The Cincinnati Reds are off to a slow start to this 2008 season. The Reds currently hold a 35-42 record, placing them in 12th in the National League and 3rd in the Central division. Their offense is sparked by young All-Star Adam Dunn's great season start of 18 home runs and 43 RBI's in addition to superstar Ken Griffey, Jr.'s continued performance. Ken Griffey Jr. is surely a future Hall-of-Famer, being one of only six people to break the 600 career home runs mark. At the mound, rising superstar pitcher Edinson Volquez's leads the defense with an amazing 1.71 ERA and 110 strikeouts, which both are currently league leading statistics. Cincinnati fans hope for a turnaround to this disappointing start, and game analysts expect things to change towards a better season and a possible playoff run. Tickets are selling slow until the Reds can prove that they are a contender once again, as one of the most historically famous winning franchises is experiencing a slump right now.
The Cincinnati Reds are one of the more successful
franchises, as far as winning goes, in all of Major League Baseball.
The team has reached the postseason 17 times, won nine NL pennants
and five World Series wins. Their last World Series win came
in 1990 when they were lead by players like Jack Armstrong, Rob
Dibble, Barry Larkin, Randy Myers, and Chris Sabo. Their last
playoff appearance came in 1995 where they made it to the NLCS
and lost to the Atlanta Braves in four straight games. Last season,
the team finished 5th in the NL Central with a 69-93 record.
The Reds have been a team in “rebuilding” mode for the past couple
of years and feel that this year they are ready to realize their potential. So
during the off-season they didn’t go out and make very many moves. Their
one big signing was right handed pitcher Cory Lidle. They’re bringing him
in with the hopes that he can help out the starting rotation.
When you think of the Cincinnati Reds most people
think of “The Big Red
Machine” of the 1980’s that would just manufacture runs at will.
This team shouldn’t be too far off from that. At the top of the lineup
we find second baseman D’Angelo Jimenez and the immortal Barry Larkin who
will be entering his 20th major league season. Larkin, the 11 time all-star,
batted .282 last season with a .345 on base percentage. The heart of the lineup
is where the Reds really shine. Center fielder Ken Griffey Jr., first baseman
Sean Casey, and left fielder Adam Dunn are the heart of this lineup. Through
the month of May Casey is batting .394 and flirting with the first .400 season
since Ted Williams did it in 1941. Right fielder Austin Kearns, catcher Javier
Valentin, utility guy Ryan Freel finishes out the rest of the batting order.
Pitching wasn’t exactly the Reds strength last season. They finished second
to last in ERA in the NL with a 5.09 ERA and fourth to last in the entire major
leagues. This year the Reds coaching staff came up with this radical concept
that pitching more strikes and letting guys put the ball in play would help out
their pitching staff. Through May it seems to be working because the team had
a 4.48 ERA. The staff consists of Paul Wilson (8-10, 4.64 ERA in 2003), Cory
Lidle (12-15, 5.75 ERA), Jose Acevedo (2-0, 2.67 ERA), Aaron Harang (1-3, 5.54
ERA), and Todd Van Poppel (1-0, 8.53 ERA). The bullpen is lead by closer Danny
Graves who through the month of May had successfully closed out 24 games.
The Great American Ballpark opened its doors for
the first time just in time for the 2003 season. The park
features an amazing view of the downtown skyline and the
Ohio River. In left field, the park features the longest
and third largest score board in the major leagues. The playing
surface is a custom grown Kentucky bluegrass with a synthetic
carpet in it for durability.
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