Results tagged ‘ Drew Stubbs ’

Postgame: Reds hang on

Some quick notes from Saturday:

*Reds are a season-high 15 games over .500 with the 4-3 win.

*Dusty Baker gets credit for the quote of the day:

“How old do I look now, about 75?” Baker joked after Francisco Cordero struggled with three walks and a hit batter, causing two Cubs runs in the bottom of the ninth.

*Cordero has walked 32 batters in 50 1/3 innings this season.

*Chicago sent eight men to the plate in that final rally and never had to put a ball into play. Stunning, really.

*Nick Masset barely had time to warm up but big credit to him for putting out that fire in a tough spot. He did walk in a run but he also struck out Derrek Lee and Marlon Byrd with some nice curveballs. That was Masset’s second save of the season.

*The Reds are now 11-1-1 over their past 13 series, including 6-0-1 since the All-Star break.

*Drew Stubbs was 3-for-4 with a homer, two RBIs and two runs scored.

*Laynce Nix made two key plays today. His awesome diving catch saved two runs in the bottom of the second inning. And a hustling Nix reached second base when Blake DeWitt dropped a routine pop up in the ninth. Nix was able to score on Stubbs’ RBI single.

*Edinson Volquez walked four, but pitched a solid 6 2/3 innings. He induced 12 groundball outs and also had a seven-pitch 1-2-3 fifth inning. It looked like it might be a tough day when he walked his first batter of the game, Fukudome, on four pitches.

*Brandon Phillips exited the game before the bottom of the ninth with a sore foot. He fouled a ball off of his foot in the eighth. It sounded like Phillips might not play Sunday.

Quotes —

“I just used the past few days to take a step back from everything, and clean the slate up top. I had a lot of things going on in my head. I stepped back and got to where I was earlier. I tweaked a few things working with Brook Jacoby the last few days, making sure my timing was good at the plate again. I made some good swings on some balls today.” — Drew Stubbs

“We’ve been in situations like that quite a bit. It’s a little different when the game is on the line and it’s the bottom of the ninth. You try not to think about that and just attack the hitters and try to get them out.” — Nick Masset

“I’m happy with it. This is my longest start this year. I’m getting better. I was working with Bryan [Price]. I finally got everything together now. I was feeling in a better rhythm with my mechanics. I moved nice and easy. I was more consistent today.” — Edinson Volquez

“They hit the ball well with men in scoring position. I think they’re right at the top of
the league or close to it in that department. It showed again today. We had two outs a
couple times and they got two big hits in the third base hole and we didn’t.” — Cubs manager Lou Piniella

“We have a few guys kind of hobbling right now that we want to get 100 percent before the Cardinals series. So you might see a much different lineup out there.” — Dusty Baker

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Another leadoff flip flop

Tuesday lineup vs. MIL

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

*As you can see, Orlando Cabrera’s second reign as the Reds’ leadoff hitter was brief.

*The Nos. 1 and 2 spots of the order, Cabrera and Brandon Phillips, are a combined 0-for-15 in their last two games. 

*Against Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo, Scott Rolen is 4-for-6 (.667) with one home runs and Phillips is 4-for-14 (.286) with one homer and three RBIs.

*Drew Stubbs is in a 0-for-23 skid, including 0-for-13 on the road trip. Reds manager Dusty Baker had Stubbs in his office on Tuesday afternoon, partially to talk about his very up and down first full big league season.

“We have to find out why. We’re trying to get him mechanically sound and not have the peaks and valleys,” Baker said. “Remember what I said earlier that when you have young players, you battle with inconsistency. The older veteran players know how to get out [of slumps] and a lot of times, not to get in a funk. The young players sometimes don’t know how he got in it and even worse, how to get out of it.”

*Homer Bailey will make his next rehab start on Saturday for Triple-A Louisville. Bailey started on Monday for Class A Dayton and threw 60 pitches over four innings. He allowed three runs in the  fourth.

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No need for LeCure, Matthews

*Pitcher Sam LeCure came all the way to Houston but did not set one toe on the mound at Minute Maid Park on Saturday. He was Plan B in case Johnny Cueto couldn’t start tonight becuase of the flu. Cueto is OK, so LeCure wasn’t needed.

“I’m just here, and not here,” LeCure said.

LeCure was told to sit tight this afternoon just in case. He sat at a locker without a number on it and chatted with several players.

“I just came out to watch a game,” said LeCure.

The Reds scratched LeCure from his start Friday for Triple-A Louisville at Gwinnett about three hours before their game. He flew into Houston late Friday night.

“He just got a free trip to Houston. He understands,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

*Baker said he tried to lobby Gary Matthews Jr. to stay in the organization before he opted out of his contract. Baker is close friends with both Matthews Jr. and Gary Matthews Sr.

“I talked to him this morning. I tried to convince him to wait,” Baker said. “He said after being in the big leagues this long, he just didn’t want to be in Triple-A anymore. He doesn’t have anywhere to go right now. He said thanks for the opportunity and he’ll see what happens.”

The decision not to bring up Matthews ultimately came down something basic. The Reds did not feel he was an improvement to what was already on the 25-man roster.

“Right now, Nix is doing a great job off the bench as a left-handed pinch-hitter. Nobody is doing better on the right side than Heisey. And Stubbs is doing better and getting better in center field. Sometimes, there’s not a fit.”

*Nix started and batted fourth vs. the Astros for one good reason. He is 7-for-15 (.467) with two homers lifetime vs. Roy Oswalt.

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Stubbs, Baker meet about hitting

Reds manager Dusty Baker had center fielder Drew Stubbs in his office this morning to talk about hitting and Stubbs’ recent struggles. His average is down to .233 and he’s struck out 11 times in the last 24 at-bats over seven games.

“He’s been a little bit defensive,” Baker said. “He keeps waiting to see if it’s a ball or strike and you don’t have that kind of time. You have to start your swing and stop it versus going from a stop to a start. He’s a smart kid. We’re talking about hitting in a mathematical sense.”

Baker, who started Chris Heisey for Stubbs, realizes he’s criticized for playing Stubbs regularly in center field. While Stubbs is ranked seventh in the NL with 85 strikeouts, he’s sixth in the league in steals and has 36 RBIs. He’s batting .289 since moving to the seventh spot on May 7. And defensively, no one on the Reds can cover more ground in center field.

“His upside potential is amazing,” Baker said. “I know people get on me for playing him. But this isn’t a Willy Taveras situation. People were upset because we were playing Willy. But we were playing Willy because we knew we were trying to trade Willy. You can’t trade somebody if he’s not playing.”

Taveras, of course, was the much-maligned center fielder the Reds employed last season. He was traded over the winter to Oakland. He’s since been released twice.

Stubbs said he’s confidence has remained strong.

“This is a constant battle to stay sharp in this game,” Stubbs said. “This is such a tough game. You’re going to go through your series of ups and downs. The key is to maximize the time you’re feeling good and rolling up there and minimize the times that you’re not.”

*One thing fans don’t get to see or hear as much is Baker’s knowledge of the game, especially how he gained that knowledge. Although he likes to surround himself with younger people and his hip to the current culture, he is also a link to baseball as it was played in the 1960s and 70s. It’s that experience he passes on to younger players like Stubbs.

“When I was rookie, Ron Fairly was with the Cardinals,” Baker said. “He called me into another room and gave me a two-strike approach. I was on the other team. Tony Perez, Orlando Cepeda — those guys taught me how to hit with runners in scoring position. Back then, guys would talk a lot especially if they knew you could hit. Pete Rose took me to his house to talk about hitting. I left a runner on third once with less than two outs and Bob Watson took me over to his house. He said ‘don’t be leaving money out there.’ He taught me a theory and philosophy on how to pick them up.”

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Postgame extra: Offense humming

Some notes out of the 10-3 Reds win over the Indians that has them on a four-game win streak:

*Jay Bruce is some kind of nice tear these days — 9-for-12 in his last four games. Bruce had two doubles, a walk, a sac fly and three runs scored. His average is up to .287.

*Orlando Cabrera was 2-for-5, which snapped his 0-for-19 skid.

*Drew Stubbs ended his 0-for-14 with a two-run homer to right field in the second inning and was 2-for-4, four RBI night. His long ball was responsible for the go-ahead runs. The four RBIs tied a career high which he set in April.

*Scott Rolen hit homer No. 16, giving him the team lead. He led off with sixth by clocking a 1-0 pitch deep to left field.

*The last few games since the Seattle debacle, the Reds have been spreading the offense around pretty well. Four players had two hits and every starting position player except for Joey Votto had at least one hit. In these last four games, the lineup has produced 23 runs.

*Aaron Harang walked five but had an otherwise decent outing. He allowed three runs and eight hits over seven innings. At 6-7, his win total is equal to what he had in both 2008 and 2009.

*And the Cardinals lost in Kansas City, which means the Reds are back in first place, a half-game up. 

Quotes —

*Dusty Baker was asked if the signing of Gary Matthews Jr. to a minor league contract would push Stubbs to better performance.

“Not really, it probably just gives us some insurance in the minor leagues,” Baker said. “I don’t think Stubbs has to worry too much about that. He’s been working hard. He’s been up and down, mostly up, the last few weeks. The thing about him is no matter what he’s hitting, he seems to drive in runs. We need that down in the seventh spot because you’re going to come up, especially with the guys we have in Gomes and Votto and Bruce getting on base – you need some RBIs down there. It’s a very important part of your lineup.”

“The season is just a course of ups and downs. You try to ride the ups as long as you can and minimize the low points. Any time that you can get a little something going you just try to keep up with it and string it out as long as possible.” — Drew Stubbs

“When you get out there and guys put some runs on the board for you early, it always makes it easier to go out there and try to pitch and not have to worry too much about making maybe one or two mistakes.” — Aaron Harang.

Have a good rest of the weekend, I’m off. See you on Monday.

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Postgame extra: Best game?

Rare is the time you hear things like “playoff atmosphere” in June but Dusty Baker went there after a hard-fought 9-8 Reds win over the Cardinals.

“That was probably the best game of the year, especially since we came out on top,” Baker said. “Boy, that was as close to a playoff atmosphere as our young team has probably have been in. it’s just a sample of what exciting baseball is all about.”

The question of the night –

Do you agree with Baker? Was that the best game for the Reds this year?

The good —

*Joey Votto. The dude is out for six games with a stiff neck and returns by going 4-for-5 with a homer, a triple and two singles.

“I’m just trying to keep up with Miguel Cairo,” Votto joked.

*Scott Rolen’s two-homer night gives him 13 for the season. He had 11 in both 2008 and 2009.

*In the first inning on Albert Pujols’ single to left field, Jonny Gomes nailed Felipe Lopez at the plate with a great throw as Lopez tried scoring from second base.

*Drew Stubbs saved some runs from scoring when he sprinted a long way to catch Lopez’s drive to the center field wall.

*Arthur Rhodes got into quite a fix in the seventh with a leadoff walk and a single and bases loaded with two outs. But he got out of it and extended his streak to 21-straight scoreless appearances (19 2/3 innings)

The not so good –

*It wasn’t a smooth night for Johnny Cueto, who gave up eight earned runs and a career-high tying 10 hits over five-plus innings with one walk and no strikeouts. He let all four batters he faced in the sixth reach base. They all scored.

Cueto is probably entitled to an off night…he was 5-0 with a 1.85 ERA in his previous six starts. His unbeaten streak remained after the lineup picked him up in the seventh.

“He was out of his rhythm and didn’t have his good location,” Baker said.

Quotes

“There was definitely more intensity. Maybe that’s just me coming back after not playing for six games. It definitely felt a little different. Both managers were making decisions obviously, to get the wins. But it felt like we were trying to beat each other. We weren’t trying to save it for later on.” — Joey Votto

“Tomorrow, we’ve got a chance to win a series. That’s important. It’s a series. It’s not the battle of first place in June. We’ve got a chance to win a series. That’s why we’re here in the position we’re in playing good baseball and tied for first place. It’s because we played well and won series. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing, you win series and play good baseball, you’ll find yourself in good position.” — Scott Rolen

And check out this take about Rolen from Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa. Rolen, of course, once played for St. Louis.

“He’s healthy and we have seen that. He’s an outstanding player when he’s healthy. He’s playing outstanding for them. Probably their manager’s getting more out of him than I did. I know people are going to speculate that and it’s probably true. I’m sure it’s true. When he’s healthy — and he’s healthy – he’s an outstanding player.”

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Postgame extra: Twilight bites Reds

A 2-1 loss to the Pirates was decided in the ninth inning on Ryan Doumit’s home run off of Nick Masset but the most regrettable moment for the Reds came in the eighth inning.

Center fielder Drew Stubbs lost Aki Iwamura’s routine fly ball in the twight and it dropped several feet behind Stubbs as Iwmura got a triple. He scored on Neil Walker’s double. That was the lone run to score on Mike Leake.

“It’s one of those situations where if you lose the ball, you lose the ball,” Dusty Baker said. “There’s nothing you can do. That happened to me right here in Cincinnati as well early in my career. Pete Rose hit the ball to me and I did the same thing. That was tough.”

“This time of year theres probably a 10-15 minute window where its just before it gets dark and any ball that gets up there is very tough to see,” Stubbs said. “I guess different points of view from the field allow you different perceptions of it. But just definitely a bad break for us, some bad luck for Mike Leake. Obviously a very catchable ball but just one that none of us saw.”

The good –

*Leake allowed a career high 10 hits, but only one run with one walk and three strikeouts over a career-high 7 1/3 innings. He dodged trouble and helped himself early by inducing two double plays, one of which he started himself in the third inning. He threw only 97 pitches in the game.

*Both starters were tremendous — Leake and Paul Maholm. No runner reached third base until the sixth inning when Andrew McCutchen went from first to third on a two-out single.

*After the twilight issue cost Leake a run, Brandon Phillips got it back with a solo homer in the bottom of the eighth. It was also the 100th homer of Phillips’ career.

*Another solid outing for Arthur Rhodes, who has 19 scoreless games and counting.

The not so good –

*Masset left a 2-1 pitch over the plate that Doumit had no choice but to crush.

Quotes —

“I didn’t execute a pitch, and that was a good hitter up at the plate and weve seen each other quite a bit in the past. I got behind in the count and left one, I don’t know exactly where the pitch was, but it sure was up enough to where he could drive it. ” — Nick Masset.

“We both kind of deserved wins but it didn’t turn out that way for both of us.” — Mike Leake

“He’s started off great the first month and half or so. He’s the type of guy who’s going to compete and he’s going to get ground balls. He gets off to a great start, and you know you have to keep some zeros up there and let the offense keep battling away.” — Paul Maholm on Leake.

News

Aroldis Chapman tested the blister on the middle finger of his left hand and threw on the side Tuesday. It went fine and Chapman is scheduled to make his next start Thursday for Triple-A Louisville against Gwinnett.

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Postgame extra: Reds 7-5 win

The good —

*Drew Stubbs went 3-for-4 with a solo home run in the five-run sixth and a RBI double in the second. As is often the case, Stubbs was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. He just missed going 4-for-4 when Iwamura stopped his rocket on the ground for a 463 GIDP.

*Stubbs’ average jumped 15 points from .203 to .218 and he’s batting .415 (17-for-41) since moving from leadoff to the seventh spot.

“I don’t do anything different than I do hitting first, ninth or whatever,” Stubbs said. “I felt good. I got some good pitches to hit up there. I put some good swings on them.”

*Lots of runs scored with two outs.

*After a Hanigan 643 GIDP with bases loaded, no outs, Reds kept rally going with four more runs. Aaron Harang’s lined RBI single was well done for a guy not known for hitting.

*Harang trucked around and scored standing up from first base when Orlando Cabrera followed in fourth with double through the left field gap.

“I was praying I could make it home at that point,” Harang said. “We don’t get to run the bases that often and Berry felt like I had a good shot at scoring and tried to make it home without falling on my face.”

*Arthur Rhodes made his 800th career appearance and worked another scoreless inning with one hit. Rhodes has not allowed a run in 18-straight appearances.

*Cool effort by the Reds and GABP to recreate some of the 1935 feel to mark the 75th anniversary of the first night game. Although I missed the video screen, the organ music was a great change of pace. It made me dislike a couple of the regular sound elements even more like a certain Black Eyed Peas song and the oft-used “Everybody clap your hands.”

The not so good —

*The Reds hit into five double plays in the game — including four on the ground.

*The B.E.P. music returned after a very nice seventh inning video montage that marked the return of modern ballpark displays.

The odd —

Enerio Del Rosario’s MLB debut line is this: 0 IP, 1 K. His lone batter, Andrew McCutchen, struck out but reached on a Ryan Hanigan passed ball.

Quote —

“The main thing is we got him runs and he scored a run and drove in a run. He won and we won. That’s the big deal. The line doesn’t mean anything if you don’t win.” — Dusty Baker on Harang, who gave up five runs (four earned) and eight hits over 6 1/3 innings.

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Postgame extra: Walk this way

The Reds have made their opponents pay for intentional walks three-straight games now.

After the previous batter was walked  intentionally to get to him, Drew Stubbs burned the Cardinals with a two-run triple on Saturday. Bronson Arroyo did it to St. Louis with a two-run single on Sunday.

On Monday, the Brewers’ Todd Coffey gave Jay Bruce a free pass with two outs to put runners on first and second for Jonny Gomes. Gomes took notice.

“When you get that guy in front of you intentionally walked, not really to set up a double play or a special match-up, you dig down,” Gomes said. “It’s a little character-check for yourself.”

Gomes sent a first-pitch 95 mph fastball over the left-field fence for a three-run homer. It made the big five-run inning for the 6-3 win.

“You know you’re going to get power from Todd, whether it’s a power slider or power heater,” Gomes said. “He locates it well. I just wanted to be ready early. I didn’t want to go deep in the count with runners in scoring position with him. It worked out well.”

Other items from Monday:

*Orlando Cabrera boosted Johnny Cueto with a nice play in the first inning. With Escobar on third with a triple, Cabrera threw him out at the plate on Ryan Braun’s sharp grounder to shortstop.

*Also a nice play by Drew Stubbs to throw out Greg Zaun trying to score on fly ball by Gallardo. It was one-hopper to Ramon Hernandez that beat Zaun by two steps. Hernandez also did a textbook job blocking the plate.

*The Reds’ errorless streak ended at 11 games with Jody Gerut’s fourth inning grounder going between Brandon Phillips legs.

*After giving up the Gomes homer, Coffey drilled Stubbs in the back with his next pitch. Both benches were warned to prevent retaliation.

“We don’t have any time for that to escalate right now,” Gomes said. “We’re focused on winning ballgames. I don’t know if it was intentional or not. You’d have to ask him. we’re not really going to waste much energy thinking about that stuff.”

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Going from first to third…

Reds manager Dusty Baker was given a sheet that showed the rankings of teams in the category of going from first base to third base on a single. The Reds led the Majors with 25 times, five ahead of the Twins. The Blue Jays were ranked last with two!

“Everybody gets on our base running, but we’ve been really conscious of running,” Baker said. “We’re doing something right. We get thrown out sometimes but we’re first. Imagine when we start hitting. Or that when the guys that can really run start hitting.”

The Reds are batting .282 as a team with runners in scoring position (ranked fourth in NL), an improvement from the .251 mark they had last season. They’re ranked first in the NL by hitting .296 with RISP and two outs.

“That’s why I’m so positive,” Baker said. “In spring that’s what we really wanted to work on. Let’s keep working and keep fighting. My dad always said ‘pressure busts the pipe.’ It’s hard when you’re accepting pressure. You want to be in position to apply pressure.”

“I don’t have a bunch of burners but I don’t have a bunch of plodders either. That’s why it’s so very important that we be patient and help [Drew] Stubbs. Imagine the impact he can have as our premier burner.”

Baker was chock full of paper to prove another point about Stubbs. He had print outs from BaseballReference.com that showed that Ozzie Smith batted .211 in his second year, then .230 and .222. He had Davey Concepcion, who batted .205 and .209 in his second and third seasons. Mark McGwire batted .201 in 1991.

“In today’s world, they would not have been patient about that. Mike Schmidt hit .196 in 132 games,” Baker said.

“I’m willing to give rope because I know what’s there. I’m known to give rope. I’m criticized for giving rope. You just don’t get it out of everybody at the same rate or the same pace.”

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