July 25, 2014

Former Tween Stars to Bail Out Redlegs

The new Reds lineup

Frazier will be leading off, followed by the rest of his Little League teammates. (Image source.)

CINCINNATI – Third baseman Todd Frazier is calling on some old friends to help the fragmented and foundering Reds find their legs.

Frazier was famously a member of Toms River East American All-Stars, the team that won the Little League World Series in 1998. This week he put in some calls to get the gang back together.

“When in doubt, go back to basics,” said manager Bryan Price. “We have a heck of a lot of doubt right now, and I can’t think of anything more basic than little league, so I say we give these guys a shot.”

In a scene right out of “The Replacements,” one by one a college pitching coach, a QA analyst, a mechanical engineer, and a graphic designer each reported for duty.

“At least two of these guys played well into their late teens,” said Frazier, “And they all have miles and miles of heart.”

“I’m wiry,” said little league second baseman Joe Franceschini.

If Frazier succeeds in filling the General Manager void, he says he’ll consider filling more front-office positions. “Tommy’s dad is a lawyer,” said Frazier, “so he could always help with the contracts.”

July 16, 2014

The All Star game and Todd Frazier

In case you were wondering why all the baseball teams just suddenly stopped playing and the most recent score on your phone sports app is from Sunday, that’s because it’s the All Star break. The game was last night, with the National League losing to the American League 5-3, thanks entirely to the terrible pitching by the St. Louis Cardinals.

It was also the last All Star game for Derek Jeter. However, that was not because he was going to be a human sacrifice following the game as I originally thought. Apparently, he’s decided he sucks at baseball now and wants to quit instead of going after Pete Rose’s hit record.

That also was not what the game and the break has been about for me. No, for me, it’s been Todd Frazier blossoming on the national scene. First, he was selected to participate in the home run derby. This is the first time I’ve sat through an entire derby–three hours of batting practice, counting the rain delay–and it’s thanks entirely to Frazier. He was that much fun to watch.

After his initial round of only 2 home runs, I figured he was done. But then Yasiel Puig hit no home runs in his 5 seconds of trying, and Frazier tied with Justin Morneau. After Frazier won the tie-breaker, he advanced to the second round and easily dispatched Troy Tulowitzki 6-2. In the semi-finals, Frazier narrowly squeaked by Giancarlo Stanton 1-0.

That made Frazier the National League Home Run Derby champion, which is pretty cool. Sure, he was easily dispatched by the defending champion Yeonis Cespedes, but it was quite enjoyable to see Frazier competing with his oldest brother throwing the pitches.

Frazier walked in his lone at bat during the All Star game. And hopefully, we’ll get to see him and many more Reds take the field when the game comes to Cincinnati next year.

July 10, 2014

Injury day lineup

After the hopefully minor injuries to Brandon Phillips and Billy Hamilton last night, the Cincinnati Reds are in full day-to-day mode.

  1. Chris Heisey, CF
  2. Skip Schumaker, RF
  3. Todd Frazier, 3B
  4. Brayan Pena, 1B
  5. Ryan Ludwick, LF
  6. Ramon Santiago, 2B
  7. Zack Cozart, SS
  8. Tucker Barnhart, C
  9. Homer Bailey, P

Ouch. Only one of those hitters–Frazier–is having an above-average offensive year. Out of all the teams in the majors, there is only one that I can see this weakhouse lineup being effective against: the Cubs. Thankfully, the Reds are playing them today.

July 8, 2014

Votto back to DL earlier than I expected

I hope he still wears high socks while he's on the DL.

I hope he still wears high socks while he’s on the DL.

The Cincinnati Reds put first baseman Joey Votto on the DL today. From Reds.com:

The Reds placed their first baseman on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with an injury to his left quadriceps muscle, and they returned catcher Brayan Pena from the paternity leave list. Votto last played on July 5 and went 0-for-4 in a loss to Milwaukee.

Manager Bryan Price has said that he didn’t expect Votto to be at 100% all season, so it was common knowledge. And yet, General Manager Walt Jocketty didn’t see the need to be overcautious and do silly things like arrange for a back-up first baseman. Why bother when the team already has an overabundance of infielders and offensive threats?

I didn’t see this coming though. Even though we all knew Votto needed to go on the DL, I really expected the team to limp along with 24 active players until after the All-Star break. Kudos to the team for failing to fulfill my lowest expectations.

July 7, 2014

Who knew this team had that many All Stars?

Cueto long tosses before the game

Aroldis Chapman about to throw. Fast

Frazier taps the plate with his bat.

Mesoraco standing with his bat outstretched

 

Yesterday, the roster for the 2014 All Star game was announced, and the Cincinnati Reds are well represented. Aroldis Chapman, Johnny Cueto, Todd Frazier, and Devin Mesoraco were all selected to go to Minnesota and represent the National League this year.

Can you believe that? Four All Stars? Does this crappy team seem like one with four All Stars? It doesn’t to me.

The team is in 4th place and has had a winning record for maybe a week. I find it hard to believe that a team that’s just above the Chicago Cubs, currently in the second century of their rebuilding effort, would have four players selected.

Not to mention, the manager of the National League who picked all those Reds–none were voted in–was the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals. The last time a Cardinal manager picked, Cueto was snubbed by infamous curmudgeon and kitten squeezer Tony LaRussa.

But not this time. Cueto has made his first All Star game, as have Mesoraco and Frazier. This will be Chapman’s third.

The strange thing about the players selected is that it feels like an obvious player–Alfredo Simon–was overlooked. I would’ve thought the pitcher leading the league in wins would have a legitimate shot at being an All Star. I guess not. He’s not even on the lame Last Man vote.

So sorry Simon. Maybe this’ll give him time to defend his rape case. But congratulations to all the Reds players. With this many, I might have to tune in to catch their appearances.