Results tagged ‘ Laynce Nix ’

Postgame: What to do with Leake?

Many people have wondered and asked me what the Reds would do with Mike Leake as the innings piled up and the season got towards the late summer. We now seem to be getting closer to some sort of answer.

Dusty Baker admitted tonight after Leake’s latest struggle that the Reds have some thinking to do about his future this season.

Another rough outing — seven runs in the fourth inning — led to a 7-3 loss to the Cardinals. Leake was done after 3 2/3 innings. Seven-straight hits in the fourth, including Skip Schumaker’s grand slam were his undoing.

Here’s the pickle the Reds are in: he has 129 2/3 innings logged this season. His career high last season at ASU was 142. The original target was 170. Dusty Baker was asked if fatigue has become a factor.

“Possibly. We discussed that,” Baker said. “He had a big inning in Pittsburgh but that was led by a couple of different variables – a hit batsman and a potential play on a groundball. We just have to discuss it and talk about it some more, which we already have. I’m sure this will be a topic of discussion real soon, probably [Tuesday].”

There is no fatigue issue, according to Leake.

“I feel great. I’m just hitting a rough patch,” said Leake, who is 1-3 with a 4.95 ERA in four starts since the All-Star break. He is 7-4 with a 4.16 ERA in 21 starts overall after a 6-1 start in the first half.

Aaron Harang is throwing his first simulated game Tuesday and will need a rehab assignment. Harang is not an option to replace Leake. Homer Bailey has three mostly solid rehab starts in the books and one more scheduled. That could be a possiblity. The Reds have to wait 10 days to bring back Travis Wood.

Leake admitted his biggest problem lately is throwing too many strikes. After a few spins through the league now, there is a book on him and scouts/video/etc. have exposed him some.

“That’s kind of what’s been starting to play a factor,” Leake said. “They know I’m going throw strikes. They’re going to come out aggressive. I need to maybe find a way to get them to swing at bad pitches instead of pitches they want.”

The good —

*Carlos Fisher dropped in with a 3 1/3 scoreless innings after Leake departed. Fisher struck out five and allowed two hits. That’s the second time he’s been a bullpen saver during a rough night for a starter. I’ll be curious to see if Fisher will stay up when he probably can’t pitch again for a few days or if the Reds will seek another long man.

*Laynce Nix was 1-for-3 tonight and has 12 hits in his last 24 at-bats.

The not-so-good —

*Brandon Phillips was 0-for-5 and is hitless in his last 10 ABs.

*One thing that surprised me a little tonight is how fast Reds fans on Twitter turned on Leake. The dude was a rookie wunderkind to many of you for skipping college and getting it done in the big leagues during the first half. I know this is a pennant race and the stakes are higher, but I’d have thought it would take a lot more two bad starts for the drums start beating for Leake to be sent out.

Leake is a big boy and doesn’t need me to defend him. I’m not going to start now. But again, that caught me off guard. It probably shouldn’t have.

More quotes –

“We hit some balls pretty good. The guy is tough. He had his curveball going today, big time.  That was his out pitch. His fastball was pretty good but it was moving.” — Dusty Baker on Chris Carpenter, who is 4-0 with a 1.61 ERA in four starts vs. the Reds in 2010.

“I do the same things I always do against anybody else, and that is to watch video and get a game plan put together and try to execute. These guys over there obviously are in the situation they’re in for a good reason, and that’s because they can hit, for one, and they’ve got some guys that can pitch over there too. it’s definitely a challenge, but every challenge is a good challenge. When you’re going against a group of guys that you know are going to compete and they’re going to do everything they can to beat you, it’s a lot of fun.” — Carpenter on his success vs. the Reds. He’s won nine-straight decisions against them and 11-3 with a 2.00 ERA in 17 starts lifetime.

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Postgame: Reds hang on

Some quick notes from Saturday:

*Reds are a season-high 15 games over .500 with the 4-3 win.

*Dusty Baker gets credit for the quote of the day:

“How old do I look now, about 75?” Baker joked after Francisco Cordero struggled with three walks and a hit batter, causing two Cubs runs in the bottom of the ninth.

*Cordero has walked 32 batters in 50 1/3 innings this season.

*Chicago sent eight men to the plate in that final rally and never had to put a ball into play. Stunning, really.

*Nick Masset barely had time to warm up but big credit to him for putting out that fire in a tough spot. He did walk in a run but he also struck out Derrek Lee and Marlon Byrd with some nice curveballs. That was Masset’s second save of the season.

*The Reds are now 11-1-1 over their past 13 series, including 6-0-1 since the All-Star break.

*Drew Stubbs was 3-for-4 with a homer, two RBIs and two runs scored.

*Laynce Nix made two key plays today. His awesome diving catch saved two runs in the bottom of the second inning. And a hustling Nix reached second base when Blake DeWitt dropped a routine pop up in the ninth. Nix was able to score on Stubbs’ RBI single.

*Edinson Volquez walked four, but pitched a solid 6 2/3 innings. He induced 12 groundball outs and also had a seven-pitch 1-2-3 fifth inning. It looked like it might be a tough day when he walked his first batter of the game, Fukudome, on four pitches.

*Brandon Phillips exited the game before the bottom of the ninth with a sore foot. He fouled a ball off of his foot in the eighth. It sounded like Phillips might not play Sunday.

Quotes —

“I just used the past few days to take a step back from everything, and clean the slate up top. I had a lot of things going on in my head. I stepped back and got to where I was earlier. I tweaked a few things working with Brook Jacoby the last few days, making sure my timing was good at the plate again. I made some good swings on some balls today.” — Drew Stubbs

“We’ve been in situations like that quite a bit. It’s a little different when the game is on the line and it’s the bottom of the ninth. You try not to think about that and just attack the hitters and try to get them out.” — Nick Masset

“I’m happy with it. This is my longest start this year. I’m getting better. I was working with Bryan [Price]. I finally got everything together now. I was feeling in a better rhythm with my mechanics. I moved nice and easy. I was more consistent today.” — Edinson Volquez

“They hit the ball well with men in scoring position. I think they’re right at the top of
the league or close to it in that department. It showed again today. We had two outs a
couple times and they got two big hits in the third base hole and we didn’t.” — Cubs manager Lou Piniella

“We have a few guys kind of hobbling right now that we want to get 100 percent before the Cardinals series. So you might see a much different lineup out there.” — Dusty Baker

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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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Tuesday vs. SF

Tues lineup vs. Giants

Cabrera 6
Phillips 4
Votto 3
Rolen 5
Bruce 9
Nix 7
Heisey 8
Hernandez 2
LeCure 1

*Laynce Nix is 4-for-7 (.571) with one homer lifetime against Giants starter Matt Cain. Joey Votto is 4-for-12 (.333) and Orlando Cabrera is 3-for-10 (.300) with two homers against Cain.

“Match-up stuff,” manager Dusty Baker said about the different look to the lineup. “The only guy we have that hits Cain pretty good really, is Nix. Heisey has proven he can hit that fastball.”

*With Arthur Rhodes hurting with a sore right foot, Baker said he hasn’t considered putting his best reliever on the disabled list.

“I certainly don’t want it to come to that. He doesn’t want that,” Baker said Tuesday.

Rhodes said last night his foot only hurts on certain pitches. When asked if there are some days Rhodes isn’t available because of the foot, Baker didn’t completely answer but reiterated the need to pick and choose how he uses Rhodes.

“I also have to monitor his workload too,” Baker said. “I try not to go more than a couple of days in a row with him. I try not to go more than one-inning stints with him. Otherwise, I have to give him a couple of days off. It makes it tough when he’s the hottest guy in your bullpen. But you also know that he’s 40 years old. He’s a guy coming off Tommy John [surgery] a couple of years ago. I’ve got to have him July, August, September and hopefully, October. If you wear down one of your main horses, then what do you have?

“I know Arthur pretty well. I can read him pretty good, regardless of what he says. Most of the time, he’ll tell you when he needs a blow.”

*Reds first-round pick Yasmani Grandal was named a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award — which is given to the best amateur player in the country. Grandal is playing a 1 p.m. ET game, hoping to reach him via conference call later today.

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Postgame extra: quote parade

The Reds felt Friday’s 7-4 win was a big one to get. It put the Atlanta series behind them and kept a losing streak from festering. Here are some quotes:

*Bronson Arroyo (6 2/3 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 2 HR, 101 pitches/62 strikes):

“It’s been big for us this year to come back from a lot of losses. In the past, we’d let things slide downhill for two, three, four, five games in a row. It’s just devastating for the team, especially this early in the year. We’re bouncing back good, which is great because it’s not easy to do that, especially when you lose two heartbreakers in a row down in Atlanta.”

*Manager Dusty Baker:

“You can dwell on it and stay in it or you can put it behind you. That shows you what kind of character this team has. You have to do that. This game is a daily game. You don’t have time to lament or feel down and out about a game you just played. It’s ok to get down but the key in this game is to not stay down. When that happens, it snowballs and the next thing you know,  depression sets in and nothing good comes out of it.”

*Laynce Nix (3-for-4, HR, two doubles, three runs scored, game-winning hit)

“As professionals, it’s our jobs to turn the page every day no matter what. That was a tough loss but it doesn’t linger long if you don’t remember it. It has nothing to do with today. It was good for to bounce back and swing the bats and come out with a win.”

Interestingly, Nix didn’t spend any time watching highlights of his missed catch from Thursday. He was yelling at the fence after he missed the Brooks Conrad grand slam.

“I was there. I didn’t need to see it,” Nix said.

Finally, the Brewers

The Reds have already played the Cardinals nine times…but tonight is the first time they get the Brewers. Interesting.

Belated question of the day: Sure, it’s premature but since you’re allowed to vote, I’m allowed to ask. If you could send one Reds player to the All-Star game right now, who would you send?

Right now, I’d have to think my vote is for Arthur Rhodes. Mike Leake and Joey Votto could certainly be worthy of consideration when the time comes to start naming rosters.

Monday’s lineup vs. MIL

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

*Laynce Nix, who missed the last few days, with back spasms is available and ready to go.

“It was spasming for a couple days and took a couple of days to heal up and get better. I’m swinging 100 percent and everything,” Nix said. “It happens now and then when I’m coming off the bench. I’m working around it. I’m fine now.”

*There was some chatting about the Reds going from first base to third base five times on singles Sunday vs. the Cardinals (bringing season total to 32). Bronson Arroyo did it on a Cabrera single to left field in the fifth inning

“It’s the only time you feel like a baseball player, running the bases from first to third,” Arroyo joked. “Pitching doesn’t count.”

*Walt Jocketty told me that RHP Jared Burton, who has been on the DL since April 8, is almost ready to rejoin Triple-A Louisville soon.

*It’s raining right now (5:11 pm) and the tarp is on the field. The Reds sent out an email earlier that it would be dry in time for the game.

*Every once in a while you see something new in a big league clubhouse. Today, I saw Mike Leake, Chris Dickerson, Jay Bruce and Ramon Hernandez kicking and juggling a soccer ball. Hernandez especially seemed to have some skills.

*Reds players were shooting PSA’s for next week’s “Bark in Park” night and the SPCA. “Bark in Park” is May 26 vs. the Pirates. In the picture below are Aaron Harang and Homer Bailey. Few players could resist petting the puppies.

 

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Laynce Nix update

Outfielder and left-handed bench player Laynce Nix is unlikely to be available tonight or will only be used in a “dire emergency,” as manager Dusty Baker called it. Baker still wasn’t saying what Nix’s injury was and neither was Nix.

“It’s just a tight muscle hindering me from playing,” Nix said. “I will be back in a couple of days. It’s nothing too serious. I haven’t been able to swing that bat but it’s getting a lot better.”

Baker said he didn’t anticpate making a roster move. Besides, there really are no left-handed hitters at Triple-A Louisville. Danny Dorn just broke his hand and Juan Francisco is out for four weeks after his appendectomy. Yonder Alonso was just moved up from Double-A to take Dorn’s place.

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No walks make manager happy

At least in the Reds-Cubs portion of split-squad games Sunday, the 1-1 tie provided one of Cincinnati’s best pitched games all season.

Justin Lehr finally got a start and a chance to stretch out and didn’t disappoint. Lehr’s line was one earned run on five hits with no walks and one strikeouts over four innings.

“Lehr was only so supposed to go three but his pitch count was so low, that’s why we had him go another inning,” manager Dusty Baker said.

*Arthur Rhodes continued his stellar spring with one scoreless inning, one hit and three strikeouts. Rhodes has four scoreless innings in four games and just two hits and one walk.

*Francisco Cordero followed with two scoreless innings. He allowed one hit and struck out three. He’s worked seven scoreless innings this spring.

*Kip Wells also turned in his best outing of spring with three scoreless innings, one hit and three strikeouts.

The common thread here — no walks were allowed by any Reds pitchers vs. the Cubs today.

“That’s what Bryan [Price] has been trying to stress to these guys about trying to get strike one and make them earn it,” Baker said. “No free passes.”

*Not much offense to speak of but Laynce Nix tattooed an opposite field home run to left field on a 1-1 count with two outs in the second inning. There was no doubt it was going out off of the bat.

“That’s one of the best balls I’ve seen him hit to the opposite field,” Baker said. “He’s been working on driving the ball. We knew he could drive it this way [to right field] but it was the first time I’ve seen really drive it. He hits a lot of doubles over there. That opposite field home run, he busted that ball.”

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Frazier OK and Friday notes

Todd Frazier could have been feeling much worse this morning. Frazier took a 95 mph Aroldis Chapman fastball to his right leg and walked away with only a bruised right quadriceps. Frazier’s leg was tightly wrapped when he walked into the clubhouse Friday morning.

“You never know when you get hit, especially when the ball hits the bone,” Frazier said. “You’re always worried about it. At the same time, I walked it off which was very good.”

This was the same knee Frazier had surgery on over the winter but there were no issues. He won’t play in Friday’s game.

“I’ll be back tomorrow,” Frazier said.

I jokingly asked Frazier if he kept the ball as a souvenir, a teammate had the same thought right after the incident.

“[Laynce] Nix threw me the ball in the dugout. I tossed it and started laughing,” Frazier said. “It’s never good to get hit but making a joke about it was funny.”

*Speaking of Nix, he was scratched from Friday’s lineup. He was shaken up during the intrasquad game  trying to catch Miguel Cairo drive to left field.

“He ran into a wall on that play,” manager Dusty Baker said. “It’s a precautionary thing.”

Drew Sutton replaced Nix as the designated hitter and will bat ninth vs. Cleveland.

*Someone in the office asked Baker about what Orlando Cabrera brings to the team. One of the attributes was leadership.

“He’s a leader that doesn’t mind leading,” Baker said. “A lot of leaders are people are pushed into leadership. He’s vocal. Brandon [Phillips] gets on him and says he doesn’t understand what he’s saying, but they go way back.”

The Reds left side of the infield now has two leader-types with Cabrera and Scott Rolen. Both are different personalities, however.

“We’ve got one that’s vocal and one that’s not,” Baker said. “The one that’s not, Scott, you kind of have to figure out what he’s saying. He’ll say something that will ignite your thought process. He’ll do it with a smile, laughter or a joke and you have to figure out what he’s saying. Most times, it’s something very profound.”

*Baker said he would take it slower in getting Rolen and Cabrera ready, a right they’ve earned as veterans. The manager also says he knows when guys need to be pushed or dialed back some.

“The older you get, it takes you a little longer to get fine tuned,” Baker said. “When you get there, you keep it longer.”

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What's going on with Gomes?

With less than two weeks before the Reds start Spring Training, outfielder Jonny Gomes seemed far from assured of being signed.

Since last week when it was learned the two sides were talking about a Minor League contract, there has been little movement.

“Nothing recently,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said on Friday night. “We may re-evaluate where we’re at with our roster and with the number of people we have going [to Spring Training].”

If the Reds do not end up signing Gomes, they will not try to pursue another outfielder as a Plan B.

“We’ll either do something with him or stay with what we have until we get to camp and see how it shakes out,” Jocketty said. “There’s no real deadline. We’re playing it by ear. I don’t think there’s pressure one way or the other to get it done.”

There is still a vacancy in left field that will need filling this spring. Chris Dickerson, Laynce Nix, Wladimir Balentien, Chris Heisey and Todd Frazier are among the candidates.

 

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