By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave after a great weekend for left handed senior citizens. Thank you, Phillip Alfred Mickelson.
—For the Cincinnati Reds, ‘E’ doesn’t stand for error. It stands for enigma. That, so far, describes the team on the banks of the Ohio River.
And on their just-completed homestand, the Redeyes nearly drowned in the river with a 1-6 record.
What needs to happen? How about another absurd rules change from the commish? New rule. Only the first two batters in the order have to hit.
That would mean only Jesse Winker and Nick Castellanos would hit for the Reds. Winker and Castellanos are the Twin Towers with nearly identical numbers.
They are one-two in the National League batting race, .356 for Castellanos and .355 for Winker. Castellanos has 12 homers and 30 RBI to Winker’s 13 homers and 28 RBI.
With this new rule Eugenio Suarez and his .148 batting average and 62 strikeouts in 189 plate appearances would never bat.
And the pitching? The team’s top two starters (on paper), Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray, have combined for one win in 17 starts. Castillo is 1-and-7 and the Reds have lost nine of his 10 starts. Gray is winless in seven starts.
The Reds open a three-game series in Washington Tuesday and in two of those games they get to face Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg.
—QUOTE: From comedian Joe E. Lewis: “I’ve been on such a losing streak that if I had been around I would have taken General Custer and given the points.” (Fortunately, the Reds are not scheduled to play at Little Big Horn.)
—So St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty is 8-and-0? Big deal. Obviously, this year you aren’t anything until you pitch a no-hitter. You aren’t trying hard enough.
And the best chance for a pitcher to do that is to face the Seattle Mariners. Since 2010 there have been five no-hitters pitched against Seattle, two this year.
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw isn’t one of the six guys to pitch one this year, yet, but he did pitch one in 2014.
And he isn’t sure all the no-no’s are so swell.
“No-hitters are cool and I have all the respect in the world for all those guys that have thrown no-hitters,” said Kershaw. ”But to have one happen every night probably is not good for the game.”
Well, Clayton, tell hitters to quit swinging from the heels, put the ball in play, hit the ball the other way against the shift. Then a hit or two might squeak through the infield.
—Did you see Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez yank first base out of its moorings during a dispute with an umpire?
But he held on to it. He needs to watch video of former Cincinnati Reds manager Lou Piniella. Sweet Lou not only picked up first base, he threw it into short right field. Unhappy with his distance, he ran to it, picked it up, and threw it deeper into right field.
—Legendary umpire Dutch Rennert was working first base and drew Piniella’s ire before the base-tossing in 1990.
Rennert was behind home plate on August 3, 1989 when the Reds scored 14 runs on 16 hits in the first inning against the Houston Astros and won, 18-2.
The inning began with a walk to Mariano Duncan. Luis Quinones bunted and beat it out. Then came the cavalcade of runs.
Said manager Pete Rose, “I played for one run and I got 14.”
—YouTube presented Thursday’s Reds-Giants game, with former Cincinnati pitcher Danny Graves providing color commentary.
Graves did some work on Reds telecasts last year for Fox Sports Ohio, but was let go. On Thursday he did his job, and did it well, talking about Reds starter Tyler Mahle and how good he has been.
Mahle, though, didn’t do his job, giving up seven runs and seven hits in three innings as the Reds lost, 19-4.
As they say, Danny, you can’t win ‘em all.
_QUOTE: What Vince Lombardi would have said if he managed the Reds after a 19-4 loss: “We didn’t lose the game, we just ran out of innings.”
—With all the no-hitters, what’s with the opposite end of the spectrum — runs, runs and more runs?
Not to be outdone by the Reds and their 19-4 loss, on the next night the woebegone Pittsburgh Pirates said, “
Anything you can do, we can do worse.”
The Pirates gave up seven home runs, including two grand slams, and lost to Atlanta, 20-1. On the same night, the Cleveland Indians gave up nine runs in the fourth inning to the Minnesota Twins. And Cincinnati’s Jesse Winker hit three home runs against Milwaukee.
Here’s my Conspiracy Theory: After all those no-hitters, MLB replaced this season’s ‘deadened’ baseballs with last year’s superballs.
—The Cardinals and Cubs finished nine innings this week at 0-0. Adam Wainwright held the Cubs to one hit over eight innings.
Then in the 10th inning funnyball took over, ruining the whole thing. They put the ghost runner on second and Javier Baez hit a home run. Cubs win, 2-1, on three hits. Just another fake win.
—Because I tried to play golf left handed, I always pull for Phil Mickelson. And it was high heaven watching a 50-year-old left hander whip the whipper-snappers.
Sometimes, though, what he does on the course makes me laugh.
He has been known to have his caddie pull the pin when Phil is 100 yards off the green. But he pulled a good one at this year’s PGA.
CBS has a camera on a drone zipping back and forth. Mickelson was 190 yards out on the fourth hole of the Ocean Course. And he made an amazing request.
“Can you radio to the TV guys to move the drone out of the line of my shot,” Mickelson said. “ Seriously. Not only is it annoying, but it’s gonna hit it (his ball).”
If he could hit a moving drone from 190 yards, they should have stopped the tournament right then and presented him with the trophy and the winner’s check.
What next? Call Delta Airlines and re-route those 737s flying over Augusta?
—Now here is a guy who should take a wad of hundred dollar bills and light them with a Zippo.
A bettor in New Jersey wagered $700 that the Cleveland Browns will have the worst regular season record in the NFL this year. Does he hate Baker Mayfield that much? Has he seen the Detroit Lions?
If it happens, he wins $175.700.
—Picking horse race winners can be both fascinating and frustrating. A few days ago I handicapped seven races at Churchill Down. In the other race, I picked Super Lucy. Why? Lucy was my mother-in-law’s nickname.
Of the eight races, I had one winner. Super Lucy, of course.
—QUOTE: From comedian Joe E. Lewis on horse racing tracks: “This is the only place where the windows clean the people.”