Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Reds Continue to Practice Abstinence at the Plate, Phillies 3-0

The bats, ignoring the 9th where the Reds placed 3 runners on base denying Cliff Lee his complete game shutout, were quiet as a mouse against the Phillies this evening. Stubbs was the only member of the lineup with more than one hit and Dusty asked him to take a seat with the bases loaded in the 9th in favor of Yonder Alonso. Granted, Alonso been rakin' but, well, Dusty knows what he's doing, so I'll leave it at that.

Willis was pretty good again, albeit a little wild. He doesn't show a whole lot of interest in throwing strikes to right-handed batters. Those willing to wait him out are able to draw a walk on a semi-regular basis. He walked 5 on the night but only gave up 3 runs over 6.2. The radio guys were speculating he may be better served as a left-handed specialist going forward as the funny-handed hitters are hitting under .190 against him this year but one of them was Jim Kelch, who, as you recall, is solely responsible for the Reds underachieving this year. Utley and Howard, who both drove in runs with groundouts, were each 0 for 5 on the evening. Pence took Willis out of the park for the Phills' loan extra base hit. Arredondo and Chapman pitched 2.1 innings of scoreless relief which was nice to see, since the rest of the bullpen seems pretty gassed at this time of the season. Fortunately reinforcements arrive tomorrow with the September 1 roster expansion. Jeremy Hermida, who had a fine season at Louisville, though not nice enough to spend much time at the big league level, was designated to make room for Mesoraco's addition to the 40 man. In addition to Mesoraco, Fisher, Horst, Valaika and Francisco are apparently heading up to receive some big league treatment for a month or so. We're also going to see the return of Travis Wood and old pal Edinson Volquez. The talk is that Volquez is going to get some starts, likely in place of Leake (after Leake makes a couple more starts) and Wood is going to resume his long man bullpen routine.

Leake takes the hill against someone not named Halladay, Hamels or Lee tomorrow. He's excited about the opportunity. Vance Worley turns out to be the name of the other guy in the rotation. The Reds look forward to scoring more than 0 runs. I think that will be a step in the right direction.

Reds Look a Little Overmatched, Phillies 9-0

At least the mascots appeared to be enjoying themselves. That is a possible marketing opportunity for the Reds - more mascots. I don't think three, one of which looks and behaves like a muppet with autism, is adequate.

The Reds didn't play their best game of the year yesterday. Arroyo gave up quite a few runs and the offense generated very few, in fact none. That's not the best equation if you want to win games. I think if you asked Dusty, he'd tell you he was indifferent as long as his arm bands get plenty of air time. No, that's not what Dusty thinks. He wants to win every game and I'm sure is a little disappointed that the Reds are -1 in the win/loss category. They'll get back over .500, only to fall back under and maybe get back over again.

Last game with the Phillies this year, which will be a relief. I can think of about 5 guys I'd like the Philadelphia police to use their taser on. Placido Polanco tops the list. Willis is ready to win a game today.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I Knew There Was Reason Mr. Redlegs Hates Hawaiians, Phillies 3-2

The Reds played well enough last night, especially with old scourge Hamels on the hill. The Reds have never been able to figure him out, even when he was going through some struggles last year, he can always count on a good performance against Cincinnati. Last night was no different, even though Manual was nice enough to remove Hamels after 6, despite throwing only 75 or so pitches. He figured Cole had a modeling show or some other stupid shit to do. He was probably right.

Bailey matched Hamels at 1-1 until the 8th. He threw Victorino a first-pitch curve ball (which he had used to strike him out with runners on 2nd and 3rd with two out in the 5th) which the Pineapple King deposited over the right field wall. The Reds got another run to cut it to 3-2 but that's as close as they got. Bailey ended up going 8 and striking out 9. Nice performance. He was even able to pitch around Yonder Alonso getting his first start, at any professional level, at 3rd base. Alonso contributed to the sum total of 0 outs. Pretty good pitching keeping the ball away from him.

Phillips scored the Reds' first run in the 4th when Hunter Pence came down with acute vertigo and fell down while tracking his fly ball. Phill ended up at 3rd with a triple and Votto knocked him in with a grounder to second. The Phillies' matched that in the top of the 5th with a misplay by Phillips (that went as a hit) followed by a poor jump in left by Sappelt and a questionable decision to dive, leading to a tied 1-1 game. Sappelt's play prompted Marty to state 'this kid's play in left really leaves a lot to be desired.' It sure does Marty. Arroyo battles Halladay in today's titanic struggle. Reds rebound.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Nationals Waste Reds' Time, Get Swept Reds 4-3

The Reds waited a while yesterday before holding the semi-annual dog/broom fight in the middle of the infield. The broom, as the Reds swept the series with the Nats, was deemed victorious.

The Reds took all of 13.5 innings to get the win yesterday, with Votto concluding things with a solo shot to left leading off the 14th. That was his second bomb of the day, giving him 26 for the year. He continues to pile up the power numbers. Bruce also went deep, intending to keep his hold on the team lead. He has 28. Alonso, however, allowed Votto to be the hero with a solo shot off Nats' closer Drew Storen in the bottom of the 9th. The game-tying bomb was necessary because Masset, and surprisingly, Chapman, favored extending the game with each giving up runs in the 8th and 9th. Dusty got tossed for the second time this year for yelling about Stubbs getting thrown out at second. That's the reason he wears those turf shoes, so he can quickly get from the dugout to the field and let the umpires know of his displeasure.

Leake picked up his 11th win of the year Saturday when the Reds won 6-3 on a bunch of singles. And, though the team again denied Willis his first win of the year, Cairo's one-hop of the wall in the 9th scored Stubbs with the winner. Of note, Willis was 3 for 3 and was hitting (prior to his pinch hitting at bat yesterday, where he struck out) .450. That's a pretty good swing for a thrower.

Reds welcome the Phillies in town this evening. I forget if they've quit trying yet or not. Probably not with the Braves hanging around somewhere in the vicinity. The Reds prefer to play team who have already given up - either due to a season of poor play or based upon a clinched playoff spot. The Reds are back to one game over .500 and only 13 back. No reason to give up hope yet, the Braves are only 25 games above even. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Reds Eat Half a Fish Dinner, Win Second 3-2

That photo of Joey Jo-Jo can't be beat. Looks as if he encountered a herd of media members. 'Okay, turn on one word answer mode.' Despite his occasional cold personality, it has not infiltrated his game. Joey continued his recent tear during both games 1 and 2 against the Fish yesterday. In game one, which was attended by an amazing estimated 320 people, Votto went 2 for 3 with a walk, a bomb and two driven in. In game 2, he went 3 for 4 with a bomb and two driven in. Over the last 10, chosen because it's a nice round number, Votto went yard 5 times, scored 10, drove in 12 and raised his average 10 points (from .318 to .328). Pretty nice week and a half.

On to non-Votto related news, the bullpen meltdown led to a loss in the first game. Bailey pitched well enough but Jose Jopez shouldn't get on base much less be allowed to circle them after hitting a ball out of the park. He, Homeboy, ended up going 7, allowing three. He did get a couple of hits, including a double, which is pretty neat. Arredondo started the Marlins' rally with Bray contributing. Frazier's bomb with Stubbs on in the 9th made it close but that's where it ended, Reds with one fewer run than the Marlins, 6-5. Game 2 was better. Arroyo pitched a very strong 8 innings, allowing no runs and tossing out some premium grade salad. Cordero made it tight in the 9th, by allowing a couple of Marlins run, but eventually settled down and ended the trip prior to the hurricane arriving to wash Mr. Redleg's comically over-sized head out to sea.

The Reds return home to entertain the Nationals tomorrow. They have some big things planned, number 1 on the list is getting Dontrelle Willis his first win of the year. He really has pitched well enough to have at a win in his 8 tries but the team has been resistant. They remain Volquez supporters, not wanting to hand out wins to people until they verify loyalty. I'm in favor of acceptance of Willis, we'll see if anyone else agrees.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Alonso Confident Big Night Will Lead to Free Boat Trips and Strip Club VIP Seats, Reds 8-6

Dusty was cognizant of the importance of Y. Alonso's first trip back to Miami as major leaguer, so he gave Votto a rest and let the young first baseman have the start tonight versus the Fish. Alonso took the first pitch he saw from Ricky Nolasco over the fence for his second big league homer. He added two more hits, the second of which ended up deciding the game when his liner to center drove in the seventh and eighth Reds runs of the night. He went 3 for 4, drove in 4 and pushed his small sample size average up to .448. Pretty solid numbers for the man without a position.

Cueto didn't like the mound and showed his displeasure by walking 6 over 5. He actually left trailing, which is very unusual this season. LeCure and Masset did their best to push the Marlins lead as high as they could but the Reds got to Nunez in the 9th. After Votto reappeared and drew a walk and Phillips singled, Sappelt drove in the first two runs of his big league career with a double to left. Bruce walked then Alonso had his big hit. Earlier in the night, Bruce hit his 27th bomb of the season. Lots of hits tonight, Sappelt matched Alonso's 3, Phillips, Cairo and Stubbs had 2. They even stole 3 bases (Stubbs 2 (32 on the year) and Phillips).

Pretty alright night for the Reds who won their third of four with all wins featuring 9th inning rallys. The wins should keep coming with the hurricane-required doubleheader tomorrow. Bailey first, followed by Arroyo. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Reds Have Low Tolerance for Robbers on the High Seas, Reds 5-4

Reds finally decided it was time to take a road series, at the Pirates' expense. Tough break Pittsburgh. Votto had a big weekend, hitting two bombs and driving in many (my recollection is 7 - 2 Friday, 2 Saturday, and 3 Sunday. Feel free to check my math or recollection) Phillips continued to hit in the leadoff role. His average is sitting just a shade under .300 with an OBP at .340 and slugging in line with his career numbers (excepting 2007 when he hit the 30 bombs) at .430. So, he's looking like he'd like to make a substantial deposit into his purple-Audi purchasing account following the season. You can never have too many high performance automotive machines.

On both Friday and Sunday, the Reds jumped all over Joel Hanrahan who has been pretty pretty good for the majority of the season. After the 5 runs he allowed in 1 and 1/3, his ERA is all the way up to 1.76. So, that may indicate how selfish he has been towards his opposition this season. Though, I realize the error of looking at ERA only without knowing rest of the story and choose to proceed on those grounds anyway. Maybe some Pittsburghian would like to correct me. If not, I'll just assume that I'm not wrong - that he has been good. But, again, who cares about the Pirates. They are now wholly irrelevant, other than to say how bad they've been playing of late.

The pitching left a bit to be desired. Homeboy was pretty good Friday, though he did throw 96 pitches through 5 innings, but the bullpen let the Pirates back from a 6-3 deficit before the Reds pulled away for good in the 9th. Willis went 6 Saturday, also allowing 3 but Chapman allowed the deciding two runs in the 7th. At least Charlie Morton didn't through another shut out. Yesterday Leake gave up 4 over 6, which is fine but, likewise, not good enough to get a win. So, there's your lazy recap. Reds eat fish tomorrow through Thursday. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Friday, August 19, 2011

You Really Like My Mesh Pullover? Nationals 3-1

The Reds wrapped things up in Washington last night with a very forgettable performance. Arroyo wasn't all that bad, but not all that great either. He gave up 3 over 6. Two of the 3 came on a bases loaded single by everyone's favorite derelict impersonator, Jonny Gomes. Gomes also made a pretty nice catch to rob Votto. I'll remember that Jonny. Ryan Hanigan will at least remember yesterday's game, he had 4 hits in 4 at bats and threw a runner out who was attempting to steal. Nice job Ryan - way to not phone it in.

Reds soldier on to Pittsburgh to help the Pirates wind down their season. Both teams have a bet to see which of their fan bases care less about them at this point in the season. I suspect people in Pittsburgh, contrasted with Cincinnati, have little interest in the fading Pirates but this is new territory for a lot of them. Only a few games under .500 this late in the season? This has to be something near a success. Anyway, the Reds will rip that feeling of accomplishment right out of them with a savage and total beating of them all weekend long. Sorry Pittsburgh.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

At Least Cueto Pitches Every Fifth Day, Reds Win 2-1

And it's also fortunate that he is very photogenic because he is oftentimes the only character worthy of me having a possible copyright infringement case brought against me. The picture to the right captures him one pitch into the 9th inning last night. That one pitch was deposited over the fence by Ryan Zimmerman prompting the old slow walk from Dusty. Good thing he has on those turf shoes or that walk would be pretty miserable. It's hard to tell from his expression whether Cueto agreed or disagreed with the decision. I'd say after about 4 batters with Coco he would have voted disagree. But, as you already know, the three outs eventually came and the 2 runs scored by the offense held up.

The offense was quiet last night, Votto went deep early and Hernandez drove in Bruce with a groundout in the 8th. They had a couple opportunities but didn't want to embarrass anyone. That's what Dusty preaches, these guys are your peers. 'Jay Bruce, sure you're up there with the bases loaded and Ross Detwiler on the mound, who is terrible, but let's give the kid a break out there.' And he did, Bruce k'd on three pitches, looking like he's never held a bat before. That's the important thing to remember, especially when you're looking at a double-digit deficit in late August and half your team is on the DL, there are more important things than baseball. Dusty understands that and does his best to impart such knowledge to those under his reign. He's a big picture guy. I, however, am a little picture guy and am quite pleased with the win last night in spite of everything else operating against the Reds. Arroyo begins an extended stretch of dominance this evening. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Reds Have a Little Trouble with the Fielding Portion of Their Brains, Nats 6-4

Any time the staff sees Alonso penciled into the starting lineup out in left, they have to prepare for the worst, because he brings it on a semi-regular basis. I couldn't locate a picture of him floundering around in left, only at first, so, this isn't really representative of the point I'm trying to make. Next time I'll find a picture of a flounder or school of flounder since they are, presumably, the best at floundering. Anyway, enough with the complaints about his terrible outfield defense, he's hitting .435 and, at least in the limited amounts I've seen, isn't barf-inducing at first. So, there's a chance he can acquire some skill out there. And last night it wasn't just him, Bruce took a bad step in the first (by the way have you seen his defensive WAR this year? He is, according to the nerds with their computers, costing the Reds, over the course of the season, one win more than a replacement level player) and the ball got over his head leading to the Reds' 2-0 lead quickly being erased. So, the problems appear to be spreading.

Leake wasn't quite as strong last night as we've seen him for the majority of the season. Maybe it was due to the Wang v. Leake match-up. He likes being the only one dick or urine jokes can be made about. He ended up going 6 but giving up 6 (5 earned). Votto's error cost him a run. On to the increasing injury front, Renteria shredded his groin and will probably need to take a couple days off. I'm not sure who gets the call if he can't go. Janish probably can't play every inning for the rest of the year. Valaika, I guess, though he's proven he has a little trouble with the bat in addition to a little trouble at the shortstop position. I know Frazier played some short at the lower levels but that was several years ago. Maybe everyone finally gets to see B. Phill show what he can do. Or, Maybe Renteria has a very strong groin and will be back in there tomorrow. I'm pretty sure my groin would be ready to go.

Cueto gets another chance to pile up some innings so the ERA leaders board will reflect his fine season. He's remained solid and no reason to expect anything less from a suspect Nationals lineup. I'm pretty sure they turn things around tonight. Ross Detwiler is brutal.

Monday, August 15, 2011

My Apologies To the Many Disappointed Chimps

For those of you who have noticed my absence, my apologies. Fortunately, there are few on that list. The Reds Rocket had some travel come up, Las Cruces, New Mexico followed by Vancouver, B.C. All in the name of the spreading the good word regarding the Reds. Everyone seemed very receptive, especially the polite hipsters in Vancouver. Sure, they're wearing tight jeans but they like hearing about Jay Bruce's recent hot streak.

Since signing off for the past week, the Reds turned in some better play. They took the last two from the Rocks and two of three from the Padres. Nationals up next, so expect some continued fine play. Bruce has been red hot, as everyone has come to expect. Every other month he simply scorches the ball. 10 for his last 17 with 4 bombs. He likes to get all of his production done in a very short period of time, then he can relax the rest of the season.

Some bad news yesterday as the D. Train was pulled out of service after a short outing with some forearm soreness. He plans to make his next start, though, at least as far as I know, he's not a doctor. He does have a naturopathic degree but we all know that's just a degree in baloney. He'll apply some herbs and focus on forcing the soreness out of muscles. Travis Wood, who made a welcome reappearance from AAA, threw an inning of relief yesterday, in his new role. He is probably in line to get the next start, if Dontrelle's high leg kick can't make it.

Three other points, before I sign off: Cozart underwent Tommy John, which isn't great. I guess we'll see him in in 12-18 months. Tough break as he was showing a little bit at the big league level. Would have been nice to see what he did once the league opened a chapter about him. Secondly, the Reds signed their top pick Robert Stephenson. We'll refer to him as Mr. Stephenson and make him a celebratory martini. He made the right decision, I suspect the $2 million signing bonus made it a little easier. Finally, and not necessarily significant, Arroyo passed through waivers. I'm sure there are other Reds who are remaining secret, but waiver period deals are always interesting to watch. With the new deal he inked in the off-season, little chance he's going anywhere. His yearlong struggles may also impact the market.

So, there you go. Nothing new and no real excuse for my absence. I'll talk with you tomorrow.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Bill Bray's Goatee Says Reds Lose, Rockies 10-7

As I alluded to yesterday, the guys at the tail end of the bullpen look as if they may be a little on the tired side. Taking the 30 seconds necessary to quantify that statement, adding today's performances, Bray has pitched in 60 games (totaling 38 innings), Masset 59 games (55 innings) and Ondrusek 56 (with 51 innings pitched). Coco's made an appearance in 46 games, Chapman 35 and Arredondo 32. Crosschecking that against the league leaders and workload of other bullpens seems like too much work for someone this lazy, so, I'll just conclusively state that that seems like a lot of games and innings. I'll wait for someone more dedicated and/or intelligent to present the correlation between heavy inning loads and poor performance. But, based upon the last week or so, sure seems like there's a pattern.

The Reds showed plenty of offense upon their return home but if you're going to give up 10 runs, that's a tough spread to cover. The featured offensive players include Jay Bruce, who may be recalling how to swing the bat, going deep and driving in 4, Stubbs who also went yard and B. Phill, bad ankle and all, coming off the bench and depositing a pitch over the wall. Votto did his part, drawing 3 walks in 4 at bats. However, Bailey, sticking with his recent pattern of being terrible after a good start, was terrible. He only lasted 3, giving up 5, four of which came on two Seth Smith bombs. The bullpen asked just one thing of him prior to the game, that he refill the toilet paper in the plush Reds clubhouse bathroom after using the last of it. He did that but didn't live up to his implied bargain with the rest of the staff, to pitch effectively late in the game. The bullpen is very passive aggressive.

After Homeboy quickly showered and peeled out of the parking lot, LeCure was ineffective, Bray was ineffective and Masset was ineffective. For the first time I remember saying this, Arredondo was the lone effective reliever. He went 2 and gave up 0 runs, which is an improvement over what the rest of the jabronies had to offer. LeCure made the 6-5 Reds lead vanish. Poof! Then Bray volunteered to break the 7-7 tie. The Reds don't have time for any more extra inning games. At least until September when a flurry of moves results in 15 more relievers getting the call up to the big club. That should help things out.

The Reds have three more chances to play well against Colorado. I think they will take advantage of all three. No reason, based upon their recent performance, not to believe that.

Reds Show Heart, Win Sunday, Reds Rocket Ignores 2 Preceding Games Reds 8-7

The Reds continued their struggle against bad teams, losing two of three in Chicago. Ignoring the two of the three, I'll focus upon yesterday's very impressive victory over the Cubs.

Impressive may not be the right word, how about the phrase, borderline unwatchable. After looking pretty good for 5, reflected by the 6-2 Reds lead on the scoreboard, Arroyo gave up a two-run bomb to Blake DeWitt in the bottom of the 6th to cut the lead in half. The bottom of the 7th was a mess. Ondrusek continued to pitch Dusty on the idea that he is overworked and needs a few days off by giving up two hits and hitting Reed Johnson in his 1/3 of an inning. Bray got an out but Masset is currently on the Ondrusek schedule. He, Masset, gave up a ground rule double to Marlon Byrd and then brought in the go-ahead run on a wild pitch. Masset, along with Bray and Ondrusek, has thrown a lot of innings this year. But that's part of the Dusty plan to build arm strength. These guys will be better off in the long run or, in need of some replacement ligaments in their shoulders and elbows. The weak aren't rewarded.

Fortunately for the Reds, Marlon Byrd is very clumsy. He fell down, like someone put a banana peel in center field, trying to catch Votto popup. The miscue, if you can call it that, it's really an error on his spikes, put Votto at 2nd. He was later driven in by Frazier, pictured for the first time on the Reds Rocket above. Frazier was, in turn, knocked in by Hanigan. There you have it, Reds win 8-7. Chapman and Coco were both pretty dynamite.

In addition to some poor play, Saturday (which I said I wasn't going to mention) also was notable for the injury to B. Phill. He's got a bum ankle which prevents him from accelerating his car up to 140 mph with his mom in the passenger seat. It also will prevent him from playing in a couple of games. For the already banged-up lineup, that doesn't help. Janish gets the start at 2nd today, yesterday it was Old Man Cairo. Speaking of injuries, Heisey's sore thorax brought a Dave Sappelt to the line-up. He had a nice last season between a few levels and was raking at AAA before injuring some part of his body. That's not to say he's been bad upon return, just not hitting .340. Anyway, he finally got his call, which is nice to see. He had a hit yesterday and made a nice catch in left. So, now you have two kids in left, Alonso and Sappelt. Alonso, though appearing to have no idea what to do with his glove out there, has been swinging a nice bat. He hit his first career bomb on Saturday (which, again, I said I wasn't going to discuss).

So, the long nightmare trip to Houston and Chicago is finally over. Those teams sure are talented and well-coached. They get to face another team in the same mold, the Colorado Rockies who have resigned themselves to being a little better next year. However, this is about the time they get unbelievably hot every year. That can probably wait until after the get out of town. Not much else from this end. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

What Now? Reds lose to Astros

The photo pictured to the right shows the climax of the Reds series in Houston. Willis' homer, which was pretty sweet, gave the Reds a 3-2 lead heading into the 7th. After hitting the bomb, Willis was removed and Masset announced that the Reds are not above playing down to any team. Nicky boy promptly put a couple runners on and surrendered a two-run double one of the Astros whose names are all unfamiliar to me. J.D. something. Or maybe it was T.J. Who can keep these things straight. The Reds added a run in the 9th but by that time were down two, so it didn't really help things.

The team moves on two Chicago where the expectation of a sweep over a bad team may not be quite as automatic as we all would like. The Cubs are pretty bad but not as bad as Houston and Cincinnati lost two of three in Houston. I'm still waiting for that 10-game winning streak but everything seems to point to it not coming along. Fortunately, the Reds like to keep things loose and unpredictable. I think they've got a couple quality wins up their collective sleeve.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Reds Domination of the Astros Is Demonstrative of the High Quality of the Team, Reds 5-1

The Reds decided not to be so easy on the Astros yesterday. They didn't do a whole lot with the bats other than the 5th inning but that proved to be enough. After Heisey and Hernandez hit back-to-back double to produce the first run, Wandy threw 15 pitches to Homer Bailey before walking him, then walked Stubbs and capped everything off with a Renteria grand slam. Looks like I'll have to cut old man Renteria some slack for a couple of days on account of him providing the margin of victory. At least he didn't make any errors yesterday and I haven't heard him complaining in a while about $2.5 million being disrespectful to him. That's certainly an improvement. Maybe he's done a little growing up.

Bailey was awfully good, especially when contrasted with his last start. He dropped his ERA down to a more respectable 4.30. But, again, this lineup the Astros are putting out on the field is not intended to be competitive. So, it's good that he was able to go 8 and generally dominate against a bunch of former players and AAA All-Stars. It's Major League Baseball's version of the Harlem Globetrotters. Sure they're pretty good and have the unique abilities (Brian Bogusevic can fit 7 baseballs in his mouth) but you know last year's Timberwolves would beat them by 75 points. I think fans are just showing up hoping that one of them will get decapitated or start a brawl.

Reds finish things up today with Willis picking up his first Reds win. He's pretty excited about it. Reds! Reds! Reds!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Reds Reject Astros Many Offers to Allow Them To Win Game, A-holes 4-3

The Reds went 3 for 17 yesterday with runners in scoring position, which isn't an ideal performance. They actually had runners at 3rd with fewer than 2 outs three times. They scored one of those three times but it was when Bruce grounded into a double play with no outs. All of it led up to Ondrusek looking very sad, and a little bit homeless about the face area, on the mound as the terrible Astros team celebrated at home plate.

The winning run was preceded by two singles (one on a hit and run) by the Astros and then a walk to load the bases. When some guy name Jose Altuve, who I think works in the marketing department but had to put on a uniform when Houston ran out of players, lined a ball up the middle, Phillips dove, knocked it down and threw home. Hanigan, who's apparently not used to stretching his leg and catching the ball at the same time, dropped the throw and the game finally ended.

Of positive note, Arroyo showed that he can get people out, assuming those people are named: Luis Durango, Jose Altuve, (three-hole hitter) Jason Bourgeois, the walking corpse of Carlos Lee, J.D. Martinez, Clint Barmes, Jimmy Paredes and Humberto Quintero. Bronson went 8 and actually allowed three runs to these clowns. Still, that should have been sufficient to send the Reds on their way but turned out it wasn't. I suppose Dusty had some words of encouragement after the game for everyone. Homer hits the mound today with the goal of being less awful than he was last time. I think he can do it.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Everybody Loves Hugs, Reds Sweep 9-0

The Reds, as predicted by me and everyone else in the know, swept the Giants, looking generally awesome against everyone not named Cain and Lincecum in the Giants' rotation. Not that they wouldn't have hammered those guys too, given the opportunity.

Friday night, the team, fresh off the previously discussed Mets' sweep, slowly returned a 3-1 lead to the the Giants and headed to extras. The return of the lead defrauded Willis of another possible win in a game where he pitched well. As he's been doing during every start. In extras, they had runners at 1st and 3rd with no outs and couldn't get a run in. Which is not unexpected, however, in the 13th, Arredondo did his non-cancer imitation picked up his first career hit, then Renteria walked everyone off with liner off the chalk down the line. Big party at Renteria's house afterward.

Saturday, the Reds jumped all over Bumgarner, scoring 5 in the first and sending 11 men to the plate. They didn't do much of anything after that (5 hits in the 1st, 7 for the game) but Leake cruised, giving up a homer to the Fat Ass Panda and another run courtesy of two errors in one inning by Renteria. Everyone seemed to be pretty pleased with themselves again. As they were entitled to be. And yesterday, Zito Giants? Get serious. He's no match for the powerful and rejuvenated Reds offense. Cueto gave all the lazy asses down in the bullpen a break and kept the ball for the full 9. With his performance, he finally qualified, innings wise (based on his smile and sparkling personality, he was qualified long ago), for the NL leaderboard in ERA. He's a half run ahead of the second place contestant (Ryan Vogelsong, with whom the Reds were not impressed Friday) with an average of 1.72. Sunday was his third complete game of the season, though it was the first one in which he got the win or had to actually pitch 9 innings. Votto hit another bomb in the 7th, Stubbs had 4 hits, which is a career high, Frazier hit his first career bomb and nearly everyone else in the lineup contributed to the offense. Phillip chewed off his figurative arm to work himself out from under the slump rock he was trapped for a week or so. He is working on a 10-day hitting streak and his average is re-approaching .290, which is a nice range for him. Bruce has cooled out on the strikeouts and Alonso seems to have at least an idea what to do with big league pitching, going 3 for 4 to start the year with Cincinnati.

No trades, with the exception of Gomes, and, though there is still plenty of time and expensive players to get through waivers, Jocketty seems to like the club. August is a good month for the Reds, schedule-wise. They head to Houston tonight, then Chicago. There are 6 wins. Then they're home for 7 against the Rockies (4) and Padres. Then they hit the road to play Washington, Pittsburgh and Florida. I count about 17 wins before they even come home to finish out the month. The rest of the Central has long known about the Reds tsunami forecast. They're ready to concede the division. Reds! Reds! Reds!