Time for a recap of tonight’s titanic struggle….

Cincinnati 4
Houston 2
WP: Volquez (2-1)
LP: Geary (0-1)
S: Cordero (4)

–4-2 on the road trip, over .500 overall on the season now. That’s good.

–Micah Owings. This guy needs to be playing left field every day. Owings absolutely crushed a double off the wall as a pinch-hitter, scoring two runs and giving the Reds the advantage.

–Edinson Volquez was better today; it really looks like he’s coming around. His control is still a bit spotty (Dusty blamed the WBC in a post-game interview), with five walks against 7 Ks…but he went 6 innings and only gave up one run. When he is around the plate, he is awfully tough to hit.

–Laynce Nix: has this guy done everything asked of him, or what? Two hits in two ABs today, including his third double of the season. He plays hard, and he’s really helping the team right now.

–Willy Taveras was 1-2 with a walk and an HBP. That’s three times on base for those of you scoring at home (or even if you’re alone). Taveras is doing his job, with an OBP of .410. No one else on the offense is doing theirs (other than Joey Votto).

–The offense is just BAD. If it weren’t for an untimely Houston error, and a pinch-hitting pitcher, the Reds could easily have lost this one. It’s just ugly, folks.

–The defense is bad, too. Three errors? I thought the defense was supposed to be improved this year? (Votto, for all the good he’s doing with the bat, has looked brutal in the last couple of days in the field.)

–Not a good outing by CoCo, but he finally finished off the ‘Stros in the 9th and earned his fourth save.

–The pitching staff issued 8 walks. That has to stop.

–Stormy Weathers, I love you, man, but you scare me to death.

–Reds can win the series tomorrow, and would ensure at least a .500 road trip. I’ll take it.

NOTE: We just changed servers this weekend (which is why we lost a few comments today). The site should be much faster and more stable from now on, though.

31 Responses

  1. nick in va

    The Astros announcer said the Reds are leading a “charmed life” in Houston. I don’t care how ugly. If the wins keep coming I’ll take them.

  2. Mark in CC

    Six and five, five and three in the division, with absolutely no offense is amazing.

    Won today with three errors, amazing.

    McDonald really scalded the ball in the ninth. That was great to see. He probably deserves another start tomorrow ith a lefty going, if Bruce can’t go.

  3. Y-City Jim

    The Astros announcers need to spend some time with George Grande. He will help them see the sunny side of things.

    Eddie – 4-game errorless streak 🙂

  4. Matt B.

    Sadly, every time I watch the offense, all I can think about is what could have been, especially with the solid pitching.

  5. Fireball44

    The offense has been bad, but I really don’t think it’s this bad. Nice to be 6-5 with a complete lack of offense in the last few games, tho. Owings plus Houston’s defensive mistakes are why we won this one.

  6. earl

    Taveras also made a really nice catch on Bourn’s drive to left center.

    McDonald is pretty fast, he really got around to third.

    Winning some ugly games is a part of becoming a good club. I figure if they can hold up now, the bats are going to come around a bit. Like probably many around here, I think they need to swap in Hanigan, Nix and Janish and give them some more playing time and see if they can get it done. McDonald and Nix have both played OK with the chances they have gotten. Future wise, Gonzales and Hernandez are only here for the rest of the season. The Reds at some point are going to have give their prospects a shot at filling the position. If Rosales continues to hit big at AAA, at some point Cinci might just need to bite the cash and let Gonzales go, but it might not happen until closer to the all star break.

  7. david

    So after 11 games we still don’t know much. However, what I love about this team is that they are taking advantage of mistakes. Willy T needs to keep doing what he’s doing. If he does, and we can add a legit LF power bat during the season this team can make the postseason.

  8. Y-City Jim

    Remember that Eddie has Hernandez and Gonzalez hitting behind him. He isn’t seeing much to hit, which is why he has 10 walks and a .400 OBP.

  9. World

    That may be true there Y-City Jim. Where the devil is Y-City anyway? I live in New York so I don’t know.

    Anyway, EE had 23 errors at third last year. That can’t be acceptable. Or it shouldn’t be.

    The kid can hit but he’s no third baseman.

    Adam Rosales. Give him a chance.

  10. Sultan of Swaff

    EdE has given very good ABs all season. He’s a notoriously slow starter, but heis much improved even if the average doesn’t show it. If you look inside his at bats, he is making good decisions, just missing his pitches. That will come around like it will for the other guys. Phillips is the guy who makes me cringe every time he steps in the box. Bad decisions every time.
    Nothing against Bruce, but I’d like to get a longer look at Nix. Maybe he’s a sleeper, a poor man’s Hamilton, who is showing what he really can do now that he’s healthy, a la Carlos Quentin.
    Get used to these close scores, because if we’re going to make any noise, it will be by hook and crook.
    Votto has horrible feet, but his arm in left field would scare me as well. Seems pretty good at digs, though, which is way more important than the occasional grounder.

  11. Glenn

    Man, does this team need to start hitting. This is getting ridiculous.

  12. Chris

    “Charmed life,” is one phrase that comes to mind. But “due for a fall” and “regress to the mean” are probably more apt, unfortunately.

  13. al

    not sure that i get that comment chris. if this team regresses to its mean, then you’d have to expect the offense to come around, right?

    i agree that we’re living a charmed life when it comes to winning games without hitting, but i have to think the hitting will come. i think our record actually reflects the talent on the team, though the talent hasn’t really been showing itself.

  14. Mark in CC

    Doubt the “Big Boy” who is currently hitting .147 in A-Ball, should be counted on much this year.

    It would be nice to get Hanigan a few at bats to see what he might be able to add.

  15. mike

    “i agree that we’re living a charmed life when it comes to winning games without hitting, but i have to think the hitting will come. i think our record actually reflects the talent on the team, though the talent hasn’t really been showing itself.”

    so I think this is a very interesting idea and question

    Taveras will drop like a rock
    Dickerson will drop like a rock
    Votto will drop a little
    Phillips who knows if he starts swinging at everything….average 2B
    Bruce could skyrocket at any moment
    EE could skyrocket at any moment
    Hernandez could return to average adding a little to the team
    Gonzo stinks

    I’m not joking but I also know how to read between the lines so I’ll help fill in the blanks
    Taveras is WAY over his head
    Dickerson WILL drop unless he’s platooned like he has been
    Phillips is producing MORE than last year……
    Bruce isn’t hitting anything
    EE could be on the verge of being a solid hitting 3B
    Hernandez is better than this
    Gonzo stinks

  16. mike

    Re: “EdE has given very good ABs all season. He’s a notoriously slow starter, but heis much improved even if the average doesn’t show it.”

    What is average? does anyone even pay attention to that anymore?

  17. Jared

    Al — The good guys on the team (other than Votto) aren’t getting it done so far, but the bench and Slick Willy are doing better than they are likely to continue. Without any big moves, I think the offensive output we’re seeing now is about what we can expect.

  18. cincy buckeye

    I truly believe the bats will come around and hopefully we’ll be in contention at the break and sign a power hitter

  19. al

    the bench’s and willy’s production are good point jared (and mike), but i think i disagree about the magnitude, and i think the offense will improve.

    i mean, look at these BAs:

    tavares .267
    dickerson .217
    hairston .211
    hernandez .188
    bruce .176
    phillips .176
    ede .156
    gonzo .069

    it’s hard for me to a) see how tavares and dickerson “drop like a rock” and b) how on average those guys don’t at .100 points a piece over the season. i mean, look at these numbers, would they shock you:

    hairston .311
    hernandez .288
    bruce .276
    phillips .276
    ede .256
    gonzo .169

    i’m no batting average guy either, but you have to admit, 6 starters adding around 100 points on the BA is going to a pretty big bump in the offense, even if some of the bench cools off.

    by rough numbers that’d be 3 extra hits per night, which probably results in about a run per night. that’s a big jump. right now we’re scoring 3.8/game, and 4.8 wouldn’t put us at the top of the league, but closer to the middle.

    and that’s where i guess i see the talent on this team taking the offense, closer to the middle of the pack.

  20. GregD

    Last season the Reds hit .247/.321/.408 (avg/obp/slg)
    So far this year .210/.317/.337

    OBP about the same. AVG and SLG down from a year ago. Several seem to think, and I agree, that a lot of individual’s AVG will climb as the month & year wears on. Question is, how much off the mark has the power display been? Because I think they’ve been hitting for about as much power as I expected, and they’ve been lucky to hit them when the counted most.

    I also expect the obp to stay about the same…as avg increases, the bb/ab rate will decrease or regress to the mean.

    Will Gonzalez’s average increase? I was convinced that Vince Coleman was not going to stay under .200 with the Reds in 1996, especially after batting .288 with 42 steals the year before, but he was never able to get above the .200 line and did even worse in a brief trial with the Tigers in 1997. Some players just suffer a dropoff like that. You hope that it’s early season sample size.

  21. GregD

    Expect a lot of runs tonight, Arroyo is on the hill:
    >When Arroyo & Volquez pitch, the Reds avg 6.4 runs/game.
    >When Harang and Cueto pitch, 1.4 runs/game.

  22. Sultan of Swaff

    I think our record is an accurate reflection of the quality of our team. The teams we’ve played have made more mistakes than us. Even if these games are ugly, the better team has usually won on that given day. The downside risk of this team turning crappy is less than the potential for it to play better, and that gives me hope.

  23. Dan

    We’ve gotten lucky – with 42 runs scored and 53 runs allowed, we’re a below-average team. (Pythagorean record – 4-7.)

    I do agree that the offense will turn it around. They’re not going to hit .210 or slug .337 all season. That’s for sure.

    But what’s this team’s true level?

    I’d really like to see some HITTERS get called up — Rosales and Gomes in particular come to mind.

    And in that same vein, let’s carry 14 hitters and 11 pitchers! I’m convinced this would be a competitive advantage.

  24. Dan

    All this said, I’m still convinced we did the right thing by NOT dealing Homer for Dye.

    Dye would make us a little better right now, sure, but not that much. And we’d only have him for a year most likely.

    Homer is 22, is a former 1st round draft choice, and can sling it 95+ MPH. No way you give up on him in exchange for one year of a 36-year-old corner outfielder!

  25. per14

    “I was convinced that Vince Coleman was not going to stay under .200 with the Reds in 1996…”

    Holy crap. I had totally repressed the fact that Coleman was briefly a Red. It’s kind of scary to look at the Reds’ rosters from 1996 to about 2004. It is a who’s who of has-beens and not-quites. A few of my “favorites”: Alex Ochoa, D’Angelo Jiminez, Jon Vander Wal, Tod Van Poppel(!!), Roberto Petagine.

  26. Bill Lack

    There were a number of us that thought Petagine could be a useful part for the Reds, they never gave him much of a chance.

  27. Dan

    Ahhhh, Roberto Petagine! A blast from the past.

    What a raw deal that guy got, from the entire major leagues. He could have and should have been a star.

    Check out these numbers:

    Petagine at AA-ball: .329/.430/.529
    Petagine at AAA-ball: .322/.431/.577

    The Reds got him in February 1998 from the Mets in exchange for a guy who never made the majors (Yuri Sanchez??). Petagine was 27 at the time.

    Unfortunately (for Petagine), 6 weeks later, the Reds also traded for Sean Casey, who played Petagine’s primary position. Casey was 23 at the time.

    Petagine managed only 62 AB’s for the Reds, and managed to bat .258/405/.468.

    In December ’98, the Reds sold him to the Yakult Swallows in Japan.

    Casey was great, of course, but check out what Petagine did over the next 5 seasons in Japan:

    Petagine 1999 (age 28) – .325/.469/.677
    Petagine 2000 (age 29) – .316/.432/.601
    Petagine 2001 (age 30) – .322/.466/.633
    Petagine 2002 (age 31) – .322/.438/.649
    Petagine 2003 (age 32) – .323/.457/.683

    Now I have no idea how to translate those stats back into MLB equivalents… but good lord those are gaudy.

    By the way, he came back to the states in 2005 and played half a season at Pawtucket, the AAA team for Boston, and at age 34 he put up a .327/452/.635 line at AAA.

    And the guy pretty much never got a shot in the majors! He managed 366 AB’s in the majors in his career – never more than 124 AB in a single season.

    Poor guy… I really think he could’ve been very good.

    I don’t begrudge the “Sean Casey era” at all… who doesn’t love Sean?… but the Reds had something really good in Petagine, and let him get away for nothing.

    If he’d come along 5 years later, Billy Beane would’ve been all over this guy. Seriously!

    So anyway, per14… Petagine may qualify as a “not quite” in your list, but I don’t think it was for lack of talent. I think, for whatever reason, it was for lack of a shot.

    Fires me up for some reason! 😉

    I’ll get off my Petagine soapbox now…

  28. Dan

    And yes… I am crazy… apparently… (oy) 😉

  29. per14

    No, I agree totally about Petagine. “Not quite” probably isn’t fair to him as he had a great career in Japan. Although I didn’t realize it was as good as those numbers attest. I remember being excited too about him when he was called up. Feel free to replace his name in my list with, oh, Rueben Matteo.