As the Weezard of Oz noted in today's Farmer's Only, Donald Lutz went nuts with a 5 for 6 evening that included him hitting for the cycle for the 3rd time in his Minor League career. The Pensacola News Journal had the recap of the game - which was a franchise record for something they don't identify - and Kelsie Heneghan caught up with Lutz and a few of his Blue Wahoos teammates for some of their thoughts for MiLB.com. After the awful year most every single significant prospect had in the Cincinnati Reds' minor league system in 2013, it's great to see that some of the bigger names are having such hot starts to the season.
Want to watch Lutz crush off the Jacksonville putz? Do it!
The Reds have managed to keep themselves reasonably effective despite the laundry list of early season injuries (they're just 2.5 games out of a playoff position, for peteyhendrix's sake), and it seems that reinforcements are inching closer to returning. Mark Sheldon notes in his notebook for Reds.com that both Aroldis Chapman and Skip Schumaker are just about ready to head out on rehab assignments, and while Skip isn't really projected as a game-changer to a lineup that seems to be clicking, Chapman's return to the bullpen will undoubtedly provide a huge shot in the arm. The Reds are 2-7 in games decided by a single run, and they've also lost 6-3 once on a walk-off grand slam (when pitching with a 3-2 lead in the 9th), and there's no denying that it's been the bullpen that has been the primary culprit of late. The offense struggled early, but is now clicking; the starting pitching has been rock solid throughout; getting the most electric arm in baseball back as an anchor could be just what this team needs to get rolling.
Devin Mesoraco has been the best hitter in baseball since his return from an oblique-induced DL stint roughly a week and a half ago, and as John Fay notes, Mes has never been this hot. Ever. Despite the fact that the rest of the baseball world has somehow yet to take notice (and, if you're bored, type Devin Mesoraco into Google, click the News tab, and see if you can find anyone outside of South Central Ohio who has written about his start), the catcher the Reds have pinned their hopes to has continued right on raking. While I'm pretty comfortable saying that his .607 BABIP and 306 OPS+ aren't sustainable, this is the type of offensive explosion that may build enough confidence for a full-season breakout that - even at a fraction of the current levels of production - would be just the kind of IMPACT BAT THE REDS NEED. There, I said it. Again. You knew it was coming.
Over at the mothership, Grant Brisbee took a look at the fracas we discussed ad nauseam in the comments section of one of our 83 threads: Carlos Gomez, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the breaking of baseball's Unwritten Rules. It is, as you might expect, well worth the read. Also of note at home base is this interview between Josh Reddick of the Oakland Athletics and MLB Network. You may be one of many folks who never cared about wrestling (or, like me, who cared for a few years back when interest rates were near 20% and there was a 12 ft tall concrete wall running down the middle of a major German city), but that's still damn funny and a damn fine tribute.
Speaking of the Brewers-Pirates brawl, MLB still hasn't announced their rulings on the issue because of course they haven't announced their rulings on the issue. There are billions of camera angles available in every park that allow for instant - INSTANT - replay at the drop of a hat, but a fight between 50 people that has been replayed and replayed and replayed hasn't been sorted out after two days. Apparently the issue arose because the umpiring crew that was in charge of the game had a plane to catch after Sunday's affair and therefore couldn't submit their report to MLB until yesterday, and so the Office of the Commissioner won't announce any fines/suspensions until some point today. Meaning, of course, that what BubbaFan suggested will likely come true: each Pirate involved will be able to participate in the Reds series while they await their appeal results only to find out they're suspended for the Pirates next series, which just so happens to be against the freaking St. Louis Cardinals. Lovely.