Category Archives: Cincinnati Reds

Mike Leake traded to the San Francisco Giants

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Another Jenga piece of the Reds roster tower is pulled out of the toppling fray late tonight – Mike Leake has been traded to the San Francisco Giants for some minor leaguers.

I never really liked Mike Leake. Heard some things about him snubbing an underprivileged kid down at the park when he didn’t need to, then he stole the tee-shirts, then he blocked us on twitter for ribbing him in good nature about it. And he lost game four of the 2012 NLDS at home with a flat performance. We never really forgave him for any of that.

That said, he’s a solid big league pitcher. He profiles to be even better in San Francisco than he was in Cincinnati, where he went 62-47 with a 3.87 ERA, 701 strikeouts to 260 walks since being the 8th overall pick in the first round of the 2009 draft. His best year was 2013 when he went 14-7 and 3.37 ERA.

He’s really a durable guy who will use that big ballpark and have success. He doesn’t miss starts, and can go the distance any time in a ballgame when he’s on.

Seeing the roster dismantled this time around is really hard. Even to see Mike Leake go, even a guy we aren’t fond of. It’s a changing of the guard. This is brutal.

One More for the Core

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If the Reds are torn apart sometime in the next 48 hours with key members of this core from the playoff run stripped from the roster and fan base, then let it be written that the Redlegs went into the sea of red that is St. Louis and shut out the best team in baseball for the second night in a row, winning 1-0.

Jay Bruce hit his 17th home run of the season off a very good John Lackey, and Aroldis Chapman locked down his 21st save of the season.

It was so baseball. These guys going out and in the midst of all kinds of rumors that have them shipped all over teh globe; they go out and play a sound game to beat a much more sound team.

Anthony DeSclafani threw seven shutout innings and improved to 6-7 on the year. The Reds collected just two hits.

And maybe; just maybe, this is the type of win that tells ownership it’s not time to let the sun set on this group yet. Maybe they look towards next year and aggressively decide that by adding a key arm or two to the rotation, they’ll have the lineup to attempt to make a run at things.

But if not – if they do decide to sell off these guys who were being rumored in deals before the game started tonight – it was perhaps one last signature win to remember them by. It’s the kind you don’t forget.

So Long, Johnny Cueto

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And so ends an era. Johnny Cueto was traded to the Kansas City Royals today for three pitchers; the most notable being Brandon Finnegan.

It’s funny – we had this blog going when Cueto began his Reds career. They were coming out of the darkness, over a decade of futility. You knew you were on the ride up. Today, it’s like the organization admitting that this current core and guys on the 25-man roster will never win a title or play in a World Series. I mean, it was official before today of course. But this makes the probability meter of that ever happening absolute zero.

Right down to the very end; right down to his very last start as a Red, Johnny Cueto was awesome. We kind of eulogized him after his gem in Washington a few outings ago. The bottom line is he’s the best homegrown pitcher the Reds have put in a uniform since Mario Soto. Who knows when we’ll have another true ace like Cueto or how it will go when it happens. I may be a very old man.

It’s really hard saying goodbye to the players you love, the players you’ve grown so attached to. The players you’ve spent so many evenings in your living room living and dying with through the eb and flow of a baseball game and season.

While the Reds prepare to mire in obscurity, Cueto will write a new chapter and start more games in the postseason and probably reach incredible heights yet in his career. The book on this chapter has sadly closed. I’ll really miss Johnny Cueto.

Jay Bruce’s last (Cincinnati) ride?

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Every time Jay Bruce homers, I wonder if it’s the last time I’ll see him round the bases in a Cincinnati Reds uniform. Tonight in Cincinnati, he hit a monstrous clout to right center for his 15th home run of the season. It allowed the Reds to beat the Cubs 5-4. Bruce also doubled and is now hitting .255 on the season.

I really hope that the sun hasn’t set on Bruce’s Reds career. There’s no doubting he is an enigmatic player. But Bruce is in one of the best stretches of his career. Since May 16th he’s hitting over .310 with an OPS well north of .900 and a slugging percentage over .550, all hallmarks of a quality middle of the order hitter.

In a perfect world, Bruce continues to progress and the Reds don’t get quite the offer they hope to by broadcasting to the baseball world that he can be had. They work out a reasonable extension for him to remain part of the solution in Cincinnati – players like Bruce could make the ‘rebuild’ just a bit shorter. Plus, I still want a reason to go to the park. Bruce is at the core of the guys I have a personal attachment to. He has 197 career regular season homers as a Reds player. If you get an offer that brings a top tier prospect, make the deal. If not – you don’t trade a productive player like Bruce just to trade him.

I am a bit puzzled at why the Reds have made Bruce so willingly available but a guy like Todd Frazier whom is under team control similarly until 2017 is not available. You can’t have it both ways. Both should fit the profile of a guy who can be moved, or neither. The Reds have no viable replacement for Bruce being roadblocked in the minor leagues, so I just don’t see a reason to up and move him.

That said, the things are falling into place as I thought they would. The perfect storm for Bruce to be moved. The Reds aren’t very good, the All Star Game is completed, and Bruce is playing pretty well. This is kind of what I saw coming down the pipeline back in March. I think we’re seeing Jay Bruce’s final days as a Red, and it kind of sucks.

It’s kind of shitty being the fan of a small market team. There are teams in the game who have the ability to keep a homegrown talent if they so choose. It seems like the Reds are following some unwritten rule, almost conforming to think because it’s time to rebuild, you move a multiple season All-Star corner outfielder just to get something done. And for the fans, it does suck. We’ll see how this plays out, and eulogize his career in Cincinnati properly should we have to in the near future.

Seeing the Greatest Derby in Baseball History: The Night The ToddFather ruled the Home Run Derby World

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I saw the greatest Home Run Derby of all time last night live and in person at Great American Ballpark. Here are some notes, and you can click through for the photos.

  • That national anthem, sung by Marlana VanHoose was awesome. Should have known after hearing that it was going to be a special night.
  • And if the anthem wasn’t enough; in the first round when Sean Casey caught that random ball off the bat of Josh Donaldson; the Redlegs should have known it was going to be a night of good fortune.
  • Last night was the loudest I have ever heard Great American Ballpark in any capacity. The crowd was rabid, ferocious, and absolutely wore themselves out for Todd Frazier. I screamed at points until my throat felt like leather.
  • They’ll talk about what Todd Frazier did last night forever in Cincinnati. This will be one of those things that is replayed forever in Cincinnati sports lore and in Home Run Derby moments, and I was there to see it.
  • It was amazing how bad the weather was before – and after the derby – yet it was perfect for that several hour window to watch all the All Stars take batting practice and of course watch Todd Frazier create the signature moment of All Star week.
  • Bryce Harper hit about three moonshot home runs in batting practice in a row into the teeth of a pretty good crosswind blowing right to left in right field.
  • I almost got a foul ball from Todd Frazier’s nephew during batting practice. Yet, some guy using a glove slapped it out of my grasp. Opportunity gone forever.
  • I really liked the new Home Run Derby format. Without it, we weren’t given the dramatics and buzzer beaters.
  • Pretty sure I saw grown men crying in the crowd after Todd won the Derby and  Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way’ was blaring on the loudspeakers. A special moment. It is hard to get chills anymore at a sporting event, but I had them last night.
  • All Star Fanfest was really cool – probably the best collection of sports memorabilia I’ve ever seen as part of a charity auction in one room of Fanfest – but we were only able to stay for a short while because we wanted to get in to the stadium when the park opened.
  • The Reds are about to decapitate their team core; yet in this disappointing season of losing, Todd Frazier lifted the Reds and their franchise for a night at the center of the baseball world. As we left the park, we were yelling about being winners with other fans. I saw drunk people running down 5th & Vine street traffic giving high fives to cars. Cincinnati loves an All Star game.

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If this was Johnny Cueto’s last start as a Red, it was a beauty

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There was no way Johnny Cueto was coming out of this game in the ninth inning. Not before, and not during. The Reds are showcasing the durability of their workhorse ace – 122 pitches later he shutout the Nationals in Washington and beat Max Scherzer soundly.

The Reds gave Cueto a little tribute tonight, staking him to five early runs. Cueto struck out eleven and walked one. It was an absolutely dominant performance.

It certainly seems like a forgone conclusion that the Reds will be supplying teams with some weaponry here soon, with Cueto headlining those names.

I remember Cueto’s first start ever – it was April 3rd, 2008 against the Arizona DiamondBacks in Cincinnati. He had similar stuff on that day, striking out ten and walking only one. The only hit he gave up that day was a sixth inning home run to Justin Upton. From right there I knew Cueto was a special international talent the Reds were lucky enough to grab somehow.

He’s gone 91-62 with 11 complete games and five shutouts in his career as a Red. He’s tallied 1106 strikeouts and just 385 walks. His ERA pitching half his starts in a bandbox is around 3.20, phenomenal.

These eight years that have passed by have went by all too quickly. You look back at the memories and realize that he’s probably the best Reds pitcher to wear the uniform in a couple of decades. As you think about the memories, you remember that night he pulled the muscle in his side in 2012 in San Francisco. You start thinking about ‘what if’. If he doesn’t, the Reds just might (and in our opinion) probably go to the World Series that year. The Giants flag that flies forever from 2012 should have belonged to the Reds.

Perhaps Cueto moves on elsewhere to get that postseason glory with another team – we have a feeling he will – and if he does good for him. He’s been a quiet guy that has stayed out of trouble and made headlines for the right reasons. A team shouldn’t really ever have to part with a Johnny Cueto but it’s just not in the Reds fortunes or pockets to be able to contain him. Baseball is still after all; a business.

Cueto doesn’t need us to eulogize him as a Red, he did that just fine tonight. It’s been a pleasure getting to watch this guy every fifth day and to see him pitch a handful of times in person. He’s the epitome of what an ‘ace’ is in baseball right now.

The Toddfather is at his Zenith

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There just isn’t much to cheer about as a Reds fan right now. The Reds are playing out a string here in late June and in a season that they welcome the All Star Game, the team just seems so ‘blah’.

They dropped two games today, one the completion of a suspended game in 13 innings and the other becoming the first belt notch in Steven Matz’s career in Queens.

But there is Todd Frazier; the beacon of light. The Toddfather just hit his 25th homer of the year in the team’s 74th game. George Foster holds the record with 52 home runs which he hit in his MVP season of 1977. Right now, Frazier is in the hunt for this team record and 40 home runs seems a lock.

I have to admit, I always thought Frazier would have a few Aaron Boone type years where he showed flashes of first-round brilliance at the big league level. But I always saw Frazier as more of a secondary start to the Bruce’s and Votto’s of the world. Frazier at this point is completely leveling any expectation I had of him. Little league swing or not, the guy has a .978 OPS and is going to catch Giancarlo for the National League home run lead shortly.

He’s a good dude who goes about his game quietly, and he’s developed into a hell of a power hitter. That doesn’t go without salute in these parts. Plus, our wife loves him!

The Reds shut out the Marlins on an overcast Friday Night

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[Reds 5, Marlins 0]

It didn’t look like a paid attendance of 33,379 on a decent but cloud-covered night in the Queen City when you looked up in the stands. But those who turned out to see the Reds take on the Marlins in this mid-June contest got what they wanted, a Reds win. The Reds are now 2-0 this season when we attend the game.

I took my wife, sister, and dad to the game. When my dad and I were walking down to our seats the PA announcer came over the loud speaker and asked for a moment of silence in honor of fallen Cincinnati Police Officer Sonny Kim. The announcer said Kim had been killed in the line of duty earlier in the morning, marking the first police officer killed in the line of duty since 2000. Very sad story and solemn start to the night.

It was a great night though, the weather held up and my family had a great time. My dad said it was the best seats he had ever had and a perfect start to Father’s Day weekend. If this is the last game I get to attend with my dad, we had a great time.

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I banked so heavily on Christian Yelich having a big year for me in fantasy baseball, and he’s hitting .233 on June 19th’s ending. He went 1 for 4, and was rang up looking to end the first inning just after this picture was taken.

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Proud to say I got to see Giancarlo Stanton play during this legendary season he’s having. He went 0 for 4 though.

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The fastest man in the big leagues aside from Billy Hamilton, Dee Gordon. He’s hitting .355 and leading the National League in hitting in stark contrast to Yelich.

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Mike Leake was real good last night. He had a no-hitter into the 6th inning when Derek Dietrich singled to break it up through the left side. Leake went seven innings, allowed only two hits, walked three and struck out seven. Leake improved to 4-4 on the year.

Jay Bruce had a big double to put the game on ice late.  Marlon Byrd had a big home run to get the Reds on the board early. Todd Frazier made an insane stop at third base.

All in all, really good night at the ballpark. The Reds sit at 31-35, and hopes have not completely faded yet of them getting to .500 on the season.

Going to see Giancarlo Stanton play tonight

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The weather is cloudy, but thanks to my company; I’ve got four first row tickets on the Cincinnati Reds dugout to see the game’s most prodigious power hitter.

Giancarlo Stanton hit his 25th home run of the season last night at Yankee Stadium, a fairway iron shot out to left field.  He’s on pace for 60 home runs this year.

We’ll have a full report of everything once we get safely back up and down I-71. No better way to kick off the weekend than a ballgame.

The Best Reds win of 2015

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[Reds 8, Tigers 4 (13 innings)]

It’s been such a frustrating season. But last night, the Reds had the magic going. As I watched them and the innings wore on and they squandered opportunities with bang-bang plays at the plate to win the game; I knew in my heart they were going to win the game.

It ended with a Todd Frazier walk-off Grand Slam in the bottom of the 13th off Joakim Soria. It was Jay Bruce’s first five-hit game of his career.

They overcame two big home runs from Miguel Cabrera and Tyler Collins that looked like the dagger.

The Reds got three scoreless innings from some guy named Donovan Hand – a guy who hasn’t thrown in the big leagues in a number of years. And look at the names the Reds are running out of the pen out of nowhere: Hand, Carlos Contreras, Ryan Mattheus, Burke Badenhop. It’s not like these are guys who have came up through the Reds system. If you think back to when the Reds were a good team, they had the same bullpen arms the whole year pretty much. They had dependable guys and you knew the names and there were several guys who had came up through the system together. That has faded away.

But on this night the Reds were just meant to win. Frazier hits home runs 21 and 22, including a dramatic blast that won them the game.

After the rain delay, it was hard to remember it was Johnny Cueto and David Price who started this game. But the story was more about Frazier, Bruce and the unlikely late-night magic of the Reds.

Jay Bruce turns a Reds loss into a Reds win at Wrigley with his glove

Jay Bruce isn’t helping the Reds win games with his bat (currently hitting .218). He took one directly out of the loss column and put it in the win column to kick off the weekend at Wrigley Field yesterday with this play above. The Reds won the game 5-4.

It is so nice to see in a lost season; a guy going all out on a play where it would have been easier to call it a day. There’s nothing worse than when you aren’t hitting and you have to go out and play defense. Jay Bruce showed he’s playing with pride right now with this play.

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Joey Votto launches three home runs against Phillies in Cincinnati

[Box Score]

Joey Votto had done it twice before – hitting three home runs in a ballgame – and last night he achieved the feat for the second time that few men ever reach once.

Last night when he hit his 11th, 12th, and 13th home runs of the season, he tied Johnny Bench as the only Reds to ever do it thrice.

“Today was wild,” Votto said. “It was one of those rare games. I read on the board that I tied Johnny Bench. He’s such a historic Red. To do something like that is quite special.”

Quite special, indeed Joseph.

If you want to see all three of Votto’s home runs, you can do so here. Two of them came off Aaron Harang, his old clubhouse mate.

Votto ended the game on an even .300 for the season. He’s right in line with where he needs to be to have an excellent season.

The last great Jay Bruce in a Reds Uniform Memory?

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[Reds 4, Padres 0]

The Reds season is a mess, and they’re going to blow this thing up. But on this Sunday, Johnny Cueto and Jay Bruce turned back the clock.

Cueto threw seven shutout innings and struck out nine for his fourth victory of the year. It kind of stinks because days like today are just auditions for a contender.

And we can’t begin to figure out Jay Bruce, we’re absolutely done trying. We cut him from one of our most important fantasy teams late last night. It figures that he would have a day like he did today. There’s probably no salvaging things for Bruce long-term in a Reds uniform at this point. He either plays poorly and he’s a goner, or he plays well and the Reds move him shortly after the All-Star game. You look at the calender, and it’s June 7th. It’s possible that Jay Bruce could just have over a month left in a Reds uniform, and it’s kind of a sad realization to accept that he’s never going to become a franchise cornerstone.

That said, the guy is still making memories. He drove in all four Reds runs today with a towering solo homer to get them on the board, and a three run blast later in the game to cement the win. He’s up to nine home runs on the year.

There will come a day that we’ll have to eulogize Bruce as a Red on this blog. But today is not that day.

We just wish the Reds were playing meaningful baseball games at this point. But they’re stuck in the mud as we suspected. Today was just a three hour lapse in what is sure to be a season of pain.