Reds take two of three from St. Louis
Looking to put behind an ugly and underachieving first half, the Reds came out of the gate strong this weekend, securing an important victory and series win over St. Louis yesterday. A loss would've put the Reds five back of the lead, perhaps too great to consider the team a credible threat as the trade deadline approaches. Albert Pujols quieted the crowd on Friday and Saturday, but yesterday his bat was conspicuously silent in going 0 for 4. A good start for the team's post-ASB run.
Speaking of the ASB, C-ing Red takes a look back at 5 Reds All-Stars you may have forgotten
Bip Roberts might not have been on the Reds long, but in 1992 he put up the kind of year we all dreamed Ryan Freel might've had. Roberts played four positions, split equitably between the outfield and infield, accumulating 5 WAR on the strength of a .393 OBP and 44 steals.
On to Pittsburgh
In his second Reds start, Dontrelle takes on
James McDonaldCharlie Morton and the Bucs tonight. He's been a welcome addition to the clubhouse, per BP: "He's a great teammate. He's one of my friends. Just hearing him on the bench during the game, he's keeping everybody into the game. He gives good motivation to the team. We really needed somebody like that to come here, other than myself." The Pirates are in the middle of a critical part of their schedule, facing the Cards, Braves and Phillies after us. Hopefully the Reds can start the Pittsburgh KO this week and thin the crowd at the top of the Central.
Hal - say no to committees
"Q: Couldn’t the Reds go to a closer by committee with Nick Masset, Aroldis Chapman and Bill Bray for the rest of the year and let Coco Cordero go for a prospect or two? — Keith, Brookville A: There is nothing worse than trying to get something done by committee. It usually takes a month to get something done by committee that should take one day." I don't really understand his objection. It will take longer to get saves if opportunities are parsed among several pitchers?
As for why Coco, Hal responds: "Twelve million reasons, as in $12 million a year for Cordero to be the closer. That doesn't make it right, but a closer is a closer is a closer. Remember when Los Angeles Dodgers closer Mike Marshall appeared in 106 games in 1974? He appeared in 13 straight games at one point and pitched 2081/3 innings, all in relief. And his "out" pitch was a screwball, a pitch that is extremely hard on the arm. No, Coco isn't Mike Marshall, but appearing three days in a row shouldn't be a burden. He just needs to do his job." Elsewhere, Hal ruminates on his bucket list, otherwise known as "next weekend's plans."
Fay bangs the "Free Heisey" drum
Heisey’s home run ratio is 14.3 per at-bat. He doesn’t have enough at-bats to qualify as a league leader. If he did, he’d be second in the National League in home run ratio to Lance Berkman (11.3). Actually, at 14.3 HR per AB, I submit that it would be impossible for any mortal to match Heisey. Removing my sarcasm font, Baker makes a good point about expecting too much based on part-time samples: "That’s dangerous to do. Some guys play every day ... you start averaging with guys like Oscar Gamble they’d have 50 home runs and 172 RBI. It doesn’t work like that." Just imagine how high that afro would have been with regular playing time.
BP's exhuberant home run trot on Friday night did not offend St. Louis
Not even Tony La Russa, who's heightened sensitivity has been noted around these and other parts, cried foul: "That's such a commonplace, it's a release of pressure. Everybody's enjoying the moment. ... It's just a really happy time. You'd have to do something really extravagant to cross the line." BP's twitter feed predictibly blew up after the game, befitting his recent induction into SI's Twitter 100.
Red Hot Mama stumped for Thom's Awful Announcing's Campaign
Unsuccessfully, as it turns out, as Jim Gray defeated the younger Brennaman over the weekend. Awful Announcing is looking to replace the retired Joe Morgan on its masthead with this elimination tournament.
FanGraphs has a Cliff Notes guide to the second half
The Reds discussion is succinct: "Will they finally live up to their lofty pre-season expectations?" The same question is posed to the White Sox, who've suffered Adam Dunn's horrific AL debut. Donkey's AVG stands at .159 after Saturday's game, which is a full twenty points lower than Rob Deer's modern "record" for worst qualifying batting average. There's precedent for a rebound, though he's unlikely to return to his 40-HR seasons. Indeed, very little seems to be going right for White Sox fans this year.
For more second half analysis, see Grant Brisbee's piece here
His NL Central predictions include Dontrelle Willis sticking in the rotation, the Cards trading Colby Rasmus, and the Brewers taking the division. Yes, YES, and probably.
The Dems won the critical Congressional Baseball Match
The Democrats, who apparently lost several key players after last year's midterm drubbing, upset the Republicans 8-2. I've previously mentioned that the Reds cut Lou Barletta (R-Pa.) in 1977 during George Clooney's tryout. I didn't see how Barletta did, but Adam Smith (D-Wash.), whose hands move so fast you can't see them, went 3 for 3. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), who pitched at Morehouse College, threw a one-hitter.
While the warring factions of the legislative branch slugged it on the diamond,
the judiciary landed a huge blow on the executive branch when a mistrial was declared in the Roger Clemens matter. NotGraphs depicts The Hon. Joe West, who rarely exhibits clemency for players, tossing the government's case. We'll see how he feels about the double-jeopardy motion.