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Thread: Some observations from last night's game

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    Harry Chiti Fan registerthis's Avatar
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    Some observations from last night's game

    Got the chance to take in last night's Reds - Nats game from 8 rows back from the Reds' dugout, and thought I'd share some personal observations of what I witnessed.

    First, Dave Williams has nothing in the way of velocity, and he wasn't fooling anybody last night. His fastball occasionally topped out at 86-87, but was more frequently in the 82-84 range. His offspeed stuff was even worse, and I witnessed at least two curves that came in at 64. The fact that he managed to give up only four runs is a testament to the National's lack of timely hitting rather than anything Williams brought to the table. Had this been Houston, St. Louis or the Mets, he would have gotten hammered. So don't let the score fool you--they were hitting balls hard off of him all night. This guy has no business being on a major league pitching staff with the stuff he brings to the mound.

    Secondly, Dunn doesn't look comfortable at all at the plate right now. Perhaps he just needs a couple of days rest (wouldn't surprise me to see him out of the lineup today), but his timing is completely off right now. I don't think it's anything to be concerned about long term-wise, but I think some days off are certainly in order.

    Despite going 0-5, Freel looked good at the plate last night. He stung three balls that happened to go directly where they were playing him, and he could have just as easily been 3-5. So any rumors of his demise are greatly exagerrated, he's hitting the ball fine. Some days they drop, some days they don't.

    Even more so than his surprising bat, I think Reds fans are going to enjoy watching Phillips play second. He turned two fine DPs last night, and made a great throw from a very difficult position in short right field to just miss a Nats runner at first. It's encouraging to see all three of our young IFers playing so well, makes me believe that our infield (minus first) is set for the forseeable future.

    When Todd Coffey sprinted to the mound and came to a dead stop in front of Narron and LaRue, he reminded me of the guy in the bar who wants to act tough by coming after you, but doesn't really want to fight you and is secretly hoping that his friends will hold him back. I dunno, I just found it kind of funny. And, if he could learn to throw strikes consistently, he could be deadly. He's got somse sick stuff, just needs to learn how to harness it.

    And, finally, a recap of last night's game would be remiss if I didn't give a shout out to everybody's favorite left fielder for helping the Reds to the win last night. Soriano can handle routine fly balls, but gets completely twisted up on anythign remotely challenging. I'm not necessarily blaming him, either--he's had hardly any time to learn the position that he didn't feel comfortable playing to begin with. Still, good grief, if people think Dunn looks bad in left, they need to watch Soriano out there for nine innings.

    Anyhow, it's (likely) the last time I'll get to se ethe Reds in person this year, so it's great to see them go 2 for 2 against the Nats. here's hoping that we can break out the brooms today.
    We'll burn that bridge when we get to it.

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    Re: Some observations from last night's game

    Thanks for the report! Todd Coffey didn't have anywhere close to his best stuff last night and yet it was still good enough to get the job done. That's very encouraging!
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    Re: Some observations from last night's game

    Secondly, Dunn doesn't look comfortable at all at the plate right now. Perhaps he just needs a couple of days rest (wouldn't surprise me to see him out of the lineup today), but his timing is completely off right now. I don't think it's anything to be concerned about long term-wise, but I think some days off are certainly in order.
    Chambliss was quoted in the Enquirer this a.m. as saying Dunn is "jumping" at the ball and that they're working on that. He noted that, despite having 21 walks thus far, he wants Adam to be more patient, that he's swing at pitches he wouldn't ordinarily swing at.

    Even more so than his surprising bat, I think Reds fans are going to enjoy watching Phillips play second. He turned two fine DPs last night, and made a great throw from a very difficult position in short right field to just miss a Nats runner at first. It's encouraging to see all three of our young IFers playing so well, makes me believe that our infield (minus first) is set for the forseeable future.
    The video clip on the Reds web page showed him flawlessly fielding a double play ball and shoveling it to Lopez. Very very nice.

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    Re: Some observations from last night's game

    On Coffey, he is so close, though Reg. He has a lot of screwball type movement on that two seamer, and last night it was moving so much he couldn't hit the corner. The strike Ward complained on moved so much from crossing the plate to the mitt that I was surprised the ump called it, even though it was the correct call. Like you said, once he harnesses some of that movement so that it takes it away from the middle of the plate after starting there, he is going to be a shutdown type of guy. But, I expect him to get there as he has improved immeasurably over his first year. Exciting to watch him grow.
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    Re: Some observations from last night's game

    Secondly, Dunn doesn't look comfortable at all at the plate right now. Perhaps he just needs a couple of days rest (wouldn't surprise me to see him out of the lineup today), but his timing is completely off right now. I don't think it's anything to be concerned about long term-wise, but I think some days off are certainly in order.
    That son of a gun plays every day and loves it. He just needs to continue to play every day.

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    Re: Some observations from last night's game

    Quote Originally Posted by registerthis
    First, Dave Williams has nothing in the way of velocity, and he wasn't fooling anybody last night. His fastball occasionally topped out at 86-87, but was more frequently in the 82-84 range. His offspeed stuff was even worse, and I witnessed at least two curves that came in at 64. The fact that he managed to give up only four runs is a testament to the National's lack of timely hitting rather than anything Williams brought to the table. Had this been Houston, St. Louis or the Mets, he would have gotten hammered. So don't let the score fool you--they were hitting balls hard off of him all night. This guy has no business being on a major league pitching staff with the stuff he brings to the mound.

    I'm with you on the rest of the post except the above. Granted, Williams was very hittable but your characterization of his velocity is off the mark a bit. He regularly topped out with his fastball last night at 86/87 and 3 or 4 at 88. He could hit those speeds whenever he wanted to all night. It is unfortunate that Williams tops out in the high eighties, but he is not alone in the majors in this regard.

    He also threw a good amount of curves in the 64-67 range, one of which was served up to Zimmerman as a homer after 8 straight pitches 86+. As for being in the 80-84 range, he purposely does so IMO to take a little off his fastball to mix things up. In fact, I think these pitches are his most effective after establishing norms of 67 curves and 87 fastballs.

    Key for Williams is keeping his delivery exactly the same for all his pitches and I think he did a fairly good job of that last night. He is actually pretty similar to how Livan Hernandez is pitching this year. He didn't top out over 87 on Monday and he had plenty of curves in the 60's as well. Granted, he has not been successful as late but...

    The point is, I feel Williams can be moderately successful, and I think he pitched halfway decent last night. He has little room for error, obviously, but he just needs to improve in keeping hitters off balance by mixing his pitches and speeds better. I hope the Reds don't give up on him quite yet because he does provide a different look in the rotation and sets things up well for the relievers when they do come in.
    Thank goodness for baseball.

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    Harry Chiti Fan registerthis's Avatar
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    Re: Some observations from last night's game

    Quote Originally Posted by PickOff
    I'm with you on the rest of the post except the above. Granted, Williams was very hittable but your characterization of his velocity is off the mark a bit. He regularly topped out with his fastball last night at 86/87 and 3 or 4 at 88. He could hit those speeds whenever he wanted to all night. It is unfortunate that Williams tops out in the high eighties, but he is not alone in the majors in this regard.

    He also threw a good amount of curves in the 64-67 range, one of which was served up to Zimmerman as a homer after 8 straight pitches 86+. As for being in the 80-84 range, he purposely does so IMO to take a little off his fastball to mix things up. In fact, I think these pitches are his most effective after establishing norms of 67 curves and 87 fastballs.

    Key for Williams is keeping his delivery exactly the same for all his pitches and I think he did a fairly good job of that last night. He is actually pretty similar to how Livan Hernandez is pitching this year. He didn't top out over 87 on Monday and he had plenty of curves in the 60's as well. Granted, he has not been successful as late but...

    The point is, I feel Williams can be moderately successful, and I think he pitched halfway decent last night. He has little room for error, obviously, but he just needs to improve in keeping hitters off balance by mixing his pitches and speeds better. I hope the Reds don't give up on him quite yet because he does provide a different look in the rotation and sets things up well for the relievers when they do come in.
    I dunno, Matt. I saw a lot of fastballs in the 82-84 range. He may have hit the upper-80s more frequently than I indicated above, but I wouldn't say he did it "regularly". If he's going to have any success at all, he's going to have to get a significant amount of movement on his pitches, which he wasn't doing last night. Williams gave up 9 hits through 5 innings, including 2 bombs, and I counted at least another 3-4 sharply hit balls--and that was against a Nationals offense that doesn't exatly strike fear in the hearts of the opposition.

    Williams just doesn't have the command of his pitches that allows him to be successful pitching in the mid-upper 80s. And when he grooves an 82 mph "heater" over the heart of the plate, it's going to get crushed more often than not. With Williams, I just think the Reds are flirting with disaster every time he pitches. They were lucky to win last night--and wouldn't have, were it not for Soriano's miscues and a lack of timely hitting by the Nats. I really don't want to see DW throwing up cheese to the likes of Pujols and berkman on a regular basis.
    We'll burn that bridge when we get to it.

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    Re: Some observations from last night's game

    Quote Originally Posted by BigDonkey44
    That son of a gun plays every day and loves it. He just needs to continue to play every day.
    Well, the son of a gun is also batting .083 with 2 rbi's and 0 HRs in his last eight games. At some point you stop letting him "play through it" and you give the guy a break. Nothing wrong with that--not every player has to be Ripken.
    We'll burn that bridge when we get to it.

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    Re: Some observations from last night's game

    I think Williams is tipping off his curve. He has that wrist cocking motion on all his pitches, but he seems to slow down his entire motion and visibly cock the wrist a little more with the curve. As slow as he's throws the hook, I would imagine a hitter has plenty of time to capitalize on the tip. Talk about making a bad situation worse, the only chance he has is to fool folks with the slow curve.
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    Re: Some observations from last night's game

    Ok day off and pinch hit late in the right situation. I doubt he sits against Ortiz though. Last night would have been the night to sit him down. Today he's got a great shot at lighting up and Ortiz.

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    Re: Some observations from last night's game

    Even more so than his surprising bat, I think Reds fans are going to enjoy watching Phillips play second. He turned two fine DPs last night, and made a great throw from a very difficult position in short right field to just miss a Nats runner at first. It's encouraging to see all three of our young IFers playing so well, makes me believe that our infield (minus first) is set for the forseeable future.
    The play on the high hopper up the middle was super athletic and he gets most runners there. I am still amazed Phillips fell into the Reds' lap.

    I'd add that EdE is pretty locked in right now.
    "Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini

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    Re: Some observations from last night's game

    Quote Originally Posted by registerthis
    I dunno, Matt. I saw a lot of fastballs in the 82-84 range. He may have hit the upper-80s more frequently than I indicated above, but I wouldn't say he did it "regularly". If he's going to have any success at all, he's going to have to get a significant amount of movement on his pitches, which he wasn't doing last night. Williams gave up 9 hits through 5 innings, including 2 bombs, and I counted at least another 3-4 sharply hit balls--and that was against a Nationals offense that doesn't exatly strike fear in the hearts of the opposition.

    Williams just doesn't have the command of his pitches that allows him to be successful pitching in the mid-upper 80s. And when he grooves an 82 mph "heater" over the heart of the plate, it's going to get crushed more often than not. With Williams, I just think the Reds are flirting with disaster every time he pitches. They were lucky to win last night--and wouldn't have, were it not for Soriano's miscues and a lack of timely hitting by the Nats. I really don't want to see DW throwing up cheese to the likes of Pujols and berkman on a regular basis.
    I agree with you on the movement. Oddly enough, he had his best movement on his pitches in the 80-83 range, which is partly why I think those are his best pitches properly set up. I think that his 86-88 fastballs had little movement, however, and his 67 curve doesn't break as sharp as it needs to.

    I will maintain that he regularly pitched in the upper eighties, when he chose to, as I watched his speed closely and actually posted the speeds on the gamethread.

    As far as command, I think he located his pitches fine last night, but he could not command his pitches to show movement. If he can acheive a less predictable curve, realize which pitch has the most movement (80-83mph) and set up that pitch as his out pitch, then I think his fastball will be okay and he can be a decent 4/5 guy in this league.

    He has some work to do, but I don't think the Reds should give up on him yet.
    Thank goodness for baseball.


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