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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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Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Astros 3, Reds 2 -- 10-games-out blues

Let me start you off with a stat: The Astros are 7-1 against the Reds, and 9-16 against the rest of the league.

Edwin Encarnacion's two errors cost the Reds the game Wednesday. All three runs were unearned as a result. And the Reds are 10 games out on May 9.

"Seems like we're finding ways to lose games," Jerry Narron said. "We've got to start finding ways to win games."

About the time Narron was saying that, the blog got the "The season's over" comment.

Hard to argue. That only hammers home the point that you start Homer Bailey Sunday. You start playing Ryan Freel at third. (A stint in Louisville will do Encarnacion more good than harm). You see if Jared Burton and Brad Salmon can be the setup guys. You listen to offers for veterans.

Because 34 games in, what the Reds thought was going to work isn't working at all.


at 11:06 PM Blogger Dan H said...

The only thing working it seems is that the Reds have 4 decent starters who for the most part are giving the team quality starts. Although Harang has struggled a bit lately. It seems like Encarnacion was starting to break out but now it appears the struggle continues. I posted a couple weeks ago saying 30-35 games would show the true status of this team. Well its here and its not pretty. The season is not looking good right now. I agree bring Homer up and get him ML experience now no matter what his results are. Let Hamilton play CF and get his ML experience. Bray and Majewski should also be tried when they are ready. The team needs to show the fan base a plan towards the future. Its time to make a commitment and stick to it. The low attendance figures for the astros series speaks loudly that most fans are tired of the same old team year after year. I know I am! Looks like another long year and no teasing for the playoffs like last year!

at 11:22 PM Blogger RickNMd said...

I think you're a little quick on the draw. I always heard 50-60 games were the barometer before you start tearing things apart.

You're looking at 10 games out. Panicking and restless like the fans. But there's so much ball to be played. The season is young and at some point the Brewers have to cool down.

Besides, the Reds have not played the Brewers but twice (1-1). Think about it. By the time May is over the Reds will have played the Astros 12 times, Brewers twice!

That's just insane.

But I do agree that some moves need to be made. Traditionally those moves come at the start and end of a road trip. We'll see.

at 12:15 AM Blogger Brian said...

I personally would like to get rid of Encarnacion. He is going to be another Larson. He is too much of a free swinger and sloppy fielder to ever be really good. They hammer home his "potential" too much. They have been talking about his "potential" for a few years now. Let's see the REAL results.

Bringing Bailey up would be awesome right now. They only down side to the whole thing is that you don't have a left hander in the rotation then. I guess that really doesn't matter as long as you get good pitching. A lefty is most important in the bullpen for matchup purposes.

There definitely needs to be some form of a serious shakeup.

at 1:19 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I completely agree. The season is a wash. It's time to:

1. Get rid of Eric Milton (even if the only return is a bag of baseballs).

2. Trade Junior to a contendor so he has an opportunity to win (it ain't happening in Cincinnati) before his career ends and frees up money to make a run at Andruw Jones this coming offseason.

3. Play Hamilton every day.

4. Trade all of the fortysomething relievers to teams in need of veteran bullpen help.

5. Give Todd Coffey a stay in Louisville.

6. Fire Narron and hire a manager with winning track record. Dusty Baker, perhaps.

at 1:47 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

What was the deal with Brandon Phillips' comment about problems in the clubhouse?

at 1:52 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is as hard for me to watch what is going on with the Reds as it is for anyone.

But before we announce that the sky has fallen -- let's put a perspective on where this club is right now.

First of all, we have played 34 games into this schedule. 34 games is ten fewer games that even Jim Bowden gave Tony Perez before dumping him as Reds manager. Now I am among the most vocal detractors of Jim Bowden that exist -- so that is to say, that if even Leatherpants gave Perez 44 games, and was rightfully criticized for not giving Doggie a legitimate chance, then shouldn't we give Narron and the Reds a bit more time?

Secondly, while we fell to last place tonight, we are 3 1/2 games out of second place. A week can right the ship and a good two week stretch can have us back into contention.

Now heading to the west coast with tis bullpen sounds dangerous, but there is a reason they play 162 games -- and not declare a winner after 34 games.

at 3:08 AM Blogger Chris at Redleg Nation said...

Well, the starting pitching is working out pretty well (4/5, anyway). The offense is tied with the Cubs, and outscoring everyone else but Milwaukee.

The defense has been mixed (Dunn's improved; CF is better; Gonzalez has been brilliant but sloppy; EE's still has trouble throwing the ball).

For what it's worth, I'd keep EE around. He did the L'Ville gig last year, right? He needs to be in the bigs to fix the throwing problem. (And I'd blame Hatteberg for a piece of the first error. EE bounced it, but he didn't get any help from his first baseman).

EE's bat is starting to come around, and the Reds need it. (Last 8 games before Wed.: .321 .406 .536 .942 OPS).

And I'm not convinced that calling Homer up is a good idea. He still has control issues to work out, and we don't need a David Clyde here.

at 6:34 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to agree... yet another lost season... being a Reds fan is beginning to resemble being a Cubs fan. If I am Krivsky I feild offers on about 20 of the 25 guys on the roster. Harang, Arroyo, Hamilton and Belisle are safe. Burton will be headed back to the A's after he pitches a few times. I've seen him in Louisville and he does not look MLB ready.

at 6:51 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the Reds would just let EE play, he would be fine. The kid has been hitting of late. Put Dunn at first and let Hamilton-Freel-Griffey patrol the OF. Stop sticking the useless Hatteberg in there. EE has nothing to prove in the minors.

at 7:06 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is so depresssing.

at 7:55 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the most frustrating thing is the only thing you hear from the players is "It's my fault we lost, I shouldn't of thrown that pitch." How about one of these guys stepping up to a leadership roll and kick some of these guys in the butt?! Who is the leader on this team? I certainly do not know what goes on in the locker room but on the field and in the press in seems like no one is steering the ship.

at 8:28 AM Blogger Don said...

"We got to find a way to start winning games".

If I had a dollar for everytime I heard this out of the Reds clubhouse this year, I'd have enough money to buy out Eric Milton's contract.

It is to the point that there is nothing Narron or the players can say. The only thing that is going to matter is what happens on the field. I get tired of feeling like I am being patronized by some of these quotes.

at 8:46 AM Anonymous mikec said...

Reds fans, please tell your friends to come to this blog and comment below if they agree:

An open letter to Bob Castellini and Wayne Krivsky:

Dear Reds management,
We as Reds fans entered the year with the burning hope of a new season. Thirty-five games into that season we couldn't be more disgusted. The weaknesses of this team are so glaring we feel duped by the hope we held so dear just six weeks ago. We beg you to make some effort to solve these problems before the season is a total waste.

We are tired of watching your manager, Jerry Narron, continually make the wrong moves. We're tired of watching him overuse an already weak bullpen -- to the point that relievers like Todd Coffey totally lose their effectiveness. We're tired of the lack of leadership that Narron has clearly shown. And we're tired of hearing how great a job he did when he took over for Dave Miley -- all he did was get an underperforming team to play at .500. Since then he has done nothing but reap the credit for good moves made by those above him. A good manager would have stopped last year's skid that kept the Reds out of the playoffs. And a good manager would stop this season's slide. But Narron is not a good manager. While we understand that the problems do not fall entirely on Narron's shoulders, we ask that you take decisive action. Please fire Jerry Narron before this season is completely lost.

Reds fans across the country

at 8:52 AM Anonymous mikec said...

What was the quote about Brandon Phillips and problems in the clubhouse?

at 9:02 AM Blogger John Fay said...

I don't know. I saw him talking to TV people, while I was talking with Belisle. Didn't hear what he said.

at 9:12 AM Blogger Robert said...

I would have to say that sending EE down is definitely not going to solve the problem. Let him play everyday, like he should. Sitting him on the bench every time he makes an error doesn't solve his problems, but playing every day will do that.

Besides, I would rather have the Reds lose at the beginning of the season instead of after the All-Star break (like they always do). 30-35 games is not going to show the status of this team. There's 162 games in a year and you can't base expectations on 30 games. That's pretty absurd.

at 9:21 AM Anonymous domino33 said...

I entered this season hopeful, but with the nagging doubt that the team was essentially the same as the one that collapsed down the stretch last year. The offense looked anemic and the pitching was the same cast of schmoes. (The starters have exceeded all of my expectations) I bought the party line that the Reds would be "fundamentally sound." and that it would translate into more wins. THAT has been an absolute joke and my biggest dissapointment for the year. The Reds do NOT play the game the "right way."

For me the strongest assest of the Glory Days of the 70s Reds was that they didn't beat themselves. They made all the routine plays and the occassional spectacular one. A failure to execute a sacrifice bunt was the exception rather than the rule. Geronimo seemed to gun down someone at the plate every series. I always had the sense that the Reds minor league instruction was just "better" fundamentally than everyone else's. Such a distant memory now.

The prognosticators who picked the Reds last in the division have proven as accurate as I feared.

I still hold out hope, but it's a dim flame.

at 9:33 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree less with mikec...what game have you been watching? Overused bullpen? Almost every starter has given us a quality start, how can you over use a bullpen when that happens? Shoot just last week there was talk of the bullpen not getting enough work. Lack of leadership? Have a seat EE for not running out a pop fly! Pretty good leadership if you ask me. Reaping the good moves by those above him.... ummm I'm sure that Narron has input as to whom is on the roster, but the 25 man roster is set by those above him! He then plays who he has. Continually make the wrong moves? Nice call last night on a 1-1 count for a pitch out and throw out stealing, plus he's playing players that are making millions, does every move work? Nope, but you look at the talent on the team and it's pretty good, they just have to perform.

Now having said all of that, I agree there has to be some moves made to shore up the bullpen, the moves are starting to be made as evident of the move made over the weekend. Expect more to come. The ownership wants to win, the GM wants to win, ultimately its the players that perform and have to want to win.... and I believe they do... see David Weathers quote about owning up to responsibility. This season will turn around... but it does need to happen sooner than later.

at 9:43 AM Anonymous ADMS said...

I second the letter and fully agree that we were promised a better team this year. I believe our starting pitching is better than we've had in quite a few years, and we have the ability to score runs in chunks - it's the bullpen that needs to sweat every minute about their jobs.

There's one clip that I want each Reds fan to remember - Sweet Lou vs. Dibble in the locker room. Lou didn't take sorry and pathetic playing - he would get in your face on and off the camera and rattle you until you did better. How do you think our vastly underrated 1990 team went out and went wire-to-wire and sent the A's back to the bay with their tails between their legs?

I'm pointing the leadership stick at Junior. Maybe with the exception of Conine, Junior has the most major league experience on all types of teams, including some not-so-good to amazing Seattle teams, and given his list of awards and accolades, he should be the face of the team in public and private. Has anyone seen this yet? At this point, and they don't always work but maybe it will, pull a Yankees-style media stunt and start calling people out with the media involved. Force their hand to play better and earn their money. I still think Coffey getting the extension and Milton's worthless spot on the team are two of the greatest burnt piles of money with the Reds, but maybe a public teammate and media "call-out" might wake them up.

Jerry isn't doing it. I don't know what kind of pull he has with the front office, but can you imagine him sticking around with other teams?

None of us expected Milwaukee to pull out baseball's best record, and let's face it, the wild card isn't coming from our division! Either we need to play to win, or *gasp* we rebuild once again. (Since when did we turn into the Royals and Pirates?)

Tom Browning doesn't seem to leave GABP - coaching job?

at 10:06 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldnt put so much blame on Narron. He is only as good as his players perform. He isnt on the mound in the eighth. He has been handed a bullpen full of has beens and minor leaugers. Joe Torre several times before he went to a loaded franchise with a lights out bullpen and quality rotation.

Reds fans also shouldnt forget the impact the Narron brothers have had on Hamilton. I wonder how he would hold up if the Narron brothers were suddenly gone. Right now, he looks like the key to the future. Rather than firing Narron, I would like to see him work with a bullpen that can close the door. If he had that, the Reds would probably be in first or second and we'd all be calling Jerry a genius.

Regarding EE, he should go to Louisville and learn how to play first base and put Freel at third every day right now. Next year, third belongs to Freel and first belongs to EE. Remember, Pujols didnt explode until the defensive pressure of playing third was taken off. First isnt a picnic but its more catching and less throwing. EE has shown he can catch balls coming right to him.

at 10:08 AM Blogger Don said...

Say what you will about him, but this team is missing a Sean Casey type leader right now.

Adms is correct. I have been a fan of Junior for years, but it does not appear he is stepping up into a leadership role. Maybe that is not his style, but sometimes one must step out of their comfort zone for the betterment of the entire group.

at 11:31 AM Anonymous RickNMd said...

Griffey has never been and never will be a leader. He's only been in Cincinnati eight seasons. But for some reason people keep saying he should be a leader.

Cal Ripken wasn't a leader, neither was Tony Gwynn. Nor was Willie Mays or Hank Aaron or Mickey Mantle. Just because they are the big stars doesn't mean they are forced to be leaders. That's a personality trait, a certain maturity and "lead" by example, and Griffey doesn't have it.

at 12:24 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

This Reds team is very poorly constructed: way too many left handed hitters, too many average/poor fielders, too few who can play "small ball" and a manager who is absolutely brutal. He will be fired (hopefully soon) and I guarantee you he will NEVER AGAIN manage another majorleague team. Krivsky and Castellini must be bold and decisive and not simply tweak this existing roster. If they dawdle they will lose the fan base for another year, see declining attendance, which means less revenue, and be left telling us once again: "we don't have the money to get the players we need through free agency." They need to create big waves not small ripples in the pond. They seem unwilling or unable to do that. Sad state of affairs !!!!!!!

at 7:08 PM Anonymous mikec said...

Anonymous you can disagree with me if you like, but look at the numbers. Coffey leads the league in appearances. Saarloos is two behind him and Stanton was up there until he started walking everyone and getting used less. Coffey has an ERA of 17 something when he pitches three days in a row. Basically all the runs scored on him but the grand slam have been because he was being overused. The starters go deep into the game, but then Narron micromanages and uses four or five relievers (both because micromanaging and ineffectiveness) a game. Reds have 83 bullpen appearances in 36 games. That's even more than the horrid Washington Nationals.

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