2010 Reds / Not-So-Random Thoughts

Not-So-Random Thoughts

I’ve been doing some thinking…

* The Reds are holding a wiffle ball tournament on Saturday, August 14. It sounds awesome. If anyone wants to put together a team (3-5 players), Redleg Nation might be willing to sponsor you, complete with RN T-shirts as uniforms. Just let me know soon, either with a comment here or an email.

* So the Reds are 8-5 since the All-Star break, 13-11 in July, 57-46 overall. The Reds have had a winning record in each month, and they only have to win one of the next two to ensure a winning July.

We did this last month, and I think it’s instructive. Let’s say the Reds split the next two to finish July at 58-47. Suppose Cincinnati then puts up a 14-13 record in August, and a 15-15 record in September/October. Not unreasonable, is it? That’s just one game over .500 for the rest of the season, and it would give the Reds a final 2010 record of 87-75. I will take that, in a heartbeat; that would be an outstanding improvement over the last decade.

For argument’s sake, let’s say the Reds go 15-12 and 16-14 in the last two months. That’s 89 wins on the season. All of a sudden, we’re on the verge of 90 wins, and teams have won the World Series with fewer. In other words, the Reds really don’t have to play exceptionally well to be right in the thick of the race for the rest of the season. Calm down and enjoy it.

* Bill Simmons linked this old SNL skit last week: I had forgotten how hilarious it was. It’s The Sinatra Group, featuring Phil Hartman, Chris Rock, and Mike Myers. Good stuff.

* Are you going to get your Homer Bailey bobblehead this weekend?

* The “Kanye West/Imma let you finish” meme never fails to amuse me.

* Interesting piece in Esquire this week about a perfect bid on Price is Right and the controversy surrounding it.

* In fifteen years, Jordan Smith is going to look exactly like David Weathers.

* ESPN published this, and it made me sick: What’s lurking in your stadium food? The Great American Ballpark entry was disgusting.

* I quit golf for good three months ago, and I’ve never been happier.

* Check out this quote from Adam Dunn. That guy is my favorite player, and probably will be until he retires. I especially enjoyed the comment from Craig Calcaterra:

Dunn was routinely knocked when he played for the Reds for having a bad attitude and being lackadaisical. Every time he opens his mouth, however, he sounds like a remarkably grounded and healthy person…I can’t imagine not wanting a sensible guy like Dunn in my clubhouse.

* I saw Inception last weekend. I thought it was good, not great, though I loved the ending. There is some possibility that I was expecting too much, because of all the exceptional reviews. Probably, I need to watch it again.

* Walt Jocketty says he might not be able to work out any deal before the trade deadline. That’s probably a good thing. Unless ol’ Uncle Walt were overwhelmed by an opportunity to acquire someone who will definitely improve the team, no use in taking unnecessary risks. Of course, there’s one deal he REALLY needs to get done, right now.

* Little-known fact about me: I’ve been to a Phish show…and I loved it. And I wasn’t under the influence of any substances at the time.

* Obligatory soccer nugget: Hurrah! Fox Soccer HD is coming to DirecTV!

* Any suggestions for the RN Get-Together, now scheduled for August 28? Should we meet somewhere before the game, etc.?

* Yesterday was Marty Brennaman’s 68th birthday, and the Nation would like to wish the Hall-of-Famer a belated happy birthday. To celebrate, we’ll show you our favorite Marty moment:

Okay, this is an open thread to discuss whatever you want. Enjoy….

117 thoughts on “Not-So-Random Thoughts

  1. Whiffleball is such a great sport. One summer in college, a group of fraternity brothers and I played almost everyday. We kept stats and everything. Since it was summer, the parking lots were generally empty and we used empty 12 pack boxes for bases. We alternated between two lots depending on which one was empty. Busch Light boxes were used for Busch Stadium and the elevated lot was Coors Field where we used Coors Light and Keystone boxes. I must brag that I led the league in HRs that year.

  2. Glad that Matt Belisle is finally pitching well but we don’t need him, not with our surplus of solid RHed relievers.
    Burton would be on the roster of most teams by now.
    Plus coming back to Cincy might spook Belisle.

    I made a statement about LHed relief and a good reply was Travis Wood. But it’s not clear that Wood will be assigned that role, I don’t know the plan with him.

    With Leake, the plan seems to be to push back enough of his starts so that he will start right thru September.

  3. ^ This was before Miller Park was built, else we could have put to use the Miller Lite and Milwaukees Best boxes we had.

  4. @Greg Dafler: Haven’t followed AA this year, didn’t know about Horst.

    WJ has talked about getting another veteran guy in the pen, I think it will be Springer and not a trade.

  5. @pinson343: No wonder people are always complaining about the cost of major sports! If you have money to blow, more power to you. But most of us don’t like to spend money on that kind of thing. I like to get a little more value for my money, personally.

  6. Corey Hart, wow. If he’s healthy, that would be a major addition. I’m glad to hear that WJ is looking for another bat. He might pull off another one of his last-minute surprises.

    Our offense has good stats but needs to be more consistent. And we’re all afraid (very afraid) of Votto, Roeln, or BP getting hurt and being out for an extended period. We don’t have the depth to handle that.

  7. @renbutler: I don’t actually eat a lot at baseball parks now, too expensive and I’d get sick (too old for it). But what I do eat is the usual baseball game junk.

  8. Oswalt approved the deal and the Phillies sent Jonathan Villar, J.A. Happ, and Anthony Gose to the Astros. Then the Astros flipped Anthony Gose to the Blue Jays.

  9. “his last few years on the Reds were not the best.”

    Well let’s see, Adam Dunn’s last 3 seasons in Cincinnati:

    2006: .234/.365/.490 114 OPS+
    2007: .264/.386/.554 136 OPS+
    2008: .236/.386/.513 130 OPS+

    So, his worst year, and two years that weren’t as good as his 2004 or 2005 season, but were still very good offensively.

  10. @lukeukcrazy: That sounds unsubstantiated to me. Link? There’s nothing on MLBTradeRumors.com or ESPN. In fact, it is contrary to Fay’s post. “As far offensive help, Jocketty isn’t pursuing anything. ‘Not really,’ he said. ‘I don’t see many offensive guys who can help us. Nothing has stood out.’

    I would be shocked if the Brewers and Reds swapped in division for a guy who isn’t a FA until next season. By the way, it wouldn’t be hitting that the Brewers get, it would be a hard throwing pitcher like Bailey.

  11. @David: I’d say either or. Yonder fits if they want to move Prince (sounding more and more unlikely, at least by this non-waiver deadline), but otherwise, yes, the Brewers are pitching poor. Throw out the divisional aspect and you have a pretty good trading partner.

    • WJ said he almost made a deal and it went off here is where I found it

      never mind

  12. @David: I don’t see a trade for a big bat happening. But you can’t go by WJ saying: ‘Not really. I don’t see many offensive guys who can help us. Nothing has stood out.’

    WJ talks but what he says and what he’s doing aren’t necessarily the same thing.

  13. @pinson343: Right. I mean, nobody knew the Reds were in on Chapman until it was over. The Rolen deal was supposed to be dead, then it happened. Words are cheap at the moment.

  14. And after listening to WJ for the last few years, I interpret “Not really” as “Not definitely”.

  15. With the view that the Reds will be shuting Leake down here soon, my question is why? As long as he feels okay why not let him continue to pitch? Let him maybe miss a start here or there but let him pitch. I came across this bit of info that would lend me to think if he takes care of himself there is no reason why he can’t pitch the rest of the season;

    “Retired players generally scoff at the idea that a major leaguer should throw only 100 pitches. “I used to have that many by the second inning,” joked Sam McDowell, who pitched for the Indians from 1961 to 1971, winning 122 games and leading the league in strikeouts five times.

    McDowell and another fireballer, Sonny Siebert, who threw a no-hitter for Cleveland in 1966, both said they had games in which they threw more than 200 pitches. Nolan Ryan is said to have thrown 259 pitches in a 12-inning game in 1974.

    “I don’t believe in taking a pitcher out unless he’s in trouble,” said Siebert. “If a guy is young and in shape, the number of pitches shouldn’t be a problem.”

    Said McDowell: “The more you use a muscle, the stronger it gets.”

    Len Barker, who threw a perfect game for the Indians in 1981, questioned today’s philosophy. “If a guy is throwing good, why take him out?

    “I had games where I threw 145 to 175 pitches. They pay relievers millions of dollars, so they have to justify using them.”

    • With the view that the Reds will be shuting Leake down here soon, my question is why? As long as he feels okay why not let him continue to pitch?

      This issue has been covered ad nauseum. In addition to the Verducci finding, which is interesting but fairly superficial, there are dozens of articles and studies on this by Baseball Prospectus, Bill James, Rob Neyer, Tom Tango and the writers at Baseball Think Factory, among others.

      I put essentially no stock in what old pitchers say about the weakness of the next generation (I’m assuming you read something in a Cleveland paper). Looking only at those ex-Tribe pitchers, I find their comments especially odd/irrelevant:

      Sonny Siebert didn’t make it to the majors until he was 27 years old. He also didn’t throw many pitches, even compared to modern starters. He never topped 241 IP, and was only over 200 four times.

      McDowell threw a lot of pitches, most likely averaging around 125 a game in his age 27 season. But what he seems to forget is that he was never the same again after that season, and was effectively washed up at age 29.

      At Len Barker’s peak usage, he threw less than 110 pitches a start. So he doesn’t know what he is talking about. In any event, he was hurt at 28 and done for at 29.

  16. @pinson343: Wow, just wow. I like Hart and what he’d be able to do in the 2-hole. I really wish his intro music was “Sunglasses at Night.” Instead, it’s “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked,” by Caged the Elephant.

  17. Looking ahead for the Reds, I see 3 tough road trips. All of them involve at least one West Division team.

    A 9 game West Coast road trip is coming up August 17 thru 25 at Arizona, LA, and SF. I’ll be going to one of the SF games.

    A critical road trip takes place
    September 3 thru 9: 3 games in St. Louis followed by 4 at Colorado.

    Finally, we have a short but dangerous West Coast trip close to the end: September 24 thru 26, 3 at San Diego.

  18. @dn4192: What I read on a “reliable” Reds site (forget whether it was Fay’s or mlb.com) is that the Reds are not going to shut down Leake, they’re going to stretch out his starts so he can stay in the rotation until the end of the regular season. Right now, for example, he’s getting 8 days between starts.

    I’m not at all sure that he’ll pitch effectively that way.

  19. The big West Coast trip coming up in mid-August reminds me of the 2006 Reds. This team is better than that one was, especially after The 2006 Trade, but they were sitting pretty at this point, leading the wild card chase.

    The collapse came with a late August road trip, losing 9 of 10 in SF, LA, and SD. There was a crushing 16 inning loss to LA in there, at which point most of us felt it was over.

    • yes and Jorge Cantu got traded to the Rangers for Omar Poveda and Evan Reed

      Poveda is coming off tommy john surgery

  20. @dn4192: The concern is less about Leake this year (though he could hit a hard wall), but is much more about NEXT year. There is ample statistical evidence to refute what grisly veterans believe. Once you hit a certain baseline, then no, the innings don’t matter as much. But when you increase the load significantly from one year to the next on a young arm, you signficantly increase injury risk the year following the innings increase. No way they should risk that golden arm, even for the playoffs.

    • Where might one find this statisical information?

      @dn4192: The concern is less about Leake this year (though he could hit a hard wall), but is much more about NEXT year. There is ample statistical evidence to refute what grisly veterans believe. Once you hit a certain baseline, then no, the innings don’t matter as much. But when you increase the load significantly from one year to the next on a young arm, you signficantly increase injury risk the year following the innings increase. No way they should risk that golden arm, even for the playoffs.

    • Now the Astros are pushing hard to trade Berkman to the Rays

      because Brett Wallace is going to become the 1st baseman

  21. @dn4192: The number of pitches thrown in a game is a different issue from the number of innings thrown in a season.

    For a veteran pitcher, a lot of innings in a season is OK. For a young pitcher, you have to consider the maximum number of innings he’s thrown in a season so far. This is Mike Leake’s first pro season.

    Jim Bunning was asked about this in an mlbnetwork interview. I expected a macho reply, instead he gave a reasonable one. Young pro pitches used to spend more years in the minors, he said, building their arms up there. By the time they came up to the majors, their arms were developed enough to throw a full workload of innings.

    One difference from “the old days” is that in the old days most MLB players did not attend college, so they started their pro careers early.

  22. @dn4192: Google search the “Verducci Effect.” It was named after a sports illustrated writer who first found the effect. I don’t mean to suggest it’s infalliable, but organizations are pretty protective of their assets based on some of this. There are also some who don’t believe in it. I can tell you that Homer Bailey was flagged as being at risk this year.

  23. The Reds organization has had a bad history with dead young arms,
    from the 1960’s with Gary Nolan, Sammy Ellis, and (sort of) Jim Maloney (who wasn’t so young any more) into the 2000’s, with all those early draft picks who never reached the majors.

    Then there’s Edinson Volquez.

  24. For prematurely dead arms, I forgot to mention Mario Soto. That was really a shame, he was great. Pete Rose insisted he could pitch on 3 days rest, which he wasn’t used to.

  25. @lukeukcrazy: Mlbtraderumors says it’s Tejada to the Padres for pitching prospect Wynn Pelzer.

    Don’t think Tejada can help the Padres much.

  26. It was that 35 year old knuckle baller Dickey who shut out the Cards today.

    Glad the Reds didn’t face him, hitters claim a knuckle baller can put you in a slump for a week.

    • Glad the Reds didn’t face him, hitters claim a knuckle baller can put you in a slump for a week.

      I’ve heard that, too. But I also heard someone ask Cal Ripken if that was true and he said no, that hitters have very specific game plans each day and that one day wouldn’t affect the next. Probably some truth to both sides.

  27. I think the team that should go and get Adam Dunn is the Chicago White Sox. The White Sox have a long history of big, lumbering sluggers – many of which became fan favorites. Dunn could step into his future and be the primary DH, negating his defensive problems. Dunn would also be a nice compliment to Paul Konerko in the middle of their lineup.

  28. That is great news that Fox Soccer Channel will be in HD.

    I would like to see Dunn go to the Yankees, he would put up great numbers in that lineup and ball park.

  29. @RiverCity Redleg: I played wiffleball every day from about age 11 to 18. We played fast pitch, and man is it hard to hit. Just by holding the ball a certain way, you can throw a curve, screwball, riser, and sinker, all without ever breaking your wrist (i.e., you throw everything like a fastball).

    I also played in two different National Wiffleball tournaments (Southeastern region). Came in 2nd in one and 5th in the other. Problem was in the first one I threw abut 600 pitches in a day. I felt great, and that was the last time I have ever pitched…tendenitis, career over. Jim Bunning would call me a wimp.

  30. So Oswalt will give the Phils a couple extra wins. It’s interesting…but I still think the Phils will not make the playoffs.

    They aren’t as good as Atlanta and trail by 3. I like Atl there. And I like SF as the wild card team, for the reasons LVW gave a few days ago…they are ahead of the Phils now and their team has Posey and Bumgarner…they are better than their record, as those guys haven’t played more than a month or so.

    Conceptually, Philly could beat San Diego for the wildcard. But I still think it is not that likely.

    I see this as a good deal for the Reds, as he does not go to St. Louis. And as usual the media misreported the prospects. (When they aren’t getting the actual trade wrong, e.g., Cliff Lee.)

  31. The Twins acquired Matt Capps from the Nationals for top prospect Wilson Ramos.

  32. Keith Law says the Brewers are not selling because they are close enough to contention.

    Is that a joke?

    48-55 and 9 games back behind 2 teams?

    • Keith Law says the Brewers are not selling because they are close enough to contention.Is that a joke?48-55 and 9 games back behind 2 teams?

      Probably Matt’s explanation is right, that they’re thinking about next year. I’m a little in the dark about the Prince Fielder situation: why are people assuming that he’ll definitely be dealt.

      In any case, I’m not going to judge whether they’re being foolish or not. But one team that had a “never say die” attitude every year, no matter how far out of it they were, was the Astros of recent years. Twice or so when they seemed way out of it they refused to sell and came back to make the playoffs. Another time they almost made the playoffs.

      People were talking about how they were hurting themselves in the long run, which of course is showing now. You have to say that the first couple of years they did this, when they actually made the playoffs, you HAVE to say they made the right move.

      But then it became a pattern, and is largely responsible for their current mess.

  33. @Dave Lowenthal: It might be less about really competing this year as much as next. You’re right, two teams might unrealistic to catch. But, they’re playing over .500 in June and July after a horrible April and May with lots of blown saves. Again, with that lineup, if they could get a modicum of pitching, they can make noise. Hart and Fielder will be there next year if they want them, why not see how things shape out? Fielder may also end up being a waiver clearing trade. Who knows. Milwaukee is flawed, but not a bad team.

  34. The White Sox are on the verge of getting Edwin Jackson for Daniel Hudson and another pitcher.

  35. As a kid, used to love to play wiffleball one on one against my best friend. It was really more of a home run derby. We played in the front yard. If you hit it over the house it was a home run. However, if the pitcher could run around the house and catch the ball BEFORE it hit the ground it was an out. My buddy actually did that to me a couple of time. Knew I shouldn’t have hit it that high! lol

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