Another crazy day at the yard

It’s been an amazing clip of high-scoring affairs involving the Reds. Thursday’s 15-13 loss featured a combined 34 hits.

In the last seven games, the Reds have been outscored by a 72-71 margin.It’s hard to make heads or tails of what we see out here. Looking at the spring stats coming into the day, 10 of the top 11 in team runs scored were from the Cactus League. (Reds scored 152 runs entering day). In team ERA, nine of the bottom 10 teams were also from the Cactus League (Reds were at 5.49 and ranked 27th).

The air is thin at the higher altitudes and many pitchers often have trouble with dry baseballs and gripping the ball. Mistakes that still can be outs in Florida or in regular season parks become blights on the line score.

I’m certainly not making excuses for the pitchers or taking anything away from the hitters, but I think a little context is needed.

“Another long one but if you hang something here, it’s going to fly,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said postgame. “There are some guys that played well today. We made some mistakes. It’s getting a little stagnant. You know you have some more work to do but guys are ready to go. We’re scoring a lot of runs. When you’re playing someone like the Texas Rangers, you know you’re going to give up some runs and you better score some runs. That’s what happened today.”

Now for some of the day’s highlights….

The good:

*Travis Wood’s line isn’t pretty, but he did pitch pretty good. Wood allowed seven runs (five earned) over 5 1/3 innings with no walks and five strikeouts. A two-error third inning led to Nelson Cruz’s grand slam.

“I felt good,” Wood said. “I just got in trouble that third inning there.  I ended up giving up a grand slam.  That hurts but we were able to  battle back as a team.  … I feel like I’m ready for the season.  I got stretched out pretty good.  My pitches seem to be working pretty good.  So, I’ll pitch every fifth day and get ready the other four.  I’ll go out and give it everything I’ve got.”

“We threw the ball around that one inning. You need some help from your friends,” Baker said. “That one inning he didn’t get much. He got his work in. His pitch count is where we wanted to get it.”

*Wood also hit a RBI double in the fifth inning.

*Dave Sappelt continues to push to take an outfield spot. While going 2-for-3 Sappelt smoked a two-run homer off of the center field batters’ eye. He’s batting .553 (21-for-38) this spring.

*Jonny Gomes has a four-game hitting streak (5-for-13, .385) after he hit a three-run homer to left field. It was his second homer in three games. His average is still only .171.

*Paul Janish was 2-for-3 with three RBIs

*With two outs in the sixth, Chris Heisey’s two-run triple to left field re-tied the score at 10-10.

*Francisco Cordero enjoyed another 1-2-3 inning today for his seventh-straight scoreless outing. Five of his last six have been perfect.

Not-so-good

*Scott Rolen was plunked on his left elbow by a Tommy Hunter fastball in the first inning. He was lifted for PH Juan Francisco when he couldn’t grip his bat. There was no word on his condition.

“He had stitch marks on his elbow,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “I didn’t hear anything so no news is good news.”

*Bullpen candidate Jose Arredondo had another rough day. In the five-run eighth inning, Arredondo allowed five earned runs, four hits with one walk, one wild pitch and one strikeout. His spring ERA is 16.20. Because he’s still trying to find his way back from Tommy John surgery, it’s possible he could begin the year on the DL, which would help the Reds since he’s out of options.

“Arredondo is still inconsistent,” Baker said. “He’ll throw a heck of a breaking ball and hang one. He’ll throw a fastball low and away and then get one out over the plate. It shows me he’s not quite there yet.”

Other news:

*Bronson Arroyo, who has been battling the flu for over two weeks, pitched in a Minor League game on Thursday vs. a Dodgers Class A team.  Arroyo threw 87 pitches over 5 2/3 innings and allowed three earned runs and six hits with one walk and six strikeouts.

*Pitching against the Indians’ Class A team, Dontrelle Willis pitched one scoreless inning with one walk and two strikeouts.

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1 Comment

Sappelt appeared (to me) to misplay a fly ball in center yesterday, so maybe he’s not ready. Which reminds me to wonder who plays center when Stubbs rests? The TV guys said that Francisco will play RF today, and its hard to know what to make of that this late in the spring. Or maybe Francisco gets the nod at 3B with Rolen hurting (or perhaps it will be Cairo). The high scoring is tough on my nerves. I really got to get hold of myself and stop living and dying with every pitch. It’s a long season and Sgt. Schultz needs to pace himself accordingly.

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