About Me

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

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Luke Fickell Makes His UC Debut

Luke Fickell run his first game as a head coach of the University of Cincinnati  Bearcats play the Austin Peay Governors at Nippert Stadium.

Fickell was the Ohio State Buckeyes defensive coordinator at his alma mater, Ohio State since 2005 but took over the Buckeyes for the 2011 season when coach Jim Tressell was removed for NCAA violations and the team was sanctioned.

The native of Columbus, Ohio was a nose guard at Ohio State from 1992-1996 and spent a year on the injured reserve list as a member of the New Orleans Saints.  He began his 18-year coaching career as a graduate assistant at Ohio State.   He coached the defensive line at Akron under Tressel for two seasons before he returned to the Buckeyes coaching special teams, then linebackers.  Fickell became a Co-defensive coordinator in 2005.  In 2012, he returned to his old job as defensive coordinator under Urban Meyer. 

The Governors are coached by youthful Will Heally, who at the time of his hiring was the second youngest coach in Division I at 30.  His father Rob was a star at Georgia Tech.  His uncle Chip was an All-American Linbacker at Vanderbilt and played in the NFL for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Healy earned a reputation as a top-notch quarterbacks coach at Chattanooga.  He coached BJ Coleman in 2012.  Coleman was drafted by the Green Bay Packers.

In his first year at Austin Peay the Governors were winless in 11 games last season.  They have lost 27 games in a row.  Their last win was on October 18, 2014 in a 20-13 victory.

Robert STephenson And Joey Votto Fulfilled Wishes

The Reds had no luck against two-game winner Rafael Montero on Wednesday weren’t all that enthused about facind 14-game winner Jacob deGrom a half a day later.

Reds’ starter Robert Stephenson wished to continue the current trend toward better starting pitching.  He got his wish but Joey Votto fulfilled another wish in the Reds’ 7-2 series clinching win over the New York Mets.

Votto hit his 34th home run of the season off Jeurys Familia in the seventh for a 5-2 lead.  Votto gave a bat and jersey to Walter Herbert, age 6, who is here courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

"I've enjoyed Joey's youthful exuberance," Bryan Price said.

"I don't want to chat about this one," Votto said.  "I will say that on September 16 from 11:00 am until 10:00 pm at Park House.  There is a fund raiser. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention a long time friend and a long time teammate Jay Bruce has opened a twitter account to raise money for the Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts.  I know if anyone wants to support that in any way, shape of form, I know Jay would love that.'

Stephenson has personally connected two decent starts of five innings and 5 2/3 innings in his last two starts in which he earned wins.  His recent success traces back to the development of a slider over the course of the season.  Ted Power introduced him to it near the end of spring training.

"I started to use it at the end of spring training," Stephenson said.  'I mixed it in when I could in situations where I wouldn't get hurt.   I used it a lot more in Triple A.  It has developed into a pitch that I can use and feel really comfortable at any time.  I got a better and better feel for it."

The last round of starts have been encouraging for all the Reds.

"Every day we're seeing guys get batter.  That's really exciting for every body involved," Votto said.  "We're watching younger players improve.  We're getting our first glimpse of what hopefully will be the future."

The Mets wasted little time trying to show Stephenson who’s boss.  Jose Reyes for the second time in two games, doubled to lead off the game.  Reyes got to third on a ground out and trotted home on a sacrifice fly by Asdrubal Cabrera.

Scooter Gennett followed a single by Eugenio Suarez with a long 23rd home run in the second.

Stephenson issued one of his three walks to Reyes leading off the third.  Reyes went to third on a single by Cabrera.  Brandon Nimmo hit a hard ground ball back to the box that Stephenson on the right hip and  deflected to Votto.  Votto looked home then decided to try to tag Nimmo for the out as Reyes scored.  Nimmo ran past the missed tag for a hit.

"Taking the line drive off the hip in the third at no point in time did it become a concern," Price said.  "It can be a fall back position to come out of a game.  It is not that I'd associate that with any of our guys. You can set yourself up for when things don't go well.  I think he handled himself unbelievably well. He built up some street cred out there with the guys. He did a nice job righting the ship after a tough loss last night."

The Reds finished August with a winning record.

"You get their best guy the last day of the series and it's 1-1," Price said.. "It may have gone unnoticed but if we win that game we're 15-14 for the month.  We lose it and we're 14-15.  For team in our spot in the standings, it may not seem like much but it means a lot.  We want to build a trend of positive successes going forward."

The Reds took the lead back when Billy Hamilton singled, stole second and went to third as Votto bounced to the hole at short.  Amed Rosario’s throw skipped past Cabrera at third and Hamilton scored on the error.

Gennett’s double scored Peraza with the Reds’ fourth run after a single and Peraza’s 18th stolen base.

Stephenson left for a pinch hitter after six strong innings.  He allowed two runs on five hits and three walks.  He struck out seven in his longest outing of the year.

Michael Lorenzen took over in seventh and worked two scoreless innings.

Stuart Turner hit his first home run as a dad with Scott Schebler on base off Erik Goedell in the eighth inning.  It was his second home run of the season.


The Reds donated $40,000 to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts off the split-the-pot ticket sales from the Mets series.  The funds will be equally split between the American Red Cross and former Red Jay Bruce's efforts to raise money for victims in his hometown, Beaumont, Texas.

Patrick Kivlehan Seeks His Chance Starts Against Mets

Patrick Kivlehan is making up for lost baseball time.

The Reds back up outfielder has been with the team all season but has scarcer playing time.

Absences from a baseball lineup don’t faze Kivlehan.  He gave up baseball for three years between graduation in 2008 from St. Joseph’s High School in Montvale, New Jersey and the spring of 2012 when he completed his career as a defensive back at Rutgers University.

Kivlehan asked to play baseball his senior season.  He won the Big East Triple Crown with a .399 batting average, 14 home runs and 50 RBI.  Kivlehan was named Big East Player of the Year.  Just like that he had a baseball career when he was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the fourth round. 

His lack of baseball experience hurt him in the minor leagues. He was traded to Texas, reaquired by the Mariners, claimed off waivers by the San Diego Padres.  Kivlehan played in five games for the Padres last season before the Reds claimed him off waivers on September 28.  He was hitless in three games for the Reds at the tail end of the season.

The Reds got a good look at him in spring training and he earned a roster spot as an extra outfielder, who could also spell Joey Votto late in games.

Kivlehan has some big hits this season for Cincinnati. He has been in 93 games mostly as a pinch hitter but started 22 in five different positions (3B 1, CF 2, LF 5, RF 14) with 11 games finishing up for Votto.  He has eight pinch hits in 48 attempts.  Kivlehan has a grand slam among his eight home runs and a two home run start at Philadelphia on May 28.

“Forget about his batting average because of his scarce playing time,” manager Bryan Price said. “He could be an every day player if given the opportunity.  He defends well at multiple positions. He’s a good base runner with speed.”

Kivlehan is starting in leftfield against the New York Mets, taking over for a struggling Adam Duvall, who given the chance has become a solid every day player.  In rightfield, Scott Schebler is developing into a solid every day outfielder, leaving Kivlehan seeking a similar opportunity.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Homer Bailey Retuns Strong But Is Outdueled By Rookie

Homer Bailey felt a tweak in his arm in the third inning of his last start against the Chicago Cubs.

Bailey had three surgeries in his last two years and left the game early.  He was given extra rest before facing the New York Mets Wednesday night.

 The Reds veteran pitched well but Rafael Montero was lights out in the New York Mets 2-0 win over the Reds.  It was the Mets 15th win in the last 16 games between the two foes.

 "Sometimes you have to pitch with what you have,' Bailey said.  "With what I've been through, six months after surgery, it is literally one game at a time."

The Reds veteran pitched well but Rafael Montero was lights out in the New York Mets 2-0 win over the Reds.  It was the Mets 15th win in the last 16 games between the two foes.  The Reds were shut out for the second time in four games.

The first inning was tough on Bailey with Jose Reyes, Wilmer Flores and Kevin Plawecki hitting doubles that resulted in two runs.

Bailey was stingy after that, allowing a single, walk and a hit batter over the next five frames.

"After the first inning, I made them hit the ball where the fielders were," said Bailey who had one striketout.

Price felt that Bailey did all he could and wasn't going to push.

'I felt his stuff was down a tick from the 5th to the sixth," Price said.  "It was reminiscent of games when he didn't have his best stuff.  He managed the strike zone and worked ahead.

Tim Adleman kept the Reds in the game with three innings of scoreless relief.

Unfortunately for the Reds Rafael Montero pitched hitless baseball until Joey Votto hit a double one out into the fourth inning. Adam Duvall walked but Scooter Gennett’s weak grounder became a 4-3 double play/  The team that scored 14 runs Tuesday night was holding a scoreless bag after five innings.

The Reds pounded Mets' pitching for 14 runs on Tuesday.

"It's a strange game.  We all know it.  We score 14 runs, yesterday.  Today we get shut out by a rookie with an ERA above 5.00," Bryan Price said.  "He earned it.  We didn't help him any."

Jose Peraza flied out to open the eighth as a pinch hitter for Bailey.  Bailey finished with six innings of two-run baseball.

Montero, who started the 2015 Future’s game at Citi Field before the 2013 All-Star Game, took a one-hit shutout into the ninth.  After a walk to Eugenio Suarez, who Montero picked off, he retired 11 straight heading into the final stanza.

Montero got pinch hitter Billy Hamilton to ground out but Philip Ervin singled.  Erving went to third on Zack Cozart's double into the leftfield corner.  Votto was walked intentionally, as the potential winning run.  Mets' manager Terry Collins summoned A.J. Ramos into a tough situation.

In this same situation on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Adam Duvall grounded out to end the game.  Duvall was hoping to make up for it.

Duvall struck out looking.

Ramos needed to get Gennett to earn his 26th save in 28 chances.  The count went full.  Gennett fouled off two 3-2 pitches before he struck out swinging.

"We made a push but Ramos came in and made good pitches," Price said.

Bronson Arroyo Rides Into The Sunset Like Gene Autry

Bronson Arroyo can’t give a full three hour concert or go nine innings but in the waning days of the 2017, he will give what he has.

The Reds announced a short concert at the conclusion of the game against the Boston Red Sox on Saturday, September 23.

Arroyo, who picked up a guitar in the minor leagues, learned to play and cover tunes from contemporary pop musicians.  One of his good friends is Eddie Vedder or Pearl Jam.

“It is going to be a mini concert,” Arroyo said.  “A real concert is three hours long.  Bronson Arroyo ain’t got three hours in him.  That’s Bruce Springsteen.  That’s Pear Jam.  That’s a real show.  I’m going to give them the appetizer.  I’m going to give them the shrimp cocktail and then they can watch the fireworks.”

Arroyo began 2017 in the Reds’ starting rotation after two injury plagued years.  The 40-year old was a consistent 200 innings per year performer, who prided himself on not missing starts until the wear and tear caught up to him He pitched well enough to make a story book return and injuries to Homer Bailey and Anthony DeSclafani.  He made 14 starts until his arm became a liability.  There was a promising stretch in April, where won three straight decision over a span of six starts in which the Reds were un-defeated.

“It’s going to be fun. I can’t contribute on the field right now, at least I can contribute in some other ways. People come to the ballpark.  In a lot of ways we are entertaining out here.  Internally, we’re thinking about wins and losses all the time, and that drives the machine. At the end of the day, the ammenities here, the food, the overall experience still matters a lot to the fans. It is what keeps them coming back.  I’m trying to do my part. I’ve been doing some little things. They’ve given me the opportunity to play around the ballpark.  With the Red Sox coming in, it will be a nice cap to my career, moving on to the things that I’ll be doing.  I’ll be doing a lot more than throwing a baseball in the future.”

Arroyo recorded a CD during his days with the Boston Red Sox before he was traded to Cincinnati from Boston in spring training on March 20, 2006 for Wily Mo Pena.

“We’re going to play all cover songs.  If I wrote stuff that I was happy with, I would play them. 
That doesn’t generally happen.  I’ll just play songs that hopefully people know, stuff that’s turned me on throughout my career.  Hopefully, people enjoy it.”

“I’ll be playing for 45 minutes.  I think there’ll be a gap, depending how the game goes, somewhere around 7:40 to 8:20.  Then there will be the fireworks show.  They said they were going to do it like the Avett Brothers Show and bring people out on the infield there.

The Cincinnati Bengals’ defensive tackle Mike Reid quit football while he could still walk.  Reid began a second career writing  and performing popular country music. Like Reid,  Reds’ fans will get to see Arroyo ride off into the sunset like former California Angels owner and singing cowboy Gene Autry.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Scott Schebler's Grand Slam Keys Reds First Win Over Mets In Three Years

Scott Schebler’s first career grand slam propelled the Reds to its first win over the New York Mets since September 6, 2014.

Schebler connected off Mets’ rookie pitcher Chris Flexen in a five-run first inning that propelled the Reds to a 14-4 win over the Reds.

Sal Romano was touched for a run in the first inning.

Jose Reyes walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch.  Asdrubal Cabrera hit a run scoring double before Romano settled in.

Flexen got Billy Hamilton on a ground out for the first out but Zack Cozart reached on an infield single to deep short.  Joey Votto walked for the sixth straight plate appearance.  The struggling Adam Duvall struck out.  Scooter Gennett walked to load the bases.  Eugenio Suarez sharp single to left tied the game.  Schebler’s line drive reached the right field stands for his 25th home run to give Cincinnati a 5-1 cushion.

'I didn't really see his fastball," Schebler said.  "It was his change up that I hit out.  I didn't realize how important that shoulder was. It was my non dominant shoulder. I learned my lesson. I played with it for about a month and a half.  I think beast is a good word.  Grand slams don't happen very often. I'm not like Scooter, who hits one every other at bat."

Schebler was struggling with a shoulder that needed rest.  Since he's come back he is hitting .370 with a 1.216 OPS in the 10 days.

"Schebler is getting to his power," Bryan Price said..  "He's still knocking some baslls into the five-six hole.  It's good to have him swinging the bat the way he can.  He has a chance to be a real beast.  He defends, runs well. controls the strike zone to get on base; we're starting to see some of that."

Romano allowed two hits in four straight scoreless innings.

"He had a few misfires in the first inning," Price said. "He wasn't missing by much but he was missing.  Then he started rolling that sinnker in there."

The Reds got to Flexen for a pair of fifth inning runs.

Cozart singled.  Votto, who grounded out to break the walk streak, walked again.  Duvall hit into a double play.  Gennett singled to score Cozart.  Suarez walked in front of Schebler, whose single drove home his fifth run of the game to tie his career-high.

The Mets got to Romano for two in the sixth.

Cabrera walked with one out.  Wilmer Flores, the cleanup hitter, popped up to Votto.  Travis D’Arnuad doubled Cabrera to third.  Dominic Smith singled home the two runners.  Amed Rosario singled but Romano struck out Juan Lagares to complete his stint. 

Romano turned in his third straight quality start with six innings of six-hit, three-baseball.  He won his second straight decision to improve to 4-5.

"It was the 14th game in a tow so we had to do something," Romano said.  "A couple in my familty are Mets fans at home.  It's nice to get a win and be a part of it. I felt like I was as sharp as the last two games.  I left some change ups, up in the sixth inning but I felt like I was pretty sharp.

Drew Storen. Kevin Schackelford and Wandy Peralta, held down the Mets to the ninth.

Joey Votto drove in the Reds’ eighth run with a single in the eighth inning. Duvall followed with a three-run home run, his 31st.  The Reds scored seven runs in the inning off Chasen Bradford.  The Reds were aided by two errors by Wilmer Flores.

Catcher Kevin Plawecki relieved Bradford with the bases loaded and no outs.  It was his second pitching appearance.  He got pinch hitter Phil Ervin to hit into a double play.  Cozart reached base twice by Flores errors.

Two Local High School Stars Join Top Baseball Prospects In Prestigious AFL

Two local high school stars will illuminate the prestigious Arizona Fall League this year.

The league directed by former Reds’ traveling secretary and Xavier University marketing manager Steve Cobb, is owned by Major League Baseball.  It has been operating since 1992 in the Phoenix area.

This season, 11 of the top 100 prospects, 20 first round draft picks and numerous league all-stars and MVP’s will be on the rosters of the six teams.

Ryan Atkinson out of Colerain and the University of Cincinnati will compete with these minor league elite players as a member of the Salt River Rafters.  Atkinson has risen from Low A Kane County, thru High A Visalia to Double A Jackson in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ system.

Atkinson made a total of 24 starts this far into the season with a combined.7-10 record and a 3.50 ERA.  He was among the leaders in all of minor league baseball with 152 strikeouts.

The Rafters combine the top prospects of Arizona, Milwaukee, Miami, Baltimore and Colorado.  They will be managed by J.R. House from the Arizona system.

Oak Hills graduate, left-handed reliever Joel Bender was assigned to the league by the Reds.  Bender had surgery on his elbow in February 2016 and missed 18 months.

Bender didn’t pitch in a game until July 7.  He pitched in three games in the Arizona Rookie League then was assigned to Daytona on July 15.  Bender gave up six runs, (two earned) in 2/3 of an inning in his first game at Daytona.  Since then Bender has allowed just two runs in his last 13 appearances.  His last 10 appearances in a row were scoreless.  In 14 games he has a 2.40 ERA for the Tortugas.

Bender will join Reds pitching prospects, Brennan Bernadino of Pensacola and Jake Ehret of Daytona on the pitching staff of the Scottsdale Scorpions.  The Scorpions managed by former Reds’ bench manager Jay Bell, who will guide prospects from the Angels, Giants, Mets and Yankees as well as the Reds.

Catcher Chad Tromp will be a reserve on the team.  Infielders, Taylor Sparks and Blake Trahan will be infielders on the team.  The Reds will likely add another pitcher.

Eugenio Suarez Can't Go Home

 Eugenio Suarez loves his native country but isn’t sure he can go back this off season.

Suarez was born 26-years ago in Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela but with the imminent birth of his daughter Nicolle, he is afraid he may not be able to return.

‘I have my family there,” Suarez said.  “I try to visit for Christmas with my family there and try to enjoy, the couple months.  Right now everybody knows Venzuela is in trouble.  So it is not easy to be there.  I don’t know if I will go to Venezuela this year because my daughter is coming on the way.  I don’t want to be in trouble. I love my country.  I want to go over there so bad.”

His sadness was evident in the effervescent personality that can be seen signing and dancing in the clubhouse.  We’ve seen him salsa dancing on the GABP video board.

Suarez’ walk up song “Mis Illusiones” is a song that shows his love of Venezuela.

“The song says I love my country,m” Suarez said.  “I love Venezuela. I hope that one day that situation changes. I couple of singers sang it to Venezuela for the situation we have.  It is really beautiful.”

Niicolas Maduro, a former administrator for Hugo Chavez, has taken control of not only the executive branch but the legislature and judicial branches as well.  The US has imposed sanctions on the Venezuela government, intended to starve the Maduro regime of cash.   Venezuelan citizens are running short of food.

Suarez is one of three Venezuelan natives on the Reds.  Jose Peraza and Alejandro Chacin are the other two.

A former student activist and lawmaker in Venezuela, Gaby Arellano told the Miami Herald from her exile in Columbia,

“The street protests in Venezuela are a product of hunger,” Arellano explained . “Regardless of what the opposition does, or the dictatorship does, these protests are a product of the people’s needs.”

Venezuelan students are flooding to Florida to escape the effects of an economy that is oil rich but poor in every thing else.

There is bipartisan support in Florida to give the students temporary protected status.

Suarez’ former teammate with the Detroit Tigers has had death threats and forced to pay bribes so his mother would not be kidnapped.

The Reds thirdbaseman has his family to consider.  He just hopes for his homeland to return to it’s peaceful beauty.  The song represents his hope for the future of Venezuela.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Tyler Mahle Keeps Reds Close But Pirates Outlast Reds

The Reds got back-to-back good outings from Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle but the Reds’ offense was dormant, scoring one earned run in a 5-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Castillo allowed one run in seven innings on Saturday and the Reds’ turned to another rookie.

Mahle made his Major League debut and got out of the gate fast. 

The 22-year old who owns two minor league no-hitters, one of which was a perfect game, retired the first five Pittsburgh Pirate batters.  Known for his command of the strike zone, Mahle walked John Jaso with two outs in the second and pitched out of a small jam in the third in which he allowed and infield single to Starling Marte.

“I liked that he came after their lineup," Bryan Price said..  "I thought he was poised.  He had good command of the fastball. He got under the ball a little bit and the ball came up in the zone.  Mack had a good meeting with him and he was fine.”

" “I wasn’t disappointed in the outing.  There have been some a lot worse.  He never made me nervous.  He was in control. Any body who thought he was going to throw a complete game shutout.  That may happen once in a while but it's not the norm."

The Pirates scored two in the fourth to erase the Reds’ 1-0 lead. 

Jameson Taillon allowed an unearned run in the Reds’ second.  Scooter Gennett doubled and went to third when catcher Elias Diaz tried to pich him off second.  Scott Schebler’s sacrifice fly gave the Reds the advantage.

Mahle lost control for a couple batters and it cost him.  He walked Josh Bell and hit Josh Harrison with a pitch with one out.  John Jaso pulled a pitch down the rightfield line for a two-run double.

“Once I started to play catch, I was fine," Mahle said.. "I got a little wild. I had to slow everything down. I like to work fast but I got a little too fast and walked a couple guys.  Mack (Jenkins) came out to slow me down a little bit and it worked.”

Taillon pitched out of a bases loaded, no out jam in the  of the fourth. Billy Hamilton and Zack Cozart singled.  Joey Votto walked to load the bases.  Taillon struck out Adam Duvall looking, got Gennett to pop up to Diaz and got Jose Peraza on a routine fly to center.

“The game was sitting there for us to win and we didn’t do it," Price said..

Marte opened the fifth with a single.  Max Moroff bunted Marte to second.  Andrew McCutchen’s single scored Marte.

Mahle pitched five innings, allowing three runs on four hits.  He walked four and hit a batter.  Mahle struck out five.  He also had an infield hit for his first Major League hit in the fourth inning.

The Reds cut the lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the frame.  Cozart singled. Votto walked for the third time.  Duvall struck out on a wild pitch from reliever A.J. Schugel.  Gennett’s ground out got the run home.

Kevin Schackelford and Drew Storen pitched scoreless innings for the Reds. Schugel, Daniel Hudson and Juan Nicasio held the Pirates lead.

Michael Lorenzen pitched out of trouble in the eighth.  He walked McCutchen in front of Bell’s second double. The Reds brought the infield in.  Harrison smoked a ball into Cozart’s glove.  McCuthchen got back to third.  The Reds intentionally passed Jaso but Sean Rodriguez hit into a 6-4-3 double play.

Raisel Iglesias streak of five straight scoreless appearances was snapped in a non-save outing.

A single by Diaz and pinch hit double by David Freese put Iglesias in jeopardy.  Marte’s third hit expanded the lead to 5-2.

Felipe Rivero came on to save his 16th game in 17 chances.  He has converted his last seven.

A throwing error by Rodriguez the shortstop brought Votto to the plate as the tying run. Votto represented the winning run when he walked for the fifth time.  Duvall stepped in.  Phillip Ervin ran for Votto.  Duvall forced Ervin at second.

Votto's five walks ties a team record.  Votto has done it twice.  He walked five times against the New York Mets on September 23, 2013.  Hughie Critz and Johnny Bench have also walked five times in a game.

Catcher Chad Wallach played in his first Major League game.  His father Tim Wallach, who played 17 years in the big leagues with Montreal and the Dodgers, coaches for the Miami Marlins but his manager Don Mattingly gave him permission to attend the game.

 “My dad got here around midnight last night, so he was able to see it," the younger Wallach said.

Wallach caught Mahle in the minor leagues.

"He looked good.  There were a couple pitches up but the double was a lucky hit. It kind of hugged the line," said Wallach, who can attest to Mahle's temperament and presence on the mound.

“I’ve never seen a lot of emotion out of him," Wallach said..  The most I’ve seen if he gets a big out, he will pat his glove a little bit but that’s it.”

Wallach was 0-for-4 but flied out to deep right opening the ninth against Rivero.

“I was a little out in front of the ball in the ninth but I’m pleased with the contact," Wallach said.

“It was awesome. It was a blast.  It is why we play.”

Luis Castillo Wows Pirates Tyler Mahle Viewed From Pirates Scouts

It is one thing when your own manager compliments his prospects.and to be polite you might get a mild compliment from the opposing manager when an opposing prospect is mediocre.

On Sunday after Luis Castillo allowed one run over seven innings to the Pittsburgh Pirates, manager Clint Hurdle’s first reaction when asked, “Wow.”

“He was impressive. That’s the beautiful thing about watching a kid in a game and having a dugout view versus a video.  His stuff looked good on video, it did  It looked way better from the dugout. We had seen him elevate the ball with a lot more regularity, whether it was by design or not.  One of our goals was to look down. He didn’t spend a lot of time up last night.  The fastball was real with finish and the breaking ball was really effective and sharp.  He threw some change ups a well, the rhythm the pace.  He’s a good looking pitching prospect.”

Hurdle said after last night’s game that Castillo’s slider was the best he’s seen.

Reds’ assistant general manager Nick Krall found Hurdle’s remarks interesting.

“The slider was the last thing we had concerns about,” Krall said.  “I saw how much it improved in a game at Pensacola.  That is one of the things that got him here this year.”

Hurdle visited briefly with former Reds’ reliever Tom Hume before meeting the press corp.

The Pirates get to look at another Reds’ prospect Tyler Mahle Sunday.

Pittsburgh has video from a game Mahle pitched against Indianapolis, the Pirates Triple A team.

“We’re up to speed,” Hurdle said.  “We have several camera views, behind the batter, behind the pitcher, from both sides.  We have as much on this guy as we’ve had on anybody.  I said yesterday, I don’t know how we played this game 30 years ago.  If you get it, you get it. Like I tell my kids, you get what you get and don’t throw a fit.  You take the tape you look at it.  You talk to people who have seen him pitch in person.”

The Pirates had three separate reports on Mahle on Hurdle’s desk.  None of which gives the Pirates an advantage.

“I’ve always said the advantage is to the pitcher, if he makes good pitches,” Hurdle said.  “If he doesn’t he’s going to get blasted.  It’s pretty simple.”

What do the three different guys who saw Mahle pitch say?

“The numbers pretty much play.  Early in the year the velocity was higher,” Hurdle read. “He’s fastball, change up, to the lefties an occasional curveball, get me over early in the count. He’s going to challenge.  It is back and forth.  It is all about command.  He’s a good athlete. He fields his position well.  He can control the running game. Butch sent us one a couple days ago. He’s a strike thrower, tries to get the ball on the ground.”

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Bronson Arroyo Scheduled To Hold A Concert During The Red Sox Series

The Avett Brothers performed in concert after the Reds' game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Flo Rida held a postgame concert on August 4 and Kaleo performed on May 5.

With the Boston Red Sox playing the Reds on September 23 the Reds have another musical treat for fans.

Bronson Arroyo will play and sing some popular tunes after the game scheduled for 4;10 that day.

Arroyo learned to play the guitar when he was a minor league player and can sing.  He has been a regular entertainer at Redsfest for years.

With his former team, the Red Sox in town for what will almost certainly be the final home weekend of his career.

Arroyo had to shut down after his surgically repaired elbow and shoulder wouldn't allow him to continue to compete effectively.

Arroyo, who made the team in spring training, after being signed to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.  He won a spot in the starting rotation and made 14 starts with a 3-6 record and a 7.37 ERA.  He won three straight decisions between April 13 and May 5.  His last start was on June 18.

The 40-year old, 18-year veteran has stayed with the team in uniform to fulfill his contract and help the nine rookie starters and 10 pitchers who made their debut for the Reds this season

It Was Avettt And Castillo Night At GABP But Cole Had The Biggest HIt

Luis Castillo opened for the recording artists the Avett Brothers at Great American Ball Park on Reds' concert night but Geritt Cole, no relation to Nat "King" Cole had the biggest hit.

The Reds young righthander, Castillo, made one bad pitch and his mound opponent, Cole made him pay in a 1-0 loss to hte Pitssburgh Pirates..

"It was a mental mistake," Castillo said through interpreter Jullio Murillo.  "I just wanted to get ahead and I put a fastball right down the middle of the plate and he took advantage of it."

Cole’s first home run of the season and third of his career, broke a scoreless tie when he led off the sixth inning with a blast into the leftfield stands.

Castillo pitched two out into the fourth inning, allowing just a walk, when Josh Bell beat Joey Votto’s glove for a double.  David Freese singled to left but Adam Duvall, increased his Major League leading outfield assist total to 13 by throwing Bell out at home.  The Reds lead the Major Leagues with 35 outfield assists, saving Reds’ pitchers 11 2/3 innings on the year.

"Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose," Castillo said.  "Today I felt really good on the mound today. My pitches were really good. "

Castillo has a 2-7 record but it could easily by reversed based on the way he's pitched.

"I don't feel frustrated.  I went out there.  I did my job," Castillo said.  "There will be more starts, if I pitch like that, I know I will win some games.  It is the same record Pedro Martinez had when he started in the big leagues."

"Luis was up to the challenge," Bryan Price said. "He more than held his own. He gave us an opportunity to win.  It's a sign of good things to come for our staff."

The Reds threatened with two outs in the fifth.  Scott Schebler, singled for the fifth time in his last five at bats.  Tucker Barnhart singled and stole secondbase unchallenged but Castillo grounded out to end the chance.

Both starters pitched seven complete innings. It was Castillo’s fourth quality start this month.  He allowed three hits and a walk while striking out nine.

Cole allowed five hits in seven scoreless innings.

Wandy Peralta took over for Cincinnati. Juan Nicasio for Pittsburgh. Both worked a scoreless eighth.

Michael Lorenzen pitched an uneventful ninth inning.

Rookie Battery Again On Sunday Tyler Mahle And Chad Wallach

If anything punctuates the state of the Reds youth movement, the starting battery, pitcher and catcher,  Sunday is an indication or symptom.

The Reds will start a battery with both the pitcher and catcher making their Major League debut.

Tyler Mahle, who has wowed the organization with his progress this season, will be added to the roster and pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.

His catcher also playing in his first big league game will be Chad Wallach, the son of former Montreal Expo and Los Angeles Dodgers’ star Tim Wallach.

This is the second time this season the Reds have done that. Pitcher Rookie Davis and catcher Stuart Turner made their debut on April 6.

Mahle, has put together a sensational year that includes a perfect game on April 22.  He pitched a no-hitter at High A Daytona on June 13, 2016.  He faced the minimum 27 batters but hit a batter, who was later erased, with a pitch.

This season the 22-year old seventh round in 2013 draft by the Reds out of Westminster High School in California, put together a 7-3 record with a 1.59 ERA at Pensacola.  He was a Southern League All-Star, his ERA was second in the league, his 87 strikeouts were second, his opponents batting average was second at .190 and his win total was third. 

Mahle was promoted to Triple A Louisville on June 22.  He was 3-4 with a 2.73 ERA for the Bats in 10 starts.

It was in spring training in which he caught the eye of Reds’ manager Bryan Price in a game in which he gave up a three-run home run to Arizona on February 27.

“Even Tyler Mahle, Tyler gives up a ground ball base hit. There is a pop up that we don’t catch, then a three-run homer. I looked at him, the body, the composure, the delivery, the stuff, he looks like a big leaguer.  I know he would have liked to have different results,” Bryan Price said at the time..


His opinion stands.

“The composure, the presence, the fastball command, the arm action, the repeatable delivery, he just stood out.  I remember saying something to Mack (Jenkins).  This guy could be competing for a spot on our team this year," Price said on Saturday.
Wallach joined the Reds along with Anthony DeSclafani in the 2014 trade with Miami for Mat Latos.  He caught Reds’ reliever Michael Lorenzen when they were teammates at Cal State - Fullerton.

Wallach, 25, was the Marlins’ fifth round pick in 2013.  His father, Tim, has permission to leave the Miami Marlins by Don Mattingly to come to Cincinnati to watch Chad in his debut.

His father got paternity leave which is ironically why Wallach is with the Reds now.  Stuart Turner left the team for the birth of his son, late Thursday night.  Devin Mesoraco, who also became a father on August 6 is on the disabled list with a broken foot.  Tucker Barnhart will be on paternity leave soon as his wife Sierra is due to deliver his first son this weekend.

“I didn’t think he was going to be here because they’re playing,” Wallach said  “It’s awesome that he will be able to make it for the game.”

Wallach was hitting .226 in 64 games with nine home runs, 12 doubles, 18 RBI and a stolen base.  Wallach has been in the Reds’ spring training camp the last three seasons and has also played firstbase.

“I’m really excited. It will be a good time,” Wallach said.  “I’ve caught Tyler a few times last year at Pensacola and a few times this year. He is such a good strike thrower.  His stuff keeps getting better.  His off speed tough keeps getting better.”

If a pitcher and catcher are starting a game on a new team, in a new town on a higher level, it could be to their advantage to pitch to or catch someone they are comfortable and familiar with.

“It is a good marriage there because he’s the one guy who has familiarity with Tyler,” Price said.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Reds Late Rally Trips Cubs Avoids Sweep

The Reds rallied with two out in the bottom of the eighth to edge the Chicago Cubs 4-2.

It looked like Pedro Strop was going to breeze through the inning when Jason Heyward made a diving catch on Joey Votto’s sinking line drive but Adam Duvall got a rally started with a sharp single to left.  Scooter Gennett doubled on a hard grounder inside the thirdbase line and Duvall was held at third.  Strop tried to tease Eugenio Suarez with three pitches out of the strike zone but they waived Suarez to first to bring up Michael Lorenzen, who struck out the side in the top of the inning.  Jose Peraza hit a long double to center that would have cleared the bases but it bounced over the wall for a ground rule double.  The Reds got the fourth run on a wild pitch.

"He's a really good pitcher," Peraza said.  "He has a really good fastball. I was working in the cage underneath the stands  I was ready for it."

The Reds haven't hit Strop particularly well in the past.  In 32 career appearances before tonight the Reds hit .144 against Strop.

"Strop has pitched unbelievably well against us." Price said.  "I'm happy for Jose (Peraza).

Reds’ rookie Sal Romano had his hands full on Thursday facing the World Champion Cubs, who scored 13 runs on Monday and nine on Tuesday.

"Romano was on the attack," Bryan Price said.  "He threw a lot of good quality strikes.  He had a nice feel for his change up.'

Add to the equation, Jake Arrieta, the Cy Young Award winner from 2015.

Romano coming off a good seven inning start in Atlanta, looked strong.  He retired the first four Cubs easily but University of Cincinnati baseball star, Ian Happ hit his 20th home run.

"It is a great sign.  He is pounding the strike zone with confidence," Price said.

Romano feels like the last two starts are significant for 2018.

"I've been working really hard with the coaching staff and it's starting to pay off," Romano said.  "I didn't have the change up early but I stuck with it and it came around.  You have to be consistent but I am ready to earn a spot in the rotation next year."

Arrieta retired the first 10 Reds.  Zack Cozart hit a hard ground ball to thirdbase that Kris Bryant couldn’t handle in his first game back after getting hit on his hand Monday night.  Cozart cruised to second.  Votto’s single tied the score.

The Cubs broke the tie in the sixth inning.

Bryant doubled with one out.  Romano got Anthony Rizzo to pop up.  The Reds walked Happ intentionally.  Javier Baez singled to left.  Bryant beat a strong throw from outfield assist leader Duvall.

The Reds nearly tied the game in the bottom of the inning.  Cozart singled.  Votto doubled over the head of Kyle Schwarber in left.  Schwarber hit the cutoff man, Baez in place.  The relay from Baez cut down Cozart at the plate.

Romano bounced back with a scoreless seventh inning.  He pitched seven innings, allowing two runs on four hits and three walks.  Romano stuck out seven.

In his last two games he’s allowed three earned runs in 14 innings for a 1.93 ERA.

Arrieta lasted 5 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run.  Brian Duensing bailed Arrieta out of a bases loaded jam.
Raisell Iglesias pitched a scoreless ninth for his 24th save in 25 chances.

Emergency Call For Catcher Due To Fatherhood

Catching for the Reds is not a birth right.

Both active catchers, Stuart Turner and Tucker Barnhart anticipate being first time fathers in the next couple days.

Turner is leaving after the game Thursday to join his wife for the birth of their son.  Barnhart’s wife is also due any day.  If she does not give birth by then, his wife Sierra will be induced on August 31st. 

The problem for the Reds gets burdensome if the events happen at the same time.  The Reds other catcher, Devin Mesoraco, became a father on August 6 but is on the disabled list with a broken bone in his left foot.

The Reds plan to call up a catcher on Friday, but they have to clear a roster spot on the 40-man roster.  Scott Feldman had surgery on his left knee on Monday.  The Reds can clear a spot by transferring Feldman to the 60-day disabled list.

The catcher is in the organization, most likely it would be Chad Wallach, 25, the son of former Major Leaguer Tim Wallach or Adrian Nieto, 27.   The Reds aren’t locked into these two.  They could call up Chad Tromp or Joe Hudson from Pensacola.

The Reds’ top catching prospect, Tyler Stephenson, the top draft choice in 2015, is currently out of action with an injury.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Cubs Score At Will Maul Reds Newest Pitchers

Every day kids go to the zoo to see bear cubs frolicking in their protective cages.

The Chicago Cubs the alliterative symbol of the ursus americanos infants, had Red meat all day long at Great American Ball Park, devouring the young Reds pitching staff in a 9-3 win..

Starting with Asher Wojciechowski, who made his eighth career start was chewed and spit out after 3 2/3 innings that seemed like an entire winter.

The Cubs jumped on Wojciechowski from out of the brush in the first inning.  Jon Jay singled to the delight of half the crowd that had a bias towards the team from the Windy City.

"The first inning set the tone," Bryan Price said.  "Everything was up.  That's unusual for him. It was a really taxingIt first inning."

A strikeout, two walks, another strikeout followed by a run scoring walk and a single by Jason Heyward led to two more runs.  Ben Zobrist scored easily.  It appeared Adam Duvall, who leads National League outfielders with 12 assists dropped the ball in his haste.  Anthony Rizzo hesitated then picked up the pace to score an unearned run.

Rizzo doubled and Heyward sent him home with his second single in the third.

Wojciechowski was devoured completely in the fourth.

Mike Montgomery, who made his first start in a month, opened the inning with a sharp single. Jay singled and Middletown’s finest, Kyle Schwarber hit the back end of the wall apex for his 21st home run.  The umpires took another look to make sure but the ball left the yard.  Wojciechowski got two outs but Alex Avila singled.  Alejandro Chacin, who arrived earlier in the day from Louisville, made his Major League debut against Tommy La Stella.  La Stella welcomed Chacin with his third home run.

The Reds collected four scarce hits off Montgomery in his six innings.

Zack Cozart and Joey Votto singled back-to-back in the first.  Billy Hamilton singled and stole his league-leading 53rd base in the third.  Jessee Winker dumped a pinch hit single into left.

That was the Reds; offense.

Chacin got four outs, two by strikeout after La Stella’s blast.

"I didn't say anything to him about the home run. It's part of the game," Price said.  "You're in the big leagues and its the best of the best. I like the fact he went after hitters.  He threw the ball over the plate. He fell behind La Stella 3-1.  He chanllenged him and he hit the ball out of the ballpark.  He came back the next inning and put up a zero.  I was impressed by that."
Young Luke Farrell made his Reds’debut and danced around three base runners in three scoreless innings.

"I was able to see his debut a month or so ago," Price said. "He got a chance to get back in the big leagues.  He put up three scoreless innings against the World Champs that was a good way to get back."

Farrell, who is cancer survivor,  made his debut on July 1, the first game of a double header against the Minnesota Twins for Kansas City.  Ht gave up five runs in 3 2/3 innings.  That was his only day in the Major Leagues until tonight.

"I tried to stay in the moment as much as possible," Farrell.  "This was different.  You don't allow yourself to build up as much pressure for the outing. You  don't know if you're going to get in tonight or tomorrow ore even be here tomorrow.  You just try ot be in the moment as much as you can. When your're namd is called you try to be ready."

"This was very satisfying," Farrell said. "It's been a tough few weeks, bouncing around team to team and with my health history, for sure its a great moment."

Justin Wilson and Koji Uehara retired the battered Reds over for two innings.

Joey Votto spoiled the shut out with his 33rd home run off Hector Rondon in the ninth.. Eugenio Suarez' and Scott Schebler hit their 24th home runs back-to-back to provide the final margin.  It was the sixth set of back-to-back home runs by the Reds this season.

Reds Shuffle Worn Out Pitchers

Bryan Price had a tough decision to make.

Blake Wood, who filled several diffterent roles for his over worked bullpen, has been woefully ineffective in his last seven appearances.

Wood allowed 14 runs in 3 2/3 innings, walking five.  He was getting hit at a .522 clip.

“It was hard to watch,” Price said.  “He puts his heart and soul into it.  Blake needs reps at a different location, but he didn’t have any options and we didn’t have any options. He’s been our most durable pitcher. He took the ball every time we asked, often after going two innings the day before. The bulk of his work here has been positive, but his recent performance led to this.”

The Reds designated Wood for assignment.  He needs to be traded, released or clear waivers in the next 10 days.  After 10 days, he can accept assignment to the Reds’ minor league system of become a free agent.

The Reds also optioned Philip Ervin to Louisville so he can get regular at bats at he end of the minor league season in early September.

The Reds promoted RHP Luke Farrell, who pitched High School baseball at Cleveland St. Ignatius.

Farrell was drafted by Kansas City and made his Major League debut on July 1 of this season in the first game of a doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins.  He allowed five runs in 2 2/3 innings.

“Every player has nerves in their debut. It was exciting, but I’m glad to be done with it,” Farrell said.  “I’ve done a lot of packing and unpacking this year.”

Farrell was taken off waivers by the Dodgers and in turn claimed from the Dodgers by the Reds/

Farrell has pitched in Louisville, Omaha and Oklahoma City.  Combined the 26-year old has a 7-6 record in 19 starts and one relief effort.  He has a 4.85 ERA,  With 106 strikeouts and 41 walks in 107 2/3 innings.

The Reds selected the contract of  24-year old RHP Alejandro Chacin.

Chacin hit every rung on the Reds’ minor league ladder.  Last season the native of Venezuela, led the Southern League with 52 appearances and 30 saves.

This season at Louisville, Chacin appeared in 44 games with 0-3 record, one save and a 2.60 ERA.

“Every promotion he’s gotten he’s deserved based on how he performed at the previous level. It’s really the American way,” Price said. “He’s earned everything he’s gotten to this point. I admire him for it.”

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Scooter Gennett's Dog Gets Present But Joe Maddon's Dog Laughed Last

It was the birthday of Scooter Gennett’s dog on Tuesday.  Gennett promised the pup named Leo because “he looks like a lion and he was born under the zodiac sign.”

“I promised him I’d hit a home run for him,” Gennett said before the game.

Leo’s master came through drilling a John Lackey pitch into the rightfield stands for his 22nd home run.  Chicago Cubs manager’s dog Winston was happier as his master’s team scored often late in a 13-6 win.

The blow opened a 3-0 lead over the Chicago Cubs which finished in a 13-9 win for the Reds.

Billy Hamilton led off the Reds’ first with a single. He stole his 52nd base.  He advanced to third on a fly to deep right and scored on a wild pitch.

The Reds added a run the next inning.  Eugenio Suarez singled and scored on a double by Tucker Barnhart.  Leo’s present increased the lead.

Homer Bailey started for the Reds.  He had an easy first inning, survived a leadoff double in the second.  Bailey walked pitcher Lackey in the third.  He teammates botched a double play ball. 

Bailey was checked by Reds’ trainer Steve Bauman later in the frame but finished it without a run crossing the plate.  He left the game for precautionary reasons.  Bailey felt irritation in his right shoulder.

He had some irritation behind his shoulder blade," Bryan Price said.  "There is no intention of putting him on the DL.  It's a day-to-day thing.  He felt something and just wanted to throw some pitches.  When he came in he felt there was enough of a concern.  When he had a concern for me there was no debate."

Bailley slipped when he was walking Lackey.

"My foot gave way. I felt a little tweak if you will," Bailey said.  "When the came out there I told them I wanted to throw a few pitches without a hitter in there.  I threw a couple pitches and it felt fine. I finished up the inning.  We are taking precautions. I'll know more tomorrow. I feel extremely confident about making my next start."

Kevin Schackelford pitched a scoreless fourth but gave up the lead in the fifth.

Lackey walked for the second time.  Jon Jay singled Lackey to second. Kyle Schwarber’s single loaded the bases with no outs.  Kris Bryant hit a sacrifice fly to center Jay went to third.  Anthony Rizzo hit into an RBI fielder’s choice.  Ian Happ and Alex Avila walked to fill the bases again.  Jason Heyward singled sharply to left.  Rizzo scored but Duvall threw Happ out at the plate to end the inning.  Duvall leads National League outfielders with 12 assists.

The Reds got the runs back against Lackey.

Zack Cozart and Duvall singled.  Suarez belted his 22nd home run into the upper deck in left.

The Cubs added a run in the sixth. Javier Baez singled and moved to second on a wild pitch.  Pinch hitter Tommy La Stella flew out to center.  Hamilton’s throw to third skipped past Suarez and bounced out of play, allowing Baez to score.

The Cubs came back for more in the seventh.

Rizzo walked with one out off Michael Lorenzen.  Wandy Peraltas replaced Lorenzen and struck out Happ.  Avila and Heyward singled to load the bases.  Heyward’s hit off Peralta’s thigh was kept in the infield by Gennett.  Peratlta got ahead of Baez 0-2 but ran the count full before a ground single to right tied the game.

Note:  Scott Feldman had season-ending surgery on his right knee on Tuesday.

Ben Zobrist was in the original starting lineup but he went home to Nashville, Tennessee on his day off.  He reserved a car but the rental car company was out of cars.  He couldn’t get to Cincinnati by game time.  Happ, the formere UC player got the start.

Zobrist arrived at 6:00.   Manager Joe Maddon compared it to a Seinfeld episode in which Jerry reserved a car but the company was out when he got there.

"It was a frustrating morning and afternoon," Zobrist said.  "I've had nightmares about missing a game before. When you're nightmare comes true.  I felt I had to do something.  It took about an hour and a half to get any thing that was available.  There was a lot of traffic and a lot of accidents.  I've already been told that I'm making enough money, I should have taken a PJ (private jet).  It was relief. I was in the dugout and you show up late to the game like I did.  You better do something."

The Reds wished he hadn’t made the trip.  Zobrist two-run double as a pinch hitter off Peralta gave the Cubs an 8-6 lead.

Jessee Winker hit his first career pinch hit home run and fourth of the season in the ninth off Felix Pena. Suarez added a twoi-run home run his 23rd.  It was his fourth two-home run game and third this season.

Blake Wood couldn’t get anyone out.  Three walks, three straight singles and a wild pitch made the score 12-6 before an out was made.   The Cubs ended up with five in the inning, giving them nine over two innings.

Scooter Gennett's Break Out Year Provides Lessons

The Reds left spring training with a young pitching staff and young bench.  Arismendy Alcantara and Patrick Kivlehan were back up infileder/outfielders.  Alcantara had never spent a full season in the Major Leagues.  Kivlehan had five games of experience.

The plan was for Jose Peraza, 23, to learn on the job as the regular secondbaseman with the Alcantara backing him up.

On the next to last day of spring training, the Milwaukee Brewers placed Scooter Gennett on waivers.  Gennett was platooning with Rickie Weeks for two seasons.  Last year he had a chance to win the every day secondbase job but a nagging oblique injury slowed him down. 

Jonathan Villar and Hernan Perez were given the opportunity to play every day for the Brewers and took advantage of it.  At the same time, Kevin Thames and Jesus Aguilar had great springs and needed to be added to the roster.  Ivan DeJesus Jr. hit .420.  Gennett had a decent spring at .316 with no home runs.

Gennett was the odd man out after a good season in spite of the injury.  He hit a career-high 14 home runs and batted .263 and a had career-hgih with 56 RBI and 131 hits.  His only drawback was his defense.  He has limited range.

Gennett knew he had the ability and through work he felt he could continue to build his career in Cincinnati.

“I still had confidence in my ability,” Gennett said.  “Sometimes the stars just don’t line up.  You get hurt or somebody gets traded and you have to take a back seat for a little while.  I just knew that if I kept working hard that getting better each day, each year would ultimately the world would give it back to you.”

The Reds claimed Gennett, 26, off waivers and told him he was going to be in a support role.

As hard as Gennett tried, he put pressure on himself to win the job.

“Early in my career, I was in a platoon situation and had to battle out of that,” Gennett said. “I had a tough year with the oblique last year.  I put myself in a position to get in there every day. When your not in there every day, you tend to add more pressure. Sometimes things don’t work out when you’re trying too hard. This year I kind of let things happen naturally.  I’ve learned that’s the best way.  Now I have the opportunity to play every day and I am more consistent.”

The Reds told Gennett he would play off the bench, taking the pressure to prove he could play every day out of the equation.

“I had a new task, a new job in a sense,” Gennett said.  “Being a utility guy coming off the bench, I was aware there were no expectations.. I was just prepared to play any position.  I think just maturing as a player through dealing with failure, just makes you stronger.  Once I was able to play a little bit more here, I was able to handle that better.”

Gennett has put together a prenominal season.  He has a career high 21 home runs with four coming in one game, only the 17th player in history to do that.  Gennett has a career-high 75 RBI with a Reds’ record tying three grand slam home runs.   He endeared himself to Reds’ fans with a pinch hit home run on opening day.

“Once you get the opportunity and prepare and become selfless good things will happen,” Gennett said.

Some people dismissed the 5'9“ Gennett as too small to hit with power.

“I was told I was too small,” Gennett said.  “Those things just fueled me.  I knew I could hit with power.  I hit home runs in high school (Sarasota High Sailors) with a wooden bat. It was just a matter of allowing them to happen naturally, not trying to swing harder.  This year it is allowing things to happen and being more relaxed at the plate.  You realize too how they are going to pitch to you, how they are going to attack you.  The more time you have in the league the better edge you have.”

The lesson to be learned by a team trying to develop young players is that they may struggle early in their career but if they keep working that sooner or later they will have a breakthrough season like Gennett is having.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Scooter Gennett's Late Slam Plants Padres

Scooter Gennett hit his second grand slam of the season to bring the Reds a come-from-behind 10-3 win over the San Diego Padres.

Two rookie pitchers had a duel in the sun but the Reds scored eight runs in the last two at bats against the Padres’ bullpen.

"Scooter didn't miss the one pitch he got to hit in his at bat,"  Bryan Price said.  "We had a lot of good at bats om that inning.  We grinded out some walks to get to Scooter.  Hand is tough on lefties but I don't like to pinch hit for the regulars unless there is a long history with a pitcher."

The San Diego Padres, Dinelson Lamet and the Reds’ Luis Castillo battled in the finale of the four-game series   It was a 3-2 game in favor of the Padres when the rookies left the game.. 

The Reds found home plate first.  Eugenio Suarez was hit by a Lamet pitch one out into the second inning. Patrick Kivlehan, making his second start in a row, singled.  Tucker Barnhart, who got a rest on Wednesday, drilled a double past Wil Myers at firstbase.  Both runners scored to give Castillo and the Reds the early advantage.

Castillo stifled the Padres on one hit over three innings but Myers cracked his 23rd home run of the season to cut the lead in half.

San Diego found more pitches to its liking in the fifth frame.  three singles and Cory Spangenberg’s RBI double tied the game.  Jose Pirela, who has found Reds’ pitches to his liking all season, singled to put the Padres ahead by a run.  Pirela was 7-for-14 in the series with two home runs and three RBI coming into the game.  He walked twice and singled in his first three at bats against Castillo.

"Castillo was phenomenal," Price said.  "I like the way he competes." 

Lamet walked Joey Votto to start the Reds’ sixth.  Manager Andy Green brought in University of Dayton grad, Craig Stammen to face Adam Duvall.  Stammen broke the cleanup hitter’s bat on a 5-4-3 double play.  The Reds loaded the bases after that.Gennett singled.  Suarez walked and Kivlehan was hit by a pitch.  This time Barnhart grounded out to secondbase.

Castillo struck out pinch hitter Dusty Coleman, who reached base on a passed ball.   Bryan Price summoned Wandy Peralta to keep the Padres close.  Carlos Asauje singled down the line in right.  Jesse Winker fielded it as Coleman went to third but he threw behind Asuaje and the Reds ran him down for the Reds’ Major League leading, 30th outfield assist.  Spangeberg was out when Barnhart fielded his nubber in front of the plate and threw Spangeberg out with Coleman holding.  Drew Storen relieved Peralta and walked the red hot Pirela for the third time in the game.  Solarte grounded out to Gennett, as the Reds escaped harm.

The Reds threatened Kirby Yates in the bottom of the seventh.  Winker walked and Cozart was the third Reds’ batter hit by a pitch, bringing up Votto, looking to extend his hitting streak to 15 games.  The count went to 2-2.  Green brought in Brad Hand in the middle of the at bat. Votto walked that was changed to Hand.  Duvall struck out swinging.  Gennett unloaded the bases with his 19th home run on the first pitch by Hand.  It was Gennett's second grand slam of the season.  Eugenio Suarez belted his 20th of the season. 

"I was trying to stay up the middle," Gennett said.  "He (Hand) has a good slider. He was trying to get ahead.  I didn't want to fall behind in the count.  I wanted to stay aggressive."

The rally snapped Hand’s string of scoreless innings at 24..

Austin Brice pitched a scoreless inning.

Cozart hit his 14th home run with a man on in the eighth.  Votto extended his hitting streak to 15 games with his 31st home run..

Raisel Iglesias pitched a scoreless ninth.  The Reds' bullpen covered three scoreless innings with Storen improving his record to 3-2.

"The bullpen came in and performed," Price said.

Daddy Devin Returns Scott Feldman On The Way

Devin Mesoraco is back from paternity leave.  His son Luke was born Sunday night at Good Samaritan Hospital.

The Reds placed Lisalverto Bonilla on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to Monday.  Bonilla has tenderness in his elbow.

With Tim Adleman and Asher Wojciechowski in the rotation the Reds are short of long relievers.

“Austin Brice and Kevin Shackleford have been stretched out to two or three innings,” Bryan Price said.  “We will wait to get through today to decide when to bring Scott Feldman back.  He has done his agility work.”

Yesterday the Reds claimed RHP Luke Farrel from the Dodgers.  To make room on the 40-man roster the Reds designated for assignment, OF/INF Scott Van Slyke, who came to the Reds in the trade with the Dodgers for Tony Cingrani.

Van Slyke is the son of former Pittsburgh Pirate outfielder Andy Van Slyke.  Farrell is the son of Boston Red Sox manager Bob Farrell.

Farrell in 2017 started the season at AAA Omaha. At Omaha he went 7-4, with a 4.07 era in 17games (16 starts). On 7/1 Kansas City recalled him from Omaha and made his major league debut vs Min (2.2ip, 7h, 5r, 5er, 3bb, 2k). He was optioned on 7/2 back to Omaha. On 7/24 was designated for assignment. On 7/28 was traded by Kansas City to the Los Angeles Dodgers for cash and optioned  AAA Oklahoma City. He has pitched in one game at Oklahoma City, a start on 8/6 at Las Vegas (4.2ip, 4h, 3r, 2er, 2bb, 5k). Farrell was originally selected by Kansas City in the 6th round of the 2013 draft from Northwestern University. Earned a communications studies degree from Northwestern University in 2013. Graduated from St. Ignatius HS in Cleveland, OH in 2009. Older brothers Jeremy and Shane also played professional baseball and both currently work in the Chicago Cubs front office.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Skip Are We Trying? Reds Scrub Padres

Pete Harnisch would look at the lineup on the days he pitched and feigned disgust when he read the names of his supporting cast.

“Skip, are we trying here,” Harnisch would bellow at the manager in a loud New York accent.

The light hearted jab at his teammates were brought to mind when the veteran writers saw, seldom used Partick Kivlehan, Arismendy Alcantara and scarcely used catcher Stuart Turner in the lineup to face former Reds’ left-hander Travis Wood.

The scrubs contributed to the Reds 8-3 win.

“We aren’t going to see a lot of left-handers,” Bryan Price said.  “I’ve been playing our guys a lot.  I’m not trying to have Winker avoid lefties but it was a good time to get Kivlehan some needed at bats.  Sxooter (Gennett) has been playing a lot. Alcantara needs some too.  We don’t have Devin (Mesoraco) back from maternity leave.  Turner needs some time.”

Zack Cozart sat out too.  He is freshly off the disabled list with a sore quad and needs periodic rest.  The Red have a quick turnaround day game at 12:30 on Thursday.  Price thought this was a good time.

The Reds’ starter Asher Wojciechowski still has his rookie status.  He started three games for the Houston Astros in 2015.  The former first round draft choice of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2010, was released by the Arizona Diamondbacks on March 28. He sat home for three weeks and the Reds signed him on April 21.  Wojciechowski impressed enough to earn a call up on May 20.

"He was spot on," Price said. "He was on the attack.  His pitch count was up to what his previous high was. We wanted him to finish the sixth to get him stretched out"

The Reds loaded the bases with two outs against Wood in the first inning.  Jose Peraza hit a two-run single.  Eugenio Suarez hit a two-run home run in the third.  Turner contributed his first career home run off Wood with a man on in the fifth.

'You can't worry about results when you get your chance," Turner said.  'I do a lot of drill work to get some swings.  I saw that Wood liked to on game tape.  He threw me a cut fastball.  My eyes lit up.  That's what we (bench guys) want to do is to contribute to a win."

"There were a lot of great moments.  Stuart is in a tough spot, not getting to play a lot," Price said.  "I tip my hat to him.  I had a feeling that those guys were going to play a good game. Kivlehan was on base twice.  Mendy (Alcantara) hit the ball hard to rightfield.  I'm happy for those guys to be part of a win from beginning to end.   Turner called a good game too." 

Wojciechowski was busy stifling San Diego on three singles through five innings.  Manuel Margot led off the sixth with his 10th home run.  Wojciechowski got two quick outs, heading to a quality start but Yangervis Solarte doubled and Wil Myers unloaded his 22nd home run to cut the Reds’ lead in half.

Bryan Price gave Wojciechowski a chance to finish the inning but Hunter Renfroe dumped a single to left.  Michael Lorenzen completed the inning.

The Reds got two runs back in the bottom of the frame.  Billy Hamilton singled and stole his 45th base of the season off Carter Capps.  Kivlehan ripped a ball off Cory Spangenberg’s glove at third.  Hamilton had to stop at third.  Joey Votto, who had already extended his hitting streak to 14 games, hit into an RBI force play.  Peraza drove in his third tun of the game with a single up the middle.  Votto avoided the tag standing up.

Wandy Peralta and Blake Wood contributed scoreless innings to the win.

Turner got the game ball and was warned not to let the son, that he is expecting at the end of the month, play with the ball.