EDIT: Word is that Dusty and Reds are about to announce a contract extension. More on this as it develops.
EDIT II: Thanks to Pops Daniels for posting the details of Baker's contract from Rob Butcher. Alls they said is that it is a 2 year extension running through 2012. No dollar figures have been announced yet.
Sunday was most likely Aaron Harang's last day on the mound as a Red
When he left the game early in the 3rd inning because of a blister, the crowd was slow to react. Those precious few seconds he took walking from the mound to the dugout were mostly spent by the crowd trying to figure out what was going on, and by the time we realized what was happening and stood up to give him his due he had disappeared. A fitting exit for the Harangutan, in my estimation. We really didn't know what we had until it was too late.
Harang was tearful in his postgame interview. "It’s been an enjoyable seven years," Harang said. "It’s not completely over yet. This city’s been good to me, and I’ll definitely miss it here." It certainly is not over, and that has to be particularly hard for Aaron. Red Moses cannot enter the Promised Land with his people, and we must say goodbye. He carried us on his shoulders these 10 years in the desert and for that we cannot thank him enough. Now let's win the World Series and get him a ring.
ESPN's blue ribbon panel of baseball experts unanimously predict a 1st round exit for our Reds
Of course, these were the people who awarded Ryan Howard an MVP when he wasn't even the best player on his side of his own infield. I greet this news with a big fat "so what?" If the Reds win this, they will call it a "huge upset", but upsets happen all the time. They have no fear of the underdog and that is why they will not survive.
Let the second-guessing begin
Dusty set his playoff rotation Sunday for the first three games of the NLDS. Edinson Volquez will pitch on Wednesday, Bronson Arroyo will go on Friday, and Johnny Cueto will take the hill on Sunday. With 5 good starters it must have been a really difficult decision for Baker, and I commiserate. But that aside, how in the f*@! do you leave out Travis Wood?? The Phillies are a very lefty-heavy lineup and Wood was able to throw an almost-perfecto against them back in July.
"Wood gives us potentially four lefties in the bullpen," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "And both of them (Wood and Bailey) could be potential Game 4 or Game 5 starters if we needed them to." On that almost-perfecto, Dusty says, "That was the first time they saw him, too, not to take anything away from him. They didn't have [Chase] Utley. They didn't have [Placido] Polanco. They didn't have [Carlos] Ruiz. And they weren't scoring runs at the time. He's a gutsy kid, but he and Homer are probably the least experienced, too. If we can get him a game, he'd be more prepared to start the next time, if there is a next time."
Dusty has announced that they will go with 11 pitchers and 14 position players in the first round
Not on that list are infielder Chris Valaika and pitchers Carlos Fisher, Jordan Smith, Sam LeCure, and Matt Maloney. They were all told to report to the training complex in Arizona so that they could keep fit in the event of an injury. That pretty much gives away who is going to be on the roster, since we know Volquez, Arroyo, and Cueto will be starting, and Wood and Bailey will be in the 'pen. Coco, Rhodes, Chapman, and Masset will also be in the 'pen, so that leaves two spots left. Counting out the guys we already know won't be with the team, that leaves Billy Bray and Logan Ondrusek. I don't know about you, but I'm pretty confident in that pitching staff.
Crashburn Alley does a great job breaking down the Phillies-Reds series by position
One thing they forgot to account for is Jonny Gomes' fighting ability. He may not hit well against right-handed pitching and he may play the field like a 40-year-old virgin, but he can piledrive Ryan Howard off the top ropes and German suplex the hell out of Carlos Ruiz.
Here's a link to a whole host of links tabbing Joey Votto as the NL MVP
I'd say at this point that if he doesn't win it then it will be a huge shock. Respect.
The Reds are holding a rally at Fountain Square today from 2 to 6
Those of you in the Cincinnati area (and even those of you who are not) are encouraged to make your way down there this afternoon to send the team off to Philadelphia with some good vibes. "This is a unique opportunity for Reds fans to send off their team as we take the first step in the 2010 Postseason," said Bob Castellini. "It's sure to be an exciting experience for our fans, and we want to show our players, coaches and staff that all of Reds Country is behind them as they begin their playoff run." Saddle up.
Cliff Peale at the Equirer gives a very inspiring piece about Bob Castellini and the direction of the franchise
Maybe I'm still a bit drunk from the Division championship and meeting a real live ballplayer (he gave me one of his bats!), but this got me all kinds of excited. It really sounds like Banana Bob is dedicated to turning this team into a powerhouse. These are good times, my friends.
UmpBump fondly remembers the 1999 Reds as a Team That Was Almost Great
10 players hit more than 10 homers, with 4 of them hitting more than 21. The team stole 164 bases. That team's defense was better than this year's, which is one of the best in the league. Barry Larkin, Greg Vaughn, Sean Casey, Eddie Taubensee, Pokey Reese, and Mike Cameron all had superb seasons. Scotts Williamson and Sullivan teamed with Danny Graves to form one of the best bullpens since the Nasty Boys. So why were they almost great? You guessed it, the rotation. I could have a heart attack and die of not-surprise.
Bernie Miklasz is on your side
Regarding the Cardinals' play against the dregs of the NL this season: "I absolutely hate to say it, but Brandon Phillips had a point. And I am disgusted that I have to say that. But at least about the "whiny" part, was BP really that far off? I don't believe in my 30 years of sportswriting I've seen something like this: an underachieving team that got embarrassed at crucial times of the season by the likes of Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Washington and Chicago -- only to be offended and highly insulted when select media and fans called them out for it. Here's how it works: this is the big leagues, boys. If you don't take care of business against teams you should handle and people respond by ripping you, then you have to wear it."