Lineup Changes Do Not Kickstart Reds Offense


Remember the good old days of 2010? Sure you do. The offense was not producing too well and skipper Dusty Baker made some changes. They didn’t all come at once either. Eventually, the changes seemed like wizardry at the time.

The end game was that Drew Stubbs was dropped from lead-off to 7th. Orlando Cabrera was moved from 2nd (although he also hit 6th a few times) to lead-off. Brandon Phillips also moved up from clean-up to second. Scott Rolen took over for BP as the team’s clean-up hitter. We all know the net result. Hopefully, that magic wand will once again work. If last evening’s contest is any indication, there could be more changes down the pike.

Those changes…

Zack Cozart inserted in the lead-off spot
Drew Stubbs moved from 7th to 2nd
Brandon Phillips dropped from lead-off to clean-up
Scott Rolen dropped from clean-up to 6th.

I understand all of these moves. When the Bats were struggling last season, then-manager Rick Sweet moved Cozart to lead-off and the offense responded. Whenever a player is in a rut, Baker moves him to 2nd and he finds his swing because he will see more fastballs considering Votto is next. BP has had past success from the clean-up spot.

Logical moves. I said I understand them, not agree with them.

After yet another game where the offense could only muster one run, you’re left shaking your head. But, to me, there’s a greater issue. That net result from 2010 wasn’t all good, however. The Reds still have not properly addressed and/or filled that of the lead-off and clean-up spots.

Side note: both RBI in the series have come off the rookie bats of Cozart and Devin Mesoraco.

On the clean-up spot, the general consensus is that you simply insert Jay Bruce there and all is well. In the past I’ve never been a big proponent of that move and part of it (not all of it) is based on the lefty-lefty situation. I’ve also thought part would be the added pressure…but I’m seeing the justification of this move that some Reds fans have proposed.

I know Bruce isn’t exactly lighting up opposing pitchers, but here’s a question to ponder. Is there truly any other hitter on this Reds roster that could remotely relieve some pressure off of Joey Votto? With Bruce possessing the long ball threat on any given pitch, no. There isn’t. If you want to keep the lefty-lefty from happening, who do you put clean-up? Last night might not have been the time to attempt this as Jaime Garcia was on the bump for the Cards.

Then again, maybe it was the perfect time.

I know BP has previous success from batting 4th, I am not a fan here especially considering he’s not 100%, maybe not even 90%. I’m more for having him bat 2nd.

The lead-off spot has brought about its fair share of suggestions (and arguments) as well. Cozart may be only a temporary fix, if he’s a fix at all. Others will always clamor for Stubbs because of his speed and pop. At times, this has been a bigger debate than if Aroldis Chapman should be a starter or reliever.

The hope was that Stubbs could be that lead-off guy and that Rolen could maintain his status as a clean-up hitter. Whenever you mention any negative thoughts in regards to the offense, some get defensive. I read it all winter.

If lead-off and clean-up can be resolved this season, things will be on the up. If Cozart and Bruce are the real answers, even better as both are young. If not, mediocrity could creep in again as it did in 2011.

And I, for one, would not enjoy that.


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