Cincinnati’s good start causing mixed emotions among fans

Published 4:51 am Monday, May 4, 2009

Please excuse me if I don’t start gushing or getting excited. I like what’s happening, but I’m still skeptical.

Of what? Well, the Cincinnati Reds.

I’m glad, mind you, but I’m still skeptical.

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The Reds are tied for second place in the National League Central Division, so I’m glad about that, but they’ve played only 24 games, so you can see why I’m a little skeptical. There are still 138 to go.

Instead of power and run production, the Reds’ front office wanted to build a team based on pitching, speed and defense. The pitching, especially the starters, have done what the Reds had hoped and probably even more. I’m glad, but I’m skeptical that they can keep it up.

There is some speed, especially with the addition of centerfielder Willie Taveras. I’m glad he’s in the outfield, but he has five stolen bases in 21 games or a pace of around 40 stolen bases. I’m glad he had a chance to steal that many bases, but he would be well below his total of 68 of last season.

As for defense, well, Adam Dunn’s replacements in left field are Chris Dickerson and Darnell McDonald. The Reds said they were giving up Dunn’s offensive power and production to improve the defense.

However, Dickerson and McDonald have combined for five errors already. As shaky as Dunn might have been, he had a total of seven last year.

Without Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr., the Reds offense is currently batting .242 as a team or the second worst in the league. The team ranks third worse in home runs with 18 and their 88 runs scored in the third lowest total.

As you can see, there are some things to be happy about but there are other things that are creating a lot of concern.

Fortunately, it’s still early so this is no time to push the panic button. After all, the Reds are in second place so you can be glad, maybe even start planning a trip or two to Great American Ball Park to see them play.

But they are the Reds, a team with eight straight losing seasons, so you can be skeptical, too.

It looks a like an emotional rollercoaster is ahead, so don’t get too excited or too depressed. Like I said, they are the Reds.

–– Sinatra ––

Jim Walker is sports editor of The Ironton Tribune.