Thursday, September 30, 2010

"Clinchtember" Tweets of the Month

The Enquirer/Jeff Swinger
#Rockies Mngr Tracy sits Cargo in half of this weekends games, 13 pnts above #Reds Votto, Teddy BBall rolling in his cryogenics #MLB #Whimp

Merry Clinchmas #Reds fans and Happy Bruce year from the Multnomah falls trail! :
 via Twitter for iPhone

Joey Votto & other #Reds players took a victory lap around the field to high-five fans

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

2010 the Year That Baseball Came Home to The Cincy Reds and Reds Fans

The Enquirer/Jeff Swinger

Players have come and gone, but us fans have been here all along, from the early exit in the '95 postseason, to the quick one game tease in a fun 99 season, through the promises during the Casey, Dunn and Griffey Jr era, we have been waiting. We watched an arguable future HOF'er win a series, proudly rep the Captains "C", and finish a proud career: thank you Mr Barry Larkin. Jr's arrival and unfortunate ringless departure yielded no trophy or a taste of the postseason. 
Well along comes new ownership, a farm system that is once again producing, a nice mix of a few allstar vets and Wala! Hello 2010 and:

The Enquirer/Jeff Swinger

(now that was fun to type!)

As we go into the playoffs only the teams play will tell how far we get, but for now we will enjoy the spoils. My last congrats goes to us fans for hangin in there, no matter how tough it was, clicking on that losing box score years after year searching for a silver lining in a 3 hit loss etc etc... Well no more of that now! Enjoy tonights winning box score: the one that launched yours and my Reds into the 2010 post season! Go Reds!

Click here for the party:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Jay Bruce proving his Mettle: Rewarding fans and Reds Patience !

SS Productions(me ;) GWRBI 10/30 10th inning right behind Reds Dugout

When Jay Bruce arrived a few years ago and lit up baseball and GABP with his chicken bump causing start, we all were ecstatic. 2 years later, lots of patience, 2 previous seasons at sub .260, we all had been waiting. He broke out nicely this year and then had a terribly slow July, once again dropping his average down to the marginal performance line: 250'ish w/occasional big hits. Not that a team cant win with that, especially since we did, and especially since he has one of the top guns in MLB. A friend of mine speculated something during his July "slump" which I easily gravitated towards: was he really in a slump or was that .250'ish Jay Bruce the real thing? It was a fair question, one that got me lambasted for asking it on twitter.

Except for 2 months of .270-300 type mashing we had not seen him do it over a full year, so there was a lot to prove. Let me be the first to say IM GLAD I WAS WRONG! I WANTED TO BE WRONG! lol... But the evidence proven by team winning-big hitting-contributing offense had not been there. As Bruce hits now once again in the .275'ish zone its something else to see, him coming into his own. For the record I never called for his ousting, or benching, just that besides his incredible D we needed his stick!

A few weeks ago I was at GABP to witness his HR Trifecta. Two nights later the Night before the Cuban Missile Attack he hits a walk-off single. Evidenced here by "pie in face":  Then he takes a little sabbatical, comes back and hits two dingers in his comeback game: Thats the Bruuuuuuuuuce we saw come into the league 3 years ago, and the one we have been waiting on. Now with his D (evidenced by CoCo saving grabs like this: ) which is Gold Glove worthy, hitting .275 with power is quite acceptable ;) We never doubted your ability Bruce, its just that we had not seen it over the long haul! And its a beautiful thing to behold!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dont hate us Realist we are fans also! Go #Reds!

(Dusty when asked who would be the three Starters in the Playoffs and if Chapman could be trusted as a Postseason closer. Photo;

Yes this past weekends performance was nice by Cueto/Volquez/Bailey: great outings, but who was it against: The worst hitting team in the NL! The Bucs = .239 Team batting AVG.! The Reds Team ERA is 4.08, thats 11th out of 15 NL Teams, 18th out of 30 MLB teams and the WORST of any of the Playoff contenders! Cordero's ERA is a whopping 4.04, gargantuomly worse than any closer in the NL. In the top 10 of saves leaders only one closer: Nunez at 3.81 even comes close: These number dont lie folks! If we had performed this way (Bucs weekend)  against the divisions best we wouldnt have such terrible numbers! 

 I'd like all this to go away and have the same flowerey perspective of many rose colored-glass-wearing-ever-optimistic fans on here that have be-rated me for being a true REALIST Which some claim to be!  Some claim to be positive/realist, but when I question the obvious, or put these stats up, you act like Im piling on! I want all this to go away, to go back the way it was when Leake/Wood etc..all were lights out! This has been an inconstistent staff, THAT I WILL LIVE AND DIE WITH IN THE POST SEASON! I will cheer every putrid ERA that we run out there to pitch a no-hitter. I will die with every blown lead Cordero (and his non champion like 4+ ERA) gives up! I will cheer for this team and wear my Reds garb to the gym long after many of you put away your Reds stockings for your football teams nighties! But I'm not afraid to NOT crown this team until we do it! If we Re-Catch some lights out pitching in the Post Season and we treat the Phillies/Braves/Giants/Padres, heck maybe even the Rockies hitters like we did the Pirates, I will be ecstatic! I'm not saying we CANT beat teams like the CARDS I'm just saying we haven't and I HOPE our top-team-beating-switch that has not been activated yet is Turned ON: loud and clear in the post season! 

Yes: our First place record doesn't lie! Yes: Teams have won without lights out pitching in the Post Season(not to many 1975 Reds lineups out there), Yes: do I believe we can beat the Best: If:

1: Our Clutch Hitting is there
2. Our Defense is Stellar
3. Our Pitching gets back to Consistent Quality Outings, like No Hitters in the playoffs! (There going to have to, I have had a premonition of Cordero being released soon after the end of the season, after he blows playoff leads!)
4. Just kidding (Not Really) But we will see what CoCo is really made of (The most blown saves of any closer since 2000 does not bode well) but maybe he's got a little Hot tub time machine for one bright shinning moment: we shall see!

There's something to be said for building on winning starting pitching vibe even if it was the lowly Pirates, good thing our Bullpen lead by "lights out" Cordero didnt blow any of those games....oh wait...;) Love ya Reds fans, dont hate the realist!

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Elephant in the Room: Shaky starting Pitching and Bullpen meltdowns

                                      The Enquirer/Jeff Swinger                                 The Enquirer/Jeff Swinger

Folks, dont be afraid, lets talk about it: Months ago, it was all about Wood/Leake/Arroyo/Cueto/and Volquez coming back. Conversations included Chapman being to wild to pitch, now for the moment he may have the best stuff on the roster, just like Leake did months ago. Pitching and Defense win in the postseason. The mid season acquisitions the Reds didnt make could come back to haunt us as we take a tattered/changing starting staff into the stretch. Good pitching stops good hitting: see the Seattle/Philly/Cards and now Rocky series, for evidence of the Reds bats being shutdown.

Many have listened in disdain(myself included) to the recent musings of Ohio's main critic: Colen Cowherd, on ESPN radio, who has labeled the Reds as "Frauds". His reasoning comes from our inability to beat contending clubs while dominating the bottom dwellers, and to that end he has a point. I do believe that we must beat the best to be the best, and although our NL Central Lead would say we do deserve the recognition of a first place club, I would feel better knowing we dominated the strong also. No, we dont have to do that to make the playoffs, but it would sure send a stronger message as to the Reds being true contenders, and help our self confidence(fans included ;). This will all play out in October, if things continue as they are with the Magic Number dropping to 17 tonight. Cowherd also talked about our pitching woes, "Welcome to the party Pal" (Always love a good Die Hard ref! ;)

Many comparisons have been made to the 1990 WS Champs team, we need to stop. Jose Rijo/Danny Jackson/Tom Browning have not been reincarnated in the form of Arroyo/Cueto/Wood or Bailey. Our pitching is suspect including the relievers: Masset/Smith/Ondrusek/ middle guys can help or hurt(mentally and physically: see Masset, as he watched Rockies steal home and a big getaway game, ugg) Rhodes age and aged arm has started to show signs of kryptonite in his previous supermanish self, and CoCo, although Ok lately, still scares the Skyline right outa me! Chapmans addition: how much can we count in him in a pressure playoff condition: unknown, exciting to this point yes: Dominate in the playoffs? we shall see!

I dont mean to preach doom and gloom but the early and mid season phenom of Leake/Wood has disappeared as the young guys realized endurance limitations not previously attained in their young arms/careers. (Hey, at least we didnt blow his arm out  like the Overthrowing Strassburg!) They will be fine, but the "Sugar Plumb Fairy" dreams dancing in our heads of our young guys pitching us into the post season was just that : a dream.

There's a little over a month to straighten this out before the playoffs baring a monumental collapse ( losing a 4 games of a 8 game lead is not monumental) the question is how will the rotation perform come playoff time: we don't know and we can't, cause these boys have not been there(Except for Arroyo we have no post season exp). On the elevator, in the Reds HOF recently with the 1990 Reds exhibit looming all around there was talk with other Reds fan about the main difference between this team and 1990, easy agreement: pitching! Arroyo/Cueto/ & who: Bailey/Wood/at one time Vasquez? We don't even consistent top 3(yes they have had great moments) and our Number One: Arroyo, would be a champions #2. Thats the prob folks: we dont have a "championship" pitching staff and in the postseason its Pitching and Defense! Relievers: ugg, as tonight we all watched CoCo blow another lead, and as I've said before, Ill be surprised if he doesn't blow a huge game in the postseason! These are no Nasty boys: Chapman is coming but still unproven, Rhodes and CoCo? No where close to Charlton/Dibble/Myers, so lets please stop the comparisons, and hope that that they can re-group and give us some kind of consistency in the postseason.

We have time to get it straightened out but what will "it" look like? Our boys will need some magic, like we had in Leake and Wood early on: but "magical concoctions" and feel good stories, don't win ball-games: talent and grit does! The last time "Mystique and Aura" helped win a game was: never(some say they should have remained in the gentlemens club) but those two intangibles is what the Yankees said they had as they got beat by a young NL club named the Dbacks, and that "magic" didn't help then and wont for any team now.  Grit and Gut, a little luck all helps! Pitching and Defense Wins Championships: ask the 1990 Reds ;)