Christina Kahrl has a nice piece up over at the SweetSpot about Cincinnati’s offense. Of note:
While a third trip to the postseason on Dusty BakerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s watch seems likely, though, this isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t as strong a team as it looks like at first glance. The lineup that ranks fourth in the league in runs scored with 4.3 per game might appear to be humming along with Shin-Soo Choo and Joey Votto getting on base and Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce driving them in.
But itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s far from a perfect offense. Despite gaudy RBI totals generated by getting to bat behind Choo and Votto, Phillips isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t a perfect cleanup man. The Reds are getting below-average offense from five different positions, including second base, the others being catcher, short, left (absent Ryan Ludwick) and third base.
As Kahrl notes, much of the problem is the simply awful performance of Reds right-handed hitters against right-handed pitchers:
How bad is the issue? The teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s collective .604 OPS from righties against righties through Friday nightÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s action ranks 14th in the National League, bettering only the Marlins. Using Baseball-Reference.comÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s OPS indices for league-relative splits, if 100 would be normal, the RedsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ 74 for righty-on-righty performance barely betters the MarlinsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ 71. When youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re better at something than one of the worst offenses in the era of divisional play, you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really get to brag, you merely hope that nobody else notices.
That’s bad, friends. Joey Votto, Shin-Soo Choo, and Jay Bruce can’t do it all by themselves. Go read the entire piece. It’s worth your time.