Yes, I know the title of my post includes the term “mid-week” in it, but I’m hurriedly cranking something out in hopes of “un-jinxing” the Redlegs. I’m starting to think I should have quit after one post. Unless they can overcome a current four run deficit against the Indians, they will have lost five straight since I wrote my glowing review on Wednesday.
As Yogi would say, the last in this line of losses was a case of “déjà vu all over again.” Edinson Volquez gave up a 2-run homer early, put pressure on his defense which resulted in an unearned run, and ultimately couldn’t get out of the THIRD inning and left his team down six runs while he was hitting the shower.
We all know the Volquez story: acquired from Texas for Josh Hamilton. At the time, it didn’t seem like such a horrible deal. Volquez had the kind of stuff that led you to believe he could be a number one starter, and despite Hamilton being a classic “5-tool player,” no one projected him as a future MVP and Triple Crown threat. Besides, with his substance abuse history, there had to be the worry that it could rear its ugly head again someday.
But here we are in 2011, and since the trade Hamilton has indeed been named MVP and Volquez has had one great season and one Tommy John surgery. In spring training, Dusty named him the number one starter in hopes that the incentive of being in the final year of his contract would pay dividends. It has not.
And this is what makes Dusty Baker’s job so difficult. Volquez is the guy that was once seen as the bedrock of the starting rotation, and instead he’s turned into quicksand. It’s easy from my recliner to say that it’s time to cut our losses, release him, and cast our hopes on one of the many solid starters in Louisville. But he’s a guy that can throw in the mid-90s and can make batters look stupid when he has control of his changeup.
To add to Dusty’s headache is the case of Jonny Gomes. In many respects, he carried the Reds for the first two weeks of the season: 15 RBI in the 14 games. He has had only eight since (three on one swing against the Astros) and his batting average has dropped around 100 points to its current .171. Meanwhile, Chris Heisey is batting .273 with 17 RBI in half the at-bats Gomes has had. And Fred Lewis looks like he would work well in a platoon situation with Heisey.
But Dusty is a “player’s manager,” which means he won’t throw Jonny to the trash heap because of one bad month. But with Volquez and Gomes, you have to ask the question “when will enough be enough?”