Category Archives: bonus baseball

Yasiel Puig hits Walk-Off Home Run, Slides into Home Plate

puigwalkoff

Yasiel Puig hits a walk-off home run against my favorite team to give the Dodgers a 1-0 win in extra innings, and he slides into home plate feet first to the arms of his awaiting teammates. I should hate this guy with every inch of my soul. But I don’t.

Puig is quickly becoming one of my favorite non-Reds players in baseball. He’s a flashy Cuban with a killer instinct that is too dumb to be fearless and too cocky to ever think he’s going to fail. The game is not too big for him. I think he’s going to be one of those few athletes in baseball who makes his arrogance work in his favor.

Here’s that walk-off that just went down at Chavez Ravine:

And there’s this, so you can get a good look at the bat flip. Curtis Partch never knew what hit him.

puigbatflip

Manny-esque. This guy was meant to play near Hollywood. The Wild Horse. Indeed.

The Watch Report: Cincinnati Reds Opening Day

iannetta

Who had Chris Iannetta in the Opening Day hero pool?

[Angels 3, Reds 1]

This was actually my first Opening Day that I haven’t been in the stands in Cincinnati since Joe Randa and Adam Dunn went back to back to walk off the Mets back in 2005. That’s a lot of Opening Days that I strung together. I doubt I ever make it back to that many consecutive Opening Days. I’m satisfied with the streak I put together. I’ve seen some unbelievable openers in the Queen City. From Randa’s walk-off, to Ramon Hernandez’s walk-off grand slam, to last year’s Cueto masterpiece with Bruce’s moonshot to seal it shut.

Here’s some notes from today’s ballgame, which was a long one.

  • The Reds really didn’t hit all spring long, and they didn’t hit today. Jay Bruce wore a golden sombrero in the middle of the order. Joey Votto went 0 for 4 but at least drew a few walks.
  • Shin-Soo Choo had two hits and Todd Frazier had one. And that’s all the Reds offense tallied. There weren’t even any hard hit balls.
  • Of the Angels fearsome three, Mike Trout was the only one with a hit. Trout went 1 for 6, Pujols and Hamilton went 0 for 4.
  • Chris Iannetta was the hero in this one, hitting a solo home run and doubling in the top of the 13th inning with two outs off J.J. Hoover.
  • The Angels pen just earned this game, though I would give it to the lack of Reds hitting. After Jered Weaver exited, six Angels relievers combined for seven scoreless innings. Ernesto Frieri was the final one and he earned the save.
  • I’m not too upset with this game. The Angels are a World Series contender, and the Reds are going to hit at some point. It hurts that they’ll miss Ryan Ludwick for the better part of a month with separated shoulder.
  • How could I forget Johnny Cueto. I feel like for the last year and a half, if you’ve seen Cueto throw once you’ve seen the same solid, dependable game. I love the effort this guy always brings to the mound with him.

Here’s some running total stats from today’s game, and from my most recent watched game:

Home Runs: 1 (Chris Iannetta 1)
Strikeouts: 30
Runs: 4
Hits: 9
Errors: 4
Stolen bases: none
Official time watching baseball: 4 hours, 45 minutes
Times taking the dog out to pee: 2
Chores my wife asked me to do during (unofficial): one half

EDIT: I watched about two innings out of the Rockies Brewers game today, I watched Chris Sale’s entire start on and off, and I watched about five innings out of the Phillies-Braves game today. I’m not going to count it, because my totals aren’t exact. And I’m honestly ready to abandon the 2000-Inning Quest after just a night and a day. It’s too damn tedious. But still I press onward to go where no idiot has ever gone before.

STATS during the 2000-Inning Quest:

Home Runs: 4
Bryce Harper home runs: 2
Strikeouts: 59
Runs: 16
Hits: 31
Errors: 5
Stolen bases: NONE
Official time watching baseball: 9 hours, 55 minutes
Times taking the dog out to pee: 6
Chores my wife asked me to do during (unofficial): .5
Innings left to go: 1,969

Was Last Night the Washington Nationals’ Biggest Win of the Year?

[Box Score]

WaPo | DC Sports Bog | ESPN New York Mets Blog | MetsBlog | Amazin’ Avenue

If I was in Las Vegas last night, I would have bet the Mets. And I would have lost.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the Mets; and not the Atlanta Braves, will be the team that poses the most threat down the stretch to the mighty Nationals. I thought last night was going to be the first chop of the axe. The Nationals showed some amazing resolve after Tyler Clippard gave up a 3-run bomb to some light hitting little infielder named Jordanny Valdespin hit a 3-run shot off Tyler Clippard to give the Mets a 3-2 lead. Things were just getting started.

The Nationals rallied to tie the game at 3-3 and send it to the 10th. The Mets reclaimed the lead again at 4-3. Bryce Harper hit a rocket triple to right field to tie the game. The Nationals won it on a wild pitch. It had all the ingredients of the type of game that teams like the 2012 Nationals get. The bounces go the way they need them to go. A game of inches gets handed to them not once, but twice after they surrender the lead.

The 2012 Nationals just might be for real.

Bryce Harper’s Coors Field Blast Grants Fans Bonus Baseball

Harper’s 8th career home run off Rafael Betancourt in the top of the 9th inning.

I knew Bryce Harper couldn’t get out of town without dialing one long distance in Colorado. He waited until his final at-bat in the four game series to put another notch in his belt. This one tied the game at 10-10 off Rockies closer Rafael Betancourt. The Rockies escaped with an 11-10 victory in 10 innings.

It was almost 100 degrees in Colorado. Factor in the altitude; do you think that everyone was happy to see Harper serve one off the AT&T sign in the back of the Rockies bullpen and silently announce that more baseball was to be played?

Bryce Harper’s first Walk-off hit

[Box Score]

[Nationals Journal] [Nats Insider]

While I watched the Miami Heat choke it away last night on TV, I had this game on my computer. I’m glad I did, because it provided a little baseball history.

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/MLBNetwork/status/210212877309718528"]

This was one of those really weird games where the baseball Gods were just determined to have their way. It seemed like the Mets delivered the death blow in the 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th innings. Instead, the Nationals just kept getting chances and when Harper came up to the plate with the bases juiced and two out in the 12th, you knew high drama was around the corner.

I was hoping to see something like a walk-off grand slam. With the way Mets reliever Elvin Ramirez was throwing, I was pretty certain that the game would end on something anti-climactic like a bases-loaded walk.

Instead there was a happy medium: a nice piece of hitting that resulted in a soft line drive to the opposite field.

The Nats are a team on a mission right now and Harper is providing the electricity. If you watched how the Mets continually let victory slip through their fingers, you start to realize that things like that only happen to teams like the 2012 Nationals who are putting together a special little season here. The win allowed them to stay in sole possession of first place too.

And I’m just wonder what Harper is going to do next. The good news is that at the rate he’s going it’s likely going to happen tonight.

A coward gets scared and quits. A hero gets scared, but still goes on.

[Box Score]

[Mo Egger] [Cincinnati.com] [C70 at the Bat]

Do we need heroes in sports? Craig Calcaterra asked it yesterday; piggy-backing off of a post by the wild man himself Buzz Bissinger.

Coincidentally, I ran across the quote that serves as the title of this post and had an epiphany of sorts.

At the same time I found the quote, the Reds were throwing up 5 runs on the Cardinals before the home team could ever record an out in the top of the 1st inning of last night’s game. This came off the heels of two of the flattest performances I can ever remember watching out of a Cincinnati team.

It didn’t end until late into the night, four hours and change after the first pitch had been thrown. It certainly didn’t end how we wanted it to–having to use every pitcher in the bullpen and needing Aroldis Chapman to lock down the save in the bottom of the 13th. But the Reds won. They didn’t quit, they didn’t roll over and they didn’t get swept. And they continue on as the same as they’ve done all season long. Doing just enough to keep us all interested. I’m not sure what “Razor” Ramon Hernandez’s double means to this season or if it’s a turning point. But it was a big hit in a big game that allows the Reds to keep on playing, three games out. Back to .500 we go.

I’ll admit–had the collapse not happened or had they went into St. Louis and taken the series–this post would have been all filled with all the jingoistic praise surrounding the post that Calcaterra wrote. That the Reds are our current day Mickey Mantle’s and they’re making stories that we’re watching every night that we just someday might tell our kids about like our parents talk about The Mick.

I thought last night’s performance was pretty heroic. As mad as I was two nights ago, and on my 4th of July holiday, I came away feeling pretty impressed before the collapse that led to an 8-8 tie between these two rivals.

The Reds served up a turd burger to two things:

1) C.B. Bucknor

You lousy, yellow, good for nothing arrogant asshole of an umpire. I’m not one to complain about umpires. On most nights I don’t even pay attention to who is doing the duty. But this guy is awful in every shape and form.

Bucknor; an asshole, has no semblance of what it’s like to call a good ballgame. He is there to show up ballplayers and make a name for himself which is the opposite of what most decent umpires do intentionally or unintentionally.

Give yourself a hand you jackass.

2) Pujols’ return



Luckily, Pujols garnered only a single in six trips to the plate on this evening and the Reds were able to sneak out of town before he began destroying buildings, pillaging food supplies and generally taking shits on small towns like he usually does against Cincinnati. See above video for footage of Pujols vs. Cincinnati (career).

Atlanta gets a huge lift from Brooks Conrad, Heyward looking good

[Box Score]

[AJC Braves]
I listened to about 8 innings of this game on the MLB At-Bat Radio app while playing MLB the Show.

They’re calling him “Clutch Conrad” in Atlanta, but if Brooks Conrad keeps hitting bombs like this one I don’t know how you could possibly call him anything else.

K-Rod imploded and the Braves eventually won it in the bottom of the 10th inning to salvage one game in the series. Jason Heyward walked, singled twice, drove in a run and scored a run.

Chipper Jones also matched his career high with 5 RBI in this game including 3 hits and a home run, but left the game with a strained abductor muscle.

Game 50, 2011: Phillies 5, Reds 4 (19 innings)

[Box Score]

[ESPN SweetSpot] [Cincinnati.com] [The Good Phight] [Hal McCoy]

This game. Oh man what a game. This surely is an instant classic, and it’s a game that Reds fans will never forget. It is a game that went 6 hours and 11 minutes into the night. A position player ended up getting the win; the first time this happened since August 22nd, 2000 (Brent Mayne).

This post should have been about the continued heroics of Jay Bruce, who had two more huge hits in this one. He tied the game at 3-3 with a two run, two-out single off of Roy Halladay and then later homered off of nasty lefty Antonio Bastardo in the 10th inning. Instead, Coco Cordero blew the save and we all watched a 2nd ballgame and then some.

I have so many questions. It was also obvious to me that the Reds were going to lose this game on a couple fronts. It’s like they began to press, swing at a ton of pitches and hurriedly waste at-bats in extra frames. They allowed Danys Baez to shut them down for four innings. By the time Wilson Valdez came around in the top of the 19th, it was a foregone conclusion. But why did Dusty Baker trot out an obviously tired Carlos Fisher in the bottom of the 19th with two guys in the pen that were somewhat fresh in Sam Lecure and Matt Maloney sitting down in the pen? It makes no sense, no matter what the Reds manager will say.

As well–the umpires increasingly screwed the Reds as the game went on. They pushed this game in favor of the Phillies until the bitter end, which ended with me having to listen to MLB radio because Time Warner cable froze (and we were at a friends house).

This was the best game I’ve seen in over a decade, and probably the best I’ve ever seen in my life with all things considered. It was well played, had a ton of dramatic moments, and had everything you want in a ballgame. It’s the kind of game that I can only dream that someday I’ll be present for. The only thing it missed was a nice finish where the Reds scraped out a ‘W’. That would have made it all worth it. It just wasn’t in the cards.

Top Plays:

Brandon Phillips picked of while grab-assing

Bruce’s game-tying single

Jay Bruce’s go-ahead home run (#13)

Ryan Howard’s game-tying blast in the 10th

“14th inning stretch”

Wilson Valdez on the bump. My gosh.

The inevitable, heartbreaking losing play

Potpourri:

-FanGraphs has a post detailing Jay Bruce’s May surge.

-I actually missed seeing this play, but heard on the radio and from a few fellow Reds fans via text how bad of a mistake Brandon Phillips made. Looks like he owned up to it.

Brian McCann saves the Braves

Brian McCann had the big moment yesterday, as Wandy Rodriguez had shut the Braves down for 8 innings. In the 9th inning with two outs, Mcann pinch hit and homered off Astros closer Mark Melancon. This tied the game at 1-1 and sent the game into extra innings.

In the 11th inning, McCann homered again off Jeff Fulchino to give the Braves a 3-1 walkoff victory at Turner Field. This also happened to be a game in which Jason Heyward (1 for 3, two walks) and Chipper Jones (1 for 5) returned from injury. The Braves now head out to Arizona to play a Diamondbacks team that plenty of teams are making hay against. This is a time in which the Braves can really make a move in the NL East.

Early in the season I heard a fair share of Atlanta Braves fans say that they didn’t think that they could catch the Phillies so they were actually rooting for the Phillies if the Phillies’ opponent was anyone that could be considered a threat in the Wild Card race. With the way Philadelphia is having trouble scoring runs, and the fact the surging Braves are just 1 and 1/2 games behind the leaders of the division with Florida sandwiched in between.

Game 38, 2011: Reds 6, Cardinals 5

[Box Score]

[Cincinnati.com]

I went to last night’s game with my boy from work, T.J. who is a pretty big Cardinals fan. We saw a great game that might be a season-changing win for the Cincinnati Reds. It was the type of game where they just kept coming back, and coming back, and grinding until they reached their final goal. When Joey Votto singled Chris Heisey in to home plate in the 10th inning, the entire team stormed the field and was genuinely pumped. It was a team victory earned that they probably had no business in getting. Teams like the Cardinals–true first place teams–don’t blow leads like the one they let slip away last night.

Kyle Lohse was throwing a pretty good game and the Cardinals were stringing together hits off Bronson Arroyo and Mike Leake. Then for some reason, the Cardinals pulled Lohse maybe an inning or a few hitters too early in favor of Miguel Batista. When they did this, I told my buddy that I thought if the Reds were going to get to one guy in the Cardinals bullpen, it was going to be Batista. I was right.

I have to hand it to the Cincinnati crowd last night. This was the loudest that I’ve ever heard it save for last year’s postseason game against the Philadelphia Phillies. The rally towels were handed out to everyone in attendance before the game, and while it took the Reds about half the game to get the crowd into it, they had a 10th man last night in the form of their home fans. The crowd was great. It was a playoff atmosphere. And despite not being a sell out crowd, they got loud and got behind the Reds and most of the crowd hung around until the conclusion of this one. It wasn’t without it’s big moments to reward them.

Brandon Phillips had a nice ballgame last night. The box score only will show two of his hits and an RBI, but he had good at-bats, made great plays in the field all night and generally was the driving force in the middle of the Reds lineup aside from Votto. You get the feeling that BP just loves these games against the Cardinals. This is truly one of the most fun guys to watch that the Reds have ever had in my lifetime. My love affair with Phillips is at an all-time high right now. I have a feeling he’ll go yard today on FOX Saturday baseball.

Then there’s the MVP Joey Votto. He got his MVP chants. He had great at-bats all night long, grinding against one Cardinals pitcher after another. He doubled off the wall, moved a runner over in a critical spot in the game, and of course had the game winning death blow that he delivered to the Cards in the 10th.

Here’s an advertisement at random that made me want to eat a cheeseburger.

Jay Bruce had a single, a run, and an RBI and just narrowly missed hitting a ball out to left center field. He was being intentionally walked in this at-bat.

This was the first time I’ve gotten to see Eduardo Sanchez live and in the flesh. He was throwing 92-94 MPH and was all over the place. By the time he settled in, he had walked Edgar Renteria and allowed him to score in blowing his first save. The guy has big time talent and I’m glad I got to see him pitch against the Reds. It made the rally even sweeter.

Now the Diamond Hoggers song of the game:

Jason Heyward is a Weekend Giant in the Bay Area

[Box Score]

[AJC Braves]

Jason Heyward had a big, big weekend. After a day on Saturday in which he went 2 for 3 with two walks with Tim Lincecum on the bump, he had a big hand in getting the Braves the sweep on the road in San Francisco. Heyward hit a bomb that was well over 450 feet to give the Braves a 5-2 lead. He hit this off Jeremy Affeldt, a tough lefthander.

The Giants didn’t go down without a fight, scoring three runs in the bottom of the 7th inning to take a 6-5 lead. Like clockwork, Dan Uggla hit his 5th home run of the year to tie the game at 6-6 in the top of the 8th. The Braves waited out the Giants for a few more innings and in the top of the 10th inning they picked up three runs–two of the runs plated coming on a Nate Mclouth single.

The more I think about it, I see Jason Heyward as the next 50 home run guy in baseball. I know some might think I’m getting ahead of myself in saying that, but I think it’s coming. I think he’ll find his way to about 35 this season, and next year or the year after he’ll hit over 50 home runs.

Game 11, 2011: Reds 8, Padres 2

[Box Score]

[Gaslamp Ball] [Cincinnati.com]

These Reds have more than 9 lives don’t they?

There were several instances last night where the game should have been over (thanks once again to Nick Masset for burning our bullpen and nearly losing his 3rd game on the young season) in favor of the Padres and had the Reds sitting at 7-4 entering the ever tough getaway day off the West Coast.

But the Reds didn’t quit. The special moment was in the bottom of the 9th with the game on the line, Cameron Maybin hit a ball that looked like a line shot into the right-center gap that would surely end this one. Thom Brennaman even made the point to say “and this game is over–or is it?” before Jay Bruce appeared like Superman out of nowhere to snag the line drive, dash Cameron Maybin’s hopes of celebration (pictured above) and send the game into extra innings.

The other big moment that will stick with me is the way Logan Ondrusek battled out of tough situations last night. In two different innings he had a mess to clean up, and when he struck out Nick Hundley with the bases loaded and only one out in the 10th inning, you just knew they would find a way to get out of it yet again and give themselves one more inning to win the game.

When the game ended last night just before the 2am hour here in Ohio, Dusty Baker had a look on his face that said a lot to me. His look said that he’s been around this game a long time, and there’s something special going on with his group of 25 here in 2010. He’s seen a lot of assembly’s of rosters in his time. He’s had good teams, bad teams, mediocre teams. He knows that there is a little magic surrounding a lot of talent and grit in this group. He won’t admit it, but I’m telling you the thought has crossed his mind a few times already.

Those are the types of things you think about when you’re rolling teams without anything from Jay Bruce, or when you’re seeing a Chris Heisey drive in 8 runs in his first 14 at-bats yet there is no spot for him every day because Gomes and Stubbs have collected so many big hits. Or when Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto look to be at their never before seen peak–how scary of a thought is that?

This team is dangerous.

Top Plays:

Drew Stubbs monster homer slams the door shut

Johnny Gomes saves the game with a catch

Brandon Phillips: Are you kidding me?

Reds 11th inning explosion

Potpourri:

This was the second consecutive game in which I noticed Aroldis Chapman’s velocity was down. He was 94 MPH, touching 96 that I saw, and even though he worked a 1-2-3 7th inning that saw him go strikeout (filthy slider), foul out, strike out looking on his best pitch of the night speed-wise; I’m a little concerned. We’re talking about 10 MPH on the fastball that he’s missing all of the sudden. Keep your eyes on this.

Jay Bruce *MIGHT* be starting to come out of his funk ever so slowly perhaps. The box score will read only 1 for 3, 2 runs scored; but if you watched the quality of at-bats that he had, they’re the type of at-bats that a player has when he’s about to come out of a funk. Confidence building at-bats. Working an 8-pitch walk from Heath Bell who was throwing smoke. Fouling off tough pitches from a lefty. And of course probably 2 or 3 Gold Glove quality plays in the outfield.

I watched this game until the bitter end, wide awake. The reason for this is I am sick as a dog. I don’t know if it’s a cold, or it’s a flu; but it’s some type of re-payment for staying out all night the day of Opening Day. Would I do it again if that is the cause? Absolutely.

Survival of the Fittest

[Box Score]
[Cincinnati.com] [The Real McCoy]
Today was the day when a legend grew, and when a hero shined the brightest in the moment of truth. Today was the day when the Most Valuable Player stood up. Today was the day when the pendulum swung; and when things went the opposite of how they have for so many years. Today was the day that lightning struck twice. And then didn’t (if you remember the game in Atlanta several months ago).

Today, Joey Votto cemented himself as the best Reds player of my lifetime. The 2010 Joey Votto is the most dominating version of an offensive player that a team that I’ve pulled for has ever had within its members.

Votto got four hits today. Two backside home runs to left field in a ballpark that doesn’t allow home runs to that part of the ball park. As I was driving home from work Marty Brenneman remarked that in all his years of broadcasting; George Foster had the best power to the opposite field for a right-handed hitter that he’d ever seen. He said today that Joey Votto had the best power the other way for a left handed hitter. We’re seeing something very special take place right in front of our eyes. I can hardly believe that Joey Votto is really a Cincinnati Red. Things like this typically don’t happen to us. After Votto saved us in Los Angeles on Sunday, he saved us in what could have been a monumental collapse that could allow a season to slide.

Not lost in all this is a little bit of fate and magic. In the top of the 9th after the Giants came and got what they wanted in the form of an 11-10 lead; Pablo Sandoval sailed a routine throw with one out over the head of the first baseman. This allowed Drew Stubbs to reach second base. Paul Janish (who I love more every single damn day) got one of the biggest hits all year off Giants closer Brian Wilson. A single to right field allowed the tying run to score.

I was still positive that the Reds would find a way to lose this game. But the hero rose again. On the day before he is immortalized on the cover of Sports Illustrated, he showed that there is no fucking curse.

Coco Cordero hung on in the final inning as the Giants battled until the final out. The Reds did it. They completed the West Coast road trip bloodied and battered, but they emerged 6-3 and with a lead of at least 2 and 1/2 games.

This team has driven me to the brink of insanity sometimes. They test my fandom to the sport at times. But there isn’t an ounce of quit in this bunch.

No matter how long the Cincinnati Reds of 2010 stay together, no matter how long the window stays open to compete; I predict that there will never be a group who fights like this and who refuses to give up like the guys who have put on the Reds uniform this season. Whether they collapse the final few months and break our hearts or go on to postseason play, I’ll never forget the way that this group of guys battled and scrapped until the final out was hung every night.

Another big hit from O-Cab wins it

Orlando Cabrera has been getting big hits all year long. Last year, he drove in 78 runs for a playoff team. Yesterday, his walk off home run gave the Reds their 9th win in their final at-bat of the season. That statistic is the most in baseball thus far.

The 5-4 win brought the Reds back to .500 on the season. It gave them a series win over the New York Mets, who have been rather hot at times this season.

Last night on Baseball Tonight, Aaron Boone spoke after the Reds highlight about the 1999 team and Jeffrey Hammonds inventing the ‘walk-off bounce’ at home plate. He talked about all the walk-off wins that 1999 team had during the year. I’ll tell you what, the 2010 Reds might inconsistent and streaky, but they’ve got a knack for the dramatics. Maybe they could still turn this into some kind of special season yet.

Cabrera will probably be inserted into the lead off spot to relieve Drew Stubbs as early as tomorrow night. I’m fine with the move. I’d rather see Brandon Phillips there, but Cabrera is a professional hitter that can probably succeed in any role in the lineup as well as anyone the Reds have.