May 2011

Why no PH in 4th?

It feels like a just the quotes kind of night on the blog and you can read more in depth in my final game story that will be up shortly (the one with the quotes, not the first version.)

Some of the quotes below, however, should explains the big moment of the 7-2 Reds loss to the Brewers — the decision not to bat for RHP Chad Reineke with the bases loaded and no outs in the fourth inning, trailing by three runs. Reineke grounded into a double play to score a run in a rally-killing moment.

“Oh yeah, if I had a full bullpen, that was our chance to get back in the game.” — Reds manager Dusty Baker.

“[Ondrusek] was sore. He couldn’t go. This guy has been pitching a lot. He’s No. 2 in the league in appearances. We’ve got three guys in the bullpen in the top 10 in appearances – Masset, Ondrusek and Bray…It was ‘no’ behind Fisher, ‘no’ behind Arredondo and ‘no’ behind Ondrusek. That puts you in a bad situation when you have only one guy with length down there. I was counting it up. We didn’t have enough to fill nine innings today.” — Baker

“Zack [Greinke] was trying to strike him out and he couldn’t strike him out. [Reineke] swung at the first two breaking balls and looks bad, and then doesn’t swing at the rest.” –Brewers manager Ron Roenicke on Reineke, who worked a 0-2 count into a 3-2 count before grounding into the 643 DP.
   
“It’s sorry to say, but it’s probably better if I just strike out and not get two outs. But I worked it to full and got a pitch to hit and I didn’t do anything with it. That’s kind of a killer with bases loaded, nobody out, to ground into a double play, but I was just trying to do my best.” — Chad Reineke

“Honestly, I think we beat ourselves today. I think we hit the ball pretty good. They were just playing in the right spots. I hit some balls good today and Scott Rolen did too. We didn’t score some runs. He still has his good stuff. [Greinke is] one of the best pitchers in the league and today was just not our day, really. He kept the ball down real good and we just lost.” — Brandon Phillips

“They had some good at-bats but I only had one pitch that I was throwing how I wanted to, so it made it tough. I got through it. By the fifth and sixth inning, everything started coming together a little bit.” — Brewers starter Zack Greinke

 

Bruce batting 4th

Reds lineup vs. Brewers

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

*Some fans had been asking since last night and you get your wish. Jay Bruce is batting cleanup behind Joey Votto. In the short term, it should help both hitters get better pitches, and perhaps help the Reds score more runs. In the long term, it could help teams with lefty situational relievers get to face both batters without a manager making the extra pitching change.

*Against Brewers RHP Zach Greinke, Votto is 2-for-4 with two home runs. Jonny Gomes is 3-for-9 with two homers. Edgar Renteria is 6-for-19 (.316). Bruce is 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

*UPDATE — And this just came down from MLB, Bruce was named NL Player of the Week. A portion of the press release is below:

Cincinnati Reds right fielder Jay Bruce has been named the National League Player of the Week for the period of May 23-29, 2011. The announcement was made earlier today on MLB Network. The Reds slugger led the Majors with 13 RBI and 25 total bases, and was tied for first with four home runs last week while hitting .353 (12-for-34) in seven games. His 12 hits ranked second among National Leaguers while his .735 slugging percentage was fifth and his six runs scored were sixth-best. The 24-year-old Texan had four multi-hit games on the week, including two three-hit performances.

**To make room for the call-up of starting RHP Chad Reineke, the Reds designated LHP Tom Cochran for assignment.

Bruce’s big month

Who’s your NL Player of the Month?

Jay Bruce’s May: .346 avg, 12 HRs, 32 RBIs, 23 runs scored. He entered the night with a 1.103 OPS.

Mets SS Jose Reyes: .364/.421/.555 with nine doubles, six triples, 11 steals, 40 hits and 18 runs scored. He has been placed on bereavement leave.

Save for the ninth-inning, three-run double in Philly last week, Bruce’s hot stretch has not been taken advantange of enough by the Reds. On Monday vs. the Brewers, it was. He went 3-for-4 with a triple, three-run homer and single in the Reds’ 7-3 win.

“I’m just getting presented with opportunities, and I’ve been successful,” Bruce said. . It’s been a good month. I’ve been making better decisions. That’s one of the big things. And with better decisions comes most of the time a lot of success.”

Notes:

*Bruce’s 12 HRs in the month are two shy of the club record. Greg Vaughn last set that mark in Sept. 1999 when he tied Frank Robinson’s record of 14.

*The Reds are 15-8 when they score first.

*Jonny Gomes, coming off his 4-for-5 game on Sunday, was 1-for-3 with a double, a run scored and sac fly.

Quotes:

“He’s not trying to do too much. Sometimes, you try to do too much, it makes it worse. Just be natural, be yourself. He’s been on a tear. He’s seeing the ball. No. 1 thing is he’s not fouling off pitches or missing pitches that he should put in play and hit…you’re not going to hit them all out of the ballpark. When you get your pitch to hit, you have to hit it.” — Dusty Baker on Jay Bruce

“They hit some pretty good pitches, I thought. I asked Hanigan — one was a changeup that Gomes hit — and I asked him if it was down, and he said, ‘Yeah, he went down and got it.’ The other was a cutter. I asked if it was in. He said, ‘Yeah,’ so they just put some good swings on some good pitches and it worked out for them.” — Reds LHP Travis Wood on his three-run fifth, including back-to-back homers.

“When you get a chance to control your own destiny against a team that’s ahead of you, it’s nice, and we did a good job of it tonight.” — Jay Bruce on beating the Brewers to pull 1 1/2 games out of second place. The Cardinals lost also, dropping their lead over CIN to four games.

Reineke on Tuesday

The Reds will call up Triple-A Louisville RHP Chad Reineke to start on Tuesday vs. the Brewers. He will be opposed by Zack Greinke. Reineke’s name sounds more like the last name of Brewers manager Ron Roenicke than that of Greinke’s, but that’s another story.

In 10 games, including nine starts, Reineke was 5-2 with a 2.52 ERA. In 52 2/3 innings, he has allowed 50 hits and 16 walks with 31 strikeouts. He also pitched well when he was given chances during Spring Training while Edinson Volquez was dealing with his visa issues.

 

“The young man has been in our organization, this is his second year of throwing the ball well,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “He deserves an opportunity, especially in our present pitching situation.”

Obviously, a 25-man and 40-man roster move is pending and we will know either after tonight’s game or tomorrow. Reineke has 5 games of big league experience with the Padres and A’s. His last big league game was one outing for Oakland in 2009.

Hot Brewers meet Cold Reds

Reds lineup vs. Brewers

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

*This is obviously a big series for the reeling third-place Reds, which are coming off of a 2-8 road trip. Meanwhile the second-place Brewers are coming off of an 8-1 homestand. Milwaukee has played lousy on the road with an 8-17 record, including getting swept here the opening series of the season.

 

 

*Lifetime vs. Brewers starter Chris Narveson, Jay Bruce is 2-for-4 (.500) with one homer.  Joey Votto is 5-for-9 (.556) with one homer.

Bailey to get checked out

Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey was headed back to Cincinnati Thursday afternoon after he suffered a right shoulder spasm during a 10-4 loss to the Phillies. Bailey allowed four runs and five hits with one intentional walk and two strikeouts for a no-decision. The injury came as a hitter during a fourth-inning at-bat when he grounded out to first base. The club did not know the seriousness of the injury.

“He said he just felt some discomfort on the swing when he was hitting,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “You could tell his velocity went down quite a bit after that.”

Bailey has been exceptional this season with a 3-1 record and 3.00 ERA five starts. His season started on the disabled list because of an impingement in the same shoulder.

“It’s a little different,” Baker said. “He just said he felt pain when he went to reach when he was swinging. We’ll have to wait to see what we hear from Dr. Kremchek tomorrow.”

This was a development the Reds didn’t need. Not after Volquez got sent down on Monday. Not after Arroyo lasted 2 2/3 innings on Monday and had to get an MRI Tuesday because of back pain. And certainly not after they endured a gut-wrenching 19-inning loss on Wednesday.
 

 

Notes:

*Daryl Thompson had to kind of be sacrificed as he allowed five runs, six hits and five walks over three innings after Bailey’s depature. Based on the last few days, injuries to LeCure and Maloney, Fisher being unavailable and with six more games until another day off, there was no other choice.

*Thompson was pitching in the Majors for the Reds for the first time since 7/2/08 vs. PIT.

*The rotation has pitched 21 1/3 innings the last five games, including the Volquez start in Cleveland. The bullpen has had 31 innings pitched over that same span.

*Mike Leake is definitely making the start on Friday, Baker said. Expect a corresponding roster move on Friday. GM Walt Jocketty will be in Atlanta. I wouldn’t be shocked if a second pitcher is added to provide bullpen depth. Just speculating, but Chad Reineke is scheduled to start for Louisville on Friday and has a 2.61 ERA. There is a spot open on the 40-man should he be summoned.

*Paul Janish snapped 0-for-21 skid with a two-out, bases loaded double in the fourth inning that scored two.

*Jay Bruce is seemingly locking up Player of the Month honors for May. In this series alone, he was 9-for-21 (.429) with three home runs and 11 RBIs.  In his last eight games, he’s hitting .486 (17-for-35). He has homered in four of his last five games and in five of his last eight.

Quotes:

“I don’t know how many more changes we have, you know what I mean? Walt will be in Atlanta tonight and we’ll get together and try to figure this thing out. You can’t be sinking too much deeper or too much faster.” — Reds manager Dusty Baker

“Sometimes when both teams are coming out, they’ll be kind of dead, but when you win a game like that, usually there’s still some effect to it, I believe. Guys wanna come out and get after it. We got a good start on ‘em today plus we had a good pitcher going.” — Phillies manager Charlie Manuel

“It’s tough. We’ve kind of been exhausting every option. We’ll get the hit and can’t hold the lead. Or we’ll hold the lead and can’t get the hit. It’s just back and forth and it’s going to pass though.” — Jay Bruce

My arm felt good and everything felt fine. It was just adrenaline and trying to make something happen pretty much instead of trying to relax and throw the ball and do what I’ve been doing all season.” — Daryl Thompson

*****FYI, I am taking the Atlanta series off. I will be back on the case Monday.

The day after…

The Reds are definitely making a roster move to get a pitcher up here. When I have the names involved, I will let you know.

Reds lineup vs. Phillies
Stubbs 8
Phillips 4
Votto 3
Cairo 5
Bruce 9
Heisey 7
Hanigan 2
Janish 6
Bailey 1.

 Apologies for not having anything postgame on the blog but with it being the wee hours and a game right around the corner, something had to give. I’ve previously covered two 18 games in my life, including the one infamous Reds game at San Diego that coincidentally was exactly three years earlier on May 25, 2008. The feeling in the clubhouse last night was very similar to that day. It’s a long way to play to come up empty and the feeling for them was rather miserable.

*Also a second apology for a math mistake in my game story. Total pitches thrown was 600. Not sure where or how the calculator spit out the number I originally had.

*Some Reds long game trivia notes:

*Carlos Fisher threw 95 pitches over 5 2/3 innings last night. The last Reds reliever to throw that many pitches was Dan Serafini on Sept. 17, 2003 vs. the Pirates. Seth Etherton started that game but Serafini threw 105 pitches over 4 2/3 innings. That came from CBSSports.com reporter Danny Knobler.

*The last player to start a game in the field and earn a win was Babe Ruth on Oct. 1, 1921, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

*Drew Stubbs had nine at-bats last night, the Reds player to have that since Jerry Hairston Jr. and Edwin Encarnacion on 5/25/08.

*Scott Rolen took a 0-for-7 for the first time in his career.

Wood v Halladay II

Reds lineup vs Phillies

Stubbs 8
Phillips 4
Votto 3
Rolen 5
Bruce 9
Hernandez 2
Lewis 7
Renteria 6,
Wood 1

Last July 10, Travis Wood and Roy Halladay had quite the duel. Wood was perfect through 8 innings before the Reds lost 1-0 in 11 innings. Both pitchers threw 9 scoreless innings.

Big stress buster for the Reds

For a little while, I thought I slapped a whammy on Jay Bruce because I wrote a pre-game notebook item on how he’d been on a nice offensive tear. Then he took a 0-for-4, three strikeout game into the ninth inning.

With the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth, Bruce delivered a three-run double to the right-center field wall. The Reds won 6-3 and finally snapped a six-game losing streak.

Bruce came in 1-for-19 this season with RISP and two outs. Reliever Ryan Madson had allowed one run in 19 innings all season. Madson was the one to give. And Bruce delivered in a clutch moment.

“It’s huge,” Bruce said. “The big thing that I’m going to learn from that is staying focused. Just because you don’t do it the first time, you may get a chance and you have to be prepared and ready the second time. You can’t let things linger. I am learning a lot about driving in runs and really getting them when they’re there. I’m not good yet but getting better at that aspect of it. I have a long way to go but…tonight it worked out and I plan on doing it a lot more.”

This was a very big win for the Reds. Had they not won here, the tension dial would have really been upped as they have to face Halladay and Lee the next two games. And in Atlanta, Hanson, Lowe and Jurrjens are looming.

“It sure relieves a lot of pressure,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “We’ve got some more tomorrow with Doc Holliday. But we’ll enjoy this one tonight. It’s the first game we’ve won in a week and on the road trip. And the first one we’ve won here in two years. It was a rewarding night for us.”

Notes:

*Bruce is 9-for-16 (.563) with four homers and 10 RBIs in the last six games.

*Drew Stubbs had a big bunt single to start the ninth inning rally. It was such a surprise because it was his first bunt hit this season.

*Bill Bray has not allowed a run in 22 of 25 appearances. He worked 1 2/3 scoreless innings tonight.

*Francisco Cordero had a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his ninth save and career save No. 299.

*The Phillies nine-game winning streak over the Reds at Citizens Bank Park is over.

Quotes:

“There’s some significance – not because they swept us in the playoffs – but because they’re a good team. They have a really good chance on winning their division. To play these guys tough and beat these guys is important because they’re a really good baseball team.” — Jay Bruce on beating the Phillies

“He did it on his own, it wasn’t a play. I urge these guys to do a lot of stuff on their own. These guys can play. I try to give them freedom to play. The happiest man on the whole ballclub was probably Hatcher, because he’s been working with him on that for two years and urging him to try it.” — Dusty Baker on the Stubbs bunt.

Frazier’s stay was brief

The Reds optioned IF/OF Todd Frazier to Triple-A Louisville and recalled RHP Carlos Fisher. Frazier, of course got the proverbial cup of coffee in the big leagues since he was only called up yesterday and struck out as a PH. 

After getting a total of 5 1/3 innings of starting pitching the last two games, the Reds bullpen worked 10 2/3 innings and is strapped for a fresh arm. It’s Fisher. Stay tuned for more when the clubhouse opens.

Frazier took the news well before he left the clubhouse.

“What are you going to do? There are some needs and they had to do what they had to do,” he said. “I got my feet wet and hopefully the next time I get the call, I will stay here longer.”

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