Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Reds Mid-Term Report

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

That dark cloud hanging over my head is the gloom I feel after every National League loss in the All – Star game. It usually goes away when the Reds get started again!

That had to be the most boring All – Star game ever. The National League couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a boat. Andrew McCutchen should have tried to steal home in the fourth inning.

It was touching to see Yankees closer Mariano Rivera take the mound in the eighth inning. Love him or hate him, you’ve got to admit, he’s the greatest closer ever.

For what it’s worth, I admire A.L. skipper Jim Leyland for inserting Rivera in the eighth inning.

The former Mr. Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, did a pretty good job singing “God Bless America”. Neil Diamond hasn’t missed a beat (pun intended).

I’ve named this post the Mid Term Report, although we’re closer to the two-thirds mark than the halfway point. Here is my take on the 2013 season to date:

Most Satisfying Win – Cincinnati 15 Washington Nationals 0 on April 5. In the first game of a three game series, one the media was saying could be a preview of the NLCS. The Reds pounded six home runs led by Zack Cozart and Todd Frazier with two each, followed by Shin-Soo Choo, along with Xavier Paul’s grand Slam. Reds offense totaled 19 hits in a complete beat down of the Nat’s.

The “I Knew You Could Do It’ moment – Reds first ever three game series sweep at Great American Ballpark of the Philadelphia Phillies, April 15 – 17.

Reds “ I Saw it and I Still Can’t Believe it” moment – Devin Mesoraco and Shin-Soo Choo hitting ninth inning back to back solo home runs off Atlanta’s closer Craig Kimbrel to defeat the Braves 5 – 4 on May 7.

The other teams “I Saw it and I Still Can’t Believe it” moment – Tie; Miami’s Justin Ruggiano’s homer off Aroldis Chapman giving Florida a 2 – 1 win over Reds on April 19, and Philadelphia’s Erik Kratz and Freddie Galvis back to back homers off Aroldis Chapman to beat Cincinnati 3 – 2 on May 19.

The “I’ll do this myself” moment – Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips 6 Chicago Cubs 2 on June 10. Phillips single-handily defeated the Cubs with an RBI single, RBI ground out and a grand slam.

Most Embarrassing Loss – Pittsburgh Pirates 10 Reds 7, April 14. On legendary Red Pete Rose’s 72nd birthday, Cincinnati was cruising, leading 5 – 0 going into the Pirates seventh. Reds bullpen implodes while the Bucs offense gets rolling, scoring four in seventh followed by six in the eighth.

The “I Wanted to Throw a Brick Through my Television” Loss – ESPN Sunday Night Baseball, June 9. The Reds played with the proverbial “deer in the headlight” look throughout this game. Joey Votto needed a road map or SatNav if you prefer, in running the base paths, Bronson Arroyo trying to bunt with a two out, two strike count, along with the bullpen giving up seven runs in the tenth. I don’t know if I’ve ever been so frustrated with the Reds in my life.

Best Pitched Game – Homer Bailey’s no-hitter, July 2. Bailey was so dominant over San Francisco; I really think he could have pitched fifteen innings and not given up a hit. Unfortunately, that has been Bailey’s last win to date.

WOW! Moment – Brandon Phillips scintillating double play against Milwaukee on May 10. Phillips fielded a ground ball off the bat of Ryan Braun, touched second base with his knee and made an off balance throw to Joey Votto to retire Braun. One of the greatest double plays ever turned.

OH NO! Moment – Carlos Gomez robbing Joey Votto of a go-ahead ninth inning home run to preserve Milwaukee’s 5 – 4 win on July 8.

There have been some promising moments during this season, and a few head-scratchers, I’m encouraged that the Reds are leading the second Wild Card slot. At 53 – 42 the Reds trail St. Louis by five full games and have a lot of ground to make up. It has been done before and there’s no reason this team shouldn’t be able to accomplish the task, despite having an extra “home game” in San Francisco next week. Is Major League Baseball going to fly in forty thousand Cincinnati fans so the Reds can feel “at home” in AT&T Park? Some things never cease to amaze.

Have a blessed week. Don’t forget to turn before you burn. GO REDS!

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