Now that's a walk-off
The Reds, or more correctly Joey Votto, salvaged the Nationals series in coming back in dramatic fashion yesterday. With the win, Cincinnati pulled to within 2 1/2 games of St. Louis, who just got swept by Atlanta. Joel tweets that Votto's walk-off salami was just the 5th in team history since '48, after Ed Bailey, Frank Robinson, Don Pavletich, & Adam Dunn. According to Elias, Votto is the first player in MLB history with 3 HRs, one of which as a walk-off grand slam. Ray Knight may wish to reconsider his vote for the starting Firstbaseman for the National League All-Stars. You can vote here, Ray.
The Reds have entered a 20 games in 20 days stretch
After leaving Milwaukee Thursday, the Reds enjoyed their last off day until May 31. The twenty-game stretch isn't against a bunch of creampuffs, either. The Reds will now do battle with the Braves, who sit at the top of the NL East with the team that just left Cincinnati. The Gotham squads, both of which are above .500, are on deck. Said BP: "It’s either gonna make us or it’s gonna break us." That might be a tad dramatic, but the Reds don't want to enter Memorial Day looking up at a seven-game Cardinal lead, either.
Johnny Cueto continues to mock his peripherals and opposing lineups
It's tricky to tell when a pitcher is different enough from his peers that we shouldn't expect a regression to his FIP, SIERA, or whatever your DIPS-based metric of choice is. I sure want to believe in Johnny, and Fay's article about his excellent start against the Brewers lends support. Says Hanigan: "When we need pitches, he knows that. He's going to battle. You can see his reaction. He's not happy when he wastes pitches. He doesn't waste too many. Besides that, he attacks you. He comes at you. He changes speeds. He hits corners. If he feels like he can, he'll pump it by you. He does different things. We're in good tempo, good rhythm. Certain guys we're more careful with. Certain guys we go right after. It's been fun."
Leake has not outperformed anything, unfortunately
He's still the presumptive starter for the first game against the Mets on Wednesday, though Dusty doesn't exactly offer resounding support for Lil' Mike: "We haven’t covered that yet. I’d like to think so. … As of right now, the answer is yes." Baker rightly added that pitching in spacious Citi Park might help Leake out.
Daugherty wonders if Rolen is done
It's not an unfair question. I was optimistic that Rolen's offseason shoulder surgery would give him that one final good year. At Goodyear, he slugged well over .500. And even with a low average he's still hit for some power during the regular season. But now that he's on the disabled list, Doc lays it out in no uncertain terms: "You wonder what the Reds were thinking. Either they left Goodyear entirely fooling themselves. Or they’ve made a very big miscalculation. Either way, a run-challenged team is now without a power plant at third base, normally a power position. And Rolen’s crucial leadership skills can’t be flexed in the training room. It wasn’t a good gamble, and not just in hindsight."
With Rolen out, Todd Frazier figures to see some starts at the hot corner
But Dusty isn't handing the job over to him. "That depends on Frazier. It could be (Miguel) Cairo. I’ve got an idea what guys’ strengths and weaknesses are. … We’ll see. It’s up to Frazier."
Mike Costanzo will likely not see any starts at third, but it's impossible not to like his story
The 28 year-old made his ML debut yesterday, hitting a sacrifice fly in the Reds win. Costanzo was considered a legitimate prospect several years ago, but his development floundered to the point where Baltimore asked him to pitch in 2010. Astutely recognizing Baltimore's questionable player evaluation skills, Costanzo went the independent route and eventually landed with the Reds. "I love baseball. Definitely being 28 and in Triple-A the last five years, going to indy ball and doing all of that stuff, it makes you wonder sometimes. Never did I want to stop playing." Like I said, it's impossible not to like this guy.
- A wire-to-wire marathon
At Cincinnati's Flying Pig marathon a week ago, a team of five runners decked out in Reds singlets (and one with Sabo-inspired rec specs) ran the 26.2 mile course in 3 hours, 4 minutes (7:02/mile pace). An impressive time, especially considering they were tethered together. In fact, the quintet set the world record for such a feat. But if you asked me they missed a golden sponsorship opportunity, because nothing promotes cardiovascular health quite like Five Guys Burgers and Fries.
- The Hardball Times addresses the state of the NL Central
Is 2012 the "great leap year" for Jay Bruce: "We've seen stretches like this from him before, so it's much too early to proclaim him the superstar he was supposed to be, but the signs are good.... Most importantly, he seems willing to go the other way, and this isn't just announcers talking. Spray charts agree that something has changed. If he keeps it up, life will be very good for Reds fans for the next several years."
- The Diamondbacks shed a new skin for a recent promotion
It looked like a graffitied cast, but the Ryan Roberts tattoo sleeve giveaway was apparently a success for Arizona. It's kinda funny how much tattoos can be reviled or revered in sports.
- Braun's precedent leads to another suspension reversal
Though derided by the media, MLB and the Union has taken the reversal of Ryan Braun's suspension very seriously. Recently MLB dropped its 100-game suspension of Colorado Rockies catcher Eliezer Alfonzo due to the same procedural issues that Braun successfully petitioned. Alfonzo has already served about half of the suspension he received last year. What's particularly interesting is that the reversal was made without a hearing - in other words, the league and the union decided after Braun's case that Alfonzo should benefit from whatever arguments and circumstances that helped Braun. Which makes publishing Braun's decision (something the arbitrator, league, and/or union have resisted) all the more important. Fight the power, Eliezer.