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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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Reds 8, Cubs 4

Homer Bailey pitched reasonably well on a day when he did not have his best stuff. He finished 4-2 with a 5.76 ERA. He only allowed 43 hits in 45 1/3 innings.

Joey Votto drove in five runs. He finished at .321 with four home runs and 17 RBI in 24 games.

Hope for the future? We'll shall see.

This is my final post-game post. I've enjoyed the blog. It's a great way to get the pulse of the fans.

I will continue to blog in the offseason. I won't post as often, but I'll try to give you a reason to keep coming back. Thanks for reading and commenting. Justin Fernandez, if you're still reading, I apologize. You're entitled to your opinions -- even long-winded ones. Comment away, if you wish.

Talking to Jay Bruce

Jay Bruce gives off the air of confidence. He knows he's good. He knows he's going to play in the big leagues for a long time. That's why he won't devastated when he didn't get a September call up. Bruce was in town accept Baseball America's Minor League Player of the Year award.

Bruce wishes he were here to play.

“Absolutely,” Bruce said. “Who doesn't? The first time I came up here, I was kind of star-struck a little bit. Now, I know the majority of people in here. I've got some sort of relationship with them. I care a lot more about watching them play, seeing them succeed up here and help the team out.”

Was he disappointed not to join them?

“I don’t know if disappointed is the right word,” he said. “I definitely wish I was up here. I understood the situation with the outfield. Those guys have earned their spots. I'm looking forward to being here when I get the chance. I've got to take care of my part of the game. The front office will make their decision. I'll be fine with it either way.”

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Jay Bruce coming to Cincinnati

Got your interest, eh?

He's not coming to play. He'll be here to be recognized in an on-field ceremony.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Cubs 6, Reds 0

The only thing that would have been more humiliating for the Reds is if the Cubs had clinched outright with the win.

Bad ending to a bad season. That's six straight losses for the Redlegs. They have to win one of the last two to avoid losing 90 games.

It didn't actually count by my guess is 31,000 of the 32,193 were Cubs fans.

“I’m not real happy about that,” Reds manager Pete Mackanin said. “Nobody likes the opposition to come into their home park and raise the roof.”

Manager talk

The Reds have not talked to Pete Mackanin about his status. It sounds like they won't until at least next week.

Wayne Krivsky said there's no timetable.

That would seem to indicate, they'll at least look outside. I still think they'll make a run at Tony LaRussa if he leaves St. Louis. If he stays of turns them down, Mackanin has a shot. Bob Brenly and Joe Girardi are the obvious outsiders. A name I heard tonight is Dusty Baker.

Campaign flyer

Rob Butcher sent this out to try to get postseason recognition for Aaron Harang and Brandon Phillips:

Below is information on Reds RHP Aaron Harang:

HE WINS: The .315 difference between Harang’s winning percentage (16-5, .762) and his team’s (71-88, .447) is the highest in the majors (minimum 10 decisions)...the only pitchers in history to post a winning percentage higher than Harang’s (.762) while pitching for a team with a losing record is Al McBean in 1963, Sandy Koufax in 1964, Bret Saberhagen in 1994, Danny Darwin in 1980, Bob Gibson in 1970 and Earle Caldwell in 1946 (minimum 15 decisions, courtesy Elias Sports Bureau)...with only Saturday’s start remaining, Harang has tied his career high for victories (2006) and 4 times was the victim of blown saves...in his 33 starts this season the Reds went 24-9 (.727).

YOU COMPLETE ME: In addition to his 2 complete games, Harang pitched 9.0 innings in a 12-inning, 2-1 win at SD on 5/15 (2h, 1r) and a career-best 10.0 innings in a 12-inning, 2-1 win vs Mil on 7/23 (7h, 1r)...the league leader has 4cg (Webb).

PRESSURE COOKER: Harang went 3-1 in his 5 starts against the NL Central rival Cubs...in the 4 starts in which he faced Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano, Harang went 3-0, 4.32 and the Reds won all 4 games.

WORKHORSE: Harang is the first Reds pitcher to throw 200 innings or make at least 30 starts in 3 straight seasons since Jose Rijo did both in 1991 (204.1ip, 30gs), 1992 (211.0, 33gs) and 1993 (257.1, 36gs)...he is only the third pitcher in Reds history to produce consecutive 200-strikeout seasons: Mario Soto (1982-83) & Jim Maloney (1963-66)...he will lead the team in strikeouts for the fourth straight season and in wins and complete games for the third straight year.

CY YOUNG: With Saturday’s start remaining, Harang ranks among the National League leaders in victories (16, T5th), winning percentage (16-5, .762, 2nd), starts (33, 2nd), innings pitched (223.2, 3rd), strikeouts (205, 2nd), complete games (2, T4th), opponents’ BA (.241, 10th), ERA at home (3.33, 9th) and ERA at night (2.86, 4th)...in 2006 he didn't get a single vote for the Cy Young Award despite leading the National League in strikeouts (216) and complete games (6) and tying for the lead in starts (35) and victories (16)...Harang is the only pitcher in the 50-year history of that prestigious pitching award to lead his league in both wins and strikeouts and not win it.

Below is information on Reds 2B Brandon Phillips.

30/30: On Wednesday vs Hou Phillips hit his 30th HR (2-run off Juan Gutierrez) to become only the second 2B in Major League history to produce 30 homers and 30 steals in a season (30hr, 32sb)...Alfonso Soriano is the only other second baseman to do it (2002, '03, '05), and only 4 other middle infielders have done it (Soriano, Barry Larkin in 1996, Alex Rodriguez in 1998, Jimmy Rollins in 2007)...the only players in Reds history to produce at least 30 homers and 30 steals in a season are OF Eric Davis (1987, 37hr, 50sb) and SS Barry Larkin (1996, 33hr, 36sb).

SILVER SLUGGER: Among all Major League second basemen, Phillips ranks second in runs scored (107, Uggla 109), second in HR (30, Uggla 31), second in RBI (94, Utley 101), second in stolen bases (32, T1st in NL w/ Matsui) and second in hits (186, 1st in NL)...he already has established single-season club records for a second baseman in total bases (314) and home runs (30).

GOLD GLOVER: Phillips leads National League second basemen in total chances (773) and ranks second in fielding percentage (.990, 8e)...Phillips has 217 more chances than percentage leader Ronnie Belliard of Wsh (.991, 5e, 556tc)...he is trying to become the first Reds second baseman to lead the league in fielding percentage since 1997 (Bret Boone).

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Astros 4, Reds 3

Take Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr. out of the Reds offense and it doesn't quite work, especially when Scott Hatteberg, Alex Gonzalez and Josh Hamilton are hurt as well.

A great outing by Matt Belisle -- seven innings, two runs, three hits -- was wasted. Reds are down to three over since Pete Mackanin took over.

Bronson Arroyo, Aaron Harang and Homer Bailey are going to pitch like Belisle did for the Reds to have a chance against the Cubs.

String stops at 18 for Belisle

Matt Belisle retired the first 18 batters he faced before Josh Anderson ground a single into left to start the seventh.

The Reds lead 2-0 on Edwin Encarnacion's two-run homer in the first.

Nuxie and Dunn

Just spoke to Joe Nuxhall. He begins chemo Monday for his fourth bout with lymphoma.

He's upbeat, as always.

"Yeah, I get another shot of it," he said. "I was all geared up becasue I thought we had it whipped. What are you going to do?"

Nuxhall will make his book-signing appearance Sunday at the Reds Hall of Fame.

"You can't sit around and feel sorry for yourself," he said.

He is one tough cookie. I've dealt cancer personally and with members of my family. I've never seen take it on with such optimism and complete lack of self pity.

Also saw Adam Dunn. He's off crutches.

"I could take them," he said.

The knee was worse than expected. Dunn's not a fan of surgery.

"My first and last," he said. "It's terrible. I don't know how people go through it."

Bellhorn back

The Reds brought Mark Bellhorn back today to help with the bench shortage. The Reds have been woefully short of the players the last couple of days. Josh Hamilton, Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn are finished for the season. Scott Hatteberg and Alex Gonzalez probably fall in the same category. Jerry Gil can only pinch-run. Pedro Lopez will get his first at-bats since July 25 tonight.

The make room for Bellhorn, Bobby Livingston was put on the 60-day disabled list.

Here's a stat from you: The Reds ran out an outfield last night that had a total one home run this year -- Jason Ellison (1), Buck Coats (0) and Norris Hopper (0). The normal starting outfield has 89 -- Dunn (40), Griffey (30), Hamilton (19). That's a bit of power drop off.

And, by the way, I agree with you. Jay Bruce should have gotten a call as soon as Hamilton was hurt. He would have gotten 40 at-bats or so. That's would invaluable experience.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Astros 7, Reds 6 -- Phillips gets No. 30

Brandon Phillips finally got it. He lined one out to right field in the first inning for his 30th home of the year.

He joins Barry Larkin and Eric Davis in the Reds 30-30 club. Phillips is only the second second baseman to do it -- Alfonzo Soriano is the other. Jimmy Rollns and David Wright are the other major leaguers to reach 30-30 this year.

Phillips pumped his fist as it went out and took a curtain call later. I'm happy for the guy. He plays the game with great emotion. He was happy to get a second chance on his career. And 30-30 meant a lot to him because Larkin is his hero. (Note to the Reds: Get Larkin in for Redsfest and have him a Phillips do a panel together).

“It hasn’t settled in yet,” Phillips said. “I still can’t believe I achieved a goal that only one other second baseman has done it. It’s amazing. It’s a good feeling to be the same category with my favorite player growing up (Barry Larkin). It’s a blessing.”

I asked Pete Mackanin if Phillips was just scratching the surface of what he can do. Silly question. What's he going to do go 50-50? After he pointed that out, Mackanin gave a good answer:

“I don’t think he’s ever going to hit 40 or 50 homes runs,” Mackanin said. “The thing about him is: Was this a career year or is he going to continue to do it? I choose to believe this is the type of year he can put together year to year. I don’t think he’s a one-time 30-30 guy. I think he’s going to do it many more times in the future.”

Phillips' home run gives the Reds three players with 30 or more -- Phillips, Adam Dunn (40), Ken Griffey Jr. (30). It's only the third time the Reds have done that. The other trios: Johnny Bench (45), Tony Perez (40) and Lee May (34) in 1970; Frank Robinson (38), Wally Post (36) and Ted Kluszewski (35) in 1956.

Gil's reinstated

Also the from the Reds:

The Reds today reinstated from the 60-day disabled list IF Jerry Gil (right elbow) and transferred to the 60-day disabled list OF Ryan Freel (right knee). Gil will wear uniform number 62. Gil missed almost the entire season following “Tommy John” surgery to repair the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow (Dr. Timothy Kremchek)...was bothered by the injury during spring training and on 3/23 went on the 15-day disabled list...on 5/8 had season-ending surgery...was transfered to the 60-day DL on 5/21, when the Reds claimed off waivers from the WSox IF Pedro Lopez...in spring training appeared in 17g (.176, 2 2b, 1 3b, 1hr, 4rbi).

Home schedule

The Reds announced their home schedule. The biggest thing is Red Sox are coming in June 13, 14 and 15. The only other interleague games are with Cleveland May 16-18.

Looks like there's will be four three-city trips. Thanks, Bud.

Opening Day is March 31 vs. Arizona.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Dunn done

From the Reds:

Reds OF Adam Dunn tomorrow will have arthroscopic surgery to clean out his right knee.

The surgery will be performed by Reds medical director Dr. Timothy Kremchek.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Winding down

Six games to go. Yesterday when we were talking to Brandon Phillips about his day off, I reminded him of a similar session last year. Remember, the brief experiment with him at shortstop? After Jerry Narron said they were going to do that, we talked to Phillips about it.

As we were wrapping up, someone asked if Phillips might play Winter Ball to get some time at short.

His response: "My ass is tired."

He laughed when I reminded him of it. "Well, my ass is tired again," he said.

The season is grind, particularly when you're out of contention.

I've got to grind out my off day piece. (Red-eye flights are great when you sleep through them. I didn't.) I'm writing about Jared Burton. He's had a remarkable second half. His ERA is a hair over 1.00 over his last 26 games. You can make a strong case that he was the more valuable Rule 5 pick-up.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Giants 5, Reds 4

When a team finishes the road schedule 33-48, it's hard to call any loss shocking. But when Aaron Harang takes a 4-0 lead to sixth on a day when he has not allowed a runner to reach second, you sort of expect the Reds to close it out.

They didn't. Harang gave up five runs on six hits in the sixth.

"It was a shocker," Mackanin said.

Indeed, it was.

Hatteberg on the future

In case you stopped here between fantasy football updates, here's something for you:

If the Reds are going to go with Joey Votto at first base -- and it seems like a lock they will -- it sounds like Scott Hatteberg would prefer they not pick up his $1.85 million option.

"Before I signed last year, some teams talked to me about being an extra guy," Hatteberg said. "Honestly, I'd really rather retire."

Of course, if the Reds pick up the option, Hatteberg will return.

"Obviously," he said. "That's the contract I signed."

Hatteberg could be done for this season. The strained oblique muscle has kept him from taking batting practice. He'll test it again Tuesday. If it's still bothering at the point, he's probably done for the year.

Mark you calendar: Redsfest is Dec. 7-8.

Giants 2, Reds 0

Bronson Arroyo's presence on the mound has a strange effect on the Reds' offense. Saturday night was the 14th time, they've scored two or fewer runs for him.

“This is the first time all year I've put up all zeros and gotten snubbed,” he said. “But it's one of them years, man. It’s hard to get wins.”

Arroyo remained 9-14. He says the big difference between this year and last year – when he went 14-11 -- was two bad starts against Washington. He gave up 13 runs in 3 2/3 innings in those starts.

“I've said for awhile now that other than the two outings against Washington, I had close to same year,” he said. “Last year, I had 23 quality starts. This year, I've got 21.

“The first half killed me. I wasn't able to build up wins when I had those good outings. If you get five, six wins in the first couple months, you can ride it out.”

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Sweet on Cueto

I asked Rick Sweet, the Louisville manager, what Johnny Cueto throws. He said Cueto throws a fastball, changeup and a slider.

"He throws his slider at two speeds," Sweet said. "So it's like he's got another pitch. He throws all his pitches for strikes.

One of the thing that sets Cueto apart is his ability to turn his fastball up a notch.

"He'll be pitch at 89 to 92," Sweet said. "He'll get ahead 1-2 and throw one 95, 96. It just freezes hitters."

Sweet, needless to say, is very high on Cueto.

Sweet also really likes Josh Roenicke, the right-hander who ended up as the closer at Chattanooga.

"I saw him in the spring," Sweet said. "I told them, 'I'll take him. He can be my closer.' They said, 'no, he's going to A ball.' He looks like he can be a legitimate closer."

Friday, September 21, 2007

That's hot (updated version)

From the Reds:


.415 (54/130) Norris Hopper (CIN)
.415 (51/123) Jack Wilson (PITT)
.382 (42/110) Chone Figgins (LAA)
.381 (45/118) Howie Kendrick (LAA)
.377 (61/162) Moises Alou (NYM)

110 AB minimum

Footnote: Hopper reached on a bunt single to start Friday's game. But he was called out by home plate umpire for being out of the batter's box. It looked like it was a bad call. Hopper certainly thought so. He argued from the top step of the dugout -- to the point that Davidson ejected him during Jeff Keppinger's at-bat.

Castellini on Mackanin

I spoke to Bob Castellini this morning. He thought Pete Mackanin handled Homer Bailey's outing just right, by the way.

Don't expect a radical makeover of the club.

“If we can get a couple of pitching holes filled, we can have a dynamite team for next year,” Castellini said. “The club has responded to Pete. If we go in another direction, we have to find someone else they respond to.”

“(But) Pete’s made a case for himself.”

I still think the Reds will look outside, but Mackanin's got a real shot at the job.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Homer's night: Reds 4, Giants 2

Homer Bailey was very impressive in his return to the Reds. He went 5 2/3 innings, allowing one run on three hits. He walked one and struck out three.

After giving up a ground RBI single in the first, Bailey retired 15 in a row. He was gone after giving up a two-out double to Randy Winn in the sixth.

“We took him out after 80 pitches there because – although he has thrown 90 pitches (in a simulated game) -- it wasn’t against real competition,” Pete Mackanin said. “We wanted to get him out on a positive note.”

Bailey's velocity was impressive -- plenty of 94s, a few 95s and 96s and one 97. Giants didn't run out their A or B lineup, but Bailey good. He threw strikes -- 51 of his 80 pitches were strikes. He was able to get his breaking stuff over consistently.

“He wasn't facing (Barry) Bonds and (Omar) Vizquel and the rest of the boys,” Mackanin said. “But he showed pretty good command of his fastball and his breaking ball. He looked like he confident. We were very happy with what he saw coming out of his hand.”

The big thing for Bailey is he’s healthy. He tried to pitch through the groin problem. He said he originally hurt it on June 26 in Philadelphia. He made four starts after that – two for the Reds and two for Louisville – before going on the disabled list.

“You want to be out there,” Bailey said. “But once it gets to a point, you’ve got to start using your noggin. It’s good to be healthy and get back with the team.”

Bailey looked savvy and polished.

“He looked ‘pitcherish, pitchesque maybe,’” Mackanin said. “I was very happy with what I saw. It bodes well for the rest of the season.”

High praise for Bruce, Cueto

Rick Sweet, the manager of Triple-A Louisville, joined the Reds as a coach for the four-game series in the San Francisco.

Sweet had some very high praise the young players who came through Louisville.

"Jay Bruce is special," he said. "I had (Ken Griffey Jr.) his first year. I'd put Bruce in that category. Johnny Cueto is special. Josh Hamilton is special. We've got some people."

Sweet knew exactly what he was saying when he made the Griffey-Bruce comparison..

"He's 20," Sweet said. "He makes mistakes -- base-running, throwing to the wrong base. He's learning. He likes playing. He's going to be around a long time."

Sweet knew what Bruce could do because he worked with him through spring training.

"I had to beg Wayne (Krivsky) to let (Bruce) come up," Sweet said. "We were short outfielders. I was playing two infielders in the outfield. I got an e-mail that said he's coming "FOR ONE WEEK ONLY" in big letters."

Bruce, of course, never went back to Double-A because he played so well in the Triple-A.

"He's going to adjust to whatever level he's at," Sweet said.

Griffey out for year; protest denied

The Reds announced that Ken Griffey Jr.'s injury -- a high left groin strain -- was season-ending after he was examined by Dr. Tim Kremchek. He'll be examined again in four weeks.

Also, the protest of the Cubs game was denied by MLB.

No shocker in either case.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Cubs 3, Reds 2 (Griffey update)

Ken Griffey Jr. was going to get tomorrow off. That might have made his injury -- a lower abdominal strain -- sting a little more. But he was actually in the pretty upbeat mood, considering his season is likely over. He'll be examined tomorrow in Cincinnati.

He hurt himself as he prepared to make a throw in the eighth inning.

Griffey had no regrets about playing.

“It's a situation where the games don't mean that much to us,” he said. “But they do to other teams. You've got to go out and finish strong. I knew I wasn't going to play much (in the next two series).”

Griffey thought he hurt it twisting to field the ball.

“It was probably the change in direction when I bent down,” Griffey said. “It’s been a little sore.”

Griffey went down to the turf in pain. He was able to walk off under his own power.

“You hope it’s not as bad as it feels,” Griffey said.

Odd stat

The Reds went into Wednesday tied for last in the NL with 14 home runs in the September. (I was halfway though that sentence when Eddie Encarnacion hit the 15th of the month). The Reds were second in the NL with a .291 batting average for the month.

Mackanin on Keppinger and Hopper

Here's what Pete Mackanin had to say about Norris Hopper and Jeff Keppinger when asked if they were everyday players:

“They've proven that they deserve to be considered as everyday players."

Keppinger's hitting .338 in 198 at-bats, and Hopper's hitting .333 in the 273 at-bats. That's a good sample size. They've played well defensively.

But, the way the roster's made up now, it doesn't look like either would start on Opening Day 2008. Josh Hamilton's going to be in center; Alex Gonzalez's is going to be at shortstop. But because Hopper and Keppinger have done what they've done, the Reds might be willing to trade others to get them in the lineup, particularly if they can add to pitching in the process.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Reds 5, Cubs 2

David Weathers has taken the position as campaign director for the Aaron Harang Cy Young drive.

"Everyone says it's (Jake) Peavy in a runaway," Weathers said. "Lay out the numbers."

Harang is 16-4 with a 3.61 ERA. He's pitched 216 2/3 innings, allowed 194 hits, walked 51 and struck out 198.

Peavy is 18-6 with a 2.39 ERA. He's pitched 203 innings, allowed 151 hits, walked 61 and struck out 220.

So if the season ended today, you'd have to go with Peavy. But Harang has two more starts.

“Give me one guy for one start," Weathers said, “and I can't think of anybody in this league I’d take over (Harang). We lean on him, and he delivers.”

On the Majewski grievance

In light of the Reds protest of last night's game, a lot of you have asked about the status of the Gary Majewski grievance with the Nationals. Patrick Courtney, one of Major League Baseball's spokesmen, happens to be sitting right behind at Wrigley tonight. So I asked.

There's nothing new to report. Courtney said he's not sure what the holdup is, but the case, which was filed months ago, is still pending.

On the protest

Pete Mackanin was ready to drop the protest of Monday's game. Wayne Krivsky is not.

Home plate umpire Rick Reed explained to a Chicago writer that Cubs manager Lou Piniella did not have to indicate a double switch before he crossed the foul line on his first visit to the mound. That was enough for Mackanin.

“Why don't they put that in our manual, too?” Mackanin said. “They’ve got their own separate thing where they embellish on each rule.”

“It really didn't affect the game,” Mackanin said. “I hope we dropped it. I really shouldn’t say that. It’s up to Wayne."

Krivsky wasn't ready to drop it.

"How do you know it didn't affect the game?" he said. "It's in the hands of Mike Port (on Major League Baseball). We're waiting to hear bad."

Cubs 7, Reds 6

Picked a bad night to write the previous post on David Weathers, eh?

He simply did not have it. You could tell when he fell behind Ryan Theriot.

“Terrible outing,” Weathers said. “I felt uncomfortable from the first pitch – rusty. I just didn't get it done.”

Weathers walked Ryan Theriot to start the ninth. Derrek Lee hit the next pitch into right for a single. Aramis Ramirez hit a ball that center fielder Norris Hopper made a diving attempt on. It went to the wall for a triple. The Reds walked Daryle Ward, and then brought Hopper into play right in front of second base.

Why not walk the next hitter as well?

“I don’t like to load the bases if I don’t have to,” Mackanin said. “It puts more pressure on the pitcher. If there’s a base open, the pitcher has the ability to make pitches.”

Mark DeRosa hit one off Weathers' glove. If he catches it or lets it go, the Reds get an out and would have had a slim chance of escaping.

The loss, by the way, was Reds' 82nd of the year. That guarantees that the streak of losing seasons goes to seven.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Weathers would like to close in '08

David Weathers would like to come back next year in the same role he was in this year: Closer.

“(But) I'd like to,” Weathers said. “As the year went on, I learned to roll with it better. I learned what I had to do to be more successful that I’ve been in the past.”

Weather, 38, has a career-high 30 saves and a 3.47 ERA. Opponents were hitting .226 off him. He's blown five saves chances – the same number as Trevor Hoffman and one more than Billy Wagner. That’s not bad for Weathers, who got the job by default.

“When I look around the league, even at the top-notch guys have three, four, five blown saves,” he said. “It’s a hard job, a lot of pressure.”

Weathers has 11 saves in which he’s gone more than one inning. Only J.J. Putz of Seattle has as many.

Weathers isn't the type to make demands. He knows the Reds may well look at other closers.

"But I give them another option," he said.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Brewers 5, Reds 2

Matt Belisle was not real happy with Matt Belisle after Sunday's game. He could not believe that he gave up five runs with the stuff he had.

"It makes me want to puke," he said.

Belisle struck out nine and gave up six hits in six ininngs. Still he gave up five runs because he let things get away from him in a couple of two-out situations.

“I was filling up the strike zone with all my pitches," he said. "There were a lot of positives that came out of this game today. But, again, I gave up five runs. That’s not cutting it. That's not acceptable.”

Belisle can be an effective member of the 2008 rotation -- if he can avoid games like Sunday's. He knows that. That's why Sunday's outing had him feeling sick.

Bailey on Thursday

Homer Bailey will start the opener of the series in San Francisco on Thursday. He threw 90 pitches in a simulated game yesterday in Sarasota.

"If he's healthy, he should be starting for us," Pete Mackanin said.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Brewers 5, Reds 3

Not a lot to say about this one. Pete Mackanin said he thought about pinch-hitting for David Ross in the sixth, but, with Scott Hatteberg unavailable and Josh Hamilton not here, Mackanin thought it was too early.

I haven't heard how Homer Bailey did in his simulated game today -- I honestly forgot to ask -- but you'd think he'd start the next time the fifth spot comes up. Kirk Saarloos was OK after a shaky first -- four innings, three runs -- but I don't think he's going to be in the rotation next year.

Phillips apologizes

Brandon Phillips apologized to Pete Mackanin last night after Phillips broke slowly out of the box on a ball that he thought was going out. The ball ended up hitting off the wall, and Phillips got thrown out at second.

"It cost us a run," he said. "That pissed me off. If it cost us the game, it would have really pissed me off. I apologized. That's not me. I've been hustling all year."

Mackanin would have said something to Phillips, but Phillips approached him.

"He came up to me," Mackanin said. "We spoke. We'll talk some more. It doesn't go unnoticed."

Had the ball gone out, it would have put Phillips in the 30-30 club.

"I wish it went out," he said. "I want to get it over with. I've been trying. I've got to stop trying and let it come."

Phillips thinks tonight could be the night for 30-30.

"Hopefully," he said. "I feel it."

Friday, September 14, 2007

Reds 6, Brewers 5

Adam Dunn violated the Pete Mackanin's one-game-at-a-time credo.

"We sweep these guys and the Cubs and you never know," Dunn said.

In National League Central, you do indeed never know. The Reds have won four in a row and are two games out of the third place. Friday night, Tom Shearn, he of the 12-year minor league career, outpitched Ben Sheets, he of the golden arm.

The Reds probably aren't going to catch the Cubs or Brewers, but it's beginning to look like they're going to avoid an awful September. They're 8-9 for the month. They're nine games over .500 under Mackanin.

The Mackanin Futures Line has to back to even money.

Back to Dunn, he hit a two-run homer he's up to 103 RBI, a career-high.

"That's exciting," he deadpanned. "No, 103 isn't a big number. I want to keep improving and have a three or four in front that three some day."

Men of Steal

The Reds stole four bases in the first inning -- Norris Hopper, Jeff Keppinger, Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto. The last time the Reds stole four an inning was May 16, 1993 in Colorado.

It's 5-0 Reds. ADunn hit a two-run homer in the first. Phillips has three RBI.

Maybe Bailey, but not Bruce

Homer Bailey is pitching a simulated game tomorrow in Sarasota. That would line him up to the make the next start in Kirk Saarloos' spot. But don't jump to that conclusion.

"We'll see how he does," Wayne Krivsky said when asked if Bailey would pitch for the Reds again this season.

The Reds did not consider bringing Jay Bruce to the majors after Josh Hamilton's injury. ONe of the reasons they didn't bring Bruce up in the first place was there weren't enough at-bats for him. Bruce is home in Texas. He'll go to instructional league in about a week, then to Arizona to train with USA Team for the tournament in Taiwan.

Hey, there's a game tonight!

I'm in Milwaukee at Miller Park. I don't have bad case of pennant fever. But the Reds do play the Brewers, who are 1/2 game out, tonight.

With the football in full swing, and the Reds hopelessly out of it, do you still care? Will you watch? Listen? Ignore?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Reds 5, Cardinals 4, sweep complete

The Reds are 23-8 when Aaron Harang starts and 44-71 when he doesn't. That's a pretty telling stat. Harang didn't have his best stuff today. He still went seven ininngs and allowed only three runs on three hits. He walked two and struck out five.

“Aaron was great,” catcher David Ross said. "Every time he goes out, you're going to get a solid outing. He's going to strike some guys out. He's going to go deep into the game, and he's going to give you a chance to win. He doesn't get enough credit for that. Just solid Harang. He's solid every time out. I love catching him.”

Joey Votto's two-run double and Ross' two-run homer provided the offense.

It's over: Reds 5, Cardinals 4

David Weathers pitched the ninth for his 30th save. It was a bit scary.

The ninth started with an Albert Pujols' double and a Jim Edmonds' RBI single. Ryan Ludwick flied out to the warning track in left. Yadier Molina flied out harmlessly to center. Rick Ankiel flied out to right.

Aaron Harang's line: 7 ip, 3 runs, 3 hits, 2 walks, 5 strikes. He only threw 89 pitches. Jared Burton pitched a scoreless eighth.

It's Reds 5, Cards 3

AHarang's streak ended with a walk to Russell Branyan. Brendan Ryan followed with a double. DEckstein and APujols each got in a run with a sac fly.

It's 5-1, Reds

Joey Votto doubled home two runs in the fifth after they walked Eddie Encarnacion to get to him. David Ross followed with his 16th home run.

AHarang's up to 15 straight. He struck out the side on the fifth.

It's 1-1

Jeff Keppinger tied it in the fourth with a sacrifice fly. Reds are up to eight left on base and have hit into two double plays.

It's still Cards 1-0

Through 3 1/2 Reds have left six on base. A.Harang has retired 12 straight since D.Eckstein's double to the game.

Here's an indication of how tough it is to find good starting pitching: The defending World Champion Cardinals sent two pitchers who have gone a combined 8-30 out to start in games they had to have. That would be yesterday's starter Anthony Reyes (2-14) and today's starter Kip Wells (6-16).

Nice day for a ballgame, Cards 1-0 (update)

If you're not here -- and judging from the crowd, you're not -- you're missing a delight for day for a game. It was 75 degrees at first pitch, with a nice little breeze.

Cards took a 1-0 lead in the first. David Eckstein doubled. Miguel Cairo sacrificed him over. Albert Pujols hit one of the hardest sac flies you'll ever see. Norris Hopper caught with his back to the wall.

Reds failed to score in first after Norris Hopper doubled and Jeff Keepinger walked. Junior Griffey gounded into a 4-6-3 and Brandon Phillips struck.

With Josh Hamilton and Alex Gonzalez hurt, Hopper and Keppinger are going to get more playing time. These will be meaningful at-bats for both because they're facing teams that are im it and teams that have seen them before -- St. Louis, Milwaukee and the Cubs. Keppinger's hititng .231 in September so far after hitting .393 in August.

On Hamilton, Gonzalez

Josh Hamilton has a mild right hamstring strain. At this point, that probably ends his season. He's not going on the 11-day road trip. Asked if Hamilton would play again this season, Pete Mackanin said: "It's hard to guess. I wouldn't think so."

Alex Gonzalez has a bone bruise of the left knee. It's unrelated to ball he took off the shin Sunday. He is going on the trip. He's listed as day-to-day.

Norris Hopper will get the bulk of the time in center. Mackanin said he may take a look at Buck Coats.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Reds 5, Cardinals 1

With all the talk on this blog about when young players are ready, ponder this: Edwin Encarnacion in nine months older than Joey Votto. Encarnacion played in his 308th big league game Wednesday, Votto played in his seventh.

So some guys are obviously ready at an early age. Encarnacion was. Votto might have been; he just didn't get a chance until he was almost 24.

Encarnacion went 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBI. He's salvaged his year after a rough start. He's hitting .288 with 13 homers and 68 RBI.

Brandon Phillips also homered and stole a base. He's at 30-29. My guess is he gets the homer he needs and joins Barry Larkin and Eric Davis as the only Reds in the 30-30 clubs.

Hamilton hurt

I'm not a doctor, but if I had to guess I'd say Josh Hamilton's season is over. He's been playing with a sore right hamstring. He appeared to injure it pretty badly trying to beat out a groundball in the fifth inning. He limped off, and then had to be helped down the dugout steps. Hamstrings generally take a long time to heal. The Reds only have 17 games left.

The Reds announced it was a strain. He'll be re-examined tomorrow.

Saarloos Saturday, and question for you

Right-hander Kirk Saarloos will start Saturday against the Brewers. Saarloos is 1-4 with 7.39 ERA.

Nothing against Saarloos getting a shot, but if Homer Bailey is healthy enough to start a Florida State League playoff game, shouldn't he be making that start? Bailey was going to start until the FSL said he couldn't because of veteran status.

Dunn, Castellini meet

Adam Dunn and Reds CEO Bob Castellini had lunch this afternoon at Castellini's downtown office. No, Dunn’s option for next year was not discussed. And there was no talk of an extension.

“It was nothing,” Dunn said. “It was lunch. I've been wanting to talk to him. Really, it was a harmless lunch. We didn't talk about anything (concerning me). That’s kind of the way we wanted it. We talked about the team.”

Dunn left impressed with Castellini.

“He’s outstanding,” Dunn said. “He’s awesome. He’s so approachable. He’s just fun to talk to.”

For the record, they had Montgomery Inn.

Whether the Reds pick up Dunn's $13.5 million option is one of the major issues of the offseason. Dunn's made a case for himself. He's hitting .266 and he's tied for second in the NL with 38 home runs and fifth in RBI with 101.

Money maker Marty

From the Reds:

The Reds Community Fund today announced the Cincinnati Bell Technology Solutions Marty Brennaman Golf Classic raised a record $230,000 for the Reds Community Fund and its baseball-themed outreach programs.

The event took place on Sunday and Monday, September 9-10, at Belterra Casino Resort & Spa in Belterra, Indiana.

“I’m proud that this event has grown so dramatically in just three years,” said Brennaman. “This year was simply tremendous with the new venue and activities and I was very touched by the announcement of Marty Brennaman Field at Juilfs Park in Anderson Township.”

During Sunday night’s dinner, sponsored by Dr. Tim Kremchek and Beacon Orthopaedics and presented by Jeff Ruby, the Reds Community Fund unveiled plans for a field in Brennaman’s honor in the Cincinnati suburb of Anderson Township. The renovated field is scheduled to be ready by the spring of 2008.

The Sunday evening program also featured a video tribute from Bob Kevoian, co-host of the nationally-syndicated “Bob and Tom Show” heard locally on 92.5 FM The Fox. Kevoian was one of 65 celebrities that participated in this year’s event as the format expanded to include two golf scrambles and several other elements, including a Sunday night concert.

The 2007 Marty Brennaman Golf Classic was hosted by Cincinnati Bell Technology Solutions and Cincinnati Bell. Presenting sponsors included Cintas, Switzerland County Council and Beacon Orthopaedics. Other partners included Paycor, hhgregg, Maker’s Mark, Trophy Awards and Game Day Communications. Thomson MacConnell Cadillac and Dick’s Sporting Goods were event sponsors.

Since its inception in 2005, the Marty Brennaman Golf Classic has raised more than $400,000 for the Reds Community Fund and its baseball-themed outreach programs. To date, the Community Fund has renovated 64 inner-city baseball fields and 100 more will be improved in 2007. The Community Fund also underwrites expenses for 144 youth baseball teams and operates the Reds Rookie Success League. More than 15,000 kids and coaches will benefit from Community Fund programs in 2007.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Reds 7, Cardinals 2 -- Dunn gets it done

Adam Dunn has equalled his 2006 September home run and RBI totals in tonight's game. Dunn homered in second and hit a grand slam in the third. He had two home runs and five RBI for all of last September. The slam nearly landed on the deck of the river boat in center. It traveled an estimated 471 feet, which was roughly the height of his first home run.

“Every time he comes up, you think you might see something like you did tonight,” Pete Mackanin said. “That’s what you come to the ballpark for. Those fans who saw that grand slam off the roof of that boat – I guarantee they’re going to be talking about it.”

Dunn's up to 38 home runs and 101 RBI. His career-high for RBI is 102.

I see no way in the world the Reds don't pick up that option at this point. Sounds like Mackanin sees it that way, too.

“Numbers are numbers,” Mackanin said. “Results are what count at this level. You look at over 100 RBIs, 40 home runs, 100 runs scored. It's hard to replace numbers like that. And he's a good teammate. He’s a solid guy. Everybody likes him.”

Reds fire eight staffers

From the Reds:

Class A Dayton manager Donnie Scott will join the Reds' coaching staff tonight...he'll stay with the team through the Cubs series next week . . . Class AAA manager Rick Sweet will join the staff in San Francisco.

In other player development news, the Reds announced they will not renew the contracts of assistant director of player development Grant Griesser, fielder coordinator Tim Naehring, extended spring training coordinator/roving instructor Rick Burleson, roving hitting instructor Jim Hickman, outfield/baserunning coordinator Lynn Jones, Billings coach Ricardo Cuevas or Chattanooga manager Jayhawk Owens...Chattanooga pitching coach Grant Jackson is retiring.

I thought Naehring did a good job in his seven years with the Reds. I think the problem was the player development staff didn't have much to work with. To wit: There are very few players the Reds released that ended up being successful elsewhere.

Just spoke with Naehring: "I didn't see this coming. I heard two weeks ago that Wayne (Krivsky) was unhappy with some things on the minor league level. I didn't think it would come to this. But I'm not stupid. I know anything can happen."

Naehring wouldn't go into specifics as for the reasons he was fired.

"I don't want to get into because I'll snap. I know what kind of job I did. I had a good relationship with my boss, Terry Reynolds. He was appreciative of the job I did. We had a very good year on the minor league level. I'm proud of what Jay Bruce was able to accomplish."

Naehring, the LaSalle High and Miami grad who played eight years for the Boston Red Sox, said he wasn't sure what he will do next, but that he's already gotten phone calls from other organizations.

LaRussa on moving on

USA Today's cover story today in about the Cardinals and all they've dealt with this season. There's a sidebar with it in which Tony LaRussa addresses his future. LaRussa says he'll consider moving on. "I'm not going to think about it until the offseason," he's quoted as saying. "To think beyond this season is counterproductive and dangerous."

LaRussa has been angered by the coverage he's received in St. Louis, particularly what was written after Josh Hancock's death. "At some point you say, 'It ain't worth it. It's not fun,'" he said.

If LaRussa's available, I'd be stunned if Bob Castellini doesn't make a run at him.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Transaction, history made

From the Reds:
--The Reds today reinstated from the 15-day disabled list IF Pedro Lopez. Lopez had been on the DL since 7/26 with a broken left cheekbone suffered the day before when he was hit by a pitch by Mil’s Matt Wise.

--For only the third time in Major League history did the first 3 batters of a game each homer (courtesy Elias Sports Bureau).

4/13/1987, SD’s Marvell Wynne, Tony Gwynn and John Kruk homered off SF’s Roger Mason (at SD)
5/28/2003, Atl’s Rafael Furcal, Mark DeRosa and Gary Sheffield homered off Cin’s Jeff Austin (at Atl)
9//9/2007, Mil’s Rickie Weeks, J.J. Hardy and Ryan Braun homered off Cin’s Phil Dumatrait (at Cin)

Dog Day sold out -- sort of

From the Reds:

The $22 ticket packages for Iams Friends For Life Dog Day have sold out.

The Cincinnati Reds and Iams will welcome fans and their dogs at Wednesday's 7:10 p.m. game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Great American Ball Park.

The sold-out Iams Friends For Life Dog Day section near the Fan Zone will include about 350 dogs. Only dogs with tickets already purchased will be admitted to the ballpark.

The special ticket packages include field box admission for a fan and one pet, and the dogs will receive an Iams bandana, Iams Savory Sauce samples and Iams Healthy Naturals samples. Each $22 ticket purchased included a $2 donation to SPCA Cincinnati.

Tickets in most other seating sections remain available.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Lost Latin connection

I just finished up my Reds Insider for the paper. I addressed what I consider the No. 1 problem with the franchise over the last 20 years or so: Not tapping the vast source of talent in Latin America.

This goes back to Marge Schott. But the Reds have been trying to fix it for 10 years or more. There was the Jose Rijo Camp. There was the $1.6 million Alejandro Diaz signing in 1999.

The Reds pulled out of the Rijo deal and opened a new facility in Dominican with a three other clubs in 2004. Players are starting to rise in the minors from there. Johnny Cueto is the closest to the majors. Pedro Viola isn't far behind. Juan Francisco is probably two or three years away.

To compete long-term, the Reds are going to need a steady flow of players from the Dominican and Venezuela. The club seems to be making progress, but there's only one true measure of the progress.

“You don't see it until they get here,” Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky said. “When you're signing players as young as you're allowed to in Dominican Republic, it takes time. You don't see the fruits of your labor until down the road. The fruit's at the end when somebody gets to the major leagues and helps us to win.”

Friday, September 7, 2007

Reds 11, Brewers 4

The Reds scored six in the first, two in the second, two in the third. Despite that, Bronson Arroyo did not become disoriented and forget which team he was pitching for. Arroyo had been getting 3.9 runs per game in support.

"Six runs in the first inning is a beautiful thing," he said.

A beautiful thing indeed for Pete Mackanin. The Reds are 33-26 since he took over. Twenty-two games remain. How many of them do the Reds have to win for Mackanin to be back? I don't think there's a finite number. But I think he needs to avoid a September collapse to have a chance.

Santos traded to O's

The Reds traded right-hander Victor Santos to the Baltimore Orioles for cash.

Santos went 1-4 with a 5.14 ERA in 32 games with the Reds. He was 1-1 with a 1.11 ERA in eight games for Triple-A Louisville.

Jorgensen suspended

Catcher Ryan Jorgensen was suspended for 50 games for violating Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

That's obviously why he wasn't called up Sept. 1. The release from MLB did not specify what banned substance the suspension was for.

The Reds would not comment beyond what was in the MLB release.

Bruce gets BA's highest honor

I guess this leaked out this weekend, but it was made official Friday (list of previous winners is very impressive. Wonder if any of them got September callups?):


DURHAM, N.C.—Outfielder Jay Bruce, a 20-year-old who mashed his way to 80 extra-base hits and more than 300 total bases in 2007 on his way from Class A to Triple-A, became the first member of the Reds organization to win Baseball America's Minor League Player of the Year award.

Bruce, a first-round pick in 2005 out of a Beaumont, Texas, high school, began his season at Sarasota in the high Class A Florida State League, mashing 11 home runs and 27 doubles in just 67 games while hitting .325. After a .333 showing (with four more homers) at Double-A Chattanooga, he got a promotion to Triple-A Louisville, which was supposed to be temporary. But Bruce never stopped hitting, smacking 11 more home runs in just 50 games in the International League.

Overall for the season, Bruce hit .319/.375/.587 with 46 doubles, eight triples, 26 homers and 89 RBIs. He tied for 10th in the minors in hits (166), tied for seventh in doubles, ranked second in extra-base hits (80) and total bases (306) and seventh in slugging percentage.

He continues a trend of younger phenoms winning BA's Player of the Year award. Eight of the last 11 POYs were drafted out of high school—a list that includes Josh Beckett (2001), Eric Chavez (1998) and Paul Konerko (1997), among others. All of the prep players, other than Konerko, won the award two years after being drafted.

“You just can’t say enough good things about Jay Bruce,” Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky said. “We’re thrilled that Baseball America would honor him with such a prestigious award. It’s an honor, not only for Jay, but for the entire Reds organization as we move forward.”

Baseball America magazine, based in Durham, N.C., has awarded a Minor League Player of the Year award since the magazine's founding in 1981.

1981--Mike Marshall, 1b, Albuquerque (Dodgers)
1982--Ron Kittle, of, Edmonton (White Sox)
1983--Dwight Gooden, rhp, Lynchburg (Mets)
1984--Mike Bielecki, rhp, Hawaii (Pirates)
1985--Jose Canseco, of, Huntsville/Tacoma (Athletics)
1986--Gregg Jefferies, ss, Columbia/Lynchburg/Jackson (Mets)
1987--Gregg Jefferies, ss, Jackson/Tidewater (Mets)
1988--Tom Gordon, rhp, Appleton/Memphis/Omaha (Royals)
1989--Sandy Alomar, c, Las Vegas (Padres)
1990--Frank Thomas, 1b, Birmingham (White Sox)
1991--Derek Bell, of, Syracuse (Blue Jays)
1992--Tim Salmon, of, Edmonton (Angels)
1993--Manny Ramirez, of, Canton/Charlotte (Indians)
1994--Derek Jeter, ss, Tampa/Albany/Columbus (Yankees)
1995--Andruw Jones, of, Macon (Braves)
1996--Andruw Jones, of, Durham/Greenville/Richmond (Braves)
1997--Paul Konerko, 1b, Albuquerque (Dodgers)
1998--Eric Chavez, 3b, Huntsville/Edmonton (Athletics)
1999--Rick Ankiel, lhp, Arkansas/Memphis (Cardinals)
2000--Jon Rauch, rhp, Winston-Salem/Birmingham (White Sox)
2001--Josh Beckett, rhp, Brevard County/Portland (Marlins)
2002--Rocco Baldelli, of, Bakersfield/Orlando/Durham (Devil Rays)
2003--Joe Mauer, c, Fort Myers/New Britain (Twins)
2004--Jeff Francis, lhp, Tulsa/Colorado Springs (Rockies)
2005--Delmon Young, of, Montgomery/Durham (Devil Rays)
2006--Alex Gordon, 3b, Wichita (Royals)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

For a good cause

From the Reds:

The third annual Cincinnati Bell Technology Solutions “Marty Brennaman Golf Classic…And This One Belongs to the Reds Community Fund” takes place this weekend, Sunday and Monday, Sept. 9-10, at Belterra Casino Resort & Spa in Belterra, Ind.

“We’re looking forward to a bigger and better event that will raise more charitable dollars for the Reds Community Fund,” said Brennaman. “We’re excited to add some new features as well as an additional round of golf at the fabulous Tom Fazio-designed course at Belterra.”

The event is hosted by Cincinnati Bell Technology Solutions and Cincinnati Bell. Presenting sponsors include Cintas and Switzerland County Tourism, which will host the Sunday night concert featuring “Rain: The Beatles Experience” at the CenterStage Showroom at Belterra. The Sunday night dinner will be presented by Jeff Ruby, as well as Hilary and Dr. Tim Kremchek of Beacon Orthopaedics. National City, Paycor, hhgregg, Maker’s Mark, Trophy Awards and Game Day Communications are also event sponsors.

The Reds Community Fund is the official nonprofit arm of the Cincinnati Reds. Established in 2001, the Community Fund is dedicated to improving the lives of youth through baseball.

Since its inception in 2005, the Marty Brennaman Golf Classic has raised more than $200,000 for the Reds Community Fund and its baseball-themed outreach programs. To date, the Community Fund has renovated 64 inner-city baseball fields with 100 more scheduled for improvements in 2007. The Community Fund also underwrites expenses for 144 inner-city youth baseball and softball teams and operates the Reds Rookie Success League in Cincinnati and Butler County.

The event is a near sellout, although there are single spaces available for the golf scrambles. Couples can purchase space at the Sunday night events, which includes a hotel room. For more information, contact Reds Community Fund Executive Director Charley Frank at (513) 765-7231 or visit redscommunityfund.com.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Reds 7, Mets 0

Not a bad debut for Joey Votto: 3-for-3, bomb off the batter's eye, nice defensive play.

“I hope Joey Votto doesn't think it’s going to be that easy,” Pete Mackanin said, “or maybe it is going to be that easy. He certainly made a nice debut. What a thrill for him. It was thrilling for me and everybody on the team.”

Tom Shearn threw six innings of three-hit ball. Edwin Encarnacion went 3-for-4 with two RBI. The Mets did not run out their best lineup. But it was a nice win for the Reds, who desperately needed one.

The thing I'm stunned about? I haven't gotten one "why wasn't he here earlier?" comment about Votto.

It's good to be Joey Votto

Joey Votto homered in the second inning today.

He seems to be an instant fan favorite. A big group of teen-age girls stood outside the Reds dugout and screamed when he arrived in the dugout before the game.

He's the third Red to homer for his first hit. The others:

Josh Hamilton, 4/10 at Arizona off Edgar Gonzalez
Ryan Jorgensen, 8/15 at Chicago off Rich Hill

Cunningham apologizes

WLW host Bill Cunningham visited the Reds clubhouse today to apologize to Adam Dunn for a remark Cunningham made on his show Friday.

"I apologized," Cunningham said. "That's all I'm going to say about it. I made a mistake."

Cunningham said Dunn was "drunk" when he missed a base and misplayed a ball in a game in Pittsburgh.

Dunn pretty much takes all criticism.

"Say I stink, I suck, whatever," Dunn said. "But when my mom's friend hears it and calls her. Then (my mom) calls me crying her eyes out . . . That's over the line. People believe that stuff."

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Mets 11, Reds 7

This game was not as close as the score indicates. The bullpen meltdown was reminiscent of the those early season disasters. Relievers gave up six of the 11 runs, and the Reds have lost five straight.

Bill Bray added nearly two runs to his ERA. He did not retire a batter and gave up three runs.

Todd Coffey, freshly back from Louisville, faced four batters and retired none. He gave up Paul Lo Duca's second three-run homer of the night.

I've got to be back here in 10 hours and 46 minutes. So I'll heed Jack McKeon's advice and sleep fast.

Call-up talk

Catcher Ryan Hanigan was called up instead of the Ryan Jorgensen because Jorgensen "had some personal things he had to deal with."

Joey Votto is not starting tonight because left-hander Oliver Perez is pitching for the Mets. Votto will start Wednesday's day game. The Reds told him two days ago. "I couldn't sleep," he said. "I ended up staying up until 5 in the morning watching The Office reruns."

It was the first time Votto stepped foot in the Great American Ball Park.

"I told I wasn't going to come to a game or watch a game here until I got called up," he said.

Scott Hatteberg understands that Votto is going to play.

"I figured he was going to play," he said. "They didn't bring him up to eat Slush Puppies. If I'm the GM, I'd do the same thing. They've got to look at some people now. They already know what my tired act can do."

Minor matters

From Jamie Ramsey:

Louisville and Chattanooga take their respective winning streaks into the offseason…Both the Bats and Lookouts are now done for the year…Sarasota takes on Clearwater tonight in the first game of a best-of-3 playoff series…Dayton loses to South Bend in the final game of the regular-season...The Dragons and Silver Hawks square off again tomorrow night in the first game of the playoffs…Brandon Waring has joined the Dragons…Billings still has games to play – they lose to Great Falls yesterday…Kyle Lotzkar on the hill tonight for the Mustangs.

In 28 games (all starts) this season split between Louisville, Chattanooga and Sarasota – RHP Johnny Cueto went 12-9 with a 3.07 ERA in 161.1ip (63r/55er, 34bb, 170k, 11hr)…Cueto ranked sixth among all minor league pitchers with 170 strikeouts.

Mike Griffin – 171 hits (T3rd)
Jay Bruce – 80 extra-base hits (2nd, 1 off the pace), 46 doubles (T7th), 306 total bases (2nd), .587 slugging (14th)
Derrik Lutz – 61 appearances (T4th)
Ricky Stone – 59 appearances (T9th)
Carlos Guevara – 12.63 strikeouts per 9.0ip (13th among all minor league relievers)
Jose Castro - .312 batting average (T14th among all minor league switch hitters)

Joey Votto – 92 RBI (2nd)
Phil Dumatrait – 3.53 ERA (7th)
Ricky Stone – 59 appearances (2nd)
Mark Bellhorn - .382 on-base pct. (5th)
Aaron Herr – 55 extra-base hits (4th)

James Avery – 11 wins (5th)
Luis Bolivar – 9 triples (4th)
Drew Anderson – 8 triples (5th)

Mike Griffin - .303 batting average (8th)
Derrik Lutz – 54 appearances (1st)

Justin Turner - .311 batting average (4th)
Justin Turner – 145 hits (2nd)
Juan Francisco – 25 home runs (1st)
Juan Francisco – 90 RBI (4th)
Juan Francisco – 143 hits (3rd)
Juan Francisco – 50 extra-base hits (5th)
Travis Webb – 3.45 ERA (8th)
Rafael Gonzalez – 13 wins (T1st)
Drew Stubbs – 93 runs scored (1st)

PIONEER LEAGUE LEADERS (*season still active)
Luis Montano - 3.51 ERA (7th)
Luis Montano – 8 wins (1st)
Enerio Del Rosario – 3.97 ERA (10th)
Brandon Waring – 20 home runs (1st)
Brandon Waring – 61 RBI (T2nd)
Brandon Waring - .614 slugging (1st)
Brandon Waring – 39 extra-base hits (T2nd)
Brandon Waring – 63 runs scored (1st)
Mike McKennon – 25 doubles (2nd)
Mike McKennon – 37 extra-base hits (4th)

I'm back

I sort of took Redfil's advice -- "John, take a few days off and get a clue." I took yesterday off. I looked for a clue but didn't find one.

I saw about three pitches of yesterday's game. I'm a bit surprised that Bruce didn't get the call-up. I thought an at-bat here and there and couple of starts might do him good.

The situation is getting critical for Pete Mackanin. I think he needs a good September to have a chance at the job. The club is 0-3 in the month so far, but more discouraging is the fact they're 0-2 with Bronson Arroyo and Aaron Harang on the mound.

As for Jason Ellison, I don't know.

I apologize for unposted comments. The people who usually post them when I'm off were off yesterday.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Coming up

From the Reds....

Tomorrow, the Reds are expected to recall from Louisville RHP Todd Coffey, RHP Kirk Saarloos, RHP Brad Salmon, 1B/OF Joey Votto (#19) and IF/OF Buck Coats (#63) and select from Louisville the contract of C Ryan Hanigan (#65).
When they play, Votto and Hanigan will become the ninth and 10th Reds players to make Major League debuts this season.
On Saturday, the Reds recalled from Louisville LHP Phil Dumatrait and RHP Marcus McBeth.

Reds vs. Mets, 9-3

Hamilton, cf
Gonzalez, ss
Griffey Jr., rf
Phillips, 2b
Dunn, lf
Valentin, c
Hatteberg, 1b
Encarnacion, 3b
Harang, rhp

Reyes, ss
Castillo, 2b
Wright, 3b
Beltran, cf
Delgado, 1b
Alou, lf
Green, rf
Lo Duca, c
Martinez, rhp

Miscellany: The Reds will announce their remaining September call-ups once Triple-A Louisville's final regular season game ends this afternoon.... Pedro Martinez is making his season debut after recovering from rotator cuff surgery. He entered today's game two strikeouts shy of becoming the 15th pitcher in major league history to record 3,000 strikeouts. He struck out Edwin Encarnacion for No. 2,999 to start the second and got Reds pitcher Aaron Harang swinging on an 87 mph pitch for No. 3,000 that ended the second inning.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Meeting follows latest loss

Pete Mackanin had a brief team meeting after Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Cardinals.

“What I challenged them to find ways to win,” Mackanin said. “I feel we’re every bit as good as this St. Louis Cardinals team. The one difference – it’s noticeable to me – they look for ways to win games. We’re waiting for something to happen to win games.

“I challenged the players to do the same thing (as the Cards). Look for ways to win games in the month of September.”

The meeting only lasted a minute or two. Mackanin pointed to two plays that the Cardinals made: Albert Pujols going in standing up to break up the double play Saturday, and Brendan Ryan stealing third while Bill Bray stared in for the sign Sunday.

"Those two little plays helped them win games," Mackanin said.

Will the meeting work? Mackanin was able to rally the Reds when they've been down before. We'll see. The Mets are in town for three starting tomorrow at 1:15.

Changes of plans for Homer

Homer Bailey is not eligible to pitch in the Florida State League playoffs because of his "veteran status." Bailey will stay in Sarasota and continue to work with pitching coach Tom Brown.

No Pujols

Albert Pujols isn't in the lineup for the Cardinals. He's just getting an off day because the Cardinals have a run of a lot games in a row.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Cards 11, Reds 3 (thems fighting words)

You've got to admire Brandon Phillips' honesty.

He didn't like the fact that Albert Pujols didn't slide and he said so.

“That shows me has no respect for me,” Phillips said. “He tried to hurt me. If you don’t slide, you try to hurt a player. That taught me a lesson. Lesson learned.

“Just throw it through the (runner). That’s just real talk.”

The play happened as Phillips tried to turn a double play. If he turned it, the Reds get out of the fifth with a 2-1 lead. Instead, they came out of the inning down 5-2.

Phillips tried to talk to Pujols after the play.

“That just let me further know that he doesn't respect me turning a double play,” Phillips said. “From now on, I got to throw the ball through the guy – regardless of who it is.”

Told of Phillips comments, Pujols said: “I play the game hard. I play the game hard every day. Next time, I'll put him into left field.”

Sunday's first pitch is at 2:15 Cincinnati time. I can't wait.

More to come

Wayne Krivsky said the Reds will call up more players Tuesday. The rosters expanded Saturday, but Triple-A Louisville's season ends Monday.

Krivsky wouldn't say who would get the call.

"We've got to tell the players first," he said.

Marcus McBeth got the callup Saturday because the Reds needed a right-hander in the bullpen. On Tuesday, I think you'll see pitchers who have been with the Reds earlier -- Todd Coffey, Brad Salmon, Kirk Saarloos -- plus Joey Votto and Ryan Jorgensen. I wouldn't be stunned one way or the other with Jay Bruce.

Depending on how Phil Dumatrait does tonight, I think Johnny Cueto or Matt Maloney could get a callup. If Dumatrait has another short outing, they can't continue to run him out there. Or at least I think they can't.

Homer Bailey will not be in the group called up Tuesday. He's going to pitch for Sarasota in the playoffs. "He's tweaking things," Krivsky said, "all with the idea of getting more consistent."

Cardinals 8, Reds 5

Eddie Guardado knew it was a chance to get back in the mix. He entered the game in the sixth inning with one out, the bases loaded and the Reds up 4-3.

“In my situation, it was a great opportunity to prove something,” he said.

Instead, he got the worst possible outcome. Rick Ankiel hit a 1-1 pitch for a grand slam to give the Cardinals a 7-4.

“I threw a pretty good breaking pitch that he swung and missed,” Guardado said. “The story of my career right now is I throw one good pitch and one bad pitch I pay for.”

The bad pitch was another breaking ball, up a bit.

“Obviously, I've got to make a better pitch,” Guardado said.

Pete Mackanin mentioned "pennant race" after the game. The Reds remain seven games back of the Chicago Cubs. But the Reds are running out of season. If the Cubs go 14-15 the rest of the way, the Reds need to 20-7, just to tie.


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