August 2011

Two wins would equal .500

Reds Game 1 lineup vs. Marlins

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

*Two wins today and the 63-65 Reds will be back to a .500 record for the first time since July 6, when they were 44-44.

*The last time the Reds swept a “traditional” doubleheader, Jack McKeon was their manager. It was 6/5/99 at Kansas City.

*This will be Edgar Renteria’s first start since Aug. 16 at Washington when he left that game a strained left groin.

*Against Game 1 Marlins starter Javier Vazquez, Jay Bruce is 2-for-8 but has two home runs.

*In a somewhat limited sample size vs. Marlins Game 2 starter Chris Volstad, only one Reds player has a home run. It’s Paul Janish, who is 2-for-3 in his previous encounter against Volstad.

*It’s been a rough ride for Sam LeCure of late. In his last 12 1/3 innings, LeCure has given up 12 runs.

*Your Reds all-time leader in games played at this ballpark (choose whichever name)? It would be Barry Larkin with 38. Sean Casey has the highest Reds average at .416. Hector Carrasco had the best ERA at 0.69. Tom Browning has the most wins here for the Reds with three.

 

Hurricane Irene changes series

As a precaution in anticipation of Hurricane Irene’s arrival to the East Coast, Thursday’s series finale between the Reds and Marlins has been moved up one day.

The two clubs will play a doubleheader that begins at 4:10 p.m ET. Game 2 will start approxmimately 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.

Homer Bailey has Game 1. Bronson Arroyo will start Game 2.

Fox Sports Ohio will televise both games.

Votto rested, Alonso at 1B

Reds lineup vs. Marlins

Phillips 4
Sappelt 7
Bruce 9
Cairo 5
Alonso 3
Stubbs 8
Hernandez 2
Janish 6
Cueto 1

*A rare day off for Joey Votto, his first since July 25. Since that breather, he was batting .356 (32-for-90, with 9 HR, 21 RBIs). This is a chance for Miami native and former Univ. of Miami star Yonder Alonso to start in front of his hometown at his natural position. When the clubhouse opens, I will of course make sure to see what’s going on with Votto.

(**Just checked that Votto is 3-for-13 or .231 lifetime vs. Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco.)

*This week is the last time the Reds will be at the stadium known as Sun Life, Dolphin, Land Shark, Pro Player and Joe Robbie. Entering tonight, they are 37-34 there. The Marlins will open next season at a new ballpark on the site of the old Orange Bowl.

*The Phillies announced that LHP Cole Hamels was placed on the 15-day DL. Why should you care, Reds fan? The move was made retroactive so Hamels can start the Aug. 29 series opener vs. the Reds at GABP. Of course, Hamels is 7-0 with a 1.43 ERA in eight starts lifetime vs. CIN

*On Thursday, Reds Senior Director of Professional & Global Scouting Terry Reynolds will be inducted into the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame in St. Paul, Minn.

Grinding out a road series win

Heading into an off day two-thirds of the way through a 10-day, nine-game road trip, the Reds really had to grind one out. A two-run top of the ninth gave them a 5-4 win over the Pirates and two of three in the series.

Notes:

*The Reds snapped a six road series losing streak. Their last road series win came June 27-29 at Tampa Bay.

*Jose Arredondo came up big with two perfect innings in the seventh and eighth to keep Pittsburgh close.

*Joey Votto delivered a three-run homer in the sixth, which at the time was only his team’s third hit of the game. They had been very quiet against starter James McDonald. Votto worked a nice 3-2 at-bat and fouled off a couple of tough pitches.

*Entering today, the Pirates were 52-0 when leading after 8 innings. Closer Joel Hanrahan had only blown two of 33 save chances and both of those came in the eighth inning when inherited runners scored.

*Ramon “Clutch Man Monie” Hernandez came off the bench with a big RBI single that tied the game in the top of the ninth against Hanrahan. A Brandon Phillips potential double play ball was twarted because it was a slow roller and Miguel Cairo made a nice slide into second base. It allowed pinch-runner Dave Sappelt to score the go-ahead run.

*Todd Frazier played SS for the first time in the big leagues in the bottom of the ninth. It was needed since Hernandez pinch-hit for SS Paul Janish in the top of the ninth.

*The Reds caught a break in the bottom of the ninth when pinch-runner Josh Harrison was caught stealing by Hernandez. Replays showed Harrison was safe however. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was ejected for arguing the call.

*Speaking of ejections, Reds bench coach Chris Speier was tossed in the eighth inning by home plate umpire Bob Davidson for arguing a strike three call on a Jay Bruce check swing. Manager Dusty Baker said Davidson got the wrong guy.

“Bob Davidson thought Chris said something he didn’t say,” Baker said. “I was standing right next to him. He thought he said the magic word. He didn’t say that until after he was thrown out of the game. We didn’t think he swung at that pitch.”

*Reds starter Mike Leake pitched six innings and gave up four runs and five hits with one walk and five strikeouts. There were also two home runs.

*Baker said that Leake should be able to work later into the season than he did as a rookie. Last season, Leake was shut down in August upon reaching 138 1/3 innings. Counting his 7 1/3 innings pitched at Triple-A Louisville, Leake has 146 innings pitched this season.

“I don’t see any fatigue like I saw last year,” Baker said. “Last year, he didn’t know what to expect coming out of college. He’s getting strong. He knows how to train and prepare between starts.”

*The game was slowed by two rain delays, including one for 41 minutes prior to first pitch. There was a 20-minute stoppage during the top of the seventh. It was the Reds’eighth and ninth weather delay of the season, making it five in Pittsburgh. The Reds have had eight hours, 38 minutes worth of rain delays in 2011.

Quotes:

“I was looking to stay back because he’s got a very good slider. He hanged that slide a little bit too high and I got lucky that I hit it where nobody was and put it through the hole. He’s a tough pitcher.” — Ramon Hernandez on his game tying single off Joel Hanrahan.

“It’s always fun to come back. I wish we could do that every game with one-run ballgames. We haven’t had too much luck with one-run games.” — Mike Leake

“This guy is one of the best around. There is that theory about the third day in a row. Sometimes it’s tough on a pitcher but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. A closer sometimes has to go three, four, five days in a row. How we got to him, I really don’t know.” — Dusty Baker on Hanrahan

“Today, I didn’t get any breaks. They score that winning run on a weak groundball. He hits it any harder and we have a double play. You’ve got to have some luck in the game, and we just didn’t get the breaks.” — Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan, who worked his third-straight game. He gave up five runs combined between Friday and Sunday.

“We had a pretty good read on the guy and thought that was the pitch to go. At that time, take a chance. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for us. I saw the ball hit his glove as I was sliding and I hit the bag and I think that’s when he tagged me and called me out. I kind of stood there in disbelief. I was in there.” — Pirates PR Josh Harrison on the ninth inning caught stealing.

“That’s the best he’s been in a while. He didn’t walk the leadoff guy. He was throwing strikes and kept the ball down. They hit some balls good on the nose. They centered them but not enough to hit them out of the ballpark.” — Dusty Baker on Jose Arredondo

Where’s Batman?

Seen lots of evidence of the new Dark Knight movie being made here. Lots of trucks, cranes and road closures. I have even seen snow on ground in August. But no Batman or Catwoman. Maybe they will take in the game.

Reds lineup vs Pirates

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

Another try at Morton

Reds lineup vs Pirates

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

Reds are facing Charlie Morton, who is 3-0 with a 0.39 ERA in three starts against them this season.

Courtesy Elias Sports Bureau:

Ryan Hanigan had eight hits and drove in eight runs over his last three games, all as a catcher. The last Reds player to have at least eight hits and eight runs batted in over three straight games, all as a catcher, was Johnny Bench in 1972. Bench went 8-for-13 with four homers and eight runs batted in from May 30 through June 1 of that season. That was the only such stretch of Bench’s major league career.

Pittsburgh and Votto followup

Reds lineup vs. Pirates

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

*Getting back to the hot button issue of the week and some hopefully final thoughts…let’s end the comparisons of Joey Votto not moving to LF for Yonder Alonso to Albert Pujols playing 3B earlier this season for the Cardinals or Joe Mauer’s start in RF last night for the Twins

Apples and oranges.

Pujols’ move was temporary because the Cardinals were in a pinch without David Freese. He also came up as a third baseman so it wasn’t entirely foreign. Yet in those seven games and four starts, he committed three errors in 17 chances. Not exactly robust, eh?

As for Mauer, the Twins were in a real big shorthanded situation last night. Three of their outfielders were injured. Another guy had a family leave. Someone they called up from the Minors had a flight issue and missed the game. Mauer is a former three-sport star in high school and a great athlete.

I would imagine had the Reds been in real peril, Votto would move anywhere they asked him for a night. Just like a pitcher would play the outfield in a 19 inning game or Paul Janish would pitch mop up in a blowout. Let’s just move on.

*Also in my Votto story last night, I made a mistake and should own up to it. I said that he made clear he would explore free agency when signing his three-year contract in January. He did not say or articulate that. What I should have said is the three-year deal, which ends in 2013 when he’d be eligible for the first, was a clear signal he’d explore free agency. Big difference. I apologize for the foul up.

*Speaking of Janish and being shorthanded, I was reading the game story comments (I actually do that sometimes) and saw I was hammered for using that term, shorthanded, as the Reds did not pinch-hit for Janish in the sixth inning with two outs and two on while down 1-0. I repeat, they were down by a 1-0 score.

Miguel Cairo has one inning at shortstop last season and a total of 14 innings logged over 4 games since 2009. Todd Frazier hasn’t played shortstop since 2008 at Class A Sarasota. In a 1-0 game, you want the most important infield spot covered by someone not comfortable there for 3-4 innings? This isn’t Little League. It’s just not simple to put a dude there and expect instant defense. Obviously, in the ninth inning when things were a little more desperate, lifting Janish was the right thing to do.

*And incidentally, Dusty Baker planned to use Cairo at SS and either Ramon Hernandez or Frazier at 3B.

*Moving back to the present and future, don’t forget that Saturday’s game was switched to a 4:11 p.m. ET start because it’s on FOX.

Seeking series win

Reds lineup vs. Nationals

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

Cueto stays spectacular

 One has to wonder if Johnny Cueto would be treading into Cy Young Award territory had he not missed the first month of the season.

Cueto was masterful again in a 2-1 Reds win over Washington. He took a five-hit shutout into the ninth before a Ryan Zimmerman homer on a first pitch fastball ended his outing. Francisco Cordero survived a bases-loaded jam to get his 24th save.

The line for Cueto: 8 ip, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 1 HR. He once again qualifies for the Majors ERA lead at 1.89. He scoreless innings streak of 15 ended with the homer.

Why Cueto won’t be beating out the likes of Roy Halladay and others in Cy Young consideration is his lack of numbers everywhere else. Cueto has only nine wins (9-5), 128 1/3 innings, 83 strikeouts and three complete games. He’s given up more than three runs only twice in 19 starts. He’s allowed just seven homers.

Roy Halladay has 15 wins, a 2.53 ERA, 184 2/3 innings 177 strikeouts and seven complete games.
Clayton Kershaw has 14 wins, 175 2/3 innings and 193 Ks with four CGs
Cliff Lee has 12 wins, 172 innings and 177 Ks with 5 CGs.

You get the idea.

Cueto likely missed about 6 starts when the season began because of irritation in his right biceps and triceps. His season didn’t begin until May 8.

Nevertheless, it’s been a fine season for Cueto and one that seems destined to continue on a positive note.

“He’s definitely one of the elite pitchers,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “At this point in time of the season, he’s not as worn or tired as a lot of the other pitchers when he missed that one month. That was one of the things we were counting on down the stretch – him and Homer both. They had an abbreviated season and they are still strong and still have good stuff. They work hard and missed a lot of time. It should equate to them being excellent down the stretch and everybody else a little more worn a tired.”

Datdude leading off

Reds lineup vs Nationals

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

*This is the first time in 2011 that Brandon Phillips is leading off. He started 72 games in the top spot last season and batted .251 with a .302 OBP.

*If Johnny Cueto can pitch 2 2/3 innings tonight, he would qualify again for the MLB lead in ERA.

*No word yet on Edgar Renteria. Will let you know.

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