Monthly Archives: August 2010

August 20, 2010

Reds 9, Diamondbacks 5: Would You Believe Another Win?

Reds (70-51)0004000509110
Diamondbacks (47-75)000010040581
W: Wood (4-1) L: Saunders (7-13)


The Cincinnati Reds continue to demolish the teams in the lower half of the standings, yesterday finishing a sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks 9-5. The win extends the Reds’ winnings streak to a season-high 6 in a row, and they’re lead over the second-place Cardinals to a season-high 3.5 games.

The last time the Reds lost was when the Cardinals swept them. I can’t be the only one in favor of no more losses to anyone but the Cardinals. It seems a good strategy for the rest of the season.

The offense was very productive again with 2 home runs–back-to-back wackity-whacks from Ramon Hernandez and Jay Bruce in the 4th–to give the Reds a lead they would never relinquish. In the 8th, they piled on to a bad bullpen, scoring 5 more, all after a dropped ball to left-field with 2 outs. I love seeing the Reds take of errors instead if the reverse, which is how it’s been for a decade.

Yesterday, Travis Wood was recalled for the start, as promised to him earlier. Wood was great, as always, allowing just 1 run in 6 1/3 innings. He got into some trouble in the 7th, but Logan Ondrusek capably got out of that jam.

Carlos Fisher was the pitcher sent down to make room for Wood, but I have to think that Bill Bray is on the edge, especially with his performance yesterday. He started the 8th, but recorded only 1 out from the 4 batters he faced. He allowed one run all by himself, but then Jordan Smith allowed the 2 inherited runners to score, pushing Bray’s ERA to 5.40. I can’t help but think the managers noticed that Bray couldn’t pitch a clean inning against a bad team and will remember it should the Reds reach the playoffs or need a roster spot before rosters expand on September 1.

The win ended the consecutive, 100-plus days that had either the Reds or Cardinals in 1st or 2nd, with the other team 3 games or less behind.

August 19, 2010

Reds 11, Diamondbacks 7: Another Comeback, Another Series Win

Reds (69-51)10110004411181
Diamondbacks (47-74)0100402007100
W: Rhodes (4-3) L: Heilman (3-4)


The Cincinnati Reds won yet another series last night, defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks 11-7. Like so many wins before, the Reds took the lead in their last at-bat by scoring 4 runs in the 9th. The impressive part is that they also scored 4 runs in the 8th just to tie the game.

Edinson Volquez started and continued his pitch-inefficient ways, throwing 100 pitches through 4 2/3 innings. He was good for the first 4, but collapsed in the 5th, allowing 5 runs, 2 from a home run by Chris Young. The bullpen came in, but for the first time in what feels like forever, they weren’t perfect. Jordan Smith had a rare bad outing, allowing another 2 run home run to Adam LaRoche.

This put the Reds down 7-3, the early lead from Drew Stubbs’ sacrifice fly in the first long forgotten, as were the solo shots by Jim Edmonds and Jay Bruce. No, more runs were needed, and in the 8th, the Reds got to work. Miguel Cairo got a pinch-hit single to start things. Bruce tripled him in, and then Ramon Hernandez hit a double to score Bruce, making it 7-5. Paul Janish singled to set up first and third for Laynce Nix. Nix hit a very shallow flyball to right field that would have been impossible for even Drew Stubbs to score on, but the right-fielder’s throw was so far out of the catcher’s reach that Hernandez took off and scored. Brandon Phillips came up next and hit a double that tied the game.

It was late as I watched this last night, and I was so happy to have my sleep-deprivation rewarded. In the 9th, it got even better. Edmonds led the inning off with a double and advanced to third on a ground-out by Scott Rolen. Chris Heisey was brought on to pinch-hit, and he laid down a perfect squeeze bunt to score the go-ahead run. It was so perfect, that Heisey made it first safely. Such an exciting play.

Before the inning was over, Paul Janish drove in a run, and Laynce Nix doubled in a couple more, to make it 11-7.

It’s so fun to see the Reds never lose hope, to never lose that fighting spirit. It’s why I stayed up after they were down by 4 late in the game. Because I knew that the Reds probably would come back and get that 3-game lead over the Cardinals.

August 18, 2010

The Daily Brief: Making Room for the New Hotness

Last Game
Anybody else staying up for the late-night West Coast games? It wasn’t easy, but I did manage to outlast the Crack Technical Staff to see both the Cardinals lose and the Cincinnati Reds win. The Reds, down early to the Arizona Diamondbacks, kept their calm and came back. Although it appeared that Bad-rroyo was the starter, he definitely turned it around, too, after the 2-run shot he allowed in the first. Scott Rolen drove in 3, but Paul Janish hit a solo shot to break the tie in the 7th. With the way he’s played, it almost makes me wish Orlando Cabrera could be on the DL for the rest of the year. Or at the very least, the bat boy.

Next Game
Thanks to the Cardinals loss to the Brewers–thanks Felipe Lopez!–the Reds now find themselves where they were a week ago before the Cardinals sweep, with a 2-game lead. The Reds attempt to continue their winning ways tonight when Edinson Volquez starts against Rodrigo Lopez at 9:40pm EDT.

Hello Yasmani Grandal, Goodbye Micah Owings
The Reds signed their top draft pick on the last day they could. Catcher Yasmani Grandal received a 4-year deal worth about $3 million, and a coveted spot on the 40 man roster. The reason the deal took so long was because Grandal wanted the major league roster spot.

“You’d rather not do that,” said Walt Jocketty. “He has the same agent as (Yonder) Alonso. It was hard not to do it. We have confidence that he will move pretty quick. He’s an established college hitter.”

We’ll see if it works out. The Reds have done this 3 times before to Alonso, David Espinosa, and Dane Sardinha, and it hasn’t worked out yet.

To make room for Grandal, Micah Owings was designated for assignment, which is what has to be done to remove him from the 40 man, even though he is already in the minors. An average starting pitcher with a great bat is very likely to attract some attention on the waiver wire, even though he is arbitration-eligible after this season. The Reds have never seemed to know what to do with Owings. They never exploited his hitting skills to their fullest, and didn’t even seem to work too hard to get him into ballgames. Maybe his next team will have an idea where Owings can fit.

What to Say to Sound Smart at the Water Cooler
The Reds have a 5-game road winning streak, which ties their season high. This most recent win pushed the Reds to a new season-high of 17 games over .500, at 68-51.

August 17, 2010

The Daily Brief: The West Coast Beckons

Last Game
The Cincinnati Reds finished their sweep of the Florida Marlins and regained sole possession of first place by winning 2-0. Homer Bailey had a great outing in his first start back from the DL, filling in for a suspended Johnny Cueto, no less. Miguel Cairo provided the offense, with a 2-run bomb in the 6th.

Next Game
The Reds had an off day before embarking on another dreaded West Coast road trip. First, they make a stop in Phoenix to take on the Arizona Diamondbacks. It will be Bronson Arroyo against Daniel Hudson at 9:40pm EDT.

Votto’s Ejections
Joey Votto was ejected again in his first batting appearance on Sunday. This is the 2nd time that’s happened this year.

This one doesn’t make as much sense, when watching the video available at the above link. Previously, Votto had just been snubbed for the All Star Game and had some pent-up frustration. He also had a full-blown fit, throwing his helmet to the ground and everything. This time, the umpire calls the pitch a strike, and Votto stepped out of the batter’s box. He may or may not have said something out of the side of his mouth. He then stepped back into the box, said something quietly without being demonstrative, and was ejected by the home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn.

It’s impossible to say what Votto said, but it sure seemed like an instance of the umpire making the game about himself instead of what everyone comes to see: baseball. At least he’ll be well-rested for the Diamondbacks tonight.

What to Say to Sound Smart at the Water Cooler
Either the Reds or the Cardinals have occupied the top 2 spots of the National League Central–with no team further than 3 games away–for the last 99 days. The only other 2-team race close to that was the 1964 Phillies and Giants, who shared the top 2 spots for 98 days.

August 16, 2010

On Board with Jim Edmonds

If you’ve been reading RHM, or following me on Twitter, or watching my Facebook updates, or talking to me in person, or in any other way sensing the vibes that I have been emitting into the cosmos, you know that I have been less-than-pleased with the acquisition of Jim Edmonds.

In this photo, Edmonds appears to be missing the top of his head. Does that make it a topless photo?To put it in perspective, I was more upset about this acquisition than about the reports that the Reds are planning to extend the contract of Dusty Baker, the hiring of whom inspired me to take “Cincinnati” right out of the site’s tagline and add pictures of the freakin’ Pirate Parrot to the banner image at the top of the front page. Though, to be fair, Dusty Baker has sucked a whole lot less in the recent past. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Jim Edmonds.

The other night, Redleg Nation tweeted something to the effect that eventually they’d have to start cheering for Edmonds because “he’s one of us now.” To which I replied, “he’s about as much one of us as Corey Patterson…and he’s about as productive so far.” To which, Rocktman65 replied, “but 2 hits will surpass that.”

Two hits. And just 13 ABs into his time with the Reds, Edmonds–the guy who was brought aboard for his bat–is halfway there.

My complaints about Edmonds are not about what we gave up to get him. As much as I liked Chris Dickerson (I always have a soft spot for the guys I get to talk to in person, and I got to talk with him at a Reds Caravan one year), heaven knows he wasn’t going to get any play in the Reds’ overcrowded outfield, and he’s actually getting a shot with the Brewers.

No, my complaints are about who Baker will inevitably block with Edmonds: any of a number of young, deserving outfielders. Five of them–Drew Stubbs, Chris Heisey, Laynce Nix, Jonny Gomes, and Jay Bruce–some more deserving than others, but none safe from the “intangibles” that Baker is so confident over-the-hill players bring to the field. For those of you keeping count, that’s six outfielders, certainly too many, and it ain’t Edmonds who’s gonna get sent down.

But yesterday, when Joey Votto got ejected from the game (apparently for an offensive jut to his chiseled chin), with Paul Janish already in for the injured Orlando Cabrera and Miguel Cairo already spelling Scott Rolen, it was Edmonds who came in to cover first.

And suddenly I realized a way I could get on board with Edmonds on the roster: backing up the corner infield.

I mean, this dude used to be all that in the outfield, but his range is better suited to the infield these days. Leaping to catch high drives might be similar to snagging one over the wall, and surely the throw from third to first isn’t any harder than the one from center to second.

And with a couple All-Stars in the full-time positions, I won’t have to worry that he’ll be getting too many starts. Either he’ll be a bat off the bench, getting a couple starts a month, or he’ll take a screamer down the line to the shin and we won’t see him for the rest of the season. Either way, I won’t have to worry about him too much.

Maybe I’ll even be inspired to take down the Parrot.