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Sports Today: Defensive gems, conspiracy theories come with Reds win

Published: Thursday, May 17, 2018 @ 9:53 AM

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 16:  Scooter Gennett #3 of the Cincinnati Reds leaps over Brandon Belt #9 of the San Francisco Giants after getting his throw off to complete the douple play in the bottom of the fifth inning at AT&T Park on May 16, 2018 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 16: Scooter Gennett #3 of the Cincinnati Reds leaps over Brandon Belt #9 of the San Francisco Giants after getting his throw off to complete the douple play in the bottom of the fifth inning at AT&T Park on May 16, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)(Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Maybe this summer won’t be so long after all… 

With the Cincinnati Reds winning five of seven on the West Coast and looking like an actual major-league baseball team more often than not over about a three-week span, taking a peak at the box score in the morning isn’t so terrifying anymore. 

There was lots to like about Cincinnati’s 6-3 win in San Francisco on Wednesday, but the numbers only told part of the story. 

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This game was also marked by wild plays in the field and wild accusations afterward. 

With Jose Peraza setting the table with two hits, the 2-3-4 hitters went 5 for 11 and drove in five runs, but that might not have been enough without some great defense along the way. 

Scooter Gennett saved the day with a running/leaping catch to end a bases-loaded threat in the sixth, then the No. 2 hitter homered in the top of the seventh for an insurance run. 

HAL MCCOY: Gennett making himself a marketable asset

The bullpen put together five scoreless innings — which has become surprisingly expected — to set up the nuttiest part of the day. 

After Brandon Belt was called out on strikes to end the ninth inning against Raisel Iglesias, the Giants left fielder wondered aloud if the umpire had intentionally called a ball a strike just to get the game over sooner. 

The pitch was outside, but this of course is an insane accusation. 

Not that I’m complaining. 

Yesterday the Great Joey Votto Podcast Controversy of 2018 established again honesty doesn’t pay for athletes anymore in the land of hot takes, but when they have one like this the picture is a lot different. 

The Reds first baseman got some heat for expressing genuine opinions (the Reds’ start was embarrassing) that are rooted in fact (the Reds lost most of their first 21 games). There was nothing unreasonable about what he said. 

Belt, meanwhile, comes across like an insane person while also calling into question the integrity of an umpire based on some alleged comments about wanting to speed the game up. 

I’m not sure how long Brandon Belt has been associated with baseball, but I thought most people were aware umpires make incorrect calls fairly regularly. 

(The longer I live, the more I’ve come to realize human error is the explanation for life’s problems far more often than sinister motives.) 

Part of me thinks he should be heavily fined or suspended just for being dumb enough to actually say out loud something I would feel uncomfortable murmuring to a buddy at the bar, but then again I’m all for authenticity so maybe we should just let the court of public opinion handle this one... 

Meanwhile, Matt Harvey wasn’t as sharp as he was in his first Reds start, but the righty said afterward he felt stronger later in the game than he has in a while. 

“It’s been a while since I’ve felt stronger throughout a game, so getting up toward 80 pitches and still feeling strong and noticing the ball coming out the way it was it’s definitely a big positive,” he said.

So far so good, eh? 

On the flip side, Devin Mesoraco is hitting only .200 for the Mets, but he has homered twice in only 15 at-bats…  

Which Cincinnati Bengals rookie free agents have the best chance to make the active roster this fall? 

Jay Morrison picked the top five, and it feels like the first two are the most likely by far. 

Ohio State’s Chris Worley could bring more athleticism to a linebacker room in transition, and his football instincts are sure to impress the coaching staff. 

Quinton Flowers, the former South Florida quarterback, could turn out to be a Swiss Army knife for the offense and special teams. 

Perhaps a new Josh Cribbs? 

That’s a lot to live up to, but it’s also tantalizing to think about... 

  

Finally, did you see David Jablonski’s comparison of the first year of recruiting at Dayton for the last four Flyers coaches? 

Of course lots has changed since Olver Purnell was hired 24 years ago, but it was really interesting to see each coach found one very important player in his first year. 

For Purnell, it was Ryan Perryman, who stuck with the Flyers despite Jim O’Brien’s exit. 

Brian Gregory signed Brian Roberts out of Toledo while Archie Miller snagged a key transfer (Jordan Sibert) and freshman (Dyshawn Pierre). 

From here, Grant appears to have a shot to better all of them based on the freshman seasons of Jalen Crutcher (a Grant recruit) and Jordan Davis (a Miller holdover) plus the signing of four-star 2018 guard Dwayne Cohill. 

Of course that will require Crutcher and Davis to build on their promising first campaigns and Cohill to be as good as the scouts say. 

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