Simon stepping up

I will have full details on another one-run loss for the Reds on MLB.com/Reds.com. Today’s score was a 1-0 final.

The offense is doing nothing and the rotation has deserved better for sure. Alfredo Simon was the latest pitcher to come up with a strong start and not be rewarded.

Simon’s eight innings pitched tied a career high. He allowed one run and five hits with one walk and four strikeouts. James Loney’s second inning leadoff homer on a 0-1 hanging split-fingered fastball was the difference.

Through 15 innings of work, Simon has allowed two earned runs. If Mat Latos is out for a while, he is showing he wants to step up.

“I just feel more comfortable when I’m pitching every five days,” Simon said. “I just try to work hard those days to come back strong. I feel really comfortable being a starter. That’s what I prefer.”

“This is an opportunity that he is seizing,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “I think he sees himself as a starter or a primary setup man or closer. He’s certainly showed us his value to the organization as a starter. Not having Latos ready right now, he’s been a huge shot in the arm and given us a chance to win a couple of games in his first two starts.”

Other items:

*3B coach Steve Smith was accountable for waving Joey Votto around to score on Brandon Phillips’ fourth-inning single with no outs. Votto was easily thrown by center fielder Kevin Kiermaier.

“I can’t get a guy thrown out with no outs and I understand that,” Smith said. “I tried to be too aggressive at the wrong time. I got burned.”

*Zack Cozart notched his first extra-base hit of the season with a one-out double down the left field line in the third inning.

*Todd Frazier snapped a 0-for-13 skid with a seventh-inning single to right field.

*LHP Manny Parra retired the side in order during the ninth inning and had two strikeouts. He has not allowed a run in six appearances over 6 2/3 innings this season.

*In four of the five games at GABP this season, the Reds have been held scoreless through the first eight innings.

Game 11: Reds vs Rays

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Chapman making progress

Injured Reds closer aroldis Chapman has been throwing for several days now. On Monday, Chapman is scheduled to get back on the mound for the first with a bullpen session at Great American Ball Park.

Earlier on Friday, Chapman talked about his progress.

Latos still has soreness

Reds pitcher Mat Latos threw in a bullpen session and returned to the clubhouse none too pleased. It was not a successful session as it turned out because there some soreness in his right elbow.

“He didn’t feel as good as we hoped he would feel,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “We’ll see how he is tomorrow. We hoped he wouldn’t have any soreness at all. We will give him a couple of more days and reassess.”

Latos, who will get looked at again by team medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek, was scratched Tuesday from a rehab assignment start for Triple-A Louisville because of some soreness in the elbow. He was given a couple of days off from throwing.

Game 10: Reds vs. Rays

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

Much needed getaway day win

I wrote extensively about Billy Hamilton for my game story that wrapped up a 4-0 Reds win over the Cardinals on Wednesday. It was impressive. Check out MLB.com/Reds.com for all of the stuff on Hamilton.

Hamilton’s speed and scoring doesn’t help the Reds as much without the performance of starting pitcher Mike Leake. That was as a fantastic outing for Leake.

8 ip, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 3 GIDP, 100 pitches/57 strikes.

“He just challenged them in the zone with good stuff down and let his defense work behind him and he was terrific. It was a huge boost to us right there,” Reds manager Bryan Price said.

Leake got 17 groundball outs in the game and he faced only 26 batters, two over the minimum.

“He was very, very good,” catcher Devin Mesoraco said. “He didn’t get ahead of as many guys as what he typically does but he was able to get some early outs with some easy groundballs. When he needed to make pitches behind in the count, he was able to drop that curveball in there and finish some guys off with off-speed pitches. He was a lot of fun to catch today.”

Leake came into the day 2-4 with a 5.96 ERA lifetime vs. the Cardinals. Last year, the Reds were 0-3 vs. St. Louis in the games he started. Double plays erased Cardinals hits in the fourth and fifth innings and a leadoff walk in the eighth.

“When I’m going well, I get more groundballs,” Leake said. “Fortunately there were situations where we were able to get double plays and I could keep the ball down in the zone.”

Other items:

*Mesoraco’s two-run home run and eighth inning single have him off to a 4-for-8 start at the plate in two games with three extra base hits.

*Today’s game was a brisk two hours and 19 minutes.

*Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina allowed three stolen bases for only the sixth time in 1,206 career games catching. It last happened on 9/15/12 vs. the Dodgers. Hamilton stole two today and Chris Heisey had the other steal in the sixth.

*The Reds finished the road trip 2-4 with one win in the three-game series. They are 3-6 to start the season. Not good by any means but not a disaster, either. They have yet to be blown out in any of their six losses. But getting this win heading into an off-day should make for a much happier flight home.

Game 9: Reds at Cardinals

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

Votto, Canadian Mountie

Joey Votto did an interview today with MLB Network’s “Intentional Talk” dressed as a Canadian Mountie. It was a pretty funny segment and I hope to have the video posted when i get it.

Here is a picture:

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Update — here is the video:

Game 8: Reds at Cardinals

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

What does the start it mean?

Lots of stressing going on among the fandom this morning and last night, it seems.

Memories can be short and thankfully, there are large databases full of historical information about baseball. I didn’t even have to go too far back to find a good way to contrast fast or slow starts on the Reds.

The 2011 Reds started out 5-0 and 8-3. They finished with 79 wins.

The 2012 Reds started out 4-8 and finished with 97 wins.

Some non-Reds teams in recent history?

The 2013 Dodgers started out 7-10 and were 31-42 and nine games out at one point. L.A. ripped off 92 wins and won the NL West by 11 games. They lost in the NLCS.

The 2010 Rangers started out 7-10, finished with 90 wins and reached the World Series.

The 2008 Rays started out 3-5 and 7-10 and finished with 97 wins, before going to the World Series.

What can be drawn from the 2014 Reds results thus far? I don’t know. The team has eight guys on the DL, including three from the bullpen. Perhaps the return of Jonathan Broxton helps the ‘pen. Devin Mesoraco is back and Mat Latos is just around the corner.

So, I guess it’s time to buckle in and see where this ride goes.

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