May 2011

Phillips 2nd, Rolen 4th

 
Reds lineup vs. Phillies

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

*Obviously, the biggest difference in today’s lineup is Brandon Phillips is back in the two-hole and Scott Rolen is batting cleanup.

Losing streak at six

 

The Reds certainly have reasons to get more than a little concerned now. The losing streak, a season-high six games, has now crept into a second turn of the rotation. Bronson Arroyo was roughed up for nine runs and 10 hits in only 2 2/3 innings, including two homers for a 10-3 loss to the Phillies.

That’s back-to-back 2 2/3 innings outings between Arroyo and Edinson Volquez. Johnny Cueto needs to be good Tuesday, especially after he had a lackluster five-inning performance on Thursday vs PIT. Travis Wood was good in his Friday start vs. the Indians but unraveled after 5 1/3 no-hit innings. Only Homer Bailey has had a tremendous outing from start to finish and he was undone by one bad pitch for a two-run homer and 2-1 loss Saturday.

“That’s what we talked about not long ago – trying to stay out of long slumps,” Arroyo said. “For as long as I’ve been on this ballclub, it always seems as if everything comes in clumps. You win three or four and then you lose four or five. That’s basically playing .500 ball, which is not going to be good enough to get by.”

Notes:
*During the last six games, the Reds are batting .199 (39-for-196).

*Entering tonight, the Phillies had been held to three runs or less for nine-straight games.

*Cole Hamels is now 7-0 with a 1.43 ERA in the regular season vs. CIN. Had Arroyo kept the game close, Hamels might have been beatable. He had 102 pitches over six innings and wasn’t the sharpest he’s been against them.

*Chase Utley was 0-for-5 in season debut for the Phillies. The crowd of 45,841 fans was the largest in the regular season history at Citizens Bank Park.

*Jay Bruce hit his team-leading 12th homer, a three-run shot off the RF foul pole in the fourth. He is 8-for-11 (.611) with four homers and six RBIs over the last five games. Now the Reds need to spread th the wealth around.

*This is the longest losing streak for the Reds since an eight-game stretch from July 28-Aug. 4, 2009.

Quotes:

“A team as good as these guys, even though they’ve been struggling more than they have in the past, you just can’t give them those bloop hits because those are almost like us making an error. It’s extra at-bats and extra outs for us. They make you pay for it, especially at home. They play really when their crowd gets into the ballgame.” — Bronson Arroyo on the Phillies

“Two days in a row of going to our bullpen early. We can’t keep going there. We had a nice run there, 8-9 games, where we got deep in the game. The last couple of games, we’ve had early departures.” — Dusty Baker

Volquez sent out

Quite a bevy of roster moves on this Monday.

Edinson Volquez and Jordan Smith were optioned to Triple A Louisville. Volquez was 3-2 with a 6.35 ERA this season and had a very poor outing in the 12-4 loss to Cleveland Sunday. He also popped off on the offense for its lack of production, but Dusty Baker said that didn’t come up in his meeting with Volquez. The two talked at length in the manager’s office, along with pitching coach Bryan Price.

Volquez was not available for comment in the clubhouse.

 “He took it like a man and took it to go down there and get himself right”  Baker said. “That’s why we’re doing it. It’s going to be hard for all the way to win if we don’t have a sharp Volquez. This is a temporary setback. Sometimes in this game, or in life period, you have to take a step back to go two or three steps forward. We just felt the time is now. We still have 3 ½ months to come back and be Volquez. There are a lot of ballgames left. You don’t want to do it any later. You don’t want his confidence down. You don’t want your team’s confidence down. You don’t want your bullpen over pitched. The time to do that was now.”

As for who will take the start in Volquez’s place on Friday vs. ATL, it’s TBA. Looks like it could be Chad Reineke or Mike Leake.  LHP Daniel Ray Herrera was claimed off waivers by the Brewers and sent to their AAA team. The Reds had moved him off the 40-man roster with hopes to add Dontrelle Willis. But Willis on the Louisville DL with a groin injury today.

“Bad timing for him and for us,” Baker said.

More to come on the MLB.com …. please check back

Called up from Triple-A Louisville — IF/OF Todd Frazier and LHP Matt Maloney.

Frazier, who is getting his first big league promotion, was one of the hottest players for Louisville. He was batting .293/.366/.579 with 11 home runs and 33 RBIs, including a .354 average with six homers this month. The supplemental first round pick in 2007 brings flexibility since he can play every infield position and both corner outfield spots. This season, Frazier has played 28 games at third base and nine games in left field.

Maloney had the misfortune of bailing out the bullpen three times in one week and getting sent out after a long relief stint in St. Louis on April 24. He was a starter for Louisville and was 2-1 with a 4.45 ERA in five starts. He allowed five walks and struck out 19.

Moves are coming…

I know that Todd Frazier and Matt Maloney are in town so we’ll be seeing them soon. The Reds players being sent out have not been told yet of the moves. Therefore, nothing official is out there yet from the club.

Reds lineup vs. Phillies

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

*In other news not as pressing, Joey Votto’s ESPN commerical started airing today and it’s pretty good.

*The Reds new Class AA team that begins play in 2012 will be named the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. So there you go.

More much to come later…stand by.

Frazier called up?

Hello from my blog’s Detroit bureau, where I just boarded my connection to Philadelphia.

CAA Sports, the agency representing Todd Frazier, sent out a tweet to congratulate him on his promotion from Triple A Louisville.

The Reds have not announced a roster move but I will keep you posted after I land.

Did Volquez really say that?

 Edinson Volquez had a rough day and has been having an inconsistent season. That made his postgame comments after a 12-4 loss all the more curious.

“I think everybody has to step up and start getting some runs,” Volquez said. “The last five games, we’ve scored how many runs? Thirteen in five games? (Actually 12). It’s not the way we were playing last year. We’re better than that.”

Keep in mind that Volquez allowed seven runs (six earned) with seven hits, four walks, one hit batter and three strikeouts. He is 3-3 with a 6.35 ERA this season. His first inning ERA is 18.00

Stay tuned, because I can’t see that comment going over well.

Reds manager Dusty Baker indicated changes could be afoot and that he might not keeping rolling Volquez out there.

“We’re mulling that around now,” Baker said. “Last time, he was a lot better. This outing, he didn’t start off well again. We’ve got discuss what to do.”

You can read much more about this day and what lurks ahead in Philadelphia in my game story. The full version should be up shortly if it’s not already.

Notes:

*In today’s notebook, hopefully you saw that Aroldis Chapman is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville on Monday. Chapman will meet the team and pitch an inning in Norfolk.

*Joey Votto’s first inning home run was his first since April 27, a span of 21 games.

*Since returning from the DL, Scott Rolen has hits in 7 of 9 games and is batting .343 (12-for-35)

*Jay Bruce was 2-for-4 with a homer, his 11th of the season. He’s 8-for-14 (.571) over a four-game hitting streak.

*Overall, the offense is having trouble. In the five game losing streak, they are batting .207.

Quotes:

“I know people around here – it was kind of like that for us last year – it’s going to take a little while for them to come around and believe the Indians are for real. I think they’ve got a good team. I thought their pitching was good and obviously their offense really broke out today. I wouldn’t say I was surprised, because they’ve been playing well all year.” — Chris Heisey on the Indians

“He had a bunch of pitches that inning. It’s tough to keep going to your bullpen that early and you keep hoping he’ll give us some innings so it didn’t tear up everybody out there. We have 10 days in a row before we get an off day.” — Dusty Baker on Volquez in the first inning.

“They’re playing good baseball and they beat us. They got us pretty good. It doesn’t get any easier in Philadelphia, obviously, when we face those guys. We can’t make up a series. We’ve got our hands full in Philadelphia and Atlanta both. We will try to play a little better baseball and hopefully try to win a series there.” — Scott Rolen

Gomes sits

Reds lineup vs. Indians

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

Volquez 1

*Jonny Gomes is hitless in his last 13 at-bats, including Saturday’s 0-for-4, three strikeout day. He was in 0-2 counts during each at-bat and was completely frustrated when he was called out on strikes to end the eighth inning. Overall, he’s batting only .171.

Saturday in Cleveland

Reds lineup vs. Indians

Stubbs 8
Gomes DH
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Rolen 5
Lewis 7
Hanigan 2
Renteria 6

Bailey 1

*The Reds could use some offense from their shortstops. Paul Janish sits today as he is in a 1-for-22 skid over his last six games. And Edgar Renteria is riding a 2-for-29 slump.

*The Reds will be trying to avoid a season-high four-game losing streak, which happened April 17-20

*Today’s game is a sellout, partly because of the Reds but Shin-Soo Choo jersey night probably has a lot to do with it.

Gomes batting 2nd

Not surprisingly, I’ve gotten some feedback, rather immediately, about the lineup and Jonny Gomes batting second as the DH.

Gomes doesn’t have much of a track record batting second, but it’s not a good one. He’s batting .172 (5-for-29) in 11 games there, including five starts, over his career.

“That’s the best lineup I could come up with. Hopefully it will get him going the way it got Jay Bruce going,” manager Dusty Baker said.

Bruce batted second from April 25-May 1. Since May 2, he has batted .291 (16-for-55) with five homers and 13 RBIs. The Reds would certainly take those numbers with a smile for Gomes, who entered the day batting .188.

Will Gomes get better pitches, especially after Drew Stubbs reaches base and with Joey Votto on deck?

“Maybe,” Baker said. “You still have to swing at strikes. I remember in the past I put Glenallen Hill in front of Barry [Bonds] and they were still throwing him balls and he was still swinging at balls.”

Does Gomes think it will help him?

“Maybe hitting in front of Joey will but not hitting in the two-hole,” Gomes said. “You only hit in the two-hole the top of the first inning and then that’s it. I’ve never hit in front of him. I’ve hit behind him a number of times. So, we’ll see.”

Ohio Cup time…

Reds lineup vs. Indians

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

Wood 1

*Jonny Gomes enters today batting .182. His lifetime numbers in 256 games as a DH are .222/.327/.417 with 37 home runs and 119 RBIs. I have a feeling this could be a pivotal weekend for him. If he doesn’t catch a spark, his playing time could reduce more. Dusty Baker has been talking about his patience in waiting for Gomes but you can tell from his recent quotes this week that his patience is waning some.

*Paul Janish is in a 1-for-20 skid in five games since returning from a sprained ankle.

*Shin-Soon Choo of the Indians is probably disappointed that Bronson Arroyo isn’t pitching for the Reds in this series. Choo is 6-for-12 (.500) with four homers lifetime against him. There is always July, I guess.

*This is a break for the Reds…the Indians just placed DH Travis Hafner on the disabled list.

*I am not a fan of pro wrestling at all — but when I was a kid, I did have two favorites. They were Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka and Randy “Macho Man” Savage. (Maybe it was the way they both jumped off the top rope/turnbuckle) Well, today we lost the Macho Man, who died at the age of 58 this morning after a car accident. If you’re wondering about the baseball connection, Savage (born Randy Poffo in Columbus, OH) was a former Minor League Baseball player from 1971-74. His final year was with Class A Tampa in the Reds organization.

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