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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.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Reds' Attendance Climbs Despite Bad Season






Steve Watkins of the Business Courier writes the the Reds attendance is better than Major League Baseball as a whole.

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See Watkins's story by clicking below:

http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/blog/2015/08/all-star-game-lifts-reds-attendance-despite-sad.html

http://bizj.us/1izt7m http://bizj.us/1izt7m







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Dodgers Score On One Of Five Double Plays To Sweep Reds





The Dodgers scored on one of the five double plays turned in by the Reds but Zack Greinke made it stand up as rhe Dodgers edged the Reds 1-0 to complete the sweep.

It was a rematch of a pretty good pitcher's duel in Los Angeles two weeks ago.

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Zach Grienke hit a home run to beat Anthony DeSclafani on August 15 in a 2-1 game.

The Dodgers are trying to sweep the Reds. The home team will have a dismal 1-9 homestand if they drop this game to the Dodgers.

DeSclafani was in and out of trouble in the second inning. Consecutive singles by Justin Turner, Andre Ethier and Yasiel Puig loaded the bases with nobody out. DeSclafani limited the damage by getting Yasmani Grandal on a 4-6-3 double play as Turner scored and got Joc Pederson out on a groundball to shortstop.

Grienke disposed of the first eight Reds until Tucker Barnhart singled in the third. Skip Schumaker singled with two outs but Todd Frazier struck out.

The Reds threatened Grienke again in the fifth. Jay Bruce walked to leadoff. He stole second while Jason Bougeois struck out. Barnhart blooped a single to leftfield with Bruce stopping at third. DeSclafani failed to get a bunt down for the second time in the game.  Schumaker struck out to end the inning.
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Former Red draftee, Yasmani Grandall, returned from a left shoulder injury to hit into three double plays.

DeSclafani left after seven innings. He allowed one run on six hits.

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J.J. Hoover was the Reds' choice to pitch the eighth. A single, walk and hit batter loaded the bases with one out but Scott Van Slyke hit into the Dodger's fifth double play to keep the game close.

Frazier's bid for his 30th home run ended inches from the leftfield wall.

The Dodgers loaded the bases with no outs against Aroldis Chapman on a walk, an error and an infield hit. Chapman struck out Yasmain Grandall and got both Joc Pederson and Alex Guerrero to pop out foul to Frazier at third.

Jim Johnson came in to pitch the ninth to pick up his 10th save.



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Frank Sinatra, Robert Stephenson And Complete Games Extinction





There was an "old school" feel in the Reds' clubhouse Thursday morning.

Sam LeCure is not only back in the Reds' bullpen, he is back in his capacity of clubhouse DJ. That means out with "The Stanky Leg" and in with Frank Sinatra and the 60's and 70's hits.

The mood carried over into the manager's office where the nostalgia turned into complete games and innings pitched.

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Michael Lorenzen will be back with the Reds when the rosters expand September 1. He may make one or two starts when he comes back but is reaching a limit set on his innings. This is just Lorenzen's second full year as a pitcher. He played mostly centerfield at Cal State - Fullerton.

Bryan Price hinted but couldn't commit to the possibility that Robert Stephenson, the Reds' top pick in the 2011 draft, could also make an appearance for the Reds, although he would have to be added to the 40-man roster. That move will cost another player his job.

"Lorenzen is bumping against his limit," Price said. "We're trying to figure out how to use the innings he has left. I think it is important that he pitch in September." The minor league season ends in early September. Young pitchers need to learn to pitch later in the year, which reduces recovery time heading into the next season.
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Stephenson is scheduled to pitch on Thursday in Louisville against Indianapolis.

"He has room on his limit," said Price of the 22-year old, who is coming off the seven-day minor league DL.
"He has 120 innings now. He pitched 136 last year. He needs more innings."

Stephenson could possibly get three more starts for the Bats which at most would put him at 147 innings. If, he completed all of his starts. Complete games, however, have become a thing of the past in baseball and even more so in the minor leagues.

"I look at the complete games in the minor leagues and they are seven inning games. (Minor leagues play one seven inning games when they have double headers.)," Price said. "Stephenson needs to get those inning. He will definitely be considered (as a call up). I can't tell you he'll be coming up"

When Raisel Iglesias struck out 13 batters on Sunday, it was the most strikeouts by a Reds' rookie in a game since Gary Nolan did it in 1967.

One writer's research revealed that Nolan pitched 220 innings in his rookie year. Dwight Gooden had to pitch through October in his second year, 1988.

"I read a book about the greats of the game and one chapter was about Warren Spahn and Juan Marichal facing each other and both pitched 16 innings until Willie Mays hit a home run off Spahn, who was considerably older," Price said. "Those days are gone, unfortunately, I don't know if we can put a finger on why guys break down more now."

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"We've created this issue as an industry. I think agents have something to do with it. I think the game has improved in some ways but in some ways it has regressed. When I started to play professionally there weren't a lot of guys that had chronic arm problems. You can go to any baseball spring training camp where guys go to rehab and it is filled with pitchers who had major surgery"

"In the old days if a guy blew tore the ligament in his elbow, he was finished. When the arm injuries started to shoot up in the mid-80's and 90's, then we pay closers $10 million and setup guys $7 million. We have to use them. You know how I feel.  We used Johnny Cueto for 240 innings last year because he was pitch efficient."

Jeff Brantley commented on the 50th anniversary of Jim Maloney's 10-inning no-hitter in which he struck out 12 batters, hit one and walked 10. He threw 187 pitches.

"Now if a pitcher walks five batters in five innings, he's not around for the sixth inning," Brantley said. "We have specialists now. The first time I remember the use of specialist was Tony La Russa when he was in Oakland. He would use five pitchers to get six outs with lefty, righty match ups and guys designated for certain innings. It caused other baseball people to take a look at it. Someone may have done that before but that's the first time I noticed it."







Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Dodgers Bombs Teach David Holmberg Hard Lessons Reds Rally Falls Short






David Holmberg has a lot to learn and the Los Angeles Dodgers took him to school in a 7-4 win.

The visitors to Great American Ball Park nicked Holmberg, making the 73rd start by a Reds' rookie this season. Justin Turner, Scott Van Slyke and Kike Hernandez singled to start the scoring.

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The fourth inning the hard knock lessons really started. Van Slyke, A.J. Ellis and Yasiel Puig all homered in the five run inning. The home runs by Ellis and Puig came with runners on.

Brett Anderson was stingy on the mound

The Reds managed two hits, singles by Todd Frazier and Jay Bruce in the second. The inning ended when Ellis caught Frazier stealing. Eugenio Suarez walked and that was all the runners that Anderson allowed through 6 2/3 innings.
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Frazier hit his second single with two outs. Chase Utley dropped Bruce's flare for an error. Ivan De Jesus Jr. singled through the hole at short to break the shutout. Brayan Pena dribbled a broken bat single up the middle to plate two runs and send Anderson to the showers. Jim Johnson came on to face rookie Ryan LaMarre, who batted for Pedro Villarreal and struck out looking on a 3-2 pitch.

Villarreal was excellent in his 3 2/3 innings in relief of Holmberg.  He allowed nothing on one hit and a hit batter.

Jason Bourgeois doubled to lead off the eighth for the Reds. Joey Votto walked facing  J.P.Howell. Brandon Phillips singled off Juan Nicasio to close the gap to two runs. Nicasio struck out Frazier then left for Luis Avilan who struck out Bruce for the second straight night.

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Adrian Gonzalez hit a run scoring double off Burke Badenhop in the ninth.

The Reds brought the tying run to the plate against Kenley Jansen but he struck out Suarez for his 25th save in 27 chances.





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Reds Playing A Man Short






Brennan Boesch is walking around with a boot on his right leg. He fouled a pitch off of it Saturday and it left a deep bone bruise.

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Billy Hamilton's right shoulder is in a sling. He is on the disabled list and replaced but Boesch has not been placed on the DL and isn't available for a couple days.

It leaves the Reds with rookie Ryan LaMarre, Skip Schumaker and the backup catcher Tucker Barnhart on the bench.

Ivan De Jesus Jr. has been playing leftfield with Jason Bourgeois in center.
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"Boesch is a day-by-day evaluation," Bryan Price said. "He is starting to do baseball activity. With Billy they wanted him to limit the amount of wear and tear on his shoulder. He is a little bit behind Boesch as far as coming back."

Yorman Rodriguez is on the disabled list at Louisville.

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"I am exercising and riding the bike," Hamilton said. "I want to be out there with my teammates. This is boring."















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Reds Playing A Man Short






Brennan Boesch is walking around with a boot on his right leg. He fouled a pitch off of it Saturday and it left a deep bone bruise.

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Billy Hamilton's right shoulder is in a sling. He is on the disabled list and replaced but Boesch has not been placed on the DL and isn't available for a couple days.

It leaves the Reds with rookie Ryan LaMarre, Skip Schumaker and the backup catcher Tucker Barnhart on the bench.

Ivan De Jesus Jr. has been playing leftfield with Jason Bourgeois in center.
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"Boesch is a day-by-day evaluation," Bryan Price said. "He is starting to do baseball activity. With Billy they wanted him to limit the amount of wear and tear on his shoulder. He is a little bit behind Boesch as far as coming back."

Yorman Rodriguez is on the disabled list at Louisville.

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"I am exercising and riding the bike," Hamilton said. "I want to be out there with my teammates. This is boring."















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Oak Hills Joel Bender Closer To Major League Debut With Reds






Joel Bender, a 2010 graduate of Oak Hills High School, has been promoted to Triple A Louisville.


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It is the 24-year old left-hander's second trip to the Bats. He earned a win against Gwinett with 2 2/3 innings of relief. Bender spent three days at Triple A and was sent to Pensacola.

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Bender started the year in Daytona of the High A Florida State League. He went to Louisville for three days, then Pensacola for 10 but returned to Daytona.  He was promoted to Pensacola for good on July 24 and spent the month there.

In August, Bender made seven appearances and allowed two earned runs in 13 innings, including four scoreless frames on August 19.

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Bender takes a combined 4-2 record, a 3.86 ERA in 44 games. He has pitched 74 2/3 innings, allowed 32 earned runs on 75 hits and 26 walks. Bender hit four batters and struck out 66. Opponents hold a 2.66 batting average against him. Bender also has one save.

Louisville has 13 games left in the regular season.











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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Rookie Pitcher Puts Reds In Hole Dodgers Break Losing Streak




Another Reds' rookie pitcher dug a hole for the team to climb out of.

The Dodgers snapped a five-game losing streak and stopped the Reds' winning streak at one with a 5-1 triumph.
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John Lamb had the Reds on the frowning side of the scoreboard after facing two batters.  Jimmy Rollins and Yasiel Puig doubled to open the game. Former Reds' draftee Justin Turner hit a two-run home run in the third, his 15th. Rollins followed a two-out bases empty single by Dodgers' starting pitcher Alex Wood with his 13th home run off Ryan Mattheus.

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Although Lamb took six innings to do it, the Reds were in the exact same position in the sixth inning Monday night when rookie Keyvius Sampson put them down 5-0.  The Reds responded with 10 runs against the Tigers on Monday.

Lo and behold, like Monday night, Eugenio Suarez led off the sixth.  His home run sparked the Monday rally.  This time he grounded out against Wood, who started the season with the Atlanta Braves.  Votto, who had walked twice against the left-hander, grounded out but Brandon Phillips, who like Suarez had two hits in the sixth Monday, singled.  Todd Frazier hit his second double of the game sending Phillips around to score.

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Frazier hit two doubles on the night to pad his league leading total to 38.

Lamb pitched five innings, allowing three runs on five hits and three walks. He struck out six.

Kenley Jansen nailed it down for the Dodgers to earn his 25th save.





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Eugenio Suarez Shows Miguel Cabrera And Tigers What He Can Do






As much as Major League players tell us a game against its former team is just another game, we know that the competitive fire that got the player to this level burns hotter when they play against their former teams.

Eugenio had that chance Monday. He made the most of it.

Suarez, who is hitting a cool .308 in the 60 games, had three hits, two in the Reds' 10-run sixth.

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Suarez started the scoring with a solo home run with one out.  He drove in two runs in his second at bat of the inning, perhaps his best at bat, and added a single.

"'It was a special night. I feel good that it was against my old team," Suarez said. "I feel blessed that the Reds gave me the opportunity to play and show what I can do. I got to show my old team."

The Reds obtained Suarez from the Tigers this winter for Alfredo Simon.  Although he hit well in Goodyear during spring training, Suarez, 23, was sent to Louisville as Zach Cozart started at shortstop until tearing his knee on June 10.

"Suarez sparked us. You look at his production over 200 at bats," Bryan Price said. "He's been an impact bat in our lineup. It was not something I expected."
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Suarez' second at bat of the sixth inning, a bloop double that added two runs to the newly forged 6-5 lead, was perhaps his best at bat as he fought off a good two strike pitch.

"That was a good at bat people told me. I knew he (Neftali Feliz) threw hard. I knew he had a good slider," Suarez said. "I tried to put the ball in play."

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Among the admirers of the at bat was Detroit firstbaseman Miguel Cabrera, who was Suarez' teammate in Detroit last season and a fellow countryman from Venezuela.  Cabrera has the most home runs, RBI and total bases of any Major League player from Brazil.

"Miguel and I talked last night," Suarez said. "I talk to him often, not everyday, but about twice a week. He's a really good guy. He always tells me to work hard everyday and to keep my head up. He was in the big leagues when I was younger in Venezuela. He's like my older brother."



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Monday, August 24, 2015

Eugenio Suarez and Brandon Phillips Key a 10-Run Inning To Avoid 10th Straight Loss






Eugenio Suarez and Brandon Phillips grabbed a Tiger by the tail with two hits in a 10-run sixth inning.

Suarez homered and doubled. Phillips homered and tripled to snap the Reds' nine-game losing streak in a 12-5 win

“We just play the game as best we can and try to stay humble,” Phillips said. “Even when you lose you want to have fun but I tell the young guys to never get used to losing.”

When this game was originally scheduled on June 18, the pitching matchup was supposed to be Justin Verlander against Mike Leake.  Leake of course left for San Francisco.  It was not Verlander's turn.

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Two rookies, Buck Farmer for Detroit and Kyvius Sampson for Cincinnati, neither of whom were in the big leagues on that date, squared off instead.

Sampson got the first out of the game but the roof fell in after that.

Ian Kinsler singled hard to left. Miguel Cabrera, who returned from a 36-game calf injury on August 14, singled off the rightfield fence to extend his hitting streak to nine games. J.D. Martinez followed with his 33rd home run of the season. Nick Castellanos belted his 14th home run. Sampson threw 45 pitches in the inning.

Farmer was much better. A walk to Joey Votto, his 101st, and a walk to Skip Schumaker were the only blemishes on Farmer's line in the first four innings.  Jason Bourgeios singled to break the no-hitter in the fifth.

Before Sampson left after four innings, the Tigers added a marker.  Kinsler singled and Cabrera doubled him home.

Sampson allowed nine hits and two walks in his four innings with five earned runs charged to him.
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Newcomer Collin Balester replaced Sampson and was around when the Reds exploded to earn the win.

"It always gives you an edge to get a win against your former team," said Balester, whose last win came as a Tiger in 2012. "I'm trying to do everything I can to help my team win."

Eugenio Suarez made his former teammates miss him by launching his ninth home run to snap a string of 16 scoreless innings by the Reds.  Farmer lost control after Suarez broke the spell. Votto walked. Brandon Phillips hit his 10th home run to bring the Reds within two runs and chase Farmer.  Al Alburquerque replaced him.

“Suarez sparked us,” Reds’ manager Bryan Price said of the shortstop who got a chance at the big leagues due to an injury to Zach Cozart. “He’s had a lot of run production in 200 at bats. I didn’t anticipate that. With two strikes he gives a quality at bat.”

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Todd Frazier bunted off Alburquerque for a base hit, the second time he's done that in as many days. Jay Bruce belted a long double to leftcenter to score Frazier from firstbase. Bourgeois walked and Detroit brought on its third hurler of the inning, Tom Gorzelanny.  Bruce and Bourgeois pulled a double steal with Tucker Barnhart at the plate. Barnhart walked to load the bases and Gorzellany was replaced by Neftali Feliz. Ivan De Jesus Jr. struck out as a pinch hitter. Schumaker singled to put the Reds on top. Suarez followed with a bloop double to drive in two more runs, producing the Reds' biggest inning of the year. But the Reds weren't finished, oh not they weren't, Phillips tripled to plate two more runs. Frazier was ahead in the count 3-0 before he popped out to end the 10-run inning, the biggest innings since they scored 10 against Arizona on August 19, 2005 in the fourth inning.

“It was an important hit for our team. We needed some smiles around here,” Schumaker said. “It was big for me. I didn’t want to make two outs in the inning.”

Joey Votto added his 24th home run with Suarez on base with his third hit off Guido Knudson.

Aroldis Chapman made his first appearance since he suffered the blown save against Kansas City a week ago. He had been resting a tired shoulder.


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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Gloom Despair And Agony Reds Lose Ninth Straight



The beatings go on for the Cincinnati Reds, whose refrain is Hee Haw's "If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all."

The Reds were shut out for the 10th time in its ninth straight loss, 4-0, matching the nine-game losing streak from May 15 through May 25.

Arizona completed the four-game sweep, the first time they've accomplished it against Cincinnati.

Badly in need of innings from its "Kiddie Korp"  of  rookie starters, Raisel Iglesias was up to the task but a line drive by Wellington Castillo hit a butter fingered fan two rows deep in the leftfield bleachers and plopped back on the field. A Keystone Cops act ensued as the throw from leftfielder du jour Jason Bourgeois made it all the way through the infield. Joey Votto had to chase it down.

Iglesias gave the Reds what they needed. He finished seven innings, allowing one run on three hits and three walks while striking out 13.

The umpires reviewed the play for 48 seconds before awarding Castillo his 16th home run.

The Reds left two runners on against Chase Anderson who has been bounced back and fourth between Triple A Reno and the big club. The Reds got a leadoff single from Ivan De Jesus Jr. in the second but he was erased on a double play. Bourgeois hit a one-out single int he third but a double play got him as well. In the fifth, De Jesus Jr. walked and rookie Ryan LaMarre got his first Major League hit to put runners at first and second with one out. Iglesias squared to bunt but pulled the bat back to take a full swing. He lined the ball toward rightfield but Paul Gosldschmidt speared it as he charged for the bunt and beat LaMarre back to first base for an unassisted double play.

Reds' fielding helped the Diamondbacks take a 2-0 lead in the sixth. Ender Inciarte walked and stole second. Goldschmidt hit a ground ball wide of first against the shift.  Votto speared it back handed on a short hop but threw it by Iglesias covering first.  The ball trickled toward the dugout and Iglesias threw it over Brayan Pena's head, allowing Inciarte to score and Goldschmidt to advance .


David Peralta hit a two-run home run off Jumbo Diaz in the eighth. It was Peralta's 13th of the season.

Collin Balester made his Reds' debut and first Major League appearance since May 16, 2012.

Matt Reynolds made his season debut for Arizona, his first in the Major Leagues since 2013.


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