Red Reposter's Random Number-Related Gag will not be seen at its regularly-scheduled time this morning due to lack of creativity. - 6/30 - The last day Jay Bruce collected a run batted in. It also happens to be the last day Aaron Harang pitched.
Jay Bruce is not doing well
For July, his slash is .140/.189.220. Good grief. He got the day off yesterday, but pinch-hit in the 7th and struck out ugly. He swung at strike three up in his eyes. Woof. "His swing is off some," Baker said. "I wanted to give him (a day off) before it turns to frustration, which is pretty close to where he is right now. It’s so close. He feels it. Probably the epitome of frustration was when they took that home run away from him." Going into the season, many RRs predicted the Reds' offense would be predicated on Bruce's performance. If he were to breakout as many had hoped, the Reds might make some noise. Baseball is a funny game like that. Bruce has been fine this season, hitting around league-average, yet the team offense is one of the best in the league. Get well soon, Jay.
In a related matter, Thom and Cowboy were floating the idea of platooning Bruce down the stretch. They argued that he has had plenty of time to learn how to hit lefties and he's failed to do so. Chris Heisey has been playing very well in sparse playing time and should take the starts in RF against lefties. Bruce's career slash against lefties is an unspectacular .211/.291/.332. As a minor leaguer though he had little trouble against south paws, slashing .290/.352/.522. And let's not forget the most important thing about Bruce: he's only 23. He's only 4 days older than Yonder Alonso and he's over a year younger than Todd Frazier. Those guys were our top prospects going into the season. He still has plenty of time to develop and the worst thing you could do right now is curtail his opportunities. It's easy to forget just how young he is because he's been around for over 2 years, but just because he got here early doesn't mean he should be a finished product already. Sure, it stinks that he's slumping and we're in the middle of a pennant race, but he's still playing like an above-average major leaguer so far this season (he's collected 1.4 WAR thus far according to FanGraphs). He looks hopeless now, but he'll snap out of it. Development takes patience.
It was a huge weekend at GABP
Friday night, Hammer was implored to refrain from injuring them, Saturday was the Reds Hall of Fame induction ceremony for Tony Mullane, Pedro Borbon, and Chris Sabo, and Sunday Laynce Nix started in RF. The induction ceremony was pretty special, as Sabo and Borbon gave acceptance speeches on the field before the game (Mullane, a pitcher in the 1890s, was unable to attend due to being dead). "Obviously I'll never get into Cooperstown," Sabo joked, "but the Reds Hall of Fame is very special. ... It's probably the last thing I'm ever going to get in baseball, so I'm going to take it for all it's worth."
In case you missed the MC Hammer concert at the game on Friday
OMGreds has some video. He hasn't aged as well as Eric Davis.
Hall o' Famer Hal has heard the cries from the Red Reporter masses
and he empathizes with our pleas. From 'Ask Hal':
Q While I love and admire the playing style of Jonny Gomes and the raw ability of Drew Stubbs, isn’t it about time Chris Heisey saw more starts? — Pat, Troy
A That wouldn’t bother me at all, especially after seeing what Heisey is capable of doing and how both Gomes and Stubbs are prone to slip into offensive funks. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to give Gomes and Stubbs a different day off each week and permit Heisey to start twice a week. I’d like to see Paul Janish start a game a week at third and a game a week at short, giving Scott Rolen and Orlando Cabrera a day off each week. But the last time I looked at my job description, I didn’t see anything that said, "Part-Time Manager, Cincinnati Reds."
MLBtraderumors is reporting that former Cardinals closer Jason Isringhausen will audition for the Reds tomorrow
Izzy is recovering from Tommy John surgery, which he had last June. I have absolutely no problem signing up old relievers like this in hopes that they still have a bit left in the tank. Realistically, I don't think neither he nor Russ Springer will contribute much to our pennant chase, but all it costs to find out is money. Finding quality relievers for the home stretch is a crapshoot anyway, so I'd rather drop a few hundred grand on guys like Izzy and trade prospects for them.
Ramon Hernandez is eligible to return from the disabled list on Tuesday, but he'll likely get a few more days. You know Dusty's "better safe than sorry" policy on not bringing players off the DL when they are ready, but rather a few days after they are ready. This works really well in tandem with his "never put Orlando Cabrera on the DL" policy. I would expect Ramon back with the team before the weekend.
As for Homer Bailey and Aaron Harang
Homer threw a bullpen on Sunday and if everything goes well he could threw a sim game on Wednesday. If that goes well, he'll go on a rehab assignment for 3 or 4 games.
"That's a big thing because when you have periodic setbacks, typically it's representative of something a little bit more significant being a problem," (pitching coach Bryan) Price said. "He progressed as we expected, actually a little better than we expected, so we're hoping this is the next step in the progress to getting back into games." As for Harang, they aren't rushing him. "There's just no reason, especially with a back problem, to try to create a sense of urgency for him to get back on the field simply because with the back you just can't pitch," Price said. "The back is debilitating, let's put it that way." Luckily, they can afford to take their time with both of these guys. Even without these guys they have 6 or 7 decent starters to hold down the fort, so they should make sure they are good ready before bringing them back.
Here's a really thoughtful piece on Scott Rolen and his off-the-field charitiable exploits
"My brother, Todd, and I came up with the idea of building a camp for children and their families for a week," Rolen said. "To have fun, have a blast. Let's play...It's for the kid walking home from school, head down, kicking stones. He may be healthy, but maybe mom is sick, or his father. It's for kids who have spent too much time in the hospital." This Rolen fella...is he for real?