Reds outlast Nationals, finish sweep
Yesterday, Joey Votto hit a walk-off to end a 14-inning marathon and a bad week for Washington. The Reds won their third one-run game of the week against one such loss to flatten some of the tilt on the season's one-run imbalance. The Reds' staff struck out 19, which ties the club record.
- The Reds now host the Phillies for four games before heading to St. Louis on Friday. Homer squares off tonight against Cole Hamels, who's fresh off the DL from a "dead arm." You can catch the game on ESPN. The Reds may be catching a break with the Phillies' rotation off schedule due to this weekend's weather.
- There's some buzz in today's game recap about Yonder Alonso starting at 3B today, but I haven't seen confirmation of that yet. I've linked this Grant Brisbee piece before on the rarity of switching to the hot corner. Still, there's precedent for big, bat-first corner guys to start off at third before moving to a less demanding position - Harmon Killebrew, Tony Perez, Jim Thome, Edgar Martinez. It's August 29; we may as well try now.
The Yonder profiles
Hal McCoy and the Palm Beach Post both recently sat down with the budding thirdbaseman (?). The Post asked Alonso about his recent HR in Miami, his adopted hometown: "I was so just crazy I didn't know what to expect. I just saw the pitch and just swung and before you know it, it's over the wall, and I'm like, 'What just happened?' I'm in the dugout and all the guys are throwing up the 'U' and doing all that crazy stuff."
Hal digs a little deeper and asks Yonder about growing up in a modest household. I'm a sucker for bootstrapping stories about the immigrant experience, but this is a really good read. You should check it out. "So, we got the plane from my grandfather who was there at the time, said goodbye to everybody, kept it a secret and the next thing you know, I'm in Miami. We were by ourselves - no family, no friends, no cousins, uncles, aunts, grandparents. The office cleaning was money to pay the rent. And because of all that, I never take anything for granted. Nothing."
DDN - Reds’ lack of transactions costly
Bold commentary from the Dayton Daily News, both for its criticism of the front office and for quoting a Dickinson: If Emily Dickinson was right about fortune befriending the bold, it would go a long way toward explaining the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds’ approach to the offseason and the regular season seemed more relegated toward Nyquil than boldness. If Denis Leary taught me anything, it's that the "q" in NyQyil is capitalized. Anyways, I agree with the sentiment, but the Reds are looking up at a 13-game deficit right now. A pre-season tweak in LF or having Zack Cozart up all year wasn't going to even approach making up that gap. Absolutely everything would have had to have gone right for the Reds to be in the lead right now, and that never happens.
Rolen rehabbing well after shoulder surgery
Scott Rolen underwent shoulder surgery to remove bone spurs and fragments on August 3. The team originally said Scotty Ballgame would be out for four to six weeks, and it sounds like his return will be closer to the shorter end of the range: "It’s been a big difference for me, and it was the right decision. I give Dr. (Tim) Kremcheck a lot of credit, he did a good job. I was in no-man’s land there. I couldn’t be happier. I’m unbelievably healthier than before I went into the surgery." Rolen has been taking a few grounders and hitting off a tee.
- Meanwhile, Chris Heisey started a rehab assignment in Louisville this weekend. Heisey went on the disabled list on August 7 with a strained left oblique, and should rejoin the Reds when rosters expand on September 1.
- Ryan Hanigan caught Cueto for the first time in 2011 yesterday. Ramon Hernandez sat out with a sore forearm resulting from a foul ball striking it this past week.
"The Fall of Austin Kearns and Adam Dunn"
And this piece shall be my punching bag for today. You know how talk radio hosts, lazy writers, and perpetually angry fans like to blame a bad team's best players for the team's struggles? Here's the latest example, a purported obituary of the Dunn-Kearns years:
In the parlance of politics, Dunn and Kearns were identifiable icons, simple guys without a trace of the complexities and insight of players like Votto, who can often come off as an unknowable man. Watching the Reds during their tenure often felt like peering in on a rec softball game in central Illinois. A ticket bought you multiple home runs, lost fly balls, missed cut-off men with a modicum of fun. All that was missing was the keg at home plate.... Soon enough, it became clear that Adam Dunn and Austin Kearns were not Frank Robinson and Vada Pinson reborn. Far, far from it. The stars of the future had come to represent a god-awful present.... With this seemingly joint fall, those who follow the Reds are left to ask what to make of the Dunn-Kearns era. Having seen what they’ve become, Dunn and Kearns are no longer bantered about as "What ifs." They are simply the symbols of a great era that never was.
Anyone who hoped for a "great era" with that pitching staff was either kidding themselves or not paying attention. But as long as you're reducing the lost decade to a couple of players instead of the shortcomings of the front office and ownership, you start and stop with Ken Griffey and Eric Milton. The former unfortunately fell to injuries after arriving in the team's most significant trade since Tom Seaver came to town, and the latter represented the organization's collosal misjudgment of pitching talent. Both accounted for crushing portions of the team's payroll. Meanwhile, Dunn was a consistently dangerous power threat and, yes, a run producer. Kearns never fully realized his potential after an early injury, but played well enough when on the field. Trying to draw parallels between Adam/Austin and two other home-grown pairs - Robinson/Pinson and Votto/Bruce - is sorely misguided.
The fifth most poular boss in baseball is our own Johnnie Baker
SI polled almost 300 players to find out which skippers are the true player managers. First was Tampa's Joe Madden, who's also won the most sabr-friendly manager designation for his hoodie and glasses. I'm surprised to see TLR finish 8th, but he does seem to gain the trust and loyalty of most of his roster.
Waiver wire musings
It would cost too much money and disrupt team chemistry, but what if David Wright was in the 3B mix for next year? Wright surprisingly cleared waivers last week, most likely because of his contract. He is owed $15M next year and has a player option for $16M in 2013 if he's dealt. He hasn't been the same hitter since the Mets moved into Citi, but still. All-Star 3B don't exactly grow on trees.
- As mentioned around here, the Reds withdrew Ramon Hernandez from the wire after some unconfirmed team claimed him. Hal and Dusty speculate that the mystery team is San Francisco. Hal notes that "surprise, surprise, a San Francisco scout was at Friday’s game." No word on whether the Reds tried to make a deal with the Giants. As I've mentioned several times, I'll fail to understand what the team is thinking if they don't offer arbitration to Ramon. Redleg Nation shares in my confusion.
The Europhiliac OverseasRedsFan investigates the roots of Hova's family name
The De Bruys (later De Bruce) were an influential Norman family in Scottish affairs in the early Middle Ages. De Bruys was one of the followers of William the Conqueror, and fought at the battle of Hastings in 1066. The tale of the most famous member of the Bruce family, Robert "the Bruce", King of Scotland in the 14th Century, who watched and learned the value of perseverance from a spider repeatedly climbing up again after being knocked down, has become a part of the world’s folklore. This great man achieved independence from England and became the King of Scotland in 1306.
With the Nats in town this weekend,
Davey Johnson returned to the Reds' home park for the first time since GABP opened. On the differences between Riverfront and the new stadium: "Yeah, there's grass and no dog poop." Marge Schott likely retorted from I-don't-wanna-know-where that "Davey was good in the beginning, but he went too far." Yesterday's home plate umpire agreed, ejecting Johnson from the game after he pressed his point about a supposed HBP too far.
- Finally: someone keep Jim Day away from the Giants.