Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Five observations from first five games

So, we're five games into the 2012 season. By my calculations, that's only 3% of the entire schedule (not including Spring Training or potential playoffs games). While that isn't exactly a good sample size to go off of, it's a sample size nevertheless.

Here are five observations I've made from the first handful of games:

1) Jay Bruce is poised for a MONSTER season. He obviously worked harder than ever this offseason and his dedication is already paying off. He clubbed his way to a .345 average and .899 OPS in the preseason and has already smacked three homers and drove in five through the first week of the regualr season. His slimmer physique should allow him to remain fresher over the course of the demanding, 162-game slate.

2) Homer Bailey demonstrated why the last spot in the rotation should have gone to Aroldis Chapman on Monday night. The maligned, right-hander carried his spring struggles right into his season debut. He did manage to settle down after getting shellacked for four runs (three homers) in the first inning, but he lacked command (three walks, six hits in 5.2 IP) and confidence all night long. As @willpower36 and many other fans have been asking, how long do the Reds go with Bailey as a starter if he continues to pitch like this?

3) Zack Cozart appears to be the real deal. The 26-year old has looked more like an All-Star than a rookie so far. His defense has been good and his bat has been even better (7-for-14 with four XBH).
It wouldn't surprise me in the least bit if he winds up being the National League Rookie of the Year at season's end.

4) As thrilled as I was to see the stands packed throughout the Marlins series, I was equally (if not more) disappointed in the number of empty seats on Monday and Tuesday. Yes, I know it's only April, and the kids are still in school, and it was a bit chilly, but I would've expected to see a better turnout. The team was playing its biggest rival on the heels of agreeing to a 10-year contract extension with Joey Votto. Oh, and did I mention the team was also close to locking up fan favorite Brandon Phillips as well? I could be purely caught up in the moment, I don't know, but I can't ever remember a more exciting week to be a Reds fan due to off-the-field things than this past one. And turning the turnstiles just 16,000 times for a home game isn't the best way to show support.

5) The offense (or lack thereof I should say) is concerning. It's pretty well-known to any fan of the game that pitchers usually hold the upper hand this time of the year, but outside of Jay Bruce, Phillips and Cozart, the Reds offense has been woeful. That has to change if this team has any aspirations of playing in October.

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