The pomp and circumstance and folderol of the All-Star game is history and Todd Frazier wears the belt.
Yes, he has a belt. The WWE (World Wrestling Enterprises) made him a ‘championship’ belt emblematic of winning the Home Run Derby.
Now, though, it is back to business as usual for the Cincinnati Reds, the second half of the season. And Bovado of Las Vegas lists the Reds as 150 to 1 to win the World Series.
But to win it don’t you have to get there? Well, only the Phillies (1,000 to 1), Brewers (1,000 to 1, Marlins 200 to 1 and Rockies 200 to 1 have higher odds.
SOMEBODY MENTIONED to manager Bryan Price that the Reds’ second-half schedule is rated the toughest in baseball and Price said, “Didn’t know that. Thanks for that heads up.”
He is about to find out. And the only real question is how many players on the current roster will still be on the roster August 1 after the trade deadline.
“We need to focus on ourselves, not the schedule or anything else, and just play good baseball,” said Price. “We have to play better than we did going into break. We’ll come out scrapping nad we’re ready to go.”
PRICE HAD A TEAM meeting after his team lost three of four to the Marlins in Miami before the break and was particularly horrible in the last two — losses by 14-3 and 8-1.
“I wanted to cover a few things,” said Price. “I think our style of play is good. We play the game the right way and our guys hustle. We’re always trying to get better. I have no complaints about the way we play the game.”
It is the way they lose games and don’t win games that is the problem, no matter if they play hard and play the game right.
PRICE WAS A COACH for the National League All-Stars and, of course, sat in the dugout observing. He says he took away some things he saw.
“It was a chance for me to watch a man I really admire (NL manager Bruce Bochy) run a game, trying to win the game,” said Price. “He made it very clear in his pre-game speech that he wanted to win the game. He loves to win, hates to lose. We fell short, but I liked the intensity in the dugout.
“I also got to spend time with (Dodgers manager) Don Mattingly, so I had two really good managers with whom I had the opportunity to spend some time. I asked some questions, had some dialogue. I feel I really took advantage of everything that was in front of me,” Price added.
FRAZIER ADMITTED he was exhausted and pretty much shut down after winning the Home Run Derby, but the two off days recharged him.
“It’s time to go,” he said. “We have a little over two months and we have to start pushing now or the season is going to get real tough. We can put the first half behind us and now see what happens up to the trade deadline. We have to focus on our task, find a way to get into the wild card.”
Jay Bruce, who may or may not be here for long, put it succinctly and with little rhetoric: “We just have to start playing good baseball. We need to play much better than we did in the first half, play well, figure out ways to win.”
A VETERAN MAJOR LEAGUE scout wonders on what the Reds are waiting to make trades?
“It is the oldest adage in baseball, especially if you want to dump players,” he said. “Don’t wait. If you wait you won’t get the best prospects. If you want until the trade deadline the best ones will be gone, the market will be picked over, and you’ll get the leftovers. You do it now.”
THE REDS MADE a minor roster move befor Friday’s game, recalling relief pitcher Jumbo Diaz from Class AAA Louisville and optioning relief pitcher Carlos Contreras back to Louisville.
“Carlos was a lot better pitcher than he was able to put on display for us,” said Price. “The young kids who come up are all trying to impress, but he just wasn’t able to stay sharp because he wasn’t used as much up here as he was at Louisville. We’re doing the right thing by sending him down to get more repetition.”
DIAZ WAS ON THE Opening Day roster, but his 6.65 ERA got him demoted on June 5 and he took a message with him, other than he had to do better.
“I threw the ball very well, worked hard, threw all my pitches, got ahead of the hitters, get comfortable on the mound,” he said “Now I’m ready to come back up here and help the team win.”
Diaz said he was told to get comfortable throwing his splitter and his slider, “And to use my fastball to get ahead of the hitters, throw the way I threw last year.”
After 12 years in the minors, Diaz made his debut with the Reds last year and posted a 3.30 ERA in 36 appearances.
Diaz was a closer at Louisville (will he replace Aroldis Chapman if a trade is made?) and was 8 for 9 in save opportunities with a 1.13 ERA.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: For the All-Star game manager Bryan Price vacated his office so NL manager Bruce Bochy could use it and Price said Friday, “The first thing I did when I got back into my office was check my wine cooler.”