July 2007 in Brief
July Record: 14-12 (0.538)
Series Record: 4-4-0
PFadj-Runs Scored: 115 (4.4 r/g, 11th in NL)
PFadj-Runs Allowed: 134 (5.1 r/g, 9th in NL)
Team OBP: 0.333 (8th in NL)
Team SLG: 0.389 (14th in NL)
Team FIP: 4.80 (10th in NL)
Team DER: 0.675 (13th in NL)
Season to Date
Overall Record: 45-62 (0.421), 13 games back
Series Record: 10-23-1
PythagoPat Record: 48-59 (0.449)
Remaining Record Needed for 81 Wins: 36-19 (0.655)
Remaining Record Needed for 90 Wins: 45-10 (0.818)
PFadj-Runs Scored: 488 (4.6 r/g, 8th in NL)
PFadj-Runs Allowed: 553 (5.1 r/g, 14th in NL)
Team OBP: 0.324 (T-11th in NL)
Team SLG: 0.424 (5th in NL)
Team FIP: 4.34 (7th in NL)
Team DER: 0.676 (15th in NL)
As the Reds' disastrous first half came to a close, fans saw the dismissal of manager Jerry Narron and his bench coach, Bucky Dent, and their replacement by Pete Mackanin and Pat Kelly. And then, something magical happened. After playing just over replacement level since mid-April, and not sweeping a team all season, the Reds surged to their first 0.500+ month since June 2006, including sweeps of two contending teams, the Diamondbacks and Braves.
Here's how the NL Central looked to date, courtesy of The Hardball Times:
While it's hard to say that the Reds really gained ground, they at least held their position well enough to let the rapidly imploding Pirates plummet past them into the cellar (despite claims at the All-Star break that my projection of the Reds finishing ahead of pIrates was laughable). Among the actual "good" teams in the Central, the Cubs continued the surge they began in mid-June, while the Brewers continued to fall back toward 0.500, putting my projection of the Brewers winning the division in serious jeopardy.
Breaking it down...
So how did they do it? How did the Reds post their first 0.500+ month in over a year?
Well, it doesn't seem like they did it with their offense, which went from scoring 4.8 r/g in June to just 4.4 r/g in July. While OBP did increase on the month, the Reds' power--their strength this season--dried up almost completely, showing a microscopic 0.389 SLG in July.
And it doesn't seem like they did it with their pitching, which posted a 4.80 FIP on the month, 10th in the league and identical to the June numbers.
And it doesn't seem like they did it with fielding, because the Reds posted a Defense Efficiency Ratio of 0.675--thirteenth in the NL, and almost exactly the same as the year-to-date rate (0.676).
...so let's see. If it wasn't the offense, it wasn't the pitching, and it wasn't the fielding, how did the Reds post a 0.500+ month? The answer is timing. Or luck. Whatever you want to call it. Overall, the Reds scored 115 runs and allowed 134 runs (park factor adjusted numbers), which, via Pythagoras, predict a record of 11-15. That's three games fewer than they actually won. The Reds went 7-2 in one-run games, and 4-0 in extra inning games in July. So things went the Reds' way this past month a bit more often than expected. It's about freaking time.
- Jerry Narron (fired; it must have been his fault)
+ Pete MacKanin (hired; good luck, man)
- Bucky Dent (fired; or did he quit?)
- Ed Napoleon (quit)
+ Pat Kelly (hired)
+ IF/OF Ryan Freel (from DL; returning from post-concussion problems)
- C Chad Moeller (DFA to AAA; can't hit, can't throw)
- RHP Brad Salmon (to AAA; we hardly new thee)
+ LHP Mike Stanton (from DL; hamstring)
- IF Juan Castro (to DL; elbow)
- RHP Marcus McBeth (to AAA; we hardly new thee)
- RHP Ricky Stone (DFA, to AAA; DIPS caught up to him)
+ RHP Kirk Saarloos (from AAA; would he be better this time?)
+ IF Jeff Keppinger (from AAA; good reserve player, but also white & makes contact, thus overrated)
+ RHP Jared Burton (from DL; rule 5 players get hurt pretty easy)
- RHP Homer Bailey (to AAA; awful command, groin hurt)
+ IF Pedro Lopez (from AAA; need SS replacement)
- OF Josh Hamilton (to DL; wrist)
+ C Chad Moeller (from AAA; uhh...)
- SS Alex Gonzalez (to bereavement list; get well soon to his young son)
+ LHP Bobby Livingston (from AAA; now 5th starter)
- RHP Aaron Harang (to bereavement list; grandfather passed)
+ RHP Ricky Stone (from AAA; local kid gets another shot)
= SS Alex Gonzalez (from bereavement to restricted list; son)
- RHP Ricky Stone (to AAA; so long, and thanks for all the fish)
+ RHP Aaron Harang (from bereavement list; condolences)
- SS Pedro Lopez (to DL; broken face, scary)
+ IF Juan Castro (from DL; can't throw ball though)
- RHP Kirk Saarloos (to AAA; no, he wasn't better this time)
+ RHP Victor Santos (from AAA; why not McBeth? Salmon? Bray? Majewski? No comprende!)
Coming up next--a look at the hitting, pitching, and defense in July.