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 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."

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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.

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“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.

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“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.




Billy Hamilton Vs Adam Duvall Friendly Competition







Baseball players are ultra competitive.  Every day players compete with opposing players, pitcher and themselves.

Reds’ centerfielder Billy Hamilton and leftfielder Adam Duvall are teammates competing with each other.  It isn’t about home runs, stolen bases or batting average.  Their competition comes from throwing runners out on the base paths.

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Hamilton leads the league with 10 assists from the outfield.  Duvall is second in the NL with nine.  Other outfielders are in the mix, Scott Schebler has five, reserve Patrick Kivlehan has two, Jesse Winker has one and Arismendy Alcantara has one.  As a group they lead the Major Leagues with 28.

Hamilton and Duvall are desperately trying to one up the other.

“We don’t have anything on it money wise,” Duvall said. “It is a competition, not only on assists but making great plays.  When it’s keeping a hitter from getting to second.  We cheer each other on but we try to out do each other.”

Hamilton, who made a highlight reel catch on Tuesday, expounded on the competition for assists..

“It is pretty cool,” Hamilton said.  ‘It’s another thing you can get on each other about. Their is a competition between me and Duvy.  When he throws somebody out, I get big time pumped up. When I throw somebody out, he gets big time pumped up too.  It’s good fun.’

Hamilton is a converted shortstop and got one year in the minor leagues to learn the outfield.  Duvall was a thirdbaseman in the minors and only played a little outfield.  Reds’ coach Billy Hatcher, the centerfielder on the 1990 Reds’ World Champion team, works with all the outfielders.

Making circus catches appealed to Hamilton but he’s become fond of cutting down baserunners.

“I didn’t, I don’t want to say liked throwing people out. It’s just that I had never done it,” said Hamilton of the throwing aspect of outfield play.  “So I had a couple assists, now I’m like coming out every day, I’m waiting to throw somebody out.  When I first started, I didn’t want them to hit the ball to me.  I didn’t want to make a bad throw.  Now its getting to the point I want to have the ball hit to me.  It’s like natural. It is pretty good we’re both up there with the lead.  We van talk noise to each other.”

Hatcher had the outfielders on the field early this week throwing to bases.

“I sat Hatch what’s up.  We’re leading the league in assists.  What do you want from us,” Hamilton said.  “Hatcher said that we try to throw to bases a couple of times a week.  I tole him we hadn’t done but two or three times all year.  We laughed.  It’s all fun and games. It’s fun to see Winker and Duvy and Schebler out there, everybody helping each other out.”

The San Diego Padres gat an eyefull of Hamilton and Duvall last night.  Carlos Asuaje was robbed twice by Hamilton.  One was a leaping catch against the fence, the other was a diving catch in the right centerfield gap.

Padres manager Andy Green was able to appreciate it after his team win on Tuesday.

“I didn’t like it at all,” said Green, who played in the Reds’ farm system at Louisville in 2008. “I definitely respect it.  He’s fun to watch.  Cincinnati fans are lucky to see something like that.  He can fly to the baseball. He gets to balls that nobody else can get to.  The way he defends centerfield, the way he throws the ball, the way he runs the bases. He’s an electric player, a special type of talent.:



Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Luis Perdomo Battles Reds Rookie Sal Romano






Luis Perdomo was the beneficiary of four double plays.  Sal Romano wasn’t as lucky in a 7-3 loss to the San Diego Padres.

Romano lasted six innings after a slow start but his teammates couldn’t get the big hit to keep his team in the game.

"Sal was a lot closer to 50/50 balls and strikes number one.  The change up wasn't a factor as it was his previous starts," Bryan Price said.  "He was left with the fastball and breaking pitch.  They put the barrel of the bat on the ball with some regularity. It wasn't his best outing but there is something to be excited about with his arm and his stuff."

Jose Pirela, who hit two home runs on Monday, had four hits; two doubles, two singles.  Romano walked Carlos Asuajo with one out.  Pirela doubled down the thirdbase line past Scooter Gennett.  Yangervis Solarte grounded out to Jose Peraza at secondbase for the first run.  Romano’s wild pitch allowed Pirela to score.

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A walk to Cory Spangenberg set up the third Padre run.  Austin Hedges doubled.  Dusty Coleman’s sacrifice fly plated the run.

Perdomo had one clean inning, the third.  The Reds put two runners on in the first but a strikeout ended the threat.  Jesse Winker, Peraza and Tucker Barnhart loaded the bases with no outs in the second.  Romano struck out.  Billy Hamilton among the top 10 hardest players to double up, once every 109.5 at bats.  Hamilton’s bid for a hit up the middle took a high hop that allowed Asuaje to field it and turn an inning ending double play. 

 "We had five guys on in the first two innings and weren't able to come up with anything," Price said.  "Tip you're hat to Perdomo got the ground balls. He wasn't hunting the strike outs."

Winker walked and Peraza singled with one out but Barnhart hit into a double play in the fourth.  Hamilton singled in the fifth but was thrown out attempting to steal as Zack Cozart struck out.  Hamilton was ruled safe but the call was reviewed and overturned.  Votto walked in the sixth but Gennett doubled him up.

Romano got some help from brilliant catch against the centerfield wall by Hamilton, robbing Asuaje of extra bases.  Adam Duvall caught a line drive against the leftfield wall and threw to Peraza, who relayed to Votto to catch Solarte.  Will Myers sacrifice fly scored Pirela with San Diego’s fourth run.

"I was behind a lot,' Romano said. "I wasn't able to locate my pitches tonight. It was as simple as that.  It would have been much worse if it wasn't for Billy (Hamilton) and Duvy (Adam Duvall).  I tip my hat to them."

Hedges hit his 15th home run in the sixth off Romano.  Solarte hit his 12th off Drew Storen in the seventh.

The Reds got on the scoreboard after Perdomo left the game.  Winker singled for his second hit.  Peraza drew a rare walk.  It was just the 11th time this season that Peraza has drawn a base on balls.  Padres’ manager Andy Green took the ball from Perdomo and gave it to Jose Torres. 

You could cue up the double play as the move turned Barnhart to his weaker side of the plate.  Barnhart ruined the strategy with a three-run home run, his fourth of the season.

Hamilton and Duvall made some great catches.  Hamilton robbed Asuaje twice, the first was a leaping catch at the wall.  He made a diving stop of a line drive in the gap two innings later.

"He looked at me like are you serious?  Do you really have to do all that?" Hamilton said of Asuaje.  "I was kind of mad at him because he turned a double play on me. That's one thing I hate doing is hitting into double plays. I don't do a lot. I was kind of mad about out.  When a guy gets you out like that you want to turn around and get the same guy out."

The play against the fence required an adjustment because Hamilton really out ran the ball.

"When he hit I was thinking home run the whole time," Hamilton said.  "I ran and I looked up at the last minute and it was still going. I had to get to the wall.  I jumped up on the wall and it was a reaction play after that. The ball wasn't there yet.  At the last minute I had to react.  It was one of the toughest plays I had to make."




Padres Travis Wood Ready For Anything






Travis Wood doesn’t relax between starts.

He brings his spikes to the bench in case he is needed to pinch hit or pinch run. 

Wood, the former Reds’ starter, who came up through the system with Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey, was the extra pitcher the Reds’ could move to get the ace reliever they needed at the time, Sean Marshall.

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The left-hander was the Reds’ second pick in the 2005 draft behind Jay Bruce.  Bailey was the first draft choice the year before.

Wood made his debut for the Reds on July 1, 2010 and joined Mike Leake in the rotation that helped the Reds win the National League Central that season.  Wood made 17 starts with a 5-4 record with a 3.51 ERA.

The Reds traded Wood along with Ronald Torreyes and Dave Sappelt for Sean Marshall after the 2011 season. 

Wood made 26, 32 and 31 starts the next three seasons for the Cubs but became a full-time reliever in 2015.  He started nine games but pitched 45 in relief.  Wood appeared in a career-high 77 games for the World Champion Cubs, becoming the teams’ left-handed specialist. He logged just 61 innings.  Ironically, filling the same role Marshall did for the Cubs.  Marshall signed a big contract extension in 2012 and was often injured.

The Bryant, Arkansas native is a good athlete, who fields his position well, has been called upon to pinch run and pinch hit.

Wood is a .182 lifetime hitter with nine home runs, eight doubles and a triple.  He has stolen one base in his only attempt.

The Kansas City Royals signed Wood over the winter off the World Champions roster as a free agent.  He made three starts in 28 appearances for the Royals with a 1-3 record and a 6.91 ERA.

Near the trade deadline, Wood came to the Padres with Matt Strahm and minor leaguer Esteury Ruiz for Trevor Cahill, Ryan Buchter and Brandon Maurer.

With San Diego, Wood was plugged into the starting rotation.  He’s made two starts both against Pittsburgh.  Wood is 1-0 with a 4.91 ERA.

“He wants to win,” his new manager and former Reds’ minor league player, Andy Green said. “Woody’s not afraid of anything.  He wants to win. He’s a competitor.  He is fitting into our clubhouse.  He will compete no matter what kind of stuff he has that day.  He’ll give you everything he’s got. He loves to win baseball games.  He is one of the only pitchers I’ve ever seen that comes spiked up for every game. He’s begging to pinch run; begging to pinch hit; wanting to anything he can to win a baseball game.”





Monday, August 7, 2017

Joey Votto Leads Reds In A Rout Over San Diego






The Reds jumped out to a 3-0 lead for the second straight day, thanks to Joey Votto against the San Diego Padres in a 11-3 win.

"I think it's the strikezone and how we're beign pitched," Votto said.  'It has been documented the style of pitching especially to left-handed batters allow for more balls to be hit in the air.  I'm going to take whatever the game gives me.  If it goes back to more strikes being called on the outside, I will go back to hitting the ball the other way more often."

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Votto’s first inning single scored Billy Hamilton, who tripled off Jhoulys Chacin to open the game.  It was Hamilton’s ninth triple.  Votto followed Zack Cozart’s two-out single with his 30th home run of the season in the third.  Votto tied Ted Kluzewski for fifth place on the Reds’ all-time home run list with 251.  He passed Jay Bruce for the most home runs at Great American Ball Park with 136.

"I don't know much about Ted Kluszewski but it does mean something to me," Votto said.

"We expect so much from him," Bryan Price said.  "When he's just being a normal guy, we wonder what's wrong."

Tim Adleman has no-hit stuff for three innings, retiring the first nine San Diego batters.  Manuel Margot broke the spell with a double but was cut down by a relay from Jesse Winker and Scooter Gennett.  It extended the Reds, National League assist leading outfield with 27 assist, tying Cleveland and the White Sox for the Major League lead with 27.

Adleman gave up a double to Carlos Asauje in front of Jose Pirela’s sixth home run.  The Padres had two men on when Austin Hedges flied out to end the fourth..

Adleman’s problems extended to the fifth.  Dusty Coleman opened with a double.  Chacin bunted him to third.  Margot hit a ground ball to short.  Cozart fielded it moving toward first but threw to catcher Tucker Barnhart to cut off the tying run.  Asauje singled Margot to third before Blake Wood relieved Adleman.  Pirela grounded out to end that threat.

Cincinnati extended their lead.  Votto reached base for the third straight time with a walk.  Adam Duvall hit his 25th home run off Chacin.  Duvall is second on the club with 77 RBI. He leads NL outfielders in the category. He is third among Major League outfielders.

Michael Lorenzen and Wandy Peralta maintained the lead over the next three innings. Pirela hit his second home run and seventh of the season off Peralta in the eighth.  It was Pirela’s first big league multi-home run game.

Cozart hit a two-run home run off former Louisville and Eastern Kentucky pitcher Kyle McGrath in the seventh.  McGrath attended Butler High School, like Duvall of the Reds.

Patrick Kivleahan added the icing with his first career grand slam off Phil Maton in the eighth inning. Kivlehan, who played with the Padres last season, was part of a double switch has seven home runs this season.

Kivlehna played with most of the Padres in El Paso last season.

"Maton was a closer last year," Kivlehan said.  "I knew he liked to throw his fastball."

Kivlehan is hitting just .214 but has contributed off the Reds' bench.  He's played in 76 games mostly as a pinch hitter.  With seven home runs and 18 RBI in 108 at bats, if projects to 93 RBI and 42 home runs over a full season with 600 at bats

"You can throw the batting average out because he is in a tough situation," Price said. "He has played multiple postions (3B,1B,LF,CF and RF).  He has played above average at all these positions. He provides power and run production.  Given a chance he could be an every day player."

"It is one of those jobse.  You can't get too high or too low," Kivlehan said.

Raisell Iglesias mopped up in a non-save situation.




Pregnant Catchers






A wave of fatherhood has swept through the Reds’ catching core.

Devin Mesoraco was placed on three-day paternity leave last night’s birth of his son, Luke on Sunday night to him and his wife Kira.   Relief pitcher Austin Brice was recalled from Louisville.

The Reds other two catchers, Tucker Barnhart and Stuart Turner are also expectant fathers between the 28th of August and first of September.

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Turner, who was kept on the roster by the Reds’ all season as a Rule V player, is expecting a son, Easton Michael.  It is his first.

“I pre-ordered the catching gear early,” Turner said.  “If he’s a lefty, it will be hard but I can teach him better if he’s a righty.  We were joking if Tucker and I are going on leave together, we’d just put (Jesse) Winker back there as the first lefty catcher. He would be the first lefty catcher, I think.”

Hall of Fame sportswriter Hal McCoy had done the research and found that Dale Long, who was a firstbaseman, caught a couple games in the Major Leagues.

“I don’t know why they don’t consider lefties,” Turner said.  “I guess its the throw to thirdbase but we’ve developed the back pick to firstbase.”

Turner has made the most of his time in Cincinnati in spite of scarce playing time.

‘I am enjoying time in the big leagues but it’s hard sometimes to stay engaged. There is no set schedule for when you’re going to play," Turner said.  “It is everybody’s dream to be in the big leagues but you play baseball so you can play.  You have to make the most of your opportunities. I will do my best and stick around for as long as they want me.”

Turner’s wife, Danielle, is a pharmacy technician.

Barnhart through injuries to former first round draft pick, Mesoraco, has established himself as an every day catcher by taking advantage to the opportunities that Turner mentioned.

His wife Sierra are due to have son, Tatum Elliot on Seprtember 1 but Sierra will be induced on August 31st if the blessed event doesn’t happen until then.

“I don’t know what it is with the catchers on this team,” Barnhart said.  “We all had the same idea come about Novermber, December of this past year.  We’re all excited. It seems to be the topic of conversation between us.  I haven’t got him any equipment yet but someday, I’ll have to get some.”

The irony besides three catchers having children in the same month is the Reds’ should have been covered with Turner as a third catcher.

“All sorts of babies,” Bryan Price quipped.  “We went through this a few years ago, didn’t we?  Half the team had wives that seemed to be pregnant.  I don’t know what it is. I wonder if the non-roster players in our organization are thinking about coming up to play this year. We will be without Devin for the next three days   We hope we can work out the timing so we always have two available catchers.”












Sunday, August 6, 2017

Reds' Fast Start Slow Finish






The Reds got off to a fast start against St. Louis Cardinal ace Adam Wainwright but the Cardinals had the last laugh in a 13-4 debacle at Great American Ball Park..

After Homer Bailey quickly disposed of the Cardinals in the first by picking off Tommy Pham, who walked, the Reds’ first three batters scored off Wainwright.

Billy Hamilton singled.  Zack Cozart, fresh off the DL followed with a hit.  Joey Votto hit a full count pitch into the seats in rightfield for his 29 home run of the season and 250th of his career. Votto joins Jay Bruce at the top of the list with 135 home runs at Great American Ball Park.


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The Reds weren’t done.  Adam Duvall walked. Scooter Gennett dumped a single into right and Eugenio Suarez walked.  Wainwright recorded his first out on his 39th pitch of the inning.  A one-hop ground ball to Matt Carpenter at firstbase.  Carpenter stepped on the bag and threw Duvall out at home.  The Cardinals passed Tucker Barnhart to reload the bases.  Wainwright had a prolonged seven pitch battle with Bailey before the Reds’ starter struck out.  Wainwright threw 45 pitches in the inning.

"Wainwright wasn't himself," Bryan Price said. "He made one good pitch to Winker, a curveball inside.  They get the double play.  It allows them to walk Tucker and pitch to Homer to get out of the inning."

Bailey was handed a three-run lead but ran into double trouble.  Jose Martinez doubled off the left centerfield wall.  Yadier Molina dumped a single in front of Jesse Winker in right as Martinez stopped at third.  The Cards were just getting started.  Kolten Wong, Randall Grichuk and Greg Garcia all doubled to put St. Louis up 4-3.  Wainwright made the first out with a sacrifice bunt moving Garcia to third.  Bailey rallied, striking out Carpenter looking and Pham swinging to end the inning.

"His games have been divided," Price said. "There are days when he is sharp but on days when he isn't he's vulnerable to the big inning.  We don't want to concede to his return from injury."

The Cards threatened Bailey again in the third.  Paul DeJong singled and Martinez walked.  Both runners moved up on Molina’s fly to deep center but two pop ups to the infield thwarted the Cardinals plans.

Bailey broke down completely in the fourth.  He was hit hard and soft with a couple walks thrown in.  Garcia walked to open the inning.  Wainwright moved him to second with another sacrifice bunt.  Carpenter walked.  Pham blooped a single.  DeJong beat out a dribbler in front of the plate but Martinez unloaded with his eighth home run. It was his first career grand slam and the seventh Reds’ pitching has allowed this year.  Molina singled to chase Bailey from the game

Lisalverto Bonilla, just arrived from Louisville took over.  Bailey lasted 3 1/3 innings allowing 10 runs on 10 hits and four walks.  The 10 runs are a career high bor Bailey.

"I had not command," Bailey said.  "I just didn't have it. It was one of those days, I didn't perform well and it cost our team the game."

The Cardinals weren’t yet finished.  Wong singled off Bonilla. Garcia walked to load the bases.  Luke Voit batted for Wainwright.  He hit a ball down the rightfield line that was ruled fair by firstbase umpire Jim Reynolds.  The Reds asked for a review.  The call stood because it was too close to review.  Voit was credited with two RBI.  Carpenter capped the nine-run inning with a triple.

After hitting two balls deep on the warning track Suarez hit his 17th home run of the season off John Brebbia in the eighth inning.



Robert Stephenson Will Miss Monday Start Zack Cozart Is Back






Robert Stephenson’s attempt to catch a popped up bunt in Pittsburgh has cost him a start.

Further review revealed a contusion on his rotator cuff.  He has been placed on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to Thursday.

“I don’t think it’ll be long,” Bryan Price said.. “We’re hoping over the course of the 10-day stint on the disabled list he’ll be fine to jump back in and start pitching again. Just had some soreness and bruising from the dive he made on the bunt in Pittsburgh. Came down on his shoulder and there was some residual soreness. We did an MRI. Wanted to be cautious and didn’t want to rush him to pitch in five days”.

Tim Adleman will get the start on Monday  Lisalverto Bonilla was recalled from Louisville to bolster the bullpen.


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Scott Feldman needs a few more days to rest his sore knee.

“Scott is probably not quite as likely,” Bryan Price said.. “Upon further review, he’s a little further away, not from pitching, but if he has to run the bases, some of the agility stuff around the mound, just quite as comfortable that he can do that yet. So, we’re going to hold off on Scott and see if we can get him more comfortable in the other parts of the game”.

Zack Cozart was reinstated from the disabled list and Philip Ervin was optioned back to Louisville.

Cozart is in the lineup batting second.







Saturday, August 5, 2017

Lance Lynn Outduels Rookie Luis Castillo






Luis Castillo had trouble finding the strike zone in the early innings but shoed the Cardinals away from homeplate for the most part.

 “I thought his stuff was really good," Bryan Price said.. "His command wasn’t there for him as much today. Four hits total but they had nine base runners via walks and hit by pitches.  That kind of set the table for them.”

Castillo allowed just three hits but four runs, three earned crossed the plate as the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Reds, 4-1.

“We’re talking about a young guy who really looks like a big league pitcher. He is going to vulnerable to the same things other young pitchers are vulnerable to. I’d like to see him bounce back and be more sharp in his next outing,” Price said.

Castillo hit Matt Carpenter to start the game and walked Tommy Pham.  The inning fizzeled for the Cardinals when Paul DeJong hit a hard one hopper to Eugenio Suarez at thirdbase.  Suarez stepped on third and fired to Scooter Gennett for the double play.


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Joey Votto hit his 28th home run of the season off Cardinal starter Lance Lynn with two outs..  Adam Duvall barely missed his 25th home run that hit the top of the fence and stayed in play.  Duvall reached third and watched the replay as the call by secondbase ump Jim Reynolds was confirmed.

Castillo was working on a string of six straight batters retired when he hit Kolten Wong in the helmet.  Wong was examined and remained in the game.  Luke Voit hit for Lynn and singled to left.  Castillo was removed from the game.  Kevin Shackelford took over.

Castillo walked Yadier Molina to open the second but left the mound unharmed.

His luck ran out in the third.  He walked Carpenter to open the frame.  Carpenter was forced at second but DeJong had the first Cardinal hit, his 15h home run into the leftfield stands.

“I left a two-seamer over the plate on the home run.  I made a mistake and he hit it pretty good," Castillo said.

Castillo still ended up with his fourth quality start in nine games.  He pitched eight innings of one-run baseball in his last outing.

 “i didn’t have my best stuff," Castillo said through interpreter Julio Murillo.  "These are days you have to compete and stay longer in the game. Mentally I just 100 percent focus and try to compete.When things aren’t going well my change up is the pitch that I go to. Tonight I was using it one time, two times, three times in a row.”

The Cardinals got their second hit in the fourth but didn’t score.  Castillo walked Carpenter again to open the fifth but Pham hit into a double play.  The sixth was Castillo’s lone 1-2-3 inning.

Linn was with Castillo step-for-step.  He gave up a single to Castillo. Linn issued three walks but retired eight straight between Votto’s intentional pass in the third and Votto’s unintentional freebie in the sixth.

Castillo retired six straight before he hit Kolten Wong in the helmet one out into the seventh.  Wong stayed in the game after he was examined by trainers.  Luke Voit singled through the hole at shortstop batting for Lynn.  Kevin Shackelford relieved Castillo.  The reliever walked Carpenter for the third straight time to load the bases.  Pham hit a sharp ground ball to Suarez’ left.  Suarez made the stop on his knees but his throw home short hopped Devin Mesoraco.  Pham was credited with a hit.  DeJong popped to short.  With Jed Gyorko batting a pitch got away from Mesoraco, who recovered quickly. His throw to Shackelford was not in time.  The call at home stood after a review.  The Cardinals carried a 4-1 lead into the bottom of the seventh.

Seung Hwan Oh took over for the Cardinals and pitched a scoreless seventh.  Tyler Lyons struck out the side in the eighth.  Trevor Rosenthal picked up his eighth save in 10 tries.













Zack Cozart And Donkey Doing Fine Devin Mesoraco Is Back In The Lineup






Zack Cozart finished batting practice on the day he was eligible to come off the disabled list.

The All-Star shortstop will spend another day because Sunday is a better day for the Reds to get him back to playing regularly.

Devin Mesoraco is in the starting lineup but Cozart will sit this one out.


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“I’m doing way better,” said Cozart, who has been struggling with a strained quad.  ‘I should be in there tomorrow.  I will start tomorrow and kind of work my way through that.”

With a day game after a night game, it gives Cozart more time to recover.  There is a day game on Thursday and he will probably rest in either the night game Wednesday or the day game on Thursday.

“I ran the bases in Pittsburgh the other day.  It’s the best I’ve felt since I actually injured it back in San Francisco,” Cozart said. 

The Reds were in San Francisco in early May.  Cozart has been dealing with this for three months, playing awhile then resting a couple of days.  There was interest among teams to trade for Cozart before the trading deadline but as a player, who intends to explore free agency at the end of this year, teams backed off.

“Most injuries like this, you can’t really test them until you’re out there,” Cozart said.  “But with the preliminary stuff it can’t feel any better.  I want to finish the year feeling fine.”

The donkey named Don that Joey Votto bought for Cozart as a reward for making the All-Star team is doing fine.  The year old animal is being trained at Honey Hill Farms in Pendleton County.  Cozart will take it to his home to Memphis after the season.

“I’d like to have a live feed camera so I can see how he’s doing non stop,” Cozart said.  “They are working with him to get in a trailer.  I got some books on my birthday about taking care of a donkey.  They say the key is for him to have some companions.  There are some goats where I’m taking them.  I really do like donkeys”

Cozart wanted a donkey since he was a kid.

“My mom’s boss had a farm in Texas that we used to visit,” Cozart said. “We would go there to fish.  The place where we stayed, there was a cabin and he had a donkey. It was mean too. I was told to stay away from it.  I kind of liked them then.  There is a donkey farm close to the facility in Goodyear. I take my kids there.  It kind of grew from there.  Joey found out I liked them.”

Devin Mesoraco has been limited to pinch hit duty with a sore left knee  He left the game a week ago in Miami. 










Friday, August 4, 2017

Reds Edge Arch Rivals For Sixth Time In Seven Games






The Reds got good pitching and just enough offense to win its sixth game in seven tries against their arch rivals the St. Louis Cardinals,3-2.

Joey Votto drove in two runs with a double and a single.

Asher Wojciechowski was placed in the starting rotation, taking the place of Tim Adleman.

His mound opponent was the Reds’ former number one draft pick, Mike Leake.

The Reds got on the board first because Jesse Winker, who singled up the middle, ran through Billy Hatcher’s stop sign on Joey Votto’s double.  Winker got under Stephen Piscotty’s wide through that pulled catcher Carson Kelly up the thirdbase line.

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As aggressive as the Reds were on that play, Votto held second on Adam Duvall’s bloop single to right.  It cost the Reds a run when Scooter Gennett forced Duvall at secondbase.

“I just try to get on as much as I can with Joey and Adam behind me.  My motto is try to be a tough out and try to hit the ball hard,” Winker said.  “I missed that stop sign for sure.  That was on me. I didn’t pick my head back up.  Once I was getting to third my head was down the whole way.  Thankfully the throw was high and up the line.  It worked out.”


The Cardinals tied the game in the third.  Greg Garcia tripled to right and barely beat Winker’s throw to third.  Leake hit a one hop grounder to Jose Peraza, who was indecisive as he looked home first.  By the time Peraza threw across the diamond, Leake had crossed the bag.  Leake was erased when he tried to advance on Matt Carpenter’s fly out to Billy Hamilton in center. It was Hamilton’s league leading 10th assist.

The Reds got to Leake in the fifth.

Peraza opened the inning with a single.  Tucker Barnhart singled.  Arismendy Alcantara batted for Wojciechowski.  Alcantara bunted. It was fielded by Leake, who threw Alcantara out as the runners moved up.  Hamilton singled to right.  Peraza scored but Barnhart was thrown out at the plate on a call by home plate umpire Brian Knight that held up under review. Winker and Votto singled as Hamilton scored.

“Joey and Jesse have great strike zone command.," Bryan Price.  aaaaa'Both hit the ball to all fields. They aren’t bad matchups against left-handed pitching.  Jesse is confident.  We don’t have to dance around a kid’s confidence.”


Drew Storen took over for Wojciechowski, who allowed one run on three hits and a walk.

“Wojciechowski trusts his stuff if he’s going to get beat, it will be from strikes over the plate.," Price said.

“I was able to execute pitches in tough situations.  I would like to think I had some more in the tank but I haven’t really been stretched out.  I just want to be a pitcher in the big leagues whenever my name is called, that’s what I’ll do," Wojciechowski said.


Storen turned in a scoreless inning and a third.

“Asher's a mature kid. He’s not going to get his feelings hurt with a no decision late in the game," Price said... "It’s been awhile it made sense to get him out of there with the top of the order coming up and Drew (Storen) was fresh”

Wandy Peralata and Michael Lorenzen navigated a scoreless seventh.

St. Louis took advantage of the replay again to pull within a run against Lorenzen in the eighth.

With one out Tommy Pham and Paul DeJong had infield hits. Piscotty hit a fly deep to the leftcenterfield gap.  Duvall caught it on the run and turned quickly to throw to secondbase.  Umpire Ryan Additon called Pham out but the call was reversed on review.  Kelly hit an RBI single to the hole between Gennett and Votto.  Lorenzen walked Kolton Wong to load the bases but caught Randal Grichuk looking at a 3-2 pitch.

Raisel Iglesias entered to face the bottom of the order, looking for his 19th save in 20 tries.  Pinch hitter Yadier Molina grounded out but Jed Gyorko singled and Matt Carpenter walked.  Pham flied out to right as Gyorko went to third.  Iglesias struck out DeJong to nail down the win.













Anthony DeSclafani Will Rest No Surgery





 

Anthony DeSclafani got one out on Thursday night in Dayton.  He left under a trainer’s supervision after allowing three home runs and eight earned runse.

DeSclafani has tendinitis in his right forearm after five months of rehabbing an elbow injury. An MRI revealed the UCL was intact.


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“It’s a setback. It certainly doesn’t mean that it’s the end of his season,” Bryan Price said.  “It’s a setback. What we haven’t been able to figure out is why he has recurring elbow problems.”

DeSclafani missed two months of the 2016 season with a strained left oblique.  He returned on June 10, making 20 starts.  DeSclafani was 9-5 with a 3.28 ERA. 

This season elbow discomfort kept him in Arizona to rehab.  He was making his third rehab start when he left the game with discomfort in his right forearm.

“What we haven’t been able to do is to find why he has recurring elbow problems,” Price said. “As much as the MRI tells us he has tendintis, we want to know why he has tendinitis. He is going to get his MRI read by another doctor to make sure,”

DeSclafani felt good until the second pitch I felt it a little bit. On the third pitch, I felt it a little more.  By the fourth pitch I was pretty much done,” DeSclafani said.  “But I told myself, I didn’t want to feel that. I tried as much as I could to pitch through it. It didn’t work out.”

DeSclafani wasn’t able to finish pitches. 

“The plan is to take a few days off,” DeSclafani said.  “I’m not the first person to go through this. I won’t be the last.  You just have to face it.  I can’t feel sorry for myself.  I am keeping a positive frame of mind so I can pitch for this team.”

“The whole year has been a mental grind, being in Arizona,” DeSclafani said.

DeSclafani  was supposed to join Homer Bailey, Brandon Finnegan, Scott Feldman and one of the young pitchers in the starting rotation.  The three veterans have all spent time on the disabled list.  The Reds used eight rookie pitchers to start games this season.



Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Colerain And UC Pitcher Opening Eyes In Pro Baseball








Ryan Atkinson is defying the odds and opening eyes.

Each year roughly 1,200 amateur players are drafted by Major League teams.  Hundreds more are signed from other countries and are not subjected to the draft.

A tiny percentage of them make the big leagues.

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Atkinson was not drafted out of Colerain High School.  He was not drafted after his third year at the University of Cincinnati or after his fourth year.

He spent a year as a professional using his college degree in nutrition to secure a job making a good living.  He wasn't ready to give up his dream to pitch in the Major Leagues.  He attended a tryout camp for the Evansville Otters in the independent Frontier League.  A scout from the Arizona Diamondbacks was there.

Atkinson pitched in two games for Evansville.  The Diamondbacks signed him to a contract.

Atkinson made nine appearances, including seven starts for the Diamondbacks Arizona Rookie League team and the Missoula Ospreys of the Frontier advanced rookie league team.  His record was 1-4 but he had a fine 3.24 ERA and struck out 39 batters in 33 innings.

This season Atkinson has opened some eyes in the organization, headed by Mike Bell, a former Reds' player.  Bell is the son of Buddy Bell and the grandson of Gus Bell, who played for the Reds in the 1950's.  Former Red Burke Badenhop has taken notice as a roving instructor in Arizona's player development unit.

Atkinson attended his first spring training and pitched sparingly in minor league games. Initially, it was thought that he would stay in Arizona for extended spring training but at the last minute he was assigned to Kane County in the Midwest League where the competition was more advanced.  
Atkinson got to face Ryan Braun and Jonathan Villar of the Milwaukee Brewers while they were on rehab assignments.

"He looked pretty good," Braun said.  "He has the talent to make it.  There isn't as big a drop off in talent between A level and the Major Leagues as people think.  If he can execute consistently he has a good chance."

The Diamondbacks have seen consistency out of Atkinson at three levels this season.  He has a  2-5 record at Kane County and was a victim of skinny run support.  He made 10 starts in his two stints with the Cougars where he has a 3.34 ERA with 68 strikeouts in 56.2 innings.  He was promoted to Visalia in the advanced A California League. Atkinson made nine starts and earned a 3-3 record with a 3.33 ERA, striking out 66 in 48.2 innings.  After the June draft he was sent back to Kane County. At the time he was sent back, Atkinson was among the league leaders in strikeouts despite have five fewer starts with enough innings he would have been in the top 10 of the Calfornia League in ERA and WHIP.

Last week, Atkinson was promoted  to Double AA Jackson in the Southern League.
He was a success in his first outing picking up the win against Moblie with 5.1 innings of one-run baseball.  He struck out six and walked one.

Athinson leads all minor league pitchers in the Diamondbacks system with 140 strikeouts in 110 2/3 innings.  That's 11 per nine innings. He has walked just three per nine innings.

In 20 starts, Atkinson is 6-8 with a 3.25 ERA.  He will have 5-7 starts left in the minor league season.