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.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Chad Reinke Called Tom Cochran Designated For Assignment

The Reds added righthanded starter, Chad Reineke, to its 40-man and 25-man roster and designated lefthanded reliever, Tom Cochran for assignment.

Reineke, the Miami University grad from Defiance, Ohio will start for the Reds against Milwaukee on Tuesday.

Brandon Phillips Lead NL Secondbasemen in All-Star Vote

Brandon Phillips leads Rickie Weeks in the balloting for the All-Star team at secondbase. Phillips is seeking his second All-Star selection. He has 837,778 votes.  Milwaukee’s Rickie Weeks has 562,071 votes..  

Jay Bruce Named National League Player of the Week

Jay Bruce led the Majors with 13 RBI and 25 total bases, and was tied for first with four home runs last week
while hitting .353 (12-for-34) in seven games.  His 12 hits ranked second among National Leaguers while his .735 slugging percentage was fifth and his six runs scored were sixth-best.  The 24-year-old Texan had four multi-hit games on the week, including two three-hit performances.  On Monday, May 23rd, Bruce went 3-for-4 and provided Cincinnati its only offense with a three-run homer in a 10-3 loss at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.  On May 23th, the 2005 first round pick (12th overall by the Reds) in the First-Year Player Draft went 3-for-8 with a home run while driving in three runs as the Reds dropped a 19-inning marathon to the Phillies, 5-4.  The next day, Bruce went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI as the Reds dropped
the third game of their four-game set in Philadelphia, 10-4.  The left-handed hitting Bruce homered again on May 29th, going 2-for-3 with a solo shot as the Braves edged the Reds, 2-1 at Turner Field in Atlanta.  Jay’s week continued a torrid month of May in which he now has 12 homers and 32 RBI.  His 31 homers since August 2010 are tops in the National League. This is his second career weekly award, having previously won for the week of October 3, 2010.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Reds Continue Mastery of the Brewers in 7-3 Win Jay Bruce Homers Again

The Red hot Jay Bruce hit his league leading 16th home run with two men on to help the Reds open a 5-0 lead.

Travis Wood pitched through the sixth and allowed three runs as the Reds beat Milwaukee for the sixth time in seven games.

Bruce started the game with a .350 average against left handed pitchers and Chris Narveson to Bruce's delight throws left handed. 

The Reds right fielder hit a triple into the right field corner to start the second inning and scored on a line out to left by the resurgent Jonny Gomes.

With Joey Votto and Scott Rolen on base in the fourth inning, Bruce hit an 0-2 pitch 416 feet into the right field bleachers.  Gomes followed with a double and one out later scored on a single by Paul Janish.

It was the 12th home run for Bruce in May, two shy of the team record for home runs in a calendar month.  No Reds hitter has hit more than 12 home runs in a month since Greg Vaughn set the Reds record with 14 in September 1999.

"I'm making better decisions at the plate about what pitches to swing at," Bruce explained.

Dusty Baker just wants Bruce to carry on.

"You accept the deal and hope he doesn't wake up," Baker said.  "You want him to be natural.  He's not missing good pitches to hit or fouling them off."

Bruce started the game hitting a sizzling .350 against lefthanded pitching.  Votto led the NL with a .426 average versus southpaws at gametime.

Wood has a recent habit of shutting a team down, then having one bad inning.  The bad one came in the fifth.  Carlos Gomez and pinch hitter Josh Wilson hit back-to-back home runs.  Ryan Braun doubled home Corey Hart, who singled.

The Reds behind a daily fielding gem by Brandon Phillips, who took a hit away from Braun with a diving stop behind second base and a rested bullpen shut down the Brewers.

Jose Arredondo, Nick Masset and Francisco Cordero covered the last three innings for Wood.

"I'd have liked to pitch deeper into the game," Wood said.  "They were hitting good pitches.  Gomez went down and got the pitch he hit out.  The pitch to Wilson was inside where it was supposed to be but he put a good swing on it."

Masset in his 14 outings since May 3rd has a microscopic 0.68 ERA.  He has allowed just one earned run in 13 1/3 innings.

The Reds padded its lead with two runs in the sixth. 

Ryan Hanigan singled with two out.  Janish singled for his second hit of the game.  Then what had eluded the Reds on the horrid road trip, a timely two-out hit was delivered by pinch hitter Freddie Lewis.  Hanigan scored on the hit.  Janish scored when Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy threw the ball away trying to catch Lewis rounding firstbase.

Edinson Volquez vs Andrew Brackman on Saturday

Edinson Volquez gave up a run in the first inning in his start at Louisville two.

The Reds struggling starter was plagued by bad starts in his 10 major league starts.  That was a contributing factor to his early season demotion.   Scranton Wilkes Barre scored in the first inning but Volquez last 7 2/3 and allowed just one more run on five hits and two walks.  He struck out five.

Andrew Brackman out of Moeller High School allowed two runs in 4 1/3 innings.  He gave up just one hit but walked six while striking out eight.

Louisville won 4-3 but neither started got a decision.

Scoreboard | Louisville Bats Scoreboard

Aroldis Chapman In Reds Clubhouse On Monday

Aroldis Chapman was in the Reds clubhouse on Monday afternoon.

He was not activated.

"We will tell you something about it in a couple days," Dusty Baker said.

Chapman was on rehab assingment in Louisville.

Chapman allowed four runs in 1 2/3 innings last night against Scranton-Wilkes Barre.  He gave up two walks and four hits.  Chapman pitched two innings on Thursday against SWB, allowing three runs on five hits.

Miami (Ohio) University Grad Chad Reineke Will Start For Reds Against Milwaukee

Chad Reineke
Chad Reineke of Defiance, Ohio and a graduate of Miami University will start for the Reds against Zach Greinke and the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday.

Cincinnati needs to make moves on both its 40-man and 25-man roster.

The Reds have signed Reineke to a minor league contract the last two seasons.

Reineke is 5-2 with a 2.52 ERA in nine starts with Louisville.  His last start was Friday but he was taken out after two innings without a run being scored, possibly in anticipation of his start on Tuesday.  On May 22 he pitched eight innings against Norfolk, allowing one run on four hits.

The 6'6" righthander was invited to the major league training camp in Goodyear, Arizona this spring. 

"You look at him and he doesn't have outstanding stuff," Dusty Baker said in March. "But he keeps winning and getting people out. He reminds me of John Burkett. I don't know if Burkett had 150 wins in the big leagues but people were never impressed too much with his stuff. He just got people out."

Reineke was selected by the Houston Astros in the 13th round in 2004.

He was traded to San Diego for Randy Wolf in 2008.  He started three games for the Padres and was 2-1 with a 5.00 ERA.

San Diego traded Reineke to Oakland for Danny Putnam in 2009.  He started one game for Oakland, working five innings and allowing four runs on seven hits.

See Fullofschatz from March 14 for more...... http://fullofschatz.blogspot.com/2011/03/miamis-chad-reineke-just-gets-people.html

Dusty Baker Laments Power Outage

Dusty Baker knew this stretch of the season would be difficult and one that the Reds would need get through.

"Where I come from you get stronger through adversity.  I'm fine.  I'm alive and well," Baker said.  "It was a grueling road trip.  We knew this was the toughest part of the year.  With who we played and the number of games without a day off.  Then we had some tough games.  That's what I told them at the beginning.  We want to get as many games above .500 as we can in case we hit a rough spot."

It was rough.  Seven losses in nine games.  Five of the seven losses were by one run and two were in extra innings, in which a timely hit would not only have meant victory but much needed rest for a weary bullpen.

If the nightmare road trip wasn't bad enough, Baker arrived at his apartment and the power was out.

"Me and my bad knees had to walk up seven flights," Baker said.

The Reds start the second third of the season against Milwaukee.

Reds Nightmare Road Trip Ends in 2-1 Loss To Braves

The Reds knew the road trip was going to be a challenge but they didn't know that Murphy's Law would be so strictly enforced.

The roadtrip from Elm Street started against Cleveland the team with the best record in the American League, two one run losses and a short pitching outing by its started resulted in a blow out losses and a blown out bullpen.

Next the Reds had four games against the team with the best record in the National League, the Philadelphia Phillies.

Another short outing on Monday, a win, then a 19 inning loss, and another blowout preceeded a weekend series against a 2010 playoff team in Atlanta.  The Reds won a hard fought game on Friday, then lost another long hard 12-inning loss on Saturday.

They desperately needed a deep start by its starter, Johnny Cueto and got one.  An eight inning effort in which the righthander made one bad pitch.  Unfortunately for Cincinnati, that mistake was hit out of the ballpark by Martin Prado, after Jordan Schafer reached first with a nine-pitch argument with Cueto.  Schafer fouled off some good pitches and walked.

Jair Jurrjens started for Atlanta with a 6-1 record and a league-leading 1.56 ERA.  He made one bad pitch as well and Jay Bruce hit his National League leading 15th home run in the second inning.  There was no one on base at the time.

Cueto made it stand up until Prado reached the seats in the sixth inning.

Cueto pitched two more scoreless innings to help refresh the besieged bullpen and nearly came away with a win but the snake bitten Reds were stymied by a controversial call.

Paul Janish singled for the second time in the top of the eighth.  The first time he singled in the third inning, Cueto was asked to bunt Janish into scoring position but former Reds' catcher, David Ross, hooked up with Dan Uggla to pick Janish off base.  Uggla who was covering first, snuck in behind Janish as Ross took a wide pitch and nailed the Reds' shortstop.

This time Cueto's sacrifice attempt was successful.  Janish was still on second after Drew Stubbs struck out.

Brandon Phillips extended his hitting streak to six games by lining a hard single that fell in front of Prado, who played it on a perfect bounce on which to throw.  Prado indeed made a strong throw to Ross.  On a close play at home Janish was called out by umpire, Dan Iassogna.  The mild mannered Janish jumped up in protest after making a nice evasive slide.  Replays showed evidence that the tag by Ross, if he made one at all was late.

When a team is struggling it seems like every call goes against them and the ball bounces in favor of the opposition all the time.  The play was a prime example.  Had Phillips hit the ball softer, Prado's throw would have been late.  Had the ball been an inch or so to either side, Janish would have beaten the throw.

Had karma been on the Reds' side, Janish and Cincinnati would have gotten a favorible call but it went against them.

To extend the cruel nightmare, Joey Votto was walked by closer, Craig Kimbrel to open the ninth.  Two outs later, Freddie Lewis singled to put Votto in scoring position, creating a rematch between Kimbrell and Ramon Hernandez.

On Friday, Hernandez hit a two-run home run off Kimbrell, who was trying to hold Cincinnati to a 3-1 ninth inning lead to give the Braves a chance to rally.

This night, Kimbrell put his fastball just out of the top of the strikezone to strike out Hernandez, who is one of the club's better clutch hitters.

The Reds limp home to play a hot Milwaukee team.  The Reds have taken five of the first six battles with the Brewers.

Reds Add Independent League Lefthander Tom Cochrane to the Roster

The Reds strapped for pitching help added former Frontier League lefthander Tom Cochrane to its major league 40-man roster and called him up on Sunday morning.

Matt Maloney was placed on the 60-day disabled list with a broken rib and Sam LeCure was added to the 15-day disabled list with a right forearm injury.

The Reds added Jeremy Horst earlier but the 29-year old was not even invited to spring training.

The former 20th round pick by the Boston Red Sox in 2003, pitched in three independent leagues from 2005 through 2008.

The Reds signed him from the Lancaster roster in the Atlantic League in June 2009.  He pitched for Carolina and Louisville that season.  He started at Carolina again in 2010, starting 25 games and earning an 8-5 record with a 2.69 ERA.  He was promoteded to Louisville for one start lasting four innings as an emergency starter.

This season Cochran started at Louisville, making four starts and four relief appearances.  He was 5-1 with a 4.08 ERA.

The Reds had a nightmare road trip, especially from a pitching standpoint.  They optioned a struggling Edinson Volquez to Louisville and called up Maloney to eat innings, along with infielder, Todd Frazier.

Maloney and LeCure ate some innings on Sunday and Monday but Maloney broke his rib while sneezing.

The Reds called up Carlos Fisher, who was asked to pitch 5 2/3 innings in Wednesday's 19-inning game with an afternoon game the following day.

Fisher was used up and LeCure and Maloney couldn't pitch.  Knowing this the Reds had to send Frazier back and recalled, Darryl Thompson from Carolina, mainly because he could get to Philadelphia in time.

On Thursday, Homer Bailey came down with inflammation in his shoulder.  He would be disabled and Thompson returned, so that Mike Leake could be recalled to start against Atlanta on Friday.  Bailey was disabled and Horst added to the roster and recalled on Saturday.

Another extra inning game taxed Fisher a second time in a 12-inning loss.

Making the addition of Cochrane necessary.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Reds Lose Another Long One to Braves 7-6 in 11 Innings

The Reds big comeback merely extended the long road trip.

The Reds played 19 innings in Philadelphia and Carlos Fisher had to tough out 5 2/3 innings and took the hard luck loss. 

Two double play balls, including Drew Stubbs with one out and runners on first and second in the 12th caused a tired Fisher to go back to work.  His control left him.  Fisher battled Jordan Schafer to 3-2 and walked him after Schafer fouled off two pitches.  Martin Prado fouled off a bunt attempt but also worked a walk.  Chipper Jones found the hole between first and second with a hard ground ball.

While the Braves walked off the Reds limped off, having dropped its seventh game of this marathon road trip.  The Reds raggedy bullpen had to cover nine innings because Bronson Arroyo had another short outing.

Arroyo lasted just three innings. 

The Reds ace walked Jones with two outs and the bases empty in the first inning.  Singles by the red hot Brian McCann and Erick Hinske put the Braves up a marker.

The Reds loaded the bases in the first but Jay Bruce, who has been a clutch hitter in the first eight games of the road trip, bounced into a double play.

Atlanta scored two more off Arroyo in the second inning and solo home runs by McCann and Freddie Freeman in the third put the Braves up by five.

The plucky Reds loaded the bases again in the third inning too but this time Bruce again allowed Atlanta starter, Derek Lowe escape the inning by grounding out to Freeman at firstbase.

The fourth inning was a different story.

Jonny Gomes singled to start the inning, his first of four hits.  Edgar Renteria walked.  Ryan Hanigan struck out on a foul tip.  Dusty Baker went to his bench.  Miguel Cairo pinch hit to end Arroyo's stint and poked a single to center field to load the bases.  Stubbs cleared the bases with a double, the second of his three hits.  Brandon Phillips doubled and scored a delayed run when a line single by Joey Votto barely eluded shortstop Alex Gonzalez.  Phillips thought Gonzalez caught the ball and who could blame him with the luck his team's been having.

Jeremy Horst, called up this afternoon, to help the tired bullpen made his major league debut.  The Wyoming native and North Dakota resident, struck out the first batter he faced and two of the three in the inning.

Jeremy Horst Debuts

In his first major league at bat, Horst singled home Gomes who led off with a double and was still on second with two outs.

The rookie couldn't hold the lead because McCann hit a long home run, his second of the game.  Horst gave Baker and the Reds 2 2/3 innings, allowed two hits and struck out four.

Jose Arredondo stranded Brave pinch hitter, Wilkin Ramirez who doubled off Horst, by getting Prado to fly out to center field.

Horst Singles in First At Bat
Bill Bray, Logan Ondrusek and Nick Masset matched zeroes with Scott Procter, Johnny Venters of Pikeville, KY and Craig Kimbrel.

Scott Linebrink pitched two innings to get the win.

Baseball Voices

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Horst With No Name Reds New Bullpen Member

Jeremy Horst

Jeremy Horst was born 25 years ago in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  There have been 12 other natives of that state that played in the major leagues.  The only other native of Wyoming to play and pitch for the Cincinnati Reds is Tom Browning.

Horst was placed on the Reds roster to fill the need for a second lefthander in the bullpen.

He takes Darryl Thompson's roster spot.  Thompson was sent back to Carolina last night.

The Reds selected the 6'3' lefty in the 21st round of the 2007 draft.  He was invited to spring training in Goodyear, Arizona this February.

Horst jumped three levels in 2010, starting in Lynchburg (11g,0-2,4.30era), promoted to Caroling (27g,3-2, 2.09), then advanced to Louisville (6g,2gs,1-0,2.51).

This spring Horst appeared in five games and allowed one earned runs on six hits and three walks.  He struck out five.

By Mark Schmetzer

Dusty Baker As An Atlanta Brave

Cincinnat manager Dusty Baker began his career with the Atlanta Braves.

Baker was drafted by Atlanta in the 26th round out of El Campo High School in Citrus Heights, California. He was the 504th player taken in the 1967 draft.

He made his debut with the Braves on September 7, 1968, pinch hitting for Phil Niekro against Houston's Denny Lemaster.  He grounded to shortstop.  Baker played 2039 major league games, hitting .278 with 1,013 RBI.

Dusty Baker from Braves 1974 Team Picture at Turner Field
Baker was on deck in Riverfront Stadium on April 4, 1974 when Hank Aaron hit the home off Jack Billingham that tied Babe Ruth with 714 career home runs.

Scenes From Turner Field

Mike Leake Pitches Reds to 5-1 Win Over Braves

This One Belongs to the Reds
 The Reds needed a good start badly and got one.  Mike Leake returned after two starts at Louisville to take the place of Edinson Volquez, who has struggled. 

Leake, who skipped the minor leagues completely by making the Reds' roster last season, had two poor outings in his only minor league action.  He pitched five innings and allowed five runs in his first game against Durham on May 18.  He pitched two innings on Monday against Norfolk in relief, allowing three runs on four hits.

Battling control problems, Leake shutdown the Braves with one run in six innings.  He allowed 10 base runners, seven hits and three walks but spaced them enough that Atlanta was scoreless until the sixth.  Dan Uggla's sacrifice fly plated Brian McCann, who doubled to open the sixth for the Braves lone run.

Left fielder du jour, Freddie Lewis, put the Reds on top with an RBI double that scored Scott Rolen, who topped a ground ball that died in the infield for a hit.

Lewis ran down a ball in the gap and threw out Martin Prado trying to stretch a single to end the third inning.

Atlanta's defense was lacking leading to a pair of Reds runs.

Starting pitcher, Tommy Hanson, threw a comebacker hit by Ramon Hernandez into center field after walking Lewis.  With Lewis on third, Paul Janish bunted to the mound as Lewis crossed the plate.

Cincinnati scored again in the fifth.  Brandon Phillips singled and stole second, then advanced to third on a fly out by Joey Votto.  Rolen walked and Jay Bruce hit a ball off reliever, George Sherril, that Sherril failed to reach for an RBI infield single.

Logan Ondrusek, Bill Bray and Nick Masset held the lead but had to escape loaded bases in the bottom of the eighth.

Bray walked Chipper Jones, a switch hitter that had to hit from the right side.  Bray retired the two lefthanded hitters that he was brought in specifically to face.  Bray struck out McCann and got a fly out from Eric Hinske.

Masset came in but allowed a ground ball single to Dan Uggla and walked Freddie Freeman on a very close 3-1 pitch.  The right handed setup man, who has rallied from an horrible first month of the season, rallied to induce former teammate, Alex Gonzalez, to ground into an inning ending force play.

Chis Heisey singled for his second hit as a double switch replacement,  Ramon Hernandez hit his seventh home run of the season off Craig Kimble, an opposite field shot near the right field line.  It matched his total from 2010.

The home run removed what would have been Francisco Cordero's elusive 300th career save.

Cordero finished off the Braves with a scoreless ninth.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Mike Leake Recalled - Bailey Goes To DL With Sprained Posterior

Capsule on his right shoulder.

Mike Leake was recalled as expected to make the start that would have been Edinson Volquez turn.

Volquez of course was sent to Louisville after his poor start on Sunday.

Homer Bailey had been off the disabled list three weeks when he sprained his right shoulder in an at bat on Thursday in Philadelphia.  He returned to Cincinnati on Friday and an examination revealed the sprained posterior capsule in his right shoulder.

The Reds now need to find a starter for Tuesday against Milwaukee at Great American Ball Park.

By Jerry Dowling

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Reds Fall In Philly Finale 10-4

The Reds got 10 hits and four runs off Cliff Lee but Lee had two hits and drove in three runs himself.

To compound the Reds woes, they may have lost another pitcher to injury.  Homer Bailey allowed a three-run home run to Raul Ibanez in the third inning.  He left with spasms in his shoulder.  Bailey had just returned on May 5 from a shoulder impingement.

Jay Bruce extended his National League home run lead with his 14th home run, a two-run blast off lefty Lee that tied the game at 4-4.

Darryl Thompson, called up for emergency, was pressed into immediate duty.  He pitched a clean fifth but walks got him in trouble in the sixth.  The Phillies loaded the bases with Lee's spot in the order coming up.

Lee hit a ball over Drew Stubbs head that bounced over the center field fence for a ground rule double to score, two runs.  He added an RBI single in the seventh.  Lee's three RBI was one more than his career total coming into the game.  His last RBI was in 2009.

The loss was the sixth in seven games on the road trip.  They have lost nine of the last 10 and dropped to four games behind the hated St. Louis Cardinals.

The Reds managed one win in the four-game series but in the division championship series last season the Reds were swept in a four-game series just before the all-star break and rebounded.

Homer Bailey Leave Game Against Phillies Early

As if the Reds pitching staff wasn't beat up enough.  Homer Bailey had to leave the Reds game after four innings with spasms in his shoulder.

Darryl Thompson recalled this morning came on in the fifth inning.

Matt Maloney to DL Darryl Thompson Promoted

Matt Maloney couldn't pitch last night in the marathon 19-inning game.  He strained his left oblique.

This answers the question about Carlos Fisher, pitching so long in the game, 5 1/3 innings and 95 pitches.

The Reds promoted Darryl Thompson from Double A Carolina.  Thompson made nine starts with a 1-4 record and a 4.44 ERA.

Why Thompson?

It was his turn to pitch and he was accesible.  It was doubtful that a pitcher from Louisville could make it to Philadelphia on time.

Brandon Phillips Apologizes To Reds Fans For 11th Inning Boner

On Thursday 26th May 2011,  said:
I want 2 apologize 2 all the #Reds fans 4 my mistake tonite. It was my fault 4 the loss, but I will keep my head up and get ready 4 the next game! #GOREDS

The tweet by Brandon Phillips
This one didn't cost the Reds a playoff appearance yet, but  Phillips lapse in concentration possibly cost his team a game and may get heroic Carlos Fisher sent back to Louisville.
One of the biggest baseball bonehead plays was pulled by Fred Merkle, a 19 year old for the New York Giants.  In a game against the Chicago Cubs in 1908, Merkle was the runner on first when Al Bridwell singled to score the winning run with two outs but Merkle failed to touch secondbase and headed off to celebrate.  Hall of Fame secondbaseman Johnny Evers yelled at Hank O'Day the umpire and for the baseball.  Evers touched secondbase and by rule Merkle was out on the force play.  The game was ruled a tie and had to be replayed in its entirety.  The Cubs won the game and the pennant.
Phillips was on second base with one out and Joey Votto on firstbase.  Phillips had been hit by a pitch and still stinging. While discussing it with shortstop Jimmy Rollins while of the base, Wilson Valdez, who later became the winning pitcher, yes the winning pitcher sneaked in behind Phillips.  JC Romero wheeled to catch Phillips napping for the second out. 
The Reds reloaded the bases but failed to score.  The game went to the 19th.  
Carlos Fisher, who was promoted just in case a situation like this happened, threw 95 pitches.  It was far more than he had ever had to throw.  Now Fisher will be unavailable for days.  The Reds couldn't use Sam LeCure and Matt Maloney because of outing like this earlier in the week.  LeCure tried to warm up but couldn't pitch.
The Reds may have to bring in another reliever to eat innings, meaning Fisher's heroic effort may very well get him sent out to Louisville.

Red Lose To Phillies In 19 Innings 5-4 2B Wilson Valdez Was The Winning Pitcher

The Reds hit Roy Halladay hard, unlike the last time they faced him.  Yet , the Reds had trouble getting timely hits unless Jay Bruce was at the plate.

Travis Wood got off to a slow start in contrast to his last start against Cleveland.  In Cleveland he pitched five hitless innings before losing control of the game in the sixth inning.  This time the first two batters scored.  Jimmy Rollins opened with a single and Ben Francisco hit a home run.   Wood allowed another run in the second inning and the Phillies ace had a three-run lead to play with.

Brandon Phillips, who ironically was the last out in Halladay's playoff no-hitter, singled with one out in the first.

The Reds stranded runners in every inning but the fourth and broke through with a single by Joey Votto that scored Drew Stubbs.  The Reds loaded the bases with two out in the seventh and Bruce came through with a two-run single.

The game became a bullpen battle.

Jose Arredondo, Bill Bray and Nick Masset for the Reds battled Michael Stutes and Ryan Madson through nine innings.  Masset had to pitch out of a bases loaded one out jam in the ninth.

Bruce took the reprieve and put the Reds on top with a home run to lead off the 10th inning.  But Francisco Cordero's first pitch in the 10th was smashed by Ryan Howard to re-tie the contest.

The Reds best chance to win the game was thwarted when Rollins distracted Phillips, who was in pain after being hit on his right hand by a wild. J.C. Romero.  Romero walked Votto.  Phillips lost concentration by talking to Rollins as Wilson Valdez snuck in and picked Phillips off second for the second out.  Romero walked Scott Rolen and Jay Bruce, then was replaced by Kyle Kendrick.  Ramon Hernandez hit a high chop to the mound.  Kendrick threw him out to end the threat.

More bullpen heroics kept the game tied for eight more innings.

Cordero pitched a scoreless 11th.  Logan Ondrusek pitched two scoreless innings.

For Philadelphia, David Herndon pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings.

By now the Phillies were down to its last pitcher Danys Baez.  The Reds had Carlos Fisher, who was recalled   on Tuesday because the bullpen was used up by two short outings in a row by Edinson Volquez and Bronson Arroyo.   Sam LeCure pitched 3 1/3 innings on Sunday and Maloney 3 1/3 on Monday.

Fisher battled Baez for five innings, neither blinked but both were wearing out.

Maloney could not go.  LeCure warmed up but was sore and could not pitch.

Fisher and Baez both got through the 18th inning.  The last player left on the bench, former Reds draftee, Dane Sardinha pinch hit for Baez in the 18th.

Phillies manager, Charlie Manuel, had to improvise.

Valdez the secondbaseman come on to pitch.  Placido Polanco moved from thirdbase to secondbase.  Carlos Ruiz came from behind the plate to play third.

Valdez had to face the reigning NL MVP, Votto.  Votto just missed his pitch and flied out to the warning track in center field.  Rolen was hit by a pitch and Bruce flied out.  Fisher had to bat and popped up.

Fisher was on fumes.  Rollins singled to start the 19th.  Dominic Brown walked. Polanco bunted to advance both runners.  The Reds walked Howard intentionally.  Raul Ibanez hit a long fly that Stubbs ran down for pride but Rollins scored easily.

Valdez earned the victory in the first game he had ever pitched in during his professional career.

The game lasted 6 hours 11 minutes.  The two meet in the fourth game of the series 11 hours from the end of the game.

It was the Phillies longest game since they played a 20-inning game against Los Angeles on July 7, 1993.  The Reds last played this long in another 19 inning game against the Dodgers on August 8, 1972.

Cincinnati lost its first extra inning game after four wins.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Reds Get A Hit Off Roy Halladay

The man who made the last out in Roy Halladay's playoff  no-hitter, Brandon Phillips singled up the middle one out into the first inning.

Phillips stole second and advanced to third on a ground out by Joey Votto but Scott Rolen lined out to Ryan Howard at firstbase to end the first inning.

Colerain Ace Ryan Atkinson Commits to the University of Cincinnati

Ryan Atkinson Colerain
Colerain righthander, Ryan Atkinson, committed to play baseball for the University of Cincinnati.

Atkinson had a hairline fracture on his right wrist but would have pitched had his Colerain team advanced in the Ohio High School tournament.

Atkinson has gotten looks from several major league teams.   He is also eligible for the major league draft on June 6,

Baseball Voices

Bronson Arroyo Has MRI in Cincinnati. Will Not Miss A Start

Bronson Arroyo takes pride in never missing a start.  Broadcaster, Chris Welsh, pointed out that Arroyo's pitch velocity was a little bit off.  Welsh wondered if it was from lingering effects of mononucleosis that Arroyo contracted during spring training.  He had some tightness in his back and flew to have it checked by Dr. Timothy Kremchek.

By Jerry Dowling
So many scouts have doubted his endurance due to his slender build but he takes the ball every fifth day, no matter what.  At most he will take an extra day's rest.

Arroyo is one of only five pitchers in the Major Leagues with at least 15 wins in each of the last 3 seasons (Roy Halladay,CC Sabathia, Jon Lester, Tim Lincecum).  In each of the last 6 seasons, Arroyo has produced at least 32 starts and 200 innings pitched.  He is one of only three pitchers to record at least 200 innings in each of the last six seasons, joining Dan Haren and Mark Buehrle, and his 1,292.2 innings pitched over the last six years are fourth-most in the majors behind only Sabathia (1351.0), Haren (1343.0) and Halladay (1322.2), Since he was acquired by the Reds prior to the 2006 season, he leads all Major League pitchers with 169 starts (tied w/Haren) and leads the National League with 1,087.1 innings pitched.

I have heard some sports talk people, who don't think that Arroyo is a number one starter.  Just look at the paragraph above.  If the facts and figures don't indicate that he is a number one starter, then why is he in the statistical company of those that are widley considered number one starters?

Jay Bruce Double Helps Break Reds Six Game Losing Streak 6-3 Over Phillies

Jay Bruce had a frustrating night but he persevered with a bases loaded double that snapped the Reds six-game losing streak.

Bruce struck out three times and popped up but came into the game with a five-game hitting streak in which he had two games with two hits and two with three (.611).

Bruce struck out with runners on second and third with one out in the fifth.

By Jerry Dowling
Johnny Cueto allowed three runs in six innings and the Reds bullpen, Bill Bray, Logan Ondrusek and Francisco Cordero, who earned his ninth save in 10 attempts with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.  It was the closer's 299th career save.

The Reds normalized its lineup, putting Scott Rolen back in the fourth slot and returning Brandon Phillips back to the number two hole.   The pair drove in three runs between them.  Rolen with a two-out single that followed a double by Joey Votto.  Prior to Bruce's fifth inning whiff, Phillips soft fly to right field tied the game as it fell in front of Dominic Brown.

The inning started with a walk to Cueto and Drew Stubbs followed that with a double.

With one out in the ninth inning Stubbs laid down a bunt against the Phillies temporary closer, Ryan Madson.  Madson compounded the problem by throwing the ball away.  Stubbs was in scoring position.  Phillips was frustrated by a line drive right to Jimmy Rollins at shortstop.   The Phillies walked Votto. Placido Polanco made a nice stop on a hard shot by Rolen that looked like a double but ended up an infield single. Bruce hit a 1-1 pitch to the base of the wall in right center and all three runners came home.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Volquez to Face Former Moeller Star Andrew Brackman In Louisville On Saturday

Edinson Volquez will attempt to regain his control on Saturday in Louisville against the Yankee farm team managed by Dave Miley.  The former Reds manager, who guides Scranton Wilkes Barre, will send former Moeller basketball and baseball star Andrew Brackman to the mound.

Brackman was on the 2005 Moeller state champion team.  He pitched 47.1 innings that season with a 7-0 record and an 0.60 ERA.  He was also the runner-up for Ohio Mr. Basketball.

Brackman attended the University of North Carolina as a basketball player. He was the Yankees first pick in 2007 (30th overall) and singed with them in August 2007.

The 6'10" righthander is 2-3 with a 6.59 ERA in eight starts for Scranton.

Frazier Down Fisher Up Reds Adjust Roster For Pitching

Todd Frazier got his taste of the major leagues in front of his friends and family in Philadelphia last night.

He struck out on four pitches but the real culprit was the short outing by Bronson Arroyo.   The Reds recalled Carlos Fisher to take the roster spot vacated by the demotion of Frazier.

The Reds need a fresh arm rather than an extra bat at the moment.

They still need a starting pitcher for Friday night in Atlanta.  Until Dontrelle Willis was placed on the seven day disabled list in Louisville, it would have been him.  Daniel Ray Herrera was removed and taken by the Milwaukee Brewers, then shipped to Nashville.

The Reds could add Chad Reineke or recall Mike Leake to make the start. Reineke is scheduled to start for the Bats against Scranton-Wilkes Barre on Friday.  Reineke is not on the 40-man roster.  Leake's name does not appear on the list of probable starters for Louisville.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Roster Moves Don't Help Phillies Pound Arroyo and Reds 10-3

Bronson Arroyo has gone through periods like this.  He can get hit hard in a couple games then reel off seven or eight real good starts.

The Reds hope that he does.

Facing Coler Hamels, who is the Eeds new Roy Oswalt, having never lost to Cincinnati in his eight starts..  He is now 7-0 since his debut against the Reds on May 12, 2006

The Phillies have been slumping until Monday night against Arroyo.

Jimmy Rollins rolled a single into right field.  Chase Utley, who made his return to the Philadelphia lineup, flied out to deep center.  Placido Polanco hit the ball into the left field seats and the Phillies were on their way.

Arroyo allowed two hits to start the second inning but pitched out of a second and third, no out jam without allowing a run.

The third inning the roof fell in.  After one out three straight hits put the Phillies up 3-0.  Raul Ibanez beat the Red shift and what could have been an inning ending double play ball, went to left to get the run home and extend the inning.  The Phillies loaded the bases with two outs.  John Mayberry Jr. dumped a bloop two-run single into left field.  Hamels singled to put the Phillies up 6-0.  Rollins ended Arroyo's night after just 2 2/3 innings with a three-run home run.

The Reds brought Matt Maloney up from Louisville for just this eventuality.   Sam LeCure had to pick up for Edinson Volquez on Sunday, so he was not available.  Maloney, as he's done at least three times this season, saved the bullpen by eating 3 1/3 innings.  He gave up a home run to Ibanez but nothing else.

Jay Bruce had three hits, including his 12th home run of the season with Brandon Phillips and Scott Rolen on base.  That was the lone bright spot for the Reds in their sixth straight loss.

Todd Frazier struck out as a pinch hitter in his major league debut.  He was recalled from Louisville this afternoon.  He swung and missed on the first pitch he saw and lost control of his bat, slinging it into the stands behind thirdbase.

Reds Optioned Troubled Volquez Recall Todd Frazier and Matt Maloney

The Reds just announced the Roster moves.  Edinson Volquez and Jordan Smith were optioned to Louisville.  Todd Frazier and Matt Maloney are being promoted from Louisville.

Unusual Behavior by Reds Puts Up a Red Flag

Dusty Baker is one of the best communicators in baseball but yesterday he did not want to deal with the press as usual before the Reds series finale against the Cleveland Indians.

After the game Edinson Volquez, after his worst start of the season, begged for more offense.

Those two events are so out of character, that one has to wonder what is going on.

John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer spotted Matt Maloney and Todd Frazier in the hotel lobby in Philadelphia.  It appears that some moves will be made late this afternoon.  Maloney saved the bullpen for the Reds after a couple short starts.  Frazier has been hot after a slow start but leads the Bats with 11 home runs and 33 RBI while bumping his average to .293.

Daniel Ray Herrera was claimed off waivers, probably by Milwaukee.  That clears a spot on the 40-man roster.

Dontrelle Willis and Miami University grad Chad Reineke have also been pitching very well in Louisville.  Both of them have minor league contracts.

Frazier was playing thirdbase until Juan Francisco was sent back.  Frazier was a shortstop at Rutgers University.  He can play secondbase and the corner outfield positions.  Baker told reporters this spring that Frazier plays left field pretty well.   He started all over in spring training.  He did not hit very well in Goodyear, however.

Reds Roster Moves Are Coming in a Few Minutes Dontrelle Willis to Cincinnati?

Daniel Ray Herrera has been claimed off waivers by the Milwaukee Brewers.  Herrera, who was part of the Josh Hamilton trade with Texas, was on the 40-man roster.  His departure opens a spot on the 40-man roster.

Dontrelle Willis was signed to a minor league contract.  He has pitched well at Louisville.

Willis pitched well the first part of spring training but an ankle sprain from stepping on a bat while backing home plate, set him back.

His control suffered and he started the season at Louisville, where he's pitched very well.  Willis has started eight games in which he is 3-1 with a 2.72 ERA.  More telling, he has walked just 14 in 43 innings while striking out 37.

"Dontrelle will be in the mix before this is over," Dusty Baker said two weeks ago.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Indians Ambush Volquez and the Reds 12-4

It was over quickly.

Edinson Volquez again was roughed up in the first inning but the Reds defense, normally airtight, contributed to the onslaught.

Joey Votto hit his first home run since April 27 off young Carlos Carrasco in the first inning.  To put the home run drought in perspective, the struggling, Jonny Gomes has hit one since Votto hit his last one.

Volquez didn't take long to give the run back, plus one.

Michael Brantley topped the ball high off the plate for an infield hit.  Adrubal Cabrera hit the first of his two home runs.  Cabrera went 5-for-5 with five RBI.

By Jerry Dowling
Shin-Soo Choo followed with a double high off the left field wall.  Volquez walked yesterday's hero Travis Buck walked one out later as Choo moved to third..  The Reds played like the Chicago Cubs did in Cincinnati this past week.  Buck took off for second on a steal attempt.  Normally reliable, Ramon Hernandez, threw high to second.  Brandon Phillips leaped to catch the throw as Buck headed back to first.  Phillips ran Buck down and thought he made the tag but Phil Cuzzi disagreed.  Phillips threw home as Choo started down the line.  Hernandez made his second bad throw on the play and thirdbaseman Scott Rolen had no chance.  The ball went all the way down the left field line to the corner.  Choo and Buck scored.

That four-run inning set the tone.

The Indians battered Volquez in the next two innings, adding three more runs to end the day for Volquez.

The Reds fought back.  Jay Bruce hit his 11th home run in the fourth.  Chris Heisey and Votto hit back-to-back doubles in the sixth.  Phillips ground out scored Votto from third and the Reds cut the lead to 7-4.

Sam LeCure held the line for three innings until Asdrubal Cabrera hit his second home run.

Jordan Smith, who has been used more than the Reds would like this season, gave up four runs to provide the final margin.  Smith has been used too early and too often when starters have come up with short outings.

The Reds have dropped five in a row since winning five in a row.

The Indians have the best record in baseball, an unexpected development.  They have earned by getting good starting pitching and good work from the bullpen.  None of their hitters are tearing the cover off the ball but they get timely hits.

The Indians hold a 37-35 advantage in the Ohio Cup series since inter league play started in 1997.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Buck Beats Bailey Indians Win 2-1

By Jerry Dowling
Homer Bailey is an avid hunter but this time a Buck got the better of him.

Josh Tomlin and Bailey matched zeros for six innings.

Tomlin allowed just two hits in the first five innings.  He hit Brandon Phillips with a two-strike pitch.  Jay Bruce followed with a single to center field.  With the infield shifted for Bruce, Phillips beat thirdbaseman. Jack Hannahan to the base.  For the second straight day, Orlando Cabrera muffed a hard ground ball.  Instead of a double play.  Cabrera could only get Scott Rolen and Phillips broke the ice with the first run of the game.

Bailey had little trouble with the Indians.  Shin-Soo Choo blooped a hit to left in the fourth inning but that was the only baserunner the Indians had until Asdrubal Cabrera found a hole with a ground ball to start the seventh inning.

Bailey got the next two hitters, catching Carlos Santana looking for the second out of the inning.  Bailey made one bad pitch.  The first pitch to designated hitter, Travis Buck, was right down the middle and Buck tagged it.

The ball hit the top of the right field wall and gave the Indians the lead.

Reliever Vinnie Pestano allowed a single to Ryan Hanigan.  Dusty Baker sent Travis Wood in to run for Hanigan.  Wood became a spectator as Pestano struck out struggling Edgar Renteria swinging, Drew Stubbs looking and Jonny Gomes after swinging at a pair of pitches off the plate, took a called third strike.

Jose Arredondo, who is starting to look more comfortable, allowed a single and nothing else in the eighth.

Indians closer Chris Perez walked Joey Votto to start the ninth but got Phillips to ground into a double play.  Bruce walked but Rolen struck out to end the game.

The Reds lost its fourth straight and fell 1 1/2 behind the St. Louis Cardinals, who beat Kansas City earlier.

The Indians are insured of winning the series by taking the first two games.  The Reds had won the last seven series between the Ohio rivals.   Also the Indians are 36-35 against the Reds since interleague play began in 1997.

Indian Givers Cleveland Takes Back Game From Reds 5-4

By Mark Schmetzer
Two errors and three walks helped the Cincinnati Reds to four gift runs in the opening game of the Battle of Ohio but Cleveland took the game back.

Actually after Travis Wood put the Indian hitters on the reservation, through five innings.  Wood got a bit generous himself.

Young Alex White, the Indians first pick in the 2009 draft, allowed just a double to Jay Bruce but walked three Reds with one out in the third.  Joey Votto hit a hard ground ball to firstbaseman, Matt LaPorta.  With his eyes getting big, the young firstbaseman threw wildly to secondbase and two runs scored.  An error by veteran and former Red, Orlando Cabrera allowed another unearned run to score.

The Reds and Wood took a 4-0 lead into the sixth inning.  Wood got LaPorta for the first out but former Red first round pick (1998) Austin Kearns singled sharply to center field.  Jack Hannahan singled to right.  Michael Brantley singled and went to second when Bruce bobbled the ball.  Wood walked Asdrubal Cabrera to load the bases.  Then Wood hit Shin-Soo Choo to force in the third run.  It was the last thing Wood did.

Big Logan Ondrusek entered the game and walked in a run by giving Carlos Santana a pass.  Shelly Duncan hit a sacrifice fly to left.

Both bullpens battled.

Bill Bray got the first two outs but Choo tripled to left.  Santana was walked intentionally.

Dusty Baker went to his late inning hammer, Nick Masset, who has shaken his early season problems and  has pitched well, since April.

Cleveland manager, Manny Acta, called on Ezequiel Carrera, who was called up from Columbus because Travis Haffner was placed on the disabled list.

Carrera in his first major league at bat put down a drag bunt and eluded the tag by Votto, who fielded the bunt halfway up the firstbase line.  Choo scored the winning run.

Chris Perez walked pinch hitter, Freddie Lewis.  Drew Stubbs hit a fly to deep right against the fence for the first out.  Jonny  Gomes lined a ball of the handle and Perez doubled Lewis off first.

The Indians and Reds have split the 70 inter league games since the leagues began playing each other in the regular season in 1997.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pirates Hijack The Series From Reds 5-3

For the second straight game, Pirates pitching ate up the best hitting team in the National League.

Two forces of momentum, going in opposite directions, defied the odds.

The Pirates lost six games in a row before coming to Cincinnati and the Reds won five in a row before hosting the Bucs.

Pittsburgh behind James McDonald beat the Reds and Johnny Cueto.

"They're playing us tough all year," Dusty Baker said.  "We had two well pitched games against us.  It shows you that anyone can beat you with good pitching.  It was a good home stand.  Now we have the longest road trip of the season and we're playing some pretty good teams."

Jay Bruce sat out the first game against the Pirates with the flu but started the scoring with his first home run of the game in the second inning.  The blow to right immediately followed a wildness induced threat by the Pirates in the top of the inning.  McDonald lined out with the bases loaded to end the inning.

Baker had the team cook make Bruce some chicken soup and it helped but in a strange way it came back to help the Pirates as did a diving catch of a hit and run line drive hit by Edgar Renteria by Andrew McCutchen to double up Chris Heisey, who singled.

"Bruce's home run kind of woke me up and got the adrenaline going," McDonald said.  "When I saw the catch (by McCutchen), I told,  they're playing behind me."

Bruce said, "The day off helped.  The worst is the coughing.  My stomach and side hurts from the coughing.  I don't know how much it helped but the chicken soup was really good.  I just wish we'd have won the game."

Bruce also added a single and his 10th home run of the game, leading off the ninth off Joel Hanrahan, who earned the save.

Cueto entered the game with a 0.00 earned run average.  He put four more scoreless innings in the book before Xavier Paul hit an RBI single and Neil Walker cracked a two-out, two-run double in the fifth.

Wildness in the second inning taxed Cueto and led to his demise.

"I was flying open in the second inning.  I was falling behind in the fifth," Cueto said.  "My arm feels strong."

"Johnny was pretty good but he had a lot of pitches.  He had a lot of three ball counts in the fifth.  It was a 3-2 pitch to Walker with runners moving.  He had to come in with a strike.  Walker's been a thorn in our side this year."

The Reds and Pirates have already played six games at Great American Ball Park with Pittsbugh winning five of them.  Last season the Reds were 5-4 against the Pirates at GABP.

Bruce noticed one difference between the Pirates this year and last year.

"When they get guys on base, they take good at bats.  They are a lot better this year," Bruce said.

Heisey Gets a Start by Popular Demand

Chris Heisey, the current fan favorite, is starting in center field today for the Cincinnati Reds.  Heisey, like the popular backup quarterback, is getting a start.

"I try to get him a start at least once a week anyway," Dusty Baker said, aware that fans have been ringing their collective hands for the 26-year old Pennsylvania native to play more.  "Heisey gives me the luxury because he plays all three outfield positions for late in the game.  He is very good coming off the bench.  There are a few things he has to work on but he has the talent to be an everyday player.  I've said this and told him that."

When Baker first took the Cincinnati job, just prior to the 2008 season, Heisey had been in the system for two years.  The 17th round draft choice from 2006 was rapidly making a name for himself in the Reds system.

"This always happens.  The backup quarterback is the most popular guy on the team," Baker said.  "First it was play Nix, then play Dickerson, send Stubbs back, no send Bruce back.  Two years ago it was play Gomes everyday.  I'm still waiting on Jonny (Gomes) he can carry a team, plus he's the one guy that knows how to be the designated hitter for interleague play.  Not everybody can do that."

Truth be known that when Chris Dickerson went on the disabled list last year, Baker insisted they bring Heisey up even though his .241 average over 20 games didn't warrant a call.  Baker got a recommendation from Candy Maldonado, then observed Heisey in the back end of spring training games.

The reason for the move Wednesday is a day off for Drew Stubbs.

"Stubbs has been catching on a lot," Baker said.  "He leads the league in runs scored (tied with Joey Votto with 32).  That's his job.  He and Rickie Weeks have a chance to drive in a lot of runs.  When you have a good bottom of the order and we do, the leadoff man can get a lot of RBI.  We are going to need Stubbs.  We have to keep him strong.  He wouldn't get a day off with who we have to play coming up."

Stubbs has a five game hitting streak and his on-base-percentage of .361 is second among National League leadoff hitters behind Colorado's Dexter Fowler.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Charlie Morton Ends Reds Streak 5-0

This one was pretty one sided and did not belong to the Reds.  It belonged to Charlie Morton, who has transformed his pitching style and pestered the Reds with it.

Bronson Arroyo gave up five runs in seven innings but it wasn't as bad as the line looks.  He gave up two costly home run balls.  One to Pedro Alvarez, who slammed his second of the season with two runners on and Andrew McCutcheon with one man aboard.

For the second time this season, Morton handled the Reds.  On April 15 Morton pitched a complete game and the only run he allowed was a ninth inning home run to Jay Bruce.  Tonight Bruce was out of the lineup with flu like symptoms and the Reds couldn't score.

"Sometimes there is a period of time when someone has your number," Dusty Baker said.  "We have to figure him out because he's sure given us the blues.  He's changed his style of pitching.  He is throwing a sinker now and keeping it down.  Most of his outs were on ground balls.  It is hard to elevate the two-seam fastball if he keeps it down."

Morton was 2-12 last season with a 7.57 ERA.  He was 0-2 with a 6.91 ERA against Cincinnati last year in three starts.

"Last year he was more of a power pitcher and I've been told that they didn't let him throw the sinker too much.  Now they have a new manager(Clint Hurdle) and pitching coach (Ray Searage)," Baker said.

Morton saw the same game unfold as the April 15 matchup, the opponent was also Arroyo, who also allowed five runs.

"Yeah, I almost thought the way (Fred) Lewis hit that ball (game ending flyout) that it was going to go out.  I looked up and said 'oh no', but Tabata was on the warning track catching it."

"That was the second time that Charlie has thrown a good game against me and I didn't fare so well," Arroyo said. "You have to tip your cap to him.  Five runs is five runs but I guess its better than doing it with 14 hits."

Alvarez had not homered since April 21st and McCutcheon was 0-for-12 against Arroyo.

"The law of averages were on McCutcheon's side," Baker said.

Morton credits his 5-1 record and 2.62 ERA which he used to snap the Pirates six-game losing streak, to a new delivery.

"It's like basically, I'm a new pitcher," Morton said.  "I have a new arm angle and added a harder cutter and the sink I get from my new arm angle is just different."

Morton allowed just two hits and the only time the Reds threatened was with two outs in the first inning.  Joey Votto singled and Brandon Phillips doubled with two outs to put runners on second and third.  Scott Rolen popped foul to the catcher to end the brief threat.  Morton allowed harmless singles to Lewis, Drew Stubbs and Chris Heisey and walked Rolen and Pual Janish without incident.

"Morton has made some big adjustments from last year," Votto said.  "He's made some real strides.  I've heard some people have compared him to Roy Halladay, but let's not get crazy now, I remember Aaron Cook, pitching like that.  I'd say he's similar to that."

The Pirates have now won four of the five encounters between the two teams, all in Cincinnati.

"Sometimes, that's how it works out with timing and scheduling," Votto said.

Jay Bruce Scratched From Illness Rolen Bats Fifth

Dusty Baker had Jay Bruce batting fifth in right field in his original lineup.  Bruce did not feel well on Tuesday but played anyway.

Today, he felt worse and Baker took him out of the lineup.

Baker also was going to put Scott Rolen back in the cleanup spot because since he's come off the disabled list Rolen in hitting .500 (10-for-20).

Baker put Rolen in the sixth spot to take the "cleanup" pressure off him until he got his stroke back.

Baker was going to put Rolen back into the fourth hole and move Brandon Phillips back to second but Rolen told him to leave things where they were because the lineup has been productive and the Reds have won all five games.

With Bruce scratched, however, Rolen will bat fifth in Bruce's spot and Fred Lewis will play right field.

Dan Osterbrock to Have Surgery Former Colerain UC Star Gets Knife While Fellow UC Grad Makes Debut

The University of Cincinnati baseball program must have mixed blessings today.

Tony Campana out of Springboro High School and UC and Dan Osterbrock former Colerain pitcher and UC star got news today.  One had good news.  The other bad news.

Campana defied odds and was called up by the Chicago Cubs and got his first major league hit, RBI and run scored in front of 50 friends and family members.

Osterbrock, who contacted Campana at least six times to congratulate his friend, found a calcium deposit that was rubbing against his the bursa sac in his left shoulder. Osterbrock worked through discomfort that has lasted for months despite rigorous rehab.  An MRI in January failed to find the source of the discomfort.  On Monday, a second look revealed the cause.

"They're going to shave it off and relieve the pressure," said Osterbrock, the Minnesota Twins seventh round draft pick.  He was picked six rounds before his friend, Campana, was chosen by the Cubs.  "I will rehab and be good to go. I may miss a few months but they (Twins) mentioned winter ball to make up for lost time."

Actually, from this reporter's experience, it was good news for my fellow Colerain alumnus.  Had the shoulder and bursa sac been damaged further, the rehab could have lasted at least 12 months.  They caught the problem before damage was done, making the comeback a lot shorter.

Winter league baseball is good experience and Osterbrock is already used to the rigors of rehab.

He is in for an experience because winter league fans and players take baseball very serious.  It is good competition and will really help Osterbrock develop.  He may want to ask if he can use Colerain's language lab and learn Spanish.  I can help him with the swear words after spending eight years in New York, working and walking through neighborhoods where it was assumed you spoke Spanish.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Red Gracefully Accept Gift of Seven Unearned Runs Beat Cubs 7-5

Yes it was rainy, cold and sloppy but Cubs manager Mike Quade wouldn't use it as an excuse.

"Yes, it was tough on everybody," Quade said after offering his postgame meal to the press because his stomach was upset from the four-error loss. "I didn't keep score but I didn't need to.  That's beating yourself.  It was right there for us.  We made four mistakes and they made one, ball game."

Quade vented last night when the Cubs flubbed routine plays, failed to make plays they should make and failed in the clutch.  This has been his team's norm for the last month and he couldn't take any more.

Well tonight he had to take even more.

"I said all I had to say last night.I guess Knute Rockne I'm not.  This is costing me a lot of sleep.  If we haven't reached rock bottom we're pretty damn close."

The Cubs jumped on Edinson Volquez, who again had first inning problems.  Darwin Barney singled with one out and Volquez hit Aramis Ramirez was hit by a pitch, before Carlos Pena hit his fifth home run (third against the Reds).

"I made a mistake," Volquez said.  "I tried to make a good pitch but he hit it. I think he was looking for a fastball and he made good contact with it."

Volquez as with just about every other start, flourished after the first inning.

"Everything was better. I went make to my old mechanics.  My command was better."

With the bases loaded and two outs, after the Cubs walked the red hot Ramon Hernandez intentionally, Volquez hit a ground ball toward Pena at first.  The ball went under his glove and rolled into shallow right.  Barney slid after it and came up throwing but starting pitcher Matt Garza was there to cover first.  He wheeled and threw the ball wide into the dugout and the tying runs scored.

"Dusty told me to swing at the first pitch.  I didn't see what happened.  I guess he (Pena) let it get by him.  Was it a hit or an error?  I was just happy we tied the game."

"I had to calm Matt down," Quade said.  "He made a ridiculous throw.  He wheeled like he should and thought he had a play."

There was nearly a feel good story of a local kid being the hero in his first major league game.

Tony Campana from nearby Springboro, Ohio and a UC graduate, entered the game as a pinch runner in the seventh and scored the go ahead run on a bases loaded walk, given up by Jose Arredondo.

"I was better with my mechanics

Little Springboro UC Dude Campana Gets First Major League Hit

Tony Campana thrilled the 50 friends and family members with an RBI double off Jordan Smith in the top of the eighth inning.

He entered the game as a pinch runner and scored his first major league run when Jose Arredondo walked in the Cubs fourth run.

The Cubs lead the Reds 5-3 with two out and runners on second and third in the top of the eighth.

Hernandez Extends His Hitting Streak to 11 Games

with a single to rightfield in the sixth inning.

Volquez is finished for the night.  He allowed all the runs in the first inning again.

The Cubs threw the ball around with like they were at Haubner field to allow Volquez to escape with a no decision.

With the bases loaded, Carlos Pena could not come up with a ball hit by Volquez.  The ball trickled to short right and secondbaseman, Darwin Barney slid after it and came up throwing toward the plate but Matt Garza covering first cut it and threw home wildly.  The ball went out of play.  All three runners scored.

Volquez could have been the winning pitcher.  When Miguel Cairo, the pinch hitter struck out but reached first because catcher Welington Castillo could catch the ball cleanly.  However, Drew Stubbs struck out to end the sixth.

Tony Campana from Springboro High and UC made his major league debut as a pinch runner.

UC - Springboro High Grad Makes Majors With Chicago Cubs

Tony Campana looks more like he should be riding a horse in the Preakness than playing the outfield at Great American Ball Park.  The 5'8" 165 pound ball of energy rolled into the Cubs dugout and was warmly greeted by teammates.

The odds were staggering.  At Springboro High the speedy Campana moved to left field because Zach Hurley was the center fielder.

"People told me that I was too small to play division one baseball," Campana said as he put on a major league uniform for the first time.  "After I got out of college, they told me I was too small to play in the major leagues.  This is a dream come true."

The uniform had number 41 on it.  It was the number worn by former Reds and Cubs manager, Lou Piniella.

As minor league managers tend to do, Bill Dancy called the lefthanded hitter into his Iowa Cubs office 13 days before Campana's 25th birthday, "We're sending you to Double A."

It was totally believable, since Campana wasn't on the Cubs 40-man roster and had never been invited to a major league camp since the Cubs took him in the 13th round in the 2008 draft.

Not only was he not going back to the Tennessee Smokies, where he played last year, hitting .319 with 48 stolen bases, he was joining the Cubs 35 miles from his home.

He and Scott Maine were on an airplane to the Greater Cincinnati Airport.  His mother and father, Mark and Faye, who are among the 50 ticket recipients for his possible debut, picked them up at the airport.

"I expected that if I played well at Iowa that I might be a September call up.  I never expected this," Campana said.

The texts and phone calls haven't stopped.  "It had gotten so far out of hand that I had to turn the phone off," Campana said.  "I had to cut the ticket requests off at 50.  I told some of my UC buddies that they could buy their own tickets."

At least six of those calls were from Dan Osterbrock, who played with Campana at UC and played against him in high school as a Colerain High pitcher.

Campana moved to Springboro in the seventh grade and although he was a Cleveland Indian fan, he visited Riverfront Stadium and Great American Ball Park.

"I had to sit in the nosebleed section," Campana said.

He has a better view now but thinks he can contribute.

"I'm going to come off the bench.  I think I can be a valuable guy.  I can hit some, run some and play defense."

General manager, Jim Hendry agrees which is why he sent the struggling Tyler Colvin and Marcus Mateo to recall Maine and select Campana's contract.

"Campana's played really well," Hendry said.  "He brings another dimension.  He's a very good defender. He can play all three outfield positions.  He swings from the left side and lay down a bunt.  He runs really well.  He is a high energy guy.  It bodes well for our system to not be in a big leaugue camp.  We're always looking for guys like that."

Monday, May 16, 2011

Cold Weather Hot Reds Beat Cubs 7-4

It looked like Homer Bailey was cold when he walked three batters in the first inning.  It looked like the Reds offense was cold through five innings when the only hit off Carlos Zambrano came when Bailey beat out a hit to right field.

That's right beat out a hit to right field.  Kosuke Fukodome fielded the ball in shallow right and had a play at first but Homer was safe.

"I was off a little bit mechanically," Bailey said.  "I was able to fix it on the fly.  I wish it didn't take me three batters to do it."

Bailey escaped the first inning. Reds starting pitchers have struggled at the start of games this season.  In 41 games the Reds starters have enjoyed a 1-2-3 just eight times.

"Homer's learned how to pitch out of trouble.  That's the sign of a good pitcher," Dusty Baker said.
Bailey managed to struck out Fukodome to begin the game but walked Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro and Aramis Ramirez in sequence.   Then the righthander making just his third start, since returning from a healed right shoulder, fanned Alfonso Soriano and Marlon Byrd.

Barney's single in the third was all the Cubs had to show for the next three innings.  Koyie Hill singled him to third.  Zambrano, who can handle the bat, hit a high chop that Rolen had to leap to field. Scott  Rolen threw home and Barney stopped anticipating a rundown but the ball eluded catcher Ryan Hanigan.  Cubs came to rest at seccond and third before the ball was retrieved.

Barney singled in Zambrano with two outs.  Pena hit a two-run home run in the sixth.

Bailey finished the inning but Miguel Cairo pinch hit for him in the bottom of the inning.

"It could have been worse but I knew somehow, someway we would get back in it," Bailey said.

The Reds sixth not only proved him correct but made him the winning pitcher to reward his faith.

Cairo struck out.  Drew Stubbs singled.  Edgar Renteria walked.  Then the sky fell in on Zambrano.

Joey Votto singled to score Stubbs.  Brandon Phillips shot a ball through the infield to score Renteria.  Jay Bruce plated Votto with a hit.  Rolen doubled to tie the game.  Zambrano, who didn't know what hit him, was replaced on the mound but had one more throw in him.  It was his glove against the Cubs' dugout wall.  Reliever Marcos Mateo entered to face a struggling, frustrated Jonny Gomes, who had recently shaved his mohawk.  Mateo's first pitch was up, in and off the glove of Hill's to the wall Bruce raced home with the go-ahead run.

Gomes then did something he hadn't done since April 17th.  He reached the seats in right center that landed so close to the first row that Gomes didn't know it left the yard.  He stopped at second, presumably to ask directions home.  The umpire signaled for him to circle the bases.

"That was a big hit for Jonny," Baker said.  "It had been so long, he forgot how to run.  We all woke up at once.  We got timely hitting.  We got some balls through the infield.  Zambrano was dealing.  That happens in baseball sometimes.  You go to the bathroom and come back and seven runs have scored.  There are times it happens so fast, you don't have time to get someone up in the bullpen."

In the 22 games since his last home run, Gomes had just nine hits in 67 at bats with three doubles and three RBI.  Baker had faith in him and kept him in the lineup for the most part.  Lately, he has been trying to match the 30-year old with pitchers he could hit.

"After the first pitch (the up and in pitch that got away), I told myself I wasn't going to struggle and get hit in the face," Gomes said.  "I didn't see the ball go over the fence.  This is a magical team.  Not only can we hit the ball out of the ballpark, we can situational hit, hit and run, sacrifice."

People wondered if it was superstition that made him shave the mohawk to get the monkey off his back.

"I don't think I ever had a monkey on my back," Gomes said.  "I may get days off when I struggle but never from lack of effort.  Shaving my head had nothing to do with it.  If it did, everybody would do it.  It's like trading in your car.  Sometimes you're just ready for a new look."

The Reds hope their new look from atop the Reds standing lasts awhile.

Carlos Pena topped a slow roller toward third base with a shift on and reached base to lead off the fifth.

Cardinal Logo and Nickname Colerain, Louisville, St. Louis and State Bird

After getting the news of the day, which is Aroldis Chapman's move to the disabled list, Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker took a look at my jacket.  I am a graduate and former player at Colerain High School, the Cardinals.

After a contentious series sweep of the Cardinals of St. Louis, Baker wondered why I'd where the jacket.  I told him that the logo had nothing to do with his division rival, but it was the Colerain mascot.

It prompted a discussion of the Ohio state bird which is the Cardinal  Baker mentioned what a pretty bird it was and that he had recently seen one.  That discussion led to the following research.

The Cardinal  cardinalis cardinalis is found not in trees but in bushes and hedges.  It's habitat is on the periphery of woodlands.  When Ohio was settled in the early 1700's the state was 95 percent forested.  The bird began to appear on the edges of the forest as settlers cleared the woods for farming.  By the 1800's the bird was common in the state.  By mid-century it was found in all 88 counties of Ohio.

The state legislature made the Cardinal the state bird in 1933.

The Redbird, another commonly used name for the species, is also the state bird for Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Illinois, Virginia and North Carolina.  It is by far the most common among state birds.

So, how did the St. Louis team become the Cardinals?  Was the Cardinal the state bird in Missouri?

The state bird of Missouri is the Bluebird since 1927, the year after the St. Louis franchise won the World Series with Rogers Hornsby and Grover Cleveland Alexander over the New York Yankees with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.

St. Louis baseball entry into the Major Leagues started in 1882 in the American Association.  At the time the city name was the only identification teams had.  As sportswriters and fans of the day desired to be more creative and less redundant, they came up with nicknames for the teams.  St. Louis was known as the Browns or Brown Stockings to signify the color of the uniform.  In 1899 the uniform color was changed to red by team owners.  The team was briefly called the Perfectos by the press.  The team owners came from Cleveland and stripped that team of its best players.  When the team failed to live up to expectations finishing fifth instead of winning the league title, William McHale of the St. Louis Republic started calling the team the Cardinals.  The uniform color matched the traditional vestments of the Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church.

Rogers Hornsby with Bird Logo
By 1900 the Cardinal nickname was widely used for the team.  St. Louis was written across the jersey or the STL that is interlocked.  The word Cardinal was first written on jerseys in 1918.  In 1922, the team put the logo with the Cardinal bird on the bat.

I was under the mistaken impression that Colerain's Cardinal connection was linked to the state bird but the school district was formed by five one-room school houses until 1924.

Now here is the rest of the story taken from the Colerain Alumni Association site.

Colerain Baseball Team 1925
Richard Joyce, Class of 1925, related in 1989 that an essay contest was held to name the school’s mascot.  At the time, there were three outstanding professional baseball teams: the Cincinnati Reds, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the St. Louis Cardinals.  Joyce submitted his essay stating that because the Cardinals were the best team at the time that Colerain should also be called the Cardinals because he felt that Colerain should be identified with the best as well.  His presentation was so convincing that the students, faculty, and administration overwhelmingly supported his proposal and Colerain has been the Cardinals ever since.

Sorry Dusty.

Before the Machine by Mark Schmetzer