June 2010

Postgame extra: 180-degree turn?

Suddenly, this road trip tastes and smells a might bit better for the Reds. After going 0-3 in Seattle, two wins in Oakland improve the outlook. A 4-2 win means they can get a sweep with another victory on Wednesday.

The good —

*Bronson Arroyo — a very smooth eight innings pitched. His only mistake was a two-out, two-run homer to Coco Crisp in the fourth. Arroyo lasted 105 pitches and said he was done.

*Arroyo also did not walk a batter after he walked a career-high six last time out vs. the Dodgers. He’s won seven of his last eight decisions.

*There were 13 hits collected, including 10 from the 2-6 portion of the order by Brandon Phillips (three hits), Joey Votto, Scott Rolen, Jonny Gomes and Jay Bruce (also three hits).

*After Drew Stubbs sacrifice, ninth-hitter Corky Miller came up big with a two-run single.

*Francisco Cordero got the save after a lousy Monday night where he blew it. But it was a nail-biter again as Cordero gave up two singles to bring the winning run to the plate with one out. He ended the game by getting a double play.

The not-so-good —

*Reds for 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11.

Quotes —

“When you get swept like we did in Seattle, you just take the mindset that you have to take at least two out of three from these guys and get back home feeling somewhat positive about what we’ve done. Tomorrow if we can take one more, we’ll great about going 50-50 on the road.” — Bronson Arroyo.

“I always say if you give it up, the best thing that can happen is come back in the next day and get it done. That’s not a good taste when you blow the game. Being able to come back today and get it done, that made me feel a lot better.” — Francisco Cordero

“That’s Bronson, he can get on a roll. It’s much welcomed. He was dealing tonight. He made just one mistake on a breaking ball to Coco Crisp. He gave us all he had and went as far as he could go.” — Dusty Baker

Quick note —

GM Walt Jocketty expected to have the plans set Wednesday for catcher Ryan Hanigan’s rehab


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Tuesday notes

Tues lineup vs OAK

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

Arroyo RHP

*Francisco Cordero’s availability seemed unlikely after he threw 33 pitches last night in the blown save where he allowed three runs.. Dusty Baker hoped it would be an issue he’d have to deal with.

“I’m not sure,” Baker said. “That’s the first time since we’ve had him that he went more than one inning – that I can remember. We’re trying to limit him to just one inning. Hopefully we don’t need him tonight.”

Cordero last had more than three outs for the Reds on May 12, 2008 vs. Florida. It was a four-out save.

*Yesterday, Dusty Baker said this about Mike Leake and how he will be protected from throwing too many innings:

“We have to find a way to keep him strong. This is uncharted territory he’s about to enter in right now,” Baker said. “We’re going to skip him a few times and help him stay strong.”

Asked today for more specifics on when Leake might be curtailed, Baker declined to say.

“We have our rotation penciled out until the All-Star break, two of them actually,” Baker said Tuesday. “There are off days in there. We can skip almost everybody maybe. It depends on who’s the strongest, who’s throwing well and we’ll try not to skip a turn – but give them extra days.”

Edinson Volquez, scheduled to make a rehab assignment start Wednesday, is likely to be back before the All-Star break. Could he take some innings off of Leake’s hands?

“I don’t know yet,” Baker said. “He’s pitching pretty well and Volquez is throwing pretty good too. We have some decisions to make but those are pretty good decisions.”

*Outfielder Chris Dickerson (right hand/wrist surgeries) was to begin his rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville today. But it was halted after he was sore from batting practice.

*Scott Rolen will likely get the day off Wednesday.

*Louisville 1B/OF Yonder Alonso and LHP Philippe Valiquette were named to the World squad for the All-Star Futures game on July 11 in Anaheim.

*The Reds signed their 10th and 11th round picks today –Kevin Arico and Andrew Heyes. Both are right-handed pitchers. 

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Postgame extra: Homer happier

I am writing this entry from a BART train headed back to San Francisco. If I didn’t leave when I did, I might have had to spend the night in the ballpark…no thanks.

That was one wild (late) night of baseball — a 6-4 Reds win in 10 innings.

The good —

*The bats finally came alive, albeit late. The three homers in the 10th by Ramon Hernandez, Joey Votto and Scott Rolen were the first long balls in a 39-inning span since Thursday. The Reds had also scored only three runs in the 39 innings entering the 10th.

*Jay Bruce had a PH single after sat most of the game. Bruce was in a 4-for-25 skid.

*Nick Masset had shutdown stuff tonight and pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings.

*Jordan Smith picked up his first save in the Majors when he got the final two outs of the Oakland 10th.

*The Reds tied a franchise record with their eighth-straigtht extra-innings win on the road, dating back to last season.

*Dusty Baker won his 1,352nd career game, which ties him with Chuck Tanner for 26th all-time.

The not-so-good —

*The three homers and Smith’s save wouldn’t have been needed if closer Francisco Cordero did the job in the bottom of the ninth. Cordero’s first-pitch homer to leadoff batter Kevin Kouzmanoff gave him five blown saves in 22 chances. He had four blown saves in 43 chances last season.

*The game nearly got away again in the 10th after Cordero walked his first two batters.

Some quotes —

“It seems like when your bats are sick, everybody’s bats are sick. When your bats get well, it seems like everybody’s bats get well at the same time.” — manager Dusty Baker

“We lead the league in all of those offensive categories for a reason. We know we can hit. We’ve had some bad luck and bad draws with the opposing pitching. But we have to beat good pitchers to be the team we want to be. We hit a lull the last couple of days but we’re fine.” — Jay Bruce.

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Reds close to signing Matthews

According to a baseball source, the Reds are close to signing outfielder Gary Matthews Jr. to a Minor League deal. Yahoo.com reported via Twitter that terms were agreed to, but that doesn’t appear to be the case quite yet — but the deal expected to happen soon.

Matthews was released by the Mets after he batted .190 with a .266 OBP in 65 plate appearances and 36 games this season. He has not posted good numbers since 2007.


On to Oakland

Monday lineup vs. OAK

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

Leake RHP


*Edinson Volquez’s next start for Triple-A Louisville was moved back to Wednesday, instead of Tuesday.

“We gave him an extra day because of the added pitch count,” Reds head trainer Paul Lessard said. Volquez is likely to throw 90 pitches in the game against Toledo.

*Homer Bailey (right shoulder inflammation) is expected to begin a throwing program by the time the Reds get home from this trip. Lessard said that Bailey’s shoulder exercise program has been intensified.

*Catcher Ryan Hanigan (fractured left thumb) did catching and blocking drills early this afternoon and later caught Johnny Cueto’s side bullpen session.

“It went very good,” Hanigan said.

*Chris Dickerson went to Louisville to take batting practice. He has not yet begun a rehab assignment. Dickerson just wanted to swing against real pitching, rather than a machine while the team was out of town.

*Orlando Cabrera gets a break today. Cabrera is 8-for-50 (.160) in 13 games since July 6 when he hurt his right ankle. He’s also 2-for-his-last 22. Dusty Baker had Cabrera for a short meeting in his office today. Baker thinks that Cabrera has been making great contact but had little luck.

“A lot of times, people just see how many hits you’ve got. They don’t see how you’ve hit the ball,” Baker said. “Jay [Bruce] was our hard-luck guy earlier and he’s been our hard-luck guy the last 10 days or two weeks. He’s been hitting the ball on the nose and has nothing to show for it all over the field. I said ‘keep swinging. Sometimes the numbers are deceiving. If you keep hitting the ball hard, you’ve got action.”

*Speaking of Bruce, he is 4-for-25 (also .160) in his last seven games and getting a break.

*I said hello to former Reds INF Adam Rosales during batting practice.  Rosales asked me if I had any Skyline Chili before making the trip. During his time in Cincinnati, I unsuccessfully encouraged him to give Skyline a try but he never made it there before the trade to Oakland.

*It’s funny how the Reds can’t seem to get three facets of the game — hitting, starting pitching and bullpen — clicking at the same time. The bullpen is finally getting it together just as the hitting takes leave. Reds relievers didn’t allow a run in any of the last four games (8 1/3 innings) and have a 0.79 ERSA over the last five games (11 1/3 innings).

*Despite the offensive void of the past weekend, the Reds remain the National League’s best team in hitting with a .274 average. They also lead the Majors with a .291 average with runners in scoring position.

*Although they came up empty against Ryan Rowland-Smith of the Mariners Sunday, the Reds are encountering another struggling pitcher in the A’s Gio Gonzalez. The lefty is 6-5 with a 4.21 ERA but is 1-2 with a 6.04 ERA in four starts in June while opponents have batted .314. He has also issued 39 walks, which is tied for third most in the American League.

*Interesting to see that the Blue Jays designated former Reds 3B Edwin Encarnacion for assignment on Monday. He was optioned to Triple-A on Sunday after batted .200 with nine homers and 22 RBIs. How does that Scott Rolen trade look to you now?

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PGX: Winless in Seattle

Tough weekend, eh?

*One run scored all weekend (one over last 30 innings, since Thursday)

*0-for-6, 8 LOB Sunday, 1-for-12, 18 LOB for weekend.

*Not a shocker that Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez were indomitable, but Ryan Rowland-Smith? He came in 0-6 with a 6.63 ERA.

*Rowland-Smith had five walks allowed. The Reds could not capitalize.

*The Mariners are the last-place team in the AL West at 28-41.

“It was a nightmare weekend for us scoring runs. We couldn’t buy a run,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

*On the bright side, Aaron Harang had a very nice afternoon on the mound.
(6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER,  1 BB, 4 K — 110 pitches/68 strikes).

Quotes —

“No offense to him but he was the best out of the three that we had a chance to capitalize on. But we didn’t. He made pitches when he needed to.” — Jay Bruce on Ryan-Rowland Smith
“It was a tough series to swallow. We have to look forward to going down to Oakland and turning things around.” — Aaron Harang

“It shows kind of how we depend on the long ball too. We didn’t hit a home run here. It’s a major part of our offense. We had some opportunities and we didn’t put the ball in play a couple of times.” — Dusty Baker

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Trying to salvage Seattle

Sunday lineup vs. SEA

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

Harang RHP


*Catcher Ryan Hanigan [fractured left thumb) could be getting closer to a return. On Saturday, did some catching in the bullpen — one of the last hurdles for him will be catching without pain.

“I warmed Sam [LeCure] up for a little while. It’s going to be sore but it’s close to tolerable. It gets a little better every day. We’re just trying to keep it from getting blown up now. I’m pretty optimistic I’ve turned the corner. We’ll see how it feels today from catching.”

*Scott Rolen started Sunday, even though it was a day game after a night game. That doesn’t happen very often.

“It all depends on how he feels, how many consecutive games we have coming up,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “We’re facing a lefty today. He’ll probably get Wednesday off. I don’t want to give him Sunday and Wednesday off. We’re off Thursday, so that will give him two days off.”

*Finally, Happy Father’s Day to all the fellow Dads out there. Hope it’s a good one.

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Hernandez in lineup

spaceneedle 061910.jpgSat. lineup vs. SEA

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

LeCure  RHP

*The Reds waited until after batting practice to post the lineup to see how Ramon Hernandez felt. Hernandez was a late scratch Friday because of a sore lower back.

“I think it was from sleeping or the flight maybe,” Hernandez said before BP. “I’ve had it for a long time. I always take care of it but some days are better than others.”

*During his scoreless eighth inning, reliever Arthur Rhodes had to be looked over by trainer Paul Lessard and pitching coach Bryan Price. Rhodes has been bothered by a sore right foot.

“I caught my spike on the mound,” said Rhodes, who is fine.

Rhode’s 28-scoreless inning streak is the longest for a Reds reliever since Ted Abernathy pitched 30 scoreless innings in 1967. As expected, Rhodes wanted nothing to do with a discussion about his streak.

“I don’t have a streak. I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Rhodes said, probably only half-joking.

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Safeco Field photos

Since Better Off Red blogger Jamie Ramsey isn’t on the trip and resting up for an expected raucous party to celebrate his blog’s success with some movers and shakers on Saturday — I took a few photos. They, of course, won’t be of tired old Jamie’s high quality, so please bear with me.

seattle5 061810.jpg

seattle4 061810.jpg

That’s Seahawks (and former USC) coach Pete Carroll.


seattle 3 061810.jpg

This is my view from the press box.


Volquez getting close

Edinson Volquez is moving up to Triple-A Louisville to make his next rehab assignment start. Volquez pitched five scoreless innings for Class A Lynchburg against Kinston on Thursday. He allowed one hit with no walks and four strikeouts. He retired his first 11 batters in a row and reportedly reached 97 mph on the radar gun.

Volquez has three hits over eight scoreless innings in two starts for Lynchburg. He hasn’t walked a batter and struck out seven.

“The no walks are what’s big. I’d say he’s coming along quickly,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

GM Walt Jocketty figured Volquez had four more starts in the Minors. That could put him back with the Reds as soon as July 7.

“We may give him an extra day [of rest] once or twice,” Jocketty said. “We’ll just keep progressing him. We’ll keep increasing his pitch count more each time.”

It’s highly likely that Volquez will go into the Reds rotation and not work from the bullpen when he’s ready.

“That’s the best I think for him and us in the long run,” Baker said. “We’ve got some decisions to make when that happens. Those are good decisions to make. When he does come back, that’s like making a major trade getting a top-flight, quality All-Star, which he was.”

*Lefty reliever Bill Bray had another scoreless inning of relief with one allowed for Louisville on Thursday. Bray has 7 2/3 innings of scoreless work for Lynchburg and Louisville. A call-up to the big leagues was not immiment. He has only three games in Louisville so far.

“He probably needs a few more times out,” Jocketty said.

*The Reds are facing LHP Cliff Lee Friday. A free agent at season’s end with a struggling Seattle club, Lee is going to be a prime cog in the wheel of trade rumors this summer. Some outlets have already speculated that Cincinnati could be a fit because the club is contending and has a depth of prospects.

“We haven’t discussed it,” Jocketty said of Lee. “We’ll do what we can to improve our club. We’re looking at pitching. I don’t know how many bullets we’re going to have, so we’ll have to be careful how we use them. With Volquez coming back and Chapman — Wood is still down there and pitching well, and Maloney.”

*SS Orlando Cabrera has been bothered by a sore right ankle since he had contact with Josh Willingham during the Nationals series earlier this month. Cabrera is 3-for-his-last 25 (.120)

“I don’t think it will be a DL thing,” Cabrera said. “If it comes to the point where I need to take a rest for a couple of days, I will. It’s not to that point.”

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