You know how yesterday I said we needed more wins like the one on Monday?
Yesterday's win was not like that. After the 2.5 hour rain delay, Rusty Owings came out and nearly gave back a 7 run lead. Here's Dusty's take:
"We came back out and padded the lead and good thing we did. It just seems like no lead is safe. Everybody is going to have their turn to give it up. But the back end of our bullpen - Masset, Arthur and Cordero - did a good job to save that for Leake. That would have been a nightmare for him - his third one and our third one. That was a near disaster. It's a win but boy, games like this test your heart and test your everything. I'm tired right now."
I can't blame Owings for his shoddy performance. It had been a full 2 weeks since he last saw game action. It's hard to stay sharp when you can't get into games. Dusty stays rigid about his roles in the 'pen and Owings is the long man, but he has to realize that his long man isn't going to be effective if he only pitches every 2 weeks. I suppose that's a good thing, because it means our starters are throwing so well. But you can't dump it on Owings when he pitches like this. On a brighter note, here's what Corky Miller said about catching Mike Leake, who was brilliant again last night: "It's not surprising anymore, people know what he's got. But his pitches are tough to hit. I don't want to say it, but he's kind of like Maddux where the ball moves so much where it's hard for guys to square up." Maddux comp. Bonus. Now if we can just get Matt Maloney up here we'd have 2/3 of the Braves Big Three.
The Reds watched Jason Isringhausen pitch yesterday and liked what they saw
They liked him so much that they offered him a deal right then and there. "He looked good. He's a long ways from being able to pitch in a game," Jocketty said. "But he looked good, and just after looking at him, he looked like he's healthy. He's going to have to go out and pitch for a while. I've got a call into his agent to talk to him and see what happens." Jocketty expects resolution within the next few days.
Gary Matthews Jr has an out clause in his contract that says he can be granted free agency if he is not called up by the 24th
My money says he'll be in Louisville the rest of the year. The Reds aren't going to call him up and he won't get a job anywhere else.
The Sporting News is calling tonight's Titanic Struggle Stephen Strasburg's first real test
He has yet to face an offense as potent as the Reds' and has yet to pitch in a ballpark as hitter-friendly as GABP. Something tells me Reds fans are going to walk away from this saying, "Strasburg? Eh, he's ok, but he's no Mike Leake."
Speaking of Strasburg vs. Leake
John Erardi, Enquirer writer and co-author of "The Wire-to-Wire Reds: Sweet Lou, Nasty Boys, and the Wild Run to a World Championship", talked to Marty Brennaman about Strasburg coming to town: "There aren't too many pitchers who if I was a paying customer I'd pay to watch pitch. I'd have done it for (Bob) Gibson and (Sandy) Koufax and (Tom) Seaver, and this kid (Strasburg) probably falls into that category. You know on a given night they may throw a no-hitter or strike out 20, and you'll pay to watch that." Comparing Strasburg to Gibson and Koufax? Is Marty writing commercials for MLB now? After heaping the praise on the Nats phenom, he drops a big ol' reality hammer on him: "But for me, considering that he's doing it without any minor-league experience at all? (The Rookie of the Year) It's Leake. Next to Bronson Arroyo, he's the most consistent pitcher in this rotation."
Brandon Phillips was out of the starting lineup last night for just the second game so far this season
"Nothing is wrong. He hasn't had a day off," manager Dusty Baker said. "I could see him and Joey [Votto] are spent. It always happens after All-Star Games. If it was around the corner, it would be no problem. But they went coast-to-coast and back and didn't have any off-days." I would expect Votto to get the day off on Thursday with the day game after a night game. He will definitely be in the lineup tonight against Strasburg.
The Cardinals look likely to add some starting pitching before the deadline
and some fans may want Walt Jocketty to interfere in an attempt to keep the Cards from getting better. This kind of thing happens pretty often between the Red Sox and Yankees (Alex Rodriguez being the prime example) but Jocko says it won't happen with the Reds. It takes plenty of extra resources to make a trade just to keep a competitor from getting that player, and the Reds are kinda strapped for cash right now. So we'll let the Cards do whatever they want. It just means they'll have more guys they are obligated to invite over to watch the World Series.
Slyde talked about this just yesterday
The Reds definitely read Red Reporter and are taking our advice! Famous! Drew Stubbs has been working tirelessly of late to hone his bunting skills.
"He is starting to get it now," said Hatcher. "We’re working on mechanics. He has been getting it, but he has been afraid to get out there and do it, when to do it. We’re also working on when is the best time to do it, the best time for him to bunt. He is getting repetition and starting to feel it. He tried one the other day, but he bunted it a bit too hard and the guy made a good play. But just to see him try it was heartening. And bunting will force him to keep his eye on the ball. If he keeps his eye on the ball, he’ll follow it a lot more and that will help him cut down on his strikeouts (93 in 307 at-bats)."
If Drew Stubbs can add bunting his arsenal I think he can be a very potent offensive player. He certainly has the speed to do it, and I think if Hatch keeps working with him he can get good enough to use it successfully in the game. Adding 20 bunt singles to his 20 home runs would make him a dangerous player indeed.
The one thing I love the most about sabermetrics is the way it can widen your eyes with surprise
Yesterday there was a report that Nationals GM Mike Rizzo was "acting like Adam Dunn is Ryan Howard" in trade talks, and thus it was unlikely that anyone would meet his demands. Jack Moore at FanGraphs made a quick comparison of the two lumbering sluggers and found them to be remarkably similar. In fact, the only major difference between the two is their wallets. I would venture to guess that few baseball fans would equate the two in terms of quality, but the numbers bear it out.