Bruce and the Reds dropped a painful one yesterday
They leave San Francisco with a split, but the biggest loss was Joey Votto's removal from Saturday's game on account of knee inflammation. He sat out yesterday as well, and there's no word yet that he's playing today. With the Pirates losing to St. Louis yesterday, the Reds maintained their one-game division lead.
- The Reds now head south to take on Showtime. They'll thankfully skip Clayton Kershaw, who won last night against the Mets. The win stopped a seven-game losing streak that saw the Dodgers lose their spot on top of the West. And yet they still managed to lose on Sunday, in a sense, when Carlos Lee said "no thanks, I'm good" when the Astros offered to deal him to the Dodgers. It's a loss in pride for L.A., if not actual baseball talent. Lee is 36 with a 103 OPS+ on the season. He has yet to hit a HR on the road.
The Blog Red Machine heeds caution on the ascending Pirates
The Pirates can be a solid team as the Cardinals have learned painfully the last two days. We Reds fans should not be so dismissive or we provide weight to the chip they already have on their shoulder. The experts have so far got it all wrong concerning these Pirates as they remember the August collapse last year. But this could be the team that shakes off that mantle of mediocrity if they aren’t taken seriously, experts not withstanding. They numbers indicate they can. Respectfully disagree. Even with a recent hot streak, the Pirates are 13th in the league in runs and adjusted OPS. They're 4th in adjusted ERA, though they're behind the Reds there as well. What they've had going for them is a good record in one-run games (18-13), unlike the Reds (13-14). They could very well finish above .500 this year, but last weekend aside, St. Louis is the more likely division crown contender.
The upcoming All-Star break is coming at a good time for the bats
C-ing Red takes a look at the team's recent hitting, and it ain't pretty. Even Joey Votto's otherworldly hitting has cooled considerably in the past week. As for the snubs, I'm working through the anger and should be ready to bargain by the afternoon. Wilson Valdez and a PTBNL should be a fair trade for including Phillips and Cueto in the All-Star fun.
Why so little rest for Rolen? Shut up, that's why
Although Scott Rolen continues to get the odd day off here and there, Dusty hasn't been pulling back his PT to make the hot corner an equitable split between Scott Ballgame and Todd Frazier. Should he? Rolen started well immediately after returning from the DL but has slumped fiercely since. That may all be moot now, since Rolen was taken out of yesterday's contest because he "could barely mo[v]e .... He [was] scratched late with back spasms."
Or just some soul who shares the same name? NotGraphs is on the case: "When Ken Griffey Jr. was reached for comment about the van, via text message, he replied, almost immediately: When the Griffey Jr.’s van’s a rockin’, don’t come a knockin’ =P We, the NotGraphs Investigative Reporting Investigation Team, responded: Gross. Told you it was his van."
It's been ten seasons since Dusty Baker managed the Giants' first pennant-winning team since the earthquake. There were surely some mixed feelings after the title slipped through Dusty's fingers, but Giants fans gave Dusty a warm welcome back as they celebrated the ten-year anniversary. Hal: "Anybody who thinks Baker wasn’t appreciated in San Francisco, and still isn’t appreciated, needed to see Sunday’s pre-game festivities at AT&T when the Giants honored the 2002 National League champions. Baker received a standing ovation that lasted more than a minute."
To conclude on Dusty Baker and his toothpick, he is one hell of a manager that does things the right way and has a team that follows his lead. He has all the talent he needs to make a run in the playoffs and I believe this is the year it is going to happen. The pitching is there and so is the offense. Dusty can be my manager any day of the week.
Baseball Musings postulated on Saturday that Joey Votto, after hitting his 33rd double of the season, has a 1 in 125 chance of tying Earl Webb‘s single-season record of 67 doubles. At that point, the Reds had played 76 games. I understand that it's not probable that Votto can continue his doubles streak, but a less than one-percent chance? Seems harsh.
Think literally, not historically. Think ping pong shows. Tip o' the hat to those perverts at OMGReds.