Sunday, April 11, 2010
Cubs' Terrible Bullpen of Great Relief to Reds' Terrible Offense - Reds Take Two of Three
We'll start off with Friday. Bailey threw 150 pitches through 5 innings, giving up three. However, the bullpen, notably Micah Owings was above-average. And though the offense was impotent for 7+, new best friend Esmailing Caridad entered, walked some guys, misplayed a bunt, then gave up the first grand slam of Drew Stubbs' career. Final score, Reds 5, Cubs 4. Coco locked things down by giving up a huge bomb to Derek Lee. Nice job Drew. But nicer job Esmailin. Not revealing anything about later games in the series, hopefully we get to see Caridad a second time in the series.
Saturday was less positive. Harang ended up putting together a pretty good outing, 7 IP with just the 3 allowed but he gave back a 3-0 lead which was provided courtesy of Ryan Hanigan's double and a two-run bomb from B. Phill. The Cubs climbed back with bombs from Fukudome, who will assuredly perform much more poorly as the season progresses ("Oh, look at his hot start, maybe he is worth $10 million") and the already poor Fonz Soriano - Aaayyyyy. So, 3-3 in the 8th and Arty serves up a hanging slider to Jeff Baker. So, what you say? Well, as he will do approximately 5% of the time, Baker turned the mistake around and it traveled over the fence. Which awarded the Cubs 1 point, or "run" in baseball vernacular. Sadly, despite Jay Bruce putting a solid swing on a John Grabow garbage ball in the 8th which was snagged by Derek Lee (minor rationalization) the Reds lost.
On to today. We saw the first professional, ignoring fall and spring, start of Mike Leake and he not only looked sharp with his big-league Ryan Franklin beard, but threw the ball well enough. He had a little trouble with the strike zone, 7 walks over 6 and 2/3, but made quality pitches when necessary. He kept the Reds in the game even with no offense again. But, as outlined above, the Cubs are a poor team. In the 7th, after Rolen and Hernandez reached, Gomes lined one to left and Soriano at least hustled over but had skipped that refresher course on glove operation during the spring. Had he attended, he would have been aware of the requirement of squeezing the glove upon making contact with the ball. His fantastic play allowed Miguel Cairo to tie things up at 1. Skip to the 8th, Esmailin on the hill with the bases loaded. This time he, Esmailin, decided it wise to allow just one run at a time rather than allow a single swing to score multiple runs. He walked Hernandez with nowhere to put him, then Gomes his a sac fly giving the Reds their third run of the game. Masset is the winner and Coco locked down another big fat save.
So, here we are. Six games in and no starting pitcher with a win yet. I don't know if that's good or bad or neither but I'll lean toward neither because, for the most part, starters have been good but the offense has been not good. Hard to pick up a lot of wins when the strategy appears to be stay close and wait for the oppositions' bullpen to melt down. As is known, I don't question the strategy of master strategist Dusty.
Finally, today, prized Cuban Chapman made a start for Louisville. I did watch a 45 second recap as was kindly provided by the Reds' official site. Nothing unexpected, high 90's gas which is overmatching for the poor minor leaguers who had to face him. To make room for Leake, Francisco, who had a solid 0 for 4 with 4 strikeouts performance in his first start on Saturday, headed back down to Louisville. The team designated previously interesting Pedro Viola. This appears to indicate, as Viola was the mid-velocity left handed reliever, that there may be some role for Chapman in that role. Of course I am basing this on nothing. So, feel free to: 1) disregard; 2) agree; or 3) look at a picture of my duplex.
If you guessed that it's a grocery store turned meth lab, you're partially right. Let me know if you'd like to buy it.
Reds play the Fish tomorrow in their first road trip of the season. Seriously, let me know about the duplex.