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Posts Tagged ‘Cincinnati Reds’

2011 National League Central Preview

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Cubs Carlos ZambranoPittsburgh Pirates
Strengths: Everyone on this team is young and a work in progress. 2B Neil Walker, 3B Pedro Alvarez, and OF Garrett Jones all have shown promise, but as long as they are playing in Pittsburgh, they won’t get much recognition. The addition of 1B Lyle Overbay will give the offense a much-needed boost.

Weaknesses: Pitching. They had a team ERA of 5.00 and lost 105 games last season. Need I say more?

Analysis: Hang on Pittsburgh fans, you are in for another long season. It probably won’t be as bad as last year, but you can expect another bottom-of-the-barrel performance. You have to give them credit for trying.

Prediction: 6th in NL Central

More 2011 NL Central Predictions after the jump >>

Not Everyone Loves Doc Halladay

Dr No

Besides Reds fans, even.

Ah, postseason baseball quibbling: When you are the second player to ever accomplish something of note in Major League Baseball, considering just how extensive the history is (ask Ken Burns), it’s significant, much like Roy Halladay’s no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds last night should be treated. Some, however, disagree with all the love being thrown Halladay’s way. On one side, one of those quick to take credit away is understandable. His team just got flummoxed by perhaps the best pitcher in the game, and some defiance lingers.

While it does come across as sour grapes, Orlando Cabrera at least has reason to reject the notion of Halladay’s greatness, even if it just being a sore loser.

Orlando Cabrera

On blogosphere side of things, not everyone was impressed there, either. Granted, the guys at Bugs and Cranks watch and know a whole lot more about baseball than I do, but I don’t quite get the reasoning behind the lack of Halladay love:

But most of all, because before he came out in the third inning, he had a 4-0 lead to work with. Matt Garza allowing 2 hits and 1 run over 7 innings in Game 7 of the 2008 ALCS in a 3-1 game is far more impressive than Halladay’s showy little no-hitter yesterday. Hell, give me Jered Weaver going 7.1 innings and giving up 2 hits and 1 run in a 4-1 win of last year’s ALDS Game 2 against the Red Sox.

While the performances mentioned might indeed by sterling outings by other pitchers in a playoff atmosphere, being only the second baseball player to ever throw a postseason no-hitter resonates, whether you want it to or not; regardless if you’re a member of the Reds or simply a fan of baseball who writes a blog.

I’m sometimes hesitant to overuse Internet memes in posts, but I think the following adaptation applies: “Impressive performance is impressive.” Like it or not, Halladay’s name belongs in the history books, if, for nothing else, the sheer rarity of his accomplishment.

Ken Griffey, Jr To The White Sox?

Ken Griffey JrGood thing Junior looks good in black because his current team, the Cincinnati Reds, agreed to trade their outfielder to the Chicago White Sox. The only thing holding it up is Griffey’s approval, something he considered doing when Tampa Bay was being discussed.

According to reports, Griffey has some questions for the White Sox organization — apparently not contract-related — before he gives the green light. Provided he does so, what does this do for the White Sox who find themselves in a neck-and-neck race for the AL Central with Minnesota?

Is Griffey’s sometimes explosive bat enough to put Ozzie Guillen’s team over the hump?

Because Griffey hasn’t been in the postseason as often as his talent would suggest, if you are White Sox fan, you have to like your chances of Griffey approving the trade. However, looking at the White Sox depth chart, one wonders where he’d fit in with the team. The outfield has two players putting up MVP-like numbers in Carlos Quentin and Jermaine Dye.

Would Guillen consider replacing center fielder Nick Swisher with Griffey?

They both have similar numbers (Griffey – .245/15/53 — Swisher – .230/15/50) but Swisher’s eight years younger and durable enough to handle the potential pounding a center fielder takes. Is Griffey? Currently, no other players besides Griffey have been mentioned so it’s hard to speculate further about where he’d fit in the White Sox roster.

More on this as it breaks.

Update – 11:51: Griffey approved the trade which will see the Reds and White Sox swap the outfielder for pitcher Nick Masset and infielder Danny Richar. As you can see, these players do not answer the question about where Griffey will fit in the White Sox line-up. Provided the MLB approves the trade, is he going to replace Paul Konerko at first base or will he replace Nick Swisher in center field?

Update 2: Trade’s been approved. Expect to see Griffey in his White Sox debut this weekend against the Kansas City Royals.

A Home Run Derby Without Ryan Howard…

Ryan Howard

… is like Cornflakes without the milk. Thanks to the inspirational words of Oran “Juice” Jones, I now have an appropriate way to frame tonight’s MLB Home Run Derby, which takes place tonight at Yankees Stadium, of course (with no Yankees participating). Now, before you label me as a baseball buffoon (rightfully so, but still), I understand why Howard’s not participating.

He’s not an All-Star — another story, but we can debate that at a different time.

But the fact the Major League leader in home runs (second in RBI) isn’t participating is silly. If Craig Hodges, player who wasn’t even on an active roster at the time, can defend his three-point shot championship in the NBA, Howard — a previous champion to boot — should be allowed to participate in the Home Run derby, too; All Star or no.

Didn’t the MLB let Pete Rose on the field for that All-Century thing they did during the World Series a few years ago? Maybe an exception should have been made for the Major League leader in home runs, you know, since this thing is called the — *gasp* — Home Run Derby. Possibly for Adam Dunn, as well.

Anyway, the Ryan Howard-less fun begins at 7/6 Central. If you are lacking ideas to help you enjoy all the home run fun, the guys at Home Run Derby have an awesome drinking game you can try — provided you value your liver.


Joining The 600 Club

Ken Griffey, Jr

Ken Griffey, Jr, the man with what some call the perfect baseball swing, has joined an elite group after hitting his 600th home run against the Florida Marlins in the first inning last night. The group Griffey joined is so elite, only five other Major League Baseball players reside in it (and two of the five have suspect resumes).

Thanks to I’mWritingSports, we have video of the momentous occasion:

Now, I’ve never claimed to be much of a baseball aficionado but nevertheless, I’ve always liked, appreciated and admired Ken Griffey, Jr. He’s been called the Michael Jordan of baseball and that’s something I can appreciate on an individual performance level.

If he didn’t have to deal with all those injuries as a Cincinnati Red, his home run total would undoubtedly be much larger. However, allow me to let a true baseball expert close our celebratory proceedings with these words about Griffey:

It is easy to look at 600 and wonder what might have been with improved health. But it is easier and more fun to remember Griffey at his best, a wondrous athlete who streaked through the outfield, climbed an outfield wall and made a catch that only Mays could make, then the next inning, hit a ball to places that very few players could reach. Six hundred home runs is a tremendous milestone, but Griffey at 100, 200, 300 and 400 was simply breathtaking.

Fitting words for an outstanding, outstanding player.