May 31, 2011

Batting Bruce fourth for all the wrong reasons

Here at the Red Hot Household, there are several phrases you hear during Reds games, such as:

  • Damn, Joey Votto can hit!
  • Shut up, Thom


  • Why is Scott Rolen hitting fourth again??

For, you see, we do not approve of having the guy who hasn’t been able to hit the broad side of a barn since he returned from injury batting clean up. Love the guy, and he’s a great presence. All I’m saying is a guy can demonstrate his intangibles from the 6 hole.

You’d have to be in a coma since April not to realize the Jay Bruce is on-freakin’-fire right now. Not only was the dude the player of the week, but he’s also been the massive bright spot on a team that’s been pretty much in the dark lately. He’s the clear choice to protect our reigning MVP.

But that would put two lefties next to each other in the order, you might say. You might, like Dusty Baker, think that the two will be easy prey for the opponent’s lefty specialist. But here are three reasons that doesn’t matter here:

  • Both Votto and Bruce can hit lefties. Like, better than anyone can. John Fay says, “Votto was leading National League in hitting against left-hander at .426 going into Tuesday. Bruce was fourth .381.” (Baker’s response to that was to not understand it and pretend it wasn’t said, which is his typical response to statistics.)
  • Which, for those of us who have difficulty following a line of reasoning to its logical conclusion, means that it would NOT be effective for the opposing team to use a left specialist against them. The opposing team would either realize this and not even try, or they *would* try and would ineffectively burn through a pitcher. And given the number of extra innings games the Reds seem to be getting themselves into lately, baiting the other team to burn an extra pitcher can only be a good thing.
  • Finally, even if it did work in the opposition’s favor to put in the LOOGY (even these studs get out more than half the time), it would have worked in ONE inning. A team that leaves an average of 7.2 runners on base per game gets plenty of ABs (if not so many RBI), making that one inning less that pivotal.

Besides, you’ve known since little league that you bat your better hitters higher. And no, Dusty, that doesn’t mean have him lead off. Oh lord, you’re going to have him lead off, aren’t you?

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