The Reds have been playing some exciting baseball so far in May. They are 9-4 on the month and have outscored their opponents 80-55 in those those 13 games.
So why can't I fully give in to the excitement that is starting to take over Redsland?
I know many of you probably think it's because I'm a sourpuss who doesn't like anything that's fun, and while that it probably somewhat true, I think it also has to do with the fact that I can't get the 2006 season out of my mind when I watch this team. That year the Reds came out of the gate like gangbusters. They started the season by going 23-12, outscoring their opponents 191-173 in their first 35 games and even JD was starting to believe. As we all know, that team went on to finish the season 57-70 the rest of the way, falling short of a winning record by two games.
So, why is this year's team different?
Offensively, the 2006 team had a clear advantage after 34 games:
The only thing the 2009 team does better is hit triples and sacrifice itself. Heck, the 2006 team was even more HAVOCKY, stealing 10 more bases while being caught 3 fewer times!
Of course, as you'd probably guess, the pitching and defense have been much better in 2009, but there are still areas for concern:
I love to see the drop in home runs, and the improvement in Defensive Efficiency (DER) is enough to take the team from what would be 12th place in the NL this year to 5th place. That is a big reason why the Reds have cut down on their unearned runs and why the team has given up 39 fewer hits than in 2006. I don't like the fairly large increase in walks, especially when only counteracted with a much smaller increase in strikeouts. Despite facing the same number of batters, the pitchers have thrown about 170 more pitchers so far this year, that is in large part because of the walks. So while the pitching is better in 2009, it is much less efficient.
In 2006, the pitching more or less maintained their rate for the remainder of the season, but the offense slipped a lot, especially in August and September. Unfortunately, the pitching and defense wasn't good enough to make up for a lack offense when it happened.
And that's my fear this year. Is the pitching good enough to keep the Reds winning even when the offense goes back to faltering or are we setting up another season like 2006 where one side of the equation falters and it kills the season as a whole?
What do you think? Are my fears worthwhile, or should I just shut up and enjoy the ride?