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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

 

Misunderestimation: Cincinnati Surprise

Starting new ideas is nothing out of the ordinary, but with a bad case of adult ADD (so diagnosed by a pharmaceutical company's website), the follow through gets me every time. In an effort to break that tendency, without the assistance of pricey prescription drugs, I am continuing my "Misunderestimation" pre-preview series. Today, the focus turns to the Reds, the Cincinnati Surprise. As currently structured, it is tough call to predict whether this team or the Pirates will rule the Central cellar. Given that the Reds scored 820 runs last year, they probably don't have to pick up any allergy medication to deal with the damp and moldy conditions in the NL Central basement. Moving beyond their propensity to score runs in a lineup built around the bat of one Adam Dunn, you get to a pitching staff (and a home park) that pads stats for even the most feeble armed of batters around the league. Seriously, how does Eric Milton even venture outside between the hours of 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. without having rocks, tomatoes, or dog feces thrown at his car? Besides an ability to score runs (runs do have something to do with winning games as you may recall after watching the NLCS last season), the new ownership may be the most important factor in this teams ability to win a few more games this season. New owner Robert Castellini immediately 86'd GM Dan O'Brien. Committed to winning, the new ownership will hire a GM (DePodesta?) with the mandate that the team begin the process of becoming a winning force in the Division. This will include, as you have no doubt already concluded, trading some of their hitters for capable pitchers, not prone to the long ball, with a decided emphasis on younger guys, I assume. If a move comes this spring, (Get Up, Baby! already has one in mind) the Reds could manage to win a few more games than they did last year. This won't make them a threat to take Central crown from the Cards, but another spoiler always makes things interesting. In a close race for the division, a September series with the Reds (or Pirates) might have a little more significance than a way to pass time until the playoffs start.
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