Game 156: Reds at Cardinals

Reds are 10-20 all-time on Sunday Night Baseball and 2-5 vs. STL in those games.

Hamilton 8
Negron 5
Frazier 3
Mesoraco 2
Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Rodriguez 7
Cozart 6
Simon 1


Fay: Reds need on-base hitter before RBI man
John Fay, 8:43 p.m. EDT September 20, 2014
ST. LOUIS — When your offense struggles like the Reds’ has, there are abundant theories on how to fix it.
The leading one is this: the Reds need to add a bopper, middle-of-the-order bat, an RBI man with power.
I think that’s the wrong approach. I would concentrate on the getting a left fielder who can get on base. The most basic difference between this year’s offense and last year’s is the Reds simply do not put enough runners on base.
The team on-base percentage was .298 entering Saturday. That’s down from .327 last year. That’s a whole lot of base-runners. Since the All-Star Break, the Reds have a .278 on-base. That’s 34 points below the league average.
Last year’s offense was flawed. Last year, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce combined to drive in 212 runs. They went into Saturday with 104.
And the Reds finished third in the National League in runs and the team won 90 games.
The pitching was better last year – 3.38 ERA to 3.60 – but not significantly enough to turn a 90-win team into one that could lose 90.
There’s two big reasons that the offense is so much less effective. No.1, Shin-Soo Choo was replaced in the lineup by Billy Hamilton. Choo reached base 300 times last year. Hamilton is projected to reach 184 times. No.2, Joey Votto’s been hurt or ineffective most of the year. Votto reached bases 316 times last year. The third hitters in the lineup have reached 206 times this year.
So basically the Reds will end up with 200 fewer base-runners from the No.1 and 3 spots in order. That’s a ton when you consider the Reds went into Saturday night 22-38 in one-run games.
The Reds have gotten in 33.5 percent of the runners they put on base, so 200 base-runners would mean 67 more runs. That would move the Reds from third-from-last in the NL in runs to sixth.
My guess is if they were sixth in the league in runs, they’d still be in the race or at least they would have hung around longer.
Injuries have played a role in the that. Votto, Bruce and Phillips – the three most accomplished offensive players going into the year – have all spent time on the disabled list. And all have been less effective upon returning.
But the Reds have just been abysmal in the second half. They went into Saturday hitting .221 as a team in the second half. They were last in the majors in runs, hits, slugging (.325), batting average and on-base (.278) since the All-Star break.
Whether the Reds go after an on-base guy like or suggest or pursue a slugger, something is likely to be done this offseason.
“We have to take a hard look at our roster,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “That goes without saying any time you struggle, you have to look at the roster.”
“Secondarily, we have to look at what our team would look like had we gotten healthy performances. If you chronicle the number of games lost in the starting rotation. Between Homer (Bailey), (Mat) Latos and Tony Cingrani.
“Then to lose Joey for basically two-thirds of the season. (Skip) Schumaker was never healthy. The issues with Brandon after he hurt his hand. That was very similar to last year. He came back to play but he wasn’t the same. We can’t expect him to be the same coming off hand surgery.
“We’ve had some performances that are disappointing.”
But Price is convinced the Reds are not that far away. If they can stay healthier and get better performance from players who have had some good years.
Bruce, a .257 career hitter, went into Saturday hitting .214. Zack Cozart, a .252 career hitter, was hitting .225. Phillips, a .271 career hitter, was hitting .261.
“If you go into that (clubhouse), there would be no one in there going, ‘you know what, we’ve overachieved or we’ve played exactly to our ability,'” Price said. “I think there’s an overriding feeling that we have a better team than is represented by our win-loss record that we’ve left winnable games out on the field and walked away with losses.
“We’d have to admit to ourselves that we don’t have enough talent. I don’t think you can find in the coaches’ room or the manager’s office anyone who would agree that we didn’t have enough talent to competitive in the division in the second half.”

I disagree. I think we need a right handed power hitter to bat clean up and play LF.
Why? one reason is that there are not that many that can fill that description and we have gone 6 consecutive seasons since we had one; Mr. Dunn. Obviously it will come down to availability and who wants whom for whom. However, had we had a bone fide power hitter in the 4 hole, some of those many 1-R games that resulted in defeat would have been reversed. I continue to believe that the two most important statistics in all of baseball are R and RBI. Those two stats can be obtained by a power hitting clean up hitter. Yes, we need to get on base more, but I remain convinced that with the team we have, and a lot of coaching, we can return to the over .300 club for OBP. Knocking them in is where we need the most help. Again, there aren’t that many talented and proven clean up hitters around, but I for one would take a HUGE run at one or two of the biggies. We have a plethora of trade bait and would need to clear salary in order to return a biggie on board, so I put to you, Mr. Jocketty…can you spin some of your magic between now and opening day, 2015?

I agree, I have thought all along over the years since Dunn left that we
needed a slugger
In left. As you say with Votto and others back healthy the base runners situation will improve. Sure hope we can take care of the left field problem.

It’s hard for me to believe that with the players we currently have (Hamilton, Phillips, Votto, Frazier, Bruce, Mesoraco, Cozart), and with a ‘bull’ in the 4 hole, that we can’t get back on track; track meaning 15 more W instead of L. Especially with our ridiculous 1-R losses record. And it’s equally hard for me to believe that the a number of the above named in this post are thought to not have ‘talent’; yet even I have thought the thought once or twice this season. What matters though, is what Mr. Jocketty and Mr. Castellini think about that issue.

HV…I used to think that Heisey could handle the position well, but he’s had ample opportunity to take over the job but it never happened. However, with that said, he is one of the more successful ‘off the bench’ hitters I have seen in quite some time. Also, he is a very good fielder and can play in CF or LF in the late innings, if necessary. He may be one of those guys that finds himself as a ‘role bench player’; good news is that we need those kinda guys too.

Reds need a Power bat in the middle of the lineup. they need that late inning threat that this current team doesn’t have..A big bat that puts fear in the other teams pitchers.. Even late in the game.. Sucks we Reds fans have to watch ANOTHER Cardinals Team go far in the post season. I WISH it upset the Big man enough to do something about it.. !!!Mark Cuban has the dough.. sell a huge share to him..He hates to loose.. Acceptance should NEVER be the rule.. And I am still waiting on accountability from Price.. Bruce/Hoover/Cozart to name a few have never had to earn anything this year.. Just keep making outs or losing ball games. the front office better not stand pat.. you will see a HUGE reduction in season ticket sales!!// Bank it!

I guess it’s this sports writers job to keep writing. Nobody cares about this year anymore. We don’t care about the lineup. Walt Jocketty has got my attention for one more year. If I don’t see his plan come into some kind of recognizable cohesion, where I can say hey this could work in a year or two, then it’s time to fire everyone, hire new folks with a new plan and see if they can do any better. Keep doing that till we find a formula that works.

Matt…Mark put up this blog to keep us informed with super posts and further, to allow us a place to air our thoughts about the Reds. He seldom interferes with our rants and posts whatsoever. The guy is a sports writer that follows the Reds, writes about the Reds, tweets about the Reds and then posts updates to this blog for us to read, and throwing caution to the wind…allows us to comment on all of baseball including his thoughts and postings. I trust you appreciate what Mark does and the work he puts in to his work, in order to accomplish what he does overall; I know I do.

Matt…sorry, I didn’t mean that to come off directed solely to you; it was meant for the entire board.

Gee Matt, for a guy who doesn’t care — you still take the time to go to the blog, click on the entry, click on the comment option and then write out a comment to say you don’t care. That’s a lot of effort for your apathy. Thanks, I guess.

Have loads of respect for what Billy Hamilton has done this season, but he is no Shin Soo Choo and anyone can say what they want about Votto, but a healthy Votto DOES make a difference in this line up. We can only hope that next season the Reds have it together and are healthy. Let’s not forget our pitching–what has happened???? I do not want to hear the words SINCE THE ALL STAR BREAK any more. Just leave out the starters and let the other players go for it. At this point in the season with the REDS out of any contention, it makes sense to everyone but Bryan Price. HELLO??????

MC…one point about Hamilton…it’s his rookie year. Pretty amazing in my mind.

Choo this season…
123 G
455 AB
13 HR
40 RBI
.242 BA
.340 OBP
.374 SLG
.714 OPS
-0.0 WAR
Currently on 60-day DL
Appears Jocketty did good on this play. What would we
all be saying if he left Hamilton back in AAA and played
Choo for this season at $XXX? Be honest, none of us would
have been happy.

Welcome to the club , Matt .

Concerning tonights lineup: YAWN!

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