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.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Homer Bailey Acitvated By Reds

Homer Bailey hasn't pitched for the Reds in 15 months.

On Tuesday the Reds activated Bailey on Thursday after seinding down OF Kyle Waldrop after the game on Wednesday.  The Reds also placed RHP Caleb Cotham on the 60-day disabled list.

Bailey could pitch Sunday in San Diego.

He got up to 95 pitches on Tuesday, his last rehab start.

Bailey last pitched on April 23 last year after missing most of 2014 after elbow surgery.  He had another operation last May.

Bailey pitched 5 2/3 innings against Milwaukee on the 23rd last year, allowing two earned runs.

Bailey made 23 starts in 2013 and had a 9-5 record with a 3.71 ERA. He has made just two starts since August 7, 2014.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Arizona Avoids Sweep Out Slugs Reds

The Arizona Diamondbacks avoided a sweep by beating the Reds 9-8 using four home runs.

Yasmany Tomas hit two for the Diamondbacks who snapped the Reds' three-game winning streak and won for the first time in five games.

Jay Bruce hit his 21st home run in the ninth with two on against Tyler Clippard with no outs in the ninth to make the game close.  Bruce had four RBI on the day to raise his season total to 73 to tie him with Nolan Arenado for the National League lead.

 "We played a great series. We really did," Bruce said. "Today was a little bit of back and forth. No one could really solidify the game. We were in it right up until the end. We had a chance and that's really all you can ask for."

Clippard struck out Ramon Cabrera with the tying run on base to close out the game.

 "It's been good this homestand," Bryan Price said. "There was that big rally against their closer. Cozart getting on base with the walk and on we go. Joey given us the great at bat and Jay hitting the home run. It was a situation where we were a homer away from walking them off. That says a lot. It was a hot day. We were down early."

 The trading deadline is a week from today when the Reds conclude a road trip to San Francisco and San Diego.  There is some question whether Bruce will return with the team of be traded.

"It could have been my last home run at Great American Ball Park," Bruce said.. "Also it might not have been. We'll see. It was a good note. The organization has told me nothing. I come in here the same time every day. The only thing on my mind is playing baseball. It's business as usual. I mentioned the other day it has crept in but I know the state of the union so to speak. I can't control a thing. I just come in to play baseball and try to win games."

"I made it clear from the beginning. My goal was to finish my career with the Reds. That hasn't changed," Bruce added.

Brandon Finnegan won his last two starts. He had hopes that the Arizona Diamondbacks would be his third straight victim in his first ever appearance against them.

"My last two outings I commanded the ball pretty well. It is just a rough patch. I just have to keep pushing. I've had a lot more better games than I've had bad games. I have to keep that in the back of my mind and have the confidence to go back out there my next start," Finnegan said.

The Diamondbacks started fast against the left-hander.  Jean Segura walked to open the game. Phil Gosselin singled Segura to second.  Reds' catcher Cabrera threw Segura out stealing third on a call that survived the review process. Rickie Weeks two-out single scored Gosselin.

The Reds went to work on Arizona starter Zack Godley.  Billy Hamilton singled to open the game as a base runner for the third straight game, extending his hitting streak to seven games.  Two ground balls sent Hamilton to third.  Jay Bruce walked  Adam Duvall drove in his 65th run with a single.  Bruce scored when Brandon Phillips extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a single that gave the Reds a 2-1 lead.

Tomas tied the game with a line drive into the leftfield seats for his 14th home run.

Wellington Castillo hit a three-run home run in the third, his 11th to put the Diamondbacks up by three.

The Reds got to Godley for three runs in the bottom of the inning.

Jose Peraza was hit with a pitch.  Joey Votto singled to hit in all nine games since the All-Star break.  Bruce earned his 70th RBI with a ground single up the middle.  Duvall's line drive to a leaping Segura at shortstop turned into a double play as Votto failed to get back to second.  Phillips second single scored Bruce.  Ivan De Jesus Jr. and Cabrera singled to allow Phillips to score the tying run.

Paul Goldschmidt's first hit of the series was his 17th home run leading off the fifth off Finnegan.

Tomas added his 15th against Josh Smith in the eighth inning.

Finnegan completed five innings for the third straight game but this time he left behind and could only get the lose.. He pitched five innings, allowing six earned runs on seven hits and two walks.  Finnegan struck out three and allowed three home runs.

 "There were a lot of misses. He tried to go in to righties," Price said.. "The ball was running back over the plate. It wasn't his best command day."

Finnegan allowed three of the four home runs.

 "It was steamy. It felt like summer," Finnegan said.. "The heat didn't affect my control at all. My control was pretty good today actually. The three home runs were down right where Cabrera called them. I came in and looked at all three of the home run. The pitch that Goldschmidt hit was in on his hands it wasn't even on the plate. It just wasn't my day. Those three pitches were my best pitches of the day and they still got hit out. It's the product of playing in a small park."

Ross Ohlendorf relieved Finnegan.  Brandon Drury and Tomas singled to greet him. Godley's sacrifice advanced the runners.  Segura struck out swinging but the ball got away from Cabrera and Drury scored and Segura reached first.  Cabrera threw Segura out at second on a steal attempt for the second time. Gosselin's double scored Tomas.

Godley pitched 5 2/3 innings and left with runners on first and third with two outs.  Cabrera walked and Hamliton's second single put runners at the corner.  Arizona manager Chip Hale brought in left-hander Zac Curtis to face left-handed hitters Votto and Bruce.  Curtis walked Votto to load the bases but struck out Bruce to preserve the lead.

Godley allowed five earned runs on 10 hits and left with a lead that would make him 3-1 on the year.

Why The Reds Should Keep Jay Bruce

The conventional thinking is not only that the Reds will trade Jay Bruce but that the Reds should trade Jay Bruce.

I am going to go against the grain on this one.  Bruce struggled in 2014 and 2015. By his own admission he has gone on record saying, :"If I had been better the last two years, I wouldn't be here right now,"

The plan is for the Reds to be competitive by 2018.  Bruce has already posted numbers that Frank Robinson, Tony Perez, Johnny Bench, Ted Kluszewski and George Foster put up.  He is one of six Reds' players to have 1,000 career hits and 208 home runs.

The key comparison is to Frank Robinson.  Both Bruce and Robinson were born in Beaumont, Texas.  Robinson broke in with the Reds as a 20-year old.in 1956.  By the time Robinson was 29, he had 10 years in the Major Leagues.  Bruce turned 29 on April 3.  He is just reaching his prime seasons.  The Reds traded Robinson in the middle of his prime years and didn't compete for championships for the next four seasons.

Robinson had 1,673 hits, 324 home runs and 1,009 RBI in 10 seasons in Cincinnati.  He averaged 167 hits, 32 home runs and 100 RBI.

Bruce to date has averaged 148 hits, 30 home runs and 94 RBI in his nine plus years with his best years ahead of him.

Bruce was a key part of the Reds' four-year run from 2010-2013 in which the Reds won 90 or more games three times and made the playoffs.  He is tied to the Reds' with a club option for 2017.  His numbers were depressed due to the 2014 and 2015 seasons while working his way back from knee problems.

He is just now reaching his prime.  While most of the experts are saying trade him when he is at the top of his game, I'm saying why invest in a player this long only to trade him when he reaches his prime?

The return wouldn't be all that great because there is a glut of outfielders on the open market and the demand is for pitching.   If they Reds pitching matures sufficiently to compete in two years, why not hold onto an offensive threat and one of the top outfield defenders in the league?  Bruce is an intelligent, articulate leader, who has already been through the good times. His leadership skills would be invaluable to a young team of developing players.  When his contract runs out, it is not likely to break the bank to sign him as a free agent for the same reasons.  There are plenty of outfielders on the market.

It was a mistake on the Reds' part to deal an "old 30" year old outfielder after the 1965 season. It would be repeating the mistake in my opinion by not resigning Bruce.

The Reds are trying to get younger and develop young talent, especially in the starting rotation.  Cody Reed, Brandon Finnegan, Anthony DeSclafani and John Lamb, who is currently getting straightened out in Louisville are all young pitchers learning on the job.  The Reds gave up a Cy Young quality pitcher to get three of them and a established starter to get the other.   They have several young pitchers in the minor leagues that will be ready to compete at the Major League level in the minor leagues.  From closest to farthest in terms of MLB development, Robert Stephenson, Amir Garrett, Nick Travieso and Sal Romano, are nearing trips to the big club.

More young pitching is not needed with the Reds flush with young, talented arms.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Jay Bruce Homers In Last Home Game Before Trade Deadline

Jay Bruce's three-run home run off Robbie Ray broke open the a tight game and propelled the Reds to a 6-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Reds lead 3-1 in the third when Bruce connected for his 20th home run with Zack Cozart and Joey Votto on base.  Bruce has been rumored to be traded from the rebuilding Reds in spite of being just 29 at the start of the season   He has 69 RBI on the year and hit his 22nd double in the fifth inning, missing a home run by a foot.

Keyvius Sampson, starting in John Lamb's spot in the rotation that is being reserved for Homer Bailey's return. Sampson took 27 pitches to navigate the first inning;

"After the first inning, I had to figure out a way to eat up some innings," Sampson said.

Jean Segura singled up the middle after a 10-pitch at bat. Paul Goldschmidt walked with one out. Jake Lamb hit a line drive deep to center that turned Billy Hamilton around but he made the catch, nearly doubling Segura at secondbase.  Chris Owings, fresh off the disabled list, singled with two outs to put the Diamondbacks up a run.

"It took Keyvius awhile to get his pitches down but he did," Bryan Price said. "He had to establish that he could throw the ball over the plate and down.  When he gets to the point where hitters put the ball in play more, he will be productive."

Sampson may get one more start.  Homer Bailey will have another rehab start on Monday the 25th.  Sampson with normal rest would pitch on Thursday but it is an off day.  If all goes well in Bailey's rehab he could pitch on Saturday in San Diego.

"Until we sign off on Homer, there is no reason to say Keyvius wouldn't make it," Price said."This was a nice opportunity for him and he took advantage of it."

Ray had similar problems with the Reds in the bottom of the inning.  Hamilton extended his hitting streak to six games with an inning opening single.  Votto walked with one out.  Hamilton stole third.  As Bruce struck out Votto headed to second to draw a throw.  Hamilton took off for home. When Segura threw home Hamilton eluded Jake Lamb's tag.  Votto was given credit for a stolen base.  Adam Duvall hit a ground ball to deep third, Lamb's throw was wild. Hamilton and Votto scored on the play.  Brandon Phillips doubled to score Duvall. It extended Phillips hitting streak to 11 games.

Sampson reached his pitch limit one out into the fifth.  Michael Lorenzen came on with a 3-0 count to Michael Bourn and struck him out.  Sampson needed two more outs to earn a win but a walk to Segura and falling behind Bourn prevented it.

"He muscled up on the pitch before to Bourn and elevated the last pitch," Price said. "He'd have to face Goldschmidt.  I didn't want it to unravel right there. He'd done such a good job."

Sampson would have liked to have the win next to his name but admitted it was the right decision.

"I was disappointed but I was really tired," Sampson said. "It was more important for the team to get a 'W'"

Lorenzen retired all eight batters he faced with two strikeouts to gain the win.   Blake Wood pitched a scoreless ninth.

Reds Target Of Diamondback's Frustration?

Chip Hale held a team meeting in the Arizona Diamondback's clubhouse this afternoon.

Part of it dealt with the rumors that he might be fired on this road trip.  But there was a "little get together of private stuff."

While Hale wouldn't disclose the subject, he revealed the Diamondbacks were frustrated about a Dan Straily pitch that hit secondbaseman Jean Segura last night.  Segura led off the game with a home run and was hit by Staily with the first pitch in his second at bat.  Segura gestured to Straily.  Catcher Tucker Barnhart got between Segura and Straily.  The umpires warned both benches.

The incident was not forgotten in the pregame meeting in the Diamondback dugout before the second game of the series on Saturday.

"Well we talked about it (Segura being hit (it was the team-leading 8th time this season)," Hale said before the game. "First of all he stands very close to the plate.  He's going to get hit at times. It just happening after he hits home runs. So that doesn't look good. It doesn't look good for us.  It doesn't look good for the other pitcher. It's very frustrating. And then for the umpire to give a warning, it kind of takes your chance away to sort of show Jean that you're behind him. So, you know, we have to protect our teammates. That's one of the things we talk about.  We talk about it with our pitchers. They know that. And we hope that these pitchers understand that if they're going to continue to hit our players.  Especially when it looks like.  It looked like that in San Francisco. It look that last night. That the pitcher hit him because he hit a home run. There is going to be some retribution at some point."

Hale also discussed the rumors about his removal as manager.

"We talked to them about the position we're in and that's how rumors get started," Hale said. "We told them on to worry about it.  Things are O.K. Just go out and have fun."

The Reds denied they hit Segura for any reason.

"It was a get-me-over fastball that just got on him. If he thinks that I really want him on firstbase in a one-run ballgame with those three coming up (Bourn, Goldschmidt and Lamb). To me it seems like a caught in the moment. He just reacted to it. I get it. It was the last thing on my mind," Straily said after Friday night's game.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Dan Straily And Joey Votto Drive Out The Snakes

Dan Straily's fourth straight quality start and Joey Votto' s continued hot hitting led the Reds to a 6-2 win over tha Arizona Diamondbacks. It would have made St. Patrick proud.

Straily had a rough start but found his rhythm as Votto erased an two-run deficit with a three-run home run in the bottom of the first. Votto has a season-high .271 batting average.

One key to the game was manager Bryan Price's decision to move Billy Hamilton to the leadoff spot in the batting order.  It has been a long time since the Reds had a legitimate leadoff hitter.

Hamilton was on three times with two hits and a walk and scored twice stealing three bases.

'The more you watch him play you see him develop," Price said before the game. "He has been driving the ball through the infield with the infield right on top of him. You get him on and Zack (Cozart) hits a lot of doubles.  He can score on those without stealing a base."

"It's where I want to be," Hamilton said. "Bryan told me I had to earn the spot. I came into today and saw my name there. I thought it was a misprint or something."

Jean Segura hit his eighth home run to open the game.  Michael Bourn doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Wellington Castillo..Including the sac fly, retired nine of the next 10 batters. He hit Segura in his second at bat but the Arizona secondbaseman was erased on Paul Goldschmidt's double play grounder.

Hamilton, who earned the leadoff spot in the order by his play of late, singled to open the bottom of the inning.  Hamilton took off for second.  Umpire Sam Holbrook called him out on Castillo's throw but a replay review revealed that Hamilton eluded Nich Ahmed's tag.  Zack Cozart walked.  Votto his his 17thy home run into the leftfield seats.

"I told you what I'd hoped would happen," Price said. "It won't always work like that.  It was a great first day for it.'

"I thought I did a little bit to get another shot at it," Hamilton said. "When I first came up here I took a lot of pitches.  I watched Cozart. He doesn't always swing at the first pitch but he will swing at a good pitch to hit."

Tucker Barnhart greeted Randall Delgado with his fifth home run of the season to give the Reds an insurance run. Brandon Phillips singled home a run in the seventh.  Cozart doubled home Hamilton in the eighth.

"It was Zack's 23rd double. It was a good day for it," Price said.

Straily finished with six innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits. He has allowed eight earned runs in his last 26 innings for a 2.77 ERA.

"He has a nice four pitch mix," Price said.  "He has opened up his arsenal against both lefthanders and righthanders. If we want to win we need good starting pitching.  He needed to find a place where he could pitch regularly and show he could fit in.  He needed to find a place, I hate to say it with lower expectations..

"After the leadoff home run," Straily said. "We lose a ball in the sun.  Then I miss on a couple pitches. I got away with a pitch to Goldschmidt and he popped it up. I shouldn't have gotten away with that pitch.  Then when we got the lead I came back and struck out the side in the third inning."

Raisel Iglesias has thrown 15 1/3 scoreless innings in his last seven outings.  Tony Cingrani pitched the scoreless ninth.

This Weekend Could Be Jay Bruce's Last As A Red

Jay Bruce had a Ken Griffey Jr. banner above his cubicle.  It was the same cubicle that Griffey had with huge black trunk in front of it that used to house Griffey's shoes, batting gloves, hats and provided a seat for man, who is being inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York this weekend.

Bruce was a rookie in 2008 when Griffey used to hold court on the trunk. Until Griffey was traded on July 31 of that season.

Bruce is the subject of trade rumors just as Griffey did eight years ago.

"This has been literally 365 days straight of trade rumors, Bruce said.  "When am I going to be traded? Where am I going to be traded? There has been plenty of things written and said, typed or whatever they use these days.."

Bruce is having one of his most productive seasons  He is hitting .263 with 19 home runs, 21 doubles, six triples and is fourth in the National League with 66 RBI.

"If I had better years, the last two, I would have been traded by now," Bruce said this spring.

"This could be my last weekend with the Reds," said Bruce knowing the trade deadline is a week from Monday, July 31. "I try my best to manage it. I feel like I do a solid job of managing it but at the end of the day man, it starts to creep in there. It's a tough situation. I understand the Reds' situation, the whole deal. They have to do what they can to better the organization but at the end of the day, I'm a human being."

The Reds are rebuilding and looking to get younger but Bruce turned 29 on April 3 and is just entering his prime seasons as a player.

"The next week will set me up to be where I'll be the rest of the year," Bruce said.  "I'm still here. Even when the deadlines over, it's still not over. Hopefully, it is.  Hopefully, when the deadlines over, what will happen, will have happened and I can move on and play ball whether it's here or elsewhere."

"I know this could be my last series that I'm playing in a Reds' uniform," Bruce said.  "It's something I can't believe I'm saying. We talked about Griffey.  The first time I ever walked in this clubhouse.  Griffey was sitting right here on a big black box. I was 18 years old. A couple years later I was playing centerfield and he was in right. Now I'm standing right here where he stood.  I've been through a lot here. I've had the best moments of my life, obviously my son was born.  Every thing that has happened to me in baseball has happened in this organization. They've been great to me. It's gone on a long time now."

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Anthony DeSclafani Wins His Fifth Straight Game

Anthony DeSclafani remained undefeated at 5-0 with eight strong innings as the Reds took the series from the Atlanta Braves with a 6-3 win.

Home runs by Tucker Barnhart and Joey Votto provided the run support.

Freddie Freeman homered in the first inning off DeSclafani.  It was his team-leading 17th of the year, an opposite field drive.

Lucas Harrell bottled up the Reds' offense, pitching out of a two-on, no out jam in the first inning and cruising from there.

DeSclafani scattered six hits through five but Atlanta scored on a leadoff double by Erick Aybar and a two out single by Chase d'Arnaud.  He finished with eight innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, no walks.

"I didn't feel that great," DeSclafani said. "I didn't have a strike out pitch today.  They were putting the ball in play early and we played good D."

DeSclafani hasn't issued a walk in his last three games, covering 20 innings.

"I don't give in if I'm behind in the count," DeSclafani said. "That's what it comes down to. I try to keep throwing strikes and try to get back in the count of get them to put the ball in play."

The Reds rallied against Harrell in the sixth.  Jay Bruce and Eugenio Suarez opened the inning with singles. Both advanced on Brandon Phillips fly to deep right.  Jose Peraza's second hit of the game.  Suarez beat the tag by catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who took the strong throw by Ender Inciarte.  The call by homeplate umpire Angel Hernandez was upheld by a three minute, 10 second review.  Barnhart's fourth home run gave the Reds a two-run lead.

"Tucker allowed Tony to stay in the game," Bryan Price said. "If he doesn't hit that home run, I felt I was going to have to pinch hit for him."

"That's three times Tucker has gotten a big hit when I was pitching," DeSclafani said.

'I told him he needs to pitch more," Barnhart said. "I always seem to get hits when he's pitching.  He comes right after hitters. He commands the strike zone with all four of his pitches.  That's overwhelming for a hitter.  You don't get a chance to breath."

Votto's 16th home run off Ian Kroll with Billy Hamilton on base in the seventh, stretched the lead to 6-2.

Adonis Garcia hit his seventh home run off Ross Ohlendorf, leading off the ninth.

Keyvius Sampson Likely To Fill John Lambs Spot In The Rotation

It will be temporary and conditional but Keyvius Sampson will most likely take John Lamb's next turn.

Homer Bailey is making, possibly his last rehab start tonight for Louisville.  Sampson is stretched out and pitched four scoreless innings in relief of Lamb on Saturday.

Unless the Reds need him in an extra inning game today or Friday.  Sampson would be considered over a minor league roster move.

“There’s a real probability that Keyvius will start one the game," Bryan Price.. If we don’t use him today, we’ll probably slot him into Saturday’s start with Finnegan going on Sunday. There are a lot of concerns. My main concern is making sure Straily and DeSclafani not go too long without a start. I wouldn’t want to see them go seen or eight days without pitching. There are a lot of different scenarios. If we have to Keyvius today, we’ll probably just keep the guys in the regular rotation.”

Sampson has allowed three earned runs in 6 2/3 innings since his return on June 29.

“He’s around the plate a little more. He’s got the stuff and he’s showing more of a willingness to compete in the zone. I’d like to see him get his number of pitches down,” Price said.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Zack Cozart Draws Inspiration From Tennesse State Trooper

The Reds' shortstop Zack Cozart was chosen as the Reds' nomination for the Major League Baseball Players Aumni Association's Heart and Hustle Award.

Each team choses one nomination for the award which will chose an winner to be announced on November 2016.

“Honestly, what I thought about first when I heard about was Pete Rose – Charlie Hustle. I remember I had a buddy who won the Charlie Hustle Award at a tournament when we were nine years old," Cozart said. "I found out this morning. I was pleasantly surprised.”

His friend Andy Simunuc won the award when he and Cozart competed at a tournament in Charles City, Iowa. Sumunuc is now a Tennessee State Police Officer.

“I tell him, ‘Dude, you need to text me every day when you’re done,’ with all the stuff going on out there. It’s crazy," Cozart said.

The award draws extra meanint for Cozart because it is former players that will choose the winner.

"When you’re recognized by people who’ve been out there and understand the daily grind, that makes it special. I’m honored to be a part of it,” Cozart said.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Reds Find The Power

The Reds used three home runs off Atlanta starter Matt Wisler in the fourth inning to down the Braves, 8-2.

Brandon Finnegan navigated the Braves lineup twice with relative ease.

Adonis Garcia had the second of his three hits to lead off the fourth inning but Finnegan got the next two hitters. Jeff Francoeur doubled home Garcia for the first run scored against the Reds pitching staff in 18 2/3 innings dating back to Saturday night.
Zack Cozart, Joey Votto and Eugenio Suarez homered in the bottom of the inning as the Reds netted five runs, ending a drought in which they scored just two runs in the last two games.

"It is good to see Joey play the game without his early struggles," Bryan Price said. He's getting the results he's worked so hard to attain."

Cozart started the inning with his 15th that tied his career-high from 2012.  Votto followed Billy Hamilton's single with his 15th home run.  Eugenio Suarez celebrated his 25th birthday with his 16th home run, his first in two weeks and just his second since June 22.

"Early in the season I struggled hitting the fastball. I had to start there," Votto said. "I had to get that corrected.  I hope the work is paying off.  We'll see at the end of the season. I've had years where I started out really well and really poorly with everything in between.  I have to get as much as I can out of my diminishing skills."

Garcia hit hsi sixth home run off Finnegan, leading off the sixth for Atlanta.  Freddie Freeman doubled and Nick Markakis singled to put runners on the cornere with no outs.  Blake Wood relieved the distressed Finnegan and kept the Braves from scoring.

"I kept falling behind Garcia," Finnegan said. "It was easy to get down after my last two starts but for the most part, this game went well."

Finnegan pitched five innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and a walk.  He struck out five and put himself in position to snap his three-game losing streak.  Finnegan's last win was at Atlanta on June 14. 

"He ran out of gas in the sixth," Price said. "He's working hard to stay on top of the rubber.  He exerts more energy trying to put more power behind it.  Like Sandy Koufax said you want to throw as hard as you can with as little effort as possible.  I think Finny owes Wood and Suarez a dinner.  Wood came in and got big outs. Suarez kept the line drive from going down the line."

Tucker Barnhart drove in Adam Duvall with a single in the sixth. Votto singled to drive in Hamilton in the seventh and scored on a hit by Ivan De Jesus Jr.

Raisel Iglesias pitched two scoreless innings in relief.  Ross Ohlendorf pitched the scoreless ninth.

Devin Mesoraco Has Another Hip Surgery

Devin Meoraco has spent more time on the operating table than in the catcher's box behind homeplate the last two seasons.

This morning, the 27-year old catcher had surgery by New York hip specialist Bryan Kelly to repair the labrum of his right hip.   Mesoraco had surgery to repair the labrum of his left shoulder on May 10 after appearing in his last game for the Reds on April 17 at the New York Mets.

The catcher had an impingement in his left hip repaired by Dr. Kelly on June 29 last year.

 "We knew last year when devin had his left hip fixed -- he had a labrial tear," Reds' team physician Dr. Timothy Kremchek said. "He had a bone spur that was limiting his range of motion. We noticed that he had similar changes in his right hip during spring training. He did fine. He had a little bit of symptoms in his right hip early in the season, then he went down with the shoulder. We had talked about when his shoulder was healed enough to be able to handle crutches.  We would talk about addressing his right hip.. The thought behind this is we knew he had problems in his hip. It hadn't shown up physically yet, but what we didn't want to do was wait for him to have problems in his right hip say the middle of next year or the end of next year. This was very preventative"

The condition was going to be a problem so the team, the medical staff and Mesoraco decided to fix it now so Mesoraco wouldn't miss a third season.

"At some point in his career, this was going to end up bothering him and he'd need surgery. He definitely had a labral tear. He had very similar changes in his hip that he had in his left hip," Kremchek said.

Mesoraco felt something in his hip in early April but it wasn't painful at the time.

"He had some tightness," Kremchek said. "Not symptoms like he had in left hip, but he did have a few symptoms, his range of motion in left hip is great, the right hip was limited. We knew this.. This was the question in spring training: was this going to be a problem even though it didn't hurt him?  I think the decision was easy when he had shoulder surgery and he was going to miss the rest of the season."

"He'll be able to do all baseball activities, fully ready to go by the middle of January just fine. So I really anticipate he'll be ready at the start of the season," Kremchek said. "The team is very optimistic. I'd be very optimistic about this. I think this will give him a spring in his step.  It's going to make it a little easier for him to squat down and do things. This is going to make him a better catcher and be less stressful on his body."

Joey Votto Returning To Form

Joey Votto is his old self again.

At game time of the Battle for the Basement, (Reds v Braves), Votto is hitting a season-high .261.

That average puts him in the same company as most of his teammates...Zack Cozart .264....Jay Bruce .265....Brandon Phillips .260... Tucker Barnhart ..264.

Votto has a hit in all three games since the All-Star break.  He was 6-for-12 (.500) in the series with Milwaukee.  Votto is hitting..351 in July.

“It looks like he's locked in," Bryan Price said.."He’s getting the barrel of his bat on the ball. He’s not swinging at balls out of the zone, and he’s hitting a variety of pitches.”

Votto is third in the National League with 62 walks and ninth with a .391 on-base percentage.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Billy Hamilton Scored On A Wild Pitch As Reds Win Pitching Duel

Billy Hamilton sprinted home and scored the only run of the game with a head first slide on a ball that barely eluded Milwaukee Brewers' catcher Jonathan Lucroy.  The pitch was ruled a wild pitch originally but was changed to a passed ball.  Other than making the run an unearned run, it didn't tarnish the Reds series win over the Brewers.

Hamilton walked with two outs in the ninth inning of a scoreless tie. Will Smith the lone left-hander in the Brewers bullpen relieved Tyler Thornburg.  Votto drew a walk, bringing long time Brewer killer Jay Bruce to the plate. Hamilton stole third and scored when Smith's 1-0 pitch skipped away from Jonathan Lucroy to make the Reds a 1-0 winner. 

Hamilton took advantage of the shift that Brewers manager Craig Counsel used against Bruce.  The Brewers were going to take their chances with Hamilton stealing third.

"More bad things can happen trying to throw him out than letting him steal third," Counsel said. ""The pitched that Hamilton scored on was a slider down and away. It got a swing and miss. The ball scooted away from Lucroy but Hamilton is one of the few players who could score on a ball like that."

Hamilton has the speed to get farther off the base and the ability to get back if opponents try the back pick.

"Billy is THAT guy," Bryan Price said. "He affects the game. He changes the look of the game.  He creates a lot of anxiety on the base paths. That ball didn't get that far away from Lucroy.  That ability of his to start and stop creates the opportunity."

It wasn't exactly Clayton Kershaw vs. Madison Bumgarner but young Zach Davies from the Milwaukee Brewers and Dan Straily of the Reds matched zeroes on Sunday afternoon.

Straily, who turned in a quality start in each of his last two outings, shut out the Brewers on three hits through frames. Ramon Flores doubled with two outs in the fifth and Jonathan Villar walked to lead off the sixth. While striking out Ryan Braun, Villar stole second and reached third on a throwing error by Tucker Barnhart.

Straily left after seven scoreless innings.  He allowed three hits and walked one while striking out three.

"It was his best pitched game," Price said. "It was not because of the seven scoreless innings. It was his pitch efficiency.  He was confident."

"I was able to throw my fastball where I wanted to, when I wanted to," Straily said.  "I felt good. The All-Star break is designed to allow us to refresh and I really felt good today."

The Reds had its best opportunity to score off Davies in the first inning.  Zack Cozart singled and Billy Hamilton bunted for a base hit.  Kirk Nieuwenhuis saved a run with a diving catch of Adam Duvall's blooper to center to end the inning.

Davies also pitched seven innings allowing four hits, striking out five with no walks. He retired the last 11 batters he faced.

Michael Lorenzen took over for Straily.  He walked pinch hitter Andy Wilkins, who was forced at second by Villar.  Villar hustled down the firstbase line to avoid the double play.  Scooter Gennett singled but Lorenzen fielded Braun's weak grounder and beat Braun to firstbase. Lorenzen has allowed one earned run in his last 8 2/3 innings.

Tyler Thornburg took over for Davies in the eighth and threw a perfect inning.

Tony Cingrani started the ninth for the Reds and pitched a 1-2-3 inning.

John Lamb Sent To Louisville Kyle Waldrop Returns To Reds' Bench

John Lamb was on his way to Louisville Sunday morning as the Reds brought up left-handed hitting outfielder Kyle Waldrop.

Lamb gave up a career-high nine runs in two innings to the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday.  He was one start removed from allowing eight earned runs against the Washington Nationals.

"There are expectations and I'm not meeting them," Lamb said after the 9-1 loss to the Brewers.

His next turn would come on Thursday which is an off day for the Reds.  Homer Bailey is close to returning and could be placed in his spot on the 26th in San Francisco.  Bailey has one more rehab start on Wednesday, and would be available to return to the Reds' rotation if he clears medical scrutiny.

However, the availability of Bailey is mostly coincidental to Lamb's demotion.

“We’ve got to get him pitching the way he’s capable of pitching," Bryan Price said of Lamb. "He knows. It wasn’t a big surprise. He’s had 14 starts. I believe strongly that he’s a better pitcher than he’s shown in his time here. We’ll use our Triple-A team to get him sharp”.

Who fills rotation spot?

“I don’t know the answer to that. Homer’s got another start to make for sure. We’ll contemplate two more. That’s yet to be defined. This move wasn’t made with the idea of Homer replacing John. We’ve got a bunch of off-days (coming up). There’s a lot of options on what we can do. I can’t even speculate. And, there’s no need to speculate just yet,” Price said.

Brandon Phillips was feeling better but Jose Peraza is starting at secondbase for the Reds.  Phillips was going to do some baseball activities and could be used in the game if necessary.  Waldrop adds a left-handed bat to the bench until the Reds need to call choose a pitcher.

“He’s better yesterday than he was the day before," Price said of Phillips.. "He won’t be in the lineup today. He’ll do some baseball activity to see if he can help us in some capacity today. Hopefully, he’ll be ready tomorrow. It's essentially a three-man bench. (Waldrop) did a nice job off the bench for us his last time here. You know I don't like for young players to come up here and sit on the bench for more than 10 to 14 days before getting back to getting regular at-bats.”

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Brewers Lead John Lamb To The Slaughter

The Milwaukee Brewers had no mercy for the weak on Saturday night to beat the Reds, 9-1.

Jonathan Villar opened the game with a single and Hernan Perez followed with his fifth home run of the season. Then it got worse for Reds' starter John Lamb.

Ryan Braun singled and scored one out later on Chris Carter's double.  Carter scored on Will Middlebrooks single before the Reds ended the inning by cutting the throw to the plate and catching Middlebrooks at second.

Lamb allowed an infield single to Villar in the second inning but in the third the roof fell upon him.

Braun singled but it appeared that Lamb struck out Jonathan Lucroy with a pitch in the dirt but home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott ruled it a foul tip. Bryan Price strenuously objected.  An entire season of frustration erupted when Lucroy used his new life to belt his 12th home run of the season.

The last time the Brewers scored nine runs Lamb was the pitcher.  Lamb set a career-high for runs allowed for the second time this month.  He allowed eight against Washington on July 3.

"He certainly has to pitch better," Bryan Price said. "We're not in an environment where anything goes. It's a competition and he knows that. He works hard but at some point you have to have results.  I believe he has the stuff to get big league hitters out.  He hasn't found himself yet."

Lamb didn't get another out.  Carter walked.  Scooter Gennett singled and Middlebrooks walked to end Lamb's night and Price's as well.  Keyvius Sampson relieved Lamb.  Price soon followed as he was back at the umpire with all he had.  Wolcott ejected Price. It was the Reds' manager's third ejection of the season.

"We (Wolcott and Price) had a disagreement. It's not worth going over," Price said. "There is no way you can expect an umpire to get that call right all the time. It's a non review able call.  We had a disagreement about something else but it was not a case where I looked at the replay and then went out to argue it.  It was something else."

Lucroy told Milwaukee reporters that he missed the ball but nicked the plate and thought he fouled it too.  Then he saw the replay and realized he missed the ball.

Lamb is aware that Homer Bailey is about ready to come back and one pitcher will have to leave the Reds' rotation.

"There are expectations of me and I'm not meeting them," Lamb said.  "I'm not looking in the rear view mirror. I'm coming in and working every day to go out and compete but every day we don't win collectively it is frustrating. It's obvious that at some point I have to execute." 

Sampson struck out Ramon Flores but Brewer's starter, Jimmy Nelson faked a bases loaded bunt and chopped the ball over the charging head of Joey Votto for a two run single. Villar's third hit made in 9-0 with all runs charged to Lamb.

Meanwhile, Nelson kept the Reds off the scoreboard.  Votto had two singles and Jose Peraza, playing in place of the injured Brandon Phillips, had a single.  That was the Reds offense through five innings.

Votto had his third hit and Adam Duvall singled in the sixth inning but the Reds failed to score.

Nelson left the game after eight shutout innings.

Votto doubled off Jacob Barnes for a career-high four hits in a game.  It was the 17th time Votto has had four in a game and raised his season average to .262.  Ivan De Jesus Jr. singled him to third.  Duvall drove in his 64th run to tie Bruce for the team lead.

Votto struck out to end the game and will begin Sunday with a .261 batting average.

Homer Bailey Nearly Ready

Homer Bailey could pitch in his first game since April 23 of 2015 as early as July 25.

Last night at Louisville Bailey threw 67 pitches over four innings.  He allowed three runs,one earned, on three hits and two walks.  Bailey struck out five.

Bailey reported no pain and has another rehab start on July 20.

"Most guys get six innings and close to 100 pitches on rehab," Bryan Price said.  "Homer felt good. It's a big step in the right direction.  Regardless of when he's activated, he'll pitch on the day he's ready to pitch but we will keep in mind that he's on the tail end of his rehab.  There will be certain protocols we have to adhere to.  We have to remember that he's coming off back-to-back elbow surgeries."

Bailey felt he wasn't as sharp as he's used to.

"I wasn't quite as sharp as I was last time," Bailey said..  "I think maybe one more and get activated. I need to get a little adrenaline going. It will get me locked into focus a little bit."

Hear it from Bailey below:

Friday, July 15, 2016

Tucker Barnhart Doubles Adam Duvall Drives In Two Runs

Tucker Barnhart's bases loaded, broken bat double drove home the tying and winning run to keep Anthony DeSclafani undefeated in a 5-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.

Joey Votto singled off Matt Garza to open the sixth inning. Jay Bruce battled Garza for a nine-pitch walk. All-Star Adam Duvall doubled high off the leftfield wall, sending Bruce to third. Carlos Torres relieved Garza and struck out Brandon Phillips but walked Eugenio Suarez. Barnhart's bat cracked as the ball landed just inside the thirdbase bag on its way to leftfield.

"I missed two pitches before that," Barnhart said. "I fought off a pitch. I had two strikes and got my hands in just enough. I wanted to put the ball in play and see what happens."

The double put the Reds over the top in the first game of the second half.

"There were a lot of good at bats leading up to it," Bryan Price said. "Tucker said 'stupid hitting' after his first at bat when he lined out to Villar. We did a lot of good things offensively.  Tucker fought off a good pitch to give us the lead."

"They say the even out but I don't believe it," Barnhart said.

DeSclafani (4-0) took an inning to settle in when the Reds took on the Milwaukee Brewers to start the second half of the season 
The Brewers Jonathan Villar greeted him with a single. After Scooter Gennett lined out hard to Billy Hamilton in centerfield. Ryan Braun and All-Star Jonathan Lucroy singled to drive home the first run.

DeSclafani shut the door after that. The righthander with a 2.23 game-time ERA retired the next 12 Brewers batters before Ramon Flores singled in the fifth inning. 

"He's throwing 9-96 with a good slider, fastball combination," Price said. "He got hurt on a 3-1 fastball to Gennett but he did a good job staying ahead in the count."

The Reds tied the game in the fourth without hitting the ball out of the infield.
Hamilton reached base on an infield single. Joey Votto hit a hard one-hopper to shortstop that Villar backhanded but had no play on Hamilton. He threw Votto out at first. Jay Bruce walked. Duvall hit a one-hop ground ball to Will Middlebrooks deep at third. Middlebrooks threw to second to force Bruce as Hamilton rounded third at full speed. Gennett's return throw was too late to double up Duvall, who earned an RBI when Hamilton slid home head first.

Hamilton bunted for a single with one out in the seventh and advanced to second when Lucroy's throw to first as wild.  He stole third as Votto struck out and scored on a two-out double by Bruce.

DeSclafani fielded Garza's hard bunt after Flores reached and appeared to have plenty of time to get the lead runner but elected to throw to first as Zack Cozart bounced up and down on secondbase, knowing the Reds missed an opportunity. Villar hit a slow roller to first that hit the base and bounded over Votto's head allowing Flores to score. Gennett led off the sixth with his eighth home run.

"It was 3-1 and I didn't want to walk him there.  They had a lot of tough characters (Braun and Lucroy) coming up after him."

He finished with six innings, allowing three runs on six hits. DeSclafani struck out eight as the Reds rallied.  Raisel Iglesias pitched around a hit, a walk and a Suarez error to post two scoreless innings.

Tony Cingrani gave up a run and loaded the bases before Ross Ohlendorf took over to face Ryan Braun with two outs. Braun popped up to Jose Peraza at secondbase to earn his second save in four tries..

"Tony has done a great job for us," said Price of the reliever that gave up a run for the first time in six appearances. "He's transitioned from starter to reliever to closer.  After 26 pitches that weren't coming easy, I had a kid ready who hadn't pitched in a while.  I wasn't going to let Tony lose it there."

Phillips left the game after the sixth inning with a strained right calf. He is day-to-day.