Sunday, July 10, 2011

Coco's Long Weekend, Brewers 4-3

The Reds didn't play bad ball against the Ryan Braun-less Brewers over the weekend but will still head into the break two games under .500 and fourth place in the Central. Responsibility for Friday and Sunday's losses can, at least partially, be attributed to the work of Reds closer extraordinaire, Francisco Cordero. Sure, there were a multitude of other happenings which impact the final outcome of a game i.e. Jay Bruce attempting to stretch a double into a triple today in the 3rd inning with no one out, but your closer, who is occupying a large percentage of the team payroll, should, ideally, be able to get three outs. You'll notice from the picture of him cursing his three-headed donkey god that lives just above the cloudline, he was unable to get the job done.

Friday, Leake wasn't his usual reliable self and left to steal shit out of everyone's locker after only 5 and a third. Fortunately, the middle relief was sound allowing the team to come back from a 5-4 deficit when Leake slunk into the locker room to a 7-5 lead heading into the bottom of the 9th. Stubbs picked up 3 hits, Votto had 2 and Bruce hit his 20th bomb of the year to highlight the offense. But Coco's line looked a little like this: 2/3rds of an inning pitched, 3 hits, 2 walks, no strike outs and 3 runs allowed. Brewers have a fun tie celebrating at home plate and walk off with a 8-7. But, as stated earlier, there were plenty of opportunities to prevent runs from scoring earlier in the game or to add additional runs. So, as fun as it is to pile on the closer, it's really not all his fault. Maybe mostly his fault.

Saturday, things were better. At least in the 10th inning. After Cueto was relatively solid, though below the heightened expectations he's produced (6.1 IP, 6 hits, 3 ER and 4 walks), the bullpen was again quite good. Sure, Coco got in at the end and gave up a run but that was after the Reds laid 5 on Marco Estrada in the top of the 10th. Bruce hit his 21st to start the scoring, then they knocked out about 10 straight hits. Cozart had a couple of hits in 5 at bats and Hernandez, who is swinging a nice bat, went deep earlier in the game. He had two hits, Bruce and Votto had 3, to show him up. Joey's average is back up to .325. That's a solid number going into the All-Star Game. Even if Fielder didn't invite him to the Home Run Derby party .

Today, we saw the return of Dontelle Willis. After 2 innings of shaky control, he figured it out. Went 6 allowing just 2 runs in line to pick up his first win in that fancy Red uniform. Chapman pitched 2 scoreless innings of relief. As prefaced above, Coco had some more problems. After he got Yuniskey Betancourt to start the inning (who every pitcher should get, every time he's at the plate) Nyjer Morgan walked and stole second base. Coco walked the very dangerous George Kottaras, the Mark Kotsay, Coco's nemesis, hammered one off Cordero's glove, scoring Morgan. After hitting Rickie Weeks, a move of which I actually approve (though it did move runners from 1st and 2nd to 2nd and 3rd, and I guess first, with Weeks on) Craig Counsel, who was 0 for 28 at the time, muscled a sac fly to end the game. Tough loss but Coco showed an appropriate level of contrition. He's been pretty good this season but if he keeps giving wins away, I'll turn on him like Benedict Arnold. A couple more is all that he gets.

So, everyone, with the exception of Bruce, Votto and Phill, gets a couple of days to relax and chill out (on their boats maybe?). Dusty is going to catch up on some yard work that his wife has been all over him about. 'I told you I'd get to the that patch of weeds in two weeks, woman. Dusty Baker's a straight shooter. When he says he'll weed, he'll weed in due time.' I'll see if I can get a hold of the video. See you all in a couple days.

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