July 2011

Bruce still out, Frazier starting

Reds lineup vs. Braves

Stubbs 8
Cozart 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Lewis 9
Gomes 7
Frazier 5
Hanigan 2
Bailey 1

*UPDATE — Jay Bruce is bothered by an inner ear issue. I did not see him in the clubhouse myself, but was told he was around and not looking good.

 “He is terrible,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “Right now Jay is having an inner ear problem. He just woke up with it. I just saw him the afternoon before and he was great, walking his dog and seeing his girl. That’s why as a manager, you have to get here early because you don’t know what can happen overnight. You show up later, and something happens – always.”

*Jonny Gomes is 4-for-8 with one homer lifetime vs. Braves starter Derek Lowe and Drew Stubbs is 4-for-7 with three RBIs. On the other hand, Joey Votto is 2-for-8 and Brandon Phillips is 2-for-14

*At 48-51 entering today, the Reds are trying to avoid going a season-high four games under .500. That hasn’t happened since they were 7-11 on April 24, 2010.

*After 100 games last season, the Reds were 55-45.

Rolen to DL

A late move from the Reds — 3B Scott Rolen was placed on the 15-day DL (retroactive to Thursday) with a strained left shoulder.

IF/OF Todd Frazier was recalled from Triple-A Louisville to replace Rolen and will be in uniform tonight.  Rolen had missed two of the previous three games and was not in tonight’s lineup. Earlier before the move was known, manager Dusty Baker said that Rolen was generally sore.

“We didn’t know he was going to come up sore this time after resting him a few days,” Baker said.

This is Rolen’s second time on the DL this season. He had the same injury when he was out from April 24-May 12.

**What this means: For the time being, I’d expect Miguel Cairo to get the bulk of the starts at third base. He did a lot it the last time Rolen went down and he’s been solid all season while hitting .288 (.344 over his last 13 games).

For the long term of the season — and without my knowning the Rolen prognosis — I’d wonder if the Reds might seek a third baseman in a trade which would help fill the spot and possibly solve their need for a bat. If Rolen is back in 2 weeks, it’s unlikely the Reds would make a deal for a third baseman. But if it’s longer…it could be a viable move.

Bruce missing from Friday lineup

Reds lineup vs. Braves

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

*Something must be up with up with Jay Bruce, because he is 5-for-9 (.556) with a homer lifetime vs. Braves starter Jair Jurrjens. And Dusty Baker is very big on maximizing matchups whenever he can. When the clubhouse opens, I will see what the word is.

**Update: Bruce is under the weather and having dizzy spells. He is scheduled to see a doctor today.

*Coming off Wednesday’s victory at Pittsburgh, the Reds are trying again for back-to-back wins. That hasn’t happened since the three-game sweep at LA June 13-15.

*Some game time changes ahead: The Aug. 20 game at PIT has been changed from 7:05 p.m. to 4:11 to accommodate the FOX national broadcast…the Sept. 10 at COL is no longer is on the FOX broadcast schedule…that new starting time is TBA.

Quotes from big series win

 Some clubhouse quotes following the Reds 3-1 victory over the Cardinals to take two of three in the series. A few made my game story and others did not.

“Boy that was a huge game right there. When you’tre playing the teams on top, they’re two-game games into one. If we lose, we go to five [back]. If we win, we go to three.” — Dusty Baker

“Obviously it was a pretty intense series. I’m glad we came out on top. I went to Milwaukee and they were in the lead at the time. Then we played St. Louis and they were in the lead when they first got here. It’s been two tough series. It’s going to be that way the rest of the year.” — Zack Cozart

“It’s as good as I’ve pitched. It’s definitely not as good as I’ve felt. We’ll take the wins as they come, right? I think every player goes through that. Some days they show up and don’t feel great. But it doesn’t matter. We’ve got to win. The outcome – we couldn’t have pictured it any better against the Cardinals being how tight the division is. That was a good bonus for us. Now we go to Pittsburgh and everything is great.” — Homer Bailey

“Every game from now on is important. The next three and all the games we have left. We’re not only fighting against St. Louis. We’ve got Pittsburgh and the Brewers in front of us. We just have to take advantage every time, every opportunity that we have.” — Francisco Cordero

“It was big. Garcia is tough. We didn’t hit him hard. He’s got a great ERA. He’s a great pitcher. Even the hits we got, we weren’t driving the ball against him. I was trying to put the ball in play, trying to get it into the outfield. I found a hole and was fortunate. It was a big a run for us.” — Ryan Hanigan

“He just didn’t make many mistakes. He was down in the strike zone and moving the ball pretty well.” — Cardinals RF Lance Berkman on Bailey.

“I made it a point to make sure my foot was on the base. We’re taught to drag our foot across the bag, and I feel like that’s what I did. I feel like he was out.” — Cardinals SS Ryan Theriot on the play where he was ejected in the sixth.


****I won’t be going to Pittsburgh as I take some days (my personal All-Star break). Back at it on Friday.

Rubber game Sunday

Reds lineup vs. Cardinals

Stubbs 8
Cozart 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Gomes 7
Bruce 9
Cairo 5
Hanigan 2
Bailey 1

*Against LHP Jaime Garcia, Jonny Gomes is 4-for-10 with two doubles and three RBIs.

“Gomes is the only one that’s hit Garcia. We need him today,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

*The problem matchup could be for Jay Bruce, who is 1-for-10 vs. Garcia, but with only one strikeout.


Reds lineup vs. Cardinals

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

*According to the Elias Sports Bureau, last night’s 6-5 Reds win was the Majors’ third game of the season that began with a leadoff home run (Heisey) and ended with awalkoff homer (Phillips). The other teams to do it were the Nationals (6/16, also vs. STL) and the Angels (7/8 vs. SEA).

*Also from Elias, after allowing leadoff homers in each of his last start to Heisey, Cardinals pitcher Jake Westbrook became the first to allow leadoff homers to begin consecutive starts to thge same batter since Tampa Bay’s Steve Trachsel to Seattle’s Rickey Henderson in 2000.

*Zack Cozart’s five-game hitting streak to begin his big league career is the longest begin-a-career hit streak since  Adam Dunn had a seven-game streak in 2001.

The second half starts….now

Welcome to the start of the second half of the season…

The Reds likely have used the four days off to rest and recharge and perhaps recalibrate. They better have because the first six games after the break are huge. If they do well, they can put a dent in the four-game gap in the NL Central and perhaps pick off two of the three teams ahead of them.

Of course, that’s easier said than done.  While the Reds are 5-4 this season vs. STL, they are only 1-5 vs. PIT.


Update — Bronson Arroyo amplified my point with this quotes:

“Playing division teams to start the second half is huge for us,” Arroyo said. “If we get killed in these two series, we’re in trouble. If we don’t, we’ll be right in the thick of things. We haven’t played very consistent. We haven’t won two games in a row in about a month. To be four games back is actually a blessing for us.”

Update No. 2 — The Reds placed RHP Jose Arrendono on the 15-day DL retroactive to July 7 with a straight right forearm. LHP Jeremy Horst was recalled from AAA Louisville.

Reds lineup vs. Cardinals

Heisey 8
Cozart 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Rolen 5
Lewis 7
Hernandez 2
Cueto 1

*Since I am catching up from missing the Milwaukee series and being tied up during the All-Star break, here are some items you may have not received.

The rotation for the next six games:

Fri vs StL:      RHP Johnny Cueto (5-3, 1.96) vs RHP Jake Westbrook          
Sat vs StL:     RHP Bronson Arroyo (7-7, 5.58) vs RHP Chris Carpenter

Sun vs StL:   RHP Homer Bailey (3-4, 4.13) vs LHP Jaime Garcia                  
Mon at Pit:     LHP Dontrelle Willis (0-0, 3.00) vs RHP James McDonald          
Tue at Pit:      RHP Mike Leake (8-4, 4.28) vs RHP Charlie Morton                  
Wed at Pit:     RHP Johnny Cueto vs RHP Jeff Karstens        

*This came last week when SS Zack Cozart was called up. Cozart is the 20th shortstop to pair with 2B Brandon Phillips in the Reds middle infield. The other 19:

Edgar Renteria
Orlando Cabrera
Miguel Cairo
Paul Janish
Drew Sutton
Chris Valaika
Alex Gonzalez
Jerry Hairston Jr.
Adam Rosales
Jolbert Cabrera
Juan Castro
Jeff Keppinger
Danny Richar
Enrique Cruz
Pedro Lopez
Rich Aurilia
Royce Clayton
Felipe Lopez
Ray Olmedo

*Brandon Phillips (aka @DatDudeBP) was one of only nine baseball-types to make the Sports Illustrated Twitter 100. The only other two active players on the list besides Phillips were the Marlins’ Logan Morrison and the Rangers’ C.J. Wilson.

NL takes 5-1 win over AL

The Reds were not huge factors in the National Leagues’ 5-1 win over the American League Tuesday night. Cincinnati’s hitters were a combined 0-for-6 with four Ks.

Scott Rolen — started, was 0-for-2 with two Ks.

Joey Votto — entered in the top of the fifth and was 0-for-2 with a K and a groundout to 3B

Brandon Phillips — entered in the top of the sixth and was 0-for-1 with a fly out.

Jay Bruce — entered as a pinch-hitter in the ninth and struck out. He played right field in the bottom of the ninth and made a throwing error on Matt Joyce’s single that moved him to second base.

Here are some quotes from the Reds All-Stars today… Be sure to check out my full story when it’s up on Reds.com and MLB.com.

“Arizona has done a great job. The clubhouse is beautiful. I feel like it’s been a nice experience.” — Joey Votto

“That was not the two draws I was looking for, for sure.” — Scott Rolen on facing pitchers Michael Pineda and Jordan Walden. Pineda was throwing some killer sliders and Walden had two pitches reach 100 mph and another at 99 to Rolen.
“I say thank you, Prince, because he just gave the Reds home field advantage for the World Series. I’m going to give him a kiss on the cheek. I told him already. I’ll give him a kiss…when I get dressed.” — Brandon Phillips on Prince Fielder, who was named MVP for his fourth inning three-run homer that snapped a 1-1 tie.

“My family and friends are getting to experience everything. It’s been awesome. I’m just taking it all in. it’s been great.” — Jay Bruce.


All-Star game BP

A few photos from the National League’s batting practice session.

Scott Rolen


Jay Bruce


Brandon Phillips interviewed by 'The Cleveland Show' voice Mike Henry, who is also a Reds fan.


At the HR derby

I’m writing to you from my spot in the auxiliary press box, which happens to sit in left field at Chase Field during the home run derby. Several BP balls made it in this vicinity so it could be fun dodging some more during the derby.

Be sure to check out my stories on Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce and another one on Scott Rolen from the All-Star game.

Here are some video clips:

Scott Rolen talking about the All-Star game

Jay Bruce discussing his first All-Star experience.

Here are a bunch of quotes, some that did not make my stories today:

“I’m really happy to be here. I would have been disappointed had I not made the All-Star team. If you ask anybody in the room, they answer the question the exact same way. I don’t want the four days off. I strive to be the best player I can. I made the All-Star team last year and really wanted to do it again this year. … It’s easier this time because I know how to pace myself. Last year, I was beat up before because I had to do the Final Vote thing and then I was beat up afterwards because I stretched myself too thin. I think this time I will take it in and enjoy it a little more. Last year, it just felt like it happened so quickly. I didn’t get to stay in the moment and take it in.” — Joey Votto

“The way we’ve been playing, I’m glad the All-Star break is here. It came at the right time. Recharging isn’t the word. We need to shock them. I’m glad we’re going through what we’ve gone through in the first half. It shows we’re human and we have a lot of things we need to do. At the beginning, I didn’t know we were going to be where we are now. I thought we’d be much better. We have some of the best players in all of baseball and for us to be only four games out the way we’ve been playing, it shows you what our team is.” — Brandon Phillips

“I’m doing something not everyone gets a chance to do and I’m really, really excited about it to be able to represent my family, represent my team and represent the city I’m from and represent myself.” — Jay Bruce

“It’s always special. I kind of viewed last year as my last All-Star game. I thought ‘ok, bring the whole family, do it all.’ And here we are again. I rolled it all out last year and this is an add-on. Everybody is here but we had to go and collect them.” — Scott Rolen


My view for the State Farm Home Run Derby

Former Reds 1B Sean Casey near the MLB Network set.

Scott Rolen near the BP cage with Matt Holliday

Joey Votto

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