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Red Reposter - Free Will is A Useful Human Construct

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Remember, the Universe owes us for 1981.

Despite grieving, Cueto took the hill and pitched admirably
It's been tumultuous lately for Johnny, but his composure has been incredible.

Hall o' Famer Hal values his access to Brandon Phillips

"THIS IS NOT to point any crooked digits at Reds’ second baseman Brandon Phillips, but his night represented the frustrations of the Reds, who lost for the fourth time in six games on this seven-game trip, their seventh straight loss in Coors Field. Phillips struck out twice, grounded into a double play, made the last out of the game with the tying run on base, made his first error in 64 games and was out trying to stretch a single into a double."

Hal is being at least a bit ironic by shifting blame while claiming not to, but Phillips did more than "represent" the frustration of the team last night. His play may have cost the team at least a run - the eventual margin of the game. I don't believe in a "goat," strictly speaking, since team sports rely on interdependent performances. The offense should have mustered more runs. Colorado shouldn't have designed a baseball stadium specifically for Carlos Gonzalez. But Phillips deserves the lion's share of the blame for last night. It's only one game in an All-Star season on a team still leading its division by six games in September, but sometimes you just Mess Up Big.

Mark Sheldon has your Bruce and Volquez updates
The sainted voice of ESPN announced yesterday that  Volquez was being recalled, but it hasn't been announced whether he will re-take his position in the rotation. Bruce hit off a tee. It always sounds like excessive humiliation when MLB players have to rehab on the tee-ball circuit, but far be it from me to question their methods. Hopefully Bruce will be active again in San Diego.

Joe Posnanski probes the mystery of which pitcher has thrown the fastest in history
Mainline some Poz:  "Finding the fastest pitcher is more art than science, more instinct than calculation." The inconsistencies in technology across eras, points of trajectory and even radar guns, taken with the velocity experienced by hitters in the presence of different deliveries makes this a subjective study. The effort yielded Posnanski's non-scientific list of the fastest hurlers in history. I may never break my cycle of addiction to ordered lists of baseball player's names.

CoCo Cordero is Reds' nominee for Roberto Clemente Award
The Closer drew scorn from fans when he forgot how to throw strikes a while a go, but don't let that obscure the fact that, on top of being pretty lights out lately, Cordero does good work in the community. Did anyone know that Pete Rose won the Roberto Clemente award in '76? Whatevs.

Smoltz weighs in on Chapman
The praise of Chapman's slider echoes what other analysts have been saying since his call-up. Doubting the radar gun is just a natural human response when being presented with evidence of real magic:

His spin-rate and his slider with a dot like that is so tight and so nasty that it really has the hitter more confused than anything else. You throw a 103[mph fastball] down the middle; enough big league hitters are going to hit it. I’m more impressed by his slider coming off the fastball. It looks the same and you can’t tell.

Marty Brennaman has a few words on the Reds starting pitching in this video/slideshow something or other
It's well known that Marty likes to skew negative. But it's also true, as he points out, that the Reds rotation is uneven. Each starter is capable of a melt-down. The upside to the Reds' depth, though, is that if Dusty is willing to hook his starters who look like they're off, there's a good menu of starter-caliber guys capable of going multiple innings in relief.

The Huffington Post on Pete Rose's "Crown of Thorns"
There's definitely some Huffing going on this Post: "America has much at stake in the way we treat Pete Rose. This is not because Pete Rose is innocent, but because he is guilty. In this respect, we are on trial, not Pete Rose." The premise is the same one Reds fans have heard for the last 20 years: Pete Rose's lifetime ban is out of proportion with he did. But Rose's role as a baseball pariah is less about creating a diversion from the Steroid Era than Baseball simply acting like most big organizations with long histories, contradictory policies, and selective ideas of precedent (the ban) and tradition, which gravitate to its self-identified heroes and away from guys like Rose. There was a time when baseball thought, at least publicly, that Pete Rose was a good guy (Roberto Clemente Award), and that just so happened to coincide with the height of his star power.