Thursday, August 19, 2010

Reds Still Going, What To Expect From Bengals

This Reds team continues to be fun to watch. Throw in the recent usage of the suicide squeeze and they up the ante so much more. This is what Cincinnati has been longing for, a team that plays smart baseball. Edmonds leads off the ninth inning Wednesday night with a double. Scott Rolen battles, taking a two-strike pitch to the right side, moving Edmonds to third. Then it's Heisey with the perfect bunt to score Edmonds, and Heisey is safe at first to boot. Does anyone reading this think the Reds could have pulled off this kind of sequence from 2001 to 2008? I can't imagine. The Reds have been much better in terms of statistics when it comes to sacrifices in recent years. But there were some brutal seasons earlier in the decade where the Reds fell below a number of American League teams, and that's tough to do with the designated hitter in play.

By the way, I hear all of this talk about the Reds not being able to handle to the better teams. True, but when did I fall asleep and miss the part about the Reds being everyone's favorite to dominate major league baseball this season? I think if any Reds fan were told back in the spring, "Hey buddy, on August 19, your team will be in first place by three full games. The only problem is your record against the Cardinals and other quality teams stinks." So what? For the last time (at least today) I'll say it: The Reds are building a team that will last. That means taking steps to get better. They are immensely better this year and the future looks good. I already consider this season a success, and if they make the playoffs, it's a huge success. First step: change the culture. Second step: get quality pitching. Third step: learn to play winning baseball. Fourth step: make the playoffs. Fifth step: win it all. I'm not sure if and when steps four and five come about, but the Reds have managed to take the first three steps while acquiring some fresh talent to stock the minor leagues. So let's cut all of this crap about not being able to beat this team or that team and appreciate the fact the team is winning, growing, and grooming an organization that will last.

Bengals preseason game three. What will I be looking to see? Here's my top five.

1. Improvement from the first team defense.
2. The continued growth of roles for Shipley and Gresham
3. Adam Jones to continue to make me feel good about the nickel corner
4. Carson and T.O to continue force-feeding their cohesion
5. Andre Smith? Maybe. Something out of him soon?