Low OBP guy batting second. Check. Guy in a month-long slump hitting clean-up. Check. Best hitters on the team split up. Check. Catcher playing day game after night game. Check. Catcher who is going to be in the Wild Card game sits for three days (five, counting the off days). Check. More of the same, expecting different results. Yet, as a fan, I remain optimistic!

  1. Choo CF
  2. Ludwick LF
  3. Votto 1B
  4. Phillips 2B
  5. Bruce RF
  6. Frazier 3B
  7. Cozart SS
  8. Hanigan C
  9. Arroyo P

Go Reds!

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 59 Comments

  1. No me gusto!

  2. It’s April 1st right? RIGHT?

  3. I’ll consider it a victory if Ludwick and Phillips see 20 pitches between them. Actually reaching base or driving in a run would be gravy.

  4. Give us Hamilton Choo Votto Bruce Ludwick Frazier Cozart Mesoraco Arroyo… or Choo then Hamilton, it doesn’t really matter as long as we get Ludwick’s worthless bat, glove, and attitude off the field. It’s been painfully obvious for weeks now that he won’t be helping the team the rest of the season, may as well see if Kid Billy can get on base. Hell of a lot more daunting that bozo Ludwick on the basepath, if he can even get on.

    • @rjp513: oops, take ludwick out of there, not sure why i have him in the lineup, but you get the picture.

      • @rjp513: Ludwick’s due for some big hits. His average has actually been pretty good since coming back, the past few days aside. And he’s shown he still has power. I’d have no problem with him batting 5th or 6th. Batting him 2nd is just mind boggling. Dusty has always held some weird belief that that’s the spot to put guys to get them going, I guess assuming pitchers will throw strikes to the guy batting in front of Votto. It doesn’t work. Pitchers aren’t THAT scared of facing Votto with runners on base because at worst he’s probably just going to walk them over to 2nd.

  5. Steve, I’m glad to hear of your self-imposed moratorium on criticism of Marty. I believe that it detracts from your otherwise cogent reporting. Your inside baseball analysis of the team and league is enlightening. Keep up the excellent reporting.

    • @santa barbara reds fan: 100% agree. It is beneath the guy’s skill level. Just detracts from his geat insights and analysis.

      Love your stuff Steve and please stay focused on the things that really count. The Nation needs you more than ever. I have a feeling the next three games are going to be a chore to enjoy.

  6. It’s so cliche to say, but what on earth is going through Dusty’s head? Last night was the first time he tried this lineup all season. It was an abject failure. So in a MUST WIN game, a day game after a night game no less, he tries it AGAIN? #dustydoingstuff #welcometopittsburgh

  7. Hamilton should start and lead off. If there is a team and its fans that need a shot of adrenaline, this is it. What is the downside, that Ludwick, DRob, Heisey, or XP do better? Sure, it’s possible but those guys can’t bring the energy Billy can and this team just looks completely dead right now. Free Billy now!

    • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Billy Hamilton is a rookie September callup. He can’t be starting in critical games. I’m sure he’ll play – maybe even as a PH but at least as a runner. You just can’t throw a rookie with all of 3 weeks of major league experience into the leadoff spot.

      • @eric nyc: Hogwash. How has he lived up to the pressure so far? Darn right get him in there and now!

      • @eric nyc: By the way, this stikes me as exactly what DB would reason. Almost, word for word.

        • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: I’d agree with Dusty whole-heartedly on this one. A ton of rookies have a lot of success at the plate when they first come up. Pitchers have little or no tape on them and are just guessing. You think Billy Hamilton is a .400 major league hitter? Obviously you don’t and that’s a very inflated number, but this is not the time to find out when he’ll come back to reality. That’s just playing russian roulette with the season because you’ve got a good feeling about the kid.

          • @eric nyc: We will have to agree to disagree. We know one thing for certain, he will stick with this line-up regardless. We’ll see how it goes. After the last 4 games, there is not a doubt in my mind that Billy Hamilton needs to be out on that field. He is 23 not 19.

          • @eric nyc: Wonder if the Cards think the same as you do: better not start Wacha, 21-year old kid with only 9 career starts. I’d expect him to meltdown in the playoffs. Doubt we will see him start in the post seasn. They better stick with Lynn.

          • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: 9 starts is a third of a season for a pitcher. Billy Hamilton has been dressed for 12 games and has started one of them. WHat you’re suggesting is taking a guy with less than 20 major league AB’s and one season of minor league outfield experience and installing him as the leadoff hitter and starting CF for a club with World Series aspirations. Not to mention taking the guy who has led off 150+ games this season out of the only spot he knows in this lineup and asking him to play LF for the first time in something like 5 years. On a hunch. That Billy Hamilton is suddenly a really good hitter. Call me old school if you want…

          • @eric nyc: Bat him 8th then. If nothing else the defense is better.

          • @StealYourBase: We don’t even know THAT. Are you talking about starting him in LF? He’s never played LF in his life that I know of. So start him in CF? Choo has been perfectly adequate in CF since the 2nd week of the season and Hamilton hasn’t done enough to show he’d do any better.

            I just don’t know why you guys think there’s any possibility of a major overhaul of the lineup with TWO GAMES left in the regular season. It’s just NOT going to happen. Any manager would be crazy to try it. Dusty even putting Ludwick #2 in these lineups is borederline insane given the circumstances and you guys are talking about dropping a rookie with one major league start in FOR THE PLAYOFFS. I’m having visions of Jets fans chanting for Tim Tebow…

          • @eric nyc: Choo in left. Hamilton is just as good in center in terms of defense. Choo puts Ludwick to shame. We do know this.

          • @eric nyc:

            I think having a good feeling about him is kind of the point. He gets everyone excited. I wish he were starting today as well.

      • @eric nyc: couldn’t be any worse than Ludwick.

        • @Zabka84: He couldn’t? Remember the first half of his season in Louisville? He almost got sent back to AA.

          • @eric nyc: Remember the 2nd half?

          • @StealYourBase: You mean when he looked like an averagely competent AAA hitter? Yeah. I remember that.

            Look. I am all kinds of excited about Billy Hamilton. But to say “He couldn’t do worse than Ryan Ludwick” is insane. Of COURSE he could do worse. He could do WAY worse. We have no idea what kind of major league hitter he actually is yet. And this just isn’t the time to find out. Sorry guys, but there isn’t a major league manager that would make that move.

          • @eric nyc: Way worse? In the next two games? Sorry I just don’t get it.

          • @StealYourBase: I’m just saying you don’t know. That’s the point. WE DON’T KNOW what to expect from Hamilton yet. Yes he has looked good, but in a CRAZY small sample size. Stick him in two huge games at the end of the season and maybe he chokes and starts coughing up errors. You can’t tell me that WON’T happen because you haven’t seen him play at this level enough. It’s why you can’t just take the chance and say things like “Well he couldn’t be worse” because it can ALWAYS be worse.

            Ryan Ludwick has been very cold as of late, but that can turn around with one swing. We know what to expect from Ludwick on average. We might not feel particularly COMFORTABLE right now given his recent run, but the numbers point to trusting he returns to his norm. Personally, I think he’s due.

        • @Zabka84:
          Really? The only way that’s possible is if he goes 0-6, swings at every first pitch, and grounds into 3 DP and leaves 11 guys on base – stats only slightly worse than Ludwick

          Ludwick has done NOTHING recently. So by your logic, Billy would do less than nothing? Come on.

          The only reason Baker continues to use him is b/c of his creamy veterani-ness. And so he’ll continue to play, no how much stink his lack of production brings to the offense.

          • @concepcion13: Yes. That is my logic. Nailed it.

            Sheesh…Everyone is fired up around here lately. It’s not even fun. See you guys in April.

      • @eric nyc: The way you deal with this is pretty simple: If you fail, you lose.

    • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: He brought a lot more energy coming into a tight game where his speed could make a difference than he did flailing around in his start the other day.

      Looking for Hamilton to start is completely unrealistic. That said, Ludwick should be on the bench and Heisey should be getting playing time. Charlie Morton may not be the best matchup for him, but he needs the reps because he should be starting over Ludwick.

      • @Eric the Red: Never said it was realistic given Dusty inability to capture the moment. No doubt in my mind if Joe Maddon was our manager, BH would be leading off. Probably the same with Bob Melvin.

        • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: No, I don’t think anyone would have a September callup leading off, absent a lot of injuries.

          He’s a very useful ace in the hole when we need a runner in a tight game.

          • @Eric the Red: Like I said, Maddon for sure and quite possibly Melvin. Guys that throw convention out the door because the whole purpose is to win. Not to do what the book tells them

          • @Eric the Red: This.

            I really like Billy Hamilton, but until we REALLY know what to expect from him at the plate every day, he is INFINITELY more valuable as a PH/runner late in a tight game. Start him, and you’re just as likely as not to see him go 0fer and then you never get the benefit of his speed AT ALL. Use him as a late game replacement and you can designate exactly when and how you want to use his best asset, assuring him a spot on base and a chance to score. That’s how Billy Hamilton is going to be useful in this series and the playoffs. Not just throwing him to the sharks and hoping he just happened to have become a world class hitter the moment he put on a Reds uniform 3 weeks ago.

  8. Frankly, I don’t care if we lose the series. Tuesday’s #163 is all that matters now. Maybe we do need to get our butts kicked with the cold, stale smell of the offseason staring us down on Monday. Maybe that will put the necessary fire into us to make #163 our own turning point. As was noted in another article, winning 4 in a row against a team is tough no mater where you play the games. I’m not sure I even want us to win out this series and have another hurdle to climb. Just get us to #163 even if it is in PNC. We play well there – we can win there – we can move on to the lightening round.

  9. That’s a lineup only Clint Hurdle could love.

  10. Am I alone in thinking that getting swept this weekend may be the exact thing this team needs to win 163?

    • @wildwestLV: Or a total beat down today. Say along the lines of 8-2. Fans leaving early etc. Then maybe, just maybe, the manager might really shakes things up before it’s too late.

    • @wildwestLV: I don’t think going into the playoffs ice cold is a good thing. But, baseball is a maddening game. Also, I don’t know how important home field advantage is in a one game baseball play-in game. Last year, we couldn’t win one game in three at home in October. Whether the game is in Cincy or in Pittsburgh, I think we better see the Reds offense coming to life this weekend. It’s been dormant too long.

    • @wildwestLV: Nope – I’m right there with you on that thought.

  11. Well as someone who’s going to the game i really hope it is not a beat down haha. But on a mildly happier note(sort of) I’m super glad to be witnessing what may possibly be Arroyo’s final start at home as a Red. I want him to pitch well so he can get the epic standing O he deserves.

  12. Do we blame the guys in Washington for raising the Baker Tax?

    As if today’s lineup–and his sudden decision to bat Ludwick 2nd just before the playoffs start–weren’t depressing enough, here’s Baker on Cingrani. So, no Cingrani, and welcome to the playoff roster Messrs. Ondrusek and Duke! From C.Trent:

    “I don’t know — probably not,” Baker said. “With him, it’s a whole lot different for getting him in the game at this point in the year. I know we did that with (Johnny) Cueto, but he knows himself and his mechanics are so sound, so it’s a different situation. I just found out he’s ready (Friday). Is that game-ready?”

    It would be unlikely, Baker said, that he’d put Cingrani on the postseason roster without seeing him pitch in a regular-season game, and these are the last three of those.

    “Whose place would he take that’s more game-ready?” Baker asked. “The rest of those guys have been pitching a lot.”

  13. I raised this question on Twitter last night, but is there any question that the Reds seem to be imploding?

    This just seems so dysfunctional. I hate it. Is this how big market teams feel when they are completely collapsing?

    As a fan who has tried to take the attitude of the great Teddy Kremer all year, this makes me so sad to see. Fans calling out players. Players calling out fans. Everyone angry at everyone else. Nothing else to say besides I’m down today. But its not over til its over, we won’t go down that easily.

  14. Someone had asked why is Morton so successful against our guys. Because Charlie’s best pitch is the sinker.

    Morton’s HR/9 is
    2011: 0.3
    2012: 0.9
    2013: 0.5

    This guy is perfect for GABP. Probably going to need to create some runs today which might indicate Hamilton would have been a nice play today.

  15. Did any of us really expect anything less regarding Baker’s lineup construction. This is par for the course. Love how he starts tinkering with the lineup decisions again in the most crucial series of the season ( not to mention the last). Que the Twilite Zone music.

  16. May DatDudeSwagShawtyDP will see more than 8 freaking pitches over 4 at bats tonight. He got dat swag fuh real do’!

  17. Cingrani has the best ERA on the road of any Reds pitcher. He’s 2-0 vs the Cardinals, beat the Braves on the road, and had the best start in 11 years of any road starting pitcher in LA. (7ip, 1H, 1BB, 11K). Mowed down Puig, Gonzalez, Ramirez to the tune of 7K in 9ABs. And in two relief appearances against the Pirates, did not give up a run (5K in 2 innings).

    So against the four teams in the playoffs the Reds will face, Cingrani has been nothing short of the best, period. And yet, there is no urgency on the part of Baker to get him in the rotation (or worse in the bull-pen). Baker says things like “Cueto’s mechanics are so sound” and “Whose place would he take”. As if Cingrani has been out for three months, and Cueto hasn’t been hurt BECAUSE of his mechanics.

    Best ERA of any starting Reds pitcher (as a starter), best batting average of any starting Reds pitcher. Best bunter of any Reds pitcher … FASTEST runner of any pitcher.

    But he’s a rookie. Thus he’s not allowed to be on the post-season roster. I hate those MLB rules.

    • @FrustratedRedsFan:
      You have to fully expect that Zach Duke will be the first pitcher out of the bullpen in the playoffs. After all, that is how he has been used all along. Besides, displaying a sense of urgency will only create angst.

  18. Well here is to scoring some runs. The club is surely due.

    Go Reds!!!!

Comments are closed.

About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.


2013 Reds