Inbox: How much do Reds' silver linings add up?

Beat reporter Mark Sheldon answers questions from fans

Inbox: How much do Reds' silver linings add up?

Knowing this season wasn't going to be a very good one, can it be considered a successful one?
-- @elliottm_3

No team that endures a 90-plus-loss season -- such as the Reds have in 2017 -- can pat itself on the back and say it was a successful one. Cincinnati had hoped this might be the year it turned the corner and put rebuilding in the past to focus on competing.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Happy feat: Hamilton picks up pace after pickoff

Errant Boston throw leads to run scored for Cincinnati

Happy feat: Hamilton picks up pace after pickoff

CINCINNATI -- The Red Sox don't see Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton very often. On Sunday, Boston learned something most National League teams have long understood.

Always have a plan for when Hamilton is on the bases, and don't assume he's done running. In a 5-4 Reds loss, Hamilton turned a pickoff play into a rundown that led to him scoring from first base after a defensive breakdown.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hamilton's hustle not enough as Reds fall

Hamilton's hustle not enough as Reds fall

CINCINNATI -- A road trip defined by thrilling comebacks included one more for the rolling Red Sox, who came roaring back with four runs in the eighth to pull out a 5-4 victory over the Reds on Sunday afternoon at Great American Ball Park.

It was a fitting way for manager John Farrell's team to complete an 8-1 road trip and the 14th win in its past 17 games. Now the Red Sox head back to Fenway Park with the American League East title within their sights. The magic number is down to three, as the Red Sox extended their AL East lead to five games with the Yankees' loss to the Blue Jays on Sunday, and Boston can clinch the division as early as Tuesday.

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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

McGuire to spot-start for Davis in final week

Starter will be Reds' 16th this season; DeSclafani throws simulated game

McGuire to spot-start for Davis in final week

CINCINNATI -- The Reds will hand the ball to their 16th starter this season when Deck McGuire takes the mound on Tuesday to open a three-game series vs. the Brewers.

Reds manager Bryan Price revealed on Sunday that Rookie Davis has been dealing with a right hip injury.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

McGuire faces Crew for first Majors start

McGuire faces Crew for first Majors start

With the "Cincinnati sweep" still fresh on their minds, the Brewers will begin their final push for a postseason berth with a rematch against Joey Votto and the Reds beginning on Tuesday at Miller Park.

"It's been a fun September already, and now it's going to be a race to the end," said Brewers 17-game winner Zach Davies, who will start against rookie Deck McGuire for Cincinnati.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Father & son: Farrell pair makes history

Cincinnati right-hander becomes 1st pitcher to face a team managed by his dad

Father & son: Farrell pair makes history

CINCINNATI -- Red Sox manager John Farrell didn't get to see his son, Luke, pitch much when he was a kid. But on Saturday, Farrell had the best view any father could ever have to watch his boy on the mound.

The skipper watched from the visitors' dugout as Luke Farrell delivered a scoreless and hitless ninth inning for the Reds, walking two and striking out one before the Red Sox completed their 5-0 win.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reds go quietly as Sox get to Stephenson

Reds go quietly as Sox get to Stephenson

CINCINNATI -- Mitch Moreland gave a masterful Eduardo Rodriguez some breathing room with a towering three-run homer in the sixth and the Red Sox whittled their magic number down to five in the American League East with a 5-0 victory over the Reds on Saturday afternoon at Great American Ball Park.

Rodriguez (6-6, 3.91 ERA) was sharp from the outset en route to his fourth straight strong performance, holding the Reds to three hits over 7 2/3 scoreless innings and striking out six.

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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Arroyo receives custom guitar, plays concert

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Arroyo receives custom guitar, plays concert

 There aren't many pitchers like Bronson Arroyo. Known for his exaggerated leg kick, frisbee-like breaking pitches and an almost superhuman ability to stay on the mound -- he topped 200 innings every year from 2005-13, except for once ... when he finished with 199. After making it back to the Majors for 14 starts this season with the Reds after missing all of 2015 and '16, he's now officially ready to ride into the sunset. 

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After Barnhart, will Reds lock up Suarez next?

Third baseman slated to enter arbitration for first time this offseason

After Barnhart, will Reds lock up Suarez next?

CINCINNATI -- The Reds moved quickly to sign catcher Tucker Barnhart before he ever entered into the arbitration process for the first time. Could the same fate await third baseman Eugenio Suarez?

For now, Suarez is taking the hands-off approach, but he wouldn't mind signing a multi-year contract.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gennett sets franchise record with 4th slam

Gennett sets franchise record with 4th slam

CINCINNATI -- When the Reds claimed Scooter Gennett off waivers from the Brewers on March 28 to be a utility player, no one envisioned him eventually seizing the everyday spot at second base this season.

That's what has made Gennett's historical home run feats an even bigger surprise in 2017. His latest came during the Reds' 5-4 loss to the Red Sox on Friday night. Gennett slugged a first-inning grand slam, which gave him a single-season club record of four.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rough fourth inning sinks Romano, Reds

Rough fourth inning sinks Romano, Reds

CINCINNATI -- The Red Sox endured the early body blow of a grand slam by Cincinnati's Scooter Gennett and then stormed back with big hits and clutch relief to pull out a 5-4 victory over the Reds on Friday night that reduced their magic number for clinching the American League East to six.

Rafael Devers belted a three-run homer in the fourth to put the Red Sox in front. The bullpen, led by David Price, took it from there.

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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reds ink Barnhart to 4-year, $16 million deal

Reds ink Barnhart to 4-year, $16 million deal

CINCINNATI -- The Reds have parted with a lot of their established talent in recent years as they've tried to add young players and rebuild. On Friday, they took a step to retain the next generation for the long term as catcher Tucker Barnhart was signed to a four-year, $16 million contract.

Barnhart's contract includes a $7.5 million club option for the 2022 season that has a $500,000 buyout. He also received a $1.75 million signing bonus. With escalators and performance bonuses, the deal could be worth up to $24.5 million.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Alyson Footer

Benintendi welcomed home in return to Ohio

Benintendi welcomed home in return to Ohio

CINCINNATI -- Given everything that has happened to Andrew Benintendi in the past few years, it's easy to forget that not long ago -- four years, to be exact -- he was a high school prep, honing his baseball skills on the backfields in Madeira, Ohio, dreaming of someday reaching the big leagues.

The journey took less time than maybe he, or anyone, expected. Three years after he graduated from Madeira High School, Benintendi made his Major League debut for the Red Sox, in August 2016.

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Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reds can't overpower Cardinals for Bailey

Reds can't overpower Cardinals for Bailey

CINCINNATI -- Even given scant odds of making the postseason following a sweep by the first-place Cubs last weekend, the Cardinals did exactly what they needed to do in three games vs. the Reds -- win.

An 8-5 St. Louis victory over Cincinnati completed the series sweep at Great American Ball Park on Thursday night. It also put the Cards 1 1/2 games behind the Rockies for the second National League Wild Card spot. St. Louis remained five back in the NL Central race, but gained a game on Milwaukee, which sits 4 1/2 behind Chicago and one behind Colorado.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Andy Call is a contributor to MLB.com based in Cincinnati and covered the Cardinals on Thursday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Slumping Schebler turns it around with 2 HRs

Slumping Schebler turns it around with 2 HRs

CINCINNATI -- Scott Schebler's second-half struggles haven't sat well with the Reds right fielder. Schebler has been streaky in his two seasons in Cincinnati, but his post-All-Star break results have been particularly dismal.

Schebler entered Thursday batting .193/.286/.393 with five home runs in the second half after he slugged 22 homers in the first half. There was only one homer in September. But in his final two at-bats in the Reds' 8-5 loss to the Cardinals, there was some big life with a pair of home runs.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reds to protect fans with added netting

Reds to protect fans with added netting

CINCINNATI -- The Reds announced plans on Thursday to install expanded netting at Great American Ball Park ahead of the 2018 season. The new netting will stretch to the far ends of each dugout.

The current netting that covers the seats behind home plate meets Major League Baseball's recommended guideline, but the new setup will go beyond that standard. Reds shortstop Zack Cozart has advocated for the Reds to expand their netting, especially after he saw a girl struck by a ball the first week of the season.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hamilton returns from DL, eyes steals crown

Hamilton returns from DL, eyes steals crown

CINCINNATI -- Even if he wasn't in the starting lineup vs. the Cardinals on Wednesday, Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton was a happy man. Hamilton was activated from the 10-day disabled list after he had been out with a fractured left thumb.

"Today's been like Christmas for me, to get back out there," Hamilton said.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Well-rested Mella makes big league debut

Well-rested Mella makes big league debut

CINCINNATI -- Promoted on Sept. 4 after he started and pitched Double-A Pensacola to a share of the Southern League title, Keury Mella was idle for two weeks before finally getting to make his big league debut for the Reds on Wednesday.

In Cincinnati's 9-2 loss to the Cardinals, Mella replaced starter Rookie Davis and pitched two innings. The Reds' No. 21 prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com, allowed two earned runs on two hits and two walks (one intentional) with one strikeout.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reds can't overcome 3 homers off Davis

Reds can't overcome 3 homers off Davis

CINCINNATI -- With the Cardinals having a lot of ground to make up in their hunt for the postseason, they need to play well and get help from others. St. Louis did its part by attacking the Reds early and rolling to a 9-2 victory on Wednesday night at Great American Ball Park.

Meanwhile, the Rockies lost to the Giants to put the Cardinals 2 1/2 games back for the second National League Wild Card spot. In the division race, a loss by the first-place Cubs to the Rays inched third-place St. Louis to five games back in the NL Central. The Cards are only 1 1/2 behind the second-place Brewers in both the division and Wild Card standings following the Crew's walk-off loss to the Pirates.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Andy Call is a contributor to MLB.com based in Cincinnati and covered the Cardinals on Wednesday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reds can't hang on to early lead, fall in extras

Reds can't hang on to early lead, fall in extras

CINCINNATI -- Trying to hang on to their quickly fading postseason hopes, the Cardinals needed an early comeback then some late clutch hitting. It added up to an 8-7 victory over the Reds in 10 innings on Tuesday night at Great American Ball Park.

Dexter Fowler was responsible for two big St. Louis runs with a solo home run in the eighth inning and an RBI double in the 10th. Reds reliever Tim Adleman began the extra frame by hitting Kolten Wong with a pitch. Wong stole second base and scored the go-ahead run on Fowler's RBI double to right field. An RBI single by Paul DeJong provided insurance.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Andrew Call is a contributor to MLB.com based in Cincinnati and covered the Cardinals on Tuesday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Stephenson making his case for a spot in 2018

Stephenson making his case for a spot in 2018

CINCINNATI -- Luis Castillo and Sal Romano have already presented their cases for being part of Cincinnati's 2018 rotation. Sunday, it was time for Robert Stephenson to take the stand.

Stephenson tossed six shutout innings against Pittsburgh as the Reds completed a three-game sweep of the Pirates with a 5-2 victory at Great American Ball Park.

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Andy Call is a contributor to MLB.com based in Cincinnati and covered the Reds on Sunday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Votto's unusual routine aids remarkable BB/K

All-Star's perception of strike zone allows him to pile up the walks

Votto's unusual routine aids remarkable BB/K

Every afternoon, the man with the best grasp of the strike zone since Barry Bonds walks into the cage and sets up a tee basically on his bellybutton. The baseball sits stationary about a fist's width from and center with his hips. To hit it with authority appears a near impossibility of physics, the angle forcing him to contort some 40 degrees to get the essentials -- eyes, hands and barrel -- onto the proper plane and the ball. It's a drill that seems designed to spawn a slew of catcher's interferences.

This is how Joey Votto begins each workday, swing after laborious swing, a master carpenter slaving over wood still unfinished. The way he smacks the bellybutton balls to the top left corner of the cage astounds his teammates, carves one of baseball's best all-field swings and sharpens Votto's signature skill -- the ability to see pitches deep enough to win more at-bats than anyone else.

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Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz. Matt Kelly contributed research to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

5-run inning lifts Reds to sweep of Pirates

5-run inning lifts Reds to sweep of Pirates

CINCINNATI -- The Reds have spent the last 96 days in last place in the National League Central, but they spent the past three days climbing closer to the fourth-place Pirates. The Reds rode a five-run sixth to a 5-2 win on Sunday, completing a three-game sweep at Great American Ball Park and pulling within two games of the Bucs.

"You want to strive for a lot more [than fourth place], but we have a shot at the next best thing than where we are," said Reds manager Bryan Price, whose club has been in last place since June 13.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.

Andy Call is a contributor to MLB.com based in Cincinnati and covered the Reds on Sunday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Storen to undergo Tommy John surgery

Righty expected to miss entire 2018 season during recovery

Storen to undergo Tommy John surgery

CINCINNATI -- Right-handed reliever Drew Storen, who pitched in 58 games for Cincinnati this season, said Sunday he will have Tommy John elbow surgery that will likely sideline him until the 2019 season.

"The positive thing is, I'm only 30," Storen said. "It'll be 12 months, then I'll need time to get in shape. It's going to be [2019] anyway, so why cut [the recovery time] short?"

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Andy Call is a contributor to MLB.com based in Cincinnati and covered the Reds on Sunday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reds prospect Greene to stick with pitching

Right-hander displaying 'savvy and mature' skills in Pioneer League play

Reds prospect Greene to stick with pitching

CINCINNATI -- Hunter Greene is an exceptional talent, but he is ready to make pitching the primary showcase for that talent.

The No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 Draft, as well as the Reds' No. 2 prospect, visited Cincinnati on Saturday and said that pitcher will be his position moving forward. When Greene was drafted, he said he hoped to play shortstop as well.

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Andy Call is a contributor to MLB.com based in Cincinnati and covered the Reds on Saturday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rookie Romano posts 8 scoreless vs. Bucs

Reds impressed with right-hander's maturity, rapid improvement

Rookie Romano posts 8 scoreless vs. Bucs

CINCINNATI -- The only people Sal Romano still needs to impress are the opposing hitters who haven't seen him yet.

Cincinnati's 23-year-old rookie right-hander shut down Pittsburgh for eight innings on Saturday during a 2-1 victory over the Pirates at Great American Ball Park.

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Andy Call is a contributor to MLB.com based in Cincinnati and covered the Reds on Saturday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reds' rally backs Romano in win over Pirates

Reds' rally backs Romano in win over Pirates

CINCINNATI -- Pirates starter Ivan Nova was perfect for three innings on Saturday. He faced the minimum 18 Reds batters through six innings. But Jesse Winker got to Nova in the seventh inning, supporting Sal Romano's gem with a solo shot to right field in the Reds' 2-1 win over the Bucs at Great American Ball Park.

Nearing the end of a disappointing second half, Nova rediscovered his first-half form Saturday afternoon, needing only 63 pitches to cruise through six innings. Winker led off the seventh with a Statcast-projected 374-foot shot into the right-field seats, his second homer in five games since coming off the disabled list.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.

Andy Call is a contributor to MLB.com based in Cincinnati and covered the Reds on Saturday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bailey's got Zack! Cozart's HRs back Homer

Bailey's got Zack! Cozart's HRs back Homer

CINCINNATI -- The Pirates have entered a nose-dive in September, and encountering the Reds -- who have owned Pittsburgh in 2017 -- won't help. Cincinnati supported pitcher Homer Bailey with four home runs en route to a 4-2 victory on Friday at Great American Ball Park. The Reds have won 11 of 17 games in the season series vs. Pittsburgh.

Bailey gave the Reds 5 2/3 innings, allowing one earned run and five hits with two walks and seven strikeouts to notch his first victory since Aug. 11.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.