Time for a recap of tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Houston 4
Cincinnati 1
WP: Sampson (2-0)
LP: Cordero (0-1)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Let’s start with Johnny Cueto, who was simply outstanding on the mound. Seven innings, 7 hits, one run, one BB, 5 K. He matched Oswalt pitch-for-pitch. Great stuff.

–Joey Votto is the man, and I will listen to no argument to the contrary. He’s a big winner; he’s so money, and he doesn’t even know it.

–Two more hits for Alex Gonzalez. He’s inching his way toward the Mendoza line.

–How good has Arthur Rhodes been? Another fine outing tonight.

NEGATIVES
–Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: the Reds’ offense is TERRIBLE! Yeah, it was Oswalt, but come on….one stupid run? It’s a crime to waste such a great start by Cueto.

–No no, CoCo.

–He’s my favorite Red, but I haven’t seen a player struggle like Edwin Encarnacion in a long, long time.

ETC.
–Houston has won 10 straight games at Great American Ballpark. That can’t be right, can it? Can it?

–I’m so sick of Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt, I could scream.

–Chris Dickerson bumped heads with Miguel Tejada in a play at second base. It was a fairly hard collision, and Dickerson ended up leaving the game. Hopefully, we’ll hear soon that he’s just fine.

–We’re quick to point out Dusty Baker’s shortcomings, so I want to praise him when he makes a particularly smart move. With the game tied in the top of the 9th inning, Dusty brought Francisco Cordero into the game. It was really important to hold the Astros there, so why not bring in your best reliever? Most managers won’t bring in their closer unless it’s a save situation.

Kudos to Dusty. He didn’t play it “by the book,” and it was the correct move. No, it didn’t work out, but that’s results-based analysis. It was the smart play.

–Laynce Nix hit his fourth double of the season and scored a run. I don’t know what his defense is like, but I’m really starting to wonder whether Nix shouldn’t be starting against all right-handers. I think he comes out pretty well in a comparison with Chris Dickerson, when you look at their minor league numbers. (Again, however, I know very little of Nix’s defensive reputation.)

–Free Adam Rosales! Give him 3-5 starts a week at 2B, 3B, SS, 1B…wherever you can get him into the lineup. He’s not going to be a star, but he can help this team right now.

26 Responses

  1. Matt Steele

    Good job by Dusty with that move. Too bad it didn’t work out, but I’ve always been a believer of the “best reliever when he’s needed, save situation or not”

    if Dickerson goes on the DL, you’d have to think that Rosales is coming up

  2. mike

    Nix plays OK defense. He’s been a CFer most of his career (195 GS in CF, 28 GS RF, 6 GS LF). His #s looks a bit odd, like he’s never really learned LF/RF. His career UZR in CF is 19.6 while his UZR for RF/CF are slightly in the negative.

    His Range Factor is ever so slightly below average for CF and above average for LF/RF

    In other words he looks to be an average defender.

    On thing is pretty clear about Nix
    career tOPS+ (OPS)
    109 (.703) vs R
    44 (.474) vs L

    so lets not get our hopes up, remember this guy has a career 68 OPS+
    I really want everyone to stop and look at this for a second. A career 68 OPS+? That’s bad right? REALLY BAD. So I decided to look at just how bad.
    Here are the worst hitting active outfielders with at least 900 plate appearances

    OPS DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE PA
    1 Joey Gathright -.135 .631 .766 1302
    2 Jason Tyner -.130 .637 .767 1467
    3 Willy Taveras -.104 .669 .773 2234
    4 Alfredo Amezaga -.103 .674 .777 1187
    5 Laynce Nix -.094 .674 .767 950
    6 Jerry Hairston Jr. -.092 .677 .769 1083
    7 Endy Chavez -.090 .684 .774 2354
    8 Jeremy Reed -.084 .677 .762 1178
    9 Willie Harris -.082 .688 .770 1042
    10 Corey Patterson -.072 .698 .770 3728

  3. EKyRedsFan

    DL C-Dick and bring up Rosales. What is Walt Jocketty saying about all this?? I don’t think I’ve heard anything from him in a while.

  4. GRF

    I watched Chuck, and hope it is back. Far more interesting than most of what is on TV.

    Is it time to give EE a couple days off to give him some time to regroup? Seemed to do Bruce some good…

  5. GregD

    Isn’t bringing in your closer to pitch the 9th in a tie game at home “by the book”? He wouldn’t get a save opportunity in a tie game in the 9th inning or later.

  6. Jose

    well i just have to say
    Nix can’t do much worse than Dickerson has done in Left and he is already hitting better

  7. mike

    Re: “What is Walt Jocketty saying about all this?? I don’t think I’ve heard anything from him in a while.”

    Jocketty was quoted about a week ago as saying (I’m paraphrasing most of this)

    There is nothing wrong with the offense
    The offense will come around
    We aren’t looking at any of the available free agents
    And Rosales isn’t coming up but he’s (and this is the part I laughed at) “done everything we’ve asked him to do”

    Jocketty? O’Brien? Bowden? Krivsky?

    all the same

  8. mike

    Re: “Isn’t bringing in your closer to pitch the 9th in a tie game at home “by the book”?”

    yup…..it’s by the “book”

    it’s an old idea that’s been done for at least 30 years….maybe only 25

    it is the thing “baseball people” do

    but in this case, it happens to be the right move. So no surprise just good baseball

  9. al

    actually, if you want results-based analysis, I would look at what coco has done in non save situations. From what I’ve seen, not much.

  10. Matt B.

    Yeah, al, that’s what Brantley was saying.

  11. pinson343

    Bringing the closer in the top of the 9th was, as others have said, is by the book, from there on there’s no possibility for a save by the home team.

    The situation with Rosalaes is frustrating. I’m not viewing him as a starter, but he can help the team in important ways, as many on the blog have been pointing out.
    Is the brain trust waiting until we’re 20 games out ?

    Right now, against righties, I’d put Nix in LF.

  12. doktor

    @chad “I’m so sick of Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt, I could scream.”

    amen to that. and to think the reds passed on Berkman in the MLB draft for brandon larson. also I remember trade stories/rumors of Adam Dunn for Roy Oswalt trade talk several years back.

    If only….. 🙂

  13. jr1972

    Edwin Encarnacion is really starting to worry me. Although it is not unprecedented, didn’t he hit like .150 last May? Is his offseason preparation bad?

  14. doktor

    Votto – gotta give him his due. full count against Oswalt and gets a hit off the breaking pitch. gotta love the reaction by I-Rod catching, like he could not believe it Votto was able to get a hit. though season long ways to go, maybe votto will finally end the reds streak of without a 100-rbi 1st baseman. (Tony Perez-1975-109 rbi)

  15. Chad Dotson

    Maybe you guys are right, but I really don’t think CoCo’s usage in that situation is “by the book.” I base this on

    (1) I don’t think many other managers would bring their closers in in that spot; and

    (2) Jeff Brantley disagreed with the move, and he only knows moves that are in “the book”.

    Just seems like the vast majority of managers would bring someone else in there, and so that would indicate that the counter-move is actually what’s “in the book.”

  16. GregD

    Last year Edwin had a good April, but a big May slump. He had an April slump then decent May in 2007.

  17. Chad Dotson

    actually, if you want results-based analysis, I would look at what coco has done in non save situations. From what I’ve seen, not much.

    Okay, let’s look at that:
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.cgi?n1=cordefr01&year=Career&t=p#outco

    Cordero’s career ERA in save situations: 3.38
    Cordero’s career ERA in non-save situations: 3.13

    Opponents OPS against Cordero is basically the same in either situation.

    There’s basically no difference (well, he was somewhat better in non-save situations). I want him in there in any situation where we really need to hold the opposition.

  18. GregD

    I’ll probably be sorry for asking, but what was Brantley’s objection?

    I thought this was how closers ended up with wins…pitching the 9th inning (or extra innings) of a tie game at home.

    I don’t know about the other 30 managers in baseball, but I think Torre used to use Mariano Rivera in this fashion.

  19. Glenn

    Brantley was commenting that he didn’t know why it was but when you bring a closers into a non closer situation their ERA’s are over 10.00.

    Chad’s anaysis shoots that down.

  20. GregD

    Brantley was trying to talk and do math at the same time? 😀

  21. preach

    I understand what Brantley is saying, and actually I agree in part, however this case does not hold with the logic.

    That logic dictates that you don’t bring in ‘your guy’ in a non-save situation because he thrives on the save pressure. However, the game was tied in the ninth inning. That type of pressure was there and CoCo should absolutely be the guy you go to, especially in the first game of a series and your starter pitched the type of ball Cueto did.

    Also, maybe CoCo needed the work. We are never privy to the conversations that go on in the dugout/bullpen.

  22. Dan

    Nix has a career .271 OBP.

    Dickerson, for the 2nd straight year, has an OBP that is more than .100 higher than his BA. (Small sample warnings, of course.)

    Basically, if they both hit .250 (reasonable expectation probably), Nix is likely to put up an OBP of about .290 while Dickerson is likely to put up an OBP of about .350.

    Give me Dickerson. (I hope he’s OK!)

    Actually, what I’d like to see is a Dickerson/Gomes platoon in LF. Gomes is crushing lefties in Louisville again.

  23. Chad Dotson

    Dan, you may be right about Dickerson. I think your projection is very optimistic on him (given his minor league history), but it’s not completely unreasonable.

    I think you underrate, Nix, though. Look at Nix’s minor league OBP over 3000 ABs. It’s not far below Dickerson’s…but his SLG is significantly higher.

    Nix’s major league numbers are very skewed because of his injury history. You mention his .271 OBP, but 90% of the ABs in that sample were when he was 22-24 years old (he hasn’t played more than 19 ML games in a season since then). I don’t think that’s a fair comparison.

    Neither are good long-term options for LF, but I really think I’d take Nix for the short term. Let’s be honest, Dickerson never had a decent year until he repeated AAA. He could be a good 4th outfielder for 3-4 years, but no good team should count on him.

  24. Dan

    Fair points, Chad.

    Do keep in mind, though, that most of Nix’s minor league AB’s came in the Texas League or the PCL, and my understanding is that those are very strongly “hitter” leagues – the environment really jacks up offense.

    Also, Dickerson is about 1.5 years younger than Nix.

    All in all, here are the PECOTA projections for both of them (ignoring playing time limitations):

    Dickerson (PECOTA 2009) – .247/.332/.430 with -1 defense in CF
    Nix (PECOTA 2009) – .230/.288/.429 with -7 defense in CF

    Neither one is going to hit for a great average, probably. I still prefer Dickerson b/c I think he has a better walk rate, better speed, and better defense. Probably less power, but it’s reasonably close.

    I’d at least like to see what we have in Dickerson before giving up on him. I’m thinking at least 300 PA’s this year. He’s no slam dunk, but he COULD be pretty good, and he’s young(ish) and cheap.

  25. Drew Nelson

    What do we do with Votto once our number 1 pick from last seasons makes his way to the major league club?