Thursday, August 2, 2007

Random Thoughts

**Nice to FINALLY see the Reds call up Mark Bellhorn from AAA. I've long wanted to see what Bellhorn could do in GABP, as he has the right type of swing to benefit from the park. The Reds have been wasting a roster spot on Juan Castro, who provides nothing more than solid (at best) defense, all season long. Given the state of the Reds, wasting playing time on someone like Castro is a mistake we can't afford to make. Bellhorn or Keppinger should have been given that roster spot long ago. That simple change could conceivably have earned the Reds another victory or two.

**The Reds have dumped the last four games in a row, so it looks like the Dead Cat Bounce or the uptick in performance gained from a change in manager is over. If you want to seriously consider Mackanin for the manager slot, NOW is the time to start evaluating him. The honeymoon is over, so it's time for Pete to work his magic.

**The Reds face 4 lefthanded starters this week (M.Chico, J.Lanan, M.Bascik, T.Gorzelanny). Given their struggles against southpaws, perhaps this losing streak shouldn't be a surprise. Perhaps the Reds can benefit from the incompetence of the Pirates, as they were scheduled to face a 5th lefty before the Bucs drastically overpaid to bring in righthander Matt Morris.

**It's finally time to see what we have in Phil Dumatrait. Personally, I'm rather skeptical. Dumi seems to walk too many and strikeout too few, but maybe he can be a serviceable, inexpensive back of the rotation starter. Whether he is a solid option or not, it's long past time the Reds brought him up so we can see if he should be included in the future plans.

**Cleveland reliever Fernando Cabrera was Designated For Assignment yesterday. It's unfortunate that it happened after the trade deadline, as it would've been great for the Reds to acquire him. He's got a live arm and tremendous velocity. If he can harness his stuff, maybe he'd be the setup man the Reds so desperately need. Unfortunately, now he has to clear waivers before he can be dealt, so the Reds are behind all the AL teams and couple of NL teams in the pecking order. Hopefully, he'll slide all the way through to the Reds, but that seems like a longshot.

**Two of my favorite players had huge days on Wednesday, as Jayson Werth went 3-6 with 4 RBI and a SB and Morgan Ensberg clubbed 2 homers in Petco Park. I must admit, it puts a smile on my face to see these two do well, even if it is too small of a sample size to be indicative of anything. I've long wanted to see each in Cincy, but I still enjoy their successes with other organizations.

**The Padres did very well at the trade deadline, as they added several undervalued players, rather than pay the exhorbitant cost for the big ticket items. Milton Bradley and Morgan Ensberg have paid immediate and substantial dividends for the Pads. Given how close the NL West race is, these moves could be enough to put the Pads over the top.

**Jay Bruce continues to pound the ball, regardless of the caliber of the competition. As a 20 year old at AAA, Bruce is now hitting .305/.374/.610/.983 with 6 homers and an 18/8 K/BB ratio. At this point, he is pushing for a chance at a starting job in the 2008 Reds outfield. I can still hear the sound of the triple he hit in the Futures Game at PacBell park thundering in my ear. It sounded like a rifle shot coming off the bat. Bruce is looking like the best prospect the Reds have produced in quite some time.

**It's rather sad to read that Adam Dunn's family can't listen to the Reds games that are being broadcast by the Brennamans. Both Marty and Thom are so hard on him that his family can't stand to listen to it. Someone should tell Marty and Thom that it is one thing to be objective, but it is an entirely different thing to be hyper-critical and negative. I don't think many would accuse Vin Scully, Jon Miller, or any of the other great broadcasters of being homers, but I also doubt those great broadcasters drive the families of players away from the telecast with their never-ending negativity. There's a fine line between "telling it like it is" and being an obnoxious loudmouth, sadly, far too many people (including, evidently, the Brennamans) mistake the latter for the former. Someone should remind them that it is possible to be objective without being negative and meanspirited.

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