Category Archives: Cincinnati Reds

Happy Jay Bruce Day!

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What? You thought we wouldn’t recognize this holiday in the Queen City because a guy is hitting .225? That’s a .225 on the rise, to be exact!

On May 27th, the day that Jay Bruce made his splendid debut in 2008; he’s always been pretty close to money in the bank. Last year he went just 1 for 4 and did not leave the yard in Los Angeles against Zack Greinke. But Bruce has homered four times on this date in his career, and has a couple huge performances to his name on the day he made his big league debut.

You look at the slate tomorrow and everything is coming up Bruce: Right hander on the mound in Kyle Kendrick – CHECK. Game in Cincinnati, where Bruce has been significantly better in his career – CHECK. Afternoon getaway game where Bruce seems to do most of his damage – CHECK. Date on the calendar is May 27th – that too.

Can’t believe Jay Bruce has been in the big leagues seven years now. Time absolutely flies. Here’s to Bruce finding the seats tomorrow with at least one and continuing to enjoy May as his best historical month. And maybe the Reds can win two in a row for what seems to be the first time in two weeks.

If indeed this is the last Jay Bruce day we are to celebrate with #32 in a Reds uniform, we want it to be a memorable one. We’re calling it now, Bruce gets a couple of knocks and homers. Reds win.

Reds Swept out of Town on a Melancholy Sunday

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[Giants 9, Reds 8]

The Reds battled hard today to try to spit the hook and avoid the sweep at home at the hands of the World Champions. Every time they cut the deficit to one, the Giants would add one. Finally, the Reds ran out of outs.

And man, I’ve been in Cincinnati countless times on one of these Sunday’s when the team loses. It’s always an afternoon game and you have the slow solemn walk back to your car, for me it was usually up to Vine and 5th street. The town seems still. The club is leaving town and the town will stay still for several days until the team returns and there is life again and the hope of victories for a town that loves their club.

Jay Bruce had another one of those games; it makes you say ‘here he comes’ with one of his customary hot streaks. He was a few feet away from a grand slam with a single off the wall. Later in the game he connected and took a tough lefty deep in Jeremy Affeldt. All the tell-tale signs are there. Jay Bruce is coming out of this awful funk. It was his first three-hit game since September of 2014. If the Reds have any hope of being spoken for until late in the year, it’s paramount that Bruce returns to form.

It was also good to see Brandon Phillips go yard. There of course were more negatives than positives today. And it was a day that makes you realize why this year’s’ Reds team is so frustrating to watch for nine innings. They aren’t sound or consistent in any facet of the game. The bullpen blows up all hopes in a soul-crushing, demeaning fashion every time hope appears.

So, this song fits. Until the team returns to town and tries to get back on the horse and right this ship to make one last run with this core.

Summoning Power from the Baseball Gods

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If such baseball Gods exist, we are summoning their healing powers for one Jay Bruce. Hopefully, this was the swing that changes Bruce’s season and maybe his career.

Yes, the Reds were trounced at home for the second night in a row 11-2 by those pest Giants. Brandon Crawford hit a grand slam and Baby Giraffe Brandon Belt homered for the second straight night.

But Bruce hit a hanging pitch from Ryan Vogelsong into the seats, singled, and almost homered in his first at bat, flying out to the wall in right center. He looked a little better.

This was Bruce’s 188th career homer, all as a Red. This was game number 1001 in a Reds uniform. We are hoping that the final chapter has not been written for Bruce in a Reds uniform. We’re almost to Memorial Day; and it’s simply time to get going. Time to circle the wagons. Ride or die time. Now or never.

Each game represents sands in the hourglass. Every pitch, every at-bat. As Mo Egger recently pointed out, it’s not a young player finding his way, nor is it an aging veteran we are discussing here. This is an integral part of the Reds core.

This is a guy we love. But the numbers never really lie. Here’s to the baseball Gods bringing some of that magic to Jay Bruce’s bat from here forth and sending him on one of those customary hot streaks that only Jay Bruce has (we’ve all seen them) which makes us question the bane of our existence and defies everything we had seen before it.

Reds win, Going nowhere fast

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I see you Raisel Iglesias – throwing eight innings of one-run baseball to get the Reds back to .500 on the season with a 5-1 win in the Queen City.

The fact of the matter is; I thought that Craig Calcaterra summed it up perfectly with his post about last night’s Reds game.

The Reds are simply stuck in the mud, and outside of a few really nice positives (Todd Frazier is great, Votto is back, Leake, Cueto, Iglesias and of course Aroldis) there are some really depressing aspects of the Cincinnati Reds and they’re going to ‘one up, one down’ us all year at best.

Just as I thought to myself last night that Brandon Phillips has been playing awfully well and doing it quietly, he’s down with a turf toe. Jay Bruce went 0 for 4 again, and he’s down to .167 for the year. This is one of the most pitiful seasons I’ve ever seen a player have. It is sad to acknowledge. Billy Hamilton collected a couple hits, and yet he’s floundering at .211 in his own right.

The Reds just aren’t entertaining. They’re not even good enough to ‘tease’. They are the antithesis of mediocre.

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The Bull Ride is over.

Really sad news today coming out of the Queen City. Homer Bailey will have Tommy John surgery, ending his 2015 season and adding questions to when he will be back in 2016, and what kind of pitcher will come back when it happens.

Bailey has always been one of our favorite starting pitchers in the big leagues. We remember the 2004 day that Homer Bailey was drafted; the reports that came out were that he didn’t really care for baseball. He just did it because he could make a lot of money at it and threw hard. That’s proven to be false; there has always been an immense tiger in this guy’s tank.

Then there were reports that Bailey wouldn’t listen to coaching and suggestions about his pitch repertoire. Again, Bailey seemed to adapt and adjust as a soulful member of the Reds clubhouse. He may have never been in contention for a Cy Young, but when this guy was on; he was absolutely unhittable. He did learn to pitch, and he definitely took instruction.

We point to obviously the two no-hitters and game three of the 2012 NLDS – a game that Bailey should have won at home in Cincinnati to send the Reds to the NLCS and possibly on to a title. Those were the moments where you saw Bailey at his absolute best. There were parts of two seasons earlier in his career where down the stretch, he was one of the best pitchers in baseball. You saw flashes, you just never got it for the entire year.

Unfortunately, this seems to be another domino falling in what we knew was going to be an inevitable end to a window for the current nucleus.

The Reds will come to task from the media for handing Bailey that huge contract extension; but they did it for their fans. This guy threw two no hitters. Scouts saw the same thing we all did: a guy who could blow people away with 97 late in the game after 100 pitches. That said, everyone remarked on the high stress delivery Bailey had. Every time we joked with some friends about who we wanted in the ‘who is next for Tommy John’ pool, Bailey was the only name we wanted in the draft. Now it’s no longer a joke. It’s very possible that Homer Bailey never regains his dominant form.

It’s been a helluva ride, and we’re rooting for the guy. He’s definitely in our top 10 favorite starting pitchers of all time. We don’t want to sound like this is an obituary for the guy’s career; we’re rooting for you Homer and hope to see you take the ball again every fifth day and end your career in Cincinnati on a high note. Teaching that next youngster how to grab the bull rope when the lights go on.

Is Jay Bruce’s career as we know it over at age 28?

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Jay Bruce went 0 for 5 tonight – striking out three more times, and ending his night with a horrible at-bat with the bases loaded that could have won the Reds the ballgame (they inevitably lost in the next inning). Bruce is down to .164 on the year; and while the ‘it’s still only April’ crowd can be heard, we’re starting to wonder if Jay Bruce as we knew him; the perennial All-Star Jay Bruce, is never to be heard from again.

Our greatest fear seems to be realized with Bruce. It is that; an offseason and time off simply does not fix a player trending the wrong way. Some can rebound, and some continue to corkscrew. While it should normalize to his career 24.6%, his strikeout rate sat at 32.8% before factoring in three more strikeouts tonight. Normalizing to strikeout a fourth of the time is by no means good.

In short, right now Jay Bruce looks like a 12-year old kid who went to the batting cage; and that kid’s parents are very poor. He’s put his quarter in the machine and he’s going to swing the damn bat. It doesn’t matter if the pitching machine is serving them up high or not.  He contains no regard for where he’s hitting the ball or his surroundings. He’s going to swing as many times as he can before the quarter tells him he’s out of swings.

We see a dead-pull hitter right now, who is so deep in his own mind; we wonder if he can right this ship. What in the Hell happened to the .300 hitter who came out of the minor leagues using the entire field? Where did he go? Where did his regard for a good approach go? The legendary hot stretches are waning, and the slumps are becoming prolonged. His everyday play for the last year has been a slump.

We could show you his stats for his last 153 games – but we don’t want to. We don’t want to see it for ourselves because it might shed more light on a horrifying reality. A reality that; at 28 years and 22 days of age, one of our favorite players ever is done. A player that was supposed to lead the Reds into the next generation with his talent has somehow had his best days move behind him.

We are rooting for you Jay – we hope you find whatever has become lost.

“We don’t anticipate winning at Busch” – Why Reds Manager Bryan Price is a Squid

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Want to know why as a Reds fan I don’t write about this team every day anymore? Look no further than what Reds Manager Bryan Price said recently in the St. Louis Post Dispatch:

When you go certain places and you win, you anticipate winning there,” Price said. “There’s a good feeling that you have as a team when you go into ball parks where you’ve had success in the past.

“I think the complete counter is our situation here. We haven’t had success here for the last several years here and I don’t think we anticipate success here, as much as we work at it. (But) there’s certain places where guys just love to go and play. Whether it’s going to San Diego and pitching or going to Colorado and hitting, there’s certain things that guys get excited about.”

This is the guy  who leads? Seriously?

Price is the type of guy who holds his bladder for an entire four hour flight back from the West Cost because he doesn’t want to upset any flight attendants, even when the fasten seat-belt light is off.

He was a great pitching coach, but lacks the surly edge quality that every man needs to be a good manager. When the Reds hired Price, I decided that I was okay with it because it was going to be the same group of veteran Reds core players continuing to trying to make a run and by sliding Price into the spot; it wouldn’t shake things up too badly.

However, in the year and change since; it’s become clear that the guy is a mouse; and that window you feel closing is shutting more quickly because Price is a weakling that doesn’t raise the stakes of his players or argue enough calls, or get the most out of less.

Bryan Price is the nail in the Reds coffin.

Are the Cincinnati Reds Good?

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[Box Score]

Hold your firesale just a damn minute. Something magical *might* be taking form in the Queen City.

The Reds survived a start by Jason Marquis (he actually, really struck out seven hitters) against the feared St. Louis Cardinals and have now begun the 2015 campaign 4-0 after sweeping the Pirates and a thrilling Friday night victory over the rival Redbirds.

The Reds appear to have their on-field leader back. This is as close as anyone has seen to 2010 Joey Votto in a long time. Votto hit a pair of home runs – the first was a prototype Votto two-run shot to left field to give the Reds a 2-1 lead – and the second was almost the same exact home run to give the Reds a 4-3 lead.

The Cuban came on in the ninth to lock down his 114th save in a Reds uniform, his second of the season, and blew away the final hitter with 101 MPH gas to match what his license plate on his fast car says.

The Reds are winning with timely hitting, quality starts (which seem unlikely to continue), and….. a little bit of luck.

Billy Hamilton is also worth mentioning for a reason why the Reds are winning. He’s getting on base, and he’s stolen eight bases in four games.

Johnny Cueto goes tomorrow afternoon for a chance to start something really special.

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The Toddfather, Bruce, Cueto make it a Reds Opening Day to Remember

[Box Score]
[Cincinnati.com]

This might have been the last one – so I hope you enjoyed today. Actually, take away the ‘might’. If you’ve followed the game long enough, you know in your heart this was the last time that this current core will take the field on Opening Day in Cincinnati as a group. Today almost told us that much. It was a beautiful win, a great start to the marathon that honored Opening Day in the city it should most be honored in. But on more nights then not, the Reds aren’t going to get the type of outing Johnny Cueto provided them with.

When they don’t have that type of performance, it could be a rough go for them. And it was almost a tough day anyways with their lack of a set-up man. When Andrew McCutchen homered to that little spot in right center that he always seems to sneak one out to in Cincinnati (he kills the Reds more than Billy Hall ever did), it seemed like the Reds were going to waste Cueto’s great outing and Bruce’s laser into the Moondeck in right.

Todd Frazier would have none of it – he hit a ball into the upper tank in left in the bottom of the 8th off Tony Watson that would claim the day for Cincinnati. It came after Billy Hamilton and Joey Votto singled to apply some pressure to the lights out reliever.

And one more time, the core of Bruce, Votto, Phillips, Mesoraco, Frazier, Cueto, Chapman had one once the Cuban came in and dominated the ninth inning like he usually does. But if things go bad like we think they might – the Reds will make some moves and some of the veteran faces we’ve all grown the love and attachment with won’t be here on this day next year.

So we appreciated today for what it was, a great memory that we’ll always have and at least a day in first place in this season where the world seems to be doubting the Reds.

Cincinnati Reds 2015 Team Preview

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We lead off our 2015 team previews with our poor, beleaguered Redlegs.

The Reds had a weird off-season. They mulled the possibilities of trading the likes of Jay Bruce, Johnny Cueto, and really any other veteran that teams would listen on. They ended up settling on sending Mat Latos to Miami for a prospect arm Anthony DeSclafani. Their marquee move of the off-season was trading minor-league pitcher Ben Lively for Marlon Byrd. Byrd will make $8 million this season and has a $8 million team option for 2016.

Basically, the Reds didn’t really want to do much to go out and get any true help but were very careful about how they tried to sell. They’re in a weird purgatory stage where they’re not really building to go for it, but they don’t want to raise the surrender flag too early in a season when they’re hosting the 2015 MLB All Star Game. That might be the only saving grace for the Reds current core that this roster was supposed to be built around for a long time.

If the Reds do fail to be competitive in the first half of 2015, we look for them to become major sellers in the market from the time the All Star Game ends and the July 31st trading deadline.

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Marty Brennaman is ready for another grumpy season as the voice of the Reds!

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God I can’t wait for the Reds to be a couple games under .500 in early April and to have to climb in my car and find Marty Brennaman calling the Reds game. You flip the dial to 700 WLW and without knowing the score, you know the score just by listening to Marty’s voice.

When the Reds are losing, Marty is Mister Miserable in every way, shape, form. Marty hates everyone, and everything in his surroundings and must feel like he’s wasting valuable time in his life when he could be out at Maketewah Country Club having a cigar and playing 18. Or sitting in a sauna. Or doing things that old men do when they’re financially secure and successful and at retirement age.

It wouldn’t be Reds season without Marty B. being angry. And you know what? I’ve got something for you Saberheads who think that Joey Votto is the perfect player: he’s not. Marty might voice frustration over the walks, which is really Marty voicing frustration over Votto having plate appearances in which he didn’t make an out. But I’ve watched enough Joey Votto the last few seasons to know this:

He’s too damn submissive in the batter’s box. I, myself; am sick of Votto choking halfway up the bat on a 2-0 count and getting too cute with a damn fastball, trying to place-hit the damn thing into left field because it’s ‘a beautiful piece of hitting’. Drive the damn thing into the seats. You’re a middle of the order hitter, you are being paid to mash like you did in 2010, you certainly aren’t going to lead with your voice in the clubhouse and that’s fine. Swing the bat like a leader. Stop being content to give up an at-bat and spoil pitches and take fastballs thrown right down the heart of the plate while you bend over and look at it because the full count offering isn’t going to be as good.

Votto is a completely different hitter than he was when he was the MVP – his approach has changed and entire philosophy on hitting – it doesn’t mean he isn’t a good hitter. Of course his stats support that he is productive. But the choking up the bat and being so passive has to stop or the Reds will continue to struggle because the guys behind Votto simply don’t have the ability to win an MVP as he once did. I get what Marty is trying to say, he’s just gone about it in the wrong way.

You just knew Jay Bruce and Mat Latos didn’t get along

Jay Bruce is back at Spring Training camp, and he’s doing some talking. For a quiet guy, he actually said quite a bit.

In summation, he said the knee feels 100 percent and he doesn’t want to talk about it anymore. He’s not interested in being the Jay Bruce of 2011 or 2012, he wants to be better than that. We’ll never fully know exactly what he meant with the Latos quote, but it probably stems from the dugout incident last season and some other dust ups behind the scenes.

It’s a lot of the same talk from Bruce. He still seems to say the same things we’ve always heard him say – that talk is one thing and going out and putting up the numbers between the white lines are another. I think the biggest question that remains unanswered and the most important; is whether or not Bruce truly believes that he’s capable of still peaking and being close to a superstar in this game. Only Jay Bruce knows the answer to this in his own mind, and if it’s not a resounding ‘yes’, if there’s any self doubt, it’s unlikely to ever happen at this stage.

Time is ticking, and if the Reds are going to be better than ever, they need Jay Bruce in the worst way to go off and stay hot one full season.

Obviously, we’ll be living and dying with every Bruce at-bat of 2014. Naturally.

Mat Latos slams Reds Organization

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My thoughts on Mat Latos’ comments on the Reds are; 1) you can never trust a ‘Matt’ with only one ‘t'; I maintain. And 2) the Reds are in rough shape as-is, they don’t need a guy with the make-up and propensity to slam a team after he’s gone anyways.

After all, he’s the guy who gave up the grand slam to Buster Posey that this current core will never recover from. We all remember it, it was the death blow. He served that one up. That’s his place in Reds history in my book.

Now for his comments:

When Scott was there, we had guys doing exactly what they were supposed to do. After Scott left, we had guys with two years in the big leagues, in the clubhouse, on their phones, laying down in the video room, just hanging out during games, not in the dugout, not cheering their teammates on. Our dugout looked like a ghost town.

After Bronson, the same exact thing. We had starters in there roping our (clubhouse attendants), like, cattle-roping our clubbies. Guys on their computers, buying stuff, hanging out in the clubhouse. We had a guy with a year-and-a-half in the big leagues wandering around the clubhouse, hanging out. We had a closer in there sleeping until the seventh inning. We lose that veteran leadership, that’s what happens. You can’t have that . . . it turns into a circus.

I thought the Reds mostly responded in a professional manner, taking some underhanded shots at Latos in the process without crossing too many lines.

That said, I think Latos’ tirade has some shreds of truth in it. I do think the Reds clubhouse lacks a true leader, and they have some guys who probably spent the game screwing off on their iPad and social media. I have no issue with Chapman sleeping until the 7th inning; he’s an odd bird and he throws 103 MPH. He can do whatever the Hell he wants.

But the Reds’ lack of a backbone showed last season as their sheep of a manager led them to slaughter. Votto and Bruce have never shown the ability to lead or to really want to be that type of persona in the locker room. I think they’re in desperate need of a veteran who can be a leader – it’s not going to be Marlon Byrd.

It all points towards a season ahead in which you’re probably looking at around a .500 team if everything goes right. And everything hardly ever goes right.

The Reds disappointed and failed to win a playoff series with Mat Latos; good as he thinks he is. They can do the same without him. There is probably a fair degree of hard feelings here as Latos pointed out that the Reds chose to try to re-sign Johnny Cueto rather than him. I doubt a Cueto deal ever comes to fruition, but the choice is easy.

I liked what Homer Bailey said best about it – which is telling without saying much:

“If this was a court of law,” said Reds starter Homer Bailey, “the cross examination would go after the credibility of the witness.”

I also remember an incident where Latos and Bruce got into it in the dugout pretty good. Bruce and Bailey are two guys who get along with pretty much everyone and by all signs are well-liked in the Cincinnati clubhouse. For there to be no love-loss with Latos means Latos probably wasnt the best ingredient in the clubhouse himself.

Most surprising is Latos’ admission that the MILF Hunter himself, Bunny Arroyo was a key clubhouse cog! I know Arroyo was an awesome guy but never knew he was a leader – even though he reportedly took his job very seriously and notoriously pitched through an entire season with mononucleosis.

Eric Davis has a ’44 Magnum’ which is like 5-hour energy for the baseball fan

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Because Eric Davis – the Eric Davis who served as one of my childhood idols – is my Facebook friend, I am privy to this type of information.

Apparently he has an energy drink ready to enter the market at a store near you soon that will be like five hour energy.

I have no  interest in this other than it looks cool and it’s a product endorsed by a guy I adore and respect. I drank half a bottle of five hour energy once at my desk and thought I was going into cardiac arrest the rest of the afternoon.

I still think it’s a cool and unique looking product that will sell and I liked getting a first look at it from being connected with Eric The Red on Facebook.