May 31, 1976 at the Astrodome
Reds 4, Astros 2 (28-17)
The Reds ended the month of May on a winning note as George Foster’s two run shot in the fifth gave the Reds the lead for good. Joe Morgan doubled, tripled, scored a run and had one RBI and Pete Rose had two hits and a run.
Pat Darcy moved his record up to 2-3 on the season. He gave up two runs on six hits and four walks in five innings of work. Rawly Eastwick held the Astros hitless in the final two frames and he earned his sixth save of the season.
May 30, 1976 at Riverfront Stadium
Dodgers 6, Reds 5 (26-17)
The Reds dropped the front end of their Sunday doubleheader with the Dodgers in a close game. The Reds jumped out to a 5-3 after four innings, but the Dodgers picked away at the lead and scored the go ahead run off of Rawly Eastwick in the top of the ninth inning.
Gary Nolan was hit hard and didn’t even make it through the fifth inning. He gave up four runs on seven hits with four walks. Eastwick dropped to 3-3 on the season and he already matched last year’s number of losses.
The Reds ran all over catcher Joe Ferguson. In total, the Reds stole nine bases, including four by Ken Griffey and two by Johnny Bench. Dave Concepcion went three for four with two runs and Eddie Armbrister went three for four with a run and stolen base.
May 30, 1976 at Riverfront Stadium
Reds 7, Dodgers 2 (27-17)
Santo Alcala continued his hot streak as he improved to a perfect 5-0. The rookie gave up two runs (one earned) on five hits with three walks and two strikeouts. Will McEnaney held the Dodgers scoreless in the final three frames to earn his first save of the season.
May 29, 1976 at Riverfront Stadium
Reds 6, Dodgers 5 (26-16)
The Reds topped the Dodgers with a huge late inning rally. The Reds actually got on the board in the first inning to take an early lead. Pete Rose flew out to lead off the inning then Ken Griffey walked and stole second. Joe Morgan then doubled him Griffey home and later scored on George Foster’s triple.
Jack Billingham ran into some problems in the second inning and gave up three runs and the lead. He gave up another run in both the third and fourth innings and the Dodgers looked like they were going to cruise to an easy lead. In the meantime, Dodger starter Rick Rhoden was handling the Reds pretty easily after running into those problems in the first inning.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Reds finally showed some life. Tony Perez hit a solo homerun to make it a 5-3 game.
In the bottom of the ninth and with Rhoden still on the mound, Dave Concepcion led off with single and Tommy Lasorda gave the ball to Mike Marshall out of the pen. Cesar Geronimo then singled and moved Concepcion to second base, and then Eddie Armbrister bunted both men over to put the tying run at second base. Pete Rose grounded out to Marshall to make it two outs and things were looking grim, but then Ken Griffey came up with a huge clutch triple that drove home both baserunners and tied the game. Joe Morgan followed that up with a single and Griffey scored to put the game away.
It was the first time the Reds were 10 games over .500 this season.
De Señor Diesel
Okay – that’s as far as my 12th grade Spanish will get me. Capping an otherwise forgettable series, the Reds stole a game today from Arizona off their closer in the 9th. I took an unscheduled nap this afternoon in the 8th inning and witnessed the following through groggy eyes:
SLEEPING – Wake up and Ryan Freel throws out a runner at the plate.
SLEEPING (with cat under arm) – Wake up and Scott Hatteberg hits a 2-run HR.
SLEEPING (small amount of drool now) – Wake up and Javier Valentin is crossing home plate and getting mugged.
UNCONSCIOUS SLEEP – Wake up and Barry Bonds just hit HR 715.
What productive sleep! When I retire in 35 years and can take naps all day between applesauce and Matlock, the Reds will have the first ever undefeated baseball season!
May 28, 1976 at Riverfront Stadium
Reds 9, Dodgers 0 (25-16)
The Reds ran up the score and blew out the Dodgers at home. Joe Morgan and George Foster both had two hits, homeruns and three RBIs. Johnny Bench went three for four with a homerun, two runs and an RBI.
Pat Zachry threw a five hit shutout and improved to 4-0 on the season. He walked two and struck out nine.
Dave Williams was sort of the odd man out once Eric Milton came back from his knee injury. On top of that, Williams wasn’t even throwing well. He had a Reds’ like ERA of 7.20 in 40 innings. So in effect, we gave up Sean Casey (who’s been on the shelf most of the year) for Robert Manuel. The deal also cost the Reds $500k to cover half of Williams salary.
There’s not a lot on Manuel, either in John Sickels Prospect Book or Baseball Prospectus. Manuel did have a nice season in rookie ball last year (8-1, 2.06 ERA) so hopefully we picked up a decent enough prospect.
May 26, 1976 at Riverfront Stadium
Braves 4, Reds 3 (24-16)
The Reds gave up two different one run leads late in the game as the Braves edged them by a run. The Reds scored the first run in the sixth when George Foster drove home Dave Concepcion with a sac. fly.
The Braves took the lead with two runs in the eighth and the Reds answered with two of their in the bottom half of the inning. In the top of the ninth, the bullpen once again let the Reds down as Rawly Eastwick was tagged for two more runs to give the Braves a one run lead. The Reds went down quietly in the ninth to end the game.
Eastwick dropped to 2-2 on the season as a great start by Gary Nolan went to waste. Nolan shut the Braves out on only two hits through seven innings.
May 25, 1976 at Riverfront Stadium
Reds 10, Braves 4 (24-15)
The Reds scored double digits for the second straight game as they trounced the Braves. George Foster had his second straight montster game. He went three for five with two homeruns, five RBIs and two runs. Johnny Bench drove in three runs and Ken Griffey scored three times.
Santo Alcala improved his record to a still perfect 4-0. He gave up four runs on four hits and six walks. Pedro Borbon threw the final three frames and held the Braves scoreless en route to his second save of the season.
It’s been a nice couple of days for Reds fans. The Brewers came into town and we’re one win away from sweeping them. More impressively, we’ve manhandled their pitching staff. Fifteen runs on Monday and then seven more yesterday.
At the forefront has been Ken Griffey, Jr. In his last four games, he has two doubles, three homeruns and eleven RBIs. He also has a seven game hitting streak going right now. If there’s one concern, it’s his patience at the plate. Right now he has only six walks 82 at bats. The impressive number though is his 25 RBIs in 20 games.
People forget that Griffey started at a very early age, and despite the fact that he played in the late 80s, he’s only 36 (he’ll be 37 in November). Say he has three more years of good but not great production, and you could see him flirt with 3,000 hits and 600 homeruns.
Brandon Phillips continues to amaze. Three years ago, I picked him up in a sim league I was in. Then he did nothing. And I mean nothing. Even his AAA seasons were mediocre. But at one point, this guy was a top five prospect and now he’s showing why. He’s not hitting for a ton of power, but he’s hitting .311 and he has 10 stolen bases and hasn’t been caught at all. And he has 31 RBIs in 38 games, which is pretty impressive for a guy hitting in the top of the order. What a great pick up by the new management team.
Brandon Claussen throws against Doug Davis today. Now it’d just be nice if the Cardinals slipped a little so we could move back into first place.
May 23, 1976 at San Diego Stadium
Reds 11, Padres 0 (23-15)
The Reds finished their three game series over the Padres with an eleven run pasting. The Reds scored two in the second and three in the third, and then busted the game open in the sixth with six runs.
Lost in the offensive onslaught was a three hit shutout by Jack Billingham. he struck out five and didn’t walk a single batter.