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Just as the title says, I collected a bunch of the suggestions from a whole bunch of Reds fans earlier this afternoon. Put together a little jam session for everyone to get them through until first pitch! Get it cranked! LETS GO REDS!

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Snakes…I hate snakes!

indysnake

 

The Reds, fresh off of a four game split against the “competitive” Pittsburgh Pirates, head out on a crucial eight game road trip. And this isn’t your run of the mill road trip, this is your dreaded west coast road trip! Any of you familiar with the twitter community for the Reds, will remember that last years big west coast swing was the starting point of the “Reds Twitter Fam”. Also known as the slumber party, because most games ended at or near 1am EST. It starts with three at Arizona, two in Oakland, and finishing with a three game set at the ball park in Arlington.

 

Redlegs In The Empty Park!

Johnny Cueto is back, and healthy to take the ball for Dusty Baker on Friday night, posting two victories while sporting a shiny .086 ERA in his last three starts. Johnny over his career has started six games against the D-Bags…Backs! D-Backs! And has five wins to show for it, along with his 1.66 career ERA against Arizona. A .143 BA against, doesn’t really give us much cause for concern going into Friday nights series opener. That is until you really take a look at the lineup that the 2013 Diamondbacks offer up. Wade Miley counters for ‘Zona, with an ERA flirting around the 6.50 mark over his last half dozen starts. Players to watch against Miley on Friday? There’s nothing much more than a small sample size of our hitters against Miley, however, those that have faced him, have hit him with success.  Bruce is mired in an ofer streak against the D’Backs, and hitting behind BP, I’m going to hesitate a guess that he continues his torrid streak, adding to an already sterling start to his 2013 season. Cozart is 0-7 with 3k’s, so it will be interesting to see where Dusty lets Cozy hit tomorrow night as well. On the flip side, watch for Martin Prado to continue hitting Cueto well (.417, 1.200+ OPS in 12 career AB) and cause some grief on the basepaths ahead of Goldschmidt.

 

Tony Cingrani, and the Scowl of DOOOOOOOM!

 

The second game in the series promises to be fun to watch for most baseball fans, as Mike Leake and his outstanding 2013 season, square off against Cy Young candidate Patrick Corbin, who sports a 9-0 record to compliment his unbelievable 2.28 ERA thus far in the season. I look for recent trends to continue, as Leake has been approaching the potential he was drafted for, and D’Backs/Reds fans to be treated to an unbelievable pitchers duel. That being said, it will wind up being a 10-9, or 12-10, game and hopefully have our “Never Say Die” Redlegs on the winning side. With Corbin having never faced a batter in the Reds lineup, I look for Choo/Votto to cause him the most distress when it comes to our hitters leaving a mark. Unsettling numbers for this matchup? Leake’s ERA  is a hair under 8.00 in three career starts against Arizona. Maybe the good old Black Sleep will keep our batters knocking around AZ’s staff. “MANNY PARRAAAAAAAAAAA!”

 

Mat Latos, and the needed FUNKBLAST-ADE

Surprise, surprise, Mat will be pitching on another Sunday before a travel day. Stop me if any of this sounds familiar just yet. The best performance from a pitching standpoint on the weekend, may in fact, come from the guy who has faced this team the most. Mr. Dallas will be set to make his seventh career start against Arizona, going in with his 3.25 lifetime ERA against the team, and 41k’s in 36 IP. With the way our staff lines up to face Arizona, look for the bullpen to get a much needed breather over the next three days, heading into another off/travel day before facing the Athletics.

 

I predict a 2-1 series win, improving the overall 2013 road record to 20-17, and a big weekend for Devin Mesoraco. Bruce keeps it rolling, Votto gets back on track with his average, and we see a potential Cy Young duel on Saturday. Yeah, the Mike Leake game, try not to forget that Mike leads this team in wins AND ERA right now.

 

I’ll leave you with this. The real series preview, the Reds know there’s blood in the water!

 

Reds Headhunters, Joey Votto’s Intensity, Players’ Fame and Maple Syrup Money

 

Reds Headhunters

This has been a somewhat heightened few days for Reds fans.  Over the course of the last two games, against the Cubs and Indians, a few Reds pitchers have had their choice of pitch location questioned in subtle and not-so-subtle ways.

For starters, Matt Garza of the Cubs blasted into Reds Ace Johnny Cueto after the game where Cueto threw a pitch over David DeJesus in the 6th inning while the Reds were leading 4-0.  Was the pitch intentional?  Maybe.  After all, Garza lost his cool and plunked Todd Frazier after giving up a home run to Jay Bruce in the third inning.  The Reds are getting pounded at the plate – getting hit-by-pitches enough to rank them fifth in the majors.  Maybe Cueto has had enough of it and decided to let teams know the Reds won’t stand for it anymore?  When Garza suggested that Cueto should “grow the hell up”, perhaps that is exactly what Cueto has done in an effort to protect his team.

The result of this incident has yet to be seen.  The Reds and Cubs play each other again in two weeks at Chicago, where the Cubbies might get some beer muscles at the Wriggly Bar (where they also happen to play baseball games). Garza’s comments are nothing short of confusing when he states “He’s (Cueto) lucky that retaliation isn’t in our vocabulary here” but adds comments like “If he has something to say about it, he knows where to find my locker and definitely I’ll find his” and “If Cueto has any problem, he can throw at me and I’ll definitely return the favor” (which to prove that “retaliation” is CLEARLY in the Cubs’ vocabulary).

So there’s that.  Reds at Cubs June 10th – 13th. It looks like Cueto will pitch on Tuesday, June 11th whereas the Cubs send Garza to the mound on Wednesday.

Then there’s the Chapman saga.  Everyone knows that Chapman has thrown the ball like Ebby Calvin LaLoosh.  I’m confident that Mr. Red and crew have been told to stay away from the Diamond Club seats when Chapman pitches for fear of them catching a ball in the earhole.  So when Chapman flings a ball over Nick Swisher’s head in the ninth inning, I don’t see why it would be a cause for longterm concern between the two teams outside of the fact that the pitch was near Swisher’s head.  Multiple players/coaches on the Indians have said they didn’t like it, but they’ve also commented that they didn’t think Chapman was doing it on purpose, so I don’t expect any fireworks tonight as the Reds try to finish off the Indians. However, if the Reds have the lead late, I AM interested to see if Dusty “RELEASES THE CHAPMAN!” on the Indians again.

Overall, I’m ok with the Reds buzzing opposing hitters.  There are only so many HBPs that Choo can take before the Reds are going to have to look for another leadoff hitter.  Perhaps this is the pitching staff (finally) standing up for their hitters and letting other teams know that hitting a Reds won’t go unpunished.  The Cubs may not have a large enough vocabulary, but I think the Reds do.

 

 

Joey Votto’s Intensity

Joey Votto.  The (stupid) debate rages on about what he gets paid to do and what he doesn’t get paid to do.  In my opinion, he gets paid to play baseball, which he does very well and very intensely.  Now, Dusty Baker is saying Joey might be a little too intense after Votto let some words fly in multiple games after striking out that I wouldn’t want in my comment section (because my mom reads this…).  What does this mean for Reds bloggers and Twitter GMs everywhere: a new (pointless) debate! Should Joey be told to tone it down and watch his mouth?

The easy answer for Joey is this: Get better at what you do so you don’t make any outs at all, then you won’t have to spout off curse words.  I’d expect that is Paul Daughtery’s suggestion to the problem though, so I’ll have to go another route.

I will enjoy watching baseball games at home with my daughter and, no, I don’t want to have to explain certain words to her before she (and I) is ready.  However, I won’t blame Joey if he lets them rip.  After all, isn’t it just as much the broadcasting network’s issue?  They are the people who decide to put microphones all over so we get an up-close concert of woos, beer vendors and off-color language.  Yes, I love hearing the crack of the bat and pop of the mitt as much as the next guy, but I don’t think I need to hear when the batter passes gas or, more commonly, expresses his frustrations after striking out.  Asking Joey (or any star player) to change his approach to the game is ludicrous to me.  Let them play and celebrate/be frustrated however they want to best fit their game.  If you have a problem with hearing that aspect, I suggest contacting Fox Sports Ohio, 700 WLW or hitting the mute button quickly.

 

 

Using Your Fame For The Powers Of Good

Most of us know that Ryan Ludwick’s nephew has been fighting cancer.  He’s been mentioned a few times by Jim Day and the crew during Reds Live, during interviews with Ludwick and had a hashtag used by baseball fans (not just Reds fans) to show support for his fight. Now his family is holding an auction to raise money and Mrs. Ludwick has been spreading the word via Twitter from her account – @Joanbologna.  Twitter is a fantastic way of spreading information and knowledge and gaining support when you need it and I applaud the Ludwick’s for using this forum and Ryan’s baseball fame to raise awareness/knowledge/money for Cody and his disease.  Check out the items up for auction – everything from baseball items to a round of golf to handbags!

 

 

That’ll Be Five Maple Syrups, Please

Finally, it’s been brought to my attention that Canada has issued new currency and many people believe it smells like maple syrup.  I am aware that Canada is the second-ranked country for Head First Slide readers, so I’d like to know if the new features to the currency are true.  Bring the reports, readers from the Great White North!

Feel free to comment about anything I’ve covered in this long novel of a post or make something up completely on your own, as long as it’s clean.  If it’s not clean, feel free to Tweet me at @GeoffreyHoman.  Thanks for reading!

2013 First Quarter Reds Awards

 

Remember when we all couldn’t wait for the season to start?  Well, with 40 games under their stirrups and a 24-16 record, it’s now about 25% complete already! What the…?

I don’t expect many surprises from the game tonight in Miami.  Mat Latos is pitching. Against the Marlins. Yes, anything can happen in any game, but on paper, this should be as easy of a victory as they come in the majors.

So, let’s look back on the 2013 season and see who would win a few awards, you know, “if the season ended today”:

 

Surprise of 2013:

This one is fairly easy – Tony Cingrani.  I think a lot of people knew of Tony and some knew how good Tony could be, but for him to translate that into his performance at the Major League level after Cueto went to the DL was more than anyone really expected.  In 28 innings, Cingrani has posted a sub-3 ERA and a K/9 stat of more than 11.  Plus, Cingrani is the only pitcher on the Reds (with more than 6 IP) with a WHIP of under 1. Will those stats hold up if he comes back from Louisville and relieves his shoulder soreness? That’s not for me to say, but it IS for me to declare him as my pick for the SURPRISE OF 2013!

 

Cingrani

 

 

Disappointment of 2013:

Sorry folks, we here at Head First Slide are a positive-thinking group.  You can fill in your own name if you want, but you won’t get one from me…

 

Dugout

 

 

Cy Young:

Man, the possibilities… Mat Latos, Homer Bailey, Tony CingraniAroldis Chapman… It is impossible to have “too much” good pitching, but the Reds have been pretty close to that reality.  Their starting pitching staff ranks fourth in the majors with a 3.38 ERA and fifth in the majors in innings pitched, which is clutch for the bullpen guys to stay fresh. On an individual level, I’m going to tab Mat Latos as the first quarter Cy Young guys on the Reds because of the numbers he’s put up.  He’s the team leader in wins and quality starts, has an ERA of just a touch over 3 and gets the fans fired up for his pitching days. Homer Bailey is right there on most aspects, and has a cool nickname with “Batman”, but for this non-realistic award for the quarter-season Cy Young goes to Mat Latos.

 

Latos

 

 

MVP:

Another category with an embarrassment of riches:  Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Shin-Soo Choo, Mat Latos, Homer Bailey, Aroldis Chapman, Head First Slide…  You could throw up a legitimate argument for any of these guys and stand a fighting chance in the debate.  At this point, I’m going to go with the guy who leads the majors in on-base percentage and is second in the majors in on-base-plus-slugging – Shin-Soo ChooJoey Votto has walked 34 times so far this season and most of them have been intentional passes.  Choo has walked 27 times, and very few of them have been freebies.  Choo leads the team in getting on base for the big hitters behind him and when he feels like a run is needed RIGHT NOW, he gets it done himself, leading the team in home runs.  Yes – the Reds leadoff hitter has more home runs than Joey Votto and Jay Bruce – COMBINED. Shin-Soo Choo: Your 2013 first-quarter Reds MVP.

 

Choo

 

 

 

 

 

Thoughts?  Arguments?  Want to discuss the “WOO!” some more?  Leave a comment below or find me on Twitter at @GeoffreyHoman. Thanks for reading!