7/4/2014 6:57 P.M. ET
Reds looking to gain ground during important homestand
By Manny Randhawa / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- The Reds are cognizant of just how important their current 11-game homestand -- with all of the games being against National League Central opponents -- is as they head into the All-Star break.
Going into Friday's series opener against the Brewers, trailing Milwaukee by seven games, a good showing to open the homestand could be a huge lift for Cincinnati going forward.
"I played for [former Reds manager Dusty Baker] for a long time and he used to say, 'Some games are two-game games,'" Joey Votto said before Friday's contest. "What he meant was -- there's a team in front of you and you'll be able to make a full game up within that game. So I guess we've got a weekend series with 'two-game' games."
This season, Cincinnati hasn't lost a series against an NL Central opponent other than the Cardinals, against whom the Reds have dropped all three series they've played in 2014. Cincinnati is 2-0 in series against the Brewers and 2-0-1 in series against the Cubs, who come to town for a five-game set that includes a doubleheader on Tuesday. The Reds are 3-0 in series against the Pirates.
"We have an opportunity to really gain some ground within the division," said Jay Bruce. "Dusty always used to say that the couple of series right before the All-Star break were really pivotal to how you win in the second half."
"You try to win the series, but if you look at it a little further, taking two out of three, you only get one game [closer]," Todd Frazier said. "So, let's try to win today. That's a saying everybody likes to use: 'Let's win today.' If we win the series, great. If we do a little more, that's even better. So it's time to start pushing a little bit and just keep going."
Manager Bryan Price emphasized the importance of seizing the moment in order to make sure the Reds aren't in a difficult spot in the last two months of the season.
"We have some opportunity here," Price said. "Going into the All-Star break with some momentum, cutting the lead a little bit, getting ourselves a little bit situated for the last 65 games or so, really is important. You get yourself back too far heading into August, it really is an upward climb."
Frazier believes he deserves spot on All-Star team
CINCINNATI -- Third baseman Todd Frazier has been making a strong case for his first All-Star selection, and as Selection Sunday approaches, he's not shy about sharing his feelings about his candidacy for a spot on the National League squad.
"I believe that I deserve to be an All-Star, to be honest," Frazier said before Friday's series opener against the Brewers at Great American Ball Park. "That's just the way it is, and there's nothing wrong with me saying that. I think if you play well enough and you're confident, I think if you feel confident enough, you should say it. Why not?
In the final NL All-Star fan balloting update released on Tuesday, Frazier was fifth among the league's third basemen, behind Milwaukee's Aramis Ramirez, the Mets' David Wright, the Giants' Pablo Sandoval, and the Cardinals' Matt Carpenter.
"I don't think there's any question Todd Frazier should be on the [All-Star] club," manager Bryan Price said.
"One million percent," said Jay Bruce. "I mean, he's been the best player on the team all year. He's been arguably, if not definitely, the best third baseman in the National League. He couldn't be more deserving, in my opinion. I hope the right decision is made."
Frazier has been one of Cincinnati's most prolific offensive players so far this season. Going into Friday's game against Milwaukee, Frazier:
• Ranked first among NL third basemen with 17 home runs, a .503 slugging percentage, 13 stolen bases, and 33 extra-base hits;
• Second with 47 RBIs;
• Third with a .356 on-base percentage;
• Fifth with a .289 batting average;
• Posted a .330/.386/.505 line with five home runs, 16 RBIs and nine stolen bases over his previous 25 games.
Zack Cozart pointed out that Frazier's offensive production isn't the only reason he should be representing the Reds in Minneapolis on June 15.
"I think he's a very underrated third baseman defensively," Cozart said. "Not too many people talk about how he's a really good third baseman defensively. I think he's really good over there; he makes all the plays. He makes tough ones too, barehanded ones. So, all around he's been huge for us, probably our most consistent player all year, and I think he deserves a chance."
• Price said before Friday's game that he hadn't yet made a decision on which game of Tuesday's day-night doubleheader against the Cubs right-hander Johnny Cueto will start. The Reds are expected to call up a pitcher from Triple-A Louisville to start the game that Cueto doesn't end up starting.
"We'll sink our teeth into that," Price said. "I know [Cueto's] numbers in the daytime are outstanding. There are certain things that we'll look at to help us make our decision, but we haven't made our decision yet."
Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.