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.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Drew Pomerantz Pitches And Hits Padres Past Reds

The Reds had a tough time with Padres left-hander Drew Pomerantz.  Come to think of it Reds' starting pitcher Brandon Finnegan did too.

Pomerantz hit the second home run off Finnegan in the fifth inning and singled home a run in the seventh, while holding the Reds off the scoreboard for seven innings in a 3-0 defeat in front of members of the Reds' Hall of Fame and 40,871 fans.

Two mental errors kept the Reds in a hole until Pomerantz connected to put a Finnegan pitch into the rightfield bleachers.

Travis Jankowski opened the game with a double.  Wil Myers ground out got Jankowski to third.  Matt Kemp hit a one-hopper to Eugenio Saurez as Jankowski took off for home and was only halfway down the line when Saurez decided to throw to first.

Finnegan allowed a two-out hit in the first then retired 12 of the next 13 batters.

"Win or lose, Finney is pitching winning baseball," Bryan Price said. "Pomerantz didn't give us anything to be excited about. Finney does what he does. He battles."

The Reds have been shut out four times and Finnegan has been on the mound in three of them.

"That's going to happen," Finnegan said. "Especially when you go against the other team's ace.  Pomerantz threw really well. He kept us off balance all day.  He hit the ball up in the air.  It carried. It's a small ballpark. I'm not going to strike out every pitcher so it is going to happen.  He did have a nice hit up the middle."

The Reds had a chance to tie the game in the fourth.  Brandon Phillips grounder off the end of the bat trickled down the firstbase line past Myers for a double.  On the first pitch to Jay Bruce, who is second in the National League with 57 RBI, Phillips took off for third and was caught stealing by Derek Norris, throwing to Adam Rosales.  Bruce invited more second guessing by lining a single past the shift.

Lost in the Reds' troubles were two plays by Adam Duvall in left.  He played Yangervis Solate's hit off the leftfield wall and held him to a single.  A sliding stop of a line single by Norris kept the leadoff hitter from getting to secondbase.

Norris stole second and with two outs Pemerantz singled to drive in his second run of the game.

Ross Ohlendorf escaped a jam created by Bruce and ended by Bruce.  Solarte walked and left for pinch runner Alex Amarista.  Melvin Upton Jr. flied deep to right and Bruce was set up and prepared to make the throw but dropped the ball.  Amarista went to third.  Upton stole second and the Reds walked Norris intentionally.  Alexei Ramirez lined out to Phillips with the infield in.  Rosales hit a fly to medium right Bruce settled under this one too, making the catch and nailing Amarista on a throw that reached catcher Ramon Cabrera on the fly.

Tyler Holt pinch hit in the eighth and was called out on a checked swing by Phil Cuzzi.  Holt was ejected for showing his displeasure.

Barry Larkin About Inducting Pete Rose Into Hall of Fame

Barry Larkin talks about the induction of Pete Rose into the Reds' Hall of Fame

Tony Perez About Meeting Pete Rose in 1960

Tony Perez talks about meeting Pete Rose.



Friday, June 24, 2016

Padres Spoil Big Red Machine Reunion

The San Diego Padres introduced or reintroduced Reds' pitchers to the Major Leagues by scoring off all four Reds' pitchers, who were in Louisville when the month began.

The Padres pounded out 15 hits in a 13-4 rout on a day when the Reds honored the 1976 Reds World Champions.

The Reds starter Cody Reed made his second career start and first at Great American Ball Park but the Padres made themselves at home.

"I know there is better command than what we saw tonight," Bryan Price said. "Everyone wants to get off to a great start.  Johnny Cueto had 10 strikeouts in his first start but if I remember his ERA was over four that year.  The important thing is to see improvement."

The Padres scored single runs in all five of Reed's innings.  Wil Myers hit his 17th home run in the first. Derek Norris walked and advanced to third on a single.  Reed committed a balk to score Norris.  Matt Kemp singled and scored on Melvin Upton Jr's single in the third.

The Reds batted around to take a 4-3 lead in the third with Jay Bruce driving in his 56th and 57th runs of the season.  Billy Hamilton started the inning with a triple off San Diego starter, Colin Rea.  Tucker Barnhart was called out on strikes by home plate umpire Toby Basner.  The call didn't sit well with manager Bryan Price who objected. Price was ejected for his vehement disagreement.  Reed walked in his first Major League plate appearance.  Zack Cozart drove in Hamilton with a single  Joey Votto walked.  Brandon Phillips ground ball to Yangervis Solarte was booted to load the bases in front of Bruce's single.

Former Red Adam Rosales walked and scored on a single by Myers to tie the score in the fourth.  Solarte singled and scored on a hit by Alexei Ramirez in the fifth.

Reed exited after five but Raisel Iglesias just off the disabled list was touched by Rosales' fifth home run in the sixth.  Michael Lorenzen disturbed the pattern slightly by giving up two runs in the seventh.  Solarte singled and Upton hit his 10th home run.

It got worse in the eighth as the Padres were not going to settle for one run.  J.J. Hoover, who spent time in Louisville getting his act together, entered the game on a double switch.  Rosales walked. Pinch hitter Brett Wallace singled. Travis Jankowski walked to load the bases.  Myers unloaded them with a double on a line drive that eluded Tyler Holt's diving try.

Hoover raised a huge cheer among the 40,713 that were here for the 1976 BRM reunion by striking out Kemp for the 11th strikeout of the game.  Reed struck out six, Iglesias and Lorenaen fanned two each. Upton hit his second home run of the game to expand the lead to 13-4.  It was the eighth time in his career that he hit two in a game.

J.C. Ramirez pitched a perfect ninth to buck the trend.

Pete Rose Interview


Pete Rose On Big Red Machine and Retired Number


Pete Rose Leads The 1976 Cincinnati Reds Big Red Machine Once Again

Pete Rose is having his number 14 retired this weekend and along with that ceremony the Big Red Machine 1976 World Championship team is being honored Friday night.

Rose along with Johnny Bench, Tony Perez and Ken Griffey Sr. were talking about Rose and the team before the Reds played the San Diego Padres.

"I will never say that the Big Red Machine was the best team ever," Rose said. "I don't know about  the 27 Yankees or some of the Dodger teams of the 50's with Jackie Robinson and Duke Snider, Campanella and those guys but I will go to my grave saying the Big Red Machine was the most entertaining team ever. We had white stars. We had black stars. We had Latino stars.  We had a Hall of Fame manager.  We had speed. We had defense.  We had home run leaders. We had batting champions.  We had daring base runners.  The reason we were so good.  You can analyze all the teams in baseball, today.  What teams in baseball today have an MVP candidate that are a catcher and secondbaseman. We had Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan and with Griffey, Perez, Concepcion, we had a pretty darn good team."

Rose pointed out that when he, the undisputed Hit King led off, the next three guys in the lineup have statues outside of Great American Ball Park.

"You have to be a heck of a player to have a statue, don't you?  Bench, Morgan and Perez, they're out there," Rose said. "I got to play with the best catcher ever, the best secondbaseman ever and the best thirdbaseman ever."

"We kind of spoiled baseball for this town," Rose said. "I know people don't want to keep talking about the past. We (Cincinnati fans) make it hard for the guys who follow because we expect to win. That's what I told Ken Griffey Jr. when he came here from Seattle, 'you're going to a franchise that expects to win.'  He came from Seattle, they don't expect to win.  The culture is different here when it comes to playing baseball. It really is.  I was thinking about Buddy Bell, Billy Doran, Barry Larkin.  We all came from Cincinnati.  We all play the same way.  Is it knothole baseball. Do we have that inside of us. I got a lot of credit but Buddy Bell played just as hard as I did.  Ronnie Oester played just as hard as I did.  Billy Doran was a killer.  Larkin played for me. He played hard every day.  I don't know if it's tradition; if it's knothole baseball.  It's a mind set.I think it is. I know it was when I was a kid.  We alway emphasized winning.  We alway emphasized playing good.  I was lucky to be in the company of a lot of great little league coaches. I grew up within three miles of Don Zimmer and Eddie Brinkman.  We all made the big leagues and were born three miles apart.  That's pretty unusual. Anderson Ferry isn't the biggest town in the world.  Neither is Sedamsville. Jim Frey is a Western Hills guy.  Don Zimmer was an ass kicker."

Rose talked about the team expected to win.  Every one was expected to do their part.  It was so ingrained in the group by Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson and the rules he had for family in the clubhouse.
"Sparky had a rule that no kids were allowed in the clubhouse after a loss," Rose remembered. "That made our sons rooted hard for their dads to win because they wanted to be in the clubhouse. We'd go in the clubhouse and they were all throwing the ball around. They were all good athletes and loved the game of baseball. There is something to being in the clubhouse with their dad.  There is something to being raised around the game of baseball. It's exposure."

Five sons of Reds' players in the 70's were first round draft choices.

Ken Griffey Jr., Eduardo Perez, Ed Sprague Jr., Lee May Jr. and Brian McRae were all drafted in the first round.  Pete Rose Jr. and Pedro Borbon Jr. also played in the Major Leagues .

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Reds Bullpen Fails Padres Bullpen Prevails

The Reds bullpen betrayed John Lamb on Thursday. The San Diego Padres bullpen was near perfect.

The Reds used a four-run third against San Diego starter Christian Friedrich to take a 4-1 lead but Derek Norris hit his 10th home run off J.C. Ramirez with two men on to take the lead in the 7-4 win over the Reds.

The Padres bullpen allowed a hit and a walk over the last four innings.

San Diego scored first off Lamb in the second inning. Melvin Upton Jr. singled, stole second and went to third when Ramon Cabrera's throw went awry.  Alexi Ramirez grounded out to Zack Cozart to get the run home.

Cozart opened the third with a double off Friedrich.  Billy Hamilton hit the ball into the hole at short.  Cozart had to hold to see if Ramirez would field it before advancing to third.  Hamilton waited for nothing and kept running to second on a throw by leftfielder Upton that was cut off by thirdbaseman Yangervis Solarte.  When he realized Hamilton wasn't stopping he threw the ball past Adam Rosales at secondbase.  Hamilton streaked to third.  Brandon Phillips singled up the middle and trotted home on Adam Duvall's 21st home run that was lined into the Padres bullpen. Duvall is tied with Nolan Arenado for the league lead.

Lamb gave up Matt Kemp's 16th home run in the fourth but retired five out of the next six.

The lefty lost control in the sixth.  Lamb walked Wil Myers to open the inning. Kemp's slow roller sent Myers to second. Solarte singled to make it 4-3.  Ramirez took over.  Upton singled and Norris lined the next pitch to the seats in left.

"I think the at bat to Solarte took a lot out of him," Bryan Price said. "He gave us a competitive five innings but when Solarte got that hit I knew I wanted to take him out."

The bullpen has been a sore point all year. In spite of pitching just 256 innings to the starters 381. The starters have allowed 64 home runs and the bullpen 53.

"It's not just the number," Price said. "Forty of them have come from the seventh inning on. It's been a huge nemesis."

Rosales doubled and scored on a single by Travis Jankowski in the ninth off Ross Ohlendorf.

Padres Manager Andy Green And Starting Pitcher Christian Friedrich Bring Bluegrass Background

San Diego Padres first year manager Andy Green hails from Lexington Kentucky.  Padres starting pitcher Christian Friedrich is a product of Turkey Hughes Field on the campus of Eastern Kentucky University.

Green was the valedictorian of his 1996 class at Lexington Christian Academy and a former Reds farm hand where his roommate was Adam Rosales, who played for the Reds in 2008 and 09, with the Louisville team.  Rosales is a player on the Padres and is starting at secondbase.

Green grew up a Reds' fan and can recall his father bringing him to Riverfront Stadium to watch the Reds.  Born in 1977, he missed the Big Red Machine's World Series run but his father made sure he knew the history.

"(This series) has a homecoming feel to it. It would have been very special to have worn a Reds uniform at the major league level. I was thrilled to play for the Diamondbacks and the Mets," Green said.

"I was here when Tony Perez had his statue unveiling here. That was very special. Davey Concepcion took the lineup card out and I was fighting for it because he was my favorite player in the early 80s. They didn't let me, so it was kind of disappointing. Nobody can stop me this year, so we'll have to see who takes the lineup card out." 
Green also happens to be here when the Reds' officially retire Pete Rose's number on Saturday.
"It's hard not being a Pete Rose fan growing up in this area," Green said. "So it's going to be special to watch that happen on Saturday. I paid more attention to the shortstop and second baseman. I watched Ron Oester play second base. That's who I was focused on when I was playing."

Friedrich was born in Evanston Illinois but the left-hander matriculated to Eastern Kentucky University where he set the schools career record in strikeouts with 327.  As a freshman in 2006, Friedrich pitched the fifth no-hitter in EKU history.

The 28-year old was the first round pick of the Colorado Rockies in 2008, the 25th player chosen.

Friedrich pitched in the Rockies system for nine seasons and had a 5-16 record with a 5.81 ERA in 100 games, 19 of which were starts.

Friedrich was released by the Rockies on February 19. He was signed by San Diego on March 3 and finished the spring on the disabled list.  He was reinstated on April 21 and made two starts at Lake Elsinore.  Friedrich advanced to El Paso and made two starts with an 0-1 record and a 4.66 ERA.

The Padres picked up Friedrich's contract on May 13. He started the same day and pitched six innings of one-run baseball in a 1-0 loss to Milwaukee.  Friedrich won three straight before a loss in his last outing to Washington.  He is 3-2 with a 3.15 ERA to begin the game against the Reds.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Colerain Left-Hander Scott Sebald Signs With Texas Rangers

Scott Sebald didn't hear his name called during Major League Baseball's free agent draft June 9 through 11 but he signed with the Texas Rangers to a minor league contract on Monday.

Scott Sebald -  Lindsey Wilson
The 6' 5" left-handed pitcher graduated from Colerain High School in 2012 and pitched and hit The Lindsey Wilson Blue Raiders to the NAIA World Series this past season.  Sebald started 17 games and earned an 11-3 record. He also recorded a save.  Sebald pitched 121 2/3 innings and struck out a whopping 131 batters while walking just 20 or 1.47 per game. His ERA was 2.74.

Sebald pitched a complete game, his fifth in his last six starts, with 12 strikouts as the Blue Raiders defeated Master's College of California 7-1.  It was the Blue Raiders first ever win in the NAIA World Series.

Sebald was 3-3 with a 1.88 ERA his senior year at Colerain.  He also hit .276 with two home runs and nine RBI.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Raisel Iglasias Activated For Game At Texas

Raisel Iglesias has recovered from shoulder impingemant and reactivated from the 15-day disabled list.

Blake Wood was placed on the three-day paternity list.

Iglesias last pitched against the New York Mets on April 25 when he left after giving up eight hits and three earned runs in five innings.

The Reds plan to pitch Iglesias out of the bullpen for the rest of the season.  Iglesias pitched three games in his rehab assignement with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos.  He gave up no runs in five innings, allowing three hits and a walk, while striking out five.

Michael Lorenzen Ready Scott Schebler IL Player of the Week

Michael Lorenzen is ready.

On Sunday night Lorenzen pitched in back-to-back days for the Louisville Bats, the last test to prove he is recovered from a strained right elbow and a bout with mononucleousis.  On Satruday, Lorenzen allowed a hit and struck out one in a scoreless inning against the Pawtucket Pawsox.

Lorenzen lit up the radar gun on Sunday, striking out two in a perfect ninth inning.

The 24-year old, who will return to work out of the Reds bullpen, threw 16 pitches on Sunday, 10 for strikes.  Among them one pitch was clocked at 99 miles per hour, three at 98, two at 97 and one at 96. Poor Dan Butler the Pawsox catcher saw two off the plate at 98 mph, then a 97 mph pitch for a strike. Lorenzen threw him a breaking ball for a strike at 84 then struck him out swinging on another 98 mph fastball.

"I can do that for one inning or nine," Lorenzen said via tweet. "I'm ready for anything."\

Scott Schebler won Player of the Week honors in the International League.  Schebler hit .318 with two home runs and nine RBI for the week.  Sunday, Schebler hit a solo home run off Michael Cuevas and added a run scoring single.

The Bats and starting pitcher Stephen Johnson, obtained from the Giants for Marlon Byrd, led 4-2 after six innings but former Red, Chris Dominguez homered off Steve Delabar in the seventh .  The Pawsox had three hits, scoring two runs off Jumbo Diaz in the eighth.  Diaz was charged with the 5-4 loss.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Prized Prospect Cody Reed Gets Makes Debut For Reds Against Houston

The Reds are about to "start the clock" on Cody Reed, who will make his Major League debut tonight.

The Reds cleared the roster spot by asking waivers on Dayan Diaz, who had to clear waivers and was sent outright to Louisville.

The 6'5" left-hander is under the Reds control four three years.

Reed is the third pitcher in the trade with Kansas City for Johnny Cueto.  Reed along with John Lamb and Brandon Finnegan were obtained by the Reds in that trade on July 26 of last year.  All three are now in the Reds' starting rotation.

Reed made 11 starts for Louisville, earning a 6-3 record with a 3.62 ERA.  He walked 17 in 64 2/4 innings while sriking out 63.

The 23-year old was the second round pick by Kansas City in the 2013 draft.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Oakland Snaps Losing Streak At Reds' Expense

The Oakland Athletics got tired of losing and took it out against the Reds using three home runs in a 6-1 win.

Cincinnati took the series but the Athletics stopped a seven-game losing streak.

Marcus Semien and Jake Smolinski hit two-run home runs off John Lamb in the second inning as the A's took the final game of the series, 4-1.

Billy Butler singled in front of Semien;s team-leading 12th home run.  Josh Phegley singled preceeding Smolinski's blast to centerfield, his second home run of the season.

 "I was prepared mentally, physically," Lamb said.."I tip my cap to them.they hit some balls pretty hard. Sometimes you make pitches and they get hit hard. Other times you walk to the dugout at the end of the inning and you don't feel like you deserve it. I will move forward with hope and trust."

Steve Selsky singled in his first at-bat of his first Major League start.  Ramon Cabrera's double to the gap in leftcenter of Kendall Graveman scored Selsky.

Lamb was lifted for a pinch hitter in the fourth inning.  He allowed four runs on seven hits in four innings.

Kyle Waldrop walked pinch hitting for Lamb to load the bases.  Eugenio Suarez walked and Cabrera's single put runners at the corners.  Zack Cozart grounded out to Jed Lowrie at secondbase to end the threat.

 "Lamb missed some locations but it wasn't terrible," Bryan Price said.. "It was hot and we had a chance to score some runs so I put Waldrop up there and he had a great at-bat. Zack hit one up the middle and they made a play."

Danny Valencia hit his 10th home run of the season off A.J. Morris in the eighth inning.

Khris Davis RBI single in the ninth off J.C. Ramirez capped the A's scoring.

The elusive Ryan Madson closed out the game for the Athletics in a non-save situation. Madson, who signed with the Reds in January of 2012 but missed the entire year with injury, was the last of three Oakland relievers that held the Reds scoreless for five innings.  Fernando Rodriguez, the winning pitcher, pitched three scoreless innings and allowed one base runner. He hit Eugenio Suarez with a pitch.

Sean Doolittle struck out two in a perfect inning.

"We got into their bullpen and that's the strength of their team. We couldn't get anything going against them,"Price said.

The Reds bullpen wasn;t bad either.  Josh Smith, A.J. Morris and J.C Ramirez covered the last five innings.

"Realistically, our bullpen gave us a boost. It was five innings of tw0-run baseball. We needed to get them some work and we were able to stay away from Wood, Cingrani and Ohlendorf," Price said.

Moeller's Eric Surkamp Gets Another Shot At Oakland's Rotation

Moeller grad Eric Surkamp is hoping to make his fourth trip to the big club is finally permanent.

Surkamp, a 2005 graduated of Moeller High School, is being recalled from Nashville to make the start against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night in Oakland.

The Cincinnatian pitched at North Carolina State where his teammate was Seattle Seahawks quarteback Russel Wilson. Surkamp is taking the place of Jesse Hahn, who was sent to Nashville on Friday to fine tune his skills.  Surkamp is on the same shuttle.

The left-hander made the team out of spring training but was sent down on April 25.  Surkamp was recalled on May 11 and sent back on May 17.  Two weeks later, on May 31, he was called to Oakland again and returned to Nashville on June 2.

Altogether, Surkamp has six starts under his belt with an 0-3 record and a 6.41 ERA.

Surkamp caught a break in March when Felix Doubront was injured.

"With us, he brings some experience. The game that put him on the map was the last game of spring training at our place when we were playing the Giants. Dubront went down after the first inning. Surkamp gave us seven innings and shut them out the rest of the way," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said.

The Athletics are looking for one of their young pitchers to earn a permanent spot in the rotation.  They have been unable to so far.  Surkamp signed a one-year deal with the Athletics in December.  He now has the opportunity to stay.

"He has to go out and get some outs," Melvin said.."He hasn't worked deep in a game for us. That's what he'll be trying to do Tuesday and become a consistent part of the rotation which he hasn't been yet. Anybody has a chance to stay in this rotation. I think we've shown that if you perform you stay. If you don't you get sent back."

Surkamp has pitched well at Nashville with a 3-1 record and 3.68 ERA for the Sounds.

Surkamp was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the sixth round of the 2008 draft.  He spent six seasons in the Giants' organization, missing the 2012 season with elbow, 'Tommy John", surgery.  Surkamp made his debut with the Giants on August 27, 2011 with a six inning start in which he allowed one earned run.

The Chicago White Sox claimed him on waivers in December 2013.  The White Sox traded Surkamp to the Dodgers in May 2015 for Blake Smith.  He elected free agency at the end of the season and signed with Oakland two months later.

Surkamp's logged 49 Major League appearances with 13 starts. He has a 4-6 record with a 6.45 ERA.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Jay Bruce Provides Just Enough Offense To Make Dan Straily A Winner

Jay Bruce nearly cleared the rightfield stands with his 14th home run to lead the Reds offense.  Dan Straily with a lot of help from Tyler Holt shut down the Oakland Athletics for a 2-1 win.

Straily started off slowly by walking Coco Crisp to start the proceedings.  Stephen Vogt doubled, sending Crisp to third.  Danny Valencia delivered Crisp with a single.

Straily retired the next nine Oakland batters before walking Yonder Alonso.  Marcus Semien doubled inside the thirdbase bag to send Alonso to third.  The Reds pitched around Max Muncy, walking him to load the bases.  Billy Burns hit a liner to center where he was robbed by a diving catch by Tyler Holt.

'We're blessed with great defense on this team," Straily said.

The Reds had two base runners in the first to innings against Oakland starter Daniel Mengden, who was making his Major League debut after just 43 minor league games.  Mengden started the season at Double A Midland, then Triple A Nashville before having his contract selected before the game.

"There were a lot of moments where the game could have changed rather quickly," Bryan Price said.  "Bruce's home run looked like it was going out of the stadium and he made a beautiful catch with no out in the ninth."

Joey Votto worked a walk, opening the Reds' third.  One out later Bruce unloaded his 439 ft. blast that bounced three rows from the top of the rightfield bleachers.. Bruce has driven home 44 runs this season and pending the outcomes of other games, moved into second place in the National League behind Nolan Arenado's 53 RBI.

The drive was measured at 439'.

"That's all I've got," Bruce said. "I hit it pretty good. I don't hit home runs in batting practice. I have no use for home runs in batting practice. I am not a guy that can just try to hit home runs. I just have to make sure I swing at good pitches.  This year I feel like myself. I am ending at bats when they should be ended. I'm chasing less and keeping at bats going (by fouling off two strike pitches)."

Straily allowed five hits and three walks over seven innings but shut his former teammates out over the last six innings, striking out five.  Tony Cingrani relieved him to pitch a perfect eighth.  Ross Ohlendorf pitched the ninth for his first save of the year and second of his career.  Ohlendorf gave up singles to Alonso and Burns but struck out Billy Butler to end the game.

"It was fun pitching against a lot of friends that I have over there," Straily said. "I don't look at the back of the jersey when I pitch. I watched them hit for years. I was able to focus on what I had to do but now that it's over it was a lot of fun."

"It was fun to get a save," Ohlendorf said. "Tony got the big outs from the middle of the order that was a big inning for us. I just wanted to continue what he started. I'm comfortable pitching wherever they ask me."

Bruce tracked down a fly ball off the bat of Marcus Semien into the rightfield corner with no outs to help the preserve the lead.

'I take a lot of pride in my defense," Bruce said.

"Jay has been the something to see," Price said. "He got the big home run off a pitcher who was throwing well. He's always been the consummate professional.  He was the subject to a lot of trade rumors. He was able to compartmentalize them.  I think he is living in the present and enjoying his time with his teammates."

Alfredo Simon Demoted To Reds' Bullpen

Affredo Simon at 6'6" and a generously listed 267lbs.is an imposing figure on the mound but his team-high 9.11 ERA through 11 starts is bigger than he is.

Bryan Price gave Simon every opportunity to figure things out.  It was Price that turned the Reds successful long reliever into a 15 game winner and an All-Star in 2014.  Simon won 13 games for Detroit last season after the Reds dealt him for Eugenio Suarez.  Simon was unsigned until March 17 when the Reds signed him to a one-year deal.

There was the hope that Simon would provide a veteran presence for its younger starting pitchers.

Conditions changed.  The starting rotation was wracked with injuries and the bullpen has been largely ineffective partly from over use and partly for lack of the ability to throw strikes consistently.

The Reds dipped way down its list of prospects and brought in Daniel Wright to make a start for an ailing John Lamb.  He pitched reasonably well in his lone start in Los Angeles.

Wright will start Monday against Atlanta.

"We need to stabilize our bullpen.  Freddie (Simon) did a nice job for us for three years out of the pen," Price said. "Wright was brought up to start to give Lamb an extra start.  Our starting pitchers have done much better and I wanted to go with Simon a little longer."

Michael Lorenzen and Raisel Iglesias are expected to be ready within a week or two.  Both will be used out of the bullpen.  The team can keep a tight reign on Iglesias shoulder which has been subject to fatigue as a starter.  Lorenzen had elbow problems this spring.  He was a college closer but the Reds wanted to find out if he could start.  For now, Lorenzen will work out of the bullpen.  Next spring the pair will be given another opportunity to start.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Adam Duvall Backs Anthony DeSclafani's Return

Adam Duvall made sure that Anthony DeSclafani's valiant pitching effort was not wasted.  Duvall drove home Brandon Phillips with a double and scored the winning run on a wild pitch as the Reds handed the Oakland Athletics a 2-1 defeat.

DeSclafani made his long awaited return to the Reds' pitching rotation. His mound opponent, Sonny Gray, was making his second start since coming off the disabled list.

"I just try to lay off the pitches in the dirt and when the ball is up in the zone put my 'A' swing on it," Duvall said. "When I put my 'A' swing on it most of the time it finds a hole."

You would never know the two pitchers had just returned as both pitchers wounded the pride of hitters all night.

DeSclafani spread eight hits over his six innings but one was to A's catcher Stephen Vogt, who hit his fifth home run of the season to break up a scoreless game in the third inning.  It came one batter after Jed Lowrie banged into a double play after Coco Crisp's second base hit of the game.

Gray was even better, retiring the first 10 Reds' batters before he walked Joey Votto in the fourth. Phillips hit into a double play. Gray retired the next four in a row before Tucker Barnhart's solid single to left broke the no-hitter.

DeSclafani struck out only two but the Reds' defense turned a double play in the fifth inning.  In the sixth, DeSclafani walked Khris Davis to start the inning. He advanced to secondbase on a wild pitch  Former Red Yonder Alonso hit a line drive over Jay Bruce's head for the second time in the game.  Bruce held Alonso to a single in the second inning.  This time he threw Alonso out at secondbase while Davis had to hold at third.  Davis ran on contact when Marcus Semien hit a one hopper to Eugenio Suarez at third.  Suarez cut Davis down at the plate.  The Reds put Max Muncy on first with an intentional walk with first base open.

"It was a battle for him. There were a lot of balls hit hard. He didn't have a lot of separation between the velocity of his fastball and his slider," Bryan Price said. "When Desco's really good he has a change up and curve that provides that separation to get him off the velocity pitches."

The Reds defense bailed DeSclafani out of the nervousness of returning to the Major League mound.

"I didn't make it easy on myself.  We played good defense which is why we won," DeSclafani said. "I was everything, nervous, anxious. There was a lot of adrenaline I had to control. It all comes down to executing pitches better."

Reds' manager Bryan Price forced his University of California teammate, Athletic's manager, Bob Melvin's hand.  Should he hit for Gray, who at the time had a no-hitter or let Gray, who seldom bats as an American League pitcher, go to the plate to ad insurance runs.  DeSclafani struck out Gray, who became the last batter faced by the Reds' pitcher.

Phillips singled with one out in the seventh and moved up on a wild pitch.  Jay Bruce flied out deep to leftfield for the second out. Duvall delivered Phillips with the tying run with a double just inside the thirdbase pillow.  It was Duvall's 15th double and 41st RBI of the season. Suarez infield single moved Duvall to third. The leftfielder scampered home on Gray's second wild pitch of the inning.

Tony Cingrani allowed a leadoff hit but earned his sixth save in 11 chances, getting Crisp to hit into a 5-4-3 double play to end the game.

"Anything a young pitcher does, he has to do with consistency," Price said. "(John) Lamb and (Brandon) Finnegan have had a couple nice games in a row. It's great to see. (Dan) Straily has been a great surprise. It's great to see. Now, we just have to find that next tier of relievers to solidify the bullpen.  We get Raisel Iglesias and Michael Lorenzen back at the end of the month. That should help as they learn how to work out of the bullpen again.  (Alfredo) Simon will go back to the bullpen. He really did a nice job for us there three years ago.  It is like getting a whole new staff.  We can't rely on Wood, Ohlendorf and Cingrani all the time over six months."

Yonder Alonso Recalls His Draft Day With Reds

Yonder Alonso was finishing practice on the baseball diamond at the University of Miami eight years ago, when his name was called by the Cincinnati Reds as the seventh player selected in the 2008.

"It was the first time the draft was on TV," Alonso remembered sitting by his cubicle in the clubhouse at Great American Ball Park, his destination on that June day in 2008.  Yet it was not the side of the venue Alonso envisioned.  He was sitting near the doorway leading to the visiting dugout as a member of the Oakland Athletics.

"My family didn't know and I had never spoken to anyone from the Reds," recalled Alonso, who emigrated from Cuba with his baseball playing father, Luis, his mother, Damarys and sister Yainee when he was 10-years old.  "You have some kind of an idea that you're going to be drafted but it is a special moment. I got emotional that all my hard work was turning into my dream."

"It's funny but we had the day off and I watching the Reds' game on TV when they announced the pick(Nick Senzel from the University of Tennessee)," Alonso said. "I enjoyed every minute that I was with the Reds."

Alonso made his Major League debut in 2010; the same year that Joey Votto (Reds #2 pick in 2002) was having his MVP season.  Alonso hit .207 in 22 games with the Reds but spent most of that season in Louisville where he hit .296 with 12 home runs.

As a 24-year old Alonso returned to the Reds the second half of the 2011 season after hitting .296 with 12 home runs in Louisville. In his 47 games with the Reds, Alonso hit .330 with five home runs and 15 RBI. The Reds tried desperately to find a place for his bat with Votto holding down firstbase.  They put Alonso in leftfield for 14 games and thirdbase one game,but it was clear that he would be a defensive liability anywhere but firstbase.

The Reds traded Alonso along with Edinson Volquez, Brad Boxberger and fellow first rounder from 2010 Yasmain Grandal (also from the U of Miami) for Mat Latos from San Diego.

Alonso battled injuries and hit .273 for the Padre in 2012, .281 in 2013 and .282 last season but has never hit more than nine home runs.  He did hit 39 doubles in 2012.  In December the Athletics traded Dtew Pomeranz, Jose Torres and Jabari Blash for Alonso and Mark Rzepczynski.

The advice that Alonso would give Nick Senzel and the other Reds' draft picks from Thursday, Friday ans Saturday would be: "Honestly, the journey is just starting.  I learned from my teammates and the older players in spring training. Nothing is guaranteed."

Billy Hamilton On Concussion DL, Anthony DeSclafani Returns

Billy Hamiliton was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list to make room on the roster for Anthony DeSclafani, who was re-instated from the 60-day disabled list.

DeSclafani is making his first start of the season for Cincinnati against the Oakland Athletics ace, Sonny Gray.  Gray was re-instated from the 15-day DL before the game. 

Hamilton was injured by a head-first slide into thirdbase on Wednesday. 

He is going through a daily battery of tests to make sure the effects of the concussion have vanished before he returns to action.

The Reds have outfielders, Steve Selsky and Kyle Waldrop are with the team now and one of them will return to Louisville when Hamilton is ready.  It is likely to be Selsky, since Waldrop provides a left-handed bat.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Arch Rival Yadier Molina Sinks Reds As Cardinals Take The Series

Arch-rival Yadier Molina had three hits and drove in the winning run in the St. Louis Cardinals 3-2 win in the rubber game of the series.

Reds' young starter Brandon Finnegan matched up with Cardinals' ace Adam Wainwright in a closely contested pitcher's duel.

Wainwright has had a tough season with an uncharacteristically high 5.40 ERA but had a 5-4 record coming into the game.  He had been better in his last three starts, allowing six earned runs in 20 innings.  He pitched seven innings in his last two starts.  The Reds have had his number.  The Reds were 10-8 against Wainwright in his career.  Wainwright's 4.53, the second highest against any opponent.

The Reds scored two runs right away.  Joey Votto walked.  Brandon Phillips doubled to the rightfield corner. Jay Bruce drove in his team-high 42nd run with a ground out.  Adam Duvall's single scored Phillips for Duvall's 40th RBI. Duvall was caught stealing to end the inning.

Yadier Molina doubled and scored on Brandon Moss' single in the second inning.

"There a good team," Bryan Price said.  "They are aggressive."

Finnegan retired the next 12 batters but walked Matt Carpenter to lead off the sixth inning. Finnegan committed a balk to move Carpenter to second.  Aledmys Diaz singled to score Carpenter and tie the game.

"It was a big call.  He (homeplate umpire Jerry Meals) didn't tell me what I did.  I've done that all my life and have never been called. I didn't know the homeplate could call that. That's the firstbase umpire's call.  It happened and there was nothing I could do about it.  You can't review it. I made a good pitch and he (Diaz) broke his bat."

Wainwright carved the Reds over the next five frames.  He retired the next 14 Reds until he hit Votto with a pitch.  Wainwright struck out Phillips for his ninth strikeout.

Finnegan pitched out of a jam in the seventh.  Molina singled to open the inning. Moss bunted for a basehit.but Finnegan pitched out of it, retiring Jedd Gyorko, Randal Grichuk and pinch hitter Jhonny Peralta to conclude his evening.  He pitched seven innings, allowing two runs on five hits and just one walk.  Finnegan struck out seven.

"I trust Finney," Price said. "I know he's not going to implode. He's a fiesty guy and he competes. He won't let that situation get to him."

"My mindset is to compete," Finnegan said. "I'm going to be aggressive and go at them with my best stuff."

Seung Hwan Oh retired the Reds in the seventh with one strike out.

Ross Ohlendorf entered the game for the Reds.  Carpenter doubled to open the inning and extend his hitting streak to six games.  Diaz bunted to Votto, who threw to third to get Carpenter.  Carpenter was ruled safe on a close play. The call was confirmed on review. Matt Holliday walked to load the bases with no outs.  Stephen Piscotty hit a smash at Zack Cozart at short with the infield drawn in.  Cozart made a backhand short hop pick up and forced Carpenter at home.  Molina's third hit put the Cardinals ahead 3-2.  Ohlendorf confined the damage to one run.

"When Carpenter hit that double, you're swimming up stream," Price said. "We took a shot at thirdbase on the bunt. That was a risk worth taking. Ross almost pitched out of it."

The Reds threatened against Kevin Siegrist in the eighth.  Tyler Holt singled to open it.  One out later Ivan De Jesus Jr. hit a flair to right Piscotty dived for the ball and the umpire ruled it a catch. Piscotty threw to second from his knees but Holt held first based on the out call. The Reds got the umpires to review the call which was overturned.  The umpires awarded Holt second and De Jesus first. The Reds had Cozart and Votto due up with runners on first and second with one out.  Cozart was hitting .303 coming in but popped to shortstop.  Votto grounded hard to short  for a force.

Trevor Rosenthal pitched a perfect ninth for the save.

Reds Select Nick Senzel 3B Tennessee With First Pick

The Reds selected University of Tennessee thirdbaseman Nick Senzel with its first pick.

The Reds had the second choice behind the Philadelphia Phillies in the draft as teams select in inverse order of their win/loss percentage.

Senzel played three seasons with the Volunteers after graduating from Farragut High School in Knoxville. He is 6'1" and weighs in at 205 lbs.  Senzel is a right-handed batter. He hit .352 with eight home runs and 59 RBI in 57 games in his just completed junior season

"We’re really excited, this is the guy we wanted. He’s a very polished player, one of the better hitters, if not the best hitter, in the draft," Chris Buckley said, the Reds director of amateur scouting. "We think his power will improve the more he plays. He’s a complete player, runs, throws and plays his position well." 

Senzel, pronounced sen ZEL as in Denzel Washington, was at home with his parents when his agents told him the Reds were going to call his name.  "I was emotional but I didn't tell my father, (Jeff) so he could watch my name called on TV."

Senzel was not drafted out of Farragut High School but credited the tough competition in the SEC allowed him to mature and grow physically stronger.  He played in the prestigious Cape Cod League where college players play in the summer using wooden bats, instead of the metal bats used at the high school and college level.

"I am ready," Senzel said.  "There is business to take care of but I have the best team (Scott Boras) and they will let me know when its taken care of and I can get started playing baseball this summer."

Senzel has played all the infield positions but mostly thirdbase this season at UT..

"I will play where ever they tell me to," Senzel said.

Analyst compared him to Scot Rolen.  "That's crazy," Senzel said.  "He was one of the all time greats for the Reds.  I wasn't a Reds' fan necessarily but I am now."

Click link below:



Hot Billy Hamilton Sits, Anthony DeSclafani Returns Friday Against Oakland

Billy Hamilton is getting his head examined.

Hamilton was thrown out in an attempt to steal third, sliding head first.  The Reds saw the bump on his head when he reached the dugout. He also made a diving catch in the game and got up slowly.

Hamilton is going through concussion protocols and sitting out the series finale against St. Louis.


Hamilton has raised his batting average to .269 with a respectable .309 on-base-percentage. Since April 24, Hamilton is hitting .301 with a .323 OBP

The Reds have not disabled Hamilton.  He could go to the concussion DL which is seven days rather than 16.

Hamilton could be placed on the Concussion List on Friday to make room for Anthony DeSclafani, who will make his first start of the season against the Oakland Athletics.

The Reds have extra outfield help with Kyle Waldrop and Steve Selsky.  Waldrop got his first Major League hit Sunday.  Selsky doubled for his first Major League hit on Wednesday.

DeSclafani missed half of spring training and the first third of the regular season with a strained left oblique. He was one of five Reds' starters to land on the DL between the start of spring training and the regular season.

'Desco, pitched six inning his last outing with Louisville, so we can reasonably sure that he can go deep in the ballgame," Price said.

"It was hard to watch the guys struggle," DeSclafani said. "I'm glad to be with the team.  I had three rehab starts. I wasn't even think about my oblique when I was in the bullpen."

The Reds removed RHP Stephen Johnson and C Kyle Skipworth from the 40-man roster.  Johnson cleared waivers and was re-assigned.  Skipworth was on the 60-day DL after surgery on his ankles.  He was reinstated and also cleared waivers and was re-assigned to Double A Pensacola.