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, April 24, 2016

Cubs Unload On Alfredo Simon

The Reds uprising lasted a day before the Cubs imposed their will on Alfredo Simon and his teammates with a 9-0 waxing..

The hot hitting Dexter Fowler and Ben Zobrist got the day off.  Cubs' manager Joe Maddon put Tommy La Stella at secondbase, replacing Zobrist and taking Fowler's leadoff spot in the batting order.

LaStella was stellar.  He doubled to open the game and scored a minute later on Jason Hayward's single up the middle. Then things got loud.

"La Stella stays ready. He comes ready to play," Cubs' manager Joe Maddon said. "We had a lot of good at bats. It was nice that we could do this without getting Dexter or Zobrist involved. He never gets annoyed that he isn't getting playing time. He understands his role."

Simon was shelled for five runs in 2/3 of an inning in his last start which was in Chicago. He exceeded that by two innings but was shelled for eight earned runs.

 “Just poor execution," Bryan Price said." He didn’t have a pitch to finish off anybody today. He said his arm was feeling good. We have to get him back to being sharp and getting his pitches down.”

Anthony Rizzo hit two home runs.  La Stella doubled and scored again in the second and hit a home run off Simon's replacement, Drew Hayes.

Meanwhile Jason Hammel with a 2-0 record and an ERA of 1.00 retired the first six Reds with four strikeouts.  Tucker Barnhart singled to open the third to dispel any thoughts of a second no-hitter.

"Hammel's that's as good as I've seen him throw a baseball," said Maddon, who managed Hammel in Tampa Bay.. "When he has his command he is really good and his velocity was solid."

The Reds had two base runners in the fourth and the sixth.  Joey Votto and Eugenio Suarez had singles while Jay Bruce and Votto drew walks.  They didn't score either time.

Simon was charged with eight earned runs on nine hits and a walk.  He has given up 16 earned runs in his last three appearances, covering 4 1/3 innings.

 “Just a tough lineup," catcher Barnhart said.. "If you make a mistake against them, it’s tough to get it back. It seems like they have a (No.) 3 or 4 hitter coming to the plate every time. He looked great. Stuff-wise, he had everything. He just made a couple of mistakes.”

The Cubs took three our of four games after sweeping the Reds in Chicago.

 “They roughed us up in five of the seven games and we lose six of seven. They outplayed us,.” Price said.

Eugenio Suarez Ignited Reds, J.J. Hoover Ready To Be Fireman Again

Billy Joel sang, "We Didn't Start The Fire."  Eugenio Suarez was glad he did.

After the Reds were embarrassed by a 16-0, no-hit shutout on Thursday and a 9-1 three-hit debacle on Friday.on Purple Rain Fireworks Night.  The team was on the way to another thrashing by the Cubs.

After grabbing the first lead they had in the series, the Cubs snatched the lead right back and veteran John Lackey was tooling along, humming a song.

The up jump the Reds and it started out innocently enough a single by Tyler Holt and a daily hit by Zack Cozart who has a hit in every game but the no-hitter.  Eugenio Saurez took his bat into the right-handed batters' box.  It might as well have been a torch because Saurez lit the fuse with his fifth home run of the season that caused the Reds' bench to erupt with glee.

"We were talking about how we gotta go," Suarez said. 'When Holt got that hit and Cozart got the base hit, I said to myself, 'this is my opportunity.'  I have to bring the run home.  My mind focused to hit a ball good."

Suarez hit the ball into the leftfield stands to get the lead back and the Reds kept at it. Joey Votto singled.  Brandon Phillips smoked the ball but it went right to Lackey who turned it into a double play.  Jay Bruce walked. Devin Mesoraco singled.  Adam Duvall and Scott Schebler homered back-to-back.

"We worked a lot the last two days.  After the no-hitter we had our heads down," Suarez said.  "Bryan said, 'hey put this out of your head. Get a good pitch and swing hard."

Lackey told Cubs' media that he threw too many strikes and needed to make an adjustment.  The Reds locked in on him quick.  Suarez didn't see any difference in Lackey the third time through the batting order.

"I don't know," Suarez said. "They always start me with a fastball away. I had to be ready for that fastball. He threw me that, right in the middle. He missed a little bit. I hit it good."

Hoover Makes Adjustment

It is not a secret that J.J. Hoover, who inherited the closer's job from the traded Aroldis Chapman, has struggled.  Hoover has given up 13 runs and four homers in six innings.  He managed a save in which he gave up a two-run home run.

He understood why Bryan Price removed him from the closer role.  He has gone through rough spots before like he did in April 2014.

"We just corrected it (mechanical flaw) it was a little thing that I couldn't feel physically," said Hoover after a Sunday morning bullpen session. "We made the adjustment and it looked completely different in the bullpen. Sometimes you lose a little bit on your delivery until you find the little error that is taking away the crispness of everything. Price, (Mark) Riggins, (Mack) Jenkins have all helped me. I think we finally got it figured out."

Hoover was baffled before the corrected flaw, that he wished to keep to himself, was discovered.

"Everybody was searching. I couldn't feel it. I felt like I was making quality pitches," Hoover said. "I wasn't getting any soft contact that I was used to. That is what directed us to find the problem. The stuff looked to be there was something that was a tick off.. I think we got it."

Hoover now appears confident that he can become an effective closer.

"I know I can," Hoover said.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Reds Ambush John Lackey To Tame Cubs

The Reds exploded for seven runs in the sixth inning to tame the Chicago Cubs, 13-5 and snap an eight game losing streak in front of thousands of Windy City wind bags that polluted Great American Ball Park.

The Reds ambushed John Lackey in the sixth inning. Ten Reds came to the plate and the only one that didn't hit the ball hard was Jay Bruce who walked.

Pinch hitter Tyler Holt hit a hard single to right center that Dexter Fowler deftly cut off before it got to the gap.  Zack Cozart singled for his second hit of the game, sending Holt to third.  Eugenio Suarez swatted his fifth home run of the season and the Reds retook the lead from the Cubs but wait, the Reds were in no mood to play defense right away. Joey Votto singled hard to center.  Brandon Phillips scorched a pitch back to the mound that Lackey stabbed and doubled Votto off first. Inning over? Not quite.  Bruce walked and so did Lackey to the Cubs clubhouse, replaced by Trevor Cahill.  Devin Mesoraco lined a single to right. Adam Duvall cracked his second home run of the season to left.  Scott Schebler followed with his first home run of the season to the bleachers in right. Holt put a jolt into a ball that drove leftfielder Kris Bryant to the warning track to catch the line drive.

"Suarez home run was such a big blow," Bryan Price said.  "It didn't just provide us with the three runs, the lead. It ignited our entire bench. After you've been shut down by Arrieta and Lester and you've been roughed up a couple ballgames, it can get you on your heels a little bit. We needed something to light the fuse."

 It was the first time the Reds had three home runs in an inning since, Mike Leake, Cozart and Drew Stubbs connected in the fourth inning on May 21, 2012 off Mike Minor.

Dan Straily made his second start for the Reds.  He gave up a home run to Addison Russell in the second inning.

The Reds got its first two hits of the game and scored in the fourth inning.  Cozart doubled after Cubs' starter John Lackey retired the first nine Reds' batters eerily reminiscent of the no-hitter by Jake Arrieta on Thursday  Suarez singled to the hole at shortstop.  Addison Russell made a diving stop but his throw short hopped Anthony Rizzo at firstbase and ended up in the stands.  One out later Phillips found the left centerfield gap for an RBI double.  Phillips was thrown out at third trying for the triple.

The Cubs retook the lead in the fifth.  Russell walked.  Fowler doubled just inside the firstbase line.  Russell scored from first and Fowler went to third on the throw home.  Kris Bryant singled to score Fowler.

The Cubs scored a pair of runs off Caleb Cotham in the seventh but Votto's second home run of the season off Neil Ramirez with Suarez on first with a walk, restored the six run margin. The two hits on the night got Votto's average off the interstate at .200.  He struck out in his last at bat to go back under the mark.

The Reds banged out a season-high 15 hits, welcome news after the no-hitter Thursday.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Cubs Encore Versus Reds - Three Hitter

What do the Cubs do for an encore?  One night after a 16-0 no-hitter win over the Cincinnati Reds, they have nowhere to go but down.

How do the Reds bounce back after as Jay Bruce said,"We were dominated worse than any game I've ever played in?"

Jon Lester held the Reds to three hits as the Cubs beat the Reds for the eighth straight time, 8-1.


Javier Baez singled off Reds' starter Jon Moscot. He stole second and moved to third on a ground out.  David Ross hit a fly to Jay Bruce in short right field toward the line and beat Bruce's throw with an awkward dive to the plate.  Anthony Rizzo opened the fourth inning with his sixth home run.

The Cubs got small after Rizzo's blast.

Ben Zobrist walked.  Baez forced him at second. Addison Russell singled Baez to third.  Ross squeezed Baez home and runners advanced to second and third when Moscot threw the ball past Joey Votto at first.  Cubs starter Lester squeezed Russell home.

Moscot finished with five innings. He allowed four runs, three earned on three hits but walked four.

"That's just not a good performance by me," Moscot said. "It's unacceptable not to challenge the hitters. I was nibbling instead of going after hitters."

The Reds' pitchers have given up eight home runs to the Cubs in the two games so far this series.  The problem has less to do with talent and more to do with challenging hitters.

"To be successful at this level you have to throw quality strikes to get ahead.  If you constantly pitch from behind, you're going to get hit," Bryan Price said.  "The have a good lineup over there but we give them too much credit.  In order to hit a home run you have to get a good pitch to hit.  When you get behind and you have to throw a strike you're going to get hit. If you give them credit, give it to them for not expanding the strike zone and getting themselves out."

Votto settled the no hit business with an opposite field single down the thirdbase line.  The Reds went hitless for three more innings when Bruce and Adam Duvall singled to open the fifth.  Tyler Holt hit a ball on one hop to Kris Bryant at thirdbase.  Bryant went for an around the horn triple play but Holt beat the relay to first.

The Reds got on the board for the first time in 14 innings as Zack Cozart, who had a 10-game hitting streak snapped in Arrieta's no-hitter, hit his first home run of the season.  Eugenia Suarez singled but Votto hit into a 4-6-3 double play.

Baez led off the ninth with a home run off J.J. Hoover.  The Cubs scored two more runs off Hoover with a single and three straight double.

Reds Tweak Beleaguered Bullpen

Lost in an epic pitching performance by Jake Arrieta, was the Reds bullpen was drawn, quartered and keelhauled by the Chicago Cubs last night, giving up 11 runs in five innings.

Tim Melville, who allowed four runs on five hits in two innings, was designated for assignment this morning.  The Reds' recalled J.C Ramirez from Louisville.  Ramirez from Managua, Nicaragua was signed by the Reds in November and invited to spring training.  Ramirez pitched for Arizona and Seattle last season.

"When they sent me down at the end of spring training, they told me they wanted me to use more sliders," Ramirez said.  "That is what I was doing down there (Louisville). I am throwing my slider in any count. I've showed that I have been doing that and that's why I'm here."

Ramirez was sleeping this morning when Delino (DeShields) called him and told him to get his things together and go to Cincinnati.

"I was disappointed with myself when I was sent down because I knew there was a lot of opportunity here to make the team in spring training but at the same time, it put in my mind that I had to work hard and show people I belong at this level for a long time," Ramirez said. "

Drew Hayes picked a memorable game to make a forgetable debut.

Hayes came into the game into the game with the Cubs leading 9-0 in a game that their ace was pitching a no-hitter, the first in 7,109 regular season games.

Hayes retired David Ross on a ground out, then he walked no-hit, boy Arrieta. Dexter Fowler singled in front of Jay Bruce in right. Hayes walked Jason Hayward and Kris Bryant unloaded the bases with a home run deep off the berm in centerfield.

"Honestly I felt good," Hayes said on Friday afternoon. "I felt like I had my emotions under control. I warmed up the day before when Tucker (Barnhart) hit the walk off so that helped a little bit to get hot and get those nerves out. I felt good yesterday. I didn't execute. Playing against the Cubs if you don't execute, you're going to pay a price.  That's just the way it goes.  Walking Arrieta hurt and trying to be too fine on Hayward hurt.  We can live with singles and balls hit in play but we can't live with walks and that's on me. I'm not making any excuses. It had nothing to do with nerves. It was about not executing."

"I took it in more when I saw my family afterward. I text them and told them I loved them," Hayes said. "I took in more what how they helped me to get here rather than the atmosphere in the stadium."

After the grand slam, Hayes collected himself and finished his two-inning stint strong.  He got Anthony Rizzo to ground out and struck out Jorge Soler, looking.

"I threw Bryant a fastball that I didn't get down and away like I wanted it. It got too much of the plate. I talked about being too fine earlier, that was one that I should have been finer with," Hayes said.  "Then the guy following him (Rizzo) is a pretty good hitter. I had to concentrate on getting him out. I was thankful for the opportunity to go back out there for the eighth. I will help my confidence having that clean inning."

Hayes got a ground out by Ben Zobrist, then finished by striking out Addison Russel and Ross swinging.

A no-hitter is so rare and coupled with a once in a lifetime event in making your major league debut is something that Hayes will remember for ever.

"You don't want those things to happen but it's something that I can tell my children and grandchildren about," Hayes said.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Jake Arrieta No Hits Reds

Jake Arrieta pitched his second no-hitter and the Cubs hit five home runs to maul the Reds 16-0.

Arrieta, who also had two hits and a walk, threw a no-hitter last August 30 in a 2-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles.  Arrieta walked four batters. He struck out six. Arrieta threw 119 pitches, 71 for strikes.

"Every pitcher at this level has to expect certain things out of yourself," Arrieta said.  "You have to be realistic in the sense that they guys on the other side are good too.  Every once in awhile you're going to get beat and have an off night but the preparation allows the success to happen naturally. Even though you can't dictate the results, you can play a big part.  I feel like I have a good chance to win every time I take the mound. Tonight was no different."

Arrieta was not sharp in the early innings and threw a lot of pitches.  He walked Jay Bruce in the second, Eugenio Suarez, who David Ross, the catcher picked off, in the fourth and Scott Schebler in the sixth and ninth.

"I came out with shaky command of pretty much all of my pitches," Arrieta said. "I was using them none the less.  As the game went on I got a little more comfortable. I was pitching to contact pretty well. I got a lot of ground ball outs. The timing was off from start to finish. I was just able to lock it in big situations and pile up outs pretty quickly."

Arrieta had just 11 regular season starts between this no-hitter and the one against the Dodgers last year.

"I feels different the second time," Arrieta said. "I was a little more relaxed as the game progressed. The way I threw the ball before the game started, I anticipated that I'd have to grind through some at-bats and some innings a little bit more than I did.  I was able to get the ball in to left-handers for some called strikes, then go below the strike zone to get some swings and misses.  You put it all together and have conviction with what you're doing and good things can happen."

Former Red, Ross homered off Tim Melville in the sixth inning which made the score 6-0.  Ross has already declared this his last season. Ross played for the Reds in 2006, 2007 and part of 2008, appearing in 254 games.  He can take catching a no-hitter off his bucket list.

"This feels amazing. It was one of my dreams," Ross said. "That stud made it all come true. He was in control the whole time. He is capable of doing that every time out. That's why he won the Cy Young. Nothing fazes him."

"For me that's why this is so special," Arrieta said. "In his last year, I don't think he's ever caught one. I think he's been on a team that was no hit but was never on the winning said, except for last year that Miggy (Miguel Montero) caught. For him in his last season to have that experience for him is pretty awesome."

The Reds had not been no-hit in the regular season since Rick Wise no-hit the Reds 4-0, June 23, 1971 at Riverfront Stadium.  Wise also hit two home runs in that game. The Reds played 7,109 games without being no-hit during the regular season.

Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies threw a no-hitter against the Reds in Game 1 of the 2010 Division Series in Philadelphia.

Three weeks earlier the Cubs' Ken Holtzman, no-hit the Reds on June 3, 1-0.


Kris Bryant hit two home runs, including a grand slam to tie his career high with six RBI.

Brandon Finnegan pitched 6 2/3 innings without allowing a hit againsl the Chicago Cubs on Saturday.  Ross broke it up with a single.

On Thursday, Dexter Fowler hit the first pitch of the game over Scott Schebler's head in centerfield for a double.  Kris Bryant hit his third home run of the season one out later.  Ben Zobrist hit his first home run on the year, leading off the second. Fowler beat out a would-be double play ball to allow the Cubs fourth run to score.  Ross walked and advanced to third on Arrieta's second hit.  Schebler's throw was high and Finnegan caught it as the back up man.  When Finnegan's low throw bounced away from Votto, Ross scored the Cubs' fifth run. Anthony Rizzo hit a three-run home run off Melville to make it 9-0.

Kris Bryant spoiled Drew Hayes Major League debut with a grand slam in the seventh inning to make the score 13-0.

The Reds had just the four base runners and felt helpless.

"It's tough. We got dominated," Bruce said. "It's the most dominating baseball game, I've ever been a part of. Obviously, he was great.  We weren't. The news and the talking points are no hits and all the runs scored but in the end we lost.  We've got to keep going.  There is nothing you can do about it now.  We were dominated."

Bruce was one of the few base runners.

"I try to remove myself from results," Bruce said. "I'm looking for a pitch I can hit and he didn't give one to me that at-bat. I got two that I could hit I hit the one to centerfield and fouled one off.  He was wild enough, effective and we didn't have an answer. Every time he goes out, he's got no-hit stuff.  We hit some balls hard but he's arguably one of the best pitchers in the game, right now.  He had it all going."

It was the most lopsided no-hitter since August 4, 1884 when Pud Galvin of the Buffalo Bisons no-hit the Detroit Wolverines.

"You tell me what you're feeling," Bryan Price told a TV videographer.  "If your a Reds' fan, it's probably not the same but it's miserable.  As good as Arrieta was nobody wants to be embarrassed. Nobody wants to be no-hit.  Nobody wants to be a part of giving up 16 runs. There wasn't a game that someone is going to look back on for any redeeming values, other than hoping to forget it as soon as possible. Or maybe remember it as a motivating force."

Dating back to last season the Cubs are 17-2 in their last 19 road games.

Billy Hamilton Thumbs Out, Homer Bailey, John Lamb And Anthony DeSclafani Rehab Starts

Billy Hamilton jammed his left thumb against St. Louis and aggravated it trying to make a diving catch against Colorado on Wednesday.

"He jammed it when he made that catch in St. Louis," said Bryan Price of the catch on which he robbed Matt Carpenter of a home run.  "He aggravated the thumb diving for a ball against the Rockies.  He won't start for a couple days."

Hamilton wore a half glove protector on his thumb before the game.  He was on his way to have it examined.

"I just don't want a big cast on it," Hamilton said.

Scott Schebler started on Thursday against Jake Arrieta.

Homer Bailey is expected to make a start for Louisville against Indianapolis.

"We just want to see health," Price said.  "The numbers don't matter that much. A lot of times the starts in the minor league don't turn out like you'd expect."

John Lamb is scheduled to start on Friday for Louisville against Toledo..Lamb made a rehab start on Saturday for Louisville.  He allowed three earned runs on six hits and a walk in three innings.

Anthony DeSclafani is scheduled to start his rehab assignment in Pensacola against Jackson on Saturday.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Tucker Barnhart The Hero In Reds Win

Tucker Barnhart singled over five infielders to give the Reds a 6-5 win in the rubber game of the series against the Colorado Rockies.

Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce greeted Christian Berman with back-to-back singles to open the bottom of the ninth to put runners on first and third with no outs. Pinch hitter Scott Schebler struck out after fouling off a pair of two-strike pitches.  The Rockies brought in an outfielder and played in for Barnhart. The catcher lined Bergman's pitch over the firstbaseman for the game winner.

"It was the first time, I've ever faced him," Barnhart said.. "I was looking for something up in the zone to hit and luckily I got it. In that situation I'm trying to get something to the outfield. They could have brought anyone into the infield and it wouldn't have changed my sights because of the situation. With Brandon on third, if I got something relatively deep into the outfield he was going to score."

"It was a strange game," Bryan Price said.. "It was nice to see Tucker get that hit. He's been the unsung hero. He's getting the at-bats to allow him to get confidence in his swing, especially from the right side.."
"We've been good in these situations. Some how, some way we've been able to pull these out."

Bruce and Adam Duvall hit back-to-back home runs and Raisel Iglesias made them stand up until the bullpen got into the game.

Phillips singled for his fifth consecutive hit to open the second inning against Rockies' starter Chad Bettis.  Bruce launched his fourth home run of the season.  Duvall followed with his first to stake Iglesias to a 3-0 lead.  Bruce passed Trevor Story for third in the NL with 15 RBI on the season.  He trails Bryce Harper, who has 20 and Nolan Arenado with 16.

Bettis dug in and retired 15 straight batters after Duvall's blast caromed off the upper deck facade in left field.

Iglesias put down the first nine Rockie batters but D.J. LaMahieu singled past Phillips for the Rockies' first hit.  LaMahieu had missed time with a strained groin but he fled home from first on a double into the leftfield corner by Carlos Gonzalez.  Gerrardo Parra singled one batter later to make the score 3-2.

Iglesias retired the six batters before Gonzalez doubled again in the sixth for his 1,000th big league hit.

The Rockies tied the game and ended the day for Iglesias with two outs in the seventh. Catcher Dustin Garneau doubled and pinch hitter Ryan Raburn singled to right.  Blake Wood replaced Iglesias.

But Wait

Wood and the Reds appealed that Garneau missed thirdbase on his way home and Gary Cederstrom gave the out signal.  Giving Wood 1/3 an inning without throwing a pitch and more importantly kept the Reds lead at 3-2.  Colorado manager Walt Weiss challenged the call and the replay umpires in New York let the call stand.  Raburn lost the hit as it became a fielder's choice and Garneau was retired 1-5.

 "I didn't know that he missed third until after I went out to bring Wood in," Price said.."Geno(Eugenio Suarez) told me the runner missed the base. I asked Gary Cederstrom If I could still appeal. He said as long as no pitch was thrown. We weren't going to appeal if he would have been called safe."

Three consecutive two-out doubles by Duvall, Tucker Barnhart and Ivan De Jesus Jr. off Justin Miller gave the Reds a 5-2 advantage in the seventh inning.  It was the first hit of the season for De Jesus after starting the season 0-for-17.

Wood gave up DeMahieu's second hit, a single and walked Trevor Story.  The Reds brought in Tony Cingrani to pitch to Gonzalez with no outs in the eighth.  Gonzalez walked to load the bases.  Arenado popped up in the infield.  Parra drove in his second run with a fielder's choice. Mark Reynolds walked. Ben Paulson doubled to left to score Arenado and Parra and tie the score..  Reynolds started home on a ball in the dirt that Barnhart rebounded off the wall behind home..  Barnhart recovered in time to throw Reynolds out at third to end the inning.

"The ball bounces hard off those signs," Barnhart said.  "The signs are hard so the ball usually will come back to you. The ball caught me waste high. I turned to go home if you watch the video but Eugenio was yelling loud enough for me to hear him."

Drew Hayes Paints His Way To Major Leagues

Drew Hayes put brush to canvass this spring and painted his way to the Major Leagues and the Reds bought the art on Wednesday.

Hayes had a fantastic spring, allowing just one earned run in 11 innings but the 28-year old from McKenzie Tennessee was sent to pitch at Louisville.  The Reds signed veteran Ross Ohlendorf late in spring training and Dan Straily after spring training and took two bullpen spots.  The Reds also elected to keep Caleb Cotham and Blake Wood, whose springs weren't nearly as good as Hayes'.

"If spring training was simply a blank canvass, Drew would have painted his way onto the ballclub," Bryan Price said.  "He had one of the better springs.  It wasn't a totally open tryout.  There were certain guys who were on the roster, certain guys had first crack.  He put himself in a better place than he was two years ago."

The invitation to spring training this season was the third for Hayes.  He was in spring training in 2013 and 14 but was not invited in 2015 but two seasons of winter ball made a big difference.

Hayes went to the Domincan Winter League to pitch for the Estrellas de Orientales in San Pedro de Macoris.

“I had a couple opportunities to play winter ball and get better,” said Hayes, who played under Dean Treaner, who manages Pittsburgh’s Triple A team in Indianapolis. ‘I learned enough spanish to get by. We had good crowds. It was intense. Our team was the regular season champion. That part was fun, a high intensity atmosphere.”

The competition and environment gave Hayes a taste of what a Major League pennant race is all about.

“I faced some really good hitters,” Hayes said. “Pitching in those environments, there is a lot of pressure there to win. The more you pitch to good hitters in those situations, the more opportunities you have to get better. I was able to keep working on my stuff and try to improve against hitters like Manny Ramirez, Rafael Furcal and Miguel Tejada. There are some really good players that have had some quality time in the big leagues.” 
Now the  6‘1“ right-hander was a star athlete in McKenzie, Tennessee. He was named Player of the Year by the Tennessee Coaches Association in 2006. He was a three-time All-State football player and Mr. Football in 2005, amassing the second most passing yards in state history. He was all-district in basketball. 

That type of athlete rises quickly to the top but Hayes has used patience. The Arizona Diamondbacks drafted Hayes in the 22nd round in 2006. He went to play baseball at Bethel College instead. The Seattle Mariners called his name in the 22nd round in 2009. Hayes went to Vanderbilt to pitch along Major Leaguers, David Price, Mike Minor and Sonny Gray.

The long road reached Cincinnati after he was told last night after the game in Louisville.

"Ted Power called me in and Delino DeShields shook my hand and hugged me," Hayes said.  "I knew what it meant.  He was smiling.  I went  to my apartment and celebrated with my roommate Chris Berset.  I drove up this morning.  I took it slow to enjoy the scenery."

Hayes was disappointed but took the assignment to Louisville in stride.

"There are worse places to pitch than Louisville," Hayes said.  "When I played in the winter league it made me realize I had a lot to be thankful for.  Everyone has doubts once in awhile but I try to have fun and enjoy playing. I'm thankful to be here. I'm thankful to my friends and family for their support.  When I was sent down I told Bryan that I was thankful for the opportunity and asked him what I could do to be better, what would make me a better player in your'all's eyes.  There was no animosity, there was no bitterness or anything like that.  I wasn't in Major League camp the year before and they thought enough of me to bring me this year to perform on that stage and gave me the opportunity to impress them."

Hayes last pitched on Sunday throwing two hitless innings against Toledo.

The Reds sent Robert Stephenson to Louisville and designated Keyvius Sampson for assignment.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Rockie Horror Story - An Epic Trevor Story Tale

Rookie Rockie sensation Trevor Story belted his league leading eighth home run to break a tie and send the Reds under .500 for the first time in the Rockies' 5-1 win over the bullpen challenged Reds.

Story, who started his career with seven home runs in his first six games, added to several unprecedented feats (see Just Epic below) with a 400 opposite field drive of veteran Ross Ohlendorf to send the Reds and the pitcher to its second straight loss.

Ohlendorf was saddled with the loss to St. Louis on Sunday, when an eighth inning walk came around to score on a two-out double.

"We have to get these guys (bullpen) felling good about what they're doing," Bryan Price said.  "Pitching is like hitting is contagious.  We have a lot of ambiguity in our bullpen.  The only defined role is Hoover's, the closer.  We're just not there yet."

Dan Straily looked sharp in his first Reds' start.  He allowed a single to Nolan Arenado to open the second and walked Ben Paulson, the next hitter.  Brandon Barnes bunted them into scoring position,.  Arenado scored on a ground out by Cristhian Adames.

"My goal was to get strike one and stay ahead of the hitters.  That's the only way I could go deep in the game and limit my pitches," Straily said.

The Reds did little with starter Jordan Lyles, who had two starts in which he lost focus mid-way into the games.  He had a 11.35 ERA, allowing 10 earned runs in eight innings.

Tucker Barnhart singled to open the third but was stranded.  Jay Bruce led off the fifth with a double into the left centerfield gap and was thrown out at third, trying for a triple.

Caleb Cotham relieved Strailey, who finished five innings.  Straily was moved into the starting rotation pushing Tim Melville to the bullpen.  The move allowed Alfredo Simon and Raisel Iglesias another day of rest.

Straily allowed one run on two hits and two walks. He struck out four.

The Reds caught a break they were looking for on a seemingly frustrating offensive night.  Cozart ripped a short one hopper that ate up shortstop Story with the bases empty and two outs in the sixth.  The hit extended Cozart's season opening hitting streak to nine games.  Jordan Pacheco burned his old teammates with a screamer down the leftfield line for a double.  Gerardo Parra, appearing in his 1,000th game dug it out of the corner as Billy Hatcher held Cozart at third.  Parra's throw missed Story the relay man on the play and the ball scooted away far enough for Cozart to score the tying run.  The Rockies walked Joey Votto intentionally and got Brandon Phillips on a force play.

The Rockies added on against Ohlendorf.and Jumbo Diaz.  Carlos Gonzalez singled.  Ohlendorf walked Arenado.  Bryan Price brought in Diaz to continue a despicable habit of giving up big firsr-pitch home runs to let a game slip away.  Ben Paulsen hit his first home run of the season to turn a 2-1 game into a 5-1 game.

"I feel like I'm throwing the ball well," Ohlendorf said.  "The results haven't been good but if I keep on throwing like this the results will get batter."

Diaz gave up a three-run home run to Addison Russell to turn a lead into losing deficit last Monday in Chicago.  On the Reds' first home stand, J.J. Hoover served up a grand slam to Starling Marte to erase a three-run Reds' lead on April 8.

Story hit one in spring training off Reds' pitching against Stephen Johnson..


• Trevor Story won National League Player
of the Week honors for the first week of
the season (April 4-10) … joined Fernando
Valenzuela of the Los Angeles Dodgers as the
only National League rookies to be named the
Player of the Week for the first week of the
season since the award’s inception in 1974.
• After cracking seven homers and two triples
over his first eight games, collected his first
double Saturday at Chicago in his 11th game.
• Story has hit safely in 10 of his first 12 games,
scoring a run in eight contests.
• Wednesday, Story’s two triples tied a franchise
high for a single game (22 times, last: Corey
Dickerson, Sept. 19, 2013 vs. St. Louis) … fifth
time a Rockies rookie accomplished the feat
(last: Corey Dickerson, Sept. 19th vs. St. Louis).
• Per the Elias Sports Bureau, the first National
League player to hit two home runs in his debut
(sixth player overall), and the first player to hit
two homers in his debut on Opening Day.
• The first player in MLB history to hit seven
home runs over his first six games and he is the
first player, rookie or not, to hit seven home
runs over his team’s first six games of a season
… the first rookie who ever hit seven homers
over a six-game span at any point of a season.
• Only Major League player in history to hit home
runs in his first four career games.
• Story is also the only player in MLB history to
record six home runs in his team’s first four
games and the first player in history to record
two games with multiple home runs within his
first four career games … first Major Leaguer,
rookie or not, to hit six home runs over his first
four games of a particular season.
• The first player in Major League history to hit
home runs as his first four career hits.
• Home runs in his first four consecutive games
is the longest streak with a homer to begin a
season in Rockies franchise history (previous:
Charles Johnson, three-straight games with a
home run to begin the 2004 season) and tied
for the longest streak in Major League history
(also: Chris Davis, 2013; Nelson Cruz, 2011;
Mark McGwire, 1998; Willie Mays, 1971).
• The second shortstop in Major League history
to record two home runs in his Major League
debut (also: Bert Campaneris with the Kansas
City Athletics, July 23, 1964 at Minnesota

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Jay Bruce Clutch In Reds Win

Jay Bruce and his broken bat were heroes in the Reds 2-1 walkoff win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.

Bruce followed Brandon Phillips single off Arquimedes Caminero with a triple into the rightfield corner to win the game in Tim Melville's first big league game.

“Caminero throws really, really hard but he didn’t throw me a lot of fastballs,” Bruce said. “Honestly, I was telling myself to think small.  I didn’t need to do a whole lot.  You can’t get big there because he throws so hard.  With two strikes, I’m trying to make contact.  He’s got really, really good stuff, a 94 mile an hour cutter, that’s really a slider and a fastball that’s 100. You have to respect that and take what he gives you and it worked out.  It was a cutter/slider thing. I think he broke my bat but anytime. That’s fine with me.”

A nervous Melville walked the bases loaded then escape unscathed in his first major league inning.

“It was one of those moments. It is not a dream anymore,” Melville said. “I was nervous. It happens to the best of us.  I told myself to get back to the game plan, throw strike one. Devin (Mesoraco) and Mark (pitching coach Riggins) helped me relax.”


 Pirate catcher Chris Stewart made his first appearance of the season and homered in his first at-bat against Melville.

Eugenio Suarez continued his hot hitting blasting a pitch from Jeff Locke into the rightfield seats.

Suarez hit his fourth home run of the season, driving the ball to right-field.  He had three hits in four at-bats, improving his batting average to .434. and driven in nine runs.

“The thing I’m admiring, number one he’s driving the ball that way (to rightfield). The pitches he’s laying off,” Price said..  Have you noticed how good the quality of his at-bats are?  There are not a lot big free swings on balls outside the (strike) zone. If you make a good pitch in there in tight to him, he’s going to let it pass. He’s not going to try to force the action.  When a batter is really feeling good, they allow a good pitch to present itself to hit and not chase a ball out of the strike zone.”

The game was tied when Adam Duvall threw Princeton High School graduate, Josh Harrison, out at the plate.in the eighth inning to preserve the tie. The play was challenged by Pirates' manager Clint Hurdle, who charged that Reds' catcher Devin Mesoraco blocked the plate illegally.  Joe West's out call was confirmed in the replay.

Melville pitched four innings and Dan Straily three to get the Reds to the back end of the bullpen.  Jumbo Diaz, who benefited from Duvall's peg, pitched a scoreless inning. Ross Ohlendorf allowed two runners but his scoreless ninth earned the win.

Melville admitted to nerves in the excitement of his Major League debut.

“It was one of those moments. It is not a dream anymore,” Melville said. “I was nervous. It happens to the best of us.  I told myself to get back to the game plan, throw strike one. Devin (Mesoraco) and Mark (pitching coach Riggins) helped me relax.”

Manager Bryan Price recalled another debut that started the same way.

“Remember Mike Leake walked the bases loaded against the Cubs in his debut,” Price said.  “Tim was out there getting his feet wet out there.  This kid was out there a little nervous, then he settled in and gave up one run in four innings.”

Bruce came into the game 5-for-5 with runners in scoring position but flied out to right with Mesoraco on second in the sixth inning before driving in his ninth run, tying Suarez with his second hit of the game. It brings his season average to .391.

“It seems like he’s liberated. He’s really enjoying it,” Price said.  “I couldn’t be happier for him. It was a long two years. It was a hard two years for all of us with the win-loss but certainly not for anyone more so than Jay because he was trying to do so much to help the club.”


Saturday, April 9, 2016

Raisel Iglesias Sinks Pirates To Hand Them Their First Loss

The Reds got good pitching from Raisel Iglesias and the bullpen to upend the Pittsburgh Pirates, 5-1.

Iglesias coasted through five innings but it was more like King's Island's Beast than a BB Riverboat cruise on the Ohio.

Iglesias was surrounded by base runners over the first four innings but two double plays allowed him to keep the Pirates off the scoreboard.

"I was trying to keep the ball down," said Iglesias through interpreter, Julio Morillo.  "The defense was amazing today.  They helped me a lot.  It was really hard with the weather. I had to walk around and jump up and down to stay warm.  I've worked hard this off season and I feel good."

The Reds jumped on Gerrit Cole early.  The first three Reds, Billy Hamilton, Eugenion Suarez and Joey Votto singled to produce a run.  Jay Bruce delivered a second run with a single, giving him eight RBI which is third in the NL.

The early run support helped Iglesias too.

"My team got me runs to help me relax," Iglesias said.  "It was huge."

Cole got tough after the first. He walked Hamilton in the second then retired nine in a row until Cole issued a two-out walk to Suarez in the fifth. Votto ended Cole's day with his second single of the game.  Cole lasted 4 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on five hits and three walks. He struck out four.  Arquimedes Caminero gave up Brandon Phillips run scoring single.

The Pirates broke the ice on this 30 degree day in the sixth.  With two outs and the bases empty. Francisco Cervelli singled. Gregory Polanco walked.  Josh Harrison out of Princeton High School, ended Iglesais' day with an RBI single to center.  Blake Wood relieved Iglesias, who pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing one run on eight hits and two walks. He struck out four.  Wood got Jordy Mercer to foul out with the tying runs on second and third.
The Pirates threatened Wood in the seventh.  Pinch hitter Matt Joyce walked and John Jaso hit his second double of the game with no outs.  Andrew McCutchen bounced to Votto at first, who stepped on first and flipped to Ivan De Jesus Jr. for the tag on Jaso.  The out call stood after the replay challenge.  Wood struck out David Freese.

"We had some good plays defensively," Bryan Price said. "Joey turning that double play, where he looked the runner back to third, got the out at first and flipped the ball to De Jesus, took a lot of pressure off Woody."

Eugenio Suarez hit his third home run after Hamilton avoided a double play by beating out a relay from the pitcher to short.

"I don't know if anyone noticed,' Price said.  "Billy was running from the right-handers batter's box on a one-hopper to the mound and beat the relay on a bang, bang play.  Then Suarez hits the home run."

Suarez is now hitting .368 with three home runs and seven RBI.

"Suarez is special," Price said. "It's not just his offense but he's transitioned to thirdbase and he's looking really good there.  He's grinding out at-bats.  He doesn't just feed off the soft tossers.  He is hitting good pitchers.  Suarez is maturing physically.  He came up with Miguel Cabrera (fellow Venezuelan) and got a lot of good advice.  He will go through ups and downs like anyone else but the league's had a hard time finding holes in his swing.  There is no one way to get him out."

Tim Melville's Long Wait Ends on Sunday

Tim Melville waited seven years to be able to pitch in a Major League game.  That wait ends in 25 hours.

Melville, 26,  was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in fourth round of the 2008 draft.  He didn't pitch a single game above Double A until last season.  Now he stands in front of the locker used by Bronson Arroyo with a uniform that bears the same number 61 that Arroyo wore.

"I heard he was in this space," Melville said with a smile. "I'm excited. I met him one time. It's such an honor. He was such a great guy and did a lot of nice things. It's pretty cool."

Melville spent six seasons in the pitching rich Royals organization but had surgery on his elbow in October 2012.  He missed most of the 2013 season, making four appearances in the Royals rookie half-season leagues.

The Detroit Tigers signed him in November 2014 and Melville pitched all season at their Triple A team in Toledo.  He was 7-10 with a 4.63 ERA with the Mud Hens last season but came on strong at the end of the season. Melville was 4-2 in his last nine starts.

Melville was in Toledo with the Louisville Bats when the Reds called him to tell him that he was pitching in Cincinnati on Sunday.  His last outing was a six inning start against the Cleveland Indians in Goodyear, Arizona.  That day he allowed four runs in six innings giving up home runs to Yan Gomes, Mike Napoli and Carlos Santana.

"We tried to catch lightning in a bottle with Tim," Bryan Price said.  "We scouted him and felt he had a better arm than his record indicated.  We felt with a good change up, he could turn his career around."

Melville developed confidence in his change up.

'I can throw it for strikes and use it in any count," Melville said.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Tim Melville Will Start Sunday Against Pirates

Tim Melville was informed that he will be the Reds' starting pitcher on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Originally, the Reds planned to start Anthony DeSclafani but decided to allow the right-hander's left oblique to heal fully before he pitches.

Melville was one choice to start the game against the Phillies on Thursday but the Reds chose rookie Robert Stephenson instead.

Melville, who signed a minor league contract with the Reds over the winter, last pitched two weeks ago against Cleveland.  He pitched six innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and a walk.  Yan Gomes, Mike Napoli and Carlos Santana homered off Melville to account for three of the runs.

Overall, Melville, pitched 17 1/3 innings this spring.  He gave up 11 earned runs, walking five and striking out 14.

Brandon Phillips Gets Well But Starling Marte's Grand Slam Sinks Reds

Starling Marte's first career grand slam off J.J. Hoover erased a three-run deficit and kept the Pirates undefeated in a 6-5 win over the previously unbeaten Reds.

Ross Ohlendorf retired the first two Pirates in the top of the eighth with the Reds leading 5-2 but hit John Jaso, the third batter the Reds hit with a pitch.  Andrew McCutchen walked.  Brandon Phillips temporarily saved a run with a diving stop of  David Freese's bid for a run scoring single.  Hoover entered and Marte hit a 1-0 pitch over 400 ft. into the leftfield bleachers.

It was the Pirates first home run of the season.

"The first run they scored came after two out and nobody on," Bryan Price said. "They didn't concede any at-bats."

Hoover owned Marte until tonight.  Marte was 1-for-14 with eight strike outs coming into the last at-bat.

"It was a slider that hung up," Hoover said. "I didn't execute it to the best of my ability.  The conditions had nothing to do with it . I was warm and ready to come in."

Brandon Phillips drove in two runs with a home run and a sacrifice fly and scored a run on a stolen base/wild pitch..

Phillips shed the flu then hit the first pitch he saw for a home run off Francisco Liriano in the first chilly inning of this cold,cold game.. It was Phillips first of the season and gave the Reds a 2-0 lead.

Eugenio Suarez singled with one out.  He stole second while Joey Votto was batting and advanced to third when Pirate catcher, Francisco Cervelli, threw the ball into centerfield.  Votto's ground out drove Suarez home.

Pirates starter Francisco Liriano, who homered  in his first start of the season, doubled to plate Jordy Mercer singled off Alfredo Simon.

The Reds loaded the bases with no outs in the third.  Phillips sent McCutchen back into deep centerfield with a fly that scored Zack Cozart.

Suarez' error put McCutchen on base to open the fifth.  Simon walkded David Freese and hit Marte to load the bases.  Cervelli hit a ball into the hole at short. Cozart took the force at third as McCutchen scored.  Simon fanned Gregory Polanco.  Cozart picked up a booted ball by Suarez and caught Marte rounding third to end the inning.

"It was an odd game," Price said. "The conditions weren't real good.  That game could have gone either way. Both teams played in the same conditions.  Simon and Liriano both had to battle to get a feel for the ball. Anyone who came into the game had trouble."

The Reds got the run back when Freese, the Pirate thirdbaseman couldn't field a ground ball by Jay Bruce. Adam Duvall walked against Ryan Vogelsong and both runners advanced on a fly out by pinch hitter Jordan Pacheco.  Billy Hamilton singled to left to drive Bruce home.

Phillips walked in the seventh.  He went to second on a ground out.  He stole third and scored when a wild pitch got away from Cervelli.

Eugenio Saurez Happy With Transition To Thirdbase

Eugenio Suarez came to Cincinnati in a trade for Alfredo Simon.  The Reds' were short of middle infielders at the end of the 2014 season so the team traded Simon for Suarez, who logged 81 games with the Detroit Tigers at shortstop.

The Reds already had a potential Gold Glove shortstop in Zack Cozart but wanted Suarez to back him up at Triple A Louisville.

Cozart tore ligaments in his knee in June and Saurez took over shortstop for the last 96 games of the season.

The middle infielder gave no indication that he could hit for power.  Suarez hit 10 home runs in a full season but hit 13 in half a season with the Reds last season.

When Todd Frazier was traded over the winter and Saurez was asked to fill the void at third.  Saurez played one game at thirdbase for the Tigers after coming into the game as a pinch runner in the 11th. He played part of one game at third as a mid-game replacement.

"It is a good move for me," said Saurez, who took advantage of the move to be an every day player.  "I feel so right. I feel comfortable. I feel confident.  I had to change a little bit but I'm o.k. I enjoy every day."

The fact that he is playing every day in the big leagues is his biggest adjustment.

"They want me to play every day and I'm doing my job," Saurez said.  "If you can play shortstop, you can play any where. I had never played thirdbase before now I feel natural at thirdbase."

Suarez is off to a fast start at the plate.

The 24-year old has four hits in 12 at-bats with two home runs, including a grand slam against the Phillies on Thursday.

"My hard work reflects in the game," Saurez said.