CINCINNATI - It's Wednesday, 20, 2012:
WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? I know. I've heard from you. This newsletter has been missing in action for the last couple of weeks. Sorry, but my schedule was jumbled and I also had some time off. If I was a news person, I would call it "well deserved time off." I have no idea why they always say that.
THEY GOT ASDRUBELED: The Reds were stunned in the bottom of the tenth inning Tuesday night when Asdrubel Cabrera hit a walk-off two-run home run against Aroldis Chapman. He just rode a Chapman fastball into the second row of seats in right field.
TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING: I'm no pitching expert, but I know that big league hitters can catch up with fastballs, even those approaching 100 mph, when that's the only thing you're throwing. I think Aroldis Chapman has fallen madly in love with his fastball and the radar gun again, just like he did last year. Chapman started this season, mixing in off-speed pitches and sliders, and hitters didn't know what to expect. But now he seems to throw fastballs almost exclusively, and sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. He fell behind in the count against the Indians, and they just looked for fastballs over the plate. Cabrera got one to end the game.
HOW DO YOU FIGURE? The Reds and Indians slugged the ball all over the park Monday for 19 runs and 27 hits. Tuesday belonged to the pitchers Mike Leake and Josh Tomlin. The Reds did miss out on a few great opportunities because they couldn't get the clutch hit. The two teams combined for 19 hits, but only five runs.
TONIGHT: The Reds and Indians wrap up the series in Cleveland as the Tribe goes after the sweep. Bronson Arroyo pitches against Justin Masterson.
HISTORIC: As the great Channel 9 reporter Jack Forgarty used to say, "I might be wrong but....", I believe that tonight represents an historic meeting between the Reds and Indians because both teams occupy first place in their respective divisions. With the victory last night, the Indians moved a half-game in front of the White Sox in the AL Central. I don't think the Reds and Indians have ever met as first place teams before.
WOOF! I'm watching Charlie Rose as I write this and Penelope Cruz is among the guests who are promoting a new Woody Allen movie. She hasn't lost a step.
PIRATES 7, TWINS 2: Andrew McCutchen had three hits including his 12th home run. UC and Princeton product Josh Harrison also had three hits for the Bucs
TIGERS 6, CARDS 3: Justin Verlander notched his seventh win.
CUBS 2, WHITE SOX 1: Travis Wood got his first win as a starter since 2010 when he was with the Reds. He went six strong innings.
BRAVES 4, YANKEES 3: Atlanta snaps the Yankees ten-game winning streak.
STANDINGS: The Reds lead over the Pirates in the Central Division is 2 1/2 games. The Cards are 4 1/2 games back.
MILESTONE: Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners got his 2,500th major league hit last night. He also had 1,278 hits in the Japanese leagues, so he has 3,778 total hits. I know it doesn't have any official status, but only Pete Rose and Ty Cobb have more career hits. Ichiro can hit in any league, in any country, in any language.
TIME WELL-SPENT: I spent some time with Shirley and Robert Larkin on Tuesday. They are the parents of Barry Larkin, among others named Larkin who are excellent athletes. Anyway, they had some wonderful stories about Barry as a little boy and Barry as a grown man. It's clear where he got his smarts and his style. We'll share some of those stories next month just before Barry is inducted at Cooperstown.
ALMOST DONE: The Miami Heat beat the Oklahoma City Thunder Tuesday night 104-98, so the Heat take a 3-1 lead in the NBA finals. All they need is a victory at home on Thursday to claim the title. If the Thunder can steal a win in Miami, they can send the series back to OKC. It sure doesn't look like that will happen.
KEYS TO THE GAME: Lebron James had 26 and Dwyane Wade had 25, but the big boost came from Mario Chalmers who had 25. Russell Westbrook, who took a lot of grief for his play in game three, was remarkable with 43 points, but it wasn't enough
JUST AN OBSERVATION: Doris Burke is so good as a sideline analyst for ABC and ESPN that she should offer a course on what sideline reporters should do and what questions they should ask. She understands the game very well and wants genuine answers regarding what happened. Pam Shriver in tennis is the same way.
IT IS THE CITY THAT SINGS: I just watched the group "Walk the Moon" perform on David Letterman, who pointed out several times that they hail from Cincinnati. I can't say I'm familiar with them, but they were impressive.
I'm back in the saddle again and I'll try to make this a regular feature a few days a week.
Any questions, comments or suggestions are always welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Let's get over the hump...
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