April 2010

Weds lineup, no Stubbs

Reds Wednesday lineup vs. Dodgers

Dickerson 8
Cabrera 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Rolen 5
Bruce 9
Gomes 7
Hernandez 2
Harang 1

*Drew Stubbs is taking a seat again. He is mired a career high 0-for-18 skid, with nine strikeouts.

“I just though Dickerson had a better chance of hitting Kuroda with all that stuff he throws,” Baker said.

*Aroldis Chapman will make his next start for Triple-A Louisville on Thursday at Indianapolis. First pitch is at 7 p.m. ET and the game can be seen on MLB.TV.

*The Orioles claimed Pedro Viola off waivers from the Reds on Wednesday, then optioned the him to Triple-A Norfolk.

*Joey Votto has four steals in six attempts and seems to have been running more in the past week. Votto is tied with Stubbs for the team-lead in stolen bases. Whether this is team planning or Votto is running on his own, the manager isn’t revealing.

“It’s something I don’t want to expand on,” Baker said. “The other team reads this. It’s something I encourage. It’s something we’ve all been working on. We have guys here with the ability to steal. Joey had the ability last year. He was sliding too early and sometimes didn’t get to the base. He’s worked on sliding hard, leads and jumps.”

Votto was caught stealing in the seventh inning on Tuesday.

“Last night, they tricked Joey a little bit,” Baker said. “He did a real high leg kick the first pitch and the second pitch, he slide stepped. That’s a sign they thought he might run too. Now it’s up to Joey to recognize when they do these things.”

 
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Morgan joins Reds front office

Now it makes more sense when I saw Joe Morgan walk out of the Reds clubhouse after last night’s game…

From the Reds:

At a press conference this afternoon, Hall of Famer Joe Morgan will be introduced as the Reds’ Special Advisor to Baseball Operations.

Morgan and Reds President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Walt Jocketty will be available in the field level interview room at Great American Ball Park at 4:30 p.m. ET.

 

Click here to watch the video from the press conference.

Click here to read the story on MLB.com

Morgan made clear he won’t be leaving ESPN, where he still does Sunday night baseball.

“I’m not making baseball decisions here,” Morgan said. “I will be doing stuff in the business world. Yes, I will be around. If Walt wants to ask me a question about one of the Reds players, I will be glad to answer it. If you want to know the truth, I’ve been doing that for teams for a hundred years. I have owners who call and ask me about players.”

Postgame: Masset struggling

When it comes to Nick Masset, Reds manager Dusty Baker is standing by his eighth-inning set up man.

It’s been a very rough run for Masset lately Masset and Tuesday added to the list. Given a 9-5 lead in the eighth, he gave up four runs and four hits, including the game-tying three-run homer by Matt Kemp.

In eight games, Masset’s ERA is 14.14 (7 IP, 13 H, 11 ER, 2 HR)

We’ll get Nick straight,” Baker said. “He’s got the stuff. We’ve seen it. He’s going through a little bad period right now. We need him badly. He’ll find it.”

When Baker was asked if Masset could be moved out of the eighth inning, this was Baker’s response:

“Who’s the better replacement?” Baker said. “Everybody says ‘get him out of there, get him out there.’ He’s our best choice. That’s what we’re paying him for. He’s our choice in the eighth inning – him and Arthur [Rhodes].”

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Tues: Reds vs. Dodgers

It appears that Scott Rolen’s back is in better shape since he’s back in there.

Reds Tuesday lineup:

Stubbs cf
Cabrera ss
Votto 1b
Phillips 2b
Rolen 5
Bruce 9
Gomes 7
Hernandez 2
Bailey 1

 

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Rolen out again

Reds lineup:

Stubbs cf
Cabrera ss
Votto 1b
Phillips 2b
Gomes lf
Hanigan c
Bruce rf
Janish 3b
Arroyo p

Rolen is out again with a sore back. There was a delay in posting the lineup because he was going to test his back in the batting cage.

“I’m feeling better,” Rolen said before going to hit. “I’m trying to figure out if I can play Major League Baseball. I can walk around like a normal human being.  But that’s a little different than what I’m being called upon to do.”

Dusty Baker wasn’t in a chatty mood this morning but he clearly had a message he wanted to send after four straight losses.

“You have two choices. You can either get down or keep fighting it,” Baker said. “I don’t want to get down. If you get down, don’t stay down. Sure, it’s a downer after the game. The key to this is to keep it light. You can get down, just don’t stay down.” 

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Bundle up, Pittsburgh

It is some kind of frigid in Pittsburgh on Saturday. The Friday night storms moved through a significant change in climate. I’d have to guess first-pitch temperature will be in the low 40s.

I asked Miguel Cairo how many layers he’ll be wearing.

“Plenty. This is not Venezuela,” he said.

Reds Saturday lineup

Dickerson 8
Cabrera 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Gomes 7
Bruce 9
Hernandez 2
Cairo 5
Cueto 1

*Drew Stubbs, who is 2-for-21 with 12 Ks in his last five games, is getting a break. It only has a little to do with the sore back he’s been nursing.

“We’re giving him a day to observe,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “He’ll be back in there tomorrow. You can get yourself straight by watching others sometimes.”

*Scott Rolen is still dealing with a sore back.

“He’s really stiff right now. He’s better,” Baker said.

*Laynce Nix, who has been sick the last few days, is available to pinch-hit tonight.

*From writer Jeff Wallner, who MLB.com has covering Aroldis Chapman in Louisville: “Chapman allowed one earned run and one hit in five innings. He walked four and had one strikeout in an 87-pitch outing. According to the radar gun at Louisville Slugger Field, Chapman had two pitches reach 99 mph and twice hit 100. Consecutive pitches to Brian Buscher in the fourth reached 101 and 102.”

*Chapman also needed 28 pitches in the first inning and was behind in the count a lot, according to reports out of Louisville.

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Different lineup for PIT

It was raining cats and dogs earlier and there is rain in the forecast. But in Pittsburgh, that’s just “Friday.”

Reds lineup:

Stubbs cf
Cabrera ss
Phillips 2b
Gomes LF
Cairo 1b
Bruce rf
Hanigan c
Janish 3b
Leake p

That lineup looks just a little different than usual.

“It’s different because I don’t have much choice,” manager Dusty Baker said. “We’ve got some sick guys here. For Joey not to want to face Duke tonight with the numbers he has and the numbers Scott Rolen has…”

*Votto is 10-for-16 (.625) lifetime vs. Duke with five doubles. Rolen is 7-for-16 (.438) with one homer and four RBIs

*Rolen is actually bothered by a sore back. He felt something in the fifth inning of Thursday’s game in Florida.

“That last ball came up and kind of bit my lower back,” Rolen said. “I woke up with some stiffness and had a little trouble shuffling around.”

Both Rolen and Votto came out of the game in the sixth inning Thursday, mostly because of the score but also for Rolen’s back. Votto told me today he wasn’t hurt in that game but didn’t mention if he was sick.

*Baker and pitching coach Bryan Price had a rather lengthy closed door meeting with the entire rotation. The impression was that it wasn’t all about strategy, scouting and planning for this series.

“The last four days haven’t been very pleasant for our starters,” Baker said. “Part of it was us and part of it was them [the Marlins]. The one thing they can do is hit. And then they start smelling blood and it becomes a feeding frenzy. That’s what happens on the offensive side. I’m ready for one of those frenzies myself.”

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Rough series for rotation

Why do I have a feeling that the Reds’ faithful will be vocal and outspoken for change if Aroldis Chapman has a great start on Friday for Louisville?

After a nice first week, it’s been a lousy second week for the current five members of the Reds rotation. The starting five’s ERA was 3.11 when the road trip began on Monday and is now at 5.43 after Aaron Harang was rock-and-rolled for eight runs in four innings and a 10-2 loss.

This is the series that was for the starters:

Cueto — 5 IP, 4 ER (0-0, 4.91 in two starts)
Arroyo — 6 IP, 5 ER (0-0, 3.86 in two starts
Bailey — 5.1 IP, 5 ER (0-1, 6.97 in two starts)
Harang — 4+ IP, 8 ER (0-2, 7.88 in three starts)

“That’s four days in a row I had to go to the bullpen early,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “We need some quality innings so we don’t kill those guys.”

The only good news is the Reds got a four-game series split after those starts. The bad news is they won the first two games and could have won the series.

With the Astros win for Bud Norris today, the Reds rotation became the lone group without a victory in the big leagues this season.

For only his second pro/big league start on Friday in Pittsburgh, Mike Leake suddenly is needed to be a stopper of sorts. He will be leaned on more than would normally be liked to go deep and provide some innings.

Do you think Leake can do it?

And will Chapman’s outing, if successful, speed up the clock for a promotion?

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Series finale in Florida

Reds Thursday lineup

Dickerson 8
Cabrera 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Rolen 5
Bruce 9
Gomes 7
Hernandez 2
Harang 1

*Every one in uniform for the Reds is wearing No. 42 for Jackie Robinson Day.

*Laynce Nix was due to get a start in LF but is bogged down by the flu. Drew Stubbs (stiff back) will likely return to the lineup on Friday in Pittsburgh.

“He’s a little better,” Dusty Baker said of Stubbs.

*LHP Daniel Ray Herrera held lefty hitters to a .183 average last season, compared to .361 for right-handers. It’s very early and the sample size is super low — but this season, right-handed hitters are batting .167 (1-for-6, 2 Ks) and lefty hitters are batting .667 (2-for-3).

“I’ve been coming into some lefty-lefty situations and not really getting a first-pitch strike and throwing the ball how I want,” Herrera said. “Then I have to face the righties and have to get them out. Right now, it’s how it worked out.”

*Again, it’s early but Drew Stubbs is tied among five players in the National League with 12 strikeouts — and didn’t play last night. Joey Votto is tied with four others for second place with 11 Ks.

*On the other hand, Scott Rolen is the ninth hardest player to strikeout in the NL, by plate appearance per strikeout. Rolen strikes out every 17.5 PAs. He struck out twice in 29 ABs entering the night. Chase Utley is the hardest at every 39 PAs.

*How about this line from Class A Lynchburg lefty Matt Fairel during a 5-3 win over Salem? 6 IP 0 H 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K. Fairel retired 18 of his 19 batters with the lone guy reaching on an error. In his second pro season, Fairel is 13-8 with a 2.82 ERA in 29 starts.

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Bullpen preserved enough

Even though Homer Bailey lasted only five innings and threw 115 pitches in a 5-3 loss to the Marlins, bullpen reinforcement isn’t needed.

Daniel Ray Herrera got the Reds out of a bases-loaded situation in the sixth and Mike Lincoln worked two scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth.

“The shining light I guess was the fact that we didn’t go through our whole bullpen. A couple of guys saved us,” Dusty Baker said.

Baker and GM Walt Jocketty considered calling up a reliever from Triple-A Louisville but decided not to.

“I don’t think so,” Baker said. I just got through to Walt about that. Arthur was off today. Daniel didn’t throw a lot of pitches. Masset was off two days and Cordero was off with a much needed day and Micah was off. We’re relatively strong. Hopefully we don’t need anybody tomorrow and Harang throws up a gem for us.”

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