Thursday, April 17, 2014

MLB Week 3 – What, Me Worry?

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

When I was a kid, I hated it when the Reds had an off day, now that I’m an old geezer, I think I enjoy a day off as much as the players.

The first eleven games of the 2014 season, Cincinnati scored a mere 28 runs. Since Sunday, the Reds have scored 30 runs. No need to worry, I think the offense has figured it out.

The late Joe Nuxhall frequently spoke of the oddities of baseball. You could watch the game for years and there will be something you’ve never seen before or may ever see again. Monday night’s Reds/Pirates game was a prime example. In the forty-five years I’ve watched Reds baseball, I’ve never witnessed a game like that. Sure, I’ve watched several back-to-back home runs, but never have I saw it done three times in one game, allowing the Reds opponent to take the lead each time.

In case you missed it; a Todd Frazier first inning two run homer gives the Reds a 2-1 lead. Neil Walker begins the second with a solo home run, followed by a Gaby Sanchez blast. In the Cincinnati fourth, Ryan Ludwick’s two run homer allowed the Reds to take a 4-3 lead. Four Homer Bailey pitches into the Pirates fifth and the Bucs lead 5-4 after Starling Marte and Travis Snider solo homers. The Reds take a 6-5 lead when Joey Votto smokes a two run homer halfway to Florence KY. In an effort to prevent the Reds one hundred six million dollar man, Homer Bailey, from getting whiplash from watching his pitches fly out of Great American Ball Park, manager Bryan Price brings in J.J. Hoover to face Pittsburgh in the sixth. It took just three pitches for Neil Walker and Gaby Sanchez to repeat their second inning feat to give the Pirates a 7-6 lead. Cincinnati tied the game in the bottom of the sixth on a solo home run from the hottest hitter on Earth, Devin Mesoraco. The umpires suspended the game in the seventh, using rain as an excuse, but I think the real reason was the Reds were running out of baseballs and had to order more.

Useless Trivia; Monday was the third time three sets of back-to-back home runs occurred in a game. The Reds were the first team to pull off the feat on August 18, 1956 thumping the Milwaukee Braves in a 13-4 win at Crosley Field. Ted Kluszewski and Wally Post homered in the third inning, Bob Thurman and “Big Klu” in the seventh, Frank Robinson and Thurman in the eighth. Bob Thurman hit three home runs in the game.

On June 17, 1977, the Boston Red Sox became the second team with three back-to-back blasts coming in their 9-4 win at Fenway Park against hated rival the New York Yankees. In the Sox four run first, Rick Burleson and Fred Lynn homered back to back, followed by Carlton Fisk and George Scott. In the seventh inning, Carl Yastrzemski and Fisk hit back to back homers.

More Useless Trivia; Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski flied out to Reds centerfielder Cesar Geronimo to end the 1975 World Series.

Old Geezer Moment; I know I wrote this last year, but every time I hear Gaby Sanchez’s name I think of western actor Gabby Hayes.

   Gaby Sanchez Gabby Hayes

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve learned how to insert pictures on Microsoft Word!

This Old Geezer stuff is pretty cool; I’ve been getting senior discounts at restaurants, pharmacies, and other retail outlets.

Baseball be warned; Joey Votto is heating up. Votto hit his fourth home run of the recently completed home stand on Wednesday afternoon.

It was great to see the Reds offense support the outstanding pitching of Johnny Cueto on Wednesday afternoon. Cueto’s complete game effort was his first since going the distance on July 31, 2011 against San Francisco. His twelve K’s of the Bucs set a career high, his previous best in strikeouts was eleven on August 28, 2011 versus Washington.

As good a pitcher Pittsburgh’s Francisco Liriano is, he’s never beaten the Reds during the regular season (0 – 3). Liriano was the winning pitcher in last year’s Wild Card playoff game.

Speaking of last year’s Wild Card game, I was disappointed in the attendance during the Pirates series. I thought our crowd would be as rowdy as the Pirate fans were at last October’s Wild Card game. Then again, Cincinnati fans exude a certain amount of class unlike their boorish counterparts at the headwaters of the Ohio River.

All this time I thought Billy Hamilton was leading the National League in stolen bases. Egg on my face, Dee Gordon of the Los Angeles Dodgers has ten. Gordon also sports a .404 average, compared to Hamilton’s .170. Ah, it’s still early in the season.

Tomorrow, Friday, April 18, begins one of the longest road trips of 2014. Cincinnati will visit the Chicago Cubs for three games, travel to Pittsburgh for four games and conclude in Atlanta for three before returning to Great American Ball Park to begin a series with the Cubs on Monday, April 28.

I’m looking forward to listening to Pat Hughes and the Chicago Cubs Radio Network this Friday afternoon. I am unable to get the Reds AM/FM radio broadcasts at work so I listen to the games on my satellite radio. Gee, I hope my boss isn’t reading this!

The Reds will have two more extended road trips of nine or more games in this season, June 23 to July 2, and September 12 to 21.

Last week I reported your television will be held hostage during the weekend Red Sox/Yankees series. Your sports viewing will be under attack for the next two months – the NBA Playoffs begin April 19, especially on ESP-NBA.

Have a blessed week. GO BLUE JACKETS! GO REDS!

Dan Howard

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