Playing lineup games

Here is the Reds lineup vs. Cubs

Stubbs 8
Cabrera 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Rolen 5
Bruce 9
Dickerson 7
Hernandez 2
Fisher 1

*The so-called “Opening Day” lineup has been pretty close to this one throughout spring.  Dickerson has often batted leadoff instead of Stubbs. Or, swap out Dickerson for Gomes and that could be the look vs. left-handed pitchers.

One potential cause for concern though is that the Reds haven’t hit well most of the spring. The .242 team batting average for spring is ranked 29th out of 30 teams. Last season, production was a huge problem and the Reds’ team average was second to last in the National League.

“I’m happy with the way it sets up. But I’m not real thrilled with the amount of production we’ve had yet,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said of his lineup. “It’s the best lineup I can come up with a few guys changing in and out or whatever. We still have some more potential lineups.”

Baker is keenly aware that fans have plenty of issues with the lineups he uses and share their views online or to the reporters. Many want Dickerson instead of Stubbs as the leadoff guy.

“That’s a possiblity,” Baker said. 

Most fans write to me and complain about Phillips batting fourth. Some want him to bat second.

“Where are you going to put [Orlando] Cabrera?” Baker said.

A reporter said it’s been suggested to him that Cabrera should bat eighth.

“Where are you going to put Hernandez?” Baker responded.

Me: “We can play this game forever.”

“Exactly and no one would have a set spot,” Baker said. “We have a good lineup. It’s not like we have some set Big Red Machine lineup. We don’t have a mega lineup. We still have some guys trying to prove themselves. Stubbs is still trying to prove himself. Dickerson is still trying to prove himself. Jay Bruce is still trying to prove himself. Gomes is just coming off his first decent year in four or five years.”

One thing to consider though — is the team average is from everybody that’s batted this spring. It counts guys coming over from Minor League camp and the prospects that got in later in games. Phillips (.128) and Cabrera (.189) are still struggling but Votto (.256) has heated up in recent days. Reading too much into spring numbers or exhibition game records can often be a futile exercise. 

Other notes from Monday morning:

*Aroldis Chapman could next pitch on Wednesday vs. Oakland in the split-squad game. His name is listed with ‘TBA’ as his innings total. Baker’s reports were good from Chapman’s one inning of work during a Minor League game on Sunday.

“They said he was throwing 91-97 mph,” Baker said. “They said he threw the ball well. He only went one inning. We’re going to see how he feels today and then make a determination.”

*It looks like the next wave of cuts will come after Wednesday’s split-squad game. There are still 40 players in camp.

“You would have liked whatever you’re going to do, do it early,” Baker said. “But we needed people and still haven’t made up our minds on a few. This is not how we planned it exactly but it’s how it is.”

*Reliever Logan Ondrusek has a 7 1/3 scoreless innings in his five outings this spring with two hits, no walks and seven strikeouts. He was impressing people even before games started and now has a chance to make the team. Not bad at all for a first big league camp.

“It’s a little different than I expected coming in, being a first-year guy and stuff,” Ondrusek said. “I figured I’d get my feet wet, meet the guys, meet the coaches and everything and show them a little bit and go from there. Being here this long, it’s an honor. I’m trying to prove I belong here and at some point during the season, help the team out.”

*It’s pretty much a bullpen day today with Fisher only pitching two innings.. Wells, Lehr, Maloney, Burton and Rhodes will follow. Homer Bailey is pitching six innings in a minor league game.

*Upcoming rotation:

Tues vs SD: Harang (6-7 inn)
Weds at OAK: Leake (5 inn). Chapman is listed with TBA innings
Weds at LAD: (Las Vegas): Wood (5 inn)
Thu vs TEX: Cueto (6-7 inn)
Fri at CLE: Arroyo (6-7 inn)
Sat vs CLE: Bailey (6-7 inn)

*For those interested, the following players will be among those on the trip to Las Vegas: Cabrera, Votto, Phillips, Bruce, Francisco, Dickerson and Gomes.

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12 Comments

Hey Baker: It isn’t real difficult to know what lineup to play–first, get your second hitter{Cabrera} out of sight{perhaps onto the bench, to be replaced by Janish}. Whichever you play, they hit eighth–see how easy that was! Leadoff Dickerson-EVERY GAME! Hit Stubbs second, behind Dickerson{and teach them both to drag bunt, hopefully giving your team more base runners, by bunting–which will draw the third basemen and first basemen in, allowing for singles to elude both on occassion! How long do we have to wait on this thought to take place in your mind? Good grief–utilize your weapons–make things happen! Hit Bruce third, Votto fourth, Phillips fifth, Rolen 6th, Hernandez 7th, Janish 8th, whatever 9th! And, quit worrying about the righty lefty BS!

Well clearly you don’t have any idea what you’re talking about, worncleat. Replace Cabrera with Janish? Very dumb idea. The Reds have not been very good offensively, to say the least, and Cabrera is much better with the bat. Also, Dickerson still needs to prove that he can even play every day, let alone bat leadoff. Bruce batting third? Another terrible idea. You must earn batting third, and Bruce has yet to. Votto is obviously the best hitter. Phillips does a fine job batting clean up. All of your ideas were very weak and they were not backed up. People like you need to stop hassling Baker about his decisions. The guy has been around baseball all his life. I would say he knows slightly more about it than you do.

Isn’t it fun to be armchair manager. Dusty’s job is much harder. The purposes of spring training are to 1) get regulars up to speed and 2) explore possibilities where there are decisions to be made. This spring the Red have been appropriately more focussed on #2. This team will score runs. While I’m in my armchair, I see 1) Stubbs, 2) Phillips, 3) Votto, 4) Rolen, 5) Bruce, 6) Gomes/Dickerson, 7) Cabrera 8) Hernandez 9) P. Why does Rolen not come up often as a 4-hole hitter?

Yes, you read me correctly–replace **** who doesn’t have near the arm, range or offensive statistics, this Spring{ala Patterson/Taveras of recent foolishness}with one of the best gloves around, who shows offensively better figures than your hero! Cabrera will be another waste of money. Let us see how long our manager of the Year plays this guy{ala AGON} before he finally agrees he can no longer justify his embarrassment!
Of what is available, my lineup is every bit as good as yours, moron. Who says your best hitter has to be the #3 hitter? YOU? Votto has good power to all fields/ Hits the ball where it is pitched and doesn’t try to pull pitches he should be hitting to the opposite field{ala Mr. hero-wanta-be–Phillips} Phillips is terrible in the #4 spot. Instead of leaving men on base, Votto would be driving them in, not hitting into double plays! You would follow a blind man into fathouse of female lepers! There is no one on this team who, as yet, has earned anything; and Mr. Baker’s stubborn lineups,for three years now, that never change, have accomplished nothing worth discussing–so please stick your equally ignorant ideas, where the sun don’t shine!

Oh, and I’ll match my athletic accomplishments, and coaching career, against your’s any day…

worncleat…actually your lineup doesn’t make any sense. I’m not sure what “Coaching Career” you speak of, but it is apparent that it wasn’t coaching anything above tee ball. Why would you have your first 3 batters be players who have yet to show they can consistently hit major league pitching? I’ll give you that Dickerson hit .275 last year, but that was in only 97 games. Stubbs hit .267 and Bruce hit .223. Also, you have Janish hitting 8th who hit a ******** .211…so you would go Janish, A pitcher, and then the top of the order. Why would you sweat Janish so much anyways? I’m sure you still have your Juan Castro Jersey as well…

How does “W hopping” get sensored?

censored

While I’m not too stuck on it… I am one person who would like to see Phillips slide up to the 3 hole and Votto be placed in the 4 hole. I’ve just always been a fan of placing you best pure hitter in the 4th spot… and that’s Votto. BP grounds into way too many double-plays for my taste… and I think if you moved Votto down to the 4 hole then BP would see a few better pitches to hit.

I would rather have Votto up with 2 outs and Phillips on base….. than Phillips up with 2 outs and Votto on base.

I don’t mind it… but it’s something I would like to see changed.

I don’t really like BP in the 4 spot, but I’m hoping that having Rolen behind him will help get him back to 30-30. The key for him is that he’ll see better pitches. Hopefully with Rolen following him he won’t feel the pressure of having to try and jack every ball he hits. I’ve always felt that it’s good to have a solid bat at the end of the lineup…that way you have a better chance of having a guy in scoring position when the top of the order comes back around.

Worncleat, you are a complete moron. Just as cpm said, there is no way you have any coaching experience above tee-ball. So why don’t you go shove it. You had to resort to name calling because the points you were making sucked. I’m not even going to argue baseball or any other sport with you because you have no idea what you’re talking about. Plus, I guarantee you that my athletic career would blow yours away. Ignorant fool.

Its way too early to tell, but if you look at this spring’s performances, Janish IS a much better option than Cabrera in every single way. Janish has been hitting a lot better than last year, which was always the only knock against him. His defense has always been stellar. But his spring numbers completely overwhelm Cabrera’s numbers at the plate (this spring). So I’m going to have to defend worncleat here. IDK about his lineup, but I completely agree that the LRL thing with the lineup is non-sense also. Redsking appears to be completely ignoring this spring and relying completely on the headline commentary by media and fantasy prospectors back when the trades happened etc. The spring is just exhibition, but it is also a preview and an intro to the season: the offense is not good and the people who are supposed to be good are bad.

Mark, a few questions:

1) Is Dusty aware that Phillips hits right handed pitching like a #8 hitter? His career line vR: .253/.301/.399, vL: .295/.343/.509. That is, 2/3 of the time the Reds are running out a replacement-level bat as their clean-up hitter.

2) Does Dusty realize Rolen no longer hits for power, but still gets on base? Unlike Cabrera, who no longer gets on base…

3) Does Dusty realize that OBP, not speed or scrappiness is the #1 factor in scoring runs?

He needs to stop worrying about where our worst hitters hit and start giving our best hitters more PA. I understand Dusty’s desire for a stable lineup, but how about a stable lineup that understands the nature of platoon splits and that OBP is a much bigger factor in run production than speed?

vL
Stubbs
Phillips
Votto
Gomes
Rolen
Bruce
Hernandez
Cabrera

vR
Dickerson
Rolen
Votto
Bruce
Stubbs
Phillips
Hernandez
Cabrera

Back to back lefties isn’t the end of the world; it just means we beat up on their starter and make the LOOGY irrelevant.

This should require “playing this game forever.” Just recognizing a few basic, proven principles and making sound decisions. Just because people will complain no matter what doesn’t mean there isn’t a better way.

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