If you have the logs, I have the details. . .
BASEBALL CITY, which I praised in This Space yesterday, gathered just 10,000 souls in Small Park on Monday evening for an important game against the hated Cardinals. Excuse the excuses, uh, reasons: threatening weather, COVID-19 picking up again, schools returning, no bobble heads or fireworks, no guarantee of free pizza, no 75-76 team meetings, Simpsons reruns broadcast anywhere.
Give us a team to support, we support it, we say. Until we don’t.
Look, I’ll never tell people how to spend their bitcoins. I remember Carl Lindner said when he owned the team if you want me to spend more money you have to show up. Eh, no. The responsibility always rests with the team. I doubt Lindner ever sold a gallon melted ice.
But this team is good, its players are personable and have amused us for a few months. It’s in a kind of playoff race.
And the: The negativity is in the foregroundCynicism fills these pages and the talk show era (not to be confused with brainwaves.) It’s like you’re just waiting for the club to lose a few in a row so you can open a 10 pound can of wine.
I know, I know. Nowhere has a fan base been conditioned to believe in falling skies than the Reds / Bengals fan base. We don’t need much reason to shake our heads. But come on.
There is no doubt that the Reds are the fifth best team in the NL. Laugh if you want. “We are number five!”‘But # 5 takes you to October, where anything is possible in a high noon in one game.
The Reds are getting a right turn tonight, Miles Mikolas, who made his first start to the year last week. Then a left-hander at the end of the series, JA Happ, who is hardly noteworthy. While the Cardinals have some enviable players at the top of their lineup, their depth and pitching team aren’t as good as Cincinnati’s.
Keep your head up and emerge Reds fans. And save your worry for. . .
RED stink V. LEFTIES. . . The big question is, why didn’t opposing teams stack their rotations with left-handers? It takes five minutes on baseball reference to see how to limit the Reds’ offensive. And yet the red ones Rank 28 in MLB in at-bats against left-handers. Where?
Your strike averages against LHPs read like a Mario Mendoza line dance: Suarez .125, Votto .207, Aquino .217, Winker .176, Naquin .203 (in only 59 ABs).
Castellanos (.291) and Stephenson (.281) keep things from getting worse. India (.324) was very good. As a team, the Reds are dead last in the majors in the batting average against left-handers and 28th in OPS. The last two left-handers they faced – Luzardo Sunday, Lester last night – had bad years but dominated the Reds.
What can they do?
Some guys just don’t pitch, others are platoon players. A couple could pick it up. Votto is a .284 lifetime hitter against left-handers. But how much more should they expect from the left-handed Winker, Naquin and Barnhart and the endlessly missing right-handed bully Suarez? Moustakas is 2-for-25 against left-handed people.
“I remain confident,” said David Bell after last night’s L, not sounding confident. “The more (left) we are confronted, the better we get.”
Well then. . .
HOW DOES A MAN STAY EMPLOYED because he had a great month two years ago? I know Aquino is a good defender with a good arm who can run into a fastball on occasion, however. . .
Man negotiated his Superman month of August ’19 into a career. That month he reached 320 with 14 homers and 33 BI in 115 record appearances. He scored 22 runs and had 33 hits.
Since then, Aquino has had 36 runs in 53 hits in 330 PAs, with 15 homers and 39 BI in batting .182.
BENGAL’S TRADE BILLY PRICE, cast more shadows on their recent drawing skills. None of their first round players between 2014 and ’18 stays on the team. Of those five, one was pretty good (Wm. Jax III), one was OK (Darqueze Dennard) and three were Meteors looking for a crater (John Ross, Cedric Ogbuehi, and Price).
To be fair, they also acquired Jesse Bates, Sam Hubbard, and Carl Lawson during this time. And Joe Mixon, a guy few teams dared who turned out to be a good player and a good citizen.
And anyone could have picked Joe Burrow.
The men were skillful in selecting players with “skill position”, but the game is still decided on the lines. Higgins, Boyd, and Chase are shiny objects. Teams can win a lot without them. New England did it for decades. The ravens are doing it now.
Billy Price was a huge mistake and a symbol of the Bengals’ lack of upfront success.
HOWEVUH. . . The men aren’t the only ones sniffing draft picks. The 33rd Team website, created by several former NFL executives, has this to say According to Sewell:
It’s not so much that Detroit used seventh overall pick to take Oregon’s offensive tackle. It so happens that they immediately moved him from the left tackle to the right tackle. Switching from the left tackle to the right tackle would be challenging enough if Sewell hadn’t shown in the preseason that he plays high and doesn’t get any depth in his passing set. Sewell allowed 1 sack, 4 prints and was hit 3 times in 47 pass blocking snaps by his defender. This gave him the 6th worst PFF pass blocking grade of all OTs in the preseason (over 20 pass blocking snaps).
TODAY’S LUKE FICKELLS last press before the ’21 Bearcats debut against Miami at Nippert Saturday. I want to know what he wants to say to his players about the coming season.
Maybe UC was rated higher in a preseason as now, 8th in some notable polls. I do not remember. I wasn’t born when Sid Gillman chased the UC sideline. The Bearcats are a sexy top 10 pick this year. They’re playing in Notre Dame. You have the chance of a punch to conquer the table and – dare you dream, “CatFan” – to earn a playoff shot.
This is heady stuff for a would-be lights. How do you keep the keel evenly?
Speaking of UC. . . From the inquirer:
The University of Cincinnati has moved a federal judge to dismiss former basketball coach John Brannen’s lawsuit for damages for his dismissal.
Brannen, who, after two seasons on the 9th, is also calling for a jury trial in the case which names track and field director John Cunningham and UC president Neville G. Pinto individually as well as UC.
In a two-page motion and a 21-page supportive memorandum filed on Friday, UC attorneys say the Eleventh Amendment and another federal law render Brannen’s lawsuit “legally flawed,” even if every allegation made in his lawsuit is true.
Sounds like UC is about to drop the suit due to technical reasons. “Illegal?”
Again, unless there is a shipload of undisclosed evidence that Brannen did something dramatically wrong, he should be paid at least a portion of the $ 5 million buyout he owes.
Has he committed a heinous NCAA violation? Well, he paid the $ 125 it takes for one of his players to see a mental health specialist. That sounds like a decent thing to do for a coach, not a death penalty.
Some players don’t like Burns? Secure. And some liked him.
Has he lost too many games? No. In the madness of last winter, he brought his team to the Conference title game, where it lost to a possible Final 4 team. Two years are not enough to properly assess a coach’s success / failure, especially if one of the years was infected with COVID.
Should Brannen have changed his coaching style? Secure. He was not given that chance.
TUNE O ‘THE DAY. . . Erich Kunzel was in top form when he conducted the Cincinnati Pops. This melody shows why. Turn that baby up on your old school stereo.