The offense has been disquietingly quiet against the Blue Jays and Yankees thus far
The last four games they have only scored a total of seven runs. Dusty Baker thinks it's primarily due to not getting the first hitters of the inning on base: "We’re having a hard time getting the lead off batter on to put the pitcher in the stretch," Baker said. "Every inning, we’re operating with one or two outs. We’ve got to find a way to put that leadoff hitter on. Then maybe we can do something." At this point, I would be happy to see anyone get on base, regardless of the number of outs. They'll snap out of it soon I'm sure, but not soon enough.
Our comrades at Blog Red Machine are madder than Stalin at the Tehran Conference
over Renteria-Not-Good-Pinch-Hit-Gate (we've had our best interns on the case all night to come up with a name for this and this one was - seriously - the best one. I guess unpaid labor isn't what it used to be). Every option available to Dusty is listed, with current OBP, XBH%, and HR% (with a runner on and down two, only a home run would tie the game). Renteria is the worst possible option in every category. Now, it's important to keep some perspective here. The Reds were down by two runs mainly because the offense went to sleep, as is their wont when facing decidedly underwhelming pitchers like Ivan Nova. So this decision to pinch-hit Renteria for Hanigan isn't what lost the game. But damn if it isn't frustrating to see the manager make such an obviously bone-headed decision.
Johnny Cueto was 'sposed to start last night against the Yankees
but he had a stiff neck and was a late scratch from the lineup. He'll go tonight instead, facing off against cute story Brian Gordon. We will bury him.
As many of us were expecting
the Reds are starting to look at available arms. We knew going into the season that they didn't have a top-of-the-rotation-ace, but with Edinson Volquez and Travis Wood both under-performing and Homer Bailey, Sam LeCure, and Matt Maloney on the mend, they have mid-rotation depth. The problem is, there are no aces out there this year, unlike in years past when Cliff Lee, CC Sabathia, and Dan Haren were traded. Jeremy Guthrie could be available and the Reds have apparently expressed interest in him, but if you ask me, he is just more of the same.
I think it would behoove the Reds to realize that Felix Hernandez ain't walkin' through that door. Tim Lincecum ain't walkin' through that door. There are not going to be any difference-making starting pitchers available this summer, so it's best of they just stick with what they have in the rotation and focus on areas where they can actually make a significant upgrade.
It's decision time with Aroldis Chapman
He will pitch tonight in Louisville and that will close the books on his rehab assignment. The Reds' Politburo has played this close to the chest so it's tough to deduce just what they are going to do with him. I think they are leaning towards bringing him back to the big league club, but I'm wondering if his control problems are really cleared up enough to trust him close-and-late. I think I'd like to see him optioned to AAA to get some work in for a month or so to make sure he's really ready.
A few Reds responded diplomatically to the news of Albert Pujols' injury
"He’s probably the best player in the game," said Joey Votto, who beat out Pujols for NL MVP last year. "Losing Albert is going to be a big deal for them. You can’t stick somebody in there and expect Albert Pujols’ production, but I also think they’ll figure out how to cover that hole."
"From the standpoint of being a good thing for us, sure, it’s got to help our chances," Drew Stubbs said. "Being out that length of time is probably going to take a toll on the Cardinals’ offensive production. But as a player, you never want to see a fellow competitor go down like that."
The Billings Gazette has some video of Opening Day for the Mustangs (HT to Doug Gray)
Golly, Dehler Park looks absolutely gorgeous. Manager Pat Kelly was ejected in the 7th inning, which is just swell.
Beyond the Box Score's power rankings list the Reds as the 9th best team in baseball
thanks in no small part to Miguel Cairo, who has accumulated more fWAR so far this season than the likes of Derek Jeter, Adam Dunn, and Ichiro (though he could easily out-WAR Cairo if he wanted to).
Chris Jakubauskas and Tom Gorzelanny squared off in the Chesapeake Cup, and BLS's David Brown was quick to write up some anagrams for their combined last names. He even made up a cool .gif!