Cordero, Reds drop first half finale
MIlwaukee took their third one-run victory of the series yesterday. The Reds dropped six of the last seven series going into the ASB, winning just one game in each series with the lone exception of taking two of three from Tampa Bay. We really could've used the break about two weeks ago. Yesterday's loss once again came at the hands of Francisco Cordero, who worked his third consecutive day. Like any reliever, Cordero does not respond as well to pitching consecutive days. He has a 1.447 WHIP and a 3.75 ERA when pitching on consecutive days in his career, compared to his averages of 1.349 and 3.23. The splits would surely look worse if we looked at his performances when working 3+ days in a row. C'mon, Dusty.
Lost in the ... loss was Willis' cromulent Reds debut
RL Nation takes a look back at the D-Trains' career and is cautiously optimistic about his potential with the Reds. Willis worked a solid walk ratio in Louisville, slightly under his ratio during his Florida glory years. He walked four last night in six innings yesterday, but a few jitters in his ML debut for the year are understandable. He also doubled, and for those of you pining for an Owings-esque bat, Willis sports a career .233/.281/.358 slash line. I'm definitely willing to give Dontrelle a few more shots in the rotation.
The state of the post-ASB rotation is unclear, except that Johnny Cueto will make the first start of the second half
against St. Louis. Dusty Baker doesn't want to give Bronson Arroyo too much time off, but some rest is likely in order. Even Arroyo himself isn't opposed to getting a few extra days of rest: "These days it's getting harder and harder to keep your body feeling good. I'm getting a little bit older and having a lot of innings on my arm, so I welcome the extra days and work out in the weight room and try to get a little stronger." It's also getting harder to keep his vocal pipes loose and fingers dexterous, which is why he played guitar on a street corner in Milwaukee over the weekend. Seriously.
- Whatever rotation Dusty selects, it will follow his famed hard-soft permutation, the new knifey-spooney. "We're reworking it. We've got four different combinations. We just got to discuss which one we think is better, who we would like to get out there sooner rather than later, and hard, soft, hard, soft so you don't have the same guys back to back."
The Reds held a closed-door meeting before Saturday's win
The precise topics are unknown ("None of your business," Baker told Fay), but given the team's recent play we can probably make a few educated guesses.
Rolen named to the All-Star team
Hey, some good news! Scott Rolen has made his 7th all-star team as a replacement for the injured Chipper Jones. Rolen deadpanned: "Chipper is so old. They decided to upgrade with youth and speed." The year hasn't gone as planned for Scotty Ballgame, as evident from his .244 average and 84 OPS+. Still, there are reasons for optimism. He's hit about forty points lower than his career average on balls in play (.264 BABIP), even though he's still stinging the ball (19 doubles; slightly higher XBH% than both last year and his career average). He's also striking out slightly less than his career average. If he can start walking again and have a few more of his drives fall in, we should see a rebound for Old Man Rolen. I'm not expecting 25 HRs, but 35 doubles and a decent OBP would be just fine.
Ryan Hanigan should open a framing shop
THT analyzes which catchers do the best job of framing pitches for strikes, and ranks Hanigan in the top ten for both 2009 and 2010. He does a lot of things well, doesn't he?
Big Red Redemption - 10 Questions with Matt Klinker
Klinker is an interesting guy, and this short interview is well worth the read. E.g.: Music can express and influence the complete range of a person's emotions. Growing up my mom taught me how to play the piano, which lost out when I picked up drums in middle school. This past off-season I tried to get back into the piano, but I had the same problem now as I had when I was younger. I can play either the left-hand (bass) line or the right-hand line, but really struggle putting the two together. I think all athletes want to be musicians, they in turn want to be actors, who in turn want to be athletes...it's a vicious cycle unless you're Justin Timberlake, who does everything well.
I finally saw The Social Network this weekend, and thought Timberlake did a fine job playing the business version of himself.
Fay - Prognosis negative
Fay offers reasons for hope and pessimism, or "realism" as some would say. His mild criticism of the Reds' reluctance to call up young talent caught me by surprise: The Reds make the playoffs because ... The club has a wealth of major league-ready talent in Triple-A in catcher Devin Mesoraco, outfielders Dave Sappelt and Yonder Alonso and infielder/outfielder Todd Frazier. The Reds don't make the playoffs because ... They Reds have shown a reluctance to call up that talent. Zack Cozart swung a hot bat for two months before the Reds called him up, even though they were getting less offense from shortstop than any other team in the league.
BB-Ref - 3+ CG Shutouts Since 1973 With Less Than 100 Pitches
Only one Red qualifies, and he wasn't my first guess. Even more surprising was that Tom Browning's 1988 perfect game was not among his sub-100 pitch shutouts. But he didn't miss by much - he threw exactly 100 pitches in retiring 27 consecutive Dodgers on 9/16/88.
Red Hot Mama - Reds Baseball Bingo
This sounds like a pretty good summary of sitting through a Reds broadcast. The square directly to the left of the free space gave me some pause.
Breaking: Derek Jeter collects 3,000th hit
About a week ago I was sitting in the Osaka Dome, taking in an Orix Buffaloes/Seibu Lions contest (by the way, So Taguchi is still kicking around). My uncle, an avid Tokyo Giants fan who does not follow American ball, asked me who's the most popular player in the major leagues. I was tempted to say Albert Pujols, but that would be conflating the idea of the best player with the most popular. So I said Derek Jeter. It sounded strange because so many people I know dislike The Captain, but if we're talking about a heavily-publicized keystone to a successful, large-market team, I'm not sure who else tops him. By jersey sales, Jeter's still number 1.
The voluminous amount of columns and blog posts celebrating Jeter's 3,000th hit also demonstrates his popularity (I certainly don't remember as many for Craig Biggio). It also brought out the best Purpose Prose I've seen since RJ Vasilak. Here are two descriptions of the 3,000th hit - one from Joe Posnanski, and one from the ESPN NY article. I'll let you guess which one is which.
At exactly 2 p.m., with Jeter expecting fastball, with the crowd in high pitch, with reporters in the press box trying to get every detail scribbled down, David Price threw a 78 mph curveball that hung over home plate the way the sun hangs over Key West. And Derek Jeter did the last thing anybody expected — anybody including himself. He turned on it. He crushed it. As Jeter broke out of the box, he did not know if it would clear the fence. But he did know that nobody was going to catch it. The ball went over the fence.
The ball was in the air, disappearing into the kind of white clouds Norman Rockwell loved to paint, and Derek Jeter watched it the way a child watches a runaway balloon floating across a midsummer sky. He was young again. We were all young again. After all those years of resisting temptation, of honoring the better angels of his nature, the captain of the New York Yankees had finally sold his soul to the devil.
Rockin' Redlegs - Incredible, Undeniable, Unforgettable
We all indulge nostalgia in different ways. I don't know what else to say.