• Thunderstorms have already begun in the Cincinnati area and are forecast through Thursday evening. We may have seen the last of the Pirates series (sweep!). If both tonight and tomorrow afternoon’s games are rained out, what should Bryan Price do with the starting rotation against St. Louis this weekend? The Reds play the Cardinals Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Great American Ball Park.

• If tonight’s game does take place, it features a match-up between Mike Leake and Gerrit Cole. Leake (Arizona State) and Cole (UCLA) squared off against each other in an important college game in 2009. (Hat tip to Joel Luckhaupt, who dug up the historical nugget.)

• C. Trent Rosecrans may have published the human interest story of the year related to the Reds. Catcher Devin Mesoraco had a few maple trees in his Pennsylvania backyard surveyed and cut down to be used to make a few of his baseball bats.

In the end, there were 12 bats Mesoraco will use throughout this season — the DM 814 models are the ones from his house, the 814 representing his area code. Marucci noted he may shed a tear each time one of those 12 bats breaks throughout the season, because each one seems so special. Mesoraco said he’s excited to use them, as they were shipped straight from Baton Rouge to Cincinnati, ready for Opening Day. And the Reds’ catcher also knows much more about his bats now, sharing a closer bond than maybe any other professional athlete and his equipment. (C. Trent Rosecrans, Cincinnati Enquirer)

Seriously, straight out of the natural, minus the lightning bolt.

• Todd Frazier gets home town love, as his high school coach at Tom’s River South reflects on his former player. He says that nothing SuperTodd does surprises him now.

Frazier was playing in a wood-bat league down the Jersey Shore, and (Glen) Gardner asked to see the bat Frazier used during the game. “Everyone uses a 33 (inch bat). That’s what 99 percent of them use,” Gardner said. “He gave me his bat and it was a 35. I remember looking at him like, ‘You swing this?’ and he told me his brother, Jeff, gave it to him. But he swung it like it was easy. Even when I was older 34 1/2 was the most I could swing. But he swung a 35 as a sophomore so easy. They say in baseball you have to be strong from your elbows to your hands in order to hit. That’s the most important to place to be strong. To swing that bat, he was strong. My mind was already made up about him anyway but it reinforced it to me.” (Keith Sargeant, NJ Advanced Media)

CB_t7ckUkAE5vvY• Overlooked in the commentary about Bryan Price’s management of the bullpen was the success of his new lineup, particularly his new-fangled top of the order. Billy Hamilton got on base twice and scored both times. Joey Votto delivered two hits, moving Hamilton from first to third in the third inning where the Reds lead-off hitter was able to score on a balk. Votto and Hamilton both scored on #3-hole hitter Todd Frazier’s game winning homer in the bottom of the eighth.

• Votto’s play overall indicated his return to health. His teammates noticed the difference and know the importance of that.

If seeing is believing, well believe it. Monday was a vintage version of Votto. “When he’s going right, he checks those swings, he holds them back, he sees pitches,” said Frazier, “and when he’s hitting the ball to left field we’ve got a great opportunity.” That was Votto in the eighth inning. He fell behind in the count against Watson with a foul ball and a called strike only to fight back and force the count full, including successfully checking his swing on a 2-2 pitch. Votto had faced Watson 16 previous times in their careers. He had three hits, three walks and three strikeouts in those plate appearances. (Kevin Goheen, Fox Sports Ohio)

• Speaking of the bullpen. Mike Petriello (FanGraphs) dove into the 8th inning use of Kevin Gregg over Aroldis Chapman.

We have him (Kevin Gregg) as being a replacement-level reliever for the last seven years in a row. And, well, he has been: Cincinnati is his seventh different stop since leaving Anaheim following the 2006 season. All of our projection systems see him with ERA and FIP north of four; there’s really nothing, not in 2014 performance or 2010-14 performance or 2015 projections or age or anything at all that makes him more appealing than Sam LeCure, himself a flawed reliever, sent down to Triple-A last week — except for saves, that lovely destructive junk stat that has been ruining bullpen decisions for years.

• Today in schadenfreude. [search terms: Latos, shelled, booed]

• If you missed the Opening Day rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, it’s worth watching. Marlana VanHoose, an 18-year-old from Denver, KY, has a remarkable story.

Marlana VanHoose, who opened the Reds’ first home game with the national anthem Monday, could not see the crowd she was singing for. She couldn’t even watch the game. But she could hear it — and the crowd sure heard her. VanHoose has been blind since birth and has cerebral palsy, but the 18-year-old from Denver, Ky., has made a name for herself singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at sporting events, and it’s getting her attention on the national stage. (Pat LaFleur, WCPO)

Watch her powerful performance from Monday afternoon.

 

30 Responses

  1. reaganspad

    Boy howdy, did Walt do a great service to the Reds by trading Latos when he did. We picked up prospects, lowered the salary cost for 2015 and apparently are saving the fans of some really bad pitching.

    Like Jason Marquis may be better than Matt Latos? Unthinkable in 2013, but maybe reality in 2015.

    7 runs and doesn’t make it out of the first inning. sheesh

    • greenmtred

      I doubt that we can count on Latos being that bad in perpetuity. How many pitchers last year didn’t have at least one really bad inning?

      • Grand Salami

        I wonder what kind of velocity Latos posted? It was the recurring theme for him last year and I have been theorizing that his arm (which is a lot older than his age) may need a little medical attention.

      • earmbrister

        I believe I saw someone post that Latos topped out at 91 mph. His velocity does seem to be down.

  2. Kurt Frost

    Rain, rain go away. We have tickets for Friday and Saturday.

    I couldn’t believe the singing coming from that child’s mouth. Very impressive.

    Screw Latos.

    • renbutler

      Friday and Saturday will be a bit cool but dry.

  3. doublenohitter

    In the end, there were 12 bats Mesoraco will use throughout this season — the DM 814 models are the ones from his house, the 814 representing his area code. Marucci noted he may shed a tear each time one of those 12 bats breaks throughout the season, because each one seems so special. Mesoraco said he’s excited to use them, as they were shipped straight from Baton Rouge to Cincinnati, ready for Opening Day. And the Reds’ catcher also knows much more about his bats now, sharing a closer bond than maybe any other professional athlete and his equipment. (C. Trent Rosecrans, Cincinnati Enquirer)

    I just hope someone doesn’t kill his horse to use as a glove…doh!

  4. gaffer

    What he should do is pitch his best players, dont save them. Now it looks even more foolish to not pitch Chapman more than 1 inning or at least the next best arm in the ‘pen. Chapman may not pitch for 5 days now.

  5. Grant Freking

    Today’s lineup:
    Hamilton 8
    Votto 3
    Frazier 5
    Mesoraco 2
    Bruce 9
    Byrd 7
    Phillips 4
    Cozart 6
    Leake 1

    Only change from Opening Day is Bruce and Byrd traded spots.

    • jdx19

      I’ll take it.

      On a side note, Cueto’s first start was worth 0.4 fWAR. Not bad.

    • bhrubin1

      Wow. That was my only complaint with the last lineup. But I guess if those two trade places based on opposing pitcher handedness, I am good with that.

  6. PDunc

    This is just a random though I was having as I looked at the lineup…
    First, am I correct in assuming Bruce is the Reds hitter that gets shifted against the most?
    Second, how does having a runner on base affect how the infield defense is able to deploy the shift? Taking that a step further, how would having a base-stealing threat like Hamilton on base affect the shift?

  7. renbutler

    Gut feeling as an backyard meteorologist (worth what you paid to read it):

    WED: There will be delays and possibly a shortened game on WED night, but we should see SOME baseball.

    THU: The game will be played in its entirety, with some passing showers and minimal delays, if any.

    • charlottencredsfan

      Nice work. If I remember correctly, you’re pretty good at this weather stuff. Any idea what’s in store for Charlotte this weekend?

      • renbutler

        Thanks, I miss the mark now and then, but I have just enough understanding of weather to be useful. 😉

        Charlotte looks like its in for a perfect weekend: highs in the 70s, lows in the 50s, dry and mostly sunny.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Thanks. Great weather for dog walking, yard word, & watching baseball.

    • greenmtred

      Your forecast could hardly be worse than Tim Hedrick’s prior to opening day. I’ve got snow and wind right now, and will be watching the game(if game there is) in close proximity to my woodstove.

    • renbutler

      The possibility of severe weather might put some doubt into tonight’s forecast. They’ll normally wait out some rain, but they might not want people in the ballpark if there’s a strong chance of severe storms. So if there’s a postponement, it could come before the scheduled first pitch.

      There’s currently a tornado warning not too far to the west of Cincinnati, near Nashville IN.

  8. mwvohio

    Thank you very much for the link to the anthem. I heard a lot of people remark about it and it did not disappoint.

  9. Greg Dafler

    Reading the Mesoraco article made me think of my tour through Louisville Slugger Museum a couple of years ago. If you haven’t been, it’s worth the trip, IMO. The whole bat making process is very interesting.

  10. renbutler

    Go Stupid Cubs!

    Reds in sole possession of first place! :p

    • renbutler

      Molina made the last out and has been held to 0-for-6 by the Cubs on the season.

      • earmbrister

        Adams, batting cleanup, is also at .000

        Hate the dirty birds …

  11. Shchi Cossack

    If Bryan Price has a lick of real baseball sense and cutthroat, competitive instinct, Cueto pitches every 5th day (that’s calendar days) during the season, no exceptions and no excuses…period! We are going to miss JC when he’s gone after signing a $200MM contract after the season. I’m not convinced that Price does have the requisite cutthroat, competitve insticts, based on his repeated utilization (or rather lack thereof) of Chapman and his inexplicable use of Kevin Gregg in the opener this season and repeated over-use of Hoover and Ondrusek et.al. last season.

    • ohiojimw

      Sometimes it is enough to make one wonder if the skills it takes as pitching coach to get the best out of the guys individually and the skills to utilize them best as a unit for the team’s greater good as manager might be somewhat mutually exclusive, eh?

    • jdx19

      Agree 100%. Pencil Cueto in every 5th day and let the rest of the guys fall in as they may.

  12. GeauxReds

    I live watching Billy run and Votto hit. He is like this heady jock. Joey is playing a chess while everyone else is playing checkers. The zen like Buddha shaved head only adds to his aura. Ps I hate McCutcheon.