It's no secret that the path the Reds have followed over the last few months hasn't exactly taken them to where they'd hoped, but as Mark Sheldon noted for Reds.com, the team is far from pessimistic. Eight players on the DL, six early games against their arch rivals, slow starts from several regulars, and a few bullpen implosions have left the Reds at just 3-6, but it seems they're comfortable knowing they've been competitive in each and every contest and that the season is still in its infancy. While we, as fans, are now devoid of the time-trusted Dustyisms which we became so accustomed to during lean times, Bryan Price seems to have a pretty honest take on the situation at hand, too.
David Price and the Tampa Bay Rays roll into Cincinnati for a three game set beginning tonight, and Bill Chastain broke down the series' first pitching matchup for MLB.com. Price will take the mound opposite Johnny Cueto in what projects to be quite the pitchers' duel, and as our friend Joel Luckhaupt notes, it won't be the first time these two will have faced off. While another hard-luck Cueto "loss" isn't exactly worth hoping for, I think we'd all gladly accept it in exchange for a pair of wins on Saturday and Sunday. History repeats itself and whatnot, right?
While we're on the topic of what David Price had to say about the Reds, it appears Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune sat in on the same interview session as Chastain. One nugget from Mooney not included in Chastain's piece did catch my eye, however, and that's that only one pitcher in Rays' franchise history has ever gone yard. That honor belongs to the phenomenally named Esteban Yan, who launched the first and only pitcher dinger in the 18 seasons of the team's existence. Needless to say, their hurlers are excited for the chance to take swings in GABP, so seeing the Reds' staff lob a continual parade of off-speed pitches to them would really get my sugars up.
Former Cincinnati catcher (and apple of Cy Schourek's eye) Ryan Hanigan will be making his return to the Queen City with the Rays, too, and Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times caught up with him to talk about it. It's pretty stock-issue Hanny, but it's good to hear he's comfortable with the situation surrounding the trade that ended his Cincinnati career this past Winter. Hanigan likely won't catch tonight - Jose Molina has caught each of David Price's two starts this season - but he'll likely be behind the plate for both of the ties over the weekend. I'm sure Cy will be giving him a standing ovation from halfway across the world.
And while I'm sure you'd love another Rays-centric link, I'll dodge that in favor of some Joey Votto centrism. David G. Temple did some deep thinking about Votto at The Hardball Times, and it's a reminder that we sometimes forget who it is that's being criticized when the stalwart of the Reds' lineup gets blasted by many local media members. The flack lobbed at Votto is heavy in grit-laden disgust, cast at him from leathery-faced grumps who bleed rosin and spit tobacco juice at other's Cole Haans. It's generated in a disdain for what Votto is not, what he should be, and what he is making too much money for, and it wholly underrates what, precisely, are the brilliant things Votto does well. The paucity of what Votto does not do somehow has managed to overshadow the grandiose abilities he has - and still does - display, and that disheartens me right in the core. Temple seems to feel the same way, fortunately, as his piece focused on the talents possessed by the Reds 1B that dwarf those of his peers.