St. Louis Still NL Central Favorites; Reds Lineup Suspect


It’s easy to get carried away with everything the Reds have done this offseason. Mat Latos. Sean Marshall. Ryan Ludwick. Ryan Madson. The Reds beefed their roster by adding substantial talent. And it’s easy to look at 2012 with big ambitions and expectations. But one thing a lot of people are surprisingly not talking about are the World Series Champions. Albert Pujols left the NL Central. The Cardinals didn’t.

Here’s what the Cardinals have going for them. Chris Carpenter. Adam Wainwright (remember him?). Jaime Garcia. Kyle Lohse no slouch either–3.39 ERA last year. And that’s all without Roy Oswalt, who could or could not be a Cardinal by week’s end.

Consider the bullpen too. Remember Fernando Salas? Eduardo Sanchez? Jason Motte? This is a very loaded pitching staff. St. Louis was able to rely on a shut-down bullpen, primarily because the bullpen was well rested. The STL ‘pen finished 18 in bullpen innings pitched. In relation to the Reds, St. Louis’ bullpen pitched over 30 innings less.

But let’s focus on the Reds. Everyone’s excited about the moves, but are they enough? Are we really entering into 2012 confident that Walt has assembled a team that can dethrone the defeding Champions?

I’m not sold.

The Reds will more than likely be starting both Zack Cozart and Devin Mesoraco. Two players that, between the both of them, have a cumulative 87 ABs. Cozart finished with a .324 BA. Devon finished with a .180. We shouldn’t be making any declarations about these two obviously, but that’s my point. Do you know what you’re getting with these two in the lineup?

And what about LF? Let’s envision the Reds’ 2012 lineup for a moment. If I were Baker, here’s who I run out, at this juncture:

1. Phillips
2. Cozat
3. Votto
4. Rolen
5. Bruce
6. Heisey
7. Mesoraco
8. Latos
9. Stubbs

I’m not Tony LaRussa, but I would bat Stubbs 9th for two reasons: a) less ABs, less opportunities to strike out, b) you now have two leadoff hitters. This will never happen in Cincinnati.  That’s a topic for a different article.

But I digress. Look that lineup up and down throughly. How many “question marks” can you find? I have five. Five question marks in a lineup of nine.

Cozart–No clue if he hits .324 or .124 in the Bigs. I know he hit .324 in 37 plate appearances. That’s not even long enough to consider it a hot streak.

Rolen– Back? Health? Bat Speed? .242 BA last season?

Heisey– Bats .309 coming off the bench. Hits .237 as a starter. So which Heisey do we get in 2012? .250 with RISP. Only .252 with runners on any base. Suspect. And batting sixth, he’s going to be in position to drive in a lot of runs.

Mesoraco– Hit .180 last year in 53 plate appearance. We all know how good he’s supposed to be. And once upon a time, Austin Kearns was supposed to be really good too.

Stubbs– K

Five question marks in a nine man lineup. Last year, the burden of scoring rested squarly on the shoulders of Phillips, Votto and Bruce. The Reds will need consistent production deep in the lineup.

And what about the starting rotation? Latos was a phenomenal grab. But this staff went 50-54 last year with an ERA well over 4. All the Reds did was add one arm. So we’re either convincined Mat Latos really turns into an ace and that Bronson Arroyo will rediscover his ability to eat innings and be a serviceable starter, or we acknowledge that there will be a lot of finger crossing in the ensuing months.

Would you double down on this team?

I wouldn’t. I like the Reds to nab a wild card slot, especially because of the additional spots being added this year. But to dethrone the defending World Series Champions would take a positive answer to every question I listed above–I listed a lot of them.

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Tags: Adam Wainwright Baseball Batting Cardinals Chris Carpenter Chris Heisey Cincinnati Dusty Baker MLB NL Central Pitching Reds St. Louis World Series

  • FrankieBrown

    @Steven Engbloom

    That is not the point I am making. I am not taking anything away from the Card’s success LAST year. The point of my post is that last year’s title has little bearing on the next year’s success. The author makes numerous references to the Cards’ winnng of the WS in support of his argument that the 2012 Cards are clearly superior to the 2012 Reds. My counter is that last year’s result has little or no bearing on THIS years results. History is not a perfect guide, but it shows that in this case the Cards will be doing better than the average WS champ if they manage to win 90 games this year.

  • http://www.blogredmachine.com/ TylerGrote
  • beeker

    @FrankieBrown @Steven Engbloom Doesn’t that cut both ways? If the Cards won despite not being a dominating team, couldn’t the Reds also if the baseball gods smile their way?

    If you haven’t read the post by the sagacious John Heitz about how similar 1970-1971 and 2010-2011 were, you should. I hope history is a guide, because if 2012 mirrors 1972, we will get to watch a WS appearance!

  • Steven Engbloom

    @FrankieBrown I’m sorry but I’m not seeing any reference (in his post or comments) where Tyler states that the Cards are “clearly superior”. He favors them. There is a difference.

  • Steven Engbloom

    @beeker Your levity is always appreciated, my friend…

  • FrankieBrown

    Since the author seems rather impressed by the Cards’ winning the WS last year, here is a little perspective: 1) The Cards won 90 games last year, tied for 8th best out of 30 teams. Pretty good, but hardly a juggernaut. 2) The 2010 Reds won 91 games. It seems reasonable to believe that the 2012 Reds are no worse than, and probably an upgrade over the 2010 Central Division champs. 3) In the last 25 years, only 3 WS champs won fewer than 90 regular season games, one of those teams being the ’06 Cards @ 83 games. As WS champs go, the Cards are one of the least imposing teams of the last quarter century. Kudos to the Cards for winning it all, but they certainly didn’t do it by being a dominating type of team. 4) Of the past 25 WS champs, 19 had fewer wins the next year, and only 6 improved their win totals. The ’07 Cards only won 78 games the next year. On average, the defending WS champ won 8 less games the next year. Even ignoring the unique situation of the post fire-sale 1998 Marlins, who won 54 less games the year after their WS win, the next year on average the defending champ won about 6 games less the following year. (Statistical note: for the 1994 Blue Jays, I extrapolated their winning percentage to a win total of 77 to estimate their wins for a 162 game season. They went 55-60 that shortened season.) If history is any guide, the odds are against the Cards winning even 90 games this year. Though these are hardly definitive arguments in favor of the Reds’ chances, I do think that it puts the Cards’ title in perspective.

  • FrankieBrown

    @Steven EngbloomHe doesn’t state it directly. He states in the main article that “I would like the Reds to nab a wild card spot…” That is his big hope for the Reds. In essence, he has given the Central Division title to the Cards. It is fair to infer that he thus considers the Cards to be much better than the Reds.

  • Steven Engbloom

    @FrankieBrown It doesn’t matter that the Cards weren’t a “dominating type of team”. They won, right? Isn’t that the bottom line?

  • beeker

    If we are honest with ourselves, there are 3 or 4 good teams in the NLC. Each team has its warts, and each team has real strengths. That’s why this is going to be a fun season.

    STL: Beltran might be a downgrade from Pujols (there is no upgrade from Pujols), but he is not a big downgrade. His numbers are still good, and just dismissing them is naive. Freese is very good. I like Rolen, but if I could swap Rolen for Freese straight up, I do it. I too am doubtful that Berkman goes .301 again, but he will still be dangerous enough, especially at GABP.

    MIL: The Brewers are not quite as stacked offensively as last year, but their rotation is still very good. They still have good defense too, and swapping Betancourt for anything (even a cardboard cutout of Alex Rodriguez) is an upgrade. Losing Braun for 2 months will hurt, but they are by no means washed up.

    PIT: Have we forgotten that the Pirates abused the Reds last year and were within a few games of first place for nearly 4 months? Yes, their youth was their undoing at the end of the season. But, just like the Reds, they are getting older and better every year. They will have a little something to say about the division too.

    CIN: I’m as guilty as anyone of projecting the best for my team. But pointing out potential problems is not being negative, just honest. And I can’t fault Tyler for giving the current champs (sorry, I just gagged a little) the benefit of the doubt.

  • FrankieBrown

    @Steven Engbloom

    That is not the point I am making. I am not taking anything away from the Card’s success LAST year. The point of my post is that last year’s title has little bearing on the next year’s success. The author makes numerous references to the Cards’ winnng of the WS in support of his argument that the 2012 Cards are clearly superior to the 2012 Reds. My counter is that last year’s result has little or no bearing on THIS years results. History is not a perfect guide, but it shows that in this case the Cards will be doing better than the average WS champ if they manage to win 90 games this year.

  • beeker

    @FrankieBrown @Steven Engbloom Doesn’t that cut both ways? If the Cards won despite not being a dominating team, couldn’t the Reds also if the baseball gods smile their way?

    If you haven’t read the post by the sagacious John Heitz about how similar 1970-1971 and 2010-2011 were, you should. I hope history is a guide, because if 2012 mirrors 1972, we will get to watch a WS appearance!

  • Steven Engbloom

    @FrankieBrown I’m sorry but I’m not seeing any reference (in his post or comments) where Tyler states that the Cards are “clearly superior”. He favors them. There is a difference.

  • Steven Engbloom

    @beeker Your levity is always appreciated, my friend…

  • FrankieBrown

    @Steven EngbloomHe doesn’t state it directly. He states in the main article that “I would like the Reds to nab a wild card spot…” That is his big hope for the Reds. In essence, he has given the Central Division title to the Cards. It is fair to infer that he thus considers the Cards to be much better than the Reds.

  • Steven Engbloom

    Much better, no. Better, yes. Then again, it depends on how you want to take it.

    Look, I know you were initially hacked because a Reds writer was not all “rah, rah” about the Reds. I also know beyond doubt that there are other writers and fans that have similar thoughts and questions as Tyler.

  • Steven Engbloom

    Much better, no. Better, yes. Then again, it depends on how you want to take it.

    Look, I know you were initially hacked because a Reds writer was not all “rah, rah” about the Reds. I also know beyond doubt that there are other writers and fans that have similar thoughts and questions as Tyler.

  • FrankieBrown

    @Steven Engbloom

    I don’t care that he isn’t “rah, rah”, as you put it. I think his method of analysis ( comparing the Reds’ potential weaknesses against the Cards’ strengths) introduces a bias, leading to a conclusion that I think is dubious. Again, his Big Hope is that the Reds wil enter the crap shoot of the extended Wild Card playoff. My hope is that we can take the divison. I think that if we are not as good as the Cards, we are close to them in strength, close enough to win if things go our way. There is no “rah, rah” in my comments, no claim that we WILL win, only the opinion, w/ supporting points, that we are good enough to do so if things go our way this year.

  • Steven Engbloom

    @FrankieBrown There’s nothing wrong in comparing weakness to strength. It happens all the time. It’s happening right now somewhere. Would you have the same reaction if the tables were turned and the Reds strengths were being put up against the Cards weaknesses?

    Does it mean there’s a bias? To some extent it would, I can concur with you there, but isn’t part of the game taking advantage of a team’s weakness? Even more so if a team’s weakness happens to be against your team’s strength. In a sense, that’s what’s happening within this. Well, to me it is.

    There’s no denying the facts you have brought to this discussion here, and they are good facts at that. I doubt anyone can say otherwise.

    I would like to add this as well. There’s nothing wrong with Tyler’s hope even though you are steadfast in your disagreement. There’s nothing wrong with your hope. I venture to guess neither yours nor Tyler’s are the same as mine. We all have different hopes, different opinions, and different outlooks. And there’s nothing wrong with any of them.

  • FrankieBrown

    @Steven Engbloom

    I don’t care that he isn’t “rah, rah”, as you put it. I think his method of analysis ( comparing the Reds’ potential weaknesses against the Cards’ strengths) introduces a bias, leading to a conclusion that I think is dubious. Again, his Big Hope is that the Reds wil enter the crap shoot of the extended Wild Card playoff. My hope is that we can take the divison. I think that if we are not as good as the Cards, we are close to them in strength, close enough to win if things go our way. There is no “rah, rah” in my comments, no claim that we WILL win, only the opinion, w/ supporting points, that we are good enough to do so if things go our way this year.

  • Steven Engbloom

    @FrankieBrown There’s nothing wrong in comparing weakness to strength. It happens all the time. It’s happening right now somewhere. Would you have the same reaction if the tables were turned and the Reds strengths were being put up against the Cards weaknesses?

    Does it mean there’s a bias? To some extent it would, I can concur with you there, but isn’t part of the game taking advantage of a team’s weakness? Even more so if a team’s weakness happens to be against your team’s strength. In a sense, that’s what’s happening within this. Well, to me it is.

    There’s no denying the facts you have brought to this discussion here, and they are good facts at that. I doubt anyone can say otherwise.

    I would like to add this as well. There’s nothing wrong with Tyler’s hope even though you are steadfast in your disagreement. There’s nothing wrong with your hope. I venture to guess neither yours nor Tyler’s are the same as mine. We all have different hopes, different opinions, and different outlooks. And there’s nothing wrong with any of them.

  • FrankieBrown

    @Steven Engbloom

    Well said, Steven. And even though we may have various viewpoints we are united in our support for our Reds! It has been a pretty good off season for us, and there is excitement in the air already. Can’t wait for Opening DayA!!

  • FrankieBrown

    @Steven Engbloom

    Opening Day, that is! :-)

  • FrankieBrown

    @Steven Engbloom

    Well said, Steven. And even though we may have various viewpoints we are united in our support for our Reds! It has been a pretty good off season for us, and there is excitement in the air already. Can’t wait for Opening DayA!!

  • FrankieBrown

    @Steven Engbloom

    Opening Day, that is! :-)

  • http://www.blogredmachine.com/ TylerGrote

    @FrankieBrown @Steven Engbloom

    Frankie, try decaf. I don’t know what “bias” a Cincinnati native and Reds fan would have for the Cardinals–you lost me with that one. I hope you don’t think I’m the only writer suggesting that the NL Central still goes through, ya know, the current World Series Champions. The Cardinals are really good. At this juncture, better than the Reds because, imo, their pitching staff is just better, from pen to rotation.

    Also, my “Big Hope” is not for the Reds to make the extended WC round. I would consider that my “average size prediction.” My “Big Hope” is that the Reds go 162-0.

  • http://www.blogredmachine.com/ TylerGrote

    @FrankieBrown @Steven Engbloom

    I don’t know what “bias” a Cincinnati native and Reds fan would have for the Cardinals–you lost me with that one. I hope you don’t think I’m the only writer suggesting that the NL Central still goes through, ya know, the current World Series Champions. The Cardinals are really good. At this juncture, better than the Reds because, imo, their pitching staff is just better, although I may give the Reds ‘pen a slight nod right now. But I do know that Nick Masset won’t be pitching for the Cardinals in the 8th.

    Also, my “Big Hope” is not for the Reds to make the extended WC round. I would consider that my “average size prediction.” My “Big Hope” is that the Reds go 162-0.

  • http://www.blogredmachine.com/ TylerGrote

    @beeker

    I would swap Rolen for Freese yesterday. No question, I think Freese is going to be a thorn in the Reds for a long time.

  • http://www.blogredmachine.com/ TylerGrote

    @FrankieBrown @Steven Engbloom

    Frankie, try decaf. I don’t know what “bias” a Cincinnati native and Reds fan would have for the Cardinals–you lost me with that one. I hope you don’t think I’m the only writer suggesting that the NL Central still goes through, ya know, the current World Series Champions. The Cardinals are really good. At this juncture, better than the Reds because, imo, their pitching staff is just better, from pen to rotation.

    Also, my “Big Hope” is not for the Reds to make the extended WC round. I would consider that my “average size prediction.” My “Big Hope” is that the Reds go 162-0.

  • http://www.blogredmachine.com/ TylerGrote

    @FrankieBrown @Steven Engbloom

    I don’t know what “bias” a Cincinnati native and Reds fan would have for the Cardinals–you lost me with that one. I hope you don’t think I’m the only writer suggesting that the NL Central still goes through, ya know, the current World Series Champions. The Cardinals are really good. At this juncture, better than the Reds because, imo, their pitching staff is just better, although I may give the Reds ‘pen a slight nod right now. But I do know that Nick Masset won’t be pitching for the Cardinals in the 8th.

    Also, my “Big Hope” is not for the Reds to make the extended WC round. I would consider that my “average size prediction.” My “Big Hope” is that the Reds go 162-0.

  • http://www.blogredmachine.com/ TylerGrote

    @beeker

    I would swap Rolen for Freese yesterday. No question, I think Freese is going to be a thorn in the Reds for a long time.

  • FrankieBrown

    @TylerGrote @Steven Engbloom

    Tyler, please read my comments more carefully. I make the point that your method of analysis introduces bias, not that you are biased for the Cards. Your bias, IMO, is one of logic, not of loyalty, caused by your looking at our weaknesses, or potential weaknesses and comparing by looking at the Card’s strengths. I never once question your loyalty to our Reds. Anyone who pours so much time writing about the Reds clearly loves them, as I do. As to the Cards’ being ‘really good’, see my post above. The Cards had the least reg. season wins of all post-season qualifiers last year, and only got into the playoffs at all thanks to the monumental collapse of the Braves. As I pointed out, they will be bucking recent history if they manage to win 90 games, while the 2012 Reds are almost certainly as good of a team as the 2010 team that won 91 games, if not better. I am surprised you again emphasize their WS win, as I pointed out that a WS win has lead to less wins for the champ 19/25 times the very next year. A good article that does look in depth at some of the Card’s potential problems can be found at http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/St-Louis-Cardinals-health-challenges-leave-champs-at-disadvantage-020112 This is a long list of issues the Cards face, but note that the article’s main focus only is on their issues of staying healthy.

  • http://www.blogredmachine.com/ TylerGrote

    @FrankieBrown @Steven Engbloom

    Frankie,

    I read your novella-er, comments quite carefully, actually. I’m an English major, so if you want to thoroughly dissect diction here, I’m all for it. Whether you think I am being, or, as your made sure to repeat, introduce, you suggest that there is some degree of bias in my outlook. There isn’t.

    So because in the last 25 years only 6 WS champs improved their win total means the Cardinals aren’t to be considered a powerhouse? Or because only 3 WS champs won 90 or fewer means what exactly? In fact, what does anything you researched have to do with the 2012 Cardinals?

    None of that factors into anything for the 2012 season, merely fodder for fans. Means nothing. If you want to keep comparing these Reds to the 2010 Reds, tell me Frank, how did the 2010 Reds do against good teams? How did the 2010 Reds do againt Wainwright, Carpenter, Carcia? How did the 2010 Reds do once they made the playoffs?

    You’re approaching this subject from a historical standpoint, and although mildly interesting, your stats simply aren’t relevant and in no way can forecast the 2012 season.

    If you’re this upset about one article suggesting the Cards are better than the Reds, I encourage you to check out the poll I posted. All but like, what, four states in America feel the same way? Oh well.

  • http://www.blogredmachine.com/ TylerGrote

    @FrankieBrown @Steven Engbloom

    Frankie,

    I read your novella-er, comments quite carefully, actually. I’m an English major, so if you want to thoroughly dissect diction here, I’m all for it. Whether you think I am being, or, as your made sure to repeat, introducing, you suggest that there is some degree of bias in my outlook. There isn’t.

    So because in the last 25 years only 6 WS champs improved their win total means the Cardinals aren’t to be considered a powerhouse? Or because only 3 WS champs won 90 or fewer means what exactly? In fact, what does anything you researched have to do with the 2012 Cardinals?

    None of that factors into anything for the 2012 season, merely fodder for fans. Means nothing. If you want to keep comparing these Reds to the 2010 Reds, tell me Frank, how did the 2010 Reds do against good teams, teams above .500/made playoffs? How did the 2010 Reds do against Wainwright, Carpenter, Garcia? How did the 2010 Reds do once they made the playoffs?

    You’re approaching this subject from a historical standpoint, and although mildly interesting, your stats simply aren’t relevant and in no way can forecast the 2012 season.

    If you’re this upset about one article suggesting the Cards are better than the Reds, I encourage you to check out the poll I posted. All but like, what, four states in America feel the same way? Oh well.

  • FrankieBrown

    @TylerGrote @Steven Engbloom

    Tyler, please read my comments more carefully. I make the point that your method of analysis introduces bias, not that you are biased for the Cards. Your bias, IMO, is one of logic, not of loyalty, caused by your looking at our weaknesses, or potential weaknesses and comparing by looking at the Card’s strengths. I never once question your loyalty to our Reds. Anyone who pours so much time writing about the Reds clearly loves them, as I do. As to the Cards’ being ‘really good’, see my post above. The Cards had the least reg. season wins of all post-season qualifiers last year, and only got into the playoffs at all thanks to the monumental collapse of the Braves. As I pointed out, they will be bucking recent history if they manage to win 90 games, while the 2012 Reds are almost certainly as good of a team as the 2010 team that won 91 games, if not better. I am surprised you again emphasize their WS win, as I pointed out that a WS win has lead to less wins for the champ 19/25 times the very next year. A good article that does look in depth at some of the Card’s potential problems can be found at http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/St-Louis-Cardinals-health-challenges-leave-champs-at-disadvantage-020112 This is a long list of issues the Cards face, but note that the article’s main focus only is on their issues of staying healthy.

  • http://www.blogredmachine.com/ TylerGrote

    @FrankieBrown @Steven Engbloom

    Also, loved your opening line “Since the author seems so impressed by the Cards winning the WS”

    When was winning the WS not impressive?

  • FrankieBrown

    @TylerGrote @Steven Engbloom

    You seem mpressed w/ their WS win as it relates to the 2012 outlook, which I have examined in detail.

  • http://www.blogredmachine.com/ TylerGrote

    @FrankieBrown @Steven Engbloom

    I seem impressed with the WS win as it relates to 2012 outlook? I must have missed the part in the article where I say the 2011 ring ensures them the 2012 NL Central.

    When you play in the same division as the WS champs, you’re going to hear trigger words like “defending” and “champions” and “dethrone.” Heads up.

  • Steven Engbloom

    @TylerGrote @FrankieBrown I believe we’re reaching the point where this conversation is bordering on not being relevant to the topic as it is becoming repetitive. Also, please keep the gloves on, gentlemen.

  • http://www.blogredmachine.com/ TylerGrote

    I haven’t detected any ill-will or combative language. Frankie has every right to question any article I write, imo. I’m more than happy to discuss, provided I have the time. The fun part will be when the season starts and we can see our points manifest themselves–I’m sure we’ll revist the topic aplenty.

  • http://www.blogredmachine.com/ TylerGrote

    @FrankieBrown @Steven Engbloom

    Frankie,

    I read your novella-er, comments quite carefully, actually. I’m an English major, so if you want to thoroughly dissect diction here, I’m all for it. Whether you think I am being, or, as your made sure to repeat, introduce, you suggest that there is some degree of bias in my outlook. There isn’t.

    So because in the last 25 years only 6 WS champs improved their win total means the Cardinals aren’t to be considered a powerhouse? Or because only 3 WS champs won 90 or fewer means what exactly? In fact, what does anything you researched have to do with the 2012 Cardinals?

    None of that factors into anything for the 2012 season, merely fodder for fans. Means nothing. If you want to keep comparing these Reds to the 2010 Reds, tell me Frank, how did the 2010 Reds do against good teams? How did the 2010 Reds do againt Wainwright, Carpenter, Carcia? How did the 2010 Reds do once they made the playoffs?

    You’re approaching this subject from a historical standpoint, and although mildly interesting, your stats simply aren’t relevant and in no way can forecast the 2012 season.

    If you’re this upset about one article suggesting the Cards are better than the Reds, I encourage you to check out the poll I posted. All but like, what, four states in America feel the same way? Oh well.

  • http://www.blogredmachine.com/ TylerGrote

    @FrankieBrown @Steven Engbloom

    Frankie,

    I read your novella-er, comments quite carefully, actually. I’m an English major, so if you want to thoroughly dissect diction here, I’m all for it. Whether you think I am being, or, as your made sure to repeat, introducing, you suggest that there is some degree of bias in my outlook. There isn’t.

    So because in the last 25 years only 6 WS champs improved their win total means the Cardinals aren’t to be considered a powerhouse? Or because only 3 WS champs won 90 or fewer means what exactly? In fact, what does anything you researched have to do with the 2012 Cardinals?

    None of that factors into anything for the 2012 season, merely fodder for fans. Means nothing. If you want to keep comparing these Reds to the 2010 Reds, tell me Frank, how did the 2010 Reds do against good teams, teams above .500/made playoffs? How did the 2010 Reds do against Wainwright, Carpenter, Garcia? How did the 2010 Reds do once they made the playoffs?

    You’re approaching this subject from a historical standpoint, and although mildly interesting, your stats simply aren’t relevant and in no way can forecast the 2012 season.

    If you’re this upset about one article suggesting the Cards are better than the Reds, I encourage you to check out the poll I posted. All but like, what, four states in America feel the same way? Oh well.

  • http://www.blogredmachine.com/ TylerGrote

    @FrankieBrown @Steven Engbloom

    Also, loved your opening line “Since the author seems so impressed by the Cards winning the WS”

    When was winning the WS not impressive?

  • FrankieBrown

    @TylerGrote @Steven Engbloom

    You seem mpressed w/ their WS win as it relates to the 2012 outlook, which I have examined in detail.

  • http://www.blogredmachine.com/ TylerGrote

    @FrankieBrown Just to be clear, I mean no disrespect. My words can seem incediary at times, but that’s just my writing style–can irk people. I found your reasoning and points fair, which is the only reason I took the time to respond. I imagine you’ll be one of the better people to talk Reds baseball once baseball is actually being played. If you’d like, you can follow me on twitter @GroteT. Always looking for informed fans who know their stuff to talk some baseball with.

  • http://www.blogredmachine.com/ TylerGrote

    @FrankieBrown @Steven Engbloom

    I seem impressed with the WS win as it relates to 2012 outlook? I must have missed the part in the article where I say the 2011 ring ensures them the 2012 NL Central.

    When you play in the same division as the WS champs, you’re going to hear trigger words like “defending” and “champions” and “dethrone.” Heads up.

  • Steven Engbloom

    @TylerGrote @FrankieBrown I believe we’re reaching the point where this conversation is bordering on not being relevant to the topic as it is becoming repetitive. Also, please keep the gloves on, gentlemen.

  • beeker

    @TylerGrote Yes, we have gotten well off topic. Is fair to say that Frankie would have rather that Tyler list the Cardinals’ weaknesses too so as to compare strength-to-strength and weakness-to-weakness? Fair enough.

    Is also fair to say that Tyler knows that we are quite familiar with the Reds strengths? Since we fans are prone to overlook the weaknesses of our team, I think he wanted to point out that the Reds are not bulletproof despite the upgrades, and the Cardinals are not all washed up because Pujols is in CA.

    Objections? Clarifications?

  • FrankieBrown

    @TylerGrote

    Tyler, thank you for your kind words. They mean a lot to me. I tend to be rather on the blunt side myself, and am not shy about sharing my opinions, including the ones that have not been thought out very well :-) And let me say that I think your article was well written. In retrospect, I think I spent too much time on the parts I disagreed with and too little time supporting you on the points that I agree with, of which there are many. I look forward to further articles from you in the future, and I join you in hoping for that big season for the Reds!

  • beeker

    @TylerGrote

    Back to the topic, Tyler’s point is a good one. For all that Walt did this offseason, there isn’t enough payroll to remove all the question marks. Will Latos thrive in a small park? How much will two rookies with minimal experience contribute over an entire season? Will Stubbs ever figure it out? Does Rolen still have it? All valid questions.

    The Cardinals have questions too. Will Berkman and Molina regress? Will Wainwright settle in quickly or take a while to get his stride? Can Freese stay off the DL? Can Lohse have two good seasons in a row? Could age catch up with Carpenter, Berkman, Beltran or Furcal?

    But those questions don’t negate the Cards’ strengths. They still have good hitters, a good rotation, and a bullpen that isn’t exactly bad. And in any sport, the champs get the benefit of the doubt. Whoever wins the SB on Sunday will automatically be the preseason #1 come July.

  • http://www.blogredmachine.com/ TylerGrote

    I haven’t detected any ill-will or combative language. Frankie has every right to question any article I write, imo. I’m more than happy to discuss, provided I have the time. The fun part will be when the season starts and we can see our points manifest themselves–I’m sure we’ll revist the topic aplenty.