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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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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Reds have to do something

It's only one man's opinion -- mine -- but the Reds have to make a move before the open the series in Pittsburgh tomorrow. You can blame Thursday's 7-5 loss to the Cardinals on the fact that Kyle Lohse suddenly went from lights out to lit up. You can blame on the fact that the Reds didn't have a hit after Josh Hamilton's lead-off double in the fourth.

But, if the bullpen doesn't give up a run in the seventh and another in the eighth, Ryan Freel's manufactured run in the eighth ties it.

The Reds have been outscored 21-7 in the eighth inning. When you're down two touchdowns in one inning after 22 games, it's time to make a change.

There's no quick fix offensively at Louisville. But Jared Burton, Gary Majewski and Brad Salmon are a phone call away. They're right-handed relievers with live arms. That's what the Reds need right now. (I refrained from lumping Homer Bailey into the group).

Jerry Narron said before the game that there's a time when you have to go get someone to fix the bullpen.

I'd say that time is now. The Reds are 6-11 since the 4-1 start. The bullpen is bleeding runs on nightly basis. Yeah, I'd say the time is now.


at 5:58 PM Anonymous Jim said...

Couldn't agree more John.

at 6:11 PM Blogger Don said...

Amen, John. There are people who suggest it is too early to start making moves, but if the Reds do not do something soon, this season is over. These issues are simply too big to ignore until a later date. Knowing how Krivsky has in the past been quick to pull the trigger on a move, I too suspect there will be a roster shakeup before the end of the week.

at 6:50 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...


You are "right on". It is time.

Marty B on the net radio today and a few days ago also said a few things that are "right on" (fundamentals, etc), as well.

I am miles away in California but Marty B's "honesty" is outstanding. He is and you are expressing what we all keep saying to ourselves.

Having high expectations will help move this franchise back toward greatness and championships.

I don't believe it is matter of "how" it is a manner of "when" this franchise raises the "bar".

Ok, by me to raise the bar on this franchise.

This team finds itself in a division it can win this year. We've had too many losing seasons.

Thanks for your good work.

Ed from Petaluma, CA

at 7:23 PM Blogger Dan H said...

can overlook a couple bad outings by the pen, but its going on about 10 games now and doesn't appear to be improving. What happened to Coffey and his split finger pitch he was working on? Cormier is just taking up space in the pen. Option Coffey, cut loose Cormier and try Salmon and Majewski. Any up date on Bray? The NL Central is wide open , but losing too many games to division foes will come back to bite them later in the year.

at 7:57 PM Blogger Chris at Redleg Nation said...

A few things, after agreeing that the bullpen is a joke:

1. Krivsky "did something" last summer...about every other day. And there was no improvement.

2. Burton, Majewski and Salmon? Any reason to believe they're better? Who gets cut, anyway? Every guy in the pen, from the "ace" (Weathers) to the worst guy (dunno) has stunk.

3. Let's assume the new guy(s) pitch great. How many innings are we really talking about? Five a week? Good luck matching those 5 IP to the highest-leverage situations.

4. No matter how good the guy is that you bring in, he's going to get hit sometimes too. See Hoffman, Trevor.

The biggest problem with this bullpen - and it's been this way for the past two years (other than the 8 days Guardado was here and healthy) is the utter lack of even one guy that Narron can (or at least does rely on, which has led to a TOTAL lack of roles down there.

There was a short stretch last spring where Weathers was the closer and Coffey the setup man. After that went away, it was utterly impossible to predict which reliever would be called on in any given situation. I blame Narron very little for that, but also wonder if the "role uncertainty" is a cause of the problem, and not just an effect.

I'm pretty skeptical of "chemistry," "intangibles," and such - but I do buy in to the psychological (and thus on-field) benefit to a player "knowing his role."

at 8:01 PM Blogger tom dunne said...

It's clear that the bullpen hasn't performed well lately, but why is no one mentioning how poorly the pen has been managed?

There are more than a hundred relief pitchers currently on National League rosters. Entering today, only four of them have made as many as 13 appearances. Two of those four are Cincinnati Reds - Coffey and Saarloos. Add in Stanton and Santos, and you have four Reds relievers who are literally being sent to the mound every other game.

The Reds bullpen has pitched the second fewest innings in the league (ahead of only the Giants) but already has five relievers with double-digit appearances. Bringing up Bray or Majewski isn't a solution if they're going to be run into the ground as well. Why is Narron getting a free pass on this?

at 8:19 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is narron a time that coach Jerr will not micromanage the team to a loss. Please, go find a coach with those relievers and while your at it get a GM that understands small ball in the current Reds stadium is like putting a democrat in Iraq.

at 8:39 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

agree that it's not too early to do something anymore. we're more than 1/8 into the season.

relief seems to be the quickest fix. but this offense is also very worriesome. 21st in baseball in runs scored (and 25% of their runs were scored in 2 games - tuesday's blowout and last week's brewers game). and in one of the friendliest hitters parks - if not the friendliest - no less.

kind of amazing how krivsky has transformed this team from offense being a strength and seemingly expendable to the one we have today.

at 10:17 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coffey has to go.

at 10:59 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Reds need to make serious changes. And it starts at the top. Fire Jerry Narron!

at 2:23 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

We need the Nasty Boys but are stuck with the soft tossing Nice Guys. We need guys that can make shut the door when we have a lead after six or seven innings. Experience in that situation eg. Weathers, Cormier, Sarloos is overrated. What we need is guys who throw nasty heat who arent afraid. Look at Papelbon's face when he is on the mound for the Red Sox. Fierce is an understatement. Toddy Coffey looks like a teddy bear by comparison. Where have you gone Rob Dibble, our fan base turns its lonely eyes to you...

at 6:51 AM Blogger Randy said...

Why do I have to see a picture of the writer with every article?

at 7:03 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, they never should have let Dustin Hermanson go, as far as I'm concerned. They have no real closer, and the entire bullpen mindset seems to be too mellow for my taste.

at 7:46 AM Blogger docproc said...

Agree completely, John. Of course, the question is whom to send down or cut. The guys who have looked the worst out of the 'pen so far are Saarloos and Coffey. Do they have the guts to demote them?

Of course, maybe one of them could come up with a mysterious injury...

Speaking of which, any word on how Burton's "rehab" is doing? I saw he pitched yesterday.

at 8:31 AM Blogger Brad said...

I agree. You have to make a move now to save your season. If you wait too much longer, you get too far behind and/or lose the fan base.

Does Todd Coffey have options?

at 8:45 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, I totally agree, we need a changes in the pen. Has anyone heard any news on Elizardo Ramirez lately???

at 9:34 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why? This team has performed as expected. Every season, we can count on the REDS failures. But, hey, don't the new uniforms look sensational? How about Mr. RED LEGS? Ain't he a HOOT? But, did the MANAGEMENT make provisions for a winning season this year by getting some PITCHING and RELIVERS?
NO! so why do they need to do anything?

at 10:30 AM Blogger JD said...

Loshe was due for an implosion. The guy just isn;t anywhere near as good as he's been the past couple of outings and a reality check was coming. Loshe might be better out of the bullpen if the Reds can find a 5th starter among the Riverbats. I'd rather see Bailey stay in AAA this year, but if they need him (and the division really is wide open this year) they need to make the call.

at 10:54 AM Anonymous The Dude said...

Have to and will do are two different things. I wouldn't expect a move till they get back. Assuming their current level of play stays the same.
I would have to agree with all the commentary regarding baseball guy. If you're going to talk about playing the game right, back it up by not playing those who don't and set an example. Arroyo's comment the other night about being pulled sent a message to me that Baseball guy isn't gaining any respect from the players.
To steal a line from Mel Brooks' Spaceballs; "They've gone from sucks to blows"

at 11:28 AM Anonymous Brian said...

At what point do the Reds stop sending Todd Coffey out there everyday? Coffey is killing us. I would much rather Narron use Santos in Coffey's role and use Coffey on a much less common basis. Or even send Coffey down to Triple-A, but that probably won't happen.

at 12:11 PM Blogger tom dunne said...

Someone mentioned the Nasty Boys, all three of whom were more dominant relievers than anyone on the Reds staff now. Keeping in mind how effective the 1990 Reds pen was, look at this:

Rob Dibble made 68 appearances; Todd Coffey is on pace for 103 appearances.

Randy Myers made 66 appearances; Kirk Saarloos is on pace for 96 appearances.

Norm Charlton made 56 appearances; Mike Stanton is on pace for 88 appearances.

Rob Dibble got into more games for the Reds than any other pitcher that year, and was the team's most effective reliever. He still wasn't asked to go into games nearly as often as Narron calls on Todd Coffey. Coffey is never going to throw like Dibble, but wouldn't he likely be more effective if he wasn't being asked to pitch two out of every three games?

at 12:30 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not that there isn't talent there. It's the usage patterns eat guys up. The same guys are up every day and come into the game for a batter or two. After three weeks of this those guys melt down and we act surprised?

Maybe actually using guys in defined roles and trying to keep guys in there for more than a batter or two would help.

On Tuesday the reds are up by 6 runs. The starter is tired and they need four more outs. He used two relievers, one of his THREE one out lefties and one of the guys on the league leaderboard for appearances, to get those four outs in a game they ended up winning by 7 runs.

at 12:32 PM Blogger Don said...

Brian, you are correct. Before yesterday's game Coffey had the highest ERA among relievers, but yet also had more innings pitched under his belt than any relief pitcher. Yeah, guys like Coffey, Encarnacion, Saarloos, Cormier, Ross, etc. may break out of their funk in a few weeks, but what price will have been paid in the meantime? Will it really matter that finally some of these guys start producing in a month if the Reds are nine games out? Continually throwing guys out there hoping they will break out may cost the Reds the entire season before the end of next month.

at 7:01 PM Blogger bob said...

Ummm...Why Majewski? The guy was terrible last year, and so far in the minors has given up 8 runs in 9 innings!! No thanks!

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