About Me

My photo
I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Homer Bailey Start Wasted Cardinals Complete Sweep

The Reds' offense wasted Homer Bailey's quality start.

Carlos Martinez allowed two hits, four walks and hit a batter in seven scoreless innings as the St. Louis Cardinals got just enough offense to send the Reds' to their 13th loss in 15 games, 3-2.

Martinez struck out 11.

The sweep of the four-game series was the first since the Cardinals took all four August 13-16 in 2001 in St. Louis.  The last time the Cardinals authored a four-game sweep in Cincinnati was July 8-10 in 1949, that included a double header.

St. Louis scored off Bailey in the second.

Yadier Molina singled with one out.  After Molina was forced at second by yesterday's hero Greg Garcia.  Harrison Bader, who was giving Marcel Ozuna his first day off of the season hit his first home run of the season into the rightfield stands.

"It is part of the job as a starter.\," Bailey said. "You're going to win or lose a lot of games on one or two pitches.  I feel like the two-run home run the ball came a little bit middle.  I didn't make a whole lot of mistakes today.  They put together some pretty good at bats at the end."

Cardinals starter, Carlos Martinez, allowed base runners in the first three innings but only Jose Peraza posed a threat to score.  Peraza doubled one out into the first and reached third before Adam Duvall hit into a force play to end the inning.  He reached third on a walk, a error by Martinez on a pick off attempt and a wild pitch.  Scooter Gennett struck out to end the third.

The Reds started the fourth inning with promise.  Duvall opened the inning with a double over Bader's head in left.   Tucker Barnhart drew Martinez' fourth walk but Alex Blandino hit into a 6-4-3 double play and Phillip Ervin struck out.

Bailey retired eight straight after Bader's home run until he walked Bader in his next at bat.  Barnhart threw him out stealing.

The Cardinals added a run in the seventh.  Jose Martinez doubled with one out as Billy Hamilton couldn't make a diving catch.  Molina hit a drive over Hamilton's head.  Martinez scored but Hamilton's quick retrieval and quick and accurate throw easily beat Molina to second base.

Bailey finished with seven innings, allowing three runs on four hits and two walks.  He struck out four.

"Homer was very, very good," Price said. "He was really acute with his location. He didn't give them much but they did get the hit, they were able to handle and score a few runs, enough to win."

Tyler Lyons relieved Martinez on the mound for St. Louis.  Hamilton greeted him with his first home run of the year, which was also his 500th hit.  Peraza reached on second baseman Kolten Wong's throwing error but Votto hit into a double play.

Amir Garrett remains unscored upon with a 2/3 innings.  Jared Hughes got the last out in the top of the ninth.

Duvall's third home run of the season off Bud Norris made it a one-run game when he led off the ninth.  Barnhart bunted for a hit to third baseman, Garcia.  The throw got away from Martinez at first. The Reds challenged that the throw went out of play and Barnhart was awarded second on the throwing error.  Jesse Winker was used as a pinch runner.  Blandino struck out swinging.  Ervin struck out looking.  Devin Mesoraco batted for Hughes.  Mesoraco was hit by a 2-1 pitch.  The Reds needed a hit from Hamilton to tie the game.  Hamilton lined out to left to end the game.

"It was a game we could have won.  Billy smoked that ball to the leftfielder," Price said. "We needed to put the ball in play and get a bunt down.  We weren't able to do that. However, there was some good fight at the end. We're integrating a lot of young players into the group.  With Schebler, out, Winker out and Suarez out we're asking them to pick up a good bit of playing time.  They have to learn."

The Reds came up short but showed promise that better days are close.

"I think what we take away from this game is how resilient we were in almost coming back," Bailey said.  "The bullpen was locked down in the eighth and the ninth.  We kept battling back.  It was good to see man especially after this kind of start.  We have to have a little bit of fire and try to win some games.  We were really close right there. We played really good defense today.  That was good to see."

"It is one of those games we didn't win but we saw the change. Everybody in the dugout was happy and having fun, enjoying the game," Hamilton said.  "From here on up, I feel like we can only get better."

It was Bailey's team leading third quality start, yet his record is 0-3 with a good 3.42 ERA,

"We're fucking 2-12 that's not very good at all, regardless of my numbers. My numbers alone don't count.  It's what we're doing as a team, man."

Homer Bailey Is A Mudder, Slump, Nick Senzel And Rehabbing Players

Rain is falling around the Cincinnati Reds in the literal and figurative sense.  It has been a wet spring with Mother Nature scratching two to the Reds first scheduled nine games and the Reds losing 12 games.

Homer Bailey will try to stop the reeling Reds and bring a little sunshine to the clubhouse on a rainy Sunday.

"Homer has been here long enough to know what it's like pitching in Cincinnati, Pittsburgh or a lot these places in the midwest that get a lot of rain," Bryan Price said  "He's been through this drill before.  I thought yesterday was handled really well, even though we started in that light steady rain, that we knew that if we delayed the game by an hour, the rain will come at 4:30 and we would have trouble getting that game in."

The Reds are hoping the training staff can get key players ready to help put the  Reds back on track.

"Scott has joined the Triple A team in Lehigh Valley," Price said.  "He should be out playing today, weather permitting out there. We will see what type of reports we get from Pat Kelly and the training staff.  I think he's eligible to come off tomorrow.  I'm not saying that he will.  It doesn't mean he'll only play one either.  He will play at least one maybe more depending how he feels."

"David Hernandez threw really well yesterday.  He is scheduled to throw a simulated game Tuesday in Milwaukee.  He will see how he recovers," Price said.  "The issue in spring wasn't even when he threw he was good once he got loose.  It was the day after that was the problem.  In today's day and age we can't nurse him through it with a mandatory day off the next day.  We need guys to be durable. If he recovers well from his first outing or two. I would say he is ready to do this."

One of the players missing from the Reds lineup that hurts as much as Schebler is Eugenio Suarez.  He was hit on the right thumb last Sunday by Pittsburgh's Jameson Taillon and is expected to miss three to six weeks.  The Reds have Nick Senzel in Louisville.  Senzel was the team's first round pick in 2016.  Last season Senzel hit a combined .321 with 40 doubles for Daytona and Pensacola. The Reds tried him at shortstop and second base while they signed Suarez to a contract extension.

Senzell had a good start," Price said.  "I think he had four hits in his first two games. He played some second base.  He's gone over to play some third since Geno got hurt.  He scuffled a little bit with the bat.  He's made better contact the last day or two.  He plays with his hair on fire.  He plays hard."

The decision is not Price's alone.

"We're an organization.  We're not one person.  This is not a situation where one person gets to say, 'this is what happens.' " It is a decision that's made by a lot of people for a lot of varying reasons.  I think that's where I stand on it.  I think he could help us. There's also the argument that the people that see him on a regular basis and know him better than I do need to feel that he's ready.  When that time comes I think that we could see him here, especially with Geno out."

The fact that any team goes through a 14-game stretch that is 2-12 is not rare.  It is rare that a stretch like that starts the season.  This year the Reds are off to their worst record after 14 games since 1931

"I think in Seattle in 2004 or 2003, we were 2-12 or 3-13. We had stretches in Seattle not to start the season so much.  We had some really rough Augusts.  We had one in Arizona. We 3-18 at one point."

"When you're in it, you're not comfortable.  It always turns.  It will turn. You wonder when's it going to turn.  You get impatient.  Everybody is impatient and frustrated.  No one sees us as a 2-12 team.  There is no excuse.  We don't talk about, we don't have this or we don't have that.  We talk about the 25 that we do have.  We have enough to go out there and win games with the 25 guys we have.  That frustration is palpable, no doubt about that.  As far as guys coming in early has not change.  The frustration level has turned and won't change until we start playing better ball."

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Reds' Poor Start Worst Since Black And White Film

Brandon Finnegan lasted 4 1/3 innings and that is the good news.

The bad news is the Reds' fell to its worst 14-game start since 1931, a year in which the Reds won just three of its first 20 games.  This time it was a 6-1 defeat to the arch enemy St. Louis Cardinals.

"You never expect it.  It's a tough spot to be in," Bryan Price said.  "In the same respect, you have to deal with it.  We're all adults.  We're paid to do a job and that job is to do the best of our ability and perform. We have to stay together and show some spirit and heart. We need to show integrity in the way we go about our business.  We will continue to push it."

There is no color film of the Reds that year.  Kodachrome wasn't in use until 1935.

The nemesis for Finnegan was Greg Garcia, who has established himself as the Cardinals best pinch hitter but today in an infrequent start, Garcia hit two home runs and a double, scoring three times and driving in three runs.

"I thought I threw the ball pretty well besides the first two batters.  I had some jitters going," Finnegan said.  "I thought I made a lot of good pitches and two bad ones and they both got hit out.  It's the life of playing in Great American Ball Park.  Those two pitches, take those away and its a completely different ball game.  We had some tough breaks and nobody hit the ball hard except for those two home run."

Meanwhile, the rest of the Reds' were confronted by Miles Mikolas, who pitched the last three years in Japan.  His last Major League before this season was in 2013 against the Reds as a member of the San Diego Padres with 2/3 an inning on July 31.

The Reds got no hits in the first 3 2/3 innings.  Scooter Gennett singled to left, one of his three hits.  Tucker Barnhart hit his second home run of the season off Mikolas in the fifth inning on his Gold Glove bobblehead day.

The Cardinals scored a run in the first without a hit.  Finnegan in his first start since June 26 against the Cardinals, walked Pham and Paul DeJong.  Finnegan lasted three innings and was shut down for the season with a strained teres major.

Pham advanced to third on a fly out to right and scored on a fly out to center by Marcel Ozuna. RBI doubles by Jose Martinez and Tommy Pham, who hit his against Austin Brice accounted for the other St. Louis runs.

Reds Try To Avoid The Spirit Of '31

The Reds' current 2-11 start is the worst since 1955.

A loss today will be the worst start since 1931 when the Reds dropped to 2-13 on May 12, 1931.  That team didn't win its third game until the second game of the double header that same day.

Si Johnson was the winning pitcher with a complete game in the 3-2 win. The Reds' starting lineup that day was Ed Roush CF, Wally Roetger RF, Joe Stripp 3B, Harvey Hendrick 1B, Nick Cullop LF,  Hod Ford 2B, Leo Durocher SS, Lena Styles C and Johnson P.

The Reds finished the season with a 58-96 record.

It would be the curse of Pete Rose, who was born on this date in 1941. 

Friday, April 13, 2018

Cardinals Extend Reds' Sorrow On Friday The 13th

The Reds battled back from one bad inning but the results were a predictable 5-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Tyler Mahle allowed a solo home run to Arch Enemy Yadier Molina going into the sixth inning after pitching an error infused fifth inning with no damage.

Jose Martinez opened the fifth with a clean single.  Cliff Pennington threw a potential double play ball hit by Molina away for an error.  The next batter hit another potential double play ball that Pennington couldn't handle on the short hop.  Mahle got Kolten Wong to pop out to shortstop Jose Peraza in foul territory.  Opposing pitcher Luke Weaver hit into the "third" double play ball of the inning.  This time Peraza and Scooter Gennett turned it to escape the inning

The Reds got their first hit off Weaver in the bottom of the inning.  Devin Mesoraco's infield hit survived a replay review.

The Reds were still in the game.

Mahle was out there in the sixth.

Fowler reached the first row of the rightfield seats for his second home run of the season.  Tommy Pham singled and stopped at third on Matt Carpenter's double.  Macel Ozuna singled home one run.  Martinez moved the runners with a ground out.  Molina drove in his second and third runs of the game with a single to left.  Kevin Quackenbush got the last two outs of the inning.

"Pham fights off a pitch and gets it into the outfield, then Carpenter got a pitch he could pull into the corner," Bryan Price said.  "You have to pitch well against them.  They hit good pitches and your mistakes.  We were in a position where we couldn't give up any more runs.  We had to shrink the infield.  We have to avoid the big inning. The bullpen did a nice job, keeping us in the game."

Mahle had an otherwise nice start ruined.

"They hit some good pitches that hurt me," Mahle said.

"Tyler pitched really, really well," Mesoraco said.  "They are a veteran lineup.  They made adjustments."

The Reds got to Weaver in the seventh.  Gennett singled.  Mesoraco lined a home run to left that just cleared the wall.   Matt Bowman took over for Weaver and got the Reds out in the seventh after, allowing Alex Blandino's first Major League hit.

The Reds got closer in the eighth.  Billy Hamilton worked his second walk of the game.  Peraza bunted for a hit but got a sacrifice with Hamilton moving up.  Joey Votto drove in his fourth run of the season with a line single to left but Votto was picked off with Mesoraco at the plate to end the threat.

Bud Norris relieved Dominic Leone, who picked off Votto and didn't pitch to a batter.

Norris struck out Mesoraco swinging on a 3-2 pitch.  Adam Duvall fistted a single to right.  Phillip Ervin walked to put the tying runs on base.  Blandino struck out swinging. Tucker Barnhart pinch hit for Wandy Peralta.  Barnhart was caught looking at strike three.

"We're just not playing well right now.  We have to start playing better," Mesoraco said.

Reds Shuffle Pitching Before Game With Cardinals - Brandon Finnegan To Start Saturday

The Reds played 12 innings on Wednesday on a night their starter lasted just three innings.  Last night the Reds were forced to use Cliff Pennington a shortstop to pitch the ninth inning.

The Reds young bullpen suffered in the Cardinals seven-run seventh.  Zack Weiss in his Major League debut gave up home runs to Martinez, his third and Molina, his fourth.  Weiss walked DeJong and Kolten Wong before a merciful exit.  Tanner Rainey, who allowed a grand slam in his debut on Tuesday, walked in two runs with three straight passes to pinch hitter Greg Garcia, Fowler and Pham.  Carpenter hit a sacrifice fly.  Ozuna popped out but Martinez drove in two more runs with a bloop double that Phillip Ervin just missed catching.

"It wasn't a great game. It was a one-run ballgame after a three-inning start in Philadelphia and a long game yesterday," Bryan Price said.  "I needed the younger guys to come in and pitch today unless Sal could go deep in the game it was inevitable that they were going to pitch.  It's not a bad thing.  They've got to come up here and contribute as part of a big league bullpen.  They do have to pitch. Unfortunately they struggled to throw it over.  You don't want to use a position player.  I didn't want to use Cody Reed.  I didn't want to get Quackenbush up.  Those other guys have to shoulder the load. That's just how it is."

Cliff Pennington issued the 10th and 11th walk by Reds' pitchers.  Pennington was the only position player to pitch in the playoffs with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015.

"We were out of pitching and had to win the next day.  We were up 2-1 in the series," Pennington said.

Pennington allowed the Cardinals their 13th run which matched the second highest total given up by Reds' pitching in 12 games.

"I was just trying to throw strikes. I wasn't perfect. I wanted to throw strikes and get us out of the game and get it over with," Pennington said. "I found out the third batter of the inning before.  They told me if the pitchers spot was coming up, Mes was going to hit.  I threw two pitches in the cage.  I wasn't going to waste any."

Price hates having to use position players to save his bullpen.  The Reds took steps to prevent that from happening on Friday.

Cincinnati purchased the contract of Dylan Floro from Louisville and optioned Rainey to Louisville, although he remained in the clubhouse Friday afternoon.

To make room on the 40-man roster the Reds designated Ariel Hernandez for assignment.

Floro, 27, pitched in 12 games for Tampa Bay in 2015 and three games for the Chicago Cubs last season.

"Dylan is a kid with some big league time," Price said.  "He had a nice camp  He has a good sinking fastball which is always a help particularly in this ballpark.  He threw the ball well in the few outings he had in Louisville."

The Bats were in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvannia when Floro got the call.

I just flew in a couple hours ago.  I had a delayed flight to start out with."

"I'm ready to go," Floro said.  "The game plan is to take advantage of any opportunity I get and help this team get back to winning some ballgames.  I talked to Price a little bit when I first got here.  They told me to keep doing what I've been doing. I had a couple of good outings. I'll try to bring that up here."

"I throw mainly sinkers.  I've been throwing the change up a little bit more this year."

Floro wants to help turn the team around.

"It wasn't disappointing to not make the team out of spring training.  When you come into spring, your're trying to make that ballclub.  You don't want to think of negatives.  I went to Louisville and took advantage of my first couple outings.  It got me a chance to get back up here.  I thought of signing here as a good opportunity.  We have a good club here.  You can't doubt the guys that are here.  I still have to do the best I can went I get a chance to come in a game."

Brandon Finnegan will replace Cody Reed in the Reds' rotation and start against the Cardinals on Saturday.  The irony is that Finnegan's last game was against the Cardinals on June 26 after missing two months.  Finnegan was coming off rehab for a strained left lat/trapezius.  He left the game after the third inning with a strained teres major.  He had season ending surgery on his dislocated right shoulder which he suffered in a off-field incident.

"Every body signed off on it.  He's done everything we've asked him to do," Price said.  "We're glad to have him back.  We need to get him out to there to see where he's at."

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Reds Losses Mount To 50's Level

The Reds are off to their worst start since 1955.

Sal Romano started for the Reds who started the game with a 2-9 record fell behind in the first inning of a 13-4 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Dexter Fowler led off the game with a single.   One out later Matt Carpenter walked with two outs Jose Martinez singled to right to put the Cardinals on the scoreboard.  Paul DeJong singled to bring home the second run.

"Actually, I felt better today.  The first inning has really been a problem.  I know its only the third start of the season but I should be able to finish," Romano said.  "That's two times in a row I had two outs and was pitch away from getting out of it."

The Reds got it back right away against Michael Wacha.

Billy Hamilton walked.  Jose Peraza doubled to put Reds on second and third with no outs.  Jesse Winker singled sharply to left scoring Hamilton.  Marcel Ozuna let the ball get past him to allow Peraza to score.  Wacha still with a runner on second and no outs got out of the inning without another run scoring.

Ozuna made up for his miscue with his second home run of the season with two outs in the third.

The Reds took the lead against Wacha in the bottom of the inning.

Hamilton bunted for a hit and Peraza followed. Adam Duvall walked to load the bases with one out.  Scooter Gennett singled to score two.  The Reds loaded the bases but settled for two runs.

The Cardinals tied the game in the fifth with an unearned run off Romano.  Amir Garrett pitched out of a bases loaded jam by striking out Carpenter and retiring Ozuna on a close play ground out that was upheld on review.

Peraza dropped a fly in shallow centerfield hit by Fowler.  Tommy Pham singled.  Carpenter walked again.  Romano struck out Ozuna but issued a bases loaded walk to Martinez, one of three bases loaded walks the Reds issued among the nine they allowed.

Austin Brice stopped the rally by inducing a double play from Yadier Molina.

DeJong hit his fourth home run off Brice to give back the lead.

The Reds young bullpen suffered in the Cardinals seven-run seventh.  Zack Weiss in his Major League debut gave up home runs to Martinez, his third and Molina, his fourth.  Weiss walked DeJong and Kolten Wong before a merciful exit.  Tanner Rainey, who allowed a grand slam in his debut on Tuesday, walked in two runs with three straight passes to pinch hitter Greg Garcia, Fowler and Pham.  Carpenter hit a sacrifice fly.  Ozuna popped out but Martinez drove in two more runs with a bloop double that Phillip Ervin just missed catching.

"It wasn't a great game. It was a one-run ballgame after a three-inning start in Philadelphia and a long game yesterday," Bryan Price said.  "I needed the younger guys to come in and pitch today unless Sal could go deep in the game it was inevitable that they were going to pitch.  It's not a bad thing.  They've got to come up here and contribute as part of a big league bullpen.  They do have to pitch. Unfortunately they struggled to throw it over.  You don't want to use a position player.  I didn't want to use Cody Reed.  I didn't want to get Quackenbush up.  Those other guys have to shoulder the load. That's just how it is."

Cliff Pennington issued the 10th and 11th walk by Reds' pitchers.  Pennington was the only position player to pitch in the playoffs with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015. 

"We were out of pitching and had to win the next day.  We were up 2-1 in the series," Pennington said.

Pennington allowed the Cardinals their 13th run which matched the second highest total given up by Reds' pitching in 12 games.

"I was just trying to throw strikes. I wasn't perfect. I wanted to throw strikes and get us out of the game and get it over with," Pennington said. "I found out the third batter of the inning before.  They told me if the pitchers spot was coming up, Mes was going to hit.  I threw two pitches in the cage.  I wasn't going to waste any."

Michael Mayers pitched the last three innings for his first career save.

Joey Votto Gets A Day Off

Joey Votto is getting a night off.  Let me repeat that Joey Votto is getting a night off.

Votto has been in the Reds' starting lineup for 202 straight games but Bryan Price in consultation with Votto is giving the Reds' Iron Man a day of rest.  That's not to say that in a game winning situation, Votto would not pinch hit but the plan is to avoid his participation in the game against the St. Louis Cardinals.

"It is just a day off.  We talked about it in spring training, where we'd have to look at some scheduled days off," Bryan Price said.  "I talked to him about it and we decided this would be a good one."

The Reds had a 12-inning game last night and flew late at night to Cincinnati.  Price told the entire team to report to the clubhouse later.  They did not take batting practice.

"He's our most established player.  He's our oldest regular," Price said.  "I'm just trying to be smart and keep him productive for the entire season.  We can't ask him to pull more of a load than everyone else."

Votto will be 35 years old on September 10.

The 202 game streak that included the entire 162 games of 2017, started on September 3, 2016.  It was the third longest streak of Votto's career.  From September 5, 2012 to May 5, 2014, Votto played in 226 straight games.  From May 10, 2011 to June 30, 2012 Votto played in 204 straight games.

It was June 30, 2012 in which Votto injured his knee during the Reds' 97-win Central Division Championship season in San Francisco.

Votto's 202-game streak was the longest in the National League and second in the Major Leagues to Alcides Escobar, who has appeared in 342 straight game.

The Reds lost 13-4 without its star.

"If you had asked me about this before the game, I would have had a different answer," Votto said.  "These are the kind of games that you want to put in the rear view mirror."

"It was a mutual decision, I must say," Votto said.  "I feel fortunate that I play for a manager gives me options.  We decided today would be a good day.  As mutual as it can be because it is his decision, it was mutual in that regard."


Brandon Finnegan claims that he is ready to go after a 98-pitch rehab start in Louisville on Monday.

Finnegan had three surgeries last season and was behind the rest of the pitchers in spring training.  He left a Cactus League start after two batters on March 11.

"I threw some pretty good pitches.  My misses were very small," Finnegan said.  "The box score said it wasn't a good outing but the video says different.  I was more worried about quality pitches.  I felt as good as I could feel in 42 degree whether.  I throw 98 pitches that's the most I've thrown in a year and a half.  I wanted to get my pitch count up and come out feeling good.  I did both."

Price expects to insert him into the rotation soon.

"I expect his next start will be here but Dick (Williams) and I haven't come to a conclusion yet," Price said.

"I don't need another rehab start," Finnegan said.  "I'm just waiting on them to tell me what to do."

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Travis Steele Wants To Bring Xavier The Last Two Percent

Travis Steele has been around long enough to know how far the Xavier University program has come since the days of Bob Staak and Pete Gillen.

Through the progression of Staak, to Gillen, to Thad Motta, to Sean Miller, who brought the thirty something coach to Xavier, to Chris Mack, the Xavier basketball program has clawed and scratched its way to the pinnacle of success. Steele had a front row seat as the native of Indiana, has been an assistant coach at Xavier for the past 10 years.  One year under Sean Miller and the last nine under Chris Mack.

Mack left the team last week for a high profile job with the University of  Louisville, Steele became the successor, inheriting a team that won the regular season Big East title and was the number one seed in the NCAA tournament's West Region this past season.

Steele was chosen for the job of taking Xavier that last step to a Final Four appearance and perhaps a National Basketball Title.

"We had an unprecedented number of candidates from across the country that expressed interest in this job," Xavier Athletic Director, Greg Christopher said. "We had a great group of candidates.  We knew a lot about Travis, very detail oriented, great at relationships, he's responsible a lot for the roster we have today and he has a really impressive offensive mind.  The second core issue was evaluating our direction.  Do we want to stay the course?  Or go in another direction?  Do you believe in where this program is?  The two percent concept that he brought up, really resonated with us."

Steele keeps continuity within the program.

Sophomore guard Quentin Goodin makes it clear.

"He knows what he's talking about.  Whenever you go to him for advice he is straight forward.  He's not going to lie to you," Goodin said.  "I feel that he already knows where we've been.  He's been through our six-game losing streak last year, then the Elite Eight.  He's also been here when we won the Big East.  He's been at both ends.  He helped us grow as players.That made him the best choice."

Sophomore center Tyrique Jones had this to say.

"He brings a lot of energy," Jones said.  "He will make sure we have the same energy."

Steele had 1,100 text messages but answered those in order of priority.  It is the focus on those priorities that he believes will get Xavier to that final summit.

"When I met with Mr. Christopher in San Antonio, I talked about the two percent," Steele said.  "Obviously, we have a great program and great product.  But first I want to talk about the first 98 percent, what got us here.  A lot of people putting their sweat, tears and blood and sacrifice for this program.  It's about the former players, I see Joe Sunderman and Byron Larken out there.  We've had terrific players, terrific teams and terrific coaches here.  We've had a lot of terrific coaches.  I want to thank those guys for getting us to this point.  Xavier is about doing both.  We've graduated 106 seniors in a row that dates all the way back to 1986.  We also made 12 out of the last 13 NCAA tournaments. Only eight teams in the country can say that.  I even coached a former Xavier player Stan Burrel.  I coached him in high school, in AAU and agreed to bring him to Xavier for an unofficial visit.  Stan is a special kind of guy.  He works really hard.  I remember sitting with him and Sister Rose Ann Fleming in her office.  She promised him that if he came to Xavier University that he was going to get a degree.  I knew right then that this was the right place for Stan."

"That leads us to the next two percent which is what I want to talk about," Steele said.  "Where do we gon from here?  How do we get to that two percent?  It is like climbing a mountain.  I feel that is what Xavier has done for a long time.  We are going upwards.  Every coach has made Xavier a better place than it was before.  That is my responsibility.  It is a huge responsibility that is on my shoulders.  We all have embrace that, former players included.  The city of Cincinnati, the alumni, the community,  we all have to do it together.  One game isn't going to define us.  It is the holistic approach.  We want to graduate players.  We want the over all development of our student athletes.  We want to do things the right way.  That's a non negotiable.  We want to be compliant in everything that we do.  We want to compete for Big East regular season championships; Big East tournament championships and obviously the elephant in the room.  Go where Xavier has never been before in the NCAA tournament.  We as a whole need to do it together, hand in hand.  We have made Xavier's Cintas Center one of the toughest places to play in entire country.  We have to continue that.  Which leads me to the future."

Steele thinks there is enough talent in this area of the country to sustain the growth of Xavier's program.

"We have to evaluate student athletes that fit our culture," Steele said.  "They should value education and value championships.  I am going to use the "breadbasket philosophy".  I drew a five hour radius around the city of Cincinnati.  There is enough talent within this area to build Big East championships and National Championships.  We are going to find the best student athletes that we can find to make you guys proud."

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Reds Sweep Cubs As Rain Causes Postponement

The rain allowed the Reds to sweep the Chicago Cubs in a one-game series with Monday's 1-0 win.

The Reds and Cubs will play a day-night double header on Saturday May 19.  The first game will start at 1:10 and the second at 7:10 that night.

The Reds will keep Cody Reed ready to pitch but he will be slotted for April 9, in Philadelphia.

Homer Bailey, Luis Castillo, Sal Romano and Tyler Mahle will start against the Pirates in a series that starts on Thursday.

Reds Making Progress With Injured PItchers

Brandon Finnegan is the first among, Anthony DeSclafani, Michael  Lorenzen and David Hernandez to be ready to return.

Finnegan will pitch a simulated game in Louisville on Thursday.  The Bats season starts on April 6.

"He's going to throw a simululated game tomorrow in an effort to get him stretched out to 80-85 pitches or so. They'll do it in Louisville," Bryan Price said.

The Reds will evaluate Finnegan before they decide if he is going to join the Reds' staff or pitch a rehab game in Louisville.

"We're goinig to just evaluate the performance and make sure that he's No. 1 feelinig good, No. 2 that his stuff looks like it's regular-season ready ... (plan was)," Price said.  "He would get through the fourth and we'd re-evaluate if he was ready to come and join us on the ninth or make one start in our minor league system to make sure it's on the up and up. So we'll see how it goes tomorrow."

Finnegan started a week behind the other Reds' pitchers.  He had a setback in a start in the Cactus League on March 11 when he left the game after two batters with a knot in his left bicep.

David Martinez is out with mild shoulder pain.

"He played catch yesterday and will throw again today. Had no pain, no issues at all yesterday. He threw at 75 feet," Price said.

Anthony DeSclafani, who has a strained left oblique that was also diagnosed on March 11, started a throwing program.

"He has initiated a throwing program. I think he's on as much as day three of his throwing program. He's been playing catch for a few days," Price said.

Michael Lorenzen is out with a strained teres major.

"He's going to be checked again to tomorrow to see the progress of the recovery of the injury," Price said.  "It's going to be specific on making sure the injury is healed before he starts a throwing program. But I think everyrone's optimistic that he's healed at a faster pace than expected."

Walk A Mile In My Shoes

Joey Votto has 997 career walks.  When he walks for the 1,000th time, Votto will have strolled the 90 feet to first base which added together is 17.04 miles.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Tyler Mahle Stifles Cubs In Reds First Win Of 2018

Tyler Mahle became an instant Cubs killer on his first start of the season, pitching the Reds to a 1-0 win over the Chicago Cubs.

Mahle walked UC's Ian Happ to open the game and one out later hit Ryan Rizzo with a pitch but he broke the opponents streak for scoring first inning runs by striking out Willson Contreras and Kyle Schwarber.

"The Cubs made him throw a lot of pitches in the first inning," Bryan Price said.  "He got into attack mode after that. There aren't too many easy outs in their lineup. Holding anyone to no runs is hard to do. His aggressiveness and knowledge of pitching is what he does well."

The Reds immediately threatened Tyler Chatwood by loading the bases on walks to Jesse Winker and Cliff Pennington and a one-out single by Scooter Gennett.   Eugenio Suarez hit into a 4-3 double play to end the inning.

Mahle caught the first two Cubs' batters in the second looking but gave up Chicago's first hit with a twisting triple that Winker could have and probably should have caught.  Mahle ended the inning by striking out Chatwood looking.

"It was huge to get the first win.  It was going to happen regardless. I'm glad that it happened n  a game that I started," Mahle said.  "We played good defense.  The other pitchers did a great job."

Mahle, who is not one to call attention to himself, was described as stoic.

"I don't want to say it's refreshing because guys have to be who they are but he is reserved and can stay in the moment," Price said.

Mahle pitched out of first inning trouble and allowed just one hit.  He struck out seven to establish a career high.  He made four starts last season.  This off-season he worked a lot on his slider and change up.

"The slider and change up came along in the last couple of innings," Mahle said. "I was able to command my fastball and take over the game kind of with my fastball.  That makes my change up and slider better."

Pennington, making his first start as a Red, turned a short hop to his back hand side into a double play in the fourth.

The Reds responded with their first lead of the season.  Suarez led off with a triple over Happ's head in center.  Adam Duvall hit a ground ball wide of third.  Kris Bryant threw Duvall out as Suarez scored.

The Reds mounted another threat in the sixth.  Suarez walked and with one out Tucker Barnhart dumped a hit in front of Happ that dribbled away far enough for Barnhart to reach second base.  Billy Hamilton hit a weak ground ball in front of the plate.  Chatwood shoveled the ball to Contreras, who tagged Suarez out at home.  Phil Gosselin pinch hit for Mahle and struck out.

Mahle finished with six scoreless innings, allowing one hit, two walks and a hit batter.

Jared Hughes took over on the mound for the Reds, throwing a scoreless inning.  Wandy Peralta struck out Jason Heyward and Javier Baez to start the eighth but he walked pinch hitter Ben Zobrist.  Happ singled to left.  Price brought in Raisel Iglesias.  Iglesias walked Bryant but struck out Rizzo with the bases loaded.

"It was going to be a heater the whole way," Barnhart said.  "Pitching and defense wins you games.  Everybody played well today.  A lot of the young guys were have are extremely composed.  Tyler is always composed.  I've never seen him upset.  He works quick and throws strikes.  You can get behind that."

The Reds missed a chance for an insurance run in the bottom of the inning.  Suarez reached on Bryant's error and went to third on a single by Barnhart but Addison Russell ran down Hamilton's flair to keep the game tight.

Iglesias earned his first save with a perfect ninth inning.

The Cubs were shut out for the second straight game after losing 6-0 to the Miami Marlins on Monday.  That was the first time they have been shut out in back-to-back games since the Dodgers did it to them last year on May 26 and 27.

Scott Schebler On Shelf For A Day

Scott Schebler took a Sean Doolittle pitch off his right funny bone but he wasn't laughing.

Schebler stayed in the game but lost feeling in his fingers.  When he left he expected to be in the lineup on Monday.  He got treatment but the Reds and Schebler thought it best to sit out the game with the Cubs.

It fit into Bryan Price's plan to rotate the four outfielders.  True to form, Schebler is the last of the quartet that includes Adam Duvall, Billy Hamilton and Jesse Winker, to get a day off in this the fourth game of the season.

"We thought Schebler's elbow would resolve itself over night. With some treatment, he could help us off the bench later on today," Price said.  "I like to get Pennington in there.  I'd like to get (Phil) Gosselin in there too in the next couple of days."

Schebler had treatment and felt better even before the game but with capable replacements there was no reason to push it.

"I got hit right on the funny bone at 95," Schebler said.  "He got me pretty good.  I lost feeling in my fingers and that's what I'm struggling with right now.  I thought it would go away.  It is lingering right now.  I've already done treatment and is already starting to feel better.  Normally with a funny bone you hit it and in 20 minutes you're good to go. After what happened last year when I tried to play with a sore shoulder.  I tried to play through it."

Cliff Pennington is getting a start at shortrstop, giving Jose Peraza a break and to keep Pennington sharp. Pennington is a confident veteran presence on the field.

"There is a professional approach to what he does," Price said.  "He defends extremely well.  That was the number one tool coming out of the draft years ago, when you could be an upper level, middle of the diamond defender and he's a switch hitter.  He knows the strike zone and gives us competitive at bats off the bench."

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Sal Romano Good But Gio Gonzalez Better As Washington Sweeps Reds

The Washington Nationals hit four home runs to sweep the Reds with a 6-5 win.  It was the first opening series sweep since the first ever series at Great American Ball Park.  The Pirates swept the Reds to open the 2003 season.

Sal Romano's first start got off to a flying stop.

Just after Springfield's own Adam Eaton followed a 5-for-5 Saturday with a single to open the Easter tilt, Anthony Rendon lined a home run that actually hit his own name on the ribbon scoreboard on the facing of the upper deck in left field.

"I basically only had one pitch which was my sinker," Romano said.  "It's not an excuse but I had a tough time gripping the ball.  The last five innings I was able to get by with my sinker.  I threw three or four in a row to Rendon in the perfect spot that I wanted to do it. All he could do was foul it off.  I wanted to stay in there. I didn't want to speed up his bat with a curveball or change.  I was trying to stay in and missed my location."

"Sal didn't have his breaking ball today," Bryan Price said. "He recovered from it well.  He attacked the zone with a really hard sinker.  I was really pleased with his first game against a nice ballclub."

It was important for Romano to learn how to pitch when he doesn't have his best stuff.

"Against a lineup like that, being able to go six innings with one pitch, is a bit of a confidence boost," Romano said.  "We lost today.  That's what is most important to me. I'll try to take the positives and go from there."

Romano settled in and kept the Reds in the game against Gio Gonzalez.  The left-hander was coasting, allowing singles to Joey Votto and Scott Schebler, plus a two-out fourth inning double to the hot hitting Scooter Gennett.

Bryce Harper hit his first home run of the season off Romano, leading off the sixth inning to put the Nationals ahead, 3-0.

Romano completed six innings in what is considered a quality start, allowing three runs on four hits and four walks, one intentional.  After a 30-plus pitch first inning, he was able to get deeper in the game.

The Reds broke the ice in the sixth.  Eugenio Suarez walked and moved to second on Votto's ground out.  Adam Duvall was credited with a double on a ball that got past Harper in right.  It appeared Harper had a chance to make the catch but took his eye off the ball.

Newcomer Yovani Gallardo made his Reds' debut in the seventh inning.  The Reds signed the veteran as a free agent after Milwaukee released him on March 25.

Gallardo gave up a two-run home run to Eaton, his second of the year.  Eaton had a .667 batting average by the time he returned to the dugout.  Wandy Peralta walked one and hit a batter but got Eaton to line out to Duvall in left to end the inning.

The Reds got two runs back in the eighth off Sammy Solis.  Pinch hitter Phil Gosselin walked.  Billy Hamilton's first hit of the season was a run-scoring double into the left field corner.  Solis walked Suarez and hit Votto with a pitch.  Washington manager Dave Martinez brought in Ryan Madson.  Duvall hit into a 5-4-3 double play as Hamilton scored.  Gennett flew out to Harper in right to end the threat.

"We have to keep getting guys on base and creating those opportunities and things will turn offensively, in taking advantage of runners in scoring position, coming up with the big hits," Price said.

The veteran Gosselin had two big at bats in the loss that gave the Reds a chance to win.

"I was a tough loss for sure," Gosselin conceded.  "We did a pretty good job of hanging in against Gio.  We were still in the mix at the end.  There's a reason those guys (Nationals) are being picked by some people to win it all.  That's who we want to beat.  That's who we have to beat, if we want to go to the playoffs.  We saw some good arms but it's a good measuring stick, showing us what we have to work on. We just went Scherzer, Strasburg and Gonzalez.  I don't think we are going to see any better than those three guys the rest of the year.  We'll be alright."

Raisel Iglesias returned after the birth of his first child, Oliver, in Miami on Thursday.  Harper hit his second home run of the game above the visiting bullpen which is now in left center.  It is Harper's 16th multi-home run game.

Sean Doolittle got a save in spite of hitting Schebler with a pitch and allowing Gosselin's first home run as a Red.  He struck out Hamilton looking to complete the sweep.

The Reds defeated the Nationals 6-3 on June 14, 2016 but have lost all eight games played at Great American Ball Park since then.

"It's frustrating to lose.  We want to make some big changes this year," Price said.  "If you're 0-3 and you end up winning 90 games, nobody gives a darn that you start off 0-3.  It's a long season. It's frustrating but not to the point where everyone will be down.  We'll take on the Cubs tomorrow and get after it."

Before the game, Raisel Iglasias returned to the team after three-day paternity leave.  Jackson Stephens was sent back to Louisville.

Reds Easter Sunday Starts With Scooter Gennett In A Bunny Suit

When the diminutive  Scooter Gennett walked into the clubhouse this morning, he did a double take, let out an "Oh Geez" and exited stage left, like Bugs Bunny's friend Snaglepuss.

He quickly over came his shyness and returned to his cubicle to change into his uniform.  Gennett posed for a picture for Fox Sports and agreed to do a postgame interview in the Bunny suit if the Reds defeated the Washington Nationals on Sunday.

Gennett played the Easter Bunny for players kids when he was with the Milwaukee Brewers.  He purchased a white Easter Bunny.  This morning he visited the chapel on the press level to reprise his role for the kids in attendance.  One little girl was not amused.

One young fan riding with reporters to the clubhouse level, told the scribes the Bunny told him he could play second base.

Go Lady Bulldogs

Reds' radio broadcaster Jeff Brantley played baseball at Mississippi State with Will Clark, Rafael Palmeiro and Bobby Thigpen.

Brantley is an avid follower of the Mississippi State women's basketball team that plays Notre Dame for the National Championship at 6:00 pm on Easter Sunday.

"I think its wonderful," Brantley said. "There has never been a sport at Mississippi State that has won a national title. Now for two years in a row, the Mississippi State women are playing for a national title."

Even with the four Major League stars that include Brantley from 1985, Mississippi State has not ever won the big NCAA prize.  The 1985 team with Brantley appeared in the College World Series but lost to Texas in the third round and to eventual champion the University of Miami in the semi finals.  The Bulldogs were the runner up in the 2013 World Series.

"Granted they ran into South Carolina, who seems to for some unknown crazy reason, maybe it's Asia Wilson, has their number. Everybody else, even Connecticut, they play awfully well.  I've been following them the whole time.  I will be following them even during our game (Reds v Washington) today. (the Reds game starts at 4:10).  You can book that."

Brantley's wife Ashley and two children are in town and will be watching the MSU women on TV.

Spring Training Hot Spot Roman's Oasis Clean

CBS 5 News in Phoenix publishes health code violations in Maricopa County.

This month while the Chicago Cubs' spring ballpark, Sloan Field was whistled for four violations, the favorite bar and night spot in Goodyear for Writers and clubhouse personnel, Roman's Oasis on Yuma Road, two miles from Goodyear Ball Park, had a perfect health score.

See below:


Saturday, March 31, 2018

Capital Punishment Washington Executes The Reds And Luis Castillo

It was Matt (Mount) Adams pulled the switch on Luis Castillo but Adam Eaton strapped him in the electric chair that was Great American Ball Park in a 13-7 Reds' loss to the Washington Nationals.

Adam Eaton started the game with one of his five hits, setting a new career high.  Castillo walked Anthony Rendon but got Bryce Harper to bounce into a force play.   Adams hit what a two-seam fastball that was supposed to be in at the hip, 461 feet to right center field.  The Reds' barely warmed up were already behind 3-0.

"Castillo had good stuff but he didn't have command in the strike zone," Bryan Price said.  "The pitch to Adams stayed over the plate."

It didn't get better for Castillo.  After a quiet second inning. Eaton doubled and stopped at third on a hit by Rendon.  Harper's sacrifice fly got the fourth urn home.  Trea Turner homered in the fourth. Eaton doubled again to start the fifth.  He took third on Rendon's fly out to the right field corner.  Eaton scored on another fly to left by Harper.

Castillo allowed six runs in five innings, giving up six hits and a walk.

"There were pitches to be made.  They got good pitches to hit.  Good teams don't miss those pitches," Price said.. "Washington is a seasoned team.  They take advantage of mistakes. Stuff alone doesn't win ballgames."

Castillo at least bounced back to limit damage in spite of the lack of command. He kept his confidence.

"It is a long season. This is my first outing.  I am going home to review my start and look at videos.  I will make some adjustments. I believe in myself.  I believe in the stuff that I have. It was a tough first inning. It's not ideal to start a game that way but you have to pick every thing up and compete."

"The most important thing he has to learn is pitch execution over stuff,"  Price said. "That will get better.  He competed in the strike zone.  We'll work with guys who compete in the strike zone."

The Reds finally got on the scoreboard for the first time in 2018 when Scott Schebler hit a Stephen Strasburg change up into the seats in right field.  The Reds scored two runs off Strasburg in the sixth.

"They've been change upping me to death.  I finally got one that I could handle," Schebler said.  "Breaking the ice was good for the team. Strasburg has a good change up.  Scherzer does too.  I was looking heater because he blew me up on fastballs the first two times up."

Schebler worked on hitting the ball to left during spring training but didn't see many change ups in Goodyear.

"Coming into to the season, I've seen a heavy load of them.  That's the pitch I need to stay the other way on.  I didn't make the adjustment until late in the game," Schebler said.  "Once I hit that ball, I was kind of locked in the rest of the game."

Jesse Winker singled to open the inning.  Trea Turner dropped Eugenio Suarez ground ball.  Joey Votto walked to load the bases.  Scooter Gennett singled to score Winker.  Adam Duvall, who led the NL in sacrifice fleiies last season got Suarez home with a fly to deep center.

"It was good to see the guys coming out and swinging the bats better today," Price said.  "We can springboard into tomorrow's game with that.  We couldn't contain the first four in there order and gave up seven in the last three innings.  You're not going to win many games if you have to score 14. We had other chances where we could have scored more but they're a good team.  They can make pitches too."

The Reds were down 6-3 but the bullpen let them down.  Austin Brice gave up a home run to Eaton.  Jackson Stephens got the first two outs in the eighth but singles by Brian Goodwin and Matt Wieters in front of pinch hitter Ryan Zimmerman was hit by a pitch to load the bases.  Eaton drove two home with a single.  Kevin Quackenbush gave up a grand slam home run to Goodwin in the ninth to put the game our of reach.

Duvall hit a two-run home run off Matt Grace and Suarez touched Enny Romero with a two-run home run in the ninth.

Reds Sign Experienced Starting Pitcher Yovani Gallardo

The Reds signed veteran starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo to a one-year major league contract.

The Reds sent Zack Weiss to Louisville to make room on the 25-man roster.  They designated C Stuart Turner for assignment to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.  The Reds have to ask waivers on Turner if he clears they have 10-days to trade him or assign him to their minor league system.  He could also opt for free agency.

Gallardo, 32, pitched for the Milwaukee Brewers from from 2007-2014. He broke in with 17 starts in 2007 but became the Brewers number one starter in 2009 when he won 13 games in 33 starts. Gallardo won 17 games in 2011, leading Milwaukee to the Central Division title.

The former second round pick by the Brewers in the 2004 draft, is also known for his bat.  He has a career .202 batting average but hit 12 big league home runs, including four in 2010.  Gallardo has 10 hits against the Reds in his career, including a double and a home run.

After three seasons in the American League with Texas, Baltimore and Seattle, Gallardo returns to the NL where his bat will be a factor again.  He was in spring training with the Brewers but they released Gallardo on Monday.  He last pitched on March 23.

"Gallardo's a pro.  He'll know when he's ready," Bryan Price said.  "We didn't see this coming. I was hoping Weiss would get a chance to pitch.  He will be back here at some point.  The rainout changed a lot of things.  We went to an eight-man bullpen instead of a seven-man."

Gallardo knows GABP is a pitcher's nightmare, having started 15 games during his career.  His record in Cincinnati is 3-6 with a 3.77 ERA. He has allowed seven home runs in 88 1/3 innings..

"I'm excited to join this club.  There is a lot of young talent in this clubhouse," Gallardo said.  "For myself seeing how they go about things day in and day out.  They play the game hard until the last out is recorded.  I think I was in the bullpen the second half of the season and in spring training. I got a little taste of it.  I'm up for anything.  I told skip that.  They knew when I had the opportunity to sign, I will do anything I can to contribute."

Gallardo had other teams interested but chose the Reds where he joined former teammate Scooter Gennett.

"You feel comfortable being in a ballpark, you're familiar with," Gallardo said.  "It makes it a bit easier coming into the clubhouse where you know someone.  The guys here can hit.  I'm familiar with this division.  I pitched here quite a bit."

Leaving Milwaukee was difficult for Gallardo.

"It was a little hard seeing my time end in Milwaukee," Gallardo said.  "I think as an athlete you always go back to that one place you spent the most time in.  I spent seven years after getting drafted by them. Things just didn't work out for whatever reason or they had other plans. I It will be missed but I'm grateful for the time I had there.  Now it's a new beginning for me."

At least  Gallardo gets to return to the National League.

"I missed the National League to be honest," Gallardo said.  "I enjoy it. I missed hitting to be honest. I was in the American League the last three years it just wasn't the same."

Gennett thinks Gallardo will be a good influence on the young starters, Luis Castillo, Sal Romano, Tyler Mahle and Cody Reed.

"I think he is going to be great with the younger pitchers," Gennett said.  "I think it's a great pickup.  Whether he is coming out of the bullpen or starting, you're going to get the same guy, the same effort, the same focus.  He is very consistent with preparation and work ethic.  He is not as old as he looks.  I don't know if the grey hair throws people off but he's got some innings in him for sure."