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Boston Red
04-21-2006, 10:28 AM
So, we're basically 10% of the way through the season, and the Reds are on a pace to win 100 games. ;) What we've seen so far is that the Reds are very similar to last year's team in many respects. The starting pitching, almost without exception, is atrocious. The bullpen might actually be worse than last year's (save the emergence of Todd Coffee as a stopper). But a lineup with Dunn, Lopez, Freel, Kearns, Encarnacion and sometimes Griffey is able to pound out runs in bunches.

So, the question looms: is this sustainable? Conventional wisdom is not only no, but HELL NO. You have to have pitching to win, and the Reds apparently do not. There are too many games against other teams' aces that the Reds simply do not have a chance to win to keep up this run, right?

However, we're fans, so we can't just accept that. I mean, the Reds HAVE managed to beat Cris Carpenter and Dontrelle Willis already this year, arguably the top two pitchers in the National League (I said arguably Pedro). And isn't pitching around the league so poor that the Reds really CAN count on trying to outscore teams on most nights? Sure, it's not a great playoff strategy, but in the regular season when you play Pittsburgh as much as you do St. Louis, why not?

Anyway, I'm interested in other Reds' fans thoughts. Is there any hope that this pace is at all sustainable (other than the fact that they play the games on the field and not on paper, so there's always SOME hope)? Or do you guys think that, barring some miracle with the pitching staff, we're headed for an unavoidable summer swoon?

flyer85
04-21-2006, 10:38 AM
You don't have to have great pitching to win but it needs to be at least around league average.

Tommyjohn25
04-21-2006, 10:44 AM
You don't have to have great pitching to win but it needs to be at least around league average.

Exactly, if the Reds can at least sustain league average pitching through the all star break, then I believe the team will make a run a some 1/2 year rentals for a playoff push. The offense? It can absolutely be the the best in baseball, will it score 12 runs a night? No. But will it more often than not give us a chance to win? Bet on it.

bengalred
04-21-2006, 10:45 AM
We're one pitcher away from being a definete contender. Maybe when Paul Wilson gets back, we can get rid of Dave Williams...

flyer85
04-21-2006, 10:48 AM
We're one pitcher away from being a definete contender. actually I would say 3-4(Williams, White, Hammonds and likely Milton)

bengalred
04-21-2006, 10:54 AM
actually I would say 3-4(Williams, White, Hammonds and likely Milton)
I meant starting pitching, but the bullpen needs work too. I think we have enough bullpen to get by for now, with Shackelford, Coffey, Belisle, and Weathers, but by the trade deadline we need some bullpen help. I also think that Milton will be fine. He has only had one bad start so far, so I am willing to give him a chance. Williams, on the other hand, is not worthy of the slightest chance possible.

membengal
04-21-2006, 10:55 AM
They are two starting pitchers away from being a contender. And, I mean two legit starters (not two Dave Williams starters). Without that, they still have a chance to make my dream of .500, but it's hard to expect more.

Hope for more? Sure. Expect it? No way.

M2
04-21-2006, 11:01 AM
What flyer said. The pitching just isn't built to contend and it's still multiple bodies away from league average. If there was viable help in AAA I might take a different position, but there isn't.

edabbs44
04-21-2006, 11:04 AM
We're one pitcher away from being a definete contender. Maybe when Paul Wilson gets back, we can get rid of Dave Williams...

Paul Wilson is nowhere near what we need. If Griffey is healthy, maybe we can swing something with the CWS since they had mucho interest last season. They are dying to get McCarthy in the rotation. Or maybe Minny, same situation with Liriano. Grif won't go to Minn, but since Kriv has a history with Minny he might be able to work something.

RFS62
04-21-2006, 11:04 AM
This team, with the pitching we have right now, may come out of the gate like Secretariat, but it's going to cross the finish line like Mr. Ed.

flyer85
04-21-2006, 11:04 AM
If there was viable help in AAA I might take a different position, but there isn't.Honestly they need to do what the Indians did a couple of years back when their pen was a disaster of epic proportions in the first two months. Just start running guys through there until you find a couple more than can get people out. That may mean trying AAA starters(especially since none project as effective ML starters anyway) as ML relievers and bringing up a AA pitcher or two as well.

Highlifeman21
04-21-2006, 11:08 AM
Unfortunately, still a small sample size. Once we've taken a full lap around the NL Central, then I would feel comfortable to pass judgment. I hope for the best for the Reds, but the pitching makes me sick to my stomach on a nightly-basis.

2001MUgrad
04-21-2006, 11:08 AM
If they keep hitting like they are maybe. The NL Central maybe be the toughest division in baseball. The Mets and Braves get to play the Marlins 500 times. I tend to think that Pitts is better than FLa, but that might prove to be wrong.
But, the team would never win a short series against a team with good pitching. They might against a team with average to decent pitching.

BigDonkey44
04-21-2006, 11:24 AM
Pretender, must stop giving up runs or it's going to catch up to us.

redsfan30
04-21-2006, 11:43 AM
Still too early to tell. I don't think the starting pitching has been as bad as people say it has been. Of course there have been three or four very putrid starts, but for the most part it's been at least servicable, and with this offense that's all you need.

If the bullpen can get straightened out (and it's possible), and something can be done with Dave Williams (either come around or take him off the 25 man roster), then yeah I think this team can still make some noise.

Still way too early to tell, though.

2001MUgrad
04-21-2006, 11:44 AM
The starting pitching hadn't been too bad until the past few games.

RFS62
04-21-2006, 12:01 PM
The starting pitching hadn't been too bad until the past few games.



Captain of the Titanic: "This iceburg damage doesn't seem that bad."

flyer85
04-21-2006, 12:03 PM
Captain of the Titanic: "This iceburg damage doesn't seem that bad."2 starters with ERAs over 6 and one with an ERA over 10 speaks for itself. It is best described as scrappy without the "s".

Unassisted
04-21-2006, 12:05 PM
Don't forget that the other 90% of the season will almost certainly feature a much higher percentage of contending opponents for the Reds than the first 10% has.

What we've seen so far has been like an early-season college basketball or college football schedule.

BRM
04-21-2006, 12:06 PM
2 starters with ERAs over 6 and one with an ERA over 10 speaks for itself. It is best described as scrappy without the "s".

And they've managed to put up those ERAs against such offensive juggernauts as the Cubs, Pirates, and Marlins.

flyer85
04-21-2006, 12:09 PM
Don't forget that the other 90% of the season will almost certainly feature a much higher percentage of contending opponents for the Reds than the first 10% has.This is not a good year for the NL. There is not a scary team in the entire league. I look for almost every team in the league to stay in the race save the Fish, the Rats and the Rocks.

Blarkin
04-21-2006, 12:09 PM
Pitching is what will or will not get us into the playoffs, and right now we are know where near the pitching we need. Pitchers like Zambrano, Oswalt, and Petite are going to heat up. I don't see our guys getting on a streak, especially not in the GABP.

shredda2000
04-21-2006, 12:32 PM
If pitching does not improve dramatically (via trades or career miracles), the Reds will be "a lost ball in high weeds" by the All-Star break. And this is coming from an optimist...

Caveat Emperor
04-21-2006, 01:16 PM
What flyer said. The pitching just isn't built to contend and it's still multiple bodies away from league average. If there was viable help in AAA I might take a different position, but there isn't.

There's no starting pitching help in Louisville, but I could see one or two of those "starers" being brought up as MR guys. The key is just to find 2 more people who can get outs. I'm confident a bullpen with Coffey, Weathers and Mercker at the back, 2 guys in the middle, and Belisle on swing can be effective (speaking of Belsile, key with him seems to be warmup time -- he looks great when they let him loosen for an inning +, but looks awful when he gets up to throw mid inning and has to go in). Guys like a David Shafer at AA could also be helpful in the not too distant future.

The problem is starting pitching. There's no esay fix to that, and no getting around the fact that 2 out of the 5 are absolutely awful, and the other 3 aren't going to beat the door down for the Cy Young either.

Clear Pretender.

membengal
04-21-2006, 01:39 PM
Don't forget that the other 90% of the season will almost certainly feature a much higher percentage of contending opponents for the Reds than the first 10% has.

What we've seen so far has been like an early-season college basketball or college football schedule.


Well now, I am not too sure about that. The NL is NOT a good league right now, so I don't know how much harder it is going to get.... The NL West is a collective joke, and in the East, the Mets look real good, but the Braves are not quite what they used to be. Curious about a series with the Astros, but the Cubs/Cards/Brewers is not a bad test so far.

membengal
04-21-2006, 01:39 PM
This is not a good year for the NL. There is not a scary team in the entire league. I look for almost every team in the league to stay in the race save the Fish, the Rats and the Rocks.

Sorry flyer, said pretty much the exact same thing as you, but responded to the post before flippnig to the second page.

Yeah, what flyer said.

flyer85
04-21-2006, 01:41 PM
Yeah, what flyer said.:welcome:

UK Reds Fan
04-21-2006, 01:45 PM
It really comes down to who we are competing against.

St Louis will win the Central
Mets will will the East
Who care will win the west.

That leaves Braves, Astros, Phils, Reds and Brewers fighting it out for WC. I just don't see Cubs sticking with Lee missing 2 months or more, anyone else in West being in the WC race.

I think we are a contender as we will probably battle out for a good while for the WC...at status quo I don't see us winning it, but flipping a 2nd bagger or catcher for an extra arm might put us alot closer than you think.

We are 10 - 6 and Harang has been rather poor by his standards thus far. We have 3 solid starters and one that is still in question. We do need a 5th starter, but who doesn't outside of 4 teams in all of baseball. Hammond could just as easily turn a Weathers via 2005 and turn it around to be average to team with Merker, Weathers, Coffey and an improving Belisle.

I vote we are a contender.

IslandRed
04-21-2006, 01:48 PM
I agree with the consensus... pretender unless the pitching can somehow cobble together respectability. But at least we're dadgum entertaining to watch, and that counts for something.

Falls City Beer
04-21-2006, 01:59 PM
Two well-timed, well-placed trades and this team's a contender.

And not for this year alone, either.

Reds Nd2
04-21-2006, 02:08 PM
Two well-timed, well-placed trades and this team's a contender.

And not for this year alone, either.

Only if those trades are Womack for Lidge and Oswalt and Hatteberg for Liriano and Nathan. This pitching staff is far from contending.

registerthis
04-21-2006, 02:10 PM
The problem is starting pitching. There's no esay fix to that, and no getting around the fact that 2 out of the 5 are absolutely awful, and the other 3 aren't going to beat the door down for the Cy Young either.

The thing is, we don't need them to be. This offense will win plenty of games for us--look at the last two games. Clearly, the starting pitching can't be as bad as it has been--but it won't. Harang will be fine, Arroyo will continue to impress, and Claussen will continue to come into his own. There's three more-than-serviceable starters. Milton is a question mark leaning towards the "bad" side of the equation, and Williams is simply horrendous. Replace Williams with Belisle, whom i feel can be effective in the #5 starter slot, and you're left essentially with Milton. Can he or can't he? If he can't, and the Reds are in contention come July, that's when you spring for a trade. it doesn't have to be Clemens, but a deal similar to the Juan Guzman deal in '99 would probably work. With our offense, we don't need a staff of Cy Young winners. We just need a staff that can keep the opposition to 2-4 runs through 7 innings and let our offense do the dirty work.

I say that this team's biggest need is it's BP. I honestly feel better about the rotation than I do about the 'pen at the moment.

Falls City Beer
04-21-2006, 02:14 PM
Only if those trades are Womack for Lidge and Oswalt and Hatteberg for Liriano and Nathan. This pitching staff is far from contending.

That's not true.

One #2 starter and two league average relievers, and the Reds hang around all season long, with little damage done to the offense (assuming it's Kearns and Larue who go in those deals). Just plug in Denorfia in Kearns' absence, and you'll experience very little dropoff.

I think the badness of this team is being overplayed a bit.

registerthis
04-21-2006, 02:16 PM
I think the badness of this team is being overplayed a bit.

Completely agree.

The offense is among the best in the league (and likely will continue to be), and the startign pitching shows signs of being at least serviceable. We can't get there with what we have, I don't think, but we're also not light years off like some here believe we are.

The Royals and the 'Rats--they're light years. We're at least in the right galaxy.

Chip R
04-21-2006, 02:23 PM
The starting pitching hadn't been too bad until the past few games.

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?

Reds Nd2
04-21-2006, 02:27 PM
That's not true.

One #2 starter and two league average relievers, and the Reds hang around all season long, with little damage done to the offense (assuming it's Kearns and Larue who go in those deals). Just plug in Denorfia in Kearns' absence, and you'll experience very little dropoff.

I think the badness of this team is being overplayed a bit.

Kearns and LaRue won't bring a #2 starter and two league average relievers, IMO. This team only needs league average pitching to stay in contention with it's offense. I don't think what your proposing gets them there, FCB.

If anything, the badness of this pitching staff is being downplayed just a bit.

Caveat Emperor
04-21-2006, 02:27 PM
Completely agree.

The offense is among the best in the league (and likely will continue to be), and the startign pitching shows signs of being at least serviceable. We can't get there with what we have, I don't think, but we're also not light years off like some here believe we are.

The Royals and the 'Rats--they're light years. We're at least in the right galaxy.

The offense is one of the best in the league, but I don't think anyone in their right mind can expect them to keep scoring runs at a 6.68 per game clip. Even doing that is barely keeping them ahead of the pitching staff giving up 6.38 runs per game.

This offense will let them compete in every ballgame they play -- but this pitching staff is far from being ready for primetime. Minimum 4 new pitchers (2 MRs and 2 SPs) needed, and I think that's on the conservative side. The question becomes, where do you get them? There's not a lot of trading chips available.

The Reds are in the right Galaxy -- problem is they're flying a spaceship with no shields right now.

registerthis
04-21-2006, 02:28 PM
Kearns and LaRue won't bring a #2 starter and two league average relievers, IMO. This team only needs league average pitching to stay in contention with it's offense. I don't think what your proposing gets them there, FCB.

Depends on how Kearns holds up during the season. A .300-90-30 guy who plays great D should command a pretty hefty return.

cumberlandreds
04-21-2006, 02:30 PM
Pretender. They just don't have the pitching to stay in contention. If they can somehow obtain two just decent starters and maybe just one more reliable bullpen arm then maybe......

Reds Nd2
04-21-2006, 02:47 PM
Depends on how Kearns holds up during the season. A .300-90-30 guy who plays great D should command a pretty hefty return.

I agree, but Kearns isn't that guy now and he may never become that guy. I don't mean that to sound like a knock against Austin. I expect a great season from him in '06, but he's still a little ways off from being worth a legitimate #2 starter now.

KronoRed
04-21-2006, 02:48 PM
Pretender, we need 6 new pitchers to move up.

Fullboat
04-21-2006, 03:14 PM
Its still to early IMHO. I'll get back to this when he hit 20% into the season.

Falls City Beer
04-21-2006, 03:34 PM
Kearns and LaRue won't bring a #2 starter and two league average relievers, IMO. This team only needs league average pitching to stay in contention with it's offense. I don't think what your proposing gets them there, FCB.

If anything, the badness of this pitching staff is being downplayed just a bit.

I would agree with your assessment if we were playing in the AL East, where teams are three aces deep. But there's only one team in the NL Central with two aces, and that's Houston.



Further, I suppose we differ on our definition of the terms "gets them there"; I'm solely talking about contending and sticking around until September--winning 85-90 games. I'm not talking about a World Championship.

Though, the right trades make anything possible. Beane does it virtually every season, with a similar number of trading chits available to the Reds this season (Lopez, Kearns, Larue).

It'll take guts. But contention's there for the taking.

Gary Redus
04-21-2006, 03:40 PM
I'm thinking that a couple of servicable arms in the pen, the subtraction of Dave Williams, and adding a decent starter makes this thing interesting. Every year someone jumps up and makes an unexpected run ...

Aronchis
04-21-2006, 03:47 PM
Wait to about 50-60 games have passed, then we can make predictions:
1997-8 Reds didn't have to worry about it
1999 Reds looked like Contenders and Pretenders before 10 game winning streak in June(amazing isn't it) and they stayed strong to the deadline. The rest is history.........
2000 More pretender than contender. Last team to have a strong September thanks to the last gasp of Pete Harnish.
2001 Over before June
2002 Everybody remember this overachieving bunch. Dessens and Haynes leading the rotation(I know, giggle hehehe) and middling offense. They boomed in May, Swooned in June and collapsed in Augest.
2003 Pretender rather than contender, never got above 3 games over 500.
2004 2002 redux with Wilson and Acevedo leading the rotation(again hehehe), boomed in May, swooned in June and finally collapsed in the second half of July when Claussen couldn't patch the dike.
2005 Over in April................
2006 ???????????????? My guess is unless Harang becomes Harnish, Claussen-Glavine and somebody can plug the raging rapids in the bullpen from the minors, we are in for another swoon at some point. Matt Belisle pumping out 93-94 sinkers down in the zone and mixing it with some credible breaking and offspeed pitches would help though........that is probably to much to ask.

My guess: Reds are 30-20 after 50 games, then proceed to lose 10-12 with whining Reds fans blasting Cast for not wanting to win for not giving Krivsky any money to upgrade the pitching staff with these magical deals that are on the table for D.Willis,Brad Penny and Brad Lidge(Astros swoon in May)............................lol.

dsmith421
04-21-2006, 03:50 PM
We're one pitcher away from being a definete contender.

Sure, if that pitcher is Jack Chesbro circa 1904 and he can throw nine innings every other day.

We have half a major league staff. Sorry, but even this historic offensive beast can't generate enough runs to overcome the manure on the mound.

Strikes Out Looking
04-21-2006, 03:59 PM
I'm on the fence on this question--a couple of things need to happen/continue to make the Reds contenders.

1. Pitching needs to improve (everyone has said this);
2. Reds need to remain basically healthy. I don't mean no one can go on the 15 game dl like Larue and Griffey, but the team must avoid 2-3 month injuries to any of the starters (EE,Dunn, Ears, LaRue,Freel, FLo and yes, Jr.); and finally;
3. Some of the other teams must falter/have injuries: If more teams are bitten like the Cubs, that will help the Reds for a couple of reasons: 1-easier to beat head to head and will lose to other teams. If Pujols, Rolen and/or Carpenter have to visit an MRI machine in the next month or so, it wouldn't be so unhappy!

Cyclone792
04-21-2006, 04:08 PM
Let's figure out in terms of actual runs allowed what we need from this pitching staff and defense to win 90 games this season ...

Last season the Reds averaged 5.03 runs per game, and scored 820 runs to lead the National League.
So far this season, the Reds are averaging 6.69 runs per game, and are on a pace to score 1,083 runs.
In order to maintain a 1,000 run offense, the Reds have to average 6.12 runs per game for the rest of the season, starting tonight.
In order to maintain a 900 run offense, the Reds have to average 5.43 runs per game for the rest of the season, starting tonight.
In order to maintain a 850 run offense, the Reds have to average 5.09 runs per game for the rest of the season, starting tonight.
In order to maintain an 800 run offense, the Reds have to average 4.75 runs per game the rest of the season, starting tonight.

Be realistic, and ask yourself "how good is this offense?" Remember that last season's offense averaged 5.03 runs per game. Is this season's offense better or worse, and by how much?

Let's assume that this season's offense is better than last season's, and that our goal is 900 runs. Remember, in order to score 900 runs, we have to average 5.43 runs per game from this point forward. That's still an 8 percent improvement over last season's per game average, which is pretty significant. That gives us 793 runs to work with.

In order to win 90 games on the season, we have to finish 80-66 the rest of the way, which is a winning percentage of .548.
If we score 793 runs in our remaining 146 games and want to finish with a .548 winning percentage, we can only allow 720 runs. That's an average of 4.93 runs per game.
Last season we allowed 5.45 runs per game a with a 5.15 ERA, a 5.8 percent increase in runs allowed from ERA.
If that same increase in runs allowed from team ERA is 5.8 percent, then in our remaining 146 games we need an approximate team ERA of 4.66 in order to match a runs allowed total of 4.93 runs per game.
Last season our DIPS ERA was 4.75 with an actual team ERA of 5.15, an increase of 8.4 percent.
Right now, our team ERA is 5.81 and our team DIPS ERA is 4.89.
For our team to put together a 4.66 team ERA the rest of the season, we need our team DIPS ERA to be around 4.30, which is a drop of 0.59 runs.

Now go out and transform our current pitching staff into a squad capable of giving us a 4.30 DIPS ERA and a 4.66 overall team ERA in our remaining 146 games. It's much easier said than done, and that's even assuming we're a 900 run offense this season, which I think may be stretching a bit.

WMR
04-21-2006, 04:34 PM
Hmmm... pretender I'm sad to say.

We need 2 new starters and--at the very minimum--2 new bullpen guys...

If LaRue and Kearns can net us that... well... I'll be very impressed with Wayne Krivsky.

UC_Ken
04-21-2006, 04:40 PM
Contender.

Yes the pitching is one of the worst 5 staffs in the NL. This offense may be enough to overcome it. People think that our offense was good last year but if this year's team stays healthy the offense could be one of the best in the history of baseball. Every person in the lineup, except when Ross, Phillips, or Womack plays, are dangerous hitters. If the starters can be respectable, and I think everyone besides Williams can, we may be able to shorten the game enough where Coffey, Merker, Weathers, and Belisle handle enough of the bullpen innings to make them respectable. If the pitching is respectable then we are a contender.

Falls City Beer
04-21-2006, 04:48 PM
Why is it that every other team in baseball with three respectable starters seems able to go out and rustle up a couple of Ron Villones or Jerome Williamses to fill out the back end of their rotations? Instead, the Reds have to get THE absolute worst pitchers on earth to fill in the gaps. If the Reds just got mediocrity in spots #4 and #5, they'd still be a distance from contending, but would at least make more of the games watchable.

Reds Nd2
04-21-2006, 05:01 PM
I would agree with your assessment if we were playing in the AL East, where teams are three aces deep. But there's only one team in the NL Central with two aces, and that's Houston.

And the Reds have still managed to allow more runs than every team in their division this season. By quiet a large margin in the case of the Cardinals, Cubs, and the Astros. Their team ERA is almost a full run above of league average this season and they have the second worse DEF_EFF of any team in the National League. A legit #2 and two league average bull pen guys would help, assuming you can get that return from trading Kearns and LaRue, but that alone won't get this team to a 90 win season.


Further, I suppose we differ on our definition of the terms "gets them there"; I'm solely talking about contending and sticking around until September--winning 85-90 games. I'm not talking about a World Championship.

This we do agree on. With simply league average pitching, the Reds should be able to win close to 90 games this season. Not enough to win the division but it should make the wild card race interesting into September.

Where our opinions differ is how much the team needs to improve to get to league average. I don't think dropping Williams, White, and Hammond is going to get them all the way over the hump this season.

The Baumer
04-21-2006, 05:14 PM
I think a HUGE factor in whether the Reds keep things up is how much patience Krivsky has with dead weights like Williams. Hopefully demoting Burns is a sign that Krivsky isn't O'Brien and is unwilling to let bums stink up the joint for a prolonged period. I know there isn't much to replace Williams, but look at just how terrible he's been. You can have a younger AAA guy come up and do the exact same job, maybe even better.

WMR
04-21-2006, 05:19 PM
Why is it that every other team in baseball with three respectable starters seems able to go out and rustle up a couple of Ron Villones or Jerome Williamses to fill out the back end of their rotations? Instead, the Reds have to get THE absolute worst pitchers on earth to fill in the gaps. If the Reds just got mediocrity in spots #4 and #5, they'd still be a distance from contending, but would at least make more of the games watchable.

The Sean Casey trade should have netted us AT LEAST exactly what you're talking about.

Instead, wunderboy DanO got us Williams. :(

RedRoser
04-21-2006, 10:44 PM
Well I may be looking at the Reds thru 'Roser-tinted glasses, but I really like what I'm seeing with this team. My fingers are crossed and I'm calling:

Contender! :D

---RedRoser

George Foster
04-21-2006, 11:02 PM
If they keep hitting like they are maybe. The NL Central maybe be the toughest division in baseball. The Mets and Braves get to play the Marlins 500 times. I tend to think that Pitts is better than FLa, but that might prove to be wrong.
But, the team would never win a short series against a team with good pitching. They might against a team with average to decent pitching.

With the loss of Derrick Lee, this division is now a four team race, maybe just three. The Brewers are going to struggle scoring runs this year. I mentioned in a earlier thread, that our goal should be to win 3 games over .500 a month for 6 months. That's 18 games over .500 or 90-72. 90 wins will get you a wild-card 9 out of 10 years. I think we are 1 starter away. Wilson or Williams is not the answer

savafan
04-21-2006, 11:12 PM
They could be a contender. There is a lot of talent on this team, the problem is it's not being utilized correctly, and that will eventually catch up to them. I still think Milton can be an average to good pitcher this year. He had two good starts before the last poor start. That's like, one more good start than he had all of last year.

Guacarock
04-22-2006, 05:33 AM
Contender. Here's why.

First and foremost, our offense rakes. We're atop the NL in runs scored, HR, doubles, OBP., RBI, other key categories. We've accomplished that with Griffey and Larue on the DL. We don't have a gaping hole anywhere in our offense. If need be, we can trade a catcher, an infielder, an outfielder, and still keep humming along, barring injuries. Folks have mentioned Larue, Freel and Kearns as trading chits, but if we remain in the hunt, Krivsky could just as easily deal Griffey, Dunn or Lopez and reap a larger return.

With the addition of Arroyo, the makeup of our starting rotation has changed for the better. We still don't have a certified ace. But in Arroyo and Harang, we have a pair of guys capable of delivering ace-like performances. Not that they are going to do it every outing. But there's competition up top. That's healthy and should help us guard against any prolonged slumps. Claussen isn't that far behind Harang or Arroyo, and still improving.

Admittedly, Milton and Williams are question marks. Milton's a veteran on the decline, not so likely these days to outperform Harang, Arroyo and Claussen. But he doesn't have to. If he can just show occasional flashes of his former ability, if he can go 8-11 with a 4.75 ERA, that's okay from your fourth starter.

Williams won't stay in the rotation if his ERA lingers above 10. His spot could turn into a revolving door. Maybe Belisle will get a tryout, maybe Germano or some other hot hand from the minor leagues.

Interesting thing about Williams in 2005. When the Pirates gave him a steady starting gig, he responded by going 8-3 with a 4.29 ERA. Otherwise, pitching irregularly with more than five days rest, he went 1-8 with a 4.88 ERA. Maybe the Reds should use him more often. If the team doesn't want to risk it, then Belisle or Germano await in the wings. The outcome won't set the world on fire or be totally disastrous either. These guys could keep us within striking range. And if they don't, we work a trade, dealing from our surplus offense.

Some argue we need two new SP. My hunch: One will suffice.

The bullpen is another story. With a few exceptions, it has been atrocious so far this season. But already, we're seeing improvement. Mercker and Weathers are capable pros. Shackelford's been recalled. Coffey is staking a claim as our next closer.

That leaves three "iffy" bullpen spots in a state of flux -- White's, Hammond's and Belisle's.

Hammond has the scariest ERA -- 24.00 -- but he's looking more reliable after a shaky launch. With any luck, he's a keeper. If not, then Venafro could get summoned from Louisville, or we'll be fishing for another LOOGY.

Belisle's a tweener, whether he remains in the bullpen or joins the rotation. We have other tweeners in the system. I'm not too concerned here. It shouldn't break the bank to find a long reliever with a sub-5.00 ERA.

White's spot is more problematic. He isn't cutting the mustard. And unlike Hammond, he isn't showing signs of turning the corner. Will Wagner respond if given this berth? Perhaps, although he hasn't looked impressive in Louisville.

How many relievers are we short? Up to three, more likely one or two.

Filling these gaps seems do-able to me. Not a lock, by any stretch of the imagination. But with us sporting an 11-6 record one-tenth of the way through the season, it's definitely premature to be waving a white flag.

marcshoe
04-22-2006, 07:16 AM
Can't judge the team yet; it's still a work in progress, still taking shape. Wait a little while. I don't think we've seen the teams final form yet. Krivsky's still molding it into what he wants it to be, I think.

redsmetz
04-22-2006, 07:30 AM
Well I may be looking at the Reds thru 'Roser-tinted glasses, but I really like what I'm seeing with this team. My fingers are crossed and I'm calling:

Contender! :D

---RedRoser

I would concur. I would guardedly say "Contender". I concur with whoever it was who said with Harrang, Arroyo and Claussen at the top, we don't need Milton to be stellar. I would say we're one starter from being full contending team and I also agree with the assessment of the Pen, probably two pitchers needed there with hopes that Hammond returns to his form of the last few years. This offense is awesome and on the games where we haven't scored 5 runs, we're 2-3, but only been thumped once, the 9-3 drubbing in St. Louis last weekend. We could have just as easily have won those other two games .

MartyFan
04-22-2006, 10:17 AM
I like Harang, Claussen and Babe in the starting rotation..we need one more pitcher for the rotation to be a number 2 or number 1 guy.

I am hopeing that Milton can regain his composure that he had in the first two games of the season and that he can deliver something around a 4.5 era over the course of a season.

We still need a couple of arms in the BP.

None of this is easy to get done but in the time Special K and Mr. C have had to impact this team I am impressed with what we have so far...think back to before they came in we were writing off any part of this season. Now we have a productive april and we are looking forward to getting more help as the season goes on.

We may not have what it takes for this year (wildcard or playoffs) but when next year rolls around we will be all over it.

realistic
04-22-2006, 02:30 PM
If Kearns finally has an .300/25/80 year, and we get 90% from Griffey what we got last year - we will win 85-90 games games. With this offense we actually do have 'enough' pitching to contend for the wild card. A 12-8 win counts just the same as a 12-0 win in the standings. Next winter we see what the new front office is all about. Sign a top notch arm or two along with more development by EE, Kearns, Phillips, Claussen - 2007 could be interesting