Sunday, April 25, 2004

Reds chatter



The Reds entered Saturday with a 10-6 record, but it could have been 13-3 with a more consistent bullpen.

They lost two significant leads, and another when they were one out from victory:

• April 15, vs. Phillies: The Reds took a 4-0 lead into the seventh inning before losing 6-4.

• April 16, vs. Cubs: The Reds led 4-1, 9-5 and 10-7 before losing 11-10.

• April 21, vs. Braves: The Reds led 2-0, 3-2 and 5-4 with two outs in the ninth before losing 9-5 in 10 innings.

Along those lines. The Reds:

• Outscored opponents 63-44 in the first six innings.

• Have been outscored by opponents 29-12 in innings 7-11.

Quick start

The Reds didn't earn their 10th victory last season until the 25th game (10-15).

Who's hot

Sean Casey. The big first baseman has not only been the team's best hitter, but their best clutch hitter - by a longshot. He entered Saturday hitting .625 (10-for-16) with runners in scoring position. No other Red has more than three such hits.

Who's not

Phil Norton. The Reds' lone left-hander began the season with three scoreless innings over his first four outings. Since then, he's had an ERA of 40.50 over four appearances that covered only 1 1/3 innings.

Is there help on the way from Louisville? Veteran Mike Mathews had a 1.42 ERA in his first five appearances while Javier Sanchez, the spring training surprise, had a 2.84 ERA in his first four outings. Both were 1-0, and Mathews had one save.

Trivia

Who did the Reds trade to the Indians for Sean Casey on March 30, 1998, the eve of Opening Day. (Answer below)

Remember him?

Kelly Stinnett. The Reds traded him to the Phillies last Aug. 31. He's now the Royals' backup catcher. He had four hits in his first 11 at-bats, including a home run.

By the numbers

10: Reds' record for home runs in April, by Tony Perez, in 1970.

9: Home runs by Adam Dunn in April 2003.

8: Home runs by Dunn this April.

10-2: Reds' record in the 12 games that pitchers have walked three or fewer batters.

Trivia answer

The Reds traded who was to be their Opening Day starter, Dave Burba. Burba won 15, 15, 16 and 10 games for the Indians. He's now a reliever for the Brewers.

The week ahead

The Reds continue their longest road trip of the season, concluding with a four-game series at Houston, beginning next Friday. Future Hall of Famer Roger Clemens is scheduled to pitch the opening game, although his status could change pending the possible return of injured fellow-former Yankee Andy Pettitte.




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