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.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Cueto's Dramitic Hit Gave Himself 20 Wins

Bryan Price left it up to Johnny Beisbol

Cueto used his own bat to provide the margin for his career-best 20th win, becoming the first Reds' pitcher since 1988 to win 20 games.  Danny Jackson won 23 that year.  Cueto was the first Reds' right-hander to win 20 since Sammy Ellis won 22 and Jim Maloney won 20 in 1965.

The strategy was unorthodox so much so that Cueto didn't fully understand it.  St. Louis Cardinal fans surely disliked it.

Bryan Price allowed Cueto to bat with the go ahead run on third with one out in the eighth inning.

"It was one of the worst decisions for me to make because I know what's on the line," Price said. "The Cardinals are watching the game too.  Of course Cozart hits an absolute missile and that Harrison kid makes another great play.  But hey the most important guy for me today was Johnny Cueto.  If anyone deserved a chance to do that it was him. I put Johnny ahead of everyone else.  I would not apologize for anything that we did in September.  For a team out of the race, we honored the pennant race as much as we could."

Cueto wanted to hit but even second guessed the reasoning.

"I don't understand it," Cueto said with a wide smile on his face. "I still don't understand the at bat.  I told my manager that I want to hit.  He gave me the confidence to do it. I got the hit and I still don't understand it."

Two years ago, in the final start of the season, Cueto had 19 wins and the Reds knew he was going to start in the playoffs.  The Reds took him out after seven innings of a 1-1 game.  The Reds scored the winning run in the ninth, too late for Cueto to pick up his 20th.


"In that situation, we had the team first," Price said. "That was the right call."

Cueto and his mother expected 20 wins this season.

"I only ask God to be healthy and keep the team together," Cueto said through interpreter Tomas Vera.  "I had 104 pitches and a man on third. I don't understand why he trusted me but I am happy that I got the hit.  It feels great.  I feel really happy.  I feel really, really happy today."

Cueto is not concerned about the Cy Young Award that will likely go to Clayton Kershaw.

"You don't know what is going to happen," Cueto said apparently not knowing the media votes on the award and the consensus has been that Kershaw will get the vote.  "I have the numbers. I have my innings.  I have my strikeouts. Look where I'm pitching (hitter friendly Great American Ball Park). That's for you in the media.to worry about."

The Reds gave Cueto an early lead early in the 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on the final day of the season..

Kristopher Negron singled off Pittsburgh starter, Gerrit Cole.  Brandon Phillips singled Negron to third on a hit-and-run play.  Negron, going on contact scored on Frazier's grounder to third.

Cueto gave up two singles in the first but held the Pirates scoreless until Neil Walker hit his 23rd home run, leading off the fourth.

Cueto retired 14 of 15 batters after the home run and in the process tied Stephan Strasburg for the NL lead with his 242nd strikeout.

Travis Snider doubled with two out in the eighth and Cueto hit Andrew McCutchen with a pitch.  Cueto ended the inning by taking the throw from Frazier on Walker's ground ball.

"I was aggressive the whole time," Cueto said.  "When Walker grounded out I felt really happy because I was behind in the count and when he hit the ground ball, I thought, "I got him."'

Pirates fans taunted Cueto last season in the wild card playoff game that Cueto started and chanted his name in the belief that they got in his head.  Pirate fans started the chant late in the game.

"I heard them," Cueto said.  "They think it bothers me but they only beat me one time."

Jason Bourgeois tripled to open the bottom of the eighth. With the infield in Josh Harrison made a diving catch of Zack Cozart's line drive.  Bryan Price let Cueto try to win his big game with his own bat.  The Pirates pitched out but there was no play on.  Cueto fouled off a two-strike pitch.  The worked the count full.
Cueto singled up the middle of the drawn in infield.

Yorman Rodriguez ran for Cueto, who ended his season with an eight inning, one-run effort with no walks and seven strikeouts.  He finished with a NL Best 243 2/3 innings and tied for the lead with 242 strikeouts.

Kristopher Negron, clapping his hands before his sixth home run sprint of the season, took out some of the drama with a blast off Justin Wilson to give Aroldis Chapman a three-run lead to work with in seeking his 36th save in 38 chances.

Starling Marte extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a bloop single to center.  Gabby Sanchez struck out swinging.  Jordy Mercer was caught looking at a third strike.  Tony Sanchez became Chapman's 106th strikeout victim on the season to end it.

With the loss the Pirates had to settle for the Wild Card home game against the San Francisco Giants.

Johnny Cue20 Goes For An Elusive Milestone


Johnny Cueto will probably not win the Cy Young Award but regardless of the outcome of today;s game, he has had a great season.

If Cueto wins his 20th game he will have done something that no Reds pitcher has done since 1988 and something no Reds' right-handed pitcher has done since 1965.

For pitchers, 20-win seasons have been hard to come by with five fewer starts and increased use of specialized bullpens.  Danny Jackson a left-hander won 23 games in 1988.  Right-handers Sammy Ellis (22) and Jim Maloney (20)  accomplished the feat in 1965.

Would the Cy Young going to Clayton Kershaw dampen the excitement  of the feaqt?

"Yes, because he's had a phenomenal  year and no because he's had a phenomenal year" Bryan Price said.. The baseball community recognize his year."

His teammates are 100 percent behind him.

"It is very important for Johnny to get that win," said Todd Frazier, who needs one more home run to reacn 30 for the season.  "I'm going to fight for him."
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Frazier knows that Kershaw will probably win the Cy Young and possibly the MVP.

"Overall Johnny understands," Frazier said. "He had a great year. He exceeded my expectations , coming off the injuries. He;s workded hard. Johnny has that energy that you build on."

Friday, September 26, 2014

Pirates Edge Reds Keep Division Hopes Alive

Travis Snider's line drive sliced away from Jay Bruce in rightfield, allowing Josh Harrison to score the go-head run in the Pirates 3-1 win that keeps its division tittle hopes alive.

Harrison, the National League's leading hitter, extended his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games with a single with two outs in the eighth.  Last season's MVP, Andrew McCutcheon, doubled to plate pinch runner, Gregory Polanco.

Mike Leake and Vance Worley locked up in a pitcher's duel.

Both threw up zeroes for five innings.

Gabby Sanchez put the Pirates into a brief lead with his seventh home run, leading off the sixth.

Zack Cozart led off the Reds half with a single off the glove of Jordy Mercer.  Mercer recovered in time to catch Cozart at second, going for the extra base.  One out later, Leake doubled.  He scored by running through thirdbase coach Steve Smith to score on Kristopher Negron's single to centerfield.
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Leake finished with seven innings, allowing just the one run on three hits.  He walked two and struck out eight.

Mark Melancon pitched a scoreless ninth for his 33rd save.

Princeton High and UC Grad Near MLB Batting Title


Josh Harrison, a 2006 graduate of Princeton High School and a Bearcat baseball player from 2006-2008, leads the National League in hitting with three games left in the 2014 season at .319.

Harrison is in a battle with his teammate and 2013 Most Valuable Player, Andrew McCutcheon, who is at .314.  Starling Marte, yet another teammate is ninth in the NL at .293.

Harrison along with brother Vince, who also played professional baseball, comes from a baseball family.  Their uncle John Shelby had an 11-year big league career.

The 2014 All-Star goes into the game Friday against the Reds with a 13-game hitting streak, that ties a career high.

Harrison won  three letters in baseball at Princeton. He was the captain his last two years and the Vikings MVP as a senior, when he was named the The Enquirer's All-City Team.  At UC, Harrison played three seasons.  He is in the Bearcats' top-10 in batting average (4th .358), runs (3rd 192), hits (4th 246), doubles (4th 53), RBI (5th, 153), total bases (5th 366) and stolen bases (2nd 63). 

Harrison was named Big East Co-Player of the Year in 2008, succeeding the Reds' Todd Frazier, who was the Big East Player of the Year in 2007. 

Tony Campana of the Diamondbacks from Springboro High was a teammate of Harrison's at Cincinnati. Colerain's pitcher Dan Osterbrock, who was drafted and played in the Minnesota Twins organization was on those Bearcat teams as well.  The Bearcats won a team record 39 games with those three Cincinnati players.

The Cubs drafted Harrison in the sixth round in 2008.  He was traded to the Pirates with Jose Ascaino and Kevin Hart for John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny.

For the second season in a row, Harrison will have a chance to play in the Major League Post-Season

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The Pirates are one game behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the NL Central Division title.  They have already clinched at least a Wild Card spot and hold a one-game lead over the San Francisco Giants for the home field in the Wild Card game.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Brandon Phillips and Yorman Rodriguez Drown Brewers


Billy Hamilton managed to influence the Reds 5-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers, who kicked the ball around as if they were the Wiedemann Brewers, a coed softball team, allergic to leather.  The loss doused the Brewers slim playoff hopes.

With Hamilton out with a mild concussion, Brandon Phillips hit in the leadoff spot, while rookie Yorman Rodruguez replaced Hamilton in centerfield and hit sixth.

Phillips had two hits and scored two runs against Milwaukee starter, Yovani Gallardo, including his eighth home run of the season to end the pitchers season.

Rodriguez, who signed with the Reds on his 16th birthday in 2008, had two singles and drove in the go-ahead run.

"It is a very good experience," Rodriguez said. "I have been talking to the veterans and learning a lot.  I want to show my best when I get the opportunity."

Young David Holmberg defeated the Brewers for the second time in 12 days.  The 22-year old allowed a second inning home run to Rickie Weeks among the three hits he allowed in six innings.  Milwaukee scored on a sacrifice fly by Khris Davis after Phillips cut down Ryan Braun at the plate on a contact play.

"I am more comfortable," Holmberg said. "I feel good about going into spring training.  It gives me confidence to compete against teams in our division."

Bryan Price was pleased with his young players.

"Holmberg was terrific," Price said.  "We could have had him go out there for the seventh but he was leading off.  We wanted to get something going.  Jason Bourgeois got the hit and Brandon's home run gave us the separation."

Rodriguez took an extra base on a throwing error by Weeks on a force attempt that rolled away from Jean Segura at shortstop.

"He made a nice read," Price said. "We are seeing a really good athlete with good baseball instincts.  He has a nice approach and doesn't try to force the ball to his pull side.  He stays in the middle of the field."

Jay Bruce drove in a run with a single to right, scoring Phillips.  Bruce had three hits.

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The listless Brewers kicked the ball around as the Reds took the lead in the fifth inning.  Brayan Pena singled to start the inning.  Jason Rogers inexplicably missed a double-play relay throw at firstbase.  Weeks dropped Ryan Ludwick's pop up in front of Rodriguez's single.

The Brewers scored a run off Sam Le Cure with three straight singles and a double-play ground ball.  Jumbo Diaz got Braun to ground out with runners on first and third to end the seventh.

Aroldis Chapman entered to hold the lead in the ninth, looking for his 35th save in 37 attempts.  Chapman struck out Weeks to start the inning but trainer Paul Lessard came out to check on him.  Chapman stayed in the game.  Hector Gomez grounded out. Jean Segura grounded out to end the game.

Yorman Rodriguez Replaces Billy Hamilton


Billy Hamilton robbed Ryan Braun of a home run on Wednesday night but hit his head on the padded fence.  It was verified that he had a mild concussion.

It was a planned day off for Hamilton any way but his time on the sideline could be extended.

"Billy had a mild concussion," Bryan Price said.  "It was verified. We'll have to go through the concussion protocol.  I'd love it if he was able to play but we wouldn't put him out there if there was any concern about his health."
Yorman Rodriguez, 22, took Hamilton's place in centerfield, batting sixth in the lineup.  He was signed out of Venezuela on August 15, 2008, his 16th birthday.
Rodriguez is appearing in his eighth game and has four singles in 16 at-bats (.250).
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"I see a real good athlete," Price said. "He has a real nice offensive approach from what I've seen as a young hitter.  I think he has a chance to be a really good player. He's 22 and played in Double A. He had a solid year.  He seams to have really good baseball instincts. it would be nice to run him out there for a week or so straight but that's not going to happen.  He might get another start or two.  It looks like he's capable of holding his own. He looks like a much better player than I anticipated seeing at this point in time of his career."   

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Daniel Corcino Comes Up Short Against The Brewers


Daniel Corcino was being compared to Johnny Cueto coming up through the Reds' minor league system.

After an off-year in 2013, Corcino got his chance to rise from Double A Pensacola to the Reds in August. 

After Mat Latos, Homer Bailey and Dylan Axelrod went down with injuries, Corcino was given his chance to start two games coming into his final start of the season against the Milwaukee Brewers in a 5-0 loss. The Reds were shutout for the 17th time.

His mound opponent was former Reds' starter Kyle Lohse.

Corcino had a quality start against the Brewers on September 12, allowing two runs over six innings in a no-decision the Brewers won 3-2.  He allowed two runs in a losing effort in 5 2/3 innings against the Chicago Cubs in his last start.

The 24-year old held the Brewers scoreless through three innings, thanks to Billy Hamilton's catch over the centerfield fence that robbed Ryan Braun of a home run.  Hamilton had to leave the game with a mild concussion.

"He (Corcino) started to get lateral with his delivery," Bryan Price said.  "Billy hit his head on the railing which is padded but at that velocity it can cause problems.  He was dizzy so we took him out.  I wasn't planning to start him tomorrow anyway."

Corcino has seen Hamilton make plays like that before.

"I played with him in the minor leagues.  He is amazing," Corcino said.  "When Braun hit the ball I thought it was gone but when I saw Billy close to the fence, I thought he would catch it.  I have been sitting with (Johnny) Cueto.  He has been telling me things.  I was struggling a little bit and getting behind in the count.  Johnny told me to concentrate, 'You're going to have games like this.  Just concentrate more.'  When he was coming up as a young pitcher, people did that for him.  Now that he has experience, he is helping us.  I am going to work out with him this winter.:

The Brewers broke through in the fourth Aramis Ramirez doubled with one out and went to third on a ground out.  Ramirez trotted home when Rickie Weeks lined a single off the leftfield fence.  Jason Bourgeois threw Weeks out at second to end the inning.
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The Brewers added a run in the fifth.  Jean Segura walked and went to second when Lohse walked. Carlos Gomez doubled to score Segura.  After Corcino walked Braun to load the bases, Bryan Price brought in J.J. Hoover, who pitched out of the inning with no further damage.

Meanwhile the Reds had two measly hits both by Jack Hannahan, the only base runners Lohse allowed.

Lohse turned in his 12th career complete game and ninth complete game shutout, his second this season.

Ryan Dennick walked a pair of batters to open the eighth.  Both scored on Segura's double.  Lohse added a sacrifice fly.

Bryan Price Expects Mat Latos and Homer Bailey To Be Ready


Bryan Price expects both of his injured starting pitchers to be ready by opening day 2015 or shortly after.

Latos is throwing now.

“I don’t think there’s concern that he’s got some long-term issues.," Price said.. "He’s got some inflammation, so it’s been strictly a rehab process to this point. He’s been able to throw but not completely pain-free. He’s been examined by Dr. Kremchek. He’s been getting regular attention from Paul Lessard and the training staff and we don’t anticipate any hiccups or concerns at all going into spring training _ no reservations at all in that regard.”
Bailey had surgery and his arm is in a sling but Price believes he will be ready.
I visited with him for about half-an-hour yesterday in the office," Price said. "He’s one guy who’s ready to get that sling off his arm, I’ll tell you that. Between him and Skip Schumaker, they’re ready to get out of those harnesses. If you haven’t done that before, it is brutal how much it really limits you, especially if it’s your dominant arm. Really, right now it’s more range of motion than anything and strengthening.”
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Bailey may have time enough to get ready for the second year of his six-year $105 million contract.
“Everyone recovers at a certain pace. He could be ahead of schedule. He could be a little behind schedule, but I don’t think he’s in jeopardy of missing any significant time during next year _ if any at all. We’re hoping that he’s ready by Opening Day, but if not, it should be close," Price said.

Daniel Corcino and David Holmberg will each make one more start before the season ends on Sunday.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Johnny Cueto Wins 19th Game Brewers Near Elimination


The run challenged Milwaukee Brewers and run challenged Cincinnati Reds squared off to see who could score the most.

Neither team scored many as the Reds held on for a 3-1 win.

The Brewers had an excuse with one of the National League's stingiest pitchers in Johnny Cueto on the mound in his next to last start of the season with hopes of winning both to set a new career-high with 20 wins.

The Brewers had Mike Friers on the mound and in spite of winning just six games, he has been very stingy himself in his eight starts since joining the Brewers' rotation on August 9.  He has a very tiny 1.78 ERA over those starts.

Todd Frazier hit his 28th home run of the season, extending his career high.  Devin Mesoraco followed with his 25th, also extending his career high.

"We have a couple of guys there without question, who are just skimming the surface for what they can do," Bryan Price said.  "They are going to get smarter with more experience."

Cueto kept the Brewers quiet after a slow start.  Carlos Gomez opened the game with a single but Cueto picked him off.  Scooter Gennett walked but was thrown out trying to score on Aramis Ramirez single by Billy Hamilton.

"I felt really strong in the first inning but it didn't help me control my fastball," Cueto said.  "After that I calmed down and was able to throw the ball better."

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Cueto allowed Gomez's 22nd home run with two outs in the sixth but just one hit after that.

Cueto finished with eight innings, allowing one run on four hits and striking out seven.

The Reds added a cushion in the bottom of the eighth against Jeremy Jefferess.  Brayan Pena doubled to lead off the inning, batting for Cueto.  Yorman Rodriguez ran for Pena.  Rodriguez was bunted to third by Hamilton and scored on a single by Jason Bourgeois.

Aroldis Chapman, seeking his 34th save in 36 attempts was wild coming out of the bullpen.  Chapman hit Gomez to start the inning and fell behind Rickie Weeks at 2-0.  Weeks looked at a called third strike.  Jonathan Lucroy.walked.  Ramirez struck out swinging.  Ryan Braun struck out to end the game while becoming Chapman's 100th strikeout victim of the season.

Cueto will pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates, who clinched at least the wild card spot as the Brewers were eliminated, on Sunday in an attempt to win his 20th game.

Starting pitcher's wins have been discounted over the years but Bryan Price a former pitching coach still believes they are important.

"To win 20 games you have to keep yourself in the games longer," Price said.  "The complete game has almost vanished, when the league leader has just six or seven, you're leaving a lot of games in the hands of someone else.  I've had pitchers that have won a lot of games and didn't have the statistics to back that up and I've had a lot of pitchers like Mike Leake, who has won 11 or 12 games that pitched better than that.  Look, 20 is a big number.   When you look at Johnny, it is 19 wins and leading the league in innings pitched.  That to me is one of the reasons that he has 19 wins because he's kept himself out there."

Reds Land Million Dollar Sponsor. - Will Erect Statue Of Tony Perez In 2015


Steve Watkins of the Cincinnati Business Courier in an exclusive report, writes the Reds have added its seventh million dollar sponsor by leveraging the 2015 All-Star game.

Watkins also reveals that the Reds will unveil a statue of Tony Perez on the plaza outside the Great American Ball Park sometime in August 0f 2015.


Read Watkins report by clicking below:


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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Gunner Keil Best Andrew Hendrix In Battle Of Notre Dame Transfers


Gunner Kiel threw four more touchdown passes as The University of Cincinnati extended Miami Universtity's losing streak to 20 games with a hard fought 31-24 win at Paul Brown Stadium.

Both Kiel and Miami quarterback and Moeller High School grad, Andrew Hendrix are eligible this season after transferring from Notre Dame.

Hendrix hit David Frazier with a 23-yard scoring strike to begin the scoring and true freshman Paul Moses broke some tackles on an 18-yard run as Miami took an early 14-7 lead early in the second quarter.

Kiel threw two touchdown passes to Mekale McKay and one to Chris Moore to lead UC back from the deficit.  Andrew Ganz kicked a field goal of 21 yards to put UC up at halftime 24-14.

Hendrix and Kiel traded touchdown passes in the third quarter.  Hendrix found Frazier behind the Cincinnati secondary with a 74-yard pass play.  Kiel threw 29 yards to Johnny Holton.

Miami gto a 49-yard field goal by Kaleb Patterson on a kick that never got more than 11 feet off the ground with 13:20 to play in the game to put Miami within a touchdown.

Miami held the Bearcats on a three and out and took over at their own 44 after a short punt by Sam Geraci.

Hendrix and his Redhawks drove to the Cincinnati one in a bid to tie the game.  Moses was stopped on a two-yard loss.  Hendrix was dropped for a one-yard loss.  On third and goal, Leviticus Payne dropped Hendrix for an 11 yard loss.  Patterson missed a 30-yard field goal attempt with 5:40 left.

Cincinnati ran out the clock for its second win of the season.

"They (UC) are 90 percent pressure within the 30-yard line," Miami coach Chuck Martin, who coached both quarterbacks at Notre Dame.  "We had the right play called but we had a freshman tight end block down.  It was a rookie mistake.  He feels awful and I feel awful for him."

The first year coach is now 0-4 with the Redhawks, who are hungry for a win in a rivalry game or not.

"If we got a win over Talawanda Middle School, we'd take it but this felt like a rivalry.  Our kids played their hearts out.  They played smarter, not smart, but smarter.  We need to execute better," Martin said.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Gunner Kiel Shines In Bearcats Opener


Gunner Kiel was highly recruited out of high school in Columbus, Indiana.

The Indiana kid, took on the challenge of playing in state in South Bend at legendary Notre Dame University.  After his freshman year, he reconsider his position with the Fighting Irish and transferred to Cincinnat.

After his obligatory year wait, Kiel proved why he was highly recruited, throwing for 294 yards and four touchdowns in Cincinnati's 58-34 win over cross-state rival the University of Toledo.

Cincinnati scored on its first six possessions and played errorless football with no turnovers to build a 41-14 halftime lead.

Kiel hit four different receivers with first-half touchdown tosses, Mekale McKay (17), Max Morrison(23), Chris Moore (8) and Nate Cole (11) in the first half.  Rod Moore contributed a two-yard run.

The Cincinnati offense went stagnate in the third quarter and the Rockets fought their way back in the game with five scores.  Logan Woodside threw two touchdown passes to Alonzo Russell and one to Corey Jones.  Jeremiah Detmer kicked a pair of field goals and UC found itself in a 41-34 dogfight before the Bearcat offense reawakened.

Kiel threw touchdown passes to Alex Chisum (18) and Shaq Washington (22).  Alex Ganz kicked a 34-yard field goal.

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The six touchdowns passes, which incidentally went to six different receivers, tied Cincinnati's single game record.  Tony Pike threw six touchdown passes against Northern Illinois in 2009.

Hosey Williams rushed for 103 yards on 14 carries.  Kiel also ran for 32 yards on four carries and was sacked once for eight yards.

Munchie Legaux completed a year-long comeback from a badly injured right knee by making one carry for five yards.  On September 7 last season at Illinois Legaux suffered a knee injury that put his career in doubt.  Miraculously, Legaux returned 370 days later with his run.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Johnny Cueto 20 Game Winner? Cy Young?


Johnny Cueto will have three starts left, including the last game of the season if the schedule stays the same.

The Reds have 15 games left and playing for awards is about all that is left for the team as it tries to finish strong.

The Reds will have two off days between now and the end of the season on September 28.

"These awards are important," Bryan Price said.  "It would be a nice side note to our season for Johnny to win the (Cy Young) award."

Twenty wins would go along way toward that end.  Pitchers wins have fallen out of favor with stats prone fans in the Bill James era.  Yet winning 20 decisions is very difficult to do in the age of five starting pitchers cutting starts from 40 to 34, which is what Cueto will have if he makes his last three starts.  With the specialization of the bullpens, starters are no longer asked to throw nine innings.  Six is considered a quality start and seven a superior start.  This leads to fewer decisions as well.

Cueto and Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers are the two front runners for the Cy Yound Award.
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After the 1-0 win over St. Louis, Cueto and Kershaw are tied for the National League lead with 18 wins.  Cueto lowered his ERA to 2.15 second behind Kershaw's 1.67. Cueto struck out seven batters on Thursday, increasing his lead over Kershaw's 210.  Kershaw has held hitters to a .188 batting average.  Cueto dropped his to .187.  Both have two shutouts.  Kershaw has six complete games.  Cueto has completed four games.

"Someone should consider the margin for error,"Price said.  "I don't think Johnny has had as much run support."

Reds Johnny Cueto Wins Pitching Duel


Johnny Cueto and Lance Lynn traded zeroes for seven innings until the Reds managed a run in the eighth to take a 1-0 win.

"That increased the intensity," Cueto said. "Every inning he put up a zero, I wanted to come back and put up a zero.  We keep going until somebody scores.  Thank God we scored."

Lynn agreed with Cueto.

"That's what makes it fun," Lynn said. "It's always a challenge. He just outpitched me."

Cueto got credit for win number 18 which would be one short of his career high and give him a shot at 20 with three more starts.

"We have created an environment where we are the spoilers," Bryan Price said.  "It is no secret that we've struggled against the Cardinals the last several years.  We want to finish strong and feel good about how we finish."

Lynn is having his best season as a starter and looking for his 16th win, one short of Adam Wainwright;s team lead.

The Cardinals put the first two batters on base in the first and third innings but Cueto got double play ground balls to keep the Cardinals off the board.

Cueto retired the last 14 batters he faccd, finishing eight innings. He allowed three hits and struck out seven.

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Jay Bruce took a home run away from Matt Adams, leading off the seventh inning.  A diving stop by Todd Frazier saved a run in the third inning.

"I always assume that I have a play," Bruce said. "I try to get back to the wall as quickly as I can and time it.  It was important to take advantage of Johnny's performance.  Taking three out of four from these guys is huge for us."

Lynn retired 15 in a row before walking Brandon Phillips to open the eighth.  Jay Bruce singled up the middle to put runners at first and third with no outs. Jon Jay couldn't come up with Ramon Santiago's flare into shallow center.  Jay was able to force Bruce at second but Phillips scored the first run of the game.  Cozart lined to Jhonny Peralta at short but Peralta threw the ball away, trying to double Santiago off first.  Skip Schumaker lined out to left batting for Cueto.

Aroldis Chapman walked one but finished off the Cardinals for his 33rd save.

Research Reveals Steve Smith Numbers Are Correct


Steve Smith has been taking a lot of heat for Reds runners being thrown out at home plate.

The Reds have had a National League high 27 runners thrown out at home without being a force, pickoff or caught stealing.

Smith claimed that only 10 were thrown out because he sent them, including Bryan Pena, who tried to score from second on a Brandon Phillips' single on Wednesday. Bryan Price gave the same figure on Thursday morning.

Statistician Joel Luckhaupt spent hours reviewing all 27 outs and gave this breakdown.

11 outs were from the contact play.  Contact plays are managers decisions and predetermined based on the situation.

Four outs were clearly the runner making the decision on his own.

Two were off sacrifice flies which are runners reading the play, although the thirdbase coach can hold them.

10 were outs at home where a runner tried to score on a hit to the outfield.

Of those 10 three were close plays and two were close enough to be reviewed.

That leaves seven in which Smith played a part in the outcome.

"If I sent 25 guys that were thrown out at home, I'd fire myself," Smith said.

First year manager Bryan Price determined in spring training the Reds; intended to be more aggressive on the base paths. 

Price has used the tag play because the Reds have struggled so much at the plate.

"I don't know the percentages," Price said.  "A lot of them were early in the season.  Our offense was stagnant.  It is not uncommon to go on contact with one out and the infield playing in.  Maybe, its your eight hole hitter, or a guy is struggling on deck and you want to take that chance."

It is a common play in baseball and a calculated risk.

"All you really need is for the ball to go enough to the right or left of the infielder where they have to leave their feet or gather themselves to throw.  With one out it is pretty common.  With no outs it's a lot less common," Price said.

A lot depands on who the batter is.

"If it is Brandon Phillips at the plate and Joey Votto on deck or someone swinging the bat well, you might want them to hit with two outs and a runnier on third," Price said.  "Or if it is Billy (Hamilton) if the runner is thrown out he can steal a base and you still have a runner in scoring position with two outs."
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"We're hitting .220 as a team with runners in scoring position," said Price.  "What are you waiting for/"

Smith has been vilified on radio talk shows.

'I don't listen to them," Price said. "Mark Berry talked about people yelling to him about decisions that he made.  A lot of the decisions are made by the manager. They are consistent baseball decisions that are made around baseball. It doesn't matter if it's Dusty Baker, Bobby Cox or Tony La Russa.  The Cardinals have beat us that contact play a dozen times since I've been here on balls that we've fielded in the infield and the runner scored."

"You'd have to go back and see how many times we've scored on the play to see if it is a good move or not," Price said.  "In the end, I don't care what you think.  If we're sitting around waiting to score runs, if we're going to be less aggressive. We're going to score fewer runs in my opinion."

"It isn't like Roger Craig teaching the first split finger.  It is a play that is common in baseball," Price said.  "For whatever reason, we had a lot of guys throw out at the plate the first third of the season."
What about Pena last night?

"It is just trying to make the right decision," Price said. "We've had 10 guys thrown out trying to score where Smitty's been in charge of sending them. I don't think that's a ridiculous number by any means."

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Reds Clip Cardinals Again


Alfredo Simon had trouble closing out the first inning but had very little trouble the rest of his stint.

Simon took to the offensive and doubled twice and drove in the go ahead run in the Reds 4-2 win.

Simon, seeking his 14th win, walked Matt Holliday after he retired the first two batters of the game.  Matt Adams doubled to score Holliday. Adams scored on a single by Oscar Taveras before Simon got out of the inning.

The Reds had a better opportunity but didn't do as much with it in their half of the first against John Lackey.  Chris Heisey walked and went to third on Brayan Pena's single.  Todd Frazier grounded a single into left to score Heisey.

Lackey got out of the inning by getting Devin Mesoraco to hit into a double-play and Brandon Phillips to fly out to center.

Ryan Ludwick hit his ninth home run off Lackey in the second. 

A catch of Adams line drive helped Simon escape the third. 

Matt Carpenter walked and Jon Jay singled to open the inning.  Holliday struck out.  Adams lined to Pena, who easily doubled Jay off first.

Simon gave up two hits over his last four innings and retired the last seven batters he faced.

The Reds scored an insurance run by loading the bases in the fifth.  Heisey and Pena singled off Tyler Lyons.  Frazier struck out looking as the runners moved up on a passed ball by Yadier Molina.  Lyons walked Mesoraco to load the bases.  Cardinal manager Mike Mathcny brought in double-play specialist Seth Maness to face Phillips.  Phillips worked the count full then grounded a single to left. Heisey scored but Pena was thrown out by Holliday.
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It was the 27th baserunner thrown out at home this season without a force play, caught stealing or pickoff.  That leads the National League

Sam LeCure replaced Simon. 

LeCure retired the first two batters but hit Jay.  It was the 18th time Jay has been hit by a pitch, breaking the tie for the National League with Holliday, who followed Jay with a single.

Reds' manager Bryan Price brought lefty Ryan Dennick into the game to face Adams, who flied out to left..

Aroldis Chapman earned his 32nd save.

Reds Have Jake Of All Trades With Jake Elmore


The Reds are looking for players that can play multiple positions.  Kristopher Negron has played everywhere and very well since his promotion from Louisville.

The Reds picked up another player without fanfare that may be even more versatile.

Jake Elmore is one of the 10 September call ups.  The 27-year old native of Dothan, Alabama was picked up on waivers on August 2nd after he was designated for assignment on July 31.  The Athletics traded for him at the end of spring training from the Chicago White Sox but was the victim of the Athletics trade deadline moves.

Last season Elmore was with the Houston Astros.  He was told right away that he would be the emergency catcher behind starter Jason Castro and back up Carlos Corporan.

"I caught in high school and was recruited as a catcher," Elmore said.  "I told them at Wallace College that I wanted to be moved to the infield to save my knees, save my speed. But I liked catching because you're in every play. It is probably the most fun.  You're in every pitch."

Elmore was the 34th pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2008 draft after he had transferred to Arizona State.

Elmore mostly played shortstop.  He played a lot of leftfield and a fair amount of secondbase.  When he wasn't doing that, he would catch bullpens. 

Bo Porter, the Astros manager, observed his bullpen sessions and put it in the back of his mind.

One day against Texas, Castro was the designated hitter and Corporan was starting behind the plate, when a foul ball hit Corporan in the mask.

"He finished the inning but after it they told him he was done with a concussion," Elmore said.  "They didn't want to give up the designated hitter."

The game got out of hand.

'I went out and pitched the eighth," Elmore said of the 16-5 loss that day.

Elmore retired all three batters he faced in the inning.

Porter was not afraid to go to Elmore in a pinch.

"One day in Oakland it was the eighth inning of a one-run game," Elmore said. "Bo came to me and said are you ready to make your debut at firstbase.  Brett Wallace was playing first and I pinch ran for him."

There have been a novelty in the Major Leagues of having players play one inning of a game in each defensive position Cesar Tovar did it for the Minnesota Twins and Bert Campanaris did it for the Oakland Athletics.

Elmore is not interested.
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"I don't know," Elmore said.  "If my team had clinched the division.  It might be fun but you have to keep the integrity of the game.  It is certainly not something I would asked to do.  That's just for show."

Elmore has no problem filling in where there is a legitimate need, however.

He carries an infield glove and an outfield glove on the road.

"I'd have to borrow a firstbaseman's glove and catching equipment," Elmore said.  "The Astros said that if one of the catchers went down, I'd be in.  This organization hasn't mentioned it."

Reds Thirdbase Coach Steve Smith Questions Numbers


Steve Smith has been vilified for sending runners to the plate only to be thrown out.

Fox Sports Ohio statistician, Joel Luchhaupt, researched the numbers and put the number of 25 non-force outs made at home plate this season by Reds' base runners.

Luckhaupt found the number on http://www.baseball-reference.com/

Smith obviously upset by the criticism confronted a pair of reporters before the game Wednesday against the St. Louis Cardinals.

"I can remember nine this season, six before the All-Star Game and three after it," Smith said.  "If I sent 25 guys to be thrown out, I'd fire myself."

The numbers that Luckhaupt quoted does not filter out runners thrown out on contact plays, those that run on a ground ball to the infield when on thirdbase.

"Those are a manager's decision," Smith explained.

Luckhaupt ageed. 

"I don't know how many were from contact plays," Luckhaupt said.  "I would have to do more research on it. Baseball reference doesn't show how many guys run through the stop sign either."

Smith admitted to three that he would have liked to have back.

One was the play against Pittsburgh, when Ramon Saniago was thrown out at the plate in the bottom of the ninth of a tie game.
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Santiago was the lead runner on second base when Jay Bruce grounded a single to right with no outs and Devin Mesoraco on deck.  Santiago was thrown out by rookie Gregory Polanco with a nice tag by catcher Russell Martin.

"There were no outs and Mesoraco would have been up with the bases loaded and no outs," Smith said.

The Reds didn't score and lost when Andrew McCutcheon homered to win the game for Pittsburgh.

On plays at home when a baserunner was out by making a base running play that excludes pick offs, caught stealing or force plays, the Reds lead the league with 26.  Los Angeles has had 25 and the St. Louis Cardinals 20.  Every team has had at least 10.