May 2010

Postgame extra: Twilight bites Reds

A 2-1 loss to the Pirates was decided in the ninth inning on Ryan Doumit’s home run off of Nick Masset but the most regrettable moment for the Reds came in the eighth inning.

Center fielder Drew Stubbs lost Aki Iwamura’s routine fly ball in the twight and it dropped several feet behind Stubbs as Iwmura got a triple. He scored on Neil Walker’s double. That was the lone run to score on Mike Leake.

“It’s one of those situations where if you lose the ball, you lose the ball,” Dusty Baker said. “There’s nothing you can do. That happened to me right here in Cincinnati as well early in my career. Pete Rose hit the ball to me and I did the same thing. That was tough.”

“This time of year theres probably a 10-15 minute window where its just before it gets dark and any ball that gets up there is very tough to see,” Stubbs said. “I guess different points of view from the field allow you different perceptions of it. But just definitely a bad break for us, some bad luck for Mike Leake. Obviously a very catchable ball but just one that none of us saw.”

The good –

*Leake allowed a career high 10 hits, but only one run with one walk and three strikeouts over a career-high 7 1/3 innings. He dodged trouble and helped himself early by inducing two double plays, one of which he started himself in the third inning. He threw only 97 pitches in the game.

*Both starters were tremendous — Leake and Paul Maholm. No runner reached third base until the sixth inning when Andrew McCutchen went from first to third on a two-out single.

*After the twilight issue cost Leake a run, Brandon Phillips got it back with a solo homer in the bottom of the eighth. It was also the 100th homer of Phillips’ career.

*Another solid outing for Arthur Rhodes, who has 19 scoreless games and counting.

The not so good –

*Masset left a 2-1 pitch over the plate that Doumit had no choice but to crush.

Quotes —

“I didn’t execute a pitch, and that was a good hitter up at the plate and weve seen each other quite a bit in the past. I got behind in the count and left one, I don’t know exactly where the pitch was, but it sure was up enough to where he could drive it. ” — Nick Masset.

“We both kind of deserved wins but it didn’t turn out that way for both of us.” — Mike Leake

“He’s started off great the first month and half or so. He’s the type of guy who’s going to compete and he’s going to get ground balls. He gets off to a great start, and you know you have to keep some zeros up there and let the offense keep battling away.” — Paul Maholm on Leake.

News

Aroldis Chapman tested the blister on the middle finger of his left hand and threw on the side Tuesday. It went fine and Chapman is scheduled to make his next start Thursday for Triple-A Louisville against Gwinnett.

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Cabrera, Bruce getting breaks

Tuesday lineup vs. PIT

Heisey 9
Phillips 4
Votto 3
Rolen 5
Gomes 7
Hernandez 2
Stubbs 8
Janish 6
Leake 1

A lefty is going again for the Pirates in Paul Maholm, which explains Bruce not being in there.

Bruce is 2-for-12 (.167) lifetime vs. Maholm — but those two hits were both homers.Cabrera is 1-for-2 against Maholm.

Brandon Phillips is the Reds best weapon tonight since he is 14-for-37 (.378) with four homers and nine RBIs.

UPDATE: The match-up issue was one reason Bruce was off tonight but not the only one, according to Dusty Baker.

“Plus, he’s played every day,” Bruce said. “I have a couple of guys during this long streak here that need some time. A day does wonders. Cabrera has been playing a lot. He’s a little sore.”

Bruce has played in all 45 games this season. His last non-start was May 3.

Baker is also looking to find rest breaks for Joey Votto and Phillips.

“I just don’t know when,” Baker said. “[Votto] doesn’t want it — like Jay Bruce. He didn’t want it today either. These guys want to play. This is what you like. I have to not ask them sometimes. I have to tell them.”

*On the field before batting practice, injured outfielder Chris Dickerson was playing catch for the first time since his right wrist and hand surgeries May 3. Although he throws left-handed, throwing wasn’t an easy task.

“The first five throws were comical,” Dickerson said. “It was the first time I threw a ball in three weeks. I was getting my release point back and the motion. The balls were all over the place. It turned out all right. The ball was actually coming out of my hand really well. It’s a matter of getting the strength back and squeezing the glove.”

Dickerson had surgery to remove a broken hook on the hamate bone in his hand and arthroscopic surgery to clean out his wrist. He is still working on range of motion but if playing catch goes well, he could start swinging a bat by the end of this week or start of next week.

“We underestimate the shock of catching a ball, that jolt back and controlling the motion. The incision is still sensitive when the ball hits the palm of my glove. It was just nice to be out there doing baseball activity, I’m excited about that. It’s such a small thing at this stage but we’re definitely going in the right direction.”

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Postgame extra: Reds 7-5 win

The good —

*Drew Stubbs went 3-for-4 with a solo home run in the five-run sixth and a RBI double in the second. As is often the case, Stubbs was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. He just missed going 4-for-4 when Iwamura stopped his rocket on the ground for a 463 GIDP.

*Stubbs’ average jumped 15 points from .203 to .218 and he’s batting .415 (17-for-41) since moving from leadoff to the seventh spot.

“I don’t do anything different than I do hitting first, ninth or whatever,” Stubbs said. “I felt good. I got some good pitches to hit up there. I put some good swings on them.”

*Lots of runs scored with two outs.

*After a Hanigan 643 GIDP with bases loaded, no outs, Reds kept rally going with four more runs. Aaron Harang’s lined RBI single was well done for a guy not known for hitting.

*Harang trucked around and scored standing up from first base when Orlando Cabrera followed in fourth with double through the left field gap.

“I was praying I could make it home at that point,” Harang said. “We don’t get to run the bases that often and Berry felt like I had a good shot at scoring and tried to make it home without falling on my face.”

*Arthur Rhodes made his 800th career appearance and worked another scoreless inning with one hit. Rhodes has not allowed a run in 18-straight appearances.

*Cool effort by the Reds and GABP to recreate some of the 1935 feel to mark the 75th anniversary of the first night game. Although I missed the video screen, the organ music was a great change of pace. It made me dislike a couple of the regular sound elements even more like a certain Black Eyed Peas song and the oft-used “Everybody clap your hands.”

The not so good —

*The Reds hit into five double plays in the game — including four on the ground.

*The B.E.P. music returned after a very nice seventh inning video montage that marked the return of modern ballpark displays.

The odd —

Enerio Del Rosario’s MLB debut line is this: 0 IP, 1 K. His lone batter, Andrew McCutchen, struck out but reached on a Ryan Hanigan passed ball.

Quote —

“The main thing is we got him runs and he scored a run and drove in a run. He won and we won. That’s the big deal. The line doesn’t mean anything if you don’t win.” — Dusty Baker on Harang, who gave up five runs (four earned) and eight hits over 6 1/3 innings.

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Series opener vs. Pirates

Monday lineup vs. PIT

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

Notes:

*Homer Bailey found out he was going on the DL when he saw Enerio Del Rosario in the clubhouse, and asked trainer Paul Lessard what was going on. He was not happy.

“I just found out from Paul that they’re DLing me,” Bailey said. “They didn’t ask my opinion. I guess that’s where everything stands.

“I could understand missing one start but I’m not a doctor.”

“The recommendation is for him right now is to not doing anything for a week,” general manager Walt Jocketty said. “He could pitch with it but it’s going to get worse, not better. The best thing to do is shut it down, let the inflammation subside and then he can start throwing again. It’s tough because I know he’s competitive and he wants to be out there. Sometimes, it’s better to take a step backwards so we can go forward.”

*The contenders take Bailey’s turn in the rotation on Friday are Sam LeCure, Matt Maloney or Travis Wood.

“We haven’t decided who yet,” Jocketty said. “We’ll probably make that decision the next couple of days.”

*Aroldis Chapman, whose start was scratched today for Triple-A Louisville, will throw on the side Tuesday. If all goes well, he could start Thursday for Louisville.

*Johnny Cueto is still on track to start for the Reds on Thursday, despite his blister issue from Saturday.

*After he threw 60 pitches yesterday, Micah Owings is only available to pinch-hit the next couple of days.

*If you’d like to learn more about how Del Rosario reached the big leagues beyond what was written today, check out my March 9 Spring Training story. I talked to minor league pitching coach Tom Brown, who was credited with turning Del Rosario into a sidearm pitcher.

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Bailey to DL, Del Rosario up

The Reds placed starting pitcher Homer Bailey on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. Right-handed reliever Enerio Del Rosario was recalled from Triple-A Louisville to take Bailey’s spot on the 25-man roster.

A starter to take Bailey’s turn will be needed on Friday, when the Reds open a series vs. the Astros. Bailey, 24, lasted only 2 1/3 innings in his start on Sunday and was lifted after his 46th pitch because of tightness in his right shoulder.

Del Rosario, who will wear No. 58 and make his big league debut when he appears, is a side-armed reliever that impressed in Spring Training. In 20 appearances for Louisville, he was 1-1 with a 1.46 ERA. He had four walks and 17 strikeouts over 24 2/3 innings.

Last season, Del Rosario posted a 3-1 record and 1.68 ERA with 12 walks and 54 strikeouts in 50 games combined at three levels. His career took off once he switched from throwing overhand to sidearm. 

Here is something Dusty Baker said about Del Rosario during Spring Training.

“He’s impressed me,” Baker said. “You wouldn’t know it’s his first time in big league camp. He fields his position well. I talked to some guys about him and they said he calls infielders off he’s such a great fielder. He keeps the ball down, runs it in on them. There’s always a place on a team, sooner or later, for a guy with a good natural sinker.”  

Postgame extra: fresh arms needed?

The Reds have gotten through the season with only their five starters in 44 games. That nice little streak could be in jeopardy if Homer Bailey’s shoulder is more serious than it seems. Bailey came out after 2 1/3 innings Sunday with right shoulder tightness.

“We took him out for precautionary reasons. We think he’ll be alright,” manager Dusty Baker said.

“At the end of the second and the beginning of the third, I couldn’t quite get loose,” Bailey said. “Then when I was backing up third on Choo’s triple, they saw me trying to stretch it out and stuff like that. I came out. I wanted to stay in the game but they weren’t going to let that happen.”

*Bailey will be evaluated on Monday by Dr. Tim Kremchek.

*Here are the Triple-A Louisville alternatives should Bailey have to miss a start or starts:

Sam LeCure pitched a one-hit shutout on Saturday and is 5-2 with a 2.55 ERA this season. Matt Maloney is 4-1 with a 2.72 ERA and has big league experience. Travis Wood won his start on Sunday vs. Scranton-Wilkes Barre and is 2-4 with a 4.15 ERA.

*Aroldis Chapman is not an option. His Monday start for Louisville with a blister on his middle finger.

*The bullpen is another quagmire for Baker and GM Walt Jocketty to navigate. Micah Owings, Daniel Ray Herrera and Carlos Fisher provided 5 2/3 innings today. Francisco Cordero and Nick Masset were worn down on this trip. Might a fresh arm be summoned?

“I don’t know. I have to talk to Walt,” Baker said.

Enerio Del Rosario (1.46 ERA) and Logan Ondrusek (2.65 ERA) are pitching well. Ondrusek started the season in the Majors.

*Herrera hasn’t been too sharp lately as he’s allowed 12 hits over his last 4 1/3 innings. He was one strike from escaping the Cleveland sixth unharmed before Jhonny Peralta hit an 86 mph fastball for a lined RBI single that scored the go-ahead run.

“I threw enough screwballs to him that I thought he’d be on it,” Herrera said. “I didn’t mean for that fastball to be a strike. I didn’t get it inside and left it over the plate.”

“This is really no excuse for it. Lately, I’ve been called in during key situations to get guys out and I haven’t been able to get a clean inning. It’s nothing that I’ve changed. It’s just about hitting my spots again.”

Quote:

“The bullpen has been working hard. When you lose your starter in the second or third inning, no matter what shape the bullpen is in, you’ve got a tough day. Micah and everybody threw well. We had a chance to win.” — 3B Scott Rolen

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Chapman not pitching Monday

A blister appears to have pushed back Reds prospect Aroldis Chapman’s next start for Triple-A Louisville. Chapman was slated to start on Monday vs. Scranton-Wilkes Barre but that turn will be taken instead by right-hander Ben Jukich.

Against Lehigh Valley on Wednesday, the 22-year-old Chapman pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings with three hits and three walks allowed. He struck out seven and earned a 4-2 victory but had to leave with two outs in the sixth when a blister developed on his left middle finger.

It was not known how long Chapman would be out.

No TV tonight

The Reds-Indians aren’t on TV tonight since the game is happening while FOX is doing primetime game of the week with Yankees-Mets. You can follow online at Gameday but if you’re a subscriber — you can watch the scoreboard feed online at MLB.tv or listen to Marty and Jeff on radio or online.

Here is the link to the MLB.tv media center for more info:

Saturday’s lineup vs. CLE

Cabrera 6
Phillips 4
Votto 3
Rolen 5
Bruce 9
Gomes DH
Nix 7
Hernandez 2
Stubbs 8

Cueto 1

Dusty Baker has no plans to use Arthur Rhodes from the bullpen tonight. Rhodes pitched one inning in Friday’s win.

“Last night he was running on fumes,” Baker said.

Rhodes has been the best and most consistent from the bullpen this season. He has a 0.52 ERA in 19 games and has not allowed a run in any of his last 17-straight appearances.

“Arthur as much as anybody, we have to really pay attention and spot him. If he goes one or two innings today, he’s not any good for the next day and maybe even the next day. You have a temptation to run him out there every day because he’s been so good. But the reason he’s been so good, No. 1 he is good and No. 2, we try to keep him as strong and as fresh as we can. Let’s not forget, we have 120 games to go and he’s 40 years old.”

The plan is to also try and stay away from Nick Masset, too. Masset has pitched the last three games.

“Hopefully Johnny can go deep, deep, deep in the game and the other guys can pick us up,” Baker said.

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Postgame extra: quote parade

The Reds felt Friday’s 7-4 win was a big one to get. It put the Atlanta series behind them and kept a losing streak from festering. Here are some quotes:

*Bronson Arroyo (6 2/3 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 2 HR, 101 pitches/62 strikes):

“It’s been big for us this year to come back from a lot of losses. In the past, we’d let things slide downhill for two, three, four, five games in a row. It’s just devastating for the team, especially this early in the year. We’re bouncing back good, which is great because it’s not easy to do that, especially when you lose two heartbreakers in a row down in Atlanta.”

*Manager Dusty Baker:

“You can dwell on it and stay in it or you can put it behind you. That shows you what kind of character this team has. You have to do that. This game is a daily game. You don’t have time to lament or feel down and out about a game you just played. It’s ok to get down but the key in this game is to not stay down. When that happens, it snowballs and the next thing you know,  depression sets in and nothing good comes out of it.”

*Laynce Nix (3-for-4, HR, two doubles, three runs scored, game-winning hit)

“As professionals, it’s our jobs to turn the page every day no matter what. That was a tough loss but it doesn’t linger long if you don’t remember it. It has nothing to do with today. It was good for to bounce back and swing the bats and come out with a win.”

Interestingly, Nix didn’t spend any time watching highlights of his missed catch from Thursday. He was yelling at the fence after he missed the Brooks Conrad grand slam.

“I was there. I didn’t need to see it,” Nix said.

Bounce back game?

Friday’s lineup vs. CLE

Cabrera 6
Phillips 4
Votto 3
Rolen 5
Bruce 9
Gomes DH
Nix 7
Hanigan 2
Stubbs 8

Arroyo 1

*If there is any bright side from Thursday for the Reds and their fans is that that game only counted as one loss, just like any of the others. But obviously, that wasn’t just any old loss at the yard that went down at Turner Field. It will be interesting to see if that stomach punch-type defeat in Atlanta has any carryover to this series. The schedule is pretty favorable for the next 10 days (CLE, PIT, HOU) so it would behoove the Reds to have short memories. 

*Scott Rolen is back in the lineup after being out with what was reported as hamstring soreness yesterday. Rolen clarified the situation and that he’s been playing with that injury for a while.

“I wasn’t out of the lineup for a hamstring,” Rolen said. “I’ve had it for three-and-a-half weeks. They were trying to get me out of there, lay my body down for a little bit and catch up from kind of a tough stretch and with a tough stretch ahead of us. It seemed reasonable with a day game, night game, day game, night game. We’re trying to stay on top of it a little bit.”

*Jonny Gomes was the DH for all nine games at AL ballparks last season. I wouldn’t be stunned if that happened again this year. As the DH last year, Gomes batted .344 (11-for-32) with three home runs, seven RBIs and five runs scored.

“It’s kind of like an art,” said Gomes, who was the DH a lot with the Rays. “There are so many different ways to do it. When I was in the American league, we’d all seek each other out. I’d talk with Big Papi. I talked a lot with Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield and Jim Thome. Everyone has their own little tricks of the trade.”

*Saturday’s game will not be televised because of a rare primetime FOX game of the week scheduled.

*Some blown lead trivia:

The Reds failed to hold a lead of at least 6 runs in the ninth inning for just the third time in 58 years.On 5/2/2005 at Great American Ball Park, the Cardinals also scored 7 runs in the ninth for a 10-9 win. Was the biggest ninth-inning comeback in Cardinals history.In the opener of a doubleheader on 6/29/1952 at Crosley Field, the Cubs scored 7 runs in the ninth for a 9-8 win.

The Reds had eight-run leads of 8-0 and 9-1 yesterday. This was the club’s biggest blown lead since 4/28/04 at Mil, when they led 9-0 and lost 10-9. 

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