Even with the recent rash of homers, Reds offense still has its struggles. (Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE)

The Utility Player: Reds Bats, Pitch Counts and Misleading Tweets

After a week’s vacation for TUP, we get back on the horse to see what has been happening over the past two weeks.

Have you wondered how the Reds are winning as of late? It’s not been due to the offense. I know the bats have scored enough to win, but the arms have been carrying a little more of the load over the past week or so. This past series with the Braves resulted in a homer eruption.

But look at a few things here. In the last two weeks, the Red bats have been relatively quiet. Point to the slumps of Jay Bruce and Zack Cozart all you want. Here’s how the past 14 games (including last night) have gone offensively.

Date Runs AB H AB H
5/11 3 35 9 14 3
5/12 1 32 5 6 0
5/13 9 34 9 7 2
5/14 3 33 7 12 2
5/15 2 37 11 8 1
5/16 6 34 10 5 1
5/17 4 33 8 8 1
5/18 0 30 4 2 0
5/19 6 32 8 10 3
5/20 5 36 10 10 1
5/21 4 32 7 4 0
5/22 4 29 6 4 1
5/23 2 30 6 8 0
5/24 6 31 10 8 2
TOTALS 55 458 110 106 17
AVG 3.93   .240   .160

While Cozart has found his swing, albeit a little (thanks to some coaching from Dusty Baker), Bruce has yet to re-discover his.

Over on Red Reporter, this exact topic was covered. As noted in the piece on RR, Bruce’s cold zones are down and in, down and away. If you check out how opposing pitchers are pitching Bruce, it’s zero surprise there is a direct correlation.

(Credit: TexasLeaguers.com)

The image to the left is through Wednesday night’s game and covers the entire month of May aside from last night game. (Click on the image to enlarge it. A new tab or window will open.) It also deals strictly with pitches that were called balls or strikes. You can easily see the clusters forming especially down and away. Yes, he’s been on the bad end of a few calls, too. He hasn’t exactly received many of those “make-up calls” either.

A highly suggested read.

And on Cozart, his hot/cold can be found here. In case you were wondering.

But as of late the Reds haven’t needed that one bat. While no one has set the world on fire, look at some contributors from the Braves series. Keep this in mind. In the Braves series, Joey Votto went 3-for-13, and didn’t drive in a run. Jay Bruce continues to see an “0” under his hit line.

Now the real story…

Drew Stubbs cracked a total of three home runs in the series. Tonight, Devin Mesoraco hit his first MLB grand slam. Brandon Phillips had a pair of homers in the second game of the series. Cozart added a home run in each of the series first two games. Besides the walk-off in the third game, Todd Frazier was 2-for-3 in the series finale. Chris Heisey was 5-for-11 in the three games in which he started.

Pitch counts ruining baseball?

I’m sure with the modern advances in both technology and medicine, there could be a fair assessment that pitch counts are becoming more and more integrated into baseball. Not every team subscribes or holds its arms to pitch counts. I bet the Texas Rangers are one that doesn’t. Ask Nolan Ryan.

“The dedication and work ethic that it takes to pitch an entire season as a starting pitcher and the discipline to continue to maintain his routine all year. And he wants the ball every fifth day, and he’s going to go out there with the intent of pitching late into games and not complaining.”

Back in April of 2009, Gary Thorn posted an article for USA TODAY from which the above quote was included in the piece. Today, Ryan might be getting a bit of gruff on this because Neftali Feliz recently hit the disabled list, but we all know Ryan will not waver from this stance unless absolute proof of monitoring pitch counts emerges and states that doing so can save on a pitcher’s arm.

Well, fellow Baseball Bloggers Alliance member Big Apple Mets Talk has its take on the issue of pitch counts…aside from the fact that it seems are continually lean onto a reliance on them.

“Since the year 2000, the amount of games where the starting pitcher has thrown over 125 pitches has steadily declined. In 2007, there were only 14 games the entire season where a starting pitcher threw at least 125 pitches. The game is suffering from pitch counts and so are the pitchers. It seems every year more and more teams try to protect their pitchers, yet every year we see star pitchers succumb to arm injuries. Pitchers used to pitch until they couldn’t lift their arm anymore or until they couldn’t get anyone out anymore.”

Nowadays, the magic number is roughly 100. Once a pitcher reaches that pitch count, the masses will holler for the starter to be pulled. In going back to the Thorn article, Ryan wants his pitchers to emphasize their conditioning. Ryan believes that will “establish the foundation”.

Take either side, but pitch counts will stay around.

Misleading the Masses?

Earlier yesterday morning, this hit Twitter.

Now, we Reds fans know that Brandon Beachy surrendered not one, not two, but three solo shots in his most recent outing. While I will say giving up a solo shot can have far less effect that when runners are on base, they can still hurt.

And someone did take him to task on it…and Olney blocked him. And Redleg Nation’s Chris Garber added…

And gave up 3 solo HR on Tues.

Don’t know if Chris got blocked, but I know he didn’t get a response.

In other words, this is kind of making something out of nothing…or even the other way around. Point is this tweet was pure nonsense especially knowing the last results from Beachy’s last outing. It didn’t even need to be made public. Well, not complete nonsense. Those three solo shots led to a loss.

Or I should use this as venom in saying the Reds solo shots aren’t getting their due. Of course I’m not surprised at this. I know the big boys up in Bristol recently added the Tigers/Reds game to the Sunday Night Baseball lineup. It’s because they are now winning. No other reason.

I will add. Beachy entered that game leading the Majors in ERA at 1.33. After the game it went up to 1.77. That 0.44 increase was completely due to surrendering three solo shots.

Funny how things can become so twisted and distorted, huh?

One last thing…

First place!!!

Tags: Baseball Buster Olney Cincinnati Reds ESPN Jay Bruce MLB Zack Cozart

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