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View Full Version : Krasnick Breaks Down the Wild Card Picture



Rex Argos
08-10-2006, 07:29 PM
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=crasnick_jerry&id=2545486&lpos=spotlight&lid=tab3pos1

Good little breakdown of the stretch drive for the NL Wild Card. I've included Krasnick's thoughts about our beloved home team. The other teams are at the above link.


No offense to the fans in Cincinnati, Denver, Phoenix and the National League's other wild-card hot spots, but it would be a mistake to characterize their teams' little competition as a "race.''

The Indy 500, Iditarod and Kentucky Derby are races. The NL wild-card scrum more closely resembles something you'd see at a company picnic. The winner is guaranteed a playoff spot and some hurt feelings in the Division Series when the press starts asking, "Do you really think you deserve to be here?''

Remember the grief the San Diego Padres took last year when they won the NL West with an 82-80 record? That same sort of treatment awaits this year's wild-card survivor, which might have to close with a rush to win 85 games.

So what are the chances for the flawed yet scrappy group? Here's an August snapshot of the seven teams still separated by five games (sorry, Marlins, Braves and Brewers):

Cincinnati Reds
Why they can win it: The lineup isn't as deep now that Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez are in Washington, but the Reds still lead the league in homers and walks. Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr. provide big-strike capability, and they've gotten some nice support from Scott Hatteberg, Brandon Phillips and catcher David Ross, who has 14 homers in 146 at-bats.
Why they won't: How comfortable can a wild-card contender feel with Elizardo Ramirez and Kyle Lohse at the back end of the rotation and Ryan Franklin as the principal backup option? The Reds rank 22nd in the majors in ERA and 27th in fielding percentage. That's not exactly a classic combination for a postseason aspirant.

The injury picture: Starter Brandon Claussen is out for the year with a shoulder injury, and the revamped bullpen is a little dinged up. Just as Kent Mercker came off the disabled list Tuesday, the newly acquired Gary Majewski went on it with a tired arm. And how sound is closer Eddie Guardado's left elbow?

Schedule: The Reds play 28 of their final 47 games on the road, but they'll go the final two weeks without playing a team with a winning record. They have two series with the Cubs and one each against Houston, Florida and Pittsburgh in late September.
X Factor: All-Star Bronson Arroyo, winless since June 19, was a fast finisher in Boston. He has a 9-3 record with a 3.83 ERA in September.

Outlook: General manager Wayne Krivsky worked like crazy to upgrade the bullpen, and his efforts have injected the clubhouse and the Great American Ball Park stands with a sense of excitement. The Reds have a chance to catch St. Louis in the Central or benefit from the West clubs beating each other up in September. But too many ineffective arms and unreliable gloves could doom this team in the end.

udonkey
08-10-2006, 09:49 PM
Seems reasonable...the most important part of the whole article is:

"General manager Wayne Krivsky worked like crazy to upgrade the bullpen, and his efforts have injected the clubhouse and the Great American Ball Park stands with a sense of excitement."

How great has it been to be a Reds fan this season? I would've usually packed up the Reds gear in favor of my football jersey(s) by this time of year, but I'm still hanging on...its nice to be excited about something in August (and hopefully still in September and October!)

cincrazy
08-11-2006, 02:05 AM
Crasnick is normally a pretty balanced guy. As a matter of fact, Crasnick and Buster Olney are two of a very few group of people in the national media that saw things from Krivsky's point of view when he made the trade with the Nationals. Not that they necessarily agreed with the trade, they may have or may not have, but they allowed the reader to see both point of views, something I think is very important.