August 2010

Postgame: Whew.

This late in the season, what almost happened Wednesday could have qualified as the most painful loss the Reds have endured in 2010 — and they’ve had a few like that already. But instead that 12-11 win in 12 innings might turn out to be their most hard-fought, and their most satisfying of the season.

Yes, the Reds gave up a 10-1 lead and were knocked around with a six-run eighth to fall behind by a run. But they also came back right away to tie it with Paul Janish’s clutch RBI single in the top of the ninth. And in the end, only the win matters.

Joey Votto, already with two homers in the game, had another MVP moment with his RBI single in the top of the 12th against Barry Zito that scored Miguel Cairo.

“We’ve had several games this year where teams have come back and taken the lead from us and we didn’t come back and overcome that little swing,” Votto said. “For us to do it here in San Francisco against such a competitive team means a lot. This deep in the season, I think it means more.”

Other items of note —

*The Reds completed a 6-3 West Coast trip. Even if it didn’t feel like it at the end, that’s big.

*Francisco Cordero had to bat for himself for only the third time in his career. The Reds had one bench player left in Ramon Hernandez but Cordero was also the club’s only viable reliever left.

*Edinson Volquez was warming up in the bullpen behind Cordero but Reds manager Dusty Baker tried to avoid using him if at all possible.

*Brandon Phillips was hit on the right hand by a 95 mph fastball in the fifth and came out in the sixth. Phillips had X-rays and was initially diagnosed with a right hand contusion. More X-rays will be needed because he was still swollen.

*Laynce Nix could barely run on his sprained left ankle as a pinch-hitter in the top of the eighth. That could be a future roster move.

*Jonny Gomes collected career homer No. 100 and his first since July 19 in the top of the first.

*Votto was 4-for-7 with four RBIs. He became the first Reds’ first baseman to have at least 30 homers in a season since Lee May in 1971.

*The Reds were outscored 38-19 during the series.

More quotes

“It was difficult to have had such a comfortable lead the entire game and then late in the game, that can be pretty difficult to overcome. Momentum does play a role in games. We played really well at the beginning and they all of a sudden carried that momentum late in the game and got ahead. I’ll tell you what, we showed that type of resilience and the ability to come back. Paul Janish comes up with a big hit. Cordero threw great. For us to have played as well as we did and come back and win this game and finish off a good road trip, really means a lot to all of us I think.” — Joey Votto

“It’s a long plane ride today. We’re going to go home happy, 6-3. It’s all that matters. This is all behind us now.” — Francisco Cordero

“It was tough. It was ugly, beautiful or whatever. It was a win. You have to see it the positive way. We were 6-3 on the road trip. That was a good road trip.” — Miguel Cairo

“That’s what MVP’s do. That’s what All-Stars do. They come through when you need them.” — Dusty Baker on Votto.

One more note –

I’m starting a vacation so I won’t be on any games again until the next big one — the series at St. Louis starting on Sept. 3. See you then. Feel free to exchange comments (keep it civil, please) while I’m away.

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Seeking 6-3 on West Coast

Weds lineup vs. SF

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

Starting out a trip 5-1 and finishing 5-4 wouldn’t be the happiest thing to happen to the Reds. But it’s still a winning trip. It would be a much better trip with a win this afternoon.

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Postgame: New plan for Leake?

Reds pitcher Mike Leake was hammered in his second relief appearance during the 16-5 loss to the Giants. Leake entered in the fifth when it was 7-5 and let the game get away during a six-run inning.

Out of eight batters faced, Leake retired one. He allowed six hits and a walk with two homers.

This could very well be the end of the line this season for Leake. After 22 starts before his move to the bullpen, the rookie’s ERA was 3.78. It’s climbed to 4.21 over 139 innings following two relief appearances.

“We’re addressing that now,” manager Dusty Baker said. “He’s getting hurt mostly on his slider and sinker. His sinker is not sinking as good. And his slider isn’t rolling. It’s not as sharp.”

If it’s not the end for the season, the club could try resting him until rosters expand Sept. 1, which might require sending him out for a week. After all he’s done for the team as a starter, I’d expect the club will try to think over every possible scenario to keep him pitching while also protecting him.

One positive note —

*Freshly called up Chris Valaika delivered a lined pinch-hit single to center field in his big league debut. Valaika played the rest of the game at shortstop and went 1-for-2.

Other quotes from postgame –

“They beat us up good.” — Dusty Baker

“I’m not going to take anything away from them. They’re playing great. They outplayed us. They’re swinging the bats well. We’re on a good road trip right now. We’re 5-3 on the road trip right now and have a chance to come back tomorrow. It might not be what we want for the series, but if we can catch tomorrow, we end up with a great road trip.” — Scott Rolen

“They came out swinging, put some runs up on me early and a few more late. It wasn’t my night. It seemed like every ball fell in for them. They hit some hard balls and they hit some that found some holes.” — Travis Wood, who gave up seven runs and seven hits over four innings.

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Volquez may not start next time

On the heels of Reds starter Edinson Volquez’s rough two-thirds of an inning Monday night, the Reds are considering having him not take his next turn in the rotation.

“We have to decide if it’s better served for him to continue to start and hope he gets it or have somebody else start and possibly put him in the bullpen or something,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “We’ll decide that after we revamp who’s pitching. Bryan is going to come up with two or three different scenarios that we’ll go over and we’ll try to come up with the best one for us and for them.”

On Reds game notes, Volquez is listed as Sunday’s probable starter but Baker said he “did not know” if he would make that start.

Before that answer, I had asked Baker if he was worried about having Volquez in the rotation when he does really well sometimes and not so well the others.

“You’re not as worried if you have a lot of pitching like we will in September,” Baker said. “You’re worried prior to that when you don’t have a lot pitching and don’t have added roster expansion.

“It’s just a matter of finding the strike zone. It was either a ball or over the heart of the plate. We knew there would be some adjustment because he talked to Tim Hudson about it. Look how Hudson is this year.”

*On a lighter note, San Francisco was positively warm today with temperatures nearing 90 degrees and feeling warmer. Usually in the summer, it’s in the 50s and 60s.

Baker told this story:

“I remember one time was renting this house here in 1994, and it was Joe Montana’s and Dwight Clark’s house. It was hot as hell in Hillsboro up here. I called a heating and air conditioning guy because it was just blowing in hot air. He went in there and after 30 seconds, came back out. He said ‘sir, I hate to tell you this, its $60. … Also, you don’t have air conditioning.”

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Edmonds to DL, Smith to AAA

The moves are official — INF Chris Valaika and RHP Sam LeCure were called up from Triple-A Louisville.

OF Jim Edmonds was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained right oblique.

RHP Jordan Smith was optioned to Louisville.

Valaika will wear No. 3.(118g, .304, 28 2b, 3 3b, 4hr, 53rbi, 3sb)

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Reds Tuesday

Tues lineup vs SF

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

 

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Valaika, LeCure Bay Area bound

The Reds have revealed nothing yet about planned moves Tuesday but Triple-A Louisville has when they announced that INF Chris Valaika and RHP Sam LeCure were called up.

LeCure, normally a starter, will provide some bullpen protection for the next couple of games.

This will be Valaika’s first MLB call-up. In 118 games for the Bats, he is batting .304 with four homers, 53 RBIs and a .330 OBP.

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Votto on SI Cover

 A Sports Illustrated cover featuring Reds 1B Joey Votto hit newsstands today.

According to the Reds and SI, Votto is the first player from the team to make the cover since Ken Griffey Jr. on 6/14/04.

  

Votto Sports Illustrated Cover.JPGA total of 12 Reds have appeared alone on the SI cover 23 times. They are:

Pete Rose (8 times), Johnny Bench (3), Griffey Jr. (2), Tom Seaver (2), Joe Morgan (1), George Foster (1), Eric Davis (1), Chris Sabo (1), Deion Sanders (1), Joey Jay (1) and Roy McMillan (1)…owner Marge Schott also appeared on one cover.

 

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Postgame: Transactions coming?

The transaction wire should be active with Reds moves on Tuesday following a lousy night at the yard — an 11-2 Reds loss to the Giants.

*Laynce Nix went down with a sprained left ankle running out an infield single in the third inning.

*Jim Edmonds strained a right oblique muscle swinging at a pitch in the sixth.
 
*The club also learned that already injured RHP Russ Springer will need surgery to repair a herniated disc and will miss 6-8 weeks.

Nix didn’t believe he was going to miss any games.

“Slowing down, I sort of jammed my ankle into the ground,” Nix said. “I didn’t roll it or anything too significant. I don’t think it’s serious. It shouldn’t keep me out of action. I should be fine to at least pinch-hit.”

Edmonds, who was acquired in an Aug. 9 trade, is likely headed to the DL.

“This has been an ongoing deal with my Achilles and reacting to all the things I’ve been favoring,” Edmonds said. “It’s been sore the last week or two weeks. It was getting worse. The last couple of days not playing much, I thought it was going to get better. It gave me a false sense of security.”

*The Reds have no other outfielders on their 40-man roster but can free up a spot by moving Springer from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL. Wladimir Balentien could be a leading candidate since he’s tearing it up at Triple-A Louisville lately. Dave Sappelt is also playing well but has only 11 games in AAA and started the year in A ball.

*An infielder is always possible with Juan Francisco or Yonder Alonso already being on the 40-man.

*Edinson Volquez’s two-thirds of an inning was a bullpen buster as well, especially two days after Johnny Cueto lasted only three innings at Los Angeles on Saturday. Jordan Smith had to pitch a career-high 4 1/3 innings. Mike Leake was unavailable tonight because he worked on Saturday.

*That means another reliever could be summoned for reinforcements.

“We’re discussing that now. That really put a strain and stress on my bullpen,” Dusty Baker said.

More quotes from post-game –

“The main thing is for nobody to panic. It’s one game. You want to win every game. At this point we’re 5-2 on this road trip with two more games left. We still have a chance for a very good road trip.” – Dusty Baker

“A lot of people told me that – one day you got it and the next day, you can’t find it. Everything is fine. My arm is strong and everything.” — Edinson Volquez

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Harang likely bullpen bound

To anyone following Aaron Harang’s progress during his two-start rehab assignment, this likely won’t be a surprise. But it looks like that Harang will pitch from the bullpen when he returns to the Reds. It hasn’t been determined exactly what the next step is for Harang — like whether or not he will get another outing at Triple-A Louisville.

“We’re going to get that figured out by [Tuesday],” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said on Monday. “We’ll probably use him as a long man.”

In his two starts for Louisville, Harang was 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA, with 14 hits and 11 runs surrendered over 11 innings.

*I also asked Jocketty if there were plans to add a player via trade or waiver claim before Aug. 31 when playoff rosters must be set.

“I don’t think so,” he said.

Below is my view from the press box at AT&T Park during the first inning. It’s one of the lower views we get in the league. Fans walk right past us and you get to soak up the atmosphere pretty well. It’s easily one of the top ballparks in baseball and like Dodger Stadium, I highly recommend you add it to your travels if you’re out this way.

att park 082310.JPG

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