September 2010

Wanted: A healthy outfielder

The Reds have been playing the last several days with only three healthy outfielders. Dusty Baker said that Jay Bruce, bothered by a sore right side, isn’t going to return during the Cardinals series.

“I’m not even sure when in Colorado because we have a tough stretch of guys that would test that,” Baker said.

There is contemplation of getting another outfielder here but the Reds have no one in the Minors on the 40-man roster and no space to make room. One candidate at Triple-A Louisville, Wladimir Balentien, just went on the DL with an oblique. Baker said that Dave Sappelt is also being considered but indicated they could be looking outside the organization.

“We’re looking under bridges, rocks, everywhere. We can’t find one right now. Walt [Jocketty] is looking daily,” Baker said.

One in-house possibilty could be 1B/OF Danny Dorn at Louisville. Dorn is batting .307 in 81 games and Baker was impressed by him in Spring Training. Dorn is also left-handed, which would help the depth with Laynce Nix and Jim Edmonds on the DL and Bruce out.

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Cabrera starts

Sat lineup vs. STL

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

This season vs. Adam Wainwright, Joey Votto is 0-for-9 with four Ks. Ramon Hernandez is 3-for-4 with one RBI and he’s 4-for-7 lifetime. Brandon Phillips is 3-for-22 (.136) over his career against Wainwright.

*Orlando Cabrera is making his first start since Aug. 2 after he came off the DL yesterday.

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Phillips back in lineup

Fri lineup vs STL

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

*Phillips is back in the starting lineup for the first time since he was drilled on the right hand by a pitch Aug. 25 at San Francisco. He made three pinch-running appearances since. Baker isn’t expected a warm reception for Phillips, whose comments about the Cardinals last month were the catalyst for a benches clearing melee.

“Probably not good,” Baker said. “None of us will probably get a good reception. That’s what happens when you had what we had and we’re on the road and in their town for the first time. It’s expected.”

*Jay Bruce said he was not available to play tonight because he’s still bothered by a sore right side. There has been improvement, however. It’s possible that Bruce could return Saturday, Baker said.

“It’s gotten a ton better from yesterday to today,” Bruce said. “Hopefully the improvement keeps on coming.”

*Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto returned home to the Dominican Republic for an undisclosed family emergency. The expectation is he will rejoin the club in time to make his scheduled start Tuesday at Colorado.

“We plan on it,” Baker said. “He’s going to run and throw while he’s down there. He’s had a pretty serious emergency down there. He had to go home. He had to take his mom and his brothers that were up here – they all had to go home.”

*Baker said that Orlando Cabrera would start on Saturday.

*In the limited sample vs. Garcia, Jonny Gomes fared the best at 3-for-6 (.500) with two RBIs and two walks. Joey Votto was 1-for-5 and Phillips was 2-for-9.

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Cabrera activated, two call-ups

*The Reds activated SS Orlando Cabrera today from the 15-day disabled list and recalled LHP Matt Maloney and RHP Jordan Smith from Triple-A Louisville.

*Cabrera hasn’t played for the Reds since straining his left oblique on Aug. 2.

*Smith didn’t fare all that well at Louisville but it was a small sample: (3g, 8.10, 3.1 ip, 3 ER, 1 HR, 1 BB, 0k)

*Maloney last pitched on Tuesday for the Bats. It was an abbreviated three-inning start where he allowed one run and four hits with no walks and three strikeouts.

 

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Met you in St. Louis

So, uh…what did I miss this past week?

When I left San Francisco, the Reds were up 3 1/2 games and as I check into my hotel in St. Louis, it’s eight games.

Thumbnail image for DSC01661.JPGI never thought the race would widen that much and that’s not a knock on the Reds. It’s an utter surprise that the Cardinals have seemingly headed over Niagara Falls in a barrel (a place I happened to visit one day during my vacation incidentally).

Since that fateful sweep of the Reds, St. Louis has gone 5-13. The Reds responded by going 14-4.

Some of the luster has left this upcoming series since first place isn’t on the line, but the series is still a huge one.

If the Reds are swept again, they still have a five-game lead. Still, they obviously don’t want that. No. 1, it gives the Cardinals another gasp of air and they are a team that knows what to do with second chances.

If the Reds can sweep the Cardinals — difficult considering Garcia, Wainwright and Carpenter are going this weekend — the lead becomes 11 games. That would almost certainly be a knockout punch with 26 games remaining after the series.

Claiming one win for the Reds still means a seven-game lead. It just makes life that much harder for St. Louis.

*To prime you for the series and its two biggest stars — Joey Votto and Albert Pujols — check out this story from my colleague, Matthew Leach.

*Aroldis Chapman has certainly exceeded expectations, if that were possible. I caught the final two outs of his debut while away and saw the highlights of appearance No. 2. It’s not just the velocity that is amazing, but he’s throwing strikes too. This is quite a weapon to add for the final month of a season and postseason push.  

*Don’t be shocked if any of the bad blood that came out of the last series still exists. The Cardinals won’t be able to get direct revenge on Johnny Cueto for his kicking of their players during the melee of last month. But they’re still probably fuming that Jason LaRue was lost for the season with a concussion. It’s unclear if Brandon Phillips will play any of these games. But if he does, I wouldn’t tap Yadier Molina’s shinguard with his bat again.

Lineups and more from the ballpark later…

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