UPDATE — Dusty Baker’s physicians were concerned about him traveling on Friday and it’s been decided to keep him in Chicago another day. The Reds will provide further updates when neccessary, but none were expected again before Saturday.
“I think bottom line, I’m worried. You have your good, good close friend that’s in the hospital,” bench coach/acting manager Chris Speier said before the latest update. “He’s fine. It’s just, they want to make sure before they put him on the plane that he had some fluids and make sure that’s all taken care of. But you worry about him. He’s our leader, and for me just a dear, dear friend. My mind is more with him than it is about this game.”
Speier, who is managing his third game for Baker, has not spoken to Baker lately. And it was Speier who made out tonight’s lineup vs. the Dodgers.
“I know that he hasn’t got much rest,” Speier said. “Being in the hospital, they poke and prod you every hour. Out of respect for his rest and what he needs to do, I’ve backed off. I think there’s such a trust built up between us that he knows things will be taken care of here.
“You know what’s great about this club, other than the character of this club, everybody just pulls their bootstraps on, and we’ve never had an issue of leadership. Dusty is the head guy and they know that, but these guys are professional and they know what they need to do.”
I will update with any news when I have it.
Reds lineup vs. Dodgers
*It looks like Chris Speier is managing tonight. He will be meeting with the media at 3:40 p.m.
*This will be Zack Cozart’s first game since Sept. 3. He’s been out with a strained left oblique.
*The Reds and Class A Dayton signed a four-year extension to their affiliate agreement that takes them through the 2016 season.
The Reds are in the playoffs — that much was made certain with a 5-3 win over the Cubs and a three-game series sweep.
That brought the magic number to two for clinching the NL Central. The Reds will know if its possible before even taking the field on Friday as the Cardinals open a three-game series with a Friday afternoon game against the Cubs. If St. Louis loses, the Reds just need to win Friday night over the Dodgers and it’s done.
Click here for the full game story
Click here for the latest on Dusty Baker
The Three Stars:
No. 3 star: Xavier Paul — 2-for-4, double, run scored. He is batting .409 (9-for-22) in his last 14 games.
No. 2 star: Henry Rodriguez — 1-for-4, two-run double in his first career start. Rodriguez’s two-run double through the gap in left-center field opened some day light for the Reds during a five-run top of the seventh.
No. 1 star: Johnny Cueto — 6 ip, 5 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 2 K, 92 pitches/52 strikes. Was this Cueto’s best start of the year? Not even close. But it was important that performed well. He was 0-3 with an 8.22 ERA in his last three starts and this should quiet some of the nervousness anyone might have had. (Haven’t heard from inside the clubhouse though). Cueto worked out of danger a couple of times — bases loaded in the second and escaped after a leadoff triple in the fourth.
“When I got into that situation, I said I can’t allow this run to get in,” Cueto said. “I used my sinker in, trying to get groundballs. And that’s what happened.”
Cueto likely has lost his shot at the NL Cy Young but is still alive for 20 wins with two starts to go. He is 18-9 with a 2.84 ERA. He also crossed the 200 innings mark (203) and established a new career best with 159 strikeouts
“That’s the goal,” Cueto said of 20 wins. “I want to keep working like I’m working. There are two more games to go. I’m going to keep working as I’ve been doing it.”
News and notes:
*Cueto wasn’t told yet, he said, but he expects to start Game 1 of the NLDS — whoever it’s against.
*Also his first career start, Denis Phipps’ infield hit in the seventh started the big rally and was good for his first big league hit. Phipps also doubled in the eighth inning.
*Joey Votto hit a RBI single today as a pinch-hitter. He has four RBIs in the last two games after having none his first 11 after returning from the DL.
Reds manager Dusty Baker remained in a Chicago hospital Thursday morning while he undergoes tests for an irregular heartbeat. Bench coach Chris Speier was managing the game vs. the Cubs.
“He’s in doing another test. We should get results on that fairly shortly,” Speier said. “It all looks good. I think the plan is to probably wait to see what the results of that test are. If everything is a-OK, he’ll be flying back to Cincinnati [Friday].”
Speier spoke to Baker last night and to a friend of Baker’s at the hospital this morning.
UPDATE — General manager Walt Jocketty visited Baker and through the club media relations department reported Baker as saying he was feeling good. The 63-year-old Baker will remain in the hospital through today to be monitored and fly back to Cincinnati on Friday.
Whether Baker would manage Friday’s game vs. the Dodgers remained up in the air.
“If it was Dusty’s decision, if he was OK to go back to Cincinnati, I’m sure he’d want to be managing again tomorrow,” Speier said.
Speier had more time to prepare for managing a game today than he did on Wednesday, when Baker departed the ballpark just over two hours before game time to get a chest X-ray that was meant to rule out pneumonia.
“It’s not the first time that I’ve done this. I’ve done it in the past,” Speier said about filling in. “I think the situation is completely different now. I worry about Dusty and everybody in that clubhouse was really worried last night. You just don’t go to the hospital for a cold or anything like that. I still feel that way. There’s a lot of mixed feelings in regards to the game and my job of doing this game and what’s really important. My thoughts are more about Dusty than this game.”
As for the lineup that features mostly non-regular players, that was decided by Baker ahead of time.
“The lineup was done before he left to the hospital. That’s Dusty,” Speier said. He left that lineup there. So just [I am] following suit.”
Reds lineup vs. Cubs
*GM Walt Jocketty is planning on visiting Dusty Baker in the hospital this morning. We will have an update on Baker’s status after the visit.
Reds manager Dusty Baker, who was taken to the hospital for a chest X-ray before Wednesday’s game, was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat.
“I guess the good thing is it’s not pneumonia, but the bad thing is he’s got an irregular heartbeat,” Reds head trainer Paul Lessard said. “Basically he had a heavy feeling. He wasn’t breathing well. We just decided to look into it a little further. He’s had a history of an irregular heartbeat for while so it doesn’t really bother him. That’s why he was kind of poo-pooing it.”
Baker, who reported to the club that he was feeling fine after the game, will remain hospitalized overnight and have more tests done in the morning before he can be discharged. He will not manage Thursday’s game. Bench coach Chris Speier will take over again.
I will have more on MLB.com/Reds.com soon.
CHICAGO — Reds manager Dusty Baker left Wrigley Field for a local hospital Wednesday afternoon. A team spokesman said that Baker was going to have a chest X-ray to rule out pneumonia.
Baker, 63, departed the ballpark in street clothes just over two hours before his Reds were set to play the Cubs. Bench coach Chris Speier will manage the club if Baker does not return by game time.
There were no outward signs that Baker has felt ill lately. He could be seen in the clubhouse chatting with a couple of his players. Later, he was seen by a member of the Cubs medical staff — Dr. Stephen Adams — before leaving for Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
On Tuesday in a 3-1 Reds win over Chicago, Baker managed the 3,000th game of his career.
More later when there are developments.
Reds lineup vs. Cubs
*From the Reds, information on postseason tickets: A limited number of tickets for potential National League Division Series games at Great American Ball Park will go on sale by phone only at 9:00 a.m. Friday at (513) 381-REDS (7337)…this allotment of tickets is for fans without computers or internet access and for fans not selected in the online ticket opportunity…there is a limit of 4 tickets per phone transaction, while supplies last…no tickets will be available at the Great American Ball Park ticket office.
*For online postseason ticket information, click here.
The Three Stars from Tuesday’s 3-1 Reds victory over the Cubs:
No. 3 star: Darwin Barney, CHC — 2-for-3, run scored. Barney was the only player from either side to notch more than one hit.
No. 2 star: Ryan Hanigan — 1-for-3. It was Hanigan’s bases loaded double off of Manny Corpas in the sixth that scored all three of Cincinnati’s runs. The Reds were 1-for-10 RISP on the night, so that was a big one for sure.
“It felt good,” Hanigan said. “Bases loaded, it’s got to come to you in that situation. I was trying to get the ball in the outfield, and drive it out there. Fortunately, it got over their heads and worked out.”
No. 1 star: Homer Bailey — 7 1/3 ip, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K, 106 pitches/66 strikes. In a superb outing, Bailey retired a stretch of 10 in a row until Barney’s one-out single in the eighth. Pinch-hitter Bryan LaHair’s RBI double into the right field corner scored Barney and finished his night. Over his last four starts, Bailey is 2-0 with a 1.55 ERA
“Later in the year is really the indication of how your off-seasons go and how you prepare during the season and keeping the same routine,” Bailey said. “This month, I’ve felt stronger now than I did in July.”
“Homer was great,” Dusty Baker said. “He threw the ball excellent. He had all his pitches working. He was down in the zone. He came up with two strikes when necessary and got a number of stirkeouts up there.”
Click here for the game story on MLB.com.
News and notes:
*The magic number to clinch the NL Central is 4. Washington (89-57) was rained out tonight, so the 89-59 Reds are now only one game back in the race for top seed in the NL playoffs.
*One issue lately has been a lack of offensive output. Including tonight and the 17-hit game on Sunday, the Reds are batting .211 over their last eight games. However, they are 5-3 in those games.
*Drew Stubbs snapped a 0-for-16 skid with a two-out single in the third inning.
*Joey Votto was 1-for-3 with a walk. He has reached safely in 24 of his 49 plate appearances since returning from the disabled list.
Reds SS Zack Cozart is unlikely to return during this series vs. the Cubs. Tuesday with be his 12th-straight game out with a strained left oblique muscle.
Cozart took batting practice Tuesday for the first time since Saturday.
“We’re trying not to rush back,” Cozart said. “It felt great the first day I took BP and we came back Sunday, less than 24 hours later, it was a little sore from the day before. We decided to take it slow.”
Cozart rested Sunday and Monday. He’s optimistic that he could be back for the next series vs. the Dodgers at GABP.
“I don’t have a set date,” he said. “If I keep making progress, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s hopefully this weekend.”
*One other update: Aroldis Chapman (tired shoulder) threw from flat ground today. He is due to have a bullpen session on Wednesday. It will be his first one since his last outing on Sept. 10.
*Here is some info the Reds obtained from the Elias Sports Bureau…as Homer Bailey became the third Reds starter this season to make his 30th start. Bronson Arroyo (29) and Mike Leake (28) should likely reach 30 starts barring something unforeseen.
Below is a list of the only teams in Major League history with 5 starters with 30 starts each.
5 2006 CHW Buehrle, Mark, Contreras, Jose, Garcia, Freddy, Garland, Jon, Vazquez, Javier
5 2005 CLE Elarton, Scott, Lee, Cliff, Millwood, Kevin, Sabathia, CC, Westbrook, Jake
5 2005 STL Carpenter, Chris, Marquis, Jason, Morris, Matt, Mulder, Mark, Suppan, Jeff
5 2003 SEA Franklin, Ryan, Garcia, Freddy, Meche, Gil, Moyer, Jamie, Pineiro, Joel
5 1993 LAD Astacio, Pedro, Candiotti, Tom, Gross, Kevin, Hershiser, Orel, Martinez, Ramon
5 1980 OAK Keough, Matt, Kingman, Brian, Langford, Rick, McCatty, Steve, Norris, Mike
5 1977 LAD Hooton, Burt, John, Tommy, Rau, Doug, Rhoden, Rick, Sutton, Don