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John Fay
John Fay has been the Reds beat writer for the Enquirer since 2001. Prior to that, he served in a variety of roles for the Enquirer: backup Reds writer, UC beat writer, backup Bengals writer and as a general assignment reporter. He is a Cincinnati native and a graduate of Elder High School and the University of Dayton.

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

How do you like that lineup now?

Reds sent 10 to the plate and scored six in the first. Barry Zito was awful. But the Giants' defense was about as bad. One error. One should-have-been-an-error.

Paul Bako now has three triples -- tied for the league lead.


at 4:50 PM Blogger redsfaninchitown said...

No Griffey = no ground outs to 2nd and no Dunn = no strikeouts. I like this line-up. Still missing Bruce though.

at 4:54 PM Blogger gannfan said...

I really hope Castellini & Jocketty are watching Barry Zito pitch.

7 years $126 million. Oops.

At least Matty Mo was only a 3 year $27 million deal.

at 4:55 PM Blogger sabr_blogger said...

John, I ducked out for a bit earlier and missed that you'd thrown a question at me in your earlier post. I'll repost my response here - feel free to delete the extra one here or there...

"What's the sabr take on putting Hairston in leadoff based on his numbers vs. Zito. .478 OBP, .632 Slugging? Should a manager do that based on 19 at-bats?"

So glad you asked! Off the cuff, managers fall for this stuff far too much. The way a sabermetrician would evaluate Dusty's thinking is to test these numbers against the Binomial Distribution. You would like to know what percentage of the time a player with a .326 lifetime OBP (Hairston) would register a .478 (or better) OBP against a pitcher purely by chance given 19 ABs. I just cranked that out in Excel, and... the answer is 6% of the time. The equivalent for his SLG numbers (.632 vs Zito and .359 lifetime) is a slightly more impressive 0.4%.

While both those numbers actually sound good (ie, low "chance" numbers means more likely that *something systematic* is going on there instead), you have to consider that Hairston probably has 19 (or more) ABs against quite a few major league pitchers. So we have what statisticians term a "multiple tests" issue at work. If I throw out a guess that it's 100 pitchers (he's got 2400 lifetime ABs), then you would expect simply by chance that Hairston would be getting on base that well against 6 pitchers and slugging that well against 1 (rounding up to the nearest whole number) - Zito's the lucky man apparently. And these successes would be purely due to random variation, and not some underlying tendency to hit the guy well.

A better way to pick these matchups would be if we had data that Hairston "hits X against lefties with predominantly breaking pitch arsenals (like Zito)", since those sample sizes would be more in the neighborhood of several hundred PAs.

All of that said, it's not the most senseless thing Dusty's ever done (given that that's a rich cornucopia to choose from). And we have to keep in mind that we are not talking about purely independent events here (as for example coin flips are). Baseball being a heavily psychological endeavor, if you're sending a hitter up to the plate loaded with (false, but helpful) misconceptions that he "has the pitcher's number", it can only give him a confidence advantage (I would think - or, does it make him overconfident and cause him to swing at BAD pitches? hmm...). The point being though that it is unlikely FROM JUST THIS information (his career #s vs Zito) that he has ANY better chance against him than against any other pitcher, relative to his teammates (by that I mean that any of the Reds should have fun against Zito the way he's going).

Hope that made some sense.

at 4:58 PM Blogger Craig said...

Just because Zito stinks doesn't mean Hairston and Patterson should be hitting 1-2.

at 6:12 PM Blogger Don said...

I don't think today's success has much to do with the fact that Griffey and Dunn are out of the lineup. We scored 10 runs last night when Dunn and Junior in the lineup. It is combination of three things:

1) Barry Zito is terrible.
2) The Giants defense is less than stellar.
3) The Giants' bullpen is so depleted after having to throw 8 2/3 innings last night that San Fran had little choice than to leave the pathetic Zito out there to eat up a few more innings.

at 6:26 PM Blogger Another losing season said...

Good thing the Reds will miss Kyle Loshe on this next trip. The embarrassment would be too much. Had another outstanding outing today to improve to 3-0.

at 6:28 PM Blogger Joe said...

Volquez, wow. Real deal. Good trade for both teams so far.

Coffey, nails the first batter when it is 9-1. How much more of this will they take?

at 6:33 PM Blogger Dave said...

Has anyone else seen Volquez's tattoo? It's on his forehead (and maybe it's perm. marker, I don't know)...it says "Cy Young..." He's still a bit wild and he's pitching like an ace...Stuff, Makeup, Aggressiveness, Pitch Selection - this kid will win 20 some season, I promise. I liked Hamilton, but this is gonna be the defining trade (along with Phillips) of Krivsky's time here.

at 6:39 PM Blogger Joe said...

It is not fair to to guess how Dunn and Griffey would have done against the 80 mph fastballs from Zito and say this should be the line up. But I like the fact both were out of the line up today. Give them some time to get their head into hitting. Dusty is sending the message.

A couple great defensive plays today from Votto and EE.

at 6:40 PM Blogger JackBlueAsh said...

team looks good without the two dinosaurs,..John ..I hope that you are feeling better

at 6:44 PM Blogger Steve said...

I can get used to a lineup which doesn't have Dunn in it. Very refreshing. I know one game doesn't justify a full-time basis but I hope his days as an underachieving Red are nearing an end.

Griffey I can live with for one more year but next season, I hope he's gone too. Seriously, these two are dead weight.

at 6:52 PM Blogger John from Cincinnati said...

John let's not get carried away, it is against the choker Barry Zito. But here's something to think about, the Reds scored 20 runs in the last 2 games and Griffy and Dunn had no contributions in either game......is it time to say goodbye to them both? I see Dunn going first and then Griffey after he breaks 600 Hr's then we call up Bruce.

at 7:07 PM Blogger Tom & Shelly Hehenberger said...

Let's hope this gets the Reds' bats going-two nights in a row with good hitting--we needed this to happen weeks ago!

at 7:11 PM Blogger Aaron said...

I think it is very telling that this team had their best offensive explosion with Griff and Dunn riding the pine. Yes Zito stinks but we have made bad pitchers look good before. The lineup vs lefties is better with Griffey and Dunn benched. Which makes you wonder why we spend approx 25 million combined for the dynamic duo. Even against righties with the overshift I don't think it is possible for either of them to have a respectable batting average. Jockety's first move has to be to trade Dunn and perhaps Griffey as well. We upgade defensively as soon as we dump Dunn and frankly a good contact hitter can put up even better numbers at GABP. As I have said before Griffey is WAY below average compared to #3 or #4 hitters around the league. If he was batting 5th or lower I wouldn't complain about him much. Dunn is a BIG problem though. He has got to go.

at 7:20 PM Blogger ryan said...

Reading this blog makes me want to puke. Im not sure why i still come on here. I think its because it makes me laugh so much. The line up that dusty put out there makes nothing but good sense. We scored 10 runs....AGAIN. Some of you need to find something else to do instead of coming on here acting like you know whats best for the reds. They'll go to the playoffs.

at 7:40 PM Blogger Go Redz said...

I love this line-up. I still believe that as long as Dunn & Griffey are here, there won't be a World Series in Cincinnati. Those two are the problem with the Reds.

at 7:55 PM Blogger Cheviot Sports Authority said...

When something makes me puke, I stop doing it.

at 8:02 PM Blogger JerBear said...

I'm glad the Reds won 2 in a row, but come on people...you can't believe the Reds are going to be highly successful if Hairston Jr. and Patterson are batting back to back most of the year.

It's allright every once in awhile, but Hairston Jr. and Patterson are probably bench players, and if starting are probably more suited for 7th in the lineup.

Nice to see Phillips coming out of his slump. The Reds might win a few more games with a hot hitting Phillips and just a decent hitting Dunn.

at 8:04 PM Blogger Jeff said...

I have to agree with Don's 6:12 comments. The offense was aided by Zito's 83 MPH heater, hanging curves, and poor defense. But given their offensive output this and the previous game, it looks like the team is starting to hit.

The team will hit and score with Griffey and Dunn in the line-up. Their contributions over the last several years back this up.

The Volquez trade is looking better and better. And I bet if you asked any Rangers fan, they'd say the same about the Hamilton trade.

at 8:09 PM Blogger Craig said...

If Hairston and Patterson are still batting 1-2 come July 1, the Reds won't even be dreaming about the playoffs.

at 8:32 PM Blogger sabr_blogger said...

I'm just curious. Do the people who think the Reds scored 20 runs because of Griffey and Dunn's absence think that when these two hit home runs, they don't actually go up on the scoreboard? What happens when Dunn gets on base (a lot) and hits 40 home runs? Don't those runs count? I'm very confused.

Granted, given the presence of Bruce they should trade Dunn - possibly to SD for one of their unused starting catchers (Barrett or Bard), either of which are better than what the Reds are starting - plus something else to even the trade up. But Dunn is a producer. I don't get why the lack of love for him here. Batting average isn't what you think it is. Get up to speed guys.

at 8:44 PM Blogger Dave said...

Yeah, Zito was terrible and Volquez was excellent but it sure was nice not seeing anything of Griffey/Dunn - stick with it, Dusty!!!

at 9:01 PM Blogger Craig said...

I think this quote sums up why people don't like Dunn. This is from a few years ago when the Red's were in the playoff hunt.

Dunn shrugged at the questions: "I have no idea. We're just playing bad at the wrong time. There's nothing we can do. I guess we could take extra batting practice, but that's not really going to do anything ..."

But as he left the clubhouse, the big outfielder showed he was going to get some swings in.

He picked up the golf bag by his locker, slung it over his shoulder and, with clubs rattling, headed for the door.

at 9:30 PM Blogger JackBlueAsh said...

sabr stats are not always what ya think they are..the team has stunk with a foundation of Dunn/Griffey

look at the big picture

can you imagine what we could do with the 24 million they command in salary?

time for a change..time to move on

at 10:39 PM Blogger Middie said...

By June/July, I see Dunn and Griffey traded to the A.L. for pitching prospects. EE goes to left field and with Gonzo back at shortstop, Keppinger takes over at third and Bruce is in centerfield. Hairston/Hopper platoon in rightfield and Bailey is our fifth starter. Not a bad lineup and some more wins like today without the laid-back twins, Dunn/Griffey.

at 10:49 PM Blogger Jeff said...

The team has stunk not because of Griffey and Dunn, but because they have had no pitching.

at 10:54 PM Blogger Red Faced said...

Can't get excited about beating up on the Giants, they are very likely going to be the worse team in the league by years end. I'm surprised they have double digit wins already.

The Reds should have swept this team but I guess things could be worse, we could have let them sweep us like the Pirates did.

On a positive note, it is very good for this team to see Phillips heating up, with both him and EE coming around that should really help this team out. Now we need Dunn to get out of his funk.

at 12:14 AM Blogger Dave said...

Craig, interesting Dunn quote. The kicker isn't that he doesn't work hard, it's that golf screws up your swing. You have to transfer your weight forward more, open your hips, and dip under the ball too much. Guess what? The few times I tried a good walk spoiled during baseball season, I went on a rash of a week or two skying popups and fouling off the good pitch or two I saw in an AB. When I went back to trying to hit liners the other way, my contact, my power, and my command (which field I wanted to hit to) all returned in spades. Good pitchers (Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz) can golf...good hitters leave it for the offseason. Dunner looks like a golfer w/the way he slices under everything and rolls his right hip open down the RF line. Disgusting.

at 12:54 AM Blogger John Fay said...

Dunn, if I recall correctly, played golf one time that season. On an off day. If skipped the round, do think he would have hit 10 more home runs?.

He's had a horrible month. But the notion that it's he's not working at hitting is misguided.

at 9:49 AM Blogger Joe said...

Dunn will get it together before long. He's never had a manager like Dusty with the juice to set him on the bench. In the long run, when the head is on right, and he is hitting the ball they way he can, Dunn will benefit from it.

at 9:59 AM Blogger Steve said...

Look, let's say you're the owner and you have to sign a payroll check for a guy making $13 (m) and you see he's batting .192 as April ends. That's a tough pill to swallow.

Dung...err...Dunn's always a slow starter but he has to start hitting NOW! No more mulligan's. I have faith in Griffey but this is absolutely his last year. It's nearing time to cut the cord on our LF/RF duo.

at 11:02 AM Blogger JackBlueAsh said...

I think its a possibility that Dunn will not get it together. He has always been a marginal hitter that hits meaningless homeruns

This may be the year that Dunn becomes whom he really is..just a terribly bad hitter

at 11:18 AM Blogger robdicken said...

Who cares if Dunn played Golf or not? Baseball players have ALWAYS played golf on days off or when they can. What does that really matter? Are people emphasizing that he is lazy because he plays golf? Well call everyone else lazy in the league, because I would be willing to bet that 75% of major leaguers play golf!

Stats are not misguiding when they tell you how a player will perform in situations. There's more to just stats than the normal statistics (HR, RBI, AVG). To emphasize that stats do not matter is like saying that measurements do not matter in a cooking recipe! Go ahead and add as many eggs and sticks of margarine to those cookies as you can, because since measurements don't matter, they will still come out the same!! *rolls eyes*

Griffey and Dunn will help push this team into the playoffs if we go to the playoffs. To directly implicate that Griffey and Dunn make it impossible for other players to hit is absolutely ludicrous.

Last time I checked, there were 9 players in a lineup, and if we're only scoring 2-3 runs per game...there's plenty of other players that aren't hitting as well.

at 2:12 PM Blogger schlemdog said...

I like Griffey and I like Dunn. I don't like them both in the lineup as OF's because they take alot of flexibility out of the offense.

I would trade either IF . . . IF it would help the team, but I can't see getting value that improves the team right now.

at 2:25 PM Blogger Dan Foertmeyer said...

I agree with Jack and most of the stuff he writes because I as well as Jack am fed up with Dunn and Griff. Listen Guys they have 25 mill invested in those 2 players. I dont know who wants Dunn but if we can get a major league ready prospect for him and drop that salary i would do it in a second. He has a tendacy to be a rally stopper, sure he has walked more then strikeouts this year but he just looks terrible at the plate as he has for the last 4 years. As for Griff we all know he has a sweet pure swing but i think if a team like the mariners really want him you package him and hatteberg for Jeff Clement. This leaves the center field position open. HMMM... how about the best prospect in baseball fills that spot. Not only do the reds get rid of 25 mill in salary they get a lot younger and full of even more young talent. This would make the reds a second coming of the Arizona D-Backs and this team would no doubt compete in the central for years to come.

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