Don't Blame Sappelt, Alonso or Heisey - The Reds Problem is a Lack of Synergy

By Cliff Eastham



Dennis Wierzbicki-US PRESSWIRE

It is easy to point fingers at players and place unwarranted blame on them. Rookie Dave Sappelt is only hitting .195 but don’t lay the blame completely on him.

In his 10 games since being called up from Triple A – Louisville, he has only started seven of them. Blame Reds manager Dusty Baker for not knowing when to use him and what spot in the batting order to stick him.

Synergy my friend, it is all about synergy. Baker needs to stop experimenting like he is Dr. Frankenstein, and pick a lineup and use it.

This season, he has used 108 different batting orders in only 124 games. Yes you read that correctly. The most times he has trotted an identical eight man batting order out there is four.

Of those particular eight players, Scott Rolen is still on the shelf and Jonny Gomes just beat them last night in a Nationals’ uniform. Is that absurd or what?

Four times out of 124, that just astounds me. If you take the time to dig deep into the files you will see that of those four games, the Reds lost three. After the 17th game Baker trashed that lineup.

Rookie-without-a-position Yonder Alonso can’t be blamed for being a poor defensive left-fielder. He cannot be expected to field that position very well when he plays it once every 10 games. He was a first-baseman at Miami when the Reds drafted him in the first round in 2008.

Of course they have reigning MVP Joey Votto entrenched there so Alonso has been playing LF for the Louisville Bats most of the season. After seeing what a train wreck he was in his first game there Baker thought of trying him at his high school position – the hot corner.

Baker is afraid to try him at 3B in a big league game so we will have to wait for that experience to eventuate.

Synergy, I am talking about synergy. How can Alonso be expected to learn to play the outfield if he doesn’t start on a consistent basis? The entire team is underachieving because they cannot develop any cohesion, synergy if you will.

How many left-fielders do you suppose Baker has sent out there to start a game? Six men. Gomes, Chris Heisey and Fred Lewis have shared the bulk of the playing time out there and none of them were superb. Why?

Synergy, there is nothing like it. What keeps an orchestra from sounding like a symphony of scorched cats? Synergy – the ability to get along with and complement the others.

Baker also does not believe in going with the hottest players either. In fact he has a lifetime subscription to the theory of “get back up on the horse”. That basically means if you screw up he will throw you back out to the wolves.

Gomes had a 4-5 game on May 28, and did not play the following game. What the hell? That is correct sir.

Shortstop Paul Janish had three hits in his first game when he was recalled from Louisville. He was benched the next game.

With anti-synergy plans like these in play, how can you expect a team to be above .500? You can’t, and they aren’t.

If Baker would worry about something besides toothpicks, perhaps the Reds could come off the mat, but don’t look for it.

Cliff Eastham is the featured Cincinnati Reds columnist for For daily updates, follow him on Twitter @RedsToTheBone and join the fan page on Rant Sports MLB – Cincinnati Reds

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