McCoy: Concern for Abbott grows as Reds bank on their young arms

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Q: Is a manager’s theatrical, arm-waving, excessive verbiage that leads to an ejection necessary to being a successful manager? — DAVE, Miamisburg/Centerville/Beavercreek.

A: It leads to neither success nor failure as a manager. What most are doing is protecting and supporting his players, so they know he has their backs. Managerial success depends on his players’ performance, so if he doesn’t come to their rescue with umpires, he loses their respect. That’s likely why Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell goes stark-raving bonkers after he is ejected.

Q: Is it worth it to try to secure a playoff spot at the expense of the good young arms the Reds have? — KAREN, Somerset, KY.

A: The only one that concerns me is Andrew Abbott, who is far beyond the most innings he has pitched in a season. I was also concerned about Graham Ashcraft, but his injured toe put him on the injured list and slowed him down. The Reds are between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Do they believe they can make the playoffs (yes) and make a long run into the postseason (no). So, what to do, what to do? If it’s me I protect the young pitchers for a brighter future, but maybe the front office wants to be blinded right away from the glare of a big trophy.

Q: When players are called up, do they get their choice of uniform numbers, or do they get assigned? — MIKE, Coldwater.

A: The rookies are assigned a number, and most are just happy to get a big-league uniform, no matter the number. Sometimes when a star player is traded to another team, a player on that team wears the number he likes. So bargaining begins and it usually costs the traded player a Rolex watch or something of that monetary nature to get the number away from the other player. I always tried to get No. 23, my favorite number. Why? Don’t know.

Q: With all the rumors, why wasn’t Jonathan India traded before the August 1 deadline and what happens with him in the off-season? — NEIL, Fairfield, Twp.

A: India landed in the injured list just prior to the trade deadline, but contrary to what most people believe, a player can be traded while on the injured list. But what team wants to take on an injured player? They want to use him right away. And with India’s diminished numbers this season, it is doubtful the Reds would get much in return. The offseason? I’ll be befuddled and flabbergasted if India isn’t traded. The Reds have enough high-quality infielders in their system to fill three clubhouses.

Q: Regardless of how this season ends, will the Reds make a move for a veteran starting pitcher for next season? — JERRY, Dayton.

A: Hunter Greene, Andrew Abbott, Graham Ashcraft, Nick Lodolo, Brandon Williamson, Connor Phillips, Connor Overton, Carson Spiers, Ben Lively. That’s nine starting pitchers the Reds have used this season. The first four are locks in the rotation next season and any of the other five could slip in there. All have shown they belong, but staying healthy is the key. If the Reds go hunting for pitching, they best look for bullpen help.

Q: Can the Reds make it to the playoffs? — JOHN, Barberton, OH.

A: Of course, they can. But will they? The so-called experts on the MLB network keep dismissing them and that’s foolish. The Reds have the easiest remaining schedule of all the National League wild card contenders. Of their remaining games, they have only three against a team with a winning record. That’s against Minnesota from the weak American League Central. If the Reds take care of business against teams that have already tossed in the season, they’ll make it. As they say on America’s Got Talent, “I’m giving them a great big yes.”

Q: When will somebody tell these young hitters if they don’t swing at pitches in the dirt, they might get pitches they can actually hit? — JIM, Englewood.

A: It’s not just young hitters and it is not just the Reds. If you watch other teams, they do it, too, and grizzled and experience veterans do it. A hitter has only a split-second to determine whether to swing or not. Major league pitchers can make a baseball do many funky things. Split-fingers, sliders, sinkers ... they all have movement, many of them at the last moment. What a hitter sees as a strike as it approaches home plate is likely to take a dive and it’s too late to stop the swing. It is frustrating to watch your team do it, but they all do it because pitchers are paid handsomely to make hitters look foolish.

Q: Could a batter see that the ball got through the catcher and do a late strike three swing and run to first base or if the ball bounced off the backstop towards home plate could the batter, still in the box, swing at that? — KEVIN, Centerville.

A: You dug deep for that one. Once the ball passes the catcher, the pitch is over and a batter swinging at air is doing just that, just swinging at air. It is a ball and not a strike. Same thing for the ball ricocheted off the backstop. Man, that would have to be a perfect bounce back for a batter to be able to swing at it. And if he hit it out of the park, well, nice practice swing.

Q: Does Nick Martini remind you of Hal King? — JEFF, Springdale, OH.

A: Just a tad. For the uninitiated, the 1973 Reds were 11 games behind the Dodgers on Jun 30. The next day, July 1, in a game against the Dodgers, the Reds trailed, 3-1, in the ninth. With two outs and two strikes, pinch-hitter Hal King hit a three-run walk-off home run to win the game. The Reds then went on a rampage to overtake the Dodgers and win the NL West. King, a third-string catcher, is credited with turning the season around. But he only did it once. Martini has now hit two game-saving pinch-hit home runs. But unless the Reds make the playoffs, they won’t remember Martini. The KIng homer lives in legend.

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