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Sports Today: Reds lose, Dragons clinch, Arroyo’s future and Ohio State recruiting

Published: Monday, June 19, 2017 @ 10:19 AM

CINCINNATI, OH - JUNE 2:  Bronson Arroyo #61 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the second inning against the Atlanta Braves at Great American Ball Park on June 2, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Reds nearly didn’t lose their ninth game in a row. Then they did

That is about as creative as I can be about this losing streak that now spans more than a week. Consecutive lost weekends with five winless weekdays in between. 


RELATED: Reds’ losing streak reaches nine games

Bronson Arroyo took his second loss of the losing streak yesterday, and it sounds like it might be the last one of his career

Arroyo has already allowed 23 home runs, halfway to his career high. Statistically he has been the worst starter in the major leagues this season, although before getting pounded by the pitiful Padres seven days ago he had put together three straight decent-to-good starts. 

Yesterday he allowed five runs in only three innings, and any thoughts that this might be one of those famous bad stretches Arroyo used to endure even in his heyday seemed to be erased by his postgame comments. 

RELATED: Arroyo’s career might be over after latest start

When a guy sounds like he doesn’t believe in his arm anymore, it’s tough to see it as anything other than over. 

Self confidence can be an athlete’s most important tool at times, especially one who has endured as many ups and downs as Arroyo has through the years. 

He almost always seemed to find a way to come out on top during his first eight years with the Reds, but time remains undefeated. 

Renaissance Reds: Looking back at those who keyed Cincinnati’s most recent successful era

On the bright side, the bats might be waking up again. 

The pitching staff has put up some big clunkers in the last nine games, but there were a pair of games in San Diego in which they allowed four and three runs. 

Previously slumping Billy Hamilton was 3 for 5 yesterday with two runs scored and an RBI. 

He was 2 for 5 on Saturday and also scored a run in that game. 

And, yes, I’m going to keep pounding that drum about being in the race this year because it’s still June and also this: 

As far as I can tell, the NL Central is up for grabs until the Chicago Cubs wake up. They have a lot of talent already, and they have the assets to add other things they might need, so the odds they eventually run away from everyone else are in their favor. 

But you never know… 

Also it looks like there’s not much point in tanking the rest of the season because they might not be able to get much in a July selloff anyway. 

ESPN’s Buster Olney reports the Reds will probably have a hard time flipping Zack Cozart for a premium prospect because no contenders need a shortstop. 

(They get draft compensation if he leaves as a free agent, but at this point re-signing him might make the most sense if he wants to stay and be a leader on a young and potentially up and coming team. Though they have been stockpiling shortstops it seems, and moving him could allow them to play Jose Perza and Scooter Gennett every day.) 

Olney also notes multiple deserving Reds are likely to be left of the NL All-Star roster because of the long standing every-team-must-be-represented/participation trophy rule requiring every team to be represented. 

Good times… 

In happier news, the Dayton Dragons will be playing in the postseason no matter how the second half goes. 

They clinched a playoff spot Friday night when South Bend lost

Lots of fun times at Fifth Third Field so far this summer with hopefully more to come. 

Maybe even a Hunter Greene sighting? Time will tell. 

One guy who won’t be around any longer: T.J. Friedl. 

The all-star outfielder was promoted to advanced Single-A Daytona on Saturday… 

In non-baseball news, Ohio State hosted numerous big-time high school football players on campus over the weekend, including Wayne receiver L’Christian “Blue” Smith. 

Is he the next Warrior to become a Buckeye? 

Sorta sounds like it: 

“You’ll have to find out when I commit, man,” Smith said told Land of 10. “I can’t even explain it. Anybody that hasn’t been here, if you come up here, you’ll understand why it’s the place to be. Go to a football game. Trust me. It’s the place to be.”

If he signs with Ohio State, Smith would be the seventh Wayne player to do so since 2000. 

John Hollins and Will Allen started the trend in 2000 with Marcus Freeman signing in ’04, Donnie Evege in ’07, Braxton Miller in ’11 and Robert Landers in ’15. 

Every Ohio State football roster since the turn of the century has included at least one Wayne grad. Impressive. 

Related: Kentucky claims another local recruit while Akron invading for basketball?

You can find more about what happened at the camp in Columbus via Land of 10, including how quarterback Emory Jones looked and what is next for the Buckeyes in terms of recruiting linebackers. 

Hartsock: Better luck next time for Bailey

Published: Saturday, June 24, 2017 @ 10:50 PM

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 24: Homer Bailey #34 of the Cincinnati Reds hands the ball to manager Bryan Price #38 after being relieved in the second inning during a game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on June 24, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

I’m not sure what’s more frustrating for Reds fans — Homer Bailey’s 2017 debut or knowing that he’s still under contract the next two years to the tune of $44 million.

The veteran right-hander sure didn’t look like the guy who breezed through three rehab starts, including one in Dayton. Of course those were against minor league hitters, not some of the Washington Nationals he faced Saturday.

“In this game, at this level, you never really know.” Bailey said. “With a line-up like that and you’re not sharp, they’re going to make you have a long day regardless of who you are.”

Bailey said he felt fine physically, during and after the game. Reds manager Bryan Price said that’s a topic that really shouldn’t be an issue going forward.

“I think the sooner we get away from treating these guys coming back as “rehabs” the better off we are,” Price said. “I don’t want to look at Finnegan, or Homer, or Desclafani when he comes back and say this is an extended part of his rehab … they’ve done all of their rehab.”

Brandon Finnegan rehabbed his sore shoulder and will come off the disabled list and pitch Monday in St. Louis when the Reds face the Cardinals in a make-up game.

As for Bailey, he will go back out Thursday at Great American Ball Park hoping a second chance will be sweeter.

“I have no excuses,” Bailey said. “I just didn’t pitch well today…that’s all I can say.”

Clutch hits elude Dragons in loss to Captains

Published: Saturday, June 24, 2017 @ 10:52 PM

            Dragons outfielder Jose Siri celebrates his home run with Gabriel Ovalle in Saturday’s loss to Lake County. Ovalle’s walk preceded Siri’s seventh-inning blast. NICK FALZERANO / CONTRIBUTED

Jose Siri’s bat continues to sizzle, but the rest of the Dayton Dragons’ lineup couldn’t come up with that clutch base hit Saturday night.

Dayton lost 6-2 to the Lake County Captains at Fifth Third Field in front of an announced crowd of 8,440. Dayton fell to 42-31 overall and 1-2 in the second-half Midwest League season.

A Lake County team that ranks 14th (out of 16) in runs scored and 15th in batting average strung together a patchwork of runs against four Dayton pitchers. The Captains scored two in the third inning, one in the fifth, one in the sixth and two more in the eighth.

Dayton pulled within 4-2 in the seventh on Siri’s eighth homer, his third in five games. The two-run shot to left also scored Gabriel Ovalle, who drew a two-out walk.

Siri has seven hits in his last 14 at-bats. Five have gone for extra bases with three doubles and two home runs. He also has four RBIs and four runs in that span.

Dayton left nine runners on base against Lake County starter Luis Jimenez and reliever Justin Garza, who combined to hold Dayton to six hits. The duo walked five as the Dragons stranded nine, going 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

Dayton starter Wennington Romero (3-4) pitched five innings and allowed six hits and three runs. He struck out six and walked one. Jesse Stallings and Aaron Fossas combined to give up seven hits and three runs in three innings. Joel Kuhnel pitched a perfect ninth with two strikeouts.

Game changer: When Jimenez took the mound.

The right-hander scattered four hits and struck out eight in six innings for the win. Three of Dayton’s hits off Jimenez were doubles, including two leading off an inning, but Jimenez left them stranded. He threw 61 of his 89 pitches for strikes.

Jimenez, who struck out a season-high 11 against Fort Worth on June 13, struck out the side in the third. During a stretch between the third and fifth innings Jimenez struck out seven of nine. Overall, eight different players struck out against Jimenez.

He picked up his first win (1-2) and lowered his ERA to 4.68.

Dragons tales: The Dragons managed six hits against Lake County, and they tried to make the most of them. Five went for extra-base hits. Tyler Stephenson had a pair of doubles, including a leadoff hit in the fourth that landed at the base of the center field wall 402 feet away. He also had a one-out double in the sixth. John Sansone doubled to lead off the second inning and Michael Beltre had a two-out triple in the seventh.

Luke Wakamatsu homered in the fourth to extend the Captains’ streak with a homer to 16 straight games. Lake County entered Saturday ranked second in the Midwest League with 75 home runs, three behind leader Quad Cities. Todd Isaacs also homered in the fifth for Lake County.

On deck: Dayton lefty Scott Moss (9-2, 2.37 ERA) has been rock solid through 14 starts. The Reds’ fourth-round pick in 2016 leads the Midwest League in wins and strikeouts (95). In his last start on June 16, Moss allowed two hits, one run and struck out 11 in 6 2/3 innings in a 4-1 win against Fort Wayne.

The Captains are scheduled to send lefty Tanner Tully (2-5, 3.68 ERA) to the mound. The former Ohio State University pitcher makes his fourth start for Lake County.

Sidney football standout commits to Mid-American Conference school

Published: Saturday, June 24, 2017 @ 8:41 PM

Another day, another college commitment from a Sidney High School standout.

On Saturday, defensive tackle Devan Rogers announced on his Twitter account a verbal commitment to the University of Toledo.

The 6-foot-2, 285-pound senior was a first-team, Greater Western Ohio Conference North Division honoree last season. Rogers finished fifth in the conference with 108 tackles and had 4.5 sacks.

Rogers is the No. 64 prospect in Ohio in the Class of 2018 in the 247sports composite rankings.

Bailey blasted for eight runs, Reds lost, 18-3

Published: Saturday, June 24, 2017 @ 7:53 PM
Updated: Saturday, June 24, 2017 @ 7:53 PM

There is no such thing as a one-man cavalry.

Anybody who expected pitcher Homer Bailey to come charging over the hill on a great white horse to save the Cincinnati Reds isn’t dealing with reality.

The much-awaited and much-ballyhooed return of Bailey to the Reds rotation finally happened Saturday afternoon in Nationals Park, but if you blinked you missed it.

It is one thing to make three scoreless rehabilitation appearances in the minor leagues. It is quite another thing to transfer it to the major leagues.

BAILEY’S RETURN TO THE major league mound lasted only 1 2/3 innings against the Washington Nationals and he was charged with eight runs on six hits and three walks. He faced 14 hitters and nine reached bases and three walks.

It was not realistic to expect Bailey, who last started a game in late August of last year, to pitch a three-hit shutout. It will take time for him to grab command of his pitches, it will take time for all the rust to evaporate, it will take time for him to build stamina.

It was only Bailey’s ninth start in the last three seasons because he has undergone three elbow surgeries. His last was this February to remove bone chips.

But, indeed, it was painful and awful to watch as the Reds went on to lose, 18-3, their 13th loss in their last 14 games.

THE FIRST TWO NATIONALS reached base in the first inning when Bailey gave up a single to Trea Truner and a walk to Brian Goodwin. Both scored on a double by Ryan Zimmerman for a 2-0 Washington led in the first.

It was plug ugly in the second when six Nationals scored and Bailey left the game after his 61st pitch in only 1 2/3 innings.

Michael Taylor opened the second with a single and was bunted to second by pitcher Joe Ross. Trea Turner singled for a run. Goodwin walked. Zimmerman also walked to fill the bases and Daniel Murphy ripped a three-run double to the right rield corner. Anthony Rendon doubled for a another run and Bailey’s day was done.

Lisalverto Bonilla replaced Bailey and quick gave up a doube to Matt Wieters for another run that was added to Bailey’s total and it was 8-0.

Amazingly, two of Bailey’s five outs were strikeouts and both were Bryan Harper, Washington’s best hitter.

AND ANOTHER PITCHER WHO has resided on the disabled list for most of the season returns to pitch Monday. The Reds have a one-game stop in St. Louis Monday to make up a rained out game and it will be pitched by Brandon Finnegan.

The Nats didn’t stop after their assault on Bailey. They continued their rampage against Bonilla, scoring four in the fourth when the Reds made two errors and Michael Taylor clubbed a two-run home run, his first of two homers. The Reds have given up home runs in 17 straight games, a club record.

Blake Wood pitched the eighth and gave up four runs and four hits — the first five he faced reached base on four hits and a walk.

Before it mercifully ended, the Nationals had 18 runs, 19 hits and were 12 for 19 with runners in scoring position.

Trea Turner had five hits and scored four runs. Daniel Murphy had four RBI, Michael Taylor had four hits that includeded two home runs as he scored four and drove in three as Washingotn’s No. 8 hitter.

The Reds didn’t score until the sixth when they scored one run and added two in the eighth.

Billy Hamilton was 0 for 20 when he punched his first of two hits. Patrick Kilvlehan, batting for Joey Votto, homered in the sixth inning for the Reds first run. And he was 2 for 2. Scooter Gennett had two hits and Tucker Barnhart had two hits.

But the Reds fell 15 runs sh