The most frustrating aspect of the 2011 Reds is the lack of a solid, consistent, daily lineup. The guys get jerked around on an almost daily basis. The two positions that are the weakest, shortstop and left field, are the ones that do not have starters. At the other positions, we know we’re going to see Brandon Phillips or Jay Bruce every day (except for the occasional day off), but at the weak spots, that is almost unheard of.
Take LF, for example. We have three different players sharing the spot and they alternate on a daily basis. Between Gomes, Heisey, and Lewis, we hardly ever get to see any of these guys start more than one day in a row. Some people have a problem with Jonny Gomes’ offensive numbers – but how are we going to know if he can hit if he only gets the chance every third day or longer (and I don’t count pinch hitting, because only having one at-bat a game isn’t enough to accurately represent offensive ability)? Aside from the fact that this arrangement is detrimental to the consistency of not only the individual players, but also the lineup, it is also detrimental to the team as a whole. By doing this, the management seems to be driving a wedge between the players.
These three guys are essentially competing against each other for playing time, which cannot be (and demonstrably is not) good for the general attitude of the team. The biggest difference between 2010 and 2011 is the glaring lack of that special spark of team cohesiveness, which is absolutely essential to winning.
The other prominent aspect was the Reds inability to win one-run games. Almost half the panel eluded to that fact as well. Kerry explains his little personal issue in a short way, but one we feel on almost a daily basis.
The 1-run losses are the most frustrating part of 2011. You can argue the 1-run losses are due to an inability to get key hits, but “luck” plays a part as well. To see this team lose these games the way they have is simply infuriating.
This was an area where the Reds did perform at a better clip last season as BRM’s newest writer Derek Olsen pointed out to us recently.
The next question contained four separate answers. I requested that all the panel attach a letter to grade to a certain individual within the Reds organization. I took these grades and averaged them. What I then proceeded to do was select a higher grade explanation and a lower grade explanation.
First up was Reds skipper Dusty Baker. His average grade fell at a C+. One who thought Dusty has performed admirably is BRMs Alex.
Dusty Baker (B+)-Dusty takes on waaaaaaay too much criticism from Reds fans. He does not get an A because I thought he should have asked for a promotion of Cozart or Sappelt or Alonso sooner, but he has done well with the hand he has been dealt. His positive attitude is great for players, and his trust in his guys is very reassuring to his players. Jay Bruce and Drew Stubbs responded well to his confidence in 2010, and guys like Bronson Arroyo, Drew Stubbs, and Francisco Cordero will reward Baker for his confidence in 2011 as well….at some point.
But there was a little dissent within the panel. Alex gave Baker the highest grade with his B+. The lowest was a D. BK provides his grade and the reason he’s on the low end.