The Reds lost just two games between last week’s round-up and this, which makes for an easy summation of all things Reds. Following more weeks of offensive scrutiny and trade suggestions ranging from elaborate Giancarlo Stanton packages to trading Jay Bruce to save cash, we can finally abandon the fire sale module, for this week at least, and talk about what has the Reds just two games back from the Cardinals and leading the National League in runs scored.
Jay Bruce isn’t making a run at the 2013 MVP, but he is starting to do a little more damage at the plate. Sure he’s leading the National League in strike outs, but he has raised his batting average to .258 after a week that included seven hits, two home runs and three doubles. And yes, six strike outs; however, if the productivity continues, this probably becomes less of a topic. Adam Dunn does have fewer strikeouts, to this point – he’s also batting .137. The only reason for one to curb their enthusiasm is because Bruce has made a career of hammering the Brewers. Career .290 hitter against them and his 22 home runs are the most he’s amassed against any other team in baseball.
The absence of a left field bat has been the reason for some questionable fan general management fodder (QFGMF). This of course extends to 700 WLW’s Ken Broo ,@KenBroo, who in one show on Saturday suggested the Reds need to a) sign Choo by whatever means necessary (more on that later) and b) make the first big trade of the 2013 season by acquiring a left field bat. While Ken Broo only mimics the same things being said by fans across the region, you would think a professional sports talk radio host was aware that Monopoly money is only valid when playing Monopoly. He maintains that this offense needs an additional bat, despite the $15 million clean-up man who is due to come back by the All Star Break. And while it’s somewhat responsible to be skeptical of the elder Ludwick whose violent swing may be affected by this recent shoulder surgery, it’s pretty egregious to honestly suggest making an expensive play before finding out.
Broo opened the phones lines, where he entertained callers looking to shop Cueto (injury-prone) and Bruce (too inconsistent, too much money), which would afford the Reds to sign Choo and make a play for a LF bat. And while I totally disagree with trading a 26 year-old with potential that can only be described with something cliche like epic, I won’t even entertain the idea of trading the Reds’ Cy Young candidate.
Ken Broo is a special dude. But if he accomplished nothing else on Saturday other than stirring you wonderful people up, he did raise a good point – the brain-trust inside GABP does need to figure out a way to keep its dynamic lead-off hitter in Rojos red. What he is doing is not expendable, even if Brad Pitt were the general manager.
The Reds once again are the National League’s #1 run scoring team. But until further notice, it’s a misleading feat. The Reds, on the road, are actually one of the worst offensive teams in baseball. The team’s nine home runs on the road is the fewest of any other team. To be fair, the Reds have only played 16 road games, most against the harder teams in baseball. But until they demonstrate their ability to pour on runs away from GABP, that situation should be monitored, if not misinterpreted and debated endlessly. To put things in perspective, the Cardinals have 105 road runs to the Reds’ 60.
Donald Lutz is quickly becoming the fan-favorite in left field. With just 19 ABs, Lutz is hitting .316 with a home run (his first ever in the bigs) and six RBIs. He’s only struck out twice, which is a refreshing change of pace for Reds hitters. The sample size is too minute to even discuss at length, but a consistent slugger in left field is going to help the Reds on this nine game road trip against three sub-.500 clubs.