Sunday, May 7, 2006
Can the Reds stick around?
BY JOHN FAY | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER
FIVE REASONS THE REDS CAN STAY IN CONTENTION
1. Feel The Power: The Reds have so much power throughout the lineup that they're almost impossible to bury. The Reds came back to win from 5-0 down and 6-2 down in back-to-back games.
2. Faster, Stronger, Higher: This team is the most athletic Reds club in years. Compare last year's Opening Day infield (Sean Casey, D'Angelo Jimenez, Rich Aurilia and Joe Randa) with the current starters (Scott Hatteberg, Brandon Phillips, Felipe Lopez and Edwin Encarnacion) and you see the difference. The Reds can run and play small ball.
3. Arroyo Rocks: The Reds made no claim that they were getting a No. 1 starter when they traded for Bronson Arroyo (right). But he has pitched like it. He sets a perfect example for the other starters: location, changing speeds and throwing strikes.
4. Under New Management: The management team of Jerry Narron, Wayne Krivsky and Bob Castellini has worked together seamlessly since it basically was thrown together just before spring training. Krivsky's shown no fear to pull the trigger - where would this club be without Arroyo and Phillips? Castellini showed the players a lot by eating Tony Womack's contract and giving Jason LaRue a lift to Cincinnati on his private jet. Narron has dealt flawlessly with the somewhat odd roster Krivsky has given him.
5. Going Deep: The Reds have gotten off to their great start despite injuries to their highest-paid player (Ken Griffey Jr.) and their highest-paid pitcher (Eric Milton).
FIVE REASONS THE REDS CAN'T STAY IN CONTENTION
1. For Starters: The Reds still don't have a classic No. 1 starter. They still don't have a true power arm in the rotation. The guy who has been carrying the rotation, Bronson Arroyo, is back in the National League for the first time in four years. NL hitters might figure him out.
2. Closing the Deal: The Reds are using David Weathers, a 36-year-old journeyman, as their closer. He doesn't quite give the feeling of security Jason Isringhausen and Brad Lidge do in the ninth.
3. There's No Defense: Defense and pitching win championships. The Reds have one, maybe two, players who are above-average defensively (right fielder Austin Kearns and second baseman Brandon Phillips). They also have a lot of young players who have a tendency to make errors.
4. Great American Ballistic Missile Pad: Call it a home-field disadvantage. The place is so pitcher unfriendly that it tends to get into the heads - not to mention ERAs - of pitchers. Pitchers tend to get away from what got them to the big leagues because of the way the ball flies out of Great American. Also, when you draw 20,000 and change for a series for first place, you can't exactly call the fans the 10th man.
5. Pipeline is Dry: For years, the problem with the Reds' minor-league system was the lack of pitching. Now, the position player spigot is dry. You have to go all the way to low Single-A, where 2005 No. 1 pick Jay Bruce plays, to find a guy who projects as an impact position player.