About Me

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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, September 30, 2010

Reds Starter Back Arroyo Wins 17th Game 9-1

The starters were back two days after the celebration ended for taking the first step to a possible World Championship.

The team pounded Brett Myers and knocked him out after 5 2/3 innings the first time all season that he failed to last at least six innings.

Drew Stubbs drove in four runs and homered.  Brandon Phillips and Jonny Gomes hit home runs.

Last night the Reds failed to score but much can be traced to the celebration Tuesday.

Tonight the preparation for the playoffs began.

"We're looking forward to it man," Phillips said.

Phillips suffered a set back in August when he was hit on his hand by a pitch in San Francisco.

"I'm starting to get feeling back in it," Phillips said.  "I feel good.  You get extra energy from making the playoffs.  It's like I've got my third wind.  I got my second after the All-Star break."

The over emphasis on the playoffs can take its toll.

"I read a book by John Wooden," Dusty Baker said.  "He said that early in his career he may have over prepared his teams and they didn't have much success.  Sometimes you have to just play."

Bronson Arroyo, who set a new career high and has been through the playoffs with Boston is on the same page with his manager.

"I told reporters in Boston when they asked me that, that I was more nervous in little league when I was eight or nine in Key West.  If I burn a lot of energy spewing adrenaline, I won't last very long.  No one here has asked my advice but if they did I'd tell them its like our fight with St. Louis last month.  The emotion of the game can take your head out of it."

The team realizes that it may be facing two-time National League Champions, the Philadelphia Phillies.

"Sure we talk about who we're going to play," Arroyo said. "It's going to be different for this team going into Philadelphia, one of the top three hostile crowds. If you ask anybody, they say they'd rather play anybody but Philly.  But that's the way it is.  You've got to strap it on and try to play good baseball."

Dusty Will Be Back Long Term

I have been working with Dusty Baker off and on for a long time.  Even when he didn't know me very well, he always answered my questions as a visiting manager first with San Francisco, then with the Chicago Cubs.

Baker is a man that always speaks his mind.  While he recognizes that he can't always be totally open, he will not lie to you.  He treats everyone with respect.

I believe that is why this group of players responded so well to him.  As someone who has had his share of bad bosses in his work life, I can tell you how much easier it is to work when a manager will stick with you when you struggle.  When fans wanted the slumper of the day, be it Drew Stubbs, Jay Bruce, Nick Masset or Francisco Cordero, sent to baseball Siberia, Baker showed his faith in them.

People criticized the Reds for trading for often injured, Scott Rolen, it was Baker than planned rest for him so that he could make a huge contribution this season.  He fought for Mike Leake to make the team over Travis Wood.  It would have been easier for the team to keep Travis Wood because he already had a roster spot but Baker knew Leake would contribute.

When the organization decided to shut Leake down, Leake was able to accept it because Baker was open with him.  He stressed to the pitcher that his contributions were important and that he is going to travel with them to be a part of their postseason.

There are times when he doesn't go by the manager's "book" of strategy.  He always has a reason for it and will explain it if he can.

This organization is doing the right things.  Walt Jocketty is doing a good job filling holes but let's not forget that previous GM's Dan O'Brian and Wayne Krivsky contributed to building the Reds minor league system.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Reverse Spring Houston Wins 2-0

Johnny Cueto started the game after (clinching) with 31 starts.  The rest of the players in the starting lineup had about that many.

Cueto's last start was a good one.  He pitched seven innings.  He allowed one earned run and eight hits including a bloop double by Carlos Lee that scored the only run the Astros needed.

An error by Yonder Alonso and indecision by rookie Chris Valaika allowed the second run to score.

The only concern was a ball hit by Lee that caught Cueto on the left leg. He finished the inning.

Cueto was unconcerned about his supporting cast.

"It didn't bother me.  I just have to go out and do my job.  Today, I was calm and my level of concentration was better (than his last start in Milwaukee)," Cueto said.

Baker pulled the reverse of a typical spring training game to let his regulars catch their breath after an emotional and physical grind toward clinching the division.  The team has four more games before the playoffs.

He started reserve players and September call ups at every position.  Later in the game the regulars got one at bat.  Baker is walking a fine line between getting players rest and keeping them sharp.

"Very few guys can turn it on and turn it off.   The only players that I have seen do that was Barry Bonds and Ricky Henderson.  That's rare and hard to do," Baker said.

"I haven't seen too many teams win the day after they clinched," Baker said.  "Most of the team will be out there (Thursday)."

Cueto hasn't had a win in the month and it really wasn't a top of mind issue for the skipper.

""What's it been a month?  We've been trying to get him off those 12 wins.  (Cueto finished 12-7) He's due for a real long streak."

Leake Is Shutdown for 2010

Dusty Baker told the media that Mike Leake will not pitch again this season.

He will travel with the team for the playoffs but will not be activated on the post season roster.  There wouldn't be enough time to build his arm strength back.

The Reds were concerned that the Major League schedule would be too much for the rookie who showed enough talent to skip the minor leagues completely.

"He hasn't been on the mound and the other guys are sharper.  He was a bit disappointed but he was happy when he found out he would be traveling with us.  I told him that without him we wouldn't be where we are.  He was a big part of this thing," Baker said.

Bruce Blast Brings Back Memories

The title is not only a celebration of old western gibberish, alliteration and cliches. It makes me sound like I'm way old school.  That I precede the term old school.

Well gosh darn it, I do.

I have covered the Reds pretty much on a daily basis starting with the 1992 season, including a lot of spring trainings but the only clinching game with as much drama was the 1972 NLCS victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates  at Riverfront Stadium.

Only one current Red was alive then, Arthur Rhodes born in October 1969 was two weeks from turning three on October 11, 1972.  The Reds and Pirates were 2-2 in the five game series.  The winner was to face Reggie Jackson and the Oakland Athletics in the World Series.

I was just out of Colerain High School myself and working to save money to go to college at the United Dairy Farmers in Harrison.  My regular store was in Mt. Airy but I covered in Harrison for extra hours. I was off at 2 P.M. and the game started at 3 P.M..

My father, tended bar at Wiggins Restaurant on the corner of Fifth and Vine, which is now the spot of the Westin Hotel.

I called my dad, Dick, to see if tickets were available.  "Gar, I was just about to call you because Mr.Russ had an extra ticket and asked if I could use it," dad said.

I was scheduled at 7pm at the Mt. Airy Dairy Farmers and called my boss Marie Brown and asked if she could cover until 8pm because I had a ticket.  A 3pm start and five hours should allow me to get there by then.  She agreed, willingly.  She was excited for me, actually.

The game was tight the entire way.  The Reds and Pirates went back and forth.  Pittsburgh held a 3-2 lead going into the Reds last at bat.

Johnny Bench led off the ninth.  He hit a long fly to right field.  Perhaps in the pre-Marty Brennaman you've heard the call by now, media star, Al Michaels.  "Back goes Clemente, its gone!"  (Hal McCoy, the Hall of Fame writer for the Dayton Daily News, was also a year away from taking over the Reds beat from Jim Ferguson.)

 Their ace reliever, Dave Giusti, was in his second inning of work.  Pittsburgh manager, Bill Virdon brought in Bob Moose after Tony Perez and Denis Menke followed with singles.  George Foster ran for Perez.
The Reds tied the score.  It wasn't a walk off home run like the one Bruce belted last night but set off a loud celebration.  The crowd sensing more excitement.

Hal McCrae was the batter.  Moose threw a pitch in the dirt that catcher, Manny Sanguillen couldn't block and Foster raced home with the pennant.

The lady sitting next to me hugged me.  I high fived her husband.  People were so excited the traffic stopped on the cut of the hill, for fear of an earthquake.

My car was parked at the fountain square garage.  Guess where the celebration was.  I called Marie and explained that I couldn't get out of the garage.  I thought I would be fired until she told me not to worry about it.  She had watched it on a 12" black and white TV set up on milk crates.  "Once, the run scored, I knew you wouldn't make it in," she explained.

Please post comments about the exciting games you have experienced.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Division Title...This One Belongs To The Reds

Jonny Gomes said it best.

"This was a storybook season with a storybook ending."

Jay Bruce, who many fans thought should be sent to the minor leagues in mid-season, paid off Dusty Baker for the faith that he had in him.

"I wasn't thinking about a home run.  I wanted to hit the ball hard," a champaign soaked Bruce said.

He hit the ball hard in the sixth off tough lefthander Wandy Rodriguez with the bases loaded but former Red Jeff Keppinger turned it into a double play.  Leaving the game tied 2-2.

Faith was rewarded again on the first pitch from another lefthander, Tim Byrdak.

"No team has dealt with adversity like this team does," said Gomes, who also popped out with the bases loaded in the sixth inning.

The script had been written as Gomes said.  Bruce hit it high and far into the September night.  The ball landed well over 400 feet on the green terrace in front of the batter's eye in centerfield.  The blast set off fireworks and a very wet celebration.

As Bruce rounded thirdbase, he saw a crowd at home plate jumping for joy as he cast aside his batting helmet ."I saw the guys that I worked so hard with all year long.  I wouldn't be here without them."

The winning pitcher was Aroldis Chapman.  Chapman got most of the attention in spring training as most people assumed that St. Louis would capture the Central Division again.

No one really expected the Reds $30 investment to pay off so soon.

Chapman preserved the tie with some 100 mile an hour pitches, two strikeouts and a ground out.

Bruce, however, has been a star on the rise for a long time.  He came alive when the team needed him most, down the stretch, with his game winning heroics, Bruce has hit .358 with nine home runs and 16 RBI in his last 17 games.

The much criticized manager, who has now taken three different teams to the playoffs was drenched, jumping up and down, and enjoying the celebration.

"This is a special group, special guys and a special feeling.  I love this team big time," Baker said.

His boss was drenched but equally pleased.

The man who brought Baker in Bob Castellini, who said at the time he bought the team, "We're just not going to lose anymore,"  calmly talked to reporters.

"We knew we had the combination and the depth.  We have a lot of work to do but it doesn't get any better than this in life."

Bruce Wins the Division.

Houston starts lefthander Tim Byrdak in the ninth.

Jay Bruce hit the first pitch to Centerfield to win the Division crown for Cincinnati.

Fireworks abound.

It was dead center and well over 400 feet.  His 22nd of the season.

Pittsburgh Extends Lead to 4-2 in Top of the Sixth.

Garret Jones drove in his third run of the game with an infield single.  Pittsburgh is still batting with runners on first and second in the 6th.

Going To the Ninth 2-2

The Reds stranded Scott Rolen at firstbase in the bottom of the eighth.

Fireballing Aroldis Chapman is coming in to face Chris Johnson, Bret Wallace and Angel Sanchez in the top of the ninth.

The Astros beat Chapman on September 17 in Houston.

Reds Tie the game. Pittsburgh Holds a 3-2 Lead Into the 4th inning.

Orlando Cabrera and Joey Votto singled to start the sixth.  Scott Rolen worked a walk to load the bases.
Jonny Gomes battled Rodriguez for 10 pitches before he popped foul to the firstbaseman.

Brandon Phillips tied the game with an infield single.

When the Reds went to Houston last week, Dusty Baker, sat Jay Bruce against Rodriguez because, "he gives Jay the blues."

Bruce hit the ball hard but Jeff Keppinger started a 4-6-3 double play to limit the Reds to one run.

Reds Trail After Four but Pittsburgh Helps With 3-Run First

Garret Jones hit a two-run home run off St. Louis starter Jeff Suppan to give Pittsburgh a 3-0 lead over St. Louis.

A St. Louis loss works the same as a Reds win.  It sends the Reds to the playoffs.

Stubbs Saves Two Runs

Drew Stubbs went high above the Centerfield fence to catch a drive by Carlos Lee with former Red, Jeff Keppinger running from first base.

The drive was in straight away centerfield and about eight inches above the fence near 404' sign.

Houston Intends to Spoil the Party

Houston used three singles and a squeeze bunt by starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez to take a 2-1 lead into the third inning.

Chris Johnson and Brett Wallace singled but Edinson Volquez forced Johnson at third on a bunt attempt by Angel Sanchez.  Jason Castro hit a 1-2 pitch for a single to score Wallace and send Sanchez to third.  Rodriguez bunted as Sanchez raced home.

Brandon Phillips reached by being hit with a pitch to start the Reds second.  He was caught stealing by Castro as Jay Bruce struck out.  Ramon Hernandez struck out to end the second.

Reds Jump to A Lead

Scott Rolen's infield single scored Drew Stubbs to put the Reds eight innings away from a Division clinch.

Stubbs and Orlando Cabrera walked off Wandy Rodriguez to open the inning.  Joey Votto hit into a 6-4-3 double play.  Rolen hit a hard one hopper down the thirdbase line that Chris Johnson threw past Brett Wallace at firstbase.

Edinson Volquez allowed and infield hit to Hunter Pence but looked sharp.

It Is NOT Your Normal Game

The Reds played the entire year taking one game at a time.  Even during big series against St. Louis, Dusty Baker stressed treating them like any other game.  The strategy got them to this point.  Now the Reds can no longer maintain the facade.

"You try to pretend its like any other day," Baker said.  "But its not.  There is a lot of pretending in this game.  You strive to get to this point all year long.  Then you run the race and you're one step from the finish line."

A win tonight against Houston and the Reds clinch the National League Central Division and its playoff berth.

The Reds could have clinched on its day off yesterday had Houston lost.

"This may sound crazy because of what I said earlier but I was rooting for St. Louis to win last night," Brandon Phillips said.

The Reds want to celebrate in front of its home fans.

"You want to do it at home," Baker said.

Not that they wouldn't have liked to clinch on the road but it would be sweeter to celebrate at home with its fans.

"I think of my dad," Baker said.  His father Johnny B. Baker Sr. died this winter.

"He was my coach.  He was Bobby  Bonds coach.  This was the time he'd come to see every game."

Baker was asked if he gave advice.

"He was subtle," Baker said.

Then he told about his discipline.

"Your mom gives love and understanding.  Your dad gives you discipline and direction.  Some people called it  discipline.  I called it 'the belt' "

Saturday, September 25, 2010

No Moral Victories But.....UC Played With Passion

Cincinnati (1-3) fell two points short of upsetting number 8 Oklahoma (4-0).

Oklahoma runs a hurry up offense that prevents teams from substituting on defense.  The Sooners ran 94 plays at the Bearcats for 452 yards.

"We knew they were going to do that and we prepared for it," linebacker JK Schaffer said.  "They had us on our heals in the first quarter but you could see the energy on our defense.  We played with passion."

Oklahoma broke out of the gate with two first quarter drives that covered 80 yards in 4:03 and 69 yards in 3:09 to jump to a 14-3 lead.

"We were going to play with passion no matter how much we were down by or whatever came our way," Shaffer said.

First year coach Butch Jones also saw it that way.

"We came of age.  There are absolutely no moral victories but our leadership stepped up," Jones said.  "We showed a little bit of character."

The Bearcats took Oklahoma's best shot and fought back.

Isaiah Pead, who was unavailable to Cincinnati for most of the first three games, joined the offense and rushed for 169 yards against a big physical defense.  He provided a boost to an offensive line that had been challenged to improve on its performance in the first three games.

"I knew we could play with these guys," Pead said.  "I knew I could give our team a boost.  We left everything on the field.  We gave them our best punch."

"Without looking at the tape, I think our offensive line did a good job," Jones said. "We challenged Pead and planned to give him the ball.   We were able to get our running game going."

The addition of the run allowed Cincinnati to outgain Oklahoma on the night, 461-452.

Quarterback Zach Collaros was relieved from carrying the entire weight.

"We played hard.  It was something we can feed off of.  We did a good job of keeping our poise.  Our word for the week was to sustain,  no matter what adversity or what came at us."

DJ Wood had an up and down game.  He made some big plays and had some big mistakes.

Wood caught seven passes for 171 yards and a touchdown but one of the turning points came on a 69 yard catch on which he fumbled into the Oklahoma endzone after being stripped by Jonathan Nelson.  He also dropped a punt that Oklahoma recovered on the Cincinnati eight in the last five minutes of the game.  The Bearcats had closed the gap to 24-22 and forced a punt.

Oklahoma put the game away with a touchdown after that decisive fumble.

"I felt we outplayed them," Pead said.  "We have to stop beating ourselves."

"DJ Wood got injured but he came back," Jones said.  "Our kids are resilient. DJ also made some big plays for us.  I will live and die with DJ Wood.  He's a competitive kid."

Cincinnati scored with 58 seconds left but could not come up with the onside kick and came up short, 31-29.

They take on Miami on October 9 before they delve into Big East Conference play.

Oklahoma Recovers The Onside Kick Avoid the Upset 31-29

Oklahoma's Ryan Broyles recovered Cincinnati's onside kick with 58 seconds left to win 31-29.

Cincinnati Scores with 58 Seconds Left 31-29

Zach Collaros hit Adrien Robinson close to the Oklahoma endzone.  The play was reviewed.  It appeared that Robinson knocked down the pylon with the ball.

The review revealed the 18-yard touchdown pass was good.

Cincinnati needs to recover an onside kick.  They have no timeouts.

Cincinnati's Last Chance.

With 2 minutes left and no time outs Cincinnati needs two scores.

Oklahoma Touchdown 31-22

Landry Jones completed a four-yard pass to Trey Millard to capitalize on the Cincinnati fumble at the eight yard line.

Cincinnati Forces a Punt But Woods Fumbles.

Oklahoma recovers at the Cincinnati seven with just under 5 minutes left.

Oklahoma Recovers a Collaros Fumble

Oklahoma recovers a fumble and moves to the Cincinnati 43 with six minutes to play.

Cincinnati Gets the Ball on the Oklahoma 44-yard Line 8 Minutes

A third down tackle by Colerain grad, Brandon Mills forced Oklahoma to punt from its endzone.

Touchdown Cincinnati 24-22

Zach Collaros found DJ Wood on a 36-yard pass play to pull with in two points of 3-0 Oklahoma with 9:45 left in the fourth quarter.

JK Schaffer's interception set up the five play, 71-yard drive, keyed by a screen to Isaiha Pead and a run by Pead.

LaSalle's JK Schaffer Intercepts

JK Schaffer picked off one of Landry Jones' passes to stop Oklahoma's drive.

A screen pass to Isaiha Pead and a run by Pead put the ball into Oklahoma territory at the 35.

UC Another Field Goal 24-15

Cincinnati's Jacob Rogers kicked a 43-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter.  The kick capped a five play, 43-yard drive.

Cincinnati keep knocking on the door but can't kick it down.

UC Field Goal 24-12

UC again threatened the Sooners.  Isaiha Pead rolled over a pile at the UC 33 and ran to the Oklahoma four but a video review ruled him down by contact.

Cincinnati continued to drive with the aid of a roughing the passer penalty and another big run by Pead to get into position to kick a field goal.

58,253 attended the game.  It is the second largest crowd in UC history behind the 2002 game at Paul Brown Stadium against Ohio State.

Oklahoma Touchdown 24-9

Mossis Madu scored on a four-yard run to cap a nine-play 92-yard drive aided by two 15-yard penalties on Cincinnati

Halftime Oklahoma 17 Cincinnati 9

UC held its own and gets the ball first in the second half.

Cincinnati has been moving the ball and outside of two drives have held their own defensively.

Sooners Field Goal 17-9

Oklahoma intercepted a Collaras pass in the endzone.  They drove to the UC 25 but bogged down.

Senior Cameron Kenney dropped a wide open catch in the endzone but Jimmy Stevens connected on a 42-yard field goal to extend the Sooner lead with 1:02 left in the first half.

The key play was a long pass from Landry Jones to Dejuan Miller.  That put the ball at the 25 but UC held to force the field goal.

UC Missed a Chance but Held the Sooners

Zach Collaros hit DJ Wood with a 73-yard pass play but Jonathan Nelson stripped Wood at the five.  Quinton Carter recovered the ball in the endzone for Oklahoma.

UC stopped the Sooner drive at the Cincinnati 25 forcing a 42-yard field goal attempt by Jimmy Stevens.  The kick was wide right.

Collaros Brings UC Back 14-9

Zach Collaros scrambled and found John Goebel in the end zone for a four-yard touchdown pass to complete a six-play, 90-yard drive.

It was the first career touchdown reception for Goebel.

Jacobs missed the extra point.

Collaros rolled right but was trapped by the Sooner's rush.  He scrambled back to the left and found Goebel in the left corner of the endzone.

End of the First Quarter

Cincinnati ended the first quarter in a 2nd and goal situation.

A 55-yard pass from Zach Collaros to DJ Wood put the ball on the Oklahoma four yard line.

Oklahoma Scores Again 14-3

Oklahoma QB Landry Jones from Artesia, New Mexico has completed 13 straight passes.

The last to the Sooners Ocho Cinco, Ryan Broyles, caught the 13th to complete an 11 play 69 yard drive for Oklahoma's second score.

Oklahoma Answers with An 80 Yard Drive Oklahoma 7 Cincinnati 3

The no huddle Oklahoma offense took 4 minutes and 3 seconds to traverse 80 yards to score on a two-yard run by DeMarco Murray.

It was Murray's seventh rushing TD of the season and 44th of his career.

Cincinnati Jumps in Front of Oklahoma 3-0

DJ Woods 25 yard punt return and the first career catch by freshman Anthony McClung set up Jacob Rogers field goal with 10:35 left in the first quarter.

The Bearcats defense stopped the Sooners on five plays following the opening kickoff.

Woods return brought much joy to special team coordinator, Kerry Coombs, who was seen leaping with joy on the sidelines.

Cincinnati had a first and goal inside the five but settled for the field goal.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Arizona Takes the Finale 3-1 Reds Still in Command

The Reds hit the road, Houston, Milwaukee and San Diego with a magic number of 10 pending the Cardinals tilt with the Padres in St. Louis tonight.

Rodrigo Lopez handcuffed the Reds for seven innings, allowing one run on eight hits.

Edinson Volquez had a subpar fifth inning.  He walked the first two batters of the inning and the Diamondbacks strung three hits together for a 3-1 lead.

"He just lost the strike zone for an inning," Baker said.  "Sometimes that's all it takes."

The key hit was a double by Gerardo Parra that was a slow ground ball down the firstbase line that Joey Votto couldn't quite get to.

"Volquez was real good," Baker said.  "That one change up dribbled down the line.  He is real close to wear he was a couple years ago."

Volquez was an All-star with 17 wins in 2008 but missed most of last season with elbow problems that were corrected by surgery.

"I'm really close (to top form from 2008).  My delivery is better.  I'm throwing more fastballs for strikes. I lost my rhythm a little bit today but I just need to pitch.  I get better each time out."

The Reds are very close to securing the National League Central Division crown.

"We haven't won anything yet," Baker said before the game.  "People tell me congratulations but I said for what? We don't have anything to celebrate.  We are playing teams with nothing to lose.  Teams that want to prove themselves and guys trying to improve their numbers for a salary drive."

Jonny Gomes, who had two hits said, "We can't get ahead of ourselves.  We're in a situation where we don't have to watch the scoreboard.  We can concentrate on winning innings.  We've done a good job of keeping our eyes on the prize."

Houston Gets Del Rosario From Reds

The Houston Astros obtained Enerio Del Rosario from the Reds for cash.

Del Rosario has promise but the Reds minor league system is loaded with relief pitchers.  When the Reds were down to three healthy outfielders, they acquired Willie Bloomquist from Kansas City.  That required that they open a spot on the 40-man roster so Del Rosario was designated for assignment.  The Del Rosario had to clear waivers, be traded or released within 10 days.

Closer.....Chapman no...Cordero si

Regardless of the trendy thoughts of armchair managers and sports columnist, Francisco Cordero WILL be the Reds closer.

As much drama as there is when the Dominican closer enters a game, Dusty Baker and Jay Bruce and the rest of the Reds trust him 100 percent.  The popular notion that Aroldis Chapman should replace Cordero will not fly with Baker and his reasoning is very hard to argue with once you separate from the fear that saves look too hard.

They are.  Major league hitters are not easy to pitch too, not for Chapman and not for Cordero or Heath Bell or Billy Wagner.

Check the stats Bill James breath...Cordero has 36 saves and blown 6

Cordero is right in line with:

Heath Bell 42 saves 6 blown
Billy Wagner 33 saves 7 blown

Mariano Rivera blew two saves in Texas last weekend.  Prior to blown saves on Friday and Sunday, Cordero had saved 11 in a row and 18 out of 19.

The notion that Chapman should take over that role in September is ridiculous on many levels.  First off he was just converted to a closer and September is the wrong time to experiment.  Also, while people are so enamored with a plus 100 mph fastball, the Cuban Missile is not unhitable to major leaguers with a bat in their hands.

He hasn't given up a run charged to him so his ERA is zero but he has inherited six baserunners and five have scored.  He has already pitched in three save situations and has two holds and a blown save.

The following is what Baker had to say when pressed by a columnist this morning.

"My thinking hasn't changed.  Chapman just learned how to relieve.  That eighth inning and seventh inning is a whole lot easier than that ninth inning.  Is this the place to experiment with guys that haven't been there?  And then in case he doesn't do it (save a game) do you go back to Coco (Cordero) and say, 'I was just kidding'.  Then you lose both of them.  So the key is to keep Chapman in the position where he is doing his thing.  And the eighth is Arthur Rhodes job.  He's been a little hobbled."

"I thought we had Coco fixed.  He had 18 out of 19.  People forget that because of the last couple times out there.  You look at the list of guys that have blown saves this year and he's not the biggest.  He was walking people before, now he's throwing too many fat strikes.  That's the start right there, throwing strikes.  He's getting two strikes on people.  Fix the situation where we are now and everybody will be doing what they're supposed to do.  As soon as he comes in the game and gives up one ball, the booing starts.  That makes it worse.  That doesn't help."

"Let's enjoy what we have instead of thinking about what we don't have.  How about that?

Columnist "Some people say you have a closer that's shaking at the moment and you have a guy throwing 103."

Baker  "Hey man, there have been some that didn't like the stuff I was doing from the start of the season.  They didn't like my lineup, they didn't like this, they didn't like that, the didn't like whatever the hell they didn't like.  I can't worry about that.  You know what I mean.  Those people don't manage this ballclub.  Those people don't understand the psychological dynamics of the ballclub.  There are people that wanted Dickerson to play. Then the didn't want Dickerson.  Then they wanted Nix to play.  Then they wanted Bruce to go to the minor leagues and wanted Heisey to play everyday.  Then the wanted Stubbs sent to the minor leagues, remember.  There were people that wanted Masset out of here.  They were booing the hell out of Masset.  I don't go with what people say.  People go by who's hot at the time.  I got to look at the overall big picture of the dynamics and the psychology of my ballclub.  Make sense?"

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Red Magic Number Drops to 10

The Reds 7-5 win over Arizona while the Chicago Cubs completed a three-game sweep in St. Louis.

That combination puts the Reds eight games ahead of the slumping Cardinals and reduces the Reds magic number to 10.  Any combination of Reds wins and St. Louis losses that add up to 10 make the Reds the National League Central Champions.

The Reds are 83-63 with 16 games to play.
The Cardinals are 74-70 with 18 to play.

If the Reds just win half of the games remaining, St. Louis must go 17-1 or be eliminated.

"Regardless of the way the Cardinals are playing, if we play good baseball, they can't catch us,"  Jay Bruce said.

Reds Score Early Fight off Snakes 7-5

Last night Justin Upton saved the Arizona Diamondbacks with a game saving catch to end the game.

Jay Bruce returned the favor tonight, snaring a high fly hit by Adam LaRoche in the very right field corner.  The ball was hit very high and twisting and arching toward the foul pole.  Bruce had to get his bearings and couldn't follow the ball all the way.

"I had to make sure I could get there," Bruce said.  "If I couldn't get over there, I couldn't catch it at all.  I was jumping kind of laterally.  I had to run so far, I didn't know really where it was."

The catch took Francisco Cordero off the hook.

The Reds scored four in the first inning and one in the second to take an early 5-0 lead but only the first of Orlando Cabrera's three doubles and a two-run home run by Drew Stubbs (18) were hit well.  An dropped line drive by centerfielder Chris Young contributed to the outburst off Arizona starter Joel Saunders, who pitched better than his line indicated.

The Reds scored again in the second.  Cabrera doubled and Joey Votto drove in his 104th run of the season.

But Reds starter Homer Bailey was dizzy.

"I saw his face when he went out there in the first inning.  I told (pitching coach) Bryan (Price) he doesn't look right.  It looked like he was nervous or way out there. I could tell something was wrong he threw the first two balls in the dirt.  He never throws balls in the dirt," Dusty Baker said.

The Diamondbacks took advantage of two walks, two singles and a double to close the margin to 5-3.

"I got a little lightheaded.  I'll get a little bit of rest tonight.  I had a headache.  I thought my hat was too tight or something," Bailey said.  "I was off balance and stuff.  I've have not had this before."

Matt Maloney picked up his first win of the year.  He pitched 2 1/3 innings.  He allowed a solo home run to Kelly Johnson after he retired the first seven batters he faced.  Nick Masset finish the inning.  Aroldis Chapman struck out two in a perfect eighth.

The Reds got to Saunders again in the bottom of the eighth.  Saunders pitched 7 1/3 innings and allowed 10 hits.  Three of the seven runs scored off him were unearned.

"There were plays we could have made," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said.  "He gave up seven runs but they weren't reflective of the way he threw.  He was in control."

Cabrera doubled yet again.  Votto grounded out sending Cabrera to third.  Jonny Gomes, who tripled in the first blooped a single to right.  Miguel Cairo playing for a sore Scott Rolen hit a line drive into leftcenter that glanced off Gerardo Parra's glove after a long run.  The drive off Esmeriling Vasquez was originally ruled an error but changed to a double.  Vazquez walked Stubbs then hit Ryan Hanigan to plate the Reds seventh run.

"Those were the epitome of insurance runs, right there," Baker said.

That set the stage for Cordero, who made it interesting again.

Pinch hitter Tony Abreu and Stephen Drew singled to start the inning.  Johnson hit into a force play.  Chris Young grounded out to score Abreu.  Then LaRoche hit the fly that Bruce caught.

Cordero has been struggling.  He blew two saves against Pittsburgh over the weekend and Bruce saved him.

"He's our closer.  I have 100 percent confidence in him.  He has 36 saves.  How many guys in the league have that many saves?  Some have gotten away but that's the name of the game.  That's baseball.  It's not easy."

Rolen Hurt - Bruce Day Off

This time of year everyone has aches and pains.  Scott Rolen has soreness in his shoulder and upper back so Super Sub Miguel Cairo will play thirdbase tonight.

Rolen tweeked his back and shoulder on his third at bat last night.

"I'm the proverbial day-to-day," Rolen said.

"I could tell last night," Dusty Baker said.  "He had some funky swings.  Plus he got real quiet.  He's quiet anyway but when he gets real quiet, something's wrong."

Bruce, who just came back from a side injury, will rest against Arizona lefthander, Joe Saunders.  Willie Bloomquist will play rightfield.  Bloomquist is fresh from Kansas City.  He just arrived.

"We want to give Jay a day off against the lefthander, let him heal some more.  We want to let (Chris) Heisey heal a little more too.  Heisey is available for the late innings but we don't want to give him four at bats just yet.  (Jim) Edmonds is getting better.  He's probably close.  (Laynce) Nix is getting better.  He's walking without a limp.  He's hitting but he hasn't run yet.  I've been holding my breath for two weeks."

Bloomquist considers himself and infielder but the Red have infielders that a relatively healthy.

"I am thankful for the opportunity," Bloomquist said.  "I just want to help these guy get to the playoffs and do the best I can.  I haven't played a lot of infield this year but I've become comfortable with the uncomfortable."

Bloomquist is not eligible to play in the postseason but his presence allow the walking wounded among the outfielders time to get better.

"We will play him tonight against the lefthander and probably the first game in Houston," Baker said.  "He (Bloomquist) hits lefthanders pretty well.  We'll start him against Wandy (Rodriguez Houston's lefthanded starter).  He gives Jay the blues anyway."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Daniel Hudson Slows Reds 3-1 But Magic Number Drops to 12

Since the Arizona Diamondbacks acquired Daniel Hudson from the Chicago White Sox, he has been ace-like.

"They gave up a no-hit pitcher for him, (Edwin Jackson).  He's going to be a good one," Dusty Baker said.

He started the game against the first place Reds with a 5-1 record and a paltry 1.91 ERA.  His lone loss was to the Reds in Phoenix on August 17 when he allowed three runs on nine hits as the Reds took a 6-2 decision.

"He was dealing," Baker said.  "He pitched well against us last time but they made an error behind him and we took advantage of it."

Tonight he allowed four hits and handcuffed the home team while his mates reached rookie Travis Wood for nine hits and three runs.  Wood pitched five innings but he allowed five sharp singles in the fourth inning that put the Diamondbacks ahead, 2-0.  Tony Abreu doubled and Justin Upton singled to plate the third run.

Wood did strike out eight.

"I was getting a lot of third strikes on the outside corner, but I fell behind a lot," Wood said  "They didn't always hit the ball hard but they don't have to.  A hit's a hit."

"Wood threw the ball good. They squared some up though in RBI situations," Baker said

Jonny Gomes singled in the second inning, Wood doubled in the third.  Orlando Cabrera doubled in the fourth and Yonder Alonso singled as a pinch hitter in the fifth but that was all.

Hudson finished eight shutout innings allowing the four hits and one walk.  Juan Gutierrez came on in the ninth.

Cabrera opened the ninth with a single.  Joey Votto singled hard off the wall in right.  Scott Rolen struckout on three pitches.  Gomes did the same.  Jay Bruce got nothing to hit and walked on four pitches, leaving the game in the hands of Drew Stubbs with 66 RBI on the year.  Stubbs was hitting .412 with a grand slam and 18 RBI with the bases loaded this season.  Guiterrez hit Stubbs in the left arm with a 1-1 pitch to score Cabrera and put the tying run on secondbase.  Ramon Hernandez lined to right and Justin Upton made a nice running catch to end the game.

With the speedy Stubbs on first the play was win or lose for both teams.  With two out Stubbs would have easily scored the winning run had Upton not been up to making the catch.

"That shows you the importance of defense right there," Baker said.  "Mony (Ramon Hernandez) scalded that ball.  That's why we stress defense, it may not always win you a game but it can save one.  Did you see the strides he used to run that down?  That's an athlete.  He wanted that ball."

Hernandez was certain it was going to win the game.

"The way I hit it I thought it was in the gap.  He made a great, great play.  You have to tip your hat to him," Hernandez said.  "We never give up.  We put together good at bats and made him (Gutierrez) strikes," Hernandez said.

Upton was sitting by his locker watching his older brother B.J. bat for Tampa Bay in a 7-7 game against the Yankees.

"I got a good jump on the ball when it came off the bat," Justin Upton said.  "It got up in the lights a little bit but I was tracking it.  It came out of the lights in time for me to get a glove on it."

Meanwhile in St. Louis the Chicago Cubs defeated Adam Wainwright, 7-2 to keep the Cardinals seven games behind the Reds and drop the magic number to 12.  Any combination of Reds wins and Cardinals losses that add up to 12 gives the Reds the Central Division.

The Yankees Are Coming

Major League Baseball has released a tentative schedule for 2011.

The Reds will open with Milwaukee on Thursday, March 31.

No game times have been set yet.

The Reds host Cleveland, Toronto and The New York Yankees in Interleague play.

Toronto comes into Cincinnati Friday June 17, Sat 18 and Sunday the 19th.  The Yankees follow on Monday June 20, Tuesday June 21 and Wed June 22.

The Reds travel to Cleveland for a weekend series May 20-22.  They go to Camden Yard in Baltimore for the first time ever, the weekend of June 24-26 and to Tampa Bay June 27-29.

See the full schedule by clicking below:


Pujols Out Of Cardinals Lineup

The Cincinnati Reds have the St. Louis Cardinals on ropes.

Super star Albert Pujols is not in the lineup tonight against the Chicago Cubs.  Pujols injured his left elbow in Pittsburgh three weeks ago and aggravated it again a couple days later.  After the Cardinals lost to Chicago last night, Pujols needed a cortisone shot in his arm.

The National League leader with 39 home runs and 104 RBI has missed just one other game this season.

Felipe Lopez will play firstbase tonight for St. Louis and Colby Rasmus will take Pujols third spot in the batting order.

St. Louis trails the Reds by seven games and any combination of Reds wins and Cardinal losses that add up to 13 will clinch the Central Division for Cincinnati.

Bronson Arroyo's 15 Wins Makes Him One of the Big Boys

For the third year in a row Reds righthander Bronson Arroyo has won 15 games.

Is 15-games the new 20?

"No," Dusty Baker said.  "Twenty is twenty.  With any luck he would have 20 wins."

No one has won 20 games in either league over the last season.  From 1900 through 1982 there was just one season in the National League that no pitcher won 20 games.  In the American League there was just one season from 1900-1980 in which no pitcher won 20 games.

There have been seven season since 1982 in which no pitcher in the National League won 20 games.  In the American League there have been four years since 1982 without a 20-game winner.

Consider the following from the Reds Public Relations Department.....

Streaking: For the third straight season Arroyo has produced a career-high 15 wins...is the first Reds pitcher to win at least 15 decisions in 3 straight seasons since Tom Browning did it from 1988-90 (18, 15, 15) and the first Reds righthander to do it since Jack Billingham from 1973-75 (19, 19, 15)...is 1 of only 4 pitchers in the Major Leagues with at least 15 wins in each of the last 3 seasons (Sabathia,HalladayLester)...Lincecum becomes the fifth with 1 more victory.

Under Pressure: In 58 career apps and 47 starts in September/October is 22-11, 3.40 (315.1ip, 119er).

Workhorse: In each of the previous 5 seasons produced at least 32 starts and 200 innings pitched...has 30 starts and 197.2 innings pitched...is 1 of only 4 pitchers to record at least 200 innings in each of the previous 5 seasons, joining Dan Haren(202ip in 2010), Javier Vazquez (148.2 in 2010) and Mark Buehrle (187.1ip in 2010)...since he was acquired by the Reds prior to the 2006 season leads all Major League pitchers with 166 starts (tied w/ Dan Haren) and leads the National League with 1069.1 innings pitched.

"That's Bob Gibson and Ferguson Jenkins right there.  You don't think of Bronson as being one of the big boys.  He just don't have the stuff the big boys have.  He is one of the big boys.  The main thing is how many of those games did we win.  It's being as consistent as you can get right there," Baker said.

Bray Beats Ryal in a 16 Pitch Battle

Bill Bray and Rusty Ryal played out a mini drama in last night games.

Ryal fouled off 10 two-strike pitches until Bray finally got him to swing through the 16th pitch.

"I went fastball, slider.  I just didn't want to walk him and put him on base," Bray said.

A typical inning more often than not is 15 pitches.

"You want to avoid those," Bray said.  "You run up your pitch count pretty fast doing that.  I just wanted him to put the ball in play."

Bray couldn't remember an at bat that long.

"No comes to mind.  You don't want to have too many of them."

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Reds Clinch Its First Winning Season Since 2000

Jay Bruce turned 13 the year the Reds last had a winning record.  The Reds won for the 82nd time.

"Everybody wants to go to the World Series right away but you have to have a winning season first." Dusty Baker said.  "We have that.  The next step is win the division.  After that its the playoffs."

His two home-run, four RBI performance sealed it for the Reds, backing up Bronson Arroyo, who won his 15th game for the third straight year.  He is just 2 1/3 innings shy of 200 innings.

"One of the things that I'm most proud of in my career is taking the ball every fifth day," said Arroyo.  "I don't have C. C. Sabathia stuff."

Maybe not but the slightly built Arroyo has the equivalent of a 20 win year.  The old benchmark for wins by a starting pitcher used to be 20 but that was when managers used a four man rotation.  Since going to a fifth man the number of wins is logical.  Very few pitchers win 20 games now.  There aren't a whole lot that win 15 either. Arroyo mentions Sabathia, who has 19 wins now.  He has a chance to win 20 for the first time in his career but he doesn't have a string of five straight 200 inning seasons that Arroyo has.

"He'll get 200 innings this year," Dusty Baker said.  "Fifteen wins is the model of consistency.  I'll take that."

Bruce's injury may have helped him lead the team in its five home run assault of the Diamondbacks.

Joey Votto hit his 34th of the season.  Drew Stubbs added his 17th in the second inning following Bruce.  Orlando Cabrera hit his fourth.

"The injury may have helped Bruce," Baker stated.  "Actually it made him a little calmer and slower.  Chris Heisey came in and said he was the MVP because he got hurt."

There was a young fan who was in a wheel chair before the game.  Several players including Bruce gave him a bat and was asked to hit a home run.

"It is a humbling experience to meet someone like him," Bruce said.  "It's always good to hit home runs but everytime out there, I'm trying to have an impact.  This game is humbling."

The Reds win and St. Louis 5-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs puts the Reds back on top of the Division by seven games.  The Cubs are mathematically eliminated by the Reds win.  The magic number is now 13.

Bruce is Back Beats D'Backs 7-2

Jay Bruce was not in the original lineup but Chris Heisey was worn down.

Bruce insisted his aching side was better a couple days ago and talked his way into Dusty Baker's lineup.

He made Baker look smart again.  Bruce cracked two home runs and hit an RBI single in four trips to pace the Reds victory over the hapless snakes of Arizona.

Bronson Arroyo pitched the required five innings plus one to annex his 15th victory, tying his career high for the third time.  He has won either 14 or 15 games six times in the last seven seasons and four in a row.  He is 2 1/3 innings short of the benchmark 200 innings.

The only blemishes in his performance was back-to-back home runs to Miguel Montero and Ryan Church.  He scattered five single and walked none, while striking out eight.

Bruce has hit 10 home runs in his last 16 games.  He was the Reds' hottest hitter before missing the last 13 games with a strain in his right side.  It was the fourth multi-home run game this season for Bruce.

Reds Emergency Outfielder Turns Out To Be Bruce

Dusty Baker wanted to wait until Tuesday to bring Jay Bruce back.  Bruce has been saying he is ready for a couple days but Baker wanted to make sure he wouldn't hurt himself worse.

"We had a meeting a couple days ago.  Me, Jay and Dr. Kremchek talked about it.  We know he is not going to be fully healthy until he gets rest in the winter," Baker said.  "With Heisey hurting now we have to mix and match."

For insurance the Reds acquired Willie Bloomquist from the Kansas City Royals.  Bloomquist is 32 years old.  He was the third pick of the Seattle Mariners in 1999 out of Arizona State University.

Bloomquist hit .265 in 72 games for Kansas City, 35 in the outfield.  He can also play the middle infield which is valuable too with Orlando Cabrera's general soreness.

"Walt told me he is excited about being in a pennant race," Baker said.  "We need him.  He plays all over.  He plays a good outfield and he can run."

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Reds Miss Chance to Guarantee a Winning Season Fall 3-1

The Pittsburgh Pirates came off the mat for the third day in a row.  Friday they trailed 3-1 in the ninth and tied the game.  Saturday they scored four runs in the eighth when they were behind 3-0.  Sunday the Reds held a slim 1-0 lead in the ninth and scored on a three-run double by Andrew McCutchen off Francisco Cordero.

The Reds' maligned closer walked John Bowker to start the ninth.  Ryan Doumit singled to center.  Lastings Milledge bunted back to Cordero, who nailed Bowker at third.  Pinch hitter Garrett Jones singled hard to center to load the bases.  Pinch hitter, Jose Tabata hit a one-hopper to Votto, who got the force at home.  McCutchen was down 0-2 and took a pitch before he lined a ball into the leftfield corner to clear the bases.

Johnny Cueto was in middle school the last time the Reds had a winning season.

Cueto has allowed the Pittsburgh Pirates just four runs in 33 innings over five starts.

Neil Walker extended his hitting streak to 17 games with a dribbler in the first inning.  Pedro Alverez and Lastings Milledge hit singles in the seventh.  Cueto walked two.

Joey Votto drove home his 102nd run of the season with a double in the fourth, following Orlando Cabrera's double off Brian Burres.  Combined with two singles by Ramon Hernandez the Reds managed just four hits off the Pirates lefthander.

Logan Ondrusek and Arthur Rhodes relieved Cueto.  Ondrusek got the first two Pirates in the eighth but rookie Alex Presley singled.  Rhodes walked Walker.  Alvarez hit a sharp grounder to Cairo at third, who was giving Scott Rolen a day off.  He momentarily bobbled the ball but nipped Alvarez at first for the final out of the inning.

On Friday and Saturday the Reds responded after losing the lead by scoring. Heisey was involved in both.  This time Joel Hanrahan retired Votto on a ground out and Gomes on a swinging strike.  Then he nearly self destructed.  He hit Hernandez with a pitch, surrendered a single to Cairo.  Then he walked Stubbs.  Heisey came up with a chance to become the hero again.  He got down 0 and 2 but battled to get the count even, fouling off three pitches.  Hanrahan got him on a called third strike.

The Reds have to wait another day for its 82nd win.

Bruce Back Tuesday

Dusty Baker expects Jay Bruce to be ready by Tuesday.  Baker likes to make sure that players are 100 percent before they get back in the lineup.

His patience has been tested this time.  A month ago he had six outfielders.  He didn't know how to find enough playing time for them to stay sharp.  Then in succession, Laynce Nix, Jim Edmonds and Bruce went down with injuries.

That left Jonny Gomes, Drew Stubbs and Chris Heisey with no back ups aside from Yonder Alonso and Juan Francisco, who dabbled in the Louisville outfield.  Miguel Cairo played rightfield on Saturday because Heisey was a little banged up.

Heisey was back in rightfield on Sunday.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Volquez is Back Reds One Day Closer As They Rally 5-4 in 10

Edinson Volquez has found his long lost release point.  He poured in quality strikes at the hapless Pittsburgh Pirates all night.

Scott Rolen and the Reds offense provided just enough to get the job done.  Charlie Morton pitched much better than his 1-11 record and 9.66 ERA would suggest.

Rolen hit a pair of leadoff doubles.  Jonny Gomes singled behind him twice.  Both hits were right in front of outfielders and hit a little to hard to score Rolen but Drew Stubbs and Ramon Hernandez hit fly balls deep enough to get Rolen home.

Volquez allowed a single that could easily have been fielded by Orlando Cabrera but Jose Tabata reached one out into the first.  Garrett Jones walked with two outs and was the last to reach base against the dominant Volquez.

He retired all of the last 19 batters he faced, fanning 10 of them.

Drew Stubbs had two hits to go with his sacrifice fly and Miguel Cairo starting in rightfield for Chris Heisey lifted a third sacrifice fly in the seventh.  Cairo made his 33rd career start in the outfield in 1150 games.  Heisey was banged up last night but entered as a defensive replacement in the eighth inning.

The Reds were already down to its last three outfielders forcing Dusty Baker to put Cairo in right where he had one routine chance.

The scoreboard watching was evident when the team's investment in Alex Gonzalez paid off in a strange way. Gonzalez now an employee of the Atlanta Braves hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the 12th inning in Atlanta to sink the St. Louis Cardinals in a 6-3 loss.  When the score was posted a bewildered Ryan Doumit couldn't understand why the crowd cheered so, as he entered the batters box.

The Pirates scored two runs in the eighth off Nick Masset before giving way to Aroldis Chapman with two outs.  Masset left runners on first and second.  Chapman threw a two balls to Neil Walker.  Andrew McCutchen and Tabata easily pulled of a double steal.  Walker hit a 99 mph fastball back through the box for a two run single and the Reds lead and Volquez win, went up in smoke.  Chapman caught Walker running for the third out but the save had been blown.

Evan Meek started the eighth for Pittsburgh.  Brandon Phillips lined out to right but Cabrera singled and Joey Votto walked for the second time.  Rolen struck out on a 3-2 pitch.  Gomes took a called third strike to end the threat.

Chapman struck out two in a 1-2-3 ninth.

Joel Hanrahan took the mound for Pittsburgh in the bottom of the ninth, attempting his fifth save.

Hernandez singled up the middle on the first pitch.  Chris Valaika pinch ran for him.  Stubbs took a ball after squaring to bunt, then forced Valaika with a bunt at his feet.  Doumit got Valaika easily.  Heisey tied it with a double just inside the thirdbase.  Ryan Hanigan hit for Chapman.  Hanigan flied out to deep center.  Phillips stepped in 0-for-4.  The count went full.  Phillips walked.  Cabrera flied out to deep center.

Francisco Cordero pitched a perfect 10th.

Justin Thomas trotted from the bullpen to face Votto.  The MVP candidate launched his 33rd home run of the season to leftfield to build the Reds lead back to seven games.

Cincinnati Completes Blowout of Indiana State

UC was late to the party but once they arrived they became the life of it.

Four touchdowns in the third quarter, took a surprisingly close game and made it a blowout, rout.

UC took advantage of Indiana State mistakes but made quite a few of their own.   The Indiana State defense played well according to their coach, Trent Miles.

"You can't expect to play up and mishandle snaps in the shotgun.  We practice those everyday in practice.  They wouldn't let us run the ball.  Their coaches had a great scheme and they are big and strong upfront.  You can't make the mistakes we made and hope to be in the game in the fourth quarter.  They wore us down."

UC had to have gotten a wake up call at halftime.  After a late game last Saturday and a date with North Carolina State of the ACC looming on Thursday with Oklahoma waiting in the wings, a let down could be excused.  Still the Bearcats didn't defeat Indiana State as much as the Sycamore's self destructed.

"They came out and were more physical in the second half," said linebacker and punter Santorino Davis.  Davis caused one of two fumbles by D.J. Wood that kept Indiana State in the game in the first half.

Cincinnati shut down the run after the Sycamores ran wild in its first win with 464 yards rushing over St. Joseph of Indiana.  The Bearcats held them to 93 most of which came in the fourth quarter.

Cincinnati Pouring It On

The 12-7 halftime lead has ballooned to a 40-7 lead with three minutes to go in the third quarter.

I would have loved to hear Butch Jones in the lockeroom.

UC Up Just 12-7 at Halftime

The Cincinnati Bearcats have their hands full with Indiana State.  The Sycamores are classified as NCAA Division I Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-AA.

The Bearcats appeared to be in control when a snap problem, the second of the game by Indiana State led to a safety putting Cincinnati up 12-0 mid-way through the second quarter.

But on the free kick Sycamore punter, Santino Davis, who is also a linebacker separated D.J. Wood from the football and changed the momentum.  Wood fumbled again after a reception in UC territory.

Indiana State took advantage of its first trip to the UC side of the 50 and scored to come within five points at halftime.

Colerain's Evan Davis was replaced on the Cincinnati offensive line by veteran, Randy Martinez.  Another Colerain grad, Evan Borchers took over for the Sycamore center following a bad snap.  Notable local players for Indiana State are: OL Brad Hasdorf from Colerain.  LB Marcus Lewis from Indian Hill (Bengal Head Coach Marvin Lewis's son), WR Leonard Riston from  Withrow,  RB Tyler Williams from Talawanda, and DL Jordan Bright from Wyoming.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Chapman Gets His First Win Hanigan Blasts Brewers 6-1 Lead By 8

Aroldis Chapman got his first Major League win when Ryan Hanigan hit a three-run pinch-hit home run off former batterymate, Todd Coffey in the seventh inning..

 It was his fifth of the season and the 10th pinch-hit home run by the Reds this season.  The record is 13 set in 2006.

For six innings, Milwaukee's starter, Chris Narveson, pitched and hit the Brewers into the lead.  His second single of the game off Johnny Cueto in the sixth plated Lorenzo Cain with the first run of the contest in the top of the fifth.

"Narveson was dealing but Johnny was good too.  If we could have gotten a fielder's choice before Narveson's hit, they wouldn't have scored either," Baker said.

Cueto completed six innings and allowed just five hits but Narveson, who now sports a .341 average put him in a one-run hole as he left the game.

The crowd got into the game when the with the Cuban Missile, Aroldis Chapman, incoming.  For the second straight night, Chapman sent the digital diplays of the radar guns spinning.  However, Cain hit a 101 mph fastball hard on one hop to Scott Rolen at third.  Chapman took command and whiffed Alcides Escobar and Jonathan Lucroy to end the inning.

"We weren't dead on the bench. Narveson made us look dead," Baker said.  "When you're not scoring and their pitchers is pitching well sometimes you look dead.  But Chapman coming in did change the energy in the ballpark.  You don't say anything but you absorb it."

The excitement carried over into the offense.  Jonny Gomes swung threw Narveson's two-strike pitch for the first out, but Ramon Hernandez coaxed a walk. Coffey replaced Narveson.  With an extra catcher on the roster Dusty Baker could pinch run for him.  Brandon Phillips, who hasn't played all week with a swollen right hand, scored another run when Miguel Cairo doubled off Coffey.  Paul Janish reached on an infield single that Escobar dove for an saved a run, temporarily.  Hanigan launched a three-run home run into the upper deck in left.  The Brewers changed pitchers.

"I hit a slider middle in," Hanigan said.  "Everyone feels like they want to be the guy.  Everyone has stepped up, top to bottom.  We trying to build on our lead.  We're not taking anything for granted.  We haven't played St. Louis too well this year.  We'll take the momentum we have now and see what happens."

Mike McClendon walked Drew Stubbs and surrendered a single to Chris Heisey.  Milwaukee manager Ken Macha selected Zach Braddock to work his lefty on lefty voodoo on  Joey Votto.  Votto walked for the second time.  Rolen capped the scoring with a two run single.

"I am really happy to have my first victory in my big leagues.  I'm very proud of it," Chapman said through an interpreter.  "I didn't talk much about it before now.  I just wanted to get here (Major Leagues) and stay here.  I feel really good when people cheer for me.  I think their starting pitcher from the other team was doing a great job.  When their bullpen came in then we started to hit."

The Reds and Baker wanted to ease him into his role but a short bullpen forced Baker to use him in a 1-0 game.

"It was not by choice that we used him tonight but Arthur (Rhodes) was not available and Bill Bray worked two in a row. That's why I didn't use him two innings last night," Baker said.

Nick Masset and Francisco Cordero finished off the Brewers.

Phillips took the scoring lead back from Albert Pujols with his 93rd run scored.  The only bad news was Votto's 10-game hitting streak ended.  He was 0-for-2 with two walks.

Lost in the night was the first Major League at bat by the Reds top pick in the 2008 draft.  Yonder Alonso made the last out in the six-run seventh by hitting a check swing grounder to the pitcher.

Cards Have A Problem In Houston

The St. Louis Cardinals lost in Houston this afternoon and were swept in the three game series.  They scored exactly two runs in three games.

It is a good thing that Tony La Russa saved his aces for the Reds over the weekend.  They shaved their heads to change their luck.  They have dealt themselves a tough hand.  They are at the present time 7 1/2 games behind the Reds.  If the Reds complete the sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers tonight, they will take an eight game lead into St. Louis Friday night.

Any combination of Reds wins and Cardinal losses that equal 24 give the Central Division to the Reds.

If the Reds split the remaining 30 games at 15-15.  The Cardinals must go 23-8 the rest of the season just to tie.

Division Hell, The Reds Best in the League

Don't look now but the Reds recent surge has put them at the top of the National League.

San Diego has lost six straight while the Reds have won 10 of its last 14 games.  The Reds and Atlanta have identical records, 77-55.  San Diego is sitting at 76-55.

The only two teams in baseball with a better record are the Yankees at 82-50 and Tampa Bay at 81-51.

Cabrera and Volquez Play in Dayton Tonight

Orlando Cabrera is close to returning for the stretch run.  He will play in Dayton tonight and tomorrow.  He will join the Reds in St. Louis and be evaluated to see if he is ready.

Brandon Phillips is lobbying for a return on Friday.  Dusty Baker wants to see how he feels after hitting this afternoon.  The swelling is nearly gone but the urgency is not that great due to the excellent job that young Chris Valaika has done.

Yonder Alonso will be a bat off the bench.  "We already have a firstbaseman," Baker said.  "The reports on Alonso and Francisco as outfielders have been so-so."

Two weeks ago the Reds had more outfielders than they needed.  Now with Jim Edmonds and Laynce Nix getting hurt, the options have evaporated.  Miguel Cairo, who also suffered an injury, is the best option to help in the outfield.  Tonight Cairo is in the lineup at secondbase.