Friday, July 31, 2009

Reds Cap Series With Loss, Grief Turns to Acceptance, Padres 7-4

A google images search revealed the following picture representing the term 'acceptance.' The Reds Rocket has finally reached that point; monkey petting a bird. It took a while but three out of four going to the Padres at home provides some indication that the team's postseason hopes may be limited. Limited until you remember the impending 30-game winning streak which begins tonight with Homer Bailey's best pal, Justin Lehr taking the hill for his first career big league start. Reds are still in this - empty out the farm system to get an aging Scott Rolen to play 3rd.

Cueto's start yesterday was not great. His last many starts have not been great. Though, his defense didn't help him out. In the 5th, Eddie, fresh off hitting into a rally killing double play, made a bad throw on a potential double play ball. Cueto then punished Encarnacion for his misplay by serving up a double to Chase Headley, drilling the next batter in the back, then three-run bomb to Venable. Thombo stated that Cueto 'looks unhappy leaving the field' after recording the final out. Six runs is about three-games worth, so the team wasn't having anything to do with that. Looks like Dusty's famous Hank Aaron speech failed to adequately fire the team up. After last night's game it was his semi-famous 'I know you guys hates me well I assure you that I would kill each and everyone of you in your sleep, if it weren't for this nagging arthritis in my left batting glove hand' speech. We'll see how the team responds against the Mountains tonight. My guess is big victory. Reds rebound, accept both bird and monkey.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Reds Say It's Okay To Stop Supporting Them Now, Padres 7-1

Last night the team made it pretty clear that Gapper is the only one out there who a Reds fan can feel good about supporting. Harang was awful and put up a solid one run on one hit. Nice job guys. Hopefully Dusty gave everyone his famous speech about Hank Aaron after the game. You know, the one where he tells everyone that he is personal friends with Hank Aaron. That always inspires.

So, looks as if the Reds are going to have to win today to earn a split with the Padres which is not what the Reds Rocket predicted coming into the series. Cueto is back on the mound but appears to have forgotten that early in the season he was reliable and effective. Also, it's probably the day for the second team offense to head out there which is going to be a major step down from the offense that we've been seeing for the last month or so.

In big other Reds-related news, Reds acquired Wladimir Balentien from the Mariners for Robert Manuel. Manuel you'll remember as the product acquired from the Mets for everyone's favorite sack of shit, Dave Williams. In addition to being named Wladimir, Balentien offers some plus power and a skill set popular on the current Reds roster, the ability to kill AAA pitching combined with being completely overmatched at the big league level. Wladimir was given the opening day job with the Mariners last year and was somewhere south of fantastic. He was given regular at bats this year and was putting up .213/.271/.355 numbers. Not too bad. He's going to stick around with the big club and strike out in a few big situations. Nice to meet you Wladimir. Enjoy yourself in Cincinnati.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Reds Don't Discriminate - Give Kevin Correia Same Treatment as Good Pitchers, Padres 3-2

Reds offense went back to staying in the yard and being relative quiet for game two in the series with the Priests. They managed only two runs and six hits, though one of those 6 hits hit the bag at first and wound up being the first of Craig Tatum's major league career. I had predicted that it would be another couple of months before he reached that milestone. Tatum and Jonny Gomes drove in the only two runs of the game. At least Eddie got a couple more knocks, and looks as if he me be emerging from underneath the slump where he'd found himself trapped for the last week or so. Good for you, now people will only complain about your poor defense at third. Not the Reds Rocket, of course, we think you're doing a fine job over there at the hot corner.

Arroyo wasn't all that bad in picking up his tenth loss of the season. He gave up a lot of hits but the game was tied when he left with one out in the seventh. Of course, he left the go ahead run over at 3rd but that's why you have hard-throwing relievers, to get a strike out. Or I suppose, just to get outs but in that case it would have been preferred for Masset to record a strike out as opposed to the fly ball which scored what ended up being the winning run. There's talk of Arroyo or Harang getting fitted for a new uniform. On mlbtraderumors, which I understand to be just a guy with no particular connections to anything other than what we can all read on the internet, should we have the time to look, Harang and Arroyo were characterized as 'second tier starter' akin to Jon Garland and Doug Davis. Implying that interest may be limited, especially due to the millions of dollars owed to both arms next season. So, the conclusion is that the Reds will likely get to keep both players which is good for those of us who like rock shows and also those who like quality starting pitching.

Reds rebound today and take the series. Count on it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Reds Give Winning a Try, Reds 6-4

The days that Jonny Gomes has some impact on the outcome are the days that searching for pictures to accompany posts are the most enjoyable. Disregard the Rays uniform and focus on Gomes involved in some sort on wrestling match i.e. donnybrook, where, instead of a singlet, he's wearing a cut-off jersy, jeans and sneakers. The guy laying on the mat was the victim of a double-axe handle.

Turns out Gomes can also hit a little bit. He went yard twice yesterday bringing his season total to 10. In limited play, Gomes is slugging over .600. If only he wasn't such a ligity-liability in the field with the range of a turtle and depth perception of a mule he'd really be helping out the team. Phillips got things started off correctly with a three-run bomb off starter Geer(?). The homer followed Votto getting tossed for arguing balls and strikes. That's the second time in about a month where Joey's taken personal offense to the call of an umpire and was polite enough to offer some constructive criticism. He'll be back today, screaming at the field umpires about their calls on the bases.

Eddie also went deep and Homeboy managed 7.1 innings of quality baseball. Had he not given up back to back bombs to Adrien Gonzalez and some guy who hits in front of Gonzalez in the Padres lineup, the start would have been even more impressive. But, with as poor as the Reds starters have been, nice to see someone make it out of the 5th. Coco hadn't pitched in about a month and showed it when Kevin Kouzmanoff went yard. Ordinarily that doesn't happen. Reds continue to sweep the Padres today to even things up for that series in May. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Reds Have NL Central Right Where They Want It, Cubs Sweep

Long weekend for the Reds, lots of no offense and relatively poor starting pitching. The Reds Rocket was pretty fired up when Harang hit the three-run jack Friday afternoon but increasingly less excited with each run he gave up to allow the Cubs to even the score and then pull ahead. That marked Papa Goulash's 11th. Not great for a quality arm. I am certain of one thing, I would hate to be one of his giant children when he comes home without a win for the twelfth consecutive attempt. Battle royale in the middle of the Harang family great room. They don't bother talking out problems, Harang settles things with his fists.

Saturday, Cueto had a bad opening frame then settled down before giving up the go-ahead run to Alfons, who appears to have acclimated himself to his new position in the lineup. According to the Cubs announcers yesterday, who cannot be trusted because they're liars and mentally unfit to be talking with others, said that Soriano is hitting nearly .400 in the six hole and .220-something everywhere else in the lineup. He just needed Fukudome hitting behind him in the lineup to get him started.

Yesterday, Votto homered in the 1st but, as he is the only source of offense, no one else did much of anything. Owings' shoulder stiffened up and he took from the 4th inning off but not before he gave up the 2nd run of the game which, of course, proved to be an insurmountable deficit. All in all, pretty rough stretch of games for the team that everyone likes. Jocketty is talking about improving the team, instead of dismantling, which is clearly the smart decision. All of these losses are necessary for the team to go on its 45-game win streak starting mid-August. Dusty knows its coming that's why he's not too concerned. He's also happy that now with Dickerson's injury he doesn't have to explain himself when he's running Willy out there every day. That's a huge load off his aging back. Taveras and his 15 stolen bases are the match that ignites the offense.

Reds get to play the Padres today which is a relief. Some guy named Geer on the hill today which equals Reds offensive explosion.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Manny's Bobbling Head Beats Reds, Dodgers 6-2

The Reds continued their conscientious objection to winning at Chavez Ravine last night. Though Arroyo's strong start, at least until you look at the boxscore, was a nice surprise, based on the starts from the Reds' other long arms. The Reds Rocket also approved of his postgame statements - deferring to Dusty's decision to go with Masset but at the same time saying it was wrong and that was why they lost. Everybody enjoy insubordination from time to time. Relaxes the clubhouse.

The team was offensively challenged again last night but at least Billingsly provides something of an excuse. He has pretty solid stuff. Fortunately, the Reds only have to see the Dodger, or more accurately, Ramirez, three more times this year in Cincinnati. Hopefully by that time they, the Dodgers, will have the West locked up and have nothing more for which to play. Manny killed the staff the entire series. Even after getting hit on the hand. Bailey will just have to hit him in the face next time. It's hard to swing the bat where the swelling covers up the eyes. Reds take a day to relax and recollect on their fine play today before starting up with the Cubs. Though their play has been quite poor, I imagine the non-believers were surprised that it took this long into the season to be 6 games under .500. That just means they'll have to win the next six, which I'm pretty sure they will. The Cubs bite.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Reds Bad, Dodgers 12-3

Reds continued with their promise never to win again in L.A., at least while Dusty is in charge. He refuses to budge on this issue. Bailey and his cowboy hat only last 2 and 2/3rd and was shelled. That is two pretty awful starts since the All-Star Break. Maybe Justin Lehr needs to come up and teach him another pitch, since he won't listen to Dick Pole. 'Shut you goddamned mouth Pole. I'm the one wearing the cowboy hat.'

It's hard to criticize the offense when your starter gives up 9, so I'll save that for tomorrow. When I turned the game on I hadn't seen the lineups and Hanigan was up, so I'd assumed Bailey was on deck. Turns out Hanigan and his 5 extra basehits were hitting in the 6 hole followed by Janish-Yanish and Rosales. If you have to hold Phillips out of the lineup, might as well get all of the other light-hitting members of the lineup in there. Some may question Dusty holding B. Phill out where the offense is already, well, shitty. The Reds Rocket is not one of those detractors. Dusty knows many things and nearly all of them are related to hustle. If you're hitting .193 and running after drawing a walk, you have a place in this lineup.

Reds try and pick a game out of the garbage can tonight before their trip to beat the hell out of the Cubs in Chicago. I am confident the string of strong Arroyo starts will continue today. Nothing but offspeed and 85 mph fastballs.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Reds Don't Like L.A. or Randy Newman, Dodgers 7-5

Things started out pretty good against the broken down remains of Jason Schmidt last night as the Reds put up 3 in the first. But Phillips wasn't in a big hurry to get to second on the ball Ethier lost and Owings gave the Dodgers four in their half and the team's brief lead was gone, never to return again. At least Micah was able to get through five so they didn't have to empty out the entire bullpen. The Reds Rocket stresses the positives.

According to the Reds official site, that was the tenth consecutive loss by the Reds at Dodger Stadium, which is quite poor. Most of the players, when asked, say that L.A. is preferable to Pittsburgh and don't know why they always lose. Dusty blames the lack of hustle from the ballboys and the clubhouse managers. For scoring five runs, which constitutes an 'outburst' under this year's qualifiers, the Reds only managed 6 hits, 3 by B. Phill. The Reds Rocket, however, remains optimistic and will enjoy the next two wins to take the series. Homeboy back to dominating today.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Reds Split, Hooray 5-3

The Reds managed a split of the four games with the Brewers when Jon Gomes took one out in the 8th with a man on the basepaths. That made the Reds big weiners and allowed them to hit the road with their pride intact.

The team looked less good on the opening night, with Bailey getting knocked around, and Saturday night when Harango struggled through a patch of snakes in the 4th. Arroyo was lights out Friday. Extending his scoreless innings streak to 500. Nice job Bronson. I forget how long the effective stretches last. Four or five games followed by four or five terrible starts, I think is the pattern. Jocketty the genius will have a better idea what to do with the apparent excess of starting pitching by the time the terrible starts begin again. The most viable option appears, once Volquez is healthy, to allow the 6 starters to have some sort of complex breakdancing knife fight. The gutted fish loses his spot in the rotation.

Reds travel out west to play baseball with the Dodger and get to see Jason Schmidt, who I vaguely remember from about 3 years ago. Last I'd heard he entered the witness protection program on an Amish community. He was learning how to put up barns. That must have resolved itself because he's back facing the Reds with pitching peripherals which are not representative of the pitcher from several years past. That's what the Dusty and team have been looking forward to seeing. Willy hasn't hit a ball out of the infield in two weeks but has got his average up near .250, Encarnacion's fresh off 7 consecutive hits, and Hanigan's back in the lineup hitting singles. Not that we won't miss Hernandez but this offense is, clearly, on the verge of being the best in baseball.

Keep up the good work team. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Coco Looks Like A Big Fat All-Star

As with the last seven years, since Mr. Selig decided that the All-Star game should be worth more than just a fun time, the Reds are going to have to go on the road to win the World Title. The NL All-Star failed to win, as was programmed to be repeated by McCarverbot on the seventh pitch of each inning, for the 13th year in a row. There was that tie, which is of note. Of note for being the worst All-Star game since 1969 when hippies were given free tickets and Hells Angels provided security. I think one of the Angels knocked out second baseman Marty Balin prior to the game. Just for being a douche. It was totally uncool.

Lincecum looked like a nervous derelict, rather than a hipster who has chosen not to conform to your rules encouraging gainful employment, yet remaining confident in his book of beat poetry. He gave up a couple but the NL's fired back taking a 3-2 lead. The AL scored two more and the NL didn't bother getting anyone on base until the 8th when Howard managed only a half swing with some runners on the bags.

But who cares about any of that, other than the outcome. Coco, the lone Reds rep, looked real good. Showing the American League what they've been missing. He didn't feel like throwing too many pitches, so made quick work of things. That's someone I'd like to hire to sign autographs at my next Flag Day party. Those who are also interested, feel free to visit the site from which I've stolen the post picture.

The Reds Rocket has been on vacation, so please forgive the lack of comment on the Reds series. We're in the process of hiring an intern for $0. The request, to date, has been met with great interest. They will provide content regarding the Reds' excellent play when Timmons and Tiffee are too busy or hungry to write a solid entry. As a brief recap, Reds played a depleted Mets team, Arroyo dominated game one, then the next two games resulted in moral victories which Dusty will use to build a solid second half of the season. They did not result in victories, in the traditional win/loss definition.

The nerds at Baseball Prospectus have officially fallen into the category of 'potential victim(s)' with their prediction that the Reds have the 10th worst chance of making the playoffs at 4.5%. Watch it boys. Ray Jay has a lot of time and a lot of anger. Don't let the one good hand mislead you. He's poison in the bottle.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Reds Decide Phillies Can Have Season Series, They Have Better Things to do Anyway, Phills 9-6

Things started out pretty good for the Reds yesterday, Owings was rolling and Encarnacion tripled and homered in his first two at bats. But Owings gave up two with two out in the 3rd and 4th, then four in the 5th. Marty called Utley's inside-the-parker 'the easiest he has seen in all of his years as a broadcaster.' Which is certainly something. Nice job Willy and Dickerson. Either way, the Reds leave town with a 1-3 record to start the road trip. The Phanatic was firing his extendable crank late into the morning. At least the Reds play the Mets now.

The offense really wasn't that bad last night. As stated, they gave Owings a 3-0 lead with Jamie Moyer on the hill. Phillips hit a bomb and Encarnacion appears to be fully recovered, though we'll have to see how he handles pitchers throwing harder than 45 miles per hours. His only two hits last night were off Moyer whose salad is world renowned. Bruce got the night off to 'get his shit together.' Probably no reason he should be playing as poorly as he is. But, despite the overall poor offense, except on nights where the team gives up at least 9 runs, help is on the way. The Reds have signed Kip Wells to a minor league deal. I'm pretty sure he will be able to help the team. He was just released by the Nationals, the worst team I've seen in quite a while.

Arroyo's turn is up again and his recent string of starts have been subtastic. I think it's the carpal tunnel. He can't play the guitar between innings, which is bad for team moral. They like hearing Jack Johnson covers and accoustic renditions of Number of the Beast. Helps to clear their head. Reds start off with a win this evening.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Yeah, I Gave up the Winning Run, Want to Fight About It, Phillies 3-2

Though Bailey was sharp again, the Reds offense seems to be work hard, as the season goes on, to get worse. They were pretty bad to begin with so, they're putting in the extra hours poking each other in the eyes and trying to see how far they can hit the ball during batting practice. "Look, I'm swinging with the bat upside down" Bruce said to teammates. In the 3rd, they had the bases loaded with one in and none out and that turned out to be their one inning. Bruce hit into a double play to end the inning. That was it for the offense.

As stated, Bailey was pretty good. He gave up 9 hits over 6 but only allowed the two runs. One on a Howard single, after a Votto misplay allowed Victorino, the run scorer, on base and then a Werth homer in the 6th. Masset looked like he may be on his way back to reliability. And Weathers even struck out John Mayberry Jr. with a couple on in the 8th but couldn't finish the 9th. Victorino is a real asshole. Fouling off 20 pitches to get on base in the 8th, then driving in the winner. I am going to vote for Mark Reynolds to go to the All-Star game out of spite. Certainly not based upon ability. Final game of the series tonight. Hopefully, the fans start throwing batteries at Phillies management. It's always a possibility.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Reds Play A Little Better, Win Even, 4-3

Reds started things off slowly yesterday, they weren't down 10-0 in the first, but 3-0 in the 3rd with based loaded and no out. But Harang was able to fight his way out of it with a series of powerful blows. Then the team decided not to give up any more runs the rest of the way. Nice job Reds.

B Phill was the offense until the 9th. He hit two bombs, one with a friend on first. In the 9th Razor Ramon got sawed off but powered a single into center scoring Votto with what turned out to be the game winner. All-Star Coco closed things down in usual fashion. Prior to the game, Marty and Cowboy discussed, among other things, two points, the 50 at bats or so since Ryan Howard had hit a bomb and the current slump that Phillips is/was in. So, today they need to focus their discussion on how long Willy Tavares has been shitty and it's been several months since they saw Jonny Gomes eat a burrito in the dugout. I would like to see both of those things.

Reds have two more with the Phills before heading to New York to beat on the Mets. Homeboy on the hill today, hopefully that splitter still works. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Reds Lose in Close One, Phillies 22-1

Nice outing by Cueto yesterday. He recorded two outs, before taking a seat on the bench with his team down 10-0 in the first inning. Granted, he only gave up 9 of the runs and only 7 when he left, so it's not all his fault. I'm pretty sure the Reds would have come back from 7-0, but 10-0 is a spirit-breaker.

ESPN said that this is the record-setting seventh time that the Reds have given up 10 in the first inning. Another record for the Reds, congratulations. I think that's probably more due to the fact that they've been around the longest, rather than they are historically bad. Everybody on the pitching staff, with the exception of the two rookies, was pretty bad yesterday. Herrera got pounded and Masset continues his downslide. What happened to that effective late-inning arm? Marty and Cowboy were calling blowout after Cueto walked Rollins to lead off the game. 'It's going to be a long game in this park if you're not going to throw strikes.' Turns out it was a pretty long game. At least Gomes' homer put them on the board.

Onto the positives, the Reds don't have to see Hamels again. He has treated the Reds with much disrespect since he came up with the Phills. I'm pretty sure I could pick up a win with a 12-run lead. So, he got the win but he didn't earn it and that has to hurt inside a little bit. Also, looks as if I was premature in congradulating Janish Yanish earlier this season for his first career appearance. He got in the game again and was just as awful. Fortunately he's a light-hitting shortstop, so he doesn't have to worry about doing anything other than throwing strikes. And he struck a man out. I don't know who because it's amazing how many things seems more interesting when the Reds are getting a historical beating.

I realize the picture above is basically Philadelphia getting beaten up by Mr. T. That is foreshadowing for today and tomorrow. Rock's going to be all bloodied-up.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Reds Determine It's Too Early to Make Push Towards Top of Division, Cards 10-1

Dusty has the troops lying back, one game under .500, like a team full of snakes lying in the tall grass. He wants to lull the rest of the division to sleep, so when they make their inevitable late season push towards the playoffs, teams won't be expecting it. A key element of this strategy was implemented yesterday. Rather than recall games one, where Bailey was dominant and a rare late inning implosion kept the Reds from victory, and two, where Owings demonstrated that he's not only a quality bat but can throw a little bit too, the Cardinals will recall the beating they laid on Arroyo yesterday. It's too bad that Arroyo had to take another one for the team but he's a team guy. He knows and understands the importance of following, unquestionably, the lead of skip. Yesterday will prove to be an important day over the course of the long season.

Since the Reds Rocket was shut down Friday, there was no write up about the finale with the Snakes. The Reds was quiet for the majority of the day making it look, to Diamondbacks supporters anyway, the Harang was on his way to another well-pitched loss. Sure, the Diamondbacks being generally terrible helped but the Reds showed a little bit of heart. Putting together a late rally off Snake "closer" Chad Qualls, then sending everyone home with a series victory in the 10th. Votto picked up four hits in an otherwise uneventful offensive showing. Nice job team.

Also over the weekend, we received word on the lone Reds All-Star representative, Coco Cordero. Coco really has had a nice season, especially when pitching with a lead. He has less interest when entering a tied game. His only blown save was the Nationals game where he was able to strong arm management into letting him return to the hill after a rain delay. Nice job Coco. Way to earn that closer's salary.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

You Don't Need to be Healthy to Beat Diamondbacks, Reds 1-0

Early on yesterday, Cueto demonstrated the wide array of grimaces and other showings of discomfort he has in his arsenal. The trainers were impressed and came out to check out his lower back. He did some stretches in the dugout, then dominated for the remainder of his 6 innings. Without the back pain, he might have been able to stick around for a while longer but the four early walks elevated his pitch count. Regardless, he took home win number eight and lowered his ERA. He is looking like a member of the All-Star team, along with Arroyo, Tavares and Dusty as honorary manager.

The offense was polite again last night, not wanted Jon Garland to feel any worse than he already does, being that he's Jon Garland. They only stuck him with one run in the 6th when Dickerson singled and Votto knocked him in with a rocket shot to left-center. A rocket-shot that took about 10 seconds to hit the grass in front of Chris Young. The offense loaded the bases in the 7th but didn't feel like getting any other runs in. 1-0 stings more anyway. The Diamondbacks can think about all of those chances they had to score, like with runners on second and third with one out in the 7th. For those of you unfamiliar with Ryan Roberts, the pinch hitter in that situation, he is exactly the guy you want up to bat in an important part of the game. Nice managing Hinch. It'll work out next time.

Yesterday we also saw the arrival of Drew Sutton. As my schedule features lots of "down time" in between brief flurries of moderate activity, I was able to attend numerous Arizona Fall League games. It's a hitters league but Sutton put up some huge numbers (.315/.426/.611). And while the Reds Rocket supported Jeff Keppinger and his ability to not strike out but, last year at least, not get all that many balls to drop, Sutton seems like a nice return. He plays lots of positions and was performing adequately in Louisville, so, there you go. Nice to see you Drew. Please offer your positive contributions. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Reds Lose to Small Venom-less Snakes, Arizona 6-2

Arroyo didn't have his grade-A salad last night, evidenced by, not only a two-out, two-run single to Mark Reynolds, which should never happen, but home runs to Miguel Montoya and the pitcher. Even though it was Haren's first career bomb, he's a pretty good athlete and swings it relatively well. Montoyo on the other hand, on a two strike hanger? That is unacceptable.

Tiffee'd been warning me not to jinx the Reds with my consistent calls for sweeps. But he doesn't know anything. The Reds Rocket is confident that regardless what I type the Reds will dominate the next two game. Jon Garland tonight? Give me a break. Bush League. Doug Davis on Wednesday is already looking forward to the big old loss hung next to his name in the box score. I am pretty sure the Snakes got all of the good play out of their systems last night. Haren isn't terrible and may be bordering on pretty good and the jokers in the offense will get back to their focused non-production.

Reds offense was quiet last night. No hits until Bruce knocked a single up the middle in the 5th. Then no runs until back to back doubles by Nix and Hernandez in the 7th. Not much else there offensively. But Dusty knows what he's doing. Tavaras' average, under the dedicated tutelage of toothpick, has that average back up to .237. Very impressive for your leadoff man. Bruce continues to alternate between good at bat and stupifyingly poor. Once he's at 70% good at bat, I think the offense will, as they say, turn a corner. The Reds, organizationally, are big on corners. Reds look better tonight. Hooray!