Tag Archives: Joey Votto

Food for Thought 9-4-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Stephen Strasburg (pictured above) looked pretty sharp on Sunday against St. Louis. Sadly, his season will end on September 12th due to an innings limit placed on him by Washington Nationals GM Mike Rizzo.

By Josh Kramer

Operation Shutdown Strasburg” is an utter embarrassment.  Many MLB players go through an entire career and never make the playoffs once, much less contend for a playoff spot.  The Washington Nationals have failed to post a record better than .500 since making the move to the nation’s capital in 2005 (until yesterday).  There is only one way to describe Nationals GM Mike Rizzo’s September 12th expiration date on the Nationals star pitcher: A simple ego struggle.

That’s right, Washington is willing to risk a deep playoff run due to their General Manager’s ego.  I really have no other logical way to explain it.  Health concerns are are fine by me, but within reason.  There are always exceptions though.  Stephen Strasburg is a 24-year-old prized prospect who is in good health.  I realize that he had Tommy John surgery towards the end of the 2010 season.  But how many pitchers go through an entire career without a surgery such as Tommy John in this day and age?  Not many. Continue reading

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Food for Thought 8-14-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Aroldis Chapman (pictured above) is looking to become the first relief pitcher to win a Cy Young since 2003 and perhaps the first Cincinnati Reds pitcher ever to win the prestigious award.

By Josh Kramer

The Reds may be the oldest team in professional baseball history (established in 1869), but there is one thing this proud franchise has never done.  No Cincinnati pitcher has ever claimed the Cy Young Award.  Just to put that into perspective, the Diamondbacks (established in 1998) have sported five winners of the prestigious award for the best pitcher in their respective League.  I know there is a still a month and a half left in the regular season, but a pair of serious Cy Young candidates currently reside in Cincinnati.  I will give you a hint.  One is a starter, while the other is a relief pitcher.  Despite the absence of star Joey Votto, the Reds have somehow managed to go a remarkable 19 and 8.  So much for staying afloat and playing .500 ball with the all-world Votto sidelined.

Sure plenty of players have stepped up in the absence of the MLB’s best all-around hitter (such as Ryan Ludwick and Brandon Phillips), but two players have been getting the job done all year.  Johnny Cueto has not only proven himself to be a formidable number one starter, but he has also proven to be arguably the best pitcher in the National League.  Cueto currently is tied for the NL lead with 15 wins and ranks third in ERA (2.45).  Make sure to note that the two pitchers with better ERA’s than Cueto in the present have 10 wins and 9 wins respectively (Vogelsong and Zimmermann)  Then there is the Cuban Missile.  Outside of one short-lived rough patch just before the All-Star break, Aroldis Chapman has been the most dominant pitcher in baseball. Chapman has been simply unhittable as of late going a remarkable 22 straight appearances without allowing a run.  Also, in 51.2 innings against National League foes, Chapman has surrendered one earned run.  Lastly he has given up just 25 hits.  Really think about those statistics.  Could we be on the verge of the first relief-pitcher to take home the Cy Young Award since Eric Gagne in 2003?  Or perhaps the first Reds Cy Young Award winner ever? Continue reading

Weekly Nickel 8-13-2012

Photo courtesty of zimbio.com. Dwight Howard (pictured above) is the latest great big man to suit up for the Los Angeles Lakers.

By Josh Kramer

Happy Monday to you all.  It wasn’t easy, but Team USA went all the way and handled Spain late in the fourthAbby Wambach and Co. handled business.  Tiger Woods, well you know the drill (at least Rory was good).  And Andrew Luck demonstrated that it wasn’t “luck” that he was drafted number one in his professional debut.  Last week was a great one, but this week should be fun in its own right.  Here are the events to keep an eye on.

5.  Marcos Ambrose came out victorious in a wild race at the Glen.  The countdown to the Chase is down to four.  There are just four more races before the big boys battle it out for the Cup.  This Sunday, the gang heads to Michigan International Speedway as Kyle Busch looks to defend his crown at the Pure Michigan 400.

4.  The history is well-documented:  George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Shaquille O’Neal.  Add Dwight Howard to the list.  I am not sure how the Lake Show pulled this blockbuster deal off, but Kobe Bryant’s chances at number six improved immensely when Superman signed with Jack Nicholson’s favorite team.  Watching Team USA bring home gold at the Olympics was exciting, but the prospects of a LeBron/Kobe finals matchup has me even more excited.  It may only be August, but the 2012/2013 NBA seasons is shaping up to be a memorable.  Plus, the “Dwight Howard Soap Opera” has finally come to a close. Continue reading

Food for Thought 7-31-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Drew Stubbs (pictured above) continues to drive most Reds fans nuts with his high number of strikeouts, but he has played a crucial role in the teams recent surge.

By Josh Kramer

It is no secret that there are two very hot teams in baseball at the moment. One resides in the American League (Oakland), while the other plays in the National League (Cincinnati).  Today, we focus on the Reds, and more specifically, their highly scrutinized center fielder Drew Stubbs.  Heading into play last evening, Cincinnati were winners of ten straight games, their longest winning streak in well over a decade.  During the amazing stretch, the Reds had outscored their opponents 54 to 27.  Now I am by no means naive.  Cincinnati is of course doing this without their star and arguably the best player in all of baseball Joey Votto, but they have not exactly played against top-tier competition.  During the stretch in which the Reds have won 17 of 19, four of their six opponents sport under .500 records.  I guess that is the beauty of being a member of the National League Central.

I have made it known that I am by no means a fan of Drew Stubbs these days.  I cannot remember a player failing to play to their strengths and wasting their talent more than this guy.  If one were to look up the word “potential” in the dictionary, the face of Drew Stubbs would appear there.  He runs like a gazelle, yet strikes out 1.3 times a game and doesn’t know how to bunt?  How can a guy with that kind of speed not know how to bunt?  During the Reds ten game winning streak, I have been eating my words (which I am happy about).  Stubbs has raised his batting average from .223 to .230, hit three home runs, and drove in ten runs.  He also has struck out 12 times.  But the key is Drew has come up big in the clutch.  As our good friend Paul Daugherty likes to say, Stubbs has been one of many Reds since the All-Star break to demonstrate the “it” factor.  In Votto’s absence, Stubbs was batting .333 with 14 RBIs heading into last evening.

I still admit that Stubbs shortcomings and inability to utilize his strengths does and will continue to drive me nuts.  Drew Stubbs is going to do what Drew Stubbs is going to do though.  That has been made clear over the past 3.5 seasons.  Stubbs is not on the field to please me or you.  He is out there to help his team win. Continue reading

Food for Thought 7-17-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Ben Sheets (pictured above) started his first Major League game in nearly two years on Sunday. It looked as if he had never left.

By Josh Kramer

Holy Sheets.  Ben Sheets is back.  After a nearly two-year hiatus between Major League starts, Ben Sheets proved that he isn’t done yet.  If I were the Washington Nationals, I would take note.  With Ben Sheets back, Atlanta not only is a wild-card contender, but they are a pennant contender.  Ben Sheets learned the number one rule that applies to all pitchers at a young age and never forgot it.  This rule is the secret to being a successful pitcher.

Throw strikes.

Did you forget when Sheets had a 116/11 strikeout-to-walk ratio back in 2006?  Or his 264/32 mark in 2004?  Guy could paint the corners in a similar fashion to Greg Maddux in the mid-90s while bringing the heat.  These days, the velocity is not going to be the same as it once was for Sheets.  Do not expect to see any 98 mph gas like the good old days.  But do expect to see the ball paint the corners and keep hitters off-balance.

With Beachy still out, the timing could not be better.  In order to compete with the Nationals, Hudson and Hanson desperately need the help of another quality starter.  Ben Sheets is only 33-years-0ld.  Despite all of the injuries and other various setbacks, Sheets could be Atlanta’s ticket back to the playoffs.  In addition, he could very well turn into the MLB’s comeback player of the year.  I know this much.  Sheets will be a hard guy to root against. Continue reading

Cincinnati’s Greatest

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Joey Votto (pictured above) is having a year for the ages. Is it the greatest Cincinnati has ever seen?

By Victor Kamesar

Victor Kamesar is a die-hard Cincinnatian who currently finds himself across the country.  Despite being out in Cowboy Country (Norman, Oklahoma), Victor still finds time to follow his hometown Reds, Bengals, and Bearcats.

It didn’t hit me until a few weeks ago when I read a Jayson Stark headline proclaiming “Joey Votto hitting like the Bambino.” Cincinnati’s very own gold glove first baseman is having the best season in baseball since the Babe in some categories. Votto is on pace for 197 hits and a ridiculous 127 walks.  As Stark pointed out, the only player ever to put up those types of walk numbers in a season in which they amassed 200 hits was “Babe Ruth, The Greaaat Bambino.” As a lifelong Cincinnati sports fanatic, I began to wonder, is Votto having the best season any athlete wearing Cincinnati threads has had since I’ve been alive (FYI I was born in 1990)? Continue reading

Aside

By Josh Kramer Philadelphia is known as the City of Brotherly Love.  Unfortunately, with no football or college hoops going on at the moment, there is not too much love in Philly these days. Things have gone from good, to bad, … Continue reading