Category Archives: Cincinnati Reds

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.

Our First Baseball Game of the Year: Reds complete weekend sweep of Nationals in Cincinnati

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[Box Score]

An overcast day – the final day on the calendar in May – was as good of a day as any to make our first trip of the year to the ballpark to see a game live.

The Reds didn’t disappoint their home crowd as they have on so many Sunday’s in the past. The Nationals bullpen melted down in the bottom of the 7th inning, allowing six runs that took a 2-2 ballgame to an 8-2 game which was the final score.

As for things we saw at the park today that we’ve never seen before, Joey Votto drew a three-ball walk. We saw it, and had the silent thought ‘hey that was only three’ but Votto dropped his bat and trotted down to first so quickly we thought we were just tired.

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One of the best places to eat at the park these days is Mr. Red’s Smokehouse. When I started making trips to Riverfront Stadium, they had nothing like this. Now the Reds welcome a piece of the menu from every opposing team in baseball. A really cool idea.

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We had the crablegs sandwich for lunch – dubbed the “U.S. Capital Crab”. It was very good but almost too salty with all the damn Old Bay seasoning on it.

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Who says Bryce Harper doesn’t like to sign autographs. He signed for every kid that was doing the Redlegs Run-on. I’m sure each Red liked seeing the Bryce Harper signature on the ball by the time the kid arrived at their spot.

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The Reds have started to do a cool new feature when they announce the staring lineup. Michael Lorenzen hit 8th today. That seems to be a trend all around the National league right now.

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The Reds we know at the core might not be much longer. Granted, there are a few reserve names penciled in there. But several of the guys on this list may not be wearing the uniform much longer. If indeed this was the last time we get to see a Jay Bruce or Brandon Phillips play in a Reds uniform, we wanted to make sure we had this here. You just never know.

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There’s Todd Frazier next to Billy Hatcher in the National anthem. The Toddfather had himself a day. Towering bomb to left to kick off scoring and two other hits.

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Michael Lorenzen had a really nice day. He was throwing the ball well and not missing his spots by much, spotting up the fastball at 92 to 94 MPH. He walked the bases loaded in the top of the seventh which led to the only two Washington runs and was subsequently pulled. But overall, this guy has a nice arm and fluid delivery.

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Draftkings’ advertising is taking over baseball. We cashed in our 50/50 this afternoon at least. My wife asked me if I thought any players played on Draftkings. I had never really thought about it – but they might.

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Harper getting his warm-ups in with Ian Desmond.

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Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa.

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Denard Span is a quality, unheralded player. Really glad I got to see Denard Span play. He ran down a couple deep flies in center field. He has great range and covers a lot of space that you can really appreciate when you’re at a game live.

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Here’s a guy whose name will become a lot more well-known as this blog entry ages: Wilmer Difo. He didn’t play today.

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Harper flew out to left, walked twice, and grounded out. He scored one of the two Washington runs. Pretty neat that in the finest month of his big league career we were able to see him in action.

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.