Table of Contents

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

June 2007 Reds Review Part 1: Overview

June 2007 in Brief
June Record: 10-16 (0.385)
Series Record: 1-7-0
Runs Scored: 125 (4.8 r/g, 6th in NL)
Runs Allowed: 134 (5.2 r/g, 11th in NL)
Team OBP: 0.318 (12th in NL)
Team SLG: 0.452 (4th in NL)
Team FIP: 4.80 (10th in NL)
Team DER: 0.685 (13th in NL)

Season to Date

Overall Record: 31-50 (0.383), 16.5 games back
Series Record: 6-19-1
PythagoPat Record: 36-45 (0.444)
Remaining Record Needed for 81 Wins: 50-31 (0.617)
Remaining Record Needed for 90 Wins: 59-22 (0.728)
Runs Scored: 376 (4.6 r/g, 5th in NL)
Runs Allowed: 420 (5.2 r/g, 14th in NL)
Team OBP: 0.321 (11th in NL)
Team SLG: 0.436 (3rd in NL)
Team FIP: 3.92 (6th in NL)
Team DER: 0.677 (15th in NL)

What Happened...
Coming off the worst month in recent memory, everyone ( least I did) expected the Reds to rebound to at least some level of adequacy. Instead, they played right at their season winning percentage on the month, falling further and further behind the pack, ending the month with easily the worst record in baseball. Here's how the NL Central race looked to date, courtesy of The Hardball Times:It's astonishing to me that you can pretty much draw a straight line through the Reds' record from mid-April to now. There's a reason for that--they've played about as bad as you possibly can play in that time, barely topping the replacement-level expected minimum winning percentage of 0.300. Meanwhile, Milwaukee went on a massive tear in June, maintaining a commanding lead in the NL Central despite a surge by the Chicago Cubs. The Brewers scored a league-best 6.0 runs per game last month, allowing only 4.4 r/g. That's dominant.

Oh, and here's a fun "Did You Know?": How many series have the Reds won since May 1st? The answer: two. One series at Houston May 29-31, and the Cleveland series at home in Cincinnati June 8-10. They have yet to sweep a series this season, and haven't had a three-game winning streak since May 28-30. ::sigh::

Breaking it down...

The Reds' PythagoPat record indicates that they "should be" about 5 games better than they have been, based on their runs scored and allowed, but that still puts them at a Pittsburgh-esque 0.444 winning percentage. They just haven't been a very good team. The offense has, on the surface, looked good this year, scoring the 5th-most runs of any NL team. But the pitching and defense has been awful (as usual), allowing 420 runs--better than only Marlins and the Phillies--both of which have had superior offense.

Here's the breakdown of how different components of the Reds' team has contributed to their struggles. Rather than break it down by series as I have in the past, I'm showing this as the year to date (June wasn't particularly interesting in and of itself):All aspects of the Reds' team have fallen short this year. The offense has scored a good number of runs this season, but has failed to do so in a manner that has contributed in a net positive way to Reds' victories. There are two main reasons for this that I can see. First, the slugging-oriented Reds team has tended to score a runs in bunches, with their 16-1 massacre of the Seattle Mariners on June 22nd being the most obvious example. This reduces the average value of each run scored. Second, the pitching has been so terrible that the Reds often have to score a large number of runs to make much improvement in the Reds' chances of winning a game.

The starting rotation started the season very strong, but has been in a free-fall since the 10th of May. And the bullpen has basically been a disaster since the 8th of April. Finally, the defense, as measured by DER, while slightly better in June, has been among the worst in baseball all season long.

There is still some reason to hope that the Reds can improve over what is left of the season, even though the playoffs seem far out of reach. The offense is clearly capable of scoring runs, and some of its key players (Edwin Encarnacion perhaps being the most crucial) have yet to catch fire. Furthermore, the offense stayed about even according to its WPA figures for the first time this month, so perhaps they can build upon that momentum. And the pitching still does have a good FIP on the season, thanks almost entirely to outstanding performance in April. Some good luck has to come the Reds way sooner or later, and when it does, this team might just post a 0.500 month. Finally, Narron's maybe the new voice and new approach that Krivsky spoke of will help?

On the other hand, with the trading deadline approaching, and the Reds clearly needing to get younger as they prepare for runs in the '08 or '09 season, some of the key parts most likely will (or should, at least) be dealt. So it could be a long second half. But at this point, we're used to this, right? :)

June Transactions

June 2
+ RHP Marcus McBeth (from AAA; he'd actually get to pitch this time) - 6/2
- LHP Bobby Livingston (to AAA; human yo-yo spot starter, pitched well) - 6/2

June 4

+ OF Josh Hamilton (from DL; tummy feeling better) - 6/4
+ RHP Todd Coffey (from AAA; pitched well since demotion) - 6/4
- RHP Brad Salmon (to AAA; human yo-yo) - 6/4
- OF DeWayne Wise (DFA; the replacement-level outfielder is gone) - 6/4

June 8
+ RHP Homer Bailey (from AAA; debut of most hyped Reds prospect since...?) - 6/8
- RHP Todd Coffey (to AAA; demoted in favor of McBeth!) - 6/8

June 12
+ RHP Todd Coffey (from AAA; now a yo-yo) - 6/12
- RHP Jared Burton (to DL; Rule 5 back spasms) - 6/12

June 15
+ RHP Brad Salmon (from AAA; human yo-yo) - 6/15
- RHP Gary Majewski (to AAA; colossal disappointment) - 6/15

June 16
+ LHP Michael Gosling (from AAA; long man lefty) - 6/16
- LHP Mike Stanton (to DL; hamstring) - 6/16

June 29
+ RHP Ricky Stone (from AAA; home town kid gets one last shot) - 6/29
- RHP Victor Santos (DFA; too many walks) - 6/29