The Reds Are Winning with the Help of Walks Just Like the Phillies Used To

The Reds Are Winning with the Help of Walks Just Like the Phillies Used To

You don’t have to look hard to find the Reds' warts.

Their .251 batting average ranks 17th in the majors, just 2 points better than the Cubs. And this is for a team that doesn’t do much mashing. Their .394 slugging percentage this year, good for 20th in the game, is less than good, and it's only marginally better than last year.

Yet, Cincy has scored the sixth-most runs in baseball for its third-best record.

How? A .335 on-base percentage, third-best in the bigs, that’s how.

In other words: the Phillies opponents tonight at 7:05 p.m. are doing exactly what helped make the Phillies great during their World Series runs, something they don't do anymore for mildly different results.

The Phils team OBP from 2007-09 was actually better than that of the Reds this year: .340. And those Phillies used to rely on the long ball, so a huge chunk of that on-base ability came from walks.

Similarly, the Reds OBP this year is despite an iffy batting average. So Cincinnati has needed a 10.3% walk rate, good for second in baseball, which means they’re basically guaranteed a baserunner with every turn of the order for about four per game -- from bases on balls alone.

This is what walks do: carry you through slumps. Even if said slumps last 40-plus games.

So no, with a .304 on-base percentage, the Phillies aren't overcoming their .246 team average (20th), .379 slugging (26th) for anything better than 148 runs (26th) and a sub-.500 mark.

More impressive, Cincy’s getting quality walks. With 29, Shin-Soo Choo has been walked more than only two players, and he’s done it from the leadoff spot. One of those players is Joey Votto, who’s drawn 35 free passes from the three-hole. Shocker: Brandon Phillips has 36 RBI, third-most in MLB.

For your obligatory "Jimmy Rollins And Ben Revere Haven't Gotten On Base Much" note: Phillies leadoff hitters this year have been poor. Which is among the reasons Ryan Howard still has two fewer RBI than Yuni Betancourt.

Now, it just so happens that Votto and Choo are also hitting about .320 with pretty reasonable-by-their-standards BABIPs, which puts their on-base percentages into an otherworldly .450. The last to punch a full season like that were Albert Pujols and Chipper Jones in 2008, and they had to hit .350 to do it.

If they come back down to earth, oh well. The Reds will just walk their way to wins.

Things to think about when $50-plus million comes off the Phillies books at year’s end.

Draymond Green says what we all really think about Joel Embiid

Draymond Green says what we all really think about Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid has caught the eye of a Golden State Warrior.

At Golden State's shootaround Sunday night at the Sixers' practice facility in Camden, New Jersey, Warriors power forward Draymond Green said what we all think about Joel Embiid.

"He has a chance to be really f------ good," Green said.

Green and the Warriors will miss Embiid Monday when they tip off against the Sixers at the Wells Fargo Center. Embiid will miss two more games to minimize the risk of aggravating his left knee injury. The Sixers are targeting Friday against the Knicks for his return (see story).

Embiid hasn't played since the Jan. 27 game against Houston and has missed 16 of their last 17 games. Still, the 22-year-old has shown, when healthy, he's a special player that Sixers can build around.

In 31 games -- with minute restrictions and missing 27 games, too -- Embiid is averaging 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and 2.1 assists. He's shooting 46.6 from the field, and 36.7 percent from beyond the arc. Despite running a tremendous Twitter campaign for the NBA All-Star Game, he missed out being an All-Star in his first year. He won the NBA's Rookie of the Month for October, November, December and January. Yeah, we all agree with Green.

But how much of Embiid has Green seen?

"I haven't had a chance to watch him," Green said. "I think he has a chance to be damn good. He's figuring it out. He's versatile. He can do a lot of things."

For more from the Warriors on the Sixers' potential, watch the video above.

Best of NHL: Sergei Bobrovsky ties career high with 32nd win as Blue Jackets top Rangers

Best of NHL: Sergei Bobrovsky ties career high with 32nd win as Blue Jackets top Rangers

NEW YORK -- Cam Atkinson and Alexander Wennberg each scored twice to lead the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 5-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Sunday.

Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 28 shots to tie his career high with his 32nd win. Josh Anderson also scored and Oliver Bjorkstrand had two assists to help the Blue Jackets win for the fourth time in five games.

Columbus won for the second time in two days after its bye week and moved past the Rangers into third place in the Metropolitan Division.

The Blue Jackets won three of five in the season series -- including both games at Madison Square Garden -- after losing seven straight meetings coming in.

Rick Nash scored a tying goal for the Rangers early in the first period. Jesper Fast scored in the final second, and Henrik Lundqvist finished with 26 saves (see full recap).

Surging Blackhawks beat Blues on late Anisimov goal
CHICAGO -- Artem Anisimov scored with 5:20 left in the third period to lift the Chicago Blackhawks over the St. Louis Blues 4-2 on Sunday night for their fourth straight win and ninth in their last 10.

Anisimov beat Jake Allen on the glove side from the right edge of the crease for his 22nd goal after taking a pinpoint cross-ice pass from linemate Artemi Panarin. Tanner Kero added an empty-netter with 2.6 seconds left.

Patrick Kane assisted on Anisimov's winner and scored a power-play goal. Jonathan Toews also had a goal and an assist for surging Chicago, which pulled one point behind first-place Minnesota in the Central Division and Western Conference.

Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith had an assist for his 500th NHL point.

Magnus Paajarvi and Alex Pietrangelo scored for the Blues, who played their first game following their bye week and lost their third straight (see full recap).

Gaudreau's 2 goals helps Flames down Hurricanes
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Johnny Gaudreau had two goals and an assist to help the Calgary Flames beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 on Sunday.

Micheal Ferland also scored for the Flames. They have earned at least one point in six straight games, going 5-0-1 in that stretch to move into playoff position in the Western Conference.

Victor Rask scored on the power play for Carolina. The Hurricanes have lost six of seven to fall into last place in the Metropolitan Division.

Brian Elliott made 34 saves for the Flames, with his best coming with roughly 15 minutes to play when he stopped Jeff Skinner from point-blank range.

Eddie Lack finished with 21 saves. He made his second straight start for Carolina (see full recap).

Turris, Anderson lead Senators past Panthers
SUNRISE, Fla. -- Kyle Turris scored the tiebreaking goal in the second period and Craig Anderson stopped 37 shots to lift the Ottawa Senators over the Florida Panthers 2-1 on Sunday night.

Zack Smith had an early short-handed goal for the Senators, who have won four of six.

Jonathan Marchessault scored for Florida, and James Reimer made 31 saves. The Panthers have lost three straight after sweeping a five-game road trip, and dropped their last four home games overall.

Turris put Ottawa ahead when his wrist shot went over Reimer's glove at 9:58 of the second for his 21st goal of the season.

The Senators took a 1-0 lead on a short-handed goal by Smith. Reimer blocked a shot from Erik Karlsson, but Smith grabbed the rebound and poked in the puck at 6:28 of the first. Smith has 12 career short-handed goals (see full recap).