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

Cincinnati 5
Toronto 7
WP: Tallet (5-4)
LP: Owings (4-8)
S: Frasor (2)

–Joey Votto returned. That’s a huge positive.

–Everything else. The Reds are now below .500, and 14-21 since May 14. It’s the first time the Reds have been under .500 since April 12. Yep, they were 2-3 at that time.

–TOS* The Reds did get five runs tonight, which is nice, but they only had six hits. Same old, same old.

–Let’s keep beating on the dead horse, even though it’s evident that Dusty Baker has his head in the sand. Yeah, Willy Taveras sucks and he can’t hit (another hitless night; .220/.269/.273 for a 543 OPS). Everyone can see it except the manager…but that isn’t even what irritates me the most.

It’s the lack of effort that is killing me, though. The guy isn’t even trying. Tonight, Toronto’s Aaron Hill tagged up from first base (!) and advanced to second on a fly ball to straightaway center field. He was able to do that because Taveras is lazy. Wee Willy just ambled back to get the ball, didn’t get behind/under it in order to make a quick, strong throw back to the infield. No, he just went back casually and allowed the runner to advance.

Unacceptable, and I simply cannot believe that Dusty allows this sort of nonsense on his ballclub. At least Corey Patterson tried his best every single day. Willy Taveras is completely useless. Period.

–Jerry Hairston, Jr., on the other hand, is trying as hard as he can, but a shortstop he ain’t. JHJ misplayed no fewer than three balls at short that should have been converted into outs (at a minimum, two of them should have been). Somehow, he was only credited with one error (his ninth on the year).

But this is another example of Dusty Baker putting a player into a position where he is not likely to succeed (see Patterson, Corey and Taveras, Wee Willy). JHJ is not a shortstop. He hits like a shortstop (which is to say, he can’t hit), but he can’t handle the position defensively. Why put him in a place where he’s set up to fail? Is that what being a “player’s manager” is all about?

–Has anyone noticed that Ramon Hernandez is not good? I know the media hasn’t noticed it, and Dusty Baker thinks he’s the Reds MVP. Meanwhile, Hernandez has a horrific OPS (barely over 650), and opponents steal bases at will (three more tonight) against his candy arm.

Meanwhile, his backup is producing offensively and has a cannon for an arm. For some reason, however, Hernandez is immune from criticism. Color me confused.

–Micah Owings was bad tonight. Just bad.

As noted in the game thread, our leadoff hitter hasn’t walked in 17 games. That’s over 10% of a baseball season. Yes, Daniel Ray Herrera and Johnny Cueto each have more walks in June than Dusty’s leadoff hitter.

–Oh, and did we mention that, while Wee Willy was leading off, Dusty batted Chris Dickerson dead last in the lineup. Dickerson, of course, responded by going 2-3 with an RBI. (Taveras: 0-4.)

–One semi-positive is that Jared Burton looked much better tonight. It’ll be great if he can round back into form.

–Has anyone seen Paul Janish lately?

–Honestly, overall, I really believe Dusty is at least an average manager. But, sheesh…this craziness with the lineup and who does/doesn’t get to play in Dusty’s world is complete and utter insanity.

–Did we mention Joey Votto came back tonight! Woo-hoo!

*This Offense Stinks.

52 Responses

  1. oakhillbill

    i dont understand how dusty can continually play taveras over dickerson, and i feel like hannigans ab’s are going to all but disappear because his “starter” is back at the catcher position. and we all know he does not play the hot hand.

    hannigan and dickerson playing more often = more wins

  2. Steve

    Dickerson CF
    Hanigan C
    Votto 1B
    Phillips 2B
    Bruce RF
    Gomes DH
    Nix LF
    Hairston 3B
    Janish SS

    It’s not the Big Red Machine, but it’s the best we can do.

  3. Glenn

    If a team scores five runs (no matter how it happens) they should win. I’ve got to lay this loss on the pitching staff tonight.

    That being said, I couldn’t agree more, Tavaras is not a good player…Period! He doesn’t hit, get on base or play adequate defense. He runs well, but what good is that if you can’t master the fundamentals. As for his attitude or lack there of…I hope Dusty gets into his back pocket for that lack of hustle he’s show tonight.

    But as you say, VOTTO IS BACK!

  4. GregD

    I’ve been bringing up the Ramon Hernandez issue for over a month now.

    They must have absolutely no faith that Gomes can play first.

    For some reason, Votto’s absence extended some sort of cease fire on extending any realistic analysis of his temporary replacement.

    I think Hanigan has shown that he can be & should be the every day catcher.

  5. Chad Dotson

    But as you say, VOTTO IS BACK!

    Yes, and that’s reason enough for a ton of excitement, despite all the other stuff.

  6. Glenn

    Chad, I don’t mean to be so negative but this Taveras over Dickerson thing seems to be a no brainer to me. It’s frustrating as can be to watch a guy play every day whose not getting the job done and whose effort on the field is such that it doesn’t look like it bothers him in the least.

    I was down on Dickeron early in the season because he wasn’t getting the job done, his attitude had nothing to do with that. Dickerson has always been a flat out, pedal to the metal type player and when he’s going as well as he is now, he should be playing every day.

    I still believe in Dusty, but this is one I can’t explain.

  7. Chad Dotson

    I’m with you, Glenn. And if someone can explain it, I’d love to hear that explanation. Because I’m evidently not smart enough to figure this one out.

  8. Y-City Jim

    Chad is fired up tonight, not that I can blame him. As confusing as Baker’s playing time decisions are, I think it pales at how low his expectations are for his players. While I don’t believe in the fiery, yelling managers, I do believe a manager should get upset when players don’t give it their all.

  9. GregD

    5 runs w/ a good pitching staff will win a lot of nights, but on the nights you need a couple of additional runs wouldn’t it be nice ot see a lineup that can do better than 3 hits and a walk against a mid-line starter line Tallet?

    And nice to see a defense that doesn’t give up that extra run or two.

  10. GregD

    It starts with starting your best 8. That includes Dickerson and Hanigan. If you push A-Gon as a starter because of his defense, why abandon that when he goes down? Janish should be at short.

    If you want offense at SS, Hairston isn’t the answer. Go out and get one now. The Indians are reportedly sellers this year. Would they sell low on Peralta? They’d prefer to play Cabrera at SS. Peralta is signed cheaply for $3.4M this year and $4.6M next year.

    When Edwin’s back you have
    Team Phillips

  11. Tyler

    I agree with most of what you said, and i know hernandez is struggling, but not even Hanigan would have thrown any of those stolen base attempts out. our pitchers seemed to forget how to hold on baserunners tonight. And Dickerson should definitely replace Taveras for good or at least till he shows he can get on base again.

  12. Kurt Frost

    I know this makes little difference but I’m not making the 2 hour drive to Cincinnati again until the buffoon is canned or forced to make better decisions.

  13. Fisch

    I agree on Dickerson. He needs to start. I also hope that Homer pitches well, if and when he is called up. He improved pitching could really boost the Reds right now.

  14. pinson343

    Chad did not exaggerate in his description of Taveras on that 5th inning fly ball where Hill advanced to second. I listened to the Blue Jays’ broadcast on XM radio. They were surprised that Hill was able to advance. As much as they wanted to give Hill’s hustle all the credit on the play, they said his advancing was set up by Taveras’ “drifting” to the ball rather than running to it and setting up for a throw.

    Hill not only took advantage of Taveras’ lack of hustle/poor fundamentals, my guess is that he anticipated it, that the scouting report on the Reds includes Taveras’ habit of drifting toward deep fly balls.

    Tomorrow a righty is pitching. Dickerson is red hot, let’s hope he’s in the lineup, leading off and playing CF.

  15. pinson343

    The most important single element of this game for me was that Joey V. played the whole game.

    Welcome back, Joey !

  16. renbutler

    Football season can’t come quickly enough.

  17. daedalus

    One other positive – Dusty DID pinch hit for Taveras in the ninth. I mean, too little, too late, right? But it’s the second time in a few games. Maybe it’s a dawn, maybe he’ll see the light.

    Ok, it’s a stretch.

  18. Kurt Frost

    Line of the night-

    ‘Marty has the night off? What, they couldn’t get his hair through customs?’

  19. Matt B.

    Fay says he doesn’t think that Taveras will be sent to the minors, but he thinks Dickerson will be starting and batting leadoff tomorrow.

  20. preach

    Of course Taveras won’t go to the minors. He’s Dusty’s guy, and he ain’t no front runner. We have him for two years people. Two long, hard years.

  21. John

    Plain and simple, Dusty Baker needs to be fired.

    His overt favoritism for veteran players who suck is appalling when there are no fewer than 3 guys sitting who should be playing every day for far less money (Janish, Dickerson, Hanigan).

    Jocketty’s wasted money has become Baker’s three-headed lineup albatross.

  22. mike

    Dusty an average manager huh?

    He is average only IF (and a big IF) you don’t leave him any choices. It’s his decision making that is at fault. Of course the JOB of a manager in any business/sport is mostly decision making but hell lets not go there.

    first I blame walt for even signing Taveras
    then Dusty for playing him all the time and on multiple occasions naming him the starting CFer
    now I blame the media, FOR SAYING ABSOLUTELY NOTHING

    The odd thing is we aren’t spitting hairs here. We aren’t talking about a guy doing slightly below average. Even if we use MORONIC, IGNORANT stats like batting average and RBI the guy is AWFUL! Hitting .224 with 9 RBI. Hell those sorts of numbers should even make Reds announcers SAY SOMETHING!

    This isn’t the usual arm-chair manager this is pure idiocy. This is black and white. It’s OBVIOUS.

    The # of 1-2 run games this team has lost (thanks pitching staff! not for losing but for keeping us in games) when their leadoff or even worse their 1-2 hitters don’t get on base a single time is staggering.

    I have not run the #s but my guess is that this team is in 1st place EASILY if Baker creates good lineups and/or willy isn’t on the roster

  23. mike

    if Willy is on this roster in 2009 I will stop watching the Reds until he’s gone

  24. mike

    in the last 5 games Dickerson is 5 for 7 (he only started 1) with 3 SB

    In June he has a .413 OBP

    If Dickerson was batting 1st and Hanigan 2nd this team would be dominating other teams.

  25. pinson343

    Yes it’s good that Taveras was lifted for a pinch hitter in the 9th but with the tying run at the plate and 2 outs, who pinch hits for him ?
    Danny Richar. I guess he was brought up for just this situation.

  26. mike

    Only 2 Reds players since 1970 have hit as bad as Taveras

    Darrel Chaney in 1973. A utility players/SS who hit .181/.267/.220 but only got 263 plate appearances


    Juan Castro in 2001. Also a utility player/SS who hit .223/.261/.302

    slightly understood if you have a utility player/SS who can’t hit but not understood if it’s an every day player

    In the history of the Reds only 22 players have at least 240 plate appearances and an OPS+ below 50. Taveras being one of them at 44
    Of course you all know the last Red to do this. Last years Taveras clone. Patterson who finished the season with a 48 OPS+

    It is impossible to describe just how low these #s are.

    I guess this might help. Olmedo and Reese were better

  27. GregD

    Fay’s comment/suggestion on the minors is an interesting one because that was the plan last year with Patterson. He made a very brief trip to AAA that was truncated due to an injury on the major league roster. And Patterson wasn’t playing as bad as Taveras is now at the time of that demotion.

    I didn’t see the play. How shallow was Taveras playing on the tag from 1b? I’d imagine that’s part of the advance scouting report, too. He’s running away from the IF on a lot of fly balls because he plays so shallow.

  28. per14

    Amen on Ramon Hernandez, who I do appreciate in the sense that he is better than Paul Bako and would be a good back-up catcher, back-up first baseman. But he should not be starting on this team!

  29. Steve

    The difficulty in benching Ramon Hernandez is that he is notorious for developing a bad attitude in the clubhouse that affects his play. This is what happened in Baltimore last year and one of the reasons the Orioles were so eager to get rid of him. The Reds knew about this, in fact, it was a premise of their plan to sign him – that we could make him happy and he would bounce back and not repeat his bad offensive and defensive years.

    Hanigan should be playing. Even if his lower RISP average is reliable (based on very few AB) his ability to get on base at .400 right now would make him valuable at the top of the lineup. He would score runs being driven in by Votto and Phillips.

    The Reds have become a very poor defensive team up the middle with Taveras being such a weak-armed slacker, JHJ being out of position, and Hernandez reverting to his form of allowing SB like crazy. These situations are not forced on Baker.

    Dickerson is a hard-working CF with an excellent arm, Paul Janish is the best fielding SS in the organization and Hanigan is leading the league in throwing out runners attempting to steal. So the answers are right on our own bench.

    How much longer do we keep running Rosales out there? He did have a nice sacrifice fly last night but has not contributed offensively at all. I’d like to see Janish get a few days either at 3B or SS to see how he would hit if given the chance. If he can hit as well as he did in spring training it would solve our problem at SS.

    Our best lineup tonight:

    Dickerson CF
    Hanigan C
    Votto 1B
    Phillips 2B
    Bruce RF
    Gomes DH
    Nix LF
    Hairston 3B
    Janish SS

  30. David

    Let’s all calm down a bit. It should come as no surprise that the Reds hitters and the Reds as a team stuggled during Joey Votto’s stint on the DL. It is amazing what a consistent bat does for the other players. It takes pressure off guys. Meanwhile John Fay reported that Jocketty is looking for another bat. I think you are going to see a SS come in rather than OF given the glut of OFs. Could it be Tejada?


  31. RiverCity Redleg

    Tejada won’t do our defense any favors, but man can he hit.

  32. Josh

    I think its a positive that Danny Richar pinch hit for Willy T. Clearly Dusty doesn’t have faith in Wee Willy if in a crucial part of the game he’d rather have Danny Richar bat instead of his center fielder. I think Dusty may be turning a corner on this…

  33. Sultan of Swaff

    For all we know, Dusty is practicing self preservation by playing Taveras so much–giving Walt exactly what he wants. It’s pathetic if true, because you’re putting politics ahead of winning.
    Get ready for the farm system to take a hit, because the only way we add a bat w/o subtracting from the big club is to trade prospects. Walt has $12mil plus committed to 3 bums for next season.

  34. per14

    Can Tejada play third? Play him there until EdE is back, then move EdE to left field.

    (I’m kinda joking. Could be a great lineup. Defense would NOT be improved.)

    Bench: Ramon, Willy, Nix, Gomes, Hairston

  35. Y-City Jim

    I suspect Edwin is back sometime next week. Errors or not, if he can hit his norm that is one less offensive black hole in the line-up.

  36. Dallas

    Taveras is crucified every day on this blog, but Jay Bruce gets a free pass. I suppose the long-ball obsession many people have put the blinders on the fact that he has been atrocious at the plate almost the entire year, and he’s made several inexcusably boneheaded moves in the outfield. I guess it’s ok to be awful as long as you are younger and appear to be trying hard.

  37. Chad Dotson

    Well, that’s just obviously not true. Bruce has been hammered in the recaps multiple times. No one has made any excuses for him.

    And Bruce has been great defensively this season.

    By all means, though, keep making stuff up.

  38. Josh

    Bruce takes a walk more than once every 3 weeks and he plays an above average outfield. Plus, we haven’t seen Bruce have this kind of a season in his career. With Willy T this has been the norm and Dusty STILL has his head stuck in the sand about it.

    There is reason to believe that Bruce will play out of it. There is nothing to suggest Willy’s play is anything but the norm.

  39. Travis G.

    There is nothing to suggest Willy’s play is anything but the norm.

    You mean, aside from his past performance?

    This (.220/.269/.273) has been his worst season of an undistinguished Major League career by a fairly substantial margin, and that’s including last year’s dreadful .251/.308/.296 line and his meager .276/.324/.330 career line.

    Those three data sets don’t describe a particularly good ML baseball player, by any means, but Taveras is playing the worst baseball of his life after being surprisingly competent for a stretch earlier this season. His swoon coincided with a hamstring tweak, which suggests he might once again suck slightly less once he’s fully healed.

    Of course, a player who depends on his speed to get by should have been disabled with a hamstring injury, but that’s on management, not him.

  40. GregD

    The problem is that neither this last year’s dreadful .251/.308/.296 line and his meager .276/.324/.330 career line nor his CF defense qualifies him as a major league starter & leadoff hitter.

    Taveras is crucified every day on this blog, but Jay Bruce gets a free pass.
    Free pass? No. I don’t know anyone who’s happy with his numbers or consistency this year, but most are patient to see him realize his potential. He has the potential to have a 2009 Justin Upton type breakout. Upton’s doing it in his 3rd year. Bruce is just into his 2nd.

    Taveras has the potential to repeat what he did in Colorado last year? Maybe 330obp with no power?

    Bruce has scored 1 more run than leadoff hitter Taveras.

    I don’t see what there is to complain about his defense?

  41. pinson343

    I haven’t seen Bruce make any “boneheaded” plays in RF, just on the basepaths. Keep playing him, and it doesn’t really matter whether we complain about his growing pains a lot or just a little.

  42. pinson343

    I doubt we’ll get Tejada. The Astros have been much further out of it than this without giving up. In fact, for better or worse, they never give up.

  43. mike

    wow comparing Bruce and Taveras, now that’s a new one.
    Even if it were true that Bruce didn’t get “hammered” and Taveras does every day (what is this some high school playground?) I think even the idea is WAY off line.

    I have made it a point NOT to get down on Bruce.

    Bruce is 22 years old and playing his first full season in the bigs.
    22!!! I hope everyone leaves him alone all season even if he does terrible

    and implying that he should take heat like ONE OF THE WORST HITTERS IN THE GAME is absurd

    Lets see
    a highly paid, 27 year old veteran, who has hasn’t hustled and has an OPS+ of 42(!!!!!)
    a cheap, 22 year old prospect, in his first full season who has busted his @#$%$ and has a 98!!!!! OPS+

    If you think Bruce should be taking more heat and willy less, well, I don’t even know what to say

  44. mike

    I think this would be a good time to look at who’s been the most valuable Reds.
    I’m very bothered by the idea that Bruce should get knocked by his performance so far this year. He’s been no world beater but at his age and experience, I’ll take it. Plus when it comes down to it, he has been one of the most valuable Reds

    WAR (which includes defense)
    2.3 Phillips
    1.9 Harang
    1.6 Votto (obviously because he missed time)
    1.4 Bruce and Cueto
    1.2 Dickerson
    1.1 Hanigan

    and the big minuses?
    -1.0 Lincoln
    -0.7 Taveras
    -0.5 Gonzo
    -0.2 Maloney

    and another way to look at it.
    Win Shares
    9 Phillips
    8 Cueto and Votto
    6 Hernandez, Hanigan, Harang, Cordero
    5 Bruce

  45. Travis G.

    The problem is that neither this last year’s dreadful .251/.308/.296 line and his meager .276/.324/.330 career line nor his CF defense qualifies him as a major league starter & leadoff hitter.

    Where’s the “like” button?

  46. mike

    Want to see a sad and staggering #?

    12 times this season the Reds have lost a game by 1 or 2 runs and Taveras has made 4 or more outs in the leadoff spot

  47. Glenn

    Now Mike, that’s a very telling stat!

  48. Glenn

    Does anyone know? Was Tavaras a WJ move or did Krivsky make that one?

  49. earl

    As soon as Jay Bruce learns how to take that slow outside stuff the other way, he will be fine. I think just having Votto back means he will see more fastballs.

  50. pinson343

    The problem is, Jay is trying to pull everything,
    including fast balls on the outside corner.

    If he would go the other way with outside pitches, he’d be hitting outside fastballs over the left center field fence.