Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Looking to the Future and Analyzing Sunday's Fiasco


by: Jack Ward
Staff Writer

Let’s start out by saying I’m encouraged for next year! The Reds as you know traded Mike Leake and Johnny Cueto to other teams and got some really good, almost major league ready players in return. I was hoping that Walt Jocketty and the Reds would not enter into a rebuild and so far they haven’t. The Reds have great players that are either untradeable or not going to be traded. So why would you start a rebuild when you have solid talent? They still have Joey Votto, Todd Frazier, Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips, JJ Hoover, Aroldis Chapman and next year a healthy Devin Mesoraco, a healthy Zack Cozart, and maybe Marlon Byrd. Billy Hamilton will get better, and I love Eugenio Suarez and his performance this season.

Walt borrowed a phrase from Dave Dombrowsky of the Tigers as he called what the Reds are doing a “reboot.” When you reboot a computer you are putting it back to where it used to be. Hopefully the Reds are putting back together a team like the playoff teams in 2010, 2012 and 2013. That’s what we are hoping for and I believe is possible.

It all depends upon the Reds starting pitching. Next season Homer Bailey will be back sometime in late May. And then the Reds will be relying first on the hope that Homer Bailey can be a number one starter. And secondly they will have to bank on the hope that second year and rookie pitchers can handle the load. That is a very iffy position to be in. But the Reds have a lot of confidence in these young arms. But what other choice do they have? The rest of this season we will see a steady flow of all rookie starters which hasn’t happened to the Reds in a long, long time or anybody else for that matter. But this will get these young guys the experience that will only help them next season.

The Reds got Adam Duvall third basemen/first baseman from the Giants organization and Keury Mella a right handed pitcher that the Giants were very high on for Mike Leake. I hated to see Mike traded but I think the Reds did all right on this one as well with the Cueto trade. Adam Duvall is going to learn left field because obviously he can’t play third or first for the Reds. He has played there some and it shouldn’t be a problem for him. He is from Louisville and reports are that he is very excited to be with the Reds. He has good power but……he will be 27 years old in September. He is anxious for a chance to prove he belongs in the big leagues. Surely he will be called up in September.

The Reds were fired up against the Pirates after Brandon Phillips got hit this past Sunday. The Pirates like to pitch inside but come on. Andrew McCutchen was hit just before that. Tony Watson obviously hit Brandon on purpose. What ticked the Reds off is that the Pirates always seem to want to hit Brandon when they seek revenge.

The Reds pitch inside a lot and the Pirates do also. I believe the Pirates have hit more players than any team in baseball this season by far. That doesn’t mean they are head hunters…it means that players lean out over the plate or stand very close to the plate and they are prone to get hit by pitchers who pitch inside. Of course hitting Brandon Phillips Sunday was obviously intentional but beside that I have always said that the best way to keep baseball safe and to keep these bean ball wars from escalating is to give a hit batsman two bases! That way the offending team will be more careful to not engage in these antics. I know that will lead to players leaning over the plate hoping to get hit, and it will cause pitchers to be wary of pitching inside, but these are major league pitchers they can keep from hitting batters.

Most importantly if umpires would make sure that hitters honor the batter’s box less batters will get hit. Andrew McCutcheon is right on top of the plate. There is no way that he is in the batter’s box after the first inning. And another thing….. the rule states that a hitter must make a reasonable attempt to avoid being hit by a pitched ball. I’ve seen the Reds hit batters that never even moved and actually leaned into a pitch and they awarded them first base. Back in the day I’ve seen umpires refuse to allow batters to go to first if they felt they didn’t make any effort to dodge a pitch or leaned into a pitch.

Let’s get back to umpires enforcing the batter’s box and calling the hit batsman correctly. And by giving a hitter two bases when he is struck by a pitch, we will see the end of this dangerous game of one upmanship being played out.

Photo Credit: Louisville native Adam Duvall (Credit: USA TODAY Sports)

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