"Our pitching has improved. Our defense has improved," Krivsky said. "Theoretically, maybe it doesn't take scoring that many runs, but obviously you still have to score runs to win. But if you pitch better and catch the ball better, it won't take as many runs to win a game."Just how will they score those runs? Expect small ball to be one avenue. Krivsky and Narron's philosophy of fundamental, team-oriented baseball was introduced last year with mixed results. While the Reds pitched better, the team was awful at situational hitting with an NL-worst .243 with runners in scoring position. Reds Spring Training opens when pitchers and catchers report Feb. 17 in Sarasota, Fla. As workouts begin, look for Narron and his coaches to drive home the importance of doing the little things to win. "That philosophy is there. It's what I believe in," Narron said. "We'll see if we can get it done and execute it." In recent years, the Reds were scoring a lot but sure weren't winning a lot. In 2005, they only won 73 games while leading the NL in home runs and runs scored. "Do the little things it takes to win ballgames, whether it's taking the extra base, being heads up on the bases to take advantage of a mistake, moving runners," Krivsky explained. "It's doing all those types of things that help win ballgames. You can't always depend on the three-run homer. We have to execute better than we did last year doing the little things." Krivsky was quick to point out that there is still plenty to like about the Reds' offense. It boasts power hitters Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr., still developing hitters like Phillips and Edwin Encarnacion and steady hitter Scott Hatteberg. Will the offense and improved pitching and defense be enough to give the Reds their first winning record since 2000 and first playoff berth since 1995? "We've got an offense if everybody stays healthy and avoids the injuries. I think we'll be fine," Krivsky said. "We need help just like everybody else. You need to keep regulars on the field and avoid injuries. That's always part of a successful season."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.