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, May 30, 2013

Cleveland Protects Home Soil






The Indians 7-1 win over Homer Bailey and the Reds was the ninth straight time they have beaten the Reds at Cleveland's Progressive Field.

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In fact the home team has won the last 11 games in the series in which the Indians hold a 44-41 all-time edge.

Homer Bailey was sailing along until the Indians scored all of their runs in the fourth inning.  Six straight Indian batters delivered two-out hits off Bailey.

The inning started with Bailey hitting Asdrubal Cabreras in the foot.  Bailey struck out Nick Swisher.  Carlos Santana singled.  Bailey threw a very good 3-2 splitter to powerful Mark Reynolds. Then got ahead of Michael Brantley 0-2.

"Brantley did a pretty good job of hitting," Dusty Baker said.  "The Cleveland Indians can hit.  It's been a long time since I've seen a team get six straight two-out hits.  We just couldn't turn the fawcet off."

Bailey has tough since he allowed seven runs to the St. Louis Cardinals on April 10.  His ERA was 5.73 after that start.  In the eight starts since, Bailey had a 2.53 ERA coming into the game.

"I was pitching pretty well until then," Bailey said.  "It happened so fast.  They hit a couple of pitches that I couldn't have placed any better to put it in play; then they hit some pitches I couldn't place any worse.  I couldn't stop the bleeding.  The pitch to Brantly was at his ankles.  Hanigan was set up out there and I put it there."

Before Alfredo Simon was called on to pitch to Cabrera, who was up for the second time, the Indians had six runs and Jason Kipnis on second. Cabrera doubled and the Indians scoring was finished for the night.

Scott Kazmir, who is making a comeback after pitching in the independent leagues last year, pitched seven innings on eight hits.  It was the first time Kazmir has pitched at least seven innings since May 22, 2010 at St. Louis as a member of the Angels.

For the second night in a row the Reds had the Indians starter in trouble with the bases loaded.  On Wednesday night, Justin Masterson got Xavier Paul to hit a ball back to the mound with the bases loaded and started a 1-2-3 double play.   Kazmir faced Joey Votto, who had a rare 0-for-4 night, with the bases loaded and one out in the third inning.  Votto bounced into a 4-6-3 double play to end the game.

"For the second night in a row we had the bases loaded with a dependable hitter at the plate," Baker said.  "That's the way baseball goes sometimes.  If we get a key hit like the Indians got these two games would have been completely different."

The Reds scored a run in the sixth off Kazmir.  Brandon Phillips doubled and Jay Bruce drove him home with a single.  Bruce also doubled in the second inning. He leads the National League with 18 doubles.



Reds Players Playing a Double Header In Cleveland






You walk into a major league clubhouse and expect to see players talking to their agents, watching video and answering fan mail.

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All of the above goes on.

Yet there are also card games and today, a hard-fought video game.

An RBI video baseball game from the mid 80's.  Todd Frazier had the Red Sox with Roger Clemens pitching.  Johnny Cueto put Mike Krukow on the mound.

Mat Latos sat on a couch behind them that served as box seats.

D Baylor came to bat and Latos, who was born in 1987,  turned to reporters to ask if it was Don Baylor.

It was amazing watching young men who play the actual game for a living, competing in a video game.

Bronson Arroyo walked through the clubhouse and Latos called him over.

"Come here a minute monkey," Latos said.  "I was playing Paul awhile ago.  I was playing as the Pirates and shut him down.  Guess who was pitching?  You."

Arroyo was nine years old in 1986.

It was a tight game but Frazier as Dwight Evans broke it open with a home run off Cueto pitching as Scott Garrelts.

"Oh he left one over the dish," Frazier shouted as the electronic ball landed in the electronic seats.

I can not print what Cueto said in clear plain English.


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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Bronson Arroyo's Loss Snaps Reds Starter's Streak





The game boiled down to two key pitches.  Bronson Arroyo couldn't execute his pitch.  Justin Masterson was able to execute his.

Reds' starting pitchers had not lost in 15 games before the Reds and Indians hooked up in Cleveland.

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The starting five and Tony Cingrani combined for a perfect 9-0 record, a 1.95 ERA and 12 quality starts.

One pitch ruined the streak.

Indians designated hitter, Jason Giambi, lined a pitch from Bronson Arroyo into the seats in rightfield with two fellow tribesmen aboard to provide the big blow in Cleveland's 5-2 win over its neighbors from the south.

Arroyo got the first two batters of the sixth inning out.  Asdrubal Cabrera, one of seven lefthanders that Cleveland stacked in its lineup, singled.  Nick Swisher followed suit.

Giambi faced Arroyo 21 times coming into the at bat; twice early in this game.

"I tried to sweep a breaking ball inside to Giambi," Arroyo said. "It just spun and stayed out over the plate.  Even so, he didn't get it all.  It jammed him a little.  It just goes to show you that four more inches inside and he would have probably popped it up.  He's a big strong guy, who has faced me a lot. It is a guessing game back and forth with him.  He beat me tonight."

Masterson faced Xavier Paul with the bases loaded and no outs.  The Cleveland righthander fooled Paul into hitting a checked-swing one hopper to the mound into a home to first double play.

"Masterson threw me back-to-back changeups.  He completely caught me off guard," said Paul, who was facing Masterson for the sixth time. "He had never thrown me a changeup before. I watched video on him and didn't know he had one.  I thought he was a two-pitch pitcher with a fastball and slider.  He got me on a half swing.  He threw some great pitches to get out of that inning.  He has great stuff.  If a pitcher can throw 93 and throw a changeup like that it's tough."

Masterson, who is from Beavercreek, Ohio,  won his eighth game.

"Masterson is one of the hottest pitchers in baseball," Dusty Baker said.  "Paul has had some big hits for us. It was a checked swing at the wrong time.  Usually there is a pitch or play in a game that turns it around."

Joey Votto hit his 10th home run off Justin Masterson in the first.  Mark Reynolds tied it with a home run off Arroyo in the third.

Cleveland hit three consecutive doubles and added a walk but scored just one run in the fourth inning, while taking a slim 2-1 lead.  Cabrera double with one out.  Swisher doubled Cabrera home.  Giambi doubled to rightcenter on a line drive that short-hopped the wall. Swisher didn't read it well off the bat and didn't run until it cleared Shin-Soo Choo's glove.  Choo, who played in this park for six seasons, got to it quickly.  He fired to Brandon Phillips, who made a quick pivot and strong throw to Ryan Hanigan to get Swisher easily.  On ball four to Carlos Santana, Giambi for some reason tried to beat Todd Frazier to thirdbase on a steal attempt.  Hanigan threw Giambi out to end the inning.

Giambi has 20 stolen bases in his 18-year career.  He had two stolen bases for Colorado in 2010.  It was the 12th time he's been caught stealing and the first time since 2008.

The play bailed Arroyo out.

"I didn't have a whole lot of weapons coming into the game," Arroyo said.  "To get seven lefties out, I needed a tight breaking ball.  It forced me to tip my hand early.  I struck Giambi out on a sinker early in the game.  It was a pitch I would normally save until later in the game in a key situation."

Paul hit his third home run of the year off Vinnie Pestano in the ninth.

"I told my teammates, I wish I would have hit that with the bases loaded," Paul said.


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Red Hot Reds Not Catching Cardinals






Dusty Baker doesn't know why the Cardinals were predicted to finish third or fourth in the division.

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The Reds have won seven of the last eight games; 14 of the last 17; and 20 of the last 27 but are still trailing the Cardinals.

"There are two ways to look at it," Baker said.  "We have caught them but they haven't run away from us either. It is going to go down to who is going to win the most like any other time.  That's why it's called a race. It's not called a runaway.  You don't just start racing in September.  You race all year long.  I'm sure they have their eye on us."

Pittsburgh is staying in the hunt too as the season approaches the end of its first third at 54 games.  The Pirates, who are the opponents on the Reds' next stop, are only 2-1/2 games behind the Cardinals and one behind Cincinnati.

"I don't understand why the great predictors picked the Cardinals third or fourth," Baker said. "I don't know what they're looking at."

The Cardinals' pitching has held up in spite of injuries to Chris Carpenter and Jaime Garcia.

"Have you seen what their re-inforcements are doing?" Baker asked. "It's not him.  It's them.  They have some kids that aren't even here yet.  They are all coming up throwing 96-97 and they have (Yadier) Molina to direct them. That's a big plus.  He can put them on an accelerated (learning) curve."











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Monday, May 27, 2013

The Battle of Ohio Starts With a Call to Arms






The Indians and Reds battle of Ohio started with an armed struggle and some heated emotions.

Ubaldo Jimenez and Mike Leake pitched deep into the game, both allowing just two runs.

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Joey Votto hit a tiebreaking home run in the eighth inning, lifting the Cincinnati Reds over the Cleveland Indians 4-2 Monday in the opener of their intrastate matchup.

Votto won this interleague game with his ninth homer, tagging lefthander Nick Hagadone (0-1). The reliever was called up from Triple-A earlier in the day when closer Chris Perez was put on the disabled list with a sore right shoulder.

"Hagadone has great stuff," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. "We wanted him to pound Votto inside and not let him get his arms extended. It is part of the learning experience but a pitcher has to pitch to his comfort zone."

Shin-Soo Choo led off the Reds' eighth with a single and moved around on a passed ball. Zack Cozart's sacrifice bunt. Votto followed with an opposite-field shot into the seats in left.

Choo, traded from the Indians to the Reds in the offseason, also hit a leadoff homer in the first.

"Jimenez was tremendous," Francona said. "He gave up the home run just trying to get ahead. Then he settled down."

It was the first time Jimenez faced Choo, his former teammate.

"I was trying to go after hitters and that's what I did," Jimenez said. "Choo hit a two-seam fastball that came back to him. If you get the ball in the air here, it has a chance to go out."

Jason Giambi tied it in the Indians' eighth with a long pinch-hit homer. The solo shot was estimated at 467 feet and caromed off the batter's background in center field. His ninth career pinch-hit homer ended his 0-for-24 slump and was third homer of the season and first since April 20.

"I've had a pinched nerve in my neck," Giambi said. "It felt good to contribute but I'd trade it all for a win. Terry (Francona) told me to just keep battling. It made me feel good that the manager showed confidence in me."

Jonathan Broxton (2-1) got two outs in the eighth. Aroldis Chapman pitched the ninth for his 13th save.

Reds' starter Mike Leake allowed one earned run and five hits in 7-1-3 innings, striking out seven. He left with a no-decision after giving up Giambi's homer.

Ubaldo Jimenez, 3-0 in five previous career starts against Cincinnati, gave up four hits and two runs in seven innings.

Choo, sent to the Reds with infielder Jason Donald and cash for outfielder Drew Stubbs and infielder Didi Gregorius in December, led with his 10th homer of the season.

The Indians took advantage of an error by another former Indians player, Gold Glove second baseman Brandon Phillips, to tie it in the fourth.

Jason Kipnis singled and took third when Phillips mishandled Nick Swisher's grounder. Carlos Santana's sacrifice fly made it 1-all.

Cozart led off the sixth with a double that just nicked the outside of the leftfield line, advanced on Votto's groundout to second and scored on Phillips' sacrifice fly.

Aroldis Chapman pitched the ninth for his 13th save.

For the second straight day the Reds were involved in a verbal battle over tight pitches. Johnny Cueto prompted an umpire's warning on Sunday for a pitch that sailed far over the Cubs' David DeJesus head.

After Chapman struck out Asdrubal Cabrera to start the ninth, he threw a fastball by Nick Swisher high and away to the backstop. The second pitch was up and in with Swisher spinning quickly out of the way.

The Indians bench jumped up in unison.

"The first one hit the backstop and I thought man that's quick," Swisher said. "The second was too close to my head. That's not good. The bench jumped up and showed me they had my back."

Francona wasn't pleased with it either.

"I just think it was probably too close to his head," Francona said. "I just think it shook him up a bit. Swisher's one of our leaders. We have to show him that we have his back."

Giambi was on the same page.

"God blessed Chapman with an unbelievable arm," Giambi said. "The first one was to the backstop. I've talked to him several times. He's a great kid. I don't think was anything to it but we have to let Swisher know we have his back.

Swisher ran past the mound after he flied out deep to leftfield.

"I forgot what I said," said Swisher, who pointed out his wife is Cuban.


NOTES: The Reds improved to 40-42 in their inter-league series with the Indians. ... The sellout crowd was the fourth straight for the Reds, the second time they'd had four consecutive sellout crowds since moving from Crosley Field in 1970 and the first time since 2004. ... Reds RHP Mat Latos (4-0) will try to stay undefeated in the second game of the brief two-game series on Tuesday. He'll be opposed by Cleveland RHP Zach McAllister (4-3).


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Drew Stubbs and Shin-Soo Choo Change Clubhouses






Drew Stubbs was used to parking in the garage and walking down a short flight of steps to enter the clubhouse at Great American Ball Park.  This time he got off a bus inside the ballpark and walked 100 yards down the hallway into the visiting clubhouse.

 "I'm not going to lie to you, it's strange looking across the field to the other dugout and see a lot of friends. Just being in the visiting clubhouse here is strange," Stubbs said.

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What hasn't changed is his view while on the field.

"I'm trying to treat it like another game," Stubbs said.

Shin-Soo Choo will have the same experience on Wednesday when the Reds/Indians series shifts to  Proggressive Field in Cleveland.

"There are a couple of days left," Choo said.  "I had a good experience, a good time in Cleveland. I spent six years there. I have a lot of friends even outside the ballpark."

The Reds and Indians share Goodyear Ballpark in Arizona for spring training so some of the awkwardness was relieved in February and March.

"I said hi in spring, It was really weird." Choo said.  "I will say hi again."

Both teams are playing good baseball.  They are both 1-1/2 games off the pace of the respective division leaders.  The trade has helped both teams and Stubbs in particular.  He was soundly booed the last two seasons in a Reds' uniform.

Stubbs is hitting .242 with three home runs and 15 RBI batting in the eighth spot on Monday without the designated hitter.

"Before I experienced it, guys told me that it would be best for my career," Stubbs said.  "I'm with a good bunch of guys and we're playing good baseball.  It is kind of refreshing to get a new start; to show new people what I can do. We've had fun playing together."

Choo has been sensational for Cincinnati, coming into the series with a .285 average, nine hone run and 19 RBI.  His on-base-percentage is .441.  Choo is setting up Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips to drive in runs.

"We have a lot of guys that can bat all over the lineup," Stubbs said.  "I batted lower in the lineup in 2010 when I had my best year in Cincinnat.  I will hit leadoff sometimes when Michael Bourn needs a day off."

The players still follow their old friends in the box scores and with texts and phone calls.

'I like to see what my friends are doing. I don't necessarily compare the trade," Stubbs said.

"I'm not a big text guy," Choo said. "I did text (Indians' catcher) Lou Marson when he was in a collision at home plate to see if he was alright."

The Reds reached out to Stubbs after the trade was completed.

"Dusty and a lot of other people called me and text me after the trade. I got a handwritten note from Bryan Price.  That meant a lot to me. They took the time to tell me they enjoyed working and playing with me."


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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Reds' Bullpen Coughs Up Johnny Cueto's Lead






The Reds' bullpen surrendered a four-lead after Johnny Cueto gave the team seven strong innings.

Alfonso Soriano hit a tying two-run homer in the eighth inning and Welington Castillo had a go-ahead double in the 10th, helping the Chicago Cubs rally from a four-run deficit in a 5-4 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday that stopped a season-high, six-game losing streak.

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The last Reds loss, last Sunday against the Philadelphia Phillies, Aroldis Chapman gave up back-to-back home runs in the ninth.

Soriano singled in the seventh and scored Chicago's first run off Johnny Cueto on Luis Valbuena's two-out single. It was the only run allowed by Cueto.  He left with a 4-1 lead.

Anthony Rizzo hit an RBI double against Logan Ondrusek in the eighth _ his third double in two games _ and Soriano followed with his fifth homer of the season and first since May 13, a 394-foot drive to left-center.

J.J. Hoover (0-4) walked Scott Hairston with two outs in the 10th, and Castillo followed with his double into the left-field corner.

"We went as far as we could with Johnny (Cueto)," Dusty Baker said. "We had to turn it over to some other guys. They've got a job to do. That's what they get paid to do. This is how they make their money. This one got away. We'll start a new streak tomorrow. We've been playing good ball".

Jonathan Broxton and Chapman were not available after pitching in three straight games.

Both the eighth inning rally and the decisive 10th inning score came after the first two Cub batters were retired.

"Sometimes that last out is the toughest one to get," Baker said.

"Soriano had the big hit and Welington (Castillo)," Sveum said.  "We had some good at bats late. We have to remember that. It seems we're more aggressive late. We're more aggressive than we are with starters but not swinging at pitches out of the strike zone."

Kevin Gregg (1-0) pitched 1 1-3 hitless innings, stopping the Reds' five-game winning streak.

Matt Garza, making his second start of the season after coming off the disabled list, allowed four runs in the fourth.

"Garza didn't have command of anything," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "When he did throw strikes there was foul ball, after foul ball. That got his pitch count up."

Jay Bruce hit a solo homer, his seventh of the season and sixth in his last 22 games.

Ryan Hanigan hit a fly ball to deep straightaway center field with two on, and David DeJesus almost made a spectacular diving catch with his back to the plate. The runners held waiting to see what happened, and Hanigan wound up with a long RBI single.

Zack Cozart added a two-run double.

Garza allowed four hits and four walks, threw a wild pitch and hit a batter.

Cueto gave up one run and four hits in seven innings.

 "Johnny (Cueto) had outstanding stuff. That's Johnny. He was a little tentative last time out in New York. He was afraid to hurt something. He was a little more aggressive today," Baker said.

Both benches were warned by home plate umpire Bob Davidson, after Cueto threw over David DeJesus head in the sixth inning.

"I asked what it was about," Sveum said. "He said that batter was taking a long time to get in the box and that he knew Cueto wasn't trying to hit him. I asked why he didn't throw him out. He told me there was nothing he could do. I think it woke us up."

Garza was upset.

“That just goes to show, don’t wake a sleeping dog," Garza said. "That’s immature on his part. It’s B.S. on his part _ totally immature. If he wants to say something to me, he knows where my locker is. If he’s got a problem, he can throw at me, and I’ll do the same. Hopefully, he grows the hell up. I hope he hears this. I really don’t care. I don’t know if there’s anything between him and (DeJesus), but I’ll stop it. I don’t think you intentionally try to injure somebody. I hope the league looks at it. I don’t want him suspended or anyting. I hope his players talk to him and show him the way it is.”

NOTES: The Reds drew 41,321 and sold out a series for the first time since July 30-Aug. 1, 2010, against Atlanta. ... The comeback win was Chicago's seventh of the season and first on the road. The Cubs have lost 16 games in which they led...Brandon Phillips was 0-for-4,snapping his season-high 12-game hitting streak. ... Joey Votto and Jay Bruce have been on-base in 15 straight games. ... Bruce and Votto both have 141 career home runs, 17th on the Reds' All-time list.

Red Suspend Jose Arredondo






The Reds have suspended Jose Arredondo.

The right-hander, who pitched effectively out of the Reds' bullpen the last two seasons, will serve a short suspension for disciplinary reasons.
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Arredondo was placed on waivers and was not claimed by any other team, which allowed the Reds to remove him from the 40-man roster and assign him to Triple-A Louisville.

He appeared in 16 games, logging 21-2/3 innings.  Arredondo is 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA for the Bats with 35 strikeouts.  The glaring stat is the 20 walks he's issued.  It is the lack of command of the strike zone that caused the Reds to remove him from the roster.


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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Reds Take Cubs to the Wood Shed






The Reds' traded Travis Wood to the Chicago Cubs because they needed a left-handed relief pitcher to balance its bullpen.

Cincinnati had a surplus of starting pitchers and the Cubs desperately neede one.

Wood was packaged with Dave Sappelt and Ronald Torreyes to obtain Sean Marshall.


The Cubs made a good bargain.  Wood started the 2013 season with nine straight quality starts (6 innings less than three runs). The Cubs haven't had a starter begin the season that efficiently since Mordecai "Three Fingers" Brown started the 1908 season with 11 quality starts.  The happened to be the last time the Cubs won a World Series.

The Reds countered with Homer Bailey who has pitched better than his 2-3 record.  Bailey dropped his ERA to 3.08 with six strong innings in which he allowed two runs to the Cubs.  He allowed five hits, three of them to consecutive batters in the third inning.  The Cubs scored twice in that frame.

Brandon Phillips walked and advanced to third on Jay Bruce's single in the fourth inning.  Todd Frazier cut the Cubs' lead in half with a sacrifice fly but Wood was in charge.

Then the ceiling collapsed on Wood.

Joey Votto walked on four pitches to start the sixth.  Phillips extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a single. Wood got Bruce to pop up in the infield.  Frazier delivered his second run of the game with a hard ground ball single to center, sending Phillips to third. Phillips and Derrick Robinson executed a squeeze play. Ryan Hanigan drove in Frazier with a double, ending Wood's streak of quality starts. Cesar Izturis hit for Bailey.  He singled over the head of Starlin Castro at shortstop to plate Hanigan.

"I'm not crazy about the play," Dusty Baker said.  "Too many things can go wrong.  The batter can pop it up or miss it.  We had a good bunter and base runner with a pitcher on the mound that was throwing strikes.  We wanted to get Homer that win.  He's pitched a lot better than his 3-3 record."

Robinson didn't get the best pitch to bunt.  It was up making it difficult to get the ball down.

"It was difficult to bunt but at least it was a fastball," Robinson said.  "That is part of my game.  I work on it (bunting) every day in the off season against the Iron Mike (pitching machine).  It was a four seamer.  A cut fastball or sinker is harder to bunt."
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Sam LeCure and Jonathan Broxton pitched scoreless innings.

"They are going to pick me up more often than not," Bailey said.  "I probably could have gone another inning.  The only rough time I had was in the third.  They put together a lot of good at bats."

The pitch count got in the way of Bailey as far as pitching another inning.  It wasn't so much the number of pitches but the circumstances.

"He had a lot of stressful pitches," Baker said.  "They were the difference between taking him out in the sixth inning instead of the eighth.  That one inning (3rd) he threw 37 pitches.  That's two innings worth."

Aroldis Chapman, "the Cuban Missile" came on to pitch the ninth.  Chapman allowed back-to-back home runs to blow a save in Bailey's last start in Philadelphia Sunday.

This time Chapman retired the Cubs in order, striking out two. The game ending strikeout of Scott Hairston was the Reds' 11th strikeout of the game sending fans for free LaRosa's pizza





Joe Morgan Mentors Brandon Phillips






Dusty Baker likes to have retired players hanging around the Reds' clubhouse.  Joe Morgan, who is a special assistant to owner Bob Castellini, has a locker set up next to Brandon Phillips.

Phillips and Morgan talk about baseball and the Reds' current secondbaseman is soaking up the knowledge

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"We had that with the Dodgers,"  Dusty Baker said.  "Sandy Koufax, Maury Wills, Roy Campanella or Jim Gilliam were always around to answer questions or just talk baseball.  Some managers might feel threatened by that but I like it.  Sometimes they tell the players the same thing we do but its a different voice. You never know when you get a tip that can turn things around for you."

Phillips is on the verge of wiping Morgan from the top of the Reds' statistical list for secondbasemen.

Morgan still leads the home run list with 152 to Phillips 150.  Morgan leads the RBI list 612-605 but Phillips is ahead of Morgan in doubles 221-220 and hits 1,214 - 1,155.

"You can get help from anywhere," Baker said.  "My son (Darren) was hitting in the cage one day when Pete Rose came by.  Rose said," Hey little Bake are you a good hitter?' Darren said that he was. 'Let me see you hit the back of the cage' Rose said. So my son started to try to hit line drives to the back of the cage.  He remembers that."

Another Cincinnati secondbaseman, Tommy Helms, told a story once about Deron Johnson, who was a teammate of Helm's with the Reds.  Johnson was also a teammate of Baker's with the Atlanta Braves.

"When DJ was the hitting coach for the Twins, Rod Carew was in a slump," Helms said.  "He came to Deron for help.  Derron told him, 'just get into the batter's box left-handed kid, you'll be allright.' "

Baker followed with a story about facing Johnson's team while in a horrible slump.  Baker playing on their past relationship approached Johnson before the Friday game of a thtee-game weekend series.

"I went to DJ and asked what I was doing wrong," Baker said.  "DJ said he would tell me Sunday.  I asked him to tell me now.  He said,' Sunday'.  I went to him on Sunday and he told me.  I started getting hot too.  I do that sometimes.  When a team is going to play the Cardinals, I may give a guy a tip as he leaves town."


Friday, May 24, 2013

Bronson Arroyo Struggles to Win Over the Cubs. The National League Struggle Against Joey Votto






Bronson Arroyo struggled through six innings but home runs by Joey Votto, Ryan Hanigan and Brandon Phillips paced the Reds to a 7-4 win over the Chicago Cubs.
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Arroyo didn't feel right all night.  He allowed a home run to opposing pitcher Scott Feldman- the first of his career to put the Cubs up 3-0 in the second inning.

"It was a 3-2 breaking ball right down the middle," Arroyo said.  "The scouting report said he was a jerker.  I didn't want to get to the top of the order so I put it right down the middle.  I got burned.  I thought I was going to get out of the inning."

The Cubs three-run inning snapped Arroyo's scoreless streak at 15-1/3 innings. The Reds hitters picked him up.

Joey Votto extended his hitting streak to 12 games with an opposite field home run, his eighth, off Feldman one out into the Reds' fourth inning.  Brandon Phillips singled to extend his own hitting streak to 11 games.  Todd Frazier walked.  Xavier Paul singled to drive Phillips home.  Feldman fell behing Ryan Hanigan 3-0 with two outs and Arroyo due up.  Chicago manager Dale Sveum decided to pitch to Hanigan.

Hanigan responded with his second three-run home run in a week to give Arroyo a 5-3 lead to work with.

Hanigan was hitting .079 when he went on the disabled list with a strained oblique and a very sore thumb that didn't allow him to grip the bat.  Since his return he has a hit in six of his eight starts (8-for-27) for a .296 average.

"I don't want to make excuses for the slow start," Hanigan said. "It does feel good that my thumb is better.  I have my strength back."

The catcher was a little surprised the Cubs pitched to him when they were behind in the count.

"I was a little surprised," Hanigan said.  "In that part of the game, I don't think we would use a pinch hitter."

The Reds' bullpen of Logan Ondrusek, Jonathan Broxton and Aroldis Chapman finished the game.  Broxton surrendered a run in the eighth as the Cubs closed to within a run at 5-4.

The dynamic duo of Votto and Phillips provided the final margin of victory. Votto, the "Dark Knight", who has chosen The Rolling Stones' "Fade to Black" as his introduction song, singled to start the ninth inning.  Phillips, who leads the National League in RBI with 42 hit a long home run, his eighth off Hector Rondon to give Chapman some breathing room.

The "Cuban Missile" saved his 11th game of the season and Arroyo improved to 5-4 on the season.

Chapman allowed a single and a walk but struck out David DeJesus, Anthony Rizzo and Alfonso Soriano to seal the victory.

Votto is the NL's leading hitter with a .361 average,  He took over the league lead in runs scored with 40.  He has 20 multi-hit games, tied for tops in the league. He leads with 65 hits, a .484 on-base-percentage and is second with 101 total bases.


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Sean Marshall Placed on the !5--Day Disabled List Manny Parra Reinstated






The Reds placed left-handed relief pitcher Sean Marshall on the 15-day disabled list.

The team reinstated Manny Parra, also a left-hander, from the 15-day disabled list.\

Marshall was unavailable on to pitch on Wednesday with a sprained left shoulder.  The move is retroactive to Tuesday May 21.  He was also on the disabled list with the same ailment from April 10-25.
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Parra was placed on the DL on April 16 with a strained left pectoral.  He was recalled from a rehab assignment with the Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos for which he made three starts, the last being Sunday.

Parra had no record and allowed no runs in five innings on three hits and one walk.  He struck out five.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Former Purcell Marian and Mt. St. Joe Hurler Steve Matre Still Taking the Mound






Steve Matre isn't giving up the ball.

The Purcell grad, who set an NCAA Division III career record for saves in spite of an injury that cost him his senior season, is signing today with the Florence Freedom.

Matre was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 39th round of the 2010 draft.
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Matre pitched 25 innings for the Dodgers Arizona rookie league team and Ogden of the Pioneer league. He had a 0-1 record with a 4.26 ERA and 26 strikeouts before being released in 2011.

Matre celebrated his 25th birthday on Tuesday May 21.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Tony Cingrani Optioned to Louisville Neftali Soto Recalled






As expected, the Reds optioned left-handed pitcher Tony Cingrani to Louisville as they intend to recall Johnny Cueto from the 15-day disabled list to start against the New York Mets on Monday.
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Cingrani made six starts and the Reds won four of them.  He was 2-0 with a fine 3.27 ERA.  The National League hit just .212 off Cingrani but seven of the 25 hits were home runs.  He walked nine and struck out a whopping 41 batters in 33 innings.

The Reds would like Cingrani to work on his secondary pitches so that e doesn't rely so much on his fastball.

"He's coming on," Dusty Baker said. "He had some valuable experience in the big leagues."

Neftali Soto was recalled to give the Reds an extra bat and a much needed right-handed bat off the bench.

Soto, who plays mainly firstbase but has experience at shortstop and thirdbase, is hitting .269 with three home runs and 16 RBI in 33 games at Louisville.

Soto will make his Major League debut when he appears in a game for Cincinnati

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Big Lutz and Bronson Arroyo Spill the Brewers






Donald "Big" Lutz drilled a three-run home run of the rightfield fair pole that went out faster than one can say grober eile (big hurry). Not only did the ball leave the park fast but it will land in Friedberg, Germany.

The wily Bronson Arroyo kept the fastball hitting Milwaukee Brewers off balance in the 5-1 win that completed the three-game sweep.

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Brandon Phillips and Brewer menace Jay Bruce singled off Wily Peralta to open the second inning. Todd Frazier struck out; then Big Lutz struck.  Lutz slammed his first career home run on a line that struck the screen of the pole 366 feet from home plate.

Wily Peralta put the pitch not only where he wanted but had a lot of mustard on it.

"I don't see how Lutz hit that ball," Brewer's manager Ron Roenicke said. "Wily started him out with a good slider for a strike then put the ball up and in at 95-96 mph."

"I saw the ball pretty good and put a good swing on it," Lutz said as he was also presented with the lineup card from the game. "I'm sending the ball to my mother."

That essentially was all the run support Arroyo needed.

The veteran spread four hits and a walk over the first five innings, retiring six hitters in a row until he hit Logan Schafer with a pitch two outs into the seventh. Rickie Weeks singled to cue Dusty Baker to call on Sam LeCure.

"It was the same old thing. Arroyo keeps you off balance all day," Roenicke said. "Arroyo throws his breaking ball for strikes sometimes better than he throws the fastball for strikes.  He has command of all his pitches. Arroyo got behind Rickie (Weeks) 3-0 and drops a curve in for as strike.  You hope to catch him when he is a little off with his command."

LeCure faced on batter, Jeff Bianchi, who struck out looking.

Xavier Paul pinch hit for LeCure and hit a pitch by Mike Fiers into the rightfield bleachers. It was Paul's second pinch hit home run of the season.

The Brewers scored a run on a wild pitch by Jonathan Broxton in the eighth.

Aroldis Chapman finished the game in a non-save situation, striking out side.

.






Saturday, May 11, 2013

Jay Bruce Has a Career Inning As The Reds Drain the Brewers






Jay Bruce and the Reds had a very good second inning.

Bruce led it off with a home run off Hiram Burgos and his teammates batted around while scoring five runs as the Reds drained every drop from the Brewers in a 13-7 win.
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The next inning was even better for Bruce.  This time he settled for two doubles, the first of which led off the third.  The second drove in Joey Votto for his second RBI of the game. It was the seventh run of the inning.

Bruce improved his average to .258 and increased his RBI total to 20.  It was the first time a Reds' batter had two hits in an inning since Drew Stubbs did it on April 25, 2011 at Milwaukee and the first to hit two doubles in an inning since Sean Casey did it on August 7, 1998 against Milwaukee.

Mat Latos was better at the plate than on the mound.  He hit two singles and drove in two runs but had his worst pitching performance of the season.

Latos gave up seven runs, six earned on nine hits and three walks in six innings.  His earned run averaged ballooned from 2.23 at game time to 3.04 at game's end.  The Reds' starters have now gone nine games without a quality start.  The good news for Latos that in his worst outing of the year, he picked up a win in his fourth consecutive start.

The Reds offense took advantage of young Hiram Burgos, who was placed in the starting rotation to give struggling Marco Estrada an extra day to iron out his problems.  A short outing of four innings by Yovanni Gallardo on Friday, causing the young pitcher to take a beating to save the bullpen.

The Reds banged out 14 hits in getting a win that allowed manager Dusty Baker to tie Fred Clarke with 1,602 wins on the all-time manager's win list.

Votto had two hits. Todd Frazier improved to .244 on the season with two hits. Xavier Paul had two hits.  Devin Mesoraco and Latos had two hits.



Cingrani Needs Another Pitch






When Johnny Cueto returns, the Reds need to decide what to do with rookie Tony Cingrani.

The left-handed 23-year old power pitcher is 2-0 with a 2.89 ERA in his five starts as Cueto's replacement in the starting rotation.  The Reds won four of the fives starts.

As well as he has pitched, the indication around the Reds is that Cingrani will be heading back to Louisville when Cueto returns.

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Cingrani, who dominated hitters with his 95-plus fastball at Lincoln-Way Central High School in New Lenox, Illinois, South Suburban College and Rice University, has an amazing total of 37 strikeouts in 28 innings.  Yet he will probably go back to Louisville to add to his pitching arsenal.

The Milwaukee Brewers were silent for three innings but started the fourth inning with two home runs and put runners on base after that.  Cingrani pitched out of trouble but his pitch count was high and Dusty Baker removed him from the game.

"He's throwing 95 percent fastballs," Baker said.. "You can get by the first time through but the second time is tough and the third time through is even tougher. They (hitters) know the action on the ball.  He's going to have to come up with a secondary pitch.  Especially a team like that (Milwaukee), because they can hit the fastball."

Cingrani is very close to being a successful major league pitcher.  He is on the fast track after being selected by the Reds out of Rice University with the third pick just two years ago 2011. He has had just one full year in the organization, splitting that between Bakersfield and Pensacola last year, then getting a September call-up.

The Evergreen, Illinois agent completed his first major league spring training camp in Goodyear, Arizona in March.

"He's on the way. I'm just glad he's had the success he's had so far," Baker said.  "The silver lining is that he has given us a chance to win.  We aren't here to try out.  We're here to win.  He's gotten extended time here. What if he'd have come up and gotten shelled?  Who would we have turned to then?  What if we'd lost four of his five starts?  We'd be seven out or worse. That's what he's done.  He's kept us in games."

Without saying so directly and knowing full well that things could change between now and Cueto's return, Cingrani will more than likely head to Louisville and learn to use and command the breaking ball and change more.


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Derrick Robinson Born With Speed






The speed of Billy Hamilton had the baseball world buzzing in March as he was invited to spring training for the first time.

Under the radar or maybe just too fast to be detected by radar, the Reds signed Derrick Robinson to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training.

The speedy Robinson chose to sign with the Kansas City Royals rather than accept a scholarship from the University of Florida to play defensive back.  A curious decision when you consider he was born in Gainsville and would have graduated with the Tim Tebow Gators that handily defeated the Cincnnati Bearcats in the 2010 Sugar Bowl.

Robinson excelled in all sports at PK Yonge High School in Gainsville.
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As a junior he hit .359 and started to bat left-handed.  Robinson is a natural right-handed hitter even though he throws left-handed.

"I used to play around swinging left-handed for fun when I was younger," Robinson said.  "I didn't start to be serious about it until I was a junior.  My uncle convinced me to hit lefty and to not waste that side."

Robinson's uncle, Ricky Nattiel, was a wide reciever who played at Florida and was a member of Denver Bronco's "Three Amigos"  with Vance Johnson and Mark Jackson as John Elway's favorite targets.  Robinson's other uncle Michael Nattiel played in the Reds' minor league system at Billings in 1982.

Robinson was a fourth round pick by the Royals in the 2006 draft.  He spent three years at Single-A Wilmington.

"That happens sometimes,:" Dusty Baker said.  "He had a few things to learn hitting-wise. He was a young player out of high school. His right-hand hitting wasn't as good as his left-hand hitting which is unusual for a right-hander.  You end up getting more reps as a left-hand hitter.  Robinson struck out quite a bit so we tried to get him to cut down on those.  But I like his defense and his speed.  He is a big addition to our team especially to a team, that doesn't have a lot of speed."

Lost in the Friday night game against Milwaukee was the fine running catch that Robinson made off the line drive that Yuniesky Betancourt hit off Aroldis Chapman leading off the ninth inning.  Robinson was able to track down the ball at full speed running toward the leftfield line.

"I knew he was going to pull the ball," Robinson said.  "I played with him in spring training with Kansas City. He is a dead red fastball hitter."

"Robinson is a centerfielder playing left," Baker said.  "He had plenty of speed to run that ball down easily."

Speed is Robinson's greatest asset; the reason that he is in the major leagues as the roster addition when Ryan Ludwick was placed on the disabled list.

Baker was asked repeatedly this spring about the development of Billy Hamilton, who is known for his speed after setting a professional baseball record with 155 stolen bases last season.

"Take a look at Robinson," Baker said one day in March.  "If he isn't as fast as Hamilton, he's just a step slower."

The 25-year old Robinson may just now be coming into his own.  He certainly saved the Reds a game with his speed in the series opener.

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Friday, May 10, 2013

Brandon Phillips Uses Bat and Glove to Edge Brewers







Brandon Phillips took over the game in the seventh inning in the Reds' 4-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Milwaukee Brewers had runners on first and second with the dangerous Ryan Braun facing Sam LeCure with a full count.

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Phillips pestered Norichika Aoki, the runner on second.  Braun hit a two-hop ground ball up the middle.  Phillips fielded the ball with his right knee on second base and threw quickly to first, where Joey Votto scooped the throw to complete the inning-ending double play.

Phillips wasn't finished.

One out into the bottom of the inning, the man who calls himself DatDude launched his sixth home run to give his team a 4-2 lead.  Combined with the two-out RBI single in the third inning, it gave the Reds' secondbaseman the National League lead in RBI with 31.

"Brandon's the best I've seen at that position," Dusty Baker said.  "He works at it.  That was the best double play I've ever seen turned from secondbase."

"I work on taking short hops bare-handed but not with the bag in the way," Phillips said.  "I took a gamble on making the throw.  I've touched the bag with my knee several times but not while taking a short hop."

While he took over the lead in RBI, Phillips was upset that he struck out with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth.

"I'm still pissed off that I struck out in that inning," Phillips said.  "I wanted to get at least one run out of that.  It feels good to know I'm leading the league (in RBI) but I don't really look at that.  My goal is to drive in 100 runs but we needed that run in the eighth."

"We're leaving a lot of guys out there at the end of the game.  We were hoping to get at least one run there," Baker said.  "These Brewers can score in a hurry.

Both starting pitchers, Yovanni Gallardo for Milwaukee and Tony Cingrani, were long gone. Neither pitched past the fourth inning.

The Reds put up two runs against Gallardo.  Shin-Soo Choo walked, then stole secondbase.  Phillps drilled a single as Choo chugged home.  Jay Bruce smoked an offering by Gallardo on a line over the head of the rightfielder, Aoki.  The fielder managed to get the tip of his glove on it but the ball fell for a double that scored Phillips.

Cingrani had little trouble with the Brewers for three innings.  However, Jean Segura opened the fourth with a home run that bounced off the top of the rightfield wall.  Braun followed with a blast on the next pitch that traveled 418 feet to tie the game.

"Cingrani pitched well until the second time around (the Brewers' batting order)," Baker said.  "His pitch count got up there.  You see how fast the Brewers can score.  We scratch to get two runs and just like that, they tie the game.  We were hoping those home runs weren't going to come back to haunt us."

Donald Lutz pinch hit for Cingrani and singled in his fifth straight game.  The big German citizen stole secondbase, his second of the year and scored on a single by Zack Cozart.

Afredo Simon, Sam LeCure and Jonathan Broxton kept the Brewers away from the plate until the Reds unleashed the Cuban Missile, Aroldis Chapman, in the ninth.

Derrick Robinson made a nice running catch in leftfield to retire Yuniesky Betancourt.  Pinch hitter Jeff Bianchi flied to left.  Aoki reached base for the fifth time in the game with a single to center.  Aoki singled three times and walked twice.  Segura became the potential tying run.  Aoki took second on defensive indiference, third on a wild pitch and scored on a wild pitch, but Segura struck out to end the game.

It was Chapman's eighth save.


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Chris Heisey Going On A Rehab Assignment






Outfielder Chris Heisey is going to test his right hamstring in a rehab assignment on Monday..

The right-handed hitter has been sidelined since April 29 when he pulled it trying to beat a relay on a double-play ball in Washington the day before.  He is eligible to come off Tuesday May 14 in Miami.


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Heisey was hitting .173 in 23 games before being injured. He hit two home runs and drove in five runs.

"We need him," Dusty Baker said.  "He was hitting as well as he wanted or we wanted but we need the right-handed bat in the late innings."

The Reds recalled Donald Lutz, who hits left-handed, to take Heisey's place.

The move leaves the Reds with only a catcher hittinge exclusively from the right side on the bench. Cesar Izturis and Derreck Robinson are switch hitters.  Izturis is hitting .333 from the right side but only has six at bats.  Robinson is hitting .400 right-handed in just 10 at bats.

Ryan Hanigan Activated From the Disabled List






Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan has been activated from the 15-day disabled list.

Corky Miller was designated for assignment.

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Hanigan was placed on the disabled list with a strained oblique on April 21.  He started a rehab assignment in Louisville on Wednesday night.

Hanigan played in three games with the Bats with three hits in eight at bats.

Johnny Cueto made a rehab start for the Dayton Dragons last night, pitching three innings.  He allowed one run on four hits in three innings. Cueto struck out four.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Johnny Cueto Start For Dayton in a Rehab Assignment






Johnny Cueto will test his oblique at Dayton's Fifth Third Field tonight against the Lansing Lugnuts.
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Cueto went on the disabled list on April 21 with a strained right lat.  He was scheduled to pitch on May  3, but was scratched when his oblique acted up.

Ryan Hanigan, who was also sidelined with a strained oblique and a sore left thumb, began a rehab assignment in Louisville last night.

The Dayton Dragons game will be televised on WHIO Digital Channel 7.2 and Time Warner Cable channels 23 and 372 Thursday with Cueto on the mound.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Paybacks Are Hell Juan Francisco Hits a Grand Slam Off J.J. Hoover






The game between the Reds and the Atlanta Braves was still tight, when Juan Francisco hit a grand slam home run off J.J. Hoover to stake Atlanta to a 7-2 win.

Dan Uggla hit two solo home runs off Mike Leake to counter Zack Cozart's fifth home run of the season, a solo shot off Mike Minor.

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Minor retired the first two batters in the eighth but Donald Lutz singled and Devin Mesoraco worked a walk.  It was Mike Leake's turn to hit.


Dusty Baker took notice that Atlanta had a right-hander and a left-hander warming up because Minor had already thrown 111 pitches.

Baker due to injuries had all left-handed hitters plus switch-hitter Derrick Robinson on the bench to face the lefty, Minor.

"Leake was a better option than anyone we had on the bench," Baker said.  "He is a good hitter (.286 coming into the game). Robinson isn't ready to hit left-handed yet.  And did you see how Minor made Joey Votto look."

Votto's 10-game hitting streak was snapped as Minor a particularly tough left-hander had one of the best hitters in the National League tied up in knots all day.  Robinson due to a pain in his side can't swing the bat left-handed.  The Braves would have turned him around by bringing in a right-hander from the bullpen.

"It didn't work but I wanted Leake to face the tired pitcher," Baker said.  Leake flied out to left to end the threat.

The Reds' starter went out to face the top of the Braves lineup with 98 pitches under his belt.

Jordan Schaefer worked a walk to start the eighth.  Braves' manager Fredi Gonzalez sent the speedy Schaefer on a hit-and-run play.  Andrelton Simmons, who hit two home runs on Monday night, collected his fourth hit of the game.  He hit a ground ball to shortstop but Cozart had to cover secondbase.

"Leake was good until the eighth," Baker said.  "He got behind Schafer, then they executed the hit-and-run to put him in trouble."

There were runners on the corners and no outs with left-handed hitting Freddie Freeman up.  Baker sent Sean Marshall into the game.  Freeman dumped a soft line drive into right field to make it 3-1.

"I didn't want Marshall facing either Justin Upton or Uggla," Baker said.

He went to J.J. Hoover, who after a rough beginning of the season, retired 20 of his last 23 batters, He had not allowed an earned run in any of his last 10 appearances.  He had a 0.79 ERA (11 1/3 innings, 1 earned run) in his last 12 games. He saved two of the three games in Chicago.

Hoover walked Justin Upton, who leads the Major League's with 12 home runs and is third in the National League with a .635 slugging percentage. He is tied for second in the NL with 17 extra-base hits.

Hoover walked him.  Uggla followed with a hard one hopper to Cozart at short that forced Simmons at the plate.

That brought former Red Juan Francisco to the plate.

Francisco was one of the promising young players to come through the Reds farm system.  He rose quickly displaying power. On September 12, 2011 while playing for the Reds he hit a pitch off Chicago's Rodrigo Lopez 502' out of Great American Ball Park that landed on the south sidewalk of Mehring Way.

Francisco reported to the Reds out of shape for spring training in 2012.  He hadn't done his rehab work on an injury from the winter leagues.  He loafed through drills in Goodyear, Arizona.  The Reds' players were as upset with him as management was.  At the same time Todd Frazier was having a great spring.  The Reds had also lost Ryan Madson, Nick Masset and Bill Bray to injuries in their own bullpen.

Reds' general manager Walt Jocketty unloaded Francisco for a strike throwing reliever, J.J. Hoover.

Someone was going to make the trade look good and this time it was Francisco that came out on top drilling the first grand slam of his career into the Atlanta bullpen to break the game open.

Jay Bruce hit his second home run of the season in the bottom of the ninth but Anthony Varvaro finished the game with no further score.

Francisco was asked if the grand slam felt extra special coming off his former team and the pitcher they traded him to obtain.

"It felt good just to hit my first grand slam in the major leagues," Francisco said.


Choo On This Atlanta; Choo Hits Two Home Runs to Present 1,600th Win to Baker






Shin-Soo Choo took one of the National League's best closers 400 feet to left centerfield to give the Reds its 19th win of the season.  It put Reds' manager Dusty Baker into 18th place on the All-Time list for managers with his 1,600th career win in a 5-4 ninth inning comeback thriller.

"It just means I've been around for a long time," Baker said.

Homer Bailey got off to a rough start but held on long enough to keep the team in the game.  Two walks in the first inning and two-out singles by Brian McCann and Dan Uggla gave the Atlanta Braves an early 3-0 lead.
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Choo got the first hit off Braves' starter Kris Medlen.  It was Choo's sixth of the season.


The Braves scored another run off Bailey in the fifth but the Reds got it back in the bottom of the inning on Donald Lutz's pinch-hit single.

Singles by Zack Cozart and Joey Votto put runners on the corners with one out.  Brandon Phillips' sacrifice fly made it a 4-3 game in the eighth and put him in a tie with John Buck for the most RBIs in the National League.

The marker also set up a dramatic finish thanks to the bullpen work of Sam LeCure, Sean Marshall and Jonathan Broxton.  The trio kept Atlanta from crossing the plate over the last four innings.

"They did their jobs," Baker said.  "It is one of those things that if they give up runs everyone notices but when they don't, they are unheralded unless they are the closer."

Craig Kimbrel under the tutelage of Colerain High School graduate and Brave's pitching coach, Roger McDowell, was making his bid to become the youngest pitcher to notch 100 careers saves at 24.

It looked like the hard-throwing Kimbrel would pick up his second save in as many nights when he struck out Jack Hannahan and Corky Miller.  Kimbrel fell behind pinch hitter Devin Mesoraco 3-1 before catching the corner with a 95-mile an hour pitch for strike two.

Kimbrel's payoff pitch was down in the strike zone but Mesoraco got the barrel of the bat on it and hit a majestic fly into the first row of seats in right centerfield.

"Not every home run is hit off a bad pitch," Baker said.

No sooner had the crowd quieted from the euphoria of tying the game when Choo hit his second home run to touch off a celebration at home plate.

It was the Reds' league-leading 13th home win and the seventh win in the last at bat.


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Monday, May 6, 2013

Braves Power Past Reds






The Atlanta Braves have a powerful lineup and Bronson Arroyo knew it.

The Braves came into the game second in the National League with 41 home runs but they also strike out more than any other team.

Justin Upton leads the league with 12.  Evan Gattis has hit seven.  Dan Uggla has five.
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But it was shortstop Andrelton Simmons that torched the Reds' starter. That resulted in a 7-4 win for Atlanta. He hit a solo home run as the Braves built a 3-0 lead against Arroyo.

"Top to bottom that is a powerful lineup," Arroyo said.  "The only person I wasn't worried about was the eight hole hitter and he ended up taking me deep.  I was a little too fine in the early innings."

The Reds were eerily silent with the bats against Paul Maholm, who has pitched at Great American Ball Park many times as an intradivision rival of the Reds for most of his career. Pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs in the past, Maholm was not intimidated by the park's smallish dimensions.

The Reds had an awakening in the fourth against the Braves' left-hander.

Zack Cozart singled.  Joey Votto walked.  Brandon Phillips doubled to left to move to second in the RBI list with his 28th of the season.  Jay Bruce grounded to Freddie Freeman at firstbase to score Votto and move Phillips to third but Todd Frazier took a called third strike and Devin Mesoraco grounded out.

"We had a chance to tie the game that would have changed the momentum," Dusty Baker said.  "We battled. Bronson struggled but we still had action when he left.  It was 4-2."

The Braves padded the lead in the eighth after two were out.

Dan Uggla singled and Simmons belted his second home run of the game off Logan Ondrusek.  Pinch hitter Jordan Schaeffer homered.

The Braves needed the runs because the Reds came back with two in the bottom of the inning but trailed 7-4 going into the ninth.

Craig Kimbrall got the save for the Braves by striking out Votto as the tying run with Donald Lutz and Shin-Soo Choo on base.

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