Cueto brilliant in debut

Since I need to make my way to the airport, I will keep this brief.

Johnny Cueto gave the Reds exactly what they hoped for today with six-plus scoreless innings for a 2-0 victory. Cueto allowed five hits and a walk with four strikeouts. He threw 102 pitches and was lifted after a leadoff single in the seventh since he was at his pitch limit.

With Homer Bailey back and Cueto back and both with nice starts, the Reds could really see what they’ve got going forward. Bronson Arroyo pitched great yesterday and Travis Wood was mostly solid — save for four walks — his last time out. Maybe I’m a dissenter to you, but I believe Edinson Volquez isn’t too far from finding his rhythm on a consistent basis. To me, his moments of brilliance are too good to think he can’t start clicking.
 

“We’re on a little bit of a roll now,” manager Dusty Baker said. “Hopefully we can get on a big roll if we can get everybody back. This is the team we slated to be the team. The other guys did a good job for them in their absence but these guys are my horses.”

Notes:

*Joey Votto’s on-base streak to start the season was ended at 33 games after he was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. That left him one shy of Dave Collins’ 1981 club record. Interestingly, Votto’s 41-game on-base streak last season was ended here as well on July 4 when he was ejected in the first inning for balls and strikes.

“You go through stretches where you miss. I’ve been missing lately. It will pass,” Votto said.

*For those wondering, Aroldis Chapman was up in the bullpen during the seventh inning jam and was intended to use against lefty hitter Kosuke Fukudome. Chapman wasn’t ready in time, however. And Sam LeCure walked Fukudome to load the bases, but he escaped the jam of his own making.

“We were thinking about him but he takes a long time to get loose,” Baker said of Chapman. “We have to give him a full inning to get loose. I called down and he wasn’t ready. We didn’t want to take a chance.”

*Jay Bruce was 2-for-3 today, making him 12-for-36 (.333) with four homers and eight RBIs over his last 10 games.

*Going back to last season, the Reds have won 12 of the last 15 games vs. the Cubs.

*Cueto and Nick Masset were both called for balks today. It was the first time that two balks were called on the team since it happened to Brandon Claussen and Brian Shackelford on 8/25/05 vs. the Nationals. That interesting nugget came from the Cubs media relations staff.

Quotes:

“That was a great outing by Cueto. We took him to his limit, I think. That’s why we got him. He was still throwing the ball well but you’ve got to remember that’s his first outing. That was awesome.” — Dusty Baker

“My fastball was landing where I wanted it. And I was happy with the location because my fastball was getting good location.” — Johnny Cueto

*
“We had the tough loss yesterday and to be able to bounce back from that and get a win today was great. Cueto came back and pitched outstanding. Our relievers did a great job also holding that lead. Not a lot of hits, but luckily the one I got was a homer and Ramon got the big hit early too.” — Drew Stubbs

“It might have been one of the best I’ve ever seen him throw, to be honest with you. He looked fantastic. He threw his breaking ball really well. It seemed like they were off balance the entire game. I’m really glad he came back after missing some time and threw so well today.” — Joey Votto on Cueto

*
****That’s it for me for a few days. I’m skipping Houston but resuming on Friday for the Cardinals series.

11 Comments

I don’t think you’re swimming upstream on Volquez. He’s been disappointing, but in part because our expectations were ramped up so high. We haven’t even hit the warm weather part of the schedule.

I’m still really high on Volquez. He’ll get the job done and be the third best starter on the team. Right where he should be and right where he is getting paid to be. 14-8 sounds great to me.
Curt

I don’t think expecting an ERA of 5 or less in the *first inning* is “ramped up so high.”

This is Tuesday morning: Does anyone understand Leake’s and Chapman’s roles in the bullpen? More like, what is Chapman’s role, and why is Leake in the buillpen? How did they both wind up in the doghouse, and why aren’t they both in Louisville learning new skills, if that’s what they need to succeed in the majors? I mean, I may not be mad at Volquez, but Leake seems to me to have had at least as much success as a starter this year; and if Chapman is going to be a starter in the future, and he’s not the set-up man or closer in waiting, then let his future begin now – send him to Louisville and start building up his arm and his repertoire of pitches. Or is that just more Sgt. Schultz ignorance on my part?

Definitely not ignorance my man. Look, I don’t know anymore than you do so this is just my opinion. I don’t think Chapman is necessarily in the doghouse, but they don’t trust him enough to bring him in for one hitter. So he needs fresh innings. So on top of that, they don’t want to blow his arm out in a five run game because he has proven he can’t go 3 out of 4 days or anything like that. Why he still has trouble on back to back days? I have no idea, some pitchers just do. On making him a starter, I hear ya, maybe that is next years plan though, they have enough starting pitching to win this year, we need bullpen help this year.
Curt

On Leake, I said this before, and it is what I believe. Leake is a special pitcher, he hits spots, he outthinks hitters. His success comes from familiarity with hitters, which is why he dominated in college facing the same conference teams so much. He pitches like the way Arroyo does to beat hitters. Sending him down to AAA and having him pitch to minor leaguers just does no good for him. He needs to sit up here and track and chart hitters and get a feel for them. When someone inevitably gets hurt, he’ll move in and be a heck of a sixth man when needed. He’ll be fine in the future and is still a big part of the Reds future. In my opinion, AAA will do him no good.
Curt

Curt – I respect your opinions enough to take them on faith. I just don’t see picking a guy first in the draft for some sort of anomalous role in the bullpen.

Ok, Wednesday morning. How can we be negative when the team’s doing well? On the other hand, I’ve got one word for you: Gomes. Can’t get better without at-bats. Can’t seem to get better at the plate. The days off don’t seem to help. The days on don’t seem to help. Not sure what the answer is; but he’s not a good enough fielder to say he’s helping the team by playing, hitting the way he is.

Yep, about time for Gomes to just assume the big bat off the bench roll. He had two hits yesterday. One was a jam shot to right and the other an infield dribbler, not actual hits. Also, how badly did Chapman want to just walk off the field? He didn’t want to be out there at all. His attitude worries me. And Homer Bailey’s rhythm and balance is just freaking perfect right now. Everything about him screams optimism right now.
Curt

Thursday a.m.: a couple of tough losses this road trip. Volquez moved his troubles up one inning to the second. That’s progress, right? Now, bring on the Cardinals! Go Reds!

If I were the Reds and we needed an idea on how to get Volquez out of his slump, this would be mine. He has good stuff, tries to strike everyone out, not the greatest control, outthinks himself, so my suggestion would be…Hey Edinson, this game, we are going to call pitches from the bench. We call them, you pitch them. You don’t think, you don’t try to get people to swing and miss all the time, you just throw the damn pitch we call. We want an outside fastball on the black, you throw it there. We want an 0-2 fastball, you throw it, not three straight changeups. Then if that doesn’t work, I’m out of guesses.
Curt

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