Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ugly couple of days for your Cincinnati Reds, including Thursday, when the Pirates made it five of six against them so far this season.

And the lesson here is pretty simple: it's great to get worked up into a lather over sweeping the Cardinals. But every one of these games counts the same. Maybe it was a let down. Maybe it was Pirates Pitching that seems to have the Reds number this season.

But at the end of any season, they don't ask you who you beat. They only ask you how many you've got. At least that's how the Reds won their division last year.

And as we wait for the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals to rule on the legality of the NFL lockout, one word of caution to the NFL owners: you've won the latest round. Don't overplay your hand.

Even in the conservative 8th court, there are no guarantees you'll win the next round. And rather than wait on that, work even harder now to get a settlement. Don't just say you want to do it. Do it.

What good is winning the war, when you lose the peace?

Finally, a word about the whining that continues to come out of St. Louis. Give Tony La Russa credit: he said he doesn't believe Francisco Cordero was throwing at Albert Puljos Sunday. Of course he wasn't. Not with the tying and winning runs in play because Prince Albert got plunked.

But somebody should tell that to his leiutenant, interim manager Joe Pettini, who said it's always something when the Cardinals come to Cincinnati. Really? Like that deception a couple of weeks ago in St. Louis on a rain delay was the way to handle things fairly? Really?

Chris Carpenter didn't like the fact that fireworks smoke, after he allowed a home run, delayed the game. The way he was pitching, he should have welcomed the delay. Carpenter should be more upset with the way his right fielder, Lance Berkman played. The man behaved like it was his first day out of short pant.

The arrogance of the Cardinals franchise is forever astounding. They're good, just ask them and theyll tell you. The Cardinals win with style. They should learn to lose with grace.

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Monday, May 09, 2011

On to Houston tonight for your Cincinnati Reds. The three games in Chicago were frustrating only in the realization that the Reds could have made it a sweep, except for the meltdown of Coco Cordero on Saturday afternoon. Sunday, many Reds fans called into my radio show on 700 WLW and wondered why Cordero is still the closer on this team. Two simple reasons: money (he's making in excess of $12 million this year) and what is the other alternative to Cordero? Who would fit the closer mold better right now? The answer, from the current Reds roster, is no one.

Nick Masset? I'm sure the Reds have considered him a candidate in the past two off seasons. But Masset is a notoriously slow starter and using him in that role beginning Opening Day would have been a disaster.

Aroldis Chapman? Control has always been a huge issue with him. And he is still trying to figure out how to keep runners on base from stealing. Saturday, with two out and runners on second and third, Dusty Baker left Cordero on the mound and did not bring Chapman in for one very big reason: Chapman could have brought the winning run home with a wild pitch. Turns out, the Reds lost anyway. But to think that Baker doesn't consider the pitfalls of using other relievers in a closing situation is simple wrong.

Cordero must be included in the conversation, if that conversation is about the top ten closers in baseball. Look at the numbers. Yes, he's good for eight or nine blown saves a year. Virtually everyone who has that job in baseball will finish the year with the same number. The greatest closer in the history of baseball, the Yankees Mariano Rivera, has blown 68 saves in his 17 year career. If the greatest closer in the history of baseball blows an average of four save opportunities a year, blowing eight a year really isn't all that bad.

The larger issue with the Reds continues to be hitting with runners in scoring position. They had a grand total of nine runs in the three game series against the Cubs and, as a team, hit less than .200 in that three game series.

The glaring problem with the Reds right now isn't their closer. It's the missing bat of Scott Rolen. Until he returns, this team will struggle for runs. The more you have in the 9th inning of a game, the easier it is on your closer. Plain, simple, end of story.

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Monday, May 02, 2011

The Reds enjoyed a rare rainout Monday. And the game was called early in the day, so they could simply come to the park and get in their hitting and go home. But one of the things they must work on if they're going to contend this season, is getting the hitters with the most chances to drive in runs productive again.

The batters with the two most chances to drive in runs this eason are Jonny Gomes and Jay Bruce. And each is struggling, mightily.

Gomes had an RBI this weekend. But he's hitting just .200 with runners in scoring position. Bruce is hitting just .167. And what makes this one of the strange anomalies that baseball offers, is that the Reds, as a team, are 4th best in the National League in driving in baserunners in scoring position.

The problem for the Reds gets compounded, when you notice that the two batters who've had the most chances to drive in runners in scoring position got it, Bruce and Gomes. Joey Votto is hitting .363 with RISP, but he's had fewer chances than either Gomes or Bruce.

The law of baseball averages dictates that the game will eventually come back to Gomes and Bruce and each will find that key hits that aren't happening now, will eventually.

But right now, it's killing this team.

This blog may not be reproduced, re-transmitted and re-purposed in any manner, in whole or in part, without the written permission of Ken Broo.