Did you guys know that the Cincinnati Reds are, in fact, not going to be very good this season? In case you missed it, the USA Today is all over the breaking news. Actually, considering USA Today is a Gannett property, I'm actually a little surprised that the big, red Breaking News banner isn't accompanying this story. They use that damn thing for everything.
Anyway, it's a topic that we've been trying to wrap our minds around here at Red Reporter for the better part of two seasons now. I rag on the piece a bit, but there are some interesting tidbits. For instance, Bryan Price seems to be a little more at ease this year, since he's not being asked to do the impossible (stay competitive and at least interesting) with a cast and crew whose window was shut.
"I'll tell you, I'm sleeping a lot this year than I did last year," Price is quoted in the article. That's going to be hard for some people to hear, especially the purists. How on Earth can you be sleeping well? Your rotation can't make it 5 innings, your bullpen is trash, and your best player is hitting .221, they'll say.
But Price gets it. It's not about this year now. It's about development. It's about getting guys, like the ones mentioned in the piece, time to show if they belong. This is where you hope to find out if New Tucker Barnhart and Zack Cozart are for real, and what to do with them if they are. If you happen to get the W in the process, that's icing on the damn cake.
And quite frankly, I'm glad that Price has taken that outlook to this season. Hopefully that'll help him lead a healthier, happier life (and also help him cut back dramatically on F-word laced tirades against the media, that's not a look that's good on anybody).
Oh, and did I mention that his best player is batting .221? Joey Votto has struggled mightily to begin this 2016 season, and it's something that Wick just tackled during the off day yesterday. Earlier this afternoon, Owen Watson over at Fangraphs took a look into what has been ailing Votto, and when we can expect him to break out of it.
The whole thing is concerning inasmuch as Joey Votto is not supposed to look like this kind of player, unless, God forbid, he's hurt. He'll most certainly turn it around, as pointed out by Wick, Owen, and many other prognosticators. He's been too good for too long to just, you know, stop.
But, if he could come back, like, say, tonight? That'd be fantastic.
The Reds will travel to Pittsburgh for their first visit to PNC Park this evening to take on the Pirates. You'll remember in the season's opening weekend when the 'Rats came to town, the Reds somewhat miraculously took the series, and were only a "J.J." away from sweeping the series. If it's all the same to everybody, I just suggest we do that again, minus the J.J.
Dan Straily will attempt to make his case at staying in the rotation, though with Homer, DeSclafani and Lamb all coming back soon and the state of this bullpen, Straily might have just as much value as the long man out of the pen. Or, really, any quality arm in the pen would be a welcome sight.
Juan Nicasio will take the bump for the Pirates. Ray Searage has yet to work his pitching wizardry on Nicasio thus far, as it was suspected. Instead, Nicasio has a 4.50 ERA with a 1.350 WHIP, while walking 5 batters per 9 innings. I'm sure the Pirates were sprinkle that fairy dust on him before long, and a matchup with the flailing Reds coulld be just what the doctor ordered.
Finally, probably the biggest news of the day comes from Miami, where Dee Gordon was popped by the league's PED policy, meaning he'll miss the next 80 games without pay. As per usual, Grant Brisbee over at the Mothership has the hard and smart take on the issue. Of note to Reds fans is the hypothetical scenario of a player that's constantly being compared to Gordon if he could, you know, have a breakout season with the bat like Gordon just did.
Note to Billy Hamilton: Don't do it like Dee did it.
Apropro of nothing to Redsland, yesterday was Take Your Kid To Work Day. Washington Nationals pitcher Tanner Roark, brought his daughter, Madison to the ballpark for the day. She was kind enough to write up the lineup for Dusty. Be prepared for cute overload: