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The Reds continued to be just good enough to lose over the weekend, getting swept by the Cardinals at Great American Ballpark. Recapping the carnage seems like a useless exercise, although five things did stand out...
*Joey Votto getting picked off first base to end the eighth inning, with the tying run at the plate, on Friday night.
*Tucker Barnhart striking out to end Friday night's game on a pitch that was around his shoulders.
*My 11-month-old sitting calmly for all nine innings on Saturday...
*Homer Bailey pitching effectively for the third time in four starts yesterday, a healthy development that's been lost in the misery.
*The ninth inning of yesterday's game.
With no one out after Adam Duvall lead off the inning with a solo homer that pulled the Reds within one, Tucker Barnhart reached on an infield single, then advanced to second on a throwing error. Bryan Price then elected to have Jesse Winker, who's not very fast, pinch-run for Barnhart. He then asked Alex Blandino to bunt, which he was not able to do, to an almost-comical effect. Blandino ultimately struck out swinging, then Phil Ervin struck out looking. Devin Mesoraco, pinch-hitting in the pitcher's spot, was then hit by a pitch (although I'm not sure, despite replay review, that he should've been afforded first base), before Billy Hamilton lined out to left to end the game.
The right move would've been to leave Barnhart in to run and use Winker, a lefty, to hit against Bud Norris, a righty for either Blandino, or more likely, Ervin.
But....Winker has a bum shoulder, so having him bat might not be wise.
If that's the case, he should be disabled. For two reasons...a) Jesse Winker is too valuable to the Reds to run the risk of further injuring the shoulder, even if he's being asked to do something as relatively low-risk as run the bases and b) the Reds' margin for error is too small than to have a guy on the active roster who can neither swing a bat or pitch.
It's either personnel mismanagement or roster mismanagement. Neither are defensible.
That said, the way things are going, it's not like doing anything other than what Bryan Price elected to do would've worked.
Here's some stuff.....
Price preaches patience. The Reds Manager made his latest plea for patience before yesterday's loss, a plea that's become familiar to Reds fans whose patience has been long exhausted.
I wrote about this for The Athletic on Friday, and I think it illustrated the biggest problem in the Reds/fan dynamic: Patience requires trust, which requires equity. It's hard to put blind faith in people that are asking for our patience because they've either exhausted their equity, or never had any to spend. The pleas for patience are falling on deaf ears.
Fortunately, there's other things that demand my attention.
My sports mistress pulled one out again last night. The Blue Jackets beat the Capitals. Again. In overtime. Again. They had to come back. Again. This time from two different two-goal deficits before allowing a 4-3 lead to evaporate, forcing overtime.
Good teams win in spite of, bad ones lose because of. The Jackets' performance was littered with all kinds of stupid penalties, with Washington capitalizing (no pun intended) on three of seven power plays. But Columbus got some clutch goaltending from Sergei Bobrovsky, who saved 54 shots, and killed just enough penalties in the third period to keep the game from slipping away, before Matt Calvert did this in overtime...
I can't wait to be in Columbus for game three tomorrow night.
FC Cincinnati picked up a hard-earned point in Pennsylvania. Playing in miserable conditions in a stadium that hosted maybe 18 fans, FCC drew with Bethlehem Steel FC yesterday. It was a game of agonizing missed chances, and given the sloppy conditions, both teams should be satisfied with getting a point.
It was also a tangible argument against the FC Cincinnati-should-stay-in-the USL crowd. Nothing about that game, or where it was played screamed anything other than "minor league." It looked like a club game being played on some random high school field. I have a lot of questions about Major League Soccer's sustainability, but yesterday's game looked second-rate, and this club and its fans deserve better than second-rate.
The NBA Playoffs are happening. Few things are as fun as the opening weekend of the NBA Playoffs, with eight games in two days setting up the next two months.
If we're lucky, we get six more Bucks/Celtics games. Both of these teams are immensely flawed, and Boston in particular, is very shorthanded. But they play their asses off, and the Celtics enjoy arguably the league's best homecourt advantage. Game one was very entertaining, and it might have had the best sequence we'll see in the playoffs this spring.
The difference in the preparation and execution between the Pacers and Cavs yesterday was striking. I still believe Cleveland will win their first round series, but with their game one win, the team that's been the NBA's best success story this season is finally getting some overdue run.
Also, Anthony Davis was phenomenal on Saturday night, the Raptors remain the best-coached team in the league, people have slept on the Warriors, and only their head coach kept the Timberwolves from pulling off the game on upset in Houston.
Thank you for indulging me.
Here's some more stuff...
Here's an optimistic take on the Reds: Even when (if) they're eventually good, there's going to be a lot of players that are, you know, average.
This is a great piece on Shohei Ohtani, whom the weather deprived us of watching pitch yesterday.
Jason Williams nails it.
And this tweet..
Radio Show: Sam LeCure will offer his thoughts on the Reds at a time to be determined later today. And, hell, let's talk draft. And soccer. And yes, my sports mistress. Join us today at 3:05 on ESPN1530.