Monday, December 6, 2010

Reds Rocket Finally Gets Around To Addressing Major Award

As is usually the case, Mr. Redleds twirled his over- sized, novelty mustache between his thumb and forefinger and looked deep into the future. What he determined was, not only he going to wrap a shirt around Mr. Mets' neck - tight - but that Votto would bring home the NL's Most Valuable Player Award. Not that such a predictions required great powers of prognostication, which is a fun word to both say and type. Joey Jo-Jo was the best offensive player in the National League this year, leading the NL in three key nerd categories: on-based percentage (.424), slugging percentage (.600) and the Reds Rocket's favorite, OPS+ (which, as everyone knows because they won't shut up about it, is OPS adjusted for ballpark and league).  For the non-nerds, he was also 3rd in the league in bombs (37) and RBIs (113), second in batting average (.324), stole 16 bases and played fine defense over at first. I'm not going to quantify the defense for you because the research staff lacks to time and interest to research anything else. Just take my word for it, he's solid over there. But everyone already knows all about this because it took me a month to write anything about it due to a short-term imprisonment and double shifts at the cracker factory. Regardless of my laziness we can all agree that Joey Votto is pretty sweet and deserves that decorative trophy on his mantle place, 'eh?

Now on to more contemporary topics. Reds signed the D-Train. According to Jocketty, the original idea is for him to pitch out of the pen to left-handed batters. The Reds Rocket likes his big leg kick and warm personality, so welcomes both him and the portion of his brain which used to know the strikezone and subsequently quit functioning. His signing may have some impact on how seriously the ballclub pursues Arty Rhodes and his sore feet. He'll get an opportunity in the spring and appears to be a big fan of Dusty. At least he can sit in the dugout and talk about Hank Aaron.

Bruce and Votto and arbitration eligibility. The Reds Rocket had the great fortune of participating in an arbitration regarding the non-payment for Reds Rocket services rendered. If the Reds Rocket is going to take the time to produce a Wilmy Tavares sleeping bag, you're going to pay up even if he's the worst player and person in baseball. So, we know all about the process and based on that knowledge the Reds Rocket determines that both players are entitled to be straight paid. That's what the arbitration statement says, Votto position - "straight paid." Bruce has at least expressed an interest in sticking around, for the right price. Votto doesn't appear to know how the game works - you say how much you love Cincinnati and want to stay forever but it's in the hands of management. Not, I don't care if it's one year or a million year, how can I comment if we haven't had any discussions? Honesty has no place in press releases.

The Reds also restructured Arroyo's contract. This give them a little flexibility this offseason to buy a leadoff hitter that no one wants. They threw in a few bucks, a new boat and an informal agreement that next time Jack Johnson's in town, Arroyo will get to drop by the hotel where all the groupies are waiting. "Was the Bronson Arroyo." "I heard he drives a boat." Both sides appeared pleased with the agreement.

Speculation: Speaking of leadoff hitter, it is the Reds Rocket's preference that the Reds pursue Jose Reyes. I know I will regret reading this when I'm staying up next year reading through the entire archive. Everyone likes Janish, he plays very strong defense and hits a little but Dusty wants a leadoff hitter. Janish can't lead off, he doesn't get on base and would probably be considered a base clogger, which, to Old Dustman, is the worst type of anything. So, the Reds give one of the young arms (Bailey, Wood, Leake), Alonso, and Francisco. Sure the Mets already have a first and third baseman but look how poorly run that organization is. They just want to get out of a little salary. Or, since Ramon Hernadez was resigned and Mesoracco was not good in the Fall League, he is perhaps available. You get one year of an exciting player, who seems to be aging quickly enough where the Mets have little interest in resigning him, plays fine defense and wouldn't be as immediately barf-inducing as the other candidates. Of course, he's owed $11 million, which is like a boat made of of pure gold would be worth to Arroyo. A lot. But, who really cares what I think anyway. I just want to put this down in case the Reds do or do not get him so I can appear smart at a later date (I know I'm not fooling any of you's).

Conclusion. So, that concludes the winter wrap-up. Have I mentioned to anyone that since I live in the desert I can still wear shorts this time of year? But I don't because then everyone would see my prosthetic foot and ask me about it. Yes, it is pneumatically powered allowing me to kick a football over the moon but its embarrassing to talk about it all the time. Enjoy the long, Reds-less winter.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Clockin' Lots of Dollars, We All Got Gold

Big day yesterday for the Reds defense as three of the position players will be wearing gold gloves on fat gold chains around their neck - B. Phill, Arroyo and Rolen. Rolen, perhaps, was a legacy pick but, number 8 is number 8. He's running out of space in his trophy room to keep all of gold-plated awards. He still has a little ways to go to catch Brooks Robinson at 16 defensive awards but I'm pretty sure he can catch Mike Schmidt and his 10.The award was Phill's second and the first for main man Bronson Arroyo.

So, for 2010 the Reds Rocket will ignore the arbitrariness of Gold Glove award, its complete disregard of most statistical analysis, and wholeheartedly support the system. When Reds are the winners of anything, it demonstrates that everything is working. With the notable exception of Bruce getting the shaft. That was gross error.

Arroyo plans to mount his on the front of his boat. Rolen is going to donate his to charity and Phill hasn't decided what to do with number 2. Probably just keep it under his hat just in case anyone wants to talk about Chase Utley being the best defensive second baseman in the league. "Oh really, I think the answer to that question lies under my weave cap."

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fall League Update

The picture to the right, as I'm sure that very few of you can tell because of my professional quality photo-journalism is some documentary evidence of the Reds Rockets' trip to the Arizona Fall League game yesterday. That's Kris Negron and Dave Sappelt, who hit 1-2 yesterday, preparing to put together some high-quality at bats in front of the crowd of nearly 750 people. The Reds Rocket, depending upon varying levels of laziness, which can occasionally be miscategorized as business, usually makes it out to the park (Scottsdale is the most convenient for me, then the Reds Rocket can hit the club) about 10 times per fall. The Reds squad visited Scottsdale yesterday, so I took a few photographs to pass along to everyone.

Just to give a bit of background, feel free to tune me out and pick up at the paragraph below if you're familiar with the league, the Fall League consists of 6 teams: Scottsdale Scorpions, Phoenix Desert Dogs, Mesa Solar Stars, Peoria Saguaros (large cacti), Peoria Javolina (large pig), and Surprise Rafters. The Reds, as well as some other teams I care less about, are on the Saguaros this year. The Reds, as I previously stated, are Sappelt, Negron, Devin Mesoraco, James Avery, Jeremy Horst, Phillipe Valiquette, and recent addition Daryl Thompson. Both games I've seen the Reds play Mesoraco, who I'm most interested in watching, has gotten the day off. Here's a photo of his work from yesterday:

 Looking good out there Devin. So, far this Fall, he's swinging it at a .268/.279/.463 clip with a bomb, 5 doubles and a solid 4 passed balls. That may not necessarily the defense the Reds are looking for in their starting catcher for next season and 1 walk in 42 plate appearances isn't ideal either.

The Reds' opposition, Scottsdale, features noted jabrony, Bryce Harper. Harper's on the "taxi squad", meaning he's only eligible to play Wednesdays and Saturdays. Being that yesterday was Saturday, that's where the extra 650 people came from. Here's a picture of his eye-black warming up:

And here's a picture following his first at-bat:

He hit a rocket to right and the right fielder didn't even move. Later in the game he was doubled off first, he'd singled, on a relatively routine floater to short.

So, there you go. It's like you were at the game with me. Only you didn't get to enjoy any of the clever commentary which undoubtedly accompanies a trip to the ballpark with the Reds Rocket. And, of course, Aaron Miles jerseys were everywhere - just like at any MLB ballpark.

Good to see you all again.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Big Money

Being the off-season, the Reds Rocket doesn't have much to talk about. Fortunately, guest contributor Andrew Perry has some wise information for the lot of you. And the Reds Rocket may or may not be running a little light this month and in need of some minor assistance in paying its astronomical heating bill. A blimp uses a lot of fuel. Take heed.

Betting on baseball may seem a bit daunting, especially for those who have only bet on football and
poker before or for those who have never bet on sports at all. Baseball betting doesn’t have to be intimidating as long as you have some idea of what you are doing. Here are the top baseball betting tips to get you started.

How to Bet on Baseball: Top Tip No. 1: Lean Towards the Money Line

If you bet on football, you’re probably used to betting with point spreads, where one team needs to win by a certain amount of points for a bet on that team to win. You can make similar bets using run spreads in baseball, but it can be a bit tricky. A superior team does not always translate into a big run differential, especially if the better team has very strong pitching or the weaker team has a bunch of sluggers who strike out a lot but can also hit home runs in the lineup. When starting out, you may want to stick with the odds-based money lines.

How to Bet on Baseball: Top Tip No. 2: Home Field Rules

Sure, the home team doesn’t win every time, and good teams know how to win on the road, but that doesn’t mean that playing at home doesn’t confer a serious advantage. Travel and the anticipation of more travel can take a lot out of a team, especially in a game that goes to extra innings. Don’t discard the value of getting charged up by the crowd or getting the last opportunity to hit either. Always consider home field advantage when betting.

How to Bet on Baseball: Top Tip No. 3: Knowledge Is Power

In almost any sports betting situation, in fact, in almost any betting situation, the more you know, the better your edge. There’s a lot of information to be had in a baseball game, from the records of the respective pitchers to the injury report to the kind of stadium it is and how well the respective players play in said stadium. Learn everything you can about the game before you bet.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Reds First Post Season in 15 Years Doesn't Go Quite According to Plan, Phills Sweep

It's hard for the Reds Rocket to pick their favorite part of the surprisingly brief three-game set with the Phills, you have Games 1 and 3 where the bats were completely dominated by Halladay and Hamels and then Game 2 where they got a few hits but followed the hits with a shit load (which is the technical term for more than 4 errors) of errors and the bullpen faltered. It's a tough choice. I suppose I'll take Game 2 as my favorite. At least the team made some solid contact. Bruce and Phillips went yard. If you look at the box score, you see a lot of sub .200 batting averages for the series (Votto .100, Rolen .091, Stubbs .111, Cabrera .125). i believe Cabrera and Rolen both had as many errors as hits. Traditionally, that's not the way to win in the playoffs, by getting no hits and fielding poorly. But the Reds have not been bound by tradition.

The pitching, putting aside Volquez's start, was pretty solid. Game 1 the relief gave the team a chance, were they have to picked up a couple of hits, to stay in the game. Same for Game 3, though Cueto was also quite good. But, in the end, the Phillies looked like they might be a little better team or, in the alternative, simply know how to behave in the playoffs. The Reds simply aren't used to any fans caring about what they do. That's a drastic change. At least the Phillies have to face Lincecum, Cain and a recently dominant Sanchez in trying to win 4 versus the Giants. So, we will see how their experience matches up against another team who also knows very little about the playoffs.

On a more positive note, Fall League ball starts today in Arizona. So, for people like me, that gives us another opportunity to watch the Reds rather than everything coming to an abrupt start. For people not like me, season's over, I guess. For the second year in a row the Reds will be members of the Peoria Saguaros. A saguaro is a large cactus, like what you'd expect to see Wiley Coyota fall on in the roadrunner cartoons. But, I don't need to tell you about cacti. The participating Reds are: James Avery (AA, P), Jeremy Horst (AAA, P), Devin Mesoraco (AAA, C), Chris Negron (AA, SS), Dave Sappelt (AAA, OF), and Phillip Valiquette (AAA, P).

So, that wraps it up. I will drop by whenever I have something that I feel someone may be interested in. Like, for example, the real reason the Reds looked so awful in Game 3.

They just couldn't listen to any more stories about Dave Conception. "I know he could glove it, just shut up already. I have a sore abdominal and have had a terrible series." Said Orlando Cabrera. He maybe didn't say the part about the terrible series.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Reds Have Total Systematic Meltdown, Still Plan to Take Series, Phills 7-4

I was looking for an image to accompany this post. I typed in both "baseball error" and "scoreboard image error", since the Reds made so many mistakes in the field I thought it was appropriate. There weren't any pictures that I wanted, however, the late Gary Coleman in a cowboy hat came up in both searches. I decided that though it was necessarily connected, I liked this picture better than one I would find with the Reds with the head in their gloves after their mighty meltdown Friday night.

Going into the bottom of the 5th, the Reds were up 4-0. Phillips quickly ended all talk of the Wednesday night no-hitter with a lead-off bomb, the first of the leadoff variety of his career, off Oswalt. A couple of Chase Utley errors and Bruce bomb inflated the lead. Then the defense broke down. The fielders, especially compared to years past, have been remarkably consistent this season - the Reds making the fewest errors in the National League. But unfortunately, they saved four of them up for Friday. Phill and Rolen erred in the  5th, giving the Phills a couple of gift runs. After Arroyo was yanked after walking Werth, Rhodes came in and got one out, then hit Carlos Ruiz in the knee with a pitch. So, Arty and his aching feet ("my dogs are barkin'") hit the showers. Ondrusek liked the reaction of Ruiz's HBP so much that he decided to do the same to Ben Francisco, nipping the bill of his hard hat. So, bases loaded, two-outs and Vicorino at the plate. Ondrusek made the wise decision of not even bothering to throw strikes, walking in a run to make it 4-3 with the inning finally ending on a grounder by Placido Polanco.

However, after the Reds offense did little in the top of 7, the errors resumed in the bottom. Chapman relieved Ondrusek and was throwing his usual gas. The inning began with Utley pretending to be hit with a pitch. Read his, Utley's, post-game statement about it, that ball didn't even graze his jersey. Chap struck out Howard. Wirth then grounded to Rolen, who went to second but his throw was late to get Utley. Then the a-hole operating the scoreboard gave Bruce an error on what turned out to be the go-ahead run on a ball that he lost in the lights. You never see that call. Sure, he  did not catch a ball that has caught 100 out of 100 times this season, but how is that different from losing the ball in the sun. Phillips did his best to see that Bruce got off the hook, by making an error of his own on the relay throw from Stubbs. Two runs scored and everyone in Cincinnati was very disappointed.

The Reds were so dejected that they decided not to light up Brad Lidge. They'll wait until a little later in the series to do that.

So, back in Cincinnati down 0-2. Dusty has Philly right where they want them. Nothing is as demoralizing as being on the verge of victory only to fall apart before attaining it. That's what the Reds have in mind. Cueto's been drinking green all god-damned day and is jacked up! No 2/3rds of an inning with 9 runs allowed like last season's trip to Philly.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

At Least That's A Game Everyone Will Remember, Phills 4-0

Though that probably wasn't the way that everyone on the Reds side of the ball wanted things to start. I'll do my best Tim McCarver impression "as good as Halladay was, that's just as not good that Edinson Volquez was." Eddie didn't make it out of the second, fortunately Travis Wood was ready and continued to dominate the Philly offense. Holding your opponent to 5 hits over the course of a game is pretty good. Nice job bullpen. Bill bray even got 4 outs. But, when you're not going to get any hits it's difficult to make up 4 runs. And the Reds were unable to do so. Also, they get to face Roy Oswalt next start and you know that they always hit him well. Speaking of Roy Oswalt, can you think of any other teams or professions where there are two Roys both employed. "No, I mean the other Roy." I picture Tyson chicken having a lot of Roys in there chicken slaughtering facility. But I've never been to a chicken slaughtering facility, so that opinion is unsupported.

I have a hard time believing that when the Reds get to game 4, which they will, Dusty's going to run Volquez out there again. But we'll have to see. Arroyo's dominance tomorrow night will make that consideration a lot more relevant. Dusty gave a toothpick-waiving rant following the game, so I think the team, especially the offense, will be all ready to go.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Eddie v. Doctor Halladay

As the very informed reader base is well aware, the Game 1 matchup presents a very interesting pair of arms - Edinson Volquez v. Roy Boy Halladay. As the readership is also likely aware, Halladay's real name is Harry Leroy which is probably the name that just about everyone had in mind for your first born son, or daughter. Well, now you can avoid it so as to not have your child labeled as a turncoat or charlatan. I would certainly call them a charlatan, regardless of the age difference between me and your presently unborn child.

Edinson's season has been a little up and down (which is shorthard for I don't really feel like breaking down the entire season) much like the rest of the Reds' rotation, but the ups have been coming with more frequency of late. And, this certainly isn't something unexpected for a guy who is a little over a year off of major arm surgery. Pretty soon no one is even going to remember Tommy John other than for the surgery. I only hope to someday have the cure for irritable bowel syndrome named after my bowels. 'Sir, I have some good news and some bad news - beginning with the bad, you will require major surgery to correct your chronically inflamed digestive track. The good news being that the procedure is named after the delightfully clever Tim Timmons, contributor to the exceptionally well-written Reds Rocket baseball blog.'

Wednesday's start will be Volquez's 13th of the season. His season numbers look a little, or a lot, like this: 4-3 with 62 innings pitched, 59 hits allowed, 6 bombs allowed, 35 walks and 67 k's. The strike out number is particularly impressive. However, he also leads the team in starts that I had to go find something else to do when he was loading the bases while trying to remember where the strike zone was located. Since his brief vacation in A ball (which followed a 2/3rds of an inning outing where he walked 3, gave up 5 hits and allowed 5 runs) he has been especially filthy. The starts, in chart format, are thus:

SEP 11 PIT 0 0 5.14 1 1 0 0 0 0 7.0 1 0 0 0 1 10 98-64 5-6
SEP 16 ARI 0 1 4.99 1 1 0 0 0 0 6.2 6 3 3 0 2 7 85-52 5-8
SEP 21 @MIL 1 0 4.45 1 1 0 0 0 0 8.0 3 1 1 0 4 6 108-67 16-0
SEP 28 HOU 0 0 4.31 1 1 0 0 0 0 6.0 7 2 2 0 1 8 104-73 5-3

Granted, he was facing a lot of garbage in those starts, particularly the Pirates and D-bags. But the Brewers and Astros were both playing reasonably well at the time and Volquez made the lineup look like they were filled with damn fools, which, of course they were.

Troubling is my recollection of Volquez's debut on a big stage, the 2008 All Star Game. He pitched an inning and his stuff looked great, he was touching 98, but also gave up the go-ahead runs. The playoffs are, obviously, a much bigger deal and he does have his magic weave and weave cap. So, the Reds Rocket is predicting few walks and an overall dominating performance making us all forget how awesome Josh Hamilton has been this year. Yeah, I agreed with you at the time too Krivsky. I thought the debilitating effects of crack would break down his joints just like it has done to his soul. Facing Eddie, will be the Cy Young favorite, Halladay. One thing is for sure, Harry is a total asshole. Though, underneath the asshole exterior is a pitcher who can be touched, under the right circumstances. I will direct everyone to Exhibit A, his June 30 start against the Cincinnatians. The Reds hung around and finally took the lead in the 8th on a Bruce bomb, resulting in a Reds victory. Sure Harry pitched the full game and was real good but he still took home the loss. So, he can think about that for a while. On July 10, Travis Wood had the misfortune of facing him after the loss and Halladay was a little better. Actually quite a bit better. Instead of the 4 runs he gave the Reds, he opted to allow 0, striking out 9 and throwing a 9 inning, non-complete game. Wood matched him, as he was perfect through 8 and allowed only 1 hit through 9. So, beaten again Halladay, even though the Phills eventually won in extras.

So, we have two pitchers, with equivalent stuff making their first playoff appearance. Harry Halladay with all of the Phillies heavy petting going on sure seems to have all the pressure placed upon his dominant ass. The Reds Rocket is confident that he will buckle under that pressure and hand over Game 1 to the Dustifarians. Consider yourself waned Philladelphian. Why can't us, indeed.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Two Hands Slapping Together Make a Very Nice Sound - Reds Conclude Regular Season 20 Games Over .500

The Reds put the pretty little bow on top of their very fine regular season today with a 3-2 win over the Brewers. The win capped another series victory (though there were fewer of them in September) with the Reds dropping Friday late, winning yesterday, after blowing a lead, and then, today, taking full advantage of a Brewers team that had given up a long time ago. The algorithms and protractors of the chief nerds at Prospectus predicted an 82-80 finish for the big red ballclub. That prediction was significantly more optimistic than other pre-season sources. So, much like the upcoming series, all the experts can roll their opinions up like a cigarette and smoke them.

Friday night we saw another fine performance by rookie wrong-hander Travis Wood. Since this is sort of a wrap up, I will even take the 30 seconds necessary to provide a couple of statistics for all of the eager visitors. Wood made 17 starts, won 5 and lost 4. For a guy whose velocity was severely lacking just two years ago, he showed a real ability to make major league hitter swing and miss once in a while, striking out 86 in 102 innings. He actually had one more strike out than hits allowed. He had very few bad outings, had several outstanding outings, like when he faced the Phillies and didn't allow a baserunner until the 8th. He likely has a spot reserved for him in next year's rotation.

On Friday, however, the bullpen tired of all of the praise afforded Wood. Ondrusek let the Brewers have the inherited runners and Sam LeCure was treated with his 5th loss of the season after facing one batter, walking him, and getting the loss. Tough break Sam, especially because that's likely the appearance you get to keep with you all offseason.

Saturday marked Homeboy Bailey's, likely, final start of the season. As happens more often than not, he threw a ton of pitches early, exited, and waited for an unreliable members of the bullpen (see Jordan Smith) to blow his lead. Smith took him up on the offer. However, that shouldn't take away from old Homeboy's performance. Sure he put a ton of runners on the basepaths but he also showed a nice ability to throw that leather ball past the wooden sticks of the stick wielders. He set a new career high with 10 k's over only 5 innings. Now, if he wasn't already at 120 pitches by that point in his outing, he would have had greater likelihood of controlling the whether he wins or loses. For the year, Homeboy made 19 starts totaling 109 innings. That's a little over 5 a start which is not great. However, that seems to be something that young power pitchers struggle with and, based upon my unsupported analysis, correctable. Compare Clayton Kershaw between this year and last. However, also look at Scott Kazmir who has never figured out how to overcome that problem. For the year, Homeboy struck out 100 over those 109 innings, trailing only Volquez (9.92) in k's per 9 at 8.26 for members of the starting rotation. He finished 4-3 with an ERA of 4.46.

Today we saw the final start of our giant friend Harang's Cincinnati Reds career. The start was a bummer, done in by a blister on one of his giant finger but at least they let him out of his cage to take a shot at evening up his record. As the Reds have many young arms and lack an extra $12 million to donate to his retirement, he's going to be wearing a new uniform next season. Bon voyage El Giganto. The Reds Rocket appreciates your refusal to conform to the rotational requirement of being terrible for years 2004-2007. 2008 and 2009 weren't great on the statistical sheet but I'm happy to make excuses for you. Injuries, for example and some questionable coaching decisions regarding the number of days you need in between appearances i.e. more than 2. In the end, Maloney appeared and got the win thanks to a Ray Jay Bruce bomb.

Series with the Phillies begins Wednesday with Volquez's weave taking the ball and the mound. Mr. Red Legs has an amusing story which involves a bottle of gin and the Phillie Phanatic's snout. He'll be happy to share it with everyone at the scheduled press conference tomorrow. I don't want to ruin things. The Reds have played the Phillies tough this season and we all know how much Brad Lidge loves handing over late inning victories to the opposition. Despite the Phillies' quality play of late, the Reds look forward to the shower of batteries that will be elicited from the crowd when the Reds go up 2-0 following Arroyo's start on Friday. The bats are ready, Ray Jay's been raking, Phillips' bat appears to be heading in the right direction and Rolen's aching bones have been resting for the last month or so. Everything is a go. Talk with you tomorrow. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Surprisingly the Reds JV Team Doesn't Generate a lot of Offense, A-holes 2-0

It was probably a sound managerial decision by Dusty to sit the regulars last night but sure did make for a disappointing game against one of the least effective pitchers in the big leagues, Nelson Figueroa. That guy is brutal. And I can't imagine that Cueto was real pleased with the decision. Probably made him want to kick someone in the head and make them retire from their job. Probably the guy at the deli who keeps giving him creamy coleslaw rather than the vinegar based. That shit is brutal.

So, we'll have to see what gets run out there tonight. It would still be nice if they could move up from that 3 seed because, based on my understanding, the divisional leaders get seeded 1, 2, 3 with the Wild Card being assigned 4. Right now it goes Philly, San Francisco, Reds, and Braves. Typically, it would go 1-4 and 2-3, however, if the Wild Card and best divisional team are in the same division, it goes 1-3 and 2-4. I'm sure everyone already knew all of this but it allows me to appear intelligent or at least not borderline retarded. So, Reds in Phillville, which of course they still dominate. But they would dominate even more in San Francisco. Maybe make them quit playing baseball all together, which is preferred.

I think the team gets back on track today. Arroyo is going for win number 17 which would look pretty nice, at least to old stats guy Jocketty and his goon Bavasi, when he's encouraging the Reds to pick up his $12 million option this offseason.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Bruuuuuucce! Reds In the Playoffs for the First Time in 15 Years

The fine people at Getty Images, in case there was any question as to who owned the above image, got a pretty good shot of Jay Bruce post-game winning swing last night. You can tell my the reaction of the fans behind him that there was little doubt about where that ball was heading. Old Ray Jay, who killed an earlier rally with a bases loaded double play, took the first pitch from Tim Byrdak, one of the tougher lefties, at least on other lefties, and deposited it over the center field wall for a walk-off, playoff-clinching home run. Pretty exciting Ray. Last time he hit a walk-off, you'll recall, he had to take a couple of weeks off with an abdominal issue brought on by the beating his teammates gave him, or something wholly unrelated. Hopefully that isn't the case this time, though he will have a few games to relax and recuperate.

The Reds Rocket's yearly prediction of the Reds winning the Central, though they did underachieve my prediction of 159-3, comes true. No surprise there. I think if you ask a consensus of sports-media they would agree that the Reds winning the division was a virtual certainty. Everyone knew this was the year the wheels fell off of the Cardinals broken down Winnebago. And the rest of the Central? Come on, get serious. So, the Reds get to play in October and not just those final two games against the Brewers. And Dusty Baker takes his third team to the playoffs. I'm sure that's also what everyone expected when he was hired. Not just a lot of stress on young arms, a preference towards useless veterans and an inability to comprehend statistics other than batting average and runs batted in. Big day for everyone.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Reds Continue to Take 'Er Easy on Way to Playoffs, Reds 12-2

The Reds exhibited no real urgency over the weekend in their last series with a realistic playoff contender. The Reds are already in, so were content to let Miguel Tejada pump his fist like he just bid correctly on a pair of surf boards on the Price is Right. He was fired up after Masset refused to throw strikes until he had to. However, you simply cannot walk David Eckstein ever. That's a free out. Regardless, the Reds dropped the first two games, big deal. Magic number is down to 1.

The Reds actually made some national news Friday with Chapman hitting 105 on the radar gun. That is pretty fast and doesn't seem like something that human arms should be able to do, especially with such a relaxed throwing motion. I was going to say he should be rewarded with a Cuban sandwich but do you think that Cubans actually like Cuban sandwiches or it's just an Americanized version of something local? Tough to say. When I get that interview scheduled with Aroldis, I'll have to remember to ask him. "What a scoop, Cubans do like Cuban sandwiches."

Yesterday the team looked quite a bit better. Bailey pitched well enough to earn his 4th win of the season and the offense took two games worth of frustration out of Clayton Richard. Votto did some yard work for the 37th time this year. I know Carlos Gonzalez's numbers are outstanding and Votto, because he hates all members of the media, is not very nice to interviewers but this should really be his MVP. Phillips also hit a bomb out of the 7 hole yesterday. Maybe he's starting to turn things around. He's had a tough month, how about giving him a couple of days off? Or maybe he wants to be in there ruining his stat line. Reds wrap the division up in a nice little package starting tomorrow. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Reds Play Pretty Well, However, Lose 13-1

Cueto likes to mix in at least one god awful start per season. Last night qualified, just barely. He gave up 8 runs in 2nd, which included a three-run bomb by Craig Counsell, which should never happen, and the Reds lost a tight one, 13-1. After Cueto exited after 1 1/3 we got to see converted reliever Aaron Harang make his second appearance of the season out of the pen. He was hit hard as well. So, maybe it was just the Brewers hot bats last night. Nobody has been able to hit Harang this season.

The Reds were actually ahead in this game when Bruce scored on a Gomes single in the 1st. But then 13 unanswered runs. Even with the loss, the Reds lowered their magic number because the Cardinals have completely given up. Good for those guys, though I see they're leading 9-1 today over the Pirates. I'm sure they'll find some more crappy teams to lose to before the season is over. The Reds should just sit out the rest of their games and see if the Cardinals can catch them when the Reds have already been guaranteed a loss. It would give the team a chance to sit and relax and I'm pretty sure the Cardinals can't win 6 out of 9.

Reds move on to San Diego to stamp out their playoff chances. Sorry Padres but Dusty would rather see San Francisco in the playoffs.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Reds Follow Volquez At Reasonable Pace to Victory, Reds 4-3

It is very rare that I can use a un-photoshopped photo to work into my title. But look at this, Volquez leading the lines of Reds running, just like last night how he was figuratively leading them to victory. Pretty, pretty clever. If you look close, you can even see Coco who tried to snatch the victory away from Edinson , despite his fine 8 innings. Nice try Coco but you're going to have to stay put on your 6 victories.

Volquez was lights out last night. Looks like he enjoyed his trip to A ball, or hated it and never wants to go back. Since his recall, he's received an honorary doctorate in filthology. The Brewers were no match for him last night, or more accurately, the Reds middle infield. Four double plays turned is pretty good. Once the Reds are officially in the post season, he is making a strong case to start Game 1.

The offense began with the bat of Jim Edmunds, who after going yard, promptly broke down again. He forgot to drink his ensure before the game which would have kept him active at this late stage in his life. Actually, according to the Reds' home site he may have torn his achilles rounding the bases in homer trot mode. I cannot think of very many other times that has happened. Perhaps some of the loyal readers can find a graphic of some sort regarding player injuries during home run trots. After Edmunds' bomb, it was a Rolen RBI single and Cairo double which capped the scoring. Big Frucking Nasty Todd Coffey entered in the 6th and struck out both Volquez, which is a major achievement, and Phillips with the bases loaded. B. Phill seemed to enjoy reuniting with his old gingery friend.

Magical number down to 4. Playoffs are getting pretty close. You Reds fans had better order your Dusty Baker commemorative tooth picks before supplies run out. Cueto dominates today. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Additionally, DevilsAdvocate was nice enough to answer my question I was too lazy to answer yesterday regarding the direction of Drew Stubbs' home runs. Please enjoy:

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Votto Can't Hang Around His Mama 'Cause He Scares Her, Reds 5-2

She of course scared of his powerful bat, not his explosive violent temper. He keeps that in check around family. Thanks to Joey Jo-Jo, Reds went home with a big ol' victory over the Brewers, which was nice because the team hasn't exactly being rolling teams over down the stretch. The Cardinals were shut out earlier in the day, they had the great misfortune of having to face Chris Volstead, who's lights out, so that had to lessen the pressure on the club somewhat. Or maybe they don't even know or care.

The Reds got on the board first, on Stubbs' 20th bomb of the season with a runner on board, to right field this time.  At the time I was trying to think if I have seen him hit a bomb that direction this season. I decided that I can't remember and it was giving me a headache thinking so hard. So, I will guess that that was the first one this season but who can be sure about these things. After that the offense went dormant. Homeboy, apparently not dizzy this time out, pitched a pretty nice ballgame. He went 6, allowed just the two runs and struck out 7. It's good to see a guy who touches 98 strike out a few batters. He usually shies away from the strikeouts. Must be that old Bull Durham mentality, doesn't want to take all of the glory from his teammates. Even with the strong performance, he was already back in the clubhouse thinking about killing deer by the time the Reds went back on top. With a runner on and three poor at bats preceding it (two strike outs looking, one GDP), Votto hit a bomb to left providing the advantage. Rolen followed it up with a bomb to right. That gives Votto 35 and Rolen 20. Remember when Rolen was leading the league in bombs? Actually, remember when he hit his last home run? It was about a month ago. I didn't remember until reading the recap.

Everyone goes home happy. The Brewers because they lost to such a high quality team and the Reds because they only need 6 more Cardinals' losses and then this whole thing is over. I think the Cards can handle that, irrespective of how the Reds play. Getting pretty close to playoff time. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Reds Still Feel Pretty Good About Their Lead, 6 Games with 12 Left, A-holes 4-3

The picture to the right, which Google was nice enough to provide, needs no explanation but I will attempt to provide one anyway. It is the first stack of pancakes to travel to, what appears to be Mars. Mars' is further from the sun, so that explains why the butter hasn't quite melted yet. The relevance of the photo is that yesterday the Reds wrapped up a series loss to a bunch of pancake astronauts.

The Reds were Wandied on Friday before they went buck wild on Saturday, dropping 11 runs on Astros pitching. Actually, now that I think about it, the team came back against Wandy, on a Gomes three-run bomb, but then Cueto allowed the tying run before his exit in the 6th and the Astronauts treated Chapman with much disrespect. They didn't even let him record an out, 3 hits and a walk and that was the difference. The Saturday victory provided Bronson Arroyo with enough run support to win his career high 16th game. He must have thought that there was no way that he'd ever win more than 15, having done it three times. And he'll have three more chances to add to that total. Then yesterday, the Reds had lots of chances against Brett Myers and his billy-goat beard but didn't capitalize. Wood allowed 3, 2 earned and struck out 5 over 6 and took home the loss. Boom, outta here. Votto was up with two on the 9th, but, somehow, Brandon Lyon, who is, to quote my favorite nerds, a replacement level pitcher, got Joey to pop out to shallow short. Votto had already picked up three hits in the game, so he was likely tired from all of that swinging.

The Cardinals took 2 of 3 from San Diego, who looks like they wouldn't mind letting the Rockies pass them for second place in the west, so the magic number stays at 8. Still, I think the Reds can muster 4 wins in the last 12 and I'm certain the Cardinals can manage 4 losses. The 4 wins start today versus Milwaukee. The Brewers are cool, they don't want to complicate things.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Reds Are Comfortable With Their Lead in the Central, Snakes 3-1

With a 8 game lead and a magic number at 10, the team just couldn't muster the effort necessary to beat a very bad team with an even worse starting pitcher on the mound. Volquez had one bad inning, the 5th, but looked pretty good otherwise. He kept lots of runners on base with intermittent bouts of wild-itis but his change looked pretty darn good. He's really been hitting the iron in the weight room, or the Pump Station as the team likes to refer to it. Is it too early for Dusty to start talking about his post season roster? He doesn't think so and adds Volquez to the list.

The offense wasted all of their effort yesterday, putting up just enough runs, 7, to keep Coco from ruining things for everyone. That was some catch by Bruce to end the game. That guy is big time. If he's not careful, the fans are going to get used to him raking and playing strong defense every day and, if he's proven anything, that's not really his cup of tea. Back to today, the Reds started the game off well with Stubbs singling and Gomes driving him in with a double off the glove of Chris Young. They had some more opportunities but didn't do much of anything with them. Phillips got a break today, with Janish-Yanish taking his spot and Rolen was nowhere to be found with a bit of the old arthritis keeping him firmly planted on the bench. That was good news for all of you Juan Francisco fans out there, which the Reds Rocket is lucky enough to be included within.

So, the teams leaves home for 9 on the road after series with Pittsburgh and Arizona with a very fine 4 and 3 record. Great job guys, way to keep that emotion high as you approach the playoffs. The Cardinals actually picked up a win today, so the lead is down to 7. Looks like I was a little premature in jumping off the Willie Bloomquist bandwagon. That guy is going to be an important cog in the Reds Machine as we approach the end of the season. Reds pound Wandy tomorrow. You're going to love it. Belated Reds! Reds! Reds! for yesterday's win.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Jay Bruce Is Back and Hates Barry Enright, Reds 7-2

After finishing getting emasculated in Colorado, the Reds returned home and, without any help from the bullpen, took 2 of 3. The 1 of 3 that went to the P-rats was thanks to a Coco meltdown, his second in two days, this time stripping a win from Cueto, who was dominant. The day before, Volquez was even better but went home with a no decision thanks to Masset's return to not being able to get people out. And Friday, Bailey was strong but Coco didn't think he was quite strong enough to deserve the win. So, he didn't get one.

The Reds Rocket apologizes for the even lazier performance than usual. The hot air balloon is currently hovering over the Grand Canyon and internet connectivity is limited, especially when the official Reds Rocket computer is about 15 years old.

On to today, Ray Jay reappeared from a strained side and hit two more bombs. That's 7 in his last 5 games. Granted it was "Don't Let the ERA Fool You" Barry Enright pitching this evening but that's still pretty impressive. Arroyo tied, for the third year in a row, his career high win number of 15. He still has about 5 more starts to set a new career high and only 2 and a 1/3 innings to get to 200 for the 6th year in a row. That's a pretty nice string for someone with the nickname Saturn Nuts. Or maybe that's not nearly enough years for someone with such an odd nickname. Reds win, Cardinals lose, magic number at 12. Getting closer Reds fans. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Finally, Reds acquire noted piece of garbage Willie Bloomquist for the second season of CSI Miami. Don't worry, Jocketty gave them his used copy. Of course the acquisition of anyone, piece of trash or not, required a roster move. The move was Enerio Del Rosario being DFA'd. Tough break Enerio but, apparently the team needed a guy who can play 8 positions, none of them well, and hit about .115 to maintain a 7 game lead for the next 20 games or so. No one has ever said Jocketty doesn't know what he's doing.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Apparently No One Likes Playing at Coors Field, Rockies 9-2

Reds dropped number 4 in a row as the Rockies beat up Arroyo, forcing him out after only a little over 4 innings. By the time he left, Bronson had given up 7 runs and 3 bombs. Not great but he's just saving his good stuff for the playoffs. He's developed a slower breaking pitch that he's not going to throw until the first round.

The offense, after getting out to an early lead on a Votto RBI single, did do a whole lot, other than ground into double plays. 4 in a game is pretty good. I will have to check the Reds record books to see how that ranks. Fortunately, two things occurred, the Cardinals remain unable to beat the Brewers and Travis Wood is pitching today. He's still jacked up after dominating the Cardinals and hitting a bomb in front of Ma and Pa. And he's been drinking green tea all morning. He'll be ready for that 3:10 start. Reds salvage a game and come back home to beat the hell out of the Snakes and Pirates.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Reds Continue Vacation From Winning, Rockies 4-3

Everyone needs a little break now and then. The Padres took an extended stay at the loser hotel, dropping 10 straight. The Reds thought it looked so nice that they'd give it a try. So, that's 3 straight and 4 out of 5 but at least the Cardinals can't beat the Brewers. At least the Rockies are still in the playoff chase, so there.

Cueto had a tough first three batters, then cooled out and settled into a nice little groove. His only other blemish was due to an E4, which doesn't happen very often and, in fact hadn't happened in 63 games. But that fourth run turned out to be the decider. The Stubbs and Gomes show just didn't have enough to get it done. The lesson the Reds pitchers should take from these first two games is don't pitch to Carlos Gonzalez. That guy can flat out rake. Make Seth Smith and Todd Helton beat you because they won't. So, that is how the team with proceed today with more positive results. Magic number of 20, I think I will add a ticker to the site. If, I'm not too busy. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Reds Take a Little Break from Being Unstoppable, Rocks 10-5

Reds dropped another series to the red bird assholes, but at least took a game this time. Travis Wood was the key, dominating for 7 and hitting his first major league bomb. That guy isn't a bad athlete. Maybe everyone from Arkansas is like that. His parents didn't look too surprised when he went deep.

Ma: 'Hoo boy, Travis just took ol' Wainwright out of the ball field.'
Pa: 'Aw, Ma we seen Travis do that daggum near a hundred times. Go see about getting something fried and something cold and frosty from that food stand."

That's exactly how they talk and you know it. Sandwiched into between the win were two losses. Arroyo pitched pretty well but the offense didn't get much going against Jaime on Friday. Homeboy had a lead in the 6th before he allowed a double to Jay, the management opted to walk Pujols, then Holliday made the game not-tied byway of a long fly to center. The Reds hate hitting against Carpenter, so Bailey was lucky to get the two runs he got.

Today, the offense jumped on Ubaldo, providing Harang with a brief 4-0 lead. Big Ugly followed up the receipt of his lead by walking the opposing pitcher, giving up a bunch of hits, then hitting the comically oversized showers. It just serves to further ostracize the giant man. There is some speculation that, and I'm sure that's all it is, that after a few bad rehab starts and a couple pretty bad major league starts (though he was only charged with the one run against the terrible Cubs) that maybe he doesn't need to be making any more starts down the stretch. They only have a 6 game lead after all. Volquez has apparently remembered how to hit the strike zone down in A, so perhaps he is interested in reappearing in a fancier uniform.

Reds bounce back tomorrow and take the rest of the games in Colorado. No way the NL Central lead gets any closer than 6 games.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Chapman Continues His Dominance of American Beisbol, Reds 6-1

The Reds fired up the broomobile again, taking the third and final game of the series with the Brewers. Tonight it was at the expense of Big Frucking Nasty who turned a 1-0 lead into a 6-1 deficit. Not too bad. He never did like pitching at GAB, which was a bit of an impediment while he was with the Reds.

Cueto pitched a strong 6, giving up a lone run on a single by the pitcher, Narveson. But, he didn't factor in the win as the offense was focused on getting Chapman's first W out of the way. After his dominating 7th, the offense 'sploded. Cairo tied things up with a double into the gap and Hanigan put the Reds up for good with a monster bomb to left. He letting his 5 homers do the speaking for him. Rolen wrapped up the scoring with a two run single to right. Just another night at the ballpark, Reds dominate.

The crowd appears to have adopted Chapman and his super human velocity. The Reds Rocket is relatively certain that he will continue to make all batters look foolish as the Reds trot towards the post season. Masset and Coco followed Chapman and both added scoreless innings. The bullpen is really taking form. Masset has returned to where he was last year, getting everybody out with that big, heavy fastball. So, looks like there is no reason for me to turn the game off after the starter exits and hope that when I turn it back on the bullpen will have not imploded. Everyone can watch, real relaxed-like.

Last big series of the season coming up in St. Louis starting on Friday. Even if the Reds are swept again, which seems pretty improbable, even with the lack of outfielders, the lead is still 5 with few games remaining. Arroyo gets another shot at Jaime Garcia tomorrow. Cardinals fans don't even need to bother showing up, your team has quit on you and LaRussa is already talking like he's ready to hit the road. Save yourself the disappointment. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Reds Don't Plan On Losing the Reds of the Season, Reds 8-4

Reds looked pretty solid again last night. Scoring 8 runs against a pretty good arm in Yovani Gallardo. Votto had two doubles knocking in runs and Gomes went yard. Harang gave up a ton of singles but was only charged with one run, with the other two scoring on a fine defensive play by Gomes in left, allowing Dickerson's single to skip by him, scoring Braun and Fielder. But, he's angry and hungry and should be ready to go in 5 days. The Reds Rocket continues to have faith in the big ugly guy.

All the offense last night was done with only three available outfielders: Gomes, Stubbs and Heisey. Bruce got slugged in the ribs last night during the post game chase and celebration, so he took the game off. Nix is on the DL and Edmonds may have to be put out to stud. And Cairo is suffering from osteoporosis. Fortunately, there are no other outfielders on the 40 man, so a roster move would have to be made to get somebody else up. Wait, that should read unfortunately. It would be nice to have someone else on the team who can chase down fly balls.

After Harang exited, LeCure and Bray filtered through (they both pitched well, Lecure earning his second win and first since his debut) Chapman entered the game to lots of flashbulbs or whatever you call the camera flash these days. He started at 98 but then pumped things up to 102 (or 103 if you believe Mark Sheldon). He looked pretty dominant out there, striking out the first batter of his career, then inducing two weak grounders. Aroldis has a lot of glamor shots and candid photos available on the web, so this one was a tough decision. The tank top/gold chain combination was probably the deciding factor. As his popularity grows, I look forward to more casually intense photographs available to me.

Reds sweep today. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Bruce Continues to Demonstrate New Ability to Hit Everything, Reds Win in Extras 5-4

The Reds walked off again tonight, with a nice win over the Brewers, who have actually been playing pretty well of late. Homeboy didn't pitch great but kept the team in it long enough for the offense to rebound and win on a Bruce single to left in the 12th. The team chased him around for a while and finally caught him and gave him a congratulatory beating.

The bullpen was more than satisfactory, throwing 4 scoreless innings with Coco picking up the win. The offense featured a leadoff bomb from Bruce and a tying double from Votto. Phillips scored the winner in the 12th, showing that he is also a very fine pinch runner, bruised paw and all. The big news out of Cincinnati is the impending call up of Chapman and his 140 mph fastball. That will be a big story, with Strasburg broken down and Joel Zumaya's body unable to do anything which involves throwing a baseball for more than a couple of weeks at a time. Rhodes, also, is rumored to be disintegrating, so it will be nice to have a lefty down there who is not Bill Bray. So, watch out Cincinnati and, while I'm on the subject, when is the concession stand going to start selling Cuban sandwiches. I like the pickle/swiss cheese combination. Reds! Reds! Reds!