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Reds Take First Two, Get Choo'd Up in Third

Let me start this post by saying that I am the biggest Reds fan I know. This is not to say that there aren't Reds fans out there that are more devoted than I am, in some cases probably to the point of obsession. You will always have the guy who camps out for tickets the night before a Tuesday game versus the Marlins, or the dude who paints a wishbone C on the roof of his car and tailgates in his driveway the morning pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training. I am not saying these guys don't exist; they probably do, and they are probably pretty awesome. All I am saying is that I don't know any of them personally. That leaves me (a guy who watches nearly every game and follows the rest on his phone) as the biggest fan I know. A close second would be my older brother Neil, but he is too entrenched at this point in his role as family man (one son, two baby daughters) to have time to really dig deeply into Reds minutia the way I can.

That being said, driving four hours to spend the weekend with my bro and his kids in Connecticut made it fairly difficult to watch Friday and Saturday night's games, and it pained me. With a little help from the good people at ESPN (Gamecast is a Godsend) I was able to follow Friday's game on the drive up, and Saturday's as Neil and I pitched a little evening batting practice to my nephew at a nearby park. From what I can glean from box scores and game recaps, the Reds absolutely pulverized Cleveland on Friday. It seemed like every time my phone auto-refreshed, the Reds had tacked on another run or two, including a four-run exclamation point in the 5th inning. Harang also pitched in with a solid seven innings of 3-run ball, his only blemishes coming on 5th and 6th inning homeruns. While he continues to dole out homeruns at an alarming rate, he also seems to be keeping the Reds in games lately, which is all we can ask for out of a guy who started the season as undoubtedly the game's most pathetic "ace".

Saturday's game was similar in that the Reds won, but varied on most other aspects. Sam Lecure lasted only 3.1 innings and possibly punched his ticket to AAA Louisville in the process (Bill Bray was called up yesterday in his place). Also, while the bullpen turned in another strong performance (five innings of one-run ball), the offense did just enough to win. Final score? 6-4, after Coco Cordero made sure to put his stamp on the 9th inning by allowing two hits, one walk, and one run. Meanwhile, Arthur Rhodes pitched his 6,785th scoreless inning in a row (approximately) while reciting the alphabet backwards and performing a head-pat tummy-rub combo. It's downright scary how much better our set-up man is than our closer.

Finally, Sunday's game was rained out. No, wait…that's just what I WISH would have happened instead of Bronson getting a bad case of "serving up homers to Shin-Soo Choo" disease, en route to a 5-3 Reds loss. It doesn't take a mid-level data analyst (which I happen to be) to figure out the Reds would have cruised to a sweep had Arroyo not gotten stuck multiple times on the Shin-Soo Choo-Choo tracks. If ever the Reds needed a "pinch-pitcher", it would be when Choo steps in against Arroyo. Maybe that would stop him from channeling his inner-Pujols every time Bronson throws him one of those frisbee-balls.

Luckily, the Cardinals lost again to the Royals, so the Reds currently sit precariously atop the National League Central with a half-game lead. As a lifelong Reds fan, I know full well how good it feels to be able to say that, so I will let it sink in…

…Time's up. Now on to a three-game set with the defending National League champion Philadelphia Phillies, 2008 World Series champions. Check back tomorrow for a recap of game one, as well as what is sure to be a passionate account of why living in Philly makes me hates sports fans. Go Reds.

- Reed Domer-Shank 6/28/2010

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