Top 10 keys to Reds' slow start

Injuries a factor, but lack of performance has club below .500 early

Top 10 keys to Reds' slow start

CINCINNATI -- If you thought I was above capitalizing on a moment like David Letterman's retirement from late-night television by writing a Reds-centric Top 10 List, well, you'd be wrong.

While this Top 10 about the Reds' 18-22 record at the quarter mark of the season won't try to bring the humor that Letterman brought for 33 years, it will take a quick look at what's going both right and wrong.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, 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.

Price: Marquis' status 'reasonable question'

Price: Marquis' status 'reasonable question'

KANSAS CITY -- Veteran Reds right-hander Jason Marquis was a feel-good story coming out of Spring Training, but those pleasant vibes have been waning in recent days.

For a second consecutive start, Marquis was unable to give the Reds four full innings, and Cincinnati ultimately fell, 7-1, to the Royals on Wednesday.

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

Reds find scoreboard, but fall short in KC

Reds find scoreboard, but fall short in KC

KANSAS CITY -- Right-hander Jeremy Guthrie tossed six shutout innings and Eric Hosmer scored twice and drove in a run as the Royals took a 7-1 win over the Reds on Wednesday night in front of 30,450 at Kauffman Stadium.

Guthrie gave up five hits, walked two and struck out three. He helped extend the Royals' scoreless-innings streak to 24, which tied a franchise record set in 1976. The streak ended in the seventh, when Ryan Madson gave up an RBI double to Brandon Phillips.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jflanagankc. Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Price confident in players' history with RISP

Price confident in players' history with RISP

KANSAS CITY -- The Reds arrived at the quarter pole in the 2015 season, and manager Bryan Price remains optimistic that the clutch-hitting numbers will drastically improve with roughly 75 percent of the games still to be played.

Cincinnati went into Wednesday's game against the Royals hitting just .194 with runners in scoring position, which ranked last in the Majors. But Price looks at the relatively small sample size and doesn't see that trend continuing.

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

Games in AL parks allow Mesoraco to DH

Games in AL parks allow Mesoraco to DH

KANSAS CITY -- For the Reds, the side benefit of having five consecutive Interleague road games against Kansas City and Cleveland is that Devin Mesoraco has some opportunities to tune his swing as a designated hitter.

Mesoraco hasn't been able to catch since April 12 because of a left hip impingement, which meant his at-bats in National League settings were limited to pinch-hitting duties. But Mesoraco is taking rehabilitation steps toward catching again. Meanwhile, he can get multiple at-bats as a DH until the Reds return home Monday to open a series against Colorado.

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

Leake, Carrasco set to commence Battle of Ohio

Leake, Carrasco set to commence Battle of Ohio

Right-hander Mike Leake will strive for redemption on the mound Friday night for the Reds, while righty Carlos Carrasco will try for the same for the Indians when they face off in Cleveland.

Leake was pinned with the loss Saturday against the Giants after he allowed a season-high nine runs over five innings, raising his ERA from 2.38 to 3.62. In the three games prior, Leake allowed just one earned run over 22 innings pitched.

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

Cueto loses duel as Reds' skid reaches four

Cueto loses duel as Reds' skid reaches four

KANSAS CITY -- Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura silenced the Reds on four hits through seven shutout innings, and Mike Moustakas delivered two RBI doubles in a 3-0 win on a rainy Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium.

Ventura needed just 88 pitches to get through seven. He walked none and struck out six. More >

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reds' offense doesn't come through for Cueto

Reds' offense doesn't come through for Cueto

KANSAS CITY -- Johnny Cueto was good, but Yordano Ventura was better.

That's the bottom line for the Reds in a 3-0 loss to the Royals on Tuesday night. On many nights, Cueto's line of three earned runs allowed through seven innings would be a springboard for a Cincinnati victory. But there was simply no margin for error in Cueto's case as Ventura limited the Reds to four singles and didn't issue a walk.

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

Price honored to serve with All-Star coaches

Price honored to serve with All-Star coaches

KANSAS CITY -- Reds manager Bryan Price was honored by the news that he'll be part of Bruce Bochy's National League coaching staff for the 2015 All-Star Game at Great American Ball Park.

"A really nice thing for Bruce to do in putting me on the staff," Price said before Tuesday's series opener against the Royals. "It's pretty exciting." Price knows it will be a special moment when he has an opportunity to be introduced and can tip his cap to the hometown fans.

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

Mesoraco able to get into catching position

Mesoraco able to get into catching position

KANSAS CITY -- Devin Mesoraco passed the first test on Tuesday in a process that will determine whether he can resume catching duties for the Reds in the forseeable future.

Prior to batting practice at Kauffman Stadium, Mesoraco estimates that he got into squat position about 15 times and tossed about 15 balls at 20 percent on simulated throws to second base. Mesoraco hasn't caught since April 12 due to an impingement in his left hip. He has contemplated surgery if the hip doesn't recover through treatment and therapy.

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

Price seeking consistency from rotation

Lorenzen, Iglesias could get more starts if things don't turn around

Price seeking consistency from rotation

CINCINNATI -- It was certainly a bad weekend for a Reds rotation that was pummeled for three straight losses in the four-game series vs. the Giants. Monday's off-day was certainly welcomed as much as the knowledge ace Johnny Cueto is pitching Tuesday against the Royals.

For the 18-20 Reds to stay in contention, and by extension to keep the soon-to-be free agent Cueto from being Trade Deadline chum, other Cincinnati starters need to prevent stretches like the past three games. If not, both rookies Michael Lorenzen and Raisel Iglesias could get more starts.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, 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.

Bruce shows signs of heating up with 3 hits, homer

After rough start to season, outfielder posts consecutive multihit games

Bruce shows signs of heating up with 3 hits, homer

CINCINNATI -- The long drives and near misses this week seemed like signs that Reds right fielder Jay Bruce isn't far from finally heating up at the plate. Even though the Reds were handed a 9-8 loss by the Giants on Sunday, Bruce's bat was a big part of the thwarted comeback attempt.

Bruce was 3-for-5 with a solo homer in the seventh inning, which gave him consecutive multihit games for the first time since Aug. 3-5, 2014. He also had homers on back-to-back days to end the series.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, 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.

Price drops Hamilton to 8th in Reds' lineup

Former leadoff man drove in two runs Sunday, says he feels less pressure

Price drops Hamilton to 8th in Reds' lineup

CINCINNATI -- The Reds usually post their lineup near both entrances of the home clubhouse for their players to see when they walk in each day. On Sunday morning, prior to the Reds' 9-8 loss to the Giants, manager Bryan Price delayed displaying it so he could personally alert center fielder Billy Hamilton about a decision he had made.

For the time being, Hamilton is not the leadoff hitter and has been dropped to the eighth spot. Shortstop Zack Cozart batted first for the second-straight game after Hamilton was given a day off on Saturday.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, 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.

Offense promising, but Reds' comeback efforts fall short

Offense promising, but Reds' comeback efforts fall short

CINCINNATI -- Using home runs from Brandon Belt and Hunter Pence and three RBIs from Nori Aoki, the Giants outlasted the Reds for a wild 9-8 win on Sunday at Great American Ball Park to claim three of four games in the series. San Francisco scored 30 runs over the three straight wins.

"It was a hard-fought game," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "They would punch back and we would punch back. The key was, we kept adding on."

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Andy Call is a contributor to MLB.com. Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, 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.

After setback, Parra's return date in question

Lefty reliever placed on DL at end of April with strained neck

After setback, Parra's return date in question

CINCINNATI - When Reds lefty reliever Manny Parra went on the disabled list April 29 because of a strained neck, it wasn't expected to be an extended absence. The move was retroactive five days, and Parra was eligible to return by May 9.

As of Sunday, Parra was still on the DL without a target date to return, in part because of a setback.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, 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 overwhelmed by Giants' hot bats

Reds overwhelmed by Giants' hot bats

CINCINNATI -- Brandon Crawford notched a career-high six RBIs, including a grand slam in the fifth inning that buried the Reds in an 11-2 victory for the Giants on Saturday at Great American Ball Park. San Francisco is a National League-best 15-8 since April 23 and can win the four-game series with another win Sunday.

Reds starter Mike Leake, who came in 5-1 with a 1.91 ERA over his last six starts vs. San Francisco, did not have it on the mound. Over his five innings, Leake gave up a career-high nine earned runs and 11 hits with one walk, two strikeouts and three home runs.

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Andy Call is a contributor to MLB.com. Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, 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.

Leake pays for mistakes in loss to Giants

Reds starter allows three HRs, including slam, while giving up nine runs

Leake pays for mistakes in loss to Giants

CINCINNATI -- Like the rest of the Reds for Military Appreciation Night at Great American Ball Park, starting pitcher Mike Leake wore a camouflage uniform top Saturday night. But there was no way to conceal such an ugly line on Leake's ledger following an 11-2 Reds loss to the Giants.

Leake's nice streak of strong starts for Cincinnati, and a clip of strong numbers vs. San Francisco, entering the night all came to a crashing halt.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, 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.

Marshall needs second shoulder surgery

Reds reliever's attempt to come back this season has disappointing end

Marshall needs second shoulder surgery

CINCINNATI -- Reds left-handed reliever Sean Marshall's efforts to come back from shoulder surgery took a terrible turn when it was revealed he will need another season-ending operation in the same shoulder.

Marshall is scheduled to have surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder. Mets medical director Dr. David Altchek will perform the procedure.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, 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.

Early deficit too much for Reds to overcome

Early deficit too much for Reds to overcome

CINCINNATI -- The Giants hit two home runs, including one from Brandon Belt during his four-RBI night, to boost Madison Bumgarner in a 10-2 win over the Reds on Friday night.

As Reds starter Jason Marquis struggled from the get-go, Belt quickly made it a 3-0 game in the first inning with his three-run homer to right field on a first pitch. Buster Posey made it 5-1 with his two-run homer to left field in the third inning. Marquis lasted only three innings in the loss and allowed six earned runs and seven hits with two walks and four strikeouts.

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

Fire extinguished at Great American Ball Park

No injuries reported after fire breaks out in outfield smokestacks during Friday's game

Fire extinguished at Great American Ball Park

CINCINNATI -- A potentially hazardous situation was averted on Friday night at Great American Ball Park when one of the stadium's outfield smokestacks caught fire during the Reds' 10-2 loss to the Giants. It required some fans to be evacuated from their seats, but there were no injuries reported.

Called the "Power Stacks," and used to celebrate Reds home runs with fireworks and a Reds pitcher's strikeout with flames, there was a malfunction during the top of the sixth inning. As Casey McGehee batted, flames shot from the right stack on an 0-1 pitch from Michael Lorenzen. Two batters later, Gregor Blanco was up when fireworks shot from both stacks in the midst of his at-bat.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, 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.

Marquis seeks improvement after tough outing

Right-hander allows six runs over three innings in loss to Giants

Marquis seeks improvement after tough outing

CINCINNATI -- At some point, both Michael Lorenzen and Raisel Iglesias could be getting more starts in the Reds rotation. For veteran Jason Marquis, too many rough outings like Friday's against the Giants and one could envision that future starts for those rookies could come at his expense.

Marquis did not look good from the very beginning of the Reds' 10-2 loss to the Giants. He lasted a season-low three innings and allowed six earned runs on seven hits, including two home runs.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, 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 hoping Mattheus provides boost to 'pen

Right-hander claimed by Cincinnati off waivers from Angels Wednesday

Reds hoping Mattheus provides boost to 'pen

CINCINNATI -- It's certainly been a whirlwind week for the newest member of the Reds pitching staff, reliever Ryan Mattheus. Last Saturday, Mattheus made his return to the Major Leagues with a scoreless inning of work for the Angels. By Monday, he was designated for assignment.

The Reds claimed the right-handed Mattheus off waivers on Wednesday and he arrived just before game time on Thursday evening. He was excited to have a chance in Cincinnati.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, 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.

Byrd's the man for Reds in win over Giants

Byrd's the man for Reds in win over Giants

CINCINNATI -- Marlon Byrd provided three RBIs, with his solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning giving the Reds a 4-3 victory over the Giants on Thursday -- their third straight win.

Cincinnati was up, 3-2, in the eighth inning when Joe Panik hit a triple off reliever Tony Cingrani that landed near the left-field line and just out of the reach of a sliding Byrd. With the infield playing in, Panik scored the tying run on Angel Pagan's single, which lined off the glove of first baseman Joey Votto and into right field. In the bottom half, with Sergio Romo pitching with one out, Byrd hit a 1-1 slider into the left-field seats for his eighth homer of the season -- and sixth in 11 games.

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Andy Call is a contributor to MLB.com. 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.

Byrd happy to justify Reds' faith in him

Byrd happy to justify Reds' faith in him

CINCINNATI -- As he toiled well below a .200 average in April, left fielder Marlon Byrd knew he wasn't very popular. He gathered that people were calling for him to be pulled from the lineup.

Now that he's on a tear, Byrd doesn't care much about vindication.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, 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.

Iglesias will be sticking around for a while

Iglesias will be sticking around for a while

CINCINNATI -- On Thursday, the day after his dazzling eight-inning start and first big league victory, there was no directive for pitcher Raisel Iglesias to return to Triple-A Louisville. He took the field at Great American Ball Park with the rest of the team for stretching and batting practice, as he will be sticking around for a while.

After a break, Iglesias will soon be available out of the bullpen.

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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.

Ties to Cincy have Torre excited for Classic

MLB's chief baseball officer recalls home-plate collision in '70 All-Star Game

Ties to Cincy have Torre excited for Classic

CINCINNATI -- For one of the most iconic moments in All-Star Game history -- Reds great Pete Rose barreling into catcher Ray Fosse to get the National League a win in 1970 -- Joe Torre had both a good view and a unique perspective.

Torre, MLB's chief baseball officer, represented the Cardinals as a catcher for the NL squad, making one of his nine All-Star appearances a player. He was sitting on the bench during the 12th-inning collision at Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, 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.