CINCINNATI — The return of Drew Stubbs and Scott Rolen to the Cincinnati Reds lineup has created a much-cussed and much-discussed jam in left field between Todd Frazier, Ryan Ludwick and Chris Heisey.
And while manager Dusty Baker would like to play all three at one time, the rules say something about that not being permissible.
So what does Baker say about it?
“Yeah, it’s a tough thing, but it is better than not having any of them,” he said. “It’s a good problem.”
AFTER SAYING FRAZIER would play left field Wednesday afternoon, Baker said, “Ludwick has been playing because everybody talks about on-base percentage, but then you need somebody to drive ‘em in. This game is all about touching home plate.
“Ludwick’s average isn’t where we’d like it or he’d like it (.227), but he has been very productive in driving in runs — one of our downfalls this year, especially RBIs in two-out situations.”
LUDWICK HAS 194 plate appearances and has driven in 31 runs — fourth behind every day players Jay Bruce (48), Joey Votto (47) and Brandon Phillips (41).
Heisey is hitting .262, but has only 15 RBI in 205 plate appearances. Frazier played mostly third base during Rolen’s absence and is now on time share in left field with his .264 average and 22 RBI in 161 plate appearances.
“We’ll see who is hot and the match-ups that I see,” said Baker. “Batting averages are great, but they can be misconceptions as far as run production. I’d rather have both — average and production. And when you do, you have an All-Star.
HOME PLATE UMPIRE Tim Timmons operated Monday night with a strike zone as big as a box car and twice he called Reds third baseman Scott Rolen out on pitches he couldn’t reached with a cell phone tower.
That led to four strikeouts and when Rolen arrived in the clubhouse Tuesday he looked at the lineup card, saw his name, and said, “Rolen’s three. I guess the sky didn’t fall.”
Asked if he had ever been struck out by an umpire two straight times, Rolen smiled and said, “Oh, yeah. But I never had it affect the rest of my at-bats the way those did.”
SO WHAT DO pitchers do in the bullpen to pass the time while watching games from way out in center field. The Reds pitchers have an ongoing Name Game.
It goes like this: The first guy names an active player, like Hanley Ramirez. The next pitcher then has to name an active player whose first name begins with the last name of the previously named player, in this case an ‘R.’ After Hanley Ramirez, the next guy might say Ryan Doumit. And the next guy had to name n active player whose first name begins with ‘D,’ like David Wright.
If a pitcher can’t come up with a name, he is out of that game. Said Homer Bailey, “People want to know what we do sitting down there, now you know. And guess who is the current and reigning champion.” And he pointed to himself.
LEFTOVERS FROM the Reds Hall of Fame Gala: The cocktail party Sunday night was a reunion for me because I got to chat with former manager Jack McKeon and his son, scout Casey McKeon, Eric Davis, Dmitri Young (50 pounds UNDER) his playing weight, Dave Concepcion (50 pounds OVER is playing weight), former pitcher Clay “The Hawk” Carroll, Tommy Helms, Gary Nolan, Chris Reitsma, John Riedling and Dan Driessen.
Sean’s Casey’s acceptance speech was a 29-minute stand-up comedy routine that he could take on the road, and George Grande’s introduction of Casey was the best I’ve ever heard. Classic. And it was worth it to be there and hear Todd Frazier sing a few bars of Frank Sinatra’s Fly Me to the Moon, a song that is played at Great American Ball Park when Frazier comes to bat.
It was a command performance from broadcaster Jim Kelch and Frazier said, “Everybody is putting me on the spot. I know I’m a rookie, but now I have radio and TV people putting me on the spot. I thought it would just be Scott Rolen doing stuff to me like that, but I guess not.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY: Mat Latos, after his complete-game, 13-strikeout, four-hit win over Milwaukee Monday: “Amazing, I finally did something after getting traded here.”Tweet