May 2013

Soto called up

UPDATE: Reds made the move official and announced that Cingrani was optioned to Louisville.

A Reds roster move has yet to be announced but 3B/1B Neftali Soto is in the clubhouse on Saturday. He has been called up from Triple-A Louisville.

Soto is batting .269/.310/.388 with three homers and 16 RBIs in 33 games. He has played 18 games at first base but has been developing his skills as a third baseman, where he’s played 16 games.

I will have more with Soto later. To read my MLB.com notebook on him, click here.

Soto will wear No. 50.

With LHP Tony Cingrani not getting another turn in the rotation after pitching Friday, he is likely to be optioned to Louisville.

It was a mostly impressive six starts in the Majors for Cingrani, who was 2-0 with a 3.27 ERA, nine walks and 41 strikeouts.

Game 43: at PHI

Reds lineup vs. Phillies

Choo 8
Cozart 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Frazier 5
Lutz 7
Hanigan 2
Arroyo 1

Leake to pitch Tuesday

The Reds have listed Mike Leake as their probable starter for Tuesday’s game vs. the Mets, with Mat Latos taking Wednesday’s finale and facing off against Matt Harvey.

That would seem to indicate that tonight could be Tony Cingrani’s last start in the Majors for a little while.

Johnny Cueto is coming off of the DL and pitching on Monday at New York, with Leake now stationed between him and Latos. There was no specific effort to split up Cueto and Latos in the order.

“It’s when Johnny was ready and we had to re-tweak the rotation as it was because of Cingrani needing the extra day,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “That kind of changed everything. A lot of times you have a reason but this is for no particular reason. [Monday] is Johnny’s day to pitch.”

During my off days, I saw the the quotes from Baker that he never viewed the situation as Leake vs. Cingrani, and said that Leake wasn’t pitching for his job. But Leake certainly helped his own cause by posting a 2.79 ERA in his last three starts since that three-inning bad outing.

Game 42: at PHI

Reds lineup vs. Phillies

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

*The Reds, which swept three games from the Phillies last month at GABP, haven’t taken four in a row from the Phils since 1999.

*Last night’s win at MIA was Dusty Baker’s 444th in Cincinnati, which put him past Fred Hutchinson for fourth place on the club’s all-time list.

*Joey Votto is hitting .429 (9-for-21, 1 double, 4 RBIs, 5 R) over his 5-game hitting streak. Lifetime vs. Phillies starter Cliff Lee, Votto is 7-for-16 (.438) with one homer and 4 RBIs.

*Todd Frazier is 0-for-13 in his last 3 games.

“Chatting Cage” with Latos

Reds pitcher Mat Latos will step into MLB.com’s “Chatting Cage” on Monday at 12:15 pm ET.

It’s a live interactive web program where fans can ask Latos questions via web cam or on Twitter.

Click here for more details:

http://mlb.mlb.com/fan_forum/social_media/chatting_cage.jsp

Games 39-41 at MIA

No Miami for me on this trip. I will be back on Friday for the weekend series at Philadelphia, followed by next week in New York.

Have a good few days.

Rotation order tweaked

The Reds on Monday revealed an alteration to their rotation for the upcoming roadtrip:

At Miami

Tues: RHP Homer Bailey
Weds: RHP Mike Leake
Thur: RHP Mat Latos

At Philadelphia

Fri: LHP Tony Cingrani
Sat: RHP Bronson Arroyo
Sun: RHP Homer Bailey

Essentially, Latos and Cingrani have flip-flopped spots. Latos then stays on regular rest.

I had been thinking that Johnny Cueto, who is throwing in a rehab assignment game on Tuesday at Class A Dayton, could return as soon as Sunday vs. the Phillies. At least according to this schedule, that will not apparently happen that way. It makes me wonder, however, if Cueto will eventually go into Leake’s spot since that would put him back in front of Latos like it was to begin the season. I guess we shall soon find out. Cueto has to successfully get through his second start at Dayton first.

Arroyo not feeling so hot

Some of the takeaway from a 5-1 Reds win over the Brewers:

So in my pre-game notebook, I wrote how the Reds had gone nine-straight games without a quality start from the rotation (at 6 ip, no more than 3 ER allowed). Well, Bronson Arroyo put an end to that.

Arroyo looked pretty good in a 5-1 win with 6 2/3 ip, 5 H, 1 BB, 5 K. He threw only 87 pitches before giving way in the seventh after hit Logan Schafer with a two-out pitch and gave up a Rickie Weeks single.

“He wasn’t feeling very well,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “He said all game it was a struggle for him, but this guy has big guts. He’ll give you what he has. He told us to keep an eye on him because he was about out of gas even though he didn’t have many pitches.”

Arroyo still snapped a three-game losing streak for his first victory since April 15.

“I didn’t have a whole lot of stuff,” Arroyo said. “I was grinding from inning one. Eighty-six, 87 [mph] was the top end for me. The wind was blowing at my back down on the field and up top it was blowing out. It’s a terrible mix for me because you can’t make the ball move down on the field. But if they hit it, it’s going to take off.”

“I was laboring every inning. It probably didn’t look like that. After the 6th, I told them those 65 pitches felt like 90 and to just be aware of that to have somebody ready to go. I knew I was getting away with some pitches I normally wouldn’t and that game could get out of hand quicker than you thought.”

Sam LeCure replaced Arroyo and got the strikeout to escape.

Post-game notes:

*I cover the story of the day, Donald Lutz, on MLB.com/Reds.com. Click here to read that version.

*Reds batters hit .283 and slugged .465 in the three-game sweep of the Brewers.

*Catcher Ryan Hanigan threw out Jean Segura trying to steal in the first inning. Hanigan has caught 5 of 6 runners attempting to steal this season.

*The Reds are a season-high six games over .500 at 22-16.

*Entering the season, I thought the Brewers would at least be a factor in the NL Central this season because of their lineup and improved bullpen…and maybe they still will be around down the stretch. But I’m doubting that at this point. They’ve now lost 12 of their last 16 games, nine of 10 and are 15-20 overall. They’ve lost eight in a row to NL Central opponents. Not only was their starting pitching pretty weak, their defense was poor. It wasn’t just the errors but the balls the players didn’t get to. If there is a saving hope, it’s shortstop Jean Segura. That guy can really hit. He was 8-for-12 in the series with two homers, two RBIs and four runs scored.

Game 38: vs MIL

20130512-100550.jpg

The Three Stars? On life support

You may have noticed a lack of postgame blogging the last few days. My intent with this blog — pre-game, during game, or postgame, has been to provide you with extra content that I couldn’t get into my stories and notebooks on MLB.com/Reds.com.

I felt the “Three Stars,” besides being a homage to my second-favorite sport of hockey, was a way to analyze the games without having the same angle as my main site coverage. I wanted it to add more depth to what you already read but lately, I feel like it’s been redundant.

So for now, the “Three Stars” are on hiatus. I’m not sure how many of you really liked it anyway or will miss it. I’m suspecting not a ton.

I will continue to postgame blog when it’s appropriate — more so on weeknights and less on the weekends. I will also try to think of new and improved ways to give you the Reds analysis you rightly deserve.

Thanks very much, as always, for reading.

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