Archive for July, 2007

Lohse dealt to Phillies for Minor League Pitcher Matt Maloney

And if Kyle thought Cincinnati fans know how to boo, wait until the fans of Brotherly Love get ahold of him.  Lohse gets to enjoy a playoff chase so it’s hard to feel too bad for him.  If he pitches like he did for the Reds, he’ll get applause every fourth start and boos the rest of the time. 

I like how Krivsky dealt with this trade as a manager:   “I made up my mind that it was going to get done today before he got on the bus because it would have been awkward. (Tuesday) is his day to pitch.”  It’s good to see common sense at work.   A lot of times you see players complain about the foresight shown by management “They could have dealt with this before I flew to Seattle,” etc….

 The Reds ran out of steam against the Cubs after a great homestand.  I knew the Reds were in trouble Sunday when I saw Zambrano pitch the first inning.  The guy has a swagger to him right now. 

Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain! The Brewers Are For Real!

I mean, I love the Reds.  I really do.  But the Brewers need to dig deep and figure out exactly who they want to be after getting thumped by last-place Cincinnat.  They’re in deep trouble if they don’t get out of this hitting slump.  And their bullpen is springing some leaks.

Give some credit to Cincinnati – they played pretty plucky in winning 3 of 4 from the Brew crew.  The game they lost Tuesday night would have been a win too if a) Stanton could get the third out in the 8th and b) Griffey gets another foot out of that long homer try to deep right in the 9th.  Oh, and if they hadn’t stranded so many runners in the first two innings.  And if they quit hacking at pitches.  But it was RIGHT THERE for the taking.

  • The biggest shame of Tuesday night, however, was that Griffey made two spectacular plays in right field and none of them made the top plays on ESPN.  They should have been 1-2 (with the diving catch and double up on first from his knees being the top play).  Where is the love from the Worldwide Leader?  It’s in Boston and New York, that’s where.
  • Junior is 12 away from a landmark 600 homers.  I’m guessing he hits it by mid-August.  I wonder if he’ll hit those 12 before Bonds hits his next two?  At least it looks like Junior is staying with the Reds, which probably means for the rest of his career.
  • Pedro Lopez took a nasty shot to the face yesterday and it was pretty scary to watch him bleeding on the ground.  He’s on the 15-day DL with a broken cheekbone, but he’s probably done for a while unless he wears one of those Rip Hamilton facemasks, which would be interesting to see.  You can bet it shook up the pitcher – the Reds hit him hard and got some runs after that.  With Alex Gonzales out indefinitely, Cincy is running out of shortstops.
  • I must be hallucinating but the Reds bullpen is coming showing a few signs of life, In particular, David Weathers has had an admirable year.  He’s done almost everything this team has asked him to do, including pitching almost two full innings yesterday to hold down a win.  Those worth mentioning:  Weathers (1.07 WHIP!  who would have thunk it?), Jared Burton, Mike Gosling (in limited opportunities.)  It’s not much, but it’s a start.  Perhaps everyday Eddie can be back next year.     
  • Javier Valentin is pure clutch.  He has the knack to come through when the Reds really need him more times than most. 
  • Jeff Conine has suggested that he will retire at the end of this year. 

Reds Fading Fast on Road Trip

The past two butt whippings by the Marlins have put a bit of a damper on what to this point had been a pretty good road trip.  Tomorrow the Reds can at least split this Florida series and actually have a winning record on a road swing (5-5 after today).  Thursday had clutch hitting and pitching by the Reds – enough to win anyway.  The bats are silent the past two games, however, and the Reds have given up double-digit runs in both games (and allowed Miguel Cabrera to be prominently featured in the “Who’s Hot” fantasy stats).  It figures that somebody gets hot on Reds pitching.  The bullpen has been horrible the past two games, though it has been mostly “let’s see what you can do” time for some guys who usually don’t get a lot of work.  Well, except for Coffey’s five-hit, four-run zero-out implosion tonight.  Let’s take the long view and hope the Reds actually have a winning record on a road trip.

Who's Beating Good Teams All of a Sudden? Why, It's the Reds!

First – hooray for Ken Griffey Jr.  It’s great to have you all alone in 6th place on the all-time home run list.  Like your smile and playful approach to the game, your patented lazy homerun swing never gets old.  May you hit at least 114 more home runs to get past 700.  This year has been a bit of a throwback season for you and it’s just a joy to watch.

Back to the team, the Reds  are on a bit of a roll starting at 7-4 under new manager Pete Mackanin.  The Reds have beaten some pretty good teams during this span, too.  They whoop on the Diamondbacks, Cincy took a game from the Mets, and have made a good start in the series against the Braves.  A few more wins and they could actually be in fourth place in the division.  Kooky.  Not quite as kooky as seeing the Brewers and Cubs atop the division, but kooky nonetheless.

Arroyo was pitching well tonight.  He threw a lot of first-pitch strikes.  Of course in the 5th inning the Arroyo voodoo starts again.  A bloop single gets the braves at 1st and 3rd with one out.  How does Bronson handle it?  He starts with a nasty strikeout looking on the inside corner.  He then gets Renteria to fly out to right.  The Reds actually scored more than 2 runs in a start for Bronson.  Has Arroyo’s luck finally changed?

NOT SO FAST!  Enter Mike Stanton, currently a one-man wrecking crew for Bronson Arroyo starts.  He gives up four runs in the 8th.  All with two outs.  Exit Stanton, enter David Weathers.  Why am I still feeling shaky and sweaty?  It must be because I’ve seen this play out too many times this year.  Weathers gives up a hard liner – EEK – right to Lopez at short.  Phew.

On to the ninth.  I swear to God, this umpire sounds just like a duck when he calls strikes.  A really angry duck.  Two on, Phillips up (Griffey is getting the royal treatment with these intentional walks.) and – a double steal!?!?!?! NOOOOOO.  Griffey should have been out (they had him by a mile) but the ball shot out of the glove.  What the hell was that?  No matter – Phillips strikes out.

Weathers makes it interesting in the 9th – why am I not suprised?  A long fly ball out to left seals the deal.  The moral of this story?  The Reds earlier this year would have found a way to lose this (what became a) close game in the end.  Now they are pulling out wins – butt clenching wins, mind you – but wins nonetheless.  And Arroyo won a game – that, and Prince Fielder’s inside-the-park home run., are surely two signs of the apocalypse.

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Reds “Outhustled” By Mets – Arroyo Loses Yet Another Close Game

Bronson Arroyo hasn’t complained much this year about how the Reds produce runs when he pitches.  You really couldn’t blame him if he did, however.   He gave up back-to-back homers – okay, that was Arroyo’s bad.  Then he gave up a bloop single that scored a blindingly fast Lastings Milledge from first base.  Not only does he have a name that sounds like he shoud be read by every English Lit Major in the Ivy League, Milledge plays with a gusto I’ve not seen all that often (Ryan Freel, Josh Hamilton in a more restrained sort of way).  Milledge just got his hand in on home plate ahead of the tag.  I’m guessing that if Hamilton is in center field last night, Lastings Milledge gets thrown out and we’re forced to read his 900-page treatise on Sylvia Plath’s most moving prose.

 So Arroyo is another tough luck loser as Cincinnati scores only two runs and puts out just four hits.  He’s 3-10, but it feels worse than that.  Maybe Boston bought a voodoo doll after he played so well last year.

Kudos to Junior Griffey who played his tail off in the All-Star game.  I was proud to see him come out of the dugout during the starting lineups in a Reds uniform.  And a bit sad; I wonder if the oft-mentioned trade is coming?  Could this be the last time Griffey is an All-Star for Cincy?

Reds Off to Good Start Under New Skipper

The Reds won, Griffey homered and tied for sixth on the all-time HR list, and Kyle Lohse pitched a complete game.  It was a nice night and a pleasant change for this Cincinnati team.  Perhaps they can find an identity – just in time for Dunn and Griffey to be traded most likely – under new manager Pete Mackanin; they’re 3-1 under the Mackanin.  It certainly helps to be manager when the Reds hit four home runs, three of them 2-run shots. 

Griffey should easily hit homer #600 this year.  It would be nice if it’s in a Reds uniform.  Perhaps it’s better, though, for this team to get some solid bullpen arms through a trade.  If you don’t trade Junior this year, you have to figure he’s a Reds player through the rest of his career.  His trade value, at this point of his later injury-plagued playing years, is about as high as it will likely be. 

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Grand Slams In Vogue in 4th of July Series vs. Giants

Yesterday Brandon Phillips led the charge with a grand salami to center field in a Reds win.  Today, relative unknown Fred Lewis paid Cincinnati back with a shot of his own (and boy did he turn on a Matt Belisle 3-2 offering).  Grand Slams are in the air.  The bullpen gave up four unnecessary runs and continues to stagger around like a zombie with its head cut off. 

Barry Bonds hit a homer yesterday but fortunately won’t break the record in Great American (how would you like to see those videos played over and over again?  Not me.)  I have to give the crowds credit – they booed bonds and taunted him yesterday for being a cheat.  I agree with the fans sentiment and I struggle with Bonds breaking Aaron’s record.  I don’t know where I stand on the steroids thing – I despise Sosa, Palmiero and Bonds but I like McGwire.  I can’t enumerate why but it’s how I feel.  I guess I figure that since certain pitchers probably were ‘roided up during this era (Clemens and Gagne look to be likely suspects) that the inflated Home Run totals just goes with the territory.  It cheapens the records somewhat, but you might as well let those players in to the Hall of Fame (even Bonds and Sosa – but don’t leave big Mac out either).   Bonds I don’t like because he acts like a royal ass all the time.  It makes the ‘roids thing seem that much worse with him.

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Narron Fired. Now What?

It was probably more a question of when it would happen but the termination of Jerry Narron finally did happen late yesterday.  Do you blame him for managing with what Krivsky has put on the field this year?  Should he have not given his relievers the ball in certain situations?  Narron managed with what he had and got the axe because of it.  I don’t see how this is going to make things better – the team is bad this year because of personnel.  The Reds are the worst team in baseball and they look hopeless right now. 

 Sigh.  Now starts the Pete Mackanin regime.  Is this a “diamond in the rough” promotion from within?  Are the Reds moving toward the Billyball philosophy of Billy Beane, which makes the dugout manager nothing more than a middle manager with little say in how the team operates?  Is there an end in sight to this misery of the Reds?

In other news, Victor Santos was designated for assignment Friday.  I still think he has promise.  Then again, I thought that about Ramon Ortiz.

Davey Concepcion is getting his number 13 retired on August 25th.  There are nine people with their numbers retired:

  1. Fred Hutchinson [Number 1]
  2. Johnny Bench [Number 5]
  3. Joe Morgan [Number 8]
  4. Sparky Anderson [Number 10]
  5. Ted Kluszewki [Number 18]
  6. Frank Robinson [Number 20]
  7. Tony Perez [Number 24]
  8. Jackie Robinson [Number 42]

Who’s missing from that list?  Clearly Barry Larkin will eventually get his number retired.  Other possibilities:  Nuxhall (both on-field and booth action would make him an obvious choice), Mario Soto, Jose Rijo?  Eric Davis?  Mr. Pete Rose one sweet day?  With Rijo and Davis, their careers stats don’t lead particular categories, but they came up huge when it mattered.  I guess you can’t go crazy retiring numbers, but it was interesting to me what names aren’t yet on the list.  I wonder how they come up with whom to retire and when to do it?

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