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From news of the day to news of the weird, John Fay provides a glimpse of what it’s like to cover the Cincinnati Reds

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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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Lineup, Dusty on moving Dunn

The wind was howling out. Now, it's blowing hard toward left field.

Corey Patterson cf
Jeff Keppinger ss
Ken Griffey Jr. rf
Brandon Phillips 2b
Adam Dunn lf
Edwin Encarnacion 3b
Joey Votto 1b
Javy Valentin c
Josh Fogg p


I asked Dusty Baker if he considered moving Dunn somewhere else in the lineup, given that Dunn is walking so much and hitting so little:

"Well, it's kind of two-fold. A lot of the walks he gets he gets that one pitch to hit. Sometimes he takes it. Most of the time he's been fouling it off. Pitchers aren't going to come at him, come at him, come at him. I told him the other day: Hey man, you're fouling a lot of balls off. You're fouling them straight back, which means you're on them but underneath them. With our situation here, it's not that easy to flip flop that lineup. We'd too many lefties in a row. A lot of it falls in Eddie (Encarnacion). As Eddie goes, we're going to go. Eddie has a lot of chances. I'll try to stick with this for a while. Hopefully, some of the guys come out of it. As far as protection, Hank Aaron used to tell me I was his protection. He told me to get some doubles and singles and that'll stop them from walking him. I had (Keppinger) batting behind (Dunn) a couple of days. He's our hottest hitter right now. He's a prototypical second hitter."

Baker says he constantly considering different lineups.

"My wife gets on me for turning on the light in the middle of the night. I'm a note taker. I learned to write with a flashlight."


44 Comments:

at 5:42 PM Blogger Grizzlyfox said...

EE 2nd and Kepp 6th. Can't hurt to try. EE sees fastballs in front of Jr., Dunn sees hittable pitches cuz Kepp is raking.

 
at 5:43 PM Blogger RotoJeff said...

Happy to see Votto in there again. Quietly, this is his fourth start in a row.

 
at 5:56 PM Blogger Ron said...

Yeah, I would try EE second...just to see. But the dude can't bunt (according to BP, and Dusty likes his 2 guy to bunt..)!!!

I am sure it is what Dusty is saying, Dunner will come around and start drilling the ball. then everything will be niiice in Redland.

Redlegs!!!

 
at 5:59 PM Blogger JerBear said...

Patterson has had some big hits, but is now batting .239 with an OBP of .280.

Now he may be just momentarily slumping, but his career numbers are not too far off from those numbers....258 AVG and .297 OBP for his career.

A couple other numbers to ponder, some which surprised me when I looked them up.

First, I have to mention Josh Hamilton just because I am a big fan. And I'm starting to come around on the trade too, because Volquez looks like he could be a solid starter for the Reds in the future.

But consider the alternatives to Corey Patterson.

Hamilton Career OBP .367, Career AVG .278. Lots of power, potentially great defensive centerfielder.

Norris Hopper...you might have my reaction looking at his numbers. Has he been that good?

Hopper Career OBP .389 Career AVG .331
Hopper's 2007 stats- .371 OBP .329 AVG...pretty good year!

Finally, Jay Bruce...I don't have his minor league stats, but being the fact that he was the Minor League Player of the Year tells the story about his talent. He is apparently solid in all areas and improving.


Anyway! It's just a curious situation. Signing Patterson mid-springtraining. Giving him most of the at-bats when Hopper is coming off a pretty solid year and showing he can play every day, or 4-5 days a week.

I feel like Hopper is getting the short end of the stick most of all. I don't mind Bruce being seasoned more in Triple AAA.

But still it is interesting that out of the choices of Josh Hamilton, Jay Bruce, and Norris Hopper in CF and most likely batting leadoff (maybe not Bruce), the Reds ended up bringing in Corey Patterson.

I wonder how long Patterson lasts in the leadoff spot. Again, I don't dislike him. I think he'd probably be a good number 7 hitter next year taking Griffey or Dunn's spot (assuming one or both leave for free agency).

But just looking at it from a long term standpoint, I'm not sure if the Reds have improved the everyday lineup with Patterson over the other previously mentioned players.

 
at 6:05 PM OpenID jumpupanddance said...

EE 9th and move the rest up one spot.

 
at 6:09 PM Blogger Cheviot Sports Authority said...

Of course Hopper should be in CF and leading off. Listening to Baker and signing Patterson is just another blunder by The Amazing Krivsky.
ST CSA

 
at 6:10 PM Blogger AReds83 said...

agree with rotojeff. Very good to see Votto starting again. I don't mind the lineup. It's not like its a matter of moving the guy who isn't hitter down in the order. Really with the exception of a couple guys, no one is hitting. Just have to hope somebody wakes up.

 
at 6:10 PM Blogger Cheviot Sports Authority said...

As horrible as this team was last season, the only time that they showed any signs of life was when Hopper led off and Keppinger batted second.
St CSA

 
at 6:27 PM Blogger Pat said...

I think Jump is really Tony LaRussa. I do like the ideal of batting the pitcher 8th.

I like the ideal of flip flopping Dunn with Griffey for just one or two games. That's for Dunn's sake, not because of Griff.

The big thing is not to panic. Dusty has been given a good team. Of course, that's what they said to the captain of the Titanic.

 
at 6:27 PM Blogger russ said...

Number-nerds might find this bit on lineups quite interesting. I've often wondered why Keppinger doesn't hit leadoff.

http://jinaz-reds.blogspot.com/2008/04/markov-dusty-bakers-lineups-arent-half.html

 
at 6:28 PM Blogger Jon said...

For once I can say I agree with you CSA.

 
at 6:38 PM Blogger mrtonyb40 said...

i know patterson had a couple of big hits early but i'd rather see freel leading off. i also vote no on going after piazza. you can't be serious! why no rumors that we're going after crede,he's available ? instead we get bargain basement piazza rumors.

 
at 6:39 PM Blogger JackBlueAsh said...

I agree CSA but why try anything that works? Great chemistry when Hopper and Kepp were playing and hitting 1 and 2

 
at 6:40 PM Blogger doomgoblin said...

i know that everyone wants to leverage dunn's power for rbi's, but that clearly ain't happenin' with this lineup. I think our best bet would be:

kepps
dunn
phillips
jr
votto
ede
patterson
bako
pitch

that's right/left all the way down to the 8 spot, and would a) get more people on at the top of the order, and b) get more pitches to hit for guys who really need them (dunn and phillips).

dunn certainly isn't dusty's "prototypical second hitter" but if he's going to be getting on 3 times a night, i'll take it.

 
at 6:47 PM Blogger robdicken said...

Russ...stats don't matter. CSA and Jack said so. Go "by your gut feeling." They go to the games. They KNOW who should be playing, and you don't! /sarcasm

In all seriousness, that article is rather interesting. Explains everything perfectly from a statistical point of view. That guy did some great analyzing.

 
at 6:55 PM Blogger ankurv5 said...

JerBear, consider the alternative to having Josh Hamilton here. No Volquez, and instead you'd have to put Affeldt or Belisle out there instead. That'd be an awful back end to the rotation and the rotation itself would only really be 2 pitchers strong (Harang and Cueto). That's a HUGE difference. And maybe it wasn't an equal trade, especially if JH stays healthy, but it was what the Reds needed.

On their performance the last 4 games, it happens. It's really hard to stay optimistic, but you can't blame Dusty for this. I mean, 4 of the guys that are supposed to be hitting the ball are playing like crap. When several of your best hitters are all slumping at the same time, there's really nothing you can do but wait it out. (Detroit Tigers)

 
at 7:05 PM Blogger JackBlueAsh said...

you can move these players around all you want..its been done dozens of times over the past two years with no success..team is not put together that well

let hopper lead off and bat Kepp number 2..it then gets better

 
at 7:06 PM Blogger Kelly said...

I really don't know why I continue to read this blog; however, tonight is it. Not sure that blogging is to be so negative. CSA & Jack are clueless, both need a nurse, by the way where has she been.....if you were so baseball smart you would not be here. You attack everyone, including poor Fay who is only doing his job & trying to keep up with what was fun last year.

Teams have scouted Hopper now & know all he can do is bunt....dude can't hit, weak arm & mediocre jumps on the ball in CF.

Hamilton is doing poorly in Texas, look it up...I was there yesterday, he gets complete star treatment, only Blalock would even talk to him. He made 2 baserunning errors & did not hustle on another play. They are moving him to right & DH to save his legs, dude is not as old as Grif, come on...Reds are lucky to get a pitching prospect for him...this will turn out to be a great move by Kriv.

The rest of the good moves are well documented, you just focus on the negative.

It is one thing to blog and consider options and "what ifs"; but, this is not as easy as Fantasy Sports or MVP Baseball 2008 on your playstation.

So good riddance to all of you and to Fay, best of luck with this hopeless endeavor.....losers will be losers who can't see the future....results come gradually.

Sorry for the rant; but, I had to do it.

 
at 7:16 PM Blogger T-Mac said...

Let's see if I have Dusty's quote right; "A lot of it falls in Eddie. As Eddie goes, we're going to go."

Lord help us! I weep for the future.

 
at 7:39 PM Blogger Cheviot Sports Authority said...

Sweet dreams Kelly.

 
at 7:42 PM Blogger Mr. Doom and Gloom said...

good lord what's it gonna take to get patterson out of the lineup and get hop a few starts in CF leading off...patterson is a nice 4th OF, would provide some pop off the bench which is sorely needed and would be an excellent defensive replacement in late innings when you could put him in CF and shift hop to left

 
at 7:47 PM Blogger JackBlueAsh said...

you can scout hopper all you want..he still gets on

Hamilton is far from doing poorly in Texas nor have they moved him to RF because of his legs.. he will play the majority of games in center field and a game or two a week in RF

all articles on the Rangers website have shown everyone welcoming him with open arms

CSA... Kelly, Deezman, Rob are all one in the same..have you not picked up on this?

 
at 7:56 PM Blogger bsu1 said...

We all loved Hamilton, wished we still had him, we don't so let's move on and quit moaning about it. "We gots what we gots."

 
at 7:59 PM Blogger Cheviot Sports Authority said...

Richie Rich too, I believe Jack.

 
at 8:05 PM Blogger JF said...

Hamilton just drove in a run tonight, and he's doing okay--not as blazing hot as in spring training--but far from poor.

Yes, it is great to see Votto quietly becoming the everyday player this team needs him to be.

If Patterson hits 30 HRS and steals 40 bases this year, well that's nice but he can do that from the 7-hole if he's going to hit sub-.230.

Jay Bruce, if given the everyday starting leadoff job, would hit far better than that.

But hey, who can argue with such success as 6-8? (I know, it's early, I'll stump for Bruce's return unless and until this team is above .500 though).

Every interview I hear with Dusty annoys me. He strikes me as an uninspiring dullard. Just another nice guy for a team that has proven NOT to respond positively to a nice low-key guy.

Start screaming and breaking things, Baker. Something has to fire this comatose team up. Isn't that supposed to come from the skipper?

I'd love to see Baker throw a base, kick some dirt on an umpire's shoes, and get tossed.

The only reason I can find to turn on the horrible TV announcers is to wait for those classic shots of Baker just standing there in the dugout, night-of-the-living-dead fashion, while the game is going down the crapper...

 
at 8:06 PM Blogger mentalmidget said...

I gotta agree with T-Mac!! My goodness!! Now he's hurting them with his defense! 3 errors? Maybe 4?

Any team's future looks rather bleak when their 5 & 6 hitters are hitting .162 and .186, respectively. I wonder how many runners those 2 have left on base.

I've said it over and over, Kepp is your IDEAL 2nd hitter!! He knows how to put the ball into play!!!

 
at 8:10 PM Blogger robdicken said...

you can scout hopper all you want..he still gets on

And the record keeps spinning...and spinning...and spinning...

All I have to say, is that if Javy or the pitcher gets into scoring position and Hopper is up next...lord help us! Dude doesn't drive in runs.

Hamilton is far from doing poorly in Texas nor have they moved him to RF because of his legs.. he will play the majority of games in center field and a game or two a week in RF

He's doing mediocre. Not poorly, not great. .278 BA, 3 HR, 13 RBIs. BTW, he's playing RF tonight as well.

all articles on the Rangers website have shown everyone welcoming him with open arms

Isn't it ironic how you believe the articles from the Rangers and don't believe anything John tells you?

CSA... Kelly, Deezman, Rob are all one in the same..have you not picked up on this?

Good one...but you're wrong. Like you have been a lot of lately.

 
at 8:32 PM Blogger Zippy said...

Hamilton is on a pace to hit about 35 HRs, 150 RBI, and about 100 runs. If that's mediocre, I wish we had more mediocre hitters.

 
at 8:49 PM Blogger robdicken said...

He's not going to play 162 games, Zippy.

He will more than likely get hurt at least once this season and play about 110 games. That's pretty fair judgment and an upgrade from last year.

That's 24 homers and 100 RBI pace. That's an "IF" statement. Therefore, the mediocre judgment.

What "IF" Volquez wins 15 games this year? Are 24 homers and 100 RBIs worth 15 wins for your team? Yes. Absolutely.

Can we say unequivocally that both of these players will live up to their potentials? Nope.

I liked Hamilton as a player, but the trade was a good one. Please move on.

 
at 8:59 PM Blogger Zippy said...

Hmmm... Dunn walks, and eventually scores! Isn't that sort of what a leadoff hitter does?

Again, here's my everyday lineup:

Dunn
Keppinger
Votto
BP
Grif
EE
Patterson
Bako

John -- thanks for asking Dusty about moving Dunn. It's a step in the right direction to get him thinking about it. I wonder if you can also ask him whether he thinks Patterson is doing a good job leading off. By my count, Patterson has led off 12 games, and reached base in the first inning in 3 of those games, which almost exactly matches his overall OBP. I'm wondering if Dusty is prepared to leave him there if he continues reaching base at this pace. (If so, he should be fired, but you don't have to mention that.)

Oh, and Fogg would never start another game if I were manager. There's just no point. Might as well get Baily in there and see what he can do over the course of a season.

 
at 9:08 PM Blogger Zippy said...

Actually, Rob, my calculations weren't based on Hamilton playing 162 games. They were based on the number of games the Rangers have played so far, and Hamilton's stats so far.

Regardless, my point wasn't to say how many HRs Hamilton will hit this season. I have no idea what he'll do this season. My point was that he's been anything but "mediocre" so far. The fact is, he's having a terrific season to this point. The Reds would be fortunate to have someone putting up those kinds of numbers.

And I'm not sure how it is that we already know that Hamilton can't play a full season? The guy has only played one major league season -- is that really enough to decide what's going to happen to him every year for the rest of his career?

 
at 9:26 PM Blogger mentalmidget said...

Zippy,

Lol!!! I really like your line-up! THAT'S thinking outside the box!! I like it alot! What have we got to lose! I know it's not quite time to panic, but,,,,,,,

You have to let go of Hamilton, my friend. Pitching is a much higher commodity than CF's. Look at what these owners pay for a pitcher with a + 4.00 ERA. Volquez looks to be the "real deal". Pitching and defense wins chanmpionships!!

 
at 9:37 PM Blogger reaganspad said...

Or you guys could look at this Hamilton thing with a little logic, since Hamilton has scored 1 fewer run, and has 4 more RBI's...

We have Volquez starting for 3 runs. I'll take that. Patterson

And since BJ SZMZANSKI (sp?) is absolutely tearing up AA, who really cares what Hamilton is doing.

 
at 9:40 PM Blogger robdicken said...

Zippy, the main concern is and has always been his history of drug abuse. That does damage to your body in the short-term and long-term, and yes, does make you injury prone. That's what I am basing it on.

Let's do a little calculation here...

You said 35 homers right? Well, he has played 14 games so far, right? 162 / 14 = 11.57

He's hit 3 homers, right?

11.57 x 3 = 34.71 (or 35)

So, yes. You were basing it on him playing 162 games. Nonetheless, I think Josh Hamilton will have a decent year. I don't think it's going to be stellar, though. Like I said...24 to 25 homers, 90 to 100 RBIs. "IF" he stays healthy.

"IF" Volquez wins 15 to 16 games, he was well worth Hamilton. Even if Volquez wins 10 on a Hamilton injury plagued year, he was well worth the trade.

 
at 9:54 PM Blogger Zippy said...

I have my doubts about the Hamilton deal, but I haven't been complaining about it at all. I was just responding to Rob claiming he's having a "mediocre" season, which was a silly statement that needed to be corrected.

I must say, it's sort of annoying that I've already been told to "move on" (by Rob) and now I'm supposed to "let him go," as if I've been talking endlessly about Josh Hamilton, which is completely false. I'm not sure why everyone on this board feels compelled to tell me (and others) what topics are acceptable to talk about.

 
at 10:06 PM Blogger Zippy said...

Rob,

My calculation was based on the number of games the Rangers have played. If Hamilton has played in every game so far, that isn't my fault.

Regardless, it's just silly to assume Hamilton won't play in more than 100 games because he has a history of drug use. I'd like to see the research supporting the theory that people who used to take drugs are more likely to sprain their wists playing baseball. I think you just made that up.

 
at 10:20 PM Blogger robdicken said...

Zippy, we're not taking a shot at you. There are 2-3 other people on this board that consistently will not let the the Hamilton deal go. When someone else chimes in with the same stuff, it makes it seem much worse than it already is. Not your fault.

Hamilton is having a start like a mediocre player. Derrek Lee has 6 homers to start the year...Jeff Keppinger has 2....Hamilton is just barely hitting more homers so far over Jeff Keppinger. He's not playing bad, but he's not playing stellar. He's playing mediocre. How is that silly?

 
at 10:49 PM Blogger reaganspad said...

Patterson has been fine in Center Field. 21 RBI's and Runs for Josh, 18 for Patterson.

Patterson has reached ball this year that fooled Josh last year. He time away from the game rusted his jump on the ball last year.

Josh was a good center fielder with a great arm. Patterson is a very good center fielder.

Josh had the quickest bat on the team. That part, and the seeds he tossed I really miss

 
at 10:52 PM Blogger robdicken said...

Zippy, he consistently used coke and heroine. I am pretty sure that consistent abuses to those will cause problems over time whether you continue to use them or not.

I am not a doctor, trainer, or claim to be either...but I know enough about a human body and drug tolerance to think it isn't going to have an effect on him over time. He didn't just use drugs, he ABUSED them to the point where he quit baseball.

I just said he would play in 110 games this year. Heck, I'll even give him an extra 10...so let's say 120 games. Even so, he's not going to hit the numbers in your projection. He will slump and break out of slumps, just like every other player.

And the calculations I just gave you have the number of games the Rangers have played as well. It's not a big deal...really.

 
at 11:34 PM Blogger Dave said...

RotoJeff - nothing quiet about tonight. Votto is at .333 and hit a pair of doubles - he's making some noise now. :) We should bat him 6th and put EE 7th or 8th; it lets us keep Keppinger where he belongs and gives Dunn some protection. News flash, though, Dunn has hit 4 straight years of 40 homers - you guys think he might be used to being "pitched around?" Dusty's right, he's batting .200 cuz he's missing the good strike or two he gets, usually cuz he's spinning on his heels like a top. He needs to find LF with a few liners - but I've been saying that for 5 years, while he hits .250.

 
at 11:40 PM Blogger Zippy said...

There's more to hitting than just HRs. 3 HRs in 14 games is very good (perhaps not fantastic, but certainly good). However, when you factor in the number of runs he's scored and the high RBIs, he's having a great season so far. Anyone who's averaging an RBI per game can't be having a "mediocre" season.

You can't claim it's "mediocre" simply because you expect him to eventually get hurt. By that standard, Ben Sheets is having a mediocre year.

 
at 12:26 AM Blogger robdicken said...

Okay...Zippy, what is the real debate about then? You claim he is having a good year after 14-15 games. Fine. I re-word "medicored" to say he is having a "good" year thus far. Does that suffice?

Josh Hamilton is a good player and has natural ability. But years of drug abuse will take its toll on him, and did last year. I mean, wasn't it obvious when he sprained his wrist in the batters box last year and sat out 3+ weeks? How many players do that and DON'T have a history of injuries or drug abuse?

But seriously...what is the debate about? Him having a good year, or the Volquez trade being bad? If Hamilton does have a good year, the trade still wouldn't be bad. We got Texas' top pitching prospect for him. They actually wanted MORE than Hamilton for Volquez. It was a good trade, bar none.

I'm not debating with you that Hamilton is good or that he's gonna have a good year. We both know he is and that he will.

Let me say again, I think that everyone here is sick of the Hamilton updates. It gives off the vibe that you're contesting the trade with Texas. Too many people here are doing that, and like I said...even more chiming in on the subject makes it seems that much worse. Volquez has been good for the Reds this year and will only get better.

 
at 10:57 AM Blogger Zippy said...

If you're sick of Hamilton updates, then don't go out of your way to argue with people who post something about Hamilton. Just ignore them, and they'll stop. But when you go out of your way to say that Hamilton isn't having a good season, when he obviously IS having a good season, you're practically begging people to keep arguing about it. I had no interest in talking about Hamilton, but your biased description of his season as "mediocre" drew me into the debate.

 
at 3:16 PM Blogger robdicken said...

Who's arguing with who? I didn't go out of my way to do anything, Skippy.

Obviously you can't tell the difference between a debate and argument. An argument is throwing out insults, threats, and stuff that isn't even remotely on topic. I don't remember myself doing anything like that...but hey, maybe I am wrong!

Did I insult you? I don't believe I did. I told you to move on from Josh Hamilton. It's really not a big deal...really...like I said about 3 times already. But to you it really seems to be very important that you tell me that I'm wrong and that Josh Hamilton is the next Mickey Mantle.

Have fun with that bud!

 
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