May 2013

Game 51: vs. CLE

Reds lineup vs. Indians

Choo 8
Cozart 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Frazier 5
Paul 7
Mesoraco 2
Leake 1

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Games 48-50: vs. CHC

I am not scheduled to work the Reds-Cubs series but will back on the job Monday/Memorial Day when the Reds host the Indians.

Please be sure to check out Reds.com/MLB.com as our new associate reporter, Jeremy Warnemuende, will be covering everything this weekend while I am out. Jeremy got started during the last homestand when the Brewers were in town. He will be helping me the rest of the season during home games.

Latos-Bruce discussion; Marshall

Some quick items of note that came out of a 7-4 Reds win over the Mets for a three-game series sweep and 7-2 road trip. Click here to read the main game story on MLB.com

*Television cameras from the Mets broadcast caught Mat Latos and Jay Bruce having an animated discussion at the far end of the dugout following the fifth inning. It came after the Mets made it a 2-2 game on Daniel Murphy’s sacrifice fly.

Neither player would go detail what was said between them.

“Next question,” Latos said tersely.

“That’s not really important,” Bruce said. “But no, it was not about the sac fly.”

On the sac fly, Bruce had to make the catch on the run and he made an off-target throw up the third base line. Bruce discounted the situation between innings as not a big deal.

“Everything is fine,” Bruce said. “It happens all the time. It’s a non-story early really.”

*In the seventh inning as Latos gave up two runs that re-tied the game at 4-4. They came vs. lefty hitters Murphy and Rick Ankiel. You were probably wondering, as was I, what happened to Sean Marshall? That’s a situation where the lefty pitcher would normally enter. Murphy hit an RBI single and Ankiel hit a RBI triple to the left field wall.

“Marshall wasn’t available,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “Otherwise, I would have brought in Marshall for Ankiel. That kind of hurt us not having Marshall.”

Marshall said his shoulder did not respond well to throwing pre-game and believed there was some inflammation.

“We were kind of erring on the side of caution. I told them I was a little bit sore,” Marshall said. “I did a little bit of exercise after the game. With this extra day of rest [Thursday], I will be back to how I’ve been feeling.”

Marshall, who has a 2.57 ERA in 11 appearances with 21 of 27 batters retired, began the season battling left shoulder tendinitis and was on the disabled list from April 8-26.

*The Reds have won 10 of their last 12 games.

*On the road this season, the Reds are 13-12 after starting out 1-8.

*Zack Cozart, often criticized for batting in the second spot, had a career-best day going 4-for-5 as he faced Mets phenom Matt Harvey. No other player in Harvey’s brief big league career had ever notched three hits against him. Cozart also made a nifty play in the field to rob David Wright of an RBI hit with his line drive.

“Not a bad day,” Cozart said. “To be honest with you, the play in the field I like doing that rather than getting a lot of hits. I need a lot of hits though. I felt good. Harvey, we knew he had good stuff coming into the game. I don’t know what it did to me, if it heightened my awareness or what, but I thought I saw him pretty good.”

*Joey Votto hit a 3-0 Harvey 96 mph fastball for a two-run homer and a 2-1 Reds lead in the third inning. Votto is now 7-for-11 with three homers in his career when having 3-0 count.

“Just trying to throw a fastball away,” Harvey said. “I don’t like walking people, so obviously in that count I wanted to throw a strike. I just missed over the plate a little bit. He’s a good hitter, so he put a good swing on it.”

Game 47: at NYM

Reds lineup vs. Mets

Choo 8
Cozart 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Paul 7
Hannahan 5
Mesoraco 2
Latos 1

Right handed hitting market barren

The Reds have become a left-handed heavy roster this season due to injuries to left fielders Ryan Ludwick and Chris Heisey.

Both Ludwick and Heisey are right-handed hitters. Reds general manager Walt Jocketty is not beating the bushes for a right-
handed batter on the trade market to fill the void, however.

“We’ve looked at it,” Jocketty said on Tuesday. “There is really nobody out there that would make much of a difference. We’re just biding our time to see what happens.”

Ludwick is out until at least the All-Star break with a right shoulder injury suffered on Opening Day that required surgery. Heisey has been on the disabled list since April 29 with a right hamstring strain. He suffered a setback in the first game of his rehab assignment last week and is still at least a couple of weeks from returning.

The Reds have patched things together primarily with lefty hitters Xavier Paul and Donald Lutz….and switch hitter Derrick Robinson. I will have a little more, and other items as well, later in my Reds notebook on MLB.com/Reds.com.

Game 46: at NYM

Reds lineup vs. Mets

Robinson 8
Cozart 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Frazier 5
Lutz 7
Mesoraco 2
Leake 1

*Now Shin-Soo Choo sits (for real) against lefty Jonathon Niese.

*Zack Cozart is back after missing two games with a stomach bug.

*Brandon Phillips is 5-for-13 (.385) with two home runs in his career vs. Niese.

*From Stats Inc.: Mike Leake has limited the Mets’ David Wright, Daniel Murphy and Ike Davis to a combined 3-for-28.

Votto is NL Player of Week

MLB announced Monday that Reds 1B Joey Votto is the National League Player of the Week.

Here is part of the press release:

Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto has been named National League Player of the Week for the period ending May 19th. The announcement was made earlier today on MLB Network.

In six games last week, Votto led the Majors with a .583 batting average (14-for-24) and a .655 on-base percentage. The three-time N.L. All-Star ranked among league leaders with a .917 slugging percentage (2nd), 14 hits (T-2nd), 22 total bases (3rd) and seven runs scored (T-3rd) while clubbing two home runs with five RBI. Votto had five multi-hit performances last week and extended his current hitting streak to eight games as the Reds posted a 4-2 record for the week. On Saturday, the 29-year-old paced Cincinnati’s offense, reaching base six times in six plate appearances. Votto went 4-for-4 with two walks, a double, a home run and two RBI in a 10-0 rout of the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The 2010 N.L. MVP went 2-for-4 in Friday night’s matchup between the two clubs, including a game-tying homer in the eighth inning of an eventual 5-3 loss. Votto opened his stellar week with a 3-for-4 effort in a 6-2 victory over the Miami Marlins on Tuesday.

In addition to his three hits, the Canadian-born slugger drew a based-loaded walk that plated the Reds’ second run of the contest. Votto currently leads the Majors with a .473 on-base percentage, having reached base a Major League-best 98 times. His 37 walks are also the most in the Majors while his .349 average ranks second in the Senior Circuit. This is his third career weekly award, having previously won August 21-27, 2009 and, most recently, July 25-31, 2011.

Game 45: at NYM

Reds lineup vs. Mets

Robinson 8 Choo 8
Izturis 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Frazier 5
Paul 7
Hanigan 2
Cueto 1

*Shin-Soo Choo gets a night off. Choo is a .222 (2-for-9, 5 strikeouts) lifetime vs. Mets starter Shaun Marcum. UPDATE: Choo is starting.

*It appears Zack Cozart is getting another day after being sick on Sunday.
UPDATE: Cozart says he feels better but still dealing with dehydration. Getting the extra day to build his strength. He spent all of Sunday quarantined in the trainer’s room.

*Joey Votto has even better chance to stay hot at the plate tonight. He is 5-for-9 (.556) lifetime vs. Marcum.

Chapman blows two in a row

The Reds felt the elation of back-to-back homers to win a game in walk-off fashion earlier this month — on May 7 vs. the Braves — when Devin Mesoraco and Shin-Soo Choo took closer Craig Kimbrel deep for a win at GABP.

Now they know how the other half live. Aroldis Chapman gave up back-to-back home runs to Erik Kratz and Freddy Galvis for a 3-2 Reds loss to the Phillies on Sunday.

“Rarely do you see back-to-back homers [to end a game],” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “We were thinking Galvis has power from the left side. We were thinking Kratz was really the only guy that could hurt you at the bottom of the order. I guess it shows that anybody with a bat is dangerous. That’s a tough one to lose.”

Kratz said he was ready for whatever Chapman was bringing.

“I look forward for the chance to face anybody,” Kratz said. “We’ve done a good job in this series of coming in against their bullpen and tacking on runs or adding to runs and I think any time we’ve been faced with a challenge like that as a team, we’ve stepped up. He’s just another example of that. So yeah, you definitely look forward to facing somebody who’s going to come after you and he definitely did.”

That’s back-to-back blown saves for Chapman after he notched eight in a row to start the season. Add to that the three runs and four hits he gave up to the Cubs in a non-save situation on May 3.

Could this be the start of a funk? You remember June of last season? That month he had a 6.97 ERA with one loss and three blown saves, including back-to-back blown saves. After that, he went back to invincible mode and blew only one more save the rest of the season and saved 38 overall.

Something to keep any eye on perhaps…

“I don’t see any problem,” Chapman said through translator Tomas Vera. “I’ve been hit. Everybody gets hit, why not me? I’m going to get hit as well.”

Much more on this finale will be posted on MLB.com shortly. Click here to read. It includes a stroll down memory lane at Citizens Bank Park that isn’t very pleasant. The Reds haven’t won a series here since 2006.

Notes:

*With six of the nine games of the road trip complete, the Reds rotation is 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA.

*The pitching staff had a stretch of 16 scoreless innings against the Phillies, which ended in the eighth when Sean Marshall gave up a two-out single to his first batter Chase Utley.

*Jay Bruce remains on fire. Leading off the top of the second inning against Jonathan Pettibone, Bruce hit a 2-1 pitch for a home run to center field. His fifth homer of the season, it extended his season-high hitting streak to 10 games and 15 of the last 16 games. Bruce is 16-for-41 (.390) during the streak with four homers and 12 RBIs.

*Joey Votto had two more hits to extend his hitting streak to eight. Votto’s double play in the third ended a streak of eight-straight plate appearances where he reached safely.

Game 44: at PHI

Reds lineup vs. Phillies

Choo 8
Cozart 6 Izturis 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Frazier 5
Paul 7
Hanigan 2
Bailey 1

*Zack Cozart was scratched because he is sick today.

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