Monday, September 30, 2013

Reds unveil roster for Wild Card game

The Reds have finally unveiled their 25-man roster for the do-or-die Wild Card game tonight in Pittsburgh.

Here is a look at who Dusty Baker will have at his disposal to try and eliminate Clint Hurdle's Pirates.

C - Devin Mesoraco
C - Ryan Hanigan
1B - Joey Votto
2B - Brandon Phillips
SS - Zack Cozart
3B - Todd Frazier
INF - Jack Hannahan
INF - Cesar Izturis
OF - Jay Bruce
OF - Shin-Soo Choo
OF - Ryan Ludwick
OF - Billy Hamilton
OF - Chris Heisey
OF - Derrick Robinson
OF - Xavier Paul
SP - Johnny Cueto
SP - Mike Leake
RP - Zack Duke
RP - Alfredo Simon
RP - Sam LeCure
RP - Aroldis Chapman
RP - Logan Ondrusek
RP - Sean Marshall
RP - Manny Parra
RP - J.J. Hoover

As you can see, there weren't many surprises. Mat Latos wasn't included due to arm soreness, but he should be ready for the NLDS, assuming the Reds can advance.

Well, the fate of the 2013 season for the Reds lies squarely on tonight. A win punches their ticket to the NLDS for the right to face the Cardinals and a loss sends the Reds to a long winter.

A dozen reasons why Reds will emerge victorious in Pittsburgh

Regardless of the outcome of Tuesday's monumental Wild Card game between the Reds and Pirates at PNC Park, fans of both teams will be going crazy, but for very different reasons, obviously.

For the Pirates, Tuesday's game marks the end of an unfathomable streak of futility, as Pittsburgh will play host to its first postseason game since 1992. One can only imagine the kind of atmosphere that will be present in their home park as they unleash the frustration of 21 years of losing and waiting.

For the Reds, they can certainly relate to Pittsburgh's excitement to be in the playoffs, as anyone who was around the club in 2010 can attest to when the Reds made the postseason for the first time in 15 years. Now, after earning their third trip to the promised land in four seasons, it has a much different feel, one that can only be created by the sting of two quick exits in '10 and '12.

The good thing for the Reds is that they have an opportunity to erase the painful memories of those last two trips to the postseason under Baker with a victory. But it won't be easy, as Cincinnati will face a hostile environment, in addition to facing the best the Pirates have to offer in veteran southpaw Francisco Liriano, who has been nothing short of superb in his first season in a Pittsburgh uniform.

With that being said, I believe the Reds are in good shape to embrace their role as underdogs and steal a win from the Pirates on their own turf Tuesday night. Here are thirteen reasons why, followed five reasons why they will not:

Video: Amazing story of Reds fan who saw Homer Bailey's no-hitter two days before death

Seen here is the amazing story of Ohio native and lifelong Reds fan Jeff Crews.

Crews passed away due to brain cancer on July 4 of this year, but not before witnessing Homer Bailey's no-hitter against the San Francisco Giants, the same day Crews and his family were also treated as guests at Great American Ball Park by Joey Votto.

Oh, did I mention Crews was also on hand in Pittsburgh when Bailey threw his other no-hitter last September? Yeah, not even Hollywood could write this script.

An unbiased look at Dusty Baker's postseason managerial record

For 20 of the past 21 seasons, Dusty Baker has been the manager of a Major League Baseball team.

His managerial career began with a bang when he led the San Francisco Giants to a whopping 103 wins in 1993. He was named National League Manager of the Year for his efforts, but the Giants ultimately missed out on the playoffs, finishing just one game behind the Atlanta Braves for the National League West crown.

It wasn't until the 1997 season when Baker finally guided his first team to the playoffs as manager. Unfortunately, Baker's Giants were quickly eliminated by the Florida Marlins, who swept San Francisco in the NLDS (3-0) en route to winning the World Series.

After finishing second in the division in 1998 and 1999, Baker got the Giants back to the promised land in 2000, but like '97, SF was sent packing in the NLDS, succumbing to the New York Mets in four games.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Johnny Cueto to take the ball in Pittsburgh

It appears the fate of Cincinnati's 2013 season will fall upon the arm of Johnny Cueto on Tuesday.

Following Saturday's loss to the Pirates, manager Dusty Baker announced that Cueto, and not Mat Latos, will get the ball for the Wild Card game at PNC Park. Baker cited the fact that Latos is currently battling arm soreness as part of the reason for the change. 

Cueto was previously slated to start Sunday's game. However, the game became inconsequential when the Pirates clinched homefield advantage for the one-game Wild Card round with Saturday's win.

Despite having made just two starts since returning from a three-month stint on the disabled list, teammates remain confident in Cueto's ability to get the job done.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

RR Roundtable: The Wild Card edition

It is what it is.
The end of the regular season is near and after a slight hiatus, the Redlegs Review Roundtable is back for a season-ending, pre-Wild Card edition to get you all ramped up for the playoffs. Joining the panel this time around are Jimmi Adair (@Redlegs_Review), Scott Eddy (@scotte97), and the former @RedlegsWriter (@weltmoney).

Among the topics of discussion are Billy Hamilton, all things to do with the Wild Card game coming up on Tuesday, and we also hand out some awards. It should be a fun time. Enjoy!

1) Billy Hamilton is fast. We all know that, so this one is simple. As fast as you can type it, explain why Billy Hamilton should or should not be on the Reds playoff roster.

Scott: To leave Hamilton off the playoff roster would be close to insane. Is there anyone else that the team has at their disposal in play for a last roster spot that could possibly have the impact we've already seen Hamilton capable of? Not a chance. You could say add one more reliever instead, but chances are the guy you'd be adding would only pitch in a blowout situation. Not exactly a game changer - but Hamilton can be.

JimmiHamilton should be on the playoff roster because he adds an asset that no other player can bring: speed. He has already proven that he can have a direct impact on the outcome of a game. So, why would the club fail to find a spot on the roster for him? Plus, it's hard to imagine Cesar Izturis or Jack Hannahan being more valuable than Hamilton at this point.

Jesse: Billy Hamilton should absolutely be on the playoff roster. He has a gift that the Reds can use as a powerful weapon. He has already proven his worth to me with his play in September. He's already utilized his speed to score four runs late in games which have been the go-ahead or tying run in four Reds victories. It's not like the Reds bench is so good that there isn't room for Hamilton. With the way he's been playing, I think you make room for the speedster.

2) It looks like Mat Latos is lined up to start the Wild Card game. Who would you have start the game if you were manager and why? (Update: it's been announced that Johnny Cueto will now start the Wild Card game.)

Jimmi: With all due respect to Homer Bailey, Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, and Bronson Arroyo, I think I would have to go with Latos, too. At the end of the day, I'm going to go with the guy that I would be the most upset with if I didn't start. In this case, that guy is Latos. He has been far and away the Reds most reliable and dominant starting pitcher this season. So, he deserves the opportunity to start this game. Although Bailey continues to blossom into an ace-caliber pitcher, he still has his moments of inconsistency. Cueto has only started two games since returning from the disabled list and I don't think he is ready to pitch in game like this just yet. As for Leake and Arroyo, those two guys are always vulnerable for a terrible start, and the Reds can't afford a bad start in this one-game elimination format.

Jesse: Mat Latos. It's simple. In Cueto's absence Latos has established himself as an ace. To me he is the most talented, reliable, and consistent starter the Reds currently have available. I have no doubts about him starting the Wild Card game.

Scott: I think Homer Bailey probably has the best pure stuff of anyone on the rotation, but even now you're not quite sure what to expect from him on a nightly basis (like Fridayfor instance...) so with Cueto not really 100 percent the right choice is probably Latos. His penchant for melting down emotionally is worrisome, but we can only hope he's more mature than he was a year ago.

3) No Reds will be in serious contention for the National League Cy Young or MVP awards, but who are your 2013 Cy Young and MVP awards winners for the Reds?

JesseWith the way the Reds starters have pitched this season, you could pull a random name out of a hat and make a good case for that person. For me, the Reds best pitcher has been Mat Latos though. He leads the Reds in WAR (3.9) and ERA (3.16) and is tied for the lead with 14 wins. He was the one guy that made me feel like we were going to win every fifth day he took the mound. The other guys were very good, but I never felt as confident with them.

Best hitter? I'm going to say Shin-Soo Choo. He came to Cincinnati with enormous expectations and to me he managed to match and even exceed them. He got on base all the time, being second only to Joey Votto in OBP. He scored all the time, leading the team in runs scored. He's hit more home runs than I expected from him. He's second in overall WAR according to Fangraphs and leads the team in Offensive WAR according to ESPN. Other than a few early miscues, his glove was a non-issue and his arm was fantastic.

Mat L"ace"tos
Scott: Cy Young of the Reds should be Latos. He's been the ace of the staff and the workhorse they've needed, especially with Cueto out. The fact that he's worked through injury and still been a horse is all the more impressive. MVP is a harder pick. For me this has been an intensely disappointing season - all too often the team just seems to lack fire. Ever since Rolen retired there seems to be a real lack of leadership. With that said, I will go with BP - he took over the role of cleanup hitter and did exactly what he set out to do, drive in 100 runs while still being the best defensive second baseman in baseball.

Jimmi: Let me begin by saying there are no clear choices for either award. And that is not necessarily a bad thing. Entering Friday, three starting pitchers were tied for the team lead in wins (14), and on the offensive side of things, a solid case could be made for Jay Bruce, Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, and Shin-Soo Choo to win MVP. With that being said, my vote for Cy Young goes to Mat Latos, because he has been the club's most dependable starter in 2013, and because he is the guy who I believe most fans would want to take the ball in a one-game playoff situation. For MVP, my vote goes to Choo, which is probably not the popular choice, but I believe he is the best choice. Where would this team be without the services of Choo in center field and in the lead-off spot? He ranks second in the league in on-base percentage, second on the team in doubles and batting average, and has been an all-around catalyst for the offense this year. It's not by chance that both Bruce and Phillips have over 100 RBI in the campaign. It's because Choo (and Votto) have been providing them plenty of chances to knock in runs.

4) On the flip side, do you have a proverbial "Cy Yuk" and a L(east)VP for the Reds?

Scott: I don't really have a problem with any of the starters, it's been the best rotation of my lifetime despite being without its ace nearly the entire season. The LVP is definitely Cesar Izturis, hands down. How this guy has been on the roster all season is just beyond me. What does he bring to the table? Anyone? Crickets. That's what I thought. Check out his career and season OPS for a laugh sometime - but only if you haven't eaten yet.

Jimmi: I'm not one who likes to rag on an under-performing player. But for the sake of this question, I'll go with Cesar Izturis for my LVP and Curtis Partch for my Cy Yuk. Izturis has far and away been the least valuable contributor to the team this season as evidenced by his lowly .198 average in 126 at-bats. Meanwhile, Partch has been doomed ever since his major league debut featured surrendering a grand slam to the Cardinals on national television. Overall, he has allowed eight home runs, 16 earned runs, and 30 hits in just 21.1 innings pitched over 13 outings.

Jesse: This is a tough one. All the pitchers were mostly good. I'd say Johnny Cueto, but when he did pitch he pitched well. I just wish he could have pitched more, but injuries are injuries. I'd have to go with Johnathan Broxton I suppose. He was signed to a fairly large contract for a reliever his age and was expected to be a major part of the bullpen. He never really looked right in his 34 appearances. However, he was injured too having been shut down for elbow surgery in late August, so I don't feel 100% right calling him out. I was disappointed though.

The most disappointing hitter was the catcher. Ok, I cheated because that's two players, but it was not pretty. After a solid 2012 where he hit .274/.365/.338, Hanigan's 2013 batting average hovered around the Mendoza line and his OBP took a major dip. Devin Mesoraco got much more playing time in 2013, which was good, and he certainly showed flashes of his ability. Despite those flashes however, there was still a lot left to be desired from the once-top prospect Mesoraco. Perhaps he can have a big postseason.

5) Who are your choices for NL and AL Cy Young and MVP?

"Who's the best? This guy."
Jimmi: I'll be honest, I don't pay nearly as close attention to the rest of the league as I do to the Reds. So, I haven't had the chance to compare and contrast the leading candidates much. But I'm also not completely oblivious to what is going on, either.

AL Cy Young - Max Scherzer (DET)
NL Cy Young - Clayton Kershaw (LAD)
AL MVP - Miguel Cabrera (DET)
NL MVP - Andrew McCutchen (PIT)

Jesse: NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw. Who else?
NL MVP: Paul Goldschmidt. To heck with convention.
AL Cy Young: Max Scherzer. It's not just the wins, but that helps.
AL MVP: Miguel Cabera. He's just silly good.

Scott: Andrew McCutchen has led the Pirates to the playoffs for the first time in 20 years so that should be good for some hardware. In the AL, Miguel Cabrera is simply the best player of our time and again deserves the award.

6) Who wins the AL, NL, and World Series?

Jesse: AL: Boston
NL: Reds
World Series: Reds!

Scott: It's probably going to be a St. Louis-Boston World Series. And the very thought of that makes me ill and I will choose not to even consider a winner because if that's the case we are all losers.

Jimmi: As much as it pains me to say it, I don't see this Reds team advancing to the World Series, not while Dusty Baker is still at the helm. Maybe it's just the team's collective personality, but they seem entirely too laid back for me at times, playing through games as if they would much rather be somewhere else. And I have got to believe part of that falls back on the persona of the skipper. Hopefully they turn things around here soon, though. Anyways, on to the picks: I think the Dodgers emerge over the Cardinals in the NLCS and the Tigers sneak by Boston in the in the ALCS. In the World Series, I believe the Dodgers push the series to six games, but Detroit's offense is simply too much for LA to handle. The Tigers are crowned world champions.

7) When the offseason begins, where will the Reds have finished the 2013 season? Feel free to be specific.

Scott: The Reds are one and done. They will lose in the one game playoff at PNC Park to close out their season. I don't like being Mr. Negative but this season just never went right from day one when Ludwick went down. Ever since this team has all too often looked listless and has rarely lived up to the level of talent on the roster. To me that starts with the manager but I won't have that discussion here. They definitely have the talent to make a deep run, but aside from that week last month where they took 3 of 4 from the cardinals and swept LA they simply haven't proven they can beat playoff teams. This team is easily, for me, more disappointing than the majority of the "lost decade" teams - we knew those teams were bad from the start. I think we all expected much more from this year's group than has been produced.

Jimmi: It's so hard to figure out this year's Reds squad. There have been weeks when they have looked like the best overall team in the major leagues. And then there have been other weeks where they look very average. My guess is they overcome the debacle that has been this weekend and then redeem themselves in the Wild Card game on Tuesday to advance to the NLDS. As of now, it appears like the Cardinals will be the team they would face if they advance that far. In my opinion, the road likely ends there, unfortunately.

Jesse: Despite all their shortcomings, according to Twitter, the Reds overcome. Although things don't seem as positive as they did in 2012, going into the playoffs as the NL Central Champion, things just somehow seem right for the Reds in 2013. They're not talked about as much, but they've been playing well against good opponents lately. They easily defeat the Pirates in the one-game Wild Card playoff before rolling to a 4-1 series victory in the NLDS over the Braves. Then comes the set up that's movie material. The Reds face their heated rival Cardinals for a chance at playing in the World Series. Strong pitching and just enough hitting gets them past St. Louis, but it's not easy as it takes all seven games to decide the victor. Then comes a repeat of the 1975 World Series, 38 years later. While it does not match the drama of the '75 series, it has the same outcome as the Reds bring home the title for the first time since 1990. Jay Bruce is the MVP and becomes a bonafide baseball superstar.

Photo: Brandon Philllips leaves game early with nasty shin injury

View image on Twitter

The Reds can't catch a break lately.

Aside from losing the first two games of the weekend series to the Pirates, and subsequently fumbling the opportunity to host Tuesday's Wild Card game at Great American Ball Park, Brandon Phillips was forced to leave Saturday's game with an apparent injury to his left shin.

The play occurred during Phillips' at-bat in the bottom of the fifth inning when he fouled a pitch from Charlie Morton off his left leg. Phillips was noticeably shaken up on the play as he walked gingerly around the outside of the batter's box to try and shake the pain.

Phillips wound up staying in the game and delivering a single into right field before being lifted for a pinch runner. Cameras were able to zoom in on his injury and reveal a huge welt raised from his shin. Simply put, the initial outlook doesn't look too good for Phillips.

Joey Votto 'really happy' about breaking record previously held by Pete Rose

Joey Votto made history on Friday.

With two hits, Votto set a new Reds single season record by reaching base 312 times by a combination of walks, hits, and hit-by-pitch. At the time of this writing, he had reached base three more times on Saturday, increasing his overall mark to 315. The previous record was set by Pete Rose in 1969.

Votto credits his ability to play every single game as cause for notching the record. The Canadian native was limited to just 111 games a season ago, but is on the brink of appearing in all 162 games this year, assuming he plays on Sunday.

“I was really very excited and really happy about that achievement, it’s a combination of playing every day, that’s something Pete was very, very good at,” Votto said. I don’t know if it’s a skill or luck or determination or personality trait, but for whatever it was that helped him play every single day, he did that consistently over the course of his career. That was the stat, that I’ve played every day. Second is the ability to get on base and be competitive — not making outs is a difficult thing to do. To be able to put that combination together, I’m very proud of it. This is a little different version of a baseball year for me, offensively, but to have been rewarded with something like this — any time you’re mentioned with an all-time great, Pete Rose or Joe Morgan with the walks, I’m very proud of it, yes.”


Friday, September 27, 2013

Ryan Ludwick explains controversial remarks about fans with heartfelt apology

Ryan Ludwick drew the ire of many Reds fans on Wednesday when he expressed his discontent with the lack of intensity and energy in the stadium during the series against the New York Mets. Now, the 35-year-old has issued a series of comments addressing the matter, which he hopes will help clear the air between him and the fans.

In an interview with legendary sports writer Hal McCoy, Ludwick called the comments a "pep talk," and added that his intention wasn't to criticize or bash fans, but rather it was an attempt to "get them more involved" so the players could "feed" off their energy.

Ludwick was soundly ripped by local talk radio hosts, bloggers, and fans alike over his postgame remarks. And he claims the backlash has taken an emotional toll on him.

“It really hurt. I was very emotional about it."

Ludwick then began explaining how he and his family grew up Reds fans.

“The reason I came here is because this is a place that is dear to my heart,” he added. “My grandpa used to listen to Reds games on the porch in Georgetown.

“They’re saying I’m blaming the fans for our losses, which is not what I’m doing — that never came out of my mouth,” he said. “I’m just looking for intensity. I’m a lifelong Reds fan and I’ve been one since I was 1. This team was always my childhood favorite. I was just trying to get everyone on board.

“I’m trying to get the city to unite, the players to unite, the manager to unite, the coaches to unite,” he said. “Have fun with us — try to win a World Series. Am I saying intensity is going to win us a World Series? No. It was taken all wrong the way I meant it.

“This definitely a place dear to my heart and my grandfather is probably in Georgetown rolling around in his grave. It hurt me a little bit. I was a fan here before I was a player here,” Ludwick added. “I apologize to those who took it wrong. I want a World Series from a players standpoint and a fans standpoint.”

To be honest, I didn't think Ludwick's comments were as inflammatory as many made them out to be in the first place. I think the whole ordeal got blown up due to back-to-back losses and the desire for folks like Lance McCalister to spin this situation in a way that creates more buzz for their program. With that being said, I definitely don't believe Ludwick was wise to say that about the fans. As a player, you are going to lose every time when calling out your own fans.

At this point, it's time for fans to bury the proverbial hatchet and forgive Ludwick for whatever wrongdoing he may have done. After all, both have more important things to worry about over the next handful of days. Namely, beating the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Via FOX Sports Ohio

Video: Aaron Boone and Rick Sutcliffe preview this weekend's series

It would not be an exaggeration at all to call Cincinnati's series against the Pirates this weekend the biggest regular season series in Great American Ball Park history.

The right to host next Tuesday's National League Wild Card is on the line and both squads play signicantly better at home. So, the fate of each team's season may come down to who wins the series this weekend. 

Seen above is Aaron Boone and Rick Sutcliffe of ESPN's Baseball Tonight crew offering their thoughts on the pivotal set of games.

Ten things you need to know for Pirates series

It should go without saying, but this weekend could very well mark the biggest regular season series in Great American Ball Park history as the Reds play host to the Pirates. Both teams have already punched their proverbial ticket to the postseason, however, the right to host next Tuesday's Wild Card game is still very much up for grabs. It should make for an electric atmosphere in Cincinnati.

Here are 10 things you need to know for the weekend:

1) Entering Friday, the Pirates hold a one-game lead over the Reds for the top Wild Card spot. Thus, they also hold the privilege of hosting the Wild Card game. However, if the Reds can win two out of three in this weekend's series, they will earn the coveted right to host the Wild Card game, instead. This is because they would have an identical record as the Pirates, but would gain an edge over them via the tiebreaker, which goes by head-to-head season record. The season series is currently tied 8-8.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

News and notes from MLB week 26

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

Where has the time gone? It’s hard to believe that six months have passed and now we’re on the final weekend of baseball’s regular season.

Soooo, Ryan Ludwick, it’s the fans' fault that the Reds dropped two of three to the Mets? You guys couldn’t hit water if you fell out of a boat, especially with runners in scoring position (4 for 29 in the series) and somehow it’s the fans' fault? Look, I totally understand the momentum gained with a boisterous crowd, but give us something to cheer about, please. All during the Mets series y’all basically went through the motions, in fact, despite the numerous protests to the contrary, I believe you thought that all you’d need to do is show up and the Mets would just wilt in your greatness. In other words, you looked past the Mets. What really bugged me was the way the Reds laid down in the bottom of the ninth on Wednesday’s game. LaTroy Hawkins, who’s like 96 years old, give or take a few years, placed his walker to the side of the mound, took a couple of puffs from his oxygen tank and promptly retired the side in order. And that’s the fans' fault? Bob Castellini may sign his name to your checks, but it’s those fans, you know, the ones who came out in record numbers this season, who pay your salary. Remember that.

Video: Teddy Kremer's inspirational story as told by ESPN

In case you missed it, ESPN aired a terrific documentary piece on Reds honorary bat boy and current employee Teddy Kremer on Tuesday.

Whether you are a fan of the Reds, baseball, or heart warming stories, this 11-minute video clip is totally worth your time. Trust me.

Teddy, 30, who was diagnosed with Down Syndrome at birth, has gained local celebrity status with his uplifting attitude and inspirational outlook on life. It's hard to imagine too many people hearing about Teddy's story and not shedding a tear or two. It's absolutely wonderful.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Video: Ryan Ludwick calls out Reds fans for lack of intensity

The mood around the Reds clubhouse was not good following Cincinnati's 1-0 defeat to the New York Mets on Wednesday. And rightfully so.

The Reds just dropped two out of three against the Mets at home behind an offense that produced just five runs in the entire series. Wednesday's loss also mathematically eliminated the Reds from winning the division and subsequently secured their spot in next Tuesday's dreaded Wild Card game.

Naturally, the players and fans alike were frustrated. But perhaps none more than veteran outfielder Ryan Ludwick. Seen here is the 35-year-old taking part in a postgame interview and proceeding to call out fans for their lack of intensity and energy during the Mets series. Now, I know he was frustrated, and to some extent he has a point, but berating fans is never the way to go. It's a battle you simply cannot and will not win.

In the defense of fans, they really didn't have much to cheer about. And with the biggest series in Great American Ball Park history impending this weekend, coupled with the fact that all three of these games were played on a weeknight (Wednesday's during a work day), it's easy to see why fans might have been saving their trip to the stadium for the games that lie ahead.

Reds fans set new attendance record

Pat yourself on the back, Reds fans. You have helped set a new record.

With Wednesday's attendance of 26,223, Reds fans established a new Great American Ball Park single season attendance record of 2,371,103.

The previous mark of 2,355,259 was established in GABP's inaugural 2003 season. The club's all-time high mark of 2,629,708 was set in 1976 at Riverfront Stadium. The success of the Big Red Machine was undoubtedly due to that.

"We are very grateful to our fans for attending in record-breaking numbers, and we are anxious to see how much we can grow the final attendance number by packing the park for all three games of the Pirates series this weekend to finish the regular season," said Phil Castellini, Reds Chief Operating Officer.

Charlie Sheen predicts Reds and Athletics in World Series

Actor Charlie Sheen, a noted Cincinnati Reds fan, star of the television series Two and a Half Men, and the man who played Vince "Wild Thing" Vaughn in the Major League movies has made his prediction for the 2013 World Series.

Celebrity gossip site TMZ caught up with Sheen as he took a break outside a court room while serving on jury duty. Yes, even celebs are relegated to jury duty from time to time.

Anyways, Sheen likes his beloved Reds to capture the National League pennant and meet up with the Oakland Athletics in the Fall Classic. As Sheen astutely points out, it would be a rematch of the 1972 World Series, but it would also be a rematch of the 1990 World Series, as well.

Let's hope his prediction comes true.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Reds cut ties with Kyle Lotzkar

The Reds officially parted ways with right-handed pitching prospect Kyle Lotzkar on Tuesday. The 23-year-old was designated for assignment earlier this month to help make room on the roster for Johnny Cueto and Sean Marshall.

Lotzkar was taken 53rd overall by Cincinnati in the 2007 MLB Draft and was once regarded as one of the top pitching prospects in the organization. At the time of the draft, Baseball America even labeled Lotzkar as the second-best prospect from Canada, raving about his projectable frame and potential for boasting two plus pitches. He entered this year as the 12th-best prospect in the system, according to BA.

In six seasons in the minors, Lotzkar struggled to get past Single-A, as injuries and command issues often derailed his progress. Lotzkar has endured both Tommy John surgery, which caused him to miss the entire 2009 season, and a stress fracture in his right elbow since becoming a professional.

Video: Watch Shin-Soo Choo send Reds to walk-off victory over Mets

It wasn't pretty and it wasn't easy, but the Reds managed to keep pace with both the Pirates and Cardinals with a a walk-off win against the New York Mets on Monday.

Shin-Soo Choo's game-winning single proved to be the difference as it brought home Devin Mesoraco from third base to give Dusty Baker's crew a 3-2 victory.

The victory, coupled with Washington's loss to the Cardinals, meant the Reds clinched a spot in the postseason for the second straight season. The last time the Reds were able to do that was in 1975-76 with the the Big Red Machine. Both of those clubs went on to win the World Series.

With just five games left, the Reds are still tied with the Pirates for the top Wild Card spot, and remain a full two games back of St. Louis for first place.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Mat Latos has been pitching hurt since June

By all accounts, Mat Latos has pitched exceptionally well for the Reds this season. But he says he has been doing so hurt since late June.

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Latos told a reporter that he has been battling an abdominal strain since pitching at Texas on June 30.

His comments came while discussing his discontent with fans criticizing his performance against the Pirates on Friday to his wife, Dallas, on Twitter.

“It was Pirates fans and Cincinnati Reds fans,” Latos said. “Let’s be honest. I pitched real well all year and I hear nothing but good things. But I pitched against the Pirates and I have a bad start. (With) certain Reds fans – I’m not allowed to have that. Let alone, no fan knows that I’ve been dealing with an injury since the Texas Rangers game. And I’ve been pitching with it. So I’ve been pitching the way I’ve been pitching, but I’ve been pitching hurt.”

Reds hold ground in latest batch of team power rankings

Fresh off a successful 6-3 road trip through Milwaukee, Houston, and Pittsburgh, the Reds held steady at No. 8 in the latest batch of Major League Baseball Power Rankings, released by ESPN on Monday.

Cincinnati stumbled out of the gate, though. They dropped two out of three at Miller Park before rebounding nicely with a sweep against the Astros. They carried the momentum from Houston into the Steel City this past weekend and proceeded to take two out of three from Clint Hurdle's squad.

The recent events have left the Reds tied with Pittsburgh for the top Wild Card spot and two games back of the St. Louis Cardinals for first place in the division.

Despite winning the series at PNC Park, ESPN ranked the Reds behind the Pirates in the power rankings, tabbing Pittsburgh No. 7 overall. Now, I know it's just a meaningless ranking, but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. I guess the real test will come next weekend when the Pirates and Reds do battle once more in the last series of the regular season at Great American Ball Park.

Video: Todd Frazier crushes two-run homer to extend lead

The Reds did what they had to do in Pittsburgh this weekend by taking two out of three against the Pirates to force a two-way tie in the division standings.

One of the catalysts behind Sunday's 11-3 rout was Todd Frazier. The New Jersey native may have only had one hit in five at-bats, but his hit was a long one, as evidenced by this video clip of his two-run blast in the top of the first inning. It marked the 18th home run of the season for Frazier and propelled Cincinnati to a 5-0 lead before the Buccos even had a chance to take a turn at bat.

Now, the fate of Cincinnati's postseason hopes fall on this final week of the regular season. They have a fantastic chance of hosting the Wild Card game and a slimmer chance of winning the division and ensuring themselves a spot in the NLDS. But a bad week could also mean they would have to play the Wild Card game on the road. They will need some help from the Nationals and Cubs to beat the Cardinals, but ultimately their fate is controlled by themselves. If they can take care of business at home against the New York Mets, and win the series against the Pirates this weekend, they should be in great shape.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Shin-Soo Choo hopes to return to lineup Monday

Shin-Soo Choo hopes to be back in the Reds lineup when the team plays host to the New York Mets on Monday.

Choo injured his left thumb on a play in the ninth inning of Friday's game when he slid headfirst into first base.

Fortunately, X-rays taken on his thumb Saturday were negative.

“The bones and everything are OK,” he said. “That eased my mind. I was scared. Last time, I needed surgery to fix it. That’s why I was worried.”

Choo had surgery on the same thumb in 2011.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Recapping Friday's thrilling win in poetry form

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

With humble apologies to Ernest Thayer, the original author of “Casey at the Bat," here is my revised edition to recap Friday's thrilling win:

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Cincinnati nine on Friday night; Pittsburgh fans were yelling, singing and dancing with all their might, The score stood 5 to 2 with the ninth inning yet to play; I sulked in my chair and moaned “we let this one get away."

The crowd at PNC Park rose to its feet; Sensing the fate, the Reds would soon meet. Mark Melancon on the mound replacing Francisco Liriano; Pirate fans demonstrated more, confident the foe was done for.

When Joey Votto fanned, my sulking turned to fright; Then Ryan Ludwick ripped a sharp single to right, All hope seemed lost, our tears nearly let loose; When the Bucs defense retired Jay Bruce.

It is at moments of absolute despair, that fear can be beat; Jordy Mercer just threw Todd Frazier’s grounder into the seats; Cincinnati trailed 5 to 3 two outs let’s keep doing our part, Frazier was hugging third after a single by Zack Cozart.

Video: Joey Votto cracks game-winning home run in extra innings

A victory didn't look too promising for the Reds when they entered the ninth inning of Friday's game in Pittsburgh. However, a series of fortuitous events allowed them to tie the score at five, force extra innings, and eventually set the stage for Joey Votto to smash a go-ahead home run in the top of the tenth.

It wasn't as majestic as one might have imagined it to be. But Votto's line drive blast was good enough to sail over the left field wall for his 24th home run of the year.

All in all, it marked an improbable and thrilling win for Dusty Baker's club, which helped propel them into a two-way tie with Pittsburgh for the top National League Wild Card spot.

Meanwhile, the St. Louis Cardinals were winners in Milwaukee, which kept the Reds a full two games back of them for first place in the division.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Series preview against Pittsburgh Pirates

After 153 games in the books, and with only nine games to go, just one game separates the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates in the standings. And as fate would have it, the rivals are set to play each other six times over the next 10 days, with the last meeting coming Sunday, Sept. 29 at Great American Ball Park, possibly for the right to host the National League Wild Card game, or if the Cardinals falter between now and then, perhaps even the chance to win the division title. However, for the time being, the two teams are focused on this weekend's pivotal three-game series at PNC Park.

Entering Friday's series opener, the Pirates boast an 88-65 record, which is good enough for the top Wild Card spot, but still one game back of the St. Louis Cardinals for first place in the division. Pittsburgh enjoyed a 3.5 game lead over the Reds as recently as Monday, but dropping three out of four at home to the San Diego Padres, coupled with Cincinnati's three-game series sweep over the Astros in Houston, has closed the margin, obviously.

News and Notes from MLB Week 25

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

Whoops, my bad! Through my unbridled joy of the Reds sweeping the newly crowned N.L. West Champions Los Angeles Dodgers two weeks ago, I failed to mention one very important point. The 3 – 2 win on Sunday September 8 gave Cincinnati its 82nd win of 2013, and marked the first time the Reds have had back to back winning seasons since 1999 – 2000.

The 2013 Most Valuable Player of Cincinnati Reds Beaters award goes to…..Milwaukee Brewers centerfielder Carlos Gomez. Gomez line this past weekend, five hits in nine at-bats, a .556 average, one run scored, six runs batted in, and a second robbery of a potential game winning home run this time off Jay Bruce. His first Reds theft came July 8 off the bat of Joey Votto.

Balance in the sports universe? After completely dominating St. Louis and Los Angeles two weeks ago winning six of seven, the Reds followed that up by promptly losing four of the next six games to bottom feeders Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Reds to play exhibition game in Louisville

It seems as though the Reds are making it a point to play in front of fans of their minor league teams before beginning the 2014 regular season. On Thursday, the team announced plans to play an exhibition game at Louisville Slugger Field, home of the Triple-A Bats, which will be played two days before the Reds host the St. Louis Cardinals in Cincinnati for Opening Day. The news comes just one week after the club also announced plans to play an exhibition game in Pensacola, home of the Double-A Blue Wahoos.

Here is the full press release:

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Louisville Bats and Cincinnati Reds will host an exhibition game at Louisville Slugger Field on Saturday, March 29, 2014. The game will give fans the first glimpse of the 2014 Cincinnati Reds playing against the Bats in their final preseason game leading up to Opening Day. All fans with a paid ticket for admission will receive a free Cincinnati Reds cap when entering the stadium. The game will be played on Saturday afternoon with a specific time to be announced at a later date.

Video: Billy Hamilton steals four bases in first big league start

On Wednesday, Billy Hamilton received his first major league start in center field in the series finale against the Houston Astros. And he proceeded to have one of the best games of his life.

All in all, Hamilton managed to reach base five of the six times he strolled to the plate, three of which came via singles, and two of which came courtesy of walks. As impressive as that may seem, the most impressive part of Hamilton's performance is the fact that he swiped four bases in Cincinnati's 6-5 extra inning win.

The assault on the bases began in the top of the fourth inning when Hamilton stole his first bag of the evening off starting pitcher Brad Peacock. The 23-year-old followed that up with another stolen bag in the sixth, another in the ninth, and yet another in the 13th, which he stole despite the Astros executing a blatant pitch out attempt.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Video: Watch Jay Bruce hit milestone with grand slam

Tuesday was a big night for Jay Bruce.

Playing before a large crowd of family and friends, the Texas native wreaked havoc on Houston Astros pitching, accounting for seven of Cincinnati's 10 total runs, four of which came on this swing alone.

Watch as the Reds All-Star right fielder smashes the second grand slam of his career en route to achieving 30 home runs and 100 RBI for the season.

Bruce also boasted an RBI single in the lopsided affair.

Reds tabbed as second best franchise in baseball by annual publication

The verdict is in from the powers that be and they have determined that the Cincinnati Reds franchise is the second-best in Major League Baseball and the 11th overall among teams from North America's four major professional sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL).

The news was broke by Jamie Ramsey, author of fellow Reds blog Better off Red and the team's assistant director of media relations, who retrieved the ranking from ESPN The Magazine in their upcoming "Franchise Issue," which is slated to hit newsstands on Friday, Sept. 20.

Every year, ESPN The Magazine compiles the results of fan surveys and financial analysis to determine which teams of the 122 combined in the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL offer the greatest rewards for all the emotion, money, and time that fans invest in them. Once the results are compiled, the 122 teams are ranked in order according to a weighted average of scores in eight different categories.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Video: Astros player gets up close and personal with Brandon Phillips in embarrassing play

Embedded image permalink

Oh, it was just the Houston Astros being the Houston Astros.

Already trailing 4-0 in the bottom of the first inning, Astros shortstop Jonathan Villar slashed a line drive into center field to record a hit. But things went awry when the 22-year-old inexplicably tried to stretch a single into a double, much to the chagrin of Reds center fielder Shin-Soo Choo, who calmly fielded the ball and fired it in to second basemen Brandon Phillips to beat Villar by several steps.

Villar was the victim of added insult to injury when the momentum of his headfirst slide propelled him into the backside of Phillips for an encounter he probably won't forget for awhile.

You can check out a Vine video of the play below:

Johnny Cueto impresses in return to mound

Johnny Cueto's first pitching outing in over two and a half months was everything he and the Reds could have hoped it would be.

Activated from the disabled list prior to the game, Cueto proceeded to toss five innings of five-hit, no-run baseball en route to improving his record to 5-2 on the season. More importantly, however, is the fact that Cueto looked like vintage Cueto.

“It was fun to have him back out there,” battery mate Ryan Hanigan said. “What are you going to say? Johnny executed all game — a couple of the hits were infield hits. But he looked good to me. It was impressive to see that quality of stuff the first time out. That went about as good as it could have gone. Five scoreless, boom, right out of the gate, hopefully get his pitch count up next time and hopefully take that guy into the postseason.”

Teammate Zack Cozart could tell a difference in Cueto, too.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Reds hold position in latest batch of team power rankings

Despite posting a disappointing 2-4 record against the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers last week, the Reds held their position at No. 8 in the updated batch of Major League Baseball Power Rankings released by on Monday.

Morale was high heading into the home series against the Cubbies last Monday. However, losing two out of three against a team the Reds had previously handled very easily was quite humbling. Cincinnati followed that series performance with another clunker in Milwaukee, including a heart-breaking defeat on Sunday, which featured a bullpen meltdown, yet another home run robbery from Carlos Gomzez (pictured above), and a walkoff shot to cap it all off.

The good news for the Reds is that they still appear to be in good position to land a postseason spot. They entered Monday with a 4.5 game lead over the Washington Nationals for the last Wild Card spot. For the Nationals to overtake the Reds, Washington would have to go 11-2 in its final 13 games while Cincinnati would have to go 6-6. Although anything is certainly possible, it's highly unlikely the Nats will be able to pull that off, especially when you consider nine of those remaining games come against Atlanta, Arizona, and St. Louis.

Don't give up yet Reds fans

Image made by Tyler Shelton at

By: Izsak Rapp
Staff Writer 

After a devastating pair of loses to the Brew Crew, and with Carlos Gomez robbing another Reds potential winning home run, there are definitely reasons to hang your head as a Reds fan. But there are definitely things to be happy about, too!

One thing to look forward to is Shin-Soo Choo possibly taking a hometown discount and resigning with the Reds. There is no way of knowing exactly what will happen, especially with Scott Boras as his agent. For those of you who don't know, Scott Boras is a baseball agent who is notorious for getting his clients very high paying contracts, higher than most teams really want. Some other players he represents are: Pedro Alvarez of the Pirates, Stephen Drew of the Red Sox, and Prince Fielder of the Tigers. My Reds insider has told me that everyone in the clubhouse is very optimistic about Choo resigning and saying that Choo really does enjoy Cincy and wants to return.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Video: Watch Joey Votto go behind-the-back to record slick out

When folks think about Reds All-Star first basemen Joey Votto, the first thing that likely comes to mind is his patience and prowess at the plate.

However, the 30-year-old is not just a one-tool player, he can field his position fairly well, too. And Votto put that skill on full display during the second inning of Sunday's game in Milwaukee.

Watch as Votto retires the speedy Logan Schafer by making a defensive play that is sure to appear on some highlight reels this evening. As you can see, Votto uses courage (barehand) and flair (behind-the-back) that is reminiscent of some plays made by teammate Brandon Phillips in the past.

Hey, Votto didn't win a Gold Glove in 2011 for nothing.

Johnny Cueto to get starting nod on Monday

USA Today Sports

The Reds are about to add some ammunition for their postseason push.

In what is being touted as the best news the Reds have received in quite awhile, the oft-injured Johnny Cueto is set to come off the disabled list and make the start for his team on Monday in Houston. The right-hander has been sidelined since June 29 with a strained lat muscle, which has sent him to the DL on three separate occasions this season.

The 27-year-old Cueto will replace Tony Cingrani's spot in the rotation. The rookie southpaw exited last Tuesday's start with back spams, but Thursday's off-day allowed the team to rearrange the rotation and push his spot back to Monday, which Cueto will now fill.

"It’s kind of like a spring training game, getting ready, he appears relatively ready in what appears like spring training for him now,” Baker said. “We’ll see what we can get out of him. It’s worth a try, because he’s Johnny Cueto. The more we get out of him (Monday) and the more we get out of him the next time, maybe who knows what he’ll be ready for come playoff time.”

Video: Brandon Phillips tags himself out by giving defender high five

We all know Brandon Phillips is an eccentric player. But if you weren't already convinced of that, check out what he did in the first inning of Saturday's game versus the Brewers.

With Shin-Soo Choo on second base and no outs, Dusty Baker called upon Phillips to lay down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runner, which he did, in an unorthodox fashion.

Watch as Phillips lays down a satisfactory bunt near the first base line toward Brewers first basemen Yuniesky Betancourt. As Betancourt fields the ball, Phillips essentially gives himself up and starts retreating back toward the dugout, but when Betancourt fails to make a throw to first, Phillips turns around, makes his way back toward first, and gives Betancourt a high five while being tagged out.

Only Phillips could pull off such a spectacle.

Video: Watch Joey Votto smash a towering home run off top of foul pole

There have been plenty of folks to question Joey Votto's power this year after the Canadian native underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in the offseason.

However, anyone who saw the towering blast Votto delivered in the sixth inning of Saturday's game in Milwaukee has to be convinced he still has pop.

Watch and admire Votto's 470-foot blast as it smacks the top of the right field foul pole before crashing back down to Earth.

It marked the 23rd bomb of the season for No. 19.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Johnny Cueto's road to recovery nearly complete

It seems as though the only step left in Johnny Cueto's rehabilitation process is to pitch in an actual game.

The Dominican native, who has been on the disabled list with a strained lateral muscle since late-June, threw yet another successful bullpen session on Saturday, and depending on how he feels on Sunday, a decision could be made that will allow Cueto to pitch in a game as soon as Monday.

As C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer points out, the Reds don't currently have a starting pitcher listed for either Monday or Tuesday. So, it is extremely possible that Cueto could wind up making an appearance on one of those days.

“You have to get through all this stuff, everything’s been a process of execution and then follow-up, and the follow-up is seeing how he feels when he gets done, the following day,” Price said Saturday morning. “I think he’s real close. Pretty close is about as far as we can go with him before activation. ”

Ryan Ludwick blames Miller Park advertising board for missing catch

On Friday, Ryan Ludwick had all sorts of issues trying to flag down Jonathan Lucroy's line drive in the bottom of the first inning. Ludwick squatted and attempted to find a different angle on the ball, but it went whizzing by his glove, and all the way to the wall for a double. Two batters later, Brewers slugger Carlos Gomez delivered a two-run single to give Milwaukee an early lead.

Ludwick was asked about the play after the game and proceeded to blame the electronic advertisement ribbon board on the front of the third deck at Miller Park for causing the miscue. Ludwick said it wasn't the first time he had lost a ball in the white-colored ad for the Wisconsin Lottery, either.

“It’s the second time it’s happened to me in this ballpark,” Ludwick said. “It happened to me in right, too. Corey Hart. The balls in the gap, that medium fly ball, I tried to get down low and out of the lights, but… I was trying to get a different angle on it and I couldn’t get it out.”

Friday, September 13, 2013

Report: Beloved Reds bat boy Teddy Kremer to be featured in documentary

Teddy Kremer

Teddy Kremer, a 30-year-old with Down Syndrome, who has served as the honorary bat boy three times for the Reds over the past year, is about to see his popularity get even larger.

According to this report from WKNU, a documentary crew from sports media powerhouse ESPN has been following the beloved Kremer around for quite some time now, shooting footage for a featured segment that is slated to air in the fall.

Teddy has become a local celebrity among Reds fans after debuting as the team's honorary bat boy last August. He initially got the opportunity after his parents paid $300 in a benefit auction.

Teddy immediately earned fan and media attention because of his positive attitude and unbridled enthusiasm. And this season the Reds offered him a job in fan accommodations, which he happily accepted.

Ranking the five best foods to snack on while watching a live baseball game

Baseball in and of itself is a wonderful game. The crack of a bat, the whizz of a sizzling fastball, the smack of a ball into a mitt, and the roar of a crowd are just a few of the signature sounds found at baseball venues across the country.

But experiencing America's favorite pastime in person goes well beyond sounds alone. There are also plenty of other sights, smells, and tastes to enjoy, as well. Namely, the mouth-watering aromas that hover around a ballpark and lure hungry fans to the concession stands.

The days of choosing from a basic menu of food selections has long been over. Instead, stadiums now offer treats beyond the wildest of imaginations, with the ultimate goal of boasting something for everyone, because the only thing better than watching live baseball is watching live baseball with a snack, of course.

With this in mind, I took it upon myself to rank what I believed to be the five best foods to snack on while watching a baseball game. Now, I realize the list is probably different for everyone, and each stadium likely offers different menu offerings, but I believe each selection is justified with logical reasoning.

So, without further ado, here is the top five. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

News and Notes from MLB Week 24

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

I enjoyed watching my childhood heroes reunited at Great American Ballpark last Friday after the Reds thrilling win against the Dodgers. I brushed away a few tears in the knowledge that the sunset of their days are fast approaching and the world of baseball will never experience another team like Cincinnati’s “Great Eight”.

I cried when Boston led 3 – 0 early in game 7 of the 1975 World Series. I held onto hope when Tony Perez hit that two run homer off Bill Lee to bring the Reds to within one. I felt there was a chance when the Reds tied game 7 in the seventh, and when Joe Morgan hit the blooper in the ninth inning giving Cincinnati the lead while sending Pete Rose on that iconic head-first slide into third, I knew it was just a matter of time. I can still see Carl Yastrzemski hitting that fly ball off Will McEnaney causing Cesar Geronimo to gracefully drift to his right, reach up and seal the “Great Eight’s” fate in baseball infamy. I think I woke up the entire neighborhood with my shouts of joy!

Video: Joey Votto stars as hilarious cartoon with Jayson Werth

Have you wondered what kind of conversation takes place between a runner and a first basemen? If so, I've got the perfect animated video clip for you.

Seen here is a cartoon version of Reds All-Star Joey Votto talking with a cartoon version of Washington Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth in an animated clip produced by Yahoo! Sports. The animation is one of many in its series called "Sports Friends" and it is absolutely hilarious.

Watch and listen as the two players greet each other, gush over Brandon Phillips, and discuss the famous Presidents Race, among other things. It's totally worth the three minutes of your precious time.

A tip of the cap to C. Trent Rosecrans for the find

Reds to play exhibition game in Pensacola next season

Grab your sunglasses and sunscreen, folks.

For their final tuneup before Opening Day, the Reds have agreed to travel to Pensacola on March 28 to play an exhibition game against the Blue Wahoos, their Double-A affiliate.

“We don’t do this very often, playing in our minor league ballparks,” said Bill Bavasi, the Reds vice president, who attended a news conference Wednesday at the Blue Wahoos stadium. Several hundred fans attended to hear the announcement.

The game was originally scheduled for March 27. However, a revised spring training schedule thwarted that idea as the Reds are slated to play that day in Arizona.

So, the Reds will take a charter flight from Phoenix to Pensacola and arrive late on the evening of March 27. They will play the game March 28 and then hop on a plane and leave for Cincinnati immediately afterward.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Billy Hamilton named top "x factor" among contending teams

Anyone who has followed the Reds over the past two weeks has likely either seen Billy Hamilton directly impact a game with his speed, or has heard the announcers rave about his potential to do so. And although the 23-year-old prospect has only made a handful of appearances, it's become crystal clear that he can positively affect the outcome of a game for Cincinnati.

With this in mind, former Reds general manager and current writer Jim Bowden recently compiled a list of the top "10 X factors down the stretch" among playoff contenders. And it should come as no surprise that Hamilton made the cut. In fact, Bowden even dubbed him as the No. 1 X factor.

Here is what Bowden had to say about the speedster:

Mets reportedly targeting Shin-Soo Choo in free agency

The decision to acquire Shin-Soo Choo from the Cleveland Indians this past winter has proven to be one of Walt Jocketty's best moves as acting general manager of the Reds.

Choo has done everything Cincinnati could have hoped for in his debut season in the Queen City. He has made the transition from right field to center field beautifully, adapted extremely well to hitting leadoff (.425 OBP), and by all accounts has been a great influence in the clubhouse. Unfortunately, professional baseball is a business, and Choo's first season in a Reds uniform will likely be his last.

The 31-year-old Korean is set to become a free agent at the end of the year and looks to finally cash in on his recent success by way of a lucrative contract. His cause will certainly be aided by baseball's most notorious negotiator, prolific sports agent Scott Boras, whose ability to sucker teams into offering much larger deals than they are comfortable with has become legendary.

Reasons why this Reds team is so fun to watch

by: Izsak Rapp
Staff Writer

The 2013 Cincinnati Reds campaign is one of the most fun to watch in a long time. It is finally the last month of the season, and anything could still happen. So much has happened this season; big wins, walk offs, great plays, the list could go on. With the Reds currently only three games back in the National League Central division, it will be interesting how it pans out.

One of the most exciting things to watch this season, as of any of the past few seasons, is the Reds defense. Brandon Phillips is nothing less than magical with a glove. Phillips is one of the most exciting players I have ever watched in my life. He is always capable of diving catches and extraordinary double plays. Phillips has been an absolute wizard on defense this season, but it doesn't stop with him.

Jay Bruce is quietly having a pretty solid defensive season in right field. I think opposing teams have finally learned not to run when Jay Bruce fields a ball. Bruce has a cannon; he has thrown out 12 runners this season, while only committing three errors. He is second in the National League this season in outfield assists. Lots of good things can be said about Bruce this season, especially defensively.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Reds unveil 2014 regular season schedule

On Tuesday, the Reds unveiled their 2014 regular season schedule, and it includes no shortage of premier matchups.

Cincinnati will open its season at home (as usual) against arch-rival St. Louis on March 31 at Great American Ball Park. The two division foes will hook up again less than a week later at Busch Stadium.

Aside from the Cardinals, the most notable opponents on Cincy's schedule include the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. The Reds will make a trip to Fenway Park from May 6-7 and Yankee Stadium from July 18-19. The Red Sox will return the favor by paying a visit to Cincinnati from August 12-13.

As part of Interleague Play, the Reds will also do battle against the rest of the American League East Division, traveling to Camden Yards from September 1-4 to play the Orioles, and hosting the Tampa Bay Rays (April 11-13) and Toronto Blue Jays (June 20-22).

Monday, September 9, 2013

Reds may be sparking a revolution with Billy Hamilton

The Reds and Billy Hamilton may be sparking a revolution.

The 22-year-old's brief time in the big leagues has been nothing short of energizing, electric, amazing, and just generally fun to watch. He has yet to play a single inning defensively, nor has he yet to record his first major league at-bat, but his mere presence has definitely been felt.

Hamilton has appeared in four games since being promoted from Triple-A, each time as a pinch runner, and each time he has stolen a base. His first two came against one of the best defensive catchers in the game, Yadier Molina, who was so concerned about Hamilton's speed, that he rushed his throws when trying to gun the fleet-footed outfielder down. Molina was unsuccessful, obviously, much to the delight of the Great American Ball Park crowd.

Speaking of the crowd, the mere sight of Hamilton running out of the dugout to relieve a teammate on the bases has become an event equivalent to when Aroldis Chapman emerges from the bullpen. Both players have the ability to demand undivided attention while igniting the stadium into an absolute frenzy.

Reds move up in latest batch of MLB power rankings

It's hard to remember a more exciting week of Cincinnati Reds baseball than the one they just completed.

The previous week began by taking three out of four against arch-nemesis St. Louis at Great American Ball Park. The only loss came in Wednesday's 16-inning contest that lasted nearly five hours.

On Friday, the Reds welcomed the surging Los Angeles Dodgers to town, while holding a weekend-long celebration to honor Hall of Famer Joe Morgan and his statue unveiling.

Cincinnati paid homage to their legendary second basemen by proceeding to win each game of the series by one-run. Saturday and Sunday's victories came via the walk-off variety.

So, it was only fitting that the Reds be rewarded with a better spot in this week's batch of MLB Power Rankings by ESPN. The boys from the Queen City managed to inch up two spots to No. 8 based on the strength of a 6-1 week.