Archive for March, 2006

Reds Kick Off Season on Monday

Alright, it’s time to get serious.  Not me, the Reds.  They kick off their season at home on Monday against the Cubs.  If you remember way, way back, the Reds swept the Mets in their opening series.  Of course it all went downhill from there.  I’ve turned into a pessimist, but with new ownership, it won’t take much to pull me back into the fold.  With that, I have three predictions.

1)  The Reds will have a losing record

2)  The Reds will have a team ERA above 5.00 again

3)  Adam Dunn will hit 50 homeruns, although there’s a good chance that some of those come with another team.

Bronson Arroyo looked great yesterday in the Reds shutout win over Arroyo’s former team.  Bronson threw seven shutout innings and gave up three hits.  He struck out nine.  The bad news is, the solid start reduced his ERA to healthy 6.85.

Austin Kearns and Adam Dunn both turned it up in the second half of the spring.  Dunn now has five homeruns and he’s slugging .708.  Kearns picked up his batting average to .295.  Both of these guys were hovering around the Mendoza line not that long ago, although with this few at bats, all it takes is a good couple of games to get those numbers up.

The Reds Season Could Be Rockier

Finding Joy in the Misery of Others
By Thaq Diesel

I was in Colorado a week ago and saw an advertisement for Colorado Rockies season tickets. They listed off their starting players (“…come see as the Rockies talents like…Brad Hawpe…Cory Sullivan…Yorvit Torrealba!”) and I didn’t recognize a single one of them. Why didn’t they list Todd Helton or Matt Holiday? Or maybe I didn’t hear their names. Couple that with the rotation the Rockies are fielding (Jeff Francis [14-12 5.68 ERA], Jason Jennings [6-9, 5.02 ERA], the inexplicably sought-after Josh Fogg [6-11 5.05 ERA – can you see this going north of 7.00 in the mile-high air? I can.] and, ladies and gentlemen, Byung-Hyun Kim [5-12 4.86 ERA]!) and any self-respecting baseball fan in Denver is poised to take their cyanide capsules.

At least I’m just marginally depressed about this year’s prospects. I mean, outside of pitching, the Reds are pretty good; they have great power, good speed, and more platoon players than the Red Army circa 1981.

I hate dwelling on a negative aspect, but at least the Reds on paper don’t suck as badly as the Rockies. I guess I’m looking for any silver lining at this point to help me get past the Reds pitching. I have now officially jinxed the Reds into playing 20 games below the Rockies this year. Thank you.

Reds Sign Alex Sanchez to Minor League Contract

I got this from Lee Sinin’s ATM report. I’m not going to link to Sanchez’s stats because they’re not worth talking about. Needless to say, if this guy is playing centerfield at any time for the Reds in 2006, our season is effectively over.

Imagine Sanchez and Tony Womack on the same field for the same team. The only thing that comes to mind is Alice Cooper’s song, “Welcome to My Nightmare.”

Tony Womack Homers’, World Ends

The Reds improved to 14-10 in spring play and yesterday the impossible happened. Okay, it’s not “impossible” because he does have a whopping 35 career homeruns, but Tony Womack homered yesterday. Unfortunately, Womack is having a pretty good spring on paper, which means he’ll probably get more playing time then he deserves when the season starts. He’s 14 for 37 but he has only two extra base hits (one double and one homeruns) and two walks.

Eric Milton’s back, and the two weeks off must have did him some good because he threw a nice game on Wednesday. He went five innings and gave up only one run on three hits with five strikeouts.

The phenom of the spring, Edwin Encarnancion, went zero for two with a walk and his batting average is now only .449. Seriously, EE has had a great spring and I hope he leaves people with no doubt that he’ll be an upgrade over Joe Randa.

Reds Find Pitching Where None Seem Possible

Wily a Red No Mo
By Thaq Diesel

The trade today by the Reds and Red Sox of Wily Mo Pena for Bronson Arroyo is great news for Reds fans. It’s one pitcher, yes, but Arroyo is a quality pitcher and probably our number 2 or maybe number 1 pitcher. Lord knows there’s not much out there available without having to give up the farm. I applaud the front office for making this move. It made my day.

The trade makes the outfield less crowded. It explains why Dunn has been playing left field the past few days. It explains why Scott Hatteberg was signed. It made the team better.

Wily Mo and his talent and upside will be missed. Wily has officially entered into the Bip Roberts memorial “Quality Player Who is a Former Red” Hall of Fame.

The Old Griffey Back?

Griffey Off to Hot Start
By Thaq Diesel

I didn’t watch any of the WBC live, but I paid attention to how the USA performed. I think the Domincans and Cubans of the world care about it a lot, but I worry that Americans will treat it like soccer. That is, Americans don’t care that smaller countries whoop up on us and just decide they won’t care about the tournament. Perhaps I’m in that camp already because I’m not all that upset about the early exit by the US. Still, I think it’s an interesting format and more entertaining than spring training.

Specifically, I liked that Junior got off to a hot start in the WBC. He was by far the best player on the US squad if you turn away from defense for a moment. Griffey’s stats: [11-21 (.524 Avg.), 3 HR, 4 Runs, 10 RBI, 3 Walks, 3 K’s, 1.048 SLG]. This was better than anybody else in the tournament through six games and better than Jeter or A-Rod. I’d love for Griffey to have the kind of year we’ve been waiting for with a fast start and an injury-free season. The past few injuries have left him a bit stiff defensively (rehab and scar tissue can do that, believe me), but he’s still got the potential for an awesome year.

Dunn, Kearns Continue to Struggle

We haven’t come to expect much from Austin Kearns these days. Even though he was given the future star tag just like Adam Dunn, Kearns has been robbed of having even one good season by a series of injuries. This spring, he’s not hurt. It just hurts me to look at his numbers. In 28 at bats, Kearns has one double and four singles with ten strikeouts. His slugging is .214. And no, that’s not good.

Equally as troubling has been Adam Dunn’s spring. He hit a homerun this afternoon, but that’s only his second of the spring. Like Kearns, he has five hits but they’ve all be for extra bases. He’s also walked five times vs. six strikeouts, so it’s not ALL bad.

Fortunately Edwin Encarnancion is hitting for all three of them. He’s been a monster at the plate and is hitting a nice, even .500. He has 17 hits, and eleven have been for extra bases, including a team leading six homeruns. And he has only five strikeouts in 34 at bats.

Writing about EE has put me in a good mood, so I’m going to skip the pitching, which will ruin it for me.

Reds Win Three in Row, Then Lose on Sunday to Phillies

Nothing like a little resurgance. After a rough start to the spring, the Reds won on Thursday, Friday and Saturday before losing to the Phillies this afternoon. Justin Germano was shelled this afternoon in his second start of the spring. He’s thrown more innings then any other Red so far and he’s sporting a healthy 6.00 ERA with four strikeouts in nine innings. Todd Coffey, who could have the edge so far this spring in securing the closer spot, gave up his first run in his fifth game. Dave Williams gets the start tomorrow in a night game against the Twins.

Brandon Claussen has had a good spring. He’s not injured (as far as we know), which gives him a leg up on most of the other Reds starters. And he’s been solid in two starts (2.57 ERA). Edwin Encarnancion continues to tear up spring pitching. He has ten extra base hits, including five homeruns, in 27 at bats. He has 12 RBIs, and the next closest Reds are Rich Aurilia and DeWayne Wise with four. Wise has four homeruns. And Adam Dunn and Austin Kearns continue to struggle and both are below the Mendoza line.

Ken Griffey was one for five with two strikeouts in the USA’s win over Japan this afternoon. Prior to that he was having a great WBC and was six for eight with two homeruns in the first round.

Reds Pitchers Dropping Like Flies

The Reds have had one of the worst pitching staffs over the past four years. Just when things looked like they couldn’t get any worse, they do. Paul Wilson is recovering from shoulder surgery and Eric Milton has thrown two thirds of an inning, if you want to call it that, and is down with a calf strain. Now Aaron Harang, last years’ beacon of light on the mound, missed his start today because of a swollen shoulder. I guess we’ll get to see how some of the kids do this spring.

Edwin Encarnancion continues to roll. He leads all Florida spring players with five homeruns and he’s nine for twenty one with twelve RBIs. Eight of Encarnancion’s nine hits have been for extra bases and he’s sporting a 1.286 slugging percentage.

Adam Dunn and Austin Kearns, two players I’m expecting a ton from this year, have both struggled at the plate. If you add their batting averages together, you don’t even get .260 and they have one homerun between them. I know Dunn’s supposed to be fine after playing most of the season with a broken arm, but you wonder if he over did it and things are catching up to him.

Reds Split Weekend Spring Games

Ahhhh, baseball. It’s back. After dropping their first two spring games to the Tigers, the Reds have bounced back to win two of their last three. They beat the Yankees on Saturday, 4-1, and then they lost to the Devil Rays 5-7 today.

The big news so far is Edwin Encarnancion. He’s six for twelve this spring with three homeruns and seven RBIs. The rest of the team has three homeruns and the next closest guy in RBIs is Ray Olmedo with three.

This is an interesting read. The Reds will no longer have a strict pitch count in the minors and hitters are getting the green light to swing away on the first pitch. It’ll be interesting to see how this affects the health of our pitchers going forward. Plate discipline is a key component to a solid hitter so I’m not sure I like the edict, but I also understand that other teams knew about this and usually challeged Reds hitters out of the box.

Reds and Phillies tomorrow.

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