June 2012

No no-no for Arroyo

I really thought Bronson Arroyo was on his way to a no-hitter tonight. It was one of those things you could feel developing, even early on. He just seemed to have “it” and the Brewers hitters didn’t have much to offer other than a lot of popouts and groundouts.

As is generally required, you start looking up no-hitter history from the Reds and then count the number of no-no’s there have been just this season alone. You start crafting a game story as though he’s going to get it, because you have to be ready. I was as ready and prepared as I’ve ever been to have a no-hitter story…but alas it wasn’t to be.

The Reds won a 4-3 game on a clutch Drew Stubbs homer in the bottom of the eighth but Arroyo lost his no-hitter, the shutout and the victory in a three-run eighth inning.  Click here for the complete game story on MLB.com. Also — there will be a short story up later on the Aroldis Chapman somersaults, which were not well received in the Reds clubhouse.

Arroyo completed 7 2/3 innings with three runs and three hits allowed, one walk and four strikeouts. He was more bummed about not getting the victory than he was about losing the no-hitter.

“Once I got through the meat of the order with Braun and Ramirez in the seventh there, I thought we had a chance to do it,” Arroyo said. “It was just disappointing to lose the lead. To work that hard in the ballgame and have a gem like that and walk away with a no-decision like that is just terrible.”

Here are some other quotes:

“Bronson really got the short end of the stick tonight. He pitched a fantastic game and just caught some rough breaks late. The way we were in complete control of the game, then had them tie it, then regain the lead with the home run spoke volumes for the resiliency. Things just have a fun way of playing themselves out. It was a very nice win for us.” — Drew Stubbs

“I had decent stuff but they were just popping a lot of things up early and it kept me fresh. I was throwing a bunch of front door sinkers to the lefties and they were swinging at them and popping them up. When you get easy outs like that and the innings go by and you can stay fresh, I felt like I had good stuff coming out of the ‘pen but not anything unbelievable. They were running six lefties out there, which they don’t normally do with their lineup by taking Weeks and Hart out of there. They always poses a little bit more of a challenge for me. I was also expecting the top two guys in that lineup to try to bunt at some point of the game. That didn’t happen. “ — Arroyo

“Of all the pitchers, Bronson is probably the hardest guy to know when to go get, by far. Early in the year, we went and got him and somebody else gave up the game a couple of times. And if you leave him out there, sometimes he can give it up.” — Dusty Baker

“You kind of talk about it. I asked if he’d every thrown one in about the fifth inning. You never know how deep guys have gone before. We tried to battle and knock it out.” — Corey Hart

“I definitely watched it the whole way. It was pretty close. … It was hooking, for sure, towards the line. I was hoping it would stay fair, and it wasn’t by much. By the fifth inning, you see the zero up there, and you really want to get one.” — Taylor Green, who broke up Arroyo’s no-hitter bid in the eighth.

6/26 vs. MIL

Reds lineup vs. Brewers

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

*In the latest NL All-Star balloting update, Joey Votto has received 4,475,180 votes and has overtaken Matt Kemp (4,118,524) for first place overall in the league. Votto is second in the Majors behind the Rangers’ Josh Hamilton.

*At 2B, here are the All-Star standings:

1. Dan Uggla Braves 2,641,361
2. Brandon Phillips Reds 1,870,966

*Jay Bruce is ranked 14th among outfielders.

Latos dominates Brewers

Here are the three stars from a 3-1 Reds win over the Brewers on Monday. Click here to read the full game story.

No. 3 star: Jay Bruce — 1-for-4. It was Bruce’s two-run double to the left field wall off of Yovani Gallardo that gave the Reds a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning. It came just after cleanup hitter Brandon Phillips sac bunted runners to second and third base. Bruce is now hitting .435 (10-for-23) lifetime vs. Gallardo.

“Guys got on, Brandon got the guys over and I was able to put a good swing on it,” Bruce said. “It’s been a little harder than usual lately, but it’s working out great. It’s working out great tonight and I’m looking forward to tomorrow to get back on the horse. We’ve had a couple tough breaks and tough losses, but that’s baseball.”

No. 2 star: Drew Stubbs — 2-for-3, double, run scored, stolen base. It was a nice return from the DL.

No. 1 star: Mat Latos — 9 ip, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 13 K, 109 pitches/80 strikes. It was Latos’ finest hour thus far for the Reds.

“That was easily his best performance,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “He had 13 strikeouts. Everybody got free pizza and ice cream. Man, he was dealing. He was awesome. He had a great slider going. He located his fastball well. Hanigan directed him through the game. He got two hits and a complete game. That’s exactly what the doctor ordered right there.”

The Latos-only news and notes:

*Latos’ 13 Ks were a new career best.

*At one point from the top of the first until the fourth, Latos threw 24 straight pitches for strikes.

*27 of 33 Milwaukee batters received first-pitch strikes.

“Strike one, period,” Latos said of his mindset for command. “Strike one, strike one, strike one. If I throw strike one and they want to beat it in the dirt or hit a lazy fly ball, that’s fine for the first pitch.”

*Latos threw his second career complete game. The other one was May 13, 2010 for the Padres vs. the Giants.

*Latos also tied a career best with two hits as a batter.

Quotes:

“To be honest with you, I was just trying to get groundball outs and let the defense work for me. I said ‘you know what? Just throw it for strikes, let them beat it in the dirt and let them make some plays.” — Mat Latos

“I made one mistake tonight. It’s going to happen. It’s an amazing feeling to finally do something good after the trade.” — Mat Latos

“That’s what you hope for. He did great. He didn’t really need us. It was awesome. He actually didn’t need us. He got a couple hits, pitched the whole game. He did a great job and that’s what we knew was in there. He pulled it out tonight and carried us to the win.” — Jay Bruce

“Kid was electric, man,” Morgan said. “He was getting ahead. What was it, twenty-some strikes in a row that I heard. He was dialed in. There were a couple of wishy-washy calls, but you just have to tip your cap to the kid. There’s going to be days when you run into a solid individual like that. We just have to flush this one and get ready to go tomorrow.”  — Brewers OF Nyjer Morgan

6/25 vs. MIL

Interleague play is over, back to all NL foes, all the time for the Reds.

Reds lineup vs. Brewers

Cozart 6
Stubbs 8
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Rolen 5
Ludwick 7
Hanigan 2
Latos 1

**UPDATE — To make room for the activation of Drew Stubbs, INF Willie Harris was sent outright to Triple-A Louisville.

*Stubbs was 1-for-10 with one RBI, one walk and two strikeouts in his three rehab games with Class A Dayton.

*The Reds made official that first-round pick, RHP Nick Travieso (14th overall) has signed his contract. Travieso told the world on Friday via Twitter.

Reds lose fourth straight

Second guessing a manager and his bullpen decisions are as old as the existence of bullpens themselves. As for the decision to re-introduce Bill Bray to action with a bases loaded, one-out jam in the sixth inning with a one-run lead?

It wasn’t an optimal situation and no doubt, and Dusty Baker would have preferred not to do it. But my opinion is if you can’t trust Bray to get the job done, then he shouldn’t have been activated in the first place. End of debate.

Here is what Baker said:

“That’s part of his job. We hoped to get him in a less pressurized situation. But you didn’t want to use Marshall that early in the sixth and they had the left-handed hitters coming up there. “

In this case it didn’t work out as Bray walked Denard Span to force home the tying run and then saw the go-ahead run cross on a Ben Revere sac fly. Reds lose, 5-4. That’s four losses in a row, three of them have been by one run. Click here for the game story.

Three Stars:

No. 3 star: Scott Rolen, 3-for-4, 2-run HR — Rolen’s shot into the left field seats gave Cincinnati a 4-3 lead. It was his first long ball since returning from the DL. He hadn’t gone deep since April 26.

No. 2 star: Ben Revere, MIN — 4-for-4, 2 steals — Revere was pesky as can be.

“We couldn’t keep the top of their lineup off of the bases, especially Revere,” Baker said. “Revere stayed on the bases. We certainly have to keep him off the bases tomorrow.”

No. 1 star: Ryan Doumit, MIN — 4-for-4, solo HR, double, two runs scored.

“I felt pretty good tonight,” Doumit said. “I’ve played in this park a lot and I’ve played against this team a lot and I’ve faced Bailey a lot. The comfort ability maybe of getting back to a National League park. It was a nice night at the plate and an even bigger night for the team.”

News and notes:

*Here is the story about home plate umpire Jerry Layne, who exited in the fourth in a scary incident. Layne was hit in the head by Devin Mesoraco’s broken bat. Tests at Good Samaritan Hospital came back normal but Layne will miss the rest of the series.

*Homer Bailey was unhappy that he was lifted from the game for Bray with the bases loaded. Bailey had 106 pitches.

“No, I didn’t [want to exit],” Bailey said. “It’s tough to come out of situations like that. But Dusty is the manager and he makes the call.”

“He had a bunch of pitches, especially in the fifth and a bunch of pitches in the sixth,” Baker said. “It’s not how you want to start off. You don’t want to get deep, deep, deep in your bullpen in the first game of 17 in a row. We got already deep as it was. We were hoping to get through the sixth and after that, mix and match, and win the game and save our bullpen at the same time.”

Travieso signed by Reds

It appears that Reds and 2012 first-round Draft pick RHP Nick Travieso is signed, sealed and delivered.

“Officially signed and now a part of the @Reds #blessed” — was a tweet from Travieso, as was this:

“Wish i could stay for the game tonight in Cincy but I’m heading back to AZ to get it all started!”

There was no official word yet from the Reds.

MLB.com reported last week that the two sides agreed to terms on a $2 million bonus. Travieso had to come to Cincinnati for his physical.

6/22 vs. MIN

Reds lineup vs. Twins

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

*The Reds made a rotation adjustment. Mike Leake will now pitch Sunday vs. the Twins and Mat Latos will get the ball on Monday vs. the Brewers. The two got flip-flopped recently when Leake was pushed by because of illness.

**UPDATE – There was another reason for the change — to split up Leake from Bronson Arroyo in the rotation.

“Leake and Arroyo are very similar,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “Plus the extra day with the off day too gave us the liberty to do something.”

*The Reds activated LHP Bill Bray from the disabled list, where he’d been since April 24 because of a strained left groin, and then because of back problems.

“It’s been a long couple of months now. It’s nice to be back,” Bray said. “It’s not a good feeling not being here but it’s awesome watching teammates and your friends play well and be in first place. It’s a great feeling. The only thing you want to change is you want to be here. I’m looking forward to helping out.”

*To make room for Bray on the 25-man roster, the Reds optioned right-handed reliever J.J. Hoover to Triple-A Louisville. Hoover, a rookie that debuted after Bray was injured, performed well with a 3.00 ERA in 17 appearances with eight walks and 19 strikeouts over 18 innings.

“It was a very tough decision because J.J. did a good job for us,” Baker said. “He got ready a lot quicker than we anticipated he’d be ready. We thought it would sometime in the middle of the season but he got pressed into action because of injuries and he performed well. It’s not anything he did. It was just a matter of numbers. We told him he’d be back.”

*Drew Stubbs’ rehab assignment is likely to last 3 games at Class A Dayton. The Reds hope to activate Stubbs, if he’s feeling good, before Monday’s series vs. the Brewers.

Stubbs headed to Dayton

As strongly indicated on Wednesday, Reds CF Drew Stubbs will start a rehab assignment on Friday. It will be with Class A Dayton, the Reds’ affiliate announced Thursday.

It’s unknown how many games Stubbs will play for Dayton, but I’d expect only two or three.

Stubbs has not played for the Reds since straining his left oblique on June 5. He went on the DL last Friday and is eligible for activation tomorrow, but clearly the club wants to have this one final test first. Stubbs took batting practice Wednesday without issue.

6/20 at CLE

Reds lineup vs. Indians

Cozart 6
Heisey 8
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Rolen 5
Frazier 7
Harris DH
Hanigan 2

Arroyo 1

*MLB on Wednesday declined Brandon Phillips’ appeal for a scoring change. It upheld the official scorer decision from Monday that Phillips was given a RBI double and scored on a E7 by Johnny Damon. Phillips felt he should have been credited with an inside-the-park homer.

UPDATE — Phillips accepted the decision.

“I’m not mad. I got a hit,” Phillips said. “We just lost. I care about the loss more than anything.”

*If the Reds win tonight, they will regain the Ohio Cup for taking the season series over the Indians. More importantly, they need the victory for a winning road trip.

*Shin-Soo Choo has killed the Reds this season, but he’s particularly dangerous vs. Bronson Arroyo. Choo is 6-for-12 with four homers lifetime against Arroyo.

*In his latest rehab outing for Triple-A Louisville, Bill Bray pitched a scoreless and hitless one inning on Wednesday afternoon with two walks. Bray earned the victory over Scranton-Wilkes Barre but threw 23 pitches with only 10 strikes.

Chapman foiled again

The trials and tribulations of closing is something even Aroldis Chapman is not immune to. Chapman  was on the hook for a two-run homer in the bottom of the 10th for a difficult 3-2 Reds loss to the Indians.

Click here for the complete game recap. Make no bones, this was a heartbreaker for the Reds.

The Three Stars:

No. 3 star: Shin-Soo Choo, CLE — 3-for-4. Choo hit the one-out double in the 10th that set up the game-ender. In the series, Choo is 5-for-9 with two double and one homer.

No. 2 star: Mike Leake — 7 ip, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 114 pitches (career-high tying)/68 strikes. Leake kept Cleveland from scoring most of the time as they were 1-for-12 RISP. After giving up a run in the fourth, he retired his final 11 in a row.

“He gave us a great outing,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. That’s the most pitches he’s ever thrown since he’s been here, since it’s a sign of how he’s working. He was throwing just as good in the seventh as he was in the first.”

No. 1 star: Asdrubal Cabrera, CLE — 2-for-5, game-winning 2-run HR. In a 3-1 count, Cabrera sent a 94-mph fastball over the right field wall off of Aroldis Chapman to end the game.

“Hey, this guy is our best hitter. He’s proven that,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “He’s got the discipline at the plate. From both sides of the plate right now I still think he has more walks than strikeouts. He gives you a quality at-bat and he uses the whole field — that’s why he’s so good.”

“When you’re down in the count, you have to make a pitch in the middle, and he hit a home run,” Chapman said through his translator. “The pitches were not where I wanted but the speed wasn’t there but I feel good.”

News and notes:

*In six games since June 7, Chapman is 0-3 with two blown saves, two homers and six runs allowed. His ERA is now at 1.57 after being at 0.00 through the first 24 games.

“The guy is human,” Baker said. “What he was doing earlier in the year was just un-human. He just got a pitch to a good hitter. This guy is an All-Star and can hit. He’s equally tough on the right side as he is on the left side. When they do catch up with Chapman’s ball, he’s supplying most of the power. If they catch up to it and center it, sometimes that’s going to happen.”

*The Reds were 2-for-12 RISP on the night.

*Cincinnati is 3-5 in extra innings this season.

*Cleveland moved into first place in the AL Central meaning that Wednesday will be the first time since July 9-11, 1999, that the two Ohio teams have met while both are leading their respective divisions.

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