By Danny Mehigan
Despite SP Bronson Arroyo giving up two home runs, to Geoff Jenkins and Ryan Howard respectively, in three and one third innings of work today, the Reds beat the defending champion Phillies 8-4 when SS Chris Valaika launched a grand slam in the seventh inning. Is that breaking news? Not necessarily, unless you’re related to Valaika. But here’s why it might be relevant:
In just 12 spring training games, Los Rojos already have five grannies. The next best, the Cubs and the Mets, each have a mere two four-pointers. With Dunn and Griffey, Cincinnati always had a tendency to score most of its runs via the long ball but that was then. Maybe it’s still now.
For those of you with spring training, grand slam-counting fantasy games: first of all, touché. Second, these guys are your grand slam suppliers: RF Jonny Gomes, SS Jerry Hairston Jr., LF Darnell McDonald, C Craig Tatum and the aforementioned Valaika. You remember Rock-N-Jock? With its 25 and 50-point baskets and its absurd softball games? Man, that was sweet.
Also, Arroyo blamed the home runs on the “wind” and “a flat mound” at the Phillies park in Clearwater. Yeah, sure. Whatever helps you sleep at night. I hook my drives on the links because a bird squawked and I felt like working on my recovery shots from the woods so that explains that.