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TeamBoone
08-15-2006, 04:08 PM
August 15, 2006

Cardinals, Reds are two decent teams in one great race
Rick Bozich

The financial spreadsheets say the Cincinnati Reds are not supposed to be the team that presses the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Central this season. The Cardinals are outdrawing the Reds by nearly 700,000 fans and spending better than $1 million more per player.

The preseason magazines promised the Reds were not going to be the team to make the Cardinals sweat -- no matter how dreadful the trademark humidity climbed in the new Busch Stadium. The New York Times picked the Reds to finish last in the division. Sports Illustrated agreed.

Today's standings say the accountants as well as the wise guys have some serious recalculations to make.

The Reds march into St. Louis today 1 1/2 games behind the Cardinals. If the Reds can win all three games of this midweek series, they can leave town Thursday with the Gateway Arch wobbling -- and a 1 1/2-game lead.

The best race in town

The Cardinals-Reds race is certainly not the best baseball in baseball. The Reds lead the NL wild-card race, although they'd be 10 games behind the wild-card-leading White Sox in the American League. They're on track to win about 84 games. No team in either league has won the wild card over a full season with fewer than 88 wins since it was introduced in 1995.

But it's the best race in this market, a market torn in its loyalties to the Reds (parent club for the Louisville Bats) and Cardinals (parent club for the former Louisville Redbirds).

This is quite a closing furlong unfolding in the NL Central, which has been all Cardinals all the time for as long as I can remember.

The Cardinals are managed by Tony LaRussa, also known as Mr. Baseball, a guy who has been featured prominently in several best-selling books.

The Reds are managed by Jerry Narron, also known as Mr. Who?, a guy who has been the subject of several paragraphs in an occasional newspaper column.

The Cardinals are led by first baseman Albert Pujols, a guy considered the game's best hitter and a likely Hall of Famer.

The Reds are led by center fielder Ken Griffey Jr., a guy considered the game's best hitter and a likely Hall of Famer -- 10 years ago.

Actually, that's not true. The Reds are led by former Louisville Bat Adam Dunn, who leads the big leagues with 139 strikeouts.

Actually, that's not true either. The Reds are led by second baseman Brandon Phillips, who has delivered more big hits per dollar than anybody.

A star from the scrap heap

Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky told me that last April his scouts had to talk him into taking Phillips from Cleveland, which had soured on Phillips because he had A) nicknamed himself "The Franchise," B) insisted on wearing his cap crooked and C) hit .256 while striking out 90 times in Triple-A last season.

Today Phillips is giving the Reds power, speed and clutch hitting. He's better than the junk St. Louis is playing at second base -- especially at a bargain rate of $327,000.

The Cardinals' pitching is bad -- only one National League staff has delivered fewer strikeouts.

The Reds' pitching is worse -- no NL staff has allowed more hits. Prepared to officially scratch your head? The Reds have a winning record even though they have been outscored by 29 runs. You don't have to be Bill James to know that's not supposed to happen.

Reds interim pitching coach Tom Hume is desperate. He's tried everybody but Marty Brennaman in his rotation and sent 24 pitchers to the mound.

Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan is more desperate. He has tried nine starters -- and his staff just made the Pirates look like Clemente and Stargell were still in town.

Great baseball? Hardly. Great race? Sure looks like it.

http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060815/COLUMNISTS01/608150409

Johnny Footstool
08-15-2006, 04:19 PM
Gotta love an article that manages to bash Adam Dunn and promote Brandon Phillips as the heart of the Reds' offense.

Puig Your Red
08-15-2006, 04:22 PM
The Reds are led by center fielder Ken Griffey Jr., a guy considered the game's best hitter and a likely Hall of Famer -- 10 years ago.

Actually, that's not true. The Reds are led by former Louisville Bat Adam Dunn, who leads the big leagues with 139 strikeouts.

Actually, that's not true either. The Reds are led by second baseman Brandon Phillips, who has delivered more big hits per dollar than anybody.

The Reds are led by Aaron Harang, Adam Dunn, and Edwin Encarnacion (in no particular order). I think most Reds fans can agree on that.

Also how many of us (as in Reds fans) thought this team would finish either last or near last? How many people in June thought we would collapse?

I know I did. Keep proving me wrong boys.

Moonlite Graham
08-15-2006, 04:26 PM
Living here in Louisville, you need to understand that this is the first time the Reds have been mentioned anywhere in the paper here other than wire stories.

So like most of the other uninformed non cincinnati media, they just speak in broad sweeping generalizations, without doing much research or fact checking on what they say.

In other words modern journalism.