Category Archives: Bronson Arroyo

Our buddy, with Bunny

So the other night our buddy Dave went out tipping a few bottles with Bunny Arroyo and Ryan Hanigan. I wanted to wait until I got the whole story straight from the horse’s mouth before posting the photo, but I haven’t been able to yet.

Only word I got via text that night: “Hanigan is awesome. Bronson is kind of a dick. There’s 19 year olds flocking to these guys, crawling out of every crack. We didn’t have to wait in the 2 hour line to enter the club. God I wish I was a pro.”

I asked him where Bruce and Phillips were.

His response (at 3:58 AM): “at home eating pudding”.

Still not sure what that means.

Reds-Phillies NLDS Game Two: It wasn’t in the Cards

It just wasn’t meant to be. Everything happened about like I thought in this game and this series thus far; except we didn’t hang on for long enough.

Jay Bruce continued to see his star rise in this game by hitting a dramatic upper deck home run that should of sent the Phillies into hiding for the night. But the Baseball Gods would have none of it. The fly ball hit off Jimmy Rollins’ bat that was scored an error allowed two runs to score and the game would slip away from there. With that error went the hopes and dreams that we had in our hands. I don’t know if we’re ever going to be closer or if we’ll ever be back in this spot. But the Reds were on the doorstep.

Bronson Arroyo threw valiantly for 5 and 1/3 innings. Arthur Rhodes did his job. Brandon Phillips had a statement game that will never be forgotten by me, but so many more will remember his error rather than his lead-off home run.

Not me. I love these guys. Every last one of them. If it were up to me, I’d probably bring back this exact same team next year and tweak a thing or two. But I’d bring this same chemistry group back and see what happens next year. I love the way that Bruce, Phillips, Arroyo responded. I refuse to get down on Scott Rolen. Not in a million years after what he’s given us this year. That’s baseball. That’s how it goes. You move on and you live with it. One play doesn’t define a man; and that stands for every one of our guys who were on that field last night at Citizens Bank Park.

The Reds had a ton of miscues; four errors, each of equal importance. Bases loaded walks. Hit batters. It was the ultimate meltdown and I felt it coming ever close as each part of the game unfolded in front of me. As it was happening I kept thinking about how for me and a lot of my fellow Reds fans who this is everything to; it’s somewhat life defining. You feel like you know those guys we watch each night pretty well. You know their personalities. They’re good guys. You hurt with them and for them. You feel helpless because there’s nothing you can do but die with them when they don’t succeed. And you know that they wanted it even worse than we did.

I saw the fear in the eyes of the Phillies fans. They were shocked, and for a few hours, the Reds were on display and showed the world what they’re capable of. We were so close. That’s where the pain comes from.

Next time, maybe the ball bounces our way. Or finds way to our glove. Maybe it doesn’t. But I can’t say I was surprised to see them collapse like that. It was bound to happen, and if this group at it’s core is ever going to go on to greater heights, they needed something like this to happen.

Remember the taste of it. The feel. The way you felt on the stage when it was all on you. Remember the failure. It’s part of the ride. Tomorrow is game three, and it’s a new day. And if you don’t battle like your life is on the line, it will be the final game the 2010 Reds play.

Perfect post for this song, or song for this post. Whatever: off Roy Oswalt

Bunny Arroyo the perfect pitcher for Friday night's game 2

BoldI’ve been saying all along that Bronson Arroyo is the perfect pitcher to go game 2 for the Reds. He’s our true stopper, even if he’s not an ace like the guy we saw on Wednesday evening for the Phillies.

Arroyo loves Friday night, you know he is a Friday night kind of guy. Like Adam Dunn was a Saturday night kind of guy.

Bronson will bring it Friday evening. Here’s a look at his past starts when the Reds were up against it:

4/8/10 vs. Cards
Reds had lost first two games of season, at risk of going 0-3 at home to start season: Arroyo: ND, 8 IP,1 run
5/16/10 vs Cards Reds had split first two games of series with Cards, had chance to move into 1st place for 1st time this season, win first series vs Cards Arroyo: W, 9 IP, 2 runs
5/21/2010 vs Indians The day after the Atlanta debacle, the Reds cling to a 1/2 game lead Arroyo: W, 6 2/3 IP, 4 runs
5/26/2010 vs Pirates The day after the Reds were shut down by Paul Maholm and had lost a game in part because Drew Stubbs couldn’t find the ball in the lights. Arroyo: W, 7 2/3 IP, 0 Runs
6/17/2010 vs Dodgers Reds had lost three games in a row. June Swoon alert on high as the team is 6 and 8 in June. Arroyo: W, 7 IP, 1 run
6/22/2010 vs. AthleticsAnxiety level still high even though this follows a win. After losing 3 in a row to Seattle, Cordero had blown his 5th save of the year the night before in Oakland, though the team came back to win in the 10th. Arroyo: W, 8 IP, 2 runs
7/7/10 vs. Mets Reds had been shutout the night before by Johan Santana. Arroyo W, 8 IP, 1 run
7/16/2010 vs. Rockies Reds had lost 4 consecutive going into the ASB. Had lost two consecutive 1-0 games. 2nd half fade assured by all talking heads. Arroyo: W, 7 IP, 2 runs
7/31/2010 vs. Braves 6 different bullpen pitchers used on 7/30. Had a big comeback only to be thwarted and lose 6-4 in 10 innings. Arroyo gives up 2 unearned runs in the 1st including walking 1 in, shakes that off and pitches a gem the rest of the way. Arroyo: W, 7 IP, 2 runs 0 ER
8/11/2010 vs. Cards For fairness sake, point out the one time he didn’t win the big bounceback. 3rd game of the Cardinals sweep. This is the game after the brawl. Though to be fair he kept the team in it for four innings before giving up 4 runs in the 5th. Arroyo: L, 5 IP, 4 runs
8/22/2010 vs. Dodgers Reds had lost 8-5 the previous night. Reds hadn’t won a series on the West Coast in forever, but had a chance to here. Arroyo: W, 7 IP, 2 runs
9/2/2010 vs. Cards 1st game of weekend series, pitched well but gave up 3 runs in the first two innings. Did not allow Cardinals to run away with game though and the Reds came back to get within 1. Arroyo: L, 6 IP, 3 Runs
9/13/2010 vs. Dbacks Day after Cordero blows save and gives up 3 runs in the 9th. Lead down to 6, whispers mount about team blowing the lead Arroyo: W, 6 IP, 2 runs
9/24/2010 vs Padres Two days after Johnny Cueto can’t get out of the 2nd inning in a 13-1 thumping, Bronson takes the mound and keeps Reds in game vs. Padres Arroyo: ND, 5 IP, 2 runs
9/30/2010 vs Astros Two days after Clinchmas, and one day after the Post Clinchmas hangover, with the Reds needing wins and some help to get the #2 seed, Arroyo throws a gem to put the Reds in position for the weekend. Arroyo: W, 7 IP, 1 run

The 89th win of the year

I didn’t see a lot of the game last night, I went and hit some golf balls on what is sure to be one of the last mild Fall nights of the year.

I did watch the scoring on my phone to see that Jay Bruce and Drew Stubbs keyed the offense on yet another night. Jay Bruce had three hits and Stubbs homered and drove in four runs.

Bronson Arroyo was very good against the Astros again, he picked up his 17th win of the year going 7 innings, striking out four, allowing only one run. He’s now 17-10 on the season and ready for the opening game of the playoffs. He’s the ace. He’s been the stopper. And he’ll get the ball in the biggest game the Reds have played in 15 years; I expect him to go toe to toe with Roy Halladay, I really do.

This has nothing to do with the game but be sure to check out Better Off Red for a great post about the clinch the other night.

Gutsiest Performance in a lifetime makes Reds a 2010 winner

Last night I was flipping back and forth between the Monday Night Football opener between the Jets and Ravens and of course the Reds game. I didn’t want to miss Jay Bruce’s return. I’ve got to say, last night’s most compelling storyline to wasn’t the showdowns on Monday Night Football but rather Jay Bruce’s gritty performance.

Bruce reached the 20 home run plateau for the third straight season, becoming the 2nd Red in history (Frank Robinson is the other). When he hit his first one, we looked over to our fiance with surprised eyes of joy. It put the Reds on the board after Bronson Arroyo gave up a couple leaving the Reds trailing 2-0; and it was as if Bruce hadn’t missed a beat in two weeks off. Our girlfriend replied as he rounded the bases “I love Jay Bruce”.

We love him too.

The Reds would hit five home runs on the night. Joey Votto would follow with another opposite field shot, Orlando Cabrera and Drew Stubbs (Stubbs went back to back with Bruce to tie the game at 2) would also join in the fun.

This night was a special night not just because the return of the guy who could take the Reds to the next level in the postseason but because the Reds now cannot be a losing team at season’s end. The magic number shrunk to 13 with another Cardinals loss. And postseason baseball is in the air now.

We purchased our playoff tickets this morning through a friend who won the drawing, so we’ll be there if the Reds hold up their end.

If Jay Bruce never hits another home run in a Reds uniform, last night’s return from a long strange injury bout was another warm memory in his young Reds career and a long successful season for the Cincinnati Reds.

Dispatch Report: A Saturday Night Sell-out in Cincinnati

I think this was the second pitch of the game. Bronson Arroyo was the hard luck loser on a night in which the Reds couldn’t scratch across enough against Randy Wells (he seems to do well against Cincinnati) and the Cubs. Arroyo gave up a solo home run to Xavier Nady and a two-run home run to Kosuke Fukudome. The Reds are now 2-8 when I’m in attendance at the park this season.
The second night in a row in which Jay Bruce hit lead off. Bruce also made an incredible catch in the top of the second inning to take away a home run.

This was the night after Jay Bruce’s 3-home run game. There is the moondeck in which Bruce’s three homers landed. Just thought I’d get a shot of this, and although I missed the once in a lifetime event by a night, I was there just hours after the smoke cleared from the three bombs.

And while it was hard to follow up a three home run night, Bruce walked, singled on a line drive to right field, and struck out twice while working a full count in each strike out. Really, it was four good at-bats out of the leadoff spot.
Here’s Joey Votto crossing the plate on his 32nd home run of the season. Votto is still leading the world in hitting at .327, but this was his only hit of the night. A lazer home run to right center field that tied the game at 1-1 (after Xavier Nady’s solo home run in the 2nd inning). You just hope that opposing teams don’t start pitching around Joey Votto too much in the pennant race, which they most assuredly will at times.
A view over the river into Kentucky that most of the stadium can’t see. Despite being pretty muggy preceding several chilly nights that felt like fall, it was a beautiful night. And in my dreams I’d get to spend a summer living in one of those homes in the picture. You often wonder about the people who own those homes. Do they go to the ballpark several times a week? If they don’t, they should. That would be the life. A house on the water just a stone’s throw from Newport, and right across the river from the greatest baseball hotspot on earth.

In my next life, I’d like to own one of those homes.

Votto shows off MVP credentials in Sunday win in Los Angeles

When those lovable 1999 Reds went out west at the end of July they had a really nice series in San Francisco followed by a really nice series in Los Angeles. That was when I knew they had something special (other then winning seven in a row on the road in late May to June 6th).

I think that the Reds proved that this is no ordinary group of Cincinnati Reds in this series, and on a much smaller scale; this game out in Los Angeles. This is the signature game in terms of Joey Votto winning the MVP award. He’s cementing himself as the leader in the clubhouse; and of course Albert Pujols and Ryan Howard among others have a chance to make some noise.

But the Reds are showing us this is no normal group. A normal Reds team on getaway day out in the California sun finds a way to lose this one. They don’t score insurance runs in the top of the 9th inning and then close it out 1-2-3. The normal Reds don’t do this. But these Reds do. Playoff teams do.

Bronson Arroyo pitched his ass off and found a way to win his 14th game of the season. I’ll tell you what, I’ve never been so glad to have Bunny Arroyo as a member of the Reds. Arroyo is going to end up with 18 or 19 wins this season and lead the staff. And they’re going to let him walk. That’s the only thing that seems sure to me. They have ‘too many arms’ and they’ll look at the $11 million price tag and just bid him goodbye.

Foolish move in my opinion. Arroyo is so solid and has blended perfectly here. I think that if anything you trade one of the young arms. I’d keep Bailey, Cueto, Wood, and either Leake or Volquez. Honestly I think Leake’s future is the farthest from a sure thing of any of them. But it’s very clear to me that not only Harang but Arroyo will not be back next year and I think that’s one ingredient of a winning team that we won’t have next season, a guy who anchors your staff. He’s the most consistent and closest thing to a stopper this team has and I’d hate it if he’s not back next year because that would be one thing that would keep us from re-creating the magic of 2010.

The Reds beat a young Clayton Kershaw when he had his dominating stuff. And the home run that Votto hit off him to the opposite field is going to be one of the bigger swings of the season. Of course, don’t forget his 10-pitch legendary at bat.

The Redlegs are 5-1 on this road trip with one city to go. They’ve taken some good punching and they’re still fighting as we enter some of the final rounds.

The Top 10 Reasons to Love the 2010 Reds

I didn’t write this, so I’m not going to pretend that I did. But it belongs on this blog. So here are 10 reasons to love this 2010 Reds team. I’ve got about a million more. I wish Dusty Baker had made his way into this list. Feel free to leave your own in the comments.

10. They’re red-a$$es. A quick look down the roster shows Rolen, Cabrera, Votto, Bruce, Nix, and Gomes all play the game hard and rarely have clean uniforms at the end of games. Might be more than that– I don’t know about Stubbs or Heisey. Might be the most red a$$es on one team since the St. Louis Gas House Gang.

9. The Reds own the ugliest pitching staff in baseball. Bronson Arroyo has a mullet and that weird pencil thin soul patch thing going on. Mike Leake looks like his younger brother. Johnny Cueto and Francisco Cordero are sporting those Amish chin beards so popular with… Amish men who can’t grow real beards. Sam LeCure looks like the love child of Moms Mabley and Foster Brooks. I’m pretty sure Danny Ray Herrera starred in Stand and Deliver. Logan Ondrusek looks like one half of a professional wrestling tag team and Nick Masset is his partner. And the ace of the All-Ugly Staff is Mr. Harangatang himself. Brutal.

8. Brandon Phillips is a joy to watch play in the field. He’s displayed the best range of his career and his arm is strong. Unquestionably the Gold Glove 2B in the National League. Besides, admit it– you like the little no-look shovel to short to start the 4-6-3, don’t you?

7. Bronson Arroyo’s leg kick looks oddly balletic. Every time my wife– a former dancer– sees him, she says something about how graceful he looks.

6. They don’t quit. Sure, you know all about the last at-bat wins. There’s more than that, though. It’s getting down early, but fighting back to take the lead like they did tonight. It’s getting swept in Seattle, then reeling off five (and counting?) wins in a row, sweeping Oakland and taking the first two against Clevelad. It’s getting beaten on a 9th inning dinger off Nix’s head, then coming back and dominating for a couple week stretch.

5. Logan Ondrusek and Danny Ray Herrera sit next to each other in the bullpen. If DRH sat on his lap, Ondrusek would look like a ventriloquist. THAT would be really cool to see.

4. Chris Heisey came from Messiah Bible College. Mike Leake played for the Arizona State Sun Devils. Both sides covered.

3. Arthur Rhodes has pants older than Mike Leake.

2. They’re avowed baseball rats. Joey Votto studies hitting. Jay Bruce takes extra BP. Scott Rolen takes extra BP– while games are going on. They show up early and stay late. They take infield with a purpose. Orlando Cabrera once got into a shouting match with a teammate over him standing too long while admiring his home run shot and disrespecting the game. What’s not to like there?

1. Easy answer– they’re in first place.

I have to say, I like the last reason the most. With the baseball rats being another HUGE reason.

Reds win a tight ballgame in Oakland

Last night was a nice, smooth victory really. Bronson Arroyo had one of those nights where he just cruised. The offense pounded out 13 hits despite only scoring four runs. Bruce and Phillips have three a piece.
Remember when Dallas Braden was talking mad shit? Yeah, flash in the pan type talent in my opinion. This is a Reds team I expect to struggle with anyone of decent left-handed quality. Last night, they were making plenty of hard outs against Braden; or getting themselves out. The guy didn’t pitch all that poorly for someone who left as many 0-2 pitches as fat as he did.
The Reds are going for a sweep this afternoon. They remain one game behind the Cardinals who are playing really nice ball right now; shooting cripples like they should.
Find a way to get through this month without falling more then two games behind the Cardinals. Hell, it’d even be nice to gain a little ground. If you can head into the All-Star break with this still a two team race then we’ve at least got some fun baseball to watch in the second half. I believe the Reds right now are on pace for around 87 or 88 wins.
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We've been waiting on this: Reds take 1st place

We’ve waited a long time for this day, and following up one of the best weekends of baseball that Cincinnati has had in a long time, the Reds again delivered for a lot of people out there like us who realize that there’s no guaruntee that your team sits in first at any point.
A thrilling 4-3 victory on Saturday night in the Civil Rights game that ended with a play at the plate followed a hard luck nip and tuck loss that we were on hand for Friday night. Yesterday’s 7-2 victory with Bunny Arroyo going the distance (the 3rd Reds pitcher of the week to do so) served as the cherry on top.
There’s going to be those fans who don’t really know how to handle pulling for a first place team. We’re not used to our boys being the talk of the town. The Reds play their next 14 games against teams that are .500 or worse, so as long as they handle their business they’ve got the opportunity to enjoy a prolonged run with the title belt. That said, there will be doubters.
Mo Egger summed it up with a great post. There will be people who say they’re not for real. I’ll be the first to admit that this team (still with a run differential of -1 run on the season right now) isn’t perfect. I’d rather be lucky then truly good and I’d rather be scrappy then hyped any day. These guys win ugly. They’re grinders, and you have a feeling that the manager at the helm of this now ruddered ship has to like it. They’re first in defense in the National League. They haven’t committed an error in 11 games. Their starter’s ERA for the past week was almost below 2.00.
Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips, and Drew Stubbs haven’t really even begun to hit at this point. Stubbs had a few big hits over the weekend, but who on this team with the exception of Ryan Hanigan and Joey Votto at points has hit a white-hot temperature at the plate? You know, the type of white-hot that allows you to carry an offense for a week? They are a group of streaky hitters that will do that at some point, and when that happens if they get any pitching it could be scary as to the results.
I want to tell readers that I know the Reds are for real, but I can only confirm what I’ve seen and what I believe in my heart of hearts. All I know for sure is that these Reds are going to ‘be there’ all year long. They’re not a last place team and while they might not be a division winner in the NL Central they’ve shown the Cardinals that they’re not going to just roll over and the longer that the Reds remain in or around that top spot in the NL Central the more they’ll feel ownership of it. They’ll take pride in it. They’ll gain confidence. They’ll get a little moxy, as well as a little swagger.
I’ll say it again: this team is going to be in the thick of things in this subpar division all year long. Even if they do that, things most likely come down to how well they finish–as they don’t have the type of group as it stands that will be able to just run away with things. The longer they stay in it, the more likely that ownership goes out and does what truly needs to happen at some point; which is adding a player. Adding a veteran right-handed hitter who can knock in runs and protect the young guys in the lineup. It’s been a long time since the Reds were relevant enough to be adding personnel at the big league level. Of course, that’s not counting the move to add Scott Rolen to the mix last year, which has been great. Rolen is the team leader right now. He takes a lot of pressure off Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips, and Joey Votto. He’s the guy everyone is looking to for the big hit rather than a 23-year old youngster. To a lesser degree, Orlando Cabrera has been one of those guys. But at some point the longer we’re in contention the more the percentages increase that we add a really nice player for the middle of the lineup.
As always it’s a high character group. It always has been, but now that they’re actually winning a little that is going to be talked about in the media. Turds like Baseball Tonight are going to have to start giving the Reds a little serious run-time if we can just hang on a little longer. And who knows, with any luck the Reds can maybe get TWO All-Stars instead of the usual one.
But there’s one thing no one can take away from any of us. For at least one day in this life we live, for one day in the 2010 season we were kings. We’ll see where it gets us from here but you can’t overstate how good it feels. Right now I’m just soaking it in and enjoying it hoping to hang onto the ride for a little longer. Have a look:

First place. It’s a beautiful thing.

Was Votto's Mothers Day Sunday Slam a Defining Moment?

I didn’t see Joey Votto’s home run in the bottom of the 7th inning that beat the Cubs on Mother’s Day. I was actually in the dugout playing a baseball game myself. I have a teammate, a guy who was on my college team who is a big Reds fan. He had his Droid out and was checking the box score.
“Damn, the Reds came back and won. They were trailing 3-2 and they came back and won on a 3-run jack by Votto. Leake got the win again,” he said as we took our own lumps as a team.
Last night’s 2-1 working man’s win over the Pirates made it three in a row. That’s 10 of the last 14. That’s really good baseball.

I missed Votto’s home run except for the highlight shows that night. It was an epic blast. Nothing cheap about that home run. Joey is having an All-Star season. He’s the lynchpin in the Cincinnati lineup. Without him, this isn’t a .400 club. I don’t give him enough admonishment. Joey, you’re appreciated and you’re a hell of a hitter.
And every once in a while, there’s a turning point in the where your club you root for defines itself. There’s been a few times when I thought I saw those moments. I was wrong and blinded by homerism and wanting my Reds to be sweet cinderella that year. But I read something the other day written by a long-time Reds fan that made me think a little bit. Have a look:
The Votto homerun on Sunday reminded me of another homerun from almost 40 years ago.
My memory fails me as to the exact details of the event 40 years ago and I will explain what I can remember and maybe some other poster can fill in the blanks for me…..anyway, I recall it being the 1972 season and the month being July. The Reds were trailing the Dodgers in the NL West and played a Sunday afternoon doubleheader. They were trailing late in the first game when their reserve catcher, namely Hal King, hit a game winning 3 run HR off of (I believe) Don Sutton. The Reds went on to sweep the doubleheader and ended up passing the Dodgers soon thereafter on their way to the NL West title.
Like some other have stated on this board recently, it seems as though the Reds are slowly beginning to gel…..and the game yesterday just seemed to be the kind of memorable moment that can sometimes he looked back upon as the point where a positive wave began.
The guy who wrote that was actually wrong. The doubleheader was actually in 1973. But he had one thing right. That fan saw from afar a team grow up. A lot of those guys were part of what would become the Big Red Machine.
I think there were countless times like this in the 1999 season we all loved and long for so much. If the Reds keep delivering for the most part, winning 2 of 3 here and 2 of 3 elswhere; then just maybe that old time fan was right.
The Reds are at a point where they’re defining what the 2010 team is. Every night, they’re defining who they’ll be remembered as somewhat. You have to like what you’re seeing out of these guys since that Saturday circus carnival at home against San Diego. They look focused at the very least.

Photoblogging: Mets 5, Reds 4 (The Rod Barajas Bomb Game)

This was not a game I want to remember, but we made the trip and I’ll throw up a few photos and the commentary that goes with it. I pretty much sulked and acted like an ass the entire night due to the Reds mustering jack-shit off a run of the mill right hander like John Maine.

I mean, how do you let a guy like John Maine beat you? He entered the game with a 7.11 ERA and the Reds were off all night at the plate. Maine was throwing around 89-90 MPH the entire game.

I threw a picture up of David Wright above because he did his thing. The guy is back. That’s exactly what I said when he launced a two run jack off of Bronson Arroyo.

Ike Davis. This was Ike Davis’ second road game of his professional career I’m told. Reds fans, remember back when Jay Bruce broke into the big leagues? This is the Mets version of Jay Bruce in a way.
This guy has a sweet stroke. He was a tough out all night long and lined several line drives around the ball park. I’d like to see him develop a bit more power but he has a good swing and a nice approach for a guy who’s been up all of about two weeks.

Reds owner Bob Castellini is spotted just before Brandon Phillips dropped a monster bomb off the foul pole in left field. He was in and out of the owners box just before the game.

Our boy Jay Bruce right before he worked a walk off John Maine. Or perhaps it was a strikeout. I’m pretty sure it was a walk and he ended up scoring a run that would put the Reds on the scoreboard. It was a rough night for Jay. A couple of strikeouts, a ball nubbed. I wanted to see Jay drop bombs. It’ll have to wait until I’m present another time.

Here’s a view of the moondeck on this beautiful 76 degree night. If you look close enough, the Redlegs are in 2nd place in the standings up there. Lets hope that lasts through the summer. The crowd looked better then it was. A crowd of 13,813 showed up to have their hearts broken by Coco Cordero and Rod Barajas.
This was the kid I was really excited about seeing and he got in the game. The man who might make Francisco Rodriguez expendable. If I’m the Reds or anyone else I try to see what I have to give up to grab ahold of this future Rolaids relief man of the year award winner. Jenrry Mejia. Throwing absolute gas up there at 97, 98, 98, 96, 97 MPH. He’s 21 years old. I love watching this guy pitch and I wish Votto or Bruce would have gotten some hacks off him.

Reds slay the Dragon that is Roy Oswalt

Roy Oswalt is now 23-2 lifetime against the Reds
The Reds hadn’t beaten Roy Oswalt since 2006 when Brandon Claussen was the opposing pitcher. Last night in the first few innings they looked like they were trying to slay a dragon. Guys weren’t getting good hacks and we stranded six runners through three innings. But the Reds did what confident, veteran, successful ball clubs do. They waited Oswalt out and battled until he had to come out of the game. They built a 3-0 lead on the strength of a Joey Votto home run; which by the way, was the display of perfect hitting on an outside fastball after getting pounded inside all night. Votto hit one into the top of the Crawford boxes for home run #4 on the season.
Owners of a winning streak
At the beginning of the week we tweeted that you were going to see the Reds play some good baseball. Not only is the new lineup better, but the Reds were due to face a string of right handed starters that favored them in matchups. Guys with good fastballs and not a lot of breaking stuff. There was a method to our madness in predicting some Reds success. Since Dusty Baker held the closed door meeting and that horrible 5-0 loss last Saturday, the Reds have won four straight. It’s just enough to get everyone excited and bring us back to .500 and 2nd place in the division. Last time we had a mini-run and headed to St. Louis for a clash for the division, things didn’t go well (last year). We’ll see how the Reds fare this weekend, we’ll learn a lot about them.
Jay Bruce
Bruce hit his 4th home run of the season against Tim Byrdak in the 7th inning. He also added a double to the gap off Oswalt. He needs to keep it going, but as Dusty Baker said about him, if he can make a move before he has 150 and 200 at-bats on the year, you set yourself up for a nice season. It might appear that Jay is making his move. He’s now had multi-hit games in 3 of his last 4. Just keep it going, Jay. He’s really a huge factor in this lineup when he’s swinging like he has been.
Bunny Arroyo
Bunny got his first win of the season last night, and he pitched well. He worked quickly and despite getting into a little trouble in the bottom of the 7th, he gave the Reds exactly what they needed; a guy who could take the ball and match Roy Oswalt pitch for pitch long enough to give us a chance. A huge start by Arroyo. Makes you realize when this guy is on, we have a formidable rotation.

Heading to St. Louis

The Reds have three games in St. Louis with the division leaders starting today with Brad Penny opposing Johnny Cueto. I was thinking on my drive into work; how nice is it in theory to send a guy out to the mound every night that gives us a chance to win? In past years we’d have 2 or maybe 3 guys you felt like that at most. Right now, we’ve got guys who should keep us in the ballgame each and every night and we could win if the offense does their job. The Reds face three right-handers this weekend in Penny, Kyle Lohse and Chris Carpenter on Sunday. You have to hope for 2 out of 3. And until it’s over, you have to hope to keep this win streak going as long as possible. It seems like it’s been so long since the Reds have had a week in which they didn’t lose a game. Win tonight, and you have a winning month of April.

Reds swept in Pittsburgh

Other then Jay Bruce getting home runs #1 and #2 on the season, the positives were few and far between for the Reds who were swept in a 5-3 loss on an overcast Sunday in Pittsburgh.
We knew entering this series that the Reds would be lucky to take even one of three games from the Pirates. Fact is, even though the Pirates are known as the cellar dwellar of the Central, the Reds don’t handle them well; especially in Pittsburgh.
It came down to one bad inning in which Bunny Arroyo allowed 5 earned runs. Arroyo wasn’t horrible aside from that inning, working 7 innings with 3 walks and 7 strikeouts.
This Reds team has a thin lineup. They don’t have the ability to come from behind night after night. The Reds worked all weekend without the services of Scott Rolen, and with Joey Votto feeling the effects of the flu. When those things happen it’s going to be a tough day offensively.
Still it’s encouraging that maybe Jay Bruce is getting going a little bit at the plate. Bruce homered off of a tough lefty in Paul Maholm, and the Pirates closer Octavio Dotel (who otherwise had a 9th inning that saw him strikeout three). Both swings were off breaking balls. Bruce once again was robbed of a hit which would have been a three hit day on a nice play by Garrett Jones.
The Reds come home to host a couple of teams from the West, and we’re already deeming it time to Circle the Wagons. This homestand is going to determine a lot about not only this season and how it turns out but also some things for the future as far as personnel in our opinion. More on that later, but it’s time for the Reds to turn things around and quickly. If not, the focus is going to be waiting til next year like we’ve so often done.