Whoever is going to play left field
That is the line up the Reds need to use in my opinion.
I don't think the argument here was really when or when not to play small ball, it was more about this teams lack of execution in those spots when it was needed, or called upon. Like it or not, it's something that really good teams are able to do. Especially when the weather gets colder and the playoffs start, pitching matchups become tougher, and it's vital to be able to manufacture a run.
Bunting early in a game always bugs me unless its the pitcher. Having your 2 hitter bunt always bugs me. If your 2 hitter is that bad you made out a bad lineup card or have a crappy roster. Giving away outs is rarely a good idea - now having Robinson or Hamilton bunting is a chance at a hit, too, so that is a different breed of cat. Plus the pressure their speed puts on a defense. Sometimes, late, playing for 1 run to tie or win, a bunt can be a better percentage move. Those situations are not that common. I do not want my team leading or near the lead in sac bunts. Especially since so few of them can bunt worth a darn to begin with.
If you look back at the great hitters, lots and lots of them have high DP numbers. You have men on base in front of you regularly, you are going to hit into a lot of DPs.
"If this was a court of law, the cross examination would go after the credibility of the witness." Homer Bailey on Latos snarking on the team after his trade
Getting back to Mike Leake, I have liked him since he became a Red. He seems very smart, although that stealing shirts thing was a head scratcher. I chalk that up to youthful brainfart. He isn't a power pitcher so he has to outsmart the hitters. He's a lot like BA in that regard. I'm sure he looks at Bronson as a role model. And I love the way he competes at the plate and on base. Cingrani is the same way.
The Reds need to improve on their ability to get on base. Having 2 guys with an OBP over .330 isn't going to cut it.
They should be looking for ways to avoid making outs, not ways to give up more outs.
If nothing else, a manager's got to be able to do that...and it's not always done in a rah-rah way...sometimes it's through accountability, through discipline, through structure and other ways. If Dusty had that at any time during his tenure with the Reds, he certainly lost that ability in '13.
The Red Sox led the major leagues in team OBP (beat the Reds by 22 points). They had 57 less sacrifices than the Reds. Are they poor situational hitters? I know, I know, they are American League, so no pitchers hitting. My argument is busted. Out of curiosity, let's take a look at the Cardinals...
The Cardinals finished 3rd in the majors in OBP (5 points above the Reds). They had 29 less sacrifice bunts than the Reds and 2 less sacrifice flies. Are they poor situational hitters?