Reds Insider
From news of the day to news of the weird, John Fay provides a glimpse of what it’s like to cover the Cincinnati Reds

John Fay
John Fay has been the Reds beat writer for the Enquirer since 2001. Prior to that, he served in a variety of roles for the Enquirer: backup Reds writer, UC beat writer, backup Bengals writer and as a general assignment reporter. He is a Cincinnati native and a graduate of Elder High School and the University of Dayton.

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Monday, April 30, 2007

Minor matters: Two to watch

There is a long list of the pitchers in the Reds' system having very good years. Let me bring two to your attention -- both good stories:

--Richie Gardner. He got the win for Sarasota Monday. He's 3-1 with a 2.20 ERA. His outing Tuesday was typical -- 6 ip, 4 hits, two runs, 1 walk, 6 Ks. Gardner, a 24-year-old right-hander, was the Chief Bender Award winner for 2004. Then he had the dreaded shoulder surgery. Looks like he's well on his way back.

--Pedro Viola. He got the save for Dayton Monday, his second save. He has a 1.59 ERA. In 11 1/3 innings, he's allowed seven hits, two walks and struck out 13. He's a 23-year-old lefty from the Dominican. He signed late -- this is only his second year. He was a starter last year in Dominican Summer League. He went 3-5 with a 2.04 ERA. He allowed 50 hits and struck out 77 and walked 20 in 61 2/3 innings.

May a big month for Redlegs

My story for the Tuesday paper is about how big a month May is for the Reds. They only have one day off all month (May 17). Tomorrow's game with Astros starts a stretch of 16 games in the 16 days. After the off day on the 17th, they play 17 games in the 17 days. That stretch will tell a lot about the season.

Six key games of the month are May 11-13 in L.A. and May 14-16 in San Diego. Last season was lost in those two places. The Reds were 0-3 in L.A. and 1-2 in San Diego. The 16-inning loss at Dodger Stadium -- lost on Ryan Franklin's only pitch of game which was hit for a walk-off homer -- was the toughest loss of the year.

The Reds' success for the month -- really for the season -- will come down to whether they hit enough. They scored 40 fewer runs this April than last, hit 10 fewer home runs and hit 21 points and went from an .830 OPS to .712.

I'm sold on the starting pitching. Everyone but Eric Milton has been good. And you have plenty of re-enforcements at Louisville. But the jury is still very much out on the offense. The last two games were either a good sign or a mirage.

Milton hasn't been much of an issue but he's 0-4 and 4.71 ERA. Is he going to keep getting starts?

You probably heard that Alex Gonzalez was named co-NL player of the week. The guy is so good defensively that the offense is a bonus.

Reds to retire Concepcion's 13

This is richly deserved. Hopefully, it will help get him some more Hall of Fame votes. Here's the release from the Reds:

Reds To Retire Dave Concepcion's Uniform Number

CINCINNATI - The uniform jersey number 13 worn from 1970 through 1988 by Cincinnati Reds shortstop Dave Concepcion will be retired in ceremonies at Great American Ball Park prior to the Saturday, July 28 game against the Chicago Cubs.

At its meeting last week, the board of directors of the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum voted unanimously to retire the uniform number of the Venezuelan native. Each fan attending the 7:10 p.m. game will receive a commemorative replica of a painting that will be presented to Concepcion that day.

"He was the best shortstop of his era and certainly one of the greatest in the history of our storied franchise," said Reds president and chief executive officer Bob Castellini. "Number 13 deserves to hang next to the uniform jerseys of Bench and Morgan and Perez."

Concepcion's 13 will be the ninth number retired by the Reds, joining Fred Hutchinson’s 1, Johnny Bench’s 5, Joe Morgan’s 8, Sparky Anderson's 10, Ted Kluszewski’s 18, Frank Robinson’s 20, Tony Perez’ 24 and Jackie Robinson’s 42. Concepcion was inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame in 2000.

As the starting shortstop on the Big Red Machine, Concepcion was teammates with Bench, Morgan and Perez under manager Anderson on a club that from 1970-78 went 863-586 (.596) and won five National League West Division titles, four pennants and two World Series championships. The ‘75 and ‘76 Reds combined to go 210-114 (.629) and became the National League’s first franchise in 54 years to win consecutive World Series titles. Concepcion was named team captain in 1973.

With 8,723 at bats in 2,488 games Concepcion ranks second in club history in both categories behind Pete Rose. Since 1900, he ranks among the franchise's all-time leaders in hits (2,326; 3rd), doubles (389; 3rd), stolen bases (321; 3rd), run scored (993; 5th), total bases (3,114; 5th) and RBI (950; 6th).

Concepcion, 58, was a 9-time National League All-Star, fourth-most in club history (Bench 14, Rose 13, Larkin 12), and his 5 Rawlings Gold Glove Awards are second only to Bench's 9 Gold Gloves. He was the Most Valuable Player of the 1982 All-Star Game, 3 times was a The Sporting News All-Star and twice won Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Awards. He was voted the Reds' MVP in 1981.

"By virtue of his 19-year career with the Reds, a claim to being the best shortstop of his era and his overall place in Reds history, Dave Concepcion richly deserves this honor, one that rightfully is reserved for those very few players whose careers truly represent extraordinary accomplishment," said Greg Rhodes, executive director of the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Reds 9, Pirates 5

I've got to admit I had the Reds down for a 3-0 or 4-1 loss in this one. Early deficit. Left-hander pitching. Didn't look like a good day for Redlegs. But their bats woke up in big way and they won 9-5. There's a chance that Edwin Encarnacion's three-run triple will be the blow that turns the offense around. We'll see. By the way, Encarnacion is 13-for-25 with 35 RBI with the bases loaded in his career.

Dunn climbs the list; Reds lead 8-4

Adam Dunn's two-run homer in the fifth move him past E.D. in the all-time homer run list:
1. Johnny Bench............... 389
2. Frank Robinson............ 324
3. Tony Perez..................... 287
4. Ted Kluszewski.............. 251
5. George Foster............... 244
6. ADAM DUNN.................. 204
7. Eric Davis....................... 203
8. Barry Larkin.................... 198
9. Vada Pinson.................. 186
10. Wally Post...................... 172
11. KEN GRIFFEY JR. ........ 166
Not a joker in that deck.

Tragic news

This is on the wire:

ST. LOUIS -- Josh Hancock, a key member of the bullpen thathelped the St. Louis Cardinals win the World Series last season,was killed in a car crash early Sunday. The Cardinals said they were told of the 29-year-old reliever's death by the St. Louis Police Department. The team's home game against the Chicago Cubs on Sunday night was postponed. The team said the accident happened in St. Louis, but no otherdetails were disclosed. The Cardinals and police are expected to make a statement this afternoon at Busch Stadium. Hancock has pitched for four major league clubs. He went 3-3 in 62 regular-season appearances for the Cardinals last season andpitched in three postseason games. He was 0-1 with a 3.55 ERA ineight games this season.Hancock joined the Cardinals before the 2006 season. He has pitched for Boston, Philadelphia and Cincinnati.

There was talk about it in the clubhouse this morning. Confirmation came just before noon.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Reds 8, Pirates 1

Ken Griffey Jr. wanted an exact pitch count.

"What was it?"


"That's what I had," Griffey said. "I was in here charting."

Here are the other numbers on Matt Belisle's complete-game gem: 66 strikes, 0 walks, 30 batters faced, 23 first-pitch strikes, 5 strikeouts, three three-ball counts.

It was all over in the 2 hours and 25 minutes.

I talked to Belisle yesterday for a note I ended up not using because of the trade of Chris Denorfia. He said he was going to start this game like he finished his last start: Aggressively. He was from striking out the leadoff batter Chris Duffy on five pitches to the seven-pitch fourth to the 1-2-3 ninth.

“It was a great flow, a great rhythm,” Belisle said. “(Catcher David Ross) did a great job. We were rolling. One of those days. A lot fun.”

Jerry Narron: “He pitched about as well as you can. He’s the story tonight. He was just outstanding. He pounded the strike zone.”

Both Narron and Belisle credited Ross.

The Reds also had 13 hits. Jeff Conine was 3-for-5 with two doubles and three RBI.

Krivsky on McBeth

Wayne Krivsky said the Reds have had an eye on Marcus McBeth, one of the players to be named in the Chris Denorfia deal, for the some time.

"We've scouted him a lot," Krivsky said. "He's consistently had quality outings when we've seen him."

McBeth, a 26-year-old right-hander, was the closer for Triple-A Sacramento. He was 1-0 with 1.80 ERA and five saves in 10 games. He's a converted center fielder. Get this: He was the center fielder as South Carolina who Jon Coutlangus took over for.

Here's a story on him: http://www.sacbee.com/100/story/150570.html

On the Cormier move

Designating Rheal Cormier was something the Reds had to do. You can't keep a guy in the bullpen if the manager is not going to use him, and Jerry Narron wasn't using Cormier.

The deal will go down as one of Wayne Krivsky's worst. I can't blame him for the making the trade. Cormier had a 1.59 for Philly when the Reds acquired. You can chalk up the fact that he didn't pitch well for Reds -- 0-1, 4.50 ERA -- to bad luck. But giving him the extension to make the deal is going to cost the Reds $2 million. Cormier would have vetoed the trade if the Reds hadn't done the extension. But . . .

Right-hander Brad Salmon, the guy the Reds brought up to take Cormier's spot, is said to throw up to 95. The Reds desperately need someone like that.

The biggest effect is from a PR standpoint. It shows they're willing to eat salary to better the team. A lot of my e-mailers were beginning to doubt that.

By the way, it's raining here at PNC.

I feel fine right now, but expecting to come down with something at any moment. I was alone on elevator at the William Penn when it stopped on the seventh floor. Twelve members of East Alabama Ballet Club -- and this wasn't a big elevator -- got on. Two of them were talking on cell phones and getting reports on the two ill members of club. The rest begin to chime with their various ailments in high-pitched voices of 13-year-old. I just tried to hold my breath in the corner. There's a huge convention for junior ballet in town. It's made me feel tall.

Cormier designated, Salmon up, PTBNL named

Big moves: The Reds designated Rheal Cormier for assignment. Call up Brad Salmon from Louisville. Also they annouce one of the players from the Defornia trade:

CINCINNATI - The Cincinnati Reds today acquired RHP Marcus McBeth as part of yesterday's deal that sent OF Chris Denorfia to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for 2 players to be named later and cash considerations.

McBeth, 26, is scheduled to report to the Reds' Class AAA affiliate in Louisville tomorrow. He is the 48th player acquired by executive vice president and general manager Wayne Krivsky since he was hired on February 8, 2006.

McBeth had been the closer at Class AAA Sacramento all season (8g, 1-0-5, 1.80, 10ip, 7h, 3r, 2er, 2hr, 1hbp, 3bb, 6k, .200oba). Last year, he combined to finish 3-3 with a 3.07 ERA in 59 appearances at Class A Stockton, Class AA Midland and Sacramento and ranked fifth among all minor leaguers with 32 saves.

Following last season, McBeth pitched in 11 games for Phoenix of the prestigious Arizona Fall League (1-0-2, 4.50) and was named AFL Pitcher of the Week on October 30.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Pirates 3, Reds 1 + Narron on the Dunn play

The Reds latest loss wasn't particularly ugly. No errors. No bullpen meltdown. One base-running blunder. The Pirates scored three off Eric Milton in the first and that was that.

The Reds didn't score until Adam Dunn hit one that nearly made the river in the ninth.

Speaking of Dunn, I heard his play, or lack thereof, is already a topic on Extra Innings. At the behest of the poster, I asked Jerry Narron about it after the game. (Would have done it on my own, by thanks for the suggestion) Anyway, in the fifth, Jack Wilson hit a ball into left. Wilson broke out of the box like he was going to settle for a single. Dunn chased the ball in the same manner. Wilson realized that and broke for second. He was safe for a double.

“Great hustle play by Wilson,” Narron said.

And Dunn?

“We’d all love for him to be a Gold Glove left fielder. He’s not quite there yet,” Narron said.

A lot of people would probably like to have seen Dunn benched. Two reasons not to do it are: a) Norris Hopper's not going to hit one in the river in the ninth; b) Dunn played the ball the way most left fielders do.

But the moment Narron benched, Edwin Encarnacion for not running out that ball in Arizona, he opened himself to talk about this every time there's a play like the Wilson-Dunn play.

Pirates 3, Reds 0

The Pirates scored three off Eric Milton in the first.

Milton was pulled after 4 1/3 innings. A very early hook. Kirk Saarloos came in. I had someone with the Reds tell that another move was coming after the Chris Denorfia trade. But I doubt that Milton's involved.

What we could be seeing is reshaping of the bullpen: Saarloos going to a long role, so the others -- Todd Coffey, for example -- don't have to be used as often.

Milton is looking at a 0-4 record, despite a relatively decent ERA (4.71).

Ken Griffey Jr., who the Reds announced has diagnosed with pleurisy (inflammation of the lining of the pleural cavity surrounding the lungs), pinch hit in the seventh for Saarloos. He walked. Kyle Lohse pinch-ran for him.

Trade: Denorfia to Oakland for 2 PTBNLs

The Reds traded outfielder Chris Denorfia to Oakland for two players to be named later and cash and cash. Denorfia, the 28-year-old outfielder, is coming off Tommy John surgery and isn't expected to play until October.

The deal was in works in spring training, Wayne Krivsky said, then Denorfia got hurt.

The A's called about two weeks ago and said they were still interested.

"We're hoping it's a win-win," Krivsky said. "Deno is tremendous individual with great makeup."

Messed-up question, interesting answer

I meant to ask Jerry Narron if Victor Santos might be the eighth inning guy tonight.

Instead, I asked this: “Eighth inning tonight, might you use Stanton?”

Narron thought, of course, I was talking about using left-hander Mike Stanton against right-handers as well as left-handers, so he said:

“We might use Stanton. Left-hander, right-hander. I’ve got full confidence in Stanton when he’s out there. Last year, he went over to San Francisco and did a good job closing. That’s not say it’s in cement.”

Right-handers are hitting .200 off Stanton, lefties .250. He ERA is 4.91 but he had awful outing a mopup rule. If the Reds went with him as eighth inning guy -- no matter the matchup -- it would push everyone else back. Or they could use Stanton to close and David Weathers as the eighth inning guy.


--Todd Coffey's contract is for $925,000.

--Ken Griffey Jr. was out again, so Narron is running this one out this lineup:

Freel CF
Hatteberg 1B
Phillips 2B
Hamilton RF
Gonzalez SS
Dunn LF
Encarnacion 3B
Valentin C
Milton P

Transactions with Krivsky comments

Just talked to Wayne Krivsky about the moves:

The Reds announced this:

"The Reds and RHP Todd Coffey have agreed to terms on a 1-year contract extension through the 2008 season...Coffey most likely would have been eligible for arbitration following this season as a "Super 2"...also today, RHP Jared Burton (strained left hamstring) was transferred from Louisville to Chattanooga on a rehabilitation assignment."

The Reds had been talking with Coffey since spring training. It wasn't a matter of simply avoiding the pending arbitration.

"I'm glad we go it done," Krivsky said. "It's got to make sense. I'm not going to do it just to get it out of the way. I don't like it going this long into the season."

The Burton move was a home-road thing. Louisville goes to Ottawa and Syracuse. Chattanooga is at home.

I asked Krivsky if he saw guys at Louisville (he was there Monday-Wednesday) who can help the bullpen: "Yeah, a lot of guys. You'll know who when we make a move."

He didn't mention names but the list probably includes Gary Majewski, Burton and Brad Salmon.

Greeting for the William Penn

I'm in Pittsburgh my American Express card is in St. Louis. Left at Landry's Seafood. It's been safely destroyed and new one is on the way. Don't mention that I left to my wife. She tends to get on me about not leaving my wallet out so I remember card. I did that last night and still left the card.

Anyway, that's not why you called.

No word on any Reds' moves. I really wouldn't be surprised either way. Some of the posters to the blog made a valid point: The relievers are running up a ton of innings. Might be worthwhile to go with an extra arm for a while. That would mean optioning Norris Hopper back to Louisville and going with a short bench, which might not be a good idea given Ken Griffey Jr.'s status.

Heard this line on the William Penn Hotel, where we're staying Pittsburgh: "It's so old I think the guy is named after the hotel." Don't know who said it, but I like it.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Reds have to do something

It's only one man's opinion -- mine -- but the Reds have to make a move before the open the series in Pittsburgh tomorrow. You can blame Thursday's 7-5 loss to the Cardinals on the fact that Kyle Lohse suddenly went from lights out to lit up. You can blame on the fact that the Reds didn't have a hit after Josh Hamilton's lead-off double in the fourth.

But, if the bullpen doesn't give up a run in the seventh and another in the eighth, Ryan Freel's manufactured run in the eighth ties it.

The Reds have been outscored 21-7 in the eighth inning. When you're down two touchdowns in one inning after 22 games, it's time to make a change.

There's no quick fix offensively at Louisville. But Jared Burton, Gary Majewski and Brad Salmon are a phone call away. They're right-handed relievers with live arms. That's what the Reds need right now. (I refrained from lumping Homer Bailey into the group).

Jerry Narron said before the game that there's a time when you have to go get someone to fix the bullpen.

I'd say that time is now. The Reds are 6-11 since the 4-1 start. The bullpen is bleeding runs on nightly basis. Yeah, I'd say the time is now.

Griffey's out with soreness in his chest

Reds just announced that Ken Griffey Jr. was scratched with "soreness in his chest." That's all we've got.

Josh Hamilton is good, Part XLI

This from Rob Butcher:

OF Josh Hamilton's solo HR off StL's Braden Looper last night was his sixth home run in his 46th career at bat...below is the list of active players who required the fewest at bats to reach 6 career home runs (courtesy Elias Sports Bureau):
Carlos Delgado, Tor, 1993-94 32
Jeff Francoeur, Atl, 2005.... 40
Matt Kemp, LAD, 2006........ 40
Craig Wilson, Pit, 2001....... 44
JOSH HAMILTON, Cin, 2007 46

It's over: Cards 7, Reds 5

After a 49-miunte delay, it took Jason Isringhausen about two minutes to get the final two outs. It's over -- 7-5 Cards.

David Weathers gave up a run in the eighth to make it 7-5.

Ryan Freel got a run back in the eighth. Walked, stole second (his first steal since April 7), went to third on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch.

Bullpen (Jon Coutlangus and Todd Coffey) gave up another run in the seventh to make it 6-4.

Kyle Lohse gave up a run in the sixth to give the Cardinals a 5-4 lead.

Lohse gave up five straight hits to start the fifth inning. That made it 4-3 and brought up Albert Pujols with bases loaded and no outs. Lohse got Pujols to hit into a 6-4-3 double play, but the tying run scored.

The Reds led this one 4-0 after three. Cardinal relievers have retired 11 straight since Randy Keisler left the game.

The Reds started the game banging away.

Alex Gonzalez tripled with one out in the first. He scored on Phillips' double. Phillips got thrown out trying to stretch the double into a triple. He was out here to there as Marty Brennaman might say. Not a smart play with one out.

Brandon Phillips went deep to straight-away center for the two-run shot in the third. David Ross hit one out in the second for his first home run of the year.

Lohse's streak of innings without an earned run ended at 20. He gave up a two-out RBI double to Chip Schumaker in the third. Pujols followed with a single to right. Josh Hamilton threw out Schumaker at home.

Former Red Keisler lasted 3 1/3 innings. He allowed four runs on six hits, walked none and struck out none.

Lohse went six innings, allowing five runs on 11 hits.

Lineup shakeup II

New lineup:

Freel CF
Gonzalez SS
Phillips 2B
Conine 1B
Hamilton RF
Castro 3B
Ross C
Hopper LF
Lohse P

So Griffey scratched. No announcement why yet.

This from Rob Butcher:

The last time Dunn and Griffey missed a start in the same game:

8/7/05 vs Florida in a game started by LHP Dontrelle Willis. In that game, Dunn pinch hit in the ninth inning.

Lineup shakeup

Jerry Narron is going to run this lineup out against the Cardinals today:

Freel CF
Phillips 2B
Conine 1B
Griffey RF
Gonzalez SS
Castro 3B
Ross C
Hopper LF
Lohse P

The Cardinals are throwing lefty Randy Keisler.

"Get a little energy on the field and see what happens with it," manager Jerry Narron said. "We're not exactly killing left-handed pitching."

The Reds, in fact, enter today exactly 2-6 vs. lefties.

The difference in the lineup really is Norris Hopper for Adam Dunn in left and Juan Castro for Edwin Encarnacion at third. Jeff Conine has started every game vs. a lefty.

I asked Narron if there was a point where the Reds have to go get someone at Louisville in the wake of the bullpen meltdown.

"There is," he said. "The thing about our bullpen is we have guys with basically the same kind of stuff. We don't have anyone who throws in the mid-90s or above."

Jared Burton and Brad Salmon, both at Louisville, do. As does a guy named Homer Bailey. Gary Majewski doesn't throw that hard, but he has a good track record when he's healthy. My guess is Victor Santos gets the next turn in the eighth-inning, right-handed role.

The Reds have allowed 20 runs in the eighth inning in 21 games. They've scored seven. That's not very good.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Cardinals 5, Reds 2

The good news is Reds are averaging six runs and 11 hits over the last two games. The bad news is almost all of them came Tuesday night.

Wednesday's 5-2 loss to the Cardinals was a lot like the five losses on the homestand: Good starting pitching, bad relief pitching, shaky defense and an MIA offense.

And the Bronson Arroyo hard-luck saga continues. The Reds have scored a total of 10 runs in the his five starts -- six were in the last one. He's 0-2 with a 2.86 ERA.

Arroyo went seven innings and allowed one run on five hits. He only threw 96 pitches. But Jerry Narron didn't even think of sending him out for the eighth. I can go along with that. It was a 1-1 ballgame. Arroyo was up to lead off the eighth, and Ryan Freel was on the bench. Freel gets on, steals second and scores, Narron looks smart. But Freel popped out.

When Kirk Saarloos walked Chris Duncan to put the winning run at second with no outs and The Great Albert Pujols coming up, the game was over. Pujols doubled home two.

“I pretty much stunk,” Saarloos said.

The walk to Duncan was the killer.

“That’s not the best situation in the world,” Narron said. “There was nowhere to put (Pujols).”

Oh, yes, the Reds' only run came on Josh Hamilton's sixth homer of the year.

“That’s the way it’s going,” Arroyo said. “At some point, we’ll put something together and get a winning streak going.”

The bullpen has a 8.64 ERA over the last nine games. Given Saarloos' and Todd Coffey's struggles there are as many questions about the right-handed setup man as the closer. Wayne Krivsky spent the last three days in the Louisville, so he got a look at Brad Salmon, Jared Burton and Gary Majewski.

Will we see one of them soon? Is it too early to start talking about bringing Homer Bailey up to pitch out of the pen?

Homer takes loss

Homer Bailey took the loss for Louisville today. The Bats fell to Richmond 5-1. Bailey didn't exactly get beat around. He went six innings, gave up three runs (one earned) four hits, walked one and struck out two. He's 1-1 with a 1.69 ERA.

Jared Burton pitched two scoreless. He gave up three hits, however.

Survey says. . . Reds fans are hard to please

I get a lot of email. But the email I got from the Northern Kentucky University today explains a lot of my other email.

I've always had the distinct impression from the emailers that fans generally hold the Reds to higher standard than the Bengals. I don't know if that's based on history or what. Case point: After the losses to Phillies Saturday and Sunday, a lot of people seemed convinced the season was over. Even though Tuesday's win put the Reds back at .500 and in second place with 142 games to go.

An online poll supervised by Dr. Aron Levin of NKU's marketing research department seems to support my theory. Here's what the university sent me:

An online poll on entertainment in Greater Cincinnati was recently conducted by Northern Kentucky University.

Three questions from the survey were posed to respondents about the Bengals v. the Reds.

--When questioned about team preference, 15% of Greater Cincinnati residents categorized themselves as diehard Bengals fans, 10% as diehard Reds fans.

--When questioned about team performance, 40% of Bengals fans reported being satisfied with the team's 8-8 performance last season. Only 20% of Reds fans were satisfied with the team's 80-82 season last year.

With these results you'd think that respondents would choose Cincinnati as a football town. not so.

--When forced to make a choice between baseball or football: 46% stated that Cincinnati is a baseball town, 38% said Cincinnati is all about football and the remainder had no opinion.

Methodology: 796 residents of Greater Cincinnati (including N. Ky. and Dearborn County, Ind.) were surveyed online during March. Respondents were over 18 years old. Margin of error +/- 3.5%. The study was supervised by Northern Kentucky University Associate Professor of Marketing Dr. Levin, director of NKU's Marketing Research Partnership Program.

Post game postscript

So I walked up to Ken Griffey after the game and say: "Passing Reggie had to be pretty special."

Griffey looks at me straight-faced and says: "Who?"

"Reggie Jackson," I say. "You passed him on the home run list."

Griffey laughs, having cracked himself up at my expense.

"How you going to fall for that?" he says.

I guess he would know that he passed Reggie Jackson to go into 10th place alone on the all-time home run list.

"Been a long day, huh?" Griffey said.

Yes, it was -- early flight, rain delay, 13 runs and 17 hits.

POSTSCRIPT II: From Rob Butcher: U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Chris Franks, 22, of Tryon, NC caught Junior’s 564th home run ball. He returned it for nothing. He only wanted to meet Junior. Junior gave Chris an autographed ball and bat and Chris’ friend an autographed bat.

POSTSCRIPT III: It was Griffey's second home run as a right fielder. He hit one May 3, 1994 off Tony Fossas.

Big night for the Redlegs

Where to start: Alex Gonzalez's biggest night as a Red, Ken Griffey Jr. making history, the Reds finally breaking out offensively, Aaron Harang putting up another quality start.

The Reds 10-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals was a nice one of the Redlegs.

Being on this beat, you tend to get numbed by all the historical implications of Griffey's home runs and RBI. But when he passes Reggie Freakin' Jackson on the home run list, you've got to sit back and shake your head in awe. No. 564 put Griffey alone in 10th place.

Griffey was pretty good after the game:

“To tie him was a little overwhelming. To pass him is mind-boggling. When I started playing 19 years, I never thought I’d be where I am.”

“He’s been there for me – and off the field. I’m sure he’ll find out and call. He'll just congratulate me. Then we'll talk about other stuff.”

"Mine don't go as far as his did. I don't get the 'oh ah oh.'"

But what Jerry Narron said was very interesting. Of feat, he said: "It's legit. That's probably the best thing about it."

Considering everyone above Griffey from his era on the home list has steroid taint on their numbers, what Narron said speaks volumes.

I wasn't able to wait to talk to Gonzalez -- an 8:10 game with a 50-minute rain delay messes with our deadline -- but it was good to see him have a night like he did, given all he's gone through with his son. He was 4-for-5, with four runs and five RBI. And he made one sensational play to rob Albert Pujols of a hit.

"It had to be extremely difficult," Narron said. "But he has not complained."

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

We're ready to go

Looks like the game is going to start at 9 p.m. EDT., 8 p.m. CDT.

It rained like crazy for a half hour or so. We were very thankful for the newly installed windows in the press box. The whole press box got an extreme makeover after MLB saw how bad it was during World Series. It's much nicer -- and you can see from the second row now.

One of the nice things about St. Louis is you can take the light-rail train right to the yard. You can also take -- and I did -- from the airport to downtown.

But it looks like the development around the new Busch is moving at the pace of the development around Great American. Which is to say, very slowly.

Griffey in; Freel out

Ken Griffey Jr. is back in the lineup. He's in right. Josh Hamilton is in center and leading off. Ryan Freel gets the night, or at least part of it, off. Forecast is not good. Supposed to rain. I'm counting on the usual inaccurate forecast and a 2-hour, 20-minute game.

Minor matters

Pretty impressive outing for Phil Dumatrait (6 innings, no earned runs with GM Wayne Krivsky watching. He's 4-0 with a 0.38 ERA.

Rest of the report from Jamie Ramsey:

Louisville snaps their 4-game skid…Phil Dumatrait continues to dazzle the International League…Louisville starters have posted a 1.97era in their 17 games…Aaron Herr with a triple-double…$1 hot dogs/$1 sodas tonight at Slugger Field…Tom Shearn pitches this evening for the Bats…Chattanooga drops one to Carolina…Jay Garthwaite homers…Chris Dickerson extends his hitting streak…Sam Lecure pitches tonight for the Lookies…Sarasota wins again…Johnny Cueto with a solid outing…Ruben Medina with another 2.0 scoreless innings of relief…Michael DeJesus collects 3 hits…Jay Bruce gets 2 hits and ups his average to .343 while Jeremiah Piepkorn’s 2 hits give him a league leading .418avg…Ramon Ramirez starts tonight for the SaraReds…Carlos Fisher missed out on pitcher of the week honors…Dayton wins a close one…Rafael Gonzalez with another sterling outing…Pedro Viola dominates in relief…Denis Phipps has a perfect 3-for-3 night – including a home run…Dayton is 12-2 and still tied for first place – they can’t shake those pesky Lansing Lugnuts (winners of 9 of their last 10g).

MIDWEST LEAGUE PLAYER of the WEEK: SS Chris Valaika (13-for-27, .481, 7rbi, 6r)
MIDWEST LEAGUE PITCHER of the WEEK: RHP Daryl Thompson (2-0, 12ip, 0r, 8h, 1bb, 8k)

SARASOTA: The SaraReds who last night won their 13th game (out of 17) currently have 17 players who were members of last year’s Dayton club. The Dragons in 2006 didn’t win their 13th game until their 26th game (5/2-gm2) and went on to finish the season 67-73

Monday, April 23, 2007

Krivsky in Louisville. . .

Talked to Wayne Krivsky a bit ago for my off-day story. He's in Louisville.

He quickly added that it was scheduled trip. "Don't read anything into it."

So it looks like the club won't do anything in the wake of the 2-5 homestand that was somewhere between horrendous and abysmal. There aren't a lot of options right-handed hitting options at Louisville, and that's what the Reds need. Jeff Keppinger? Jeff Bannon? Nice players, but not the kind of guys you bring up and play every day.

There are pitching options. Homer Bailey's throws Wednesday, I believe. Brad Salmon would add a live arm. Phil Dumatrait has been dominating.

I am surprised that the Reds can't convince Philadelphia to take back Rheal Cormier. The Phils one lefty in the 'pen, Matt Smith, has like eight walks and one strikeout. One of those live arms at Louisville would do the Reds more good than Cormier at this point.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Not a good day in Redsland

Watched most of the game on the tube today (Godfather was on Spike at same time). Not a good homestand for the Redlegs at all.

I'm sure fans would like to see something done. I don't see any solutions in the minors. The prospects closest to majors are starting pitchers. And, other than today, the starting pitching's been good. I'd expect some sort of move Monday, although I have no clue what it'll be.

This club can be competitive in the NL Central, but I don't think it's good to overcome a horrible April. And given the crowds this weekend, I don't think Bob Castellini will sit idly by and watch the club fade.

Went to the game Saturday. Paid $10 to a scalper for a bad seat to avoid the lines. Ended up sitting the right field seats with some friends. I love that view of the game.

Happened to bump into Steve Stewart as he was leaving the Cincinnati Bell Steamboat Deck (or whatever it's called). Got the Bad Boy tour. It's outstanding. View of the game reminded me of Wrigley roof top. Great view of the river and Northern Kentucky.

Friday, April 20, 2007

"It was nice to grab a miracle"

That was Scott Hatteberg's summary of the Reds' 2-1, 10-inning win over the Phillies.

The Reds were down to out when Hatteberg homered off Tom Gordon. "Two outs in the ninth, I"m trying to drive a ball, I'm trying to get to second base. I've caught Flash. I've faced him a lot. I kind of have an idea what he's going to do. He got behind, threw a cutter and left over the plate. I got good wood on it."

The 10th began with Jeff Conine's strikeout. Javy Valentin walked on four pitchers, Ryan Freel singled. Adam Dunn, much maligned by posters on the this blog this very evening, walked. (His on-base is .380, by the way). That brought out Phillips. He was 0-2 before you could say walk off. But he fouled off a couple, got it to 2-2 and lined the game-winner into left. The play at plate was relatively close with Valentin running.

Phillips and Hatteberg had made an error on the same play to let the Phils' lone run score.

“The object of the game is drive in more runs than you let in,” Hatteberg said. “I let in one. I owed us. So it was a good one.”

Jon Coutlangus, the last of the three relievers to throw one scoreless, got the win. Really this time.

Kyle Lohse went seven, gave up an unearned run. His ERA is 1.91 -- 26 hits, 23 Ks, 3 BBs in 28 1/3 innings.

Same old, same old

Same lineup as yesterday. My guess is Ken Griffey Jr. is still ill.

Three things from the Reds

From the Reds (broadcasters thing is a great idea):

MOELLER CLEARS: Chad Moeller cleared waivers and has accepted an outright assignment to Louisville. He is expected to report to the Bats on Monday. Moeller appeared in 6 games for the Reds without a start (1-for-6) before he was designated for assignment prior to Wednesday night’s game.

BROADCASTERS HONONED: The Cincinnati Reds will honor three long-time broadcasters during ceremonies prior to their Sunday, June 10 game against the Cleveland Indians. Radio microphones representing Waite Hoyt, Marty Brennaman and Joe Nuxhall will be unveiled for permanent display below the 700 WLW Radio broadcast booth at Great American Ball Park, alongside retired uniform numbers 1 (Fred Hutchinson), 5 (Johnny Bench), 8 (Joe Morgan), 10 (Sparky Anderson), 18 (Ted Kluszewski), 20 (Frank Robinson), 24 (Tony Perez) and 42 (Jackie Robinson). The first 30,000 fans entering the ballpark for that afternoon's 1:15 p.m. game will receive a commemorative poster featuring the three broadcasters.

THE MINOR REPORT: As mentioned in yesterday’s report, Louisville loses to Richmond in 11 innings…Chattanooga snapped a 4-game skid with a 7-5 win over Tennessee…Sam Lecure with a solid outing for the Lookouts…Chris Dickerson with 3 hits and 2 RBI…Sarasota wins their 5th straight…Richie Gardner with an outstanding effort for the SaraReds…Josh Roenicke continues to rack up saves…Jeff Keppinger played in a rehab appearance…Jay Bruce and B.J. Szymanski both homer…Jeremiah Piepkorn extends his hitting streak…Dayton’s quest for an undefeated season ends…They were the last undefeated team in baseball…Drew Stubbs and Chris Valaika extend their hitting streaks…Jason Louwsma pitches.

4/19 Shearn: 5ip, 5h, 0er, 1bb, 3k
4/18 Dumatrait (W): 5ip, 3h, 0er, 2bb, 5k
4/17 Livingston (L): 6ip, 6h, 2er, 0bb, 6k
4/16 Gosling: 4ip, 3h, 0er, 3bb, 5k
4/14 Bailey: 5ip, 3h, 1er, 3bb, 4k
4/13 Shearn: 7ip, 2h, 2bb, 4k
4/11 Dumatrait (W): 7ip, 3h, 1er, 2bb, 6k
4/10 Livingston: 6.2ip, 5h, 0er, 2bb, 5k
4/9 Gosling: 6ip, 3h, 0er, 2bb, 4k
4/8 Bailey (W): 5.1ip, 1h, 1er, 3bb, 4k
TOTALS: 10 starts, 57ip, 34h, 5er, 20bb, 46k, 0.79era

MIDWEST LEAGUE BATTING TOP 6 (minimum 2.7 PA/team game)
BATTER – CLUB – AVG – G - AB - R – H - HR - RBI
Valaika DAY - .410 - 10 - 39 - 4 - 16 - 1 - 9
Maddox BUR .368 - 12 - 38 - 10 - 14 - 2 - 12
Louwsma DAY .364 - 7 - 22 - 4 - 8 - 0 - 4
Stubbs DAY .364 - 10 - 44 - 9 - 16 - 0 - 6
Hernandez WMI .353 - 10 - 34 - 4 - 12 - 0 - 5
Turner DAY .353 9 - 34 - 6 - 12 - 0 - 7

The shirt off his back . . .

From the Reds:

DOWN & DIRTY: The first 10,000 adults entering the ballpark tonight received a Ryan Freel Dirty Shirt, presented by Widmer’s...Ryan Freel Dirty Shirt Day for Kids, presented by Widmer’s, is scheduled for Sunday...the first 10,000 kids entering the ballpark for that 1:15 p.m. game will receive the collector's item t-shirt.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Some answers after another ugly night

Here's what we found out in the wake the Reds' 8-6 loss to Houston, aka, Bullpen Meltdown II:

--Bronson Arroyo asked to come out of the game. "I was more tired than usual," he said. Arroyo didn't have a good change-up or breaking ball so he threw a lot of fastballs. He said he would stayed in if it was 4-2. But he thought the bullpen could get six outs with a five-run lead.

--Juan Castro pinch-hit in the ninth because Ken Griffey Jr. was sent home because of the flu. Jeff Conine is still hurt apparently. And Jerry Narron was saving Javy Valentin until the Reds got a someone on, which they never did.

--Kirk Saarloos took a lot of the blame for the meltdown. "I walked the first guy on the four pitches. That changed the whole complexion of the game.

Stat of the night: The bullpen came into the homestand with 1.77 ERA. The ERA on the homestand is 11.36.

Reds 6, Astros 1 -- Hamitlon goes deep

Josh Hamilton just hooked a three-run home run to right. That noise you just heard was the crowd getting Hamilton to come out for a curtain call. He's got five in 29 at-bats.

That's a 5.6 homer ratio. ARod was leading MLB at 5.8 going into today. Hamilton wasn't listed because he didn't enough at-bats to qualify.

Hamilton is tied for second in the NL, one behind Jimmy Rollins.

Reds 3, Astros 0

Brandon Phillips hit a two-run homer in the first. The ball traveled the same path as homer last night and his triple the night before -- right to the Reds' bullpen. Josh Hamilton missed making it back-to-back by a foot. Instead, it was a double high off the left field wall. Scott Hatteberg got him in an out later with a double.

Bronson Arroyo's allowed one hit in the first four innings.

Scanning the minor league games, I see that Jeff Keppinger is playing in Sarasota. 1-for-2 so far. It's his first action since he broke his finger in early March. Keppinger will play for the Reds at some point this year is my guess. He can hit.

Minor matters

From Jamie Ramsey:

Louisville loses a heartbreaker this afternoon in 11 innings…Tom Shearn pitches 5.0 shutout innings (hasn’t allowed a run in last 12ip)…Last night the Bats beat Richmond…Phil Dumatrait with another great outing to lower his ERA to 0.51…Jared Burton makes his first rehab appearance…Homer Bailey pitches tomorrow…Also tomorrow - Bats players, coaches and front office personnel will wear Virginia Tech caps for their game vs. Norfolk at Slugger Field…The Lookouts will try to right the ship tonight vs. Tennessee…Sarasota wins their 4th straight and have won 10 of 13 to open the season…Jeremiah Piepkorn continues to dominate at the plate…Ramon Ramirez with a solid start…Jay Bruce homers…Dayton wins again! At 9-0 they are the only undefeated team in baseball…Drew Stubbs and Chris Valaika extend their hitting streaks…Dayton leads the Midwest League in both batting (.323ba) and pitching (1.44era)

How Reds minor league pitching faired since last report (includes today’s Louisville game): 3-2, 46.2ip, 2.51era, 13er, 15bb, 35k

TODAY Shearn: 5ip, 5h, 0er, 1bb, 3k
4/18 Dumatrait (W): 5ip, 3h, 0er, 2bb, 5k
4/17 Livingston (L): 6ip, 6h, 2er, 0bb, 6k
4/16 Gosling: 4ip, 3h, 0er, 3bb, 5k
4/14 Bailey: 5ip, 3h, 1er, 3bb, 4k
4/13 Shearn: 7ip, 2h, 2bb, 4k
4/11 Dumatrait (W): 7ip, 3h, 1er, 2bb, 6k
4/10 Livingston: 6.2ip, 5h, 0er, 2bb, 5k
4/9 Gosling: 6ip, 3h, 0er, 2bb, 4k
4/8 Bailey (W): 5.1ip, 1h, 1er, 3bb, 4k
TOTALS: 10 starts, 57ip, 34h, 5er, 20bb, 46k, 0.79era

Griffey's ill, lineup

Ken Griffey Jr.'s been battling the flu for the last few days. He's out of the lineup. Here it is:

Freel CF
Dunn LF
Phillips 2B
Hamilton RF
Encarnacion 3B
Hatteberg 1B
Gonzalez SS
Ross C
Arroyo P

Heard Doc say last night on Extra Innings that Aaron Harang tweaked his back catching a throw to the mound from David Ross. Harang said Thursday afternoon that was not the case. "I was tired from throwing so many pitches in the fourth and fifth (innings)," said Harang Thursday. "I went to Jerry and told him it would be best (that I come out) because the bullpen had been so good." Found out today that came from someone who would know. Don't know why the Reds didn't reveal that. Asked Jerry Narron if Harang was OK after the game last night. He gave the "situation of game dictated it" answer.

Tribute to Vern

Nice gesture for Vern Ruhle. I never heard of the Idol guy but I'm sure of lot of you have. From the Reds:

VERN RUHLE: In ceremonies prior to tonight's game against the Astros, the Reds will unveil a jersey above the home bullpen in memory of former pitching coach Vern Ruhle, who died January 20 of complications from a donor stem cell transplant for the treatment of multiple myeloma...the jersey will be unveiled at approximately 6:55 p.m....the club's Major League pitching coach in 2005, Ruhle missed the '06 season while receiving treatments for cancer...this season he had been assigned to work as the organization's pitching rehabilitation coordinator at its minor league complex in Sarasota...he is survived by his wife Sue, daughter Rebecca and son Kenny.

AMERICAN IDOL: Visiting Great American Ball Park tonight is Elliott Yamin, one of the stars of last year's American Idol television show...he will watch Reds batting practice from the field and during the seventh-inning stretch will sing Take Me Out To The Ballgame from the Cincinnati Bell Riverboat Deck...Yamin is in town for an appearance tomorrow morning on Whoopi Goldberg's morning drive show, which will be broadcast live from the MIX 94.1 studios...Yamin's self-titled debut album reached No. 3 on the Billboard 200 in its first week of sales.

On tickets

Here's my idea for selling tickets: On Wednesday nights, have someone from the ticketing department head to Party in The Park on Yeatman's Cove with a roll of $5 tickets and a roll of $10 tickets. I'd bet they'd sell at least a couple of hundred. You've got a couple of thousand people with disposable income within an easy walk of GAPB.

But I agree with a couple of the posters -- you can do Great American relatively cheaply.

But the only marketing strategy that works consistently in Cincinnati is winning. Just look at the Bengals, UC and XU. When the Reds put together a winning season, they won't need 4 for $48 to break 20,000 in attendance.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Astros 7, Reds 2; Harang's short night

I was curious why Jerry Narron took out Aaron Harang after six innings. Harang was at 101 pitches. That's not a ton for Harang. He was a bit sick before his last start.

If the bullpen -- Todd Coffey and Rheal Cormier -- hadn't given up six runs, it wouldn't be a big deal. My guess was Harang was still feeling the affects of the flu, although he didn't pitch like it. He allowed three hits, two walks and struck out eight. He retired eight of the last nine hitters he faced.

But Harang wasn't ill.

“Just the situation of the ballgame dictated it,” Narron said, “101 pitches in six innings, early in the year.”

Harang did not seem upset by the decision.

“I worked hard in those innings I got in the jams,” he said. “Mentally, it takes a lot out of you.”

Harang really only had one tough inning -- the fourth when he threw 30 pitches.

Reds 2, Astros 0, and 4 for $48 is back

Josh Hamilton homered in the fourth -- opposite shot to left. His fourth in 24 at-bats. Don't know if he used lower half or not. Do know it goes far when he hits it.

And maybe this will help with the attendance. From the Reds:

CINCINNATI - For the second straight season, the Cincinnati Reds are offering a “4 For $48” ticket program.

For just $48, Reds fans can purchase 4 View Level seats, 4 regular hot dogs and 4 24-ounce soft drinks for all games played Monday through Thursday.

New this season is a fan's choice to upgrade that package. For just $5 more per ticket, fans can select Mezzanine seats, while for just $12.50 more per ticket fans can select Field Box seats. Those upgraded ticket packages still include the 4 regular hot dogs and 4 24-ounce soft drinks.

Tickets must be purchased in advance of gameday online at reds.com, in person at the Great American Ball Park advance ticket windows and ticket kiosks or by calling (513) 381-REDS or toll free at (877) 647-REDS.

The offer is not available for Wednesday night bobblehead giveways on May 23 (Bronson Arroyo), June 3 (Aaron Harang), July 25 (Frank Robinson) and August 22 (Marty & Thom Brennaman).

Reds lead 1-0 and a couple notes

The Reds took a 1-0 lead on Brandon Phliips' third home run of the year. Phillips, by the way, broke out the box like Bob Hayes. Jerry Narron's words to Phillips after he watched his drive Tuesday worked.

It would be 1-1, if not for Ken Griffey Jr. stealing a home run from Luke Scott in the top of the second. Griffey's gloves went a foot or so above the wall to make the grab. Also:

--My man, Mike "Flea" Ball, had me check if Monday's attendance was lowest in GABP history. It was. The game drew 12,521. The previous low was 13,351 on Sept. 6, 2005. Thanks to George French, one of PR interns, for looking that up.

--Wayne Krivsky on the Hopper-Moeller move: “Hopper’s healthy,” Krivsky said. “He’s been playing well. A decision had to make whether to option him to Louisville or bring him up. We thought the timing was right.”

--Jeff Conine is slightly injured. Not sure what it is. But that's why he came out of Monday's game. Narron wasn't sure whether Conine would be avaible tonight or not.

Two catchers

The Reds designated catcher Chad Moeller for assignment and re-instated Norris Hopper from the disabled list.

Hopper will join the team for tonight's game.

The Reds have 10 days to make a move with Moeller. Wayne Krivsky said he thinks Moeller is willing to go to Triple-A.

Minor league report

From Jamie Ramsey:

Bobby Livingston pitches well, but the Bats lose…Phil Dumatrait scheduled to start tonight for Louisville…For the second time in 3 games, a Chattanooga 9th inning rally falls just short…Camilo Vazquez pitches tonight for the Lookouts...Sarasota wins their 3rd straight…Jeremiah Piepkorn collects another 3 hits to extend his hitting streak to 8 games and raise his average to .472…Dayton wins yet again…At 8-0, the Dragons are the only undefeated team in baseball…Chris Valaika had 2 hits and 2 RBI…Drew Stubbs extends his hitting streak to 8 games…Dayton last night played in their 500th consecutive sellout at Fifth Third Field (dating back to the stadium’s first game on 4/27/00).

4/17 Livingston (L): 6ip, 6h, 2er, 0bb, 6k
4/16 Gosling: 4ip, 3h, 0er, 3bb, 5k
4/14 Bailey: 5ip, 3h, 1er, 3bb, 4k
4/13 Shearn: 7ip, 2h, 2bb, 4k
4/11 Dumatrait (W): 7ip, 3h, 1er, 2bb, 6k
4/10 Livingston: 6.2ip, 5h, 0er, 2bb, 5k
4/9 Gosling: 6ip, 3h, 0er, 2bb, 4k
4/8 Bailey (W): 5.1ip, 1h, 1er, 3bb, 4k
TOTALS: 8 starts, 47ip, 26h, 5er, 17bb, 38k, 0.96era

Nice gesture by Harang

The Reds announced this today:

CINCINNATI - Cincinnati Reds pitcher Aaron Harang today announced his Aaron's Aces ticket program for children of military personnel currently serving in the War on Terrorism.

For all Sunday home games the rest of the season, beginning this weekend, Harang will host 30 guests in sun deck Section 143. Along with the free tickets, Harang will provide $10 in concession coupons and a custom-made Aaron's Aces t-shirt.

The groups in April, May and June will be visiting from nearby Wright Patterson Air Force Base.

In addition to the Aaron's Aces program, the Reds are continuing their military ticket programs in which they provide active military personnel with complimentary seats.

Active military members with proper identification will receive complimentary View Level tickets, subject to availability, on day of game only for games played Monday through Thursday. All ticket acquisitions must be made on the day of the game at the Advance Ticket Windows, located at Crosley Terrace at Great American Ball Park. Groups of 20 or more are requested to call the community relations office 21 business days in advance of desired game (513-765-7000).

Reds chief operating officer John Allen, a Vietnam Veteran, sponsors a ticket program that allows fans from the Veterans Medical Center to enjoy Reds games on May 28, June 14, July 26, August 9 and September 5.

Disabled American Veterans Day returns May 25, when the Reds face the Pittsburgh Pirates at 7:10. Pre-game ceremonies will include a ceremonial first pitch and a color guard presentation. A special DAV baseball card set featuring Bronson Arroyo, Juan Castro, Aaron Harang and Brandon Phillips will be given away to the first 20,000 fans in attendance.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Reds vs. Brewers, April 17

Freel, 3B
Hamilton, CF
Dunn, LF
Griffey, RF
Phillips, 2B
Hatteberg, 1B
Gonzalez, SS
Valentin, C
Belisle, RHP

Weeks, 2B
Hardy, SS
Fielder, 1B
Hall, CF
Estrada, C
Jenkins, LF
Mench, RF
Counsell, 3B
Bush, RHP

Hamilton and the farm report

Just finished writing a freelance piece for Baseball America on Josh Hamilton. Made me think: Has anyone gone from "How are they going to keep him on the roster?" to "He's got to be in lineup" any faster in baseball history?

Here's the minor league report from my man Jamie Ramsey:

Louisville loses despite another solid effort from their starting pitcher…Chattanooga drops the opening game of their series with Tennessee…Lookouts relievers didn’t allow a hit in their 5 innings of work…Paul Janish swinging a hot bat…Before last night’s game with Dunedin, Sarasota’s Carlos Fisher named Florida State League Pitcher of the Week for 4/5-4/15 – then takes the mound and fires another gem...Jay Bruce sees his hitting streak end while Jeremiah Piepkorn extends his…Johnny Cueto toes the rubber tonight for the SaraReds…Dayton wins again!...The Dragons are doing just about everything right - .331 team batting average and 1.57 team ERA.

4/16 Gosling: 4ip, 3h, 0er, 3bb, 5k
4/14 Bailey: 5ip, 3h, 1er, 3bb, 4k
4/13 Shearn: 7ip, 2h, 2bb, 4k
4/11 Dumatrait (W): 7ip, 3h, 1er, 2bb, 6k
4/10 Livingston: 6.2ip, 5h, 0er, 2bb, 5k
4/9 Gosling: 6ip, 3h, 0er, 2bb, 4k
4/8 Bailey (W): 5.1ip, 1h, 1er, 3bb, 4k
TOTALS: 7 starts, 41ip, 20h, 3er, 17bb, 32k, 0.66era


From the Reds: TRANSACTIONS: Today the Reds reinstated from the bereavement list SS Alex Gonzalez, designated for assignment IF Enrique Cruz and sent to Louisville on a rehabilitation assignment RHP Jared Burton (strained left hamstring).

RETIREMENT: Greg Rhodes, 60, has announced his retirement as executive director of the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum...he will step down from the executive director position on June 1 but will continue to serve as team historian...

Monday, April 16, 2007

Brewers 10, Reds 6

You knew the bullpen was going to give it up sooner or later. The seven runs (six earned) the relievers allowed Monday were one more than they allowed in the previous 12 games.

Todd Coffey, who gave up the grand slam to Bill Hall, was stand up as usual.

“No excuses,” he said. “I dropped the ball – 4-3 game my job is hold it right there. That’s my fault.”

The Reds’ relievers came with a combined ERA of 1.72 – best in the National League. Monday’s bleeding pushed it to 3.05.

The call in the sixth was a bad one. Umpire Larry Ponchino called the infield-fly run on line drive by Jeff Conine with bases loaded.

“I don't know what the actual rule states, but it looked like he was backpedaling and he ended up having to jump for the ball. I thought the infield fly was more like a gimme kind of pop fly,” Conine said. “I was standing on first base thinking, 'cool. I shattered my bat but I got a single out of it.' Then they tell me to go back in the dugout. That's a buzz kill.”

Jerry Narron argued to no avail.

“I disagree with the call,” Narron said. “The ball landed on the outfield grass. The infielder’s jumping for it. I can’t believe he called infield-fly.”

Narron said Josh Hamilton will play tomorrow. Hamilton hit a two-run homer in the ninth -- his homer third in 18 at-bats. I'm no stat freak but I know a 6.0 home run ratio is pretty good.

Bizarro inning makes it 4-3

It's a 4-3 game. Brewers scored two in the top of the sixth. The bottom of inning was the odd part.

The Reds loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth. Ryan Freel reached on an error. Brandon Phillips and Adam Dunn singled.

Jeff Conine hit floating line drive toward second. It went off Rickie Weeks' glove and into center field. Freel scored on the play and Phillips and Dunn advanced.

But Conine was called out – apparently second base ump Larry Poncino called the infield-fly rule.

Capuano got Griffey to ground back to him for the second out.

That brought up Edwin Encarnacion, who was mired in 0-for-22 skid. Milwaukee sent in Greg Aquino to face Encarnacion. He lined a single into center to score two and make it a 4-3 game.

Brewers 2, Reds 0

The Reds have two hits off Chris Capuano through five innings. That drops their team batting average vs. left-handers to .190. Not good.

Brewers scored one in the first when Ken Griffey Jr. dropped a ball in right. Rickie Weeks homered to lead off the third. Eric Milton was shaky in the first. But he retired nnie of 10 after Weeks' home run.

Jerry Narron pulled Milton after Prince Fielder's leadoff double in the sixth. It came on Milton's 99th pitch of the night. Thirty-four of those were in the first inning.

Down on the farm

The Reds' minor league teams are a combined 24-11. Dayton is 6-0.

The pitching's been good to great on every level so far. Look at the team ERAs: Louisville -- 2.44; Chattanooga 3.29; Sarasota 3.34; Dayton 1.5o. Some of the credit has to go to former GM Dan O'Brien, who's at the yard tonight in his capacity as assistant Brewers GM. He still lives in town.

Jay Bruce, by the way, is hitting .385 at Sarasota. His power numbers aren't great -- a double, three triples, no homers -- but the Florida State League is a high level for someone who just turned 20.

More on Freel, plus Freel on Freel

The contract is worth a total of $7 million over the two years -- $3 million '08; $4 million for '09.

Freel was Freel at the press conference: Humble, rambling, amusing and very complimentary of Josh Hamilton. Some highlights:

"I'm very happy to be where I'm at. I couldn't be in a better organization. I've said it from Day 1. I want to end my career here. This is another step closer to that."

"It's a dream come true." (he said that about 19 times).

"Reality is still setting in. I couldn't be any more happier. When I first came over here as Red, I didn't know what was going to happen in the spring. I battled. I didn't make the team out of spring. But fortunately, with the grace of God, I've been able to stick around for a few years."

"I've said it a million times, but the fans of Cincinnati have treated me . . . it's been unbelievable."

"All I can control is how hard I play on the field. I think the fans of Cincinnati respect that. I've said it before: It doesn't take talent, you don't have to be a superstar to play the game the way it's supposed to be play. It shows it came be rewarding if you do the things you're supposed to do in this game. How hard is it to run balls out and dive for a couple of balls? It's all about heart and desire. The only thing that could top this is us winning the World Series."

"The money's great. But a World Series would be better."

"We have the players here. Wayne has done a great job of getting players over here. The best one -- we really haven't seen as much people would like to see -- is Josh Hamilton. It might mean me playing more infield. I don't have a problem with that. That kid is going to help us win. He's an unbelievable player."

"I will still play the game the way it's supposed to be played. That's what people expect. They don't expect much."

Jerry Narron: "I hear from people all the time saying the love the way Ryan Freel plays. I'm tired of that. I want to say they love the way the Cincinnati Reds play."

Wayne Krivsky: "I'm not a afraid anytime -- if it makes sense to both parties. . . I like getting deals done. Put the contract aside for two years and go play."

My take on Freel

I think any time you can get a player of Ryan Freel's caliber locked up for a reasonable rate, it's a good deal. I think that's what happened here. I don't know the numbers yet, but he Reds wouldn't have signed him if they had to break the bank to do it. That said, I could see Freel going back to being a utility guy if Josh Hamilton is what they think he is. So, no, I don't think they signed him to trade him.

Freel extended

The Reds extended the contract of Ryan Freel through the 2009 season. No details yet. Press conference at 4 p.m.

Freel signed a two-year deal signed extension in December of 2005. It paid $1.6 million last year and pays him $1.7 million this year. He make up to $.235 million this year based on the plate-appearance incentives.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Reds 1, Cubs 0

The Reds 1-0 win over the Cubs was more evidence that these aren't Jim Bowden's Reds anymore:

--The Reds did not hit a home run in the series.
--They were shut out in 25 of 27 innings.
--They had a total of 14 hits in the series and only one for extra bases.

Yet, they won two of three.

The team ERA is 2.93 for the season. The bullpen ERA is 1.73. David Weathers has converted all five saves chances.

If the Reds start hitting, they could be dangerous. The team batting average is down to .226.

Adam Dunn says he'll definitely start Monday's game. Dunn told a funny story about him mom calling him in the clubhouse.

"What's wrong, Adam?"

"Just back spasms. No big deal."

"Don't lie to me. What's really wrong?"

Seems the Dunner's mother couldn't believe back spasms would keep him out. But he said they were pretty severe. It was the first time he's ever had them.

Reds lead 1-0 on K day

The Reds took a 1-0 lead on the Cubs in the the fourth. Brandon Phillips walked, stole second and scored on the Jeff Conine's single. Phillips was running on the play.

It was still 1-0 after 5. Kyle Lohse had eight strikeouts. Chicago starter Ted Lilly had nine.

Dunn a late scratch

Adam Dunn was scratched from the lineup just before Sunday's game with back spasms. Dunn was fine during batting practice. Josh Hamilton started in left field and hit third.

Same old, same old

The lineup today is same as yesterday's. The Cubs are throwing another lefty in Ted Lilly. I was bit surprised that Chad Moeller wasn't catching.

"We've got to get David Ross on track," Jerry Narron said. "He's not going to do it on the bench."

That's true. But, if doesn't hit soon, my guess is you'll see a lot of Javy Valentin vs. RHP.

By the way, the lefty string continues tomorrow when the Reds face Milwaukee's Chris Capuano at Great American.

It's a beautiful day in Wrigley -- sunny, 50 degrees or so.

Homer's outing

Homer Bailey had another good start Saturday: 5 IP, three hits, one run, three walks, four strikeouts. Got no deciscion. Bats won 8-2 over Norfolk with six runs in the ninth. Brad Salmon has been very good so far. He's pitched 4 1/3 ininngs, no runs, two hits, four striekouts. Norris Hopper went 3-for-5.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Walk haunts in 7-0 loss

When Jerry Narron had Bronson Arroyo intentionally walked Daryle Ward to get to Alfonso Soriano, I thought of an old Tom Lasorda line. Someone asked Lasorda why he walked Joe Morgan, who was struggling, to get to some other Red who was hot.

"I don't look at their average," Tommy said. "I look at their salary."

Narron's strategy didn't work out -- not because of Soriano's bat, because of legs. Soriano grounded one to the left side. Shortstop Juan Castro fielded the ball, but Soriano beat the throw. A run scored on the play. The big thing was it prolonged the inning, leading to four more runs, giving the Cubs a 7-0 lead. That's how the game ended.

Ward was 3-for-13 against Arroyo; Soriano was 3-for-22.

Arroyo agreed totally with the move.

“I wanted to walk Ward,” Arroyo said. “I haven’t seen Ward that much in my whole career. I know he’s really quick inside. There’s no reason for me to face a guy from the left side fresh off the bench who I don’t know a ton about. When I’ve got a guy like Soriano who I’ve totally manhandled my whole career.

“I thought it was a good move. I got the ball I wanted from Soriano. He hit it in pretty good spot. Castro couldn’t quite make the play.”

It's small world (but I'd hate to paint it)

That may be my favorite Steven Wright line, and there are many great ones. Anyhow, I spent some time (and a lot of money) at The Lodge last night. Ran into a plethora of Cincinnati people. Among them: My old friend Pat who made the trip up with a women's group from St. James, four La Salle grads who went to school with my brother-in-law, and Rick Meyers, the former NKU SID who now works in the school's marketing department. A good time was had by all.

If you've never made the trip up to Wrigley, it's well worth it. One of the problems with the schedule the last few years is the Reds haven't been in Chicago on a summer weekend.

The lineups

Freel CF
Phillips 2B
Dunn LF
Conine 1B
Griffey RF
Encarnacion 3B
Castro ss
Ross C
Arroyo P

Soriano CF
Theoit 3B
Jones RF
Lee 1B
Barrett C
Floyd LF
Cedeno 2B
Izturis SS
Hill P

So no Josh Hamilton with lefty Rich Hill starting. Jerry Narron said Ryan Freel will probably get a start or two at third base soon in order to get Hamilton time in center field.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Tip for autograph seekers

A guy got at least two balls and a couple of Reds to sign before Friday's game. His trick? He was dressed in a bright -- we're talking bright -- red suit and wearing a red fedora with a Reds 'C' on it. He also got front row seats somehow. Lots of Reds fans here as usual. Heard a "let's go, Reds!" cheer earlier. It's still 6-5, by the way.

It's 6-5.

Will Ohman replaced Zambrano. He walked Scott Hatteberg and Javy Valentin to force in two runs. Michael Wuertz struck out Juan Castro on three pitches on the first out, then got Chad Moeller and Brandon Phillips on four each.

Cubs 5, Reds 4 (and batting)

Aaron Harang's done for the day: 4 IP, 9 hits, 5 runs, 2 walks, 3 Ks. One run was a gift -- Josh Hamilton lost a ball in the sun. But Harang was fairly bad. 83 pitches, 53 strikes. As I was typing that, the Reds loaded the bases. Josh Hamilton got in two runs with a bases-loaded single. Adam Dunn followed with an RBI single. Ken Griffey Jr. followed with an RBI single. Zambano then hit Edwin Encarncion to load the base (which I predicted). Still no outs.

Cubs 3, Reds 0

Could be a long day for the Redlegs. After a shaky first, Carlos Zambrano is rolling. I've seen 97 and 96 on the scoreboard gun. Reds have one hit -- Ken Griffey Jr.'s first inning single.

Aaron Harang, meanwhile, started with two strikeouts and then gave up four straight hits and two runs in the first inning. Zambrano doubled and scored in the second.

Stat of the day: All three Cubs' runs have scored with two outs.

Junior v. Writer (not me)

Ken Griffey Jr. got into a bit of a confrontation with a writer in the visitors' clubhouse at Wrigley.

Griffey was talking to a Nike rep when Buzz Bissinger, author of "Friday Night Lights", came up and asked for a few minutes. Bissinger is working on something for the New York Times.

Griffey said he was having a conversation. Bissinger said he only had 20 minutes. Griffey basically said too bad. Bissinger said "you're not worth it" or words to that effect and walked away.

Griffey followed him and said some not so nice things. "You disrespected me," was all I heard clearly.

The whole thing was over in a minute or two.

I've got to side with Griffey here. Clubhouse protocol is that players are available, but at their leisure. If I wanted to talk to Griffey, I would have waited until he was free. He may or may not have talked to me. But all would have been civil.

Fine forecast and Cruz

The weatherman on Fox here says there's a high pressure system over Chicagoland. That means it's going to be sunny and about 50 today. Good weather for baseball, all things considered.

No word on the corresponding move to get someone on the roster while Alex Gonzalez is out.

The move was just announced. It's Enrique Cruz, who looked very good in spring training. This from the Reds:

TODAY'S TRANSACTIONS: Prior to today's game the Reds selected from Class AA Chattanooga the contract IF Enrique Cruz...he takes the 25-man roster spot of SS Alex Gonzalez, who yesterday went on the bereavement list, and the 40-man roster spot of OF Chris Denorfia (right elbow surgery), who was transferred to the 60-day disabled list...Cruz will wear uniform number 48.

ABOUT THE NEW GUY: IF Enrique Cruz appeared in 8g for the Reds in spring training (.286, 2rbi)...this season he hit .350 with 2rbi in 5g at Class AA Chattanooga, all starts at 3B...he made his only career Major League apps in 2003 for the Brewers (60g), his last in a start at SS on 9/28/03 at Hou.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Gonzalez out

The Reds placed shortstop Alex Gonzalez on the bereavement list. He miss at least three days and maximum of seven. He returned to attend to a family matter in Venezuela (he has a sick child).

The Reds will make a roster move before tomorrow's game. The only two middle infielders on the 40-man not on the 25-man are hurt (Jerry Gil and Jeff Keppinger). My guess is it will be Norris Hopper, if his heel's OK and he played both games of the doubleheader yesterday. He came up as a second baseman. Juan Castro will likely get the starts at SS Gonzalez misses.

It's cold and Chicago is living up to the Windy City tag. Hopefully, it will be a little nicer tomorrow. If the weather doesn't change, it will be a lot like the last five games of the homestand -- in other words, very un-Arizona-like.

Griffey v. Encarnacion

Got a lot of emails like this morning:

"I thought Narron made a good move taking Encarnacion out of the game last night. However, is there a double standard here? Was Griffey penalized for not running his double out last Sunday and settling for just a single? That could have been a big play in that game. Just curious. Thanks."
Mark, Bloomington, Ind.

That's basically what I wrote my off-day analysis about. There are different rules for different players. But I think Jerry Narron is forced to act the next time Griffey - or anyone else - doesn't break out of the box. I wasn't there for the game mentioned in the e-mail, but talking to Chris Welsh today he said Griffey did run, albeit not very hard. I know Jeff Brantley got on Griffey on the radio about the play and then gave it to him - good naturedly - in the clubhouse the next day. My guess is it doesn't become an issue because by saying what he said Narron served notice and the veterans will respond.

I'm writing from CVG. Got a 3 1/2-hour layover here. The wife made the trip out to meet me for lunch, although we couldn't have lunch because every place semi-decent to eat is on the other side of security. Oh well.

Minor matter

Reds are hot down on the farm. This from my man Jamie Ramsey:

"First place, first place, first place, first place … Each team currently playing in the Reds’ organization (including the big-league team) sits atop the standings in its respective division …Bats win their three-game series vs. Columbus … Phil Dumatrait continues the Bats’ streak of solid starting pitching … Mark Bellhorn belts a three-run homer … Chattanooga wins their home opener … Tyler Pelland pitches well for the Lookouts … Enrique Cruz with 3 hits … Ryan Hanigan homers … Sarasota splits their doubleheader with Dunedin … Carlos Fisher is on fire … Norris Hopper with three hits in the double dip … Although Dayton is undefeated, they haven’t been fairing too well vs. the weather."

4/11 Dumatrait (W): 7ip, 1er, 3h, 2bb, 6k
4/10 Livingston: 6.2ip, 0er, 5h, 2bb, 5k
4/9 Gosling: 6ip, 0er, 3h, 2bb, 4k
4/8 Bailey (W): 5.1ip, 1er, 1h, 3bb, 4k
Total: 4 starts, 25ip, 2er, 12h, 9bb, 19k

Narron on Encarnacion

Jerry Narron was fairly impassioned when talking about why he pulled Edwin Encarnacion from Wednesday's 3-2 Reds win over the Diamondbacks. Encarnacion did not run on a popout in the first inning. Here's what Narron said:

“You know something, I was not watching Eddie. I was watching the ball. I saw Eddie come in here with his bat. I came down here (to the clubhouse) and looked at it (on video). He did not run.

“Eddie told me he did not see the ball. You've still got to run. I don’t care if we lose every game, we’re not going to play guys who don’t hustle. Simple as that. I told them from Day 1: 'We’ll pinch-hit pitchers. We’ll play pitchers. If you cannot hustle, you cannot play. Simple as that.'

“Eddie will be back in there on Friday. If they don’t run balls out, they’re not going to play. I don’t care if we lose every game we’re going to hustle while we’re doing it.”

“I love him. I think he’s going to be a great player. He messed up. But doggone it, you can't be messing up in this game. If you don’t know where the ball is, you run until you know where it is.

“The one thing he’s never done here is dog it. It was probably an honest mistake. But it was a mistake."

Encarnacion said he understood why Narron did what he did.

"You have to play hard all the time. That's how we have to play," Encarnacion said.

Narron's move should serve notice to everyone on the club.

Narron also said Josh Hamilton - 2-for-4 with a home run, a double and two runs scored Wednesday - will play somewhere Friday against the Cubs

“Josh has got a good chance of playing somewhere," Narron said. "He might catch. I don’t know.”

Narron was kidding about the catching part, he said.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

This just in, Hamilton's good

Josh Hamilton just hit a home run -- the opposite way to left. He's 2-for-4 with two runs scored.

Does he play Friday in Wrigley? If so, the guess is he's in center for Ryan Freel. Freel's 3-for-16 vs. Carlos Zambrano. Ken Griffey's 7-for-18 with two jacks,

It's 3-2, going to the bottom of 8th.

Reds 2, Diamondbacks 1

Javy Valentin, pinch-hitting for David Ross, rifled a two-run double to right to put the Reds up 2-1 in the seventh.

Feel free to post comments on the genius move by Jerry Narron. Just kidding, but Narron has shown he's got control of this club. Moving Ken Griffey was the big move. But benching Edwin Encanacion was another sign of it.

Matt Belisle's line: 6 IP, 3 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 3 Ks. The one walk to Stephen Drew to start the first led to the run. He's gone 12 innings in his two starts and allowed two runs on seven hits with two walks and 9 strikeouts

Dumatrait shines

The best pitcher at Louisville so far? Phil Dumatrait. He went seven innings, allowing one earned run on three hits, in the Bats' 4-2 win over Columbus Wednesday. He's 2-0 with a 0.71 ERA. He's the 25-year-old left-hander the Reds got in the Scott Williamson deal in 2003 from Boston. He, Homer Bailey and Bobby Livingston give the Reds three good starting pitching prospects in Triple-A. It's been a while since the Reds could say that.

The Bats beat Chris Michalak, by the way. Shortstop, that's right shortstop, Mark Bellhorn went 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBI.

D-Backs 1-0; Encarnacion pulled

Edwin Encarnacion was taken out of the game in the middle of the second. He's not hurt. Manager's decision.

We'll find out exactly what the deal is after the game. But replays showed he did not run out his popup in the first.

Question: What happens if a veteran pull the same thing? Ken Griffey Jr. stood at the plate Sunday on the ball he hit off the wall.

Matt Belisle gave up a sac fly in the first. The Reds had runners at first and third and didn't cash in. Encarnacion popped to second and Josh Hamilton took a called third strike.

Micah Owings, the kid starting for the Arizona, gave up one hit in his first big league start (although that was against Washington). He was 16-2 with 3.33 ERA at AA and AAA last year.

Hamilton in again

Josh Hamilton was in the lineup again Wednesday night - this time in right field and batting fifth.

"I'm going to try to play all four of them and keep them fresh and healthy," Jerry Narron said of his outfielders.

As much trouble as the Reds have seemed to have had scoring runs lately, they went into Wednesday sixth in the NL in runs scored.

Reds lose 5-4 in 11 . . . and Hamilton plays

Another very tough loss for the Redlegs in the desert. All five of the Diamondbacks' runs scored with two outs. The Reds blew a fat chance in the 11th. Runners at first and second with no outs, and they didn't come close to scoring, thanks largely to Edwin Encarnacion's botched bunt attempts. Jerry Narron was particularly upset with Kyle Lohse's pitch selection on the two home runs Lohse allowed, both of which gave up leads.

But I think years from now it will be remember as the game Josh Hamilton got his first hit in. Naturally, it was a home run. Hamilton was great afterward as well:

“I took off my hat a couple of times and took a moment and looked around.”

“When you think about it, there’s no reason I should be here.”

“The fans were yelling, ‘Hamilton, you suck. I had to laugh. I thought: You have no ideal what I've been through.”

On the homer: “I hit off the end of the bat. I thought it was going to be a routine fly to right field. Then I saw the guy turn his back. It was pretty cool.”

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

It's been a long time; it's 4-4

Josh Hamilton’s homer was his first since June 29, 2002 for Single-A Bakersfield at San Jose.

Rob Butchers' crack assistant, Larry Herms, found that tidbit.

It's a 4-4 game. Kyle Lohse gave up a tying homer to Chris Snyder in the fourth, then retired the next 10 he faced. Lohse's line: 7 IP, 6 hits, 4 runs, no walks, 4 Ks.

Fireworks: Reds lead 4-3

It's a 4-3 game. Chad Tracy hit a three-run hot off Kyle Lohse to make it 3-1 in the bottom of the first.

Lohse walked with one out in the third. Josh Hamilton hit the next pitch out. It was his first career hit. He became the first Red to hit a homer for his first hit since Chris Denorfia did it Sept. 9, 2005.

Brandon Phillips followed Hamilton's shot with one of his own. Reds lead, 4-3.

Dunn 1, D-Backs 0

Adam Dunn hit a 440-foot home run in the first. If you had your eyes closed and heard it, you would have known it was going out. Crushed.

The rotation turns

Here's the Reds' rotation coming up:

Friday at Chicago, RHP Aaron Harang
Saturday at Chicago, RHP Bronson Arroyo
Sunday at Chicago, RHP Kyle Lohse

Monday vs. Milwaukee, LHP Eric Milton
Tuesday vs. Milwaukee, RHP Matt Belisle

Wednesday vs. Houston, RHP Aaron Harang
Thursday vs. Houston, RHP Bronson Arroyo

They kept Lohse on his regular turn so he starts against the Cubs, a team he beat 5-2 in the third game of the season. The Reds could have completely skipped Milton by starting Belisle on Monday and bringing Harang and Arroyo back on short rest. It's a little early for that.

They were still figuring things out when we talked to Jerry Narron before the game, so I'm not sure why Milton is going before Belisle. Belisle will be pitching on an extra day of rest. Milton will be pitching on seven days of rest.


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