Redlegs Rundown

April 9, 2010 1:37 PM

The Obligatory Opening Series Doomsday Post

masset,ondrusek fleecie.jpgThe Cincinnati Reds are 1-2 after facing the St. Louis Cardinals in the first series of the 2010 season. The Cardinals are an early favorite to win the NL Central, so no alarms should be sounding when the Reds emerge with just one win out of the three. But alarms are sounding and I can't help it. Here are some things I found troubling with the Reds three games into the season.

Aaron Harang is no ace and it's time for everyone to acknowledge that, especially Aaron Harang. He'll give you innings, that's for sure, but what good are 7 innings of work when you give up a solo shot in every one? He has become too hittable over the years and needs to settle into a nice #3 or #4 role, not that it much matters after the first time through the rotation. I just think we've been relying on Harang for too long without any payoff, so it's time to hand "ace" status to someone worthy of the title. Bronson Arroyo, if he wants it I suppose.

This next point should come as no surprise: lack of offense and situational hitting. I will say that scoring 6 runs in a game started by Chris Carpenter is impressive, but scoring 2 runs for a victory in a game started by Brad Penny isn't. It was like this last year; all or nothing for this team, and they desperately need to find some middle ground. On Wednesday night, I noticed Skip Schumaker, the Cardinals' leadoff hitter who was batting .000 on the season foul off probably 10 pitches, pushing Johnny Cueto's pitch count up around 100. If the Reds could get these at-bats that go unnoticed in the scorebook but help get starters out of the game, especially against guys like Carpenter or Wainwright, they'd help their chances that much more. It's the little things like this that I haven't seen out of Reds hitters 3 games into the season. I declared the season over when Scott Rolen swung at a first pitch and grounded out.

I hate pretending like I know more than managers, but I don't start Chris Dickerson over Drew Stubbs on Opening Day just because of the pitching matchup. Usually, these righty-lefty things are overrated. I mean, it's Chris Carpenter, no one hits well against him so why not just throw out your projected everyday lineup? It's obviously easy for me to say this after Dickerson had a terrible game and Stubbs came off the bench and had 2 hits, but I would have gone with Stubbs in the first place anyway.

The bullpen looks gruesome so far, too. Nick Masset got lit up on Opening Day, inflating my fantasy team's ERA, while also sealing a first-game win for the Cardinals. I don't want to talk about Mike Lincoln, and Logan Ondrusek, after not giving up any runs all spring, made the crucial mistake of walking Brendan Ryan on 4 pitches to get to some guy named Allen, or maybe Alvin, Pujols. Eight excellent innings out of Arroyo on Thursday was just what the Reds needed in their 3rd game. Francisco Cordero came in in a tie game in the 9th and pitched well, so at least those guys are looking sharp so far.

The Reds host the Chicago Cubs this weekend. This is going to be an interesting early series for both teams, as they'll see how they contend against teams in the division that aren't the Cardinals. Wild Card drama in April!

Pictured above: Nick Masset and Logan Ondrusek were wrapped in Reds Snuggies and flogged after their poor outings. Thanks to Jamie Ramsey for the photo.

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