Red Reposter's Numberoos, the first kangaroo-adjustment system that allows you to bend your kangaroos in the shape of mathematical symbols. No more boring kangaroo-shaped kangaroos for you! This revolutionary new product allows you to conform your kangaroos to any numerical shape you like! What's your favorite number? 3? Well, now you can have your kangaroo in the shape of the number 3! You'll wonder how you ever lived without it! (void where prohibited by law). - 66 - Number of times Brandon Phillips has crossed home plate so far this season, which is tops in the National League. It's amazing that this guy was our clean-up hitter for so long, and even more amazing that he's taken to the table-setter role as well as he has. Keep on truckin', BeeP!
The rotation is set for the first two games, anyway
Bronson Arroyo toes the rubber to open the 2nd half this evening and Edinson Volquez makes his triumphant return for Saturday's tilt. After that though, the Reds are mum. Well, not totally mum, but that haven't been explicit. Here's Dusty: "You know there’s a lot of things that go into. It’s not always who’s pitching the best. It’s whose contract is what and who has options and various things."
He's basically saying Aaron Harang will be in the rotation when he returns. And I'm OK with that. Fay isn't though. But what else are they going to do with him? They can't trade him because I doubt anyone wants him. They can't release him because he's still a valuable player (remember when we would have killed our own children for a league-average pitcher like Harang?). I guess they could send him to the 'pen, but that would probably really upset the apple cart. The easier thing to do is to send Travis Wood back to AAA when Harang is ready. He'll be back as soon as they need him.
Jocko sez he wants experience in the bullpen
"I think what I’m looking for more than anything is a little more experience in the bullpen and bullpen depth," Jocketty said. "I still like our club the way it is. We’ve still got some guys coming back with (Edinson) Volquez and we’re trying to get (Aroldis) Chapman ready for the bullpen. Chapman is going to help but he doesn’t have the experience." I think bullpen acquisitions are a risky business (see: Trade, The). Unless you are getting a top-flight talent like Joakim Soria or...well, that's about it. But if you can't get him then just forget it. Bullpen talent is too volatile to project for a pennant race. It's too often not worth wasting the resources.
Wondering what to expect from Russ Springer?
RJ Anderson calls him a "right-handed specialist", which basically means he shouldn't face lefties. Kind of a bizzaro-Lefty Smurf. Since 2003, Springer has a 3.22 FIP against common-handed hitters, which could come in handy. Of course, he's also a fly ball pitcher coming to GABP, so that could be a recipe for some messy spaghetti.
Wondering what to expect from Edinson Volquez?
Mike Axisa thinks he's gonna walk a ton of hitters. That shouldn't be too surprising, 'cause The Wagon has always been very liberal with the free rides. He foresees a K/BB around 8.5/5.0 and an ERA in the mid-to-low 4s. Sooooo, kinda like the 8 other dudes in the Reds rotation right now.
SI's power rankings have the Reds coming in at #11
Joe Lemire lists the most important players to each team's respective second halves, and he puzzlingly chooses Orlando Cabrera for our Reds. Let's see how he 'splains himself:
"The Reds' shortstop typically gets a pass on his hitting -- this year sinking to new lows with a .245 average and .283 OBP -- because of his slick glove. But this year he's only been a slightly above-average fielder this year, with a 3.1 UZR/150, which is a measure of Ultimate Zone Rating prorated to 150 games, or about what most starters play during the season. In 2009 he had a -12.1 UZR/150, meaning he's slowed a step from some of his more spectacular seasons earlier in his career. He could be pushed for playing time by reserve infielder Paul Janish, who has a .397 OBP in 30 games."
I suppose what he meant was "the player that the team hopes will finally start contributing", because looking at the other teams one sees the likes of J.A. Happ (injured pretty much all season), Carlos Beltran (injured all season), Joe Mauer (sub-.800 OPS so far) and so on. I wish we could have gotten Yunel Escobar.
Redleg Nation Radio looks back at the first half and ahead to the second half
If you are as bored as I am after almost a week off of baseball, this is thrill-a-minute stuff.
Marc Normandin at Baseball Prospectus, that minaret of baseball analystry
runs down the NL Central at halftime. Here's his bit on the Reds:
"The Reds have been the lone team giving the Cardinals fits atop the division, and while there is reason to believe that luck may run out, there is still hope for them to keep at it. Mike Leake has been excellent as a rookie (one sans minor league experience, to boot) but he's been a bit lucky and has faced a soft schedule thus far. The same can be said for Johnny Cueto and Bronson Arroyo, but fear not: the Reds have ways of dealing with this. Another rookie, Travis Wood, has been slotted into the rotation, and there's reason to believe he'll be of use. If things take a turn for the worse, Aroldis Chapman is still waiting in Triple-A, though his path to the majors for 2010 will most likely involve the bullpen, where the Reds are lacking in production outside of the ageless Arthur Rhodes.
Things are even brighter on the hitting side, where the Reds rank second in the NL in True Average. Joey Votto has been one of the best hitters in baseball, a trend that should continue not just in 2010, but for years. Brandon Phillips has been himself after a slow start, up-and-coming star Jay Bruce has seen his development continue smoothly, and the resurgence of Scott Rolen has been a boon to club. Orlando Cabrera is the lone weak spot in one of the league's finest lineups—if the Reds are to look outward for help at any position by July 31, shortstop is the one, though giving Paul Janish more at-bats wouldn't hurt either."
The Story of Chuck Hustle and the Doris Kearns Goodwinning of Baseball History
Petey Boy was in Newport for the local premiere of the film "4,192", which details Rose's impressive on-field exploits. It eye-rollingly ignores all the interesting seedy stuff though, like the gambling and the displaying of skaggy girlfriends in the seats behind the dugout. The DVD release is scheduled for September 14.