Weekend Wrap

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Always nice to win a series. Always nice to win a series against a divisional opponent. Always nice to win!

After a rain delay or two, the good guys pulled off a series win in Pittsburgh. In both wins, they managed to put it together against one of the NL’s better closers in Joel Hanarahan. Not a bad way to leave the Steel City, is it? After an off day for travel, the Reds will visit Florida for a trio of games against the Marlins.

For that series, the Reds will send Johnny Cueto in game 1, Bronson Arroyo in the second, and Homer Bailey in the Thursday finale. More on that tomorrow.

Here’s a couple of things from the weekend…

BP to the Rescue?

So during the Nationals series, Brandon Phillips appraoched Reds skipper Dusty Baker about moving to the leadoff spot. Baker granted his wishes. I wasn’t too keen on the idea. I know it was said that BP jump started the team when he was placed in that spot last season. In looking at his numbers from 2010, it was an arguable point. Phillips had a slash line that hardly resembled a leadoff hitter: .251/.302/.394. The SLG didn’t bother me as much since you’re not really looking for a guy to hit homers, but the BA and OBP did.

As Kerry would say, the past 5 games where BP has been inserted at the top spot in the lineup is a small sample. It is, and we know it can all go to hell in a hand basket during the Marlins series. That’s one of the downfalls of small samples. Still, looking at these numbers do give you a bit of optimism (We need some!): .500/.577/.681. In these 5 games, the Reds have a record of 3-2.

That may not give fans the joy they were hoping for this season, but it could be a building block for next season provided a couple of other issues get settled.

D-Train and Lack of Wins

You have to feel for Dontrelle Willis. I know we read his tweets and love the positive look he projects, but this has to be getting to him…at least a little. But what I love is that Willis is looking at the big picture, wins. Sometimes, we concentrate just a tad too much on a pitcher’s record. While Willis sports a record of 0-3, the Reds are 2-6 in games he appears. Thing is, the bats have done little to help him. Willis only receives 2.78 runs of support in his starts.

You can’t attribute his lack of wins solely to his pitching, right? Pretty much. Only once has Willis exited a game with the Reds trailing by more than two runs. He has left a game with a lead twice and tied twice. There’s half his starts right there. He keeps them in games and not getting any luck in return. To futher this point, in the eight games where Willis has started, the Reds have been outscored 32-23.

Let’s talk big picture here. Where will Willis be in 2012? Considering the issues the Reds have faced with the starting pitching this season, you may hope for a return of the D-Train. He will make a bit more coin next season than he has this year. He has shown he can still deal.

A Message for (and from) the Masses

So I tweeted a question/statement for Reds fans to voice their opinion on Saturday and Sunday. My statement was this: The most frustrating aspect of the Reds 2011 season is…

All the answers could be deemed as “acceptable”…and possibly, some will find all correct! Here were the responses I got.

– Starting pitching
– Bullpen management
– Dusty Baker
– Poor record in close games
– Inability to put it all together for any run

This is fascinating to me for a couple of reasons.

First, think about the five you see. They are all intertwined. You can look off one and see how it’s related to another. You could say the starting pitching caused the Reds to have a poor record in close games. You can say Dusty and his management of the pen are a cause. You could say that no extended run was caused by all of the others!

The second reason is that no one mentioned any specific offensive issues. The closest that could be perceived as remotely pointing a finger at the offense was the Reds cannot put it together for a run. Many of us have harped on the lack of production from the left field (and that revolving door out there) and shortstop positions, yet, not a word. Dusty has used a myriad of guys in left (Johnny Gomes, Jeremy Hermida, Chris Heisey, Fred Lewis, Yonder Alonso, Todd Frazier, and Dave Sappelt).

The shortstop position may be viewed as an issue that is solved with the July promotion of Zack Cozart. We hope that is the case, and as I have mentioned before, I think the Reds may willing to let him be the #1 guy for the job come next spring. We may no longer have to scream about Edgar Renteria batting second (let alone be put in the starting lineup) or Paul Janish and his lack of hitting.

Now that I think about it, maybe with his bat and athleticism, Dontrelle is the best candidate to play left.

Corny, I know.