Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Reds-inspired version of Monopoly is up for sale and it's superb

Reds Hall of Fameopoly

Anyone who has ever participated in a game night has probably tried their hand at the classic board game known as Monopoly. If not, well to be honest with you, that is truly amazing you have never had the chance to sit long into the night playing Monopoly. But I digress.

Anyways, the Reds have created their own twist on Monopoly by featuring "Hall of Fameopoly" for sale on their official online auction site. The one-of-a-kind Reds-inspired board game can be all yours for the modest price of $30 (plus shipping). Here's more information about the board game:

The Hall of Fame's version of the classic board game highlights some of the great moments and memories featured featured throughout the Reds Hall of Fame. Metal game tokens include a baseball, glove, cap, home plate, microphone and the ballpark staple, a hot dog. Each game includes a voucher for two free admissions to the Reds Hall of Fame. Two to six players. ages 8 and up.

Video: Another look at Billy Hamilton's first career home run



Billy Hamilton had himself quite the game on Tuesday versus the Cubs.

The 23-year-old rookie reached base four times and smacked the first home run of his major league career. The video clip above shows Hamilton's momentous big fly which he struck against Cubs ace Jeff Samardzija in the bottom of the fifth inning.

In 2,258 career plate appearances in the minor leagues, Hamilton clubbed just 13 home runs, which roughly amounts to 1 in every 174 at-bats. And many of those were of the in-the-park variety.

There was no doubt about Tuesday's blast though. Hamilton clearly crushed it.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Video: Aroldis Chapman talks with media following Tuesday's throwing session



Aroldis Chapman graced the Great American Ball Park mound with his presence on Tuesday.

No, the Cuban Missile isn't ready to pitch in a major league game just yet. But he did take one more step on the road to recovery by throwing a 25-pitch live batting practice session before Tuesday's game against the Cubs. Tucker Barnhart, who had the privilege of catching Chapman for the session, had nothing but praise for his battery mate's performance.

"He was good, he was commanding all three of his pitches," Barnhart said, according to C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer. "He keeps baffling guys with how good his changeup is. It's something I don't think he throws much of during the season -- or he hasn't in the past -- but when you throw 101, 102, 103, you don't really need a changeup. It's really good, all his pitches look good. His slider has a good down-hill plan and he looks ready to go."

Penn Station to offer Reds fans great deal in month of May


It's been said many times before that April showers bring May flowers. Well, that may very well be true. But this May will also bring us a really great deal from Penn Station East Coast Subs as well.

During the month of May, the sub restaurant chain is offering the "Big Reds Meal Deal" for faithful fans and customers across Reds Country. What exactly is the Big Reds Meal Deal? I'm glad you asked.

Basically, customers will receive a voucher for discounted tickets AND an entry for a chance to win an exclusive Reds VIP game experience upon purchasing a Cheesesteak and fresh-squeezed lemonade at regular menu price. That's it. Buy a delicious sandwich and a refreshing lemonade and you're all set!

Reds local television broadcast team ranked 15th in baseball

chriswelshsuit

Have you ever wondered how Cincinnati's television broadcast team stacks up to the rest of the broadcast teams employed by other Major League Baseball teams?

If so, you can thank the fine folks over at Awful Announcing, because they are about to satisfy your curiosity on this very question.

Over the last two weeks, the website polled readers on their opinions of each local broadcast team around the big leagues. They used a four-point scale to assess each team and then ranked them based on an overall average score. The Reds received a mark of 2.20 and ranked 15th on the dubious list.

From Awful Announcing:

Monday, April 28, 2014

Reds inch up a few spots in latest batch of MLB power rankings


We're now a solid four weeks into the season, and while four weeks is still a relatively small sample size, we're beginning to see the MLB landscape take shape.

After winning seven out of nine, any momentum the Reds had at that point abruptly ended when the Braves handed Bryan Price's club a sweep over the weekend in Atlanta.

Despite the three-game skid to close out the week, the Reds managed to move up three spots in the latest batch of MLB Power Rankings released by ESPN.com on Monday.

Cincy nestled in at No. 16 this week after occupying the No. 19 slot a week ago. The upstart Brewers held their grip on the top overall spot while the pesky Braves ranked second.

As far as the rest of the National League Central Division is concerned, the Cardinals dropped two spots to No. 8, the Pirates experienced the worst drop of any team going from 13th to 24th, and the Cubs inched up one spot to No. 28.

You can check out the full rankings right here.

Bryan Price channels Twisted Sister in ejection over blown replay call

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Bryan Price had every reason to be upset over a blown call that eventually led to his first ejection as a major league manager on Sunday.

The call in question came during the first inning of Cincinnati's 1-0 loss in 10 innings to Atlanta. With two outs, Johnny Cueto threw over to Joey Votto at first base in an attempt to pick off Braves runner B.J. Upton, who had reached base via walk. The initial call by first base umpire Greg Gibson was that Upton was safe. However, Price had a hunch the call might be incorrect and quickly put in a request to challenge the ruling.

Despite video evidence to the contrary, the umpire crew upheld the call on the field, which was enough to send Price onto the field of play to argue. By rule, any manager who argues a replay call is ejected, which was precisely what happened to Price in this situation.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Reds bitten by injury bug yet again


The injury bug seems to be quite fond of Reds players.

On Saturday, another member of the team succumbed to an ailment after Cincinnati placed catcher Devin Mesoraco on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring. This is already the second trip to the disabled list for Mesoraco after he started the season on it with an oblique strain. When he returned, though, he was one of baseball's hottest hitters before suffering the injury Friday night against the Braves, batting .468/.509/.787 with three home runs in 13 games.

Tucker Barnhart was recalled from Triple-A Louisville to take Mesoraco's place on the active roster. Barnhart made two starts for the Reds earlier this season and went 2-for-8 in his brief stint in the big leagues.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Aroldis Chapman throws simulated game without screen

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On Saturday, Aroldis Chapman took the next step in his recovery from being struck in the face by a line drive in spring training.

Before Cincinnati's game in Atlanta, the closer toed the rubber and threw live batting practice to the likes of teammates Ramon Santiago, Neftali Soto and Tucker Barnhart. According to C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer, what made this outing different from his throwing session on Wednesday is that he threw without the protection of a screen.

All in all, Chapman's session was split in two, giving the simulation that he pitched one inning and then sat for awhile before returning for a second inning of work.

The plan is for Chapman to throw one more simulated game like the one from Saturday before heading to the minors for rehab assignments.

There's still no definite timetable for Chapman's return. However, if all goes well, it's not out of the realm of possibility that we could see Chapman pitching in a major league game by the middle of May. And that's undoubtedly a marvelous prospect.

Voting has begun for All-Star game



The voting process has begun for the 2014 All-Star Game.

On Friday, Major League Baseball released the ballots for the 2014 All-Star Game, set to be played July 15 at Target Field in Minnesota.

The Reds will be striving to place multiple players in the National League's starting lineup for the second year in a row after fans voted Brandon Phillips (2B) and Joey Votto (1B) into the game in 2013.

Other Reds appearing on this year's ballot include Billy Hamilton, Jay Bruce, Devin Mesoraco, Zack Cozart, Todd Frazier and Ryan Ludwick.

Fans may submit up to 25 online ballots, but they can also earn a one-time bonus of 10 additional online ballots. To access these additional online ballots, you must be logged into your MLB.com account when you submit any online ballot. If you do not have an MLB.com account, register on the site in accordance with the enrollment instructions for a free MLB.com account.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Joey Votto, Jay Bruce pegged as two of 'most disciplined' hitters in baseball

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There's a great article penned by Neil Paine over at fivethirtyeight.com which highlights some of the most disciplined hitters in Major League Baseball. And the metrics show that Joey Votto and Jay Bruce are among the best when it comes to staying disciplined at the plate.

According to data provided by FanGraphs, Votto and Bruce rank second and fourth, respectively, among the most disciplined hitters in the game. For the record, Dexter Fowler tops the rankings with a "good decision percentage" of 74.2.

So, some of you may be asking how does one measure plate discipline by "good decision percentage?" That's an excellent question. Basically, good decision percentage is based on the average between the percentage of pitches correctly swung at inside the strike zone and the percentage of pitchers correctly not swung at outside of the strike zone. What it all really boils down to is how often a hitter swings at strikes as opposed to balls.

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....

MLB Week Four - Pugilism and Pine Tar


by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

Qwsxvf, whoops, excuse me, to honor New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda, I’m typing this blog with pine tar on my hands. I hope this stuff wipes off my keyboard.

Wasn’t it great for the Reds to win three of four in Pittsburgh?

Good News! This season Cincinnati is a combined 7 – 0 on Wednesday’s and Sunday’s

Bad News; this season Cincinnati is a combined 0 – 7 on Monday’s and Saturday’s.

The Reds are a combined 4 – 4 on the other days of the week.

Since falling to 4 – 9 on April 15, the Reds have won seven of nine to move their record to the .500 mark for the first time since game 2 (1 - 1).

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Report: Woman files lawsuit against Alfredo Simon alleging rape



Alfredo Simon is being accused of raping a woman in a Washington D.C. hotel room last year. This is according to a report from NBC Washington that cites a civil suit filed in D.C. on Thursday.

According to the suit, the woman claims she met Simon when the Reds were in town to play the Nationals for a four-game series in April 2013. The two allegedly met at a downtown nightclub hours after Simon finished playing a game for Cincinnati.

Simon and the woman went back to the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel before things allegedly took a physical turn. When things became too rough, the woman claims she told Simon to stop, but Simon did not oblige and proceeded to pin her down and rape her to the point of bleeding, the suit claims.

Video: Aroldis Chapman faces live hitters for first time since accident


For the first time since being struck in the head by a line drive on March 19, Aroldis Chapman toed the rubber and faced live major league hitters on Wednesday.

The 27-pitch session came at PNC Park where Chapman faced teammates in a live batting practice atmosphere. By all accounts, Chapman showed no evidence of being banged up and told reporters that he felt really good after the session was over.

"I felt pretty good," Chapman told reporters. "I didn't feel anything out of the ordinary. I just felt very good."

Brayan Pena was one of the hitters who faced Chapman and described the southpaw's stuff as "electrifying."

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Video: Another look at Johnny Cueto stifling the Pirates



Despite enduring ongoing chants of "Cue-to" throughout the game, Johnny Cueto turned in his second straight complete game victory Tuesday night.

Cincinnati's ace stifled Pittsburgh hitters to the tune of one run on three hits to lower his earned run average on the season to a tidy 1.38. He threw 117 pitches (73 strike) in order to do so.

Cueto upped his career record to 9-2 when pitching at PNC Park. Overall, the Dominican native owns a dominant 15-4 mark and a 2.15 ERA in 23 starts versus the Pirates. Cueto's 15 career wins against Pittsburgh marks the most by far against single team. The second-closest is the Cubs with eight.

Enjoy some highlights from Cueto's masterpiece in the above video.

Video: Was Brayan Pena safe or out?



In case you missed it, the Reds fell victim to the new replay system Tuesday night when they had a call overturned against their favor.

The play in question came in the top of the seventh when Brayan Pena slashed a ball into right field and tried to leg out a double. The ruling on the field was that Pena did in fact slide in safely. However, upon further review, the call was later overturned when the umpiring crew determined a tag was applied when Pena's foot momentarily slipped off the base. Fortunately, the play didn't turn out to be a deciding factor in the outcome of the game, as Cincinnati eventually cruised to a 4-1 victory.

What do you think? Did they get it right though?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Reds ink Dominican pitcher to minor league contract


According to the team's official transactions page, the Reds have signed right-handed pitcher Elvin Ramirez to a minor league contract.

Ramirez, 26, struggled in 49 outings split between the Double-A and Triple-A affiliate of the Angels last season. He posted an ERA of 5.46 and an unsightly WHIP of 1.721 in 61 innings pitched.

The Dominican native fared much better in 2012, though, where he notched a 2.13 ERA in 55 innings of work spread over 41 appearances in the high minors.

Ramirez was originally signed by the Mets as an amateur free agent in 2004.

Via MLBTR (Photo Source: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports)

Video: Watch Reds prospect Donald Lutz hit for the cycle



Prospect Donald Lutz could not be stopped Monday night .

Seen in the video above is the German-born slugger ripping a triple against Double-A Jacksonville to record the third cycle of his career. After lining out in his first at-bat, Lutz doubled in the second inning and then again in the fourth. In the eighth, Lutz led off the inning with a solo home run over the right field wall. And then he would cap off the cycle by tripling later on in the frame.

All in all, Lutz finished 5-for-6 with four runs scored and two RBI en route to the Blue Wahoos whipping Jacksonville by a tally of 17-1.

The cycle marked the first in Pensacola's short franchise history. Lutz previously achieved the feat with the Rookie-level GCL Reds in 2008 and Single-A Dayton in 2011.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Reds move up five spots in latest batch of MLB power rankings


Based on the strength of winning five of their last seven games, the Reds moved up five spots in the latest batch of MLB Power Rankings presented by ESPN. They currently rank a modest 19th.

Cincinnati turned around its fortunes by winning both series it played this past week. This coming after the club dropped each of its first four series to open the season.

In case you are wondering, the red-hot Brewers claimed the top overall spot in the rankings, thanks in large part to going 13-3 in their last 16 contests. The Cardinals are nipping on Milwaukee's heels by ranking second in the dubious poll.

Despite sporting a worst record (8-11) and losing the series to the Reds last week, Pittsburgh somehow managed to rank six spots ahead of Bryan Price's team at 13th. Meanwhile, the only team keeping the lowly Cubs from dead last was the woeful Astros.

This week's voters were Jim Bowden of ESPN Insider, Tim Kurkjian of ESPN The Magazine, David Schoenfield of the SweetSpot Blog Network/ESPN.com and Jayson Stark of ESPN.com.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Video: Watch Billy Hamilton beat out routine grounder to first base for a single



Most major league hitters who ground a ball to the first basemen are easy outs. However, most major league hitters are not Billy Hamilton.

Watch as the fleet-footed youngster legs out a relatively routine groundball to Cubs first basemen Anthony Rizzo in the third inning of Sunday's game at Wrigley Field.

Hamilton would use his speed shortly thereafter to record his seventh stolen base of 2014 as well. To say the 23-year-old is fast would be a huge understatement.

Still not convinced? How about this video of him scoring from third on a pop fly to second?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Sean Marshall activated from disabled list

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Cincinnati's bullpen received another boost on Saturday when the club announced the activation of southpaw Sean Marshall from the disabled list.

The 31-year-old was previously out of service due to a strained left shoulder.

In 2013, injuries limited Marshall to just 16 appearances out of the 'pen, where he compiled a 1.98 ERA in 10.1 innings pitched. In 2012, Marshall stayed healthy and proved to be one of the most productive and reliable relievers in the league, tallying 73 appearances and a 2.51 ERA.

Curtis Partch, 27, was optioned to Triple-A Louisville in order to make room on the 25-man roster. The right-hander appeared in three games for the Reds this spring and did not yield a run.

Photo: @LouisvilleBats

Keith Olbermann calls Brandon Phillips 'world's worst person in sports'



Don't expect Keith Olbermann and Brandon Phillips to exchange Christmas cards this holiday season. Not after Olbermann ripped the Gold Glove second basemen on national television Friday night.

In case you missed it, Phillips was forced to leave Friday's game early due to back spasms and some may be led to believe that the injury was sparked by BP's playful and yet acrobatic photobomb beforehand.

Beginning around the 2:33 mark, Olbermann proceeds to lay into Phillips for wasting his energy on barehand flips and between the legs throws. Basically, he implies that Phillips does it all for show and most of it is completely unnecessary. Olbermann also alleges that Phillips' back ailment can be blamed on his aforementioned pre-game photobomb.

The whole segment seems entirely unfair and predictably flippant by Olbermann. Olbermann is a smart man, who has years of sports commentary experience, but this particular take on Phillips is not likely to win him any fans in the Cincinnati area.

Via ESPN 1530

Friday, April 18, 2014

Photo: Brandon Phillips acrobatically photobombs Cubs fans, leaves game early due to back spasms

View image on Twitter

Brandon Phillips is a man of the people. This much is true.

Before Friday's game in Chicago, Phillips was doing what he typically does, which is interacting with fans. At one point, Cubs fan and Team USA goalie Molly Schaus wanted to snap a photo with her buddies to remember the moment. As you can see, Phillips wanted to be included in the shot too, so he acrobatically leaped his way into the background of the photo. BP's photobombing game is strong, eh?

On a related note, Phillips exited Friday's game after the third inning due to back spasms. It's being reported that the injury was sustained during a swing he took in his first at-bat. But could this pre-game shenanigan be partly to blame?

Via Bleacher Report

Reasons why Reds should thrive in Chicago

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After playing 12 of their first 15 games against teams who made the postseason last year, the Reds get a reprieve this weekend when they play the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Here are several reasons why this weekend's series in the Windy City figures to be a successful one for Bryan Price's club.

+ The Reds have won 17 of 20 meetings at Wrigley Field since the beginning of the 2012 season. This includes winning 15 of the last 16 at the "Friendly Confines."

+ The combination of Joey Votto, Todd Frazier, Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce and Zack Cozart have combined to bash 10 home runs, 27 doubles, and 60 RBI in Cincy's last 20 games at Wrigley.

+ In 2013, the Reds went 14-5 overall versus Chicago in their 19 meetings.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

MLB Week 3 – What, Me Worry?


by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

When I was a kid, I hated it when the Reds had an off day, now that I’m an old geezer, I think I enjoy a day off as much as the players.

The first eleven games of the 2014 season, Cincinnati scored a mere 28 runs. Since Sunday, the Reds have scored 30 runs. No need to worry, I think the offense has figured it out.

The late Joe Nuxhall frequently spoke of the oddities of baseball. You could watch the game for years and there will be something you’ve never seen before or may ever see again. Monday night’s Reds/Pirates game was a prime example. In the forty-five years I’ve watched Reds baseball, I’ve never witnessed a game like that. Sure, I’ve watched several back-to-back home runs, but never have I saw it done three times in one game, allowing the Reds opponent to take the lead each time.

Five random thoughts about the current state of the Reds


Well, Thursday marks an off day for the Reds and that leaves us all scrambling to try and fill the void of no baseball to watch. While the following paragraphs aren't exactly Reds baseball, they are filled with plenty of fodder about the current state of the team. From Cueto to Votto, here are five random thoughts I currently have about our beloved Redlegs. I hope you enjoy.

1) How good has Johnny Cueto been through four starts this season? Let's just say he's quickly making people forget about his horrid start against Pittsburgh in last year's Wild Card game. After hurling a complete game shutout against the Buccos on Wednesday, Cueto's numbers are just silly. In 30 innings, the right-hander owns a 0.80 WHIP, .151 BAA and a 1.50 ERA, which collectively is certainly impressive enough to start tossing his name around for premature Cy Young talk. Can he continue this pace all year long? It's not likely. But seeing Cueto get off to a great start is a good sign for Cincinnati's playoff hopes.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Video: Highlights from Johnny Cueto's complete game masterpiece against Pirates



Both Johnny Cueto and the Reds entered Wednesday eagerly looking to notch a win. Cueto was aiming for his first win in 2014 while the Reds were simply looking for their first series victory in five tries. As fate would have it, both found what they were looking for on a crisp afternoon on the banks of the Ohio River.

In short, Cueto was absolutely dominant in this particular game, stifling Pittsburgh's bats to the tune of just three hits and no walks in a dazzling complete game shutout. The Dominican native also struckout a career-high 12 hitters en route to lowering his season earned run average to a tidy 1.50.

Highlights of one of Cueto's best starts in his career came be seen in the video clip above, courtesy of MLB.com. It doesn't take a baseball aficionado to realize Cueto was on his game today.

Video: Another look at Mike Leake helping his cause with a two-run blast



Mike Leake is one of the best hitting pitchers in professional baseball and the Arizona State product reminded us of this Tuesday night.

After lacing a double earlier in the game, Leake helped his cause in the bottom of the sixth by cranking an offering from Gerrit Cole into the left field seats.

As fellow Reds fan Nick Kirby notes, Leake has been raking for years.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Homer happy Homer Bailey



by Andrew Wright
Staff Writer

The Reds and Pirates broke a GABP record Tuesday night, slugging 10 home runs before the game was suspended for rain. Homer Bailey nearly broke his neck on the mound as he watched the Pirates torch his pitches.

“It seemed like everything they hit went out -- anything up in the air left the yard,” Bailey said afterward. Not quite, Homer, but close.

The home run barrage fanned the flame for conspiracy theories. We can ask the ball to explain why it kept leaving the yard, but we should probably ask Homer a few questions, too. For starters, “Where is your head?”

Video: Reds-Pirates shatter single-game stadium record with 10 home runs



In what was arguably the most entertaining game in Great American Ball Park history until rain suspended play after the sixth inning, the Pirates and Reds have already smashed the stadium record for most home runs hit in a single game with 10 (6 - PIT, 4 - CIN).

The video clip above features all 10 of those monster home runs and sheds some insight on just how back-and-forth this game has been.

What it makes it even crazier is the fact that we're still technically just two-thirds of the way through a regularly scheduled game. So, there's a chance we could see more fireworks when play resumes at approximately 5:30 p.m. local time Tuesday.

Offensive: An early look at the Reds' bats


by Andrew Wright
Staff Writer

First, let’s get some disclaimers out of the way. The 2014 season is barely two weeks old, making for a small statistical sample. Brandon Phillips leads the Reds with 49 ABs, with only two others topping 40. And, as the old adage goes, batters generally lag behind pitchers to begin a season (or is it the other way around -- adages are called old for a reason, I suppose).

Nevertheless, there is a lot of handwringing going on in Redlegs Country these days about the offense. The statistics bear witness to that pessimism. The Reds rank in the bottom-third of National League teams in every major statistical category. Most notably, only the Padres separate them from the league basement in runs scored. A bleak statement considered in light of Sunday's 12-run outburst led by Devin Mesoraco and Chris Heisey.

Was Sunday a harbinger of things to come, or merely fool’s gold? A glimpse into this small statistical window might help.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Video: Todd Frazier cracks third home run of the season




After scoring 12 runs on Sunday, the Reds picked up right where they left off on Monday, thanks to this long drive by Todd Frazier in the bottom of the first.

Frazier's third home run of 2014 came with Joey Votto aboard and essentially gave the home team an early 2-0 lead.

The Reds are vying to snap a four-game losing streak to Pittsburgh dating back to the end of last season. The most notable loss came when the Buccos eliminated the Reds from the postseason in the Wild Card game at PNC Park.

Tony Cingrani shares his unique philosophy on pitching


Playing baseball at the major league level is more complicated than ever before. There is an endless supply of analytical tools such as heat maps, spray charts, and video for players to study. And all of this information can sometimes make the game more complicated than actually has to be.

Let's take Tony Cingrani for example. In a recent interview with Anna McDonald of ESPN.com, Cingrani shared his unique philosophy on pitching, which essentially involves a casual approach labeled "grip it and rip it." Simply put, the southpaw gives very little thought when he uncorks one of his fastballs to the plate.

"I don't even think about it. I just throw it," Cingrani says. "There's literally no thought process. It just goes. That's all it is." 

Cingrani relies on his four-seam fastball more than any other left-hander in MLB. Last season, he threw his heater 81 percent of the time, which was second in the league only to Bartolo Colon.

Video: Another look at Joey Votto's second home run of the year



After scoring just one run in the first two games of the series, the Reds exploded for 12 against the Rays on Sunday including two on this swing by Joey Votto.

Votto's second blast of the season came in the bottom of the third and gave the Reds a lead they would never relinquish.

Devin Mesoraco added a three-run blast while Chris Heisey came off the bench to smash his first career grand slam in the bottom of the eighth as well.

All in all, it was a good day for an offense that has been struggling mightily as of late. The Reds will hope to keep the bats going when they welcome Pittsburgh to town Monday.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday's batch of Reds news and notes


At 3-8, the Reds officially own Major League Baseball's worst record heading into play on Sunday. Of course, five of those losses have come by one run and another by a walk-off grand slam against the Mets, so it's not as if Bryan Price's club is being completely overmatched. They've been competitive in just about every single game they've played, but while being close is nice, they need to start coming out on the right side of the scoreboard more often.

Anyone who is following this team knows the main problem is Cincinnati's inability to score runs. At this point, the Reds have scored just 28 runs through 11 games. This figure ties them for last among all teams with the Padres. The good guys will strive to turn that around on Sunday and avoid a sweep at the hands of the visiting Rays. Can they do it? We shall see.

In the meantime, here's a look at some news and notes:

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Video: Billy Hamilton's speed compared to Deion Sanders



You don't need a stopwatch to realize Billy Hamilton is incredibly fast. A simple "eye test" is all that is needed to determine his exceptional gift.

For the sake of fun and debate, Greg Amsinger, Harold Reynolds and Mike Lowell teamed up on MLB Network earlier this week to break down Hamilton's speed. One of the guys they used as a comparison was none other than former Reds center fielder Deion Sanders.

Check out the video clip as they do side-by-side comparisons of Hamilton legging out a triple compared to Sanders and themselves.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Report: Aroldis Chapman recovering better than anticipated

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Anyone who saw the spring training video of Aroldis Chapman getting struck in the head by a line drive knows how serious the immediate ramifications were at the time. At worst, Chapman may have sustained an injury that would threaten his life, or possibly even his career. At best, Chapman was probably looking at some time on the sidelines due to a concussion and contusion to the face.

The end result appears to be somewhere in the middle. After about a day or so of examining Chapman's condition, the initial timetable for his return was set at roughly 6-8 weeks. Nearly three weeks into rehabilitation, it seems as though Chapman could return sooner rather than later, although there's still no definitive timetable for his return.

According to C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Cuban southpaw is scheduled to throw his first bullpen on Monday since suffering the brutal injury. This after he has been playing catch in the outfield grass of Great American Ball Park for the better part of the last week. With that being said, Chapman has been showing superhuman healing powers in his road to recovery.

Take this quote from one of his teammates for example:

Billy Hamilton: the best power hitter in baseball?

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by: Mason Kibler
Staff Writer

The objective in a game of baseball is to score more runs than your opponent.

I’ll give you a moment to process this groundbreaking analysis.

If scoring more runs is the objective of a team, then crossing home plate is the objective of every hitter. Most of the time, players need assistance from their teammates to accomplish this: via an RBI.

Sometimes, players can score by doing it all on their own: a homerun. In a lot of cases, teams are willing to forgive a low average in favor of being able to hit the long ball. Why? Because you will score more runs with a single player hitting 40 home runs and a .240 average than with two powerless hitters with a .280 average each.  That’s why OPS is used in quite a few arbitration hearings.

Now that I’ve simplified baseball down to the point of seeming patronizing, let me explain why this matters so much to the Reds.

Jose Canseco says what he did was worse than Pete Rose


It's been nearly 10 years since Jose Canseco sent shockwaves throughout the MLB world by releasing his New York Times bestselling book entitled Juiced.

A decade later, Canseco is sticking to his story, saying the only mistake he made was divulging MLB's "dirty little secret" in the first place. That dirty little secret Canseco is referring to was the widespread use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs before the league started cleaning the situation up.

Despite the trouble Canseco and other admitted PED-users caused the game, they have received no more than a spot on MLB's imaginary blacklist. Meanwhile, baseball's all-time hit king Pete Rose continues to serve a lifelong banishment from the sport due to gambling. Canseco recently revealed that he believes what he did to baseball was much worse.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

MLB Week 2 – Art Imitates Life



by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

So this is what being a World Champion feels like. In case you’re wondering, I won our office NCAA Bracket Challenge, despite Ohio State costing me a billion bucks, by seven games ahead of second place, or someone I’d like to call the FIRST LOSER!!! Humility is one of my finer qualities.

If it was a Reds scout that said St. Louis’ Matt Adams can’t hit to left field, they need to be fired. Adams has seven hits in twenty three at-bats versus Cincinnati, with most going to the opposite field.

On the other hand, I really wish that Jay Bruce would try to shorten his swing and spray the ball to left field when Reds opponents put a shift on, especially when the pitcher works the outside part of the plate.

Just Wonderin’; why is it that when a left handed batter hits the ball to left field we say he hit it to the opposite field?

Video: Another look at Billy Hamilton's first stolen base of the season



It didn't come until the ninth game of the regular season, but rookie speedster Billy Hamilton finally notched his first stolen base. 

It came in the top of the fifth inning in Wednesday's game against the Cardinals when Hamilton slid into second base without a throw. If you watch closely, you'll notice that St. Louis pitcher Shelby Miller never gave Yadier Molina a chance at throwing out Cincinnati's center fielder.

Hamilton would add another steal later in the game to go along with three hits.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Video: Watch Billy Hamilton score on a pop out to second base


Billy Hamilton scores on short Jay Bruce pop fly


This scoring play won't look extraordinary in the box score. But anyone who witnessed it can attest otherwise.

Seen here is Billy Hamilton doing what Billy Hamilton does, which is wreaking havoc on the base paths, and causing opposing defenses to squirm at his unprecedented speed.

As you can see, the 23-year-old somehow manages to score on a pop up near second base in the Reds' game against the Cardinals on Wednesday. Jay Bruce will get credited with a sacrifice fly, but it's Hamilton who deserves all of the credit. That guy can flat out run.

Via The Big Lead

Tony Cingrani named one of league's top pitchers under the age of 25

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On Tuesday, Dayn Perry of Eye on Baseball published a list of his top 10 hitters and pitchers under the age of 25 in Major League Baseball.

One of the players who made the cut is Reds southpaw Tony Cingrani. The 24-year-old checked in at No. 10 on the list right behind Cardinals hurler Shelby Miller.

Here's the excerpt Perry included beside Cingrani's name:

You won't find too many starters like Cingrani. Despite throwing his fastball 81.5 percent of the time last season (!), Cingrani struck out an astounding 37.5 percent of the batters he faced. He checks in with a career ERA of 2.70.

Through two starts, both of which have come against St. Louis, Cingrani has tallied 14 strikeouts, six walks, and a 2.45 ERA in 11 innings pitched. Due to a lack of run support, he has nothing to show for it by way of his record (0-1), but that will change over time as the law of averages begins to play out. Well, at least I hope so.  

You can find both top 10 rankings by going here.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Photo: Joey Votto dresses as a Canadian Mountie for interview

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Joey Votto joined Chris Rose and Kevin Millar of MLB Network's Intentional Talk on Tuesday and it's not what he said that people who were watching will remember. It's what he was proudly wearing instead.

You can see the video by following this link.

Behold, the former MVP donning a uniform normally reserved for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, or what is colloquially known as the Mounties. Your eyes don't deceive you. That's Canadian native Joey Votto sporting a police uniform from his native land.

Perhaps this is an attempt by Votto to let his teammates know that he won't tolerate losing series' any more? The Reds are in danger of dropping their first three series' of the season after dropping yesterday's opener to the Cardinals. After St. Louis, the Reds return home to host the Rays and Pirates, which aren't exactly teams you would like to play when trying to climb back to a .500 record.

Update: Here's the real reason behind today's antics:

'Reds Weekly' premieres Wednesday on Fox Sports Ohio


Fans in need of even more coverage than already exists on the Reds will get their wish soon as a new weekly show is set to debut on FOX Sports Ohio on Wednesday. 

The following is a quick press release from FSO with details about the premiere:

Reds Weekly premieres tomorrow at 6:00pm on FOX Sports Ohio, with a new episode airing every Wednesday at 6:00pm. This 30-minute show, hosted by Jeff Piecoro, not only breaks down future Cincinnati Reds match-ups and recaps previous games, but it also features the best interviews, highlights, and more.

In tomorrow’s show:
  • The Reds have a new manager and several new coaches. We'll get mic'd up with Bryan Price and his staff.
  • Reds Chief Operating Officer Phil Castellini takes you on a tour of all the new, cool things at Great American Ball Park.
  • How will the N.L. Central look this year? Jim Day and George Grande break down the Reds division.
Sounds like another way to get your Reds' fix!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Devin Mesoraco activated from disabled list at expense of Tucker Barnhart


After picking up his first major league hit on Saturday, Tucker Barnhart might have to wait awhile for the chance to pick up another one.

On Monday, the Reds announced the activation of Devin Mesoraco from the 15-day disabled list and optioned Barnhart to Triple-A Louisville in order to make room on the roster.

Barnhart, 23, was 2-for-8 in his brief stint with the big club. He also gunned down the only runner who attempted to steal a base off him.

Mesoraco, 25, has been recovering from an oblique injury he sustained near the end of spring training. He's not in the starting lineup for Monday, but is expected to be in it on Tuesday.

On this date in Reds history: Club pulls off coup in trading for Brandon Phillips


On April 7, 2006, the Reds made an exchange with the Indians that brought second basemen Brandon Phillips to Cincinnati for a player to be named later. In June, the Reds sent pitcher Jeff Stevens to Cleveland to complete the trade.

The trade didn't seem like much at the time. But as time passed it would go down as one of the biggest coups in the history of the franchise. Stevens never threw a pitch at the major league level for Cleveland and was eventually traded to the Cubs in 2008. He never amounted to much in the Windy City either.

Meanwhile, after experiencing four tumultuous seasons in Cleveland, Phillips immediately flourished with his new organization, batting .276/.324/.427 with 17 home runs, 75 RBI, and 25 stolen bases in that fateful 2006 campaign. In 2007, Phillips would record arguably the best individual season of his career, slashing .288/.331/.485 and recording the ultra-rare 30 home run/30 stolen base season by a middle infielder.