Results: 5-4 win (11 innings) over Pirates; 3-2 win over Pirates; 5-4 win over Cardinals; 4-1 loss to Cardinals; 7-5 loss (11 innings) to Cardinals.
Record/Place in NL Central: 4-2/1st.
Notable performances/trends: Votto is hotter than two rats in a wool sock out of the gate, slashing (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage) .333/.429/.708 in 26 plate appearances. … Reaping the benefits of patience—and hitting directly in front of Votto in the lineup—Billy Hamilton flaunts an on-base percentage of .357 through six games and is 7-for-7 in stolen base attempts. Those seven thefts lead the majors. … Todd Frazier has scored or knocked in the would-be game-winning run in three of the Reds’ four victories. On Opening Day, Frazier smacked a go-ahead 3-run homer in the eighth. On Thursday night/Friday morning, Frazier scampered across home for the game-winning score. Friday night vs. the Cardinals, Frazier’s sacrifice fly in the eighth inning plated the eventual winning run. … Jumbo Diaz seems to have a hold on the set-up role out of the bullpen, making all four of his appearances on the season in the eighth inning. … The Reds were the first team in over 100 years to win their first four games in their final at-bat.
Movie quote that sums up last week: “Are you not entertained? Are you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?”—Russell Crowe’s character Maximus Decimus Meridius to the crowd in Gladiator, the same thing Joe “#umpshow” West probably muttered to himself after ejecting Reds manager Bryan Price Sunday.
Notable quote: “Man, I think I’m a bad m—– f—–. Are you crazy? Come on now,” Votto said jokingly to reporters after the Reds’ 5-4 triumph over the Cardinals Friday. As a result, Votto produced one of the greatest Reds Vines in recent memory.
As the (Reds Lineup) World Turns: Through four of their initial five games, the Reds’ 1-through-8 batting order was Hamilton-Votto-Frazier-Devin Mesoraco-Jay Bruce-Marlon Byrd-Brandon Phillips-Zack Cozart. In the other game, Bruce and Byrd switched spots. … Phillips, a noted RBI enthusiast, batted in the cleanup spot Sunday and recorded two hits, and, you guessed it, an RBI in six plate appearances.
As the (Reds Leadership) World Turns: After getting tossed from Sunday’s game by West—which revved up a sleepy Sunday crowd at Great American Ball Park—Price was miffed post-game about how his team got screwed by the replay system and Cardinals right fielder Jason Heyward’s cleats-up, “dirty” slide into third base during the fifth inning. Even though the Reds have only played six games, they seem to be a more fiery, inspired bunch than 2014. Perhaps the more cantankerous Reds are drawing that energy from their skipper.
Reason for OPTIMISM/pessimism: Homer Bailey escaped his rehab start at Triple-A Louisville Sunday with no issues. Bailey is on schedule to rejoin the Reds rotation next weekend in St. Louis, which will almost assuredly bump Raisel Iglesias to the bullpen or to Triple-A.
Who’s next?: On their first road trip of 2015, the Reds are in Chicago today for the first of three games against the Cubs. After an off-day Thursday, Cincinnati heads west for a three-game set opposite the Cardinals in St. Louis.
Movie quote to sum up the week ahead: “Not the hero we deserved but the hero we needed,” —Gary Oldman’s character Jim Gordon in The Dark Knight. Votto has been merciless on the field and delightful off of it so far. He looks happy and healthy, and it’s a treat to watch one of the sport’s best play at the top of his game.
Notes from around the National League Central: The Reds have dropped 13 of their past 15 series with the Cardinals. … Pirates infielder and Cincinnati native Josh Harrison signed a four-year, $27.3 million deal with Pittsburgh last week. Options in Harrison’s new contract could push the value of the deal to $50 million. … Dexter Fowler clubbed what would prove to be the game-winning two-run home run for the Cubs Sunday as Chicago took two of three in Colorado. … The 1-5 Brewers have already allowed 36 runs, the most in the majors.
Notes from around Major League Baseball: Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez ripped three of his MLB-leading five home runs in a 7-4 defeat of the Padres last Wednesday … Thursday, the Indians missed their first-ever combined no-hitter by two outs against the Astros. … Also on Thursday, Angel Pagan and Derek Norris provided the sports world with the latest episode of baseball players reverting back to their recess days. … Unsurprisingly, the Tigers and Royals, baseball’s two remaining unbeatens at 6-0 apiece, boast the top two run differentials at plus-31 and plus-25, respectively. Amazingly, the Twins and Brewers, both 1-5 on the year, are already minus-20.