that even if Cingrani pitches well tonight, he could rack up something like 100 pitches through 5 innings. The game could still be close…but we’d lack a competent long man. I’d rather have seen Parra start the 9th, and have Simon available today. If Parra can’t even be trusted with a 5 run lead, there’s no point having him on the roster. Maybe Cingrani goes longer…but with his history and the fact this is the third time he’s facing the Cubs, the chances are decent things will play out this way. Decent enough, certainly, to justify a different decision last night with a 5 RUN LEAD.

    • @Eric the Red: Good call. If Parra can’t pitch mop up with a 5 run lead against a lineup with something like 6 lefties – then he can’t pitch at all.

      If Dusty is simply refusing to use him until Walt gets rid of him then I won’t fault him for that either. It’s better pitching a man down then pretending like he is one of your options.

  20. Playing the cubs is the cure for what ails ya? Not really. Yeah, it fattens the team’s collective and individual stats, but it doesn’t prove the reds can compete with high caliber teams. The reds aren’t going to face the cubs in October. Why do some reds fans get so frustrated? There can be no great disappointment where there is no great love. Go Reds!!

  21. Great performances by Homer and BP last night. I hope that the 120 pitches by Homer doesn’t hinder his next start, but he looked strong in the 7th & 8th innings.

    I do not understand what Dusty is doing in LF or why. He appeared to have finally settled on a LF platoon using the strengths of Robinson and XP effectively as a platoon. That was encouraging. Then he finally shifted Cozart out of the #2 hole and inserted Robinson in the #2 hole against the LHP on Saturday. That was encouraging.

    Then against the tough RHP on Sunday, XP sat the bench while Robinson continued to hit in the #2 hole, breaking up the very successful LF platoon. Prior to Sunday, neither XP nor Robinson had any track record against Lynn and Lynn has a strong track record of being less effective against LH hitters. Of course Robinson is a switch hitter and a better LF defender than XP so possibly Dusty had settled on Robinson in LF full time, hitting in the #2 hole. I didn’t like the idea of breaking up the LF platoon that had been so successful and I liked having Robinson on the bench as a RH pinch hitter when XP started.

    Then last night, against a RHP, Robinson sits the bench with XP in LF, but Dusty reinserts Cozart into the #2 hole. How does that make any sense in any reasonable reality?

    • @Shchi Cossack:

      It doesn’t. Cozart should never hit second, ever.

    • @Shchi Cossack: Dusty said Robinson will most often play when Bronson pitches due to his flyball ratio, pitching to contact style. So, regardless of the opposing pitcher, Bronson now has a personal catcher and LF. Veteran Creaminess has it privileges.

      So, the LF thing seems to be mostly set. However, that still doesn’t explain why Cozart was back in the two hole last night.

      • @Matt WI: Veteran Creaminess has it privileges.

        bahahah, that should be the sign above Dusty’s office door in the clubhouse!

      • @Matt WI: TY for the explanation regarding why Robinson played LF on Sunday against the RHP. While that explanation does seem plausible and reasonable, it opens up another can of worms regarding the Reds’ CF defense when Arroyo pitches. Right now, if the Reds are facing a RHP, I want Choo in CF irregardless, but if Arroyo is pitching and the Reds are facing a LHP, a better defensive CF option who can also hit leadoff (OBP>.330) and bats RH would seem to be indicated. That’s not Heisey and Robinson would be playing LF (unless another RH hitting option to play LF and hit at the top of the lineup is obtained).

  22. @pinson343 – I answered a question of yours on the last thread about Wood’s xFIP being so high in relation to his FIP and ERA. Since I doubt you go backwards in threads as most people don’t, I’ll answer it here as well. It I had to take a guess Wood’s xFIP is so high because of his very low .220 BABIP average.

  23. So, will there be retaliation for Choo getting plunked up and in???

    Mez needs to play more, period. We’re witnessing the decline of Hanigan before our eyes. He should be the getaway day and Sunday catcher and THAT’S IT. With regular at-bats, Mez will be a difference maker in the 2nd half for this offense.

    • @Sultan of Swaff: No, I don’t think there will be retaliation. Choo leads the NL in getting hit because he crowds the plate and isn’t so good at getting out of the way. I don’t think the pitch that hit him last night was intentional.

  24. MLB.com, in their recap, states that baker was standing on the top step of the dugout and didn’t have the foggiest idea what was going on. Now they implied that what they meant was that he couldn’t see with all the fog, but it be just stating what seems obvious on many nights.

  25. Last night’s game got me thinking about a couple of things. First off, the Reds have been hit 35 times, while they have only hit 21 batters. I know Choo drives that number up some, but it is starting to feel a little out of whack. If those numbers keep diverging, I’d like to see the Reds do something about it. What that something is remains to be seen, but we’ve already seen Phillips go down, and we can’t have the Reds taking 100 beanballs this year.

    Second, the Reds have the 2nd worst stolen base percentage in baseball at 57%. What in the hell? Do we need better coaching here? That number has to change. No more hit and runs that turn into double plays. Only run guys who know what they’re doing and only in good spots. Until that number gets up around 70% Dusty should be grounded. Give the controls to someone else.

    • @al: Take away Choo’s 18 HBP and the Reds are at 17. If Choo only gets hit 4 times, then it’s even. I just don’t see people head-hunting for Reds’ batters for the most part. When it has happened it’s been in retaliation for the Reds hitting a batter or the Reds pitchers have done a decent job of returning the favor. I think fans and announcers are reading too much into the HBP. Choo skews those numbers an awful lot.

    • @al: Base stealing on this team seems like a total cluster. Stubbs was one of the fastest players in all of MLB and his SB numbers rarely reflected that speed. 33 over 3 years isn’t bad but considering his success rate, 40 attempts per year was too low.

      Cozart was a strong base snagger in the minors and hasn’t even attempted a SB on the year while Todd Frazier has attempted 4. Derrick Robinson was a prolific base stealer in the minors and he has attempted all of 3. Choo is on pace for his lowest season total ever (when playing a full season).

      They are just not running and when they do it’s usually bad. They rarely test the weak defensive catchers that they face.

    • @al: Uh, Al, the Reds have few stolen bases because they are slow. Is there even one guy on the team, other than Robinson and probably Mesoraco, who is fast for his position? Brandon Phillips isn’t, contrary to popular belief.

      It’s too bad that Billy Hamilton isn’t quite ready, because a dose of speed would help juice this team. As Drew Stubbs proved, being fast isn’t worth much when it’s used solely to walk back to the dugout after striking out.

      • @Big Ed: Uh, Ed, you missed the point entirely. Did you read the part of my post where I talked about how the Reds have too few stolen bases? Me neither, because it’s not there.

        The point I was making was about stolen base percentage. If, like you said, the Reds are just too slow, then they shouldn’t be running as much. Detroit oly has 2 more SB that the Reds do, but somehow they’re stealing at a 79% rate. I really don’t care how many stolen bases the Reds have as a team, I care about not running into a ton of outs.

        Here are the Reds running numbers (SB/CS/%):

        Choo: 5/2/71%
        Frazier: 3/1/75%
        Votto: 2/1/66%
        Lutz: 2/0/100%
        Heisey: 2/0/100%
        Bruce: 1/2/33%
        Phillips: 1/2/33%
        Robinson: 1/2/33%
        Paul: 0/1/0%
        Mesoraco: 0/1/0%
        Hanigan: 0/1/0%

        Clearly a lot of those failures were busted hit and runs, and that’s the kind of thing that needs to stop because we’re running into too many outs. We have some guys that are getting a few extra bases here and there at a good rate, and that’s fine.

        If only the top five guys on that list had run at all we’d be at 14/4/77%. That is the kind of running game we should have until we get some better coaching or something.

        • @al: OK, then, the reasons that they don’t try is because they are slow, and that they are all smart enough to know that they are slow.

        • @al: I haven’t noticed the Reds being a big hit and run team. They don’t steal much, for good reason. Also, there are occasions, like with 2 outs and a bad count on the hitter, where it makes sense to attempt a steal even if the odds aren’t good. With only 17 attempts among those guys, the obvious conclusion is not bad coaching, its bad speed.

          • @Big Ed: Nope, you’re still missing the point. Again, I’m not saying they aren’t making enough attempts, I don’t know where you’re reading that in what I’m saying. It’s really not that complicated.

            They don’t have 17 attemtpts, they have 17 stolen bases in 30 attempts. The point is they are running too much or in the wrong situations and running into too many outs. The Tigers have 19 steals in 24 attempts. That’s the kind of team they should be.

            Whether you are a high speed team, or a low speed team, the important thing is the success rate. You don’t have to have a ton of speed on the team to have a good success rate.

            And I don’t know what a “big hit and run team” is, but I’m pretty sure that Hannigan and Mesoraco have never had the green light, so those were busted hit and runs, Paul’s CS last night was a busted hit and run, and Bruce has only tried one straight steal this season and was successful. So his two CS are busted hit and runs. That’s at least 5 of the 13 CS that we have, and it’s probably more.

  26. Another thing I was thinking about, more about the season as a whole than last night’s game, is that it’s pretty clear that the Reds are still lacking one really good hitter.

    At this point, as much as we want them to be great, we’re not looking at a great team. Using Fangraphs metrics, the Reds’ NL ranks are: 7th in fielding, 7th in hitting, 6th in running, 4th in ERA, and 2nd in expected ERA.

    That looks like a really good pitching team, though not the best, with a totally middle of the road offense. Looking at the offense in more detail, You have Choo and Votto who are real impact bats. Phillips and Bruce are solidly above average bats, but not who you would want to build an offense around. They’re excellent supporting characters though.

    In LF, Paul and Robinson have actually put up numbers just as good as Phillips, but a) that’s in LF, b) they aren’t good baserunners or defenders, and c) do you really believe it will last? Also, you have to assume Baker with play Heisey a lot when he gets back, and he’s worse than what we have now.

    But it’s really Catcher, 3B, and SS that are the problems. The Reds are 14th in offensive production at SS, 14th at catcher, and 9th at 3B.

    If the Reds had an impact bat, say somewhere between the Votto/Choo level and the Phillips/Bruce level, at one of those three positions, then I think we’d have a championship caliber team. Still a team that’s better on the mound that at the plate, but very good on both sides of the ball.

    • @al: I read your first line and immediately thought ‘catcher’. I think the numbers there were skewed severely because of Hanigan’s atrocious start. Will our league rank stay the same? Only if Hanigan keeps getting the lion’s share of playing time. If you play Mez 4 out of 5, he’ll be at least league average in OPS, and personally I think he could go a bit higher than that if given the chance. So to your point, yes, catcher is the best and maybe only place we can look to for offensive improvement…….unless Billy Hamilton catches fire.

      • @Sultan of Swaff: You might be right about Mes, but if I had to pick, I would pick 3B if there was an upgrade. Not saying Super Todd is a bust, but he’s upgradable. No homeruns since April 24th. Yeesh.

        • @Matt WI:

          Not many teams have a 3B to trade. Especially one that would be an upgrade. SD’s Headley? His backup, rookie 2B Jedd Gyorko just went on the DL with a bad hammy. That won’t happen.
          Aramis Ramirez and David Wright?? Too costly in salary and prospects.
          A-Rod? No thanx.
          Emilio Bonafacio?? Not having a good year at all with the Jays.
          Wil Middlebrooks or Brett Lawrie? The sophmore slump has hit them harder than it has for Frazier.
          Not much out there on the 3B front.
          Lets look for a RH run producing LF. Stanton just came off the DL.

    • @al: I’m starting to wish they hadn’t moved Hamilton off of SS so early. If Cozart is really going to be one of the worst hitting SS in the league, I’d rather keep Choo and Ludwick next year in the outfield and have Hamilton compete with Cozart for short, rather than letting Choo go.

      • @al: Hamilton just wasn’t going to be a MLB SS. He didn’t have the hands or the arm-accuracy for it. He was one of the worst defensive SS I’ve ever seen. His arm-strength isn’t really a SS’ caliber either.

        I am fine with Cozart being a relatively poor hitter as long as he continues to play top-notch defense. The biggest problem is he shouldn’t ever sniff the top of the order. If his OPS stays in the sub-.650 range, then yes, his defense isn’t good enough to overcome that. I don’t think it will however.

        I wouldn’t be disappointed if the Reds upgraded SS with a better hitter but he needs to be a good defender and Hamilton wasn’t going to be the answer in my opinion.

        • @LWBlogger: That’s fair, I never actually saw Hamilton play short.

          Right now, Cozart is basically a replacement level player. I hope that he can turn it around too, because if another team has a good young SS, they aren’t going to let him go. Until the Reds develop another guy, it’s going to be Cozart or guys like Valdez/Renteria/Izturis.

  27. Re: The beanballs. The Reds should not be wasting their time thinking about who the Cubs have hit. They demonstrate their might by whipping on their own field day after day. No time to get caught up in petty games with irrelevant teams.

    • @Matt WI: In general I agree, but the Pirates series seemed egregious to me, and resulted in Phillips missing the Rockies series, which we lost. I would hope that the league would be in charge of regulating this sort of thing, but seiously, what if by August the Reds have been hit 60 times to their opponents 30?

      • @al: I guess I was being more specific to earlier comments and the recent history with the Cubs. Don’t bother with them.

        What I don’t exactly understand is what is driving the Reds being in so many contentious situations: Cubs, Pirates, Indians, the WLB’s… Seriously, what is going on?

        • @Matt WI: It’s a good question, I’m really not sure. WLB’s obviously goes back some years and is mostly just a heated rivalry between two good teams now. The Indians got chapped with Chapman, but swisher seemed to cool after the game. The Cubs got pissed at Cueto, which to me made no sense at all.

          The Pirates is the one that really stands out to me. I have no idea what started that.

          • @al: The Pirates must be “unfinished business” related to last season… didn’t Chapman hit McCutcheon, and then there was the he said/he said possibility of a racist comment toward BP…. lots of different backgrounds, but the Reds end up looking like an ugly common denominator in all of this even when it usually isn’t their doing.

    • @Matt WI:

      The Reds have fanned the flames in the media more than just the whole thing with the WLB’s thing with Phillips. (To be honest, the Reds are not the only club in the NL that had issues with LaRussa’s Cardinals.)

      Even Joey Votto pretty much insulted the Cubs and their fans a couple years back in a public way.

      Dusty didn’t play down anything in the whole thing with whatever was with him and Derek Lowe last year in Cleveland. He also got into the whole thing with Garza last week.

      Eh…with all the TV, web and radio, they got to have something to talk about I suppose.

  28. The thing with the Pirates is, they want to be the Reds. The Chapman thing goes back further than just plunking McCutcheon last year. It goes back to when Chapamn got “robbed” by the hooker in his Pittsburgh motel room. Got his gold chain and gold watch lifted.
    The Pirates TV announcers dislike BP very very much and do nothing to hide that dislike. Hate is more like the correct word. They aren’t bashful when they proclaim Darwin Barney the best second baseman in the NL. Dilusional, but not bashful.

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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.


2013 Reds, Titanic Struggle Recap


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