July 2011

A good, clean series?

Happy 4th of July from St. Louis…

Of course it will be impossible to predict the outcome of the three games between the Reds and Cardinals this week. But the only thing that’s almost become a sure thing is that there will be some sort of a sideshow controversy.

It’s already happened twice this year.

Back in April here, the Reds were wondering if the Cardinals pulled some trickery with their use of weather radar and beginning a game when they knew a terrible storm was coming. The Reds say they were told it would be at least an hour. The Cardinals “started” Miguel Batista for only six pitches before the two-hour delay and turned the ball over to actual starter Kyle McClellan after the rain stopped. The Reds had Edinson Volquez all warmed up to start but couldn’t use him after he got cold during the day. The bullpen had to work all nine innings in a 4-2 loss.

Then in May at GABP, there was some griping from the Cardinals dugout when Francisco Cordero plunked Albert Pujols during a critical ninth inning situation (it was an 0-2 pitch that made Pujols the tying run at first base). Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan and backup catcher Gerald Laird had words for Cordero, who was shouting back on his way off the field.

And today of course is a premier matchup between Johnny Cueto and Chris Carpenter. Cueto isn’t a favorite of St. Louis because it was his kick to the head of Jason LaRue that gave the catcher a career-ending concussion during the
August, 2010 donnybrook. Cardinals fans booed lustily every time Brandon Phillips batted here in April. Could they keep it up an entire game when Cueto is pitching? And Reds fans have grown tired of Carpenter’s frequent complaining about tough-to-grip balls, fireworks smoke and mound conditions. Carpenter was also a major part of the benches-clearing incident last August.

 UPDATE — Reds manager Dusty Baker was asked if he was concerned about any controversy today with Cueto facing Carpenter.

“I hope not,” Baker said. “How long can you hold stuff? You just got to play ball, that’s all. We hope Cueto is pitching the way he’s been pitching.”

Reds lineup vs. Cardinals

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

*The Reds have not won a three-game series at Busch Stadium since taking a sweep from June 5-7, 2006. In 12 series here since, Cincinnati is 0-11-1.

*Scott Rolen’s next hit will give him 2,000 for his career. He needs two more doubles for 500 over his career.

*A reminder: Tuesday’s game will start at 7:09 p.m. ET, a switch to accomodate an ESPN broadcast. It was originally slated to start at 8:15 p.m. ET.

Cordero overlooked?

The other day on the radio with Marty Brennaman, I predicted the Reds would have three representatives and I was right on the count but missed on one guy. Instead of saying Jay Bruce, I felt like closer Francisco Cordero could go.

Yeah, it was a long shot because Cordero is nowhere close to the lead in saves. Today, he notched his 17th that is good for 11th in the NL. Brian Wilson has 24 saves while Heath Bell and Joel Hanrahan each have 23 and all three are going to Phoenix for the All-Star game.

Among closers, Cordero came into today with a league-best 0.85 WHIP (walks-hits per 9 innings). His ERA after Sunday is 1.49 and trails only Hanrahan. He also has 11 walks with 26 strikeouts over 36 1/3 innings

Cordero, a three-time All-Star, felt overlooked this year.

“To tell you the truth, it’s fairly disappointing,” Cordero said. “I know I don’t have a lot of saves. But overall, I have pretty good numbers. Last year, I understood I didn’t make it. I was leading the league with 24 saves last year and I didn’t make it because I had a high ERA. Now because I don’t have enough saves, I’m not on it. I’m disappointed. I’ll just do my job and continue to do what I’m doing, getting people out and trying to make the playoffs.”

“I thought I was going to make it but that’s how it is sometimes. Sometimes stuff like that happens. You have to be able to put it behind and continue to do what you’re doing. I’m happy for the three guys that made it. They deserve to be there too.”

Notes from the Reds’ 7-5 win over the Indians:

*Edgar Renteria notched the first home run this season for a Reds shortstop  with his fifth-inning solo shot to the first row of right field seats. It was also the 900th career RBI for Renteria.

*Fred Lewis was 2-for-5 and is batting .424 (14-for-33) with seven RBIs in his last 13 games.

*Mike Leake (6 ip, 4 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 1 HR. 93 pitches/62 strikes) had retired 11 in a row until he issued walks in top 6th that would later score. Dusty Baker believed the heat and running the bases in the bottom of the fifth affected Leake in his final inning. Overall I felt it was a very good effort for Leake.

*The Reds finished the Ohio Cup series 1-5 vs. the Indians and 6-12 in Interleague Play. It’s all NL baseball from here and it starts with a huge road trip to St. Louis and Milwaukee. See you Monday from Busch Stadium.

All-Star selection Sunday

NL All-Star starters, as voted by the fans. No Reds will start.

C Brian McCann
1B Prince Fielder
2B Rickie Weeks
SS Jose Reyes
3B Placido Polanco
OF Ryan Braun (leading NL vote getter)
OF Lance Berkman
OF Matt Kemp

Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce were voted in by the players as reserves. For Votto and Phillips, it’s their second consecutive time. It’s the first for Bruce.

My story on Reds.com and MLB.com.

Goodbye Tribe

Reds lineup vs Indians

Lewis 7
Phillips 4
Votto 3
Bruce 9
Hernandez 2
Heisey 8
Renteria 6
Cairo 5
Leake 1

I will be on top of the All Star selection stuff today, show airs on TBS at noon.

Ohio Cup, Part Deux

Reds lineup vs. Indians

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

*The Indians are missing Shin-Soo Choo, who is on the DL. Choo was hitting .500  (6-for-12) with four homers and seven RBIs lifetime vs. Arroyo. DH Travis Hafner will be reduced to pinch-hitting this weekend and he is a .538 hitter (7-for-13) vs. Arroyo with one homer.

*Lifetime vs. Cleveland, Arroyo is 5-3 with a 3.61 ERA in eight games, including seven starts.

*Against Indians starter Justin Masterson, Jay Bruce is 2-for-6 with a homer and Scott Rolen is 2-for-4 with a homer. In two career starts vs. the Reds, Masterson is 0-2 with a 6.94 ERA.

*The Reds expect sellouts tonight and tomorrow, which would be the seventh and eighth this season and 60th and 61st all-time at GABP.

*Four Triple-A Louisville players were named to the Triple-A All-Star game — C Devin Mesoraco, OF/1B Yonder Alonso, SS Zack Cozart and OF Jeremy Hermida.

*Louisville manager Rick Sweet was named a coach on the U.S. squad for the MLB All-Star Futures game on Sunday.

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