May 2012

20 in 20 ends with loss

The Reds concluded a stretch of 20-straight games by dropping game No. 20 in a 2-1 loss to the Pirates.

That meant Cincinnati dropped two of three in the series. It snapped a six road series unbeaten streak.

The good news is they emerged with a 12-8 record in those 20 games, which began with 14-straight games against teams with winning records.

Click here for the full game story.

The Three Stars:

No. 3 star: Matt Hague, PIT — 1-for-4, two-run double. Hague’s two-out double to right-center field in the sixth was the game-winner. Hague also saved his team two runs by catching a Jay Bruce bullet to first base in the top of the first.

“Jay hit the heck out of that ball,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “That ball could have been down that corner but it wasn’t. We kind of had him reeling in the very, very beginning. But then he settled down.”

No. 2 star: Johnny Cueto — 7 ip, 5 H, 2 ER, 4 BB (2 int), 5 K, 103 pitches/65 strikes, 21 of 30 first-pitch strikes. Cueto was very good most of the night but really paid for issuing a two-out walk to Neil Walker in the sixth the set up the game-changing rally.

“I would have liked to get him out. That’s how baseball goes,” Cueto said. “The guy got a good hit. I believe I still threw a very good game.”

No. 1 star: A.J. Burnett, PIT — 7 ip, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 103 pitches/65 strikes also. The Bruce scorcher in the first inning was the start of his retiring 17 batters in a row.

“You can’t take anything from him,” Baker said. “He was excellent tonight. He had good command, good control. He got wild a couple of times. There weren’t many deep counts, which sometimes he could be prone to do.”

5/30 at PIT

Reds lineup vs. Pirates

Cozart 6
Stubbs 8
Bruce 9
Phillips 4
Heisey 7
Frazier 5
Costanzo 3
Hanigan 2
Cueto 1

*This is Joey Votto’s first day off from the lineup this season. Dusty Baker had indicated a day off was coming for Votto, and with Thursday’s scheduled day off for the team, this effectively gives him a two-day break.

**UPDATED INFO –

The last time Votto did not start a game was 8/23/11. The last time he did not play at all was 5/9/11. He currently has 176 consecutive games played heading into tonight, which is tops among active NL players. The active “iron man” of baseball is Detroit’s Prince Fielder, who has 230 consecutive games heading into tonight.

After the 5/9/11 total off day, Votto went 7-for-14 over his next three games.  He went 8-for-20 following the 8/23/11 break.

**UPDATE No. 2  –

Votto was not in the clubhouse this afternoon. Baker said that Votto was involved in the decision making.

“I talked to Joey about a week ago and we came up with this day as the best day,” Baker said. “I was a little apprehensive if two days in a row [off] would hurt his stroke. He said it was not going to bother him at all. Joey Votto knows Joey Votto pretty well. When a guy gets to a certain stature and certain prowess, you owe it to him and us to discuss it with him.”

There will be more on MLB.com later…

Bailey goes the distance

An one hour, 54 minute rain delay did not stop Homer Bailey and the Reds during an 8-1 victory over the Pirates.

Click here for the game story on MLB.com

Here are the Three Stars:

No. 3 star: Todd Frazier — 2-for-3, RBI triple, RBI double, one Heimlich performed. Frazier made it a 2-0 game with his RBI double in the top of the second. In the fourth, his triple drove in Jay Bruce and he scored on Josh Harrison’s throwing error to third base.

No. 2 star: Jay Bruce — 3-for-4, two doubles, two RBIs, three runs scored.

No. 1 star: Homer Bailey — 9 ip, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 103 pitches/77 strikes, 28 of 32 first-pitch strikes. Bailey now has 8 quality starts in 10 games and a 4-3 record, 3.73 ERA. He’s quietly become very consistent and in a nice groove with catcher Devin Mesoraco.

“Homer and Mesoraco are starting to work good together,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “I knew Homer was going to be one of our major keys in our rotation where he is. He’s coming through. He threw the ball great tonight. In that one inning, he hung a couple of breaking balls and then went back to his well-located fastballs and his slider and he had a great changeup tonight.”

In 8 starts lifetime vs. PIT, Bailey is 6-0 with a 1.79 ERA.

Frazier to the rescue

Reds infielder Todd Frazier certainly had an interesting meal at lunchtime on Tuesday dinner on Monday. Forget what he ate…Frazier saved a man’s life using the Heimlich Maneuver while at a downtown Pittsburgh restaurant with teammate Ryan Ludwick.

“I was talking to him and I see it out of the corner of my eye,” Frazier explained. “I said ‘I think that dude is choking over there.’ He was a little obese and there were two women side-by-side trying to give him the Heimlich. [Ludwick] said get over there because I was the closest one. So I went over there and was yelling at them to get out of the way. They did and I gave two pumps and it came out.”

The man had eaten a very large bite of steak, apparently.

“It was a big fat piece too, it was pretty insane,” Frazier said. “It was a good 30 seconds they were trying at least.

“He paid for our lunch, which he didn’t have to do and said thanks a couple of times. It was pretty surreal. I have never done that before.”

5/29 at PIT

Reds lineup vs. Pirates

Cozart 6
Stubbs 8
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Ludwick 7
Frazier 5
Mesoraco 2
Bailey 1

*The history says this should be a good matchup for Reds starter Homer Bailey. Over seven starts, he is 5-0 with a 1.94 ERA in his career vs. the Pirates, including 3-0 with a 2.00 ERA at PNC Park.

*To say the Reds have lacked lefty hitting off of the bench this season would be a major understatement. Mike Costanzo is 0-for-11 with six strikeouts as a pinch-hitter and 1-for-13 overall for a .077 batting average. Willie Harris was 3-for-35 (.086) before being outrighted to Louisville.

*It’s become a pastime for people to suggest that about 86 percent of the roster gets optioned or designated for assignment when things don’t go well with certain players. What I rarely hear back are contructive ideas on who should come in and replace them. So, here is the Triple-A Louisville stats page…who down there has numbers that scream for a promotion? Keep in mind that even the right-handed hitting potentials aren’t doing well right now or are injured. Chris Valaika and Paul Janish are on the DL.

*Perhaps the best candidate I could suggest is Dioner Navarro. He’s a switch-hitter and a veteran with respectble numbers down there. And he would be a third catcher when the team is strapped.

***Update: Navarro is hurt too with a right hamstring injury. He’s not on the DL however.

*In the amazing department, Class A Bakersfield SS Billy Hamilton already has 52 steals this season! Click here for a story on Hamilton.

Happy Monday? Not quite.

Not a whole lot to like from the Reds on Memorial Day during a 4-1 loss to the Pirates.

Click here for the game story on MLB.com

The Three Stars:

No. 3 star: Alfredo Simon — 3 ip, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K. This is for as much as Simon’s body of work this season as it was for saving the bullpen from wear and tear. Simon has given up only one earned run over his last 17 1/3 innings in 10 games.

“He’s done a great job for us,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “Other than that very first outing for us, he’s thrown the ball great. For him to go three innings, that’s what you want your long man to do. He saved our bullpen big time for tomorrow and the next day prior to our off day.”

No. 2 star: Pedro Alvarez — 2-for-4, 2 doubles, 1 RBI

No. 1 star: James McDonald, PIT — 8 ip, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K, 103 pitches/65 strikes.

“He’s got good stuff but he’s got the right amount of wildness to him,” Chris Heisey said. “He’s got good enough stuff that it keeps you off balance. You can sit on a pitch or location because he doesn’t hit his spots perfectly but has good enough stuff to get away with that. It’s to his advantage almost.”

McDonald has allowed only 2 HR over 65 1/3 innings this season. For the Reds, who have used 20 homers to score 31 of 47 runs while winning the previous 8 of 9 games…this was a big problem.

News and notes:

*The Reds were 1-for-8 RISP in the game, but were 0-for-7 against McDonald. Heisey hit a RBI single in the ninth. The biggest misstep was the top of the third with runners on first and second with no outs. Drew Stubbs didn’t get down a good bunt and it was a fielder’s choice to third base. The rally died from there.

*Bronson Arroyo wasn’t very good today. 4 ip, 8 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 1 K. All of Pittsburgh’s runs came with two outs.

5/28 at PIT

Reds lineup vs. Pirates

Stubbs 8
Valdez 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Heisey 7
Cairo 5,
Hanigan 2
Arroyo 1

Offense, bullpen picks up Leake

The Reds clocked another three home runs to pound out a 10-3 win over the Rockies to even the three-game series heading into Sunday’s rubber game. The 10 runs are a new season high. Cincinnati improved to 1 1/2 games ahead of the second-place Cardinals, which lost to the Phillies.

Click here for the game story on MLB.com.

On to the three stars, sponsored by Don Cherry’s suit from Friday night.

No. 3: star: Brandon Phillips — 3-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI. Phillips had a two-out RBI double that scored Zack Cozart in the first inning. Following back-to-back walks issued by Rockies reliever Esmil Rogers in the seventh, Phillips worked a 0-2 count into an 11-pitch at-bat that included six foul balls before he laced an RBI single into right field that scored Drew Stubbs.

No. 2 star: J.J. Hoover — 1 1/3 ip, 1 BB, 2 K. Hoover was awarded his first big league victory after replacing Mike Leake with two outs in the fourth. Hoover has a 0.75 ERA with one run allowed in 11 appearances this season. It was a nice night for the bullpen that allowed just one hit over 5 1/3 innings.

“All of them came in and did an outstanding job,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “We need some innings from Latos though. They went from not pitching at all to pitching every day. That’s how it goes.”

No. 1 star: Chris Heisey — 2-for-3, 1 HR, 3 RBIs. As Leake was scuffling in the first and down early by a 1-0 score, Heisey’s three-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the first was very big for the team. For him personally, it was his first homer of the season (in 110 ABs). Heisey has been hot the past couple of weeks and is hitting .404 (17-for-42) over his last 12 games.

“It was one of those things where it just wasn’t happening,” Heisey said of his lack of homers. “I’ve been feeling great at the plate for two weeks now. It was a matter of time.”

News and notes:

*PH Ryan Ludwick hit a three-run homer in the seventh. It was the first pinch-hit homer by the Reds this season.

*In the third inning, Jay Bruce snapped a 0-for-14 and 1-for-31 funk with a RBI double through the gap in right-center field that scored Joey Votto.

*Speaking of Votto, he notched two more doubles in the game, gving him a MLB leading 21 for the season. He has six hits in his last seven ABs.

*It was not a good night for Leake, who lasted only 3 2/3 innings and was knocked around for nine hits.

“I was missing just off instead of on the plate,” Leake said. “When I was on the plate, I was too much on the plate. It was kind of missed spots today.”

*I’m off on Sunday. Catch you Monday from Pittsburgh.

5/26 vs. COL

Reds lineup vs. Rockies

Cozart 6
Stubbs 8
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Heisey 7
Cairo 5
Mesoraco 2
Leake 1

*It’s a limited sample, but Miguel Cairo is 4-for-5 lifetime vs. Rockies starter Jeremy Guthrie. Brandon Phillips is 2-for-3 with 1 HR.

 

Winning streak over

The Reds’ six-game winning streak is over as Johnny Cueto didn’t have his good stuff during a 6-3 loss to the Rockies.

Click here for the game story on MLB.com

The Three Stars:

No. 3 star: Troy Tulowitzki, COL — 3-for-4, double, RBI. Tulowitzki is batting .436  (24-for-55) lifetime at GABP.

No. 2 star: Joey Votto: — 4-for-4, 2 doubles. Votto snapped out of a mini-funk as he increased his NL lead with 19 doubles on the season. It was the 12th four-hit game of his career and his third of the season.

No. 1 star: Todd Helton, COL — 2-for-4, 1 HR, 3 RBIs. The venerable Rockies star entered batting .220 but Helton was strong tonight. His two-run HR off of Cueto in the second gave Colorado an early 2-0 lead. His RBI single in the fifth was big as the Reds had just tied the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the fourth.

News and notes:

*The six-game quality start streak that coincided with the win streak is kaput. Johnny Cueto’s line was 4 2/3 ip, 11 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 95 pitches/59 strikes. It’s the second time in 10 starts Cueto has allowed more than 3 ER, but he’s given up 5 ER in two of his last three starts.

“He didn’t have his breaking ball,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “He was flying open and couldn’t control his breaking ball. It’s a big pitch for him. He just wasn’t locating his fastball like he usually does.”

*Zack Cozart extended his hitting streak to six games with a two-out double in the third. Cozart also made a great diving stop on a Marco Scutaro sharp groundball to start the top of the ninth.

*It was a solid night for two relievers that hadn’t been seen much lately. J.J. Hoover, pitching for only the second time in 10 days and the first time since May 17, followed Cueto with 1 1/3 scoreless innings. Alfredo Simon, who hadn’t pitched in 10 days, worked two scoreless innings. Simon has a 0.68 ERA (1 ER/13.1 ip) over his last nine appearances.

*Something I realized later in the day…this was the one-year anniversary of the 19-inning Reds loss at Philadelphia when Wilson Valdez had to pitch the top of the 19th. It was also the four-year anniversary of the 18-inning Reds loss at San Diego.

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