April 2011

Sunday at Chase Field

Reds lineup vs. Diamondbacks

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

*This is Mike Leake’s first game vs. the D-Backs. Leake spent his college career a few minutres away at Arizona State.

*Johnny Cueto will start a rehab assignment at Triple-A Louisville on April 16, assuming his two innings in Goodyear on Monday go without incident.

*Homer Bailey, slated to throw Tuesday in Goodyear, will have a tentative start on April 17 for Louisville assuming all goes well for him as well. More on both guys later on Reds.com.

*Scott Rolen, with a seven-game hitting streak, is playing the day game after a night game. Dusty Baker tries to pick his spots with the days off for Rolen.

“It just depends on how many consecutive days if we have off days in between, the time of the game is important,” Baker said. “Last night’s 5:10 game made it easier for me to play him today.”

Rolen’s next expected day off is Wednesday. Thursday is a scheduled off day for the team.

Arroyo close to kicking mono

Having mononucleosis probably isn’t the cats’ pajamas for Bronson Arroyo, but he’s not outwardly appearing all that hindered on the mound.

Despite a couple of jams, Arroyo pitched six very good innings in Saturday’s 6-1 Reds win. He allowed eight hits and no walks and had six strikeouts. He had five of those K’s over the first two innings.

In two starts, Arroyo is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA, no walks and 11 strikeouts. Tonight, he was done after six innings and 94 pitches. Without mono, he likely would have gone seven innings. The mono-free days might soon be approaching.

“I will probably be close after the next two starts,” Arroyo said. “I’m able to workout very close to 100 percent now between starts. I’m just not quite as strong as I should be. I can’t throw the ball as hard as I feel like I can. I can really feel it taking batting practice. That’s kind of the measure for me on the strength I have when I’m hitting the ball. I’m not far off but I think it will take a little more time.”

Other notes:

*Joey Votto’s seven-game hitting streak ended as he went 0-for-1 with three walks and two runs scored.

*Scott Rolen has a seven-game hitting streak and nine RBIs overall for the season. He hit his RBI single tonight in the top of the first.

*Paul Janish has a six-game hitting streak and went 2-for-4 after a scoring change. In the ninth, his hit to the shortstop was originally scored an E6.

Quotes:

“Obviously there wasn’t much going on for offensively later. That’s not a discredit to us. That’s a credit to him. He threw the ball well. We’ve faced him three times. He’s thrown the ball well every time. The ball just explodes well out of his hand. He controls the game with his fastball and has a couple of good secondary pitches.” — Scott Rolen on D-Backs starter Daniel Hudson

“He pitched great. He pitched masterfully. There weren’t that many balls hit hard and we got some runs early.” — Dusty Baker on Arroyo

The frozen tundra of Phoenix

 Reds lineup vs. Diamondbacks

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

*It’s a frigid 51 degrees as I post this lineup, with the high of 56 expected. Very un Phoenix like. Rain is also in the  forecast so between that and the chilly weather, I suspect the roof shall remain shut.

*Reliever Jared Burton (shoulder inflammation) was shut down from throwing and is back in Cincinnati.

“He went to throw and he felt the same thing he had before,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “That’s why these things are so hard to predict. You just don’t know when you’re going to have a setback.”

Burton, who last threw on Thursday, will not throw for a week and work on strengthening exercises instead.

*Reliever Jose Arredondo, on the DL as he’s working out the kinks from a return Tommy John surgery, is scheduled to start a rehab assignment in the Minors either Monday or Tuesday. Arrendondo threw in the extended spring game in Goodyear Friday.

*Fred Lewis’ extended spring game was rained out so he’s taking batting practice at Chase Field with the team today.

Later on the site, look for some items on Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Matt Maloney.

Wood off, Reds routed

This was a good old fashioned rout that the Reds absorbed during a 13-2 loss to the Diamondbacks.

*Travis Wood was not his usual self. His location was off and the Arizona hitters were on. His line was 5+ innings, with six earned runs and seven hits. He walked two and struck out four.

*While the Reds hitters did little, you have to credit D-Backs starter Ian Kennedy. The dude was dealing pretty good and guys were not hitting his fastball and breaking stuff.

*As for lefty reliever Matt Maloney, it was a night he’ll be paying for a long while. For giving up seven earned runs and six hits over 1 2/3 innings (including three homers), his ERA jumped to 23.63. As a reliever, that will take a couple of months to whittle it down to respectability.

Quotes:

“He had his fastball and was locating that. His breaking ball and slider were good. He didn’t make any mistakes with his breaking ball. He was throwing them down. He was throwing them in the dirt. He had a pretty good game plan and executed it by having good location. They have a new pitching coach over there, Charles Nagy, that was a pretty good pitcher himself. We’re trying to get a feeling on him and his philosophy and how he’s teaching those guys. We’ll be better and figure it out.” — Dusty Baker on Kennedy.

“After the first, I kind of settled down a little bit. I was still missing but I was able to get it a little bit better. It eventually caught up to me. They hit my mistakes well tonight.” — Travis Wood.
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In Arizona (again)

Reds lineup vs. Diamondbacks:

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

I have to say it’s pretty weird being back in Arizona for the first road series of the season, after just returning home from six weeks of Spring Training…in Arizona. It’s also weird that forecasted temperatures today and this weekend are expected to be cooler than in Cincinnati.

Trust me, I’m not complaining. I’d rather be here now than in August, when it’s 113 degrees. And I’ll never whine about being out west with easy access to In-N-Out Burger.

Another weird part of this trip — now that the airline that formerly had a hub at CVG cut it’s morning direct flight to Phoenix, I had to connect through Salt Lake City. Imagine my surprise when I saw this on the ground:

 
It is April 8, right?

*As some may know, Joey Votto did not record a single pop out in the infield in 2010. In the first inning on Thursday, he did pop out to the shortstop but I believe it was in the outfield grass. I checked Fangraphs.com just in case to see if they counted it as an infield popout. On their advanced stats page for Votto, it apparently did not.

*Johnny Cueto is now slated to throw his 35-40 pitches at extended Spring Training in Goodyear on Monday. Homer Bailey is scheduled to throw 45-50 pitches on Tuesday. Both players will meet the Reds in San Diego after their outings.

*The Reds won’t face Aaron Harang in San Diego the next series. The Padres are starting Latos, Stauffer and Richard.

*Fans who attended Redsfest and received a coupon for one free view level ticket for the April 15 game vs. the Pirates are encouraged to redeem those coupons early. They can be redeemed next week at Great American Ball Park and that might help you avoid long lines on game night.

*Tonight is the Diamondbacks home opener.

*Since I realize I will get misdirected complaints, the game is being televised in standard definition by Fox Sports Ohio. For some reason that truly makes little sense to me, they are showing the non-playoff bound Cavaliers in HD in the southern Ohio region. Saturday’s game is also in SD as will Wednesday’s game at San Diego. After that I believe, it’s all high-def from there. All I can say is please take this up with the fine folks at Fox Sports Ohio. Here are some links:

www.foxsportsohio.com  www.facebook.com/foxsportsohio    www.twitter.com/foxsportsoh

*And finally, a favor please. With the new re-designs on the Reds site, a link to my blog from the front page is no more. You can still get linked to it within stories. But since some people are asking what happened to my blog, please bookmark it and then you can always access it directly. I often link to fresh posts via Twitter. Thanks for your patience as this is trying to get resolved, I’m told.
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No more undefeated for Reds

 So that whole 162-0 thing is out of the question now I guess?

The Reds weren’t going to do that, obviously. But they felt like they had chances to go 6-0 during a3-2 loss to the Astros. The record is 5-1 instead.

The glaring issue this time was key hits — there weren’t many. The Reds were 0-for-5 RISP with 11 LOB.

Notes:

*When Nick Masset gave up the go-ahead run in the ninth, it snapped a 12-inning scoreless streak for the Reds bullpen.

*Scott Rolen did come up big as a pinch-hitter in the seventh with a solo home run off Brett Myers that tied the game at 2-2. Rolen was 3-for-7 last season as a pinch-hitter…with two homers. It was also Rolen’s fourth career pinch-hit homer.

*Drew Stubbs went 0-for-5, snapping his hitting streak at 13 — dating back to last season.

*Joey Votto singled in the seventh and has a 6-game hitting streak. He’s batting .391 (9-for-23).

*Brandon Phillips hads four-straight multi-hit games. He’s batting .440 (11-for-25).

*The Reds still have only one error for the season (on Opening Day). The only other team with one error in six games is the Braves.

*I did a notebook today on Paul Janish’s hot start. There will also be items on the team defense and when it’s posted, something on LeCure’s day.

Quotes:

“They put some good swings on some balls and you can’t do anything about it. I pretty much threw a lot of the pitches where I wanted to today. They found holes and found gaps. That’s kind of the way it goes. I’m not going to get down on myself. I’ve got a lot more appearances to go. We’re still out there fighting, giving it our all.” — Nick Masset

“I was fairly pleased. There were a couple of times I got a little bit complacent out there and I think that cost us. the first pitch to Lee that he hit into the gap was a get-me over fastball. I didn’t have a whole lot behind it. he took advantage and did what good hitters do. A couple of walks was me being kind of lazy.” — Sam LeCure on his outing

“We had a lot of chances today. We’ve been picking them up the last couple of days. We just didn’t get that two-out hit today that we needed. They ended up getting it.” — Dusty Baker

Until Friday from Phoenix…
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Going for 6-0?

Reds lineup vs. Astros

Stubbs 8
Phillips 4
Votto 3
Gomes 7
Bruce 9
Renteria 6
Francisco 5
Hanigan 2
LeCure 1

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Fans itchy about Volquez, not Reds

Wednesday’s 12-4 Reds win over the Astros was one nutty game and an example of why Twitter sometimes isn’t the best mix for baseball.

As Edinson Volquez labored through a 44-pitch, four-run, 10 batter first inning, a few followers were in a full froth.

Some example questions I received tonight:

“Any chance of Volquez going to Louisville for some remedial work if he has one more bad outing?

“Is it time to send Volquez to AAA?? I like him, but he doesn’t seem to add up to all the hype..”

“Does Volquez even have options left?” (He does by the way)

“if…IF… he has another terrible outing, what are the chances he goes to AAA instead of Leake/LeCure when Bailey/Cueto return?”

Yeah, Volquez was pitching badly but it was certainly extremely early to be firing up a GPS unit for him to head to Louisville. Like after his poor first inning on Opening Day, Volquez reached down and put together a decent outing in the final four innings of his night. He retired seven in a row after a leadoff walk in the second. He had a 10-pitch third inning. And most importantly, he kept the Reds in the game to mount the comeback. Reds manager Dusty Baker had no intention of taking him out in the first or second inning if he could help it.

“I couldn’t go to my pen that quick,” Baker said. “We were trying to stick with him as long as we can. This is our first stretch of consecutive days without an off day, nine days in a row. If you get upside down on day No. 2, then you’re treading on dangerous ground with guys being able to pitch this early in the year. That’s not what you want.”

Volquez’s inconsistent moments bring to mind his Spring Training visa issues and how much it was downplayed. He missed two starts because of that and couldn’t make them up. In my mind, he’s doing it now in the regular season. It’s not an optimal situation. There are some rough edges. But he was dealing 96-97 mph fastballs and Houston hitters had some trouble keeping up. None of their hits on him were really pounded. So it’s not a physical issue.

Notes:

*Paul Janish is 8-for-18 (.444) and has hits in all four of his games played. He was 3-for-5 tonight.

*Brandon Phillips had three hits and is 9-for-20 (.450) for the young season.

*For only the second time in GABP history, there were no home runs hit in the last two games. The only other time that happened was Aug. 6-7, 2005 vs. the Marlins. There have been only 51 homer-less games in the 654 games played here.

*The Reds have scored 43 runs, their second-highest total in modern history through five games.
The 1976 team scored 44 runs in its first five games.

Quotes:

“Edinson, maybe he just needs to go out there and calm down a little bit. I know there’s a lot of pressure on him being the No. 1 starter and everybody is expecting big things from him. But he’s a great pitcher and we have his back. Hopefully, he’ll learn from the mistakes he made today, take advantage of it and go out there and pitch a good game.” — Brandon Phillips

“I thought they were going to take me out before I got to the fifth. Dusty came over and told me forget about strikeouts and get a groundball, fly ball and clean innings.” — Edinson Volquez

“The first two innings he had six strikeouts. It was like he was more dependent on the strikeouts than he was on our defense back there. He was throwing all his pitches when it wasn’t necessary to throws all his pitches. They were late on his fastball and then he’d throw something else.” — Dusty Baker

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Lineup, FS Ohio statement

Reds lineup vs. Astros

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

*This is the first game Jonny Gomes hasn’t started after four in a row.

*The last time Astros starter Nelson Figueroa faced the Reds on 9/29/10 (the day after the Reds clinched the NL Central), he worked 6 2/3 scoreless innings. However, the Reds didn’t run out their ‘A’ lineup for that game.

*Got a few inquiries about the four ill-timed commercial breaks during last night’s game on television. Here is a press statement from Fox Sports Ohio:

During the Cincinnati Reds telecast last night, advertisements interrupted game action for some viewers. This issue occurred only for Time Warner Cable customers, as Time Warner experienced a technical issue. 
 
Time Warner ensures us that steps are being taken so that this does not occur again.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

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Phillips is OK

The one concern for the Reds out of the 8-2 win over the Astros on Tuesday was the mysterious exit of Brandon Phillips, who went out for PH Miguel Cairo in the fifth.

Phillips is OK. He just didn’t feel too great after his head first slide to score on Joey Votto’s fourth inning double. The decision to remove him was precautionary, said manager Dusty Baker.

“I’m good. I had to sit down,” said Phillips, who was 2-for-2. “I couldn’t breathe at all. I went out there and tried to play defense. I was out there huffing and puffing, trying to stretch and everything. I just knocked the breath out of me.”

It was a very good performance for Mike Leake, who finished with a solid six innings pitched and allowed two earned runs on three hits with two walks and four strikeouts.

The sort-of a stunner to come out of postgame was from Baker, regarding Leake. After all the speculation in Spring Training about whether Leake would go to Triple-A Louisville if he didn’t make the rotation before the Cueto/Bailey injuries, Baker and the club had other ideas.

“The main thing is we know he can pitch,” Baker said. “He might have been trying too hard. He wasn’t going back to the Minors even though he might have been a little afraid that he might. We couldn’t tell him that. He was going to be on the team.”

What happens when the rotation is whole again?

“We’ll see,” Baker said. “We’ll deal with that when we get there. You can’t look too far into the future. Nobody can tell what will happen.”

Other notes:

*Drew Stubbs has a 12-game hitting streak dating back to last season.

*Chris Heisey drove in three runs despite going 1-for-2 with a RBI single. The other two RBIs were not official at-bats since Heisey walked with the bases loaded in the first inning and hit by a pitch with the bases full in the second.

*Jonny Gomes drew two walks, including one with the bases loaded. He has seven walks already through four games. Gomes had 39 walks all of last season.

Quotes:

“He felt like he was getting squeezed and it’s tough to tell when you’re in the box taking pitches. We always think they’re balls as hitters. I’m sure some of them were really close. I’m sure it was frustrating but we got the call. We got a couple on the board early and it’s always big to get that momentum right out of the gate.” — Chris Heisey on Astros LHP J.A. Happ

“It was six months since I pitched. I forgot how to pitch basically. I needed those five or so outings to remember what it was like to pitch. That last outing, I finally felt like I remembered. Today was a step in the right direction. There’s still a few things to work on.” — Mike Leake, talking about Spring Training and tonight
“Leakie was sharp other than that one inning where he kind of lost command of the strike zone. Those guys can hit over there. He made some quality hitters tonight swinging and miss or hit the ball on the ground. When Leakie is throwing groundballs, that’s when you know his ball is moving, he’s changing speeds and he’s in and out of the strike zone.” — Dusty Baker

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