Sunday, July 28, 2002

Reds Q&A

Game strategy, trades concern some Reds fans

        The e-mailers have questions on strategy and players. And we've got answers. Read on:

        Q, from Dave in West Memphis, Ark.: Will you please recommend a good psychiatrist to Jim Bowden? Ryan Dempster is so far a joke! I think Jim made the deal in the hopes pitching whiz Don Gullett could straighten the kid out. I hope he can, but now is not the right time for miracles. The Cardinals are getting ready to lock up the Central Division. Thank God Ken Griffey Jr. is back. They'd better trade for “The Gambler” (Kenny Rogers, who vetoed a trade to Cincinnati) or someone who can produce some wins.

        A: Brian Moehler gave the Reds a nice boost in a game they had to win Wednesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The pitching is good enough to contend if the Reds hit the way they are supposed to. Having Griffey back should help.

        Q, from Bob in Beaufort, S.C.: The Reds must lead the free world in leaving men on base. Can this be caused by so many lineup changes?

        A: No, in fact, the Reds don't lead the free world in runners left on base. They went into the weekend 13th in the National League in the category. But their batting average with runners in scoring position is in the .230 range.

        Q, from R.Scott from Anderson, Ind.: Why did Bob Boone pinch-hit Sean Casey and his hurt shoulder over Brandon Larson, who is batting over .300? Especially with the game on the line (Monday's 6-5 loss to the Pirates), and Casey with about two hits in two weeks. I think it showed some lack of faith in Brandon that seems detrimental.

        A: Boone made the move because Casey had been successful against Pirates closer Mike Williams. I agree with you. I think you have to show confidence in Larson in that situation. Had Casey hit a gapper, I would have agreed with Boone's move.

        Q, From Scott in Atlanta: If you ask any left-handed youngster from the 1970s, they will tell you Don Gullett is best remembered for his arm. When I was a kid —— though I did not know it at the time —— I was looking at my Sandy Koufax. I truly believe that if he would have had a healthy career, we would be talking about Gullett, then Koufax, as the best lefties ever. Gullett's success as the Reds' pitching coach only adds to my admiration.

        A: The headline writer on my Sunday story on Gullett last week had it right: Gullett deserves two plaques in the Reds Hall of Fame.

        Q, From Mike: I agree that Don Gullet has had considerable success revitalizing a number of veteran pitchers over the years. But his history of success with younger pitchers —— Brett Tomko, Rob Bell, Dennys Reyes, Mike Remlinger, Scott Williamson, Jose Acevedo —— seems to be less than stellar. Since the Reds are relying on young pitchers for their future success, wouldn't it make sense to have a pitching coach who can better relate to younger players?

        A: Let's take them one by one. Tomko won 11 games with a 3.43 ERA in 1997. Bell hasn't been any better with Texas. Reyes was reasonably successful and good enough to get Gabe White in a trade with Colorado. Remlinger blossomed in Atlanta, but he was pretty good with the Reds, too. Williamson was the Rookie of the Year in 1999. Acevedo was 23 last year while trying to jump from Double-A, and his winning percentage (.416) was better than the team's (.407).

        Q, from Gretchen: I think it is a shame that the people of Cincinnati care more about Ken Griffey Jr. being in the lineup rather than if he is truly healthy. I know I am not the only person who feels Griffey should sit out the rest of the season and get to the 100 percent point rather than risk further injury.

        A: The fact is Griffey could hurt himself whether he's 100 percent or 96.3 percent. The Reds need him this year. If he would rather have sat out the rest of the season, he could have. But he wanted to play.

        Q, from Brent in Mount Lookout: I am sure I should ask something pertinent in regards to the Reds' chances this last part of the season, but my heart lies in the past at present time. What's the latest on “Trader” Jack McKeon? I always loved him as a manager and am curious as to what he is doing.

        A: Jack is coaching his grandson's Little League team in Elon College, N.C. Don't be surprised if he gets back in pro baseball in some capacity.


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