CINCINNATI -- The pitching statistics in the early going indicated that experience counts a lot with the Reds catching duo of Ryan Hanigan and Devin Mesoraco.
When Hanigan starts, pitchers entered Saturday 8-3 with a 2.64 ERA. When Mesoraco starts behind the plate, they are 1-8 with a 4.87 ERA. Hanigan broke into the Majors in 2007, while Mesoraco is a rookie.
"Mes is very aware. He came in and talked to me about it," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "I told you when the season started that two of the most vulnerable positions we had were occupied by young players -- Mesoraco and [shortstop Zack] Cozart. There's a learning process. They have a lot to learn -- the defensive side, game calling side, pitch calling side, the handling of the pitching staff, not to mention the hitting side. There aren't many Buster Poseys that come along. That's rare."
Offensively, Hanigan entered batting .256 in 11 games, while Mesoraco was hitting .276 in 10 games. He notched his first home run on Friday.
Hanigan had split the previous three seasons with Ramon Hernandez, and his playing time increased gradually. Before that, he was a younger player like Mesoraco, learning his way.
"I think I have a good working knowledge of a lot of these hitters, because I've been around for a little bit and I watch," Hanigan said. "I try to come up with a plan that will best help my pitcher pitch with the strengths that he has. The biggest thing is being able to deviate from the pre-existing scouting report on the fly. Scouting reports are great, but guys make adjustments. You have to try and see it before it happens. It's worked out so far. Guys are pitching decent, and we're working well together."
Having compiled information on both of the league's hitters, as well as his own pitchers has served Hanigan -- and the Reds -- well.
"I try to make my pitcher as aware of what we're trying to do in every situation, and not let anything go to 'maybe he knows,'" Hanigan said. "I want him to understand and be on the same page. I try to get the guys into a good rhythm and feel like they're pitching at a pace that will help them execute. Then you hope for some luck, some bad swings and things to go your way."