August 2012

8/20 at PHI

Reds lineup vs. Phillies

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

*Although the Phillies are struggling this season, the Reds aren’t overlooking this series. They were 1-7 vs. the Phillies and are 4-15 at Citizens Bank Park the past five seasons. That includes last season’s 19-inning marathon loss. And this was the place that Phillie starter Roy Halladay dropped a no-hitter on the Reds in the 2010 NLDS. Halladay is pitching tonight, and was on the mound last year to start the 19-inning game.

*Miguel Cairo is 5-for-15 lifetime vs. Halladay, Xavier Paul is 2-for-5 and Chris Heisey is 0-for-1, while Drew Stubbs is 3-for-12 and Todd Frazier is 0-for-1. I’m sure the matchups play a part in the manager’s decisions to feature the lineup.

*If you’d like, I will be on MLB Network’s “The Rundown” talking Reds a few times between 3-5 p.m. ET today. Check it out.

Hanigan picks up Reds in ugly win

The Three Stars from a Reds 5-4 win over the Cubs:

No. 3 star: David DeJesus, CHC — 3-for-4, RBI double, two runs scored.

No. 2 star: Mat Latos — 8 ip, 6 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 114 pitches/70 strikes. Latos, who is unbeaten in six starts since July 18 and 5-1 with a 2.10 ERA in his last 11 starts, had to settle for a no-decision but deserved better. There were three errors committed behind him, including two that led to runs — one of them the tying run in the top of the eighth. Latos also extended his hitting streak to four games with a RBI single in the fourth that gave the Reds a 4-1 lead. He was not pleased with his performance.

“Not at all. I was spotty here and there,” Latos said. “I didn’t have control of the fastball. I didn’t have very good command of the slider or the curveball. I got by with what I had today. I think a lot of it had to do with Hanigan behind the dish with what he was calling at the right times. I didn’t have my best stuff but he was good behind the dish today. He knew what was going on.”

Ryan Hanigan felt Latos was solid all day.

“We’re working well together,” Hanigan said. “He’s really on board. He’s not shaking. A couple of times when he does shake, I agree with him. We’ve got a good thing going right now and that’s huge to be on the same page and not fighting each other. I thought he pitched fine. He made a mistake to DeJesus on a 2-1 heater. He hit a double. Other than that, we could have gotten out of a bunch of innings with some groundballs.”

No. 1 star: Ryan Hanigan — 2-for-3, 2 RBIs. After Xavier Paul pinch-hit with a leadoff triple on the first pitch from Shawn Camp, it was Hanigan who ended the game on the very next pitch with a RBI single over the head of the drawn-in center fielder. Hanigan also had a sac fly during the three-run bottom of the fourth and threw out the potential go-ahead run trying to steal third base in the ninth.

“I get pitched around sometimes but that is part of the game,” Hanigan said of his day offensively. “I try to have good at- bats when I have the opportunity. I had two today and fortunately it worked out. It felt good to drive in a few runs.”

News and notes:

*This would qualify as an ugly win, with the three errors that let Chicago back in the game. I will have much more on this when the final version of my game story is posted, but the defensive mistakes made lately are seriously irking manager Dusty Baker.

“One of the best general managers I was under, Al Rosen, was more upset on an ugly win than he was on just a regular loss,” Baker said. “You want to make sure you don’t continue to play like that. But you don’t want to stress it so much that you put undo pressure on the situation and make it worse too. It’s a fine line.”

*There were some positive moments on defense. After a Zack Cozart error on a throw to first base in the eighth, Todd Frazier immediately fired the ball to third base and threw out Luis Valbuena after he rounded too far from the bag. In the ninth, Hanigan made a perfect throw to throw out Brett Jackson trying to steal third against Aroldis Chapman.

*Xavier Paul is batting .389 (7-for-18) as a pinch-hitter. I wrote about Paul today as well.

*Jay Bruce has an eight-game hitting streak after a 2-for-4 day. Bruce is batting .406 (13-for-32) in that stretch. Bruce also committed an error in right field trying to catch Valbuena’s drive to the warning track.

*The Reds, which had a 5-2 home stand, are 9-1-1 in 11 series since the All-Star break.

*The Reds had their GABP single-season record 13th sellout on Sunday with a crowd of 41,615 fans. The four-game series in three days vs. the Cubs drew 146,937.

Quote:

“We’ve got tons of Gold Glovers on the team. We’ve got guys who work their tails off at batting practice every day. It’s one of those things that happens. It’s two games. We pride ourselves on defense. A bad bounce here or bad throw there, it’s going to happen. It’s how you bounce back. Were we disappointed? Of course. But it’s really about getting W’s in the column. We took three out of four and our defense will be fine.” — Todd Frazier

Votto taking grounders again

I realize the photo to the right looks like grainy spy film shot in the old Soviet Union, but that is indeed Reds 1B Joey Votto taking groundballs from third base coach Mark Berry and throwing on the field at GABP Sunday morning. It was the best I could do with the trusty iPhone zoomed in all the way from the press box.

Votto, who had a second left knee surgery to remove cartilage on Aug. 10, resumed some baseball activity again. He played catch on Saturday, as well.

With the resumption of baseball activity, Votto hoped the process of getting back to the lineup would accelerate.

“I anticipate so,” Votto said before going on the field. “I’m healing every day and I’m able to do different things. But it’s going to take its time, whenever it’s ready.”

There is still some pain in Votto’s knee.

“Sure there’s pain. I just had a second surgery roughly a week ago,” Votto said.

Votto is not making the trip to Philadelphia on Monday.

“I know he hates not going because even at Spring Training, he mentioned to me about beating Philly,”  said Reds manager Dusty Baker, who met privately with Votto for about 10 minutes Sunday morning . “That’s probably been our toughest spot to play in the last couple of years – or them period.”

8/19 vs. CHC

Reds lineup vs. Cubs

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

8/18 vs. CHC – Game 2

Reds lineup vs. Cubs

Stubbs 8
Valdez 6
Phillips 4
Ludwick 7
Frazier 3
Bruce 9
Rolen 5
Mesoraco 2
Redmond 1

And a quick Three Stars from Game 1, a 5-3 win for the Reds over the Cubs

No. 3 star: Xavier Paul — hit two-run homer in the second inning after Cubs took 2-0 lead in the first.

No. 2 star: Todd Frazier — 2-for-3, HR, two RBIs. Frazier is batting .600 (15-for-25) this season vs. the Cubs. His homer gave him No. 17 on the season overall, second among NL rookies. UPDATED — I forgot to mention that really nice play at 3B Frazier made to throw out Anthony Rizzo to end the third inning.

No. 1 star: Johnny Cueto — 8 ip, 3 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 8 K, 1 HB, 107 pitches/74 strikes. Cueto gave up a two-ru n homer to Alfonso Soriano in the first and then cruised. He retired the next 22 of 24 batters to be the first in NL to reach 16 wins, which is tied for MLB lead. Cueto is 11-0 with a 1.62 ERA in day games this season.

8/18 vs. CHC Game 1

Reds lineup vs Cubs

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

*Dusty Baker said that Phillips, Bruce and Frazier would play both games.

*Sam LeCure is available. He was considered available last night also.

Five-run fourth sinks Cubs

The Three Stars from a 7-3 Reds win over the Cubs:

No. 3 star: Bronson Arroyo — 6 1/3 ip, 9 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 109 pitches/68 strikes. Arroyo did not benefit from some shaky play behind him early…like a two-out error by Drew Stubbs in the first inning, an infield hit by Brett Jackson that Brandon Phillips couldn’t glove in the top of the fourth and his own run-scoring wild pitch that scored Starlin Castro, but Arroyo settled in and pitched well, especially after getting a five-run bottom of the fourth.

“Some of the crazy plays that happened like that knuckler to Brandon really hurt me because it just made me pitch a lot harder and a lot more pitches than I wanted to, which got me out of the game earlier than I would have liked,” Arroyo said. “I did settle down and we scored some runs, which allowed me to put away the frustration from the inning before.”

No. 2 star: Ryan Ludwick — 2-for-4, HR — Ludwick started the big five-run rally in the fourth with his 22nd homer of the season to leadoff. He has homered in four of his last seven games and has a nine-game hitting streak. He’s batting .329 over his last 49 games.

“I’ve always said it takes guys that are older a little longer to get it but once they get it, they keep it for an extended period of time,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “:That’s what he’s done. He’s driving in runs, hitting home runs and what a welcome sight he’s been since the All-Star break.”

No. 1 star: Todd Frazier — 2-for-4, two-run HR. Frazier has hit safely in seven of his last eight games and is batting .517 (15-for-29) over that stretch. There was no worry on his or the team’s part when Chicago opened a 3-1 lead in the top of the fourth.

“We’re relaxed,” Frazier said. “We know our pitching staff is going to be there. We know we’ve got the hitters. Guys step up every single day. Everybody knows their role. When you know your role, everything’s going to be fine. It was pretty fun to watch that inning.”

Click here for the game story

News and notes:

*Scott Rolen is hitting .372 (22-for-59) over his last 18 games.

*Jay Bruce has homered in four of his last five games after his one-out solo shot in the fifth.

*Aroldis Chapman appeared in a non-save situation in the ninth and retired the side in order. Chapman, who hadn’t appeared since Aug. 12, needed the work. But it snapped his franchise record 16-straight appearances with a save.

*The Reds are 25-9 since the All-Star break.

8/17 vs. CHC

Reds lineup vs. Cubs

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

*The Reds formally announce what seemed likely all week. RHP Todd Redmond will be recalled from Triple-A Louisville to start Game 2 of Saturday’s day-night doubleheader vs. the Cubs. No one will have to come off of the roster to make room for Redmond since new rules this season allow a 26th man to be added for rescheduled games that are part of doubleheaders. Redmond, who has been called up to the Majors three previous times this season without seeing action, will be making his big league debut.

*On the field before the game OF Chris Heisey will get the annual Heart and Hustle Award, presented to person who demonstrates a passion for and best embodies values of the game. George Foster will be doing the presentation Past winners from the Reds include Miguel Cairo, Jonny Gomes, Adam Rosales, Jerry Hairston Jr., Ryan Freel and Adam Dunn.

*As the country ramps up for the start of the college football and NFL seasons, Reds manager Dusty Baker isn’t ready. He hopes football doesn’t become a distraction, inside or outside of his clubhouse.

“I love football but you have to guard against guys getting into football instead of staying into baseball,” Baker said on Thursday. “Every year at this time, it’s the same thing. You have to turn TVs off at certain times. You want to keep winning so people come see us and not go to football games.

“The epitome of a great season for me is it’s near eight games when I’ve seen my first football game. It means you’ve been busy. You know what I mean?”

Sloppy loss to Mets

Don’t let the 8-4 final fool you as the Reds saw their five-game win streak snapped by the Mets on Thursday. This was a game they were roundly beaten in the earlier innings. It was 6-0 through six innings and 8-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth.

Click here for the full game story on MLB.com/Reds.com

The Three Stars:

No. 3 star: Jason Bay, NYM  — 2-for-5, HR.  The struggling Bay, a .159 hitter this season, started a three-run rally in the sixth with his one-out solo homer, his sixth of the season.

No. 2 star: Ike Davis, NYM — 2-for-4, HR, double, 2 RBIs. Davis snapped a 0-0 tie with his leadoff homer to right field against Homer Bailey in the fourth inning.

No. 1 star: Matt Harvey, NYM — 7 2/3 ip, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 8 K, 89 pitches/63 strikes. Harvey was making only his fifth Major League start and he had complete control over the Reds. He was perfect through the first four innings. The third time through the Cincinnati order, he threw 15 pitches, 14 for strikes. He faced five hitters in the seventh, and used only five pitches.

“You have to give a lot of credit to the young man over there. He threw a heck of a game,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

News and notes:

*This was a poorly played game defensively with three Reds errors — by Brandon Phillips, Scott Rolen and Zack Cozart. All resulted in runs scoring. The fourth-inning throwing error by Phillips was his first since May 6 at Pittsburgh, which snapped his errorless streak at a career-best 84 games.

“In 162 games, you have games like this,” Cozart said. “The way we’re playing lately, it’s odd. We expect to come out here and win every game, and that was pretty sloppy. We’ve just got to come back tomorrow and play better.”

*Homer Bailey did not look good for the fourth straight start as he allowed six runs (four earned) over 5 2/3 innings. Since a five-start stretch in July when he was 4-0 with a 1.43 ERA and a 3.53 ERA overall, he’s 1-2 with an 8.24 ERA from July 31 to the present. His worst moment of the night came after a two-out intentional walk to Kelly Shoppach. Harvey was given a hanging breaking ball and drove a two-run double to the wall in left-center field.

“He started out great, throwing the ball well,” Baker said. “Then, he hung the breaking ball to the pitcher, who we were told is a pretty good hitter. It was a fat pitch to hit.”

*Bailey is already at career highs in innings (147) and starts (24). While fatigue would seem to be an issue, both he and Baker did not seem to agree.

“I feel great. I feel good out there throwing and into starts and stuff,” Bailey said. “I’m not really getting that sore between starts. Physically I feel great. I have no excuses, just not making pitches as consistently as I need to.”

*Jay Bruce has a four-game hitting streak and is 7-for-17 (.412) during it with three doubles, three homers and seven RBIs.

*Ryan Ludwick, who hit his 22nd homer of the season in the ninth inning, has a season-high hitting streak of eight games and is batting .344 (11-for-32) with three homers and eight RBIs during it.

8/16 vs. NYM

Reds lineup vs. Mets

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

*Many have asked, but there is no news on Devin Mesaoraco’s suspension appeal. I’m told the league is still working on scheduling a date to hear the appeal.

*Nick Masset, making his sixth rehab assignment outing on Wednesday as he tries to return from a shoulder injury, started for Triple-A Louisville and worked two innings. He allowed one earned run and two hits with no walks and four strikeouts. Masset threw 39 pitches. Based on what he said a couple of weeks ago, the two-inning stint would be one of his later tests before he could be activated. If all remains as originally planned, Masset will likely have to show he can pitch in back-to-back games before being cleared to make his season debut for the Reds.

*Ryan Hanigan is celebrating his 32nd birthday today.

*At Double-A Pensacola, SS Billy Hamilton stole two more bases last night to bring his overall season total to 141. He is four away from equaling Vince Coleman’s record. Also in that game, LHP Tony Cingrani pitched five scoreless innings and struck out 10 for a no-decision vs. Mobile.

*If you’ve got more than a few minutes, take the time to read this piece “The Code of Rules” by friend/MLB.com co-worker and senior writer Doug Miller. It won’t be time wasted.

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