[Box Score][Cincinnati.com] [Hardball Talk]
There’s a lot going on with this team right now. On the night the Reds climbed 8 games ahead of the Cardinals in the NL Central race, Aroldis Chapman picked up his first win in his career. This will also go down in history as the night that Yonder Alonso made his big league debut (albeit with an excuse me type swing). The excitement at the ball park is palpable if you’re a true fan that has watched this team flounder for the past decade.
I’m impressed by Chapman. I can’t figure out how he is throwing as hard as he is, but I figure that they’ve got his mechanics just right at this point and he’s in the zone on the mound in mastering those mechanics. That’s why you see the jump on the fastball. That’s why you see the slider (which probably grades out at a perfect 80 by scouts). I buy the momentum and shot in the arm that Chapman represents. I don’t think it’s overstated in the slightest. The guy makes the Reds contenders to go deep in the postseason.
I think the National League is wide open; and the Reds will be right in the thick of things if they can get a few guys back healthy. I’m concerned about Jay Bruce. I’m concerned about Arthur Rhodes. I’m needing to see Phillips swing the bat well for a few weeks. But if they get these things in place I’m telling you right now that this team could roll right into the World Series if the stars get a little more aligned. I’m not being a homer. I’m telling you, it’s a reality.
And now for my favorite Clapton tune of all time. You tell me with a straight face that this one shouldn’t be played on the loudspeakers at a ball park near you!
Seems like a day of reckoning has arrived Reds fans. After a decade and a half of losing, we’re as close to the top of the baseball world as we’ve been since 1990.
Last night, as Joey Votto and Scott Rolen made back to back extraordinary plays to close out the Reds 8-4 victory and ensure another series win; they did it just as Thom Brennaman had announced that the Cardinals had been shut out yet again. The Reds lead over the Cardinals had been increased to seven games with just 30 left to play.
But the story of the night was the phenom Aroldis Chapman and his fastball going 101, 100, 102, 103 and a slider that fell off the table.
Being a baseball fan, these are the nights you remember forever. No matter how long you have enjoyed the game of baseball, and no matter how many seasons in the sun that follow; you’ll always remember the 2010 Reds. I can only imagine what it would be like to have this be the team you began to follow when you first started to follow the game of baseball. This isn’t a perfect team, but it will be a memorable one; with several figures that will hold their respectful prominence place in this game forever. It’s a little bit like those 1990 Reds were for me (I was only eight). But it really is similar.
Last night, St. Louis had already lost their game 3-0 and I decided to go out for a late run around the neighborhood and listen to the extra innings affair.
As the sweat started to pour off me, Jay Bruce laced his game winning single to left field off Trevor Hoffman and Jim Kelch belted out that the Reds had done it again. Summer coming to the end and the text messages flowing into my iPhone from all of my redleg nation peers. As I told one of them, we’ve only just begun.
And as I told someone at the office this morning (a place that remarkably, is an easier place to get up and come to when your favorite team is playing like this); the Reds are winning games even when they’re making fundamental mistakes. Every move is working–like the move to pinch run Brandon Phillips for Ryan Hanigan last night and to leave Chris Heisey in on a double switch. Things aren’t back-firing and the momentum is snow balling. That’s when you know it could be your year.
The Reds just keep on rolling. They’ve got 18 wins this August, the most wins they’ve had in a month since August of 1999. These guys are talented. The National League is wide open. If they continue to handle their business they have a chance to cement their place in the annals of this great game. Every night is big and crucial, that can’t be overstated.
I didn’t know much about Lorenzo Cain before last night, except that he wore a pitcher’s number on his back. But this kid can flat out ball in center field. If I’m in the Brewers front office I probably stick him in the lead-off or two spot in my order and see what he can do; if he shows anything he’s my Opening Day center fielder next season.
Cain made one of the best catches I’ve seen all season by nearly going through the screen last night to rob Paul Janish of extra bases in the 6th inning.
At the end of the night, the Reds had pulled out another game and gained another game in the standings on the Cardinals. With the excitement that’s been built and is continuing to build with each passing day (magic number is down to 27), it gets no better than moments like right now in Cincinnati. This is what it’s all about.
I fell asleep towards the middle innings of today’s Reds game. What can I say, I was tuckered out. When I awoke the Reds were 5 games up on the Cardinals and the magic number was down to 29. The Reds had delivered in the hot sun on a Sunday and Jay Bruce had hit home run #17 on the season. As I remarked and thought about, I used to have to go to sleep in order to formulate dreams that would produce what is now true reality.
Everything is rolling right now. Like that Robert Earl Keen song, The Road Goes on Forever and the Party Never Ends. That’s what this is feeling like in late August 2010. During some points of the 2010 season the Reds have looked like they were going to collapse, only to show you that they had a beautiful unwrapped gift for us all. To show people like me who have doubted them at points that doubters should step aside and clean the egg off their proverbial face. Who knows where the hell this ride ends. It really could end up special beyond our wildest imaginations.
I don’t know if they’ll fend off the Cardinals. I can’t predict the future, but I know that people in St. Louis are starting to give up hope. The Cardinals have a long way to go and a short time to get there (another reference to a song that I love).
A week from now the Reds will be wrapping up a series in St. Louis that sets up as the biggest series they’ve probably played in over a decade. I’d make a case that they’re all big right now, and every night is a playoff atmosphere. Next weekend while big for the Reds, is even bigger for the Cardinals. The Reds have played welll enough to this point that taking even one of three on Labor Day weekend sets them up nicely for the stretch run.
I’m not punching a playoff ticket yet, as I’ve seen too many whacky things happen in sports to count my chickens before they hatch. I believe this team will be in the postseason as I believe they’re in the top four teams in the National league, if not on paper then in terms of intangibles and chemistry. This is just ‘one of those years’ I think for the Reds, by God. But we’re not betting on machines here, we’re betting on something uncertain; human beings. The Reds still have almost a quarter of a season that they must handle their business as they have to this point. If they do that, they’ll be where we all want them to be.
Today, wearing that Sunday day-time Red, was another one of those days in which they handled their business and took another series. I can wake up and start my long work week (I have to work this Friday following the opening of the OSU Buckeyes football season unlike many of my peers) with a smile. And speaking of football, NCAA will be here soon; the NFL in two weeks, and I could give a shit.
It’s still Reds season and I love it.
This was the Homer Bailey I know and love. This was the guy we saw down the stretch last year. Homer Bailey (aside from Miguel Cairo’s 2-run poke that gave us our only offense on the day) was the whole damn show.
He struck out five and walked no one. Aside from having guys foul off one too many pitches, he was really dominating. It was obvious that he was painting all day long. This is a guy that for right now you have to leave in the rotation. He looks like he’s putting it all together. If he can be anything close to how he was down the stretch last season; he could help catapult us in this pennant race.
I’m extremely happy for Homer Bailey, and he’s one of my favorite Reds. I believe we’re seeing a guy who is delivering on his promise and becoming a very established big league pitcher.
The Reds celebrating the sweep moments after Coco Cordero recorded the final out. This was also just a short while after the stadium PA announcer let the crowd know that the Cubs had a 7-1 lead on the Cardinals. The crowd roared. I just kind of thought to myself that no matter what happens, it’s exciting to be part of all this as a fan and I imagine the players are taking hold of what is happening around them. The town is starting to buy into the fact that we’re at the very least a good team this season.
The final scoreboard. The bullpen did an outstanding job, getting scoreless innings from Logan Ondrusek, Nick Masset, and of course the temperamental Cordero. Miguel Cairo’s line drive shot off a hanging breaking ball that landed in the left field seats was the only offense the Reds mustered on the day. And for this good team, it was enough.
Joey Votto got tossed today. I dropped an “F” bomb when it happened. I was really looking forward to seeing him hit today. I honestly think he would have dropped multiple bombs. The home plate umpire D.J.Rayburn is on our shit list, from now until forever.
Hey D.J., just something to think about here. There was almost thirty thousand people in that stadium today. How many of them do you think came to see Joey Votto hit? How many of them came to see you? Just a simple thought, dickbag.
Gotta hand it to Aaron Harang for last night’s performance. It wasn’t Cy Young material, but it was a win and he ate up 6 and 1/3 innings–114 overall pitches in getting his 3rd win on the year. Harang also provided a key hit in the Reds 5-run 4th inning.
This was a game I could have seen the Reds struggling, the old Reds that is. They were facing a lefty in Brian Burres; a guy that Reds teams of the past would have made look like an All-Star. It seems however that this year’s version of the Reds are figuring out lefthanders a lot better then teams of the past. That’s one of the biggest differences I see in this group. I don’t have the stats, but I’d guaruntee that the Reds of 2010 are having markedly more success against southpaws then any team in the past five years.
It looks like there was a lot going on down at the old ballyard last night. It was the 75th anniversary of the first night game in baseball. The Reds did some special fireworks displays to entertain a crowd of just 13,385.
Now on an 83 degree clear night when a lot of the kids are out of school, why is a first place team not drawing more bodies then that? I know why I wasn’t there. I’ll be there at least once on this homestand, and I live two hours away. But if we don’t go out and get that player that puts us over the top; we have no one to blame but ourselves. We must show ownership that we’re excited about this team. If you’re reading these words and not planning on going out and seeing the Reds play, you’re part of the problem. If you’re a real Reds fan, now is the time to catch Reds fever and get your butt down to the park to see these guys. Then when the time comes about a month and a half from now to add some players, and we don’t do it; it’s because we’re losing money.
Go get yourself a cheap ticket and see these guys play. As I told a friend last night, they’re as for real as for real gets in Reds country. They’re now just a half game back of the Phillies for the best team in the National League–two in the loss column. They’re tied record-wise with the Yankees. It’s time to support this group and as long as they keep getting W’s, you have to be happy about it.