Monthly Archives: April 2012

April 30, 2012

Jay Bruce is the NL Player of the Week

Jay Bruce shows off his trimmer body on the red carpet.

The Cincinnati Reds are reporting that Jay Bruce has been named the National League’s player of the week. Little wonder with the week he’s had. From the tweet:

@JayABruce named NL Player of the Week 4 4th time in career. Hit .476, 1.143slg, .542obp, 2 2b, 4hr, 10rbi, 2sb. HR in his last 4g

Let’s make it the fifth time in his career next week, eh?

April 30, 2012

The Daily Brief: What the hell, Moerlein?

Last Game
The stars were out yesterday afternoon as the Cincinnati Reds beat the Houston Astros, 5-6. Starting pitcher Mat Latos put in another less-than-spectacular performance, and the team spent most of the game trailing. But thanks to Joey Votto, who kept the team in it by tying the score twice, and Jay Bruce, who who hit is fourth home run in four games, the Reds came out the victors.

Next Game
The Reds are off today. The Chicago Cubs come to town tomorrow and will have Jeff Samardzija facing off against the Reds’ Bronson Arroyo.

Great Moments in Questionable Marketing Decisions
Christian Moerlein Lager House, that new tap house named for the Cincinnati beer in the Banks across the street from Great American Ball Park took a big ol’ bite at the hand that feeds it this weekend by running an ad in a paper in Cincinnati, apparently pimping itself to Cubs fans. That was a dick move, Moerlein. A real dick move.

What to Say to Sound Smart at the Water Cooler
Scott Rolen’s next double will be the 505th of his career, which will tie him with Hall of Famer Tony Perez for 49th on that all-time list.

April 29, 2012

Game 22: Astros 5, Reds 6

Astros (8-14)1100210005110
Reds (11-11)00021021-690
W: Ondrusek (1-0) L: Rodriguez (0-3) S: Marshall (5)


The Cincinnati Reds defeated the Houston Astros today 6-5, taking the weekend series. That is the Reds’ third consecutive series win and has their record back at .500 at 11-11.

Mat Latos started for the Reds and was bad again. He pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing 5 runs from 10 hits, including 2 home runs, and struck out 4. On the season, Latos has started five games, but only one of them was good. His last start against San Francisco resulted in a shutout, but so far, all of his other starts have been a disappointment.

While I’m not too concerned about Latos–I’m confident he’s just having a slow start to the season and will improve–the bad starts do grow tiresome. Thankfully, the Reds’ offense has improved and were good enough to bail out Latos today.

Joey Votto tied the game twice with his awesomeness today. Once in the 4th inning when he hit a two-run home run–his second on the season and two more than Albert Pujols–to tie the game at 2-2. And then again in the 5th inning when he lined a double down the right field line to drive in two and tie it at 5-5.

The game stayed tied until the bottom of the 8th when Jay Bruce came to the plate and hit his fourth home run in four days. That gave the Reds the lead for the first time all day and allowed closer Sean Marshall to enter and absolve his last save failure with a 1-2-3 save.

The Reds finished the month of April with a record of 11-11. They have an off day on Monday before the Chicago Cubs come to town. Bronson Arroyo takes on Jeff Samardzija at 7:10pm EDT.

April 28, 2012

Game 20: Astros 6, Reds 4

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Reds (9-11)000011002481
W: Rodriguez (2-2) L: Leake (0-3) S: Myers (4)


The Cincinnati Reds managed to make the opening game of the series against the Houston Astros look a lot closer than it really was.

Mike Leake turned in another crappy start for the Reds, doing nothing to quiet those fans clamoring for Aroldis Chapman to join the rotation. Leake was unable to make it out of the 4th inning, and ended up charged with 6 runs–3 earned–on 7 hits and just 1 strikeout. At least he’ll be well rested for his next start.

The bullpen came in after that and turned in their characteristic scoreless performance. Unfortunately, this time the Reds’ offense never really showed up. Watching the game, it felt like the hitters were not quite awake yet and didn’t really wake up until the second half of the game.

Jay Bruce scored the Reds’ first run in the 5th thanks to Todd Frazier’s pinch-hit triple. Of course, Frazier was left stranded on third. In the next inning, Joey Votto battled Astros’ starter Wandy Rodriguez and, after 13 pitches, hit a line-drive double that scored Drew Stubbs.

The offense was silent until the 9th when they mounted a minor comeback attempt. Bruce and Devin Mesoraco tacked a back-to-back whackity-whack, but the hole Leake had created was too much.

Hopefully, the Reds will come to today’s game awake before the game starts. Johnny Cueto will start against Lucas Harrell at 4:10pm EDT.

April 27, 2012

Pretentious food, Pretzilla, and a little vertigo

Thanks to Redsfest this off-season, the Red Hot Family had three vouchers for free tickets to certain Reds games. We had the choice of Tuesday or Wednesday of this week, but since Tuesday was Bring Your Dog to the Game Day, we went with Wednesday. As if 250 dogs on a big concrete slab weren’t bad enough), I also bust out in serious hives when I come in contact with canine drool.

Our seats were all the way up at the View Level, which isn’t a short trip. So, we decided to take in some of the lower-level activities before heading up the Forever Ramp to the 500-level seats. After discovering the curly slide was closed (apparently for the rain, though I don’t think riding a slide in the rain is any worse than sitting in your seat in the rain) and that the Smokehouse special for the Giants series was salmon with dill sauce (we were expecting a giant hot dog or jumbo shrimp or something), we decided to take some shelter in the Machine Room Grill.

The last time I was in the Machine Room Grille, we got nachos and deep-fried Oreos. Yeah, that’s not happening anymore. The stuff on the menu sounded like normal food, but the descriptions made it clear that it wasn’t. For example, how many times have you had mac and cheese with New York Strip on it? But such lofty Kraft Dinner toppings did at least explain why it cost $9.

Too much pou, not enough tineThere seemed little hope of ordering something a kid would actually eat, so we decided to forgo dinner and just get a couple appetizers. We got the “Chips and Salsa,” which were actually pretty good. Sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese on a bed of dandelion greens, served with sesame seed crisps and flat bread. Sounds like all the chips and salsa you’ve ever had, right??

We also ordered the poutine, in solidarity with Joey Votto. Again, it was nothing like the actual dish. Since when does poutine feature mozzarella cheese and shredded beef? At least they left the French fries alone.

The last strawIn fact, I think putting a gourmet twist on ballpark food classics isn’t a bad idea, but it doesn’t belong within the park itself. It just doesn’t fit alongside the disposable cups of Bud Lite Lime (which you have to order from the “specialty” beer list). Instead, I think this menu would work much better in some rooftop hotel restaurant near the ballbark.

There was one “fancy” thing to get excited about: the soft drinks at the Machine Room Grille came with straws. Straws! In a ballpark! Imagine that!

LaRosa's PretzillaMost kids don’t really do the whole sun-dried tomatoes and dandelion greens thing, so after our trip to the Machine Room, we had to find some more kid-friendly fare. We made our way to the LaRosa’s over by where the FSN guys are set up and ordered a “Gourmet Pretzel,” which rang up as “Pretzilla” when we checked out.

It’s a giant soft pretzel made of pizza dough, and it’s really a meal on its own. I wouldn’t have minded if they offered some pizza sauce alongside the cheese (or better yet, stuff some pepperonis in there) but it was darn tasty as it was. It made me think of the gourmet stuffed pretzels they used to feature at Ed Smith Stadium, back when Reds’ spring training was in Sarasota, FL. I must say: I miss those days.

Eventually, we did make it up to our seats, which had a pretty good view if you aren’t too concerned about the heights. No big deal for me: the deathgrip I had on the handrail going up and down the stairs barely gouged out the paint. Not bad for free tickets and a winning night.