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.

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