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.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Ryan Braun Spoils Michael Lorenzen's Debut

The ball was flying out of Great American Ball Park on a nice late spring afternoon.

The Brewers hit four of them to rout the Reds 8-3.

Young Michael Lorenzen made his debut in place of the newly fallen Homer Bailey.

Lorenzen throws hard but three Milwaukee Brewers batters turned some pitches around on the 23-year old former outfielder, gave up three home runs.

Two of the culprits were Ryan Braun, who led the National League with 41 of them in 2012 and Adam Lind, who hit the 150th of his career.  Khris Davis hit his first home run of the season, giving him seven in his three Major League seasons.  That is the most he's hit against any opponent.

Lorenzen listed Braun as his favorite player in the Cal State - Fullerton media guide.

"It was the first step in learning how to pitch at this level," manager Bryan Price said. "You can practice all you want but until you pitch here you don't truly learn.  He has the stuff to be here. This is the right place for him. I think he handled himself wonderfully."

Todd Frazier and Tucker Barnhart hit home runs off Brewers' starter Matt Garza.  For Frazier it was his sixth of the season.

Lorenzen finished with five innings, allowing eight hits and a walk. He struck out five.

"I would have liked to go eight innings," Lorenzen said. "I learned that you have to get ahead of guys. I got a pitch up to Braun and he let the whole stadium know I made a mistake. It was welcome to the big leagues."

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Price believes it is a matter of learning to manage his pitches.

"He didn't establish his breaking ball for strikes early in the game," Price said.  "He's got great stuff it is a matter of learning how to manage it."

Garza turned in Milwaukee's first quality start on the road by pitching 6 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits.

J.J. Hoover and Tony Cingrani kept the Brewers close with a scoreless inning apiece.  Jumbo Diaz got into trouble by the bunt but let the game get away on a bomb.

The eighth inning started tamely enough. Catcher Martin Maldonado grounded a single to left.  Hector Gomez bunted and Diaz slipped trying to get Maldonado at second.  Zack Cozart couldn't come up with the low throw. Pinch hitter Gerardo Parra bunted and Diaz couldn't field it.  Diaz bounced back and got Jean Segura out on a fly to shallow right, that Maldonado wouldn't challenge.  Diaz had Logan Schafer 1-2 but hit him in the leg with a pitch to force in a run. Braun unloaded the bases with his second home run of the game for his 21st multi-home run game. It was Braun's fourth career grand slam, the first since June 14, 2010 against the Los Angeles Angels.

Jay Bruce added his fifth home run of the season with a leadoff home run off Jeremy Jeffress.  Bruce passed Vada Pinson to become 10th on the Reds' all-time home run list with 187.

Lorezen's mother Cheryl and one of his four older brothers Mathew were able to fly in from Anaheim to see him pitch.  His mother will go home with a sock filled with baseballs, that include his first Major League hit, a single in his first at bat.

Alex Johnson's Deciding Vote On Avoiding Riot

The riots in Baltimore that caused the game between the Orioles and Chicago White Sox to be played with no crowd prompted stories of April and June 1968.

Martin Luther King was shot in Memphis on April 4.

Opening Day was scheduled for April 8. President Lyndon Johnson declared April 9 a national day of mourning.  The Reds postponed the opener to April 10.

Two months later on June 5, 1968 Robert F. Kennedy was shot to death in Los Angeles.

Reds' players Milt Pappas and Vada Pinson led a team vote to postpone the game against the St. Louis Cardinals

According to Jim Maloney, a pitcher on the '68 team, the vote was 12-12 and Alex Johnson needed to vote to break the tie. When told that he had the deciding vote, Johnson, who passed away this March said, "I will go along with the majority."

Manager Dave Bristol vowed to play with any nine players he could muster.

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Pete Rose and a few others followed the stern requests of Bristol and general manager Bob Howsam and the game started 45 minutes late.

Pappas and Pinson were both traded soon after.

Homer Bailey Placed On 60-Day Disabled List

Homer Bailey was placed on the 60-day disabled list.

The move opens a spot on the roster for Wednesday's starter Michael Lorenzen.

Manny Parra was also placed on the 15-day disabled list.

The move indicates that Bailey is likely to have surgery but that is just one option.  Depending on the type of surgery, Bailey could be sidelined anywhere from 4 to 18 months.
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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips And Marlon Byrd Hit Homers To Support Johnny Cueto

The Reds supported the efforts of Johnny Cueto with three home runs in a 4-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.

Joey Votto hit his seventh home run to snap an 0-for-15 decline.  Brandon Phillips followed a Jay Bruce single with his first home run of the season and Marlon Byrd hit his second of the year right behind Phillips.

All three came off Kyle Lohse, the former Red who has been the Brewers' best pitcher the last two seasons.

Cueto retired 12 of the first 13 hitters he faced but he grazed Aramis Ramirez to allow hut one baserunner through four innings.

Phillips didn't get his first extra base hit until Monday night. He followed with his first home run of the season to help the Reds put distance between themselves and the Brewers.

"I don't worry about stuff like that," Phillips said. "I just try to hit the ball somewhere and find a hole. I've been hitting the ball hard but right a people. It just feels good to be healthy. When I hurt my thumb, they told me it would take some of my power away."

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"Cueto was just impeccable," Bryan Price said. "The one run lead played a huge role. Johnny is one of the best pitching with a in those types of games."

Cueto won his first start of the season on a 5-2 decision over Pittsburgh. He pitched well enough to win his next start, allowing one earned run in seven innings. In the last three games prior to Tuesday night, the Reds scored just four runs with Cueto on the mound.

Ramirez exacted revenge for being hit by the pitch by launching a 430 ft shot into the second deck to lead off the fifth.  Ramirez has six career home runs off Cueto, the most by any batter.  He came into the game with a .354 average against the Reds' ace.

"I always want to trick him," Cueto said. "He is a good veteran."

Ryan Braun homered to lead off the seventh to cut the lead in half.

Cueto finished eight innings, allowing just three hits and striking out six.

"I hung a couple pitches but I felt really confident," Cueto said. "You have to have confidence every time you go to the mound."

Aroldis Chapman earned his fifth save in as many tries.

Cueto got an extra day of rest due to the rain out on Saturday. It came after he threw 125 pitches against Milwaukee in his last start.  He only needed 85 pitches this time.

"I think God gave me an extra day," Cueto said. "I felt really good. I could have gone out for the ninth but it is the manager's decision. I accept that."

Michael Lorenzen To Make His Debut In Atlanta On Wednesday Replacing Homer Bailey

Michael Lorenzen will make his Major League debut on Wednesday while Mike Leake has been pushed back to Thursday.

Lorenzen nearly made the team out of spring training, outpitching highly regarded Cuban prospect Raisiel Iglesias.  Iglesias opened the season on the roster to take the place of Homer Bailey because he was already on the 40-man roster, while Lorenzen would have required the Reds to waive a player.

Homer Bailey's sprained right elbow has opened the door for Lorenzen.

The Reds pick in the 2013 compensation round out of Cal State - Fullerton made three starts for the Louisville Bats in which he was 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA. In 19 innings he struck out 12 and walked just four.

“Had he pitched two days ago, it would’ve been impossible," manager Bryan Price. "That benefited, but we’ve had our sights set on Michael for some time, particularly because he came in and threw the ball so well in spring training – maybe not statistically, but the ball came out of his hand real well. I think he’s mature and ready to handle this type of a challenge, so it wasn’t a difficult call. We would’ve been just has happy with Iglesias and there’s other guys throwing the ball well. It’s Michael’s opportunity, and I think he’ll take advantage of it.”

Lorenzen is thankful for that opportunity.

"Louisville was where I was meant to be," said Lorenzen, who can hit 100 mph on the radar gun, seemingly without effort. "We've been blown away by God's plan for me. The Reds have been awesome with the way they've treated me. When you're a competitor, you want to play at the highest level as fast as possible. I had three starts in Louisville and I learned from each and every one of them."

"Lorenzen, who was an outfielder at Fullerton, had to learn how to pitch instead of throw.
"I talk to Johnny Cueto, who has mastered mixing his pitches," Lorenzen said. "He's been very open by telling me why he used a pitch in the first inning, things like that."

Bailey will try rest and treatment but manager Bryan Price mentioned that surgery was an option. The Reds will need to create a spot on the 40-man roster to make room for Lorenzen but they don't have to make the move until Wednesday prior to the 12:35 game against Milwaukee.

“We’re still gathering information and trying to come to some sort of conclusion," Price said. "We don’t have to make a decision 24 hours after learning of the injury. Homer will do whatever we want him to do. He’s that kind of a guy. We have to make some decisions on which way we want to attack this. We don’t want to just throw some stuff out there. I don’t think that’s responsible. As it stands right now, we’re undecided on where we’re going to go. He certainly won’t be pitching here in the near future.”
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“Surgery is one option. You can go in there and try to do something. A lot of times you want to kick the tires. Not everything needs to be corrected through surgery. There’s other ways to do things. You can get stronger. There’s all the PRP stuff that’s out there there, so there’s other options out there beyond surgery. That being said, that would be one of the options,” Price said.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Jay Bruce Perks Up In Reds Win

Jay Bruce was lost.

With two full days off Bruce was able to find himself.  The Reds' rightfielded hit a two-run home run and drove in a third run with a sacrifice fly.  He was on base with walks thrice in the Reds' 9-6 ambush of the Milwaukee Brewers.

"It is all boils down to swinging at the right pitches," Bruce said. "I key is to wait a little longer to give yourself a chance. I had to slow down and go through my checkpoints.  Sometimes you get our of whack. I didn't think I was going to hit .160 all year."

Todd Frazier walked to open the second inning.  He was batting fourth int a re-configured lineup in which Zack Cozart moved to second in the order. Joey Votto and Frazier moved down a spot and Brandon Phillips, who had no extra-base hits entering the game, was dropped to sixth and the struggling Marlon Byrd to seventh.

"Jay had some good at bats. He took some tough pitches," manager Bryan Price said. "There were a lot of positives offensively.  Brandon hit a ball on a line and they made a catch against the fence before he hit the double in the gap."

Logan Schafer made a leaping catch against the wall to rob Phillips of a double.

The offense seemed to respond but wildness by Jimmy Nelson, the Brewers' young starter contributed to seven runs in the third and fourth innings.  Nelson walked five of the 17 batters he faced in just 2 1/3 innings.

The Reds had no hits in its last 23 at-bats with a runner in scoring position until starting pitcher Jason Marquis singled on a high chop past drawn-in thirdbaseman, Aramis Ramirez.

Cozart tripled leading off the sixth. He later scored on a long fly to center by Bruce.  Frazier was on base three time by walk and was hit by a pitch.  He scored three runs and stole two bases.

Meanwhile, Jason Marquis gave up two runs through eight innings. He allowed seven hits but induced three double play ground balls..

Marquis pitched against the Brewers in the 16-10 Reds' win last Tuesday.

"I didn't do a good job of getting shutdown innings the last time," Marquis said.  "They were pretty aggressive last time.  When my sinker's working I get a lot of ground balls.  I try not to change the way I pitch. I just hadn't done a good job of shutting down teams in my first few starts.  The defense played great behind me tonight."

"Strikeouts are fine but Jason got a lot of ground ball outs early in the count," Price said.

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Burke Badenhop continues to struggle.  He entered the game in the ninth inning with a 9-2 lead and promptly walked the first batter.  Three singles later the Brewers had the bases loaded and two runs in.

Price went to Aroldis Chapman, who hit a batter to load the bases, then gave up a ground ball, two-run single to Jean Segura before he struck out pinch hitters Luis Jimenez and Ryan Braun to close out the game.

"I wasn't going to let the game get away," Price said. "Aroldis hadn't been up at all the last two days.  It wasn't a save situation but it turned into one."

Chapman would have had to come in with the tying run on deck to get credit for a save.  A pitcher can not be credited with a save if he creates a save situation himself.

Homer Bailey Back On The Disabled List

The Reds placed Homer Bailey on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Friday at 6:50 p.m with a right ligament sprain.

Bailey had surgery on his elbow last September and made two starts after returning from the disable list on April 18.  He missed one start the first week of the season.

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Carlos Contreras was recalled from Triple A Louisville to add an extra right arm to the bullpen until Bailey's turn comes up on Thursday April 30 in Atlanta.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Cubs Sweep Reds In Rain Shortened Series

The case of the missing Cingrani was solved but so was the pitching mystery of rookie Anthony DeSclafani in the Cubs 5-2 win on Sunday

The Cubs scored on the 100th career home run by Miguel Montero. It was the first allowed by DeSclafani as a Red and snapped his streak of 16 scoreless innings.

The Cubs were aided by an error by Todd Frazier to score four unearned runs off DeSclafani in the fourth. The big blow was a three-run double by rookie Addison Russell after he was down in the count 0-2.

"That's a pitch that I want back," DeSclafani said. "The situation never changes whatever it is, I am going to attack the strike zone. I need to locate those pitches better.  I could have bounced it in the dirt to get him to chase it."

Cubs starter Jake Arrieta got the first 12 Reds' batters out, three by strikeout.

Frazier partially atoned for his miscue by lofting his fifth home run into the leftfield stands.

Arrieta seemed to lose his edge. Brandon Phillips and Brennan Boesch singled but Marlon Byrd struck out after an eight-pitch at bat.

Zack Cozart singled to leadoff the fifth and Brayan Pena walked.  Manager Bryan Price sent Devin Mesoraco to pinch hit and he drew a walk.  Billy Hamilton forced Mesoraco at second as Cozart scored. Arrieta being cautious with Joey Votto, walked the Reds' firstbaseman.

Frazier with another chance to shed the goat's horn popped up to Cubs' firstbaseman Anthony Rizzo in foul territory.  Phillips forced Votto to end the threat. Hamilton tripled with two out in the seventh but Votto struck out.

The Reds are hitless in its last 20 at-bats with runners in scoring position, including 0-for-5 today.

Cingrani had not pitched in 13 days before throwing two perfect innings.  His absence in games had been a mystery.

"I felt good. I felt fresh," Cingrani said. "I threw four times in the last 12 days. I was jacked up. We are only 16 games in the season. I will get plenty of opportunities to pitch."
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Price is trying to re-acclimate Cingrani into a bullpen role.

"Modern baseball has evolved so that guys are used to pitching in certain roles," Price said. "You used to have guys like Pedro Borbon who threw 500 innings over a three-year period.  My concern with Tony is how he is going to bounce back.  We've had him up (warm up) and not gotten him in a game. There are a lot of things that go into using Tony.  We needed length but you also have a lefty that can pitch later in games. We have to get him used to getting up and not being used.  We need to see how he reacts to shorter stints over a couple days.: We have to create durability with Tony."

The other Reds bullpen pitchers getting off to a slow start prevented Price from using Cingrani to pitch in shorter stints.

"We are going to need (Kevin) Gregg, (Burke) Badenhop and (J.J.) Hoover to throw the way they are capable," Price said. "Their slow start affected how we use Tony. We are going to need those guys. There are not a lot of alternatives.  We are going to need those guys. You can't tell guys they lost their role after they struggle the first time out."

"The alternative is to stretch every one out if we are going to go back to the way pitchers were used in the 70's or 80's," Price said.

Slump Riddled Jay Bruce Sits Against The Cubs

Jay Bruce is off to a slow start.

The Reds' rightfielder will get the day off after a slow start as far as batting averages are concerned.

Bruce has been a streaky hitter in his career and April has been hard on him over the years.

For his career Bruce is a .244 hitter in April with 27 home runs and 86 RBI. Next to July (.222 17 65) it is historically his worst month of the season.

See year by year chart below.

2009 .258 5 13 16 k
2010 .263 4 11 18 k
2011 .237 4 11 27 k
2112 .296 7 17 21 k
2013 .252 1 11 40 k
2014 .220 3 14 27 k
2015 .164 3 9 24 k

Bruce's power numbers are normal but his average is way down. The shift employed more often by Reds' opponents may be the culprit.

"I am getting tired of seeing Jay smoke the ball right into the shift," manager Bryan Price said. "You can't change a guys approach at this level. You have to start in the minor leagues."

Bruce's slow start is not the only reason that Price is sending Brennan Boesch out to replace the rightfielder, who was an All-Star in 2011 and 2012, Boesch needs to play to stay sharp. Price is also getting his starters a day off early.

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"I have gotten everyone a day except for Joey (Votto) and Zack (Cozart) and they are going to get one soon," Price said.

Boesch made the team with an outstanding spring with a .361 average, four home runs and 14 RBI. He rebounded from injury to lead the Pacific Coast League with a .332 average last season.

Boesch hasn't been able to stay sharp off the bench, hitting 167 with one double. He has yet to drive in a run in 13 plate appearances and struck out five times.

He needs some consecutive at bats to get the edge and hold it.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Tony Cingrani's Time Is Coming

Reds fans and media have been questioning the whereabouts of Tony Cingrani.

The left-hander, who was expected to fill one of the spots in the starting rotation, hasn't pitched since.April 14.  It has been 11 days since he pitched 1/3 of an inning against the Cubs.

"His time h
as come," said manager Bryan Price Saturday morning. "He made the team as a long guy."

Price has been saving the left-hander for games in which the starter was knocked out early or extra-innings.

It was an element of the bullpen that has been missing since Afredo Simon was given a shot at the starting rotation.  The rotation was good last year but the bullpen suffered with one-inning pitchers.  The remaining members of the pen were one-inning pitchers, two at most.

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"I have been reluctant to get him out there where he only faces a couple of hitters," Price said.

The other members of the bullpen pitching staff have not been very good in the first month of the season.

"He should be provided with the opportunity to pitch," Price said. "I can't worry about length."

1990 Reds Red Hot Rap

The 25th anniversary of the 1990 World Champions Cincinnati Reds.


Below is the team's Red Hot Rap:

Read about this team in Hal McCoy's new book which you can order from Amazon with the gadget to the right of this blog.

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Anthony DeSclafani Lets Pitching Speak

Anthony DeSclafani is all business on the mound, saying little besides, "Yes Sir" and "No Sir"

The 24-year old right-hander, obtained in the trade for Mat Latos, has been outstanding in his first three starts.

DeSclafani has gone progressively deeper in each of his three starts. He allowed two runs in six innings in a no-decision against Pittsburgh in his first start. Since then, he has rolled off 15 straight scoreless innings.

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"It would have been impossible to expect this type of start in the first three games," manager Bryan Price said.  "You can't go three times through a lineup without great stuff."

The native of Freehold, New Jersey, who pitched at the University of Florida, has an intensity about him.  He looks like he is focused all the time and locked in.

"Anthony is all about the job at hand," Price said. "He says very little during the game. He is very focused. He is a really good kid. He has things to say but knows when to speak up.  He is a rookie and knows his place. I really like that."

The demeanor is the same as Cory Kluber of the Cleveland Indians, who won the American League Cy Young Award last season.

"I've never met Kluber but it is a good comparison," Price said. "Maybe he can be as successful."

Friday, April 24, 2015

Cubs Score Four In The 11th To Beat Reds

Jonathan Herrera singled home one run and former Red David Ross doubled home two off Burke Badenhop to send the Cubs to a 7-3 win in 11 innings.

The Reds showed the sabermetrics crowd that outs can also be valuable as long as you put the ball in play.

The Reds scored three runs on two ground outs and a sacrifice fly to stay even with the Cubs, who got home runs from Anthony Rizzo and Chris Coughlin.

The Reds were 0-for-14 with runners in scoring position. Jay Bruce left six runners stranded in his 0-for-5 night with three strikeouts.

"We had opportunities and didn't get it done," Bruce said. "We're playing well but we need to lace em up tomorrow and be prepared."

Billy Hamilton singled off Cubs' starter Jon Lester and stole second in the first inning. He went to third on a wild pitch and scored when Joey Votto grounded out.  Hamilton singled again in the third then stole second and third, giving him 11 steals in 11 chances.  Phillips ground out scored Hamilton this time.

Reds' starter Mike Leake retired the first nine Cubs batters in order.  Dexter Fowler doubled and trotted home on Rizzo's second home run of the season and second against the Reds.

"Leaker gave us a chance," manager Bryan Price said. "We just didn't get it done. We have to work real hard the next couple days to win the series."

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The Reds went up a run in the fourth.  Marlon Byrd drilled a leadoff double, moved to third on a ground out and scored on Zack Cozart's long fly to deep center.  Cozart led the National League with 10 sacrifice flys in 2013.

Coughlan's solo opposite field home run off Leake in the seventh tied the game.  It was Couglan's third of the season.

Coughlan was 8-for-8 against Leake coming into the game.

"He was definitely someone I focused on," said Leake, who got Coughlan out the first two times in the game. "I executed the pitch I wanted on the home run but it probably wasn't the right pitch."

Leake finished with seven strong innings, allowing four hits, walking one and striking out nine.

Lester pitched six innings allowed three runs on five hits and a walk. The veteran struck out 10.

The game was placed in the hands of the bullpen.  Phil Coke, Gonzalez Germen and Zac Rosscup kept the Reds off the board.

Jumbo Diaz and Aroldis Chapman kept the Cubs from scoring through regulation.

Jason Motte pitched out of a bases loaded jam to get the win.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Did The Reds Botch Its Roster Management?

Perhaps the biggest loss for the Reds over the off-season was assistant general manager Bob Miller.

It appears that the Reds' have botched the handling of its roster over the handling of the Devin Mesoraco.

Mesoraco had a problem with his hip during the end of the Reds homestand Saturday or Sunday.  He has not played since.  The severity of the injury is not public knowledge but he has been out of action now for over a week.

The Reds chose not to put Mesoraco on the disabled list. This caused them to play shorthanded but it is a must that two catchers are available every game because that position is more prone to injury and few players can play the position.  In an emergency infielders can play outfield and outfielders can be pressed into service as infielders. Catchers, however, are more specialized and affect pitching to a high degree.

The Reds needed another catcher immediately.  So call up Tucker Barnhart, the organization's third catcher.

Not so fast.  Barnhart was optioned late in the spring training.  He could only be recalled after 14 days unless there is an injury that required a trip to the disabled list.  Bob Miller has a reputation of an expert on the roster rules, exceptions and enforcement.  It is this circumstance that Miller's leaving the organization may have hurt.

The only way to cover for Mesoraco was to open a spot on the 40-man roster for another catcher in the system.  Kyle Skipworth, a former number one draft choice, was the other option but the Reds had to put a player on waivers to get him on the roster. 

The Reds also left spring training without a long reliever other than Rasiel Iglesias, who was the fifth starter that covered for Homer Bailey on Sunday.

Unusable for four days, the Reds' optioned Iglesias to Louisville. It was pretty clear through conversations with Bryan Price that he wanted to bring Michael Lorenzen to Cincinnati but the organization elected to develop Lorenzen at Louisville. Also they would need to clear a 40-man spot for him too.

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The Reds selected the contract of Josh Smith in case they needed a long relief man.  The move required the Reds to waive another player.

Left-handed pitcher Ryan Dennick and right-handed prospect Daniel Corcino were exposed to waivers and Chris Dominguez lost his spot on the Reds' bench to make these moves.

Dennick was claimed by the Dodgers, then waived.  Corcino was then claimed by the Dodgers.

Why not disable Mesoraco and recall Barnhart in the first place, saving either pitchers from exposure and keeping Dominguez to pinch hit?

In Bryan Price's tirade he railed about reporters tipping off Cardinals' manager Mike Matheny that Mesoraco was unavailable to pinch hit.

Is having Mesoraco available as a decoy in a situation that may not even come up worth losing a pitching prospect, who showed promise last last year?  Matheny knew at least the Mesoroco was less than 100 percent because he didn't start.  Do you think that he would change his pitching choices based on the threat of an injured player?

Maybe the Reds expected Mesoraco back sooner than the required 15-day stay on the disabled list but they have been playing short-handed for a week and lost a pitching prospect to boot.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Bryan Price Upset By Reds Loss And Umpires

Bryan Price was fuming after the Reds' 7-5 loss to St. Louis.

He couldn't decide whether he was more upset with the umpires, the Cardinals or his own team but there was no mistaking he was upset.

"It was a game that was there to win and we didn't get it done. You don't win championships when you let games like this get away," Price said.

The Reds took a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the seventh with three runs off four Cardinal pitchers.

"We have to get more separation so the pitchers don't have such a narrow margin for error and we have to hold on to a lead when we get one," said Price, who called for a long relief man early in spring training. Tony Cingrani was moved to the bullpen to fill that role. Cingrani pitched two scoreless innings and was in line for a win before Jumbo Diaz gave up a game-tying, two-run home run to Jhonny Peralta in the eighth.

"It was a nice homestand but today was a game we should have won.  Since I've been here (2010) the Cardinals has been a team that has beaten us. At the end of the World Series no one cares how many times you beat a certain team  But to reverse that, yes, it's important to me," Price said after the Reds lost the 13th series out of the last 15 to the hated Cardinals.

"We have a lot of one inning pitchers. Situationally, we couldn't match up. They had Villanueva down there who could go three or four innings," Price lamented.
Then there was the frustrating eighth inning.

Price was upset the homeplate umpire Kerwin Danley did not signal that Jon Jay was hit by a pitch and did not want to use his challenge.

"Danley said he should have made the call and everyone assumed the call. I felt the umpires should have reviewed it since no one called it or the Cardinals should have used their challenge. It may be sour grapes on my part but I'm (pissed off) about it." Joe West tossed him for delaying the game.

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"Well, I really shouldn't comment because he was ejected for delaying the game. That's basically why he was ejected," West said. "He didn't challenge it. You'll have to ask him why, because [home plate umpire] Kerwin [Danley] asked him three times, 'do you wanna challenge?' He says 'no, I don't wanna challenge.' So he got mad, evidently didn't like the way we called time or something. For the official report, he was ejected for delaying the game."

The Cardinals successfully challenged a play at thirdbase later in the eighth inning. With runners of first and second, Yadier Molina chopped a ball right at the plate. Catcher Devin Mesoraco reached to tag Molina and umpire Danley gave the safe call. Mesoraco threw to third, Frazier stepped on the bag and threw to first seamingly to compete a double-play. Mike Matheny challenged saying there should have been a tag at third.

The Replay Official determined that the catcher tagged the runner on the leg, thus removing the force at 3B. No offensive or defensive player reacted to the call on the field. Per the replay regulations, the Replay Official placed both teams in the same situation they would have been in had the call on the field been correct. The batter-runner is out, runners on 2B and 3B.

"There was no call on the tag," Price said. "If Todd would have seen the call, he would have made the tag."

Price did not like Jason Heyward's slide in the fifth inning when he was thrown out at thirdbase trying to stretch a double."It was a dirty slide by Heyward. We didn't like it," Price said. "They aren't a dirty team and don't play like that but we didn't like the slide. Todd (Frazier) could have been hurt."

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Billy Hamilton, Joey Votto Combination Cause Pitchers Ageda

Ageda is an Italian word for anxiety with fewer key strokes and befitting Votto's ethnic background, it is appropriate.

Billy Hamilton, getting on base in front of Votto has allowed the Reds' former MVP the opportunity  to drive in runs that have eluded him the last two years.  Votto was criticized for taking too many walks in RBI situations when the reality was there was no reason to pitch to him.

Now with Hamilton such a threat to steal, the pitchers concentration has been divided.

"Billy is the most exciting player, I've seen," Votto said. "He creates chaos. I've never seen anything like it."

Hamilton worked with Delino DeShields, the manager of the Louisville Bats, on being more selective and hitting the ball on the ground more, which is accomplished by better pitch selection.  Hamilton has been on base at a .444 clip in the first four games.  While hitting .286, he has drawn four walks. Hamilton walked just 34 times in 152 games last year. He has seven stolen bases in seven attempts.

"Billy is more aware of what pitchers are trying to do to him," Bryan Price said.

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The combination has worked with pitchers wary of Hamilton and not being able to concentrate on Votto.

"Anybody would benefit with a speed guy like Hamilton on base," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "That's why we are trying to quicken guys up in general. You have to find a happy medium where you don't sacrifice stuff.  The best pitchers in the game are all quick to the plate."

The catcher has to worry about both.  If the best pitch to Votto is a slow curve,  the catcher can't worry that the pitch is easy for Hamilton to steal on.

"The job of the catcher is to make the pitcher aware and just do what you can," said Matheny a former catcher. "It is obvious to us if they sacrifice their best pitch to throw a guy out. That has diminishing returns. The good catcher fight that urge."

Urge or not, pitch selection or not, Votto hit three home runs already, driven in eight runs and hit at a .412 clip.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Reds Beat Arch Rivals With Speed And Power

The 1869 Reds were also undefeated after four games but given the 2014 Reds lost so many close games, 38 one-run losses, these first four are extra satisfying.

"It was one thing we didn't do last year," Billy Hamilton said after the Reds edged the arch-rival St. Louis Cardinals, 5-4

Hamilton has been a key to giving the Reds' offense the extra push it needs to win close games. He has seven stolen bases in four games and been able to disrupt pitchers while they are facing a finally healthy Joey Votto.

Hamilton was on base when Votto launched his second two-run home run in as many days.

"Billy is the most exciting player I've ever seen," Votto said. "He creates chaos."

Votto hit another two-run home run with Jason Marquis, the starting pitcher, on base.  Votto had three home runs, eight RBI and a stolen base before he drew his first walk of the season, an issue in some areas of Reds' country that said he was too passive at the plate.

Jason Marquis had a rough start, walking two batters in the first inning, including Matt Carpenter who scored on a double by Jhonny Peralta.  After Votto's first inning two-run opposite field home run, Randall Grichuk hit a two-run home run off Marquis to give St. Louis a 3-2 lead.

"I don't know if it was excitement or what but I was rushing a little early on but I made an adjustment," said the veteran right-hander who pitched to both Cardinal manager, Mike Matheny and Yadier Molina while he was with the Cards.

"I don't know if it was adrenaline, his first game after a year, a game against his old team. There are plenty of reasons to be excited no matter what your age," Bryan Price said.
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Marquis, one of the best hitters in the game singled to start the third.  Votto hit his second home run of the game the 10th time in his career, he's done that.

Kevin Gregg put two runners on in his third of an inning. The Cardinals tied the game on a single by Heyward.

That set up Hamilton for the exciting finish. He walked for the second time, stole second and watched as the Cardinals walked Votto intentionally.  Hamilton scampered to third on a pitch in the dirt that Molina couldn't locate in time.  Votto stole second.  Hamilton scored on a fly to Heyward in shallow right.

"I was going no matter what," said Hamilton who slid home head first with the winning run.