June 2011

Chapman activated

Hello from Baltimore…

The Reds, not surprisingly, activated LHP Aroldis Chapman from the 15-day disabled list on Friday. LHP Jeremy Horst was optioned to Triple-A Louisville.

Actually, the move was made last night because Horst pitched an inning for Louisville.

Chapman was on the DL since May 16 because of left shoulder inflammation, but has actually been healthy for a while. He had nine rehab outings for Louisville and Double-A Carolina. Most of the games pitched down below were erratic. But the last two were each a perfect inning at very end of the 30 days, which apparently was enough to convince the front office that Chapman had solved his command issues.

I’ll be curious to see if Chapman’s role will be the same as it was before he left…and how often he’ll be available to use out of the bullpen.

More later  from Camden Yards….

 

Game 2

Reds Game 2 lineup vs. Yankees

Heisey 8
Phillips 4
Votto 3
Bruce 9
Gomes 7
Hernandez 2
Cairo 5
Janish 6
Cueto 1

Notes from Game 1, a 4-2 loss to NY.

*The Reds have scored 9 runs over their last 5 games with four losses on the home stand….and 10 runs over their last six home games.

*Joey Votto’s first inning walk was the lone free pass for the Reds today. They have 3 walks in 5 games.

*The Reds were 0-for-5 RISP today and are 2-for-27 on the home stand.

Quote:

“You know when you’re not clicking offensively, you’re on thin ice when you know you can’t make one mistake”  — Reds manager Dusty Baker.

Wood optioned, LeCure activated

Before Wednesday’s first game of the doubleheader, the Reds optioned starting pitcher Travis Wood to Triple-A Louisville and activated reliever Sam LeCure from the 15-day disabled list.

In 16 starts this season, Wood was 5-5 with a 5.11 ERA and he had 34 walks with 65 strikeouts over 93 1/3 innings. He last pitched on Monday vs. the Yankees and took a 5-3 loss after allowing four first-inning runs with eight hits overall, one walk and six strikeouts. He retired his final 11 batters in a row.

LeCure had been on the DL since May 29 because of a strained right forearm.

The move all but assures that Homer Bailey will be activated to take Wood’s next turn to start, which was Sunday vs. the Orioles.

New leadoff guy…

Reds lineup vs. Yankees

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

*Obviously, an interesting shake up at the top of the order with Drew Stubbs moving down.

*When he first checked the lineup, Lewis looked for his name further down in the order and didn’t see it.

“I looked at the lineup and thought I guess I’m not playing today,” Lewis said. “I looked at the BP groups and I was in the second group [with starters]. I had to look at the lineup again and it was a bit of a shock to me. Leading off?”

*Baker planned of using Stubbs in the leadoff spot for Game 2, but indicated he might bat Stubbs down in the order when the Interleague games move to the AL cities.

“Just relieve a little pressure for him. Freddy has been swinging the bat well,” Baker said. “When you’re scuffling in the leadoff spot, those ABs add up rather quickly – especially if you’re not walking much. It’s a temporary thing.”

*On Tuesday in his rehab assignment for Triple-A Louisville, Homer Bailey pitched six innings and allowed three runs and eight hits with one walk and three strikeouts. He threw 103 pitches, 71 strikes.

*Aroldis Chapman followed Bailey with one perfect inning and one strikeout. Of his 13 pitches, there were seven strikes.

**UPDATE — Baker said that Chapman would not be activated today. There is a good chance that Sam LeCure will be activated at some point today.

*FS Ohio is broadcasting both games today and tonight.

Rained out, doubleheader Weds.

Tuesday’s game between the Reds and Yankees has been postponed because of rain.

The game has been rescheduled as part of a day-night doubleheader on Wednesday with start times of 12:35 p.m. and 7:10 p.m. ET. After the first game ends, Great American Ball Park will be cleared and the gates will re-open at 5:40 p.m. for the nightcap.

There is rain in the forecast for Wednesday as well.

“There’s not a lot you can do about the weather,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “I just hope we get them and don’t have to play on Thursday. Tomorrow is not a lot better.”

Fans with tickets to Tuesday’s game can use them for the Wednesday night game with no exchange necessary. Tickets can also be exchanged for any other 2011 Reds regular season home game, subject to availability and excluding the Cardinals series from July 15-17.

Mike Leake will start the afternoon game for Cincinnati against Freddy Garcia. Johnny Cueto will take the night game and pitch against rookie Brian Gordon.

Will the offense catch a spark?

Reds lineup vs. Yankees

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

*In four games on this home stand, the Reds are 2-for-22 RISP. As I mentioned last night, they are batting .220 as a team in those games. They’ve also drawn only two walks compared to 28 strikeouts.

*In the last 14 games Reds pitchers are 8-6 with a 2.53 ERA, including 8-4 with a 2.48 ERA for the starters.

*Homer Bailey and Aroldis Chapman are still due to pitch for Triple-A Louisville tonight in rehab assignments.

Cold bats, first-inning woes

When the Reds are hitting like gangbusters, the first-inning bugaboo that plagues the rotation isn’t as big of a deal. When Travis Wood goes down 4-0 in the first and his slumping lineup is facing a very effective Ivan Nova, it proved big trouble.

Hence, a 5-3 Reds loss to the Yankees.

Wood gave up five first-inning hits…all of them line drives. No cheapies.

“I think he was a little bit pumped up because he was trying to go low and away a number of times and the ball was about thigh to waist high,” manager Dusty Baker said.

Wood threw 34 pitches in the inning but largely settled down. Besides the four runs, he gave up eight hits over seven innings with one walk and six strikeouts. He wound up retiring the last 11 batters he faced.

Notes:

*Since returning from that great 5-2 West Coast trip and three-game sweep of the Dodgers, the Reds have dropped three of four. The lineup has been dragging with seven runs in four games and a .220 average.

*The Reds had two singles against Nova to start the bottom of the first, but got only one run on Joey Votto’s 463 GIDP.

*The Reds are 21-24 when the opponent scores first. This season, the pitching staff has allowed 59 first-inning runs — by far the most over any other inning they’ve had this season.

*The crowd of 41,173 was a sellout. Lots of Yankees fans were included, which made for a high-energy atmosphere as fans of both teams tried to drown each other out.

Quotes:

“We’re having a hard time getting a leadoff batter on base to get the pitcher in the stretch right away. Every inning, we’re operating with one or two outs. We have to find a way to get that leadoff hitter on, then we can do something.” — Dusty Baker

“We’re just not getting the hits when we need them; we’re not getting timely hits. That’s about it. We’re going to be fine. It’s early still, and there’s a lot of season left. But we’re just not getting timely hits right now.” — Jay Bruce

“I had my normal rest and I’m always ready to take the ball. I wouldn’t say it affected me.” — Travis Wood, on stepping in for Monday’s original starter, Johnny Cueto.

“I feel like we’re the comeback kids, man. When I got that base hit, I was like, ‘Oh man, here we go. We’re going to start scoring some runs,’ and we started doing that. We just came up short today. But there’s something about us in the ninth inning. It’s like our second wind of the game. We get that second wind and we end up just coming and coming, and we come back. I wish it would have happened earlier in the game, but it just didn’t go our way. They’re a great team. I respect their organization dearly. They have a great lineup. They have a lot of names over there. Honestly, I’m glad we’re playing them, just seeing where we stand against all the other Major League teams out there, and that’s one of the best teams in the League.” — Brandon Phillips

“It’s impressive. We’ve seen this kid take some steps forward and do some really good things for us. We’ll continue to work with him and try to teach him. I think he’s learning on the way. That’s what you do when you’re a young starter. You take whjat you did the last start and you try to learn from it. I think he’s doing that. He’s making adjustments as he needs to. He didn’t get caught up in the ballpark.” — Yankees manager Joe Girardi on Ivan Nova

 

“A lot of crafty lefties have had a lot of success against us. Part of the reason is we expand a little bit and try to do a little bit too much. I thought for us, that’s a prototypical first inning, an ideal first inning that we’ll take every time.” — Alex Rodriguez

Cueto out, Wood in

There is an interesting development — Johnny Cueto, tonight’s originally scheduled starter, is not in the lineup posted by the club. It’s Travis Wood, who was supposed to go on Tuesday. The clubhouses aren’t open yet, so stand by for the reason.

Reds lineup vs. Yankees:

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

****update**** Cueto now scheduled to pitch on Tuesday. Reason not known yet. Stay tuned.

**UPDATE #2**** Cueto has a stiff neck.

 “My neck is sore,” Cueto said. “I’m probably pitching tomorrow, depends on how I feel when I throw today.

“When I throw, there’s a little pain.”

 “His neck has been bothering him the last few days, probably since the plane trip coming back,” manager Dusty Baker said. “Versus us waiting until the last minute and telling Woody to strap it on and let’s go, we decided to make the change and give both of them the opportunity. We actually made the change last night so we informed Woody. It’s his normal day today.”

*Before the game tonight, Jay Bruce will receive his NL Player of the Week and Player of the Month Award from May.

*1961-era Reds pitcher Jim O’Toole is the Reds’ honorary captain tonight. O’Toole’s club faced the Yankees in the ’61 World Series, won by New York.

Stopper-esque performance from Arroyo

The Reds didn’t really snap out of their offensive malaise from the weekend, but they did just long enough thanks to Miguel Cairo’s two-run homer for a 2-1 win over the Blue Jays.

But the story of the game was Bronson Arroyo: 8 ip (season high), 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR. 103 pitches/69 strikes. At one point, he retired 12 in a row before Aaron Hill’s home run to begin the fifth.

“Everything is about location,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “He had great location. He wasn’t over the heart of the plate. He was inside or outside, up or down. You know how Bronson gets. He can go four or five starts and get shelled. Then he can go another seven, eight in a row and nobody hits him. It’s about location and movement, velocity and feeling.”

That was exactly the type of game the Reds needed to head off a losing streak, especially with the Yankees rolling in here on Monday. The right guy is pitching on Monday in Johnny Cueto to put two in a row together.
 

Notes:

*Until Cairo’s homer in the fifth off Carlos Villanueva, the Reds had a stretch of 16-straight scoreless innings since the seventh inning on Friday.

*The defensive play of the game came just before in the top of the fifth, shortly after Hill’s leadoff homer. With runners on the corners and no outs, John McDonald botched a safety-squeeze attempt and popped out to Joey Votto. Votto promptly fired to third base and caught Juan Rivera diving back for the double play.

*Votto’s lined two-out single in the first inning snapped a 0-for-10 skid.

*The Reds were 0-for-6 with RISP and stranded eight men on base.

*The club’s six-game Interleague losing streak is over.

*The Reds are 11-15 in one-run games this season.

Quotes:

“That probably changed the whole game. If I didn’t get that right there, he gets the bunt down, they probably score a run and I’ve only got one out and they’ve got a guy on second base. That was huge, Votto being aware enough that the guy was off third base over the crowd noise. Getting that double play definitely turned the game around.” — Bronson Arroyo on Votto turning the double play.

 

“I told the guys on the bench that was a game saver. We need some breaks like that sometimes.” — Dusty Baker on the same play.

“You’ve got to dispel that feeling. Your attitude and outlook controls a lot in the ballgame, whether you know it or not. That’s what I’ve learned over the course of the years. You try to dispel all those negative thoughts and feelings and try to think that something good is going to happen. If you’re in a tight ballgame, you have a good opportunity for something good to happen.” —  Baker on the Reds missing the big hit in scoring chances today.

Happy Father’s Day

To all the Dads out there…Happy Father’s Day. Hope you get a nice day with your kids if you can be with them today.

Reds lineup vs. Blue Jays

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

*Last night at Double-A Carolina, Aroldis Chapman worked two perfect innings with three strikeouts. Of his 21 pitches, 14 were strikes. The Reds have a decision to make soon since Chapman’s 30-day rehab assignment is just about up.

*Joey Votto didn’t reach base in either of his last two games, his longest such streak since he failed to reach safely over 3 games on 8/30 vs LAD and 8/31 vs Pit (DH), 2009.

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