Results tagged ‘ Dusty Baker ’

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

5-4 homestand, not 6-3

 Even though the Reds dropped two of three to the Dodgers last weekend, they had a chance to sweep the Cubs three-game and complete a very nice 6-3 home stand.

It didn’t happen.

The Reds were awfully quiet during a 4-1 loss to the Cubs. After coming up empty during a bases-loaded, one out rally in the first inning, there was only Jay Bruce’s RBI single in the third inning off Ryan Dempster. After that, Cubs pitching retired the final 19 of 20.

“We had a chance for a sweep,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “That three in a row is eluding us big time. We’ll get it. We’re like real close. Perhaps we’ll turn it around on this road trip. The last road trip, we had a bad one so we’re due for an excellent one.”

The Reds leave for a 7-day trip to San Francisco and Los Angeles. It stays tough after that with the Blue Jays and Yankees at home.

Notes:

*Dempster had a great game but was nearly a scratch because of hip pain. Chicago had Rodrigo Lopez also warming up pre-game just in case.

*The game essentially turned on back-to-back Cubs homers for three runs in the fourth by Carlos Pena and Aramis Ramirez. For Arroyo, they were homers No. 15 and 16 allowed for the season, tying him with Brett Myers for the NL lead.

*A fourth run charged to Arroyo scored on a Jose Arredondo balk in the seventh. With runners on the corners and two outs, Arredondo had a 3-2 count on Ramirez when he made a pickoff move to first base. He had keep the ball upon realizing Joey Votto wasn’t holding the runner.

*Bruce’s RBI single gave him a 10-game hitting streak.

*Jonny Gomes struck out as a pinch-hitter with Paul Janish on third with a two-out triple. Gomes is 0-for-10 as a pinch-hitter this season with seven strikeouts.

*Joey Votto has an eight-game hitting streak and has reached 60 of his 62 games played.

Quotes:

“It’s definitely disappointing. The way we’ve been playing lately, we can’t really afford to have a lot of close games get away from us. It’s been tough for us to come back from games that we’ve been behind once we’ve given up the lead. It’s hard to overcome that. Right now, we’re just fighting to get every win we can and we just can’t seem to be able to catch a nice streak where they seem to come easy. Everything has been difficult. It’s not going to get any easier in the next couple of weeks.” — Bronson Arroyo

“Somebody has got to tell him he’s playing behind him in that situation. I’ve seen Aramis hit that hole over there too many times. That’s one of his favorite RBI holes over there. We were trying to cover that hole but just didn’t communicate and tell him we were playing off the bag at 3-2. We have to tighten up our game in all departments. If we do that, we’ll be great.” — Dusty Baker on the Arredondo balk.

“All the games here on out are big games for us. We’re playing catch-up in the division and we have to win every one that we can.” — Drew Stubbs

*You won’t have me in San Francisco these next four games. We’ll pick it up from Los Angeles on Monday.

Volquez has short hair, long outing

Edinson Volquez sure looked different on the mound without the dreadlocks, but the Reds saw he returned from exile with the stuff that made him successful in the past.

In an 8-2 Reds win over the Cubs, Volquez had this line: 7 ip, 7 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K. 105 pitches/61 strikes. And he survived a 30-pitch second inning where he left the bases loaded. He also induced two double plays from the Cubs.

“He was locating his fastball a lot better. That’s the Volquez we knew from before,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

Volquez had no ill will about being sent down to Triple-A Louisville on May 23.

“I knew I needed it. I was cool,” Volquez said. “I wasn’t mad with anybody because I was struggling in the big leagues. I had to do something. I went back to Triple-A and made the adjustments and came back to the big leagues like I did tonight.”

For the Reds to have a real shot at catching the Cardinals, they need Volquez to keep doing more of the same.
 

Notes:

*With two walks and one hit tonight, Joey Votto has now reached safely in 59 of his 61 games this season and 14 in a row.

*Jay Bruce has a nine-game hitting streak. He’s batting .412 (14-for-34) with three homers and 7 RBIs since May 29.

*Miguel Cairo hit the second grand slam of his career in the seventh inning to turn a 4-1 game into an 8-1 game.

*In the fifth, Drew Stubbs made a tremendous diving catch in right-center field to rob Kosuke Fukudome of extra bases. Stubbs didn’t have a smooth landing on the grass but the catch was solid nonetheless.

*The Cubs defense? Not so stellar. A rally started in the fifth on a Volquez grounder through the left side. Aramis Ramirez and Starlin Castro each had alligator arms and let the ball squeak through. It was the beginning of a two-run inning.

*For a complete rundown of Day 2 (rounds 2-30) of the Reds Draft, Tyler Jett has the story.

*Among the day 2 notables, 3B Sean Buckley was taken by the Reds with a 6th-round pick. Buckley, who is listed rather large at 6-4 and 220 pounds, is the son of Reds amateur scouting director Chris Buckley. In the 22nd round, the club took LHP Amir Garrett from basketball powerhouse Findlay College Prep in Nevada. Garrett is already committed to play college basketball for St. John’s and is the No. 68 ranked hoops prospect, according to Rivals.com.

*Finally, there is a heat emergency for Wednesday’s day games and temps expected in the mid 90s.

Quotes:

“I didn’t see him until right before game time. He looked pretty good, real good actually. Brandon has been on him the whole spring about cutting that mess off his head. He looked handsome.” — Reds manager Dusty Baker on Volquez’s new short hair

“I got my haircut last night. It was too hot, the weather. I was tired too, three years of long hair. I decided to cut it out. … I love my hair. I’m keeping it at my house. I’m going to bring it tomorrow.” — Edinson Volquez

“We got a pretty good pitching staff. We need to start getting going. It’s already June. The heat is here. We have to take advantage of those other pitchers getting tired. Hopefully our pitchers, they get hot and start pitching good.” — Miguel Cairo

Baker: Hitting not the problem

Reds manager Dusty Baker was asked Monday if there might a chance for some hot-hitting players at Triple-A Louisville to come up to help the offense. Players like Zack Cozart, Yonder Alonso, Devin Mesoraco and Todd Frazier have been playing very well.

Baker shot down any notion that moves would coming on the offensive side.

“Hitting ain’t been our problem,” Baker said. “We’re second in the league, or third, in almost every offensive category. Are we going to go from a five-run game to seven runs or eight? In a number of cases, it still hasn’t been enough. There haven’t been any discussions.

“There’s a bigger gap now between Triple-A and the big leagues than there ever used to be. If not, guys would come up here right away and do what they were doing down there. It hasn’t been the case. We chose this team for a reason. That’s a very good Triple-A team down there with guys that have been there for a while. Whatever you do, you have to do something with the guys that are here. You don’t just pull the plug on the guys that are here right now. It’s too early for that.”

The Reds enter the night in third place with a 30-30 record and are 5 1/2 games out of first place in the NL Central. But the manager has a point. The team ranks third in hitting, second in runs scored, hits, total bases and RBIs and third in home runs. On the pitching side, the Reds are 14th in ERA. They have allowed the most homers in the NL and the third most hits.

If there’s going to be a shakeup of any kind, it makes me wonder if GM Walt Jocketty will explore the trade market for an “ace” type of pitcher. He aggressively pursued LHP Cliff Lee but lost out when the Mariners dealt him to the Rangers. Cincinnati was very much in that battle for Lee. And before you ask me who is available, that’s harder to figure out. A total of 19 of the 30 MLB teams are within six games or better in their respective divisions. It’s not time for the white flag to be waved by those teams, yet.

In other news:

*Edinson Volquez is definitely making the start for the Reds on Tuesday.

*3B Scott Rolen has strep throat. The team hopes he can return Tuesday, but it’s not a guarantee.

Huge win before welcomed day off

Even if Joey Votto doesn’t agree, the Reds needed that game in a bad way. A 4-3 win over the Brewers came in the Reds’ last two at-bats on a two-run homer by Jay Bruce in the seventh and Joey Votto’s game-winner with a two-run shot in the eighth. Cincinnati was trailing 3-0 after four innings.

Votto hasn’t gotten as many pitches to hit, and especially drive, this season. But he got one very favorable matchup against Milwaukee reliever Kameron Loe, coming in 3-for-6 with two homers. Not only did Votto crush the 2-1 pitch, it was still carrying upwards as it smacked the center field batters’ eye. Estimated distance: 439 feet.

“Every single game is equally important,” Votto said. “This one was important because we’ve been losing quite a bit lately.”

Manager Dusty Baker had a different point of view about the meaning of the game, which was the Reds’ 20th in 20 days.

“Best one in a long time. That was huge that we found a way to win the game,” Baker said.

Notes:

*Francisco Cordero recorded his 300th career save with a 1-2-3 ninth inning. Cordero is only the 22nd player to reach that plateau and it tied him with HOFer Bruce Sutter on the all-time list.

*Brewers 2B Rickie Weeks has started three games against the Reds this season with a home run. Oddly enough, his team is 0-3 in those games.

*In his last 17 games, Jay Bruce is hitting .403 with nine homers and 25 RBIs. His long ball tonight was his NL leading 17th.

*The Reds have 15 come-from-behind wins this season.

*Before tonight, the Reds had lost their last five one-run games.

Quotes:

“It was so great tonight. We’re down by a run in the bottom of the eighth, two outs, and Joey Votto came big and hit a homer and I get the save. Now we have a great day off tomorrow and enjoy the day off and come back ready to play against the Dodgers and keep doing what we’re doing — just keep winning games, just keeping saving any time I get the chance. Who knows? Maybe next time we’re talking about 400. You never know.” — Francisco Cordero

“Shaun Marcum obviously had a lot to do with it. We ended up getting some big hits at the end of the game, myself and Jay. Jay has obviously been a go-to guy over the past month.” — Joey Votto on the Reds’ first six scoreless innings and the turnaround.

“Both of them are great hitters. Votto is always hot. Bruce has been unbelievable for the last month. When you make a mistake to them, neither one is going to miss it.” — Brewers manager Ron Roenicke.

“We finally won a series, won a rubber match game that has been eluding us for so long. Hopefully now we’ll take this day off and enjoy it. It’s been a tough run these last 20 days. Up and down and a lot of emotional swings, mostly down.” — Reds manager Dusty Baker

“Any time you’re in the central division and win, it’s always good. But going into a day off and winning, it’s a little better feeling than going in with a loss. We’ve got a tough stand coming here with L.A., we’ll have to battle.” — Reds starter Mike Leake, who allowed three runs over six innings.

Why no PH in 4th?

It feels like a just the quotes kind of night on the blog and you can read more in depth in my final game story that will be up shortly (the one with the quotes, not the first version.)

Some of the quotes below, however, should explains the big moment of the 7-2 Reds loss to the Brewers — the decision not to bat for RHP Chad Reineke with the bases loaded and no outs in the fourth inning, trailing by three runs. Reineke grounded into a double play to score a run in a rally-killing moment.

“Oh yeah, if I had a full bullpen, that was our chance to get back in the game.” — Reds manager Dusty Baker.

“[Ondrusek] was sore. He couldn’t go. This guy has been pitching a lot. He’s No. 2 in the league in appearances. We’ve got three guys in the bullpen in the top 10 in appearances – Masset, Ondrusek and Bray…It was ‘no’ behind Fisher, ‘no’ behind Arredondo and ‘no’ behind Ondrusek. That puts you in a bad situation when you have only one guy with length down there. I was counting it up. We didn’t have enough to fill nine innings today.” — Baker

“Zack [Greinke] was trying to strike him out and he couldn’t strike him out. [Reineke] swung at the first two breaking balls and looks bad, and then doesn’t swing at the rest.” –Brewers manager Ron Roenicke on Reineke, who worked a 0-2 count into a 3-2 count before grounding into the 643 DP.
   
“It’s sorry to say, but it’s probably better if I just strike out and not get two outs. But I worked it to full and got a pitch to hit and I didn’t do anything with it. That’s kind of a killer with bases loaded, nobody out, to ground into a double play, but I was just trying to do my best.” — Chad Reineke

“Honestly, I think we beat ourselves today. I think we hit the ball pretty good. They were just playing in the right spots. I hit some balls good today and Scott Rolen did too. We didn’t score some runs. He still has his good stuff. [Greinke is] one of the best pitchers in the league and today was just not our day, really. He kept the ball down real good and we just lost.” — Brandon Phillips

“They had some good at-bats but I only had one pitch that I was throwing how I wanted to, so it made it tough. I got through it. By the fifth and sixth inning, everything started coming together a little bit.” — Brewers starter Zack Greinke

 

Bruce’s big month

Who’s your NL Player of the Month?

Jay Bruce’s May: .346 avg, 12 HRs, 32 RBIs, 23 runs scored. He entered the night with a 1.103 OPS.

Mets SS Jose Reyes: .364/.421/.555 with nine doubles, six triples, 11 steals, 40 hits and 18 runs scored. He has been placed on bereavement leave.

Save for the ninth-inning, three-run double in Philly last week, Bruce’s hot stretch has not been taken advantange of enough by the Reds. On Monday vs. the Brewers, it was. He went 3-for-4 with a triple, three-run homer and single in the Reds’ 7-3 win.

“I’m just getting presented with opportunities, and I’ve been successful,” Bruce said. . It’s been a good month. I’ve been making better decisions. That’s one of the big things. And with better decisions comes most of the time a lot of success.”

Notes:

*Bruce’s 12 HRs in the month are two shy of the club record. Greg Vaughn last set that mark in Sept. 1999 when he tied Frank Robinson’s record of 14.

*The Reds are 15-8 when they score first.

*Jonny Gomes, coming off his 4-for-5 game on Sunday, was 1-for-3 with a double, a run scored and sac fly.

Quotes:

“He’s not trying to do too much. Sometimes, you try to do too much, it makes it worse. Just be natural, be yourself. He’s been on a tear. He’s seeing the ball. No. 1 thing is he’s not fouling off pitches or missing pitches that he should put in play and hit…you’re not going to hit them all out of the ballpark. When you get your pitch to hit, you have to hit it.” — Dusty Baker on Jay Bruce

“They hit some pretty good pitches, I thought. I asked Hanigan — one was a changeup that Gomes hit — and I asked him if it was down, and he said, ‘Yeah, he went down and got it.’ The other was a cutter. I asked if it was in. He said, ‘Yeah,’ so they just put some good swings on some good pitches and it worked out for them.” — Reds LHP Travis Wood on his three-run fifth, including back-to-back homers.

“When you get a chance to control your own destiny against a team that’s ahead of you, it’s nice, and we did a good job of it tonight.” — Jay Bruce on beating the Brewers to pull 1 1/2 games out of second place. The Cardinals lost also, dropping their lead over CIN to four games.

Bailey to get checked out

Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey was headed back to Cincinnati Thursday afternoon after he suffered a right shoulder spasm during a 10-4 loss to the Phillies. Bailey allowed four runs and five hits with one intentional walk and two strikeouts for a no-decision. The injury came as a hitter during a fourth-inning at-bat when he grounded out to first base. The club did not know the seriousness of the injury.

“He said he just felt some discomfort on the swing when he was hitting,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “You could tell his velocity went down quite a bit after that.”

Bailey has been exceptional this season with a 3-1 record and 3.00 ERA five starts. His season started on the disabled list because of an impingement in the same shoulder.

“It’s a little different,” Baker said. “He just said he felt pain when he went to reach when he was swinging. We’ll have to wait to see what we hear from Dr. Kremchek tomorrow.”

This was a development the Reds didn’t need. Not after Volquez got sent down on Monday. Not after Arroyo lasted 2 2/3 innings on Monday and had to get an MRI Tuesday because of back pain. And certainly not after they endured a gut-wrenching 19-inning loss on Wednesday.
 

 

Notes:

*Daryl Thompson had to kind of be sacrificed as he allowed five runs, six hits and five walks over three innings after Bailey’s depature. Based on the last few days, injuries to LeCure and Maloney, Fisher being unavailable and with six more games until another day off, there was no other choice.

*Thompson was pitching in the Majors for the Reds for the first time since 7/2/08 vs. PIT.

*The rotation has pitched 21 1/3 innings the last five games, including the Volquez start in Cleveland. The bullpen has had 31 innings pitched over that same span.

*Mike Leake is definitely making the start on Friday, Baker said. Expect a corresponding roster move on Friday. GM Walt Jocketty will be in Atlanta. I wouldn’t be shocked if a second pitcher is added to provide bullpen depth. Just speculating, but Chad Reineke is scheduled to start for Louisville on Friday and has a 2.61 ERA. There is a spot open on the 40-man should he be summoned.

*Paul Janish snapped 0-for-21 skid with a two-out, bases loaded double in the fourth inning that scored two.

*Jay Bruce is seemingly locking up Player of the Month honors for May. In this series alone, he was 9-for-21 (.429) with three home runs and 11 RBIs.  In his last eight games, he’s hitting .486 (17-for-35). He has homered in four of his last five games and in five of his last eight.

Quotes:

“I don’t know how many more changes we have, you know what I mean? Walt will be in Atlanta tonight and we’ll get together and try to figure this thing out. You can’t be sinking too much deeper or too much faster.” — Reds manager Dusty Baker

“Sometimes when both teams are coming out, they’ll be kind of dead, but when you win a game like that, usually there’s still some effect to it, I believe. Guys wanna come out and get after it. We got a good start on ‘em today plus we had a good pitcher going.” — Phillies manager Charlie Manuel

“It’s tough. We’ve kind of been exhausting every option. We’ll get the hit and can’t hold the lead. Or we’ll hold the lead and can’t get the hit. It’s just back and forth and it’s going to pass though.” — Jay Bruce

My arm felt good and everything felt fine. It was just adrenaline and trying to make something happen pretty much instead of trying to relax and throw the ball and do what I’ve been doing all season.” — Daryl Thompson

*****FYI, I am taking the Atlanta series off. I will be back on the case Monday.

Big stress buster for the Reds

For a little while, I thought I slapped a whammy on Jay Bruce because I wrote a pre-game notebook item on how he’d been on a nice offensive tear. Then he took a 0-for-4, three strikeout game into the ninth inning.

With the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth, Bruce delivered a three-run double to the right-center field wall. The Reds won 6-3 and finally snapped a six-game losing streak.

Bruce came in 1-for-19 this season with RISP and two outs. Reliever Ryan Madson had allowed one run in 19 innings all season. Madson was the one to give. And Bruce delivered in a clutch moment.

“It’s huge,” Bruce said. “The big thing that I’m going to learn from that is staying focused. Just because you don’t do it the first time, you may get a chance and you have to be prepared and ready the second time. You can’t let things linger. I am learning a lot about driving in runs and really getting them when they’re there. I’m not good yet but getting better at that aspect of it. I have a long way to go but…tonight it worked out and I plan on doing it a lot more.”

This was a very big win for the Reds. Had they not won here, the tension dial would have really been upped as they have to face Halladay and Lee the next two games. And in Atlanta, Hanson, Lowe and Jurrjens are looming.

“It sure relieves a lot of pressure,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “We’ve got some more tomorrow with Doc Holliday. But we’ll enjoy this one tonight. It’s the first game we’ve won in a week and on the road trip. And the first one we’ve won here in two years. It was a rewarding night for us.”

Notes:

*Bruce is 9-for-16 (.563) with four homers and 10 RBIs in the last six games.

*Drew Stubbs had a big bunt single to start the ninth inning rally. It was such a surprise because it was his first bunt hit this season.

*Bill Bray has not allowed a run in 22 of 25 appearances. He worked 1 2/3 scoreless innings tonight.

*Francisco Cordero had a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his ninth save and career save No. 299.

*The Phillies nine-game winning streak over the Reds at Citizens Bank Park is over.

Quotes:

“There’s some significance – not because they swept us in the playoffs – but because they’re a good team. They have a really good chance on winning their division. To play these guys tough and beat these guys is important because they’re a really good baseball team.” — Jay Bruce on beating the Phillies

“He did it on his own, it wasn’t a play. I urge these guys to do a lot of stuff on their own. These guys can play. I try to give them freedom to play. The happiest man on the whole ballclub was probably Hatcher, because he’s been working with him on that for two years and urging him to try it.” — Dusty Baker on the Stubbs bunt.

Frazier’s stay was brief

The Reds optioned IF/OF Todd Frazier to Triple-A Louisville and recalled RHP Carlos Fisher. Frazier, of course got the proverbial cup of coffee in the big leagues since he was only called up yesterday and struck out as a PH. 

After getting a total of 5 1/3 innings of starting pitching the last two games, the Reds bullpen worked 10 2/3 innings and is strapped for a fresh arm. It’s Fisher. Stay tuned for more when the clubhouse opens.

Frazier took the news well before he left the clubhouse.

“What are you going to do? There are some needs and they had to do what they had to do,” he said. “I got my feet wet and hopefully the next time I get the call, I will stay here longer.”

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