The Reds are starting to get to the end of the bat stub with their starting center fielder. Drew Stubbs is currently going through the worst stretch of his short major league career.  In his last 36 at bats, he has just one hit and 17 strike-outs.  Ewww…

That’s a monster-sized slump that can’t be tolerated on a team in a pennant race. Going back even further, in 52 games since June 1st, he’s sporting these numbers: .222 BA/.271 OBP/.634 OPS with seven HR, 24 RBI and 58 K.

Bottom line, a .229 overall batting average is not going to cut it for a team 12 games above .500.

But it’s not as if Stubbs is completely useless. He plays a great center field and has 18 stolen bases. Reds broadcaster Thom Brennaman called him the fastest player he’s seen in his 20 years covering the game.

The speedster has pop as well. Stubbs has 13 home-runs and 49 RBI. Hitting out of the seven-hole, 49 RBI isn’t shabby.

The problem? There is another option down in the farm system. His name? Chris Dickerson.

Dickerson is on fire at AAA. He collected three more hits last night. He’s hitting .421 in 12 games on his rehab assignment. He’s drawing walks (.511 OBP) and stealing bases (five of six). Remember, he was the guy patrolling CF on Opening Day.

His wrist is healed and he is ready to go. What’s the harm in sending Stubbs down to AAA for a few weeks and letting him get his stroke/confidence back? A fresh Dickerson, along with Chris Heisey, can man the CF spot for the next month and allow Stubbs a chance to clear his head.

Normally, the Reds wouldn’t touch Stubbs during this time of year. “Give the young guy reps” is always the mantra when a team is well out of the play-off race.

This year is different. The margin for error is very slim when the competition (St. Louis) is much more experience in a pennant race. The Reds can’t afford the young Stubbs time to work out the kinks in his swing.

For now, why not roll the dice and see what Dickerson can do in pressure ABs? The oft-injured California kid has never had this opportunity in three big league seasons. If he doesn’t work out, Stubbs can be vaulted right back up to the Reds line-up.

But for now, Dusty Baker needs to do something. Shake up the order a bit and let Stubbs figure his swing out at the AAA level, not for a team trying to make the post-season for the first time since ’95.


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