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John Fay
John Fay has been the Reds beat writer for the Enquirer since 2001. Prior to that, he served in a variety of roles for the Enquirer: backup Reds writer, UC beat writer, backup Bengals writer and as a general assignment reporter. He is a Cincinnati native and a graduate of Elder High School and the University of Dayton.

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Monday, April 30, 2007

May a big month for Redlegs

My story for the Tuesday paper is about how big a month May is for the Reds. They only have one day off all month (May 17). Tomorrow's game with Astros starts a stretch of 16 games in the 16 days. After the off day on the 17th, they play 17 games in the 17 days. That stretch will tell a lot about the season.

Six key games of the month are May 11-13 in L.A. and May 14-16 in San Diego. Last season was lost in those two places. The Reds were 0-3 in L.A. and 1-2 in San Diego. The 16-inning loss at Dodger Stadium -- lost on Ryan Franklin's only pitch of game which was hit for a walk-off homer -- was the toughest loss of the year.

The Reds' success for the month -- really for the season -- will come down to whether they hit enough. They scored 40 fewer runs this April than last, hit 10 fewer home runs and hit 21 points and went from an .830 OPS to .712.

I'm sold on the starting pitching. Everyone but Eric Milton has been good. And you have plenty of re-enforcements at Louisville. But the jury is still very much out on the offense. The last two games were either a good sign or a mirage.

Milton hasn't been much of an issue but he's 0-4 and 4.71 ERA. Is he going to keep getting starts?

You probably heard that Alex Gonzalez was named co-NL player of the week. The guy is so good defensively that the offense is a bonus.


at 8:36 AM Blogger Laura said...

I don't think Milton is that bad this season. He deserved better in the outing vs. Philly, and only gave up those 3 runs in his last outing. And no one has mentioned how he's cut down on his HRs so far - only 3, which is as many as Harang and Lohse have. His walks are lower than every SP (except for Lohse), and he's given up fewer hits than all of the SPs. He's given up the same or fewer earned runs than every other SP. Yes, he hasn't pitched as many innings, but still. He's actually done a decent job this year. Notice how the talks of demoting him have quieted down.

at 9:34 AM Blogger docproc said...

The reason Milton only gave up 3 runs in his last outing is that they yanked him before he had a chance to implode. Saying that he's not as horrible as last year is damning him with faint praise. Inasmuch as the Reds had a day off yesterday, I wish they'd skip his start on Friday. Sorry, Laura, but I just have no confidence in this guy.

at 10:33 AM Blogger Don said...

I'll take a 4.71 ERA from Eric Milton, although docproc is right. Milton's ERA has been saved because he is being pulled before he reaches the fifth and sixth innings, the point in the game where he has historically imploded.

The problem with allowing Milton to throw only four or five innings is that it further taxes and already suspect bullpen. With just one day off in May, Milton's fate may be sealed, and I suspect we will be back to seeing the overpaid pitiful pitcher we are accustomed to seeing. Might we see Homer up here next month?

at 10:39 AM Blogger Mr. Redlegs said...

Yeah but the stat geeks keep telling us how awful and overrated and Gonzalez is defensively because of his range factor and they just don't understand why Phillips isn't the SS so they can get more offense.

Krivsky is an idiot.

Of course, these are the same stat geeks who complained about the Conine signing--about his age, about his production, about his defense, blah-blah.

And time and again, some of us who actually watch games keep telling the stat geeks you have to see players perform, in-person, day-to-day, to appreciate their value and contributions . . . things a stat sheet can never fully expose.

But nah, the stat geeks always know better because, well, the stat sheets are the true measure of the game. The eyeballs lie.

at 10:48 AM Blogger Laura said...

Still, we could do a heck of a lot worse for a number 5 pitcher. And I never said I had confidence in him. Still, credit should be given where credit is due. You only referenced one outing. Milton is 38th in the NL on HRs given up. Above or tied him? Just in our division, there's Zambrano, Woody Williams, Wade Miller, Kip Wells, Ben Sheets, Zach Duke, Harang, Hill, Keisler, Lohse, Maholm, Oswalt... there's more, but I'm taking up a ton of space.

As for ERA, he's 151st, in front of Maholm, Willis, Olsen, Garcia, Wells, Zambrano, Duke, Wainwright, Francis, Hensley, and others.

IP, he's 69th, in front of Davies, Redman, Rodrigo Lopez, Wade Miller, Jennings, Armas, and Mitre. That's not as strong, but there are still worse out there.

Strikeouts, 83rd. Walks, he's very low (only 5). That puts him at 115, counting from most walks to least.

I'm not saying he's great. But for a number 5 pitcher, we could do a heck of a lot worse!

at 11:39 AM Anonymous jc said...

lets face it...the reds have no confidence in milton..and he has brought it upon himself. we have three better starters at louisville. dumatrait deserves a shot today. the best that can happen is that milton strings two great starts together and we can unload at least a portion of his contract.... because we need an outfielder... pleurisy and diverticulitis recur so griffey will be a part time player. ryan freel has one rbi in 94 plate appearances. one rbi. last in the national league. that is not going to cut it if we want to contend.

at 12:16 PM Anonymous jc said...

i like krivsky. when you are small market you have to roll the dice.m the organization ha stotally flip flopped. we have more quality pitching in the program than we have had in fifteen years. no point in stockpiling it for a better return in july if you want to contend...and put fannies in the seats. am sure they are shopping milton daily... kearns deal was taking a chance that has not worked out... but i bet krivsky wishes he would have never let cody ross get away.

at 12:22 PM Anonymous RickNMd said...

Excellent point about Cody Ross, JC. They could really use that right-handed bat. Plus, he plays pretty defense.

at 12:28 PM Blogger Pat said...

Good post, laura. Milton has done well for a #5. The reason why he was pulled early last game was because their best hitter (bay) was up and he just knocked in 2 in his previous at bat. He had a rough start, but had quieted down in that game. Milton usually just does bad enough to lose. If the reds score 2, he gives up 3. If the reds score 5, he gives up 6. He has cut down on the long ball, and as long as that continues, he will keep us in games. Of course, the temps haven't gone way up, so we will see.

We do have good depth in the minors, but he does deserve a few more starts

As for Krisvky. A+. The only trades that people complain about are the one's he made when the reds had a chance at the playoffs last year. When you're that close you take bigger chances on a quick fix, because you never know when you'll get another chance at post season.

arizona reds fan

at 12:30 PM Blogger Pat said...

cody ross wouldn't have gotten the at bats here and everyone would be wondering why we are hanging on to him. He only batted 211 or there abouts last year.

arizona reds fan

at 12:31 PM Blogger docproc said...

Laura, you say "we could do a heck of a lot worse" for a number 5 pitcher. Milton has started four games and has an 0-4 record. How do you get much worse than that?

And it doesn't make sense to talk about HRs given up without talking about innings pitched. Of course Harang has given up the same number of HRs as Milton--he's pitched 17 more innings!

JC is right--there are at least three better starters at Louisville. Milton has had his shot for 2-plus years now and he's blown it. Time to move on.

at 12:51 PM Blogger Pat said...

doc, did you know that the reds have scored a single run when Milton has been in the game. Just a single run. He has left the games down 4-0, 3-0 (2earned),3-1 (2earned) and 3-0. I have more of a problem with the reds offense in those games than in Milton's pitching.

As for the guys down in the minors. it's the minors! those guys are not good enough to make the bigs for a reason. You face a lineup down their of 9 guys and only 2-3 can hit. Everyone says to not look at the stats, use your eyes but I bet very few of us has seen to many bats games.

arizona reds fan

at 1:06 PM Blogger JimmyD said...

The thing I never understand is that people say they won't cut him because it will cost them money. That's wrong. His ridiculous contract (thanks Dan OB) is already on the books, whether he pitches or not. So why not pay him to just go away. I know it's a novel concept, but it would seem to make the Reds more money by cutting him and just paying him not to lose every fifth game. The same was true for Cormier (unless they can still get some sucker, er I mean team, to pick him up). Sometimes assets are liabilities.

at 1:29 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey doc, so you want to release arroyo too?
same # of wins as milton

at 1:49 PM Blogger Mr. Redlegs said...

Pat, Cody Ross hit 13 homers and drove in 46 runs in just 269 ABs last year. Already he has 3 homers and 13 RBI this year, which triples Griffey's output.

The fact the Reds are so left-handed and don't have that kind of power off the bench would make him a very useful No. 4-5 outfielder, instead of Morris Hopper.

Plus, no one runs on Cody's arm.

at 3:41 PM Blogger Laura said...

Great point, Pat. You can't win the game when your team doesn't score any runs. Case in point - Milton should have won that game vs. Cole Hamels. I was there, and he pitched really well. The Reds couldn't have hit the broad side of a barn that game. It's not his fault there. No way.

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