It's officially doubleheader day, and yes, it's confusing as hell. Tony Cingrani will take the mound for the Cincinnati Reds in the first game, which is the regularly scheduled game featuring the Reds on the road against the San Francisco Giants, and the second game (set to be played 30 minutes after the completion of the first game) is technically the make-up game from the one rained out in Cincinnati on Independence Day. The Reds will be the "home" team in the second game, complete with requisite home jerseys, and they'll hit in the bottom half of each inning. Both games will statistically count as road games, however, so keep that in mind when you dig deep into each players' splits after tonight. No word as of yet on if the teams will switch dugouts for game two.
Greg Reynolds gets the chance to write his own Cinderella story for the Reds in game 2 tonight. Reynolds, as we've come to know, is a native of Northern California, and he'll have friends and family on hand to see his return to the big leagues opposite the team he grew up following. I'm sure Reynolds realizes this is merely a one-game call up, but I'm also sure he realizes it's a great stage to show the rest of the baseball world that the former number two overall pick in the 2006 draft still, at 28 years old, has what it takes to get major league hitters out. Good luck to him.
There's another Disney script waiting to happen, this one for the Giants in game one. A few weeks back, Grant Brisbee gave some insight into Eric Surkamp, Cincinnati native and Moeller High graduate, who tonight will make his first appearance in the big leagues since his 2011 season ended in Tommy John surgery. Pre-surgery Surkamp was a highly regarded starting pitcher in the Giants organization after being drafted in the 6th round of the 2008 draft out of NC State, and he reached the majors in 2011 only to see his elbow fail him. I wish the guy good luck, and he's surely going to be watched closely by the Giants given that Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito, and Ryan Vogelsong are all set to be free agents after this season.
The two big baseball stories that materialized yesterday are actually rather entwined. Matt Garza was traded from the Chicago Cubs to the Texas Rangers for a rather large prospect haul highlighted by 3B/OF Mike Olt, and just hours later, Ryan Braun* was suspended by MLB for the remainder of the 2013 season for neither shaving or committing to a full beard, persistently wearing Affliction shirts, lying, cheating, ruining the life of Dino Laurenzi, Jr., smelling of elderberries, and generally being a miserable person. And juicing. I say these stories are connected due to the list leaked regarding those MLB players currently under investigation for connections with Biogenesis, a list that includes current Rangers OF Nelson Cruz; it's interesting that in the face of a possible suspension for Cruz, the big RH bat in the Rangers' lineup, they were willing to trade away their most MLB ready big RH bat for a few months of Garza. It will be interesting to see if any additional suspensions come down before the trade deadline, because there may well be a flurry of action by contenders who lose pieces, especially considering the potential for the players under suspicion may well be suspended without pay (which, of course, frees up salary).
Speaking of the trade deadline, it's getting pretty danged close. Dave Cameron from FanGraphs has put together a well-reasoned article regarding why he thinks the deadline should be moved to a later point in the season, and I tend to agree with him. His main tenets are that the playoff format has changed the trade landscape (since there are so many more teams that think they're still in the race), and the current deadline prevents what would be reasonable trades from materializing.