The Reds battled hard today to try to spit the hook and avoid the sweep at home at the hands of the World Champions. Every time they cut the deficit to one, the Giants would add one. Finally, the Reds ran out of outs.
And man, I’ve been in Cincinnati countless times on one of these Sunday’s when the team loses. It’s always an afternoon game and you have the slow solemn walk back to your car, for me it was usually up to Vine and 5th street. The town seems still. The club is leaving town and the town will stay still for several days until the team returns and there is life again and the hope of victories for a town that loves their club.
Jay Bruce had another one of those games; it makes you say ‘here he comes’ with one of his customary hot streaks. He was a few feet away from a grand slam with a single off the wall. Later in the game he connected and took a tough lefty deep in Jeremy Affeldt. All the tell-tale signs are there. Jay Bruce is coming out of this awful funk. It was his first three-hit game since September of 2014. If the Reds have any hope of being spoken for until late in the year, it’s paramount that Bruce returns to form.
It was also good to see Brandon Phillips go yard. There of course were more negatives than positives today. And it was a day that makes you realize why this year’s’ Reds team is so frustrating to watch for nine innings. They aren’t sound or consistent in any facet of the game. The bullpen blows up all hopes in a soul-crushing, demeaning fashion every time hope appears.
So, this song fits. Until the team returns to town and tries to get back on the horse and right this ship to make one last run with this core.
Yes, the Reds were trounced at home for the second night in a row 11-2 by those pest Giants. Brandon Crawford hit a grand slam and Baby Giraffe Brandon Belt homered for the second straight night.
But Bruce hit a hanging pitch from Ryan Vogelsong into the seats, singled, and almost homered in his first at bat, flying out to the wall in right center. He looked a little better.
This was Bruce’s 188th career homer, all as a Red. This was game number 1001 in a Reds uniform. We are hoping that the final chapter has not been written for Bruce in a Reds uniform. We’re almost to Memorial Day; and it’s simply time to get going. Time to circle the wagons. Ride or die time. Now or never.
Each game represents sands in the hourglass. Every pitch, every at-bat. As Mo Egger recently pointed out, it’s not a young player finding his way, nor is it an aging veteran we are discussing here. This is an integral part of the Reds core.
This is a guy we love. But the numbers never really lie. Here’s to the baseball Gods bringing some of that magic to Jay Bruce’s bat from here forth and sending him on one of those customary hot streaks that only Jay Bruce has (we’ve all seen them) which makes us question the bane of our existence and defies everything we had seen before it.
Game four of the NLDS, and Bryce Harper may have cemented his legend in baseball once and for all.
It was evident that Harper was still locked in from the early going, as he missed a home run to center in his first at bat by a narrow margin. In his second trip to the plate he doubled in the Nationals first run with a great at bat.
In his third at-bat, he took nasty Hunter Strickland into McCovey Cove to tie the game in epic fashion. It was a moment for the ages in postseason baseball.
Bryce Harper has FOUR #postseason HRs before the age of 22. Only other players to do that? Andruw Jones, Miggy and Mantle.
Welp, that’s a wrap. For all intensive purposes, baseball season ended for us tonight a bit prematurely. In a matter of hours, two teams we love to watch completed the foursome of elimination in the League Division Series with the Cardinals getting past Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers and the Giants breaking the hearts of the Nationals out in the Bay Area.
I never dreamed when this postseason started that a World Series would exist without at least one of these two teams. It almost seems unfair – but it’s not. The Giants and Cardinals took the fight to these teams. They just went out and took it, with the help of a little more clutch hitting and better management.
I spent a TON of time watching Washington and Los Angeles this season. They were entertaining, yet flawed teams. Until the spring comes, I won’t see them again. If you want to see the remaining teams left in the playoffs, find and buy sports tickets to do so.
Harper had an absolutely huge game, making two great defensive catches with the game on the line, drawing a walk that started the rally, and hitting of course his monstrous home run which was his third of his postseason.
To take a quote from Brandon Belt – that’s probably one of the hardest balls Harper has hit.
You have to love lowly Jean Machi pointing in the air for the ball to assist his outfielder as it heads toward McCovey Cove. Yeah, Jean. He’s got no chance for this.
So the Nationals live to fight at least one more day, 4-1. They survived Madison Bumgarner and one has to wonder if this series has swung and the Nationals have enough left in the tank to get it back to Washington. One thing is for sure – nothing gives the Nats a shot in the arm like a monster Harper bomb.
Bryce Harper possibly hit the premiere home run of the postseason this afternoon. And the Nationals lost a heartbreaker, giving those rotten Giants from the left coast their ninth straight playoff victory. But damn it, Bryce Harper put on his eye black and brought his game to the park today.
And the Nats seemed so lifeless for much of the day. I had the thought that if they could just get a Bryce Harper home run; it would be the one thing that could ignite the crowd and the rest of the Nationals enough to get them back into the game while trailing 3-0. It needed to be something big, and something epic.
And man, they don’t get any bigger or epic than this one. The only way it could have been more out of The Natural is if it was to win a game. It came off a guy in Hunter Strickland who is a relative newcomer to the Major League level, and his stuff is absolutely filthy. He’s never been touched up like this before:
Harper turned on a 97 MPH fastball, and nearly hit it out of the stadium.
The Nationals would add an Asdrubal Cabrera home run to cut the deficit to it’s final resting spot of 3 to 2, but the titanic home run wasn’t enough to dig them out of the hole that their slumber caused.
Still, anyone who tuned in today expecting to see Harper and Stephen Strasburg play the roles of the two leading Knights in the baseball Camelot that is the Nation’s capital got half of it (Harper also broke up Jake Peavy’s no-hitter the second time through the lineup).
Bryce Harper's 7th-inning HR traveled 445', longest of his career. It was tracked at 114.2 mph when it left his bat. pic.twitter.com/1l0iUOjuqP
My buddy/former fraternity brothers Brent and Ryan from DC were present at the Nationals game yesterday to see the masterpiece of a game the Nats put together in slaughtering the San Francisco Giants 14-6 to take yet another series from a National League foe.
When they paid for their ticket and got to their seats, they had no idea that they were about to be at a Bryce Harper Home Run game. But it was exactly that. When Bryce Harper homered off the Giants J.C. Gutierrez, it was the 49th of his career; and his seventh of the season.
My friends also got to see Harper’s first home run that went off a foul pole in any park, and a Stephen Strasburg start (he got rocked).
He also saved the Giants from getting swept by the dreadful Pads, winning 4-0. His first no-hitter took 148 pitches, this one only took 113 as he struck out six and walked one.
I was the lucky SOB who choose to add him in a fantasy league last night off the wire – because ‘the Giants aren’t getting swept by the Padres’ and that was the lone reason.
I came home from work in time to see the final three outs, to see history. I heard Krukow’s call of the final out and saw the joy on the catcher’s face as he ran to the mound and grabbed Timmy.
To think it was his 236th career start today, and this was probably his best start ever. And this is why baseball is both equal parts magical and random. Tim Lincecum just woke up, and it was his day. No one in the world would have planned on a no-hitter for him today but it took on a life of it’s own.
There were some late-night Friday firewords out at Chavez Ravine last evening, and I was lucky enough to catch it live. Yasiel Puig continues to be one of the most electrifying watches in the sport. And Madison Bumgarner is a chippy crybaby.
Puig is one of those talents that still manages to do something each night, even if an elite talent is on the mound and on top of their game (San Francisco won the game 3-1). He’s on the cusp of entering that next dimension in the sport right now – if you watch him night over night he’s really been on fire lately and having great at bats. I am glad I caught this part of the game:
I like what our friendly neighborhood Puig did here; notice that Bumgarner was quite the sportsman when he quick-pitched Puig to take an easy strike on his opponent. All is fair and well. When Puig steps back in the box and gets all of a Bumgarner fastball up in the zone and then flips his bat and puts his head down (it’s just his thing, relax) Bumgarner suddenly takes exception to another aspect that is simply part of the game.
The 2013 San Francisco Giants had a weird year coming off their World Championship which saw them go 76-86 and finish fourth in the NL West.
This season will be interesting for the Giants. They are a veteran team with much enough of the core remaining from the World Championship runs that if they were to make a run, it wouldn’t be completely shocking. At the same time, I look at this Giants roster and I just don’t get excited. That’s not different from how I felt writing the 2010 and 2012 season previews for the Giants.
Really, the Giants play a certain style of game out in that big park by the bay. It’s a slow paced game most nights. There are a lot of ugly wins. The Giants have built a quality organization of which the main cornerstones remain in-tact. They will be competitive, but they have a few blemishes we see that will keep them from making a serious run in 2014.
Major Off-season Moves:
Signed Tim Hudson to a 2-year, $23 million dollar contract
Signed Mike Morse to a 1-year, $6 million dollar contract
Signed Tyler Colvin
Signed Hunter Pence to a 5-year, $90 million dollar contract extension
Signed Tim Lincecum to a 2-year, $35 million dollar contract extension
Signed Javier Lopez to a 3-year, $13 million dollar extension
There’s nothing that overwhelms me here. I like Mike Morse more than a lot of the new-age sabermetrics crowd. But you have to wonder what kind of team the Giants were trying to scrape together here. Defense? Keep the core together? I look at the amount that Lincecum and Hudson signed for, and I say to myself the Giants could have landed a top-tier arm for this amount. At the end of the day, it’s kind of cool that Big-Time Timmy Jim is staying put in San Francisco. He’s an icon there, and the contract kind of signifies that the Giants got sentimental on us.
Click through the jump to learn the fates and facts of the 2014 Gigantes.
The Reds played 18 innings of baseball yesterday, and I made sure to see all of them. Nothing especially great happened in the second game after another big win in the first. The Reds left 12 men on base and squandered opportunities all (late) night long.
In the first game, the Reds rolled to another victory with Devin Mesoraco, Shin-soo Choo, and Zach Cozart all going yard. Cozart had four hits in the game and Tony Cingrani did his thing to improve to 4-1.
It would have been a huge boost to the Reds to win two games in one day yesterday, and again with every opportunity in the world to truly get on a roll, the 2013 Reds did what they have done so often this season. They teased and they teased and they teased some more.
When I returned home from my buddy’s house and pulled in my driveway it was almost 2:30 AM and the Reds had let me down. My wife had texted just minutes earlier that she was locking the door if I didn’t come home immediately. Times are good when it’s summer, and you’re 30, and there’s late-night baseball on.
Baseball needs to bring back the scheduled doubleheader. It’s good for fans. All day, no matter what went wrong in my day; I knew I got to come home tonight to 18 innings of baseball between the Reds and Giants. That’s the kind of anticipation that breeds happy fans.
So baseball, here’s my pitch. Every team in baseball gets to host one scheduled doubleheader during the season. It doesn’t have to be with both games at night (it would be nearly impossible for a team in the Midwest or East to pull this off) but everyone has to play one. It’s like all NFL teams sharing the responsibility of playing overseas once every few seasons.
So everyone settle in for two games out in San Francisco between the Reds and the Giants (who dare we say, are starting a mini-rivalry). If you don’t have all Reds and Giants in your fantasy lineups this evening, shame on you. It’s like a lottery ticket and every guy has the chance to go off and have a big time day in the double-dip (Ben Zobrist drove in 10 a few seasons back in a doubleheader).
And now here’s your classic rock song of the day to set the mood. How about a little Sammy?
I loved how the Reds treated that big pitcher’s park in San Francisco like it was a little league homer park last night. The Reds got home runs from Shin-soo Choo, Devin Mesoraco, and Jay Bruce to pad an 11-0 win over the Giants, sending Tim Lincecum to the showers after 3 and 2/3 innings and getting into the Giants bullpen early the day before a doubleheader. It’s keys like that which should win you a series in baseball; and winning a series to start a West Coast trip is no small order.
Shane Robinson added three hits, and Todd Frazier had two including a bases clearing double in the first inning that put the Reds up 3-0. Robinson also made a terrific catch.
The Reds again find themselves with a chance to get things rolling – they’ve won three of four games since play resumed after the All-Star Break and are within 4 and 1/2 games of the Cardinals in the NL Central. But the 2013 Reds MO has been one of teasing so far. They win one, and then they come out flat. They look like they’re really going to get rolling and then they fail to keep their fans excited and momentum rolling. They haven’t had a true run this season where you could say they’re completely ‘hot’ to this point.
It would be just like the Reds after a big win last night in which they were firing on all cylinders (Bronson Arroyo threw a complete game shutout, so the pitching staff is rested coming into today) to come out and either split today after blowing a lead or somehow lose both.
IF the Reds can manage two wins today in two ballgames, that’s a big deal. Some of the great Reds teams of the past (1999 Reds, 2010 Reds) went into San Francisco and made it a rallying point of their West Coast trip. Today is a huge day in the constant pendulum swing that is the 2013 Cincinnati Reds season.
Tim Lincecum completed a no-hitter just a few strokes after 1:00 AM in the Midwest, and it took 148 pitches. The final out recorded was a fly ball off the bat of Yonder Alonso to left fielder Gregor Blanco. Lincecum had a close call in the 8th inning when Alexi Amarista hit a line drive to right field, but Hunter Pence made an outstanding diving catch to keep the no-no in tact. Pence also added a solo home run to make it a 9-0 Giants lead.
The no-hitter couldn’t have came at a more unexpected time for “Big Time Timmy”. In his last 10 games, Lincecum was 1-7 with a 5.06 ERA.
You have to be happy for Linecum who despite his struggles is one of the true good guys in the game. It wast the 15th no-hitter in Giants history. The 148 pitches Linecum needed were the most since Edwin Jackson threw 149 to complete his own no-hitter back in 2010.