The Real McCoy

Hall of Fame baseball writer Hal McCoy shares his thoughts on the Cincinnati Reds

Scooters thinks low but performs high

CINCINNATI — Scooter Gennett was genuinely taken aback when he was asked if he knew what day Wednesday would be.

He didn’t say, “It will be Wednesday,” which it will be. And he didn’t say, “It will be June 6,” which it will be. Nor did he say, “It is D-Day, when we landed on Normandy Beach in World War II,” which it will be.

What it will be is the one-year anniversary of one of baseball’s versions of D-Day, the big offensive by Gennett, the day Scooter hit four home runs and drove in 10 runs.

“Really?” he said. “ I didn’t know that.”

And his offensive prowess hasn’t stopped since, even though Gennett is not one to expect too much of himself. When somebody said, “If you hit .300, you go to the Hall of Fame and if you hit .200 you go to the minors,” Gennett smiled and said, “I just strive to land somewhere in between. How you stay in the middle of that is the key.”

Gennett, more humble than humble pie with whipped cream, said when asked if he had four home runs and 10 RBI awaiting the Colorado Rockies said, “I’m a guy of low expectations. For me and for a lot of guys, that’s not what is important. It is about winning ball games and I just hope we can start winning more games than we have so far.”

Most of Gennett’s memorabilia from that festive day now resides in Cooperstown, but he doe have the jersey and the hat he wore that day. “That’s about it and it’s pretty cool to have that stuff.”

His continuance of prowess at the plate has marched on, especially over the last month when he twice won National League Player of the Week and won National League Player of the month for May.

“I feel good, but like I said, I don’t think any of us are doing what we are capable of doing as far as winning ball games,” he said. “That’s what matters, doing little things to get ‘W,’s. Until we start winning games I don’t think I’m doing as good as I can.”

He is putting too much emphasis of his shortcomings, because there are few. He is hitting .342 with 14 home runs and 41 RBI. In May he hit .398 with eight homers and 24 RBI. Not only will Wednesday be his Home Run Explosion anniversary, Tuesday marked his 200th game for the Reds, during which he has hit .309

with 39 homers, 34 doubles and 138 RBI.

Asked why his expectations are low and his results are high, Gennett laughed and said, “That’s baseball, man. That’s the way I like to be. It isn’t like I expect to strikeout every time, but I never put some crazy expectations out there, like getting one hit and one RBI and not being happy.”

His manager, Jim Riggleman, is more appreciative of Gennett than Gennett is of himself.

“I’ve read some stuff that has been written and I didn’t know that exact numbers that Scooter has put up, but it has been really impressive for over a year now,” said Riggleman. “He has really been a pleasure to see what he is doing.”

The performances of Eugenio Suarez and Joey Votto put a smile on Rigglemans face, too. Over his last 12 games Suarez is hitting .356 (16-45, four homers, three doubles and 12 RBI to push his average from .274 to .297. Votto erupted on the just-concluded nine-game west coast trip when he hit .417 to lift his batting average from .274 to .299.

“Suarerz is becoming the player we thought he was going to become a couple of years ago,” said Riggleman. “He was signed to that seven-year extension and he is showing why. And Joey has taken his average to the near .300 area where he generally is.”

Riggleman paused for a wistful moment and said, “We’re getting it from those three guys. Hopefiully a couple more guys move in that direction.”

THE REDS HAD MONDAY off and after this six-game homestand they’ll have three days off over a five-day span. Riggleman was asked if that might enable the team to reduce the bullpen by one body and add a fifth extra player. Riggleman has other plans.

“As of now, we’re going to take the approach of giving the starting pitchers extra days off,” he said. “That’s as opposed to sending guys to the minor or sending starters to the bullpen. We’re going to leave it as is and give some starters some extra days of rest. But how we use people over the next few days will help determine that.”

WHEN DAVID WEATHERS WAS pitching out of the Reds’ bullpen in 2005, 2006 and 2007, nearly every day early in the afternoon he would be in the outfield playing catch and pitching to his son, Ryan, a big kid for his age — 5, 6 and 7 when Weathers was here.

So it was no shock Monday when the San Diego Padres drafted the 18-year-old Ryan Weathers with their first pick in the draft, the No. 7 overall pick. He was selected as a pitcher out of Loretta (Tenn.) High School. Scouts say he was one of the two best left handers in the draft.

Joey Votto remembers when Ryan was hanging around the clubhouse and the field.

“Definitely. I most definitely do remember him,” said Votto. “He was one of the most well-mannered respectful and polite young men I ever met. His father did a great job.”

Votto smiled and said he and New York Mets outfielder Jay Bruce were texting after the draft. Bruce was with the Reds when Ryan Weathers was roaming the premises.

Asked if seeing a teammate’s son get drafted makes him feel old, Votto said, “Not yet. Once he strikes me out it will. Jay and I look forward to striking out against a kid who used to bounce around the clubhouse.”

ESPN’S DAN LeBATARD Show posed a poll question to its viewers/listeners: “Are no-hitters meaingless when Homer Bailey throws two of them?” More than 70 per cent of the respondents said yes. Ouch.

Does that also mean that Nolan Ryan’s seven no-hitters and Randy Johnson’s no-hitter and perfect game were meaningless?

BLEACHER REPORT graded every team on its Day One draft picks and the Reds didn’t fare well. They received a ‘C.’ While they thought infielder Jonathan India, the Reds’ No. 1 pick is worthy of a No. 1, Bleacher Report thought the Reds would have been better served to select a pitcher and mentloned right handed pitcher Brady Singer, India’s teammate at the University of Florida. Singer was drafted No. 1 by the Kansas City Royals, the 18th player picked.

SPEAKING OF THE DRAFT, it is time for the latest update of teams in our TOP DRAFT PICK division. The team with baseball’s worst record gets the No. 1 overall draft pick next June. Below are the current standings, with the Baltimore Orioles leading the way:

Baltimore 17-41, Chicago White Sox 18-38, Cincinnati Reds 21-39, Miami Marlines 20-39, Kansas City Royals 21-38. As of the current standings, the Reds would have the No. 3 overall pick next year.

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