Sunday, April 24, 2011

Season Update

   After the great five and zero start the Reds had, there isn't a whole lot to show for it. The reds have fallen all the way back to .500 and sit at 11-10 before the start of game 3 against the Cardinals tonight. It looked as if the Reds might have a wire to wire season in the Central after the other teams started very slow. They all managed to catch back up thanks to a 15 game slump the Reds went through. Edinson Volquez has been magnificent, outside the first inning, Joey Votto looks determined to repeat his MVP season from last year, and Jay Bruce has struggled to get going in the beginning of the season.

   I don't exactly understand why Edinson Volquez has been consistently bad in the first inning, but then almost lights out once he manages to get through it. It seems like he just goes out there trying to strike out everyone the first inning and then can't manage to get anyone out. They really should try experimenting with him throwing a simulated inning in the bullpen or something just to somehow get him calmed down when it's the real deal. Edinson has to figure something out or he's going to be one of the guys mentioned to be sent down when Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey make it back up. I really think he can be our best pitcher with the stuff he has, and he proves it from the second inning on. I don't know, maybe he likes pitching while in a losing game. It baffles me, he just needs to go out there and let the best defense in the NL, arguably, do work.

   On a positive note, Joey Votto has picked up where he left off last season, hitting near .400 all season. Now I know, chances are he will not stick right at that pace all season, but .350 doesn't seem to be too far fetched for him. He's been on base every game so far and leads the team in hits. His on base percentage is phenomenal and he will be the centerpiece of the offensive attack again all season. I'm just waiting for him to go on an extended hot streak and climb up the home run rankings. I would say it's safe to say he will be right there competing for the MVP award again at the end of the year.

   Jay Bruce, who was picked by a lot of analyst to break out and be the star we all expected him to be this year. Most thought he was an easy .300+ average hitter and 35 or more home runs. It's too early to say whether he is going to achieve those marks, but he is going to have to start swinging the bat better and cut down on his strikeouts. It took him a long time to really get going last year and I honestly do believe he will get really hot down the stretch. It would be really nice to see him get going soon though, it seems like he's overplaying himself trying to fulfill the contract he got in the off season.

   If the Reds can get hot again like they started the year, and pray to God for no injuries such as Rolen hitting the DL, which is going to hurt at the hot corner, I can see them repeating as NL Central champs realistically. They just need to play like they know they can and stay out of jail. The Central isn't going to be a cake walk, but they definitely have the team to walk away with it. This team should have the expectations of winning the World Series, I mean what does every team play for? Go Reds!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What a First Two Weeks!

   It's great to see baseball back in full swing! There have been a lot of stories already with Manny being Manny and calling it quits after he gets busted AGAIN, Matt Holliday having an appendectomy after the first game, Boston losing its first six games, and the list could go on all night if I wanted to keep going.

   My personal favorite is Manny Ramirez retiring a week into the season after he reportedly failed another drug test. You would think after getting caught once he might have learned his lesson, but apparently not. The Rays thought they were going to get big production when he showed up to camp in great shape. Now we know why he was in great shape. I understand where he's coming from just calling it quits though, he was going to miss most of the season anyway with the 100 game suspension and as late in his career and the slow start. Might as well go into retirement and enjoy life with the millions he has racked up.

   The Reds got off to a really hot start winning their first five, they look to have the best team in the NL Central this season even if Greinke isn't back in Milwaukee. Although the offense isn't putting up runs like they started and Volquez not getting through a first inning without giving up a run or four, I can see them gaining a nice lead in the Central early in the year. This team knows how to get it done and has a lethal offense. I think they are maybe one star pitcher from a serious World Series threat to win it all. Not saying the squad right now can't do it. It will be an interesting year for the Reds that hopefully includes a trip to the World Series.

   The Red Sox are my biggest shocker to start the year. They have yet to put it together with their new additions, and a pitching staff struggling early. I will say I watched Josh Beckett go to work on the Yankees the other night which was really impressive but Dice-K might want to go back to Japan after the Rays beat him up real good tonight. Carl Crawford looks like he might be getting into a grove from what I saw tonight, they need to find him a place in the lineup and leave him there though. He just hasn't got comfortable if you ask me, they bat him leadoff one night, then seventh, it's tough to know what his role is so far with Francona moving him up and down so much. With this team I think time is their most important thing, once they figure out where everyone is going to hit best, this team is going to get scary good and will be the best team like everyone thought they would be. Don't give up on them just yet!

   Although I do believe it is well too early to decide who my favorite to win it all is, I will say Texas is showing me the best team so far. They're pitching staff is managing to keep runs off the board and their offense is the best in the league so far. I think their offense can even get better too, Josh Hamilton has yet to really get rolling and Beltre can contribute more too.

   Stay posted, I'm starting school next week and who knows how much posting I will be doing but bear with me as my time will be reduced! GO REDS!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Opening Day!

  What a game! I honestly thought out the gate, this was going to be a bad game. After Edinson gave up those two bombs in the first I was silent for a good two innings. I was shocked when Carlos Gomez put one in the upper deck, I was saying to myself, "Here we go, gonna be a long game". Thank god I stuck around for the finish! I was impressed with him after those first two innings, Volquez settled down and started getting outs and made it though six. I wasn't sure if he was going to get to the fifth let alone finish the fifth.

   I personally always hang around for the end of a game unless it's that big of a loss or I got dropped off at the game and my ride is waiting. Just so happened, my ride drove around the city three times before I left. After seeing that finish though, I could care less. I wasn't going to leave Opening Day early like a friend of mine who found himself regretting leaving early. I actually called it, I'm sure a lot of people who are crazy optimistic at all times and say the Reds will come back and win every single game they are losing, but I was texting a friend who was there and said the Reds would win by on a late inning home run. I didn't think it would be a walk off home run, but I'll take a win any possible way!

   I was impressed with Stubbs and think this kid is going to have a monster year. Even if Votto doesn't put up the numbers he did last year, with Stubbs and Bruce continuing to improve at the plate, the Reds are going to be a hard team to beat. From what I saw, Stubbs might be the answer at leadoff. I know it was only one game, but this kid is going to be a stud. He put on muscle this offseason and looked great Opening Day, I have high expectations for him this year.

   The atmosphere was great from the first pitch to the last at bat. The place was packed and even down three runs in the ninth there was a lot of people still there. I will say most of the people in section 113 seemed to be drunk though, some guy gave me the hardest high five I've ever got after Hernandez hit that home run. My had stung for a good twenty minutes. I would say this was the second best Reds game I've attended, right behind Jay Bruce's walk off clincher last year.

   For all you people who haven't been to an Opening Day, YOU HAVE TO GO NEXT YEAR! It's a whole different experience from any other regular season game. I've been three years running, although I didn't get to go to the parade because I was driving back to Cincy from Gatlinburg, I got back in time for the game which was all that mattered to me. I also sat in downtown traffic for 45 minutes trying to find parking which I didn't. Barring any major life changes, I'll be attending many more years. Hopefully in a row, my goal is to be on that list of people they showed who have been 15 or more straight years.

   Since the season has started, I believe I will be posting a lot more. Check back soon for more posts!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Spring Training Report

   Today the Rangers are taking on the AL Champion Rangers. Jonny Cueto will start the game for the Reds while Colby Lewis takes the mound for the Rangers. The Reds are now 8-5 in Spring Training coming off a loss to the World Series Champion Giants yesterday. Arroyo had one bad inning giving up four runs although it didn't matter how many he gave up, the Reds were fooled by the Giants pitching. Volquez got his first work of spring in after dealing with his visa issues. He went 2.1 innings giving up 1 earned, striking out two.

   There is a lot of competition going on for bullpen spots and those last two rotation spots. Left field looks interesting too even though Baker said Gomes is his guy in left field. Nobody is making decisions easy for Baker, Jeremy Hermida has a .357 average in the spring and Fred Lewis may only be hitting .214 but Gomes has yet to get it going only hitting .059.

   As for prospects, Devin Mesoraco is looking great this spring and making a case for being on this team at some point this year. He's raking the ball hitting  .462. Aroldis Chapman has been consistently wild all spring even tho he has yet to have a really bad outing. Yonder Alonso is seeing the ball well and has a home run this spring but isn't expected to play any kind of role in the Majors unless Votto has injuries. Yasmani Grandal isn't doing anything spectacular and will start the year in Double-A. Dave Sappelt who most of us haven't heard about including myself until this spring is making a big splash. He's hitting .500 and has two homers with 6 RBI. He's got the best stats of the spring on the team. Although he's probably not going to make the team out of Spring Training, he could see the Majors in in September or next season.

   The last two spots in the rotation are still up for grabs, but so far it's looking like Homer Bailey and Travis Wood are going to have them. Bailey is out of options so if he doesn't make the team the Reds would have to trade him or release him and I don't think they are willing to do either of those right now. Leake hasn't looked sharp this spring and may need to start the year in Triple-A to figure it out.

   The bullpen only has a few "for sure" guys. Cordero, Masset, and Chapman are the three who will be on the squad no matter what. Bill Bray was the favorite for the lefty in the 'pen but he's struggled mightily, giving up seven earned in 3.2 innings.  Dontrelle Willis has looked pretty good only giving up two runs, both unearned in five innings of work. Jared Burton, Matt Maloney, Sam LeCure, and Daryl Thompson are all making strong cases for themselves, while Arrendondo who was a favorite has pitched his way out of the running.

   The countdown to Opening Day is 20 Days! Go Reds!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Reds Win Spring Training Opener

   The Reds won today 7 to 6 against the Cleveland Indians in Goodyear, Arizona. Matt Maloney started the game for the Reds and went two innings without allowing a hit while wiffing two Indians. Josh Tomlin started for the Indians going two innings of no run ball. Dave Sappelt and Chris Valaika hit home runs for the Reds while Ezequiel Carrera went deep for the Indians.

   Dusty Baker said after the game that he was really impressed with Matt Maloney and said he was very sharp pitching today making a case for his bid at a bullpen spot. He also made the comment that Jose Arredondo threw the ball very well after being out all of last season with Tommy John surgery.

   The Reds got on the board in the 5th inning when Jay Bruce reached on a Travis Buck error that put him on second base, then Jay stole 3rd on the next pitch. Jonny Gomes drove him in with a ground ball to third base allowing Bruce to go home. In the 8th inning the Reds plated four runs and then put two more up in the 9th.

   Sam LeCure pitched the two innings after Malone striking out four and allowing two hits. Carlos Fisher allowed one run in the 6th inning and then Donnie Joseph allowed 5 only getting one out in the 7th. Daryl Thompson came in and finished that inning and the next without allowing any runs.

   The Reds go up against Cleveland again tomorrow, lets hope for the same outcome!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Reds Chances After Wainwright Injury

   After hearing the outlook on Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright turned south, I immediately saw the Cards stock for the season hit the deck. Of coarse anytime Albert Pujols is in your lineup your going to have a chance. But, losing a Cy Young candidate two years running is never good. The Cards rotation is a big question mark if you ask me now.

   Who replaces Wainwright in St Louis? I can see the Cards going after Kevin Millwood. They have a lot of options to try and replace him, but in all reality, nobody they pick up is going to put up the same numbers he would. Their rotation could be a serious problem down the stretch this year. Will Garcia have a year like last year? I'm not putting my money on it, not trying to knock what he did last year though. Chris Carpenter is always a health risk it seems. But, when he's on, he's a huge threat. Jake Westbrook is nothing more than a mid-rotation guy and won't post anything close to what Adam would've.

   So how does this change the NL Central for the season? You have to think the Cards are no more than a slightly above .500 team without around 20 wins from Wainwright. Every other team just gained a couple wins from this if you ask me. My favorite to win the Central is still the Reds, while I think the Brewers might be slightly better than the Cards now. This is still going to be a great race all year though! I'm excited for baseball to be starting back up and starting to get anxious for Opening Day.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Thoughts on Melo to the Knicks

   It's official, Carmelo is heading to the Knicks along with Chauncey Billups, Anthony Carter, Shelden Williams, and Renaldo Balkman for Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov and Wilson Chandler. The T'Wolves also got Eddy Curry and Anthony Randolph while sending Corey Brewer to the Knicks.

   It's hard to say who is getting the best out of this deal. The Knicks definitely better with the addition of Melo and Billups to team with Amar'e. But down the road, the Nuggets are getting some talent that has potential. Of coarse right now it's all potential and none of these guys are likely to amount to what Anthony has become. I believe the Knicks become the fourth best team in the East even though their record isn't going to show it. Atlanta and Orlando go down behind them now that New York has two superstars.

   That leads me on to the next question in the subject.Will Melo and Amar'e play well together? It's a very good question and we won't really know until they get some time and rhythm with the new pieces of the puzzle. I think with Chauncey Billups and Carmelo's previous time together they're going to keep clicking. If you ask me, Amar'e just makes Billups even better with another weapon to dish the ball to. I don't know that trading three of your five starters is a very smart idea. But, they did bring in two all stars.

   My next question is, "How far do the Knicks go this year after the trade?". I think if all these players get some quick chemistry and play well together, they sky is the limit. Do they have the talent the Heat or Celtics have? Probably not. But, the best team isn't always the one that wins it all. That goes for any sport. How about Trevor Bayne? I know he's not the best in Nascar.

   So what's everyone's take? Who got the better end of the deal here?