Magic Number: 6 (It went down two Magicpoints in one day. That's real Magic, as opposed to the Orlando kind. Magicpoints are redeemable at any AMC Magic Johnson Theater).
"That was a night we needed to win," Baker said. "We picked another game in the standings. One game closer. . . The guys are smelling it. Let them get a real good smell of this aroma of winning." - Dusty Baker (via Fay)
To both Reds players who came up in the system and Reds fans born after the mid-to-late 90s alike (I was born in 2003 myself), playoff baseball is a new and exciting thing. It may scare some children. The guidance of elder relatives will be required to explain the intricacies of the "NLDS," (NOT a hand-held video game system), "magic numbers" and "clinching," (all of which frankly does sound a little occult). But we should allow these youths to enjoy the prestige of following a postseason-bound team, taking in the first snorky, brambish whiff of October (and the TBS coverage that awaits). For those of you whose consciousness booted up sometime right before the 1990 World Series run or the mid-70s dynasty, it's great introduction to fandom. But as those generations know well, the party don't last.
John Fay looks at Votto's opposite-field power
The mark of a complete hitter, though not necessarily every successful one, is the ability to hit to all fields. If you can hit to all fields with power (and charm), you are Joey Votto and not too many other guys. Prior to last night's blast, Fay reports that "Seventeen (Votto HRs) went out left of dead center field; 17 went out right of dead center field." Votto also reports he's making an effort to pull the ball more this year. Hitting the ball hard everyone ensures gives opponents no choice but to figure out how to make Jo-eh whiff - or get lucky by standing in the right place.
There's also an item about playing time before The Clinch in there. No one who isn't playing injured is likely to rest before the title is locked up. And even then, Baker indicates a willingness to let Votto chase his various hitting crowns. It'd be prudent to start Alonso a few times down the stretch, but I understand - to a degree - letting Votto take a shot at some well-deserved, if over-hyped, accolades. Although at this stage, taking the HR or batting title seems unlikely.
OMG, in praise of Travis Wood
We already came to a universal consensus here that Travis Wood is the #3 starter in the playoffs, but its nice to see OMGReds hop on-board. (Let's just hope we're on the Train They Call the City of New Orleans and not the Pain Train) Wood has had a meteoric rise in the system from AA Player of the Year in 2009 to odds-on favorite to start an MLB playoff game, but he's a well-seasoned hurler whose mainstream stats and peripherals stack up nicely against an arm in the rotation.
Interesting to consider Wood vs. likely playoff teams. Atlanta would be seeing him for the first time:
Of the teams currently projected to make the playoffs, Wood has faced the Phillies once (the best outing of his young career, the near-perfect game against Halladay that the Reds lost in 11 innings) and has faced the Giants once (the worst outing of his young career, where he allowed seven earned in four innings in San Francisco on Aug. 24). The Braves would see Wood for the first time if the Reds were to meet Atlanta in the postseason.
Hall o' Famer Hal plies Brandon Phillips with some champagne
Even if were to try, this wouldn't work because: (1) Phillips already readily calls entire teams the bad b-word in front of Hal, (2) Phillips doesn't drink - at all. Did you know Phillips won't touch a drop?Does this explain anything?
More golden memories from the Hal-cyon days of Fall 1999, where we last huffed the playoff stench:
The game took more than seven hours to play, due to rain interruptions. The numbers? Well, eight. I ate five polish sausages, two Italian sausages and one bratwurst. Of course, after the game several writers ate a huge meal at an Italian restaurant.
The Reds won that game and the one thing I remember was portly Dmitri Young playing right field in a veritable swamp from the rain. There was a ball hit to shallow right and Young tried for a diving belly-flop catch. He hit the ground and slid about 15 yards on his stomach, a very large rooster-tail spraying behind him as he skidded.
Redleg Nation looks back at the Eighties
The 1880s. The "Probably Somebody Else" Generation. The Pre-Jazz age, when swing wasn't even Duke. Everything was dark gray-brown. Four ninth inning errors by the St. Louis Browns allow the Cincinnati Red Stockings to score four runs and win the game, 5-4. Keep in mind, it was not uncommon for teams to make lots of errors in games back in 1889. In fact, the average team would make about four fielding errors per game. Other great, largely forgotten, comebacks in Reds History are given their due.
Redleg Nation also cranked out the 57th episode of its podcast
Which is fitting, because I was conceived in a '57 Chevy (it was a long gestation period).
Fangraphs looks at the Johnny-Come-Latelies threatening to turn Joey's MVP Dreams into MVP Screams
I would think "Coors Field" and/or "splits" would be enough to dispatch both of them, but the Rockies duo have been easily the hottest two hitters over the last month - and if it propels Colorado into the playoffs, it might be irresistible for the writers to put Troy and CarGo atop their ballots. Given the ranking system used, vote-splitting isn't really a factor, but you never know what kind of blocs might emerge. Votto's season-long numbers still compare favorably, especially when OBP and SLG are tossed in.