By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATION from The Sun Room because it was too hot the last few days to swelter in The Man Cave, which is located in my un-air conditioned garage.
—Where are The Nasty Boys when you need them? Sure, Rob Dibble, Norm Charlton and Randy Myers are in their late 50s, but could they do any worse than the fire starters currently malfunctioning in the Cincinnati Reds bullpen.
Are The Nasty Boys busy? Then bring Jeff Brantley out of the radio booth and into the bullpen.
And don’t blame this mess on manager David Bell. He can only use what is at his disposal, and the whole ‘pen belongs in a garbage disposal. The front office did Bell no favors by putting together this menagerie of misfits.
In fairness, Bell’s three best relief pitchers are on the injured list — Lucas Sims, Tejay Antone and Justin Wilson. The rest are just one big container of vanilla ice cream.
The Reds have used 21 warm bodies out of the bullpen, not counting position players. They are. . .and hold your boos until the end:
Luis Cessa, Art Warren, Alexis Diaz, Hunter Strickland, Joel Kuhnel, Justin Wilson, Tejay Anton, Lucas Sims, Jeff Hoffman, Vladimir Gutierrez, Reiver Sanmartin, Buck Farmer, Dauri Moreta, Jared Solomon, Phillip Diehl, Robert Dugger, Ross Detwiler, Ryan Hendrix, Tony Santillan and Daniel Duarte.
What it all has added up to is a bunch of b.s. — blown saves.
—QUOTE: From former New York Yankees manager and Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Lemon: “The two most important things in life are good friends and a strong bullpen.” (Here’s hoping those guys in the Reds’ bullpen have a lot of solid friends.)
—Twice within a couple of days pitchers have taken no-hitters into the ninth inning and lost them.
Miles Mikolas of the St. Louis Cardinals was one pitch away against Pittsburgh, two outs and two strikes, when Cat Mitchell doubled.
Tyler Anderson of the Los Angeles Dodgers took a no-hitter into the ninth and struck out the Angels’ Mike Trout. But Shohei Ohtani tripled to right.
The Reds have a history of doing the same thing.
In 1984, Mario Soto was one out away from a no-no when George Hendrick of the Cardinals homered to tie the game, 1-1. The Reds scored a run in the bottom of the ninth to save Soto’s victory, 2-1.
In 1988, Ron Robinson was one pitch away from a perfect game, one strike away. And didn’t even finish the game.
He retired 26 straight Montreal Expos and had pinch-hitter Wallace Johnson 2-and-2 when Johnson dropped a soft single into left field on slow curve. Robinson then gave up a two-run homer to Tim Raines and John Franco came in to get the last out of a 3-2 Reds victory.
By the way, LA’s Tyler Anderson’s next start most likely will be against the Reds next week in Great American Small Park.
—QUOTE: From pitcher Ron Robinson, nicknamed The True Creature by manager Pete Rose because Robbv had curly red hair that was receding even at age 23: “I think Pete did it to get back at me for some ribbing I gave him at the end of spring training. When he didn’t put me on the major league roster, I told him, ‘I hope you don’t get your hits (to break Ty Cobb’s hit record).’”
—One of baseball’s rarest pitching feats is the immaculate inning — nine pitches, nine strikes, three strikeouts. It has been done only 108 times by 98 different pitchers.
Incredibly, for the first time in MLB history two pitchers on the same team did it in the same game this week.
Houston’s Luis Garcia and Phil Moton performed the feat against the Texas Rangers. Even more incredibly they did it to the same three blushing hitters — Nathaniel Lowe, Ezequiel Duran and Brad Miller.
Sandy Koufax, Max Scherzer and Chris Sale did it three times. The last Reds pitcher to do it was Kevin Gausman against the Cardinals in 2019, one year after he did it for the Baltimore Orioles. Rob Dibble also did it for the Reds.
Maybe the most astounding one was performed by former Reds No. 1 draft pick Brad Boxberger. While pitching for Tampa Bay, he came into a game against Baltimore in 2014 with the bases loaded and no outs. He struck out the side on nine pitches.
The only immaculate inning pitched in a World Series was performed by former Reds pitcher Danny Jackson, but not for the Reds. He did it in 1985 while pitching for the Kansas City Royals against the Cardinals.
—QUOTE: From former major league pitcher Earl Wilson: “A baseball game is simply a nervous breakdown divided into nine innings.” (Reds fans certainly can attest to that this season, especially in late innings.)
—When Cincinnati Reds/New York Yankees outfielder Paul O’Neill was at Columbus Brookhaven High School in the 1980s, Indiana basketball coach Bobby Knight tried to recruit him to play hoops for the Hoosiers.
O’Neill chose South Florida and intended to play both baseball and basketball, but changed his mind when the Reds drafted him.
O’Neill bumped into Knight during batting practice in Yankee Stadium many years later and they had a nice conversation, but O’Neill never brought up Knight’s recruitment effort.
“As we ended the conversation, Knight congratulated me on a stellar baseball career, smiled and said, ‘You’d have been a better Hoosier,’” said O’Neill. “I was shocked. I couldn’t believe that Knight, a Hall of Fame coach, remembered recruiting me in the 1980s.”
—QUOTE: From Hall of Fame coach Bobby Knight, who did not care for the NBA: “If the NBA was on channel five and a bunch of frogs making love was on channel four, I’d watch the frogs, even if they were coming in fuzzy.” (But he loved baseball and the Cincinnati Reds.)
—If Cleveland can’t have the Indians, how can Indianapolis have them? And how about the Spokane Indians?
—Who in the name of Donatella Versace thought this was a good idea? They permitted Kardashian to wear the iconic dress worn by Marilyn Monroe in 1962 when she sang her sensuous ‘Happy Birthday’ to President John F. Kennedy.
The dress, valued at $10 million, was damaged, sequins displaced and missing and pulled seams where Kardashian tried to stuff her ample posterior into the garment. The damage can’t be fixed because the fabric is no longer manufactured.
Is this sports? Well, Marilyn Monroe was married to Joe DiMaggio and Kardashian was married to former NBA star Kris Humphries.
—Our limbo pole is missing from our backyard. Some people will stoop to anything.