Results tagged ‘ Brandon Phillips ’

Volquez, Heisey, Hernandez all big

Uncle Jonathan’s corn cob pipe, does Edinson Volquez like to flirt with disaster.

Like his last two outings, Volquez put the Reds in hole — this time by a 2-0 score. But the Reds had his back as he righted himself and took a 3-2 win.

In the first inning through three starts, Volquez has a 27.00 ERA (nine earned runs). It’s a 1.29 ERA (two earned runs, 14 innings) after the first. He allowed two runs and three hits over six innings tonight with three walks and five strikeouts.

Volquez cruised through innings two-through five. He retired a stretch of 11-in a row.

Although at 88 pitches thru six, he was lifted. It wasn’t by design but Volquez twisted his big right toe in a hole on the mound. (Knights of Columbus, that hurt.)

“I’ll be fine,” Volquez said.

Notes:

*An unsung hero for the night was Ramon Hernandez. The Reds catcher caught two guys stealing and threw a runner out on a sacrifice attempt in the eighth. It was some curious managing by Padres skipper Bud Black to have pinch-hitter Chris Denorfia bunt with a runner on second and no outs. Hernandez fielded Denorfia’s bunt and fired a strike to third base to get the out. Replays showed he might have been safe.

Hernandez also nailed Denorfia trying to steal second on a strike-em-out, throw-em out double play to end the eighth.

“The main thing is not only did he throw the ball but our pitchers gave him a chance to throw the guys out,” manager Dusty Baker said of Hernandez. “Everybody thinks they steal off the catcher. Most of the time, they steal off the pitcher. If a pitcher gives him a chance to throw him out, our guys will throw them out.”

*Before that double play in the eighth, Bill Bray engaged Jorge Cantu in a tense 11-pitch at-bat. Cantu fouled off five-straight 2-2 pitches and got ball three. Bray then got the big strikeout.

*Chris Heisey made a spectacular diving catch to help Volquez in the first inning, resulting in Hawpe’s sac fly. Heisey of course also had the game-winning homer.

*Dusty Baker notched win No. 250 for the Reds tonight. He’s only the 11th MLB manager to reach 250 wins for three different teams. Look for a feature on that later. Some of his current and former players had some things to say in support of him.

*Brandon Phillips was 2-for-3 and has hit safely in 8 of 10 games. He’s batting .410 (16-for-39) on the season.

*Joey Votto was 1-for-3 and has hit safely in 10 of 11 games. He’s batting .444 (16-for-35). He’s a .387 hitter at Petco Park.

Quotes:

“He did start off rough. At least he didn’t say, here we go again. But he settled down and started throwing the ball great. He especially started getting strike one and was throwing 96-97 mph. He started dealing.” — Baker on Volquez

“His velocity was dropping in the fifth and sixth inning. The first couple of innings, he was 96 and it had some really good life on it. I don’t know if he got tired or what exactly. His velocity was down and I got a fastball up and in and was able to get the barrel of the bat on it.” — Chris Heisey on his homer off Padres pitcher Mat Latos, who made his 2011 debut.

“I was talking with Bryan [Price] about making good pitches and getting a lot of groundballs. In situation like that, I need to make a good pitch and get a double play. That happened tonight.” — Edinson Volquez

No more undefeated for Reds

 So that whole 162-0 thing is out of the question now I guess?

The Reds weren’t going to do that, obviously. But they felt like they had chances to go 6-0 during a3-2 loss to the Astros. The record is 5-1 instead.

The glaring issue this time was key hits — there weren’t many. The Reds were 0-for-5 RISP with 11 LOB.

Notes:

*When Nick Masset gave up the go-ahead run in the ninth, it snapped a 12-inning scoreless streak for the Reds bullpen.

*Scott Rolen did come up big as a pinch-hitter in the seventh with a solo home run off Brett Myers that tied the game at 2-2. Rolen was 3-for-7 last season as a pinch-hitter…with two homers. It was also Rolen’s fourth career pinch-hit homer.

*Drew Stubbs went 0-for-5, snapping his hitting streak at 13 — dating back to last season.

*Joey Votto singled in the seventh and has a 6-game hitting streak. He’s batting .391 (9-for-23).

*Brandon Phillips hads four-straight multi-hit games. He’s batting .440 (11-for-25).

*The Reds still have only one error for the season (on Opening Day). The only other team with one error in six games is the Braves.

*I did a notebook today on Paul Janish’s hot start. There will also be items on the team defense and when it’s posted, something on LeCure’s day.

Quotes:

“They put some good swings on some balls and you can’t do anything about it. I pretty much threw a lot of the pitches where I wanted to today. They found holes and found gaps. That’s kind of the way it goes. I’m not going to get down on myself. I’ve got a lot more appearances to go. We’re still out there fighting, giving it our all.” — Nick Masset

“I was fairly pleased. There were a couple of times I got a little bit complacent out there and I think that cost us. the first pitch to Lee that he hit into the gap was a get-me over fastball. I didn’t have a whole lot behind it. he took advantage and did what good hitters do. A couple of walks was me being kind of lazy.” — Sam LeCure on his outing

“We had a lot of chances today. We’ve been picking them up the last couple of days. We just didn’t get that two-out hit today that we needed. They ended up getting it.” — Dusty Baker

Until Friday from Phoenix…
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Fans itchy about Volquez, not Reds

Wednesday’s 12-4 Reds win over the Astros was one nutty game and an example of why Twitter sometimes isn’t the best mix for baseball.

As Edinson Volquez labored through a 44-pitch, four-run, 10 batter first inning, a few followers were in a full froth.

Some example questions I received tonight:

“Any chance of Volquez going to Louisville for some remedial work if he has one more bad outing?

“Is it time to send Volquez to AAA?? I like him, but he doesn’t seem to add up to all the hype..”

“Does Volquez even have options left?” (He does by the way)

“if…IF… he has another terrible outing, what are the chances he goes to AAA instead of Leake/LeCure when Bailey/Cueto return?”

Yeah, Volquez was pitching badly but it was certainly extremely early to be firing up a GPS unit for him to head to Louisville. Like after his poor first inning on Opening Day, Volquez reached down and put together a decent outing in the final four innings of his night. He retired seven in a row after a leadoff walk in the second. He had a 10-pitch third inning. And most importantly, he kept the Reds in the game to mount the comeback. Reds manager Dusty Baker had no intention of taking him out in the first or second inning if he could help it.

“I couldn’t go to my pen that quick,” Baker said. “We were trying to stick with him as long as we can. This is our first stretch of consecutive days without an off day, nine days in a row. If you get upside down on day No. 2, then you’re treading on dangerous ground with guys being able to pitch this early in the year. That’s not what you want.”

Volquez’s inconsistent moments bring to mind his Spring Training visa issues and how much it was downplayed. He missed two starts because of that and couldn’t make them up. In my mind, he’s doing it now in the regular season. It’s not an optimal situation. There are some rough edges. But he was dealing 96-97 mph fastballs and Houston hitters had some trouble keeping up. None of their hits on him were really pounded. So it’s not a physical issue.

Notes:

*Paul Janish is 8-for-18 (.444) and has hits in all four of his games played. He was 3-for-5 tonight.

*Brandon Phillips had three hits and is 9-for-20 (.450) for the young season.

*For only the second time in GABP history, there were no home runs hit in the last two games. The only other time that happened was Aug. 6-7, 2005 vs. the Marlins. There have been only 51 homer-less games in the 654 games played here.

*The Reds have scored 43 runs, their second-highest total in modern history through five games.
The 1976 team scored 44 runs in its first five games.

Quotes:

“Edinson, maybe he just needs to go out there and calm down a little bit. I know there’s a lot of pressure on him being the No. 1 starter and everybody is expecting big things from him. But he’s a great pitcher and we have his back. Hopefully, he’ll learn from the mistakes he made today, take advantage of it and go out there and pitch a good game.” — Brandon Phillips

“I thought they were going to take me out before I got to the fifth. Dusty came over and told me forget about strikeouts and get a groundball, fly ball and clean innings.” — Edinson Volquez

“The first two innings he had six strikeouts. It was like he was more dependent on the strikeouts than he was on our defense back there. He was throwing all his pitches when it wasn’t necessary to throws all his pitches. They were late on his fastball and then he’d throw something else.” — Dusty Baker

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Phillips is OK

The one concern for the Reds out of the 8-2 win over the Astros on Tuesday was the mysterious exit of Brandon Phillips, who went out for PH Miguel Cairo in the fifth.

Phillips is OK. He just didn’t feel too great after his head first slide to score on Joey Votto’s fourth inning double. The decision to remove him was precautionary, said manager Dusty Baker.

“I’m good. I had to sit down,” said Phillips, who was 2-for-2. “I couldn’t breathe at all. I went out there and tried to play defense. I was out there huffing and puffing, trying to stretch and everything. I just knocked the breath out of me.”

It was a very good performance for Mike Leake, who finished with a solid six innings pitched and allowed two earned runs on three hits with two walks and four strikeouts.

The sort-of a stunner to come out of postgame was from Baker, regarding Leake. After all the speculation in Spring Training about whether Leake would go to Triple-A Louisville if he didn’t make the rotation before the Cueto/Bailey injuries, Baker and the club had other ideas.

“The main thing is we know he can pitch,” Baker said. “He might have been trying too hard. He wasn’t going back to the Minors even though he might have been a little afraid that he might. We couldn’t tell him that. He was going to be on the team.”

What happens when the rotation is whole again?

“We’ll see,” Baker said. “We’ll deal with that when we get there. You can’t look too far into the future. Nobody can tell what will happen.”

Other notes:

*Drew Stubbs has a 12-game hitting streak dating back to last season.

*Chris Heisey drove in three runs despite going 1-for-2 with a RBI single. The other two RBIs were not official at-bats since Heisey walked with the bases loaded in the first inning and hit by a pitch with the bases full in the second.

*Jonny Gomes drew two walks, including one with the bases loaded. He has seven walks already through four games. Gomes had 39 walks all of last season.

Quotes:

“He felt like he was getting squeezed and it’s tough to tell when you’re in the box taking pitches. We always think they’re balls as hitters. I’m sure some of them were really close. I’m sure it was frustrating but we got the call. We got a couple on the board early and it’s always big to get that momentum right out of the gate.” — Chris Heisey on Astros LHP J.A. Happ

“It was six months since I pitched. I forgot how to pitch basically. I needed those five or so outings to remember what it was like to pitch. That last outing, I finally felt like I remembered. Today was a step in the right direction. There’s still a few things to work on.” — Mike Leake, talking about Spring Training and tonight
“Leakie was sharp other than that one inning where he kind of lost command of the strike zone. Those guys can hit over there. He made some quality hitters tonight swinging and miss or hit the ball on the ground. When Leakie is throwing groundballs, that’s when you know his ball is moving, he’s changing speeds and he’s in and out of the strike zone.” — Dusty Baker

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Heisey keeps hitting

 The Reds took a 9-6 win over the Diamondbacks and moved to 15-14-1 for spring with two games to go. It was the second-day in a row the opponent was held to single-digit runs scored.

The highlights:

*OF Chris Heisey extended his team lead with a fifth homer this spring in the seventh inning during his only at-bat. Other than Dave Sappelt, Heisey has been the Reds best hitter in camp. Heisey is batting .354 (17-for-48) and also leads the club with 13 RBIs. He came in with a .702 slugging percentage in the previous 22 games.

“Heisey is going to come up big before it’s over with,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “He’s going to play. Everybody plays on my team. We’ll get him in there. There aren’t many people like Heisey that can play all three outfield positions, play them well and hit and run.”

*Brandon Phillips went 2-for-3 with three RBIs. Phillips notched his first homer of the spring and it was no cheapie as it bounced hard off of the center field batters’ eye. It was a two-run shot on the first-pitch he saw from Aaron Heilman. Phillips has an eight-game hitting streak.

*The Reds leadoff hitter today, Drew Stubbs went 2-for-3 with three runs scored. Stubbs led off the first inning with a single to right field and doubled to center field in the second inning. Since going 1-for-5 with 3 Ks on Tuesday, Stubbs is 5-for-8 with four RBIs and is up to a .269 average for spring.

*Scott Rolen returned from a sore elbow that kept him out since Thursday. Rolen was 1-for-3 with a sharply hit RBI double in the second inning. From my untrained eye, he didn’t look to be favoring anything.

*Ramon Hernandez (right elbow) played for the first time since last Sunday and went 0-for-1 with a sac fly.

“They’re fine,” Baker said of Rolen and Rodriguez. “We have to watch Ramon a little closer than Scotty but he threw the ball great to second base. He was throwing balls super before.”

*Jared Burton pitched a perfect sixth inning.

*The next updates on this blog will be coming from Cincinnati. Keep checking back.

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Phillips playing again

Brandon Phillips is back in the lineup today after being sick the past couple of days.

Reds at Padres, 3:05 p.m. ET.

Sappelt 8
Phillips 4
Francisco 5
Alonso 3
Heisey DH
Frazier 7
Hanigan 2
Dorn 9
Cozart 6

Reineke 1

Burton, Ondrusek, Smith and Thompson are among those in the bullpen today.

On the SD side, Aaron Harang is starting. You may remember him??…big tall guy that pitched the last five Opening Days. Obviously, he had hard times the last three seasons in Cincinnati but he was as class of a guy as they come. I will try to go to the Padres clubhouse after his start to interview him if I can.

More from Peoria later…

 

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Change at the top

Reds at Dodgers, 3:05 p.m. ET. Radio on WLW with Kelch and Brantley

Phillips 4
Stubbs 8
Votto 3
Rolen 5
Gomes 7
Bruce 9
Hanigan 2
Janish 6
Grandal DH

Arroyo 1

Interesting that Dusty Baker has flipped the 1 and 2 spots with Stubbs and Phillips. He did say at the beginning of camp that both could be his leadoff guy. Stubbs did it for a few games, including Thursday night vs. LA.

 “We’re trying it. It’s Spring Training,” Baker said. “We’re probably going to try Jay Bruce and a couple of other guys. If I try guys, it might just to get a guy three at-bats with less innings in the field.

Asked about his place in the lineup for the season,  Phillips did not share his preference.

“I will tell you this – wherever they put me, I will do my job,” Phillips said. “When I hit fourth, I drove in RBIs and showed I could hit fourth. When I hit second and third, I was 30-30. When I hit first, I got on base and made the All-Star team. Then I ended up getting hurt and my numbers went down. I feel like I can hit anywhere in the lineup.”

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Renteria, Phillips at complex

Good morning from Goodyear and it’s the first gray day I can remember having here so far. A whole bunch of rain is supposed to move through Saturday I’m hearing. Yes, it does rain out here from time to time.

A few notes —

*Edgar Renteria arrived to camp today and talked to reporters. Dusty Baker said he would keep him at shortstop for the early part of spring before even thinking about moving him around.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen him play second base,” Baker said. “It’s a totally different thing when you have to have your back to the guy coming in vs. all those years you could see him coming.”

Renteria said he took a lot of grounders at second base last season to get prepared. He has never really played anywhere but shortstop though. Renteria is also prepared to back up Paul Janish at shortstop.

“You guys know my position is shortstop but I will play whatever the skipper wants me to play,” Renteria said.

*Brandon Phillips also arrived today and I think he shook hands and/or hugged everybody in the room he saw — whether he knew them or not. I later spoke to him for a couple of minutes and we patched up some things that were between us from last year. I am glad to know we’re moving forward. I’m not sure if you noticed or not, but he was not freuqently quoted on MLB.com most of last season.

*Incidentally — when Renteria does appear at shortstop this season, he will be the 19th different one Phillips has been paired with since he arrived in 2006. Here is the list of the other 18, courtesy of Rob Butcher:

Orlando Cabrera, Miguel Cairo, Paul Janish, Drew Sutton, Chris Valaika, Alex Gonzalez, Jerry Hairston, Adam Rosales, Jolbert Cabrera, Juan Castro, Jeff Keppinger, Danny Richar, Enrique Cruz, Pedro Lopez, Rich Aurilia, Royce Clayton, Felipe Lopez, Ray Olmedo.

*I did an interview with Yonder Alonso today and will have a story on him later. He’s working every day in left field and right field with coach Billy Hatcher. Hatcher has been pleased with both the progress and Alonso’s work ethic.

*From my personal count — only Joey Votto, Scott Rolen, Jonny Gomes and Miguel Cairo are not here yet. The report day for the full squad is Saturday. I’m sure all will be present and accounted for.

*Also — a note from Cardinals camp: Jim Edmonds announced his retirement today before reporting. Edmonds was hobbling badly on his Achilles tendon at the end of last season with the Reds.

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Three Reds Gold Glovers

The 2010 National League Gold Glove Awards were revealed Wednesday afternoon.

The winners from the Reds are:

P Bronson Arroyo —  0 errors, 31 assists, 5 DPs (1st Gold Glove)
3B Scott Rolen —   8 errors, 28 DPs, 10.6 UZR (8th Gold Glove)
2B Brandon Phillips — 3 errors, 90 DPs, 9.7 UZR (2nd Gold Glove)

Left out were

OF Jay Bruce —  3 errors, 7 assists, 20.2 UZR
1B Joey Votto — 5 errors, 97 DPs, 1.6 UZR

Total list

C – Yadier Molina
1B – Albert Pujols
2B – Brandon Phillips
SS – Troy Tulowitzki
3B – Scott Rolen
OF – Carlos Gonzalez, Shane Victorino, Michael Bourn
P – Bronson Arroyo

This is the story I wrote for MLB.com ….  Below are some extra quotes that didn’t make the story.

Of all the people left off, I thought Jay Bruce was a big oversight. He’s one of those guys who had good attributes beyond the numbers — the biggest one being how many runners didn’t advance because of or in fear of his arm?

“I think you’ll have a conference call with a lot of other guys here in the future as far as Stubby in center field and possibly Joey and Jay Bruce,” Rolen said. “They play unbelievable defense across the board as well. They’re young in the league. There are a couple of other guys that have established themselves. I think you’ll be talking to those guys for a lot of years.”

One of the controversies surrounding the Gold Glove Award is the extrememly subjective process of the vote — which is done by the league’s managers and coaches. Reds skipper Dusty Baker said he doesn’t go by stats too much, especially the sabermetric advanced stats.

“Stats don’t show a lot of times if guys get to balls or not,” Baker said. “Sometimes guys get errors on balls they can get to that other guys don’t get to. When I put my ballot together, I think about fielding percentage. I think about range. I think about how many runs that person might save their ball club, about how guys in the middle of the infield turn the double play, how they throw the ball across the diamond and try to come up with the best person at that position.”

Rolen has the third-most among all players at his position behind only Hall of Famers Brooks Robinson (16) and Mike Schmidt (10).

“Walt was talking about six-to-eight year extension for me for unlimited dollars,” Rolen joked.

“I’m trying to give you a chance to catch up to him,” GM Walt Jocketty replied.

Said Rolen more seriously: “Brooks Robinson and Mike Schmidt – to be in those sentences, especially coming up in Philadelphia, I heard that name quite a bit. I think Mike Schmidt was the best third baseman to ever play the game. To be lumped with those guys obviously is a compliment.”

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Awards schedule

Below is the schedule for the main postseason awards that will begin to be handed out next week.

I expect Brandon Phillips, Scott Rolen and Jay Bruce to be Gold Glove contenders. Dusty Baker should have a decent shot at NL Manager of the Year, but I wouldn’t be shocked at all if the Padres’ Bud Black gets it. Joey Votto might want to clear his schedule for Nov. 22 when the NL MVP is revealed but Carlos Gonzalez and Albert Pujols will certainly be in the hunt.

Tues., Nov. 9th: Rawlings Gold Glove Awards for the American League, 3:30 p.m. (ET), ESPNEWS

Wed., Nov. 10th: Rawlings Gold Glove Awards for the National League, 3:30 p.m. (ET), ESPNEWS

Thurs., Nov. 11th: Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Awards, 6:00 p.m. (ET), one-hour special on MLB Network

2010 BBWAA AWARDS ANNOUNCEMENTS

Mon., Nov. 15th: AL & NL Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Awards.
 
Tues., Nov. 16th: NL Cy Young Award.
 
Wed., Nov. 17th: AL & NL Manager of the Year Awards.
 
Thurs., Nov. 18th: AL Cy Young Award.
 
Mon., Nov. 22nd: NL Most Valuable Player Award.
 
Tues., Nov. 23rd: AL Most Valuable Player Award.
 
All BBWAA awards are announced at 2:00 p.m. ET.

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