Trio of Phillips, Cozart, Hamilton earns Gold Glove noms

Reds second baseman has chance to tie franchise record with fifth win

Trio of Phillips, Cozart, Hamilton earns Gold Glove noms

The Reds' defensive strength apparently resides up the middle, considering their three Rawlings Gold Glove Awards finalists announced Thursday.

Second baseman Brandon Phillips, shortstop Zack Cozart and center fielder Billy Hamilton are all National League finalists at their respective positions for the annual award, which is given each year for defensive excellence. Nominations are based about 75 percent on voting by NL coaches and managers and 25 percent on defensive metrics.

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Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Negron's ebullience caught Reds' attention

With chance to play in second half, utility man brought spark to table

Negron's ebullience caught Reds' attention

CINCINNATI -- An unforeseen byproduct of a Reds season marred by injuries was the pleasantly surprising performance of rookie utility player Kristopher Negron.

Recalled from Triple-A Louisville on July 10, Negron infused energy on offense and played solid defense at multiple positions for Cincinnati over the final 10 weeks of the 2014 season.

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Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Reds prospect Iglesias makes debut in AFL

Cuban right-hander, 24, throws perfect inning in first US appearance

Reds prospect Iglesias makes debut in AFL

MESA, Ariz. -- Cross one challenge off the list for Raisel Iglesias.

Iglesias, a highly touted Cuban pitcher signed by the Reds in June, made his first appearance stateside Monday when he pitched a scoreless inning in the Arizona Fall League. Iglesias, pitching for the Surprise Saguaros, retired all three batters he faced in a 6-5 win over the Mesa Solar Sox.

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Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Reds dismiss third-base coach; rest of staff remains intact

Steve Smith is out as Reds third-base coach, the team announced Monday while saying the rest of the staff would remain intact.

Returning to manager Bryan Price's coaching staff will be bench coach Jay Bell, hitting coach Don Long, assistant hitting coach Lee Tinsley, pitching coach Jeff Pico, bullpen coach Mack Jenkins, first-base coach Billy Hatcher, catching coach Mike Stefanski and coach Freddie Benavides.

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Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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After disappointment, Villarreal works way back to bigs

Righty played in three games before '14, but excelled after switch to 'pen

After disappointment, Villarreal works way back to bigs

CINCINNATI -- With only three Major League games behind him in 2013, Reds pitcher Pedro Villarreal didn't know if he would ever get another chance. As September callups were being summoned that season, it sure didn't look good for Villarreal when he was instead outrighted off of the 40-man roster.

Villarreal, who had been in big league camp at Spring Training in previous years and debuted with one Major League appearance in 2012, wasn't even invited this past spring after remaining in the organization. He stayed on the Minor League side, but more importantly, never gave up on himself while pitching at Triple-A Louisville.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Winker earns AFL Player of the Week nod

Reds prospect hit .455 with a homer, two doubles, seven RBIs to open Fall League play

Winker earns AFL Player of the Week nod

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Twenty years ago, there was a young man who played in the Arizona Fall League named Derek Jeter, and in 2014, he retired from the Majors having had an impact on many younger players who followed in his footsteps. One of those younger guys is Jesse Winker, a prospect for the Cincinnati Reds who is in the AFL with the Surprise Saguaros.

Winker does not play shortstop, as Jeter did. He is an outfielder, primarily a left fielder. But the 21-year-old tries to emulate Jeter in the way he approaches the game and the way he carries himself.

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Don Ketchum is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Howard hones starting skills in Arizona Fall League

Reds' 2014 first-round pick works on transition from college closer

Howard hones starting skills in Arizona Fall League

MESA, Ariz. -- Nick Howard made his first appearance on the mound in 2014 back on Feb. 16. Little did he know, he'd still be pitching eight months later under very different circumstances.

In between, Howard has had a whirlwind of a year. He spent his junior year as the closer for the University of Virginia, one of the best college programs in the country. A year that saw him save 20 games, post a 1.91 ERA and .177 opponents' batting average was good enough for the Reds to take him No. 19 overall in the First-Year Player Draft this June. He then helped Virginia make it to the College World Series finals, though he was tagged with the loss that gave Vanderbilt the title.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayoB3 on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Lefty Marshall progressing just as Reds need him

Aiming to be 100 percent at spring camp, reliever could be solid option for club

Lefty Marshall progressing just as Reds need him

CINCINNATI -- The Reds' bullpen is just one area on the club that needs to be improved over the offseason. With payroll space limited, Cincinnati is hoping that some of the choices to bring that improvement are already inside the organization.

Could lefty reliever Sean Marshall be healthy enough again to be one of those choices? Marshall has been limited to 31 appearances over the last two seasons because of shoulder injuries and will be coming off June 24 surgery that repaired a torn labrum. Recently, the 32-year-old veteran of nine seasons told MLB.com that he has been making progress.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Reds facing decisions as Cueto's contract year approaches

Cincy poised to exercise bargain club option, making ace attractive trade chip

Reds facing decisions as Cueto's contract year approaches

CINCINNATI -- Especially when compared to a couple of his esteemed contempories, Reds ace Johnny Cueto will be a relatively major bargain while pitching next season.

Cueto has a $10 million club option for 2015 that's a lock to be exercised after he completed the four-year, $27 million contract that was signed to avoid arbitration on January 26, 2011. Like most bargains, the price won't remain low permanently, as the 28-year-old Cueto can become a first-time free agent about one year from now.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Nuxhall among 10 finalists for '15 Frick Award

Nuxhall among 10 finalists for '15 Frick Award

The list of 2015 Ford C. Frick Award finalists has been narrowed to 10, with the winner set to be announced on Dec. 10 at the Winter Meetings.

The finalists are Richie Ashburn, Billy Berroa, Rene Cardenas, Dizzy Dean, Dick Enberg, Ernie Johnson Sr., Ralph Kiner, Ned Martin, Joe Nuxhall and Jack Quinlan. The award is presented annually "for excellence in baseball broadcasting" by the Hall of Fame.

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Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Reds approve sale of minority interest

CINCINNATI -- The Reds approved the sale of a minority interest in the ballclub to Frank Cohen, it was announced on Tuesday. The transaction, which was finalized on Friday, sold the shares belonging to the Louise Dieterle Nippert Trust.

Louise and Louis Nippert began their 46-year ownership interest in the Reds when they bought in as part of an investors group in 1966. The Nipperts held a majority interest from 1973-81, and Ms. Nippert kept a minority interest from 1981 until her death in 2012.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Stars of tomorrow ready to shine as '14 AFL season begins

Stars of tomorrow ready to shine as '14 AFL season begins

Over its 23-year history, the Arizona Fall League has developed a reputation as a finishing school for baseball's top prospects. This year, once again, many of the game's best young players will gather in the desert, hoping to prove themselves in the same league that helped catapult Derek Jeter, Dustin Pedroia and Mike Trout to stardom.

When the AFL opens play Tuesday, the concentration of talent will again be readily apparent. Two of the three Opening Day games feature premium pitching matchups, and the third game is highlighted by two of the best shortstops in the Minor Leagues.

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Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Reds have crucial offseason decisions to make

Bullpen, offense need to be addressed as sluggers look to get healthy

Reds have crucial offseason decisions to make

CINCINNATI -- Now that a disappointing 2014 Reds season is in the books, one of the more interesting offseasons in years looms ahead. What brings intrigue is that the club could pivot in a couple of different directions.

Cincinnati could do a major retool and reload by trading some of its more coveted players (starting pitching) and longtime fixtures to fill needs in other areas (offense). Or, it could make small modifications and keep the roster largely intact for another push to go for it with its core players feeling 100 percent again.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Offense can't produce in first season under Price

Cueto's 20-win year leads strong staff, but Reds unable to make playoff run

Offense can't produce in first season under Price

CINCINNATI -- Although they changed managers after last season, the Reds felt they had a strong enough roster to not only contend for the National League Central, but be a factor in the postseason. After all, they had been to the playoffs in three of the previous four years.

How mistaken that proved to be in a 2014 season that was filled with disappointment and unfulfilled expectations.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Assistant general manager Miller leaving Reds

KANSAS CITY -- Reds assistant general manager Bob Miller will be leaving the club in October when his contract expires.

Miller, who confirmed the move to MLB.com, has purchased a business in Clearwater, Fla. He said he made the decision to leave a couple of months ago.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Cueto first Reds hurler with 20 victories since '88

Cueto first Reds hurler with 20 victories since '88

CINCINNATI -- Until Johnny Cueto defeated the Pirates on Sunday, the last time the Reds had a 20-game winner, Ronald Reagan was president of the United States, the Berlin Wall was still fortified and "Don't Worry, Be Happy," by Bobby McFerrin was the No. 1 song on the charts.

That previous pitcher was left-hander Danny Jackson, who went 23-8 with a 2.73 ERA and 15 complete games over 35 starts in 1988. Cueto ended at 20-9 with 2.25 ERA in 34 starts after a 4-1 win over the Pirates in which he pitched eight innings and drove in the game-winning run with a single in the bottom of the eighth.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Chapman's season proves historically dominant

After terrible injury, closer comes back to break multiple strikeout records

Chapman's season proves historically dominant

CINCINNATI -- Reds closer Aroldis Chapman turned in one of the most dominant seasons by a relief pitcher in Major League history in 2014.

Chapman set new Major League records in strikeouts per nine innings (17.67), strikeouts-to-hits ratio (5.05-to-1), and highest percentage of batters struck out (52.4 percent). He also shattered the record for most consecutive relief appearances with a strikeout (39 by Bruce Sutter), establishing the new mark of 49 straight from Aug. 21, 2013-Aug. 13, 2014.

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Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Cueto does it all vs. Bucs to notch milestone 20th win

Go-ahead hit makes righty first Reds player to reach mark since '88

Cueto does it all vs. Bucs to notch milestone 20th win

CINCINNATI -- How badly did the Reds want to give ace Johnny Cueto every chance to get his 20th win of the season on Sunday afternoon? With the game tied and a runner on third base and one out in the eighth inning, manager Bryan Price pulled back a pinch-hitter to let Cueto bat for himself.

That was one gutsy call, but Cueto rewarded his manager and himself by hitting a full-count pitch for a go-ahead single up the middle in the Reds' eventual 4-1 victory over the Pirates at Great American Ball Park. Cueto became the club's first 20-game winner since Danny Jackson won 23 games in 1988.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Cueto helps own cause by plating go-ahead run

Cueto helps own cause by plating go-ahead run

CINCINNATI -- With the Reds and Pirates tied in the eighth inning at Great American Ball Park on Sunday, Cincinnati manager Bryan Price decided to let starter Johnny Cueto -- in search of his career-high 20th win of the season -- bat with a runner at third and one out.

In a seven-pitch at-bat in which he barely got a piece of a 2-2 sinker from Bucs reliever Tony Watson to stay alive, Cueto grounded a 96-mph sinking fastball up the middle with the infield drawn in to put the Reds ahead, 2-1.

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Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Reds walk off behind Santiago's grand slam

Axelrod fires scoreless 10th to give 'pen first win since All-Star break

Reds walk off behind Santiago's grand slam

CINCINNATI -- It took 78 days, but the Reds' bullpen got its first win of the season's second half on Saturday afternoon in unlikely fashion.

Entering the game 0-17 since the All-Star break, Cincinnati's relief corps was far from perfect, but it got the job done in a 10-6 walk-off win over the Pirates on a 10th-inning grand slam by Ramon Santiago. A Reds reliever last won a game, ironically, also against the Pirates back on July 11.

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Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Price backs up promise of playing his regulars

Price backs up promise of playing his regulars

CINCINNATI -- With a National League Central race still hanging in the balance into the season's final weekend, Reds manager Bryan Price assured the first-place Cardinals on Friday that his already-eliminated club would not simply lie down in a series vs. the second-place Pirates because some of his regulars were injured.

Price backed that up on Saturday as he employed two players that had been out of action the last couple of days -- catcher Devin Mesoraco and closer Aroldis Chapman.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Following review, out call at home stands

Following review, out call at home stands

CINCINNATI -- A crew chief review of a play at the plate on Saturday went against the Reds in the first inning vs. the Pirates.

With one out and a 3-0 Reds lead, Ryan Ludwick grounded to shortstop Jordy Mercer. Running from third base, Devin Mesoraco tried to score and tried to make a head-first reach for the plate around catcher Chris Stewart.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Leake strong on mound, at plate, but Reds fall

Righty allows three hits, doubles, scores; Bruce miscue costly in eighth

Leake strong on mound, at plate, but Reds fall

CINCINNATI -- Heading into what could be a pivotal offseason, Reds starting pitcher Mike Leake was able to exit the 2014 campaign with a strong final performance.

Leake gave up one earned run and three hits over seven innings, but only had a no-decision to show for it as the Reds were handed a 3-1 loss by the Pirates on Friday night. This came despite Pittsburgh being out-hit by an 11-6 margin.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Reds give GM Jocketty two-year extension

Reds give GM Jocketty two-year extension

CINCINNATI -- With his contract set to expire at the end of this season, Reds general manager Walt Jocketty has agreed to a two-year extension to remain with the club through 2016.

"Yeah, it's done," Jocketty said on Friday. "I've got a great relationship with [Reds CEO] Bob [Castellini]. In my position, there are two things that are important. You have to have a great relationship with your owner and you have to have a great relationship with your manager. I have that here with both those guys.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Symptoms from collision remain for Hamilton

Symptoms from collision remain for Hamilton

CINCINNATI -- The chances of Reds rookie outfielder Billy Hamilton returning during the final series of 2014 seemed diminished on Friday. Hamilton is still feeling the effects of a mild concussion suffered on Wednesday, as well as neck and shoulder soreness.

Hamilton, who was injured during a wall collision while taking a home run away from the Brewers' Ryan Braun, has not undergone the concussion testing protocol required by Major League Baseball before he can be cleared to return.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Bailey hopes to begin throwing in December

Bailey hopes to begin throwing in December

CINCINNATI -- The complicated metal brace over Homer Bailey's arm is locked to keep his elbow bent at a 90-degree angle. The pitcher is still in the early stages of recovery and rehab from Sept. 5 surgery that repaired a tear in the flexor mass tendon near Bailey's right forearm.

"I always try to go about everything the right way," Bailey said on Thursday. "I know I'm going to rehab extremely well and do whatever they tell me. Whenever I can do more, I will do more."

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Reds held to two hits by Lohse in loss to Crew

Hannahan records pair of singles; Corcino, bullpen struggle

Reds held to two hits by Lohse in loss to Crew

CINCINNATI -- The Reds' offense has been the worst in the Majors in the second half, as it ranks last in batting average (.219), hits (451) and on-base percentage (.275). The depths it has reached were on full display during Wednesday night's 5-0 loss to the Brewers.

One player stood in the way of Brewers starting pitcher Kyle Lohse getting a no-hitter -- sub-.200-hitting backup first baseman Jack Hannahan. He had both Reds hits and was the only one to reach base as Lohse did not give up a walk and struck out six.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Solving bullpen puzzle Reds' offseason priority

After disappointing results in 2014, club may seek more cost-effective options

Solving bullpen puzzle Reds' offseason priority

ST. LOUIS -- When Reds players disperse for the offseason after Sunday's season finale, the front office, coaches and manager Bryan Price will quickly begin to evaluate the things that went wrong and try to figure out how to get it right again.

The bullpen most certainly will be one area near the top of the list. Trying to bridge the gap from the starting pitchers in the middle innings to closer Aroldis Chapman in the ninth proved to be one of Cincinnati's biggest weaknesses.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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