Many of my readers say that I am too soft on Reds. In these pages I try to be neutral and allow the readers to decide for themselves. I do debate them through comments and try to stimulate discussion by taking the other side. Baseball is a game of failure. A good hitter fails seven times in 10. A relief pitcher goes unnoticed when he holds the opposition where they are but his name is in headlines when he blows a lead. This factor breeds negativity.
Gary Yeats was an outstanding teacher at Fairfield High School. He also took the Indians to two Ohio State Baseball tittles. For the last four years, Yeats has been a special assistant to Bob Castellini in Goodyear, Arizona during spring training. He has the unique opportunity to watch the Reds on the field every day.
The following is Gary's report on the first half of the season. Please enjoy a knowledgeable opinion.
The BIG 162
"The Reds are halfway there! 46 wins, better than last year and as good a record as they have had in the last ten years. Despite that, Reds fans are jumping off bridges and impaling themselves with despair over the Reds season. Repeat the first half and that gives them 92 wins and a place in the playoffs. It might not guarantee a division title as 95 wins could but getting there is the big challenge. The best record in baseball does not win the World Series, the hot team in October does. See past history for proof of that. The Dusty haters are having seizures but Mr. Baker holds the ship steady and true. So lets take a look at this amazing race and peek ahead to what the fall may have in store for this grand game.
The Competiton: Central Division
MLB Rankings Pitching Batting Fielding
Cardinals 3rd 3rd 2nd
Pirates 1st 23rd 22nd
Reds 4th 20th 8th
What does this mean. Who knows because you can manipulate stats anyway you want! BUT- this would suggest that the Cardinals are the most likely winner of the Central Division. They have a very solid team and the best farm system in baseball. They are a force to be reckoned with. The Pirates will fade but maybe not collapse as in the past. The low rankings in batting and fielding will probably take its toll on their pitching staff. This Pirate team is better than past years. The starting and relief pitching has quality and depth. Fans can expect all three Central Division teams to make the playoffs. It would take 50 wins in the second half for any other team to make it to the wild card. Only one team is even remotely capable of doing that-Washington. Chances are the Cards, Bucs and Reds are going to be in the chase.
The Reds: The mostly injury free 2012 team has had its share of problems in 2013. Can they continue to overcome them? The Big Three of Cueto,Ludwick and Marshall
have cost the Reds at least 3-5 wins. That alone puts the Reds at 50 wins and in or very near first place at this time. If any of them can come back the Reds improve significantly. The most likely would seem to be Marshall. Ludwick will return but can he be productive? Cueto had all winter to heal but has not. It kind of looks very iffy at this point. So what can the Reds do to offset this? Unfortunately, not very much. The farm system probably cannot help at all. The budget does not allow for the addition of highly paid help. Is there hope? Sure! Mr. Jocketty is one of the best at problem solving with limited $$$$. After all, he is part of the reason the Cardinals are where they are. The Reds still believe that this could be their year. Maybe he can get Mr. C to sell some more lettuce and add some green to the payroll!
Outside help: Jocketty is brilliant at thinking "outside of the batter's box". While most fans see left field as a key limitation for the 2013 Reds, he probably does not. Paul, Robinson and Heisey have put up decent numbers in left. The Reds could live with that except for the fallen production from Frazier and Hanigan. Hanigan has been beaten up to the point that his offense has been very limited. Frazier is really doing about what he has through the minors and pro ball. If either can improve over the final 81 games the Reds will get steadier.
Wish list: Outfield- Alex Rios CWS, 3b-Aramis Ramirez Mil. RP- Tom Gorzelanny Col. RP- James Russell Cubs.
Christmas list: Cliff Lee Phils. Walt wanted him a couple years ago but could not get him. The Reds probably still want him and probably still cannot get him! Any teams interested in doing business with the Reds want Hamilton and Cingrani. The Reds will not part with either of them.
Inside help: Defense- The Reds have a gold glove defense on the right side but Phillips and Votto have combined for 16 errors. Unbelievable. Joey leads Baseball with 10 errors. He has dropped throws, pop ups and failed to get in front of numerous balls. He works diligently at his defense so one can hope for improvement. Phillips is, of course spectacular. An ESPN WEB GEM on a daily basis. BUT Darwin Barney the current Gold Glove at 2b has ZERO errors. 16 errors on the right side has been a major disappointment for this team. Frazier has been as good as Rolen at 3b (4E) and Cozart has been steady at SS (7E). Improved defense can lead to several more wins in the second half.
Pitching: Well, it really can't get a whole lot better. A stabilized bullpen would help. When the bullpen is rested they do an acceptable job. Leake has made up for the absence of Cueto. He has been the pitcher I saw at ASU. The starting rotation is still solid but if another arm goes down it will be hard to overcome.
Baserunning: Abysmal, Horrible. The Reds kill themselves on the bases. Not just stealing but taking an extra base, advancing runners and being aggressive at the right times. Votto has again been the culprit of too many base running errors. Who would ever think you would miss your third base coach. Berry has been missed at third, Speier is doing his best and will get better but Berry was there for years. Hopefully, he beats the cancer and gets back at third. The Reds would benefit as a result.
(I have wondered about this myself. Berry knows the league inside and out. There have been several times that I thought a runner should have scored on a double from first or a single from second. In last nights game with Cozart on second (no outs), Votto hit a ground single through the right side. I thought sure Cozart would score.)
Hitting: "Its not what they do but more what they don't do." I really do not see them getting any better. This has been going on for years and very little progression has been made. Simply put they are great at getting on base. It ends there. Scoring runs is a whole different story. Hitting with runners in scoring position is a real Achilles heel. One can always hope and hope and hope. Add the baserunning to the hitting and you get an anchor holding this team down. Just watch the Cardinals play and what a difference in this area.
So there we are. 46-35. Halfway there. Fun, excitement, frustration and sleepless nights for all Reds fans. What a fabulous way to spend your summer. Baseball is life. Day in, out. Day after Day. Blog at you in Sept. when we make the playoffs. Go REDS! Thanks for reading. YIB-G"
|Professionally edited by ML Schirmer|
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