Looking ahead, Bruce update

It’s a natural reaction for Reds fans to freak out about the Joey Votto developments of the last couple of days. Moving on without him for the next 3-4 weeks is as a big an obstacle for the team to clear as there will be this season.

But here is some good news for the Reds — the schedule.

Assuming the worst case that Votto misses a month — that covers 29 games for the Reds. Only six of those games — vs. the Pirates and Mets at GABP — are vs. teams with over .500 records. Two portions of the schedule are vs. last place teams in Houston and Colorado come on the same road trip.

The biggest concern is having people within step up. Scott Rolen will be a huge factor. He’s been hitting his last three games and  they will have to monitor his health. If Todd Frazier can fill in for Votto like he did for Rolen, it will be a big boost. In today’s lineup, Brandon Phillips finally gets his wish to be a No. 3 hitter. It’s something he’s wanted his whole career. Since moving to cleanup and getting over his hamstring injury, Phillips has been the second-best run producer on the club. And Ryan Ludwick is batting cleanup — he has heated up lately and can be a big run producer despite his low average. Jay Bruce, who isn’t starting tonight, will need to find a successful groove that lasts longer — at least the next 3-4 weeks would be to his team’s liking for sure.

*The Reds also need a lot of help. The Pirates have only seven games against winning teams out of their next 29 (the Reds and Dodgers). Over the Cardinals’ next 28 games, only eight are vs. winning clubs (the Dodgers and Giants).

*Speaking of Bruce, he got the day off because Dusty Baker felt he needed a break.

“He’s feeling OK. He’s not looking OK is he?” Baker said. “Exactly, that’s why he’s getting the day off. It’s either pay me now or pay me later and look up his record after the All-Star break and guys that don’t get a break. I told him to chill and show up at 5 o’clock and don’t hit too much.”

Bruce is 3-for-16 (.188) in four games since the break and 8-for-45 (.178) in July.

“Sometimes you’re doing too much,” Baker said. “It’s getting late. You need your energy. You need your strength. Sometimes 110 percent is too much. It’s mental and emotional when you’re not getting hits.”

*Baker also had a plea for media to not descend too much on players like Frazier.

“Don’t put too much pressure on them that’s already on them. Please,” Baker said. “I know you always have to grab somebody all the time but they’re kids. Let them play and let them enjoy. You don’t have to ask them questions every day about this or that they don’t have the answers to. They’re still trying to find their way through the woods without a flashlight. Just let them play.”

5 Comments

So Baker basically asked you not to do your job.

Yes and no. But I already talked to Frazier twice yesterday (pre and postgame). No reason to really get him today. He was mostly referring to the TV guys. It’s his right to try and protect his guys. Media people don’t have to listen, nor are players required to grant interviews.

Mark, here’s something I’d like to know: How did Dusty ever handle other media outlets. Cincinnati has got to have the fewest traveling media members, and also darn near the least critical. As discussed on Mike and Mike this morning, Chicago isn’t the worst media, but it’s still huge. How did he handle it then? He seems to be so offended by everything these days. Is that age, or just him getting tired of this part of managing?

From a fans perspective, it seems he needs to get some thicker skin. If John Fay ticks you off with his questions, then you know you need to lighten up a bit.

Does Dusty really need to say that? Dealing with the media is part of the price to pay for making the bigs. Every young player – perhaps Chapman is a rare exception – has to know what is coming as he works his way through the minors and/or top-level college ball. And should prepare for it before call-up time.

The media “crush” in Cincinnati has to be as light as anywhere in the league. I’m sure that has helped the Reds look more attractive to media-shy players. Votto, for a famous example, would likely be richer if he had waited for free-agency and gone to a coast, but he likes it here in Cincinnati. The media factor is part of that.

Hi Mark,, Couldnt Baker tell Bruce to look at the shift and tell him to step and drive outside pitches between 3rd and SS??? I cant believe he would rather pull the ball to the shift and make a easy out.. He needs to step up while Votto is out and pulling everything isnt going to help the team.. its frustrating seeing the 3rd basemen playing SS and outside pitches thrown he trys to pull

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