It’s the SWEEP edition of the game thread!

Micah Owings makes his Reds pitching debut tonight at Miller Park, as the Reds try to sweep the first of three series on this ten-game road trip. He’ll be countered by Braden Looper, who always reminds me of that great walkoff homer he gave up to Joe Randa one fine Opening Day.

While you’re waiting for the game to start, or between innings, don’t miss this good post by Slyde, in which he attempts to ask the question we’ve all been pondering. That is, has Brandon Phillips really turned over a new leaf, or is there some other explanation for his outstanding patience early in the season?

A win and a sweep before tomorrow’s off-day would be very nice indeed. Discuss the game here.

93 Responses

  1. doug

    I am pretty excited to see Owings pitch. Its been a while since he has pitched in a game that matters, it will be interesting to see if his stuff is where it was pre injury.

  2. Michael Howes

    That’s an excellent short article with hyper-detail on the pitches Phillips is swing at and not swing at.

    every single # leans towards him being more selective/patient at the plate than previously in his career.
    He’s seeing more pitches per PA. He’s swinging at fewer and he’s swinging at fewer outside of the strike zone. The curious # is that he’s swinging at a LOT fewer STRIKES. 17% fewer strikes than his career average. Lets hope that’s him “looking for his pitch”
    The two questions/wonders I have would be is this just small sample size or will this continue to be his approach? And I’d almost rather compare this years #s with last instead of his career because his career got a slow start and I feel like the last two years are more of the Brandon Phillips we have than the 900+ PA over from 2002-06

  3. Chad Dotson

    Re: Phillips, my fingers remain crossed. The signs are definitely good.

    As for Owings, I really hope he gets off to a good start tonight.

  4. Y-City Jim

    Hernandez and Gonzalez batting ahead of Owings.

  5. CeeKeR

    I see the black hole that is Hernandez and Gonzelez makes another appearance.

  6. CeeKeR

    Great minds think alike. Too bad Dusty doesn’t have a great mind.

  7. Chris W.

    I almost made a post/topic today about whether or not Dusty would move Owings up in the order. What are the chances that at some point Owings bats 7th or 8th in the lineup?

  8. Y-City Jim

    Looper was up with most of those pitches. One would think if that continues that he gets taken deep a few times tonight.

  9. Section 106, Row 1

    Let’s get an acceptable sample size before we Hernandez and Gonzo become the replacement whipping boy for Dunn. Although I must admit that I told my coworkers that I was starting a Hannigan fanclub.

    Gotta love Tavarez working six pitches in the lead off. Good patience at the plate all around in the first few games.

  10. Section 106, Row 1

    Let’s get an acceptable sample size before Hernandez and Gonzo become the replacement whipping boy for Dunn. Although I must admit that I told my coworkers that I was starting a Hannigan fanclub.

    Gotta love Tavarez working six pitches in the lead off. Good patience at the plate all around in the first few games.

  11. Y-City Jim

    Playing shallow helped that time.

  12. CeeKeR

    While I HATE the bottom two in the lineup tonight (not Owings), I think batting Owings 9th sends him the message “you are here for your pitching first, hitting second” which isn’t necessarily bad a thing. Still, if Dusty continues to play guys who simply can’t hit, he’s got to move Owings up eventually…though I seem to recall thinking he’d stop batting Patterson leadoff too…

  13. Y-City Jim

    Would moving the pitcher to the 7th spot cause issues later in a game after the pitcher is pulled from a game?

  14. Chris W.

    I figure moving the pitcher goes against Dusty’s positional selection for a lineup.

  15. Section 106, Row 1

    Wasn’t the option last year BAKO and ROSS and BELISLE was in our rotation? Owings batting ninth may get him a few less at bats, but hitting before taveras and Dickerson may make for some interesting decisions for the opposing manager.

  16. Y-City Jim

    I’ll take the sac fly after Owings fell behind 3-0.

  17. Y-City Jim

    Corey Hart sort of looks like Shaggy from Scooby Doo.

  18. Michael Howes

    While I wish the Reds had a more productive SS and C I want to point out that Janish and Hanigan are not the saviors. I’d almost put money that Gonzales will out produce Janish

    If we look at pre-season projections it’s painfully obvious
    2009 projected EQA
    .254 Hernandez, Ramon
    .223 Hanigan, Ryan
    .206 Castillo, Wilkin
    .200 Mesoraco, Devin
    .178 Tatum, Craig

    .272 Hairston, Jerry
    .256 Frazier, Todd
    .249 Keppinger, Jeff
    .245 Valaika, Chris
    .243 Gonzalez, Alex
    .221 Janish, Paul

    I’d give up a little defense and start Hairston at SS

    by the way Keppinger started out super hot in Houston. He’s 5 for 9 with a double, HR, 1BB and NO SO but he’s played 2B and 3B.

  19. Section 106, Row 1

    Why is Hardy sitting? He seemed like he was just heating up.

  20. brublejr

    I am not feeling good about tonight, If I remember correctly this team is not very good against Looper. Of course Looper isn’t pitching for St. Louis anymore…I think they give those guys some sort of magic juice, I mean look at what Loshe has done with them.

  21. Section 106, Row 1

    Does anybody else have trouble seeing the bottom line on Fox? I can never see it.

  22. Michael Howes

    yeah Looper is 4-2 with a 3.36 ERA vs the Reds (career ERA 3.92).
    So he’s significantly better against the Reds than a lot of other teams

  23. Section 106, Row 1

    Two big moments. Bill Hall made an out and Votto looked comfortable making a play with the pitcher.

  24. al

    owings stroke as a hitter looks a lot more natural than his motion as a pitcher.

  25. Section 106, Row 1

    Owings doesn’t have a very smooth delivery. His wind up looks good, but it is a bit jerky when he goes towards the plate.

  26. Section 106, Row 1

    This is where a catcher goes out and settles the pitcher down…I don’t know if Hernandez has ever been that guy

  27. CeeKeR

    Phillips back to first pitch swinging on that double-play groundout.

  28. Chris

    That play WAS NOT GOOD. Good Lord, guys. The facts that (1) he dove, and (2) he IS ZERO FOR THE SEASON does not make it any better.

  29. Chad Dotson

    Shouldn’t he have been able to field that one without dropping to his knees or whatever? What’s Gonzo’s range factor? Looks like his feet are in cement.

  30. Chris

    Exactly. He went all of 3 steps to his right, dove/fell, then did a hop-throw lob thing that barely got Jason Kendall. Either the ball was slowly hit, in which getting to it was no big deal; or it was hard-hit, in which the play was closer than it it should’ve been. (The truth is somewhere in the middle).

    My stupid icon is back to its old tricks.

  31. Michael Howes

    Gonzalez has nowhere near the range he use to. In the couple of games I’ve watched this season he looks like a different player than years past. It has to be the knee injury right?

    He’s also not young and his defense was already in decline and now he’s missed a year with an injury that could seriously effect any SS or 2B

    Here is his range factor decline before this season
    4.87 2005 (much better than league average)
    4.36 2006 (worse than league average)
    4.24 2007 (much worse than league average)

    his career is 4.48
    this season? 3.60 (league average is also lower at 3.92)

    He’s been SOOOO bad at the plate and SOOOO bad in the field even with the small sample size from watching him play I am starting to wonder if his career isn’t pretty much over. 32 is old for a SS

  32. Michael Howes

    More on Gonzos defense
    I know it’s a small sample size but looking at UZR Gonzo’s defense has been on of the worst SS in baseball

    The only SS in baseball who’ve been worse and some are a bit of a surprise; Tulowitzki (Col), Rodriguez (SD), Greene (Stl), and Everett (Det). I thought all of those guys were good defenders.

    Tops in baseball? Nick Punto

  33. doug

    So much for relying on the home run, that is obviously overrated.

  34. Chad Dotson

    Alright, Dickerson contributes! Two run homer, and the game is tied.

    Of course, Welsh is talking about what a high ceiling Dickerson has.

    He’s 27. He’s a nice player, who should be able to help for a few years. But his ceiling, at this point, really isn’t that high.

  35. Chad Dotson

    We have to rely on the homer, because the Reds just aren’t getting any hits right now.

  36. Chris

    Yeah, I love Chris, but they have been saying some strange stuff tonight. Like that bit where Thom said “of all the stats,” a team’s record when it scores first, and when its opponent scores first, are the most telling. I still don’t know exactly what the heck he was saying – but I think it’s essentially the equivalent of saying “a team’s won-loss record is pretty indicative of who they’ve played.”

  37. Chris

    Am I evil to think the “42” thing is pretty lame pandering?

    Of course, I think “God Bless America” doesn’t belong during the ballgame, either.

  38. Chad Dotson

    Before tonight’s game, the Reds are:

    –28th out of 30 teams in batting average;
    –30th out of 30 in hits;
    –25th out of 30 in runs scored;
    –28th out of 30 in slugging percentage;
    –14th out of 30 in OBP;
    –7th out of 30 in walks.

    If this team weren’t being patient and getting on base via the walk, they might be 1-6 right now.

  39. Chad Dotson

    “42” was great when Junior had the idea a couple of years ago to wear it. It was a heartfelt gesture.

    There is, however, absolutely nothing that Bud Selig won’t take and run right into the ground.

  40. Jared

    Chad – haven’t most other teams played a game or 2 more, though? Sure the offense is weak, but give em tonight’s stats.

  41. Michael Howes

    That’s funny about Dickerson’s ceiling. Essentially he’s reached it. The only questions remaining are will he come ANYWHERE NEAR last year (I highly doubt it) and how soon will he decline, 2011? I actually don’t think he’s a regular starter unless he’s starting in CF.

  42. Chris

    I’m not all that interested in those questions, Mike. If I’m Walt Jocketty, I see Chris Dickerson as a 1-2 year stopgap, who might be able to keep a bench job for a few years after that. I plan accordingly – have a legitimate starting CF in mind for 2011. If Dickerson’s still productive at that point, I can flip him (or my other guy).

  43. brublejr

    I hate Bill Hall…hopefully he won’t kill the ball here.

  44. Chris W.

    What happened there? That was the strangest play off the bat of Bill Hall

  45. brublejr

    Dammit…I hate Bill Hall…we should trade for him, just so we don’t have to face him anymore.

  46. Jimmy James

    Chris is right…Dickerson is a nice enough player, but he’s not a starter on a good team. He’s a 4th outfielder on a contender.

  47. brublejr

    wow…not a good night for Burton

  48. james

    well.. looks like burton was the wrong guy to go to.

  49. Michael Howes

    Re: the offense so far
    looking at EQA the Reds offense ranks 20th in baseball and and looking at RSAA the Reds offense is 17th.

    Interestingly enough the pitching has been almost dead on average and ranks tied for 13th.

    It’s surprising they’ve got a winning record allowing more runs than they’ve scored

  50. nick in va

    Any idea what Hall’s stats are against the Reds?

  51. Chad Dotson

    Burton stunk up the joint tonight, but I actually want to give Dusty Baker kudos on something…

    Burton is probably the second best pitcher in the pen, an 8th inning-type guy, but Dusty brought him in in the 6th with a runner in scoring position. It was an important point in the game, but it’s not often that a manager brings in one of his best in that situation. Usually, it’s a “middle reliever” who comes in.

    Maybe Dusty thinks Rhodes or Weathers are better setup men. Or maybe he brought in his best option in a crucial situation.

    Because it doesn’t work out doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good idea.

  52. Jimmy James

    Wow, Ramon Hernandez is a stiff.

  53. brublejr

    Agreed Chad, That is what I was thinking when he brought him in…too bad Burton stunk it up tonight

  54. Jimmy James

    I’m starting to think we may not sweep this series. I don’t think this team is capable of scoring six runs in two innings.

  55. Michael Howes

    strange stat of the day

    Only 5 hitters have more walks on the season than EE
    Two of the 5 hitters are the modern day kings of the BB, Manny and Dunn
    They both have 11 BB and EE has 8

    Wow Dunn has been the most productive hitter in the NL so far this season. His OBP leads baseball at .576

  56. Y-City Jim

    I should have went to bed once my wife stole the laptop from me early in the game.

    Only one walk for the Reds tonight.

  57. Y-City Jim

    The Brewers need new uniforms. I think they should have big beer mug logos on them.

  58. Michael Howes

    only 1 BB but I think that’s OK with the way Looper was pitching.
    he was throwing lots of strikes…not saying Looper pitched great or anything but he was throwing strikes.

    and as we might have expected since Owings hadn’t started in so long he wasn’t throwing strikes.
    He threw 47 strikes out of 89 pitches.

  59. Jimmy James

    Wait a minute. I think I’m confused.

  60. CeeKeR

    6 runs in the 9th… Too bad the team’s built for HAVOC not power!

  61. Jimmy James

    Coffey. Like the drink, only spelled different.

  62. jason

    well, as meatloaf once crooned “2 out of 3 aint bad…”. next oswal

  63. Chad Dotson

    Yeah, Jason…two out of three, against a division rival, on the road. I’ll take that every time.

  64. Y-City Jim

    Let go to Houston a wreak some HAVOC on Roy Oswalt for a change.

  65. brublejr

    I’ll take the two of three…Now let’s get past Oswalt (who has killed us in the past)

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