I’ve mostly remained quiet about the Reds hot start for a variety of reasons. For one, it’s mostly smoke and mirrors. They been outscored by 6 runs, but sit at 9-6. They are coming off an outstanding 7-3 road trip against NL Central foes. Despite struggling to score on a daily basis (they were second worst in all of baseball in runs scored going into today), they’ve gotten vintage performances from Harang and Arroyo, Cueto seems to have turned a corner, and the back end of the bullpen (Rhodes, Weathers, and Cordero) has been perfect. All this has added up to a strong start, and good vibes that could lead to the team contending in 2010.
Still, there are storm clouds. The Reds offense is Joey Votto. Votto is quickly vying to be a legitimate top 5 first baseman. Until the Cubs series, Jay Bruce was scuffling mightily. Starting shortstop Alex Gonzalez is hitting below .150. Perhaps the most disturbing thing is that the Reds are still managed by Dusty Baker. The only reason I don’t truly despise Dusty is because the Reds have had such horrible managers, Dusty is still an improvement. A baseball manager has to be able to keep the club upbeat and loose. Dusty does that. The players seem to like him, and that counts for something. Still when I hear conversations like this on his pre-game show last night, a part of me dies:
(what follows is a paraphrase):
Marty: Dusty, Brandon Phillips isn’t batting cleaning up tonight
Dusty: No, Marty. I’ve talked to Brandon and everything is fine. He was really struggling.
Marty: He might just need a break.
Dusty: No doubt, but I was noticing he was struggling, and I said to our stat guy, because, you know Marty, when you are managing the club, you lose track of these things when you are managing the club (that is a direct quote), and he said, ‘He’s 1 for his last 37′. I said, ‘Wow, that’s bad’. I’d give him a night off but it’s hard to do in a series like this where you need your best players.
To recap: 1. Dusty has been batting Brandon Phillips fourth all year
2. Dusty doesn’t keep track of how his clean up hitter is hitting
3. Dusty was surprised to hear just how bad Phillips has been
4. Dusty replaced a guy slugging .265 in the clean up spot with Edwin Encarnacion.
Edwin is slugging .234. Note that I said SLUGGING, not hitting.
Of course as soon as he does this, the Reds win the last two games in Chicago. Sigh. Why do the wicked prosper?
So, am I happy the Reds are 9-6? Yes. Am I thrilled at taking 2 of 3 from the hated Cubs? Oh my, yes. Am I making reservations for the playoffs? No. I still think this team loses 90 games, but I’ll enjoy the ride while it lasts.
By the way, I hate bumping the Mock Draft off the lead story…so here’s the link again. You can also find it in the side bar.
Hunter the Punter goes to Washington. I’m glad he found work. He has a very good shot at being a Classic Colt someday. I really enjoyed Oehser’s salute to him. If you are interested, you can check out Hunter’s band and blog.
This landed in my inbox yesterday. We aren’t dealing much with the CIB issue, principally because it’s not really about the Colts. It’s a local government eff-up. There is a 30 year non-negotiable lease for the Colts on the Luke. Good deal or bad, it’s there and whining about it won’t help. The real question is why they let the Pacers rework their deal to the extreme detriment of the city. That’s what made the situation untenable. The government redid the Pacers deal, and added $15 million of expenses and now they want the Colts (2 years into a 30 year lease) to renegotiate and chip in $5 million? I don’t buy it. I’m all for pressuring Jimmy Irsay to pony up some green to help the ISHAA play the Championships at the Luke. That won’t total $5 million and is more about ‘public sentiment and pressure’ than law passing. I don’t hold this opinion because I love the Colts more than the Pacers (I don’t, actually…we’ll maybe a little). It just seems like the politicians are aiming for a popular solution rather than a legally appropriate one.
Just bookkeeping. No big deal.
Another great radio interview…Polian talks the draft
Vic answers a question about the Jags moving. Very interesting. Not exactly a rousing vote of confidence for Jacksonville.
Kiper’s final mock still has Jerry to the Colts at 27. From your lips to God’s ears. This would be steal of extraordinary magnitude.
Keiwan Ratliff got a job. Good for him. Not surprising the Steelers grabbed him. His pick or Roethlisberger was a huge play. I’d say corner depth is a massive issue for the Horse tomorrow.
David Flemming on death and athletics. Two Colts helped him find words.
This article from 2004 questions whether the Colts made the right move with Manning’s contract. Two more MVP awards and a Super Bowl later, the answer is…no.