Reds win series; solve the mysteries of Pittsburgh
In what may prove critical in crowning the National League's Central Division bronze medalist, the Reds finally cracked the Pirates in taking two of three close games in Pittsburgh over the weekend. The Pirates went all-in by using closer Joel Hanrahan in each contest, even though they face the Brewers in a double-header today. It was the first road series win for the Reds since June.
Fay - No limits on Leake
After throwing six frames yesterday, Mike Leake matched last year's innings total of 138. The Reds don't see a need to hold back on Leake's workload, however. Dusty: "I don’t see fatigue like I saw last year. Last year, he didn’t know what to expect coming out of college. He actually looks like he’s getting stronger. He’s training. He knows how to train and prepare between starts. I call him the Running Man. Every time I see him he’s running. He eats healthier than anyone on the team. He takes care of himself. He knows how to pitch."
- Heisey, Rent, Logan to return soon
The Reds start a series in Miami after an off-day today. Edgar Renteria and Logan Ondrusek could return by then, though only Logan is on the DL. The cheeky Chris Heisey might not be far behind either, if I'm reading this correctly: "[Saturday], I shagged fly balls at full speed and felt great."
BP and Hanigan are rounding into form
Brandon Phillips has responded well to penciling himself in at the leadoff spot five games ago. He's now an even 11 for 22 with some pop from the top. Meanwhile, Ryan Hanigan has also found his stroke after slumping in July following a home plate collision with the Brewers' Nyjer Morgan. Sheldon reports that Hanigan's shoulder has been bothering him since then. I wonder if that played some role in the Reds' decision to hold on to Ramon Hernandez at the trade deadline.
St. Louis Today - Who are the Pujols 'critics'?
I'll just let the sarcasm of Cardinals' beat writer Bernie Miklasz speak for itself: Apologies are in order after reading comments by Albert Pujols and Tony La Russa during the team's 1-2 series in Pittsburgh. With the team trailing the Milwaukee Brewers by 7 games in the standings, I didn't realize we were supposed to organize a parade down Market Street to celebrate the occasion of Pujols hitting his 30th home run of the season. HT to Baseball Nation.
Jim Brosnan - Nobody Likes The Dodgers (Aug. 1961)
And now, for the nostalgia portion of the Reposter. Brosnan, a Cincinnati native, pitched five very good seasons out of the bullpen for the Reds between 1959 and 1963. But as the author of Long Season and Pennant Race, his legacy runs much deeper than his actual on-field performance. In this August 1961 article for Sports Illustrated, Brosnan discusses the white-hot rivalry between the Reds and Dodgers: Dodger pitchers have used up a ball bag full of fast balls trying to pinpoint the skulls of Pinson and Robinson. This specious form of head-hunting is not cannibalistic, for the Dodgers are not really savages. "Just a little wild," says Don Drysdale. Ol' Don has a stock answer to charges that he deliberately knocks down hitters who don't respect him. But the cliche, "It's my bread and butter," reflects a somewhat morbid appetite.
The man could really write. Long Season is the better-known work and has been on my list for a while, but I read Pennant Race this year since I was in the mood to follow a team that won something. It was a fun, quick read. It's a shame the pre-Machine Reds didn't win any more pennants. They obviously had an interesting mix of personalities to go along with some incredible ball players.
C-ing Red takes a look at the best team comebacks
1964 was the closest that the Reds came to capturing a second pennant in the 1960s. That pennant race is known as the "Philadelphia Phold," seeing how the Phillies lost a 6.5-game lead with 12 to play to let St. Louis sneak by. The Reds played a prominent role in Philadelphia's collapse in beating the Phills 1-0 on September 21. Chico Ruiz famously stole home against Cincinnati native Art Mahaffey - with Frank Robinson at the plate, no less - to account for all the scoring. The Phillies dropped their next nine games as Manager Gene Mauch panicked, going with a three-man rotation down the stretch. Phillies' 1B Dick Allen said that Ruiz's steal was "the play broke our humps."
The Reds made up a seven-game deficit themselves that year entered the season's final game tied with St. Louis. But the Phillies exacted revenge in walloping the Reds 10-0. The Cards won their final game, and then defeated the aging Mantle/Maris/Ford Yankees in the World Series.
BB-Ref Blog - Walk-off losing hits
Sure, a walk-off hit is pretty exciting. But even more thrilling are games that end with the home team losing despite getting a hit in the final at-bat, because it necessarily involves an out on the basepaths. The Reds have been on the smiling side of three such games since 1990, most recently on August 30, 2007** against the Pirates. In 1992 the Reds won two such games, with Norm Charlton finishing on both occasions. Oddly, the "walk-off" hit in both games was struck by prominent former Reds - Kal Daniels and Eric Davis. Each made the final out by trying to advance to second.
** BP ended this game with an incredible throw to home from shallow right field. It's in my top ten for Reds highlights of the past decade, maybe top five.
Topps, Donruss, and king-making
Jon Bois does the heavy lifting to determine which honor portended true greatness - Topps' All-Star Rookies or the Rated Rookies by Donruss. Topps eeks out a narrow victory in looking at both sets between 1987 and 1991. But since both companies missed out on Barry Larkin (and Frank Thomas), it's all a sham.