September 2013

Phillips expected to play

The Reds are currently on the field for their off day workout at PNC Park. Among the players out there are 2B Brandon Phillips.

After taking a foul ball off of his leg Saturday, Phillips had some nasty swelling above his left shin. That swelling has subsided. Reds manager Dusty Baker not only pronounced Phillips good to go for Tuesday’s Wild Card game vs. the Pirates, he provided the quote of the day.

“I expect Brandon to be in there,” Baker said. “I saw him yesterday. I told him, ‘he wasn’t limping, he was pimping’ …not literally.”

*As for the Wild Card roster, the Reds will not set or announce it until Tuesday morning.

Umpires for Wild Card game

I don’t think I’ve ever posted an umpire lineup before but Major League Baseball released the crew for Tuesday’s game.

The crew chief will be Joe West.

West’s crew will include regular season crew chief Dale Scott, Dan Iassogna, Rob Drake, Tim Timmons and Lance Barksdale.

**UPDATE– Here are the assignments:

HP Joe West* 7 DS (1995, 02, 05, 08-09, 11-12); 7 LCS (1981, 86, 88, 93, 96, 03-04); 5 WS (1992, 97, 05, 09, 12)
1B Dale Scott^ 10 DS (1995, 97-98, 01, 03-05, 07-08, 11); 5 LCS (1996, 99-00, 02, 09); 3 WS (1998, 01, 04)
2B Dan Iassogna 5 DS (2005, 07, 09, 11-12); 1 LCS (2010); 1 WS (2012)
3B Rob Drake 1 WC (2012); 1 DS (2010); 1 LCS (2012)
LF Tim Timmons 2 DS (2005, 09); 1 LCS (2011)
RF Lance Barksdale 1st Postseason Assignment

Reg. season ends, playoffs begin

The Reds will head into the postseason on a season-high tying five-game losing streak after a 4-2 loss to the Pirates that meant a three-game series sweep. The Reds end their season 90-72.

*There were some troubling trends: eight runs in the five losses. One quality start from the rotation (Mat Latos on Wednesday).

*Most of the regulars were out of the game by the fifth inning. And the starter Greg Reynolds, who gave up three runs over five innings, is not a regular member of the rotation. Only one Pirates regular, Pedro Alvarez, was in their starting lineup on Sunday.

*Jeremy Warnemuende has the game story on MLB.com/Reds.com. Click here to read.

The good news? Everything starts over on Tuesday at the NL Wild Card game.

“You’ve got to block it out,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said of the team’s slide. “It’s a situation where it’s a new season. What you did previously, it doesn’t matter. What you didn’t do previously doesn’t matter. Now you start the season all over.”

“Not a lot of teams are in this position to play on,” shortstop Zack Cozart said. “A lot of teams are playing today and going home. We’ve got a chance to go out and play in Pitt., which is going to be a good atmosphere. We enjoyed playing there the last time there on the road a week ago. It was fun to play. With Johnny going, we’re obviously pretty confident.”

Quick notes:

*The Cardinals completed their three-game series sweep of the Cubs on Sunday and earned the top seed in the NL postseason. That means the winner of the Reds-Pirates Wild Card game heads to St. Louis for the Division Series that would start on Thursday at Busch Stadium.

*Closer Aroldis Chapman, who last pitched on Wednesday vs. the Mets, threw a side bullpen session today.

“We were contemplating throwing him today, but with the field conditions the way they were, you didn’t want to take a chance of anybody getting hurt,” Baker said. “They took even less chances than we did. The way the mound looked and the way the conditions were, you would hate for him to play in a game like that and pulled something or hurt something or whatever.

*The Reds had their 16th sellout of the season with 40,142 fans. That brought the 80-game season total to extend the Great American Ball Park record to 2,492,059 fans. Had a “home” game not been played at San Francisco to makeup for a rainout, GABP could have had 2.5 million fans this season.

*The Wild Card roster is not set, yet. I expect we’ll see that on Monday. The Reds have a PNC Park workout from 6-8 p.m. ET.

*See you from Pittsburgh on Monday.

Game 162: vs.PIT

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Wild Card game time set

MLB announced that Tuesday’s NL Wild Card game between the Reds and Pirates will begin at 8:07 p.m. ET and air on TBS.

Here are some links to get you up to speed:

*After losing home field, Reds strengthen Wild Card resolve

**Baker turns to Cueto for Wild Card start

*Votto proud of club on-base record, playing all 162 games

Game 161: vs. PIT

Reds lineup vs. Pirates

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

Hamilton’s spot not locked in, yet

Much speculation has happened over whether the Reds will include rookie Billy Hamilton on the postseason roster. While it would seem likely, the Reds are not ready to lock Hamilton in — at least not yet.

“We have not finalized that. We really haven’t,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said Friday. “We probably won’t talk about until Sunday or Monday.”

Hamilton entered Friday with 13 steals in 14 attempts, with his one failed attempt coming Wednesday vs. the Mets. With only 18 at-bats in 12 games, he was batting .389 with nine runs scored. He’s made three starts but has been utilized mainly as a pinch-runner in games where the Reds have been looking for a tying or winning run.

“It’s one thing we had to be careful of, to make sure he didn’t get overwhelmed,” Jocketty said. “He’s been very good. He’s got great instincts for the game. He’s a great athlete.”

I will have more later on this in my Reds notebook on MLB.com./Reds.com … plus notes on Ryan Ludwick and Tony Cingrani.

Game 160: vs. PIT

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Reds eliminated in NL Central

The chances had become slim for the Reds to win the National League Central race. Now they are none. After a 1-0 defeat to the Mets that had them drop two of three in the series, the first-place Cardinals took a 4-1 victory over the Nationals for a three-game series sweep.

That means the Reds are definitely playing a Wild Card game on Tuesday. The location remains TBD.

The Pirates lost at Chicago, where leaves the Cardinals magic number to clinch the division at 1.

It comes down to this: if the Reds take two of three from the Pirates this weekend, the Wild Card game will be at GABP. If the Pirates take two of three, PNC Park hosts it. If Pittsburgh sweeps the Reds, and the Cardinals get swept by the Cubs, they would be tied for first and force a Monday one-game playoff for the division. The winner of that game would host the Reds in the Wild Card game Tuesday.

Other items:

*Jeremy Warneumuende will have the game story today on Reds.com/MLB.com. Click here to read it.

*Click here for my story on Billy Hamilton being caught stealing for the first time in the Majors.

*That was the 11th time the Reds have been shutout this year.

*Mat Latos took the loss but reached a new career-high with 210 2/3 innings pitched. He finished with 187 strikeouts, two shy of his career best from 2010 with the Padres.

*The Reds attendance of 26,223 pushed the 2013 home total to 2,371,103 fans for 2013 — a new GABP record that broke the old mark from the first year of the stadium in 2003.

Game 159: vs. NYM

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