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TeamBoone
02-21-2006, 08:22 PM
02/21/2006 2:16 PM ET
Rotation key to Reds' improvement
Starters won't use hitter-friendly confines as excuse
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com

SARASOTA -- Having just arrived this week to help the coaching staff at Spring Training, former Reds pitcher Tom Browning isn't just a valuable resource for the pitching staff to take advantage of in camp.
Browning is also the answer to a trivia question.

The left-hander was the last Reds pitcher drafted and developed by Cincinnati to win 15 games in a season. That was back in 1990, the same year of the Reds' last World Series championship.

The last time any Reds pitcher won 20 games in a season, whether he came from inside or outside the organization, was Danny Jackson in 1988.

In 2005, Aaron Harang was the team leader with 11 wins and was the only starter to surpass 200 innings. No Reds starter finished with an above-.500 record. The pitching staff's 5.15 ERA ranked at the bottom of the National League. Although the Reds had one of the most potent offenses in baseball, the club won just 73 games and finished fifth in the National League Central.

There weren't many offseason alterations from last year. Traded from Pittsburgh, Dave Williams is the only new starter. Over the weekend, new general manager Wayne Krivsky said he was still searching for more starting pitching. Veterans Chris Hammond and Rick White were signed to stabilize the bullpen, which still lacks a proven closer.

For several years, 'where's the pitching?' has been an often asked question around Cincinnati. That didn't change last year and it hasn't changed entering this season.

An optimistic pitching staff believes the answers are inside the Reds' clubhouse. In fact, its expectations are high.

"It's definitely going to be night and day from last year," starter Eric Milton declared about the staff.

Milton was the epitome of the rotation's woes last season. A free agent signed to a three-year, $25.5 million contract the previous winter, the left-hander was 8-15 record with a club-record 6.47 ERA and 40 homers allowed. He also accepted his share of responsibility.

"A lot of it was myself and the start I got off to," Milton said. "I've always said it's contagious, like hitting or anything else. When you're pitching good, the next guy wants to go out and top the guy before him. When things are going bad, it can wear on the whole staff and not just one person."

"The biggest thing is everybody has to be consistent," Harang said. "We had some ups and downs last year. Guys are coming in early, getting ready for the season. We've got some veteran guys to fill in the bullpen. Starters have to step up and get us through six or seven innings and give our bullpen a chance to finish it."

Reds manager Jerry Narron praised Harang and 10-game winner Brandon Claussen for being the most consistent of anyone last season. He expects them to build off of last season.

"I believe in Major League Baseball, you have to continue to adjust and you have to continue to get better," Narron said. "If they do that, they have a chance to have very good years."

The biggest question mark is the status of last year's Opening Day starter, Paul Wilson, who underwent rotator cuff surgery last June. Slated to be the fifth starter, Wilson's first turn in the rotation would come up April 9. The right-hander has been rehabilitating since January and increasing intensity of his throwing sessions incrementally.

"I'm not counting on him until he takes the mound," Narron said.

Williams, the Reds' acquisition in December's Sean Casey trade, believed he could be successful with his new club.

"From a pitcher's standpoint, you look at the team," said Williams, who was 10-11 with a 4.41 ERA in 25 starts with the Pirates last season. "I have a veteran catcher [Jason LaRue] that calls great games. I have an awesome offense. All I pretty much have to do is do my job. I kind of hold my own fate in my hands. I'm sure plenty of guys want those odds."

One feature that not favorable for Reds pitchers is a hitter friendly Great American Ball Park. The 252 homers hit there, including 120 allowed by Cincinnati pitchers, led the Major Leagues.

According to Narron, the stadium is not an excuse for inflated ERAs.

"I don't care what park you pitch in, I expect you to get guys out," Narron said. "I think if you lower your expectations, you'll have guys happy to give up some runs sometimes. I just believe in wherever you're pitching, you go out there and try not give up a run. If you give up a run, you try not give up two."

The way Williams sees it, there is no reason for the pitching staff not to do well this season.

"It's laid out for all of us," he said. "Everyone on the staff can say we're the ones that have to get it done. We know the other guys are going to get it done. You want that kind of pressure as a pitcher. There should be no excuses or anything like that."

http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp?ymd=20060221&content_id=1317695&vkey=spt2006news&fext=.jsp&c_id=cin

Edd Roush
02-21-2006, 09:51 PM
Count me in as one who is a little optimistic with Dave Williams this year. I guess I felt the same way about Milton last year, but with LaRussa calling him the best young left handed starter in the NL really gets me dreaming. It's spring training, the time of hope, let's just hope the stars align correctly and our Redlegs pull off the unimaginable.

Doc. Scott
02-21-2006, 10:45 PM
Well, if it were actually hitter-friendly, then that would be a concern. But it's not, so it isn't.

Homer-friendly, now, yes.

C'mon, Sheldon.

RFS62
02-21-2006, 10:47 PM
Well, if it were actually hitter-friendly, then that would be a concern. But it's not, so it isn't.

Homer-friendly, now, yes.

C'mon, Sheldon.


Sheldon has a ways to go.

bianchiveloce
02-22-2006, 08:20 AM
We need pitchers that have good Ground Ball/Fly Ball ratios who can keep the ball in the park and a good defense to back up that type of pitcher.

KearnsyEars
02-22-2006, 01:28 PM
GABP---Coors Field of the Midwest. And I like it.

Doc. Scott
02-22-2006, 08:07 PM
(sigh) Except it isn't.

It likes homers and it reflects how bad the Reds' pitching is. Something it's had in common with, oh, every other major-league park the Reds have played in since 2003.

guttle11
02-22-2006, 08:51 PM
(sigh) Except it isn't.

It likes homers and it reflects how bad the Reds' pitching is. Something it's had in common with, oh, every other major-league park the Reds have played in since 2003.

Exactly. I would venture to guess that as many as 95% of the HR's Reds pitchers have given up in GABP, would be HR's in 95% of major league ballparks.

harangatang
02-22-2006, 09:38 PM
I think that people commonly forget we had two pretty successful young pitchers that pitched half of thier games at GABP last year. Harang pitched 211 2/3 innings and allowed 22 homeruns on the season and Claussen pitched 166 2/3 innings and allowed 24 homeruns. If I remember correctly Harang's road/home split actually considerably favored him pitching at home. GABP is going to give up a few more homeruns but it's the quality of the team that has kept pitchers away not the park. If Cincinnati would have been successful there would have been good starting pitchers were willing to pitch for the Reds.

Ravenlord
02-22-2006, 10:09 PM
I think that people commonly forget we had two pretty successful young pitchers that pitched half of thier games at GABP last year. Harang pitched 211 2/3 innings and allowed 22 homeruns on the season and Claussen pitched 166 2/3 innings and allowed 24 homeruns. If I remember correctly Harang's road/home split actually considerably favored him pitching at home. GABP is going to give up a few more homeruns but it's the quality of the team that has kept pitchers away not the park. If Cincinnati would have been successful there would have been good starting pitchers were willing to pitch for the Reds.



Harang
Split ERA IP K BB H HR GB/FB
Home 3.31 100.2 80 26 92 11 0.99
Away 4.30 111 83 25 125 11 0.91

Claussen
Split ERA IP K BB H HR GB/FB
Home 4.81 91.2 66 31 102 15 0.74
Away 3.48 75 55 26 76 9 0.80

Doc. Scott
02-22-2006, 11:25 PM
The Reds' awful pitching has started leading people to blame the park when it's simply unjustified. A little more success (which should come in 2006) will show free-agent pitchers that Cincinnati isn't such a bad place to be- you get a lot of run support and just need to keep from throwing an excessive number of fly balls.

TeamBoone
02-24-2006, 03:03 PM
Friday, February 24, 2006
Wilson understands slow going
Club doesn't want to risk long-term injury
BY JOHN FAY | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER

SARASOTA, Fla. - Paul Wilson knows he's walking a fine line.

"I want to do everything I can to be out there," he said. "But you don't want to push so hard that you cook it."

Wilson reported to camp Jan. 15 and had thrown nine bullpen sessions before the pitchers' and catchers' report date. He learned firsthand the price of cooking it.

Wilson resumed throwing three days ago after taking a week off.

"I was hanging," he said. "I couldn't lift my arm."

He's been fine since he resumed throwing. He threw a long-toss session Monday and a bullpen session Wednesday. He's scheduled to throw another bullpen session today.

"We're kind of feeling our way," Wilson said. "They're listening to me and how I feel."

Wilson had shoulder surgery June 17. Being ready for an April 8 start - the first time the Reds need a fifth starter - would be a quick recovery from the type of shoulder surgery Wilson had.

That's why manager Jerry Narron wants to avoid a timetable with Wilson.

"I know why he says that," Wilson said. "He wants me 100 percent for 5½ months. He doesn't want to rush things and jeopardize that."


http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060224/SPT04/602240342/1071

TeamBoone
02-24-2006, 03:09 PM
Friday, February 24, 2006 (from Marc's Blog)
You do the math

SARASOTA -- Just to make Jerry Narron happy, let me emphasize right up top that all of what follows is extremely tentative -- "not even written in mud," as he said. Nonetheless, the Reds have set up some probables for their first stretch of exhibition games, and the little boxes on the calendar point to one conclusion: Aaron Harang is in line to be the Reds' Opening Day starter.

Harang is slated to start the Reds' game at Legends Field against the Yankees a week from tomorrow. With the traditional four days' rest, you can plot out his starts all the way to a scheduled turn April 3 against the Cubs at Great American Ball Park. None of this is locked in, mind you, but all signs point in that direction.

"Aaron Harang definitely deserves a chance at it," said Narron, "but we’ll see what happens."

As for the starters in the other exhibition games next week, here's the (tentative) rundown:

Tuesday vs. Kia Tigers -- Dave Williams

Wednesday's intrasquad game -- Brandon Claussen (and TBA, I assume)

Thursday at Detroit -- Eric Milton

Friday split-squad vs. Detroit and at Minnesota -- Justin Germano and Mike Gosling.

http://frontier.cincinnati.com/blogs/spring/

KYRedsFan
02-25-2006, 09:56 PM
Milton taming GABP, just like Roy tamed the tiger.

Red Heeler
02-25-2006, 10:21 PM
The Reds' awful pitching has started leading people to blame the park when it's simply unjustified. A little more success (which should come in 2006) will show free-agent pitchers that Cincinnati isn't such a bad place to be- you get a lot of run support and just need to keep from throwing an excessive number of fly balls.

Not only have the Reds bad pitchers skewed the stats for GAB, but a lineup with Griffey, Dunn, Pena, et al would tend to make any park look homer friendly.

TeamBoone
02-26-2006, 06:09 PM
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Belisle can start or be a reliever
Probably will wind up in bullpen, but he'd be happy in the rotation
BY JOHN FAY | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER

SARASOTA, Fla. - Matt Belisle, reliever or starter?

It's one of the big questions of Reds camp. Even Belisle isn't sure where he'll end up.

"I'm working with the reliever group now," Belisle said. "I was with the starter group. They're going to move me around."

The Reds like Belisle's arm. He went 4-8 with a 4.41 ERA last season in his first full year in the big leagues. He was 2-2 with a 5.25 ERA as a starter and 2-6 with a 4.09 ERA as a reliever.

Belisle, a 25-year-old right-hander, tired toward the end of the year. He allowed 15 runs over his last 10 appearances of the year, pushing his ERA from 3.77 to 4.41.

With Paul Wilson's status iffy for at least the start of the season, the Reds could need a starter early.

But right now it looks as though left-hander Michael Gosling and right-hander Justin Germano will get first crack at filling in if Wilson can't go.

That's OK with Belisle.

"I'd like to do the same thing as last year: help the team win any way I can," he said. "If I got the opportunity to be one of the five starters, it would be great."

But Belisle probably will end up in the bullpen.

"He did a very good job for us last year," Reds manager Jerry Narron said. "We don't want to mess with that."

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060226/SPT04/602260412/1071