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, July 23, 2017

Sal Romano Hooks Marlins Behind Three Home Runs

Sal Romano handled the powerful Miami Marlins for six innings as his teammates hit three home runs to salvage the final game of an awful homestand, 6-3

Romano allowed three hits, including catcher A.J. Ellis’ second home run, the only run scored off him. He walked one while pounding the strike zone for seven strikeouts against a team with three batters that have 20 or more home runs.

Tom Koehler, the Marlin’s starter, battled the Reds hard for four innings.  Koehler hit Scott Schebler with a pitch in the second inning. Tucker Barnhart walked.  Romano moved them up a base with a sacrifice bunt.  The first of Billy Hamilton’s three hits scored Schebler but Barnhart was cut down by Giancarlo Stanton’s throw home.  The Reds argued to no avail that Ellis blocked the plate but the out at home ended the inning.

Romano pitched around two hits and a walk in the first three innings and retired seven batters in a row until Ellis lined a home run to leftfield with two outs in the fourth. 

Dee Gordan let off the game with a single and stole his 35th base right away.  He advanced to third with one out on Giancarlo Stanaton's ground out.

 “The first inning he had a rough speed guy on and he was able to make pitches on Yellich and Bour," Bryan Price said.  "We stressed using the change and he did that today.”

 After the Ellis home run, Romao retired the last seven batter he faced.

“Sal got through the lineup in the third and fourth pretty quickly.   That was key for him.”

“It feels great.  We needed that victory," Romano said.  "I was attacking the strike zone. I told Tucker before the game to go ahead and call the change up.  I need to use it.  Mostly I trusted what Tucker put down there. He’s been in the league a lot longer than I have.”

Romano allowed six runs in 4 1/3 innings in his last start Tuesday against Arizona.  He seemed to pitch with more confidence against Miami.

“My tempo was good today. My fastball location was much better.”

Romao had to manage the heat as well as the powerful Marlin lineup.

 “I had two jerseys and would change off between innings," Romano said..  "They would throw one in the dryer.?"

Scooter Gennett’s 17th home run leading off the bottom of the fourth kept the Reds in front.

With one out in the fifth Hamilton singled again.  While Zack Cozart was working a walk, Hamilton stole second and third for his league leading 42nd and 43rd thefts of the season.  Slumping Joey Votto, who has watched his batting average slip below .300, hit a one-hop ground ball to the mound. Koehler threw high to second and the throw ended up in centerfield.  Gennett singled to score Cozart but Stanton threw Votto out at third.

‘Billy is hitting the ball on the screws again," Price said.  "He is confident enough to take a strike here and there to get a better pitch.”

Eugenio Suarez and Barnhart chased Koehler with solo home runs in the sixth.  It was Suarez’ 16th and Barnhart’s third.

Michael Lorenzen replaced Romano.  Ellis doubled with one out.  Former Reds’ farmhand Miguel Rojas singled to score Ellis.  Rojas went to second as Schebler fumbled the ball. Pinch hitter Marcel Ozuna singled to cut the Reds’ lead to 6-3.

Raisell Iglesias took over in the eighth inning, facing Stanton the National League home run leader with 30 and Justin Bour, who hit 21 home runs.  Bour singled in the scoreless eighth.  Iglesias earned his 17th save in 18 chances in a two inning save. 

Eugenio Suarez Works Hard Plays Hard

Eugenio Suarez is a happy person.

Often humming a latin tune in the clubhouse and showing his salsa moves, the 25-year old bore in Puerto Ordaz, Venzuela, is a good teammate known as Geno.

Don’t let his playful nature fool you.  Suarez is a hard worker, determined to be the best thirdbaseman in baseball.  He came to the Reds from Detroit for Alfredo Simon in 2015 and displayed some power when he replaced Zack Cozart at shortstop after the Reds’ starter was injured in June.

Last season with Cozart back and incumbent Todd Frazier traded for a secondbaseman, Surarez was happy to move to thirdbase in order to become an every day player.

Suarez went to spring training last year intent on making himself a good fielding thirdbaseman.

“He understood the challenges but not fully until he started to play the position in games,” Bryan Price said. “He worked hard in the offseason knowing he was going to transition to third base, footwork and hands, but then he saw how quickly the ball gets on you, the bunts, the slow-choppers, awareness of who the bunters are, they’re became an even greater appreciation are hard it is to make that transition. His relationship with Freddy (Benavides)  has really helped him. He’s the perfect coach from him.”

Suarez dances salsa on the scoreboard during rain delays and works hard on defense before games.

“It is my goal to be better and better every day,” Suarez said.  “Almost every time I tell you I want to be the best thirdbase in the league.  I try to do my best all the time on offense and defense to help the team.”

Suarez made some underrated plays Saturday night in the 5-4 loss to Miami.  He made a stab to cut off a hit in the hole.  He charged a slow roller for an out.  Those who see him every day notice.  The baseball world at large hasn’t caught up yet.

“A lot times, what makes the defense stand out is the offense,” Price said. “When you’re Arenado and you’re hitting .300 something and you’re hitting a bunch of homers and driving in a lot of runs and putting spectacular plays on top of it, the defense really elevates itself. And, we have to be a better team. When you’re on Sunday Night Baseball, and you’re coming off a postseason or a World Series you’re going to garner more attention. We’re not going to get that until we start winning”.

Suarez is observant too.  He watches how other thirdbasemen position themselves.

“I watch Arenando to see how he moves, how he sets up for a ground ball coming to him,” Suarez said.  “I think he is the best example that I have. He is the best thirdbaseman in the league and I want to be better than him. I will say better than him because that’s my goal.”

As for the dancing, Suarez was approached to dance in front of the camera.  The Reds video team turned it into a scoreboard event.

“The other day the first rain delay, I saw it,” said a laughing Suarez.  “I said wow, that guy is using my video for that. That’s funny. I like a lot. I like to dance salsa.  Just Joey (Votto) told me I have some good moves.”

His walkup song ‘Mis Illusiones” is about the good things about his native Venezuela and there is a lyric that inspires Suarez to work hard to be the best.  “Con trabajo ya vendran tiempos mejores.”   It means “with work better times will come.”

Saturday, July 22, 2017

J.T. Realmuto Homers Twice Marlins Turn Four Double Plays Sink Reds

J. T. Realmuto hit two home runs and drove in four runs to provide the offense in the Miami Marlins 5-4 win over the Reds.

Robert Stephenson the Reds starting pitcher and Chris O’Grady the Miami Marlins starter shared the same clubhouse last spring at the Reds’ Gooodyear Facility.

Stephenson, the Reds’ number one pick in the 2011 draft was trying to win a spot in the starting rotation.  O’Grady was a Rule V pick by the Reds off the Los Angeles Angels.

Stephenson was sent to Louisville when the season started, O’Grady was returned to the Angels.

On Saturday the pitcher’s path converged at Great American Ball Park.  Stephenson was recalled from Triple A.  O’Grady was released by the Angels on April 6   The Marlins signed him on April 24.

Two of the NL’s top base stealers competed head to head.  Dee Gordon singled off Stephenson, leading off the game.  He stole second and third while Giancarlo Stanton batted/  It was his 33rd and 34th steals of the year.  Stanton’s ground out initiated the scoring. 

The Reds bounced back or should I say walked back.  Hamilton hit an infield single.  Zack Cozart walked.  Hamilton stole thirdbase, his 41st.  Joey Votto and  Adam Duvall walked for the tying run.  The Reds have been disappointed lately in bases loaded situations and this was no exception.  Eugenio Suarez bounced to third on a 3-2 pitch.  The Reds took a 2-1 lead but the chance for a big inning evaporated.

"We had opportunities," Bryan Price said. "We had an opportunity against O'Grady early and Tazawa late we just weren't able to cash in."

Realmuto went to work in the second.  Justin Bour singled and Realmuto deposited his ninth home run into the leftfield upper deck on a 3-2 pitch.

Patrick Kivlehan hit his sixth home run off O’Grady to tie the game in the fifth.

Bour and Realmuto repeated their act in the sixth to chase Stephenson.  It was Realmuto’s second two-home run game of his career, the last was September 8, 2015 against Milwaukee.

"There were positives and negatives," Stephenson said. 'It was hot out there. In the sixth inning I started to get tired.  The third, fourth and fifth innings, I really feel that I got myself in a nice groove.  After that the first, second and sixth inning it was the long balls that killed me.  That's what I've been struggling with lately.  I though I had some really close pitches  Especially on that first homer, I had some really close ones there. I didn't get it. I thought the 2-2 pitch was pretty close.  The next one he hit."

 Michael Lorenzen and Asher Wojciechowski picked up for Stephenson.

"The bullpen did a nice job," Price said. 

The Reds mounted another threat that came up short in the eighth.  Junichi Tazawa hit Duvall with a pitch. Suarez singled.  Scooter Gennett grounded an RBI single past Gordon at secondbase with Suarez going to third.  Mesoraco struck out swinging.  Kivlehan smoked a ball headed for the rightfield corner but Bour stabbed it and doubled Gennett to end the threat.  It was the fourth double play that Miami turned in the game.

A.J. Ramos entered to nail down his 19th save in 21 chances. Cozart reached base for the fourth time with a two-out walk to give the Reds hope with Votto coming up. Votto struck out looking.

It was the Reds eighth loss in nine games in this 10-game homestand.

"I am at a loss for words and that's unusual for me," Price said.  It is an accumulations of things We were so close and weren't able to do it."

Rain Delayed Game Goes To Marlins In A Low Scoring Contest

Two of the National League’s worst pitching staffs and powerfull offenses met on a semi-rainy night at Great American Ball Park.

The Reds’ starting rotation is last in the Major Leagues with the highest ERA 6.16 and fewest innings pitched at 468 2/3 innings.  The Reds staff has allowed a league high 112 home runs.

The Marlins starters are one notch above the Reds with a 5.07 ERA and 473 2/3 innings pitched.

Both teams have three players with 20 or more home runs.


For Miami it is Giancarlo Stanton (30), Marcel Ozuna (23) and Justin Bour (21). 

For Cincinnati Joey Votto has (26), Scott Schebler (22) and Adam Duvall (20).

The game that started 1:47 late figured to feature lots of scoring.

Homer Bailey’s rough start for the Reds made in look like a forgone conclusion when Dee Gordon opened the game with a single.  Stanton’s double put runners on second and third with not outs.  One run scored on a ground out.  The second run scored when Ozuna struck out on a wild pitch.  Bailey got out of the inning when J.T. Realmuto lined to Eugenio Suarez, who double up Bour at third.

“We weren’t able to do much," Bryan Price said    "We had a bit of rough luck in the first inning.  Gordon makes soft contact and hits a flare.  They get a ground ball for a run, then a wild pitch on a strikeout.“

Jose Urena retired the first six Reds’ batters but hit Schebler with a pitch leading off the third. Tucker Barnhart singled Schebler to third.  Bailey’s bunt got Barnhart to second.  Billy Hamilton hit a long fly to right scoring Schebler.

Bailey breezed from the second inning on.  He got double plays in the third and fourth.  Hamilton threw Ozuna out at the plate in the sixth to save a run

“Homer had good stuff," Price said. "It looked like he was trying to find a feel for the ball in that first inning. He settled in and had really good stuff.”

Bailey finished with six innings, allowed two runs on eight hits and two walks.  Wandy Peralta was the victim of an error in the seventh.  MIguel Rojas opened the seventh with a single. Urena struck out.  Gordon bounced to Scooter Gennett at second and it appeared to be another inning-ending double play but Gennett’s throw was wide and runners ended up at first and third.  Peralta retired Stanton on a fly to shallow left but Christian Yellich singled to score Rojas.

“It was a really weird game," Bailey said. "We were fortunate to get two outs at home but had some bad luck.  Gordon hit a flare that dropped over the infielder and in front of the outfielder. I felt the ball was coming out of my hand real well.  Early on I left some sliders up but got them in my spots later.”

Urena pitched out of a two-out bases loaded jam in the fourth. He retired seven in a row until Suarez singled to lead off the seventh.  Schebler reached base for the third time with a walk.

Marlins’ manager Don Mattingly brought in Junichi Tazawara with no outs.

Tucker Barnhart bunted the runners up a base representing the tying runs.  Pinch hitter Devin Mesoraco walked.  Hamilton grounded to a drawn in Gordon at second to force Suarez at the plate.  Zack Cozart flied out to deep center and the Reds came up empty again.

"Another night the ball that Cozart hit might have been off the wall," Price said..

A.J. Ramos turned in a scoreless ninth for his 18th save.

Bailey's return has mixed results.  He had two horrible starts with a 27.00 ERA in his first two starts.  Bailey bounced back with two good outings with six and 6 2/3 innings of one-run baseball.  His last start he allowed eight runs in four innings.

“I think this is going to be an up and down year.  I have to compete with what I have that day," Bailey said.”

Friday, July 21, 2017

Robert Stephenson Returns To Make Start Saturday Scooter Gennett Replaces Jose Peraza

The Reds top draft choice of 2011 has been recalled for his second try at nailing down a spot in the Reds’ struggling rotation. 

Stephenson started the season as a long reliever in the Reds’ bullpen with an eye toward getting back to the starting rotation.  He appeared in 13 games in relief with an 0-2 record, a save and an 8.03 ERA.

The 24-year old walked 16 batters in 24 2/3 innings or 5.8 per nine innings.  That was unacceptable to manage Bryan Price.

‘I dumb it down for our young pitchers and tell them to throw strikes.  I really mean command the strike zone,” said Price, who doesn’t want his pitchers to just throw the ball down the middle of the plate either. “We asked him to pound the strike zone.  It is easy to get cautious in this game.  Young pitchers are either unsure (of their ability) or don’t have the talent to throw (quality) strikes.  It takes talent to do that.”

Stephenson made seven starts and eight appearances in Louisville.  He was 1-2 with a much improved 3.79 ERA.  More to the point Stephenson cut down on walks.  He walked 13 in 40 1/3 innings or 2.9 per nine.  His Walks and Hits per Innings Pitched was a very good .99.

“I saw a higher percentage of strikes from the reports,” Price said. “He has a slider that he can put in the strike zone.”

The challenges for Stephenson were both physical and mechanical.  He tweeked his delivery.

“I feel good about the progress I made in the last couple months,” Stephenson said.  “I tried to put my hands over my head but I walked a lot of guys, so that didn’t work.  I started with my hands lower and that worked better.  My slider last time wasn’t very good. Now I have a lot of confidence in it.  I feel like I worked really hard to get back.”

Price handed over keys to the secondbase job to Scooter Gennett which means Jose Peraza will get less playing time.

Peraza hit .324 in 72 games over the second half of 2016.  This year he is hitting ,253 and worse still, he’s getting on base at a paltry ..277 clip. Peraza has drawn just six walks in 344 at bats.  Last season he was on base .352 percent of the time but only walked seven times in 241 at bats because he hit is way on base/

Meanwhile Gennett has been ultra productive off the bench.  In over 100 fewer at bats than Peraza (2310 Gennett has a .307 averag with an OBP of 357, 16 home runs and an astounding 54 RBI in 79 games.

“Scooter’s numbers speak for themselves,” Price said.  “The move serves two purposes. We get Scooter’s production and Jose gets a blow (rest).  Jose is professional enough to understand.  We don’t view Peraza as a utility player but we are going to move him around a bit.”

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Emergency Starter Beats Reds Jake Lamb Homers Twice

Jake Lamb hit two, three-run home runs to back Arizona’s emergency starter in a 12-2 beat down of the Reds’ bullpen.

The Reds had their lineup set up to face Taijuan Walker but Walker’s wife went into labor and Patrick Corbin, a lefthander replaced him.

“I don’t think it will affect us much,” Bryan Price said.  “We’ve seen Corbin recently.  If it was someone from the minor leagues that we didn’t have tape on, it would be a bigger deal.

Before Corbin could throw a pitch in the emergency start, he had a 3-0 lead.  He picked up his seventh win in a 6-1 triumph

Reds’ starter Luis Castillo had a hard time getting into the flow.  He walked the leadorr batter, Daniel Descalso.  Chris Iannetta hit a ground ball down the thirdbase line.  It hit the base and bounded over Eugenio Suarez’ head for a double.  Lamb hit his 21st home run to jettison the Diamondbacks’ lead.

Castillo retired the next seven batters before Iannetta hit a double but five more batters went down in order.

Eugenio Suarez hit in the second spot in the batting order.  He clubbed his 14th home run to the bleachers in right centerfield. 

The Reds loaded the bases with no outs. Joey Votto and Adam Duvall singled following Suarez’ blast.  Scooter Gennett was called out on a reveiwable play which was reversed.  Corbin bulled his neck.  Devin Mesoraco popped out to the shortstop, Scott Schebler struck out  Jose Peraza stranded the runners when he popped out to shortstop

"It was our one chance against Corbin," Price said. "We had a good match up.  Devin got ahead in the count (3-0) but couldn't square it up.  That was our one chance.  We have to create more chances like it."

"I do my best to get on base to help the team win," said Suaez who hit .190 in June but got on base at a .320 clip.  'I'm seeing the breaking ball good right now. I'm just trying to hit it hard.  We battle every day and I want to be there every day."

Castillo had retired 12 out of 13 batters when Gregor Blanco led off the fifth with a triple high off the rightfield wall.  Schebler just missed making a great catch. Descalso got Blanco home with a fly to centerfield.

"Castillo did a nice job," Price said.  "He was pulling the ball and was missing on the glove side.  He has some work to do on the delivery to keep himself centered.  We needed him to pitch six innings with the state of our bullpen."

Blanco hit a two-run home run off Tony Cingrani to extend the lead. It was Blanco’s third home run of the season. 

Corbin throttled the Reds through the seventh, allowing two base runners. After he got Billy Hamilton to fly out, J.J. Hoover relieved him.  Suarez greeted his former teammate with his 15th home run.  It was the second two-run homer game for Suarez this season and the third of his career.

Ariel Hernandez gave up six runs in the ninth to bury his team.

Ketel Marte hit his second home run and Lamb’s second homer with two more on base gave him six RBI for the game to go along with his 22nd home run.  It was the third time in his career, he’s hit multiple home runs, all this season and all on the road.

The Reds lost for the sixth time in the seven games since the All-Star game.  The opposition scored double digit runs in hour of the games.

"When we give up six runs or less, we have a .600 winning percentage," Price said.  "It's a worn out record. I'm tired of talking about it.  We need to pitch better. I don't know any other way to say it."

Bryan Price Open To Making Michael Lorenzen A Starter In 2018

Michael Lorenzen is filling a much needed role for the Reds right now.

The mostly weak starts by Reds’ starting pitchers have caused extra work for the bullpen.  Lorenzen has been able to help diffuse the situation with his ability to pitch more than one inning.

The Reds were hoping that by now the young starters in the system would establish themselves in the Major Leagues.  The two rookie starters currently in the rotation Luis Castillo and Sal Romano have too few starts to predict long term success.

Romano made his third start on Tuesday.  Castillo makes his sixth start today against Arizona.

Lorenzen came out of Cal State - Fullerton as a centerfielder and late game closer.

The Reds drafted him and made him a starter.  He made 21 starts among his 27 appearances in his rookie season in 2015.  He was 4-9 with a 5.40 ERA.

Last season he made one start in spring training then went down with pain in his elbow.  It didn’t require surgery but when he came back on June 24, the Reds needed him for a struggling bullpen.  Lorenzen was like a five-hour energy drink for the club.  He made 35 relief appearances, fashioning a 2-1 record with a 2.88 ERA.

Bryan Price would not rule out putting Lorenzen back in the starting rotation.

“It’s a talking point because I know how badly he wants it,” Price said.  “He is filling a very important role for us this year.  Going into the off season we can re assess and maybe we can provide him with that opportunity, if it’s the best fit for the club.  He’s not a reliever because we don’t believe he can start.’

“Michael isn’t a two-pitch reliever.  He is a fastball, curveball, cutter, change guy. We let him pitch multiple innings in spring so he can access all his pitches,” Price said. “There have been a lot of moving parts to his brief Major League career. He was a starter, reliever, back to starter.  I still believe that he can start.  We will do whatever gives us the best chance to win.”

The Reds are still undecided on who will pitch Saturday to replace Scott Feldman, who is out with a knee injury.

Internally Asher Wojciechowski is a candidate.  He made four starts for the Reds earlier,  Wojciechowski pitched five innings in relief of Feldman on Monday.  Jackson Stephen, who won his Major League debut against the Cubs, July 1, pitched six innings last night for Louisville.

The Louisville Bats have not listed starter for Friday, Saturday or Sunday as if they are expecting one of their starters to be called up.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Adam Duvall Plays Hero

Adam Duvall hit a single off T.J. Mcfarland with the bases to lift the Reds to a 4-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks in 11 innings.

Billy Hamilton singled with one out. Zack Cozart hit what appeared to be a run scoring double to right centerfield, his fourth hit but the ball bounced into the bleachers, forcing Hamilton to stop at third.  Arizona manager Torey Luvello ordered Joey Votto walked intentionally.

"I didn't see the ball bounce but I saw the outfielders throw up their hands and said to myself, 'You've got to be kidding me.'" Cozart said.  "My mind went instantly to this game's not over.  They're going to walk Joey here. But Duvy (Duvall) came through it wasn't a big deal."

Luvello brought the infield and outfield in to choke off the winning run but Duvall lined a single to right that Daniel Descalso couldn’t get to and Hamilton crossed the plate with the run that snapped the Reds five-game winning streak.

"He threw me two good pitches," Duvall said.  "He put it down in the zone. I wass scuffling there a little bit. In that situation, I knew they would walk Joey. I was just trying to hit something to the outfield.. He put the pitch down but I got the barrel of the bat on it."

"A lot of things can happen with Billy at thirdbase, a wild pitch, a chopper, a little fly ball.  We just had to move him 90 feet," Bryan Price said.

Tim Adleman was tasked with stopping the Reds’ five-game losing streak. It was a streak that saw opponents score 46 runs over nine per game.

Cozart singled home Hamilton off Zack Greinke after the Reds’ speedster stole his 40th base of the season.  After a two-out double by David Peralta drove in Jeff Mathis who doubled, Cozart hit his 11th home run of the season and second in two days.  Unfortunately for the home team, Hamilton was caught stealing by Mathis or Cozart’s blow would have been good for two runs.

Adleman retired the first seven Arizona batters before Mathis doubled.

Greinke shut out the Reds for seven innings when the Reds faced him in Phoenix.but Tucker Barnhart singled to drive in Scooter Gennett, who beat out his second infield hit.  The Reds had a 3-1 lead.

The Diamondbacks mounted a two-run rally after two outs in the fifth.  David Peralta homered to right.  A.J. Pollack singled and Jake Lamb doubled to tie the score.

Adleman, who pitched at least into the fifth inning in four straight starts, finished a scoreless sixth then turned the tie game over to Wandy Peralta.

Grienke lasted five innings, allowing three runs on eight hits.

Both bullpens maintained the tie.  Jorge De La Rosa, Archie Bradley, Andrew Chagfin and Jake Barrett for Arizona.  Wandy Peralta and Raisell Iglesias for Cincinnati.

Iglesias is normally the closer but Price brought him in to face Paul Goldschmidt, the Diamondbacks' best hitter with one out in the eighth.  Iglesias struck out the All-Star.  Iglesias issued a walk to Descalso, who replaced J.D. Martinez.  Martinez suffered a contusion on his left hand as he swung at a third strike in the fourth inning.  Martinez joined the Diamondbacks yesterday after a trade with Detroit.

It was the first walk Iglesias has allowed since June 11.He struck out Chris Owings and pitched a scoreless ninth.

"I love that kind of situation, come into the game and face the best hitter," Iglesias said.  "I know I have to focus but I know what kind of pitcher that I am.  I know what I am capable of doing."

The Reds put two runners on in the bottom of the ninth but Barrett struck out Duvall to end the threat.

Michael Lorenzen started the 10th for the Reds, facing the top of the batting order. He pitched two scoreless innings to get the win.

Lorenzen had a rough outing Saturday against the Washington Nationals when he allowed six runs in 1/3 inning that turned a 3-0 game into a 10-0 game.  The Reds came back to score seven to make it close.

This time his results were vastly different in picking up his fifth win against two losses.

The last outing wasn't even remotely on his mind and he didn't change a thing.

"It's nice to be able to compete really," Lorenzen said.  "It shouldn't matter just challenge guys.  Whether on the back fields in Arizona or here.  It should all be the same effort."


Devin Mesoraco Returns From Short Stay On DL

Devin Mesoraco was activated from the 10-day disabled list.  It was a mere rest for the catcher who had surgery three times in the last two years.

The move gives the Reds three catchers on a five-man bench.

‘There won’t be any difference in how we split up the playing time between Tucker (Barnhart) and Devin,” manager Bryan Price said.

The Reds optioned Lisalverto Bonilla back to Triple A Louisville.  Bonilla pitched two innings against the Diamondbacks last night.

“He wouldn’t have been available to us tonight anyway,” Price said.

Tim Adleman 5-7 4.99 ERA is making his 17th start.  He has six quality starts on the season.

With his last winning decision on June 27 against Milwaukee, Adleman has pitched into the fifth inning four straight times.  He was the loser in his last three games.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Bryan Price Wants Young Pitchers To Prove Toughness

There is an inconvenient truth to Major League Baseball.

The money is outstanding, the food is good, you’re every need is taken care of for you by a staff of people, whose job it is to make you feel comfortable to play the game.


For every player that puts on a Major League uniform there are 15-20 guys with as much talent, if not more that want to take a job from someone else.

Ryan Braun after a rehab assignment for Low A Wisconsin in Kane County last month.

“There isn’t as much difference as people think between the talent at Low A and the Major Leagues.  The difference is consistency and execution.”

There is also taking your lumps.

The Reds have 13 rookies that have pitched for them this season.  Of those seven have been starters.  Two starters and two relievers are with the team and have been rotated during the season.  They are finding out.  It is easier to get to the Big Leagues than to stay in the Big Leagues.

Bryan Price, who didn’t make it to the Major Leagues as a player knows how difficult it is.

“From a position players standpoint, those guys go out an bust their tails,” Price said after the Reds’ fifth straight loss after the break. It’s hard to dig yourself out. From a pitching standpoint there is that inherent pressure to be the next guy to stand up and do the job.  That’s what happen when you lose.  What we have to do is what we have done, is stay together.The losing makes for an environment that is a lot more challenging.”

The Reds are now a season low 15-games under .500 and youth can’t be an excuse for non performance

“This is a hard game to play. It takes tough people to play it,” Price said.  “We can’t create an environment that is covered in goose down and every thing is going to be a beautiful wonderland. It’s not. It’s an ugly game.  It is hard to stay up here. It is hard to perform each day under the scrutiny and the pressure. You have to be one tough S.O.B. to stay here. We’re providing a great opportunity for players to come up here to prove that they’re a tough S.O.B.  This game will tell you what you’re all about. It will tear you up from the inside out if you let it.  You have to be strong to survive.”

Diamondbacks Double Trouble For Reds

The Arizona Diamondbacks took a perfectly good game and made a mockery of it during an 11-2 rout of the Reds.

Rookie Sal Romano and Robbie Ray were hooked up in a decent pitching duel when the Diamondbacks solved Romano in a six-run fifth inning.  Four doubles, a triple and a walk spelled the end for Romano.

A.J. Pollack and David Peralta doubled to start the onslaught.  The dangerous Paul Goldschmidt walked.  Jake Lamb hit a triple into the rightfield corner.  Tony Cingrani replaced Romano.  He got Chris Owings on a fly out to shallow center but Brandon Drury followed with Arizona’s third double.  An errant pitched got by catcher Stuart Turner but it bounced back to him in time to throw Drury out at third.  Daniel Descalso hit another double  Chris Herrmann capped the scoring with his eighth home run.

 “He fell behind the first hitter," Bryan Price said.. "There was a double.  Peralta hit a double. He was just missing on Goldschmidt. Lamb shot one down the line past Joey.  By that time he was done.  He made some good pitches. There were two balls hit hard in that inning. Other than that there was a lot of soft contact.  It wasn’t as bad as it looked.”

Romano was charged with six earned runs on six hits and five walks in four plus frames.

 “I think I could have battled through," Romano said. "I always want to be out there, I always want the ball. It was obviously very, very humid out there, something I really haven't gone through this season. There's definitely no excuse for that. I've got to battle out there. The first four innings I was able to make some pitches and get out of some big situations and they made some good plays behind me and keep us in the ballgame. One bad inning just cost us.”

Zack Cozart hit his 10th home run in the second off Ray to get the Reds off to a fast start.

Arizona answered with a sacrifice fly in the third. Romano walked the pitcher, Ray to begin the third.  Goldschmidt’s double put the Diamondbacks ahead. 

The Diamondbacks had 12 hits, six doubles, a triple and two home runs.

Cozart and Eugenio Suarez tied the game with doubles.

Ray finished strong in his six innings.  Rey Fuentes hit a pinch hit, three-run homer off Lisalverto Bonilla to ice the game the Reds fifth straight loss.in the seventh.

Cozart had three of the Reds five hits.

Former Reds' reliever J.J. Hoover pitched two scoreless innings.

 Bryan Price

“Zack had some good at bats. He hit an inside pitch for the homer. Then two back to back breaking balls he hit to right center.  We had some good at bats but it went from a 3-2 game to 9-2, 11-2.  It seems like we’ve been in that territory a lot.”

“This has been a really difficult last three years.  We’ve really struggled to put together winning streaks. We’ve had a lot of losing streaks. We’ve had a lot of turnover in both the rotstion and the bullpen.   The one theme has been rebuilding a pitching staff.”

“From a position players standpoint, those guys go out an bust their tails. It’s hard to dig yourself out. From a pitching standpoint there is that inherent pressure to be the next guy to stand up and do the job.  That’s what happen when you lose.  What we have to do is what we have done, is stay together.”

“The losing makes for an environment that is a lot more challenging.”

“This is a hard game to play. It takes tough people to play it.  We can’t create an environment that is covered in goose down and every thing is going to be a beautiful wonderland. It’s not. It’s an ugly game.  It is hard to stay up here. It is hard to perform each day under the scrutiny and the pressure. You have to be one tough S.O.B. to stay here. We’re providing a great opportunity for players to come up here to prove that they’re a tough S.O.B.  This game will tell you what you’re all about. It will tear you up from the inside out if you let it.  You have to be strong to survive.”

Sal Romano

Reds Look For Youth To Step Up Scott Feldman To DL

The Reds placed RHP Scott Feldman, their most experienced starter on the 10-day disabled list with inflammation in his right knee.

Feldman has been slowed by the knee his last two starts and on Monday, he could only last one inning.
Jesse Winker was optioned to Louisville, giving the Reds a four-man bench.

The Reds recalled Lisalverto Bonilla from Louisville to add bullpen depth and scheduled starter Sal Romano, who was in Louisville over the All-Star break because he wouldn’t be needed until Tuesday.

Romano, who won his first Major League in his last start before the break in Colorado,.pitched five innings, allowing two runs on six hits.  He walked just one and struck out six.

“It starts with competing in the strike zone,” Bryan Price said.  “Every time we have a conversation  about a young pitcher, it really does boil down to throwing the ball over the plate and keeping yourself in good counts.  They need to allow themselves to mature through the process.  If you’re having to coax guys into throwing the ball over the plate or if they’re not ready to throw the ball over the plate then that’s the thing we need to work on.”

The Reds have had that conversation often.

Romano is one of seven rookies to start a game for the Reds this year.  Six more rookies have toed the slab for the Reds.

The Reds are rebuilding but are also trying to win as many games they can.  They signed Feldman to give the rotation some stability.  The Reds planned to have a rotation of Homer Bailey, Anthony DeSclafani, Brandon Finnegan, Feldman and ease in one of its youthful pitchers which was Amir Garrett.  Bailey and DeSclafani didn’t start the season and Finnegan went down after four starts.  Feldman lasted 19 starts before the knee flared up.

“If you’re going to build a team, you build it through the starting rotation,” Price said.  “First of all you have to stay healthy.  Then you have to define who you’re going with.  Who will be the foundation.  That’s been a hard process for us. As process when we started to transition from that group we had in 2012 and 13 (Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, Mat Latos, Bronson Arroyo and Bailey).  In 2017 we got Homer back but we’ve had a hard time replacing what we’ve lost.”

The seven rookies (Romano, Luis Castillo, Garrett, Rookie Davis, Cody Reed and Robert Stephenson. Bonilla) and young veterans like Tim Adleman and Asher Wojciechowski form the pool that the Reds need to shift through to find a cohesive rotation.

“We will continue to give young pitchers a chance to learn up here and mature up here,” Price said. “We have those building blocks. These last 10 weeks are really important because we have to have a vision of what our starting rotation is going to look like in 2018.”

Monday, July 17, 2017

Washington Home Runs Seal Sweep

Scott Feldman was pushed back to the fourth game from the All-Star break with achy knees.  He added wounded pride to his pain.

The Washington Nationals, already victors in the season series and top dog of the NL Eastern Division, jumped on Feldman without mercy in season sweeping 6-1 win over the Reds.

"The clubbed us this series," Bryan Price said.  "We had some close games in Washington but their starters didn't give us any thing this series.  We got close in the 10-7 game when we got into their young bullpen but that was all."

Before the crowd distributed the pop and peanuts among themselves Washington was four points up in the polls.

Brian Goodwin doubled.  Stephen Drew’s single sent Goodwin to third.  Bryce Harper hit his 23rd home run off Feldman, his third of the season.  Ryan Zimmerman, fresh from a day off, broke a 1-for-10 slump with his 20th home run.

The Nationals weren’t finished. Daniel Murphy walked and moved up one base on Anthony Rendon’s bloop single.  Matt Wieters hit a fly over the head of rightfielder Scooter Gennett.  The utility player had to leave his feet to make the catch stretched out toward centerfield.  Murphy took advantage of the sprawl and easily scored from secondbase.

Feldman has been dealing with a sore knee most of the season.  Today, it would not allow him to finish.

"I went out to talk to him after Zimmerman's home run.  We have good communication," Price said.  "He deserved a chance to finish the inning but it was apparent that he shouldn't go back out there."

The knee will likely get rest and Price alluded to a stint on the disabled list.  The Reds front office was there to talk about options.

"I could never really get over the hump today," Feldman said.  "Not only was I making bad pitches, they were coming in eight miles an hour slower than normal. It was one of those days it wasn't cooperate. I feel I can go out and get people out but it's tough to do when you're not feeling to good."

Stephen Strasburg allowed a singles to Jose Peraza, Joey Votto, Scott Schebler  and Eugenio Suarez’ s 13th home run in seven innings while striking out 11.

Asher Wojciehowski relieved Feldman in the second inning.

Wojciehowski saved wear and tear on the bullpen by spinning five innings, marred only by Goodwin’s eighth home run in the sixth.

"Wojo came in and did a nice job,' Feldman said. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Capital Punishment Washington Wins Third Straight.

Another Washington National batter had a two home run game that executed the Reds..

Daniel Murphy hit a pair of home runs off Homer Bailey, accounting for five runs in the Nationals 14-4 win over the reeling Reds.

Washington manager Dusty Baker rested his All-Star secondbaseman for the first game after the break.  “It’s been my experience that players on the All-Star team start out slow after the break,” Baker said.  “They don’t get that mental break the other guys get.”

 “These games are going to happen but not with this frequency. It’s deflating but it doesn’t mean we’ll deflate," Bryan Price said.

Ryan Zimmerman and Bryce Harper also started in the classic in Miami on Tuesday.  Zimmerman had the day off Sunday.  Harper, the youngest of the group, will get one soon.

Harper started the second half quickly.  He homered twice on Friday.  Anthony Rendon, who had the resume to be an All-Star, hit two home runs Saturday.

It was Bailey, coming off two excellent starts, was a slow starter on Sunday.  Wilmer Difo singled and Murphy lashed his 15th home run to the rightfield pavilion.  Adam Lind opened the second inning with a double.  Former Red Chris Heisey’s double scored Lind, who started for Zimmerman.  Heisey scored on a bases loaded ground out later in the inning.

The Reds are used to falling in a hole and crawling out. 

Bailey reached base on a weird play off Tanner Roark to start the third.  Bailey struck out but catcher Jose Lobaton didn’t make a clean catch and Bailey reached first. Billy Hamilton singled, his fourth hit in two days.  Jesse Winker walked.  Joey Votto flew out to shallow right.  Adam Duvall reached on Difo’s error as Bailey scored. Scooter Gennett’s ground out plated Hamilton.

Bailey was making his fifth start after coming back from surgery.

“We lost this game because I didn’t pitch well," Bailey said.. "No excuses, if I was hurt I shouldn’t be out there”

“I don’t want Homer coming back from injury to be a talking point. I feel and I’m sure the players do too.  They want to be judged by performance," Price said..  "I still have his health in the back of my mind but we don’t want to use excuses.”

The Reds dealt themselves back into the game as Bailey settled in for two innings.

The Nationals ambushed Bailey in the fifth. 

 “I need to be more consistent," Bailey said.  "I would throw a good pitch, then two bad ones.  It’s simple. If you make a bad pitch it is going to get hit.”

Difo walked.  Harper walked on a long at bat.  Murphy followed with his second home run of the game, the fourth time in his career he’s hit two in a game.  Rendon’s single sent Bailey to the clubhouse.  Ariel Hernandez was greeted by Lind’s seventh home run, a fly ball that carried to the second row of the rightfield bleachers.

 “They had 21 base runners.," Price said  "Whoever Dusty is running out there does a good job.  He has the All-Star players but Difo was on base four times. They’re a legitimate team. They did a lot of things right. We did a lot of things wrong.”

The Reds mounted a seven-run comeback Saturday and acted like they would rebound again.  Winker in his first start other than DH, walked four the second time.  He was on base in his first three at bats with a single and two walks.  Winker has a .386 on-base-percentage in Louisville.

Duvall and Gennett singled to get the Reds third run home. Gennett singled home Hamilton in the seventh.

Rendon led off the seventh off Drew Storen with his 19th home run of the season and third in two games. Heisey reached base on his second hit of the day.  Jose Lobaton hit his third home run.

Bryce Harper’s eighth inning double extended his hitting streak to 11 games.  He walked twice and has reached base in 19 straight.

Bryan Price

Homer Bailey

Jesse Winker Makes First Career Start

Wearing a pair of batting gloves given to him by Jay Bruce, Jesse Winker made his first real start for the Cincinnati Reds.

Winker has been in the starting lineup before but as a designated hitter.  This time he gave Scott Schebler a rest and took his position in rightfield behind Homer Bailey.

“I consider this my first start,” Winker said.  “This is how I envisioned it.”

Winker was drafted by the Reds as a supplemental pick in the 2012 draft, the 49th pick in the country.  He made all the stops, Dayton in 2013, Bakersfield and Pensacola in 2014, Pensacola all of 2015 and Louisville last season. After an impressive spring this year, Winker was back in Louisville to play every day, while Adam Duvall and Schebler emerged as regulars.

“I understand. I concentrate on getting better every day in Louisville,” Winker said.

When Jay Bruce was a young player, Adam Dunn showed him the ropes.  Bruce passed on his knowledge to Winker.

“Jay and I would hang out together in spring training three years ago. He is a great guy to learn from," Winker said.  “I remember to this day. I was in the Low A home run derby (Dayton) and he text me good luck. I thought this is pretty cool.”

Winker won the Midwestern League derby and the High A in Bakersfield too.

An injury to his wrist from an auto accident cut down on his power at Louisville. He only hit three home runs but was second in the International League in on-base-percentage .397 and seventh with a .303 batting average.

This is Winker’s third trip to Cincinnati this season.  He made his Major League debut as a pinch hitter on April 14 against Milwaukee’s Oliver Drake. He struck out.  Winker’s first Major League hit was the next day as he drove in the winning run by blooping a double to left off Carlos Torres of Milwaukee.

Winker is hitting .305 at Louisville this season with two home runs and 37 RBI.  Winker is a contact hitter, striking out just 38 times in 256 at bats.  He gets on base at a .386 clip.

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To A Washington Landslide

The Washington Nationals the only entity in the Nation's Capitol used Anthony Rendon's grand slam to build a comfortable 10-0 lead then squirmed as their bullpen fell apart like the Republican health care bill.

Anthony Rendon hit two home runs, including his second career grand slam, and drove in six runs to back Max Scherzer's six scoreless innings in the Washington Nationals' 10-7 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday night.

“You never know,” Nationals manager Dusty Baker said.."Rendon had another great game. You never knew the grand-slam was going to be the deciding swing. Those guys don’t quit. They have a good offensive ballclub”

    Rendon was on base five times with a single and two walks for the Nationals (54-36). It was his third career multi-homer game.

  Rendon did not make the All-Star team in spite of his presence on the NL leaderboard in on-base-percentage .420, doubles 22, walks 51, batting average .315, and slugging percentage .582.

“I’ll let y’all write about that,” Rendon said.  “I try not to think about being hot. As long as we’re winning, that’s all that matters. We’re just trying to extend this lead and keep grinding.”

   The Nationals defeated the Reds (39-51) for the fourth time in five games.

   Scherzer (10-5) escaped early jams but struck out 10 to extend his National League-leading strikeout total to 183.

“They put some good at bats on me. They really grinded me out,” Scherzer said. “We just kind of stuck to the game plan. We were joking in the dugout that Wieters had the best sequence he’s had all season. Facing Votto with runners on first and second and nobody out, your back’s to the wall. If they were looking fastball, we went off speed. If they were looking off-speed, we went fastball.”

Scherzer allowed three hits and four walks in his first start after the All-Star break.

“Scherzer gave us all he had, Baker said. “He pitched in the All-Star Game, so we knew it was going to be a short outing – shorter than normal. He got out of those jams in the first and third.”.

   Losing pitcher Luis Castillo (1-2), who picked up his first career win in his last start, worked six innings, allowing three runs, three hits and four walks.

“Castillo wasn’t bad,” Reds manager Bryan Price said.  “He’s been sharper but he did a nice job against an outstanding offensive ball club. It’s another step in the right direction. He kept us in the game.”

Castillo fell behind 3-0 to Rendon in the fourth inning.

I wanted to challenge Rendon. I didn’t want to walk him,” Castillo said. “Sometimes when you get two quick outs, you think the job is done. The game is going fast but you have to make good pitches then too.”

   The Nationals broke the game open with a seven-run seventh inning against Michael Lorenzen (six runs) and Blake Wood, who was greeted by Rendon's grand slam.

   Ryan Raburn, who spent spring training with Cincinnati, led off the inning with his second home run since coming to the Nationals in a minor league deal with the Chicago White Sox on May 26.

   The Reds scored five runs in the ninth against Trevor Gott. Three runs crossed on Scooter Gennett's 16th home run of the season.

   Matt Grace entered after the Nationals' lead was cut to three with no outs and retired three straight batters for his second save.

   Washington's Bryce Harper extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a one-out single in the fourth inning. Daniel Murphy, the All-Star second baseman, doubled to the gap in left center with two outs to score Harper. Rendon followed with a homer to give Washington a 3-0 lead.

   The Reds put the leadoff man on base in each of the first three innings against Scherzer.

   Billy Hamilton hit a ground-rule double in the bottom of the first. Zack Cozart walked, but Scherzer struck out Joey Votto, Adam Duvall and Gennett.

   Hamilton singled and stole his 39th base of the season in the third, but Scherzer fanned Votto looking on a 3-2 pitch. After Duvall popped to short, Gennett was Scherzer's eighth strikeout victim.

   The Reds had a baserunner in each of the first five innings but failed to score against Scherzer, who struck out 10 to log his 12th game with double-digit strikeouts.

   NOTES: RHP Joe Ross will have Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on Wednesday by Dr. Keith Meister in Arlington, Texas. Ross was placed on the the disabled list. ... Nationals OF Jayson Werth had a long meeting with manager Dusty Baker on Saturday afternoon. Werth has been on the 10-day disabled list since June 4. :He is doing what he can to stay in shape," Dusty Baker said. "He's a worker." Werth has been shut down from baseball activities for the time being. ... Reds C Devin Mesoraco was took batting practice on Friday and was scheduled to catch a bullpen before the game.  "We didn't have anyone who needed to throw a bullpen," Bryan Price said. "We got an OK to let him warm up our pitchers who are coming into the game

Friday, July 14, 2017

All-Star Bryce Harper Supplies Offense For Gio Gonzalez Whitewash

Bryce Harper showed why he is an All-Star and why the Washington Nationals are the only entity in that city, not in disarray in a 5-0 whitewash of the Reds..
Harper blasted two home runs off Reds starter Tim Adleman to drive in three runs, jealously protected by Gio Gonzalez, who turned in his ninth straight quality start of six innings or more.

It was Harper;s fourth multi-home run game this season to bring his season total to 22.  He has perforned the feat 10 other times in his six-year career.

Adleman was behind the eight ball early.

Brain Goodwin, the Washington leadoff hitter hit a double to open the game.  He was at third base with Harper at first via a walk with two outs when Stephen Drew delivered a two-out single to score Goodwin.  Anthony Rendon’s single plated Harper.

"Adleman has ggod stuff," Bryan Price said. "The last couple of games he got into good counts but had trouble putting hitters away."

Wilmer Dilfo singled ahead of Harper’s first home run of the game.  Harper’s second was a leadoff shot to center in the fifth.

"I tried to get him to roll over a change up but I pulled it back over the plate," Adleman said.

The Reds got a leadoff infield hit from Billy Hamilton but Zack Cozart, the Reds contribution to the National League starting lineup, hit into a double play.

Scott Schebler nicked Gonzalez with an infield hit in the second inning.  Adam Duvall hit a one-out double in the fourth and Eugenio Suarez walked but the inning ended when Goodwin made a diving catch on Jose Peraza’s line drive.

Gonzalez retired the next nine batters in order until Tucker Barnhart, ran out the Reds’ third infield hit of the game. Gonzalez retired the next four batters, his last being Reds other All-Star, Joey Votto.

"We don't have to tip our caps to pitchers too often," Price said.  "We need to put more pressure on them. We got six base runners off Gonzalez and four of them were infield hits."

Matt Albers came in to get the final two outs but the Reds loaded the bases with two outs and Barnhart due up.   Matt Grace came in to earn the save by getting Barnhart to ground out on a diving stop by Drew.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Cubs Are Ian Happ y To Avoid A Sweep

Ian Happ played in Great American Ball Park before.

As a member of the University of Cincinnati baseball team, Happ, played in a game against the University of Louisville.  In his third game back to the venue as member of the Chicago Cubs, Happ homered twice off Tim Adleman in a 6-2 Cubs win.

Happ, who broke up Scott Feldman’s no-hit bid in the sixth inning Friday night, his his 11th and 12th home runs of the season and drove in four to stake Jake Arrieta to a 4-0 lead  The Cubs avoided the first Reds’ sweep or a series between the teams since the Reds took three straight in Wrigley Field August 12-14, 2013.  The Reds haven’t swept the Cubs in Cincinnati since 1996.

“Happ had it going today. A couple pitches were where he could handle them and he got me,” Adleman said, “I thought I had good stuff today. I feel good.  Just a couple pitches the home runs to Happ and the double by Baez were mistakes.”

He dumped a broken bat single into leftfield to drive in a run in the sixth inning. Happ’s four RBI matched a career-high.

The Reds had a Joey Votto single as its total offense through six innings against Arrieta, who walked two.

 ‘They were just better today. Arrieta was really good. He didn’t give us much.  We only hit a couple balls on the barrel," Bryan Price said.

Anthony Rizzo hit his 19th home run of the season off Austin Brice with two outs in the seventh inning.

Adleman pitched well enough He allowed six hits and walked one. It was unfortunate that his lone walk to Contreras was in front of Happ's first home run.

“I thought Tim had good stuff," Price said.  "They fouled off some tough pitches and when they got a pitch they could handle, they didn’t miss it.  That Happ kid had a nice day.”

The Reds had a Joey Votto single as its total offense through seven innings against Arrieta, who walked two.  Arrieta threw a no-hitter at Great American Ball Park on April 21,2016.

Anthony Rizzo hit his 19th home run of the season off Austin Brice with two outs in the seventh inning.

The Reds benefitted from a double replay review in the eighth inning.  Contreras reached base on an error by Eugenio Suarez at thirdbase.  Happ, the next batter, hit a slow ground ball that Suarez had to charge and barehand to nip Happ at first.  Contreras tried to beat Suarez to third. Votto’s return throw to the back peddling Suarez was in time but Contreras slid wide to avoid the tag and was ruled safe by umpire Angel Hernandez.  The Cubs asked for a review of the play at first.  The Reds questioned the play at third.  The Reds won both in 2:14.  The call at first was confirmed.  The call at third was overturned. 

Addison Russell’s single would have scored Contreras.  Javier Baez doubled to plate Russell.

Justin Grimm replaced Arrieta in the eighth, one of three pitchers the Cubs used to navigate the rocky waters of the eighth inning.

A bases loaded single by Votto broke the shutout.  It was Votto’s 1,499th career hit which tied Ted Kluzewski for 10th place on the Reds’ All-Time list.

Despite Good Outing, Jackson Stephens Goes Back To Louisville

All Jackson Stephens did in his Major League debut was beat the defending World Champions on the mound and with the bat.

He allowed just three runs in five innings.  His bases loaded single drove in the tying and winning runs in a 5-3 victory.

It earned him an all expense paid trip to Louisville.

Before the head shaking begins, this move was pre-ordained.  The Reds placed Brandon Finnegan on the 60-day disabled list which will keep him out of action until at least September.

The Reds purchased the contract of Asher Wojociechowski from Louisville.

The Reds need to add to the bullpen for the upcoming road trip that puts them in Coors Field against the Colorado Rockies the next four games and the Arizona Diamondbacks leading up to the All-Star game.

“We had a pretty good idea,” Bryan Price said Sunday morning. “If he goes out and throws a no-hitter or complete-game shutout, you still probably have to do it. We talked about it after the game yesterday, that it’s still the right move to make, to go on the road with extra bullpen help. He’s a candidate to be added to our rotation coming out of the All-Star break”

Stephens remains in the Reds plans with his impressive outing.

He gave up three runs in the third inning on Saturday with a home run to Jon Jay, a walk and a home run to Willson Contreras.

“I’ve seen him in spring training, but that’s really all I saw of Jackson. Glimpses here and there. I heard a lot good things about him. (scouts) said this kid really knows how to compete and throw strikes. I was optimistic he would throw the ball over the plate.” Price said. “What impressed me were the two innings after the three-run third. I think he got a hair cautious with his location after that and gave up the two-run homer to Contreras. The last two innings he really locked it down. That showed me more than anything, being able to rally from that. He’s been on our radar for some time as a prospect. It’s real easy to crash and burn (in MLB debut) and he didn’t He held his own.”

Another Pitcher Barely Out Of Pampers Starts For Reds

Jackson Stephens all of 23-years old, having turned that ripe old age on May 11 while in Louisville.

Less than two months later he is making his debut against the World Champion Chicago Cubs.

He was drafted out of high school with the Reds’ 18th pick in the 2012 draft.  Stephens was among several young arms in Goodyear, Arizona this spring.


Stephens pitched two seasons at Dayton in 2013 and 2014.  He went to Daytona for a season, then pitched on a very good staff at Pensacola last year.  This year at Louisville, Stephens was 4-4 in 14 starts.with a 4.97 ERA, getting off to a slow start but he continued to improve.  The righthander made six quality starts, dropping his ERA a run per game in June.

RHP Ariel Hernandez was optioned to Louisville.

Hernandez is returning to a higher level than his origin this season.

“He's made the most of his opportunities,” Bryan Price said. “None of us were happy to have to option him. However, now that we're back to a full complement of starters, that takes us to seven. We felt Brice is more of a true length guy. He's got a starter's history. I don't think there's any question Ariel will be back here, and my guess would be before September. He's a big leaguer with big days ahead.”

Stephens will be the seventh pitcher and 11th player to make his Major League debut for the Reds this season.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Jackson Stephens Stuns World Champs In Major League Debut

Jackson Stephens had a hit and was a hit in his first Major League game.

Stephens ripped a bases loaded single up the middle with two outs to drive in the tying and go-ahead runs in a 5-3 over reigning World Champion Chicago Cubs.

The 23-year old had a blip in the third inning when he surrendered home runs to Jon Jay and Willson Contreras. An untimely walk to Anthony Rizzo in front of Contreras gave the Cubs an early 3-0 lead.

“I thought the only time Jackson was vulnerable was after the home run to Jay.  He got his feel back for the breaking ball. He gives up the home run to Contreras and now its a 3-0 ballgame. It was what I saw in the aftermath that said a lot. It really made the difference.  He threw very competitive strong innings," Bryan Price said.

 The Reds broke through against Cubs’s starter Eddie Butler in the fourth.  Scooter Gennett, playing to give Zack Cozart a chance to ease back into the lineup, walked.  Joey Votto singled to move Gennett to third.  Adam Duvall ripped a double to the left centerfield gap.  Gennett scored.  Votto stopped at third.  Butler struck out Eugenio Suarez.  Scott Schebler was passed intentionally.  Butlet got Jose Peraza on an infield fly.  Tucker Barnhart worked a walk that forced Votto home.  Stephens in his second big league at bat singled past a diving Addison Russell to score two runs.

Stephens is the first Reds' pitcher to drive in two runs in his first Major League game since Paul Moskau on June 21, 1977 at Philadelphia.

The Reds trailed 3-2 at the time but had the bases loaded with two outs.  It was a key point in the game and Price had the option to pinch hit but the need to see the young pitcher was more important.

 “The decision was really, we’re trying to see players also," Price said.  "We want to see what he had. He really needed to go back out.  The premium was for him to go back out there.  That outweighed the pinch hitting with two outs.  The probabilities are in favor of the defense, no matte who you have on your bench.”

“Bryan told me if the pitch is there go after it," Stephens said.  "I got enough of it to get past Addie out there. The hard part was going back out to put up another zero.”

Stephens left with the lead after five innings, allowing three runs on six hits and a walk. He struck out eight.

 “It was unbelievable, a childhood dream to go out and compete and have fun. It was fun," Stephens said.
“Of course there were some butterflies but it wasn’t crazy.  I was just focused on pounding the zone. I took a couple deep breaths and I was fine.”

Drew Storen pitched out of a mini jam in the sixth. Contreras hit a lead off double.  With one out, Storen hit Russell with a pitch.  It setup a slick, 5-4-3 double play by Javier Baez to end the inning.

The Reds added a run off Koji Uehara.  A walk to Billy Hamilton, a single by Gennett and an intentional walk to Votto brought Duvall to the plate with no outs.  Duvall hit into a 6-4-3 double play as Hamilton scored.

Michael Lorenzen and Raisell Iglesias protected the lead to the ninth. Iglesias navigated the bottom of the Cubs’ batting order to earn his 15th save in 16 tries.

The Cubs dropped a game under .500 at the half-way mark.

Another Pitcher Barely Out Of Pampers Starts For Reds

Jackson Stephens all of 23-years old, having turned that ripe old age on May 11 while in Louisville.

Less than two months later he is making his debut against the World Champion Chicago Cubs.

He was drafted out of high school with the Reds’ 18th pick in the 2012 draft.  Stephens was among several young arms in Goodyear, Arizona this spring.

Stephens pitched two seasons at Dayton in 2013 and 2014.  He went to Daytona for a season, then pitched on a very good staff at Pensacola last year.  This year at Louisville, Stephens was 4-4 in 14 starts.with a 4.97 ERA, getting off to a slow start but he continued to improve.  The righthander made six quality starts, dropping his ERA a run per game in June.

RHP Ariel Hernandez was optioned to Louisville.

Hernandez is returning to a higher level than his origin this season.

“He's made the most of his opportunities,” Bryan Price said. “None of us were happy to have to option him. However, now that we're back to a full complement of starters, that takes us to seven. We felt Brice is more of a true length guy. He's got a starter's history. I don't think there's any question Ariel will be back here, and my guess would be before September. He's a big leaguer with big days ahead.”

Stephens will be the seventh pitcher and 11th player to make his Major League debut for the Reds this season.