Game 155: Reds at Cardinals

Hamilton 8
Negron 5
Frazier 3,
Mesoraco 2
Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Ludwick 7
Cozart 6
Leake 1

Latos status in limbo

Reds pitcher Mat Latos, who missed his last two starts with a bone bruise in his right elbow, played catch from a short distance the final two days in Chicago, still does not have a target date to return to the mound this season. However, a return before the season ends has not been ruled out.

“We’re hoping that there will be a chance to get him on the mound one more time before the season is over,” Reds manager Bryan Price said on Friday. “But right now, that’s just optimism. We haven’t gotten to the point where we can say ‘yeah, he’s ready to throw a bullpen and if he gets through that ok, he’ll pitch on this date.’ We’re not there yet. I hope we get there but if we don’t, we’ll go with the five guys we have.”

To me, there really appears to be one more window in the final week of the season for Latos to get back into the rotation — on Wednesday or Thursday vs. the Brewers. That’s when both Daniel Corcino and David Holmberg are scheduled to start next, respectively. I don’t envision Price taking a final start away from Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake or Alfredo Simon before the season ends on Sept. 28.

Game 154: Reds at Cardinals

The final road series of the season…

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

New High Class A team

According to a tweet from Class A Daytona, the team has signed a four-year affiliation agreement with the Reds. The high-A team will replace Bakersfield in the Reds system after four seasons.

No official word has come from the Reds as of yet.

Daytona was known as the Cubs and was their previous affiliate. Obviously, there will be a new team name coming soon.

Note game time changes

This a reminder that Sunday’s game at St. Louis will be broadcast on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball at 8:05 p.m. ET. It originally was scheduled to begin at 2:15 p.m. ET

And the Reds announced that the Saturday Sept. 27 home game vs. the Pirates has been changed to 1:05 p.m. ET to accommodate a FOX Sports 1 broadcast. It originally was scheduled for 4:10 p.m.

Here is a tidbit: While being swept by the Cubs, the Reds scored one run total for a three-game series for the first time since June 18-20 at Seattle. Those were 1-0, 5-1, 1-0 losses to the Mariners.

Games 151-153: Reds at Cubs

I’m not working this series. Back on Friday from St. Louis.

Mesoraco, Phillips among hot hitters

As the Reds have two weeks left in their season, Devin Mesoraco is one of the hitters who appears poised to finish up very strong. Mesoraco, who was in a 1-for-32 funk recently entered Sunday hitting .349 (15-for-43) with three home runs and 11 RBIs.

Overall, Mesoraco has 23 homers and 22 as a catcher. One more homer and he has the most homers for a Reds catcher since Johnny Bench hit 23 from that position in 1980. Remarkably, Mesoraco has had a strong season while seeming to fly under the radar among the top hitting catchers of the league.

In 105 games, Mesoraco is batting .282/.369/.545 with 23 homers and 74 RBIs — and had two stints on the DL. He has a .914 OPS and a .155 OPS+ (a stat that is adjusted for different ballparks). His WAR is 4.8.

“I can tell you we appreciate his numbers and the way he’s grown into being a really strong offensive performer this season,” Reds manager Bryan Price said on Sunday. “I don’t know if the national baseball conglomeration fully appreciates Devin Mesoraco yet. I would hope the appearance in the All-Star game brought some positive attention to him.”

*Meanwhile, 2B Brandon Phillips seems to have turned the corner following an initially poor offensive return from the DL, after he missed 31 games with a torn thumb ligament repaired by surgery.

Phillips, who at one point was 0-for-20 and 2-for-27, is batting .321 (9-for-28) in his last nine games. On Saturday, he drew a walk with the bases loaded and hit an eighth inning single. Overall, it’s been a down year for Phillips, who is batting .260/.303/.364 with seven homers and 48 RBIs.

“We saw that taking six weeks off and going to face Major League competition coming off a hand surgery wasn’t as easy to return from as we thought it might be, or hoped that it might be,” Price said. “He looks normal. I didn’t think he looked terrible when he came back but his timing had to have been affected.”

Game 150: Reds at Brewers

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

Frazier, others getting steals

The Reds’ Todd Frazier became a 20 homer-20 stolen base man when he swiped second base in Friday’s loss to the Pirates.

While there have been instances of the Reds being burned by their more aggressive ways on the bases this season, this is one of the successes this season.

“I think he’s established that he can do that,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “That’s kind of what we’ve been looking for with our group – to find more ways to exploit the strengths of our players. Todd is not a burner.”

Besides Billy Hamilton, who came in with 55 steals, the list of Reds stolen bases is interesting.

Frazier – 20-for-27
Bruce – 12-for-14
Heisey – 9-for-11
Cozart – 7-for-7

“That is in large part is combining instincts with opportunity,” Price said. “If they weren’t good instinctive players on the bases, they would be less likely to be given the opportunity to steal bases.”

*The Reds have made no formal decision for Wednesday’s starter at Chicago, but Daniel Corcino is listed on the game notes. It’s not a lock that Mat Latos (bone bruise in right elbow) won’t pitch, but it’s sure seemed less likely.

“We’re obviously not going to force this, force feed Mat his last few starts if he’s not feeling good,” Price said. “It doesn’t make much sense for us. I’d like him to pitch but I don’t want to exacerbate a pre-existing issue. He’ll have to come quite a ways in order to make that next start.”

Game 149: Reds at Brewers

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

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