What a half-hour that was from 10 to 10:30 p.m.! I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a half-hour of TV more. You had Chapman’s outstanding debut – an 8-pitch spectacle during which the 22-year-old phenom hit triple digits on the radar gun four times, topping out at 103 mph.
Then the top of the 9th included back-to-back filthy defensive plays by Joey Votto falling backwards on his throw for the 2nd out of the inning and by Scott Rolen backhanding the throw for the force out at second for the final out. (Tuesday’s Web Gem czar, former Red Aaron Boone, voted Votto’s play No. 1 and Rolen’s No. 2 on Baseball Tonight.)
We also found out during that half-hour that the Cardinals were shut out AGAIN by Houston – 3-0, just like last night. And I’m pretty sure we only saw three Honda Mr. Opportunity ads during the half-hour (the average half-hour on FSN Ohio during a Reds game features 6-10 Honda Mr. Opportunity ads, or at least it feels like it does).
• Triple Crown race update: Joey – aka Ducky V. – had 3 huge RBIs to increase his total to 97 and cruise past Pujols, who’s stuck on 95. (I like when the Cardinals get shut out because we don’t have to check the box score and see if Pujols homered or drove in any runs.) Votto’s batting average also improved to .327 with his two hits, and Carlos Gonzalez went 1-for-3 with a walk, so he’s holding at .326. Ducky V. still trails by 3 in home runs, but hopefully he’ll homer 3 times off Chris Carpenter on Sunday to make that race more interesting. (Oh, and Votto is also 4-for-5 with a home run against the Brewers’ scheduled starter for Wednesday, Chris Narveson.)
• NL MVP race update: Advantage Votto.
• Overshadowed by Chapmania: Our main man Sam LeCure picks up the win with two very impressive innings of relief.
• Also overshadowed by Chapmania: Chris Valaika’s golden sombrero. I think it also helped that Valaika singled in the first and scored on a Votto double. Made it not as noticeable. This begs a question I need help with actually: Isn’t it a golden sombrero if a player strikes out four times in one game, regardless of how many at-bats? In other words, 1-for-5 with four strikeouts is still a golden sombrero, right? I read in a couple of different places that a golden sombrero is 0-for-4 with 4 strikeouts … that’s not right, is it?
• Does anyone else love names like Gallardo that – if pronounced deliberately the way both Jim Kelch and Thom do – have a first syllable that could be a first name? They very rarely say his full name during the inning, so it sounds like they’re talking about someone named Guy Ardo. Same deal with Wayne Wright. And my favorite actually is Vic Torino. No? Thanks for humoring me anyway.
• Is anyone else in total disbelief/amazement that since the Reds got swept by the Cardinals they’ve gone 13-4, and the Cardinals have gone 5-12? Geez. With the exception of that series sweep, the Cards have really stunk on the road. If we take two of three in St. Louis like we might, we could be scoreboard-watching Carlos Gonzalez for the rest of the season more than the lowly Cardinals. Aaaaand … I just jinxed us … great. Way to go, dumas.
• Last time the Reds had a 7-game lead: 1995. A season which 700 WLW’s Scott Sloan would tell you was part of a 20-year stretch during which the Reds have been REALLY bad.