Listening to this afternoon’s Reds broadcast elicited a number of random thoughts and after letting them percolate a bit in my brain I thought I would share a few of them.
I am a traditional guy who while embracing some technological advances also tend to be a bit resistant to change. One of the things I find I resist is MLB.TV. In part because at the beginning of the season I don’t want to shell out the $100+ dollars for access but primarily it is because I enjoy listening to the game. When I was young and first listening to the budding Big Red Machine the voices I heard were always Marty and Joe. I miss Joe Nuxhall for his easy going delivery and for the simple fact that he mellowed out Marty who can be a bit harsh, particularly when the club is struggling. So to make a long story short(er), I subscribe to the Gameday Audio package on MLB.com as my way of plugging into the Reds throughout the season.
This afternoon, in the 7th inning of the game versus the Colorado Rockies Marty’s partner Jeff Brantley made a statement that made me pause. As Edgar Renteria stepped to the plate with two outs and base runners on 1st and 3rd, Brantley told Jim Kelch that Renteria is one of the toughest outs in baseball after the sixth inning and he is especially tough in the 9th.
Now I do not consider myself to be a Renteria fan but I am not a Renteria basher either. In fact, since the All Star break Renteria has done a good job at the plate, hitting .299. Only three players on the Reds roster have tallied a higher batting average during this time frame and they are Zack Cozart (.333 in 21 ABs), Yonder Alonso (.471 in 17 ABs) and Dontrelle Willis (.400 in 15 ABs). But in spite of this fact, Edgar Renteria is not, as “The Cowboy” stated hitting in late inning situations. In truth it is quite another story. According to baseball-reference.com his batting average is .200 in the 7th inning (5-25), .238 in the 8th inning (5-21) and .093 in the 9th inning (2-21). This miniscule sample size is immaterial in this situation as no matter how you quantify clutch these numbers certainly do not represent in the way Brantley suggested.
The next thought is one that I can not answer (lazy I guess). I wonder how many innings the Reds have not scored a run this season compared to last season? I am guessing the number is significant. I will probably slog through the numbers to figure that out before long but at least the question is out there.
On a related note, I discovered another disturbing fact comparing 2010 to 2011. In 2010, the Reds batted .269 with 2 outs and runners in scoring position. They scored 266 runs and collected 252 RBIs with 19 home runs. In 2011, the Reds are batting .201 with 2 outs and RISP and have scored just 132 runs and driven in 119 RBIs while hitting 10 home runs. What a difference a year makes!
Another stat I looked up is that the Reds are 5th in the National League in double plays turned by the defense with 282. Apparently if the Reds had more opportunities to field against Carlos Gonzalez they might be a bit higher on this list after turning 3 double plays on grounders he hit in just two games.
And finally I made the comment on Twitter after the game ended last night that at some point I will need to install a defibrillator beside my computer in order for me to safely navigate listening to Francisco Cordero finish games. After a lead off home run to Seth Smith he put the game away but both he and Aroldis Chapman made the finish more adventurous than I wanted it to be. That said was there ever a sweeter strikeout than when Chapman dispatched Eliezer Alfonzo with Dexter Fowler on third. He started out throwing the first pitch for a ball then came back with 3 4-seam fastballs increasing in velocity 97-98-and finally sending him to the bench at 100 mph. He truly is a phenomenon.
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