Category Archives: Cincinnati Reds

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.

We still love you, Jay

We are hoping (and praying) that this is not the case, but it is a very real possibility that Jay Bruce is somehow inconceivably entering his final two weeks as a Cincinnati Red. It is sad, and it makes us a little sick to our stomach. This was the player we had hoped that our kids would grow up watching in Cincinnati.

There are whispers that the Reds ownership wants to clean house, and perhaps Bruce is atop that list.

From disappointing, to dispiriting to disastrous. Again: Losing a lot now is a good thing. The more the Reds lose, the less likely those in charge are to dismiss this season as an injury-bombed aberration. Insiders have suggested to me this will not be the case, that the Big Man is sufficiently hissed to do some serious housecleaning. That is good. Boldness is required, if only to change the blood. We know what the current blood can do, at its peak. It’s past that now. Time for a Keith Richards-esque transfusion. (Excellent, OG-based reference, right?)

Gulp.

While we’ve had to check out of doing the Reds every night for our own health (this is just really depressing and hard to watch) we wanted to note that Jay Bruce won the Reds a game last week with his glove, preserving a 1-0 Cueto shutout over those rotten-assed Cardinals in a game St. Louis desperately needed.

If indeed this is it – Bruce’s last ride into town – we will have a lot more to say about it at a later time. Let’s put it this way: no matter what we’re doing that final Sunday of the regular season, September 28th; we’re going to make sure we soak in Bruce’s last three or four plate appearances.

A Bucket List Item Sits in the distance

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Here’s an image you’re likely to see repeated many times over between now and next July when the Cincinnati Reds host the 2015 All Star Game in the Queen City.

I’ve waited my entire life for this game to come to Cincinnati. I’m not exactly sure how I’ll pay for everything, but I have to be there in some form for all the festivities, game included.

As for reviewing the logo, they could have done a bit more with it; but it’s clean and I like it.

Now all I need is Jay Bruce to have an All-Star season and rebound from his 2014 campaign and be there to come full circle in his career. That Home Run Derby in that bandbox has his name written all over it.

Jay Bruce’s nightmare season continues

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Jay Bruce was moved to the bereavement list today for reasons still unknown. As a person who loves Jay Bruce, this is incredibly sad and concerning within a season that has been particularly difficult to sit back and watch him struggle through.

Bruce is down to .215 now, with 10 home runs and 42 RBI. This was supposed to be Bruce’s greatest season ever. It’s going to end up his worst. At least in 2009 when he hit a career-low .223, you knew he was on the way up. You knew his day of redemption would come. If you knew the game at all – you knew that it was all still out ahead of him.

This has a different feel to it. This time, we’re not so sure what it is, or how the story ends. Some knowledgeable fans are actually questioning if Jay Bruce ever finds it again. While we wouldn’t bet against him – we want to point out something that has it’s place in this.

Back at the beginning of this month (a month that has been Bruce’s worst of the season in terms of OPS), Jay Bruce sat down with Eno Sarris at FanGraphs to discuss hitting and his approach. It was a phenomenal piece, and many fans remarked that with a work ethic and approach like that; it was a matter of time until Jay Bruce found his way.

We didn’t say it at the time, but that actually wasn’t our thought. Not as well as we know this player. Our actual thought was ‘Wow, Jay Bruce is doing an awful lot of thinking right now. That can’t be a good thing in a game you want to keep as simple as possible’. Bruce has always been a player who slumps and surges to the extremes. This is because even with all his immense physical talents, Bruce has never truly mastered the mental aspect of the game. That’s why to us, it wasn’t a good sign to learn the guy is so deep in his own mind he might as well be Syd Barrett.

It’s the same game it’s always been. Bruce is a better hitter – we think – when he keeps his approach as simple as possible. See the ball, hit the ball. Don’t think too much in the box. Certainly do not attempt to work on or try new things during the game you’re playing in. We aren’t a big league hitting instructor, but whatever the Reds right fielder has tried this season has been a miserable failure. It’s time to ‘dumb’ it down a bit and do what he did when he came out of the minor leagues. He was a better hitter then.

In the meantime, Jay Bruce the person is in our prayers. He’s a good guy, and the bereavement list typically never means anything but heartache. It’s easy to forget while watching these guys each night that: they are human. They have emotion too. They feel things.

If this is indeed the beginning of the end of Bruce in Cincinnati, it’s been a pretty remarkable run at times. We aren’t ready for that yet, so let’s hope a day of redemption awaits Bruce Almighty somewhere just over the pass.

The Night the Reds offense Put me to sleep at the Ballpark

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[Box Score]

[Cincinnati.com]

I went down to Cincinnati last night with my buddy Joe to see Bryce Harper take some cuts. I was one of the 38,812 last night in a stadium that seemed packed to the rafters. A stadium that was so very quiet all night long because the Reds collected just four hits and as they so often do when the stadium is a sell-out; they just let down.

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Jayson Werth didn’t get any knocks last night, here he is after reaching base on a walk.

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One of the cool parts of the game was a Bald Eagle flying in from center field after the National Anthem. I think his name was Sam the Eagle.

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Alfredo Simon just didn’t have it last evening. He went 4 and 1/3, gave up nine hits and three earned runs. Denard Span owned the Reds last night, tuning them up for four hits on his own.

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Man, Jay Bruce is really struggling. He didn’t really sting anything all night long, and he’s down now to .219 on the season. I don’t know what is wrong with him. I hate to say it, but perhaps he just needs a change of scenery. There’s no reason for a player of his caliber to be having a season like this. Star players simply do not struggle in this matter. It’s painful to sit back and watch him endure.

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The biggest thing that Bryce Harper did last night was robbing Billy Hamilton of extra bases with a web gem, top-ten catch. It appeared that he re-injured himself at first. Always the fear with Harper. We’ve got video of the catch below:

Harper went 1 for 4 with a hit off Alfredo Simon, a walk, and a run. I didn’t realize during the game that he actually tweaked his stance again.

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Here is the Budweiser Party Deck out in Right Field. It was a happening spot last night on a beautiful Friday evening just off the river. One of the only spots that Reds fans could generate any excitement. One of my friends who texted me while I was at the game remarked that ‘beer sales were probably up last night’. He had to have been correct. I had six on my own in about forty minutes. That combined with the Reds offense made me feel really tired.

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Baseball Gods: help Jay Bruce turn this thing around.