About Me

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I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Bronson Arroyo Stops Cubs And Losing Streak

Bronson Arroyo became the stopper for the Reds.  He stopped the Cubs offense and the Reds losing streak in six efficient innings of work as the Reds salvaged the final game of the series, 7-5.

Arroyo retired the first 10 Cubs batters before Kris Bryant lined a single to center for their first base runner.  Anthony Rizzo spoiled the mood with his third home run in as many days, his fourth of the season.

The blow tied the game because Billy Hamilton’s speed and Scott Schebler’s power provided a two-run lead against Chicago starter John Lackey.

Hamilton singled to open the bottom of the first.  On successive pitches to Jose Peraza, Hamilton stole second and third.  Joey Votto drove in his sixth run of the series with a sacrifice fly. Schebler hit his fourth home run in the second inning.

Arroyo retired eight of the next nine batters, six by strike out.  Jon Jay single was the last of the three hits the 40-year old veteran allowed.

Schebler singled to drive in Eugenio Suarez in the fourth to retake the lead

The Reds took advantage of poor Cubs defense and Patrick Kivlehan’s timely hitting to put more space between the Reds and the defending World Champions. 

Votto reached base on Rizzo’s error at firstbase.  Suarez walked. Scooter Gennett had an infield hit.  Kivlehan’s blast deep into the leftcenterfield gap wiped the bases clean. Tucker Barnhart’s ground out moved Kivlehan to third.  Phillips Ervin pinch hit for Arroyo and hit a ground ball over the bag at third.  Bryant’s throw was wide and the Reds had a 7-2 lead.

Blake Wood gave up hits to Ben Zobrist and Addison Russell to put runners on the corners with no outs.  Bryan Price sent lefty Wandy Peralta to face Jason Heyward.  Heyward’s force of Russell at second made the score 7-3. Peralta ended the inning with two strike outs and got the first out in the eighth.  Price brought in Raisell Iglesias, who finished the eighth.

Zobrist doubled and scored on Russell’s second single to open the ninth against Iglesias. A bad pickoff sent Russell to third with no outs. Heyward singled to right on a 3-2 pitch. With no outs the Cubs brought the tying run to the plate but Miguel Montero hit into a 1-6-3 double play.

Iglesias got Wilson Contreras to fly out to Kivlehan to end the game.

Zack Cozart Scratched...Devin Mesoraco Banged Up In Rehab

Zack Cozart was in the original lineup but was scratched with a sore left wrist.  Devin Mesoraco is due to finish his rehab assignment but was banged up in the play below during his rehab assignment at Pensacola.

Scooter Gennett, who played rightfield on Friday, was penciled in at leftfield on Sunday.  He gave Scott Schebler a day, today Adam Duvall got  the day off.

Cozart’s scratch caused Bryan Price to move Jose Peraza to shortstop and bring Gennett in to play secondbase.  Patrick Kivlehan gets the start in left.

Mesoraco was due to come off the DL by next weekend.  The plan was for him to show he could catch three games in a row to share the catching with Tucker Barnhart.

On Thursday Mesoraco had a collision with a base runner at third base.  You can see the play below....

“Devin got smoked in the knee on a tag play at thirdbase. I don’t believe it is serious at all. I think it was a bunt play,” Bryan Price said.  “The thirdbaseman fielded it and he circled back and tagged the runner who slid in and caught the inside of his knee. He was a little banged up but he caught the rest of the game and caught the next day.  Yesterday was an off day. He was a little bit sore.  I’m trying to find out how he’s feeling this morning to see if he’s in the lineup today or not.”

Mesoraco has been limited to 39 games with three surgeries in the last three years.

“He’s starting to hit,” Price said..  “Not that the hits are important but our staff like the quality of at bats in his last two starts. I’d like to see him comfortable at the plate.  He’s going to share time with Tucker when he comes back”

Lisalverto Bonilla Optioned To Louisviille Ariel Hernandez Recalled From Pensacola

Like laundry, the Reds are putting Lisalverto Bonilla in the washing machine which is Louisville and recalling Ariel Hernandez out of their wardrobe in Pensacola.

Bonilla pitched five innings yesterday and became soiled enough the team couldn’t wear him for three days.  Hernandez has been on the hanger at Pensacola and could be used by the Reds out of the bullpen.

The Reds need a pitcher who can pitch several innings in case the starting rotation continues its current trend of short starts.

“As is quite often the case when you have to have one of your relievers throw five innings in a game, he is typically the obvious choice,” Bryan Price said.  “Bonilla wouldn’t have been available to us until the last game in Milwaukee.  We needed a fresh arm.  A lot of the roster guys have pitched recently, Romano, Astin, Brice, etc.  The freshest arm is coming from Pensacola.  We need some fresh arms after using Bonilla and Robert (Stephenson) so much the last couple of days.”

The 6‘4“, 25-year old from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic was selected in the Triple A phase of the Rule V draft by the Reds from Arizona in 2015.

Last year, Hernandez split time between Dayton and Daytona. He was 3-2 with a 2.18 ERA and five saves in 43 appearances.  For Pensacola this year, Hernandez has appeared in seven games.  He pitched eight innings is 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA with one earned run allowed. 

“There are certainly guys on the Triple A roster, who have either pitched here or we anticipate pitching here,” Price said.  “But there’s no negatives for Ariel coming up. Again it’s a good experience. As it was for Astin and Winker.  It could be but it’s unlikely to be a long stay.”

“We have to wait on Robert for a couple days.  You only have so many roster pitchers and they have to pitch too. They can’t be sitting around waiting to be called up.”

Hernandez last pitched on Friday. He pitched one perfect inning with tw strike outs.

“His arm strength and breaking ball stood out,” Price said. “It wa just like we’d seen in reports last year when he was pitching in A ball.  It’s a huge arm. Every bit of 95 to 100 with a hard power curveball. He’s been throwing over the plate. Which is a challenge for young hard throwing pitchers. He’s been doing a lot better. He will be available to pitch an inning or two today.”

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Jake Arrieta One Year Later - Cubs Maul Reds

A year ago today, Jake Arrieta woke up with a no-hitter. On April 21, 2016 the Cubs sxored 16 runs and the Reds didn’t get a single hit.  This year he settled for an eight hitter and an 12-8 win.

Cody Reed got his first start of the season and he reverted from a form that made him an 0-7 pitcher last season.  Reed was fine working out of the bullpen. In four relief outings he pitched eight innings without allowing a run.

The Cubs quickly changed that.

Reed’s wildness which hadn’t shown in his last three appearances, (0 in 7 innings), returned.  He walked Kyle Schwarber and Kris Bryant to start the game.  Anthony Rizzo, who tied the game Friday with two outs in the ninth, hit another three-run home run.

"I wasn't very good," Reed admitted "I have to keep on keeping on. It is frustrating in general.  We scored eight runs and we lost, that makes it tough to take.".

Jose Peraza quickly ended the notion of Arrieta repeating the no-hit magic from last season witha single up the middle.  Scooter Gennett hit a broken bat roller to secondbasee.  Javier Baez backhanded flip to Addison Russell ended up in leftfield putting runners on second and third.  Joey Votto, who left six runners stranded on Friday night, tied the game with his sixth home run. Eugenio Suarez hit his fourth home run one out later.

Reed gave the four runs back with two outs.  Bryant doubled.  Reed walked Rizzo, not a bad idea and Russell.  Wilson Contreras followed with his second home run of the season and first career grand slam.  It was the end of Reed’s start, after he struck out Jason Heyward.

"He (Reed) didn't give himself enough time to settle in," Bryan Price said. "We have to find the way to right the ship with Cody as a starter. I still think he's a big league pitcher. The talent is there. We have to find a way to extract it."

Tucker Barnhart’s single opened the Reds’ second. Phillip Ervin made his Major League debut batting for Reed.  His tapper back to Arrieta moved Barnhart to second.  Peraza hit his second single.  Gennett’s roller to Bryant forced Ervin at third.  Votto drove in his fourth run with a single to left. He also doubled home Arismendy Alcantara in the ninth for his fifth RBI of the game.

"Joey has hit the ball hard mor than the last couple days with little to show for it" Price said. 

Lisalverto Bonilla made his Reds’ debut in the third.

Bonilla allowed a run in the fifth when Heyward walked and Gennett, starting in rightfield played Arrieta’s fly ball into a triple.  Heyward hit a thre-run home run off Bonilla in the sixth, his second of the season and second of the series/  The blow gave Chicago a six-run lead. Heyward drove in a run with a ninth inning single following Contreras third hit, a double.

Bonilla gave up four runs in five innings.

Arrieta settled in and pitched four scoreless innings.

Suarez homered off Justin Grimm his second of the game, fffth of the season. It was his first second two-home run game.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Anthony Rizzo Ties Game In The Ninth. Kris Bryant Fly Ends It In 11

Kris Bryant’s sacrifice fly off Robert Stephenson in the 11th inning scored Albert Almora to give the Chicago Cubs a come-from-behind win over the Reds, 6-5   The game changed the order at the top of the Central Division with the Cubs taking a 1/2 game lead.

Stephenson walked Almora with one out in the 11th.  Schwarber singled in the hole between Votto and Peraza, sending Almora to third.  Bryant hit a fly to left. Almora beat Duvall’s throw home.

Anthony Rizzo hit a three-run home run with two outs in the ninth off Michael Lorenzen to tie the game. Miguel Montero opened the ninth with a single. Almora struck out for the third time. Schwarber fell behind 0-2, fouled off two pitches then dumped a double down the leftfield line.  Bryant hit a soft line drive to short, bringing Rizzo to the plate as the tying run. He hit the first pitch into the rightfield stands. His second of the season. Russell flied out to center.

"We had the right guy in the game," Bryan Price said. "I'm not going to lose any sleep over the decisions. It was a tough one to lose. We had the right matchup but Rizzo hit the home run. It was a second guesser's delight. Michael is going to share some of the responsibility of closing, then that's his game to finish. I had the best guy available in our bullpen to face the Cubs in the ninth inning with a three run lead. We just didn't get it done."

Lorenzen threw the pitch with conviction but Rizzo beat him.

"I threw the pitch with conviction. He got me. Tip your cap to him," Lorenzen said. "They were taking good at bats.  I was ahead a lot. They were fouling pitches off. Schwarber found some dirt It doesn't reel good. Whenever, you go into pitch. You go into pitch until you come out. Stuff like this happens. It's how you handle it. That's what separates the really good ones is how you handle it. What sucks is out team played so good. Our team played really good baseball. You fight to the last out. You just feel like you let your team down. That's probably the worst."

Jon Lester was second in the Cy Young Award voting last season.  Tim Adleman got a second chance to start for the Reds with an injury to Brandon Finnegan after not making the Reds’ roster out of spring training.

On a cool overcast night at Great American Ball Park.  It was difficult to tell the difference between Adleman and Cubs’ slugger Kris Bryant.  Adleman outpitched Lester and added a two-run double.

Adleman pitched six innings, allowing two solo home runs among four hits.  He walked two and hit a batter but also struck out seven Cubs, including Jason Heyward with runners on first and second in the first inning.

'I felt in control for the most part," Adleman said. "My curve ball was a little inconsistent but six innings, two runs against the Cubs, if you talk about it before the game, you'd take that."

Heyward got a bit of revenge with his first home run of the season in the fourth inning.

The Reds answered in the bottom half.  Eugenio Suarez doubled one out into the inning. Zack Cozart, who entered the game with a lofty .400 average, doubled to tie the game.  Scott Schebler grounded back to the mound for the second out.  Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon waived four fingers to intentionally walk Tucker Barnhart to bring Adleman to the plate.   The big right-hander ruined perfectly good strategy by launching a double deep into the left centerfield gap to score both runners.

"Talking about the positives in a game like this is irrelevant," Price said.

'Any time you can do something to take a lead its big.  Going into the fourth of fifth inning with a three-run lead, that's where you want to be," Adleman said. "The batting practice we take every day is helping. I just look for stuff over the plate that I can handle.  I not going to get to Lorenzen's status as a pinch hitter but I welcome the opportunity."

Javier Baez led off the next inning with his first home run of the season but Adam Duvall canceled it with his fifth home run to the rightfield corner.

The Cubs put two men on with one out in the sixth but Adleman didn’t buckle, getting Heyward out on a sliding stop by Jose Peraza at second and a nifty short hop pickup by Suarez.

The Reds worked Lester after two outs in the bottom of the sixth. Barnhart singled.  Pinch hitter Patrick Kivlehan walked.  Justin Grimm did the unheard of feat of walking Billy Hamilton, who has walked just four times in 67 plate appearances and Peraza, who had walked once in 65 plate appearances.  Peraza’s scored Barnhart.  Joey Votto lined out to centerfield to end the inning.

Drew Storen started the seventh on the mound for the Reds.  He hit Baez with a pitch to start it.  Pinch hitter Jon Jay singled. When Hamilton tried to throw Baez out at third, Jay took second. Storen preserved the lead by striking out Albert Almora, getting Kyle Schwarber on a fly out to shallow left and Kris Bryant on a foul out to Barnhart.

Lorenzen entered in the eighth.  The Cubs put two on with no outs again.  After getting ahead of Rizzo 0-2, Lorenzen walked him.  Addison Russel singled but Heyward hit into a force play. Wilson Contreras popped to short and Baez forced Russel with a ground ball to third.

Hector Rondon allowed a walk to Votto in a scoreless ninth.

Wandy Peralta retired the Cubs in order in the top of the 10th.

Carl Edwards Jr. turned in a perfect 10th for the Cubs.

Wade Davis retired the Reds in order in the 11th for his fourth save, sending the Reds to an extra inning loss for the second day in a row.

First Rounder From 2013 Phillip Ervin Gets The Call

The call of a lifetime came last night for Phillip Ervin, the Reds top pick in the 2013 draft.

The Reds, like Jesse Winker earlier this month, brought up one of there future outfielders to get a taste of the Major Leagues.  The Reds are balancing back and forth between an eight man bullen, four-man bench and a seven-man bullpen with a five-man bench.

A pair of long starts and a day off gave the bullpen a rest.  When Tony Cingrani was placed on the disabled list after Thursday’s game, the Reds called Ervin.  Winker was sent back after the game last Sunday and must remain with Louisville for at least 10 days.  It was Ervin’s turn.

The 24-year old from LeRoy, Alabama was told after a 1-for-4 night against Scranton-Wilkes Barre that left him with a .286 average.  He hit three home runs and three doubles with the Bats, driving in 11 runs.

After getting the news, the call went to sweet home Alabama. His mother and brother drove up today but his father, Sampson, couldn’t get off his job at Boise Paper Mill.in Jackson, Alabama.

“He’s sad because he couldn’t get off work but my mom and little brother will be here, They’re excited.” said Ervin, who played three years at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, where Ervin became a pre-season All-American while studying sociology. “I’ve been so close. It finally, I achieved it. It was like a goal. I don’t know how to explain it. I’m all worked up right now.”

The Reds want to expose him to life in the big leagues after spending spring training the last two years with the Major Leaguers.

“Along the lines of what we did with Jesse Winker, it was an opportunity to break the ice a little bit,” Bryan Price said.  “Phil can get acclimated to the big leagues, get back together with the guys he spent spring training with.  It will be a bench role, maybe come off the bench and pinch hit, maybe get involved in a double switch.  For our club it gives us one more position player, as a pinch runner or usable bench piece. That;s valuable. It is valuable experience for him.  Maybe he will be like Jesse and get the opportunity to get his first hit.”\\

His numbers indicated his work that began in spring training for which he has earned the callup as a reward.

“He’s always been a good defender. He has good base running instincts. He’s been a successful base stealer,” Price said.  “He’s shown some power but its not about the power. It’s about putting consistent at bats together. That’s what he’s done so far. Phillip has shortened up his swing. I got a good report from Delino DeShields.”

Ervin got a chance to talk to Winker about his experience last week.

“I’m very happy for Winker,” Ervin said. “Winker went up there and just talking to him. It motivated me. I didn’t want to be over him too much. I just talked to him. He and I are good friends. I always wish the best for him.”

Ervin;s stay will likely be as short as Winker’s was but the 5‘10“ 205 pounder is going to enjoy the ride however long it is.

“I’m not thinking about it too much. I’m just here until they tell me I’m not. I’m going to enjoy it and have fun,” Ervin said.

Reds’ fans who follow the Dayton Dragons will notice Ervin’s resemblance to David Sappelt in terms of looks and stature.  Ervin spent the 2013 season in the Gem City, where he hit .237 with seven home runs and 68 RBI.  He stole 30 bases in 35 attempts that season and followed it up with 30 steals in 37 attempts the next year for Daytona and Pensacola.  He was slowed at the plate with a wrist injury in 2013.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Tony Cingrani To The Disabled List

After the 2-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles the Reds placed Tony Cingrani on the 10-day disabled list with a strained oblique.

"He felt it the other day," Bryan Price said.  "He didn't think it was anything but he made it known to the training staff today.  We got Dr. Kremchek involved.  There is a chance he could be back at the end of the 10 days, but we've seen these things last four to eight weeks. We'll just give him time off to see."

The Reds will announce a corresponding move on Friday.

Scott Feldman And Wade Miley Duel Orioles Score In The 10th

J.J. Hardy’s two-out single off Blake Wood scored Mark Trumbo in the top of the 10th to lift the Baltimore Orioles to a 2-1 win over the Reds.

Trumbo walked with one out and advanced to second on Jonathan Shoops slow roller to the mound.

Scott Feldman and Wade Miley hooked up in a pitching duel on a rainy night at Great American Ball Park.

Feldman, who pitched for the Orioles, the second half of the 2013 season, was stingy with hits and even when Baltimore got hits the Reds’ outfielders bailed him out.

"What will be over looked with the two losses, is we're getting better starting  pitching ," Bryan Price said. "We need this type of pitching to stay competitive in the division. It's unfortunate to waste a couple games like this but you know what, you look across and Jimenez threw a good game (on Wednesday). I looked across at Miley in the first inning, I said Miley was on. He kept the ball down in the zone. I've seen him goo. I knew the way Scott was pitching it would come down to a single run. You hate to lose but you have to play a good ballgame and we did."

Feldman retired the first five batters but Shoop hit his third home run of the season in the second inning.  He retired the next five until Manny Machado singled to right in the fourth inning.  The Reds shifted on Chris Davis putting thirdmaseman Eugenio Suarez where the secondbaseman usually stands.  Davis hit a soft line drive that Suarez gloved and dropped.  He threw to second to get Machado.  Zack Cozart’s relay appeared to get Davis who had stopped as Machado dived back to first.  After a discussion the umpires ruled that Suarez caught the ball and dropped it trying to double Machado off on the line drive.  Mark Trumbo singled to right but Scott Schebler threw Machado out at third.

"it was a tough game tonight," Feldman said. "We had a chance to win the series. The guys made some great plays tonight on defense. Unfortunately, Wade pitched a great game. I tried to pick up where Amir left off last night. As long as we keep pitching like this and playing good defense like this we'll have a good year."

Shoop's home run came off a curve ball that got too much of the plate according to Feldman.

"I had in my notes not to throw him a strike curve ball," Feldman said. "I was trying to expand (the strike zone) a little bit. He's an aggressive hitter. I just got too much of the plate."

J.J. Hardy hit a line drive to center that went over Billy Hamiton’s head.  The speedy Hamilton got to the ball, wheeled and fired to Cozart.  Cozart’s relay easily got Hardy at third.

Miley retired the first 11 Reds’ batters until Joey Votto unloaded his fifth home run over the centerfield fence.

Miley walked Suarez but he was erased on a double play.Miley faced one batter over the minimum through seven innings.

Raisel Iglesias replaced Feldman to start the eighth.  Feldman pitched seven innings, the second Reds’ pitcher to last seven in the series. He allowed one run on four hits,striking out four with no walks.

Suarez struck out looking, the fifth Reds batter to take a called third strike, to open the bottom of the eighth.  Cozart followed with a double for the Reds second hit. Miley struck out Schebler and Stuart Turner to tie his career-high with 11 strikeouts.

Buck Showalter had to make a National League decision.  Miley was due to lead off the ninth.  Does he pinch hit for Miley or with a low pitch count does he send his starter our for the ninth.

Trey Mancini batted for Miley, who pitched eight innings, allowing one run on two hits and a walk.

Iglesias pitched a scoreless eighth and struck out Mancini to start the ninth. He walked Hyun Soon Kim.  Iglesias struck out Adam Jones and Machado to send the game to the bottom of the ninth tied.

Darren O’Day started the ninth in a steady rain.  O’Day has a sidearm delivery/ He retired the Reds in order in the ninth.

Blake Wood took over for the Reds in the 10th. 

Brad Brach converted on his second save attempt, replacing Zach Britton, who is injured.

Scott Schebler and Zack Cozart Shift Lineup Spots

Manager Bryan Price moved Scott Schebler down a spot in the lineup and moved Zack Cozart up a spot.

Contrary to popular theory the reason wasn’t because Schebler is struggling at .170 and Cozart is hitting a cool. 405.

“With a lefty going, we just wanted to get a little more protection for Gino (Eugenio Suarez). If a right-hander was going, he’d be right back up there at sixth,” Price said.

Schebler’s average is below where he’d like it to be but five of his eight hits have been for extra bases, two doubles and three home runs..  He has driven in seven runs and hit homers in back-to-back days.

Schebler started slowly at the plate last season and in spring training this season.  He picked up the pace the last two weeks in Goodyear, like he did the second half of last season, taking over for Jay Bruce, when the later was traded to the New York Mets.

He hit .290 with eight home runs and 32 RBI in the last 55 games of the year. Schebler has been bothered by the shift. Twice he has tried to bunt on it and was successful the first time he did it.

“He has all the tools to be an outstanding major league player. I may have more confidence that he’ll be a great player than he does,” Price said.

Cozart is having another good start similar to what he did last season.

The shortstop has a home run and eight RBI but has also hit three triples to go along with his lofty .405 average.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Amir Garreet Spins A Gem But Ubaldo Jimenez Shuts Down Reds

Rookie Amir Garrett and veteran Ubaldo Jimenez hooked up in a pitching duel at Great American Ball Park
Jimenez is in his 13th year of Major League Baseball.  Garrett came into the contest with less than 13 innings (12 2/3).  Youth impressed but Jimenez was brilliant in the Baltimore Orioles’ 2-0 win.

Garrett's father, Darrow, 53,  missed his first two starts with heart problems.  He was able to fly in from California to watch his son pitch in the Major Leagues for the first time tonight.  In spite of the loss, Garrett was very impressive.

"Of all the accolades we have laid on him, the one that stands out the most is he competes every moment he is on the mound," Bryan Price said.

Garrett backs that up by drawing his initial "A" on the mound.

"When I go out there it is my mound," Garrett said.  "Whether it is home or away, It's my mound."

The Orioles bunched three hits to get on the scoreboard first.  Mark Trumbo singled sharply to left to lead off the second inning.  One out later, Wellington Castillo slashed a double inside the thirdbase line.  Jonathan Shoop singled sharply to center.  Garrett struck out J.J. Hardy and Jimenez to end the inning.

The Reds got a single from Eugenio Suarez in the bottom of the inning. Zack Cozart walked with two outs.  Tucker Barnhart hit a smash inside the firstbase bag.  Chris Davis got a glove on it.but didn’t come up with it cleanly.  It was originally ruled an error but after a poll of the pressbox and a video review it was changed to the Reds’ second hit.  Jimenez escaped when Garrett grounded into a 6-4 force play.

Garrett got into trouble in the fifth.  Singles by Hardy and Trey Mancini in front of a walk to Adam Jones loaded the bases for Manny Machado. His fly to center scored Hardy for the Orioles second run of the game. Garrett minimized the damage by striking out Trumbo to end the inning. It was his ninth strikeout, matching his total from his previous two games.

Buck Showalter the Orioles manager put it this way of the pitcher, who played college basketball at St. John's University.

"I think he pitched the right sport," Showalter said.  "His change up has made the difference.  He has a little cross fire action. I think he realized how important the change up is."

Garrett struck out the side in the sixth, giving him 12 for the game and forcing LaRosa’s Pizza chain to order more cheese.  Jimenez singled for the seventh Baltimore hit but Mancini hit into a 5-4-3 double play as Garrett completed seven innings, his new high. Garrett walked one on the night.

Price concurred Garrett's change up has made a huge difference with his success at this level.

"The change up has gone another level since spring training," Price said. "I think he got a feel for it in two bullpen sessions."

Garrett believes in it now.

"I knew I had it the first game. I had to trust it," Garrett said. "I don't put limits on myself.  I am keep the ball at the bottom of the strike zone, even if it's hit."

Michael Lorenzen took over in the eighth inning and pitched a scoreless inning..

Jimenez lasted 7 2/3 innings.  He walked Billy Hamilton with one out in the eighth. Hamilton stole second but Jose Peraza grounded out to send Hamilton to third.  Orioles manager Buck Showalter summoned lefty Donnie Hart to face Joey Votto.  Votto fouled out to the leftfielder, Mancini.

Wandy Peralta, still with rookie status, struck out the side in the top of the ninth.  Lorenzen had one strike out.  The Reds fanned 16 batters, the two Reds rookies racked up 15 of them.

The Orioles regular closer Zach Britton, a 2016 All-Star is out with injury.  Brad Brach came in to close.

Perfect Innning Rare Storen Does It

A rare baseball anomaly occurred in the ninth inning of the Reds 9-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles and it was not the winning performance by the ageless 40-year old Bronson Arroyo.

Drew Storen turned in a rare nine-pitch, three strikeout inning.  Many would say that a three-pitch, three-out inning would be better.

“As a bullpen guy it is something that you aim for,” Storen said. “We don’t get to throw a perfect game so it is something to shoot for.  I was surprised it was so rare.”

Actually, a nine-pitch, three strikeout inning has been done 56 times.  There have been 296 no-hitters thrown in the modern era.

Three Reds pitchers have done it before Storen.  Hod Eller in a1917, Rob Dibble in 1989 and Carlos Contreras in 2014.

“To see only three other guys did it, it is really special,” Storen said. “Between getting three outs on three pitches or three strikeouts on nine pitches, I’d take the strikeouts any time I can get them.”

Mesoraco Almost Ready

Devin Mesoraco completed back-to-back nine inning games at catcher in Pensacola.  The 2014 All-Star who has been limited to 39 games the last two years, cleared on of the hurdles that has been keeping him from joining the Reds.

“He came through it good,” Bryan Price said.  “He has the day off today. It’s the day we determine whether he needs any finishing touches or polish. “

Mesoraco is hitting .143 with a home run in Pensacola.

“We want to know how his at bats are, not necessarilyhis batting average,” Price said. “We want to know how he’s seeing the ball. We will take inot account the opinion of Pat Kelly (the Pensacola manager).”

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Adam Duvall Grounds Birds Bronson Arroyo Back In The Win Column

Adam Duvall gave Bronson Arroyo plenty of breathing room and Arroyo took a deep breath and pitched deeper in a game and more effectively than he did in his first two starts in the Reds 9-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles..

The first grand slam of Duvall's career and a first inning sacrifice fly tied Duvall's personal best for RBI in a game.  He also drove in five runs against the Cardinals on September 26 at St. Louis.

 “It seemed like every time I came up the bases were loaded," Duvall said..  "I was just trying to get the ball in the air to get the run home.  I think it was a change up down and in.  It wasn’t a bad pitch really. I just had two strikes I was just battling.  I was able to get the barrel to it.”

The victim of the big inning this time was Baltimore starter, Kevin Gausman, the Orioles top draft choice in 2012.

 “I don’t think it was easy hitting. He threw the ball pretty good, but there were a lot of guys getting the barrel to the ball. We were just stringing hits together,” Duvall said.

Billy Hamilton opened the game with a single.  Jose Peraza drew his first walk in 52 plate appearances.  Joey Votto hit hard sinking line drive that dived in front of rightfielder Mark Trumbo. Hamilton had to hold up and stopped at third to load the bases with no outs.  Adam Duvall hit a sacrifice fly to left.  Zack Cozart singled to bring Peraza home.

Arroyo, at 40, is coming off two subpar starts after missing 2 1/2 years with shoulder and elbow surgery.

 ‘You have no idea how thrilled I am for Bronson. One of my favorite relationships I had with a player. We always stayed in touch," Bryan Price said. "In the off season when he was here and in season and off season after he left. I really value him as a person. It is a relationship the transcends the coach/player relationship.”

The Orioles got one run back in the second inning. With two outs Wellington Castillo hit a double.  He scored when Jonathan Schoop’s bloop hit fell between Cozart and Duvall.

The Reds exploded in the third inning.

Hamilton singled again and moved up when Peraza was hit by a pitch.  Votto walked.  Duvall emptied the bases with his first career grand slam, his fourth home run of the season.

Cozart walked and Scooter Gennett, who was a late replacement for Eugenio Suarez, singled.  Tucker Barnhart hit a double. Cozart scored easily but Gennett was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.

Votto followed a two-out double by Peraza with his fourth home run in the third off Vidal Nuno..

Adam Jones hit a two-run home run off Arroyo in the fifth that still left the Reds with a six-run cushion.

Arroyo finished five innings, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks.  He struck out four.

The two bad starts put doubts in Arroyo's mind about the comeback.

“This games tough man," Arroyo said.. "It gets you down sometimes.  I felt a little stronger today. I was a little crisper than the last two starts for sure.  I feel like I should be able to get to the seventh or eighth. I was winded at around 80 pitches.  I was winded after 80 pitches. I feel like I used to feel at 100-105.”

“There were a lot of questions if he could make it back. He did and got a win and he threw the ball much better than he did the first two starts,.” Price said.

 Blake Wood, Cody Reed, Tony Cingrani and Drew Storen each pitched a scoreless inning to close it out.

The Reds are missing four starting pitchers at this moment, although they expect Rookie Davis to come back soon.  Brandon Finnegan can't throw for three weeks.  Homer Bailey and Anthony DeSclafani are out until at least June 1.

Arroyo is unsure whether he can come back to be effective enough to help the team long term.

“It’s been a grind. It still is," Arroyo said. "The game has always felt like a grind at some point but you always knew that two out of three times you would get a quality start. I want to give the team the best chance to win ballgames. That’s the way it has to be. This can’t be ego driven. I think Bryan and myself are taking one day at a time.I was encouraged tonight. I was able to get outs when I really needed but I’d still like to get deeper in the ballgame.”

Reds Option Sal Romano Recall Lisalverto Bonilla

Sal Romano was sent back to Louisville to find home plate, Bryan Price is confident Romano will come back to the Reds this season.

Lisalverto Bonilla, who the Reds claimed off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates the first day of spring training, was recalled to work out of the bullpen.

The series of short starts have kept the Reds scrambling in the bullpen, which has been very effective in 12 of the 13 games so far.  The Reds need a long start to keep the bullpen fresh.

Tim Adleman did his part with four good innings following Romano on Sunday.  The big righthander, who pitched well for the team the second half of last year, will start on Friday against the Chicago Cubs.

“Our rotation is as fluid as any position we have on the team,” Bryan Price said. “We will see who slots in for Saturday.  The pitcher is here now.  I don’t see Rookie Davis’ bullpen coming in time to make that start.”

Adleman and Romano pitched on the same day and Adleman had the better innings.

“We needed bullpen help.  Adleman can’t be ready to go today. Robert Stephenson has two days off after throwiing 50 pitches. Adleman threw the ball very well. I have great confidence Sal will be back here during the season.  Adleman gained arm strength over the course of spring training. He had better command in Louisville.  Sal’s start suggested he did need a little bit of polish. Adleman was throwing quality strikes. To some degree it was head-to-head.  The next time we see Sal he’ll be better. What we saw wasn’t representative of what Sal can do.”

Bonilla last pitched in the Major Leagues for the Texas Rangers.  He was 3-0 with three starts and a 3.05 ERA.  Bonilla also made two appearances out of the bullpen. He missed the 2015 season, recovering from elbow surgery. Bonilla spent last season in the Dodgers minor league system.

“I’m really comfortable pitching out of the bullpen,” Bonilla said through interpretor Julio Morillo.  “”It’s really big for me being here after three years. I’ve always been positive.  I hope to show what I can do so I can stay.”

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Reds Growing Pains Show In Sal Romano's Debut

Rookie Sal Romano’s first start as a Red was a short, wild ride that led to a 4-2 loss to the Milwaukee Brwers on Easter Sunday.

Romano was all over the place in his Major League debut.  He attacked the strike zone for 20 innings in Goodyear during spring training but was sent to Louisville to work on his change up.

 “It was overwhelming. It was a dream come true," Romano said.. " There is no describing how I felt walking out to the mound.  I’m not known to walk people. I have to keep pounding the strike zone. At least I’ve got this out of the way. Being my first game I was pumped.”

The 23-year old, who has just two starts above Double A, went to a 3-2 count on all five hitters he faced in the first inning. It took 31 pitches to throw a scoreless frame in which he walked two. Romano gave up a double and hit a batter in the second inning but pitched out of it.

"We knew exactly what we were doing with these young pitchers," Bryan Price said. "As the starting pitchers mature and grow, we'll start getting deeper in games with better starts."

Arismendy Alcantara got the start at secondbase to stay sharp and give Jose Peraza a rest.  He dropped a foul ball hit down the rightfield line by Ryan Braun for an error.  Braun didn’t reach base but it forced Romano to throw more pitches.  In the third inning Alcantara bobbled a ground ball from Eric Thames, leading off the inning.  Braun reached the rightfield bleachers with a home run.  Travis Shaw hit a long home run to go back-to-back on his 27th birthday. It was Braun’s fourth home run and put him ahead of Cecil Cooper for second on the Brewers all-time RBI list with 945.  Shaw’s blast was his second of the season.

The Reds threatened Wily Peralta, the Brewers’ starter in the first inning.  Billy Hamilton walked but Manny Pina threw Hamilton out stealing.  Alcantara walked and went to third on Joey Votto’s single.  Adam Duvall hit a smash headed for leftfield but Shaw made a stop on his knees to start a double play to get out of the inning.

Peralta retired eight in a row after that but walked Duvall two out into the fourth   Eugenio Suarez belted his third home run of the season.

Tim Adleman, called up this morning from Louisville, replaced Romano.  He gave up a home run to Thames hit his fifth home run of this series and sixth of the season leading off the seventh.

Adleman pitched four innings with the one run allowed on two hits, no walks and five strikeouts..

Peralta worked sis innings, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks.

Jacob Barnes took over for the Brewers.

Barnes, Coreay Knebel and Neftali Feliiz limited the Reds to two hits over the last three innings.

Sal Romano Makes First Major League Start Against The Milwaukee Brewers

The Reds recalled Sal Romano and Tim Adleman from Triple A Louisville this morning.

Jesse Winker, who had his first Major League hit on Saturday, was optioned back to Louisville. The Reds placed Brandon Finnegan on the 10-day disabled list with a strained .

“It’s been reported as a Lat strain. It’s not, it’s a Trap, a Trapezius major or minor, one of the two, pick out which one you like the best,’ Bryan Price said. “The reason I say this is that Johnny Cueto had a Lat strain back in 2013 and it was a tenuous injury, something that was hard to get under wraps. With this particular injury with Brandon we can realistically expect him to be back here in a few weeks. But, it’s not going to be one or two weeks and he’ll be back in the mix. At least two to three weeks of rest. This is something they can re-scan and check on the healing and decide if he can start throwing”.

Romano is starting in place of Rookie Davis, who was hit with a pitch on his right forearm.

Adleman will work out fo the bullpen for now.  The Reds have a choice between Adleman, Cody Reed and Robert Stephenson to pitch when Finnegan’s turn comes up against the Cubs on Friday.

“Right now, Sal’s here to start and Tim’s (Adleman) here to pitch out of the bullpen,” Price said.. “That’s how we line up. We know that we have Cody and Robert here as well that are big candidates. We don’t know what’s happening with Rookie and whether he’ll be able to slot back in when he’s supposed to come off on the 22nd. So, there’s a lot of things up in the air. Most of the candidates that could slot into the rotation are already here. We’ve just to figure out what our best group looks like and how to slot them in there and continue to get the starters/relievers enough regular work to warrant them staying here. That will be challenge.”

Romano statistically had a better spring than Amir Garrett and Rookie Davis but he was sent to Louisville to work on his change up.  He pitched 13 innings in two starts at Louisville, allowing one run on 11 hits, one walk and eight strikeouts.  In Romano’s last start against Toledo, he pitched seven scoreless innings.

“Sal threw 12 to 13 change ups in his last start,” Price said. “We had a need but we think he is ready for this.”

Adleman allowed two runs over seven innings in his only start at Louisville.  He allowed four hits and a walk, while striking out six.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Jesse Winker's First Hit Get Reds Back On Track

Jesse Winker’s first career hit put the Reds ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers in a 7-5 win.

Pinch hitting for winning pitcher Raisell Iglesias, Winker hit a double that bounded away from Brewers leftfielder Ryan Braun to score Scooter Gennett and Zack Cozart.

Brandon Finnegan started for the Reds but couldn’t get the ball over the plate.  The lefty walked Jonathan Villar and Eric Thames to start the game.  Braun flied to right and Finnegan picked Villar off secondbase.  But he walked Domingo Santana in front of a double by Hernan Perez, who had three hits.

"He had a little bit of sensation in his shoulder from his last start," Bryan Price said. "He went through his progressions during the week and couldn't duplicate it. He was ready to go.  He won't make his next start."

Finnegan felt it from the first pitch. "My velo was down 10 mph and I couldn't throw the ball where I wanted to. I wanted to grind through it. I clearly didn't have it. We needed to get some innings out of our starters. I talked to Doc. He said it's nothing to be concerned about. Just work on it to get better."

Robert Stephenson replaced Finnegan in the top of the second.  It was later learned that Finnegan had a strained left lat.

The Reds erased the lead with three runs in the bottom ot second against Milwaukee’s starter Zach Davies.

Scott Schebler and Davies battled for 11 pitches to a 3-2 count.  Schebler hit his third home of the season to the seats in right.  Eugenio Suarez followed with a double.  Zack Cozart hit his second triple of the series to score Suarez and scored on a weird 3-1-4 putout of Tucker Barnhart.  Barnhart hit a slow ground ball to Thames charging from first. It tipped off Thames glove and picked up by Davies on his way to cover first.  Davies flipped to secondbaseman Villar covering first.

Thames hit his third home run of the series off Stephenson in the third to even the score at three.

Stephenson left after three innings, allowing the one run on three hits.

Raisel Iglesias took over. He retired the side in order in the fifth.

The Reds threatened in the fourth.  Schebler walked and moved up on Cozart’s single. Winker was on deck to bat for Iglesias but Barnhart struck out to end the inning.

Iglesias went back out for the sixth frame.  Perez led off the inning with his third hit of the game, a double that was reviewed and changed to a home run, his first of the season to put the Brewers ahead 4-3.

The Reds snatched the lead off reliever Carlos Torres in the sixth.

Suarez opened the inning with a triple. Gennett, who was a Brewer until the last day of spring training drilled a single to center to tie the game.  Cozart walked.  Barnhart’s sacrifice put the runners in scoring position with two outs.  Winker, then got his chance, hitting a line drive to left that took a left turn on Braun allowing Cozart to score easily. Winker pulled into second with a double for his first career hit. He struck out in his first at bat on Friday.

" My first at bat yesterday we were losing (10-4). It was late in the game (last out), Winker said. "I took the time to look around and soaked it in. You only get your first at bat one time.  I couldn't tell where they was sitting but I was walking to the plate and locked eyes on my mom and dad.  It was surreal. Today I tole myself whenever I get in the game, I'm going to work. I came up I just wanted to hit the ball hard. I got jammed but it worked."

Winker's grandmother and uncle drove here last night from Buffalo, New York.  His grandmother had never seen him play as a professional.  He was on the Louisville roster last season but was hurt when they went the Bats went to Buffalo.

Winker was brought up to give the Reds mor options off the bench.  Finnegan's problem may influence whether he stays or goes back down to Louisville.  Gennett know he's coming off the bench but Winker needs to play everyday.

"i'd be lying if I said it didn't add a little to beat my former teammates," Gennett said. "They beat up on us pretty good yesterday so it was nice to get the win and get us going again.  I've learned when you get those opportunities you have to capitalize."

Thames struck again.his fifth home run of the year and fourth of the series cut the Reds’ lead in half.  It was Thames first career multi-home run game.  Thames played 181 games for Toronto and Seattle in 2011 and 2012.  He went to Korea and played three years averaging 40 home runs a season and hitting .381 in 2015.

The Reds got the run back off Jared Hughes. Votto doubled to start the inning. Schebler singled to send Votto to third. Gennett doubled to reestablish the two-run cushion.

Michael Lorenzen, who was roughed up Friday night, pitched a scoreless ninth for his first career save.

Travis Shaw Follows Father In Baseball Career In Cincinnati

Travis Shaw used to drive to Great American Ball Park for Reds’ games as a high school student at Washington Court House High School.

Even better than that he used to visit the clubhouse at Riverfront Stadium when he was six. His father Jeff was a Reds’ reliever, a setup man for Jeff Brantley.

He better remembers going to Dodger Stadium after his father was traded by Jim Bowden before the All-Star break in 1998.

Shaw didn’t exactly follow in his father’s foot steps in that he became an infielder, breaking in with the Boston Red Sox on May 8, 2015.  He hit .270 with 13 home runs in five separate tours with the Red Sox.  After his first full season in which Shaw hit .242 with 16 home runs and 71 RBI in 145 games, he was traded to Milwaukee for Tyler Thornburg.

Shaw is the Brewers new starting thirdbaseman and cleanup hitter.

“This is the first time, I’ve stepped into this stadium since high school,” said Shaw, who played baseball at Kent State University for three years.  ‘I’ll have a lot of family and friends here.”

Young Shaw, 26, has moved from Washington Court House to Ft. Myers, Florida where the Red Sox hold spring training.

“I still go back for holidays,” Shaw said.  “This is the first year I’ve lived in Florida.  My dad used to commute from Washington Court House.”  It is 77 miles one way.

Jeff was drafted with Cleveland’s first pick in the 1986 January draft out of Washington Court House High and Cuyahoga Community College. 

Jeff made his Major League debut for Cleveland in Toronto on April 30, 1990 exactly two weeks after Travis was born.  Just 25 years later his son broke in with the Red Sox on the same field.

Jeff was cut by both Cleveland and Montreal and was signed as a free agent. He revived his career when he signed with the Reds in 1996.  He saved four games that season but was mainly used to set up saves for his good friend Jeff Brantley, the Cowboy, now a Reds’ broadcaster.

When Brantley left the Reds after the 96 season, Shaw took over as closer and saved a National League-high 42 games.  He saved 48 the next season and was the Reds’ All-Star selection with 23 saves when he was traded on July 4 to the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Shaw saved another 25 game with them.

“I didn’t go to a ton of games in Cincinnati because I was only six and seven years old,” Travis Shaw said.  “I saw more games in Los Angeles when I was a little older.”

His dad pitched for the Dodgers, retiring after his second All-Star season with LA in 2001. He saved 43 games that year, leaving the game with 203 saves in his 12 year career.

His child prodigy was excited to come to the National League Central Division.

“It’s nice being in Milwaukee with games in Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Chicago.  It is a lot easier for my family to come out,” Shaw said.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Brewers Get To Reds Bullpen Reds Lose Two In A Row

Milwaukee ended a nice streak by Cincinnati relievers with a four-run sixth and seventh inning rally that put the Brewers ahead 10-4.  The Reds lost two consecutive games for the first time this season.

The Reds bullpen had not allowed a run over 20 1 innings when a ground out by Jesus Aguilar scored Manny Pina, who singled for his third hit of the game.  Orlando Arcia followed with a single off Blake Wood.  Wood balked after Eric Thames flew out to right. Jonathan Villar doubled over the head of Patrick Kivlehan to put the Brewers ahead.  Wandy Peralta relieved Wood and Eric Thames hit his third home run of the season and second in two days to give the Brewers the big lead.

 “We had a hit batter, a two-strike hit, another two-strike hit and a two strike home run and they took the momentum right away from us," Wood said.. " Woody looked so good against Santana.  He attacked the zone. I can’t complain about his approach.”

The Brewers broke the game wide open with three more in the seventh against Michael Lorenzen, who struck out Santana to start the inning but he hit Broxton with a pitch that opened the flood gates.  Manny Pina doubled, his fourth hit, on a sinking line drive that Billy Hamilton couldn’t reach. It leaked past Hamilton for a double.  Pinch hitter Nick Franklin hit a tripled and Thames to score Franklin.

Veterans Zack Cozart and Joey Votto homered off Milwaukee Brewers’ starter Tommy Millone to build a 3-0 lead..

Scott Feldman finished a streak of nine straight scoreless innings after three innings.

 “Feldman got his pitch count up but he battled," Bryan Price said.. " That 3-0 lead didn’t feel like it was safe.”

The Brewers got singles from Travis Shaw and Domingo Santana, who were driven home on a double by Keon Broxton.

Eugenio Suarez singled with one out in the second inning and trotted home on a homerun by Cozart.  Votto hit his the next inning with the bases empty.

Feldman pitched out of a bases loaded, high leverage situation, in the fifth.  After back-to-bacl walks to Ryan Braun and Shaw, Feldman got Santana to hit into a 6-4-3 double play.

 “On a night like this the best thing I can take was I kept the team in the game.  I didn’t have good command at all," Feldman said.

Feldman turned the game over to Wood after five innings, allowing two runs on four hits but walking an unacceptable five batters.  He struck out three.

Millone left after five innings in favor of Jhan Marinez.

Cody Reed mopped up with two scoreless frames.  He was unique in getting Pina out.

"It was a good opportunity to get Cody in there," Price said. "In a game like this those are the kind of things you need to take from it. Cody was coming off a perfect three-inning performance.  Alcantara got his first hit. We got Jesse Winker into a game."

JWinker made his Major League debut.  He struck out against Oliver Drake.

Sal Romano To Start Sunday The House Of The Rising Guns Complete

Sal Romano will make his Major League debut on Sunday against the Milwaukee Brewers.  Manager Bryan Price told the press in his daily briefing that Romano will be called up to pitch in place of Rookie Davis, who was struck on the right forearm by a pitch in his last start.

The Reds brought up outfielder Jesse Winker this afternoon and sent down Barrett Astin, who pitched two scoreless innings on Thursday night.

Winker gives the Reds a five-man bench.  He is likely to be sent down to make room for Romano.

Romano worked 20 innings in six games this spring, allowing seven earned runs on 20 hits.  He walked three and struckout 25.  He was the only member of the House of the Rising Guns that included roomates, Cody Reed, Robert Stephenson and Amir Garrett, sent to the minor leagues.

They will all be with the Reds together on Sunday.

Since the season started, Romano made two starts at Louisville.  He pitched 13 innings and allowed one earned run for a 1.38 ERA. Romano walked one and struck out eight..

Jesse Winker Joins Reds Against Milwaukee Tonight


The Reds top outfield prospect, Jessee Winker, will join the Reds tonight when they play the Milwaukee Brewers in the second game of a four-game series.

Winker had a good spring training camp, hitting .302 with two home runs and six RBI in 24 games but was optioned to Louisville on March 24. The team elected to start the season with eight relievers and just four bench players.

Barrett Astin was recalled on Thursday and pitched two scoreless innings against the Brewers.  He was optioned to Louisville.

Winker is hitting .323 with five RBI in eight games at Louisville to start the season.

Winker was the Reds compensation round in 2012.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Bronso Arroyo Better But Two Brewers Homers Ruins His Night

Bronson Arroyo went deeper in the game but two home runs did him in as the Reds’ four-game winning streak was stopped by Jimmy Nelson and his Milwaukee Brewers, 5-1.

Arroyo is not discouraged but would like to see improvement quickly.

 “It’s only been two starts," Arroyo said.. "To be honest with you it is uncharted territory. I don’t know if I am going to stay like this the rest of the year or if I’m going to get stronger.  I felt stronger today than I did the last time out. I hope it keeps progressing in that direction.”

‘I know Bryan’s  not discouraged as yet bit baseball, every sport at this level you get paid to produce man.  It’s got to get better a little quicker.”

“If I go out there honestly the next two times and still feel like things are not quite crisp. If the next two times out if I don’t see something a little crisper to keep us in the ballgame maybe I’m on a dead end street. I’m not sure.?

The Reds got to Nelson right away with a Billy Hamilton, “Billy Ball” run.  The speedster opened the game with a single off Nelson.  He stole secondbase on the first pitch to Jose Peraza.  Hamilton raced to third on Peraza’s fly out to rightcenter and scored on Joey Votto’s fly to left.

Arroyo blanked the Brewers for the first two innings, retiring six straight batters.  Manny Pina and Orlando Arcia singled to open the third.  Nelson bunted them up a base.  Jonathan Villar grounded out to Votto at first as Pina scored.  Eric Thames singled to plate Arcia.  Ryan Braun hit his third home run of the season to send the Brewers up 4-1.

 “I feel like I have less room for error," Arroyo said.  "I feel like I don’t have enough to finish guys. My velo obviously isn’t as good as it used to be. It is hard anyway in the big leagues.  That’s a little bit of a problem. I can get into counts to keep guys off the bases with walks but if I keep giving up big innings like I did the last two times out it is going to be hard to keep the team in the game. I have always been a guy that gives up fly balls and a lot of home runs. I felt better than I did in St. Louis I hope it continues to progress.”

Thames homered in the seventh, his second to extend the lead.

 “Bronson is 2 1/2 years removed from competing," Bryan Price said..  "He had six Cactus League games he needs time to settle in.  He was better than he was in St. Louis.”

Nelson turned in his second quality start of the season.  Hamilton’s run was the only blemish on his record. He navigated seven innings on five hits. He didn’t walk a batter.

Zack Cozart was the only Reds’ hitter fo solve him with three singles.  Peraza had a meaningless single in the third.

Nelson allowed the Chicago Cubs one run in six innings of his last start.  It was a no-decision for him.  The Brewers won 3-2 in 11 innings.

 “Nelson was really good. He was pounding his fastball for strikes with good location,” Price said.

Drew Storen and Blake Astin continued the Reds’ bullpen dominance with three scoreless innings. two by Astin.  After having one of baseball's worst bullpens this time last year, the Reds pen has  In 2016 the Reds bullpen allowed a Major League Baseball high of 103 home runs allowed.  This season they have allowed none in 10 games.

Blake Wood Leads Reds Through The Forest

Sam LeCure became a fan favorite in Cincinnati in spite of role the thrives in anonymity.

Middle relief pitchers are like offensive lineman, the only time they get noticed is when the quarterback gets sacked.  They can save the team in “high leverage” situations which used to be known a jams. They can keep a team in the game when they are behind.  They can prevent a team from closing the gap when the team is ahead.

They don’t get the fame or the paycheck that comes with it. They are the roster spot that teams use to save money.  Yet any winning team has one or two guys that are essential to winning in that role.

The Reds have Blake Wood. 

It isn’t compliceated for the formet third tound draft pick of the Kansas City Royals in 2006 out of Georgia Tech University.

“I’m just a guy who is going out there and try to get outs,” Wood said. “I don’t think anybody in the bullpen has a role that they are necessarily locked into. To see the way Bryan is using guys different than convention you might say. It keeps everybody ready to go. We can be in there at any time. Whether its the third inning of the ninth, I’ll be ready to go and do my job.”

Wood made 51 appearances in 2010 and 55 in  2011 for the Royals and had one save. He had “Tommy John” surgery and missed all of 2012.  He was picked up on waivers by the Indinas and got into nine big league games in 2013 and 2014.  Pittsburgh signed Wood to a minor league contract in 2015.  He spent the entire season at Indianapolis where he was an International League All-Star as a closer and saved a league-high 29 games.

The Reds in search of a closer signe Wood to a minor league contract for the 2016 season on a recommendation from the Reds’ Triple A manager Delino DeShields.

Wood didn’t win the closer’s job that opened after Aroldis Chapman was traded to the New York Yankees.  The Reds chose J.J. Hoover instead after Wood was hit hard in spring training..  Wood was 6-5 with one save in 70 games. Wood has come five games so far pitched 4 2/3 innings, allowing one run on five hits.  He pitched two scoreless innings against St. Louis and a pair of one batter, scoreless performances in Pittsburgh.

“He is Mr. Everything,” Price said. “Dusty had a term for it that he used with Sam LeCure that I can’t think of off the top of my head.  He can make a spot start, he can come in the middle or late in the game. Woody is a guy that gets lefties and righties out.  He has really, really good stuff. He’s durable enough to throw two or two plus innings. Whether coming in the middle of the game or late in the game, I never see a demeanor change.”

Last season Wood inherited bases loaded situations three times and stranded all nine base runners.  It is a job that is under appreciated in the baseball marketplace.

“The market is going to determine how much money you’re worth,” Wood said. “As a middle reliever, you’re trying to get to a spot where you’re used in high leverage situations. That’s what every body wants to do, get put in close games, more often and obviously perform.  There are a lot of factors to determine them, whether you’re on a winning or losing team, more so than like a starting pitcher or a guy who is going to play every day. It will be interesting to see how the market changes with the way bullpens are being used now.  Guys are used more in multiple innings. You’re not going to see as many saves or holds which traditionally what pays people in arbitration especially.”

Wood likes being used in multiple roles.

“I like that. It’s kind of like the utility guy on the bench. I’m like the utility guy in the bullpen,” Wood said. “They can put me anywhere. Hopefully, they feel comfortable putting me in any situation. I enjoy coming in with guys on base and trying to get out of it. It definitely pumps me up. Those three times I came in with bases loaded. I love that.”

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Rookie Battery Aids In Reds' Win Michael Lorenzen And Adam Duvall Provide Power

Rookie Davis will never forget Daniel Nava or that his first game resulted in a 7-4 Reds’ victory over the visiting Philadelphia Phillies.

Davis made his Major League debut and Nava nearly ruined it.  After Davis started his career by striking out Cesar Hernandez, Nava launched a 0-1 pitch into right field seats.

The last person to see Nava on the field before he triumphantly returned to the dugout was Stuart Turner, former gas station attendant at Turner Conoco in Eunice, Louisiana, who also made his debut as a catcher.

It was the only time in Reds’ modern history that a rookie pitcher and catcher made their initial appearance in the same game.  It has happened before, the last being for the Washington Nationals in 2008 when Shairon Martis was the starting pitcher and Luke Montz was the catcher.

'A couple pitches beat me in that game. I'll look at the video. Ahead of the hitter 1-2, I have to make a better pitch than that," Davis said.  "I would have loved to have eaten up more innings than that as well. Overall the way the team stepped in and the team rallied, it was special to me for my debut."

Davis was a tougher critic than his manager.

"I am happy with his (Davis) approach. He attacked the zone," Price said. "He got hurt in counts that he was ahead.  His quality of his pitch when he is ahead in the count will have to improve but this is his first outing. A lot of things went well for Rookie. I think he's going to do just fine."

Eugenio Suarez evened the score with a double off Phillies’ starter Clay Buchholz. Scott Schebler got him to third with a ground out and Cozart delivered the tying run with a sacrifice fly.

Nava struck again with a two-run home run off Davis in the third.  Odubel Herrera doubled and scored on a pitch in the dirt that got away from Turner.  Davis made a rookie mistake by not covering home.

Davis left the game after three innings, allowing four earned runs on five hits and two walks. He struck out four.  Davis narrowly missed a home run in his first Major League at bat with a double off the leftfield wall.

"I saw a good pitch. I broke my bat on it. I didn't get as much good wood on it," Davis said. "It was good to get that first hit out of the way."

Rookie Wandy Peralta, who appeared in 10 games last season, shut down the Phillies in the fourth.

The Reds rallied and Turner contributed.

Adam Duvall singled and advanced to third on Suarez second hit of the game. Schebleer walked to load the bases.  Cozart singled to drive in his second run of the game.  Turner’s deep fly to right produced his first career RBI and allowed Schebler to advance to third. Schebler scored on Scooter Gennett’s pinch hit ground out.

Cody Reed walked four in two innings but also coaxed a pair of double play grounders to extricate the Reds from the innings, unscored upon.  Reed got his first Major League win. After going 0-7 last season. It was a unique way to get the win for a player, who will be a starter down the road.

'A first win is a first win," Reed said, knowing he could have pitched better.

Turner also helped Reed by catching Andrew Knapp off second on a back pick with Freddie Galvis at the plate.  Knapp got too far off. Instead of throwing to one base or the other.  Turner didn't get excited and ran at the runner to make him commit.

"I felt he was middle, middle, if I'd have thrown to second or third, I think he could have got back," said Truner, playing his first game above Double A.  "I tried to stay under control.. I tried not to panic. I broke out the quarterback stepping up in the pocket."

It was a strange path but it showed that heroics aren't the only path to victory.

With a four-man bench and with Michael Lorenzen pitching last night, Bryan Price sent the reliever to the plate to bat for Reed.  Lorenzen made a genius out of Price by belting a home run off Adam Morgan in the sixth.

"We talked about it. Jim Riggleman and I. If there was a runner on base (Patrick), Kivlehan would have hit but we had already used Gennett. It made sense to burn Lorenzen with the bases empty. He came through."

Lorenzen played outfield at Cal State Fullerton and pitching was secondary. He would have been drafted as an outfielder too. He was the first Reds' pitcher to hit a pinch hit home run since Micah Owings did it in 2009 against St. Louis.

"Baseball is fun to me. I love it," Lorenzen said. "Use me. You need me in the field. Use me. I take care of myself physically and mentally to play 162 games. However you want to use me, I'm ready. To me its the way everyone should be. I've talked to Bryan about using me as a hitter and using me wherever he wants me. He knows that he can use me however he wants."

Jose Peraza singled and Duvall crushed his first home run of the season.

Drew Storen, the Reds’ free agent, finished off the Phillies for his first save for the Reds.