Monday, June 28, 2004

Falcon Football Makes Signings

We're hearing a couple of things on the Football recruiting front.

First, Eastwood QB Keith Leady has verbally committed to the Falcons. He is a first-rate athlete who runs and throws and could play a number of positions. We need plenty of guys like this, even if they never play QB.

Second, we are bringing in a JUCO QB for a back up. This makes good sense. Behind Omar, we are shallow, and worse since there are rumors that Nick Thurmon left school due to grades.

Finally, UC WR Mike Daniels, who saw action as a true freshman, will be transferring to BG,rumors say, to help load up the receiving corps in the post-Magner era.

Good news all around.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Reds Win Mets Series

Its been noted other places that the Reds need to make a little hay in the next two weeks, since they have a run of games against sub .500 teams, extending up until the Cardinal series beginning on July 5.

We got off to a good start today by winning the Mets series with a 6-2 daytime victory in the finale.

Yes, Cameron handed us the game on a silver platter. At least we took it!

Lidle pitched well. Casey is not red-hot...he's white hot.

The goal for this little stretch...9-3, winning each series, and ending up no more than 1 game out of first heading back to Busch.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Bong Sent Down--Its OK

I know some Reds fans are up in arms over the Reds sending Bong down when Castro came back up. I think its OK.

We've made mistakes in the past because we had to rush guys. No doubt, he has made two clutch starts when the Reds really needed them, and helped keep the ship afloat.

And, he's had bad outings, too.

We need him to be a starter. For now, Harang is a ML starter, and Bong needs starts to tune his skills, so I'm fine thinking long-term on this one. Look to the future.

Sunday, June 20, 2004


I take it all back. Hail Bong!

The National League's Worst Bullpen

Its a simple concept. We know, statistically, how many runs a team would be expected to score if certain situations. For example, second and third with one out, versus first and third with two outs.

The guys at BP are now using this to evaluate relievers. Makes tons of sense. You rate them based on how many runs above or below that average they allow.

Its rather elegant. Do they do their job well, or poorly, based on what would be expected. Pitchers who inherit really tough situations get a break. Guys who start innings are worse off.

The news from this is not good for the Reds. They are the NL's worst bullpen, allowing 26.2 runs more than the expected number this season, through Saturday's debable in St. Louis.

Now, to be fair, more than half of those are Ryan Wagner's (13.8). In fact, Ryan himself gave up more runs above average than all but four teams have done in the Majors all SEASON.

Only Rocky Biddle of the Expos is worse in the NL.

Close by is Phil Norton (9.7 worse than average) following last night's debacle.

Danny Graves, by the way, about four runs worse than average. Not good closer numbers. I think one implication of this is if you start an inning, as he often does, with a low expected runs, and give up a HR, which he does a lot, your average takes a big hit. But, you're not supposed to give up as many homers as Danny does.

The Reds best reliver is Todd Jones, at plus 9.1.

The Reds bullpen is question about it. Add to these numbers that valuable $ are being way overspent on Graves (who, at a lower cost is still a servicable pitcher), and you have an area where work is needed.

Grim today---unless Bong pulls another good outing off, it looks like a Redbird sweep.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Reds make move....Gabe White returns, Brian Reith gone.

As mentioned below, the Reds have finally decided to run the risk that someone will sign Brian Reith. But there must be NO HELP in Louisville, because they traded for Gabe White, who is actually having a worse 2004 than Reith. He generally pitched well for the Reds, and hopefully he will again.

We gave up Charlie Manning, who we got in the ABoone trade. He had shown promise, but was also having an atrocious season in AA this year.

In summary, today's move effected three very poor pitchers. Hopefully, White will help the bullpen...the worst in the NL. See post coming tomorrow or Sunday.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Perhaps Unnoticed...

Perhaps under the radar of the Reds this season has been the steadily improving play of Wily Mo Pena. Many Reds fans--me included--have wondered for years if he was going to pan out into a big league player, or if we should stop wasting a roster spot on him and let someone else reclaim him.

Through this, the Reds have stubbornly clung to the hope they could teach him to play---without ABs. That may be beginning to pay off.

Let's look at this comparison:

NL RF's (OBP) .349
WMP (OBP) .333

NL RF's SLG .462
WMP (SLG) .495

NL RF OPS .811
WMP OPS .828

Sure, he could get on base a little better, but as of this point in the season, he has elevated to above the statistical average for players at his position. Of course, with any young player, the challenge is to keep the trend pointing up, but for the first time in his career, I think he may be showing reason for hope.

Let us not forget, he only turned 22 in January.

He still has a wicked platoon split, but with the LH bats on this team, he can play a productive role even with that.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Something has got to be done.

Seven straight, and the pitching is awful. The offense has, in most cases, scored enough runs to win.

But the pitch has been dreadful. A complete embarassment.

Take, for example, Brian Reith, whose ERA now exceeds 7.

Why is this man still on the club? Because, we are told, because he is out of options.

I'm sure he will be a hot commodity on the waiver wire. This is a guy who cut BEFORE, and got back when another team cut him.

Something in that explanation suggests that others have decided that he can't be a ML pitcher.

Its time for the Reds to understand that. Maybe others wouldn't do any better, but something has to be tried.

Riedling has been awful lately, too, but I have confidence in him.

Sending Joe Valentine out was a start, although not bringing a pitcher up is a curious choice. We surely are short in the positions, but you'd think you
d want to give somebody a try.

Very long road trip. Let's hope we can start to turn things around. Maybe #500 in Cincy would help the momentum.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Well, you can see what a difference a week makes.

We pull out some guys we probably should have lost to the Expos, and then go to Oakland, knowing it will be tough...Zito, Mulder, and us bring on the Bong.

But not that tough.

Then, the tables turn, and its our turn to lose a couple of games we probably should have won at the Jake.

Depressing. Both of them. And MUCH worse than getting drilled in Oakland, IMO.

I actually was in attendance Friday at the Jake. Some thoughts on games 1-2.

With our injuries right now, our line up is outright weak. LaRue batted second. Freel has become a liability (see Reds Daily). Lopez isn't hitting. Jiminez isn't hitting. Larson looks completely lost. The starting 8 this weekend was outright poor.

Note the offense going to sleep on both nights.

The bullpen clearly let the club down. You take 5-2 leads into the 7th twice, you should win twice. Or at least once.

Plus, both Friday in the 11th, and Saturday in the 8th, the damage was done with no one on and two outs. In that situation, teams should average .12 runs or so. In other words, they should almost never score.

Before the game Saturday, I wondered to my wife why we didn't have Graves pitched the 11th on Friday. He says he likes work. Tonight I have dropped that line on inquiry.

We almost saw history Friday. Junior just missed leaving the yard twice. It would have been cool.

The atmosphere was fun. Plenty of Reds fans, and it was fun between the two groups. Everybody enjoying a good game and the rivalry. No one acting like a jerk.

Actually, it was a close game. It was very poorly played. Lots of errors and walks.

We gotta get this turned around. The Cardinals come in next weekend. I know how unlikely it is, but if we are too hang around in contention, we've got to stay in touch.

Best restaurant in Cleveland--Mallorca! On E.9th. Paella is awesome, as is the Shrimp Malloran.

Get Well Soon

Best wishes for a full and speedy recovery to BG TE Steve Navarro who suffered a stroke on Monday.

He's returning to Chicago to recoup. Let's hope he lives a long and healthy life.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

And the beat goes on...

Its absolutely fantastic to see what the Reds are doing, and its great to see the City responding so well to them. I hope we can keep it up--I'm looking forward to seeing the guys at the Jake next Friday.

Carrying on the academic Pythagorean debate, the trend hasn't shifted. Our projected record is 28-27, but the team is a full five games better at 33-22. Who would have thought.

As for the other stats I have tracked periodically here, let's take a look. Walks are actually improved over a couple of weeks ago, and nearly a full walk per nine innings below last season, and well below the NL avare of last year. However, K's are low (just below 6/9--considered by many a threshold success rate), and with hits and HR's well above the league average, you have the ERA over league average as well. To give up that many hits and homers, you'd need to have more power pitchers to succeed consistently.

BB/9 (2003--3.67 2004--2.88 NL Avg--3.42)
K/9 (2003--5.80 2004--5.99 NL Avg--6.54)
H/9 (2003--9.82 2004--9.43 NL Avg--8.96)
ERA (2003--5.09 2004--4.67 NL Avg--4.27)
K/bb (2003--1.58 2004--2.08 NL Avg--1.91)
hr/9 (2003--1.30 2004--1.22 NL Avg--1.07)
e/game (2003--0.87 2004--0.71)

As poor as the defense is, it is also improved. Hard to believe.

It was a big relief to see Paul Wilson pitch so well. Groin injuries can be pesky. Good call keeping him out. I am worried about Kearns, but less about Larkin. You have to expect it from a 40-year old. I agree with the caution on Kearns...he will be needed in Oakland.

Speaking of which, we really needed that win last night, and the one today. You're looking at going to Oakland where you face the two best LHPs in the game, and on Tuesday its even worse because you are looking at Belisle or Bong (or Etherton, I guess) in the Harang spot against Zito. Ouch.

Finally, I have previously said I would be happy with a .500 season. Now that we are 11 over, that's harder to fathom. At this point, if we even play .500, that would give us 86 or 87 wins. I think I picked 84 on Redszone.

Well, there's a long way to go. We need to keep scoring runs and getting no worse starting pitching than we do now.

Friday, June 04, 2004

There's an interesting thread on Reds Daily which follows along an earlier post here--that the Reds runs scored vs. runs allowed doesn't indicate their winning record should be as good as it is, and that over a long season, the law of averages will take hold. Interesting fodder...I still see .500 as a very good year from this team.

Let's take 2/3 from the Expos. Keep the mo going."

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Falcon Football now...

The opener is still 93 days away, but the anticipation is already starting. has their Falcon preview out today. Its interesting--I would term it an absolute best case scenario. If everything goes right, then yeah, we would be pretty dominant. But they take all the ?'s, and give them good answers, most notably including Jelani Jordan and Omar.

I like them both. I think Jordan will be a fine player, but he hasn't proven himself yet, and like all young DB's, he has been torched pretty often. I like Omar, too, and he has a great supporting cast, but time will tell. And pray for his health, because we are thin behind him (CFN even moves our backups to exulted status). Strong Safety, and depth in the d-backfield are also big issues.

Suffice it to say, I hope they're right. It certainly could turn out as they say, but I am a little more cautious.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004


How about that...a sweep of the Marlins. I wrote below about how we needed to travel to Miami and get back from the Marlins what they took from us in Cincy, and we did it. This team continues to surprise. It is starting to feel a little bit like 1999 all over again.

And who, you might ask, was the emotional leader of that 1999 team? The same guy doing it now, Sean Casey. Is it too soon to say MVP? All Reds fans should at least plunk down for him on the all-star team. He is absolutely unconcious.

I had been about to write about John VanderWaal, and what wonderful things he would do for the depth in RF, when the disappointing news came out about him. I am a little surprised, after all, he seemed to be playing productively a lot. Its a was a great story. I wonder if there is more to it???

Now, kick the Expos in the butt.