Monthly Archives: April 2013

April 25, 2013

In brief: Reds take 8 of 10-game homestand

Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker, right, congratulates third baseman Todd Frazier (21) after they defeated the Chicago Cubs 1-0 in a baseball game on Wednesday, April 24, 2013, in Cincinnati. Frazier accounted for the game's only run with a home run. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)

Frazier’s home run wasn’t just a total bomb at 480 feet, it was also the only run scored by either team. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)

Last game
The Reds won the day game to take the series from the Cubs. Mat Latos was great. Todd Frazier hit a 480-foot homer. The baseball gods were just generally smiling. Read the whole game wrap, complete with pictures of a sad Cub!

Next game
Tonight the Reds head to Washington DC to visit the Nationals. Bronson Arroyo (RHP, 2-1, 3.54 ERA) will be going up against Gio Gonzalez (LHP, 1-1, 5.85 ERA) at 7:05 p.m. Gonzalez was the victim of a big inning against the Mets in his last outing, so this could be a good chance for the Reds to find their bats again.

20,000 days since Frank Robinson’s big clutch day
Theoretically, at any given point in a game, a team has a certain chance of winning. And each action that a player takes can increase or decrease that percentage chance. When a player does something to increase the team’s chance of winning, he increases his Win Probability Added (WPA) stat.

20,000 days ago, Frank Robinson played the game in which he racked up the highest WPA of his career. It involved extra innings and come-from-behind walk-off awesomness. Check out a detailed retelling of the tale on The Hardball Times.

What to say to sound smart at the water cooler
Yesterday’s win marked only the sixth time in Reds’ history that the team won at least 8 games in a 10-game-or-fewer homestand. They also did it in 1912, 1924, 1966, 1975, and last year.

April 25, 2013

Game 22: Cubs 0, Reds 1

W: Latos (1-0) L: Samardzija (1-4) S: Chapman (4)


The Reds took the game and the series from the Cubs yesterday, but just barely.

Mat Latos was great and finally got a win for his efforts. He put in 7.0+ innings and allowed 0 runs on 4 hits and a walk. One of those hits and the walk were to the first two guys he faced in the eighth, though, so it was a good time to bring in Jonathan Broxton for three quick outs. Aroldis Chapman took over for the ninth and allowed a hit before closing it out for the save.

The pitchers were backed up with some good defense, of course. Those among us who weren’t so sure about Shin-Soo Choo in center field were all ready feel vindicated when the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo did this:

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

And sent one to deep center field, only to see this:
Shin-Soo Choo makes a great catch

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Which left Rizzo feeling like this:
Anthony Rizzo is disappointed about being out.

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Rizzo looks like of like Ryan Reynolds when he’s disappointed. In fact, he lined out to Choo 3 times yesterday.

On the other side of the innings, the Reds’ only run came from a 2-out solo shot by Todd Frazier in the sixth inning. Choo went 2-for-4 to drag down his OBP a little. Zack Cozart, Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Devin Mesoraco, and Latos also contributed hits that didn’t end up coming to anything. Votto was caught stealing for the first time this season in the first inning. Joey Votto is not paid to get caught stealing.

The win brings the Reds’ record to 13-9. With the same number of wins as the Cardinals and one more loss, the Reds are currently .5 game out of first place. They go to visit the Nationals tonight at 7:05 p.m. Bronson Arroyo (RHP, 2-1, 3.54 ERA) takes on Gio Gonzalez (LHP, 1-1, 5.85 ERA)

April 23, 2013

Injuries, the Reds, and the unluckiest team in the NL Central

Ryan Ludwick attempting to drive in a run.

Ryan Ludwick attempting to drive in a run in his healthier days.

With the minor injuries to Zack Cozart and Jonathan Broxton recently, I started thinking about how injury prone the Cincinnati Reds have seemed so far during the 2013 season. So I loaded up a list of all the injured players across Major League Baseball to compare the Reds to their National League Central opponents.

The Milwaukee Brewers have been the unluckiest, with seven players on the disabled list. The Chicago Cubs are next with six, the Reds have five, and the Pittsburgh Pirates have four. That leaves the St. Louis Cardinals as the healthiest team, with just three players on the DL.

The Brewers have been hit the hardest by far, with two players out for the season. Aramis Ramirez, Mark Rogers, and Jeff Bianchi are on pace to be back in the next few weeks, but Corey Hart and Chris Narveson aren’t expected back until May.

None of the Cubs players are listed as being out for the entire season, but they are the Cubs. Historically, no one is as unlucky as them.

That brings us to the Reds. Like the Cubs, no one is out for the year, although at this point it’s easy to wonder if Johnny Cueto being introduced on the main stageNick Masset will ever pitch again. He hasn’t pitched since 2011. Ryan Ludwick is the most severely injured and isn’t expected back until the All Star Break. The rest–Sean Marshall, Johnny Cueto, and Ryan Hanigan–are all expected back in May.

The Pirates have been healthy during the season. All of their four players started the season on the DL.

The Cardinals are similar to the Pirates. Two of their three players were placed on the DL during spring training. Those two–Chris Carpenter and Rafeal Furcal–were big potential parts of the team and will be missing the entire season. Jason Motte is the only one to be injured during the season.

Overall, the Reds seem to be in the middle of the pack. Sure, all but one of their disabled players have occurred in the first month of the season. But with the exception of Ryan Ludwick, those injuries appear to be minor and the players are expected back in May. Assuming the rash of injuries stops, then the earliness of the season almost insures that these injuries won’t have a major impact on the team’s overall performance.

Milwaukee Brewers (7)

Updated Player Pos Injury Expected Return
04/20/13 Mark Rogers SP Shoulder 15-day DL. Expected to make Double-A rehab start April 23
04/19/13 Taylor Green 1B Hip 15-day DL. Out for season
04/13/13 Jeff Bianchi SS Hip 15-day DL. On Double-A rehab assignment
04/09/13 Chris Narveson RP Finger 15-day DL. Out until at least early May
04/08/13 Corey Hart 1B Knee 60-day DL. Out until at least late May
04/06/13 Aramis Ramirez 3B Knee 15-day DL. Out until at least mid-April
03/20/13 Mat Gamel 1B Knee 60-day DL. Out for season

Chicago Cubs (6)

Updated Player Pos Injury Expected Return
04/22/13 Matt Garza SP Elbow, lat 15-day DL. Expected to make Double-A rehab start April 24
04/14/13 Steve Clevenger C Oblique 60-day DL. Out until at least mid-June
04/13/13 Kyuji Fujikawa RP Forearm 15-day DL. Out until at least late April
03/31/13 Scott Baker SP Elbow 60-day DL. Out until at least late May
03/27/13 Arodys Vizcaino RP Elbow 60-day DL. Out until at least early August
04/14/13 Ian Stewart 3B Quadriceps 15-day DL. On Triple-A rehab assignment

Cincinnati Reds (5)

Updated Player Pos Injury Expected Return
04/22/13 Sean Marshall RP Shoulder 15-day DL. On Triple-A rehab assignment
04/21/13 Ryan Hanigan C Thumb 15-day DL. Out until at least early May
04/21/13 Nick Masset RP Shoulder 60-day DL. Out until at least late May
04/15/13 Johnny Cueto SP Triceps 15-day DL. Out until at least late April
04/15/13 Ryan Ludwick LF Shoulder 60-day DL. Out until at least early July

Pittsburgh Pirates (4)

Updated Player Pos Injury Expected Return
04/22/13 Charlie Morton SP Elbow 15-day DL. Expected to make Double-A rehab start April 23
04/20/13 Francisco Liriano SP Arm 15-day DL. On Double-A rehab assignment
04/10/13 Jeff Karstens SP Shoulder 15-day DL. Out until at least mid-April
03/20/13 Chase d’Arnaud SS Thumb 60-day DL. Out until at least early June

St. Louis Cardinals (3)

Updated Player Pos Injury Expected Return
04/12/13 Jason Motte RP Elbow 15-day DL. Out until at least early May
03/30/13 Chris Carpenter SP Neck, arm 60-day DL. Out for season
03/23/13 Rafael Furcal SS Elbow 15-day DL. Out until at least early September
April 23, 2013

In brief: Izturis is hero against Cubs

Last game
The Cubs were 5-12 when they rode in to Cincinnati for last night’s game, but it still took the Reds 13 innings to beat them. The Cubs got to Mike Leake early on and had a 2-0 lead by the middle of the third. Jay Bruce led off the seventh with his first home run of the season, which was followed up later by Jack Hannahan tripling in Chris Heisey to tie it up. But regulation play wouldn’t be enough to break the tie.

I started drifting in and out of sleep around the eleventh. When Luis Valbuena hit a 2-run bomb off Alfredo Simon in the top of the thirteenth, we finally decided that sleep was more important than the game. It was our loss, though, because Xavier Paul singled, Brandon Phillips doubled, Jay Bruce doubled them both in to tie it up, and finally Cesar Izturis singled in Bruce to put this one in the win column for the Reds.

Next game
There’s more action against the Cubbies tonight at 7:10 p.m. Tony Cingrani (LHP, 1-0, 1.80 ERA) takes on facial hair that’s older than him on Carlos Villanueva (RHP, 1-0, 1.29 ERA).

Photoshopped image of Joey Votto as an umpire.

This is just one of the many high-quality visions of things Joey Votto is not paid to do.

More things Joey Votto isn’t paid to do
Considering that Jay “The Streak” Bruce got his first home run of the season last night but it was his double that tied up the game in the thirteenth, it might be a more interesting question to discuss what Bruce is or isn’t paid to do. But that’s just not the name of the Tumblr.

If you haven’t been out to Things Joey Votto isn’t paid to do today, you’ll want to check in one more time before you forget what it was ever in reference to in the first place.

There are 8 new posts today, including 6 hilarious photoshops donated by Lion_Hanigan. She does photoshops like these every Wednesday, so check it out and if you like what you see, give her a follow.

What to say to sound smart at the water cooler
Johnny Cueto started throwing again yesterday, and he’s reporting no pain from the strained lat that put him on the DL. Sean Marshall is also coming along; he pitched one hitless inning with AAA Louisville last night. He struck out 2.

April 22, 2013

Bryan Price: the Reds’ key off-season acquisition

Bryan Price has been the pitching coach for the Cincinnati Reds since taking over for Dick Pole in 2009.

Bryan Price has been the pitching coach for the Cincinnati Reds since taking over for Dick Pole in 2009.

Long gone are the days when the Cincinnati Reds had a rotation of Aaron Harang followed by pray for rain. No, now each day brings with it confidence in whoever the Reds have starting that day. That transformation is due, in large part, to pitching coach Bryan Price.

The Cincinnati Enquirer ran a profile on him over the weekend.

Detailing his accomplishments with the Reds, the article notes that in his first three seasons the Reds ranked seventh, 12th and third in team ERA. Prior to his arrival, the Reds were often seen in the middle of the pack, if not worse. Last year was arguably the team’s best pitching performance in the history of the franchise. In addition to finishing third in team ERA, the team set a record for the total number of strikeouts with 1,248, finished first in the Major Leagues in relief ERA (2.65) and saves (56), first in the NL in opponents’ BA vs relievers (.219) and fourth in the NL in starters’ ERA (3.64). Not to mention none of the starters missing a single regular season start.

Yeah, the guy’s good. But what makes him so effective? What’s his approach

“It’s very similar to what everyone else talks about: Being aggressive, working ahead and staying ahead in the count, composure, preparation and accountability,” he said. “The last one is the hardest. When you don’t succeed, it’s hard to own your own failure and not look for other places to blame.

“That’s real hard. Character is hard to find. We really try to make sure the starters understand their obligation to pitch innings. That’s one thing we’ve impressed upon them wherever we’ve been. Relief guys aren’t supposed to be in 80 games a year. And when they are, it’s because the starting rotation isn’t getting the job done.”

Homer Bailey has high praise for Price, crediting him with not only finding problems but having plans on fixing the problem. And given Bailey’s rough time at the beginning of his tenure as a Red, that’s saying something. Bailey seemed close to un-coachable his first couple years. That’s changed, and everybody’s happy with Bailey’s improvement.

And to think, the team was close to losing him. Lest you forget, in the off-season Price was considering interviewing for the Miami Marlins job. Given the ineptitude of the Marlins team that just lost 3 of 4 to Cincinnati–and were very close to being swept–I have to think Price feels he made the right choice.

I know I’m happy he signed that extension. As awesome as Shin-Soo Choo has been in this first month of the season, retaining Price as the pitching coach is the most important move the Reds made during the off-season.