Mark Neal

I am the Program Director at 1410 WING ESPN Radio in Dayton, Ohio...also host of Dayton Sports Scene weekdays from 4-6pm!  Find me on Twitter @ESPNMark!


Are they who we thought they were?

by Mark Neal posted Apr 1 2014 10:32AM
I don't want to be that guy. That guy who makes too much out of nothing. That guy who takes a small sample and makes it out to be everything...but I might just do that with the Cincinnati Reds following their 1-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals yesterday on Opening Day.

Let's set aside the fact it was the Cardinals...those hated Cardinals that run the NL Central seemingly year in, and year out. Set aside the fact that they were facing a former Cy Young Award winner in Adam Wainwright, a guy that can dominate any line up. It's not a loss to me, it is a loss that might be more than just a loss.

Most people felt if the Reds could stay healthy, they could once again go to the playoffs, and who knows, maybe even advance this year. Solid pitching was supposed to lead they way. They handed out good money, heck, great money, to Homer Bailey to keep him in the fold. They have Mat Latos, Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, and other solid arms in the bullpen with Aroldis Chapman locking it down in the 9th.

The concern was the offense. Shin Soo Choo took his talents to the Rangers, and with him a lot of times on base and runs. In for him, a very green Billy Hamilton. We all know he can run, but you can't steal first base. I asked him at the Reds Caravan if he felt ready for the pressure of being the lead off hitter for the Major League club this season...he looked at me like I was crazy!

"Of course I feel I'm ready...5 years in the Minors is a long time." he remarked back to me

It is a long time, only if you are ready. The amount of time is's whether you are ready or not that is the timetable, not length of time. Yesterday, he didn't look ready striking out all 4 times to the plate. Expect plenty of off speed pitches, Billy, because they are coming.

The rest of the offense worries people too. Votto is the one "on base" threat on the team, and he is expected to do more than walk and single due to his salary and importance to the team. Jay Bruce is a good player, and getting better each year, but consistency has been his demon all along. Frazier, Ludwick, Cozart, Mesoraco...someone needs to really hit in 2014 to win big.

It's just one game, but it was what we feared most...Great pitching, no home...on Opening Day in front of 43,000 fans at GABP. It's a race, not a sprint, but we saw what we feared all off season yesterday. Here is to hoping it turns around quickly.

Go Reds!
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04/01/2014 10:32AM
Are they who we thought they were?
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