August 2011

19 scoreless innings

Cole Hamels plus Roy Halladay plus Cliff Lee equals three losses and not a whole lot of scoring.

The 3-0 loss to Lee on Wednesday ran the Reds’ scoreless innings streak to 19 innings.

Read the game recap here.

Notes:

*Brandon Phillips 13-game hitting streak is over after he went 0-for-4.

*Paul Janish is in a career-high 0-for-26 skid…the longest by a Reds batter this season. He was 0-for-3 tonight and batting .207.

*The last time the Reds were handed back-to-back shutouts was July 18-19 at Pittsburgh.

*The last time the Reds were shutout three-straigh times was April 18-19 and 21, 1989 vs. the Dodgers and Astros.

*Cliff Lee finished August 5-0 with a 0.45 ERA. He has 30 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings on the road. To quote the great Larry David … “pretty, pre-tty, pre-tty good.”

*Here is a tweet from colleague Todd Zolecki about Phillies manager Charlie Manuel to lift Lee with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth:

“I want Madson,” Manuel said. “You sure?” Lee said. “Damn sure,” Manuel replied. Case closed.

Quotes:

“Willis kept us off balance. He threw some changeups. We couldn’t handle him. The game was a little bit harder than it looked. We were having a hard time scoring off him.” — Phillies skipper Charlie Manuel

“Their pitching staff, they’re getting paid what our whole payroll is making. They earn their money. They can pitch.” — Dusty Baker

“I’ve walked guys before and they haven’t scored. You just have to make better pitches and kind of erase that and try not to let them put a crooked number on the board, which I didn’t. It’s just tough because you’re going against somebody that was pitching a lot better than you. Once I walk a guy or a base hit, I let it go and move on to the next guy.” — Dontrelle Willis, who walked five. His two leadoff walks to Shane Victorino led to runs.

Mesoraco among Sept. callups

The Reds revealed a day early their plan for September call-ups. And top catching prospect Devin Mesoraco is on the list.

Outfielder Chris Heisey will be activated from the 15-day DL. 3B Juan Francisco, INF Chris Valaika,  RHPs Carlos Fisher and Jared Burton and LHPs Matt Maloney and Jeremy Horst are all coming up from Triple-A Louisville for Thursday’s game.

RHP Edinson Volquez and LHP Travis Wood are expected to join the Reds after Louisville’s season concludes on Sept. 5.

Mesoraco, 23, is batting .289/.371/.484 with 15 homers and 71 RBIs in 120 games with Louisville. He was the Reds’ 2007 first-round Draft pick (15th overall) and has made large improvements the past couple of seasons.

“Obviously he’s a guy we’re going to protect,” GM Walt Jocketty said about Mesoraco. “It’s a chance for him to get some exposure and get used to seeing what it’s like in the big leagues. We’ll see what he can learn the last month of the season.”

It isn’t clear how much playing that Mesoraco would get in a three-way rotation among Ramon Hernandez and Ryan Hanigan.

“I think we’ll just have to see. We’re going to try and give him some playing time obviously,” Jocketty said.

Jocketty also said that Volquez could initially come up to the bullpen but might get some starts here before the end. The Reds are likely to have a rotation spot open soon because Mike Leake is about to have his innings capped soon. Leake is at 144 2/3 big league innings this season, plus 7 1/3 innings at Louisville, plus Spring Training.

“He’s close. He might have another start or two,” Jocketty said. “We’ll have to talk to Bryan [Price] about it a couple of days and figure out what the right number is. It’s pretty soon.”

Spot for Mesoraco opened?

Reds lineup vs. Phillies

Phillips 4
Sappelt 7
Votto 3
Bruce 9
Cairo 5
Stubbs 8
Hernandez 2
Janish 6
Willis

*The Padres claimed OF Jeremy Hermida off of outright waivers today from the Reds. Hermida was up the first month of the season and batted .111 (2-for-18) with one home run, three RBIs in 10 games. At Triple-A Louisville, where he’s been since, he batted .319 with 17 homers and 55 RBIs.

*This transaction puts the Reds 40-man roster at 39 players one day before September callups can arrive. That can only lead me to believe this is the opening created to get catcher Devin Mesoraco on the 40-man so he can be promoted.

All Philadelphia, all night

The buzzsaw of Phillies pitching stopped a Reds hot streak in its tracks. After they had won four in a row and six of seven before Monday — Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay put that fire out.

Halladay’s seven scoreless and two hits prevailed in a 9-0 Phillies rout over the Redlegs. He had two walks and nine strikeouts. Out of those, five Ks were called strike three.

After a leadoff blooped single by Brandon Phillips, Halladay retired 18 of 19, including 17 in a row. He did not surrender another hit until Joey Votto’s leadoff double to left field in the seventh.

Halladay was pitching on eight days rest. My colleague Todd Zolecki informed me that the last time he had that kind of rest, he threw the no-hitter vs. the Reds in the NLDS last year.

“He was getting some help at the bottom of the zone, we thought too,” said Reds manager Dusty Baker. “That’s where he lives. He’s getting those pitches at the bottom of the zone and he’s going to be exceptionally tough. That’s where he stays all the time.”

Notes:

*Bronson Arroyo gave up two more home runs and his 36 homers allowed for the season set a new club record for a right-handed pitcher. Lefty Eric Milton set the overall club record with 40 homers surrendered in 2005.

*The Hunter Pence homer off of Arroyo in the sixth inning was kind of stunning. It was helmet high on Pence and he reached up and still hit it out.

*The Reds are 1-5 vs. the Phillies this season.

*Brandon Phillips has the longest Reds hitting streak of the season with 13 games on the previously mentioned single.

*The Phillies are 21-7 this season when Halladay starts.

Quotes:

“I was cheating bad and I still hit it down the first-base line. Maybe it did help a little bit, otherwise I would have hit it in the stands. It didn’t help a lot.” — Roy Halladay on his three-run double off of Arroyo in the sixth.

“This kind of lineup, you make mistakes and they can hurt you, especially if they are preceded by walks or anything like that. They hit the ball out of the ballpark on us tonight. They got what they needed – seven innings out of Halladay. We didn’t muster up a whole bunch of offense.” — Dusty Baker

“I probably had been more frustrated in the past. Going 9-15 with 22 quality starts in ’07 wasn’t real fun. It’s more frustrating when you continue to pitch well like Cueto and Leake have and don’t win ballgames. I haven’t really matched the quality starts I’ve had over the past five seasons so it’s a little easier to swallow. Regardless, you’d like to go out and perform better than you have.” — Bronson Arroyo

No holiday with Halladay

Reds lineup vs. Phillies

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

*Against Phillies starter Roy Halladay, Joey Votto is 5-for-14 (.357) with one homer and three RBIs. Halladay is 1-1 with a 2.81 ERA in two starts at GABP. He is 1-1 with a 3.03 ERA vs. the Reds lifetime in five starts. Of course, he pitched the Game 1 NLDS no-hitter against them last season. In the previous meeting this season in Philadelphia on May 25, he gave up three runs and 11 hits over seven innings for a no-decision. He was long gone when the Reds lost this game, 5-4, in 19 innings.

*Halladay has made only two starts over the last 21 days because of multiple rainouts for the Phillies.

*Chris Heisey connected for his first hit on his rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville. Heisey hit a home run and is 1-for-8 in three games.

*Fred Lewis is in a 1-for-16 stretch right now. He is 2-for-6 vs. Halladay.

*The Reds are taking the annual team photo this afternoon before batting practice.

*At Class A Dayton, Billy Hamilton collected his 95th stolen base.

29th one-run loss

 I remember in June of 2008 when the Reds were at Toronto and had a crunch at third base. Because of injuries at shortstop, Jeff Keppinger had to move over and play there. And catcher Javier Valentin started at third base. As luck would have it, not a single ball was hit his way.

That’s exactly what happened with Yonder Alonso at third base on Monday night vs. the Phillies. Of the 27 outs made by Philadelphia, not one was made at third.

That was only a small subplot to the big story — Homer Bailey pitched his best game of the season, and still lost in a 3-2 decision. His line: 8 ip, 6 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, a season-high 9 K.

It was the one bad pitch Bailey will be thinking of — a hanging first-pitch curveball to Shane Victorino. It was clubbed for a two-run homer to right field and snapped a 1-1 game.

“Homer threw great,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “It was as sharp as I’ve seen him – from the very first pitch until the end – other than that one pitch to Victorino. When you’re playing against a team that has the pitching that they have and are accustomed to playing low-scoring, close games like that, one pitch could be the difference.”

Notes:

*The Reds are 23-29 in one-run games this season. The 29 one-run losses leads the Majors, one ahead of the Royals.

*Alonso went 0-for-4 in the game on the offensive side of his first start at 3B.

*Brandon Phillips extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a 2-for-4 night that included a strange triple for the Reds’ first hit. On his drive to right-center field, right fielder Hunter Pence slipped and fell down at the warning track.

*Joey Votto walked in the seventh and has reached base safely in 32 straight games and 122 of 133 games this season.

*Phillies lefty Cole Hamels gave up two hits and one run over six innings for a no-decision. He was lifted after only 76 pitches in his first start back from the DL (shoulder inflammation).

Quotes:

“We always like playing the Phillies. They’re a good team. We always play really good games with them. I think they’ve probably won their fair share of them but we always play good baseball against them. Obviously with the pitching staff they have, they’re always fun to watch. And the lineup they bring to the table. We’re a pretty good team too. We can play right there with them.” — Homer Bailey

“I think Homer pitched a great game but don’t forget about our guy either. Our guy pitched a wonderful game. Coming off the DL, he went out there and pitched six strong. That was great. I tip my hat to Cole. He looked very sharp and very good. If you would have told me he was on the DL for 15 days, I would have said no chance. That’s very good. It’s a good sign.” — Shane Victorino on Bailey and Cole Hamels.

Alonso at 3B

Reds lineup vs. Phillies

Phillips 4
Sappelt 7
Votto 3
Bruce 9
Alonso 5
Stubbs 8
Renteria 6
Hanigan 2
Bailey 1

*Well this is some news. Yonder Alonso is getting his first career start at third base — at any professional level. He’s been working out there pregame for several weeks now. Offensively, the Reds are trying any way to get his bat in the lineup. He’s batting .467/.867/.556 with three homers and nine RBIs in 21 games since his July 26 promotion. What I am interested to see is how long of a chance will he get at 3B — regardless of the performance? One way or another, he needs to play nearly every day — somewhere —  to see what he can do at that position.

*In last night’s game with Triple-A Louisville, Chris Heisey was 0-for-3 as the DH in his second rehab assignment game.

*As you likely know, Phillies starter Cole Hamels is 8-0 with a 1.23 ERA in nine career starts vs. the Reds. I am counting the complete game shutout he dealt them in Game 3 on the NLDS last October. Jay Bruce has had the “best” results vs. Hamels — 4-for-15 (.267) with two home runs.

Hernandez staying?

 Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman reported that Ramon Hernandez was claimed off of waivers by an unknown club and then pulled back by the Reds. That means that Hernandez is staying for the rest of the season. He can not be exposed to trade waivers again.

It’s an interesting situation for the Reds. Obviously, Devin Mesoraco would have been the beneficiary of a Hernandez departure. But if Hernandez is classified as a Type A free agent this fall, as reports say he projects, the Reds would get Draft picks if he goes elsewhere.

Reds lineup vs. Nationals

Phillips 4
Lewis 7
Votto 3
Bruce 9
Hernandez 2
Stubbs 8
Frazier 5
Janish 6
Willis 1

*Apologies for the lack of blogging lately, especially postgame. It’s becoming harder to come up with topical information that differentiates from the game stories I write on MLB.com. Same with pre-game. I do not see the point in overlapping with the same information on both the web site and the blog. Of course, breaking news will always come first here and on Twitter.

If there are ways to keep this blog relevant and interesting to you in a way that it doesn’t detract from my regular duties putting quality content on the main site, I’m open to ideas.

Game 2

Reds Game 2 lineup vs. Marlins

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

 

Saturday autograph signing

Drew Stubbs, Bill Bray and Chris Heisey will be signing autographs at the Reds team store at GABP this Saturday from 12-1:30 p.m. ET. They will be signing copies of the Reds Pass-port, which are available for purchase.

The first 100 fans will receive a free T-shirt.

For more information on the Pass-port signings and other upcoming Reds player appearances, click here.

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