Sunday, July 03, 2005

Reds thoughts 

I have to comment on my beloved Cincinnati Reds. The team has fired the manager and pitching coach, and ditched their multi-million dollar closer all in efforts to shake things up and get the team to play better baseball.

There was a lot of excitement generated in this city when the Reds actually went out and spent over $20 million to acquire Eric Milton and to reward Sean Casey and Paul Wilson. The Reds also acquired Ramon Ortiz and Joe Randa. I will be the first to admit that I bought some of the hype and thought the Reds might actually be contenders in the National League Central. Others won't admit they bit, but I will. I don't think the problem was totally the manager's fault, although what little I have heard on the radio, Dave Miley's easygoing style may have allowed the players to become too complacent and lazy when they should have been playing harder. The problem hasn't been offensive production with the Reds putting together an offense that is 16th in team batting average, 3rd in home runs, 5th in runs scored and 5th in OPS (on base percentage plus slugging percentage). The problem has been pitching. Until his past couple of games, Eric Milton has been one of the most hitable pitchers in all of baseball giving up a league leading 27 home runs thus far. Ramon Ortiz hasn't been much better and Paul Wilson was just as bad before going on the Disabled List with shoulder tendenitis. One of my co-workers put it best when he said, "Steve, I respect number one through eight in that lineup. I don't respect number nine."

What the Reds need to do is admit that there were mistakes made and then not do them again. Getting pitchers who keep the ball down on hitters and are "groundball" pitchers will have to be the target of this ball club if they are going to pursue a "pitch-to-contact" philosophy of pitching. I hope Dan O Brien will learn from some of his mistakes and will implement some necessary changes to give us Reds fans some true reason for optimism next year.

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