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Thread: So What Is Different, If Anything, From This Year's Team To Last Year's?

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  1. #1
    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    So What Is Different, If Anything, From This Year's Team To Last Year's?

    I was drinking my morning coffee while sitting on my back deck this morning, and this question came to me, which got me to ponder on it. Caffeine can do that to us old folks.

    Now lets begin by working on an ASSUMPTION (nothing more). Because I realize it's only May and we've been in this position before, as far as W-L record goes, only to see it disappear as the season progresses.

    This team's "winning ways" began last Sept/Oct, when we finished the season 20-11, and has carried into this season... April we finished 12-11, May we're 17-9.

    But when I look at this current team I see basically the same team as last year with a few additions. We added Rolen, and called up Stubbs, in the second half of last year. We acquired everyone's fav SS in Cabrera in the off-season, and have witnessed the surprise called Leake to the rotation, and added Cairo to the bench, as well as youngsters Sutton and Heisey.

    And I might add there were also some positive subtractions from last year.

    But it appears to me that we really can't say that any one particular player, or even category, such as hitting, pitching, etc., has really been the sole factor in carrying this team so far.

    I really think it's been a team effort with practically everyone, at some point, stepping up and performing, contributing to our current winning ways.

    Our starting pitching certainly has been a huge plus this past month. The starting staff is 9-0 with a 2.82 ERA in 14 games since May 14.

    Ofensively.... check this out...we currently lead the NL in Runs, Hits, Hrs, RBIs, BA, OB%, SLG% and OPS. En fuego!

    We seem to have a good mix (blend) of veterans and youth. And the results we are seeing can found in both tangibles and the intangibles. Intangibles meaning, in that clubhouse and dugout, they seem to have a different attitude, that this team believes in itself, that they can play with anyone and win, and most importantly - they just don't give up.

    And I give credit to Baker for that too.

    But besides the "good ol' reliables", like a Rolen, Votto, or Phillips, we are getting positive production from "unlikely" sources, like a Cabrera and even Cairo, that many said wouldn't be there.

    I definitely see a different Bruce in 2010 at the plate. Maturity? And can the same be said with some of the other youth on this roster. We just need to play them, be patient, and quit putting so much pressure on them.

    And one can quote all the career stats they want on Cabby, but since Baker dropped Stubbs down to #8, and took some of the heat off of him, and put Cabrera at lead-off, with Phillips batting second, it looks like a stroke of genius on Dusty's part.

    Cabby, since he's been leading off, is batting .321 and has an OB% of .372. I could care less what his OPS is. Those other two are the most important stats for me leading off.

    Phillips in the #2 slot? .296 BA .367 OB% .500 SLG% .867 OPS

    These guys are leading the way in getting on base in front of guys like Votto, Rolen, Bruce, and Gomes.

    And I definitely like our catching tandem in Hernandez and Hanigan.

    I'm really beginning to believe in this 2010 team, and that it's not just a fluke, meaning, I think they will make this one helluva race in the NL Central, and could win it.

    Thought?
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  2. #2
    Unsolicited Opinions traderumor's Avatar
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    Re: So What Is Different, If Anything, From This Year's Team To Last Year's?

    It's team chemistry, plain and simple.

    Seriously, I think a big factor is Scott Rolen's influence toward professionalism. I know his history is that he gets fussy after awhile, but he seems to be exactly what the franchise needed to instill an attitude of professionalism and bringing intensity. The young core is eating it up and benefitting from that attitude.

    One thing that impressed me I heard in a telecast the other night. Rolen told Welsh that when he is taking grounders in pregame warmups, he throws seeds across the diamond the same as he would in the game to properly prepare. It is that type of thing that sets the tone for how the Cincinnati Reds go about their business and it is infectious.
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    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    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

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    Member membengal's Avatar
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    Re: So What Is Different, If Anything, From This Year's Team To Last Year's?

    Quote Originally Posted by mth123 View Post
    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.
    They had hit their high water mark right before this point, mth, and the back-pedaling had begun. My hopes are buoyed by the fact that this team is putting its foot to the floor at the moment, and that the wins are continuing.

  5. #5
    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Re: So What Is Different, If Anything, From This Year's Team To Last Year's?

    Quote Originally Posted by mth123 View Post
    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.
    And that is the one thing that concerns me, and was somewhat amplified this past week when Homer went on the DL. I don't care what we do, or how much we may improve on the offensive side, our pitching has to be consistent and our strong point this year if we are going to stay in this thing till the end. Because right now, and I hope I'm wrong as can be; but I think this offense is playing way above their heads and will come somewhat back to earth. And we are going to need consistency from our staff to keep us in ball games.
    "panic" only comes from having real expectations

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    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: So What Is Different, If Anything, From This Year's Team To Last Year's?

    Quote Originally Posted by GAC View Post
    And that is the one thing that concerns me, and was somewhat amplified this past week when Homer went on the DL. I don't care what we do, or how much we may improve on the offensive side, our pitching has to be consistent and our strong point this year if we are going to stay in this thing till the end. Because right now, and I hope I'm wrong as can be; but I think this offense is playing way above their heads and will come somewhat back to earth. And we are going to need consistency from our staff to keep us in ball games.
    This team defied the odds and got to Memorial Day strongly in contention. That's a great thing. But, they've ridden a pretty big hot streak from the bats and the arms to basically get even with the Cards. They simply won't play this well all season. Now that they are in position, they should be looking to cash in some of the near ready interchangeable parts for a Front-Line Starter, a reliever and a strong lefty bat.

    I'd start by finding a way to convert Harang and three or four decent kids into Roy Oswalt. If they can add another kid and get Matt Lindstrom too as suggested by somebody pretty smart in another thread, they should do it.

    Alonso, Wood/Maloney, Frazier/Valaika and Ondrusek/Del Rosario/Fisher along with Harang should do it I'd think. I wouldn't hold back.
    "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

  7. #7
    You're being very UnDude. sonny's Avatar
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    Re: So What Is Different, If Anything, From This Year's Team To Last Year's?

    Don't forget about the importance of experience. A little seasoning goes a long way on the field and in the clubhouse. I do agree Rolan has set the tone for this teams attitude, and Gomes is quirky enough to keep them loose. I like this team, They remind me of the 2008 Rays
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    Re: So What Is Different, If Anything, From This Year's Team To Last Year's?

    Situational hitting has been spectacular.

    Odd little observation....but these guys are coming to the plate with the lead or guys in scoring position with blood dripping from their mouth.. instead of sucking their thumbs as in years past.

    Starters are obviously the huge difference that gives hope for sustained success as well.
    Harang is the 5th starter, and LeCure, Wood, Chapman and Volquez all look to be in the queue as well.
    Baseball is like church. Many attend, few understand

  9. #9
    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: So What Is Different, If Anything, From This Year's Team To Last Year's?

    Quote Originally Posted by sonny View Post
    Don't forget about the importance of experience. A little seasoning goes a long way on the field and in the clubhouse. I do agree Rolan has set the tone for this teams attitude, and Gomes is quirky enough to keep them loose. I like this team, They remind me of the 2008 Rays
    Agree that some guys growing up is a big factor.
    "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

  10. #10
    Box of Frogs edabbs44's Avatar
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    Re: So What Is Different, If Anything, From This Year's Team To Last Year's?

    The attitude is there as well...these guys seem like they are enjoying themselves, not just going through the motions as in years past.

  11. #11
    Flash the leather! _Sir_Charles_'s Avatar
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    Re: So What Is Different, If Anything, From This Year's Team To Last Year's?

    What's different? IMO the biggest change is health. Plain and simple. Sure, Cabrera's helped, as has Rolen and Leake. But just being healthy is an unbelievable boost to this team IMO. I still firmly believe we could've seen something like this (not to this extreme) last year if not for all the DL trips. This team's chemistry was solid last year as well.
    2014 predictions:
    99-63 WS champs (Cards take 2nd WC, Mil 3rd, Pit 4th, Chi 5th)
    Bruce/Votto neck and neck MVP race (neither takes it)
    Bailey CYA winner
    Hamilton ROY & GG

  12. #12
    Member Captain Hook's Avatar
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    Re: So What Is Different, If Anything, From This Year's Team To Last Year's?

    Quote Originally Posted by _Sir_Charles_ View Post
    What's different? IMO the biggest change is health. Plain and simple. Sure, Cabrera's helped, as has Rolen and Leake. But just being healthy is an unbelievable boost to this team IMO. I still firmly believe we could've seen something like this (not to this extreme) last year if not for all the DL trips. This team's chemistry was solid last year as well.
    Even while succeeding up to this point last year the team had obvious holes.

    Alex Gonzalaz contributed nothing with his bat on a fairly regular occasion and he played everyday.His .210 AVG and .258 OBP last year is actually a bit misleading considering he got hot in his last few weeks with the Reds and while he did end up slipping down in the order he was one of three guys that could have helped the team much more last season if they would've just went away.

    The next one, Jerry Hairston Jr. isn't a real bad guy to have around but if you stick him toward the top of the lineup everyday he's going to end up hurting your team.A .250 BA and .300 OBA with little power isn't going to win you many games at the top of the order.

    We all know the last guy in the equation and he was by far the worst.After a nice start Willy Taveras did a nice job of leading the team down the crapper.I think that about sums it up for him.

    While you can point to a drop off in pitching and a few injuries when trying to figure out what went wrong last season I think the fact that the Reds plan was to pencil these three guys in everyday, is where you should start looking.You knew that every time the Reds took the field that if you included the pitcher, 4 out of the nine guys were going to be making outs the majority of the time.

  13. #13
    Flash the leather! _Sir_Charles_'s Avatar
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    Re: So What Is Different, If Anything, From This Year's Team To Last Year's?

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Hook View Post
    Even while succeeding up to this point last year the team had obvious holes.

    Alex Gonzalaz contributed nothing with his bat on a fairly regular occasion and he played everyday.His .210 AVG and .258 OBP last year is actually a bit misleading considering he got hot in his last few weeks with the Reds and while he did end up slipping down in the order he was one of three guys that could have helped the team much more last season if they would've just went away.

    The next one, Jerry Hairston Jr. isn't a real bad guy to have around but if you stick him toward the top of the lineup everyday he's going to end up hurting your team.A .250 BA and .300 OBA with little power isn't going to win you many games at the top of the order.

    We all know the last guy in the equation and he was by far the worst.After a nice start Willy Taveras did a nice job of leading the team down the crapper.I think that about sums it up for him.

    While you can point to a drop off in pitching and a few injuries when trying to figure out what went wrong last season I think the fact that the Reds plan was to pencil these three guys in everyday, is where you should start looking.You knew that every time the Reds took the field that if you included the pitcher, 4 out of the nine guys were going to be making outs the majority of the time.
    I agree that all those players (and specifically the spots in the lineup they were occupying) were serious downgrades to this teams roster. But at this stage last year, we were pretty much right where we are now. It's also right about this time that we started to lose people. Had we not had all the injuries...I highly doubt we would've kept running Taveras, Hairston & Gonzo out there on a nightly basis if they were playing like they were. We had options down on the farm and even some on the roster. But the injuries pretty much cemented playing time for some of those guys (Taveras in particular). Of course I could be wrong, but in my mind, we would've been a MUCH better team without the injuries. Much moreso than many here expected. Heck, I felt the same way about this team and got laughed at quite a bit. I'm usually overly optimistic to a fault, but this current run hasn't surprised me that much. Gomes BA has, Leake's stability has, Hanigan's BA has, Rolen's power has. But Phillips' lack of power has, Bruce's has, Aaron's struggles have, and the bullpens' struggles have too. Balance both ways for me. So yeah, biggest difference in my eyes is the health.
    2014 predictions:
    99-63 WS champs (Cards take 2nd WC, Mil 3rd, Pit 4th, Chi 5th)
    Bruce/Votto neck and neck MVP race (neither takes it)
    Bailey CYA winner
    Hamilton ROY & GG

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    Re: So What Is Different, If Anything, From This Year's Team To Last Year's?

    Quote Originally Posted by _Sir_Charles_ View Post
    What's different? IMO the biggest change is health. Plain and simple. Sure, Cabrera's helped, as has Rolen and Leake. But just being healthy is an unbelievable boost to this team IMO. I still firmly believe we could've seen something like this (not to this extreme) last year if not for all the DL trips. This team's chemistry was solid last year as well.
    It clearly hurt to lose Votto for several weeks last year; but he's been out of the lineup for three days now, and the club is 3-0 in those games. (That's not to say that the Reds don't need him back ASAP.)

    The biggest injury last year was, what, Volquez? Well, he's still out.

  15. #15
    Member Ron Madden's Avatar
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    Re: So What Is Different, If Anything, From This Year's Team To Last Year's?

    Quote Originally Posted by mace View Post
    It clearly hurt to lose Votto for several weeks last year; but he's been out of the lineup for three days now, and the club is 3-0 in those games. (That's not to say that the Reds don't need him back ASAP.)

    The biggest injury last year was, what, Volquez? Well, he's still out.
    I heard or read somewhere the Reds record with Votto out of the lineup is somewhere around 20-18. Small sample size but not horrific.

    Saw it on Lance's blog.

    2009 Reds record without Joey Votto 17-17

    2010 Reds record without Joey Votto 3-0
    Last edited by Ron Madden; 05-29-2010 at 02:51 PM.


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