Tag Archives: Nick Masset

10 Bold Predictions for 2012: The Cincinnati Reds make the NLCS

As part of our preview for the upcoming 2012 season, we’ll be doing a 10 Bold Predictions for 2012 series that will be featured between now and Opening Day. Our fifth installment of this prediction series is that the Cincinnati Reds are one of two NLCS representatives in 2012.

There’s people out there that won’t want to believe me–but my wife will serve as my witness on this (she would NEVER lie for me). I have been talking about the 2012 Cincinnati Reds making a possible World Series run for several years now.

The night my wife will remember me saying it was when the outs were starting to melt away in that NLDS game three versus the Phillies back in 2010. As I sat there in the last row of the stadium with her, I said “we’re really going to get swept. It’s really going to end like this”. I was right. The Reds got shutout by Cole Hamels on a night when he had his best stuff. But I made a prediction I have felt so strongly about for so long.

“Mark my words, this team will be back. They’ll miss out on the playoffs in 2011 and then they’re going to come roaring back and go after the whole thing in 2012. That’s been the year all along: 2012″.

Now, because she’s a woman and things like that aren’t important to her she wouldn’t be able to recite my exact prediction. But she can attest to the fact that her husband has never felt more strongly about something happening in sports than the Cincinnati Reds impending 2012 run to the World Series. This is because I’ve also reminded her countless times over the last year.

And I’ve hedged my prediction some. I don’t think they’re going to the World Series. Our season predictions won’t go up until next week on this site but I still don’t fully know who this mystery opponent who will knock off the Reds in the 2012 NLCS will even be yet. But someone’s knocking them off. All I know is they’re going to get that far, and they’re not going to make the World Series. And I feel like it’s going to be in six games that the NLCS lasts. Just enough so that you have some hopes and dreams of the Reds really playing for the whole thing. But they’re going to fall tragically short like all of our heroes eventually do. And that’s because they’re my team. That’s why they’re not going to the World Series. But mark my words, before this thing gets completely blown up and the Reds nucleus as you know it is disbanded, they’re going to take you on a ride that you haven’t been on in a long, long time.

I love the make up of this roster. I think there are any number of players who could go from respectable Major League professionals to star pretty easily because they have the pedigree and I think they’ve got the ability to truly be more than solid. Many of these guys moved up through the minor league system together and have grown up as ballplayers together. The chemistry in this organization with this group of players is not overstated as it so often is around baseball. These guys like each-other and have a strong clubhouse. They’ve also all reached that ‘peak ‘and ‘prime’ age around the same time. When you get several guys who have career years together you see teams come out of nowhere and take off.

Last year was absolutely painful for my heart and huge hit to my mental health at times. Just writing on this blog each day was a challenge because I was lamenting the fact it was baseball season as the Reds floundered their way through 162. Sometimes in baseball that just happens. And sometimes in life things happen for a reason that you never come to understand. And the reason the Reds of 2011 were so bad was so that they could fly under the radar in 2012. The baseball Gods made me purge my joys last season so that it could be a summer long party in 2012.

Aside from the Reds being able to once again sneak up on some teams quietly–something they lacked the ability to do from game one in 2011–it’s been the perfect storm off-season with some of the things that have happened. Let’s examine some of the things that have taken place that are going to allow the Reds to make a run in 2012:

  1. Reds trade for Matt Latos. Alright, he’s not an ace in my opinion yet. But it’s another lottery ticket thrown in the raffle of guys who could be aces for the Reds. And I still see Cueto, Bailey, and now Latos as guys who could have that type of ‘stopper’ season for the Reds. Give me the ball on day five and let me go get you a ballgame and end this slide or keep this streak going.
  2. Albert Pujols leaves the Cardinals for the Angels. Why don’t you do me a favor, look up what Albert Pujols did against the Reds over his career (Actually, let me do that for you. 172 GP, .350, 46 HR, 143 RBI, 10 steals/zero caught stealing, 92 BB, 50 K’s, .430/.641/1.072). Look, I’ll miss seeing the guy’s pure talent a few times a summer, but let’s get serious I can do without him making me miserable in the form of game winning grand slams and such. AL West foes, you enjoy that.
  3. Prince Fielder signs with the Detroit Tigers. Maybe the second greatest offensive lethal weapon in the National League, and he’s leaving the NL Central too! Now this is just gravy. People forget he’ll just be 28 years old this season, he is in his prime years and he will still torture pitching staffs for about 4 or 5 more seasons before he’s ‘getting old’ or no matter how big that spare tire gets.
  4. Ryan Braun is suspended for PED use for 40 games. Yea. Shit. Damn you formality. This would have been the nail in the Brewers coffin, trust me. They lucked out here.
  5. Chris Carpenter is out 3 to 4 months with a bulging disk. Chris Carpenter scares me. He’s fiery, he eats innings, you can hang a few runs on him in the first inning of a game and then he one hits you the rest of the way. He’s the type of catalyst ace that few guys around the big leagues truly are. This is a huge void for the Cardinals. And I found out they’re going to Opening Day start Kyle Lohse. A man doesn’t deserve such a life of luxury folks. I am that man.
  6. Adam Wainwright returns from Tommy-John surgery.People want to talk about Wainwright being the sleeper of the year. Look, he’s good and I have no doubts he’ll return to his previous levels of performance. But give me one guy who came back and was his dominant old self his first half season back from Tommy-John surgery. There aren’t any. Reds luck out again here. I’m still warm and fuzzy inside with memories of that February day last year.
  7. Theo Epstein got his hands on the Cubs a bit too late. Theo will turn the Cubbies around but it’s going to take time. Are they still employing the likes of Ryan Dempster and Alfonso Soriano? Bryan LaHair at first base? It’s going to be a fun season of making fun of Cubs fans again.
  8. The Phillies are a mess. I expect a regression from Cliff Lee. Roy Halladay has been nothing if not touch and go this spring. Jimmy Rollins is getting old. Chase Utley is hurt. Ryan Howard is hurt. The Phillies do not scare me. Not in the slightest.
  9. The Reds sign Sean Marshall. This guy is like the nastiest lefty in baseball. He’s not gonna crap out like Ricky Rincon did when the Indians went out and tried to make a splash in getting a nasty lefty to bolster a great pen. He’s going to get first dibs on the closer role, and I think he’s going to have a fine audition.

I could keep going, but these are all things that have made it a wonderful off-season towards building my case for the Reds run to the 2012 NLCS.

We led off the prediction series by telling you that Jay Bruce was going to be the 2012 MVP. But now for some of the unheralded guys who will pay off huge for the Redlegs in 2012. Chris Heisey, Homer Bailey, Ryan Ludwick, and the rebound of guys like Scott Rolen and Drew Stubbs will pay off for the Reds. Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto will play their usual role.

You look in the pen and the Reds have some serious firepower. Jose Arredondo is a year into his own Tommy-John recovery, and the Reds have Bill Bray, Nick Masset, Aroldis Chapman, Marshall, and some other very capable arms that will be down in that bullpen. They’re deep. Especially if Ryan Madson hadn’t gotten hurt. But we’re here to focus on why this prediction will come true.

The Reds are about to give you the finest season since 1990, if you can just make it until October. This is going to be the year and I want you to remember where you heard it. Just don’t expect too much ultimately. I’ll sign up for an NLCS run and take my chances from there right now.

The Reds begin to Unravel against Clayton Kershaw, Matt Kemp and the Dodgers

[Dodgers 11, Reds 8]

This past weekend, Mrs. Diamond Hoggers and I took off early Saturday morning for Cincinnati to see Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers take on the Reds. This would be the second time I’ve seen Kershaw pitch live, the first time he definitely got the best of the Reds. I figured it to be a long day. But I also was determined to soak it in and enjoy it as much as I possibly could.

We checked into our hotel room and I climbed out onto the steep balcony. It was a 90 degree day in Cincinnati. It felt good. It was the kind of day in which I wanted a sunburn.

We went to the Rock Bottom Brewery after checking in and dropping our bags. We had a great lunch and really soaked in that there was a good crowd in town to take in this one on a beautiful Saturday afternoon with a fair amount of Dodgers fans. They travel well.

After finishing lunch and heading back to the hotel, we drank some Leinenkugel Summer Shandy and Miller Light and waited for our shuttle down to the ballpark. Mrs. Diamond Hoggers and I got a pretty good buzz going as did our friends Megan and Tyler.

You can almost feel the heat coming off the field, can’t you? I am too lazy to check, but I’m almost certain it was over 90 degrees at first pitch. I wanted a sunburn, but after catching a buzz I soon forgot about the fact that I wanted to sit in the sun and settled for some good seats in the shade. I was planning on a long day of Clayton Kershaw dominating the Reds and he began by doing exactly that. He would end up striking out 9 on the day in all, and the Reds didn’t have a hit until there were 2 outs in the bottom of the 4th when Joey Votto lined a single to left field.

The Dodgers held a 1-0 lead and the game continued to fly by until there were two outs in the bottom of the 6th inning. Brandon Phillips blooped a single into right field with a couple of men on to tie the game at 1-1, and it felt like there was some sort of moral victory in just scratching a run across on Kershaw. Lost in this entry is that Johnny Cueto threw a really nice ballgame to match Kershaw.

The next batter after Phillips was Joey Votto, and he hit an absolute seed into the seats in right field to give the Reds a 4-1 lead. It was an MVP moment. There’s not much else you can say except I was drunk by this time, and elated.

Cueto is the Reds best pitcher right now. He went 7 innings, allowing only five hits, two walks, and two runs while striking out three and lowering his ERA to 2.27 on the day.

Also pay attention to the man in the bottom of the pic. I would love to tell you this is no accident, but it was a beautiful accident. That man is none other than Larry F’in Bowa.

Oh, the modern miracles that snapping off a random picture can bring. I truly love that man.

A lot to see in this shot.

You’ll notice Matt Kemp, who was a one-man demolition crew on the Reds pitching staff. Kemp would homer as the first batter in the top of the 7th inning to cut the lead to 4-2. I was still feeling pretty comfortable.

Notice that this game was also nationally televised on FOX Saturday Baseball. Pretty cool, I guess. It would have been cooler if Kemp didn’t come up later in the game with the Reds leading 7-3 and hit a grand slam off Nick Masset to tie the game at 7-7.

Kemp is absolutely unbelievable. And he sent me into a 12-beer buzz fueled rage that had me yelling at Carlos Fisher for not only giving up four runs in the 11th inning, but also walking a pitcher, forgetting to cover 1st base, and making a costly throwing error that might have served as the dagger on the day.

If you want to see the boatload of highlights from this one, head over to MLB.com’s video page and take a look.

Jay Bruce went 1 for 5 with a couple of strikeouts on this day. He lashed a nice single off Clayton Kershaw to center field, I believe it was his first hit off the tough lefty. We caught Jay Bruce on a day when he was at the tail end of the best hot streak of his career, and he failed to deliver the long-ball we all so craved. That said, it was good to see him play and face one of the best lefties in the game.

After the game, we walked over to Montgomery Inn for some Ribs and to take a look at all the sweet memorabilia they house at the Boathouse location. Then we headed back to the Garfield Inn & Suites where our friends passed out and Mrs. Diamond Hoggers puked and passed out, leaving me on the couch to watch a Canadian team win game two of the Stanley Cup Finals and pass out cold in my undies on the hotel room couch.

It was a great trip to Cincy, complete with everything except late-game heroics that would have allowed the Reds to win the game and keep on rolling.

Game 42, 2011: Reds 7, Cubs 5

[Box Score]

Observations:

Another night in which it looked like all hope was lost, another comeback win. This time the Reds have won five in a row, and in thinking about it there just aren’t that many times during the course of a season in which a big league team can string wins together of five or more games. If you think about it, it might occur once, twice, maybe three or four times if you follow a really special team that can be particularly streaky.

I am growing a victory beard. I haven’t shaved since the Reds last lost. I had to trim it a little bit last night, but I’ve got a significant amount of peach fuzz going now. The Reds have two games left on this homestand in starting a two game tilt with the Pirates and Charlie Morton today, so hopefully they can make me head into the weekend with my fiance still complaining to “shave that thing”.

Last night was an ugly, ugly win. But to be honest, you’ll take it. All wins count the same. That’s something that’s tough for me to remember. I want to win and I want to win with big hits, home runs, and pounding out 14 hits with several extra base shots to the gap and into the seats. I guess that’s not baseball, it’s certainly not the way it was when I was a kid growing up. Offense is down, and sometimes you have to let a team come to you and manufacture runs.

Last night with the Reds trailing 5-3, they got a couple of guys on and Ryan Hanigan laid down a poor bunt in the 8th inning right back to Kerry Wood. Wood tried to cut down the lead runner heading to third base, and the ball was thrown up the third base line and the game was tied with Hanigan at third base and no one out. A batter later, Chris Heisey hit a hard sac fly to right field that allowed the Reds to take the lead 6-5, and Joey Votto would double home another run that put the Reds up 7-5.

Nick Masset entered in the 9th to give Coco Cordero the night off and collected his first save. The Reds had done it again. This is good because with the Cardinals sweeping the Phillies (who saw that coming?) they weren’t able to gain any games on the newly crowned NL Central leaders.

The Reds are heading to Cleveland this weekend and then to Philly to begin next week, so they’re going to have to earn their place at the top of the division in the week to come. But first, two home games against the Pirates that should serve as a couple of games to get everyone right.

Yes, Edinson Volquez started off the night by once again putting the Reds in a three run hole. But he ended up striking out 9 Chicago Cubs on the night and kept the Reds in the ballgame. When you think about it, if the Reds have luxury to treat him like a #5 starter instead of an ace, they’re probably in business.

Top Plays:

The two-run error heard round the world

Fred Lewis, leather-work

Another night, another big extra base hit for Joey Votto

Just another Gold Glove play out of Brandon Phillips

Potpourri:

-There was some confusion over this play involving Miguel Cairo that took place in the sixth inning.

-Here’s what Tony LaRussa had to say about Marty Brenneman’s most recent comments about pitching coach Dave Duncan.

Diamond Hoggers 80′s Song of the Game:


Game 32, 2011: Reds 5, Cubs 4

[Box Score]

[ESPN Chicago]

The Reds have won their third game in a row, their first winning streak since beginning 5-0.

The Reds are riding the wave of Jay Bruce’s recent hot streak. The Reds are proving what we thought would be the case, they’re going as Jay Bruce goes. And when he gets hot and the confidence is riding high, you rarely can find a way to consistently get him out and the home runs come in bunches. The blast yesterday at Wrigley was a 3-run bomb to right field the put the Reds ahead to stay.

The Reds got a big lift out of their bullpen yesterday after Edinson Volquez gave up four runs. Sam Lecure, Nick Masset, and Francisco Cordero combined to go the rest of the distance scoreless–Cordero earning his 5th save and lowering his ERA to 1.29. It’s been so far so good for Coco; and that’s a great thing because entering the season many Reds fans thought he was going to be the Achilles for this ballclub.

The Reds play today on FOX Saturday baseball, never a bad thing. And even though I don’t like the Cubbies, there aren’t many better Saturday ballgames to watch then one that takes place at Wrigley Field.

Top Plays:

Jay Bruce, Garza slider up in the zone, right field seats

With Coco Cordero, it’s never easy

Votto’s RBI single ends up being the difference

Potpourri:

-I hate my homeowners association too.

-Happy Saturday everyone.

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.

Game 9, 2011: Arizona DiamondBacks 10, Cincinnati Reds 8

[Box Score] [Cincinnati.com]

Observations:

The Reds always do this. On a Sunday, on getaway day; they always seem to make me pop my cork. The Reds Sunday record over the last three to four years has to be about 15 or 20 games below .500, and yesterday was a day in which multiple things happened that made me lose my cool really for the first time this year.

I fell asleep for a little bit and by the time I woke up the Reds were up 5-0. I hate falling asleep during a game, but I was out shopping with my fiance for wedding rings all day Saturday–and to be honest that wears out a guy. Cut me some slack.

It wasn’t long from there when Mike Leake started to give up a few cheap hits and the pouting on the mound began. And once you start seeing that, you know what’s coming.

I know this Reds team like the back of my hand. I know them too well. And even though they surrendered the lead and Ryan Roberts hit a three run bomb to left center to make it 6-5 and it ended Leake’s day; I knew that it wouldn’t be enough to beat the Reds. The DiamondBacks had came back valiantly. But this Reds group is a resilient group even in the worst of times. I knew it wasn’t the dagger. I knew they would be back.

I went to workout, because I felt myself starting to get frustrated. I would watch the end of this game while working out so that I couldn’t get too crazy. And I would take the woman with me so that even if the Reds decided to let this winnable game get away, I wouldn’t be able to really go nuts like I do when I’m watching the game alone.

The Reds did just what I thought they would do. Johnny Gomes hit a no-doubter to put them up 7-6 and just like that it looked like the Reds would slip out of the desert with a series win. Onto San Diego with a record of 7 up and 2 down, and all is right with my world and for that matter, my weekend. Sunday games always suck no matter the result because you have to go back to work the next day. I think we can all agree on that, no?

So after about 40 minutes of cardio, Nick Masset entered the ballgame and decided he was going to make my blood pressure rise a little bit higher. This is the Masset we saw last season. The nasty breaking stuff, the great velocity, and the getting his tits lit.

When Masset gave up the three run homer to Chris Young to make the score 10-7–I did something I promised myself I was done doing as a fan of sports–I punched the cardio machine in our workout room, hard. My fiance yelled at me and muttered the phrase under her breath that I loathe hearing: “it’s just a game”.

We got out of the workout room, and I figured that was it. But I am a glutton for punishment. I continued to follow the game on my phone while walking to my car. Hitting refresh for every excruciating pitch in the top of the 9th.

Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto did what they always do, come through in the clutch and give the Reds a chance to win. You can knock these Reds all you want, and they’ll blow a lead, but these guys simply never say die. They’re like the bad guy in every horror movie you’ve ever seen. When he falls out the window you better take one last look out that window onto the sidewalk and make sure he’s really dead as a doornail. Until you check the pulse and there isn’t one, he’s not dead.

And the Reds wouldn’t fail to break my heart yet one more time on this day.

Phillips and Votto singled to start the inning, and I missed the play but I’m told Chris Young made a great play to rob Scott Rolen of extra bases and record the first out. Then we’re at 10-8, and Johnny Gomes comes up and singles. Juan Francisco pinch hits and does nothing as per usual, leaving my guy; Jay Bruce, to be the hero or the goat. And with the way things were going right now for Bruce I knew how this story ended.

I rushed back into my house just in time to see Bruce swing through a high fastball to make the count 1-2. When Bruce is struggling, he’s doing a couple of things wrong. He’s not taking the ball the other way or especially up the middle. He’s trying to jerk everything. He’s swinging at breaking balls, and he’s not being careful with his pitch selection. He’s swinging early in the count. He’s not working walks, he’s striking out a ton and he’s rolling over on a lot of breaking balls. Right now is one of those times.

The next pitch, Bruce was awarded a fastball right down the middle of the plate from J.J. Putz with him representing the go-ahead run. Putz is damn lucky that Bruce is in one of those funks, because it was the type of 94 MPH pitch that big league hitters dream about, and if you’re in a groove you drive it out of the park and you’re the hero. Bruce swung through it, and my crappy day as a fan was complete. I threw one last mini-tantrum and my fiance didn’t say anything (she knows what a tough time I go through when Bruce is struggling as well as the Reds) and I turned the channel immediately.

Sunday was over, the Reds had lost the series to a lesser-team and they were heading to San Diego. That’s how game nine of the 2011 season went for me.

Top Plays:

Bruce just misses a home run

Gomes 2-run big fly gives the Reds a lead

Chris Young’s 3-run jack ruins my weekend

Putz throws it right through Bruce’s bat to end it

Game 2, 2011: Reds 4, Brewers 2

[Box Score]
[Cincinnati.com]

Observations:

I actually took this one in with Mike from The Sombrero, nice quick ballgame. Travis Wood was doing what he seemingly always does, right? Just painting the outside corner, allowing some contact but nothing substantial or hard, and even striking a few guys out. You look up in the 8th inning and the opposition has a run and two hits.

Big lift early in the game with Scott Rolen hitting the two pointer to put the Reds up. Shawn Marcum had some problems all night with his control (he walked Johnny Gomes three times), and he left one up in the zone but hittable to Scotty Rolen.

The Reds didn’t get an abundance of offense but they had enough. Let’s not forget that Drew Stubbs went 2 for 3 with a triple, RBI and stolen base. Playing real good ball to start the season that Stubbsy. Votto and Hanigan added singles. Masset came in out of the pen in the 8th and looked like we need Nick Masset to look. I made the comment to Mike from the Sombrero that if they’re not going to use Chapman in a set-up role every night he should have been groomed to start this year.

Cordero came in for the 9th inning and he did pretty much what he always does. Left a few balls down the middle, gave up a few hits, but in the end he locked it down. Reds, 2-0 to start the year for the first time since 2005. And now I’m greedy and want more than a few to start the year. I want to be the talk of all of baseball with the start we jump out to.

Star of the Game:

Travis Wood. The hillbilly just keeps getting it done. He worked a game just a hair over 2 and 1/2 hours in front of a crowd of 37,967 on ‘Opening Night’. He’s got ice water in his veins and fits into this team perfectly. He could be these Reds Tom Browning, which if you think back to Mr. Perfect in his prime is a pretty big shot in the arm with some of the other big ‘names’ that are part of this pitching staff. I don’t just like Wood, I love the damn guy; and in 109.2 career innings pitched his career WHIP is now 1.04; which is nothing short of phenomenal.

I didn’t start out a believer, but the guy is legitimate. Sky is the limit and be glad he wasn’t the throw in for a bat, or someone else.

Top Plays:

Bruce’s sick catch by the wall in foul territory

Edgar Renteria snuffs out a rally with a great stop and a 6-4-3

Rolen 2-run bomb for a 2-0 lead

Potpourri:

*It’s Wrestlemania 27 tonight. I’m predicting high drama from John Cena and The Rock; as well as Alberto Del Rio to get the strap.

*Watched Player to be named later with The Sombrero yesterday. Pretty good baseball documentary if you haven’t seen it with a starring role from Marco Scutaro.

*I’m exhausted from 2 Opening Days in 2 days. And it’s the week for me to get my taxes together. Ugh.