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Game 104: Nationals at Reds

Hamilton 8
Schumaker 4
Frazier 5
Bruce 9
Mesoraco 2
Hannahan 3
Lutz 7
Santiago 6
Latos 1

Saturday news and notes

Got a few tidbits of information for you this Saturday afternoon …

*INF Jack Hannahan is back from Triple-A Louisville and here at Great American Ball Park today. Hannahan took batting practice and infield work at first base with the club. The decision on whether to activate him has not been made yet. He would be a lefty bat off the bench and part of the rotation at first base that’s been filling in for Joey Votto.

“He had a nice three-hit day yesterday for Louisville,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “That’s seven hits in his last three games. So he’s been swinging the bat well. We want to make that when he’s activated, he’s able to be a regular part of what we’re doing and we’re not trying to rehabilitate him at this level on a 25-man roster.”

*RHP Logan Ondrusek, on the DL with a right shoulder strain, has not resumed a throwing program yet. Ondrusek is slated to begin playing catch on Monday. With his transaction from Friday backdated to July 13, he is eligible to be activated on Monday. That appears not to be happening.

*RHP Alfredo Simon, who is 0-2 with a 4.82 ERA in his last two starts including a 4 1/3 inning outing on Friday, has not hit a wall of some sort in Price’s mind.

“I get the question,” Price said. “I think we need to see a few more starts to come up with that interpretation. I just felt like he was up in the zone. I thought he had good velocity. He a good little slider and threw some really good splits. From what I’ve seen, he’s been getting hurt a lot more on his off-speed stuff.

“I don’t anticipate that being an issue, only because he’s an older guy and I think he’s conditioned to be the type of pitcher we’re using him as now. Time will tell what type of season he finishes up with. I think it’s going to be very good.”

*LHP Tony Cingrani, who has been on the DL at Louisville because of a shoulder injury, still has not resumed a throwing program.

“There still is a little bit of soreness and some shoulder impingement, I believe it was the diagnosis is,” Price said. “Other than the strengthening stuff, he hasn’t quite gotten to the point where he’s been cleared to start throwing yet.”

*On TV or at the ballpark, you might have noticed some different colored grass patches in the outfield. It is the remnants of the stage from the Jason Aldean concert held here a week ago. A couple of weeks before that, Beyonce and Jay-Z also had a show here. Price felt the outfield is holding up fine and hasn’t gotten any bad reports from his players.

“I thought that [head groundskeeper] Doug Gallant and the staff did a great job,” Price said. “They basically had to go out there and re-sod that center field portion. You can see the differential between the old grass and the new grass but got it in there with enough time for it to kind of get rooted.”

Game 103: Nationals at Reds

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Price remains optimistic

One thing about Reds manager Bryan Price is he doesn’t brood for days and weeks during the rough stretches. Nor does Price get too up when things are going well. While he certainly can show his displeasure after a loss, he doesn’t carry it to the next day or next series.

Therefore coming on the heels of a winless six-game road trip, Price was in a pretty positive mood on Friday. He was asked by one reporter if he had to do anything to keep the spirits of the players up to keep the season from getting away from them.

“Other than the early part of the year, I haven’t had to do anything at all. I don’t make a lot of trips through the clubhouse to pick up the spirits of the guys,” Price replied. “You have to realize that what’s happening isn’t uncommon. It’s standard practice in a Major League Baseball season that you have periods where you play very, very well and other periods where you tread water like we did the first couple of months. And then there are periods where you struggle to win games on a regular basis. The last six have been a real struggle for us.

“[But] it’s a stretch in the season. We’re going to get back. We’re going to have other stretches where we play better than we have here. What we need is to play well enough to get ourselves to the top of the division and into the playoffs and hopefully be one of the hotter teams going into the playoffs so we can do more than we’ve done in the past few opportunities.”

*In other news, SS Zack Cozart (bruised right fingers) is back in the lineup after missing Wednesday. Cozart was hit by a pitch while bunting Tuesday night. He showed he could hit or throw without issue. Price said Cozart could have probably played on Wednesday but it made more sense to give his swollen fingers two days of rest to be right.

Game 102: Nationals at Reds

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Game 101: Reds at Brewers

Hamilton 8
Frazier 5
Pena 3
Ludwick 7
Bruce 9
Mesoraco 2
Schumaker 4
Santiago 6
Leake 1

Season-high losing streak

All the details of how the Reds lost a crusher of a game to the Brewers by a 4-3 score will be on Reds.com/MLB.com. It means Cincinnati now has a season-high five-game losing streak and are 4 1/2 games out of first place.

Appearing to be seething, Reds manager Bryan Price summed it all up here.

“They don’t need a lecture from me about me being disappointed. We’re all disappointed,” Price said. “Nobody likes it. If you’ve watched our team in these five games, you’ve seen guys busting their tails down the line, putting in the work in pre-game and being invested in what we do to prepare. We just haven’t executed. We haven’t swung the bats well. We haven’t gotten the quality starts. In my opinion, quality starts aren’t six innings. Quality starts are seven innings and on. That’s how I see it. We haven’t played particularly good defense. We’ve missed some signs. We just haven’t played terribly well. We have to play a lot better than we have. We’re head-to-head with a team that’s ahead us. We’ve played hard. We just haven’t won.”

Mesoraco sits for Bailey’s start

Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco is not in Tuesday’s lineup, but is not injured. Manager Bryan Price decided he wanted to have Brayan Pena catch for Homer Bailey and perhaps rekindle some of the synergy the two had in a previous pairing.

“We need a really good start,” Price said. “Homer threw really well in San Francisco against the Giants when he threw to Pena. Over the course of their careers together, Homer will throw a lot to Devin. Devin has scuffled a little bit at the plate. I think a day off isn’t the worst thing and putting those two together is good as well.”

When Pena caught Bailey on June 29, the Reds got a three-hit shutout. Bailey took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. Mesoraco is 1-for-11 since the All-Star break.

The Reds are of course trying to avoid a season-high five-game losing streak.

Game 100: Reds at Brewers

Hamilton 8
Schumaker 4
Frazier 3
Bruce 9
Ludwick 7
Pena 2
Cozart 6
Santiago 5
Bailey 1

*Roster move: RHP Logan Ondrusek to DL with strained right shoulder (retroactive to 7/13). RHP Curtis Partch recalled from Triple-A Louisville.

A break for Bruce

As you saw in the earlier lineup posting, Reds right fielder Jay Bruce is not in the lineup Monday vs. the Brewers. Bruce is hitless in his last 15 at-bats and was 0-for-11 with five strikeouts during the three-game series vs. the Yankees.

Donald Lutz started at first base while Skip Schumaker took right field and Ramon Santiago played second base.

Manager Bryan Price said Bruce was simply getting a day off.

“I think he had a tough series there in New York,” Price said. “I just think it’s a good opportunity to get Lutzy in there and to utilize our bench a little bit – which is tougher. We’ve got some young, inexperienced guys on our bench. We’re in contention but they have to be able to contribute as well. I think just the way things line up, Jay will be in there the next two games for sure and obviously, going back home. He’s our right fielder. He’s going to play almost every day. Today is one of those days he’s not.”

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