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UGLY but a WIN is a WIN and a Key one at that

It was an Ugly Win partially gift wrapped the horrific pitching Carlos Marmol but a key win none the less for the struggling Reds. What difference a day makes after Marmol shut down and closed the door on the Reds Wednesday the Reds decided to stand at the plat and do what Marmol does best and beat himself. Loading the bases with a combination of walks and hits and an infield error the Reds scored 2 runs of Marmol and he walked a run home for the Reds as well. With the win Thursday over the Cubs the Reds gained a game on the Cardinals who lost to the Pirates on Thursday 6 to 3. The Reds are now back to within striking distances of St. Louis at 3.5 games back and also helped pull away from Milwaukee. In Fact the Brewers Pirates and even the lowly Astros are all tied for 3rd place at (11-14) 5 Games out of first place. So with a split in rain shortened series with the Cubs the Reds now go to Pittsburgh to face the Pirates for a 3 Game weekend series. The Reds who with the exception of Joey Votto are struggling offensively will face a Pirate team that is similarly offensive lacking production but is riding high off outstanding pitching of late. Let’s hope the Reds can find a way to get the bats going and beat the Pirates a team like the Cubs they should beat and God willing Sweep out of town.

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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



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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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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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ankZONE’s Ballpark Giveaway Picks for 2012 at GABP

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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..



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

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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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