Thursday, September 26, 2013

News and notes from MLB week 26

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

Where has the time gone? It’s hard to believe that six months have passed and now we’re on the final weekend of baseball’s regular season.

Soooo, Ryan Ludwick, it’s the fans' fault that the Reds dropped two of three to the Mets? You guys couldn’t hit water if you fell out of a boat, especially with runners in scoring position (4 for 29 in the series) and somehow it’s the fans' fault? Look, I totally understand the momentum gained with a boisterous crowd, but give us something to cheer about, please. All during the Mets series y’all basically went through the motions, in fact, despite the numerous protests to the contrary, I believe you thought that all you’d need to do is show up and the Mets would just wilt in your greatness. In other words, you looked past the Mets. What really bugged me was the way the Reds laid down in the bottom of the ninth on Wednesday’s game. LaTroy Hawkins, who’s like 96 years old, give or take a few years, placed his walker to the side of the mound, took a couple of puffs from his oxygen tank and promptly retired the side in order. And that’s the fans' fault? Bob Castellini may sign his name to your checks, but it’s those fans, you know, the ones who came out in record numbers this season, who pay your salary. Remember that.

I found it very amusing that during the bottom of the first inning in Wednesday’s game, Reds iconic radio announcer Marty Brennaman and son Thom were discussing how everyone in the Reds lineup should steal bases with ease off Mets catcher Juan Centeno. Then, in the bottom of the fifth inning, Centeno does what Yadier Molina, Russell Martin, and other catchers have failed to do, throw out Billy Hamilton trying to steal.

The “I Must be Getting Old Department”; New York Yankees future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera is the last active Major League baseball player born in the 1960’s, and his final game is this Sunday.

Speaking of retirement; I don’t think any of us Reds fans are sad to see Colorado Rockies legend Todd Helton retire.

During his retirement celebration at Coors Field on Wednesday evening, the Colorado Rockies gave Helton a mustang, a one horsepower mustang, the kind that eats grass, not gas.

Monday’s lone win against the New York Mets secured the Reds second straight 90 win season; their first back to back 90 plus win seasons since 1978 – 1979. The win, along with the Washington Nationals loss at St. Louis, enabled the Reds to clinch consecutive playoff appearances for the first time since 1975 – 1976.

The last time the Detroit Tigers made three straight postseason appearances was ’07, ’08, & ’09, uh, that’s 1907, 1908, & 1909.

Getting a bit tired of 1 – 0 games? Wednesday’s game made the sixth such game the Reds have played this season. Here’s the list:

1. April 16, at Great American Ballpark, win vs. Philadelphia

2. April 24, at GABP, win vs. Chicago Cubs

3. April 26, at Nationals Park, loss

4. July 28, at Dodger Stadium, loss in eleven innings

5. Sept. 3 at GABP, win vs. St. Louis

6. Sept. 25 at GABP, loss vs. New York Mets

The Reds have played, as of Sept. 26, 22 games this season that three runs or less were scored, either 3 – 0, 2 – 1, 2 – 0, or 1 – 0. Cincinnati has won 12 of those games.

This is the first time in baseball history that three teams from the same division, qualified for the postseason. This year is also the first time since the three divisional format began in 1994 that three teams in the N.L. Central won 90 or more games. The A.L. East had three teams over 90 wins last year.

Useless Trivia; in 2001 the American League West had two teams make the postseason with over 100 wins each. The 102 – 60 Oakland Athletics won the Wild Card while the Seattle Mariners tied a modern day regular season record for wins with 116. Unfortunately both teams fell to the eventual A.L. Champs, the New York Yankees.

The sweetest words in the English language….the New York Yankees are eliminated from the playoffs!

Wouldn’t it be nice if the Cleveland Indians, and skipper Terry Francona, won the Wild Card game and play the Boston Red Sox, Francona’s former team, in the Divisional Series?

More Useless Trivia; in 1987 “Tito” Francona was the Reds Opening Day starter at first base. Francona appeared in 102 games and batted .227.

At the time I write this, September 26, it looks like the Reds will be playing Pittsburgh in the Wild Card game next Tuesday. If the Reds win two of three, like they did last weekend at PNC Park, Great American Ballpark will host the game. I don’t mean to sound negative, but the Reds have never won a playoff game, in four tries, at GABP. The Big Red Machine had lost four straight World Series games before they won their first Fall Classic game at Riverfront Stadium; game 6 of the 1972 World Series. The Reds all time postseason record at Riverfront Stadium was 16 wins 13 losses. Cincinnati went 1 – 0 in the NLDS, 9 – 7 in the NLCS, and 6 – 6 in the World Series, winning five straight home World Series games, game 5 in 1975, and games 1 and 2 in 1976 and 1990.

Should the Reds and Pirates play each other in the Wild Card game; it will be the twenty first time they faced each other in the postseason. Reds hold a 13 – 7 advantage, winning four of the five National League Championship Series they played in.

Egg on my face; all season I’ve said let’s see where the Pittsburgh Pirates will end up on the season’s last day, September 29. I think I know now. Congratulations to the Pittsburgh Pirates and their fans for their great season.

Have a blessed week. GO REDS!!!

Dan Howard

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