Here again is a taste of what opposing announcing teams have to say about the Cincinnati Reds. Gary Cohen and Ron Darling call the game for the New York Mets. They love Brandon Phillips and hate Cincinnati Chili.
[Cueto on the mound, Game 2]
DARLING: He’s got a little Catch 22 in his mechanics for you folks at home. He’s very deceptive because he’s got that turn. For you older fans, like Luis Tiant, back in the day, where he shows his number to the hitter, the problem has been as Gary mentioned, though, that it has resulted in a lot of strains on his side and core.
COHEN: He adopted the turn about 2 years ago…
DARLING: It’s a very deceptive motion, I think it’s a very good motion, it just takes a lot of strength and puts a lot of torque on your side. It’s almost like he’s showing the complete 47 number to the hitter, so you pick up the ball late out of his hand.
COHEN: The problems first surfaced for Cueto in his first post-season start two seasons ago in SF. He lasted just 7 pitches and had to come out of the game and never pitched again in the series that the Reds wound up losing. And then he had the lat problems last year.
Now, the Reds insist that there’s no relationship between the twist that he makes in his delivery and the fact that he’s had these lat and oblique problems in the last two year, but that’s kind of hard to believe.
DARLING: They can say whatever they want to say. Doesn’t mean I have to believe it. So he never had any lat problems before he turned—he did the turn—and now he has lat problems.
COHEN: I’m just passing along the information.
DARLING: But I will say its fun to watch this young man. When he’s got it working, goes right after the hitters. A+ stuff.
[Bruce hits weak grounder down first base line]
COHEN: Well, against this Cincinnati team, you better have a weapon for getting those big guys in the middle of the lineup with Votto and Bruce.
DARLING: you’ve got to take care of those two lefthanders or it’s going to be a long day.
COHEN: I mean, the rest of the lineup is good, but if you can control those two guys, you have a chance.
DARLING: they’re good, Gary, but, they can be pitched to. And what I mean by that—Ludwick and Frazier coming up—very talented, lots of power, can take you deep, but they also have some holes, and I don’t think Votto and Bruce have as many holes. Bruce does, up in the strike zone, but Dillon’s [Gee] strength is not up in the strike zone, so that’s not where he wants to be.
(Frazier at the plate]
DARLING: Boy, that knee really bent in. He’s open and that knee comes in at such an awkward angle almost. It’s a device to keep you closed, keep that front shoulder closed. He’s a different kind of hitter. He’s not your cookie cutter type of guy. See that left knee bent in? He will lean forward, then back, then into the ball, and I think that’s why he generates so much power. I said last night, pound-for-pound he’s what 200, 205 pounds, maybe a little bigger. He’s as strong as anyone in the game.
[Phillips fails to come up with Young grounder in the 3rd]
DARLING: I don’t know how many years I’ve been watching Brandon Phillips and that’s the first one I’ve seen him miss. That’s how sure handed he is.
[Phillips turns the double play a moment later]
COHEN: By the way, you were talking about before when we showed the Reds defense, about how good they are with Votto and Phillips. The guy who I think is going to be terrific over the long term is Cozart. He makes every play. Now, he’s not as flashy as an Andrelton Simmons or an Adeiny Hechavarria, but he’s solid.
DARLING: He’s solid and he’s running into the same thing. He’s got some power. It’s whether he can hit enough. They traded Didi gregarious who was in their system because they, uh, felt that much about Cozart as a player.
[Mets field interviewer, Steve Gelbs]
Brandon Phillips, look you don’t need to watch him that long to understand just how flashy and entertaining of a ballplayer he his. This is a guy who loves to entertain. He told me before the game that first and foremost it’s entertainment. Without the fans, they’d be playing in front of nobody. But something Brandon Phillips did say, he talked about where that need to entertain came from. He actually wanted to be the ultimate sports entertainer. He wanted to be a professional wrestler growing up. But he realized pretty soon growing up that he wasn’t going to be big enough or strong enough, so he took those entertainment skills over to the diamond.
DARLING: I think the biggest story is that Brandon Phillips has no problem talking to Steve Gelbs, and not to the Cincinnati writers.
COHEN: He talks to the out of town media, he talks to the national writers. He will not talk to the Cincinnati writers.
COHEN: Cause, you know, they’re so tough in Cincinnati.
Gelbs: You know who he loves talking to, he loves talking to the fans in opposing ballparks. He said last night he had a great time going back and forth with the fans talking trash, but he said good trash, not over the top. Actually we have proof of that. One of the fans tweeted out “Coolest dude in the game! Kept section 109 laughing all night.”
[bottom of the 5th]
DARLING: Around the horn, if you start in left field, Ryan Ludwick doesn’t have a lot of speed, doesn’t have a great throwing arm, Bernadina, great speed, good, a fair throwing arm. Buy Jay Bruce, in right field is the guy that has the gun. He’s like, I don’t know, The Natural out there in right field. Can do it all.
COHEN: We talked last night about Votto and how he led the league in OBP four years in a row, but that since his MVP year, his slugging numbers have come down and Elias gave us a interesting note today. Votto his 24 home runs last year. Let the league in walks. he was the first player, he had the highest walk total for a guy with fewer than 25 home runs since Eddie Yost… known as the “walking man” and was the longtime Mets third base coach.
DARLING: Again, [Votto] tied, up. I don’t know if he’s doing it to himself or it’s the good pitching of Gee. That ball’s more in the middle and it’s not usually a ball you see him tie himself up on.
But, like all Votto at bats, he’s 3-2 at some point.
[Heisey gets a hustle double off Gee in the 8th]
DARLING: You know, Chris Heisey might be one of the best players in the National League who doesn’t have a full time position. He’s just is a great defender, does a nice job off the bench, he knows how to play the game right and when to take a chance—and this great aggressive play—nothing Granderson could do.
[Game 3, 1st inning, with Alfredo Simon on the mound]
DARLING: He’s [Simon] one of those guys that has always had great stuff and you haven’t known whether he should be a bullpen guy or a starting pitcher and he might just be coming into his own.
[Phillips singles top of the 3rd]
DARLING: What a series he has had. I mean, we’re even taking away the two hits—the home run that Eli robbed him of, and then the one he hit off the shoe of Mejia that would have been a base hit. He is in that crouch and he stays in that crouch—just a great high-ball hitter.
COHEN: Well, Brandon Phillips with that hit has now had at least one hit in each of the last 29 games he has played in Flushing. All 18 games he played at Citi Field and the last 11 at Shea.
DARLING: Kinda makes sense for a guy who fancies himself a primetime player, coming here to New York. We’ve seen it happen before.
COHEN: He is now three off the record for consecutive game hitting streak by an opposing player in Flushing.
[Chyron displays Votto’s stats: AVG: .300 OBP: . 391]
DARLING: First time I’ve seen Joey Votto a bit confused up at the plate. Usually, he is locked in. I guess, what I mean by that, that he’s locked in, he doesn’t swing a pitches off the plate–
[Slow motion of Votto swinging with elbows in, arms not extended.]
he doesn’t have these kinds of swings or check swings.
[Top of the 6th bases loaded, Votto at the plate]
DARLING: You know, Gary, the problem with these very good hitters like Votto is that when they’re struggling, you always feel that they are one swing away from getting back on time.
[Votto hits sac fly to left field]
COHEN: The game is tied at one on the sacrifice fly by Votto, his first run batted in of the season.
DARLING: Well, this is just a great hitter, just trying to fight up there and figure out some way to get the ball to the outfield. Choke up, do anything you can with a short stroke—and he just missed hitting that out of the ballpark.
[Ludwick hits a high fastball into left field to give the Reds a 2-1 lead]
DARLING: You know what’s interesting, Ludwick, earlier in the game, d’Arnaud was asking for the pitch up, he [Niese] threw it right down the middle and he swung right through it. They call for it up again—he did get it up—but Ludwick did not miss it this time.
Sometimes, you just cannot go to the well over-and-over with veteran hitters.
Father. Iowa born, Kentucky raised, NYC finished. I write about baseball. I wonder what Willie Shakespeare would have written had he met Willie Mays. Richard resides in protective custody at an undisclosed location in New Jersey.