Saturday in KC

I”ve been amazed by the large numbers of Reds fans I’ve seen in Kansas City the last couple of days. I’ve seen them here at the ballpark, at a local watering hole, walking around the Plaza district, at lunch today and at the Negro League Museum. If you’re ever in K.C., I highly recommend you checking out the museum — it’s fantastic. You’ll learn a lot about some great players and the $8 admission is reasonable.

Dusty Baker took several Reds players to the Negro League Museum today, including Jay Bruce, Ryan Hanigan, Chris Dickerson, Willy Taveras, Paul Janish and Carlos Fisher.

“It was good. The guys learned a lot like going to a library,” Baker said. “It’s the second time I’ve been there. Everywhere you go, you see something different. It’s something special. The guys liked it.”

It’s been four years since I had last been to K.C. so I couldn’t wait today to pay a lunch visit at my favorite local BBQ place — Fiorella’s Jackstack. Dare I say, Jackstack’s BBQ sauce is as good as Montgomery Inn’s (gasp!) and I will be bringing some home with me. Like M.I., Jackstack’s original sauce has a sweet flavor.

Reds lineup:

Taveras 8
Gonzalez 6
Phillips 4
Nix 7
Gomes DH
Bruce 9
Hernandez 3
Rosales 5
Hanigan 2
Arroyo 1

The people are the same — the order is slightly different than last night’s debacle. Gomes moved up from 7th to 5th and Rosales and Hanigan flip-flopped. Obviously, the person leadoff spot is the one that likely has you (choose one of the following:) unhappy, perplexed or irate. Put me down as perplexed.   

Here is the breakdown of offensive woe lately:

Jay Bruce……. 5-for-47
Chris Dickerson.. .296 in last 25g
Jonny Gomes…….. .462 in last 5g
Alex Gonzalez……….. .304 in last 6g
Jerry Hairston Jr….. 3-game hit streak
Ryan Hanigan…………… .286 in last 6g
Ramon Hernandez… 0-for-18, 2-for-29
Paul Janish………….. 3-for-19
Laynce Nix……………..3-for-22
Brandon Phillips…….. .318 since April
Adam Rosales………….  3-for-32
Willy Taveras……. 0-for-28, 1-for-33

Team…………… .175 in last 8g (49-280)

More on Taveras:

Baker was asked about Taveras, who besides not hitting well — isn’t running well. He’s been battling with a sore right hamstring, and was unable to beat out a bunt during the first inning on Friday.

“Speed men if they hurt something, you will be a little apprehensive,” Baker said. “He’s running better. He’s running smoother and getting out of the blocks a lot quicker.”

Taveras came into Saturday batting just .234 with a .288 on-base percentage. Baker doesn’t believe Taveras’ hamstring has an effect on his poor hitting.

“No, he wasn’t hitting before that,” Baker said. “We have to find a way to get him on base. He makes us go. Not to put it all on Willy, when our offense is clicking, Willy is getting on base a lot. He needs to get on base pretty soon or he’s about to go crazy. He holds a lot inside. He wants to do so well.”

As for why Hanigan was moved to ninth behind Adam Rosales, Baker wanted to take advantage of Hanigan’s ability to hit and run and go the opposite way and Rosales moves a little better ahead of Hanigan.

There is an off day on Monday but the Reds will stay on rotation and not skip anybody. Part of the reason is Bronson Arroyo hasn’t fared well the past couple of years vs. the Braves, who are in Cincinnati next week. Arroyo had one of his worst outings vs. Atlanta on April 25 — 9 ER, 9 H, over 5 2/3 innings.

I took a walk around the lower concourse of the remodel Kauffman Stadium before going back to the press box from the clubhouse. Out beyond the fountains in the outfield was the usual kids fare, like a mini baseball field, batting and pitching cages and a playground. One thing found that I’ve never seen before at a big league ballpark — a miniature golf course. 

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Bronson just doesn’t look like starter material anymore. I vote for Volquez to take his spot in the rotation and keep Maloney. Putting Maloney between to hard throwers like Volquez and Cueto would be an ideal setup if I had a say in it.

Mark, Ummm Norris Hopper, prototypical lead-off man, was ripping it up in the minors then he got hurt. Is he still on the DL down there? If not, why isn’t he up here?

I wouldn’t say Hopper is ripping it up…he’s currently .277 with .313 OBP. And, he’s not on the 40-man roster. I don’t expect to see him up this year barring a large change in circumstances.

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