October 2010

Votto a Players Choice finalist

The finalists for the 2010 Players Choice Awards were revealed today by the MLB Players Association. The winners will be announced over the next week.

National League:

Outstanding Player: Carlos Gonzalez (Colorado), Albert Pujols (St. Louis), Joey Votto (Cincinnati)
Outstanding Pitcher: Roy Halladay (Philadelphia), Ubaldo Jimenez (Colorado), Adam Wainwright (St. Louis)
Outstanding Rookie: Jaime Garcia (St. Louis), Jason Heyward (Atlanta), Buster Posey (San Francisco)
Comeback Player: R.A. Dickey (NY Mets), Tim Hudson (Atlanta), Aubrey Huff (San Francisco)

American League:

Outstanding Player: Jose Bautista (Toronto), Miguel Cabrera (Detroit), Josh Hamilton (Texas)
Outstanding Pitcher: Felix Hernandez (Seattle), David Price (Tampa Bay), CC Sabathia (NY Yankees)
Outstanding Rookie: Wade Davis (Tampa Bay), Neftali Feliz (Texas), Austin Jackson (Detroit) Comeback Player: Freddy Garcia (Chicago White Sox), Vladimir Guerrero (Texas), Francisco Liriano (Minnesota)
 

Either League:

Player of Year: Carlos Gonzalez (Colorado), Josh Hamilton (Texas), Joey Votto (Cincinnati)
Man of the Year: Torii Hunter (LA Angeles of Anaheim), Brandon Inge (Detroit), Troy Tulowitzki (Colorado)

Votto a Sporting News All-Star

The first of likely several postseason honors came Joey Votto’s way today. The Reds first baseman was named to the Sporting News National League All-Star team. The ballots are filled out by fellow players. The last Reds players to be on the Sporting News All-Star team were Ken Griffey Jr. and Felipe Lopez in 2005.

Here is the press release from the Reds.

http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/news/press_releases/press_release.jsp?ymd=20101020&content_id=15734896&vkey=pr_cin&fext=.jsp&c_id=cin

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Dusting off the Inbox

Something occurred to me over the last couple of days. When was the last time I did a Reds “Inbox” to answer your questions? Surely it was in the second half of this season, right? Nope.

The first half? No.

It was on March 23, during the latter portion of Spring Training. Wow — that’s a long time ago.

With Twitter and this blog, there have been other avenues to get and answer your questions. Maybe you prefer those methods, but maybe some of you don’t.

If you have any Reds questions about the team as the hot stove season begins, send them my way. I’m going to dust off the Inbox for another try coming soon. I can’t promise it will become a regular feature like it once was — we’ll just see how it goes.

There are three ways to submit questions:

1. Email: mark.sheldon@mlb.com

2. Submit a comment in this blog entry

3. Via Twitter, @m_sheldon

If possible, please submit your first name and first initial to your last name and your city and state.

Thank you!

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Crawford, Gardner, Ross

The question I probably get asked more than any other this time of year is “what do you do in the offseason?” It’s assumed by some that baseball writers go into a bunker for the winter and lounge around watching Oprah while eating Bon Bons. I can assure you that’s not the case — I don’t even like Bon Bons.

There will still be a lot of stories going up on Reds.com and MLB.com over the next few months. Many of them will be of the hot stove variety — which players are going where in free agency, trades, etc.? I often get a lot of questions from Reds fans that start salivating for the trendy expensive free agent.

The one player I can already tell will be asked a lot about this time around is soon-to-be free agent and about-to-be former Rays outfielder Carl Crawford. I have two words for you on that:

Forget it.

Crawford won’t be wearing the Reds wishbone ‘C’ on his hat. Yes, he’d be the ideal guy that fits all of the Reds needs — leadoff type hitter, good defense, hits for average and has a high OBP. But even though he’s never hit 20 home runs in his entire — all of this has reportedly added up to an expected $100 million contract on the market. After making such good use of their system for this past season, the Reds aren’t going to get into that game now. And they’re not going to win a bidding war vs. the Yankees, Angels, etc.

The Reds have vast pitching depth, especially starters. I do envision them cashing some of those chips to make a trade for a leadoff hitter. Not many guys are really jumping off of the page at this early stage. But if the Yankees signed Crawford, young Brett Gardner would make some sense if he became available. He’d be relatively cheap as someone not arbitration eligible. He batted .277 with a .383 OBP and 47 stolen bases this past season. He’s a left-handed hitter and an outfield defense with Jay Bruce, Drew Stubbs and Gardner might be tough to top in the NL.

*Cody Ross is a popular dude with four postseason home runs and I tweeted last night about his very brief stay with the Reds. Ross was in Cincinnati for one month and played all of two games. He was acquired in April, 2006 from the Dodgers for LHP Ben Kozlowski and traded to the Marlins for cash in May. In his first plate appearance with the Reds, Ross was hit on the hand by a Roy Oswalt fastball and went on the DL. He played one game after that and was dealt when the Reds needed roster space to activate Kent Mercker.

Very quickly after that tweet, someone commented that the Reds weren’t wise to let Ross get away. At the time though, he had 63 MLB at-bats with three teams over three years and a combined .190 average. The Reds outfield was crowded with Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn, Austin Kearns and Ryan Freel. There were a ton of transactions that season and I know former GM Wayne Krivsky really liked Ross and didn’t want to deal him. But he needed the roster space. It goes to show you never know what will become of some guys that simply come and go.

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With much appreciation to you.

Now that the season is done, I didn’t want to wait any longer to thank everyone for reading the stories, checking out the blog and follower on Twitter.

Mark My Word reached the top 10 among the Beat Writer portion of MLBlogs and had one month in the top five. The twitter feed, @m_sheldon, is up to 4,200 followers. Obviously, the Reds playing well has a lot to do with that but I’m pleasantly overwhelmed by the support.

Covering a winning team was something I hadn’t done in several years and it was much cooler to have meaningful games in the late summer and early fall for a change. Hopefully you enjoyed the ride and could use the content to learn more about the team and hopefully get a feel of what they players were going through.

This isn’t a goodbye for the winter, just a pause to show my appreciation. The Reds coverage will continue throughout the off-season — on MLB.com, reds.com, this blog and Twitter. I hope you continue to follow along.

Here is the first story to get you started”

Rhodes expresses desire to return to the Reds

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Game 3

Reds lineup

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

Phillies lineup

Victorino 8
Polanco 5
Utley 4
Howard 3
Werth 9
Rollins 6
Ibanez 7
Ruiz 2
Hamels 1

6:15pm update — Cabrera will play. He took BP and grounders with no issue. Cabrera saw a therapist at his home and he felt well enough to go.

“It feels good. No pain at all,” Cabrera said after leaving the cage. “This could be my last night in the postseason. I’m trying to take advantage of it and not take it for granted.”

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Arroyo for 2011 and beyond?

The Reds will pick up the $11 million option for pitcher Bronson Arroyo, GM Walt Jocketty said on Saturday afternoon.

“We’re definitely picking up the option,” Jocketty said. “We’ll try to extend him but I don’t want the focus on that right now.”

More later on MLB.com…

Here is the full story, with quotes from Arroyo:

http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20101009&content_id=15539060&vkey=news_cin&c_id=cin

 

 

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Cabrera not better, Valaika?

This is from Dusty Baker, who updated the situation with SS Orlando Cabrera.

Q Can you give us an update on Orlando Cabrera and if he isn’t able to go tomorrow, will you look to replace him on the roster?

 
 DUSTY BAKER:  We’re waiting to see him now.  Actually, he called my trainer and said he wasn’t any better, and it’s been bothering him for a while now.  Then he’ll get better and then it bothers him again.
 I think it’s going to be tough for him to play and it’s tough for us, too.  We have to make a decision, of course, but it’s tough for us to anticipate, is he going to be well by tomorrow.  We’re going to wait as long as we can to see, but it’s tough for us to play short, too, which we did a lot this year.
 We had a pool of guys that went to Arizona for this situation.  So Chris Valaika is coming here, so if Orlando can go or is available, he’ll go.  If not, then we’ll put Valaika.  But the thing about it, if we do that, then Orlando isn’t available for this round.  And but we got to get to this round before we get to the next round?

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Errors sting big time, down 0-2

The Reds gave away their 7-4 loss to the Phillies in Game 2 of the NLDS, no bones about it. They had a 4-0 lead. They had knocked out their nemesis in Roy Oswalt. They had control of the game. It slipped out of their hands.

Seven unanswered runs — five were unearned because of four errors. It’s the salt that stings the defeat all the more.

The Jay Bruce missed catch on Jimmy Rollins’ fly ball in the seventh was the big one. Bruce catches that ball and the Reds can still hang on.

This is my game story

Here are some quotes:

“It was in the lights the whole time. I tried to stick with it to see if it would come out. It never did. It’s pretty helpless. It’s embarrassing. I take a lot of pride in my defense. There’s really nothing I can do about it. I wish for my team more than anything that it didn’t go into the lights or that it came out and I could have caught it. It didn’t happen.” — Jay Bruce

“Well, you could tell it was in the lights, because Jay’s played Golden Glove outfielder, and he didn’t come close to catching that ball.  From being an outfielder, you can tell when the ball gets in the lights.  Yeah, definitely that ball got in the lights at the wrong time.” — Dusty Baker

“It’s hard to give a lineup like that four extra outs and not expect to get beat.” — Bronson Arroyo

“Things happen. This team has battled the entire year. We play such great defense. It’s unfortunate. We are trying our best. It seemed like we’re swinging the bats better. Hopefully on Sunday we can bounce back.” — Orlando Cabrera

“You leave the door open that many times to those guys and they’re going to keep putting pressure on you. Then things start happening. The balls were hit to us. We had plays and we didn’t make them.” — Scott Rolen

Postgame notes —

*Orlando Cabrera left after the fourth inning with a sore left oblique. He hoped to be able to play on Sunday.

“I saw the doctor and he said it didn’t look that bad. We’ll see tomorrow how I feel,” Cabrera said.

*The debacle of the seventh inning started when Chase Utley acted his way through a hit-by-pitch from Aroldis Chapman. The pitch was 101 mph, Utley didn’t sell it that well but it was enough to be awarded first base.

“I don’t think at any time that the ball hit him. I don’t think he ever got hit,” Chapman said.

“It was pretty close,” Utley said. “At first I thought it was going to hit me in my head.  Fortunately, it didn’t.  And he throws so hard.  I felt like I thought it hit me, so I put my head down and I ran to first.”

 Q.  Did it hit you?  CHASE UTLEY:  “I’m not sure.” 

*Scott Rolen is 0-for-7 with five K’s in the two games so far.

*Brandon Phillips’ leadoff home run in the first inning ended a 30-scoreless innings streak at

Citizens Bank Park going back to July 9. Phillips had only the second leadoff postseason homer in Reds history. Pete Rose also did it in World Series Game 5 at Oakland on 10/20/72.

*The six errors were a League Division Series record. The Reds four errors tied the record for most errors in a single LDS game.

See you Saturday from Cincinnati. Workout at GABP in the afternoon.

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Game 2 lineups

Reds lineup

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

Phillies lineup

Victorino 8
Polanco 5
Utley 4
Howard 3
Werth 9
Rollins 6
Ibanez 7
Ruiz 2
Oswalt 1

 

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