Results tagged ‘ Jay Bruce ’

Rolen 4th, Bruce 5th

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

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

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

Without further adieu…

Reds lineup vs. Orioles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Notes:

*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.

Quotes:

“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

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.

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

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.

Bruce batting 4th

Reds lineup vs. Brewers

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

*Some fans had been asking since last night and you get your wish. Jay Bruce is batting cleanup behind Joey Votto. In the short term, it should help both hitters get better pitches, and perhaps help the Reds score more runs. In the long term, it could help teams with lefty situational relievers get to face both batters without a manager making the extra pitching change.

*Against Brewers RHP Zach Greinke, Votto is 2-for-4 with two home runs. Jonny Gomes is 3-for-9 with two homers. Edgar Renteria is 6-for-19 (.316). Bruce is 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

*UPDATE — And this just came down from MLB, Bruce was named NL Player of the Week. A portion of the press release is below:

Cincinnati Reds right fielder Jay Bruce has been named the National League Player of the Week for the period of May 23-29, 2011. The announcement was made earlier today on MLB Network. The Reds slugger led the Majors with 13 RBI and 25 total bases, and was tied for first with four home runs last week while hitting .353 (12-for-34) in seven games. His 12 hits ranked second among National Leaguers while his .735 slugging percentage was fifth and his six runs scored were sixth-best. The 24-year-old Texan had four multi-hit games on the week, including two three-hit performances.

**To make room for the call-up of starting RHP Chad Reineke, the Reds designated LHP Tom Cochran for assignment.

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.

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