Ok, this Pirates series is the culmination of quite a stretch on the schedule. What an adventure. Choose your own analogy, but it has seemed like a whirlwind romance with the girl or guy of your dreams, winning 22 of 26. What team does that?
Doesn't it seem like forever ago since we were making our dreaded West Coast trip? I made the bold prediction of 5-6 based on how the team was playing and the usual shenanigans that seem to befall the team on the West Coast.
Of course, on night 2 of that trip, the big storm of 2012 came through and I didn't know until Sunday morning that we had taken two in a row from the Giants with back to back complete games. Thud. Jay misplays a fly ball... lose two out of three to the limping Dodgers...lose ugly to the Padres, fall 2 behind the Pirates, and it was starting to look like disaster looming into the AS break. Such a promising road trip, now... in Petco? Against half of the Reds farm system. Really?
Then it started, so innocently, with 3 wins in a row against a team we should beat, winning West Coast road trip, lopped a game off the Pirates lead heading into the break.....................and Joey was limping.
The Cards roll into town after the break, expecting a tough series. Get out the O'Cedar again, the team is now suddenly on a six game winning streak, the Dbacks are coming to town for 4.....and Joey seems fine, scooted it around the bases on Sunday Night Baseball.
Thud. Heading back to the hotel from a day at Kings Island, the Reds are behind, and the news comes. At first, I think Kelch is going to announce a minor trade. Then he says it. Our worst fear as Reds fan with a struggling offense so dependent on the one guy who is now headed to the DL--the day before I'm headed to the game with three of my boys. Bless his heart, Cueto, Marshall and Chapman completed the shut out, Ludwick hit a 3 run bomb, let's try to split this series. No, no, no. 6-0, fans are booing, this is going to kill the season. What? The Reds are up 7-6 and Chapman is in?
The Brew Crew comes to town having taken their first two series after the break. Here they come, just like a lot of folks thought, Braun and company not going away. Wait, get the brooms out, and goodbye 2012 for Milwaukee.
Next is a short little road trip to Houston and Colorado. Houston is tanking, but law of averages and playing at Minutemaid makes me uneasy. But Houston has been selling off, and one of their new guys was one of our old guys. Drew Stubbs, two nights in a row, turns our mourning into laughter, off an old thorn in so many sides (not mine, btw, I think Coco did more good work than bad while in Cincy) for four years. Colorado, the Coors Field Chamber of Horrors over the last several years, turned into an undefeated road trip and a debt to be paid by a poofy haired fancy boy.
Ten in a row. Thud. Worst hitting team in the league shells best pitching team in the league. Here we go. Losing streak following a winning streak. That's the way it goes, 40 years of watching the game, we're going to give back 4 or 5 of what we just won, just like earlier in the season, and the Pirates are going to come in this weekend and we won't be able to buy a run. When is Votto coming back? What? Phillips calf might be a DL stint. Doom, despair and agony on me; deep dark depression, excessive misery, if it weren't for bad luck...
Three hard fought wins later, its "bring on the Pirates, and tell them to keep the Jolly Roger in their pants." I just want to get the first game, make sure we don't get swept. Wait, lets win the series right here, tonight. Let's go, sweep boys!
Well, we won the series, 4-1/2 game lead, time to step back and take a look at this beautiful forest. Now we hit the road for a stretch where the Reds SHOULD continue to do no worse than keep pace and probably get some more separation from the Pirates. Phillips will probably be back tomorrow, Votto has got to be getting close, and we have a whole bunch of guys who just found out that this is a team, not just the Vottos and a few good arms.
Turn the page, back into the trees we go, no time to rest. How will this next chapter read? But please, no more thuds!