Votto in a groove at plate

Joey Votto had a productive, but not overly blazing first half. He went through a funk in June and picked it up again in July before the All-Star break. Coming out of the break, Votto has been scorching the ball.

Including a 3-for-4 game with a home run in Wednesday’s 9-1 win in Game 1 of the doubleheader vs. the Cubs, Votto is 12-for-24 (.500) with two homers in the second half.

“Even his outs right now are hard line drives all over the field,” Reds manager Bryan Price said.

What’s been helping Votto lately?

“I’ve been working with [hitting coach] Don Long to make some adjustments to what was a flawed swing,” Votto said. “I’m still kind of working through it. I feel like I’m headed in the right direction. There are some subtle adjustments to make.”

How were the flaws found?

“The ball speaks for you,” Votto replied. “The way the ball comes off the bat, timing with the pitchers, the way you feel at the plate. That does plenty for you. Then after that, you go to the video or have discussions with the right people and work from there.

“The best thing you can do is stay on it at all times. You want to be comfortable and natural in the box. But at the same time, we play over six months. All of us have aches and pains or changes in our bodies or all of a sudden, something creeps in and a month later, you realize it became something you never wanted it to be. That’s the advantage of our era now. We get to watch video. We get to chat about it and see it from a bunch of different directions and make the adjustments and hopefully produce a consistent swing.”

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Game 93: Cubs at Reds

Game 2 of the doubleheader begins at 6:10 p.m. ET

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Reds lineup:

Hamilton 8
Votto 3
Frazier 5
Bruce 9
Pena 2
Byrd 7
Suarez 6
De Jesus 4
Cingrani 1

Game 92: Cubs at Reds

Game 1 of day-night doubleheader. First pitch at 12:35. 

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Walks piling up; other notes

The Reds’ pitching staff entered Tuesday leading the Majors in walks with 310. (They were fifth last season). The staff allowed six walks in Monday’s win and issued 10 walks on Sunday vs. Cleveland. (Cueto had six).

Michael Lorezen lasted only five innings with 106 pitches on Monday in part because of walks. He walked pitcher Clayton Richard with two outs in the second inning. That cost him an additional 15 pitches to get out of the inning.

Manager Bryan Price discussed how it’s been an issue that’s being addressed, especially in side bullpen sessions. But the team also has several rookies, especially in the rotation.

“We’re getting a lot of guys that are coming to the big leagues and trying to establish themselves as credible Major League pitchers, Price said on Tuesday. “This is not the same team that we broke camp with that a lot more experienced guys with a lot more years of Major League service time.

“One thing so far this season has proven is you have to be able to command the strike zone in order to be successful at this level. What we’re finding are the guys that can and the guys that can’t or won’t. We’ll have to make the necessary adjustments. The one thing that I think is extremely important is that if we’re going to have more success, it’s going to start with the pitching.”

*Price gave Skip Schumaker a start in left field Tuesday and shifted Marlon Byrd to center field. Price said Byrd was excited for his second start there this season after he did it June 27.

“He’s up to the task,” Price said.

There was nothing wrong with center fielders Billy Hamilton or Jason Bourgeois.

“Skip has had one start this month. I want him in the game,” Price said. “I have the double header tomorrow. Everybody will start one of those two games. I just like the flow of the offense and wanted to make sure I got Skip I got a start. I’m sure he’ll start another game tomorrow so he’ll be able to put some back-to-back starts together and more than a pinch-hit at-bat. He’s been getting about a pinch-hit at-bat a game this month but he hasn’t been getting the starts. I have to find a way to get him in there and feeling comfortable at the plate.”

Game 91: Cubs at Reds 

  

Parra to 15-day DL

One of the potential trade chips for the Reds is on ice, at least temporarily. Lefty reliever Manny Parra was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left elbow. Dylan Axelrod’s contract was selected from Triple-A Louisville and Devin Mesoraco was moved to the 60-day DL.

Parra threw 31 pitches over 1 2/3 innings in Sunday’s 5-3 loss. He allowed two hits and walked someone with the bases loaded to give up an inherited run.

Game 90: Cubs at Reds 

  

2015 Reds All-Star wrap-up

Todd Frazier took the Home Run Derby to new heights and solidified his spot as face of the Reds franchise. Aroldis Chapman blew everyone’s doors off again with 100-plus mph heat. And Cincinnati put on a pretty good show for All-Star week.

Here are some of the Reds-related stories, in case you missed them.

Cincinnati brightens under All-Star spotlight
Chapman’s fastball wows All-Star crowd
Todd Frazier wins Home Run Derby at home
Reds prospects enjoy Futures Game
Cincinnati boasts plenty of attractions

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Beautiful night for ASG

   
   

Reminder: Facebook

Greetings from the Sirius-XM Home Run Derby, where the new format has created quite a bit more excitement.

I just wanted to invite you to go to my Facebook page for links to my stories and photos from the All-Star Game events here at Great American Ball Park, and more.

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