Friday, May 30, 2014

MLB Week 9 – Too Many Questions, Not Enough Answers

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

Another week has passed and so has another week of the buffoonery that has become Cincinnati Reds baseball. Whoa! I bet you weren’t expecting that were you? Here we are slightly past the quarter pole of the 2014 season and the Reds have only been at .500 twice this year, at 1 – 1, and 11 – 11. The generic answer is “well, the pitching has been great, but the offense hasn’t caught up yet”. We all have eyes; we can see what’s happening with our Reds. The pitching is brilliant, the defense suspect at times, stellar at others, and the offense sucks, period.

The disappointment we Reds fans experienced after the gag job during the 2012 Divisional Series hurt, but we approached 2013 with an optimism not felt in several years. The ninety win season was nice, the loss at Pittsburgh in the Wild Card game stung, but we thought2014 would be our year. Pitchers Johnny Cueto, MatLatos, and Aroldis Chapman would be a year older, JoeyVotto, Ryan Ludwick and Jay Bruce another year wiser,the addition of veteran Skip Schumaker, plus throw in a new manager and coaching staff, the die-hard Cincinnati fan in me knew 2014 would be special.

Egg on my face.

O.K. where do we begin? In the division championship years of 2010 and 2012, I saw something in those teams I haven’t seen in prior Reds teams, swagger. The ’10 and ’12 teams were loaded with it. They were aggressive at the plate and on the bases, the defense sparkled, while the starting pitching might have been inconsistent at times, the bullpen would rise to the occasion and shut the door. All I’ve seen in this year’s Reds team is most of the hitters walking back to the dugout; bat in hand after striking out, usually with runners in scoring position. I cannot complain about the pitching this season, sure there have been a few hiccups, but no Major League baseball team has ever received 162 quality starts from a pitching staff during a season.

Don Long and Lee Tinsley are the Reds hitting coaches, how much longer are they going to stay if this anemic offense continues? How many more embarrassing losses, like this past Sunday night’s affair with the Cardinals along with Monday night’s game at Los Angeles will it take before the blame gets shifted to manager Bryan Price?Yes, I realize we’re almost one-third into the 2014 season,but Reds legend Tony Perez was fired after forty-four games back in 1994.

Here are some observations; warning, they will be harsh.

The Billy Hamilton Project has been a failure to date, as I’ve said many times you can’t steal first base, and with his average hovering around .250 he won’t get many chances to steal bases this season.

Zack Cozart couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat, not to mention the two huge errors he committed this past Sunday and Monday.

I’m trying to get with the police department in Cincinnati to assist in looking for Jay Bruce; he’s been missing since Opening Day.

Joey Votto is out with a leg injury, what’s been his excuse when he’s played?

Do you know that Ryan Ludwick has more strikeouts, 39, than hits, 34, this year?

Chris Heisey is a prime example that Spring Training is useless.

Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips, and Todd Frazier are tied for the team lead in strikeouts with 43, which are more strikeouts than twelve of the sixteen pitchers Cincinnati have used in 2014.

How do you shut down the Reds offense? Allow them to load the bases with none out.

Devin Mesoraco is the only Cincinnati offensive player that has a higher batting average (.348) than Reds opponents are hitting while facing one hundred six million dollar man Homer Bailey (.295 avg. allowed). (Note: Donald Lutz has a .500 batting average in only two games this season.)

Speaking of Homer Bailey, he does have a higher batting average, .222, than two Reds starters, Zack Cozart, .218 and Jay Bruce, .192.

Wikipedia describes the “Mendoza Line” as; an expression in baseball in the United States, deriving from the name of shortstop player Mario Mendoza, whose batting average is taken to define the threshold of incompetent hitting. The line is established as a sub - .200 hitter. The Reds currently have five offensive players currently hitting below “The Mendoza Line”.

During Reds broadcasts, you hear the announcers touting for us Cincinnati fans to send our Reds to the forthcoming All Star Game to be played July 15 at Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Excuse me; I believe the All Star Game should have the best of both leagues on the field, Iam not seeing any Cincinnati player worthy of my All Star vote with the exception of Devin Mesoraco. Before I get any scathing comments, I’ll vote for Brandon Phillips for his defensive play, which has been great, I just wish it would carry over to his bat.

Oh well, Ohio State football is just three months away.

In closing I would like to thank Kevin Daniels for repairing my computer. Have a blessed week. GO (GET SOME OFFENSE) REDS!!!

Dan Howard

1 comment:

Babe Ruth Coach said...

Right on.. You can't win if you don't score...