No sweeps last week, but the Reds still went 5-2 in taking series against the Mets and Cubs. They also upped their divisional lead a couple of games and lead Pittsburgh by 6.5 with three-quarters of the season in the books. Life is good!
Reds win sloppily, suspensefully
Ryan Hanigan's walk-off hit yesterday may have been the difference between a home split against the lowly Cubs and taking three of four. It also spared a bullpen depleted after Todd Redmond's "overpsyched" start on Saturday evening. Redmond got some internet pub in advance of his long-awaited major league debut. But the bubble quickly burst and he was gone after barely three innings, handing over a hot mess to Alfredo Simon. The Reds optioned Redmond back to Louisville but we'll probably see him again after rosters expand.
Hal asks, whither the defense?
Five errors in the past two games have a way of raising the dander of managers, even for a team on a hot streak. Dusty: "What the heck? Bleep. Like bleep-bleep. Is there stink on the bleeping field, or what? I'm glad we got the win because a win is a win, but we certainly have to tighten up our defense." I'm usually good at guessing the bleeps, but the latter half of the double-bleep sure is a head scratcher. Future Co-Captain Todd Frazier put it perspective: "It's one of those things that happens. It's two games. We pride ourselves on defense. A bad bounce here or bad throw there, it's going to happen. It's how you bounce back. Were we disappointed? Of course. But it's really about getting W's in the column. We took three out of four and our defense will be fine."
While the Reds played two on Saturday, the Pirates and Cards battled in a virtual doubleheader yesterday
Pittsburgh came out on top after more than six hours and 19 innings. It was a closely contested series, with yesterday's madness following the teams splitting a pair of one-run games. Impressively, St. Louis (and Pittsburgh) used eight pitchers without resorting to throwing a position player on the mound. This almost certainly caused Tony LaRussa to snort-laugh.
Ever wonder what a bench player does to stay ready?
Xavier Paul's game-winning run yesterday underscores the outstanding job he's done in limited time, as KMiB pointed out in yesterday's recap. How he stays loose and prepares for his time in the late innings: "I try to run every other inning and get a couple of sprints on the indoor track here.... I try to stay in the game every inning, watching from the dugout. I pay close attention to what's going on, so I'm on the same page with Dusty and know the way he's thinking. I look ahead." Good thing he was warmed up yesterday, as he busted it out of the box en route to a stand-up triple. In 44 PAs, the lefty hitter sports a nifty 167 wRC+.
Sheldon, Zapruder spot Votto taking grounders
Joey Votto has (again) started baseball activities, taking grounders yesterday. A week after his second surgery, he reports feeling some pain but is encouraged by his progress. He will not join the team in Philadelphia as he continues his rehab in Cincinnati.
- The Blog Red Machine puts the remaining schedules of the Central contenders under the microscope
Based on the home/road splits, BRM guesstimates a final tally of 97 wins for Cincinnati. I'd take that.
- Latos getting hot at the right time
Bleacher Report (I know) marvels at the season Mat Latos put together after the Shark Sandwich of his first four starts: Since then - April 24, to be exact - Latos has been everything you could ask for in a top-of-the-rotation starter. Throughout this time span, Latos has made 21 starts, going 10-1 with a 3.11 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 123 K, a K/9 rate of 8.30 and a K/BB ratio of 3.24." And this was before yesterday's solid 8 innings, when he kept the Reds in the game despite little help from his defense. Heck, he's even got a four-game hit streak going. I gotta agree that I like our 1-2 punch against anybody.
- Diamond Hoggers is optimistic that we're seeing the beginning of a Boffo Bruce stretch
It's usually Drew Stubbs that's cited in the "does really well when the Reds win" statements, but the same is equally true for Jay Bruce: When Bruce succeeds, the Reds are seemingly unstoppable. Or maybe it's the other way around. Lifetime, in a Reds win, Jay Bruce OPS's over an astounding .960 clip. Following an incredibly prescient comment in last Monday's Reposter, Bruce slashed .429/.448/.929 over the past week.
- The underrated Dusty Baker?
Chad from RLN pens a thoughtful defense for the oft-criticized skipper on ESPN's site. Nothing ground-breaking for this crowd, but it's good to see the message sent to the WWL's audience.
- While we fete ours, Houston just canned their Manager
Brad Mills, father of Reds' farmhand Beau Mills, was let go nearly three years into his stint as the Astros' skipper. As Jim Kaat quipped on the MLB Network, "Brad Mils wasn't relieved. He is relieved."
- Earmuffs gets Pirates fan autographed ball from Don Mattingly
Cute story about a well-meaning dad who earmuffed his young son before Matt Kemp might have used some big-boy language after an ejection. Donnie Ballgame passed a ball and note to the family after seeing the replay. He may have made his name in New York, but he still has the manners of a Midwesterner.
Adam Dunn’s smacked his 400th home run in KC this weekend
The ball landed with a splash in Kauffman Stadium's fountain. A young fan jumped into the drink to retrieve the ball, and was arrested almost as quickly. Marty mused that Dunn might have led the Reds to the playoffs if only he had ran out to his position as quickly.