Friday, April 25, 2014

Reds news and notes to power you into the weekend

After beginning the season 4-9, the Reds have managed to bounce back and win seven of their last nine games to climb back to a .500 record. Part of their resurgence has hinged on the awakening of their previously stagnant offense led by Devin Mesoraco.

However, Bryan Price's club will have their work cut out for them when they visit Atlanta this weekend. The Braves have held down the top spot in the National League East for most of the season so far thanks largely to the masterful pitching their starters have provided (1.50 ERA).

Will the Reds be able to continue their recent run of success against one of baseball's best pitching staffs? Or will the Braves protect their turf and send the boys back to the Queen City in defeat? We'll soon find out after this weekend's three-game series concludes on Sunday afternoon.

In the meantime, here are some news and notes....

+ Let the fan voting for the 2014 All-Star Game begin! On Friday, Major League Baseball released the ballots for both the American League and National League. Last year, the Reds were able to place two players in the National League's starting lineup in Brandon Phillips (2B) and Joey Votto (1B). Will they be able to boast multiple starters this time around too? Aside from Phillips and Votto, Jay Bruce, Devin Mesoraco, Zack Cozart, Todd Frazier, Billy Hamilton and Ryan Ludwick are included on the ballot.

+ Skip Schumaker continues to rehab from dislocating his shoulder in spring training. He's currently at the team's spring training complex in Goodyear regaining his strength while playing in extended games. When his time in Goodyear is done, he'll likely head to Triple-A Louisville for a brief rehab assignment before joining the Reds again, hopefully sometime by the middle of May.

+ Aroldis Chapman threw to live hitters on Wednesday for the first time since his accident. Those who were there called his performance "electrifying." The next step is for Chapman to throw to live hitters again when the Reds pay a visit to Atlanta this weekend.

+ In case you missed it, a lawsuit filed by a woman in Washington D.C. on Thursday alleges that Alfredo Simon raped her in a hotel room during a road trip in April 2013. The details of the accusation are pretty disturbing and should be read at your own discretion.

+ Dan provides his weekly dose of musings in this post where he points out that the Reds are undefeated on Wednesdays and Sundays (7-0) and winless on Mondays and Saturdays (0-7). With this in mind, Cincinnati may want to consider mixing up their pre-game routines on the latter days.

+ There's no middle ground when it comes to baseball enthusiasts liking sabermetrics. You either love the usage of advanced stats or you hate them. Former Reds second basemen Ron Oester is clearly not a fan. He went on the air with Paul Daughtery this week to reveal his disdain for such things. In fairness, Oester also talked about a lot of other stuff too. However, his hate for sabermetrics is what drew headlines.

+ Hey, it's prom season for many high school juniors and seniors around the country. So what better way to celebrate than by asking Reds players about their memories of that fateful night(s) in their lives? A fist bump goes to the Cincinnati Enquirer for doing just that.

+ Most of us can probably still remember when packs of baseball cards included bubble gum. Or at the very least have heard others talk about it. Well, Jim Caple of paid homage to this lost tradition with a a nostalgic piece published on Wednesday. Long live the memories of gum and cards.

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