Red Reposter's Full Count, brought to you by Dracula's Castle of Fried Chicken and Waffles. Looking for a meal to fill you up late at night without emptying your wallet? You can count on the Count! "My fried chicken is too die for! Bluh!" - 1.318 - Jay Bruce's OPS in the 19 games before tweaking his oblique two weeks ago. After scoring 5 total runs against the putrid Pirates rotation this weekend we could really use another big bat in the lineup.
Saturday marked the ceremonial anniversary of Pete Rose's record-breaking hit #4192
The Reds and MLB officially honored him before the game in a quaint and carefully orchestrated ceremony. After the game though, Rose and friends convened at the Hollywood Casino (/rolls eyes) for a roast of the Hit King. To the shock of everyone present, Rose was contrite, humble, and repentant. "Out of left field," said (Tom) Browning, shaking his head. "I didn't see it coming." Pete - "You can talk about hits and runs and championship games . . . (But) I want my legacy to be (that of) somebody who came forward. If anybody has a problem here today, come forward. Don't hide it . . . You can run, but you can't hide. If I can help a young kid to know what I went through, maybe I can prevent them from going through the same thing. I got suspended 21 years ago. For 10-12 years, I kept it inside . . . That's changed. I'm a different guy."
I've been pretty dismissive of Pete many times in this space. As a Reds fan in my mid-20s, I've only ever known the surly, stubborn, jerk Pete Rose hawking signatures at card shows and car dealership openings. I never saw him play, and for those of an older generation, that makes all the difference in the world. There is still a vociferous contingent of Reds fans who want little else than to see Pete in the Hall of Fame. My guess is that this expression of contrition will change a few minds regarding his character (I definitely see him in a more flattering light this morning, though I'm sure many others just think he was conniving again), but is 21 years too late to change any official position regarding his status with MLB. I hope Pete can eventually come to terms with that.
Francisco Cordero blew 2 saves over the weekend. Nick Masset blew another.
Luckily the Reds were able to win 2 of the 3, but all those blown saves from the bullpen's supposed 2 best pitchers (against the Pirates, fer cryin' out loud) is definitely a cause for concern. It's kinda too late to shake things up (not that Dusty would anyway), but if you take a deep breath and maybe a xanax or two things don't look so bad. Come playoff time Cordero, Masset, Rhodes, and Chapman will make for a formidable quartet of arms the likes of which are difficult to match. Alls they gotta do is take care of business in the mean time and make sure there is a playoffs.
I had always felt a kinship with your division neighbors to the north, the Milwaukee Brewers
I know many here share that sentiment. After reading about this stunt though, I'm almost ready to go all rogue on you guys and become a full-blown Brewers fan instead of just a well-wisher. Someone (no one is saying who at the time I wrote this) accomplished their Project Mayhem assignment of the day, sneaking a fake press release into the press box at Miller Park. The press release was for a new book by Cubs GM Jim Hendry titled "Building a 90-Loss Team for Dummies". Not satisfied with such a simple prank, they also provided in-depth talking points for the book, including chapter titles: "Why I signed Milton Bradley", "Why I released Casey McGehee only to see him hit 20 home runs and drive in nearly 100 runs for a division rival", "Why I hired former Pittsburgh general manager Dave Littlefield, the man who helped make the Pirates what they are today, as my special assistant", and many more. I. Love. This.
The Reds clubhouse these days more resembles Omaha Beach than a major league facility
Arthur Rhodes has been nursing plantar fasciitis for the better part of the season, Orlando Cabrera's oblique is still not 100% and neither is Jay Bruce's or Jim Edmonds'. Brandon Phillips' wrist is very obviously still bothering him from when it got beaned with a fastball a few weeks back, Chris Heisey has a sore biceps, Laynce Nix has still yet to run on his sprained ankle, and that's just the position players. Thank God for Joey Votto, eh?
Are you tired of watching your team play with only 3 outfielders?
Of course you are! Luckily, Jay Bruce is all but ready to return to the lineup. Dusty says he won't be fully 100% healed until he can rest in the offseason, but this is the stretch run and we need The Next Big Thing back in the lineup in the worst way. He should be back in RF on Tuesday if all goes to plan.
Aaron Harang was official demoted to bullpen duty when Edinson Volquez started on Saturday (and tossed a gem)
As is his demeanor, he took the reassignment professionally and honorably. "Nobody’s really happy about their roles getting switched," Harang said. "It’s part of the game. I’m going to go down there and pitch when I need to pitch. There’s really not much more to say about it. I’ll pitch when I’m called on to pitch, and try to give us a shot to win." It seems certain that the Reds will not exercise his $12.75 mil option for next season, and with so many quality arms in the bullpen now and for the playoffs it seems unlikely that he will pitch many more times this season, if at all.
Here's a Hall o' Famer from the Hall o' Famer himself
Hal spoke with Joey Votto about their shared idol, Ted Williams. Here's a quote, but be sure to click through and read the whole thing. The intro is a good 'un: "When I was young, I just couldn’t help to gravitate toward the greatest of all time," said Votto. "I couldn’t relate to Babe Ruth - not that I CAN relate to Ted Williams - but there was something different about him. He was a legend and a great American Hero, even though I’m not American. He was just an amazing person to read about and to watch film of and to hear stories about. I don’t know what to tell you other than I wish I had got to see him." Joey says he's read every book their is about Williams. And you know what? It shows.
Ol' Dusty clocks in at #4 on Jon Heyman's manager of the year list
"The Reds, who lead the NL Central by five games, are maybe the second biggest surprise after the Padres, but perhaps they shouldn't be. They do have talent. But Baker, who's already won three Manager of the Year awards, is doing some of his best work this year. The Reds lead the majors with a .989 fielding percentage. They are third in the majors with 39 come-from-behind wins. They also have been among baseball's most consistent teams, posting winning records in each of the season's first five months for the first time since 1979. The Reds have some magic going -- and their magic number of 19 to win their division is the lowest of any NL team."
Q You have been almost 100 percent correct lately on your predictions on Reds Live, so will Dusty Baker re-sign with the Reds or end up in Los Angeles? — Cheri, Tipp City.
A As Baker said, "I didn’t come here to build something and then leave." Despite the offer for only a one-year extension, my guess is Baker returns next year. Tony La Russa, with all his success in St. Louis, signed a one-year extension for 2010, so why not Baker?
Q How can you and other writers be so calm after the last disastrous road trip – and I’m not talking about the standings. I’m talking about how they’ll do in the playoffs? — Dave, Franklin.
A Step back. Take a deep breath. We’re paid handsomely, no matter how homely we are, to be cool, calm and protective. Well, actually it is called objectivity. No cheering in the press box and all that stuff. So ... objectively, the Reds have nearly three weeks to get healthy, shake the cobwebs, hone the skills and get after it in the postseason. Being in the postseason for the first time in 15 years should inject enough adrenaline and excitement to get them performing back on a high level again.