The score of the win this afternoon over the Astros matched the Reds' record: 6-5. That could be a pattern difficult to maintain through June.
The star of today's game was Wily Mo Peña. Not only did he knock a 3-run homerun in the fourth inning to take the lead, but he also hit a nice RBI double in the eighth to take back the lead that the middle relief had given away. Peña also made a handsome attempt to catch a homerun ball over the right-field wall, a catch that he might have made had he had more practice. It would be great to see Peña get more playing time. If only there were someone, anyone in the starting outfield that was off to a slow start whose place he could take for a while. If only.
As predicted, Felipe Lopez got the start at shortstop today after Rich Aurilia's two consecutive RBI games. Lopez didn't get a hit today, so now that the coaching staff has made sure that Lopez is good and cold, we're sure to be seeing Aurilia in the field again tomorrow.
Ryan Wagner continues to be a bad-ass on the mound and appears to have rocketed up the bullpen ranks to be the eighth-inning man. Rumblings on the old blog circuit are already starting about making him the ninth-inning man, especially with the dramatics Danny Graves has put us through lately.
And I have to wonder whether Graves is feeling it. At least twice now in stories on the official Reds site he's been quoted talking about how hard this game is for pitchers. The first time I noticed was in the game summary of the win against the Cardinals on April 13, Graves said “[The ground-rule double] is probably the only rule in baseball that's good for the pitcher.” The second time was a little quote about the vision-enhancing contact lenses that Nike is working on, “It's an advantage to the hitter, no question,” he said. “Anything that helps the pitcher is illegal.”
Sounds like our man Graves is feeling a little bitter, even though we all know that he doesn't have anything to worry about, especially if the saves keep coming. Nevertheless, he might gives those contact lenses another try.
1 – Pe?a is the man! I think he hit the homerun in the fourth inning but it landed in the sixth 🙂
His promise is finally coming through. I surely hope he keeps this up and just lets it flow. I love this guy…
2 – Graves sure does make every game he pitches in exciting (ie. nerve-wracking). Personally, if the saves outnumber the losses by a huge margin, I could care less what his ERA is. Yank him in favor of Wagner and see how fast he becomes "Mr. Discruntled" instead of "Mr. Excitement." There’s no need to do this until he starts blowing saves.
The only reason Graves is the closer is because of his unbelievably, horrifically high salary. Not just the let’s-justify-his-earnings-by-giving-him-a-prominent-role reasoning, but also the old our-closer-got-a-bunch-of-saves-wouldn’t-you-like-to-trade-for-him bit. Too bad GMs have apparently wised up.
He’s a decent pitcher, and he’d make a good middle reliever, but in a close ninth inning, I’d rather have somebody with a fastball on the mound.