WARNING: Complaints, Fault-Hunting, Finding Ahead…
As I’m writing this, the Reds and the Royals are tied, 1-1 – going to the bottom of the 3rd Inning. Reds actually scored first; being the good sports on this road trip, however, they gave the run right back…and the offense is falling back to sleep again. Okay, gotta ask – Where’s the Logic in batting good field-little hit Gonzalez 2nd in the lineup…again? Okay, he’s hitting a little more lately, but that much. When you see him in the #2 spot in the lineup…that’s desperation.
From the department, called Great job, NOT…Hairston just made his second error of the day; now, the Royals have runners on 1st and 3rd – Nice…Oh yes, the Reds’ gloves are pretty poor these days, too. Oh-oh, Umpire just called a runner safe on attempted double-play, and Manager Dusty Baker is coming out to argue – Get tossed, Manager! Do an Earl Weaver or Bobby Cox, and get your team in the game. No…Dusty won’t do that. Give me a break!
Phillips swings on 3-0, takes heat from Baker – I see that’s the reference on Reds.com for Baker’s being mad at Phillips in last night’s game. Maybe, just maybe Mr. Baker should give heat to the whole team; seems he’s good at coddling 1-2 of them at least. More about Phillips in a moment…
Now, Jay Bruce just dropped a triple that he had actually caught. Now, 4-1, Royals. Hey, can you say, “Sweep, Royals, Sweep?” Yes, you can – along with “Sleep Redlegs, Sleep.” Wake me up when the nightmare is over. I just heard Marty Brennaman, and he sounds really sick and tired; you’re not alone, Marty. Maybe the Reds should have just phoned a LOSS in…Okay, NOW it’s 5-1 Royals, and the Reds have been O-for-11 since getting 2 singles in their first 3 at-bats. WAKE UP, REDS!!! WOW – Jay Bruce just got the Reds’ third base hit of the game – they’re smoking. Forgive the sarcasm…
As any Reds Fan who following the team even half-heartedly, leadoff hitter Willy Taveras is in a career worst 0-for-32 skid. Taveras’ batting average is down to .229 with a .283 on-base percentage. He hasn’t scored a run in the last eight games he’s played since May 27. That doesn’t say much about the player who is supposed to be the sparkplug, the guy to get on base, make things happen, and score. Nice to see him sitting today.
Frankly, the Reds haven’t done much of anything right lately, and they’ve been in pretty BAD shape over the month of June. I would post the averages of all the ballplayers in the past week, and in the month of June, but the results are too sad to comprehend. Yes, there’s still lots of baseball to play, but without the return of a healthy Joey Votto, along with continued “Wash-Woman” hitting…Well, 2009 is starting to look like another possible disastrous season for Reds Baseball. Again, let me state my definition of a successful year in Cincy Baseball versus another disappointing year: A year that ends up with MORE WINS than losses is Success for the Reds. 81-81 or less in my book is FAILURE; Remember, the Reds haven’t had a Winning Season since 2000.
Now, to my “Wash-Woman” explanation, dare I be called a sexist – I’m not, and the joke, used often by kids I knew on ball diamonds, was innocent. When a player often came to the plate – in a softball game at High School P.E. Class, Etc. – often some of the opposing team would yell “Wash-woman!” at the guy preparing to hit, as if he or she were swinging wet rags at the pitches. This was usually reserved for run-scoring opportunities, and done in adolescent-but-innocent humor. All the hitters would be subjected to this “rites-of-passage”, whether they could hit or not. Actually, I didn’t hear this much when I was hitting – I could play a mean game of softball in my day. As for my talents on the baseball field…that’s why I’m writing about a baseball team, not playing on one. J
Unfortunately, the Reds of the past couple of weeks would be hearing “wash-woman” when coming to the plate, with much of this NOT in good humor. The Reds hitters are making everyone facing them look like Cy Young, Steve Carlton, Tom Seaver, and Greg Maddox…need I continue? Let’s throw Dennis Eckersley and Tug McGraw in there for good measure in the late innings. With all due respect to their getting to the Big Leagues, and to their futures in MLB, Royals pitchers Hochevar (7.85 ERA), and Davies (5.13 ERA) just don’t fit the bill of pitching legends coming in to face the Reds.
The Reds lost to the Royals on Friday and Saturday, 4-1 and 7-4, respectfully. The washed-up offense has a combined tally of 5 runs on 9 hits. As Mark Shelton, the Reds’ official blogger points on his MLB.COM column, “The Reds, now one game over .500 at 31-30, are hitting .177 as a team in the last nine games and have been held to three runs or less in seven of them.” Before I go further, I want to “doff my cap,” so-to-speak, to Mr. Shelton – he does a fine job covering the Reds, especially at a difficult time right now. Mr. Shelton, how are you at hitting and playing the infield – this team REALLY needs your help…
Brandon Phillips has played MUCH better baseball since his slump early in the season. I can understand Manager Dusty Baker’s frustration with his swinging at a 3-0 count in the 5th Inning, with two runners on via bases on balls, and the five walks Davies had during the game, BUT I can understand Phillips frustration, too, and the Reds pathetic hitting – they had all of two hits up to that point.
Still, Phillips is a Veteran who should set the example, and he hasn’t swung a great stick for the Reds lately. I wonder, though – are there any Reds on this team who can be entrusted to hit much on their own? Looking at the stats, I seriously doubt it. I don’t remember much about Rose, Bench, Morgan, and Perez having to take all their instructions from the tower, so-to-speak, but they’re all (Rose should be) Hall of Famers. At least, Phillips said what every fan knows, that the Reds offense “Stinks right now.” I appreciate Mr. Phillips candor there…
Hey, Mr. Baker – I’ll grant you the argument with Phillips, AND I’ll agree with Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News on this one – I agree with Mr. McCoy quite often, and bow to the Hall Of Famer’s knowledge and wisdom here. Hal’s great column on the Reds can be found here: http://www.daytondailynews.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/dayton/cincinnatireds/index.html – his talents are more than worth the read.
Manager Baker: O, Manager, my Manager! Can Mr. Janish get more playing time? Are injuries keeping him from playing more? If not, having him bat 1-2 times every two weeks isn’t doing him any favors. Play Dickerson more – he’s not heating up anything right now except the bench (when he’s not playing), but he’s doing something Taveras is NOT doing – getting on base. As far as Taveras is concerned, looks like he needs to sit a game or two and fully recover. Can Janish be taught to play other positions as well? How about Rosales? Just how much batting practice are these guys getting, and do they have to practice more, to include an hour or two during off days? These players don’t have to be gold gloves at other positions, but it would be nice getting more strength, experience from within the team.
Sidebar time here, with regular reference to Pete Rose and/or Big Red Machine (as usual): I seem to remember Mr. Rose moving from his All-Star position of 2nd base to around the outfield (1967), to 3rd base (1975), and finally, to 1st base (Phillies, 1979), in order to accommodate the teams he played for. Rose was the ultimate team player in so many aspects of the game, to include moves that put Tommy Helms at his best position in 1967 throughout the rest of his career – 2nd Base.
Rose’s 3B move in 1975 (Thanks, Sparky!) helped pave the way for George Foster becoming the everyday LF – setting the final cog for the Big Red Machine in their World Championship years of 1975-76. Of course, Rose’s move to 1B in 1979 was the more logical move…since HOF-to-be Mike Schmidt was the Third Baseman on the Phils. Did changing positions to help the team go out the door with Rose? Yes, I know they’ve moved Rosales around some, and another player or two. Are there any other Minor Leaguers burning up Triple-A Baseball right now? Perhaps it’s time to give someone else a chance?
Yes, Mgr. Baker just might be too supportive of his players at times – Mr. Taveras needs to sit and learn for a game or two. Maybe he can fully recover from injuries as well – his Oh-for-June is NOT helping the team right now, and the Manager’s allegiance to him is drawing comparisons to his seemingly almost-blind-support of what’s-his-name (Peterson) during the 2008 Season.
While the hitting has been missing, the Reds have stayed afloat on the backs of the rotation, which had a 2.28 ERA over the previous nine games. Yesterday, Bronson Arroyo’s pitching was about as LOUSY as the Reds’ bats. Today, it seems the pitching and fielding is pretty bad, too. Hairston’s line in KC today – So far, O-for-1, and TWO Errors…leading to all 5 KC Runs. Not much of a welcome back for the lad. Maybe he should have stayed out of the KC Series entirely?
Hey, a Real Team Effort…just not the kind Reds fans deserve. By the way, I’m reversing myself on Edwin Encarnacion – I’m ready to see him come back and try to get his swing, Etc., back. He CAN’T do much worse than most everyone else on the team. Of course…his injury still must run it’s course, as he’s not ready for rehab games in the Minors yet.
UPDATE ON REDS-ROYALS GAME, 14 JUNE 2009: The Reds went downhill from the beginning of this blog. I had other things that had to be done during the last few innings; frankly, I made excuses to get away for a few minutes from my Reds’ Broadcast via MLB.com Gameday package. The Reds LOST, 7-1, completing a perfect weekend…for the Royals and their fans.
Mr. Nix just got his 1st HIT of the game in the 9th, and the Reds’ 5th hit of the game. The team collected all of 6 Runs (1 Unearned) on all of 14 hits. The Royals swept them, and outscored them, 18-6. The Reds’ team spirit leaves KC wearing Dresses…
REDS: PLEASE, PLEASE give me something POSITIVE to write about. Okay, here’s a positive story…from 1978.
31 YEARS AGO TODAY: June 14, 1978 – Pete Rose begins a 44-game hitting streak with two hits against the Cubs – part of that Great Summer of 1978, along with the reshowing of Star Wars one year after it’s release.
Rose began his streak on 14 June with a 2-for-4 game, and would get his 44th and final game with a 1-for-4 game against Braves’ HOFér Phil Niekro on 31 July of 1978. What a Streak, and Charlie Hustle did NOT disappoint.
* August 7, 1978 Cover Reproduction – Courtesy of Sports Illustrated Magazine (CNN/SI.COM)