Reds Lineup Changes; How We Lookin'?
Reds Lineup Changes; How We Lookin'?
by Robb Hoff
July 6, 2012
There was an interesting tidbit in The Cincinnati Enquirer this morning: not since 1898 have the Reds starting pitchers in the team's rotation gone as far into the season intact as they have this year.
The pitching was supposed to be the thorn in the side this year for the Reds that would most likely be the reason why they might fall short of a division title this year.
Obviously a lot of that involved the bullpen, which started out with one foot in the grave this year with closer Ryan Madson never throwing a pitch before Tommy John surgery ended his year.
The bullpen coughed one up last night with Sean Marshall throwing a cement mixer that ended up way gone to tie the score 1-1 in the eighth inning before Logan Ondrusek puked the loss the rest of the way in the ninth.
But even then, the pitching is not the culprit in the Reds inability to put away the rest of the division in the first half of the year.
It's the hitters and manager Dusty Baker.
Now Baker shouldn't be the scapegoat for the hitters' woes; that would be Brook Jacoby who I suspect won't be returning to the team for the second half of the year. Time for Eric Davis to join the clubhouse, folks.
But Baker does write the lineup.
And it needs to change.
Baker tends to rightfully let his players work their way out of funks and find themselves naturally without a lot of demands or instructions.
But after a few years of familiarity, I think it's safe to say that there is some bottom-line truths about some of the Reds hitters that should be obvious enough to set the Reds lineup.
First and foremost, Reds centerfielder Drew Stubbs is an awful hitter. He's a Gold Glove caliber cenrterfielder with more range than probably anyone else in the game at his poisition.
But as a hitter, Stubbs is just plain awful -- and has been since he arrived in the big leagues despite some streaks that propped up some of his numbers.
Stubbs most definitely should be the everyday CF because of his defense, but there absolutely no way he should be anymore than the eighth hitter in this lineup.
Baker kept trying to rely on Stubbs as the leadoff hitter but finally came to grips this year with the fact that Stubbs is not consistent enough to be a leadoff hitter.
Unfortunately the glimpse of resolution to the leadoff dilemma that shortstop Zack Cozart provided this year is also clearly a mirage.
Cozart is neither disciplined enough or good enough of a contact hitter to be the team's leadoff hitter. Cozart should bat seventh.
So if Baker tries to iron his lineup out by what his hitters are showing him they are not, then he should be able to piece together a lineup that.....I'm going out on a limb here....should be able to score more than one run per game like the Reds have in their past three games, which have all been losses to vastly inferior teams.
With the bottom of the order set, here is how the lineup should look:
1. Brandon Phillips 2B
2. Chris Heisey/ Ryan Ludwick LF
3. Joey Votto 1B
4. Jay Bruce RF
5. Todd Frazier 3B
6. Ryan Hanigan/ Devin Mesoraco C
7. Zack Cozart SS
8. Drew Stubbs CF
The Reds put Bronson Arroyo on the mound tonight against a former Reds pitcher Kip Wells.
Wells is a journeyman whose career is all but finished in all likelihood, but he's still perfectly capable of putting together a decent outing in the cavernous abyss that is Petco Park.
Arroyo continues to play his thread out, throwing his frisbees as long as he can with the assurance he'll continued to get deferred money from the Reds through 2021. So far he's been a vast improvement over last year's disastrous season in which he nearly set the National League record for most home runs given up in a season.
But unless Baker starts to make some changes to the lineup and the coaching staff, Arroyo and the rest of the starters may have to do whole lot more than just pitch deep into games -- they may have to rely solely upon themselves for their own run support.