Rare is the time you hear things like “playoff atmosphere” in June but Dusty Baker went there after a hard-fought 9-8 Reds win over the Cardinals.
“That was probably the best game of the year, especially since we came out on top,” Baker said. “Boy, that was as close to a playoff atmosphere as our young team has probably have been in. it’s just a sample of what exciting baseball is all about.”
The question of the night —
Do you agree with Baker? Was that the best game for the Reds this year?
The good —
*Joey Votto. The dude is out for six games with a stiff neck and returns by going 4-for-5 with a homer, a triple and two singles.
“I’m just trying to keep up with Miguel Cairo,” Votto joked.
*Scott Rolen’s two-homer night gives him 13 for the season. He had 11 in both 2008 and 2009.
*In the first inning on Albert Pujols’ single to left field, Jonny Gomes nailed Felipe Lopez at the plate with a great throw as Lopez tried scoring from second base.
*Drew Stubbs saved some runs from scoring when he sprinted a long way to catch Lopez’s drive to the center field wall.
*Arthur Rhodes got into quite a fix in the seventh with a leadoff walk and a single and bases loaded with two outs. But he got out of it and extended his streak to 21-straight scoreless appearances (19 2/3 innings)
The not so good —
*It wasn’t a smooth night for Johnny Cueto, who gave up eight earned runs and a career-high tying 10 hits over five-plus innings with one walk and no strikeouts. He let all four batters he faced in the sixth reach base. They all scored.
Cueto is probably entitled to an off night…he was 5-0 with a 1.85 ERA in his previous six starts. His unbeaten streak remained after the lineup picked him up in the seventh.
“He was out of his rhythm and didn’t have his good location,” Baker said.
“There was definitely more intensity. Maybe that’s just me coming back after not playing for six games. It definitely felt a little different. Both managers were making decisions obviously, to get the wins. But it felt like we were trying to beat each other. We weren’t trying to save it for later on.” — Joey Votto
“Tomorrow, we’ve got a chance to win a series. That’s important. It’s a series. It’s not the battle of first place in June. We’ve got a chance to win a series. That’s why we’re here in the position we’re in playing good baseball and tied for first place. It’s because we played well and won series. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing, you win series and play good baseball, you’ll find yourself in good position.” — Scott Rolen
And check out this take about Rolen from Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa. Rolen, of course, once played for St. Louis.
“He’s healthy and we have seen that. He’s an outstanding player when he’s healthy. He’s playing outstanding for them. Probably their manager’s getting more out of him than I did. I know people are going to speculate that and it’s probably true. I’m sure it’s true. When he’s healthy — and he’s healthy – he’s an outstanding player.”
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The Reds have bullpen reinforcements for Tuesday’s game vs. STL.
RHP Mike Lincoln went to the disabled list with a straight right latissimus dorsi muscle (on his side). RHP Carlos Fisher was optioned to Triple-A Louisville. Both guys got pummeled yesterday and Lincoln allowed 12 runs over his last 7 2/3 innings.
Recalled from Louisville were relievers Enerio Del Rosario and Logan Ondrusek
1B Joey Votto is back in the Reds lineup as well…
*Dusty Baker said that Lincoln had been dealing with this injury for a while.
“He doesn’t complain, alibi or cry about anything,” Baker said. “Last year, he had that neck problem. He had been on the DL so much in his career, that’s the last thing he wanted to do. When he gets healthy, he still has good stuff.”
*Ondrusek had eight of his last 10 outings at Louisville be scoreless but was roughed up for four runs in the two other games. He believed he made some adjustments to be back better this time.
“It’s just making sure I’m locating the fastball early, and getting ahead,” Ondrusek said. That’s the big thing where I got hurt here. I was falling behind and having to throw more over the plate. Guys just started crushing me.”
*It was asked why Jared Burton wasn’t considered for the call-up. Burton had four-straight scoreless outings for Louisville…but had only had five outings since coming off the DL.
“Burt is throwing the ball but they thought he needed some more time,” Baker said. He hasn’t been back that long. It might have been Burt if he was pitching more. He has to get his endurance up. They say he’s looking pretty close to where he was last year. We want him all the way back.”
*Homer Bailey threw from 120 feet today. He is scheduled to have a bullpen session on Thursday. He hoped to return to start when he is eligible to come off the DL June 8.
*Sam LeCure was amped for his start on Wednesday, his second in the big leagues. He grew up a couple hours away in a small town near Jefferson City, MO. He already has 20 tickets set aside for family, and expected more people to attend.
“I even thought to myself after the first one, I might even be a little more nervous for the second one,” LeCure said. Growing up in this area – not that I was necessarily a Cardinals fan – it was always a dream to play in this stadium.”
*Here’s some interesting info — Baker’s teams are 88-90 all time vs. Tony LaRussa, entering today.
SF vs STL, 34-32
Cubs vs STL, 37-34
CIN vs STL, 17-24
*In the 2002 NLCS, the Giants defeated the Cardinals, 4-1, which pushes Baker ahead 92-91.
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