Results tagged ‘ Francisco Cordero ’

Postgame: Give Bruce the save

Francisco Cordero was more than willing to give Jay Bruce his save after a thrilling end to a 7-5 Reds victory. Bruce stopped a potential game-tying two run homer by Adam LaRoche with a great catch at the fence. Here is a link to the video of the play:

Since Bruce couldn’t have the save, Cordero gave Bruce a hug instead and possibly the quote of the night.

“I didn’t give him a kiss because that would’ve been a little bit weird,” Cordero said. “I gave him a big hug. He saved my night tonight. I really give it up to Bruce. He saved that game tonight. He got the save.”

*Both Dusty Baker and Bruce backed Cordero, who has been shaky lately. He had two blown saves in the previous series vs. the Pirates and nearly had one more tonight.

“How many guys in the league have that many saves? Yeah, some have gotten away,” Bruce said. “That’s just the name of the game. It’s baseball. It’s not easy. It’s a really tough position to pitch in. He’s our closer and I trust him 100 percent.”

*There was some concern about Homer Bailey, who departed after only three innings because of dizziness. Bailey’s velocity was way down and he was bouncing some balls in the dirt.

“I had a real big headache and stuff,” said Bailey, who threw 83 pitches in that short span. “I thought maybe my hat was a little too tight or something. I went out there and was kind of dizzy and a little off balance and stuff. How many walks was it, 20? That hasn’t been my game here of late. I was having trouble just staying balanced and stuff.”

*Big 3-for-4 night for Orlando Cabrera, who had three doubles and three runs scored.

*The Cardinals were swept by the Cubs to give the Reds an eight-game lead in the NL Central and a magic number of 10 to clinch. The Reds can finish 8-8 while the Cardinals would have to go 17-1 to catch them.

*A cluster of a few thousand bugs took in the game at GABP. Although it didn’t really reach Joba Chamberlain levels like in Cleveland a couple of years ago, it was enough to be a little annoying to the players.

More quotes —

“I didn’t think that ball had a chance to stay in the ballpark. I thought our only shot there was for the ball to go foul. It looked like it was staying straight. I don’t think anyone was looking at Jay Bruce. We couldn’t see him in the corner. The fans went crazy so I figured something good must have happened.” — Dusty Baker on Jay Bruce’s catch

“First I thought it was going to be foul and then I was like ‘that might have a chance.'” — D-Backs 1B Adam LaRoche

“I was jumping kind of more lateral than back. On balls like that, I try to get to the wall first as much as I can when I run so I can have a view of where it is. I thought it was going to be one of those foul in the seats. I didn’t think it was going to go as far as it did. He puts a lot of backspin on the ball most of the time.” — Jay Bruce

“I should have caught it. In the grand scheme of things there’s no excuses. It’s a ball that I tracked down and just didn’t finish it off.” – Arizona CF Chris Young, who made an error on Miguel Cairo’s fly that scored Jonny Gomes in the four-run Reds’ first inning.

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Postgame: Baker behind Cordero

Sometimes with this job, especially on Twitter, trying to be pragmatic ends up making you look defensive. Of course, everyone is calling for Francisco Cordero’s head or for a demotion after his second blown save this weekend in a 3-1 Reds loss. Today on Twitter, I tried to do the former and came across sounding like the latter.

Obviously, it’s been a shaky season at times for Cordero and if I’m the Reds, I’d a little worried about his ability to put games away in the postseason. But is he going lose his job? No chance. And should he lose his job? No.

Cordero, who is 35 for 43 in save chances, never makes it look easy when he gets saves but until Friday, he saved 11 in a row since July 9 and he had converted 18 of 19. It’s not Dancing with the Stars or figure skating — there are no style points for how saves are made, even if he loads the bases with walks and hit batters.

These two times though, it wasn’t the walks killing Cordero and the Reds — just clean hits by the Pirates. Combine Friday and Sunday, he’s allowed seven hits and five runs. (***update, I screwed up…I forgot about the leadoff walk.)

“It was not my best. I’m not pitching my best right now. It’s real disappointing,” Cordero said.

Everyone is naturally calling for Aroldis Chapman to be installed as the closer. Sure he throws 103 mph, but do you really want a 22-year-old with seven career big league games holding down the toughest job during the postseason? At this point, the Reds and Cordero are locked in together in the ninth inning and that’s not going to change, according to Dusty Baker.

“We all feel terrible for Coco. He’s a heck of a teammate and we need him,” Baker said. “We need him badly because he’s our closer. Nobody else is really ready to close. He’s our closer. I know people are hollering for this person and that person. What happens when the next person doesn’t do it? Then you’ll be hollering for somebody else. You can’t keep doing that. Look at Philadelphia that went to the World Series with Brad Lidge. You have to stick with him and we have to get him together. Nobody feels worse than him, nobody.”

Quick notes —

*Orlando Cabrera hurt his left heel scoring on Joey Votto’s RBI double in the fourth. He remained in the game until Paul Janish took over on defense in the ninth.

*Brandon Phillips went 0-for-4 and his hitless in his last 12 at-bats. He is 6-for-43 (.140) in seven games since returning from a hand injury.

*The Reds six-game home winning streak is over.

More quotes —

“You can’t really go down looking in that situation like I did. I got some pitches I should have hit and just didn’t get it done. We had the game won today. We had a chance and I had a chance to get us back to a tie or take the lead. I just didn’t pull through.” — Chris Heisey, who was caught looking at strike three with the bases loaded to end the game.

“That whole inning guys put together some pretty good at-bats. To get to Cordero twice in one series is not easy to do”. — Pirates manager John Russell on the top of the ninth.

“It’s not like I was pitching to my little boy. He is a big league hitter. He’s a pretty good hitter. He’s young but he’s a big league player.” — Francisco Cordero on Andrew McCutchen, who hit the three-run double in the ninth.
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Postgame: Whew.

This late in the season, what almost happened Wednesday could have qualified as the most painful loss the Reds have endured in 2010 — and they’ve had a few like that already. But instead that 12-11 win in 12 innings might turn out to be their most hard-fought, and their most satisfying of the season.

Yes, the Reds gave up a 10-1 lead and were knocked around with a six-run eighth to fall behind by a run. But they also came back right away to tie it with Paul Janish’s clutch RBI single in the top of the ninth. And in the end, only the win matters.

Joey Votto, already with two homers in the game, had another MVP moment with his RBI single in the top of the 12th against Barry Zito that scored Miguel Cairo.

“We’ve had several games this year where teams have come back and taken the lead from us and we didn’t come back and overcome that little swing,” Votto said. “For us to do it here in San Francisco against such a competitive team means a lot. This deep in the season, I think it means more.”

Other items of note —

*The Reds completed a 6-3 West Coast trip. Even if it didn’t feel like it at the end, that’s big.

*Francisco Cordero had to bat for himself for only the third time in his career. The Reds had one bench player left in Ramon Hernandez but Cordero was also the club’s only viable reliever left.

*Edinson Volquez was warming up in the bullpen behind Cordero but Reds manager Dusty Baker tried to avoid using him if at all possible.

*Brandon Phillips was hit on the right hand by a 95 mph fastball in the fifth and came out in the sixth. Phillips had X-rays and was initially diagnosed with a right hand contusion. More X-rays will be needed because he was still swollen.

*Laynce Nix could barely run on his sprained left ankle as a pinch-hitter in the top of the eighth. That could be a future roster move.

*Jonny Gomes collected career homer No. 100 and his first since July 19 in the top of the first.

*Votto was 4-for-7 with four RBIs. He became the first Reds’ first baseman to have at least 30 homers in a season since Lee May in 1971.

*The Reds were outscored 38-19 during the series.

More quotes

“It was difficult to have had such a comfortable lead the entire game and then late in the game, that can be pretty difficult to overcome. Momentum does play a role in games. We played really well at the beginning and they all of a sudden carried that momentum late in the game and got ahead. I’ll tell you what, we showed that type of resilience and the ability to come back. Paul Janish comes up with a big hit. Cordero threw great. For us to have played as well as we did and come back and win this game and finish off a good road trip, really means a lot to all of us I think.” — Joey Votto

“It’s a long plane ride today. We’re going to go home happy, 6-3. It’s all that matters. This is all behind us now.” — Francisco Cordero

“It was tough. It was ugly, beautiful or whatever. It was a win. You have to see it the positive way. We were 6-3 on the road trip. That was a good road trip.” — Miguel Cairo

“That’s what MVP’s do. That’s what All-Stars do. They come through when you need them.” — Dusty Baker on Votto.

One more note —

I’m starting a vacation so I won’t be on any games again until the next big one — the series at St. Louis starting on Sept. 3. See you then. Feel free to exchange comments (keep it civil, please) while I’m away.

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Postgame: Cordero hears you

Francisco Cordero has 31 saves in 37 attempts but also now has 34 walks in 52 1/3 innings this season. Two walks and a single tonight put him in another pickle in the ninth before he and the Reds hung on for a 5-4 win over the Marlins.

Cordero isn’t oblivious to the boos he’s been hearing. And give him credit, he’s not shifting the blame to you, the media, the mound, the weather, bad pre-game food, the fog at the PGA Championship or poor season debut the other night of American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior.

Tonight after the game, Cordero blamed himself. Here are the extended quotes. I couldn’t get them all into my story.

“I have to stop walking people,” Cordero said. “I’ve got to do that or it’s going to be like that every time. I see how upset the fans are with me. I understand that. Every time I walk someone, that guy comes in to score. It’s not like I’m giving up a lot of base hits. It’s walks. I really don’t know what to say about that. It’s not my style. It’s not me. I’ve never been like that my whole career. I have to keep working and try to be better every time out.”

“I created that myself, walking people. I’ve got nobody to blame but myself. Putting me in that situation, putting the team in that situation and putting the fans in that situation, it’s why they’re upset with me right now. I’ve been walking too many guys. [The fans] have been great, unbelievable to the team. They’re coming out on the road, coming out a lot to the stadium. They want to win. Putting the fans in that situation is not fair.

“In the end, we got to go home happy. I know they got to go home happy.”


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Baker backs Cordero as closer

I asked Dusty Baker this morning if he still had confidence in Francisco Cordero and if he was nervous giving him the ball.

“I don’t get nervous handing him the ball,” Baker said. “I get nervous sometimes during the game like everybody else.”

The bottom line is Baker is firmly behind Cordero as his closer. Cordero has 30 walks in 50 1/3 innings, which is second-most in the NL among qualified relievers. His 1.55 WHIP is second-highest in the NL. He’s blown six of his 36 save chances.

“Everybody wants you to go get somebody else but who are you going to find out there that’s better?” Baker said. “The Phillies went to the World Series the last couple of years. One year Brad Lidge didn’t give up any and the next year, how many did he give up?(11 blown saves in 42 chances, 0-8 record)  They’d be ready to tar and feather Coco if that was him.

“He’s my closer and he’s what I’ve got. The White Sox are having the same problem now with Jenks. That’s a tough job to me. You can save 20 in a row and as soon as you blow one – it’s like a placekicker in football, right? He kicks 10 field goals in a row but as soon as he missed that one that lost the game, they want to run him right out of town.

“We just have to find a way to help him because he’s the best I’ve got right now.”

Cordero has been working with pitching coach Bryan Price on his mechanics and trying to cut back on the walks.


A unique lineup

Sunday lineup vs. Cubs

Heisey 8
Cairo 4
Votto 3
Gomes 7
Bruce 9
Francisco 5
Hanigan 2
Janish 6
Wood 1

*Dusty Baker said yesterday that he would have a different lineup today, and he certainly wasn’t kidding.

*Phillips has a sore left shin after fouling a ball off of his leg Saturday in the eighth inning.

*I get asked this a lot — Out of Francisco Cordero’s 30 saves this season, eight have been clean 1-2-3 innings. The last “perfect” save was on July 20. He still has converted 30 in 36 chances.

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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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Postgame: 14 over .500

A 3-0 win over the Cubs put the 62-48 Reds a season-high 14 games over .500. They are 4-1 on the road trip, have won five of six and seven of nine. This was a nicely played game in all facets for the Reds, who got enough key hits, good pitching and terrific defense.

The good —

*It was another sterling performance by Bronson Arroyo, as he pitched seven scoreless innings with five hits, one walk and seven strikeouts for his 12th victory.

*Arroyo had a huge escape in the fifth inning. After having runners on second and third with no outs, he struck out pitcher Tom Gorzelanny, got Tyler Colvin to pop out and fanned Starlin Castro.

“Sneaking out of that fifth inning was huge,” Arroyo said. “It kind of deflates a team a little bit to get nothing out of that situation. It gave me an opportunity to pitch to the seventh with relative ease.”

*Arroyo said Gorzelanny’s quick innings and having to hit twice and run the bases took a lot out of him on a muggy afternoon.

“I didn’t get a lot of rest,” Arroyo said. “I got a pinch tired and started missing spots with my fastball. I was getting into some jams.”

*Defense was big today. Scott Rolen robbed Castro with a diving stop on a grounder in the fourth and threw him out from his knees. Jonny Gomes made a diving catch in left field to take a hit away from Geovany Soto in the seventh.

*One final defensive gem came on the last play of the game. With the tying run at the plate, Blake Dewitt hit a chopper back to the mound. Francisco Cordero made a nifty barehanded grab over his head and threw Dewitt out at first base, barely, to get his 30th save.

“That was a shortstop, Brandon Phillips type play,” manager Dusty Baker said. “I didn’t think he had a chance to get him at first base.”

*Not much offense but just enough. Ryan Hanigan hit his third homer with a two-run shot in the second inning. Brandon Phillips provided a big insurance run with his two-out RBI single in the seventh.

*For a guy who hates day games, Arroyo has thrown 13 scoreless innings vs. the Cubs in two winning starts at Wrigley Field this season.

*Rolen was 2-for-4 and is batting .483 (14-for-29) over his last eight games.

Roster move —

*During the game, the Reds revealed that IF/OF Drew Sutton was claimed off of waivers by the Indians. That leaves the 40-man roster at 39 players and opens a spot up for Chris Dickerson’s return from the 60-day DL. No word on what will happen to make room on the 25-man roster, if the Reds are ready to activate him.

*Baker said he and Walt Jocketty and the staff would likely talk about that potential move and the one possibly involving Russ Springer back at the team hotel later tonight.

More quotes —

“You look at the boxscore and you never see it show up. That kind of stuff right there, especially the first play on Castro from his knees, that changes the whole inning. I’m going through the meat of the order with Castro on first base, who is pretty fast, if he doesn’t make that play. I wound up being in a jam anyway.” — Bronson Arroyo on Scott Rolen’s defensive gems.

“We got a couple of runs today. The pitching was great and we played good defense. We were able to pull out a tight one.” — Ryan Hanigan

“We wanted some more [runs] but that was all we needed today. That was a big win for the first game of a series in Chicago.” — Dusty Baker


A loss to rival the Atlanta debacle

Dusty Baker said it before anyone had to ask.

“Boy, that one hurts as much as it hurt in Atlanta,” Baker said after the Reds lost 9-7 in 10 innings to the Phillies on a walkoff homer by Ryan Howard off Arthur Rhodes.

What really hurt on Friday was the Reds had a 7-1 lead going into the ninth. In the Braves game on May 20, the Reds had leads of 8-0, and 9-1 and lost 10-9 on a grand slam off Cordero in the bottom of the ninth.

Mike Leake had 83 pitches heading into the bottom of the ninth and had only allowed five hits and no walks to that point. I do not blame Baker for sticking with him. His limit is 100 pitches at the rate he was going, finishing the game in 17 pitches wasn’t a tall order. He averaged just over 10 pitches per inning.

Shane Victorino’s leadoff double started the mayhem. But Leake got an out and then a cheap RBI bloop single from Howard. Another cheapie followed in a broken bat grounder by Jayson Werth. Greg Dobbs hit the foul pole for a three run homer on Leake’s 100th and final pitch.

“We’re trying to save my bullpen for the next couple of days,” Baker said. “We wanted to stay away from Arthur. The right side pitched a lot last night, except for Masset and Owings. [Leake] had been getting Dobbs all night (0-for-3). He hit the screen up there. We still had a two-run lead with two outs to go.”

*Guess what? I don’t blame Baker for sticking with Leake in the ninth. Why? Because the worst that could happen was he’d give up those runs and the Reds would still lead by two runs. The two hits before Dobbs weren’t hard hit. Leake didn’t look like he was weakening, to me.

And, it’s a perfectly reasonable expectation for a veteran closer to get a two-out save with a two-run lead.

But Francisco Cordero, who had saved his last seven in a row, issued a two-out walk to Ben Francisco and then left a 0-1 pitch over the plate for Cody Ransom to tie the game with his first homer of the season.

*Cordero has allowed 20 walks and 41 hits in 40 2/3 innings this season. He has six blown saves in 30 chances.

“I have to cut out the walks,” Cordero said. “I’m walking too many guys. Every time I walk a guy, that run comes. We got two outs and I walked Ben Francisco and boom, tie game,  home run. I have to cut out the walks, especially when you’re pitching in a ballpark here or at home. It’s a small ballpark. You don’t bring the tying run to home plate. You just have to get that guy.”

*And as a little coincidence…Leake was the starter that missed out on a win because of the debacle in Atlanta.

“This one is a little tougher, for me, because I gave up the majority of the runs,” said Leake, who also had three hits and a walk. “It’s a tough one to swallow. It’s always tough when you’re winning by six. There’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to close a game.”

More quotes —

“That whole at-bat, I shouldn’t have even been in a 3-2 count that last at-bat. I should’ve put in play earlier than that. The leadoff hitter of that inning and Dobbs was the only bad part of that inning. It shouldn’t have even got to the point where it did in the game. I should’ve been able to finish it.” — Mike Leake

“We still had 7-5. One of the key plays was a walk to Francisco. Then he made a mistake to Cody Ransom to tie the game up.” — Dusty Baker on Cordero

 Volquez watch —

*By the looks of his line for Triple-A Louisville in his final rehab start on Friday, Edinson Volquez is ready for the big leagues again. Against Toledo, Volquez allowed one hit over seven scoreless innings with three walks and nine strikeouts. He didn’t allow his first hit until the sixth and struck out the side in the seventh.

*Volquez, who is returning from Tommy John surgery last August, threw 102 pitches, 61 for strikes.

***I’m starting my All-Star break a couple of days early because I am going home. Have a good weekend.

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Postgame extra: 180-degree turn?

Suddenly, this road trip tastes and smells a might bit better for the Reds. After going 0-3 in Seattle, two wins in Oakland improve the outlook. A 4-2 win means they can get a sweep with another victory on Wednesday.

The good —

*Bronson Arroyo — a very smooth eight innings pitched. His only mistake was a two-out, two-run homer to Coco Crisp in the fourth. Arroyo lasted 105 pitches and said he was done.

*Arroyo also did not walk a batter after he walked a career-high six last time out vs. the Dodgers. He’s won seven of his last eight decisions.

*There were 13 hits collected, including 10 from the 2-6 portion of the order by Brandon Phillips (three hits), Joey Votto, Scott Rolen, Jonny Gomes and Jay Bruce (also three hits).

*After Drew Stubbs sacrifice, ninth-hitter Corky Miller came up big with a two-run single.

*Francisco Cordero got the save after a lousy Monday night where he blew it. But it was a nail-biter again as Cordero gave up two singles to bring the winning run to the plate with one out. He ended the game by getting a double play.

The not-so-good —

*Reds for 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11.

Quotes —

“When you get swept like we did in Seattle, you just take the mindset that you have to take at least two out of three from these guys and get back home feeling somewhat positive about what we’ve done. Tomorrow if we can take one more, we’ll great about going 50-50 on the road.” — Bronson Arroyo.

“I always say if you give it up, the best thing that can happen is come back in the next day and get it done. That’s not a good taste when you blow the game. Being able to come back today and get it done, that made me feel a lot better.” — Francisco Cordero

“That’s Bronson, he can get on a roll. It’s much welcomed. He was dealing tonight. He made just one mistake on a breaking ball to Coco Crisp. He gave us all he had and went as far as he could go.” — Dusty Baker

Quick note —

GM Walt Jocketty expected to have the plans set Wednesday for catcher Ryan Hanigan’s rehab


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