122 Ks in 98.2 innings.
Cincinnati will be at full throat this evening for the much-anticipated arrival of Chapmania
In case you haven't been paying attention and this is the first time you've heard about this, I would suggest sitting down before reading further. If you are prone to seizures or uncontrollable fits of dancing, I would suggest reading this in a well-ventilated area. When asked how Chapman has taken to the bullpen, Walt Jocketty replied,
"That’s why we left him down there a little a longer," Jocketty said. "He’s adapted well to it. He actually enjoys it." The reports that Chapman is throwing 105 mph are legit. "That’s pretty accurate, and he’s throwing for strikes." Chapman’s velocity has increased since the move to the bullpen. "He’s throwing consistently harder. I don’t think he hit 105 as a starter. He was 102, 103." That's right. As a reliever, Chapman is topping out at 105. As a starter, he was around a more modest 102-103. The Reds are 6 games up in the division and are just now bringing out their secret weapon. I'd say you should make sure to eat your vegetables today. You're going to need the energy.
Somebody hold down Brian B
He might tear the wallpaper off the walls after reading this one. Jim Edmonds intimates that he's ready to retire. His strained oblique is going to keep him out for a while, perhaps the rest of the season. The Reds got 9 bleh games out of him after trading Chris Dickerson for the privilege. And you know what the sucks part is? It doesn't even sound like he wants to be in Cincy. He misses his teammates in Milwaukee. "It's great to be in first place, but it's tough to leave your family." What are we supposed to say to that? I guess the one consolation is that when he's inevitably declared useless the Reds can put him on the 60-day DL and bring up a guy like Wladimir Balentien or Danny Dorn. Jim Edmonds has screwed the Reds a million times before, and I still didn't see this coming.
After that sweep at the hands of the Cardinals (remember when it felt like we'd never be able to speak of that again?)
The Reds had a 58.9% chance to reach the playoffs, per BP. Now, that number is close to 90%. Jay Bruce and Joey Votto should be nicknamed The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman because they exploded this month like the Marne in 1914.
Christina Kahrl has a interesting piece on what the Cubs should do
Their big, expensive roster has been a heartbreaking disappointment for the North Siders. They have a number of big ugly albatross contracts that are weighing them down. So Kahrl asks, should they rebuild or reload? The Reds and the Cardinals are clearly the two teams in their way, so she considers their strengths through the lens of the possibility of a Cubs breakthrough. Here's what she says:
"The quality of the competition and the methods of its construction provide ready guides for how building a contender in the NL Central can be equal parts planning and fortune, balanced against the exploitation of other people's problems. The Cardinals' platform for success rests on a stars-and-scrubs roster relying on some of the very best stars—start off with Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday, Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter, and odds are that's a team that will be somewhere in the mix. The Reds' opportunity relies on equal doses of home cooking (Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Johnny Cueto) and choice discards (Scott Rolen, Brandon Phillips, Bronson Arroyo), not unlike the Brewers' bid a couple of years ago, but just as Milwaukee wasn't a division-cracking powerhouse, Cincinnati is not one now, and looks unlikely to become one."
Roll up the sleeves 'cause them's fightin' words. I would contend that the Reds are in a better position than any team in the division to maintain this kind of success. The roster is anchored by good, young, cheap players. There are no declining veterans with bloated contracts to prohibit market flexibility (maybe Coco). The high minors are bursting at the seams with quality prospects. If that isn't a recipe for sustainability (Chris Dickerson would be so proud), I don't know what is.
Miguel Cairo appears close to returning to action
He ran a bit before the game yesterday. "It feels good," Cairo said. "There was no discomfort, but I don't want to be out for four more weeks. I want to make sure not to make sure not to pull it. I want to finish strong." I guess it's a good thing that the Reds can keep him on the bench as an emergency infielder for a few games until he's really 100%. I'm reaching for a silver lining.
Sam LeCure is feeling more and more comfortable pitching out of the 'pen
You know, LeCure is the kind of pitcher who can really tug at my heartstrings. I have a soft spot for non-descript righties who can make good with less-than-electric stuff (Greg Maddux is one of my all-time favorite players). LeCure has pitched 3 perfect innings out of the 'pen this week, but I have a feeling he'll be the unlucky one sent out today to make room for Aaron Harang/Aroldis Chapman. It's a good problem to have for sure, but it means that a quality player doesn't get a chance to prove himself. Thus is the way of life for a winning ball club. Sigh.
FSO is adding a game to their late-season slate
After so many years of games being dropped by FSO due to general apathy this late in the season, it feels like a moment of arrival for the Reds that games are being added instead.