Results tagged ‘ Johan Santana ’

Taking in Citi Field

Start spreading the news, this isn’t Shea.

The Cincinnati traveling party is taking in Citi Field for the first time and it’s hard to believe there is no longer that certain maligned stadium anymore. The jet noise from adjacent LaGuardia Airport is still as frequent as it was at the old place.

“I miss those rats,” reliever David Weathers joked of old Shea. “You could put saddles on their backs and ride them. I saw someone in a tree stand hunting them.”


Thumbnail image for citi field4 071009.JPGI didn’t see the Mets clubhouse, but the visiting clubhouse is very nice…smaller than I expected. But big enough.

One NY writer called Citi Field “the second best new ballpark in New York.”

I haven’t seen new Yankee Stadium yet to agree or disagree.

It’s weird seeing a ballpark with such dark features. Everything inside — fence, seating, metalwork, etc. — is a mix of either dark green and black. There is the hints of Mets orange too of course. But it looks very good aesthetically.

A lot of players from other teams that have been here aren’t fond of the roomy dimensions (it’s 415 feet to the right-center field gap…wow). The left field wall isn’t as far, but it’s about 15-20 feet high so any homers that way have to be earned too. The dimensions in general are far from symmetrical, so there could be some odd plays.

“I watched games on TV and walked the grounds,” manager Dusty Baker said. “Everything I saw on TV is real. This could be a tricky place.

“It looks very good here though, very good. It’s always fun coming to a new stadium. It really shows that time is marching on.”

No matter where they’re playing, this is an important series for the Reds. The reeling Mets have lost five of their last six games….ditto for the Reds.

Cincinnati must win two of three here heading into the break. No doubt about it. 

Reds lineup:

Dickerson 9
Taveras 8
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Nix 7
Encarnacion 5
Hairston Jr. 6
Hanigan 2
Arroyo 1

Jay Bruce will be back in the lineup on Saturday vs. Johan Santana. Lefties are hitting .267 vs. Santana while right-handers are batting .221. 

Ryan Hanigan isn’t back to being Bronson Arroyo’s unofficial personal catcher.

“He hasn’t caught in four days either,” Baker said. “I want to keep Ramon [Hernandez] strong and keep him fresh and give Arroyo the best chance. When you’re up and down the way we’re playing, there’s no real set anything. It’s still midseason but we’re still searching for stuff.”

More photos:


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Guys getting ready for BP and field work.


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It’s hard to tell, but that’s Mets 3B David Wright above on the left as the Mets took an early session on infield practice. You can also get a sense of how high the LF wall is.


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The visitor’s dugout at Citi Field. That’s reliever Daniel Herrera at the railing.

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One Reds All-Star: Cordero

When the National League team takes the field in St. Louis for introductions at the All-Star game, you will see only one player wearing a Reds uniform. It will be closer Francisco Cordero.

I had a feeling it’d either be Cordero or Johnny Cueto but not both. Each team gets a minimum of one player to represent.

Cordero, a manager’s selection, is definitely a worthy choice with 20 saves in 21 attempts this season. It’s funny now thinking back to Spring Training when fans (and reporters…ahem) were so concerned when he was terrible and working his way back from off-season ankle surgery.

At 8-4 with a 2.69 ERA, Cueto was definitely worth a closer look but those back-to-back starts where he blew big leads to Toronto and the White Sox probably didn’t help his cause. While he was fourth in ERA among NL pitchers, he has only 78 strikeouts, which is not close to the leaderboard. He also doesn’t rank in other categories like innings pitched (103.2), complete games, etc. He was 4th with opponent’s batting average of .223.

Do you think any Reds were overlooked or snubbed?

Joey Votto would have been a stone-cold lock had he not missed so much time on the DL. In my mind, no other position player is having good enough seasons to warrant snubbed status.

3:30pm update: After taking a closer look at the NL pitching staff, I’m still not shocked Cueto didn’t make it. But one’s eyes can go into spasm crunching numbers and Cueto definitely had a case.

The Cubs’ Ted Lilly made it with a 7-6 record with a 3.35 ERA in 16 starts with 23 BB, 88 K, opp. avg of .242 and a 1.13 WHIP. Cueto’s walks-hit/per innings pitched is 1.12. Lilly was the lone Cub to get in and remember, each team has to have at least one All-Star.

Did Cueto deserve to get in over Johan Santana?

Santana was 9-6 with a 3.34 ERA, 102.1 IP, 34 BB, 104 K, .241 opp avg, and a 1.26 WHIP. He was named on the player’s ballot, which shows that players too often go with names and reputation.

Postgame: Cordero was pretty low-key about his honor but was happy about it.

“It’s a great feeling. It shows you’ve done a great job,” Cordero said. “I’m really happy I’m able to go this year after what happened to me in the off-season. It was hard for me.”

Besides having September ankle surgery, Cordero unexpectedly lost his mother, Martina, who died at the age of 60 in the Dominican Republic.

“Me and my older brother were playing cards with her,” Cordero said. “I went to pick up my boy from school and I got a call that she was taken to the hospital. The next night, she passed away.”

Baker wasn’t upset that Cueto wasn’t going to St. Louis with Cordero.

“I would have loved to have seen him [make the team],” Baker said. “But he has time. He’s getting better, big time.”

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Game on.

Today is the first day of the rest of the season…really. Grapefruit League action starts today and if we’re thinking alike — it’s a very welcomed date on the calendar.

For now, here is the Rays’ lineup. (See earlier post for the Reds)

Bartlett SS, Crawford LF, Longoria 3B, Burrell DH, Aybar 1B, Navarro C, Zobrist 2B, Gross RF, Perez CF   P Hernandez.

In transactions — LHP Bill Bray, SS Paul Janish and C/IF Wilkin Castillo agreed to one-year contracts. The Reds have eight players unsigned.

In other notes from the clubhouse:

Castillo and LHP Pedro Viola were not selected by the Dominican Republic for the World Baseball Classic but no reason was given. Manager Dusty Baker did not rule out carrying three catchers so Castillo could benefit from the D.R.’s decision.

“For Castillo, it’s a chance to show more what he can do,” Baker said. “His chances were increased by not going without being selected.

“If you’re going to have a third catcher, you’d like him to be more versatile. He could play a lot of places.”

“I’m trying to make the team and I’m working hard,” Castillo said. “I am ready to play everywhere — wherever the manager needs me.”

The Reds’ lineup appeared to be similar to what you will see on April 6 for Opening Day.

“Pretty close,” Baker said. “It depends on who we’re facing. On Opening Day, we’ll see [Mets lefty ace Johan] Santana so it might be a little different.”

The lineup will be together for the next four days since Joey Votto, Willy Taveras, Jerry Hairston and Ramon Hernandez are leaving March 1 for the WBC. Baker used a DH in Jacque Jones and doesn’t plan on having pitchers hit until at least March 10. 

This is the first time big league baseball has been played in Port Charlotte since 2002 when the Rangers were in the facility. They moved to Surprise, Ariz., the following year. Since then, a $27 million renovation was done here and the ballpark looks like a very nice place for fans to watch baseball.


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