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Red With Frustration

Posted by Matt on July 16, 2007

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(This will be myself and “Charlie Hustle” at the next Cincinnati Reds game we go to together.)

The 2007 edition of the Cincinnati Reds might be the most frustrating team for me to watch in a long time. At least with the Cincinnati “Bungles” years in football, I had come to terms with how bad the team was and it almost became comical to see just how bad the likes of David Klingler or Akili Smith really could be.

Nonetheless, the Reds are extremely frustrating and there were several questioned moments for me while watching yesterday’s day-game against the New York Mets.

The first transgression came before the game even started, it came when manager Pete Mackanin penciled in the batting order:

  1. Ryan Freel – .248/.304 (batting average/on-base percentage – – entering yesterday’s game)
  2. Norris Hopper – .268/.318
  3. Jeff Conine – .263/.320
  4. Brandon Phillips -.280/.326
  5. Adam Dunn – .256/.359
  6. Edwin Encarnacion – .264/.347
  7. Pedro Lopez – .000/.000 (0-for-3 this season after being called up from Triple-A Louisville – – .339/.396 for the Bats)
  8. David Ross – .188/.242 (we’ll get to this shortly)
  9. Kyle Lohse – .172/.194 (he’s a pitcher but he’s nearly as good as David Ross…bat Lohse 8th and Ross 9th)

Now if you’re going to bench your two best statistical hitters (Scott Hatteberg and Ken Griffey, Junior), why do it on the same day? Also, why make this roster move when you’re short your regular Shortstop and batting a player in that position who has only played in one Major League game this season?

We have a chance to split a four-game series with the National League East leading New York Mets on the road, all that I can ask is “WHY?”

Meanwhile, this was sitting on our bench:

  • Scott Hatteberg – .312/.403
  • Ken Griffey, Junior – .283/.388 with 23-home runs and 59-RBIs

By the way, the Reds have only one .300+ hitter.

Top of the First Inning:

Ryan Freel leads off with a fly out to start the game. Now I love Freel and the way he plays the game in the image of Pete Rose, but going in to yesterday’s day-game, Freel had an on-base percentage of only .304 and that is simply not good enough to be a lead-off hitter. Although Freel has the ability to wreak havoc on the base paths once he gets there, he’s only getting there 30% of the time and that is only good enough for a 6th or 7th hitter in most other lineups.

Norris Hopper walks but is later picked off by pitcher Oliver Perez who, Thom Brenneman and Chris Welsh say, has a terrible pick off move, however, it was apparently good enough to fool Hopper. Just so we’re clear, nobody has been thrown out at Second Base while trying to steal while Perez has been on the mound this season. Fundamentals, people. This ends the inning with Brandon Phillips still in the Batter’s Box after Jeff Conine waives the white flag in the three spot (does it really matter how he got out, he’s 73-years old).

Top of the Second Inning:

Brandon Phillips leads off the inning with an infield hit and was awarded Second Base after an errant throw by Mets Shortstop Jose Reyes. A lead off man on Second Base to start the inning, this should be a GUARANTEED run (we will discuss this further in a moment).

Adam Dunn comes up and strikes out by chasing a curve ball low and away, he wasn’t even close and I have seen him chase that same pitch approximately 1,000,000 times now. Honestly, I am over Adam Dunn and his strikeouts, just let him go to Free Agency. The Big Donkey is batting only .213 with runners in scoring position with 30-strike outs. Only half of Dunn’s 24-home runs going in to yesterday’s game came with runners on base.

Adam Dunn – “King Of The Meaningless Home Run”

  • 12 solo home runs
  • Only 2 home runs with more than one runner on base
  • Only 9 of 24 home runs came in games that the Cincinnati Reds have won

Did Adam Dunn shorten his swing to just put the ball in play to move Phillips to third? No. Can he even lay down a bunt? Probably not.

Edwin Encarnacion walks admist talk from Brenneman and Welsh as to why the Reds haven’t given the green light to Phillips to steal third on a pitcher who, when on the mound, has not seen a runner thrown out on an attempted steal all season (I am starting to sound like a broken record). Phillips stagnating at Second Base takes any chance of a sacrifice fly completely out of the question.

Pedro Lopez pops out but hes a career Triple-A type player, at best, and with Alex Gonzalez on the Bereavement List (thoughts and prayers for his ten-month-old baby), I will leave this one alone.

Now, who comes to the plate with two outs? None other than David “Toeing The Mendoza Line” Ross. Ross is batting a robust .140 with runners in scoring position and .099 with two-outs. God, help us all. Ross was ten seconds behind on four fastballs, fouling off a couple before going down swinging, but at least he went down swinging…right? Ross hasn’t turned on a fastball since Little League, by the way.

I never thought that I would see the day where I wanted Jason LaRue’s bat back in the lineup. Here are the career numbers for some of the Reds’ more recent backstops (career batting average/career on-base percentage (seasons with the reds) – – as of July 14, 2007):

  • David Ross – .220/.296 (2006 – Present)
  • Javier Valentin – .245/.303 (2004 – Present)
  • Jason “Rusty” LaRue – .237/.340 (1999 – 2006)
  • Kelly Stinnett – .236/.315 (2001 – 2003)
  • Corky Miller – .190/.285 (2001 – 2004)
  • Benito Santiago – .263/.307 (2000)
  • Eddie Taubensee – .274/.331 (1995 – 2000)
  • Joe Oliver – .247/.299 (1989 – 1997)

I don’t think the Reds have had a catcher worth anything since Johnny Bench in the ’70s. Unbelievable.

The convenient fact regarding Ross’ strike out is that pitcher Kyle Lohse will lead off the Third Inning. YAY!

A batting average of .200 is no longer the “Mendoza Line,” it is the “Ross Line” henceforth.

Also, it is worth mentioning that during David Ross’ foolish at bat, Encarnacion and Phillips received the sign for a double steal and took Second Base and Third Base respectively with two outs on the scoreboard. A day late and a dollar short, Pete.

The inning ends with Phillips still on the base paths after the aforementioned lead-off appearance on Second Base. If the first batter of an inning immediately reaches Second Base, HE SHOULD SCORE 75% OF THE TIME BY MY CALCULATIONS. I cannot stress the importance of “small ball” enough.

Later in the game…

Top of the Fourth Inning:

Adam Dunn hits a massive home run, his 25th of the season. How many runners were on base? Zero.

Top of the Sixth Inning:

Adam Dunn comes to the plate with two runners on and what is the result? Line-out to the Center Fielder.

The Reds went on to lose by a final score of 2-5 after three straight outs (A. Dunn, E. Encarnacion, and P. Lopez) in the top of the Ninth Inning against All-Star closer, Billy Wagner.

I nominate Josh “Charlie Hustle” Stankovich to be the new General Manager of the Cincinnati Reds, replacing Wayne “Burnt Crispy” Krivsky (Thanks, 700WLW!) and he can take his manuscripts with him and fix the Reds (pops) because I don’t know how much more of this I can take.

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One Response to “Red With Frustration”

  1. Doc Hancock said

    You know something, I watched the game on FSN Ohio yesterday afternoon and I thought to myself after I heard that Griffey and Hatterberg weren’t in the lineup, that these guys in Cincinnati really don’t care about winning or better than yet, have no direction for this team. They ought to refund all the money they made off their season ticket packages this year and write a letter to those people saying that we’re sorry and we’ll give you a plan that’ll work next year. And it doesn’t mean hiring Joe Giradi either.

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