After giving up two homers, a pair doubles, and four runs over his first two innings of work
Edinson Volquez settled down, shook off the Opening Day jimmies, and went to work. He gave up only two hits over his final four innings of work, keeping the Reds in it just enough to allow for the big comeback. "I think I was a little bit excited in the first inning," Volquez said. "I just told myself to calm down and throw my pitches." Hopefully he's gotten it all out of his system and he can come out next week throwing rocks. If we are going to clinch this thing before April is over we'll need him to be the 4th inning Volquez and not the 1st inning Volquez.
Drew Stubbs had a nice day at the plate yesterday
with a pair of opposite-field extra-base hits. He's been tagged as the de facto leadoff hitter to begin the year, basically because no one else fits the mold. "Not only last year but throughout a little bit of my high school and college career, and even the first few years of pro ball, I'm familiar with the spot. You look at it on paper and I may not be your prototypical leadoff hitter. But I think like Dusty said, with the personnel we've got right now, I'm his best fit." Here's hoping Texarkana Slim performs well enough to break the spell of terrible leadoff hitters the Reds have penciled in over recent seasons. Ryan Freel, where have you gone?
Both Homer Bailey and Johnny Cueto tossed around the ol' apple yesterday, and both reported no pain. Baker said they had to pull the reigns a bit on Cueto because he was feeling a little too good. Still no definite timetable on either one returning though.
Walt Jocketty thinks this team can win for a while
and that is the key to drawing more fans to the ballpark. "Our team (the Reds) had not performed well for a number of years. I think the fans are now seeing that we are fielding an organization that’s going to be a contending organization for a long period of time. We’ve got a lot of depth that should hopefully keep the winning going for a while. I think once we do that, I think the fans will continue to come out. Our sales have increased this off-season and the enthusiasm is there. I think it will continue to grow."
This is a refreshing bit of pragmatic realism from the Reds front office. It's easy to forget that it wasn't long ago that they were bemoaning the fact that they had to cut payroll because people were not coming to the ballpark. These two phenomena are bi-conditional though, so it's imperative to work on the one that you can control in hopes of getting the other to follow. They are putting a good baseball team together and fans are taking notice. I'm confident that attendance figures will reflect that.
The Tater Trot Tracker notes that yesterday was a very special day in Cincinnati
not just for Opening Day, but for some very unique home run trots. It took Clutch Man Monie nearly 25 seconds to circumnavigate the bases, which is a near-Magellanic pace. Conversely, Carlos Gomez made it in just over 17 seconds, which Larry thinks could possible be a top-10er for the season.
Phil Rogers at the Chicago Tribune has released his first power rankings of the season
and our Reds clock in at #4, behind only the Red Sox, Giants, and Yankees. Power rankings are probably the most meaningless and overwrought device in sports writing, but what the heck. There's a link to today's jumble puzzle!
Man Tested Recipes proclaims that the best ballpark food in baseball is at Great American
Specifically, the Meat Lover's Hot Dog blew their gut-brains out. Has anyone had this? I think they just started offering this at GABP, so I'm not convinced that the research for this report is entirely thorough. Here's what they had to say about it: "Start with a quarter-pound hot dog. Wrap it in bacon. Deep-fry it. Then top it with chili, pepper jack cheese and fried salami. And it’s only $6.50! Are you serious? This is one ballpark that lives up to its name."
Minor League Splits is back!
After an extended hiatus, the best site on the web for in-depth minor league statistics is back online. We of the online baseball nerdlinger community owe Kyle Boddy a big ol' "Thanks a hundred!" for rejiggering everything and making Jeff Sackmann's data easily available again.