Redlegs Fan

The ramblings of an oft annoyed Cincinnati Reds fan.

Interesting Past Week

I am not exactly sure where the past few days have gone, but I find myself way behind on posting very biased remarks of a seemingly always frustrating baseball team. I knew that the Redlegs fast start was something of the too good to be true ilk, but I wasn’t expecting such a fast meltdown after such a fast beginning. 2-5 on a home stand is never a good thing. Losing two out of three to the Buccos is always bad. Finding out that Edison Volquez still can’t get out of the first inning is none too surprising, but definitely discouraging. And Mike Leake, oh mister Leake…Where do I even begin? I guess the plastic and cash in your pockets were too good for lowly Macy’s t-shirts huh? At least he pitched a great game to get the Reds back on the winning track.

I am very happy to see Votto getting upset about not stretching a double into a triple only to respond the next day with a 415 foot bomb to the moondeck at GABP. Yet, I worry about the number of errors being committed by one of last year’s top fielding teams in all of baseball. The upcoming games against the Cardinals I suppose could be viewed as the season’s first true test for the Redlegs, but even that seems weird to say when the team is 10-9 on the year. Still our boys got to the playoffs last year by beating the teams they were supposed to then being opportunistic with their wins against teams they weren’t. Perhaps this year it will be reversed, or maybe the entire map of baseball powerhouses is being rewritten? I hate to speculate so early into the season, and with the team still not having their full rotation available I do not think it is right to pass judgment in any form. With all the questions marks, being above .500 and still in first place in the NL Central is a good thing.

Still, I won’t mind if the Reds can sweep the Cards, I love seeing Pujols lose and generally when the Reds beat St. Louis it involves Joey Votto having tremendous games which will help my fantasy team. Selfish? Yes. Problematic? No. It will be a great test of the team’s current state and hopefully be great games to watch/listen to. Also I know it’s only because Albert will be on the television and has nothing to do with the Reds, but anytime I can watch them on an ESPN Sunday Night Baseball game is fine by me. To prove my point, in their most recent advert, it states that the Cincinnati Reds will be up against Dominate Albert Pujols and the Cardinals. Is Albert Pujols dominate? Of course he is, no one can and would deny that. It just makes me laugh that there is no special reference to the Reds being the defending division champions with the defending NL MVP and three gold glove winners. Oh no, I am starting to get bitter and can’t have that when it comes to the lack of coverage given by ESPN to one of the best and the original baseball city in the country.

I will stop now in fear that I will ramble…

Happy 70th Birthday Charlie Hustle

Happy 70th Birthday Charlie Hustle

Masset Needs a Break

Now that I have had a little time to soak in the last two games of the series between the Redlegs and the Padres one thing has become abundantly clear. Nick Masset does not have his “stuff”. I think Thom Brennaman might change his tune that he is a great pitcher simply having a bad streak of games. In four appearances Masset has lost three games and blown the lead all four times. There is a big difference between having a bad streak of games and simply being unable to perform. If Logan Ondrusek can pitch two innings with bases loaded and get out of the jam without letting the winning run across the plate, make him the setup man. Or how about at least seeing if Masset can go without giving up a run when there is a five run lead in the 6th or 7th inning, not a one run lead in the 8th or a tied game in the 9th.

I know I am not alone with this idea either. Reds fans have for years always been on the fence over Masset’s abilities. When he his performing at his best, yes he is a great setup pitcher with a sharp cutting fastball and good off-speed pitches. However when he is not, his 95-98mph fastball does not move at all, his breaking ball doesn’t break and he never changes the eye level of the batter during an AB. How many time do we have to listen to The Cowboy telling us that is one of the most important and skillful things a pitcher can do to get an out? 

It is great to come away from a road trip, especially on the West Coast, with a winning record, but it could have been even better. The only game the Reds had no chance of winning was the opener against the Diamondbacks. They could have and should have went 5-0 after that. Instead they come away 3-2. Why? This fan believes, in a nutshell, Nick Masset. Yes Aroldis Chapman had a throwing error and some walks before Masset came to the mound, but then your go to setup man throws some walks of his own. He then loads the bases and lets in the walk off single.

The silver lining in all of this is that the Redlegs are still in first place of the NL Central at 8-4 and are still putting up some of the best offensive numbers in the entire league. They are 1st in Runs, 3rd in batting average and OBP and 6th in slugging. Their pitching however has not been so stellar. Placing 18th in ERA, 13th in WHIP and 8th in BAA. I am just happy that come Friday back at GABP they have the workhorse Arroyo back on the mound. That should mean another guaranteed 7+ IP with around 3-4 ERA.

I guess my Masset bashing is over, yet I am glad I waited a day to reflect on it or it would have been much much worse. Luckily there is a travel day today so I can try to forget it some more… 

A Turning Point for Volquez?

In ways Edison Volquez was true to form in last night’s series opener against the San Diego Padres. For the the third consecutive start he gave up first inning runs, and for the third straight game those were close to the only ones he would allow.

Through three games Volquez has a first inning ERA of 27.00. His ERA after that is 1.38. As in previous games Volquez settled down after the first and began to place pitches where he wanted to. His fastball was consistently cutting to the corners at 97-98 mph and his breaking balls left batters guessing. Luckily for the Redlegs only two runs were conceded in his six innings of work, as it took a pair of longballs to secure victory at Petco Park. Still his game ERA of 5.82 is not exactly what I want out of an Opening Day starter. Hopefully this much better outing will be a turning point for him so all of us Redleg fans don’t have to watch anxiously through the first inning wondering just how far behind the team will be when they go to the plate next.

The scoring came from a bomb to the second deck by Jonny Gomes which he connected with on a 1-1 hanging curveball in the fourth by Padres starter Mat Latos. The Reds then took the lead for good on a go-ahead two run homer by Chris Heisey in the fifth. This yardshot off a fast ball into the left field bleachers.

For the most part San Diego’s ace had a good outing. His stat line reading 6.0 IP, 4H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB and 7SO. It was however his 2HR that cost the Padres the game. In his words he “felt like everything went fine, I made two mistakes in the whole ballgame.” That is however the wonder of baseball, just two mistakes can sometimes be one too many to overcome.

CoCo Cordero pitched the ninth for his second save in as many opportunities, a result many fans will still look at with jaded eyes. For I know even I was expecting him to give up the run. Is this fair? Perhaps not but when so much has gone wrong in recent years I begin to expect that it will.

On a great ending note, Dusty Baker achieved his 250th win as the Reds skipper becoming only the third manager to reach that milestone with three different ballclubs. I hope tonight he can make it 251.

First pitch tonight for game two at 10:05pm EST, LeCure on the mound for the Redlegs going against Richard for the Padres.

(Source: ESPN)

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The Emerald Isle of Ireland.

Premature Admiration

It’s really hard being a sports fan in Cincinnati. The Bengals have been a non-factor in the NFL for the past twenty years and for the most part, the Reds are in the same category. The quick success of this season has many baseball fans in the area harking back to the days of the Big Red Machine, comparing stats and getting their post-season plans sorted out in the beginning of April. Sure, because of the talking heads not giving the Reds much of a shot to win the NL Central out of the gate, it is nice to have something to throw in their faces right out of the gate. However as the past few games have shown, barely ten games into the season what exactly do we know about any teams’ chances down the line?

The stats have been amazing so far, on the offensive side of the plate which has never been the issue of contention when talking about the the clubs success rate. Pitching wins games, everyone knows this, but some people see the gaudy numbers the Cincinnati offense has put up so far and think the team can win games no matter how the pitching staff performs. There are way more questions about the rotation right now then there are about whether or not the defending NL MVP can drive in runs like he did last year.

Injuries and illnesses have already caused manager Dusty Baker to have to think quick on his feet and it has shown both strengths and weaknesses. The perennial workhorse Bronson Arroyo is doing what he does best, consistently giving his team 7+ IP and keeping his ERA down. This confidence on the mound manifests itself by the offense knowing they can be more open with their swings and more liberal on the base paths. Mike Leake however has shown that his stuff so far is no longer a mystery to National League hitters. His fastball has not been moving as much as it did last year and he has been lucky that more of his hanging breaking balls have not left the yard.

The 6-3 start is still very promising comparatively to recent years yet road trips to the west coast have routinely been the biggest weakness to the ball club. This has once again shown itself to be the case with the past weekend’s 1-2 series result at Arizona and their upcoming series with San Diego has historically been a forgone conclusion with the Padres winning 10 of the past 13 meetings.

I of course hope that the offense keeps doing as well as it has been and that the pitching can settle down and give some sort of consistency. It will be really easy for the Reds to be swept at San Diego and wouldn’t you know it that World Series winning team a week ago is now .500. I can only believe that will not be the case.