Axelrod to start Saturday

The Reds announced Friday that RHP Dylan Axelrod will be called up from Triple-A Louisville to start vs. the Rockies on Saturday in place of Homer Bailey. No official transaction was completed to make room for Axelrod on the 40-man roster yet. That will likely come Saturday.

Axelrod, 29, appeared in 48 games – with 30 starts – for the White Sox from 2011-13 and had a 5.36 ERA. The Reds purchased him from Chicago on July 17. He is 2-1 with a 3.06 ERA in five starts since joining the Bats and worked a two-hit shutout to defeat Rochester on Aug. 5. On Monday, Axelrod worked 7 2/3 innings with four runs allowed for a win vs. Scranton-Wilkes Barre.

Assigned No. 40, Axelrod has yet to arrive in Denver.

Game 122: Reds at Rockies

Hamilton 8
Negron 4
Bruce 9
Ludwick 7
Pena 2
Hannahan 3
Santiago 5
Cozart 6
Cueto 1

**UPDATE: Todd Frazier is not playing tonight because lower back soreness. He is day-to-day. Frazier said he hurt his back during his second at-bat on Thursday and can’t run. He feels worse today even with treatment.

Saturday’s starter is TBA

Reds pitcher Homer Bailey, who was pushed back from Wednesday’s start because of right elbow stiffness, is now not making his re-scheduled start for Saturday.

The Reds game notes list the Saturday starter as “TBA.”

I know there was a report on Wednesday night about Bailey from the Enquirer saying he had a flexor mass injury. That hasn’t been revealed as of yet by the club. I will hope to have more when the clubhouse opens.

UPDATE: Bryan Price confirmed Bailey’s flexor mass strain and that he is headed to the DL. A replacement starter will be named on Friday. The Reds opted not to make a roster move today to get another bench player or reliever here.

As for who could replace Bailey…

LHP David Holmberg, who is on the 40-man roster, just pitched on Wednesday for Triple-A Louisville — so he is out of the question.

RHP Brett Marshall last pitched on Tuesday and was beat up for five runs and 11 hits over 5 1/3 innings. He is also having a rough season at 0-7 with a 7.29 ERA.

RHP Dylan Axelrod, who was picked up from the White Sox organization last month, last pitched on Monday for Louisville and Saturday would be his turn on normal rest. He’s also a bit of a hot hand as he is 2-1 with a 3.06 ERA in five starts since joining the Bats. He worked a two-hit shutout to defeat Rochester on Aug. 5 and worked 7 2/3 innings with four runs allowed for a win on Monday vs. Scranton-Wilkes Barre.

At Double-A Pensacola, top prospect Robert Stephenson last pitched on Saturday and another prospect, Michael Lorenzen, pitched on Sunday. Neither are on the 40-man. I’d be a little surprised if the Reds went with either of these guys.

Game 121: Reds at Rockies

Hamilton 8
Bruce 9
Frazier 3
Mesoraco 2
Ludwick 7
Schumaker 4
Negron 5
Cozart 6
Simon 1

Could be interesting in Denver

Good day from Denver, where the Reds are poised to begin a four-game series vs. the Rockies. Of course, it’s not a stretch to say this is an important series for the Reds. With a 60-60 record, they all are.

Last-place of the NL West Colorado, now without Troy Tulowitzki for the rest of the season, is 46-74 and struggling mightily with three-straight losses and 14 losses in the last 17 games. Still — things always can get a little wacky at Coors Field, so about anything is possible.

Obviously there could be a lot of offense here at this altitude even as the Reds have limped along with their bats. The ballpark’s expanse could also help get Billy Hamilton re-ignited. This would be an ideal ballpark for Hamilton to get his first big league inside-the-park home run. 

Here are a couple of recent memorable outcomes:

In 2013, the Reds dropped two of three games despite scoring 18 runs in the series. Colorado scored 19.

In 2012, a scorching-hot Reds team capped a 10-game winning streak here with a three-game sweep…outscoring the Rockies by a 19-9 margin.

In 2010, the Reds were swept four in a row. That Sept. 9 finale was infamous for Chris Nelson stealing home on righty reliever Nick Masset in the eighth inning for the winning run.

It’s getting rather late for the treading water by the Reds to continue but it’s still far from over for these Reds. Skip Schumaker wisely pointed out after Wednesday’s loss that the team is still very much alive.

“I was 11 games down in September one time and we came back,” Schumaker said, referring to the 2011 Cardinals that won the World Series as a Wild Card team. “We’re a ways away from that. A lot of teams are still in it, including us. With our pitching and Brandon [Phillips] on his way back, I like where we are. As bad as we’ve played, we’re still right in the thick of things which is a positive thing.”

On the other hand, they better move it. To get to 90 wins, the Reds would have to go 30-12 the rest of the way. To get a slightly more realistic 85-win season would mean going 25-17 while hoping three teams in the NL Central nosedive or other Wild Card contenders plummet.

Yet another one-run loss

The Reds are 17-28 in one-run games this season after a 5-4 loss to the Red Sox on Wednesday. Those 28 losses in one-run games lead the Majors. Imagine how different the Reds’ record would be with a few . Instead they still tread water with a 60-60 record.

The full game story will be on Reds.com/MLB.com, as usual. Here are some quotes and quick info.

“That’s why guys have ERA’s. They’re not perfect every time. We gave them a run in the first inning — missed a cutoff man and that put them in a situation to score the second run of the inning. And then Cespedes and Napoli took advantage of some pitches to drive in three runs in that fifth inning.” — manager Bryan Price on Mike Leake having a rough day after having a 1.31 ERA his last three starts.

“I didn’t have my best stuff and they came ready to go. That combination is going to get you if you don’t make adjustments, so they did a good job against me today and made me pay.” — Leake.

“We catch a break with three attempts at a sac bunt there in the ninth inning for a strikeout and then a quick fly ball out and Eddie [Mujica] does a great job knocking the ball down up the middle.” — Red Sox manager John Farrell on the bottom of the ninth.”We wanted to get both runners into scoring position. One’s a real good thing, the other’s a real bad thing. I think he’s our best bunter. And [Mujica] is a tough guy, he was running power sinkers down and away from [Santiago], and he gave Cozart some trouble, too, trying to get that bunt down before Santiago, before he got that base hit. I just felt like, in that situation, force them to make a decision whether they wanted to play ultra-aggressive and have runners at second and third and play in or potentially concede that ground ball and be willing to go into extra innings and potentially give us the opportunity to win the game with two runners in scoring position.” — Price, on the decision to let Ramon Santiago bunt with two strikes in the ninth.

*The Reds are 9-16 since the All-Star and have lost four of their last five (all by one run).

*LHP Manny Parra, in his first game since last Thursday, worked a perfect seventh inning with one strikeout. Parra hasn’t allowed a run since May 25 vs. the Cardinals. His 21-appearance scoreless streak is a career high.

*Both of Skip Schumaker’s home runs this season, including his solo shot on Wednesday, were vs. Boston.

*And in a stunner of a nugget from the Reds media relations department, Schumaker is the first Reds lefty batter to homer on National Left-handers Day since Joey Votto and Jay Bruce on Aug. 13, 2011. Happy lefty day to myself, Trent Rosecrans, John Fay, Marty Brennaman, Chris Welsh, Hal McCoy and any other southpaws out there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Game 120: Red Sox at Reds (UPDATED)

A new Reds lineup has been posted as of 11:15 am. Jay Bruce was scratched because he is sick.

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Baseball full time for Garrett

Reds LHP prospect Amir Garrett informed the organization recently that he would be ending his college basketball career and focusing solely on baseball going forward.

When Garrett was taken by the Reds in the 22nd round of the 2011 Draft, he was also playing basketball for St. John’s University. He transferred to Cal-State Northridge last year to keep playing hoops. Now it’s just baseball from here on out.

“We’re really happy with the end result,” Reds player development director Jeff Graupe told MLB.com on Tuesday. “I’m really proud of how Amir handled himself the whole time. Even when he told us he’s not sure, or going to St. John’s or to Northridge, he was a pro about it.”

Garrett, the Reds’ No. 18 ranked prospect according to MLB.com, is 6-6 with a 3.41 ERA in 23 starts for Class A Dayton this season. In 113 1/3 innings, he has allowed 98 hits and 42 walks with 101 strikeouts. Over his last 12 starts, Garrett has a 2.21 ERA.

“His second half stats are right there with anybody in our system and anybody in Minor League baseball,” Graupe said. “He is developing at a pretty accelerated rate.”

Elbow stiffness for Bailey

Reds pitcher Homer Bailey is being pushed back from his next start because of elbow stiffness. Instead of pitching Wednesday vs. the Red Sox, Bailey will go Saturday at Colorado.

(Correcting earlier version:) Mike Leake pitches Wednesday against Boston followed by Alfredo Simon and Johnny Cueto vs. the Rockies.

Manager Bryan Price did not believe this was a serious issue for Bailey. It wanted to give him the extra four days as a precaution.

Updated quote:

“As much as we would have liked to have given everybody the extra day off, it didn’t make any sense at all to ask Homer to go out there and try to throw through some unusual stiffness in his elbow,” Price said. “We’re pretty optimistic that by Saturday, he’s going to be good to go.”

Game 119: Red Sox at Reds

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