Sunday, September 28, 2014

What does the future hold for Reds after forgettable season?

Well, we can finally close the book on the 2014 regular season for the Cincinnati Reds. It goes without saying, but this campaign has to go down as one of the most disappointing in recent memory.

Hopes were high entering spring training as the club returned many of the same roster pieces that led to playoff berths in the two seasons prior. The main change consisted of a shakeup in the coaching staff. This was led of course by Bryan Price transitioning from pitching coach to skipper.

Unfortunately, Price was dealt a numerous amount of curveballs (no pun intended) in his first season at the helm. And they came in the form of injuries, sub-par play, and just plain bad luck (most one-run losses in MLB with 38). It all added up to a fourth place finish and the least amount of wins in a season since 2008.

To be fair, this club sustained an unbelievable amount of injuries to to its core group of players. First, Joey Votto was a virtual non-factor by missing exactly 100 games. Brandon Phillips missed roughly a month and continues to decline in productivity at the dish. Jay Bruce missed a little time but still managed to appear in 137 games. However, he recorded the worst season of his career, failing to crack the 20-homer mark and boasting an on-base percentage well below .300. Ryan Ludwick failed to live up to expectations, too, smashing just nine home runs and hitting just .244 in over 400 plate appearances. He and the rest of the offense served as a constant reminder of how badly the Reds needed to add a run-producing bat in the offseason (or at trade deadline). Oh, well. Live and learn, right?

Friday, September 26, 2014

MLB Week 26 - Finally Over

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

It seems that Opening Day was just two weeks ago and now here were are entering the last weekend of the season. Where did the summer go?

Congrats to the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, Detroit Tigers and Pittsburgh Pirates for making the playoffs this past week.

I’m slowly becoming a Josh Harrison fan.

Moving into the last weekend of the 2014 season, the American League Central and final Wild Card spot is up for grabs. Detroit is in the driver’s seat for the division, with Kansas City and Oakland a virtual lock for the Wild Card.

Go Royals!!!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Reds strike minor league affiliation deal with Daytona, ends partnership with Bakersfield

After failing to renew their contract with the Bakersfield Blaze, the Cincinnati Reds are set to have a new Advanced-A affiliate come 2015 beyond. And the affiliate will hail from The Sunshine State.

The following is a press release sent out by the Reds detailing the new deal:

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - Daytona Baseball announced, Thursday, that Big Game Florida and the Cincinnati Reds have partnered on a four-year deal to make Radiology Associates Field at Jackie Robinson Ballpark the home of the Reds class A-Advanced club through at least 2018. Affiliated baseball is guaranteed in Daytona Beach through at least 2022. Big Game Florida Owner Andy Rayburn is thrilled about the opportunity to partner with the Reds.

"The Cincinnati Reds are a first-class organization and we look forward to a long relationship," Rayburn said. "Daytona is a terrific baseball town with the greatest fans in the minors. Now, we have the excitement of a brand new relationship with a legendary and first-class partner in the Cincinnati Reds."

Saturday, September 20, 2014

MLB Week 25 – That Losing Feeling

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

At 20 – 38 since the All Star Break, as I’ve mentioned before, these articles are getting tougher to write each week. I guess it’s from all the high expectations we had at the beginning of the season, I mean, I survived the 101 loss season of 1982.

Congratulations to the Washington Nationals, the Baltimore Orioles and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, California, USA, Western Hemisphere of the Third Rock from the Sun, for winning their divisions this week.

Maybe next year, Reds, if we get some offense.

Aside from J.J. Hoover, the Reds pitching has been pretty good this season.

Johnny Cueto needs to win his next two starts to become the first Cincinnati pitcher since Danny Jackson in 1988 to win 20 games in a season.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Billy Hamilton set to run away with National League Rookie of the Year Award

Nobody is going to outrun Billy Hamilton on the basepaths. And it would seem as though nobody is going to catch him in the National League Rookie of the Year race either.

Entering Monday, the switch-hitting outfielder sat in the proverbial driver's seat to become the first Cincinnati Reds player to win the honor since Scott Williamson accomplished the feat in 1999.

Although he ranks seventh in batting average (.259), the 24-year-old leads all league rookies in stolen bases (56), doubles (25), runs scored (72), hits (140) and RBI (48). Defensively, one could argue that Hamilton has blossomed into one of the finest center fielders in all of major league baseball. His range is unprecedented and he's also shown the ability to keep runners honest with a modest arm as well.

With two weeks to go, Hamilton is the clear frontrunner to win top newcomer in the Senior Circuit. This much is definitely true. What is also true, however, is that this year's competition for the award isn't quite strong.

Friday, September 12, 2014

MLB Week 24 - A Time to Remember

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

As Major League Baseball pauses to remember the most horrific terrorist attack on American soil, I thought I’d like to interject my own views about this unspeakable tragedy;

Prior to 2001, September 11th was remembered as the date, in 1985, Cincinnati’s Pete Rose passed Ty Cobb as baseball’s all-time hit leader. The line drive base hit off San Diego Padres Eric Show was typical of Rose’s outstanding career. Who can forget the numerous standing ovations Rose received, finally letting his emotions come to the surface when Pete Jr. hugged his dad while Pete Sr. was standing on first base?

Then came that fateful Tuesday morning sixteen years later.

I woke up late that morning, around 10am, which was typical for me during a day off work. Four days earlier my oldest daughter, Taira, suffered a serious broken ankle as a result of a scooter accident and had spent the weekend in the hospital, coming home Monday the 10th around 9pm. Several trips to the hospital, 130 miles round trip, plus the stress of my daughter’s condition, took its toll on me so I took a few days off work.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Video: Another look at Jay Bruce robbing a home run from Matt Adams

Jay Bruce may only be hitting an uncharacteristic .215 this season, however, if Thursday is any indication, the native Texan hasn't lost his knack for fielding.

Check out the above video which shows Bruce robbing Cardinals slugger Matt Adams of a home run in Thursday's matinee. Beautiful, huh?

Perhaps the best thing about the video, though, is the fan's reaction when Bruce squanders his chance at securing a souvenir. Sorry, dude. Maybe next time.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Midwest foes aplenty for Reds in recently unveiled 2015 schedule

The 2015 regular season schedule was unveiled for the Reds today, and aside from Cincinnati hosting the All-Star Game, the slate doesn't exactly boast the same Interleague buzz as it has in the past.

Next year, Bryan Price's club will get the opportunity to stay a little closer to home (as far as Interleague play goes) with trips to Kansas City, Chicago and Detroit instead of New York, Boston, and Baltimore, the latter trio of which the Reds were forced to travel in 2014. The scheduling is on par with the annual rotation that MLB has implemented in regards to National League divisions playing other American League divisions. In case you didn't notice, the Reds will be paired with American League Central foes come 2015.

Opening Day will be a bit later next season and is currently penciled in for April 6. The Pirates will do the honors of being the visiting team for that opening series at Great American Ball Park.

Friday, September 5, 2014

New security measures will greet fans beginning this weekend

Fans flooding the Great American Ball Park turnstiles this weekend will notice something new upon entering the stadium. As part of Major League Baseball's mission to make security procedures the same at all 30 parks for the 2015 season, walk-through metal detectors are being implemented at GABP for this upcoming homestand. And fans will get their first up-close experience with them beginning Friday night when the Reds host the New York Mets.

All fans going through metal detectors, located at the main entry gates on Crosley Terrace, will be asked to remove cell phones and large metal objects from their possession before walking through. Fans who cannot use the metal detectors due to medical issues will have the option for a manual check with a hand-held wand.

"The safety of our fans is the number one priority for us at Great American Ball Park," said Tim O'Connell, Reds Vice President of Ballpark Operations. "We are committed to the procedures that MLB has asked us to implement and our staff is dedicated to maintaining the highest security standards possible."

Thursday, September 4, 2014

MLB Week 23 - The Schoop Schoop Blues

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

Fifty years ago Rhythm and Blues singer Betty Everett struck gold with her number one novelty hit “The Shoop Shoop Song”. After witnessing Baltimore’s Jonathan Schoop go 4 for 10 with 3 homers and 5 RBI in the series at Camden Yards, our beloved Cincinnati Reds are singing “The Schoop Schoop Blues.”

From the All Star Break to September 3, the Reds are 15 – 29, have lost 8.5 games in the standings, and are dangerously close to being passed by the Chicago Cubs for last place in the division.

“Captain Obvious” Department; Since the aforementioned All Star break, our anemic Cincinnati heroes are at the bottom of the National League in runs, hits, batting average, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage.

The perpetual twelve year old that lives inside me strongly feels the Reds will turn it around this month and make a run for the Wild Card. The working stiff, bill paying, fifty year old father of five, and grandfather of one will be happy to see this nightmarish season end in three weeks.

Johnny Cueto currently ranks second in 'Cy Young Predictor'

Despite missing a handful of starts due to injury, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw seems to remain the favorite to win National League Cy Young Award honors this season. With a 17-3 record and league-leading 1.70 ERA it's hard to argue otherwise.

However, one pitcher nipping at his heels for the coveted award is none other than Reds ace Johnny Cueto. According to ESPN's Cy Young Predictor, which uses a complex formula based on past results to predict the future winner, Cueto ranks second in the league behind Kershaw with a CYP total of 162.1.

For those of you skeptical about the reliability of the Cy Young Predictor, it's notable to point out that it has correctly chosen the real winner for both leagues in each of the past three seasons. The last time it was flawed was in 2010 when Seattle's Felix Hernandez somewhat surprisingly won the award with a 13-12 record.