Results tagged ‘ Joey Votto ’

Cueto brilliant in debut

Since I need to make my way to the airport, I will keep this brief.

Johnny Cueto gave the Reds exactly what they hoped for today with six-plus scoreless innings for a 2-0 victory. Cueto allowed five hits and a walk with four strikeouts. He threw 102 pitches and was lifted after a leadoff single in the seventh since he was at his pitch limit.

With Homer Bailey back and Cueto back and both with nice starts, the Reds could really see what they’ve got going forward. Bronson Arroyo pitched great yesterday and Travis Wood was mostly solid — save for four walks — his last time out. Maybe I’m a dissenter to you, but I believe Edinson Volquez isn’t too far from finding his rhythm on a consistent basis. To me, his moments of brilliance are too good to think he can’t start clicking.

“We’re on a little bit of a roll now,” manager Dusty Baker said. “Hopefully we can get on a big roll if we can get everybody back. This is the team we slated to be the team. The other guys did a good job for them in their absence but these guys are my horses.”


*Joey Votto’s on-base streak to start the season was ended at 33 games after he was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. That left him one shy of Dave Collins’ 1981 club record. Interestingly, Votto’s 41-game on-base streak last season was ended here as well on July 4 when he was ejected in the first inning for balls and strikes.

“You go through stretches where you miss. I’ve been missing lately. It will pass,” Votto said.

*For those wondering, Aroldis Chapman was up in the bullpen during the seventh inning jam and was intended to use against lefty hitter Kosuke Fukudome. Chapman wasn’t ready in time, however. And Sam LeCure walked Fukudome to load the bases, but he escaped the jam of his own making.

“We were thinking about him but he takes a long time to get loose,” Baker said of Chapman. “We have to give him a full inning to get loose. I called down and he wasn’t ready. We didn’t want to take a chance.”

*Jay Bruce was 2-for-3 today, making him 12-for-36 (.333) with four homers and eight RBIs over his last 10 games.

*Going back to last season, the Reds have won 12 of the last 15 games vs. the Cubs.

*Cueto and Nick Masset were both called for balks today. It was the first time that two balks were called on the team since it happened to Brandon Claussen and Brian Shackelford on 8/25/05 vs. the Nationals. That interesting nugget came from the Cubs media relations staff.


“That was a great outing by Cueto. We took him to his limit, I think. That’s why we got him. He was still throwing the ball well but you’ve got to remember that’s his first outing. That was awesome.” — Dusty Baker

“My fastball was landing where I wanted it. And I was happy with the location because my fastball was getting good location.” — Johnny Cueto

“We had the tough loss yesterday and to be able to bounce back from that and get a win today was great. Cueto came back and pitched outstanding. Our relievers did a great job also holding that lead. Not a lot of hits, but luckily the one I got was a homer and Ramon got the big hit early too.” — Drew Stubbs

“It might have been one of the best I’ve ever seen him throw, to be honest with you. He looked fantastic. He threw his breaking ball really well. It seemed like they were off balance the entire game. I’m really glad he came back after missing some time and threw so well today.” — Joey Votto on Cueto

****That’s it for me for a few days. I’m skipping Houston but resuming on Friday for the Cardinals series.

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

“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.


*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.


“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.


*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.


“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

Reds lose, Cueto to pitch Sun.

It looks like changes are afoot to the rotation. Dusty Baker revealed tonight that Johnny Cueto will be activated to pitch on Sunday vs. the Cubs. He will replace Mike Leake.

That decision appeared to have been made before Leake was roughed up for seven runs over 3 2/3 innings for a 10-4 Reds loss to the last-place Astros

“We’ll probably move him to the bullpen,” Baker said. “We were trying to do that anyway. Remember, coming out of Spring Training, he was going to be the long man. He performed well in those other guys absence. Tonight was the first time he got whacked around in a while. You can’t exactly pick your nights when you get whacked around.”

“I’m ready. I’m pretty happy. I feel good,” said Cueto, who has been out since Spring Training with right biceps/triceps irritation.

Cueto was originally slated to get another rehab start at Class A Dayton Friday, but that has obviously been changed.

The rotation has a 5.56 ERA for the season and entered the night ranked 15th out of 16 NL teams. Before Cueto comes back, Homer Bailey returns on Thursday.


*The Reds are under .500 for the first time this season at 14-15. It’s the first time they’ve been sub-.500 since 5/7/10.

*Since starting the season 5-0, the Reds are 3-9 in their last 12 home games.

*Joey Votto extended his reach safely streak to all 29 games this season by going 2-for-4 with a first-inning double and fourth inning single. His latter two at-bats brought two outs on a total of two pitches. Votto made the third out in the fifth on a fly ball to center field with runners on first and second. In the seventh with runners on the corners and two outs, he popped a first pitch to second base.

*That pop out was Votto’s first of this season and according to, it was his first since he had two in 2009. He was also caught stealing second base in the fourth inning when his team was down 7-1.

“That wasn’t trying to do too much,” Baker said of the caught stealing. He thought he had a good jump and I green light certain guys who think they can get a good jump. It looks bad when you get thrown out, but sometimes you try to slow-walk a team by inching them back. It’s not like we had a whole bunch of offense going against Happ in the first place.”

*Incredible play by 2B Brandon Phillips…he made a third inning barehanded stop on Jason Burgeois and flipped the ball to first base between his legs for the out while on the move.

*Did anyone watch the Jonny Gomes piece on ESPN’s E:60 tonight? If so, how was it? Anything we didn’t already know before?


“That inning, I was leaving the ball over the middle and not getting ahead. I was getting 2-0 counts quite a bit. I just wasn’t attacking, getting ahead.” — Mike Leake on his fourth inning.

“I know I sound like a broken record, you just hate to keep going to your bullpen so early. It destroys you, but the bullpen is in decent shape. We had some guys give us some innings in there just to save us for tomorrow and the ensuing days.” — Dusty Baker

Nice night for naught for Volquez

 As good as Edinson Volquez pitched, he deserved a better outcome. But one fastball that missed location to Yadier Molina became a three-run home run in a 3-0 loss. Not helping was Cardinals starter Jake Westrbook with his 9.82 ERA shutting the Reds lineup down.

Volquez had a nice fastball working and a nice changeup. He was hitting 97 mph. He even got through the first inning for the first time this season without allowing a run.

“I think he took a pretty good swing on that ball,” Volquez said of Molina’s homer. “He’s real aggressive with runners on base, especially deep in the game. He’s always hitting the ball the other way and I think he was looking for that pitch inside. He took a very good swing.”


*Molina appeared to enjoy his homer an awful lot, with a raised fist in the air after it cleared the fence and a curtain call after returning to the dugout. Some wondered if it might bring retribution later on. Sure enough in the eighth, Aroldis Chapman came in very tight at the midsection with a fastball. Molina looked Chapman’s way and both benches were warned. I asked Dusty Baker later if there was some displeasure at Molina’s homer celebration, but he said no. Also Chapman threw inside at Molina with two runners on. If he hit Molina, it would’ve loaded the bases and likely could have helped blow a still close game open.

“Every time you hit a home run, what do you want? You want to be mad? Or sad?” Molina said. “No. you’ve got enjoy it, man, especially me. I don’t hit a bunch of home runs. Every time I get an opportunity to enjoy it, that’s the way you have to play this game — fun.  [Volquez] is a great pitcher. He was throwing hard. The breaking ball was good. He was pretty good today.”

*Joey Votto continues to be a base-reaching machine despite the lack of quality of pitches he sees. Votto walked twice (once intentionally) and hit a ninth-inning double. He has reached  in all 22 games played this season.

*Jonny Gomes has struggled hitting clean up behind Votto with Scott Rolen out. Gomes was 0-for-3 with a walk and all three outs came with runners in scoring position. The Reds were 0-for-5 overall RISP. Since moving into the fourth spot, Gomes is 1-for-12. Baker did not say if he was considering a lineup change.

*Nick Masset had another nice relief outing with a perfect 1 1/3 innings. He’s had four-straight scoreless appearances since the two bad games at San Diego.

*Chapman has not allowed an earned run in 10 appearances, 9 2/3 innings.


“He threw the ball better than he has in a couple of years – under control, throwing strikes, and excellent changeup, a good breaking ball. I thought we were going to get out of that one inning. He popped up a couple of guys.” — Dusty Baker on Volquez

“Good stuff, man. He was having his live fastball that he’s had in the past and keeping that changeup down really good man. He threw me a 3-2, really, really nasty changeup. He was mixing his pitches. I guess he made one mistake and Yadi took advantage. Besides that he was keeping everybody off-balance and was pitching in and out and mixed his pitches pretty well. he always had that stuff, and the main thing is if he can stay healthy, he’s going to be one of the good ones in the game.” Albert Pujols on Volquez

“I just made a mistake, wrong pitch to him. I know he’s really aggressive with runners on base. I just threw the wrong pitch. That was my call too. Ryan wanted a different pitch. I made a mistake. He wanted a changeup because we got him out the AB before with breaking ball, changeup and a fastball/two-seamer to strike out in his last at-bat. He was looking straight fastball.” — Edinson Volquez on the Molina at-bat.

Reds have .500 record

There will no doubt be hemming and hawing throughout Greater Cincinnati tonight. After the uber hot start, the Reds are suddenly 9-9. A 3-1 loss gave them four-straight losses and a 1-5 homestand.

Some things I looked at for my postgame story:

*Through 18 games last season, they were 7-11.

*Through 30 games last season, they were 15-15.

I’m usually pretty pragmatic about winning and losing skids. At the moment, obviously, this team is not getting it done. But maybe it’ll be OK to keep the glass sealed over the panic button a little while longer.


*Joey Votto went 2-for-4 with a RBI double to keep his reach safely streak to all 18 games.

*Ryan Hanigan snapped a 0-for-12 streak with his one-out single in the fifth inning.

*Bronson Arroyo threw first pitch strikes to 20 of the 25 batters he faced. He retired 15 in a row at one point, with eight of them strikeouts. Arroyo did give up a run in the first inning, which has become all too familiar lately for this rotation.

*The Reds have been outscored 22-12 in the first inning this season. The 22 runs allowed leads MLB.

*Aroldis Chapman hit 100 a couple of times during 1 2/3 scoreless innings. He had two walks — one with two outs in the seventh and the other with two outs in the eighth.


“You don’t like where you are. It adds to sleepless nights when you’re losing but the reality of it all, our best days haven’t even gotten here yet as a team. As long we don’t listen to people, as long as we don’t panic, and we continue to work hard, things are going to be great. I’m as positive now as I ever was. I’m not as happy as I was. Our start spoiled people. It spoiled us. It spoiled everybody.” — Dusty Baker.

“You think about the first series of the year against Houston and what those guys were feeling like when everything was going our way, all the big hits at the right time and making all the pitches when you needed to. It’s such a long season and that’s the ebb and flow of the game. That’s why you cherish every win you get in the game. There are times when they come easy and seems like they’re just going to keep coming. You know eventually you’re going to go down the other side of the mountain. Those are the times you have to come to the ballpark and try to simplify things.” — Bronson Arroyo

Missed chances, blown leads

When a team has high expectations and gets off to a 5-0 start like the Reds, fans can be spoiled. And judging from Twitter, highly irate when the game goes south like this one did.

A potentially nice game and series win evaporated into a very tough loss to the D-Backs, 10-8.

What killed the Reds were two blown leads — a 5-0 in the third inning that they couldn’t add to. Then there was the 7-6 lead in the seventh from Jonny Gomes’ homer. 

This was a game that should have been settled early. The Reds had a 5-0 lead in the third with the bases loaded and one out and added no more runs that inning. That proved to be huge.


*Nick Masset has taken losses in his last two outings. A four-run, three hit eighth inning zapped him, namely when Chris Young clubbed a 3-2 pitch into the left field seats. Masset has given up seven hits and five runs over his last two outings.

*Aroldis Chapman, pitching on back-to-back days, clearly didn’t have his same velocity (talk about spoiled). Instead of crossing 100, he was mostly 96-98 mph. He also walked three batters (a career high) but got one with a pickoff. He escaped with two strikeouts.

*Mike Leake really didn’t pitch as bad as his line (4.2 ip, 6 ER, 9 H) would indicate. All four of the consecutive one-out singles were either tough plays or rollers that found holes. His 1-0 offering to Ryan Roberts was a big mistake, however.

*Drew Stubbs has opened the last three games with a strikeout in the top of the first.

*Joey Votto tied a career high for the ninth time with four hits. He had three hits over the first four innings.


“When you have an opportunity to ice the game, you have to put your foot on their throat. We’re still learning to do that. We had opportunities to ice that game early and go deep in their bullpen.” — Dusty Baker

“I got a couple of unlucky rolls that went through for hits. And then there was a big mistake of throwing a fastball down the middle. They made me pay.” — Mike Leake

No more undefeated for Reds

 So that whole 162-0 thing is out of the question now I guess?

The Reds weren’t going to do that, obviously. But they felt like they had chances to go 6-0 during a3-2 loss to the Astros. The record is 5-1 instead.

The glaring issue this time was key hits — there weren’t many. The Reds were 0-for-5 RISP with 11 LOB.


*When Nick Masset gave up the go-ahead run in the ninth, it snapped a 12-inning scoreless streak for the Reds bullpen.

*Scott Rolen did come up big as a pinch-hitter in the seventh with a solo home run off Brett Myers that tied the game at 2-2. Rolen was 3-for-7 last season as a pinch-hitter…with two homers. It was also Rolen’s fourth career pinch-hit homer.

*Drew Stubbs went 0-for-5, snapping his hitting streak at 13 — dating back to last season.

*Joey Votto singled in the seventh and has a 6-game hitting streak. He’s batting .391 (9-for-23).

*Brandon Phillips hads four-straight multi-hit games. He’s batting .440 (11-for-25).

*The Reds still have only one error for the season (on Opening Day). The only other team with one error in six games is the Braves.

*I did a notebook today on Paul Janish’s hot start. There will also be items on the team defense and when it’s posted, something on LeCure’s day.


“They put some good swings on some balls and you can’t do anything about it. I pretty much threw a lot of the pitches where I wanted to today. They found holes and found gaps. That’s kind of the way it goes. I’m not going to get down on myself. I’ve got a lot more appearances to go. We’re still out there fighting, giving it our all.” — Nick Masset

“I was fairly pleased. There were a couple of times I got a little bit complacent out there and I think that cost us. the first pitch to Lee that he hit into the gap was a get-me over fastball. I didn’t have a whole lot behind it. he took advantage and did what good hitters do. A couple of walks was me being kind of lazy.” — Sam LeCure on his outing

“We had a lot of chances today. We’ve been picking them up the last couple of days. We just didn’t get that two-out hit today that we needed. They ended up getting it.” — Dusty Baker

Until Friday from Phoenix…
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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

Lots of crooked numbers

If you’re one of those folks that love crisp pitching, quick innings and a low-scoring affair…be glad you were not at grand HoHoKam Park on Friday. For those that enjoy bountiful offense, it was hitter’s delight for both teams as the Reds eeked out a 14-13 win that featured a combined 40 hits.

“I told the guard sitting next to me in the second inning that this looks like a 13-12 game,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “Then we had that five-run lead, I said ‘man, I’m nervous.’ Anything can happen in these games, especially in this park.  Our guys kept battling and we scored just enough.”

The highlights:

*Sam LeCure came in with seven scoreless innings over four relief appearances in the making of a strong bid for a bullpen spot. LeCure started vs. Chicago and had a long afternoon for just 2 1/3 innings of work. He allowed six earned runs and eight hits with one walk and no strikeouts.

LeCure had a one-walk, scoreless first inning but the hits started coming in a two-run Cubs second.

“I felt like I made some pitches in the second inning to get out of that deal,” LeCure said. “We had a potential double play that was going to be tough to turn.”

The lasers started coming in the third as four of his five batters faced reached with sharp line drive hits. Alfonso Soriano’s RBI double was the end.

“I made some pitches I was happy with even though I ended up giving up some runs,” LeCure said. “I haven’t pitched in trouble in all of Spring Training. I didn’t have a guy get to second base until today. I understand it’s going to happen. The last inning, they were hitting missiles all over the place. The ball was starting to come up some. Overall, I’m trying to take some positives from it. I pitched in some trouble, which I hadn’t done. I got stretched out more than I had. I think that will bode well for me when it’s time to pick guys for the team.”

*Daniel Ray Herrera, who is trying to earn a bullpen spot, inherited runners on second and third with one out from LeCure and both scored. A sac fly by Soriano followed. After a wild pitch, Darwin Barney’s RBI single on the ground to left field scored another run. Herrera returned in the fourth inning and picked up two outs. Then he allowed two singles and a walk but escaped the bases loaded jam.

*Jared Burton allowed  three earned runs and three hits over two innings with a homer.

*Matt Maloney gave up three earned runs and five hits over two innings with two walks.

*The regular players played seven innings. The lineup had an Opening Day-type look to it.

*Jonny Gomes, who came in batting .071, went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles.

*Scott Rolen (3rd inning) and Joey Votto  (5th inning) slugged their first homers of the spring. Both came against Carlos Zambrano on the first pitch. Rolen’s was a three-run shot and Votto’s was for two runs.

*Speaking of Rolen, I took my turn asking him about the discussion of how many games played. It will be seen in today’s feature. Not surprising, he doesn’t buy into the speculation nor worry about injuries.

“You have 162 games ahead of you. We’re going to be injured,” Rolen said. “We’re going to be beat up, banged up, bruised up and that’s a fact. It’s something that we know. So is everyone else in the league. That’s true. Hopefully we stay away from the big injury.”

*Reds starter Homer Bailey pitched on Friday in a Minor League game for Class A Bakersfield vs. Brewers Minor Leaguers. Bailey gave up four earned runs and five hits over 5 1/3 innings with no walks and seven strikeouts. He threw 76 pitches.

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