Doc argues that this team isn't bad
just underachieving dramatically. He lists Bruce, Stubbs, Janish, Heisey, and Bailey as players the team was counting on to take a step forward this year, but for their respective reasons have not.
I take exception to this assessment. Jay Bruce has not been an MVP this year, but he's been darn good. It's hard to complain about him. Ditto for Drew Stubbs. And Chris Heisey, for that matter. Anybody who expected significantly more out of these guys was being unrealistic. Paul Janish? Uhh, yeah. He's been much worse than even his harshest critics could have anticipated. Homer has been hurt too much, but when he's been on the bump he's been fine. Not an ace, but fine. I think the real underachievers so far this year have been the supposed veteran leaders, Scott Rolen and Bronson Arroyo. But we can't expect Doc to call out these guys. It's much easier to blame it on the youth.
Also, I understand the impulse to lay blame in a situation like this. It's very difficult to accept that this team could lose an entire season to bad luck. But that's probably closer to the truth than Doc's "underachieving" canard. But we really want to think that things like this are within our control, that if a few things could have been done differently the outcome could have been dramatically different. But sometimes the tides turn against you and there is just nothing you can do about it. But fatalism is a harsh salve.
Joey Votto was named the NL Player of the Week for the final week of July
He hit four home runs and got on base nearly half the time for the week. If this team is going to make a run over the final two months, he needs to do more of this. Congratulations Joey!
Yonder Alonso got his first start in LF for the Reds last night
He was 0-3 with a hard-earned, 8-pitch walk to his credit. Dusty said the reason Yonder got the start was because of the very small left field in Minute Maid Park, which would be beneficial to a guy with limited range like Alonso.
Also related to this story, while watching the game last night Chris Welsh said he was talking to Dusty and asked why Alonso wasn't getting more time in LF. Dusty retorted with something like this: "When Chris Heisey was on the bench, you all clamored for him to play. Now that Heisey is playing, you all want someone else." Basically, he is commenting on the fickleness of us, the fans.
But here's my retort. I just want the best possible lineup on the field. The reason I wanted Heisey to get more time was because I thought he was better than Jonny Gomes, who was playing almost every day. Now that Gomes is gone and Alonso is up, I think an argument can be made that Alonso is the best LF on the team on most nights. It's not that I'm fickle, it's that I want the best team on the field. Dusty has shown in the past that, on occasion, he will play an inferior player while a better option sits on the bench (the Heisey/Gomes sitch is exhibit A). I'm not sure if Alonso is a better option right now than Heisey, but I think a strong argument can be made. At the very least, they should probably be splitting time. And Fred Lewis should never, ever start again.
Our own Andromache breaks down Aroldis Chapman's season over at C-ing Red
Basically, we have seen three distinct Aroldis Chapmans this season, a good one, a bad one, and a superhero one. This bit here about the superhero's slider got my sugars all up: "Awesome Chapman is throwing the slider in the zone about 51% of the time, compared to April’s good Chapman – but is getting a 48% swing rate, and a 36% whiff rate. (FYI, this is almost 3x the league average for sliders)."
Zack Cozart started swinging a bat again
but his elby-bone is still a bit sore. He's unsure when he'll be ready to get back on the field, but it shouldn't be too long. In his stead, Edgar Renteria and Paul Janish have OPSed .839 and 1.009(!!), respectively. Too little, too late fellas, but we sure do appreciate it.
The Reds Hall of Fame has announced their ballot of players for 2012
Jeff Brantley, John Franco, Danny Graves, Scott Sullivan, Sean Casey, Hal Morris, Paul O'Neill, and Reggie Sanders are the guys to be considered. You can vote at RedsMuseum.org for up to three players. Who do you got?
Three truths about Jeff Brantley
Grant Brisbee's power rankings sorts out teams based on conversations that each team's GM had leading up to the trade deadline
This is one of the best ones of the year, so be sure to click through and read the whole thing. The Padres/Rangers and Twins/Marlins conversations are just brilliant. As for our Reds, here is a real actual conversation Walt Jocketty had in negotiations with the Nationals regarding Jonny Gomes:
"An intern comes into Mike Rizzo's office and drops off a stack of papers. He looks around cautiously, and sits down behind Rizzo's desk, propping his feet up. He leans forward and opens a desk drawer, and starts rifling through it. He picks up the phone.
Intern: I'm Mike Rizzo! I'm the GM of the Nationals! Blah blah blah!
He puts the phone back on the receiver and pauses. Then he picks it up and pushes a speed-dial button.
Walt Jocketty: Hello?
Intern: I would like to make a trade, sir! I am Mike Rizzo, general manager of the Nationals! I'm very important. I would like to trade for ... your left fielder!
Walt Jocketty: Jonny Gomes?
several hours later
Mike Rizzo: Now what in the absolute **** am I supposed to do with Jonny Gomes?"