Saturday, July 17, 2010

Rock Solid Recrap: The Reds Are Definitely Contenders

That much is not up for debate.

What could be up for debate is whether or not Cincinnati is the best team in the National League right now. Assuming they're adding a healthy and effective Edinson Volquez to the mix... then I don't know who I'd put ahead of them.

They have offense, defense, pitching in the rotation and in the bullpen.


Another thing up for debate is what exactly are the Rockies?

Can we base our answer on one homestand that featured several heart-stopping victories?

Or should we base our answer on the other 80 games where sloppy defense, inconsistent offense, amateurish baserunning and poor managing stuck out like sore thumbs?

Discuss amongst yourselves on that. I think I know which way I'm leaning until I finally see something resembling sustained solid baseball without the aid of incredible late inning heroics.

The sooner than happens the better. They'll never survive this roadtrip playing the baseball we've seen the first two nights in Cincinnati.  No chance at all.

Reds a lot, Rockies not much

It would easy (and lazy) to put all the blame on Jorge De La Rosa tonight.

Yes, he obviously isn't right out there. That was pretty apparent in the first inning when every pitch was doing the same thing and ending in the same place. Became a lot more obvious once the Reds figured it out and made him elevate his flat ptiches.

Sadly, as obvious as it was to us and the Reds, Jim Tracy either didn't notice or didn't care enough to pull him while the game was within reach. Those three extra batters he squeezed out of Jorge after Drew Stubbs' second HR, resulted in three more runs.

Game over.

You kept Jhoulys Chacin in your bullpen for a reason, Jim. USE HIM. He's not that far removed from the rotation. Getting 4-5 innings out of him wouldn't be that much of a stretch.

De La Rosa wasn't a pitcher having a rare bad outing tonight. He's a guy two starts removed from the DL that has been pretty dreadful in each start, in addition to the last AAA start right before that. It really makes no sense leaving him out there to die.

What's wrong with DLR? I'm guessing either lingering discomfort in the ligament or a lack of trust in the ligament. If you don't feel like you can grip the ball without doing damage, you're cooked out there. De La Rosa looks completely cooked.

If that problem can't be corrected, or if he's still hurt, fine, you have to move on again and put Chacin back in the rotation. But you're also back to putting a lot of pressure on Jeff Francis and Aaron Cook. Can they step up? That's the problem.

In other news tonight. The offense started out promising but couldn't mount a meaningful threat after the first inning.

Nine strikeouts for Volquez in six innings of his return. He's good. He's probably going to get better, but still. An ugly showing from 1-8 in the order.


It won't get any easier at all. This Travis Wood kid we'll see for CIncinnati? Heard the name? He's the one who, in his third ML start, took a perfect game into the 9th ininng AT Philadelphia. This will be ML start #4.

I suppose he won't do any better than the last one, but I'm guessing offense will tough to find again. Good luck to Aaron Cook.

Lineup Card: Rockies @ Reds

Let's hope the Rockies got all the sleepiness out of their eyes and are ready to go from pitch 1 tonight.

Rockies Lineup (49-40)
  • CF  Fowler
  • 2B  Herrera
  • RF  Gonzalez
  • 1B  Hawpe
  • LF  Smith
  • C    Olivo
  • 3B  Stewart
  • SS  Barmes
  • P    De La Rosa
And so officially begins the Brad Hawpe experiment at 1B.  Remember folks, he started out as a 1B in the minors before changing positions due to Todd Helton's lockdown on the position.

Don't expect Gold Glove caliber work out there from Brad, but do at least hope he's about 5 notches ahead of Mora and Giambi and maybe 2 notches above Elded.

De La Rosa with start #2 off the DL.  I expect much better things tonight.  

Reds Lineup (50-41)
  • 2B  Phillips
  • SS  Cabrera
  • 1B  Votto
  • LF  Gomes
  • 3B  Cairo
  • RF  Bruce
  • CF  Stubbs
  • C    Hanigan
  • P    Volquez
This is a big night for the Reds and their fans.  The return of Edinson Volquez.  Volqurez was on the fast track to superstardom when he tore a ligament in his pitching elbow in early 2009.  14 or so months later, Volquez is back and he's back right in the thick of a pennant race.  

I don't know how effective he'll be -- he's made 5-6 rehab starts -- but I know he'll be motivated.