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.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Cubs Drub Reds Win 102nd Game

The Chicago Cubs won its 102nd game over the last place Reds with a decisive 7-3 victory.

Ben Zobrist hit two home runs and a double to lead the Cubs.

The Cubs' secondbaseman struck again in a four-run eighth that put the game away.  He hit his second homer of the game off Abel De Los Santos, his 17th, to cap the inning.  The home runs gave the Cubs 39 home runs against the Reds this season.  That is the most home runs any opponent has ever hit against the Reds in a single season.

The 1957 Milwaukee Braves and the 1954 Brooklyn Dodgers hit 38 home runs off Reds pitching when teams played each other 22 times in a season.  Friday was the 17th meeting between the two teams this season and the Cubs have won 14 of them.  They have homered in 10 straight games at GABP/

Reds' spot starter Josh Smith retired the first 12 batters he faced until Zobrist unloaded his 16th home run of the season, leading off the fifth.

 "It was good. I challenged hitters early and got a lot of early contact to pitch pretty deep in the game," Smith said. "The ball to Zobrist, I missed my sport."

Smith started seven games for the Reds last season, losing four decisions with a 6.89 ERA.  The Reds put him on waivers which he cleared and took him off the 40-man roster.  He was in the minor league camp during spring training.

"Josh kept us in the game," Price said.."That four-run inning gave them the separation they needed."

 The Reds brought him back and he pitched mainly in relief but made two starts against the Cubs, including a three-inning emergency start on September 20 in which he allowed one run in three innings.

"Smith's innings this year are invaluable," Bryan Price said.."He's pitched in a multitude of roles, starter, long relief, middle relief.  He's getting acclimated to pitching in the big leagues in high leverage situations.'

The Cubs added a run in the sixth against Smith. The got one run off Tony Cingrani in the seventh.

The Reds got on the board off Trevor Cahill after Jake Buchanan pitched fire scoreless innings to earn his first win since June 27, 2014 when he defeated the Detroit Tigers as a member of the Houston Astros.

Jose Perazza doubled to open the sixth inning. He went to third on a wild pitch.  Hernan Iribarren's ground out drove in Perazza.  The Reds' rookie has reached base in 10 straight games.

Joey Votto hit a two-run home run in the ninth.  It was his 29th home run and 94th RBI.

The Cubs last won 100 games in 1935.  The 102 wins is the most since the Cubs won 104 games in back-to-back years 1909 and 1910.  


Bryan Price Will Manage The Reds In 2017

Bryan Price will be back as the Cincinnati Reds' manager in 2017 and the team has the option to pick up his contract for 2018.

Price was hired to replace Dusty Baker after Baker led the Reds to three playoff appearances in his last four seasons.  Price was his pitching coach for the last four seasons of Baker's tenure.

Before Friday's game Price had a 207-278 record with the rebuilding Reds.  The Reds offered all coaches their current jobs for next season.

 "We've been talking about it (a new contract) since the last homestand. It just took some time just working out the terms of the contract," Price said. "There is a mutual desire to stay connected. For me it's been an unbelievable opportunity. It is a storied franchise. I have really enjoyed my coaches and my team."

"We reviewed the system, The coaches before we came to terms with the contractural agreement. I couldn't be happier with the coaching staff and the way the players hung in there during challenging season. The fruits of that showed up certainly in the second half with a lot better win/loss record and a lot better statistical representation of our team."

"When you talk about evaluating the manager and coaching staff, you're looking for improvements. If you have the same team intact you want to see improvement from the beginning to the back side of the season. I think we saw that improvement. That really needs to be a tribute to the players. You have to love to play baseball when you're in the situation that you're in the bottom of the division."

"I know the manager of the team is a polarizing one. I think that people want to see. The second half was the first stage of that improvement."

"The terms of the option. I just don't want to get to the end of the season with question marks. I want to make sure the option is picked up or not picked up by a certain date so we're not getting into September 30 to know if I'm coming back again. I don't think there was instability from the team not knowing. I don't it is something that goes through the players mind on a daily basis. I do think seeing us intact and the probability of us being here two more years is a good thing."

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Bearcats Best Redhawks For 11th Straight Series Win

Tion Green's two-yard touchdown run put the Cincinnati Bearcats ahead with 5:09 left in the game determined the final score in the 27-20 win over the rival from Oxford.

The Miami Redhawks (Redskins) and the University of Cincinnati Bearcats met for the 12st time with Miami leading the series 59-54 with seven ties/

It had been 10 years coveted Victory Bell, the symbol of the rivalry, has been in the hands of the Redhawks.  The Redhawks last defeated Cincinnati on September 28, 2005 in a 44-16 triumph.

The game was tied at halftime but Cincinnati pulled away on a 12-play 54-yard drive.

Miami held a 20-17 lead at the end of three quaters on a 58-yard strike from Miami quarterback Billy Bahl to Jared Murphy.
Mike Boone countered with a two-yard run that knotted the game at 17.  The play capped a 66-yard, 12 play drive for the Bearcats.

Miami's Nick Dowd put his team up 20-10 but Josh Pasley tied it after Miami stopped the Bearcats after a first and goal from their own seven.

The Redhawks had one more chance but lost two yards after getting the ball on their own 39 with 5:02 left.

The Redhawks defense needed a stop on a third and 12 from the Cincinnati 45 but Ross Trail, playing for the injured Hayden Moore, threaded the needle to a tightly covered Kahill Lewis who made the key catch.

(Trail) “I though he did well for his first start," Cincinnati head coach Tommy Tuberville said. "We kept it pretty light. Ross made some mistakes. Hayden has a lower ankle sprain – he played on it in the second half last week. Hopefully he’ll get some practice time this week.”

The Bearcats ran the clock down to nine seconds from the Miami 19.

“It went exactly as we thought," Tuberville said. "We knew it was going to come down to the end, as they all have. We turned the ball over a couple of times. I knew that was going to happen with a new quarterback.”

Miami won the turnover battle 3-2 with two interceptions and a recovered fumble.  Cincinnati intercepted Bahl once and recovered his fumble after a sack.

"For us to win we have to win the turnover battle," Miami coach Chuck Martin said. "With us being a 17-point underdog being even wasn[t good enough. Billy had some turnovers, fumbling in the pocket. I know he's a big strong guy and wants to make a play but we have to learn to cut our losses."

Cincinati outgained Miami 461 to 313. It was the most yards the Miami defense has allowed this season.

Cincinnati 3-1 will play the University of South Florida in a conference game at 7:00 pm October 1 at Nippert Stadium.

Miami (0-4) will open its Mid American Conference schedule at home against the Ohio University Bobcats at 2:30 pm.

Miami Cincinati Rival Game Even

The University of Cincinnati Bearcats and the arch-rival Miami Universtity Redhawks (Redskins) played to a 10-10 first half tie.

Cincinnati trying to win its 11th straight game in this series, scored first on a 28-yard field goal by Josh Pasley with 4:54 left in the first quarter.

Maurice Thomas took the kickoff for Miamit and returned it 94 yards to the Cincinnati six yard line.
Billy Bahl completed an eight-yard pass to James Gardner to put Miami in the lead.

Ross Trail, playing quarterback for the injured Hayden Moore, ran 11-yards on a fourth and one to put the Bearcats back on top.

Nick Dowd's 26-yard field goal with 5:42 left tied the game for Miami.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Dan Straily And The Reds Get Last Laugh On Pittsburgh

The Reds lost the season series to the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-10 but had the thrill of victory last with a sweep avoiding 7-4 win.

Dan Straily the Reds' winningest pitcher 13-8 took the mound to stop a Pittsburgh sweep, opposing Ivan Nova.  Tucker Barnhart drove in four runs with a double and two sacrifice flies.

'If it tell myself to get the ball to the outfield the worse that can happen is a sacrifice fly. I try telling myself the pressure is on the pitcher," Barnhart said.

"Tucker is establishing himself as not just a catch and throw guy," Bryan Price said. "He stays in the middle of the field with his approach. He doesn't try to pull the ball all the time."

The Pirates hung two runs on the Reds' 2016 ace in the second inning.

Jung Ho Kang singled with one out.  Francisco Cervelli followed with a single of his own.  Pedro Florimon sent Reds' centerfielder, Jose Perazza, to the warning track with a line drive over his head.  Perazza couldn't make the catch and Florimon had a two-run triple.

The Reds countered with two of their own against Nava.

Scott Schebler singled sharply.  Ivan De Jesus Jr. bunted and firstbaseman Josh Bell let the ball roll through for an error.  Tucker Barnhart doubled to the gap in rightcenter and both runners scored.

Joey Votto nearly cleared the fence with a double, his second hit of the day to lead off the third.   Adam Duvall grounded out but Brandon Phillips put the Reds ahead with a ground rule double.  Schebler's second hit scored Phillips.  Ivan De Jesus singled and Schebler advanced to third when Adam Frazier bobbled the ball in left.  Barnhart drove in his third run with a sacrifice fly to center.

Straily, who had 45 at bats this season and 48 lifetime, singled for his first Major League hit in the inning.  Perazza struck out.

 "It finally happened after being so brutal. It's the most exciting thing, I'll ever do on a baseball field. They can't take that away from me," Straily said.."I saw Polanco try to throw to first so I ran to make sure I got there. Bell was pretty far away but I wasn't taking any chances."

 "We were about to burst," Price said. "Making contact is the first step. All kidding aside after a rough start he's been very good at getting a bunt down."

 "I'm really happy for him," Barnhart said. "We joke with him about his hitting but he takes it seriously. I'm glad he got the hit."

Straily, who set a franchise record with 11 games with three or fewer hits, gave up Sean Rodriguez third home run of the season in the sixth.  It was the 17th for Rodriguez.  With the home run the Reds' pitching staff tied the National League record for home runs allowed with 239.  The 2001 Colorado Rockies also allowed 239.

"I can't say enough about Dan," Barnhart said.. "He is mister reliable. You know what you're going to get."

Michael Lorenzen relieved Straily after six innings and pitched two scoreless innings.  Raisel Iglesias finished up with a scoreless frame.

Straily allowed five hits and four walks while striking out five all three runs were earned.

 "It wasn't Dan's best day from a command perspective. He got us to Lorenzen and Iglesias," Price said.

Straily was willing to go back out to the mound for the seventh.

'I would have gone back out for the seventh understanding what the guys in the bullpen went through yesterday," Straily said. "I didn't have my best command and guys that have hurt me in the past, hurt me today."

Schebler's third hit of the game off Drew Hutchinson set up Barnhart's second sacrifice fly in the seventh.

Votto's fourth hit of the game was his 25th home run and came off Hutchinson in the eighth..

John Jaso doubled home Florimon against Iglesias in the ninth.

Reds Want To Finish Season With Integrity

The Reds were mathematically eliminated on Saturday but there are still 14 games left on the season.

Some of the Reds will be limping toward the finish line and manager Bryan Price wants them to finish as strong as possible.  The key word is finish.

Zack Cozart is still having a problem with his knee. Billy Hamilton is on the disabled list with a strained left oblique. Cody Reed has back problems.  Homer Bailey has soreness in his biceps.

Cozart is taking treatment daily. He hasn't played since September 10 in Pittsburgh.

"Zack's knee hasn't responded to treatment. I wouldn't put him out there unless there's no pain," Price said.

Billy Hamilton has been sidelined since September 5.

"Billy is tenuous," Price said. "He's shown improvement but he's had zero baseball activity. I'm not going to say it's impossible for him to come back but it's improbable."

Cody Reed tweaked his back after he was returned to Louisville after an awful first tour of the Big Leagues.

Bailey returned from two major surgeries and pitched six games before developing soreness.

 "Homer is throwing a bullpen at 11:00," Price said at the 10:30 press meeting. "We gave him a couple days off. He has normal soreness that seems to be muscular. You can work through that."

The question was raised since the Reds have no playoffs to compete for, why not shut these players down for the last 14 games?

 "We have to finish the season with integrity," Price said. "The easiest thing to do is shut guys down but that's not the culture we want. We want guys to fight to get back on the field. You open yourself up if somebody gets hurt worse but there is something important about finishing a season.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Pirates Sweep Reds Walk Away With Two Games

The second game of the double header was as bad as the first game's 10-4 loss to Pittsburgh.

Brandon Finnegan, like Anthony DeSclafani in the first game, put the the Reds in a four-run hole and Pittsburgh held on to a 7-3 win.  The Reds have been mathematically eliminated from the post season.y

Finnegan gave up three singles that loaded the bases with one out in the second inning. Eric Fryer hit a sacrifice fly to get the scoring started.  Finnegan then walked opposing pitcher Trevor in his first Major League plate appearance.  Jody Mercer's fly to right was dropped by Scott Schebler and a run scored.  With two outs,

It got worse for Finnegan, who lasted 2 1/3 innings.  Josh Bell, Adam Frazier and Fryer singled to load the bases with one out.  Finnegan walked Williams again to force home a run and give Williams his first Major League RBI.

Brayan Price had seen enough and turned to Josh Smith to get out of the inning.

"We've given up a lot of runs in this series," Price said.  "In large part it's because we're not throwing the ball over the plate. Walks started and extended rallies."

Smith served up Sean Rodriguez' 16th home run or the season and second of the day.

Williams retired the first nine Reds' batters but hot hitting Jose Perazza singled to right to break the spell.  Williams ended up facing the minimum through four when Tony Renda hit into a double play and Joey Votto grounded out.

Schebler atoned for his error with his eighth home run leading off the fifth.  Ramon Cabrera hit his third home run as the next batter, the sixth set of back-to-back home runs for the Reds this season. Cabrera homered in his last at bat on Friday night.

"The Pirates kept adding on," Price said. "The three-run inning was big but didn't get us back in the game."

Steve Selsky and Tyler Holt knocked Williams out of the box with back-to-back singles and there were still no outs when Juan Nicasio took over for Williams. NIcasio got Ivan De Jesus Jr. to hit into a double play as Selsky scored.

The Reds had the bases loaded in the seventh inning but Felipe Riverio struck out De Jesus Jr. and Eugenio Suarez.

Matt Magill pitched an inning to become the Reds' 32nd pitcher used this season.  The Reds walked a record 19 batters in the double header.

Deja Vu The Reds Revert To Early Season Form

The Pittsburgh Pirates made Anthony DeSclafani walk the plank and his teammates soon followed  Pittsburgh embarrassed the error prone Reds 10-4 in a makeup game that was originally scheduled for May 10.

The Reds reverted to the awful team they were in the first two months of the season.

Matt Joyce walked to start the game. Josh Bell doubled. Andrew McCutchen singled to start the scoring with two runs.  Jung Ho Kang walked and Francisco Cervelli drove in a run with a single. Sean Rodriguez collected the third walk of the inning to load the bases.  Alen Hanson hit a ground ball to Brandon Phililips and it looked like a double play ball but Phillips booted it as Kang scored.  Hanson was credited with his first career RBI.

Jose Perazza singled off Pitsburgh rookie starter Jameson Taillon,  Perazza stole second and Joey Votto walked both runners were stranded. Perazza, who had three hits, drove in a sixth inning run with a ground out.

The game was marred by six errors, three by each team.

Tucker Barnhart reached on an error by the shortstop Rodriguez with two outs.  Barnhart tried to score on DeSclafani's double but was thrown out easily at the plate.

Rodriguez hit his 15th home run of the season after another Phillips error to give the Pirates a 6-0 lead.

Adam Duvall cut the lead in half with his 31st home run after singles by Perazza and Hernan Iribarren singled.

DeSclafani left after four innings.  Keyvius Sampson relieved DeSclafani.  He walked two batters and Taillon singled to center to drive in his first career run.

"I felt like crap today," DeSclafani said. "I didn't get any momentum going. I put us in a hole early. I take full responsibility.  I didn't feel sharp. I should feel strong. I hurt myself with walks and wasn't able to minimize the damage."

The Pirates added an unearned run in the sixth when Duvall dropped a fly ball to allow a run to score.  They added two more against Abel De Los Santos, who walked Hanson and John Jaso, then allowed a double to Bell and a sacrifice fly by McCutchen.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Pirates Take First Of Four In Extra Innings

The Pittsburgh Pirates scored three runs in the 10th inning to defeat the Reds 9-7..

Tony Cingrani walked Jung Ho Kang to start the 10th.  Infield hits by Sean Rodriguez and Francisco Cervelli loaded the bases.  Cervelli beat out a bunt in a sacrifice situation.  The call stood up under review.  Jodry Mercer singled to score pinch runner Pedro Florimon.

"You can't walk the leadoff man. It's basically a nothing-nothing game. You have to come in throwing strikes. Tony has had a terrific year but that's been his nemesis lately," .Bryan Price said.

Pinch hitter Jason Rogers hit a ground ball to short.  Jose Perazza got the force at home and Ramon Cabrera's throw appeared to beat Rogers for a double play.  The second review of the inning went against the Reds.  Reds' manager Bryan Price argued that Rodriguez' slide interfered with Cabrera's throw.  He was ejected when umpires ruled the interference did not occur.  David Freese singled to center to score two more runs.

 "We had video evidence that not only did he change direction with a clear path to the plate, he stuck out his leg and interfered with the throw," Price said.

'I double clutched," Cabrera said. "He hit my foot and I didn't want to throw it away. It wasn't muck but I had to make sure the throw was there

The Reds and Pirates traded two-run home runs int he first three innings.

Pittsburgh scored three times on Reds' starter Robert Stephenson in the first inning.  A run scoring double by Andrew McCutchen scored rookie Josh Bell.  Gregory Polanco's 22nd home run accounted for the other two runs.

Joey Votto singled with two outs against Pirates' veteran starter Ryan Vogelsong.  Adam Duvall doubled and Brandon Phillips singled to get one run back.  Cabrera lined his sixth home run into the rightfield seats following a walk to Eugenio Suarez.

Stephenson didn't give up another hit until the fifth inning.  John Jaso doubled with one out.  Bell singled hard to right as Jaso went to third.  McCutchen walked to load the bases.  Polanco popped to Perazza at shortstop. Stephenson was in position to get out of the inning but he hit Jung Ho Kang with a pitch to force in Jaso. It was the 20th time this season a Reds' pitcher hit a Pirate batter and the second time Kang was hit in the game. Sean Rodriguez struck out to end the threat.

"Stephenson needs to improve his command if he is going to be the pitcher we think he can be,. Price said."

The Reds tied it in the bottom of the fifth. Perazza singled. Steve Selsky getting a start in rightfield sacrificed Perazza to second.  Votto's second hit scored Perazza. Brandon Phillips reached on an error when Vogelsong drooped the underhand feed from Jaso on a ground ball to first.

Lefthander Zach Phillips relieved Vogelsong.  Schebler hit a line drive to center that somehow got past McCutchen for a triple.  McCutchen took a strange route to the ball as if he lost it in the lights.

Jumbo Diaz took over for Stephenson to start the sixth inning.  Wandy Peralta entered after a two-out double by Alen Hansen but Peralta got out of the inning.

Blake Wood gave up a two-run home run to tie the game at 6-6 in the seventh.  It was the 236th home run allowed by Reds' pitchers which tied the 2004 team record.  It was the 93rd allowed by the bullpen that exceeded the old Major League record that was 1964 Kansas City Athletics set.

 "You have to do special things to get special numbers," Price said. "Unfortunately it is one we're not proud of. It's not the ballpark either. We're not using that excuse. We had a lot of players here early that weren't ready to pitch at this level because of injuries. We have to get better or find guys who can pitch at this level."

Selsky hit his first Major League home run off Tony Watson, leading off the bottom of the10th.

"I hit it good enough. I guess a lot of people dream of their first Major League home run. I got the ball . My wife and her parents just made it here to see it.," Selsky said.

Greg Ward Jr. Led Number 6 Houston Over Upset Minded Cincinnati

Greg Ward Jr. rallied the Houston Cougars with two fourth quarter touchdowns in a 40-16 win over the Cincinnati Bearcats.

Houston has not allowed 100 yards rushing in five games.

Cincinnati had 12 yards rushing in the first half and started its first second half possesion on its own 11.  Two plays later that total was down to one when Hayden Moore was sacked for 10 yards and Tion Green was stopped for a safety by Tyus Bowser to give the Houston Cougars a 12-10 lead.

Houston drove to the first and goal on the Cincinnati four and took the ball to the one with 1:48 left but a delay of game penalty backed them up to the six.  Alex Thomas intercepted Ward's pass in the end zone and returned it to the 20.

"I told my team that it was nothing they were doing," Ward said.  "We were shooting ourselves in the foot."

Hayden Moore found Josiah Deguara for a 28-yard gain.  After a Green run for six yards. Moore completed a flea flicker after two hand offs to Mike Boone for 35 yards to the Houston nine. Moore passed complete to Khalil Lewis to the four as the third quarter ended.

On the first play of the fourth quater Moore found Nate Cole for a go ahead touchdown.  The Bearcats went for two points but Moore's pass found his receiver past the end line.  Cincinnati led 16-12.

"It was an ugly game for a long time," Houston coach Tom Herman said.  "Nobody hung their heads.  I'm proud of the way we battled back."

Ward led the Cougars on a 71-yard drive in nine plays, finishing it himself with 12-yard run.  The extra point with 11;45 left in the game gave Houston a 19-16 lead.

"Then it exploded. They rushed for nearly 200 yards and we rushed for (30)," Cincinnati coach Tommy Tuberville said. "You can’t beat any good team if you can’t run the football. They put all the pressure on our quarterback and receivers and they dictated the game to us. Ward played well on third down and he took a lot of licks.

Ward, who missed the game last week with a sore shoulder, was up to the task.

"We put in a defense just for him, some guys that were faster. We did a good job in pass coverage and he’d just pull it down and run. That’s hard to defend. And we got a little tired at the end. The defense was on the field forever," Tuberville said.

Howard Wilson intercepted Moore's pass at the Houston 40 with 10:26 to play.  It was Houston's first takeaway after turning the ball over three times.

Ward completed the 60-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown run.  The extra point made it 26-16.

Interception returns for touchdowns by Steven Taylor and Howard Wilson in the last 3:47 made the game look more lopsided than it was.

Moore threw Taylor's pick six for 74 yards and Wilson returned backup quarterback Ross Trail's pass 28 yards.

Houston held Cincinnati to 30 yards rushing on 25 plays.

"We embrace challenges as a defense. I learned a lot about out defense tonight," Houston linebacker Steven Taylor said.  "Our number one goal is to stop the run, hands down."

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Cincinnati and Number 6 Houston Tied At The Half

Andrew /Gantz 37-yard field goal with four seconds left in the first half sent the teams into the locker room tied at 10.

Houston scored first on a 39-yard pass from Greg Ward Jr. to Allen Chance.

Cincinati responded five plays later when Hayden Moore connected with Devin Gray on a 61-yard pass with 6:12 left in the first quarter.  It was Gray's first career touchdown.

Houston put on a 12-play, 76-yard drive to take the lead 10-7 on a 32-yard field goal by Ty Cummings

With Houston driving late in the second quarter.  Ward completed a pass to Duke Catalon that lost two yards.  Catalon lateralled to Isaiah Johnson, who ran it 18 yards but fumbled it at the Cincinnati 17.  Grant Coleman, who earlier had his first career interception, recovered at the Cincinnati 13 and returned it to the Houston 34.  A facemask penalty took the ball to the Houston 19.

After two failed passes, the Bearcats elected to kick the tying field goal.

Cincinnati had 159 yards of offense with just 12 on the ground.

Houston had 263 yards with 80 rushing and 183 in the air.

Houston will recieve the second half kick off.

Cincinnati Houston Competing For More Than A Game

The Universtiy of Cincinnati and the University of Houston are not only competing on the field Thursday night but they are also competing to escape the American Athletic Conference and join the Big 12 Conference.

Hoiston #6 defeated Big 12 big shot Oklahoma 35-23 in the season opener and demolished Lamar 42-0 last week.  Cincinnati struggled against UT- Martin in a 28-7 come-from-behind win, then shocked Purdue on the road, 38-20.

The Big !2 has 10 teams, four from the state of Texas, Baylor, Texas, Texas Christian and Texas Tech.

Houston would make the fifth and Cincinnati would open up an untapped TV market for the Conference.

The leaders of the Conference are planning to meet early next month to decide whether to expand or to add two teams or four teams.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Junior Guerra Shuts Down Reds Brewers Hold Fouth Place

The Milwaukee Brewers used the wildness of Reds starter Tim Adleman and the "power' of diminutive Scooter Gennett to salvage the third game of the series, 7-0.

Junior Guerra made them stand up, allowing the Brewers to maintain a 2 1/2 game hold on fourth place in the National League Central division.

Adleman walked Chris Carter and Gennett to open the second inning.  Both were on a 3-2 count immediately after Adleman struck out Ryan Braun looking on a full count pitch to end the first.

 "We walked six guys and five scored," Bryan Price said. "I think we hit more balls on the screws than they did but they took advantage of walks. You look at his body of work. He only has 51 innings so it's hard to tell but take the second inning. He had to walks then soft contact, soft contact and they had two runs."

"After the home run by Gennett we were never able to get back in the game," Price continued.

Domingo Santana singled to load the bases with no outs.  Adleman nearly escaped.  He retired Orlando Arcia on a foul pop to Joey Votto at firstbase.  Manny Pina singled to score Carter and Gennett.
Carter walked again with two outs in the third.  This time the 5'10" Gennett lifted a fly to right that cleared the fence for his 12th home run of the season.

Jose Perazza tripled with one out in the third but was stranded.  The Reds wasted a one-out double by Eugenio Suarez in the fourth inning.

Adleman allowed just three hits in five innings but the walks and the home run ball produced all four runs.

 "I buried myself tonight," Adleman said.. "I was a bit too erratic and that was a result of me being way too fine. They are good professional hitters. I don't want to take anything away from them but I gave them too much credit. I should have attacked them instead trying to make too good of pitches. It is frustrating when I think I kind of beat myself out there.

Abel De Los Santos made his Reds' debut in the sixth.

Guerra in his third start off the disabled list,  pitched six shutout innings allowing three hits and two walks.  He also hit Suarez with a pitch.

Santana unloaded the bases with a three-run home run in the eighth off Ross Ohlendorf, who walked Ryan Braun and Carter.  It was Sanatana's eighth home run of the year.

It was the 92nd home run allowed by the Reds' bullpen this year, tying the Major League record.   The 1964 Kansas City Athletics bullpen also allowed 92 home runs.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Hernan Iribarren and Manny Pina Show Up Colin Kaepernick On National Anthem

Two Venezuelan players challenged each other to stay at attention longer for the National Anthem delivered magnificently by the local group the Mistics.

Hernan Iribarren of the Reds and the Brewers' Manuel Pina both from Barquisimeto, Venezuela tried to be the last to stand at attention in contrast to the tact that Colin Kaepernick has taken in his refusal to stand for the Star Spangled Banner.

"It just happened. It wouldn't have worked if we tried to plan it," Iribarren said.. "Brandon (Phillips) said he would pay my fine. We tried to do it in the minor leagues but it didn't work. Manuel Pina and I are from the same hometown. I told myself he has to move before me."

The practice of showing such support during the anthem has become popular in the minor leagues and amatuer baseball.

"I've never seen that done before. It was a big win for us," Bryan Price said.

Click the link below to hear the Mistics sing the Anthem at a Cincinnati Cyclones game.


Reds Gaining On Brewers Dan Straily And Joey Votto Star

Joey Votto had three hits and drove in two runs with his 24th home run and a bases loaded single off Milwaukee starter Matg Garza in the Reds 6-4 win, leaving them 1 1/2 games behind the Brewers for fourth place.

"We're just trying to get wins. How they come isn't terribly relevant," Bryan Price said.

Dan Straily continued his "diamond-in-the-rough" performance by winning his team leading 12th game.  He allowed the Brewers three hits in eight innings.  Two of them left the GABP playing grounds.  Keon Broxton hit his eighth home run in the second inning and Jonathan Villar belted his 16th in the third.

"It was a terrifically well pitched game," Price said.

 It was the 11th game in which Straily has allowed three hits or fewer this season.  No Reds pitcher has ever had that many.

"There have been a lot of good pitchers come through here," Price said.. "Jim Maloney comes to mind with his no-hitters and one hitters. We're all real proud of what Dan has provided all year."

Straily deflected credit and he's not afraid to give up fly balls in smallish Great American Ball Park

 "It's not just me. I'm the beneficiary of great scouting reports and defense,"  Straily said.  "Home runs are going to happen. I try to tell these guys that if they don't put guys on base you'll be fine. It's tough to get beat giving up solo home runs. I understand the environment I'm in. It's you versus the hitter. I want contact. I want the weakest contact possible and I want it right at somebody."

"You just make sure they are higher than farther," Price said. "In Dan's case you just have to find a way to stay off the barrel of the bat. You can't pitch in this ballpark or the big leagues if you try to defend against the home run."

Votto homered in the first.

The Reds used the Brewers slip shod fielding to score four unearned runs in the third. Tucker Barnhart reached on a slow roller to Villar, playing his first game of the season at second base.  Villar's under hand flip was dropped by Chris Carter at first.  Thirdbaseman Hernan Perez threw wild to second on Straily's sacrifice bunt attempt.  Eugenio Suarez was hit by a pitch to load the bases.  Votto singled to right. Adam Duvall drove in his 88th and 89th runs with a double.  Brandon Phillips hit a medium deep fly all to right center.  Rightfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis and centerfielder Broxton came close to a collision but Nieuwenhuis fielded the ball and threw from his knees as Votto scored.  Duvall tried to score from second but was thrown out easily.

Scott Schebler singled home Duvall in the bottom of the eighth.  Schebler, who is hitting .327 at GABP drove in a run for the fourth straight game.

Tony Cingrani gave up a two-run home run to Carter, his 34th in the ninth.

Homer Bailey Fighting To Pitch In 2016

Homer Bailey doesn't want to give up on the 2016 season but with 19 games left he may have to settle for a normal off season.

Bailey threw 44 pitches in a bullpen session on Tuesday.

While he was not available for comment but pitching coach Mack Jenkins attested to Bailey's mood.

"He's frustrated," Jenkins said as Bailey went to ice his $105 million right arm.  "His goal is to get back this year. Homer used his entire arsenal. The ball was coming out hot, high pitch quality. We'll see how he feels tomorrow."

As with Zack Cozart, who is feeling normal aches and pains associated with his off season knee surgery, Bailey's arm is feeling normal soreness.  Bailey made just two starts since shutting down his 2014 season after 23 starts.

Bailey made six starts between July 31 and August 28 going 2-3 with a 6.65 ERA. In his last two starts, both losses, he allowed nine earned runs in a total of 3 1/3 innings.  He left the rotation with soreness in his right biceps.

"He worked so hard to get over his elbow surgery," Bryan Price said.  "Now he has a common pitching malady.  We're not going to shut him down.  My feeling is when this season is over, a normal off season will do him good."

Players tend to take the month of October to rest and then get into a work out routine sometime in November to ramp up for spring training at the end of February.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Reds Blank Brewers

The Reds ambushed Milwaukee starting pitcher Wily Peralta in the first inning.

Eugenio Suarez drew a one-out walk but the Reds got successive singles from Adam Duvall, Brandon Phillips, Scott Schebler and Tyler Holt with two outs to post a three-run inning.

Emergency starter Keyvius Sampson nursed the lead for 4 2/3 innings when he ran out of gas but left leading 3-0.  Sampson pitched to give Anthony DeSclafani an extra day. Sampson walked Ryan Braun to load the bases with two out in the sixth.  Blake Wood retired Hernan Perez on a routine fly to left to protect the lead.

The Reds turned in their second team shutout in a row.  They blanked the Pirates 8-0 on Sunday. 

"I'm happy for the guys that have been here the bulk of the season. Early in the season when we were struggling, we asked guys to take on roles they weren't prepared for. We plugged in pitchers that weren't ready to be here. We went through a lot of growing pains," Bryan Price said.  "It's nice to have some of the guys that tasted real struggles bounce back and see success for the work they put in on their craft."

Sampson was one out short of the win.  Wood's record improved to 6-3 with 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

"With the bases loaded and Perez coming in, another guy having a nice year, it was time for Woody to come in and clean it up," Price said. "Keyvius didn't get the win but I'm really happy for him. He didn't get the win but he gave us a huge boost."

Sampson has been up and down all year but has given the Reds big efforts when called upon.

'As far as not getting five innings in to get the W but this was pretty good. I hate having two walks but they happen. Honestly, I just wanted to give the team everything I had. I tried to keep them in the game," Sampson said. 'I was more tired. When you get tired you try to aim the ball. My arm lagged behind."

"Keyvius is one of the guys who had options," Price said.  "When we needed a roster spot for a position player, he was the one we sent down.  He went to Louisville and pitched better.  Keyvius didn't do anything to pitch himself off the team but he handled it and got better."

Sampson is seizing this late season opportunity to get better and earn a larger role next season in whichever role he has.

I'm just trying to finish the season strong," Sampson said. "Whether I'm starting or relieving I just want to be a bigger part of the team next year. 'It's been tough going up and down to the minor leagues but I'm not the first guy to do it and won't be the last. I'm trying to keep a positive mindset."

Sampson and his teammates are much better than they were in April and May.

"The improvement for me has just been trusting my stuff. For the team it is relying on each other. Like tonight with bases loaded Woody comes in behind me to clean it up for me. It is trusting that if I give it all I have the guy behind me is going to pick me up," Sampson said.

Peralta settled in and retired15 batters in a row until Brandon Phillips beat out a slow roller to thirdbase.

 Michael Lorenzen entered in the seventh inning.

Jonathan Villar forced pinch hitter Jake Elmore, who singled batting for Peralta.  Villar went to second on a balk but was thrown out at home by Steve Selsky on a single by Scooter Gennett to end the seventh.

Selsky came in for Holt on a double switch with Schebler moving to center.

"It was a big play," Price said.  "Steve hasn't gotten in a lot of games since being called up.  It was huge to get us out of the inning with (Ryan) Braun coming up."

Raisel Iglesias started the eighth for the Reds.and pitched two scoreless innings for his third save.

Reds Add Pitchers Abel De Los Santos And Matt Magill, Billy Hamilton, Cody Reed, Homer Bailey Work Out Kinks

The Reds are waiting for Cody Reed and Homer Bailey to recover.  In the mean time, Abel De Los Santos and Matt Magill were brought in to augment the bullpen for the last 20 games.

De Los Santos, a 23-year-old right-handed pitcher, who was picked by the Reds off waivers from Washington on July 19, went 1-2 with a 1.54 earned-run average and three saves in 23 1/3 innings over 17 games with Double-A Pensacola. That improvement from the 3.67 ERA he compiled while splitting the first half of the season between Triple-A Syracuse and Double-A Harrisburg led to him being recalled by the Reds on Monday.

De Los Santos was upset at being waived at first but was determined to get back to the Major Leaguss

“I felt really bad at first,” the Dominican Republic product said through interpreter Jullio Morillo, about being placed on waivers.  “I thought I was doing good. I just said, ‘OK, one team is going to pick me up and I’m going to work my way back to the major leagues again.”

De Los Santos, who pitched in two games with the Nationals in 2015, was one of two pitchers promoted by the Reds on Tuesday. They also selected from Triple-A Louisville the contract of right-hander Matt Magill, who was acquired from the Dodgers for outfielder Chris Heisey in December 2014 and made three appearances for the Bats in 2015 before having to undergo Tommy John.

Magill went 4-1 with a 4.85 ERA and on save in 38 games for the Bats this season.

De Los Santos was ready to head home to the Dominican after making two appearances in Pensacola’s 3-1 Southern League South Division playoff series loss to Mississippi.

“I already had my ticket to the Dominican,” he said. “Then they said they changed my ticket and I’m going to Cincinnati. I was really happy.”

Cincinnati manager Bryan Price had never seen De Los Santos pitch.

“I’m looking forward to seeing him,” Price said before Monday’s opener of a three-game series against Milwaukee. “The reports we’ve gotten on him are excellent. If you pitch for a playoff team, you get experience in games that matter.”

Magill, 26, pitched in six games with the Dodgers in 2013.

The Reds created an opening for Magill on the 40-man roster by placing right-hander Alfredo Simon on the 60-day disabled list. Simon was scheduled to undergo right shoulder surgery on Tuesday.

Checking charts: Center fielder Billy Hamilto, who hadn’t played since September 4 while dealing with a left oblique strain, hasn’t resumed baseball activities yet, Price said.

“He still has some soreness,” Price said. “It’s better, but he won’t do any trunk rotational activities until that’s out of there.”

Left-hander Cody Reed, who’s been sidelined by lower back problems, has resumed throwing, and right-hander Homer Bailey was scheduled to throw a bullpen on Tuesday as he tries to squeeze in a couple of starts before the end of the season. Bailey, who returned on July 31 after missing more than a year while coming back from Tommy John surgery, made six starts before being sidelined with biceps soreness. He hasn’t pitched since August 28.

Jose Peraza returned to the starting lineup as Cincinnati’s leadoff hitter and shortstop after missing Sunday’s game with a sore right pinky finger, the result of fouling a ball off of it on Saturday in Pittsburgh. He was playing for Zack Cozart, who was experiencing soreness in the right knee he had surgically repaired after suffering a season-ending injury in June 2015.

The Reds enter the Milwaukee series in last place in the National League Central Division, 3 ½ games behind the Brewers. Right-hander Dan Straily (11-8) is the Reds scheduled starter for the 7:10 p.m. game.on Turesday right-hander Matt Garza (5-6) is due to start for Milwaukee.  Tim Adleman (2-3) will pitch against Junior Guerra (8-3) on Wednesday.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Scott Sebald, Ryan Atkinson Colerain Pitchers Finish First Pro Season Strong

Two former Colerain Cardinal pitchers finished their first professional seasons strong last night.

Scott Sebald was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Texas Rangers.  The 6'5" left-hander pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings this week to finish with a 1-0 record and a 2.61 ERA.  Sebald pitched in nine games for the Arizona League Rangers before being promoted to Spokane of the Northwest League.  In five games with Spokane, he pitched 10 scoreless innings. Sebald did not allow a run in his last nine appearances.

Ryan Atkinson started for Missoula last night in the last game of the season for the Ospreys.  He earned his first professional win. Atkinson allowed one run on four hits in five innings against Great Falls.  The 6' 3" 218 lb. right-hander was 1-4 with a 3.24 ERA.

Atkinson was also an undrafted free agent signed by Arizona after a brief stint with Evansvillle of the independent Frontier League.  He struck out 39 batters in 33 1/3 innings, allowing just three earned runs in his last 14 innings.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Mets Beat Reds For 14th Straight Time

It took the Mets one pitch to take the lead against Anthony DeSclafani but for good measure the Reds' gave the New York Mets a lovely parting gift in a 6-3 loss.

The Reds were swept in the season series. It was the 13th straight loss to the Mets.  They haven't beaten them since September 6, 2014.  The loss was the Reds' 81st of the season.

"When your this far under .500, to have games like this regularly would make it a long season. This was not our typical game. I hope we don't have one of these for awhile. I don't think we will," Bryan Price said.

 Jose Reyes homered on the first pitch of the game, his sixth.  It was the 24th time in his career that he led a game of with a home run (19 as a Met).

"I was trying to get ahead and Reyes was trying to hit one out and he did," DeSclafani said. "He's been swinging the bat well lately, they all hive this whole series. They have a good lineup and they're playing pretty good."

Reyes scored from third on a wild pitch after shortstop Jose Perazza kicked Yoenis Cespedes' two-out ground ball.  Curtis Granderson hit his 25th home run leading off the sixth.

The Reds put runners on against Mets' start Noah Syndergaard, DeSclafani's teammate in the Toronto Blue Jays' system.

 "Noah (Syndegaard) and I played in A ball together with Toronto," DeSclafani said. "We were piggy backed together. He would start a game and I'd relieve him then I would start a game and he'd relieve me. We keep in touch. I wish him luck now that we aren't playing him."

Perazza opened the bottom of the first with a double and advanced to third with one out but was stranded.  Brandon Phillips singled to leadoff the second but was caught stealing.  Scott Schebler followed with a walk and was thrown out stealing.  Tyler Holt was the third straight batter to reach base in the inning but he was stranded.

Perazza bunted for a single to open the third. 

 'I saw Reyes was back too far," Perazza said through interpreter Julio Morillo. "I told my self to bunt but I am swinging the bat pretty good. I decided to bunt any way on the first pitch."

Eugenio Suarez became the fifth batter of six to reach base but was picked off by Syndergaard as he took off for second.  Perazza tried to score off the rundown but was thrown out at home.  Joey Votto, the sixth batter in seven to reach base, walked.  Adam Duvall flied out.

 "We had some mistakes and missed opportunities," Price said. "Geno leaving early on the pickoff, Schebler not sliding, and not covering home plate, it was bad baseball. Schebler thought he heard the ball fouled off. We have Reyes back if Geno doesn't leave early and they throw through we have a good chance to score and he ends up thrown out at the plate."

Schebler walked again with one out in the fourth.  Holt had an infield single but Tucker Barnhart and DeSclafani struck out.
Suarez singled in the fifth with one out and stayed put as Votto flied out and Duvall struck out.

Hansel Robles replaced Syndegaard in the sixth and kept the shutout going.  Jerry Blevins fanned Votto to end the seventh.

Wilmer Flores hit a two-run home run off Wandy Peralta in the eighth.  It was Flores first career pinch hit home run and his 16th of the season, tying his career high.

The Reds loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth against Gabriel Ynoa.  Duvall walked. Phillips and Schebler each had their second hits of the game.  Addison Reed came on to pitch to Holt, who struck out looking.  Barnhart's single scored Duvall as the bases remained loaded. Pinch hitter Ramon Cabrera forced Phillips out at the plate. Perazza's second double and fourth hit of the game made it 5-3 and put the tying runs in scoring position. Reed struck out Suarez swinging to maintain the lead.

 "I hit the ball really good but I didn't know if it was going to go out, so I ran," Perazza said.  "I've been working really hard. I'm watching video. I feel like I'm going to get three hits every game. I went through 15 games like this in the minor leagues."

Back-to-back doubles by Asdrubal Cabrera and Cespedes off Tony Cingrani in the ninth provided the final margin.

Jeurys Familia came in the ninth looking for his 47th save in 50 tries.  Votto greeted Familia with a single to give the Reds a baserunner in every inning but the Reds failed to score.

Reds Sign Cuban Pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez

The Reds signed RHP Vladimir Gutierrez to a minor league contract officially Wednesday morning.

Gutierrez has been in Cincinnati for two days.  The contract was agreed upon but was contingent on a physical which Gutierrez passed.

He becomes the fourth native Cuban signed by the Reds since 2010.  Aroldis Chapman and Raisel Iglesias have also signed and pitched with the Reds.

On July 4 the Reds' signed 22-year old Cuban shortstop Alfredo Rodriguez.

Gutierrez, 20 (will turn 21 Sept 18) , is 6' 1" tall and weighs 175 pounds.  He pitched for Pinar del Rio in the Cuban National League in 2013 and 2014.  Gutierrez, who has a fastball clocked at 97 mph, appeared in 52 games with Pinar del Rio in his two seasons, starting three games.  Gutierrez had a 8-10 record with a 3.27 ERA.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Four Mets' Home Runs Down Reds

The New York Mets connected for four home runs off three different Reds' pitchers to hang a 5-3 loss on the home team.

The Mets defeated the Reds for the 13th straight time since the Reds beat the New Yorkers 2-1 exactly two years ago.

Brandon Finnegan found a new pitch.

His change up has allowed him to pitch into the seventh inning in two of the last three games. He has allowed just four earned runs in his last 20 innings coming into the game with the Mets. Finnegan had a 2.65 ERA in August.

The 23-year old pitched five innings against the Mets, bringing his innings total to 159 2/3 for the season.  Finnegan in his first season as a starter is on an innings limit around 170-175 innings.

"We hope to get him two more starts, if he can make 30 and stay within his limit, that's what we want to do," Bryan Price said. "We're not going to put him in the bullpen.  He is going to start until he reaches his limit. His starting this season was something we hoped he could do but wasn't sure."

Finnegan allowed three hits and four walks to the Mets, including the 24th home run of the season by Curtis Granderson in the second inning and the fifth home run of the season by Jose Reyes.

"Finnegan wasn't sharp early," Price said.  "He was jumping toward the plate a little bit. He didn't have his best stuff but battled through it."

"They laid off some tough pitches," Finnegan said. "I was in some down counts but able to get out of them.  The pitch to Granderson was outside where I wanted it but a little bit up."

Finnegan is happy that he can continue to compete as a starter.

'I've been starting all year. It's what I want to do," Finnegan said.  "I want to finish but I will keep making all my starts until they tell me I'm done. I feel stronger since the all-star break."

Reds' hitters faced young Rafael Montero, who is a replacement for missing Mets' starters Matt Harvey, Steven Matz and Jonathan Niese.

Adam Duvall hit his 30th home run with Zack Cozart on base with a walk to increase his RBI total to 87.  The Reds scored off departed starter Montero when International League batting champion Hernan Iribarren tripled for the second day in a row.  Iribarren beat Jay Bruce's throw to the plate on Joey Votto's line drive off Josh Edgin, who relieved Montero.

"I came out early today and worked on driving the ball," Duvall said.  "I felt like I haven't been driving the ball for awhile. It's exciting to look back on this season. I am looking at the little things that I've done."

Duvall became the sixth Reds player whose primary position is leftfield to hit 30 or more home runs in a season.  (He hit one as a DH and one while playing 1b).  Adam Dunn, George Foster, Greg Vaughn, Frank Robinson (1956) and Hank Sauer (1948) were the others.

"Being named with those guys is pretty cool," Duvall said.

Michael Lorenzen relieved Finnegan.  Bruce greeted Lorenzen with a single and advanced to second on an error by Duvall.  Lorenzen hit Granderson with a pitch but struck out Michael Conforto to get out of the inning.  Yoenis Cespedes hit his 28th home run with Asdrubal Cabrera on base.  Cozart just misd throwing Cabrera out with a diving stop of a hard ground ball up the middle.

Raisel Iglesias replaced Lorenzen for the Reds and pitched a scoreless eighth but Blake Wood gave up a pinch hit home run to Alejandro De Aza. It is the 27th time this season that a Reds' reliever has given up a home run to the first batter he faced.

Jeurys Familia earned his Major League leading 46th save in his 49th opportunity.

Reds Hernan Iribarren Wins International League Batting Title

Louisville Bats infielder/outfielder Hernan Iribarren has won the International League batting title with an average of .327. Iribarren, who was recently promoted to the Cincinnati Reds, finished the Triple-A season with 122 hits in 373 at bats. He becomes the first Louisville player since the franchise joined the IL in 1998 to win the batting title.
Iribarren was also named the International League postseason Utility All-Star, becoming the first Louisville player to be named a postseason All-Star since Billy Hamilton in 2013. Iribarren completed the season with 20 doubles, three home runs, 35 RBI and 46 runs scored. He played eight of the nine positions, the only one he did not play is catcher in 2016. 

"It's huge for him," Bryan Price said. "A player 31-32 years old, you mind can drift and wonder why you're still playing minor league baseball.  For him it meant that he had to get better. We got rave reviews all year about his work ethic. Having that work ethic, being a smart player, being a player that makes the players around him better has value. He played every where (eight positions except catcher).  There is a lot of benefits that he can bring to a team." 

End Of Season Equalizer

On the last day of the season all games on the Major League schedule starts at 3:10 Eastern, 2:10 Central, 1:10 Mountain and 12:10 Pacific time.

This is the second year that Major League Baseball has done this, according to Rob Butcher, the Reds' Director of Media Relations.

Prior to last season MLB recognized that teams playing on the West Coast one day before the playoff started had an advantage.

For example if Pittsburgh and St. Louis were tied for the last playoff spot with Pittsburgh at home and St. Louis on the road in Los Angeles, the Cardinals could change starting pitchers knowing the fate of the Pirates in a game played four hours earlier.

The Cardinals would start their ace and regulars if the Pirates win but would have an advantage over their one-game opponent.  Suppose the Cardinals were in a one-game playoff with the San Francisco Giants, who ended the season in Miami.  Once Pittsburgh lost and the Cardinals clinched the final Wild Card, they could pull Adam Wainwright against the Dodgers and rest its regulars for the game with the Giants.

The Reds play the Cubs on the last day of the season at Great American Ball Park at 3:10 on October 2.  The Cubs will win the Central Division crown and the Reds will not make the playoff so it is unlikely to affect either team.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Billy Hamilton Gets Good News

The oblique strain in Billy Hamilton's left side will not be one that ends his season.

Oblique strains have been known to take months to heal.  The area is involved in everything the body does. Even a sneeze can be hurtful, let alone baseball activity.

When Hamilton tweaked the oblique on Sunday, he tried to talk manager Bryan Price into letting him stay in the game but his more experienced teammates yelled to him that he should get to the bench.

"I had one of those in 2011," Zack Cozart said.  "It was so minor that it barely showed up on the MRI. Everything I did was painful and you can easily make it a lot worse if you don't take care of it. Your adrenaline takes over and you think you'll be alright. I may not hurt just standing there but the first time you check your swing or swing and miss it hurts."

Hamilton will rest for several days, giving younger teammates a chance to show what they can do.  Jose Perazza had two hits Monday in Hamilton's place.

“It looks like it might not be a season-ender, but it will be several days before we can talk about resuming baseball activities. It will be a topic of conversation for the next several days," Bryan Price said.

Jay Bruce Returns Bartolo Colon and Robert Stephenson Duel

Jay Bruce's return to Cincinnati was upstaged by a pitching duel between 42-year old Bartolo Colon and 23-year old Robert Stephenson.  The Mets sleep walked to a 5-0 win to bolster its Wild Card hopes.

Colon began his career in 1998 when Stephenson was five-years old and has 230 wins under his expanded belt.  Stephenson made two winning starts earlier in the year when the Reds' pitching was decimated by injury.  He came into the game with two wins in two starts.

Stephenson struggled in the minor leagues. His manager at Louisville, Delino DeShields, challenged him a couple weeks ago to work harder.

Starting in place of the slightly injured Homer Bailey, Stephenson attacked the tired Mets, who played Washington on Sunday Night Baseball and didn't arrive in Cincinnati until 4:00 a.m.

 “I definitely wanted to get ahead of the batters," Stephenson said. "The times I got behind, I mostly was able to get out of it. I lot of a lot of outs on 3-2 counts, and I want to limit those in the future.”

Stephenson struck out nine in 5 1/3 innings and gave up six hits and issuing his lone walk in the sixth inning. Two of the hits Stephenson allowed were a single and double to Wilmer Flores, who was thrown out on both occasions by leftfielder Adam Duvall.  Two others were Matt Reynolds fourth home run in the third inning and Kelly Johnson's 10th in the fifth.  Both players were spelling regulars that played last night.

The Reds threatened Colon all day but double plays extricated him from trouble in the first two innings.  The Reds had runners on second and third with no outs in the third. Stephenson struck out looking.  Jose Perazza lined out to thirdbase and Zack Cozart flied out to his good buddy Bruce in right.

Stephenson struck out Alejandro De Aza to open the sixth.  He walked Michael Conforto and Flores singled for his third hit but with a runner in front of him couldn't risk being thrown out.  Rookie Wandy Peralta, who made his Major League debut Sunday, faced Bruce. Bruce hit the ball on a line drive directly to Joey Votto at first.  Votto inexplicably chased Flores toward second rather than stepping on the bag.  Shouts from Brandon Phillips caught Votto's attention and he retired Flores at a third different base.

“He was good. He worked well with Tucker," Bryan Price said. "He commanded the bottom of the zone with his fastball and changeup and threw a handful of breaking balls when he was behind in the count, which you have to do. He did a nice job.”

Stephenson was happy for the guidance and backing.

 “I just put myself in his hands. I only shook him off a couple of times, and I had confidence in myself," Stephenson said. "I was a little nervous in the first inning, but after that, I relaxed. I got some great plays from the defense behind me. I’m a big fan of Adam Duvall now.”

Colon escaped another jam in the bottom of the sixth.

Hernan Iribarren tripled to open the inning batting for Peralta.  Perazza flied to straight away right.  Thirdbase coach Billy Hatcher knew better than to run on Bruce's arm.  Cozart popped foul to first. Votto walked.  Colon's last task was accomplished when Duvall also popped out to first.

“Colon was rolling pretty good," Price said. "Sometimes, you have to tip your hat to the pitcher. Those were situations where a pitcher knows what he’s doing. He did a great job. You saw a real masterful pitcher pitch a great game.”

The Mets broke the game open against Alfredo Simon with three runs in the seventh.  Travis d'Arnaud walked with one out.  Singles by James Loney, Reynolds and pinch hitter Asdrubal Cabrera scored two runs. De Aza delivered the third with a sac fly to right.

Bruce ironically caught the final out of the game, a fly by Eugenio Suarez.