May 2011

Cinco de Makeup game

Reds lineup vs Astros

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

*The Reds optioned RHP Jordan Smith to Triple-A Louisville to make room for the activation of Homer Bailey. Smith was heavily used over the past month when starters had short outing. He had a 5.29 ERA over 14 games.

“It happens. He pitched a lot,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “There’s still a few things he needs to improve on. But he’s close, real close. He’s close to staying here for a long time. He has the right attitude about pitching. He hates to give it up. He has that reliever mentality that you like to see.”

*Scott Rolen has not resumed swinging or baseball activity but is still getting better. Because of the limited work space at Wrigley Field, Rolen will remain here this weekend but could meet the team in Houston, maybe.

*Miguel Cairo has a sore right knee and is still out. He’s planning in resting it today with full BP, groundballs and running. He took it quite slow running up the line as a pinch hitter Wednesday.

“It was cold. I didn’t want to aggravate it,” Cairo said. “Scotty is on the DL. Francisco is on the DL. I don’t want to go on the DL.”

Reds wake up in ninth

There are many ways to take a game for the win, and the best that can be said was that was one of them.

The Reds went rope-a-dope style I guess. They had nothing offensively to offer — just one hit — for eight innings, but jumped all over a struggling Astros closer in Brandon Lyon. All five batters in the bottom of the ninth reached and scored all three runs for a 3-2 victory.

Notes:

*Was Brandon Phillips really serious about bunting with runners on first and second and no outs in the ninth? He showed bunt twice but ultimately swung at a 2-1 pitch for the game-tying RBI single. The answer proved to be yes.

“To tell you the truth, I really did,” Phillips said. “We’ve been struggling with scoring runs and I was going to give myself up so we can have a man on second and third and Brucie can do what he does. Dusty didn’t really want me to do it…I didn’t want to hit into a double play. I was going to try and do something for the team just to get a spark. What changed my mind is I looked at Bear [third base coach Mark Berry] and then Bear gave me that little fist pump and was like ‘hit the ball.’ OK, I’ll swing the bat.”

*Joey Votto’s streak of reaching base seemed about to end, but Votto also came through ahead of Phillips with a RBI single that scored Drew Stubbs. It extended Votto’s on-base streak to 30 games.

*Travis Wood wasn’t sensational today with four walks but his start was a welcomed breath of fresh air for the struggling rotation. Wood threw 104 pitches over 6 ip, 5 H, 2 ER, 7 K. Of his 24 batters, 17 saw first-pitch strikes.

*Fred Lewis made his season debut as a PH in the eighth inning and struck out.

*The first pitch temperature was 44 degrees today. I can’t believe it’s the first week of May. When the season opened on March 31, it was 41 degrees.

*
Quotes:

“It’s better to get up and try to keep a lead than try to come back, but fortunately not for us today. We were able to get a couple hits late. And, yeah, it’s still hard to believe. We got one hit all day and all of a sudden we scored three runs without an out. It happens that quick, but it would be nice to get on the board a little earlier.” — Chris Heisey, who singled in the final inning rally.

“It’s like we were sleeping, and then woke up.” — Jay Bruce, who hit the game-ending RBI double.

“I fell behind some hitters. I left two balls up that they hit and they got the two runs off of. Other than that, I was able to keep the team close and give us a chance to win. We eventually did.” — Travis Wood

“I was sitting over there not very happy for eight innings. When you’re not scoring, it’s a bad feeling. When you’re not scoring, it looks like you’re not awake, not into it, even though you are and they’re getting you out.” — Dusty Baker

“I think we felt pretty comfortable against Brandon Lyon and we got some pretty good pitches to hit. All credit due to their pitchers early in the game. Those guys threw fantastic and located well. They were aggressive. They consistently beat us. I think we were a little more comfortable against Brandon and that’s no comment on him. He’s got a fantastic track record. It’s just today wasn’t his day.” — Joey Votto

“Hopefully that woke us up a little bit because I just feel like we’re too good of a team to really do what we’re doing right now. I’m just glad that really happened. I’m just hoping that we can start hitting 1-8, instead of worrying about the ninth inning.” — Brandon Phillips

Lewis here

Reds lineup vs. Astros

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

*OF Fred Lewis was activated from his rehab assignment at Triple-A Louisville. OF Jeremy Hermida was optioned to Louisville to make room for Lewis. Hermida was 2-for-18 in 10 games with the Reds.

Lewis played 15 games during his rehab assignment while trying to come back from an oblique injury. After seven games Double-A Carolina, he played eight games for Louisville and batted .300, (6-for-20) with 1 HR, 3 RBIs 8 walks, 5k, 1sb,  6 R).

“I got to Louisville and everything was pretty much healed,” Lewis said. “I pretty much felt 100 percent. I’m just ready to get the ball moving. It was a long process. But I’m happy I got some at-bats and stuff and get back game ready.”

Lewis’ 20-day rehab assignment expired on Tuesday, so a move had to be made to get him back.

“It was a baseball decision and a business decision,” Dusty Baker said. “Hermida had options and Fred had no options.”

*Miguel Cairo is bothered by a sore leg and hasn’t played since Saturday. Dusty Baker believed Cairo was possible for Thursday. Cairo is available to pinch-hit or enter in a double switch if need be today.

*Jonny Gomes is really struggling to find a spark lately. In 14 games since April 17, Gomes is 5-for-47 (.106).

Reds lose, Cueto to pitch Sun.

It looks like changes are afoot to the rotation. Dusty Baker revealed tonight that Johnny Cueto will be activated to pitch on Sunday vs. the Cubs. He will replace Mike Leake.

That decision appeared to have been made before Leake was roughed up for seven runs over 3 2/3 innings for a 10-4 Reds loss to the last-place Astros

“We’ll probably move him to the bullpen,” Baker said. “We were trying to do that anyway. Remember, coming out of Spring Training, he was going to be the long man. He performed well in those other guys absence. Tonight was the first time he got whacked around in a while. You can’t exactly pick your nights when you get whacked around.”

“I’m ready. I’m pretty happy. I feel good,” said Cueto, who has been out since Spring Training with right biceps/triceps irritation.

Cueto was originally slated to get another rehab start at Class A Dayton Friday, but that has obviously been changed.

The rotation has a 5.56 ERA for the season and entered the night ranked 15th out of 16 NL teams. Before Cueto comes back, Homer Bailey returns on Thursday.

Notes:

*The Reds are under .500 for the first time this season at 14-15. It’s the first time they’ve been sub-.500 since 5/7/10.

*Since starting the season 5-0, the Reds are 3-9 in their last 12 home games.

*Joey Votto extended his reach safely streak to all 29 games this season by going 2-for-4 with a first-inning double and fourth inning single. His latter two at-bats brought two outs on a total of two pitches. Votto made the third out in the fifth on a fly ball to center field with runners on first and second. In the seventh with runners on the corners and two outs, he popped a first pitch to second base.

*That pop out was Votto’s first of this season and according to fangraphs.com, it was his first since he had two in 2009. He was also caught stealing second base in the fourth inning when his team was down 7-1.

“That wasn’t trying to do too much,” Baker said of the caught stealing. He thought he had a good jump and I green light certain guys who think they can get a good jump. It looks bad when you get thrown out, but sometimes you try to slow-walk a team by inching them back. It’s not like we had a whole bunch of offense going against Happ in the first place.”

*Incredible play by 2B Brandon Phillips…he made a third inning barehanded stop on Jason Burgeois and flipped the ball to first base between his legs for the out while on the move.

*Did anyone watch the Jonny Gomes piece on ESPN’s E:60 tonight? If so, how was it? Anything we didn’t already know before?

Quotes:

“That inning, I was leaving the ball over the middle and not getting ahead. I was getting 2-0 counts quite a bit. I just wasn’t attacking, getting ahead.” — Mike Leake on his fourth inning.

“I know I sound like a broken record, you just hate to keep going to your bullpen so early. It destroys you, but the bullpen is in decent shape. We had some guys give us some innings in there just to save us for tomorrow and the ensuing days.” — Dusty Baker

Series opener (take two)

Reds lineup vs. Astros

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

*To make up for the rained out game Monday, Fox Sports Ohio will televise Thursday’s makeup game, airtime at 12:30 p.m. ET. The pre-game show airs at 12 p.m. And yes, the game will be carried in HD.

*As far as I know, the rain is done for a while. Although gray and chilly, it has dried out around GABP. I don’t expect any interuptions during tonight’s game.

Game ppd, Bailey on Thursday

As you likely know by now, the Reds series opener vs. the Astros on Monday was postponed because of rain. It was re-scheduled for 12:35 p.m. ET on Thursday.

It has a created a chance to alter the rotation and get Homer Bailey back from the disabled list. Bailey started the season on the DL because of a right shoulder impingement.

“What did they say, rain is a good thing? Is there a song about that?” Bailey said. “I’m definitely glad I can be back in at this level of competition. More than anything, I feel prepared. I went down and felt I threw well in all my rehab starts. Everything progressed pretty well. I’m kind of ready to step back in and get this thing started.”

Bailey pitched 6 1/3 innings for Louisville on Saturday while throwing 91 pitches. He allowed one run, five hits and two walks with six strikeouts. In three starts for Louisville, he was 2-0 with a 0.54 ERA, four walks and 11 strikeouts.

The Reds had planned to give Bailey one more rehab start at Class A Dayton, only because the team was originally scheduled off. His return means that Sam LeCure is moving to the bullpen. LeCure was supposed to start Tuesday. Mike Leake will move back a day and pitch. Travis Wood is still on for Wednesday.

“Had we had a game here without revamping the whole rotation then [Bailey] probably would have been throwing that day,” manager Dusty Baker said. “But, as it is, it worked out. He didn’t really feel, necessarily want another rehab assignment. It just would have been better for our rotation.”

Other notes:

*Baker did change his mind about Edgar Renteria at 3B had the game been played tonight.

“I changed my mind because he’s not really comfortable there yet,” Baker said.
 
*Johnny Cueto [rt. biceps/triceps irritation) appears to be getting one more rehab assignment start at Class A Dayton on Friday. He will have a side bullpen session with Bryan Price so he can see his progress. Cueto threw 99 pitches over 4 2/3 innings on Sunday at Louisville and gave up two runs (one earned) with five hits, two walks and six strikeouts.

“He had good velocity,” Baker said. “His pitch count got high early, and he was kind of spinning off away from the target, which Bryan feels is easily repaired.”

*After Tuesday, the Reds will play five day games in a row…two here and three at Chicago.

Rainout history at GABP:

This is only the fourth PPD in the nine seasons since the yard opened.

*The game on 6/15/03 vs Phi was postponed after a 1-hour, 25-minute delay in the top of the second inning.

*The game on 5/15/08 vs Fla was postponed before the gates opened.

*The game on 4/10/09 vs Pit was postponed after a 20-minute delay at the start of the game.

*The game on 5/2/11 vs Hou was postponed before the gates opened.

*Three other games were shortened by rain but completed (4-3 win vs Atl in 4.2 innings on 4/22/04, a 2-2 tie vs Hou in 7 innings on 6/30/05, 4-2 win vs Cubs in 5 innings on 9/22/06).

Renteria not at 3B

Reds lineup vs. Astros

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

**
*It looks like Dusty Baker changed his mind about using Edgar Renteria at 3B. He said after yesterday’s game that was part of his plans for today.

*The tarp is currently on the field. I’ve heard rain is in the forecast all day, but I do not know if a window might exist to squeeze this game in. Stay tuned.

Lots of long balls.

Per what Dusty Baker was quoted in the previous blog entry, Sunday’s 9-5 loss was a tough one for the Reds vs. Florida.

It wasn’t just that Reds pitchers gave up five home runs. It was that the offense twice tied the game up only to see the Marlins take the lead again the very next half inning. It was also disappointing four a two-run deficit wide when Florida had a four-run eighth inning.

Still, the Reds were in it at the end. They scored two and had the right guy batting in Joey Votto representing the tying run with the bases loaded.

The Reds are back to .500 with a 14-14 record. On this date in 2010, they were 12-12. Through 28 games last season, they were also 14-14.

Notes:

*Hard to believe this, but Hanley Ramirez hit his first homer of the season in the top of the first. He had 21 last season.

*John Buck hit his second homer of the series to put Florida up for good in the seventh. It was also Buck’s second homer of the season. He came into the day in a 2-for-23 skid and collected three hits.

*Emilio Bonafacio hit his first outside the park HR off of Nick Masset in the eighth, a three-run shot to right field. The only other Bonafacio HR was an inside the park deal in 2009.

*Before the four-run, two-homer eighth, Nick Masset had retired 19 of his last 21 batters. He had seven scoreless innings in a row.

*Joey Votto has reached base in all 28 games this season with his first-inning walk.

*Chris Heisey hit a pinch-hit, two-run double in the ninth. He is 5-for-12 (.417) as a pinch-hitter this season.

*Since April 20, the Reds have alternated wins and losses for 11-straight games. They are 5-6 in the stretch.

*Nice game today by 3B Chris Valaika, who was involved in eight putouts, including a stretch of 5 out of 6. However, Baker said that Edgar Renteria would make his first career start at 3B on Monday vs. HOU.

Quotes:
“It’s definitely disappointing in the fact, you give up the lead, they tie it up, you give up the lead, they tie it up. It’s mentally draining on your ballclub to fight back like that and to give up the lead like that when you go out there with a tie.” — Bronson Arroyo

“Nick was throwing the ball outstanding until today. The young man Stanton, he can hit them any place off anybody. When you give up a home run to Bonafacio, who is a good player most of the time, it’s a ball up and usually it’s a mistake – especially left-handed. Right-handed, he’s got some sock but left-handed, that’s the best ball I’ve seen him hit.” — Dusty Baker

Sunday’s lineup

Reds lineup vs. Marlins

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

*Reds manager Dusty Baker believed today’s game carried some extra significance.

*
“This is another rubber match game. These are the big, big, big games. Win series games,” Baker said. “You try to inch further away from .500 and back closer to the top. There are certain teams that you know you’ll be contending with for home field advantage, possibly, or even wild card consideration if you don’t win your division. You try to think about every possible scenario to get to the playoffs. You’re not conceding anything.

“You realize these guys, probably a handful of teams, are pretty close to going somewhere. These guys are one of them. That’s what I’m trying to get my guys to think about versus just waiting until the end to think about.”

*RHP Homer Bailey (right shoulder impingement) was back in the clubhouse today. He feels fine so far after Saturday’s rehab assignment start. The club is tentatively eyeing his return as May 10 at Houston. Thursday’s off day throws a wrench in the pitching schedule so Bailey will likely throw up in Dayton to stay on his turn. I will have more about Bailey on MLB.com/reds.com later.

*For those wondering, the game is a 4:10 p.m. ET start because of the Flying Pig Marathon, which has its finish line just outside of GABP. People were still coming to the end when I walked into the park. Congratulations to all the participants and finishers.

*It’s looking rather gloomy outside. Haven’t heard a forecast of exactly when the rain is coming back. It already rained this morning.

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