John Clay

Cincinnati Reds keeping things interesting, plus more random notes

Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto, center, celebrates with third baseman Eugenio Suarez, left, and relief pitcher Raisel Iglesias (26) after the Reds defeated the New York Yankees 5-3 on Tuesday, May 9, 2017, in Cincinnati.
Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto, center, celebrates with third baseman Eugenio Suarez, left, and relief pitcher Raisel Iglesias (26) after the Reds defeated the New York Yankees 5-3 on Tuesday, May 9, 2017, in Cincinnati. Associated Press

Random notes:

▪  Just when you thought the Cincinnati Reds had settled into their predicted performance level for 2017, losing eight of nine games, Bryan Price’s club has rallied to win eight of its last 10.

In fact, at 18-15, Cincinnati was just a half-game behind St. Louis going into Wednesday night’s play. The Reds were off after splitting a two-game series with the New York Yankees thanks to a 5-3 win on Tuesday.

Joey Votto’s bases-loaded single was Tuesday’s big hit. Batting just .208 on April 16, the first baseman is now up to .289 with 10 homers and 31 RBI. He’s hitting .417 (10-for-24) in May.

Overall, the Reds’ lineup has been solid. Zack Cozart is hitting .350. Eugenio Suarez is at .316 with seven homers and 22 RBI. Adam Duvall is batting .273 with nine homers and 26 RBI. As a team, Cincinnati is hitting .266, second behind Washington’s .281 in the National League. The Reds are fifth in on-base percentage at .332 but second in OPS at .792.

All this with a rotation that includes journeyman Scott Feldman, Tim Adleman and 40-year-old Bronson Arroyo. The Reds are scheduled to get Brandon Finnegan and Homer Bailey back from the disabled list in mid-June. They hope to have expected ace Anthony DeSclafani back from injury in July.

Meanwhile, the bullpen continues to be outstanding. Raisel Iglesias has six saves and a 0.98 ERA. Wandy Peralta has a 1.32 ERA in 14 appearances. Drew Storen is at 2.40. And Michael Lorenzen is at 3.72.

Will it last? Probably not, but at least the Reds are making it interesting.

▪  Given the way Always Dreaming ran in the Kentucky Derby, if the son of Bodemeister gets a decent break from the gate at Pimlico, you’d have to think he should handle the Preakness and move on to the Belmont with a chance at a Triple Crown.

While Todd Pletcher is no fan of running any of his horses after a two-week layoff, he pushed all the right buttons at Churchill Downs. There’s no reason to think Pletcher, a seven-time Eclipse Award winner, won’t do the same in Baltimore.

▪  According to the Blood-Horse, this year’s Derby was the most watched, on television and online, since Sunday Silence’s win in 1989. It also was the most-watched Saturday afternoon sports show this year since the NFC divisional playoff on Jan. 17.

▪  Rick Pitino played in the Master Hoops National Championship in Coral Springs, Fla., this week. Judging from the videos online, Rick can still hit the jumper. Not bad for a 64-year-old.

▪  Since LaVar Ball is selling Lonzo Ball’s shoe for $495, how much would a De’Aaron Fox shoe be worth?

(Sorry, I just broke my vow to totally ignore LaVar Ball.)

▪  Good news: The Kentucky high school football finals are moving to Kroger Field. That was one of the reasons UK decided to install an artificial playing surface when it renovated then-Commowealth Stadium — to many it will always be Commonwealth Stadium — two years ago. If I’m UK, I want all state high school championships contested at my facilities.

▪  By the way, I can’t get too outraged over the stadium name change, though Kroger Field is sort of odd. Kroger has a strong local and state presence. And branding in the name of revenue is the way of the world.

▪  I know the NBA Finals are headed toward the inevitable three-peat between Cleveland and Golden State, but I still get a kick out of watching Gregg Popovich.

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