Are the Reds smarter than they look? The Reds are walking about 5 batters per game. (53 total in 11 games, but in one game, Harang's shutout, they had no free passes.) That seems like a lot to me, but 30% (16) of those walks have been to the #3 hitter in the line-up. This includes 6 walks to Lance Berkman, 5 walks each to David Wright and Ryan Braun, and 2 to Nate McClouth. I noticed that these guys were walking a lot and I wondered if the Reds were simply pitching around the opposing team's best hitter. Not a bad idea if you ask me, and not the kind of strategy that you want to announce.
To make this work, however, you have to have good control. For one thing, if you walk the #3 hitter you can't really afford to walk anyone else. (As I'm typing this, Arroyo just gave up a game-tying bomb to Berkman -- they should have walked him.) Plus you can't "miss" inside the strike zone because the #3 hitter can hammer you. (Lee just went yard, back-to-back, so even if Arroyo walked Berkman, the game would still be tied.) Something to watch as this season, in which we are relying heavily on our pitching staff, unfolds.
Mike Mussina, Hall of Famer
3 weeks ago