Thursday, April 28, 2011

Reds Dominate a Bunch of Drunken Miswesterners, Reds 7-6

The Reds Rocket's endorsement of LeCure prior to yesterday's game was perhaps a bit misplaced but the Reds won anyway, so credit can be broadly spread around. Like manure. LeCure wasn't really terrible but did fail to hold a 4-0 lead in what was, in all likelihood, his last big league start for a while. Cueto is just about done getting shelled at AAA and who knows about Bailey. I'm sure if you asked him he would tell you he's been ready to go since January and the people running this circus are "idiots", though his comments to the media lately have been pretty benign. Pretty soon the Reds are back to the position everyone was talking about in the off-season, too much starting pitching. So far this season there has been plenty of starting pitching, just not much that's been very good.

The offense was better yesterday, as it tends to be against Gallardo. They jumped on him in the first making it all the way through the lineup and putting up four. The big hit was Votto's three-run bomb to left center. He hit that quite a ways. But then the down shifted and coasted for a few innings before they needed to score more runs. They put up 2 in the 6th, which Jordan Smith promptly returned. Then waited until extras to score again with Stubbs taking one over the wall in center for the game winner. With Votto's bomb in the first, he's gotten on base 25 games in a row. That's pretty solid, especially with how regularly the rest of the offense takes days off.

With the exception of Smith, the bullpen wasn't too bad at all. Bray continued his effectiveness, but wasn't helped out by a Renteria throwing error, though that throw didn't look all that bad. You've got to come off the bad Billy. Masset seems to recall that he's dominant. You don't see very many people make Ryan Braun take swings like that, especially lately. That boy's hot like an iron. After Ondrusek put a couple people on base, one, the 8th hitting catcher via walk, the other on a Craig Counsel rocket to short left center, Chapman came in and put the fire out. He hung around for the 9th and in doing so, picked up a relief win. He made Corey Hart look like an even bigger fool that he already looks like, by picking him off first. But Hart, I know he's fresh off the disabled list so he can let himself go a little bit, but it's as if he's made a conscious decision to look like a troll, one that has grown to great height. Maybe that would make him an ogre. Coco was also pretty good yesterday. That four hamburger diet, down from seven hamburgers last year is really working out.

So, Reds take the series and finish the road trip at an even .500. Not too bad. Now its time for the annual Cincinnati fish fry. That will be a lot of fun. Bring the kids. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Reds Agreement to Limit Hits to 2 Backfires, Lose 3-2

Leake pitched another fine ballgame, limiting the Brewers to two runs over 7, while striking out six and not walking a batter but the one hit allowed by new 8th inning man, Ondrusek, went over the fence providing the final margin. The offense, alternately between huge run totals and no production whatsoever, had two hits, one by the pitcher against some guy the Brewers pulled from the concession stand prior to the game, Marco Estrada. Phillips wins the gold star for offense, with a two-run bomb in the 3rd. Votto walked a couple of time but if that's in my brief synopsis that means it was a quiet night with the stick.

Fortunately, the Sam LeCure hits the hill today. Yovani Gallardo, though dominant, typically doesn't have much interest in limiting the Reds' production. So, the Reds plan to take the series and even up the road trip to 3-3.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Reds Know a Little About Beating the Brewers, Reds 9-5

With the recent string of subtastic play, the Reds returned to the place where victory is more or less assured - Milwaukee. For whatever reason, the Brew Crew has no idea what to do with Cincinnati. Narveson couldn't get anyone out, though it's a surprise that he can ever get anyone out, and the offense wasn't doing anything, at least until Arroyo was out of the game and the game was out of hand. Which is exactly how Dusty drew it up - "the key to victory, son, is both hitting and pitching better than the opposition." He drew some x's and o's on the chalk board just to drive the point home to the players.

The line-up was reorganized, Bruce bounced up to 2 and Phillips down to 4. Apparently, at least according to George Grande, there is some benefit to hitting in front of the reigning MVP. Bruce benefited today, hitting a bomb, in addition to a steal and a couple of runs. Phill and Stubbs each had 3 hits, Phillips had an RBI to go along with each hit. In fact all Janish-Yanish starters had a hit. Paul's still hitting .265, which is probably a little higher than he'll finish the season. So, it's okay to skip the hits that even the pitchers are picking up.

Leake hits the hill tomorrow as the Reds move toward taking the series. Aside from a general lack of knowledge regarding the rules of society, he's been adequate thus far. The Reds Rocket expects more adequacity tomorrow. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Reds Lose Two of Three To Fat Little Birds, Cardinals 3-0

All of the pictures of cardinals, the bird, on Google images featured a bird similar to the one to the right, plump, weighing down the branch its sitting on. Like they've been going to I-Hop every morning and getting a double helping of stuffed pancakes. Not being from that area of the country, maybe that's just what they look like but they don't seem very aerodynamic.

Friday, LaRussa and his deformed face outsmarted the Dustys, running Miguel Batista out there to throw 6 pitches before the game got postponed due to the rain, which had been pretty heavy. Apparently, the home team has the say as to whether or not they want to start a game, when it's raining, then once the first pitch is thrown, it's up to the umps. So, I'm sure that had Volquez focusing during his pregame warmup on the closed circuit camera and decided to start it. Or, maybe they told Dusty they were starting the game and don't use your starting pitcher up. Either way, when the clouds cleared Baloney appeared on the mound, with the beacons of light shining in his beard, and he was pretty unsound. So unsound that he earned a paid trip to Louisville after the game in favor of Carlos Fisher.

Saturday was a little better. With the Reds making their first of two weekend appearances on nationally televised games, they waited for Ryan Franklin to get going in the pen, as they don't ever hit Carpenter, and made their move. Cairo, who looks as if he's going to be getting some time for the next couple of weeks with Rolen's severe old-itis acting up again, delivered the go-ahead two-run single to left. Bruce walked with the bases loaded to tie things up prior to Cairo's at bat. And yesterday, ESPN showcased the Reds' inability to get anything going against Westbrook, which shouldn't happen. Didn't he have an ERA over 10.00 coming in? That combined with his underwhelming stuff should make for a lot of hits. It didn't. And, though Volquez got an inoculation for his 1st inning virus, he gave up Yadier Molina's only bomb of the season in the 6th and that provided the margin. It was hard not to notice because Orel and Valentine wouldn't shut up about it but the Cardinals have a couple of arms in the late-inning pen. Those guys were throwing smoke, though the Reds Rocket is still confident that Mitchell Boggs as closer will positively impact the Reds' season. And, of yeah, I saw something about a big-named player for the Cardinals limping down the first baseline late in the game. That should also benefit the Reds, depending upon the extent of the injury. Maybe it's nothing and Pujols was just tired of standing around in the rain. I know I would have been.

The Reds head to Mil-a-wauk-ee today for a set with the Brewers, who appear to be playing a little better than when they came to Cincinnati. Braun and Fielder are both hitting about .600. But, as we've seen the last couple of year, the Brewers don't really like to beat the Reds. So, this series should have a positive outcome. The Reds Rocket looks forward to it.

Friday, April 22, 2011

How About This Subject Line - Reds, Leake, Steal Final Game of Series, 7-4

While you're all taking in my cleverness in the title (which is probably the catch line of just about every other blog posting and, obviously, the Reds didn't steal anything, as they are the far superior team) that's not a bad-looking shirt but $20 seems a little high. That's, apparently, what Cardinals fans plan on wearing this weekend, though they're not going to see Leake. I suppose he'll be hanging around the dugout, so, if they're lucky maybe the ones close by can yell something clever at him. It had better be pretty good though, as he's close to the tunnel to the locker room, they're not going to get many shots at it.

Speaking of Leake, the Reds Rocket is working on its segues, after refusing to break to streak of first inning runs allowed to the opposition, he was pretty solid. He went 7 and allowed just three runs to improve to 3-0 on the season. Arroyo is wondering what the deal is, he pitched just as well and the offense was facing Ian Kennedy, not Daniel Hudson, and they didn't bother to get him any runs. Though, Hudson did most of the heavy lifting in the 1st when he could find the strike zone. Votto went deep and he, Philips and Hernandez had three hits apiece. And for those of you keeping track, Jonny Gomes' walk total is up to 16, though his OPS dropping under 1.000 for the first time in a while (.996). Jay Bruce even got on base twice to get his OBS over .300. Now that's worthy $50 million over the next 7 years. We're just kidding Jay, I'm pretty sure you'll figure it out and stop striking out every other at bat.

Aside from Leake, Ondrusek threw a scoreless 8th and Coco did his best to make a four-run game interesting. He allowed a bomb to Steve Drew and then brought the tying run to the plate but fortunately the potential tying run was in the form of Russell Branyon. That's not going to get it done. Now the team is ready to go and beat on the small red birds that live a couple of towns over. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Reds Continue to Amaze and Confound, Snakes 3-1

After having a little trouble with location to start the game and, as a consequence, ending up in a 2-0 hole, Arroyo settled in a pitched a fine ball game. He went a shade under 7, struck out 8 and allowed just the 5 hits. At one point he sat down 15 straight and struck out 7 of 10. That's some high-grade salad. Unfortunately, four of the hits he allowed were doubles, the last of which to Ryan Robert, who, the Reds cannot get out. This is simply astounding because every other team and pitcher in the majors gets him out as if that is his role for the Diamondbacks, out factory. And the double by Willie Bloomquist also hurt. I looked up his stats the other day - in  his, Bloomquist's, last season with the Mariners, he had 46 hits and only one was for extra bases. That's right, 45 singles and 1 double for a slugging percentage of .285. His batting average was .279, so, I guess I don't have a point other than I don't care for Willie Bloomquist because his baseball skills are lacking. He could be a perfectly fine human being, unlike Ryan Roberts who has no redeeming characteristics.

As with Roberts, the Reds seem to be the only team who can't figure out Ian Kennedy. That's two very solid pitching performances against the Reds (both wins) for a pitcher who had a 6.88 ERA entering the game. Votto doubled in Stubbs for the only run of the game. The Reds did welcome Jeremy Hermida to the team. He got a start in left and, not wanting to show up the regulars, went a solid 0 for 4 with two ks. The bullpen was good again with Chapman and Coco Cordero, who hasn't pitched in about 10 days, throwing a scoreless 2 and 2/3rds.

So, the goal today for Sticky Fingers Leake is to make it out of the 1st inning without giving up any runs. That has been a recent problem for every member of the rotation. The Reds Rocket is confident he will do so and the Reds will finish the season series with Arizona a solid 2 and 4.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

At Least These are Very Good Teams the Reds are Losing To, D-bags 5-4

Reds didn't look great again last night but, even with four out of five losses to the Pirates and Snakes, are tied for the NL Central lead with the Brewers, who I thought gave up after the first, heartbreaking, game of the year. Of all of the teams the Reds have played (Brewers, Astros, Snakes, Padres and Pirates) how many do you think will have greater than 70 wins at the conclusion of the season? The Reds Rocket thinks probably all five. These are very good teams and the Reds are lucky to have them out of the way early in the year.

I hate to assign blame for losses but I'm pretty sure last night the Reds were undone by substitute radio man Jim Kelch. Sure, Marty hates the Reds like 75% of the time "in all my years in broadcasting, you just have to agree that this is hands-down the most despicable bunch of low-lifes ever to assemble a baseball team." But Kelch is exhausting. "LeCure into the wind up. Hands in glove, glove over his head. Red sleeves hanging slightly below his uniform (loud groan from the crowd in the background) back on his right leg and then down again on his left, ball's released and the Ryan Roberts touches home after hitting his second home run of the day." The action is already occurred before he even considers telling you what just happened. Speaking of Ryan Roberts or, as I've heard him described, Jesse Pinkman, the methhead from Breaking Bad, he is, in fact, a very poor ball player. Fringe-level major league talent, even. But he sure has been chewing up the Reds. After last night's performance which included two bombs and a stolen base, he has now hit three bombs this season against the Reds. His first, you may recall, was the final game of the Reds' series in Arizona when Leake was in the process of blowing his five-run lead. He pumped his fist then got a commemorative tattoo of him pumping his fist. Apparently Leake wasn't the only one who has trouble getting him out. LeCure's mustache had the same problems last night, which is too bad, I like Sam and with Cueto and Homeboy on the mend, apparently, there may not be too many slots on the roster left for him. I guess it depends on what the Reds decide to do with Leake. Looks as if they're sticking with him for now, he's making the start Thursday. Certainly no reason not to and if will give the fans something creative to do with their time. Maybe they can throw price tags at him. Though, even before the (alleged) sneak-thievery, his spot in the rotation was tenuous.

Finally, to last night's game. Phillips returned to the line-up which was bad news for all of you Miguel Cairo fans out there, and I know there are many He had a couple of hits, including a double. Stubbs hit a bomb and stole a base. Gomes hit a double and stole a base. And that sums up the offense. Four hits against Armando Galaraga (I know he pitched one good game in his career last year) and five total is probably not enough, even against the Snakes and their generally crappiness. The bullpen, Bray and Ondrusek, were strong, so that's good. I'll have to take back all of the Bill Bray jokes as he's been excellent. 7.1 innings over 9 games, 8 Ks and no runs allowed. That's solid. And he wears high socks and has a funny delivery. Lots to like there. Reds turn things around today with Arroyo hitting the hill.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Heightened Expectations Can Prove Problematic, Pirates 9-3

I'm sure that it's all part of Dusty's grand plan but the Reds didn't close out the series at home with the Pirates on a particularly strong note. First innings struggles are spreading throughout the rotation like malaria, as Wood gave up 3 in the first and the offense wasn't able to get much going against the Pirates big off-season acquisition, Kevin Correia. The clubhouse staff is going to have to do something about that swamp in Volquez's locker, as the mosquitos have bred and are buzzing around the locker room. It only takes a small amount of flood to transmit the plague of poor starting pitching.

Also, in related news not particularly good for the Reds, Mike Leake, apparently dissatisfied with making the meager $400,000+ which represents the MLB league minimum, allegedly of course, lifted a few shirts from Macy's. He, of course, was removing the price tags and putting them in his pocket for the ease of the cashier. If you present them all at once it saves time for both the clerk and the customer. And then, once you have the items at home, you don't have to spend time taking all of the tags off. Or, the more likely conclusion, there is some sort of misunderstanding at the Cincinnati Macy's. Members of professional teams are allowed to take a certain amount of items, free of charge mind you, in exchange for the joy they provide to the populous (*I mean "populace" as opposed to the adjective Firefox forgot to advise me against using). Two wins for a starting pitcher is worth like $75 in merchandise. So, Leake was actually a little under his allotment. We'll let the lawyers sort it out. Though his, Leake's, public statement (apologizing for the distraction) didn't really sound like a plea of innocence.

But, now to more important things like hammering the Diamondbacks for the next three days. Everyone, after losing 3 of 4 to the Buccos, is ready to go. So, looks like they have the Snakes right where they want them. Tough break for the Arizonans but that's the way of nature, cruel but necessary.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Reds Happy to Disappoint Home Crowd, Pirates 7-6

The Reds surprised everyone with a poor showing this weekend at home versus the Pirates. At least they have one more tomorrow. Sure, they have a couple of young players who could add up to not the worst team in baseball in a couple of years but, that's still a couple of years from now. I liked Charlie Morton a lot better when his sinker didn't sink and he had an ERA at about 10 runs a game. He looked pretty good Friday. And, as Tim McCarver would say, as good as Morton was good that's as bad as Arroyo was bad. But, he's allowed a poor start every now and again. Especially when he works so hard to hit 88 on the radar gun that Dusty doesn't care about. It's not a consideration.

Saturday was better. The Reds hit a bunch of bombs - two by Gomes and one with the bases loaded by Hernandez. Leake was fine, picked up his second win of the season. Much better performance than his last try in Arizona. But, today was back to disappointment. Volquez didn't get a quality answer to why he's so bad in the 1st inning and until someone comes up with one, he's going to continue to be awful for the first frame. The Pirates made it through the order and the first two batters, which may remind you of opening day, McCutcheon and Tabata went deep back to back. He walked three, one with the bases loaded, and closed up the frame by allowing 4. The offense rebounded, again, giving him the lead in the 6th. But Garrett Jones, who I didn't even think made the team, took one into the opposite field fan box. After another Reds rally, Ondrusek picked up his first career loss with an error and then a two out hit. Tough break, especially with all of those runners on the Reds' bases. That seemed to be an important part of last season's wins compared to previous seasons' losses, hits with runners on base. There just weren't quite enough today. That will happen when you face a quality team like the Pirates.

The Reds plan a severe beating tomorrow, which should be a lot more fun. Maybe Phillips tweaked groin will allow him back into the game, though that Miguel Cairo bomb today was pretty sweet. There's a lot of the tweaked groin around. I suppose that's just the life of a professional athlete.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Bullpen's a Minor Issue, Reds Fall Short of Sweep - Pads 3-2

The Reds Rocket was making its high speed return from Guthrie, Oklahoma last night, so didn't get to write about about the latest in a line of minor late inning meltdowns spearheaded by one Nick Masset. It's like he's leading a revolt. At least I'm spelling it with just the one 't' now. Maybe that was the problem, typographical errors.

Wood was rock solid through 6 and 2/3rds, giving up just the one run, which came at the tail end of his game. He loaded the bases, allowed a ball sack fly, then gave way to Jordan Smith who put out the fire, as they say. Wood's line featured 5 k's over the course of recording 20 outs, 3 walks and just 5 hits to a very powerful Padres offense which utilized, not only consistently underwhelming Cameron Maybin leading off, but Jason Bartlett in the two hole and Rob Johnson behind the plate. Johnson can flat out rake but is from Butte, Montana so will be happy to beat anyone's ass just for not having red hair. There's a large Irish population in Butte which, interestingly, is currently experiencing a potato famine. Johnson, for the record, does not have red hair but that's the basis of that mean streak. Anyway, back to the ball game. Chapman had a couple of issues in the 8th, namely a walk and throwing error. He ended up erasing the erred runner with a nice play on a bunt but Masset made sure that runner on 1st made his way around. Then opted for the same course of action in the 9th, allowing Orlando Hudson to beat him. But, with the two wins in San Diego, that evens up the road trip, which is not too bad. Especially with the level of competition. I think Arizona and the Priests can combine to lose 180 games this year. You have to have goals.

The offense was quiet, so I'll gloss over them. It's a method of motivation. And they will need that additional motivation against Pittsburgh against whom Dusty has already guaranteed a sweep or he'll let Lyle Overbay marry his daughter. Lyle is a cool name but doesn't isn't interested in a singles-hitting first baseman coming over for the annual Dusty Day brunch every August 29th. Fortunately, Pittsburgh has generously offered to be horrible again this year, to the benefit of all teams in the Central. Reds looks forward to my pirate references following significant victories.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

San Diego is a Nice Town for Beating on Priests, Reds 8-2

After completing their time in Arizona, the Reds made their lone journey to San Diego beginning Monday. Volquez, who, apparently, doesn't do anything other than watch re-runs of Perfect Strangers to warm up before games, was shaky in the 1st again. He gave up a couple of runs but it turned out that's all he gave them. He hit the bricks following the 6th with a sore big toe, which seems important, though I have read little mention of it. Anyway, the cowardly Padres did nothing the rest of the game, and though Mat Latos (whose parents shopped at the same "reduced price due to moderate imperfection" name store as Jonny Gomes - "Hmmm, you're saying that 'Mat' is half price. I suppose the second 't' is decorative anyway") was strong, he was not strong enough. Gomes hit a bomb, numero three, and Heisey gave the team the lead with a two-run variety. That was all the team needed, especially since Masset didn't pitch that day. Coco, who has been receiving warm compliments from everyone, shut things down.

Though, there was more excitement second verse, same as the first. LeCure was even stronger than Volquez, going 6, striking out 8 and allowing just the one hit. He was generating a lot of movement and, thus, generating a lot of swings and misses. Which is positive. That moustache continues to impress. He looks like he could be fit in, assuming he wears his throwback basketball jersey (Adrian Dantley anyone?), some tight jeans, a pair of fans, in Portland running some sort of free trade bakery or bicycle repair. Portland, as the song goes, is where young people go to retire. Sam fits the profile. But, until then, he's welcome in the rotation with everyone other than Nick Masset. Masset, in his third ineffective outing in a row, gave away the lead in the 8th. I'm sure everyone remembers these problems from last year, where he had to fight all season to get that ERA down. Looks like he enjoyed the challenge and is going to do it again this year as there certainly don't appear to be any problems other than location. He's throwing just as hard and his breaking stuff looks to be snapping, at least from the perspective of my couch, observing with my untrained eye. Bryan Price plans to utilize his post game hot tub invitation regimen to work him out of the funk. "Nick, I said put on your swim suit and get in the hot tub!" Anyway, the team, as opposed to Sunday in Arizona, bailed him out. Phillips made a fine play with the bare hand to save the go-ahead in the 8th and then the team 'sploded in the 11th. Hanigan knocked in Gomes for the lead. Renteria and Heisey followed with RBI singles and Stubbs sent everyone towards the exits with a three-run bomb to center. When he isn't swinging and missing at everything, Stubbs is a nice guy to have around.

The team heads towards the sweep in about a half hour. They prefer day games so then they can catch the prime time line-up on the plane home. Dusty never misses America's Next Top Model and who can blame him. That's a talented group of gals. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Reds Trip to Arizona Less Great Than Expected, Snakes 10-8

Things didn't start or end well for the Reds in Arizona battling a team that featured Willie Bloomquist leading off (and being not totally ineffective) even when the person he was replacing, which provided the lone basis for being in the lineup (an injured Steve Drew), returned to the lineup. Despite the additional, unnecessary, Bloomquist, the Reds refused to take the free outs and handed over a couple of games. Sure it was the first road trip of the year and Arizona's first home stand where the fans aren't quite resigned to being 40 games under .500 but Masset should probably be able to record a couple of outs in the 8th. And Leake and Wood, wha' happened? The excuse, according to Leake, is that the Diamondbacks are just too terrible to consider a threat. So, he turned a five-run lead into a one-run deficit. Granted, most of those 5 runs were gifts by way of Joe Saunders' inability to find the strike zone. But, Ryan Roberts' tattoos are even embarrassed to be seen on Ryan Roberts. That's some pretty good shtick, the Reds Rocket is going to have to remember this post. Jake the Snake should make it pretty easy. That's a nice-looking snake.

Focusing on game two, which featured some nice Arroyo pitching and a late game meltdown (complete with error by pitcher leading to additional runs and outs) that was all right. So, we'll focus on that. Nice win over an overmatched team. Votto, also, deserves some additional recognition for having a fine series. And Jonny Gomes now has about 15 walks and added a bomb to his tally. I recall some rumblings in Cincinnati over low batting average from a few years ago when a big, donkey-like creature was roaming left field, so, Jonny, as I know you read this, might want to consider getting that batting average up, if you care about the fan-bases' opinion of you. Phills' still swinging a hot bat, Renteria had more hits today, so once the pitching situation is straightened out, should be a-okay. A few less strike outs from the young outfielders from Texas would also be requested. But these are all just on the Reds Rocket's wishlist, feel free to disregard or we'll just be spoiled. Just like that Stones song where Mick says something about a memo from Turner, whoever that was. Padres suffer the unparalleled rage of the Reds tomorrow. They have been warned accordingly.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Reds Lose? Astros 3-2

Prior to launching into my analysis of the Reds' surprising first loss of the season, the Reds Rocket wishes to thank the good people at Getty Images, as we do every season, for allowing us to borrow a couple of your fine images for use in this blog. I'm sure that Getty has better things to do than shake down an organization whose only assets are two cats and a half box of Cheez-its but your agreement to ignore the possible copyright, we won't say infringement, how about copyright sharing is always appreciated. The image to the left is one of the many glamor shots of Nick Massett available on the website. I think he was going for both relaxed and intense at the same time and I'll tell you what - it worked. Of course, the only reason a relief pitcher gets a picture prominently featured is, the vast majority of the time, because they were shitty in the subject game. Massett wasn't necessarily shitty but he did surrender the game winner to some guy, Matt Downs, I wasn't even existed prior to today. Downs probably, it's impossible to say, plays in the infield somewhere and probably has some interests outside of professional baseball making him a well-rounded individual. Still, he shouldn't be getting any hits of Massett, who is filthy, even on the hanging breaking pitch.

The game featured fewer runs than the Reds had been featuring in previous games. The team waited until the 7th to get their second run, on Rolen's pinch hit bomb. Myers was teaching everyone how to spell retard for 6 innings and looked pretty strong. LeCure, making his first start of the season and second appearance, pitched pretty well. He was able to trick 6 batters into leaving the batter's box without putting the ball in play. That's pretty solid for a guy adhering to the Bronson Arroyo velocity program. I guess he throws a little harder but not much. But just the two runs over 5, not too bad. And that moustache is rock solid. Especially with Homeboy and Cueto rumored to be on the mend. Bailey's been rehabbing by hefting wild hog carcasses up into the family F250 and Cueto's upped his calorie intake to 4500 per day. That's the only way to see results.

As noted, the offense took a breather today, with the exception of Renteria who went 3 for 3. I guess Phillips and Votto also had two hits, so I shouldn't be so hard on the bat swingers. They had plenty of hits, just not very many with people on base. In fact, the Reds had two on in the 9th when the un-outable Ramon Hernandez pinch-hit for Massett. However, there were also two outs and Hernandez's grounder to made three. Brandon Lyon will not be so lucky next time. He's already making a strong case to be removed from the closer's role. Actually, the 8 years prior make the case for him. But, for today he can go home and dream about not being a terrible pitcher and person.

As I'm sure everyone knows, the Reds beat it on down the line after the game all the way to Arizona where they will begin their first road swing of the season. The Reds Rocket was lucky enough to find tickets for all three games which, of course, are nowhere close to sold out. The fan base here is nothing if not loyal and, I guess, tan. Everyone is quite tan. Last year there was an Edinson Volquez look-a-like in the crowd, hopefully he makes the trip again. I'll see if I can get a picture with him or her. I'll keep you posted. Let me know if you'd like me to mail you a hot dog covered with bacon and macaroni and cheese, which is the Chase Field specialty. It tastes an awful lot like crippling heartburn. See you at the game.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Astros Agreeable to Allowing Volquez Time To Work Through Issues, Reds 12-4

Volquez was not very good in the 1st inning today as he struggled to remember where the strikezone lies and when he occasionally remembered, he left big, fat pitches in the middle of the zone where even the inept Astros' hitters could handle them. The A-holes batted around in the first, scoring 4. After Volquez bunted into a double play in second, Marty stated "he just isn't doing anything very well tonight." But then Volquez's weave took control and he settled in nicely for the next four innings. Allowing no more runs and exiting after 5 with 8 Ks. Four of the five hits he allowed came in the first. So, hopefully he remembers innings 2 through 5 for his next start.

But, as the title states, the Astros' pitching (Nelson Figueroa? Come on) was more than happy to allow the Reds not only to come back and tie but turn the game into a laugher. The offense piled up 12 runs, on 14 hits. Phillips and Janish had 3 hits each and Rolen drove in 3. The team stole some bases, the Astros played some bad defense and the Reds remained undefeated. The Astros, I suppose, remain defeated. At least they have their weird looking ace hitting the hill tomorrow - Brett "Boom Outta Here" Myers. Or do you prefer Brett "How Do You Spell Retard" Myers? I like them both. Anyway, his beard is big league, so he must know what he's doing. Fortunately, the Reds' bats also know what they're doing. A sweep is looming. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Astronaut Cats Play Baseball Better Than Human Counterparts, Reds 8-2

The Reds continued their streak towards 162 wins with a solid victory over the A-holes this evening. Everyone chipped in, especially Astro starter J. (forget the A.) Happ, who couldn't find the strike zone and when he could was tossing up salad. Happ walked 5, hit Heisey with the bases loaded and rewarded the offense for the patience with 7 runs before hitting the showers after the 5th. To summarize: B. Phill got on base three times (2 singles and a walk) and scored three runs; Votto doubled and knocked in a run and Heisey knocked in three, with only one coming off a base hit. The other two were gifts from Happ.

Mike Leake made his first start of the season and was solid. He looks like he's been working out, he's up to about 167. He's been hitting the weights, check it out - boosh, boosh, boosh. He went 6 strong, gave up three hits, two runs, had a base hit and scored when good pal Miguel Cairo got a garbage time at bat. Speaking of garbage time, numbers 23 and 24 on the roster both made appearances this evening, Jordan Smith and Matt Baloney in his new role as long reliever/end of games that are out of hand. Both refused the Astros any runs.

Nice all around game as the Reds open up a commanding 1.5 game lead in the Central. It's not too early to start the magic number count down. Reds magic number is 120, or somewhere thereabouts. I don't know. Reds continue to administer beatings of bad teams tomorrow. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Reds Use Advanced Sweeping Tool in Domination of Brewers, Reds 12-3

A day off Wood's dominance of the Brewers, the bats, in a surprise to exactly no one, teed off Randy Wolf. Gomes picked up a couple of knocks, went deep; Phillips had three hits including a three-run bomb, but the big hero was Ryan Hanigan. The back-up catcher completed the strong offensive weekend for Reds' backstops, going deep twice and driving in 4. He also rounded out the stat sheet by going 4 for 4. Hanigan's at his predicted season- concluding average of .714. Now if he could just face lefty specialists like Mitch Stetter for the rest of the season, he'd have the power numbers to match.

Arroyo made Rickie Weeks look like he has an effective approach at the plate, at least during the early innings. He led off the game, for the second time in the series, with a bomb. He later hit a rocket off the wall on another Arroyo "fastball" but once the off-speed stuff started coming with a little more regularity he didn't fare as well. Aside from the intermittent bursts from Weeks, Arroyo pitched a nice ballgame. For the second day in a row, the starter went 7 innings, which allows the bullpen to relax and focus on delicious things they like to eat, like the Skyline milkshake that's so popular these days. Just add to heaping scoops of chili to Mr. Reds' proprietary milkshake blend and there you go. That's how Masset keeps his figure. Ondrusek, whose 91 following Arroyo probably looked like 103, struck out the side in the 8th and Chapman, making his 2011 debut, threw, at least according to the scoreboard, a legitimate 103, also retired the Brewers in order. The quick exit gave everybody a head start on the planned vacation day tomorrow before the A-holes blast off into Cincinnati after getting swept in Philadelphia. Leake is prepared to follow Halladay, Lee and Oswalt with a similar performance ace-like performance. But, that again should surprise no one.

So, tomorrow gives everyone a chance to use their water broom with the patented broom-hose technology to sweep up their walks or garage. Really whatever you like, it's a product with great utility. Reds! Reds! Reds!