Monday, July 6, 2015

MLB Week 13 - Firecrackers and Duds

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

Who knew the Milwaukee Brewers were that good?

It’s hard to believe that the 2015 baseball season, along with the year, is officially half over.

In honor of the Independence Day weekend, I thought I’d list the Reds “Firecrackers and Duds” through the first half of 2015.

Firecracker – Todd Frazier, who is now on pace to hit 51 home runs, 49 doubles, 102 extra base hits and drive in 111 runs. Frazier is the first Cincinnati Reds player to produce 24 doubles and 25 homers by the All Star break. Can you say Most Valuable Player?

Dud – Joey Votto, who is a scant one for fourteen during the month of July. That’s a scintillating .071 batting average.

Firecracker – Billy Hamilton has 41 stolen bases this season.

Dud – Billy Hamilton who is hitting .224 this year.

Firecracker – J.J. Hoover; in 2014 I nicknamed him “Hang ‘Em” Hoover for his ability to give up home runs. Not this year. Hoover is arguably the best reliever in the Cincinnati bullpen not named Aroldis Chapman. In 2015 Hoover has a 5 – 0 record with an E.R.A. of 1.49, opponents are hitting .165 against him.

Dud – All the other relievers in Cincinnati’s bullpen not named J.J. Hoover or Aroldis Chapman.

Firecracker – Eugenio Suarez is batting .304 in 20 games this year.

Dud – Eugenio Suarez has committed seven errors in 20 games this year.

Firecracker – Brayan Pena has just one error in 420 chances this season. Pena is credited with 400 putouts.

Dud – Unfortunately opposing base stealers are 26 for 32 running against Pena in 2015.

Did you see the impromptu history lesson Los Angeles Dodger broadcasting legend Vin Scully gave on Friday night. Beginning at the top of the second inning and continuing at the top of every inning during the game against the New York Mets, Scully gave his viewers some American flag trivia, from how we got our current fifty star flag to the controversy surrounding which version of our flag did Francis Scott Key wrote about when he penned our national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, back in 1814.

Useful Trivia; did you know that our national anthem was a part of a poem? “The Defence of Fort McHenry” (the word defense is written in the Old English style) was the poem written by Francis Scott Key while witnessing the British bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor during the War of 1812. The Star Spangled Banner became our official national anthem by Congressional declaration on March 3, 1931.

The aging process is a confusing, yet wonderful thing. As I age, gracefully I hope, I’m slowly finding out that hair grows in places you’d think it wouldn’t, like the nose and ears, while falling out in places you need to keep it, like the head. I’m also finding out that my 51 year old brain is a pathological liar. It makes me think I can do things that the rest of my body is now incapable of doing. Like trying to make a diving catch of a baseball that is still hurting my knees a full month after I tried it. By the way, I missed the ball, but I did make a sweet face plant.

With that in mind, I believe that 74 year old Pete Rose’s hair is darker now than it was when he played, how’d that happen?

75 Years Ago – Sunday July 7, 1940; Reds close out the first half of the 1940 season with a 4 – 3 win at Wrigley Field. Cincinnati has a 46 – 23 record and a half game lead in the National League.

40 Years Ago – Sunday July 13, 1975; Reds cap a ten game winning streak with a 5 – 3 win over the New York Mets. Since May 20, 1975 when their record stood at 20 – 20, the Big Red Machine reeled off 41 wins of the next 50 games (.820 win percentage) to go to the All Star break at 61 – 29 and a 12.5 game lead in the National League West.

25 Years Ago – Sunday July 8, 1990; Reds fall 4 – 3 at Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium. Cincinnati has a 50 – 29 record at the All Star break and an 8 game lead in the N.L. West.

Some sadness in the World Sports community. On Friday July 3, 2015 Phil Walsh, head coach of the Australian Football League’s Adelaide Crows, was tragically murdered at his home. What makes this tragedy more unsettling was the fact that Walsh’s son was charged in his father’s murder. Please keep the Walsh family in your prayers.

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

Dan Howard

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