Results tagged ‘ Brandon Phillips ’

Knuckleballs and missed chances

R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball messed with Reds hitters just as much as missed chances tortured them during a 4-2 loss to the Mets.

New York seized control of the game with a four-run seventh. The Reds were 1-for-9 RISP and had 11 men left on base. A shot at a .500 record was missed as the Reds fell to 51-52 as their short-lived winning streak ends at two.

 “We had chances a couple of times. They got the hits when they needed them and we didn’t,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said

Notes:

*Mike Leake deserved better again with 6 1/3 ip, 8 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K. He’s allowed 3 ER over his last two starts and has two losses.

*Dickey had only 57 pitches thrown through five innings and finished with 86 pitches/61 strikes over 6 2/3 innings.

*Paul Janish was 3-for-4 with a run scored in his first game after being recalled from AAA Louisville.

*Brandon Phillips made a nice diving stop to rob Carlos Beltran to end the top of the third inning.

*Logan Ondrusek did not fare very well. Upon entering in the seventh with a runner on first base and two out, Ondrusek gave up three-straight hits and allowed the one inherited run and two of his own runs. He had a 1.53 ERA going in and no runs allowed in his previous 11 appearances.

*Jose Arredondo had a shaky start to the ninth with a hit batter and a walk but he escaped with a 5-4-3 double play and a line out to first base to give the Reds a chance in the bottom half.

Quotes:

“I remember he throws different kinds of knuckleballs – some hard and some soft. You know the basic rule – see it high, let it fly. See it low, let it go. But it’s tough when never see it every day of the week. You can see it high still, and the ball still moves a little bit and you won’t get a good piece.” — Todd Frazier on R.A. Dickey

“During the beginning of the game, once you see him, the more you get used to him and you know what to expect. Once he comes out of the game, the next pitchers that you see, it’s pretty tough on you. When you have a dude come in throwing 100 mph when you’re so used to seeing 70 mph, you be like, ‘Man, wow.’ It messes your timing up. There’s no excuses, but Dickey messed me up for the remainder of the game. I was so used to swinging at the high pitch.” — Brandon Phillips

“Hopefully we’ll put together a string of five or six or seven together soon just to take some pressure off people. The good thing is this division is still up for grabs. Even though we’re not even close to mid-stride, all these other teams are letting us stay in it. We seem to keep battling and hopefully we can put something together.” — Mike Leake

“I don’t worry about it. I’m going out there when the phone rings and just getting people out. I faced the Reds many a time when I was with the Cardinals, so I’m familiar with their hitters. With Bruce, I know he comes up big a lot of times so I didn’t want to give in to him.” — Jason Isringhausen on the decision to pitch around Jay Bruce for a two-out walk in the 9th to face Phillips with the bases loaded. Phillips struck out to end the game.

NL takes 5-1 win over AL

The Reds were not huge factors in the National Leagues’ 5-1 win over the American League Tuesday night. Cincinnati’s hitters were a combined 0-for-6 with four Ks.

Scott Rolen — started, was 0-for-2 with two Ks.

Joey Votto — entered in the top of the fifth and was 0-for-2 with a K and a groundout to 3B

Brandon Phillips — entered in the top of the sixth and was 0-for-1 with a fly out.

Jay Bruce — entered as a pinch-hitter in the ninth and struck out. He played right field in the bottom of the ninth and made a throwing error on Matt Joyce’s single that moved him to second base.

Here are some quotes from the Reds All-Stars today… Be sure to check out my full story when it’s up on Reds.com and MLB.com.

“Arizona has done a great job. The clubhouse is beautiful. I feel like it’s been a nice experience.” — Joey Votto

“That was not the two draws I was looking for, for sure.” — Scott Rolen on facing pitchers Michael Pineda and Jordan Walden. Pineda was throwing some killer sliders and Walden had two pitches reach 100 mph and another at 99 to Rolen.
“I say thank you, Prince, because he just gave the Reds home field advantage for the World Series. I’m going to give him a kiss on the cheek. I told him already. I’ll give him a kiss…when I get dressed.” — Brandon Phillips on Prince Fielder, who was named MVP for his fourth inning three-run homer that snapped a 1-1 tie.

“My family and friends are getting to experience everything. It’s been awesome. I’m just taking it all in. it’s been great.” — Jay Bruce.

 

At the HR derby

I’m writing to you from my spot in the auxiliary press box, which happens to sit in left field at Chase Field during the home run derby. Several BP balls made it in this vicinity so it could be fun dodging some more during the derby.

Be sure to check out my stories on Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce and another one on Scott Rolen from the All-Star game.

Here are some video clips:

Scott Rolen talking about the All-Star game

Jay Bruce discussing his first All-Star experience.

Here are a bunch of quotes, some that did not make my stories today:

“I’m really happy to be here. I would have been disappointed had I not made the All-Star team. If you ask anybody in the room, they answer the question the exact same way. I don’t want the four days off. I strive to be the best player I can. I made the All-Star team last year and really wanted to do it again this year. … It’s easier this time because I know how to pace myself. Last year, I was beat up before because I had to do the Final Vote thing and then I was beat up afterwards because I stretched myself too thin. I think this time I will take it in and enjoy it a little more. Last year, it just felt like it happened so quickly. I didn’t get to stay in the moment and take it in.” — Joey Votto

“The way we’ve been playing, I’m glad the All-Star break is here. It came at the right time. Recharging isn’t the word. We need to shock them. I’m glad we’re going through what we’ve gone through in the first half. It shows we’re human and we have a lot of things we need to do. At the beginning, I didn’t know we were going to be where we are now. I thought we’d be much better. We have some of the best players in all of baseball and for us to be only four games out the way we’ve been playing, it shows you what our team is.” — Brandon Phillips

“I’m doing something not everyone gets a chance to do and I’m really, really excited about it to be able to represent my family, represent my team and represent the city I’m from and represent myself.” — Jay Bruce

“It’s always special. I kind of viewed last year as my last All-Star game. I thought ‘ok, bring the whole family, do it all.’ And here we are again. I rolled it all out last year and this is an add-on. Everybody is here but we had to go and collect them.” — Scott Rolen

Photos: 

My view for the State Farm Home Run Derby

Former Reds 1B Sean Casey near the MLB Network set.

Scott Rolen near the BP cage with Matt Holliday

Joey Votto

Votto: ‘We’re frustrated too’

It’s Monday morning in Phoenix and everyone is at the Arizona Biltmore Resort for the All-Star media sessions. The National League team is just wrapping things up. Three of the four Reds All-Stars are here — Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce. Scott Rolen had returned home to gather up his family and was still flying out. He will be here tonight.

Lots of print, internet, TV and radio reporters peppered the players with all sorts of questions — ranging from what music they like to which pitchers they want to face or not face. Although this is a work trip for the Reds players — it’s also a four-day break from the season. I will have a more detailed story later today but here is something for now….
 
“It’s  very helpful. Jay and I were talking about that on the ride here and how nice it will be to put the season on pause,” Votto said. “I think, speaking as a player on the team to the Reds’ fans, we’re frustrated too. We’re frustrated about the inconsistency of the team, not necessarily the players, but the wins and losses. We’re frustrated that things haven’t been easier. I think that if we pull this division out, this will almost be, to us, it might end up feeling more satisfying than last year. Last year, we just felt like ‘this is our season. We’re going to do it.’ This year, we feel like we’re supposed to repeat but we’ve kind of been in a hole the whole time and have to dig ourselves out.”

Joey Votto

 

Brandon Phillips

 

Jay Bruce

Phillips at cleanup

Reds lineup vs Cardinals

Heisey 8
Renteria 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Rolen 5
Lewis 7
Hanigan 2
Arroyo 1

*The last time Phillips batted fourth was May 23 at Philadelphia. In his previous stint there this season, the Reds went 15-12 while Phillips batted .291 (30-for-103) with three homers and 20 RBIs.

*This is the second time in four games Stubbs is taking a seat. Last night, he was 0-for-4 with a walk and four strikeouts.

*At Triple-A Louisville, 3B Juan Francisco was placed on the DL with a right knee meniscus tear. The move is retroactive to Monday.

Below .500

There haven’t been many nights when the Reds seemed to have no life and little chance to win after an early deficit. But they were flat, flatter and flattest during an 8-1 loss to the Cardinals on Tuesday.

“Nothing went right tonight. Bad night. Terrible, actually,” manager Dusty Baker said.

That is four losses in the last five games, all of the defeats coming with two runs or less scored by the Reds.

It’s not uncommon for GM Walt Jocketty to be in the clubhouse postgame. But he was behind closed doors in the coaches locker room with the staff and Baker after this one. Could roster changes be a foot?

Brandon Phillips had some interesting comments after the game.

“If you look at our team up and down the lineup, we have some of the best talent as any team. Right now, we’re just not putting it all together,” Phillips said. “I know it’s very frustrating for our fans. It really is. We just have to find a way to put it together because the ball that we’re playing right now, it’s unacceptable.”

Notes:

*Edinson Volquez didn’t really have it, which was disappointing after his solid outing in Tampa Bay. Volquez gave up three homers, including back-to-back shots by Holliday and Berkman with two outs in the first inning. He lasted only 5 1/3 innings and threw 94 pitches with seven runs (six earned) allowed on seven hits with three walks and three strikeouts.

*In six starts since his return from a demotion at Triple-A Louisville, Volquez is 2-2 with a 5.29 ERA. It was 6.35 in the 10 starts before going down. He has a 12.38 first inning ERA for the season.

*The Reds are in fourth place at 43-44 and four games behind the first-place Cardinals. Cincinnati has not been below .500 since they were 14-15 on May 3.

*Paul Janish made his ninth error of the season on a routine grounder by Ryan Theriot in the fifth, which led to a three-run homer by Holliday. That will do nothing to deter the Zack Cozart fan club campaign for a promotion.

Quote:

 “I don’t know. This game sort of frustrates you.  I’m frustrated right now. The best thing to do is not talk too much.” — Dusty Baker when asked if there was hope for Volquez to turn things around.

 

All-Star selection Sunday

NL All-Star starters, as voted by the fans. No Reds will start.

C Brian McCann
1B Prince Fielder
2B Rickie Weeks
SS Jose Reyes
3B Placido Polanco
OF Ryan Braun (leading NL vote getter)
OF Lance Berkman
OF Matt Kemp

Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce were voted in by the players as reserves. For Votto and Phillips, it’s their second consecutive time. It’s the first for Bruce.

My story on Reds.com and MLB.com.

Smooth 5-0 blanking of Rays

As far as games go, the Reds could not have asked for one to go much better or smoother. They were more than pleased to leave Monday with a 5-0 win.

“First day into a new city, pretty much for a lot of guys, [the Rays] had just come off a great series in Houston, swinging the bat well and pitching well,” Jonny Gomes said. “It all starts with Mike Leake. Pitching and defense win you a lot of games.”

Leake provided 6 ip, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K….99 pitches/57 strikes.  He is 4-2 with a 2.49 ERA in seven games since returning from Triple-A Louisville.
 

Notes:

*Another strong night for Brandon Phillips — 4-for-5, 2 RBIs. Phillips has multiple-hit days in six of his last seven games. His average is up to .299.

*Pregame, I was curious about the Tropicana Field catwalks. Gomes appeared to be the right guy to take care of that. He went deep to left field for a homer off of the catwalk over left field leading off in the fifth inning. It was Gomes’ ninth career homer off the catwalks. He was tied for the Rays team record with eight catwalk shots.

*I saw something you don’t see often…a runner called out for passing a teammate on the bases. It happened in sixth when Evan Longoria passed Ben Zobrist at second base on Matt Joyce’s fly ball to Fred Lewis. It was huge break for Leake, who started the inning with runners on first and second with no outs. Zobrist, who tagged up on the play, was left stranded at third base. If you’re scoring at home, it’s a flyout 7 on Joyce and 6 unassisted for the Longoria out.

*Nice middle relief from Sam LeCure, who allowed one hit over a scoreless seventh and eighth innings.

*Like many managers, Dusty Baker didn’t see everything through rose-colored glasses. He pointed out some missed chances as the Reds went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight runners.

“We still could have tacked on a few more runs, which is something we’re still in the process of learning,” Baker said. “To throw the knockout punch when you get them.”

*The Rays winless lifetime vs Reds (0-7).

*I learned who DJ Kitty was for the first time.

Quotes:

“It was a good opportunity to show the Reds the guidelines on the catwalk.” — Jonny Gomes on his home run.

“The results are showing up, and I’m happy it’s finally showing. I’m trying to stay positive and keep grinding. I talked to my Dad, looked at some old video and decided to go back to my old ways go up there and drive the ball instead of just guide it. It’s paying off. I’m just going to stick with that.” — Brandon Phillips

“I didn’t put any balls over the middle, maybe just one or two. Luckily they didn’t do anything with them.  I was just nibbling a little too much and a little more side-to-side with my mechanics than normal.” — Mike Leake

“He’s an absolute pitcher. He knows what he’s doing out there. He knows how to change speeds and he can throw a strike when he wants to. … I can understand why he has been successful.” — Rays manager Joe Maddon on Leake

“That was a double play that we’ll take. It’s probably something you’ll never see Longoria do again. That ball did look like it was in the game. Freddy closed the gap pretty quickly and made a fine running play.” — Dusty Baker on the Longoria base running gaffe.

Stuck in neutral

 Why does it seem like the Reds go one step forward and two steps back a lot? Because of games like Sunday’s 7-5 loss.

The Reds were in this game, even after trailing 5-0 through four innings. But they kept missing the big opportunity parked on their laps — going 1-for-11 RISP and stranding 14.

“We had plenty of action,” manager Dusty Baker said. “From the opening inning, we couldn’t get the one or two big hits. And Markakis got two two-out hits. That was big and kind of the ballgame in a nutshell.”

The Reds are mired in fourth place at one game over .500 (40-39) and four games out of first place. They have claimed one of the last five series and have dropped the last three in Interleague.

It’s not doomsday time at all in a weak and winnable NL Central, but if the Brewers start to take off, the Reds better show they are ready to keep up. Although they show moments of breaking out, like on Saturday, they’re not catching that consistent spark and putting back-to-back wins together … and that’s troubling.

Notes:

*Brandon Phillips fifth-inning solo home run was his first since May 14. By going 2-for-4, Phillips is third in the NL with 28 multi-hit games.

*In the fourth inning, Joey Votto and the rest of the infield seemed to lose an Adam Jones routine pop up in the sun. Homer Bailey made a desperation dive, but it landed for a single. Bailey was pitching pretty well up to that point, but it was the start of a four-run inning and it was tough sledding from there for Bailey.

*Bailey finished with five runs on a season-high nine hits with two walks, five strikeouts and two home runs.

*The Reds missed a chance to take the lead in the sixth after sending nine to the plate. Four-straight walks from three different Baltimore pitchers helped and walks to Gomes and Lewis forced in two runs. Jim Johnson threw nine of 11 pitches for balls, before Drew Stubbs hit a 1-0pitch for an inning-ending fielder’s choice. It might have been a good time to take and force Johnson into a corner again.

*Jose Arredondo walked the first batter of the Orioles’ sixth inning and Blake Davis later scored on Nick Markakis’ two-out single. Arredondo has retired 11 of 21 first batters faced this season, but only two in his last nine appearances.

*The two teams combined for 13 walks today. Joey Votto drew three walks as Baltimore worked around him, not letting repeat his strong Saturday game.

Quotes:

“We have to keep treading water until you start swimming. It’s not through lack of effort. We’re in every ballgame. We’re so close to taking off. You feel it. You see it. We’re one hit away, one play away or one something away from winning almost every game.” — Dusty Baker

“After that happened, I left the ball a little bit up to Guerrero. The pitch I threw Lee was exactly where I wanted it to go. He either guessed right or it was what he was looking for. After the ball leaves my hand, I only have so much control. I threw it where I wanted it to go and he hit it out.” — Homer Bailey on the missed pop-up and subsqequent damage.

“I’m not going to say it’s a tough loss. It’s a sad loss because I feel like we’re better than that. We have the players on our team that can go out there and win. Right now, it’s just not our time. I hope that we pick it up and learn from the mistakes and come through when we need to come through.” — Brandon Phillips

“Baseball is a game of ups and downs. Right now, we’re just in between. Yesterday, we were hitting the ball out of the park. Today, we can’t get key hits in key situations.” — more Phillips

“Ran some high counts and unfortunately I ran out of rope at the end of the game. But that last inning was frustrating. I thought I made a good pitch on Heisey and he kind of flipped it into right field with two outs. Then I tried to be careful with B Phillips and ended up walking him. That’s a frustrating way to end the outing, but overall i felt I was able to throw my pitches where I was trying to for the most part.” — Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie

 

Cold bats, first-inning woes

When the Reds are hitting like gangbusters, the first-inning bugaboo that plagues the rotation isn’t as big of a deal. When Travis Wood goes down 4-0 in the first and his slumping lineup is facing a very effective Ivan Nova, it proved big trouble.

Hence, a 5-3 Reds loss to the Yankees.

Wood gave up five first-inning hits…all of them line drives. No cheapies.

“I think he was a little bit pumped up because he was trying to go low and away a number of times and the ball was about thigh to waist high,” manager Dusty Baker said.

Wood threw 34 pitches in the inning but largely settled down. Besides the four runs, he gave up eight hits over seven innings with one walk and six strikeouts. He wound up retiring the last 11 batters he faced.

Notes:

*Since returning from that great 5-2 West Coast trip and three-game sweep of the Dodgers, the Reds have dropped three of four. The lineup has been dragging with seven runs in four games and a .220 average.

*The Reds had two singles against Nova to start the bottom of the first, but got only one run on Joey Votto’s 463 GIDP.

*The Reds are 21-24 when the opponent scores first. This season, the pitching staff has allowed 59 first-inning runs — by far the most over any other inning they’ve had this season.

*The crowd of 41,173 was a sellout. Lots of Yankees fans were included, which made for a high-energy atmosphere as fans of both teams tried to drown each other out.

Quotes:

“We’re having a hard time getting a leadoff batter on base to get the pitcher in the stretch right away. Every inning, we’re operating with one or two outs. We have to find a way to get that leadoff hitter on, then we can do something.” — Dusty Baker

“We’re just not getting the hits when we need them; we’re not getting timely hits. That’s about it. We’re going to be fine. It’s early still, and there’s a lot of season left. But we’re just not getting timely hits right now.” — Jay Bruce

“I had my normal rest and I’m always ready to take the ball. I wouldn’t say it affected me.” — Travis Wood, on stepping in for Monday’s original starter, Johnny Cueto.

“I feel like we’re the comeback kids, man. When I got that base hit, I was like, ‘Oh man, here we go. We’re going to start scoring some runs,’ and we started doing that. We just came up short today. But there’s something about us in the ninth inning. It’s like our second wind of the game. We get that second wind and we end up just coming and coming, and we come back. I wish it would have happened earlier in the game, but it just didn’t go our way. They’re a great team. I respect their organization dearly. They have a great lineup. They have a lot of names over there. Honestly, I’m glad we’re playing them, just seeing where we stand against all the other Major League teams out there, and that’s one of the best teams in the League.” — Brandon Phillips

“It’s impressive. We’ve seen this kid take some steps forward and do some really good things for us. We’ll continue to work with him and try to teach him. I think he’s learning on the way. That’s what you do when you’re a young starter. You take whjat you did the last start and you try to learn from it. I think he’s doing that. He’s making adjustments as he needs to. He didn’t get caught up in the ballpark.” — Yankees manager Joe Girardi on Ivan Nova

 

“A lot of crafty lefties have had a lot of success against us. Part of the reason is we expand a little bit and try to do a little bit too much. I thought for us, that’s a prototypical first inning, an ideal first inning that we’ll take every time.” — Alex Rodriguez

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