Exactly three weeks ago today, I gave you all a number of reasons to be optimistic about the rest of the season. At that point, the Reds were in 4th place, two games under .500 and four games out of first place. Today, they are still in 4th place, three games under .500 and 7.5 out of first place. And today I am raising the white flag. Brendan was right. Even though I made a much better argument, based on numbers and facts and scientific projections and all that, and he made a poor argument based almost entirely on his gut feelings, it turns out he was right. This year just isn't the Reds year. So there you go, universe. You've crushed the beliefs of yet another cockeyed optimist. I guess I could turn my attention to football, but it just sucks so much.
Now let's go look at some links:
Dontrelle Willis pitched another decent game last night
He threw six solid innings, giving up two runs on eight hits and a walk with two strikeouts. He was lifted after throwing only 77 pitches (and hitting a home run), but Dusty cautioned that he was getting hit pretty hard. Unfortunately, Nick Masset fared much worse.
But Willis has pitched pretty well for the Reds thus far, starting five games now and tallying 29 innings. Small sample size and all, but he looks like the Dontrelle Willis of old. There are nearly two months left in the season so just about anything can happen between now and then, but it looks to me like he's earned himself a contract for season. The question is, if you are the Reds, do you offer him one? And if so, for how much?
Frustrating seasons like this have a tendency to snowball on you
I'm going to project quite a bit here, so bear with me, but I don't think I'm off base. Dusty said yesterday that with Scott Rolen out for at least a month recovering from shoulder surgery, it's unfortunate that Juan Francisco isn't quite healthy enough yet to take advantage of the opportunity.
"It's bad timing for Francisco because he was really the next in line," Baker said. "He'd gotten a lot of playing opportunity if he had not been hurt. He would have gotten the nod the first time Scotty went down - probably this time, too. But somebody else gets a break and opportunity."
Apparently, that somebody else is not Todd Frazier. The problem I have with this is, if they are willing to play Francisco in this situation to see what they have in him, then that means they are willing to give an interesting prospect a try. But Rolen hasn't played since July 20th, and since then Todd Frazier has started only three games at 3B. If they want to give Francisco a shot here, why not Frazier?
I think this is very telling of how this organization views it's young 3B prospects. Clearly, they think Juan Francisco is worth it. I'm not arguing with that so much, because while I don't think he has much of a future in the bigs (especially at 3B), he's at least not Miguel Cairo here, whom we know has no future in the bigs. He's just too old. My anger stems from the very obvious assumption on their part that Francisco is worth it and Frazier isn't. Or at least, that's Dusty's take. Maybe Walt thinks differently and is quietly seething over this. Either way, I'm pissed.
In what I believe is yet another obvious move made only to further confuse and confound me
the Reds have asked Yonder Alonso to start taking infield practice at third base. "Third base was my position growing up. It comes easier than the other two positions," Yonder said. "When I got to college at Miami, Ryan Braun was at third base. That's why I moved to first base. I started playing third my sophomore year and Danny Valencia came. He's now with Minnesota. Those were two pretty good third basemen."
As I recall, there was an ill-fated attempt to evaluate his skills at the hot corner a few spring trainings ago. It has been widely stated by many a scout that while Yonder has a good enough arm for the position, his range just isn't up to snuff. Perhaps the Reds think a rangy shortstop like Zack Cozart can help cover up his deficiencies there? To be honest, I'm not reading too much into this. I'm still of the mind that Yonder will not see significant time as a Cincinnati Red and will be traded by this winter at the latest. But it never hurts to move some players around the diamond just to see what sticks, right?
The Reds thought they had answered their shortstop question with the promotion of Zack Cozart
Edgar Renteria and Paul Janish were sucking hind tit and Cozy came up and started slashing the ball to and fro all the live long day. Then he got hurt, and back to square one we went. Fortunately, as Sheldon says here, Renteria decided to stop sucking the aforementioned hind tit. Since Cozart's injury on the 23rd of July, Renteria has slashed .323/.344/.548 and left a considerable amount of egg on our boy 'cred's face.
Though of course, I cannot let this mention of Renteria's redemption go by the boards without also mentioning that Soft J has hit even better than Renteria since Cozy's injury, slashing .357/.438/.571. Small sample sizes abound though, as Renteria has only come to the plate 33 times over this span and Janish just 16, but it certainly does not suck hind tit to see these guys finally start hitting a little bit.
CSG's take on the Astros series:
"Keep in mind that Cincinnati has lost plenty of times in Houston. The only problem is that those losses usually came at the hands of Warren Moon, not the 37-74 Houston Astros." Football sucks so much.