Hall o' Famer Hal christens the era of the "super sub"
As opposed to the Era of the Ironclad. It's held to be a truism that teams are only as good as their bench. And the Reds depth, both among starting pitchers and erstwhile subs, has been coming up Roses lately. But in the midst of the offensive flurry - and Paul Janish's sweet vindication - let's not lose sight of Cueto's adjusted-for-Pirates pitching gem: The last time he faced the Pirates, he pitched a one-hit shutout. This time McCutcheon, the first hitter, homered. Then Cueto did was he is supposed to do against a gosh-awful team - six innings, one run, three hits. Cueto is 11-2 for the season and 3-0 against the Pirates. Somewhat quietly, JC has assumed the role of staff ace, on the wings of an Arroyian second-half surge.
Fay puts it to us: "What will it take to win the Central?"
I know this. Warren G. Harding and Teapot Dome Scandal. No? Well, ask a different question then. I'm stuck in Roaring 20s Wikipedia loop.
Fay has a few things on Springer, Dickerson and shortstop-of-the-future Janish
Springer's injury is "nothing major" (though this is a player's assessment). On a sad note, Chris Dickerson is attending his grandmother's funeral and will not be on hand for the Cubs' series. Condolences go out to his family. Dickerson had a torrid rehab stint and has been primed to return to the team in good health. As previously noted, someone will have to drop off the 40-man roster for this to happen.
Harang had a "successful" bullpen session, sez official state news
Harang has been on the disabled list since July 6, retroactive to July 1. Things are still proceeding tentatively, with no apparent timetable for return. This is about the third or fourth Harang non-story I've posted, so bad on me, but why don't we just make something up at this point? August 27. He's coming back August 27. Not sure if there's a game on that date or not - but send the wire out to twitter and so forth.
A "fan with scouting insight" over at Diamond Hoggers thinks he/she knows why Bruce is struggling at the plate
Paradoxically, he's not "hitting his stride," because he's striding while he hits: The problem is he is overstriding -an affliction that usually occurs in amature or low minor league players. Major league hitters while they sometimes stride, they get their front foot down very quickly and therefore hit from a solid base- two feet on the ground... The best way to make a hitter reduce his stride is to spread out more in the batter's box. Again, like Phillips, Votto and Hamilton. It's really incredible that the Reds' coaching staff has allowed Bruce to maintain these bad habits during a pennant race. Bruce needs a month in Louisville to straighten out this flaw.
Sending Bruce on a "Kentucky Vacation" is an increasingly popular idea here. Maybe he would benefit from sorting things out for a few weeks at Triple-A, but the entire outfield is struggling. It's a matter of the real replacement level in the system. Drew Stubbs has been farther out to sea, but has a clear upgrade on the team in Chris Heisey, and a at least a rough equivalent coming of the DL in Chris Dickerson. Replacing his time with Heisey's makes a great deal of sense. Things are stickier with Bruce, whose PT might be best replaced by some combination Francisco, Dickerson, maybe Nix. Gomes, with recent struggles of his own, would still start regularly and the lineup would be become no less vulnerable to lefties. Outfield defense would be undoubtedly worse, potentially much worse, especially if both Bruce and Stubbs were booted. A double send-down could hurt run prevention and, more vaguely, the clubhouse feng shui.
Bruce is clearly in need on an intervention, which may in fact mean some retooling in AAA, but there might not be anyone in the system to pick up the slack during a critical stretch.
Mo Egger doesn't like 2-toned hats
Do they offend your aesthetics too?
Forgive the cultural stereotype, but "ninja" is the best word in the lexicon to describe this catch
Aside from being a mind-blowing, Spidermanian acrobatic feat, what are the limits on this kind of catch? Can you vault the wall entirely - and make the catch in the bleachers? I'm guessing no, but no one's ever spelled it out for me. I just want the fans to get more involved.
THT has a fantasy-tinged rundown of the top players under age 25
Jay Bruce and Johnny Cueto fall in the honorable mention camp.