Q: With Cincinnati’s surplus of infielders both on the current roster and in the minors. is there any consideration to move Elly De La Cruz to center field in the future? — ROB, Beavercreek.
A: While De La Cruz has a great arm, I’ve seen too many errors and too many balls glance off his glove at shortstop. And why is a 6-foot-5 guy called a shortstop? I like Noelvi Marte at shortstop. With his speed and that Gatling gun arm, De La Cruz might make a good center fielder, if he can track fly balls and line drives. I would like his chances of going above the wall to snag home run balls.
Q: Shouldn’t the guidelines for comeback wins be a little more stringent when winning a game, 10-1, after surrendering a run in the top of the first inning counts as a comeback win? — MIKE, Beavercreek.
A: Absolutely and positively. Example: The Cincinnati Reds scored a run in the top of the first against the Mets and led, 1-0. The Mets won, 8-4, and were credited with a comeback win. Seriously? To me, they should require a team to come from three runs behind after the sixth inning to qualify for a real comeback win. The Reds have 46 comeback wins, many of them legitimate and many of them bogus.
Q: It seems as if when managers use position players to pitch, hitters have trouble with 55 miles per hour pitches, so why not use pitchers at strategic points earlier in games? — JOEL, Dayton.
A: First of all, most of the time those position players get blasted like batting practice pitchers, which they are. Secondly, it is against the rules. A position player can only come into a game when his team is behind by eight or more runs. And for a position player to come into a game with his team winning, it can only be done in the ninth inning with his team ahead by 10 or more runs. Personally, I think using position players to pitch should be stopped because it makes the game a mockery.
Q: Regarding your comments about pitchers throwing 120-130 pitches a game, what would you think about limiting each roster to 10 or 11 pitchers that would put more offense back into the game? — CHARLEY, Centerville.
A: Back in the day, when teams used a four-man rotation, teams carried only 10 or 11 pitchers. There were no specialists. A relief pitcher might throw three or four innings. There was no string of one-inning pitchers. I like the idea, but it won’t ever happen. With the fragility of arms and shoulder and elbows that constantly put pitchers on the injured list, the attitude today is the more arms the better, good or bad.
Q: Why do pitchers, who throw pitch after pitch to home plate, seem to have so much trouble throwing to a base after fielding a ground ball? — ALAN, Sugar Creek Twp.
A: I assume this query comes after Cincinnati Reds pitcher Carson Spiers threw a double play ball into center field, opening the door for the New York Mets to score four runs. A pitcher calmly delivers pitches to home plate from a wind-up or a stretch, taking his time. For some reason, they seem to hurry their throws to the bases, often off-balance. It shouldn’t be. During spring training they spend hours on PFP, pitchers fielding practice. But that’s practice. Things speed up under game conditions.
Q: How many signatures do we need to get Marty Brennaman and Thom Brennaman back in the broadcast and we could add George Grande, too? — BILL and MIKE, Centerville/Kettering.
A: You could get an encyclopedia-sized stack of signatures from every baseball fan in Redsland and it won’t happen. Marty and his wife, Amanda, are world travelers and Marty is happy to be away from the game. Like me, he doesn’t like the way the game has gone. Thom, who deserves a second chance, keeps trying to get back into a booth but nobody will even take his calls. And George Grande is happy with his semi-retirement, as am I, although Nadine says I write more now than I did when I was fully employed. And I believe she is correct.
Q: How do you think Sparky “Captain Hook” Anderson would manage his bullpen under the rule that a reliever has to face three batters and if a hitter reached base and he wanted to make a change, would he intentionally walk the next two hitters? — JIIM, Fairborn.
A: Sparky did a lot of bizarre things during his tenure as Reds manager, but I don’t think he’d ever purposely load the bases so he could make a pitching change. The rule wouldn’t bother him, because in his time relief pitchers sometimes went two, three and four innings. Sparky wasn’t a guy who made two or three changes an inning to get a lefty-on-lefty match-up or a righty-on-righty matchup. He figured Pedro Borbon, Clay Carroll, Rawly Eastwick and Will McEnaney could get anybody out, left, right or ambidextrous.
Q: With a runner on first, Cincinnati’s Luke Maile successfully sacrifice bunted the runner to second and was out at first, but manager David Bell challenged and won, and Maile got to bat again. So what was the call? — DAUNTE, Portland, Me.
A: I was confused, too, a normal state for me. As explained to me, when Maile bunted, the pitch hit his pinkie finger before it hit the bat. Once it hit is finger, it is a dead ball and strike. So, he came back out a drove a single that led to a run. In 50 years of covering baseball, that was a first for me.