With an 8:00 game tonight, I thought some of you might want a place to chat during this fine Sunday, plus I had a couple of things that didn’t merit their own posts, so I decided to throw it all together here.

It’s Time to Plan for October

The Reds are now 8 games up on the Nats and D’backs. The Reds have 19 games to go, while the other teams each have 21. If the Reds went 9-10 during this last stretch, one of the other teams would have to go 19-2 to win the wild card outright.

Have the Reds clinched yet? Certainly not. However, the focus should now be on the division with the assumption that making the playoffs will take care of itself.

Speaking of October

A few days ago, Jayson Stark had an ESPN piece explaining how complicated the playoffs could be given that the Reds, Pirates, and Cardinals could all end up with the same record. It’s worth a read.

The Great Eight

It was really cool seeing the BRM reunited yesterday. I remember a while ago, people were wondering if anyone from this team would even crack that lineup. I went over the Baseball-Reference and looked at the numbers, and this is what I concluded: Joey Votto definitely would. Tony Perez was a great player, but Votto is much better (though, crazily, Votto would only have been the third best player on that team behind Morgan and Bench).

Cases can also be made for Jay Bruce and Shin-Soo Choo. Given how good his defense is, Bruce seems like a pretty easy call over Griffey to me. However, they bring different things to the table. With Choo vs. Geronimo, it’s all about defense versus offense. It also depends on how much you trust modern defensive numbers. If you do trust them, you take Geronimo in a squeaker. If you don’t and you think Choo has been okay in center, you take him for the offensive contribution.

But there is a reason they call it the Great Eight. The pitching staff was actually not very good. Certainly, you’d keep Don Gullet, but otherwise, you’d take the 2013 rotation with Latos, Bailey, Arroyo, Leake, and Cingrani all putting up better numbers than the second best starter (Nolan) on the BRM (note that you have to look beyond ERA here as the scoring level is different across eras).

The bullpen would probably be an even split with Chapman, Hoover, and LeCure sitting next to Eastwick, Carroll, and McEnaney.

And no, I’m not claiming this team is better than the BRM. That would be ridiculous. The BRM was great because of how many awesome players they had and just how awesome they were. Morgan had all-time great seasons with the Reds. So did Bench. This team doesn’t have anyone like that. But it is fun to look at our current group and realize that their are plenty of players on this squad who would have improved the BRM.

Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at jasonlinden.com.

Join the conversation! 37 Comments

  1. So…Adam Whineright is now claiming that he was tipping his pitches vs the Reds. (Which would be a lot more believable if there were any evidence the Reds actually prepare before facing a pitcher.)

    I hope they really believe that, and it leads the Cards to give him the ball in a Game 1 vs the Redlegs instead of Wacha or Kelly. If you look at his career numbers, he must have been tipping his pitches against the Reds practically since joining the league.

  2. A win today would give us the season series vs the Dodgers, 4-3. I assume the first tie breaker would be head to head record, and if we win today that would put us just one game behind the Dodgers. So if we win the Division, and end up with the same record as LA, a win today might get us home field for a series vs them. So today could be a lot more valuable than “just” helping us in the fight for the Division.

    Hey, a boy can dream, can’t he?

  3. If you just want Votto in the BRM lineup, the solution is to put Perez at 3B, move Rose to the outfield (probably RF) and send Griffey to CF. That achieves this: Votto is a better hitter than Geronimo. Geronimo is a much better outfielder than Rose.

    Choo is not quite equal to Geronimo defensively. The Chief would hit 25 HR a year in GABP.

    Bruce is a pinch hitter, only.

    Actually Hanigan and/or Mesoraco is a better backup catcher than anybody the BRM ever had.

    BRM didn’t need that much bullpen talent. They could have used Chapman.

    • @Johnu1: I disagree with you, a lot.

      First, your assertion that Geronimo would have hit 25 HR in GABP is way off. His career high was 10. That’s not turning into 25 in any ballpark. he was very good defensively, but he was a below average hitter for his career. Era isn’t going to change that.

      Bruce this season and Griffey in 1975 have identical OPS+ numbers. OPS+ is just OPS, but indexed to 100 and adjusted for park. That park adjustment is important for GABP. In either case, they’re both at 119. The numbers we have also say that Bruce is a much better defensively than Griffey. I don’t see how that makes Bruce a PH. I’d rather have him in CF than Griffey.

      • @Jason Linden: The elephant in the corner in all these discussions is that Rose could no longer play OF, certainly not RFm by this point in his career.

        As crazy as it may sound in retrospect given how Rose reinvented himself as a 1B after he left Cincy and played at least sporadically for 7 more years to become the hit king, I’ve always believed at least part of his motivation in “volunteering” to move to 3B in 75 was that with that group of talent, he saw he was coming up as the odd man out unless he moved to 3rd.

        • @OhioJim: That’s an interesting thought. I have never understood how Rose managed to hang on for so long. He stopped being good after about 1979, but he kept getting jobs.

          • @Jason Linden: Rose led the league in hits in 1981 at the age of 40. Hit .325 that year. I know hits and batting average are meaningless and he would have been more valuable if he walked more, but still…(that was sarcasm, by the way). In 1982 he played all 162 games at 41 years old – and he wasn’t making out the lineup for that team. Hit .271 with 54 RBIs and a .345 OBP…not exactly great, but not exactly terrible either. Played a darn good first base also. 1983 was a bad season, no doubt. But somehow his team went to the World Series despite having such a bad first baseman in there every game (again, 162 games at 42 years old) and all Rose did was hit .375 in the championship series and .313 in the World Series…

            Rose’s combined stats for the Expos and Reds in 1984 are also VERY respectable – every time someone talks about Rose “hanging around” they conveniently point to his numbers with the Expos that season and leave out the fact that he hit .365 for the Reds that same season. In 1985 he finished the season with a .395 OBP in over 500 at bats…isn’t OBP the most important stat?

            The rumors of Rose’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.

      • @Jason Linden: Probably Bruce is a better defensive player than Griffey. It’s been a lot of years.

        My point was basically to the simple end of … how do you get Votto into that lineup? The only way I see it is to move Rose to the outfield and it’s a question of him playing CF or RF. The point was that Votto is better than Geronimo.

        The Bruce comment wasn’t really important to me beyond that. Sure, I’d use Bruce ahead of Griffey in some cases.

        As for the Chief’s HR totals, I think the eras are too different to compare. That’s anecdotal, though, to me. It was about getting Votto onto the BRM lineup card.

        Aside from that, I won’t endeavor to argue peripheral projections. They are probably as accurate as necessary.

        • @Johnu1: Really, you were trying to keep Perez in the lineup, which I get.

          I quibble one more time, though. The eras aren’t THAT different. Geronimo wasn’t a hitter.

          • @Jason Linden: I NEVER take Perez out of the lineup.

            As for the eras, I don’t study the stuff that much. I do know Geronimo only hit about .230 and had marginal power.

            Again, if Votto replaces him, where does Votto play? Dominoes here. Do you use Pete in the outfield? There’s really no choice. He can’t play CF (very well) … but watching the guy over 25 years, I could be underrating his ability to do that.

          • @Johnu1: I was just approaching it in a “would you trade A for B” kind of way. I wasn’t trying to shuffle players around. Votto is better than Perez, so you make that trade. But if you want to construct an ideal roster from the two teams, then yes, you’d keep Foster in some role. Maybe use Pete as a supersub? Though, in fairness, Rose was a better hitter than Perez in ’75.

          • @Jason Linden: Player swap for player swap, you could make a case for Scott Rolen over Pete, defensively and maybe in some years, offensively. I only like Perez because of his “clutch” qualities. As a hitter, I’d prefer Votto.

    • @Johnu1: Rose could not play RF at that point. His throwing arm (shoulder) was weakened by some sort of injury, and he had trouble making throws from 3rd base. The one defensive liability of the 75-76 Reds was Rose’s throwing arm at 3rd base.

      The BIG MOVE, of course, was Rose from LF to make room for Foster. He still could have played RF.

      How anyone who ever saw Geronimo hit could say he’d hit 25 HRs anywhere is puzzling.
      He was a light hitter who would bail out badly against LHed pichers.

      • @pinson343: Darn typo: I meant Rose “still could have played LF.”

      • @pinson343: Well, yeah … realities being what they were. All the same, the proposition was how to make room for Votto on the BRM … IF you insist on keeping Pete in the lineup and IF you insist on getting Votto INTO it … you have to move people around unless you make Votto play a position he never played. I suppose you could put him in LF and move Foster, who was a pretty average LF. Do you leave Foster in there?

        Strictly from an offensive point of view, the ONLY move you make is swap Votto out for the Chief. If defense doesn’t matter at all, then it’s a no-brainer.

        I don’t much try to factor in Pete’s sore shoulder any more than I factor in Votto’s weak knee. It’s about hitting first on a team that didn’t need much support otherwise.

        I fear there’s more over-analyzing here than is necessary.

  4. So if Chapman is the Missile, then Hamilton is … what?

    How about the Rocket?

    • @Johnu1: Forget the Billy Bates Cheetah Run. I want to see Billy Hamilton race an Aroldis Chapman fastball.

    • @Johnu1: Buster Olney just sent this out on Twitter:

      “Crowd goes nuts here in CIN when Billy Hamilton used as a runner…He needs entrance music: Born to Run, Chariots of Fire, etc. Nominations?”

      I would like the traditional bugle call heard at horse races. AND THEY’RE OFF!

      • @dc937: That’s it. You nailed it. Very creative DC.

      • @dc937: To some degree, a lot of this is too eccentric to be taken seriously. The end of it all, Hamilton will have to do more than steal 2nd base and he will be caught — eventually. I doubt the Reds will resort to gimmicks and he won’t get much love on the road at all.

        What I want to see — soon — is if the guy can hit MLB pitching, even against teams that have no dog left in the race.

        Meanwhile, there’s a lot to like about the Rocket.

        • @Johnu1: I agree a bit. Fans like stolen bases, just like they like knuckleballs, suicide squeezes, and pickles (when their team isn’t the one stuck in one). Stealing a base is gonna be more of a crowd-pleaser than legging out a chopper to the third baseman. So I totally understand the excitement. I think he is a valuable tool as he has been used thus far. The downside is that that role is a single-use only. Getting his other skills (defense and getting on base) up to MLB-starter quality would simply be outstanding for this team in years to come. 4-5 opportunities per game to get on base and wreak havoc… *wipes drool away*

          Hoping for an early blowout in the coming days to get him a few innings in the outfield and a few at-bats. I don’t think it would be wise to start him just yet.

  5. Tomorrow is Billy’s birthday, he’ll be 23. I think he should get to pick his on entrance music and after all his hype in the minors, did he not have a nickname already?

  6. Off topic question for the Nation: Besides Bruce, who are the contenders for the RF Gold Glove this year?

    Since they changed it in 2011 to award a Gold Glove for each position, the NL RF award has been won by Ethier and Jason Heyward. Ethier has primarily played CF this season and Heyward will play less than 100 games. I know the voting for this award can be a bit funny so that doesn’t necessarily disqualify Heyward, but who else is out there? Puig- because of his arm and the rest of the hype around him?

    Looking at other teams-
    NL East: Werth will play 125 games, Marlon Byrd will play 100+ (not a contender), Stanton will play 115 or so, Heyward was mentioned, Delmon Young will play the most games for PHI (I think we can agree he probably won’t be winning)

    NL Central: Bruce, Beltran for STL (good defender but not what he was, could win based on familiarity for voters, but not likely), Snider/Byrd for PIT, Aoki (possible) for MIL, Schierholtz for CHI

    NL West: Parra for ARI, Cuddyer for COL, Puig for LAD, Vanable for SD (good defender), and Pence for SF

  7. I’m thinking this is a very very big game for Pirates versus the Cards today.

    After today they leave StL for Arlington and 3 with the Rangers. Meanwhile the Reds stay home to the Cubs and the Cards Stay home to the Brewers. If the Pirates don’t win 2 of their 4 they could well be on the outside looking in for the division by the time they get home on Thursday to start 4 with the Cubs.

    The Pirates are in the 3rd day of a run of 20 straight days without a day off. They’ll have one more day off the rest of the season (26 Sept). Their 3 home games to the Reds come at the end of an 11 game home stand and are days 15-17 of the 20 day run.

    If they finish any better than the 2nd WC spot, they will have truly earned it.

    • @OhioJim: I think the Parrots realize they are in uncharted territory … and if they can’t get better starts from their top 3 guys than they’ve shown lately, the pressure is on the bullpen. That was the rub early on their ‘pen … was if Hurdle was burning it up while most of his rotation rehabbed.

      As well, their offense is NOT that great. Recent additions have helped there a little.

    • @OhioJim: I believe the Pirates will be the 2nd WC team. Morton left hurt and the Cards have dominated them this weekend. I’m not predicting a collapse, they’ll still be tough at home, but they’re just not as good as the Reds or Cards.

      The Cardinals will finish the weekend in very good shape, with a light remaining schedule and only 7 games on the road – 4 at the Rockies and 3 at the Brewers.

      Only winning team they face at home is the Nats.

      • @pinson343: Collapse is a relative term I guess. At this point the Pirates could win as few as 5 more games and the Nats or DBacks would still have to win like 15 of ~20 to overtake them.

        I’m thinking if things go badly for the Bucs in the 11 games before the Reds see them, their resistance level might not be any better or even lower than the supposed cupcakes the StL will be playing at the same time.

        • @OhioJim: And yet still the Pirates would need win only 1 the play in game to be back on even steven terms with the three divisional winners.

          I often disagree with Paul Daugherty but I do think he is correct that this WC should be best of three. Maybe tilt the table toward the top WC team by giving them home field clear through (and thus saving a travel day). Or maybe make an event of it an play in entirely at a neutral site with the best record getting home team in games 1 and three. Heck, play it as a double header on day one with the 3rd game, if needed, the next day and it would add only one day to the current arrangement.

  8. Had this conversation with somebody not long ago. Affiliated baseball has retired No. 42.

    If they were to retire another number for any reason, which would it be?

  9. Cardinals start the week losing 3 of 4 to the Reds and end the week in better shape than they started … this is how it’s going to run, I suspect.

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About Jason Linden

Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at jasonlinden.com.


2013 Postseason, 2013 Reds, Big Red Machine, Open Thread


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