Monday, May 30, 2005

Getting a look at how the other side lives

The Reds continued to feast on bad opposition today, with a 9-0 win over the Astros, leaving us with a 20-2 surplus over the last two games. Now, that's really going to throw off the Pythogorean projections. I know these are bad teams we are beating, but I'm not complaining. Three weeks ago, we couldn't have beaten a bad team, and couldn't have scored these runs against the worst of pitchers. So, I'll take what I can get. If we can end June about 6-7 games out, we could make the .500 season a reality.

There's a whole lot of real estate between here and there. But having Aaron Harang on board is helping. He's firecracker hot, and we must sign him to a long-term deal. MUST. Do you understand. Not guys like Paul Wilson. This guy. He's as close to the real deal as we are going to get.

Finally, I felt what it was like to be the team inflicting a humiliating ninth-inning collapse onto the bullpen of another club. So far, we only knew about the receiving end of that situation.

Hey, even when he plays for Houston, beating Clemens means something. He's an absolute marvel, and this season proves it. But, they don't score, and he made one mistake to Randa, and that was essentially all the runs we needed. The announcers kept talking about how Harang had no margin of error pitching against Clemens. Imagine how Clemens feels pitching against anybody?

Reds need to come back tomorrow and win the series. For now, dismal has morphed into "futile, but less embarassing."

Reds End Up Splitting With Pirates

This is our longest string of success this season. As I noted a couple of weeks ago, we did hit a string of weak opponents, and it continues for the next week and a half. If our pitching staff can keep itself from doing for Houston's pitiful offense what it did for Cleveland's pitiful offense, we might be able to win that series.

Our winning % is now jacked up to .400, and we are ten games below .500. In other words, ten games out of what I would envision as a successful season. Of course, at a .400 rate, you would win about 64 games.

Brandon Claussen pitched well yesterday. I'm not ready to give up on him yet. Eric Milton, of course, was atrocious on Saturday, and I'm about ready for him to put on the "disabled list."

Sean Casey was back in the lineup yesterday, saying that the injury to his shoulder was not related to the one that wrecked most of a couple seasons for him. Reds fans will fail to rejoice at him being back in the lineup, but keep this in mind--how pitiful is our offense when we start the AAA line up of a few days ago.

Great catch by Ryan Freel.

Through gritted teeth I note that Rich Aurilia was activated from the DL, with Bergolla sent to Lousville. I'm OK with the second half of that equation, but Aurilia doesn't have to start--wait, apparently he did.

Back to the yard today. Our most effective starter, Aaron Harang, is taking on the most remarkable Rocket. Great thing to do on a Memorial Day before the barbecue kicks in!

Friday, May 27, 2005

And Back to Earth We Come

Well, we got spanked out there last night. We brought forward what would be considered an average AAA lineup, and got the results you expect. I doubt if any Reds lineup has looked that weak since a lineup I recall in 1987 (I think) when we had five starters injured.

Here's what it looked like: Players in Red should be in AAA.

Freel CF
Bergolla 2B
Felipe SS
Kearns RF
Dunn 1B
L. Lopez 3B
Romano LF
Valentin C
E. Ramirez P

I think that largely makes the point. Of course, we got ripped.

No doubt, health is a problem. WMP and Aurilia are on DL, and Randa and Casey are walking wounded. And Griff apparently needed a day off against a tough lefty.

If we're putting out this line up by Mid-June, its all over. WAY over.

And why, you ask, would we be doing that? Well, Baseball Tonight said last night a Reds executive is gearing up for another firesale. Everyone, and he said everyone, is available. Including Adam Dunn, if you needed that clarification.

I'm ambivalent on this. We're unlikely to keep Adam when the time comes, and I don't think he's the kind of guy who carries a team. Having said that, these firesales never seem to net any real players, and we just end up having another firesale one or two years later. I would support a firesale and a wholesale reboot of the franchise if I thought we were headed in a forward direction and would end up contending. If its the choice between futility and utter futility, I need to know there's going to be a playoff run down the road.

Here's what CNN/SI had to say:

The Reds have so many problems right now, and everyone is calling for manager Dave Miley's head. Should he be fired? What do you think is the Reds' biggest problem, and what can they do to solve it?
-- Laura, Dayton, Ohio

Miley needs more of a run. Obviously, the Reds don't have anything close to a competitive pitching staff. They better make sure they get good value for one of their outfielders. They'd consider trading Ken Griffey Jr., but there's not much of a market for him because of his age, health history and especially the contract with years and years of deferred money. Austin Kearns has good value. There is just no sense in keeping Kearns, Griffey, Adam Dunn and Wily Mo Pena when they need so much pitching. (Emphasis added).
Thanks for calling, Laura.

Update: Here's the kind of lineup I was referring to, courtesy

Game Played on Wednesday, July 26, 1989 (N) at Riverfront Stadium

SD N 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 1 1 - 5 12 1
CIN N 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 - 3 4 1

Cincinnati Reds AB R H RBI BB SO PO A
Duncan ss 4 1 1 1 0 1 4 3
Winningham cf 4 0 1 0 1 2 3 0
Benzinger 1b 3 1 0 0 0 0 8 0
Roomes rf 3 0 0 0 0 2 1 0
Youngblood lf 3 0 0 1 0 1 0 0
Griffey ph,lf 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
Madison 3b 3 1 1 0 1 0 0 2
Oliver c 4 0 0 0 0 0 7 0
Quinones 2b 3 0 0 0 0 0 4 7
Mahler p 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
Richardson ph 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Franco p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Davis ph 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Totals 30 3 4 2 4 6 27 14

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


The Reds bounced off the mat with a thrashing of the Nats at GABP, by a 12-3 count. Great performance. Good to have Ryan Freel back in the line up. Belisle pitched great in a pinch, with Harang suffering from the flu. First sweep since the opening series of the season. Hopefully, we can get some confidence back against some weaker teams over the next couple of weeks.

Reds Disable Wilson, Scratch Harang

Reds fans sweating the 13 pitchers can now breathe easier. Wilson has been placed onto the disabled list, with Jason THE SUCK BOY Romano called up. At least its a body, and Wilson has obivously been hurting for a while. Don't expect him back until after the All-star break.

Aaron Harang was scratched with the flu. Nevertheless, we appear to be close to a sweep.

Apparently, Sean Casey went onto Dan Patrick and whined about Graves being cut. Man, these guys no idea about the real world. If I sucked at my job as badly as Graves does, I'd be fired, too.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Celebrate! Two in a row! We win a series

It look a little extra time, and a freak hit (career first) by our pitcher, but the Reds won their first back to back game since mid-April, and assured themselves of their first series win since April. Every little bit helps.

I wonder if Danny Graves was smiling when Weathers blew the save in the ninth. Of course, with Danny, it would have been like five more runs and certain defeat, but there you go. Danny's too classy to react like that anyway.

It goes to show you what you can get when the starting pitching keeps you in the game, even if the bullpen blows up after that. Meanwhile, the Reds can get their first sweep since the opening series of the season.

One thing is for sure. Aaron Harang needs to pitch deep into the game, because the bullpen was taxed tonight.

Sean Casey may miss some time. Worst case scenario is if he's injured badly enough to not play but not badly enough to be placed onto the DL. We are already down to 12 position players, and if you pull Randa (foot) and Casey off the list, then your back up catcher is quite literally the only player on the bench.

Day game tomorrow and a quick turnaround for the guys.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Our Nightmare is Over

At 3:30 this afternoon, Dave Miley informed the media that Danny Graves had been released from the ballclub. Implicit in that is the message that the Reds are willing to pay him to do nothing rather than pay him to do worse.

I would have been fine putting him into the mop-up slot to see if things got better, but he has been really, really bad, and I can see why the club decided the time had come to let him go.

A couple notes. First, I hate that the bird in the dugout is being tied in with this. He decided to go because he was awful--flipping a fan off is nothing.

Second, the other players had an initial reaction that was not comforting. All season, there has been a palpable lack of crisis in how our guys have played, and they seemed to think Graves had some kind of right to a roster spot. Sean Casey (who is coming around), was more strong in this.

Fair enough. Sean is a clubhouse chemistry kind of guy. Casey did say one thing that was right. This wasn't the only thing wrong with this team.

Now, the secondary reaction from the players might have been a little better, because we had a good win over the Nats, who started the game 8.5 games better than our team. Milton finally pitched a good game, and Weathers got the close. I mentioned yesterday that we're hit a patch of a weak schedule, and it would be nice for morale and crowd support if we put some wins together. Winning a series would be nice, and we can get that done tomorrow.

Hopefully, at some point, the situation will stabilize, and an upward vector can begin. But we were 1-5 last week, and are 6-15 in May.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

We drop another series

Well, that's going to have the boo birds going. Of course, Danny Graves says real Reds fans don't boo him. That's just too bad. His ERA is over 7, and that understates how bad he is, since he's also been allowing runs on other guy's tabs over the past few weeks.

I saw on Reds Reporter that opponents are batting over .400 against him in May, and well over .300 for the season. Hitting a baseball is supposed to be hard (also from Reds Reporter)....apparently not when Graves is on the mound.

It just can't go on. If nothing else, let Mercker close and put Danny in a mop up role. But you can't keep this up.

So, we fail to win our eleventh straight series, eight of which we have lost. We're hitting a decent part of the schedule here, Nats, Bucs, Astros, Rockies and Devil Rays, in that order for 17 games. Let's at least hope we can be 9-8 for that period. Because after that we to Baltimore, Boston, Braves, Cardinals, which is not likely to be pretty.

To say the season has been highly disappointing would be an understatement, but its a start. The team is heading down the track at 80 MPH....but on the wrong track.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Two in a row is apparently too much

Unable to stand prosperity, the Reds dropped the game to the Tribe tonight 5-3. Overall, it was a winnable game.

It all unravelled, as if often does in this maddening and frustrating game of baseball, quickly and out of proportion for the significance the events carried.

It was the fourth inning, and there were two outs and runners on first and second. Ramirez is pitching well, again. We're up 3-1. Jhonny Peralta is hitting, and he's #8 in the order. In some cases, you walk him to get the pitcher out, but (and I favor this strategy), the Reds decide to attack the #8 hitter in the hopes of having the pitcher lead off the fifth.

Besides, first base wasn't open. Why push your luck? Then, with two strikes, a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third. Now, the decision changes, because first base is still open. Even with that, you should be able to get the #8 hitter out--especially when he already has two strikes.

Well, no one counts on Ramirez hanging a curve ball up in the strike zone, and Peralta bloops a hit in and scores two. With the runners on second and third, Ramirez has to know he can get Peralta out--but working out of the strike zone and LOW. Not in the strike zone and high. That tied the game.

Ramirez was clearly rattled. He threw two balls to CC Sabathia, who hits about once an era. The Lizard then took the Reds' major league leading HR habit to an extreme, as CC hit an absolute BOMB into the deepest part of the ballpark for a two run homer. There were no more runs scored that night.

Tomorrow is the rubber game. We can win a series. Remember how that felt? Let's look back at the series we have played this season, in reverse order.

Mets 0-3
Phil 2-2
SD 1-2
LA 1-2
St.L 0-3
Mil 0-3
Cubs 1-2
Florida 1-2
Pitt 1-1
Cubs 1-1
Houston 2-1
St L 1-1
Houston 0-3
Mets 3-0

So there you have it. The last ten series, the Reds have lost seven and split 3. No wins at all. For the entire season, we have won two series. With our record, its silly to talk about needing a win. But it would surely be nice to win at least a series. Of course, Cliff Lee is pitching, and our LH power hitters are allergic to left-handed pitching. Adam Dunn is essentially a platoon player this year. Ortiz is going for us. Let's hope we can win.

On the lizard. I like what I see. I mean, its not like there's lots of options. Having said that, let me say this. He was a PTBNL. Sometimes those guys turn into something, which is another way of saying that sometimes the team completely and totally misjudges a player in a thin talent pool. Or, sometimes guys pitch above their heads for a while, and then come back to earth.

What worries me is this. Bill James has clearly identified that pitchers who aren't around the league average in K's (6, 6.5) don't last. It just doesn't happen. Ramirez' pro totals show something below that, but admittedly from a small sample. But, even worse, his minor stats are not much better. He racked up huge K numbers in the Dominican league and Rookie league. Since then, he has hovered in the 5s, except for some time in AA.

All evidence says that we are looking at Josh Towers, Rodrio Lopez, etc. Soft tossers get hit the second time around the league.

Here's to being wrong.

Final postscript...Sean Casey seems to be heating up.

Comments on What I Would do

I while back, I posted my ideas on changes the Reds could make. I cross-posted it on Red Reporter, and here are some comments, generally positive.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Any win is a good win at this point

Well, where did we leave everyone. No, Dave Miley has not been fired. Unlike the big "Dump Jimmy Haynes" day that demonstrated management seriousness last year, our leadership decided to cut D'Angelo Jiminez for reasons which pass understanding. There certainly were worse and less productive players out there. But hey, you brought up Luis Lopez, so on balance, that really improves the team.

Talk about sending a message--we couldn't find our ass with both hands.

Meanwhile, Aaron Harang continued to pitch well, and the bullpen tried but failed to give the game away, and we win the first game in the battle of Ohio, stopping a four game skid. We have not won two in a row since the Astros series in mid-April. That would be a nice start.

Meanwhile Red Leg Nation has a chillig comparison to the current malaise and the absolutely abysmal days when Ray Knight mismanaged this club in 1997. This is not a pretty comparison.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

What would I do?

So, if Miley's doing a poor job, what, exactly, would I do differently. Let's see.

  1. When WMP comes back it would be Pena, Griffey, Kearns and Dunn (1b). Casey would get a rare platoon at bat.
  2. Lopez would be the everyday SS. Aurilia would have to go.
  3. I would start Freel at 2B every day. Jiminez would become this team's Juan Castro. He can play 3B for Randa if he gets hot.
  4. I would use the following batting order and rotation.:
  1. Freel
  2. Lopez
  3. Griffey
  4. Dunn
  5. Pena
  6. Kearns
  7. Randa
  8. LaRue
  9. Pitcher
5. And rotation

  1. Harang
  2. Ortiz
  3. Ramirez
  4. Claussen
  5. Milton

6. Paul Wilson should pitch long-relief until he comes around. I think he's injured. If he is, he should be shelved.

7. Ryan Wagner should close, with Mercker in set up. Graves should be relegated to spot work.

8. I also recommend pruning the suck boys from the 40-man roster so we can start to work some of the young talent without having to worry about who is on the roster.

There. 8 simples changes that can be made today that will make the team better. Notice we aren't eating any contracts, and we're not cutting any starters. Just putting the right guys in the right places.

Today's Enquirer

According to the Enquirer, Thursday will be a "quiet day" but a shakeup could come Friday. No move on management is expected, they say.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Could this be the last day with Miley at the helm

Rumors are hot and heavy--even from some non-trolls--on that Miley will be fired as early as tomorrow.

I think a move has to be made. Gullett should be fired, too. Its not all Miley's fault, but he has shown no ability to get the most out of what's in his lineup.

And he started out so well. I saw today that we are something like 56-90 since we were 12 over last June. That's grim.

You just can't go on this way.

UPDATE: Rumors and speculation call for Jerry Narron to replace Miley. He has Texas-ties with DanO. So that would be a big help....

Another Reds Defeat, Swept by Mets

Its certainly hard to feel any real optimism about this team. I've been on the boards more lately than normal (misery loves company), and its just saddening. For example:

Leading the NL in K's.
Austin Kearns is awful.
Sean Casey is back at his absolute worst.
Paul Wilson is an embarassment.
Eric Milton is an embarassment.
Danny Graves is an embarassment.

I'm not sure Dave Miley isn't an embarrsment, either. I was a big Miley fan at first, but I don't understand why it has to be explained to him that Freel has to be in the game, and Jiminez and Casey should sit to make that happen. I don't know why he can't see that Dunn has to play, not Casey. I don't know why that isn't obvious.

It should be. He's a major leaguer.

I don't think this team is going to lose 100 games, but every day I come closer to thinking it could happen.

And there's no reason for it. The cupboard isn't completely bare. Decisions--choices this team made--have left us where we are. And its a crying shame.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Temple officially joins MAC

Temple joins the MAC. We discussed it a little earlier. They aren't eligible for the title until 2007, which eliminates our concern over their short schedule. They are eligible for the bowl bids right away, but that doesn't exactly seem to be much of a threat.

So welcome the Owls to the MAC in football. Let's hope Western Kentucky comes next.

Paul Wilson--Sucking Among Those Who Suck

If you wonder just how bad Paul Wilson has been, check out this Redszone Old Guard Poster on the Paul Wilson numbers. They are Halloween numbers. Absolutely horrendous. I really think he has to be injured, and I suspect a stint on the DL is due. In the meantime, we were counting on his success leading us to a contending position, and he's well below replacement value.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, tonight we dropped a pitcher's duel, wasting a good start from Ramon Ortiz and ensuring that we lose yet another series, and marking a new three game losing streak. Everytime we think we have a chance to climb back to respectability, we just can't get it done.

Its not just Wilson. Check out Kearns, Milton, LaRue, Casey. I read on some Reds blog today that the talent is there, but we can't get over the top. I don't blame Miley and/or DanO explicitly. Things aren't a lot worse than when they got hear. But sooner or later, they have to deliver on the ballfield.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Baseball World Cup

In concept, I think this is great, and I think it will do great things for the overall game of baseball, which badly needs a shot in the arm. Imagine, if you will, a Dominican lineup with Pedro on the hill, Soriano and Tejada up the middle, and Vladdy and Puljos in the middle of the batting order.

Or, imagine bringing Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling and Mark Mulder in the rotation, with AROD, Bonds, Manny and Sheffield in the middle of your order.

Puerto Rico? They could compete. Beltran, IROD, Delgado.

Canada? How do Justin Morneau, Cory Koskie, Jason Bay, Larry Walker, Rich Harden, Erik Bedard, and Eric Gagne strike you?

Mexico isn't to be taken lightly, with Jorge Cantu, Vinny Castilla, Erubiel Durazo, Esteban Loiaza, Oliver Perez, Rodrigo Lopez and Elmer Dessens.

Finally, Venezuela is going to challenge for he whole thing. CHECK THIS LINE UP OUT!

C—Ramon Hernandez (Padres)
1B—Edgardo Alfonzo (Giants)
2B—Cesar Izturis (Dodgers)
3B—Carlos Guillen (Tigers)
SS—Omar Vizquel (Giants)
LF—Melvin Mora (Orioles)
CF—Bob Abreu (Phillies)
RF—Miguel Cabrera (Marlins)
DH—Magglio Ordonez (Tigers)
SP—Johan Santana (Twins)
SP—Carlos Zambrano (Cubs)
SP—Freddy Garcia (White Sox)
SP—Kelvim Escobar (Angels)
RP—Francisco Rodriguez (Angels)

Wow. I just think the tournament could really rekindle excitement around the game.

There's only one thing that could ruin it. If the players don't play, ala the Olympics and the Davis Cup. Healthy players need to play in the tournament to make it successful. If it ends up being a bunch of nobodies, than the whole idea is worst than doing nothing at all.

And yes, I understand the US may not win and certainly wouldn't be the prohibitive favorite. The idea still excites me a lot.

Does anyone in baseball recognize what it would be worth in $$ to everyone in the game if the world got excited about baseball again. I mean excited?

Saturday, May 14, 2005

That's a little more like it.

Nice win. That's about the formula we need. OK pitching, and some serious offense. I will still contend that if the offense can bring it around, and the pitching has to get a little better (doesn't it?) then perhaps this team isn't lost.

Or maybe that's just the way it feels after we win. Because last night it felt like another 100 loss season, night.

If Junior can get hot, then he and Adam can carry the offense.

Kudos to Miley. The only play right now is to keep Casey on the bench and get Kearns in the game.

Finally, let's just tip of our hat to Jason LaRue, who makes us wish Mario Mendoza was hitting in our lineup.

Official Word: Temple Joining MAC

The Blade on the arrival of Temple in the MAC (sort of)

The Blade has it today. Temple is coming on board. They will start their football in '06, playing six conference games which is less than everyone else plays.

In an important nuance, the league has extracted promises for them to play MAC teams in Men's and Women's basketball, which I think is an important development. They are going to stay in the A-10, however.

According to the article, the MAC thinks that Temple is good for the MAC in football because of their presence in a large media market, no matter how much they suck (that last part was mine).

As an aside, the six conference games could be a competitive issue if they were ever to challenge for a title. It could give them an unfair advantage or disadvantage, depending on who was on the schedule. Hopefully, they will eventually play a full schedule.

You might argue that we already had our share of the worst teams in I-A football, and adding another one might be counter-productive.

IMO, its a neutral move at best. I'm not thrilled, and I'm not distraught. Exactly how many basketball games we get will help determine if this is a success. And, I might add, if any of those games take place in our gyms.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Reds Win on Road

Decent win for the Reds against another struggling team, but we'll take what we can get.

A couple of obersvations.

Danny was shaky again. He's lost a little zip on his pitches and he isn't getting the ball over the plate, and that's killing him. Did you see how the ball broke against the last batter he faced? That sharp downward break to the knees? He absolutely froze that guy. That's how closers pitch.

Jr and some of the bats seem to be warming up a little. That's good news. This team is scoring less than last year's team to date, and they need to score runs in bushels, and have the pitching improve in a realistic fashion (ie suck less), to be even remotely competitive.

Ramon pitched really poorly. A lot of walks, no Ks. Ouch. The bats and a little luck got us that win.

We haven't won a series since late April. We need to get one of these two to at least start to feel like we are in the game again.

I worry that Ryan Wagner's arm is going to fall off by August.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

We Held a Lead

Well, we finally held a lead. I think we all expected it to happen, but this time we held on. Its a start. Let's hope Paul Wilson can get someone out today. This team has a long way to go to even compete, and to keep even its most rabid fans interested. This could be a long, long, season, with many empty seats at GABP if it doesn't turn soon. If the fans give up on the season, it will be difficult getting them back.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Another Tough Loss for Reds Fans to Take

Last night was another hard one. Good starting pitching, a 5-1 lead entering the 9th, and looking like a much needed win and a chance to start turning the fortunes around.

Ryan Wagner was, of course, awful. Then Graves came in, and promptly gave up a bases clearing hit, and defeat was in the wind again. Danny Graves has been awful...dreadful. He will be out of this league in two years. Apparently, no one envisioned what a slender reed he was clinging to--but its gone. He can't get anybody out and he doesn't appear to be able to accept it. Maybe I couldn't either.

We're a much worse team than I imagined. Could we be the 2003 Tigers. At this point, its not hard to imagine. I'm bitterly, bitterly disappointed, but I'm not blaming in on small market. We spent money this time, and we just stink. There is no reason for us to have a not even remote chance at .500, and there's no reason to bring in guys who can't pitch in this park.

This is as bad as rooting for the Lions.

Surveying the reaction from the Nation:

Edskin kicked off this thread on Redszone (old-timer version) that pretty much spells out our feelings. We don't want to feel this way.

While the team unravels, the board seems to be coming together. Never before in my 5+ seasons as a board member have I seen the members in such agreement on the current state of affairs.

A few people are avouiding actually typing the words, but just by reading the threads, it's pretty clear that everyone from the most negative to the most bubbly fan agrees that this season is toast.

Sure, a few will pop in and say "it's only 31 games..........." but even they don't seem to be buying what they're selling.

Usually, the board is somewhat fractured. The "realists" battle with the "sunshine" gang, etc.....

But man, this year is TOTALLY different. I've never seen the fanbase so apathetic, sullen, and worst of all, hopeless.

Quite simply, there is nothing to be excited about when it comes to the Reds. Nothing.

Yes, yes, it's certainly not the worst thing in the world. At least we're alive and still able to "enjoy" baseball, blah blah blah....... There are greater tragedies in life of course.

But when it comes to rooting for the Reds, it seems time for a funeral. The Reds, as we once knew them, are DEAD. And ticket sales seem to reflect as much.

I feel sorry for MYSELF of course. Looks like I'll be searching for something to do for the next three months before I can really focus on football season. When your baseball team isn't competitive, and pretty much has no hope (read: youth) for the future, it really takes the "zing" out of following them.

The ONLY saving grace (notice I didn't use "saving" and "Graves" in the same sentence) is that it IS still so early that we can at least sort of lie to ourselves about that. I've even found myself thinking, "well, if we can get to .500 by the all-star break.............." I'm a total moron. But while I can normally trick myself a bit into thinking such a thing is possible, I'm finding myself lacking the energy this year. I fear a real enjoyable part of my summer is about to be taken away.

But reading the game thread, I really felt most sorry for my fellow fans. I could truly feel the heartache, frustration, and genuine sadness in those posts. Like me, many of you truly care about the fortunes of the Reds. Maybe it's a bit silly, or even a bit sick, but for whatever reason, it matters. And it sort of hurts to see it all splat on the wall so violently. I know some of you don't have much of a fallback (baseball fans only), and it must be even worse for you. I really felt bad reading the game thread.

Bottom line, I think good fans can pretty much give you the pulse of a team. The Reds have good fans-- especially the ones on this board. But the pulse is barely detectable.

JD at Redreporter has the same story to tell.

Redleg Nation has reports of Marc Lancaster on XM about the Reds striking out.

With a sigh, Red Leg Nation wonders how it all went bad so fast. Note links there to mainstream coverage as well.

Falcons Apparently Hire D-Coordinator

Appears to be a Mr. John Lovett from Louisana Tech. He was set to be the D-coordinator for Jack Bicknell down there. In fact, he only took the job a few weeks ago.

First of all, they cannot be happy down there. You bring a guy in, and a couple of months later, he's gone. On paper, this is an oustanding hire for us. Lovett has been D-Coordinator at Clemson, Ole Miss, and Auburn, all of which certainly qualify him to work here. Based on the article linked above, he appears to be a no-nonsense guy, something I think we can use on that side of the ball.

I wholeheartedly support the direction taken here. Rather than a holding pattern hire from within, we went out and got a guy who can take us in a new direction. I think Tim Beckman is a good football coach, but once you've lost him, you have to tak e it as an opportunity to make the D better. I don't know anything about Lovett, but I think he can do that based on what I have seen.

It also reflects my view that we need to win a championship this year, and the only thing that can hold us back is a D that doesn't get the job done. If he can make an immediate step forward on the D, we're going to be practically impossible to beat.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Reds not getting money's worth from starting pitching

Lonnie Wheeler in the Post has this fine analysis of our financial investment in OrtizMiltonWilson and our philosophical investment in pitching to contact. Its a good article. We're getting lots of "contact," that's for sure. We have the worst starters in the NL--even worse than Colorado, a bad team in a really bad pitching situation.

I have not said this before, but I will now. We could lose 100 games.

Must have been a really bad mini-camp

Keon Newson got cut by the Rams right after mini-camp. Looks like Pro Bass Fishing for Keon.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Reds Nation Reverberating with Defeat

Good thing this only happens every 53 years or so. We dropped a six run lead in the ninth last night, and it isn't pretty. The fans are pissed. Danny Graves is hurt that the fans booed, because he was, after all, doing his best. No one is happy and no one should be. Let's sample.

Red Leg Nation on the defeat.

Danny's hurt feelings--Red Leg Nation.

More Red Leg Nation on Danny...shield your eyes from the topless photo.

Some highlights from the last article:

No team in baseball can get to the head of the class with the formula of players performing beneath what their contract is paying. A team in the middle or lower payroll bracket needs to have players that perform beyond what their contract is paying.

In his last nine appearances Graves has pitched 9.1 innings and allowed 16 hits, 8 walks and had only 3 strikeouts.

Word to the wise, don’t bet on Mr. Graves, diminutive RH’s are a dime a dozen and the sooner the Reds shed themselves of the above attitude then the sooner they can right the ship and get on with it.

JD at Red Reporter Weighs in...

And a key quote here...

Dan O'Brien is not the man to do this. Dave Miley is going to be taking a great deal of heat in the coming days and weeks, and I'd say there's a great chance that he's going to find himself out of a job by the All-Star break. But this is Dan O'Brien's team, and this Dan O'Brien's mess.

This is Dan O'Brien's bullpen that has imploded again and again in the past week.

This is Dan O'Brien's starting rotation that doesn't feature a pitcher who can get past the sixth inning.

This is Dan O'Brien's shortstop who has been a complete and utter waste of 70+ at bats (and counting).

This is his team. It's not Jim Bowden's fault anymore. Dave Miley, while proving to be something of a poor manager, shouldn't be the scapegoat.

No one forced Dan O'Brien to sign David Weathers. Nobody held a gun to his head and said that Joe Valentine had to come north with the team out of Spring Training. These are moves he's made and he deserves to take the consequences.

Finally, the new and improved Redszone weighs in--this is one of many threads.

Bottom line. It was an embarrassment. I'm sorry if Danny's feeling were hurt. Booing was the right thing to do. I would have booed, too. You should win that game. You have to win that game. The major improvement in this team was the bullpen--supposedly. Yet, they are continually getting lit up.

This is being measured as a new low point in the history of our franchise. I have my doubts about that, but we aren't swooning in July this year, we're swooning right out of the box. This team could easily lose 100 games.