Bryan Price calls out the Reds for lack of effort

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The Reds are playing bad baseball in the second half. And manager Bryan Price isn’t content to just chalk it up to injuries or chance. His comments after last night’s uninspiring loss to the Indians made it clear that he’s placing the blame on his players’ effort.

From C. Trent Rosecrans’ story at Cincinnati.com:

“What was disappointing and unacceptable tonight was that we didn’t have our head in the game at all, especially in the first five innings. We had two guys who didn’t remember how many outs there were, we had a pitcher that didn’t cover first base on a ground ball to the right side . . . We haven’t done that much this year, but what happened tonight was unacceptable from an effort and mental perspective, it’s not the way we play, it’s not the way we’ll play again. But we need a lot better than that.”

Not the sort of thing players manager Dusty Baker would say. Also not the sort of thing any manager of a struggling team would say if he wasn’t at the beginning of his tenure, as often times managers are blamed for this sort of thing. But right now Price has a chance to set the tone more than he might a year or two from now.

Brandon Morrow shut down for the rest of the season

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Cubs closer Brandon Morrow has been out since the All-Star break with a bone bruise and biceps inflammation. In recent days there had been hope that he would be activated in the season’s final two weeks in order to be ready for the playoffs, but that’s not happening: Theo Epstein just said that Morrow is done for the season.

It’s not the first time good expectations for Morrow’s recovery were not met. When he was placed on the DL back in July manager Joe Maddon said he didn’t anticipate Morrow being on the DL for much more than the minimum 10 days. Two months later and here we are.

Morrow, 34, had an excellent season until the arm trouble started, saving 22 games with a 1.47 ERA and a 31/9 K/BB ratio in 30.2 innings. Once he went out the closer’s duties fell to Pedro Strop. Now Strop too is out for at least the rest of the regular season and likely more due to a hamstring strain he suffered last week while running the bases.

Bullpens become a lot more important in the postseason. The Cubs’ bullpen is becoming thinner.