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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, May 21, 2007

Reds 8, Nationals 7

I'm sure Doc is in the WLW studio right now fielding a lot of calls on what a great job Jerry Narron did managing tonight in the Reds' 8-7 victory over the Nats.

I'm being facetious here (facetious, by the way, is the only word in the English language with the five vowels in the order).

But my point is managers never get credit when everything goes right. And a lot went right for the Reds on night when things started very wrong. Narron managed the bullpen well to get seven innings of shutout ball from them. He used his pinch-hitters the right way, too, so Javy Valentin was up in a situation to win the game, which he did.

After Valentin got the Reds the lead, Narron sent up Juan Castro instead of Jeff Conine to pinch-hit. That meant Castro played third in the ninth, Ryan Freel went from third to center, and Norris Hopper went from center to left. Freel ran down Ryan Zimmerman's drive in the right-center that looked like a game-tying double. Hopper doesn't make that catch.

I don't think Narron deserves a medal for his decisions, but if one of them had gone the other way and the Reds would have lost, he'd be getting lit up right now. That is right of every fan. But you've got to give the guy credit when things go right.

After the game, Chris Welsh interviewed Narron for FSN. He concluded with "thanks, coach." A major faux pas when talking to a manager. Bill "Seg" Dennison was once sent down to John McNamara's office to next day to apologize for such a gaffe. Narron took it in stride.

"That's the least insult I've heard lately."


20 Comments:

at 11:23 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great comment on Narron's decisions. It was kind of a perfect night for him and how he likes to use his bench. People are already harping on Arroyo batting, but Hamilton didn't need to play tonight apparently.

Is Arroyo OK? Some journalists are already floating rumors that all may not be well with him. What's your take? Thanks for the great info each week.

p.s. that's a joke about that being a major faux past isn't it?

 
at 12:03 AM Anonymous Sparky's Ghost said...

Can anyone tell me why the Reds have Joey Votto (he of the 1035 OPS in May) working out in the outfield at AAA??? I am trying to imagine the bizarre exchange that went on in the Reds' front office preceding this brilliant idea:

"Gosh Wayne, Votto's tearin' the cover off the ball in Louisville, an' he blew through AA last year. Too bad he's a first baseman. We already got that .280-ish singles hitter there who's practically like, like Lou Gehrig. But you know... we've only got FOUR guys in our outfield here who we need to find starting slots for - why don't we just yank Votto from his natural position and work him in out there too? Then we'll have FIVE outfielders who need to play. Depth is good, right? Cause if there's one thing I know it's that we're all set with Hatteberg at first - he's having an MVP-type season. And he's an up and coming younger guy too. Well, younger than me and you, anyhow. You just can't ask more out of a first sacker than 2 homers nearing the end of May, nosireebob. So it's a plan. We'll move Votto to a position where we could actually use him to clog things up further. And if he gets hurt learning a new position on the fly, heck, that'll only prove that Hatteberg was the right man for first all along!"

[Ooh, wait, late-breaking - Hatteberg's up to *three* homers now. Gosh, we might as well just waive this Votto guy. We'll never need his bat.]

 
at 12:19 AM Blogger George said...

Whoa, whoa, whoa! Show me a decent series against a decent team, and then we can start talking about offering congratulations to Narron. This game was more a function of the Nats giving it away than Narron pulling the right levers. Let's see if they don't slacken up badly tomorrow after this feel-good win. I can see the laughs and hugs before tomorrows game, then the drifting focus, the lousy at-bats, the stupid error, and then, finally, the bitter loss. Let's see that pattern broken John. And I don't mind Narron's moves as much as his ersatz lineups, and his hands-off approach to the clubhouse. That's said, well-managed in-game moves tonight. However,I'd like to see him do the rest of the job with some lasting results.

 
at 1:22 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I told my girlfriend when I was sitting at the game that Narron was making the right move pinch hitting Javier. Hes good in the clutch. Props to Narron for the right move.

I still don't get hitting Chad Moeller earlier though! :-)

 
at 1:34 AM Anonymous Justin Fernandez said...

Sorry John, but unless NARRON yelled to Kearns and Nook (as they were about to collide) and distracted them into letting the ball fall between them, I see nothing different in tonights' Reds from any other losing night, win notwithstanding. If it were any other team than the Nats staked to a 6-0 lead, the Reds would have LOST this game. Give Narron credit for Kearns and Logan not wanting to get injured on another sinking (sunk) ship team in a lost season? No way. NARRON STINKS. He needs to be fired. If the Reds get back to .500 before losing another game or the All-Star Break, only then would the results trump what is evident on the field. It's really long past the point where, if Narron does something good, he deserves anything other than a "MUCH TOO LATE, SEE YA!" Spot the rest of the Division 6-0 leads! I'll bet the Reds could play 100 games in the NL Central and they wouldn't win one if each one began 6-0 against!

 
at 2:23 AM Blogger Redsheart said...

Bronson was hurts? I hope he'll be OK... Thank you to our offense and Narron today. I'm starting to count on the bullpen. It's time to improve our diffense. It's really important. NICE WIN!!!!!!!

 
at 7:14 AM Blogger John Fay said...

Arroyo's not hurt. Thy just took him out because of his pitch count. He threw 49 in the first alone.

 
at 8:51 AM Blogger JimmyD said...

John, great observation, I was wondering the same thing if Narron would get credit for his coaching in this game. those decisions won the game. Not one single mis-step.

 
at 9:39 AM Blogger RickNMd said...

John, is this correct:

Now it's come down to if the Reds lose a game, Narron is an idiot, Krivsky ruined the franchise with "The Trade," Castellini lied to us, Encarnacion is getting screwed, Freel can make 3 screwups a game because he hustles, like Pete, and I'm not coming back to the park until the team sends a car and driver to pick me up because I paid for that joint with my hard-earned tax dollars.

But if they win a game, it's because the opponent sucks and they were handed the game on a silver platter?

I just can't believe how sorry Reds fans have degraded since the glory years.

 
at 9:51 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

A titanic correction of astronomial proportions: "Facetious" is not the only word to use the 5 vowels in their recited order. Also on the list are "abstemious," "acheilous," "anemious," "caesious," "annelidous," and "arsenious."

 
at 10:07 AM Blogger John Fay said...

Should have written: "I once heard facetious is the only. . ." Got an email from once self-described word geek this morning, listing the saem words. Nice to know the blog attracts that kind of crowd.

 
at 10:11 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sparky's Ghost: What the Reds have in mind with Votto is really pretty simple. Edwin Encarnacion has too much promise to continue to play out of position at 3rd base. They recognize the need to move him to 1st base in a move reminiscent of what the Reds did years ago with Tony Perez.
As for 4 guys in the outfield, that is a temporary situation. By the time Votto is brought up, Griffey and, possibly, Dunn will be gone.

 
at 10:57 AM Anonymous mikec said...

I don't see it as a bad thing to see whether Votto can play the outfield. It gives you more options -- maybe not for this year, barring injury, but for the future.

I figure the Reds deal Dunn this year unless they somehow come back to life.

Maybe this is the plan: Moving Encernacion to first might work out. He has great reflexes, he just struggles with the throws. He's a righty, but he still might be a decent first baseman. The only thing blocking him would be Votto. You move Votto to left (he's got to be better than Dunn).

That's my best guess. But I'm sure the Reds aren't moving Votto to the outfield to keep room for Hatteberg and Conine.

Also, if you bring him up now as a role player this year he gets more ABs if he can play first and the outfield.

 
at 11:45 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

To take the seven vowelled words a step further, I believe that if you add "ly" to each, it is actually six vowels in order.

 
at 12:40 PM Anonymous Sparky's Ghost said...

Anon and mikec - I had thought Encarnacion's natural position (for his organized career at least) was 3B (I just checked and thebaseballcube.com lists him only that way, back to rookie ball). And I never thought he had defense questions until this year (which I admit has been a nightmare for him there). Just figured management was overreacting to one very bad month. I suspect players can get in "defensive slumps" just the same as offensive ones - whether they are 24 or 34.

If moving him to 1B makes good sense for talent reasons, then fine (though if he can handle it he's more valuable at 3B since it's higher up the defensive spectrum). I hope they aren't doing it out of some simpleminded monkey-see rationale though. As in, "one previous incarnation of the Reds moved their 3B across the diamond and then they won two championships!". I swear GMs these days think like that. A preceded B once, which was a good outcome, so lets blindly do A whenver we get a chance. Each instance needs to be judged on its particular merits.

As for Dunn, I'm a longtime supporter and defender (his OBP is vastly underappreciated by casual fans), but I do think he has more value in the AL where his glove can hide. And you should always strive to move your personnel assets to where their value is optimized, even if that means into another organization (in return for something more valuable than the player was for you here).

My other point with Votto was that I have a strong feeling that he is ready now, and already better than the first base "platoon". I also don't believe skipping a player to the majors after 2 months in AAA is a hindrence to their development (recall that Albert Pujols was skipped from *single* A). Unless Encarnacion is already working out at 1B, having Votto take fly balls is jumping the gun. He should be playing 1B for the Reds now, I think.

[Disclaimer - I'm an old home-bred Reds fan in absentia. There may be little nuances I'm missing here since I don't read the local press regularly.]

 
at 12:59 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Votto played the outfield because they only have 4 outfielders in AAA, 1 of them is hurt and they don't expect the other 3 to play day after day without rest.

People keep on saying "Votto to the outfield and Encarnacion to first", yet Encarnacion isn't playing first when Votto is in outfield.

 
at 2:35 PM Blogger Mr. Redlegs said...

Edwin Encarnacion is not being moved to 1b, Joey Votto is not one-half the defensive 1b of Conine and Hatteberg (combined or separately) and Votto's move to the outfield is to a.) see if he can play the position and be mor eversatile to the big-league club and b.) quite likely for dangling him on the market.

There's absolutely no evidence for any other speculation, wild or otherwise.

 
at 4:43 PM Anonymous Sparky's Ghost said...

Thanks Anon - it makes more sense if Louisville was just in a bind depth-wise. As for dangling Votto for another club, I can't imagine what club would be able to make more use of him right now. Scoff Conanberg has to comprise the least productive 1B slot in baseball right now, and they are playing at their expected level. Add that Cincy's a small market team and (should be) in a building phase right now, he seems perfectly situated for them.

Of course, all that logic goes out the window if a mediocre reliever with a multimillion dollar contract catches Mr. Krivsky's eye. We all know you can never have too many of those (especially if you operate on a small budget).

 
at 4:51 PM Anonymous Justin Fernandez said...

Now it's come down to if the Reds lose a game, Narron is an idiot, Krivsky ruined the franchise with "The Trade,"

Rick, your reading skills NEED WORK.

The Reds don't have to lose a game for NARRON to (still) be an idiot. He needs to be fired.

Trading Lopez and Kearns for CRAP did damage the team. Keeping some of our talent in the minors is damaging the team too.

If the people the Reds employ can't get the job done, TRY NEW PEOPLE. Narron's had his chance and showed he can't manage very well (the kindest thing I've ever said about him that).

We need to dump Milton, Stanton, and Narron immediately. Anyone who thinks this team is going to make the playoffs with Hatteberg at 1B, Gonzales at SS, Castro at 3B, and NARRON "making the moves" is simply NUTS.

So if Gonzales hits two grand slams tonight, and Castro hits for the cycle, and Hatteberg goes 5 for 5, tomorrow I'm going to feel the exact same way because the reality of the situation is the Reds have about 5 pitchers and 4 hitters that simply DON'T BELONG IN THE MAJORS, given the talent we have in our minor league system here.

And yes, Cleveland and Washington just HANDED the Reds two wins in the past three days. I'd like to see the Reds actually win a game in DOMINATING fashion, oh wait, their bi-monthly 12-1 win before losing another 8 of 9 is coming up this week, isn't it?

 
at 11:05 PM Anonymous Justin Fernandez said...

Oops, The worst team in baseball didn't hand the Reds anything tonight, except a big sloppy drippy slice of humble pie. But Narron was brilliant. I can't think of a better time than to give him a ten-year extension on his contract, and while we're at it, let's not trade Griffey during a hot streak, like we should have in 2005 (for some pitching), no let's wait until Griffey does his annual Barbaro imitation. And for good measure, lets keep all that talent where they are, in the minors, because really, who wants to spend money going to Great American and seeing wins? It's much more dramatic to BLOW LEADS.
So to recap: TUNE IN TOMORROW FOR MORE PIE!!!

 
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