Monday, May 30, 2011

Reds Finally Arrive Home and Find the Brewers There Waiting to Lose More Games, Reds 7-3

Fortunately for the Reds, and unfortunately for all of the teams who play the Reds, Dusty's squad rolled back into town after concluding a solid 2-8 road swing. This improved slightly in Philadelphia and Atlanta in that they were able to win one game in each location. The Reds' play in Atlanta wasn't bad, the two losses were real disappointments. Yesterday Cueto went the whole way but lost 2-1 when no one other than Bruce did much with the bat. Saturday, after a nice comeback following another troubling Arroyo start, everyone but Bruce seemed to get a big hit before they eventually lost in extras. Fisher wasn't quite as solid, giving up the loser in only a little over an inning of work. But the rest of the pen did a pretty nice job.

Today things were better. Bruce continued his hot streak, going out of the yard and adding a triple and a single. His average is all the way up to .294 and the homer was his NL leading 16th. Pretty good Ray Jay. Votto is still hitting, sitting at .330 and getting on base just under half the time based upon his NL leading number of walks. I'd give you the number but that would just be extra work for me and extra reading for you. You've already been on this site far too long, 30 seconds or so, so, I don't blame you for being in a hurry to get the hell our of here. Bernie Brewer's dead eyes, even when accompanied with a double finger 'you 'da man' gesture, give me the creeps.

Wood was pretty solid today, going 6 with 3 runs allowed. That's solid when the offense decides it's time to get off its collective behind and pick up a couple of hits. Bruce, as stated, was good. Janish-Yanish, not to be held down by the umpire's mistreatment of his apparently good slide in Sunday night's game, had a couple of hits and stole a base. Gomes has been hot lately, getting his average up near .200 as he bargains with Jocketty not to find his roster spot redundant. Now if Rolen would just start hitting on a regular basis. He received an extra treatment of weird smelling old guy ointment after the game and should be ready to go.

Tomorrow, 29-year-old Chad Reineke gets his first chance in a while to make a major league start. All the luck with you Chad. The Reds site says he hasn't gotten a taste of the big league per diem since '09. I'm sure he's ready to go. At least for now. Volquez looked good in AAA, as he should. And Bailey is apparently okay, but that comes with the same caveat of general dishonesty to the fan base. Leake, who I forgot to mention above, pitched quite nicely against the Bravo Savages Friday night providing the team with its lone Atlanta-based win. He'll get another shot, deservedly so. Reds are ready to start winning again. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Reds Vanquish Phills By Allowing Them a Win the Reds Didn't Want Anyway, Phillies 10-4

The Reds wrapped up their series in Philadelphia yesterday with a 10-4 loss. Bruce hit a bomb and had another hit, he's red hot, but there wasn't a hell of a lot of other offense going on. Bailey had to take an early shower with a "spasm" in his shoulder. He caught the first train back to Cincinnati to visit the doctor with Arroyo. Dusty says its no big deal but I think I remember hearing that with both Bailey's earlier injury and Cueto's sore forearm. So, just proceed as if it is so serious it will need amputation and Homeboy's going to have to learn how to throw left-handed, or with his feet. I guess I'd prefer feet.

Daryl Thompson got to rejoin the big club, despite not having particularly good numbers at Louisville. His call was necessitated by Baloney taking a trip to the DL. I hope it doesn't hurt his velocity. That guy throws gas. Thompson wasn't bad, if you don't mind walks and bases clearing doubles allowed to the opposing pitcher. Which I don't. Cliff Lee is a deceptively tough out, if you have fringe level pitching ability. Actually, that's maybe a little hard on my other brother Daryl. At one time he appeared to be on a rocketship to major league adequacy but his wallowing in the minors seems more related to his injury history than a general inability to throw the ball well. That's hardly his fault.

Reds begin today in Atlanta. I believe today's starter. Tommy Hanson was on the mound last year when the Reds had their very impressive late inning meltdown. My recollection is a 10-0 lead evaporating and ending when Brooks Conrad's fly ball fell out of Nix's glove and over the wall. So, I think the Reds hit Hanson pretty well, which is good. However, Leake, making his triumphant return, will need to veer away from the current strategy of ineffective starting pitching. Maybe that one minor league start is what he needed to get going. Depending upon the status of Arroyo, Bailey and Volquez, he may be making a few more. At least until Dontrelle Willis is off the DL. The D-Train on the DL. That's a nice sounding tag line. Reds improve upon recent play this evening to Atlanta's poor fortune.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Reds Take a Long Time but Lose, Phillies 5-4

The Reds and Phillies entertained about 100 people for 6 hours last night. On his 6th inning of work, for a guy who'd been closing in Louisville, Fisher finally tired, loaded the bases and allowed Raul Ibanez to walk the Phillies off with a sacrifice fly to center. Fisher pitched well and probably deserved a little better then he's going to get, a likely demotion to Louisville when Leake comes up to make tomorrow's start. But that's the way things go.

Speaking of the mistreatment of Fisher, the Reds didn't do much during innings 13-19 but did get the opportunity to face a position player, Wilson Valdez (pictured) in the 19th. Votto hit one deep. He drilled Rolen, who had a solid game, 0-7 with a walk and HBP, the Bruce and Fisher flew out. Turns out he was the first position player to get a win on the mound in quite some time. In 2000, Brent Mayne, who I'm sure everyone remembers as the one-time Royal catcher with a little pop behind the plate, picked up the W in relief.

The loss sours an otherwise admirable performance by the Reds. Wood gave up 3 in the first 2 innings but settled in and gave his team 6 pretty solid innings. The offense had 11 hits off Halladay, all singles, of course, but came back from that 3-0 deficit against arguably the best starter in the majors. Bruce hit a bomb to lead off the 10th but Coco returned the favor in the bottom, sending the game in the extra-innings abyss. So, now instead of being guaranteed, at the least, a split, the Reds come into today with Bailey needing to throw a lot of innings and pick up a win against Cliff Lee. The Reds have always preferred Lee to Hamels and Halladay, so, maybe that will help.

And B. Phill, what are you doing out there? Jimmy Rollins is not your friend. Four free passes in an inning, the 11th is this particular inning, should be enough to get a single run. Well, fortunately the Reds Rocket has a short memory, due to significant early head trauma. What was I talking about? Oh yeah, Reds win today.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ray Jay Decides Losing Streak Should End, Reds 6-3

Reds took advantage of someone not named Hamels, Lee or Halliday being on the mound to hang around and eventually win the game in the 9th. Cueto pitched well enough to get through 6. He gave up 3, which isn't too bad, especially in light of what happened last night. Though, in Arroyo's defense he was man enough to pitch ineffectively with a bad back rather than telling anyone about it and waiting for his turn in Atlanta. He got checked out back in Cincinnati and, apparently, based upon the vague diagnosis posted on the Reds Official site, is fine. He should be ready to go in time for his next turn.

The offense was better, responding to Volquez throwing it under the bus on his way onto the bus to Louisville. They got some timely bloop hits. Seriously, with the exception of Bruce's double, they hit nothing well, at least the hits that directly led to runs. Both Rolen and Phillips RBI singles were placed exactly in the right position. But, for those of you who weren't watching, they look like rockets in the box score. A little luck is nice when you've lost 6 straight.

So, the ship has been righted and the Reds are ready to take the next two in Philly and all three in Atlanta. Decision has tentatively been made to allow Leake another shot on Friday. Wood tomorrow and Bailey Thursday. Todd Frazier, after inviting his entire home town to the game last night to watch him throw the bat down the thirdbase line on his first big league swing, heads back to Louisville. Fisher is back to man the possible mop-up role. And, I neglected to mention, Danny Ray Herrera and his 80 mph heat, didn't make it through waivers when the Reds removed him from the 40-man and we say goodbye. Milwaukee didn't want to look back and say they had the opportunity to pick up Danny Ray Herrera and passed. We'll get to see him again sometime. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Reds Make Some Changes But Still Look Terrible, Phillies 10-3

Big news yesterday, no surprise according to Marty, was the demotion of opening day starter, Volquez. He was pretty bad in his last start and maybe Louisville can help him recall the general whereabout of the strike zone. 38 walks was leading the league, in only 51 innings. So, the Reds are going to miss that. So far, no replacement. The team recalled Baloney to take Jordan Smith's spot in the rotation. I think you could recall 75-year-old Jesse Orosco and he'd get more outs than Smith, so that probably wasn't too bad of move. Also, Reds called up Todd Frazier, likely just for a couple of days until they need that 5th starter. He got an at bat and a first major league strike out during garbage time last night. Good for you Todd.

As you can tell by my extended discussion of things other than last night's game, Reds didn't look great. Arroyo didn't have his A-plus stuff and left a shade less than 3 innings with 9 runs charged to his ERA. This, at least prior to last night, had been a pretty poor Phillies offense. At least they get to play them three more times. Tonight they face something called a V. Worley. So, who knows what you want to get. Reds typically don't hit pitchers with whom they're unfamiliar very well. But, I'd probably still choose him over the other options, excepting Blanton. Bruce had a nice game, picked up 3 hits and contributed the only 3 rbis on his 11th bomb of the year. All off a tough left in Hamels. That's a good sign.

Anyway, Reds not playing particularly well but that's how a long season like this goes. Sometimes you win a few, other times you get swept by the Pirates and Indians. Cueto turns things around tonight.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Reds Make Good on Their Promise to Remain Unpredictable, Indians 12-4

Reds took their two-game losing streak which began at home versus the Pirates all the way to Cleveland with them and were able to draw it all the way out to 5 after getting swept by the Indians. So, I guess I'll have to come slightly off my belief that the Indians are, in actuality, brutal. At least temporarily, since they swept the best team in baseball. The best in the unbiased eyes of this site anyway.

Wood was great for 5 innings on Friday and pretty not great for 1/3. After allowing no hits for the first 5 and being presented with a 4-0 lead via some savage defense from the savages, Wood gave up his first hit in the 6th, then a couple more and a walk and a hit batsmen. He exited before the close of the frame. Ondrusek walked a man with the bases loaded to tie the game at 4 and that's where it stood until the Reds lost on a bunt single, which happened to be the first hit of the sure to be stellar career of Ezequiel Carrera. That was a pretty good bunt.

Saturday Bailey was strong but a two-run home run to Travis Buck, the reincarnation of Eric Byrnes, was the difference and the Reds lost 2-1. Yesterday, Volquez was not good as the Indians eagle-danced all over the Reds 12-4. But, at least things get easier starting today with the trip to Philadelphia. Utley's broken down knees are expected to make their first start of the season and Cole Hamels who has been quite disrespectful to Reds hitters in the past is on the hill. But Arroyo is ready to shut down the Phillies ancient lineup. If they could only find a position for Jamie Moyer in the field. So, things should get better before they get worse. Or, the Reds could return home with a 12-game losing streak. That would be worse, I suppose.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Reds Plan to Ruin Pirates 2012 Draft Status Works to Perfection, Pirates 5-3

The Reds may appear to, incomprehensibly, struggle with the Pirates, as today marked the 5th loss in 6 home games against the terrible team from Pittsburgh but it's all part of Dusty's plan. Rather than let them further rebuild that farm system, since they appear to have some idea what's going on in the draft these days, Team Baker let them have a couple more early season wins. They'll recoup them later in the season but pretty good chance the Pirates aren't going to be losing 100 this year with 5 free ones from the best team in the world. That's the only explanation for not completely lighting up James McDonald. Also, I'm pretty sure that 3-2 pitch to Garrett Jones which preceded the Walker double giving the Pirates their first lead was well within the strike zone. But, I don't always pay that level of attention, so there may have been some other missed calls and Cueto, as good as he's been, needs to turn in a little better performance, were the Reds actually trying to get the win, which they weren't.

Bruce had a nice day at that plate, hitting homers numbers 9 and 10. Number 10 left the field of play in left field, which is not typically his preferred location. Jordan Smith made his case to return to AAA after Cueto's exit. If he wants it so bad, maybe Jocketty should reward him with that demotion. And Masset? Cowboy read the stat that his ERA in day games is around 8 and in night games around 2. That doesn't make much sense other than if you're going to stay up until 5 in the morning, you'll need to sleep until about 2 in the afternoon, not be at the ballpark getting knocked around by feeble Pirate bats. Maybe they'll need to look into that sleep doctor some of the NBA teams are utilizing to teach the players how to take a nap. I'm pretty sure I could teach that class. Just put on a dress shirt, sit in front of a computer for about 10 minutes, then crawl under your desk. It's like magic.

So, Reds hit the road. First stop Cleveland where I'm simply not buying that record. They're poised and ready to provide the Reds with 3 freebies before team piles back into the van and heads to Philly and Atlanta. Just for your information, Atlanta got swept in their two-game series with Arizona. Things are all out of wack. Winning strategy back in place tomorrow.

I Liked Charlie Morton a Lot Better When He Couldn't Get Anyone Out, Pirates 5-0

Arroyo made a couple of bad pitches last night, probably more than that, but two bad ones that were hit hard and provided the Pirates with all 5 of their runs. But he sure looks good in that black-and-white glamor shot. That boy knows what he's doing behind the camera. Alvarez hit a three-run jobber in the 4th and McCutchen did the same, only with one runner on, in the 7th. That provided the Pirates with all of their runs and, with the bats taking a night off, that was all they needed.

I remember last year when Charlie Morton had an ERA over 10 and they just kept running him out there to give the team no opportunity to win. He figured out how to throw a sinker, or a sinker that at least gives the impression of being in the strike zone, and that has served him well thus far. He was pretty solid last night, going all 9 and throwing just a few more than 100 pitches. But, enjoy it early on Charlie. The Reds will not be quite so forgiving as the season wears on. Aside from Phillips' double in the first, all the other hits, 4 of them, were singles. It is unfortunate for James McDonald that he with have to be subjected to the wrath of the offense today. He's used to it, with that ERA north of 6, so don't feel bad for him.

Reds still have an opportunity to depart with a 6-1 home stand. I shouldn't say opportunity, the Reds will depart with a 6-1 home record during this trip home after the savage beating levied upon the Pirates this afternoon. That's a big time record for a big time team.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cubs Have No Idea What They're Doing Out There, Reds 7-4

The Reds were gifted another win last night by the Cubs. I guess gifted is inaccurate as they are clearly the better team, Reds win with a Cubs assist is probably more accurate. The well-coached team from Chicago made four errors, three of which provided the Reds with all 7 of their runs, of the unearned variety. That's my favorite type of run.

After Volquez remembered how much he likes giving up runs in the first to put the team in a 3-0 hole via Carlos Pena's monster bomb, the Reds tied things up in the 4th. With two-outs Pena, feeling bad about that home run off his good pal Eddie, booted a surprisingly well-hit ball off Volquez's bat. The bases happened to be loaded. Two scored on Pena's error, then Garza threw the the ball into the camera well, knotting things up. Arredondo,filling in for the disabled Chapman, took over the role of throwing nothing but balls out of the strike zone. He walked 3 and gave up a hit, to give the Cubs a 4-3 and eventual 5-4 lead. But in the 8th, Kerry Wood, behaving exactly as he is taught in Cubs Spring Training, fielding Hanigan's bunt with runners on first and second and fired it down the left field line into the corner. Rolen and Lewis scored and Hanigan ended up on 3rd. He scored on Heisey's sac fly and Yanish-Janish scored an insurance run driven in by Votto.

Coco got the night off, having pitched in the four games prior, so, Masset got a little bit of the limelight. He was pretty good and picked up his first save of the season. Also of note was the strong start by Volquez. As the readers may have picked up, I am a Volquez supporter, so may be a little less hard on him than is appropriate. However, even with bias fully intact, 6 innings with 9 ks is pretty solid. Just 3 hits allowed and only 1 walk, if you can believe that. He did hit a batter but lasted 6 innings and wasn't a total drag on the organization, for a change. So, nice job Eddie. Things appear to be coming together. Reds now resume dominance of the Central against the Pirates, who are looking forward to extending their 6-game losing streak. I think you can do it guys. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Reds Fear Not Even the Craziest of Switch-Hitting Lunatic Venezuelans, Reds 7-4

The Reds took a bit of time to get going tonight, with only a Bailey single in the 3rd to show for themselves. The bats then suddenly came alive, jump started by Miguel Cairo's pinch hit leadoff strikeout, the next 9 men reached. By the time Stubbs grounded out and Renteria struck out, 12 men had stepped up to the plate and all seven runs had scored. Gomes had a big one, taking one out to right for his 7th of the year.

Bailey who'd already put in his 6 with 4 allowed (3 earned) was presented with a gift win. LeCure spun an inning and a third, Bray 2/3rds and Coco the 9th, for his 8th save. Though Rolen made another error, Stubbs made a nice throw to pick off Soriano at the plate in the 8th.

The Cubs manager who normally the Reds Rocket cares so little about we haven't bothered to learn his name - something with a 'Q' had this to say after the game: ‘‘You get beat, you struggle, but that was embarrassing,’’ said the manager whose name no one knows, who called a team meeting after watching a 4-0 lead that should have been bigger disappear in an avalanche of hits and walks in the Reds’ seven-run sixth inning. ‘‘That s---’s got to stop." That shit, indeed, got's to stop but unfortunately its not going to be stopping in Cincinnati. Volquez is off his toothpaste and Sprite diet and has been sprinkling in a few vegetables here and there ready to harness his a-plus stuff into the small area arbitrarily designated as the strike zone. There is no solution for the Darwin Barney problem at second or the rest of the limp bats in the lineup. Reds look forward to a two-game sweep, which is one of their favorite varietals. Winning streak reaches 5 tomorrow. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ay Oh, Oh Ay, Reds Sweep 9-7

The Reds put together a pretty nice series, all after starting Friday's game down 4-0. Fred Lewis was thrown out at home plate and Arroyo was getting hit a little bit more than he usually does. But, the Reds rallied, Phill drove in the tying run in the 9th and Joey Jo-Jo Shabadoo drove in the winner in the 10th.

Yesterday, for the most part, was much less exciting, Cueto dominated. For 7 until Janish-Yanish made an error at short. Rolen, back with the team banishing Valaika to AAA, liked the reaction from the crowd so much, he decided to do the same thing. So, after two errors, Cueto lost interest and served up a three-run bomb to John Jay of all people. That cut the lead to 5-3. Fortunately, Cardinals' pitching went with the LaRusso on hives-induced hiatus, and they handed over a couple more runs, providing plenty of cushion for the 9th and the eventual final of 7-3

Today, the Reds finally decided that Carpenter wasn't unbeatable. About time. They stuck him with 8 runs, 7 earned, over 7+. Wood was solid, making three straight quality starts. After giving up back to back bombs to Berkman and Molina and another hard hit ball to Tyler Green, he settled in, went 6 with just the two runs. The offense caught up by then. Arredono, who replaced Leake on the big league roster, got an inning of work before giving way to Chapman. The strike zone must be a little larger in Cuba because he simply can't find it. He did record an out, on a a line drive to center. So, that's a positive. But didn't get anyone else and things got a little exciting when Masset gave up Chapman's remaining runners and Coco gave up Masset's runner. But he, Coco, shut down the rally, concluding things at 9-7. The picture above was prompted by Gerald Laird, who I don't think even gets to play, barking at Cordero after he drilled Pujols on the swinging arms. Cordero and Volquez threw their hands over their heads and yelled back, likely in crazy moon talk. Add Coco to the list of major league pitchers who'd like to hit Laird with something hard. I'd choose bat, but if you've only access to a ball, that will work too.

Thus concludes the big weekend. Reds entered in second, left with a 1.5 game lead in the Central. They're not planning on giving it up. Expect to see a roster move for Chapman within the next few days. There is some benefit to a pitcher who you don't trust to hold a 9-2 lead but not a whole lot. Nice to see Rolen back, especially since he's hitting. Phill's been killing the Cardinals and the pitching, with the return of Bailey and Cueto, seems locked in. Very exciting times, especially with the Cubs and Pirates coming up. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Reds Donate One Win to Struggling Astros Franchise, A-holes 4-3

The Reds decided not to sweep the Astros yesterday, figuring they already have enough to worry about. Their offense is brutal, as any offense containing one or more Clint Barmes will be, and they don't have much going on on the pitching side of the ball either. Though Wandy threw pretty swell yesterday, especially before the 7th when the Reds briefly forgot to take it easy on him and Heisey and Stubbs went back-to-back to tie things up.

The team got plenty of hits, 10 in all, with 2 from Stubbs, Votto and Hernandez but left the majority of those runners on base. The pitching staff featured what I'll assume without researching, which is the best way to write anything which will be publicly displayed, was a season high. Volquez worked in 5 of those in his four innings before hitting the bricks. He'd thrown 88 pitches, so probably needed a break. That's right where the Reds wanted him, between 75-90 pitches following the fourth. He's progressing, most importantly, within the system designed by Dustophicus and head goon Price. Leake also walked the very dangerous J.R. Towles before giving up the game winning double to Pence. LeCure, Ondrusek and Masset pitched well-enough to keep the lead from ballooning after Eddie's exit. Though Ondrusek allowed three base runners in his inning. At least he got out of it and it appears Masset has returned to normal or the evil-substitute Nick Masset has been captured by the police, though I expected to see a fake mustache or monocle signifying his evilness.

Reds have a series with a better team, the Cardinals, starting tomorrow. Better than the Astros, that is, certainly not the Reds. We'll have to see if LaRussa's face is less disgusting this time. He looked like Mask during the trip to St. Louis.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Two Homer Bailey Photos in Two Starts Means Things are Going According to Plans, Reds 7-3

The Reds continued their dominance of one of the worst teams in baseball last night. Houston knew it was coming. The national nerd baseball counsel, Baseball Prospectus, has been saying for three years that the wheels were going to fall off the Astros - with the questionable off-season deals and close to no development internally but they really haven't lived up to the terrible expectations and, I suppose, may not this year. But they're off to a pretty good start. If only the Reds could face Brett Myers every start. Though he settled in after the second, the Reds laid 6 on him in innings 1 and 2. Votto collected a couple of doubles, looking invigorated after his first day off of the season, and Bruce went yard. Cairo had three hits, filling in at third again, and Jonny Gomes even had two bringing his average up to a blistering .192. At least he struck out his other three at bats or else the steam coming out of our ears, due to the surprise, would push the hats right off our heads and into the air. The hat would probably spin in a circle and make a noise like Curly from the Three Stooges. Woo-woo-woo-woo-wooo.

Bailey didn't need all of the support but still appreciated it. He went 7 and was generally dominant. His line showcased just 5 hits and he struck out 5 in throwing 95 pitches and picking up win number 2. The recent question mark has become Chapman who seems to prefer walking and hitting guys to any other course of action. Sure, it's fun to drill a batter with a 102 mph fastball, probably a lot of fun, but that's not always the best option over  an entire baseball game. He only stuck around for 4 batters last night. He put them all on base, 3 via walk, one HBP, and Masset was nice enough to let the other two score. You have to teach young players to be responsible for their actions. Fortunately the Reds were up by 7 at the time. And they were playing the Astros. So, no real damage done. Masset retired the rest of his batters and Bray finished the game. Once Chapman remembers his dominance, this is potentially a pretty good bullpen.

Final game of the series today with Volquez still trying to recall 2007. I think he's ready. He's figured out the first inning, now he needs to focus on innings 2-6. He and his weave have been thinking hard about it and think they have a solution. So, that's good news. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Astros Give Up on the Season After 35 Games, Reds 6-1

Reds continued their recent fine play tonight supported by the strong bats of the bottom of the order. Valaika had two hits from the 7 hole, Hanigan went 3 for 4 and the the highlight was Wood's first hit of the season which happened to leave the yard. Wood can swing the bat a little bit, I think Wandy will remember that next time the Reds roll into town.

Votto finally took a day off, which he probably could use. Hernandez filled his large shoes over at first while Joey drank a couple of Molson's in the dugout. Fred Lewis also got a turn in left. The pitching was solid -  Wood went 6 and 2/3rds without allowing a run. The only run allowed was off the bat of Hunter Pence and then off the glove of Bruce into the right field bleachers. So, that close to a shut out. Leake embraced his new role as garbage time reliever, pitching a scoreless 9th. All around pretty fine performance. It's nice to share the division with the Astros. Bailey makes his second start of the season tomorrow, ready to build on the dominance of start numero uno. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Cueto, You Looking Trim Man - Reds 2-0

Reds put together a pretty nice weekend series versus the Cubs, who aren't quite hapless but are sure to be labeled as such as the season progresses. The only blemish was a Coco-related meltdown yesterday on Fox's game of the week. At the Reds are pulling in some of that publicity I was always whining about not receiving. Thombo did his best to remain objective but that line drive from Horry Kow Fukudome seemed to break his heart a little bit.

Volquez was great, strike that, shaky and borderline unwatchable Friday. Guys who don't have a real good idea what to do with a baseball bat, at least compared to other professional participants, were all over the basepaths. But the Reds offense took it upon itself to provide him with win number three. The bullpen and defense deserve some credit too. So, everyone but Volquez contributed to the win.  Bruce had the big hit, leaving the yard to right. Votto and Phill also contributed two-out RBIs. LeCure pitched, more or less, out of a bases loaded no-out situation. I say more or less because he did give up a run but it was Volquez's, so he probably wasn't too concerned about it. Masset was lights out, as he was again today, and Coco made a nice play on a liner to the mound, to extinguish whatever might have been.

Yesterday, as mentioned, was a bit of letdown. Arroyo was rock solid over 7 and a 1/3. Ondrusek pitched a nice 8th but Coco looked pretty hittable. Beginning with Carlos Pena's homer to right (whose 3 hits tied his season total to date or something like that), the Reds' closer didn't look great. But Dusty has is a forgiving man, and Coco was quite a bit better today, meaning, the hard hit balls were at people and there were two of them. Speaking of today, Cueto was sharp. Going 6 and a 1/3, after being unable to get anyone out during his rehab starts, which, clearly, are mostly irrelevant. Bruce had 2 hits and was on base three times and Stubbs went yard. Votto disappointed everyone except for Dave Collins by not getting on base for the first time all season. He, Votto, actually didn't look great all weekend which I don't say, well, ever. That just means he has some big things planned for the Astros - fancy plans, with pants to match.

Janish hurt some part of one of his lower extremities but claims to be recovering. Renteria seems to have totally forgotten that he won a Gold Glove in the past. Maybe it was of the Rafael Palmeiro variety, mostly honorary. Though, I have some recollection of him being able to glove it when he was a younger man. Regardless, will be nice to have Janish-Yanish back to provide some reliability in the middle. Leake's in the pen, Fisher's back in AAA. I think you're up to date, if you weren't already. Reds continued to dismantle the central with Wood on the hill tomorrow. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Homeboy Back Making Weird Faces, Dominating Fools, Reds 10-4

The Reds secured a second series victory over the A-holes and their first back-to-back wins since early (April which is pretty unbelievable) today against Brett Myers. Sure they put 10 runs on the board, with Bruce and Hanigan each collecting three hits and Fred Lewis depositing his first hit as a Red over the right field fence, but the big story was some solid starting pitching. The starters, as you may have noticed, have been just slightly below excellent. The respective ERAs, which don't tell the whole story, but are easy to provide are: Volquez 5.67, Arroyo 4.17, Wood 6.21, Leake 5.77 and LeCure 4.37. Those could use a little work. Bailey's 1 run over 6 looks a little better and hopefully starts a trend. He added 7 ks to go along with his strong outing and just 1 walk. Though he probably threatened to kill and gut both Ondrusek and Chapman for their work in the 8th. "I don't care if you are nine and a half feet tall, Ondrusek, I will crush your skull and feed it to my cattle which I will in turn feed to my illegitimate children." But Bray and Masset worked together to defuse the situation and Dusty sat Coco in favor of LeCure after the Reds fed on Nelson Figueroa's ineffective salad.

So, fourteen hits look a lot better in the box score then what the teams been offering. I presume it will carry over to Chicago. The Cubs don't know what they're doing out there. One point of interest before I sign off, did you know that Hanigan has not thrown out any of the 13 runners who have attempted to steal on him this year? That is quite poor but he's a solid guy, so I don't hold poor early season performance against him. I'll blame it on the pitchers. Nice ballgame today boyos - Reds! Reds! Reds!

Reds Hide in the Tall Grass Until the 9th, Win, 3-2

The Reds were a pretty disappointing bunch in innings 1-8 yesterday. They had no idea what to do with the underwhelming Astros' staff, picking up only one hit, a Valaika triple on a ball Pence needs to catch, since he's a major league outfielder. But, they knew what they were doing - waiting for Brandon Lyon. As opposed to the "lion" spelling, lyons spelled with a 'y' and and 'o' are meek and ineffective. The low-level government employees of the jungle. He walked Stubbs to begin the 9th, which is almost always a good decision. Then gave up four consecutive hits to Heisey, Votto, Phillips and Bruce for the winner. Pretty exciting win, as you can tell by everyone running around in the picture accompanying this post.

Wood had one suspect inning but was otherwise good, albeit, wild. He walked 4 over his 6 frames but only allowed the 2 runs and struck out 7. As the readers have come to expect, I was wrong about Bailey's 5/10 start, as he's pitching right now. So, with Cueto's return this weekend, Dusty has a big decision as to who to keep in the rotation - Wood or Leake. Leake has been overall better but not by much and it's nice to have the occasional left-hander in the rotation. So, we'll have to wait and see what the toothpick foresees. Reds intend on taking the series today. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Reds' Play Leads to Threat of Return from Mr. Red, Astros 10-4

The Reds thought they killed their Michael Myers-esque mascot, Mr. Red, when employees stabbed him with a knife, lopped off his comically oversized head and lit his lifeless carcass on fire but, as you can see, he is still pointing at the camera and wearing a early-2000's jersey. It was told that he would return, should the Reds lose two consecutive games to a very bad Astros team at home, the second of which featuring Aneury Rodriquez on the hill. The stars have aligned. So, hopefully the Reds play a little better today.

Leake must have shown the arsenal to the Astros lineup the first time around because the second time through, he was very hittable, giving up 6 in the 4th before exiting in favor of Jordan Smith. Not great. The offense, actually had Happ in a hole in the first with runners on second and third, following a Votto double (meaning he reached base for the 29th consecutive time to start the season) but only got the one run on a Phillips sac fly. Chris Johnson tied it with a bomb in the second and that is the full summary of the positives. Well, except for Phillips' bare hand, around-the-back play on Bourgeois. That was pretty sweet. I'd add the video but it is probably very complicated and MLB would just send me a nasty letter telling me to take it down. You'll have to rely on your wits if you'd like to see it.

As stated, Reds take on the A-holes and Aneury Rodriguez today. Hopefully they like day games because this is the first of five straight. Wood takes the hill and he, like everyone sans Arroyo in the rotation, has not been super great. Maybe not even great. With Cueto set to resume kicking people in the skull this Sunday, this is a big start for Trav. Bailey's due back the 10th. I have that day circled on my calendar. So, two rotation members make their way to the door. LeCure is one and the final battle will be between Wood and Leake. Maybe there should be some sort of battle royale. Reds assured me they'll play better today.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Reds Beaten By a Bunch of Fish Walking Upright on Fins, Marlins 9-5

I assume this picture is airbrushed on a F-250 somewhere, maybe multiple F-250s with mudflaps that read "dirty mean and nasty" and have some sort of devil, possibly Tasmanian. It looks sharp and would do nothing but increase in value.

The Reds didn't look as good as the mural over the weekend. Wood got lit up Friday night and the Reds couldn't quite battle back. Yesterday, Arroyo was solid through 6 but John Buck, who had been terrible before coming to Cincinnati but also had a bomb Friday, hit another in the 7th. That provided the margin, even before Masset made sure his ERA didn't get too low by giving up a towering shot to Mike Stanton then, since the game was clearly out of hand (3-run leads are insurmountable), he allowed Emilio Bonafacio, who is only on the team because his grandfather pulled Edwin Rodriquez out of the way of the fast-moving train, hit the first home run, to actually clear a fence, of his career. That will definitely be an "of note" for Masset's career. "Gave up the only (outside-the-part) home run of the Emilio Bonafacio's career." Nice job Nick.

Heisey made it a little closer in the 9th but not quite close enough. Interestingly, the Reds one win of the series came the day that Josh Johnson started. They, of course, didn't do much again Johnson, but made him throw some pitches and preyed on the bullpen. So, one of three at home versus the Marlins. Bruce hit a couple of bombs and seems to like his new lineup location right in front of Votto. Hermida also hit his first of the season just to show his disdain for the Marlins organization. Not great, but the Fish are playing pretty good baseball. Tomorrow begins the Astros and the wins will start to pile up.