CUBS VS REDS 5-2-12 PREVIEW


REDS LINE UP:

Zack Cozart 6
Drew Stubbs 8
Joey Votto 3
Brandon Phillips 4
Jay Bruce 9
Scott Rolen 5
Chris Heisey 7
Ryan Hanigan 2
Bronson Arroyo 1

PITCHER-BATTER MATCHUPS:

STATS PROVIDED BY HTTP://BASEBALL-REFERENCE.COM

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Does Abreu fit with the Reds?


17yr veteran Bobby Abreu was just released by the Angels so they could call up their top prospect Mike Trout. 

Abreu is a career .293 hitter

With Abreu being available and realistically his new team will only be on the hook for a prorated portion of the league minimum, are the Reds a fit? The 38-year-old outfielder/DH was hitting just .208/.259/.333 in 27 plate appearances for Aneheim this season. Even though he doesn’t have power he once had, Abreu still offers one of the game’s best batting eyes and has stolen at least 20 bases every year since 1998. He could be a very nice bench player for the Reds, and a switch back to the national league could be just what he needs.

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REDS ALERT: Billy Hamilton



Billy Hamilton had 2 stolen bases tonight (28th April). Gives him 28 in 22 games. He is on pace for 183 Stolen Bases

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SPARK OF INSTUBBSANITY



Last Wednesday (18 April) when Dusty Baker reshuffled the line up the last things I expected to see was Drew Stubbs in the number two spot. Drew Stubbs who up to that point in the season was heading down the I-75 corridor or in other words was batting a mere .175 for the season. It looked like Stubbs who was completely lost at the plate was on pace to brake his 205 strike out recorded of last season. Then Dusty did what probably no one else would think of and put him in front of Votto in the two spot. Of course my first reaction was “Are you Serious?!” then I thought about it and I said he would probably get better pitches hitting in front of Votto and it if he does get on base what better combination of Stubbs speed and Votto Hitting Power that would make. It would appear through the first week (thru the 25 April Game) that Dusty’s insanity gamble on Stubbs has paid off. From 18 April to 25 April Stubbs is batting .379 (noting here he did bat lead off on the 25th) That’s right “Strike Out Stubbs” is 11-29 with 6 RBI, 2 Runs, and 1 HR. His over all batting average for the season has climbed 86 points from .175 to .261. This Blog including myself has been very hard on Dusty over the years but if this was his idea then Dusty deserves all the credit. Great baseball insight Dusty and a big hats off to you for it. Let’s hope this turn around in Stubbs is lasting through out the rest of the season and beyond. With a Stubbs that can hit especially batting lead off with his speed and the rest of our power line up through the clean up spot could be very dangerous for opposing teams.

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Paper Never Determines Outcome


Funny thing about baseball is that no matter how good you look on paper, you never know what the season will entail. Take for instance the 2012 Cincinnati Reds. Making big splashes in trades, Free Agency and Signings yet at 7-9 still find themselves 4 games behind those pesky dead birds who sit at 11-5.Brandon Phillips

Remember that Madson deal that no one could believe happened? An actual World Series Closer with overpowering stuff to replace Oh-No Cordero, had Reds Fans including this guy extremely optimistic heading into the upcoming season. An ace of a setup man (Sean Marshall) acquired from the Cubs who are in rebuild mode, again had us ready to shout World Series Contender without ever even having seen the team play one inning.. The Reds solidified their starting rotation trading away Volquez and a bunch of our prized prospects for Matt Latos (another top of the rotation type arm). If Matt can calm down and focus on pitching instead of performing for the fans I think he will be fine.

Then the BIG news came in the form of a 200+ million dollar contract to Joey Votto. Say What? Our small market team just spent what to keep our in house All-Star talent here? But that should’ve been the writing on the wall to our beloved second baseman BP (Brandon Phillips) right? But no Castellini opened his wallet and said I want to keep this core group of guys around for many a playoff runs and signed Phillips to a 6yr deal. That was the end of the optimism… for now anyways.

Spring training came and cost us Ryan Madson before he ever even got going. His Tommy John surgery will hopefully help him regain his magic and hopefully that will come in a Reds uniform in 2013, but odds are he could sign elsewhere just as easy. Then Nick Masset got hurt and it was announced that the pitcher would miss the start of the season. Oh no he we go again, such potential falling apart in front of our faces. Our bullpen which seemed so “sure thing” suddenly became a sore subject. To alleviate the concerns Dusty did what most of us feared and moved Chapman “Our Cuban Missile” to the bullpen again. Yes, That’s the same Cuban missile who we paid an arm and a leg for to be our top of the rotation type starter with a 106mph fastball. Don’t get me wrong he’s been great, but in order for the Reds to get what they paid for he needs to be a starter. Can you imagine his stuff over 6-7innings of work? Sick!!

So, Opening Day came and Fans rejoiced. Streets were crowed with Reds fans for the parade and the ballpark was sold out.. If only every game could be this packed, those contracts of Votto and Phillips wouldn’t impact the bottom line at all. But as true every season, Reds fans show up for the big games but not the rest.. It doesn’t help that the Reds are not playing above .500 ball and their bats aren’t producing. The Reds should be AND are better than what they are playing but by the time they turn it around will it be too late?

Enter back in this fans optimism. The Reds have shown lately that they can overcome losses and don’t let it get to them. They took the final game against the dead birds in St. Louis and then 2 of 3 from the Cubs in Chicago. Now the San Francisco Giants (7-7) come to Cincinnati for a 3 game series and hopefully the Reds can send them on their way without a win. Overall this 9 game home stand by the Reds (vs Giants, Astros and Cubs) could be the launching pad they need to get them back into the contender role.

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Miserable Start to 2012


by Pat McEntee

The 2012 season for the Cincinnati Reds has been merely an extension of 2011. For a time, I bought into Dusty Baker’s philosophy of staying close and waiting for the run to happen, and “It’s early.” Well, as the Reds hovered around .500 through the All-Star Break, it occurred to me that it wasn’t early anymore and the run wasn’t coming. Well, actually it was, but it wasn’t the Reds who did it. It was the Brewers and the Cardinals. They finally got hot and buried the Reds who never did make any kind of run all year.

Looking back on the season, it seems to me that Dusty’s philosophy is fatally flawed. In trying to keep his players loose, he actually enabled them to settle for mediocrity. And mediocre is exactly what they were. All season long.

Fast forward to 2012, and I am seeing the same problems. No one on this team seems to have made marked improvements from 2011 with the exception of Aroldis Chapman. (And he brings to mind an entirely different problem with the mismanagement by the Reds organization.) Drew Stubbs still looks like he belongs back in tee ball, because he is so overmatched by major league pitching. The bench is atrocious. I would feel more confident if the Reds had Micah Owings back pinch hitting.

Last night I watched as the Reds got runners on first and second with their 4-5-6 hitters coming up and nobody out. Three straight strikeouts from Rolen, Bruce and Ludwick. If something like that happened once, you could explain it away, but the Reds have scored a combined 10 runs in the seven losses so far. They are averaging 2.9 runs per game overall. The first suspect to me is the hitting coach. Why is his job not in question at this point? As of right now, the two highest batting averages are Zack Cozart and Joey Votto. Both have at least respectable batting averages. The next three highest batting averages belong to starting pitchers! Seven players who have played in at least seven games are hitting at or blow .200. Again, I know the law of averages will balance things out in the long run, but will it come in bunches in a few games, while the norm will be these games where the reds score 0-3 runs?

There seems to be no sense of urgency. Similar to last year, the mantra seems to be, “It’s early.” “We know we’re going to hit.” It’s fine for me, as a fan, to count on the law of averages and that these guys will eventually hit to the back of their baseball card. However, my worry is that we will look at the end result as being everyone having solid numbers, but the Reds disappointing in the win-loss column. Last year, the Reds had one of the most prolific offenses in the league. They ended up with a losing record and out of the playoffs because they weren’t getting timely hitting. It was all or nothing with the team. I fully expect the Reds to have a game where they score a dozen runs or so, but the trend shows, it’s going to come with a ton of one and two run games. There is no consistency.

One bright spot has been the pitching. In spurts, this team has looked very good. However, there have already been four extra inning games for a total of eight extra innings. That will tax this bullpen to a breaking point sooner rather than later. Also, the morale of the pitching staff will go down in their best efforts continue to be wasted.

The fan base is already teetering. People were excited that the Reds finally coughed up the money to keep the stars here. In order to sustain that, the Reds have to be winners, and getting to the playoffs is not enough if they are going to fall on their faces like they did in 2010. If they don’t win, people won’t come and the Reds will be a terrible product with Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and a bunch of rookies in a few years.

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BraunEX: Ryan Braun gets off due to FedEX Driver


Apparently the the integrity of Major League Baseball’s Illegal Substance policy has been put into question because of an FedEX drivers decision to take home Braun’s drug sample and put it in his own freezer before delivering it the next day. Congratulation Ryan Braun for getting off on the ultimate technicality. You need to find that lazy most likely independently contracted driver and and kiss the feet he walks on. What kind of message does this send to our youth? Just pay off the delivery driver and you can cheat all day long! Way to go Fred Smith (FedEX CEO) I wonder if we should look into the Redskins now since Fred is half owner. Ryan maybe you should go to the FedEX drivers house I am sure he will be more than happy to share his pot with you.

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SOME BOOKS IN RENO ARE PUTTING THE REDS AT 86.5 WINS THIS SEASON. WOULD SAY OVER OR UNDER 86.5 WINS FOR THE REDS THIS SEASON?


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ankZONE’s Ballpark Giveaway Picks for 2012 at GABP




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FACE TIME


Have you noticed, the Reds are getting more and more face time on National Spotlights Avenues? Check out this new commercial with Jay Bruce for MLB 2K12…

 

 

Votto, who has been a clear choice for lucrative Endorsement deals has had a bunch of front covers for magazines, most notably the SI cover. But now Bruce is in on the action and who is next BP? With these guys getting more face time one thing is for certain, The Reds Market is getting bigger. A bigger market allows for a bigger payroll. A bigger payroll allows more flexibility with roster signings and allows them put in place the pieces needed for championship runs. Hopefully this season we can see an increase in the overall attendance at GABP so it will also help with the amount of spending the Reds have in the future.. Unlike the franchise several blocks away down the OHIO, the Reds owner runs the team with “Winning” as one of the main items he gauges as being a successful sports franchise. He has shown time and time again that he is willing to reinvest in the team and wants to win a Championship here. Jocketty rarely goes to Castellini and gets denied what he wants… Can you imagine if we could go after top of the rotation guys like the Phillies or Yankees do? That the Reds name would be brought up with ANY free agent superstar as a potential landing place would be one of the greatest feelings.. And what would be even better, would be winning.. Winning changes everything.. and in Cincinnati, Its about time for a change..

 

-AnkZONE

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Poll: How will Matt Latos fair in Great American Ball Park this Season?


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TO SIGN OR NOT TO SIGN ROY OSWALT THAT IS THE QUESTION


I have said it time an time again here on this blog recently that the 2012 Reds are all in, they have pushed all their chips into the center of the table but then you see Roy Oswalt still out there (and who has expressed interest in the Reds) and he is talking to the hated Cardinals; is it time for Bob Castellini to throw some additional money on the table to sweeten the pot? I realize that Roy is 34 going on 35 by the time August rolls by and his stats are in decline. Oswalt still posted a 3.69 ERA which is much improved over Bronson Arroyo 5+ ERA last season. Now I know Bronson had some weird virus he contracted at the end of spring training and caused him to be weak at the start of the season and he never really recovered from in 2011. Arroyo is also 34 soon to be 35 in just a few weeks and honestly the Reds are betting hard he can return to his career best in wins of 17-10 in 2010 with a 3.88 ERA as he will most like be their number 3 starter. I believe the question has to asked why not if you are truly in to win and win now not sign Oswalt? Yes it will most likely require expanding the payroll this year but hey no guts no glory? So what do you do with Arroyo who we are stuck with due to his deal with the Reds and money owed to him? I will make a radical suggestion have him and Bailey and Chapman fight it out for the 4 and 5 spots and put the weakest in the Bullpen. Now with the time invested you probably give Chapman the 5 spot to see how he does as a starter. I think either Arroyo or Bailey would make excellent long relief men no offense to Mr. Lecure but either would be a upgrade in my opinion. Lets not forget that Roy Oswalt knows the N.L. Central well he pitched for Houston for 9.5 season and has only been gone for1.5 so it should be a easy transition back for him. I will admit I am kind of on the fence with the whole Oswalt thing my self but the more I think about it Oswalt brings insurance and piece of mind to the Arroyo Gamble. Also who’s to say that Uncle Walt Jocketty (who has said they are not interested in Oswalt) isn’t playing his famous wait for the market come to him and pull of another financial miracle like he did with Madson? Only time will tell but as a Reds fan the idea of seeing Roy in a Cardinals uniform makes me cringe and flash back to Oswalt the Reds killer days.

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It’s Now or See you Later for Dusty Baker


The 2012 Reds are all in and reequipped to make a serious run to recapture the N.L. central crown and return to the playoffs however with all these additions there remains a weak link in not only Reds fans minds but also some professional MLB analysts and that link is Reds manager Dusty Baker. There is no question that Dusty Baker is a player’s coach but his in game managerial skills are often questionable. Not only has Dusty made questionable calls in game on the line moments but those calls often turn out to be the wrong ones. He also ignores stats like under using players that have favorable match ups against pitchers such as Ryan Hannigan under used in games against right handed pitchers. In fact when you look at Dusty record in the NL Central as a manager aka managing both the Reds and the Cubs the stats are strangely identical:

As you can see both are not only the same but are loosing records. A closer look at both of those 4 seasons Dusty had only two winning seasons with the Cubs and only one with the REDs. As Dusty enters this his fifth season in Cincinnati he will by far have his most talented REDs team at least on paper. Also let’s not forget that St. Louis is without Pujols and LaRussa and Milwaukee is without Price Fielder and a possible 50 game suspension of 2011 NL MVP Ryan Braun so the NL Central is much weaker than last year. If that is not to motivate Dusty let’s not forget that up and coming manager David Bell was made manager of The AAA Louisville Bats. By moving Bell there can be no doubt what the front office’s Message to Dusty is Win and Win Now or else!

Dusty Baker’s Managerial Stats:

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RNL POll: Should the REDs sign Roy Oswalt?


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JOEY VOTTO PARANOIA


While listening to recent sports talk shows in Cincinnati there seems to be an obsession with resigning Joey Votto among certain Reds fans. While Joey still has 2 years left on his contract with the Reds this small yet vocal group appears to be in a state of almost paranoia of signing or even trading Votto. Obviously it will be difficult for the Reds to resign Votto and it became even more (as Walt Jocketty has said) difficult when Prince Fielder signed with the Tigers this off season with his 200 million + contract. Now while I prefer to stay in the here and now especially with what is looking to be a very promising 2012 season I believe I have an idea to keep these fans busy so the rest of us can enjoy this season. I propose creating an organization or club dedicated to resigning Joey Votto. The Keep Joey in Cincinnati or KJC for short could help raise the 250 million+ that Joey will mostly be asking for. How do they go about raising that money you ask? Well here are a few of my ideas to get you the KJC’s out there started. Create a T-shirt with a picture of Joey Votto on it with the words “Keep Joey” on top of the Picture and the words ‘In Cincy” below the picture. How about a split the Pot raffle call it “The Votto Lotto!” Maybe do some car washes I am sure you could even get the Rosie Reds to hold the signs in Bikini’s (ewwwww). So there you go KJC’s go get it started and resend your checks to Walt Jocketty and while you’re busy doing that the rest of us Reds fans can enjoy what is going to be a great and hopefully a championship season.

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2012 REDS ARE ALL IN, ARE YOU?


I know what you’re thinking: its only January, I was really excited last year and I was let down again, 2010 was awesome until the playoffs, so tell me why should I get my hopes up, what makes this year so different? There are 3 key areas that need to be taken into consideration as to why the Cincinnati Reds fans should get 100% behind our team. Those areas are: first a look back at the 2011 and the injury bug. Second the current status of the N.L. Central and finally the offseason moves made by Walt Jocketty and the Reds.

Coming into the Reds 2011 season the city of Cincinnati was electric with baseball talk and high hopes after a magical 2010 season that saw the Reds win the N.L. Crown in a tight race with the Cardinals and return to the playoffs. It was a magic that seemed to carry over into 2011 at least in Opening Day with 2 down bottom of the 9th walk off home run by Ramon Hernandez to win the game. However despite that win truth was the Reds were limping if not almost down right stumbling right out of the gate. Key Injuries to Pitching and Position players plagued the Reds all season long. Here is a list of injuries the Reds had in 2011:
03/22/2011 Johnny Cueto 15-Day DL Right biceps irritation
03/24/2011 Homer Bailey 15-Day DL Right shoulder impingement
03/25/2011 Jose Arredondo 15-Day DL Right shoulder inflammation
03/27/2011 Fred Lewis 15-Day DL Strained right oblique
03/29/2011 Jared Burton 60-Day DL Right shoulder inflammation
04/13/2011 Brandon Phillips Day-to-Day Left game – groin injury
04/17/2011 Juan Francisco 15-Day DL Strained left calf
04/21/2011 Scott Rolen 15-Day DL Strained left shoulder
05/14/2011 Ryan Hanigan Day-to-Day Hand
05/16/2011 Aroldis Chapman 15-Day DL Left shoulder inflammation
05/23/2011 Sam LeCure 15-Day DL Strained right forearm
05/24/2011 Matt Maloney 60-Day DL Strained left oblique
05/27/2011 Homer Bailey 15-Day DL Right shoulder sprain
06/26/2011 Jay Bruce Day-to-Day Illness
07/10/2011 Aroldis Chapman Day-to-Day Ankle injury
07/15/2011 Jose Arredondo 15-Day DL Strained right forearm
07/21/2011 Scott Rolen 15-Day DL Left shoulder surgery – out 4-6 weeks
07/23/2011 Jay Bruce Day-to-Day Inner ear infection
07/24/2011 Zack Cozart 60-Day DL Left elbow surgery – out for season
08/06/2011 Chris Heisey 15-Day DL Strained left oblique
08/08/2011 Logan Ondrusek 15-Day DL Strained right forearm
09/18/2011 Dontrelle Willis Day-to-Day Back spasms
09/19/2011 Yonder Alonso Day-to-Day Ankle
As you can see it was not only the number of injuries but the short amount of time in which they happened in. Coming out of Spring training Cueto, Bailey were injured and even though not listed Arroyo who caught some strange illness in spring training was far from 100% and never really recovered all season long. Essentially 3 of the 5 starting pitchers in the rotation were missing out of the gate. The bullpen was short with Jose Arredondo and Jared Burton who were also injured before the start of the season. Then in April the Reds lost 3rd base with Juan Francisco and Scott Rolen going out with in a week of each other. May was not better with the loss of Chapman who was over used and had to go down to Louisville to get straightened back out. With these key injuries and a strong Milwaukee and St. Louis teams the Reds (who on paper were still a good team from 2010) fell behind and never really recovered.

The current 2012 National League Central division looks vastly different than the 2011 one did that combined with upcoming contracts of Star Reds Players makes 2012 the Reds time to shine. Despite Pittsburg’s brief days in first place in 2011 the two major competitors to the Reds in the N. L. Central have been the Milwaukee Brewers and I hate say it but the 2011 World series Champions St. Louis Cardinals. When you look at the world champs (cough chumps cough) 2 major changes are the loss of Albert Pujols and Manager Tony Larussa. Obviously without these two the brains the brawn if you will makes St. Louis all be it still a good team but much weaker. In Milwaukee another key first baseman Prince Fielder was lost in free agency and N.L. MVP Ryan Braun is looking at a possible 50 game suspension for breaking the MLB’s illegal substance policy this will make the Brewers considerably weaker as well. Also The Reds know that the contracts of two of their stars will be coming up in the next few seasons namely Bandon Phillips and Joey Votto. With a good possibility of not being able to resign either. REDS general Manager Walt Jocketty knows that the time is now more than ever.

With the pressure on to win and win now Walt Jocketty kept his promise to make key moves to help the Reds win in 2012. The Laundry list for the Reds was a number 1 or 2 starting pitcher, figure out the closer situation with Francisco Corderos contract up, fill the left field position, and find a backup at the Short stop position. While many Reds fans were upset with Jocketty when the winter meetings came and gone with no moves by the Reds. Walt was quick to make up ground in January. Jocketty started with a 4 for 1 trade with San Diego which saw much touted prospects Yonder Alsono, switch hitting Catcher Yasmani Grandal and one time electric Reds starting pitcher Edison Volquez for Young Pitching star Matt Latos (who is also under Reds control for many years to come). Also right-handed reliever Brad Boxberger was the given to SD in the deal. Latos will most likely be the number 2 pitcher behind Cueto when the season starts with the potential to someday be the Reds ace. Walt lost no time and a few days later made a trade to bolster the bullpen with the Cubs to get setup man Sean Marshall. Then in a shocker the Reds signed Former Phillies Closer Ryan Madson. Ryan Ludwick was added from free agency to help with Left field. Walt also traded with Phillies to get Wilson Valdez to help back up Cozart at Short stop. Jocketty is now been busy offering minor league deals with invites to spring training to help with depth and create competition in spring training. In a very busy January Walt Jocketty and the Reds are now retooled to make their 2012 run.

As you can see the Reds who were already a good team despite the bad luck with injuries in 2011 have looked around the N.L. Central in 2012 and have gone all in by cashing in many of their top prospects and making key free agent signings. The only question that remains is: are the fans all in as well? One of the black eyes on Reds fans was in 2010 when the Reds made their magical run was the lack of fans in the stands. We Reds fans have a team storied in fame and tradition. We owe it not only to ourselves but also to fathers, Uncles, Aunts, Mothers, Grand Fathers and Grand Mothers who passed down their love of the game to us to this year more than any other years past get out and support this Reds team. Not just to go to the games but be excited about it. We need to follow this team from Spring training to Post season. If you can’t go to the game listen to Marty make the call on the radio. Take your kids because I believe this season will be one not to forget. It’s going to be a fun season I am not saying it will be easy St. Louis is still the chumps I mean champs and the brewers will not go down easy and even Pittsburg will prove to be tough from time to time but I don’t just believe, I know this team can WIN. They will not break your hearts so let’s put our hearts back into this team. So LET’S GO REDS!!!!!!!!!

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