Thursday, May 14, 2009

First Place, The Scene Of The Crime, and Hard Knocks

The Reds aced the first part of their west test. Now it's on to San Diego, and the scene of the crime in 2008. Maybe it's good that Aaron Harang starts for the Reds in his hometown Friday night. The last time he pitched in San Diego may have derailed his 2008 season. May 25, 2008, the Reds and Padres were battling through an 18-inning marathon. Harang volunteers to help out with a relief stint. He goes 4 innings, strikes out 9, and fires 63 pitches. In his next 8 starts, Harang only had 3 quality starts, then had to be shut down for a month. Harang has a chance to exorcise that Diego demon Friday night against a Padres team that stinks of late.

Soooooo, what happens when Gonzalez is ready and Edwin is ready? I would work Gonzalez back in slowly. I swear the Reds would have put him on the D.L. if they had known Hairston was going to get hot at the plate and in the field. Considering Gonzalez hasn't played in 10 days anyway, the D.L. would have been the move anyway. I would suggest the Reds work in Gonzalez slowly, against left handed pitcher. That will keep Hairston in the lineup and in the 2 hole as he plays left field against lefties and shortstop against righties. The Rosales-Gonzalez thing is easy, at least for now. Edwin gets a nice, long, convenient, minor league rehab assignment until/if Rosales cools down.

HBO is about 3 years too late on this Hard Knocks thing. Can you imagine if they had been on hand for all of that drama? There is still plenty left, with Carson's elbow, Chad, Andre Smith, (more on that in a moment) Coles, new defensive players, and the usual Bengals hilarity that seems to pop up every year in the weeks before the season. (see-Aug. 2008, return of Chris Henry)

Red Flag, Red Flag- ugghhhhh. Look, Andre, pick an agent and get ready for the season. If all of this uncertainty coming from the Andre Smith camp concerning his agent is true, I'm concerned. I'm more than willing to give the guy a chance after all of the drama, from missing the bowl game through skipping out on the combine. After he was drafted, the Bengals first round choice told anyone who would listen that it was all behind him and he had learned from it. Now this? This really smacks of interference from his inner circle of family and/or friends. Get a handle on it big fella, get focused, and start thinking about your job. The NFL is hard enough without distractions. As I sit here right now and think about it, I'm concerned.

I can't leave on a downer. Don't you just love the way this Reds team plays the game? Remember when they used to talk about doing all of the little things right, and they did none of the little things right? That's what Arizona reminded me of this week. They were the gang that couldn't shoot straight, couldn't throw straight, couldn't hit straight, and couldn't think straight. Just like the Redlegs used to do it.

Okay, I will leave on a downer. Adam Dunn. He says after he was part of a pennant race last year with Arizona he now knows how to prepare for the game. He says he knows a lot more about hitting now, that he never really knew about hitting before. If baseball is your job, how did this not happen sooner? It's maddening, and perhaps outside influences could have been at play. You wonder if it would ever have clicked here. I'm guessing that getting traded last year and enduring a less than enthusiastic courting in free agency woke the big fella up. He currently has a .310 avg., 11 Home Runs, and a .444 on base percentage.

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