Thursday, July 27, 2006

Hump Day Sadness

Wednesday's loss can pretty much be blamed on Bronson Arroyo. After leading 5-1, the Reds were treated to quite an implosive spectacle. Rather uncharateristically, at least this year, Bronson lost his head in the 5th and gave up 6 runs in one inning. Not something I've come to expect from him. Given his last few outings, though, I think I'll be much less surprised if it happens again. Narron, in a less surprising but still highly disappointing move, brought him back for the 6th and 7th innings. The 6th wasn't so bad, but Arroyo served up a longball in the 7th, putting the Astros up 8-5.

Aurilia and Dunn carried the offense. Aurilia was 3-5, contributed a run and scored 3 himself. One of his 3 hits was a home run in the 2nd inning. Dunn, continuing to be much more awesome lately, was 4-4 with an RBI and a run. Our beloved EdE was actually in the lineup, and contributed a run as well. Unfortunately, all their hard work was for naught. Though Shackelford and Weathers both held the Astros hitless, there was no more offensive display of power and the Reds went down, 8-5.

The third and final game of the series is on TV right now. The Lizard is pitching, and Encarnacion is once again sitting on the bench. Seriously, the kid's not going to get any better on defense by sitting around watching everyone else. And I can call him a kid. He's all of 14 days younger than me.

Germano to the Rescue

Marc says Justin Germano is likely to be the starter Saturday, as Joe Mays has been given the boot. I like this. I'm not entirely positive why I like it, but I do.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Reds on TV and They Win!

In lieu of going to sleep, I bring you the story of Tuesday's game, told only through my thoughts at the time. Because it's fun. For me.

Oh crap! They're on TV tonight. Finally! Oh yay! Dunn scores! Hooray for Hatteberg! They're totally gonna own Clemens. Maybe I shouldn't say that. It could jinx them. Okay, I won't say it out loud, but they're totally going to own him.

Inning two! Clayton and Freel on base. Hooray! No! Clayton, you're a bonehead! That wouldn't have happened to Lopez! <--- See the bitter?

The next four innings pass in relative obscurity.

Inning 7! Harang's the man again! Way to help yourself!

No, no, no, Narron. You've tried using Coffey as the closer before. You know it doesn't work very well. Told you! Now where's that Guardado character? Bill Bray? Okay, I'll take it. Yay Bray! Reds win 2-0.

------------------------BREAKING NEWS----------------------------

Okay, not so breaking. It's a few hours old, but anyway. Joe Mays DFA'd?!?! Can it be? Yes! Don't know who's going to start Saturday. Sounds like it could be anybody. Mays was designated for assignment to make room for Ross's return from the DL.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Free EdE!

Tired of seeing Edwin sitting on the bench? Join the cause! Free Edwin Encarnacion!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Poor Cubbies

Looks like Derrek Lee is back on the DL. Too bad for the Baby Bears. And for Mr. Lee.

Off Day Madness

Madness only in that since I have neglected the blog for a while again, this is probably going to be maddeningly long.

First off, is giving away copies of "Tales From the Reds Dugout," (Tom Browning's book). The e-mail said they hoped I could put in a few lines about it, so here's those few lines. If you don't already have the book, you can register here to win it. I have not read the book, nor do I have it, but I hear it's an interesting read. It is Tom Browning, after all.

To The Games!!!

Thursday Bronson Arroyo failed yet again to secure win number 10. To be fair, it wasn't exactly his fault. He only allowed the Mets 2 runs in 8 innings, it's just that Tom Glavine also only allowed 2 runs. Majewski got the official loss. The game went into extra innings with the score tied at 2. Majewski gave up 2 more runs in the 10th. The Reds failed to respond, losing 4-2. They also lost the series to the Mets.

The Brewers strolled into town on Friday. With so few of these games on TV I've had a hard time keeping up. It sounds like the Reds made a heck of a comeback Friday night, though. The Lizard got pounded in his 5 innings for 5 earned runs on 11 hits. When Elizardo left the game the Reds were down 5-0. Jason LaRue belted out a home run in the bottom of the 5th to get the Reds on the board. Encarnacion's 2-run homer brought the Reds to within 2. Since he contributed so nicely, he got to sit out the next game. In the bottom of the 9th, with Phillips and Hatteberg on base, Derrick Turnbow walked Freel to load the bases. Dana Eveland replaced Turnbow, he then walked pinch hitting Valentin to give the Reds another run. Griffey chose this day for another dramatic game-ender; a walk-off 2-run single. The Reds won 6-5.

The Reds also won on Saturday despite Joe Mays. Freel's two home runs as well as Hatteberg's just being plain awesome these days really helped. Freel hit a solo shot to lead off the 1st. Later in the same inning Hatteberg smacked a two-run homer. Unfortunately, Mays decided the Brewers needed to have 3 runs as well, which he promptly gave them in the top of the 2nd. After much battling, 6 pitchers for the Reds, and an 8th inning solo home run from Freel, Cincinnati came out on top 8-7. Standridge, it must be noted, had now made it through two consecutive appearances without allowing a single run or hit. Amazing!

Sunday was a sad day. Milton got a bad break on the numbers. Though it shows 4 runs, only 2 of them crossed the plate while he was still out there. Things looked bad for him from the beginning. He loaded the bases in the 2nd, from the which the Brewers gained 2 runs on the Reds' 0. The only run for the Reds came in the form of a Brandon Phillips home run, which I hadn't seen in a while. It was apparently his 8th this year. Majewski inherited some runners from Milton in the 7th (I still don't think he should be out there past the 6th) and allowed two of Milton's guys to score. Coffey worked the 9th, where no runs scored. All in all, a sad day for the Reds, as they lost 4-1.

In notes of presumed interest, Kent Mercker found himself on the 15-day DL with an inflamed elbow, retroactive to Friday, I believe. Retroactive is such a great word, don't you think? I love saying it. Man of Misfortune, Brian Shackelford, came back from Louisville to take his place. I have heard rumblings that David Ross might be back in the rotation as early as Wednesday this week. He was to be having a rehab assignment in Chattanooga today.

Tuesday Cincinnati starts a series in Houston, where Aaron Harang faces off against Roger Clemens. Scary scary. Clemens's record of 2-3 isn't so scary, but his 2.43 ERA is a little. And his picture is a lot.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Game Stuff Bullet Style

Some quick points on the last few days:

  • Saturday and Sunday's games combined with the previous two to equal a sweep for the Reds. Take that Colorado! The games still weren't on TV
  • Monday a whole lot of nothing happened. I think. Nothing game related happened on Monday
  • Milton failed to save the day on Tuesday, giving up a 7th inning grand slam to seal the Reds' fate. I told Narron not to bring him back for the 7th. I sat there in front of the TV and said, "Don't bring him back. He's going to blow up. You know he is." So Narron brought him back and he blew up. Our heroes tried to rally but it was not to be.
  • I missed most of last night's game. Before the rain delay they were down 4-0. When I woke up in the morning I had a message from my sister taking credit for the win. Apparently the rain threw the Mets off their game and they scored no more, while the Reds scored 7 after the rain. Also, Edwin Encarnacion has resurfaced for at least one game. He even contributed to the score.
  • No more games on TV until Tuesday. And to think, FSN was bragging about their increased Reds coverage last month.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Rambling and Game Wrap Sandwich

Someone had the audacity today to tell me that discussing the whereabouts of Austin Kearns is not viable as "a little somin' somin'." If that someone weren't in Italy I'd totally smack him in the face. As he is a friend of mine, I am allowed to smack him in the face for saying such heinous things. Though he'd probably smack me back, and I'm not a big fan of pain.

I'm trying very hard not to be all cynical and sarcastic about the guys coming in from D.C. (not to mention a few other things). After all, it's not like they're the ones that took Kearns away. However, it is awfully hard for me to not be at least sarcastic about anything, and I'm still mad that my Kearnsy is gone, so I'm entitling myself to some cynicism. I'm just hoping Krivsky's magic touch is still working and what looks like a long-dormant volcano about to blow its top might actually turn out to be a lot of steam and a little fizzle followed by much rejoicing (and I'll have to admit here that Daedalus got me thinking about Monty Python and rejoicing peasants).

Anyway, two games with the Rockies have passed and the Reds have two more marks in the win column. Neither game was on the glorious idiot box, but I wouldn't have been able to watch them even if they were.

Jason Standridge once again attempted to sabotage the team's designs on winning. Eric Milton pitched 6 innings and gave up just 3 runs on 5 hits and a walk during Thursday night's game with the Rockies. Weathers, in a surprising twist, allowed no runs in the 7th. Coffey also allowed no runs in the 8th. The offense held up their end of the bargain, putting up 9 runs throughout those 8 innings. Adam Dunn, playing his patootie off last night, had 2 RBI and a stolen base. LaRue and Encarnacion also had good nights, both going 2-3. And who'd have thought the 3-run home run would have come off Juan Castro's bat? Griffey also hit a homer, a solo shot in the 7th. Castro's was also in the 7th (an inning in which the Reds put up 5 runs).

Standridge's 13th inning catastrophe a few games back apparently wasn't the only trick he's got. No, he can also give up 4 runs in the 9th while only managing to get one out. Why he was in there in the first place I cannot figure out. Didn't we just get Everyday Eddie to close for us? Apparently Narron remembered this after the 4 runs, and Guardado finished out the last 2/3 of the 9th, getting the save as the Reds won 9-7.

Standridge, it seems, has not quite worn out his welcome in Cincinnati. In order to make room for our new pitchers, Estaban Yan was DFA'd today and I guess Matt Belisle went back on the DL. Poor guy. Here's a link for those stories plus a few more moves that were made, including the aquisition of yet another Nationals player, as well as updates on Freel and Ross.

After this there came another game. Our hero, Aaron Harang, going for win number 10, finally crossed the milestone off his list. The offense wasn't as active as Thursday, but their three runs (started off by a home run from Adam Dunn) were enough to get the job done. Harang held the Rockies hitless until the 5th, and scoreless through his 7 innings, during which he gave up only 3 hits. Newbie Majewski gave up the Rockies' single run during his 2/3 in the 8th. Mercker got the last out of that inning without much fanfare. Guardado took care of the 9th in sublime fashion. I feel compelled to share with you that Royce Clayton, our upgrade on Lopez's not so stellar defense, committed one of the two Reds' errors in the game. The other belongs to Aurilia. The errors just get tacked onto the Reds already formidable list, and are rather inconsequential now, as they won 3-1.

Two more games to come in the series. Tomorrow evening Bronson Arroyo, All-Star party boy, takes the mound to look for his 10th win. Aaron Cook is up for the Rockies. This game, shockingly, also un-televised.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

My Heart, She Doth Ache

Mere days after publicly proclaiming Austin Kearns my favorite Red, he up and gets traded to the Nationals, along with Felipe Lopez and Ryan Wagner. I called Christina to tell her that we sure as hell better be getting the Nationals entire pitching staff in return (though probably with a few more expletives). We got Gary Majewski and Billy Bray for the bullpen and Royce Clayton as a shortstop. A few more players I'm not sure I recognize made it an 8-man trade.

My poor, poor Austin. Even though he is always referred to as a building block for the team's future, I always thought Dunn would be the first of the two to go. How wrong I was. William Bergolla and Chris Denorfia have been recalled to take Kearns and Lopez's spots on the roster.

That article, by the way, makes it sound as if Lopez was the sole source of Cincinnati's defensive problems. I'm fairly certain, however, that there were a few more people contributing. Also, I like how the headline says nothing about who Cincinnati gave up in return.

I will miss my Kearnsy. And I will miss Lopez, too. Wagner, however, I am rather indifferent on at the moment. I sure do love the way he wears his socks, but Denorfia does it, too. And he's much nicer to look at.

Also, I meant to mention the blog's birthday, which was Tuesday. So, happy belated 1st birthday We Heart The Reds blog!

Night of the Roundtable

It's All-Star break time! Well, it was All-Star break time, now it's Back to the Grind time and the Rockies are in town for a little visit. In honor of the All-Star game, the halfway point of the season, and because you know you love it, here's some Roundtable Goodness for your eyes to feast upon. We had our fun Monday night during the Home Run Derby (congrats to Ryan Howard on the win) and you'll notice we seem to have a fondness for Jell-O. Even if it is made of horses.

And now, without further ado, my part (part 6, question 5) of the roundtable extravaganza. Links to the other parts to follow.

Shawn: OK, Question 5 coming up....
Shawn: Who is your favorite Red? (and why?)
Red Hot Mama: I really like Phillips. He's like Pokey Reese, only cooler.
Daedalus: Griffey - liked him since he played high school baseball. Will always like him. He has such a beautiful swing.
Red Hot Mama: I'm very pleased with Kearns this year--for a change
JinAZ: I'm pretty enamored with Brandon Phillips too. Love his energy.
Shawn: I have a soft spot for Dunn. Big, goofy guy, hits the ball a mile. My kinda guy.
JinAZ: I also love Harang. Big, solid, consistent, effective...
JD: Brandon Phillips
JD: Good defense, good offense, seems to have fun with things
Jacci: Austin Kearns. I have no idea why. Probably the goofy ears
Doc Scott: My favorite Red... probably Adam Dunn. Fairly unique skill set, although I wonder what's going to happen to him as he gets older.
Shawn: I think Dunn will be finished at 30.
JinAZ: And I have a decade long man-crush on Griffey. Still do. :)
Red Hot Mama: I hope Dewayne Wise will be giving us all a reason to love him
Jacci: Phillips is really close behind Austin for me
Ashlee: Dunn... even with all of his problems. I just think he's going to get better. Favorite pitcher: Harang. He's a solid, tough, awesome machine.
Doc Scott: you mean DeWayne "Rally Time" Wise?
Doc Scott: it's Reggie Taylor in a mask, man
Shawn: Heeheehee
Red Hot Mama: I base my opinion of Wise on talking to him more than watching him play
Red Hot Mama: So na na na na na
Doc Scott: hey, I root for 'em all... even Juan Castro (with my teeth clenched)
Jacci: I like Phillips more for his post-hit celebrations than for his skill, but he's certainly got skillz
Red Hot Mama: Coffey?
Shawn: I like Denorfia too, but he's not on the roster.
JinAZ is typing one-handed now
Doc Scott: and Coffey as well, once I found out he was a former game geek
Red Hot Mama: 8-o
JinAZ: I love Coffey. Hope he can get straightened out soon.
Doc Scott: good thing I haven't eaten dinner yet
Shawn: It's a slump
Doc Scott: the "pitch tipping" explanation for Coffey makes a lot of sense
JinAZ: Maybe we can send Coffey jello....
Jacci: Yeah, I think I'll love Coffey whether he stinks for the rest of forever or not.
Shawn: He likes Jell-O?
Jacci: Everyone likes Jell-O
Jacci: Well, except my cousin
Doc Scott: of course, they said that about Danny Graves, and two new pitching coaches couldn't fix that slide
Red Hot Mama: There's always room for Jell-o
Red Hot Mama: He might switch to the sugar-free variety
Daedalus: Jello is made from horses
JinAZ: Coffey's only been struggling for a month or so, and could just be tired. He's close to 50 innings, no?
Red Hot Mama: Mmmm...horsey
Shawn: Graves never was that good. His command slipped a bit, and he was toast
Jacci: Which is what makes it delicious?
Doc Scott: and what good have horses ever been compared to that fruity goodness?
Jacci: Horses are awfully pretty. I'm rather biased on the subject, though
Daedalus: i like lime.

Parts of Other

One - Shawn's Reds Blog (Shawn's blog)
Two - Church of Baseball (Daedalus's blog)
Three - Reds (and Blues) (Doc Scott's blog)
Four - ..."and this one belongs to the Reds!" (Ashlee's blog)
Five - Red Reporter (JD's blog)
Six - Right here (I'm Jacci)
Seven - On Baseball and the Reds (JinAZ's blog)
Eight - Red Hot Mama (Red Hot Mama's blog)

Monday, July 10, 2006

What happened to that whole "The Braves suck this year" idea? I'm sure I heard that more than a few times lately. Then they had to go and be all not sucky. Granted, our sparkly bullpen sure didn't help. On Thursday, after the offense made up a 5 run deficit in the 9th, Todd Coffey gave up a perfectly timed RBI hit of some kind to give the Reds loss number 1 of the 4 game series. I am really sick of having issues loading pages that would be important to writing this. Like a box score would really be useful. In any case, things were bleak, then they looked radiant, and the bullpen threw them back into darkness. I have a hard time being mad at Todd Coffey, though. He was the only bright spot in the bullpen for so long I think I can forgive him for just about anything. Especially since he obviously isn't all that comfortable as closer.

Friday was a thing of beauty. After a run in the 1st, the Reds offense remembered that they own the world in the run scoring department and put up 8 more runs in the 2nd. Milton managed to hold the Braves scoreless until the 4th, where they put up 2 thanks to a home run off the Jones of Slightly Lesser Evil (that being Chipper). Milton decided to see if he could make the game a bit closer and gave up 2 more runs in the 6th, making the score 9-4 for the Reds. Milton hung around in the 7th just long enough to allow two more runners on base. I'm sure you'll be surprised to learn that his replacement, David Weathers, gave Chipper Jones a single that allowed one of his inherited runners to score. Freel responded by stealing 3rd in the next inning and dashing home on an errant throw to 3rd. Thus would be the final score, 10-5. And if you hadn't noticed, I gots me a box score and even a working Gameday on that one. Newly aquired Eddie Guardado (formerly of the Marlins and a closer of notable repute) came in to save the day, and did so properly with no hits or runs or anything. Now maybe Coffey can return to his former greatness as setup man.

Saturday was a sad day for Harang. Though he struck out 8, the Reds had no offense behind him, as they lost 4-1. I didn't see the game, but it appears as if it's not really the fault of the offense. Apparently the pitchers battled it out all evening and poor Harang had a not so happy 7th. Scott Hatteberg scored the lone Reds run on a sacrifice fly from Griffey. Aaron did pitch his 4th complete game of the season, throwing the ball a whopping 135 times. If nothing else, he sure is a stayer.

Sunday was a sad, sad day for Bronson Arroyo and the rest of the Reds really. Arroyo lasted all of 4 1/3 innings, though he did get his pitch count up to 105, so I suppose he might feel like he pitched 6 or 7 innings. Sadly, though, he did not. Freel also left the game with a sore right shoulder. The only bright spot for the Reds was a three-run homer off Dunn in the 6th, putting the score at 6-3 with the Braves on top. Cincinnati got two more on base after the home run, but pinch hitting Griffey struck out to end the threat, the inning, and all the hope the Reds had of making it out of the game with a win. The final score was 8-3.

Freel's shoulder soreness is just that as far as I know. He was supposed to have an MRI sometime today. Hopefully it's not too serious. Also taking a few days off for injury was David Ross, who was pulled from Friday's game in the 2nd due to a lower abdominal strain. Due to Ross's injury, Arroyo was robbed of his personal catcher for Sunday's game. LaRue played in Ross's stead.

I hope the All-Star break is all the Reds need to get things in gear again. July has so far been atrocious, with the Reds only winning 1 game so far this month. A few days off to regroup and what have you better be enough to turn this month around. Good luck to Bronson in Pittsburgh and GO REDS!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Ain't What She Used To Be

Jason Standridge's nickname might be The Stallion, but last night he was the Old Gray Mare. After 12 1/2 innings of rather frustrating baseball, Standridge finally threw in the Reds' towel and gave the Brewers the win and the sweep without getting a single out in the bottom of the 13th. Everybody's allowed an off day once in a while, but what a bad day to choose. I even stayed up for the end of the game thinking that if it had gone on this long the Reds were sure to win. Adam Dunn's 10th inning home run and especially Juan Castro's run in the 13th had me believing the deal was sealed. But every time someone just had to go and let the Brewers catch up. Elizardo had yet another quality start that he won't get a W for.

Milwaukee put up 3 runs in the 3rd. Cincinnati took a few innings to catch up, but by the end of the 6th they were tied at 3. In the 7th, Corey Koskie and Bill Hall combined for one of the craziest defensive plays ever. Felipe Lopez hit a short fly ball to left, Koskie had it, but when he hit the ground it popped out of his glove. Bill Hall, with his Reds killing psychic super powers, knew this was going to happen and was right there to catch the ball before it hit the ground. So awesome was the play that even Felipe applauded the catch. The 9th inning ended with the score still tied.

Each team put up a run in the 10th, both on home runs, the Reds' from Dunn and the Brewers' from Jenkins (who, by the way, was also pretty much the sole reason the game went into extra innings in the first place. Making that ridiculous diving catch). No score in the 11th and 12th innings brought the game to the 13th, where Castro scored from second on Aurilia's sacrifice bunt. Impossible, no? Apparently not. So, here are the Reds, in the bottom of the 13th, up 5-4. Standridge, who had come in for the last out of the 12th, comes back. After a single, a walk, and two more singles, the Reds had lost, 6-5. Standridge failed to get anyone out in the 13th. And so, at 12:30 in the morning, after 4 1/2 hours of baseball, the city of Cincinnati went to bed crushed. On the bright side, if you ignore Standridge and the home run off Coffey, the bullpen did very well last night. Lots of zeros for Weathers (despite loading the bases), Mercker, Yan and Shackelford (who has been arrested?), especially in that all important "R" column.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Bullpen Woes: Surprised?

I'm feeling a little devious. I hijacked a library computer to bring you this lovely update. Apparently I hijacked the wrong computer, though, because this one keeps closing out programs that I'd like to keep using. Apparently the library closes in half an hour, too. What nonsense. During regular school it's open until midnight. Guess this'll have to be quick.

Despite the bullpen's attempt to blow it again, the Reds managed to pull off a win in the final game of their series with the Royals, meaning they also won the series. Griffey hit a home run in the 1st, giving him a home run in 4 straight games. In spite of this, however, he is not going to the All-Star game. It's nonsense. Arroyo, who was pitching for this last game, is. That's not nonsense, just related. Lopez and Dunn got in on the home run action as well, and Dunn won the game with an RBI double in the 8th after the bullpen gave up 3 runs.

The series with the Indians did not go so well. Our boys won the first game but lost the last 2. Combined with the first Reds-Indians series, though, the Battle of Ohio ended in a tie, with each team winning three games. Given this computer's extreme sucking skills, all I can really get info-wise for the games are the scores. Friday Cincy won 9-8, and I'm pretty sure there were more bullpen woes involved. Saturday the Reds lost 12-7. I was torturing myself in the heat and bugs at a friend's house and failed to see what happened in this game, but I'm probably better off not knowing. Based on when the score went sky-high, though, I'm going to assume that the bullpen is once again to blame. We wanted to go to the game on Sunday, but due to a large amount of indecisiveness we ended up watching from the couch while the Reds lost the last game of the series 6-3. I'm not too upset about missing out on the opportunity to sit in the billion degree heat, though.

Now we're currently in a series with the Brewers. The Brewers failed to take a series with the Royals and then were swept by the Twins. It's okay to lose to Minnesota. They're on a mission to prove that there are more than two teams in the AL Central. But even so, you'd think they'd be a little demoralized. They showed their low spirits by so far taking two games with the Reds. Monday was a fierce battle that eventually ended in the Reds losing in the bitter end 8-7. Tuesday I was apparently being un-American as I wanted to watch the Reds instead of the World Cup, but I lost and watched soccer anyway. While Italy was staging a very oddly timed victory, the Brewers were beating up on the Reds, defeating them 5-2. They play the last game of the series tonight at 8. If they don't win this my heart really might break. With the exception of the stupid bullpen they've really been playing pretty well. Not spectacular, but they've put up enough runs to win, the starting pitching has mostly made their runs stand up, and they've been scoring late. Damnable bullpen wastes it all, though.

And now, as I am about ten minutes away from being kicked out of here, I take my leave. Go Reds!