Reds Review/Preview: Week 4

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Results: 6-1 win over Brewers; 16-10 win over Brewers; 2-1 win over Brewers; 4-2 loss to Brewers; 7-3 loss (11 innings) to Cubs; 5-2 loss to Cubs.

Record // Run differential // Place in NL Central: 8-10 // minus-10 // fourth, 4.5 games back of the first-place Cardinals.

Notable performances/trends: Tuesday, the Reds and Brewers combined for 26 runs, 25 hits, and seven home runs—including three grand slams, the fourth time in MLB history a trio of grand salamis have been hit in a single game. Oddly enough, Reds first base coach Billy Hatcher was involved in one of the other triple-slam tilts, smacking a grand slam for Houston in the Astros’ 22-7 loss to the Cubs on June 3, 1987. … During the 2014 season, Zack Cozart hit four home runs in 543 plate appearances. This year, Cozart has four home runs in 71 plate appearances. … Marlon Byrd, who is slashing .143/.154/.222, has not walked this season and has made it to a three-ball count just four times in 65 plate appearances. Byrd has also struck out 21 times. … Jay Bruce (.161/.257/.323) is off to a rough start, but May is typically Bruce’s best hitting month, so history indicates that the right fielder should snap out of his funk soon. … Good news: Tony Cingrani threw the seventh and eighth innings Sunday. Bad news: Sunday was Cingrani’s first outing in 12 days because manager Bryan Price originally pegged Cingrani’s bullpen role as one of a mop-up/long-relief guy.

Notable Reds quote: “Ah, f—–. I’m just, I’m f—– pissing up a rope in this f—– business.” The most humorous excerpt from Price’s now-legendary/extremely-misguided rant to the media prior to last Monday’s game in Milwaukee.

Movie scene that sums up last week: The infamous “King Kong” tirade from Denzel Washington’s character near the end of Training Day, a desperate-man diatribe that evokes similarities to the I-am-overwhelmed theme of Price’s outburst.

As the (Reds Lineup) World Turns: With Todd Frazier getting the day off Thursday, Price trotted out a lineup that featured Cozart batting second and Joey Votto in his previously-customary No. 3 hole spot. It was the first time since July 17 of last season that Cozart hit second. (Also in the lineup for that July 17 game: Brayan Pena, Kristopher Negron, Skip Schumaker, and Chris Heisey. Oof). For Votto, Thursday marked the first time he hit third all season, with the last such occurrence coming on July 5, 2014. Prior to Thursday, nearly 81 percent of Votto’s 4,131 career plate appearances were out of the No. 3 spot.

As the (Reds Leadership) World Turns: In the immediate future, when casual baseball fans think of the Reds, they’re going to think of Bryan Price. Not Joey Votto. Not Johnny Cueto. Not Aroldis Chapman. Bryan Price. We’ll see what long-term effect Price’s harangue has on his job and the club, but the Reds manager is certainly the (expletive-spewing) face of the franchise at this moment. Devin Mesoraco is already on record saying Price’s explosion won’t give the Reds any extra juice. The rant failed the logic test and submitted further ammo to those who believe Price may be in over his head as a manager. Perhaps Price is sensing the potential precariousness of his own job should the Reds falter, and has now morphed into Defiant Bryan Price. If that’s the case and the Reds find success, Price will come off of as a sage troop-rallier. But if the Reds ultimately sink in 2015, it’s hard to see how Price doesn’t go down with the ship.

Reason for optimism/PESSIMISM: Redleg Nation took a deep dive into Mesoraco’s hip condition, and the outlook for 2015 is extremely gloomy. It’s unlikely that Mesoraco will return to being the Reds full-time catcher this season, and at some point he will probably need to undergo season-ending surgery.

Who’s next?: The Brewers, who sport an MLB-worst 4-15 record, are in town for three games as the Reds wrap up their season-opening stretch of 22 in a row vs. NL Central foes. Thursday, Cincinnati begins a four-game series in Atlanta. (I’m assuming this classic will be queued up as the Reds de-plane Wednesday night.)

Movie scene to sum up the week ahead: The dance sequence from the toga party in Animal House, which may or may not epitomize the Reds’ collective reaction to the Brewers coming into town.

Notes from around the National League Central: Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright is likely out for the year with an Achilles injury. … St. Louis has been flagged by Major League Baseball for being Slowpokes. (You’re damn right that’s a Pokémon reference). … The Cubs’ only-top-prospects-need-apply infield is complete with the promotion of Addison Russell, meaning Chicago’s entire infield is under the age of 26. … The Pirates, winners of five in a row, swept the Diamondbacks over the weekend, claiming all three games by a combined margin of 14-2.

Notes from around Major League Baseball: Josh Hamilton is reportedly being shipped to his previous team, the Texas Rangers, with the Angels covering the brunt of the $83 million remaining on the outfielder’s contract. … Former Reds skipper Dusty Baker wants to manage again, but probably never had a shot with the Diamondbacks this offseason because former Cardinal manager Tony LaRussa is the D’backs’ president. Baker and LaRussa weren’t exactly kindred spirits while Baker managed the Reds. … Statcast, Major League Baseball Advanced Media’s high-tech player-tracking tool, made its television debut Tuesday night during the Cardinals-Nationals game. … Though he hasn’t suited up since Oct. 1, 2006, former Yankees outfielder Bernie Williams officially signed his retirement papers Friday. … Though the “controversy” surrounding Cubs’ super-prospect Kris Bryant’s non-promotion to big leagues from spring training has been quelled, super-agent Scott Boras is obviously still irked about his since-promoted client having to begin the season in the minors, because Boras continues to say inane things about player readiness. … Once again, the Royals are fighting. Kansas City must still be irked about losing Game 7 of the World Series at home. Then again, with an MLB-best run differential of plus-30, maybe the Royals should try to start shit with everyone they play, yeah?


Grant Freking is a Nuxhall Way contributor and also writes for The Ohioan and Redleg Nation. You can follow him on Twitter at @GrantFreking.

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