Reds fall, safety net

The Reds dropped a game to the Mets last night.  Mike Leake struggled big time in the beginning and the offense never recovered.  For the second straight night, the Reds offense was held to only 2 runs in the 9 innings. (they mustered the game winner in the 10th on Monday)

Mike Leake demonstrated what we saw from Mat Latos last weekend.  He looked like he was just a little too amped up for the big start.  While I’ve been saying all season that I would like to see a little more emotion from this team, I can say that I would like to see a little less on the mound.  This pitching staff has been spectacular all season long and in crucial times like this, they need to stay relaxed and do what they’ve done all season.  If Mat Latos is really going to start the first game in the post season, then let’s hope that he will reign it in and focus on being the Mat Latos that we all love.

The safety net for the Reds will be the wild card game.  Had they won every game this week and through the weekend, then they would have a chance at tying the Cardinals.  But with a Reds loss and another Cardinals win, 3 games is near impossible to overcome with only 4 to go.  The same goes for the Pirates sitting 2 back with 4 to go.  So it will be the Reds and Pirates squaring off for the wild card game with the winner moving on to face either Atlanta or St Louis.  But where will the game be held?  That seems to be the only unanswered question.

The Pirates come to town Friday and with the last 3 games of the season, they will face the Reds to determine who hosts the one game that really matters.  In a way, this whole thing is ridiculous.  These two teams face each other 10 games out of the last 13 in the season and that last one is the only one that truly matters.  Consider this:  One of these two teams could sweep this weekend and it wouldn’t matter because if they lose the WC game then their season is over.  Strange.  All three games are going to be viewed as “must win” this weekend, but if I am the skipper of this team, the more important thing here would be winning that last game, not making sure that I host.  The Reds have played well in Pittsburgh the last few seasons.  That doesn’t scare me to play in Pittsburgh as it would St Louis.  So as we enter the final series of the season on Friday, I hope to see this team win, but also set themselves up to win the most important game: the last one.

Who would you throw in the WC game if it were up to you?  The answer was tougher if someone asked 2 weeks ago.  Or 1 week ago.  It wasn’t clear if the Reds would be a part of that game or who their opponent might be.  So if someone asked before, it was a stupid question or a waste of your time.  But this morning, we can safely assume the most likely scenario.  I would like to see Homer Bailey get the ball if the game is in Pittsburgh.  He thrives against the Pirates and has no issue pitching on the road.  In a playoff atmosphere, I like Homer’s attitude much more than anyone else on the staff.  His hard headedness would shut out the pressure and the thousands of screaming fans.  It might be a little tough to do it now, but I would save Homer back, throw Reynolds this weekend and let Homer start the only game that matters: the last one.

Oh yeah that was tonight…

The Reds took 2 of 4 over the weekend against a last place team.  That said, it’s a little different than last year.  It’s not like they dropped 2 games to the 30 win Asstros or anything.  I expected the Brewers to take a game in this series.  But not the way that it happened.  I really hoped that the Reds offense would not get absolutely shut down as they were Saturday.  And Friday night’s loss hurt.  But Chapman didn’t look so hot coming out of the pen that night.

So now it’s time to move on.  The Reds are sitting 2.5 out on the division lead.  I am not going to discuss the Wild Card race because who cares.  At this point in the season I really don’t see one of these three teams absolutely diving into a tailspin at the same time the D-bags get hot.  So these are your wildcard winners and division winner.  Bank it. If you heard that they were 2.5 out today 2 weeks ago you would be thrilled.  So they are in the hunt.  And the Pirates and Cardinals have looked human.  So it’s not a bad spot to be.  But it’s time to win some games down the stretch.

Once or twice a summer, my ol’ lady gets tickets from work.  I was met with an email first thing this morning that we totally forgot about it and it’s tonight.  So I guess I will be headed down to enjoy Randall Delgado matching up against Bronson Arroyo.  Aside from a complete game shutout against the Padres, Delgado has been very hittable.  He gave the Reds 3 runs in 5 innings in his first start of the season taking the loss in June.

What’s the deal with Ryan Ludwick?  We wait all season for him to return to the team and when he finally does, Dusty wants to give him plenty of rest… Let the guy play, let him struggle a little and let him find his swing.  This is the first time I’ve scratched my head at Dusty’s lineup….today. The guy has been hitting the ball hard right at people.  I am hoping that he can get into form before October.

Do you want Johnny Cueto back?  Stupid question sure, but think about it as far as 2013 is concerned.  What happens when he comes back if so?  Could you really throw him back in the rotation and expect success?  If he rushes back from the injury again then he’ll have another setback.  For my peace of mind and wanting him to ace up this staff in 2014 I’d tell him to shut it down.

Different story with Sean Marshall.  The guy was supposed to be back already but had a setback.  That said, I want him in this bullpen.  What you’re seeing with the Pirates bullpen lately is fatigue.  Oh, and them totally losing their closer.  But fatigue can play a serious role as well.  It’s difficult for a bullpen to maintain effectiveness over a season.  So the reinforcements of Broxton and soon Marshall will really help this team.

Haven’t featured a video in a while.  Apparently this is advertising soccer or something.  Who gives a damn about that part but still entertaining.

 

 

Roll with the changes

The Reds wrapped up a sweep against the Cubs yesterday.  It was impressive.  And it makes us all happy.  But yet, it almost felt like it was easy.  Or that anything else would have been a disaster.  But that’s just how it has been with the Cubs this season.  The Reds moved their matchup record with the Windy City sissies to 13-3 on the year.  That’s an impressive record against a team with several young bats out to prove something and a couple of decent pitchers.  It becomes even more impressive when you realize the Cardinals are only 7-6 against that same team.

More big picture than this sweep is the mini run that the Reds have put together.  They have now won 7 of their last 8 games and are headed to Milwaukee (or milly-wau-kay as Alice Cooper will tell you) for 4 games against a last place team.  So this run SHOULD be improved upon.  Nothing less than 3 of 4 will be acceptable.  So is this the run that the Reds fans have been waiting for?  Let’s hope so.  It’s a welcome change.

Todd Frazier came up big yesterday clubbing a HR as the second hitter in the game.  The run was enough to stand up as Bronson was again phenomenal against a bad team. From Lance McAlister:

Bronson Arroyo Stats:
vs  Losing Teams:   14 GS,  10-2 with a 2.00 ERA.  Reds Record 12-2.
vs Winning Teams:  10 GS,   1-7 with a 5.72 ERA.  Reds Record  2-8.

This is just fine by me.  All this tells me is that Bronson isn’t my choice as the ace of the staff in the playoffs.  To me Mat Latos throws game 1.  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  Back to Todd Frazier.
A game like that with a pair of hits including a bombed HR ball will get you out of a slump and started.  But I am not so convinced just yet.  The HR was a first pitch get ahead meat ball.  Give me some ‘roids and a sammy sosa corked bat and I can hit that out….(ok maybe not still) My point is that I am still not convinced that the lackluster Todd Frazier is really gone. As much as I hope that I’m wrong about this, I think that Todd is going to continue to struggle through the end of this season and will leave the Reds wondering what to do about 3B in 2014.  Zack Cozart had a pair of hits.  But he is still pulling everything.
Don’t get me wrong here.  I am still on an emotional high with this Reds team.  The hitting issues are not that much of a concern as I said yesterday. This team has already formed their identity.  Now it’s time to just use who they are to their advantage and play their kind of game.

 

 

Follow the path

The Reds have slowly but surely found their way back to relevance in the NL Central race.  They have been taking advantage of a schedule that has featured a lot of sub .500 teams as well as stealing a pair of games from a first place Oakland team.

While the Pirates and the Cardinals beat up each other this week, the Reds have the chance to gain some ground.  With a win in these 3 days (including last night) the Reds will gain ground on someone.  They currently sit 3.5 back from Pittsburgh and 1.5 back from St Louis.  Some are hoping for a Cardinals sweep.  Others a split.  But who cares.  The fact remains that if the Reds are going to climb back on top in the Central, they are going to have to leap from both teams.  So as long as a loss is dished out in Busch stadium, I don’t care who it goes to.  As long as the W goes to the Reds in Wrigley we can all be happy.

The path is laid out for the Reds.  They will play 7 games against the last place Brewers sandwiched around a 4 game set with the Diamondbacks.  The Cardinals get 6 games against the Cubs and Brewers before a 4 game set against the Red hot Braves.  Oh, and those Cubs games are no pushover for the Cardinals.  They struggle against their rivals (7-6 this season).  The Pirates have some traveling to do.  They are finishing up a series in St Louis tomorrow.  Then they travel back home to face the Diamondbacks before flying out to SF for a 4 game set against the Giants.  We can only hope that they get a little jet lag.

We’re officially 119 games through the season.  There are 43 games left. (math skills right there!)  Does this Reds team surprise you anymore?  I believe that after 119 games, it’s safe to say that this team has found their identity.  It’s not perfect.  Everyone reading this has their own ideas to fix it.  But at least we know what to expect.  Joey Votto is going to be Joey Votto.  He’ll hit for strong average and people will still complain that he doesnt get enough RBIs.  But he still performs.  BP is having an off year with the average.  But his 2 strike hitting is unreal.  Jay Bruce has shocked me in that he doesn’t look like he is going to hit that cold streak.  Choo’s OBP in the leadoff role has been outstanding.  His defense has not been a factor unless you’re considering his cannon of an arm.  Their struggles have been with consistent hitting from the catchers, short stop, and third base.  Mesoraco and Hanigan have done better lately and their defense makes up for the bat.  Zack Cozart absolutely refuses to hit the ball the other way.  Someone pointed that out to me a month ago and I’ve been obsessing ever since.  Watch him hit.  Everything is pulled.  That opens the door to outside pitching eating you alive.  Todd Frazier continues to flail at anything thrown his direction.  I am more than a little concerned with his ability to hold down a starting job next year.  Love the guy.  Not his plate discipline.  And I wish Dusty would stop sandwiching the worst hitter on the team (whoever that might be that day) between the two guys with the best OBP in the league.  But that all said, this team is what they have been.  There’s no reason to be concerned about these spots or expect them to change.  The team is going to have to trot on with what they have and win games.

The only thing that WILL change is LF.  Ryan Ludwick is back.  I take that news with cautious excitement.  I am a little wary because Ludwick has not shown a consistent ability to hit.  He had a good season in 2012, but the previous 2 seasons he was a mess.  I am not sure how sitting out 100+ games in a season with a shoulder injury would really allow for him to come back and hit well.  I hope that I am surprised.  However when you consider the position that he will be taking over, I think that we can be a little excited.  The trio of Heisey, Paul and Robinson did the job in LF.  None of these guys are every day starters.  But they all pulled together and filled the position.  That’s all you can ask.  That being said, I think that Ludwick can improve on the spot immediately.  He will provide some home run pop in the 6 hole. He can be an RBI threat.  If nothing else, opposing pitchers will actually fear him when nobody is afraid of pitching to Chris Heisey.  See the lead off walk last night!

The Reds have a chance to pull this race for the Central tight again.  But they must keep doing what this team does to win games.  Solid starting pitching, shut down bullpen, and for the love of God push a couple runs across.

Follow me on twitter if you aren’t already!  @redsneck

I usually live tweet during the games.  I really love the online community of Reds fans that make game day that much more enjoyable.  Keep shooting me sarcastic tweets.  Lord knows that I send out enough of them myself!

What this team needs right now

The Reds lost 2 of 3 over the weekend to the Seattle Mariners.  They lost the opener to a struggling Milwaukee team.  It has been a frustrating team to keep up with starting about half way through June.

So what does this team need?  Pitching?  Hitting?  Depth?  Health?  Everything?

There has been a lot of talk about trade targets.  But more over, what this team needs is to get back on track with the way that 2013 started.  This team was winning games.  They were taking care of business.  Right now they aren’t doing that.  Something needs to change.  All the pieces seemed to be there.  Pitchers.  Hitters.  Excellent fielders.  And coaches!  But right now it’s not gelling.  So something needs to change.  Shake it up.

Fire Dusty.  This is a lot of Reds fans’ first reaction.  But sorry, it’s not realistic.  I disagree with a lot of what Dusty does.  Most notably his decisions with the lineup and to stick with the starter until he is so deep that it will take a 10-10 stretch to get back to the mendoza line. But firing Dusty isn’t the answer.  The guy has defined this team the last few seasons and it seems to be working.  So at least let this idea go until after the 2013 season.

Fire the hitting coach.  Brook Jacoby has been with this club for several seasons.  And the Reds have put up some good offensive numbers.  But they have struggled as of late.  Would firing Jacoby be the answer?  Lance McAlister seems to think so.  He wouldn’t stop talking about it last night on the pregame show.  But I would buy into this argument if and ONLY if you can provide me with a better alternative with immediate impact on this club.  I don’t know that there is anyone available like that out there right now.

Trades.  Try to improve the many areas that the Reds have struggled.  They need bullpen help.  But Jonathon Broxton and Sean Marshall are just a couple weeks away.  And the pen has done well lately.  So I think that the bullpen need will be answered in a few short weeks when the arms get healthy again.

Left field.  Ryan Ludwick will be back in a month, but he certainly wont be the Ryan Ludwick of the second half last season.  At least not immediately.  I wouldn’t put more faith in him than what we have right now in our platoon situation for a while.  But the same as the hitting coach situation, I don’t want to see a big trade unless the Reds can bring someone in that will make an IMMEDIATE impact.  So don’t bring me someone hitting .254 with 8HR.  That isn’t an impact.  We can get the average with good defense from Robinson.  We can get the power with the .254 average from Heisey.  We can get the lefty righty matchup with Xavier Paul.  Bring me someone who can hit and fill the #2 or #4 spot in the lineup.  John Fay mentioned going after Josh Willingham.  That sounds like a terrible idea.  He is going to be on the DL soon and won’t be ready to go until August at the earliest.  We already have one of those.  No thanks.

Short Stop.  Everyone has talked about Zack Cozart and how he doesn’t belong in the #2 hole.  So what if the Reds brought in someone who does?  They could bring in a hitter that has the average and the OBP to get on base in front of Votto.  Again, someone to make an immediate impact.  Someone like Michael Young.  Young is in the final year of his contract.  He makes 16 mill this season, but 10 of that is paid by the Texas Rangers.  The Philles aren’t on the hook for much of it, but they will certainly be sellers come deadline time.  The Reds could put together a package to bring in Michael Young as a rental player for the remainder of the 2013 season.  Zack Cozart will still get some playing time.  He’ll add depth to this team and the job is his in 2014 again.  Michael Young would be an impressive piece to add to this lineup and he would be remotely affordable.  The Reds will certainly have to give up some young talent for the rental, but adding Young to this team would make that immediate impact.  Young has not played at SS this season but was there for Texas in 2012.  His defense would be a step back from Cozart, but the offensive improvement would be worth the change (see Choo vs Stubbs)

What would you like the Reds to change first?

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More than a win

Nolan Ryan.

Homer accomplished something last night that puts his name along side some of the greatest pitchers ever in the game.  His 2nd no hitter came just 10 months after his first.  My son is less than 2 years old and he’s seen (sorta) Homer Bailey throw 2 no hitters.  That’s a crazy fact.

It all seems familiar.  This will refresh your memory.

I was fortunate enough to catch every pitch of his gem.  My wife of course suggested that I mow the grass, but my laziness benefited me.

Quick overview:  The guy was absolutely dominant with his fastball.  With 2 strikes I could tell you what was coming.  Earlier in the game it was the occasional splitter low and away to the lefthanders, but really all game long it was 95-97 on the black up and out.  I started getting nervous for him at the end of the 6th.  Even after the walk, knowing that the no hitter was still in play was enough to keep anyone on the edge of their seat. Homer was essentially his own closer last night.  Many guys would wear down after 100 pitches.  But into the 8th and then into the 9th, Homer’s fastball gained velocity.  He topped out at 97, but was consistently there for the last two innings blowing people away.  And when it came down to the final 3 outs, he stuck with the pitch that made his night.  The heater!  His fastball looked like Nolan Ryan’s last night.  He was blowing guys away.  The Giant’s bats weren’t exactly murderer’s row last night.  But retiring 27 batters without a hit against any major league club is a major accomplishment.  To do it twice is surreal.

I had to laugh when Bailey forgot where he was and dropped the F bomb to answer one of Jeff Picoro’s stupid questions.  But he was right.  He just fu**ing walked the guy.

About an hour later after the game went final, I started to realize that the Reds won that game too.  Not only was it a night for Homer, but it was another win for this Reds team that desperately needed a couple wins to start this home stand.  The win was timely as the Pirates and Cardinals both lost.  Something like this could be what the team needed to wake them up for a tear through the last 12 games of this first half.

 

Reds win the short one

The Reds beat up on the Giants in a 6 inning game last night.  Does that make you feel better after a long winter to think about how 2012 ended?  Not me.  It still hurt as I sat there watching fat @$$ Pablo man 3rd base and try to run in on a slow roller (several times) without success.  You can look at this Giants team of 2013 and wonder how in the world they were a championship team.  Shoot, how were they even contenders?

The scary thought that accompanies that one is the questions that circulate in your mind about your own team.  Are these Reds really the clear cut champion of this division?  Can they contend in October without a total collapse?

With 79 games remaining, the Reds are 11 games over .500.  That’s a record that would lead the NL west by 4.5 games and have them neck and neck in the NL East.  So while this team has hit a rough patch, they are still a winning team.

The question that hits you after a rough month of baseball is “How will this team respond?”  Will they come home for these 4 games against a struggling Giants team and wake up?  They have 10 games in a row here against teams with a losing record before closing out the first half in Atlanta.  This 14 game stretch before the All Star break will set the tone for the 2nd half.  We’ll either see a team that has struggled and fallen away from the competition or a team that is back in the midst of a pennant race.

Cueto is out again.  It’s becoming a reoccurring theme here and it’s getting old.  He is the
“ace of this staff.”  Tony Cingrani will likely replace him in the rotation.  While there is room for concern and realistically the big impact is the safety net is in use now with Cingrani being in the rotation.  But what about the “ace of the staff” being down?  Will that wear on a team?  Normally I would say yes.  But this team hasn’t really had a true “ace” on their staff since Cueto went down the first time.  He’s been back and has shown flashes of dominance.  But every time that he throws a pitch you have to worry if he’ll walk off the mound healthy.  An ace is someone who dominates and above all else is consistent.  Consistent with their performance and consistent with their bodies.  So the Reds don’t necessarily have an “ace” right now.  But that’s ok.  What they do have is 4 very capable pitchers who have shown an ability to stay healthy.  Mike Leake has had his problems, but has thrown the ball very well this season and has stayed healthy for the duration of his young career.  Mat Latos seems very strong and has done well.  After a shakey first few seasons, Homer Bailey looks like he’s made the turn.  He’s healthy and throwing well.  Bronson Arroyo has been an absolute God send for this franchise.  People don’t like him because he’ll surrender the long ball.  But I enjoy watching the opposing hitters shake their heads when they don’t understand why they can’t hit a 72mph spinner.  He’s the Ras Al Ghul of baseball. (Batman reference people)  He’s 36 and looks as strong as he was at 26.  In short, this team will be alright without Johnny Cueto on the staff for a while.  But what does concern me is that the safety net is gone.  They’re using it.

So is it time to panic?  Nah.  Let the folks on twitter do that when the Reds are losing 2-1 in the 2nd inning.  I would like to see the Reds take 10 of these next 14 games to get the positive vibe back before the break.  That will help some relax.

Trade talk

June is winding down.  Which means a few things:  The bad teams are slowly going to start to fall off.  The teams that are not the real deal.  This is the time when the Cleveland Indians and the Pittsburgh Pirates usually start to remember who they are and fall off.  Oh, and don’t leave out the Cincinnati Reds of the first decade of this century.

I don’t think that the Pirates will fade quite so quickly, but that’s for another discussion. I don’t care about them enough to post about the Pirates right now.

Rather, I prefer to jump headlong into this trade talk.  In the next month we’re going to see a few deals go on.  The Reds might jump in, they might not.  I want to put my 2 cents in there now because when I’m right about this I can link back to this posting and say “I told you so, I’m a genius.”

The Reds are looking for two things heading to the deadline:  relief help, and a LF who can make an impact right now.  Ludwick is coming back, but not until August, and even then he is not going to be ready to step in and bat 4th.

First there’s the big name that everyone is talking about.  Giancarlo Stanton.  Is he for sale or not?  The Marlins have sorta stepped up to say that he’s not for sale, but then again I think that their owner would sell you the shoes that he’s wearing even if he had to walk home barefoot.  Also that’s an effective way to drive up the price for something if you make it known that you’re not interested in a sale…  So Stanton IS for sale because everyone has their price.  But what is his price?  The guy has a cannon for an arm and a bat that could reach the scoreboard at GABP.  He’s also under team control for 4 years.  So it is going to take a minor league all star team to pry him from Miami.  Do the Reds have that left?  Maybe.  But Stanton is also hitting .250 this season and has demonstrated that he will have injury issues from time to time that might keep him from being that stable middle of the lineup guy.  So would he be worth a package of Billy Hamilton and Tony Cingrani?  Because that’s what it’d take.

So let’s just forget about Giancarlo Stanton.  Walt has shocked the world before, but I prefer to stay away from that bidding war.

There are several other names that would be possibilities.  The perfect storm of a trade rumor for the Reds is going to be a consistent hitting outfielder that will make an immediate impact.  Oh, and someone that has a short contract that is somewhat reasonable unless the other team will cover some of the salary.

Alfonso Soriano:  The Cubs have been shopping him hard in previous seasons and they have quieted down.  Part of that was due to lack of interest but the other part of this is that they’ve realized that they just need to live out this contract and keep him for the veteran presence.  He has another season on his contract after this year for roughly $18mill.  If the Cubs would pay for half of that, the Reds could consider the deal.  But the problem is that it would give them 2 left fielders for 2014.  The Cubs might not be so willing to cover part of the contract of a guy who would be swinging the bat against their club consistently.  So for that reason I think he’s out.

Andre Ethier:  The Dodgers are falling off big time and they might be interested in dishing Ethier and or Crawford.  Crawford has a hefty contract.  He’s out.  Ethier is a consistent hitter, but he’s another lefty and would not have an ability to play CF if needed.  I think that he would demand a lot of return so while it’s a possibility, I don’t see him in a Reds uniform this season.

Denard Span held Walt’s interest in the offseason and as far back as the trade deadline 2012.  But he’s hitting .250 and wouldn’t be a big improvement over who they have platooning now.  Who’s to say the Nationals don’t make a run here soon and they won’t sell either.  He’s out.

Now I have it narrowed down to two candidates that I haven’t heard a lot about.  I think that either one of these two gentlemen would be real potential matches for the Reds.

Alex Gordon (LF Royals): He has hit near .300 each of the last two seasons and sits at .288 for 2013.  He hit 51 doubles a year ago and provides a little pop with 6 HRs this season.  His career high was 23, 2 season ago.  The hangup for me is the contract.  He still has 2 seasons left on his deal with an option for 2016.  He’ll make $10mill next year and 12.5mill the year after.  The Reds could afford this depending on their contracts that they use to extend their current starting staff.  But is that enough?  Gordon could be the .290BA, 20HR guy for the Reds hitting 2nd in the order.

Alex Rios (White Sox):  This is my favorite candidate and might be more likely than people give the thought credit.  He is signed through next season slotted to make $12.5mill in 2014 with a club option for 2015.  He is hitting .284 this season with 11 bombs and he’s stolen 13 bases.  He hit .304 with 25 dingers in 2012.  He provides some pop and could hit 2nd or 4th with Phillips hitting in the other spot.  Another big bonus:  he’s played CF before.  He played 143 games in CF in 2011 before moving over to RF.  Shin Soo Choo leaves in 2014.  If Hamilton or Robinson is not ready to take over in CF, Rios could be that bridge to 2015.

So when the Reds make a big deal at the deadline for one of these guys, don’t be surprised.  Just nod your head and say, “Redsneck told me that this day would come.”

The Reds have a few trade chips.  Expect Chris Heisey to be part of a deal.  In the system we could see a Donald Lutz, Daniel Corcino, Neftali Soto, or Henry Rodriguez be part of a deal.  They have names to package, but what will it take?  The biggest trade chip that the Reds have right now is Tony Cingrani.  But I don’t think that he’s for sale.  Second biggest would be Billy Hamilton.  Is it so outlandish that the Reds trade away Hamilton?  For the right deal, you have to be willing to let talent walk away.

 

Reds outlast the Bucs

I ventured out to the game last night for the 4th time this season.  Impressed?  I didn’t think so.  But believe it or not, Redsneck hasn’t been invited down to the game with a press pass just yet.  So I’ve been financing my own tickets through hard work. (by which I mean showing up every day to job #1)  I took in the game with my brother last night.  It was good to hear the opinions of someone else who knows a little bit about baseball so that I could tell him why he was wrong…  jk!

There was an impressive 36 thousand in the stadium for the Wednesday night game.  It was an important night for the Reds given that a loss would put them back into 3rd place.  Bronson Arroyo faced a strong arm in Jeff Locke.  After 8 1/2 innings, the only run of the game came on a 2 out triple and then a hard hit ball off Arroyo’s foot.  They gave Arroyo an error on the play but that ball was hit hard enough that he didn’t have much chance to make the play.  I’m scoring that a hit if it’s me on the book.

In the bottom of the 9th I was explaining to my brother that I felt like the Reds don’t hit enough home runs considering the park that they play in.  30 seconds later Jay Bruce rocketed one into the seats in RF.  He made a great play on a ball in RF to take away what might have been a cheap HR by McCutchin a couple innings earlier.  That made 4 HR’s for Bruce in his last 6 games.  The guy is hot right now and he’s hitting the ball out of the park.

In the 6th inning my brother told me that this game was going to last 14 innings.  He was way off.  In the 13th Phillips bounced a single up the middle to win it.

Just because it was a night with my brother, I am going to entertain you Dusty haters out there.  When my brother mentioned his feelings that the game would last 14 innings, I didn’t think he was all that far off base.  The game had a feel of extra innings.  No runs were crossing the plate.  The pitching was strong and both bullpens were going to keep that up.  If the Reds could slide one across, the game would be tied and would certainly need more than 9 to decide it.  So why was Dusty going through his pitchers faster than chicken wings on 50 cent boneless night?  Cingrani, Simon, Chapman, LeCure, Parra all were used up through 13 innings.  I would have hated to see that game go any longer.  It would have been up to Parch to go 5 innings if that turned into one of those 18-20 inning games that we’ve seen around the league.

But!  It didn’t happen.  Instead the Reds sneaked out with a victory.  They get to go for 3 of 4 today and I hope that Dusty doesn’t use his B or C lineup to back up Homer.

Side note:  Why is Caesar Isturiz still on this roster?  If Hannahan can play middle infield (which I think he can on occasion) then Isturiz’s spot could be filled by someone who can hit over the Mendoza line.

I’ve sat in a tree stand enough to know how I would react if this happened to me

let’s just say that I wouldn’t be sitting there calmly hoping that the bear decided not to take a bite out of me.

Day game today!  That means twitter activity and something to take your mind off of the mindless “work” that you have to do otherwise.  Looking forward to following along with the comments.  Except you angry Reds fan guy…

 

 

Hangover Monday: Happy Papa

Happy Father’s Day Fellas!

I’ve been off my game for a short while.  Job #1 has been tearing me away a little too much.  I still get to enjoy my Red Legs, but I just don’t get to tell you about it.

First off:  the weekend series.  The Reds took 2 of 3 from the lowly Brew crew.  The scary part is that it took a walk off HR Friday night when they were down and they got HANDLED on Saturday, but the bottom line is that they won 2-3 on the weekend and Johnny Cueto is back and healthy.

The Cardinals actually dropped a game or two.  The Reds are only 2.5 back headed into a very important series against the Pirates.  I still don’t even feel like talking about the Cardinals.  This stems from a couple of things:  They are an unreal team right now, but mostly it’s just because it’s June.  Sure, the race is important, but I’m not counting games until August at the earliest.  And even then if it’s less than 10 games, I’ll be ok.  Still, aside from counting games, divisional games against teams in that race are important.  So it would be pretty sweet to see a 4 game sweep.

The Reds are entering a  tough stretch to their schedule.  Lots of winning teams on that schedule.  Personally, I am welcoming the tough schedule.  I want to see this team face some adversity.  Go out there and win games now against teams that might be there in October.

The lineup tonight looks very strong.

Choo, Robinson, Votto, Phillips, Bruce, Frazier, Cozart, Mesoraco

Derrick Robinson has been in the lineup a LOT lately.  For a guy that was only coming in to play defense late, he’s all of a sudden getting a lot of chances.  Of course you know that I love to see this.  Makes me think that he’s here to stay this season.  Heisey will be back soon and Lutz will likely be back to Louisville.  He can take with him the big league experience and therefore be ready to go when he’s back in September.  Robinson has hit near .300 this season and deserves to show us if he can keep that up.

Twitter still entertains me people.  Keep up the good work.  Except you, angry Reds fan.  Your constant negative outlook baffles me at times.  Every batter will not hit a HR and every pitcher won’t throw 3 strikeouts per inning.  Let it go, breath easy and look at the big picture.  I struggle between unfollowing you because of the negativity and keeping with it because I love to see horrible things from time to time.  If you’re not that guy, then thanks for making twitter a good place to spend a game if you’re not at the park!

I hope that they keep Tony Cingrani up here.  The guy is lights out right now.  I know that he’s still developing in Louisville, but the guy can help the team RIGHT NOW and the bullpen would welcome his arm.  Maybe if Broxton and Marshall come back strong they won’t need him.  But we can’t expect LeCure to handle the load on his own and I am not too sure about counting on JJ Hoover to shut the 8th down.  Another year this kid needs…

Well that’s it.  Back at it I suppose.  With luck we’ll see a 4 game sweep!