The Great American Baseball Trip

Game 4

Cincinnati Reds vs. Montreal Expos

Tuesday, June 24, 1997 - 7:35pm

Olympic Stadium

Montreal, PQ CANADA

-----
Pre-Game Report
 This matchup pits one of the hottest teams in baseball against a team struggling as it falls from glory. The Expos have proven themselves to be a talented team with a brilliant manager, but they can't seem to distinguish themselves in their very strong division. Languishing in third place despite a recent string of inter-league victories, the Expos went into last weekend's series against the second-place Marlins with a chance to make some moves in the division. On the other hand, the Reds continue to be plagued by injuries including the recent loss of Barry Larkin, the team's leader and main source of power, and are slowly falling out of contention for the pennant they held not long ago. I expect the Expos to make quick work of the Reds.

Stadium Stats - Olympic Stadium

Surface: Astroturf
Capacity: 46,500
Dimensions: Left Field: 325 feet, Center Field: 404 feet, Right Field: 325 feet

baseball diamond image

Team Profiles
Red's Logo

Cincinnati Reds

 Last season, the Reds experienced first hand what cutting the payroll meant. Following the 1995 season, the Reds dispatched David Wells, Ron Gant, Benito Santiago, Mike Jackson and Mariano Duncan and finished the season out of first place for the first time since being assigned to the National League's Central Division.

 Now, with a payroll even lower than last season's, Manager Ray Night is charged with rebuilding this team, while depending on the few shining stars that remain. The Reds rotation, led by Pete Schourek, the 1995 Cy Young Award runner up, John Smiley and Dave Burba will give the Reds solid innings throughout the season. But, with Jose Rijo plagued by injury, the Reds are left without a proven fourth or fifth starter. Luckily, the bullpen is strong, including Jeff Brantley and newcomer Stan Belinda.

 The tough part will be getting the bullpen a lead late in the game. Cincinnati's bright spot continues to be Barry Larkin, the 1995 MVP and member of the 30/30 club (first shortstop in history). The Reds infield is strong defensively, but Hal Morris and Bret Boone have struggled at the plate and third baseman Terry Pendleton is past his prime. Reggie Sanders and Deion Sanders in the outfield, assuming they stay injury free, are sure to add flare and speed to the lineup, but are not enough to bring the Reds back to the promised land.

Expos Logo

Montreal Expos

 Felipe Alou remains the leader of the Expos following an offseason which saw the departure of many of Montreal's most talented players. Alou, whose .544 winning percentage is second among active major league managers, is so important to the team, GM Jim Beattie was heard saying "For us, keeping Felipe Alou is more important than keeping any one player."

 That certainly appears to be the case, because the offseason losses of pitcher Jeff Fassero and Moises Alou have hurt the team considerably. The staring rotation, now led by young phenom Carlos Perez, includes former Cubs right-hander Jim Bullinger and two bullpen caliber pitchers in Omar Daal and Rheal Cormier. To Alou's credit, he is a master at using his bullpen, and young closer Ugueth Urbina will give him something to work with in the closing moments of a game.

 The addition of catcher Chris Widger, a sparkplug from the Seattle Mariners who came over in the Fassero deal, brings impressive defensive skills but questionable offensive talent to the roster. Andy Stankewicz, Doug Strange, and David Segui, fill out the infield defensively but haven't been known for their impressive offensive production during their careers. The question will be whether or not the Expos outfield, led by Henry Rodriguez, but racked by injuries will produce enough to make Montreal a contender in their division. Facing stiff competition from the Atlanta Braves and Florida Marlins, it doesn't look like the Expose have enough talent to compete, but if anyone can unseat the division powerhouses, it is the Alou led Expos.

Post-Game Report
 The Expos helped celebrate Quebec's birthday by blowing a late lead to the Cincinnati Reds at Olympic Stadium in Montreal. Click here to get all the details.

Highlights from the City of Festivals

Menu Bar
baseball stuff * schedule * special events * MAIN PAGE * teams * conversation * feedback