April 19, 2012; St. Louis, MO. USA; Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker (12) walks back to the dugout in the ninth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Cincinnati defeated St. Louis 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE

Reds Three Dot Cafe – Cubs, Lead-off Situation, Baker, Rotation


In honor of one of my favorite writers, I’m going to introduce my own rendition of the Three Dot Lounge – only, this is the Three Dot Cafe…the lounge is down the street. Three Dot establishments are mainly for thinking aloud…pondering thoughts, only, articulating them as they emerge…a continuous streamline of nonsense…let’s get it started…

Baker watches the game during the third inning against the Houston Astros at Great American Ballpark. (Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE)

The Reds get set to play three with the Cubs, whose 8-15 record isn’t necessarily indicative of what they’re doing right now…recently took 2/3 from the Cards…split 4 games with the Phillies…Samardzija isn’t doing all the great as of late…he’s failed to go longer than 6 innings the previous three starts….though in fairness, two were against the Cards…on the other hand, Bronson Arroyo, the last three years, is a pretty cool 2-2 vs. the Cubs with a 2.41 ERA….Paul Maholm, someone who the Reds are used to walloping, turned in 6 innings of one run four hit baseball last time against the Reds…he’s since failed to go any further than four innings his previous two outings…

But then again, he’s facing Leake. What do we think about Leake right now? 0-3, 6.45 ERA…last May, the Reds sent Leake down…he had something like a 5.77 ERA after six starts, including a botched shop lifting attempt…he finished the season with a 3.86 ERA at 12-9….have to imagine Walt considers this option again if he turns in another bad outing…

In his last outing against the Cubs, Leake gave up 10 hits and 5 earned runs…Mike Leake accounts for the only two losses against Chicago/Houston…

Meanwhile, Aroldis Chapman drifts endlessly into the wind…

Lead-off situation is pretty murky at the moment…Who do we want, Stubbs or BP?  The evidence for BP is overwhelming – I’d take his career .275 as lead-off man over Drew’s .241, but the problem is the Reds inability to have a guy make teams pay for intentionally walking their best hitter…so we move BP to 4, Stubbs back to his dreaded lead-off role…but what other choice do the Reds have?  Bruce is hot, right now…but career wise, he’s never done well batting 4…he’s hitting .230 for his career at the 4 spot…he’s only had a little over 300 ABs there, but considering how hot the Reds are right now, do you honestly risk moving him around?

Had an opportunity to get to a ball game the other night…had some pretty interesting conversations with some fans who had a notable distaste for all things Baker…assured me he’s hated in San Fran and Chicago…tells me there’s a reason why he’s hated everywhere he’s coached…tells me Baker is “an idiot.”  Hey…few things to said fan, and any fan who feels the same:

A) He’s not hated in San Francisco, at all…

B) The Chicago Cubs fans have blamed everything from a goat to an innocent fan who reacted to a foul ball for all of their misfortunes.  Dusty Baker, the guy who has taken them the furthest they’ve been in a long time, simply assumes the role of scapegoat in a city that desperately needs it.

C) Managers make players…Joe Torre isn’t Joe Torre without that payroll…Tony LaRussa isn’t TLR without Pujols and Carpenter…if coaches decided everything, then Jack McKeon would have instantly turned the Marlins around last year upon his arrival.

My take on the skipper is that he has two roles: 1) Keep team focused; 2) Ensure team chemistry is maintained.  That’s more vital than any lineup he’ll run out…more important than which arm he decides to bring in the game…29 other managers in baseball are playing the same odds with MLB-level talent – the ones that succeed are the ones with more exceptional MLB talent than others….just how it goes…

Thanks for stopping by.

 

Tags: Baseball Chicago Cubs Cincinnati Reds Dusty Baker Featured Managers MLB Popular Wrigley