Monday, May 31, 2004

Tough Sunday in Canada

It was a tough Sunday in Canada, but we took 2-3 from the series. Still, a sweep against the Expos would have been nice.

You can't expect a lot when you put Joe Valentine in to start. I'm not sure I understand the logic here--you wanted him in the bullpen, but he needed to start one game first. He has, by the way, proven in the minors he cannot start effectively.

So he did what you expect, and the sweep was gone.

I was glad to see Ryan Wagner get sent down. He obviously needs some work, but I still believe in him. The Reds took a big risk bringing him up last year, because that became one of his options. I think Wagner will pitch effectively in the future--he may be a closer or set up guy. But the time in the minors should help.

Message to Reds--take a college guy in the early rounds of the draft. Use your later rounds for the high school kids.

More bad luck for Austin Kearns with the sore on his thumb. Ouch.

Go Reds.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Losses to Marlins

Well, it goes without saying that the losses to the Marlins were disappointing coming off the sweep of the Astros. You hate to lose a series--I'm a big proponent in looking at each series as a mini-test of your ability.

Of course, what was different from Houston to Florida was hitting. We just didn't hit in the last two games, whereas we absolutely ripped the ball against Houston. The starting pitching in both of the losses was more than adequate, but we didn't score enough runs.

This starting eight has to carry the team many nights, and they are capable of doing it. The team is healthy, so that can't be it. I worry about Adam Dunn--I know his high .OBP mitigates some of the strikeouts and the low BA, but it only mitigates. He needs to get more hits, and he's getting a lot fewer of them lately.

From here, we need to get well against the Expos and then get them back in Miami following that. The Expos are the worst team in the NL, and we'll go there in a tie for first--at worst.

I think Jack McKeon is a great manager. Miley's going to be a good one, too.

Monday, May 24, 2004

That's your first place Cincinnati Reds! Sole Possession.

I'm tired. Its late. More later.

Tonight's win, and the playoff environment at GAB were food for the soul.

Let the good times roll.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Your First place Cincinnati Reds!!

Ok, its a three-way tie...still, the team is overachieving early this year, much as they did last year. The trick this year is to avoid the collapse of 2003, and continue to contend this season.

Most people thought we'd have a tough time splitting with the 'Stros, especially once we had absorbed Pettite and Clemens. Not so fast....the Reds won games started by both guys. It is especially satisfying given our embarassing performance in Houston a couple of weeks ago.

A sell-out was great last night, even if it was mostly to see the Rocket. That just shows these are baseball fans we're talking about. I saw the Rocket pitch for the Jays in Tiger Stadium, and you don't forget it.

Last night's game was a little bit of nail-biter. Danny--who is an average closer at best--certainly got himself in trouble, but eventually he and the defense bailed him out.

One last point--the team has come around since the injuries started to peel back. A good sign for our long-term health.

Long-term, can we stay with Houston? I doubt it. But who knows. One day at a time.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Moving in the Right Direction....

But not as quickly as it looks.

To nearly everyone's amazement, the Reds are 20-17 so far this year. Projected out, this would mean an 88 win season, which would exceed nearly everyone's goals.

I don't think that's how it will turn out, but time will tell.

Here's why.

The enquirer this weekend looked at where the Reds stand in the NL standings in key measures. The results show the Reds in the bottom half of the league. Looked at another way, the Reds Pythagorean would project them to be 17-20--not 20-17 at this date.

The meaning of these numbers are clear. At this rate, these results are going to catch up to the club. You can't keep giving up more runs than you score and win games. Sounds dopey, but you could find an argument on the topic.

Today, a .500 season would still be an achievement.

Things are moving in the right direction, however.

Looking at key stats (mostly pitching), the Reds are moving where they should be, although they remain below the NL average in each of the following categories. See below.

BB/9 (2003--3.67 2004--3.08 NL Avg--3.42)
K/9 (2003--5.80 2004--6.06 NL Avg--6.54)
H/9 (2003--9.82 2004--9.72 NL Avg--8.96)
ERA (2003--5.09 2004--4.67 NL Avg--4.27)
K/bb (2003--1.58 2004--1.96 NL Avg--1.91)
hr/9 (2003--1.30 2004--1.19 NL Avg--1.07)
e/game (2003--0.87 2004--0.73)

So, bottom line. We can't expect to win unless these numbers improve, but things are moving in the right direction, and there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. Its more fun to watch than last year.....