Archive for the ‘Cincinnati Reds’ Category

MLB: Cincinnati Reds-Workout

“It’s just a real sickening feeling for everybody.”

Those are the words of Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost after last night’s game between his club and the Cincinnati Reds. In the sixth inning of the Cactus League matchup, Aroldis Chapman reared back and threw one of his patented fastballs to Royals catcher Salvador Perez. The pitch was traced at 99.3 mph by the in-stadium tracking system. Salvador Perez stands 6’3 and weights 245 pounds.

For at least the fourth time in the last two years, a very large, very strong batter swung his bat to met an onrushing fastball with disastrous consequences. The pitch came towards the pitcher even faster than he sent it away, all in the span of a half second. Last night, the ball struck the tall Cuban pitcher above the left eye. It struck with such force that “the baseball cracked Chapman’s skull and rebounded back toward third-base line” according to Andy McCullogh of the Kansas City Star.

By the time a fielder scooped up the baseball near the third base dugout, Chapman was on the ground, kicking his feet with blood pooling on the mound. The Reds trainer reached him almost as quickly as the fateful baseball, with his teammates gathering to check on their fallen closer.

It is the worst scene in baseball and an increasingly common one. The biggest question remains unanswered: what can we do?

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MLB: Cincinnati Reds-Workout

Their lineup is top-heavy, but fearsome. Their rotation at worst reliable and at best dominant. With Aroldis Chapman at the back, the bullpen puts up good numbers in its own right.

Claiming the Cincinnati Reds are a good baseball club is barely necessary – three playoff appearances and three 90-win seasons in four years does all the heavy lifting. Despite this recent success, 2014 is the dawn of a new era in the Queen City. A new manager, a new outlook and a roster in transition suggest strange things are afoot at the Great American Ballpark.

Anytime a club changes managers they can expect (or hope for) a new culture. Dusty Baker is among the most iconoclastic managers in baseball, so parting ways with a larger than life skipper, and bringing aboard just about anybody else will usher in a new experience in the clubhouse. Beyond Baker’s unmistakable thumbprint, the Reds face question marks around the diamond for the first time in years.

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MLB: Cincinnati Reds-Workout

Homer Bailey is not responsible for your expectations. Homer Bailey did not put his own name at the top of every prospect list for what feels like a decade. Homer Bailey isn’t responsible for your baggage.

Homer Bailey can only be the guy he is, a 28-year old pitcher who just got paid. Paid a lot. Paid what he’s worth, if we’re being fair. Six years and $105 million, with a mutual option for a seventh year at $25 million ($5MM buyout) signed one year before he could hit free agency.

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Cincinnati Reds Ryan  Haniganreacts after home plate umpire CB Bucknor calls Los Angeles Angels' Albert  Pujols safe at home during their interleague MLB game in Cincinnati

The Cincinnati Reds made a solid little pickup today, signing Brayan Pena to be their backup catcher, playing behind Devin Mesoraco. Pena is big and sort of okay as far as defensive catchers go.

The addition of Pena all but signals the end of Ryan Hanigan ‘s time in the Queen City, as he’s nearing an arbitration reward close to the price of Brayan Pena for two years. Hanigan is well-regarded for his catching prowess though he is no great shakes with the stick.

Obscuring Hangian’s shortcomings at the plate is an inflated walk rate from hitting before the pitcher for so long. It isn’t that Hanigan is bad player, but the instance that good teams should form a line to acquire the 33-year old career backup is seriously misguided.

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MLB: NL Wild Card-Cincinnati Reds at Pittsburgh Pirates

The Reds parted ways with their manager today, biding Dusty Baker adieu after six very successful seasons. It would appear there is more than one way to measure success, however, as Baker and his general manager (read: boss) butted heads for one last time in what looks like a very contentious exit interview.

Everybody has an opinion on Dusty Baker. He doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt like some managers, including those with resume’s that pale in comparison to Dusty’s history of success. Yet, in spite of all the success, Dusty Baker seems to wear out his welcome with alarming regularity, often right after trips to the postseason.

For all his wins and playoff appearances, there is an expiry date on Dusty Baker. He’s a baseball manager, it is a big part of the job. And now, for whatever reason(s), Dusty’s day are done in Cincy.

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MLB: NL Wild Card-Cincinnati Reds at Pittsburgh Pirates

Sometimes, the other team is just better. It doesn’t always take a major gaffe or singular mistake in a crucial moment. Sometimes, from the start of the game until it is all but in doubt, one team plays better.

Johnny Cueto wasn’t exactly good last night but the Pittsburgh Pirates did not waste any of his mistakes. They hit the early mistakes of Johnny Cueto out of the park and they took advantage of a shaky Sean Marshall. It could have been worse but it was more than enough as the Pirates move on to face the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS.

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MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Arizona Diamondbacks

I know what you’re thinking – who on earth is Kevin Siegrist? The Cardinals rookie reliever is hardly a household name. Not many 41st round draft picks are. As a testament to the Cardinals incredible scouting and player development model, they plucked Siegrist out of Palm Beach Community College in Wellington, Florida in the 2008 draft and, lo and behold, have themselves a fireballing left-handed reliever some five years later.

Siegrist slowly climbed the minor league ladder, starting from short-season rookie ball all the way to the big leagues in 2013, where the 6’5″ fireballer finds himself logging important innings for the best team in baseball.

Last night, Siegrist checked in for the Cardinals with his team clinging to a 3-1 lead. Manager Mike Matheny presented his young hurler with a very tall task – get through the top of the Reds vaunted lineup. Kevin Siegrist was certainly up to the task.

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