Results tagged ‘ Mike Leake ’

Postgame: New plan for Leake?

Reds pitcher Mike Leake was hammered in his second relief appearance during the 16-5 loss to the Giants. Leake entered in the fifth when it was 7-5 and let the game get away during a six-run inning.

Out of eight batters faced, Leake retired one. He allowed six hits and a walk with two homers.

This could very well be the end of the line this season for Leake. After 22 starts before his move to the bullpen, the rookie’s ERA was 3.78. It’s climbed to 4.21 over 139 innings following two relief appearances.

“We’re addressing that now,” manager Dusty Baker said. “He’s getting hurt mostly on his slider and sinker. His sinker is not sinking as good. And his slider isn’t rolling. It’s not as sharp.”

If it’s not the end for the season, the club could try resting him until rosters expand Sept. 1, which might require sending him out for a week. After all he’s done for the team as a starter, I’d expect the club will try to think over every possible scenario to keep him pitching while also protecting him.

One positive note —

*Freshly called up Chris Valaika delivered a lined pinch-hit single to center field in his big league debut. Valaika played the rest of the game at shortstop and went 1-for-2.

Other quotes from postgame —

“They beat us up good.” — Dusty Baker

“I’m not going to take anything away from them. They’re playing great. They outplayed us. They’re swinging the bats well. We’re on a good road trip right now. We’re 5-3 on the road trip right now and have a chance to come back tomorrow. It might not be what we want for the series, but if we can catch tomorrow, we end up with a great road trip.” — Scott Rolen

“They came out swinging, put some runs up on me early and a few more late. It wasn’t my night. It seemed like every ball fell in for them. They hit some hard balls and they hit some that found some holes.” — Travis Wood, who gave up seven runs and seven hits over four innings.

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Postgame: Transactions coming?

The transaction wire should be active with Reds moves on Tuesday following a lousy night at the yard — an 11-2 Reds loss to the Giants.

*Laynce Nix went down with a sprained left ankle running out an infield single in the third inning.

*Jim Edmonds strained a right oblique muscle swinging at a pitch in the sixth.
*The club also learned that already injured RHP Russ Springer will need surgery to repair a herniated disc and will miss 6-8 weeks.

Nix didn’t believe he was going to miss any games.

“Slowing down, I sort of jammed my ankle into the ground,” Nix said. “I didn’t roll it or anything too significant. I don’t think it’s serious. It shouldn’t keep me out of action. I should be fine to at least pinch-hit.”

Edmonds, who was acquired in an Aug. 9 trade, is likely headed to the DL.

“This has been an ongoing deal with my Achilles and reacting to all the things I’ve been favoring,” Edmonds said. “It’s been sore the last week or two weeks. It was getting worse. The last couple of days not playing much, I thought it was going to get better. It gave me a false sense of security.”

*The Reds have no other outfielders on their 40-man roster but can free up a spot by moving Springer from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL. Wladimir Balentien could be a leading candidate since he’s tearing it up at Triple-A Louisville lately. Dave Sappelt is also playing well but has only 11 games in AAA and started the year in A ball.

*An infielder is always possible with Juan Francisco or Yonder Alonso already being on the 40-man.

*Edinson Volquez’s two-thirds of an inning was a bullpen buster as well, especially two days after Johnny Cueto lasted only three innings at Los Angeles on Saturday. Jordan Smith had to pitch a career-high 4 1/3 innings. Mike Leake was unavailable tonight because he worked on Saturday.

*That means another reliever could be summoned for reinforcements.

“We’re discussing that now. That really put a strain and stress on my bullpen,” Dusty Baker said.

More quotes from post-game —

“The main thing is for nobody to panic. It’s one game. You want to win every game. At this point we’re 5-2 on this road trip with two more games left. We still have a chance for a very good road trip.” – Dusty Baker

“A lot of people told me that – one day you got it and the next day, you can’t find it. Everything is fine. My arm is strong and everything.” — Edinson Volquez

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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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Initial thoughts on Edmonds

I like today’s trade by the Reds for a few reasons.

1. I think Jim Edmonds still has it. Remember that game-winning PH homer he clobbered off of Bronson Arroyo in Milwaukee on July 26? He can still be big in clutch moments.

2. Edmonds is another guy in the clubhouse that’s been there and done that. He has World Series experience. That can only help a mostly stretch-run untested group of young guys. He’s a .274 hitter with a .361 OBP in seven years worth of post-season play, mostly with St. Louis.

3. I think Chris Dickerson and his injuries made the Reds impatient. He’s a good guy with lots of talent, but this trade is about now. If they wanted him here, he would have come up a while ago. He showed he was ready.

One reason to worry about the trade:

Edmonds wasn’t able to play much during the last Reds-Brewers series because of a sore Achilles tendon. It’s nagged him much of the summer. A 40-year-old center fielder with a bad wheel is certainly a concern. Obviously, he can still hit but running is an issue.

But apparently, Edmonds is well enough to start tonight. He’s in the lineup against the Cardinals.

Phillips 4
Nix 7
Votto 3
Rolen 5
Edmonds 8
Bruce 9
Hernandez 2
Janish 6
Leake 1

*No 25-man roster move to make room for Edmonds has been revealed yet. Walt Jocketty and Edmonds are meeting with the media at 4 p.m. ET.

*And this from the Reds: Major League Baseball today made a scoring change in the bottom of the second inning of Tue’s 7-6 loss at Pit…the hit by Lastings Milledge originally ruled a double has been changed to an error on Reds 3B Scott Rolen…that scoring change adjusts
the number of earned runs charged to Reds pitchers from 6er to 0er.

 That change lowered Mike Leake’s ERA from 3.86 to 3.43 entering tonight’s start. 

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Could Chapman be summoned?

RHP Russ Springer is headed to the doctor for a MRI test later today because of a sore hip flexor. If he needs to go on the DL, it’s possible Aroldis Chapman could be the guy called up from Triple-A Louisville.

“Maybe,” general manager Walt Jocketty said. “There are two or three guys down there pitching well. We just have to decide, looking at the matchups and who we’re playing, which guy is available and the best matchup.”

RHP Jared Burton is also pitching well at Louisville and could be one of the other candidates. Springer said he was still sore on Friday morning.

“It’s discouraging because my arm feels great,” Springer said. “Hopefully, it’s just a little hiccup. It was a long road to get back to the big leagues and two outings in, it grabbed me like that.”

*OF Chris Dickerson was recalled from his rehab assignment at Louisville but has not been activated from the DL yet. Dickerson was in California to be a funeral.

“We can either bring him back here or option him [to Louisville],” Jocketty said.

*The Reds set their rotation for the upcoming Cardinals series. It will be Mike Leake, Johnny Cueto and Bronson Arroyo. Leake will be pitching in his normal turn, and facing St. Louis ace Chris Carpenter. There was no discussion of moving things around.

“Whoever is throwing the best, you can’t just match it up for St. Louis and maybe lose games before you even get to St. Louis,” manager Dusty Baker said. “Quite frankly, our rotation has been set since the 26th of July until the 22nd of August.”

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Postgame: Wood wins No. 1

There was no shortage of highlights worth mentioning from Wednesday’s 10-2 Reds win over the Brewers. For starters, it completed a 4-2 road trip with two series wins.

The good —

*There always seems to be hand wringing about the offensive shortcomings but the NL’s best hitting and scoring team cranked out 22 runs and 32 hits over the last two games to win this series. As Larry David might say “pretty, pretty good.”

*Travis Wood finally got his first big league win. His outing was shortened by the long sixth inning and his turn coming up in the midst of a big rally. Wood pitched five innings and allowed two runs and five hits with one walk and six strikeouts.

“It feels good,” Wood said. “Coming out today, every game, I’m trying to get that first one.  Today I was able to throw well and keep the team close. We ended up getting a lot of big runs late. We battled and got it done.”

*The most impressive moment of the five-run Reds’ sixth was the sound execution of Ryan Hanigan’s perfect suicide squeeze. Miguel Cairo was sprinting home from third base as Hanigan dropped his bunt back to the mound. Milwaukee was definitely caught by surprise there.

*Defense was nice today as Jay Bruce robbed Carlos Gomez with a diving catch in the fourth inning to save a run after Milwaukee had just taken a 2-0 lead. Trying for a triple in the seventh, Gomez was also nailed with a very nice one-hopped throw by left fielder Jonny Gomes.

*Brandon Phillips slugged a 450-foot grand slam off of Bernie Brewer’s yellow slide in the eighth. Other than Sammy Sosa in the Home Run Derby in 2002, no one had ever hit the slide. I even asked Bernie and his handler. Bernie replied by nodding his enlarged head “no.”

*Four more scoreless innings by the Reds bullpen gave them 15 scoreless for the six-game road trip.

*Jonny Gomes’ RBI double in the sixth gave him 300 RBIs for his career. He is still sitting on 99 career home runs.

*Joey Votto hit his 26th home run of the season in the eighth. That established a new career-high and extended his NL lead.

What happened there? —

*Wood had oops moment when he walked off the mound and to the dugout after striking out Joe Inglett in the third inning. There were only two outs. Wood wasn’t alone since Hanigan also went that way.

“He was strutting pretty good,” Dusty Baker said. “Guys were all on him for strutting like the inning was over. The second one wasn’t as good as his first one.”

Why Leake? —

Some folks on Twitter wondered why Mike Leake was sent to pinch-hit in the eighth inning for Arthur Rhodes. It wasn’t just because Leake was a .366 hitter.

“We were kind of short of people today,” Baker explained. “We tried to stay away from Scotty after his big day yesterday. He was sore. We didn’t want to use Ramon because he caught about 150 pitches yesterday. He was a little sore. I had to save Janish because Cabrera injured his shoulder a little bit on that slide into third. I took a chance of bringing Nix in early. I couldn’t afford to use anybody else and I didn’t think they’d walk him.”

Give Leake credit for working a full-count walk to load the bases just before Phillips’ grand slam.

More quotes —

“It was kind of strange to get a five-inning win, especially after all the great games he’s pitched. We needed that one badly. It was a big getaway day win for us.” — Dusty Baker on Travis Wood

“My pitches were working pretty well. I had some trouble getting the curveball at first and then finally found it. I was able to make some good pitches at some good times and get some guys out.” — Travis Wood

“You go into some ballparks and some lineups, and they’re all home run threats. You keep them in the ballpark and you’ll be alright. But I think we’re deeper than that. We’ve got some situational hitters. You saw the squeeze. The top of our lineup is going to get on and we’re going to run. We’ll go from first to third and steal bags as well. I don’t think we’re just home run threats.” — Jonny Gomes

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Postgame: New Leake pitch count?

Following a 4-0 loss to the Astros, there could be a change in tactics in how the Reds manage Leake’s pitch count going forward. Today, he was at 84 pitches through six innings and then had trouble getting through the next 10 pitches.

It was 1-0 when Leake gave up three-straight hits in the seventh with one out — including Chris Johnson’s home run, a Jason Castro single and pinch-hitter Jason Michaels’ double. Both runners scored on Michael Bourn’s double off Arthur Rhodes.

The Leake line: 6.1 ip, 7 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 2 HR….94 pitches/53 strikes.

“Maybe we’ll have to start watching him around that 90-pitch count,” manager Dusty Baker said. “It was 100 but maybe we’ll bring it down to 90. They flared that one in there, no problem. He’s got that sinker. He’s the best double play almost that we’ve got. That’s why we let him face Michaels. A sinker on Michaels came back over the plate and a sinker on Johnson came back over the plate.”

Leake also ran into trouble in the seven-run ninth inning at Philly when he was at 83 pitches coming in and started giving up hits.

*With a little better luck, you have think Leake would have double-digit wins by now and more consideration for NL Rookie of the Year votes. He was hosed from a win against the Astros on May 30 when he pitched seven scoreless and didn’t get a win because the Reds were blanked 2-0 in 10 innings. The Reds are 11-8 when he pitches. There were three losses by one run, two by two runs and six in the opponent’s final at-bat. There of course were the two heartbreakers in Atlanta and Philadelphia.

“It happens I guess. It’s frustrating. Then again, they’re not trying to do it,” Leake said. “You just have to battle, make your pitches and try to keep it low on your part.”

The good —

*The defense had some sparkling moments. In the fourth, left fielder Jonny Gomes made a fantastic diving catch towards the line to rob Jason Castro and save a run. In the seventh, Orlando Cabrera took a hit away from leadoff batter Jeff Keppinger with a pick and leaping throw from the hole.

The not so good —

*Today’s loss was the Reds’ MLB leading 12th shutout this season. They’ve been blanked six times on Sundays, including the last three in a row.

*The Reds have also been shutout five times in the last 16 games.

“That is strange. I guess when we’re good, we’re very good. When we don’t score, we don’t score at all,” Baker said.

*Wandy Rodriguez, who had a 5.11 ERA coming in, gave Houston one-hit ball over seven innings.

More quotes —

“I think those zeroes up there weren’t telling the whole story. I wasn’t locating well the whole game. I felt like I couldn’t really throw it where I wanted to today. I don’t know why.” — Mike Leake

“Wandy has been throwing the ball good, according to our reports. He’s thrown his fastball up and out of the zone away a lot and bouncing his breaking ball. And that’s what he was doing today.” — Dusty Baker on Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez

“I wish I could but I’m glad I can’t. It means it doesn’t happen very often. This game is interesting. I think we’ve done pretty good against Wandy the last couple of outings.” — Jonny Gomes on the inability to explain all the shutouts.

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A loss to rival the Atlanta debacle

Dusty Baker said it before anyone had to ask.

“Boy, that one hurts as much as it hurt in Atlanta,” Baker said after the Reds lost 9-7 in 10 innings to the Phillies on a walkoff homer by Ryan Howard off Arthur Rhodes.

What really hurt on Friday was the Reds had a 7-1 lead going into the ninth. In the Braves game on May 20, the Reds had leads of 8-0, and 9-1 and lost 10-9 on a grand slam off Cordero in the bottom of the ninth.

Mike Leake had 83 pitches heading into the bottom of the ninth and had only allowed five hits and no walks to that point. I do not blame Baker for sticking with him. His limit is 100 pitches at the rate he was going, finishing the game in 17 pitches wasn’t a tall order. He averaged just over 10 pitches per inning.

Shane Victorino’s leadoff double started the mayhem. But Leake got an out and then a cheap RBI bloop single from Howard. Another cheapie followed in a broken bat grounder by Jayson Werth. Greg Dobbs hit the foul pole for a three run homer on Leake’s 100th and final pitch.

“We’re trying to save my bullpen for the next couple of days,” Baker said. “We wanted to stay away from Arthur. The right side pitched a lot last night, except for Masset and Owings. [Leake] had been getting Dobbs all night (0-for-3). He hit the screen up there. We still had a two-run lead with two outs to go.”

*Guess what? I don’t blame Baker for sticking with Leake in the ninth. Why? Because the worst that could happen was he’d give up those runs and the Reds would still lead by two runs. The two hits before Dobbs weren’t hard hit. Leake didn’t look like he was weakening, to me.

And, it’s a perfectly reasonable expectation for a veteran closer to get a two-out save with a two-run lead.

But Francisco Cordero, who had saved his last seven in a row, issued a two-out walk to Ben Francisco and then left a 0-1 pitch over the plate for Cody Ransom to tie the game with his first homer of the season.

*Cordero has allowed 20 walks and 41 hits in 40 2/3 innings this season. He has six blown saves in 30 chances.

“I have to cut out the walks,” Cordero said. “I’m walking too many guys. Every time I walk a guy, that run comes. We got two outs and I walked Ben Francisco and boom, tie game,  home run. I have to cut out the walks, especially when you’re pitching in a ballpark here or at home. It’s a small ballpark. You don’t bring the tying run to home plate. You just have to get that guy.”

*And as a little coincidence…Leake was the starter that missed out on a win because of the debacle in Atlanta.

“This one is a little tougher, for me, because I gave up the majority of the runs,” said Leake, who also had three hits and a walk. “It’s a tough one to swallow. It’s always tough when you’re winning by six. There’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to close a game.”

More quotes —

“That whole at-bat, I shouldn’t have even been in a 3-2 count that last at-bat. I should’ve put in play earlier than that. The leadoff hitter of that inning and Dobbs was the only bad part of that inning. It shouldn’t have even got to the point where it did in the game. I should’ve been able to finish it.” — Mike Leake

“We still had 7-5. One of the key plays was a walk to Francisco. Then he made a mistake to Cody Ransom to tie the game up.” — Dusty Baker on Cordero

 Volquez watch —

*By the looks of his line for Triple-A Louisville in his final rehab start on Friday, Edinson Volquez is ready for the big leagues again. Against Toledo, Volquez allowed one hit over seven scoreless innings with three walks and nine strikeouts. He didn’t allow his first hit until the sixth and struck out the side in the seventh.

*Volquez, who is returning from Tommy John surgery last August, threw 102 pitches, 61 for strikes.

***I’m starting my All-Star break a couple of days early because I am going home. Have a good weekend.

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Volquez, Chapman, Leake — news

*Edinson Volquez pitched five innings and allowed one earned run on three hits with no walk and one strikeout in his latest rehab start for Triple-A Louisville. Volquez threw first-pitch strikes to nine of his 19 batters and reached as high as 98 mph. Of his 80 pitches, 49 were strikes.

*In 13 innings over three starts, Volquez has yet to allow a walk.

*Aroldis Chapman is pitching in relief today for Louisville for the first time this season. And for the first time this year, Reds GM Walt Jocketty indicated that he could be looked to eventually come up as a reliever.

“We may look at that,”  Jocketty said. “If Volquez comes back and Bailey isn’t far away, the best opportunity will be out of the bullpen. But we could still possibly use him as a starter.”

Update: Chapman pitched two innings of relief and allowed one run, two hits and one walk with three strikeouts.

*Mike Leake is being pushed back from his next turn in the rotation and will not pitch in the Cleveland series. Leake, who pitched this past Monday vs. the A’s will start on Tuesday vs. the Phillies. Aaron Harang, Sam LeCure and Bronson Arroyo will start the next three games vs. the Indians.

*Ryan Hanigan will leave Thursday for Louisville and his rehab assignment. Hanigan will be gone 7-10 days, and DH the first couple of games. He will be behind the plate for Volquez’s next start.


Tuesday notes

Tues lineup vs OAK

Cabrera 6
Phillips 4
Votto 3
Rolen 5
Gomes DH
Bruce 9
Stubbs 8
Heisey 7
Miller 2

Arroyo RHP

*Francisco Cordero’s availability seemed unlikely after he threw 33 pitches last night in the blown save where he allowed three runs.. Dusty Baker hoped it would be an issue he’d have to deal with.

“I’m not sure,” Baker said. “That’s the first time since we’ve had him that he went more than one inning – that I can remember. We’re trying to limit him to just one inning. Hopefully we don’t need him tonight.”

Cordero last had more than three outs for the Reds on May 12, 2008 vs. Florida. It was a four-out save.

*Yesterday, Dusty Baker said this about Mike Leake and how he will be protected from throwing too many innings:

“We have to find a way to keep him strong. This is uncharted territory he’s about to enter in right now,” Baker said. “We’re going to skip him a few times and help him stay strong.”

Asked today for more specifics on when Leake might be curtailed, Baker declined to say.

“We have our rotation penciled out until the All-Star break, two of them actually,” Baker said Tuesday. “There are off days in there. We can skip almost everybody maybe. It depends on who’s the strongest, who’s throwing well and we’ll try not to skip a turn – but give them extra days.”

Edinson Volquez, scheduled to make a rehab assignment start Wednesday, is likely to be back before the All-Star break. Could he take some innings off of Leake’s hands?

“I don’t know yet,” Baker said. “He’s pitching pretty well and Volquez is throwing pretty good too. We have some decisions to make but those are pretty good decisions.”

*Outfielder Chris Dickerson (right hand/wrist surgeries) was to begin his rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville today. But it was halted after he was sore from batting practice.

*Scott Rolen will likely get the day off Wednesday.

*Louisville 1B/OF Yonder Alonso and LHP Philippe Valiquette were named to the World squad for the All-Star Futures game on July 11 in Anaheim.

*The Reds signed their 10th and 11th round picks today –Kevin Arico and Andrew Heyes. Both are right-handed pitchers. 

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