March 5, 2007

Cam Janssen on Vs.?

Hey, anybody watch the Rangers/Islanders game? Can I get some help here?

I went to work out at the YMCA and I was running the treadmill. They have these 12-inch TV's in a row up on the ceiling and I could barely make out the Rangers/Islanders game. In one of the intermissions, the panel discussion was on Cam Jannsen, but the TV was muted and I couldn't read the captions.

Anybody catch the general drift among the experts? Thanks.

Shin splints

The reason why Josh Hamilton couldn't go 8 for 8 today.

The Identity of the Reds

It's Spring Training. I call it meaningless, you all call it meaningless, the world screams "Meaningless!" in unison, and then the commercial is over.

But, to be honest, it's not entirely meaningless. Not for the guys making the team, not for the guys rehabbing injuries, not for the youngsters trying to show their skills, not for the old-timers going to prove they have enough left in the tank, not for the manager to see what his problem spots and his strengths are. There is more meaning here than you realize, it's the results that don't amount to anything.

For right now, you have the Reds as you've known them. Their offense has carried them to 5 wins and 0 losses. Their pitching has been suspect and their defense unamazing, though better.

This is in direct contrast to what Narron and Krivsky are all about this year. They wish to sacrifice offense for pitching and defense, they've said it only so many times before you realize that they mean it. What they've been getting on the field is not quite the opposite, but not what they imagined. This gives me more optimism as I look forward to the season.

I know, I know. I am optimistic about the Reds because they are scoring all these dang runs and they are undefeated and that's stupid and I am stupid for doing so. Probably. But it gives me optimism that I wouldn't have had if they were 0-5 and were having problems scoring runs. That's not the case. I think the offense that we all think is going to be missing from this year's team is still around. It won't be anywhere near as good as we have seen thus far, but it will be there. I hope it will be more opportunistic and daring, but I think it will be there. The pitching is still of concern, and these spring training games are proving some of that. There is a lot of work that needs to be done, but the guys in the middle and late innings and doing pretty well so far. They are taking care of business. Our defense is not where anyone wants it, but we know it will be better up the middle because Gonzalez is playing with Phillips and EdE can't be as bad as he has been the past couple of years. If we keep Conine out (stay bad, back!) and can platoon Hatteberg with Bellhorn instead and keep the outfielders young and fast and offensively solid as well as defensively solid, this team could be pretty dang good.

It doesn't take much to write this as the Reds stand atop the Grapefruit League standings. I mean, come on, grapefruits? That's pretty lame. But they do stand up there, and it's not sheer randomness, they are playing well. None of it really translates into seasonal success, but don't you at least feel better that your team is playing well? I do.

While their current identity may not be what Narron and Krivsky visualized, it's working right now. I think it's more important to accentuate the positives and try and fix the mistakes, rather than turning a team in a direction that it's not equipped to turn.

Reds 9, Phillies 8

As I promise not to cover Spring Training, I find myself doing it. Not a whole lot else to do 'round here.


Pitching: Brian Meadows picked up the win, and John Ennis got the loss and a blown save. Paul Wilson started and was shaky at best. 2.1/3 innings, 7 hits, 3 walks, 3 K's, 5 earned runs. Saarloos took over for the final out of the third and pitched another two, allowing 5 hits (including a homer by Carlos Ruiz) and 2 earned runs. Only 1 more run (not earned) would be allowed by the rest of the pitching staff as Bray, Stanton, Meadows, and Ligtenberg went an inning each and looked strong, Bray in particular. Not sure what this means for Wilson. Not much yet, but certainly not a good sign after everyone was so high on him. Saarloos wasn't impressive either, as he had 3 groundball outs but 3 flyouts. I thought this guy was going to keep his pitches down. Ah well, but he's got time. What was impressive was he inherited a bad inning from Wilson and didn't let the guys score.

Hitting: Another great day in this regard. You just knew somebody would hit a 2-run homer as that's how things have gone. Well, Phillips led off and was the 2/4 with the aforementioned 2-run homer, his third so far. Hamilton only had two plate appearances, but he made the most of them by hitting a single and taking a walk. Jerry Gil did a good job as his backup, going 2/3 with a homer that tied it up in the 8th inning. Dunn had a 2-RBI single. Denorfia continues to struggle, as does Norris Hopper, making the rise of stardom to Josh Hamilton that much more likely. Chad Moeller, the man whom no one wishes to see behind the plate, got the game-winning RBI on a well-executed suicide squeeze. Nice way to win the game, a return to "small ball" if you will.

Fielding & such: Crosby stole his first base, as I'm assuming there will be more. Encarnacion had a bad throw.