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View Full Version : 20% of the Way There: Contender or Pretender?



Boston Red
05-08-2006, 08:18 PM
This was a relatively popular topic after the 10-6 mark in the first sixteen games. It was lopsided for pretender, but people were generally encouraged.

I'm interested to see if attitudes have changed at all with the Reds putting up an 11-5 record over the second 16 games of the season to get to 21-11 20% of the way through the season.

Personally, I'm still somewhat skeptical just because the starting pitching simply has not given us a reason not to be skeptical. Arroyo, other than his last start, has been terrific, and Harang has been pretty solid as well. After that, it's a mixed bag, with Claussen throwing in a few good outings and some terrible ones, Williams being pretty much horrific every time out (although the team has managed to win with him as the starter, which I think is HUGE), Lizard still being pretty much an unknown, and the hope that Milton can come off the DL and pitch like he did in the Spring and in his first two starts and/or that Wilson can regain the form of '03 and '04 (nothing spectacular, but solid enough).

But I'm certainly much more optimistic about the season-long possibilities for this team than I was sixteen games ago for several reasons: 1) The only test they really have not passed with flying colors was the West Coast roadtrip, and there have been PLENTY of really good Reds teams that simply couldn't win out west. And as ugly as that roadtrip was, a 2-3 roadtrip is never really a disaster. The Houston/St. Louis 4-1 homestand before the West Coast trip was more telling than the 2-3 Colorado/AZ trip IMO. 2) 32 games is getting to be a pretty good sample size. If a team can win 21 games in any 32 game stretch, it's hard to call that a fluke. That doesn't mean that this is a great team or one destined for the playoffs necessarily, but I think we can all agree by this point that this is not a bad Reds team like we've been getting used to seeing. 3) The team has won in Griffey's absence. Now, I know we've all gotten used to Griffey being out. It seems like he's always out. But his injury is minor, and he will be back soon, and you have to think that anything he can give the team will be a net positive over whoever was taking his place in the lineup. Sure, it doesn't always work out this way, but the team should be better once Griffey is back in the lineup.

OK, so what does everyone think? 32 games in, contender or pretender?

VI_RedsFan
05-08-2006, 08:35 PM
I'm surprised to be saying this, but I say contender.

This team's offense is so good (and it well get even better once Junior Griff comes back) that we could contend in the Central all season. Plus, if Harang and Arroyo keep pitching well, and Claussen gives us a season similar to last season, then we could definately contend. I don't think that the bullpen is as big of a problem as some people think it is. Coffey looks very, very good.

But, I still think that this team needs to go after another above-average starter to be sure-fire NLC contenders, even if we have to give up Kearns and/or LaRue (maybe even Freel too). Teams like Cleveland (Sabathia, Westbrook) or Seattle (Pinero, Meche) would be good fits for trade.

Contender, Pretender, whichever this team is, I'm still very happy to see my Reds winning after all these years of losing. Here's to the Reds!! :beerme: :beerme:

UC_Ken
05-08-2006, 08:53 PM
Contender.

I still believe that Milton will be a big key to success this year. If he can be the pitcher he was in Spring and his first two starts we'll have an above average rotation. With our improved rotation we get to give a much higher percentage of bullpen innings to the quality guys down there. The offense will be insanely good when Griffey comes back.

Falls City Beer
05-08-2006, 08:56 PM
Right now, this is a .500 ballclub. But I honestly believe this team will look very different by July. Probably better.

RedEye
05-08-2006, 09:27 PM
Right now, this is a .500 ballclub. But I honestly believe this team will look very different by July. Probably better.

Actually no, right now they're a .656 ballclub. That's why we're having this conversation in the first place. :p:

Seriously though, I really think this offense is just good enough, just multi-dimensional enough, to contend even with the pitching we have now. Will they win the central like this? Probably not. But I do think we can at least win 85-87 right now without any more major changes, assuming that we aren't devastated by injury.

People keep comparing this to the 2004 team that coughed up blood in June/July, but our offense is much more versatile than that group, and I think our top two starters are clearly better as well. Heck, even the bullpen compares nicely since Weathers is proving himself to be no worse than Gravesdigger was in those days: a savvy, make-things-interesting type of anchor. Perhaps the best comparison is the team from Griffey's first year (2000?) that put together a ridiculously hot second half with guys like Alex Ochoa lighting it up. What we have now might be that team "in reverse" if no changes occur: hot first half and a middling second half to fall out of contention in August. I could live with that, but...

As many others have noted in this forum, the big question is what the Amazing Krivsky is going to pull out of his hat in the next two months or so. Somehow I think it might be a bit painful for us. Kearns, Dunn, FeLo, or EdE might have to go in addition to the popular RedsZone nominees Freel and LaRue. But if we can land another Harang or Arroyo-level SP, things could get VERY interesting indeed.

KronoRed
05-08-2006, 09:27 PM
Still not enough pitching

edabbs44
05-08-2006, 09:30 PM
Need pitching. AT LEAST one starter and two BP arms. Unless we get those, they will probably fade. I think Wayne will do something though. Bob doesn't want to have a collapse in his first season.

captainmorgan07
05-08-2006, 09:45 PM
contender offense can hold up the pitching for now until krisky trades somebody at the deadline for some pitching it'll be close down the stretch

dman
05-08-2006, 09:47 PM
I'm going to withold comment until I see what kind of moves Krivsky will make if we are still in the thick of things come sometime B/T late June and the AS break.

IslandRed
05-08-2006, 10:01 PM
Barring any huge changes, we're going to resemble a contender for awhile. Maybe long enough to make the July buy-or-sell question very interesting. But without a significant makeover to the good, as FCB suggested, we just don't have enough pitching to get to the postseason.

It's a fun team to watch, though, and for now, I'll take it.

buckeyenut
05-09-2006, 07:24 AM
Right now, this is a .500 ballclub. But I honestly believe this team will look very different by July. Probably better.

Well, with the start we had, this team can be a .500 ballclub the rest of the way and stay in playoff contention. Hence the rub.

corkedbat
05-09-2006, 08:39 AM
When you options for your 3, 4 & 5 starters are Claussen, Milton, Wilson & the Lizard I'd have to say pretender. One of them (probably Claussen) is OK for a number five, but to truly contend I think they need at least one more starter the equal of Harang & Arroyo (preferrably better) and another somewhere between them and Claussen in ability. Minimum. They probably need at least one more solid arm in the bullpen too.

I hope this team can maintain its current pace - they're a lot of fun to watch, but I'm afraid that the 162-game schedule will out and they'll fall back to about the 500 level.