Red Reposter's The Count, brought to you by the letter H and the number 4. AH! AH! 1.206. Jay Bruce's OPS since April 18th, at which point his OPS was a season-low .388. Back then, Slyde said he had shown some changes in his approach, but his BABIP was still unlucky. Looks like Lady Luck started putting a Snak Pak in Bruce's lunches.
Joey Votto talks hitting
He has plenty to say and every bit is interesting. Votto seems like the quiet, introspective-type, so it's about what you would expect. Here's how he describes his plan when he steps into the box:
"I’ll have a plan. Occasionally, I’ll go up there wanting to see a pitch. Maybe a strike. Maybe I’ll want to see two. It depends on how they pitch me, how I’m feeling. I let everything come together before I make a decision on how I hit. It changes pitch to pitch. I might make a plan to take a strike. Then I’ll get ball one … (and) make an adjustment. I’ll step out and give myself a chance to adjust my plan and apply it up there.
It’s been a slow progression. When I was younger, I was more of a hacker. As I got in the big leagues, it got better. It’s going to get better in the future. We had to take a strike under (former general manager) Dan O’Brien. I didn’t think it was a good idea for someone like myself. But it was an organizational rule."
I liked that rule at the time (and still do) because it seems to be very constructive for players just like Votto. If a kid has some power he's never going to be successful unless he learns the strikezone. It seemed to work for Votto. Hopefully something like that can be instituted for Juan Francisco.
Ryan Hanigan started four game this past week
"If I was starting Hernandez, you’d ask me why I wasn’t playing Hanigan," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "Hanigan had a good outing with (Aaron) Harang last time. We’re trying to get Harang on track. Everything is fine with Hernandez. He’s catching (Monday). Hanigan has been swinging a hot bat, too. It’s good when you’ve got two good ones."
Another point on the board for Dusty. I know many around here (myself included) want to see Hanigan get the majority of the playing time at catcher, or at least a 50/50 split. Dusty may just be playing the hot hand now, but one of his perceived weaknesses as a manager is his rigidity and sloth to adapt. Hopefully this is a harbinger of change.
Fay points out that just as the rotation seems to be getting its act together
the bullpen starts to stutter. The triumphant road trip was predicated on a 2.89 ERA from the rotation, but a 5.52 ERA from the 'pen (due in large part to the meltdown on Saturday) kept it from being even better.
Stop me if I'm reading too much into this
but it looks to me like Aaron Harang is making veiled jabs at his offensive (double-meaning) teammates. "I'm not facing my hitters. I just have to go out and worry about my game plan and what I'm going to do with their hitters," said Harang, who is 0-2 vs. Carpenter this season. "If I can be out there and just outpitch him and let our guys get to him first." The emphasis is mine on that first sentence. Now, this could be read two ways. One, he knows he has to pitch better than Carpenter if he wants to beat him. Or two, he doesn't have the pleasure of facing our flaccid lineup like Carp does, so of course Carp comes out on top every time. If Carp had to pitch against Pujols instead of Brandon Phillips, he'd be the one looking the fool. It's pretty obvious that Harang is frustrated by his struggles. He hasn't pitched like his old self, but it's pretty clear that the lineup hasn't helped him these past few years. I'm not sure if he's calling them out here, but if he is...well, you can't blame him. But that doesn't mean he's right for saying it. 'Course, I could be wrong.
Both Mike Lincoln and Daniel Ray Herrera say the heavy workload hasn't affected them
The both pitched Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, each giving up runs in that meltdown on Saturday. The Assassinated Emancipator says he's still not at 100% after his disk replacement surgery last year, saying "I think it will continually get better. I'm still not, fastball-wise, at where I've been at. It seems to keep getting better the more I throw. Hopefully, that continues throughout the season."
Lefty Smurf says fatigue doesn't affect his pitching like it would for a normal pitcher. Much like a knuckleballer, he says he feels better with consecutive days work. "I've felt good pretty much every time I've gone out, maybe a little sore here and there. [Saturday] was the best I've felt in a few days. I'll throw any day, as long as I feel I'm ready to go. I'll throw as much as I can."
The Fay wonders how the Reds are going to handle Mike Leake as the summer wears on
He is on pace now to throw 162 innings. He threw 142 innings last year at ASU, so that seems like a reasonable pace. But what if he keeps this up and the Reds are still in it? A good problem to have for sure, but you don't want to overextend the pup. Walt says "We're trying to get him extra days here and there. We've got to be careful."
Q Have we all quickly forgotten that during last year’s winning streak that Corky Miller caught many of those games? Is there a place for him as a coach or bullpen assistant with the Reds? — Mark, Centerville.
A Corky Miller is catching at Triple-A Louisville, a good place for him to work with young pitchers like Aroldis Chapman, Travis Wood and Matt Maloney. If something should happen to Ryan Hanigan or Ramon Herandez, Miller would be the call-up. He isn’t ready to retire into the coaching world, although he is a ‘coach’ on the field. He is a veteran with great catching skills. If he could hit a lick, he’d be in the majors now.
Q Johnny Cueto seems ill-suited to start with his small stature and high pitch count. Might we see him moved to the bullpen? – P-Dub, Independence, Ohio
A Cueto is short (5-10) and is listed at 211 pounds (I’d like to stand on those scales). When he was signed it was thought he would be a relief pitcher. They tried him both ways his first two years, then made him a starter in Class A in 2006, where he was 14-3 in 26 starts. A star-ter was born. I doubt that the Reds have the bullpen in mind at this time, especially with his lapses in control and concentration.
Stephen Higdon at The Crawfish Boxes is hopeful that the Astros' offense can turn it around
Relatively speaking, of course. The Astros have been terrible thus far at scoring runs, but as Stephen points out, the projections think they should be better. "What we can rest somewhat easy knowing, though, is that at some point the Astros should move from one of the worst offenses imaginable, to just a bad offense- like we expected from them before the season got underway. As for the defensive struggles (both in the field on the mound)..."
Beyond the Boxscore finishes off the first round of their If They Fought Series
as Adam Dunn throws down with teammate Nyjer Morgan. I don't know about you, but I think this is probably the most exciting thing on the internet right now. Our boy Jonny Gomes has advanced to the second round and needs your help to take home the title, so be sure to check back often.