Wire to wire? Reds playing like they want it
It doesn’t seem like a day more than a few decades since a Cincinnati Reds team looked so good.
They are on a 3-0 roll to start the season and begin a three-game series Tuesday night against the Houston Astros in Great American Ball Park.
The Milwaukee Brewers were alleged to be the Reds’ sternest competition for the 2011 National League Central championship. If that’s so, they should cancel the rest of the season and mail the NL Central championship certificate to the Reds right now.
Over the weekend, the Reds vs. the Brewers looked more like the Harlem Globetrotters vs. the Washington Generals.
The Reds said all the right things after completing the sweep Sunday with a 12-3 dismantling of Milwaukee, about how it is after only three games, about how the Brewers are an excellent team and about how the Reds caught them at the right moment.
After Bronson Arroyo, eight pounds lighter after a losing argument with mononucleosis, held the Blue Brew Crew to three runs and six hits in seven innings, he said, “Who knows? Next time they might beat us three straight.”
Not likely. The Reds have won 18 of the past 21 against Milwaukee. The Racing Sausages could do better against the Reds than the Brewers' starting rotation.
The fact the Brewers really are a good team makes what the Reds did in the opening series even more significant.
And you read it here first: wire to wire. Remember when the 1990 team was in first place from Opening Day until the end of the season, never relinquishing first place?
It is going to happen again. The Reds’ schedule in April is conducive to a quick-off-the-blocks start. By May, they might have a four- or five-game lead.
Is this 3-0 start a portent? Every time the Reds have won a World Series, they began the season 3-0. They have started other seasons 3-0 and not won the World Series, but every time they have won it they started 3-0.
Read into that what you may, but we’re just saying . . .
Leadoff hitter Drew Stubbs is off to a stunning start, hitting .455 with two walks and three strikeouts. His slugging average is 1.000. Dating to last season, Stubbs is on an 11-game hitting streak and is hitting .395 during that time.
And how about the catching tandem of Ramon Hernandez and Ryan Hanigan? Together, they don’t constitute one Johnny Bench, but it would take about four catchers to make one Bench.
Nevertheless, the Reds’ RH Factor is one huge factor. A year ago, they combined to hit .296, best catching combination in the National League, and they combined for 168 hits (first), 91 RBI (second) and a .375 on-base average (third).
On Opening Day, Hernandez had four hits, including the exhilarating, three-run home run to end a 7-6 victory.
Hanigan played the next two games and had four hits Sunday that included two homers. Hernandez is hitting .800, and Hanigan is hitting .714.
And have you noticed manager Dusty Baker in the dugout and outside the dugout when his Reds do something heroic. He needs a short skirt and pompons. He gets into it — leaping in the air, pumping his arms.
“It all started with that ninth-inning home run on Opening Day by Moanie (Ramon Hernandez), and that gave us momentum,” Baker said. “We got good pitching, timely hitting and played some good defense.”
What’s left? That covers every facet of the game, right?
“We have a long way to go, but I’ll take a fast start every time,” Baker said. “We beat a very good ballclub, but it was just a very big weekend for us.”
Brandon Phillips provided a three-run home run Sunday but was polite toward the Brewers.
“We had a great spring training, and I knew we’d start strong,” he said. “The way we played the Brewers was very impressive. They are a great team and we just got them this series. It’s still early.”
But Phillips had incisive words about his team, too, after 19 hits Sunday.
“When we swing the bats the way we’re swinging now, it’s a beautiful thing and very entertaining," he said. "It’s like fireworks.”
More like dynamite.