Throwing it around

Thursday travel days are the pits. MLB lacks a full slate of games tonight and our team happens to be off till tomorrow night, so we go a near 48 hours without meaningful baseball. So that means we log into our Bodog account, throw down a couple bets, and make some games meaningful. Pete Rose style. Here’s some links for y’all:

-Alex Rodriguez has a nasty poker habit, and was he on steroids since high school? The new Selena Roberts book about to come out should be a good read. [Deadspin]
-Talk is starting up about Chone Figgins getting a raise. [ESPN Sweetspot]
-More on Volquez’s shining performance last night. [Mark my Words]
-Tim Lincecum is heating up. [Mccovey Chronicles]
-The 10 best active hitting pitchers in baseball. [Bugs & Cranks]
-Emilio Bonificacio might have a future at second base. [Sun Sentinel]
-The newest SI cover features Zach Greinke, and a story by Joe Posnanski on the young righthander. [Joe Posnanski]

Yovani Gallardo was the whole damn show

You knew the Brewers were counting on Yovani Gallardo to emerge as the ace of the staff after losing Ben Sheets and CC Sabathia in the offseason. He was in a sense, their only hope. The Brewers got more then an ace performance from Gallardo on wednesday, as he achieved Major League history. Gallardo became only the 3rd player in Major League history to homer while pitching a shutout and striking out 10 or more.
The win gave the Brewers a sweep (much needed) at home over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Other then what Gallardo went out and did at the plate and on the mound, there just isn’t much to speak of. Obviously the guy is capable of being a legitimate stud in this league. His home run was his second of the season. Gallardo has the look of a guy who could eventually win 20 games some season at the level, even if it is not this year as he returns from injury. Look for him to really heat up down the stretch and emerge as one of baseball’s finest pitchers.

Volquez dominant as Reds achieve winning April

[Reds 3, Astros 0]
Edison Volquez was dominant last night, holding the Astros to 1 hit in 8 innings, allowing only 1 walk and striking out 6 in a 3-0 Cincinnati win. Francisco Cordero threw a scoreless 9th inning to preserve the shutout and earn his 7th save in as many chances. The win was Volquez’s 3rd of the season. The Reds finished April with an 11-10 record, something that Dusty Baker pointed out was a goal for this team. It was a big win due to the fact that the Astros had won 11 ballgames in a row on the Reds home turf.
The Reds got a pick me up from some unsung heroes. Laynce Nix and Adam Rosales each had good, contributable performances. Rosales made his first start of the season since being called up from AAA Louisville, and he went 1 for 2 with 2 RBI and a walk. Nix had a couple of knocks including a triple. Rosales strikes us as a guy who could be a real good story this season. He could come out of nowhere to hit around .300 in 400 at bats with some pop. We’ll see.
Our boy Jay Bruce singled and stole his first run of the season and scored a run on a Rosales sacrifice fly to give the Reds their final insurance run. The Reds enter an off day today and then head to Pittsburgh to begin a road trip in a place that has been a house of horrors for them.

It was a good first month for Don Wakamatsu. The Mariners are in first place, and they’ve got a realistic shot at taking this thing down to the wire now that they’ve settled in as the early team to beat in the AL West. They are ranked 12th in scoring thus far, a testament to the fact that they’re getting exceptional pitching and if they can begin to hit, there may be no looking back. [ESPN’s Sweetspot]

Louisville don’t have enough square feet to house the amounts of cum I bring

Did you hear that Paw? 15 fuckin’ K’s in 6 and 1/3? And they still got me down here in Louisville rotting away. I told ya I was gonna fuck a town full of daughters. And I went ahead and fucked me an entire team of Toledo-ans along the way. After that game I went out and skinned be an elk’s nuts off with my trapper knife just for good measure. I got them hanging on my wall. I’m counting coup on them sunmabitches this season. Every time I strike out ten or more, I’ma go find me a mammal of some sort to cut the balls off of.

What more does that shiny headed bag of dicks Jocketty need to see? 2-0 with a 2.92 ERA and 18 Ks in two starts last week? And I’m still watching Owings and Arroyo throw those there curly balls that land on fuckin’ Plymouth Rock? Life ain’t fair, Paw.

I got me something really big planned for my next outing. It was sposed’ to be a surprise but hell with it. I ain’t for keepin’ secrets. I’m gonna wear a pair of six shooters in that dugout in between my innings on the mound. I’m going to strike out all 27 hitters. You heard me; 27 up and 27 down, one for every little seniorita I’m gonna attempt to impregnate that night. The secret to my success other then a blazing fastball? Well you just take your trigger finger there and rub it in a little bit’a fox piss in between innings on the laces like, and those AAA faggots won’t even see your ball!

There ain’t a man alive who can hit the Homer Bailey Express. And there ain’t a woman alive who can handle the pecker in my trousers. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna step out back here in my yard and shoot clay pigeons all afternoon with nothin’ on but a pair of snakeskin boots. If Dusty Baker don’t get me up to the big leagues soon I’m gonna shove one of Dick Pole’s clydesdale style road apples down his stupid throat.

Throwing it around

Are you worried about the Swine Flu? We are a bit. I mean after all, if we get it who is going to run Diamond Hoggers? The article even mentions empty ballparks. A world without baseball? Then we’ll know its Hell on earth for sure. Here’s some baseball stuff to keep your mind off the real problems of the world:

-Mythbusters: can you knock the hide off a baseball? [More Hardball]
-Chris Dickerson, weird metro sexual scarves and all, is a good guy. [Blue Collar Baseball]
-Citi Field will not tolerate negativity from the fans that inhabit it. [Deadspin]
-Phillies won on the strength of a couple of Grand Slams last night. [Phillies Nation]
-Our newest fantasy team member Dexter Fowler tied an MLB record last night with 5 stolen bases….. by the 4th inning. [Inside the Rockies]
-Justin Verlander out-duels CC Sabathia. [LoHud Yankees Blog]
-Barry Bonds speaks out and lets us know he isn’t retired. [Extra Baggs]

Reds just can't solve the Astros at GABP

[Box Score]

Even though the Reds didn’t get beat by Roy Oswalt by definition, the fact that he held them to one run in his outing monday night meant another loss for the Reds. You just knew that this game was a dead game for the Reds and with a Lance Berkman homer added to the all-time ass kicking, the Reds have dropped 15 out of the last 16 against the ‘Stros at GABP and 10 in a row.

It’s absolutely mind wracking how this could happen. Edwin Encarnacion continues to not hit. Brandon Phillips continues to be a nightly 0’fer at the plate. Joey Votto of course provided Cincinnati with their only offensive output of the night, a 2-out RBI single that tied the game at 1 until the 9th inning.

Johnny Cueto was nothing short of magnificent for the second straight outing, going 7 innings and striking out 5, only allowing one walk and one earned run. Closer Coco Cordero, brought into the ninth inning of a tie game, gave up three straight hits and three runs and the Reds lost the game by a final of 4-1.

Things don’t figure to get any easier tonight and tomorrow’s season chronicle post probably will be in the same kind of mood. Wandy Rodriguez will be on the mound for the Astros, and being a decent lefty with some velocity he should have success against the Reds tonight. The last time he pitched against the Reds he struck out 10 for only the second time in his career.

They’re the Astros and they dominate us. It’s just part of life. Which is why we’ll always hate the Astros above every other team in the league.

The sights of a hot April weekend in Cincinnati

We were lucky enough to land a pair of Scout Seats behind home plate for last Friday night’s home game against the Atlanta Braves and we had four seats in Club 4192 on Saturday afternoon.

The Reds did not play well, so we had to try and see what we could see to make it an enjoyable trip.

Got to the ballpark early and took in a little batting practice for the first time this season. This is a pretty relaxing experience. It goes way too fast. Nothing more beautiful then watching a few pearls be sunk in some red seats and in areas that they should be hit. We also figured that we should get a shot of Chipper Jones on the site since he’s a future Hall of Famer. Definitely the kind of player you’ll want to be able to prove to your grandkids you saw him play, right? Well, there’s proof.

Here’s scouts alley. Remember that old San Francisco Giants scout that was in the scout seats during our last visit there? He was there again in the exact same seat. The four men in view in this picture are also scouts. There was six total. Nothing better then picking the brain of a scout.
A montage of Jay Bruce appeared on the big screen. The old Giants scout was watching it and we said in between innings as he focused:
Do you think he (Bruce) is going to be a pretty good ballplayer?
Scout: “Uh, yeah. I think he already is. He’s definitely going places in this game.”
After that we left the scouts alone and just listened to them talk about how Javier Vasquez has dirty breaking stuff (slider) and how he should be much tougher to hit then he is.

Another first on the list crossed off. First time we’ve ever been at a ballgame and the benches have cleared. Reds and Braves benches cleared after Yunel Escobar got a doink job from Edison Volquez on friday night. It was definitely intentional. While it was not a “brawl” by definition, it was a moment of excitement.

Here’s Edison Volquez warming up before the game. Guy is fun to watch throw but after a great start in which he allowed no hits through 3 2/3 innings and struck out a hand full of Braves hitters, he walked guys until the point we wanted to choke him.

Here’s a shot of the bar in Club 4192 from saturday. Decorated with Jack Daniels bottles. If you’ve never been to the club, it’s really a lot of fun on a sun-intense hot day. You can stay in the shade if you need to. You can go inside. But the food in the club? They’re taking the easy way out and trying to make a buck. For $85 you are getting a choice of jumbalaya, nachos, burgers, LaRosa’s Pizza, or some subpar ice cream and fountain drinks. It’s went downhill since we sat there a few years ago. It’s definitely not equal to the experience at Jacob’s Progressive Field.

The view from the club seats in Cincinnati is actually pretty sweet. You can see the whole field with ease and the trajectory of home run balls are a lot more fun from a view like this. Or if you’re a Reds fan on a day like saturday when the Braves hit the ball all over the yard it’s less fun because you can really tell when something is leaving the park.

Here’s a view of Jay Bruce at the plate against Derek Lowe. We predicted that he’d homer for the first time ever while we were present at the park on saturday and we were almost right. He went 1 for 3 with a double off the wall. Missed it by a few feet.

And Dusty Baker and Jerry Hairston Jr. got tossed. Gotta say, I like that Dusty Baker doesn’t mind getting tossed when he doesn’t agree with something. There are managers that will never get tossed, and Dusty got his money’s worth on this day. He continued his tantrum in the dugout even afterwards.

"Well I've seen it all in a small town. Had myself a ball in a small town."

[Box Score]

We had a feeling that the Reds would go out and win on this particular sunday, in which they did by an 8-2 score. After laying a proverbial egg in a big home series all weekend while we were present, of course they go out and get off the schneid with a nice victory.
It was the guys who will be the faces of the Reds franchise for a long time who got it done on sunday. In front of 29,327 fans at Great American Ballpark, the Reds got two big innings to propel them to victory.
Jay Bruce went 3 for 3 in one of the finest games of his career. Bruce homered down the left field line (power to all fields is a great thing) in the 4th inning with Joey Votto on base to put the Reds up 2-0. After Votto and Brandon Phillips each doubled to deep right field in the 5th inning, Bruce homered to right center for his second multi-homer game of his career. Oh and by the way, he added another outfield assist, throwing out Yunel Escobar at 2nd base.
The Reds coasted the rest of the game after building an 8-0 lead. Micah Owings picks up his first win as a Red and first win in nearly a year. Reds salvage a little bit against a weak hitting Atlanta team and now sit at 10-8 on the season, 2.5 games behind the first place Cardinals.

Hogger's Sunday Sermon: Weekend Weather says summer is here

This was slated to be the best weather weekend we’ve had thus far in the midwest, and sun screen will be in the air at ballparks all across America. With the sun burn we’ve earned the past two days at the Great American Ball Park, we are reminded that we’re about to hit the best part of the season.

We’ve had a few weeks to get adjusted to regular season life. Memorial Day is just around the corner. It won’t be long until your neighborhood barbecues take place every weekend with a ballgame possibly on in the background. As fans we’ve waited a long time to get to this point and it won’t be here for long. Let this post be a reminder to take a moment and soak it all in. Life is good.

it can be done, skip something you had to do on a saturday that can wait and take your kid to a ballgame. It’s important that we get youth interested in the sport. if you’re going to a Major League game, get there early and watch batting practice. Especially if you have nice weather. Take advantage that this sport allows you to get closer with its superstars than any other.

If you live near a park, take a walk some night and see if there is any Little League games going on in the ball diamond that inhabit that park. If there is, sit down for a few innings in the bleachers and let your mind rest. We promise that after you will feel just a little bit easier about whatever worries you might have. It’s inevitable. Possibly even if you don’t like baseball.

The bottom line is that bright sun that is back after a long winter reminds us that we’re approaching the pinnacle of the baseball season, and within the blink of an eye it will be here and gone. So do like us and grab yourself some SPF 50 like our mom made us as kids and head down to the ballpark.

Fantasy Player about to boom:
Ricky Romero, Toronto. Paul Maholm has that All-Star look to him in Pittsburgh. (Honorable Mention: Prince Fielder and/or Ryan Braun)

Fantasy Player about to bust:
Anyone in the Toronto Blue Jays lineup.

Song that needs played over your stadium loud speakers:

Life’s Been Good to me So Far by Joe Walsh
(Alright you don’t have to play the whole song between innings, just the guitar solo)

Gameday snack of the week:

California Rolls, preferably from Benihana. That place should be known for it’s sushi and not the Hibachi. We’re telling ya, don’t sleep on Benihana sushi. They’ve also got this deal where it’s like $26.95 for unlimited sushi. Or you can get a shitload for like $15. If you don’t have one near your place of residence we’re sorry, you’re missing out.

Gameday Dipper’s Choice of the Week:

Give Skoal Edge a start in your starting lineup of dips. It is the distant cousin of Skoal Mint and Skoal Spearmint and the half brother of Skoal Wintergreen. You should be able to grab this shiny tin at a discount price in most areas. You will be impressed with the overflow of flavor you receive with just one pinch of Skoal Edge. In fact, one decent grab may just last you a whole 9 innings. This is an excellent hog for the casual dipper who is sneaking and buying a tin behind his girlfriend’s back while going to the ballgame with his buddies. It is also reccomended in all seasons, as opposed to Skoal Cherry, which tastes like rat shit in the summertime.

Lost in the Shuffle:
Remember when you drafted Joe Mauer high again in your fantasy baseball draft because you thought there’s no way he’d fuck you for another season in some way again this year? Well he did by being frail. Mauer is going to be back soon though. Mauer will play in extended spring training games the next three days, then join Low-A Fort Myers on Friday for a six-game rehab stint. If all goes well, he’ll be activated from the DL and join Minnesota on May 1.

Games of note of the upcoming week:
Sunday, April 26th: New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox. Justin Masterson re-enters the Boston rotation and faces Andy Pettite at Fenway Park. First tilt of these two teams that have been extremely ordinary to start the year. ESPN, of course has the coverage on Sunday Night Baseball.

Monday, April 27th: Florida Marlins at New York Mets. Anibal Sanchez takes on Jeff Maine at Citi Field. This opens a pretty big series for two teams that figure to do battle all year long for that NL East crown. The Mets had a chance to get healthy against the Nats.

Thursday, April 30th: Arizona DiamondBacks at Milwaukee Brewers. Which one of these underachievers will hit rock bottom first? The loser of this 4-game series in Winsconsin, that’s who. Ryan Braun has shown some signs of life, but Prince Fielder and Justin Upton look like they’ve forgotten how to play the game (at the plate anyways).

We head to the ballpark, you hold down the fort

We’ll be taking friday afternoon and evening off. As well as saturday morning and afternoon. We’re sure the NFL Draft can keep you busy along with all the wonderful baseball. It might even be a great time to clean the garage.

We’re headed out on the open road to see two ballgames; as the Reds welcome the Atlanta Braves into town fresh off of a couple of big victories. We’ll see what’s interesting about those games and we’ll be sure to have some interesting posts for you when we return.

You know, something to note: we’ve still never seen Jay Bruce hit a home run while in attendance live at the park. But, we have this suspicion that this is going to be the weekend. Almost seven years to the date on a saturday afternoon game in Cincinnati we saw Adam Dunn play for the first time live and homer. We’re also attending the game with our buddy George who happened to make the trip with us that fateful day. Since Bruce is the heir aparent to Dunner, we figure that these parallels mean something.

So excuse us. We’re geared up for a big weekend at the ballpark. And it’s also the final saturday afternoon game all season at Great American (we wish there were more saturday afternoon games at home and less sunday afternoon with more sunday evening games).

Thank you for your continued support of Diamond Hoggers.

Yankees and Red Sox set for first season battle

We’ve reached this moment again. The Yankees and Red Sox continue the most storied rivalry in baseball history this weekend at Fenway park. These two teams are each playing good baseball, which makes this series even more appealing even if it is only April.

The Red Sox are coming off of a sweep of the Minnesota Twins. The Yankees had a big 14 inning win yesterday with a walk-off home run at their new park by Melky Cabrera; the first of that variety in their new home.
Joba Chamberlain and Jon Lester open up the series tomorrow evening. Saturday’s 4:10 PM tilt features Josh Beckett and A.J. Burnett, in a game that could easily see these two starting pitchers amass 20 strikeouts. Andy Pettite and Justin Masterson wrap up the series on sunday night baseball.
This is an important series in that if one team sweeps the other, then you obviously will see some continued momentum from one side that would have one thinking that team has the upper hand in the division. No, we aren’t taking the Blue Jays good open season run seriously just yet. We still feel that one of these two teams will end up taking the division and this series will provide us with an excellent idea of who has the edge early on.

We don’t have to work too hard at coverage for this series, ESPN will do that for us. But keep an eye on it as it could provide us as baseball fans with some great early season drama.

It's more then a feeling

You know this was as beautiful and satisfying of a win as we could remember in a long time. We wish we were able to say it more eloquently; but quite frankly the Reds showed a little bit of everything in this game that will hopefully make them formidable all season long.
Johnny Cueto was lights out. Only striking out three hitters, but no walks. He only allowed four hits in seven scoreless innings. His fastball had movement on it all night.
Jay Bruce had two knocks, including a late beautiful home run off Kevin Gregg to provide an important insurance run to left center field. Bruce seems to like hitting at Wrigley Field. He also hustled out another infield hit–which is something as a baseball fan you love to see.

The win gave the Reds a 6-3 record on their current road trip and guarunteed it to be a winning trip. The Reds are doing the little things that you must do to smoke and mirror other teams to death. Playing defense (Edwin Encarnacion made some nice plays in this game as did Brandon Phillips) and playing small ball, the Reds used the bunt several times effectively in this game.

They’re winning on the road, which requires takes a disciplined team. That’s something we’re not sure they’ve had since about 1999 or 2000 at the very latest.