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.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Brewers Josh Hader Dominates Reds To Finish Reds

The Reds and Milwaukee Brewers traded blows at Great American Ball Park until Milwaukee outlasted the home team for a 6-5 win.

Jhoulys Chacin for the Brewers and Brandon Finnegan of the Reds had a pitching duel for all of three innings until the bats took over.

"Finnegan gets a little better every time out," Jim Riggleman said.  "

Manny Pina hit his second home run of the season with one out in the fourth inning.

The Reds countered with two runs in the bottom of the inning off Chacin.

Joey Votto was hit by a pitch, leading off the inning.  Scott Schebler's double sent Votto to third.  Eugenio Suarez hit a double to leftfield to give the Reds the lead at 2-1.  The Reds muffed a chance for more runs. Tucker Barnhart walked but Alex Blandino, subbing for Scooter Gennett and his sore shoulder, hit into a double play.  Finnegan grounded out to leave Suarez at third.

Finnegan couldn't hold the lead.  

Chacin singled to open the fifth.  Lorenzo Cain hit his fourth home run to put the Brewers back on top.

"I had to find a way to get by without my best stuff," Finnegan said.  "My velo's down and my slider isn't sharp.  What upset me tonight was falling behind the pitcher.  I put one down the middle and when you do that it is going to get hit."

"I know he's very dissatisfied, giving up the lead," Riggleman said.

The Reds came right back in the bottom of the inning.

Finnegan pitched five innings, allowing three runs on five hits and three walks.

Billy Hamilton doubled.  Winker bunted for a single to send Hamilton to third.  Jose Peraza hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game.  Votto walked for the second time in the game off Dan Jennings, relieving Chacin.  Schebler singled to load the bases.  Suarez single put the Reds up 5-3.

"We were down twice in the game and had some nice rallies but they came and took it from us," Riggleman said.

Austin Brice pitched a scoreless sixth.

Wandy Peralta got the first two outs in the seventh but Christian Yelich singled up the middle.  Ryan Braun walked.  The Brewers pulled a double steal and Yelich scored when Barnhart's throw skipped past Suarez at third.  Peralta walked Travis Shaw.   Jared Hughes came in and gave up a two-run double over Hamilton's head to give the Brewers a 6-5 lead.

"Yelich was the guy we needed to get," Riggleman said.  "Shaw was another one. The two lefthanders we had to get one of them."

Hard throwing Josh Hader took over for the Brewers after Jacob Barnes and Brandon Woodruff pitched two scoreless innings.

Hader struck out the two batters he faced in the seventh.  He struck out three more around another walk to Barnhart and the first two batters in the ninth, bringing Peraza up for the Reds' last hope. Peraza became Hader's eight strike out victim to seal the Reds fate.

"Their closer Hader, it was quite a performance," Riggleman said.  "He has a good fastball and a slider.  Some guys have a little bit of hop at the end.  The radar gun says, 94 which is good but I don't think our guys saw the ball that well.  I don't think anybody was going to hit him tonight."

Scooter Gennett's Sore Shoulder Keeps Him On The Bench

The Reds have been hitting the ball better and getting some wins.  The Reds' won four of the last seven games.

Scooter Gennett has been dealing with a sore shoulder since the third day of spring training.  It has persisted to the point he had an MRI this morning.

"I think a couple of days without throwing will be good.  I was the DH yesterday.  I hope it will be back to normal by Friday," Gennett said.

Alex Blandino will be at second base until Gennett gets enough rest to return.

"Gennett's shoulder has been a little tender.  He's a tough little guy but he's not getting his arm in a slot to throw," Jim Riggleman, the Reds' interim manager said.  "Blandino has really played good.  It is a testament to the scouting department.  He's a pretty skilled guy.  He throws the ball pretty well.  He has enough arm to play shortstop and has great hands.  With anybody, the question is with the bat and he's been swinging the bat good."

Blandino raised his average to .256 after a slow start of 1-for-17 after being recalled when Eugenio Suarez was out with a broken thumb.  He is working on a seven-game hitting streak.  Blandino, whose father was born in Nicaragua, played for that country in the World Baseball Classic.

Gennett is available to pinch hit but realizes he needs to get right.

"It affects everything.  I have been late on a lot of pitches, I'm not normally late on," Gennett said.  "I'm not the type of person to make excuses."  Gennett is hitting .301 with two home runs and 14 RBI.

There have been a couple games where his inability to throw have cost the Reds some games.  The winning run in the 12-inning game on April 11 was the result of a Gennett error.  There have other games when double plays that should have been turned, were not.

"If I can lift up my arm, I feel like I should be out there," Gennett said.  "Is it enough to help the team?  Right now, that's kind of where I'm at.  If I'm knocking in more than I'm letting in I could deal with it.  It is not right for me to say that I'm good and hurt the team in some type of way."

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Ozzie Albies And Freddie Freeman Combine To Scalp Reds

Homer Bailey didn't have it today whatever "it" is.  He lasted five innings in the Atlanta Braves 7-4 triumph over the Reds that gained a split in the series, dropping the Reds to 5-20 on the season.

The first career home run by Ronald Acuna Jr in the second and the eighth home run of the season by the diminutive (5'8" 165lb) Ozzie Albies with a man on put the Braves up 4-0 in the fifth inning.  Albies homer to right, followed a well placed ground ball past third base by pitcher Sean Newcomb, who couldn't have rolled it better.

"My goal was to go deep in the game.  Our bullpen has been picking us up.  I understand why he hit for me after 55 pitches  We had to get a rally going and that's what happened," Bailey said. "My slider hasn't been good.  I can think of three of them that were hit for home runs the last few games that hurt us."

The normal Reds' tormentors, Freddie Freeman, double and Nick Markakis, single with two outs started the Braves in the first.

"The Braves are playing good baseball.  We didn't have an answer for the middle of their lineup," Reds' interim manager Jim Riggleman said.

The Reds got singles from Devin Mesoraco and Jose Peraza off Newcomb in the first four innings and had nothing to show for it until the fifth.

Alex Blandino singled one out into the fifth.  Phil Gosselin hit for Bailey and walked.  Billy Hamilton walked on four pitches.  Peraza didn't get a hit but made the key play by beating the relay on the potential double play ball to drive in the Reds' first run and extend the inning for Joey Votto.  Votto hit his third home run of the season and third in three days to tie the score off Newcomb.

"A lot of great things happened in the game, unfortunately, we came up short again," Riggleman said.  "We certainly don't accept coming up short but three of the four ballgames were down by a much as four runs and every one of those games we tied and/or went ahead in those games."

Votto as he has in the past is starting to heat up but has no reason for the turnaround.

"I'm not missing now," Votto said.  "I was trending that way hitting the ball the other way.  That's the way baseball is sometimes.  I don't have an answer for that."

"We have seen this the last few seasons," Riggleman said.  "Joey Votto starts putting up historic numbers at the end of April and the beginning of May."

The Braves got two runs off Wandy Peralta in the eighth.  Freddie Freeman his his third double of the game off the bullpen fence to lead off.  Peralta retired the next two on a fly to left and pop up to shallow left.  He appeared to get out of the inning when Acuna hit a ball high in the air but it fell in between Scott Schebler and Blandino for a bloop double.  Swanson grounded a single through the hole at shortstop and Acuna scored.

"The two out hits today were particularly painful because Peratlta was throwing the ball outstanding. He made a good pitch and it was a flare down the rightfield line.  There is nothing you can do about that," Riggleman said.

Albies two out double off Dylan Floro in the ninth drove in Ender Inciarte, the third RBI of the game for Albies.  The Braves second baseman leads the Major Leagues with extra-base hits with 19.

The Reds brought the tying run to the plate against Arodys Vizcaino with two outs.

Jesse Winker, who improved to .323, doubled as a pinch hitter.  Scooter Gennett walked as a pinch hitter to bring the tying run to the plate.  Billy Hamilton was taken down for pinch hitter Tucker Barnhart but he flied to left to end the game.

Eugenio Suarez In Lineup Rosell Herrera Promoted Cliff Pennington And Phillip Ervin To Louisville

Eugenio Suarez suffered a broken thumb on his right hand on April 8 when Pittsburgh's Jameson Taillon hit him with a pitch.  His absence was just 2 1/2 weeks.  Suarez played two games at Louisville and got his timing back.

The Reds wasted little time in putting the thirdbaseman in the lineup against the Atlanta Braves.

"Suarez, we are very much pleased with what he did," Jim Riggleman said. "He's gone through a couple games down there in Louisville and got through that fine.  He is a quick healer.  It was an injury that could have gone, longer.  He's fine to go."

Suarez had a double and three walks in eight plate appearances for the Bats.

"I'm a little nervous. I was a little bit off on my timing when I went down but I got it back very quick, Suarez said.  "I didn't really think I'd be back this fast but I swung real hard.  I feel good.  I want to say thank you God.  I didn't think about how the team was playing without me.  I just wanted to come back as fast as I can."

Herrera impressed the Reds this spring.  The 25-year old from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic had a good spring for the Reds, playing all over the diamond on defense.  The 6'3", 195 lber played in 23 games in Goodyear, hitting .267 with two home runs, a double and triple.

The Reds sent Phillip Ervin and Cliff Pennington to Louisville.

"A couple changes on the roster, in particular, Ervin.  Once Schebler came back, Ervin became the fifth outfielder.  He has to go down and get some at bats," Riggleman said. "Herrera is a versatile guy.  He was very impressive in spring training.  He's a tall rangy kid that can run, swings it from both sides of the plate.  Primarily, played in the outfield before but signed as an infielder.   He's had time in the infield and played all around.  He gives us versatility and more athleticism."

Fans may be wondering about Nick Senzel.  Senzel is struggling in Triple A, hitting .231.  Herrera was hitting .311 with three home runs and 10 RBI in Louisville.

"I feel really happy.  I wasn't expecting this but I'm very happy.  I have the opportunity to help the team right now.  That's my mentality to help my team to win,"  Herrera said.

The ability to play infield and outfield and the addition of speed is the genesis for bringing in Herrera, who signed with the Colorado Rockies as an undrafted free agent in 2009 at the age of 16.  The Reds signed him with an invitation to spring training on November 17.  Moving Kevin Quackenbush off the 40-man roster made room for Herrera.

"I am able to play every position in the infield and outfield," said Herrera through interpreter Julio Morillo. "That's big for me. I think the team knows that.  That's why I'm here.  I will be able to play good defense.  That's why I'm here."

Herrera was relaxing by playing a video game when he got the call.

"I was playing a PS/4 last night at 10:30 when i had a phone call.  I didn't know who it was. It was the trainer at Triple A that told me I was called up to the big leagues.  It was an amazing feeling.  Ii played MLB the Show., Herrera said.  "I call my dad first.  After that I called my mom, my brother, all my family.  They are very happy right now."

David Hernandez, who the Reds signed to stabilize the bullpen is still working his way into shape.

"Hernadez is here.  He is still on a rehab schedule.  He's real close," Riggleman said.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Reds Winning Streak Stopped At Two

The Atlanta Braves scored runs in the eighth and ninth to clip the Reds,  5-4.  It stalled the Reds longest winning streak of the season at two.

Johan Camargo's second double of the game a glancing blow off Cliff Pennington's glove at third base sent the winning fifth run home.   Kevin Shackelford hit Ozzie Albies in the back to start the fateful ninth.  Freddie Freeman singled Albies to third. Dylan Floro came in to relieve Shackelford.  The Reds thought they had a double play on Nick Markakis bouncer to third but replay overuled C.B. Bucknor's out call.  Camargo hit a low liner to Pennington who was playing in to cut thee run at the plate.

Matt Wisler was hit hard but the Reds as they have most of the month, failed to get the big hit until the decisive fifth.

Brandon Finnegan was touched for an unearned run in the first when Scooter Gennett threw wildly on an infield by Ozzie Albies.  Ender Inciarte started the game with a single and came around to score on the errant throw.

The Reds were poised to answer three straight singles by Jesse Winker, Jose Peraza and Joey Votto  filled the bases with no outs against the Bryan, Ohio native, who committed to pitch at Ohio State before the San Diego Padres picked him in the seventh round in 2011.   The would-be Buckeye got Gennett on a pop to shallow center that wasn't deep enough to allow Winker to score.  Adam Duvall hit a hard grounder up the middle but the secondbaseman Albies turned it into a double play to squelch the rally.

"We made it tough on Brandon Finnegan by falling behind," Reds' interim manager Jim Riggleman said.  "It came back to bite us."

Inciarte singled again to lead off the third.  Freddie Freeman singled Inciarte to third.  Johan Camargo doubled but Duvall was able to keep Freeman at third. Finnegan got Atlanta rookie sensation Ronald Acuna Jr., in his Major League debut, to fly out to deep right.

Albies, who turned 21 in January, hit the foul pole in left for his team leading seventh home run of the year.  The Braves nursed a 3-0 lead until the fifth.

Winker reached base for the third time by drawing a walk off Wisler.  Votto unloaded his second home run of the season,  and the second in two days, into the seats in left.  With two outs, Duvall walked.  Scott Schebler drilled a Wisler pitch hard off the fence in front of the Atlanta bullpen.  Third base coach waved Duvall around third.  The throw beat Duvall by a good margin.  Home plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth emphatically signaled out.  The Reds asked for a review that revealed the tag by Carlos Perez was high and Duvall was safe.  Tucker Barnhart drove Schebler home with a single to right to give the Reds a 4-3 lead.

Finnegan left after five innings.  He allowed three runs, two earned on seven hits and a walk.

"I wasn't going to go much farther with Finnegan any way," Riggleman said.  "When we got the lead, I wanted Brice to come in with a clean inning."

"I wasn't going to argue with him about coming out," Finnegan said.  "I'm not the kind to go five and dive but I definitely trust the bullpen with the way they've been pitching. The good thing for me was I was falling behind guys in my first two starts.  The only guy I fell behind was Markakis. The big thing for me was getting strike one. I did that a lot tonight."

Austin Brice turned in two scoreless innings.

The Reds missed another bases loaded chance against Jesse Biddle in the seventh.

Gennett doubled with one out.  Duvall was walked intentionally.  Schebler smoked one up the middle that shortstop Dansby Swanson couldn't play off the odd hop of the mound.  With one out and bases loaded.  Barnhart took a called third strike.  Billy Hamilton pinch hit and struck out.

The Braves tied the game in the top of the eighth against Kevin Shackelford, who came off the disabled list on Tuesday.  Making his season debut, Shakelford gave up Acuna's first big league hit.  Swanson singled.  Shackelford struck out Preston Tucker for the second out but Kurt Suziki single in the tying run.

A.J. Minter earned his first career save.  He got the first two outs routinely but Duvall gave him a scare sending Inciarte to the wall in right center to end the game.

"I wasn't sure. I hit it pretty good but that's the deepest part of the ballpark.  I wasn't sure if I got enough of it," Duvall said.

Jim Riggleman Asks More From Reds Pitchers

Jim Riggleman is 65 years young and in great shape physically and mentally and is not afraid to buck the current wisdom of the length of pitchers outings.

"I hate to say it but in today's world we have to cover ourselves," Riggleman said.

There were two pitching decisions last night that turned on the artificial wall of pitcher's endurance.

Jared Hughes pitched 2 2/3 innings last night throwing 42 pitches.  The longest outing of his career was three innings on July 9, 2016 and 48 pitches on May 15, 2015 both for Pittsburgh against the Cubs.

"I trust him to be honest with me when he comes in and I ask how you're doing.  It's not just the word that come out its the tone.  If he's says 'I'm alright'.  He ain't alright.  If he's barking down your throat, "Why are you even asking?'  Then you know he's alright."

The trend in baseball is to limit pitchers innings and pitch counts to preserve their health.  Riggleman believes it is too low.

"I really feel that what we saw a few years ago in the post season with Dave Roberts, Terry Francona with Cleveland and Joe Maddon with the Cubs, they took it here (hands above shoulders) with those relievers," Jim Riggleman.  "With Miller, Jantzen and Kershaw came and pitched in a relieving role.  Joe Maddon had Chapman in there.  They took it to a level they hadn't been.  I think in recent years we've gotten here (hands below waist).  There is an area in between here that we can ask a little more from our pitchers.  Certainly we don't want to get anybody hurt.  What Jared did last night, that used to be fairly routine.  I know it's not routine any more. I knew it takes me out of his comfort level but he's a veteran even know he's not comfortable, he still can pitch.  If someone is a little uncomfortable they say I can't pitch.  I know Gossage and some of those guys were a little uncomfortable some days but went out and gave them three innings.  I know that its the regular season and we don't ask guys to do what they did in the postseason but I do think we can ask a little more.  We asked more of Jared last night.  I think we can raise the bar a little bit for what we can get out of guys. This thing about 65 innings for a reliever and that's enough.  You wish that's all you needed because your starters are going that far.  I think we can get a lot more out of them.  We don't want to get anybody hurt but to me it looks like they get hurt anyway."

The other dilemma for Riggleman was Tyler Mahle, who carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning with 86 pitches. Freddie Freeman homered on Mahle's 90th pitch.  He left after giving up two more hits and throwing 97 pitches.

"I was hoping he was going to make me make a really tough decision," Riggleman said.  "His sixth inning I think he had 86 pitches in six innings.  For me a good number of pitches to throw in an inning is 15 piitches.  Pitching coaches would like to do it in 12 or 13 but that just doesn't happen.  You look at how many pitches a guy throws.  If he's throwing 15 an inning, he's doing a really good job.  Now he's at 105 in seven innings.  So, to me you're not extending anybody at 105 pitches.  Now if you try to get two innings more because a guy has a no-hitter going, it's 135 pitches.  Then there's an out in the ninth and this guy fouls off 10 pitches and it's 143 pitches. "It might have been one of those games he had a no-hitter after eight and I had to pull him,"

Riggleman was the Cubs manager during Kerry Wood's rookie season, 1998.  On May 6 of that year, Wood had 20 strikeouts against the Houston Astros that built his pitch count.

"I was asked today about the Kerry Wood game," Riggleman said.  "That game he threw that day was 122 pitches.  If I'd have taken him out of that game, I'd have had to have security that night the fans would have killed me.  If and when he came up sore a year later it would have been Riggleman pitched him too much.  They were mad at me for taking him out.  They were never mad at me for leaving him in.  You do have to cover yourself a little bit."

"Once they're out there and they're flowing, they're pitching 15 more pitches.  Is that going to be the reason he got hurt?  Like I said, everybody in baseball, throughout baseball, are taking care of pitchers, pitch counts and days in between and the rest they get and so forth, and we get more and more surgeries than ever."

"What are you going to write if its 138 pitches and he got through it?  Am I good with that?  Five days from now if he gets knocked out in 2/3 an inning and says my elbow hurts, to me it is the accumulation of throws people make throughout their life and then they just break down.  When you throw a guy 118, 120 pitches, the next time you back off.  Even then, Seaver and Ryan  and those  guys  who knows how many pitches they threw,  Fergie Jenkins.  Fergie Jenkins had so many complete games.  If you look at his complete games and the number of wins he had, he had to have a lot of complete game losses.  Which means in the seventh and eighth inning, he's hitting for himself.  If  you're  losing in today's world and you let the starting pitcher hit for himself in the eighth, you may as well pack your bags.  You're an idiot.  They routinely did it."

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Tyler Mahle Flirts With No-hitter Scooter Gennett Homers Twice As Reds Win Second Straight

Scooter Gennett's second home run of the game off new Atlanta Braves pitcher Max Fried gave the Reds a 9-7 win in 12 innings.

Tyler Mahle sent the pizza ovens at LaRosa's to work early as he stymied the Braves for six innings. It was the first time this season the Reds won two straight games

Joey Votto walked to lead off the 12th in front of Gennett's first career walk off home run.

"It was the least I could do," Gennett said after the game that was extended by his fielding mistake.

The Cincinnati based Pizza chain gives away free pizza whenever Reds' pitchers strikes out 11 or more batters in a game.  Mahle had a career high 11 to end the sixth inning.

By then the Reds built a five-run lead off Atlanta Braves starter Brandon McCarthy.

The Reds had a three-run inning aided by the Braves case of the droppsies.  Scooter Gennett singled.  One out later, Tucker Barnhart walked.  Alex Blandino singled sharply to left to load the bases. Mahle hit a high chop to firstbaseman, Freddie Freeman.  His throw home was high and pulled catcher Kurt Suzuki off the plate as Gennett scored.  Billy Hamilton topped a pitch to the thirdbase side of the mound. McCarthy rushed to make a throw and dropped the ball as Barnhart scored.  Hamilton beat a low throw to first and got credit for a hit and RBI.   Winker hit a sacrifice fly to left for the third run of the inning.  Jose Peraza singled to reload the bases but Joey Votto, the ninth man to bat grounded out 4-3.

Votto and Gennett hit back-to-back home runs off McCarthy in the fifth inning.  It was the first of the season for both players.  Votto got the silent treatment when he got to the Reds' bench after the grand tour.

Mahle was spinning a gem.  He walked Nick Markakis twice but no one else reached base. Mahle struck out two of three batters in the fifth inning to surpassing his career high set in his first start of the season against the Cubs.  Mahle struck out the side in the sixth for 11 strikeouts with his no-hitter in tact.

"Mahle was outstanding," Riggleman said.

Freeman loudly brought the no-hitter to a close for Mahle.  He launched a home run to right center his third of the year.   Mahle didn't regroup.  Markakis doubled to the left-centerfield gap.  Suzuki hit a line drive home run to left, his fourth of the year.

"My fastball was working. It was the best slider I had all year,"  Mahle said.  "A no-hitter is always in the back of your mind.  I didn't execute a pitch to Freeman.  I threw a get-ahead curve to Markakis that he hit hard.  I hung a slider for the home run.  I didn't lose focus. I didn't execute a few pitches.

Amir Garrett relieved Mahle and allowed a hit but closed the inning without damage.

The Reds pushed across two runs in the bottom of the seventh.  Winker opened the inning against lefty A.J. Minter with a double over the head of Preston Tucker in leftfield.  Phillip Ervin ran for Winker.  Peraza grounded a single up the middle but Ender Inciarte was so quick to the ball that Ervin had to hold.  Votto struck out.   Reds' manager Jim Riggleman put on the suicide squeeze that Gennett and Ervin executed.  Gennett was out but Ervin scored easily.   Adam Duvall took an intentional walk. Peraza stole third and Duvall second on the double steal.  Barnhart grounded a single toward center Ozzie Albies made a diving stop and popped up to catch Duvall rounding third but Peraza scored.

"We felt we needed one more run there," Reds' interim manager Jim Riggleman said of the squeeze and the double steal.

Garrett retired the side in the eighth in order and started the ninth seeking his first career save.

Freeman hit his second home run of the game, leading off the ninth off Garrett.  His fourth home run of the season gave Freeman his 12th career multi-home run game.  It was the first run Garrett allowed in his nine appearances.

Suzuki singled and Tucker doubled with one out.  Riggleman brought in Raisell Iglesias, who was 3-3 in save opportunities.  Igleasias walked Dansby Swanson to put the tying run on base but struck out Ryan Flaherty to bring up Johan Camargo to pinch hit with the bases loaded and two out.

Camargo worked a full count from Iglesias before drawing a walk.  Inciarte hit a low line drive that hit off Gennett's glove and rolled away far enough for the tying run to score from second.  Iglesias had his first blown save, costing Mahle his second win of the season.

Gennett was kicking himself for not making the play on Inciarte's low liner that caught the secondbasemen in between hops.  It was ruled a hit by the official scorer.

"It was a tough play," Riggleman said.

'I misread it," Gennett said.  "Maybe I should have backed up on it.  Live and learn.  I'm glad I got a chance to make up for it."

Jared Hughes pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings to secure his first win of the season.

"We are just trying to keep improving," Hughes said.  "We didn't start very well but we are all trying to get better.  We are all staying positive.

Reds Change Pitchers Kevin Shackelford In Kevin Quackenbush Out

The Reds reinstated Kevin Shackelford from the disabled list and put him on the roster.

The Reds designated Kevin Quackenbush for assignment.

Quackenbush made the team with a good spring.  He didn't allow an earned run in his first eight games and finished with a 2.79 ERA in 10 appearances.  Once the season started, Quackenbush struggled.  He had an ERA of 11.00 in 10 games since Opening Day.

Shackelford had a rough spring with a 7.56 ERA in eight games.  He has been on the disabled list since the start of the season with a strained ulnar ligament in his right elbow.  He pitched in rehab in Louisville and allowed two runs in 2/3 innings.

Jim Riggleman Takes The One Job He Didn't Want

There are 30 Major League manager's jobs and Jim Riggleman coveted 29 of them, yet when Bryan Price was fired last week, he took the job.

"I've been talking and texting Bryan since he left," Riggleman said.  "There are 29 jobs in baseball that I wanted.  This is the one I didn't want."

Riggleman was named the Reds' bench coach after the 2014 season.  He and former Reds' GM Walt Jocketty had ties to the St. Louis Cardinals.  Riggleman put in 18 years in the Cardinal organization.  Riggleman took the place of Jay Bell.

The 65-year old Riggleman managed the San Diego Padres from September 1992 thru 1994.  He took over the Chicago Cubs in 1995  He led the Cubs to the playoffs in 1998 with a 90-win season.  He left the Cubs after the 1999 season.  He resurfaced as the Seattle Mariners manager on an interim basis in June 2008.  He was an interim manager of the Washington Nationals in July 2009.  He was named permanent manager for 2010 but left in the middle of 2011 in a contract dispute.

He has a record of 662-824 as a manager with three winning seasons.

Riggleman, who never made the Major Leagues as an infielder/outfielder, was Price's bench coach for three full seasons.

"i love the guy," Riggleman said.  "Bryan is a good man.  He knows the business though."

Monday, April 23, 2018

Eugenio Suarez Will Start A Rehab Assignment At Louisville Tomorrow

Eugenio Suarez is nearly ready to come back from the broken thumb from being hit by Jameson Taillon on April 8.

It was originally thought that he would be out of action, four to six weeks.  With a couple games of rehab, Suarez will have missed just over two weeks.

Suarez was hitting .296 with two home runs and seven RBI when he was hit.  The night before he hit a big home run to give the Reds their second win of the season.

Reds Get Riggleman His First Win Sal Romano, Scott Schebler Shine

The Reds put their 3-18 record on the line against the Atlanta Braves.

Sal Romano dueled Mike Foltynewicz, the man that needs to go on Wheel of Fortune and buy a vowel.  Romano took his first victory of the season when the Reds' exploded for five runs in the sixth on the way to an 10-4 win.

Romano's last start against Milwaukee was a five-inning effort marred only by a two-run home run by Eric Thames.  Tonight he was better pitching six innings allowing one earned run.

"I feel like I've been able to locate my pitches better the last two games,' Romano said.

The Reds string of bad luck held when the Braves scored an unearned run in the third inning.  Dansby Swanson walked after Romano retired the first six batters he faced.  Romano struck out Ryan Flaherty and Foltynewicz.  Ender Inciarte dumped a single, the Braves first hit into shallow left.  Adam Duvall;s throw to cut down Swanson, eluded Cliff Pennington and hit Braves thirdbase coach Ron Washington in the back.  Romano chased it down as Swanson headed home.  Romano slipped as he threw and the Braves scored.

Nick Markakis hit his third homer of the season with one out in the fourth.

Foltynewicz was spinning a one-hit shutout as the Reds' came to bat in the fifth.  Romano struck out but Billy Hamilton, batting ninth worked, Foltynewicz' fourth walk.  Scott Schebler, batting leadoff for the first time this season hit his second home run of the season to tie the score.

"It doesn't matter who gives us momentum.  We've been having trouble scoring runs, getting the big hit," Schebler said.  "I have faced him before. I knew he liked to elevate a pitch late in the count.  I didn't realize how quick he was to the plate but Billy was on so I guess he had to speed up."

After Joey Votto singled with two outs,  the Braves brought in Sam Freeman.  Duvall walked to start the frame.  Tucker Barnhart singled sending Duvall to third.  Pennington walked to load the bases. Peter Moylan came in to pitch after Phil Gosselin was announced as the pinch hitter for Romano.  Reds; interim manager Jim Riggleman sent Jesse Winker to hit.  Winker came through with a single to put the Reds on top, 3-2.  Hamilton struck out and Schebler forced Barnhart at home with a bouncer to first.  Jose Peraza singled to score Pennington.  Votto walked to drive in Winker  Scooter Gennett singled to drive in two runs and give the Reds a whopping 7-2 lead.

"All I wanted to do was put the barrel of the bat on the pitch," Winker said.  "Early in the at bat I was trying to hit a fly ball but I got two strikes on me pretty quick.  After that I just wanted to get the barrel of the bat to the ball.  It doesn't matter to me if I pinch hit.  It was my turn to sit. I had to be ready."

Riggleman didn't want to burn a player like Gosselin that early, the sixth inning.

"You don't want to do it that early in the game," Riggleman said.  "In the old days you could because you had a six-man bench.  We were fortunate to have a five-man bench tonight so I could do that.  A lot of times now, we only have a four-man bench."

Wandy Peralta, who had not allowed a run in his 10 prior appearances, covering 9 2/3 innings, pitched a scoreless seventh but singles by Inciarte, Freddie Freeman with a defensive indifference thrown in plated two runs to ruin Peralta's scoreless string.

Raisell Iglasias got the final out in the eighth.

Hamilton singled and stole his fifth base.  Schebler delivered him with a single to left for his third RBI of the game.  Duvall hit a two-run double after Peraza walked.

Iglasias finished the game for his third save in three tries.

The 2018 Reds Are The Best 3-18 Team In Reds History

This is the worst start in Reds' history.

When the Reds' left town a week ago, Bryan Price was the manager.  Jim Riggleman is now in charge of the Reds' renaissance project.

His philosophy for turning the team around?

"We have to play better baseball," Riggleman said after the Reds' returned from an awful 1-5 road trip that dropped the team past its previous worst start of the season which was 3-17.  "It is nice to be home but it's not going to solve our problems.  We're going to get out of it, the sooner the better."

Last season one of the division winner, the Los Angeles Dodgers were 3-17 for one stretch in September.  The Colorado Rockies was an NL Wildcard team with a stretch of 2-11.  The New York Yankees went through a 2-12 stretch but also made the playoffs.

The worst stretches of other playoff teams were Houson 2-9, Cleveland 2-7, Boston 2-7, Minnesota 2-9, Washington 2-6, Chicago Cubs 2-7, and the Diamondbacks 2-9.

The worst start in history belongs to the 1988 Baltimore Orioles that started the season 0-21.  The Reds are a full three games better than that.

Riggleman tried something new by elevating Scott Schebler to the leadoff spot.  Billy Hamilton will bat ninth until he shows that he can get on base on a regular basis.

"I put Schebler in at leadoff, since Winker isn't in the lineup.  We're 3-18 why not try something different?" Riggleman asked.  "We will put Billy at leadoff when he gets going.  We just don't want him going back and forth.  We'd like to hit Schebler down further in the lineup to drive in runs."

Schebler has hit leadoff before and downplayed the move.

"I'm not going to change my approach.  I am an aggressive hitter," Schebler said.  "After the first inning I'm just another batter in the lineup."

Schebler also wished Price well.

"He gave me my first break to be a starter," Schebler said.  "I'm not sure he got a fair shake.  If you ask anyone in the clubhouse, they will tell you what a good man Bryan is.  I don't think he will be down for long."

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Homer Bailey Start Wasted Cardinals Complete Sweep

The Reds' offense wasted Homer Bailey's quality start.

Carlos Martinez allowed two hits, four walks and hit a batter in seven scoreless innings as the St. Louis Cardinals got just enough offense to send the Reds' to their 13th loss in 15 games, 3-2.

Martinez struck out 11.

The sweep of the four-game series was the first since the Cardinals took all four August 13-16 in 2001 in St. Louis.  The last time the Cardinals authored a four-game sweep in Cincinnati was July 8-10 in 1949, that included a double header.

St. Louis scored off Bailey in the second.

Yadier Molina singled with one out.  After Molina was forced at second by yesterday's hero Greg Garcia.  Harrison Bader, who was giving Marcel Ozuna his first day off of the season hit his first home run of the season into the rightfield stands.

"It is part of the job as a starter.\," Bailey said. "You're going to win or lose a lot of games on one or two pitches.  I feel like the two-run home run the ball came a little bit middle.  I didn't make a whole lot of mistakes today.  They put together some pretty good at bats at the end."

Cardinals starter, Carlos Martinez, allowed base runners in the first three innings but only Jose Peraza posed a threat to score.  Peraza doubled one out into the first and reached third before Adam Duvall hit into a force play to end the inning.  He reached third on a walk, a error by Martinez on a pick off attempt and a wild pitch.  Scooter Gennett struck out to end the third.

The Reds started the fourth inning with promise.  Duvall opened the inning with a double over Bader's head in left.   Tucker Barnhart drew Martinez' fourth walk but Alex Blandino hit into a 6-4-3 double play and Phillip Ervin struck out.

Bailey retired eight straight after Bader's home run until he walked Bader in his next at bat.  Barnhart threw him out stealing.

The Cardinals added a run in the seventh.  Jose Martinez doubled with one out as Billy Hamilton couldn't make a diving catch.  Molina hit a drive over Hamilton's head.  Martinez scored but Hamilton's quick retrieval and quick and accurate throw easily beat Molina to second base.

Bailey finished with seven innings, allowing three runs on four hits and two walks.  He struck out four.

"Homer was very, very good," Price said. "He was really acute with his location. He didn't give them much but they did get the hit, they were able to handle and score a few runs, enough to win."

Tyler Lyons relieved Martinez on the mound for St. Louis.  Hamilton greeted him with his first home run of the year, which was also his 500th hit.  Peraza reached on second baseman Kolten Wong's throwing error but Votto hit into a double play.

Amir Garrett remains unscored upon with a 2/3 innings.  Jared Hughes got the last out in the top of the ninth.

Duvall's third home run of the season off Bud Norris made it a one-run game when he led off the ninth.  Barnhart bunted for a hit to third baseman, Garcia.  The throw got away from Martinez at first. The Reds challenged that the throw went out of play and Barnhart was awarded second on the throwing error.  Jesse Winker was used as a pinch runner.  Blandino struck out swinging.  Ervin struck out looking.  Devin Mesoraco batted for Hughes.  Mesoraco was hit by a 2-1 pitch.  The Reds needed a hit from Hamilton to tie the game.  Hamilton lined out to left to end the game.

"It was a game we could have won.  Billy smoked that ball to the leftfielder," Price said. "We needed to put the ball in play and get a bunt down.  We weren't able to do that. However, there was some good fight at the end. We're integrating a lot of young players into the group.  With Schebler, out, Winker out and Suarez out we're asking them to pick up a good bit of playing time.  They have to learn."

The Reds came up short but showed promise that better days are close.

"I think what we take away from this game is how resilient we were in almost coming back," Bailey said.  "The bullpen was locked down in the eighth and the ninth.  We kept battling back.  It was good to see man especially after this kind of start.  We have to have a little bit of fire and try to win some games.  We were really close right there. We played really good defense today.  That was good to see."

"It is one of those games we didn't win but we saw the change. Everybody in the dugout was happy and having fun, enjoying the game," Hamilton said.  "From here on up, I feel like we can only get better."

It was Bailey's team leading third quality start, yet his record is 0-3 with a good 3.42 ERA,

"We're fucking 2-12 that's not very good at all, regardless of my numbers. My numbers alone don't count.  It's what we're doing as a team, man."

Homer Bailey Is A Mudder, Slump, Nick Senzel And Rehabbing Players

Rain is falling around the Cincinnati Reds in the literal and figurative sense.  It has been a wet spring with Mother Nature scratching two to the Reds first scheduled nine games and the Reds losing 12 games.

Homer Bailey will try to stop the reeling Reds and bring a little sunshine to the clubhouse on a rainy Sunday.

"Homer has been here long enough to know what it's like pitching in Cincinnati, Pittsburgh or a lot these places in the midwest that get a lot of rain," Bryan Price said  "He's been through this drill before.  I thought yesterday was handled really well, even though we started in that light steady rain, that we knew that if we delayed the game by an hour, the rain will come at 4:30 and we would have trouble getting that game in."

The Reds are hoping the training staff can get key players ready to help put the  Reds back on track.

"Scott has joined the Triple A team in Lehigh Valley," Price said.  "He should be out playing today, weather permitting out there. We will see what type of reports we get from Pat Kelly and the training staff.  I think he's eligible to come off tomorrow.  I'm not saying that he will.  It doesn't mean he'll only play one either.  He will play at least one maybe more depending how he feels."

"David Hernandez threw really well yesterday.  He is scheduled to throw a simulated game Tuesday in Milwaukee.  He will see how he recovers," Price said.  "The issue in spring wasn't even when he threw he was good once he got loose.  It was the day after that was the problem.  In today's day and age we can't nurse him through it with a mandatory day off the next day.  We need guys to be durable. If he recovers well from his first outing or two. I would say he is ready to do this."

One of the players missing from the Reds lineup that hurts as much as Schebler is Eugenio Suarez.  He was hit on the right thumb last Sunday by Pittsburgh's Jameson Taillon and is expected to miss three to six weeks.  The Reds have Nick Senzel in Louisville.  Senzel was the team's first round pick in 2016.  Last season Senzel hit a combined .321 with 40 doubles for Daytona and Pensacola. The Reds tried him at shortstop and second base while they signed Suarez to a contract extension.

Senzell had a good start," Price said.  "I think he had four hits in his first two games. He played some second base.  He's gone over to play some third since Geno got hurt.  He scuffled a little bit with the bat.  He's made better contact the last day or two.  He plays with his hair on fire.  He plays hard."

The decision is not Price's alone.

"We're an organization.  We're not one person.  This is not a situation where one person gets to say, 'this is what happens.' " It is a decision that's made by a lot of people for a lot of varying reasons.  I think that's where I stand on it.  I think he could help us. There's also the argument that the people that see him on a regular basis and know him better than I do need to feel that he's ready.  When that time comes I think that we could see him here, especially with Geno out."

The fact that any team goes through a 14-game stretch that is 2-12 is not rare.  It is rare that a stretch like that starts the season.  This year the Reds are off to their worst record after 14 games since 1931

"I think in Seattle in 2004 or 2003, we were 2-12 or 3-13. We had stretches in Seattle not to start the season so much.  We had some really rough Augusts.  We had one in Arizona. We 3-18 at one point."

"When you're in it, you're not comfortable.  It always turns.  It will turn. You wonder when's it going to turn.  You get impatient.  Everybody is impatient and frustrated.  No one sees us as a 2-12 team.  There is no excuse.  We don't talk about, we don't have this or we don't have that.  We talk about the 25 that we do have.  We have enough to go out there and win games with the 25 guys we have.  That frustration is palpable, no doubt about that.  As far as guys coming in early has not change.  The frustration level has turned and won't change until we start playing better ball."

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Reds' Poor Start Worst Since Black And White Film

Brandon Finnegan lasted 4 1/3 innings and that is the good news.

The bad news is the Reds' fell to its worst 14-game start since 1931, a year in which the Reds won just three of its first 20 games.  This time it was a 6-1 defeat to the arch enemy St. Louis Cardinals.

"You never expect it.  It's a tough spot to be in," Bryan Price said.  "In the same respect, you have to deal with it.  We're all adults.  We're paid to do a job and that job is to do the best of our ability and perform. We have to stay together and show some spirit and heart. We need to show integrity in the way we go about our business.  We will continue to push it."

There is no color film of the Reds that year.  Kodachrome wasn't in use until 1935.

The nemesis for Finnegan was Greg Garcia, who has established himself as the Cardinals best pinch hitter but today in an infrequent start, Garcia hit two home runs and a double, scoring three times and driving in three runs.

"I thought I threw the ball pretty well besides the first two batters.  I had some jitters going," Finnegan said.  "I thought I made a lot of good pitches and two bad ones and they both got hit out.  It's the life of playing in Great American Ball Park.  Those two pitches, take those away and its a completely different ball game.  We had some tough breaks and nobody hit the ball hard except for those two home run."

Meanwhile, the rest of the Reds' were confronted by Miles Mikolas, who pitched the last three years in Japan.  His last Major League before this season was in 2013 against the Reds as a member of the San Diego Padres with 2/3 an inning on July 31.

The Reds got no hits in the first 3 2/3 innings.  Scooter Gennett singled to left, one of his three hits.  Tucker Barnhart hit his second home run of the season off Mikolas in the fifth inning on his Gold Glove bobblehead day.

The Cardinals scored a run in the first without a hit.  Finnegan in his first start since June 26 against the Cardinals, walked Pham and Paul DeJong.  Finnegan lasted three innings and was shut down for the season with a strained teres major.

Pham advanced to third on a fly out to right and scored on a fly out to center by Marcel Ozuna. RBI doubles by Jose Martinez and Tommy Pham, who hit his against Austin Brice accounted for the other St. Louis runs.

Reds Try To Avoid The Spirit Of '31

The Reds' current 2-11 start is the worst since 1955.

A loss today will be the worst start since 1931 when the Reds dropped to 2-13 on May 12, 1931.  That team didn't win its third game until the second game of the double header that same day.

Si Johnson was the winning pitcher with a complete game in the 3-2 win. The Reds' starting lineup that day was Ed Roush CF, Wally Roetger RF, Joe Stripp 3B, Harvey Hendrick 1B, Nick Cullop LF,  Hod Ford 2B, Leo Durocher SS, Lena Styles C and Johnson P.

The Reds finished the season with a 58-96 record.

It would be the curse of Pete Rose, who was born on this date in 1941. 

Friday, April 13, 2018

Cardinals Extend Reds' Sorrow On Friday The 13th

The Reds battled back from one bad inning but the results were a predictable 5-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Tyler Mahle allowed a solo home run to Arch Enemy Yadier Molina going into the sixth inning after pitching an error infused fifth inning with no damage.

Jose Martinez opened the fifth with a clean single.  Cliff Pennington threw a potential double play ball hit by Molina away for an error.  The next batter hit another potential double play ball that Pennington couldn't handle on the short hop.  Mahle got Kolten Wong to pop out to shortstop Jose Peraza in foul territory.  Opposing pitcher Luke Weaver hit into the "third" double play ball of the inning.  This time Peraza and Scooter Gennett turned it to escape the inning

The Reds got their first hit off Weaver in the bottom of the inning.  Devin Mesoraco's infield hit survived a replay review.

The Reds were still in the game.

Mahle was out there in the sixth.

Fowler reached the first row of the rightfield seats for his second home run of the season.  Tommy Pham singled and stopped at third on Matt Carpenter's double.  Macel Ozuna singled home one run.  Martinez moved the runners with a ground out.  Molina drove in his second and third runs of the game with a single to left.  Kevin Quackenbush got the last two outs of the inning.

"Pham fights off a pitch and gets it into the outfield, then Carpenter got a pitch he could pull into the corner," Bryan Price said.  "You have to pitch well against them.  They hit good pitches and your mistakes.  We were in a position where we couldn't give up any more runs.  We had to shrink the infield.  We have to avoid the big inning. The bullpen did a nice job, keeping us in the game."

Mahle had an otherwise nice start ruined.

"They hit some good pitches that hurt me," Mahle said.

"Tyler pitched really, really well," Mesoraco said.  "They are a veteran lineup.  They made adjustments."

The Reds got to Weaver in the seventh.  Gennett singled.  Mesoraco lined a home run to left that just cleared the wall.   Matt Bowman took over for Weaver and got the Reds out in the seventh after, allowing Alex Blandino's first Major League hit.

The Reds got closer in the eighth.  Billy Hamilton worked his second walk of the game.  Peraza bunted for a hit but got a sacrifice with Hamilton moving up.  Joey Votto drove in his fourth run of the season with a line single to left but Votto was picked off with Mesoraco at the plate to end the threat.

Bud Norris relieved Dominic Leone, who picked off Votto and didn't pitch to a batter.

Norris struck out Mesoraco swinging on a 3-2 pitch.  Adam Duvall fistted a single to right.  Phillip Ervin walked to put the tying runs on base.  Blandino struck out swinging. Tucker Barnhart pinch hit for Wandy Peralta.  Barnhart was caught looking at strike three.

"We're just not playing well right now.  We have to start playing better," Mesoraco said.

Reds Shuffle Pitching Before Game With Cardinals - Brandon Finnegan To Start Saturday

The Reds played 12 innings on Wednesday on a night their starter lasted just three innings.  Last night the Reds were forced to use Cliff Pennington a shortstop to pitch the ninth inning.

The Reds young bullpen suffered in the Cardinals seven-run seventh.  Zack Weiss in his Major League debut gave up home runs to Martinez, his third and Molina, his fourth.  Weiss walked DeJong and Kolten Wong before a merciful exit.  Tanner Rainey, who allowed a grand slam in his debut on Tuesday, walked in two runs with three straight passes to pinch hitter Greg Garcia, Fowler and Pham.  Carpenter hit a sacrifice fly.  Ozuna popped out but Martinez drove in two more runs with a bloop double that Phillip Ervin just missed catching.

"It wasn't a great game. It was a one-run ballgame after a three-inning start in Philadelphia and a long game yesterday," Bryan Price said.  "I needed the younger guys to come in and pitch today unless Sal could go deep in the game it was inevitable that they were going to pitch.  It's not a bad thing.  They've got to come up here and contribute as part of a big league bullpen.  They do have to pitch. Unfortunately they struggled to throw it over.  You don't want to use a position player.  I didn't want to use Cody Reed.  I didn't want to get Quackenbush up.  Those other guys have to shoulder the load. That's just how it is."

Cliff Pennington issued the 10th and 11th walk by Reds' pitchers.  Pennington was the only position player to pitch in the playoffs with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015.

"We were out of pitching and had to win the next day.  We were up 2-1 in the series," Pennington said.

Pennington allowed the Cardinals their 13th run which matched the second highest total given up by Reds' pitching in 12 games.

"I was just trying to throw strikes. I wasn't perfect. I wanted to throw strikes and get us out of the game and get it over with," Pennington said. "I found out the third batter of the inning before.  They told me if the pitchers spot was coming up, Mes was going to hit.  I threw two pitches in the cage.  I wasn't going to waste any."

Price hates having to use position players to save his bullpen.  The Reds took steps to prevent that from happening on Friday.

Cincinnati purchased the contract of Dylan Floro from Louisville and optioned Rainey to Louisville, although he remained in the clubhouse Friday afternoon.

To make room on the 40-man roster the Reds designated Ariel Hernandez for assignment.

Floro, 27, pitched in 12 games for Tampa Bay in 2015 and three games for the Chicago Cubs last season.

"Dylan is a kid with some big league time," Price said.  "He had a nice camp  He has a good sinking fastball which is always a help particularly in this ballpark.  He threw the ball well in the few outings he had in Louisville."

The Bats were in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvannia when Floro got the call.

I just flew in a couple hours ago.  I had a delayed flight to start out with."

"I'm ready to go," Floro said.  "The game plan is to take advantage of any opportunity I get and help this team get back to winning some ballgames.  I talked to Price a little bit when I first got here.  They told me to keep doing what I've been doing. I had a couple of good outings. I'll try to bring that up here."

"I throw mainly sinkers.  I've been throwing the change up a little bit more this year."

Floro wants to help turn the team around.

"It wasn't disappointing to not make the team out of spring training.  When you come into spring, your're trying to make that ballclub.  You don't want to think of negatives.  I went to Louisville and took advantage of my first couple outings.  It got me a chance to get back up here.  I thought of signing here as a good opportunity.  We have a good club here.  You can't doubt the guys that are here.  I still have to do the best I can went I get a chance to come in a game."

Brandon Finnegan will replace Cody Reed in the Reds' rotation and start against the Cardinals on Saturday.  The irony is that Finnegan's last game was against the Cardinals on June 26 after missing two months.  Finnegan was coming off rehab for a strained left lat/trapezius.  He left the game after the third inning with a strained teres major.  He had season ending surgery on his dislocated right shoulder which he suffered in a off-field incident.

"Every body signed off on it.  He's done everything we've asked him to do," Price said.  "We're glad to have him back.  We need to get him out to there to see where he's at."