Results tagged ‘ Arthur Rhodes ’

3-3 record.

The Reds scored seven runs on just three hits and had six hits overall for a 7-6 win over the Brewers.

The highlights:

  • Edwin Encarnacion sucked all the noise out Miller Park with a big grand slam in the six-run Reds’ third inning after Milwaukee had taken a 5-1 lead after two innings.

“It hit the perfect spot on my bat. I knew right away the ball was gone,” Encarnacion said.

  • All of the Reds third-inning runs came after having two outs and nobody on.
  • As mentioned in the earlier post, Jay Bruce has grappled lately with his timing. Bruce hit a high fastball for a solo homer in the second inning.

“I found something I was doing last year that I’m doing a little different this year,” Bruce said. “I think I have to get back to my game, myself. Doing what I was doing really helps. It had to do with timing. It wasn’t necessarily gone but not as consistent as I wanted it to be.”

  • The bullpen came up solid again. In the seventh, Arthur Rhodes gave up back-to-back one-out singles but escaped with a double play. David Weathers gave up a two-out triple and two walks to load the bases but also kept the Brewers down.
  • The Reds have won three of their last four to climb back to a 3-3 record. It was a good win to get on the first day of an 11-day, 10-game marathon road trip.
  • It overshadowed another shaky outing by Edinson Volquez, who threw 99 pitches over five innings and gave up six runs, seven hits and four walks with four strikeouts. Volquez has a 9.64 ERA and 13 hits allowed through 9 1/3 innings and two starts. His eight walks are tied for the National League lead and he’s already allowed three homers after giving up 14 all of last season.

“Edinson wasn’t sharp but he gave us all he had,” manager Dusty Baker said.

  • In the first inning, Volquez was late covering first base on a double play ball and it cost him the first run of the game.

“I’m going to get fined for that,” Volquez said.

  • Volquez gave up Corey Hart’s three-run homer in the second that made it 5-1, Brewers. But the pitcher worked out of a bases-loaded, no outs jam in the fourth.

“I was confident,” Volquez said. “I looked at them and [thought] ‘I’m going to get those guys outs.”

“Edinson has a way of getting into trouble and getting out of trouble,” Baker said. “That was huge because they could have blasted that game open.”

 “We knew we were behind but we never got our heads down,” Encarnacion said. “We have to keep our head up and keep going. We knew the game was early. That’s why we have to play aggressive every inning. You never know what can happen in this game.”

Rain be gone, please

I’d love to say it’s a perfect night for baseball here at Great American Ball Park but it’s raining — sometimes light and other times cats and dogs. The Reds are usually willing to hunker down all night to wait out the weather so there’s a belief here that the game vs. PIT could be played. But the forecast calls for more rain and there’s a 1:10 p.m. game just around the corner on Saturday. Let’s hope it clears up enough, and sooner than later.

News you can use:

For the first time after three games this season, Dusty Baker could make the lineup he expected to make against a right-handed pitcher.

Taveras CF, Dickerson LF, Votto 1B, Phillips 2B, Bruce RF, Encarnacion 3B, Hernandez C, Gonzalez SS, Cueto P

“It wouldn’t be new if everyone was healthy and fresh. We haven’t had it like that,” Baker said.

  • Jerry Hairston Jr. (tight left leg) says he could play tonight. Hairston wasn’t in the lineup, partially because Baker’s platoon has Chris Dickerson hitting vs. right-handed pitchers like Pittsburgh’s Jeff Karstens.

“It feels a lot better today,” Hairston said. “I could have played today but they wanted to give me an extra day.”

  • Entering tonight, Arthur Rhodes and David Weathers have combined to retire all 13 batters faced with a total of 42 pitches, 35 strikes. Rhodes has 31 pitches/27 strikes while Weathers has 11 pitches/8 strikes.
  • A closed door team meeting was called for about 10 minutes during the afternoon. Players were informed that the mother of pitching prospect Pedro Viola, Teresa Contreras, had surgery today to remove a tumor from her face. The surgery went without complications.
  • In the former Reds department, former pitcher Matt Belisle had his Minor League contract purchased by Rockies today. Belisle, who was 1-0 with a 2.61 ERA, seven strikeouts and two walks in Spring Training, will work from Colorado’s bullpen.

If Belisle does well for the Rockies, what is the over/under on how long it will take for comments and e-mails to flow about the Reds letting him go? Every year when an ex-Reds had a good week elsewhere (Justin Germano, Cody Ross, Brandon Harris come to mind), the inbox gets heavy. I don’t think these were guys the Reds have really missed in the big picture. I have no doubt Jeff Keppinger’s name will come up soon too.

  • In the get to know him department, Baker is a big fan of the Weather Channel and calls it his favorite stop on the dial.

“I watch it at home – the five day forecast to see how accurate the weather guy is,” Baker said. “It’s a tough job. I don’t second guess them. You’re trying to predict what God is making and creating and changing.” 

One down, 161 to go

Who’s written the season off after one game? That’s a common occurance after an Opening Day loss, especially in Cincinnati. Just remember, it’s one game and only the first game. Obviously, the opener is a bigger deal around here, it doesn’t mean the season is over already.

While there were some negatives to take away from the 2-1 loss to the Mets, I will start with my positives:

  • Alex Gonzalez looked pretty good and played all nine innings in lousy conditions. He also made a nice diving stop to his left on Johan Santana’s second-inning groundout for the third out. Dusty Baker considered not playing Gonzalez because of the weather.

“I considered it but he probably would have shot me after he’s been out a year and a half,” Baker said.

  • The late-inning bullpen effort was strong. Arthur Rhodes and David Weathers each threw a perfect inning. Francisco Cordero was throwing 94 mph and gave up one hit in a scoreless ninth.
  • Aaron Harang had a high pitch count of 114 but mostly got out of jams. He only gave up one run and seven hits. Of those seven hits, two were infield hits, three were bloopers and there were two solid hits – including the homer by Murphy.

The negative:

  • The outfield defense was sloppy. Darnell McDonald and Jerry Hairston Jr. seemed to get crossed up. I think Willy Taveras makes a couple of the balls McDonald didn’t get to.
  • I know Johan Santana was pitching for the Mets, but just three hits in the game isn’t a good sign for those of us (me included) worried about whether the Reds will have enough production to be real contenders.

Dusty Baker post-game quotes:

“Our outfield is still learning the range of each other. They’re learning the speed of each other. We’ll get it together. I love our outfield. They’re not going to be too many balls that drop in.”

“He usually leads the league in strikeouts. A lot of people don’t get a lot of runs against Santana. Aaron matched him except for that home run he gave up to the youngerster we don’t know either. There weren;t many negatives today. People look for negatives when you lose, but they played a good game and beat us today.”

“I love the way [Harang] pitched. His zip and velocity were back. He had a sharp breaking ball. He got some tough hitters out in some tough jams.”

Harang on throwing a lot of pitches the first game:

“I was up to 100 pitches at the end of spring. It was definitely hard to pitch in those conditions. Johan had the same situation to deal with. You want to have enough feeling in your fingers to keep track of the ball.”

Harang on the conditions — 37 degrees and raining:

“They’re up there trying to keep their hands warm but they’re not out there trying to throw a ball with numb fingers. When it gets cold like that, the ball gets real slick and you might not have your best stuff. Now that I think about it, hitters have a little more of an advantage.”

If you were at the game, or watched on TV, what did you think?

 

Final score: Twins 10, Reds 4

For starter Micah Owings, it was a decent first time on the mound for the Reds. Owings threw three scoreless innings with two hits, no walks and two strikeouts. Only two balls were solidly hit — Brendan Harris’ double to the center field wall in the first inning and a tailing liner to center field that Willy Taveras where made a nice diving catch in the third.

Owings mostly threw fastballs in the first two innings and kept the ball down pretty well. By the third, he started mixing it up. Considering it was the first game action he had seen since August when he was shut down with a sore shoulder, Owings was pleased.

“Initially warming up during pre-game stuff, you start thinking about how long it’s been since I’ve been out there,” Owings said. “It was nice to get back out there and compete. Everything felt pretty good. For the first time out, I was pretty happy. The arm felt good, most important.”

It wasn’t a smooth first outing for Francisco Cordero, who gave up two earned runs and four hits (including two infield singles) in the fourth inning. Brian Buscher’s two-run home run to right field was the big hit off Cordero. I happened to miss the whole inning because I was in the clubhouse talking to Owings.

After Cordero, David Weathers worked a perfect fifth inning. In the sixth, Arthur Rhodes gave up two earned runs on three hits with a walk and a strikeout in the sixth.

A four-run seventh got the Reds on the scoreboard. Danny Richar lined a single and scored on Juan Francisco’s RBI single to left field. Craig Tatum added a RBI single to left field and Kevin Barker hit a two-run double to right field.

For those itching to get Joey Votto moved to left field to make room for Yonder Alonso, it wasn’t an easy day for the kid at first base. Alonso missed a scoop in the dirt in the seventh and committed a run-scoring E3 on Luke Hughes’ slow, slow roller up the first base line in the eighth. That would have been the third out. The next batter, Brock Petersen, hit a grand slam to right field. So that was five unearned runs off pitcher Ramon Ramirez that inning.

“Yonder was a little out of control and too aggressive,” manager Dusty Baker said. “He comes in early every morning and works on his defense. He’s getting a lot better.”

 

 

 

Encarnacion to change hitting approach

Third baseman Edwin Encarnacion, owner of a new two-year, $7.6 million contract that avoided arbitration, made his camp debut on Wednesday. In a good mood for obvious reasons, Encarnacion said he committed in the off-season to returning to his old approach of hitting.

“I want to try to stay more to the middle. Last year, I tried to pull too many balls and hit more homers,” Encarnacion said. “That’s why my average went down. I will be more consistent with my hitter. I know I can do it. I’ve done it before. I know I can hit better than that and I just have to keep working.

“You can’t go to the plate hitting like crazy. You have to go up with some plan. That’s what makes you a better hitter.”

One of the better clutch run producers before 2008, the 26-year-old Encarnacion  batted .251 with a career-high 26 home runs but only 68 RBIs in 146 games.

During his playing career, Reds manager Dusty Baker said he made similar mistakes.

“Sometimes it happens at that point of your career. It happened to me. It’s a disease – I call it home run-itis,” Baker said. “You start liking the trot. What happens is you end up hitting lower, less RBIs and have just as many homers. I got a letter from Joe Black, I’ll never forget it. I still have the letter. He told me to ‘remember you’re a hitter, not a slugger.”

Other notes from Wednesday:

Jerry Hairston Jr. worked out with the outfielders when workouts began on Tuesday. Baker said not to read too much into that. Hairston is also considered a backup shortstop option to Alex Gonzalez.

“It was day one. You have to start somewhere,” Baker said.

Hairston told me he will play shortstop for Team Mexico at the World Baseball Classic. His mother is Mexican.

Live BP:

It’s one of those days of the year when pitchers have total dominance over hitters — the Reds went through live batting practice. Pitchers faced hitters and threw at game speed. On one field, a group of hitters faced Aaron Harang, Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto in succession.

Volquez and Cueto throw in the mid 90s with some nasty breaking stuff.

“I don’t even want to get in there,” joked Norris Hopper as Volquez pitched.

The only hitter to really connect on a pitch was Daryle Ward, who cleared the right field fence against Cueto. On another field, Homer Bailey, Arthur Rhodes and Mike Lincoln also faced hitters.

Almost that time…

Early Friday morning, I will be catching my flight to Sarasota, where the forecast says it will be 76 degrees (not bad). If all goes smooth with the trip, I will head over to the complex around midday and see who is around. Maybe I will be able to start banging out some copy too. The pitchers and catchers report date is Saturday and it’s Tuesday for position players.

Media relations director Rob Butcher sent out a note earlier listing some of the early arrivals.

RHP Aaron Harang, RHP Jared Burton, OF Chris Dickerson, IF/OF Jeff Keppinger, LHP Arthur Rhodes, RHP Homer Bailey, RHP Nick Masset, RHP Josh Roenicke, LHP Daniel Ray Herrera, RHP Daryl Thompson, C Ryan Hanigan, IF Adam Rosales, IF Paul Janish and OF Norris Hopper.

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