Every year it becomes increasingly difficult to find a Pittsburgh Pirates blog that’s worth a damn, let alone one that will be willing to talk to me about about their painter’s-cap wearing team. Since, once again, no one responded to my requests, here’s a picture of the Patron Saint of Pittsburgh, Ben Roethlisberger:
And we’re back!
I kind of stopped paying attention to the Reds last summer around the All-Star Break. Will I be paying closer attention to the Reds this season? I doubt it, but let’s not kill the momentum before I even get started.
But enough of my yappin’! I spoke to the Brewers Bar about their cheese curd-loving baseball team.
Here we are — entering, quite possibly, the last month you’ll see this Cincinnati Reds team as we know it. Depending on how things go in the next few weeks, we’ll either see some of the Reds’ biggest players traded away, or the team will hover just below .500 long enough for the front office to foolishly believe that they should hold onto everyone for the pennant run that nobody but the front office believes can happen.
Both scenarios end on August 1 with us repeatedly banging our heads against the wall.
Do the Reds NEED to trade Cueto, Leake, and Chapman? The short answer is yes. The problem is, the pieces the Reds will get in exchange for those players are unlikely to make a damn bit of difference in the long run. I don’t care about the financial state of the Reds — I care about winning. Unfortunately for the Reds, those two things are mutually exclusive.
Approximately 12 years after it was announced that Devin Mesoraco would need surgery to fix his hip, Devin Mesoraco finally (FINALLY!) had surgery on his hip. We’ll see him next year.
But how about Pena and Barnhart — not a bad backup catching platoon, huh? Sadly, they both lack the pop that Mesoraco provided the Reds.
Joey Votto’s back. Not that he ever really left, but now there’s not really any question how healthy he is. And he’s having fun with Brandon Philips, too.
Just when you think Brandon Phillips is going to continue his offensive slide, his bat comes back to life. And he’s having fun with Joey Votto, too.
Last week, Todd Frazier was in third place in All-Star Game voting behind Kris Almighty Bryant and Matt Carpenter. Frazier was over 1.2 million votes behind Carpenter, to be exact. At last count, he was in second place and only about 50,000 votes behind Carpenter. Behold the power of creating multiple email addresses!
It just figures, doesn’t it? Zack Cozart was having a career year and then — BAM — out for the season. Eugenio Suarez has been a nice offensive replacement, but his defensive skills remind everyone how much we miss Cozart’s glove.
Marlon Byrd is back, and actually playing really well. Good enough to probably get him traded to a contender before the deadline. Good for him. Bruce continues his inexplicable recovery from his inexplicably slow start, and Billy Hamilton continues to steal a ridiculous amount of bases despite being almost completely incapable of actually getting on base. What we’re left with is an outfield that’s turned out to be halfway decent — a far cry from the outfield earlier this season.
The Who-the-Hell-is-Pitching-Tonight rotation continues. Cueto has looked mortal, surely dropping his trade value in the process. Fortunately, the Reds are locked and loaded for a long run of future success so the players the Reds get in return for Cueto are almost irrelevant. DeSclafani, Lorenzen, and Leake have looked good and bad — sometimes in the same game — so it’s hard to get an idea of what the “future” rotation will be like.
Enjoy Cueto and Leake while you can, because they’re as good as gone by the end of this month. Unless, you know, the Reds are still “contending.”
I don’t recall throwing my phone in anger after seeing that a reliever gave up a lead, so the bullpen has been fine, I guess.
Reds fans love Aroldis Chapman — myself included — but a flame-throwing closer on a sub-.500 team is about as useful as having the fastest guy in baseball who can’t get on base. Chapman’s not a lock to be traded during this season, but you might as well do it while his stock is still high.
June record: 13-15
GO REDS! (?)
I see what you’re doing, Cincinnati Reds. You finish strong in the month of May by sweeping the much-better-than-you-are Washington Nationals, hoping to sway the results of my monthly report card. But you don’t fool me. Not one bit.
Devin Mesoraco was finally placed on the DL. Maybe one of these days he’ll decide whether or not to have surgery on his hip.
Brayan Pena and Tucker Barnhart will be the catching platoon for the remainder of the season. While neither of them is particularly exciting, I am glad that Barnhart is going to get a lot of ABs.
As expected, Joey Votto’s scorching April was followed by a luke-warm May. Fortunately, Votto found his wallet, so hopefully that means we’re in for a scorching June.
Brandon Phillips quietly had a solid month. Slowed somewhat by turf toe, he’s been hitting for average — and not much else.
Your National League Player of the Week for the final week of May, Mr. Todd Frazier, is a beast. This team is bad now, but think how bad they’d be without Frazier’s punishing bat. He currently sits in second place among MLB home run leaders. That’s just silly.
Zack Cozart is still hitting. Not as well as he was in April, but he’s still hitting. Therefore, none of us should complain.
Most of May was a miserable month (that’s a lot of “M’s”) for Jay Bruce. He’s slowly digging himself out of a very deep hole, but he’s still miles away from the player he was before the 2014 season. Call me crazy, but I see Bruce as one of the first players traded before the deadline. Someone will see the upside he has to offer, convince themselves that they can fix his problems (because he’s finally
going to figure it out after 7.5 seasons, right?), and take him off the Reds’ hands. Best of luck to whomever that team is.
The rest of the outfield? The fastest guy in baseball can’t get on base, and Marlon Byrd is just kind of… there.
The Reds’ biggest trade chip has a strained elbow. I’m sure that’s nothing a pitcher should be concerned about. We’ll find out how much of a problem it is after tonight’s start. The only thing Reds fans can hope for is that he stays healthy and pitches well until the All-Star Break, otherwise the Reds will be lucky to swing any deal, let alone a good one.
Jason Marquis was finally relegated to the bullpen. Meanwhile, the young guys — DeSclafani, Lorenzen, Iglesias, and probably someone else whose name I have to look up every time to spell it correctly — have shown glimpses of good stuff. Considering these guys will most likely make up the bulk of the rotation for the foreseeable future, showing any kind of promise is encouraging.
Thankfully, the bullpen has improved. It’s amazing what happens when you release Kevin Gregg. Hoover and Cingrani have been really dependable. Unfortunately, they’re rarely pitching when the Reds have the lead.
Chapman had a whopping 4 saves out of 4 opportunities in May. Let’s just say that wasn’t because the Reds had huge leads every game. He also went through his annual weird stretch where he ended up with 3 losses. It happens. Fortunately (or unfortunately), when you’re an all-around below average team, the closer is the least of your worries.
May record: 11-16
GO REDS! (?)