Category Archives: Cincinnati Reds

Jay Bruce destroys Colby Lewis, continues tear

Man, who is this guy?

This guy who looks like the 23-year old kid again with power to all fields, with 16 homers and 55 RBI. This .282 average, .921 OPS bat?

Reds win 8-2 in Arlington in a game that Colby Lewis was supposed to handle their lineup easily, in a game where the Rangers and people around baseball were chalking this up to be a ‘gimme’.

I can’t believe now that Bruce is in the midst of a career year and probably the best offensive player on the roster; that the Reds are going to just move him. Say it ain’t so!

Reds beat Astros in 11 despite a Correa homer providing Friday Night Bonus Baseball

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With the lowly Reds coming to town, and coming off two big wins in St. Louis; you figured maybe the Houston Astros were getting things going a little bit.

The Reds had played a lot of innings of baseball down in steamy Atlanta, and the Astros had a day off and Lance McCullers on the bump. There was a good reason Houston came into the game as -240 moneyline favorites. But it wasn’t so.

The Reds got 5 and 2/3 really good innings from Jon “Barback” Lamb, with Lamb striking out 8 and leaving with the lead momentarily 2-1. Things were looking bleak for Houston, when Carlos Correa and Blake Wood became acquainted.

That tied the game at 2-2, and granted us some extra innings with nothing to do on a Friday night. Nothing better.

The Astros would go on to give this one away to the Redlegs – these two teams are just kind of poor like that. Astros lose in 11 innings, 3-2.

Jay Bruce is still as good once as he ever was

Ah man, we still love this guy. Old favorites die hard. This was definitely one of Jay Bruce’s longest home runs at Great American Ball Park. He slugged number 14, and drove in runs 43 and 44; in the Reds 2-1 win on Saturday afternoon in Cincinnati.

He’s arguably been the Reds best offensive player. With an OPS over .900, we kind of hope as his swan song in Cincinnati (if they’re not going to keep him as part of the ‘next’ core) that they do him the honor of letting him be the Reds only All Star.

He’s definitely looking like the player he always should have been offensively, even if advanced metrics tell us he’s somehow worth less than an empty trash bucket in right field. I actually saw with my own two eyes – Bruce made a nice defensive play in right field Saturday afternoon. So WAR and it’s defensive judgements can just suck it on this one.

Jay Bruce gets a milestone at Great American Ballpark

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With two home runs tonight, Jay Bruce hit career dingers 127 and 128 at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, becoming the all-time leader; passing Adam Dunn. We’ve said it many times; Bruce has had an enigmatic career with flashes of brilliance. At the end of the day, it’s hard not to realize he’s accomplished quite a bit in a Reds uniform.

It looked at that point like it would be a happy ending for one night in the Queen City; but Tony Cingrani and the Reds pen full of shitheads had other ideas. The Reds would go on to lose this ballgame 8-7 in 12 innings on a Francisco Lindor home run. Lindor is really a helluva a little ballplayer.

You can see Lindor’s game-winning home run off Keyvius friggin’ Sampson by clicking here. That ball had some giddeup on it.

The Reds try to get swept tomorrow in the Battle of Ohio Series. It won’t be easy, as Corey Kluber gets the start and he’s Jekyll and Hyde awful, but I think the Reds have it in them.

Jake Arrieta No-Hits the Reds, and the embarrassment of a 16-0 defeat

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[Cubs 16, Reds 0]

If there was any hope left, it has now vanished. Good teams don’t lose like this; even over the course of a long season. You hate to pile on, but the Reds lost yesterday in completely embarrassing fashion.

It was a game that wasn’t even going to be played. People I know who are Reds fans were asking me if they were even going to get it in. Others didn’t attend the game even to see who I believe is the best pitcher in baseball at the present; Jake Arrieta throw because of the threat of a rain out.

And then baseball went and baseball’d the shit out of us all.

Arrieta went the full nine, walking four and striking out six. Kris Bryant hit a grand slam and a second home run, and the Cubs completely dismantled the Reds with 16 runs.

Arrieta is now 15-0 in his last 16 starts. Read that back. He’s automatic, a winner every time he goes out. This was his second no-hitter in like a half dozen starts. The Reds simply never had a chance. You probably heard about this. I didn’t find it very funny, or cute or anything.

The Reds; and Jay Bruce are sucking me in again

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[Box Score]
[Cincinnati.com]

The Reds have done this all before. They did this before it was too late; before the roster was pared down to the state it’s in now. This year’s 3-0 start after a 10-6 win to complete a sweep of the hapless Philadelphia Phillies today in the Businessman’s Special down at Great American feels so much like one year ago.

Except for one thing, you know these guys you love are on borrowed time. None more than Jay Bruce – and how unlikely was it at some points that we would ever do a post again about him having a multi-homer game in a Reds uniform? Bruce had a monster game today, rebounding from an error in right field that could have been a blemish on the day; Robert Stephenson’s big league debut as a starter.

His first home run was the type your friends text you about. It was an absolute monster shot off the M&M’s sign in right field that would have landed in the river in all likelihood if not for the sign. He would later add a single, and another homer to center for good measure to finish with five RBI on the day.

And although it’s bittersweet; although you know that the Reds front office would never allow them to compete even if this fairy tale start continues beyond the Phillies, there’s just something really nice about all this. To be able to enjoy it for a few days; to see guys like Bruce being the elder statesman for the Redlegs; it’s kind of odd and neat all in the same. As we get older – so do the rosters of our favorite teams. Nothing can last forever and there’s no telling how long something in baseball will last. You just enjoy the moment and file it away and remember on a given day that it made your day.

Phillip Ervin, the Reds latest-greatest hype & hope

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When the Reds selected Phillip Ervin late in the first round in the 2013 MLB Draft, I kind of hitched my wagon to this guy. I really wanted him to pan out and get some time at the big league level with the Reds because instantly, he reminded me of a guy I liked a lot as a big leaguer, Ron Gant. I loved me some Ron Gant.

Today, he hit his second home run of the spring and in just a couple games he’s hitting .636 so far. If this goes on a little while longer, people are going to begin banging the drum for him to make the big league club in a hurry.

Fangraphs had a recent write-up of Ervin that I thought was good:

Ervin has an awesome set of tools, with the raw arm strength, power and running speed any organization would covet. Yet, his actions at the plate look rigid, his first step isn’t the greatest and he most likely fits best defensively in left field at the big league level, though Reds officials maintain he can fill in at center. He has stayed on track to continue climbing the ladder with above-average offensive production at each level, but his tools need to start shining through in game situations for him to realize his potential for the Reds.

I like his chances of developing power to at least an above-average level, as he has the swing and strength to lift balls to all parts of any ballpark. He’s shown a pretty good eye at the plate, but unless his game power takes off, major league pitchers will be able to pick him apart by living on the edges of the zone.

His stiff body at the plate limits his hit tool and causes many of his hardest hit balls to be yanked down the left field line. He has made up for it so far with an excellent on-base rate and avoiding strikeouts reasonably well, but his contact quality has yet to progress. He should continue getting on base via free passes because of his power threat, though it needs to be backed up by better hitting to be reliable.

Despite already reaching Double-A in 2015, Ervin has both a lot of work to do, and yet a reasonable chance of raising his stock quickly with some smoothing out of his swing. His power and speed will give him an opportunity regardless, but what he does with it will depend on his offensive tools developing consistency against advanced pitching.

Here’s a good older post that lists comps for Ervin such as Alex Ochoa, Reggie Sanders, Ian Kinsler, Mark Kotsay, and what do you know; Ron Gant himself.

Checking those box scores each day which is usually meaningless this time of year when everyone starts out in camp has been just a bit less meaningless because of Ervin. In a sea of darkness, we have Phillip Ervin for right now.

This is what the Reds General Manager looks like

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When the Reds hired General Manager (teardown artist, wrecking ball driver) Dick Williams, I didn’t care to look him up. I didn’t want to know anything about him. He was replacing a mere figurehead who was collecting a paycheck rather than making the Reds a better franchise. And Dick Williams to me just sounded like a crusty old miser who would fit right in with what the Reds wanted to do.

Continue reading This is what the Reds General Manager looks like

The Cincinnati Reds are going to Trade Jay Bruce

If there was any doubt, because the Reds organization had been saying all along that they won’t move Bruce until the return is right; the word and truth is out that they’re going to move him for pennies on the dollar. They’re looking to simply slash payroll, like the owner said they wouldn’t under his tenure. Not that this should come as a surprise. First it was Chapman, then Todd Frazier; then they tried to move Brandon Phillips, now the final blow to the fan base. They’re absolutely going to trade the guy who hit the biggest home run in many Reds fans lives back in 2010.

So while Jay Bruce tells reporters it’s not going to be a distraction, while Bryan Price sheepishly says he won’t speculate on who will play right field in the even of a trade (and then he goes on to talk about how Duvall, Rodriguez, and Scott friggin’ Schebler have all played right field), it’s a foregone conclusion of what is going to happen.

The deal reported to be almost done only fell through because of Michael Saunders’ poor medicals.

I’m so disgusted with this franchise. It’s not that Bruce is a particularly great player anymore. No one who has watched him the past few seasons would argue that. But there was simply no reason to deal Chapman, Frazier, and now Bruce for poor returns in succession in the manner they have and will. Bruce will be gone by opening day. They could have allowed the fans a little more hope and kept them together until the All Star Break. They could have delayed it longer and just rebuilt around their core.

Instead, we’re going to see them enter a purgatory like 2003 to 2009. That’s unacceptable. There are organizations out there who avoid it.

I’ve already made the decision I’m not going to spend my money to see the Reds play. If an opponent is in town who I want to watch, I’ll buy a ticket. I’m not spending the money to see Adam Duvall and a bunch of young pitchers who won’t be around the next time the Reds are decent.

The Reds have operated like a true losing organization for the past half year. I’m fed up with it. We’ll have a longer post to come when Bruce is actually dealt.

Lou Piniella is back with the Reds

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I have to take my hat off to the Reds – probably their finest move of the entire offseason was the announcement yesterday that former manager Lou Piniella would be returning to the organization as a ‘special advisor’.

Now if old Pappy Piniella comes in and can light a fire under some asses and inspire the suits in the front office in some way, this is going to be a great move. If he comes in like some special advisors just to collect a paycheck in retirement and stay behind the scenes, then this will end up like Mike Holmgren in Cleveland.

When I was a kid, Piniella was the first manager I ever knew of. On the nightly news his tirades would get a few seconds of footage; berating reporters, throwing his closer through the postgame dinner spread or throwing bases and kicking dirt like the true winner he was. I love the guy like a grandfather. I’m really happy about this.

But forget him teaching Bryan Price anything. There couldn’t be any two men more dissimilar.

The Reds are sticking with Bryan Price

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Well, this is really bad news.

Walt Jocketty will do nothing as usual, announcing that Bryan Price will return as Reds manager in 2016. Price boasts about a .430 winning percentage in two seasons as the skipper of this downtrodden club.

There is no light at the end of the tunnel. All hope for a better future, a way out, something to look forward to next spring; have just gone out the window.

I have nothing more to comment on the Reds at this time. They have amazed me.

Has Jay Bruce played his last game as a Red?

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Jay Bruce finished his 2015 season with 26 home runs, 87 RBI, a .226 average, and a .729 OPS. He was essentially a replacement-level player with an 0.1 WAR.

Reds fans are clamoring; actually begging, to trade him for a bucket of balls and move on. I have a feeling the Reds will oblige.

I am not sure what happened here. In all of my years following the game of baseball, there’s never been a more enigmatic player I’ve like and followed than Jay Bruce. It’s been said many times on this page. When he was good and on a hot streak, there was often no one better in baseball. But he didn’t have many of those hot streaks in 2014 or 2015 that pulled you in and made you believe. In about 1200 plate appearances over the last two seasons, he was a .222 hitter with a .695 OPS.

We just can’t defend it. It makes no sense when you look at the player that once was. And although Bruce never reached his peak that some (including us) expected, Bruce hit 208 home runs in a Reds uniform (and a couple in the postseason) and had a .780 lifetime OPS with at times, a gold glove caliber defense in right field.

He was a good guy in the clubhouse, and a remarkably solid guy off the field. He was durable, and fun to watch. If indeed the sun has set on our favorite Reds’ career, it’s been a good run even if it never quite worked out how we figured.

We just wish we knew what took place for things to get so corrupted here towards the tail end.

You cannot bring back Bryan Price, and the Reds won’t

When Ken Rosenthal reports something, I usually perk up and listen closely. He’s reporting that the Cincinnati Reds are considering bringing back manager Bryan Price in 2016; and I’m telling you right now that it won’t happen because it can’t happen.

This to me has possibly been the worst season in my 32 years of life. It has never really ceased to be depressing and sad and feels like the end of a really nice era. I have really struggled to write about my thoughts on the Reds – watching them for nine innings is enough of a challenge. I mostly want to pretend that they aren’t there. I think that falls at the foot of the manager. This is a business, and he’s fielded a flat team for the entire year. Last year deserved to be thrown out; this year the cement has hardened and you see that Bryan Price is a pitching coach who is in over his head in a managerial role.

The Reds have lost 93 games and it’s going to be a miracle that they didn’t lose 100. I know it’s been a year that has seen them set a record for most pitching starts in a row by a rookie. I know there have been injuries to Mesoraco, Cozart, Homer Bailey, Billy Hamilton and such. I know veterans like Jay Bruce have been numbingly inconsistent once again. But I’ve seen some bad Reds teams in the past – 2003, 2004, and 2005 come to mind – and those teams didn’t feel this lifeless night after night. They also weren’t as talented offensively as this group and yet they still managed their hot streaks. They still managed to score runs. Their rotations were also abhorrent; albeit there were veterans, but it wasn’t this slaughter march we’ve seen from the 2015 Reds.

It’s been a never ending nightmare highlight reel of Bryan Price; from the things you’ve heard about like him berating an annoying beat writer who was just doing his job to getting tossed handing in a lineup card in Cleveland before the game even began. He’s failed to generate any creativity or spark to get this team to go on some type of a run where you say, ‘yes, this guy can figure it out’. This isn’t a guy who leads.

The one caveat in Price returning would be that the Reds would probably keep the core together for one more year, but that is no guarantee. It would probably hold off a full rebuild, which I don’t see happening. I think you’ll see some veterans go with only Votto remaining for certain because he’s been productive and his contract makes him impossible to trade. If the Reds bring back Price, it will be the same brand of uninspired baseball next year that just makes you want to change the channel or do something else. Bryan Price has made me long for the days of Dusty Baker. That’s really tough to do.

On the other hand, if you could land a Barry Larkin who was a rumored candidate, you immediately create a spark and a guy who commands respect from day one. I have no reason to think Larkin would be different than how terrific first year manager Paul Molitor has been in Minnesota. That’s worked out pretty well.

We need new life, we need new blood, we need a change. Another year of Bryan Price will have fans like me feeling sick to my stomach. The Reds’ brass knows that, they’re smart. They have some market research telling them the disapproval rating of their current manager. If it’s nothing more than the many empty Red seats and lack of television viewership, they know. Bryan Price won’t be back in 2015.