- © Copyright 2018 Tailgate Review
I’m a pretty optimistic person. I’m the guy that sits in the stands at Commonwealth Stadium, and regardless of whether the opponent is Florida or WKU, at the moment toe touches ball on the opening kickoff I honestly believe the Wildcats have a shot at winning the game. Which is why it pains me (and is out of character for me) to utter these words at the All-Star break:
The Reds are, very likely, done for 2011.
Yes, I know they are a mere 4 games out in the standings. Yes, I know the Reds brass have (finally) given Zack Cozart a chance to show his stuff at the big league level. And, yes, I know there are two and a half months of baseball remaining to be played. But the numbers just don’t stack up in the Reds’ favor.
(Warning: Math Ahead)
Before the season started, I figured the magic number of wins to reach the postseason would be 92. To reach this number in the remaining 70 games, the Reds would need to win at a clip of .671. The best team in baseball (Philadelphia) has a winning percentage of .626. Not even the Big Red Machine of 1975 won games at this rate.
Of course, it isn’t like anyone else in the Central Division is setting the world on fire, so in reality 92 wins may not be necessary. But the Reds will have to win at the Phillies’ current pace in the second half to even get to 89 wins. Again, a difficult task.
But let’s TRY to sprinkle a little positivity into the conversation. A facebook friend (who seemingly loves the Reds and loves math equally) shared some interesting information. Using something called “pythagorean expectation,” (approximately 23 heads just exploded) he calculated the “expected records” for the Reds, Brewers, Cardinals, and Pirates based on actual runs scored, runs allowed and other “mathy” stuff. The bottom line: the Reds are first among these teams in “expected wins,” yet last among them in actual wins. While there are many variables involved in baseball, and it certainly isn’t math in its purest sense, if the second half allows any sort of “correction,” the Reds could find themselves back in the hunt even if they don’t actually hit or pitch any better than they did in the first half. Perhaps they have only been the victims of some bad luck.
So, for the moment, let’s consider the possibility that the Reds will get back in the hunt in the second half. Here’s what I think will have to happen.
1. Even the score against the Pirates. Yes, the Bucs somehow have a better record than the Reds at the break. But a 6-1 record against the Reds this season is a little out of whack. The Reds have 9 games against them in the second half, and will need to win at least six of them to return things to normal.
2. Beat the weak links. Unfortunately, the Reds only face three teams (the Cubs, Astros and Padres) that have winning percentages below .450 the rest of the way. Fortunately, there are sixteen games remaining against them, but they won’t get anywhere just winning 10 or 11 of them. They will need to get fat against these teams.
3. Win games in bunches. In the first half, they had two five game winning streaks and two three game winning streaks. They will need at least one run of something like 11 of 13 to make up some ground in a hurry. It’s not likely that they can grind out a winning percentage over .620 just by winning six (and occasionally seven) out of every ten.
3. Jay Bruce needs to be Jay Bruce. He doesn’t need to be “NL Player of the Month Bruce” as he was in May, batting .340 with 12 homers and 33 RBI. He just can’t be the “NL Stinker of the Month Bruce” as he was in April and June, averaging .220, 3 and 9. Somewhere in the middle (.280, 8 and 20) in each of the remaining months will suffice.
There are other things I’d like to see (such as Drew Stubbs putting the ball in play more often, Jonny Gomes getting crazy hot, and Edinson Volquez never donning a Reds uniform again), but if they can accomplish these things they have a chance of getting back into the thick of things. If not, well, I’ll see you at the goalposts after the Cats beat Florida AND Tennessee this season.
Good Morning Mullet Fans! This week we have something a little more sexy than your everyday, run of the mill mullet – we have the Bouffant. Woman with Bouffants were a big hit (no pun intended) in the early 90’s. Reba McEntire, Oprah Winfrey and every teacher I had, just to name a few, sported the poof.
Well fast forward 20 years, unfortunately, no one informed this weeks lovely lady about the change in style. She made me feel like I was in seventh grade again, especially with her mom jeans and bright red lipstick. So thank you Billie-Joe Bouffant for bringing back the memories of an easier time in my life, now do your kids and husband a favor and get a straightening iron and some low rise jeans and throw away that 32 oz. can of White Rain.
There’s no better way to start off the week than seeing a most awesome mullet on Monday morning. I pride myself in being somewhat of an amateur paparazzi, well at least when it comes to mullets and other hideous sites. If you would like to send me your own pictures of an awesome mullet or anything else I might enjoy, please e-mail it to MondayMorningMullet@gmail.com and your picture will be the Monday Morning Mullet.
Finally we get to see shots of Rob in his front row seats inebriated, half clothed and in High-def! Nothing is more American.
Actually, today we get our first look at what the new Daktronics HD-X scoreboards will look like in Commonwealth Stadium. Installation is set to begin in early August after the original guts of the old boards are removed. In addition to the endzone boards Commonwealth will receive digital ribbon boards surrounding the first level bowl of the arena. Also in the plans are a completely new sound system and control room for all of the new technology.
According to UK Athletics: “Each LED video board will measure approximately 37 feet high by 80 feet wide (2,960 square feet), making each display the 15th-largest scoreboard in the country. Combined, the 5,920 square feet will make the new video boards one of the largest scoreboard systems in the country. The 14 digital ribbon displays will include additional statistics, scoring and timing information, animation, and other motion graphics. The digital ribbon boards will total more than 1,800 linear feet, with the two longest displays measuring more than 485 feet.
Commonwealth’s upgrade won’t just be for the eyes. Daktronics will also install a custom sound system. The Sportsound system will deliver pounding bass energy, smooth mid- and high-range frequencies, and high-impact entertainment. Components of the sound system include a main speaker cluster behind the end zone, under-balcony speakers and concourse speakers.”
Supposedly you can put together 550 42-inch LED screens and still not match the size of the new boards. That’s big.
Also word is that the old boards will be donated to Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium relief efforts. Even big bro helps little bro out from time to time.
I had given up.
Technically, I pronounced the season dead after Tuesday night’s loss, but in actuality I had a very uneasy feeling when the Reds couldn’t manage to push across a couple of runs to beat Chris Crypenter with Cueto’s gem on Independence Day. They were faced with having to rely on Volquez and Arroyo to find a win for them.
For those that don’t like surprises, Volquez did not disappoint. He gave up three homers, put the Reds in an early hole, and assured the Cardinals a series win. So all hopes for a win in St. Louis would rest on the arm of Bronson Arroyo, which has lately resembled a machine at the batting cage set to “little league” velocity. The Reds even held Dontrelle Willis out of a start in Louisville because they didn’t think Arroyo would be physically able to pitch.
But, once again, Bronson showed some unbelievable toughness and was lights out for five innings and left with the game still well in hand. And then it all fell apart. The once 8-0 lead became 8-5, then 8-7, and a rare blown save by CoCo sent them game to extras. I turned the game off and on so much the neighbors probably thought I had a strobe light installed in my bedroom. Thankfully, Ramon Hernandez played hero again and Chapman (really?) came in and blew the Cards away in the 13th to secure victory.
So, of course, they have sucked me back in.
Wednesday’s game was somewhat a microcosm of the Reds’ season. They showed signs of the superior offense we expected. They had timely hits. Arroyo pitched great as a starter, and Chapman was dominant as a closer. But along the way they lost their focus and blew an EIGHT RUN LEAD. At various points of this season, the offense has produced, the starting pitchers have put together a string of quality starts, and the relievers have dominated. But it doesn’t seem like this has ever happened at once. The Reds are like my golf game: once I get my drive figured out, I lose my short game. And once I figure out my short game, I can’t putt.
A couple of other random lineup observations: First, I think Edgar Renteria came to Dusty and said “I’m not producing because I’m not playing enough. Make me the primary shortstop through the All-Star break and let me show you what I can do.” So far, the results have not been good. In six games of July, Renteria is batting .167. He will need a big series against the Brewers to convince Dusty to keep him in the lineup.
BREAKING NEWS: Zack Cozart is in Milwaukee. Looks like Dusty has all the information he needs to decide what to do with Renteria.
Second, it looks like the outfield of choice features Lewis in left and Heisey in center. Though it represents a defensive drop-off at both positions (yes, Fred Lewis is actually WORSE than Jonny Gomes) it does represent a bit more offensive consistency. I have been a Fred Lewis doubter all season long. But the guy has hit over .300 in the last eight games, so it seems to make sense to keep him in there.
So here we are. A four game series in Milwaukee began Thursday with a Reds loss 5-4 to the Brewers, if they can manage 3 of 4 in the series (not far-fetched, as Bailey, Leake and Cueto will take the mound for three of them) they will somehow still be in the race at the break. The Cards, Brewers and Pirates (really?) are as much to blame for this as anyone. By my math, Cincinnati should be at least five games out of the lead. The margin is only three. The Brewers series is HUGE. By Sunday, we should have a good feeling of whether the Reds will be buyers or sellers before the trade deadline.