Playing lineup games
Here is the Reds lineup vs. Cubs
*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.
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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