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!

 

Advertisements

The Latos Experience

About a month ago while cruising through my Twitter feed I came across a tweet from Sports Gallery in West Chester (@ASportsGallery) stating that they were having Mat Latos in store for an autograph signing! This jumped out at me in two ways: 1. I love collecting autographs! (Duh!) and 2. Anyone who has been on twitter and follows the Reds and their fans knows that Mat’s wife Dallas (@DallasLatos) is a riot to follow and there was a good chance she would be there too. (WOO!)  So I began looking into the details of the event. Not only was Sports Gallery about 5 mins drive from my work,  it was only $30 for Mat to sign any item I wanted to bring! I was on this like a Spider Monkey all jacked up on Mountain Dew!

Then my dilemma began, what do I have him sign? Ball? Card? Bat? Photo? I settled on ordering an 8×10 photo which could be framed and hung in my office at work for all my co-workers to be envious of. LOL! So now I had my 8×10 in hand, perfect blue sharpie selected for the signature…and the event was over 3 weeks away! Ugh. So the waiting began.

This week finally rolled around… Monday… Tuesday… Wednesday… Finally Thursday! Latos Day as I had been calling it for a past few days was upon us! I was stoked! the hours I spent at work seemed to drag on and on! Finally it was time to go! Hopped in the car and headed over to Sports Gallery! this sign greeted me as I drove into the parking lot:

Latos1

My stomach actually began to flutter! I was about to meet not just one of the starting pitchers of the Cincinnati Reds but, the #1 starter in many fans hearts! Now I have met sports figures and various other celebrities in my years of collecting autographs but I was actually a bit more excited about this one! So I got out of the car and headed up to the store to pick up my line number, good gravy I was number 132! This was going to take forever! Oh…wait…they are already on 79…maybe not as long as I thought!

I passed the time waiting by talking with other fans and checking out what they were getting signed. Saw alot of people opting for the Official Major League baseball and jerseys. Still a few more had bats and various other Reds items that were covered in signatures! I was starting to doubt my 8×10 choice but stood strong and stuck with it! After a bit my number was called! I was ushered through a set of doors of a conference hall that had been set up for the event and there they were! Ryan Hanigan and Mat Latos were about 10 feet in front of me! Mat looked to be having a great time talking with the fans in the line in front of me signing there items, taking pictures with them and thanking them for coming! He seemed particularly excited about the person that placed a limited edition bottle of Liquor in front of him to sign of course!

Wanna Drink!? LOL!

Wanna Drink!? LOL!

Then it was my turn, I got a bit flustered handing off my camera to a lady who would take a pic of Mat and I,  but I managed to hand my photo to Mat and while he was signing it in bright blue sharpie I asked one request “Could you please add #TeamLatos under your signature?” to which he comically responded “Me and Twitter do not get along. I don’t want to have anything to do with Twitter, so I can’t do that for you, sorry”. While this kind of stumped me for a moment, I understood. I moved around the table and got a wonderful photo taken with Mat, He said thank you for coming out and I was on my way with my treasure in hand! I don’t think I stopped grinning all the way to the car! The event that I had been waiting for 3 weeks was complete and I had a great memory and photo to show for it!

Me & Mr Latos

Me & Mr Latos

My Precious!

My Precious!

I have no idea if the Latos family will read my little ol’ blog post but if they do I would just like to say Thank you so very much for doing the event tonight! It was so cool to be able to spend even just a moment with Mat on his day off, and I will hang my photo with pride in my office! May #TeamLatos long live in Cincinnati!!

Thanks and have a blessed day!

– Joe G –
Autograph Collector Extraordinaire

Questions? Comments? Love it? Hate It? Feel free to comment below or follow me on Twitter @garpike28

Almost Perfect…

Aside

Last night, Yu Darvish almost cemented his name in the baseball history books.  At some point in the evening, you probably received texts from friends, saw crawler lines on your tv or saw the many tweets that were updating his progress and jinxing his results (allegedly). Even if you’re not a Ranger fan, you probably wanted to watch, because “27 up and 27 down” is exciting, and it’s history. When Travis Wood took the Phillies 8 2/3 innings of perfect baseball, I was in the frontier of Alaska and guess what – the Cincinnati Reds were on tv and everyone around the screen was cheering for our Reds, even though we were hundreds of miles from the nearest MLB ballpark. It’s that type of exciting.

That’s one of the things I love most about baseball – you never know when you’ll be in the presence of greatness to the extent of “forever” and “history books”.  You can try to calculate when season-long or career-long milestones might be reached, but baseball gives you the chance to see something rare and special EVERY SINGLE GAME.

Yu Darvish is a very good pitcher.  So is Mat Latos. Tonight at Great American Ballpark just might be one of those nights that 70,000 people claim “I was there” and Mat is given a new nickname a la Tom Browning.

Maybe not – but baseball gives you that opportunity to see history with every game.