July 2010

No Reds trades made

Here is some extended quotes from Reds GM Walt Jocketty after the non-waivers Trade Deadline passed without a Reds deal being made. Full story later on MLB.com/Reds.com

Anything that was close to getting done?

WJ: “There were a couple yesterday that we had been working on for a while that fell apart at the end. The players we were pursuing were not traded. They probably were not real serious.”

Several relievers moved today (Wood, Dotel, Qualls) any of those guys had your interest?

WJ: “The ones we were pursuing were not traded.”

Can the Reds stay in the race with what they already have?

WJ: “Yes, I do. There were certain things we were looking at to see if we could improve but I still like our club. I’ve always liked our club and have faith that they will stay in this thing until the end. We still have some things we might do within the system, a couple of guys at Triple-A are doing well and we may take a look at.”

What did you think of the Cardinals getting Westbrook?

WJ: “I think they gave up a pretty good hitter to get him. Offense has been one of their struggles of late. He’s a good addition for them but they also lost a very good offensive player.”

A lot of times, people want trades done for the sake of doing it…

WJ: “The one thing I’ve learned – you have to have patience and you have to have discipline to prevent from making deals like that just to make a deal. Because a lot of times you make a deal that you might regret later. I’ve had several experienced guys from the past that told me some of the times the best deals you make are the ones you don’t make. Obviously there were clubs coming at us for some of our top young talent but we just weren’t going to trade for deals we didn’t think would really change our club.”

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Tick tock tick tock…

The Trade Deadline is at 4 p.m. ET, first pitch between the Reds and Braves at 4:10.

Saturday lineup vs ATL

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

UPDATE at 2 pm: Baker has heard nothing relating to trades from GM Walt Jocketty.

“I haven’t seen Walt,” Baker said. “I’m sure he’s on the phone some place with it glued to his ear.”

*Baker was stunned by the three-way trade that sent RHP Jake Westbrook from the Indians to the Cardinals and OF Ryan Ludwick to the Padres. But it wasn’t the Westbrook part that shocked him.

“Ludwick, I like him. He can hit,” Baker said. “He hit 37 [homers] two years ago. Wow.”

*Many are complaining that Baker doesn’t start Chris Heisey very often, even as he does well as a pinch-hitter or late substitute (ie last night). You know who isn’t complaining? Heisey.

“No matter how well I play coming off the bench, I don’t think it determines whether I should start or not,” Heisey said on Saturday. “If a guy needs a day off, I’m ready. To be honest, I’ve had so much success off the bench and not so much when I start. Obviously, everybody wants to be a starter. I don’t resent anybody for me not starting by any means.”

Heisey is a .224 hitter (13-for-58) with two homers in 16 starts. He’s batting .423 (11-for-26) as a sub, including .389 (7-for-18) with four homers as a pinch-hitter.

“I want to start but when I get to the park and don’t see my name in the lineup, I’m never mad or anything like that,” Heisey said. “I know my role. At this point, we’re winning so I’m fine with it.”

*Aaron Harang (back) threw in another bullpen session today and said he felt OK. Harang also took batting practice and didn’t seem to be favoring anything.

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Friday vs. ATL

Fri lineup vs. ATL

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

*Cueto is 4-1 with a 0.96 ERA over his last seven starts. He is 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in two starts lifetime vs. Atlanta

*Don’t forget that start time for Saturday’s game has been changed to 4:10 p.m. ET and is airing on FOX.

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Anyone worth dealing for?

One of my MLB.com colleagues, the very hard-working Alden Gonzalez, was very kind to compile a list of all the players known or believed to be on the trade market as the Trade Deadline approaches at 4 p.m. ET Saturday.

Do any of these names do anything for you? Obviously a few of them are not fits at all (ie: 1B Prince Fielder).

Obviously the first name listed would have been an interesting get for the Reds, but the money owed to Roy Oswalt did not seem to make him a financial fit. If the trade from the Astros to the Phillies is done assuming Oswalt’s no-trade clause is waived, that’s a nice break for the Reds because that means he isn’t going to the Cardinals.

STARTING PITCHERS

* Roy Oswalt ** (Dealt to PHI, pending approval?)
* Edwin Jackson
* Ted Lilly
* Jake Westbrook
* Fausto Carmona
* Brett Myers
* Aaron Cook
* Carlos Zambrano

RELIEVERS

* Kerry Wood
* Will Ohman
* Leo Nunez
* Matt Capps
* Kevin Gregg
* Jason Frasor
* Scott Downs
* Kyle Farnsworth
* David Aardsma
* Brandon League
* Chad Qualls
* Aaron Heilman
* Octavio Dotel
* Michael Wuertz
* Todd Coffey
* Carlos Villanueva
* Trevor Hoffman
* D.J. Carrasco
* Joba Chamberlain

INFIELDERS

* Adam Dunn
* Prince Fielder
* Jorge Cantu
* Chris Snyder
* Ryan Doumit
* John Buck
* Ty Wigginton
* Wes Helms
* Derrek Lee
* Mike Lowell
* Johnny Perralta
* Russell Branyan
* Lance Berkman
* Adam LaRoche
* Lyle Overbay
* Miguel Tejada
* Jose Lopez
* Casey Kotchman
* Brandon Wood
* Brendan Ryan

OUTFIELDERS

* Scott Podsednik (Traded to the Dodgers) 
* Rick Ankiel
* Jose Guillen
* Kosuke Fukudome
* B.J. Upton
* Josh Willingham
* Willie Harris
* Brad Hawpe
* Jeff Francoeur
* Austin Kearns
* Jayson Werth
* Corey Hart
* Jose Bautista

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Postgame: Wood wins No. 1

There was no shortage of highlights worth mentioning from Wednesday’s 10-2 Reds win over the Brewers. For starters, it completed a 4-2 road trip with two series wins.

The good —

*There always seems to be hand wringing about the offensive shortcomings but the NL’s best hitting and scoring team cranked out 22 runs and 32 hits over the last two games to win this series. As Larry David might say “pretty, pretty good.”

*Travis Wood finally got his first big league win. His outing was shortened by the long sixth inning and his turn coming up in the midst of a big rally. Wood pitched five innings and allowed two runs and five hits with one walk and six strikeouts.

“It feels good,” Wood said. “Coming out today, every game, I’m trying to get that first one.  Today I was able to throw well and keep the team close. We ended up getting a lot of big runs late. We battled and got it done.”

*The most impressive moment of the five-run Reds’ sixth was the sound execution of Ryan Hanigan’s perfect suicide squeeze. Miguel Cairo was sprinting home from third base as Hanigan dropped his bunt back to the mound. Milwaukee was definitely caught by surprise there.

*Defense was nice today as Jay Bruce robbed Carlos Gomez with a diving catch in the fourth inning to save a run after Milwaukee had just taken a 2-0 lead. Trying for a triple in the seventh, Gomez was also nailed with a very nice one-hopped throw by left fielder Jonny Gomes.

*Brandon Phillips slugged a 450-foot grand slam off of Bernie Brewer’s yellow slide in the eighth. Other than Sammy Sosa in the Home Run Derby in 2002, no one had ever hit the slide. I even asked Bernie and his handler. Bernie replied by nodding his enlarged head “no.”

*Four more scoreless innings by the Reds bullpen gave them 15 scoreless for the six-game road trip.

*Jonny Gomes’ RBI double in the sixth gave him 300 RBIs for his career. He is still sitting on 99 career home runs.

*Joey Votto hit his 26th home run of the season in the eighth. That established a new career-high and extended his NL lead.

What happened there? –

*Wood had oops moment when he walked off the mound and to the dugout after striking out Joe Inglett in the third inning. There were only two outs. Wood wasn’t alone since Hanigan also went that way.

“He was strutting pretty good,” Dusty Baker said. “Guys were all on him for strutting like the inning was over. The second one wasn’t as good as his first one.”

Why Leake? —

Some folks on Twitter wondered why Mike Leake was sent to pinch-hit in the eighth inning for Arthur Rhodes. It wasn’t just because Leake was a .366 hitter.

“We were kind of short of people today,” Baker explained. “We tried to stay away from Scotty after his big day yesterday. He was sore. We didn’t want to use Ramon because he caught about 150 pitches yesterday. He was a little sore. I had to save Janish because Cabrera injured his shoulder a little bit on that slide into third. I took a chance of bringing Nix in early. I couldn’t afford to use anybody else and I didn’t think they’d walk him.”

Give Leake credit for working a full-count walk to load the bases just before Phillips’ grand slam.

More quotes —

“It was kind of strange to get a five-inning win, especially after all the great games he’s pitched. We needed that one badly. It was a big getaway day win for us.” — Dusty Baker on Travis Wood

“My pitches were working pretty well. I had some trouble getting the curveball at first and then finally found it. I was able to make some good pitches at some good times and get some guys out.” — Travis Wood

“You go into some ballparks and some lineups, and they’re all home run threats. You keep them in the ballpark and you’ll be alright. But I think we’re deeper than that. We’ve got some situational hitters. You saw the squeeze. The top of our lineup is going to get on and we’re going to run. We’ll go from first to third and steal bags as well. I don’t think we’re just home run threats.” — Jonny Gomes

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Another leadoff flip flop

Tuesday lineup vs. MIL

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

*As you can see, Orlando Cabrera’s second reign as the Reds’ leadoff hitter was brief.

*The Nos. 1 and 2 spots of the order, Cabrera and Brandon Phillips, are a combined 0-for-15 in their last two games. 

*Against Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo, Scott Rolen is 4-for-6 (.667) with one home runs and Phillips is 4-for-14 (.286) with one homer and three RBIs.

*Drew Stubbs is in a 0-for-23 skid, including 0-for-13 on the road trip. Reds manager Dusty Baker had Stubbs in his office on Tuesday afternoon, partially to talk about his very up and down first full big league season.

“We have to find out why. We’re trying to get him mechanically sound and not have the peaks and valleys,” Baker said. “Remember what I said earlier that when you have young players, you battle with inconsistency. The older veteran players know how to get out [of slumps] and a lot of times, not to get in a funk. The young players sometimes don’t know how he got in it and even worse, how to get out of it.”

*Homer Bailey will make his next rehab start on Saturday for Triple-A Louisville. Bailey started on Monday for Class A Dayton and threw 60 pitches over four innings. He allowed three runs in the  fourth.

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Postgame: Arroyo v. Edmonds

That one stung the Reds. After a start like Bronson Arroyo gave them, they should have won that game and knew it. Instead, it’s a 3-2 loss when Milwaukee notched only three hits.

That means the Reds need to win the next two games to get a winning road trip.

The good —

Arroyo was unbelievably efficient. 88 pitches/66 strikes. The line was 8 ip, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 2 HR. 19 of 28 first pitch strikes.

The not so good —

Three pitches.

The 0-2 fastball to pitcher Randy Wolf in the third that went for a single and Milwaukee’s first hit. The 0-1 changeup to next batter Rickie Weeks that was tattooed off of the center field scoreboard for a two-run homer and of course, the 1-2 fastball crushed into right field by Jim Edmonds for the game-losing home run with two outs in the eighth.

“The end of the game, I play a mental chess match. That’s how I win ballgames,” Arroyo said. “I got beat that time. Edmonds beat me. I didn’t think in a million years, I threw the ball right where I wanted to, I didn’t think he could even swing at the pitch. He hits it out of the park. You tip your hat to somebody that comes off the bench and does that. They closed it out.”

“When they send a guy up there like Edmonds, that’s what he went up there for – to try and hit a home run. That’s what he did,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

More quotes —

“His strike to ball ratio was 3-to-1 almost. He didn’t have that many pitches.”
He had big time pitch conservation. He was sharp. He located the ball where he wanted to. He was throwing his breaking ball when he wanted to.” — Dusty Baker

“You have past history in your head with somebody so I wanted to go up and in and he hits it out of the park with some hook on it so he’s obviously getting around pretty quick. I thought he’d be sitting soft and away. I didn’t think he’d get to the ball on the inner half if I threw it anywhere close. It was a good four-seam fastball on the inner half. He won the game that time.” — Bronson Arroyo

“I don’t think we’re trying to catch anybody. We’re just trying to play a lot better baseball.” — Brewers LHP Randy Wolf and trying to get back in the race.

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In Milwaukee

And Scott Rolen is back in the Reds lineup “in Milwaukee” as he predicted Sunday.

“You guys can stop asking me now,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said Monday.

Monday lineup vs. MIL

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

*No Reds hitter has a more extensive history vs. Brewers LHP Randy Wolf than Orlando Cabrera, who is 13-for-41 (.317) with four doubles, one homer and six RBIs.

*Cabrera has also been one of the hotter Reds hitters in general. He has hit safely in nine of his last 11 games (17-for-45, .378).

*Phillips has been in a slump for much of July. He’s batting .180 (16-for-89) in July and is 3-for-his-last 25. (.120). Hence the reason for Cabrera going back to leading off, a move that ignited the offense once when he was there May 7-June 23. Phillips’ last 26 starts have been from the leadoff spot.

“Brandon has been struggling some and Cabrera has been hot,” Baker said. “I flip-flopped them the first time because of that reason. Now I’m re-flipping them a second time for that reason.”

*Rolen was glad to be back in the lineup, naturally. Had he gone on the DL, he’d still be out.

“I’m cutting five days off if we had done the DL,” Rolen said. “So I’m glad it worked out and went the direction that it went. Dusty and Walt and everybody were patient as well. There was no timeframe and I wasn’t under the gun to make a decision. I probably would have made the wrong one last Thursday.”

*Homer Bailey is scheduled to make a rehab start tonight with Class A Dayton.

*Through seven games of his rehab assignment at Triple-A Louisville, Dickerson is 8-for-20 (.400). The prediction here is that Dickerson will be given the full 20-game rehab assignment. I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s optioned to Louisville after that. As evidenced by the Gary Matthews Jr. situation, there is no apparent desire to shake up the current outfield situation, especially the bench with Laynce Nix and Chris Heisey.

 

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Postgame: New Leake pitch count?

Following a 4-0 loss to the Astros, there could be a change in tactics in how the Reds manage Leake’s pitch count going forward. Today, he was at 84 pitches through six innings and then had trouble getting through the next 10 pitches.

It was 1-0 when Leake gave up three-straight hits in the seventh with one out — including Chris Johnson’s home run, a Jason Castro single and pinch-hitter Jason Michaels’ double. Both runners scored on Michael Bourn’s double off Arthur Rhodes.

The Leake line: 6.1 ip, 7 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 2 HR….94 pitches/53 strikes.

“Maybe we’ll have to start watching him around that 90-pitch count,” manager Dusty Baker said. “It was 100 but maybe we’ll bring it down to 90. They flared that one in there, no problem. He’s got that sinker. He’s the best double play almost that we’ve got. That’s why we let him face Michaels. A sinker on Michaels came back over the plate and a sinker on Johnson came back over the plate.”

Leake also ran into trouble in the seven-run ninth inning at Philly when he was at 83 pitches coming in and started giving up hits.

*With a little better luck, you have think Leake would have double-digit wins by now and more consideration for NL Rookie of the Year votes. He was hosed from a win against the Astros on May 30 when he pitched seven scoreless and didn’t get a win because the Reds were blanked 2-0 in 10 innings. The Reds are 11-8 when he pitches. There were three losses by one run, two by two runs and six in the opponent’s final at-bat. There of course were the two heartbreakers in Atlanta and Philadelphia.

“It happens I guess. It’s frustrating. Then again, they’re not trying to do it,” Leake said. “You just have to battle, make your pitches and try to keep it low on your part.”

The good —

*The defense had some sparkling moments. In the fourth, left fielder Jonny Gomes made a fantastic diving catch towards the line to rob Jason Castro and save a run. In the seventh, Orlando Cabrera took a hit away from leadoff batter Jeff Keppinger with a pick and leaping throw from the hole.

The not so good –

*Today’s loss was the Reds’ MLB leading 12th shutout this season. They’ve been blanked six times on Sundays, including the last three in a row.

*The Reds have also been shutout five times in the last 16 games.

“That is strange. I guess when we’re good, we’re very good. When we don’t score, we don’t score at all,” Baker said.

*Wandy Rodriguez, who had a 5.11 ERA coming in, gave Houston one-hit ball over seven innings.

More quotes —

“I think those zeroes up there weren’t telling the whole story. I wasn’t locating well the whole game. I felt like I couldn’t really throw it where I wanted to today. I don’t know why.” — Mike Leake

“Wandy has been throwing the ball good, according to our reports. He’s thrown his fastball up and out of the zone away a lot and bouncing his breaking ball. And that’s what he was doing today.” — Dusty Baker on Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez

“I wish I could but I’m glad I can’t. It means it doesn’t happen very often. This game is interesting. I think we’ve done pretty good against Wandy the last couple of outings.” — Jonny Gomes on the inability to explain all the shutouts.

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Rolen appears close

Sunday lineup vs HOU

Phillips 4
Cabrera 6
Votto 3
Gomes 7
Heisey 9
Cairo 5
Stubbs 8
Hanigan 2
Leake 1

Scott Rolen missed his ninth-straight start because of the sore hamstring. However, it looks like his return is pretty close after he came out of Saturday’s BP, groundballs and running the bases OK.

The Reds aren’t taking BP on Sunday morning.

“I tested it out and it felt good. I’ll rest today a little bit,” Rolen said. “The plan is to get back into the lineup in Milwaukee.”

*Dusty Baker isn’t ready to say Rolen will be back on Monday.

“I learned in life over the years that if a guy tells me tomorrow, then I think the day after tomorrow,” Baker said. “I don’t want to force it. When I get him back, I want him back and not in and out hopefully.”

*Since getting Thursday off, Joey Votto is 5-for-8 with two homers, three RBIs and four runs scored.

“I feel like it did help,” Votto said. “I felt tired. I felt like I couldn’t do what I wanted with my swing. I could just use a day of rest.”

 
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