With the 1st half over and the all star break beginning tomorrow the writers of RiverFrontBall.com gonna take the time to excess
the 1st half by the team and give our predictions for the 2nd half.
What are your thoughts on the Reds 1st half play?
JM: The start to the 2013 Cincinnati Reds season began with an major blow on opening day as left fielder Ryan Ludwick torn his laburn trying to go to third on a play Ludwick is targeting to come back mid August but I don’t know if he’s gonna be productive he’s been pretty much been out half the season. The offense has been inconsistent and hasn’t been hitting with runners scoring position well so far. The pitching staff have been relatively good expect for the ace of the staff Johnny Cueto who’s been on the DL three times this season with a lat muscle it’s been very unfortunate. The bullpen has been hit with the injury bug as well and the surprise pitcher of the 1st half is no doubt Mike Leake proving everybody wrong with a low ERA of 2.69 simply amazing. Shin Soo Choo has been a great addition to the team with his leadoff role, Votto is being Votto. Brandon Phillips has been a RBI machine and Jay Bruce is streaking hitter so if I had to give a grade for the 1st half for team I’ll give them a B- with room to improve no doubt.
MN: So close yet so far away. It’s hard to look at the Reds 1st half record and complain. The Reds are 53-42 in the first half, 5 games outside of first. In a normal season that would be a good record but with both the St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates having phenomenal years its tough for the Reds. The offense has been atrocious this year. With Votto and Phillips leading the team everyone else needs to step up. Hopefully Ludwick can rejuvenate the offense when he returns. Starting pitching has been great, the relief has been shaky but has been better of late. Once Sean Marshall gets better things should smooth out.
CL: I think the first half was a success. They are well above .500 and still in contention for the NL Central Title, which is good considering all the injuries.
What should the Reds do with the lineup?
JM: With lineup I’ve been very critical of Dusty Baker because at times I’ll be like this doesn’t even make sense. I say when the Reds face a left hander starter stop taking Choo out of the leadoff role recently he’s been hitting well against the south powlers you really gonna take Heisey or Robinson to be the lead off hitter over Choo against a left hander. Also Zack Cozart should be bat 7th why? Look at his stats and his at bats that is all..
MN: First thing they should do is get rid of Zach Cozart. Cozart is killing this lineup. The front end of the lineup should remain Choo, Robinson/Izturis, Votto, Phillips and Bruce. That is how the lineup should be the idea of changing the lineup around every other game is a Dusty thing. The rest of us will never understand his logic.
CL: The only flaw I see in the Reds’ line-up is that Cozart still is in the number two spot. Move Cozart to the seventh spot and put whoever is playing LF in the number two spot.
Should Dusty Baker remain manager next season?
JM: Well, this is a interesting question I know I haven’t been the biggest fan of Dusty this season with his managerial decisions he’s still a good manager I don’t know I say yes but it will all determine if he gets this team to the postseason and hopefully win a series’.
MN: That remains to be seen. The fan in me says fire him, all the frustration and yelling at him isn’t worth it and the mis management of pitchers is killing reds fans. . The realist in me says wait and see what happens in the second half. Two play off appearances in three years is good. Its advancing past the NLDS that is the problem.
CL:If the Reds make the playoffs, he should stay in Cincinnati. However, if the Reds miss the playoffs, then show him the door. Jim Riggleman is currently the Louisville Bats manager, he used to be a Major League manager, he could have success as the next Reds manager.
What is your grade of Dusty Baker so far this year?
JM: Well, with the team 11 games over .500 and still holding the last wild card playoff sport and 4.5 games out of first and dealing with injuries to the Cueto and the bullpen I’ll give him a B- I say that’s pretty much fair grade.
MN: C+. That may seem harsh but the mis management of the pitching staff has cost the team a few games and in a season where a few games is the difference between third and first you need those wins.
CL: I would give him a C+, he has lead the Reds to a nice record, and his in-game substitutions are planned out well. However, Dusty Baker needs to give runners the green-light more often and let them steal. Derrick Robinson, Brandon Phillips, Chris Heisey, and even Cozart, should have more stolen bases than they do.
Will the Reds make the playoffs?
JM: Yes, they will because this team haven’t play their best ball yet and I think they will hopefully there gonna get help from the bullpen with Marshall and Broxton returning. I don’t know what there gonna do with Cueto I do know there gonna take baby steps with him and just get him 100 percent healthy before he goes back on the mound. And we don’t know if the Pirates are gonna sustain there surprising surge through the first half because in the last two seasons they have collapsed in the second half the Cardinals are not going nowhere. This team still have a shot to win the division but if not they will get one of the two last wild card spots.
MN: Yes. Likely in a wild card spot though. The one game playoff is not ideal for this club especially if it is on the road. But it is a playoff spot. The Pirates will likely collapse in the second half like they normally do. The race will come down between the Cards and the Reds. St. Louis generally has a slump in the late summer and Cincinnati usually surges so things could get interesting.
CL: I think the Reds will make the playoffs, but not as a division winner, but as a wildcard team. They would have to play in a one-game playoff with the other NL wildcard team, which I think will be the Pirates. But I do indeed think the Reds will make the playoffs, but I’m not sure how far they’ll make it.
What moves should the Reds make at the Trade Deadline?
JM: Honestly I dont think this team need to make any move but if theres one need they need to get to improve the team is definately in the catcher postiton with Ryan Hanigan being on the DL twice already and Devin Mesoraco dealing with back issues lately i think they should look out in the market for it. Also, relief pitching is an area to look as well you dont know how healthy Sean Marshall and Jonathan Broxton will be when they return hopefully they will but it wouldnt hurt adding one or two in the pen.
MN: The Reds need to make a move for a bat or pitching. More than likely a deal will be made for a bat. Giancarlo Stanton has been mentioned a few times. That would be a great grab for the Reds but it will likely mean losing some prized prospects or Aroldis Chapman. Its an iffy trade, not sure if I’d pull the trigger on it but we will see.
CL: They really don’t need to do a whole lot, honestly. It’ll be huge once Ludwick, Marshall, Broxton, and Cueto get off the DL and are playing regularly. But if they do make a trade, they should try to trade for a good catcher. Mesoraco, Hanigan, and Miller are not getting it done behind the plate.