Results tagged ‘ Jay Bruce ’

Losing streak at six

 

The Reds certainly have reasons to get more than a little concerned now. The losing streak, a season-high six games, has now crept into a second turn of the rotation. Bronson Arroyo was roughed up for nine runs and 10 hits in only 2 2/3 innings, including two homers for a 10-3 loss to the Phillies.

That’s back-to-back 2 2/3 innings outings between Arroyo and Edinson Volquez. Johnny Cueto needs to be good Tuesday, especially after he had a lackluster five-inning performance on Thursday vs PIT. Travis Wood was good in his Friday start vs. the Indians but unraveled after 5 1/3 no-hit innings. Only Homer Bailey has had a tremendous outing from start to finish and he was undone by one bad pitch for a two-run homer and 2-1 loss Saturday.

“That’s what we talked about not long ago – trying to stay out of long slumps,” Arroyo said. “For as long as I’ve been on this ballclub, it always seems as if everything comes in clumps. You win three or four and then you lose four or five. That’s basically playing .500 ball, which is not going to be good enough to get by.”

Notes:
*During the last six games, the Reds are batting .199 (39-for-196).

*Entering tonight, the Phillies had been held to three runs or less for nine-straight games.

*Cole Hamels is now 7-0 with a 1.43 ERA in the regular season vs. CIN. Had Arroyo kept the game close, Hamels might have been beatable. He had 102 pitches over six innings and wasn’t the sharpest he’s been against them.

*Chase Utley was 0-for-5 in season debut for the Phillies. The crowd of 45,841 fans was the largest in the regular season history at Citizens Bank Park.

*Jay Bruce hit his team-leading 12th homer, a three-run shot off the RF foul pole in the fourth. He is 8-for-11 (.611) with four homers and six RBIs over the last five games. Now the Reds need to spread th the wealth around.

*This is the longest losing streak for the Reds since an eight-game stretch from July 28-Aug. 4, 2009.

Quotes:

“A team as good as these guys, even though they’ve been struggling more than they have in the past, you just can’t give them those bloop hits because those are almost like us making an error. It’s extra at-bats and extra outs for us. They make you pay for it, especially at home. They play really when their crowd gets into the ballgame.” — Bronson Arroyo on the Phillies

“Two days in a row of going to our bullpen early. We can’t keep going there. We had a nice run there, 8-9 games, where we got deep in the game. The last couple of games, we’ve had early departures.” — Dusty Baker

Did Volquez really say that?

 Edinson Volquez had a rough day and has been having an inconsistent season. That made his postgame comments after a 12-4 loss all the more curious.

“I think everybody has to step up and start getting some runs,” Volquez said. “The last five games, we’ve scored how many runs? Thirteen in five games? (Actually 12). It’s not the way we were playing last year. We’re better than that.”

Keep in mind that Volquez allowed seven runs (six earned) with seven hits, four walks, one hit batter and three strikeouts. He is 3-3 with a 6.35 ERA this season. His first inning ERA is 18.00

Stay tuned, because I can’t see that comment going over well.

Reds manager Dusty Baker indicated changes could be afoot and that he might not keeping rolling Volquez out there.

“We’re mulling that around now,” Baker said. “Last time, he was a lot better. This outing, he didn’t start off well again. We’ve got discuss what to do.”

You can read much more about this day and what lurks ahead in Philadelphia in my game story. The full version should be up shortly if it’s not already.

Notes:

*In today’s notebook, hopefully you saw that Aroldis Chapman is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville on Monday. Chapman will meet the team and pitch an inning in Norfolk.

*Joey Votto’s first inning home run was his first since April 27, a span of 21 games.

*Since returning from the DL, Scott Rolen has hits in 7 of 9 games and is batting .343 (12-for-35)

*Jay Bruce was 2-for-4 with a homer, his 11th of the season. He’s 8-for-14 (.571) over a four-game hitting streak.

*Overall, the offense is having trouble. In the five game losing streak, they are batting .207.

Quotes:

“I know people around here – it was kind of like that for us last year – it’s going to take a little while for them to come around and believe the Indians are for real. I think they’ve got a good team. I thought their pitching was good and obviously their offense really broke out today. I wouldn’t say I was surprised, because they’ve been playing well all year.” — Chris Heisey on the Indians

“He had a bunch of pitches that inning. It’s tough to keep going to your bullpen that early and you keep hoping he’ll give us some innings so it didn’t tear up everybody out there. We have 10 days in a row before we get an off day.” — Dusty Baker on Volquez in the first inning.

“They’re playing good baseball and they beat us. They got us pretty good. It doesn’t get any easier in Philadelphia, obviously, when we face those guys. We can’t make up a series. We’ve got our hands full in Philadelphia and Atlanta both. We will try to play a little better baseball and hopefully try to win a series there.” — Scott Rolen

Gomes batting 2nd

Not surprisingly, I’ve gotten some feedback, rather immediately, about the lineup and Jonny Gomes batting second as the DH.

Gomes doesn’t have much of a track record batting second, but it’s not a good one. He’s batting .172 (5-for-29) in 11 games there, including five starts, over his career.

“That’s the best lineup I could come up with. Hopefully it will get him going the way it got Jay Bruce going,” manager Dusty Baker said.

Bruce batted second from April 25-May 1. Since May 2, he has batted .291 (16-for-55) with five homers and 13 RBIs. The Reds would certainly take those numbers with a smile for Gomes, who entered the day batting .188.

Will Gomes get better pitches, especially after Drew Stubbs reaches base and with Joey Votto on deck?

“Maybe,” Baker said. “You still have to swing at strikes. I remember in the past I put Glenallen Hill in front of Barry [Bonds] and they were still throwing him balls and he was still swinging at balls.”

Does Gomes think it will help him?

“Maybe hitting in front of Joey will but not hitting in the two-hole,” Gomes said. “You only hit in the two-hole the top of the first inning and then that’s it. I’ve never hit in front of him. I’ve hit behind him a number of times. So, we’ll see.”

On to Cleveland, tough road trip

That wasn’t really the way the Reds would have liked to go into the longest, and potentially most difficult, road trip of the season.

It was a 5-3 loss to the Pirates to get swept in the two-game series. It was a 5-1 game after 7 1/2 innings when the Reds added one in the eighth and one in the ninth, but it never felt like one of those dazzling comebacks was in the air.

The Reds went 11-5 in a 16-game stretch against all NL Central clubs. If there is any good news for you the fan, the Pirates don’t return to Cincinnati again this season. The Reds don’t see them again in Pittsburgh until July 18-20.

Up next are 10 games in a row vs. two first place teams and a contender. If the Reds can get through Cleveland, Philadelphia and Atlanta and have a .500 trip, they should fly home happy when it’s over.

“It will be our toughest one all year, but I think we’ll be fine,” right fielder Jay Bruce said. “We’re playing well, so we just play our game and not worry about anything else, just take care of business.

Notes:

*Johnny Cueto looked brilliant over his first two starts but certainly had some difficulties at times today, especially in the second inning. During a 31-pitch inning, he reached a three-ball count to four of the six hitters faced and walked two.

*Still bothered by a head cold, Jay Bruce was hacking and coughing by his locker after the game. But the day off Wednesday did him some good. Bruce was the only Reds hitter to have a robust afternoon at the plate. He was 3-for-4 with a leadoff homer to right field in the second inning and a leadoff homer in the bottom of the ninth.

*Ramon Hernandez’s 11-game hitting streak is over after a 0-for-4 game.

*Brandon Phillips has a season-high hitting streak of 10 games after his two-hit day.

*The Reds are 1-5 vs. the Pirates this season, but 19-7 vs. the rest of the NL Central.

*The Reds haven’t dropped consecutive games since May 1-3 vs. Florida and Houston.

Quotes:
“The day off helped me, I think, kind of get some energy back. But obviously we should have won. The Pirates have given us a tough time so far.” — Jay Bruce

“Aggressiveness is fine but at the same time, there are no outs and it’s 4-1. You’ve got to make that almost standing up. He’s trying to make something that just wasn’t the appropriate time trying to make it happen in that situation. Invariably, it seems like every time you get thrown out, the next guy gets a hit.” — Dusty Baker on Brandon Phillips getting thrown out at second base leading off the seventh trying to stretch for a double.

“[Cueto] had those three-ball counts and the ball was missing off the plate, kind of cutting on him. It was a tough ball for Brandon and the 3-2 count on Walker – this guy has been a thorn in our side big time. I don’t know what he’s hitting against us but it’s a ton. We have to figure a way to get him out. He’s the guy doing most of the damage.” — Baker on Cueto’s second inning.

“We just kind of waited him out today. He has tremendous stuff. He’s got a lot of pitches that have a lot of movement and we just kind of waited for our pitch. We know that he has a tendency to throw balls and go into long counts, so that was our gameplan – wait him out, wait for pitch we could handle, don’t swing at his pitches. It worked out.” — Pirates catcher Ryan Doumit on Cueto.

“Very big for us. We know every time we come in here and every time we play the Reds in general, it’s going to be a battle from first to ninth inning. It’s important for us not to let off the throttle when we get up and let games go that our in our grasp. ” — Pirates 2B Neil Walker, who was 2-for-4 with two doubles. Walker had a two-out, two-run double off Cueto in the fifth.

The quality starts keep coming

Reds lineup vs. Pirates

Stubbs 8
Janish 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Rolen 5
Lewis 9
Gomes 7
Hanigan 2
Arroyo 1

*UPDATED lineup above with Fred Lewis in RF now, batting sixth and Scott Rolen moving up to the 5th spot. Jay Bruce was scratched because he is sick. Bruce was feeling under the weather during Tuesday’s game vs. the Cubs.

“You could see it in his eyes,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “You kind of want to quarantine him so it doesn’t spread around. That’s the thing that you hate the most, as a team; when things become an epidemic.”

*Reds starting pitchers are 8-0 with a 2.37 ERA in the last 13 games since May 3. There have been five straight quality starts and nine of the last 10. No doubt this has been the biggest reason for the recent boost to the team.

*The club’s 13 come-from-behind wins are second in the Majors behind the Rockies’ 15.

*Fox Sports Ohio has picked up the June 8 Reds game vs. the Cubs that begins at 12:35 p.m. ET. The move was made because ESPN converted the Reds’ June 12 game at the Giants to an exclusive Sunday Night Baseball broadcast.

Nice series turnaround

Just think, there was a moment on Wednesday when the Reds were three outs away from losing this series. They had only one hit through eight innings and all was bleak.

Fast forward to today’s 10-4 win. The Reds took the series with back-to-back wins, the first time they did that since April 11-12. And they did it behind a very fine season debut from Homer Bailey.

Bailey’s line: 6 ip, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. 95 pitches/62 strikes. His 1-2-3 first inning was a good barometer — 15 pitches/11 strikes. You can read more on him when my full game story is published on MLB.com.

“Pretty much, we were always in a good count,” Bailey said. “There were only a couple of batters where we fell behind. When you’re ahead in the count, good things are going to happen.”

The Reds could not have asked for a better outing for his first game back from the right-shoulder impingement. Another anticipation is brewing for Sunday when Johnny Cueto makes his 2011 debut.

Notes:

*Joey Votto’s on-base streak is at 31 with his fourth-inning single. Now that Ryan Braun’s streak ended yesterday at 28, Votto is the only big league player to reach base in all of his team’s games.

*Ryan Hanigan’s three RBIs accounted for the first three runs of the game.

*Bailey’s 1-2-3 top of the first inning was only the fifth for the rotation in that troublesome inning this season. However, it was the second in a row after Travis Wood did it Wednesday.

*Fred Lewis had the first PH homer of his career and his first homer with the Reds in the sixth inning.

*Aroldis Chapman had a rough one today. Chapman entered with two on and two out in the seventh and did not retire any of his three batters. He walked two, including one with the bases loaded and gave up a two-run single.

*Nick Masset did a nice job with a 1-2-3 eighth inning. His two strikeouts both came on 96 mph pitches.

*Jay Bruce hit an eighth inning homer during the important four-run eighth that put the game away. Bruce is tied with Jonny Gomes for the team lead with six homers.

*The Reds have had four-straight games without an error.

Quotes:

“This guy is capable of a lot of victories for us. We were hoping this injury or the layoff for him and Cueto both – we’re in September and they’ll still be strong when everybody else has another month on them. Hopefully into October, he’ll be September with innings and wear and tear. This could work out great for us.” — Dusty Baker on Homer Bailey

“I had a lot of confidence that we were going to score some runs. I had Hanigan back there doing a great job. It was more about executing pitches.” — Homer Bailey

“He’s had spurts of dominance throughout his career. It’s just a matter of consistency. He’s such a competitor and he wants it bad. He works at it as hard as anybody. He’s got the stuff to do it when he’s on. We’re just going to try and take it game by game, have a good game plan, try and stick with it, make adjustments on the fly and hopefully he can have a good year.” — Ryan Hanigan on Bailey
 
“It feels good to shut the door a little bit, not having to come from behind. It’s always comforting, especially on get-away days.” — Jay Bruce

“He didn’t have it today; I’m sure he will next time. The rest of the guys picked him up.” Ryan Hanigan on Aroldis Chapman

Reds wake up in ninth

There are many ways to take a game for the win, and the best that can be said was that was one of them.

The Reds went rope-a-dope style I guess. They had nothing offensively to offer — just one hit — for eight innings, but jumped all over a struggling Astros closer in Brandon Lyon. All five batters in the bottom of the ninth reached and scored all three runs for a 3-2 victory.

Notes:

*Was Brandon Phillips really serious about bunting with runners on first and second and no outs in the ninth? He showed bunt twice but ultimately swung at a 2-1 pitch for the game-tying RBI single. The answer proved to be yes.

“To tell you the truth, I really did,” Phillips said. “We’ve been struggling with scoring runs and I was going to give myself up so we can have a man on second and third and Brucie can do what he does. Dusty didn’t really want me to do it…I didn’t want to hit into a double play. I was going to try and do something for the team just to get a spark. What changed my mind is I looked at Bear [third base coach Mark Berry] and then Bear gave me that little fist pump and was like ‘hit the ball.’ OK, I’ll swing the bat.”

*Joey Votto’s streak of reaching base seemed about to end, but Votto also came through ahead of Phillips with a RBI single that scored Drew Stubbs. It extended Votto’s on-base streak to 30 games.

*Travis Wood wasn’t sensational today with four walks but his start was a welcomed breath of fresh air for the struggling rotation. Wood threw 104 pitches over 6 ip, 5 H, 2 ER, 7 K. Of his 24 batters, 17 saw first-pitch strikes.

*Fred Lewis made his season debut as a PH in the eighth inning and struck out.

*The first pitch temperature was 44 degrees today. I can’t believe it’s the first week of May. When the season opened on March 31, it was 41 degrees.

*
Quotes:

“It’s better to get up and try to keep a lead than try to come back, but fortunately not for us today. We were able to get a couple hits late. And, yeah, it’s still hard to believe. We got one hit all day and all of a sudden we scored three runs without an out. It happens that quick, but it would be nice to get on the board a little earlier.” — Chris Heisey, who singled in the final inning rally.

“It’s like we were sleeping, and then woke up.” — Jay Bruce, who hit the game-ending RBI double.

“I fell behind some hitters. I left two balls up that they hit and they got the two runs off of. Other than that, I was able to keep the team close and give us a chance to win. We eventually did.” — Travis Wood

“I was sitting over there not very happy for eight innings. When you’re not scoring, it’s a bad feeling. When you’re not scoring, it looks like you’re not awake, not into it, even though you are and they’re getting you out.” — Dusty Baker

“I think we felt pretty comfortable against Brandon Lyon and we got some pretty good pitches to hit. All credit due to their pitchers early in the game. Those guys threw fantastic and located well. They were aggressive. They consistently beat us. I think we were a little more comfortable against Brandon and that’s no comment on him. He’s got a fantastic track record. It’s just today wasn’t his day.” — Joey Votto

“Hopefully that woke us up a little bit because I just feel like we’re too good of a team to really do what we’re doing right now. I’m just glad that really happened. I’m just hoping that we can start hitting 1-8, instead of worrying about the ninth inning.” — Brandon Phillips

West Coast trip finale

Reds lineup vs. Padres

Stubbs 8
Phillips 4
Votto 3
Gomes 7
Francisco 5
Heisey 9
Hernandez 2
Janish 6
Wood 1

*Bruce is not in the lineup after he drew two walks and hit a single. He scored two runs. But he’s struggled overall in the early going with a .220 average and .267 OBP. Those two walks gave him a total of three for the season. He has zero homers.

***UPDATE — Bruce tweaked his right groin running past second base and holding up in the fifth inning on that throwing error by the pitcher. Both Dusty Baker and Bruce said he’s available to play today.

*Ryan Hanigan is not catching today because he caught 11 innings last night. Baker plans on having Hanigan catch on Friday as usual for Bronson Arroyo.

*I got a few questions last night about LHP Aroldis Chapman’s lowered velocity — he topped out at 98 mph, and that was his last pitch. Baker was not concerned and there is no issue.

“He was throwing some fastballs but you don’t have the same fastball every day,” Baker said. “You don’t have the same nothing every day. You don’t have to same bat speed. You don’t have the same leg speed. You don’t write as fast, right? There’s nothing to be alarmed about.

“That’s what I’ve been trying to say about him. People want to see him every day. He had gone three out of four days. If he goes two innings last night, he’d be even worse the second inning. Then we wouldn’t have him today at all and there’s a good chance the one off day wouldn’t help that much…Some days you can throw. But some days you’re going to have to pitch. Everybody is concerned about his velocity. I even saw an umpire last night turn around and look at the scoreboard. That’s a first for me. I know he wasn’t looking at the out of town scores.”

Heisey in RF for Bruce

Reds lineup vs. Astros

Stubbs 8
Phillips 4
Votto 3
Rolen 5
Gomes 7
Heisey 9
Hernandez 2
Janish 6
Leake 1

*No word on why Jay Bruce isn’t in there yet. But just guessing it’s a matchup thing. It’s a small sample but Bruce is 0-for-3 with 2 Ks lifetime vs. Astros lefty starter J.A. Happ. Also, over his career, lefty hitter bat .202 vs. Happ compared to .252 for right-handed hitters.

***UPDATE via Dusty Baker: “I’m trying to figure out a way to keep Heisey swinging too because had such a good spring,” Baker said. “Happ’s been tough against left-handers even though Jay has been getting against left-handed pitchers. It’s that Happ is one of the tougher ones. I don’t want Heisey to sit too long and lose the stroke that he had going. We’re going to need him.”

*Johnny Cueto (shoulder) threw 35 pitches in the bullpen today.

“It was good today. I threw hard. No pain, no nothing,” Cueto said.

*Cueto will throw in a two-inning game against extended spring players at the Goodyear complex on Sunday while the Reds are out there  to play the D-Backs this weekend.

*Homer Bailey also long tossed today and is making progress. Bailey is slated to have bullpen sessions on April 9th and then the 11th or 12th. If all goes well, he will see his first game action on the 14th, most likely at the Goodyear complex also. I will have more on Cueto/Bailey from Bryan Price on Reds.com/MLB.com

*Former Reds 1B Sean Casey is making his debut tonight as an analyst for FS Ohio. Casey is also throwing out a ceremonial first pitch.

More soon…

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http://twitter.com/m_sheldon

Some pre-game fodder

Several Reds players came through for pregame press conferences before Thursday’s game. Here is a quick sample:

“I can’t recall being anywhere where we’ve had a parade prior to the season. We’re just hoping we have two parades. One at the beginning of the season and one at the end of the season.” — manager Dusty Baker.

“There’s always a buzz for opening day in Cincinnati. Everybody is a little more excited to be here and ready for today. It’s not such a bitter taste in your mouth from last year or year’s past.” — RF Jay Bruce

“Last year, there was a lot of unknown whereas this year I feel like we’ve seen some of our potential and it’s going to push us to do a little more this year. Our goal isn’t to have a winning season or break a streak of sub .500 seasons. Our goal is to win the World Series this year.” — 1B Joey Votto

“The feeling you get on Opening Day is similar to the feeling you get with that first postseason game. It’s just a different level. Spring Training is – unless you’re a guy fighting for a job – it is just practice. You try to get your work in and feel good physically. Once they turn on the lights and it’s game one, every out, every strikeout, every walk, every hit – it stays on the back of your baseball card forever. It’s definitely a different vibe.” — RHP Bronson Arroyo

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