The Month in Review (May): Better Days
Between all of my recent travels and yelling profanities at the computer screen/radio every time Nick Masset or Francisco Cordero is on the mound, I completely forgot to do my team-review for the month of May.
I know everyone’s lives have been missing something because of this oversight, so…
After a month of April that most of us would prefer to forget, May saw the Reds come to life. The starting pitching came around and the guys who were supposed to hit started to hit — all was good in Reds Land.
Ramon Hernandez and Ryan Hanigan played extremely well, providing the Reds with a rare platoon of reliable catchers who both could be offensive threats.
Hanigan went down with a broken thumb in late-May, but Hernandez has continued to hold up his end of the deal with (ugh) Corky Miller isn’t behind the plate.
Joey Votto continues to be the man, yet he’s still a distant 4th-place in All-Star voting for first basemen.
In one of the few times I got to see the Reds on TV this season, Votto was mumbling to himself (and the umpire) over a bad called strike-two. Votto continued to mumble while in the batter’s box waiting for the next pitch. Then Votto called time-out, stepped out the batter’s box so he could continue to mumble to himself/the umpire, then stepped back into the batter’s box to resume his at-bat.
Joey Votto is awesome.
After a slow start, Brandon Phillips is finally starting to turn it on. Well, except when he’s suppose to be running-out a hit – in which case he’ll take his sweet-ass time.
Remember a couple of years ago when Phillips claimed that he wanted to be the face of the Cincinnati Reds? Is there anyone on this team who is less the face of the organization than Phillips? I like the guy, but this is Votto’s team.
I even see Scott Rolen as the face of the team over Phillips.
Scott Rolen does it all. Multi-hit games, multi-homer games, clutch pinch-hits, solid defense.
He does everything Edwin Encarnacion never did.
I still don’t know what to think about Orlando Cabrera. He’s been okay, I guess, but is that really what you want from your everyday shortstop? He has him moments where he looks really good, and he has his moments where he looks really bad.
He’s just kind of… there.
Moving Drew Stubbs out of the lead-off spot was long overdue, and the Reds are reaping the benefits of that move. I went from being down on the guy to being a fan of him in a hurry.
Jay Bruce has made great strides to improve his average, but this guy should be hitting more homers and driving in way more runs.
Watching Jonny Gomes do what he did in May has been a blast. The guy is a walking six-pack of Red Bull, and I love what he brings to the team. He may be certifiably insane, but that’s okay as long as he continues to do what he’s doing.
Everyone in the rotation stepped up in May. Even Homer Bailey (sometimes).
Mike Leake was robbed of two wins (fortunately he didn’t get credited for any losses), Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo showed moments of brilliance, and Johnny Cueto proves he will forever be incredibly frustrating to watch.
Sam LeCure has been an impressive addition to the rotation, and with Aroldis Chapman (apparently) close to getting called up, the Reds are suddenly faced with a starting rotation problem.
My suggestion: A seven-man rotation — Leake, Arroyo, Cueto, LeCure, Harang, Chapman and Bailey.
Where do I start?
While it’s hard to criticize the bullpen too much because the Reds are (still) in first place, the bullpen has been responsible for a few of the May loses, as well as skyrocketing sales for Alka-Seltzer.
Something needs to be done with Nick Masset. I don’t know what that “something” is, but whatever he’s doing no is not working. Unless his plan is to suck pretty much every outing, in which case he’s succeeding.
Francisco Cordero, oh, how you drive me mad. When you’re on, you’re on, but this season it seems like you’re only comfortable when you put guys on base, then you sometimes buckle down and get out of the inning.
And let’s not talk about what happened in Atlanta.
I have no solutions for what to do with the bullpen. If there was someone in the minors who could step up, he would be here by now. A trade seems to be the only option, but with the starting rotation looking a little ragged in June, I’m not sure if it’s time to start trading away players.
SEE: Francisco Cordero, oh, how you drive me mad.
The Drew Stubbs move was great. Finally admitting that Jonny Gomes should be in the lineup as much as possible was equally as great. I still question his usage of Rhodes and Cordero in games that are non-save situations and/or are out of reach, but that’s Dusty Baker for you.
May Record: (18-11)
The Reds were suddenly (and still are) in first place, yet still completely ignored by the major networks and All-Star Game voters.
After that horrendous month of April I was ready to give up on this team, but the Reds played solid baseball in May and salvaged the season and made watching the Reds exciting again.