With the Reds on the verge of extinction from the NL West divisional race, 15½ games back of the front-running Dodgers, manager Sparky Anderson has decided to do what, according to a comment he made following Sunday’s 4-2 win over the Padres, “what I should’ve flippin’ done back in June, instead of panicking,” and restore the Reds lineup to its classic Big Red Machine starting eight of 1976 (with Dan Driessen at first base in place of Tony Perez, now with the Expos). This lineup will go into effect on Monday, when the Reds travel to Pittsburgh to meet the Pirates, and will continue as the everyday lineup for the remainder of the SP78 season.
“I began making changes after that doubleheader loss to Montreal,” said Anderson, referring to a demoralizing twinbill sweep at the hands of the Expos early in May, “and I think that’s where our troubles began. I take full responsibility for sending us into this tailspin, and hopefully this change will pull us out of it.”
According to Anderson, the batting order will be written as follows: Rose (3B), Morgan (2B), Griffey (RF), Foster (LF), Bench (C), Driessen (1B), Concepcion (SS), and Geronimo (CF). Also, the Reds have recalled pitcher Bill Bonham from AAA Indianapolis to help their beleaguered starting rotation; he’ll make his first start Tuesday night against Don Robinson, in the second game of the 3-game set at Three Rivers Stadium.
Added Sparky, “I gave it a shot, and Rick, Champ, Junior, and the rest of the guys did admirable work filling in…but let’s see what the Machine can do now at full strength.”