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I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Reds Trade Johnny Cueto to Royals For Three Left-handed Pitchers


The Reds pulled the trigger on a trade involving home-grown ace Johnny Cueto.

Cueto will pitch for reigning American League champions the Kansas City Royals.

The Reds get three left-handed pitchers in return for the pitcher who was 92-63 in a Reds' uniform.

Branden Finnegan, John Lamb and Cody Reed come to the Reds.

Cueto will return to Cincinnati when the Royals come to Great American Ball Park August 18 and 19. If he continues on his five-day program, he would start against the Reds on the 19th.

"It was a little crazy for me with all the rumors," Cueto said through Brayan Pena on Fox Sports Ohio. }Now I can concentrate on what I have to do. The toughest part is saying goodbye to all of my teammates. I have been with them for a long time."

Brandon Finnegan is the key. He worked out of the bullpen as part of the Royals playoff  run last year. He was the Royals top pick(17th overall) in the 2014 draft out of Texas Christian University.
The 22-year old native of Fort Worth, Texas is 3-0 with a 2.96 ERA, working out of the bullpen this year for Kanass City in 14 games.

Finnegan started the season with Double A Northwest Arkansas where he made three starts with an 0-1 record with a 2.77 ERA.  He was promoted to Triple A Omaha where he made four starts and is 0-2 with a 7.07 ERA.

He made his Major League debut with the Royals against the New York Yankees on September 6. He pitched two innings, no runs on two hits. He struck out two.

Finnegan and Lamb will go to Louisville. The Bats will put him in the starting rotation.


Lamb, 25, was the Royals fifth round pick out of Laguna Hills High School in 2008. He had surgery in 2011.  Lamb was 9-1 with a 2.67 ERA in 17 starts at Omaha.

Cody Reed will go from Double A Northwest Arkansas to the Reds' Double A team in Pensacola.

Reed is 22-years old out of Horn Lake, Mississippi.  He was the Royals' second round pick in 2013.
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Reed was 5-5 with a 2.14 ERA in 10 starts at High A Wilmington. He was promoted to NW Arkansas and was 2-2 with a 3.45 ERA in five starts.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Joey Votto On Base In Nine of Ten Plate Appearances

Joey Votto leaves town exceptionally hot.

The Reds' firstbaseman hit safely in five straight at-bats to raise his season average to .298.

After he hit his 17th home run in the fifth inning of the first game, he singled in the seventh and eighth. Votto had singles in the first and fourth inning in the second game.

Votto reached base four times in the first game and in all five plate appearances in the second game, including intentional walks in the second and eighth innings, reaching base in seven straight appearances. He is the first Reds' player to reach base nine times in a doubleheader since Pete Rose did it in the 1970's.
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Since the All-Star break Votto is hitting. 538.

His on-base percentage went from .401 which was fourth in the National League just behind Anthony Rizzo  to .420 after the doubleheader, where he trails Bryce Harper's league-leading  .463 and Paul Goldschmidt's .455.

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Cubs Comeback Evens Series

Taylor Teagarden the Cubs' third catcher looked terrible in his first two pinch hit assignments.

The 31-year old journeyman struck out on six pitches in which he meekly waved at the third strike both times. Against one of the least hittable pitchers in the game, Aroldis Chapman, Teagaurden laced a single up the middle to score Anthony Rizzo with the winning run in the 6-5 comeback win.

"We went with Chappy's best pitch," said Reds' catcher Brayan Pena. "It was a good pitch. In that situation we have to go with his 100 mph fastball. He (Teagarden) just got a good hit."

Rizzo was on second base after his bid to drive in the winning run was thwarted by a strong throw by Marlon Byrd to nail Dexter Fowler, who opened the inning with a single, at home plate.

"We made some great plays too," Bryan Price said. "Marlon's throw to the plate kept them from scoring then."

The Cubs argued that Pena blocked the plate but replay officials in New York found Pena innocent.

"It's tough," Pena said. "We were taught to secure the ball and protect the plate. It happens so fast. It's in the back of your mind about leaving room to slide but you can't think about it while it is happening. You just go back to what you've been taught. You try to get into position every time the ball is hit to the outfield.  I thought I did the right thing but they still challenged it."

Reds' manager Price ordered Jorge Soler walked intentionally to bring up the pitchers' spot in the batting order but the Cubs' last position player spoiled the strategy.

"We had to get to the pitchers spot and get Rondon out of the game," Price said. "It was their last position player and we would have an advantage if we got out of the inning."
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Jason Motte allowed a two-out single to Eugenio Suarez but struck out Ivan De Jesus Jr. to seal it.

The Cubs erased a five-run early lead to put themselves in position to win.

The Reds put together another big inning in the second inning of game II against Dallas Beeler but the Cubs answered against Tony Cingrani.

The Cubs missed a silver opportunity in the first when Fowler doubled to lead off the game.

.The Reds missed a golden opportunity when Billy Hamilton reached on a bunt single and sprinted to third on Joey Votto's single.  The usually reliable Todd Frazier lifted a fly to shallow centerfield.  So shallow that even Hamilton wouldn't run on Fowler.  Jay Bruce hit the ball very hard but Addison Russell was able to glove it and start an inning ending double play.

The Reds got another chance off Beeler in the second inning. Brayan Pena singled. Marlon Byrd walked. Eugenion Surarez singled to load the bases.  Ivan De Jesus Jr. drove in a run with a solid single.  Castro botched Cingrani's double play grounder for an error that allowed Byrd to score. Hamilton doubled in two runs. Votto was walked intentionally.  Frazier again popped up for the first out.  Bruce grounded out to third to drive in Cingrani for his 600th career RBI.  Pena bounced out to end the inning.

The Cubs were undaunted against Cingrani, who made his first start of the season and first appearance since June13..

Jonathan Herrera doubled to leftcenter. Fowler struck out but Castro doubled in Herrera. Cingrani hit Anthony Rizzo with a pitch. Jorge Soler walked to load the bases.  Former Red Chris Denorfia doubled to cut the Reds' lead to 5-3. Russel struck out but Kris Bryant, batting for Beeler singled on a two-strike pitch to tie the game.  Pedro Villarreal kept the score tied getting Herrera to fly out.

"Cingrani started to elevate the ball," Price said. "He fell behind 3-0 to Bryant."

Both bullpens took over.

Travis Wood, Pedro Strop and Rafael Soriano kept the Reds in check on four hits.

Villarreal pitched 4 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball to save the bullpen.

"Villarreal gave us exactly what we needed," Price said. "He got us to Diaz and Chapman with a chance to win the game."

Jumbo Diaz was entrusted with the tie game in the eighth inning.

The Cubs' Hector Rondon escaped another jam in the bottom of the eighth.

With one out, pinch hitter Skip Schumaker beat out a slow roller.  Hamilton's third hit a double to the right centerfield gap put the Reds in business.  Cubs' manager Joe Maddon ordered Votto walked for the second time in the game. Votto reached base for the fifth time in the game. Frazier, who left stranded in all four previous at bats was determined to drive in the go-ahead run. Frazier lined one down the thirbase line, just foul. The Reds' All-Star lined a two-strike pitch up the middle.  The ball off Rondon so hard that firstbaseman Rizzo fielded it on the fly with enough time to force Schumaker at the plate.  Bruce flied out to left to leave the bases harmlessly loaded.

Reds Wake Up With A First Inning Rally In The First Of Two.

The Reds' Wednesday morning wake up call resulted in a four-run inning against Kyle Hendricks to hang a 9-1 loss on the Chicago Cubs.

After a disappointing loss in a disappointing season, the Reds' bounced back less than 12 hours after last night's 13-inning game ended.

Brandon Phillips, who was taken out late in the game for a rare double switch, opened the game with an infield hit. He advanced on Starlin Castro's throwing error. Jason Bourgeois hit an infield single.  Joey Votto walked.  Todd Frazier dumped a blooper down the rightfield line for a two-run double.  Eugenio Suarez assaulted the other line with a hard-hit double.

Mike Leake worked around Kyle Schwarber's, yes him again, single in the first.

Schwarber, the Middie Mauler, singled again in his second at-bat.  This time it followed a double by Addison Russell and an infield hit by Chris Coghlan.  It cut the Reds' lead to 4-1.

Leake saved the Reds' overworked bullpen, a feat more important than his eighth win. Leake retired 16 straight batters after Schwarber's hit before Burke Badenhop mopped up with a

Votto lined his 17th home run into the rightfield bleachers in the fifth to negate the Cubs run.

The Reds broke the game open in the seventh after two outs and no one on.  Votto and Frazier singled off Yoervis Medina, who was called up before the game. Suarez walked.  Skip Schumaker walked on a 3-2 pitch to force in a run.  Billy Hamilton ran the count full, then singled over the leaping Castro for two runs. Tucker Barnhart singled to cap the Reds' second four-run inning.

It Is Ernie Banks Day On The Banks Of The Ohio

Mr. Cub Ernie Banks
A picture of Hall of Fame Chicago Cubs' player Ernie Banks is the Cubs' Media Guide.

It is appropriate because Banks, who passed away on January 23, was famous for "Let's play two."  The former shortstop and firstbaseman was so enthusiastic that he would say this whenever he entered the clubhouse.  Banks' number 14 has long since retired after a brilliant 19-year career, all with the Cubs.

In Banks' day doubleheaders were a once a week staple.  Teams would play doubleheaders on Sunday and use Monday to travel.  Now doubleheaders are used to make up games and the teams charge separate admissions by spacing them out in a day-night format.  In the old days kids could by a bleacher ticket for 75 cents, pack a cooler with drinks and sandwiches and spend five or six hours cheering for their team and chasing home run balls.

Today a rained out game from April 25 will be made up with a 6:10 pm start after the crowd from the scheduled 12:35 game is flushed from Great American Ball Park.

Banks is probably looking down with disdain but at least they are playing two games. In fact, since last nights 13-inning game ended after midnight, the Reds and Cubs will complete three games on this date.

Banks joined the Cubs in September of 1953 at age 22.

The native of Dallas, Texas played for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues at the age of 19 after he was discovered playing fastpitch softball in his church league.  Banks' high school Booker T Washington didn't have a baseball team.

After serving in Germany with the 45th Anti-Artillary Battalion from Ft. Bliss during the Korean War, Banks returned to the Monarchs in 1953 but was signed by the Cubs in September 1953.

Banks played in 10 games, hitting .310 with two home runs and six RBI.

At the age of 25, Banks led the National League with 47 home runs as a shortstop. He moved to firstbase in 1961.
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Banks retired after the 1971 season, never having participated in the World Series. He hit 512 home runs in his career. That total is second to Sammy Sosa's 545 home runs.  Banks played in more Cubs' games (2,528),  had more at-bats (9,421), more total bases (4,706) and more extra-base hits (1,009) than any player in Cubs' history.

Hence the nickname, Mr. Cub.

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Kyle Schwarber Goes Deep Twice Hometown Hero Haunts Hoover And Reds

Kyle Schwarber used to watch games at Great American Ball Park.  Now he stars in them

A 13th inning line drive home run off Nate Adcock doomed the Reds in a 5-4 loss.

"The young guy fouled off some tough pitches and was able to hit the 3-2 pitch out of the park," Bryan Price said.

"It wasn't a terrible pitch," Adcock said. 'It was down. I threw a slider at his back foot. It was one he swung over. It was down but I guess it wasn't down enough.  The kid's hot. He put a good swing on it. It's tough to swallow."

It was the second home run of the game and fourth hit for the Middletown High School grad. Schwarber ended his 11th Major League game hitting .410 with three home runs and 10 RBI, including four in the game.

"It was awesome to help contribute," said Schwarber as he cleaned shaving cream out of his ear from the obligatory victory pie in the face. "I was just trying to hit the ball to get on base both times. It got to two strikes and it was battle mode. They are not going to give in to me.

J.J. Hoover had not allowed a run since June 30th but Schwarber hit a 424' home run off Hoover with a man on to tie the game

"We knew we didn't have Chappy," Price said.  "We've used Hoov a lot. This was four out of five days. He said he was ready to go.  There were a lot of guys we were trying to stay away from then we go extra innings and tax our bullpen."

"We still had work to do," Schwarber said. "I'm proud of this pitching staff.  Jason (Hamel) battled through five innings. The bullpen had to shut them down for six innings."

Schwarber was named Most Valuable Player on Sunday in the Futures Game at Great American Ball Park with a two-run triple. His majestic, dramatic home run deep into the Cubs' bullpen pulled the Cubs even.  Schwarber's second home run followed Dexter Fowler's inning opening single.

"I knew I always wanted to be a Major League player but never knew it would come to fruition," said Schwarber, who left 12 tickets for family. "A lot of hard work went into it. I have the best teammates here. There is no rookie this or rookie that."

Frazier, the Home Run Derby champ, dumped a single over a drawn-in infield to plate Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto to snap a seven inning tie.

Phillips singled with one out off former Red Travis Wood.  Votto laced a single to center, allowing Phillips to motor to third.  Votto stole second, his sixth to set up the flare by causing the Cubs' infield to pull in.

Cubs' manager Joe Maddon brought Pedro Strop in to face Frazier.  Frazier barely got a piece of a low breaking ball with two strikes, then just made enough contact to get the job done.

Raisel Iglesias made his first start in nine days.

His last start was a rough one in Miami.  Iglesias gave up five runs in 4 1/3 innings on July 11.
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Against the Chicago Cubs, Iglesias was much better.

The Reds got off to a good start against Jason Hamels.

Brandon Phillips singled to open the first.  Cubs' centerfielder Dexter Fowler flat out dropped Joey Votto's fly ball and Phillips strolled to thirdbase.  Todd Frazier flied out to center to score Phillips.

Marlon Byrd was called out in a close play on a slow groundball to Addison Russell at secondbase. A 42 second review revealed that Byrd beat the throw.  Eugenio Suarez singled.  Byrd took third on a wild pitch and scored on Skip Schumaker's ground out.

Iglesias kept the Cubs off the scoreboard for four innings.

Middletown High's Kyle Schwarber doubled to center to score Russell in the fifth inning and put runners on second and third with one out.  Iglesias struck out Kris Bryant and retired Anthony Rizzo on a routine fly to center to maintain the lead.

Chris Coghlan hit a line drive off the top of the leftfield fence for an apparent triple. A crew chief review that took 3:42  changed it to a game tying home run.

Iglesias got Starlin Catro on a groundout but he walked Hamel and Russell.  Jumbo Diaz replaced him. Diaz preserved the tie.

Ryan Matthues pitched a scoreless eighth ro help make Diaz the winner.  J.J. Hoover came on in the ninth to earn his second save.  Aroldis Chapman worked three innings the last two nights with a doubleheader on Wednesday.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Milestone Home Runs In Sight For Reds' Players

Milestone home runs are in sight for Todd Frazier and Jay Bruce.

Todd Frazier's 26th home run of the season hit Monday night off Clayton Richard was the 99th of his career.

Jay Bruce hit his 15th of the season and 197th of his career off Justin Grimm. Bruce is 10th on the Reds all-time list. His next home run will tie him with Barry Larkin for ninth place.

The Reds' top current top 10 are:

Johnny Bench         389
Frank Robinson      324
Tony Perez             287
Adam Dunn            270
Ted Kluszewski      251
George Foster        244
Ken Griffey Jr         210
                                                         Eric Davis               203
                                                         Barry Larkin           198
                                                         Jay Bruce               197

Joey Votto is 12th with 179.

Brandon Phillips is 13th with 173.
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Monday, July 20, 2015

Jay Bruce Blast Busts Cubs Bubble

The Reds and Cubs are heading in opposite directions.

While the Cubs are starting six players 25-years old or younger, the Reds are contemplating a reset. Several players are on the trading block before the July 31 trade deadline. No one knows if Jay Bruce is heading anywhere but Bruce made another argument to stay as the Reds edged Chicago 5-4.

His two-run home run erased the Cubs lead and put the Reds on top for good.

"They all count," said Bruce of his 456' blast high up into the rightfield bleachers. "It was one of those I felt though."

He hit it off Justin Grimm, who had a paltry 1.17 ERA coming into the game.

"Jay was against a pitcher who's had a nice year," Bryan Price said. "He's getting to his power right now and doing some damage."

The Reds' youth movement in the starting rotation was on display with 23-year old Michael Lorenzen on the mound.

"Michael got his pitch count up in the early innings," Price said. "He pitched well but they took advantage in the fifth."

The Cubs got off to a fast start.

Dexter Fowler, one of two players in the lineup over 25, singled to start the game. Kyle Schwarber, the 22-year old Middletown native, followed with a single. Kris Bryant forced Schwarber at second but Anthony Rizzo hit a sacrifice fly to the warning track in center to put the Cubs up a run.

Home Run Derby champ Todd Frazeir, fresh from a Sunday off, lined the first Clayton Richard pitch he saw to the green pasture above the centerfield wall for his 26th home run. Frazier's next home run will be the 100th of his career.

"The day off helped me big time," Frazier said. "It was a long week and I didn't get much sleep, but no excuses. It's time to go."

The Reds jumped on Richard for a pair of fourth inning runs.

Joey Votto started it with a walk. Todd Frazier singled through the hole at shortstop. Jay Bruce hit into a 3-6-1 double play.  Votto scored from third on a wild pitch.  Marlon Byrd followed with his 16th home run.

Frazier was 0-for-10 coming off the All-Star break.

"I was swinging at bad pitches," Frazier said. "It was a little bit of a slow start. I was a little out of my element."

Lorenzen retired seven straight batters heading into the fifth.

Addison Russel singled to start the frame. Fowler lined a pitch to the right centerfield gap.  Billy Hamilton threw Fowler out at secondbase. Schwarber walked. Bryant doubled in Russel and sent Schwarber to third. Lorenzen had good chance to get out of the inning by striking out Rizzo.  Jorge Soler took care of the baserunners by hitting a line drive down the rightfield line for a double.

The Cubs' lead lasted until the sixth when again the Reds combined a double play with a two-run rally.

Brandon Phillips singled but Votto hit into a double play. Cubs' manager Joe Maddon replaced lefty Richard with right-hander Justin Grimm to face Frazier. Grimm had trouble throwing strikes and walked Frazier. Bruce made him pay with a 465' home run six rows from the top of the rightfield bleachers. It was Bruce's 15th home run of the season.

Phillips extricated Burke Badenhop from sticky wicket with an acrobatic force play to end the seventh. With two on and two out, Phillips back handed Soler's bid for an RBI single on the shortstop side of second.  Phillips flipped the ball to Eugenio Suarez, who caught the ball with his bare hand and beat Rizzo to secondbase.

"Brandon works on those plays," Price said. "He enjoys defense as much as he does offense. He doesn't make those plays to be flashy but that was the only way he could get that out. It is a good thing Geno (Suarez) has played with him enough to expect it."

"You watch those plays and it's sad to say, expect them," Bruce said. "Brandon has really amazing core vision. He always knows where secondbase is."

The Reds wasted Suarez's lead off triple in the seventh. Tucker Barnhart hit a smash to shortstop Starlin Castro. He knocked the ball down but couldn't make a play.  Pinch hitter Jason Bourgeois lined to Russel at second.  Former Red Travis Wood replaced Neil Ramirez.  Wood struck out Hamilton and retired Phillips on a ground out to third.

The Cubs returned the favor in the eighth.

Chris Coghlan doubled to greet J.J. Hoover. Castro flied deep to center to send Coghlan to third. The Reds brought the infield in. Votto fielded a smash by pinch hitter Jonathan Herrera to hold Coghlan at third. Hoover walked Russel on a contested checked swing but Fowler popped to Phillips to end the threat.
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Bruce was robbed of his 600th career RBI when his double bounced into the grass above the centerfield fence with Votto on first. Rafael Soriano pitched out of this jam too. Soriano fielded Byrd's comeback and caught Votto off third. Suarez flied to center.

Aroldis Chapman, who pitched a season-high two innings on Sunday, came in to close out the Cubs in the ninth to earn his 19th save.

"Chappy played catch today and told me he was good to go," Price said. "You trust that they will be honest with you. Chappy built up that trust."

Chapman dominated the rookie Schwarber.  He struck out Rizzo to end the game, throwing 102 mph after breaking off an 88 mph slider. Chapman has 502 career strikeouts in 293 career innings.

"That slider to Rizzo was the best I've seen him throw," Price said.

Bruce had another explanation.

"To be honest with you, Chapman is from another planet," Bruce said.

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Kyle Schwarber Returns Home Starts Against Reds

The Cubs fast track brought a hometown boy back to where he watched games as a youth.

Kyle Schwarber from Middletown will start behind the plate and catch against the Reds on Monday night.

It was less than a week ago that Schwarber won the MVP Award in the Futures Game during All-Star week.  His bat was donated to the Hall of Fame.

"It's good to be back as a player at a place that I watched games for years," Schwarber said.  "It helped that I was at the Futures Game.  It was a sold out crowd. Now I know what to expect. My family and friends will probably be more nervous than I will."

Scharber, 22, signed his first contract just 378 days ago. He was the Cubs' first pick last June and fourth player drafted overall.

"I've always been a Reds' fan," Schwarber said. "I watched Votto, Bruce and Frazier do their thing.  My favorite player was Pokey Reese. I don't know why. I guess I just liked the name."

Schwarber has been getting help on the strategic side of the game from former Reds' catcher David Ross.
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"When I was up here for the six days before and I wasn't preparing to hit, I would sit next to David Ross and (Miguel) Montero," said Schwarber, who was with the team for six days as the designated hitter in Cleveland.

Schwarber was recalled on Friday when Montero was put on the disabled list.

"There may be an initial charge before the game," Cubs' manager Joe Madden said. "Once the game gets rolling he'll be fine. He can handle it. I'm more worried about off-the-field stuff.  He will be worried about getting tickets for family and not forgetting anyone. He's improved a lot behind the plate since spring training.  He's more supple; not as rigid.  The biggest thing to learn is the strategy and that will take time. He will learn the hitters and what his pitcher can do in situations."

"I am going to treat it like another game," Schwarber said.

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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Indians Take A Walk In The Park To Beat Reds

The Cleveland Indians scored four runs on bases loaded walks and one on a sacrifice fly to win 5-3 in 11 innings.

Pedro Villarreal, the seventh Reds' pitcher, allowed three singles to load the bases, then walked Yan Gomes to force in the Indians' fourth run. A sacrifice fly by Jason Kipnis plated the fifth run.  Francisco Lindor singled but Jason Bourgeois threw Brandon Moss out at home.

The Indians stranded 18 base runners.

Bourgeois singled home Eugenio Suarez to send the Indians and Reds to extra Ohio Cup Innings.

With two outs and no one on with Cleveland about to frustrate the Reds leading 3-2, Suarez doubled. Bourgeois hit Cody Allen's 3-1 pitch into rightfield.  Suarez beat Ryan Raburn's throw.

Aroldis Chapman, who worked a season-high two innings, struck out five batters but not without drama.

Yan Gomes and Francisco Lindor hit singles around a pair of strikeouts.  Michael Brantley walked to load the bases.  Chapman faced pinch hitter Giovanny Urshela, the count went full. Chapman was in danger of walking in a run for the fourth time in the game. Instead Urshela swung through the pitch to strand three more Indians to make 16 for the game.

It was Chapman's 500th career strikeout. He did it in a record 292 innings to become the fastest to reach the milestone.

The Indians depended on the generosity of Johnny Cueto.

Cueto was off target, walking six in 3 2/3 innings, including Francisco Lindor and Michael Brantley with the bases loaded. He struck out Carlos Santana, the last batter he faced, to strand three. The Indians stranded eight base runners in Cueto's four innings.

Jason Kipnis opened the game with single. Brantley singled in the first but Cueto got Santana to fly out for the second out.  The umpires had the field covered just before a rain delay that lasted 47 minutes.  After the delay, Cueto struck out David Murphy to leave two Cleveland runners stranded.

Eugenio Suarez got one of them back with his fifth home run against Carlos Carrasco.

Carrasco walked Billy Hamilton with one out in the fifth but backup catcher Roberto Perez threw Hamilton out stealing. It was the seventh time he'd been caught, the second time by Perez.

Relief pitchers Ryan Mattheus and Manny Parra were also in a giving mood.

Matthues walked Perez to open the sixth.  Carlos Carrasco's sacrifice bunt bounced off Mattheus' leg and all hands were safe. Kipnis drilled a pitch to the base of the righfield fence. Jay Bruce fielded it quickly and the bases were loaded.  Lindor flied out to shallow left.  Manny Parra came on and walked Brantley.  It was the third run walked in for the game.  Parra got Santana and Raburn out to strand three more Indians.
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Hamilton saved multiple runs in the seventh, after singles by Mike Aviles and Michael Bourn. Perez bunted them to second and third. Yan Gomes hit for Carrasco.  He lined what appeared to be a single to center but Hamilton picked it off the grass with a head first slide and got up in time to prevent Aviles from scoring.  Kipnis' bid to reach base for the fifth time was turned into an out by Brandon Phillips, stranding the 12th and 13th Indian baserunners.

Joey Votto's RBI single off  Allen brought the Reds to within a run.

Mark Rzepczynski pirched 2/3 inning to pick up the win in relief.

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Billy Hamilton Chasing Bob Bescher

Bob Bescher stole 81 bases for the Reds in 1911.

No one has ever stolen that many for the Reds since.

Billy Hamilton has 45 stolen bases, a little more than halfway through the season.

"It would mean a lot of things went right if Billy stole 81 this year," Bryan Price said. "A lot of good things would happen for the team but as an individual too. Those kind of things are fun to watch. It keeps guys focused and motivated."

When Bescher stole his 81 bases, he led the league with 716 plate appearances. He was on base 38.5 percent of the time. Bescher hit .275.

Hamilton is hitting . 218 and is only on base 26.6 percent of the time.

Hamilton has been thrown out six times after he was caught 23 times last season.

It is his approach on the base paths he changed.

"You have to plan it out before hand. This year I'm more aware of the situation," Hamilton said. "You have to be with it 100 percent, know you're going to go.  You can't think while you're doing it. You can't hesitate."

Hamilton is trying to take the same approach at the plate.

"You can't be thinking of where your hands are an hit," Hamilton said. "I'm working on that the second half. I am going in knowing what the pitcher throws and just hit it."

Hamilton stole 165 bases in the minor leagues in 2012 to set a minor league record.  That year he was caught 39 times. Hamilton hit .302 and had an OBP of .399 that year.

Hamilton has had a difficult time adjusting at the plate.  He has made a good transition on defense, moving from shortstop to centerfield.

A natural right-handed hitter, Hamilton has been learning to switch hit the last three seasons.
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"Speed can be as seductive as power," Price said. "Billy has become a better student of the game. It is inevitable that he breaks (Bescher's) the record. It may not be this year but it would be fun if he does."

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Indians Ambush Anthony DeSclafani Give Chief Corey Kluber Rare Run Support

Cory Kluber got a season worth of runs to work with in the first innings.

Anthony DeSclafani gave up singles to Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor to lead off the game. Michael Brantley followed them with his sixth home run before DeSclafani recorded the first out.

"Anthony didn't have his best command but he didn't back down. He's such a tough kid. I'm happy with the way he's handled himself," Bryan Price said.

"It wasn't the start I wanted coming out of the break," DeSclafani said.. "I had Moss 0 and 2. I have to make a better pitch.  I didn't have my timing early in the game. It's not an excuse.  Kipnis got his hit on a pitch up. Lindor hit a groundball, that's how baseball is. It found a hole. I left a pitch up to Brantly.  They came out swinging."

The Indians piled on for a 9-4 win and claimed the Ohio Cup.

"After I gave up the three runs I had to keep my team in the game. I didn't do that," DeSclafani said.

Kluber, the reigning American Cy Young Award winner, is 4-10 with a 3.38 ERA because his run support has been paltry until tonight.  To wit, Kluber is 3-4 in games in which he has allowed two or fewer runs. He has done that in 10 of his 19 starts coming into the game.

The Reds appeared to have a big inning started when Brandon Phillips led off the game with a single.  Joey Votto doubled off the wall in right to put runners on second and third with no outs.  Todd Frazier bounced to the mound for one out. Jay Bruce hit a fly to right at medium depth. Phillips beat Brandon Moss' throw home but  Yan Gomes threw Votto out at third to end the inning.
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Lindor doubled in the third and scored on a double by Carlos Santana.  Moss broke an 0-for-21 slump by hitting his 15th home run. Kluber had three games full of runs to work with.

DeSclafani left after six innings.

Kluber pitched out of jams in the fourth and sixth.  The Reds had runners at first and second with no outs in the sixth. Kluber struck out Bruce and Marlon Byrd to end the threat.

"Kluber managed the game with men on base. Phillips and Votto were on a lot but he found his outs around them," Price said.

Yan Gomes hit a three-run homer off Nate Adcock to give Kluber an embarrassment of riches. It was his fourth of the season.

Kluber allowed three runs on seven hits in 7 2/3 innings.  Phillips and Votto combined for six hits with three apiece.  Bruce had the other hit off the Indians' ace.  Kluber was responsible for Phillips and Votto when Bruce hit a home run off Cody Allen.

Bruce drove in all four runs and ended the game with a .255 batting average, his highest mark since the second game of the season when he was 2-for-6.

Professionally edited by ML Schirmer
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