At about the same time the Reds were being face-jobbed in Miami Sunday, Pittsburgh was handing the Cardinals an excruciating and unacceptable loss. Cincinnati couldn’t take two of three from a bad (but not at home) Miami club. But no worries, St. Louis could only take two of four against the Pirates.
Both Looie’s Ls should have been Ws. They blew a 7-3 lead Thursday, when the Pirates scored eight times in the 8th. The Buccos have had weeks this year when they didn’t score eight runs. Then Sunday, St. Louis took a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the 9th. Closer Alex Reyes sandwiched one out between two walks and a three-run homer by Yoshi Tsutsogo, to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Welcome to pennant fever 2021.
The Reds host St. Louis for three beginning tonight. Somebody will win. Somebody has to.
And barring a Reds collapse and/or Bob Gibson and Steve Carlton walking through the Redbirds clubhouse door, Cincinnati still holds a decided edge. Same when compared with San Diego. The Padres seem intent on playing sub-.500 baseball, which won’t win them anything but a spot on mediocrity’s deep bench.
If I were a fan, I’d start wondering how the Reds would deal with a lefty in the wild card game. That could be LA’s Clayton Kershaw/Luis Urias or even SF’s Alex Wood.
The Reds numbers v. lefties aren’t great.
Kershaw is on the IL still, with elbow inflammation. He’s nearly ready to return, but no one is saying exactly when, or in what role. MLB.com:
When asked if Kershaw could end up being a reliever or a two-inning opener, (LA manager Dave) Roberts wouldn’t rule out the possibility and said they will have open communication. A big part of that decision will depend on Kershaw’s health. When Kershaw was asked about coming out of the bullpen, he said he’s not quite there yet and would still like to return as a starter.
“We’ll find out. We’ll find out,” Kershaw said on Tuesday, when asked if there’s enough time in the regular season for him to return as a starter. “I want to pitch. I want to help and I want to start.”
Regardless, Urias is 14-3. Lefthanded batters are hitting .220 against him, with a .620 OPS. They’ve struck out 46 times v. Urias, in 149 plate appearances.
On Sunday, the Reds were mystified by Miami lefty Jesus Luzardo, whose ERA had been 11.12 in his previous 28 innings.
My suggestion to you, RedsFan: Become an instant Dodgers fan, pulling for them to knock SF out of 1st place. The Giants have been incredible this year, but they’re a long-haul team, not well equipped for a lightning round.
Why are we even talking about this, Doc? There’s more than a month still to go.
Because the schedule suggests the Reds will be playing hardball on Oct. 6, in either SF or LA and that hasn’t changed for a couple weeks. St. Louis has nine games remaining with Milwaukee, while the Reds have nine with their good friends the Pirates, and that’s no way for the Cards to make up their current 3.5 game deficit.
San Diego? The Pads are 1.5 behind the Reds, are 20-29 since July 1 and just got swept at home by the Dodgers. They have a seven-game roadie in LA and SF in 10 days, and still have to play division leaders Houston and Atlanta six times. Identify Diego’s starting rotation, win a week in Rosarito Beach.
Now, then. . .
Well, I sure am encouraged that Joe Burrow got that valuable PT on Sunday. It was great he got those cobwebs knocked off, took a couple hits and now is undoubtedly prepared for a week from Sunday.
Who can dispute the need for Burrow to hand off twice and throw a bubble screen that – surprise! – Ja’Marr Chase dropped. All systems go now, sportsfans.
Look, it didn’t really matter if Burrow saw live action or not in August. If it did, he would have played more than about 90 seconds. What mattered was that he wanted some live snaps, and he got them. When the immediate and long-term future of your franchise rests with The Franchise, you follow The Franchise’s lead.
That said, this kid Evan McPherson could be special. There is never any predicting how a kid kicker will do once the lights come up but at the moment McPherson looks like a genuine weapon. He drilled a 57-yard FG as time ended in the 1st half and has been consistently impressive.
GREAT WEEKEND THAT WAS, both for Marty Brennaman and for the unique place the Reds hold in our hearts. Cold, hard numbers say St. Louis is a more successful baseball town, in terms of wins and attendance. But better?
Maybe the Redbirds could draw 5,000 people paying $15 each to sit in the rain for a few hours, waiting for a chance to honor a retired radio broadcaster (again) and catch a 1-inning softball game featuring retired ballplayers. And maybe not.
That’s what we did here on Friday night. Marty’s HOF weekend, denied last year by COVID-19, happened this past weekend, rain and all. As always, the Reds did well honoring one of their own.
I attended both nights, the first time I’ve been to parties on consecutive nights since I was a senior in college. I like parties about as much as mass itching.
We’ll not see another like Marty, for all kinds of reasons. He brought a unique personality to the game, equal parts fun and honesty and expertise. More, he had the freedom to express himself in the booth in a way he found appropriate. That’ll never happen again. Teams pay their people. They want to be able to control them.
Props to the Reds. For 46 years they let one of their employees retain his journalistic independence. All they got for it was a Hall of Fame broadcaster. And the knowledge they had a radio man who’d never insult the intelligence of their fans.
Rah-rah is the norm now. Even when it’s not called for. The next time you hear a radio/TV guy treat a W in June like a World Series championship, think of Marty. For 46 years, we were very lucky.
A PROPOSAL FROM Yahoo! re the future of the Big 12: Go bigger. Increase to 16 teams, from the current eight. And this:
The new Big 12 needs to become as attractive to television as possible. It needs to become America’s weeknight, late-night league. It needs to be a last-call hero and the go-to for bettors and football junkies. Luckily, most of the programs already play at a tempo friendly to hitting the over. They need to play any weeknight in any window, and build their programs that way. Embrace the unconventional, it’s a tried and true path to relevance.
These are precarious times for UC, and schools like it. They can also turn out to be highly lucrative. The Bearcats simply can’t miss out on the next big wave.
TRAVEL REQUEST. . . The Bengals play the Bears in Chicago in Week 2. I can’t recall the last time I spent any time in Chicago. Maybe the US Open in ’03 at Olympia Fields. So. . .
Any Airbnb recommendations downtown or a close Uber ride to Soldier Field? Any don’t-miss things to do on a Saturday afternoon? Help me out, Mobsters.
TUNE O’ THE DAY. . . Of all the network NFL theme songs over the decades, this was among the first and IMO still the best.