September 2013

Game 145: vs. CHC

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This is Mark Sheldon, back on Reds coverage for the series…

Game 144: vs. LAD

Reds Lineup

Shin-Soo Choo 8
Chris Heisey 7
Joey Votto 3
Brandon Phillips 4
Jay Bruce 9
Todd Frazier 5
Zack Cozart 6
Ryan Hanigan 2
Homer Bailey 1

The Reds get Brandon Phillips back as they look for the three-game sweep against the Dodgers. After nine games in the two-hole for Phillips, manager Dusty Baker said he batted him cleanup on Sunday primarily because of the All-Star second baseman’s numbers against Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw (8-for-19 with a double and an RBI). Baker added that Phillips is versatile in what he can do for the Reds in the lineup.

“His role has changed back again to driving in runs versus scoring runs,” Baker said. “He was driving in runs early. Then since he went into the second spot he changed his approach and different things.”

Game 143: vs. LAD

Reds Lineup

Shin-Soo Choo 8
Cesar Izturis 4
Joey Votto 3
Jay Bruce 9
Ryan Ludwick 7
Todd Frazier 5
Zack Cozart 6
Devin Mesoraco 2
Mat Latos 1

The obvious omission in today’s lineup is Brandon Phillips, who is dealing with the quad contusion he suffered on Thursday. Manager Dusty Baker didn’t like the way Phillips attacked a few groundballs at second, saying he “wasn’t gliding like he usually does.”

“I just told him to get as much treatment as possible,” Baker said. “It’s not quite hero time. Almost.”

I’ll have more on Reds.com in a bit. Also, coverage of this morning’s unveiling of the Joe Morgan statue outside of Great American Ball Park.

Game 142: vs. LAD

This is Jeremy Warnemuende covering for Mark for the weekend. He’ll be back on Monday for the Cubs series.

Reds Lineup

Shin-Soo Choo 8
Brandon Phillips 4
Joey Votto 3
Jay Bruce 9
Ryan Ludwick 7
Todd Frazier 5
Zack Cozart 6
Devin Mesoraco 2
Mike Leake 1

Phillips remains in the two-hole after exiting last night’s game with a left quad contusion. He said he hyper-extended his leg turning a double play in the sixth inning, and “it was the first time I ever felt something in my quad.”

“I’m just going to try to play smart,” Phillips said. “I talked to [manager Dusty Baker] about it, he just told me to play smart and try to do my best.”

Mesoraco is another name worth mentioning, as he’s making his first start since Monday. He’s been battling an issue in his left hamstring since Sunday’s game in Colorado.

Interviews with Jocketty, Frazier

In the final installments of multimedia interviews this week, I have two from Thursday night. First, I spoke with Reds GM Walt Jocketty about multiple topics during the game. This edited version covers the status of Johnny Cueto, Sean Marshall and how Billy Hamilton has performed this season. Click here to watch that video.

After the game, I talked with Reds 3B Todd Frazier, who hit two home runs in the 6-2 win over the Cardinals that gave them three of four in the series. Click here to watch.

It’s been a new experience during on-camera interviews this week and I enjoyed doing them in a different format than usual. Perhaps down the road, it will be something we do again during a big Reds series.

Berry has clean cancer test

Reds third base coach Mark Berry received the best news he could have received on Thursday.

Berry is cancer free.

“I was very pleased. Great news,” Berry said after the Reds took a 6-2 victory over the Cardinals. “I won’t forget this day. And a nice win to top it off.”

Berry was diagnosed with cancer in his tonsils and lymph nodes during Spring Training in March and took a leave from the club to undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatment. He returned to part-time work and traveling in June before resuming coaching at third base in mid-July.

On Wednesday, Berry underwent the PET scan exam to see if the treatments were successful.

“I went through a 16-inning game [Wednesday] night, knowing the test was over but not knowing the results,” Berry said. “At third base, I was focused and locked in but when I got into the dugout, I was thinking about it. Of course, anybody would. But I wasn’t overly nervous. I felt good about it.

“The first thing they said was the scans came out really clean, really nice.”

Berry, a 30-year member of the organization, was also told that no cancer cells had spread to the rest of his body.

For the next five years, Berry will need follow-up tests to make sure cancer hasn’t returned. He will be tested every three months the first year.

Mesoraco has hamstring injury

Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco would normally catch with Tony Cingrani on the mound but as you saw in my earlier lineup post, it’s Ryan Hanigan. Noticeable last night was that Corky Miller was used ahead of Mesoraco in extra innings. Mesoraco did not enter until the 13th inning.

It turns out that Mesoraco has been bothered by a sore left hamstring since the series at Colorado.

“It’s been like that for a few days,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “I was trying not to use him under any circumstances last night. I was trying not to use him to start off an inning. If he runs first [base] to home or first to third, then he could blow it out and be gone for a while.”

“It’s not a bad thing at all,” Mesoraco said. “I think Dusty at this point in the year doesn’t want it to be something that lingers around. Just get it out of there and be done with it.”

When he batted in the 14th inning with a runner on first base, Mesoraco was instructed to bunt in a situation he might be normally expected to swing away. However, Baker said that was not because of the hamstring issue.

“He’s a double play man,” Baker said. “He pulls the ball a lot on the ground. Bunting is a part of winning. If you bunt and you’re not successful, it’s ‘why did you bunt?’ If you don’t bunt and he hits into a double play and the inning is over, it’s ‘how come you didn’t bunt?’ I talked to him today. He’s got to work on bunting.”

Other quick notes:

*RHP Mat Latos was struck hard in the lower right leg by a batting practice foul ball that got through the cage off Bronson Arroyo’s bat. Latos was limping off of the field and I could see the red welt already forming on his leg. UPDATE: Latos returned to the field about 30 minutes later and appeared to be fine.

*RHP Johnny Cueto (lat) threw 40 pitches in the bullpen and LHP Sean Marshall (shoulder) threw 30 pitches. Asked to rate the sessions, head trainer Paul Lessard said Cueto was “close to a 10,” while he gave Marshall “eight.” Both pitchers will have another bullpen session on Saturday.

Game 141: vs. STL

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Conversation with Jeff Brantley

Here is my latest plug for my MLB.com multimedia effort this week…

During the fifth inning of Wednesday’s game, I had a few minutes with Reds radio/TV analyst and former reliever Jeff Brantley. Jeff talked about the Reds chances and why he thinks things are optimistic and the need for the team to get on a hot streak, now, to overtake the Cardinals and Pirates.

Click here to watch.

The missed bunt

When the season is over, this will be one of the games that will sting a little more if the Reds don’t win the NL Central. A 5-4 loss in 16 innings to the Cardinals featured more than a few missed opportunities.

The one missed chance that hurt the most? In the 15th inning with runners on the corners and two outs, Chris Heisey attempted a bunt and missed. Shin-Soo Choo was thrown out breaking for home to end the inning. Reds manager Dusty Baker said that Heisey was bunting on his own there.

“You’re not going to try and squeeze bunt with two outs,” Baker said. “Heis — he thought that the third baseman was back. He’s bunting for a hit. Choo was trying to score. He didn’t see the ball go past him. By then, you’re in no-man’s land. He was going to try to score. That was a tough play.”

*A couple of plays before Heisey’s bunt attempt, Choo was on first base with a leadoff single when Brandon Phillips — who notched his 100th RBI earlier in the game — laid down a sac bunt. That decision came from the dugout.

“I just did what I was told,” Phillips said. “It’s a team game, that’s what it’s all about. You want to move the guy over in that situation. I just tried to go over there and do my job. Whatever the team needs me to do, that’s what I do.”

The Pirates lost to the Brewers tonight so also missed was a chance to pick up a game. The Reds will need a win Thursday to win the four-game series.

Jeremy Warnemuende will have more in the game story soon.

Some other quick notes:

*Joey Votto went 0-for-7 for the first time in his career. The 3-4-5 spots of Votto, Jay Bruce and Heisey combined to go 0-for-19 with two walks.

*Phillips’ 18th homer of the season in the fifth gave him his 100th RBI of the season. He is the first Reds 2B to reach 100 since Joe Morgan in 1976. The last second baseman in the Majors to do that was Dan Uggla in 2010.

*Manny Parra was not available tonight because he was away from the team. His wife was having a baby.

*In terms of innings, this was the longest game in the history of GABP, which opened in 2003.

*Bronson Arroyo had three sacrifice bunts, a new career-high. He is the first Reds to do that since Aaron Harang on July 20, 2005. Arroyo leads the NL with a career-high 15 sac bunts this season.

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