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Dusty Baker juggles slumping Reds lineup

Apr 18, 2012, 6:33 PM EDT

Dusty Baker Reuters

Here’s a look at Dusty Baker’s new idea to break the Reds out of their offensive swoon (they’ve scored fewer runs than every team in baseball besides the Pirates):

SS Zack Cozart
CF Drew Stubbs
1B Joey Votto
2B Brandon Phillips
RF Jay Bruce
3B Scott Rolen
LF Chris Heisey
C Devin Mesoraco

I actually really like this one, expect for the odd choice to put Stubbs behind Cozart. Cozart was batting second behind Brandon Phillips and doing an outstanding job, hitting .341/.400/.561 in the early going. He’s also got that whole prototypical NL No. 2 hitter thing going on: middle infielder, makes contact, modest power, decent runner but not exactly speedy.

Stubbs is none of those things. He’s hitting .175 this season and has struck out 13 times in 40 at-bats. Stubbs, though, is an experienced leadoff hitter, and for all the grief he takes over his strikeouts, he’s scored 123 runs in 171 games there. That’s an average of .72 runs per game. To put it in perspective, Jose Reyes has averaged .71 runs per game hitting leadoff in his career. It seems to me that if you’re going to have both Cozart and Stubbs hitting at the top of the order, it’d make a lot more sense to have them the other way around.

That’s not really so important, though. That Heisey and Mesoraco are playing are better signs, and getting Rolen out of the cleanup spot should help. It’s the best lineup the Reds have used this season.

  1. metalhead65 - Apr 18, 2012 at 7:31 PM

    stop the presses baker changed the lineup? don’t get used to it though win or lose he will change it tom. today is Heisey’s 1 game a week start and he will be back on the bench tommorow no matter what he does tonight. I would look for stubbs to back leading off and striking out again within a couple of days. but thank god he dropped rolen! he has 8 home runs since the all star game of 2010 and baker still had him batting cleanup.

  2. qcubed3 - Apr 18, 2012 at 7:54 PM

    Wait. What? Chapman’s now batting clean-up?

  3. charlutes - Apr 18, 2012 at 11:08 PM

    TA – total agree

  4. janknessgv - Apr 18, 2012 at 11:09 PM

    Nice lineup. Cardinals looked like they approved the changes

  5. spudchukar - Apr 19, 2012 at 12:23 AM

    Always hard to feel much grief for the Reds, but they just are not competing. The Cards tried hard to give the game to the Reds Tuesday, but they refused the offer, and tonight they were abysmal. This very talented team is not putting forth a great deal of effort. Dusty catches a lot of crap here at HBT, much of it unwarranted IMHO, but part of a manager’s duty is to get his players to play hard and right now that isn’t happening. Something has to give, and most often that means; exit manager.

    • paperlions - Apr 19, 2012 at 9:32 AM

      Spud, remember when I said I didn’t think the Reds were worth worrying about? Well, it was mostly because of their lineup. Their hitters park has helped to hide their offensive weakness. Last year Heisey was they 4th best hitter and Votto was their only impact bat. They didn’t do anything to address the offense; too many guys that have always had contact issues. Right now that lineup is a frustrated Votto, Cozart and a bunch of nothing. Last year was a career year for Phillips, which he doesn’t seem likely to repeat on an annual basis. Bruce will get hot at some point, but he has some major holes in his swing and can always be pitched to…..the cardinals have at least one guy on the bench every night that would be the 3rd best hitter on the reds.

      • spudchukar - Apr 19, 2012 at 9:45 AM

        And their starting pitching isn’t anything to champion either. I too predicted they would struggle choosing them to come in at #21 in my 2012 rankings. As you alluded to, not enough tough outs, Rolen is now a faint image of his prior self. Heisey was in center the other day; now that is dangerous, not sure how Dusty chose him over Ludwig there.

        On another subject, the Cards’ broadcasters informed the public of an amazing stat. Scott Rolen is 3 doubles short of passing Babe Ruth. Hard to believe Ruth only hit 500+ doubles. Maybe later in his career he just stopped at first if the ball didn’t go out, but still I find it remarkable that he had so few two-baggers.

    • stlouis1baseball - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:12 PM

      Rolen has been a doubles machine his whole career.
      I do agree that it is suprising the Babe hit so few Doubles though.

  6. stlouis1baseball - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    I have been telling my buddies since ST that I don’t see where the Redlegs’ runs are going to come from. Of course…they vehemently disagreed. Granted…they started out bad and have stayed their.
    Point is…assuming everyone has a solid year you still only have Votto, Phillips and Bruce.
    I like Cozart but he has only played for about 10 minutes. In my mind the verdict is still out on him.
    So again…Votto, Phillips and Bruce (and this is assuming these three guys hit like they are capable).

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