July 2012

Win streak at 9

The winning streak is at nine as the Reds had to battle and grind it out for a 9-7 win over the Rockies. Click here for the game story.

Here are your three stars:

No. 3 star: Drew Stubbs — 2-for-4, HR, 2 RBIs, 2 runs

No. 2 star: Carlos Gonzalez, COL — 2-for-4, HR, 3 RBIs.

No. 1 star: Ryan Ludwick, 2-for-4, 2 HRs, 2 RBIs

Ludwick has raised his average from .201 to .252 in 32 games. His 17 homers for the season are good for second on the club.  His first homer in the top of the second was big as it came right after Johnny Cueto struggled and dropped to a 3-0 deficit following one inning. Perhaps in a sign of how he’d like to see the Reds be kept as it is around the Trade Deadline, he said this:

“I feel like the team chemistry in here is awesome,” Ludwick said. “Everyone gets along. I think we believe. Obviously having Votto out of the lineup as long as he’s been out and to have the record we have, you’ve got to believe. We’re getting contributions from different players at different times. If you believe in yourselves, it’s half the battle.”

News and notes:

*Cueto wasn’t stellar but he earned career-high win No. 13. He had 6 ip, 10 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K and worked out of a few jams after the first inning. His ERA is now 2.39, no longer best in the NL.

*Another Cueto note — he hasn’t allowed a homer since Todd Helton hit a two-run shot on May 25 at GABP. He’s gone 11 starts and 78 innings without a homer allowed, the longest streak in the Majors this season. According to Elias Sports Bureau, it’s the longest by a Reds pitcher since Bruce Berenyi threw 85 1/3 homerless innings from 6/19-8/24, 1982.

“It was not an easy night but thank God I did my job. At least I did it,” Cueto said.

*The Reds are now 60-40, which is tied for the best record in baseball with the Yankees and Nationals. Besides winning nine straight and 16 of 18, they are 10-2 without Joey Votto. They have not won 10 in a row since 1999.

7/28 at COL

Reds lineup vs. Rockies

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

*The Reds have not had an eight-game winning streak since 2006. Reds haven’t won more than eight in a row since they won 10 straight in 1999.

*Nick Masset started last night for the AZL Reds and struck out the side in his one inning of work.

*Warm 70th birthday greetings to one Marty Brennaman today. May his ice cream cake of life have extra sprinkles.

Tied for best record in NL

The Reds have won eight in a row, 15 of 17 and sit 19 games over .500 after a 3-0 win over the Rockies on Friday. Click here to read full game story.

Here are the three stars:

No. 3 star: Aroldis Chapman – 1 ip, 1 H, 3 K. Chapman earned save No. 20 and was filthy. Of his 11 pitches, 10 were strikes. He struck out Todd Helton with an 88 mph slider and recorded his other two K’s with 101 mph fastballs.

No. 2 star: Ryan Ludwick — 2-for-3, double RBI. Ludwick’s fourth-inning double scored Cincinnati’s first run. He has three doubles and three RBIs on the road trip. He’s also batting .311 (33-for-106) over his last 31 games to raise his average from .201 to .248. I wrote a notebook item on Ludwick’s tear. Click here to read.

No. 1 star: Bronson Arroyo — 6 2/3 ip, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 85 pitches/61 strikes. Arroyo retired 11 in a row before his first hit and worked out of one tight jam in the fifth. Despite the low pitch count, he was on fumes energy wise and told Dusty Baker/Bryan Price to get the bullpen going.

“In this atmosphere, a couple of times I had to run hard and I was low a little bit blood sugar wise,” Arroyo said. “I felt like I was getting the shakes a little bit. I didn’t want them to be surprised because my pitch count was so low.”

“He was tiring there,” Baker said. “You could tell how they were starting to hit him and he hadn’t been feeling real good. So we figured that was enough.”

News and notes:

*At 59-40, the Reds are tied with the Nationals for the best record in the NL.

*Another nice game for Alfredo Simon, who pitched 1 1/3 innings after Arroyo.

*Scott Rolen played in his 2,000th career game on Friday. A total of 292 of them came with the Reds. He has 844 games with the Phillies, 661 with the Cardinals and 203 for the Blue Jays.

*Baker was thrilled to have gotten a shutout at Coors Field.

“I can’t tell you the last time I was on a team that shut these guys out in Colorado. That doesn’t happen very often,” Baker said.

*After the game, the Rockies traded 2B Marco Scutaro to the Giants.

7/27 at COL

Reds lineup vs. Rockies

Cozart 6
Stubbs 8
Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Ludwick 7
Rolen 5
Frazier 3
Hanigan 2
Arroyo 1

*Coming up later on Reds.com/MLB.com, I will have an update on the Trade Deadline and the Reds’ situation. I’ve been hearing about some higher level Reds scouts being around the Twins of late. To me, Denard Span would be the potential target as the Reds are in need of leadoff help.

*The winning streak is at seven games and the Reds are 11-2 since the All-Star break, and they’ve won 14 of 16. It’s the first 14-2 stretch for the club since 1998 (courtesy of Elias).

*As far as I’m concerned, the most impressive part of this recent run is the 8-2 mark since Joey Votto went down. I don’t think Reds fans could ask for much more than this. In those 10 games, Todd Frazier is batting .300 (12-for-40). Brandon Phillips is batting .389 (14-for-36, 2 HR, 9 RBIs) and Drew Stubbs is batting .361 (13-for-36, 1 HR, 8 RBIs). The team has scored 50 runs in this span, an average of five runs per game.

*Aroldis Chapman has had 31 of his last 40 outs be strikeouts.

Not in Houston

I’m headed back to Cincinnati from Cooperstown and won’t be making the Reds series in Houston. I will finish the trip when it gets to Colorado.

The weekend at the Hall of Fame induction seemed perfect all the way around. The weather was spectacular. Barry Larkin and Ron Santo’s family could not have been more gracious. The town was bustling but never felt overcrowded. That’s a good feat for a town of about 1,900 that swells to about 20,000 once a year. I never seemed to wait in a long line for anything, whether it was the Hall, a restaurant or shop.

I spent the weekend surrounded by true baseball fans and it could not have been cooler. Everyone, locals and tourists alike, was enthusiastic and pleasant. A few readers were kind enough to say hello and I really appreciated that.

I don’t know when the next Reds player will get inducted (perhaps Griffey even though he’d go in as a Mariner), but I suggest you don’t wait that long to visit the Hall of Fame and Cooperstown. You won’t be sorry for paying the place a visit.


Saturday in Cooperstown

It’s been a beautiful day of weather in Cooperstown, on Saturday. Low 80s, sunny and not humid. The town is bustling with people, and I’d say the count of Reds fans easily dominates over all others.

I visited one of my friends, who happened to be born and raised in Cooperstown and went to the house where he grew up. This town, set really in the middle of nowhere in central NY state, is the kind of place where you can leave your front door unlocked and let your kids run around and play without worries about safety. Bucolic would definitely be the fitting term to describe Cooperstown.

Here are some pictures from Saturday morning/afternoon:

This is the Otesaga Resort Hotel, where the Hall of Fame members are staying this weekend.

Barry Larkin at the first tee during the HOF member golf tournament.

Larkin with MLB.com youth reporter Meggie Zahneis

Lake Otsego, near the sixth tee of the golf course

Frank Robinson was one of several former players that signed autographs at shops along Main St.

The museum

The statue of James Fenimore Cooper

Frick Award winner Tim McCarver and Spink Award winner Bob Elliott tell stories during their press conference


Barry Larkin at his Saturday press conference


Hall of Fame Museum

I took a quick trip through the Hall of Fame Museum after dinner…incredibly impressive. I fully understand why some memorabilia collectors take their hobby so seriously. Seeing the real things — whether it’s one of Babe Ruth’s uniforms, Hank Aaron’s locker stall or even Miller Huggins’ cardigan sweater with the interlocked ‘NY’ on the chest — it leaves me in awe that these legends actually wore or used these items.

For some reason, I took particular enjoyment from touching the cornerstone that was rescued from the demolition of Ebbets Field. I’ve never been a big memorabilia buff, but seeing these things does transport you to another time.

Here are some pictures from tonight…

The uniforms of the tallest-ever Major Leaguer — Jon Rauch — and the shortest — Eddie Gaedel

Barry Larkin items, including his 1995 NL MVP Award

The HOF plaques

This space reserved for Larkin and Santo

Bench and Morgan


The Babe Ruth room.

Big Red Machine display



Cooperstown bound…

I won’t be at Great American Ball Park for the Reds-Brewers this weekend. No, it’s not more time off (that will happen during the Houston series)…instead I will have the pleasure and privilege to cover my first Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cooperstown, N.Y. for Barry Larkin.

There will be a couple of days worth of events, namely the induction ceremony at 1:30 p.m. ET on Sunday. You can watch it live on MLB Network. Of course, MLB.com will have complete coverage.

Click here for our special 2012 Hall of Fame section.

During the weekend, I will try to post some extra stuff here on the blog, especially pictures, if I am able to. I haven’t been to Cooperstown since I was a teenager, so this will be a very new experience in many ways for me too.

I will get there tonight and hope to have updates going by Saturday. Please check in. Of course, full coverage of the Reds-Brewers series will be on Reds.com and MLB.com.


Phillips has message for fans

That’s about as huge of a win as the Reds have had all season. Down 6-0 in the top of the sixth inning, they roared back with seven unanswered runs for a 7-6 victory over the D-backs. It was the biggest come-from-behind victory since May 21, 2007, vs. the Nationals (also six runs).

The Three Stars:

No. 3 star: Joe Saunders, ARI — 6 ip, 4 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 5 K, 86 pitches/53 strikes. Saunders took a no-hitter into the fifth and was dealing strikes. Through the third, he had 30 pitches/21 strikes. He retired his first 10 in a row and 14 of the first 16 with only two walks mixed in.

“They were sailing along pretty good. Saunders had a no-hitter through five and had us eating out of his hands,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

No. 2 star: Todd Frazier — 1-for-3. After fouling off a squeeze bunt attempt, Frazier laced a RBI single off of Brad Ziegler for the go-ahead run in the four-run seventh.

“We know we can hit,” Frazier said. “Do we want Joey in there? Of course. At the same time, we have to play without him. We understand that. We have to put big innings together. When we have runners on, we have to do something with it. We did today. It was pretty cool.”

No. 1 star: Brandon Phillips — 2-for-4, HR, 5 RBIs. Phillips brought his team back from the dead in the sixth with his three-run homer off of the left field foul pole vs. Saunders. In a 2-2 count in the seventh, Phillips’ two-run double tied the game.

Phillips wasn’t in a great mood postgame, however. He was disappointed by the fans that wrote off his team and booed heavily when it was 6-0  as Mike Leake gave up three runs in the top of the sixth.

“It started off ugly, but the ending of the game was beautiful,” Phillips said. “I’m glad we won that game because I know a majority of you all was going into panic mode, knowing we should be winning games and we don’t have our best hitter in the lineup. I love the fans out there, period, but I feel all the booing out there was unnecessary. We’re in first place. We’re playing good baseball.

“I know we didn’t do our job early in the game. It’s not like we did it on purpose. I feel like if you’re going to boo somebody, wait until the end of the game is over. You never when guys will come up in key situations.”

Here’s one more quote from Phillips: “The win today, it makes us feel good to shut a lot of people up. We can just build off that win. It’s time for us to start attacking teams earlier instead of waiting until the last minute. The way we won the game just shows you that the game is never over, regardless of the fact. You just have to keep on going.”

Click here for the full game story.

News and notes:

*Another nice outing for Alfredo Simon, who got the victory with a 1 1/3 scoreless innings. It was his second in three appearances. Simon has a 1.00 ERA over his last 21 games.

*Aroldis Chapman had a 1-2-3 ninth for his 15th save. Chapman hasn’t allowed a run in nine appearances and 23 of his last 28 outs have been strikeouts.

*Drew Stubbs is on a five-game hit streak and batting .389 (7-for-18). Four of those games came since moving back to leadoff.

*After some very nice starts the past couple of months, Mike Leake was not very good today. (5 1/3 ip, 11 H, 6 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 2 HR). He admitted to some poor pitch selection, especially on Henry Blanco’s two-run homer in the sixth…something that Baker voiced disapproval about postgame.

“We kind of gave them something in the sixth,” Baker said. “I was upset there for a while because we were throwing guys fastball that hit nothing but fastballs inside.”



7/19 vs. ARI

Reds lineup vs. D-backs

Stubbs 8
Valdez 6
Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Frazier 5
Heisey 7
Cairo 3
Mesoraco 2
Leake 1

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