Author Archive

Cincinnati Reds Discover The Err(or) Of Their Ways

Defense wins championships. It may be old hat, but it still rings a ton of truth. Cincinnati has improved in most, if not all categories this year, which has allowed the Reds to put themselves in better position to win games.

You can tout a better offense, game strategy, veteran leadership, and more focused pitching. Although, for my money, I would have to say the Reds can point to their defense as the biggest reason as to why they will find themselves in Philadelphia Wednesday night gladly shaking off their numb limbs in the chilly October air eager to play some postseason baseball.

The Reds may not have overpowered every team this season, but they did keep the possibility of a victory close to their chest by simply doing what they are supposed to do.

Cincinnati committed just 72 errors this season in 162 games. That’s the third-fewest in the National League, and their fielding percentage of .988 was second best in the NL.

The stat that might surprise you the most is the fact that Cincinnati had 106 errorless games in 2010. That mark is a new team record. The previous mark of 99 error-free contests was set in 1992.

The past two Dusty Baker led Reds squads had a penchant for booting the ball. Cincinnati had 89 flubs in 2009 and a depressing 114 in 2008 and their record showed their lack of a defensive prowess. If you are counting, that’s 42 fewer errors than just two years ago… 42!!

What would the Reds say is the reason for the change?

Left fielder Jonny Gomes explained to Yahoo! Sports, “I think this team has really responded to Dusty’s style of baseball, Dusty’s style of managing. I think this is actually the first year where this it’s his group of guys. He was able to catch them for the first day of spring and establish the style of ball he wanted to play.”

I’ve heard all the comments from the Dusty Baker haters out there and I’m not about to disagree with them or defend Dusty in anyway. I can see their point, but I would also have to say that Baker took the Giants, the Cubs, and the Reds to the playoffs in a relatively short time with each of those teams.

That has to count for something, even if the following years with the Giants and the Cubs were not the greatest. Those teams did get the chance to experience success and taste the playoffs under Baker’s direction.

The Reds are doing just that this year. Cincinnati got rid of the some cancers that attributed to their bad play and poor baseball in the past and returned to basics with a group of guys who truly believed in playing winning baseball.

The result is 91 wins, a division title and date with the almighty Phillies at 5:07 p.m. Eastern Standard Time in the city of brotherly love on Wednesday in the National League Division Series.

Reds fans, where ever it is you take in the game on Wednesday, take the time to raise a glass and toast the fact that October baseball has finally returned to Cincinnati. If needed, toast a second time to hoping that we can experience a repeat performance in 2011.

Read more MLB news on

Rookie Mike Leake of Cincinnati Reds Done for the Year

Outstanding rookie Mike Leake will not be a part of his team as they make their first playoff appearance in 15 years.

This is from the Cincinnati Reds Team Report on Yahoo! Sports:

RHP Mike Leake won’t pitch again this season, and he won’t be on the postseason roster, manager Dusty Baker said. Leake, Cincinnati’s first-round pick in 2009, hasn’t pitched since Aug. 24 due to fatigue in his right shoulder. He finishes the season 8-4 with a 4.23 ERA in 24 games, the first 22 as a starter.

It is a shame he will not take part, but I would rather see him have more than just one halfway decent year.

Read more MLB news on

Cincinnati Reds Clinch Spot in Playoffs

I wrote Its Getting Hot in Here, So Take Off All Your Clothes back in May. I was laughed at, ridiculed and told to cut back on the drinking (or smoking) because it was messing with my head. But I was just fed up and could not take watching awful baseball anymore.

Before my head gets too big and explodes, though, I have just a few things to back up my proud smile today.

First of all, yes, I know it takes more than just attitude to win. The missing ingredient, they said, was talent. The Cincinnati Reds apparently lacked the talent to win, or challenge, for the National League Central Division.

The following tidbits, provided by the Cincinnati Reds Team Page on Yahoo! Sports, prove otherwise:

CF Drew Stubbs robbed Houston’s Carlos Lee of a two-run homer with a leaping catch at the wall. “When it was hit, I honestly didn’t think I had a chance,” Stubbs said. “But it hung up long enough for me to get to the wall.” Stubbs batted lead-off and went 1-for-3 with a walk.

RHP Edinson Volquez went six innings and allowed two runs on the seven hits in a no-decision against the Astros. He struck out eight and walked one. Volquez, who has been effective since rediscovering his mechanics during a brief demotion to the minors, will get strong consideration for a playoff start.
LF Jonny Gomes went 0-for-4 to snap his career-best 11-game hitting streak. He went 15-for-43 (.349) during the streak.
LHP Aroldis Chapman earned the win with a perfect inning of relief, with his fastball hitting 101 mph, according to the scoreboard readout. However, one of his two strikeouts came on an 84 mph curveball.

RHP Nick Masset hasn’t allowed a run in any of his last six appearances covering five innings. His ERA his last 47 games is 1.34.

REDS 3, ASTROS 2: Jay Bruce’s ninth-inning homer gave the Reds their eighth walk-off win of the season. It was the 21st time they’ve won by scoring in their last at-bat, and it was their 45th comeback victory. Aroldis Chapman pitched a scoreless ninth and was credited with the win.

Apparently the Reds have no talent, and will falter due to their lack of attitude and veteran leadership, something the St. Louis Cardinals (who were heavily favored all season) have in their possession.

This season’s success must have been a mirage.

Cincinnati took care of business folks, even on the road, where they finished 42-39. It’s the first winning record they’ve had on the road since 2000. They finished 42-39 that year, too.

Sure the Reds had their breaks and will need to step it up a thousand notches in the playoffs to be successful, but I don’t care. They gave me something I’ve been missing for my entire adult life—a full summer of baseball worth watching or listening to.

Reds broadcaster and former pitcher Jeff Brantley was quoted as saying, “That’s the kind of thing that makes the hair on your arms stand up,” after Aroldis Chapman hit 105 mph once and 104 mph three times with his pitches on September 25th.

As a die-hard Reds fan, I mirror that statement today. 

Read more MLB news on

Cincinnati Reds: The Summer Is Over, The Season Isn’t

Summer is over, folks. As of today we are in the midst of autumn.

The leaves are in the process of changing and floating to the ground, the nights are a bit cooler, and the Cincinnati Red will get to stave off hibernation a bit longer for the first time in about 15 years.

The Reds in the playoffs—damn, it feels good to say that.

Yeah, the Reds haven’t exactly played great ball over the last month and seem to be in cruise control to ride out the regular season. I’m not really worried for the basic fact that the St. Louis Cardinals have done Cincy the huge favor of collapsing in on themselves and allowing the Reds to play “okay” baseball and not have to worry about anyone nipping at their heels.

Eleven days of the 2010 regular season remain, and the Reds are 19 games over .500, have an eight-game lead on the Cards, and have a magic number of three for the division title. Funny how this is fall (again, as of today), the third season of the year, and Cincinnati’s magic number is three. Is there a higher power working here? I’m kidding, but it is a bit hinky.

It almost seems as though everything is “falling” into place, ha! Sorry, I have been dying to use that phrase for the past week. It’s the title of a song by a pretty good band called Mike Viola and the Candy Butchers, and it fits the situation.

Nevertheless, naysayers will point out that the Reds are now beginning to slide into that yearly poor play phase that they are known for and are lucky that it didn’t rear its head until the last month of season. This, they say, will evolve into an eventual National League Division Series loss.

I say that’s crap.

I say the Reds, although not playing as well as they should, started preparing for the second season within the last two weeks by playing well enough to keep their position and ride out the regular season. Dusty Baker lit a fire under the Reds in April that helped them take off and play winning baseball every month of this season. He will continue to do so.

On the Yahoo! Sports Cincinnati Reds Team Report, Baker indicated just as much: “We’re not done yet. We’re a long way from done. … There’s no comfortable lead, where I come from.” Though you can get much comfortable than right now.

The Reds are just 9-12 this month, but you will get that when you are comfortable enough to sit your regulars, play some up-and-coming prospects, and sit guys aside to allow injuries to heal a bit faster. When was the last time the Reds were able to do that? (That would be 1995 if you aren’t sure or were not alive at the time.)

Yes, Cincinnati needs to be prepared and playing at the top of their game when playoff time starts. I have no fear of that “new to the playoffs” thing many experts like to talk about. These guys are professionals, not kids who haven’t traveled to the big city before.

My only concern is how the Reds’ pitchers will perform in the playoffs. They say you have to score to win games, but most of their playoff brethren have staffs that can (and will) keep you from getting anything easy in the postseason. Those bats have to be alive, and the baseball mindset needs to be in high gear. I’m confident in the fact these things will happen.

Reds fans, the summer may be over, but the season isn’t. Rejoice!

Read more MLB news on

Cincinnati Reds: 12 Games Till Christmas for Fans

Twelve is the magic number the Reds have at the moment to garner the National League Central Division title, and with it their first playoff berth in—guh—15 years! And, with a 7-game lead on the St. Louis Cardinals, the Reds are in a good place..

Cincinnati has not seen the postseason since 1995, when they made it to the NLCS before being swept by the Braves. And the 1995 team and this year’s squad are similar in that they are not overpowering, but are, rather, more efficient than others.

In 1995, despite the season being shortened to 144 games, the Reds had Ron Gant and Reggie Sanders with 29 and 28 home runs, respectively. But no one else had more than 15.

In 2010, Joey Votto has 34 dingers thus far and Jay Bruce has 20, but four others could easily hit the 20-mark before the season ends.

Back then, good ol’ Pete Schourek led the way with 18 wins, and John Smiley added 12, but no one else had more than seven. Of course it’s easy to have low numbers when 13 different pitchers started games for the Reds that season.

This year, Bronson Arroyo has 15 wins so far, Johnny Cueto has 12 (though he should have almost 20), and Mike Leake is next with eight. And just eight pitchers have started for the Reds this year.

The most recent Yahoo! Sports Cincinnati Reds Team Report indicates that Cueto’s “missed win” total this year is at six right now. Those are potential wins that Cueto has missed due to blown saves by reliever Francisco Cordero.


The most recent came this weekend when Cordero squandered a 1-0 ninth inning lead in an eventual 3-1 loss to Pittsburgh. Cueto is second in the Majors in that category behind Florida pitcher Josh Johnson, who has seen seven possible wins turned into no-decisions.

And in 1995, ironically, Jeff Brantley—the current radio guy for the Reds—led the bullpen with just 28 saves. No one else had more than five. This year, the go-to guy is Cordero, who has 34, but does his best to see the most batters he possibly can before closing (or coughing up) a game.

It is interesting, though, how Cordero pitches to certain teams.

In that 3-1 loss to Pittsburgh this past Sunday, the hero for the Pirates was outfielder Andrew McCutchen. Said McCutchen about facing Cordero, “I knew what he threw. I’ve faced him a few times. All the pitches were sliders. After you’ve seen it a few times, you recognize it out of his hand. He left it up and I got the good part of the bat on it.”

Well, if that doesn’t make you want to slug Cordero, nothing will.

The pitching staff’s ERA 15 years ago was 4.03, and is now at 4.08 this year, the major difference being that four starters had ERAs under 4.00 15 years ago, but the poor bullpen pushed the team ERA higher. It’s almost the oppositie this year.


Cincinnati beat out Houston for the division in 1995, winning by a full nine games. The Reds lead the Cardinals by seven games right now with 17 to play.


You can compare anything and make assumptions, but my point is that the Reds are doing many of the same things Cincinnati teams have done in the past to be competitive and make the postseason.

It just amazes me at how many times in the recent past this organization has put out teams that could not at least somewhat follow the steps to winning baseball. They instead relied on short-term winning streaks and the hope that other teams would eventually falter. But the other teams never did falter because they stuck to the guidelines of winning baseball.

Luckily, the Reds found and followed those measures this year. I’m just hoping it isn’t lightning in a bottle. I’m having way too much fun to wait another 15 years.

Read more MLB news on

Cincinnati Reds: Getting It Done The Hard Way

The Reds are in prime position for a division title and a playoff berth, but are sure making it hard to believe, and while going about daily chores in the ugliest of fashions. It has worked thus far and I firmly believe its there for the taking and that it will happen. Just try not to look at them or pay too much attention.

The Reds are doing their best to make fans want to wring some necks. Believe me—I am well aware of the how the ugliness can make you teeter on that mountain of faith.

For example, on Tuesday I headed out to my car at 5 a.m. to go to work. Unfortunately, as I turned the key…nothing happened…dead silence. No lights, no noise, no flicker of life…just the early morning crickets.

I think the worst of the worst (an alternator bit the dust), but hope the best (battery needs replacing). I had no other way to work. I thought about jumping the battery, but thought better of it. That ended up being a blessing in disguise.

I called off work, and when “real” person time rolled around, I gave my 2004 Honda a jump. It started right up. I hit the road to the nearest auto parts place to get a battery, I get a quarter mile from my house and the Honda slowly loses all power and comes to a dead stop. Sitting in the middle of a Columbus residential street, my lights don’t work, locks don’t work and windows will not go up.

At this point I’m happy I didn’t jump the battery earlier and try to make it work because otherwise I would have been stranded in the middle of Interstate 71 in the dark of early morning hoping not to be turned into the latest hood ornament on the front end of one of the barreling tractor trailers passing by.

Luckily, a Good Samaritan (John) in a truck stops and asks to help push the Honda on a side street. We do that, but not before a second Good Samaritan stops and assists in that push. Those two take off and I’m examining the engine. A third gentleman (Greg) is working outside his home on the street I’m stranded on and inquires about my ordeal.

After explaining to him my fears about the alternator, and the previous hiccups that make me lean towards it, he says that if you buy a new battery that will give a bad alternator enough juice to get where you are going in order to get it fixed. I grab my backpack and walk home to get my bike and pedal to the nearest auto parts place. Once there, I’m told it will cost an arm and a leg (not quite, but it was not cheap at all).

I had no where near that amount until pay day.

And writing a check at this place is apparently similar to using a debit card, no wait to cash it, it’s withdrawn immediately. So essentially I’d be writing them bad check.

I had to enlist the help of my girlfriend, who was working in downtown Columbus, but she could not leave her office. So I had to bike the 12-15 miles south through the Ohio State University campus to meet her and retrieve the borrowed cash. Not that this is a great distance, but I’m a less than avid bicyclist, so I was not prepared at all. I make it back to my car in the 90-degree heat, dripping with sweat, as the return trip is all at a moderate incline.

I pop the hood on my car and Greg jaunts out from his house with a batter tester and suggests we see if the batter was really dead or my alternator was in the process of kicking me in the proverbial financial crotch. A minimum reading for a “good” battery is a 12.0.

My Honda had a reading of 5.6.

In a nutshell, I could have hooked the battery up to radio controlled car and it still would not have moved it.

I thanked Greg and prepared to lug the dead battery, by bike, no less, to the auto parts place. Greg, who was either really board or way to eager for any human willing to lend assistance, volunteered to drive his truck to the store. I sheepishly declined (trying to not too look helpless), but he insisted, and I didn’t say no a second time.

Mind you, I just moved to this neighborhood two months ago and know only a couple of immediate neighbors and no one beyond two blocks of us. Greg was way cool and drove the two of us to the parts place where I bought the ridiculously overpriced battery and returned the paper weight that had been used as my car’s power source.

On our way back, Greg reminded me to return to the parts place in order for them to conduct a free alternator test to see if I would be shelling out even more money. Thankfully the new battery allowed my car to start up like it was brand new. I thanked Greg who formally owned an Internet Service Provider before selling it a few years ago and now was just, as he put it laughingly, “…trying to be a leader among men.”

More or less, I don’t think he had anything better do to at 8 a.m. on a Tuesday.

Back at the auto parts store, their tester showed my Honda’s alternator was up to par and I was on my merry way.

All of that just to replace a dead battery in my car. It was hectic, annoying, stressful, trying and, downright ugly…but I (and my girlfriend, and Greg, and John, the other Good Samaritan, and my bike) got it done.

That’s how it’s going to be with the Reds. They lost two of the three to the Cards and have been outplayed by the Rockies and will continue to make what should be a full speed ahead end of the season into one that will make you stress yourself out.

It’s not going to be pretty folks, but they will get it done. To get through it, you may want to start drinking heavily.

Oh, and in case you missed it, according to the Cincinnati Reds Yahoo! Sports Team Report, Edinson Volquez could start in the place of Aaron Harang on Saturday. Volquez was recalled from low Class-A Dayton, where he made two starts to work his mechanics. In a combined 13 innings with Dayton, he allowed four runs (two earned), striking out 19 and walking four.

“I feel good,” he said. “I think I can throw more strikes.”

And Jay Bruce hit off the batting tee Tuesday. It was the first time Bruce swung a bat since straining a side muscle a week ago. The plan is for him to take batting practice Wednesday.

“If that goes well, he possibly could be in for this weekend,” manager Dusty Baker said.

Read more MLB news on

Cincinnati Reds Making Final Month Moves

It’s funny to see the number of moves a team makes to prepare for what they hope will be a postseason and then some.

It’s been years, but Cincinnati is moving things like they have been playoff contenders for the last few years.

It is refreshing. You don’t want to be a deer in headlights when the big time hits.

Outside of Aaron Harang coming off the DL and Aroldis Chapman exploding on the scene, the Reds have also sent Edinson Volquez to Class A Dayton. Manager Dusty Baker said not to read too much into it: “We’re looking at him as a quality starter when he has his act together.”

He went on to say, “In case a couple of guys don’t do well or a guy looks like he’s fatiguing or tired, we can insert him in there. There’s nothing wrong with his arm. It’s just a matter of mechanics and location. It gives us viable options in September and hopefully into the playoffs.”

One of those guys who seem to come off the bench and wreak havoc on opposing teams at will, Laynce Nix, was placed on the DL Tuesday. He sprained his left ankle a week ago, and officials say he hasn’t been able to run since getting hurt. Nix told Yahoo! Sports, “It’s slowly getting better, but I don’t want to rush it at this point.”

If Chapman wasn’t enough, the Reds will be adding a couple more players to the roster as of today (Wednesday). They include 1B Yonder Alonso, RHP Carlos Fisher, and catcher Corky Miller. Fisher and Alonso were recalled. Miller’s contract was purchased from Class AAA Louisville.

As a result, RHP Russ Springer was transferred to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Miller. Springer made all of two appearances for the Reds before having surgery to repair a herniated disk last week.

As has been mentioned to me in the recent past. I wonder how long it will take for Devin Mesoraco to make his way up. Only time will tell; his bat could be huge.

Read more MLB news on

Cincinnati Reds Bullpen: Bringing Flames to an Oil Spill

The last couple of nights, you really can’t put the full blame of 30 runs given up to the Giants on the relievers, but the bullpen is a piece that does need some serious help. Unfortunately, Cincinnati has only themselves to blame.

At the trading deadline, they failed to make a move to get some relief help and instead chose to sign a pair of long time veterans (who had been out of baseball for some time). The hope was that Jason Isringhausen and Russ Springer would shake off the rust in the minors and be up to par once the regular season stretch drive hit high gear.

I don’t know how many of you have noticed, but both of them…BOTH….are done for the year before ever putting on a Reds uniform. The following are segments of the Reds Team Report from Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday: “RHP Jason Isringhausen shut it down at Class AAA Louisville. He is done for the year after having a setback in his recovery from Tommy John surgery.”

..and not to be outdone..

RHP Russ Springer had surgery Monday for a herniated disk. He is done for the season.”

This was disappointing more in the fact that the Reds have not been able to make waves to assist the relieving core. Their current in-house moves have not worked out well at all. An example of that would be former starter Mike Leake, who gave up six runs on six hits in one inning Tuesday in San Francisco. He has allowed eight runs in 3 1/3 innings since being moved to the bullpen.

As a result, Cincinnati is discussing whether to shut him down to avoid putting some major hurt on the rookie. The 22-year-old was 8-4 with a 3.78 ERA as a starter, but his ERA has risen to 4.21 in just two relief outings.

Reliever Jordan Smith has been sent down to Class AAA Louisville after giving up home runs in three of his last four outings, though he is expected back when roster expansions take place in September. That’s not encouraging.

Former starter Micah Owings, for whom Cincinnati could find no room, will be free to sign with anyone he pleases after August 26th. The Reds have been unable to make a deal in an effort to get something in return for his departure but have not been successful. An absolute shame, I say. He may not have liked it, but moving him to the bullpen for the rest of the season could have helped with the revolving middle reliever door. Instead, it looks like he’s just going to move on.

Cincinnati has even recalled Sam Lecure from Louisville to see if he can be the band aid the bullpen is in need of, and, on Tuesday, he gave up three runs in three innings against the Giants. Compared to how the rest of the staff performed during that game, he might have as well have been Cy Young. As a starter for the Reds earlier this year, he was 1-4 with a 4.86 ERA.

It is really, really hard to complain about what the Reds have not done, or should have done this year because everything (up till now) has clicked and worked itself out. It is quite possible this relief disaster spell will as well, but if Cincinnati plans to continue their stay atop the National League Central, something has to be done.

Yes, Aroldis Chapman will be making his way to Cincinnati and will be in a Reds uniform on September 1st. Cincinnati plays the final of a three-game set with the Brewers on this day, but two days later is the final regular season series with the hard charging St. Louis Cardinals. The problem is that we are not sure how Chapman will work. He could be awesome, he could be adequate, or he could be gasoline on a grass bonfire.

The Reds need a plan B in case Chapman isn’t up to speed. That plan does not have to be have to be drastic and could be an in-house move, but I’m not sure there are too many in-house options they can fall back on.

September is less than a week away, and the time on making this a real season is ticking. I believe the Reds have the “IT” factor to make that happen. They just have to make the decisions and moves to make that a reality.

Read more MLB news on

Cincinnati Reds Say Aroldis Chapman Will Get the Call September 1st

This from the Cincinnati Reds Team Report from Thursday, August 19th:

LHP Aroldis Chapman will be added to the big league roster Sept. 1. “That will give him a chance to stabilize in the bullpen and get more experience,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. “We’re trying to find the right time.” Chapman will be eligible for the playoffs. “We have two extra spots because we have two players on the 60-day disabled list,” Jocketty said.

Now, we’ll see if the hype is worth our while. Starting him in the bullpen is absolutely the best way to do it. If he’s up to par, it will be yet another boost in the race for a division crown…at least.


Read more MLB news on

Cincinnati Reds Using Wood to Assist a Leake

The Cincinnati Reds are 17 games over the .500 mark for the first time since 1999 and to their credit they are making moves that make sense rather than making snap judgements that may blow up in their face.

Last week when the Reds traded for Jim Edmonds many of us, including myself, were miffed at why Cincy would send Travis Wood down to make room. Wood was on fire and making waves at becoming the second Reds rookie pitcher to make a splash this season. Though we now see what the Reds had in store, or at least, figured out what they can do.

Cincinnati has officially put Mike Leake into the bullpen in order to cut back on his innings and ease the work load on his outstanding, but young, arm. As a result, Travis Wood will be called up on Thursday and will enter the rotation as the fifth starter. A great move to keep both pitchers in the mix as they have made a world of difference for the Reds this year.

Leake was quoted in the Reds Team Report on Wednesday saying, “Obviously, I’d rather go every fifth day, but it will be fun to throw out of the ‘pen—as long as I can do something to help the team.”

The baseball maturity of Leake grows every minute. The 22-year-old righthander has already thrown 135 innings this season and has posted an 8-4 record with a 3.78 ERA in 22 starts.

Wood is 3-1 with a 2.65 ERA in eight starts. He has issued just 13 walks in 51 innings and has a WHIP under 1.00.

And another thing. I’m glad to see Micah Owings go somewhere other than taking up space on the Reds roster. He was decent as a a starter, but never really had the stuff to be full time in the rotation. Though he is a great a pinch hitter, maybe he can remake himself as a DH or an outfielder (I’m joking).

For those of you who say the Reds lost in the trade of Adam Dunn to Arizona for Owings and two others in 1998, give me a break. I am an Adam Dunn fan, but he only hit home runs when the bases were empty.

He was the king of the meaningless dinger and seemed to continually go in reverse in his efforts to just get a base hit. You can hit 40 homers, but when you struggled to get 100 RBI, something is obviously not right.

Don’t get me wrong. Deep down I hated to see him go, but the Reds benefited from getting rid of him to find players that were much more versatile in fielding and hitting. They may not have received that from the initial trade, but they created the room to make the team better.

And they have done just that, gotten better.

Read more MLB news on

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress