Tuesday, July 5, 2011
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, sweating like a roofer working at high noon in August in Houston, but still wishing I could have a hot sausage linguine lunch at Charlie Gitto’s in downtown St. Louis.
It is time, probably past time, for some sweeping changes involving the fast-fading Cincinnati Reds. The light bulb in my dense head suddenly flashed on as I watched the St. Louis Cardinals destroy the moribund Reds, 8-1.
Admittedly, I’ve been one to support the Reds’ slowness to make changes.
But after Cincinnati’s second straight loss on this trip to St. Louis, dropping them four games out of first place, some tweaks and twists are needed.
ONE: No more Drew Stubbs, please. Don’t bat him leadoff, don’t bat him sixth, seventh or eighth. Just don’t bat him at all. Don’t play him. He is on his way to setting an all-time strikeout record in the majors and he needs some time away from the majors to try to find out how to consistently put the bat on the ball.
With the Reds down, 2-1, in the third, there was a runner on second with two outs. Stubbs struck out. Again.
The Reds were down seven runs in the seventh and Stubbs came to bat with two on and two out. And he took a called strike three. Again, again, again, ad nauseum.
RESOLUTION: When a left-hander pitches, play Chris Heisey in center and bat him leadoff and keep Jonny Gomes in left (for now). When a right-hander pitches, play Freddie Lewis in left and bat him leadoff and play Heisey in center.
TWO: Enough of Edinson Volquez, who teases and teases and teases, but always finds a way to foul it up. On Tuesday, he gave up back-to-back home runs in the first inning to Matt Holliday to fall behind, 2-0. The Reds scored a run to pull within one, but in the fifth he gave up another home run to Holliday, a three-run blast to make it 5-1. Ball game.
RESOLUTION: Recall Travis Wood. Or bring up Dontrelle Willis. Maybe another jolt of Louisville will awaken Volquez, but it looks more and more like Volquez will never harness all that great stuff in his repertoire.
THREE: Paul Janish isn’t hitting, not even close to hitting. He plays because of his defense, but that defense has produced nine errors this year. He made only four all last year and might be taking his offensive woes out to the field with him.
His ninth error came Tuesday in the fifth inning and preceded Matt Holliday’s three-run homer.
RESOLUTION: Either play Edgar Renteria every day, even though he isn’t as good as Janish (when Janish plays defense up to his abilities), but he has begun to hit lately. If not, bring up Zack Cozart and let him play. I’ve resisted this one, knowing that putting pressure on a rookie to change things around is a big assignment. But can he be any worse than what the Reds are getting out of the position?
Maybe those adjustments won’t turn things around, but it is clear that this team doesn’t have enough, especially with three teams ahead of them in the standings.
A TRADE OF consequence probably is not feasible at this time. There are no trades being made right. A lot of teams need a lot of things, but teams are just not dealing at the moment.
And if the Reds go looking for a player of stature, the cost in prospects probably would be too high and too damaging for the future.
The Reds’ offense consisted of four hits. They scored one run in eight innings on a ground ball by Scott Rolen with a runner on third. St. Louis relief pitcher Mitchell Boggs walked three straight with one out in the ninth to load the bases, then Freddie Lewis struck out — all together now — Drew Stubbs stuck out for the fourth time, this time on three pitches.
Yikes and Yech.
What’s left to say, but…go Pirates.
SOME GREAT questions weren’t to Ask Hal last week and I’m looking for more for this week. Send them between now and Thursday at noon to email@example.com.Tweet