Division Champs... ahhhhh
OMGReds threw the champagne-soaked jersey in the wash, took an ibuprofen, drank a Gatorade and headed back down to the ballpark to be part of the raucous crowd of 14,760 (not even close) to watch Willie Bloomquist and the 2010 National League Central champs battle the Astros. Observations:
• Five of the eight starting position players spent at least part of the season in Louisville. Valaika, Alonso and Francisco – the 2, 3 and 4 hitters – had more than 300 at-bats in Louisville this season. The Reds beat Nelson Figueroa a couple of weeks ago in Houston, but that was with Phillips, Votto, Rolen, Bruce, et al. And even though the ‘Stros entered the game having lost 6 of 7, they’re (now) a respectable 39-30 since the break. In other words, it’s tough to run out the lineup the Reds had tonight – even if you get your stars in toward the end of the game – and expect to win a big game. (More on the significance of the game later in the post.)
• That being said, we’ve still got big-time love for Heisey. Fantastic shoestring grab on the first out of the game. The 900 people who were in their seats in time to watch it cheered enthusiastically.
• Corky Miller had the bat fly out of his hands during his second-inning at-bat; it went all the way to the backstop and he walked all the way back to retrieve it himself. If you saw it, it was pretty unusual. I can’t remember the last time I saw a big-leaguer travel so far to retrieve his own equipment. Not that there was any problem, it’s cool that Corky is humble like that. You just never see that anymore.
• Yonder actually worked a count to 3-1. For a second I thought he might get his first base on balls as a Red, but then he grounded out. Seems to me like he hasn’t taken many pitches since he got called up.
• That was a SICK play by Valaika in the 6th. I didn’t get to see Web Gems tonight, but it better have been in there.
Sign the banner! Do it!
• Is there anything worse than a lame heckler at a ballgame? A guy with absolutely no decent material was trying to heckle Carlos Lee for most of the evening, trying to get under his skin with “Hey, Carlos, you suck!” and “Hey, Carlos, why didn’t you catch that?!” for balls hit into the stands. Everyone has had to sit by this guy before at a ballgame – isn’t it awful? Just so uncomfortable because he’s not even funny? It was brutal. “Hey, Carlos, I’ve got you on my fantasy team for next year, so you better tear it up!” Huh? Started singing the Gatorade “Be Like Mike” jingle with “Be Like Carlos” instead. You get the point. I almost moved from my great seat (which was not far from Carlos). Fail on the lame heckler’s part, too. Carlos went 3-for-4 with a run and an RBI. Oh, and his average is down this year (he had a very slow start) but he’s a career .287 hitter with 330 home runs. You might have an easier time heckling someone who DOES suck, guy. And getting some funny material so that at least the people who aren’t that annoyed that you’re loud, annoying, obnoxious and mean-spirited will chuckle. Turd.
• I hate to pick on our first-round pick of the 2008 draft again, but WTF was that fancy, behind-the-back flip attempt to Cueto covering first?? I didn’t get to see the replay, but it looked Bush League live. And I know the Astros scored their second run after some indecision on the grounder to Valaika on the next play, but to me Alonso’s failed attempt to make the highlight reel was far more egregious.
• Totally dug the organist playing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” on the calliope during the stretch. He also rocked “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper” between the 8th and 9th innings, which was not lost on us. Nor the dudes on the JumboTron offering more cowbell.
• Wilton Lopez sprints from the bullpen like Todd Coffey/Heath Bell/Papelbon. Who else does it? Me likey.
• Tuesday’s hero, Jay Bruce, didn’t look too sharp in his only at-bat, but he went A LONG WAY to catch that ball Anderson Hernandez hit in the 8th.
• Respectfully agree to disagree with Doc Rodgers’ Extra Innings’ assessment that Wednesday’s game was “a loss but really it was a major victory for the Reds.” I’d say an actual loss was a bigger deal than what I consider the “silver linings” (Cueto looking sharp and Nix returning from injury to go 2-for-3 with a walk) when home-field was still very much a reality. The Reds entered Wednesday trailing the Giants by 1 game and the Braves by 1/2 game in the race for the coveted second seed – hardly insurmountable with a handful of games left. I think losing Wednesday – which DOES significantly hurt the Reds’ shot at the No. 2 seed given that the Braves won again and the Giants (and Padres, for that matter) won too – is a bigger deal than Doc suggested. Otherwise Dusty wouldn’t have gotten all of the big guns up off the bench late in the game to try to win it.