Series 4 Recap: It's Lord Votto to you, peasant

Reds 2, Cubs 1 (okay, seriously, what the hell is going on?)

Reds 9-6
Cubs 8-6

4/21--Cubs 7, Reds 2
4/22--Reds 3, Cubs 0
4/23--Reds 7, Cubs 1

The End of This Novel
"So do you wanna go out tomorrow night?" she asked nervously.
"Not tomorrow," he said. "I gotta baseball game."
"What about the next night?"
"Game," he said. "Look, I've just got thing baseball thing going on. Ask me in November."
"Oh, okay," she said, eyes misty.
Votto opened the car door and walked out of the drive-in theater. He continued out to the road and stuck up his thumb. Time to go home, he thought.

Fortune Cookie
The cat and the Bartman; a sign of good things to come.

Completely Unrelated Baseball Quote of the Series
"This is a game to be savored, not gulped. There's time to discuss everything between pitches or between innings." ~Bill Veeck

Reds.comment of the Series
"Big deal you bunch of weak hitting nancies. Two games don't make a season. Dusty Baker's an idiot and he will ruin your team. Come June you'll be in last place. hahahahahahaha."

New Drinking Game
Every time Joey Votto seems to prematurely pull his foot off the bag before the out is made.

What I Saw, Heard, Felt, Smelled, Tasted
Cubs for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Fun to hear Chicago fans booing their own, all because of us! Joey Votto means everything to this city right now. I'm glad we beat Carlos Zambrano. If there is one man I hate in baseball, it is Carlos Zambrano. All those slumpers seem to be waking up (Bruce, Phillips, Hernandez, Gonzalez). Edwin is still sleeping.

Metaphorical Image of the Series


Game 14: I honestly thought I'd last longer than this

Reds 3, Cubs 0

Johnny, Jay and Joey were as advertised tonight.

I'm going to stop doing game recaps from here on out. I'm only one man. So, only look for SERIES RECAPS!!! and the spot observation post. Please keep reading. That means you mom and dad, and a few relatives.


Game 13: Brandon Phillips might never get a hit again

It's not a snake, dumbass

Cubs 7, Reds 2

*I couldn't catch most of the game tonight. I worked late at the information desk of a library in Idaho (there has to be a joke in there somewhere) so my good friend Drew aka DBeezy back in the Eastern Time Zone pitched in and took game notes for me. I've mashed our comments together to create one fantastic coast-to-coast superpost.

Micah Owings: 4.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 3 K. It would have helped if Micah wasn't abandoned by the defense (Dickerson, Encarnacion). Pitching at Wrigley against the Cubs in limb-numbing temps never helps either. At the plate, Babe Ru...Micah struck out twice.

Jay Bruce: Laser-pulled his second home run of the year in the blink of an eye and later drove in the only other Reds run with a single. That hand must be feeling better. Sh-sha.

Joey Votto: Yeah stolen base...even though you were clearly tagged out. We must have brought the umpires from the Houston series along.

Cleanup Hitters: Micah Hoffpauir and Brandon Phillips batted cleanup for the Cubs and Reds respectively. Are these the worst two cleanup hitters in baseball? The name Hoffpauir will never look right and BP is batting .158. Just as I was getting ready to ask myself "Who the hell is Micah Hoffpauir?" he smacked a solo home run over the bleachers and out of the park. Our cleanup guy went 0-4 again.

The Reds Text Poll: ...in the 2nd inning asked viewers if the Cubs (with ownership changing) should keep Wrigley or build a new stadium a la the new parks in the Big Apple. The new stadium was voted down at a 2-1 clip. I wonder if the voters changed their mind when one of the hundred stray cats that makes its home somewhere at Wrigley ran onto the field in the top of the 4th. Play was stopped so a Cubs employee could grab the cat, have the cat claw its way free, then pick up the cat by its tail and throw it into the stands. One fan hoping for a foul ball got a spotted cat instead.

The Groundskeeper: If you are ever unlucky enough to be in this situation, here is a picture of how not to catch a cat.

Jared Burton: Appears to have been relegated to garbage-time status for the moment. Entered the game with the Reds down five and pitched two semi-encouraging innings. Hey, someone's gotta do it, although, Jared is looking more and more like an actual garbage man with that awesome chin strap beard he's working on.

Mike Lincoln: ...is turning into quite the marksman. Plunked two batters in two-thirds of an inning. I think we all know what comes next...everybody say it together with your hand on your hip and shaking your head...ready...here we go, "Mike, were you high again?"

Quote of the Game: Chris Welsh made three alcoholic references in the first three innings before Grande called him out.

Chris Welsh Word of the Game: murderize (spelled murderise in Commonwealth countries) --pronounced: mur-dur-eyes
--used in a sentence: "Aramis Ramirez just murderized Daniel Ray Herrera's offering."
--origin: Windy City, early 21st century

When your pitchers yield seven walks and hit two batters and your offense musters only six hits, chances are you're not going to win, although I could have given you an idea of the outcome when I saw Harden v. Owings as the probables. We really need to air the bats out on Ted Lilly tomorrow--get a little Lillification going on--you know what I'm talkin' about.



Reds 3, Astros 1 (I drink your milkshake!)

Reds 7-5
Astros 4-9 (sad trombone)

4/17--Reds 2, Astros 1
4/18--Astros 7, Reds 0
4/19--Reds 4, Astros 2
4/20--Reds 4, Astros 3

The end of this novel
How ironic it all seemed. The offense had gone. The fundamentals had gone. The pitching, erratic and unpredictable. Of course he didn't tag Pence. It wasn't even close! All these things, and they were still winning! Twas baseball but an irony, Phillips thought, icing his knees and dreaming of making solid contact with a breaking ball.

Fortune Cookie
Walk thy opposing pitcher and shun thee. Walk an Owings and bow down.

Completely Unrelated Baseball Quote of the Series
"England and America should scrap cricket and baseball and come up with a new game that they both can play. Like baseball, for example." ~Robert Benchley

Reds.comment of the Series
"Dusty Baker couldn't manage a T-ball team. And who the heck said Gonzalaz is a major league player? My 12 year old hits better than he does. Traveras looks just like Patterson of last year. At least come June we won't be fighting the pirates for last place we will have it all alone."

New Drinking Game
This one is will get you spinning quick. Every time Phillips checks his swing.

What I saw, heard, tasted, felt, smelled
Minute Maid Park is a combination of a little league field and Wonkaland. In the first three games of the series, we were unable to score a run off a Houston starting pitcher. Somehow, we won 2 of those games. I think every Reds starting pitcher for the exception of Harang made strides this series (and although Harang got touched up a bit, it was nice to see him lose his shit in the dugout and go nuts on the Gatorade cooler and the bat rack). For as terrible as we are hitting, to be 7-5 is a rather remarkable achievement.

Metaphorical Image of the Series

Game 12: I now know that Mike Hampton has been on the DL 12 times

Reds 4, Astros 3

Bronson Arroyo: 7 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, 2 K, 0 BB. Bronson only needed 81 pitches (53 strikes) to get through seven innings against the Astros (Johnny, Edinson, are you listening?). He kept hitters off balance with his bloopy junk (compliment) and challenged them to put it in play. Bronson is now 3-0 on the young season. Much thanks to Mr. Votto for this one. Bronson also laid down two sac bunts and made a fantastic shoelace reaction grab on a burner up the middle to start a sexy DP. My only gripe--when Bronson gets coasting, he falls asleep and starts grooving pitches. Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee took advantage of this tonight.

Joey Votto: Attention Brandon Phillips, Alex Gonzalez and Ramon Hernandez. Because all of you are excellent at getting down 0-2 in the blink of an eye, maybe you should study the two-strike Votto approach. Shorten your swing and expand your strike zone. Votto shot a two-strike pitch on the outside corner into left field for a single in the first inning, and later, in the seventh with a two-strike count, missed a grand slam by about three feet, settling instead for a go-ahead 2-run double.

Quote of the Game: Is George Grande the president of the Mike Hampton fan club, because I think I listened to Hampton-blabber for about two-thirds of the broadcast. George only mentioned that Hampton had been on the DL 12 times in his career about every other pitch. And that only got Chris Welsh all horny for some Hampton.

Grande on Geoff Blum: "One of the more valuable players on this Astros roster, and one of the more underrated in the league." Geoff is a career .251 hitter with a .699 OPS. Oh right, he plays good defense. (insert scoff)

Willy Taveras: 2-5. 2 runs. Willy should have 30 stolen bases by now, not 3.

Edwin Encarnacion: Admit it, he's looked real solid at third this year. 2-4 today with a couple huge RBIs on a first inning single to get us off and running.

Darnell McDonald: What a catch at the wall in right. And a hit. And a walk. Yeah for you!

Brandon "Old Man" Phillips: 0 for his last 20-something. As observed by a commenter on Redszone, why does it take him 5 seconds to complete a swing? He seems unable (or unwilling) to make adjustments. He applied another "phantom tag" to a stealing Pudge Rodriguez off a great Hanigan throw. I'm not sure what was funnier, another phantom tag by Phillips, or Pudge trying to steal.

Ryan Hanigan: Every time I watch him play, Ramon Hernandez becomes more expendable (at least more platoonable).

Paul "Silent J" Janish: Every time I watch him play, Alex Gonzalez becomes more expendable (much, much more platoonable).

Bad cameraman, bad!: When Hunter Pence hit a towering fly to left field, my intial reaction was, "I can't believe he's going to be rewarded with a home run for that weak shit at Minute Maid Park, where the left field home run porch seemingly sits about 250 feet out." The cameraman aimed his device on the home run porch and waited for a cluster of fans to rise and grasp the air, but the moment never came. By the time the cameraman found the ball, Jerry Hairston was running towards the infield and had flipped it into the stands.

Miguel Tejada: What is he now, 27?

Chris Dickerson: 12-pitch pinch hit walk in the eighth. Yes sir.

Jerry "I run into walls for no good reason" Hairston Jr.: Ran into the home run porch wall for no damn reason other than he loves getting hurt. My girlfriend, who does not watch baseball, remarked, "It [the ball] wasn't anywhere near where he jumped." I had no logical explanation.

Arthur Rhodes: I did not like that he worked the bases full, but it was all worth it for that last pitch. The best pitch of Arthur's career (...that I've seen, and I've only seen about .00000004% of them).

A solid outing from a Reds starter, tight defense, a couple clutch hits, and there you have it. It's Cubby-crushin' time.


Game 11: Micah Owings makes entire lineup feel futile

Reds 4, Astros 2

Edinson Volquez: 6 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 5 BB, 7 K. Edinson Volquez is not being true to himself. He is not trusting his fastball. He's pitching backwards, leading with the offspeed stuff. He seems timid to challenge. When he misses the plate, HE MISSES THE PLATE--not even close. And yet, he somehow pitched his way out of every jam (there were a lot of them).

Willy Taveras: 1-2, BB, HBP. On base 3 of 4 times. It's too bad we don't know how to bring him around. I have no idea why he didn't take second in the top of the fifth with two outs, down one run. Dickerson took a couple pitches and grounded out to second to end the inning. I'm starting to think that Willy doesn't have the green light. I'm also starting to think that Willy should have the green light. Also, Willy made a spectacular, and I'll say it again, spectacular diving catch in left center to rob Bourn of extra bases. Truly a full-extension Superman grab.

Joey Votto: Up until today, he has looked solid defensively. Today was different. On the second play of the game he fielded a soft grounder and underhanded it behind a running/covering Volquez who, preoccupied with finding first base with his foot, reached back and just missed the ball off the edge of his glove. Both Marty and Brantley lambasted Edinson for poor fundamentals, but trust me, the throw was much worse. It was three days behind him and would have taken a contorted miracle. Edinson was charged with the error but I'm sure Joey would have gladly taken it. Also, in the bottom of the seventh, Votto bobbled a routine grounder near the bag. Arthur Rhodes, didn't cover the bag assuming Votto would cleanly make the play and scamper four steps to the bag. Once Votto picked up the ball after the bobble, the race was on for the bag, three players converging. Votto flipped it at the last moment to Rhodes to no avail. It just looked bad for both of them. Throw an 0-4 day on top of that with a bases loaded, 3-0 count double play groundout and Joey is probably anxious to get back out there tomorrow. Winning does soothe the pain though.

Quotes of the Game: Marty and Jeff bantering about exercise. Marty says, "I got two-and-a-half miles of walking in this morning before you even fluttered your eyes." Says Brantley, "I don't doubt that."

Jeff Brantley on Aflac trivia questions. "I think they're all conspiracies if you ask me. Trickvia, not trivia."

Marty on the Reds offense, or lack thereof, after Phillips grounds into a DP to end the first inning. "This club can simply not generate any offense, and they're getting killed by the number four spot in the order."

Brandon Phillips: What Marty said.

Pinch hitters: Jerry Hairston pinch hits in the seventh for Laynce Nix--he walks. Three batters later, Micah Owings pinch hits for Volquez and gives the Reds the lead with a 2-run double off the left center wall. Darnell McDonald pinch hits for Stormy Weathers in the ninth and smokes a 1-out triple to right center and scores on a Willy sacrifice to center. Our pinch hitters are now 7-14 on the season.

Micah Owings: Yes.

Reds pitchers: Don't they love to get people on base before they start trying. It's like they need the added pressure to step up.

Lance Berkman: The man who would lead the balloting in the Reds Killer Hall of Fame almost decapitated Carlos Lee in the on-deck circle after letting go of his bat in the backswing. The bat flew past Lee's head and he dropped to the ground and shook the stadium. From the batter's box, Berkman exchanged an embarrassing smile with the bottomed Lee.

Bitterness: With one out and the bases chucked with Astros in the fifth, Geoff Blum grounded to Brandon Phillips at second who daftly tagged out Hunter Pence running to second, and in the same motion, fired the ball to first to nail Blum by a step. Inning over. Replays indicated that Phillips missed the tag on Pence by about two feet, with the umpire shielded by Pence. At the time, The Astros were up 1-0 and the Astros announcer was adament about not letting bad calls affect a team. Paraphrasing--"They're just part of the game. You have to move on and forget about them." Well, after the Reds usurped the lead in the seventh, that same announcer only mentioned the botched call, which he dubbed "the phantom double play" about ten times up until the final out.

Laynce Nix: Put two good swings on the ball today with Jay Bruce still out with a minor hand boo-boo.

The Truth: I realize that good teams find a way to win ugly games, and these last few have certainly been that, but I get the sensation that if we play like this against the Cards and Cubbies we are going to get our asses kicked. Looking at the box scores, I am astonished that we are 6-5.

Game 10: Is there a worse feeling than getting 2-hit by the Astros?

Astros 7, Reds 0

Aaron Harang: 6 IP, 10 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, a jar of gypsy tears. His control was modestly good but the Astros just bopped him around the park. There were no homers which is a welcoming sign to Harang, who led the league in gopher balls surrendered last year. It was one of those games where the ball magically found the hole after being put in play, every time.

The Reds offense: 2 hits--Jerry Jr. and Joey. 3 walks--Edwin, Brandon and Ramon. That's all she wrote.

Jared Burton: 1 IP, 2 ER. At least he isn't Chien-Ming Wang or Anthony Claggett of the Yankees. They let Cleveland get 14 runs in one inning yesterday, a major league record. No, I am not kidding. This is a fun box score. You have to feel sorry for the Indians who didn't get in yesterday.

This one doesn't deserve a game wrap. The Astros cheated all game.


Game 9: Ramon Hernandez officially becomes a Red

Reds 2, Astros 1

Johnny Cueto: 4.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 K. Wow, that's a solid line, but why only 4.2 innings pitched? Oh wait, I forgot to mention the 6 walks. Why are our Dominicans not throwing strikes? Johnny threw 46 strikes in 88 pitches tonight. Granted, umpire Joe West has a strike zone the size of an apricot, but when you are walking Roy Oswalt something needs fixin'.

Ramon Hernandez: I don't think anybody saw this one coming, but then again, when you're playing at the shoebox that is Minute Maid Park, anything can happen. A go-ahead homer in the top of the ninth to give the Reds a win. That's what I'm talkin' about boy. On the pitch before the homer, Ramon got pissed at a called strike off the outside corner of the plate. He exchanged some words with Joe West, probably something like, "Are you out of you're f**king mind. You haven't called that pitch the entire game," to which West probably responded, "I don't care, I'm drunk." Anyway, I knew Hernandez was going to take his aggression out on the next pitch, and just as I suspected, he sat on a fastball and deposited it just over the right field fence (I mean, that thing snuck over the wall).

Willy Taveras: 0-3 and a walk, but on the three outs he made he was out by a combined total of 1.5 steps. He was robbed on one hit up the middle by Roy Oswalt, who deflected the ball of his arse to third basement Geoff Blum, who promptly fired to first to get Willy. He was also gunned down going first to third on a seeing-eye Votto single to Pence in right field. Thing is though, he was safe. The ump butchered the call--a classic case of the ball beating the runner and the runner avoiding the tag. Willy also made a beautiful over-the-shoulder catch in center at about 395 ft.

Alex Gonzalez: Why does he swing so hard? He has a bad case of Phillips Syndrome. He thinks he's a power hitter. Alex dove and knocked down a ball at short but didn't pick it cleanly, and after an acrobatic throw from his back, the runner was safe by about three steps. It was a very good effort. When the camera cut back to Alex, he was cussing at his glove and definitely said, "Fuck you, you piece of shit." I'd say Alex needs to visit a hookah bar.

Johnny Cueto, sloppy bastard: After Johnny was yanked and he trotted back to the dugout, he let a huge wad of gum fall out of his mouth. He didn't spit it out. He didn't blow it out. He just kind of let it fall out. And if that wasn't enough, the young lad then bucked the wad up into the air with his glove. Richard Pole needs to teach this young man some manners.

The bullpen: 4.1 IP, 2 H (both off Cordero), 1 BB. Stellar.

Chris Dickerson: Quiet game for him, but you have to love how this kid doesn't take anything for granted. He grounded out to first twice and made Lance Berkman sprint to the base to get the out. 110% mentality.

Quote of the Game: I was forced by mlb.tv to listen to the Astros broadcast. There is nothing funny or backwards to report. They were really professional and accurate. How disappointing is that?

Roy Oswalt: They referred to him as "The Wizard" all game. Was I the only one who wasn't aware of this? The Wizard of "Os". The lamest nickname in baseball. Although, any nickname for Roy Oswalt would probably be the lamest. The guy just has an inescapable lameness factor.

This was a tough game for me to watch. As much as I hate to admit it, Roy Oswalt is on my fantasy baseball team and at certain points in the game I just wasn't sure who to root for. In the end Roy didn't get me a win, but you know what--the Reds did and I guess I'm okay with that. I'm glad that Ramon contributed directly. He needed that.



Reds 2-1 (woot, woot)

Reds 4-4
Brewers 3-6

4/13--Reds 7, Brewers 6
4/14--Reds 3, Brewers 1
4/15--Brewers 9, Reds 3 (Brewers cheated)

The end of this novel...
Cameron bent down and grabbed Burton by the collar and pulled him close. "I'll be taking that broomstick," he said, and laughed then flew away. If the series has been won, Burton thought, why do things not seem right? He would have to sleep on it.

Fortune Cookie
The first step to better times is to not give up 4 runs in 1 inning.

Completely Unrelated Baseball Quote of the Series
"Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona." ~George F. Will

New Drinking Game
When Thom Brennaman mentions a GCL school. Take two for St. Xavier.

What I saw, heard, felt, smelled, tasted?
Miller Park is one of my least favorite parks in history. I can't really explain it. I just see baseball being played there and I feel sorry for everyone involved. The Brewers jerseys too. Can't stand the colors; they make me feel sad for some reason. Milwaukee is just a sad place all around I suppose.

Metaphorical Image of the Series

Game 8: Mike Cameron steals our lunch money, and our sweep

Brewers 9, Reds 3

Micah Owings: 5 IP, 4 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 2 K. A really unimpressive start for the Spring Training winner of the coveted fifth starter spot. People are expecting a solid contribution from Owings this year, and from the fifth spot in general. It's not that he looked terrible. He just didn't look very good. His fastball clocked in around 90 but on TV it looked like it was coming in at about 78 with zero movement. He threw only 47 strikes in 89 pitches--gross. He did however provide for the most humorous moment in the game while he was batting. On his strikeout swing, he let go of his bat and it sailed about ten rows deep. The cameras panned into the crowd as the inning ended and showed three fans, each with a grip of death on the bat. One fan let go, leaving two to fight it out. Neither let go. They exchanged words. There was much frowning and head shaking. And finally, one let go with a sharp push to the bat as if to say, "fine, take it ya jerk." Cut to commercial. That about sums up Milwaukee to me.

Willy Taveras: On base 3 of 4 times. 2 singles and got plunked. Scored on Dickerson's homer. Has a .462 OBP this young season. Good sign. And who doesn't love the name Willy?

Chris Dickerson: You would have been unsuccessful in trying to wipe the grin off Dickerson's face after he dropped the barrel and turned on an inside fastball from Looper, driving it over the left field wall. You would have been unsuccessful in trying to wipe the grin off my face as well. At the moment, it tied the game at 3. Things didn't go so well after that.

Do you know who is good?: Joey Votto. Faithful reader Matt F., who doubles as my cousin, brought up the fact that Joey is on pace for 203 RBIs. Something tells me he'll sleepwalk to half that number, especially if Taveras, Dickerson and Hairston keep working pitchers like it's their job (I guess it is their job).

Jared Burton: We can assume that afterwards Jared showered with his uniform on sitting down with his head between his knees, crying (And for all those Flight of the Conchords fans out there, Jared wasn't crying; it was just raining on his face). 1 IP, 4 ER + 1 inherited Owings run (Owings shakes head in disapproval). One of those games that takes the ERA on a hot-air ballon ride. It might come back down to Earth in a few months. If you're going to blame someone for tonight's loss, blame Jared.

Alex Gonzalez: Offensive explosion from Gonzo tonight. An RBI double--his first hit of the season. That's all.

Ramon Hernandez: Offensive explosion from Ramon tonight. Two singles, one of them an infield hit. Yeah, Ramon!

Phillips, Bruce, Encarnacion: 0-12. That's not going to win many.

Mike Cameron: 3-3, 2 HR, 1 2B, 3 R, 3 RBI, 1 BB. Is there anything else to say?

Todd Coffey: Damnit. Couldn't we have at least gotten a run off Coffey. I mean come on. Yesterday, in reference to being released by the Reds, Coffey said, "I'm glad to be away from the Reds because they tried to take my sinker away, my best pitch." Meeoooww.

Prince Fielder strikes out on Nick Masset ball in the dirt that gets by Hernandez and Fielder makes it to first: I know how you feel Nick. As a former pitcher, this happened to me approximately 972 times from the ages of 6-14. My dad probably still has the stats.

Subpar game overall. Lots of grimacing. At least Dickerson went yard--have I ever told you I love that kid. A sweep this early in the season would have been premature. We need something to work towards, right?