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Blundering Reds fire pitching coach, retain rest of staff

Oct 2, 2009, 6:06 PM EDT

Blame the pitching coach. That’s what the Reds did Friday when they announced that Dick Pole was being terminated while the rest of the coaching staff would return in 2010.
So, why Pole? The Reds have boasted above average pitching this year, with an ERA+ of 105. They rank seventh in the NL in ERA and eighth in the league in runs allowed despite playing in a ballpark that’s kind to hitters.
The offense, in comparison, has been brutal. The Reds have an 83 OPS+, barely ahead of the Giants at 82. The league’s next worst team comes it at 89. They rank 11th in runs scored anyway, but they’re closer to last place than they are to the Nationals in 10th. Only the Petco-deflated Padres have a worst average, and the Giants are the only team with a lower OBP.
So, I ask once again, why Pole? Bronson Arroyo, Johnny Cueto and Aaron Harang have all improved from 2008. Homer Bailey has also shown signs of progress. Nick Masset has gone from fringe property to middle-relief stud, and Daniel Ray Herrera has proven a bunch of people wrong by succeeding in a setup role. Pole can hardly be blamed for Edinson Volquez’s injury, and if he failed to turn Micah Owings around, well, maybe Owings just isn’t destined to make it as a starter. The only pitcher to take a big step back this year was setup man Jared Burton, and even he’s been much improved over the last two months.
Better if the Reds had just fired Dusty Baker. Pole would have been gone anyway, too, but at least the blame would have fallen where it belongs.

  1. Buns of Cinnamon - Oct 2, 2009 at 7:10 PM

    Pole’s been around long enough without putting together a quality staff. While you can’t justify keeping the rest of the staff, you can’t say Pole’s done enough to not take the blame, either.
    They’re all bad, especially the hitting coach. Make that “batting coach”, since most of the batters aren’t hitters.

  2. ecuhead - Oct 2, 2009 at 8:15 PM

    I thought the strongest part of the ‘Machine’ this year was their pitching; they couldn’t score runs even when they caught them from travel food. Their O was offensive. I know they’re young and ‘developing’ but the Reds pitched well enough to win this year. Pole is getting the shaft.

  3. Joey B - Oct 2, 2009 at 9:31 PM

    I don’t know that much about Pole, but I was impressed by Bailey’s development after I was just about writing him off.

  4. PaulyOH - Oct 3, 2009 at 1:58 AM

    According to the Dayton Daily News, several Reds pitchers had no confidence in Pole, and looked elsewhere when they needed help.
    As for Bailey, his improvement came after consulting an old coach or somebody like that down in Texas. I saw that somewhere a few weeks ago.
    Now if only the Reds could get rid of Dusty…

  5. skip - Oct 3, 2009 at 10:19 AM

    Reds are like the Pirates stuck in the yesteryears…

  6. dustystinks01 - Oct 3, 2009 at 7:03 PM

    This is an easy call. They fired Pole because they are planning on going after Dave Duncan. Bob Castellini had some stock in the Cardinals before he owned the Reds. He hired the Cards old GM and now they are going to pursue Duncan, who might be the best pitching coach there is.

  7. Robert - Oct 4, 2009 at 3:03 AM

    Duncan isn’t going anywhere where LaRussa isn’t.

  8. UB - Oct 4, 2009 at 11:42 AM

    I don’t know what hurts more.Knowing the Jays will never win again or seeing the once mighty Big Red Machine dwindle down to the little red wagon, full of nobodies.The Biggest hurt was seeing the Expo’s die.

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