Nobody said 2009 would be easy – Not by a Long Shot. The craziness of it all is, if the Reds could have put together a truly GREAT month in June – 18-20 wins, that is – they would have a lead in the N.L. Central by several games.
Sure – The Reds have had a more promising start in 2009 than in most of the seasons since 2000. Mr. Votto is back, and we know now that he’s been getting help in dealing with the grief over the loss of his father last year. We’re truly thankful to have him back, and that Joey is getting help for his grief. Joey is hitting like a true natural as well – I hope he can help Jay Bruce add at least 30-40 points to his poor batting average. Thankfully, Bruce is hitting better in the past week (.300 BA 1 HR, 2 RBI) – Reds fans trust this will continue. Several hitters have improved their performance at the plate, since Votto returned. Mr. Votto plays a HUGE Role in trying to help the Reds Win in 2009.
Still, inconsistency has played a large role in the Reds being stuck at .500 ball. Pujols killed them last night, leading the Cardinals late rally – 7 runs in last two innings – with a grand slam HR. The Reds lost, 7-4, blowing a 3-0 lead with 1.5 innings to go.
I have to say this – the relief pitching, while great overall – blew the save last night, and YES – Dusty Baker played a big role in the loss as well. Weathers gave up the grand slam to Pujols – WHY did Manager Baker even put him out there against Pujols? Pujols was hitting .500 against Baker coming into the game (9-for-18). Couldn’t Baker have chosen someone else? Weathers always seems to pitch great…until a huge game is on the line. David certainly BLEW this game in a big way. Homer Bailey’s second great outing – and a 2nd win in the early season – was wasted, big time. Thanks Weathers, Manager…
I know – I sound like the type of fan who doesn’t understand giving a pitcher another chance, Etc. I’m NOT a former MLB player, coach, or what have you – I’m a fan simply tired of LOSING. Dusty Baker simply seems to make bad choices time and again, staying with players who would start in other MLB Lineups. Mr. Baker has lost at least 5-6 games this year alone with his decisions? I wonder how many he lost by putting in ballplayers who should have been sitting on the bench, if not in Minor League Ball.
Another thing: Where’s the Aggressiveness, the Hustle? The Reds had only ONE stolen base this past week, and have stolen 14 bases in 20 attempts over the past 30 games. If I’m correct, the team has something like 49 stolen bases ALL year, against 19 times being caught. That’s a .720 stolen base percentage – not too bad, and certainly deserving of more attempts.
Yes, the Reds have had two ballplayer hurt diving headfirst into bases recently, and that’s cause for concern from the manager. Even Pete Rose usually didn’t try too many headfirst dive into home plate, due to the catcher, shin guards, and more. Still, the Reds need to hustle more, tear around the bases, stop seeming so…timid on the base paths and in the games. Mr. Baker needs to concern himself MORE with that…
I was one of the many calling for Janish to get more playing time as well – I believe Baker didn’t help by playing him so sparingly when he was producing. It took an injury to Gonzo for Janish to get more playing time, but he’s slumping now. Wake up, Janish – I’m concerned you’re going to play yourself back to the minors like Mr. Rosales did. Several Reds had poor performances during June, but seem to be playing well again.
I want to believe Mr. Baker can be a good manager for the Reds, and have several more years at the helm. His poor judgment in the past, and the defeats that he seems to help pull out of the jaws of victory simply testify against him, time and again. The Reds need to hustle, they need to hit with more success and consistency, and they need to WIN.
My opinion…for what it’s worth: IF the Reds don’t have a Winning Season (82-80) after the last out is made, Etc., Mgr. Baker certainly needs to go. He has made too many mistakes in his time here. The Reds need to demand a better return in their Manager, and Mr. Baker needs to give that return…or find another team. The team cannot be fired, and a bright future is very possible – With the Right Man at the Helm. The Jury is still OUT on Dusty Baker, and the verdict is “up in the air” at best.
I hope for the Best for the Reds, Baker for all of 2009 – That will happen only with a Winning Season.
Nice pitching, Homer – But you KNOW I must lose the game now…
The Reds’ Greatest Manager of All-Time: George “Sparky” Anderson (with Reds’ Captain Pete Rose: April 1973, Opening Day – Riverfront Stadium)