After yesterday’s marathon game that lasted into the wee hours of the night, the Reds (30-35) start today looking for a series win against the Tigers and their former ace Justin Verlander. In other news, I caught up with Todd Frazier* after the game last night to ask him some questions. Apparently, he has become disillusioned with the Tigers’ glorified slow-pitch softball pitching and has struck a deal where Aroldis Chapman will pitch to him whenever he bats in tonight’s game. When asked for comment, Frazier shrugged and said, “You know, I haven’t seen pitching this soft since Williamsport; I want a challenge. Yeah, I’ll probably only hit one dinger instead of two, but can you imagine how far it’s gonna go? Woo-boy.”
Leake’s stats are 2015 actuals, Verlander’s are 2014:
After starting off fairly hot in April and early May, Mike Leake has struggled this season. During a string of three starts, Leake gave up 20 earned runs in 14.0 innings with eight walks to six strikeouts. Since that stretch, Leake has made three starts spanning 19.0 innings, and he has only given up 7 earned runs. One of those starts was an 8.0 inning gem where he struck out nine and only let two cross the plate.
We asked Reds’ slugger Todd Frazier for his thoughts on his teammate, and this is what we got: “Leakey is great, man, but he hasn’t pitched that great so far. Looks like he’d be better pitching for the Tigers with the amount of baked taters he’s been serving up. Leakey’s been leaky, man.”
For the Tigers, Justin Verlander will make just his second start of 2015 after missing the beginning of the season with a triceps injury. In his return against the Indians, Verlander went 5.0 innings, giving up two earned runs on three hits including a homer. Reasonably, Verlander is three years removed from his elite status as he struggled in both 2013 and 2014, but he is still a high quality, mid-rotation guy at this point in his career. Touching 97 in his start against the Indians proves that Verlander still has the electric arm that won him a Cy Young and MVP in the same season.
Said Frazier: “I googled Verlander before the game…no wait, don’t quote it that way…um, I researched Verlander before the game, and all I saw were interviews about his girlfriend and fashion shoots, and I teared up a bit, man. He used to be such a quality baseball player. Now, he’s acting like some of those prissy basketball guys. It’s a shame, man.”
The Reds’ lineup today makes me very, very sad because the Toddfather is not in it:
Justin Verlander will have to hit for himself and that is the most uplifting part of the Tigers’ lineup:
FLY ME TO THE MOON(SHOTS)
Frazier on pace for 55 HR – would be #Reds all-time record, surpassing George Foster's 52 in 1977. Only 6x have Reds hit more than 40.
— Sir Random (@RedsRandomness) June 18, 2015
“I knew it was gone. I looked in the dugout while I was running and everyone was on the edge and I was like, ‘no, that’s gone, guys.'” – ToddÃ‚Â Frazier (the real one)
Utterly ecstatic about last night’s outcome, RN asked Todd Frazier where does he get his motivation for greatness from?
“Back when I was in Little League, traveling to all those hotels and winning in Williamsport, you know, I watched a lot of Pokemon. It was the best, we would all watch marathons of it. But every half hour, when the theme song came on, I would just hear, ‘I wanna be the very best, the best there ever was,’ and I would whisper to myself, ‘Yes, Ash Ketchum, I will be the very best.’ So that’s where I get my motivation, man” – Todd Frazier (the not quite as real one)
Jay Bruce quietly had himself a five hit night last night; a first for the Reds since Willy Taveras did it back in 2009. Since his terrible cold streak at the beginning of the year, Bruce has bounced back once again to be a productive player for the Reds. Brayan Pena also added four hits and an RBI of his own.
Last time the #Reds had multiple players with 4+ hits in the same game: 7/27/2010 (Phillips, Votto, Rolen).
— Joel Luckhaupt (@jluckhaupt) June 18, 2015
Guy had a 5-hit game and nobody talked to him or about him afterwards. pretty crazy
— C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) June 18, 2015
Jay Bruce now has a .766 OPS
Brandon Phillips now has a .691 OPS
…..but the narrative is that Bruce has been terrible and Phillips great.
— Ã‰Â´Ã‰ÂªÃ¡Â´â€žÃ¡Â´â€¹ Ã¡Â´â€¹Ã‰ÂªÃŠâ‚¬ÃŠâ„¢y (@Nicholaspkirby) June 18, 2015
Said Frazier: “Back in May, I found out Jay had never seen Finding Nemo, so I made him watch it. And he was slumping real hard back then, so I thought, you know maybe it would cheer him up. But it was the weirdest thing: when Bruce the shark showed up, Jay was just mesmerized. He just kept repeating, ‘Fish are friends, not food. Hits are friends, not food.’ Freaked me out, not gonna lie; I had no idea what was going on. But, hey man, it worked.”
Why would you ever sit a guy who has hit four homers in the past two games? That’s like betting on American Pharaoh to win the Derby and Preakness, but then saying, “No, I don’t think he’s got it in him,” before the Belmont and picking a 50-1 longshot instead. I just don’t understand.
*All Todd Frazier quotes are fictionalized….probably