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.
Tonight on The Baseball Show MJ Lloyd, Mike Hllywa and I got together to talk some baseball. Here are the things we got going about:
-The Tom Verducci Sports Illustrated story about Mike Trout.
-A solid ten minute conversation about Trout’s 2014 season, and the spoiled brat fantasy owners who complain about it.
-Comparing Yu Darvish, Masahiro Tanaka and other Japanese pitchers.
-How many home runs will Jose Abreu hit this year?
-What is wrong with the Royals?
-Thoughts on the NL Central, NL West, NL East.
-Madison Bumgarner’s snot rockets (nice find, Mike)… and Yasiel Puig takes him deep during the show.
If you like baseball you’re going to love tonight’s show.
I had money on the Nationals last night, so late in the night when I should have been in bed and dreaming; I was a little unhappy when Bryce Harper misplayed a fly ball rocket in right field that allowed the Giants to tie the ballgame.
But entering today, you just kind of had the feeling that Harper would find a way to redeem himself a little bit. How about an opposite field shot off a tough lefty in a ballpark that doesn’t yield many home runs and to a part of the park that see’s few off a lefty bat? Consider it done.
The run gave the Nationals a 1-0 lead in a game they desperately needed. It looked for a while like it would be storybook and hold up and allow them to snap their slide. It would go down as a heroic answer to a heartbreaker the night before. A game that many would be able to recall for years – perhaps some who blew off the latter part of the work day to see this one.
But Drew Storen had the chance to object. He allowed Buster Posey to tie the game with a single in the 8th.
That was as good as you can see Bronson Arroyo look. It was his crowning moment in his Reds career. Maybe except for this commercial that I caught last night shortly after Cincinnati grabbed a 1-0 lead on Ryan Ludwick’s solo home run:
The Reds continued to play sound defense and add-on in the top frames until the game was through.
As we sit here on the eve of only the second postseason baseball game in Cincinnati in 17+ years, I hope the Reds realize they haven’t won anything yet. I hope they realize that the journey is still long. Two wins out West is very special, and it’s the hallmark of a team that means business. But the Giants could easily come back and win this series. This was just the first two dominoes that needed to fall in order to do something in this postseason. If the Reds come out flat tomorrow night, things can snowball in a hurry and this can quickly become the worst dogfight they’ve ever been involved in.
If you want my opinion, the Reds get the match-up they need tomorrow night. I don’t want them to face Matt Cain again. And I still think they’re damn lucky to have had such an easy time with Madison Bumgarner (though I’ll say it’s a misconception that I fall victim to in thinking that this roster of Reds struggles against LHP).
Tomorrow around dinner time, the Reds will face Ryan Vogelsong. He’s a good, solid big league starter. But he’s the kind of righty that the Reds should want to advance against in that park. He’s not Matt Cain, and he’s not Bumgarner.
Go ahead and move on in front of your fans on Tuesday night boys, and let the Cardinals and Nationals slug things out for a few more days. I have to admit, I want the Reds to just keep playing at this point. The worst thing that could happen was to give them a day off and a day to even think about what they’re doing. They’re going so good right now that you just hope they can get back out there on a diamond as soon as possible and keep rolling.
Part of how this team has already been able to do what they’re doing is I don’t even think they realize fully what they’re doing. They’re like a fearless teenager who takes a lot of risks because they don’t know how fragile life is at that age; the Reds still don’t grasp how delicate every single moment is in this postseason. And that allows them to be dangerous in this situation.
Tomorrow I’ll come home from work. I’ll slip on the #32 Bruce jersey (he got another big knock last night). I’ll hopefully see my team advance to the NLCS, making the vision I had back in 2010 the night we were eliminated from the NLDS a reality. To this point, I could not be more proud of how they’ve performed. I can’t even believe this is really happening.
Let it be said, let it be written. The Reds path with destiny will go through San Francisco.
Before the season began, I had a premonition that the Reds would make the NLCS. Early in the season, I had the Reds losing to an NL West team (Giants or Dodgers, and I eventually decided on the Giants) in the NLCS. Today I sat in my office and I thought long and hard about how my premonition was almost correct but won’t quite be able to jive.
As much as I didn’t want to see the Reds head out west to play a couple against the likes of Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner, there’s no other way. And in a weird and twisted way, this was part of the destiny all along.
This is; in my opinion; Dusty Baker’s final ride. This is Dusty Baker riding the bad bull that broke his face Tuff Hedeman-style one last time. Dusty gets a final crack at the team he gained so much fame with. A team that he was a game away from winning a World Series with. Maybe my intuitions I felt so strongly about weren’t that far from being correct, they were just a bit tweaked.
If the Reds are going to win a World Series, they’re going to have to face and conquer their fears. They’ll need to be better than the best the big leagues have to offer, and for a couple week period. I’ve been thinking about that for the last several weeks.
Whether it’s going to be the Cardinals, or a West Coast trip; there is no backing your way into a World Series. There are no easy match-ups right now (though I think the Reds would have taken Atlanta out behind the woodshed). The only way out, is going directly through it all.
We’ll have more on this series in a full preview edition before Saturday night’s game. For now, just enjoy the oldie.
Yesterday was pretty much the ideal 4th of July, other than I had to return to work today. And I didn’t have even a drop of alcohol.
One of the things that made it perfect was there was baseball on starting at 11:00 AM ET in the nation’s capital. Bryce Harper, Mike Morse, Ryan Zimmerman (all fantasy teamers of mine) were destroying Madison Bumgarner (fantasy teamer I cut prematurely last season) during the brunch hour.
The monster that is Mike Morse took a destroyed Mad Bum fastball out backside. Washington ended up winning the game 9-4, which was Washington’s third straight victory. Because the game started at 11:00, by the time it ended there was still an entire day to enjoy the holiday and the 95 degree heat. I’m a proponent of more 11:00 AM start times on weekends and holidays.
Not sure what made baseball’s schedule makers get creative and try this yesterday, but I loved it. Along with Washington kicking off my 4th of July on the right note, I’m loving their young nucleus along with red-assed Davey.
Leading up to the start of the 2011 Regular Season, Diamond Hoggers will preview each of MLB’s 30 teams. Today’s preview features the San Francisco Giants. Stay tuned as Diamond Hoggers previews every team division by division until the start of the regular season. Continue reading →