Archive for May, 2012
Last week we saw the Reds take on some of the better teams in baseball and they faired rather well. They started with the Atlanta Braves who are battling the Washington Nationals for 1st place in the NL East for two games before going to New York to play the Mets for 2 and the Yankees for 3. They ended the 7 game road trip with a 4-3 mark but more importantly only a ½ game back of the Cardinals for 1st place in the NL Central. Some other big news from this past week was the promotion of Aroldis Chapman to closer. For me I have mixed emotions, it’s better than wasting his talent in a set-up role but it’s still not where I ultimately see him going and that’s a starter. The Reds will now hand the ball to arguably the most the most feared pitcher in the game today and tell the other team here comes the heat try and hit it. I do have to say I won’t be sweating the end of games as much as I was with Sean Marshall but still let’s not forget what we paid Chapman all that money for, to dominate every 5th day. Looking forward to this week the Reds have the Braves in town for 4 games followed by 3 with the Rockies.
Player to Watch this Week: Aroldis Chapman
Fresh off being named the closer and recording his 1st save of the season I will be curious how he handles the pressure. The Braves are a very good team this year and will give him a good test early on in this new role. My opinion though is that he will shine and continue to have people clamoring for him to start very soon (Now looks like next year at the earliest).
Player on the Hot Seat: Jay Bruce
Mr. Streaky Jay Bruce is unfortunately on one of those streaks you want to avoid. He has just 1 hit in his last 15 at bats with 10 strikeouts in that time. While other guys have started hitting his power and production has been missed. With him going right Reds are very dangerous and will need that production against some solid competition coming up. Prediction: 4-3 The Reds haven’t been wowing anyone this season but have been solid by either splitting or winning the majority of their series this year. This week I think that trend will continue with a 4 game split with Atlanta and then 2 out of 3 from the Rockies. This would leave the Reds at 25-22 at the end of the week and hopefully in 1st place!
After starting 0-5 with a 7.10 ERA and looking worse than even those numbers appear a glimmer of hope shined through in New York City today. While Leake didn’t factor in the decision he did pitch 6 strong innings giving up 7 hits, 3 runs, with only 1 earned run (Two were unearned on Joey Votto’s throwing error). You could see Leake’s confidence finally starting to grow as the game went on, he was hitting his spots and keeping the ball down. On the offensive side Leake was an early bright spot against the lefty Johan Santana with two singles. and a run. The big blow in this game game in the 8th inning when Todd Frazier hit his 3rd home run of the season and 2nd of the night to make the score 6-3. Frazier broke out of a mini slump going 2-4 with 3 RBI. Getting Frazier going is key for the Reds as he will be the primary replacement for Scott Rolen while he is on the DL, although he doesn’t have to produce much to be better than Rolen. Overall a big win against a solid pitcher and team. It’s always good to get the first win of a series and the Reds look like they could be on their way to winning another one in New York.
The Reds currently sit in 2nd place in the N.L. Central behind the St. Louis Cardinals with an 18-17 record. The team has shown streaks of promise but remains stuck around the .500 mark. Each day it seems like something different, the pitching will be there but the hitting won’t and then flipped the other way the next day. One thing that has been consistently inconsistent is the pitching of Mike Leake. The Reds #4 starter is currently 0-5 on the season with a 7.10 ERA. Leake has been fooling no one this season but Dusty Baker seems set on run him out there. With Leake set to start today against Johan Santana and the New York Mets I thought I would take a moment to state a case for Leake to be replaced in the rotation by the Cuban missile Aroldis Chapman. I’m not alone by any means on this idea either as other blogs and social media outlets have been clamoring for this move for weeks. With that said lets take a look into the Cuban Missile Crisis…
Chapman has currently appeared in 14 games this season with a record of 3-0 and he has yet to give up a run. He has 32 strikeouts over 18 innings pitched. That is an average of 1.77 strikeouts per inning or put another way he is averaging 16 strikeouts/9 innings! 16!!! That number is enormous; compare that with Mike Leake who has 16 strikeouts in 31 innings pitched for an average of .516 strikeouts per inning or 4.6 strikeouts/9 innings. With the current pace that Chapman is striking out batters he would rank #1 in all of baseball if he were a starter bettering Gio Gonzalez’s 10.8 strikeouts/9 innings by over 5 strikeouts per game! Need more proof? How about this, Chapman has only walked a total of 5 batters in 18 innings pitched that is an average of 2.5 walks/9 innings. What do all these numbers mean? They mean that Aroldis Chapman has the potential to be a #1 starter for years to come as well as a chance to become the 6th member of the 20K club. The game of baseball hasn’t seen a dominant lefty like this since Randy Johnson. The only thing standing between us getting to see the show begin is Dusty Baker and his infatuation with Mike Leake. I’ll leave you with this potential stat line for Chapman if he were to get 150 innings in a season at this pace…266 strikeouts 50 hits 42 walks….SCARY!
Today was a crazy day with my classes and work. I’m also frantically working on arranging apartment visits for this weekend in New York and I have two of my major final presentations fast approaching! I will be posting my next installment of the Reds’ Avengers with the Hulk tomorrow. Any guesses!? I also will have a delayed week review and a preview of what’s left of this week. Since I my last post the Reds have gone 1-1 with the lose coming tonight but on a bright not Jay Bruce hit HR #10! Still plenty of baseball to go and I cant wait to blog and share it with you!!!
In the Avengers Captain America is a symbol of hope and optimism, never giving up and always believing there is a way to win. He is a team player to a fault and will do anything for his country (I mean anything have you seen the Captain America movie? He flies a plane into the ocean and lives!). Much like Captain America Jay Bruce has been a symbol of hope and optimism for the Reds for almost 5 years now. Jay is a country boy born and raised in Beaumont, Texas and was drafted 12th overall in 2005 by the Reds. I still remember after he was drafted that he was being touted as the next perennial slugger and he was going to be the saving grace to the organization (I mean with a nickname like Bruce Almighty you can tell the expectation were high). When Bruce finally debuted in the majors 2008 he went on a 6 game tear that only a few major league players have ever done. Bruce reached base in his first 6 plate appearances and had a slugging percentage of 1.000 an unheard of number. Since that time Bruce has been a staple in the lineup and has been a model player for the Reds. He is still a symbol of hope for the Reds and its faithful and always gives them optimism when he steps to the plate. Whenever he gets a hit or has a nice play BRUUUUUUUCCCCCEEEE!!! echoes through Great American Ballpark. Jay Bruce is a player that the fans love and unite behind, one who has been faithful and dedicated and one who at any moment can turn hope and optimism into jubilation and celebration with one crack of the bat.
The Mat Latos that the Reds and their fans have been waiting for after trading 4 players for him before the season has finally arrived. Latos struck out 11 batters in 6 innings of work while only allowing 2 hits as the Reds shut out the Pirates 5-0. The only trouble that Latos got into was in the first inning when he got out of a bases loaded jam after fights some wildness. After that he cruised to his second victory in as many starts which is a welcome sign for the Reds as it seems as if all the starters are starting to find their groove. On the offensive side the Reds continue to be hot using the long ball as their primary weapon. They got a solo shot in the second from Todd Frazier and a two run shot in the third by Drew Stubbs. Drew Stubbs has been on a nice run this week hitting .313 (5-16) with 4 runs, 2 HR, and 3 RBI while raising his batting average to .262. Getting production from Drew Stubbs could be huge for the Reds because he can disrupt a game with his speed. Getting him on in front of guys like Joey Votto and Jay Bruce could result in big numbers being put on the board due to him distracting pitchers. Even today in the first inning we saw Stubbs force a throw to first that was wild allowing him to advance all the way to third and then score on the Votto single. Stubbs stresses defenses causing mistakes in fielding and in pitch selection and that is why he is one of the key players for the Reds this season if they want to make the playoffs. Overall it was another solid win that pushed the team back over .500 and gave them a two games to one series victory over the Pirates. Next up is the Brewers in Milwaukee tomorrow at 8:10 p.m.
Check Back tomorrow for my reaction to the game and the next installment of the Reds’ Avengers!
Brandon Phillips has been a staple of the Cincinnati infield and will continue for at least the next 7 yrs with his new contract. Phillips is a guy that you can’t help but like and root for. He has an unbelievable amount of “Swag” and can always be seen laughing and joking on and off the field. In the Avengers you can’t help but laugh at the comments and jokes made by Iron Man (Tony Stark) and his nonchalant attitude. As funny and laid back as both of these men appear to be it is also obvious that they are fierce competitors who hate losing. Brandon Phillips has been playing through hamstring problems to help lead the Reds this season and has recently started to look and play much better. Phillips always puts his team first no matter what and will do anything to get the W. That attitude may not seem to match Iron Man but I will let you go see the movie and your opinion may change. While Brandon Phillips may appear to be goofing off or not taking the game seriously he is doing quite the opposite he gives 110% effort for his team and will always be there when they need him, just like Iron Man.