I’m a guy who appreciates the finer arts in life. Good music with brilliant progressions. Moving illustrations, loaded with subtle meaning. Words in print that evoke thought and provide enlightenment.
You know mosaics? One of those photos comprised of hundreds of smaller photos, assembled perfectly to depict something much bigger?
You’re observing one now. A living, breathing mosaic, with 162 little pictures.
Fair warning: I’ve set up a barrier – you can’t step in front of the red velvet rope. I’ve set this barrier up for your own good. If I were to ask you your opinion of this mosaic, those of you standing too close might be missing something much bigger. Those nasty black corners of consecutive Ls and player slumps give the picture a lot of shade. The lighting of four different win streaks of six games look inspiring in the center. But neither is indicative of the big picture that is the 2012 regular season. You have to stand back here to see it.
I feel like too many people just ignore the red rope. We get hung up on skids, streaks. We conjure up really aggressive solutions to common problems experienced by every team in baseball. #TeamFireDusty is a habitual violator, obsessing on trivial things that every fan of MLB has witnessed their manager do. On the flip side, some fans assume the Reds are now built for a World Series chase after beating up on powerhouses like the Diamondbacks, Brewers and Astros.
The Reds don’t need to make a trade now? Back behind the rope, please. Don’t touch the art.
The Reds swept Houston – that’s what you’ll see at a close distance. When you take a step back, you’ll see that Houston starters finished that series with an ERA of 2.25 in 20 innings against the Reds-Who-Need-No-Additions. If it wasn’t for the 15.43 ERA of the Astros relief and the efforts of a familiar face, do the Reds leave Houston dropping 2/3?
This is one of those times where we’re stuck on the bright spots of the photo – the center of the mosaic. The Reds have won 14/16, but in that span, only three of the wins have come against a team with a winning record. Bless Stubbs for what he’s managed to do of late, but are Cozart and Stubbs the two you want to lead this team off in October? We’re only three weeks removed from a streak of three games where the Reds managed just one run in each – they lost all three.
Don’t get complacent now. I promise you, the Reds will lose again. They may even lose a few in a row. It won’t be Bud Norris and Co. waiting in October. It’s going to be pitchers that make Cueto’s ERA appear normal. Pitchers that thrive off of young guys with poor discipline. And is Ludwick really back to his STL form? Or are we just standing too close again?
Don’t we ever get tired of rolling dice around here? I think you make a move to improve this team, right now, while teams are looking to sell. Don’t get me wrong – I think this team is really good. I’ve said that the entire year, even during their brutal April schedule that a lot of fans couldn’t see beyond. One of the best in baseball. But built to square up with the game’s best in a 7 game series?
BTW: Anything I have just said about the offense is null and void if the Reds were to seriously make a play for another ace pitcher that is for sale. Greinke. Lirinao. Maybe Josh Johnson. I’ll take my chances in October with two #1s and beastly #2 and #3 with the 18th ranked offense in baseball.
Plus, you can never have enough pitching. Limiting those innings on the bullpen is incredibly important to moving forward beyond 162. See 2011 list of bullpens with the most innings pitched – scroll down until you find the first team that made the playoffs last year. Feel free to do the same for 2012 while you’re there. Taxed bullpens eventually go broke.
P.Doc – You with me? While we’re talking about all things stats and baseball, peep the list of teams with most Quality Starts. Anything jump out at ya? 7 of top 10 winning records – three first place teams. Outliers? Sure. No stats are free of those. I don’t load eggs in the QS basket, but I’ll fight the good fight that QS are a strong indicator of successful teams, which is why it’s OK to use those #s as anecdotal evidence when discussing the merits of a player. #justsayin’
Maybe We Were Wr…Wr… Re-examine Votto’s decision to prolong action on the knee – are we reassessing our initial assessment? Votto played through the tumultuous West Coast grind, the ASG, and a series of three with the birds. THEN, he decides to do the MRI/surgery thing, step back, heal, much to the discontent of every media figure and fan with access to the internet.
Joey Votto is a very calculating figure. He saw the schedule, he played the odds – so far, it’s working out, almost better than he might have imagined. He withdrew at a time he felt the team would be in the best position to win without his MVP-caliber services. Is it fair to say that maybe he was dead-on? Or are you not giving him or the Reds a pass on this?
A Star is Born? I give you, Starling Marte, #1 Prospect of the Pittsburgh Pirates, starting off his MLB Career in a big way.
Interested in reading more? Check out more at Paul Daugherty’s “Morning Line.”