Any eminent psychologist (OK, me) will describe the three stages of fan grief as:
Put another way:
1. Bell stinks
2. I feel sorry for the fans
3. Whom do the Bengals play Sunday?
The Reds lost in Pittsburgh Wednesday night because the Pirates, of all teams, made the sort of winning play the Reds have been seeking for a month. With the game tied in the last of the 9th, Wilmer Difo scored from 2nd on a grounder to 1st. Difo took advantage of a Votto bobble, hustled his aspirations off and scored ahead of Givens’ throw.
It wasn’t that the Reds screwed the play up. I mean, Votto actually made a good play on Colin Moran’s hard hit grounder down the line. Mychal Givens took three steps away from the plate after the putout, and if you look at the replay he doesn’t seem to have any urgency to wheel and throw home. But his momentum was carrying him away from the play.
It was more what the Pirates did. Props to Difo, who showed the cratering Reds what they’ve been missing since mid-August.
When your pennant-racing team gets beat on a hustle play by one of the worst teams in pro sports, you’ve got a problem.
We should also mention that Nick Castellanos got thrown out by several feet trying to score from 1st on a single to LF. Kyle Farmer called it “an aggressive play.’’ OK, but when Castellanos knew he was going to be out, he half-motored it between 3rd and home and was tagged standing up. He looked like a guy making incidental contact while boarding a bus.
Look, I don’t want to lead TML every day with a recap of the previous night’s Reds L. But their collapse leads the news. Topic A, as the radio guys call it. It’s immense. They’ve lost seven consecutive series, the last six series to teams they were leading in the standings when they played them. They’ve lost series to the Marlins, Cubs, Tigers and Pirates. That last salvation bus just left the ‘Burgh. Alas, Scranton is not on the Reds remaining schedule.
The Dodgers are, though, starting Friday, So are the 1st-place White Sox, for two Sept. 28-29, though by then Tony La Russa might be resting some players and the Reds will catch a break. If it still matters.
Since Aug. 22 when they were 69-57, the Reds have lost to scrap-heap guys (Jon Lester, J.A. Happ). They’ve lost to who-dat dudes (Dillon Peters) and guys who normally make you cover your eyes when they pitch (Mitch Keller).
Not a Buehler in the bunch. They played St. Louis six times without having to face Adam Wainwright. Against the Cubs, they missed 14-game game winner Kyle Hendricks, yet managed to lose two of three to Justin Steele, Adrian Sampson and Alec Mills.
And on and on and on.
I disagree with those apologists now saying, they are who we thought they were back in March. No, they aren’t. They’re better than we thought they’d be. If you’d told me in Goodyear that Votto would have the year he’s having, that Naquin would hit the way he has, that India would likely win ROY, that Miley would be an All-Star, that someone we barely knew would win nine games at least (Gutierrez) that Winker and Castellanos would spend time 1-2 in the NL in batting average, that Farmer would be more than adequate at SS. . . I’d have changed my prediction of 82-80 to, say, 88-74.
The Reds aren’t going to get to 88-74.
They play the Pirates again today. Mahle against Connor Overton, whom the woeful Buccos plucked off waivers from Toronto earlier this month. Mr. Overton has pitched all of 7.2 innings in the major leagues. He was a reliever in the minors for six years. Maybe The Club can get a couple hits off him.
Here’s hoping you haven’t yet arrived at Grief Stage 3,
Now, then . . .
THE MEN ARE IN THE PROCESS OF PROVING THEMSELVES . . .
No kidding, Doc. That’s brilliant.
We need to see again this week what we saw last week. Especially from the D-line, whose grade-A performance got lost in the Joe B. shuffle. Ogunjobi was good, Hill came outta nowhere for a couple sacks. They blunted the effectiveness of Dalvin Cook (20 carries, 61 yards), a top-5 caliber runner. Can they do it again, against Andy Dalton and David Montgomery?
Dalton was Dalton v. the Rams. Montgomery was very good. Can the Bengals pressure Dalton up the middle? No QB likes hands in his face pressure. It really bothers Dalton.
We have a good idea already what the offense is capable of. Between the talent and the play-calling recklessn. . . er, aggressiveness, the Bengals are going to score. The hopes for their over-achievement this fall rest with the defense.
I don’t see Dalton/Fields scoring enough to keep up with Burrow and the triplets. Another item overlooked last week: The Men played a clean game: Three penalties for 15 yards, zero turnovers. If they can repeat that, they’ll win again.
Men 26, Bears 17.
GO FOR IT, AGAIN AND AGAIN. . . Yahoo!:
Teams went for fourth-down conversions 51 times this past weekend, the highest single-week total in modern league history, up from 37 in Week 1 last year, 26 in 2019 and 22 in 2018. That year, in Week 1, teams went for it on fourth down eight times prior to the fourth quarter. Just three years later, that number ballooned to 33.
I will never, ever fault Zac Taylor for Going For It on 4th down. If I didn’t last week – 4th-and-1, own 30, failure – why would I fault him in any other, similar situation?
One thing about Taylor’s philosophy that hasn’t gotten any run: Go For It plays perfectly to Burrow’s style: Cocky, fearless, not rattled by anything. It also highlights the best and worst of his coach: Sure of himself to the edge of arrogance.
I’ve been writing for 20 years, urging the sort of stuff Taylor is embracing now. Play on, big guy. Life is won by those who go for it.
AND NOW. . . FunMaster Brien loves The Cov.
Oktoberfest Zinzinnati kicks off this evening. However, there is another big shindig running concurrently – across the river in Covington. Taste the Cov is effectively Covington’s restaurant week. 2021 is the first year of this event and I think it is going to be awesome. There are more than twenty restaurants participating, which makes this the “perfect time for foodies to take a culinary tour throughout the diverse and nationally lauded food scene of Covington.”
Over the next four days, all restaurants partaking will offer $6 food specials and $4 drink specials. Here are a handful of examples: Ripple Wine Bar - prosecco pours and flatbreads. The Globe - bourbon slushes and Venus cocktails. Smoke Justis - draft or can of 16 Lots Kenny’s Lager and BBQ Fry Box. Left Bank Coffeehouse - Covington Tea and Greenline Mocha. Rich’s Proper Food & Drinks – Bavarian Lager and Chihuahua cheese sticks. These are solid deals, and each establishment’s standard menu offerings will still be available.
There is a very helpful interactive map which lists the promotions offered at each location. This, along with other information, can be found at www.rcov.org/taste-the-cov. Covington is a very cool part of the Tri-state and absolutely worth exploring.
TUNE O’ THE DAY. . . I don’t like this tune much, but the topic it provokes interests me. OGs will remember slow dancing. (I don’t know what YGs remember.) My first favorite slow-dance tune was Hey Jude, because it gave me the chance to put a few arms around my 6th-grade girlfriend, the estimable Karen Frey.
My next favorite was Dusty Springfield’s Son of a Preacherman, for the same reason. Eighth grade, Abby Krueger.
Even in high school. . . today’s tune was big at dances. Girls loved it. Guys rolled their eyes. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do.
So. . . your favorite slow-dance tune?