June 2012

Pirates get to Chapman

It was a 5-4 loss in 10 innings for the Reds that meant losing two of three in the series to the Pirates.

Click here for the full game story

The Three Stars of the Game….

No. 3 star: Joey Votto — 3-for-5, two doubles, one run scored. Votto remains on a tear with a season-high 13 game hitting streak.

No. 2 star: Ryan Ludwick — 2-for-5, two HRs, two RBIs. It hasn’t been an easy season for Ludwick, who came in batting .207. But he’s had some clutch hits and RBIs. Ludwick hit a pair of first-pitch homers to lead off innings (fifth inning vs. Correia, ninth inning vs. Hanrahan). Both were game-tying shots.

“That’s why we got Ryan last year,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “He can hit a home run or two for you. He made us pay tonight”.

No. 1 star: Mike McKenry, PIT — 1-for-3, two RBIs. McKenry pulled off a tall order. The .193 hitter was the guy who broke through against Aroldis Chapman for an earned run for the first time all season. Chapman was crushed for a double by Clint Barmes to start the 10th and McKenry, who fouled off a 98 mph bunt attempt on his first pitch, sent a 99 mph 1-2 pitch to the right-center field wall for Pittsburgh’s game-winner.

“You still have butterflies after a game like that,” said McKenry. “He’s a special arm. You just have to go up there with the mindset to battle, and put the ball in play. It was a fastball, middle, middle-away. You have to prepare for the 100 mph heater. I just reacted to it”

News and notes:

*The RBI double by McKenry ended Chapman’s club record 24 games without an earned run to start the season. He had a Major League leading 29 ip without an earned runs as well.

“You knew it was going to end some day. You didn’t want it to end like this,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

*The Reds were only 2-for-8 RISP. The had Votto on second as the tying run in the 10th and couldn’t get him in.

*Brandon Phillips had a costly blunder in the seventh. A three-time Gold Glove winner, Phillips took a throw a first base on Barmes’ sac bunt. But Phillips put his head down and had his back to the infield as Jose Tabata alertly went from first to third base. It set up a run that scored on a McKenry sac fly.

“I just tried to make sure I caught the ball at first base on a high throw,” said Phillips, who owned up to the mistake. “I caught the ball and forgot about the guy being on second base.

“I just tried to make sure I got an out. All you can say is the guy made a good play. I didn’t hear anything. For some reason, I looked up and tried to make a good throw to third base. It wasn’t in time. It is what it is.”

*Pitching coach Bryan Price has been away from the club for a couple of days to attend to a personal matter. Assistant pitching coach Mack Jenkins made a mound visit to Leake in the fourth inning on Thursday.

6/7 vs. PIT

Reds lineup vs. Pirates

Cozart 6
Heisey 8
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Frazier 5
Ludwick 7
Mesoraco 2
Leake 1

*I’m back on the game coverage tonight, now that the 2012 Draft is over.

*Ryan Ludwick has 10 RBIs with the bases loaded season, tied for 2nd most in the NL behind Giancarlo Stanton.

*Neil Walker is 6-for-16 (.375) with 1 HR and 7 RBIs lifetime vs. Mike Leake.

*The last time Kevin Correia faced the Reds on May 4, at PIT, he allowed five runs and nine hits over seven innings in a 6-1 loss. Correia is coming off a win in his last start at MIL, but has lost five of his last six decisions.

6/6 vs. PIT

Reds lineup vs. Pirates

Cozart 6
Heisey 8
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Frazier 5
Ludwick 7
Hanigan 2
Cueto 1

*The Reds made a roster move, optioning 1B/3B/PH Mike Costanzo to Triple-A Louisville. INF Kristopher Negron was recalled from Louisville. Costanzo was just 1-for-18  (.056) with 10 strikeouts.

But in a sign of how tough the depth is looking at Louisville, Negron isn’t exactly an offensive dynamo this season. In 58 games, he was batting .212 with five homers, 16 RBI and 15 steals When he appears, it will be his MLB debut. What Negron does bring to the table is versatility…he can play 2B, SS, 3B, and all three outfield spots.

Negron will wear No. 17.

6/5 vs. PIT

Reds lineup vs. Pirates

Cozart 6
Stubbs 8
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Heisey 7
Frazier 5
Mesoraco 2
Bailey 1

*There will be a moment of silence and video tribute before the game to honor Pedro Borbon, who died yesterday from cancer at the age of 65.

*I will not be covering the game tonight or on Wednesday because I will be immersed in Draft coverage. Kevin Goheen will be on the case and you can get his stories on MLB.com/Reds.com

*Bill Bray turns 29 today.

*From the Reds: Class A Bakersfield CF Bryson Smith and Class AA Pensacola LHP Donnie Joseph have been named the Cincinnati Reds’ Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Month for May.

Votto leading among NL 1B

The first MLB All-Star Game ballot updates are in….

Reds first baseman Joey Votto was the National League leader at his position with 1,314,516 votes. That was more than 680,000 ballots cast better than second place’s Lance Berkman of the Cardinals.

At second base, the Reds’ Brandon Phillips was in second place with 586,835 votes while the Braves’ Dan Uggla commanded the lead with 872,136 votes.

Among NL outfielders, Jay Bruce was listed in ninth place with 460,853 votes. The top three outfielders in the vote are selected to start. With 1,952,910 ballots cast, the Dodgers Matt Kemp leads all N.L. vote-getters and ranks second in the Majors, behind the Rangers’ Josh Hamilton.

More information about the update will be on Reds.com and MLB.com later today.

Day 2 of Reds Draft

The second day of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft is going Tuesday afternoon, covering rounds 2-15. Look for the breakdown selections here, on Reds.com and you can also take a look at the MLB.com Draft tracker.

Round 2, No. 78 overall: SS Tanner Rahier, Palm Desert HS, California

This might prove to be good luck for the Reds to land Rahier, who was predicted to be taken late in in the first round in some projections. According to the MLB.com scouting report, he does not play for his high school team but instead plays for a spring travel team and uses a wood bat. ESPN had him ranked as the 21st best prospect at one point and Baseball America projected him to be a comp. round talent.

Rahier, 18, is currently committed to attending the Univ. of San Diego. He stands at 6-2, 205.

Here is more from the report:

“An aggressive hitter who can really turn on fastballs, he has the chance to have plus power in the future. He does overswing and can struggle with breaking stuff at times. He’s an average runner, but basestealing won’t be a part of his game. Defensively, his best tool is his arm, though he also has decent hands and fairly good range. He likely won’t stay at shortstop, though all of his skills, from the power bat to his defensive tools, should profile just fine at third base.”

Via Twitter, Rahier posted this:

“Excited to be selected by the Reds organization! Thankyou for everyone who has been a part of my development as a person and a player”

Round 3, pick No. 109: RHP Dan Langfield, Univ. of Memphis

This season in 15 starts, Langfield is 7-6 with a 2.79 ERA. He struck out 111 batters while walking 47 in 93.2 innings.

Here is the MLB.com scouting report on Langfield, a Somerset, Mass. native who is 6-1, 205.

“The ace of Memphis’ staff, Langfield put up some serious strikeout numbers in his junior season and came up with a huge win over Rice to get Memphis to the Conference USA championship game. He’ll use a fastball, slider and curve to get hitters to swing and miss. He hasn’t always been good with the strike zone, though that was improved in 2012. There is some effort in his delivery, and that, along with his command, lead some to think he’s destined to a relief role at some point in the future.”

Round 4, No. 142: RHP Jon Moscot, Pepperdine Univ.

Moscot, 20, was 7-5 with a 2.90 ERA in 15 starts. He walked 24, struck out 95 over 115 innings. He hails from Pacific Palisades, Calif and 6-4, 205.

Round 5, No. 172: LHP Mason Felt, Hebron Christian Academy, Georgia.

Felt, who is from Lawrenceville, GA., is committed to Oregon State to play college ball.

Round 6, No. 202: C Joe Hudson, Notre Dame Univ.

A semi-finalist for the Johnny Bench Award, Hudson had a respected arm in college as a junior. He led the Big East conference in throwing out base runners (38 percent) and for fewest opponent steals (32) and attempts (56). His .332 batting average led the Irish.

Round 7, No. 232: OF Beau Amaral, UCLA
Amaral is the second UCLA player taken in this Draft, behind compensation round selection (57th overall) outfielder Jeff Gelalich. The starting center fielder for the Bruins the past three seasons, he is batting .320 with four homers, five triples, nine doubles and a team-leading 61 runs this season. Amaral is the son of former outfielder Rich Amaral, who spent parts of 10 seasons in the Majors.

Round 8, No. 262, 3B Seth Mejias-Brean, Univ. of Arizona
Mejias-Brean is batting .363 with a .410 on-base percentage in 58 games this season for the Wildcats. According to the Arizona Republic, the 21-year-old can throw a football up to 60-70 yards and make 360-degree dunks in basketball.

Round 9, No. 292, OF Daniel Pigott, Univ. of Florida

The starting center fielder for the Gators, Pigott leads the club with a .321 batting average, 38 RBIs and is 11-for-16 stealing bases. He has 46 runs, 13 doubles, 22 walks and seven home runs.

Round 10, No. 322, RHP Jeremy Kivel, Spring H.S., Texas

Kivel attends the same high school that boasts pitcher Josh Beckett as alumni. He is currently slated to attend the Univ. of Houston.

Round 11, No. 352, LHP Nolan Becker, Yale University

Turning 21 next week, Becker is a big fellow and listed at 6-foot-6, 225 pounds. In the senior’s final game for the Bulldogs, against Brown, he struck out 16 batters. He finished 2012 with a 2-4 record, a 4.09 ERA and had 25 walks with 56 strikeouts over 50 2/3 innings.

Round 12, No. 382, SS Brent Peterson, Bakersfield College, Calif.

In 37 games this season, Peterson batted .374 with 29 RBIs and 37 runs scored.

Round 13, No. 412, LHP Matt Boyd, Oregon State Univ.

A reliever, Boyd was 4-0 with a 3.41 ERA in 31 games and struck out 31 batters over 37 innings. Opponents batted .237 against him.

Round 14, No. 442, RHP Lucas Moran, Grayson County College, Texas

Not only did Moran pitch in college, he also played first base and the outfield.

Round 15, No. 472, RHP Ben Klimesh, Trinity Univ., Texas

Klimesh was 13-3 with a 1.71 ERA in 15 games, including 13 starts this season. In 110 2/3 innings, he walked 40 and struck out 154 batters.

Reds draft picks – Monday

*With the 49th overall pick in the compensation round of the First-Year Player Draft, the Reds selected left-handed hitting corner OF Jesse Winker. He is from Olympia High School and hails from Windemere, Fla. He is compensation for the loss of free agent Ramon Hernandez.

According to MLB Network, the 18-year-old Winker is 6-3, 200 pounds. He batted .488 in 30 games with 19 extra base hits. Here is what MLB.com’s scouting report says:

“Any team interested in Winker on Draft day will be buying the bat. If his career as an amateur is any indication, it will be worth purchasing.Winker has an advanced idea at the plate, with a terrific approach from the left side. He can hit the ball hard to all fields, with power to the pull side now with more to come. He is the type of left-handed hitter easy to project as a run-producer in the future.Winker doesn’t run particularly well and might be limited to left field or first base down the road. He does have a decent enough arm for a corner outfield spot and should hit enough for either position, a reason why some team will try to keep him from honoring that commitment to Florida.”

*With the 57th overall pick, compensation for Francisco Cordero’s defection, the Reds took another OF — Jeff Gelalich from UCLA. The 21-year-old is 6-1, 205. In 59 games, he is batting .372 with 11 homers, 46 RBIs and a .462 OBP. Here is the MLB.com scouting report:

“This UCLA outfielder has picked a very good time to figure things out at the plate, allowing him to shoot up Draft boards. An inconsistent performer in the past, Gelalich has done nothing but hit in his junior season. He makes consistent hard contact and he’s starting to grow into what could be Major League average power. While Gelalich will still strik eout some, he’s become much more selective at the plate. A plus runner, he’s a threat to steal. He’s also improved defensively in terms of his reads and routes to go along with a solid-average arm. College hitters who perform tend to move up as the Draft approaches, and that’s certainly happened with Gelalich, who is now seen as a potential everyday outfielder at the next level.”

Look soon for a story on both players on MLB.com.

*Here is my story on the Reds first-round pick (No. 14 overall) RHP Nick Travieso.

Not in Houston

I am not covering the Reds vs. Astros series this weekend. I will be back at work on Monday to cover the first round of the First-year Player Draft.

Feel free to talk amongst yourselves. Be nice.

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