UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, awaiting tonight’s Cincinnati Reds-Los Angeles Dodgers game, mainly to see Clayton Kershaw display his pitching majesty (three Cy Young awards in the last five years).
How tough is this one going to be for the Reds, losers of seven straight and 12 of their last 14? Kershaw (6-1, 1.67) has struck out 10 or more in six straight starts, a franchise record. He has two shutouts in his last four starts.
INCREDIBLY, OVER HIS 70 innings this season Kershaw has struck out 88 and walked four. But as somebody pointed out, he has balked in each of his last two games. You find hope where you can.
And there is hope against Kershaw when Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce are at the plate. Philips is 9 for 25 (.360) with a home run and a double against Kershaw. Bruce is 5 for 17 (.294) with two homers. Joey Votto is hitting only .217 against Kershaw, but two of his five hits are home runs.
To make it even more, uh, interesting, the Reds are sending struggling Brandon Finnegan (1-2, 4.44) against the guy who has gone to a three-ball count only 29 times this season. Then on Tuesday, rookie Daniel Wright is tossed into the cauldron against the Dodgers, taking the place of disabled Tim Adleman. Wright pitched a complete-game shutout in his last start, his first win at the Triple-A level for Louisville. He started the season at Class AA Pensacola and so far this season in the minors he is 3-0 with a 0.79 earned run average.
And how about this one? Kershaw is making $34.5 million this year. Wright is working for the major league minimum of $507,500 and even that is pro-rated on the number of games he wears a major league uniform.
Maybe there is hope. The Dodgers played a six-hour 17-inning game in San Diego Sunday, so they might be tired.
WHEN THINGS GO bad, nothing seems to go right and even a great promotion by the Reds went haywire Saturday.
They gave away a dual-figure bobblehead of Ken Griffey Jr. wearing a Reds uniform and wearing a Seattle Mariners uniform. Unfortunately, the bats were not attached to his hands. They came separately and had to be attached when the package was opened. Unfortunately, the bats do not fit into the holes in his hands.
The Griffey Giveaway nearly sold out Great American Ball Park, but I stood near the main gate and watch a steady stream of fans walk into the park, grab their bobbleheads, and immediately leave the park. There was a long line of cars outside the stadium with engines running as fans ran into the park to get their bobbleheads and then return immediately to their cars and drive off.
So sad, so sad.
IF THERE IS ONE positive about this dismal season so far it is the play of shortstop Zack Cozart. It is required that every team be represented in the All-Star game in San Diego in July and Cozart is, hands down, the Reds All-Star. In fact, he is the only player wearing a Reds uniform who even deserves consideration.
As Mark DeRosa said recently on MLB Central, MLB-TV’s best show, “One of the most overlooked and underestimated players in baseball is Reds shortstop Zack Cozart. It is too bad he isn’t more recognized and that’s because of the season the Reds are having.”
IN AN EFFORT to generate some cash for my good friend and driver, Ray Snedegar, here are some offers I hope some of you can’t refuse.
I receive no remuneration for Ray’s gas when he drives me 222 miles round trip to Reds home games. At 54 cents a mile that is $120 per trip. And you can still make a contribution, if you can, by going to my website, halmccoy.com, and click on the GoFundMe icon on the home page.
In addition, I am willing to speak at any event for $400 and the right to sell my book, ‘The Real McCoy.’
Also, for $200 I’ll have lunch with you and your friends at any Dayton/Cincinnati area locale or for $200 Ray and I will deliver personally an autographed copy of my book to your home or office.
If interested in any of the above, shoot me an e-mail at email@example.com.