The weather has been spectacular on Sunday and it has certainly lent to a really good first full day of All-Star Game festivities.
The big All-Star news as it relates to the Reds is that RHP Alfredo Simon was named to the NL team to replace Johnny Cueto. It’s a shame that Cueto can’t pitch on Tuesday since it’s his first time being on the team. But at least he can take part in the festivities and enjoy being an All-Star. Simon gets a much-deserved late invite as a reward for his breakout season so far.
My first impressions of Target Field are two big thumbs up. The architecture and design of the stadium with the limestone and various details is distinctively Minnesotan. The park does seem more vast that you’d expect on a relatively small area of land.
Downtown Minneapolis seems pretty well prepared for the thousands of visitors that have come to town. I haven’t noticed any real calamity around the city. Signs are everywhere to get people where they need to go. One smart move was painting a bright green line on the sidewalk from the light rail stop to the FanFest at the convention center. There is All-Star Game merchandise everywhere.
Before Sunday’s Futures Game, I spoke with both Robert Stephenson and Jesse Winker. Be sure to check out my story on Reds.com. Both players are aware that being selected to play in this game is a good sign for their big league aspirations. In Winker’s 1-for-2 day, he banged an opposite field double off of the left field wall to lead off the third inning and scored the game’s first run. He flied out to left field in the fourth inning.
Here are some pictures from the rainy Saturday and sunny Sunday…
Greetings from downtown Minneapolis, as I’ve arrived in town to cover the Reds contingent at the All-Star Game. It’s interesting to see this city from two perspectives. I used to live here for five years, so I am happy that the Twin Cities gets to show off for a national audience for several days. Also, I will get a sense of what my longtime home of Cincinnati is in for when it hosts the game and all the festivities one year from now.
While I will have full coverage of the Reds doings at the game, I will try to provide extra pictures, quotes and other observations here on the blog.
As for the rolling Reds, Friday’s win might have been their best yet. Yes, they overcame a 5-0 deficit vs. the Cubs but overtaking the Pirates when down 5-1 was a topper. Especially against a reliever like Tony Watson, who has given up little all season. This is a beat up Reds team in need of any good news where it can get it and nothing is better news than a victory and being another notch closer to the Brewers.
You just wonder how many more injuries this team can handle. They’ll never be an excuse and every team goes through it at some point. But I’m sure the All-Star break will be very welcomed so some guys can regroup and recover for four days before getting back at it.
I’m off today through Sunday from game coverage but Manny Randhawa will have all the Reds news from the ballpark on Reds.com and MLB.com.
I will be headed up to Minneapolis Saturday to start working the All-Star Game. I hope to have some extra stuff on here on the days leading to the game, including The Futures game and Todd Frazier in the Home Run Derby.
The Reds were 8 1/2 games out of first place behind the Brewers on June 20. They were seven games back as recently as Saturday. Milwaukee’s fourth-straight loss and the Reds’ fifth straight win has that distance at 2 1/2 games — the smallest since April 7.
On Thursday, there will be a chance at the Reds’ first five-game series sweep since July 29-Aug. 1, 1976, vs. the Padres. The last Reds five-game sweep of the Cubs was Sept. 2-5, 1931 at Redsland Field.
The full game story and updates on the injuries to Billy Hamilton and Brandon Phillips will be on MLB.com/Reds.com. Phillips was wearing a brace on his left thumb when he left the clubhouse.
Here are some postgame quotes that didn’t get into the story:
“Here we are, talking about defense again. And Cozy making a sensational play in the hole, a long throw, a bang-bang play. And the early plays to; great early plays by Brayan Pena at first base. It just seems like all I’m doing on my lineup cards is writing down notes about what great plays these guys are making defensively. And it’s been not just great to watch, but really a key to our success recently.” — Reds manager Bryan Price on Zack Cozart’s spectacular diving play and throw from the hole to rob Justin Ruggiano in the second inning.
“The best teams hit and pitch at the same time. We know pitching is going to carry us where we need to go. We said all along we have a capable offensive team. We’re starting to get rolling a little bit. It’s a good time to do it.” — Reds right fielder Jay Bruce, who has a five-game hitting streak and at least one RBI in each of those games and 10 total in that span.
Outfielder Ryan Ludwick’s new first baseman’s glove arrived on Wednesday. Ludwick will soon be the latest Red to start taking ground balls at first base.
Manager Bryan Price said it does have to mean anything more than his just taking grounders, but he’s also looking for options as the team moves forward with Joey Votto on the DL.
“I made a joke yesterday in the lunch room. I said we’ve got open tryouts for our outfielders for first base,” Price said on Wednesday. “It was kind of tongue-in-cheek but right now with the ability to have [Brayan] Pena, [Todd] Frazier and Jay [Bruce] to rotate through there, those are great options. I don’t want to have Jay over there a bunch. He’s a premier right fielder and we have a premier third baseman in Frazier. Pena is going to catch some. There is always that opportunity. I might have Frazier at third, Bruce in right field and want to have Pena behind the plate. There is another opportunity.”
I will have much more on Jay Bruce playing first base for the Reds on Monday on MLB.com/Reds.com. Here are a couple of quotes that addressed the move.
“This is the Major Leagues. It’s the best in the world. It’s going to be a little quick I’m sure. I’m banking on the fact that I’m a baseball player and a good athlete and that I have confidence in myself and my abilities to play anywhere on the field if they need me to.” — Jay Bruce
“It also allows us to do some things in the outfield. What we do have is a surplus of outfielders. It gives us a chance to get Schumaker and Ludwick in the lineup. I knew with a doubleheader coming up [Tuesday], I had to get some guys who will be playing both games a day off either on the front or the back end. Today, it’s Cozart. That means Santiago is at short, which means we Frazier at third, which means we need a first baseman and today it will be Jay.
“If we don’t have Joey long term or a period of time he could miss, we have to look in-house at what our options are. I don’t think you’ll see Jay at first base often. It does allow us to utilize our bench players a little bit more. We have guys here that are playing part time but we’d like to play more.” — manager Bryan Price.
I found GM Walt Jocketty on the field and he had no news on Joey Votto’s status. Votto underwent tests on Monday for his troublesome left quadriceps.
For the first time in his big league or Minor League career, Jay Bruce is at first base today. As I type, he is taking groundballs there now. Bruce has been there periodically working out the past few weeks, including on Sunday. This is an interesting choice, to say the least, to take a superb defensive right fielder and put him at first base. Bruce hasn’t played anywhere other than right field for the Reds since he played center field on 8/10/08.
Brayan Pena, who has often played 1B this season, is still on paternity leave.
No moves regarding Joey Votto have been revealed yet.
The All-Star Game rosters were named on Sunday and there are four Reds players going to Minneapolis.
RHP Johnny Cueto
LHP Aroldis Chapman
3B Todd Frazier
C Devin Mesoraco
Cueto, Chapman and Frazier were voted in by the players. Mesoraco was a manager’s selection from Mike Matheny. Of this group, only Chapman has previously been a member of the All-Star team.
Full coverage on MLB.com and Reds.com.
Here is the NL All-Star roster:
C: Yadier Molina, Cardinals
1B: Paul Goldschmidt, D-backs
2B: Chase Utley, Phillies
SS: Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
3B: Aramis Ramirez, Brewers
OF: Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
OF: Carlos Gomez, Brewers
OF: Yasiel Puig, Dodgers
LHP: Madison Bumgarner, Giants
LHP: Aroldis Chapman, Reds
RHP: Johnny Cueto, Reds
RHP: Zack Greinke, Dodgers
LHP: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
RHP: Craig Kimbrel, Braves
RHP: Pat Neshek, Cardinals
RHP: Francisco Rodrigue^, Brewers
RHP: Tyson Ross, Padres
RHP: Jeff Samardzija, Cubs/A’s * declared ineligible because of trade
RHP: Julio Teheran, Braves
RHP: Adam Wainwright, Cardinals
LHP: Tony Watson, Pirates
RHP: Jordan Zimmermann, Nationals
C: Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers
C: Devin Mesoraco, Reds
1B: Freddie Freeman, Braves
2B: Dee Gordon, Dodgers
2B: Daniel Murphy, Mets
SS: Starlin Castro, Cubs
3B: Matt Carpenter, Cardinals
3B: Todd Frazier, Reds
OF: Charlie Blackmon, Rockies
OF: Josh Harrison, Pirates
OF: Hunter Pence, Giants
OF: Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins