All posts in Watching Games

10-game win streak > 5-game losing streak

Fear not, Reds fans. You win ten games in a row and 15 of 16 so that it doesn’t kill you to lose five in a row. Would the Reds prefer to avoid a five-game losing skid? Of course. But they’ve got a 2.5-game lead in the Central through Game 112 of the season. If I’d told you exactly three weeks ago – when the Reds had a .5 game lead – that their lead would be 2.5 games on Aug. 9, you’d take it, right?

Some glass-half-full observations from tonight:

• 3 hits from Brandon Phillips, who had had just one in 11 at-bats since returning from injury. With BP hitting and Votto almost back, I’m keeping the faith.

• Gotta love another lead-off home run from Zack Cozart in the 1st. The crazy and tough-to-swallow stat about Cozart home runs: Of his 15 career home runs (two in 2011, and 13 this season), do you know how many have come with runners on base? One (6/3/12 in Houston off Jordan Lyles). I know solo home runs are to be expected from a lead-off batter, but it’s pretty nuts that 14 of his 15 career homers have been solo shots.

• Granted, it WAS the John Morrell Hot Dog Play of the Game. But the 6-3-5 double play – where Cozart threw out Soriano at first and then Cairo gunned out Rizzo at third (with a perfect tag by Frazier) was very impressive.

• Also pretty was Mesoraco’s grab right next to the dugout, with the ball just barely in play on David DeJesus’ foul out in the 6th.

Welsh’s “Huh?” remark of the game:

As we’ve said before, we are Chris Welsh fans and we enjoy the analysis and insight he provides during the broadcast despite his questionable fashion sense. That said, about 2 to 5 times each game, he says something that makes us respond with either “Huh?” or “Wha?” Tonight, Welsh suggested that Mesoraco could’ve used the concussion he sustained against the Padres as a defense to explain why he went berserk and bumped umpire Chad Fairchild, resulting in his suspension. Really?

It is worth pointing out that Welsh was right on the money in his praise of Xavier Paul for taking as he led off against Carlos Marmol in the ninth and delivering a great at-bat that resulted in an infield single. Facing Marmol, I’m not sure why on earth you WOULDN’T take until you got a strike, especially with that strike zone as tight as it was. (Cozart, therefore, also deserves praise for his four-pitch walk against Marmol with two outs in the ninth.)

Roll Dis!

You know, it’s obligatory that we post this little episode from Aroldis Chapman last night. I mean, OMG, where did that come from? The double forward somersault to celebrate a game-ending strikeout? Has that ever been done before?

As a fan, it’s pretty fun and understandable that Chapman would have some pent-up frustration to let go of in a big way after a successful outing like that. If I were a teammate though, I would have chewed him out once we got in the clubhouse. It’s hard to have it both ways, right? Safe to say that we won’t be seeing that again. Now, on Knothole league fields around the Cincinnati area this summer? Good luck coaches!!

My 7 favorite things about this fantastic video

Please, before you do anything, enjoy it in its entirety …

1. (:40) Eddie Milner sprinting into the fracas, not to protect Eric Davis or to track down Ray Knight but to go after pretty much the first Met he ran into with his head.

2. (:52) “Tell you one thing, you’re barking up the wrong tree when you go after Ray Knight.”

3. (1:57) Tom Browning’s hair (after attempting to tackle Kevin Mitchell, who had been pounding on an unidentified Red) as John Franco removes him from the donnybrook.

4. (2:31) “Uh oh, you don’t want to make No. 39 upset either.”

5. (2:39) Tommy Helms, right after he apparently tackled Eric Davis.

6. (4:16) “John Denny … who knows a little bit about the martial arts …”

7. (4:42) Dude wearing the white nut-huggers in the dugout

Honorable mention: The number of Mets involved – Kevin Mitchell (by the way, check out Mitchell at the 1:11 mark absolutely pounding on someone, and again at 2:16 looking like he’s ready for more), Davey Johnson, Roger McDowell, and there were probably others – who either had Cincinnati roots or later joined the Reds.

‘Catching Hell’ review

“Catching Hell” – the ESPN documentary about Steve Bartman and Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS – is a must-watch. Some observations and highlights (and, don’t worry, some Reds-related stuff):

Observations:

• Alex Gibney did an outstanding job with this. And you can’t help but agree with him when he sums it up by saying, “Should Cubs fans forgive Bartman? No. Because, really, it’s up to Bartman to forgive Chicago.” My only criticism is that it could have been about 45 minutes shorter.

A half-hour into it, they’re STILL talking about Bill Buckner and the ’86 Red Sox and I’m thinking, “Wait. I could’ve sworn this was supposed to be about Bartman.” I totally get the comparisons between Game 6 of the ’86 World Series and Game 6 of the ’03 NLCS. And I get that Buckner was a former Cub (wearing a Cubs wristband) when the infamous ball between the legs happened. And I thought it was great that “Catching Hell” included a couple of soundbites from Buckner that specifically were about Bartman. But 98 percent of the stuff about Buckner from “Catching Hell” was just about Buckner and 1986. It was WAY too much Buckner. It was great stuff, don’t get me wrong, but PLEASE make a completely separate documentary about Buckner instead of trying to force it into a documentary about the Bartman game.

Only other criticism (also related to the length of the documentary)? Jumped the shark a little with the minister from Rocky River, OH (who had delivered a sermon about Bartman) talking about the religious aspects of scapegoats. Could’ve left all that out, or at least warned me that I could go use the restroom without having to hit pause on the DVR.

But like I said, other than that, it was pretty outstanding.

• It’s amazing how much things have changed in less than 8 years. In October of 2003, Bartman was referred to as the mystery fan on the news more than 24 hours after it happened. If that play happened in 2011, we’d have a TweetUp involving Bartman and all of the fans surrounding him at least before the end of the game and probably while the Marlins were still pounding the crap out of the Flubs in the top of the 8th inning.

• What’s with all of the current “Reds” who were involved in the Bartman game? You’ve got Dontrelle Willis, who started for the Marlins. (It was a no-decision for D-Train and “Catching Hell” just shows him in game action before the 8th inning.)

You’ve got Dusty Baker, then the Cubs’ manager. (“Catching Hell” kinda makes Dusty look bad by including his famous post-game quote (when asked if he had a message for Bartman), “The only words I have is, maybe he was a Marlins fan.”

And, of course, you’ve got Thom Brennaman, who called the game along with Steve Lyons for FOX. (Thom gets a pass; while Lyons was obviously one of the four or five key subjects interviewed for the documentary, Thom wasn’t interviewed; and the Bartman-related soundbites from Thom that they included were not particularly damning.) They obviously included Thom’s famous, “Again in the air, down the left field line. Alou reaching into the stands and couldn’t get it and is livid with a fan” and “And that’s a Cubs fan who tried to make that catch.” It’s not like you get to hear what Thom and “Psycho” Lyons say during the entire rest of the game during “Catching Hell” (maybe if they’d spent a little less time on Buckner :) But it seemed like Thom stayed relatively neutral. And definitely didn’t say anything as bad as Lyons’ infamous, “Why? I’m surprised someone hasn’t thrown that fan onto the field.” (Lyons, by the way, comes off looking surprisingly good and sympathetic in the documentary.)

They do include Thom leading off the 8th inning with this:

39,577 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, for Game 6 of this National League Championship Series. On this October 14, 2003. It was on this date in 1908, 95 years ago today, that the Cubs defeated the Detroit Tigers 2-0, to wrap up their second straight World Series championship. With a victory tonight — as he said, he did not go around on the pitch there — with a chance to win their first title since this day, 1908.

(Others, by the way, who played in Game 6 who either had previously or later went on to play for the Reds include Juan Encarnacion, Jeff Conine, Alex Gonzalez (not the Cubs shortstop who booted the double-play ball and easily could have been the goat if not for Bartman but the OTHER shortstop named Alex Gonzalez), Paul Bako and Mike Remlinger.)

Highlights:

• The female security guard who escorted Bartman out of Wrigley and spent time with him and whose apartment Bartman hid out at briefly while watching TV coverage of the play provided outstanding insight. Gibney & Co. also got outstanding insight from the fans who were seated near Bartman.

• Moises Alou acknowledging that he and Aramis Ramirez had booked tickets back to the Dominican Republic even before Game 7 they were so sure that the Cubs were destined to lose the series after Game 6. If I were a Cubs fan, I think I would’ve rather heard something along the lines of Alou regretting that he threw the tantrum and cursed and glared at Bartman. Learning instead that he and his teammate had little to no confidence in their team heading into Game 7 of the NLCS might arouse my ire a little.

Then again, Alou is the same guy who in 2008 was quoted by the Associated Press as saying, “You know what the funny thing is? I wouldn’t have caught it, anyway.” Then he later insisted he didn’t remember saying that.

• Rod Blagojevich’s soundbite where he says if Bartman was ever convicted of a crime, he would never get a pardon from the governor. Hahaha … Blago … once a jackass, always a jackass. And the footage they showed in “Catching Hell” where you can hear some of the horrible, awful things fans at Wrigley were saying to Bartman offered great perspective and illustrated just how despicable some people were as far as how they treated Bartman that night and what they wanted to do to him.

502?! OMG

We were so impressed by Juan Francisco’s jaw-dropping 502-foot home run in the second inning against the Cubs – the second-longest in GABP history – that we’re considering renaming our site diosmioreds.com. Or maybe even diosmiojuan.com, which also has a ring to it. Both appear to be available.

Francisco’s homer was the first ball to clear the Moon Deck since GABP opened in 2003.

One other thing that probably only annoys me … (and annoys me so little that it’s barely worth mentioning but) … everyone (and by “everyone” I mean Thom with his call of the home run, Tom Groeschen in his game story and the author (or, at least, headline writer) of this post on Yahoo!’s Big League Stew which provides a nice summary that’s worth checking out) insists on referring to the seating area in the Moon Deck as the “bleachers,” which I know is sort of a figure of speech but they really aren’t bleachers, of course, they’re seats. The bleachers are in left field, right?

Creeper on crack?

After Jim Day interviewed Votto during the postgame, and Votto indicated that it was news to him that the Reds are 3 1/2 games back in the NL Central because he doesn’t keep up with the standings, the following dialogue took place between Thom and Chris Welsh.

Thom: Chris, were you a little surprised by that answer – “that’s news to me we’re 3 1/2 games out of first place?”

Chris: Not at all. You know what, I think if you took a poll of all the players that are in that clubhouse, about half of them probably don’t even know what they’re hitting. … They’re in there (the clubhouse) reading the sports page, playing games …

OK, stop right there, Chris. We’ve indicated previously that we are big-time Chris Welsh fans and that your analysis as a color commentator during Reds games is very insightful. And anyone – anyone – who talks for three hours straight is going to say a few things during that time that make them sound like they’re on crack. (Just ask Bobby Valentine.) But if, in fact, Reds players are reading the sports page in the clubhouse (which, by the way, our friends at The Enquirer will be delighted to hear), does that mean they go out of their way to skip anything baseball-related that appears in the sports page? They have no clue where their team is in the NL Central standings and what they’re hitting? Not buying it. I’m not calling Votto’s bluff, exactly, because I think it’s possible he didn’t realize they picked up a full game with Monday’s win. (Heck, if you saw the post-game interview with Dusty, he didn’t even know the Reds face Kershaw tomorrow.) But I’m pretty sure Votto and his teammates know that the Brewers and the Cardinals are ahead of them and have a rough idea of how many games ahead they are. I’m pretty sure Bruce knew he was having a huge May before he won NL Player of the Month honors. I’m pretty sure Gomes knows he’s hitting .208. I’m pretty sure Stubbs knows he’s leading the league in strikeouts. Or maybe those guys are part of the half of the clubhouse that pays attention a little and does pick up a stat sheet every now and then.

Not buying it, Welshie, but we still love you, amigo.

As an aside, how cool was it that a Reds fan appeared to catch Votto’s home-run ball on the fly. Good stuff!

UPDATE: Here are Joey’s post-game comments…

<a href="http://msn.foxsports.com/video?vid=e3195675-ce46-4257-984e-e333da52a515" target="_new" title="">Reds down Dodgers</a>

Bitter rivarly

Separated at birth?

Suggested Onion headline

How about something like, “MLB awards Phillies a second win for Halladay’s no-no.” Kinda feels like some people – from SI’s Jon Heyman to casual Reds fans on Facebook saying they’ve lost faith – have completely given up on the Reds after ONE GAME.

Impressive feat, no doubt. Also not the end of the world as far as the Reds are concerned. Did anyone think the Reds would win both of the first two games in Philly? Very few, I would imagine. Did Reds fans hope the team could earn a split of the first two games so that they could come to Cincinnati with a chance to win the series here? Sure. Which they still have a chance to do, against a guy (“Little Roy”) who was once dominant against the Reds but hasn’t beaten us since ’08. And is the series even over if the Phils take Game 2? Not as far as I can tell. I’m pretty sure it’s best 3 out of 5.

Anyway, the only other problem I had with Heyman’s column was his suggestion that Cabrera was the only one to complain about Hirschbeck’s strike zone. He may have been the only one to complain verbally AFTER the game. I think it was pretty clear that Rolen had a problem with strike three in the 5th (as I mentioned last night) … he might not have whined about it afterward because he’s a professional and he’s ready to give Halladay his due and move on like the rest of us.

Everyone’s entitled to have a bad day or a bad night, right? It looks especially bad when the opposing pitcher is having a great night. The Reds will get ‘em going in Game 2, and hopefully it’s enough to tie the series at 1. Or maybe they’ll shoot for winning the final three games of the series, even if they do have to face Halladay again. I bet they won’t forfeit the game if they do; sure they got no-hit, but they also pounded him once during the regular season (he gave up a season-high 13 hits in Cincinnati on June 30). Anything can happen.

Beyond Red Hot

It’s MLB.com video so I couldn’t embed it, but you’ll definitely want to check out the latest 30-second promo in MLB’s ongoing “Beyond Baseball” campaign. It’s set to debut Saturday during Fox’s game of the week.

I did notice the voiceover calls Chapman “a rookie firing 103 miles per hour,” which should be updated at this point, right? Also, I get why they changed it for the postseason, but I kinda prefer the more mellow music bed from the other “Beyond Baseball” promos.

Great call, Mo

OMGReds was listening to Mo Egger do his usual outstanding job during his show on 1530 Homer late this afternoon and he was bantering back and forth with Lindsay I think it was (who had just done a sports update) about Jay Bruce coming back tonight. Mo mentioned that Jay was returning because Rockin’ Refuel, the product he endorses, had allowed him to recover from his ailment, and Mo threw out a prediction that Jay was going to have a huge night tonight, said (paraphrasing) he expected Bruce to hit two home runs in his first game back. Very impressive, Mo. And if Mo was watching on FSN Ohio, he knows the line Chris Welsh delivered as Bruce finished rounding the bases probably left Mo screaming at the TV (and made it even sweeter at the same time):

Man oh man, I don’t think ANYBODY, including Jay Bruce, thought in his wildest dreams, that he would come back after missing 12 games and swing the bat the way he has tonight!

No offense, Chris, but Mo did.

Gomes can do it all

Did anyone else get fired up when “IN THE BULLPEN: JONNY GOMES RHP” showed up on the TV screen while Cordero was warming up during tonight’s TV broadcast?

Jonny Gomes – one of two Reds to get on base four times tonight (granted, it wasn’t as pretty as Votto’s homer, triple and two singles, but it’s still getting on base four times) – pitching the bottom of the 9th? Hellyeah! Cordero did get the job done – which the bullpen did throughout the last four innings of the game (more on that later) – but we’re pretty sure Gomes would’ve struck out the side on nine pitches. The guy proved once again tonight that he is CLUTCH! He had a gorgeous outfield assist in the first to get former Red Felipe Lopez at the plate and then a HUGE hit in the top of the 7th to drive in Votto and tie the game at 8.

Look, Votto going 4-for-5 after a six-game absence and Rolen somehow hitting another two home runs, adding a third hit and driving in four were VERY impressive and both had a lot to do (along with the bullpen) with lifting the Reds to the 9-8 win. All we’re saying is don’t overlook the role Gomes had, not only in this win but the role he’s had in helping the Reds to first place in the NL Central. All the guy did in May was hit .364 (2nd in the National League for the month for players with a minimum of 3.1 plate appearances per team game) with 22 RBIs (tied for second, along with Rolen, in the NL for the month). His slugging percentage was .636 in May (2nd only to Corey Hart, who hit 10 home runs in May).

When the Reds were 12-12 and 4 games back on May 1, Gomes was only hitting .217. Now he’s hitting .307 and they’re 31-22 and 1 game up on the Cards.

BIG night for the bullpen too. It wasn’t an easy 7th for Arthur Rhodes, but the guy got a couple of huge strikeouts of David Freese and pinch-hitter Nick Stavinoha (to end the inning) to extend his scoreless streak to 19 2/3 innings.

Also impressive was Masset getting Colby Rasmus (who was 3-for-4 on the night entering the at-bat) on strikes with two on and two out in the bottom of the eighth.

FSN. Really?

FSN. Really?

Really? No... really?


Seriously, are you kidding us?

Han-lapse

Cincinnati Reds at Florida Marlins
Thom and Chris (and later Jim Day) were giving Votto all sorts of grief for “locking up” on a ball in the bottom of the 9th, where he looked to second (and it looked like he had no angle to throw) and then didn’t get a chance to flip it to Masset covering first. But with the timing of Masset’s arrival at first (looked like he had some trouble finding the bag) and Uggla’s getting down there in a hurry, it looked to me like it would have been a bang-bang play had Votto had a chance to toss it to him. Personally, I don’t think a toss/throw necessarily would’ve beat Uggla.

I’d argue that Hanley Ramirez was actually the unsung goat. A throw that could’ve gotten the lead runner was not made in the top of the 10th on a sacrifice bunt by Brandon Phillips right to pitcher Burke Badenhop because no one was near second base to receive it. As you can see, Hanley Ramirez didn’t even cover second. (Though Badenhop didn’t look that way for long if at all either.) And if he had, I think a quick throw gets Votto at second. I’m not saying they could’ve turned two, but with Phillips on first instead of Votto on second, Phillips only gets to third on Rolen’s single. Bruce and Gomes struck out. The score remains tied at 5, right? Just sayin’ I thought Hanley’s mental error was more of a factor than Votto’s perceived “lockup,” (“inexplicable,” Jim Day called it) but I’d be curious to find out what others who watched it thought. Maybe even one of the 82 fans in attendance at Sun Life Stadium could chime in.