Daily Archives: June 1, 2005

June 1, 2005

Reds Shift

That's what you call the phenomenon by which the Reds look redder to the other teams in the division as they rush away in the standings. (That's your cue to groan, Shawn.)

I really thought the Reds were going to win tonight, though I should have known something was amiss right away when the defensive line-up graphic FSNO showed in the second inning had Aurilia playing at short. When they finally panned over Felipe Lopez in the field, there was a collective sigh of relief at our house, but even our man Lopez wasn't enough to carry this team tonight.

Let's do hear it for Ramón Ortiz. He got into some trouble in the first, but managed to wriggle his whippet-thin self out of it. (Seriously, that guy has what, a 22″ waist?) After that he just seemed to get stronger, and I was genuinely surprised to see him pulled in the seventh with two outs, two on, and having given up two. Considering that Kent Mercker immediately gave up the 2-RBI double, it was a bad surprise.

We were just starting to bitch about how Roy Oswalt had faced the minimum in the fourth, when Felipe Lopez doubled to left field. Stretches his hitting streak to 14. And to think I actually laughed when I first saw him on the All-Star ballot.

The last couple nights, Sean Casey has found a few holes, including tonight in the fourth. I remember when it seemed like everything he hit got through. Man, those were good times. Wait, can 2004 really qualify as “good times”?

Unfortunately, after Ken Griffey, Jr. knocked in Lopez, and Adam Dunn walked on five pitches, Joe Randa swung on the first pitch and grounded into a double play. At least he's swinging (I'm looking at you, Kearnsy). Lance Berkman went on to hit a solo shot in the bottom of the fourth to bring the Astros ahead 2-1.

In the bottom of the fifth, Kearns came in to catch a ball in shallow right field. On FSNO, George Grande said that Kearns “bailed Freel out” by coming up with the fly ball. In the outfield. Behind first. I think that the expectations of Freel might be getting a tad high.

Speaking of Freel, he was on second in the top of the sixth when Lopez hit the ball back to the pitcher who then caught Freel up between second and third. The 1-6-5-4-5 play lasted long enough to get Lopez to second. Would have been nice to have seen Romano do that last night, huh? But even though the play left a runner on second, Casey flied out to center, and Griffey struck out to end anything that resembled a threat.

In the bottom of the eighth, David Weathers came in to pitch. Six weeks ago you never would have convinced me that I'd be relieved to see this fella. But three quick outs don't mean much if the offense doesn't show up.

What a bummer. But tomorrow's an off-day. I'm sure everything will look like it's returning to the violet part of the spectrum as we go into Colorado.

And no more physics jokes; I promise.

June 1, 2005

Reds Stand Up to Sit for Aurilia

HOUSTON, TX -- Rich Aurilia might not be starting in the field, but he does have an imporant job ahead of him.

When Aurilia came off the disabled list to find his starting position gone, he was less-than-thrilled. To make it up to him, some Reds offered their own infield playing time.

“He's more comfortable on the left side, so it makes sense for me to sit [so Aurilia can play third base],” said Joe Randa. “I'll be traded in a month anyway, so I might as well stop diluting my early numbers and rest up for my chance to play on a team in contention.”

Ryan Freel also volunteered to yield to Aurilia. “Rich can't be expected to play just anywhere,” said Freel. “No one should have to play at different positions than what they're used to. That's just asking too much.”

Felipe Lopez, who's been on an offensive tear since even before Aurilia pulled the hamstring that sent him to the DL, was also quick to offer up his job. “They made me move over [to second base] for him, so I know how hard it is,” said Lopez. “But I came out of it a better ballplayer. Maybe time on the bench will help me even more.”

“Plus, now that he's got that Segway thing, he's almost as fast as me,” Lopez added.

Despite the acquiescence from Randa, Freel and Lopez, Manager Dave Miley had other plans for Aurilia.

“Even though we only signed him to a minor league contract, Rich has proven himself and demonstrated the intangibles that are so important from your veteran leadership,” said Miley. “That's why he'll be filling the role of manager for today's game and going into the Colorado series.”

General Manager Dan O'Brien agreed with the decision. “Aurilia demonstrated his head for baseball when he refused to go on a rehab assignment for more than one day,” said O'Brien. “That's exactly the kind of executive decisions that we like to see our players making about themselves and each other.”

“Maybe next week I'll give him my job,” joked O'Brien.