Re: So What Is Different, If Anything, From This Year's Team To Last Year's?
Last year at this time the Reds were above .500. But a lot is different. Jay Bruce is not the lazy fly machine he was last year. Arroyo is off to a better start. Rolen is a huge upgrade and if Votto is back soon instead of missing a month that will be a huge upgrade. Of course, even a poor hitting Stubbs is a mega-gigantic-super-huge upgrade over the non-baseball player that was in CF in 2009. Last season started out with the awful idea of a judy hitting platoon in LF of Dickerson and Hairston. Hairston went on a bit of a power streak that helped get The Reds over .500 at this point last season, but the production from Gomes/Nix/Heisey has been a big upgrade as well. Cabrera and Hernandez are both doing well compared to Gonzalez and last year's version of Hernandez. And Finally, Mike Leake is a huge upgrade in the 5th spot in the rotation over Micah Owings.
Its offset a bit by the bullpen. Last season Masset was lights out, Herrera was good and Cordero was solid. This year they are all dramatically worse.
Last season the rotation went south at about this time. Arroyo had a horrible June, Volquez was lost in late May and Cueto started giving it up a lot. As poor as the left side of the IF and the OF was, the rotation blowing up (in a bad way) ended any hopes for contention before the offense could completely kill it on its own.
"All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH
Having better players makes "the right time" or "the big hit" happen a lot more often. PLUS PLUS