Red Reposter: Suddenly, not so quiet on the Central front

This happened while I was having one of those dreams where I'm at school but I haven't done my homework.

The Reds bumped their lead back to 9.5 over the Cardinals and their Magic Number - which has its own Twitter handle - down to 12. But inevitability just got a little less boring this week:

Andromache did us several ones better by recapping last night's game...
...a game in which over 50 players took the field. This recap is in every respect much better than my phoned-in effort, but the conclusion is similar: "there was a lot of crap."

Red Hot Mama also took the time to reflect on last night's marathon of frustration
It was 5 hours and 22 minutes of attrition in which Joey Votto's birthday came and went. In a word: "ugly." Or probably oog-lay. RHM also brings up the controversy that took place after Brandon Phillips was beaned in the 8th inning. There's been some simmering beef between the clubs since Chapman plunked Andrew McCutchen in early August, but nothing has really boiled over. I called it the most "passive aggressive rivalry in baseball" last night on Twitter, but if BP's tweet is true, it just got uglier.

There was speculation in the game-thread that Jared Hughes said something like "throw it in the donut next time" (with bad words in there somewhere). If there was a racial slur uttered by him or someone else last night, it's obviously deplorable. And also might have the Reds playing mad, which could restart the offense that has been stalled for a week.

Mark My Word: Phillips involved in controversy
BP was seen speaking to both 3B ump Greg Gibson and Andrew McCutchen, at length, about what happened last night. Supposedly, we'll here more about all this later today. I would guess this raises the specter of a bench-clearer over the next two games, but players might be too tired to bother. Whatever exchange took place might also be lost to the fog of competition.

Rob Neyer and John Fay both parse the Reds' concern over Chapman
My biggest concern is not that Chapman is suddenly irreparably broken, but that the Reds place too much importance on having their closer over the last few weeks of the season. Not only can the Reds survive while using Chapman once every five games or so, they can win the division and hopefully have him fresh in October.

Sliding Marshall and Broxton up, while using guys like Cingrani, LeCure and Hoover more, does not a collapse make.

SweetSpot Blog's Dave Schoenfield looks at Chapman's declining velo
I agree with the Schoenfield's conclusion that this is "not an issue yet." It's been just two starts of ineffectiveness and decreased velocity. Chapman is just 4.2 innings past the innings he threw in 2011. But he did throw almost every other night in July. I hope when Dusty says he might need some rest, that he gets 4-5 days off and less frequent use over the rest of the season. There's no reason not to air on the side of caution to make sure Chapmania is ready for the playoffs: have the luxury of a large, very good bullpen and sizeable lead in the division.

Better Off Red: TONIGHT’S PREGAME EVENTS AND REMEMBRANCES
The US Army 101st Airborne Division Air Assault team from Fort Campbell will perform a parachute demonstration tonight. Directly into the Pirates' bullpen to tactically deploy pamphlets on how not to be jerks.

Fangraphs looks at payroll spending efficiency by wins for teams in 2012

Fangraphs: "B.J. Upton Now Differently Confounding"
A look at a guy whose name has cropped up here over the last couple season as a future LF or CF.

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