Category Archives: Cincinnati 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.

Andrew McCutchen is Unbelievable in all ways that one can not be believed

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[Box Score]

[Pittsburgh Post Gazette]

The guy simply does not get enough run in these parts. His remarkable career is passing us by entirely too quickly, in part because the Pirates are blacked out in Columbus, Ohio by Major League Baseball. We only get to catch a handful of McCutchen games per year; and every time we do he does something that is absolutely one of a kind. Let’s preface the post by saying the Pirates weren’t blacked out tonight.

Mike Trout is the best player in the American League. If you hit the ‘freeze frame’ on the National League, right now it’s McCutchen.

As he so often does – he put his team on his back tonight in a game that they had to have. He homered last night also in a game the Pirates let slip away. With the Pirates trailing 5-4 tonight in the top of the 9th inning on the road, he led off the inning with a monstrous home run off Jonathan Broxton to tie it up.

Two innings later in the top of the 11th, the backbreaker. The kill shot. The death knell, and the dagger.

If you’ve watched as much baseball as we have; and lets be modest, if you’ve seen a lot of baseball you knew it was the type of home run that the opposing team just isn’t going to come back from. McCutchen ripped Cincinnati’s heart out and served it to them in their home stadium Saturday night.

McCutchen is the National League MVP again if things continue. He deserves the majority of the vote; even if the Pirates come up short. He’s also got 15 steals in 15 attempts, something no one is talking about enough. McCutchen is close to the perfect player right now; and you’re missing out if you’re not paying attention to the NL’s version of Trout.

Two Must-Note items from last night’s Reds game

Last night, the Reds pulled off another improbably win to move to 1.5 games out of first place in the NL Central. The Reds won an ugly game 6-5, which featured a big blown lead by the Pirates.

We’re a fan of all-world talent here, and the following two videos are exhibits of such.

Billy Hamilton was in the matrix. Look at this little jumping bean refuse to be denied his arbitrary right to first base! Hamilton had three hits in the game and is now up to .285 on the year.

Next up is Aroldis Chapman, who locked down his 20th save of the season. But that isn’t what all the hoopla was about. This was Chapman’s 40th straight appearance with at least one strikeout, a Major League record.

That was the 97th save of Chapman’s big league career. Here’s to about 403 more of these before he is finished.

Let’s tip our caps to Alfredo “Big Pasta” Simon

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Alfredo Simon is 12-3, after getting the win last night in a 4-1 game against the Cubs in Cincinnati.

If it weren’t for Simon, the Reds wouldn’t be 2.5 games out of first place in the National League Central right now.

As we said, he’s 12-3, with a 2.70 ERA and 75 strikeouts to 28 BB. His STEAMER says he’ll finish the year at a paltry 16-9; which at this point would be a monumental disappointment. We’ll take the OVER or the ‘better’ on those figures. For you saber-statheads, his xFIP is 3.93 for the rest of the year, meaning the pitcher who once may have bayoneted the shit out of a man in his native country (ALLEGEDLY); is expected to be pretty average the rest of the way. That means little; because these same stats told us he would never be more than average to begin with.

His last outing was the most Big Pasta outing ever. He went 6.2 innings, allowed four hits, one earned run, and struck out eight. That’s pretty much Simon in a nutshell when he takes the mound this season. He’s a quality-start machine, seemingly never gets hit hard, uses his fielders, strikes out a few more than you thought he would, goes deep into the ballgame, gets his win and heads home.

He was incredibly effective in his long-relief role in years past, displaying a greater value if you watched him. He would come into a game and strike out five of six batters often times and not be touched in a game that was a runaway. You had to figure Bryan Price saw something in him that could be harnessed and shaped into more, but no one saw this coming.

At one moment in time, in a baseball season that could have easily been deemed meaningless for the Reds; an unlikely hero has emerged. Every fifth day when Alfredo Simon bounces the rosin bag on his palm and takes the pearl, I look forward to it. We want to give him his due – he’s been that exceptional that he deserves a post all to himself.

Jay Bruce is entering one of his customary hot streaks

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It’s happening. At least, it may be happening. It’s hard to know for certain, but it sure feels like Mt. Bruce is starting to erupt. And when it happens, there’s nothing that can stop it. You best just get your camera and get the fuck out of the way, because there is no pitcher (any handed) that is safe when the Bruce volcano starts to bubble and burst like so.

When he was in the middle of one of these rages last season, we did a post about the finest hot streaks of his career. By our count, he only really erupted for one stretch last year, and if indeed that is what is going on right now it would be the first time this year that he has done so.

The hallmark signs are all there. It started with the game-winning home run on Sunday. Then he dropped the bat head on one last night for another no-doubter. This afternoon, while you were working (you should have been working you sand-baggin’ son of a bitch), he hit another moonshot that was the difference in the game. Three days, three moonshot home runs off left-handed pitching. Including one in his first career game as a first baseman!

The Reds really need this. They’ve gained 2.5 games on the division leading Milwaukee Brewers in a couple of days, and have the chance to do more damage tonight. With Joey Votto hitting the disabled list, the Reds just need to step up and carry them for a little while.

While I think the Reds have a formidable lineup overall and a good pitching staff, Bruce is the one guy in the lineup who can step in and carry them on his back for a few weeks. He’s one of the few guys in baseball capable of doing that. He’s a truly mystifying player – but if he’s in one of those Jay Bruce grooves – Reds fans are in for the best stretch of their summer. Do not doubt the man when he gets hot.

He *could* change the shape of the NL Central division, single handed. Opposing teams know it, opposing pitchers know it, and they all know they’re in deep shit if he keeps deciding to erupt. There simply without a remedy or solution for him. We’ve also covered that before.