Monthly Archives: April 2010

April 30, 2010

Does LaRussa Realize…?

That without Mark McGwire, and then Albert Pujols, no one would think he was all that? Dave Duncan is the real managing might on this team. I’d like to see what he could do with the Reds pitching staff.

April 30, 2010

The Daily Brief: Heading to St. Louis with Confidence

Last Game
The Reds finished their sweep of the Astros, winning the final game 4-2. Bronson Arroyo got the win, Roy Oswalt got the loss, and the Reds are back at .500. No word on how long Dusty Baker will wait before reportedly asking again for an extension.

Next Game
Johnny Cueto takes on Brad Penny, the latest in a long line of miracles performed by Dave “Pitcher-Whisperer” Duncan, when the Reds play the St. Louis Cardinals tonight at 8:15pm EDT.

Dickerson Sprained Right Wrist Playing Baseball
Chris Dickerson has had a bum right wrist for a little while, and he injured it even more during a swing yesterday. I’d expect him to be sent to the DL and someone from Louisville called up. John Fay says outfielder Chris Heisey is a likely option, “He started slowly, but he’s hitting .295 over his last 10 games.”

What to Say to Sound Smart at the Water Cooler
Mike Leake is a candidate for National League Rookie of the Month, which is apparently an award, after going 2-0 with a 3.25 ERA in 4 starts.

April 30, 2010

Reds 4, Astros 2: Sweep! The Good Way this Time!

Reds (11-11)0000102104100
Astros (8-13)000000200270
W: Arroyo (1-2) L: Oswalt (2-3) S: Cordero (8)


The Cincinnati Reds finished their sweep of the Astros last night, behind a solid effort from Bronson Arroyo.

Arroyo pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing 2 runs, both earned. He picked up his first win of the year, joining fellow starters Mike Leake and Aaron Harang with victories. At this rate, the entire starting rotation will have victories in a week’s time!

The scoring came from home runs from Joey Votto and Jay Bruce. Bruce has been on a nice little tear lately, and Joey Votto is Joey Votto. Vottomatic, I believe, is the term we’re looking for.

This win gets the Reds to .500. Plus, it marks the second time in history that the Reds have tagged Roy Oswalt with a loss. The only other Reds pitcher to do that? How could you forget the Pickle, Brandon Claussen?

The team is 3-0 since manager Dusty Baker reorganized the lineup into a form much closer to the ideal. It’s probably not just the lineup changes, though, as much as I may want moving shortstop Orlando Cabrera out of the 2-hole to be the sole reason for their success. No, this streak coincided with finally getting good starting pitching and playing the terrible, terrible Houston Astros.

Still, this should give the team confidence as they head to Missouri to face the St. Louis Cardinals. A sweep of them, and the Reds would not only be over .500, but 1 game behind the Cardinals in the standings!

April 29, 2010

Manager Job Description: Part 3 of 5

I love how just talking about the qualities I’d look for in Dusty Bakers’ hypothetical replacement has coincided so nicely with the Reds actually showing up. No doubt improving the line-up so that Orlando Cabrera isn’t seeing most of the ABs and Brandon Phillips can actually get an opportunity to steal now and then has had a positive effect (psychological, if nothing else…my personal psychology in particular), but that can’t explain the pitching suddenly getting better or the concentration problems that were plaguing the team there for a while.

Image via logicalscience.files.wordpress.comIt’s almost like the team actually did something to improve their conditioning, which segues nicely into my third quality of a successful manager.

These requirements are generic and are not intended to endorse or condemn any particular candidate. Any resemblance to the opposite of any past idiotic comments by a particular manager is purely coincidental.

Requirement #3: Having a Conditioning Plan
Even professionals who have put in the Malcolm Gladwell 10,000 hours at their craft have to keep their skills–on an off the field–sharp. But when you are that professional and are so close to the situation, it can be easy to lose perspective on what needs work. That why I think that a good manager has to recognize his role as the objective set of eyes to see when Johnny Cueto needs to put in a little PFP.

And frankly, it doesn’t all have to be all work all the time. Speaking from my own experience, I know I’m not made particularly better at my job after working an 80 hour week, and I imagine that an extra three hours of training every day wouldn’t really improve the team either. What I’m saying is whether it’s baserunning practice or a ropes course to get them gellin’, it’s got to be the manager’s responsibility to bring a plan of specific actions to keep the team well-honed.

Interview questions to ask to check for Having a Conditioning Plan:

Question: It’s the end of June and the team is dragging. What would you do to get them going again?

Good answer: We might take an off-day trip to King’s Island and have everyone report to the park two hours early the next day to do some light fundamentals.

Another good answer: My guys never drag because I keep the conditioning constantly fresh and we’re always working on new skills.

Bad answer: If the guys aren’t doing something about it on their own, I don’t know what I could do.

Next time, we’ll look at the importance of the manager’s philosophy being compatible with the GM’s philosophy. No one wants the clashes between a pre-Socratic and a Neoplatonic dragging down the team.

April 28, 2010

Take the Bronson Arroyo Tour

According to, when Bronson Arroyo is not busy perfecting his sweet grunge guitar licks, he’s hanging out at the Lodge Bar or the Waffle House (“When my boys come to visit me, we get up on four hours of sleep and I force them to go to Waffle House,” he says. Presumably this happens around 11:30 a.m.)

Check out his recommendations for yourself here:

And definitely let me know if you run into him at Shanghai Mama’s.