Friday, May 16, 2014

MLB week 7: Bombs, blasts and beat downs

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

To all Reds fans, like me, who suffered through an 11 – 2 thumping at the hands of the Rockies last Saturday, to all the Cardinals fans that saw the last place Chicago Cubs light up your pitching staff for 17 runs on Monday night, and to you loyal Blue Jays supporters witnessing Cleveland pound your team for 15 runs on Wednesday, I offer you this beam of hope; it only counts as one loss in the standings.

The Eternal Optimist – “You know if Cincinnati wins two of every three games the rest of this season, our Reds will finish with 100 wins.”

The Eternal Pessimist – “You know if Cincinnati loses two of every three games the rest of this season, our Reds will finish with 103 losses.”

The Realist – “I hope you two have prescriptions for those drugs you’re taking.”

Rumor has it that NASA engineers are investigating some damage on the International Space Station. NASA says an unidentified flying object ricochet off the Station last Friday night. The engineers later discovered it was the baseball Todd Frazier hit.

I love how the Reds television announcers claimed that Fox Sports was using an animated tracking device to show where the ball landed, when it was actually the vapor trail after the ball re-entered the atmosphere.

There used to be a saying in baseball that could easily describe Todd Frazier; when Frazier hits a ball, it stays hit. Frazier has four career home runs of at least 474 feet, the most of any player.

I remember a story former journeyman pitcher Larry Anderson once told about a home run he surrendered to Mike Schmidt. Anderson stated the manager came to the mound and said to him that any ball hit that high and that far ought to have a Flight Attendant and an in-flight movie.

Johnny Bench is Cincinnati’s career leader in home runs with 389 during his Hall of Fame career. There is a battle brewing for eleventh place currently held by Wally Post at 172. Jay Bruce is in twelfth place with 167 followed by Joey Votto at 163 then Brandon Phillips with162 dingers. In my humble opinion and if they can stay healthy, Jay Bruce and Joey Votto will be challenging Bench’s top spot in team home runs a few years from now.

Old Geezer Moment; Tuesday night’s game against the San Diego Padres was the first of six Kid Glove Games during 2014, a fund raising program that helps kids purchase baseball and softball equipment. Since 1949 over nine million dollars has been raised. When I was a kid, in the days before color, as my son David claims, Cincinnati and an American League team would play an exhibition game during the season, usually Detroit, with proceeds benefitting the Kid Glove organization (also called Knot Hole). After player salaries skyrocketed and the risk of injuries became a concern for team owners the exhibition Kid Glove games were eliminated and the organization asked the Reds if they could designate a few regular season games as “Kid Glove Games” and the Reds emphatically agreed.

One of the definitions of anemia is a lack of power, vigor, vitality, or colorfulness; in other words the Reds offense. I believe my dictionary had an image of the Reds lineup as an example.

Despite the anemic condition of the Reds offense, there have been a few bright spots. After Thursday’s second game, Brandon Phillips is hitting .340 (16 for 47) in his last twelve games.

Last week I jokingly mentioned that Johnny Cueto was thinking about suing the Reds for lack of support. Do you know that our Reds have lost five straight games started by Mike Leake?

Useless Trivia; in advance of the Reds trip to Philadelphia this weekend, do you remember who was the Reds starting pitcher in that infamous 22-1 thumping by the Phillies on July 6, 2009? He’s our ace now, Johnny Cueto, who pitched two-thirds of an inning allowing nine runs all earned. What a difference five years makes; in his nine starts this season Cueto has allowed only ten runs. Cueto has become the first Major League pitcher to begin a season with at least seven innings pitched in each of his first nine starts while allowing two runs or fewer in each start since Harry Krause of the Philadelphia Athletics did it in ten straight starts from May 8 through July 11, 1909. WOW!

In closing I want to offer a sincere apology to a good friend of mine who I teased about his Adam Dunn “Man Crush”. Believe me after watching ESPN’s Jon Gruden’s slurp job on Johnny Manziel during the NFL Draft, my friend’s love of Dunn is very minor. I really think “Chucky” needed a change of underwear after “Johnny Football” was selected by the Cleveland Browns. As far as I’m concerned, I’m looking forward to former Louisville Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s first game for my Minnesota Vikings.

Have a blessed week. GO REDS!!!

Dan Howard

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