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

FINAL
Cincinnati 4
Pittsburgh 0
WP: Arroyo (4-1)
LP: Duke (3-2)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Great outing for Bronson Arroyo. Yeah, it was against the Pirates, but it is great to see. Eight innings, four hits, no runs allowed. Dropped his ERA below five. Pitching performances like this need to be routine if the Reds are going to win consistently with the pathetic “offense” on this club.

–Ryan Hanigan reached base three times, he’s hitting .412, he has a cannon for an arm. There’s a lot to like about him right now.

–Adam Rosales was on base three times, as well. The legend continues to grow.

–Joey Votto: 2-4 with an RBI and a walk. In case you hadn’t noticed, he’s good.

NEGATIVES
–TOS*

–Jerry Hairston, Jr., is a disaster: 0-4, 2 Ks. The only people surprised are the ones who thought he’d “figured it out” last year. The rest of us look at his crappy career numbers and realize that he’s a decent spare part to have around (I don’t mind having him on the roster at all), but you can’t play him too often.

ETC.
–Back to two over .500, and a good start to the short road trip. Maybe the Reds should play all their games on the road. Either way, the good guys are now tied for second in the NL Central (with Milwaukee), four games behind St. Louis.

–Rosales dove into the stands to catch a little pop fly. It almost doesn’t matter how well he plays, if he keeps doing stuff like that and running to first base after a walk, he’s going to become a fan favorite and have a relatively long career in Cincinnati.

Then, of course, they compared him to Chris Sabo, Ryan Freel, and Pete Rose. This stuff is so predictable.

–Interesting stat from Mike in the game thread: Reds #8 hitters have a 564 OPS; Reds #9 hitters have an OPS of .545 OPS. Yes, our pitchers (and pinch-hitters) are almost out-hitting our 8th place hitters. We’ve played a month; it’s not that early any longer.

–Fourth shutout of the year for the Reds. Last year, they had 6 shutouts all season long. That’s good. Also good: as noted by al, the Reds are working an a streak of 19 consecutive scoreless innings.

*This offense stinks.

28 Responses

  1. Bogey

    They just scored 4 runs to win 4-0. How many games do you think they may win if we score 4 every game? I’m guessing more than they lose.

  2. Y-City Jim

    Unfortunately, in 22 ball games, they have scored less than 4 runs on 14 occasions.

  3. brublejr

    I wonder how it will all shake out once EE returns if Rosales keeps up this pace? It should be interesting.

  4. Matt WI

    Too bad about Hairston so far. Stinks that two of the front office “priorities” (Lincoln, Hairston) from the off season are struggling. Who runs the talent evaluation around here anyway?

    Great win. Beating the Pirates is a must, and Duke has been very good so far. Let’s hope Owings can keep the starting staff rolling.

  5. Matt WI

    Also, Owings is going yard tomorrow night. You heard it hear first.

  6. preach

    I concur about Hairston. He looked TERRIBLE in the two at bats when he had runners on third with less than two outs. If we are going to play small ball, we can ill afford to squander those opportunities.

    CoCo’s stuff tonight looked flat out filthy. He was painting corners and busting them hard inside. When he’s on, which is usually, he is a pleasure to watch.

  7. Matt WI

    “here” first. Proofread man, proofread.

  8. GregD

    Bogey, if the Reds scored exactly 4 runs every game, I would expect them to lose more than they win. For reference, the BEST NL pitching staff last year (Dodgers) allowed 4.0 runs per game. The NL average was 4.63 runs per game.

    The best NL pitching staff in 2007 (Padres) allowed 4.09 runs per game.
    The best NL pitching staff in 2006 (Padres) allowed 4.19 runs per game.

    These teams also had the benefit of pitching more than half their games in pitchers parks.

  9. mike

    Bogey, good wonder

    the answer is impossible to come up with BUT we can do some what-ifs

    The team ERA (before today) is 4.11 (runs/g is 4.38)
    so if everything stayed the same they would lose more than they would win.

    two questions to ask. Will the ERA get better or worse? Will the defense get better or worse? then changing their R/G

    in case you’re curious the average NL R/G is 4.64

    without a trade I don’t see how the offense is going to get better. I guess the one way it could improve is if EE returns and starts hitting and Rosales also stays in the lineup. But I don’t where we can expect much improvement from the starters.

    the good news is that the two starters who were pitching horrible, Volquez and Arroyo just had great starts so the 4.11 ERA (and R/G) could get better if they keep it up

  10. mike

    GregD’s post pointing out that it’s nearly impossible for modern teams to have an ERA below 4 is a good one.

    One NL team in 2008 is allowing fewer than 4 R/G
    that team? Pittsburgh

    the last time an NL team allowed fewer than 4 R/G was 2005. Both Houston (Oswalt, Pettitte, Clemens) and Stl did it

  11. GregD

    One way it could happen…is to hold the opponent to 0-2 runs a lot, then have occassional blowouts where they can’t get anyone out. It would average 4-4.25 runs per game, but if they consistently score “exactly 4 runs” per game, then I could see them winning more than they lose.

    If they scored exactly 4 runs in every game this year, they’d be at 11-9-2 compared to their actual record of 12-10. Not much different, especially if you assume that they split the “tie” games.

  12. Fighting Fascism

    I thought TOS stood for “Terms of Service” (see link at top of page).

    Regarding Hairston: Yes he would be fine as a spare part. That’s what he is supposed to be. Any other manager would use him as such. All roads of criticism lead to Dusty Baker. The man just doesn’t make logical decisions. It’s bad enough he starts Hairston two games in a row, but why do you have to bat him 2nd? Rosales has a brilliant eye right now (haven’t seen him swing at a bad pitch yet) and has the hottest bat on the club. Why not bat him 2nd?

    Dusty sees a bad batting average and instead of thinking this hitter is ice cold or just stinks, instead he thinks they are “due” and the stats will normalize starting today. I can’t stand it.

    Brandon Phillips hits a solo homerun. Big whoop. We all know this only reinforces his hacking mentality. There was a pitch on the outside corner tonight that he tried to dead pull and he must have missed the pitch by a foot and a half. I hate him in the #4 spot.

    Janish is better than AGON and Hanigan is better than Ramon Hernandez. The pieces are there but the manager can’t evaluate his own talent. When the pitching dominates it disguises these strategic mistakes, but over the course of the season we are going to need more offense.

    My guess is Dusty will abuse the pitching staff and we will finish right around the .500 mark which would be a victory of sorts but if it means killing either Cueto’s or Volquez’s health it would be disastrous.

  13. Steve Price

    In January, Bill James Online (www.billjamesonline.net) published the won-loss records for games by runs scored in 2008. Teams that scored four runs in a game went 308-332, a .481 won-loss percentage.

    Teams that scored five runs went 352-200, a w-l percentage of .638.

    There’s your breaking point. Four runs a game doesn’t cut it over the long run.

  14. Jose

    Tomorrows lineup should be

    Willy Taveras-CF
    Adam Rosales- 3B
    Joey Votto- 1B
    Jay Bruce- RF
    Micah Owings-P (YES I FREAKING SAID IT! BAT HIM FREAKING 5th!)
    Laynce Nix- LF
    Ryan Hanigan- C
    Alex Gonzalez- SS (unfortunately) 😮

  15. mike

    Jose that’s a cool lineup

    swap out Gonzo for Janish and it’s the best the Reds have to offer

    Nix might be hot enough to bat ahead of Owings

    some of these are low plate appearance total but I still think this tells most of the story

    OPS OPS
    Adam Rosales 1.000
    Joey Votto .979
    Laynce Nix .976
    Jay Bruce .868
    Paul Janish .866
    Ryan Hanigan .866
    NL AVERAGE .755
    Darnell McDonald .697
    Willy Taveras .689
    Chris Dickerson .662
    Ramon Hernandez .647
    Brandon Phillips .612
    Jerry Hairston Jr. .538
    Alex Gonzalez .502
    Edwin Encarnacion .476

    notice the bottom 7 are not only not very good numbers but they are the starters
    I think Nix is going to crash and burn but when the Reds have nothing else going and he’s competing with Hairston and Dickerson he should get some starts until he crashes

    look…Ole McDonald is out hitting most of the team

  16. mike

    Votto has been AMAZING as most of us have realized
    But it’s crazy to think that only 17 players in the NL have produced more than he has
    Only 3 NL 1B and one is the best hitter in the game have produced more than him.

    Votto has been 20.3% of the Reds offense

  17. per14

    Jose, your lineup needs a second baseman. I’d say put BP after Micah.

  18. Bill Lack

    Two things…I don’t care what the numbers say right now, if you’re not excited about this rotation, you’re crazy. Sure, Cueto and Volquez are going to struggle at times, they’re young…but these kids can pitch. Harang has shown signs..and Arroyo is going to be Arroyo and Owings is better than last year’s group of #5 starters…and with Bailey and Maloney in Louisville if needed?

    And I wasn’t a Laynce Nix fan when the season started, but the more I see of him, the more impressed I am…he seems to give them good ABs every time up..he seems to take pitchers deep into the count every time he hits. I swear, every time I see him, he goes to 3-2…

  19. doktor

    to #12 “Brandon Phillips hits a solo homerun. Big whoop. ”
    In this game, it was a big whoop. gave the reds that extra 1 run cushion. I am hoping its a continuing sign he is coming around, last 4 starts 5-16 w/ 2 doubles and 2 HR. Reds need him to be a threat and produce runs regardless if he is batting 4th or batting 6th or wherever he is in the order.

  20. Mr. Redlegs

    So you wanna bat a pitcher No. 5 but when he has to be removed, you either make a double switch to get the reliever out of that slot or you keep having to use a pinch hitter, meaning you are thinning out an already thin bench for the sake of batting the pitcher No. 5. Given Owings’ history, that means he’d bat twice.

    That’s why it doesn’t make sense to bat the pitcher any higher. That’s also why it won’t happen. Any why the manager really isn’t as dumb as a lot of people make him out to be.

  21. Greg

    Double switch! Bring in Janish for Gonzo (who should be batting 9th if he’s starting). Problem solved!!

  22. Steve Price

    Relating to Bill Lack’s comment above, and also tying to the no-hitter piece, we have three guys who are capable of no-hitting anyone on any given day in our rotation right now…Harang, Cueto, Volquez. Pitch counts could come into play. Bailey showed in AAA the other night that he will probably be on this list, too.

  23. Steve Price

    About the offense; and about Owings being our #5 starter. Bill James was asked on his website yesterday if he would trade Adam Dunn for David Price, the projected future pitching ace. James said he wouldn’t trade Dunn for any young pitcher straight up. Here’s the whole quote, which relates to projecting young pitchers in general:

    “College stats and minor league stats both have some predictive value for major league pitchers, but not a great deal. The fact is that most young pitchers who look like they will be sensational, aren’t. A few are. Most aren’t. So. . .If it’s me, I’m not trading Adam Dunn for any young pitcher, even up.”

    A few years ago I was debating with some fans about whether it would be worthwhile to trade Austin Kearns to the Cubs for Mark Pryor. My response was no for the reasons James said above plus the whole pitcher injury question. It’s typically easier to project hitters than pitchers. As it turns out, it probably didn’t matter.

    Having said that…in one of James’s books, he would discuss baseball by decades and he had a category for “wish I could start this career over.” He said recently that Kearns would be one to fall into that category.

  24. Mr. Redlegs

    So Greg, you would double-switch Janish into the 5-hole in order to move the relief pitcher back to 9, all so Owings can bat No. 5 twice?

  25. Plowboy

    Mr. Redlegs, I normally agree with you and appreciate you playing devil’s advocate, but with this pathetic offense, yeah, I WOULD bat Owings 5th if not higher when he starts.

    Might sound stupid, but other than Votto and with his power, HE might actually be the one guy who could actually win him his own start! Has there ever been a Reds pitcher we could say that about?

  26. Plowboy

    EVEN if he only got 2 ABs. One might be all it takes to win the game. Seriously, I know his career line probably isn’t enough of a sample size to tell how good of a hitter he truly is, but screw that. Sometimes the “intangibles” really DO stick out, and when I watch Owings, it’s pretty obvious that he’s a natural hitter. Frankly, his swing looks better than some of our starters.

    And thanks, Steve for the difference between 4 and 5 runs as far as wins and losses stat. That’s one of those stats I’ll never forget. From now on, every time I watch a game, I’ll be thinking, “Just get to 5 runs….” 😀

  27. Jose

    I left out phillips on purpose
    he has been such a lazy bum lately i would prefer to have no second baseman