Last year, when the Reds faced LH Pitching ... I had to force myself to watch the game - it was almost a given that the Reds would score very little offense and have a difficult time coming out w/ a "W".
So, we need improvement from the right side of the plate... sound familiar? That's exactly what we needed going into the 07 season, WK thought he'd fixed the problem by acquiring Conine and of course we had EdE returning who was one of our best RBI guys in 06 and we all expected to see continuing progress from the kid.
So what went wrong last year?
(1) As most of us knew from the beginning, Jeff Conine was never going to be our RHed savior
(2) We trusted a young prospect in EdE to carry a big load for us... and he didn't respond (especially in the 1st 3/4 of the season)
(3) We trusted Ross (who showed flashed of brilliance in 06) to continue his offensive prowess and he didn't respond.
How can we improve? How are we different?
(1) We could acquire a RH bat... I've been one of those who advocates the acquisition of someone like Rios, but I do agree w/ those who think that WK wouldn't and shouldn't trade someone off the mound for a position player. We can sign someone like Mench to come off the bench for us and provide a nice RH bat.
(2) We've replaced Conine w/ Kepp - I like Kepp and I'm okay w/ him getting some at-bats, but he's not our RH savior either.
(3) EdE started to show some flashes of the old EdE by the end of the 07 season and finished up w/ the highest BA of the squad... do we dare place our hopes on him to carry the RH scoring burden for the team next year...?
(4) We have Phillips who showed a great deal of power in 07, but he really can't be relied on as our RBI guy to help us against LH pitching all that much.
(5) The "wild card" ... I feel like it's a mistake to put too many expectations on a rookie, and especially in the case of Jay Bruce who's never seen any MLB playing time - but the kid crushes LH pitching at a tremendous clip. In 07 he hit .298 against LH and .307 vs RH. Although Bruce is LH, he's not Dunn or Hamilton or Votto .. he can hit Left-handers (at least in the minors). Could he be the answer for this team versus LHers?
So, in conclusion, are we better or worse facing LH pitchers at this point than we were last season?
What do you think we need in order to improve?