Props to Ben Lively, man. The guy’s had a hell of a career in the sport of baseball beyond just the stats on the back of his baseball card and the money he’s got in the bank.
He was a Cincinnati Red. He was dealt away by the Cincinnati Reds. He pitched for the Phillies, went to pitch in the KBO, stuck around the KBO, pitched alongside “Final Boss” Seunghwan Oh and shared dugouts with Darin Ruf, and came back to the states to - as fate would have it - pitch on a minor league deal with the Reds.
At 31, he’s seen just about all there is out there to see in the game, with the lone exception being pitching in the big league playoffs. Yet here he is, the unsuspected veteran anchor of a Cincinnati Reds club that’s ripping off wins with its infant core, sitting just 2.5 games out of first place in the wide open National League Central.
Tonight, he’ll get to revisit the one stop on his carousel career that I didn’t mention - the Kansas City Royals, for whom he made cameo appearances in both 2018 and 2019 before his odyssey to the KBO began. He’ll do so fresh off a pair of frustrating starts - 12 ER combined against division rivals St. Louis and Milwaukee - but with the knowledge that he wasn’t knocked out of either of those outings.
In true workhorse fashion, he worked his way through the troubles thanks to the long leash of manager David Bell, logging 13.2 IP in total between those two games. Save the bullpen and give the resilient Reds offense a chance to make a comeback, he did.
The Reds will be tasked with socking bombs off lefty Daniel Lynch of Kansas City, something I hope they do with great frequency. First pitch is set for 8:10 PM ET.
Go Reds. Maybe they’ll win this one 5-4, too.