Category Archives: bad lineups

Yasiel Puig might be the Dodgers leadoff hitter in 2014

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If Don Mattingly’s comments are to be taken seriously, the Dodgers might find themselves with the strongest leadoff hitter in all of baseball in 2014. We don’t mean that the Dodgers will have the league’s best leadoff hitter when we say ‘strong’, we mean literally, the most yoaked leadoff guy in the game.

And we would hate to see Puig’s fantasy baseball potential in any way dimmed due to this move, as silly as that sounds. The perfect world move would be if the Dodgers entered the year hitting Puig third in the lineup, a move that seems unlikely at this point.

If Puig begins the season as a leadoff hitter in Los Angeles, look for it to go one of two ways. Puig ends up phenomenal and the Dodgers end up moving him to the middle of the order around midseason once the offense hits a lull like all lineups do; or Puig struggles a bit in his sophomore season and the team moves him down to the 6 or 7 spot in the order. We don’t look for him to stick all season long as a leadoff hitter. It just doesn’t match his skill set well enough.

In other news, Fredi Gonzalez is still horrible

I’m telling you, matter of time until Fredi Gonzalez is done in Atlanta. And while that could be said for every manager that stands on the top step of the dugout every night in baseball, Fredi’s reign is going to be short. This is because Fredi is a boob who believes he is smarter than everyone else. I do not believe he inspires his men and I think he gets too cute with the lineup. Bad recipe.

I don’t call Kenny Rosenthal of FOX Sports the Jay Glazer of MLB for nothing. Rival executives seem out to get Fredi. Or maybe it’s just the truth:

Gonzalez, unlike the Boston Red Sox’s Terry Francona, survived his team’s collapse, in large part because the Braves value stability.

A poor start, though, could alter the equation. Rival executives believe that Gonzalez, entering the second year of a three-year contract, already is on probation.

I’m not even a Braves fan and I already can’t wait. The reason is simple. Do not short change yourself when sitting at home this spring and summer and complaining about Fredi’s lineups and his in-game management. There are fans, bloggers, and chimpanzees alike that could out manage this guy. I promise you that. Don’t doubt it for a minute.

Game 37, 2011: Astros 4, Reds 3

[Box Score] [Cincinnati.com] [Crawfish Boxes]

The Reds finished off a road trip in which they went 4-2 yesterday with a loss to the Houston Astros. The Reds won’t go on a 9 out of 10 run this season to match last year’s pace at this time. When I went to leave work yesterday I forgot my glasses in my office, so when leaving around the 5:00 hour here in Ohio; Hunter Pence was at the plate and I had the game on the radio. When I returned to my car minutes later, the game was on commercial break. The mind of a baseball fan works quickly in those situations. So I knew that Mike Leake and the Reds either got out of the inning quickly, or the game was over. Considering that when I ran back up to my office Hunter Pence was at the plate with a man on base, and Mike Leake was on the bump rather than Francisco Cordero, I think I knew exactly what had happened before Marty Brenneman returned to the air to give the grim news to me. When he actually said it I grit my teeth for a minute, and it made rush hour that much more hard to bear. I immediately wanted to choke Mike Leake, that little worthless rat bastard.

My original hatred for the Astros stemmed long ago when they had guys on their team that could really hurt you. Guys like Biggio, Bagwell, Berkman, Oswalt, Pettite, Clemens, and so forth. I hated them more than I hate any other team in baseball. That hate still remains, and I hope they’re an after-thought forever. That said, it’s not as easy to hate them anymore because they really only have two guys that can hurt you on a regular basis now: Wandy Rodriguez, and Hunter Pence. Brett Wallace and Billy Hall don’t count. Both Wandy and Pence did their damage yesterday against the Reds.

Yesterday’s loss was an infliction from bad moves by the Reds manager, Dusty Baker. He did three things I didn’t like, that really set the Reds up for a loss on getaway day like he so often does.

I was surprised to see Jay Bruce get the start against Wandy Rodriguez. Bruce went out and did what I expected him to do yesterday, nothing. He went 1 for the series vs. the Astros with the one hit being a bomb. But I really thought that Dusty Baker sent a message in the wrong way when he decided to roll with Jay Bruce yesterday–but hit him 7th in the lineup. If you’re going to run Bruce out there against a guy who you know he doesn’t have good numbers against, display confidence in him. Protect him with someone in the lineup who might get him an extra fastball or two. In fact, do something out of the ordinary to get ordinary results against Wandy. Hit him 2nd. Hell, get really wild and hit him fourth. What does it matter? You’re just trying something anyways. But don’t hit him 7th, because that basically says without actually saying anything that you expect him to go out and go 0 for 4, which is exactly what happened. Bad lineups on getaway day often damn the Reds.

The second thing I had a problem with is seeing Johnny Gomes once again in left field. If you read this blog or my tweets enough, you know that I’ve seen enough of Johnny Gomes.

Here’s some stats for thought on Gomes via Lance Mcalister: Jonny Gomes hit 2 HR’s and drove in 6 runs in June 12 of last season to help the Reds beat the Kansas City Royals. After that game Gomes was hitting .307 with 9 HR and his 47 RBI tied him for the NL lead. Since that game: 125 games for Gomes, 495 plate appearances, 101 for 436 (.232), 15 HR, 46 RBI, 45 BB, 110 K, .295 OBP, .378 SLG, .673 OPS.

Chris Heisey was on the bench again, and later in the game he came off the bench to homer and cut the deficit to 3-2. I ask the question, why does Dusty get an annual hard-on for guys that help the Reds lose ballgames? Because he’s a player’s manager? Oh, it’s great for the players. But it’s rough on fans like me and you. In 2008, Corey Patterson was that guy. In 2009, Wily Taveras was that guy. Last year, I’m shocked that Gary Matthews Jr. wasn’t that guy. Now, it’s Johnny Gomes. Gomes starting over Heisey is a load of shit as far as I’m concerned, and I don’t care how great of a guy Johnny Gomes is or how much fun he is in the clubhouse. He’s killing the Reds, every at-bat and every night. A slow, painful death. And we’re going on a year now.

The third problem that I had was going with Mike Leake yesterday in the bottom of the 9th instead of Francisco Cordero. Why are the Reds forcing Mike Leake down our throat? Why can’t this guy spend some time attempting to develop in AAA Louisville? I don’t care that he was a first round pick. I don’t care if the organization likes his potential. What I see is a guy who lacks stuff. Especially stuff that allows you to survive in the 9th inning of a tie game on the road. That’s a situation where for as long as I’ve been watching baseball, you go to your closer. Dusty at least thought about it because Cordero was warming up before the inning. I’m sure he had some reason after the game that he went to Leake instead, and I don’t really care what it was. It was a bad reason. I have a feeling if Cordero was out there in the 9th, the Reds get one more chance to hit for the sweep.

I’ll be at the game tomorrow night, and of course today is an off day. I need the day to cool off I think.

Potpourri:

Found this post on FanGraphs as to why Aroldis Chapman is struggling:

It looks like [Chapman] is releasing his fastballs about six inches higher and closer to the center of the mound: so more over-the-top and less 3/4 delivery. Again this conclusion is hard to make without the actual release point, and because the Pitch F/x system is more noisy at the release-point end of the trajectory than the plate-location end. So I wanted to see if I could back it up with photographic support. It was hard to find pictures from the head-on angle, but it does look like he has a slightly more over-the-top delivery in 2011 than in 2010 and definitely more than in 2009 during the World Baseball Classic.

This suggests, though definitely not conclusively, that Chapman may have “lost” his release point. And it is possible that this “lost” release point plays a role in his huge walk rate.

Ugh.

Dusty Baker cannot help himself with the lineup

Over the weekend you might have missed the post where the Reds are toying with the idea of hitting Jay Bruce lead-off.

You should not be surprised by this. Dusty Baker has been known for handling young players poorly for a long time, and building particularly funny lineups when the obvious answer is hitting him smack dab in the face.

On Bruce leading off: “What’s more important? On-base percentage or 1-0 to start the game?”

“The way Stubbie starts has a lot to it,” Baker said.

Baker also mentioned Bruce as one of the possibilities in clean-up when Scott Rolen is not in the lineup. Baker prefers not to have left-handers back-to-back in the lineup.

“I’d rather not have two lefties in a row,” Baker said. “Unless you have lefties like (Ryan) Howard and (Chase) Utley who don’t have as much trouble hitting lefties. If you’re learning to hit lefties, they can bring in one lefty to take care of two guys. I’d rather split them up. Eventually they might. Jay is getting better at hitting lefties.”

Because Lord knows, you just can’t build your lineup when there is the possibility of a match-up looming later in the game that might occur once or maybe twice. Where did this ignorant thinking come from?

Baker uses the shining examples of Ryan Howard and Chase Utley as who ‘don’t have as much trouble hitting lefties’ (as Jay Bruce and Joey Votto back to back). But a look at the numbers shows that DUHsty is once again incorrect.

Bruce hit .277 with 12 HR against southpaws last season. That is better than Howard who hit only .264 with 12 HR, and Utley was a hair better with less power, .294 with 10 HR.

So go ahead Dusty. Hit Jay Bruce lead off some nights. Why is it so damn hard to hit the kid 4th all year and see what happens? I swear, sometimes fans could manage a big league club better than these so called paid experts. This is ridiculous.

Let’s be honest, Dusty will hit him 6th or 7th, protect him again with the Dream Team of Ryan Hanigan, Ramon Hernandez and Paul Janish and wonder why he gets off to a slow start. At least hitting lead-off he would have the benefit of a capable hitter or two hitting behind him. Moron. Protect your young hitter, you goon.

At least no one died

Seriously, look at that lineup today.

Bloomquist 9
Valaika 4
Alonso 3
Francisco 5
Heisey 8
Nix 7
Janish 6
Miller 2
Cueto 1

We told you Dusty was going to have some fun with the lineup. At least BP didn’t get arrested or end up with any kind of alcohol poisoning. The best part is that he was drinking Budweiser last night as he talked to Jeff Piecoro. First night drinking booze, and it’s Bud heavy. Well done Brandon.

But back to that starting 9!This is where Dusty really loves to get tricky. I mean look at that fucking lineup! He hit Bloomquist lead-off! I love it! In true Dusty fashion, he hits the first baseman 3rd and the 3rd baseman 4th!

It reminds me of when my college coach would throw the JV squad in there because he was pissed off at the A-tier guys. We’d go out and we would lose because it felt like the scrubs were in.

You want to make money tonight? Bet against the Reds who will still be favored.

Now that we’ve clinched, I’m gonna have me some fun.

Finally, NL Central champions. But I’ve still got to field a competitive lineup. That’s the best part for the Dusty.

First off, we’re going to go with Paul Janish in right field. I’ve always wanted to put that little elf in right. We’re sitting Bruce tonight because he’s got a thing with his side. Doesn’t matter what it is, just leave it at that. It’s a thing with his side. Plus I look for any excuse not to play Bruce. But Janish is better anyways against lefties and he’s better at air hockey so he’s in there tonight.

The shortstop always hits second, and at shortstop; tonight I’m going with Bill Hatcher. Hatch, get your big ass loose and take some ground balls before we get underway. This is a big one tonight mayn. We gonna have some fun.

Bloomquist, you’ll go to first base. You played first base in pony league, didn’t you Bloomquist? Since the first baseman hits third that’s where you’ll be hitting. I don’t care that your lifetime statistics suggest that you’re useless. No matter. You’ll be at first, you’ll be batting third; and I know you got some good stuff for em’ mayn. That’s right.

Clean-up is where I have some good surprises up my sleeve. I’m bringing out my old teammate Glenn Burke; the inventor of the high-five. That’s right mayn. No I don’t mean that out. C’mon mayn. Burke’s a good ballplayer. He’s dead? Well if he’s alive, he’s hittin’ fourth in my lineup. He’s tough on em’ mayn. I don’t care that he’s a lifetime .237 hitter with 2 home runs. He’s a center fielder, and they hit clean-up sometimes. Good enough to clean up in my lineup. No I don’t mean that kind of ‘clean up’. You’re sick mayn, you know that?

Hitting fifth and in left field is Johnny Gomes. My reasoning is simple. Rain or shine, snow or sleet, I’ve stuck with this guy all year. I’ve seen him go through 0 for 35 droughts with about 881 infield pop ups. I’ve seen him strand small towns. I’ve rode him through winning streaks, losing streaks, ties, hangovers, and pregnancies. He’s going to hit fifth if for no other reason than I’ve done it this long and fuck–lineups don’t always have to make sense. This is fun! Yea mayn! K or double play, Gomes is my guy ’cause he can really ‘do it’ mayn.

Hitting sixth is my son Christopher. He’s gonna play second base. I like to hit the second baseman sixth. Just because, mayn. Christopher is a good bunter and I know you typically don’t stick a little guy who can handle the bat 6th in the lineup, but The Dusty does it. Christopher is my guy. Plus he likes Brandon Phillips and he wants to play at his spot. We’re just gonna do it this once (and maybe tomorrow and the next day if I wake up and feel that way). Batting sixth…. Christopher Baker. Go get after em’ mayn.

Hitting seventh we’re gonna go with Masset. He’s not pitching tonight he’s got something going on with his toe but he says he can catch. I like the catcher hitting seventh. They don’t clog up the bases with those worthless walks and every now and then–they’ll get that big hit mayn. Masset is built like a catcher, look at him over there. Plus he wears #40. That’s a catcher’s number so he’s gonna be hitting seventh and he’s gonna call the game tonight himself. His experience as a bullpen pitcher will serve him well as a catcher.

I like to hit my best hitter 8th as you know. That’s why all year when he was hot as Hell, I hit Jay Bruce 8th in the lineup. The best hitters don’t need protection other than the pitcher–and besides it’s not any ordinary pitcher that’s batting behind him tonight. I feel good about our 8th hitter tonight, I call him my M-V-P mayn. Miguel Cairo, batting 8th and at third. Utility guys are great. I don’t have to make up an excuse for the weird shit that I do when it comes to them. I wish I had 25 Miguel Cairo’s–because I favor veterans who are mediocre over young studs.

And batting 9th will be our starting pitcher; my dog Charlie Baker. Charlie is a golden retriever. They say they’re some of the smartest dawgs around, mayn. I mean he is a DAWG. He’s got somethin’ for them tonight. He don’t look like much but he is quick on the mound and he’s a winner. He’ll compete. You should see him play Frisbee at home.

Why in the Willie Bloomquist

Willie Bloomquist makes his debut tonight in the Reds lineup. I’ve got a couple thoughts on this:

-I thought we traded a younger, less shittier version of Willie Worthless Bloomquist last year in Adam Rosales.

-Bloomquist is 0 for 11 lifetime vs. tonight’s starter Tony Saunders. Jay Bruce homered off Saunders about a month ago in Arizona. Bruce is sitting tonight for Bloomquist.

-We traded for Bloomquist a dozen days into September. Beyond the predictable ‘why in the fuck did we do that’, when is the last September trade you remember? I thought there was a waiver deadline! The deadline has to save us from nuggets of shit like Bloomquist! First place team adds an aging guy who has played on nothing but losing teams his entire career for a stretch run instead of healthy young bucks like Danny Dorn or Wladi Balentien.

-He’s a utility guy. Sweet. He’s still shitty. Has a .973 career fielding percentage.

-This is SUCH a LaRussa move! Is it not? It’s so damn much like when he used to stick Adam Kennedy in right field just because.

-We haven’t clinched yet. Dusty, I know you’re getting hard as shit by the day with thoughts of putting Cairo in center field, and Janish at first, and fielding a weird-ass fucking lineup with Jordan Smith playing 2nd base ‘because he played in little league’ but it’s not time yet. We haven’t won yet. Baker and his fetish for these odd ass lineups!

Tonight's Reds lineup is shit

I want you all to take a look at the lineup tonight against Florida’s Josh Johnson. I want to tell you something that drives me crazy about Dusty Baker. Notice how he has Jim Edmonds hitting 5th and Jay Bruce hitting 6th?

That’s foolish.

All year long, a guy who was projected to hit between 25-30 home runs and be a great offensive player for you has been lackluster. No one really seems to know why that is. I can tell you this though, he’s NEVER going to come out of it while hitting with protection like Paul Janish, Ryan Hanigan, Ramon Hernandez, and whatever else the cat drags in.

Let Bruce hit 2nd; with Votto after him. Watch his production soar. Let him hit 5th even, because the 40 year old Jim Edmonds’ protection is better then what Bruce has had basically all year.

What the fuck good does it do to put Laynce Nix 2nd, and Jim Edmonds 5th?

That’s a horse shit lineup that I’d bet will yield horse shit results. I’ve been saying it all year. Give Bruce a chance to develop. The Reds and Johnny B. Baker haven’t fully done that yet.

You better be reading Better Off Red. Cincinnati Reds blog that covers everything from pre-game, post-game, to organizing All-Star voting lunches, to everything Redlegs big and small. I can honestly say that people out there are better Reds fans because of that blog. It’s a little bit like what we try to do here; except with all of MLB with a heavy Reds tilt. And to the left there, yes that is the mess of a lineup that Dusty Baker has comprised for tonight’s game. Gomes clean-up. Cairo six-hole protecting Bruce. Heisy wedged there in center field. [Better Off Red]

My team got beat last night; Good luck to your team

[Box Score]
There was really only one word to sum it all up last night, embarrassing.
The Reds continued to show the world that they can’t hit anyone left handed. It doesn’t matter who it is. Jeremy Sowers has been beaten like a snare drum all season, he hasn’t even pitched well in AAA. I mean, the league smiles when they see they get to face Jeremy Sowers. That’s been his trademark since he’s been a Major Leaguer. But against the Reds he went 7 innings and struck out 6 while allowing just one walk and two earned runs.
The Indians treated Aaron Harang badly, like everyone else has lately. Harang drops to 5-8 on the season after going 4 and 2/3 innings and allowing 7 runs on 10 hits.
Ryan Garko and Victor Martinez each homered in the 9-2 rout. And it’s becoming a trend of this Reds team to not only lose, but get blown completely out of the water when they do lose.
Joey Votto and Jay Bruce went 0 for 8 with 5 strikeouts. When that happens, it’s going to be tough for the Reds to win. Johnny Gomes went 2 for 3 to raise his average to .367 on the season. Brandon Phillips continued his best Chad Ocho-Cinco act, making a laughable error and pimping a home run that hit off the top of the wall. We’ll say this to Brandon: when Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr. left town, you said you were the team leader. You are a clown who doesn’t know the first thing about true hustle and heart. You are not a team leader and we have doubts that you’ll ever be a member of a team that makes it to the World Series. Check back in a decade and let us know if we weren’t right about him. He’s a hot dog and you can’t win with the lapses in effort he brings on a nightly basis.

It's time to get tough. It's time to rally the troops. These are confusing days for our Reds

After last night’s 8-2 loss in Toronto I realized that maybe I never should have had any hopes or expectations for this Reds team at all. Laynce Nix and Johnny Gomes are doing their best, but they’re guys that any of the other 30 MLB teams could have had. They weren’t even really in baseball last year. Now they’re being trotted out each and every night in the middle of our lineup. They have been depending on Joey Votto and Jay Bruce to carry the load as two young players who have not been asked to do that yet. Votto missed time due to emotional issues, and Bruce has had insufferably bad luck thus far this season. When those things don’t happen, you get lapses in offense like we’re seeing now.

Other then that, it’s a poorly constructed lineup. Willy Taveras is basically Corey Patterson from the right side. He’s struggled his entire career with getting on base. He’s just continuing the trend he’s followed his entire career. The Reds knew that going in. The Reds never needed Taveras. That money could have went elsewhere. It could have went to bringing back Adam Dunn and his production that is always there. The Reds could have slid Jerry Hairston into the leadoff spot.

The lineup really should go Taveras/Hairston, followed by Brandon Phillips (who the Reds have ruined by making him think he’s a clean-up hitter) followed by Bruce in the 3-hole, and then Votto in the clean-up spot. You run that out there every night and you’d have better production then we’ve seen up to this point.

And the production is just really bad right now. It’s excruciating to watch. I’ve never seen an offense this bad over this long of a period of time. It’s really showing up every night and when they get down by a run or two; they may fight hard, but it’s always too insurmountable of a deficit. Last night they had four measly hits. Johnny Gomes had two of them. They weren’t facing Cy Young.

They can’t hit left-handed pitching. Ownership went cheap on us and all offseason they didn’t go out and get the big right handed bat we needed to combat this weakness and it shows every time there is a southpaw on the hill. You wanna make money? Deposit some into an internet sports betting site and bet on the team with the lefty throwing against the Reds on any given night. You’ll win that bet 9 times out of 10.

The Reds have to pull it together and gut it out. They might not be that good but they certainly aren’t this bad. Basically, it’s baseball and the ball has to bounce our way sometime. We’ve got too solid of pitching to lose this way each night or sustain long losing streaks.

I hope that tonight is the turning point of the season. Somehow maybe they can rally and finish this road trip strong and get home and get healthy in the park that everyone seems to be able to hit in–everyone but us it seems at times.

But the Reds right now are killing me on a nightly basis. I believed in this group and while I didn’t think they’d be playoff material, I certainly thought they’d hang tougher then they have been and be a little bit more exciting to watch and they aren’t. I guess this is how it feels when something you believe in turns out empty.