Put them in scoring position often enough…

….and good things will happen.

Reds beat Phillies….with speed, if not at least with the threat of speed.  They were caught stealing twice (although Taverez was safe by a mile from where I was sitting) but did have one successful try.  Once was thrown out at home while pushing the defense to make a play.  All of this pushing seems to have worked as Cincy beat the Phillies, and in the process, put pressure on them almost every inning of the game.  Good job Dusty Baker and the base coaches.

Speed Needs to be a Bigger Part of the Plan…

The Reds lineup as improved their overall batting average to over .250, that being up from a league worst .209 just four weeks ago.  Some power has come with that, Jay Bruce now has 12 homers on the year.  But this team was organized for speed on the basepads.  All those singles need to start translating into stolen base doubles.  Take a look at Tampa Bay – middle of May and already 70 stolen bases…That’s moving runners into scoring position.

Now granted, I don’t see everyone on the Reds lineup to be off and running on each pitch, but I do feel that Cincy needs to be more agressive than what they have shown so far.

Congratulations to the Dodgers…

Yeah, I’m saying nice things about L.A.  The Dodgers team could have went into ‘circusville’ with the whole Manny Thing, but rather, they are still producting.  Signs of an emerging playoff caliber team (uh, NY, are ya missing Joe now??).  September headline “How the West was Won, L.A. style”.

Reds Welcome Philly into Cincy…

Reigning Champs, so what.  Reds just off of being swept, so what.  Prediction – Reds start a winning streak tonight based on strong starting pitching that will carry over into a winning homestand and finishing out May on a high note.  Go Reds!!

Injuries…..And it’s only May.

It’s still early enough in the season that ‘everyone’ still has a shot at October.  However, injuries seem to be mounting at a very alarming rate.  Some injuries are more severe than others, such as Mr. Weeks with the Brewers, while some are just day to day, as is the case of Mr. Votto witht the Reds. 

To each their own, but if I was a manager, I believe I would rather hear the broken wrist diagnosis than the day to day ‘I’m dizzy coach’ diagnosis.  At least line ups can still be set long term, even if it is with a backups.  In the case of Votto, you certainly can’t send him to AAA because he got dizzy but then again what do you do?  Gonzalez is day to day, Encanarcian is soon to be day to day, Votto day to day….Get the picture Reds fans….Cincy has struggled some over the last week but given the fact that multilple starters have been injured, be glad it’s just May.

Talk about a 180…

The Cincinnati Reds, long a team not worthy of winning on the road, is now the owner of the MLBs best road record, 13-5.  Granted, it is still early in the season, but this has to be a lift to the clubhouse attitude as well as the front office.  Winning early in the season gives the top brass a reason to be ‘buyers’ come late July, early August, rather than the other way around.  I see no reason the Reds will not compete the rest of the way with St. Louis (always tough) and Milwakee (always hitting the ball)….sorry Cubs, you don’t make the conversation this year, watch and see.

Votto – Becoming a leader by example.

So many players have the ‘ability’ to become a club leader.  But only a few become just that.  Joey Votto is one those few.  While relatively young by MLB standards, his approach to the game, heck, his approach to every at-bat is lesson in life – ‘Be patient, work hard, expect nothing but success.’

I look forward to watching Mr. Votto, as well as Phillips, Bruce and all the rest of a very young and very talented – and very determined team play baseball this year.

Bronson A. – What’s hurting? Arm or confidence? Neither? Both?

Does Bronson Arroyo have a injury or is it more mental?  Personally, I’m seeing less arm strength when he needs it.  Once he is reminded (ala, two run homerun, etc.) he seems to through harder for a batter or two.  Maybe it’s focus.  I tend to think not, as he has proven to be a 10+ game winner in the majors before.  That doesn’t just happen by showing up.  So I’m back to the arm strength.  He throws a lot of off speed (arm twisting) pitches and I wonder if we are seeing the some effects on his fast ball.  So much of the time last night, his fastball was a ******** 87 or so.  Confidence will come back when some arm strength comes back.  Without a fastball, his offspeed pitches will not be nearly as much of a change of pace.  They become the norm, the expected.

 

Asking for feedback: Can a team under .500 be overconfident?

Is there any other explanation?  The Reds go out to play a first place team or a team over .500 and they play then solid for nine innings, more often than not, beating them.  Put that same lineup against the ’08 Nats and they get swept. 

I recently wrote an entry explaining why I felt the Reds could compete for a Wild Card spot due to their schedule in August against less than formidable opponents.  Well, it’s August 8th, and that thought has dried up in the August heat.  I watch their games regularly and it seems that they have an extra step in their stride when they are up against the top tier teams and not so much against the lesser.  Overconfident??  Do other fans of sub-.500 teams see this same trend?  Just curious.

Who says last place teams shouldn’t be buyers???

You’re in last place, nine games below .500, thirteen games back of first place.  So, what does baseball logic say for you to do – trade your better players who have contract negotiations coming up….Cincy has faced this multiple years in a row.  Fight hard, have some winning streaks, come up a little short, and BAM!…July 31 arrives and you have a garage sale.

Why not change things up a little…You’re down ten, go out and pick up the players needed to get to ten above.  Spend the money to get that clutch hitter or that glove to secure the corners.

Just a thought as we pass July 31…..again.

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