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The Reds Report

Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Reds Report: June 25

Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Reds were able to win a couple of games this week, but overall the team continued to struggle. Cincinnati dropped two of three to Tampa Bay to open the week. Over the weekend, the National also took two out of three from the Reds. Cincinnati remains in last place in the NL Central, and they’re eight games back of the first-place Brewers.

Luis Castillo Makes His Debut

Castillo made his major league debut on Friday in a start against the Nationals. The 24-year-old pitched fairly well. He gave up 2 ER in five innings of work. The fact that he walked five batters isn’t ideal, but it was a solid start for Castillo who could be a major player in Cincinnati’s rotation in the near future. The Reds acquired Castillo in January in the trade that sent Dan Straily to Miami.

Doug Gray of RedsMinorLeagues.com had a complete breakdown of Castillo’s performance.

Homer Bailey Struggles in Return

Homer Bailey made his much-anticipated return to the starting rotation on Saturday. Unfortunately, he didn’t provide the type of performance fans were expecting. Bailey gave up eight runs in just 1.2 innings. What made this start even more disappointing was the fact that Bailey had pitched well in his rehab starts in the minors. You can read Mark Sheldon’s assessment of Bailey’s night here.

You can hear Bailey talk about his struggles below.

Brandon Finnegan Set to Return

The Reds got another piece of good news on the pitching front this week. Kyle Melnick of MLB.com reports that Brandon Finnegan is slated to take the mound for the Reds on Monday against the Cardinals. It will be his first start since April 15.

As Melnick notes, the Reds rotation is in a better position than it has been in for several months. The return of Bailey and Finnegan along with the promotion of Castillo gives the team three of their better options at the position. Cincinnati’s starting rotation currently has the worst ERA in baseball (5.27). The unit can use all the help that it can get. Thankfully, it seems like help is on the way.

Joey Votto in the Home Run Derby?

Votto has seemingly done it all in his big league career, but one thing the Reds first baseman is yet to do is participate in the Home Run Derby. According to David Adler of MLB.com, Votto hasn’t been asked to participate yet, but he would agree to do so if given the opportunity. As of Sunday afternoon, Votto was tied for the NL lead in home runs with 20. Reds teammate Scott Schebler also has 20 HR.

What’s Ahead

On Monday, the Reds head to St. Louis for a makeup game from April 29. They’ll host the Brewers at home starting Tuesday followed by a series with the Cubs.

You can read Eric’s writing all season long at The Sporting NewsRed Reporter, and Baseball Prospectus. He also hosts the On Baseball Writing Podcast and appears on the Red Reporter podcast.


Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Reds Report: June 18

Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

It’s going to be difficult to find a silver lining in this edition of the Reds Report. Cincinnati lost every game they played this week, and the team is currently on a nine-game losing streak. This run has left them in last in the NL Central. The Reds trail the first-place Brewers by seven and a half games.

The End of the Line for Bronson Arroyo?

The biggest piece of news from Sunday is that Bronson Arroyo might have pitched his final major league game. In today’s start against the Dodgers, Arroyo threw three innings and gave up five earned runs. That ran his ERA to 7.35 for the season. Arroyo made a few postgame comments that suggested this could have been the final appearance of his career.

It was easy for fans to be frustrated with Arroyo’s performance this season, but it’s pretty remarkable he was able to return to a major league rotation at age 40 given his injury history. Arroyo accomplished a lot of good during his time in Cincinnati. Everyone will be wishing him well if this was, in fact, his last time on the mound.

Cincinnati Gets Rave Reviews at the MLB Draft

The MLB Draft took place this week, and the Reds entered with the second overall pick. They selected Hunter Greene from Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, CA. Mark Sheldon has a helpful breakdown of the 17-year-old’s potential. At least once, he was clocked throwing 102 mph.

Reds fans, I think you’re going to love this kid.

Doug Gray of RedsMinorLeagues.com provided a helpful roundup of what other executives thought of Cincinnati’s draft. Gray cites a Jon Heyman interview where an unnamed executive said, “Cincinnati won the draft by far.” You can read more quotes from around the league in Doug’s write-up. 

A Few Pitching Updates

As of now, the thing most Reds fans are looking forward to is the return of a few key starters. This week Homer Bailey and Brandon Finnegan both took a few steps forward.

  • On Wednesday, Bailey started for low-Class A Dayton. He pitched six shutout innings and struck out six. According to Zach Buchanan, Bailey threw a bullpen session in Cincinnati on Friday, and he’s slated to start for Louisville at some point this week. If that start goes well, then it’s possible he could be back in a Reds uniform sooner rather than later.
  • Brandon Finnegan also made a rehab start this week. He pitched four scoreless innings for Double-A Pensacola. Mark Sheldon notes that Finnegan will make a start for Louisville this week, and he’s expected to make at least two appearances at that level. Check out Sheldon’s article for more details on Finnegan and Bailey.

Zack Cozart Takes the Lead

Why don’t we end with a little bit of good news? Zack Cozart’s impressive play is finally being rewarded. In the most recent NL All-Star voting, Cozart took the lead as the potential starter at shortstop for the National League. Zach Buchanan has details on all of the voting, including Joey Votto’s current status.

Speaking of Votto, he continues to insist that if Cozart makes the All-Star team he’ll buy Cozart a donkey.

“I don’t have the internet.” You know, Votto is the one guy I kind of believe when he says that.

This Week

The Reds head to Tampa Bay to take on the Rays on Monday. They’ll finish the week with a trip to Washington for a three-game series against the Nationals.

You can read Eric’s writing all season long at The Sporting NewsRed Reporter and Baseball Prospectus. He also hosts the On Baseball Writing Podcast and appears on the Red Reporter podcast.


Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Reds Report: June 11

Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Reds got off to a great start this week thanks to a four-game sweep of the Cardinals. However, the team stumbled over the weekend dropping their first two games to the Dodgers (Sunday’s game was not finished when this article was written). As of Sunday morning, the Reds were just three games back of the NL Central-leading Brewers.

Let’s get to this week’s Reds Report.

Who Run the World? Scooter Gennett.

On Tuesday, Reds fans were treated to a historic performance at Great American Ball Park. Scooter Gennett became just the 17th player in major league history to hit four home runs in one game. The Reds celebrated Gennett’s big night with the following video.

Gennett’s final stats from the Reds win over the Cardinals were remarkable. He went 5-5 with 4 home runs and 10 RBI. The home runs will get the attention, but it was just the 15th time since 1924 that a player racked up at least 10 RBI in one game. Simply put, Gennett put together one of the greatest single-game offensive performances in MLB history.

Zack Cozart Update

Well, apparently some of you answered the challenge from last week’s Reds Report. As of Tuesday, Cozart had moved up to second place in the voting to be the National League’s starting shortstop at the All-Star Game. Jamie Ramsey of Better Off Red offered a helpful summary of Cozart’s growing credentials.

It’s Almost Draft Day

The MLB Draft kicks off on Monday, and the Reds will have the second pick. They were in the same position a season ago, and they used that selection to take Nick Senzel. There are a few players who could hear their name called when Cincinnati makes their choice. Brendan McKay of Louisville could be the Reds pick. Kyle Wright is another option, but several outlets project the pitcher from Vanderbilt to be the #1 selection (Minnesota Twins).

Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes that Hunter Greene could likely be Cincinnati’s pick. Greene was a shortstop/pitcher this season for Notre Dame High School in Los Angeles. He could be developed as a pitcher or position player. However, most expect him to end up on the mound given the 17-year-old hit 102 mph on the radar gun in January. It’s always risky taking a player out of high school, but Greene has the kind of upside that makes him worth it.

A Few Pitching Notes

There’s plenty of uncertainty surrounding the Reds starting rotation. This week, there were a few updates regarding members of the staff.

  • The Reds got some disappointing news about injured starter Anthony DeSclafani. Bryan Price told Tom Groeschen that at this point, he doesn’t expect DeSclafani back in the rotation until at least August.
  • There was a scary moment in Saturday’s game when Amir Garrett was hit by a line drive on his left hand. Joshua Thornton of MLB.com had a helpful breakdown of what followed. He noted that Garrett couldn’t feel his hand immediately after being hit. However, Garrett’s x-rays came back negative, and he’s still scheduled to make his next start.

Tyler Mahle to start the AA All-Star Game

How about some good news on the pitching front? Tyler Mahle, who has a 1.66 ERA in 12 starts for Pensacola, has been selected to start the AA All-Star Game. Doug Gray notes that Mahle has been the best pitcher in the league up to this point. It’s likely the 22-year-old will be in Louisville sooner rather than later.

What’s Ahead

The Reds head to San Diego on Monday for a three-game series. They’ll return home on Friday to host the Dodgers over the weekend.

You can read Eric’s writing all season long at Red Reporter, Beyond the Box Score, and Baseball Prospectus. He also hosts the On Baseball Writing Podcast and appears on the Red Reporter podcast.


Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Reds Report: June 4

Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati’s pitching struggles returned this week which led to the team running a 1-5 record since Monday. The Blue Jays had their way with the Reds, and they swept Cincinnati by a combined score of 28-10. Over the weekend, the Braves took two out of three from the Reds.

At this point, it’s clear that the narrative with this team isn’t going to change. The offense is good, but the team is only going to go as far as the pitching will carry them. That’s a frightening prospect given that three of the team’s best starters are still on the disabled list.

Regardless, there was still plenty of news to dive into this week. Let’s get to the latest Reds Report.

Devin Mesoraco Delivers

Cincinnati’s lone win of the week came on Friday night. The Reds entered the 9th inning trailing 2-0. Eugenio Suarez had a big hand in helping the team get the game to extra innings. In the 10th, Devin Mesoraco provided the team with his biggest hit since his return.

Devin Mesoraco WALKS IT OFF in the 10th for the #Reds

Mesoraco has hit .246/.370/.443 with 3 HR in 23 games this season. His return to the lineup as a productive hitter is an important development for the team moving forward. Here’s hoping that this is just the first in a long list of future highlights from Cincinnati’s catcher.

Brandon Phillips Returns to Cincinnati

On Friday night, Brandon Phillips made his first trip back to Cincinnati since being traded to Atlanta over the offseason.

Phillips played in Cincinnati for 11 seasons, and he was an important part of three playoff teams. However, he wasn’t averse to speaking his mind during his time in Cincinnati, and his return to Great American Ball Park included some controversial comments.

Prior to the start of the series, Phillips met with reporters and stated that the fact another player was wearing his number 4 (Scooter Gennett) was “a slap in the face.” That wasn’t the only comment he made that raised some eyebrows. You can read a complete recap of those statements thanks to C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Let’s Get Zack Cozart in the All-Star Game

I never thought I would have the opportunity to say this, but Zack Cozart is having the best offensive season of any shortstop in baseball. Currently, he’s hitting .344/.429/.622 with 9 home runs. It’s been a remarkable year for the 31-year-old who was viewed as a defensive specialist for most of his career.

It’s safe to say that this level of production should be rewarded.

Earlier this week, MLB released their first National League All-Star Voting Update. Cozart currently finds himself in third place at the position. He trails Corey Seager (Dodgers) and Addison Russell (Cubs) in the voting. This is an injustice that cannot stand, and Reds fans need to do what they can to ensure he’s in the starting lineup on July 11 in Miami.

You can vote for the All-Star game starters until Thursday, June 29. That gives Cincinnati fans a little less than a month to ensure that Cozart takes the field at short for the National League. You can fill out your own All-Star ballot here. Let’s show MLB the power of BBN.

On Sunday, Cozart helped his case by blasting two more home runs. He added a triple for good measure.

Everybody Hurts

On Saturday, Scott Schebler and Billy Hamilton both left Cincinnati’s game against Atlanta with injuries after attempting diving catches. Fans were left wondering if the team would be without two important pieces for a significant period of time.

Thankfully, it appears that neither outfielder is headed to the disabled list.

Michael Lorenzen…Outfielder?

So, what would Cincinnati do if they were without Hamilton and Schebler for any length of time? The team already has a short bench, and there were questions regarding how the Reds would fill out their lineup in this scenario. Bryan Price mentioned to Zach Buchanan that in a pinch, he wouldn’t hesitate to deploy Michael Lorenzen in the outfield. Lorenzen played centerfield in college, and fans are well aware of his athletic abilities.

He’s been a solid reliever for the Reds this season. Is it possible he could also see time in the field? I wouldn’t put it past him.

What’s Ahead

The Reds will host the Cardinals for four games at Great American Ball Park before heading to Los Angeles to take on the Dodgers over the weekend.

You can read Eric’s writing all season long at Red Reporter, Beyond the Box Score, and Baseball Prospectus. He also hosts the On Baseball Writing Podcast and appears on the Red Reporter podcast.


Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Reds Report: May 28

Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

That’s more like it.

The Reds were able to put their recent struggles behind them, and they racked up a 4-2 record this week. Cincinnati won series against Cleveland and Philadelphia. They find now find themselves just two games out of first in the NL Central. There isn’t a team pulling away from the pack just yet, and if the Reds continue to get healthy things could get interesting.

Let’s get to this week’s Reds Report

It’s a Bad Idea to Heckle Joey Votto

This Indians fan learned the hard way that if you’re going to heckle Joey Votto, then he’s going to give it right back to you.

Can we talk about how bad this guy’s heckling skills are for a moment? “I remember when you used to be good?” Votto is hitting .287/.413/.567 this season with 12 HR and 39 RBI. He’s been one of the best 15 hitters in baseball. This guy needs to try again.

The Starting Pitching Stepped Up

Last week we lamented the state of the starting rotation. The Reds were desperate for a starter to give the team some quality innings. They got a few of those performances this past week. On Monday, Scott Feldman gave up one run over six innings of work. Tim Adleman was even more impressive on Friday. He pitched eight innings and held Philadelphia scoreless during his time on the mound.

Billy Hamilton is Still Fast

Can anyone go from first base to home plate on a single? Billy Hamilton answered that question this week.

The Reds Have Some Pretty Good Position Players

Earlier this week, Wick Terrell of Red Reporter wrote about how well Cincinnati’s position players are performing this season. According to FanGraphs, the non-pitching portion of the team has been the most valuable group in baseball. Check out Wick’s article to read his breakdown of this pleasant surprise.

What’s the Future for Zack Cozart?

Coming into the season, most fans assumed the Reds were going to try and trade Zack Cozart. His hot start hopefully increased his trade value, but is it possible it might be in Cincinnati’s best interest to try and extend Cozart now that the team is more competitive? You can read C. Trent Rosecrans’ answer to that question here.

The Return of Brandon Finnegan is Getting Closer

Mark Sheldon of MLB.com provided an update on Reds starting pitcher Brandon Finnegan this week. Finnegan threw off of a mound for the first time since his injury, and it means things are heading in the right direction with his rehabilitation. As of now, Bryan Price expects to have Finnegan back on the mound at some point in June. You can read more about Finnegan’s recovery here.

Scott Schebler Keeps Hitting Home Runs

Fans weren’t quite sure what to expect from Scott Schebler in his first full season with the club. Needless to say, they’ve been pleasantly surprised with his production over the season’s first two months. Since Monday, Schebler has connected on three more home runs. He now finds himself tied for the National League lead in homers with Bryce Harper.

The Reds head to Toronto on Monday for three games with the Blue Jays. Over the weekend, they’ll welcome the Braves to Great American Ball Park.

You can read Eric’s writing all season long at Red Reporter and Baseball Prospectus. He also hosts the On Baseball Writing Podcast and appears on the Red Reporter podcast.


Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The Reds Report: May 21

Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

How bad did things get in Cincinnati this week?

By the middle of Sunday afternoon’s game, Thom Brennaman was interviewing a bird.

What led to this level of despair? The Reds went 1-5 on the week. That lone win on Saturday snapped a season high seven-game losing streak. Cincinnati is now closer to the bottom of the division than the top, and the optimism/surprise of the season’s first month has worn off for most fans.

Now that you’re in a good mood, let’s get to this week’s Reds Report.

The Highlight of the Week

Let’s think happy thoughts for a moment. The Reds win on Saturday required coming back from a five-run deficit. The rally was capped off by a big Scott Schebler home run.

Don’t Blame It On the Offense

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, you can’t blame this week’s struggles on the offense. Since Tuesday, the Reds have scored five, five, five, six, eight, and four runs. At the end of the week, they only had one win to show for a pretty impressive offensive output. So, what’s the big problem?

The Starting Rotation Is Really Struggling

Cincinnati is in desperate need of a solid performance out of the starting rotation. Unfortunately, they didn’t get any of those this week. Here is what Reds starters accomplished since Tuesday:

  • Bronson Arroyo: 5 IP, 5 ER
  • Scott Feldman: 2.2 IP, 5 ER (7 R)
  • Amir Garrett: 4 IP, 6 ER
  • Lisalverto Bonilla: 5.1 IP, 6 ER
  • Tim Adleman: 4.2 IP, 6 ER
  • Bronson Arroyo: 5.1 IP, 6 ER

You’re not going to win many games with performances like that. The injuries to three Reds starters are really starting to take a toll on the entire staff. Cincinnati’s starting rotation has thrown the fewest innings of any rotation in baseball. That has left a lot of innings (the most in MLB) for the Reds bullpen to clean up.

Zach Buchanan detailed Bryan Price’s struggle to manage the staff this season. The Reds have tried every available option to fill the open spots in the starting rotation, but they don’t have a lot of reliable contributors at this point. Brandon Finnegan is expected to be the first man back, but that won’t be until mid-June. It could be a long month for the Reds unless a few starting pitchers step up.

What About Anthony DeSclafani?

One of the other major pieces the Reds are waiting on is Anthony DeSclafani. For the past two months, DeSclafani has been rehabbing his elbow in an attempt to avoid surgery. He was cleared to resume throwing this week. This is a good sign, but as Mark Sheldon notes the team still isn’t ready to put a target date on his return.

The Reds Make Their Facebook Debut

Recently, MLB and Facebook finalized a deal to stream a game on the social media platform every Friday. The Reds and Rockies earned the distinction of being the first two teams to have a game broadcast via Facebook. Head over to facebook.com/MLB to find each weekly matchup. In between looking at pictures of people’s kids and reading their political rantings…you can now watch a little baseball.

Let’s Talk About Zack Cozart

Who’s having the best offensive season in Cincinnati? Most would assume it’s Joey Votto, but by several advanced metrics that distinction belongs to Zack Cozart. Cozart is currently hitting .351/.432/.595 with 4 HR, 26 R, 19 RBI, and 2 SB. For a number of seasons, Cozart’s glove made him valuable to the Reds. Now, he’s providing production at the plate as well.

Should you expect Cozart’s increased production to last? Wick Terrell of Red Reporter took some time this week to compare Cozart’s development to that of another shortstop (Brandon Crawford). He finds some interesting comparisons between the two and suggests that the team might have a pretty valuable asset on their hands as the trade deadline gets closer.

This Week

The Reds take on the Indians for four games (two home/two away) to open the week. They’ll head to Philadelphia for a three-game series over the weekend.

You can read Eric’s writing all season long at Red Reporter and Baseball Prospectus. He also hosts the On Baseball Writing Podcast and appears on the Red Reporter podcast.


Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Reds Report: May 14

Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

It’s May 14 and the Reds still have a winning record. So far, they’ve exceeded most fans’ expectations for this season. However, the team is coming off of a down week. Cincinnati went 2-4 against New York and San Francisco, and they finished the week on a three-game losing streak.* A series against the Cubs kicks off on Tuesday, so things aren’t going to get any easier for the club.

*At the time of writing the Reds were trailing the Giants 7-2 in the 5th inning. Yes, I’m assuming they lost today’s game. If they end up coming back, I’ll gladly be wrong about their record.

Let’s get to this week’s Reds Report.

Lisalverto Bonilla Shines

One of the Reds best performances of the week came from a pretty unexpected place. Lisalverto Bonilla started for Cincinnati on Saturday and gave up three runs on six hits in eight innings of work. Chris Biderman of MLB.com notes that this was Bonilla’s first MLB start since 2014. The team is desperate for solid performances out of their starting pitchers, and the 26-year-old Bonilla came up big this week.

Hello Wandy Peralta

Several players performing unexpectedly well has been a major reason for Cincinnati’s success. One such surprise has been reliever Wandy Peralta. Peralta has a 1.13 ERA, and he’s struck out 27 batters in 16 innings. Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs offered a helpful breakdown of Peralta’s performance this season. In summary, Peralta is combining a nasty slider and changeup with a mid-90s fastball.

Also of note, Peralta has one of the fastest paces in baseball. If you think the game moves too slow, then Peralta is the pitcher for you. He might be the best chance we have of getting Drew Franklin to watch the Reds this season.

17 Innings of…Birds?

The Reds were in for quite a game on Friday night/Saturday morning. Cincinnati and San Francisco battled for 17 innings before the Giants finally won on a Buster Posey walk-off home run. C. Trent Rosecrans notes that the game ended at 12:45 AM Pacific time, and it took five hours, 28 minutes to play.

As the game went on, the stars of the night became the birds flying around AT&T Park. They regularly flew in front of the camera in the later innings, and their overwhelming presence was repeatedly highlighted.

It was almost like something straight out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie.

To WOOO or Not to WOOO?

There’s a controversy brewing at Great American Ball Park. If you watch, go to, or listen to a Reds home game, then you’re likely to hear a familiar sound in the later innings. A group of fans has taken it upon themselves to serenade the players and fans with a chorus of Ric Flair “WOOOOO”s for several innings.

Apparently, some analysts and fans have had enough. Paul Daughtery of the Cincinnati Enquirer penned a passionate column this week describing his hatred of all things “wooo.” How does he feel about those who participate in this nightly ritual?

“The Reds train their ushers in the ways of courtesy and pleasantness. They should also train them to identify Wooooers and warn them once to take a damned pill. Second woooo, banish them the rest of the game. Sentence them to doing something terrible, such as acting civil.”

I’m hoping and assuming that Daughtery was employing some hyperbole in his article. However, the growing frustration over the  “woo” does seem to be a bit of an overreaction. According to ESPN, the Reds have the fourth-worst attendance in baseball this season. At this point, I don’t care what Reds fans do when they go to games. I simply want them to start showing up.

Homer Bailey Update

On Friday, Homer Bailey threw 48 pitches in a bullpen session. Chris Biderman notes it’s the longest session Bailey has had since March. There is still hope that he can return to the rotation sometime in June.

Currently, Brandon Finnegan, Homer Bailey, and Anthony DeSclafani are all on the disabled list. Those losses have left a major void in the starting rotation. It will be interesting to see how the team looks when/if all of the starters are healthy. If the Reds can find ways to hang around the top of the NL Central, then things could get interesting as the team gets to full strength.

What’s Coming Up

On Tuesday, the Reds head to Chicago for the start of a three-game series with the Cubs. Over the weekend, they’ll play the Rockies at home.

You can read Eric’s writing all season long at Red Reporter and Baseball Prospectus. He also hosts the On Baseball Writing Podcast and appears on the Red Reporter podcast.


Apr 30, 2017; St. Louis, MO, USA; Cincinnati Reds left fielder Adam Duvall (23) hits an RBI double during the seventh inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Reds Report: May 7

Apr 30, 2017; St. Louis, MO, USA; Cincinnati Reds left fielder Adam Duvall (23) hits an RBI double during the seventh inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati’s struggles over the past two weeks had convinced some fans that the hope for a successful season was already over. However, the team rebounded and went 5-1 this week (Monday – Saturday). The rally pushed the Reds back above .500, and it put them in a tie with the Chicago Cubs for the NL Central lead. Baseball Prospectus still has Cincinnati’s playoff odds at just 11.1%, but for now, it’s fun to know that there will be meaningful baseball in May for the Reds.

Let’s get to this week’s Reds Report.

The Offense is On Fire

The Reds offense continues to be a major surprise this season. From Monday through Saturday the team scored 45 runs (27 on Friday and Saturday). A look at where the Reds stack up compared to the rest of baseball shows how well they’re playing. The team has scored the third most runs (159), hit the seventh most home runs (41), and is tied for the league lead in steals (36). Cincinnati’s batting average and slugging percentage are also both in the top five in baseball.

Joey Votto is Raking

More often than not, this is a statement you could make about Joey Votto. However, over the past week teams have really struggled to get the Reds first baseman out. He’s hitting .429/.654/.857 since Monday. Over that stretch, he’s also walked 11 times. (which is ridiculous).

Not only is Votto hitting for a high average, but he’s also hitting for more power than he has the past few seasons. Votto connected on his ninth home run earlier this week. That homer went 449 feet, and it was the longest blast of Votto’s career since MLB starting tracking data with Statcast.

Wick Terrell of Red Reporter recently looked at Votto’s start to the season. It appears that he’s trying to avoid another slow start by focusing on hitting for more power. This recent run has him on pace to hit just under 50 HR this season.

Billy Hamilton Steals His 200th Base

Billy Hamilton reached a personal milestone this past week when he stole his 200th career base. Mark Sheldon of MLB.com provided a review of Hamilton’s big night. He reached the accomplishment in the fourth fewest games since 1900. Only Vince Coleman, Tim Raines, and Ricky Henderson did it in fewer games.

Who Is the Fastest Man in Cincinnati?

Speaking of Hamilton, he’s been a part of a conversation in Cincinnati since the night of the first round of the NFL Draft. The Bengals took John Ross with their first round pick. Ross set an NFL Combine record in the 40-yard dash, and this fact led to an interesting question. “Who is the fastest man in Cincinnati?” C. Trent Rosecrans discussed the topic with Hamilton who thinks it would be a close race.

Joe Danneman offered his assessment of the potential showdown.

Amir Garrett Optioned to Louisville

Reds fans were surprised to learn on Sunday afternoon that Amir Garrett had been optioned to Triple-A Louisville. Garrett was coming off of a six-inning start on Saturday in which he allowed just two runs and five hits. For the season, Garrett was 3-2 with a 4.25 ERA in six starts.

Zach Buchanan noted that Cincinnati has two off days between now and May 15. That will allow them to go with a four-man rotation, and the Reds can limit Garrett’s workload in Louisville. There’s no reason to overwork him this season when the team has their sights set on 2018-2019.

The Reds will welcome the Yankees to Great American Ball Park on Monday for a two-game series. On Thursday, they’ll head to San Francisco to play four more games against the Giants.

You can read Eric’s writing all season long at Red Reporter and Baseball Prospectus. He also hosts the On Baseball Writing Podcast and appears on the Red Reporter podcast.


AP Photo: Morry Gash

The Reds Report: April 30

AP Photo: Morry Gash

AP Photo: Morry Gash

The good news: Cincinnati won today.

The bad news: Cincinnati lost every other game they played since Monday.

When the Reds opened the season 7-2, fans knew the team wouldn’t keep up that level of success. However, no one was expecting them to look as bad as they have over the past week. Cincinnati is 2-8 in their last 10 games, and they now find themselves at the bottom of the NL Central. Better times are ahead, but it’s been a frustrating few weeks to follow the team.

Let’s get to this week’s Reds Report.

The Offense is Getting the Job Done

There are reasons why Cincinnati is struggling right now. However, the offense isn’t one of them. Prior to Sunday’s game, the Reds ranked fairly well in a number of statistical categories. Here’s how they compared with other National League teams.

  • 5th most runs scored
  • 5th most home runs
  • 3rd most stolen bases
  • 4th best slugging percentage

On an individual level, Joey Votto and Scott Schebler were tied for the second-most home runs in the NL with eight. Adam Duvall was tied for third with seven. The team might not have won many games this week, but that’s not because of the offense. This week alone, the team scored four or more runs in every game except one.

Speaking of Scott Schebler

After a rough start to the season, Schebler has been one of the hottest hitters in Cincinnati’s lineup. In Schebler’s last five games he’s hitting .444/.500/1.333 with 5 HR and 9 RBI. Over the first 17 games of the season, Schebler was hitting .153/.242/.339 with 3 HR and 7 RBI.

C. Trent Rosecrans took some time this week to highlight Bryan Price’s confidence in Schebler as an everyday player. That confidence, plus some patience on Price’s part, looks like it could be reaping some rewards right now.

Zack Cozart’s Hot Start

Zack Cozart is another player who has impressed with his production at the plate this season. For much of his career, Cozart was seen as a defensive asset but an offensive liability. However, over the past two seasons, he’s given the Reds something close to league average production at the plate.

In 2017, Cozart has been one of the team’s best hitters. Prior to Sunday’s game, he was hitting .379/.475/.652 with 1 HR, 11 R, and 9 RBI. Mark Sheldon looked at Cozart’s hot start and noted that a few stats suggest he won’t sustain this pace (that should have been obvious). For now, the team is enjoying this unexpected production from their shortstop. If nothing else, this could increase his trade value as the season progresses.

Cincinnati’s Pitchers are on a “Record Breaking Pace”

The past few seasons, if someone mentioned “Reds pitchers” and “major league record” it wasn’t a good thing. That could hold true once again in 2017. Wick Terrell of Red Reporter looked at the high work rate of the Reds bullpen so far. If this keeps up, Cincinnati relievers might throw the most innings in one season in the history of baseball.

As of Thursday, Reds starters were averaging 4.1 innings per start. That’s a paltry number, and it’s put Bryan Price in a difficult position. Why have Reds starters pitched so few innings? As of Sunday morning, Cincinnati starters had the worst ERA in baseball (5.85), had allowed the third most home runs of any group of starting pitchers, and had given up the sixth most runs.

The 2012 Rockies currently hold the record for the most innings thrown by relievers in a season (657). Prior to Sunday’s game, Reds relievers had already thrown 97.1 innings.

Podcast Recommendation: Great American Dream

For the podcast fans among us, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer debuted a new project this week. It’s called “Great American Dream.” Over the next six months, Rosecrans will detail the story of Reds prospect Shed Long. The show will look at Long’s background, and trace the long journey through the minor leagues that so many players make trying to accomplish their dream of reaching the majors.

MLB Highlight of the Week

Chris Coghlan of the Blue Jays made this a pretty easy pick this week.

The Reds host the Pirates for four games starting on Monday night. Over the weekend, they’ll welcome the Giants to Great American Ball Park.

You can read Eric’s writing all season long at Red Reporter and Baseball Prospectus. He also hosts the On Baseball Writing Podcast and appears on the Red Reporter podcast.


Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Reds Report: April 23

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Every team hits a few bumps in the road during the baseball season. The Reds hit their first bump of 2017 this week. The team dropped series to Baltimore and Chicago, and they ended the week with a 2-4 record.

However, it’s April 23 and they’re still just a half game out of first. Even though there weren’t many wins on the field this week, there was plenty to keep fans entertained. Let’s get to this week’s Reds Report.

Two Thumbs Up for the Bandwagon Cam

You can always expect quite a few Cubs fans to make the trip to Great American Ball Park when Chicago is in town. Fortunately, the team was ready for them, and they unleashed “The Bandwagon Cam.”

Tyler Mahle’s Perfect Game

The most impressive performance of the week didn’t come from anyone on Cincinnati’s major league roster. On Saturday night, Tyler Mahle pitched a perfect game for the Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos. This feat was made more impressive by the fact that he finished the game throwing only 88 pitches. Wayne Cavadi of Minor League Baseball has a helpful breakdown of the performance.

FanGraphs rated Tyler Mahle as Cincinnati’s 16th best prospect prior to the 2017 season. You can check out the final out from last night below.

More Player Debuts

The Reds have given several players the opportunity to debut at the major league level this season. This week, Phillip Ervin joined that list. Ervin was the Reds first round draft pick in 2013. He was hitting .286/.352/.531 with 3 HR and 11 RBI for Triple-A Louisville this season.

Over the weekend, Ervin received one at-bat. It came in the 7th inning of Sunday’s game, and he reached on an error. Wick Terrell had a helpful breakdown of Ervin’s call up over at Red Reporter.

Devin Mesoraco Update

It looked like Devin Mesoraco was going to join the team this week, but the Reds decided to leave him at Double-A Pensacola over the weekend. It now sounds like Mesoraco will join the team either in Milwaukee or St. Louis. C. Trent Rosecrans provided a helpful update on Mesoraco’s status.

Mesoraco did recently make one of the more athletic plays you’ll see a catcher make. There was some fear that he injured his knee on this play, but Mesoraco was able to catch a full game the following day.

Tony Cingrani Hits the DL

Cincinnati was unable to get through an entire week without another pitcher hitting the disabled list. The Reds sent Tony Cingrani to the 10-day DL following their game on Thursday night. Unfortunately, Bryan Price mentioned to Mark Sheldon that Cingrani’s oblique injury will likely keep him out for four to eight weeks. You can read more about the team’s expectations for Cingani here.

Cody Reed Gets His Chance to Start

On Saturday, Cody Reed received his first opportunity to start for the Reds in 2017. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a very encouraging outing. Reed gave up 7 runs in 2 innings of work. Zach Buchanan provided a helpful summary of the performance and what this might mean for Reed the rest of the season.

Of course, if the whole baseball thing never works out, he could try and convince Sacha Baron Cohen to relaunch the Ali G show.

Tomorrow the Reds head to Milwaukee for a three-game series with the Brewers. Over the weekend, they’ll head to St. Louis to take on the Cardinals.

You can read Eric’s writing all season long at Red Reporter and Baseball Prospectus. He also hosts the On Baseball Writing Podcast and appears on the Red Reporter podcast.


Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Reds Report: April 16

Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

It’s April 16 and we’re two weeks into the major league season. How are things going in Cincinnati? The Reds are currently 8-5 and tied for the best record in the National League (with Colorado). Cincinnati also owns the second-best run differential (+15) in the NL. The team has had a surprisingly hot start to the season, and fans have plenty to be excited about right now.

Let’s get to this week’s Reds Report.

Cincinnati’s Bullpen Has Been Really Good

Reds relievers have played a major role in the team’s early season success. Bryan Price has been willing to go to the bullpen early and often, and so far they’ve delivered. As of Sunday afternoon, Reds relievers had the third-best ERA in the National League (2.79). They’ve had that success in spite of the fact that they’ve been worked harder than any bullpen in baseball up to this point.

John Perrotto of FanRag Sports has a helpful summary of the turnaround. In light of the bullpen’s workload, it’s fair to be concerned about how many innings they’ve pitched up to this point. The team is going to have to start getting quality innings out of their starters.

Rookie Debuts

Fans had an opportunity to see two players make their Reds debuts this week. Jesse Winker made his long-awaited major league debut over the weekend. He got an opportunity to pinch hit on Friday and Saturday. That appearance on Saturday resulted in Winker’s first major league hit.

On Sunday, Winker was optioned back to Louisville in a series of moves to help bolster the pitching staff. Wick Terrell has a helpful breakdown of the moves at Red Reporter. This isn’t the last time Reds fans will see Winker in 2017.

Sal Romano made his debut for the Reds on Sunday. Things didn’t go as smooth for Sal, as he gave up two runs, three hits, and four walks in three innings of work. However, he’s likely to stay in the rotation at this time because…

Another Starter Goes Down

Cincinnati’s early season success has been even more impressive given they’re missing two of their best starting pitchers. Unfortunately, that number jumped to three this past week. Brandon Finnegan left his start on Saturday after one inning, and it sounds like he could miss several weeks of action.

Mark Sheldon of MLB.com quotes Bryan Price as saying the team can “realistically expect him to be back here in a few weeks.”

This makes it more likely that Bronson Arroyo will continue to see starts for the Reds. In two appearances for Cincinnati, Arroyo is 0-2 with a 9.90 ERA. Fans will remember Arroyo’s time in Cincinnati fondly, but this latest stint feels like it’s not going to end well for the 40-year-old pitcher.

Sorry, Matt.

Injury Updates

Cincinnati is awaiting the returns of Devin Mesoraco, Homer Bailey, and Anthony DeSclafani to the major league roster. Yesterday, Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer had a helpful rundown of where each player stands.

If everything goes well for Mesoraco this week, he could be back in the majors by Friday. The team is likely to be cautious with Mesoraco’s playing time early on, but he could be a major boost to the middle of Cincinnati’s lineup. Since 2014, Mesoraco has only appeared in 39 games.

Both Bailey and DeSclafani are targeting a return sometime this summer. For the details on their progress check out Zach’s article.

Your Billy Hamilton Highlight of the Week

This guy continues to do things that make you say “Wow.” Even though the team lost on Sunday, this catch was impressive.

Cubs and Cardinals Update

I’ve noticed in the comments section some complaining that KSR doesn’t give equal time to the Cubs and Cardinals in this article. Let’s take a quick look at where both of those teams stand as of today.

Cubs Update: The Cubs are currently 1.5 games back of the first-place Cincinnati Reds.

Cardinals Update: The Cardinals are currently 4 games back of the first-place Cincinnati Reds, and they have the worst record in the National League at the time of writing (3-8).

Cincinnati gets an off-day tomorrow before hosting the Orioles for three games. On Friday, they’ll welcome the Cubs to Great American Ball Park for a three-game series.

You can read Eric’s writing all season long at Red Reporter and Baseball Prospectus. He also hosts the On Baseball Writing Podcast and appears on the Red Reporter podcast.


Photo: John Minchillo, AP

The Reds Report: April 9

Photo: John Minchillo, AP

Photo: John Minchillo, AP

Baseball season is underway in Cincinnati, and the Reds are off to a great start. The team won both of their series this week (Philadelphia and St. Louis), and they’ll try to keep things going in Pittsburgh on Monday.

Is it early? Sure.

Will this last? Probably not.

But for now, I don’t mind these standings one bit.

Screen Shot 2017-04-09 at 5.59.25 PM

Let’s get to this week’s Reds Report.

Can We Have a Mulligan?

Opening Day didn’t get off to the best start in Cincinnati.

After last season’s struggles, fans were excited to get the 2017 season going. Unfortunately, Scott Feldman gave up a home run to the first batter the Reds faced this season. Things didn’t get much better for Feldman who gave up 3 runs in 4.2 innings of work. The Reds rallied back to make it a close game, but Philadelphia handed Cincinnati an Opening Day loss.

Impressive Pitching Performances

There were a lot of question marks surrounding Cincinnati’s starting rotation to open the season. Homer Bailey and Anthony DeSclafani are both on the disabled list, and the team was left depending on Scott Feldman, Brandon Finnegan, and a cast of newcomers.

Finnegan held up his end of the bargain as he pitched 7 solid innings in Cincinnati’s second game of the season. Over those 7 innings of work, he gave up 0 runs, 1 hit, and struck out 9. Eno Sarris of FanGraphs had a helpful breakdown of Finnegan’s performance. He chalked up some of his success to an improved changeup.

The second big pitching performance of the week came on Friday as Amir Garrett made his major league debut. Garrett held St. Louis scoreless for 6 innings, and he only surrendered 2 hits. Garrett is an interesting prospect. He was drafted by the Reds in 2011, but before devoting himself to baseball full time he played two seasons of basketball at St. Johns. Below is a little more information about his journey to the majors.

Of course, you also have to mention Scott Feldman’s performance on Sunday. He bounced back from a difficult Opening Day to hold the Cardinals scoreless over 6 innings.

Welcome Back to the Big Leagues Bronson

Before yesterday, Bronson Arroyo hadn’t pitched in a major league game since 2014. Improbably, he made his return to the majors yesterday in a start for Cincinnati. Arroyo was clearly happy to be back on the mound…and St. Louis was happy to see him as well. The Cardinals lit up Arroyo for 6 runs in 4 innings of work. It’s hard to know how much longer Arroyo will be able to stay healthy, but it was nice to see him in a Reds uniform one more time.

What Can’t Michael Lorenzen Do?

On Thursday, the Reds did something a little unexpected. Bryan Price called on reliever Michael Lorenzen to pinch-hit in a game against Philadelphia. How did it go?

It was Cincinnati’s first pinch-hit home run since 2015. Because the Reds are employing a small bench to start the season, Bryan Price had mentioned his willingness to use Lorenzen at the plate on days he doesn’t pitch. So far, I’m all in on this strategy.

Oh Look, the Cardinals Are Cheating Again

No, this didn’t happen in a Reds game. However, I’ll never miss the chance to point out when something fishy happens in St. Louis.

On Thursday, Yadier Molina went to block a ball in the dirt. He began frantically looking for the ball once it bounced off of him. There was a small problem though. The ball was actually stuck to his chest protector.

What exactly is going on here? No one has come up with a good explanation for what happened. As Chris Cwik notes, it’s commonly accepted in baseball that pitchers will use substances to get a better grip on the ball. Most hitters actually encourage this. However, Molina and/or Cecil seem to be using way more than a little bit of a substance here.

I just chalk it up to the Cardinals being the dirtiest players in the game.

Highlight of the Week: A Rough Trip Around the Bases

Each week, I’ll try and bring you the best highlight from around baseball. This first submission is going to be pretty difficult to beat.

Stephen Piscotty probably had the worst trip around the bases in the history of baseball. Let’s relive all the action with some help from Scott Sterling.

What’s Ahead

Cincinnati kicks off a three-game series in Pittsburgh tomorrow, and they’ll finish the week with four games against Milwaukee at home.

You can read Eric’s writing all season long at Red Reporter and Baseball Prospectus. He also hosts the On Baseball Writing Podcast and appears on the Red Reporter podcast.


Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Reds Report: Opening Day Edition

Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The long wait is finally over. Tomorrow afternoon at 4:10, the Cincinnati Reds will kick off the 2017 season. Scott Feldman will get the Opening Day start for Cincinnati as they take on the Philadelphia Phillies at Great American Ball Park.

We’re less than 24 hours from meaningful baseball.

Sounds like it’s time to get to this week’s Reds Report.

Opening Day Lineup

Here is what the lineup will look like when Cincinnati takes the field tomorrow.

Few teams in baseball (if any) can match the speed the Reds bring to the table at the top of the order (Hamilton and Peraza). Other than Peraza at second, the lineup largely looks how it did at the end of last season.

The Starting Rotation is Set

On the other hand, the starting rotation has experienced some significant changes. Brandon Finnegan will be joined by newcomers Scott Feldman, Rookie Davis, and Amir Garrett. The final spot in the rotation looks like it will go to…Bronson Arroyo.

Mark Sheldon offered a helpful recap of the changes and got Bryan Price’s thoughts on the rotation. The article also highlights the names that will make up Cincinnati’s (hopefully improved) bullpen.

This is a YOUNG Team

As of now, the Reds have the youngest average age of any 25-man roster in the league. The team placed a priority on getting younger, and they’ve definitely done that.

Can Adam Duvall Silence His Critics?

Adam Duvall was one of the few bright spots for Cincinnati last season. However, a number of analysts point to Duvall’s poor second-half numbers as a reason to doubt he can match his production from 2016.

If spring training is any indication, Duvall seems to be up to the challenge. He was one of the Reds best hitters this spring (.302/.373/.679 with 6 HR), and home runs like the one below remind you just how much power he brings to the plate.

The State of the Rebuild

What exactly is the state of Cincinnati’s rebuild heading into 2017? C. Trent Rosecrans took some time this week to assess how successful Dick Williams has been implementing his four-point “blueprint.”

The team wanted to trade valuable assets to acquire young talent, invest aggressively in the amateur market, create payroll flexibility, and invest in areas outside of the payroll. How have they done so far? Click the link to get Rosecrans’ thoughts.

Joey Votto vs. Father Time

A number of players from the last competitive Reds team are gone. However, Joey Votto will still be at first when the team takes the field tomorrow. Votto is now thirty-three, and it’s fair to wonder what his production will look like over the next few seasons.

Zach Buchanan recently asked whether Votto will “grow old before the Reds grow up?” Up to this point, Votto has been worth every dollar of the 10-year, $225 million extension he signed back in 2012. However, he’s at an age when fans should expect some decline in his performance.

If the rebuild takes longer than expected, then it’s possible the next competitive Reds team will include a diminished Joey Votto.

Three Words: Ball Park Food

If you make the trip to Great American Ball Park this season, you will be rewarded with some new food options. Polly Campbell and Shauna Steigerwlad broke down the latest offerings.

If you’re not into the whole “reading” thing, here is a video summary.

Everybody Hurts

On Sunday, the Reds made several moves to finalize their roster prior to the start of the season. These moves included Devin Mesoraco and Anthony DeSclafani being placed on the 10-day DL. Wick Terrell has a helpful breakdown of what these moves mean and when you might expect to see a few prominent players back on the field.

This Week

Cincinnati will open the season with three games at home against the Phillies. On Friday, they’ll head to St. Louis for a three-game set over the weekend.

You can read Eric’s writing all season long at Red Reporter and Baseball Prospectus. He also hosts the On Baseball Writing Podcast and appears on the Red Reporter podcast.


The Reds Report: March 19

The Reds Report: March 19

usp-mlb_-st-louis-cardinals-at-cincinnati-reds-e1422563998789

It’s been a stressful day around here. Not only did we nervously sit through Kentucky’s win over Wichita State, but we were then treated to the drama of Drew Franklin vs. the NCAA. I think it’s safe to say that we could all use a distraction.

I have just what you need. How about some news from Reds spring training? Don’t worry, you can thank me later (in the comments). We’re just two weeks out from Opening Day, and as the start of the season gets closer the final shape of the roster is becoming clearer.

Let’s get to this week’s Reds Report.

1. It’s been a few seasons since Reds fans could utter the phrase, “Devin Mesoraco caught a Bronson Arroyo game.” However, that blast from the past played out in camp this week. Arroyo hasn’t pitched in a major league game since 2014, and he’s looking to get one more shot with a big league club.

So, how did it go?

Arroyo made it through 1.2 innings of work…before he was hit in the face with a ball when Mesoraco tried to throw out a runner at second. Bronson’s injuries weren’t serious, but it did bring an abrupt end to his day. Speaking of injuries to Reds starters….

2. The biggest question mark currently facing the team is who will open the season in the starting rotation. Brandon Finnegan and Scott Feldman are the only current pitchers projected as locks. Dan Straily, the team’s second best starter from last season, was traded to Miami in January. Homer Bailey will be out until at least June after undergoing a procedure on his elbow. Now, Anthony DeSclafani is also expected to be out until mid-May thanks to an elbow sprain.

That leaves three current openings in the Reds starting rotation. Earlier this week, Zach Buchanan broke down the most likely candidates to take those opportunities.

3. The news regarding DeSclafani was disappointing, but it could have been worse. He had recently been dealing with elbow soreness, and this week was diagnosed with a sprained elbow. Mark Sheldon offered a helpful summary of the news. DeSclafani will attempt to rehab the injury instead of undergoing surgery. He’s emerged as Cincinnati’s best starter over the past few seasons, and a healthy season from him would be a big boost to the Reds chances of winning some games.

4. The Reds made their first round of cuts at major league camp this week. Wick Terrell has a helpful breakdown of the decisions. The biggest name in the group was Dilson Herrera. Herrera was acquired by the Reds in the Jay Bruce trade, and there was hope he could make the major league roster as a utility/bench option. Unfortunately, he’s still battling recurring shoulder issues.

If you’re interested in the entire list of cuts, you can find them here.

5. This week, several of us at Red Reporter had the opportunity to talk with Chris Welsh of Fox Sports Ohio about the current state of the rotation. He talked openly about his assessment of a number of pitchers in the system, and what could potentially be done about preventing injuries to pitchers in the future.

You can find the episode here.

6. The World Baseball Classic has gotten lost in the shuffle of March Madness. However, if you’re looking to satisfy your baseball fix it’s been a million times more enjoyable than watching spring training games.

Last night, the US knocked off the Dominican Republic 6-3. The win sent the US to the semifinals, where they will face Japan on Tuesday night. If they can get a win in that one, they would play in the championship game on Wednesday.

Along with the win, the game also provided two of the best highlights you might see all season.

Eric covers the Reds for KSR and Red Reporter. He writes about fantasy baseball for Baseball Prospectus. You can follow Eric on Twitter @ericroseberry.

Photo: Sam Greene

The Reds Report: March 5

Photo: Sam Greene

Photo: Sam Greene

The Reds kicked off their first full week of spring training games by dropping three in a row to the Diamondbacks, White Sox, and Brewers. However, the team rebounded and closed the week strong. Cincinnati currently owns a four game winning streak. Again, these results tell us little about how the team will perform in 2017, but it was still nice to get some wins on the board (especially two against the Cubs).

Without further ado, let’s get to this week’s Reds Report.

Anthony DeSclafani Won’t Start Opening Day

Last week, there was some concern regarding Anthony DeSclafani. The team stated he was dealing with “elbow tenderness,” and his spring training debut was delayed. Fortunately, the issue doesn’t look to be serious, and DeSclafani should make his debut within a week.

Bryan Price mentioned this week that the delay likely takes “Disco” out of the running for Opening Day starter. However, he’s still on track to start the season in the rotation. Mark Sheldon noted that DeSclafani could appear in any other of the team’s first five games.

What is likely to happen, barring setbacks, is DeSclafani could pitch 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th game of season. Just not opener. #reds

DeSclafani was Cincinnati’s best starter a season ago. He went 9-5 with a 3.28 ERA, but he did struggle with an oblique injury that limited him to 20 starts. A healthy DeSclafani could have a significant impact on Cincinnati’s record at the end of the season.

You can read Wick Terrell’s break down of this news over at Red Reporter.

Devin Mesoraco is Progressing

There isn’t a bigger question mark on the Reds roster than Devin Mesoraco. In 2014, he had the most productive offensive season of any catcher in baseball. Unfortunately, he’s been unable to build on that production as injuries have limited him to just 39 games over the past two seasons.

Zach Buchanan checked in on Mesoraco’s progress, and noted that he faced live pitching for the first time since May this week. Buchanan described Mesoraco’s process of trying to re-discover the swing that made him so successful. The shoulder injury Mesoraco dealt with in 2016 got him into some bad habits, but he’s working hard to break those as he tries to re-establish himself as a middle of the order bat.

Mesoraco hopes to play in his first spring training game within a week.

The State of the Bullpen

The Reds bullpen was historically bad for the first few months of the 2016 season. Things started to turn around once Raisel Iglesias and Michael Lorenzen got healthy. The team has made it clear they are going to heavily depend on both pitchers in a variety of situations this season.

It looks as if the team won’t start the year with a set closer. Several pitchers (Iglesias, Lorenzen, and Drew Storen) will get opportunities to earn saves. Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors noted the team’s intention to possibly give both Iglesias and Lorenzen around 100 innings of work. They were clearly the team’s best options out of the bullpen last season, and I’m all for letting them pitch as much as possible.

Speaking of Michael Lorenzen, Zach Buchanan’s profile of the Reds reliever was one of the best things I read during the off-season. You should definitely take some time to check out “In the Name of the Father.”

Assessing the Reds Farm System

Jonathan Mayo of MLB Pipeline took some time to break down the Reds farm system.

Bryan Price on Rule Changes for 2017

Earlier this week, MLB announced several rule changes for the 2017 season. The changes getting the most attention pertain to intentional walks and replays. This year a manager simply has to signal for an intentional walk, and the batter will immediately go to first. The pitcher no longer has to throw four balls to the catcher. The other change is that managers will now have a 30-second time limit to challenge a ruling on the field.

Mark Sheldon of MLB.com got Bryan Price’s take on these changes.

It has been a slow week. Let’s get Red Hot.

As you can tell from the news above, it’s been a pretty slow week around the team. Why don’t we take this opportunity to re-live the time the 1990 Reds released a rap song?

A few months ago, I did an in-depth look at what makes this song so…great?

You can read Eric’s writing all season long at Red Reporter and Baseball Prospectus. He also hosts the On Baseball Writing Podcast, and appears on the Red Reporter podcast.