Living in Boston for over a few years now, I’ve frequented boston.com a few times for various reasons. I’ve noticed in the past couple months a link to their radio station (RadioBDC) in the top-right corner of the homepage. I’ve almost always approved of the “Now Playing” song, but I never worked up the courage to click on the link. Whether it was being spared from the false apocalypse or just the turn of the new year, I finally tuned in a few weeks ago.
And boy, was I glad I did. My search for an American radio station has seemingly come to a close… for now. You see, music became a big part of my life almost ten years ago, and I was fortunate enough to live near Cincinnati, home of 97X… BAM! The Future of Rock n Roll (if that line sounds familiar, you need to watch Rainman again).
97X went off the airwaves during my senior year of high school, and they moved to an online only format. This allowed more freedom from the DJs. They got to play whatever song or artist they wanted, whenever they wanted. And they did. It was rare for any one DJ to play the same artist more than once during their shift. On the rare occasion they did, it was definitely never the same song. The following DJ would almost never play that song from the artist either that day, so I never heard the same song twice in a day. The amount of new music that poured into my ears was astounding. I remember a time where I requested a new song from one of my favorite bands, and the DJ denied the request, saying that she played the song the day before and wasn’t going to play it two days in a row. That was how dedicated their were to showcasing as much new and different music as possible.
Sadly, a few years ago, 97X (or WOXY.com as they kept their call letters for the online format) came to a definite end. I tried a few different stations, but nothing ever came close to filling the void that woxy left. Last.fm comes close in that they play me a great wide variety of artists, but they don’t have DJs to give little tidbits about the artists. Luisterpaal does a fantastic job of keeping me up to date on European music, but they tend to block a lot of the US albums they put up.
Enter RadioBDC. In the few short weeks I’ve been listening, I’ve already discovered some new bands that I doubt would have ever made it to my last.fm station or to luisterpaal. One of those bands is Churchill. And not only does RadioBDC tell me about these new bands, but they let me see them for free! I was fortunate enough to be selected to see Churchill during one of BDC’s Live in the Lab series on MLK Day. It was a nice, intimate setting for an acoustic set.
So thanks, RadioBDC! Between you and luisterpaal, I have all my bases covered again for all of the latest new music
So yeah, I was pretty bad at keeping up on this thing. There’s just not a lot that I can personally add about the Reds that isn’t already out there.
So… I figure in 2013, I’ll try to write more about the random events that I attend. Be it baseball games, curling tournaments, gaming conventions, music concerts, etc. I have a few things coming up this month, so we’ll see how that goes.
But for now, I shall leave you with my top 50 albums of 2012 spotify playlist
Hey… a monthly review on time!!
Reds were 17-11 in May, including a nice, 6-game winning streak. They only lost back-to-back games twice in the month and never lost 3 in a row.
Building off previous month’s stats:
When the Reds score 4 or more runs, they are 25-3. Can you say, “Good pitching!”?
When the Reds hit at least one HR, they are 21-5… saw an graphic during one of the recent games that stated this number is best in MLB this year (win%).
When the Reds record 10 or more hits in a game, they are 14-2, so there are a few interesting offensive thresholds going on. And yes, it’s not that big of a surprise that when a team scores a lot of runs and gets a lot of hits, they win more games. I’d like to see a comparison to the other teams in the league, but alas, I do not have that info readily available. Maybe next month?
Numbers comparing who starts has evened out a bit (no surprise considering the 17-11 month)… 19-11 when Hanigan starts (9-11 for Mesoraco). 16-11 when Ludwick starts (12-11 for Heisey in LF; 16-13 overall), so that comparison will probably get dropped next month. Only other interesting one is Reds are 14-7 when Frazier starts (1-0 in LF, rest at 3B).
Up to 28 different lineups (not counting batting order, players only) – only 2 have been used 5 times (the most). P/Hanigan/Votto/Phillips/Rolen/Cozart/Heisey/Stubbs/Bruce and P/Hanigan/Votto/Phillips/Frazier/Cozart/Ludwick/Stubbs/Bruce… both lineups are 3-2.
Other fun stuff… when Reds SPs go 6+ innings, Reds are 24-9. In contrast, when opposing starters go 6+ innings, Reds are 18-20. Similarly, when Reds SPs go 8+ innings, they are 4-0 (no surprise there). But when Opp SPs go 8+ innings, Reds have stolen 2 wins in 6 chances (2-4).
And last but certainly not least, magic number now stands at 111. Elimination number at 114 (1.5 games AHEAD of the 2nd place Cardinals).
Gah! So I’ve been terrible at keeping up with the blog so far this year
A few observations from the month of April for the Reds… they finished 11-11 for an even .500 record.
When the Reds scored 4 or more runs, they were 11-2.
When the Reds hit at least one homerun, they were 8-3.
When Reds starters go 6+ innings, they were 9-5.
When Hanigan starts behind the plate, Reds were 10-3 (1-8 when Mesoraco starts).
When Ludwick starts in LF, Reds were 9-5 (2-6 when Heisey starts).
Reds have used 15 different defensive lineups. The Opening Day lineup (P/Hanigan/Votto/Phillips/Rolen/Cozart/Ludwick/Stubbs/Bruce) is 3-1.
And just for fun: magic number is 144. Elimination number is 137 (3.5 GB of the Cardinals).
More fun numbers to come at the end of May.
Spring Training officially starts tomorrow!! So, here is my attempt to project what I think should happen with our beloved Cincinnati Reds this season.
The first trick will be to guess what the 25-man roster is going to look like. With so many free agent signings this offseason, this very will could be a crapshoot, but hey, that’s part of the fun, right?? With the added depth to the rotation and bullpen, I imagine that the Reds will carry 12 pitchers and 13 position players.
Starting Pitchers: Cueto, Latos, Arroyo, Leake, and Bailey (in that order)
Relievers: Madson (closer), Marshall, Masset, Bray, LeCure, Arredondo, and Ondrusek
Cueto showed last year that he is ready to be the ace of this staff. Latos may challenge him, which is good, but I’m pretty confident that we will see Cueto with the ball on Opening Day. Experience lands Arroyo at #3. Leake’s phenomenal 2nd half of the last season will give him the edge over Bailey, who will hold the #5 slot while Chapman makes yet another transition, this time back into the starter role. Should there be any injuries early in the year, I would expect to see Francais promoted over Chapman. I figure it will take Chapman a few months to be able to eat up any amount of innings per start, so maybe near the All-Star break will he be ready to come back up to the bigs.
No doubt that Madson is the closer. Marshall should be the full-time set up man, but I have an inkling that he will share the duties with Masset, depending on who the opposition is sending up to the plate in the 8th. LeCure will most likely be the long / extra inning man. Not many questions for this solid bullpen
Catchers are set. No reason to see why there will not be a Hanigan/Mesoraco platoon. The platoon has worked gloriously the past couple years, and I feel that it will continue to do so this year.
Outfield is pretty set too: Heisey/Ludwick platoon in left, Stubbs in center, and Bruce in right. Heisey can play the other two positions when those guys need a quick breather.
So far, that gives me Hanigan, Mesoraco, Heisey, Ludwick, Stubbs, and Bruce… 6 of my 13 position players with the infield still needing to be set. The starting infield is hardly a question: Votto at first, Phillips at second, Rolen at third, and Cozart at shortstop. 10 spots filled. So who fills the other three positions?? Between Cairo, Janish, Francisco, Frazier, and newcomers Willie Harris and Wilson Valdez?
I’m giving the first nod to Francisco. The guy has tremendous power and still continuing to develop as a hitter. His defense has gotten better, and I am 100% certain that Rolen cannot play everyday anymore. Injuries have haunted Rolen over the past couple years. Cortisone shots only last so long before they wear off. Francisco is our future at third base, so why not give him a good chunk of playing time there this year?
The second spot goes to Cairo. First off, there’s no way he’s playing in the minors with his experience and leadership. Second, he was arguably the best bench player for the Reds last season. And I see him embracing that role this season. He can spell Votto and Phillips when needed on the right side of the infield, he can play third if needed, and he will bring a valuable bat into the lineup late in the game (batted .379 as a pinch hitter last season).
The last position is the tricky one, but I see it going to Valdez. He can play shortstop to relieve some of the pressure on Cozart. His bat is a little stronger than Janish’s, which is why I give him the edge. Frazier’s bat needs more developing (not to mention that his primary position of third has two people blocking him), and Harris is more of an outfielder.
So, now that the roster is set, what should the lineup look like??
Against RHP: Stubbs, Phillips, Votto, Bruce, Heisey/Ludwick, Francisco, Hanigan/Mesoraco, Cozart, Pitcher
Against LHP: Stubbs, Phillips, Votto, Rolen, Bruce, Heisey/Ludwick, Hanigan/Mesoraco, Cozart, Pitcher
Yes, Stubbs is the leadoff for now. I feel he is much more valuable there with his speed, getting on base for the big bats in the lineup. If he can shorten his swing more, create more contact and cut down on power (and strikeouts), then he can be one of the best leadoff hitters in the game. Also, Francisco against righties… see my note about Rolen not being able to play everyday anymore. I do not like having the catcher in the 8 hole of the lineup. Too many times last year I saw a pitcher try to lay down a bunt, only to have the catcher thrown out at second since they lack speed. Having Cozart in the 8 hole will not only take pressure off him, but the pitchers as well when they try to move him over. Also, when the sacrifice is successful, any single should score Cozart from second… not so for the catchers.
So there you have it! Should be yet another exciting season of baseball. The Reds have a very good shot at reclaiming the division. I have the feeling that they will be neck and neck with the Cardinals going into the final two weeks of the season, with the Reds just pulling it out by 2 games
A few major moves; a few minor moves. I figure I’m not going to be a source for transactions, so I’m not going into a lot of detail tonight :p
Major: Reds sign free agents Ryan Madson and Ryan Ludwick.
Madson is absolutely huge for the Reds. Taking over for Francisco Cordero in the closer’s role… and for half of what the Reds paid Coco I like that Madson is coming over from being the closer for a team that won 102 games last year. His stuff is ridiculous, and it should make for an exciting season to watch.
No surprise on Ludwick. I went out on the biggest limb I could find in my last post (biggest, as in, safest :p) to predict that the Redlegs would sign Ludwick. I’m not expecting a resurgence from him, but I’m just hoping for consistent production. Guessing maybe a .250-.260 average, 15-20 home runs, and 60-70 RBIs out of the 5 or 6 slot.
Minor moves: Reds sign utility players Wilson Valdez and Willie Harris, catcher Dinoeer Navarro, and pitcher Jeff Francais. Valdez and Harris will provide some depth to the infield in case of injuries and maybe a spot start here and there. Same with Navarro in the catcher’s position. Francais will be intriguing considering he struggled last year. He will most likely start off at Louisville and stay there unless some injuries occur in the starting rotation.
That’s all for now… hopefully I’ll get some pre- Spring Training predictions in on what the lineup will be to start the year.
The Reds have made a few moves in the last few weeks to bolster the roster. The big one being, of course, trading for Mat Latos. I like the fact that Walt and Company are wheeling and dealing to get this young stud pitcher. But… I’m not so sure I like the price they gave up to get him. That price being Yonder Alonso, Edinson Volquez, Yasmani Grandal, and Brad Boxberger.
Alonso showed promise after being called up during the summer last season. He batted .330 in the 47 games last season, providing more left-handed pop in the lineup. The major problem with Alonso was the Reds have nowhere to put him in the defensive scheme of things. With Votto at first and the tandem of Rolen and Francisco at third, the thought was to try him in left field. The big issue there though was his very limited speed and range to track down balls. Playing Alonso in left field might work for a game or two, but it is not the long term fix.
Volquez completely tanked in 2011, and by acquiring a starting pitcher, it was pretty much guaranteed that Volquez would not be starting in the rotation in 2012. He just hasn’t shown the same commitment and determination since his Tommy John surgery. I wish him well, but I’m not sad to see him go.
Boxberger and Grandal are two of the top prospects in the Reds farm system. Neither had made an appearance in the big leagues as of yet, so we don’t know for sure how they will turn out. But my main concern with also trading these two guys is it feels like the Reds are going all in with Latos. The chance of landing another big trade (say, for an everyday left fielder) is very slim. If only 3 of these 4 were involved in the deal, then I would feel much better about it. But at the same time, I’m sure the Padres would not have made the deal had that been the case. It was a heavy price to pay, and time will only tell if it was worth it.
The other deal made was one that I really like, on paper anyway. And that is Cubs reliever Sean Marshall for Wood, Sappelt, and Class A infielder Ronald Torreyes. Wood took a major step back from his 2010 rookie campaign. Comparing 2010 to 2011, Wood’s ERA went from 3.51 to 4.84, and his WHIP went from 1.08 to 1.49. The innings were roughly the same between the two years as well. In return, Marshall has become one of the best lefty relievers in the National League, posting a 2.26 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP over 78 appearances in 2011. Sappelt showed some great speed in his stint with the Reds. But he also showed lack of discipline and consistency to be the everyday left fielder. Marshall strengthens an already strong bullpen while the Reds move a few pieces that I feel don’t fit in the long-term picture.
There figures to be a move or two left to go before Spring Training kicks underway. One of those is the option of resigning Cordero to the closer role for another season. And lastly, and more importantly in my opinion, is to find the everyday left fielder. I can’t see the Reds making another big trade to land a big name, so they will probably turn to free agency. Here’s a list of unsigned free agents:
Rick Ankiel, Pat Burrell, Johnny Damon, JD Drew, Kosuke Fukudome, Jonny Gomes, Scott Hairston, Willie Harris, Raul Ibanez, Conor Jackson, Andruw Jones, Ryan Ludwick, Magglio Ordonez, Juan Pierre, and Cody Ross.
I think the best fit for the Reds would be a righty seeing that they already have lefty hitters in Votto and Bruce (and Francisco). I would like to see them go after Ankiel (he’s a lefty, I know, but still fairly young compared to the rest of the list), Jackson, Ludwick, or Ross. It will be interesting to see what shakes out. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Reds sign Ludwick, seeing as how he played for Jocketty in St. Louis.
Gah, so I’m a few months late on the review, but I figured that with the new year comes new resolutions, including one to actually get this blog going. So here goes:
After winning the NL Central in 2010, one can easily say it’s a disappointment the Reds finished 4 games under .500 and in 3rd place in 2011. I’ll list my top 5 disappointments of the year as well as 5 high notes.
Without a doubt, Edinson Volquez was the biggest disappointment of the year. A 17-game winner in 2008 in his first season with the Reds, Volquez had the stuff to be the ace for years to come. Injuries set him back in ’09 and ’10, but expectations were high for 2011. Instead, Volquez posted his worst ERA (5.71) since 2006, not to mention a 13.05 ERA in the first inning, and the most HR-allowed (19) in his career. Out of his 20 starts, Volquez gave up 3 or more earned runs in 15 starts. He only made it out to the mound into the 7th inning in 4 starts. As an ace, this is unacceptable.
Drew Stubbs in the leadoff spot is my second biggest disappointment. Career highs in strikeouts (205) and strikeout% (34% of ABs resulting in a strikeout) helped slow down any chance of a consistent offense. Hopefully, Stubbs get straighten out his swing for the 2012 campaign and become a better contact hitter to utilize his speed. The Reds are a better team with Stubbs being productive in the leadoff role. Unless the Reds sign a true leadoff hitter, I expect Stubbs to have another go at getting and staying in the role.
The starting pitching staff (outside of Cueto). Touted as a deep staff to start the year, they didn’t back it up. Arroyo, Volquez, Leake, Bailey, Wood, Willis, and company made the bullpen overwork night-in and night-out. The starters had the 21st ranked ERA (4.47) and 16th most innings (968.2).
Clutch hitting. The Reds ranked 23rd in hitting with RISP w/ 2 outs (.214). Renteria, Heisey, Lewis, Stubbs, Hanigan, Frazier, Hernandez, and Gomes were all under .200 for the season.
Left field. Reds leftfielders ranked 26th in average (.227) and 22nd in OPS (.680). The platoon of Gomes, Heisey, and Lewis struggled all year. Alonso helped fill the offensive void, but he gave up as much on defense as he produced offensively.
No doubt, Johnny Cueto. With Volquez struggling, Cueto stepped it up to be the Reds ace. His performance down the stretch was remarkable. If not for a few minor injuries, Cueto could have won the ERA crown in the NL. Career bests in ERA (2.31), BAA (.220), and WHIP (1.09), Cueto has now established himself as the ace of the staff. Just hoping this is not a one-year fluke (a la Volquez in 2008). It will be interesting to see how he handles the expectations during the 2012 campaign.
Brandon Phillips had another stellar year at second base, winning his third Gold Glove and setting new career highs in average (.300), on base % (.322), and doubles (38). Phillips provided a surprising lift taking over the leadoff role from Stubbs, batting .350 and an OPS of .990. Phillips’ defense took away countless hits from opposing hitters as well, making at least one bedazzling play a night it seemed. Looking forward to another year of Phillips manning the middle infield.
The rookie class. When finally called up to the majors, Frazier, Mesoraco, Alonso, Cozart, and Sappelt provided quite the spark. Unfortunately, the spark was short-lived, but the experience they got in 2011 should carry over nicely to 2012.
The bullpen. Cordero, LeCure, Chapman, Massett, Ondrusek, Bray, and Arredondo were solid contributors all year long, posting the 11th best ERA (3.55) and 9th best BAA (.234). Big parts of that were Cordero, Bray, LeCure, and Chapman. Each of those 4 were under .202 BAA. Take out Chapman and his wildness with walks, and the rest of those 3 posted a WHIP under 1.08. If the Reds don’t resign Coco to be the closer for 2012, I still would like to see LeCure in the conversation. He had countless appearances where he came into the game in tight jams and worked out of them flawlessly.
Chris Heisey, the super sub. For whatever reason, when given a chance to play regularly, he struggles. As the left fielder, Heisey batted .201 in 154 ABs. But… filling in for Stubbs as the center fielder, Heisey batted .322 in 59 ABs. And as a pinch hitter, he goes .324 in 34 ABs. This is the only thing that scares me about him being the regular left fielder.
So there you have it, the lows and highs of 2011. Only two more months until Spring Training, and three more months until Opening Day against the Marlins. It can’t get here soon enough
Sources for stats:
Reds officially eliminated from the playoffs last night
I’ll try to post a recap of the season in the beginning of October.
Just holding the blog name for now. I plan on writing more during the 2012 MLB season, specifically about the Reds. Also will have random musing on my other interests – music and running. Looking forward to writing more often and about a topic that provides enough substance on a daily basis. Might have some posts from time to time, but will probably save them for 2012!