Results tagged ‘ Dusty Baker ’

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.”


*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.


 “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.


Just the quotes…

Reaction from both clubhouses following the Reds 1-0 loss to the Cardinals on Monday.

On the pitching duel between Cueto and Carpenter:

“I don’t think that surprised anybody. We always have our hands full when Carp is out there. Cueto has been as good as anybody in the league. We definitely expected that out of both guys.” — Scott Rolen

“That was as good as you’re going to see. Both of them were dealing. We actually had more chances than they did. You hate to lose a game like that on a little jam shot-squibber because Johnny was great.” — Dusty Baker

“It doesn’t bother me because it’s part of the game. When I go there, I want to win. If that’s the way God wants it, that’s it.” — Johnny Cueto

“The key is that he’s pitching. He faced a lot of No. 1’s lately. He’s matched up with every one of them. He’s really maturing and coming along as a pitcher.” — Baker on Cueto

On Rolen’s play at third base to try and stop the Mark Hamilton RBI infield hit in the eighth:

“I was playing off the line. It kind of squibbed over and that was the only way I could think of making the play. He beat it out. It’s a base hit and RBI. “I knew it was fair right away. I knew it was going to land past the bag. I was just trying to get over there and see what happens when I got there.” — Scott Rolen

“That ball is spinning. That was a golden glove play by Scotty right there to even get that close.” — Dusty Baker

“I thought it had a chance to get by him when I hit it. He made an unbelievable play on me so I just had to get on my horse and get down the line, honestly the dive was just one of those spur of the moment things. It’s almost like I could feel the ball coming from Rolen at third and I felt like I had to do something to get there.” — Cardinals PH Mark Hamilton

“That play Scott made may be the greatest play by a third baseman I’ve ever seen. I have no idea how he got to that ball and threw the ball, I have no idea.” — Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa

And Rolen on his 2000th career hit, a first-inning single off Carpenter:

“I’m not a huge numbers guy but that’s number or plateau or a resting place I guess for a second. I guess I can let myself reflect a little bit since it’s a milestone number. It’s more a representation – I feel like I’ve worked pretty hard at this game, coming up from the minor leagues and all the way through. It’s a nice number. I will reflect on that number as a reward for a lot of sweat.”

Winning series, .500 road trip

There were some smiling faces and relaxed dudes in the Reds clubhouse and they earned it with a 4-3 victory over the Rays on Wednesday.

That meant a winning series, two of three.

That meant a .500 road trip at 3-3.

The trip featured two walk-off losses on home runs and a two-run defeat. Tampa Bay pitchers — Jeremy Hellickson, David Price and James Shields — gave the Reds all they could handle and combined for 31 strikeouts.

But the Reds tandem of Mike Leake, Johnny Cueto and Edinson Volquez were as good or better.

Two-out hits were huge today — Ryan Hanigan’s three-run homer in the fourth and Fred Lewis’ RBI single in the seventh were the the game offensively.

 “Hopefully, we’re close here to making a run,” Hanigan said. “We’re starting to play better baseball. I think guys are healthy and I think if few things go right for us, we can make a little push here.”


*Nice afternoon for Volquez, who worked 6 1/3 innings and gave up three runs, four hits and three walks with seven strikeouts. He had no hits allowed through four innings and retired 11 of the first 13 he faced and 15 of 18.

*Two relievers that were  left frustrated last night — Logan Ondrusek and Bill Bray — bounced back very well today with a combined 1 2/3 scoreless innings.

*Hanigan’s home run was his third of the season and first since he hit his other two on April 3.

*Tough day for Jay Bruce, who got the “golden sombrero” with 0-for-4, four strikeouts game.

*The Reds were not pleased with the work of home plate umpire Angel Hernandez. Dusty Baker had a long and animated talk with Hernandez after Drew Stubbs had a check-swing strikeout in the second inning. Leading off the eighth, Joey Votto was called out on strikes on a pitch that sailed over the other batter’s box. Votto argued pretty intensely but was spared an ejection when Baker intervened. He knew the club could not afford to lose Votto from the game.

*The Rays are 1-8 all time against the Reds.

*Rays DH Johnny Damon received a standing ovation after his sixth-inning single. It was career hit 2,654 and tied him with Ted Williams for 71st all-time.


“Big series win. We played good baseball this series, all the way through. We had three tough guys we faced. I thought we did a good job against Price even though he pitched well. We got him late and fell behind and came back, which shows a lot of character for this team. Today with Shields, we got the lead and never gave it up.” —  Ryan Hanigan

“Me and Brook [Jacoby] have been working on keeping my hands in tight and getting to my strong point and driving the ball. Basically, I just worked the count and got a good pitch to hit. Volquez kept us in the game. Hanigan had a great day at the plate. We played good defense.” — Fred Lewis

“We played a very good series and they played a good series. I’ll tell you, they’ve got some good pitching over there too. Especially the last couple of days, we faced some of the best pitching we’re going to see. You see why they are where they are and you can see why we’re getting to where we’re trying to get to.” — Dusty Baker

“You can’t walk guys out there, especially two guys in a row with no outs and put runners on first and second. I did a good job with guys on first and third to strike the guy out there and I left the ball over the plate to Freddy Lewis and I think that if I get that ball where I wanted it, I end that inning with no runs.” — Rays starter James Shields, who struck out 10 over seven innings.

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.


*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.


“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.


*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.


“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


Votto in a slump

Reds lineup vs. Orioles

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

*Although he often gets that big clutch hit when the Reds really need it, Joey Votto hasn’t been his usual robust self at the plate. In his last 11 games, Votto is batting .182 (8-for-44) with 11 strikeouts and a .282 OBP. He has also gone nine games without a home run, with the last one coming June 13 at Los Angeles. Might it be time for an off day? Votto last got one on May 9 at Houston and went on a pretty strong tear after that.

***UPDATE — I asked manager Dusty Baker about resting Votto sometime soon and there are no plans to do it, especially with the tough teams ahead on the schedule — Tampa Bay, Cleveland, St. Louis and Milwaukee.

“Now is the time you dig deep and try to play through the [All-Star] break. I thought about it,” Baker said. “He’s just off. He’s not tired. They’re pitching him tough. The American League clubs are pitching him real tough. He may be frustrated but he’s not physically tired. One thing is he’s showing he’s human. Sometimes you forget that stars are human and capable of ups and downs. We’ve just been so spoiled because he has very few extended down periods. I wouldn’t mind being down and hitting .318. One thing for sure is you know he’s going to get hot again. Count on it.”

Votto, who was the ballpark early today doing extra work, said that some technical glitches in his swing have been spotted by Baker, hitting coach Brook Jacoby and even teammate Edgar Renteria noticed something.

“It’s hard for me, even watching video, to see some of the technical mistakes I’m making,” Votto said. “But luckily I have some good people surrounding me and they’ve pointed out some things that were off a little bit with my swing and causing me to miss a lot of the pitches I’ve been given lately. Over the past month, I’ve been getting plenty of pitches to hit. I haven’t been taking advantage of them. It’s a mechanical thing. It’s my fault.

“You have some many components to success. For hitting a baseball, for hitting success, those smaller adjustments can really make a big difference. I kept scratching my head wondering what the hell is going on? Why am I not driving the ball? Why am I missing certain pitches I wasn’t missing before? It helps when you’ve got good eyes on you. It takes time. This will pass. With or without their help, I’m going to get through this.”

*By a .001 percentage point. the Reds are in fourth place for the first time this season and behind the Pirates.

*The Reds’ first-inning ERA of 6.66 (77ip, 57er) ranks 29th in the Majors, behind only the Royals (6.81, 75.1ip, 57er)

*At Triple-A Louisville, Dontrelle Willis pitched eight innings and allowed four runs and eight hits with no walks and seven strikeouts for a 5-4 win over Toledo last night. In 12 starts, Willis is 5-2 with a 2.74 ERA, 19 walks and 61 strikeouts.

New leadoff guy…

Reds lineup vs. Yankees

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

*Obviously, an interesting shake up at the top of the order with Drew Stubbs moving down.

*When he first checked the lineup, Lewis looked for his name further down in the order and didn’t see it.

“I looked at the lineup and thought I guess I’m not playing today,” Lewis said. “I looked at the BP groups and I was in the second group [with starters]. I had to look at the lineup again and it was a bit of a shock to me. Leading off?”

*Baker planned of using Stubbs in the leadoff spot for Game 2, but indicated he might bat Stubbs down in the order when the Interleague games move to the AL cities.

“Just relieve a little pressure for him. Freddy has been swinging the bat well,” Baker said. “When you’re scuffling in the leadoff spot, those ABs add up rather quickly – especially if you’re not walking much. It’s a temporary thing.”

*On Tuesday in his rehab assignment for Triple-A Louisville, Homer Bailey pitched six innings and allowed three runs and eight hits with one walk and three strikeouts. He threw 103 pitches, 71 strikes.

*Aroldis Chapman followed Bailey with one perfect inning and one strikeout. Of his 13 pitches, there were seven strikes.

**UPDATE — Baker said that Chapman would not be activated today. There is a good chance that Sam LeCure will be activated at some point today.

*FS Ohio is broadcasting both games today and tonight.

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.


*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.


“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

For once, the Reds love L.A.

Big road trip. Huge road trip.

Most teams, including the Reds, come to the West Coast just hoping not to tailspin. Many are hopeful to come out of it .500 or could even accept being one under .500 for the trip. Wednesday’s 7-2 win over the Dodgers gave the Reds a 5-2 West Coast trip. They haven’t had a winning western journey since they went 7-4 in 2004. That was also the year of the last Reds sweep at Dodger Stadium (May 14-16).

“A real nice birthday present,” said manager Dusty Baker, who turned 62 today. “It’s first time I can remember in 10 years winning a game on my birthday. That’s the one thing I wanted today. That was the perfect ending to this West Coast trip.”

Every time the Dodgers win a game here, they play the familiar Randy Newman song “I Love LA.” I got pretty used to hearing since the Reds lost 12 times in a row at Dodger Stadium from 2006-09.

And not much of a celebrity wrap for this series. Last year, we had Harrison Ford among others. This year, it was only Larry King and Mary Hart — both on Tuesday night.


*Jonny Gomes was all over the field defensively today with some nice plays. One particularly marvelous

one came when he robbed James Loney with two outs in the third with runners on first and second. On Loney’s tailing fly to the left field foul line to end the inning, Gomes was fully laid out when he made the diving catch. Travis Wood thanked Gomes with a point. Gomes also made two other catches that were worthy of circles in the scorebook.
*Wood was so-so, despite the quality start. Only one run and five hits but the five walks (one intentional) made for some tense moments. Wood gave up an Ethier two-out double and two walks — one with the bases loaded — to force in a run.

*Scott Rolen was 3-for-5 with a pair of RBI doubles and a RBI single. Five of Rolen’s seven hits on this trip were doubles. He hasn’t felt great since fouling a ball off his left foot Sunday and missing Monday’s game.

*By not playing today, Drew Stubbs became the last Reds player to miss a game this season. He had played in all 69 previous games, with 64 starts.

*The Reds are 17-18 on the road this season.


“Some great defense and early runs. Everybody was spent from a short night here so we wanted to score early, which we did. We didn’t score more but it was enough.” — Dusty Baker

“Gomes played an outstanding outfield today. If the ball was going up, I wanted it hit to him the way he was playing today. We also had some good clutch double plays and that helped a lot.” — Travis Wood

“It really hurts. It kind of puts a little sting into us because if we get two runs we’re right back in that game. That was obviously a nice play.” — Dodgers manager Don Mattingly on Gomes’ third-inning catch

“We need to win series. I’ve been boring you guys to death saying the same thing for two years now. But we split in San Francisco, which you take. Maybe we could have got one more. They’re a good team too. We played well there and came here and obviously played real well. A 5-2 trip, I think we’d take that 10 out of 10 times before we left.” — Scott Rolen

Bruce, Stubbs rested

Reds lineup vs. Dodgers

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

“A lot of changes today,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “We’re going with fresh bodies. We want to take advantage of two days off and take advantage of a five or six hour night everybody is working on.”

*Jay Bruce is not off as a result of the home plate contact he had with Rod Barajas last night. He is 2-for-20 on the road trip.

“I see him fouling off pitches now and slowing down a little bit from being so hot,” Baker said. “I remember Ted Williams said that most guys go into a little tailspin because they’re running the bases a lot.”

Bruce still had a whole bunch of scrapes on his right shin after getting the business end of Barajas’ shin guard.

“I’m fine. It didn’t feel great,” Bruce said. “If you’ve ever slipped a pedal on your bike into your shin, that’s what it was like. It hurt a lot in the beginning but it wears off.”

*Sam LeCure took the loss for Triple-A Louisville last night. Against Lehigh Valley, he pitched 1 2/3 innings and allowed one run and two hits with one walk and three strikeouts. That included a home run. In three rehab outings, LeCure has a 2.45 ERA over 3 2/3 innings.

*The Reds will be wearing 1944 throwback uniforms today. The Dodgers have throwback uni days any time they have a weekday matinee game. Cincinnati’s uniforms are the type that a 15-year old Joe Nuxhall wore when he debuted that season.

*Today is Baker’s 62nd birthday.

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