Jim & Bob's Palatial Baseball Blog

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Red Streak

I suppose it wasn't really a surprise that the Reds fired Jerry Narron last week. After all, the Reds are the worst team in the National League, and the front office has to do something to prove to the fans they're serious about winning.

Heading into the season, I reckoned the Reds would be about the same as they were last year -- a team that would hit enough to keep them on the periphery of the division race, but not pitch enough to make them serious contenders. As it turned out, I underestimated the amount they would not pitch.

The Reds are in the lower third of the league in ERA, batting average against, on-base percentage against, slugging percentage against, OPS against (not surprisingly), total bases allowed, and runs allowed. Part of that is due to park effects, since they're a little better when looking at their road stats. But not a lot better (middle of the pack for most of those categories).

Oh, and the bullpen has blown thirteen saves. I think we can agree that's not good.

It appears that Narron's biggest mistake this year was being the manager the same time Bronson Arroyo had a bad year. Aaron Harang has been great again this year, and after last year most of us figured a Harang/Arroyo combo would give the Reds two good pitchers at the front of their rotation. We figured half right, I guess.

Arroyo's scuffling made it harder to patch over the holes in the rest of the rotation. Which has, to be frank, been brutal. It's been so bad the Reds brought in the dessicated remains of Eric Milton, which ended just as well as could be expected. Milton is now on the DL, where he won't be able to do as much damage.

Homer Bailey has a chance to be real good, but he's going to take his lumps. They've brought up a few other guys, like Bobby Livingston and Mike Gosling, who could be interesting, but it's too soon to tell. I don't know enough about their farm system to tell how good the pitching is. But there didn't seem to be any immediate help available on the Louisville and Chattanooga rosters.

So it looks like Pete Mackanin or whoever takes over as the permanent manager will have his hands full for the immediate future. Arroyo won his game tonight, and looked better than he has in a long time, so maybe things will get better. "Better" being a relative term, of course...

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