Table of Contents

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Reds in sole possession of first place

  • I am so impressed with this Reds team. The offense is back and as good as ever, but the pitching has been so amazing. Did you realize that Reds' pitching ranks 7th in the league with a 4.34 ERA? That's insane! By constrast, last season's ERA was an appalling 5.15. I doubt that the pitching will continue to be as good as it has been, but it's so exciting to even have decent pitching…much less above average pitching, which is what they've had so far this season!
  • A big part of that is Bronson Arroyo, who continues to amaze me. Who could have ever imagined he'd have the sort of first half that he has thus far? He's so fun to watch. He's almost surgical with his location, and Bob Brenly couldn't stop talking about how Arroyo was constantly changing speeds. Not just by varying between breaking pitches and his fastball, but also varying the speed of his fastball. After about the second inning (he was admittedly a bit wild in the first two innings), no one seemed comfortable against him because he kept them off balance so well. This might turn out to be his career year, but I'm sure glad he's doing this with the Reds.
  • I also wanted to give some kudos to Brandon Phillips. I love watching him play defense. His start of the double play in the 4th was sweet--he got rid of that ball so fast, I almost thought that it'd bounced off him. He also made an incredible play on a ground ball up the middle that got only brief acknowledgement from the WGN announcers, but it had him ranging to the other side of the second base bag, pivoting, and throwing off balance to nail the runner. It's easy to forget how much fun great defense can be, but having it now (at second base, at least) sure makes me appreciate it.
  • Tonight was the first time I got to see Estaban Yan pitch. He definitely brings another look to the Reds' pen, so I'm pleased with that acquisition. I can see how he could get pretty wild, as his motion is pretty herky-jerky. But if used in the right spots, I can see him being pretty effective.
  • Wanted to close by saying that I love the stolen base, as long as they don't get caught. It's fun to see the Reds being aggressive, especially against easy targets like Novoa, who didn't seem to be paying any attention the people on base. I'm still crediting Billy Hatcher with at least some of the improvement in that aspect of the Reds' game. Having three high-percentage base-stealers on the club can be an incredibly potent weapon in tight ballgames.