Results tagged ‘ Travis Wood ’

Consequences of Cueto injury?

***UPDATE: Johnny Cueto left today’s game after only one inning with stiffness in his right biceps. He will fly to Cincinnati Sunday and be examined by Kremchek on Monday. Cueto was supposed to throw 50-60 pitches over 3-4 innings.

However, the club voiced optimism that the injury might not be serious. Pitching coach Bryan Price noted that Cueto’s pre-game warm-up went without a hitch and that he only felt discomfort on a couple of pitches.

“It’s that time of year where you have to be ultra-cautious,” Price said. “You don’t want this guy battling something the whole first half of the year. Nip it in the bud right now and we’re in good shape. Hopefully it’s not a major issue. I don’t think it is but I’m not a doctor. It’s better than the last time that he threw but it’s not 100 percent. We just didn’t want to take the chance of making it worse.

“If it was the playoffs, I don’t think he would’ve said anything about it at all.”

You may recall that Cueto exited his March 11 vs. TEX after two innings because of stiffness in his forearm and biceps. After a couple of days off and having his next start pushed back, he had been long tossing.

Even if the Reds downplay the injury and even if it isn’t serious, this is still a development that could create some havoc with the rotation.

The Reds are close enough to the regular season that you’ve got to think Cueto won’t get enough work to be ready. This could mean that Homer Bailey, Travis Wood and Mike Leake can all make the rotation. Wood, coincidentally, is starting the other split squad game @ARZ. He could slide into the No. 3 spot of the rotation.

Of course with all the days off early on, the Reds may not even need five starters right away. (***Upon further review, they would need a 5th starter as soon as April 9.)

Cueto signed a four-year, $27 million contract over the winter. Obviously, he underwent a full physical before the contract was inked and passed with flying colors.

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Surprise!

It was my first time to the Arizona city of Surprise today and the drive up Rt. 303 from Goodyear was basically this: farm, farm, traffic light, prison, farm, farm, traffic light, farm, Surprise. The mountains were in the vista throughout.

On the sign welcoming visitors to the city limits, it said Surprise was founded in 1960. I found that particularly interesting since back in Ohio and especially in my original home state of New York, you don’t see many towns founded after the 1800s.

The 20-plus minute drive was a bountiful one for the Reds, which notched a 5-2 win over the Royals.

Some notes:

*Travis Wood was pleased with his outing — 3 ip, 5 H, 2 ER (on Billy Butler’s two-run homer), 2 BB, 2 K.

“I felt good. My pitches were working pretty well,” Wood said. “[Butler] was able to drop the head down on an inside pitch and put up two for them.”

*As has been chronicled in the past, Wood is an off-season workout partner of All-Star lefty Cliff Lee. They live five minutes apart in Arkansas. Someone asked Wood about the idea of facing Lee with the Phillies this season.

“I would absolutely love that,” Wood replied.

*Sam LeCure looked rather solid himself with two hits and four strikeouts over two scoreless innings.

*Dontrelle Willis probably had the most impressive pitching outing of the day with two scoreless innings and three strikeouts. Willis was a nimple fielder as well. In his second inning of work, he made nice play retrieving Manny Pina’s grounder towards third base.

“We were yelling, ‘let that one go foul’ and after he picked it up and threw it, said ‘oh yeah, great play,’” manager Dusty Baker said.

Willis also covered first base nicely to get an out on a bunt play to the right side.

“He’s an athlete. I didn’t think he had a chance on that bunt,” Baker said.

*Over at the ‘B’ game this morning vs. the Indians in Goodyear, the Reds lost 7-6. Dave Sappelt had another good game by going 2-for-3 with a double. In ‘A’ games, he’s batting .533 (8-for-15).

“He can hit. He hit last year,” Baker said. “There’s more to being ready for the big leagues than hitting. Not to slight the kid at all, he’s doing great. There are a few things he has to work on.”

*Zack Cozart also homered in the ‘B’ game. Several of the Reds top hitters this spring are prospects. That’s no accident, the manager said.

“Like I’ve told you, spring is for the young,” Baker said. “It’s for young hitters, off-speed pitchers, winter ball guys and fastball hitters.”

*I talked to Fred Lewis for a Reds beat item before Tuesday’s game. Lewis is not 100 percent satisfied with his performance at the plate and working to get better. He’s been doing some tinkering with his swing, not all to his satisfaction.

“Eventually, I will be where I want to be,” Lewis said. “In the outfield, I’m pretty comfortable with where I’m at. On the offensive side, I’m not happy with it. I’ve figured out that I’m frustrated with what I’m doing. I keep telling myself to go back to square one and do what I was doing before I got here. You can do a lot of stuff in the cages but it only matters what you do on the field.”

And in a late stunner from Brewers camp, Zack Greinke will miss Opening Day with a fractured rib. Greinke suffered the injury last month, playing basketball. He will start the season on the DL. It’s been a tough time for the Reds NL Central rivals. The Cardinals already lost Adam Wainwright (elbow) for the season and their other ace, Chris Carpenter, is bothered by a hamstring injury.

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Night game

It’s a different sort of deal having a night game at Spring Training. Your routine is altered and after being up early and at the complex by 7:45 am most mornings, you don’t know what to with yourself. I could only “sleep in” until 8:15 am…but I was grateful for those few extra minutes.

Pitcher Sam LeCure is already at the complex and was one of the few around early this afternoon. He ran out of stuff to do and just brought his lunch over.

Reds vs. Dodgers, 9:05 p.m. ET. WLW has radio and it can be heard on MLB.com

Lineup

Stubbs 8
Phillips 4
Votto 3
Rolen 5
Bruce 9  Gomes 7
Gomes 7 Dorn 9
Rentria DH
Hanigan 2
Janish 6

Wood 1

**UPDATE: Bruce isn’t feeling well today and was scratched.

Also scheduled to pitch are Cordero, Chapman, Maloney and LeCure.

Asking Dusty Baker if this was close to the way his Opening Day lineup might look (before Bruce was scratched), he only gave some indications but no confirmations.

“It’s my night after no playing day lineup. Tomorrow’s lineup is the day after night to rest my night lineup,” Baker said. This lineup has most of my big boys in there. I want them to be under the lights because we only have one more under the lights until we start the season. Then you’re under the lights 80 percent of the time. Night baseball is definitely a larger adjustment than day baseball.”

Baker was also asked if felt like he needed a left-hander in his rotation to mix it up. It’s something he hasn’t been concerned about in the past. Now he has Wood possibly in the mix.

“I haven’t been concerned because I haven’t had any,” Baker said. “We weren’t going to go out and buy one so we had to raise one. That’s the key word, possibly. If I say yes, you eliminate somebody and that’s not right – yet.”

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Postgame: Wood a playoff starter?

Rookie Travis Wood did nothing tonight to make me believe he shouldn’t start in the best-of-five NLDS, especially if the Reds end up facing the lefty-hitting heavy Phillies.

Wood’s line: 6.1 ip, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HR
Two of his runs were given up with Logan Ondrusek on the mound.

Philadelphia will feature  Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Raul Ibanez — all left-handed. Rollins and Victorino are switch-hitters.With a short series, it would seem more conventional that the Reds go with three starters. Or do they take four?

If only three starters go for the Reds? Who gets exiled to the bullpen?

Edinson Volquez seems to have a hot hand. Bronson Arroyo isn’t going anywhere. Wood has two walks allowed with 24 strikeouts over his last four starts (24 1/3 innings).

What about Johnny Cueto? He has a 1.20 ERA vs. the Phillies in two starts this season. But he is 0-3 with a 4.32 ERA over his last six starts of the regular season. After his mostly solid year, could he actually not start in the first round of the postseason? What becomes of Homer Bailey?

It’s a tough call and I don’t envy Dusty Baker and Bryan Price. What would you do?

Quick notes —

*Friday’s 4-3 Reds loss in 11 innings does not guarantee a NLDS with the Phillies but it did assure them of starting the playoffs on the road — either at Philly or the NL West winner.
If the NL West leading Giants or Padres get the Wild Card away from the Braves, that team would get the Phillies.

*The Brandon Phillips E4 on Casey McGehee’s grounder in the 11th was changed to a RBI single. Phillips was screened some by the umpire, which was why the change was made by the official scorer postgame.

*A string of 22-straight retired for the bullpen was snapped on Craig Counsell’s single of Logan Ondrusek in the seventh inning that went as a blown save.

*Scott Rolen’s exit in the fifth was pre-planned before the game to preserve him for the playoffs. Rolen will not start Saturday, Dusty Baker said.

 

Postgame quotes –

“He pitched good. He threw the ball pretty good and was down in the strike zone and ahead of the hitters. I think he threw a very good ballgame. It’s one of those games you get bad luck. There’s nothing you can do. It won’t be the first or last time it happens.” — Ramon Hernandez on Travis Wood

“That seventh inning, things kind of happened. He had 103 pitches and he usually doesn’t go quite the long. He was still looking good that inning. We just kind of let that one get away from us tonight.” — Dusty Baker on Wood.

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Postgame: Wood good for playoffs?

Reds rookie LHP Travis Wood is trying to make a case for getting a spot on the Reds postseason rotation. On Tuesday, Wood pitched well but not great. He gave up nine hits and three runs over five innings with no walks and a career-high eight strikeouts.

Wood is 5-3 with a 3.46 ERA this season. Over his last six starts, he is 2-2 with a 4.73 ERA.

With Bronson Arroyo and Johnny Cueto locked in. Wood, Homer Bailey and Edinson Volquez will seek the other one or two spots in the rotation.

“I try not to think about it,” Wood said. He has a career-high 183 1/3 innings pitched this season.

Other notes —

*Got to give credit to Daniel Hudson because he flat out pitched great with eight scoreless innings. Since coming to the NL, Hudson is 6-1 with a 1.67 ERA in nine starts. The one loss was vs. the Reds in Arizona on Aug. 17.

*Ramon Hernandez was robbed of a potential game-winner in the ninth. He scored a bases-loaded drive to the right field gap that was snared with a great running catch by Justin Upton.

*Aaron Harang made his first relief appearance of the season in the ninth. After he walked leadoff batter Augie Ojeda, he caught him stealing and got two fly outs to left field.

*Sam LeCure pitched three scoreless innings of relief after Wood departed.

*Brandon Phillips is 1-for-his-last 19 after a 0-for-4, 2 K game.

*A Cardinals loss to the Cubs closed the Reds’ magic number to 12.

More quotes —

“With [Hernandez] I wasn’t playing so much to right field I was playing more to the gap because he drives balls out there. Once it came off the bat I knew I had a bead on it. Actually it kind of went up in the lights a little bit and I was a little hesitant whether I was going to catch it or not, but it came out once I got beyond the lights and I was able to snare it.” — Arizona RF Justin Upton

“He’s a good athlete and very fast. He got a good jump after I hit it. It was a great play. You have to tip your hat to a guy that can make a good catch like that, especially to end the game.” — Ramon Hernandez on Upton

“He had a lot of strikeouts but they centered some balls too at the right time, RBI time. Travis pitched pretty good.” — Dusty Baker on Travis Wood

“At the end of the day, 3-1 them. I need to go deeper in the ballgame, control pitches and get ahead of hitters.” — Travis Wood.

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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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A fine day in Southern Cal

You can’t beat the sunny weather in Los Angeles, and the view from the press box at Dodger Stadium is about as good as it gets. This is one of the oldest ballparks in the league now, the clubhouse is cramped but it’s still one of my favorite places to watch a game.

 


dodgerstadium 082010.JPGFri lineup vs. LAD

Phillips 4
Nix 7
Votto 3
Rolen 5
Bruce 9
Hanigan 2
Stubbs 8
Janish 6
Bailey 1

*Jay Bruce is 7-for-15 on the road trip with two homers and three RBIs.

*The Reds’ 3 1/2-game lead entering tonight is their largest since 5/19/02 when they had a four-game lead

*All-time vs. the Dodgers since 1900, the Reds are 999-1,040.

*According to the Elias Spurts Bureau, LHP Travis Wood last night became only the third Reds rookie in the last 25 years to win four consecutive starts. Lance Davis in 2001 Tim Pugh in 1992 were the others.

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Wood optioned to Louisville

To make room for OF Jim Edmonds, the Reds optioned LHP Travis Wood to Triple-A Louisville. Obviously, Wood has pitched well and was 3-1 with a 2.65 ERA in eight starts, including a nice one Sunday in Chicago.

The Reds have off days coming up on Thursday and Monday, which means the club doesn’t need five starters right now. GM Walt Jocketty explains:

“With off days, he’s going to miss one start,” Jocketty said. He’ll go down and make one start and if all goes well, we’ll bring him back in 10 days. He’s pitched terrific and has done a great job for us. But the way the pitching is set-up for the next 10 days, he probably wasn’t going to get a start. This way he can go down and make a start and come back. That’s what we told him.”

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Postgame quote patrol

It’s quite a long drive back to Cincinnati so I will leave you with a bevy of post-game quotes from the Reds 11-4 win over the Cubs for a three-game sweep and 5-1 road trip. They are 16-games over .500 at 64-48 and have a two-game lead over the Cardinals in the NL Central. St. Louis was rained out today.

“I felt good today. I came out and my pitches were working good. I could throw them all for strikes. The fact they came out swinging, I was able to get some early outs.” — Travis Wood, who took a no-hitter into the sixth inning.

“Let it be known, I’m not looking for that type of day very often. I’m trying to put together professional at-bats, which is simple – swing at strikes and take balls. When you get two strikes, put the good pitch in play and if you have to foul off the nasty one, do that.” — Jonny Gomes, who drew a career-high four walks and also scored a career-best four runs.

“They have a very good team, they’re hungry to win.” — Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano

“He challenges you and changes speeds. He doesn’t throw many breaking balls — he pitches basically with a fastball changeup, but he pitches to the outside par tof the plate. we hit quite a few balls decent to right field. He pitches to the strength of their defense.” — Cubs manager Lou Piniella on Wood.

“Now it’s here and now we deal with it. It’s going to be exciting. It’s going to be fun and it’s the next to last series where we know we can take care of our own business. It will be tough. This is what championship baseball is all about.” — Dusty Baker on facing St. Louis starting Monday.

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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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