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:

20140408-183755.jpg

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.

Why the sac bunt?

It was a 5-3 loss for the Reds on Monday vs. the Cardinals but a game loaded with chances early. The Reds put the leadoff guy on base in each of the first four innings and couldn’t score.

In the top of the first inning after a Billy Hamilton leadoff double, Brandon Phillips sacrificed to move him him to third base. Hamilton would be left stranded. Many wanted to know why the Reds bunted there. Here is manager Bryan Price’s explanation:

“We had Tony [Cingrani] going, who was coming off of a great first start. We’ve got [Michael] Wacha, who has had really nothing but success as a starter in the big leagues. So we don’t know if he’s on or if he’s not. We know they’ve been tough to score against. We wanted Brandon to move him. It didn’t have to be through the bunt. He could try to drive one through the right side. He wanted to make sure he got the job done and he pushed the ball over there to the right side and got the job done. I think it’s always nice to try to get on top, to try to get that first run. It didn’t work out for us but he’s a very good performer in that situation, a very effective bunter and good at moving guys over. And he did his job.”

Game 7: Reds at Cardinals

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

*Devin Mesoraco has been activated from the DL. Tucker Barnhart optioned to Triple-A Louisville.

*Here is a nugget of info courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau: Reds first baseman Joey Votto and second baseman Brandon Phillips have made 787 starts together, the most on the right side of the infield for any tandem in franchise history and second-most among active players behind Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard and second baseman Chase Utley (950). First baseman Frank McCormick and second baseman Lonny Frey rank second in Reds history with 774 starts together.

*Across from Busch Stadium, the St. Louis version of The Banks has opened. It’s called Ballpark Village. It includes the new Cardinals Hall of Fame. If it weren’t raining cats and dogs, I might have taken a walk over there to check out the new neighborhood.

Simon, Parra brilliant in win

I’ve got a plane to St. Louis to catch so this is going to be brief. It was a nice 2-1 win for the Reds over the Mets as it salvaged the three game series with a victory and also chased the bad taste left over from Saturday’s heartbreaker.

Alfredo Simon had 79 pitches over seven innings and Manny Parra notched a six-out save.

Items of note:

*For Simon, it was his longest outing since a career-high eight innings in a start for the Orioles on 9/23/11 at Det.

*The save was Parra’s first of his professional career.

*Brayan Pena notched his first stolen base since 7/21/10 for KC vs Toronto.

Read all the rest on MLB.com/Reds.com.

Game 6: Reds at Mets

Heisey 8
Phillips 4
Votto 3
Ludwick 7
Bruce 9
Frazier 5
Cozart 6
Pena 2
Simon 1

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