Results tagged ‘ Chris Heisey ’

Heisey to get most time in LF

Fans have been clamoring for Yonder Alonso to get promoted but the clamoring has been louder and for longer that Chris Heisey should play regularly.

My man Tyler Jett will have a notebook item on this on the main Reds site…it was Heisey who started in left field on Wednesday vs. the Mets. Heisey will likely get a majority of the starts going forward as manager Dusty Baker still has some question marks about Alonso defensively in left field.

“I’ve heard he’s OK. I’ve heard he needs some work, and we’ll see. Everybody can’t play left field. There was a point where everyone was hollering for Heisey in left. Now Yonder’s here and everybody wants Yonder to play, and what are we going to do with Heisey? Yonder is more of a first baseman than he is a left fielder; speed is the question, and range. We’ll see how it works out.

“We did need some left-handed help off the bench, and we know he can hit. But right now, probably most of the time it’s going to go to Heisey.”

Heisey came in batting .250 with 12 homers and 35 RBIs in 89 games. He’s fourth on the club in homers with only 196 at-bats. Here’s something interesting: he  batted .221 with a .299 OBP as a starter and .321 with a .344 OBP as a sub. Heisey has definitely earned the chance to show what he can do however and now is his time.

“Any time you get to start the majority of games, you have to feel bless, especially kind of taking the road I have. But I’m not expecting to be out there every day. We’ve got some other guys. Freddy [Lewis] is going to play. I’m sure Yonder is going to play some. It’s good to know they have the confidence in me to run me out there.”

“Up until the last couple of years, I had been an everyday player coming up. It is still something I’m used to. I’m not going to change my approach. I will go out there and give it my best every day whenever I’m in there and keep doing what I’ve been doing.”

**UPDATE — Something I should have articulated but didn’t is this: The Reds, namely GM Walt Jocketty, said Alonso’s bat was wanted here to boost the offense. If that’s the case, it would seem odd to make Alonso a role player…especially since he’s a prospect that needs to play. Even if his defense isn’t good…isn’t his bat the main reason he’s up here?

Rolen 4th, Bruce 5th

This will be the Reds first visit this weekend at Camden Yards, but it won’t be mine. I’ve been here a few times while covering the Twins. When the weather is pleasant, it’s rather nice city and ballpark to be in and walk around.

But I’ve also been here in August and I will go on record that I have never been so hot nor have sweated so much in my life than when I was here at that time of year. That was the only time I ever left the press box postgame and returned to the air conditioned hotel room to write my game stories. (I know, real problems, right?)

Baltimore is muggier than St. Louis or Cincinnati combined. If you want to see yourself sweat, visit here in the summer. (Good chamber of commerce message, isn’t it?)

Without further adieu…

Reds lineup vs. Orioles

Heisey 7
Phillips 4
Votto 3
Rolen 5
Bruce 9
Gomes DH
Stubbs 8
Hernandez 2
Janish 6
Volquez RHP

*Jim Kelch can back me up on this since we discussed it at lunch today…but I was wondering if Dusty Baker would move Bruce out of the cleanup spot with the way he’s been slumping and the way Rolen has come on. Bruce is batting .235 since moving to the fourth spot. He’s a .317 hitter in the fifth spot.

*Meanwhile, Rolen has seven RBIs over his last nine games, seven extra base hits in his last 11 games and batting .355 (11-for-31) over his last eight games.

*After a three homer game on Wednesday night, was there any other place for Heisey to be than starting and leading off?

*Reds DHs are batting .083 (1-for-12) this season. Jonny Gomes accounts for 0-for-8 when he was in the depths of his slump in Cleveland last month. He’s been hitting a lot better lately, so having his bat and Heisey’s should be a boost. We’ll see.

*The Reds have listed Homer Bailey as their starter for Sunday. That was expected, but not formally mentioned until today.

Rotation on a roll

 The Reds aren’t breaking off on a huge winning streak yet, but they are getting some very good starting pitching. And that could eventually reap benefits for sustained winning.

Bronson Arroyo worked into the eighth inning for the Reds 6-4 win over the Dodgers. He allowed 4 ER, 6 H,  0 BB, 1 K, 1 HB. He threw 98 pitches/68 strikes.

The Reds rotation is 5-1 with a 2.17 ERA over the last eight games and has three wins during the 3-2 road trip to this point.

“It’s going to be the key for us,” Arroyo said. “If we don’t have that, we’re not going be able to win ballgames. As good as our offense has been numbers-wise throughout the whole year compared with the rest of the league, it’s not enough to overcome four and five-run deficits early in the ballgame. For us to get deep in the ballgame like we are, try to peel back the innings for the guys in the bullpen a little bit, especially going into the hotter months of the season, will be key for us.”

Notes:

 

 

*Arroyo is 4-0 with a 2.60 ERA in his last four starts vs. the Dodgers.

*Francisco Cordero notched career save No. 303 by striking out the side in the ninth after a leadoff walk. Cordero is tied with Doug Jones for 20th on the all-time saves list.

*Homers by Chris Heisey (two outs, sixth) and Joey Votto (three-run shot, seventh) snapped a five-game streak without a home run for the Reds.

*Arroyo helped himself with a bloop RBI single to right field in the seventh that provided the go-ahead run.

*After the Reds couldn’t win a game at Chavez Ravine from 2006-2009 (0-12), they have won three of the last four here.

Quotes:

“They’ve thrown well. They threw well in San Francisco. Obviously Bronson threw well tonight. You hope for that every time. Our offense is necessary but the team’s priority is always pitching and defense.” — Joey Votto

“That was a big home run by Heisey because Kuroda was really dealing at the time.” — Dusty Baker

Heisey starts

Since so many clamored for it, thought I’d headline it.

Reds lineup vs Pirates

Heisey 8
Renteria 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Cairo 5
Lewis 7
Hernandez 2
Cueto 1

A lot of people (and you know who you are) are harping about the lack of playing time for Chris Heisey. Today’s lineup probably doesn’t totally satisfy you because Heisey isn’t in left field. But the manager wanted to give Drew Stubbs a break.

“I’m going to need Drew all the way through Milwaukee (end of May, early June),” manager Dusty Baker said. Unless something happens, he’s not going to get a day off. We’re in a stretch of 20-straight games and 33 in 34 days, and this is May. He’s a racehorse. You can’t run those horses in the ground. I have to preserve him and his legs.”

As for the Heisey question that’s been asked and answered time and again, by all parties involved, here are some long-form quotes from Baker about how he uses Heisey and what his big picture thoughts about him:

“Everybody was screaming for Nix to play before. They were screaming for Dickerson to play and then they screamed for Gomes, how come Gomes isn’t playing every day? Then they were screaming about sending Stubbs out of here and they were screaming about sending Bruce out of here.”

“Every good basketball team has a sixth man. John Havlicek was a sixth man before he was a regular. He still has some things to learn – to me – hitting wise before he’s an everyday play, but he will be. He knows it. I told him. Sometimes you have to be that sixth man before you can be a fifth man.”

“Coming off the bench is hard to do and so very important. Who would you rather have come off the bench every day and be the secret weapon, Heisey or Gomes at this point? I’m trying to be patient waiting on Jonny. I know how he can carry the club. He’s putting a lot of pressure on himself being his option year. If he’s not playing some, he’s not going to get it at all. He’s the only guy I’ve got here that knows how to DH when we get to the American League, which is not easy to do.”

“Show me a lineup around that doesn’t have somebody in there that’s not productive in the lineup. There ain’t one around. We can look for what we ain’t doing. In the meantime, how many have we won now? That ain’t too bad. We’re trying to get better. We will. We’re not clicking on all cylinders yet. We’re getting there.”

“If you’ve noticed, Heisey stands by me every day during the National Anthem. If things weren’t cool, would he stand by me every day?”

Reds wake up in ninth

There are many ways to take a game for the win, and the best that can be said was that was one of them.

The Reds went rope-a-dope style I guess. They had nothing offensively to offer — just one hit — for eight innings, but jumped all over a struggling Astros closer in Brandon Lyon. All five batters in the bottom of the ninth reached and scored all three runs for a 3-2 victory.

Notes:

*Was Brandon Phillips really serious about bunting with runners on first and second and no outs in the ninth? He showed bunt twice but ultimately swung at a 2-1 pitch for the game-tying RBI single. The answer proved to be yes.

“To tell you the truth, I really did,” Phillips said. “We’ve been struggling with scoring runs and I was going to give myself up so we can have a man on second and third and Brucie can do what he does. Dusty didn’t really want me to do it…I didn’t want to hit into a double play. I was going to try and do something for the team just to get a spark. What changed my mind is I looked at Bear [third base coach Mark Berry] and then Bear gave me that little fist pump and was like ‘hit the ball.’ OK, I’ll swing the bat.”

*Joey Votto’s streak of reaching base seemed about to end, but Votto also came through ahead of Phillips with a RBI single that scored Drew Stubbs. It extended Votto’s on-base streak to 30 games.

*Travis Wood wasn’t sensational today with four walks but his start was a welcomed breath of fresh air for the struggling rotation. Wood threw 104 pitches over 6 ip, 5 H, 2 ER, 7 K. Of his 24 batters, 17 saw first-pitch strikes.

*Fred Lewis made his season debut as a PH in the eighth inning and struck out.

*The first pitch temperature was 44 degrees today. I can’t believe it’s the first week of May. When the season opened on March 31, it was 41 degrees.

*
Quotes:

“It’s better to get up and try to keep a lead than try to come back, but fortunately not for us today. We were able to get a couple hits late. And, yeah, it’s still hard to believe. We got one hit all day and all of a sudden we scored three runs without an out. It happens that quick, but it would be nice to get on the board a little earlier.” — Chris Heisey, who singled in the final inning rally.

“It’s like we were sleeping, and then woke up.” — Jay Bruce, who hit the game-ending RBI double.

“I fell behind some hitters. I left two balls up that they hit and they got the two runs off of. Other than that, I was able to keep the team close and give us a chance to win. We eventually did.” — Travis Wood

“I was sitting over there not very happy for eight innings. When you’re not scoring, it’s a bad feeling. When you’re not scoring, it looks like you’re not awake, not into it, even though you are and they’re getting you out.” — Dusty Baker

“I think we felt pretty comfortable against Brandon Lyon and we got some pretty good pitches to hit. All credit due to their pitchers early in the game. Those guys threw fantastic and located well. They were aggressive. They consistently beat us. I think we were a little more comfortable against Brandon and that’s no comment on him. He’s got a fantastic track record. It’s just today wasn’t his day.” — Joey Votto

“Hopefully that woke us up a little bit because I just feel like we’re too good of a team to really do what we’re doing right now. I’m just glad that really happened. I’m just hoping that we can start hitting 1-8, instead of worrying about the ninth inning.” — 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

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 in RF for Bruce

Reds lineup vs. Astros

Stubbs 8
Phillips 4
Votto 3
Rolen 5
Gomes 7
Heisey 9
Hernandez 2
Janish 6
Leake 1

*No word on why Jay Bruce isn’t in there yet. But just guessing it’s a matchup thing. It’s a small sample but Bruce is 0-for-3 with 2 Ks lifetime vs. Astros lefty starter J.A. Happ. Also, over his career, lefty hitter bat .202 vs. Happ compared to .252 for right-handed hitters.

***UPDATE via Dusty Baker: “I’m trying to figure out a way to keep Heisey swinging too because had such a good spring,” Baker said. “Happ’s been tough against left-handers even though Jay has been getting against left-handed pitchers. It’s that Happ is one of the tougher ones. I don’t want Heisey to sit too long and lose the stroke that he had going. We’re going to need him.”

*Johnny Cueto (shoulder) threw 35 pitches in the bullpen today.

“It was good today. I threw hard. No pain, no nothing,” Cueto said.

*Cueto will throw in a two-inning game against extended spring players at the Goodyear complex on Sunday while the Reds are out there  to play the D-Backs this weekend.

*Homer Bailey also long tossed today and is making progress. Bailey is slated to have bullpen sessions on April 9th and then the 11th or 12th. If all goes well, he will see his first game action on the 14th, most likely at the Goodyear complex also. I will have more on Cueto/Bailey from Bryan Price on Reds.com/MLB.com

*Former Reds 1B Sean Casey is making his debut tonight as an analyst for FS Ohio. Casey is also throwing out a ceremonial first pitch.

More soon…

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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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Another crazy day at the yard

It’s been an amazing clip of high-scoring affairs involving the Reds. Thursday’s 15-13 loss featured a combined 34 hits.

In the last seven games, the Reds have been outscored by a 72-71 margin.It’s hard to make heads or tails of what we see out here. Looking at the spring stats coming into the day, 10 of the top 11 in team runs scored were from the Cactus League. (Reds scored 152 runs entering day). In team ERA, nine of the bottom 10 teams were also from the Cactus League (Reds were at 5.49 and ranked 27th).

The air is thin at the higher altitudes and many pitchers often have trouble with dry baseballs and gripping the ball. Mistakes that still can be outs in Florida or in regular season parks become blights on the line score.

I’m certainly not making excuses for the pitchers or taking anything away from the hitters, but I think a little context is needed.

“Another long one but if you hang something here, it’s going to fly,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said postgame. “There are some guys that played well today. We made some mistakes. It’s getting a little stagnant. You know you have some more work to do but guys are ready to go. We’re scoring a lot of runs. When you’re playing someone like the Texas Rangers, you know you’re going to give up some runs and you better score some runs. That’s what happened today.”

Now for some of the day’s highlights….

The good:

*Travis Wood’s line isn’t pretty, but he did pitch pretty good. Wood allowed seven runs (five earned) over 5 1/3 innings with no walks and five strikeouts. A two-error third inning led to Nelson Cruz’s grand slam.

“I felt good,” Wood said. “I just got in trouble that third inning there.  I ended up giving up a grand slam.  That hurts but we were able to  battle back as a team.  … I feel like I’m ready for the season.  I got stretched out pretty good.  My pitches seem to be working pretty good.  So, I’ll pitch every fifth day and get ready the other four.  I’ll go out and give it everything I’ve got.”

“We threw the ball around that one inning. You need some help from your friends,” Baker said. “That one inning he didn’t get much. He got his work in. His pitch count is where we wanted to get it.”

*Wood also hit a RBI double in the fifth inning.

*Dave Sappelt continues to push to take an outfield spot. While going 2-for-3 Sappelt smoked a two-run homer off of the center field batters’ eye. He’s batting .553 (21-for-38) this spring.

*Jonny Gomes has a four-game hitting streak (5-for-13, .385) after he hit a three-run homer to left field. It was his second homer in three games. His average is still only .171.

*Paul Janish was 2-for-3 with three RBIs

*With two outs in the sixth, Chris Heisey’s two-run triple to left field re-tied the score at 10-10.

*Francisco Cordero enjoyed another 1-2-3 inning today for his seventh-straight scoreless outing. Five of his last six have been perfect.

Not-so-good

*Scott Rolen was plunked on his left elbow by a Tommy Hunter fastball in the first inning. He was lifted for PH Juan Francisco when he couldn’t grip his bat. There was no word on his condition.

“He had stitch marks on his elbow,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “I didn’t hear anything so no news is good news.”

*Bullpen candidate Jose Arredondo had another rough day. In the five-run eighth inning, Arredondo allowed five earned runs, four hits with one walk, one wild pitch and one strikeout. His spring ERA is 16.20. Because he’s still trying to find his way back from Tommy John surgery, it’s possible he could begin the year on the DL, which would help the Reds since he’s out of options.

“Arredondo is still inconsistent,” Baker said. “He’ll throw a heck of a breaking ball and hang one. He’ll throw a fastball low and away and then get one out over the plate. It shows me he’s not quite there yet.”

Other news:

*Bronson Arroyo, who has been battling the flu for over two weeks, pitched in a Minor League game on Thursday vs. a Dodgers Class A team.  Arroyo threw 87 pitches over 5 2/3 innings and allowed three earned runs and six hits with one walk and six strikeouts.

*Pitching against the Indians’ Class A team, Dontrelle Willis pitched one scoreless inning with one walk and two strikeouts.

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