Red Reposter Numbert Numbert (sponsored by the Estate of Vladimir Nabokov and Mike-Sells Potato Chips): .383/.431/.660 (Austin Kearns' current slash line in Cleveland, brought to our attention by the good folks at Redleg Nation. Good to see Austin doing well up north.)
Hall o' Famer Hal rolls out his latest Mike Leake pun
and astutely reminds us of the virtues of Leake's work in the field of groundball-inducement. Hal also brings happy news that the Reds have turned the corner on that accursed relationship with the Astros (though it may be due more to the Astro ineptitude than Red improvement): "BELIEVE IT or not, the Reds have won 12 of their last 13 against the Astros. The (real) test comes Thursday night when they face Roy Oswalt, the guy who could send his youngest son to the mound against the Reds and the Oswalt name would be enough to beat them." And that's just what they're doing tonight in a wacky, Federally-mandated promotion called "Bring Your Youngest Son to Work and Have Him Do Your Job Day."
Dusty opines on two major wedge issues for his extension campaign: catcher and the leadoff spot
I have no doubt that it's a good idea to give your catchers ample rest. And while Ryan Hanigan has been crushing it, Ramon has been no slouch at getting on base, but any discussion of Hanigan seeing more time annoyingly resolves to "clutch" as the trump card: “Ramon is still one of my best clutch hitters,” Baker said. ”He’s just now starting to wake up. We’ve got to make sure we keep them both sharp. We’ve got to win games without playing them both into the ground.” It's true, Ramon historically hits better in high-leverage situations with runners on. But that's only relative to his own production, which has been in decline. And I doubt there's been any Road to Damascus moment for Hanigan that made him more clutch this year, as this item seems to suggest. It's an inconsistent stat across seasons for a lot of players, and last year's sample for Hanigan was relatively small. If you have one catcher who's performing better on both sides of the ball, there should be no reason why he can't weather 120+ starts. Nitpickery aside, this is a good problem to have.
On Stubbs in the leadoff spot, Dusty had this to say: "I’ve got to get him more aggressive early in the count. I know everybody talks about on-base percentage and working the court. But working the count isn’t helping." I actually agree here, at least for the current blackhole stretch Stubbs finds himself in. Stubbs has been plenty selective, walking at a 13.2% rate and not chasing too many pitches outside the zone. It's dangerous to futz with his eye too much, but his problem has been the inability to make contact. He's seeing more early strikes as a result and he has to prove he can tee off on them in order to work the count to good effect.
Redleg Nation beats the drum, several gongs and shakes a rainstick for Hanigan
Some of the comparisons between Hanigan and Hernandez are overblown, especially the unsustainable disparity in extra base hits and any notion of "catcher ERA," but it should be clear by now that the better player is playing second fiddle.
Jamie Ramsey posted some sun-drenched photos from in and around GABP yesterday
For any Reds fans in the diaspora not too hard to feel the pangs of homesickness. I never did think it was such a bad little ballpark, but every time I catch a glimpse of the barren "Banks" - devoid even of useful green-space - my puzzler gets sore. Even Chattanooga figured it out, which, folks, is no different than if Lookouts were ahead of the Reds in the NL Central. And just think about how bogus the name "Chattanooga" sounds. It's like Dr. Seuss and the Kratt Brothers had a child, and that child was a town. Or if a sound effects machine had whatever job it is in the government where you're in charge of naming towns. (If you hadn't noticed, The Reposter is using pot-shots to pick an inter-town rivalry in the hopes of boosting its ratings during Sweeps Week.)
OMGReds sets up the projector and calls everyone into the den
A quirky something for nostalgia junkies. The digitized filmstrip is from a Reds-Cardinals game at Bush stadium circa 1977. Divining anything more specific requires Zapruderian film analysis, but it's cool to see a fans-eye view on warm, comforting film stock. If you can pinpoint the Baseballreference box score that corresponds to the game in question, the Reposter will Take Over Your School and slime your teachers with bad journalism.
A scout at MLB Fanhouse says Chapman needs a good deal of polish
I tend to take any one-off observation with a grain of salt. This scout saw last night's start and seems to think Chapman looks more like a closer currently, given his perceived inability to pace himself, spotty command and trouble working in offspeed stuff during the start: "I was left with doubts that Chapman can be a starter over the long haul. If the Reds are willing to be patient, allow him to refine his command and get him to some point of consistency with his fastball velocity, the finished product could very well be a front-end starter. But there are many hurdles to jump before that can happen." That's what the minor leagues are for. Thanks Branch Rickey!
Mark Sheldon asks that age-old question: "Stubbs or Dickerson?"
Crackpot armchair managing schemes aside, I think this about says it: "For now at least, Baker really has no choice but to keep running both of them out there until someone figures something out." No one who can play CF is hitting right now in AAA, so it's just gotta be Drew or Chris. Stubbs seems like he's out to sea, but he still possesses the skill set to man the position full-time, though neither Stubbs nor Dickerson need to be endlessly run out in the leadoff spot. I still think the odds are quite high that one of the two will "figure it out" soon and go on a tear, though Dickerson won't have much of a chance to put anything together if he's losing out to both Gomes in LF and Stubbs in CF.
Fall in disgust all over again at thinly-veiled xenophobia in Cincinnati newsmedia
Paul Daugherty is done making that dead horse of Dusty Baker's lineups into glue and turns his attentions back to the scourge of otherness. For reasons well beyond the Reposter's comprehension, Daughtery decided to tackle the controversial my-way-or-highway Tim James gubernatorial ad in his "Morning Line:"
"I think it’s a little short-sighted, given the international companies that do business in Alabama. But I can understand the sentiment. I think those who immigrate here and decide to stay here have an obligation to assimilate. We have an obligation to help them, not punish them. Most of us came from somewhere else."
The second half of this little gem is perfectly un-objectionable. Help immigrants because we all came from immigrants. Great. But for Daugherty, the most salient point worth mentioning about this ad is that it might possibly alienate the business community. He's simpatico to the message, which to me is an extension of the stultifying idea that there's a definitive way to be an American, and it involves being willfully unilingual and never eating sushi at baseball games. Baseball, like its founding nation, is richer for its cultural and linguistic diversity. Foreign-born players, like American citizens, are all asked to obey the laws of the land, and, in most cases, need to learn a good deal of English to get around. Beyond viewing the law as an extension of our civil values, I don't understand this urgent need to homogenize and "assimilate" all variety that comes our way, especially when the second generation becomes fluent in American so quickly. (Sorry to stir the melting pot two days in a row, but there seems to be a sweeping trend here, with direct implications for our favorite baseball team and its commentariat. Sweeps week!)
Fay gives us a Jared Burton update
One reader suggests he might have Valley Fever. All of the many MDs that read this blog: what do YOU think?
Red Hot Mama brings to our attention that two of our most gregarious Reds did guest profiles on LikeMe:
Bronson Arroyo and Brandon Phillips both come together in recommending Waffle House. It must be tempting for them to say "I'll have the waffles. ALL of them... and the House. Put it in my boat."