Results tagged ‘ Johnny Cueto ’

Cueto, Baker suspended

Here is the most recent version of the story about Johnny Cueto being suspended for seven games (essentially one start) and Dusty Baker and Tony LaRussa getting two games each after Tuesday’s brouhaha. Fines were handed out to several players, including Brandon Phillips.

I just got off of the phone with Dusty Baker and asked what he thought about the ruling.

“What can you do? When the judge rules, the judge rules,” Baker said. “We’ll try to appeal That’s what people usually do.”

While Cueto can appeal his suspension, the managers can not and will start serving on Friday. Baker will have to watch the games from either the GMs box or go home. He can be in the clubhouse and on the field pre-game for batting practice, etc.

“You can appeal almost anything. That’s not the most diplomatic system,” Baker said of his having no appeal process as a manager.

Cueto is slated to pitch on Sunday, but with an appeal, he can keep pitching while the appeal process is ongoing.

In my opinion, Cueto was fortunate he didn’t get more games. I know he was pinned back by the backstop, but the kicking of guys with spikes on was a big deal. Someone could argue that he shouldn’t have been smack dab in the middle of the skirmish in the first place.

I’m very surprised that sterner discipline wasn’t given to Molina and Carpenter. Molina was mostly responsible for the first part of the benches-clearing scuffle and Carpenter certainly played a part in part two.

Baker was also stunned more didn’t happen to Carpenter, especially.

“I don’t know what the umpire report says. Something must have been left out,” Baker said.  “A few statements caused the escalation.”

One of those statements was visible on camera from Carpenter, who turned and barked something at Baker. 

Baker tried to plead his case to Bob Watson and Frank Robinson of MLB, but to no avail. He talked to both this morning, but the decisions had already been made. He wants to put everything that happened this week in the past.

“The whole thing was wrong,” Baker said. “What Brandon said shouldn’t have been said. What happened in the game shouldn’t have happened. It shouldn’t have escalated to that point. You don’t want it to happen again. It doesn’t help baseball. It doesn’t help the integrity of the game and it doesn’t help anything.”


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No need for LeCure, Matthews

*Pitcher Sam LeCure came all the way to Houston but did not set one toe on the mound at Minute Maid Park on Saturday. He was Plan B in case Johnny Cueto couldn’t start tonight becuase of the flu. Cueto is OK, so LeCure wasn’t needed.

“I’m just here, and not here,” LeCure said.

LeCure was told to sit tight this afternoon just in case. He sat at a locker without a number on it and chatted with several players.

“I just came out to watch a game,” said LeCure.

The Reds scratched LeCure from his start Friday for Triple-A Louisville at Gwinnett about three hours before their game. He flew into Houston late Friday night.

“He just got a free trip to Houston. He understands,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

*Baker said he tried to lobby Gary Matthews Jr. to stay in the organization before he opted out of his contract. Baker is close friends with both Matthews Jr. and Gary Matthews Sr.

“I talked to him this morning. I tried to convince him to wait,” Baker said. “He said after being in the big leagues this long, he just didn’t want to be in Triple-A anymore. He doesn’t have anywhere to go right now. He said thanks for the opportunity and he’ll see what happens.”

The decision not to bring up Matthews ultimately came down something basic. The Reds did not feel he was an improvement to what was already on the 25-man roster.

“Right now, Nix is doing a great job off the bench as a left-handed pinch-hitter. Nobody is doing better on the right side than Heisey. And Stubbs is doing better and getting better in center field. Sometimes, there’s not a fit.”

*Nix started and batted fourth vs. the Astros for one good reason. He is 7-for-15 (.467) with two homers lifetime vs. Roy Oswalt.

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Cueto a go, Rolen no go

It appears that Johnny Cueto is well enough to pitch tonight. He’s in the lineup. Scott Rolen is missing for the eighth-straight game.

Saturday lineup vs HOU

Phillips 4
Cabrera 6
Votto 3
Nix 7
Bruce 9
Stubbs 8
Hernandez 2
Janish 5
Cueto 1

More later when I get to the ballpark.

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Postgame: Gomes, Cairo, Cueto

A quick breakdown from the Reds’ 7-2 win over the Nationals —

*Jonny Gomes had a 3-for-4 night and scored three runs. Gomes went deep with HR No. 13 to start the Reds’ sixth and started a four-run rally in the third with a single and later scored. His third hit was beating out an infield single to SS with one out in the eighth. In the top of the seventh, he made a nifty sliding catch at the left field foul line.

Gomes praised the all-around team effort.

“The situational hitting was awesome today. The defense was awesome too,” Gomes said.

*Miguel Cairo, filling in for the injured Scott Rolen, was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Not long after Gomes went deep, Cairo went deeper as he smacked a 438-foot homer to the upper left field bleachers in the sixth.

*Johnny Cueto turned in a dependable six innings, despite being interupted by a 42-minute rain delay. His line: 6 ip, 4 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K. 91 pitches/58 strikes.

*Cueto struck out the side in the fourth with a rolling single through the left side after play resumed.

*In the four-run bottom of the third, Cueto picked up his first two RBIs of the season with a sharp single that went through a shallow-playing 2B Cristian Guzman.

*Logan Ondrusek took over for Cueto in the seventh and put up another zero. He hasn’t allowed a run in 13-straight appearances. He has a 0.96 ERA in 20 appearances since his June 1 recall from Triple-A Louisville.

*The Reds bullpen pitched three scoreless innings without allowing a hit, although Nick Masset walked two in the eighth and Francisco Cordero walked one in the ninth.

*Brandon Phillips made a beauty of a leaping catch in the sixth to take a hit away from Cristian Guzman.

*In their last four games, Reds pitchers have allowed 17 hits. (four in each of last three games). In the last six games, starting pitchers have allowed seven runs over 40 innings.

More quotes —

“I don’t think it’s been a big deal on this team. This is team is doing a great job with adversity. You saw us with a four-game losing streak into the break. We came right back and got some games with Colorado. This team is real good at bouncing back. I think that’s a real big characteristic in a team that has to go late into the season.” — Jonny Gomes on coming back from Sunday’s 1-0 loss to the Rockies.

“He’s been a godsend to this team. He’s a baseball player. He knows how to play, he’s fundamentally sound and he does most things correct most of the time.” — Dusty Baker on Miguel Cairo

“He comes to play every day. That play he made out in left field that was an outstanding play and Jonny’s a very excitable man and he excites everybody else around him, the fans, me, you, guys on the team and everybody. It’s great to have Jonny.” — Baker on Gomes.

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Postgame extra — Deee-fensssse

It was tough to count the defensive gems tonight behind Johnny Cueto during a 7-3 victory over the Phillies.

*Joey Votto picked and turned the 3-6-3 double play to end the top of the second after Cueto had a shaky start to the inning.

*Brandon Phillips snagged Raul Ibanez’s grounder and flipped to second to begin a 4-6-3 double play in the third. Ibanez looked safe but Cueto escaped having runners on first and second with one out.

*That one out in the fourth came when leadoff hitter Chase Utley was thrown out by center fielder Drew Stubbs trying to stretch a single into a double.

*SS Orlando Cabrera had two nice plays. He stopped an Utley grounder in the hole and made a nice one-hop throw to Votto at first base in the sixth. In the eighth, he made an over the shoulder catch on Ross Gload’s pop up to shallow left field.

“We’ve been lucky this year with the way our defense is playing. I appreciated the way they played tonight,” Cueto said.

*Those plays helped Cueto get eight innings and 109 pitches after a shaky start. He allowed six hits and two walks and for the first time this season — he had no strikeouts.

*Cueto has a 0.87 ERA over his last three starts (2 ER/20 2/3 innings)

*Bill Bray pitched the ninth, giving him his first big league action since the final day of the 2008 season. Bray had Tommy John surgery in 2009 while in Triple-A. He allowed a two-out homer to Ibanez when the game seemed in hand.

*Scott Rolen notched career home run No. 300 with his two-run shot off of the foul pole in left field.

More quotes —

“Those guys aren’t that easy to strikeout either. They have some quality hitters over there. Sometimes you put too much emphasis on strikeouts. If you can make them put the ball in play and use your defense, that eliminates the high pitch count that Johnny is prone to get sometimes.” — Dusty Baker

“I was concentrating on keeping the ball down to the hitter and just getting a groundball” — Johnny Cueto.

“We’re trying to get a series, we’re trying to win a series. We know theyre a good team without a doubt, and we think were a good team. So were going to go out and play good baseball. This series isn’t over, we still have work to do against these guys and obviously we have a tough road trip.” — Scott Rolen


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Postgame extra: 3-3 on West Coast

A 3-0 win over the A’s meant a 3-3 road trip. For Reds fans having chest pains over the first three games in Seattle, this might relax things a little bit. Remember, they came in 15-35 in West Coast games over the past five seasons. Winning the first two games of the series had to happen but taking the sweep is a nice added morale boost.

The Reds are still seven games over .500 at 40-33. Not a bad place to be considering how the six-game West Coast trip started.

“Big time, that’s like a reverse sweep,” manager Dusty Baker said. “We got swept and then we sweep. It’s not the way you plan it. But that’s the way it worked out. We’re actually going home the same we left – seven over [.500]. Hopefully, we can get back to double-digits pretty soon.”

The good —

*Johnny Cueto took a shutout into the eighth inning. Worked seven-plus innings and allowed seven hits with two walks and four strikeouts.

*The play of the game was a non-routine 4-2-5 double play that came with the bases loaded and no outs in the fourth. Gabe Gross hit a soft liner to second base, where Brandon Phillips alertly let the ball short-hop and threw home to Ramon Hernandez for the force. Hernandez threw to Miguel Cairo at third base and got the double play. Had Cairo not tagged the runner and just touched the bag, he likely could have turned the triple play.

“That was a really smart play by Brandon, the play of the game,” Hernandez said. “Bases loaded, no outs and then you get two outs with no runs. That’s big.”

*Nick Masset and Cairo came up big for Cueto in the eighth after he allowed two hits before being lifted. Kurt Suzuki was robbed when his hot grounder to third base was stopped by a diving Cairo, who touched the bag and threw to first for a double play. Masset struck out Kevin Kouzmanoff to end the threat.

*In his last three outings, Masset has 3 2/3 innings of perfect pitching. Need a bigger sample size but it’s starting to look like he’s finding his mojo again.

*The Reds rotation posted a 2.33 ERA over the six-game trip.

*Jay Bruce was 3-for-3 with a walk and 7-for-10 in the series. He came in a 4-for-25 skid before the series. Down in a 0-2 count in the first, Bruce had a big two-run single to put the Reds up early. Bruce was batting .194 RISP w/two outs coming in.

The not-so-good —

*Reds were 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10. They were 3-for-23 RISP in the last two games and left 21 on base.

*Orlando Cabrera went 0-for-5 today and is batting .133 (8-for-60) over his last 15 games.

Quotes —

“I was looking at our starters the last two games the way they were pitching to those guys. I was paying attention to the way I was pitching to throw in the same pattern.” — Johnny Cueto

“We’re going to have a nice day off [on Thursday] and go back home and regroup and get ready for the weekend series. We’re trying to play good baseball and have fun, and keep doing what we’re doing.” — Ramon Hernandez

“We played good baseball. They didn’t get the breaks they needed. We capitalized on things when we needed to. That’s kind of how the series went.” — Jay Bruce

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Postgame extra: Best game?

Rare is the time you hear things like “playoff atmosphere” in June but Dusty Baker went there after a hard-fought 9-8 Reds win over the Cardinals.

“That was probably the best game of the year, especially since we came out on top,” Baker said. “Boy, that was as close to a playoff atmosphere as our young team has probably have been in. it’s just a sample of what exciting baseball is all about.”

The question of the night —

Do you agree with Baker? Was that the best game for the Reds this year?

The good —

*Joey Votto. The dude is out for six games with a stiff neck and returns by going 4-for-5 with a homer, a triple and two singles.

“I’m just trying to keep up with Miguel Cairo,” Votto joked.

*Scott Rolen’s two-homer night gives him 13 for the season. He had 11 in both 2008 and 2009.

*In the first inning on Albert Pujols’ single to left field, Jonny Gomes nailed Felipe Lopez at the plate with a great throw as Lopez tried scoring from second base.

*Drew Stubbs saved some runs from scoring when he sprinted a long way to catch Lopez’s drive to the center field wall.

*Arthur Rhodes got into quite a fix in the seventh with a leadoff walk and a single and bases loaded with two outs. But he got out of it and extended his streak to 21-straight scoreless appearances (19 2/3 innings)

The not so good —

*It wasn’t a smooth night for Johnny Cueto, who gave up eight earned runs and a career-high tying 10 hits over five-plus innings with one walk and no strikeouts. He let all four batters he faced in the sixth reach base. They all scored.

Cueto is probably entitled to an off night…he was 5-0 with a 1.85 ERA in his previous six starts. His unbeaten streak remained after the lineup picked him up in the seventh.

“He was out of his rhythm and didn’t have his good location,” Baker said.


“There was definitely more intensity. Maybe that’s just me coming back after not playing for six games. It definitely felt a little different. Both managers were making decisions obviously, to get the wins. But it felt like we were trying to beat each other. We weren’t trying to save it for later on.” — Joey Votto

“Tomorrow, we’ve got a chance to win a series. That’s important. It’s a series. It’s not the battle of first place in June. We’ve got a chance to win a series. That’s why we’re here in the position we’re in playing good baseball and tied for first place. It’s because we played well and won series. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing, you win series and play good baseball, you’ll find yourself in good position.” — Scott Rolen

And check out this take about Rolen from Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa. Rolen, of course, once played for St. Louis.

“He’s healthy and we have seen that. He’s an outstanding player when he’s healthy. He’s playing outstanding for them. Probably their manager’s getting more out of him than I did. I know people are going to speculate that and it’s probably true. I’m sure it’s true. When he’s healthy — and he’s healthy – he’s an outstanding player.”

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Postgame extra: Eight over .500

In an 8-2 win over the Pirates, the 28-20 Reds are eight games above .500 for the first time June 30, 2006. They took three of four in a series they were supposed to win. Not downplaying the outcome here but the Reds of the past didn’t always beat the teams they were supposed to beat. They remain in first place, one game up on St. Louis, which beat the Padres.

Again, check out Matt Brown’s story on the site. I’ll be writing the game story again on Friday, in addition to everything else.

The highlights —

*Johnny Cueto had another nice night — six scoreless innings, three hits, two walks, a season-high nine strikeouts. He came out after 101 pitches, in part, because of the blister on his right index finger.

“We got him out of there as a precaution for that blister,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “He had a big lead and it came out fine tonight. He also had a lot of pitches (24) that sixth inning.”

*Like this time last year, Cueto has put together a stunning set of starts the past month. He is 5-0 with a 1.85 ERA over his last six starts, including victories in the last four-straight starts. In five starts from late April to mid-May of last season, he had a 4-0, 1.25 stretch. He was 8-4 with a 2.69 ERA in the first half. Everything fell apart just before the All-Star break as his arm wore down. Cueto didn’t pitch winter ball this past off-season and his conditioning has been strong. He’s eliminated the one really bad inning. It could all equate to being a very good omen for the Reds as the season goes on.

“I’m doing more running outside, better conditioning,” Cueto said with the translation of bullpen coach Juan Lopez. “That’s the reason I’m way better than last year.”

*The Reds and Cueto did not expect the blister to prevent him from making his next start.

*This game was seemingly put to bed within two innings, when the Reds got a 7-0 lead. They sent nine to the plate in both innings.

“That’s huge. You get 3-0 and we batted around before they even got to their fourth or fifth hitter,” Baker said. “You’re assured most of the time that the top of your lineup is going to get five at-bats.”

*Scott Rolen hit a three-run home run to left field in the first, giving him 11 for the season. That equaled his totals for each of the past two seasons.

*Jay Bruce followed Rolen with a homer to right field, his first long ball since April 29. It’s the second time the Reds have had back-to-back homers this season.

“It’s fine. I wasn’t out there saying ‘yes, I hit my first homer of May today,'” Bruce said “It’s not the idea going in. it’s always nice to hit homers, whenever you hit them.”

*With Joey Votto out the last two games, Miguel Cairo has stepped up. Cairo was 3-for-5 with two runs scored and is 7-for-13 over his last three starts since last Thursday.

News —

*Brandon Phillips left after the seventh inning with a cramp in his right hamstring. Phillips was replaced by Drew Sutton, who went 0-for-1 with a strikeout.

*Aroldis Chapman returned to the mound for Triple-A Louisville on Thursday. Against Gwinnett, Chapman threw five scoreless innings with three hits and one walk allowed with seven K’s and two wild pitches while throwing 90 pitches. He left with a 4-0 lead,

More quotes —

“Two years ago today, I got called up. Last year, I hit two homers on May 27 and this year I hit one. May 27 is a pretty good day. Johnny was pitching too.” — Jay Bruce, who has 48 homers in 257 games since his MLB debut.

“It was kind of painful. The last inning, it kind of burned a little bit. It’s hurting right now.” — Johnny Cueto on his blister.

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Some historical notes

From the Reds:

CUETO & BAILEY: RHP Johnny Cueto threw a 1-hitter in Tue’s 9-0 win at Pit (0bb, 8k), followed by RHP Homer Bailey’s 4-hitter in Wed’s 5-0 win at Pit (0bb, 6k)…they became the first Reds duo to throw consecutive shutouts without issuing a walk since 1925, when Jakie May (7/27 vs Cardinals) and Dolf Luque (7/28 vs Phillies) did it…they are the first Major League teammates age 25 or under to throw consecutive shutuouts since Bal’s Mike Mussina (23) and Ben McDonald (24) did it vs the Rangers in July 1992 and the first Reds pitchers that young to do it since Frank Pastore (22) and Mike LaCoss (23) in April 1980 vs SF and at Atl, respectively…Cueto and Bailey are the first Reds pitchers to throw consecutive complete-game shutouts since Jose Rijo and Tom Browning did it on 6/9 (4-0) and 6/10 (5-0), 1989, both at Dodger Stadium…twice in their history have Reds pitchers thrown 3 consecutive complete-game shutouts, from 6/18-6/20, 1908 at Phi (Bob Ewing, Billy Campbell, Andy Coakley) and from 6/21-6/23, 1963 vs Hou (Jim Maloney, John Tsitouris, Bob Purkey)…all courtesy Elias Sports Bureau.

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0: With 9-0 and 5-0 wins on Tue and Wed at Pit, the Reds have produced consecutive shutout victories for the first time since a 3-0 win vs Hou on 4/29 of last season, followed on 5/1 by a 4-0 victory at Pit…haven’t had 3 consecutive shutout wins since 6/21-6/23, 1963 vs Hou (3-0 by Jim Maloney CG, 3-0 by John Tsitouris CG, 4-0 by Bob Purkey CG)…the Reds’ current 19.0-inning scoreless streak matches their longest of last season (4/28-5/1)…haven’t thrown more than 19.0 consecutive scoreless innings since a 25.0-inning streak of zeroes from 8/11-8/14, 2000.

Rough series for rotation

Why do I have a feeling that the Reds’ faithful will be vocal and outspoken for change if Aroldis Chapman has a great start on Friday for Louisville?

After a nice first week, it’s been a lousy second week for the current five members of the Reds rotation. The starting five’s ERA was 3.11 when the road trip began on Monday and is now at 5.43 after Aaron Harang was rock-and-rolled for eight runs in four innings and a 10-2 loss.

This is the series that was for the starters:

Cueto — 5 IP, 4 ER (0-0, 4.91 in two starts)
Arroyo — 6 IP, 5 ER (0-0, 3.86 in two starts
Bailey — 5.1 IP, 5 ER (0-1, 6.97 in two starts)
Harang — 4+ IP, 8 ER (0-2, 7.88 in three starts)

“That’s four days in a row I had to go to the bullpen early,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “We need some quality innings so we don’t kill those guys.”

The only good news is the Reds got a four-game series split after those starts. The bad news is they won the first two games and could have won the series.

With the Astros win for Bud Norris today, the Reds rotation became the lone group without a victory in the big leagues this season.

For only his second pro/big league start on Friday in Pittsburgh, Mike Leake suddenly is needed to be a stopper of sorts. He will be leaned on more than would normally be liked to go deep and provide some innings.

Do you think Leake can do it?

And will Chapman’s outing, if successful, speed up the clock for a promotion?

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