Results tagged ‘ Chris Carpenter ’

Postgame: What to do with Leake?

Many people have wondered and asked me what the Reds would do with Mike Leake as the innings piled up and the season got towards the late summer. We now seem to be getting closer to some sort of answer.

Dusty Baker admitted tonight after Leake’s latest struggle that the Reds have some thinking to do about his future this season.

Another rough outing — seven runs in the fourth inning — led to a 7-3 loss to the Cardinals. Leake was done after 3 2/3 innings. Seven-straight hits in the fourth, including Skip Schumaker’s grand slam were his undoing.

Here’s the pickle the Reds are in: he has 129 2/3 innings logged this season. His career high last season at ASU was 142. The original target was 170. Dusty Baker was asked if fatigue has become a factor.

“Possibly. We discussed that,” Baker said. “He had a big inning in Pittsburgh but that was led by a couple of different variables – a hit batsman and a potential play on a groundball. We just have to discuss it and talk about it some more, which we already have. I’m sure this will be a topic of discussion real soon, probably [Tuesday].”

There is no fatigue issue, according to Leake.

“I feel great. I’m just hitting a rough patch,” said Leake, who is 1-3 with a 4.95 ERA in four starts since the All-Star break. He is 7-4 with a 4.16 ERA in 21 starts overall after a 6-1 start in the first half.

Aaron Harang is throwing his first simulated game Tuesday and will need a rehab assignment. Harang is not an option to replace Leake. Homer Bailey has three mostly solid rehab starts in the books and one more scheduled. That could be a possiblity. The Reds have to wait 10 days to bring back Travis Wood.

Leake admitted his biggest problem lately is throwing too many strikes. After a few spins through the league now, there is a book on him and scouts/video/etc. have exposed him some.

“That’s kind of what’s been starting to play a factor,” Leake said. “They know I’m going throw strikes. They’re going to come out aggressive. I need to maybe find a way to get them to swing at bad pitches instead of pitches they want.”

The good —

*Carlos Fisher dropped in with a 3 1/3 scoreless innings after Leake departed. Fisher struck out five and allowed two hits. That’s the second time he’s been a bullpen saver during a rough night for a starter. I’ll be curious to see if Fisher will stay up when he probably can’t pitch again for a few days or if the Reds will seek another long man.

*Laynce Nix was 1-for-3 tonight and has 12 hits in his last 24 at-bats.

The not-so-good —

*Brandon Phillips was 0-for-5 and is hitless in his last 10 ABs.

*One thing that surprised me a little tonight is how fast Reds fans on Twitter turned on Leake. The dude was a rookie wunderkind to many of you for skipping college and getting it done in the big leagues during the first half. I know this is a pennant race and the stakes are higher, but I’d have thought it would take a lot more two bad starts for the drums start beating for Leake to be sent out.

Leake is a big boy and doesn’t need me to defend him. I’m not going to start now. But again, that caught me off guard. It probably shouldn’t have.

More quotes –

“We hit some balls pretty good. The guy is tough. He had his curveball going today, big time.  That was his out pitch. His fastball was pretty good but it was moving.” — Dusty Baker on Chris Carpenter, who is 4-0 with a 1.61 ERA in four starts vs. the Reds in 2010.

“I do the same things I always do against anybody else, and that is to watch video and get a game plan put together and try to execute. These guys over there obviously are in the situation they’re in for a good reason, and that’s because they can hit, for one, and they’ve got some guys that can pitch over there too. it’s definitely a challenge, but every challenge is a good challenge. When you’re going against a group of guys that you know are going to compete and they’re going to do everything they can to beat you, it’s a lot of fun.” — Carpenter on his success vs. the Reds. He’s won nine-straight decisions against them and 11-3 with a 2.00 ERA in 17 starts lifetime.

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Taking on Carpenter

Weds lineup vs. STL

Cabrera 6
Phillips 4
Votto 3
Rolen 5
Bruce 9
Gomes 7
Stubbs 8
Miller 2
LeCure 1

St. Louis starter Chris Carpenter is 9-3 with a 2.06 ERA in 15 career starts vs. the Reds, including 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts this season.

Joey Votto is 6-for-13 (.462) with one homer in his career vs. Carpenter. It’s been a struggle for almost everyone else

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Postgame extra: rotation better

Dusty Baker probably put it best about the last six games.

“It was a good trip with the potential to be a great trip,” Baker said after his Reds got blanked by Chris Carpenter and the Cardinals, 6-0.

Had the Reds won today and gone home with a 5-1 record it would have been a good slingshot into the next series vs. the hot Mets.The most important thing to come out of the trip was the rotation got right again. Of the six games, there were five quality starts. The starters went 4-1 with a 2.89 ERA.

With three runs and seven hits allowed over six innings (zero walks, six Ks) Aaron Harang had two-straight quality starts on the trip, which is big considering where he started the season. But he had zero wiggle room against a superb Chris Carpenter.

It gets even more daunting when you see these numbers: Carpenter is 9-3 with a 2.02 ERA in 15 career starts vs. the Reds. He’s won seven-straight decisions since June 6, 2006.

Harang said Carpenter’s success did not intimidate him.

“I’m not facing my hitters. I just have to go out and worry about my game plan and what I’m going to do with their hitters,” said Harang, who is 0-2 vs. Carpenter this season. “If I can be out there and just outpitch him and let our guys get to him first.”

More Harang: “We came out on top this trip. It’s a bummer to go home with the last two games being tough losses. The guys have an upbeat attitude. We’ll just go home and get things turned around.”

How do you feel about the trip that was?

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Game 2, Reds vs. Cardinals

Here is the Reds lineup for Wednesday night.

Stubbs 8
Cabrera 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Rolen 5
Bruce 9
Gomes 7
Hernandez 2
Cueto 1

Some notes:

There was some questions raised by Chris Carpenter after Monday’s opener about the slickness of the baseballs he pitched with. Like John Smoltz did last season with St. Louis, Carpenter did not like the way the mud was applied to the balls.

“I don’t know if they do it on purpose, intentionally or unintentionally,” Carpenter said. “It’s no big deal. I understand [Reds starter] Aaron Harang is throwing the same baseballs. If they’re not doing it intentionally, they need to take a look at it. If they are doing it intentionally, it’s unprofessional.”

When asked on Wednesday, Harang said this:

“I think more what it is – sometimes they have a little chalky feel to them,” Harang said. “The chalk will build up and sit on the ball if they’ve been sitting there for a little bit. You just wipe it off.”

“They’re the only ones [that complain]. It’s not like that for anybody else. Maybe it’s a bad batch.”

Balls are mudded up for both teams by the same person — the attendant in the umpire’s locker room. They are inspected before the game by the umpires.

*Johnny Cueto complained about a stiff back after his last spring start. It appears not be an issue anymore heading into Wednesday’s regular season debut.

“If the trainer doesn’t say anything and Johnny said nothing, it must be nothing,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

*The Reds are holding a game 2 “Opening Night” and have the TV broadcast team and grounds crew wearing tuxedos. There is also live music between innings, a meet and greet with players in the Fan Zone before the game and full team introductions and a F-16 flyover during pregame ceremonies. Hall of Famer Joe Morgan is throwing a ceremonial first pitch. Postgame, a fireworks shows was planned.

*The expected attendance was 28,000 before the game. From the Reds, here is a list of the past second games of the season. Usually there is a big drop off from the Opening Day sellout, which is a bummer. Game 2 counts the same as Game 1.

1997- 20,210 vs. Rockies
1998- 13,706 vs. Padres
1999- 17,310 vs. Giants
2000- 16,761 vs. Brewers
2001- 20,784 vs. Braves
2002- 19,745 vs. Cubs
2003- 26,096 vs. Pirates
2004- 26.204 vs. Cubs
2005- 22,301 vs. Mets
2006- 27,287 vs. Cubs
2007- 25,965 vs. Cubs
2008- 14,016 vs. Dbacks
2009- 13,568 vs. Mets

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