About Me

My photo
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 22, 2016

Cincinnati Slew Continues As Seattle Sweeps

The Cincinnati Reds continued its sideways slide downward in an uncontrollable manner in a 5-4 loss to the Seattle Mariners completing a week of frustration with its seventh straight loss.

The Mariners are 13-2 in regular season play against the Reds since inter league play began in 1998. All seven losses were to American League teams, including four straight to Cleveland.

The Reds jumped on Wade Miley for three runs in the first inning but Alfredo Simon squandered the lead within five innings.

 "Simon had early success with his split but later he started to get the pitch up," Bryan Price said.. "The worst thing for a ground ball pitcher is to get you pitches up. A couple of games he got the ball down in the zone, then elevated them."

The Reds have lost seven of Simon's eight starts with his lone win a 9-5 win over the Milwaukee Brewers when he produced the longest outing by a Reds' starter.  In his last three starts, Simon has pitched 15 innings. Overall this season, he has a whopping 10.16 ERA.

"I'm not doing anything different. I have to focus and keep my head up," said Simon.

The bullpen has been ineffective in part because of the workload placed on them by starting pitchers inability to pitch deeper into games.

"We'd like to see him pitch better," Price said.. "We need the innings out of Simon as a veteran pitcher and that will happen when he keeps his pitches down. In the same respect at some point in time, I have to see him improve and give us those types of innings. He's going to have to get better. As you saw yesterday, we're not going to sit on our hands all summer and get beat up. As a veteran, it's his job to take that three-run lead and run with it."

Zack Cozart had a day off on Saturday and picked up where he left off, lining a double into the leftfield corner.  Billy Hamilton was awarded first base after video revealed that he was hit with a pitch that the umpire originally thought bounced off the knob of the bat.  Joey Votto singled to load the bases.  Brandon Phillips doubled home two runs.  Votto scored on a sacrifice fly to centerfield.

Seattle scored two runs in the third.  Miley had a check swing single that was just inside the thirdbase bag. Leonys Martin singled Miley to second.  It was the first of four hits for Martin.  Nori Aoki hit into a 3-6 force play and Simon dropped the relay that would have completed a double play.  Robinson Cano's ground single brought the Mariners within a run.

Adam Duvall hit a 457 ft. home run in the fourth.

Seattle went to work on Simon in the fifth.

Martin bunted and Simon's throw got the out call at first but Seattle manager Scott Servais called for a successful review.  Aoki hit a high chop off the glove of Votto at first and it rolled into rightfield far enough for Martin to get to third. Cano hit a sacrifice fly to center.  Nelson Cruz walked. Kyle Seager singled to score Aoki and advanced when Hamilton's throw eluded the cutoff man.. The Reds walked Adam Lind intentionally.  Steve Clevenger singled to left to give the Mariners the lead  but Duvall threw out Seagar at home.  Simon got Shawn O'Malley to hit into a 4-6 force play.

Dayan Diaz made his Major League debut with a scoreless sixth in relief of Simon. Amazingly the beleaguered and battered Reds' bullpen completed four scoreless innings.  Blake Wood had two and Tony Cingrani worked around an inning opening hit and error to pitch a scoreless ninth.

"I was real happy. I was a little bit nervous," Diaz said. "I worked hard all my life. Today, I realized my dream. I thought just throw strikes. I fell behind on the first hitter (3-1 to Seattle pitcher Wade Miley). I was a little bit nervous. I thought breath. I realized it was the pitcher and just throw strikes."

Eugenio Suarez, who struck out three times on Saturday, wore the "Golden Sombrero" with four strikeouts.

"Suarez is coming up empty on a lot of swings," Price said. "He's a young man. He got hot then cooled off and got hot again. It's part of maturity for a young player. I'd like to see him fight. I think he'll be a terrific player."

Mariner relievers Nick Vincent, Joaquin Benoit and Steve Cishek retired the last 10 Reds' batters.

slide sideways through the air in a downward direction in an airplane along an inclined lateral axis

Daniel Wright Expected To Start Tuesday In Los Angeles

The Reds scratched Daniel Wright from his scheduled start at Louisville on Saturday to allow him to start in place of Tim Adleman on Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Adleman went on the disabled list on Saturday with a strained left oblique.

Daniel Wright is a 24-year old right-hander from Bartlett, Tennessee. The Reds picked him with the 10th selection in the 2013 out of Arkansas State where he majored in engineering.

Wright was 10-11 for Double A Pensacola last season with a 4.53 ERA in 27 starts.  He started this season in Pensacola where he made six relief appearances and two starts.  His record there was 2-0 with an 0.45 ERA in 20 innings. Wright walked just four and struck out a hefty 22.

The 6'2" 205 pounder was promoted to Louisville on May 10.

Wright had two starts with Louisville where he is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA. He threw a complete game in the Bats 4-1 win over Scranton-Wilkes Barre on May 16.

 The Reds have had two pitchers complete seven innings this season. One was Robert Stephenson, who is also at Louisville. The other was a 7 2/3 inning game by Alfredo Simon in his only win of the year.

Wright walked one and struck out 10 in 14 innings at Louisville.  Batters were hitting .143 against him and he has a WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) of 0.57.

"It's a dream come true," Wright said. "I started in Double A as a reliever.  I got a couple of starts replacing Nick Travieso, when he went down with a groin injury. I did well in those starts. An opportunity opened up where I could start a couple games in Louisville."

Wright didn't expect to be in Cincinnati at all this summer.  Robert Stephenson and Cody Reed are the hot Reds' prospects for the Major League rotation.

"I got settled in in Louisville and found a place to live. I was expecting to be there for awhile. This opportunity came up,  Luckily I'm getting a chance."

Wright was no where on the Reds' radar when they started spring training.  He was in the minor league camp the entire time.

"There has been a lot of turnover in the system this year.  A lot of guys got the opportunity. I heard that nine guys have made their Major League debut with the Reds this year. They told us in minor league camp there would be a lot of opportunity this year. I just tried to go out every time on the mound and throw well."

Wright doesn't have a radar gun busting fastball but has shown he knows how to pitch. The strikeout totals above indicate a power arm but Wright knows his limitations.

"I'm a control pitcher. I'm not going to blow people away with the fastball. I try to locate on both sides of the plate and throw off speeds when I need to and not for strikes when I need to.  When you're in the zone early and get ahead of hitters the strikeouts tend to come.  That's my style I try to get ahead so. I'm not pitching behind in count because I don't necessarily have the stuff to get away with it."

Wright was a member of the 2007 Bartlett High School Panthers baseball team that won the Tennessee 3A state title.

"I got the call up to the varsity squad to be the chart guy (chart pitches)," Wright said. "I charted the games for the state championship. I didn't actually get in the games but it was pretty exciting to be there. My junior and senior year, we were able to get back to the state tournament."

Reds Change One Third Of Pitching Staff

Three pitchers will get a chance to help turn the Reds' battered bullpen around and establish themselves in the Major Leagues.

The Reds added Dayan Diaz, A.J. Morris and Josh Smith to the bullpen.  To make room for them on the 40-man roster, Anthony DeSclafani and Yorman Rodriguez were placed on the 60-day disabled list. It was retroactive so DeSclafani could be available June 2, if he is ready.  Steve Delabar was designated for assignment

 "I believe they can help us. We're optimistic about the kids we brought up. A couple of kids their first time in the big leagues, A.J. Morris and Dayan Diaz. As well as Josh Smith, who pitched for us last year. I think he's in a better role, pitching in middle relief," Bryan Price said. ."This gives us guys who can pitch multiple innings. Dayan is a true sinker ball pitcher. Also the others have fairly strong ground ball rates. We'll see how it translates to this level. The circumstances made it necessary. It's not an indictment on the three players we sent down. It is somewhat of an indictment because we haven't pitched well.certainly not up to Major League calibre for the talent we have here.We have the talent to be better than the results we've had here."

Diaz is 27-years old.  He was signed as a non-drafted free agent out of Cartegena, Columbia by the Houston Astros as a 16-year old.  Diaz spent three years in the Venezuelan Developmental League before reaching the Gulf Coast League Astros in 2011. He was signed by the Cubs in 2013 and advanced to Double A.  After the season, Diaz was signed by the Red Sox and spent 2014 and 2015 with the Boston organization, pitching mostly in Double A but had 28 games with Triple A Pawtucket last season where he was 2-1 with a 1.89 ERA in 28 games, all in relief.

"For a pitcher who is not terribly tall in stature, he still creates a downward plane," Price said.. "He gets ground balls and he throws sttikes. He has good velocity 90-95 and a good slider to go with that. Where we are right now, it was a good idea to see some pitchers that weren't in our organization and we're less familiar with to give them a chance to show us what they can do."

Diaz is generously listed at 5'10" but Tyrion Lannister, the dwarf from Game of Thrones, can look him in the eye.  He is more like 5'7".

"His size probably had something to do with him (staying in the minors 11 years)," Price said. "His numbers are off the charts. To have him have the numbers he had in Double A and Triple A and to be available as a free agent, we did some good scouting. He didn't disappoint anyone in spring training. He was one of the last cuts and could have very easily made the club."

"It's the great thing about this sport. Joe Morgan a Hall of Fame secondbasemen is not a big man," Price said.. "We have guys the size of Dayan Diaz up to the size of Jumbo Diaz or Randy Johnson and everybody in between. That's why it's a great game, It doesn't discriminate by size."

 Smith made seven starts and two relief appearances as part of the Reds' 64 consecutive starts by rookie pitchers. He still has rookie status.  Smith was 0-4 with a 6.89 ERA with the Reds last season.  At Louisville, Smith was 3-4 in eight starts with a 3.86 ERA.  He walked 13 and struck out 34 in 42 innings.

" I think Josh Smith was pitching out of role last year in our rotation," Price said. "I think if he would have come up as a middle guy, it would have been a better introduction to the big leagues."

The Reds signed A.J. Morris, 29, in December and invited him to Major League spring training.  Morris was orginally drafted by the Washington Nationals with their fourth round pick in 2009.  He was in the Cubs and Pirates organization.  Morris missed 2011 with shoulder surgery.  The Pirates took him in the Rule V draft in December 2013. Morris was injured and spent most of 2014 on the disabled list.  He was 5-3 with Indianapolis last season with a 2.44 ERA in 44 appearances that included three starts.

At Louisville, Morris was 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA in nine games, six starts.  He pitched 30 innings with nine walks and 21 strike outs.

A native of Houston, Texas, Morris played against Jay Bruce in amateur baseball in the Houston area.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Reds Relievers On Road To Louisville

After the sixth straight loss to the Mariners on Saturday the Reds sent Jumbo Diaz and Keyvius Sampson back to Louisville.  They also designated Steve Delabar for assignment.

Diaz and Sampson just arrived from Louisville on Wednesday.  Sampson pitched three innings on Thursday.

Diaz made three appearances.  He walked two and allowed a run on Wednesday, allowed two home runs on Friday and walked two in a scoreless inning on Saturday.

Delabar pitched a scoreless inning in his first appearance since walking four batters with the bases loaded on Tuesday.

Their replacements weren't announced.

"We have to make changes to be competitive. The bell tolls and we have to bring in guys who historically throw the ball over the plate and get ground balls. Diaz came off a nice run in Louisville but he came up here and had three appearances with multiple walks or multiple home runs. It's unfortunate that we are struggling to define roles and we don't have time to do that," Price said.

Mariners and Felix Hernandez Sail Past Reds

A long home run by Franklin Gutierrez off John Lamb that reached the cheapest seats at Great American Ball Park put the game out of reach as the Seattle Mariners handed the Reds their sixth straight loss, 4-0.

Lamb became the first pitcher other than Brandon Finnegan to get a hit this season.  Lamb chopped a pitch from Felix Hernandez, King Felix, to break up the no-hitter after Hernandez retired the first eight Reds' batters.

"When I'm standing on thirdbase you know something is going on," Lamb said. "I just wanted to touch homeplate."

Finnegan has five hits but the rest of the staff was 0-for-51 before Lamb's hit.

Billy Hamilton singled and Tyler Holt walked to load the bases but after fouling off four two strike pitches, Joey Votto lined hard to the mound. Hernandez gloved it around his ankle.

That was the offensive highlite for the Reds.

Lamb got two quick outs in the second, using a slow curve that had Seattle hitters way out in front. Leonys Martin solved Lamb with a line drive home run into the Mariners' bullpen.  Franklin Gutierrez belted a 473 ft monser shot within a dozen rows of the scoreboard in left.  It was the second longest home run measured this season.  Giancarlo Stanton hit one 475 ft earlier in the year.

"That was a pitch I'd like to have back so I could have kept us in the game," Lamb said.

"Lamb was competitive," Bryan Price said. "You have to look at young pitchers and how they react after something like that. We needed him to pitch more innings to stay away from the bullpen and he got himself together and did that."

In this topsy-turvey baseball season for once the Reds' bullpen performed well, holding the Mariners scoreless over the last three inning.  Steve Delabar, Jumbo Diaz and Ross Ohlendorf had one scoreless inning.

The Reds loaded the bases again in the fifth inning.  Lamb walked with two outs.  Hamilton singled for the second time and Holt walked again, setting up a Votto/Hernandez rematch.  Hernandez got ahead 0-2 but Votto got back in the count at 2-2 before grounding hard to Dae-Ho Lee at firstbase.

Two out rallies started by Lamb," Price said. "It would have been nice to have runners on with less than two outs to have a couple guys get a shot at it. It just didn't work out.  I don't talk a great deal about hitting  Joey wants to be a difference maker but he's human.  When you're number three hitter is struggling, we have to be better collectively."

Jay Bruce Scratched From Lineup

Jay Bruce was in the original lineup but is a late scratch with a sore left knee.

Bruce ran into the wall chasing a fly ball late in Friday night's loss to Seattle.

Tyler Holt will play rightfield and bat second.  Eugenio Suarez and Adam Duvall were moved up in the batting order.


Bryan Price Circles Wagons And Waits For The Cavalry

The Cleveland Indians made Custer's Last Stand look like a poetry reading in ambushing the Reds and their tattered and torn pitching staff.  They scored 15, 13, 8 and 7 runs in sweeping the Ohio Cup series for the first time ever.

Last night the Seattle Mariners were like the Ivory Coast pirates when they shanghaied a 9-3 win on Friday overcoming a 3-0 lead over the last three innings.

Reds' manager Bryan Price, whose belt has become a threat to his well being, is circling the wagons and waiting desperately for the calvalry.

"I was looking at the possible activation dates of the pitchers on the disabled list this morning," Price said. "Homer Bailey won't be here until July.  Iglesias, Lorenzen and DeSclafani will be ready sometime in June."

The returning starters will have a ripple effect on the Reds' bullpen.  Several of them will be in the minor leagues or released when the varsity comes back.

"We have to pitch better or we have to find better," Price said after the Friday night loss to the Mariners that wasted a quality start by Dan Straily.

Jon Moscot was blasted for nine runs by the Indians Triple A team in Columbus on Friday night.

“My left arm feels good, so that’s a good takeaway," Moscot said.. "I was just up in the zone and they hit me around pretty good. You scratch your head sometimes. You make adjustments. Physically, I felt good. At least it was in rehab and not up here. I’m looking forward to the next one.”

Moscot is the closest to returning to the fold.

"I read the reports," Price said. "Mack Jenkins and I watched the video.  He had a good arm side sinker.  He got hit with power when he made a lot of mistakes in the zone."

Friday, May 20, 2016

Seattle Mariners Sail Over Cincinnati's Bullpen

The soggy Cincinnati weather made the Seattle Mariners, who hail from the rain belt,but Dan Straily was a bit inhospitable. The Reds' bullpen became the Welcome Wagon gift wrapping a 8-3 game for the visitors..

Straily scattered three hits over the first five innings as his teammates built a 3-0 lead.

Joey Votto walked with two out in the first inning against Mariner starter Hisashi Iwakuma.  Brandon Phillips snapped an 0-for-11 streak with a double off the wall in centerfield.  Votto scored standing up as catcher Chris Iannetta was drawn up the firstbase line and couldn't come up with the baseball.

Zack Cozart hit his fifth home run of the season, leading off the fifth and the Reds scored their third run when Eugenio Suarez, who walked scored on Tucker Barnhart's single.

Straily pitched out of a first and third, not out jam in the second inning. Singles by Adam Lind, Kyle Seager and Seth Smith and three walks were all the visitors could muster in five innings.

"I didn't have my best stuff. I battled to get my pitch count down. I six (innings) is o.k. but it's not seven," Straily said. "Every single guy in this clubhouse feels it. We have guys in here early trying to get better. It is no fun to lose. It's been poor execution or bad luck or a combination of both."

The Mariners closed the gap in the sixth.  Straily hit Robinson Cano with a pitch to start the inning. Seager hit a drive to right that hooked foul.  The Reds shifted on him with a 3-1 count, sending thirdbaseman Suarez between Votto and Phillips.  Seager hit a smash right down the line past Votto and sending Cano to the plate with the Mariner's first run.  Billy Hamilton made a diving catch after running down Lind's bid for a double.  Straily finished the inning with no more damage.  He pitched six innings, allowing a run on four hits.

"Straily was wonderful," Bryan Price said. "He battled through the sixth. I thought he had had enough. With 107 pitches, there was no way I was going to send him back out there.  He had to get Iannetta out and he made a good pitch to do it."

Blake Wood relieved Straily.

Leonys Martin greeted Wood with a single and pinch hitter Nori Aoki executed a hit-and-run single through the shortstop hole. Wood walked Ketel Marte and Smith to make it a 3-2 game. Manager Bryan Price brought in Tony Cingrani.  Cingrani hit Cano with his first pitch to tie the game.  Cingrani rallied and struck Cruz out swinging and Seagar looking.  Pinch hitter Dae-Ho Lee singled to right to put the Mariners up 5-3. Cingrani threw to first and had Lee picked off and in a rundown.  Cozart threw home and caught Cano who was charged with a caught stealing.

"It's been bad," Price said. "It is nothing personal but it has not been a well pitched season. Everybody's working but nobody wants to hear it. I don't want to hear how hard people are working. I want to see some results or I want to see some change.We have to pitch better or we have to find better."

The Mariners added a run against J.C. Ramirez in the eighth. Nelson Cruz hit his ninth home run of the season off Jumbo Cruz into the upper deck in the ninth. It was the 250th of his career... Lee hit his sixth in the ninth.

Tucker Barnhart had three hits for the Reds.

Tim Adleman Goes To DL, Steve Selsky Comes To Reds, Drew Hayes DFA

Another Red bites the dust on this rainy baseball night at Great American Ball Park.

Tim Adleman, who had to battle his way through two years of  Independent League Baseball, went on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left oblique.

He left the game in the fourth inning of his third big league start with a strained left oblique.

'It was frustrating," Adleman said. "I put our team and bullpen in a hole. Yet, it is out of your control."

Adleman will rest and get treatment for a few days.  He was 1-1 with a 3.35 ERA with the Reds.

"Obliques have a history of being nagging injuries," Adleman said. "I just have to listen to the doctors.  I talked to Anthony DeSclafani. (DeSclafani has the same injury). He told me to listen to your body."

The Reds selected the contract of Steve Selsky from the Louisville Bats.  Selsky was drafted by the Reds out of the University of Arizona in the 33rd round.  He hit .317 in Louisville last season. Selsky was hitting .275 at Louisville with one home run and 11 RBI.

"I went into the Louisville weight room about 1:00 this afternoon.  Delino told me to get my stuff and that I'm going to Cincinnati.  It was a dream come true. It was something I wanted to do since I was small. In the minor leagues we talk about getting that break all the time.  Sometimes you have to be in the right place at the right time.  I played in games in Arizona the last two years, so I got the feel of it. I am sure this is different."

Selsky called his twin sister in New York and his wife Brittany in Santa Monica, California.  His parents Steve and Lou Ann were in Hawaii.  Steve played minor league baseball in the Dodgers and White Sox organizations.  His mother played volleyball at Long Beach State where she was an All-American.  She played in the Olympics.

Drew Hayes was designated for assignment.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Carlos Santana Oye Como Va - Two Homers As Indians Sweep Reds

Oye Como Va........ For the Reds' not good, not good at all.  For Carlos Santana Bueno pa gazar.

In Spanish the musical namesake for Cleveland Indians firstbaseman answers the translated question, "How's it going?' with "Bueno pa gazar" or enjoy it.

Santana hit a pair of two run home runs to power the Indians to a 7-2 win over the ailing Tim Adleman and the Cincinnati Reds.

Indians pitcher Josh Tomlin had two hits, including a third inning single that was the only hit Adleman allowed in the first three innings.

Zack Cozart lined a first inning pitch off Tomlin for the game's first hit but Tomlin retired the next nine hitters in a row.

The Indians scored first when Francisco Lindor singled into the shortstop hole between Cozart and thirdbase.  Cozart's quick throw went into the stands for a throwing error but it mattered little when Santana launched his sixth home run of the year.  A walk and an error by Brandon Phillps put runners at first and third with one out but Adleman joined a long list of Reds' starters in the trainers room with a strained left oblique.

"He will get an MRI tomorrow," Bryan Price said. "If I were to take a guess, I don't think he will make his next start. That's something you don't mess with."

"It was frustrating," Adleman said. "I am trying to help my team win. I had to come out in the fourth inning. It put my team in a hole."

The move left the struggling and over worked Reds' bullpen with another 5 2/3 innings to cover. Caleb

Cotham got out of the fourth with a double play ball.

The Reds countered.  Billy Hamilton hit a double into the rightfield corner.  Joey Votto belted his sixth home run onto the awning protecting the Reds' bullpen in left centerfield.

"The unfortunate part is I had to use him at all," Price said. "I was trying to stay away from him and get to Sampson.  He is more accustomed to pitching with runners on first and third.  He got us out of the inning. I've asked him to do a lot and he has. I admire him for that."

Cotham ran out of luck in the fifth.  Tomlin hit his first career double.  Rajai Davis, who entered the final game of this four game interleague set with a .583 average, two home runs and seven RBI, with a run scoring double.  Lindor singled to score Davis.  Santana hit his second home run, making this the sixth time in his career that he had two home runs in a game.

"I asked him for another inning and it didn't work out," Price said.  "I would like to see these guys get two days off, not one and go out again for an inning.  We have to have a good start, that goes deep in a game."

Juan Uribe greeted Keyvius Sampson with a single, the first of his two hits, in the sixth.  Tomlin sacrificed Uribe to second and Davis doubled again to drive in his second run of the game and ninth of the series.

Fatherhood Agrees With Jay Bruce

Carter John Bruce
Jay Bruce spends his afternoons changing the diapers of his baby boy Carter John Bruce with pleasure.

"Its like being handed the keys to a club you didn't know existed," said the 29-year old Beaumont, Texas native of the first child for him and his wife Hannah.

Bruce left the Reds on Monday April 25 for Houston where young Carter was born at 9:00 p.m. that night.

Bruce, the Reds right-fielder has dealt with his wife's pregnancy all spring as well as the real possibility that he could be traded to a new city.  Bruce and Hannah arrived in Goodyear, Arizona in February amid rumors the Reds had dealt him to the Toronto Blue Jays.  The reports that turned out to be inaccurate were all over the news and the young family didn't know where they would be living if the reports had been true.

Bruce dealt with the reports with the utmost professionalism and the false news faded like a helium balloon freed in a stiff breeze.

Two months later Bruce found his professional routine altered with the new baby, who is now well and a Cincinnati resident.

"I have always been able to compartmentalize my private life and my professional life," Bruce said. "I have altered my allocation of time a little bit but that's all."

Whatever has happened Bruce is excelling again on the field after two very tough years.

'If I had played better, I probably wouldn't be a Red right now," Bruce said in February.

Maybe it is coincidence or maybe it is the weight of anticipation lifted from his shoulders now that Carter has arrived happy and healthy.  Since Bruce returned from paternity leave on April 29, he is hitting .317 with four home runs and 12 RBI.  He has passed former teammate and lifelong friend Adam Dunn for the most home runs at Great American Ball Park with 128.

Bruce has improved his season average to .290 with eight home runs and 27 RBI.  He is fourth in the National League with a .435 batting average with runners in scoring position..

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Francisco Lindor's Home Run Lifts The Indians Over The Reds

Francisco Lindor hit his third home run of the year in the 12th inning off Keyvius Sampson to give the Indians its third straight win over the Reds, 8-7.

"I tried to get the pitch down and out but it came back over the plate. He (Lindor) is a good player," Sampson said.

The Reds suffered through two lopsided games in Cleveland but were a lot better taking on their cross-state rivals on the banks of the Ohio. Eugenio Suarez' three-run home run off Zach McAllister put the Reds in the lead but Rajai Davis blasted his second home run to tie the game.

The loss dropped the Reds to 15-25 at the quarter mark of the season, putting them on pace to lose 100 games.
"It's tough. It't been a tough first 40 (games)," Bryan Price said.  "It won't be like this all year but it has been tough to watch.  There have been a lot of good things but we're having a tough time getting consistent innings from our starters and our bullpen. It's tough to lose leads like this."

Jay Bruce hit two home runs, scored three runs and was on base four plate appearances. He raised his average to .290 with eight home runs and 27 RBI.

"We all have expectations of ourselves," Bruce said. "We come in to do a job. It's tough to lose but our only choice is to move forward.  It's tough to lose a lead but we've had games when we didn't score enough to take the bullpen off the hook to.  Things just aren't matched upright now.  We have to get better on both sides of the ball."

Since Bruce returned from paternity leave, he is hitting .317 with four home runs and 12 RBI in 17 games.

"I'm pretty good at separating my private life from baseball," Bruce said.  "It doesn't affect me on the field but fatherhood is great. It's like someone gave me the key to a club, I didn't know existed." `

Davis homered twice for the Indians and scored three runs.

Brandon Finnegan kept the hard hitting Indians in check until the sixth inning.

Jose Ramirez singled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Marlon Byrd after a double by Yan Gomes.  Rajai Davis hit his third home run of the season in the third.  Davis had five hits in seven at bats against the Reds in first two games of this split series between Cincinnati and Cleveland.

The Reds took a few innings to figure out the offerings of Mike Clevinger, who was making his Major League debut.  Zack Cozart singled sharply to left on Clevinger's first ever big league pitch but retired 11 of the next 12 batters with Jay Bruce drawing a walk.

Bruce hit his seventh home run in the fourth.  It was the 127th home run he's hit in Great American Ball Park, breaking the tie with Adam Dunn for the most.

Finnegan retired eight of the last nine batters he faced until Jason Kipnis doubled to open the sixth inning.  Francisco Lindor moved Kipnis to third on a ground out.  Mike Napoli hit a smash at Suarez but it got through to the outfield as Kipnis scored.  Napoli later scored on Byrd's single, chasing Finnegan from the game.

The Reds got to Clevinger in the sixth.

Cozart singled for the second time to start the inning.  Billy Hamilton bunted for a single. Joey Votto doubled to right center.  Hamilton and Cozart crossed the plate literally at the same time as Hamilton had to slow down to keep from overtaking Cozart.  Bruce singled sharply to right off lefty reliever, Kyle Crockett.  McAllister entered the game and Suarez belted his team leading ninth home run and his third in six games.

Diaz walked two batters in the seventh and Davis scored on a ground out to make it a 6-5 game.

Tony Cingrani was handed a two-run lead in the ninth.  With one out he walked Lonnie Chisenhall in front of Davis' second homer.

NL Pitching Leaders


Reds Recycle Bullpen

The Reds bullpen is like the front lines in battle.  They have taken the casualties of an awful run by its relievers and sent them to the rear to be patched up and returned to the front lines.

Jumbo Diaz and Keyvius Sampson were early casualties, who have returned to replace the latter casualties from the front lines.

"We are out of the designated hitter portion of our schedule.  The need for an eighth reliever has become more prevalent," Bryan Price said.  "They are the most reliable pitchers in Louisville right now.  Sampson has been stretched out to six innings. They did what we asked them to do to become the best options down there."

They needed throw strikes and not just strikes but quality strikes was on the agenda for Louisville pitching coach Ted Power to addtess.

"With Jumbo it was pitch quality," Price said.  "We wanted him to use his slider more.  We have struggled this year to cluster quality pitches together.  Everyone on our staff has the stuff and ability to get big league hitters out but we haven't commanded pitches in the strike zone."

"I went down to talk to Teddy," Diaz said.  "The same thing happened to me last year.  They sent me down and I came back for the second half of the season.  I'm pitching the same way (mechanics) I was throwing the change up too hard. Now, I throw it softer.  I had fun and now I'm throwing the ball where I want to."

With Sampson part of the problem was questioning his ability and pitch selection.

"I went down with a game plan," Sampson said.  "I was mentally getting prepared to stop questioning things.  I would get hit then stop throwing the pitch. I am glad to be back with the guys."

The Reds sent Layne Somsen and Jose Peraza back to Louisville.  They put Homer Bailey on the 60-day disabled list to allow them to put Sampson back on the 40-man roster.

Peraza showed his promise in his brief stay with the Reds.

"He is an athlete," Price said of the prospect obtained from the Dodgers in the three-team trade for Todd Frazier.  "He stayed up the middle with his swing.  He brought speed athleticism and energy.  We want him to play everyday.  He would have to play one position every day or three positions and be ready to play three or four days a week."

Peraza had three singles in 12 at-bats in his four game stint with the Reds.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Home Run Ball And Bean Ball Contribute To A Pirate Win

The Pittsburgh Pirates entered the ninth with four hits all solo home runs and four hit batters but it was a bloop hit over a drawn in infield that got the wining run home in a 5-4 game..

Jung Ho Kang ground ball up the middle off Ross Ohlendorf was fielded by Zack Cozart, who threw the ball past firstbaseman Jordy Pacheco. to put Kang on secondbase with no outs. Sean Rodriguez bunted Kang to third.

Ohlendorf plunked David Freese with two outs and was ejected by home plate umpire Jeff Kellogg. Bryan Price was also ejected.

"He warned me when I came into the game, just to make sure I knew," Ohlendorf said.  "I forgot about it until after I hit him. I definitely wasn't trying to. It was the first game I didn't have my slider. If I did the results could have been better.  Mercer did a good job of getting it in the air enough."

"I thought Jeff Kellog did a good job.  Ross wasn't trying to hit him and after the warning we hit two guys with a split finger pitch but at some point he had to throw someone out," Bryan Price said.

Billy Hamilton got the Reds off to a fast start (pardon the pun) with a triple down the rightfield line of Pirate's starter, Juan Nicasio, in the first inning.  Hamilton rounded third as Gregory Polanco collected the ball in the rightfield corner and stopped as thirdbase coach Billy Hatcher held Hamilton.

With the Pirates' infield in, Brandon Phillips little handle hit eluded secondbaseman Rodriguez to score Hamilton, who tagged up at third and was willing to test Rodriguez' arm at the plate.

Reds' starter Alfredo Simon walked Andrew McCutchen in the first inning but retired nine straight batters until McCutchen lined his seventh home run into the rightfield stands, leading off the fourth..

The infuriated Simon hit Kang with two outs in the inning.

Brandon Phillips was hit by Nicasio, leading off the Reds' fourth.  This brought a warning from home plate umpire Jeff Kellog.  Jay Bruce made the Bucs pay with his sixth home run of the season, an opposite field poke to left.  It was Bruce's 126th home run at Great American Ball Park.  He is now tied with Adam Dunn in that department.

David Freese homered with two out in the fifh, his second but Tucker Barnhart doubled to leadoff the bottom of the frame.  Simon bunted Barnhart to third.  Zack Cozart's sacrifice fly made it 4-2.

Starling Marte broke the hits batsmen tie by taking one off the hand one out into the sixth.  Marte crowds the plate. This is the seventh time he's been hit this season and the 67th time in the last three seasons and 33 games. Marte is tied with David Espinosa for the NL lead in HBP.

Marte appeared to steal secondbase but the Reds' challenged the play.  Marte was denied his 10th stolen base on reviiew for the third out.  Marte was arguing that he was pushed off the base by Phillips.  Secondbase umpire Adam Poynter ejected Marte.  Pirates' manager Clint Hurdle was also ejected.

Kang hit Pittsburgh's third solo home run of the evening, leading off the seventh, his third.  It ended Simon's night

"It seems like whenever we get a ball up, they hit it for a home run," Price said.  "It's a phenomenon I have never seen.  It seems like we play the same game every day.  We either win by a run or lose by a run."

Reds' catcher Barnhart said the baseball was slick tonight.

"When I threw to second on Marte, I couldn't get a good grip on it," Barnhart said.  "I had to take more time or I would have thrown it into centerfield."

Simon pitched six plus innings with three hits, all homers, two walks and three hit batters.

"Simon was eradict but when he was in the strike zone he was terrific," Price said.

Josh Harrison replaced Marte and tied the game with a two-out eighth inning home run, his second of the season. 

Joey Votto Gets Three Days Rest, Lamb Pushed Back To Cleveland Start

Joey Votto is not in the Cincinnati Reds lineup tonight against Pittsburgh.

Jordan Pacheco will play firstbase against the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Votto has played every game so far and with the rainout Tuesday and the off day Thursday, Votto will get a mini-vacation of three days.

"Joey has been working hard. He's put in an unbelievable amount of time with Don Long and Tony Jaramillo.  This gives him a chance to recover," Bryan Price said.  "We give him one game and he gets three days."

John Lamb's thumb will also get more time to heal.  He is playing catch.  Lamb will benefit from the rainout and off day, too.

"We knew we wanted to give Lamb extra time," Price said.  "He will have another day to play catch. He should be ready on Tuesday in Cleveland."

Lamb jammed his left thumb in a plate appearance against the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday and left the game.

Homer Bailey got a second opinion about tendinitis in his surgically repaired right elbow and it confirmed the first diagnosis.  Bailey is also playing catch and the Reds want all the soreness out of his elbow before he gets back on the mound.

Michael Lorenzen is progressing nicely with his tender right elbow.

'He hasn't had any setback so far," Price said.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Tucker Barnhart Homers Reds Bullpen Raises To Challenge

Tucker Barnhart's first home run of the season off John Niese in the seventh to snap a 2-2 tie and the Reds beleagured bullpen held the lead in a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

It was the last of three solo home runs and the first time in his professional career he'd hit one righthanded.

"It is fun hitting home runs but it's not my game. I just squared that one up," Barnhart said.  "It is more important that it was a big hit to help us win.

Welcome back Cozart.  Zack Cozart had Sunday off but was at the plate as a pinch hitter when Billy Hamilton was thrown out stealing secondbase.

After Dan Straily, retired the Pirates in order in the first inning, Cozart led off the bottom with his sixth career and second leadoff home run of the season off John Niese.

A pitcher's duel ensued between Straily and Niese.

Straily cracked first after allowing two harmless singles and two walks in five scoreless innings.  Andrew McCutchen led off the sixth with his second hit.  Gregory Polanco walked.  Starling Marte's sharp single to left loaded the bases.  Straily dug in.  Francisco Cervelli hit a sacrifice fly to deep center to tie the game ans send Polanco to third.  Jung Ho Kang's slow roller to shortstop put the Pirates ahead.

"I was just trying to get him (Cervelli) to chase a pitch up.  I was trying to get a swing and miss or have him hit it on the ground. I've got a lot of ground balls on those.  Damage control comes into play  It gave up the lead but kept us in the ballgame. Cervelli hit it deep enough to get the runner to third but the double play was still in order.  You don't want hard contact but Kang didn't hit it hard enough for the double play."

Joey Votto hit his fifth home run to the seats down the left field line to tie the score.

J.C Ramirez relieved Straily to start the seventh.

Barnhart's last home run was on May 27, 2015. He had 270 at-bats between home runs.

"Tucker was frustrated with his righthanded swing last year.  He hit two balls on the screws before he hit the home run. He's a natural righthanded hitter but he's had more success from the left side,"Bryan Price said.

"I was frustrated with my swing from the right side.  I put in a lot of work from that side getting it to be the same as my swing from the left side," Barnhart said. "Since I've been in pro ball, I hit one righthanded in spring training but this is the first I've hit in pro ball that counted.  I have to take double the swings as a pinch hitter but I enjoy it or I would have quit a long time ago."

J.C. Ramirez, Blake Wood and Tony Cingrani blanked the Pirates over the last three innings.  Cingrani worked around a leadoff double in the ninth for his second save.

The Reds had good defense to hold the lead.  With the tying run on second in the eighth Cozart made a diving stop by Marte and threw him out on a close play.  In the ninth after Kang's double, Cozart made another tough play on a ball hit by Josh Harrison.  The Reds pulled the infield in and Brandon Phillips fielded Jordy Mercer's hot smash on the short hop to keep Sean Rodriguez the pinch runner at third.  Cingrani got pinch hitter David Freese to fly out to deep center that Hamilton ran down.

Kyle Waldrop Up For Mother's Day, Sent Down Monday, Layne Somsen Recalled

Kyle Waldrop drove with his family from Indianapolis to Cincinnati for Mother's day.  His mother, father, brother, girl friend and cousins were in Indianapolis Saturday night when he got the call to come to the Reds.

He was at his new locker Sunday morning answering questions about his call up.

"I started off slow down in Louisville but the last two weeks have been great," said Waldrop, who missed most of spring training with a strained groin. "I'm happy to get back here and prove what I can do and help this team win.  It's better to have an injury in spring training than to have one in the regular season. I feel great right now."

Waldrop watched from the bench as the Reds' built an early lead with John Lamb on the mound.  He watched as Lamb left the game with a sprained thumb suffered during his fourth inning at-bat.  Lamb was pulled from the game with a 2-2 count on Hernan Perez, leading off the fifth.  Reds' trainer, Tomas Vera, came out to examine Lamb.  He was removed from the game.  The over worked bullpen had five innings to cover.  The gave up the Reds 4-1 lead and cost Waldrop his roster spot.

On Monday the Reds' sent Waldrop to Louisville and recalled reliever Layne Somsens for the second time. Somsen took Jay Bruce's roster spot from April 25-27 when Bruce was on paternity leave but didn't get into a game.

“It’s that time of year," Bryan Price said. "We have to go to an eight-man bullpen with as much as I’ve asked those guys to do over the last week to 10 days.”