October 2012

NLDS game times

Good morning from San Francisco….

MLB has revealed the game times for Games 1-3 of the NLDS.

Fri. Oct. 5th N.L. Wild Card Game, STL @ ATL 5:07 p.m. (ET) TBS
Fri. Oct. 5th A.L. Wild Card Game, BAL @ TEX 8:37 p.m. (ET)/7:37 p.m. (CT) TBS

Sat. Oct. 6th ALDS Game 1, OAK @ DET 6:07 p.m. (ET) TBS
Sat. Oct. 6th NLDS Game 1, CIN @ SF 9:37 p.m. (ET)/6:37 p.m. (PT) TBS

Sun. Oct. 7th ALDS Game 2, OAK @ DET 12:07 p.m. (ET) MLBN
Sun. Oct. 7th NLDS Game 1, WSH @ STL/ATL 3:07 p.m. (ET) TBS
Sun. Oct. 7th ALDS Game 1, NYY @ BAL/TEX 6:15 p.m. (ET) TBS

Sun. Oct. 7th NLDS Game 2, CIN @ SF 9:37 p.m. (ET)/6:37 p.m. (PT) TBS
Mon. Oct. 8th NLDS Game 2, WSH @ STL/ATL 4:37 p.m. (ET) TBS
Mon. Oct. 8th ALDS Game 2, NYY @ BAL/TEX 8:07 p.m. (ET) TBS

Tues. Oct. 9th NLDS Game 3, SF @ CIN 5:37 p.m. (ET) TBS
Tues. Oct. 9th ALDS Game 3, DET @ OAK 9:07 p.m. (ET)/6:07 p.m. (PT) TBS

As for today, the Reds will be working out at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT. There will be press conferences with Johnny Cueto at 6:45 p.m. ET/3:45 PT and Dusty Baker at 7 p.m ET/4 PT. Those can be seen live on MLB.com/Reds.com

Game 4 = Bailey

A late note that will have much more in my game story: Dusty Baker revealed postgame that if there is a Game 4 in the NLDS, Homer Bailey would start for the Reds vs. the Giants at Great American Ball Park.

So the rotation is definitely: Cueto, Arroyo, Latos, Bailey and Cueto if there is a Game 5.

Catch you from San Francisco

I’ll be flying out to San Francisco first thing Thursday and will be at AT&T Park for the workout on Friday. Hard to believe that 162 games flew by so fast.

Thanks all for reading and following during the regular season. Look for more on here, MLB.com and Reds.com during the postseason.

In the meantime, here is a note from the Reds regarding NLCS tickets available for purchase by phone:

NLCS ticket phone sale: A limited number of tickets for the Reds potential National League Championship Series (NLCS) games at Great American Ball Park will go on sale by phone only beginning Saturday, Oct. 6 at 9 am ET by calling 513-381-REDS (7337) or 1-877-647-REDS (7337). These tickets have been set aside for fans without internet access or for fans not selected in the online ticket opportunities. A limit of 4 tickets per order. No tickets will be available at the Great American Ball Park ticket office.

NLDS set vs. Giants

Now the Reds have a National League Division Series opponent — the Giants.

Game 1 is set for Saturday at 9:37 p.m. ET/6:37 p.m. PT at AT&T Park. Johnny Cueto will face Matt Cain.

The Reds are flying to San Francisco overnight tonight and will be completely off on Thursday. There is no workout. On Friday, the club will workout at 2 p.m. PT.

General manager Walt Jocketty expected the club will reveal its roster after the workout. Jocketty did say that RHPs Todd Redmond and Pedro Villareal would be going home. SS Didi Gregorius, 2B/3B Henry Rodriguez, OF Denis Phipps, LHP Tony Cingrani will be going to Goodyear.

“They will stay game ready in the event of an injury or something. Everyone else will travel with us,” Jocketty said.

Injured players Bill Bray and Nick Masset were invited to be on the trip.

The Reds now have 28 players left for 25 spots … 13 pitchers and 15 position players.

No game times have been announced for the other games in this series. When I know, you will too.

10/3 at STL

Reds lineup vs. Cardinals

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

*The Nationals beat the Phillies this afternoon, which secured the No. 1 seed. The Reds will play their NLDS round vs. the Giants with Game 1 at San Francisco at a time TBA. Johnny Cueto will face Matt Cain.

NLDS rotation set

Reds manager Dusty Baker appears to know his rotation for the NLDS.

“We’ve been planning this for a while. It didn’t take a genius to see how we planned it,” Baker said on Tuesday. “What you see is what it is right now.”

Judging by the current rotation — it’s Johnny Cueto, Bronson Arroyo and Mat Latos for the first three games.

Would they use four starters?

“We’re not sure about that,” Baker said. “Generally speaking, you only use three starters in the first round. We won’t try to guess who’s not [in] but that’s a pretty good ace in the hole if you’ve got a guy getting hammered. You usually don’t let guys stick around to get hammered. It’s not like a regular season game.”

Although Baker did not say specifically, it would appear that Homer Bailey is that ace-in-the-hole.

“That is always the toughest part – who do you leave off?” Baker said. “I’ve seen guys get angry. I remember one time with Lasorda, there were a couple of guys upset with him.”

Baker also realizes that he’ll be open to criticism for the selections.

“If it works, then it’s cool,” Baker said. “If it doesn’t, then you should have gone with somebody else.”

10/2 at STL

Reds lineup vs. Cardinals

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

*The magic number for the Nationals to clinch the No. 1 seed in the NL playoffs is two — meaning a Reds loss, and a Nats win tonight sets the seeding for the playoffs.

*The Cardinals magic number to clinch the second NL Wild Card is 1. All they need to do is win over the Reds or have the Dodgers lose to the Giants, and it’s settled.

*Click here for the MLB.com Postseason Picture, “if the season ended today” brackets.

*Here are some September/Oct batting averages this season for you:

Stubbs: .159 (10-for-63), 0 HR, 1 RBI
Frazier: .181 (13-for-72), 1 HR, 5 RBIs
Heisey: .182 (10-for-55), 1 HR, 2 RBIs
Phillips: .198 (19-for-96), 3 HR
Rolen: .204 (9-for-44), 1 HR, 5 RBIs
Hanigan: .212 (11-for-52), 0 HR, 4 RBIs
Bruce: .228 (21-for-92), 6 HR, 14 RBIs

*This isn’t the kind of momentum the Reds need going to the postseason. But if good records/statistics don’t mean anything in the playoffs, can the same be said about poor ones?

Baker: ‘It wasn’t my time to go yet’

Reds manager Dusty Baker was back on the job Monday after he missed 11 games to be treated for an irregular heartbeat, and then later a minor stroke. Looking lighter by his estimate, 22 pounds of mostly water weight, Baker was smiling and very happy.

“It just feels great to be back with the team here,” Baker said. “I feel pretty much 100 percent. I’m still on some meds but I feel better. You can tell I’ve lost weight. I wasn’t trying to lose weight.”

Did the ordeal change his perspective?

“I’ve always had a pretty good perspective on things,” Baker said. “Now it just makes me feel more appreciative about what I’m doing. I feel more appreciative about my family. I feel truly blessed. To be in the hospital when you have a mini-stroke, you can’t get any more blessed than that. The way I look at it is it’s our year. We’ve got a great support staff here. My guys did a great job while I was out.”

Baker was about to be discharged from a Chicago hospital on the day the signs of the stroke came on. A woman at the hospital asked him to say his name, and he couldn’t.

Was the experience scary?

“It wasn’t scary because I didn’t feel like it was my time to go,” Baker said. “When you go in the hospital, and you’re leaving the hospital, it ain’t your time to go. I wasn’t worried at all. I didn’t like the fact I was having a stroke. At the same time, how many people have been in the hospital when they have a stroke? It wasn’t my time to go yet.”

I will have a full story on MLB.com/Reds.com soon — and Michael Bauman will also have a column on Baker in a little bit.

10/1 at STL

Reds lineup vs. Cardinals

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

*I was a little surprised to see Phillips in there, only because of that tightness in his left leg on Sunday that forced him out of the game. It was considered minor though.

*Reds pitcher Homer Bailey, fresh from the no-hitter at Pittsburgh on Friday, was named the National League’s player of the week today.

*Bronson Arroyo needs three innings to get to 200 innings. He just missed with 199 last season. As written the other day, it would give the Reds four 200 inning starters this season. In his one previous start vs. the Cardinals, here at Busch Stadium, he gave up three runs and five hits for a 6-3 win. But he is 8-12 with a 4.54 ERA lifetime against St. Louis. Arroyo is also trying to become the fourth Reds pitcher to notch 13 wins this season.

*The Reds pitching staff’s 1,224 strikeouts is the second-highest total in franchise history. It is three K’s shy of the club’s single-season record (1,227 in 2008).

Could this be the NLDS roster?

The Reds enter today tied with the Nationals for the top seed in the playoffs. Because of the tiebreaker from head-to-head record, they will need to be at least one game by the end of the final game on Wednesday. At worst, they have a No. 2 seed, which would mean facing the No. 3 seed Giants. That’s no easy matchup by any stretch. Meanwhile the second Wild Card is down to the Cardinals and Dodgers. The Reds could have a hand in deciding that outcome these next three days in St. Louis.

Although GM Walt Jocketty said the Reds’ 25-man NL Division Series roster could be based on the matchup his team draws, I will take my best stab at making the picks.

Position players:

Catchers (2): Ryan Hanigan, Dioner Navarro

Infielders (7): Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Scott Rolen, Zack Cozart, Todd Frazier, Miguel Cairo, Wilson Valdez

Outfielders (5): Ryan Ludwick, Drew Stubbs, Jay Bruce, Chris Heisey, Xavier Paul

Pitchers:

Starters (4): Johnny Cueto, Bronson Arroyo, Mat Latos, Homer Bailey

Relievers (7): Aroldis Chapman, Sean Marshall, Jonathan Broxton, Sam LeCure, Jose Arredondo, Logan Ondrusek, Alfredo Simon

*Please note that this is who I think the Reds will take, not who I think they should take. I’d be more inclined to go with J.J. Hoover over Ondrusek, who hasn’t had a clean appearance in a while. But Hoover hasn’t made an appearance since Sept. 23 vs. the Dodgers and has only two games worked since Sept. 15. And Ondrusek has a track record of success in the Majors, and that will always be appealing.

Of course, some things can change between now and this weekend when the roster has to be set — mainly who the Reds even play in the NLDS.

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