The Reds are 5-11 this spring and currently 8.5 back of the red-hot Royals. They were 2-11 before their recent three game winning streak. No one is hurt, but the race for the coveted Cactus League championship begins to fade like a west side haircut. The city of Cincinnati sweats, in between yawns.
I’ve brought you up to speed on the hometown squad. Here are a few bullet points of other things happening in the Central:
- Cubs’ Opening Day Starter Jeff Semardzija had a solid outing yesterday, averaging a fastball speed between 93-96 mph. He stumbled in one particular inning when he walked the pitcher and immediately gave up a home run to the next hitter. He’s 3-1 this spring with an ERA of 5.59. Spring Training isn’t a revealing time, but with Semardzija’s first Opening Day start looming, the Cubs are probably wanting to see improvement. Garza won’t be back until May.
- Brandon Phillips isn’t having the best World Baseball Classic – he’s 4 of 18 at the plate and hitting .222. Ryan Braun is hitting .353 and leading the team in strikeouts with six. If it wasn’t for the 10 RBIs of David Wright (who also has USA’s lone homerun), Team USA would probably be watching from home.
- According to a recent article in the St. Louis Dispatch, Jon Jay is going to once again assume the lead-off role for the Cardinals. And why not? His OBP last year was .373 and .359 for his career. His .384 average was the best home batting average by any player in baseball in 2012. The NL Central’s best offense is going to have a professional table-setter.
- Shin-Soo Choo is a human torch right now. He’s hitting .421 with an OBP of .476. This was what we hoped for. If it carries into the season, as expected, this Reds offense that finished 21st in runs scored last year is a safe bet to finish in the top ten. An obscure but revealing stat (Runners In Front of Votto (RIFoV)) should be enhanced exponentially.
- Alex Gonzalez – remember him? He’s playing first base for the Brewers now.
- In case you missed it, the Cardinals’ Matt Carpenter is transitioning to second base. He played first and outfield last season.
- Need a Billy Hamilton update? 2/20 hitting .111, eight strikeouts, two walks. In 50 games with Pensacola at AA, he finished with a .286 batting average – it’s evident that he has some ways to go before making the show.
That’s all I’ve got for now; thanks for checking in. We’re getting closer.