Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hanigan's Back Hurts a Little Less After Yesterday, Reds 4-3

The Reds finally decided winning an inter-league series was worth their time, taking 2 of 3 from a pretty good squad down there in Florida. They beat James Shields yesterday for, those of you who pay little attention to the AL, like me, has been pitching pretty well. He had completed his three starts, prior to yesterday, allowing only a single run over the 27 innings. But the potent Reds offense got to him twice with two outs. The first was Hanigan's big knock. After Bruce and Gomes k'd, which Bruce has been doing with some regularity lately, Hanigan took one over the fence in left for a 3-0 lead. It was Hanigan's first bomb since way back against Milwaukee when he hit two. He must have gotten a massage before the game. Probably from Renteria. That guy's hands are like velvet. Prior to yesterday, it appeared as if the condition of his condition was going to land him on the DL. Glad to see that it didn't. The second two-out hit was Fredo Lewis. He didn't strike it particularly well but it got into left and provided the Reds

Volquez made a nice start as well. For the most part he kept the Rays off base. Of course, Longoria's double followed a walk which fits into the equation. He later gave up a bomb to Upton to keep things close but Ondrusek was quite a bit better yesterday. Bray, who is consistently good, was good. And Coco shut the door with only allowing the one base runner. I realize the numbers are somewhat deceiving, especially because everyone still remembers the grand slam Ondrusek gave up to Matt Kemp where he was only charged with one run, but all three guys have ERA under 2. With Masset throwing well and Chapman apparently headed in the right direction - pretty solid pen. Now if Arredondo could find his way to some lower leverage situations, maybe only coming in when up  by 7 or down by 3.

The team takes one off today before starting up at home against the Savages tomorrow. Arroyo v. Masterson, the match-up for which you've been waiting. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Reds Get Barbed Spike of the Devil Ray Right in the Heart, Rays 4-3

Disappointing loss for the Reds last night in that they actually played pretty well. Their losses more often than not are characterized one frustrating facet of the game - no offense or terrible starting pitching, for example. But last night, Price was pretty good but the Reds got to him. Stubbs tripled in the 7th, after looking completely over matched in his first two at bats to start the score. Renteria knocked in Stubbs for the go-ahead putting the Reds up 2-1. In the 8th, after allowing just 2 hits up until that point, Cueto allowed a couple of runner on and left after recording two outs. Bray, featured to the right, was summoned to face Damon. Damon, who'd homered earlier in the game, placed a blooper just about as perfectly as you can place one behind short in front of Heisey in left. Heisey dove and knocked the ball towards right field, allowing Fuld to score from 1st.

Fortunately, or unfortunately as it turned out, Bruce was ready to hit his second homer of the month. He took Farnworth over the centerfield wall to tie the game at 3. Ondrusek, however, quickly untied it when Eva Longoria hit his second pitch of the evening over the left field wall. All 10,000 fans were very excited, excepting the 4,000 or so Reds fans in attendance who feel like they've been mistreated when the Reds left Florida for Arizona.

Third game of the series today with the Rays today. Volquez hits the hill against James Shields, who has also been pretty good. Yet, while I'm talking about pitching, neither Price nor Shields has been as good as Cueto who I don't think I properly commended for his performance last night. His line looks less great than it actually was. He gave the team, essentially, 8 innings of fine pitching last night against one of the better arms in the game. Johnny Damon is just an asshole. Reds rebound today.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Finally An Opportunity to Use the Jonny Gomes in a Sombrero Stock Footage, Reds 5-0

I suppose I can use it whenever I want but since he's wearing a Devil Rays jersey, it seemed most appropriate to post it when the Reds play the Rays. Preferably when Gomes does something positive. So, the stars finally aligned. Reds looked good in Tampa and Gomes hit a bomb off the catwalk. everything is right in the world.

The key to the victory, well I guess who's to say what the actually, lone "key" was, but I posit to you a couple of runs in the 1st inning made a big difference. Fredo Lewis got an opportunity to dance in the first position and got on three times. That's not too bad and means we'll probably see him doing the same for the next several games. Though, I guess Price is on the hill tonight, so maybe that means Heisey plays left. I'm not real sure how Lewis hits Price but I assume that most lefting (at I suppose righties) fare poorly. Anyway, back to last night, after Lewis got on, Phillips drove him in with a double. Then Ray Jay decided to pick up his second hit of the month and knocked in run number two with a roller through the right side. Then they added on more runs, helped by the Rays' inability to play capable defense or run the bases in a normal manner. Gomes' homer didn't require help from anyone other than Rays' starter Jeremy Hellickson. That was a rocket shot.

Leake was also solid. He threw a lot of pitches limiting him to 6 innings, but those 6 were pretty alright. No runs allowed, a couple of strike outs and win number 7. Which I believe ties him with Arroyo. The two softest tossing starters are also the biggest winners. And probably the most fun at that beach party you're planning later this month. Remember, Arroyo has a boat and Leake has access to many things which may or may not belong to him. Some of the coolest people I knew in my youth were the best at stealing things. Keep that in mind. Reds are not scared by David Price and his "strong peripherals." Count on win 2 in the series tonight. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Reds Don't Care for the Interleague Play, Orioles Take Series

As you've probably gathered, I like pictures of the real life counterpart of team mascots, especially when they're birds. Here is an oriole eating an orange. I don't know why, but by far the majority of the picture Google offered of orioles featured them eating oranges. Maybe they have blood sugar problems. I went to high school with a kid who had hypoglycemia. We all thought his requirement that he eat an orange before gym class was pretty funny. It turns out it was actually very funny.

The Reds did not play terrible but also didn't play terribly well against the O's over the weekend. Volquez flamed out after 4 and 1/3 on Friday but the bullpen was solid. The offense tied things up but a couple of bad bounces (Bruce's double over the wall in the 8th where Rolen would have scored if it just leaned up against the wall) and Bruce again in the 12th when the ball trickled about 2 feet from Adam Jones after he dove and missed and he was able to get up and throw Votto out at the plate. There was also a bad call on Gomes' dribbler in the 7th. Sure looked like he beat that throw. All of the three would have allowed to the Reds to put a run on the board before Derrick Lee his a rocket shot off Arredondo in the 12th to win it. Saturday was better. Votto bombed twice and drove in 5. Gomes and Rolen also did some yard work. The offense piled up some runs for Arroyo, who took home the win despite giving up 4 home runs of his own. Yesterday, Bailey had essentially one bad inning, the 4th. Adam Jones reached when Votto lost a popup on the infield in the sun. Guerrero singled and then D. Lee hit his second bomb of the series. He loves hitting Reds pitching. And I know Chris Welch was going crazy about not pitching him inside but he sure doesn't look like he can reach those pitches. That's where I'd want to pitch him as well. Anyway, back to yesterday, the Reds left guys all over the bases and the Orioles did their best to let them back in with a bunch of walks, two with the bases loaded in the 6th to make it a 5-4 Orioles lead, but just couldn't catch up. Due in part to some suspect relief work, Arredondo and Chapman both gave up runs. The electroshock does appear to have fixed Chapman's brain as he was throwing a lot of strikes and missing a lot of bats. That will be of benefit should it continue.

Reds head to Tampa today. I just read an interesting story about the Marriott where the team stays in Tampa being haunted. Ex-Red Scott Williamson was featured prominently in the article as stating, on record, that he believes some entity sat on top of him when he was in bed and tried to crush the life out of him. That hotel sounds pretty alright. I picture Dusty's reaction to seeing a ghost to be on par to Shaggy from Scooby Doo - Ghoooosssstttttt!!! Good luck to you guys and how about playing a little better.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Heisey Decides The Reds Win the Nightcap, Reds 10-2

Heisey went long fly three times in game number two last night, prompting a curtain call and a bunch of yelling from the Reds booth. The first two bombs, in the 1st and 3rd, were off Yankee starter Brian Gordon, the third off some guy named Noesi in the 8th. He, Heisey, scored four runs and knocked in five. That individual performance is nearly identical to what the Reds put together as a team in games one and two versus the Janks. So, nice job Chris. I prefer, if I had to choose, offense over no offense.

Gomes also went deep in the second game. He's had a nice month, hitting over .350 in sporadic play. He should probably be in the lineup at Great America. He rakes at home. Cueto was the other big story as he was quite strong and very disrespectful to the opposing batters. Johnny went 7 allowing just two hits. One of the two, Swisher, left the yard accounting for the lone Yankee run during Cueto's tenure. He picked up his 5th win of the season - placing that ERA at a very nice 1.63.

The first game was less exciting, I probably should have addressed it first, get the bad news out first, then leave the reader with a positive perspective, not vice versa. Now everyone will go away disappointed. 'That's right, they were terrible in the first game. Now I have a hard time enjoying the latter win." Anyway, Leake was average. He gave up a couple in the 3rd and then a couple more in the 6th and since the bats couldn't figure out Freddie Garcia, who took a timeship back to about 8 years ago, that was insurmountable. A better throw home from Votto in the 3rd probably prevents Gardner from scoring. But that will happen from time to time and Votto gets quite a bit of rope because he's generally awesome. The Reds' two runs on Freddie came when the Yankee defense, namely Ramiro Pena, did their best to keep the Reds in it. Throwing the ball all over the place, giving the Reds a couple of cheap-os. But the offense took them and deposited them in their pocket only to do little the rest of the game.

Now on to Baltimore who is surprisingly less terrible than years past. I know they have a couple of pretty good arms but they also have Mark Reynolds. He single-handedly drives down the quality of any team. Just brutal. So, the Reds plan three wins in Baltimore followed by three wins in Tampa. That's the natural order of things. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Wood Remembers That Starting Pitchers are not Supposed to Record First Inning Outs Prior to Giving Up Runs, Yankers 5-3

Arroyo's start sandwiched in between two relatively poor starts from Volquez and Wood seems to be pointing back toward early times, as opposed to the string of very fine starts (the starting staff showed off a 7-2 record with an ERA a shade over 2.00 during the 11 starts preceding Volquez's). But, it wasn't Wood's turn to start. Cueto had to skip a day due to a sore neck. And we all know that a stiff neck can only be caused by two things. So, Wood went out there, with the full amount of rest, and was pretty poor to start the game. The Yankees scored 4 and Ivan Nova, who I didn't even know was a person before the game, looked pretty sharp. Wood settled in and eventually went 7 with just the 4 allowed but with the current state of the offense, that was not nearly enough.

Once the bats did finally come to life, they were down 5-1 in the 9th. They added on a couple of runs but Rivera struck out the stellar Edgar Renteria to end the game. The 5th Yankee run was the result of a Arredondo walk, dropped throw on a steal attempt by Janish-Yanish (on a great throw from Hanigan) and then a wild pitch. Rick Sutcliffe was up in arms. Aaron Boone probably uttered some cliches and the Yankees got a free run. But that's the way it goes some times, though, Janish's glove has been going like that with a little more regularity so far this year. The Cozart calls are really going to pick up if he loses his ability to glove it in the middle. He, Cozart, is swinging a nice bat in Louisville. I can't attest to his defense, so I'll label it as average. Not too bad, not too good.

Cueto makes his start tonight against Brian Gordon, who sounds like a made up name, tonight. We'll see how the offense works against generic white right-handed pitcher. The pattern has been that the Reds don't hit new people very well. Sounds like there may be some holes in the advance scout department. Jocketty maybe should look into cutting back that per diem. However, I am pretty confident the Reds will buck that trend tonight and light up Gordon.

Monday, June 20, 2011

That Blue Jay Won't Eat Those Seeds, Idiot, Reds 2-1

Reds saved their best performance of the weekend for yesterday, best pitching performance anyway. Arroyo was really good yesterday. Going 8 and allowing only Aaron Hill's third home run of the year in the 5th. Miguel Cairo k'd with runners on second and third with one out in the 8th but that was only because he'd been so effective earlier, hitting the two-run lead giving homer, he didn't want Rolen to think that he was trying to show him up. Because he wasn't. So, that strike out kept everything cool in the clubhouse. Coco pitched an uneventful 9th, which is the best kind of 9th, especially with a lead.

The 2 runs scored yesterday was mostly in line with the performances on Friday and Saturday. Friday, Leake gave up 3 over 7 and took the loss. The offense didn't feel like doing much against Jo Jo Reyes, which doesn't make a lot of sense. Didn't he lose like 30 consecutive starts. I remember when the rumor was the Reds were going to unload Arroyo for Jo Jo and Yunel Escobar when they were both still with the Braves. I think I prefer Arroyo's body of work. Anyway, the offense didn't like what Jo Jo was offering, so didn't bother hitting it, taking the loss. Then they struggled again against Brandon Morrow on Saturday. He has pretty outstanding stuff but has been the opposite of outstanding this year. Instanding, I guess. That didn't stop the Reds from doing nothing against him. It's all part of the learning experience. And Volquez was back to being a liability, at least temporarily.

Now they get to play the Yankees and that national exposure for which they've been hungry. ESPN tonight. Big time. Fortunately Cueto is a big time pitcher and is looking forward to dominating the overpaid New York lineup. Reds schedule a three-day beating at GABP. Plan on attending. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Welcome to Broom Town, Reds 7-2

Reds completed the sweep of the Dodger yesterday and a rare successful west coast swing. With the 3 taken from Los Angeles, the Reds complete the trip at a very solid 5-2. Though, to be fair, the Dodgers aren't very good at baseball so the victories were expected.

Rolen had the biggest of the offensive games yesterday, dropping to a knee and banging out three hits, two doubles. He seems limber and full of life, no more need for the Hoveround to and from the dugout. Tom Kruse, founder of Hoverround, found his guest pass revoked. Fred Lewis had a couple of extra base hits as well, doubles, and Hanigan drove in a couple with two singles. Pretty nice game with the bats. Peter Billingsly (you know, Ralphie from A Christmas Story) still resembles an effective pitcher, he just throws too many cutters and doesn't get people out very well any more. Maybe that means he is an ineffective pitcher. I'm no expert on these things.

Wood's line is misleading. He threw about 150 pitches to get through 6. He walked 5 and the run that scored in the first was a result of an Ethier double and three straight walks. But I guess that's what announcers are always saying shows maturity in starting pitchers - going out there without your best stuff and giving the team an opportunity to win. I'm sure Chris Welch said that about 15 times yesterday. So, we can deem it a success. He now has more wins than losses (5-4) but still an ERA over 5. Also, continuing with the negative, Renteria made his 7th and 8th errors yesterday. He's only appeared in 35 games. Not great. At least he's making up for it with the bat .231/.315/.259. That slugging percentage is especially impressive very Willie Bloomquist-esque. But enough of the negative. The Reds are playing very well and are prepped to unload on the AL East beginning tomorrow. Dusty enjoys his day off to take care of some yard work. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Reds Already Take Series, Plan to Start Nick Esasky at Shortstop, Reds 3-2

The Reds got another fine starting pitching performance last night, this time from Cueto. Since coming off the DL he has done nothing but pitch well, so it shouldn't surprise anyone. Especially you! Whoever you are. He went 7 strong giving up only a run of the unearned variety in the 1st on a bad throw from Phillips. He struck out 5, walked 1 and allowed just 5 hits. His ERA crept down to 1.68. Though 4 of the 14 runs he's given up this year, so, let's see, roughly a third, have been unearned. The Reds Rocket just likes to throw everything out there to avoid being labeled as biased. He has still been, hands down, the best pitcher in the National League since his return. Or the best one that I can think of without doing any research.

The offense was relatively quiet but that's what happens when you face Kershaw and public enemy number one. They patiently waited for Cardinal-defector Blake Hawkesworth and he was worth the wait even if Votto's go-ahead double was thrown by Scott Elbert. Hawkesworth did the legwork. MacDougal helped out in the 9th, giving Coco a little bit of leeway to make sure he was pointing at the sky even after giving up a run without recording an out. I remain not a huge fan of leadoff walks from the closer but everyone has their own style. That's Coco's - never recording a 1-2-3 inning. At least he shut it down. And even with lower strikeout numbers (26 over 32.1 innings) then he traditionally flashes, he's been good this year. Only 18 hits allowed over those 32 innings to go along with 10 walks. So, maybe I'm a liar after all and should pay closer attention to the end of games because he's closing them out pretty reliably.

Dusty listened to my suggestion of giving Heisey another shot last night. We'll see if he's out there again today. I vote for the yes category. Wood takes the hill and with the way everyone else has been pitching, he appear to be the demotion candidate upon Bailey's return, whenever that is. He's rumored to be making rehab starts in Louisville. Anyone able to confirm a 6'4" asshole walking around Louisville yelling about Bryan Price? Reds! Reds! Reds!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Votto Pretends, Via Photograph, Not to Hate You, Reds 6-4

Reds picked up a nice win last night. Arroyo continued with the recent trend of good starting pitching. And Coco adjusted the current trend regarding ineffective relief pitching in bring the Reds home game number 1 of the series with Los Dodgers. The win brought Arroyo back to one game within .500. He went 7+, which was maybe + too much but still was pretty solid. He gave up 4, walked no one and only gave up 6 hits. He only struck out one but that's not what his game is all about. He's a locator. Arroyo'd been at 2 runs allowed prior to the 8th inning when, as Scully put it, the rabbits got lose on a triple by Tom Gordon Jr.

The offense stopped its homerun fast with Heisey doing some yard work in the 6th. Votto hit the team's second bomb of the day in the 8th with a couple of his good friends on base. That provided the necessary cushion for Coco to throw strikes. That he did, striking out the side (after walking the lead off).

As everyone is aware, the Reds Rocket doesn't question Dusty (whenever I type that sentence I always follow it with a but making the first sentence superfluous) but, maybe it's time for Heisey to get a little more regular time in left. Sure Fred Lewis and Gomes are pretty great but Heisey, at least at this point, appears to be the best option of the three. His defense is strong enough, he has a little pop and he even gets on base via walk once in a while. I'll have to mention that next time I see Dusty, which is frequent. Reds hammer Kershaw again tonight. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Hey Jose, How About Throwing a Couple Stikes, Giants 4-2

Going to the west coast, which is not something the Reds usually like to do very much, the expectations were low. Lower even than usual based upon the prior road trip which was pretty underwhelming. But, the Reds took 2 of the 4 and had plenty of opportunity to take 3 or 4 of the 4. They chose not to and in the end, it's their decision.

Yesterday, the ballclub gave back a lead, then fell behind only to be unable to catch-up against a pretty good Giants' bullpen. I haven't seen Bruce and Votto look that poor in combination for a while. There may be some blame which can be assigned to the starting pitcher, not for his pitching, but based upon his total confusion on the basepaths. I'm pretty sure Volquez had never been on base before last night and just wasn't sure what to do. So, the Reds missed an opportunity to add a run or two after the Giants cut the lead to 2-1. That still doesn't mean that Arredondo needs to walk two of every three upon entering the game. Bray should also be able to retire Aubrey Huff, probably. He didn't and the Reds lost.

Saturday was better. Leake looked great over 8, keeping in mind the Giants' offense is somewhere in the mega-brutal category. The offense beat up Lincecum and the Reds remain the only team that he's, Lincecum, has never beat. That's an interesting statistic. Friday the team lost late after Arredondo, joined by Ondrusek, walked everybody. At least prior to Nate Schierholtz, who knocked in the winner.

Trip continues to fantastic L.A. this evening. Arroyo is ready to get things figured out against Kuroda. Matt Kemp has still been raking. I'd be okay if he cooled off for this series. Reds come home victorious, beginning tonight.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Reds Have Little Trouble with Giant Men with Glandular Disease, Reds 3-0

Reds put together a nice tight victory last night. Cueto went 7 without allow a run before turning things over to Masset , then Coco. The two relievers saw 6 batsmen and sat them all down. Reds win, just that easy. Cueto got his third of the season and has been very good through 7 starts this year. His ERA now sits below 2.00. Maybe those couple weeks off to start the season energized him.

The offense wasn't spectacular but functional. Jonny Gomes of all people had three hits. I do see that he's starting to grow his mohawk back. I thought we'd all agreed that the mohawk was the source of the extended slump. Maybe there was some miscommunication along the way. One of the three hits knocked in Rolen who was back from a sore throat. He went 1 for 3 with a double and that run scored. Votto k'd twice to start the game, making 5 in the last 2 days but figured it out shortly thereafter. He single and doubled and scored on a wild pitch. The Reds stuck the loss on Madison Bumgarner. Don't let him point to his one run allowed, he deserved that loss. There's a reason he has an ERA that low and a 2 and 8 record. The teammates don't like him. Though, even if they did like him, that is not a good lineup. Freddy Sanchez is officially the scariest guy in the order. Reds picked the right time to roll into town, though they'd be hammering the Giants even with the whole team out there.

Wood gets the start tonight against Ryan Vogelsong, who I'd just assumed got into heavy drugs and was living in a condemned house somewhere. I guess not. He will wish that's what he'd chosen to do after the beating tonight. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Reds Sell The Rights to That Win to Mr. Nikapopulous, Cubs 4-1

Reds decided to drop the last one in the home stand before hitting the road for four in San Francisco followed by three in L.A. In pretty confident they hammer the Dodgers all three games but if you'll recall, they struggled a little big against the Giants in San Francisco last year - giving up 10 or more runs in all three games. They did win one of them, which was fun. So, hopefully that's not the case this year because the Giants' offense is brutally bad. Like 5 Corey Patterson's, Cody Ross and Aubrey Huff. I think Kevin Mitchell's still available for pinch hitting, if necessary. Fortunately for the Giants, they have an okay rotation. Okay compared to the Reds rotation. Pretty good compared to everyone else. Madison Bumgarner takes the hill tomorrow. He already has 7 losses (even with an ERA under 4.00). The Red plan to make it 8.

Yesterday the Reds didn't close things out against the Cubs very strong. They had the bases loaded in the first against Dempter, who is muy terrible, but didn't score any runs. Cairo was the main offender, popping up to second with one out. They eventually took the lead in the 3rd but did very little after that. Something else was, in fact, required of them. After Janish booted a grounder to short, Arroyo gave up a long bomb to Carlos Pena who only seems to be able to hit against the Reds. Aramis Ramirez (remember when he used to be a legitimate big league player? It seems so long ago) followed Pena's bomb up with one of his own. The Cubs added another run with some help from an Arredondo walk. Apparently, you can't pick off to first when there is no one standing on the bag. When I say apparently, I mean clearly and unquestionably. Must be the language barrier. At least that was back-up radio guy Jim Kelch's opinion. I think he probably knows just about everything about everything. It's just delivered in an excruciatingly, but sweet, tone. Just tell me what happened! I hear the crown cheering/booing.

Anyway, Arroyo gets the loss, Reds conclude the homestand 5-4, which isn't bad but they lost a couple along the way. Notably the Dodgers meltdown last Saturday. They can make them up on the road, or at home versus the Yankees. Easy wins coming up.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Now That's a Haircut You Can Set Your Watch To, Reds 8-2

The Reds saw the return on Volquez yesterday from his brief sabbatical in Louisville. He was able to get some writing done during his time off and appeared to figure a thing or two out on the mound. He went 7 walked only two and got his first base hit of the season. He still wasn't throwing any first pitch strikes (only 11 of the 27 batters he faced) but the key was not throwing any fourth pitch balls, or balls which total four.

Yesterday, when I was looking around on the internet I found a couple of bits of information on Volquez which I either was at one time aware and have since forgotten or never knew. Initially, when he was first signed by the Rangers he went by the name Julio Reyes. Then, once they checked his birth certificate, he realized that, though he had gone by Edison before, he birth record actually named him Edinson, with the 'n'. So, prior to signing he went by his real name, which turned out to be a fake name. Then he changed his real/fake name to a fake name (Reyes) then finally back to his real name, Edinson. Also, apparently when Volquez had his big demotion to A ball with the Rangers' organization, they enacted the following:

•  Run on and off the field within 12 seconds.
•  On days he pitched, only speak to his catcher, manager and pitching coach.
•  Write down a plan for the nine hitters.
•  Use a No. 2 blade when shaving his head.
•  Throw 60 percent first-pitch strikes.
•  On 80 percent of 0-1, 0-2 counts, throw an action pitch, or quality purpose pitch.
•  Chart pitches on days he is not starting.
•  Always have his shirt tucked in, and his pants tidy.

That's a heavy-handed regime over there in Texas. While I didn't really judge the tidiness of his pants, I do see that he has a new haircut. Which looks sharp, though the Reds Rocket discourages attempts to limit the flair of the Reds players. Dusty gets to wear wrist bands, after all.

Now on to non-Volquez related topics. Offense was good yesterday albeit with Doug Davis on the mound. I was under the impression that battling back from cancer was good enough for him and he called it a career. At least he still has that long-strip of a bead and still throws about 80. The Reds can handle that. They put 4 on him before Cairo had the big blow, a grand slam off John Grabow. That took the load off Masset. Horst even got an inning of work during the garbage time 9th. Reds plan the sweep today, Arroyo's jacked up. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Reds First Pick Looks Very Serious

The Reds first pick at number 27 in the draft is high school right-hander Robert Stephenson. He's a Californian who was described by scouting director Chris Buckley as "an outstanding high school projection pitcher with a very loose, live arm." That sounds okay. I won't pretend to know anything about him other than what I read in the article on the Reds home site. Or maybe I will. The Reds Rocket's very informed opinion of the pick is overall positive. He's apparently got a scholarship to the University of Washington. You know what everyone says about the UW, Huck the Fuskies. Get it, because their actual mascot is the Huskies. So, that offer is nothing special. That kid must not watch The Killing if he's planning on going to Seattle for a minimum of 3 years. It's been a steady downpour for all 11 episodes of that show.

Anyway, the Reds Rocket likes guys who can throw 98 and refuse to smile in photographs. So, good job Buckley, now you just have to get Castellini to share some of that vegetable money with you (because he's a vegetable distribution magnate).

Leake's Not Here to Tickle Balls, Guides Reds To Victory, Reds 8-2

Reds got a nice win yesterday. Leake went 8, giving up on 2 runs. I was about to hammer Leake for all of the wins (5) without pitching particularly well, however, I took a look at his game log. With the exception of his second start of the year against Arizona (which the Reds Rocket was fortunate enough to attend in person) where he was given a 5 run lead but couldn't make it through 5 innings, giving up 6 and a May 3rd start against the Astros of all teams where he went 3 and gave up 7, in his other 7 starts he's gone at least 6 and given up no more than 3 runs in any of them. He's gone 7 or more 3 times, which is a rarity for Reds starters. So, despite his other newsworthiness, which I've forgotten about by now, he's been pretty solid this year. Better than his 4.63 ERA indicates anyway.

The Reds offense was quite good yesterday. Gomes made a reappearance and it looks like he's been hitting the weight room. Matt Garza and Samardzija don't really fit the MO of his prior prey, though Samardzija is brutal, Jonny made his at bats against righties look easy.  His average skyrocketed to .195 with the two hits, which included another rocket to the shortstop that Castro made a nice play on and a 3-run bomb. Nice job Jon. Bruce had 3 hits and Hanigan was on base 4 times with 2 single and 2 walks. Stubbs homered for the second day in a row. Everything seemed to come together. It's too bad, as I say every time the Reds get a three-game set against the Astros, that the Reds can't play the Cubs every day. They don't have any idea what's going on out there.

As stated yesterday, Volquez returns today. I'm sure Marty will be very happy to see him during the game today. 'And here marks the return of the most singularly frustrating player in the entire Major Leagues. I simply deplore Edinson Volquez.' The Reds Rocket is happy to see him again. Go Eddie. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Reds Unravel Saturday, Lose Interest Sunday

Tough weekend for the Reds supporters, especially after Arroyo's fine start and Rolen's big hit Friday night. That game lasted about 2 hours then everyone was home happy with the Reds winning 2-1.

Saturday, however, was less positive, at least from the 8th inning on. Cueto was awfully good for 7 innings and the offense touched up Clayton Kershaw for 7 runs, which is also awfully good. If you take a poll around the league, Kershaw is one or two on the lefties that everyone hates to face. So, everything was alright. However, Masset continued to be unable to get people out during the day, which is confounding. His above average stuff should work just as well at 3 o'clock as it does at 8 o'clock. But it didn't. And the people who forced him out of the game were Tony Gwynn, Jr., Jamey Carroll and Aaron Miles. That hurts. That meant that Bray was forced to come in a walk Ethier. I guess he wasn't forced to walk him but opted to. Then Ondrusek, pictured above, gave up Matt Kemp's second bomb of the day, this time with the bases loaded. That tied things up, then the Reds waived the white flag in extras eventually losing 11-8.

Yesterday, Wood continued the bullpen's trend from the night before in allowing big hits to Matt Kemp. He gave up 8 over 4+. His ERA is approaching 6.00, which is not a great number. In fact, absent the huge walk total, it's very Volquez-esque. Though, Fred Lewis' losing Ethier's 4th inning double, after the Reds had cut the lead to 4-3, didn't help. Especially since Dusty opted to walk Kemp and then Rod Barajas, of all people, pushed the lead up the 6-3. Speaking of Volquez, he likely makes his triumphant return from his banishment tomorrow to face the Cubs. The offense wasn't bad yesterday, piling up 6 runs in battling from behind. But the staff kept the lead large enough where the offense was never able to catch the Dodgers. Stubbs his a bomb to lead off the Reds' half of the first, Votto drove in a couple as did Phill. The team had some opportunities. So, tough break but the Reds even with all of their poor play are at .500. Lots of time to play better and wait for the Cardinals to play worse, which they undoubtedly will.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Reds Are Good Again, 4-3

Reds decided late that they were not going to lose the series to the Brewers. But a late decision to start swinging the bats with some authority is better than their recent trend of deciding late to lose games.

Shawn Marcum was pretty good for 6, limiting the Reds to just two hits. In the 7th, Votto got the second of his three hits and Bruce followed it up with his NL leading 17th bomb to right. It was a shot. Then in the 8th, Kameron, with a 'k', hit Phillips with two outs before giving up an absolute rocket to center off Votto's bat. There had been a little gap between homers number 6 and 7 for Joey Jo-Jo, his last bomb coming on the 22nd of May, which was his lone homer of May. He donated the majority to Bruce. There was not any question about where Loe's sinker, which didn't sink, was heading. After Votto touched home plate, the Reds were up 4-3 and Coco nailed things down for his 300th career save. The Reds Rocket considered putting together an interesting graphic to recognize the achievement but was overwhelmed by laziness. At least I'm making note of it now.

Leake, excepting the third lead off home run by Weeks this year and a triple from Niger Morgan in the 1st was pretty good. He went six, didn't walk anyone and left down three but down three is not so bad if you're giving the bullpen a little rest. Arredondo pitched a nice 1 and a third. Bray got into some trouble but Masset bailed him out. He, Masset picked up his first win of the year (to go along with 3 losses) for his hard work recording the one strike out of Corey Hart's cro magnon beard. The team gets a break tomorrow after 20 straight days of games before welcoming the Dodgers and Cubs to town. Both present very beatable opposition. Dusty is ready to begin a long winning streak, which may or may not be followed by a lengthy losing streak. Cincinnati is very pleased this evening. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Reineke Takes Mound - That Concludes the Highlights, Brewers 7-2

The Reds road difficulties appear to have followed them home, though, last night's game did feature a very limited bullpen for Dusty to overutilize. Chad Reineke making his first start for the Reds which is probably a big deal since he's from Ohio, sent all of his friends and family in attendance home with a big shrug of their shoulders. 'Well, at least he got a start." They'll say. And he sure did, he got a chance to start.

He went 6 and 2/3rds, which was one of the terms of his call-up. He did, however, walk 5 and give up 6 runs over his allotted time. Corey Hart's horrible looking beard was the main problem, hitting a three-run bomb in the 3rd, after Renteria was nice enough to start the inning off with a two-base error, to give the Brewers and anxiety-ridden Zach Greinke a 4-1 lead. Reds had an opportunity to slime back into it in the 4th with the bases loaded and no out but Reineke, as pitchers are wont to do, grounded into a double play. Dusty blamed his inability to pinch hit for the pitcher in the situation on the lazy bullpen, unwilling to pitch with "sore" arms. Bunch of babies. Apparently, Ondrusek, Fisher and Arredondo all had lines through their names on the score card with frownie faces drawn in bright red marker. Dusty muttered something about Mark Prior every time he walked past that part of the dugout. So, it was just Reineke and recent Louisville teammate Jeremy Horst manning the mound.

Leake gets the start in the rubber match today. He has alternated between good and terrible, so the bullpen may get a chance to re-tire their arms today. Hopefully that's not the case. Bruce celebrated his player of the week award with an RBI single yesterday to give the Reds the lead in the first. That's the lone offensive highlight. For those of you without one of those umpire counters in your pockets for Bruce's statistics, he finished May with 12 bombs and 32 rib-eyes. Pretty solid. Reds take the series today.