May 2013

Game 33: vs. ATL

Reds lineup vs. Braves

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

*Brian McCann is off of the DL for the Braves today. Lifetime vs. Arroyo, he is 9-for-18 (.500) with four homers and seven RBIs.

Phillips couldn’t see; Reds sweep

One down moment came from a solid three-game series sweep for the Reds.

Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips and center fielder Shin-Soo Choo were involved in a fifth-inning outfield collision during Sunday’s 7-4 win over the Cubs. While Choo appeared to come away with only a fat lip from the incident, Phillips exited in the eighth inning when manager Dusty Baker came out of the dugout and took him off of the field. Cesar Izturis replaced Phillips and quickly fielded a grounder his way.

“He couldn’t see,” Baker said of Phillips. “I took him out. He said he couldn’t see that ball on the sacrifice fly that he hit [in the seventh]. When a guy says he can’t see, especially with all the left-handed hitters coming up, the next play would have been to Brandon. We have to protect these guys. There’s a long way to go. I think he’s OK. We’ll see.”

When asked how he felt after the game, Phillips was quiet and somewhat elusive.

“I’m living,” Phillips said. “Whatever Dusty says, that’s what happened.”

In the fifth following back-to-back singles against Mat Latos, Alfonso Soriano hit a fly to shallow center field. Choo came running in for the ball as second baseman Phillips backpedaled before the two collided. The ball skipped off of Phillips’ glove and hit Choo’s face for what was ruled a two-run double.

“It looked ugly there but this wind plays havoc with the ball,” Baker said. “I saw Choo break back and I knew we were in trouble.”

Both players needed time to be looked over by trainers before continuing. There was a lot of crowd noise from the 33,449 fans as the play developed but it wasn’t clear who called for the ball.

“I go out there as far as I can to try and catch every ball until somebody says ‘I’ve got it,’” Phillips said. “It happened between me and Drew Stubbs a couple of years, the same thing happened. It happened again today. But things happen. I’m just happy we had a great road trip. I will be OK. I’m happy we won the game and won the [road] series for the first time. … I play hurt all the time. Things happen. I will be in there tomorrow.”

Three stars:

No. 3 star: Todd Frazier – 2-for-3, BB, 2 RBI

No. 2 star: Shin-Soo Choo – 2-for-5, SB, run — it was his league-best 14th multi-hit game of the season.

No. 1 star: Joey Votto – 3-for-5, 2 doubles, RBI, run — Eight game hitting streak.

Notes:

*Not a bad way to end the road trip. The Reds finished 5-5.

“It doesn’t sound like much but it’s a lot from where we came from. We did finish strong,” Baker said.

*It was the season-high fourth-straight non-quality start for the Reds’ rotation.

*Mat Latos’ streak of 21 scoreless innings ended in the fifth inning. It tied his career-high and was the most for a Reds starting pitcher since Denny Neagle in 2000. Latos was pitching under the weather.

“I’ve been sick the past couple of days and not feeling well,” Latos said. “I woke up this morning throwing up. Oh well.”

*Donald Lutz notched his first Major League hit with a single up the middle in the seventh. Earlier in that very AB, Lutz appeared to be grazed on the left ankle/foot for a HBP. But it wasn’t called and he and Baker argued to no avail. Lutz got his first RBI in the eighth on a fielder’s choice play with the bases loaded. Moments later, came Lutz’s first stolen base.

*J.J. Hoover notched the save in the ninth. Jonathan Broxton, who pitched the last two games, and Aroldis Chapman, who threw 51 pitches in the last two games weren’t available. Hoover escaped with the tying run at the plate.

“Now we’ve got a strong Broxton and a strong Chapman,” Baker said.

Game 32: at CHC

Reds lineup vs Cubs

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

What happened with Teahen

On Saturday, the Reds sent back OF/INF Mark Teahen to the D-backs after acquiring him in a trade for cash/PTBNL. There was an issue with Teahen’s physical, which voided the deal.

Courtesy of my colleague, MLB.com D-backs beat writer Steve Gilbert, Arizona GM Kevin Towers explained what happened:

“Two days prior to us trading him he dove for a ball, didn’t say anything, didn’t show up on any of our medical reports and Mike [Bell, the farm director] wasn’t aware of it,” Towers said. “When he did his physical over there he said he felt something in his shoulder, didn’t quite feel right — hadn’t said anything to us. They basically said ‘there’s some concerns because we were expecting to get a healthy player and if he’s not able to go right now we probably have less interest in doing it.’

“[Teahen] just didn’t say anything to anybody. He didn’t go see the trainer or show up on any medical records so we were caught by surprise as well as them.”

Game 31: at CHC

20130504-092436.jpg

Disaster averted

The three stars from a 6-5 Reds win over the Cubs.

No. 3 star: J.J. Hoover — first save of season — Hoover retired only one batter in the game but it was a huge one to get the 27th out. When Aroldis Chapman didn’t have it and gave up three runs, three hits and a walk to turn a four-run lead into a one-run nailbiter, Hoover struck out Darwin Barney to end it.

“It’s too bad Chapman couldn’t finish it off. But I’m glad to step in,” Hoover said. He also have one save in 2012.

No. 2 star: Shin-Soo Choo — 2-for-4, RBI single, double two runs scored — Choo has 13 multi-hit game and has reached in 27 of his 29 games.

No. 1 star: Joey Votto — 2-for-3, two runs, RBI, HB, BB — Votto has a six-game hitting streak ans has reached in 28 of 30 games. He leads the NL with 28 walks.

Notes:

*As you might read more in my full game story soon on MLB.com, Dusty Baker defended the use of Chapman in a non-save situation in the bottom of the ninth.

“He hadn’t pitched in three days,” Baker said. “If we don’t pitch him, then it’s ‘ok, you’re pitching him too much or you’re not pitching him enough.’” Yeah, he needed work. It was only a four-run game. We have a strong bullpen and Broxton was in there with a four-run game too. There are no excuses or alibis or no one to blame. He just didn’t get them out today. It happens.”

*Chapman threw 32 pitches in the ninth. I don’t think I’m going out on a ledge by predicting he won’t be available on Saturday.

*First-pitch temperature was 41 degrees. The wind chill was 37.

*Four of the Reds’ six RBIs came via two-out hits. Huge.

“The team that gets the two-out hits is usually the team that wins the games,” Baker said. “Those are big, big clutch hits. We had some guys swinging the bat pretty good today. The last time we faced Villanueva, he was pretty tough on us. We got to him pretty early.”

*Mike Leake pitched pretty well, allowing only five singles through his first five innings and no one to reach third base. Anthony Rizzo and Alfonso Soriano’s back-to-back one-out doubles scored one run in the sixth. A bloop hit to short left field by Nate Schierholtz scored Soriano. Leake was lifted following Luis Valbuena’s two-out single. Sam LeCure took over from the bullpen and got the Reds out of the jam with one pitch that induced Darwin Barney’s pop out to second base.

“It was cold out there,” Leake said. “I was just trying to work on my strengths and work down in the zone. The umpire was working well with me on that low ball so it was nice to try and attack that lower half of the zone.”

*Leake is 5-2 with a 3.44 ERA in 12 career starts vs. the Cubs.

Setback for Cueto

The Reds got some bad news during the off day that ace Johnny Cueto had a setback discovered during his checkup in Cincinnati. His rehab assignment start today at Double-A Pensacola has been scratched.

What’s particularly troubling is the injury. Cueto, who is on the DL for a strained right lat, felt soreness in his oblique muscle.

“He had a good bullpen [Monday] and he didn’t experience anything in his arm but he experienced soreness in that oblique that he hurt last year in the playoffs,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “So, we’ll wait and see.”

You may recall that Cueto had to exit Game 1 of the NLDS at San Francisco after only eight pitches because of a strained right oblique.

Cueto will be examined again on Monday and a potential rehab schedule will be updated then. That means any future roster move and figuring out what to do with Tony Cingrani has been tabled.

Game 30: at CHC

Reds lineup vs. Cubs

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

*No word yet on why Phillips is out of the lineup. It could be part of Dusty Baker’s M.O. to give a select guy two days off, around a team off day. Will update when I know more.

UPDATE – It is just a day off for Phillips for the reason I expected.

Off day in Chicago

Greetings from frigid Chicago, where I’m hearing it will be even more frigid on Friday when the Reds open their series with the Cubs at Wrigley.

Sorry for the lack of blog action on Wednesday. I had a plane to catch postgame and some deadlines to meet on non-game stuff. I had to put this here blog on the backburner for a day.

*In my Reds notebook yesterday, I had an item on the now infamous tweets by Jay Bruce on Tuesday night in response to some abuse he was taking. I asked Bruce about it and he did not wish to discuss it further on the record. I felt what he wrote was generally a measured, rational and thoughtful response. But should he have sent it out for the masses to see? No. I don’t think Bruce was wrong to write what he wrote and I liked the fact that he stood up to people who wrote things to him that they would be embarrassed to tell their family, friends, co-workers or bosses about. Yet, it was a no-win situation for the player. I can admit to coming close to taking shots at people on Twitter, but have generally thought better of it after a few moments of contemplation. If someone writes something nasty or calls me a name, I usually just block them and move on.

*Pretty soon, my off day story will be posting. The Reds are pretty lucky to be 15-14 in my mind. I think it could be worse considering how subpar the hitting as been and how banged up they’ve been. I know it’s a different year and there is one less team in the division, but through 29 games of 2012, they were also 15-14. It just tells me that there is a long way to go still.

*Is anybody making the trip from Cincinnati for the series? As I noted at the top, dress warm and layer it up. You will be a hearty soul in my book after spending nine innings in the seats.

Game 29: at STL

Reds lineup vs. Cardinals

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

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