About Me

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I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Why Is Dusty Baker Getting Two More Years?

Mike Hargrove was fired by the Cleveland Indians following the 1999 season.

Hargrove's crime?  The Indians had a 2-0 lead over the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS and lost the last three games.  By the way, the Indians won 97 games that season.

I will never forget the reaction from Bobby Cox, who knows a thing or two about the postseason, "How do you fire someone who won 97 games," Cox said shaking his head. "Anything can happen in the playoffs."

The Indians made the move because the Cleveland fans were all over Hargrove for "not being able to win in the playoffs."  Exactly how has the firing worked for the Indians, who just fired the third manager since Hargrove, Manny Acta, then hiring Terry Francona.

The Reds management is smart enough to ignore the loud minority of fans who think they know more about managing a baseball team than a guy who has actually won three Manager of the Year Awards and missed a fourth by one vote.

Dusty Baker took a young team to the playoffs in two of the last three seasons.  Fan expectation being unrealistic, believe that running the gauntlet of the extra level of playoffs that the 50's Yankees never had to deal with, is an easy endeavor.

The fans, who second guessed an scrutinized every move Baker made, need a quick lesson in history.

In Cincinnati, the Big Red Machine, is romanticized over 40 years of faded memory.

They have conveniently forgot that three Sparky Anderson teams failed to win the World Title in his first five years at the helm.  The Reds lost the 1970 World Series to the Baltimore Orioles, in five games.  They were a sub .500 team in 1971.  They lost to the Oakland A's in the 1972 World Series, dropping the first two games at home.  The Reds were bounced by the New York Mets in the 1973 NLCS.  They weren't required to win that extra Division Series or who knows if they would have reached the World Series in two of those seasons.

Bob Howsam, the general manager, didn't panic.  He knew he had the right man to manage the huge egos that inhabited the Riverfront Stadium clubhouse. 

Current general manager, Walt Jocketty, who like Howsam came to the Reds via St. Louis, has been through the building process before.

Jocketty saw the Cardinals win multiple division tittles but fall short in the playoffs.

Tony La Russa had come to St. Louis from Oakland.  His 1988 Oakland A's won 104 games but were upset by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988.  They won it all in 1989 over San Francisco but were swept by the underdog Reds in the 1990 World Series after they won 104 games.

La Russa's postseason struggles continued with St. Louis.  He took over the Cardinals in 1996.  In his first year the Cardinals won the Central Division.  They lost the NLCS.  It took the Cardinals three seasons to get back to the playoffs.  In 2000 the Cards were bounced in the NLCS in five games.  LaRussa's team was eliminated in the NLDS in 2001.  Dusty Baker's San Francisco Giants took the NLCS from the Cardinals in 2002.  It took LaRussa 10 seasons to win it all in 2006, then they were swept in the 2009 Division Series by the Dodgers.

Baker took over a team that had not had a winning season in seven years.  It was a team with young talent coming through the minor leagues after years of neglect from former general manager Jim Bowden IV and owner Marge Schott.

Baker is the first Reds' manager since Sparky Anderson to win two division titles in three years.  Baker's team improved every year in his first four seasons, winning the NL Central in 2010.  With two starting pitchers for a quarter of the season, in 2011 the team fell below .500.  The team rebounded "Big time" with 97 wins this season, the second most in all of baseball, better than the mega budget, Yankees.

It was an amazing accomplishment.  Baker had to adjust all year long.  The team lacked a true leadoff man.  They were unsteady in the cleanup spot.  Ryan Madson, signed out of Philadelphia to be the team's closer, never threw a pitch due to injury.  The team's lefthanded specialist, Bill Bray, saw limited duty with various injuries.  Key setup man, Nick Masset, never threw a pitch.  Baker started the season with rookies at two key defensive positions with Zack Cozart at shortstop and Devin Mesoraco, getting two games of every five at catcher.  The team did without Cozart, Brandon Phillips, Scott Rolen, Gold Glove outfielder, Drew Stubbs and cleanup hitter, Ryan Ludwick for several games each.

The biggest injury 2010 MVP and 2011 Gold Glove winner, Joey Votto, missed a quarter of the season.  When he returned his power was limited due to a pair of knee surgeries.  He was reduced to a singles hitter for the playoffs.

The playoffs started with Johnny Cueto, the 19-game winner unable to throw more than eight pitches.

The Reds weathered all the storms, yet the odds caught up to them in the Division Series against San Francisco.

Baker has a good rapport with the players and they play very hard for him because he has been through what they were going through.  He hasn't forgotten what it was like.

Baker was a young player with a lot of promise and admittedly took awhile to mature.  He can empathize with the young players.  He also remembers what it was like for a veteran player on the down side of his career.  He is able to communicate that with the players.

If Baker has a problem with a player, he handles it in house, man-to-man.  He is brutally honest.  Every player knows where he stands and why.

A lot of people second guess some of his moves.  He studies the scouting reports religiously.  He is super observant and sees things that slip by most people.  When asked about a move that he makes in a game, he has an answer that makes sense.

Owner Bob Castellini has a reputation for being a tough but fair boss.  He demands a lot from his employees.  He is a successful business man, who is not about to blow money on the wrong man.  Castellini will not let public opinion run the team for him, unlike Cleveland's ownership did in regard to Hargrove.

Fans can second guess and debate and scrutinize Baker all they want to but Baker has forgotten more baseball than the fans in the stands will ever know.  Castellini is too smart to make a big mistake for PR purposes.

Dusty Baker will be here for two more years.  My advice for fans, sit back enjoy the ride and you just may learn some baseball in the process.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

21 Ranked Bearcats Improve to 5-0

The Fordham Rams battled as hard as they could for as long as they could but in the end the Cincinnati Bearcats won it's fifth game of the season in a 49-17 rout.

Seven different Cincinnati players scored touchdowns, including all three quarterbacks, Munchie Legaux, Jordan Luallen and Brandon Kay.

Deven Drane scored the first one on a 76-yard return of a recovered fumble.

Travis Kelce (78 yards) and Danny Milligan (29 yards) caught touchdown passes from Legaux.

Ralph David Abernathy IV had the longest run from scrimmage of his career when he took a handoff 36 yards.

Reserve tailback Tion Green contributed 28 yards on three carries.  Milligan returned a punt 42 yards for UC.

The most impressive performance on the Fordham side came from placekicker, Patrick Murray.  The senior from Mahwah, New Jersey and Don Bosco Prep, kicked three field goals 46, 55 and 38 yards.  The 55-yard field goal broke his own Fordham record.

Quarterback Ryan Higgins had a costly fumble the Drane returned for a touchdown but he completed 31 of 42 passes for 262 yards.  Carlton Koonce rushed for 76 yards on 22 carries for Fordham.  Brian Wetzel caught nine passes for 121 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown catch.  Higgins also completed a two-point conversion to Mason Halter.

The Bearcats play the next two games on the road.

They take on Toledo next Saturday, then archrival Louisville on Friday October 26.

Bearcats Roar to a Commanding Lead

Cincinnati scored three touchdowns in the third quarter.

Munchie Legauz rushed eight yards for the score on the Bearcats' first possession.  Ralph David Abernathy IV rushed 36 yards for a score on the next possession.  It was his longest career rush.

Back up quarterback Jordan Luallen ran the ball in from a yard out to put the Bearcats up 35-6.

The Rams fought back.  Ryan Higgins found Brian Wetzel in the Cincinnati endzone for Fordham's long awaited first touchdown of the game.  The Rams went for two-points on the conversion and got it with a pass from Higgins to Mason Halter.

The score cut the Bearcat lead to 35-14.

Record Field Goal is the Only 2nd Quarter Score at UC

Patrick Murray of Fordham kicked a school record 55-yard field goal with 43 seconds left in the first half to close the gap versus Cincinnati to 14-6.

Murray, who is likely to warrant a draft choice in the NFL draft, eclipsed his record of 52 yards against Lock Haven on August 30.

He now has kicked four field goals of 50 yards or longer this season.

The Rams outgained the Bearcats 181-146 in the first half.

Cincinnati Jumps in Front of Fordham

The Bearcats offense didn't get on the field until 4:45 left in the first quarter but did so with a 7-3 lead.

Fordham was putting together a nice drive when Rams quarterback Ryan Higgins fumbled after a hit by Dan Giordano.  Deven Drane picked up the ball and raced 76 yards for a touchdown. 

The Rams took the kickoff  and drove to the Bearcats' 28.  All-American candidate kicker Patrick Murray kicked a 46-yard field goal.

Munchie Legaux and his offense ran it's first play with under five minutes to play.  Legaux connected with Travis Kelce on a 78-yard pass play with 3:39 remaining in the quarter.

Fordham had the ball for 12:14 in the quarter but Cincinnati outgained them 106-94 with just 2:49 time of possesion.

Cincinnati Faces Fabled Fordham University

The Fordham Rams once played to sellout crowds in New York's Yankee Stadium and the Polo Grounds.

They competed often with Columbia University in upper manhattan across the East River from its home in the Bronx.  The Liberty Cup competition linked the Rams to the Ivy League although they were never a member.

The Rams won the National Tittle in 1929 and in the mid 1930's it's defensive and offensive lines were known as the "Seven Blocks of Granite".  The group included, tackle Ed Franco, a consensus All-American, center Alex Wojciechowicz, who went on to star for the Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles and guard Vince Lombardi, who went on to be a Hall of Fame coach for the Green Bay Packers in the NFL.

Fordham dropped football after the 1954 season but revived the program as an NCAA Division III participant in 1970.  They now compete in the FCS (Football Championship Subdivision formerly Div I-AA).  They are affiliated with the Patriot Conference.

This is the Rams first meeting with Cincinnati.  They filled a schedule hole for Cincinnati left by TCU choosing to join the Big 12 conference rather than the Big East.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

My Kingdome For a Big Hit

Jay Bruce battled and battled and battled.  He was in the batter's box for 12 pitches representing the winning run.

Sergio Romo was not giving in, pumping strike after strike after strike before getting the stubborn Bruce on a fly to left.

Both The Reds and the San Francisco Giants had their backs against the wall.  For San Francisco it lasted for three days.  For Cincinnati it lasted for four excruciating, frustrating, yet exhilarating innings.

The Giants walked off the field with a 6-4 win but the score of the game is secondary to the struggle to get there.

No National League team had ever lost the first two games of the best-of-five division series at home and come back to win.  That was the task facing the Giants.  That was the task they accomplished over the last four innings, from holding on by their own fingernails to enduring a cornered opponent scratching and clawing to its last breath.

"This is what we live and we work for, its this moment," Hunter Pence said.  "If you get
the job done or don't get the job done.  It's moment to moment.  You
give it everything you've got if you win, you win, not necessarily on
the scoreboard. I feel both teams won to night.  It took a lot of
guts.  The series was incredible.  Only one teams move on."

Pence gave a speech in the dugout prior to the first game of the series in Cincinnati, Tuesday night.  

"It was about see you tomorrow," Pence said, knowing a misstep would prevent the team from gathering anymore this year.

The starting pitchers Matt Cain for San Francisco and Mat Latos for Cincinnati, hooked up in a scoreless deadlock for four solid innings.  Latos was the first to blink.

Latos missed on two close pitches to Gregor Blanco before the Giants' leftfielder slapped a single to left.  Brandon Crawford drilled a pitch down the rightfield line.  Blanco scored as Crawford sped to third.  Angel Pagan hit a high chop with the infield in.  Rookie Zack Cozart, who played a Gold Glove shortstop according to Scott Rolen, the owner of eight, dropped the chopper while preparing to throw home.  Latos walked Marco Scutaro.  Pablo Sandoval singled sharply to left to load the bases.  Buster Posey, possibly the NL Most Valuable Player, hit a fastball into the leftfield stands.

Just that quickly it was 6-0.

The Reds' turn against the wall began.  They started the comeback.

Ryan Hanigan was hit by a pitch by Cain.  Drew Stubbs singled. Pinch hitter Chris Heisey popped foul to firstbase.  Brandon Phillips doubled as both men scored.  Joey Votto narrowly missed a single up the middle that Crawford fielded and turned into the inning-ending out.

Ryan Ludwick led off the sixth with a long home run. Bruce followed with a walk.  Rolen singled.  The Reds appeared to be breaking the door down.  Hanigan worked the count to 3-2.  The runners were moving on the full count.  Hanigan took a called third strike and Posey threw to third to get Bruce.  Stubbs grounded to short.

While the best bullpen in the league was keeping the Giants from adding to its lead, the Reds put two on with two outs in the seventh.   Ludwick grounded a 3-2 pitch back to Jeremy Affeldt.

In the eighth Rolen singled with one out.  Hanigan lined to short but Crawford dived to catch the ball.  Pinch hitter Todd Frazier singled.  Dusty Baker send Dioner Navarro to bat for Jonathan Broxton.  Navarro hit a line fly to shallow center.  Pagan made a diving catch.

The Reds faced a 6-3 deficit in the ninth.  Phillips popped foul to Brandon Belt at firstbase.  Cozart walked.  Votto singled to right.  Ludwick singled to left to score Cozart.  Bruce stepped in against Romo.

Bruce fell behind 0-2, he fouled off pitches until the count ran full but the fly to left ended in a victory for Romo and the Giants.  Rolen in perhaps his last at bat in the big leagues struck out swinging.

"It was a battle," Romo said. "It was a battle of will power. He's a good hitter.
He got a lot of good hits for his team.  I had my teammates in my
mind.  I thought, he's not going to get it off me.  We're moving on.
We got it done."

Dusty Baker told the team he was proud of them.

"We had the tying run at the plate in the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth," Baker said.  "We couldn't come up with the big hit. It was disheartening to have my club go through this.  I'm proud of the way we fought until the end.  That at bat that Jay Bruce had was unbelievable.  That was sheer determination.  You've got to work a little harder this winter and this is going to take a while for this to heal but everything heals.  Sometimes you just get tired of disappointments."

Professionally edited by ML Schirmer
for proofreading services call

Goodbye Clemente

Follow the playoffs on fullofschatz.blogspot.com. I will be at every home game throughout the playoffs. You can sign up to follow this blog by registering below also these posts will be submitted to Twitter @Colgar53......Please call 513-240-3120 to advertise in this space. This is perfect for "watch parties" and specials during the playoffs, ask your suppliers about trade funds.

October 11, 1972 a young man was working at the United Dairy Farmers in Harrison, Ohio to earn spending and tuition money.  A devout baseball fan, he lamented that he had to work all day, missing game five of the NLCS series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and his Cincinnati Reds.

The series was tied and 25 miles away the event was about to unfold at Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium with the series tied two games apiece, this game would determine who would represent the National League in the 1972 World Series.

He couldn't even watch it on TV because worse yet, he had an eight hour day in Harrison, Ohio to be followed by a seven p.m. to midnight shift at the store in Mt. Airy.  He could only follow on radio with Al Michaels and Joe Nuxhall calling the action.

But he had to work.  He didn't have a ticket anyway.  He couldn't afford one.

At 1:30 the game was two hours away.  All he could do was his job.

Yet the phone rang.  His father, who made a living tending bar at Wiggins Tavern downtown where the Westin Hotel is now, was on the line.

"Gar, I have a ticket for you," his father said using his nickname.  "Can you get down here to pick it up?  A customer left it with me.  He couldn't use it."

"I have to work until four," the yonng man replied. "Then I have to be in Mt. Airy by seven."

"Call your boss," his father said.  "I'm sure she would let you go. The game will be over long before seven."

The young man dialed Marie Gray, the store manager.  "My dad has a ticket for the game today."

'I'll be right down," Marie said.  "I wouldn't want you to miss that."

The excited young man sped to downtown Cincinnati, parking in the underground garage at Cincinnati's Fountain Square, across the street from Wiggin's Tavern.

There Richard Schatz handed his oldest son the ticket," Bring back a winner,"

The game started at that Wednesday afternoon around 2:00 p.m. The young man made his way to the "green seats", the plaza level boxes.

A sellout crowd was in full voice as Reds' starter Don Gullet took the mound.

The first hit of the game came on a two-out single by Hall of Fame outfielder, Robeto Clemente.  Clemente had recently collected his 3,000th career hit prior to the playoffs.

Steve Blass, who is currently one of the Pirates' broadcasters, started for Pittsburgh.

The Pirates held a 3-2 lead going into the ninth inning. Cesar Geronimo hit a solo home run for the Reds in the fifth inning but the bats went quiet against Blass and Ramon Hernandez, the crowd followed suit.

Johnny Bench was facing Pirate reliever, Dave Giusti.

Bench hit the first pitch to rightfield, one of the few times he hit the ball that way. The radio rang throughout Reds' country with now celebrity broadcaster Al Michaels call.

"A fly ball to right. Back goes Clemente. It's a home run," Michaels painted the picture with his words.

The young man by himself rose to his feet next to a couple he didn't know, who appeared to be in their fourties. They were embracing the woman kissed the young man as if they were close friends. The crowd exploded. No one realized that the great Roberto Clemente was playing in his last game.

The Reds weren't finished. Hall of Famer, Tony Perez, singled. An little known outfielder, George Foster, pinch ran for Perez. Denis Menke singled with Foster moving to second. Geronimo just missed his second home run with a fly ball that Clemente caught. Even with Clemente's famously strong arm, Foster advanced to third. Hal McRae pinch hit for reliever Clay Carroll against new pitcher Bob Moose.

Moose reached back to put extra on his pitch to McRae. The ball bounced short of the plate and past Sanguillen. Foster raced home with the National League pennant on his back, touching off a wild celebration that spilled over into the downtown area.

The young man jumped, hugged and kissed every woman in his section, high fived every male. He celebrated all the way to his car, watching people mob sidewalks and streets. He noted it was nearly 4:00. There was plenty of time to drive six miles north to the United Dairy Farmers on the corner of Colerain and Kirby.

He never made it. The crowd wasn't leaving. No one was getting in or out of downtown until very late that night. The young man had another boss to call. She understood as she was cheering with customers inside the store.

The Reds went on to play the Oakland Athletics in the World Series but lost in seven games.
It was on New Year's day two months later that the news interrupted the 1973 Rose Bowl.  Ohio State and Heisman Trophy winner, Archie Griffen, playing USC.  The news shattered the spirit of the game.  Roberto Clemente died in a plane crash while flying relief supplies to earthquake victims in Nicauragua.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Giants Force Game Five

Follow the playoffs on fullofschatz.blogspot.com.  I will be at every home game throughout the playoffs.  You can sign up to follow this blog by registering below also these posts will be submitted to Twitter @Colgar53......Please call 513-240-3120 to advertise in this space.  This is perfect for "watch parties" and specials during the playoffs, ask your suppliers about trade funds

Mike Leake was forced into action when the Reds determined that ace, Johnny Cueto, could not pitch with his strained oblique.

Angel Pagan opened the game with a home run and the San Francisco Giants spent the day adding runs to force a game five with an 8-3 win.

The Reds played catch up but the Giants sprung off the wall at their backs to even the series after dropping a pair at home.  It turns Thursday's game into a winner-take-all situation.

Leake was left off the postseason roster but he was told that he needed to be ready.  His start wasn't good.

"He didn't start off very well in the first couple innings," Dusty Baker said.  "For a couple innings he threw the ball excellent but he wasn't real sharp. He was getting the ball in the middle of the plate."

The 2-0 advantage is gone after taking the first two on the road.  The Reds did not lose three straight games at home all season.

"It's probably hard for them to believe that we were 2-0 out there (San Francisco)," Baker said.  "They reveresed it on us.  We have a big game tomorrow, if we win, it doesn't matter how many games we were up."

After Pagan hit the home run to "wake up our offense," as Pablo Sandoval said.

Giants starter Barry Zito, who was given the ball in place of former Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum, had trouble throwing strikes .  He go two quick fly ball outs.  Joey Votto singled up the middle.  Zito walked the next three before striking out Dioner Navarro with the bases loaded.

"My timing was off," Zito said. "I was just missing off the plate.  I wasn't able to pound the strike zone like I had been doing."

The Reds had the tie but failed to deliver the knockout blow.

Gregor Blanco hit a two-run home run off Leake in the second inning.

The Reds got two straight singles after two were out in the second but Zito got Votto to fly out.
Ryan Ludwick led off the next inning with his second home run of the series.  Two outs later, Zito walked Navarro and Bruce Bochy went to his bullpen.  George Kontos got Drew Stubbs to fly out.

The Reds got a leadoff single from Leake in the fourth.  Brandon Phillips struck out but Zack Cozart singled to put two more runners on.  Bochy brought in lefthander, Jose Mijares, who struck out Votto.  It was his only batter.

Bochy went to Lincecum.   Lincecum struck out Ludwick to end the threat.

"That was the game right there," Zito said.  "We fed off the momentum after that."

"The main thing is we left a lot of runners on base," Baker said.  "We had a lot of opportunities early in the game.  We had Barry Zito on the ropes quite a few times.  The main thing tomorrow is to come out fighting.  That's what it's all about.  Tomorrow is the final fight."

Leake had the better of the Giants for two innings but Joaquin Arias and Pagan doubled back-to-back to begin the fifth.  Marco Scutaro bunted Pagan to third.  Sandoval delivered him with a fly to deep center.

Drew Stubbs got one of the two hits that Lincecum allowed in his 4-1/3 innings.  Stubbs scored on Phillips sacrifice fly to make the count 5-3. 

The Giants put the game out of reach with three runs off Jose Arredondo in the seventh.  The nail in the coffin was Sandoval's long home run to the Giants bullpen.


Mike Leake Will Start For the Reds In Game 4

Follow the playoffs on fullofschatz.blogspot.com.  I will be at every home game throughout the playoffs.  You can sign up to follow this blog by registering below also these posts will be submitted to Twitter @Colgar53......Please call 513-240-3120 to advertise in this space.  This is perfect for "watch parties" and specials during the playoffs, ask your suppliers about trade funds.

Mike Leake will get the start for the Reds in Game 4 of the Division Series against the San Francisco Giants at 4:07 pm.

The injury to Johnny Cueto is such that he will be lost to the Reds for the rest of this series and the NLCS should the Reds clinch.

Leake was 8-9 in 30 starts this season for the Reds but was left off the playoff roster.  Cincinnati was 16-14 in games that he started in 2012.  He made one start against the Giants this season.  Leake pitched a complete game against San Francisco on June 29 in AT&T Park.  The Reds beat Matt Cain in that game by a 5-1 score.  He allowed a run on nine hits and a walk in the game.  Pablo Sandoval ruined the shutout with a ninth inning home run.

He is 3-0 lifetime against the Giants with a 4.55 ERA.

"It was a tough decision," Dusty Baker said.  "I got together with Bryan Price (pitching coach), with Walt (Jocketty GM) and our doctors.  It didn't appear that at best Johnny was going to be ready, maybe, at the end of the series, and maybe one game next series."

"You have to get to the next series first and like I said, it was a very tough decision.  We could have gone with (Mat) Latos today, but he was on four-days' rest; and could have gone with (Bronson) Arroyo.  He would have been on four-days' rest, so we went with a fresh body," Baker said.

The Reds told Leake he may be needed as soon as Cueto was hurt.

"Mike knew he might be pitching today," Baker said.  "He's known for possibly a couple days, not that he would be pitching but he was preparing to pitch.  He was studying the charts, he was looking at the game, he was in the video room.  That's Mike Leake."

The irony is that the Reds went the entire season without a starter missing a turn.  The team waited as long as they could to make the decision, hoping that Cueto would recover quickly.

"An oblique strain is a quandry," Price said. "A certainty on when he's going to be ready to go, we can't put a finger on it.  The obvious thing for me is we have to do what's best for the club.  It is what we've done all year.  We have always made decisions that are best for the entire group.  I think Johnny understands that."

The decsion to leave Leake off the postseason roster was equally tough to make but the Reds told the young righthander that he was to stay ready.

"We wanted to make sure he kept the mental mindset that anything could happen," Price said.  "He could find himself in any series, including the first one.  What happened to Johnny set the thing in motion.  Mike is just a competitive kid.  I don''t think he ever shut himself off to thinking tha was going to pitch at some point during the postseason"
Professionally edited by ML Schirmer
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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Reds Still Thinking About Game Four Starter

Follow the playoffs on fullofschatz.blogspot.com.  I will be at every home game throughout the playoffs.  You can sign up to follow this blog by registering below also these posts will be submitted to Twitter @Colgar53......Please call 513-240-3120 to advertise in this space.  This is perfect for "watch parties" and specials during the playoffs, ask your suppliers about trade funds.

There are not many choices since Johnny Cueto's strained oblique ruined the Reds' pitching plans.

Mat Latos, who pitched four innings when Cueto couldn't continue game one, would have to work with just three days rest.

Mike Leake could be activated and take Cueto's roster spot but then Cueto would not be able to pitch in the next series, should the Reds win one of the next two games.

"The options are Latos and Leake probably," Dusty Baker said.  "It would be Latos pitching with three days rest for the second time in a row.  Those are our options right now."

The Reds' are still talking it over.

"It's very difficult but it all depends if you ace can't go," Baker said.

Cueto was re-examined earlier today.  The doctors opinion is the key to whether or not Cueto pitches again in the series.

"We are going to do what's best for Johnny," Baker said.  "So you have to go with healthy bodies.  You hate missing him.  That's part of the consideration, you know, is going without him.  We realize what's at stake and that's part of the decision."

The Giants Scratch Out an Extra Inning Win to Stay Alive

Follow the playoffs on fullofschatz.blogspot.com.  I will be at every home game throughout the playoffs.  You can sign up to follow this blog by registering below also these posts will be submitted to Twitter @Colgar53......Please call 513-240-3120 to advertise in this space.  This is perfect for "watch parties" and specials during the playoffs, ask your suppliers about trade funds.

The Giants could do nothing with Homer Bailey and very little with anyone else but Ryan Vogelsong and the San Francisco bullpen held the fort until they caught a break.

San Francisco had just one hit and three base runners total through nine innings but Vogelsong survived a rocky first that included an aggresive base running play by Brandon Phillips that backfired.

Phillips led off the first with a single up the middle.  As he stole second base, Vogelsong threw the ball over catcher Buster Posey's head.  Phillips wanted to get to third and took off.  The ball bounced back to Posey and he nailed Phillips at third for the first out.

"It was an aggressive play by Brandon," Dusty Baker said.  "We had other chances early in the game though.  Brandon thought he could make it but it bounced right back to Buster Posey. It doesn't weigh on my mind.  Brandon is a heads-up baseball player."

Zack Cozart walked.  After Joey Votto flied to left, Ryan Ludwick and Jay Bruce singled back-to-back to score Cozart.  That was all the Reds could muster off Vogelsong.  The had a pair of two-out baserunners in the third but Bruce flied out to end the threat.  The had the same scenario off former teammate, Jeremy Affeldt, in the sixth but Ryan Hanigan grounded out.

Homer Bailey had no-hit stuff but a brief stretch of wildness allowed the Giants to tie the game.  Bailey hit Gregor Blanco to open the third.  He walked Brandon Crawford, the next batter.  Vogelsong bunted them along.  Angel Pagan hit a fly ball deep enough to centerfield to allow Blanco to trot home.

Bailey struck out a career-high tying 10, including six in a row.  The last Reds' pitcher to fan six in a row in the postseason was Hod Eller in the 1919 World Series.  Marco Scutaro got the only hit off Bailey with a two out single in the sixth.

But Vogelsong, Affeldt, Santiago Casilla, Javier Lopez and Sergio Romo blanked the Reds.  After the sixth inning, the Reds put one runner on base when Votto walked in the eighth.

Sean Marshall and Aroldis Chapman pitched clean innings and turned the game over to Jonathan Broxton.

Buster Posey, the NL batting champion, singled to become just the fourth Giant baserunner.  Hunter Pence, limping with a cramp, singled through the hole at shortstop.  Broxton whiffed Brandon Belt and Xavier Nady.  With Joaquin Arias batting, Hanigan was charged with a passed ball.  With two strikes Arias topped a ball to third.  Scott Rolen, who has earned eight Gold Gloves in his career, bobbled the in-between hop and couldn't recover in time to throw out Arias as Posey scored the winning run.

"It was a tough play.  The ball came up on him at the last minute.  This guy (Rolen) is one of the best.  You have to give the baserunner credit for hustling down the line at the same time.  Most guys are out on that ball.  That was just a series of bad events.  I thought we got out of it, then the wild pitch (passed ball), then the error."

Romo finished the game with a 1-2-3 ninth.  The Giants still have their backs to the wall.

"We were in the dugout telling each other to keep pushing, keep pushing," Pence said.  "We came together until we got the break we needed. We had some inspirational performances by our pitchers.  That is the embodiement of a team.  It doesn't matter how many you have to win in a row.  We're doing anything we can to win each day."

Pagan is not quitting either.

"I'm not ready to book my flight to Puerto Rico.  We didn't come here not to get swept.  We came here to win three in a row."

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Giants Broadcaster Dave Flemming on the Reds

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Four hours before game time SF Live was broadcasting from the media room in Great American Ball Park.

Dave Flemming, the voice of the Giants, has a show that takes questions from tweeting Giants' fans.  It was 10 a.m. on the West Coast but tweets were flying out of the Bay Area.

Some of Flemming's observations:

"The Giants' pitchers weakness is holding runners on base.  The staff does not do a good job of holding runners."

"The Reds have mostly righthanded hitters.  They don't have a lot of platoon positions where the Giants have a few that have worked out very well.  But with Vogelsong and the Giants staff, the Reds are tough against them.  They have been hitting against righthanders all year."

"Great American Ball Park is smaller.  The conditions here are different than in the middle of summer when the ball carries more but the Giants don't want to get into a home run contest with the Reds.  The Reds have a lot of power in the lineup.  The Giants don't have a lot of power hitters."

"The Giants have to get a good performance from Ryan Vogelsong.  The have to find a way to score first.  With the Reds' bullpen, it's very hard to come from behind.  It is important for Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro to get on base for the middle of the lineup."

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Monday, October 8, 2012

Bruce Bochy Chooses A Game Four Starter

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Facing elimination San Francisco manager, Bruce Bochy defiantly named his starter for the fourth game of the NLDS.

"We are alive.  More than anything you have to have the attitude, 'never say die'.  You come out here.  You play hard and you see what happens," Bochy said.

His team's back is against the wall.  Fully aware that game four may never happen, Barry Zito, not Tim Lincecum, the former Cy Young winner and hero to the Giants 2010 World Championship team, was informed that he will start on Wednesday, if needed.

"You have to look at what Barry's done," Bochy said.  "You look at how we have played the last 11 games that he's pitched and he's really just done a terrific job for us.  He's won some big games.  He's been really on top of his game and I think he's earned this."

The dilema is that Lincecum has had two down years compared to his first three Major League campaigns.

Lincecum was 18-5, 15-7 and 16-10 in his first three seasons.  He was just 13-14 in 2011 but pitched well enough with a 2.74 ERA.  This year he slumped.  The 28-year old was 10-15 with a 5.18 ERA.

Bochy with the season on the line decided to focus on the here and now rather than rely on history.

Zito, 34, had five straight losing seasons since moving across the bay from Oakland as a free agent.  In Oakland as a 24-year old, Zito was 23-5.  Since coming to San Francisco in 2008, the lefty was 10-17, 10-13, 9-14 and 3-4 until this season in which he rebounded to post a 15-8 record with a 4.15 ERA.

Since August 11, Zito is 7-0 in 11 starts, as Bochy pointed out all Giant wins, with a 3.92 ERA.

"You have to look at what Timmy has done, but you have to look at the present and that's what we've done.  We've looked at this year and recent history with how Barry has been throwing the ball and I'll say Vogelsong too.  Now with that said, Timmy is on the staff and we think he has the possibility of really helping us in the bullpen if needed.  He showed that yesterday (two scoreless innings). He's going to be available the next three games.  It is never easy to make a call like this, but you want to do what you think is right in the present.  That's what we did just like in 2010.  Barry was struggling and was not on our (postseason) roster."

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