We, as Reds fanatics (where did you think ‘fans’ came from?) have watched two weeks of the season roll by in totally different halves. During the first part they won series’ against highly-touted Los Angeles Angels and the Washington Nationals whom many have picked to win the entire enchilada. By and large they looked very good while doing it.
Then came the second part. The dreaded Cardinals opened their home season with a loss to the Reds. It wasn’t just a loss it was a mugging. The Reds thumped the Redbirds 13-4 and looked to be on their way to a fantastic run. Then came game two of the series. Lance Lynn looked as though he were already in mid-season form as he struck out the Reds seemingly at will.
After a 5-1 loss the Reds sent Homer (No-No) Bailey to the hill in the rubber match. The Reds died quietly that night as Jake Westbrook pitched a shutout, 5-hit style deflating the spirit of Cincy fans everywhere. A 10-0 rout in a rubber game made the trip to Pittsburgh very gloom indeed.
The Pirates beat up on the Reds and brought out the broom, sweeping them by scores of 6-5, 3-1 and 10-7. In Saturday’s game Cincinnati lost ace Johnny Cueto for a few games due to an injury to his throwing arm. They chose to bring up pitcher Justin Freeman from Triple-A Louisville. Way to keep ‘em guessing Dusty.
If you brought him up just because Cueto’s spot doesn’t hit until Thursday what are you thinking? Are you going to send him straight down and recall Tony Cingrani? Or, are you going to keep Freeman and send down a position guy?
Manager Dusty Baker has made some very questionable moves early on in the 2013 campaign. I don’t know where to start. How ’bout the beginning.
He should probably have started the season with Sean Marshall on the DL instead of waiting four or five games in. Instead he works J.J. Hoover as though he were a rented mule. He was bombarded and looked like a deer caught in the headlights.
The length of the leash on his pitchers is something else to discuss. To wit: Bronson Arroyo was pitching a masterpiece against the Cards, being perfect through five innings. He ran into trouble in the sixth giving up a double followed by a groundout. He faced Matt Craig and was deposited in the right field seats. Gone perfect game, gone no-hitter, gone shutout. Here is the problem.
If you have watched Arroyo for a few seasons you know of his proclivity of going from great to miserable in one or two batters. That is exactly what happened. Hits kept coming and without a strike from Shin-Soo Choo to the plate nailing Matt Holiday, they could still be hitting.
The same thing happened Monday against the Phillies. Through seven innings Arroyo was throwing a three-hit shutout. He surrendered a hard hit single to Donomic Brown and getting two outs. Chase Utley was sent to pinch hit for Cliff Lee.
Instead of removing Arroyo and bringing in Chapman to flame Utley, Baker chose the opposite. I don’t know if everyone knew what was coming, but I did. Utley, who is a bona fide Reds killer, took Arroyo deep and tied the score at two. Utley has hit 17 HR in only 58 games against the Reds. I had the same sick feeling in that AB that I had when Albert Pujols hit a grand slam against Dave Weathers a few years ago.
Baker should get T-Shirts printed saying “It isn’t easy being me”, because it couldn’t be. He gets second-guessed more than most managers. I don’t have evidence to support that indictment but the gut tells me that. Some of it is unsubstantiated but the majority is squarely on him.
I am a Reds fan through and through, I bleed red, seriously. If I feel the need to call out Baker I am going to do it.
What say ye?