Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bring Back Donkey! Who is this Donkey?

So was going to write a quick post that we should bring back the Donkey. We have been shut out more than any team in the league and this guy can hit it out of the park. Now i know he is a defensive liability (but so is our SS and he can't even hit), but his bat makes up for it. Sure Lance Nix has been decent, but with one more bat we have a top of the order that will score runs (again excluding Cabrera which Boose has covered many times). If we are serious about winning the World Series then lets take a chance, bring back someone the city loves and have two guys on the team battling for the HR title. If you are going to post that he strikes out too much, please also provide evidence that a strike out costs you more outs than a ground out before embarrassing yourself.

Now that I've covered the Donkey coming to Cincinnati. I ran across this article written by a Donkey, A look at the current Reds vs. the last World Series team in Cincinnati. Interesting question so I gave it my time. Lets go fjm style and break it down:

With the Cincinnati Reds being contenders with a lot of young talent, talk around Reds Country has been how the current Reds measure up to some of the great Reds teams of the past. I have seen the Reds win the World Series three times in my lifetime and I won't insult your intelligence by comparing the 2010 Reds with the Big Red Machine of 1975 and 1976 other than to say no current Reds' every day player would crack that lineup at the same position.

You could argue that, but I would give Votto's current MVP year slightly ahead of Perez in 1975(15th in MVP voting),1976(no votes). Also OPS 1.012 vs. .816/.776. But agree this team all around isn't nearly as good.

However, it is not uncommon to see the current Reds compared to the 1990 team that went 91-71 but won the World Series. Breaking the teams down position-by-position, I agree.

The first sentance makes little sense: they had a good record, but (which means contrary to what the first thought would convey) they won the post season tournament of the teams with good records.

Catcher: Joe Oliver/Jeff Reed vs. Ramon Hernandez/Ryan Hanigan. None of these guys will be mistaken for Johnny Bench, but they are adequate. The current team is better offensively, 1990 was better defensively. EVEN.

Given he decided that statistics are irrelevant here. So will I. Looking stuff up is hard with all the internets and since neither of us are professional writers it doesn't make sense... Wait this guy gets paid to write about baseball and can just give us "Four catchers aren't as good as one of the best catchers of all time". Well done indeed. Without looking it up I'll agree that we are even at catcher.

First base: Todd Benzinger/Hal Morris vs. Joey Votto. Good journeymen vs. an MVP candidate. EDGE: 2010.

Worth noting that Hal Morris was on steroids as well. That is embarrassing that he still sucked.

Second base: Mariano Duncan/Ron Oester vs. Brandon Phillips. Duncan had a career year and Oester was solid in his final year, but Phillips might be the best second baseman in the National League this year. EDGE: 2010.

Love a shout out to Ronny O, my favorite player of all time. Phillips might be the best second baseman in the NL this year, but to figure that out I'd have to look up how he compares with others this year and that seem like a lot of work

Shortstop: Barry Larkin vs. Orlando Cabrera. As good as Cabrera has been this year, Larkin should be in Cooperstown. Next question? BIG EDGE: 1990

Here is where he started to lose me "As good as Cabrera has been." How good has that been really? Is it the fact he gets more outs than anyone on the team or the fact he isn't that great defensively? It should read, guy who should be in the hall of fame vs guy who should be backup on my softball team

Third base: Chris Sabo vs. Scott Rolen. Different type players. Sabo's was perfect for the vast alleys at Riverfront Stadium, Rolen is great for Great American, is a bit better defensively but is often hurt. EVEN.

One was good at one ball park the other was good at another ball park. Dynamite stuff here. I wish someone would invest a stat that normalized for stadiums... wait... they do... Crazy, OPS+ Sabo 119 vs Rolen 139... Loved the goggles on Sabo, but Rolen is much better despite the injuries

Left field: Eric Davis vs. Jonny Gomes/Laynce Nix. Gomes, especially, and Nix have been solid. At times, Davis was incredible. EDGE: 1990.

"At times," does he mean various years or at times throughout 1990. 1990 wasn't Davis best year statistically, but agree he was better throughout the year than our guys. Aren't we comparing 1990 with 2010 or the careers of the players in 1990 vs the careers of the players in 2010 (the later makes no sense, but would make the Rolen vs Sabo discussion fairly easy)

Center field: Billy Hatcher vs. Drew Stubbs. This one is closer than you might think. EDGE: 1990.

(Note: Hatcher and Davis both played center and left in 1990. I used the World Series lineup.)

So it is closer than I might think. Why is that? I guess you did some research to prove these guys are statistically closer so please elaborate. Does he mean Stubbs OPS of .706 vs Hatcher at .708 which is very close. In fact so close that you would need to look deeper to prove Hatcher is better or just give it a push.

Right field: Paul O'Neill vs. Jay Bruce. In 1990, O'Neill hit .270 with 16 home runs. Through Saturday, Bruce was hitting .262 with 10 long balls. EVEN.

The first sign of statistics here and we go with bating average and home runs to call it even. I guess this is a start. Ironically Hatcher had 5HRs with BA of .276 vs. Stubbs 13HRs and .235 (so not sure what any of this means).

Starting pitching: Then, the staff had a bit more experience and a legitimate hammer in Jose Rijo. Currently, the staff has more depth and a couple of potential hammers in Johnny Cueto and Edinson Volquez. SLIGHT EDGE: 2010.

I'm not going to bother to look at the entire list from 1990 because it is pretty long. I'll say Rijo was good and compare him to two of our other guys. Based on that I'll give it to 2010 because they have two guys with potential to be as good as one guy was during the time period in question (remember this isn't a question of which players will have the longest careers, but which team is better in a specific year. The fact Voltron or Cueto may be as good as Rijo one day is irrelevant to if the 2010 team has a better pitching staff than the 1990 team.).

Bullpen: Are you kidding? The current Reds' pen is getting better statistically but it has too many blown saves for me. The Nasty Boys might have been the greatest pen ever put together. HUGE EDGE: 1990.

Are you kidding ME? Explain "getting better statistically". I bet he is thinking that because Coco has more saves than he did in the beginning of the year he is getting better. Also too many blown saves for you, so it is really just the closer you have a problem with then. I mean Masset doesn't have any blown saves, but he isn't good. This is the reason we won't win the World Series, but hopefully they continue to get better statistically.

Bench: Very similar, from Luis Quinones to Glenn Braggs vs. Miguel Cairo to Chris Heisey. EVEN.

Don't care, as the next one will really put this over the top.

Managing and intangibles: Everything Lou Piniella touched 20 years ago turned to gold. Dusty Baker sure seems to be proving his skeptics wrong this year. But where the teams are most alike is they both seem to have that swagger, that cockiness that great teams have.

Dusty has not proven anything to this skeptic (see all previous posts). Both teams have swagger, which is leads to winning and is not a result of winning. When I was a freshman in high school at 5'2'' 98lbs, I got my butt kicked because I lacked swagger. My lack of cockiness had nothing to do with getting my butt kicked. The rest of this discussion isn't worth the response

Overall: The current Reds are good, not great, but have some pieces in place to be good for several years. Still, I give the 1990 team the advantage in four areas, the current team in three. Given the huge gap between The Nasty Boys and the current pen, the I believe the Reds' last world champion is just a bit better than this team.

Prediction: The Reds have what it takes to win the National League Central, which I think they will. But unlike 1990, the big trophy will go elsewhere.

So we aren't great yet, but might be someday (which isn't relevant to the current discussion). Based on the every one of his categories is equal the 1990 team barely gets passed this one coupled with the huge disparity in the area that will cost us the championship. Unlike 1990 the trophy will go elsewhere because we don't have Terry Hatcher and Rolen isn't better than Sabo. Great analysis here. Also if we make the post season in what round do we play the 1990 Reds. I would be much more worried about the Yankees or Red Sox, but hopefully we can take down those guys from 20 years ago.

--John Herndon

Thank you John. I'm glad linked to your article. It was very insightful

Monday, July 26, 2010

Nice little comeback

It looked bad their for a minute. The Reds went from solidly in first to 1.5 games back in a little over a week thanks to an awful 4 game sweep in Philly then a tough split with the Nationals. They were teetering on the edge of irrelevancy until a nice little weekend in Houston, taking 2 of 3 including one from noted Reds killer Roy Oswalt. Now they sit a half game back, with 3 in Milwaukee followed by a quick 3 game homestand against the Braves. Let's hope that is a battle of first place teams.

Scott Rolen has been hurt (shocking!) but is hopeful to return in the next few days. As usual, the Reds have struggled on offense without him, having been shutout in 4 of the 12 games. Cabrara continues to put up a ton of outs. Even with his solid week, his OBP is below .300 and he will probably get the second most PA's of anyone on the team, behind Brandon Phillips. I have a thought: Let's not give the guy who makes the most outs the second most opportunities to make an out. No wait, that is both logical and simple. Dusty can't handle that. Keep that "SS must bat second" mantra. Works great. The Reds have one of the top 5 players in baseball batting 3rd and a player with the least valuable bat in the NL. How many runs have they lost because of this idiotic lineup construction? How many wins? In a division and wild card that will come down to only a few games, it is a crime to give away runs like this. If you insist on playing Cabrara, bat him lower in the order. Not in front of one of the best players in the majors. Mark it down: If the Reds miss the playoffs by less then 3 games, this will be the reason, and it is all on Dusty.

A commentator mentioned that all I do is whine. I guess he expected a site called Fire Dusty Baker to be about hope, rainbows, and unicorns. Then again the commentator also called it a web log. He should have used "that twitters" and "the internets" just to round out the "Ways to sound like a total idiot when talking about technology" trifecta.

Anyway, since the Reds have been treading water, not much has been going on. Maybe a trade is about to happen or some other major news. Until then, I will be watching and hoping this team and overcome the giant obstacle in the manager's office and make the playoffs. Go Reds!

Friday, July 09, 2010

Glad I haven't had much to write about

-It has been a few weeks since I have written on the blog. My little brother got married last week so that took up a good amount of time but the real reason is the Reds have been playing very well. Despite Dusty's best efforts, and I think he is trying to kill me by continually playing Cabrara, the Reds have taken their largest lead in the Central since Lebron James was in High School, 2002. How long ago does that sound now? The Reds have four all-stars and a few other players enjoying career years. The pitching has held up and with one win this weekend they will ensure a winning record on this 11 game road trip. Didn't think that was possible. I will have a longer Reds post during the all-star break but for now let's enjoy the First Place Cincinnati Reds. Onto other things.

-The World Cup has been amazing. I have watched nearly every game and thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle and the sport. The USA's dramatic goal against Algeria brought the nation together like no other soccer game. The only thing comparable was the gold medal hockey game. The loss to Ghana was crushing but at least there was no controversy. We just got beat. It happens.

I can't wait to watch the finals on Sunday with Spain vs. Holland. A certain someone picked Spain to win it all so why change now. They have played well since their shocking first game loss to Switzerland and have stars all over the field. Holland was great against Brazil, beating the favorites in one of the most exciting games of the Cup. The most exciting was the Uruguay-Ghana game. I have never seen anything like that and I have watched a ton of sports in my day. The swing from one side to the other so fast and so dramatic had me yelling at the TV multiple times. I just hope the final isn't settled on penalties. I hate PK shootouts in the final. I could see it in the rounds before since you don't want one team gaining a huge advantage of not having played 30 more minutes then the other but in the final that doesn't matter. Let them decide it on the field. Give them bigger rosters, 3 more subs, 10 more subs, however many it takes. I just want someone to win it on the field, not in a glorified home run derby/free throw shooting contest. It is unfair to everyone.

-LeBron in Miami is going to be awesome. The one hour special was stupid but I have one thing to say to all those that complain about it; turn the station. The decision will be the same tomorrow as it was last night. Why watch if you think it is stupid? I watched the Reds game until right before he announced. Once he said Miami I turned back. Simple. He even coordinated it so it would be during a Reds TV break.

I also don't get how he is bailing out by going to Miami. Didn't he get killed for not winning a title by himself? Wasn't everyone saying he needed better players? Now he goes to the team with the best players and it is bailing out because he isn't doing it on his own? No one did it on their own. He tried, it didn't work. Kobe needed Gasol. Michael needed Scottie. Shaq needed Kobe. KG needed Allen and Pierce. Every superstar needs another elite player. It doesn't matter where you do it, just as long as you win. It is a smart decision. He will be on TV nearly every night, play in front of sold out arenas every night, play with good friends who he knows can help him out if needed, and win a ton of games. They don't just mail him the trophy. He will have to earn it and you know Boston, Orlando, LA, etc. will be gunning for them with all they have. How is that bailing out? People say he needs to win. He is trying to do that. Why not go to the best situation?

Will have my first half review next week. Until then, Go Reds.