By Josh Mosley
What’s the over under on how many times Tom Hanks cliched “Apollo 13” line has been uttered, written or referenced to so far this season? Too many to fathom? Well even that’s not enough. And granted the Reds aren’t world beaters or causing a league wide “Red Scare (SUCK IT, COMMIES!!!! ROCK ON, CAPITALISM!!!!!) they took three of four in this series, eeking out close wins to seal the series up. Meanwhile they added on to the pounding, debilitating headache that is the opening of the Astros season.
Friday: You ever been holed up in class all day with no time to sit down for a good meal? So then you get drive thru Mc Donald’s on the way home and just as you are about to devour it faster than Mc Hammer did to his finances, you find that the dog got into it and ate it all? Me neither. But I’m sure Roy Oswalt knows the feeling. Pitching six scoreless, Oswalt was two outs away from his first win of the season, but instead got saddled with a no decision. Astros reliever Jose Valverde screwed the pooch on that one, walking Edwin Encarnacion before giving up a two-run jackson in the ninth to Ramon Hernandez to end it. Sad pandas, all around. Reds win 2-1.
Saturday: Wait for it…Wandy Rodriguez waved his wand and was “magical” on this day. Seriously, that analogy was just sitting out there ready to be taken. Anyway, whatever sour grapes patrons at the “Juice Box” (nice call, Danny) had from the ninth inning meltdown the night before were soon sweetened. Rodriguez brought his soil repellant man pants to the mound going seven innings of shutout ball with ten strikeouts and two hits allowed. Geoff Blum had two of his three RBI’s on a seventh inning single that broke the game open while Pudge Rodriguez put the game on ice with a two-run double of his own. The ‘pen locked down the last six outs and that’s all she wrote. Astros win 7-0.
Sunday: The Reds pitching staff drove this one, both on the mound and at the plate. In crunch for pinch hitters, the Reds went to their rotation, giving the nod to starter Micah Owings to make something happen with the stick. And wouldn’t you know it, he hacked the first pitch (take note, Ankiel) for a two-run go-ahead double in the seventh inning to put Cincy up for good. Edison Volquez went six innings and fanned seven Astros to get his second W of the season. Reds win 4-2.
Monday: Tell me where you’ve read this before. Houston has late lead. Cincy rallies with nine outs to go. Cincy wins. If you answered two of the last three paragraphs, send me your e-mail. I got a cookie and an ill-advised O.J. Simpson reference for you in the mail (Nice work, Hulkster). This time, Reds first baseman Joey Votto was the his team’s Johnny Come Lately with a two-run double in the seventh to give his boys the lead. Bronson Arroyo went to 3-0 for the season, proving that his douche-tastic cornrows have been what’s been holding him back in previous years. Reds win 4-3.
Hot Fire/Weak Sauce Series Impact Players: We’re going to combine these two sections this week for the sake of the parallels I will draw between the two recipients. Plus, this is America and I do what I want. Hot Fire goes to the Reds bullpen for keeping their boys in three of the four games, and eventually pulling those games out. Houston got on bases in bunches in the final three innings of their three losses and could have easily put those games away but couldn’t put one runner across. Tough break. Conversely, the Astros allowed six runs in the final three innings of those losses, all of which were decisive runs. Weak sauce, you say? I concur.
Next up: The Reds open up tonight in Wrigley against the Cubs while the Astros limp out west to face the Manny’s….I mean the Dodgers.