As Mark Sheldon noted at Reds.com, the Cincinnati Reds are having the darnedest time trying to manufacture runs these days. What sticks out most to me in this article isn't that the Reds are 0 for their last 23 with RISP, it's - shockingly - something Bryan Price had to say and the perception it gives. "I think we're creating opportunities," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "We haven't been able to cash in on them with any consistency." Well, kind of. The Reds have a .287 team OBP, which sits 27th in baseball and just .015 above the woeful Milwaukee Brewers, and that's even with Joey Votto's otherworldly start to the season factored in. So while the team's .201 batting average with runners in scoring position stinks (it's the third worst mark in all of baseball), what stinks just as hard is how seldom runners actually get on and make it to 2B.
That fact is, the offense isn't very good right now. If you've watched Billy Hamilton, Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce, Marlon Byrd, Devin Mesoraco (when he's played), and Brayan Pena, you already know this, however. Fortunately, the team also can lay claim to the third worst team BABIP in all of baseball, which hopefully suggests happier times are around the corner once a few well hit balls start falling for hits instead of finding gloves, right?
Also from Sheldon came a quick catch-up with starter-turned-reliever-turned-MIA-turned-reliever Tony Cingrani, who finally got back in a game yesterday for the first time since dial-up internet. Cingrani may well have been flicking everyone off while giving his quotes, but when I read them, it at least seemed that he didn't hold a ton of enmity towards those that had kept him in the 'pen for nearly two full weeks without pitching, and I guess that's a good thing. If he was angry at all, perhaps that came out when he was on the mound, as his fastball-heavy repertoire sure looked dang good for 2 innings against the powerful Chicago Cubs lineup. Hopefully, Sunday was just a sign of things to come, since he undoubtedly has one of the better arms in the Reds' bullpen.
I just typed "powerful Chicago Cubs lineup" and didn't vomit, though it was quite hard not to. What is anything anymore?
Over at The Enquirer, C. Trent Rosecrans took on the new old discussion about whether National League baseball needs the DH, and I couldn't be more on board with his take. I dislike the DH, but the reasons why I don't want the DH in NL baseball aren't just rooted in me not liking its AL version, they're rooted in me liking the strategy that comes in to play for NL managers (and their GM counterparts) in both assembling a flexible bench/bullpen and actively using it to their advantage given the NL's lack of a stagnant DH. The statement regarding the tomfoolery that has been Devin Mesoraco's continued presence on the 25 man roster despite his inability to catch shouldn't be "oh, well, they'd be able to DH him if the NL wasn't so gawsh darn stupid." Baseball thinking and roster creation should be more than that. There should be active management. There should be games where 25 players get used. There should be a manager in the 3B dugout racking his brain about what the manager in the 1B is thinking about, and vice versa. Does that mean teams will score more runs? Probably not. Does that mean I like watching pitcher's hit? Not necessarily. It simply means I watch baseball for more than just expecting to show up and watch 9 guys get 3 chances to swing hard. The DH wouldn't end that entirely, but it sure as hell would push baseball one large step closer.
And the "pitchers get injured while batting so there should be a DH" thing is an eye-roller to me, too.
Finally, if you've not ended up on Michael Bein's "A Graphical History of Baseball" page before, go there, surf around, and see how many hours you've spent. Since Java is wonky and linking to individual charts there seems to not want to work right now (perhaps on purpose, perhaps due to my inability to circumvent it), do yourself a favor and check out the trends in fielding average, errors per game, and strikeouts per game. Want more runs in baseball? Don't throw up your hands and say "DH in the NL!" Rather, find a way to curb those trends for the players holding the bats in the box.