All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future

The Cincinnati Reds have been red-hot in August, while the New York Yankees have been mediocre at best. The Reds have gone 17-8 in August, while the Yankees have been a pedestrian 14-13. Even more surprising...the Reds have taken a commanding 5 game lead in their division, while the Yankees' once huge lead in the AL East has evaporated. The Rays are now tied with the Yanks, and it's not out of the question that Boston might catch up as well.

How did this happen? It's probably partly strength of schedule. The Reds play in the abysmal NL Central, while the Yanks play in the very competitive AL East. Injury also plays a big role. The Reds have suffered few injuries, and the ones they have had seem to have improved the team. (Replacing Orlando Cabrera with Paul Janish, getting Aaron Harang out of the rotation.) While the Yankees aren't the same team with A-Rod on the DL and the likes of Eduardo Nunez and Ramiro Pena filling in. Having Francisco Cervelli playing so often in place of 39-year-old Jorge Posada doesn't help, either.

And I guess it's also that baseball is just plain unpredictable, at least on a month-to-month basis. Will the Reds continue rolling next month, or will there be a regression? Will the Yanks vanquish the Rays, or be vanquished? I wouldn't want to bet the farm on it, either way.

posted by BubbaFan, 9:51 PM | link | 0 comments |

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pass the Dramamine...

Janish ties the game in the 9th

Completely, totally crazy game tonight for the Reds. An unbelievably wild roller coaster ride.

I have to say, I didn't expect Paul Janish to be in the starting lineup today. It was a day game after a night game, and he was showing signs of fatigue (I thought). After not getting any errors all season, he'd gotten two in two days. He wasn't hitting all that well. Shortstop is a tough position, it was a grueling road trip, and he's been playing every day since Orlando Cabrera went on the DL. Dusty Baker said Janish wasn't tired, because he hadn't played much this season. (Grrr. Thanks a lot, Dusty.) But it seems like a pretty tough schedule for a guy who maybe wasn't used to it. And Chris Valaika was freshly arrived from AAA. I thought he'd get the start.

But Janish was in the lineup as usual. I feared the worst when he started off with a missed catch error (3 errors in three days! He only has 3 errors all season) and a strikeout. But after that rocky start, he settled down and had a great game. Solid on defense, getting to balls Cabrera would have only looked at. And 3 for 5 with a walk and a double. After that first strikeout, he got on base every time he went to the plate, even when he didn't hit. He reached third twice on SF errors.

Good thing, because the Reds managed to blow a 10-1 lead. The Giants pulled ahead 11-10 after scoring 6 runs in the 8th. Janish ended up getting the game-tying RBI in the 9th. Free baseball! He also singled off Barry Zito to start the 12th, helping set up Joey Votto for the game-winning RBI. Reds win, 12-11...but it sure wasn't easy.


posted by BubbaFan, 10:00 PM | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Janish gets a reprieve

Well, Orlando Cabrera is not being activated today. It seems he's had a bit of a setback. Throwing is bothering him, and he says he's not ready.

The Reds have not announced their transactions yet, but their AAA team, the Louisville Bats, have announced that infielder Chris Valaika and pitcher Sam LeCure are being called up. Not sure who's being sent down/DL'd.

Chris Valaika started out as a SS, but has been playing mostly 2B in Louisville. The consensus is that his glove isn't good enough for SS. I would guess he'll be a backup infielder, and Paul Janish will remain the starting SS.


posted by BubbaFan, 2:50 PM | link | 0 comments |

A terrible, horrible, no good, very bad game

I've seen a lot of bad games in my time, but tonight's Reds-Giants game has to be one of the worst. At least for the Reds. Starting pitcher Edinson Volquez didn't make it out of the first inning. Two players (Jim Edmonds and Laynce Nix) suffered injuries. Final score: 11-2.

Not a great night for the pride of Rice University, either. Paul Janish went 0 for 3, and got his first error of the season (high throw drew Joey Votto off the bag).

This may have been Janish's last game as starting SS. The injuries could mean Orlando Cabrera will be activated; he says he's ready.

Then again, Reds beat writer John Fay reports that neither Nix nor Edmonds thinks they need to go on the DL. Whether the Reds agree is a different story, of course.


posted by BubbaFan, 1:26 AM | link | 0 comments |

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lou Gehrig might not have had Lou Gehrig's disease

Fascinating article at the NY Times. Researchers have found evidence that a lot of people who have been diagnosed with ALS - Lou Gehrig's disease - don't actually have it. Instead, they have a very similar condition that is caused by repeated head trauma.

That would explain why ALS seems to strike athletes and soldiers at a higher rate than the general population.

Gehrig suffered repeated concussions. They didn't even use batting helmets back then. And he was famous for being an "Iron Man" - playing every day no matter what injuries he suffered.

Of course they had no way to know back then, but now it's understood that repeated concussions can cause serious disability and even death. There is no way they'd allow Gehrig to play through concussions now like he did back then. Very sad. He might have had a much longer, healthier life, at the expense of his consecutive games streak.

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posted by BubbaFan, 7:56 PM | link | 0 comments |

Good news, bad news

The good news for Paul Janish fans is that he had a great night at the ballpark. He went 2 for 4 with a double (should have been a RBI double but the umpire screwed up) and a home run. Plus he reached on an error, stole third base, and scored on a wild pitch. Janish was the only Red to hit any extra base hits.

Tonight's home run means Janish now has more home runs this season than Orlando Cabrera...even though he's gotten only 1/4 the at-bats.

The bad news is that Orlando Cabrera is eligible to come off the DL tomorrow. And I have a feeling they will be activating him, because they are carrying six outfielders now and are short of infielders.

Janish is hitting better than Cabrera, and is the best defensive SS in baseball. In the heat of a pennant race, would Dusty Baker really bench him for Cabrera?



posted by BubbaFan, 12:51 AM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Making his case

Paul Janish is convincing people that he can be the Reds starting SS. Hal McCoy noted earlier this month that Janish earned some respect from the Pirates when he made them pay for not IBBing him. Yesterday, Janish went 1 for 3 with a double and a beautiful sac bunt on a successful suicide squeeze. I was amazed that he managed to even make contact on the pitch, which was a fastball low and inside. Today, he was 1 for 3. With great defense, as always.

He's hitting .275 / .362 / .402 this year. Which is much better than Orlando Cabrera's .260 / .302 / .339. But Cabrera is eligible to come off the DL Wednesday, and I suspect when he does, Janish will go back on the bench. Sigh. I hope not, for Janish's sake as well as the Reds'. His numbers will probably drop a bit once the scouting reports get around, but even so, his defense is so superior they'd be better off with him.


posted by BubbaFan, 4:12 PM | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I went to a hockey game and a baseball game broke out

Justice wasn't delayed in the case of Tuesday night's Reds-Cardinals brawl. The penalties were announced today. Milder than I expected. Both managers got two days. Johnny Cueto got seven days for kicking people with his spikes. Brandon Phillips, Russ Springer, Yadier Molina and Chris Carpenter got fines.

I thought Scott Rolen would get suspended, but apparently he's not even getting a fine.

It could have been a lot worse, on several fronts. Perhaps Brandon Phillips didn't really mean for his words to be public; some of the other beat writers apparently thought they were off the record. I don't doubt that the feelings he expressed are widely shared around the league. But I would bet that if he could do it all over again, he'd keep his mouth shut.

The Reds were swept in the series, and therefore lost their #1 spot in the division. I don't blame all three losses on Phillips' flapping gums, but I think the Reds could have won the second game. The one that was disrupted by the brawl. The pitching matchup was the most favorable in the series. But the Reds were clearly distracted by the brawl, far more than the Cards were. Rolen said he was tired before his first at-bat, because of the "tension." The Reds racked up three errors, and it probably should have been at least four (generous scorer changed one after the game).

I remember one player (a pitcher) saying that he hated bench-clearing brawls, because he felt he had to go out there with his teammates, but he didn't want to get hurt. He said he'd try to pick on the middle infielders, because they're the smallest. No one tried to go after Paul Janish on Tuesday; he's pretty big for a shortstop. And he kept his head during the ruckus, holding Brandon Phillips back rather than going after any Cardinals. Smart fellows, those Rice guys. ;-)

Alas, I may have cursed Janish by pointing out that he'd gotten on base every game since he became the starting SS. The very next game, he was 0-fer. He did get a walk in the second game and a single in the third, though. So he's still well ahead of Orlando Cabrera at the plate. Not to mention his sweet defense.


posted by BubbaFan, 8:36 PM | link | 0 comments |

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Happy birthday, dear Bubba

Bubba Crosby is 34 today. Take Him Downtown has this blurb:

While Cabrera made his name in the banged-up 2006 Yankee outfield, an injured hamstring denied Richard Steven “Bubba” Crosby (1976) the chance to do the same. Bubba had a hit and an rbi with the 2003 Dodgers, then fortune smiled when he arrived in the Bronx with righty Scott Proctor in a swap for Robin Ventura in a 2003 trading deadline move. Crosby added four homers and 20 rbi’s with the 2004-2006 Yanks. Unfortunately, with Melky and veteran Bernie Williams rising to the occasion when Hideki Matsui and Gary Sheffield went down, Bubba was without a spot on the roster just a few days short of his 30th birthday. He signed with Cincinnati, but retired without reaching the major leagues again.

Today is also Melky Cabrera's birthday, but it looks like his entry was written last year, and not updated. They don't mention that he was traded after the 2009 season and is now sucking down fried chicken in Atlanta.

I was amused a couple of days ago when a couple of people at Pinstripe Alley were calling for the return of Bubba. Yes, they were joking, but at least they remember Bubba.

And at eBay, someone is selling a hat that Bubba wore in the Arizona Fall League:

Neat item. I guess he must have been a Javelina. And does the #13 written under the brim mean that was his jersey number, or did it have some other significance?

Happy birthday, Bubba, and many happy returns.


posted by BubbaFan, 6:32 AM | link | 0 comments |

Monday, August 09, 2010

Janish's stellar defense posted a video of one of Paul Janish's nice defensive plays. The description:

Paul Janish slides for a slick stop on Jeff Baker's grounder and fires a powerful throw to Joey Votto for the out in the first.

Powerful throw, indeed. Luckily Votto caught it, or it might have taken his head off. ;-) After making the catch, he said to Janish, "Easy, Paul! Jesus!" I guess Janish should save his 90+ mph fastball for his pitching appearances.

And ESPN has this bit:

With Orlando Cabrera on the disabled list and Paul Janish taking over at shortstop, the Reds have just one glaring hole: center field, where Drew Stubbs simply hasn't been getting on base often enough this season.

Heh. That kind of implies that Cabrera was another glaring hole, and Janish was the fix, doesn't it?

The Reds-Cards game is on ESPN tonight, so Janish will get a chance to dazzle a national audience with his "stellar defense."


posted by BubbaFan, 6:56 PM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Janish gets some love from Baseball Tonight

Paul Janish is acquitting himself well since taking over at SS for the injured Orlando Cabrera. He's gotten at least one hit a game since he became the starter. Today he was 2 for 5 with a RBI.

And his amazing defense is impressing everyone. He had the Cubs announcers raving. ESPN's Baseball Tonight showed one of his defensive plays tonight, and talked about how nicely he's filling in for Cabrera.

The Reds will be on national TV tomorrow night. Monday night baseball on ESPN is featuring the Reds-Cards game. I'm a little nervous about how Janish will do at the plate against tough righty Chris Carpenter, but looking forward to seeing him flash the leather behind groundballer Mike Leake.


posted by BubbaFan, 11:21 PM | link | 0 comments |

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Hammerin' Janish strikes again

Holy guacamole. Paul Janish had a hell of a game today. The pride of Rice University went 3 for 3 with a walk, a home run, and 4 RBIs. And his usual sweet defense.

The Sports Network headline:

Janish leads Reds to series win over Pirates

Brendannukah at Red Reporter put it this way:

The Invisible Touch went 3-3 with a walk, a home run, four RBI, and reached in and grabbed right hold of our hearts.

That's a reference to Janish being "The Invisible Man" the past two years. I wondered if Janish had run over Dusty Baker's cat or something, but as someone pointed out, it seems to be the way Dusty treats his "super sub" backups. He's afraid he'll need them later, so he's reluctant to put them in. Now Miguel Cairo is the super-sub, and he's the one left on the bench.

And Reds beat writer John Fay interviewed Janish after the game.

Curiously, it was exactly a month ago that Janish hit his last home run. I remember because it was the 4th of July. He should start the 4th of every month!

Janish crosses home plate after his 3-run homer

posted by BubbaFan, 8:26 PM | link | 0 comments |

Monday, August 02, 2010

An Opportunity for Janish?

Orlando Cabrera, the Reds' starting shortstop, strained his oblique tonight grounding into a double play. I don't know if it was the swing or the running that did it, but he clutched his side and was replaced by Paul Janish.

Reds beat writer John Fay says Cabrera is likely headed to the DL. He thinks Janish will be the starter:

Paul Janish, hitting .270 in limited time, will likely take over as the starter.

Chris Valaika is top hitting infielder at Triple-A. He’s hitting .301. He’s playing primarily second. Zach Cozart, the shortstop at Louisville, is hitting .268. Neither has played in the big leagues.

Fay said on Twitter that he thinks Valaika will get the call.

Valaika is not really the top-hitting infielder. He's got the highest batting average (aside from first baseman Daniel Dorn). But if you look at OPS or OBP, Zack Cozart is better.

However, I agree with Fay that Valaika is likely to be called up. He's on the 40-man roster, and though he's played mostly 2B this season, he started out at SS. He's not the defender Janish and Cozart are, but he'll do in a pinch. And he's no longer one of the Reds' top prospects, so they may be more willing to sit him on the bench behind Janish.

Drew Sutton is another possibility. He's on the 40-man, and is hitting well. However, his defense is pretty bad. They seem to be grooming him to be a bench guy. He's playing left field, first base, pinch-hitting, DHing, etc. His bad glove was supposedly the reason he was sent down in favor of Miguel Cairo during spring training. So I don't see him as a backup SS.

Another possibility would be call up Cozart. He's not on the 40-man, so some sort of roster move would have to be made. Cozart could be the Reds' SS of the future, so if he's called up, they'll want him to play every day. That would mean Janish remains on the bench. (I really hope that doesn't happen. Janish deserves a shot. He's waited so patiently for an opportunity this year, and has been so solid, on offense and defense...only to get so little playing time it's become a running joke. Again.)

The Reds are in a heated pennant race, trading off first place in the division with the Cardinals practically on a daily basis. They may not want to throw Cozart in to sink or swim with that kind of pressure. Then again, they may not trust Janish to hold down SS, either. If this injury had happened before the deadline, the Reds might have made a move at SS.

But it's too late now. I hope Janish gets his shot...and shows them them something to think about.


posted by BubbaFan, 11:06 PM | link | 0 comments |