Let’s recap today’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Cincinnati 6
Houston 2
WP: Harang (1-3)
LP: Norris (1-2)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Aaron Harang rewarded those of us who have remained optimistic by going 6 strong innings, giving up two runs on eight hits. The big guy struck out 6 and walked only one. Yes, it’s only one start, and yes, it was against the lowly Astros but still…I’ll take it.

–Dusty Baker changed his lineup around (perhaps out of desperation, since his job is hanging by a thread), and the shortstop didn’t bat second for the first time in, like, ever. It worked, I guess. BP was second, and the Votto-Rolen-Bruce middle of the order made many of us very happy.

–Ryan Hanigan was 2-3 with a walk and 3 RBI. He threw out two runners on the bases, including the Usain Bolt of the National League, Michael Bourne. Hanigan’s numbers: .483/.559/.690. I’m loving the fact that he’s forcing Dusty Baker to play him, against the Dustmaster’s will.

–Jay Bruce is just a different hitter this year than what we saw in 2009, even though his numbers don’t show it yet. Bruce went 2-3 tonight, with two walks, two runs scored, outstanding defense, and great baserunning. One of our editors tweeted that Jay doesn’t get enough credit for doing the little things. That’s absolutely accurate. Bruce busts his tail every second he’s out there.

In case you can’t tell, I’m a fully-paid member of the Jay Bruce Fan Club.

–Great relief work by Daniel Ray Herrera, Nick Masset, and Francisco Cordero. Each tossed a scoreless inning (only CoCo allowed even a hit).

–Orlando Cabrera had a couple of hits, a couple of runs scored, and he even walked. I’ll take that.

NEGATIVES
–None. A win is a win.

ETC.
–Ryan Hanigan now has ten RBI, after getting 11 RBI all of last year. The biggest stated reason for re-signing Ramon Hernandez in the off-season was because he was so clutch, and Ryan Hanigan wasn’t. It’s taken three weeks of this season to show how stupid that argument is.

–This was only the 11th time in the last decade that the Reds won a game without an extra base hit. Wow. (Thanks for the stat, Mike.)

–Brandon Phillips got picked off at first. Again.

–I tried to photoshop Ryan Hanigan into a sombrero, but I couldn’t find a good picture of Ryan…so we’ll go with Jay again!

21 Responses

  1. earl

    Jay Bruce’s defense is really good. He pretty much makes at least one great play a game.

    Jay B. does seem to be doing better with the off speed stuff and hasn’t been getting jammed as much as last year during his extended slump.

  2. aceace

    Brandon Phillips needs benched for a game. Lackadaisical lead off against a guy with a good move to first. Got what he deserved. 😯

  3. Steve

    I actually agree with the idea of benching Brandon Phillips for a game over the carefree way he approached leading off when he got picked off first base. There appear to be no consequences for substantial mental errors. I thought Drew Stubbs should have been benched a game for not keeping track of the outs the other day.

    On the other hand, I suppose it’s possible the punishment is taking place internally through fines or something like that. But if so, it doesn’t seem to be being taken seriously.

    Sorry for being so cranky on a night for celebration – the Reds looked like a real team tonight – pitching and hitting.

  4. pinson343

    Even for those who still don’t like the lineup, it has to be admitted it’s a big step in the right direction. Phillips batting 2nd instead of 4th (better), Cabrera 6th instead of 2nd (better), Rolen 4th instead of Phillips (much better).
    I actually like our 3-4-5 for the first time in years.

    Let’s hope Hanigan is winning the job of first string catcher. I have no problem with Hernandez as the backup cacther.

    I’ll be at tomorrow nite’s game, let’s hope – as already said in game thread – Janish is at SS and Hanigan is catching.

  5. pinson343

    I liked Bruce’s hitting approach this year even when the hits weren’t there. He may have had a few bad games the first week (I forget) but from the second week on he was staying back, taking pitches out of the strike zone, not getting fooled by breaking pitches, and hitting more line drives and fewer high flys.

    It was only a matter of time.

  6. mike

    @pinson343: tis a big step in the right direction. To me the biggest thing about the lineup change is the “intangibles”. It says both, if you aren’t going to perform we’re going to move you and a if you are struggling, we’re going to move you to try and get you going. wanna talk old-school…….that’s it.

  7. Travis G.

    I didn’t get to watch very much of the game, but I made a mental note of Hanigan’s outstanding defense. He deserves a lot of credit for Harang’s solid start for the way he threw out baserunners and framed his pitches.

    If Hernandez had been catching, who knows how that fifth inning would have gone? I credit Hanigan for framing the third strike on Lee and, obviously, for gunning down Bourne to end the inning with Berkman at bat. Without those two outs, that could have easily turned into one of those innings where Harang throws 35 pitches and gives up two or three runs.

    Even if Hanigan wasn’t hitting, he should be the starter more than half the time.

  8. Furniture City Red

    Harang looked real good. I didn’t see every pitch he threw, but what I did see was encouraging. He had a nasty slider at times last night.

    Hannigan should be the starting catcher. Period. The only time I wanna see Hernandez is pinch-hitting, or when Hannigan needs a day off.

    Bruce is a joy to watch play baseball. I actually think he has the most potential to be a great Major Leaguer than any position player on the roster….yeah Chad, I’m a fully-paid member of the Jay Bruce Fan Club also.

    Phillips…Ughhhh 😐 So athletic. So much potential. So frustrating! I would have been fine with Baker sending someone else out to play second in the bottom of the inning after BP got picked off.

  9. RiverCity Redleg

    @Furniture City Red: I agree Hanigan should be the “starter”, but we still need Hernandez. Hanigan should be getting the bulk of a 60-40 or 70-30 (at most) split. Keep both guys relatively fresh and injury-free all year b/c we have no help down below.

  10. per14

    I would LOVE to see a lineup with Dickerson batting first and Hanigan batting second.

    Dickerson
    Hanigan
    Votto
    Rolen

    as your top four. That would be some serious on-base skills at the top.

    But I can’t imagine Dusty batting a catcher second.

  11. davidmp2

    I’d prefer

    Dickerson
    Hanigan
    Votto
    Rolen
    Bruce
    Phillips
    Cabrera
    Pitcher
    Stubbs

    Just saying…

  12. GRF

    Very valid point, but I would add that part of being the “starter” under the current regime is being willing to let him ride a stretch of a game or two where he is not hitting. My sense, at least last year, was that if Hanigan did not hit, he was sitting the next night.


    RiverCity Redleg:

    @Furniture City Red: I agree Hanigan should be the “starter”, but we still need Hernandez. Hanigan should be getting the bulk of a 60-40 or 70-30 (at most) split. Keep both guys relatively fresh and injury-free all year b/c we have no help down below.
    Reply

  13. Redlegs87

    I am glad we won but the 1-4 hitters last night were awful going 1 for 16.

  14. Jason in Toronto

    I think you keep Stubbs up at the top of the order. Having him and Dickerson 1-2 is a lot of speed once they both start getting on base regularly, which I think they will. It’s a good lineup. Now if we can deal Harang for a younger pitcher…

  15. Bill Lack


    Furniture City Red:

    Harang looked real good. I didn’t see every pitch he threw, but what I did see was encouraging. He had a nasty slider at times last night.

    Reply

    In the paper this morning they said Harang relied on his fastball mostly last night (at times hitting 94 on the gun).

  16. Bill Lack


    davidmp2:

    I’d prefer
    Dickerson
    Hanigan
    Votto
    Rolen
    Bruce
    Phillips
    Cabrera
    Pitcher
    Stubbs
    Just saying…

    Reply

    Dickerson has become the forgotten man…but he’s not getting on base right now either.

  17. al

    Most striking thing to me about last night’s game was Harang pitching inside. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before and it was a thing of beauty.

    The Astros couldn’t just hang out over the plate and wait on the fastball and it looked like he had them more mixed up than any team I’ve ever seen him pitch against. There were a lot of guys frozen on fastballs.

    As I and many others said, if the reds are going to be successful this year, they need Bruce and Harang to turn it around. This game looked a lot like that could happen.

  18. davidmp2

    @Bill Lack: Well, on April 17th he was hitting .308/.333/.423. Since that time he’s 2 for 15. This is a bit of a slump, but his early season success combined with his prior track record should get him in the lineup more often. If Willy Taveras can go 0 for June, and still be at the top of the order, then you’d think Dickerson could catch a break.