April 14, 2006

Blog Buzz

They decided to close the office at 1 pm today, but I don't have a ride home until 3 pm, so for the first time ever, I'm openly blogging at work. It could be worse: even if I were at home right now, I'd still be in front of the computer.

Cubs' Stuff
Joe at The View from the Bleachers wants his team to stop giving hits to opposing pitchers. Apparently the Cubbies weren't prepared for the offensive might that is Eric Milton. Last season, that was one of them few good things you could say about him.

Death at GROTA think I live in an alternate universe if I think there are ten reasons the Cubs will lose to the Reds. Welcome to my world, Death!

The Onion has hope for the Cubs.

Reds' Stuff
Jacci at We Heart the Reds doesn't like the beard. I think it's kind of rugged myself. Heck, whatever keeps him pitching like that keeps me happy.

J.P. at Reds & Blues wraps the game. Oddly, he's less inclined to talk about things like facial hair.

Shawn at Cincinnati Reds Blog notes that winning series is a good way to have a good season. You realize that we're three series in, and not only have the Reds won two of them, they've failed to lose a single one.

JD of Red Reporter wonders whether it's a problem that Coffey's our only hard-throwing reliever. I dunno. I haven't seen any trouble with the bullpen so far.

Redleg Nation doesn't wrap games, but they've got some other stuff. A draft tracker, a big board, and a salary chart. Nifty, if you're into that sort of thing.

Marc has the scoop on Griffey's injury. What the heck is a stim?

JinAZ didn't like the decision to bench Encarnación after his three-error game. What the heck ought to earn you a spot on the bench then?

Cards' Stuff
Daedalus talks some trash about the Cards. You go girl!

lboros of Viva El Birdos discusses many things including how opposing teams aren't letting Pujols hit (and it seems to be working) and how Isringhausen is having the worst stretch of his career as a Cardinals (you think?) And all this without the benefit of a Shift key!

birdbrain at redbirdbrain has completely changed her site. When the heck did that happen? I've been spending too much time on Cubs blogs…

Scott at CardNilly compares Busch Stadium to new shoes. So this is how Cardinals fans deal with losing. I feel honored to have seen it.

And last but not least, our beloved BellyScratcher, whom I'll be meeting in person this very evening, calls for captions. How about “Make RHM stop with the Smack Talk!”

13 comments to “Blog Buzz”

  1. joeberk says:

    [quote]I haven’t seen any trouble with the bullpen so far.[/quote]

    You haven’t seen Chris Hammond, he of the 72.00 ERA, have you? He’s like Wil Ohman and Glendon Rusch combined.

  2. DPardue says:

    A stim is short for electrical muscle stimulation. It is a unit used to minimize pain, minimize swelling, and even re-educate a muscle on how to properly contract again.

    By the way, both Hatteberg and Aurilia are hitting sub .210 right now. How about playing Valentin, the swith hitter, at first base? Valentin was very impressive last year, yet Aurilia has more ABs.

    Narron seems to want to keep Womack and Aurilia happy by giving them playing time, although Aurilia may not deserve it (.226 OBP), and Freel certainly deserves that playing time over Womack right now. Why then is Valentin not being used more? He has only 20 ABs in nine games. Once LaRue returns, that ratio will drop even further. If the Reds aren’t going to utilize this guy, trade him for a reliever and let’s eighty-six Chris Hammond.

    By the way, EE’s fielding percentage is at a stunning .762.

  3. Red Hot Mama says:

    joeberk: Wil Ohman should go back to being a salesman.

    DPardue: Thanks for the info. And you know I’d like to see more of Javy on the field. The trouble with him at first is that he’s an awfully short target for Encarnacion to throw at, but I guess the kid’s gotta learn sometime.

  4. JinAZ says:

    [quote]JinAZ didn’t like the decision to bench EncarnaciĆ³n after his three-error game. What the heck ought to earn you a spot on the bench then?[/quote]

    Ahh, trolling at its best. :) I’ll bite.

    When a kid has as bad a game as he had, I’m a firm believer that the best thing for him is to get back out there and make that game a memory. Encarnacion is our starting third baseman, and should be for many years to come. As I said in my profile on him, he could very well be a right-handed Eric Chavez, and I don’t think that’s the kind of guy you should screw around with. Making him sit on the bench and stewing over his mistakes for a day doesn’t seem to me to be the best way to develop the kid.

    But as long as he’s out there tonight, I’m not going to worry about it. I’m frankly quite pleased with his performance this season. The errors are annoying, but I’ve also seen him make a number of outstanding plays. Errors, along with strikeouts, have to be the among most overrated negatives in baseball…while poor range is blissfully ignored. The big thing to me is that EdE’s really handing major league pitching this year, which was what I’m most interested in seeing from him this year. The defense will come–he already has good range, he works hard at it, and is a great athlete. -jinaz

  5. DPardue says:

    Let’s just remember that Narron’s loyalty is to develop the team more than develop a player. Encarnacion is a professional. I don’t have a problem if he misses on a wicked breaking ball, but the act of catching a ball hit directly to him is a task that should be accomplished at a higher rate than 76%.

    Maybe EE (or would EEE be more a appropriate abbreviation?) needs to understand that although he is the starting third baseman, that is a privilege and not a right. I also believe Dunn and his sub .900 FPCT should have been benched for a game too. Clearly there are defensive problems with this team. Sit a player a game or two and I think it would help to refocus these guys on their defense. It may also reinforce to other players that defense is not just an afterthought and that playing time may be reduced a bit if errors become more frequent. I don’t think you reward continued negative play.

    Narron did the right thing.

  6. Geki says:

    Sitting a player isn’t going to make them better on defense. You can say that you don’t reward negative play, but do you make a pitcher skip a start because of a bad outing, or not use a very good closer just because he gives up a walkoff homer? Encarnacion simply hasn’t developed defensive consistency, and Dunn’s just being misused out in left. I don’t buy sitting them simply because they aren’t good defensively, considering the alternatives.

  7. JinAZ says:

    I agree entirely with Geki. I’ll also add that, given that a good season for this Reds team would be to have a 0.500 season this year, it actually is a major part of Narron’s job to develop his young talent. That way, with another move or two for additional pitching this season and next season, we might be able to make a legitimate run come ’07.

    I have to say that Narron did do a good job of diffusing the situation in the press. He certainly emphasized that high error rates are unacceptable (and I won’t argue with that), but he also provided some mild excuses for EdE’s performance with comparisons to Scott Rolen’s difficulties earlier that week. It’s absolutely true that Eddie’s something of a project defensively. Good range, but needs to keep working on his footwork and such to improve his consistency. Only way to do that is to keep running him out there and to keep working with him on the side to correct his mistakes as they happen. As I said in my profile, I really do think he can become a gold glove contender a few years from now. He’s got all the ability in the world; just needs to keep honing his technique. -j

  8. Geki says:

    I’m also on the Edwin for Gold Glove in the future bandwagon. His arm is one of the strongest I’ve ever seen at third and he’s got good range, especially when he’s coming in on the ball. Felipe has progressed a lot with his defensive ability, especially on the routine plays, and I think Edwin will do the same as he continues to play.

  9. DPardue says:

    Another E today for Encarnacion. He is on pace to accumulate over 100 errors. That makes six errors in ten games played. B.J. Upton is a big time prospect for the Devil Rays and yet in spite of his impressive multi category statistics, the Rays refuse to bring him up from AAA because he couldn’t catch a cold. I am not saying that Encarnacion should be sent down to Louisville, but there is no way to justify him starting six games a week if he cannot cut it defensively. If he were hitting .400 right now the risk-benefit issue swings in his favor, but right now he has one HR and is hitting .242. If Edwin hits the ball like he did in the first three weeks of spring training, I will all but shut up about his defensive woes.

    I hope Narron isn’t as patient with his defense as you all are or he will cost the Reds five or six wins this year.

    Geki, sitting a player may not necessarily make him a better defensive player, but that is not the issue. Besides, considering that Encarnacion is starting almost everyday at third, I am not sure how much him playing is benefiting his defense either for that matter. The issue, however, is whether or not the Reds are a better team if a more capable defensive player starts over him two or three times a week. Again, think in terms of what is good for the team here and not what is good for the individual player. Sometimes a manager’s loyalty to a player costs the entire team.

  10. Joel says:

    In 1987 at the age of 23, Barry Larkin made 19 errors in 119 games. In 1988, at the age of 24, Larkin made 29 errors in 148 games. In 1987, Larkin put up a .244/.306/.377 batting line. In 1988, he improved considerably to .296/.347/.429.

    I’m not saying that EdE is Larkin, but Larkin is an example of a player with raw defensive skills who had shown all he had to show hitting-wise at Triple-A. I think EdE is in a similar position and sending him to Triple-A won’t prove anything. Perhaps he shouldn’t start EVERY day, but he needs to be given time to get comfortable in the Majors. He’s proven that he has the talent and now I think the Reds have to do whatever they can to help him develop it at the Major League level at this point.

  11. Red Hot Mama says:

    I haven’t heard anyone mention the possibility that Encarnación needed a day off. Maybe all those errors were from the mental and/or physical fatigue of playing so much at the major league level. No one seems to have a problem accepting that Freel needs frequent time off; the same could be true for little Eddie.

    And there isn’t anything wrong with making a kid sit after he has a crappy game. I don’t want Eddie’s confidence to be shot, but I cannot agree that he should immediately forget his mistakes, either. He’s not perfect already. He still needs to learn and improve.

    A day on the bench to watch someone else and think about applying lessons learned is something we could all use once in a while, especially when things all start going wrong.

  12. Geki says:

    FREEL NEEDS NO TIME OFF.

  13. Red Hot Mama says:

    Eek!

    In my imagination, your head got really big, anime-style as you yelled that. There’s now an enormous cartoon water drop gliding down the side of my head.