Editorials

Stand Up

[sung to the tune of Warren Zevon’s “Desperados Under the Eaves]

I was sitting in the GABP Machine Room Grill
I was staring in my empty coffee cup
I was thinking that Marty wasn’t lyin’
All the salty margaritas on the downtown Banks
I’m gonna drink ‘em up

And if GABP slides into the Ohio
Like the haters and statistics say it will
I predict this restaurant will be standing until I pay my bill

______________________________

Zevon’s hymn to lost love and rotten luck couldn’t be more appropriate. The other night, I was sitting in the ballpark when Brandon Phillips went down as if he’d been shot. At a certain point, you just have to laugh, right? Those that have taken the Reds’ early season record personally have insisted “everybody has injuries.”

Well, okay. But, there are injuries—and then there’s the Little Big Horn. This entire team’s walk up music should be “Suicide is Painless.”

Let’s recap.

The season began with the entire back end of the bullpen—Marshall in the 7th, Broxton in the 8th, and Chapman in the 9th—all wearing hospital white, not Cincinnati red. Last season’s #1 starter—on the shelf with a wobbly knee. The club’s young heir apparent behind the dish on the DL not once, but twice. Homer Bailey on the roster, but clearly suffering from a spring training groin pull that left him unready for the beginning of the season. The team’s #1 slugger, surveying the hospital ward around him and deciding to gut it out and play on a sore knee, before crying uncle and going on the DL himself in May. To add insult to the injuries, even replacement level players Hannahan and Schumaker were nowhere to be found on Opening Day.

Then came LEFT DISTAL QUAD. Now Phillips for 6 to 8 weeks. Even Bailey left the bump wincing again the other day.

Somehow, this team is seven games over .500. Without a doubt, the starting pitching has been the bedrock that has kept this team not just afloat, but now, suddenly surging. Will someone please give a shout out to Bryan Price? I keep hearing how Price has mismanaged his team as he “learns” the nuances of managing in the major leagues.

Child. Please.

I’ve heard how he’s mismanaged the bullpen, despite the fact that the few healthy bullpen options he had available to him early on—Hoover, Parra and Ondrusek—failed him at times. Spectacularly. He ruins the lineup on a nightly basis according to some.

More props to Jocketty, too. Dear reader, how many of you wanted a sell off at the end of May? Walt held firm as the masses howled for trades or fire sales. Jocketty & Co. believed in Billy Hamilton and his ability to get up-to-speed against major league pitching when the rest of us were wildly skeptical. C’mon. Admit it. Walt was just dreaming, right? Jocketty believed Brayan Pena was worth having on this team. Turns out he was right there, too. Even the very mock-able Ramon Santiago has proved productive of late. When Price put these guys in the lineup and fans howled, the manager just went about his business, secure in the knowledge that guys at the end of the bench have to play occasionally in order to be ready when they are called upon. That time has come now. And it’s working. So far.

The Reds are far from out of the woods. It’s hard to believe that this offense can continue to thrive missing Votto and Phillips for two months. Work remains to be done. But, right now, the Reds have navigated a minefield of injuries and the bad luck of one-run games. They are seven games over .500. Back in the hunt. Not for a wild card spot. For the division. And the Brewers have fallen back to earth like Skylab, just as our own Jason Linden told you would happen.

Admit it. You were wrong.

Stand up and give them a hand.

31 thoughts on “Stand Up

  1. I still think the Reds HAVE to make a couple of deals in the next 2 weeks. The Brewers will. The Pirates will. The Cardinals will. The Reds stood pat last year and we saw what happened. Jocketty would let that happen again, will he?

    • Assume the following players stay healthy and perform roughly the same way they have for the last month: Frazier, Mesoraco, Bruce, Hamilton, 5 starting pitchers, Broxton, Chapman, Diaz and Parra. Add solid but unspectacular performance from Santiago, Cozart, Peña/other 1B, Ludwick, Hoover.

      If the above happens, do we HAVE to make a couple of deals in the next few weeks? I say no, we don’t. There’s not much I’d be willing to trade to improve on that group. We’ll get 4-6 runs/game on offense, and give up 3-4 on defense more often than not, and play roughly .600 ball.

      • The problem is the odds are you’re not even going to get solid performance from Santiago and Pena. God bless both of them for what they’ve done the last week or so, but they’re not going to keep that up. They are both, along with Skip and Heisey, well below average at the plate. I think Ludwick will continue to be solid, but a guy like Zobrist or Duda would not only help us weather the next 6-8 weeks, but would be an enormous asset once everyone’s healthy. Remember that last year, even with an almost completely healthy starting lineup (BP was banged up but other than that) we were all still clamoring for another bat that we ended up sorely needing come October. Bob saw what standing pat did last year and that was with a healthy roster. I think he’s putting a lot of pressure on Walt right now to make a move and rightfully so.

        • I love your stuff richard, but I don’t remember anyone saying Pena and Santiago shouldn’t be on the team. Santiago is a fine backup middle infielder. Pena is a fine backup catcher. Pena is not nearly a good enough hitter to be a starting first baseman. Santiago is not nearly a good enough hitter to start at third base while you move your regular third baseman to first. Can’t we just say that these guys did a check of a job last night without trying to make them into something they aren’t.
          I have no problem giving Jocketty credit where it is due. But he does not deserve credit for leaving his manager with no other options but to play guys who are well below league average hitters at the position where it is the easiest to find offense.
          As for price, I’m with you. He does make some strange decisions sometimes, but at least he is willing to try different things. He’s not a great manager yet, but I think he could be soon.

        • Maybe not Pena, but peruse the post from the past month up until last Sunday and you will see all kind of vitriol on Santiago. I still think Cairo, Janish, Valdez are all the same (replacement players to scale WAR against)- agree or disagree that he should be on the roster the comments were aplenty

  2. In the spirit of this great piece by Richard:

    I have been wrong about Bryan Price. Not just wrong but very wrong, horribly wrong, I could not have been more wrong, etc. Keep up the great work Skip!

    What a season, so far.

    • I think that a manager gets too much credit when the team goes good and is cited for being the fault when it goes bad, bad decisions are often the result of players not getting the job done, its very easy to manage a pitching staff when the bullpen can get the job done. The number #1 thing that I am impressed with Price is the team avoids long losing streaks, it seemed like the first 2 months they rarely won 2 games in a row outside of an 8-3 stretch mainly against the Pirates and Cubs.
      They took a chance on a pitching coach who is a pretty good baseball man, but the verdict is out if he can be a big league manager long term, Regardless I feel Dusty might have had them close to this level, more likely would not, but would never have gotten to the NLCS let alone a WS title, the change had to be made.

  3. Thanks Richard, but instead of clapping and cheering (A lot of that last night in the family room) I will light some candles tomorrow morning in thanks but also for the future because if this is what we have they will need help from any source (even divine) that can swing a bat or field a hot shot down the right-field line.

    Charlotte your a good man.

    • Wins like last night are so huge because they’re games we’re not supposed to win, statistically. This team just needs to play .500 baseball for the next 6-8 weeks and they’ll have a great shot at the playoffs with a nice September surge. This roster can play .500 baseball as is. Anything they do beyond that, like stealing a win last night, is just gravy.

      • I believe there about 67 games left after the AS break. I would think that 38-29 would do it without that play-in game nonsense, but the playoffs are the playoffs.

  4. I said last night that if the Reds win the division or even just make the playoffs, Price should get serious consideration for NL Manager of the Year. He hasn’t gotten ANY credit in the media at all. He has had some learning on the job moments here and there, but for this team to be 1.5 games out of first place close to the break with a chance to maybe even step into a virtual tie by the end of the weekend is simply unbelievable.

    • Other than Billy H., the National sports media doesn’t know where Cincy is. But who cares, let them cover the Red Sox, Yankees, and Dodgers, the Reds team, is ours not theirs.

  5. I’ve definitely groaned at some of Price’s moves ut what he has done is set the tone. With Dusty we heard constant excuses about injuries, Price didn’t offer up these excuses. If you have a Major league roster you are expected to compete. It seems this team believes it too.

  6. I’ll admit to being wrong about NOTHING! Back in May I was saying when healthy we have the makings of a world series team, and I still believe it today. The plot will revolve around how we manage the injuries. To that end, I do believe we need to trade off some of the surplus pitching in the minors (i.e. Moscot, Travieso, Corcino, Guillon) to acquire a Zobrist\Valbuena\Morneau type of player. Most anyone we acquire can be flipped in the offseason to recoup what we gave up, so in essence it’s all about taking on salaries. Let’s see if Big Bob believes as much as I do.

  7. Go get Coghlan from the Cubs, he shouldn’t cost a lot in prospects, is an ok hitter with a little power, some speed and a decent on base percentage. He would be a defensive upgrade in LF and could bat 2nd behind Hamilton. Platoon Pena and Ludwick at 1B, let him use that new glove, and platoon Santiago and Schumaker at 2B until Phillips returns. This allows Bruce to remain in RF and Frazier at 3B. It may not be ideal but would help stabilize the lineup going forward plus, Coghlan should be able to hold down LF at a reasonable price for a year of two until Winker or someone else is ready. Just food for thought.

    • Looks like jocketty is just gonna let gotay, anderson,perez, and navarro rot in aaa. There’s still 13 pitchers at least on of those 4 could of got the call.

    • Great move in that Partch did his part last night, they need line-up options, Mike Leake was the first bat off the bench last night????, they need a MLB first baseball not borderline GG’s playing out of position or back-up catchers. Partch will be non-useful at least for the next week and is unnecessary, I really think Lutz/Soto platoon at 1B should be ridden to Billy Hamilton level patience until Votto returns or a trade/waiver wire acquisition is made

      • I wonder how your Billy Hamilton level of patience will be after a week or two of those guys combining for about a 20 wRC+. I don’t know why they decided to bring up Soto today, but the fact that it took so long tells me that he’s their absolute last option at 1B. Lutz, as far as I know, has never played the position before. I think we all just have to get used to the idea that we might have to sacrifice some defense at 1B for a while in order to maximize our offense.

        • Lutz started out as a first baseman and was moved to the outfield probably because 1B was pretty much blocked for the next several years and apparently he is versatile enought to play the corner outfield positions. He has, however, been playing 1B, LF, and RF at Louisville since being put on that club’s roster.

        • My mistake. Still, I’ll take weaker defense from a player who can actually hit major league pitching at this point.

  8. I hope anybody thinks twice about posting Fire Price posts if the Reds ever lose another series or God forbid 2 in a row. I find it annoying at the fire sale or fire this guy and that guy posts for some reason as if that will be a solution.

  9. Cards blowing out the Brewers 6-0 in the 5th. Looks like a tie for 1st place and a chance for us to make it a virtual 3-way tie with a win tonight. Boy, the Brewers are just imploding.

  10. Now I need to listen to “Desperados Under the Eaves” and while I’m at it, the only Zevon CD I own, “Excitable Boy”

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