The Cincinnati Reds are in the City of Brotherly Love to whack homers off the Liberty Bell for three games against the Philadelphia Phillies, with Johnny Cueto set to return to the mound tonight after fighting through elbow soreness for over a week. For more on the upcoming series, check out JinAZ's super awesome preview. Heed his words, too, and take a screenshot of those awful Phillies numbers on the off-chance (or, good chance) that Walt Jocketty opts against breaking down the current Reds roster and simply rides things out for the coming few seasons. Oof, Ruben Amaro. Oof.
Over at The Enquirer, C. Trent Rosecrans followed up his look-back at May's pitching numbers from yesterday with a look at the team's hitting numbers from the most recent page on the calendar. The numbers seem to reflect pretty much what I think we all felt for the month: that the Reds overall swung a decent set of bats (7th in the NL in OPS), but couldn't get the kind of hits with runners on base that could've broken things wide open (12th in the NL in runs). Individually, Zack Cozart came back to Earth a bit, Jay Bruce started to heat up, Marlon Byrd & Todd Frazier bashed brains, Joey Votto "struggled" yet still posted a .350 OBP, and Billy Hamilton continued to suggest that the 2nd half of his 2014 season is more the norm than the exception.
Also from The Enquirer came John Fay catching up with GM Walt Jocketty after the weekend sweep of the World Series favorite Washington Nationals. The gist: Walt won't divulge his plan for the team, but he'll dang sure talk in nebulous terms about it when asked. The Reds are still looking at other teams' players. The Reds are still looking at other teams' prospects. The Reds are trying to win games. Walt did, however, emphasize the team's post All Star Game schedule as a place to potentially make up ground in the standings, which effectively means they won't look to trade any of their veteran players until after that point...which is exactly what we've all known and feared since last off-season. YOLO.
Finally, it's high time to gear up for the MLB First-Year Player Draft, which begins just six days from now. Matt Garrioch from our friends over at Minor League Ball has compiled a rock solid Top 400 prospects list to sift through as we look towards the Reds drafting 11th overall. The College World Series always happens concurrent with the draft, and many of the top players that may end up on the Cincinnati farm will be playing on ESPN (and their affiliates) in the coming weeks, which is great if you have any inkling into watching future MLB stars on display. Each of the Reds top three picks from last year - Nick Howard (UVA), Alex Blandino (Stanford), and Taylor Sparks (UC-Irvine) got air time on the biggest college stage after being picked, for instance. Also, do yourself a solid and note how dang many Vanderbilt Commodores crack the list just to amuse the heck out of me.