Thursday, April 9, 2015

MLB Week 1 – Like Baseball, It’s Great to be Back!!!


by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

First of all I’d like to apologize for my absence during the last five months. My day job along with other family situations warranted my immediate attention so, unfortunately, I had to put this blog on the back burner for a while.

Have I missed much since my last article on November 2?

I really thought that Reds skipper Bryan Price had taken leave of his senses by sending Sam LeCure to Triple A Louisville while keeping J.J. (Hang ‘Em) Hoover on the big club. If he has several more appearances like Wednesday night/Thursday morning (2ip, 1h, 0r) my mind will change quickly.

A part of me likes the new batting order, another part of me doesn’t like it. The positive; Devin Mesoraco batting fourth, I really like that. His 2014 numbers showed that he earned the spot in the order. I only hope that hitting clean-up won’t make him try too hard to hit three run homers all the time. His .083 batting average says he’s pressing.

The top three of Billy Hamilton, Joey Votto, and Todd Frazier are hitting .333, .357, .308 respectively.

The negative; Brandon Phillips at seventh. I’d like to see Price do this to his lineup, move Phillips to leadoff and have Hamilton hit second. With Hamilton’s love of bunting, should Phillips get on base, then Hamilton could move him around for the boppers in the lineup to drive “Dat Dude BP” in. The downside of course would be the lack of steals Hamilton could get.

The bottom three of Marlon Byrd, Brandon Phillips and Zack Cozart are hitting .154, .182, .111 respectively.

The only one left is Jay Bruce who is hitting .222.

Speaking of steals, Billy Hamilton is on pace to swipe 324 bases this year. I think that would be a record. The last Cincinnati player to have a stolen base in the team’s first three games of a season was Barry Larkin. Larkin stole seven bases during the Reds first six games in 1988.

Then again the Reds are on a pace to win 162 games this season, also a record.

As the “Ol Lefthander” Joe Nuxhall would say, “You can’t go undefeated unless you win the first one.”

And the second one….and the third one…

I hate to say this, but I wish Josh Harrison was a Red.

Useless Trivia; Prior to Josh Harrison on Monday the last time a Cincinnati born player started an opening day game against the Reds was Pete Rose playing for the Philadelphia Phillies on April 8, 1981. Reds won the game 3 – 2 scoring two runs in the ninth inning.

This three game sweep of the Pirates was the first sweep of Pittsburgh at Great American since September 10 – 12, 2012.

Aside from the fact that baseball began this Monday (yeah, I know that Sunday was the opener, but, to me, baseball DOES NOT start UNTIL the Reds begin!); A pall has been cast over the land, darkness creeps along the four corners of the nation, children are crying, women screaming and men are begging for mercy. Where once there was hope, there is now despair…Duke has won the National Championship.

I was actually saving that paragraph in the event of a Michigan football win over Ohio State, but that never happens.

I may be chastised for this remark but could have the Kentucky basketball team been slightly over rated this year?

As a West Virginia resident, I’ve got to say that on the Friday morning after U.K’s tournament beating of West Virginia University, I woke up in pain.

75 Years Ago this week, 1940; The 1939 National League Champion Cincinnati Reds were still in spring training at Tampa, Florida preparing for their season opener, April 16 against the Chicago Cubs.

40 Years Ago this week, 1975; Reds open the 1975 season with a fourteen inning 2 – 1 win over division rival Los Angeles Dodgers. Cincinnati would sweep the three game Riverfront Stadium series with Walter Alston’s team. The next three games were in San Diego where the Reds lost two of the next three games.

More Useless Trivia; the 1975 Reds Opening Day third baseman was John Vukovich.

25 Years Ago this week, 1990; For just the second time since 1900 (1966), the Cincinnati Reds open a season on the road. A labor dispute postponed the first week of the season prompting the Reds to begin the year, April 9, at Houston’s Astrodome. Cincinnati scored four runs in the top of the eleventh to defeat the Astros 8 – 4. Led by the “Nasty Boys” trio of Randy Meyers, Rob Dibble, and Norm Charlton, Cincinnati bolts out to the best start in team history, aside from the undefeated 1869 team, winning the first nine games of the wire to wire championship campaign.

In closing, I’m not going to gloat over Ohio State’s football championship, I expected it.

Have a blessed week. Go Reds!!!!

Dan Howard

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