Another Borek Morning: Talking Cincinnati Reds Baseball 5/29/2014


Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

It is not often the Cincinnati Reds leave town, and as a fan, you are thrilled they at least got one win.

But, I am thrilled as can be they got that one.

Surely, if you presented any fan with winning two out of three or winning one out of three, 100 percent of the audience takes the former. Yet, there was something sweet about beating Clayton Kershaw in his home ballpark. That something sweet was a fair lady named momentum.

Things have not exactly gone according to plan in the Queen City thus far in 2014. The club sits at a below-average 23-28, with Joey Votto stuck in knee injury purgatory. Mat Latos is still a few weeks away, and Jay Bruce could not hit the broad side of a barn. Still, these are the Reds, and they are going to find a way.

Just because the Arizona Diamondbacks are sitting at 22-33 does not mean they should be taken lightly. Having gone and seen the club live and in person this season, they are by no means world-beaters, but they have no business bottom dwelling in the National League West division.

With that being said, it is time to take at least three out of four and get the ball rolling.

All season long, the mantra has been to “wait until everyone is healthy,” which has happened. Sans Mat Latos, everyone has gone through their injury and come back. Now, as June approaches, it is time to play with what is there and start winning baseball games.

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I cannot be alone in thinking that Joey Votto will not be seeing the playing field for quite some time. The only reassurance the fan base has gotten of any kind has been his placement on the 15-day DL and not the 60, all the while manager Bryan Price keeps the issue close to his chest, saying he “expects Votto to play at some point this year.” Yes, and I expect to eat a meal once tomorrow and take a shower at least twice this week.

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With or without Votto, this whole Todd Frazier batting second thing is appealing.

Although he is the closest thing the Reds have to a “RBI guy,” Frazier has shown a much more patient eye at the plate than in seasons past when he was tried in the number two hole. An excellent hit-and-run type hitter with his ability to make contact, he may be able to let that side of his game show once in a while if Billy Hamilton could begin to get on base at any kind of a consistent clip.

The lineup the Reds ran out last night (Hamilton-Frazier-Phillips-Mesoraco-Bruce-Ludwick-Pena-Cozart) is the one that should see the majority of playing time for the near future, barring yet another injury.

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For the longest time, I always believed Homer Bailey could have been an outstanding relief pitcher.

As the debate still rages on concerning Aroldis Chapman, and whether 60-75 innings of dominance are as valuable as 170-200 innings of average-to-above-average work, Bailey inked himself a nice $100 million contract.

What we saw from Bailey last night is a lot like what I imagine what would happen had the Reds ever fully converted Aroldis Chapman.

There are going to be nights when everything works (that and the no-hitters of course) and the pitcher looks elite. Then there are nights when it just does not gel for the entirety of a start.

There is no denying that Homer Bailey is at his best when he is throwing fastballs, and lots of them. Last night, he threw as hard as 98 MPH in the seventh inning. Imagine the potential of bringing Bailey out of the ‘pen late in games and letting him unleash that kind of gas on batters.

This is all just smoke of course, since there is zero, and I mean literally zero, chance that Bailey ever sees a demotion to the bullpen, barring a Barry Zito-like implosion.

With Bailey, there will always be that hope that on any given night, he can find his release point and get his mechanics smooth. He can pepper his fastball on the black. His slider and splitter are darting and diving as if he doctored the ball. That he can in fact be, unhittable.

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We are still nearly a month and a half away from the mid-Summer Classic, but at this current pace, Jonathan Broxton is an All-Star.

Throwing only 14 innings through 51 games due to his time spent as the team’s closer, his numbers may be slightly skewed. Although there is no denying, he has only allowed a single run all season long.

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Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately, depending on how some may look at it), I am no longer in Phoenix for the summer. Casually strolling over to Chase Field on about a six-minute walk is one of my favorite pleasantries in all of life (that, coffee, and getting to write for all of you top that list), but I sadly will not get to make the journey as I comfortably sit in my Long Island home (or on a sandy Long Island beach).

Are there any members of Reds Country heading down southwest for the series? It is projected to only scratch over 100 degrees during the weekend. The sun will not bite, I promise—the scorpions on the other hand, that is a different story.