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The Month in Review (June): Less Than You Think

July 1, 2012

Summer has kicked into full gear and there’s no better summer treat than Chris Sabo’s Goggles’ monthly report card. Of course, my opinion is completely biased.

For the uninitiated, this is what you need to know: Instead of stars, instead of letter-grades, I use cheese coneys. That’s it.

1 cheese coney = This isn’t even a snack, let alone a meal. Try harder.

2 cheese coneys = You could do better, but you could also do worse.

3 cheese coneys = Now we’re getting somewhere. Not perfect, but pretty darn close.

4 cheese coneys = How can you complain about four cheese coneys? Simple–you can’t.

As MC Hammer once said: Stop! Coney time!

CATCHER

Devin Mesoraco can’t hit at the big league level. After hitting .300 in April (in 11 games), he followed up an impressive .135 average in May with a monstrous .184 in June. I guess we can call that improvement (if you ignore April, of course). He also can’t nail base-runners, having only thrown out 7 of 28 base-stealers this season. That’s a 75% success rate for the bad guys. If you’re not concerned by those numbers, you should be.

Ryan Hanigan didn’t hit much in June, either—batting only .245 after hitting .300 and .327 in April and May. But at least Hanigan has proven he can hit and throw out base-runners (his success rate is 53% this season).

Either way, it wasn’t a good month to be a catcher for the Cincinnati Reds.

1ST BASE

  • .404 AVG
  • .487 OBP
  • 1.178 OPS
  • 11 2B
  • 6 HR
  • 18 RBI
  • 17 BB

And that was just in June.

He leads the National League in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, walks, doubles and winning our hearts.

Oh, and he’s also the leading National League vote-getter for the 2012 All-Star Game.

By the way, I’m talking about Joey Votto.

2ND BASE

After a slow April and a slightly better May, something clicked for @DatDudeBP in June (are you paying attention, Devin?). Now, instead of just making dazzling plays at 2B, he’s also hitting the ball well and providing some much-needed protection for Votto.

And then Phillips got kicked in the head by Aramis Ramirez. Somewhere, Jason LaRue* and Chris Carpenter** are smiling.

*Retirement home

**Disabled list

3RD BASE

It’s a good thing that Todd Frazier can hit and Scott Rolen has returned from the DL, because Miguel Cairo (.091) and Mike Costanzo (.000) weren’t helping out much. Rolen has shown signs of life since his return, but longevity is always an issue with him, so let’s just hope he hits while he’s healthy.

SHORTSTOP

I really like Zack Cozart, and I think he’s going to do just fine at shortstop for the Reds, so I was glad to see him recover from a pretty pathetic May. His strikeouts continue to be a major issue, though.

OUTFIELD

Drew Stubbs only played in 8 games in June thanks to a sore tummy muscle, but during those 8 games he was batting .292, which was way above his normal .250-ish average. We’ll see if he can build on that in July now that’s off the DL. While he was out, Chris Heisey and Ryan Ludwick all had varying degrees of success. Especially Ludwick who had six homers and is starting to hit much better overall.

However, Jay Bruce’s average continues to plummet on a month-to-month basis, which is not good for someone who tends to follow up one bad month with a really good month. Let’s hope his last two games of June (5-9, 3 RBI) were just an early start on an ass-kicking July.

THE BENCH

There’s no other way to put it—the Reds’ bench is pretty sad, and they’re clearly not going to get any help from the minors. People are floating around the idea of picking up Edwin Encarnacion (yes, that Edwin Encarnacion) as a possible bench-player/3B replacement. I have no idea how likely it is that will happen, but it certainly can’t hurt.

STARTING PITCHING

The rotation went a combined 11-6 in June, with Homer Bailey and Bronson Arroyo accounting for five of those loses. That’s not a shot at either of those two guys, it just shows that the two guys we (I) complain about the most—Mat Latos and Mike Leake—weren’t part of the problem in June. In fact, the Reds had three complete games in the final week of June–one of them was by Leake and the other two were by Latos.

In Leake’s last three starts he’s pitched 24 innings and given up only 4 ER. Remember what Leake was doing in April? Well, this is better than that.

With the exception of a bad outing here or there (something everyone in the rotation has been guilty of), the starting pitching hasn’t been the problem. The inconsistent offense has.

BULLPEN

The bullpen has actually been doing a decent job, but that’s hard to appreciate when Chapman is blowing saves and losing games. And it’s nice to have Bill Bray back.

CLOSER

Do I start with Aroldis Chapman’s 0-4 record and 6.97 ERA in June, or Aroldis Chapman’s double-somersault celebration the other night? One was a foolish decision and the other is (hopefully) an anomaly. But the bottom line is that Chapman was pretty bad in June. We’ll see if the double-somersault (affectionately named the “Cuban Revolution” by someone on the Chris Sabo’s Goggles Facebook page) purged Chapman of all the negative energy he built up.

OVERALL

June Record: (15-12)

It’s hard to believe that a month that included a 6-game winning streak resulted in a 15-12 record, but that’s what inconsistency will do to a team. The pitching has been quite good, the offense has been spotty, but overall this club just hasn’t been able to put together sustained periods of success without following it up with sustained periods of mediocrity. But they still have the second best record in the National League and the fourth best record in baseball, so that must be worth something.

Lastly, congratulations to Todd Ufferman for correctly guessing the number of strikeouts (39) Mat Latos would have in June. He’s the proud new owner of a Team Latos shirt, courtesy of Friarhood.com.

GO REDS!

© Chris Sabo’s Goggles 2012. 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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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Matt permalink
    July 1, 2012 1:00 PM

    Well said. Also, nice fleshing out and summary of the STARTING PITCHING. The young guns deserve praise for their consistent success the last several outings. Latos has especially looked more poised whenever you see him, just before the game, during or in the post game interview.

  2. RLewis permalink
    July 5, 2012 3:11 PM

    I don’t think the Reds Outfield merrits two dogs. Stubbs and Bruce lead the team in SOs. The only thing more maddenng than Stubbs’ below .220 average is trying to understand the mind-boggling reasoning that Dusty keeps batting him 2nd.

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