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From news of the day to news of the weird, John Fay provides a glimpse of what it’s like to cover the Cincinnati Reds

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, July 19, 2007

Reds 7, Marlins 5

Let's see: The Reds are 10-4 under Pete Mackanin. That's .714 winning clip. They've got 66 games. They play .714 ball the rest of way, they'll go 47-19 over the last 66 games and finish 88-74.

That's looks pretty much impossible. But the Reds going 40-26 the rest of way is suddenly imaginable. That gets the Reds in at .500, and Mackanin keeps the job.

“What's weird – I can't put a finger on it – but it’s different coming to the ballpark,” said David Weathers, who record his 19th save. “Everyone was so tense. Pete’s a laid-back guy. He's a funny guy. It's filtered into us.

“We come to the park believing we’re going to win.”

It's not just that they're winning; it's how they're winning. They won Thursday after blowing a 3-0 lead. They won after getting their starter (Matt Belisle) knocked out in the fifth. They won after failing to score after loading bases with no outs in the seventh. And they won on a three-run home from Ryan Freel, a guy who hadn't hit a home in two months.

The Reds are alone in fourth place in the NL Central.


30 Comments:

at 11:55 PM Blogger Murph said...

Things are going great now, but the question is -- how well do the Reds have to play to avoid the fire sale?

 
at 6:52 AM Anonymous JC McCoy said...

Wow, powerful quote from Weathers says big things abot Narron

 
at 7:14 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

here we go again... "things are going great"..just like it was with both Jerry Narron and Dave Miley before him

Murph...wake up

This entire organization needs some major fine tuning ...including getting rid of certain players that play with malaise and indifference

We fans in Cincinnati have become that "woman that is abused and beaten by her husband everyday for ten years" Then, all of a sudden we don't get beat for a week and everything is wonderful... fine and dandy. Oh please Murph.

 
at 8:21 AM Blogger Jeff Lehner said...

agree about 'the way they're winning'. mackanin's got these guys performing. i hope he gets a chance to keep the job.

 
at 8:39 AM Blogger Mark said...

Murph, My fear is that the front office will take the little bit of success & excitement this club is experiencing and drain it all out by swapping guys that give fans incentive to watch for prospects that often don't pan out in the end. I hope not.

On last night's game:
Belisle will only get better when he figures out how to make smarter pitches. Would Ross have made a difference?

Phillips has been on a tear and hopefully will not try to do too much.

Bullpen is having a revival right now. How many strike outs have they thrown through this 10-4 stretch? Since no one blames Boom Boom Hume for the woes during the first half, they better not applaud him now!


I think aim for .500 is a good goal. Not that a break even season makes fans happy but considering where this team stood around the all star break..... yeah.

 
at 9:10 AM Anonymous ADMS said...

Hate to say it, but there still needs to be a fire sale. The honeymoon period has to end sometime. We continue to have almost daily bullpen meltdowns and that will continue until someone comes to their senses and sees that Coffey and Stanton shouldn't be on a roster, and that Belisle and Loshe redefine "limited-reliability." I think we also have to make a serious decision about Arroyo. His collapse is approaching the Jack Armstrong level of "What is going on???" OK - we can blame some of the losses on zero offense when he pitches. We can blame maybe 2 losses on the infamous high pitch count game. That should have ended by now and while his last start was much better, I'd still be taking calls on him.
I think we are seeing the REAL Junior - healthy and motivated. We can all wonder "what if" since he arrived - we have our answer. Just imagine (I know...what if) if baseball had two stars with 700+ HRs right now - good vs. evil in a way with Jr and Bonds. That would be the talk of all of sports.
Junior has to stay as long as he wants to. Make the offer or extension please.
I also agree with many of the posters on the site - no prospects for Dunn. We need solid pitchers and a catcher now. We can't wait two years and hope they develop. That was our business in the past and it has blown up in our faces. If we don't get fair market value for Dunn, what's wrong with us going to the ballpark for another season of him putting the ball into the cheap seats...or letting it fly into the catcher's mitt?
I can see that some of our older guys with moderate contracts will be gone fairly soon - Conine, Hatteburg and maybe a starter or two. I also have a feeling that either Ross or Javi will be moved.
It just stinks that we had to wait over half of the season to finally see the Reds play like they should of from the start. There hopefully will be a real drive to 2008 now.

 
at 9:14 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am wondering the same thing. John, do you get the sense that the Reds may trade a Dunn, Griffey, or Arroyo or do you think they will move less significant players or those with contracts expiring this year, such as Weathers, Lohse, Conine, or maybe even Hatteberg.

Personally, I would love to see if the could pry Saltalamacchia from the Braves for, say, Lohse and Conine, with us getting a minor league prospect. Braves wouldn't be taking on much salary with either since we are half way through the year.

Thanks as always for the blog,
Tom
Richmond, VA

 
at 9:25 AM Blogger John Fay said...

That's the big question. I think they'd still trade Lohse, Hatteberg, Conine. But they'd have to think hard about trading Dunn, Griffey, Weathers.

 
at 9:38 AM Blogger John Fay said...

Arroyo has a 2-something ERA over his last five starts.

Lohse, Conine and a prospect aren't going to get you Salty, unless that prospect is someone like Johnny Cueto.

 
at 9:38 AM Anonymous Justin Fernandez said...

Weathers causes trading angst? Why? This isn't supposed to be a rollercoaster/thrill ride. How about a closer who dominates? Weathers just throws and prays, much like Coffey.

Did you see Miguel Cabrera lose his mind after that late K yesterday? He was drooling over those pitches, and he felt sure he was going to smash one and save the game for the Fish. It's rare that the Reds' relief corps is so hittable that that fact works in their favor. Cabrera just got a little over-confident and over-eager. Next time, you can be sure Cabrera takes the Red reliever yard in that situation. He's that good, and Coffey and Weathers are that bad. I'd make it a priority to get replacements for Coffey and Weathers.

And can you believe the bonehead play when Coffey picked up the ball that was rolling foul? Every High School pitcher knows better! What a D-word! I was screaming at the TV again (I really can't stand Coffey, of all the Reds relief pitchers, he's the one that consistently seems unable to keep his head in a game and throw strikes, and his job is to do BOTH)

 
at 9:41 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the Reds need to think long and hard before offering Pete the full time position. They also should inverview other candidates first. I like Pete's relaxed approach and all but he's still a manager whose only experience consists of having "subbed" for the pirates to a sub .500 record...we have no idea how his mentality will change if he becomes the full time manager...let's just bite the bullet and get that proven winner...with this team we'd be fine. Seems to be working for the cubs...

 
at 9:48 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the majority of you need to step back and get a better perspective. You all sound like everyone did during the premarvin bengals days

Analyzing each player or hoping to trade for players that might help the reds is ridiculous.

Until this organization has a plan in place, we will go through this every year

Oh boy.. Ken griffey is having a great year .... and our record is what? and has been?

Look at the teams like the Los Angeles Angels or the Detroit Tigers and you can see how deficient we are in all areas

I know I want to go to the ballpark and see Griffey and Dunn hit meaningless home runs. Gotta love the base running on this team and Dunn's play in the outfield

The truth is sometimes hard to accept. This honeymoon period with McKanan will come to an end. The Reds have stunk for years. And I am sorry all of you have come to accept such mediocrity

This team has terrible chemistry and it really does not matter whom is traded or who is not. Whether it be marginal players or superstars .. you have to change the entire attitude and chemistry

 
at 10:08 AM Blogger bilardello said...

john I love your comments and insight. way better than goofcrans, however after sunday's loss to the mets you made some pretty dumb comments like: the mackanin magic is gone (they were still 6-4 under pete then) and he's facing his first test with a losing streak (they had only lost two games in a row, not much of a streak). Now that he's 10-4 you seem ready to put him up there with Sparky and Hutch and Lou. All I'm asking for is some consistency. Don't be so quick to bury a guy after losing 3 out of 4 to a playoff team on the road.

 
at 10:14 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I certainly dont want to offend anyone. Did not mean to.

Yet, we have these same discussions every year.

There is something inherently wrong with both the management and the players that we have put on the filed and this needs to be changed. The Ken Griffey Adam Dunn outfield does not work, even though Griffey is a good guy

Homer Bailey is not a savior, quite frankly he looks terrible. Like Brandon Larson before him Bailey appears to be a great minor league player, nothing more

ETC ETC ETC.

Aside from the New Yorks Mets .. we have played some very marginal teams over the course of the past two weeks. Even Atlanta looks tired and worn out.

Getting excited over whats happened over the course of the past two weeks aint wise

John ... football starts when ?

 
at 10:23 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fire sale = contending team in 2-3 years... maybe.

This team, with a bullpen, can win next year. The Reds have 3-4 players they can trade for young guys who can help next year (closer) or in the future, and use all that salary from Milton and those traded away to improve the bullpen and maybe the cathcer position.

That equals wins. That seems like the smart decision.

FYI, it seems to me that Belisle is a mirro rimage stat wise of Milton. And listening to the game it sure seems he suffers from the Mlton big inning/home run disease.

Adrian

 
at 10:41 AM Anonymous Matt said...

I think the real question is do you trade Arroyo for Saltalamacchia? Salty could be your catcher for the next 10 years, but quality starting pitching is hard to find...

 
at 10:55 AM Anonymous ChicagoRed said...

If Pete Mackanin gets this team to .500 that will be a very impressive feat.

But we've seen this type of turnaround before when coahces have been changed mid-season. Dave Miley did it. Jerry Narron did it. Bruce Coslet did it with the Bengals, and we hailed the coming of the Messiah.

All of them, ultimately, were not the right fit for the job long term. As much as I enjoy what Pete is doing, if he gets the job, I can't imagine any Reds fas having full confidence that he will sustain it...and not being worried that in June of 2009 we'll be calling for his head as well -- only two years further removed from the playoffs, starting over, AGAIN.

 
at 11:06 AM Blogger kingseyeland said...

Fay says 40-26. What if the Reds went 42-23 the rest of the way -- .646 ball?

Last year's world champions finished 83-78.

Typically the Reds stink through August and September. What if this year they did all of their stinking in the first half?

 
at 12:20 PM Blogger John Fay said...

Re Justin's comment: Weathers will $2.75 million next year. You trade him you've got to replace him. You're going to have trouble finding someone to replace him for that money. He's done very well filling in as a closer. 19 of 23 isn't bad at all, particularly when he's been asked to go more than one inning on regular basis.

Narron and Miley were around .500 after 14 games. They did not have this kind of turnaround. But it's 14 games, if Mackanin sustains this kind of pace the rest of the year, he's got a really good chance to keep the job. But that's HUGE if.

 
at 12:52 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those of you who advocate blowing up this team and starting over strike a serious blow to the notion that Cincinnati is a great baseball town. This team is close to being very good - they are playing to their potential now. It seems to me they do have a plan and had they not had so much bad luck with the bullpen, they'd be in it right now. They score plenty of runs - the offense isn't a problem. The problem is pitching, pitching, pitching. And a lot of that has been bad luck. They need a couple more starters - just like pretty much every team in the bigs.

But some of you geniuses want to trade Arroyo - a guy who's been signed to a decent contract. And while he isn't a number 2, he is definitely a three or four. Who do you want to replace him with?

And there's the "fans" who think Homer Bailey is washed-up already. Seriously, you embarrass yourself. Young pitchers almost always struggle when they first come up. Get over it.

And those of who who want to get rid of Dunn, I'm interested to hear how you propose replacing the consistent production he offers? Sure, I'd rather see him bat 6th and get more rbis than he does, but come on, the guy mashes and scores a ton of runs.

A lot of you put a premium on hustle. What I see is that Ryan Freel hustles - makes a ton of base running blunders and poor decisions in the field. Yet, he's a hero in Cincy because he gets his uniform dirty. I see Todd Coffey sprint out to the mound and then cough up the game. I see the great Ken Griffey called lazy by some "fans" - yet he's stayed healthy and is having the best season since he came to the Reds.

Rant over.

- Monroe.

 
at 1:17 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree 11:52 ... what's the big rush to blow this team up?

While this recent stretch may be a bit of a mirage, I think it shows what they are capable of and what many were expecting in the first place.

Trade Arroyo? Wow ... he was just signed to an extension and at a fairly reliable price. You're not going to get equal value for what he means to the Reds, especially when he's pitching like he has been in his most recent starts.

Besides a flamethrowing closer, what this team really lacks is a solid No. 3 starter. Honestly, are Belisle and Lohse that much worse than the majority of No. 4 and No. 5 starters? I don't think so. They do have their blowups; most 4s and 5s do. But they also keep their teams in the game quite often, which is all you can ask for.

Get a solid No. 3 and I think this team would look pretty good.

 
at 1:24 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who are the proven winner managers out there? The same proven winner managers out there have proven they can lose, as well.

Baker? Give me a break. Brenly? Please. Last I checked the Reds didn't have a guy named Randy Johnson or Curt Schilling.

Big name means diddley. All that matters is, do the players want to play for him?

Signs here say the players want to play for Mackanin. Apparently they didn't for Narron.

The question is: Who will the Reds play for?

 
at 1:55 PM Blogger Frank Robinson's Ghost said...

Justin --

I'm not going to defend Coffey for anything. If Pete manages to get him turned around it will be a minor miracle.

Your rant about Weathers, though, is largely unjustified. An ERA of around 3.00 and 19 saves in 23 chances shows that he does a lot more than "throw and pray."

Sure, he's not a "dominating closer" -- might explain why he's never been a "closer" in his long career until Eddie went down last year. Of course, we'd ideally want Weathers as our 8th inning guy. But there aren't many "dominating closers" floating around out there for the picking.

Weathers has stepped up and performed admirably for this team. Replacing him is somewhere between the 5th and 10th thing the Reds need to do to get better.

 
at 2:26 PM Blogger James said...

I consider what MacKanin has been able to accomplish thus far somewhat short of a miracle. I'm not ready to anoint him just yet as I think that just about anybody can attest to the fact that you are going to best foot forward when you are campaigning for a job. If nothing else, I think that Kriv and Bob C need to be held to their commitment to finding the best manager. I think the best case scenario is coming to the surface as far as they're concerned which is that somehow this interim manager has managed to flip the right switches with this team and thus pulling their butts out of the fire. MacKanin winning this job means that the management gets a lot of pressure taken off of them and therefore I fear we sink back into complacency and apathy. Sure as we give Mac an extension and a vote of confidence, we'll end up hearing the same ol' "yes" man rhetoric a 'la Narron, Miley, etc. All involved parties need to be held accountable (ownership, management, players...) and keep tightening the screws. It's no coincidence that all of a sudden this team is responding and winning with the new kid on the block who happened to be a scout. His job is to evaluate and prove who belongs and who needs to be shipped out and I think the players are stepping up to keep their jobs. I think Pedro Lopez and Kepp are making a case to be kept up as well as Livingston.

 
at 2:46 PM Anonymous Greg said...

ANON 9:14 said
"Homer Bailey is not a savior, quite frankly he looks terrible. Like Brandon Larson before him Bailey appears to be a great minor league player, nothing more"

He has had SIX starts, here are some other pitchers after their first six starts in the majors

Greg Maddux 2-4 5.52 ERA
Tom Glavine 2-3 5.82 ERA
John Smoltz 1-4 6.44 ERA
Roger Clemens 2-1 7.13 ERA
Homer Bailey 2-2 6.99 ERA

I think it's a little too early to say Homer Bailey is the next Brandon Larson. I think his struggles are more a sign of his age, and a poor pitching coach.

 
at 3:17 PM Blogger John Fay said...

The difference between Larson and Bailey is Larson made his big leauge debut at 25. Bailey make his at 21. If Bailey's still struggling in four years, use the Larson comparison right now it's silly.

 
at 3:29 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

11:52 Monroe

We feel a little bit better because the Reds have had some good luck against some marginal teams over the course of the past two weeks.

Dude.. watch some good teams like Detroit, LAA, etc and you will see we are "not even close to being close"

We have this same discussion every year.

Only the fans and the press made Bailey out to be a phenomenon. Watching him pitch quite frankly is nauseating, he is behind every batter . Like Brandon Larson, the great AAA hitter ..unless there are so major changes with the dude..he will not be a major league pitcher. Dont compare him to the greats that have struggled when they first came up.. He does not have their stuff

I could care less about home run production with either Adam Dunn or Griffey. What has been our record with all that great production?

Give me some hitters that can avoid striking out repeatedly with runners on base like Griffey and Dunn always do

If you dealt with reality rather than your emotion you would see that having a consistent offense is a very big problem with this team. Check the stats and see how we hit with runners in scoring position. We have stunk for years

And you clowns that would even begin to advocate giving Mackanan a long term contract after two weeks or feel he is the answer... please take your medicine.Oh Please

 
at 4:51 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 2:29 pm. Dude, what I see with the Tigers and the Anaheim Angels are teams with payrolls of 95 million and 109 million, respectively. The Reds are hanging in there at around 69. With that sort of disadvantage, the Reds don’t have much margin for error.

Meanwhile, the Reds are 4th in the league in runs scored and the 3rd worse when it comes to giving up runs. While it might not be the most sophisticated analysis around, what that tells me is that the Reds offense is not the problem and the pitching is. And, yes, you’re right they should hit better with runners in scoring position – no doubt about it.

Yet, you advocate getting rid of Griffey and Dunn because they strike out too much. Sure, it’s frustrating when that happens, but that tends to be the case with power hitters. With the exception of someone like Pujols, those guys strike out. You seem to equate the Reds record with these strikeouts – when in reality, the Reds record is due to poor pitching, especially from the bullpen.

If you can’t be happy with the way Griffey’s playing this year, maybe you shouldn’t call yourself a baseball fan.

Also, you want to throw Homer Bailey overboard after six starts. That’s just so blind, I can’t believe I’m even bothering to say anything.

The fact is, Krivsky has done a pretty decent job. When you GM for a low budget team, you’re on a tightrope. I’d say Arroyo, Phillips and Hamilton were pretty amazing pickups for next to nothing. The Lopez - Kearns trade was disappointing, but ultimately a wash, especially when looked at inthe context of how those holes were filled. I’d take Hamilton over Kearns any day. Same goes for Gonzo over Lopez. It’s not like the Reds are prepared to throw money at every problem like the Yankees and Red Sox. Those GMs consistently make monumental mistakes that make the Milton debacle look like nothing, yet they keep their jobs.

What this team needs to do is start developing its own players. The farm system has been broken for 15 years and it’ll probably take another 3 or 4 to turn it around.

Monroe.

 
at 5:02 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know Reds win, bullpen pitches good and most of you still complain. Some of the comments must be from Mars. Four in a row.
Get on your team side, pull for your team. Cincinnati fans,reporters and announcers are the most negative of any baseball city.
What a shame!!!!!!!

 
at 6:42 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 3:51

quit analyzing and reaching

we are what we are and what we have been for the past eight years

regardless of payroll numbers, teams have come into GAB and beat the crud outta of us by playing baseball the way it should be played

you can make excuses ,live with false hope and try and rationalize everything to make yourself feel better..yet the bottom line is that this franchise with a record of what over the course of the past eight years?

bye

 
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