On Predicting the 2011 Reds

All baseball fans start the season with the optimal optimism. After all, that is one aspect of the love of the game. Then again, many fans make predictions – some optimist, others realistic, and many just for fun. So, here’s a look at my team – the Cincinnati Reds.

They are the NL Central’s defending champions, as in 2010 they defied the predictions of the pundits – including me. Reds strengths are defense, starting pitching depth, and timely hitting. Joey Votto is for real, and the team surrounds him by a good mix of young and old players. Team speed is good, but not great. As with many teams, who knows which way the bullpen goes, but the latter seems to be in good hands.

Although the team is highly touted by baseball pundits, I have the following concerns for the 2011 season.

  • 2010 did not involve many injuries. Two starting pitchers start 2011 on the DL. Is this an omen for what is to come?
  • In 2010, the Reds led the league in late-inning, come-from-behind wins. Can this be done again? I know Opening Day says YES, but time will tell.
  • Sometimes the stars align with the right players doing the right thing at the right time. Was that 2010?
  • Individually, can Drew Stubbs continue to improve? Can Johnny Gomes produce enough to justify his questionable defense and streaky hitting? Can Scott Rolen productively play 110-120 games?

Every team has questions – plus repeating as division champs isn’t easy. I’m a loyal fan and will root for as many wins as possible – and I’ll settle for less than 162 wins – yet 90 will win the division. Tom Lasorda said each team wins a third of its games, loses a third, with the remaining third being the key to their success.

On paper, the Reds are the class of the NL Central. The games are not on paper, but played on the field over many months. Unfortunately, I see the Reds finishing in third place, but closer to second than fourth.

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18 thoughts on “On Predicting the 2011 Reds

  1. I wait WEEKS with no contact from you, slowly dying for want of entertainment, and THIS is how you thank my devotion? ;)
    Third place? I’d crawl to Chicago on my hands and knees to see the Cubs reach third place! They’re starting this season off in typically outstanding fashion – they stood out in the field, while the Pirates smacked baseballs right past ‘em! 6-3 Pittsburgh, and the Cubs start off at 0-1. Same stuff, different season! :D

    • John,
      I glad that both Padre & I influence you. (Smurk smurk). But hey, you watched the team of your roots open the season. The result may not have brought joy to Mudville, but the rite of spring has begun, which (that fact alone) begins joys to many.

      Meanwhile, I hope the stars continue their alignment from 2010 … which would be good for my Reds. To wet your appetite, I don’t believe I have any baseball for next week. :( Thanks for sharing.

    • Well, I’ll put it this way. If I’m influenced by you and the Padre, I’d be hard-pressed to think of two better influences. :)
      And yes, I know there are many who share a love of the game, just as there are many who can’t stand it. And if you MUST babble on endlessly about it, well, it’s both entertaining and interesting for me to see its’ influence. All the better to understand my fellow man – even if he does have an unhealthy obsession with the most boring sport ever invented. ;)
      So as soon as the Cubs flush themselves, I’ll shift my focus and root your Reds on to victory. And if they lose, it’s all YOUR fault for bring the curse of me upon them! :D
      Oh, and by the way, you “whet” the appetite, as in sharpening it (like a knife) on a whetstone. Wetting your appetite just sounds messy. :p
      Have a good weekend!

      • Sure, the Cubs will be respectable NOW. Give it time – I’d put more faith in them folding by august than I do in the sun coming up every morning! (Doesn’t mean I don’t love them. I adored my 1973 Vega, and it was a titanic pile of crap! :D)
        Changing your post for little old moi? To what do I owe this great honour? (You don’t need money, do you? Because you’re fishing a dry pond if you’re trying to give me the touch!) ;)
        Until tomorrow….

        • John,
          To be honest, I considered a baseball funny to kickoff the week … and then … I recall thinking that I didn’t want to continue the torture! :) Plus you actually gave me an idea!!!! So hey, you influenced tomorrow’s post in several ways.

        • Actually, the babies are very easy to understand, if you’ve ever sat through a full-length Qaddafi speech. Or an early Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. Or anything by Stallone, especially the end of “First Blood”! :D
          Actually, I keep waiting for the ultimate Sunday entertainment. There are two families that come to church in identical light blue Dodge Caravans. When they both show up next, I’m gonna sneak out during services and swap their license plates! Or alternately, hot-wire the vans and swap the whole vehicles! Hey, if we’re created in God’s image, He must have a truly warped sense of humour! ;)

        • They actually did, some months ago – it’s where I got my inspiration! The first group came out, walked up to the nose of the first, and stood there, slack-jawed, looking back and forth, until one of them checked the license plates! Good fun. And thus why I want to swap the plates next time they do that – or move ‘em side by side.
          Though I can sympathise. My wife drives a 1996 Century wagon, not exactly a common car around here. She came out of the Wal-Mart, walked up to her car, and couldn’t figure out why the key wouldn’t fit – until she realised her car had sprouted alloy wheels and lost the roof rack! :) Better was, as she was fiddling in the driver’s seat getting ready to take off, the other driver showed up! Much grinning and thumbs-upping followed…. :D

  2. The only reason you feel that the Reds will fail to make the Playoffs is because I picked the Reds to make the playoffs, And you know I am a jinx with my picks.
    If I picked them to go 19 and 143 you would have them winning the World Series.

    • Larry,
      Because my knowledge of your predictions about the Reds is only two seasons, that is not sufficient to determine any statistical significance. However, you may have a point! Thanks for commenting.

  3. Hey Frank!

    If Opening Day is any indication of the future success your hometown favorites will experience this season, they are well on their way to returning to the glory days of the “Big Red Machine”. Another great post btw, and best wishes to the Cincinnati Reds.

    • Al,
      I know predicting third seems illogical, but for whatever reason, I don’t feel the stars are in proper alignment. On paper though, they are the best in the division … and time of the seasonal marathon will tell all. Best of luck to your Yankees.

  4. It looks like the Reds will romp this year. I am not impressed with anyone else in the NL Central and the Reds hitting looks awesome.

    • Welcome Padre Steve,
      (To those who don’t know, he was a wonderful site).

      The Reds are unquestionably on a roll at the moment. As we both know, baseball’s long season brings ups and downs for all … but at the moment, cranking out eight runs per game is impressive. Now if they are still averaging that in through August, that’s another story.

      On paper, the Reds are the class in the mixed bag NL Central. However, it is all those unknown, unexpected yet-to-come variables that cause adjustments – ah yes – time will tell.

      Good luck to your O’s this year – and wow – they also are starting strong. Thanks for visiting and hope you return.

    • FishHawk,
      Yes … Cardinal fans are welcome here. In my eyes, they don’t seem to be as strong as they were 2-3 years ago, but they are still good enough to create havoc. They could use Holliday batting behind King Albert. In baseball, time has a way of working its magic. Good luck!

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