No one in the Queen City knew if they liked Edwin Encarnacion. One day you would love the guy who went 3-5 and hit an upper deck home run, but the next day you would be frustrated to death when he threw a ball into the dugout trying to throw to first. The fact is that Encarnacion was never a consistent ball player and in turn was not a good player for playing winning baseball. He did not consistently perform at a high level which is required to sustain success.
Certain players are just winners and EE wasn’t really one of them. Kevin Youkilis, Chipper Jones, Dustin Pedroia: they are winners. They play winning baseball and don’t make little mistakes that can end up costing their team a game. They demand perfection from themselves and in turn from their teams.
Scott Rolen will serve as a leader for a young lineup. The Reds have really only had veteran leadership in the bullpen this year and that has been the best part of the club. Reds pitchers can also sleep a little easier as Rolen will provide great defense behind them. Rolen was hitting .320 with 8 homers and is making 11 million this year and is due to make 11 million next year.
He has had some back problems in recent years. Walt Jocketty’s first question to Blue Jays GM Ricciardi was is he healthy and he was assured he was. Rolen will most likely hit 4th or maybe 5th in the Reds lineup. Go Reds
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So far in this young 2008 season, the Reds pitching has been nothing short of spectacular. Also over atleast the last five years, Reds fans have been saying that though the Reds have the hitting there pitching just isn’t good enough to contend.
So far this year, the opposite has occured. Harang, Volquez, and Cueto have been great as has the Reds fresh new bullpen. However, the Reds have not been hitting well. Edwin Encarnacion has been hot and cold. Dunn has not yet gotten it going, and others have only been average. Jeff Keppinger has been hitting well though, and I hope that the job will not just be handed to Alex Gonzalez when he gets back because Keppinger is a force at the plate. Also, Corey Patterson is looking like a steal as he has come out firing, and Paul Bako has done well so far while Valentin and Ross are banged up.
Dusty Baker has said that also the Reds need to do a better job when pinch hitting situations arise. The Reds have not been good so far in those situations whether it be Freel, Hopper, or Valentin coming in in those situations.
Reds fans, don’t worry though. No matter what anyone says, it is harder to hit in the beginning of the season because the ball does not carry as well. Once the weather is warm, everyone can expect the Reds to continue to be at the top of the league in home runs at the small Great American Ballpark.
The one hitter that the Reds need to produce the most is Edwin Encarnacion. It is essential that all parts of the lineup remain a threat. I am confident that the hitters at the top of the lineup will get their job done but can Encarnacion and others in the 6th, 7th, and 8th positions get it done? They need to. They need to keep the pressure on opposing pitchers and work into counts and Encarnacion must especially do his part. The Reds have the tools to win, but they need contributions from everyone. Edwin must start playing well because he has been in the bigs long enough to start producing and not be getting sent down. He’s got the talent. Get the job done!