Reds postgame notes: Phillips shines under bright lights


Reds postgame notes: Phillips shines under bright lights


SAN FRANCISCO -- With apologies to Shawn Marion, go ahead and call Brandon Phillips "The Matrix."And not just in reverence to the seeming space-time continuum-defying move he pulled in the basepaths while avoiding a tag from Marco Scutaro to squelch a double-play attempt in the eighth inning.No, there was also his game-turning two-run home run off Matt Cain on a 1-and-2, 80-mph hanging curveball.And his spectacular sliding back up of a wild throw at first base. Not to mention his ninth-inning run-scoring single.The Reds second baseman was everywhere in Cincinnati's 5-2 victory to open up this National League Division Series."I'm a flashy player, but I do the fundamental things too, like backing up (first base) because that would have opened up the inning a lot. You never know what will happen."Everybody is watching (on TV). It's a good time to be famous. Either you're going to be famous in a good way, oR a bad way, and I want to be famous in a good way."Last year, Reds Game 2 starter Bronson Arroyo gave up a major league-leading 46 home runs, when no other pitcher in the major leagues surrendered more than 35 homers.This year, Arroyo's homers-allowed total was down to 26, with 16 on the road.So why are the Reds giving him a start on the road, when that's where he gives up the long ball?"We debated with that and we decided to come up with that because our ballpark is a tiny ballpark, and Arroyo has a tendency sometimes to give up home runs, and (Mat) Latos is more of a strikeouttype pitcher," said Reds manager Dusty Baker. "That's why we went with what we did. Unless it works, you'll always be second guessing, do you know what I mean? If it works, you're great, if it doesn't work, then why didn't you have somebody else?"Latos coming in relief of injured starter Johnny Cueto made the point moot, of course, but even Arroyo acknowledged the sites of the Games 2 and 3 made the call obvious with AT&T Park a spacious pitcher's paradise, compared the Great American Ballpark's bandbox.GUTIERREZ: Baker flips script on Giants in Game 1 victory
"It's a world of difference," Arroyo said."We talk about it all the time, different ballparks, but these basically two are about as far apart in the game as you can get, especially in here, the ball not traveling that great and it plays big everywhere, and our ballpark plays tiny everywhere."So it's a huge advantage for our starting staff and theirs as well to be able to pound the strike zone a little more, have some more room for error and not worrying about balls on the outer half to righty being flicked over the right field wall as they can in our place. So it's going to be interesting because both sides have to deal with the same dimensions of these ballparks and how different it's going to be to play at one place versus the other."Cueto, on when he first felt a discomfort: "When I was throwing long toss, nothing happened, everything was feeling well.As I went to the bullpen, I was warming up and everything went perfect. It was only on the last two throws when I felt a sharp pain on my right side.Then I was getting ready to go back to the dugout, I just went and talked to the head trainer and told him about. He put some heat on it"The Reds have won the first game of a postseason series eight previous times and have won the series seven times. Included in that run -- the 1919 World Series against the Chicago White Sox, also known as the Black Sox Scandal...closer Aroldis Chapman's final four pitches of the night, to Buster Posey, were clocked at 99, 100, 100 and 100 mph.

Projection system loves Giancarlo Stanton at AT&T Park


Projection system loves Giancarlo Stanton at AT&T Park

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants have made a habit in recent winters of “kicking the tires,” so to speak, on as many free agents as possible. General manager Bobby Evans is committed to being thorough, but at times there is probably no need. 

Hitters have made no secret of the fact that they prefer friendlier confines, and if you’re a power hitter, you’re going to ask Evans for a significantly larger check to play 81 of your games at the harshest power park in the majors. That’s what makes Giancarlo Stanton, readily available via trade, so intriguing. But would Stanton be fully immune to the realities of AT&T Park?

The numbers, at least in a small sample, suggest he would. Stanton has played 27 games in San Francisco and taken 108 at-bats. He has nine homers, 11 doubles and a triple. His .676 slugging percentage at AT&T Park isn’t far off his mark at Coors Field (.714), and his 1.048 OPS is higher than his OPS during the 2017 season, when he hit 59 homers. 

The damage has been done in limited time, but the Giants clearly believe it’s fully sustainable, and a recent study done by ESPN’s Dan Szymborski backs that up. Szymborski ran his ZiPS projection system to estimate Stanton’s stats over the next 10 years for a variety of suitors. The numbers in orange and black are overwhelming. 

The projections have Stanton at 46.2 WAR over the next 10 seasons, including 7.1 in 2018 and 6.8 in 2019, the two seasons the organization should be focused on given Madison Bumgarner’s contract situation. ZiPS projects Stanton at 46 homers next season if he plays for the Giants, followed by 43, 42, 39, 35 over the following four years. For comparison’s sake, Brandon Belt led the Giants in homers each of the last two seasons and he has 35 total during that span. 

Any sort of projection system needs to be taken with a huge grain of salt, especially with a player who has had injury issues in the past. But ZiPS believes Stanton -- who plays in a huge park already -- is a rarity, the kind of power hitter who can keep crushing well into his 30’s and put up huge numbers even if he is limited by the realities of getting older and getting hurt. Szymborski’s projections have Stanton playing just 102 games in 2025, but he’s still projected to hit 23 homers, 20 doubles and post an OPS+ of 121. Even in the 10th year of the projections, ZiPS has Stanton down for 16 homers. 

There are no sure things in this game, but as Evans continues to chase a blockbuster deal, he can be confident that Stanton is one player who should be able to provide power for years to come, no matter what AT&T Park does to hold hitters down. 

Former A's slugger Gomes offers Ohtani scouting report: 'Big fan of the dude'


Former A's slugger Gomes offers Ohtani scouting report: 'Big fan of the dude'

Former A's left fielder/DH and Bay Area native, Jonny Gomes, last played Major League Baseball in 2015. The next year, Gomes looked to continue his career in Japan with the Rakuten Golden Eagles. 

Gomes struggled in Japan, batting just .169 in 18 games. While in Japan though, Gomes saw firsthand the two-way talent of Shohei Ohtani. 

"The dude throws 100 miles per hour consistently," Gomes said Tuesday to MLB Network Radio. "That plays."

With MLB, the Players Association, and the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization agreeing to a new posting system, Ohtani should soon be available as a free agent to MLB teams. Gomes was adamant that Ohtani will live up to the hype. 

"If you have the arm speed to throw 100 miles per hour, guess what your slider's gonna do -- yikes. And he also has a split, which is yikes with that arm speed. And he also has a changeup, and he also has a curveball. You're talking about five plus, plus, plus pitches.

"If he was in the draft, I think it would be a no-brainer right now that he'd be No. 1 overall," Gomes said. 

Since turning pro as an 18-year-old, Ohtani has been a dominant force on the mound. The 6-foot-3 right-hander owns a 42-15 career record with a 2.52 ERA and 1.076 WHIP. 

What makes Ohtani, 23, so intriguing is that he's not only the best pitcher in Japan, he may be the best hitter too. In 2017, Ohtani hit .332 with eight home runs in 65 games. The left fielder/DH owns a .286/.358/.500 career slash line with 48 home runs. 

"Now hitting wise, is it gonna transfer, is it not? I've seen the dude hit a fly ball that hit the roof of the Tokyo Dome," Gomes remembers. "So, what does that tell you? That bat speed's there, that power's there, that he's generating a lot out front.

"To be able to hit the roof of the Tokyo Dome is way more impressive than hitting any other roof in the states. It would be like hitting the roof in Seattle when it was closed, it's way up there."

Everyone knows about Ohtani off-the-charts talent. The stats are there. What we don't know as much about is his personality. Gomes does and he believes his leadership will make him be a star in the states. 

"I'm a big fan of the dude," Gomes says. "I saw his work ethic, I saw how players treated him, I saw how respectful he was. Over there it's all about seniority. Granted he was the biggest star on the field at any given moment, but still gave the utmost respect to seniority guys on his ball club."