Saturday, December 31, 2011

6 New Year's Resolutions for Reds in 2012

Here we are on the brink of another calendar year that has come and gone. This year wasn't as kind to the Redlegs as 2010, but it did bring us some good moments and good memories. With 2011 all but behind us now, here are 6 New Year's Resolutions for the team to strive for a fantastic 2012:

The '11 Interleague season left much
to be desired for the Redlegs

1) Win the close ones
Dusty Baker's bunch lost a staggering number of 33 games by one-run last season, which led all of Major League Baseball. Their inability to come up with a big hit or a big out in crucial situations cost them dearly in '11. If they seek a more successful 2012 campaign, they must strive to come away with more close victories.

2) Compete better in Interleague play
Only the Kansas City Royals lost more contests in Interleague play last year (13) than the Reds did (12). If you overlook the notion that they went 1-5 against intra-state rival Cleveland in the Ohio Cup, one silver lining in their lackluster record is that 9 of their 12 defeats came by just two runs or less.

3) Let's go to extras!
Either by shear luck or coincidence, Cincinnati has a propensity to win ball games in extra innings. This is not only evidenced by their National League-best 12-5 record in them last year, but also the fact that the Reds have had a winning record in extras every season since 2006 (50-36 combined). In conclusion, the longer they play the better they get!

4) Increase attendance
If the club wants to be able to afford their budding young stars in the future, one thing they must do is to continue to increase their attendance revenue. The Reds ranked 16th in MLB in attendance in 2011, which is their highest ranking since finishing 13th in the league in 2003. This is a step in the right direction after finishing 27th in 2009 and 20th in 2010. If fans want to keep seeing the payroll rise and the likes of Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Johnny Cueto (among others) staying in Cincy, they must come out and attend the games in person. Of course, the easiest and most effective way for the franchise to draw larger crowds is simple...WIN.
Arroyo had a nightmare of
a season in 2011

5) Keep the ball in the yard
Only two pitching staffs in MLB surrendered more long balls than the Reds did last season (185). This figure was undoubtedly aided by Bronson Arroyo's league-worst 46 homers allowed, but also from pitching in hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park. With that said, the addition of Mat Latos, a primarily groundball pitcher, ought to help immensely in lowering this total for 2012.

6) Diagnose the Cuban Missile situation
Aroldis Chapman. Is he a starter, is he a closer, or is he a setup man? This question has been asked by many for a couple of years now, and a clear answer is still unknown. The acquistion of Latos to go along with Cueto, Arroyo, Mike Leake, and Homer Bailey in the rotation leaves no room for the southpaw there, while adding reliever Sean Marshall via trade clouds Chapman's future in the bullpen as well. However, don't fret too much though because the team will ultimately find a role for him somewhere -- it just remains a mystery what and where that role will be.

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