Another Borek Morning: Talking Cincinnati Reds Baseball 6/19/2014


Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

If you are still struggling to sop up the tears that are profusely emitting from your face after watching Clayton Kershaw throw a no-hitter broadcasted by Vin Scully—do not worry, I am too.

The Cincinnati Reds are where the rooting interest lies, but I find it impossible to believe that someone can dislike Clayton Kershaw. In a volatile world where tweets and posts control our emotions, Kershaw and Scully reminded us last night that there still exists beauty in a sport that has become so technologically advanced.

With a total of three balls even being hit out of the infield, what took place in Dodger Stadium may not have been classified as a perfect game, but it was one of the greatest pitching performances in the history of baseball. No hits, no walks, 15 strikeouts—those type of numbers simply do not happen in reality.

Not even Hanley Ramirez’s lackadaisical throwing error could dampen the mood. As Kershaw’s wife cried in the stands, and Scully sent chills down the spines of everyone watching with his “if you don’t mind, I’ll sit back and watch with you,” the kid in all of us was reborn.

As Corey Dickerson swung and missed at strike three for the 27th out, Kershaw stood on the mound and raised his hands towards the sky. The record books may never tell the true story, but on just a casual Wednesday night in June, he was perfect.

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And then, there were the reborn, slugging Cincinnati Reds. To draw sharp parallels, if Kershaw was perfect, Edinson Volquez was the complete and utter opposite. Seven outs recorded, eight runs across the plate—perfect he was not.

I think I share the sentiment of many Reds fans when I say it is not a disdain that is held towards Volquez, but rather a feeling of disappointment. As Johnny Cueto has harnessed his immense talent and made himself into one of the game’s premier pitchers, Volquez has gone in the stark opposite direction.

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Having mentioned Johnny Cueto, there has been rampant speculation lately about which elite pitcher will get the “honor” of starting the All-Star Game for the National League. Just as a personal quiz, think in your mind who the starting pitchers have been for both sides in just the last three years—I am willing to bet not many can come up with all of the names without the aid of a search engine.

Mike Matheny would not be wrong to start his guy, Adam Wainwright, in four weeks’ time. The chances of him giving the ball to either Tim Hudson or Cueto, despite their miniscule ERA’s, seems unlikely from a logical standpoint.

If he were to give the ball to anyone but his horse, it would be going to the aforementioned Kershaw. If it is honor we are looking to bestow, there is no man in baseball more deserving.

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I saw a tweet during the game on Wednesday evening that said something along the lines of “Who are these guys and what have they done with the Reds?” That tweet and question could have been entirely tongue in cheek, but I am sure that is a sentiment shared by some fans.

The fact of the matter is this: when healthy, the Cincinnati Reds are one of baseball’s elite. The beauty of a Major League Baseball season is that nothing is set in stone after 75 games, or 100, or 150, but rather 162, and then, and only then, will the cream rise to the top.

A club befuddled by the injury bug, they have now finally climbed back to the .500 mark. Only 92 games remain, but for a team that is just now beginning to actually play up to their standards, there is a whole other half of the season to be played.

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A statistical oddity to mull over: why on earth does a batter who grounds out and drives in a run get credit for an at-bat, yet if he were to lift a fly ball to the outfield to drive in that same run, he would not?

In such a sabermetric age of an intense critique of numbers and such, it makes one wonder. The batter does basically the exact same job regardless of whether he does it via air or ground.

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We are now just a few short hours away from Homer Bailey taking to the mound. Should he bottle some of that Pittsburgh magic he has had in the past; the Redlegs will be getting their first sweep of the season.

While the series victory in Pittsburgh is sweet, a loss on the way out of town would be bitter. They say momentum is a fair lady, and I cannot think of a better gentleman to take her to the ball than Mr. Bailey.