Thaq and Brian held down the fort admirably while I took some time off. I headed up north for some much needed rest and relaxation. And while I was sleeping in a tent, I was never that far away to where I couldn’t keep tabs on the Reds.
The Tony Womack era had ended after only 18 at bats. The recent emergence of Brandon Phillips (NL player of the week) made Womack expendable, and the trade for Cody Ross sealed the deal. I saw Ross play here in Detroit a few times and he was a fan favorite. Unfortunately the team had a log jam of outfielders so they sent him out west. He had a solid season last year in Triple A and actually got off to a nice start this year for the Dodgers. He became expendable when Nomar came off the disabled list.
Adam Dunn is off to a typical start. He’s hitting just below .250 and he has almost as many walks (22) as he does strikeouts (28). His OPS is still above 1.000, which is the key. It looks like it’s going to be another great season for the future Hall of Famer.
I knew Austin Kearns could do it. And while I know there’s still a ton of games left, he’s hitting over .300 with some power. His strikeout to walk ratio (20/5) isn’t much to write home about but he already has twelve extra base hits.
You also have to be happy with Edwin Encarncion’s start. He’s walked eleven times versus nine walks, and his OPS is on the north side of .900. He also leads the team in RBIs with 18 and that was before the four he’s driven in tonight.
On the pitching side, Bronson Arroyo is the stud. He stands at 3-0 and has a miniscule 3.04 ERA. The team is still giving up well over five earned runs a game, but Arroyo is getting the job done.
More importantly, the Reds are in second place in the standings. They’re 12-7 and they are well on their way to winning today’s game. They’re only a half game back of the Astros, who are also winning tonight.
Regardless, you have to be happy with the Reds so far. If you would have told me the team would start 13-7, I would have jumped all over it. It helps when your team leads the major leagues in runs scored and homeruns.
April 25, 1976 at Jerry Park
Reds 7, Expos 0 (8-5)
The Reds won their three game series with the Expos behind strong outings by Don Gullett and Pat Darcy. Gullett three six shutout innings and gave up five hits and Darcy three three shutout innings and gave up two hits.
Johnny Bench and Dave Concepcion both hit their second homeruns of the season and they both drove in two runs. Ken Griffey went three for four with two RBIs and a run and Pete Rose had three hits and three runs.
April 24, 1976 at Jerry Park
Reds 6, Expos 4 (7-5)
The Reds won in their first extra inning game of the season in a back and forth game with the Expos. The Expos jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the fourth but then the Reds scored one in the fifth and three in the sixth to take the lead. The Expos got back into things in the bottom of the sixth when they scored a single run to cut the lead to one, then tied the game up with another run in the seventh.
Neither team scored in the eighth, ninth or tenth. In the top of the eleventh, Dan Driessen led off with a single and then he moved to second when Johnny Bench reached first on third basemen Larry Parrish’s error. Mike Lum bunted both players over and then Cesar Geronimo was walked intentionally. Then Dave Concepcion came through with a huge clutch single that scored both Driessen and Bench.
Rawly Eastwick put the Expos down in order in the bottom half of the inning en route to his first win of the season. He pitched three perfect innings to close out the game.
By Thaq Diesel
The Reds took three of four from the Brew crew and in the process exchanged a couple yin-yang 11-0 butt kickings.
A quote from the AP story about Sunday’s game:
“Brandon Phillips has had an outstanding week,” Narron said. “I don’t know how many guys are going to have 17 RBI in a week.”
As a way to ensure 17 RBI doesn’t happen again, Narron has decided to sit Phillips for a few games to work the platoon system at 2nd base as originally designed. Okay, that was a cheap shot. Still, I found myself thinking while mowing the lawn today that Narron would most certainly pull “The Freel Manuever” and sit down a hot player. Nay, Phillips looks like he’s actually realizing the potential the Expos saw in him when he was first drafted. Barring a crushing slump of 15 or 20 games, let him stay in place at 2nd. (I’m sure many of you thought the “Freel Manuever” was either to chug a 12-pack on the drive home or to swing a pool stick at someone. Good guess, but no.)
Aaron Harang’s start today has me grateful that the Reds now have two bona-fide starting pitchers on this staff (Arroyo clearly the other). Both have been a pleasant surprise. Other than Todd Coffey and David Weathers, the rest of the staff has been poor as expected with the middle relief being unbelievably bad. Perhaps a couple more pitchers can settle down and give the Reds offense a chance to muscle out some more games. We will see tomorrow what Elizardo Ramirez (up from AAA Louisville) can do. He’ll be starting now that Eric Milton ($9.8 million in 2006 salary, BTW) is giving up home run balls only on his PS2 for the next couple weeks as he deals with a knee injury and disabled list stint. Despite the rough pitching start to the year, the complete game gem pitched by Harang today against the Brewers (as well as the shut out work on 4/14 at St. Louis) is something to be savored.
April 23, 1976 at Jerry Park
Expos 5, Reds 4 (6-5)
Jack Billingham was shelled in the eighth as the Expos staged a late inning comeback against the Reds. With the Expos on top 2-1, the Reds scored three runs in the top of the seventh to take a 4-2 lead. Unfortunately Jack Billingham gave up three runs (two earned) on four hits in the bottom of the eighth to give the Expos the lead. The Reds went down in order in the top of the ninth as the Reds once again dropped to a game above .500.
April 21, 1976 at Riverfront Stadium
Reds 5, Padres 4 (6-4)
A big third inning pushed the Reds out in front as they edged the Padres by a single run. With the score 1-0 in the bottom of the third, Bill Plummer led off the inning with a double but was gunned down at third base on Fred Norman’s fielders choice. Pete Rose doubled home Norman to tie the game up, then Ken Griffey singled home Rose to give the Reds a 2-1 lead. Griffey stole second and then Joe Morgan made the second out of the inning by popping up to second base.
Then the Reds put on their rally caps. Tony Perez, George Foster and Cesar Geronimo all singled in succession and by the time Padres manager John McNamara could get Dave Wehrmeister out of the game, the Reds were up 5-1.
The Padres scored two in the fourth then one in the sixth to shave the lead to a single run but the bullpen held the Padres in check as Don Gullett and Rawly Eastwick held the Padres scoreless in the final three frames. Fred Norman improved to 3-0 on the season and Eastwick earned his second save.
By Thaq Diesel
April 20, 1976 at Riverfront Stadium
Padres 7, Reds 5 (5-4)
The Reds pitching continued to struggle as the team dropped to within a game of .500. Jack Billingham only lasted five innings and he gave four runs on seven hits. When he left the game, the Reds were down 4-0.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Reds exploded for five runs and jumped into the lead. Pinch hitter Dan Driessen and Ken Griffey both drove in two runs in the inning. Four of the Reds six hits were also in that bottom of the seventh.
The Padres didn’t take very long to answer. In the top of the eighth, Pedro Borbon and Will McEnaney combined to give up three unearned runs (although the error was on McEnaney, so he was pretty much responsible).
April 18, 1976 at Riverfront Stadium
Giants 5, Reds 1 (5-3)
The Reds had their worst offensive game of the season and dropped their first series in a 5-1 loss to the Giants. Cesar Geronimo’s RBI triple in the second inning scored George Foster, but that was the extent of the Reds scoring.
Gary Nolan gave up three runs on six hits in seven innings of work and he dropped to 1-1 on the season. Will McEnaney was hit hard again but Rawly Eastwick bounced back from his last outing and got two batters out without giving up a run.
The Cincinnati Reds are finally living up to their potential and the Big Red Machine looks like a serious contender in the NL Central this year. And the best way to see the Reds in action is with Great American Ball Park tickets. Since opening in 2003 to replace Cinergy Field (formerly Riverfront Stadium), Great American Ball Park has won acclaim as one of the best new stadiums in Major League Baseball. Reds tickets will get you in to experience the perfect blend of history and modern amenities at Great American Ball Park.
Few baseball teams have a history as rich and vibrant as the Reds, and Great American Ball Park, with its trademark riverboat smokestacks in the outfield, takes full advantage of that fact. History buffs will enjoy the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum, a mural chronicling Pete Rose’s 4,192 nd career hit, mosaics honoring the 1975 World Series-winning Big Red Machine team and 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings (the first professional baseball team in history), plus statues, banners and a replica clock from old Crosley Field, which was home to the Reds from 1912 to 1970. So make sure to get Great American Ball Park tickets if you are a fan of baseball history.
As for the present, Great American Ball Park baseball tickets will get you in to see one of the National League’s top teams led by Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn, Bronson Arroyo and Aaron Harang. The 2006 Reds baseball schedule includes games against division rivals like the St. Louis Cardinals, Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs, plus an interleauge series against the World Champion Chicago White Sox. So if you haven’t been to the new Reds stadium yet, now is the time to get your Great American Ball Park tickets.
Great American Ball Park, with its wide concourses, comfortable seating and expanded concessions, is a big improvement over old Riverfront Stadium. And if you’re curious, the ballpark’s name did not come from baseball being the great American pastime, but from Great American Insurance Group, which bought the naming rights to the stadium. Make plans now to get Great American Ballpark tickets and cheer on the Cincinnati Reds.
Other Fields of Interest:
|Air Canada Centre||Angel Stadium|
|American Airlines Arena||Busch Stadium|
|AT&T Park Chart||Citizens Bank Park|
|Ford Field||Fenway Park|
|Rose Garden Chart||Shea Stadium Chart|
|Staples Center||U.S. Cellular Field|
|Wachovia Center||Wrigley Field|
|United Center||Yankee Stadium|