Results tagged ‘ Micah Owings ’

Owings hits, pitches for 6-5 win

It was all about Micah Owings tonight. Owings pitched six innings for the victory and looked better than his line indicated. He allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits with one walk and four strikeouts.

Most important — Owings RBI triple in the bottom of the fourth provided the go-ahead run that snapped a 3-3 tie. It came right after Milwaukee scored three in the top of the fourth.

Big win for the Reds, considering they were down to 22 healthy players. Only Darnell McDonald and Chris Dickerson were available off the bench.

Dusty Baker quote:

“I liked the way he started. He started calm and it was the best start of a game he’s had since he’s been here. He was determined and calm about it at the same time. I’m glad we got the victory for him because he gave it all he had. I’d hate to have him get a no-decision after pitching, hitting and running doing everything he did.”

Micah Owings quote:

“I say it all the time. I’m fortunate to be able to swing it and be blessed with God-given talent that I have. I take a lot of pride in it. I know a lot of guys are going to continue to bear down on me but I’m going to bear down too and keep seeing what I can do to help the team.”

Owings pounded the bag hard after he was called safe upon his slide into third base.

“For one, I was out of breath and tired. I don’t know if I was surprised that I made it and was safe and together from the previous half inning, it was a rush of emotions.”

Outcome not cat's meow

The Reds didn’t look to good in Tuesday’s 7-2 loss to the Cubs. They’re 5-3 on the road trip with two left to play here.

  • Just five hits for the lineup.
  • Seven walks for the pitching staff.

Micah Owings was charged with five runs, two earned, on five hits with four walks and three strikeouts. He couldn’t escape a three-run fifth, which was doomed by back-to-back one-out walks followed by Chris Dickerson’s error on  Derrek Lee’s drive to the left field warning track.

“Anything else without the wind, that ball is long gone,” Dickerson said. “I tried to do what we’re taught. Get back to the wall and adjust from there. The ball kept dying, dying and dying. When you look up and run into the basket with the wind, it goes with the elements that make Wrigley Field so difficult on days like that. … Nothing can really prepare you for that. There is no Wrigley Field basket at Spring Training where we can practice or wind simulation.”

Two quirky moments came in the fourth.

With Joey Votto batting, a calico cat wandered on to the field and caused a delay in the game. The cat meandered around before a security guard grappled with the cagey feline.

Two batters later as Jay Bruce batted, a foul to left field wasn’t caught by Alfonso Soriano but instead by an eager fan who happened to be sitting in the infamous area Steve Bartman once sat during the 2003 playoffs. Cubs fans’ booing intensified when Bruce used the break to notch an RBI single.

One nice highlight was Bruce’s return from the sore hand. He was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and hit a solo homer to right field in the top of the second.

At this point, what would you consider a positive road trip — 5-5, 6-4 or 7-3? Most teams would accept the 5-5 almost any time but it would be tough to go home that way after the start of this trip. It’d also be a disappointing to not pass an early season test vs. the division favorite Cubs.

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Owings: pitcher or batter?

I will go ahead and take an unpopular dissenting opinion. I’m not in favor of turning pitcher Micah Owings into a left fielder. I know he can hit and it isn’t a fluke. In 121 at-bats, he’s batting .322 with five homers, 11 doubles and 21 RBIs. That’s including his huge pinch-hit double that drove in two runs in the seventh inning for a 4-2 Reds win over the Astros on Sunday.

I know the Reds are hitting a MLB-worst .210 right now. With pitching being such a premium in the long run, are you really willing to trash a healthy arm for the extra bat in the short term? Owings has had the benefit of hitting pretty much every five days as a starting pitcher and once in a while as a pinch-hitter. He’s rarely had to grind through every day feeling less than 100 percent. He’s never been mired in a prolonged slump that comes with regular play over 162 games. And he’s never played left field in the Majors. You had zero tolerance for Adam Dunn’s less than stellar defense in left field. What would you do if Owings took a bad route on a fly ball at Great American Ball Park? The answer is you’d jump all over him.

A few years from now when Owings can no longer successfully pitch, whether it’s because of age or injury, then that’s an easy move to groom him for an every day spot at first base or the outfield. But for now, he’s just 26 and I’m still high on his potential as a pitcher. He’s had one start for the Reds. Let him pitch before we change his career for him.

“I just like the opportunity. I enjoy it,” Owings said of hitting. “I had opportunities in high school and college and I can’t say enough about the opportunities I’ve gotten in my pro career so far. Every time I get in there, I’m just going to enjoy it and do the best that I can.”

And of course, Owings knew the question was coming about becoming an every day player.

“I don’t want to go there. I know what you’re thinking,” he said. “I will work on getting ready for Tuesday. I feel like I’ve worked hard and made a lot of strides. The outcome was what any of us wanted the other night. It’s a long season and I have to focus on the next time I get out there and each pitch.”

Off day musings

Greetings from downtown Houston where I’m getting my bearings after landing on my flight from Milwaukee. Since I’m supposed to be “off” today, I will pose a few questions to you and hope you respond. Go ahead and sign in so you can comment. I know it’s an extra step but it really doesn’t hurt, trust me.

The Reds are 4-4 after eight games. Are you happy with that?

What’s your biggest surprise and disappointment?

Has anything you’ve seen encouraged or discouraged you about the bulk of the season ahead?

I know that’s a lot to ask for when only eight games have been played.

Some early trends:

The Reds offense is ranked 16th out of 16 NL teams with a .222 team average.

The Reds are fourth in walks with 40 and eighth in team OBP with .333. They are 12th in runs scored.

Joey Votto is hitting very well (.387, 2 HR, 10 RBI, .457 OBP) and Willy Taveras has done a good job of getting on base (.462 OBP) and creating some havoc. Edwin Encarnacion (eight walks) and Brandon Phillips (seven walks) are getting on base a lot. Jay Bruce and Alex Gonzalez haven’t looked good at the plate.

The focus of my off-day story is pitching, namely the rotation. Although counted on to be the biggest strength of the team, it has yet to get into a groove. There have been just two quality starts. It has pitched five innings or fewer four times and into the seventh twice. It came into Thursday ranked 10th out of 16 National League teams with a 4.82 ERA, eighth with 46 2/3 innings pitched and ninth in strikeouts with 37. The staff’s overall ERA is 5.32, also ranked 10th.

Only Aaron Harang has had two decent outings and Bronson Arroyo has had one. Edinson Volquez hasn’t looked good and Johnny Cueto and Micah Owings have had one uneven outing each.

Lastly, the Reds are facing Astros main nemesis Roy Oswalt on Friday. I would love to be a fly on the wall during the coaching staff’s meeting with the advance scout about to handle Oswalt. In 28 games vs. the Reds, including 26 starts, Oswalt is 23-1 with a 2.47 ERA lifetime and was 4-0 last season. How do you like the Reds’ chances with Cueto?

Discuss, please.

No sweep.

The Reds had to settle for a 2-1 start to the 10-game road trip after they dropped a 9-3 game to Milwaukee on Wednesday.

Although he wouldn’t use it as a cop out, Micah Owings seemed rusty — especially early on. He threw 89 pitches in five-plus innings with 47 strikes/42 balls. Owings gave up four earned runs and five hits with two walks and two strikeouts. He was up to 60 pitches through three innings.

Owings quotes:

“I felt like as the game went on I got a little sharper. Definitely wasn’t results you’d like to get. There are a couple of things I can work on going into the next one and get ready to go.”


“The last thing I’m going to do is make some excuses. I felt pretty good. I felt like we were right there in the game. That’s all we can ask for.”

It was a 3-3 game after Chris Dickerson’s first homer, a two-run shot. But the Brewers pulled away. It was an off night for reliever Jared Burton, who gave up four runs and three hits, including Rickie Weeks’ two-run homer in the four-run Brewers sixth

“I’m just having trouble with the feel of some of my pitches right now,” Burton said. “I’m in one of those funks everyone goes through unfortunately and I look at my stuff on film and it’s just not there right now. I’m not finishing my pitches which is what happens when you’re feeling for everything instead of trusting your stuff and letting it go. The results aren’t there right now.”

Offensively: Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce combined to go 0-for-11.

On the positive side, Alex Gonzalez finally snapped an 0-for-17 skid with a RBI double to right-center field in the fifth, which got the Reds on the scoreboard vs. Braden Looper.

“Nobody is real happy about that right now because we had a chance to sweep,” manager Dusty Baker said. “Now we have to go to Houston and start a new winning streak.”

OK, Baker is expectedly unhappy. How do you feel about the Reds taking two of three in Milwaukee?

Up next after the Thursday off day, Houston.

Frigid in Milwaukee

The thermostat is still turned way down in Milwaukee and we’re all thankful again for the Miller Park roof.

The aforementioned frigid output of Ramon Hernandez (2-for-19) and Alex Gonzalez (0-for-16) has prompted a lineup change. Ryan Hanigan is catching and Paul Janish is the shortstop. Here is the full Reds lineup:

Taveras, cf

Hairson, lf

Votto, 1b

Phillips, 2b

Bruce, rf

Encarnacion, 3b

Hanigan, c

Janish, ss

Arroyo, rhp


News you can use:


Gonzalez and Hernandez took extra BP this afternoon to work on their swings. Gonzalez found his session to be productive.


“Everybody wants to get a hit,” Gonzalez said. “When you’re in that situation, you try to get the first hit. I will keep working. I worked today and tried to fix what I saw in the video. I’m opening up too quick and that’s why I miss a lot of pitches. I will be ready for tomorrow. I will go out there and try to do what I did in BP.”


Dusty Baker said that starting pitcher Micah Owings would bat ninth on Wednesday, but unlike some comments Baker made last week, he seems open to batting Owings higher in the order down the road.

“Maybe,” Baker said. “He’s a pretty good ace in the hole in that ninth spot, too.”

Edinson Volquez will be working with pitching coach Dick Pole between starts to tighten his delivery and improve his command


“He couldn’t get to his secondary pitches because he couldn’t control his primary pitch – his fastball,” Baker said. “He didn’t throw hardly any changeups. He threw a few breaking balls. It’s hard to throw your changeup if you’re not locating your fastball.”


In Minor League news from Jamie Ramsey, Adam Rosales hit another homer (a 435-foot two-run shot) for Triple-A Louisville Monday to extend his hitting streak to five games. Rosales has opened the season batting .412 (7-for-17) with two homers and seven RBIs.


Double-A Carolina’s Todd Frazier had three hits last night at Mississippi and raised average to a team-best .455 (10-for-22, 5rbi).


Carolina OF Chris Heisey is hitting .412 (7-for-17, 2hr, 4rbi, 2 2B, 6r, 6bb, .583obp)

Late update — Homer Bailey was ejected from tonight’s game vs. Toledo in the top of the third inning when he hit a batter immediately after allowing a home run. Bailey’s line was: 2.2ip, 3h, 3r-2er, 3bb-3k, 2hr. He threw 53 pitches, 30 strikes.

Saturday matinee, it wasn't pretty

The sun is shining. Ball will be played. This is good.

Slightly different lineup vs. Pirates LHP Paul Maholm.

Taveras CF, Hairston LF, Votto 1B, Phillips 2B, Encarnacion 3B, Bruce RF, Hernandez C, Gonzalez SS, Cueto.

Dusty Baker flip-flopped Jay Bruce with Edwin Encarnacion.

“Maholm is tough on lefties,” Baker said. “It will take a little pressure off of Jay. He’s struggling some. It just depends on who the left-hander is. It’s no slight on Jay.”

  • As mentioned last night, fifth starter Micah Owings (originally slated to pitch today) will work from the bullpen for a few days and will start on Wednesday at Milwaukee. But it will more challenging for Baker to use Owings as a pinch-hitter.

“Now I have to be more careful when I use him as a pinch-hitter now,” Baker said. “Unless I’m going to bring him into a game or something, then you have to figure out how to warm him up and then come in to pinch-hit. It’s much like what Milwaukee did with Brooks Kieschnick. I will call upon my memory on how they did it because I’ve never had that situation.”

  • Outfielder Chris Dickerson hasn’t had a fun week, despite turning 27 on Friday. Dickerson hasn’t played much because the Reds have faced three lefties, including Maholm on Saturday, and his Friday start was wiped out by the rain. On top of that, Dickerson got clocked in the head by a revolving glass door this morning at his hotel. He was sporting a bandage above his right eye.

“My ‘real’ story is I hit my head on the rim during a celebrity slam dunk contest,” Dickerson said.

“Don’t play. Birthday and then get beat up the door at the hotel. Three lefties and a rain out. As we would say, ‘hang with ’em.'”

POSTGAME jottings from a 10-2 beating to the Pirates:

Baker was pretty livid after the game, especially with the ending. Jay Bruce got doubled off first base when he took off on contact with one out. Ramon Hernandez wound up flying out deep to center field.

some quotes from Baker:

“It’s hard to take when you make mental mistakes like that. You know when you have a young, young team, you know you’re going to make some mistakes. You just hope they’re not game costing or game ending mistakes. We constantly remind them how many outs there are. These are things you should know. Like in all sports, you run with your head up.”

quotes from Bruce:

“I don’t know what I was thinking. I wasn’t. There is absolutely no excuse for that. It was a lack of focus and I have to do a better job. Who knows if we would have won or not but that’s not even giving my team a chance.”

“One out down nine runs, my run doesn’t mean anything first of all. I just have to give us a chance and I didn’t. I have to have more focus and more concentration. I had nothing.”

“Off the bat I didn’t think he was going to catch it. That’s no reason to take off to the races like that. You’ve got to know the outs and be in position to do both. I just wasn’t paying attention. It was ridiculous and embarrassing. It can’t happen again, that’s for sure. I have to do a better job.”

More postgame news you can use:

  • Joey Votto said he was fine after Saturday’s game after a painful home plate collision in the fourth inning on Saturday. Votto was thrown out trying to score from second on Edwin Encarnacion’s single when his left knee crashed hard into catcher Ryan Doumit’s spikes. Votto, who ripped his pants, was hobbling for several moments but remained in the game.
  • Daniel Herrera was better his second time out but still paid for a walk. Herrera issued a one-out walk to Nyjer Morgan, who stole second and scored on Nate McLouth’s RBI blooped single. Herrera struck out the side, too, including Freddy Sanchez on a 62 mph screwball.
  • Mike Lincoln has three relief appearances in the books and two of them have been pretty lousy. While working the top of the ninth on Saturday, Lincoln gave up five runs and three hits, which included back-to-back homers — Ryan Doumit’s grand slam and Adam LaRoche’s homer. Lincoln also allowed three walks. In his 2 1/3 innings, Lincoln has a 34.71 ERA with nine earned runs allowed, six hits and six walks.
  • After 15 runs over the previous two game, the offense was on sabbatical with only three singles off Paul Maholm. Owings’ PH double in the eighth off John Grabow was the only Reds extra base hit.

Opening Day news you can use

Still raining at the GABP…the tarp is on the field.

Earlier this morning, Bronson Arroyo threw a 40-pitch bullpen session and still wants to pitch on Thursday as originally scheduled. Yesterday, Manager Dusty Baker moved Arroyo back to Sunday and has Micah Owings going on Thursday.

“Trust me, everything is negotiable,” Arroyo said.

As for the session itself, no problems.

“Ask Porky [Lopez] or Dickie Pole what he thought,” Arroyo said “My arm feels great. I usually throw a little bit less but I threw a really hard one just to let them know I’m not full of it when I say my arm feels fine. I’m ready to go. They will let me know.”

Bullpen coach Juan “Porky” Lopez caught Arroyo’s throwing session.

“Bronson threw really good,” Lopez said.

UPDATE: Arroyo is starting on Thursday again. Baker changed his mind.

  • It’s never a good sign when a coach walks up to you wearing a surgical mask as a joke like Billy Hatcher did with center fielder Willy Taveras Monday morning. Taveras has the flu and isn’t playing today. Taveras hoped he could come back Wednesday after the off day Tuesday.

“I feel a lot  better today so we’ll see. It’s a hard case,” Taveras said.

  • Canadian Joey Votto has the quote of the day on today’s weather:

“We play hockey in this weather, not baseball,” Votto said.

First pitch was at 1:23 — 13 minutes behind schedule. Temperature was 37 degrees.

Here is the rotation after Monday:

Wednesday vs NYM, Volquez
Thursday vs NYM, Arroyo
Friday vs Pit, Cueto
Saturday vs Pit, Owings
Sunday vs Pit, Harang



Rays-Reds March 29… weather permitting

They say it’s going to stop raining about noon-ish and the hope is they’re going to get this game in. I hope so. I was kind of looking forward to seeing Rays lefty Scott Kazmir twirl. It’s coming down in buckets now, but hope springs eternal. The radar does look like there’s clearing right behind this mess. Take a look for yourself. If there is a game, here’s the lineup:

Taveras  CF
Hairston Jr. SS
Votto  1B
Phillips  2B
Bruce  RF
Rosales  3B
Dickerson  LF
Hernandez  C
Arroyo  P

Dusty Baker was hoping to get the game in, “sou our pitching doesn’t get backed up. This has been a blessed spring. I was thinking, ‘Let it rain all night because they need the water here, then let it dry out.'”

Originally, both Edwin Encarnacion and Alex Gonzalez were slated to DH in Minor League games today. Even if it does clear up, that’s not going to happen. The back fields don’t have the same kind of drainage as the big field does, so even if there’s baseball played in Sarasota today, there’s no way the Reds would risk having the left side of their infield slipping and sliding around in bad conditions.

Fifth starer update: I hinted at this yesterday, that Micah Owings is getting one more start and Homer Bailey is not. We asked Dusty if this was a done deal and he said, carefully, “It’s not official yet ,just because it’s lined up that way. But [Owings] has pitched great. Whatever the case, though, Homer’s in our plans. Big-time.” He raved about Bailey’s overall demeanor in camp, etc. My guess is he doesn’t want to announce anything yet, just in case something happens in the last week here. But assuming the unofficial becomes official, the question then is whether Bailey would make this team as a reliever or go down to Triple-A to start every fifth day. I vote for the latter, because he simply wouldn’t pitch enough as a long reliever here and his value is as a starter. All you folks who want to trade him need to slow down a bit. Keep in mind that he’s still only 22. How mature were any of you at that age? He’s starting to figure it out. Also, when was the last time a big-league staff only needed five starters all year? If Bailey is gone, who’s your replacement in case of injury or ineffectiveness? Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I’m for keeping Homer, sending him to Louisville and let him continue to figure it out as it appears he has started to do here in camp. But maybe that’s just me…

I’ll let you know if it stop sraining enough for there to be baseball today… is that an ark I just saw go by??? — Jonathan Mayo

Dickerson trying to prove himself

Sometimes when you write a lot of stories, you can forget about them. Players however, don’t always forget. Many of them read what the beat reporters write and part of the gig is being accountable for writing it. So when I was talking to outfielder Chris Dickerson Wednesday about his good spring, he dropped this sentence my way:

“I’m trying to prove to you that I’m not an anomaly,” Dickerson said.

I had no idea at first what he was talking about. But he remembered a story about the left field vacancy that I wrote . I had to go look it up. On Feb. 10, I wrote:

“But there are questions about whether Dickerson’s numbers were an anomaly since they’re superior than anything he had previously produced in the Minors.”

So there you go. We talked about it today, I told him I looked up the story and everything seemed fine. But like many players, statements that carry even a shred of doubt about a performance seem to be something Dickerson uses as motivation. Batting .375 entering tonight, Dickerson has certainly had a solid spring and if he continues that way, I can’t see how he isn’t on the 25-man roster in April.

Last season Dickerson batted .304 with six homers and 15 RBIs in 31 games. He batted .287 at Triple-A Louisville and was red hot before his August call-up but is a .260 hitter lifetime in the Minors.

“People want to say that was just a great six-week performance and that’s it,” Dickerson said. “Just like everybody else, they look into the Minor League performance. I just want to come out here and continue to show people I can play and that I’m the same player I was those last six weeks.”

More on this story later on the web site.

News you can use:

  • Fifth starter contender Micah Owings acknowledged his less than pretty line in a Minor League game on Wednesday. (4.1 IN, 9H, 7 R, 6 ER, 5K, 1 HB)

“The results probably didn’t indicate how I felt,” Owings said. “The first three innings went well and I felt good. Looking back, I could have probably done a couple of things differently. Those guys were just swinging.”

“It’s not easy pitching against the young guys,” manager Dusty Baker said. “It’s a bigger deal for the kids to face them than it is for them to face the kids. You call home and tell them what you did. ‘Daddy, I think I’m ready.'”

Much of Owings trouble began after a bunt play when he made an error throw to third base. He also hit a solo homer in the game.

“The first at-bat was ugly. I saw three pitches, made three swings and sat down,” Owings said. The next at-bat, I broke my bat on the first pitch and fouled it off down the line. I got one of [Norris Hopper’s] bats he gave me because I only brought one out there.”

  • Must have been some bat since Hopper also hit a solo homer in his Minor League game. Hopper isn’t known for his pop.
  • Baker plans to play all of his regulars for nine innings against the Red Sox, except for Alex Gonzalez, who is going six. None of the regulars will be on the Friday trip to Kissimmee to play the Astros. Ryan Hanigan isn’t playing today but will be catching starter Johnny Cueto on Friday.
  • We’re one day short of the three-year anniversary of Bronson Arroyo’s trade from the Red Sox to the Reds for OF Wily Mo Pena. It was former GM Wayne Krivsky’s first trade with the club. Still like it? Arroyo is 38-37 with a 4.05 ERA since coming to the Reds but he’s pitching 200 or more innings in all three seasons. It’s still a no-brainer to me and I’m sure Boston GM Theo Epstein wouldn’t mind a do-over. Arroyo gets to face his old team tonight — but Boston also didn’t travel its ‘A’ lineup.
  • In the clip ‘n save — Baker has liked very much what he’s seen from catcher Craig Tatum, who reached Triple-A last season.

“He’s one of the most improved hitters I’ve seen as far as approach and keeping things simpler,” Baker said. “He’s strong. He’s got a cannon for an arm.”

Tatum starts tonight and has benefitted greatly from Ramon Hernandez’s extended leave for the WBC.

Reds lineup:

Taveras CF, Gonzalez SS, Votto 1B, Phillips 2B, Bruce RF, Encarnacion 3B, Dickerson LF, Tatum C, Arroyo P

Red Sox lineup:

Baldelli CF, Lowrie SS, Wilkerson 1B, Bailey RF, Carter LF, Green 2B, Chavez 3B, Brown C, Lester P 

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