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, May 31, 2015

Reds Big Inning Takes Down Washington Behind Rookie Starters

The Reds using three rookie starters rode a six-run seventh to a 8-2 win, sweeping the NL East leading Washington Nationals.

Marlon Byrd, who entered the game on a double switch, beat out an infield hit to second.  Billy Hamilton's bunt was dropped by Aaron Barrett, who started the inning in relief of Tanner Roark.  Barrett was able to recover to force Byrd but left him with Hamilton as a baserunner. Hamilton stole base number 23, then raced home on Brandon Phillips single.  Manager Mat Williams brought in left-hander Matt Grace to face Joey Votto, who walked. Todd Frazier's third hit of the day was a double that put runners at second and third in position to score on Jay Bruce's double. Zack Cozart was walked intentionally. Pinch hitter Brennan Boesch singled to deliver Bruce.  Taylor Hill entered to put out the fire but the ninth man to bat, Tucker Barnhart singled to cap the scoring as Cozart trotted home.  Byrd ended the onslaught by hitting into an inning ending double play.

"Probably the biggest play was their pitcher (Barrett) dropping that bunt and getting Marlon instead of Hamilton, then having to contend with Billy," Bryan Price said.

Votto took off for first after ball three it was confirmed by the Reds' Larry Herms.

Michael Lorenzen was stingy with base hits but misplacing the strike zone cost him his second Major League win.

"We talk about learning experiences," Price said.. "Lorenzen is learning to manage a 2-0 lead, when you know a home run won't beat you and challenging the hitters instead of making perfect pitches. He was just missing the plate. To their credit they laid off some tough pitches."

"I felt like I made good pitches but they were off the plate a little bit, maybe," Lorenzen said.

Frazier's 16th home run of the season off  Roark put the Reds on top after three hitless innings. Phillips hit his fourth to extend the lead to 2-0.

"Hitting is contagious. It is the same with hitting with runners in scoring position. It is a mindset. Let the pitches come to you and attack," Frazier said "When you play a lot of games, everything will take care of itself."

"The meeting put a fire under us a little but we were all trying to find ourselves."

Bryce Harper had one hit in the series, a single off Aroldis Chapman on Friday.

Lorenzen was tough when he commanded the strike zone.  He pitched around a pair of two-out walks in the first inning.  Michael Taylor drew another two out walk in the second.  Roark recorded the Nationals' first hit with a line drive double to the gap in right center.  Hamilton cut the ball off and fired to Phillips in short right.  Phillips wheeled and threw home to Barnhart, who applied the tag to Taylor for the third out.

Lorenzen retired 12 straight batters entering the seventh but walked Bryce Harper to start the seventh. He walked Ryan Zimmerman.  Wilson Ramos hit a soft line drive straight to Phillips but Lorenzen walked Danny Espinosa, the sixth Lorenzen issued for the game.  Manager Bryan Price brought in J.J. Hoover who has not allowed an earned run since April 21.  Taylor singled to tie the game and cost Lorenzen the win but Hoover preserved the tie by getting pinch hitter Clint Robinson to line out to Votto, who turned in and unassisted double play.

Johnny Cueto Set To Start Tuesday In Philadelphia

Johnny Cueto was out for 14 days with stiffness in his right elbow.

He was scratched from his start in Cleveland last Sunday.  It will be two full weeks between his start in Kansas City and his upcoming start in Philadelphia.

"It feels like I missed a month," said Cueto after a Sunday morning bullpen session. "I feel mentally ready to pitch. My elbow feels good.  I used all of my pitches in the bullpen."

Bryan Price was prepared to pitch Mike Leake on Tuesday, if Cueto's bullpen didn't go as planned.


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Saturday, May 30, 2015

Bryce Harper Sits Zack Cozart Hits In Reds Comeback

Zack Cozart doubled with the bases loaded to give the Reds the coveted lead they needed as he Reds battled back for the second day in a row to take a 8-5 verdict.

Raisel Iglesias was battling the Washington Nationals in a close game but young Michael Taylor impersonated teammate Bryce Harper with a long home run to break open a 2-2 game.

"I try to learn from my mistakes," Iglesias said. "It was supposed to be a fastball down and away and it cut back to the plate. I focus on the positive side."

The blow hurt but the bullpen didn't let the game slip away with 3 1/3 scorless innings.

"It was a game that could have slipped away but our bullpen did a nice job of keeping us in it until we could rally. Iglesias was terrific. He made the mistake to Taylor but for a guy in his first full year in the US who had been a reliever in International baseball, he was very good."

Clint Robinson singled with one out. One out later Danny Espinosa singled off the base of the rightfield fence. Taylor, playing in place of a sore Harper, took a strike then hit his fourth home run off the facing of the upper deck.

Harper was in the original lineup but was a late scratch.  His back didn't respond well to being drilled on Friday night between his back numbers by Tony Cingrani.

Robinson and Taylor are getting more playing time with Jason Werth out indefinitely with a broken wrist.
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Gio Gonzalez started for Washitngton. In five career starts against Cincinnati, Gonzalez had never allowed more than two runs.  He was 2-1 with a 1.06 ERA lifetime against the Reds.

The Reds got two in a hurry.  Billy Hamilton singled, stole his 20th base and trotted home on Joey Votto hit his ninth home run and second in two days.

The Nationals scored in the first inning after two were out.  Yunel Escobar doubled and Ryan Zimmerman singled.

Washington tied the game in the fifth. Espinsosa singled.  Gonzalez was hit by an Iglesias pitch. Dennard Span singled to drive in Espinosa.  Iglesias also hit Gonzalez after Taylor's home run.

"It wasn't meant to be," Iglesias said. "It just slid out of my hand."

Todd Frazier began yelling towards Washington's bench as Ryan Mattheus replaced Iglesias.

Gonzalez appeared to be in control until Votto walked to start the sixth.  Frazier doubled to put runners on second and third. Jay Bruce drove in Votto with a ground out. Frazier scored on a single by Brayan Pena.

The Reds loaded the bases twice with little to show before Cozart's long double off Casey Janssen.

In the first inning, Pena lined to Ian Desmond at short who walked to second to double up Frazier.

In the eighth it had an eerily similar feeling. Frazier was inches from hitting a game tying home run that bounced off the top of the bullpen fence and stayed in play with one out. Bruce walked.  Pena hit a hard grounder off Zimmerman's glove at first. Dan Uggla, who came in the game after Escobar was ejected fielded the ball but Janssen didn't cover first.  Marlon Byrd provided a deja vu moment lining out to Uggla and left the game up to Cozart, who hit a fly 400 ft and over Span's head to score two.  Hamilton singled to add to the lead.

"I thought I hit the ball better yesterday off Strasburg and Span ran it down.  I didn't hit this one as well and I thought he might get there but I was happy to see it bounce," Cozart said.

"It is good to see someone so invested have success," Price said. "I'm proud of our guys for battling back."

"A week ago when they got ahead 5-2 it would have ended 5-2," Cozart said. "We were pressing. We decided to trust in our ability and just play.  We weren't getting a lot of two out hits during the (nine-game losing) streak. When you get them you win games. That's what happened the last two days."

Aroldis Champman earned his ninth save of the season with a scoreless ninth, walking two and striking out Zimmerman to end it.

Aroldis Chapman - Bryce Harper Matchup Fans Delight

While professionals are paid for results there are aspects of the game that bring out the fan in them.

Last night when Aroldis Chapman featured a 102 mile an hour fastball, he faced baseball's hottest hitter in Bryce Harper.  Neither backed down to the delight of fans, players and managers alike.

"I have never seen a 102 mph fastball and I don't think I want to," said Washington manager Matt Williams, who was adept at turning around a fastball in his playing days.  "Not only does he throw that hard but he is halfway down the mound when he releases it.  That makes it more difficult."

Reds manager Bryan Price appreciated the moment. He was able to enjoy it because it was a winning one.

“You can admire it from both sides – unless you lose the game. If it was a game-winning scenario, I wouldn’t admire it as much. There are those special moments," Price said.. "You can kind of fall back into what it’s like to be a fan when you get a chance to see those kinds of matchups and those moments". It was a great moment in a major league game,"

Chapman got ahead with two quick strikes as Harper fouled off fastballs. He took a ball then hit the 102 mph fastball back through the box.

"You can appreciate what he was able to do," Price said.

"He showed me something," Williams said.  "We talk all the time about slowing the game down. He was able to do that and get the barrel of the bat on the ball."

Friday, May 29, 2015

Zack Cozart's Three Hits Back Anthony DeSclafani Bryce Harper Has One Hit

Zack Cozart had three hits including a run scoring single that capped a three-run sixth inning rally, backing a second straight solid pitching performance by Anthony DeSclafani in a 5-2 Reds' win.

The Reds start three rookie pitchers this weekend with DeSclafani drawing Stephen Strasburg as a mound opponent. Strasburg came in with a record of 3-5 with a 6.50 ERA. Strasberg allowed 15 runs in his last 12 innings over three starts.

Joey Votto hit his eighth home run of the season off Strasburg in the first inning. Todd Frazier followed with a single but Nationals' firstbaseman Ryan Zimmerman turned in an unassisted double play. Jay Bruce hit a hard one-hopper right at the base.  Zimmerman stepped on first then ran down Frazier for the double play.

Strasburg walked Brayan Pena to open the second. The Nationals trainer and manager Matt Williams hurried to the mound, taking Strasburg with them. Rookie Taylor Jordan, who was recalled from Syracuse on Sunday came in.

DeSclafani gave up one-out singles to Ian Desmond, who extended his hitting streak to 13 games, and Yunel Escobar.  Runners danced off first and third with the hottest hitter in baseball, Bryce Harper, due up.  DeSclafani struck out Harper on a called third strike.  Zimmerman flied out to right.

"DeSclafani is tough as nails," Price said. "I really think he grinded his way through."
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The Reds rookie right-hander retired eight batters in a row before Escobar singled leading off the fourth but DeSclafani got a double play ground ball out of Harper.

DeSclafani treated the much hyped Harper like any other hitter.

"I concentrate no matter who is up there," DeSclafani. "It was really good for the team."

Washington tied it in the fifth.

Wilson Ramos doubled to start the inning. One out later, Michael Taylor walked. Jordan placed a perfect bunt. Frazier's throw was late. Denard Span hit one-hopper to Votto at first. Votto got the force of Ramos at home. Desmond hit a dribbler to Frazier and beat the throw as Taylor scored.

Washington took the lead in the top of the sixth. Zimmerman doubled. Ramos singled to center.Billy Hamilton's throw home beat Zimmerman but his slide eluded Pena's tag.

The Reds solved Jordan in the bottom of the inning. Marlon Byrd walked with one out. Skip Schumaker, spelling Brandon Phillips, doubled Byrd to third. Phillips, who is suffering from a painful turf toe injury, pinch hit for DeSclafani.  Phillips lifted the ball to left and Byrd scored as Ramos couldn't handle Taylor's throw cleaning in a collision with Byrd.  Hamilton greeted Aaron Barret with a bloop single that scored Schumaker with the go-ahead run. Cozart's third hit scored Hamilton, whose 19th stolen base put him in scoring

"It was great to see a couple of two-out hits," Price said. "Fun comes from winning. We get tired of talking about silver linings when we lose. We had great situational hitting that inning. It started with Brandon's sacrifice fly, the two out hits from Billy and Zack."

Jumbo Diaz relieved DeSclafani.

Span singled to open the seventh. Diaz struck out Desmond and Escobar.  Span advanced when Escobar swung through a pitch in the dirt.  Bryan Price brought in left-hander Tony Cingrani to fasc Harper, who bats left-handed.  Cingrani's first pitch put a bruise between the 3 and 4 on Harper's back.

It didn't sit well with Harper, who stared and yelled at Cingrani as if to debate with himself if he should charge the mound. Home plate umpire Jerry Meals got between Harper and Cingrani. As Harper walked to first, he exchanged words with Votto.  Firstbase umpire Andy Fletcher got between them as the crowd chanted "Joey Votto".  Things calmed down quickly. Cingrani got out of the inning when Votto speared a low line drive from Zimmerman.

"No one likes to get hit. I get it," Price said. "We're not going to bring a left-hander in to put him on base with the tying run at the time to have a left-hander pitch to Zimmerman. Guys get pissed when they get hit. That's the first reaction."

Harper had calmed down afterward.

"It just got away from him. It hit me. There is nothing I can do," Harper said. "We (Votto and I) had some playful conversation."

Cingrani's take.

"He should have jogged. Be a baseball player. I'm sorry I hit you; now run."

Frazier hit his 15th home run off Blake Treinen to start the seventh.

Cingrani struggled in the eighth.

With one out he walked Espinosa. He struck out Taylor but walked pinch hitter Dan Uggla and Span.  Price brought in J.J. Hoover, who fell behind but fanned Desmond to end the inning.

"I definitely wanted to be out there," said Hoover, who shook off Pena to throw a third straight fastball. "I've been working to get into one of those leverage situations. Until he proved he was on my fastball I was going to buzz him with my best pitch."

Chapman came in to earn his eighth save, facing Escobar, Harper and Zimmerman the meat of the Washington batting order. Escobar struck out. Harper got his first hit of the ninth a ground ball single up the middle on a 1-2 pitch. Zimmerman struck out.  Ramos grounded to short.

Reds Start Three Rookie Pitchers Against East Leading Nationals

For those clamoring for pitching changes, you now have them.

Three rookies will start against the NL East leading Washington Nationals this weekend.

Anthony DeSclafani will start on Friday, Raisel Iglesias on Saturday and Michael Lorenzen on Sunday.

The Reds decided to give Johnny Cueto more time.

Cueto threw with Jeff Pico on Thursday, threw again today, won’t do bullpen today which means won’t start on Sunday. Probably Philadelphia series

“He has inflammation in his elbow. I know he’s champing at the bit to get out there, but there are a couple more steps he needs to follow.," Bryan Price said.

Jason Marquis will pitch out of the bullpen for now and could appear in any of the three games.

“We’ll start Lorenzen," Price said. "We’ll put Marquis in the bullpen. We’ll go with DeSclafani, Iglesias and Lorenzen. We have to cautious on innings with two of the three. Right now, they’re our best chance to go out and perform. I wouldn’t be apprehensive to use Marquistoday. He’s one of our more resilient guys. He’s got really good mechanics. His arm feels good. He bounces back real well. I don’t have a lot of reluctance to use him.”

Veteran catcher Brayan Pena is the catcher responsible for helping this "Kiddy Corp".
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'We know that was coming sooner or later because those guys have so much talent, they deserve their shot," Pena said. "It’s going to be exciting for all of us, but especially for them. It’s one of those series where they really have to go out there and do what they do and that’s compete. I know they’re ready for the challenge and we trust them and we believe in what they can do. Hopefully, we can get away with a nice performance from them and the series will go in our favor. At the end of the day, it’s all about going out there as a team and playing well. It’s not just on the youngsters.”

Brandon Phillips is getting another day to rest his turf toe injury.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Mike Leake Continues To Struggle

Mike Leake's earned run average continues to rise like the flood waters in Texas as the Reds were buried by the Rockies in a 6-4 loss, its 10th loss in 11 games..

The Reds are struggling as a team to find itself.

"We're just trying to play good baseball," Bryan Price said. "Weren't playing our best baseball when we were 18-17. We can play a lot better.  A lot of guys like Mike (Leake) are trying to find their way."

Leake threw 16 consecutive innings without allowing a run in two starts (4/30) and (5/6). In his May 11 start he allowed just one run. His ERA after that start was 2.36.

On Wednesday, Leake left after five innings in which he was strafed for six runs. This coming off a May 16 start in which the San Francisco Giants scored nine runs.  In Leake's next start he allowed five runs in four innings to the Cleveland Indians. His ERA has risen to 4.66.

"I went through a stretch like this in 2012," Leake said. "I'm sure I can figure it out a lot faster now."
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The problem is simple but frustrating.

"He's off the edges of the plate early in the count,"  Price said.  "He has to pitch from behind. It drives his pitch count up and there's more balls hit in the air."

The Colorado Rockies ruined his day in the first inning.

After Leake issued two walks and a single (Charlie Blackman was caught stealing) Nolan Arenado hit his 10th home run with two outs.

Todd Frazier's 15th home run off Kyle Kendrick got a run back.

Leake gave up another two-out home run, this time to Blackmon, whose seventh long ball gave the Rockies a 5-1 lead.  Colorado singles from Carlos Gonzalez and Arenado put runners on first and second with two outs.  Ben Paulson singled up the middle to make it 6-1 midway through the contest.

The Reds wasted Frazier's leadoff double in the double in the fourth as Kendrick, who began the game with a 1-6 record and a 6.58 ERA,  stifled the Reds' offense on three hits through seven innings, including 12 in a row before Tucker Barnhart hit his third home run of the season, leading off the eighth.

The Reds loaded the bases on a hit from Billy Hamilton and a walk to Skip Schumaker, starting to give Brandon Phillips turf toe a break.  Boone Logan relieved Kendrick and walked Joey Votto.  Frazier worked the count full before walking to drive in Hamilton. Jay Bruce blooped a single to left to score Schumaker to make it 6-4. Rafael Betancourt took over for Logan. Marlon Byrd's fly to shallow right wasn't deep enough to score Votto  Zack Cozart's routine fly to left ended the threat.

The Reds held a meeting after the game.

"We just wanted to clear our heads for Friday," Leake said. "We all get along here. No one is pointing fingers. We are all staying positive."

Evolution Of A Pitcher Brings Bryan Price Joy

You can take the pitching coach out of the bullpen but you can't take the bullpen out of the pitching coach.

A day after the Reds snapped a losing streak more hideous than Jake from State Farm, Price was excited about the young pitcher, whose performance played a big part of it.

Michael Lorenzen less than two years removed from roaming centerfield for Cal-State Fullerton, pitched seven innings of two-hit, one-run baseball to put the Reds in position to break through with a win.

Lorenzen only had 90 pitches and could have gone one more but Price elected to go to his improving bullpen with Jumbo Diaz and Aroldis Chapman.

Chapman got the win.

Lorenzen remains 1-1 in four starts with a 3.12 ERA.

Forget the mundane numbers and the flashy new wave WHIP (Walks and Hits per Innings Pitch) ane WAR (Wins Above Replacements) and all the other finger-down-the-throat inducing, calculus like, mind numbing modern statistical poop.

Price is excited about watching first hand the evolution of Raisel Iglesias and Lorenzen.

:"He shook off Brayan Pena last night to get to a high fastball that he had been working on with Ted Power in Louisville," Price said.  "We're seeing the evolution of a prospect turning into a vialble starting Major League pitcher. He is learning how to attack hitters."

Price's eyes lit up, the former pitching coach in him triggering his excitement.
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"It is fun for me; even though you have to go through these growing pains," Price said. "We got to see it with Mike Leake and Homer Bailey.

Price walks a tightrope from needing to win and yet develop pitchers. The economics of the game make it difficult for teams to keep Johnny Cueto after developing him into one of the best pitchers in the game. The Reds have three rookies now in the starting rotation with Anthony DeSclafani, Iglesias and Lorenzen.

Price was mindful of Lorenzen's development when he decided not to send Lorenzen out for the eighth inning even though he threw just 90 pitches.

"I didn't want all the pressure of the importance of breaking the losing streak to be placed on the young pitcher.  If it were Cueto or Leake I know it wouldn't set them back if they gave up a run in the eighth inning," Price said.  "Diaz is throwing the ball much better than he did early in the season."

Excellent article about Lorenzen by Hal McCoy.



Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Reds Break Losing Streak

Skip Schumaker pinch hitting for Aroldis Chapman doubled down the leftfield line to score Marlon Byrd with the run that broke the Reds' longest losing streak since 1998 with a 2-1 win.

Marlon Byrd drew a walk from Brooks Brown to open the ninth. Kristopher Negron bunted Byrd to second..Schumaker hit a soft liner off the end of the bat past thirdbaseman Nolan Arenado to drive home the winning run.

"We needed to smile around here," Schumaker said. "Winning never gets old."

Michael Lorenzen gave up a single to Troy Tulowitzke leading off the second inning in his fourth start. One out later he walked Ben Paulson, then retired nine straight batters, including Nick Hundley, who hit into the Rockies' second double play, before Hundley hit his fifth home run of the season.

"We needed a good start from Lorenzen and we got it," Schumaker said. "He is just what we thought he would be coming out of spring training.  For a young kid to pitch like that is impressive."

Lorenzen walked Charlie Blackmon to start the game but got Carlos Gonzalez to ground into a 6-3 double play to end the inning.

"It is kind of my game," Lorenzen said. "I'm a groundball kind of pitcher. I did everything I could to prepare myself. Whatever happens, happens. It is God's will."

Manager Bryan Price felt the weight was lifted off the team's shoulder.

"Hopelfully the weight is off everybody's shoulder," Price said. "Now we can go out and have fun."

Even beyond a much needed win, Price saw more positives in Lorenzen's development.

"Michael Lorenzen was as good as I've seen him," Price said. "He went a long way toward learning that he could challenge hitters in the strike zone. As a young pitcher and you see good hitters like Tulowitzki, Gonzalez and Arenado, you try to make the perfect pitch on the corner."

The Reds scored first off substitute starter Chris Rusin, who was recalled to take the spot of Jorge De La Rosa, who has a cut on his right hand..

Marlon Byrd led off the second inning with a single. Lorensen bunted Byrd to second. Billy Hamilton singled Byrd home.

Lorenzen left with the game tied. He allowed two hits and three walks, while striking out three.

"He got to the point in a 1-1 game where he did his job," Price said. "You don't have a lot of wiggle room. If it was Cueto or Leake it's not going to set them back if they give up a run in the eighth. Jumbo Diaz has been throwing the ball bertter than he was earlier in the season. I decided to let him take the eighth."

Diaz got help fromTodd Frazier. Frazier threw Paulson out after a diving stop to open the eighth inning. It was a throwing error by Frazier, leading to two unearned runs that contributed to the Reds loss on Monday.

Diaz gave up an infield hit to Hundley but put up a zero.

Aroldis Chapman gave up a hit and a walk but struck out three to earn the win.

"We didn't get used to losing," Lorenzen said. "We did everything we could to break the losing streak. Now we have to get used to winning."

Johnny Cueto's Had An MRI On His Elbow

Reds fans rejoice.

An MRI proved that there is no structural damage to Johnny Cueto's elbow.  It was welcome news to a team currently bogged down in a nine-game losing streak.

“It is good news," Bryan Price said. "It’s a clean bill of health as far as any type of structural damage. He has a little bit of inflammation in his elbow, which is a part of pitching. I think more than anything, what gives us peace of mind is there’s really no major structural damage, no injury that would linger or could get worse. That being said, he still has to go out there and throw and make sure that the stiffness and soreness is out before we can schedule bullpen and then in turn schedule his next start, so it will be at least a couple of days before we can know more on when we’ll see him back in the rotation.”
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The Reds have had a lot of bad news independent of the losing streak.  Homer Bailey is out for the season with elbow surgery. Catcher Devin Mesoraco, who was counted upon to add power to the middle of the lineup, was placed on the disabled list with a hip impingement.  It is still questionable if he will require surgery.

“I think we’ve absorbed the injury to Homer and Devin fairly well. Brayan Pena’s done a terrific job," Price said. "Right now, we’ve got three rookies in the rotation, and though we’re struggling, I don’t think you can necessarily say it’s created a weakness on the club. We weathered it OK. Knowing Johnny will be back and be an influence in our starting rotation is a big deal, and certainly the news on Sean Marshall was a minor miracle in itself.”

Marshall had surgery on his left shoulder last week. He was expected to miss the rest of the season, if it didn't cost him his career.  The surgeons discovered to their surprise that the capsule in his labrum was healed and his recovery time will be as short as six weeks.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Rockies Solve Aroldis Chapman To Send Reds To Ninth Straight Loss

Even Aroldis Chapman in a semi-military uniform could turn the Reds losing streak around.

Chapman entering a tie game invited trouble by walking Charlie Blackmon the leadoff hitter. D.J. LeMahieu added to the frustration with a bloop single that Brandon Phillips shaded toward second couldn't get to just beyond the skin of the infield. Nolan Arenado got the run home with a sacrifice fly to centerfield to plate the winning run in a 5-4 decision.

John Axford earned his seventh save with his sixth straight scoreless inning by getting the Reds' hottest hitter to flyout after a two-out walk to Todd Frazier made Bruce, who had three hits, the winning run.

Bruce is taking no joy in raising his batting average over 60 points over the last eight games.

"Everyone here is frustrated from Bob Castellini to the training assistants," Bruce said. "Losing is not fun. It's the exact opposite of why you play the game. It is terrible. It stinks. It sucks. Yes, I'm hitting better right now but it's hard to enjoy because you prepare for this game to win."

"Lately we've been making errors. That's something that we never, ever do. I'm not calling anybody out. We're doing everything we can to prepare, probably too much. I'm not saying do nothing but we're a group of guys that prepare, everyday, diligently to win and it's not happening. We need something to relieve the pressure."

Any idea how to do that?

"Understanding this is a game. You have to take joy in the little things, to have fun and just play. The reason you prepare is to trust what you're doing. You have to have a short memory. We can't soak in our tears and whine. I look forward to the day that it turns around because it's going to."

Jason Marquis spotted the Rockies a 1-0 lead.

Marquis walked Charlie Blackmon to leadoff the game. Singles by Nolan Arenado and Ben Paulson sent Blackmon home.

Joey Votto doubled off Rockies' starter Eddie Butler and Tod Frazier followed with his 13th home run to put the Reds up one.

Frazier's throwing error led to two Rockies runs in the second inning.  Arenado hit his ninth home run of the season off Marquis to give the Rockies a two-run lead.

Marquis, the first Reds' pitcher to bat in a spot other than ninth since Red Lucas hit seventh in 1933, doubled in the second inning but was stranded.

Marlon Byrd doubled one out into the fourth.  Billy Hamilton, batting ninth single Byrd home.

Byrd's 10th home run off Butler tied the game in the sixth..

The Reds and Rockies bullpens held the fort

Devin Mesoraco to the DL Parra Re-instated

The Reds put ailing catcher Devin Mesoraco on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Thursday with an impingement in his hip.

Mesoraco has unable to catch since April 12.  The 26-year was reduced to pinch hitting and DH since then.

The catcher was improving but an effort to get him ready to field his position back fired last week.

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Left-handed pitcher Manny Parra, who was on the disabled list with neck pain, was re-instated.

"He had two good outings," Bryan Price said. "We need to get him back to the way he was throwing in 2013."


The Miracle Of Sean Marshall

When Sean Marshall scheduled his second shoulder surgery his first thought was he hoped that it would allow him to throw batting practice to his kids.  In the back of his mind another year of rehab would make him a longshot to pitch in the Major Leagues again.

When he was on the operating table in New York, the doctors realized the capsule in the labrum was healed.

"When the got in there, they saw that the capsule was sealed and healed. They told me it wasn't as serious as they thought. It took a little while for it to settle in," said the 32-year old Marshall, who thought this surgery at best would end his season, at worst his career. "For the last two years its been nothing but bad news. I was on the fast track to come back, but I just couldn’t get over the hump.”
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Apparently, doctors only got as far as scar tissue with their test when they thought they were all the way to the bone. Instead of repairing tear, all that needed to be done was clean it out and move the biceps tendon.

"That was great news," Bryan Price said. "He's fired up. He's had to contemplate a lot of things. To find out the capsule was intact and get him to throw in four to six weeks, is a miracle."

Marshall pitched in just 31 games since 2012. He could pitch this season.

Pitcher Bats Eighth For Reds Billy Hamilton Dropped To Ninth

Only if Billy Hamilton played softball would he be able to bat lower in the lineup.

Reds' manager Bryan Price put Jason Marquis in the eighth spot in the team's struggling lineup but there is more thought given to it than just a random shakeup.

"We're taking a look at it," said Price, who dropped Hamilton from his leadoff spot because he wasn't getting on base and felt the stress was too much for the young player. "Until I hit him eighth and got to see how things unfold. If he gets on base, you bunt with the pitcher or if you use a pinch hitter and he gets thrown out stealing, you burn a pinch hitter."
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Marquis has been used as a pinch hitter in his career.  He is pretty good with a bat in his hands. Marquis hit .292 and .310 in successive seasons (2004 and 05) for St. Louis. He hit .281 with San Diego as lately as 2012.  The right-hander has five home runs in his career.

It is the first time that a pitcher has batted in a spot other than ninth since Red Lucas batted seventh against Brooklyn on September 7, 1933.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Defense Lets Reds Down As Indians Complete Sweep

Throughout the Reds ghastly eight-game losing streak the defense has been pretty good but on Sunday the Indians took advantage of three Reds errors to post a 5-2 win and sixth straight for the Tribe.

"We saved our very worst game for when we needed our very best," Bryan Price said. "It was the worst game of the series, the worst game of the year. I apologize to anyone who drove up to see this game."

"We have to keep it in perspective," said Joey Votto. "We have to avoid the loser mentality. When you get used to losing and surprised when you win, you're a loser."

Raisel Iglesias started in place of the stiff and sore Johnny Cueto.for the Reds

"I loved the way he competed," Price said. "He gave us every thing he had. I had to get him out of there because he had 84 pitches."

The Indians broke a scoreless tie in the third inning with the aid of some bad bounces and bad plays by the Reds.

The Cleveland hitters wore the young Cuban right-hander down.

"I feel like I threw the ball well. They (Cleveland) really battled. In the end I was pleased with the start but I'm not totally happy with my job. I wanted to pitch longer to give my team more innings."

With runners on first and second, one out, David Murphy's hard grounder to a big hop that got off Joey Votto's glove and rolled into short rightfield scoring Carlos Santana, who doubled and sending Brandon Moss to third.  Nick Swisher sent a potential double play ball that bounced off the heal of Brandon Phillps, who was charged with an error. Moss scored the second run.

"There is too much talent on this team to play this way," Price said. "It's a cyclical thing and it will end. Physical mistakes are physical mistakes. This game stands out because it was so hideous."

Votto was surprised the Reds played this poorly today.

"It always surprises me when we're not the best defensive team on the field," Votto said.

The Reds put runners on base in the first three innings off Trevor Bauer but Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier flied out to end innings in which the Reds put runners in scoring position with two outs.

Iglesias left after three innings and 84 pitches. He allowed two runs, one earned on four hits and three walks. He struck out six.\

Votto doubled in the third. Bauer retired 12 straight batters.  Marlon Byrd hit his ninth home run and the first by the Reds on the five-game road trip.

The Indians scored two unearned runs against J.J. Hoover in the sixth.

Hoover couldn't field a soft comebacker to the mound by Yan Gomes.  Phillips botched his second groundball which was a very makeable double play ready to happen. Hoover walked Mike Aviles and Jason Kipnis to load the bases.  Santana ripped a fastball to right that just curved foul into the seats in right before he popped out.  It looked like Hoover had pitched out of the jam when Votto speared a hot smash behind first then threw the ball past Hoover as two runs scored.

Votto was unhappy with the play.

"I always try to think of what I can do better," Votto said. "I think of how I could have executed my part of the play better.
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The Indians hit five doubles for the game. They scored a run off a rusty Aroldis Chapman, who hadn't pitched since last Sunday to close out the scoring.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Corey Kluber Outduels Anthony DeSclafani As Reds Drop Seventh Straight.

Anthony DeSclafani matched American League Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber pitch by pitch.

Runs were at a premium at Progressive Field.

Jason Kipnis run scoring double off Tony Cingrani made Kluber the winner, 2-1.

The Reds scored first on a sacrifice fly by Zack Cozart, the third straight run the Reds scored without a hit driving in the scoring runner.  Jay Bruce extended his hitting streak to six games with a single off Kluber leading off the second inning.  Bryan Pena doubled Bruce to third.  Cozart's fly left an runner in scoring position with one out.

DeSclafani walked Brandon Moss leading off the second but a slick double play started by Joey Votto allowed DeSclafani to face the minimum through three.  Votto fielded Nick Swisher's topped ground ball at firstbase as he moved toward the line. Votto stepped on the base, pivoted and flipped under hand over Moss' head to Cozart, who fielded the throw and applied a quick tag to nip Moss.

"I was able to keep the ball in the zone today," said DeSclafani, who allowed nine earned runs over his last two starts in nine innings.  "I was struggling the last two times out.  I was happy to keep the team in the game. The defense played great."

The Reds had nine hits off Kluber but couldn't push a run over.  The Reds wasted a two-out double by Votto in the third.  Bruce doubled to open the fourth. Pena hit a one-hop ground ball to Carlos Santa at first.  Santana threw to third to retire Bruce. Brandon Phillips singled and got to second in the fifth. Frazier singled and got to second in the sixth. Neither scored.  Billy Hamilton singled with one out in the seventh but was caught stealing by catcher Roberto Perez.

Hamilton jammed his wrist and shoulder on the play.

"I ran into his (Jose Ramirez's) leg," said Hamilton, who stayed in the game and expects to play tomorrow.  "There is not too much that can take me out of a game.  I'd have to be dying not to play. As I moved, it got better."

The Indians had very few runners but unlike the Reds came up with a big hit.

DeSclafani got the first two batters out in the sixth.  Kipnis hit a sinking line drive to right that Brennan Boesch got his glove on but lost as he hit the ground.  Santana walked. David Murphy singled up the middle to score Kipnis with the tying run.

"DeSclafani needed that," Bryan Price said. "I don't want to overlook that.  We had a nice approach against Kluber. We knew he was going to be around the plate and we squared up some ball on him but you have to beat good pitchers.  You just can't wait to beat up on everyones number five starter."

Jay Bell, managing for Bryan Price, who was ejected before the first pitch, brought in Cingrani to pitch the eighth. Cingrani walked Perez, hitting .182, to start the inning. Michael Bourn forced pinch runner Mike Aviles, trying to bunt him to second.  Bourn scored on Kipnis double to leftcenter.

Cody Allen pitched a scoreless ninth for ninth save.

Bryan Price Was Ejected Before The First Pitch

Reds' manager Bryan Price was ejected by secondbase umpire and crew chief Jim Reynolds before the first pitch on Saturday before the 4:10 game with the Cleveland Indians.
Price ejection captured by Kevin Goheen

Price and Reynolds had an animated discussion at home plate during the exchange of lineup cards.

It was the fourth career ejection and the second of the season for Price.  Price was also ejected by Joe West earlier this season for delay of game when he Price contended that the umpires review a play without using a challenge.

"It was carry over from yesterday," Price said.  "It was about the strike zone."

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The Reds were upset with homeplate umpire Manny Gonzalez's ball-strike calls on both sides of the ball.  Jay Bruce argued mildly, then vehemently on a 3-1 pitch that Gonzalez called a strike.  Joey Votto was livid with a called second strike at the plate.  Mike Leake walked five, including three in a row in the second inning that led to a pair of runs.

"There were some near misses, I guess," Price said after Friday's game.

On Saturday Price let the crew know the strike zone was incorrect the night before.

"I  had fair warning that if I continued, I would be thrown out," Price said.  "There were just some things left unsaid."