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The Month in Review (April): Little Faith

May 1, 2010

I’m implementing a new monthly feature on Chris Sabo’s Goggles — the Month in Review (name subject to change).

Now, lots of sites grade their teams/players each month, but how many sites grade their teams/players using Skyline cheese coneys?

ANSWER: One site — Chris Sabo’s Goggles

Here’s how it works:

One Cheese Coney: This isn’t even a snack, let alone a meal. Try harder.

Two Cheese Coneys: You could do better, but you could also do worse.

Three Cheese Coneys: Now we’re getting somewhere. Not perfect, but pretty darn close.

Four Cheese Coneys: How can you complain about four cheese coneys? You can’t!

For the most part, April was not a good month to be a Cincinnati Reds fan. Fortunately, the Reds finished off the month on a very high note. Things are looking up in Reds Land… for once.

CATCHER

Is it just me, or is having two catchers with the same initials strange?

Anyway, even though Ramon Hernandez has Ryan Hanigan beat in the AB category, Hanigan has a higher batting average (.452/.250), more RBI (10/4), and an OBP and SLG nearly double of Hernandez (.553 and .645 / .389 and .318).

You take one of these guys away and you’re still left with a decent catcher. I’d like to see Hanigan slowly get more ABs because he’s clearly the future behind the plate, but Hernandez has been okay so far this season, too.

I still want Hanigan to be the primary catcher, though.

1ST BASE

Joey Votto is the man. Plain and simple. The day this guy signs a long-term contract with the Reds will be the best thing the Reds have done since acquiring Sean Casey from the Indians.

I’d like to see more consistency from Votto, and certainly less strikeouts, but he is the keystone of this organization and I’m glad he’s on my team.

2ND BASE

There’s no question than Brandon Phillips is struggling, but when you put a second baseman in the clean-up spot you’re going to see a guy out of his element.

Dusty Baker is starting to wise up (did I really just write that?) and has recently moved Phillips up in the order. Time will tell if it will help Phillips find his stride, but it certainly can’t hurt to try.

3RD BASE

I’ll admit, the deal to get Scott Rolen last year left me scratching my head (even though I was no fan of Edwin Encarnacion). While I can’t vouch for Rolen’s presence in the clubhouse (security still won’t let me near the locker room), he’s been pretty solid at the plate.

And he’s not Edwin Encarnacion, so he has that going for him.

SHORTSTOP

Remember when Barry Larkin played shortstop for the Reds? He was good.

Orlando Cabrera may lead the team in RBI (!!), but beyond that he’s been typical of the post-Larkin era Reds’ shortstops: pretty useless.

Paul Janish has looked good in the few games he’s played (and he’s had a few clutch hits for me off the bench in MLB 10 The Show), but let’s be honest here — he’s Paul Janish. As long as he continues to outplay Cabrera (which he has), then I say give Janish as many opportunities to prove himself as possible.

OUTFIELD

Where do I begin? Okay, how about our fearless (and practically hitless) lead-off hitter, Drew Stubbs.

The guy has 13 hits and 24 Ks in 70 at-bats. While this is comparable to our previous favorite lead-off hitters — He Who Must Not Be Named and Willy Patterson — this is one instance where respecting your elders is just not appropriate.

Jay Bruce got off to a pretty slow start, but the last couple of weeks he’s been making up for lost time (and then some). This makes me very happy.

Chris Dickerson, Jonny Gomes and Laynce Nix have managed to do what every good outfielder is supposed to do — which is stand in the correct position in the outfield every inning — but beyond that they haven’t done much. I would be nice if they started contributing.

STARTING PITCHING

If you take away Mike Leake’s two wins, the Cincinnati Reds starting pitchers have a total of three (3) wins this season — and they’ve all come in the last three days. If you’re not concerned by that stat, you should be. Although, this last week has set my mind at ease a little.

Aaron Harang bounced back in his last start, but it’s worth noting that it was only his second win since May 2009.

Bronson Arroyo has been his typical up-and-down self, but when you have Harang, Cueto and Bailey all getting rocked practically every outing, Arroyo tends to get lost in the shuffle.

I got a lot of crap last season when I discounted Homer Bailey’s strong finish with the fact that he was pitching in meaningless August/September games against teams fielding mostly minor league lineups.

Fortunately, Bailey has come out this year and strengthened my case by pitching poorly in meaningful April games against teams fielding mostly major league lineups.

Mike Leake can be applauded for his quick adjustment to major-league hitters, but Homer Bailey continues to need time to adjust (he’s still young, damn you!) — sorry, but that doesn’t make much sense to me.

BULLPEN

There are two things I got sick of seeing in the month of April:

  1. The Reds bullpen
  2. Justin Bieber

While we’ll have to wait a couple of years for a crippling drug-addiction to rid us of #2, we’re most likely stuck with the over-exposure of #1 until the starting pitching staff figures out how to last more than 4.0 innings a game.

Nick Masset was a solid reliever last year. This season — not so much.

Daniel Ray Herrera and Arthur Rhodes have been awesome. The problem is, it’s rare that the bullpen is being brought in during a game-preserving opportunity. In most cases the bullpen is coming into the game to prevent the opponent’s lead from getting any bigger.

Eventually, that’s going to wear anybody down.

If the bullpen continues to pitch at the frequency it’s been pitching at during the first month of the season, we’ll have serious problems.

CLOSER

Francisco Cordero has done everything he’s been asked to do. Albeit with not as many save opportunities as we’d like to see. He’s converted 7 of 8 saves so far and he has 13 Ks in 11.1 innings of work.

Of all the things Reds fans can complain about, the closer is not one of them.

DUSTY BAKER

One of the advantages/disadvantages of not being able to watch the Reds on TV is that I don’t get to see the subtle nuances of the game. Or any of Dusty Baker’s bone-headed moves.

While it’s no secret that I’m hardly a fan of Dusty Baker, it’s hard for me to blame any of this season (so far) on him.

Yes, the bullpen is over-used, but that’s what happens when the starting pitching sucks. Yes, Mike Leake has pitched a crap-load of innings so far this season, but when a starter is pitching well you have to stick with him (see: over-used bullpen).

As much as it pains me to do this…

OVERALL

April Record: (12-11)

This team was dangerously close to being awarded the dreaded One Cheese Coney, but the five game winning-streak earned them another coney.

This Month in Review is in no way sponsored or endorsed by Skyline Chili (or the inferior Gold Star Chili).

What do I look like, some kind of sell-out?

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. May 2, 2010 10:02 AM

    I like the coney system. I think there used to be a site that used coneys to rate movies, but I can’t find it anymore.

  2. bu54610 permalink
    May 3, 2010 10:40 AM

    Can I say one cheese coney and side of oyster crackers? I don’t think they deserve the 2 coneys yet, but wouldn’t say they are awful (yet)

  3. CincyfaninLexKY permalink
    May 3, 2010 11:28 AM

    A bit disappointed with with the blog entry – kudos for the coney rating system, I like it!
    But how can the club as a whole get 2 coneys, (and perhaps less by your own comments) but most all of the position players are rated higher?
    I am as much of a homer as the next guy/gal, but I think you’re being a little to easy on them . . . when Dusty “got tough”, things started looking up for the Redlegs.
    Not that fans pointing fingers ever solved anything . . .

  4. Chris Sabo's Goggles permalink
    May 3, 2010 11:35 AM

    I realize that the Two Coney rating for the Reds doesn’t necessarily result in an average of the individual categories, but I think each category is weighted differently.

    (Yes, I’m rationalizing my Cheese Coney rating-system.)

    Honestly, if it wasn’t for the five-game winning streak last week I would’ve given the team One Coney. Everything about the team before the winning streak was bad (starting pitching, bullpen, offense), but everything came together during the winning streak… then fell apart again over the weekend.

    Like bu54610 suggested, I think One Coney and a side of oyster crackers is probably more appropriate.

  5. May 3, 2010 5:30 PM

    Your Coney math doesn’t add up. The lowest ranking you give to any individual position is 2 stars (and giving Cabrera’s play at SS 2 stars is darn generous I might add) and you give 4 stars at a couple spots and three stars for Baker (again very generous)… so really based on math the team grade should be 3 Coneys… so I think you need to give Baker 2 coneys, 1 coney to SS, and shave a Coney away from Cordero because he did blow one critical save that contributed to getting swept by the Buccos, and a blown save every month would not be acceptable at all. So with those corrections I think the 2 coney team rating makes more mathematical sense.

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  1. The Month in Review (May): Better Days « Chris Sabo's Goggles

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