Going from first to third…
Reds manager Dusty Baker was given a sheet that showed the rankings of teams in the category of going from first base to third base on a single. The Reds led the Majors with 25 times, five ahead of the Twins. The Blue Jays were ranked last with two!
“Everybody gets on our base running, but we’ve been really conscious of running,” Baker said. “We’re doing something right. We get thrown out sometimes but we’re first. Imagine when we start hitting. Or that when the guys that can really run start hitting.”
The Reds are batting .282 as a team with runners in scoring position (ranked fourth in NL), an improvement from the .251 mark they had last season. They’re ranked first in the NL by hitting .296 with RISP and two outs.
“That’s why I’m so positive,” Baker said. “In spring that’s what we really wanted to work on. Let’s keep working and keep fighting. My dad always said ‘pressure busts the pipe.’ It’s hard when you’re accepting pressure. You want to be in position to apply pressure.”
“I don’t have a bunch of burners but I don’t have a bunch of plodders either. That’s why it’s so very important that we be patient and help [Drew] Stubbs. Imagine the impact he can have as our premier burner.”
Baker was chock full of paper to prove another point about Stubbs. He had print outs from BaseballReference.com that showed that Ozzie Smith batted .211 in his second year, then .230 and .222. He had Davey Concepcion, who batted .205 and .209 in his second and third seasons. Mark McGwire batted .201 in 1991.
“In today’s world, they would not have been patient about that. Mike Schmidt hit .196 in 132 games,” Baker said.
“I’m willing to give rope because I know what’s there. I’m known to give rope. I’m criticized for giving rope. You just don’t get it out of everybody at the same rate or the same pace.”
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