Blog Archives

March 27, 2014

Reds choose Cueto for 3rd straight Opening Day start

Cueto long tosses before the gameIf you’d told me at the beginning of Spring Training that the Cincinnati Reds would be starting the season with seven people on the disabled list, I would not have believed that oft-injured Johnny Cueto would also be making his annual Opening Day start. By some minor miracle, Cueto has made it through the spring unscathed and will be starting on Monday.

Bryan Price didn’t want to leave anything up to chance, the next time Johnny Cueto pitches, it will be on Opening Day against the Cardinals at Great American Ball Park.

Price waited to make the final decision until after Cueto played catch on Wednesday, the day after an 89-pitch minor-league appearance. Only then, when Cueto reported no ill effects, did Price tell him he was the choice to start Monday.

“I’m comfortable now to make that declaration,” Price said. “He was very happy. When he’s healthy, he’s been our No. 1 starter legitimately for the previous four years. The problem last year was he was only able to make 11 starts for us, keeping him healthy is the key, which is why I was reluctant to name a starting rotation, especially when Latos went down early and Homer and Leake had their issues. With Johnny’s recent history, it was hard to make an early decision on who would start Opening Day.”

Tony Cingrani is scheduled to start the second game of the season against the St. Louis Cardinals, with Homer Bailey starting the third. By the end of April, it’s hoped that Mat Latos will be back and Alfredo Simon can be moved back to the bullpen.

March 28, 2013

Spring Training Game 29: Padres 3, Reds 7

Padres (15-18)0100000023101
Reds (11-18)000010330780
W: Christiani (1-0) L: Layne (0-1)


Yes, the Cincinnati Reds are fine-tuning their intensity.

For most of spring training, the Reds’ players were obviously testing out things other than winning. Which was fine. For the first time since I can remember, there were no true battles for roster spots. Everything was set, and everyone had time to work on things and ease back into baseball. Now that opening day is less than a week away, it’s time to practice how to win. And the Reds have done that two games in a row.

Yesterday, Mike Leake made his final start of the spring and did well. Leake pitched 6 innings, allowing 1 run on 5 hits and no walks while striking out 4.

The offense has woken up, too, and I’m certain that all the regulars playing most of the game is a factor. Shin-Soo Choogot the Reds on the board in the 5th with a solo shot. But Ryan Ludwick was the hero for this game, hitting his first spring home run in the 7th inning, a 3-run shot that broke a 1-1 tie.

Then in the 8th, Joey Votto added his own 2-run home run to extend the lead, which was good, since the San Diego Padres scored a couple more in the top of the 9th.

March 27, 2013

Spring Training Game 28: Reds 11, Cubs 1

Reds (10-18)00100010911150
Cubs (16-17)000000100181
W: Cueto (2-1) L: Samardzija (2-1)


As if in response to Amanda’s call to start practicing intensity, the Cincinnati Reds demolished the Chicago Cubs yesterday, winning 11-1.

Johnny Cueto made his final start of the spring, and looked like the ace of old. He tossed 6 shutout innings, allowing just 4 hits and 1 walk while striking out 5. Granted, it was the Cubs, but that’s still good to see this late in the spring.

The Reds took the first lead in the 3rd inning when Cueto had a two-out single. After advancing to second on a wild pitch, Emmanuel Burriss doubled to center and Cueto scored. In the 7th inning, Todd Frazier added another run by hitting his 5th home run of the spring.

The Cubs made it a one-run game again by scoring in the bottom of the 7th, but the Reds broke it open in the 9th, unloading on the Cubs bullpen and scoring 9 runs in the inning. It was a prodigious display of offense that I hope we get to see often in the regular season.

The win is the Reds’ 10th of the spring, so they won’t be toiling in the single-digit wins wasteland any more.

And now there are just 5 spring training games left until Opening Day.

March 22, 2013

Reds chicken out and make Chapman the closer

Aroldis Chapman signed without saying a word.

Aroldis Chapman signing on Opening Night 2012.

The news we were expecting came today, and it’s what I’d feared, the Cincinnati Reds are not the forward-thinking organization that statistics-aware fans wish they were. Instead of seeing if they’re $30 million investment could become a great starter–what they initially scouted him for–the Reds bowed to the whims of manager Dusty Baker and made Aroldis Chapman the closer.

“We made a decision on our rotation. It’s Cueto, Latos, Bronson, Homer Bailey and Leake,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

I’m not that upset about this. Chapman is very good as the closer. And now there’ll be Jonathan Broxton to help when Chapman cannot pitch a second or third day in a row. I’m just a little disappointed. I really wanted to see what Chapman could do as a starter. I mean, the list of tall, flame-throwing left-handed starters isn’t long, kind of starting and ending with Randy Johnson. And Chapman could’ve added his name, but the Reds were apparently too scared to upset their manager and their player to find out.

But this isn’t bad news. At least, not for this season. The Reds already had an awesome rotation in Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Homer Bailey, Bronson Arroyo, and Mike Leake. And the bullpen is a very stacked place. The 2013 season is looking very bright.

Still, it sure would’ve been nice for the team to find out what they had in Aroldis Chapman.

March 18, 2013

Reds cut 5 more over the weekend

The Cincinnati Reds cut 5 more players from their roster over the weekend, getting their total roster count down to 39.

Optioned to Triple-A Louisville were right-handed pitchers Pedro Villarreal and Curtis Partch, infielder Henry Rodriguez and first baseman Neftali Soto. Outfielder/first baseman Donald Lutz was optioned to Double-A Pensacola.

Lutz, Rodriguez, and Soto all impressed manager Dusty Baker during the spring and leave knowing they have things to work on in their progress to the majors. There’s a good chance these players will make appearances with the club during the season.

Just 14 cuts to go!