Results tagged ‘ Nick Masset ’

A lost series in Houston, really?

Dropping two of three to the team with the worst record in baseball? In the voice of Wallace Shawn’s character Vizzini in “The Princess Bride” …. inconceivable!

I remember walking to Minute Maid Park Monday seeing a crane remove a huge Hunter Pence banner outside the stadium. The Astros were reeling from losing two stars in deadline trades and having to start young players — some straight from Double-A. Not winning this series seemed like something that wouldn’t happen to the Reds, or even couldn’t.

Happen it did as the 5-4 loss on Wednesday meant the Reds dropped two of three in the series to fall 7 1/2 games out of first place.

“It’s another tough loss,” pitcher Dontrelle Willis said. “We’re going to continue to work hard and continue to battle but this one hurt tonight.”

Notes:

*It was Willis’ seventh inning homer that gave the Reds a 3-2 lead. It was Willis’ ninth career homer and his first since 8/29/07 vs. ATL while playing for the Marlins.

*Nick Masset was charged with his first blown save since April 13, and it was a doozy. Masset faced five batters and couldn’t notch an out. Starting his seventh inning with a four-pitch walk was a big problem. Two bad plays on bunts compounded it.

*Many wondered why Willis didn’t stick around after the sixth with only 77 pitches. In six innings, he allowed two runs and eight hits with one walk and two strikeouts.

“He really wasn’t sharp all night,” manager Dusty Baker said. “They were hitting some balls hard off of him. We felt fortunate to get as deep in the game as we did. I don’t know if you noticed, they were hitting some balls hard off of him tonight, which they didn’t do earlier against Dontrelle. That was far enough.”

*Willis is 0-1 with a 3.68 ERA in five starts for the Reds.

*Joey Votto was 3-for-4. His Minute Maid Park hitting streak is 18 games.

*Astros starter Jordan Lyles, the youngest player in the Majors at 20 years old, earned his first big league win after beginning his career 0-6.

Quotes:

“Honestly, I really felt like I didn’t have good command. Once again, our defense and the talent we have around me picked me up today. Ramon did a good job of calling the right pitches to get me out of those jams. It was a team effort to get me out of those jams and keep us in the ballgame. That’s what they’ve been doing the whole time since I’ve been up.” — Dontrelle Willis

“We had a couple of messed up bunt plays without an out. You just can’t give away that many outs. This game isn’t made for five outs. You have to take the outs when you get them.” — Dusty Baker

Cueto brilliant in debut

Since I need to make my way to the airport, I will keep this brief.

Johnny Cueto gave the Reds exactly what they hoped for today with six-plus scoreless innings for a 2-0 victory. Cueto allowed five hits and a walk with four strikeouts. He threw 102 pitches and was lifted after a leadoff single in the seventh since he was at his pitch limit.

With Homer Bailey back and Cueto back and both with nice starts, the Reds could really see what they’ve got going forward. Bronson Arroyo pitched great yesterday and Travis Wood was mostly solid — save for four walks — his last time out. Maybe I’m a dissenter to you, but I believe Edinson Volquez isn’t too far from finding his rhythm on a consistent basis. To me, his moments of brilliance are too good to think he can’t start clicking.
 

“We’re on a little bit of a roll now,” manager Dusty Baker said. “Hopefully we can get on a big roll if we can get everybody back. This is the team we slated to be the team. The other guys did a good job for them in their absence but these guys are my horses.”

Notes:

*Joey Votto’s on-base streak to start the season was ended at 33 games after he was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. That left him one shy of Dave Collins’ 1981 club record. Interestingly, Votto’s 41-game on-base streak last season was ended here as well on July 4 when he was ejected in the first inning for balls and strikes.

“You go through stretches where you miss. I’ve been missing lately. It will pass,” Votto said.

*For those wondering, Aroldis Chapman was up in the bullpen during the seventh inning jam and was intended to use against lefty hitter Kosuke Fukudome. Chapman wasn’t ready in time, however. And Sam LeCure walked Fukudome to load the bases, but he escaped the jam of his own making.

“We were thinking about him but he takes a long time to get loose,” Baker said of Chapman. “We have to give him a full inning to get loose. I called down and he wasn’t ready. We didn’t want to take a chance.”

*Jay Bruce was 2-for-3 today, making him 12-for-36 (.333) with four homers and eight RBIs over his last 10 games.

*Going back to last season, the Reds have won 12 of the last 15 games vs. the Cubs.

*Cueto and Nick Masset were both called for balks today. It was the first time that two balks were called on the team since it happened to Brandon Claussen and Brian Shackelford on 8/25/05 vs. the Nationals. That interesting nugget came from the Cubs media relations staff.

Quotes:

“That was a great outing by Cueto. We took him to his limit, I think. That’s why we got him. He was still throwing the ball well but you’ve got to remember that’s his first outing. That was awesome.” — Dusty Baker

“My fastball was landing where I wanted it. And I was happy with the location because my fastball was getting good location.” — Johnny Cueto

*
“We had the tough loss yesterday and to be able to bounce back from that and get a win today was great. Cueto came back and pitched outstanding. Our relievers did a great job also holding that lead. Not a lot of hits, but luckily the one I got was a homer and Ramon got the big hit early too.” — Drew Stubbs

“It might have been one of the best I’ve ever seen him throw, to be honest with you. He looked fantastic. He threw his breaking ball really well. It seemed like they were off balance the entire game. I’m really glad he came back after missing some time and threw so well today.” — Joey Votto on Cueto

*
****That’s it for me for a few days. I’m skipping Houston but resuming on Friday for the Cardinals series.

Nice series turnaround

Just think, there was a moment on Wednesday when the Reds were three outs away from losing this series. They had only one hit through eight innings and all was bleak.

Fast forward to today’s 10-4 win. The Reds took the series with back-to-back wins, the first time they did that since April 11-12. And they did it behind a very fine season debut from Homer Bailey.

Bailey’s line: 6 ip, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. 95 pitches/62 strikes. His 1-2-3 first inning was a good barometer — 15 pitches/11 strikes. You can read more on him when my full game story is published on MLB.com.

“Pretty much, we were always in a good count,” Bailey said. “There were only a couple of batters where we fell behind. When you’re ahead in the count, good things are going to happen.”

The Reds could not have asked for a better outing for his first game back from the right-shoulder impingement. Another anticipation is brewing for Sunday when Johnny Cueto makes his 2011 debut.

Notes:

*Joey Votto’s on-base streak is at 31 with his fourth-inning single. Now that Ryan Braun’s streak ended yesterday at 28, Votto is the only big league player to reach base in all of his team’s games.

*Ryan Hanigan’s three RBIs accounted for the first three runs of the game.

*Bailey’s 1-2-3 top of the first inning was only the fifth for the rotation in that troublesome inning this season. However, it was the second in a row after Travis Wood did it Wednesday.

*Fred Lewis had the first PH homer of his career and his first homer with the Reds in the sixth inning.

*Aroldis Chapman had a rough one today. Chapman entered with two on and two out in the seventh and did not retire any of his three batters. He walked two, including one with the bases loaded and gave up a two-run single.

*Nick Masset did a nice job with a 1-2-3 eighth inning. His two strikeouts both came on 96 mph pitches.

*Jay Bruce hit an eighth inning homer during the important four-run eighth that put the game away. Bruce is tied with Jonny Gomes for the team lead with six homers.

*The Reds have had four-straight games without an error.

Quotes:

“This guy is capable of a lot of victories for us. We were hoping this injury or the layoff for him and Cueto both – we’re in September and they’ll still be strong when everybody else has another month on them. Hopefully into October, he’ll be September with innings and wear and tear. This could work out great for us.” — Dusty Baker on Homer Bailey

“I had a lot of confidence that we were going to score some runs. I had Hanigan back there doing a great job. It was more about executing pitches.” — Homer Bailey

“He’s had spurts of dominance throughout his career. It’s just a matter of consistency. He’s such a competitor and he wants it bad. He works at it as hard as anybody. He’s got the stuff to do it when he’s on. We’re just going to try and take it game by game, have a good game plan, try and stick with it, make adjustments on the fly and hopefully he can have a good year.” — Ryan Hanigan on Bailey
 
“It feels good to shut the door a little bit, not having to come from behind. It’s always comforting, especially on get-away days.” — Jay Bruce

“He didn’t have it today; I’m sure he will next time. The rest of the guys picked him up.” Ryan Hanigan on Aroldis Chapman

Big win in extras

I won’t run it all down here but please read the game story on the web site for how all the great defensive plays saved the Reds collective bacon tonight — namely Brandon Phillips exceptional bare-handed snag and throw in the eighth.

*Unfortunately, starter Sam LeCure got the short end with a no-decision after a really nice night of pitching. In his second start of the season, eCure was sensational for six innings as he gave up one earned run on only one hit with two walks and eight strikeouts. LeCure retired the last 12 batters faced in a row.

*The Reds took LeCure out after 87 pitches.

“Young LeCure pitched great tonight,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “He pitched outstanding. But his endurance level wasn’t quite where we want it to be to go deep in the ballgame. He gave us all he had.”

“We got into a good groove and there wasn’t a whole lot of shaking going on and we were able to get on the same page early,” said LeCure about himself and catcher Ryan Hanigan.

Notes:

*All of the hits, and all six runs scored, in the top of the 11th came with two outs.

*Hanigan was 0-for-4 until his two-out double to left field in the 11th scored Jonny Gomes with the go-ahead run in a 2-2 game.

*Drew Stubbs homer was a first-pitch shot and absolutely tattooed. You don’t see many get of center field that quick.

*Aroldis Chapman had a quick 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh. Interestingly, Chapman only topped out at 98 mph when struck out Brad Hawpe looking with his final pitch.

*Nick Masset had another rough one — his third in a row. Two hard hits started the eighth and led to the game-tying run scoring on a groundout. It was Phillips’ play that kept San Diego from taking the lead.

*And in tonight’s notebook — I talked to Phillips and Bill Bray about their good starts to the season.

*Also a Homer Bailey update: 3 ip, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 5 K and 37 pitches during his game at the team complex in Goodyear.

Quotes:

“We played good defense. Sam made a great start. There at the end, I got a pitch to hit. You never know with two outs. I was having a tough night at the plate to that point. I was just trying to battle. I got a pitch I could handle and put a good swing on it. — Ryan Hanigan
“Hani just let the game come to me. I thought it was really fitting that he got what turned into the game-winning RBI there. He did such a great job with everybody. He called a great game. How many balls did he block in big situations? I thought it was really fitting that he came up with that hit.” — Sam LeCure

“We’ve got to get Masset together. He’s struggling right now. He’s struggling with location. Great velocity, just poor location. The ball is right down the middle. He suffered with this last year. We have to do something to help him figure it out.” — Dusty Baker.

Missed chances, blown leads

When a team has high expectations and gets off to a 5-0 start like the Reds, fans can be spoiled. And judging from Twitter, highly irate when the game goes south like this one did.

A potentially nice game and series win evaporated into a very tough loss to the D-Backs, 10-8.

What killed the Reds were two blown leads — a 5-0 in the third inning that they couldn’t add to. Then there was the 7-6 lead in the seventh from Jonny Gomes’ homer. 

This was a game that should have been settled early. The Reds had a 5-0 lead in the third with the bases loaded and one out and added no more runs that inning. That proved to be huge.

Notes:

*Nick Masset has taken losses in his last two outings. A four-run, three hit eighth inning zapped him, namely when Chris Young clubbed a 3-2 pitch into the left field seats. Masset has given up seven hits and five runs over his last two outings.

*Aroldis Chapman, pitching on back-to-back days, clearly didn’t have his same velocity (talk about spoiled). Instead of crossing 100, he was mostly 96-98 mph. He also walked three batters (a career high) but got one with a pickoff. He escaped with two strikeouts.

*Mike Leake really didn’t pitch as bad as his line (4.2 ip, 6 ER, 9 H) would indicate. All four of the consecutive one-out singles were either tough plays or rollers that found holes. His 1-0 offering to Ryan Roberts was a big mistake, however.

*Drew Stubbs has opened the last three games with a strikeout in the top of the first.

*Joey Votto tied a career high for the ninth time with four hits. He had three hits over the first four innings.

Quotes:

“When you have an opportunity to ice the game, you have to put your foot on their throat. We’re still learning to do that. We had opportunities to ice that game early and go deep in their bullpen.” — Dusty Baker

“I got a couple of unlucky rolls that went through for hits. And then there was a big mistake of throwing a fastball down the middle. They made me pay.” — Mike Leake

No more undefeated for Reds

 So that whole 162-0 thing is out of the question now I guess?

The Reds weren’t going to do that, obviously. But they felt like they had chances to go 6-0 during a3-2 loss to the Astros. The record is 5-1 instead.

The glaring issue this time was key hits — there weren’t many. The Reds were 0-for-5 RISP with 11 LOB.

Notes:

*When Nick Masset gave up the go-ahead run in the ninth, it snapped a 12-inning scoreless streak for the Reds bullpen.

*Scott Rolen did come up big as a pinch-hitter in the seventh with a solo home run off Brett Myers that tied the game at 2-2. Rolen was 3-for-7 last season as a pinch-hitter…with two homers. It was also Rolen’s fourth career pinch-hit homer.

*Drew Stubbs went 0-for-5, snapping his hitting streak at 13 — dating back to last season.

*Joey Votto singled in the seventh and has a 6-game hitting streak. He’s batting .391 (9-for-23).

*Brandon Phillips hads four-straight multi-hit games. He’s batting .440 (11-for-25).

*The Reds still have only one error for the season (on Opening Day). The only other team with one error in six games is the Braves.

*I did a notebook today on Paul Janish’s hot start. There will also be items on the team defense and when it’s posted, something on LeCure’s day.

Quotes:

“They put some good swings on some balls and you can’t do anything about it. I pretty much threw a lot of the pitches where I wanted to today. They found holes and found gaps. That’s kind of the way it goes. I’m not going to get down on myself. I’ve got a lot more appearances to go. We’re still out there fighting, giving it our all.” — Nick Masset

“I was fairly pleased. There were a couple of times I got a little bit complacent out there and I think that cost us. the first pitch to Lee that he hit into the gap was a get-me over fastball. I didn’t have a whole lot behind it. he took advantage and did what good hitters do. A couple of walks was me being kind of lazy.” — Sam LeCure on his outing

“We had a lot of chances today. We’ve been picking them up the last couple of days. We just didn’t get that two-out hit today that we needed. They ended up getting it.” — Dusty Baker

Until Friday from Phoenix…
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Hold on to your wigs and keys

This wasn’t a good day out here if you wear a toupee or had to catch a fly ball.

Winds at the yard today were at 29 mph, with gusts up to 35 mph. A few infielders and outfielders took some unique routes in trying to catch some of the flies. It certainly wasn’t an easy task.

“I was chewing a lot of gum to keep my mouth wet, that’s for sure,” Reds pitcher Homer Bailey said.

Fortunately, this did not affect your fearless Reds beat writer in the cozy confines of the press box. But wow ,it was sure windy all around the desert today. There lots of double-digit run totals in Cactus League games on Monday. For example, it was a 16-16 final between the White Sox and Indians in Glendale.

Over in Goodyear, there was only side with double-digits and that was the Brewers. They handed the Reds a 15-2 thumping. The 25 hits allowed by Cincinnati was the club’s most in a spring game since at least 1997.

*Before Monday’s loss, Reds pitchers had a 1.03 ERA over the previous four games, totaling 35 innings. The staff hadn’t allowed a homer in the previous seven-straight games. The Brewers had three today.

“Man, this game is hard to figure,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “One day everything goes right and the next day everything goes wrong. I guess that’s why it’s called spring.”

Some pitching lines:

*Bailey wound up being charged with four earned runs and six hits over 2 2/3 innings with no walks and three strikeouts. Bailey was trailing 1-0 with two outs in the third and just couldn’t finish the inning. He allowed four-straight hits.

*Mike Leake was roughed up for six hits in the fourth inning and nine total over three innings. He also allowed four runs. Many of the balls were well connected.

*Bill Bray gave up seven runs and six hits over 2/3 of an inning.

*Nick Masset fared the best with one scoreless inning and one strikeout.

*Aroldis Chapman threw two wild pitches in the seventh and gave up one hit during a scoreless seventh.

“Chappy had a little problem with command but ended up getting a key double play and got out of the inning. He didn’t appear very happy,” Baker said.

Some hitting, but not much:

*The Reds had seven hits, most of them late. Dave Sappelt’s second homer of spring provided their first run in the seventh.

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Targeting Tuesday for Bruce

Sunday lineup vs. PIT

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

*OF Jay Bruce (sore right side) is considered available to pinch-run and play defense today. His return is pretty close. Bruce hasn’t played since Aug. 30.

“We’re targeting Tuesday,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “They said he won’t completely heal 100 percent until the winter. Waiting a couple of more weeks is going to help but it’s not going to … so we may have to space him. He’s very close. He let it out pretty good yesterday. He swung pretty good.”

*Nick Masset and Aroldis Chapman are not considered available from the bullpen today. Chapman and Masset had both pitched the last three games.

 
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Postgame: Stealing home, game stolen

There’s not a lot that can be said after that game, a 6-5 Reds loss. I had never seen a straight-steal of home before and Chris Nelson certainly did something no one on the Reds expected.

Here are some expanded quotes from both sides that tell the story:

“It was one of those situations. I came set and they said ‘step off.’ My initial reaction was that the guy from first was going to second. I step off and turn around. By the time I looked at third base, that guy was halfway home and I didn’t have a chance to get him. it was a complete mistake on my part because you check the runner at third right away and then go from there. I kind of looked past that. Normally you get the guy from first who tries to be sneaky at second. It was a complete mishap on my part.” — Nick Masset

“You’ve got a right-hander pitcher pitching from the stretch and the runner’s right in front of you. And he obviously never saw him. Because he had been running for a while when the screaming and hollering started.” — Rockies manager Jim Tracy

“It’s embarrassing. It’s something that shouldn’t have happened. It’s something I take complete fault for. It’s something you’ve never seen before. Before I was about to throw that pitch, I was going to fake to third and go to first. Instead, he took off right before I had the chance. That’s why I thought the runner from first was stealing second.” — Masset
   
“It doesn’t cross your mind that all of a sudden, he’s going to steal home right in the middle of you standing there. That was a really risky play on their end that paid off. You’ve got a right-handed reliever in the stretch position facing you, and all of a sudden you run home. That’s a big time risky play. It paid off for them. In general it’s not going to pay off. It will cost you a base runner late in the game.” — Joey Votto

“It was a squeeze play, but the pitcher wasn’t really looking at me so I just ran home.” — Chris Nelson.

“I don’t think I’ve ever lost a game like that, a steal at home. They say if you’ve been around this game long enough, you see everything. When you’re not going good, everything goes against you.” — Dusty Baker

*****

*Obviously the Reds can still finish .500 and get to 90 wins and the Cardinals have a hard hill to climb. But the Reds can make themselves feel a touch better by beating up the Pirates and getting on a roll. St. Louis starts a series tonight with a much tougher foe in Atlanta.

Quick notes –

*The Reds took a 5-0 lead and saw Colorado score six unanswered runs

*The Reds finished off a 1-6 road trip, their worst of the year. They tied a season-high with five-straight losses.

*The Reds have lost eight in a row at Coor Field.

*Nick Masset hadn’t given up a run in his previous 15-straight appearances, totalling 17 2/3 innings. He had a 0.30 ERA in his last 28 games.

*Joey Votto is the first Reds batter with at least 30 HRs and 100 RBIs in a season since Adam Dunn had 40 HRs and 106 RBIs in 2007.

*The Rockies have won seven in a row and are bracing to shock the world like they did in 2007. Amazing week for them. They’ve won 10-straight games over first-place teams since Aug. 23. Wow.

More quotes —

“We have no choice. We can’t bring this day into tomorrow. We just have to start again tomorrow.” — Dusty Baker

“We’ve been in this position before. We’re going to go through bad stretches during the season and this is one of them. We just have to dig down a little deeper and look for tomorrow, be optijmic and plan on winning. We’ve done that several times this year.” — Joey Votto
   
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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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