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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I know the games don’t matter much, but losing to the Tigers?? Eric Milton was scratched because of an injury (couldn’t find what it was) and Austin Kearns also didn’t play because he was hit on the arm. Ben Kozlowski started instead and he filled in nicely for Milton by giving up four runs in two innings with, of course, a homerun. Ryan Wagner was also shelled in his one inning and took the loss.
The good news? Scott Hatteberg went yard and Jacob Cruz went two for two with a double and three walks. You can check out game highlights and boxscores at MLB.com.
The rematch is today!!
Speaking of MLB.com, that’s a site that’s made a nice leap here recently. Tons and tons of content, and they have some really cool multimedia stuff. I’m signing up for the Gameday Audio package so I can listen to the Reds here at home in the Detroit area. I used to be a Yahoo sports guy, but now I’m MLB.com all the way.
Vern Ruhle, the Cincinnati Reds pitching coach, was diagnosed with cancer. He’s not revealing the type, but he’s said he’ll stay with the team while he’s being treated.
I wish Mr. Ruhle the best and I hope he has a fast and speedy recovery.
Here’s where the Reds stand as far as starting pitchers:
1) Aaron Harang
2) Brandon Claussen
3) Paul Wilson
4) Eric Milton
5) Dave Williams
Narron said this wasn’t a particular order, but it looks pretty close to the way I’d expect things to line up. And of course it all assumes Paul Wilson is ready when the season kicks off.
Dave Williams was shelled in an exhibition spring game. He gave up five runs in the first inning so the fun starts already. Although it’s hard to put any stock into these early spring games. You just have to hope this isn’t the beginning of a trend.
Oddly, on the Reds depth chart at MLB.com, there’s no sixth starter. Most of the other team’s depth charts have them.
Should be an interesting season.
Everyone who is anyone is gearing up for the 2006 MLB season. My first step is going to be purchasing my Cincinnati Reds Opening Day tickets. It is a tradition in my family for us all to take the day off of school or work to head down to the Great American Ballpark for the Reds? Opening Day. Even when they were playing at Riverfront Stadium, we?d all hop in the car and get to the park early to celebrate the return of baseball.
This year?s spring schedule looks exciting with the Reds meeting the Minnesota Twins five times. The Cincinnati Reds regular season home opener will be April 3, 2006 against the Chicago Cubs. Aaron Harang hopes to be chosen for the position of starting pitcher for Opening Day and I believe he is the most appropriate choice for the job. Dave Williams or even Eric Milton could be up for the job but the choice belongs to Reds pitching Coach Vern Ruhle and manager Jerry Narron.
April?s schedule starts with six Reds home games, four of which are against the Pittsburgh Pirates. We also have a four game road trip to battle the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Hopefully there will be some May flowers blooming when we host the Washington Nationals and Arizona Diamondbacks. Come June, I will be wishing I had bought Reds box seats as the weather heats up and we host the Chicago White Sox, which would be an intense battle even without the heat of summer.
All things considered the we have a pretty great 2006 MLB game schedule and with Ken Griffy, Wily Mo Pena and Tony Womack on the field we should be able to surpass our 2005 record. Pena has made a public pledge that this year is to be his breakout year as a hitter. Improvements at-bat are needed for sure and I am eager to see the Reds in action at the plate. Our pitching core is however the biggest reason I was so excited to buy my Cincinnati Reds tickets this year.
In Ohio there are plenty of sports teams to keep a baseball fan busy in the off season. But, going to Cincinnati Bengals home games or watching the Cleveland Cavaliers and Columbus Blue Jackets on TV, really never compares to watching my favorite baseball team try to make it to the World Series year after year. Reds baseball games are a part of my history and of my future. I bought World Series tickets in 1990 when the Cincinnati Reds beat the Oakland Athletics for the fifth championship in their history. Hopefully the Reds can rise above powerful teams like the San Diego Padres, New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves to win big in 2006.