No walks make manager happy

At least in the Reds-Cubs portion of split-squad games Sunday, the 1-1 tie provided one of Cincinnati’s best pitched games all season.

Justin Lehr finally got a start and a chance to stretch out and didn’t disappoint. Lehr’s line was one earned run on five hits with no walks and one strikeouts over four innings.

“Lehr was only so supposed to go three but his pitch count was so low, that’s why we had him go another inning,” manager Dusty Baker said.

*Arthur Rhodes continued his stellar spring with one scoreless inning, one hit and three strikeouts. Rhodes has four scoreless innings in four games and just two hits and one walk.

*Francisco Cordero followed with two scoreless innings. He allowed one hit and struck out three. He’s worked seven scoreless innings this spring.

*Kip Wells also turned in his best outing of spring with three scoreless innings, one hit and three strikeouts.

The common thread here — no walks were allowed by any Reds pitchers vs. the Cubs today.

“That’s what Bryan [Price] has been trying to stress to these guys about trying to get strike one and make them earn it,” Baker said. “No free passes.”

*Not much offense to speak of but Laynce Nix tattooed an opposite field home run to left field on a 1-1 count with two outs in the second inning. There was no doubt it was going out off of the bat.

“That’s one of the best balls I’ve seen him hit to the opposite field,” Baker said. “He’s been working on driving the ball. We knew he could drive it this way [to right field] but it was the first time I’ve seen really drive it. He hits a lot of doubles over there. That opposite field home run, he busted that ball.”

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Dusty hates walks from our pitchers, with good reason. Why doesn’t he value them equally when we are hitting? Why does he continue to put batters toward the top of the order — Patterson, Taveras, Gonzalez and now Cabrera — who don’t draw walks? The Reds offense will continue to suffer as long as this indifference controls out batting order.

Mark – What should we expect the next two weeks? As in, when will decisions be made about CF and the 5th starter, and when will the roster be set? Also, I have an ignorant question – Alonso was sent down to the minor league camp, but that’s still in Goodyear, right? One last question, are there players to watch going to the Dragons this year? (My buddy and I will go up there about 5 times this season).

Final roster probably won’t be sent until the last days/weekend. Last year, they waited until the day before the season and cut Rosales, Gomes and others during the GABP workout. Decisions on CF/5th starter might come a little sooner. Last two weeks will have starting pitchers up counts to 90, then 100. Hitters should get 3-4 PAs and play close to entire games. And yes, minor lg camp is in Goodyear. It’s the same building and the fields are adjacent to big league camp.

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