I’ve never been one for extravagant statistics. I will leave that to people much smarter than I, but I do know you can quantify anything if you try hard enough and you can make stats pretty much say what you want them to say in order to fit your premise.

My premise isn’t a wild one. The Reds play really good defense. Day-in, day-out. Not just the spectacular, highlight reel stuff but the solid, understated stuff like getting back on a pop up into the no man’s land between the infield and outfield and not having to make a diving stab at the ball. Stuff like hitting the cut-off man on a throw in from the outfield so that guy who just singled in a run doesn’t move up to second and into scoring position. Or simply fielding the ball cleanly and throwing the runner out at first base.

Watch enough other teams and you realize it’s not always the case.

“If you can’t catch the ball, you can’t play on my team,” said manager Dusty Baker. “In San Francisco I had Gold Glovers everywhere. I had capable guys who worked at it in Chicago and guys here. Go out and watch Joey (Votto) and Brandon (Phillips). You watch (Zack) Cozart. And I’ve got a staff that works them.

“This game is not one to give away extra outs.”

The Reds have committed just 20 errors in their first 49 games, compared to 38 by their opponents. They are tied for the fourth fewest errors in the Major Leagues. Of the eight teams that have committed 20 or fewer errors through Saturday’s games, six of them are at least five games over .500 and four of them lead their divisions. The Reds are one-half game behind St. Louis, which has just 18 errors in 48 games.

Defense might be mundane but not on this team.

“We do take pride in it,” said Cozart. “I think that’s a pitcher’s best friend when he’s pitching and he knows that most of the time that you make a routine play. We’re making good plays, too, but the routine plays are outs and that’s key. It’s keeping guys off base. If the pitcher has confidence in that then they’re going to pound the strike zone and let the guy hit it and not try to pitch around guys. They’re not scared to let them hit it.”

It’s such a simple concept. Let ‘em hit it.

Cozart has a .982 fielding percentage. Again, in today’s day-and-age of sabermetrics that quantify everything up to how well oiled a player’s glove is, it’s an old school stat. And that’s just fine with me for my premise.