Thursday, July 31, 2014

MLB Week 18 - Trade Deadline Edition


by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

Anyone know the phone number of a good psychologist?

I don't know about you, but these past two weeks habe been nothing short of depressing. Prior to the All Star break, when the Reds were playing terrific baseball, I couldn't wait until Thursday, so I could write my artice. Now I'm like, "Crud, it's Thursday again, how can I find the words to describe this past week's series of losses?"

Were you really expecting Cincinnati to made a trade by the 4pm Thursday deadline?

Old Geezer Moment; one of the most popular television shows of the 1970's was "Hee Haw" a country music themed variety show from Nashville, Tennessee. One of my favorite songs from the show totally describes the Reds since the All Star break.

Report: Reds looking to trade Ryan Ludwick?


Could the Reds be seriously looking to trade Ryan Ludwick?

According to a report by Bob Nightengale of the USA Today, Cincinnati is willing to part ways with the 36-year-old outfielder and what remains on his contract, by making him available for trade as we approach Thursday's non-waiver trade deadline.
The report is a curious one as Ludwick hasn't exactly set the world on fire this season. In 245 at-bats, Ludwick is slashing .262/.325/.392 with six home runs and 27 RBI. These numbers are a far cry from the 26 home runs, 80 RBI, and .877 OPS he posted in 2012. In 2013, Ludwick appeared in only 38 games after suffering an injury on Opening Day, posting a .240/.293/.326 line with two home runs and 12 RBI.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Walt Jocketty dubbed one of five general managers 'under pressure'


The proverbial seat isn't exactly piping hot for Reds general manager Walt Jocketty. But it's certainly not comfortable either.

In the midst of an injury-riddled season, in addition to being mired in a forgettable second half losing skid, Jocketty finds himself in a tough spot this week as the non-waiver trade deadline looms on Thursday. The Reds aren't out of the postseason hunt by any stretch of the imagination. But their odds of running down the likes of the Brewers, Cardinals and Pirates don't look good. So do the Reds buy, sell, or stand pat? Well, it's a decision Jocketty will have to make and fast, as the season isn't getting any younger.

At this point, most fans are likely still hoping Jocketty makes a move to help the Reds down the stretch run, while others are probably ready to throw up the white flag on 2014, choosing to build for 2015 and beyond instead. Whatever the case may be, ESPN Insider Jim Bowden recently tabbed Jocketty as one of five managers under the most pressure to make a deal at the deadline.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Reds place Jay Bruce on bereavement list


Jay Bruce will be out of Cincinnati's lineup for at least a few days after the Reds placed the outfielder on the bereavement list Tuesday. The precise reasoning for his placement on the list was not disclosed.

Right-handed pitcher Curtis Partch was recalled from Triple-A Louisville to take Bruce's spot on the active roster. Tuesday marks the fifth separate time Partch has been called up to the Reds this season. In five big league appearances in 2014, the 27-year-old has yielded two hits and seven walks, but no runs. In 30 appearances with Louisville, Partch has compiled a 5.45 ERA.

As for Bruce, the native Texan has been reeling nearly all season long (.215/.300/.379), but especially since the All-Star Break (3-for-32). Being on the bereavement list means Bruce could be away from the team for as few as three days or as many as seven.

Baseball aside, we wish Bruce the best as he addresses a personal matter.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Video: Watch Devin Mesoraco slug home run to upper deck



Devin Mesoraco is strong. Really strong.

This fact of life was put on full display Monday night as the Reds catcher absolutely crushed a pitch to the upper deck for his 17th bomb of the season.

Unfortunately, this run was the only one Cincinnati could push across in 15 innings, suffering a 2-1 loss at the hands of the Diamondbacks.

Reds take a tumble in latest batch of power rankings


On the heels of losing eight of nine, the Reds have experienced a steep drop in the latest batch of Major League Baseball Power Rankings, released by ESPN.com on Monday.

Cincinnati occupied the No. 17 slot in this week's rankings after previously occupying the No. 13 slot just one week before. Their four-spot tumble was tied for the biggest drop of any team in the league.

The second half losing skid has caused the Reds to lose considerable ground in the standings in a relatively short amount of time. And it has put front office management in a precarious spot as the July 31 trade deadline looms.

Do the Reds try to add some help in an effort to make a postseason push? Or do they try to capitalize on the needs of others and all but waive the white flag on the 2014 season? We will know the answer to these questions by Thursday afternoon.

Photo: Cincinnati.com (Via Facebook)

Report: Reds targeting outfielder Alex Rios for offensive help

Alex Rios Rangers 2013.jpg

Despite losing eight of their last nine, and falling six games back of first place, reports continue to suggest that the Reds are prepared to be buyers as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches.

With Cincinnati struggling mightily to produce runs, evidenced by the mere 16 they have plated since the All-Star Break, the club's top priority at the deadline is adding a run-producing bat. And one of the hitters the Reds are reportedly targeting is Texas Rangers outfielder Alex Rios.

According to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi of FOX Sports, the Reds are among at least four teams interested in Rios. The Mariners, Giants and Yankees are other contending clubs reportedly interested in the veteran as well.

Rios, 33, is hitting a respectable .299/.328/.426 with 4 home runs and 43 RBI for the Rangers in 2014. In 11 big league seasons, Rios has posted a .280/.324/.442 line, which is not too shabby at all.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Jim Bowden proposes trade to bring Marlon Byrd to Reds


You don't have to be a baseball expert to notice how badly the Reds need offensive help.

Entering Sunday, Cincinnati's depleted offense had mustered just 14 runs in eight games since the All-Star Break. With top hitters Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips expected to be out of the lineup for several more weeks, the need to add an extra bat has become critical if the Reds want keep pace in the postseason picture.

One of the names rumored to be connected to the Reds is Philadelphia's Marlon Byrd. And former general manager and current ESPN Insider Jim Bowden believes he has the perfect package the Reds could use to acquire Byrd via trade.

In his piece featuring proposed trades for each team in the National League Central, Bowden suggests GM Walt Jocketty should offer OF Donald Lutz and minor league RHP Jon Moscot to the Phillies in exchange for Byrd. Bowden points out that Byrd's power would play well in the cozy corridors of Great American Ball Park. However, one concern with Byrd is the fact that he's owed $8 million next season. Plus, he wouldn't be able to play anywhere else but the outfield either. With that being said, Byrd is definitely the premier power bat on the trade market and now team needs a boost to their offense than the Reds.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Video: Brandon Phillips helps make wish come true for young fan



Being sidelined with an injured left thumb isn't keeping Brandon Phillips from making a difference in the community.

On Friday, the Reds All-Star second basemen along with the Reds helped make a dream come true in partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, as 13-year-old Brock Johnson of Winchester, Ohio got an opportunity to hang out with his hero for a day.

Over the course of the afternoon, B-Rock received some autographed swag, played catch on the field at Great American Ball Park with the Gold Glove defender, made the rounds in the clubhouse to meet the team, and was even asked to sign Phillips' t-shirt, which B-Rock happily obliged.

Although Friday was a happy day for Johnson, other days haven't been so easy. The teenager has been battling an autoimmune disease so rare that the condition doesn't even have a name. In August, B-Rock is set to undergo a bone marrow transplant and the family is asking for prayers up until then.

Here's some video of Brock's day with the Reds...

Photo: Witness ex-Red Dmitri Young's amazing weight transformation

View image on Twitter

Former Reds slugger Dmitri Young was on hand Friday night at Great American Ball Park to watch two of his former teams do battle on the diamond. And it would be no stretch to say that the 40-year-old has never looked better.

Check out this side-by-side photo posted by MLB Cut 4 showing the amazing weight transformation Young has made since the end of his playing days. According to Baseball Reference, Young tipped the scales at 300 pounds during his playing career. He's obviously much thinner in retirement.

Note the irony of "Da Meat Hook" sporting a bacon t-shirt on Friday while showing off his slimmer self.

Young spent four of his 13 MLB seasons in Cincinnati compiling a .304/.353/.488 line with 67 home runs and 296 RBI during that stretch.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Jayson Stark: Reds will be buyers at trade deadline


Buy or sell? This is a question many Reds fans have been pondering as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches. Especially after watching their team lose six straight games out of the All-Star Break.

One man who may have the answer to this question is ESPN.com senior MLB writer Jayson Stark. On Friday, Stark held an interactive chat session with fans welcoming questions about anything and everything MLB related. And a couple of the questions posed by readers were about the Reds.

Let's take a look at the transcript, shall we?

A couple of ex-Reds top list of 'five best-hitting pitchers'

Dontrelle Willis

In a bit of irony or coincidence, given Cincinnati's recent offensive woes, a pair of former Reds topped a dubious list highlighting the five best-hitting pitchers of the last 25 years.

The list, based on adjusted OPS and at least 200 at-bats, was whipped up by the fine folks at ESPN.com and features Micah Owings at No. 1 with Dontrelle Willis right behind him at No. 2. A fine case could be made for both that their offensive production outweighed their pitching production while playing for the Reds.

Owings suited up in the Queen City for two seasons from 2009-10. In 48 appearances, 19 of which were starts, the right-hander compiled a 10-14 record, unsightly 5.35 ERA and ghastly 1.588 WHIP. Offensively, Owings carried his own while with the Reds, amassing a .264/.280/.528 slash line with 4 home runs and 16 RBI in 72 at-bats.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

MLB Week 17 - Somnambulism


by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

Transcript from a possible phone call Wednesday afternoon around 4pm local time in Milwaukee.

Operator: "9-1-1, what's your emergency?"

Caller: "I'd like to report a disturbance at Miler Park"

Operator: "What seems to be the problem"

Caller: "There's 25 men wearing Cincinnati Reds uniforms sleepwalking all over the place here."

Reds should take note from Rangers and test trade market for Jonathan Broxton


With the non-waiver trade deadline quickly approaching, the Reds find themselves in a precarious position about whether they are buyers or sellers.

Despite riding a six-game losing skid, Cincinnati remains just 5.5 games back of first place and only 4 games back of the second Wild Card spot. On the surface, the Reds seem as though they are still very much in the thick of the postseason race. However, dig a little deeper and you'll realize the outlook isn't as rosy as what meets the eye.

First off, two of the club's most prolific hitters in Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto won't be able to help the team until at least mid-August, leaving the Reds with arguably the most punchless offense in the National League, evidenced by the 12 runs it has produced in six woeful games since the All-Star Break. Of course, a struggling Jay Bruce and the cooling off Devin Mesoraco and Todd Frazier, who both carried the club offensively in the first half, doesn't help either.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Reds awarded competitive balance pick for 2015 draft


On Wednesday, Major League Baseball handed out 12 extra picks for the 2015 MLB Amateur Draft via the Competitive Balance Lottery. As fate would have it, the Reds received one of them.

The good news is the Reds will receive the first competitive balance pick in Round B (which will take place in between the second and third rounds). The bad news is Cincinnati missed out on the chance to win a competitive balance selection in Round A (which will take place in between the first and second rounds).

Hey, it could be worse though. There were 13 teams in the selection pool eligible to receive one of the 12 picks and the team that got snubbed was the Rays. The Marlins, Rockies, Cardinals, Brewers, Padres and Indians were teams that received picks in Round A while the A's, Mariners, Twins, Orioles, and Diamondbacks joined the Reds with picks in Round B. Teams were eligible to receive an extra pick if they play in one of the 10 smallest markets or hold one of the 10 smallest revenue pools.

Another factor which makes these picks so interesting is the fact that each pick can be traded any time during the regular season right up until the day of the 2015 draft.

Via MLBTR

Report: Reds continue trade talks with Phillies involving Marlon Byrd


According to a report by Jim Bowden, the Reds and Phillies remain in trade talks involving veteran outfielder Marlon Byrd.

Cincinnati has been one of several teams rumored to be interested in Byrd as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches. It goes without saying, but the Reds desperately need a power threat in their lineup. And the 36-year-old Byrd would seemingly provide that.
A 13-year veteran, Byrd is hitting .266/.319/.480 with 19 home runs and 57 RBI in 383 at-bats for the Phillies in 2014. This coming after Byrd inked a two-year deal worth $16 million (with a vesting option for 2016) with Philadelphia in the offseason.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Skip Schumaker leading fantasy football event for a great cause


On the same day Skip Schumaker was announced as a finalist for MLB's Heart & Hustle Award, another announcement has been made involving the veteran's role in leading a fantasy football event for a great cause. Here is more on that story from the Reds...

Skip Schumaker is hosting a fantasy football challenge that will include 9 teams captained by Cincinnati Reds players.

The fundraiser will be held Wednesday, August 27 in Great American Ball Park's Champions Club from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and will give fans the opportunity to team up with Schumaker or teammates Jay Bruce, Devin Mesoraco, Todd Frazier, Zack Cozart, Jonathan Broxton, Sean Marshall, Ryan Ludwick and Chris Heisey.

Proceeds will benefit Big League Impact (www.bigleagueimpact.org), Jessie Rees Foundation (www.negu.org), Reds Community Fund (www.reds.com/community) and Cincinnati Children's (www.cincinnatichildrens.org).

Monday, July 21, 2014

Four names the Reds may be interested in near trade deadline


If it wasn't already clear before the trip to New York, the Reds are definitely in need of a shot in the arm or two if they want to make a run for the postseason.

Unexpected injuries to key players have absolutely decimated the roster and have forced the healthy players still left to adjust accordingly. As we saw on Sunday when a routine popup dropped in for a walk-off single, Cincinnati's defense is less than desirable at the moment, mostly due to the fact that multiple players continue to be forced to play out of their normal positions.

With half their infield likely on the shelf for the next month (Brandon Phillips & Joey Votto), it seems the most-pressing need for the Reds is to add another bat at the trade deadline, preferably one that is flexible enough to play multiple positions on defense as well. With this in mind, there has been no shortage of speculation around the online baseball world about who general manager Walt Jocketty might be targeting to fill the aforementioned role.

The following is a list of four names who I've seen mentioned as possible trade candidates for the Reds before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

MLB Week 16 - Break Time


by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

All-Star breaks not only are good for players, they’re pretty good for fans too! My family and I just returned from our first vacation in quite a long time. It’s been twenty years since we visited Huntsville, Alabama, and Nashville, Tennessee, wow have things changed! Thank God for OnStar turn by turn navigation! Once I figure out how to transfer photos from my son’s iPhone to this antiquated computer I’m currently working on, I’ll share one or two with you readers.

For What it’s Worth Department; I highly recommend a visit to Fall Creek Falls State Park near Spencer, Tennessee. The main attraction of the park is a 270 foot waterfall, one of the tallest in the eastern United States, plus the surrounding vistas are equally as breathtaking. Google it to see for yourself.

Did I mention that I hate losing to the American League?

Reds shower Derek Jeter with farewell gifts


Although just visiting, the Reds decided to capitalize on their opportunity to honor Derek Jeter this weekend at Yankee Stadium.

On Saturday, Cincinnati paid homage to New York's longtime shortstop by gifting him with signed jerseys from former Reds captains Barry Larkin and Davey Concepcion, as well as a photo from 2003 when he was named captain of the Yankees while playing a series in the Queen City.

As it stands now, Jeter will retire at the end of this season after serving exactly 20 years in the big leagues, all of which have come in Pinstripes. A 14-time All-Star and 5-time World Series champion, the New Jersey native is on pace to retire with nearly 3,500 hits while maintaining a lifetime .311 batting average.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Reds trade minor league prospect to Brewers for cash considerations


It went under the radar, but the Reds made a trade on Friday.

According to Milwaukee's player development account on Twitter, the Reds agreed to swap minor league prospect Josh Fellhauer in exchange for cash considerations from the Brewers. The 26-year-old outfielder was hitting .239/.338/.313 in split time between Double-A and Triple-A this season.

In 2013, Fellhauer slashed .267/.355/.359 with four home runs and 28 RBI in 101 games split between Pensacola and Louisville.

He is not listed among the club's top 20 prospects on MLB.com.

Fellhauer, a former seventh-round draft pick, will report to Double-A Huntsville.

Via MLB Trade Rumors (Photo: Milb.com)

Video: Brayan Pena enjoys multi home run night at Yankee Stadium



Brayan Pena did everything he could in Cincinnati's bid to knock off New York at Yankee Stadium on Friday. And his effort included recording the first multi home run game of his major league career.

Filling in at first base for the injured Joey Votto, Pena provided plenty of firepower by launching a pair of solo home runs of Yankees pitching, giving him five total for the 2014 campaign.

Unfortunately, Pena's heroics weren't enough as the Reds fell, 4-3, in front of a packed crowd.

Friday, July 18, 2014

ZiPS projections don't bode well for Johnny Cueto, Alfredo Simon in second half


By any account, Johnny Cueto and Alfredo Simon have had excellent seasons so far, which recently culminated into trips to the All-Star Game.

But at least one national baseball guy doesn't believe either pitcher can sustain their success for the remainder of the year. And that guy is ESPN Insider Dan Szymborski after tabbing both Cueto and Simon among players fantasy baseball owners should cut their losses while they're ahead.

Here is what Szymborski had to say about Cueto:

Cueto is a very good pitcher, but his early dominance this year was helped by a sub-.200 BABIP through the end of May, something no pitcher in history can hope to sustain. Cueto has remained a good pitcher since then, but not one worthy of his No. 3 ranking among pitchers on ESPN's Player Rater this year. ZiPS has Cueto as the No. 13 starting pitcher the rest of the way, a valued contributor but also one who has an unfavorable home park and an unimpressive team offense.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Robert Stephenson named among top 50 prospects in baseball


If you haven't heard Robert Stephenson's name by now, as a Reds fan, you should probably get yourself acquainted with the 2011 first round draft pick.

The 21-year-old right-hander out of California is widely regarded as the top prospect in Cincinnati's farm system. With a fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s and an ideal frame for a starting pitcher (6-foot-3, 200-pounds), it's easy to see why. It's also not a surprise to learn that he was among the Top 50 Prospects in a midseason list recently published by ESPN.com's Keith Law.

Here is what the self-professed scouting guru had to say about Stephenson (who checked in modestly at No. 36 on the list):

Report: Reds eyeing to add hitter at trade deadline


With injuries decimating key players in the offensive lineup, the Reds are being forced to at least consider adding another hitter to the roster at the trade deadline. But who might general manager Walt Jocketty and the club be interested in? ESPN.com's Jim Bowden takes a closer look in his most recent column detailing what he is hearing at the trade deadline.

In the piece, Bowden mentions two hitters that may be of interest to the Reds down the stretch. These hitters are Tampa Bay's Ben Zobrist and Minnesota's Josh Willingham.

One of the reasons Zobrist is so attractive is his ability to play multiple positions. The fact that he is a switch hitter and owns a .354 on-base percentage in nine big league seasons isn't too shabby either. However, the 33-year-old is earning $7 million this year and has a team option for $7.5 million in 2015. So the Reds would probably look to have the Rays pay some of his salary if they were to acquire him.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Bud Selig: Pete Rose may be allowed to have role in 2015 All-Star Game


With the book closed on the 2014 All-Star Game, folks in Cincinnati are already gearing up for the next one in 2015, which will be played inside the cozy corridors of Great American Ball Park.

Of course, what would a Cincinnati Midsummer Classic be without the presence of baseball's all-time hit king and hometown hero, Pete Rose? Considering Rose's lifetime ban from baseball, which he agreed to in 1989, it would seem Major League Baseball would opt to exclude Rose from the festivities altogether. But that doesn't appear to be the case anymore.

According to a report from the Associated Press, Commissioner Bud Selig all but left the door wide open for the Reds to include Rose in some manner during the 2015 All-Star Game. Check out what the commissioner had to say to the Baseball Writers' Association of America on Tuesday.

"That will be up to the Cincinnati club, and they know what they can do and can't do," Selig said. "It's sort of been subjective. But they've done some things with Pete, but they've been very, very thoughtful and limited. But that's a subject that I'm sure they'll discuss in the next year."

National League falls despite contributions from Reds All-Stars

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The National League wasn't able to muster enough offense to overcome the American League in Tuesday's All-Star Game. And thus relinquished the chance to gain homefield advantage for the World Series. But the Reds were certainly well represented in the annual affair.

Alfredo Simon was the first Red to make an appearance in the game when he hurled one inning of relief in the third. Devin Mesoraco was the next Red into the game when he took over the catching duties from starter Jonathan Lucroy in the bottom of the fourth. Mesoraco struckout in his only at-bat.

In the sixth, Todd Frazier entered the game at third base, and worked a base on balls in his only trip to the plate. Reds hitters are now 0-for-19 in the All-Star Game since Scott Rolen singled in the 2010 affair.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Video: Todd Frazier sports iON camera to capture sights, sounds of Home Run Derby



In case you missed it, Todd Frazier came extremely close to winning the 2014 MLB Home Run Derby last night after getting knocked out by Oakland's Yoenis Cespedes in the final round.

Frazier was kind enough to give us all a glimpse at his first-person view of the event and the end result is this roughly two-minute video clip from MLB.com.

Check it out as you relive the sights and sounds through the lens of an iON camera.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Pair of Reds prospects shine in Futures Game


A pair of Cincinnati Reds prospects played a hand in helping the United States edge out the World, 3-2, in the 2014 Futures Game on Sunday.

Top pitching prospect Robert Stephenson hurled a scoreless inning of relief in the eighth while top hitting prospect Jesse Winker added a double and scored a run.

Winker, 20, is batting .289/.399/.521 with 15 home runs, 20 doubles and 57 RBI in split time between Single-A Bakersfield and Double-A Pensacola this year.

As for Stephenson, the 21-year-old is carrying a 4-6 record with a 3.97 ERA in 93 frames spanning 18 outings. To be honest, Stephenson's numbers aren't too impressive, but there is no denying his potential. The 2011 first round pick boasts a fastball in the mid-to-high 90s with a good curveball and an improving changeup. He will be relied upon to fill a spot in the starting rotation once the time comes for Cincinnati's current starters to leave.

Photo Credit: @lisabraun

Video: Relive Kris Negron belt his first major league home run



The Reds were able to overcome injuries this weekend to take two out of three against the pesky Pirates. But they wouldn't have been able to do so without the unlikely contribution from recent call-up Kris Negron.

Watch as Negron promptly delivers the first home run of his major league career in the second inning off Francisco Liriano. Negron's big fly came with two Reds aboard and effectively put the good guys on top 3-0.

As fate would have it, three runs was just about all that Johnny Cueto needed to pick up his 10th win of the season, and more importantly, keep the Reds within 1.5 games of the first place Brewers.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Zack Cozart named best defensive shortstop in baseball for first half


As much grief as Zack Cozart gets for his lack of offensive production, the 28-year-old native of Memphis is probably the most sure-handed player on the Reds when it comes to defense.

Simply put, Cincinnati's starting shortstop just does not make many mistakes. He's been a human vacuum at the six hole in 2014 and people around baseball are finally beginning to take notice.

This is why ESPN Insider Scott Spratt recently tabbed Cozart as the best defensive shortstop in baseball for the first half. Cozart was included on a list that included fellow defensive wizards such as Oakland's Yoenis Cespedes, Atlanta's Jason Heyward and Boston's Dustin Pedroia, among others.

Here is what Spratt had to say about Cozart:

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Video: Billy Hamilton defies logic with nifty move to avoid tag



Even if you don't like baseball, I think anyone can appreciate the excitement that Billy Hamilton brings to the stadium night in and night out.

Hamilton wasted no time in electrifying the home crowd on Friday when he pulled off a mind-boggling move to avoid being tagged out in the first inning on a bunt attempt.

If you haven't seen it, I suggest you check out the video above. If you have seen it already, you mine as well watch it again, because it is certainly worthy of multiple views.

Is this guy fun to watch or what?

Video: Aroldis Chapman sets all-time record en route to nailing down save



Aroldis Chapman made history Friday night when he entered the game and promptly notched a strikeout in his 40th consecutive appearance.

This broke an all-time record previously held by Bruce Sutter among MLB relievers.

Chapman also had a streak of 34 straight appearances with a strikeout from 2011-12. That streak in itself is good enough for fourth place on the all-time list.

More important than Chapman's record-breaking performance, though, was the fact that the Reds were able to pull within 1.5 games of first place with Milwaukee losing to St. Louis. Considering all of the injuries first-year skipper Bryan Price has dealt with in 2014, it's a miracle the Reds are where they are.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Jayson Stark dubs Billy Hamilton first half Rookie of the Year


In the race for National League Rookie of the Year, there is Billy Hamilton and then there is every other National League rookie in a very distant second.

Numbers don't lie. Either do our eyes. Hamilton has without a doubt been the best rookie in the Senior Circuit this season. So it should come as no surprise that ESPN's Jayson Stark dubbed Hamilton as his NL ROY for the first half.

Here is what Mr. Stark had to say about the speedster from Mississippi:

MLB Week 15 - Can't Win 'Em All

Cubs lose to Reds 4-2, fall to 0-4 since big trade

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

Just like the Greek mythological creature the Phoenix, regenerating from the ashes of its predecessor, our beloved Cincinnati Reds have risen from the abyss of mediocrity to have a stellar final six weeks of the first half of the 2014 season. (Yeah, I’m trying to get nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.)

After the Reds 3 – 0 loss at San Diego last Wednesday, Cincinnati was a full 7 games out of first place. Since then our Reds have made up 4.5 games in the standings and at the time of this writing, Thursday night July 10, are currently 2.5 games behind Milwaukee. In my humble opinion, once the Reds get to the top of the standings, they’ll not give it up. O.K., I’m now drinking the Reds Kool-Aid, or maybe it’s Hawaiian Punch.

In case you haven’t watched it, MLB.com has a beautifully produced tribute of the 75th anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s “Luckiest Man” speech delivered on July 4, 1939 at Yankee Stadium. In spite of my proud “Yankee Hater” status, Gary Cooper’s portrayal of the “Iron Horse” in the movie “Pride of the Yankees” is beautiful, and as much as I hate to say it, it is one of my all-time favorite flicks.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Brandon Phillips expected to miss six weeks after thumb surgery


Despite Thursday's extra innings loss, the Reds still managed to take four out of five against the depleted Cubs this week. But it didn't come without a price.

Brandon Phillips left Wednesday's game early when he dove for a ball and got his glove caught underneath him. Initial reports suggested Phillips had simply sustained a sprained thumb. However, according to source used by the Cincinnati Enquirer, an MRI showed that Phillips had sustained torn ligaments in his left thumb and is scheduled to have surgery Friday.

The Gold Glove second basemen is expected to miss six weeks due to the injury.

Video: Highlights from Alfredo Simon picking up league-leading 12th win



Fans are often prone to quickly assigning blame when things go wrong with their team. But sometimes they forget to give credit where credit is due.

With that said, general manager Walt Jocketty should continue to receive praise for his foresight in snatching Alfredo Simon off waivers prior to the 2012 season.

To be fair, nobody (including Jocketty) would have been able to see what Simon has done this year coming. At age 33, Simon is defying the odds by dominating in his newfound starting pitching role.

On Wednesday, the right-hander became the first pitcher in the National League to notch 12 wins this season, and he did so by limiting the Cubs to one run over 6.2 innings.

What's a guy got to do to get an All-Star nod around here?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Richard Justice calls Reds 'as good as any team' in baseball


Everyone likes a winner. And the Reds have been winning a lot lately.

Naturally, their recent surge has demanded that the baseball world take notice. As winners of four straight games, and 25 of their last 38, Cincinnati has effectively managed to close the gap between it and the Brewers from 8.5 to 3.5 games.

One national writer who seems to be drinking the Red Kool-Aid is Richard Justice of MLB.com. In a piece published on Wednesday, Justice called the Reds "as good as any team in the league," as well as some other praise that may or may not be warranted.

In addition to Justice calling the Reds the best team in the league, he also dubbed them a team with very few weaknesses, and then shortly later corrected himself by proclaiming the Reds had no weaknesses at all (at the moment).

Video: Billy Hamilton's broken bat single sends crowd home happy with walk-off



Tuesday was a lot of fun for Billy Hamilton and the Reds as they beat the Cubs not once but twice in the day-night doubleheader.

However, the outlook for winning the nightcap appeared grim when Chicago jumped out to a 5-0 lead. Well, that was until the Reds scored in every inning after the fourth to come-from-behind for a 6-5 victory, completed by the heroics of Billy Hamilton.

The Rookie of the Year favorite stepped to the plate in the bottom of the ninth with a chance to be the hero. And he wasted no time in doing so by delivering a broken bat single down the left field line to give Bryan Price's crew the walk-off win.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Todd Frazier to participate in Home Run Derby

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For the first time since 2000, the Cincinnati Reds will have a player participating in the Home Run Derby during All-Star Week in Minnesota.

On Tuesday, the field was announced and Reds third basemen Todd Frazier was among the four players selected to represent the National League team.

Frazier will become the first Reds slugger since Ken Griffey Jr. to compete in the event and only the fifth player all-time. The previous Reds were Eric Davis in 1989, Chris Sabo in 1991, and Reggie Sanders in 1995. 

Video: Watch Jay Bruce smash his third home run in as many days



Warning, National League pitchers: You have been put on notice.

After ending a dreadful 0-for-26 skid with a game-winning home run on Sunday, Jay Bruce has seemingly caught fire after hammering his third home run in as many games on Tuesday.

The mammoth blast came in the bottom of the first inning in Cincinnati's victory over the Cubs in game one of their day-night doubleheader.

The home run officially gave Bruce double digits on the season with 10.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Video: Top pick Nick Howard talks about signing with the Reds



After taking a week off from all baseball activities following the conclusion of the College World Series, Cincinnati's top draft pick Nick Howard is ready to get back on the field.

On Monday, the University of Virginia product spoke with members of the local media about what it means to sign and play with the Reds. 

Last week, Howard agreed to sign with the team for $1,990,500, which is $100,000 below slot value for the 19th overall pick. He joins a farm system already loaded with promising young pitching including fellow former first round picks Robert Stephenson and Nick Travieso. 

Keith Law rips Devin Mesoraco All-Star selection over Buster Posey


In a bit of a surprise, Devin Mesoraco was tabbed for his first career All-Star selection on Sunday when National League manager Mike Matheny decided to include him on the 34-man roster. This was music to the collective ears of Reds Country to see Mesoraco, who was batting .317/.379/.634 with 15 home runs and 42 RBI, be awarded of the distinct honor.

One person who was not thrilled about Mesoraco's inclusion on the All-Star team was ESPN analyst Keith Law. In fact, Law writes in this ESPN Insider piece that he believes San Francisco's Buster Posey would have been a better choice over Cincinnati's catcher.

Devin Mesoraco over Buster Posey: Yeah, you wouldn't want one of the 10, maybe five most recognizable stars in baseball, an MVP winner who's produced 2 WAR this year, in the All-Star Game. Better to put Mesoraco, a solid player having his first-ever productive season in two-thirds of the at-bats that Posey has had, into the game. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Johnny Cueto headlines four Reds headed to All-Star Game



On July 15, Major League Baseball will hold the 2014 All-Star Game at Target Field. And we now know that at least four Reds players will have a chance to appear in the game. These players include right-handed ace Johnny Cueto, third basemen Todd Frazier, catcher Devin Mesoraco and closer Aroldis Chapman. For Cueto, Mesoraco, and Frazier, this will mark their first trip to the Midsummer Classic.

The rosters for both the National League and American League were revealed Sunday evening during the Taco Bell All-Star Selection Show on ESPN. The 33-man rosters were determined by a combination of fan voting, player voting, and managerial decision. The 34th and final roster spot for both leagues is being left up to fan vote. There are five players from each league in the mix.

As for the Reds selected to represent the National League, you would be hard-pressed to find a more deserving player than Cueto. In 18 starts, the 28-year-old is 8-6 with a 1.99 ERA and 0.87 WHIP this season. Of his 18 starts, 16 of them have been quality starts (six innings pitched with three runs allowed or less). Cueto also has 130 strikeouts, second-most in baseball, and is sporting a tidy .176 BAA, which leads all MLB pitchers.

Video: Jay Bruce puts the Reds up for good with clutch smash



Jay Bruce was probably the last guy Reds fans wanted to see at the plate when he strolled to the dish with one out and a runner aboard in the bottom of the eight. After all, Cincinnati's right fielder was riding an 0-for-26 hitless skid entering the at-bat on Sunday.

Fortunately, Bruce was able to snap out of the funk by delivering his eighth home run of the season, which put the Reds up 4-2 at the time, and eventually was good enough for the win.

The matinee victory capped off a much-needed series win for Bryan Price's crew as they effectively gained a game in the standings against the front-running Brewers.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Projecting which Reds players will be named All-Stars


The rosters for the 2014 MLB All-Star Game won't be revealed until Sunday evening. In the meantime, let's take a stab at projecting which Reds players will make the cut for the National League, shall we?

First, let's go over the basics of how the roster for each league is assembled. As you know, the starting lineup for both squads (excluding the starting pitchers) is determined via fan voting. At the time of this writing, it didn't appear like any Reds players would be given a starting nod thanks to the fan vote.

Aside from the elected starters, each league is afforded roughly 25 players to make up the reserves. These are chosen by the managers of each side and through player voting. For those doing the math at home, this equates to a roster of about 34 players who can call themselves All-Stars (plus a few more who take the spots of others who are injured). And please note that each and every MLB team has to have at least one representative for the game. Naturally, this requirement means that the most deserving candidates don't always earn their rightful place in baseball's summer spotlight.

Video: Watch Billy Hamilton provide fireworks with fifth homer of season



For a guy not known for his power, Billy Hamilton is sure proving that he's more than just a speedy threat on the base paths.

Cincinnati's center fielder put on another impressive display of pop Friday night when he delivered his fifth home run of the season against Kyle Lohse and the Brewers. The blast came in the bottom of the third and gave the Reds an early 2-0 lead.

Bryan Price's crew would go on to hold off Milwaukee, 4-2, to effectively snap a three-game losing skid and to climb within six games of their division leading foe.

The Reds will hope to cut into Milwaukee's lead even more when they send Homer Bailey to the mound to counter Matt Garza in game two of the series on Saturday.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Video: Reds top hitting prospect delivers walk-off home run



While there will be plenty of fireworks on display today for the 4th of July, there was also a fair share in Pensacola last night, as top Cincinnati Reds hitting prospect Jesse Winker delivered a walk-off blast for the Double-A Blue Wahoos. The video above serves as evidence.

Winker, rated as the third-overall prospect in Cincinnati's farm system, is currently hitting .295/.408/.535 with 15 home runs and 54 RBI in split time between Single-A and Double-A this season.