About Me

My photo
I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Reds Gain Ground

The Milwaukee Brewers lost for the third straight time to the New York Yankees.  The Reds will start the home stand against Cleveland, two games behind the Brewers.  St. Louis and Pittsburh play later Thursday.

Four Reds Prospects Will Play in the Triple A All-Star Game

The Louisville Bats will live up to the name by sending four heavy hitters to the All-Star Game between the International League and the Pacific Coast League on July 13.

Jeremy Hermida, Yonder Alonso, Zack Cozart and Devin Meseraco will play in the classic.

Hermida is tied for first in the IL with a .344 batting average.  Alonso is fouth with a .299 average. Cozart is hitting .321 and is third in the league with 26 doubles.  Mesoraco is hitting .315 with eight home runs and 46 RBI.  He leads the league with 28 doubles.


Dontrelle Willis Is Back in Control

Dontrelle Willis spent two years trying to find the strike zone.  The once promising ace had lost command of his pitches and bounced around between Detroit, Arizona and the minor leagues.

He walked 84 batters in 98 innings over the two lost seasons.

When asked to describe his last two years, he said, "Terrible.  That's all I can say about them."

Willis signed with the Reds.  Dusty Baker asked around and was told by people he trusts that Willis just needed a chance to get his confidence back.  He went to Goodyear, Arizona with a chance to make the Reds staff as a long reliever or as a lefthanded setup man to replace Arthur Rhodes.

The still young 29-year old, 2003 Rookie of the Year, had periods in which he threw strikes and games that he couldn't in spring training.  He twisted his ankle when he tripped over a bat covering homeplate. 

"Dontrelle is going to be in the mix before this is over," Dusty Baker said.

As luck would have it, Willis pulled his groin, avoiding a broken bat and spent time on the disabled list just when the Reds were going through a rough period.  Several pitchers were out with injuries.  The Reds had to add two hurlers to the roster but Willis was out of action.

Willis returned June 6th.  Since his return, he started five games, including Wednesday.  He has pitched 32 1/3 innings in those games and walked just six and just one over the 21 innings.

Right now the Reds are getting excellent starting pitching but should one of the five falter, Willis could be promoted on the strength of his 5-2 record with a 2.63 ERA.


     

Reds Farmhand Sets Strikeout Record for the Dayton Dragons

In tonight's Dayton Dragons game at Fifth Third Field vs. the Lansing Lugnuts, Dayton pitcher Daniel Renken has enjoyed a record-tying night.
Renken struck out 10 consecutive Lansing batters to tie a Midwest League record set in 1966.  The league mark was set by Art Groza of Burlington on May 22, 1966 against Dubuque.  Tonight, Renken struck out the final batter in the first inning and then struck out the side in order in the second, third, and fourth innings before allowing an infield single to start the fifth.
Renken finished the night with 14 strikeouts to tie the Dragons club record set by Josh Hall on August 7, 2001 vs. Cedar Rapids.


The 21-year old righthander from Orange, California was the Reds 25th round selection in the 2010 draft.  He is 3-8 with a 3.05 ERA with 106 strikeouts and 27 walks in 84 1/3 innings.

The Dragons defeated the Lansing Lugnuts 7-1 on Wednesday night.  A crowd of 8,399 saw the Dragons 811th consecutive sell-out at Fifth Third Field, three short of the all-time sports record.


  

Reds Right in Race After 4-3 Win Over Tampa Bay

The resilient Reds bounced back from a disappointing loss less than 14 hours after it occurred.  Edinson Volquez  bounced back from a humbling start on Friday night that ultimately resulted in a similar loss on Friday.

The Reds at the half-way mark of the 2011 season were losing the type of games that became its trademark last season.  The Comeback Kids (see Mark Schmetzer and Joe Jacobs book) built a reputation for winning the same type of games in early 2010.

Last year the Reds were 46-35 at the mid-point.  This year they checked in at 41-40.

Ryan Hanigan hit the three-run home run to put the Reds ahead of the stingy James Shields and caught one of the best games the enigmatic Volquez has thrown in two years.  In his star-of-the-game interview, the understated Hanigan expressed the feeling that the Reds were about to embark on a hot streak.

Volquez bested one of the hottest pitchers in baseball after Evan Longoria broke the Reds heart with a game winning home run in the ninth inning after the Reds rallied twice late in the game.

Hanigan's fourth inning blast with two-men on and two out, infused Cincinnati with confidence and Volquez backed it up.

Volquez, who has had well documented problems early in games, took a shutout into the sixth inning.  Longoria was at it again, placing a softly hit two-run double, the opposite way down the right field line to make the Reds squirm but this time, Volquez squelched the rally albeit on a line drive double play, making up for softly hit balls that have found holes lately.

Fred Lewis got one of the runs back with a two-out single in the Reds next at bat against Shields.

B.J Upton, however, ended Volquez day with a home run.

On Tuesday night, Logan Ondrusek threw two pitches and was hung with the loss; when Longoria scorched a fastball to burn the Reds.  Dusty Baker put the big Texan back on his horse and Ondrusek retired the three batters he faced.

Bill Bray in a repeat of Baker's strategy from the night before, came on to retire Johnny Damon, who earlier tied Ted Williams for 71st on the all-time hit list.  Bray made his pitch on Damon Tuesday but didn[t get the results.  Damon reached out and blooped the pitch barely out of the reach of three Cincinnati defenders to drive home a pair of runs.  This time Bray caused Damon to bounce weakly to thirdbaseman Scott Rolen.  Bray fanned Ben Zobrist to preserve the lead.

Francisco Cordero, who hadn't encountered a save opportunity in 10 days, pitched to the heart of Tampa Bay's order to notch his 16th save in 18 chances.

The Reds were within two games of first place when interleague play began.  Even though they lost 10 of 15 to the American Leaguers, the Reds sit 2 1/2 games out.  Milwaukee, the leader in the Central Division lost to the New York Yankees.  St. Louis beat Baltimore to move within a game.  Pittsburgh took over third place from the Reds Tuesday night but returned it on Wednesday with a loss to Toronto.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Reds Get Good Pitching From Johnny Cueto But Suffer Another Tough Loss 4-3

Two young pitchers, developing into staff aces, hooked up in Tropicana Field on Monday.

Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto and Tampa Bay's David Price battled into the eighth innings.

Johnny Damon;s fourth inning home run was the only offense through seven innings.

Cueto allowed just two hits through seven innings.  Price struck out 10 batters through seven innings.

The action and drama began in the eighth inning.  Drew Stubbs tripled over the head of B.J. Upton in center field.  Edgar Renteria delivered Stubbs with a single to left to tie the game.  Price bowed his back to strike out Chris Heisey and Brandon Phillips swinging.  Price established a career high with 12 strikeouts.
Reigning MVP Joey Votto again showed why he won the award hitting an opposite field double to put the
Reds on top for the first time.  Votto's hit off lefthander, Price, wasn't a surprise considering his average against leftys was .375 at game time.

Cueto, who was sailing, appeared to hit a wall in the home half of the eighth.  Cueto fanned Upton to start the eighth but John Jaso singled to right for the Ray's third hit of the game.  Sam Fuld followed with a single to right but Cueto got Reid Brignac to fly out to Heisey in left.

Dusty Baker went with the percentages.  Bill Bray came on to face Damon with two outs and runners at first and second.   It was the right decision.  Cueto was running out of gas and Damon hit the home run off Cueto in the fourth.  Damon was hitting .250 against lefthanders and Bray faced 49 lefthanders, allowing just eight hits for a .163 record.

Bray got two quick strikes on Damon.  He teased with a ball off the plate.  Damon didn't bite.  Damon fouled off the next pitch then took ball two.  Bray made his pitch low and away just off the plate but close enough that Damon had to reach for it.  Damon lifted a flair to left center.  Stubbs, Renteria and Heisey chased it. The ball couldn't have been placed among them more perfectly for the Rays.  Heisey dove for the ball and nearly made the catch but with his full momentum approaching the ball, he deflected the ball toward right field.  By the time Phillips could retrieve the ball both runners scored.

Kyle Farnsworth was brought on to hold off the Reds in the ninth.  He went to a full count on Bruce leading off the ninth.   Bruce hit his 18th home run of the season and first since June 1 to tie the game.

Logan Ondrusek brought his excellent .163 ERA  into the game.  Tampa Bay star, Evan Longoria, led off.
Ondrusek got ahead with a strike.  His next pitch was meant to jam Longoria but it tailed back over the plate and Longoria hit the ball over the left field fence on a line to send the Reds off with a 41-40 record, exactly half way through the season.

It was the second tough loss on the road trip that ended with a game-ending home run by the opposing hitters.  Derrek Lee hit a 12th inning home run on Friday. 

The Reds stayed 3 1/2 games behind Milwaukee who lost 12-2 to the New York Yankees.  St. Louis beat Baltimore to move to withing two games of the Brewers.  Pittsburgh edged Toronto to pass the Reds and take over third place, three games off the pace.
                                                                                                                                                                                

Monday, June 27, 2011

Mike Leake Sinks Tampa Bay 5-0

Mike Leake handcuffed the Tampa Bay Rays for six innings and Jonny Gomes had a successful homecoming in the Reds victory.

Leake allowed four hits and walked two.  Sam LeCure and Nick Masset took care of the other three innings.

Gomes broke in with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2003 after the team picked him in the 2001 draft in the 18th round.  Gomes has been under scrutiny from Reds fans for his .221 batting average entering the game but he is flourishing in the designated hitter role.  Gomes is hitting .358 with four home runs and 12 runs batted in over his last 20 games.

He hit a home run off Jeremy Hellickson to extend the Reds lead.

The Reds scored two batters into the game.  Freddie Lewis hitting leadoff, singled to open the game.  Brandon Phillips doubled him home, on of the Reds secondbaseman's four hits.  Phillips is also heating up with a seven game hitting streak in which his average has jumped to .299 by hitting a cool .500 during the streak.

Jay Bruce singled to drive Phillips home, after missing a game with illness.  Bruce was the Player of the Month for May but has had a down month.

The Reds scored a pair of unearned runs to close the scoring while Leake and company stymied the home team.  Leake improved to 7-4.  The Reds top pick in 2009 has a 2.48 ERA in seven games since he was optioned to Louisville on May 14.  He is 5-2 since and pitched at least six innings in all of his starts since being recalled.

The Reds picked up a half game on Milwaukee, St. Louis and Pittsburgh with the win.  They trail Milwaukee by 3 1/2 games, St. Louis by a half game and they break a tie with Pittsburgh and lead them by a half game


   

Former Cincinnati Managers Come Back in National League East

There is a Cincinnati flavor in the National League East as of Monday.

Davey Johnson 1995
Davey Johnson took the Washington Nationals after Jim Riggleman resigned after a contract dispute.  Riggleman was named interim manager two seasons ago when current Cleveland manager, Manny Acta, was fired.

Riggleman walked after the Nationals refused to ink him to a two-year contract.  Monday morning the team signed Johnson to a two-year deal.

Johnson took over the Reds in 1993, when "Boy Blunder" general manager, Jim Bowden III fired Tony Perez after just 44 games.  Johnson took the team the top of the Central Division in 1994 before a player's strike that canceled the season in August.  He led the Reds to the 1995 division title and a Division Series win over the Los Angeles Dodgers before losing to the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS.

Jack McKeon 1997
Cincinnaiti owner, Marge Schott, ordered Johnson fired because he was living with his current wife before they were married.  The Reds wouldn't make the playoffs for the next 15 seasons.

Earlier the colorful, octogenarian manager of the Reds 1999 team, Jack McKeon took over the Florida Marlins after Edwin Rodriguez resigned the post.

McKeon took over for Johnson's successor, Ray Knight.  McKeon finished the 1997 season for the Reds, and posted a 33-30 record.  After a 77-85 campaign in 1998, the Reds won 96 games in 1999, finishing 1 1/2 games behind Houston but tied the New York Mets for the Wild Card.  The Mets defeated the Reds in a one-game playoff.  The 2000 Reds finished 10 games behind St. Louis and Jim Bowden, who traded for Ken Griffey Jr before the season, fired McKeon.

The Reds didn't have a winning season again until Dusty Baker led the team to the division title in 2010.

    

Mt St Joe's Steve Matre Is Throwing Smoke

Steve Matre's baseball career has just begun but that beginning is pretty impressive.  The 39th draft choice of the Los Angeles Dodgers out of the Mount and Purcell Marian High School, threw two more scoreless innings on Saturday against.the Casper Ghosts, that's correct the Casper Wyoming Ghosts of the Pioneer League.

Matre now has logged four innings, all in relief, with seven strikeouts.  He has allowed two hits. Just as impressive than the seven strikouts, Matre hasn't walked a batter.

       

Rickie Weeks Passes Brandon Phillips In 2B All-Star Voting

                                


Rickie Weeks leads Brandon Phillips by 78,397 votes according to Major League       Baseball's latest release of the National League All-Star voting. 

Phillips was slumping until his last six games.  He is hitting .444 during his current six-game streak with a home run.  His average jumped from the mid .270's to .291.

Weeks had the advantage of a Milwaukee Brewers homestand.  Weeks has multi-hit games in seven of his last 12 starts.




Other Reds in the voting are:

Joe Votto third place at 1B
Scott Rolen fifth place at 3B
Jay Bruce sixth place OF




Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bailey Starts in Baltimore Carlos Fisher Heads Back to Louisville

Homer Bailey is healthy again and completed his rehab starts on Tuesday at Louisville.  He is recalled as of Sunday morning in time to pitch the series finale at Baltimore.

Bailey was pitching well before his shoulder acted up while swinging the bat in Philadelphia last month.  He started the year on the disabled list but is 3-1 with an even 3.00 ERA in five starts, including the May 26 start in Philadelphia.  Bailey had to leave after four innings, his shortest outing.

Carlos Fisher had to do the dirty work in the bullpen.  He had to finish three extra-inning games in three consecutive appearances.  He was the losing pitcher of record in all three. On May 25 in which he was forced to pitch five innings, he was out of gas, yet had another extra inning game in Atlanta three days later.  He was also the losing pitcher on June 4 against Los Angeles in an 11-inning contest.

Fisher has appeared in 10 games and pitched 17 innings with a 3.71 ERA.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Reds Have Another Tough Loss Baltimore Wins 5-4

One of Dusty Baker's favorite players turned on him on Friday night.  Derrek Lee hit a game-winning home run in the 12th inning to send his former manager into the interview room to discuss another tough loss.

As in most extra-inning one run games there are calls and plays that could have changed the results but before the close shaves commenced it had a different feel.

The game was beginning to look like a scene from Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" because Orioles were in Reds starter, Edinson Volquez's hair for 4 1/3 innings.  Volquez went to a full count on nearly every hitter, and he walked five birds. 

It was a nightmare for Volquez.

Baltimore scored the first four runs off the game.  Two in the second inning and Lee was involved.  Lee became Volquez's third walk of the game leading off the inning.  That's right, three walks in the span of six at bats.  Matt Wieters followed with a ground rule double, on of three such doubles, that played a huge roll in the outcome.  Blake Davis hit a long fly that eluded Drew Stubbs and Jay Bruce.  Bruce threw home and the throw beat a bewildered Wieters but umpire Gary Cederstrom gave the safe sign.  Reds catcher Ramon Hernandez and Baker argued that Hernandez tagged Wieters on the arm but Cederstrom stuck to the call.

Adam Jones hit a home run off Volquez an inning later.  The Giants added another run in the fourth. Wieters hit another ground rule double to lead off.  Volquez nearly pitched out of it, getting.  Mark Reynolds and Blake Davis out but J.J.Hardy's soft single allowed Wieters to score more easily this time.

The Reds got three runs back.  Brandon Phillips came threw with a double that scored, Hernandez, who singled and Chris Heisey, who walked.  Joey Votto brought Phillips home on a double.

It got worse for Volquez.

Luke Scott drew Volquez final walk with one out.  Lee doubled and Baker had seen enough.  He brought in Sam LeCure, fresh off the disabled list.  LeCure saved the game for awile.  He struck out Wieters.  Baker had Mark Reynolds walked.  LeCure fanned Davis to escape.

Paul Janish tied the game with a two-out single, driving home Jonny Gomes, who doubled.

No one scored until Lee batted in the 12th but along the way, drama that could have changed the outcome added up for Baltimore.

In the seventh with Scott Rolen on firstbase and two out.  Jay Bruce blasted a line drive over the head of  centerfielder, Adam Jones' head.  It bounced into the stands keeping Rolen from scoring.  Another call went against the Reds.  Gomes hit a slow roller that pitcher, Jim Johnson, fielded it with his bare hand and nipped Gomes at firstbase while Rolen crossed the plate.  Adrian Johnson, no relation to the pitcher (as far as I know) called Gomes out, forcing five more frames.

LeCure pitched another scoreless inning.  Logan Ondrusek pitched a scoreless inning and part of another.  Bill Bray got a key out to end the eighth.  Nick Masset kept the Orioles scoreless through the 10th.

Jose Arredondo got into trouble in the 11th Hardy doubled on a fly that Stubbs couldn't hold onto.  Arredondo got Nick Markakis out on a ground out to Rolen that stopped Hardy in his tracks.  Jones flied out to Bruce, whose arm caused Hardy to hold.  Vladimir Guerrero was walked.  Felix Pie ground out to Votto.

The Reds nearly took the lead in the 12th.  Phillips singled. Votto forced him.  Bruce hit a sinking line drive that Jones in center field couldn't catch and the hit rolled behind him.  Votto on the move with two outs, chugged around the bases.  Jones retreved it. Threw to Hardy, who relayed to Wieters at the plate.  The ball beat Votto, who tried to elude Wieter's.  Votto slid, popped up, and nearly got around Wieters.  Votto claimed he wasn't touched.  Cederstrom called him out.

Lee ended it off Arredondo, minutes later.  Arredondo is now 0-3.    
'


The Reds dodged a pair of Baltimore scoring chances.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Reds Visit Baltimore for the First Time Since the 1970 World Series

The Reds last trip to Baltimore was bitter sweet.  It was sweet because they played in a World Series for the first time since 1961 (check out Mark Schmetzer's book Before the Machine).  It was bitter because the Orioles led by Frank Robinson, who Bill DeWitt traded for being an "old 30" batted the Reds and teammate Brooks Robinson turned doubles into outs at thirdbase.

The Orioles took the Reds in five games.  The Reds last win in the City of Baltimore was on October 14, 1970.

I recall listening to an inning of that game during the school day at Colerain High School.  My advisor, Harold Gibson, called me into his office to discuss my academic schedule for the next semester.  I had my ducks in a row and told Mr. Gibson what I wanted to take.  He took about two minutes to approve it.  He leaned back in his chair and said, "Schatz, I had 15 minutes scheduled for you.  We are done in two.  Let's turn on the ballgame for the rest of the time." 

In the series Brooks Robinson  made several "web gem plays" before there was a web gem.  ESPN was nine years away.  He also hit .429 with two home runs and six RBI.  Frank Robinson, traded to Baltimore by the Reds before the 1966 season hit two home runs against his former teammates.

Another highlight of the series for Baltimore, pitcher Dave McNally hit a grand slam home run off Cincinnati reliever, Wayne Granger.

Aroldis Chapman is Back Jeremy Horst Returns to Louisville.

Aroldis Chapman is coming back his control back.  He pitched a perfect inning against Pawtucket on Monday.

Jeremy Horst, who bailed the Reds out during the period of short outings, is going back to Louisville.

Dusty Baker said earlier this week that someone will go down, that doesn't deserve to go down.  Horst will head to Louisville with a 1.000 batting average.  He singled in his only at bat against Atlanta.  Horst appeared in five games, allowing three earned runs in 8 1/3 innings for a 3.24 ERA. \

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Home Run Heisey and Johnny Cueto Give Yankees A Pain In The Neck Win 10-2

Chris Heisey hit three home runs and Jonny Gomes smashed another while Johnny Cueto had the New York Yankees by the throat.

Heisey led off the game with a home run off Brian Gordon.  Hit a two-run home run in the fifth.  Heisey became the 27th different Reds player to slam three in a game.  The Reds have done it 32 times.

"I definitely wasn't trying to hit a home run on any of the three," Heisey said.  "I've never hit one when I was trying to.  I was seeing the ball and had a good swing.  I was getting pitches to hit.  The last couple weeks, I've been swinging at pitches out of the zone and getting myself out.  When you get a hit in your first at bat, it takes the pressure off the rest of the day.  It relaxes you."


Heisey remembered hitting three in a game his sophomore or junior year at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania.

"There was no one to interview me there," Heisey said. 

Heisey kept the same approach batting leadoff after talking to Baker.  He has no preference for a spot in the batting order.

"Dusty talked to me about leading off.  He told me not to try to see more pitches or anything, just stay aggressive.  That's when I'm at my best.  When you are aggressive you see pitches better.  When you're tentative you end up taking good pitches to hit."

Cueto dominated the fabled Yankees.  Nick Swisher home run was one of the two hits that Cueto gave up in his seven innings.

Cueto's start was delayed for two days.  He was scratched Monday, suffering from a stiff neck.  Rain pushed him back a second day.   Swisher led off the second with his eighth home run on the first pitch but Cueto retired 15 of the next 16 batters before Alex Rodriguez led off the seventh with a single.  The lone baserunner was Gordon, the opposing pitcher , who walked.

"The extra day helped me with my neck," Cueto said.  "I'm tired now but I felt good during the game.  I was feeling too strong at the beginning of the game.  I was overthrowing a little bit.  I'm learning something new everyday in the big leagues.  I knew Cano, Rodriguez and Posada was going to hit.  I like the challenge. I took a deep breath and tried to do my job."

Cueto changed his delivery slightly, turning his back to the hitter.  It made the ball harder to pick up.

"I've been doing that but today I was doing it more.  It's crazy.  When I release the ball, I couldn't see the hitter.  I wanted to try something different.  I'm hiding the ball good.  It's tough for the hitter to see the ball but my release point was the same."

Heisey, starting in center field, hit a two-run home run off Gordon with Paul Janish on base.  Janish had two hits in the game.

"Heisey came through big time. I'm happy for him," Dusty Baker said.  "We had some big offensive nights.  Gomes had a big night.  Janish had a big night.  Rolen had a huge night. Maybe our offense will start rolling now.  Before we couldn't buy a run.  Tonight we were getting them at will."

The 4-1 lead looked tenuous in the seventh after Rodriguez opened with his single. Cueto issued a pass to Swisher. Russel Martin struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch for the first out.  Pinch hitter Robinson Cano grounded wide of first but Cueto couldn't hold onto the feed by Joey Votto.  Ramiro Pena hit a one hopper to Votto who forced Rodriguez at home.  Cueto squelched the threat by getting Game One hero, Jorge Posada to ground out to Brandon Phillips.

"Cueto was in trouble and they're bringing Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada off the bench.  It seems like they have 28 players.  Johnny has matured big time as a pitcher and as a man," Baker said.  "He had bases loaded with those guys up then had a defensive miscue.  He wasn't panicking or getting frustrated.  He was just pitching."

Baseball Voices
 The Reds padded its lead against Hector Noesi.  With one out Miguel Cairo singled.  Janish singled for the second time.  Scott Rolen came off the bench and doubled down the left field line to score Cairo.  Janish was cut down at the plate on a ground ball to short by Heisey.  Rolen scored when Heisey hustled into second when Phillips hit a ball that shortstop, Eduardo Nunez fielded in the hole. Votto single sharply to left to load the bases.  Noesi hit Jay Bruce to force in the Reds seventh run.

Bill Bray started the eighth and got two outs but walked Curtis Granderson.  Bray struck out Mark Teixeira then gave way to Nick Masset.  Rodriguez doubled off the fence to the Reds bullpen.  Granderson scored.  Masset caught Swisher looking to end the inning.

Ramon Hernandez singled to start the ninth.  Drew Stubbs beat a relay on an attempted double play, stole second and advanced on a deep fly to center by Janish.  Rolen drove Stubbs in with a single and waltzed home on Heisey's third blast.

Nick Masset closed it out to avoid the sweep of the series by the Yankees. The Reds head to Baltimore on a winning note after a day off.

Jorge Posada's Short Home Run Sinks Leake and Reds, 4-2







Friday Drew Stubbs hit an inside-the-park home run against Toronto.  The ball landed a few feet short of the 370' sign and bounded away from pursuing outfielders.

Jorge Posada broke a 2-2 tie with a home run to right field off Mike Leake that leaked (pun intended) into the front row of the stands an announced 357' away.  The long fly ball followed a single by Robinson Cano.

Freddy Garcia manhandled the slumping Reds.  He pitched seven innings and allowed just three hits and should have had a shutout.  Alex Rodriguez was given the day off as planned.  His replacement, Ramiro Pena, had a rough day.  He threw a Drew Stubbs ground ball away to start the fifth inning.  Edgar Renteria singled sending Stubbs to third, where he scored on Ryan Hanigan's ground out that Pena also threw away..  Leake sacrificed the runners up a base.  New leadoff man, Freddie Lewis hit a sacrifice fly to center that outdistanced Posada's home run by 30 feet.

Leake pitched six innings, allowing four runs on five hits.  Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson singled back-to-back with one out.  Nick Swisher hit a hard one hopper to Joey Votto at first.  Votto elected to step on firstbase before throwing home.  His throw was too high to nail Granderson.

"Leake was frustrated because you're on thin ice when you're not scoring runs," Dusty Baker said.  "Both rallys were started by jam shots. Gardiner's to left and Cano's to right.  You talk about a bloop and a blast, that was the definition right there."

It wasn't much of a blast either.

"I was trying to get a strike out of it," Leake said of the curveball Posada hit.

Ironically it was Posada that took Girardi's catching job that sent the Yankee skipper to the managerial ranks.  Posada, the Yankee's designated hitter, has been demoted to pinch hitter in National League parks.

"As a designated hitter you observe what the starting pitcher is trying to do.  As a pinch hitter you have to figure out who you are going to face.  It's a little different," Posada said.  "You have to hit strikes.  It doesn't matter if it is a breaking ball or not." 

Pena made a third error on a Stubbs grounder in the seventh but started a double play on a grounder by the next hitter, Renteria.

Without Pena's help, the Reds may not have scored at all.  Runs have been scarce for the National League's leading offense on this home stand.

"There is nothing wrong with our approach," Baker said.  "We're swinging at strikes.  We're just not centering the ball primarily and when we do we're hitting it right at someone.  We just have to keep swinging."

Mariano Rivera struck out two in the ninth to produce his 19th save of the season.

                                        

                                                                

  

Homer Bailey Should Be Back Sunday to Face Baltimore Aroldis Chapman Ready

Homer Bailey threw his final rehab game for Louisville on Tuesday night.  Bailey allowed six runs on eight hits over six innings.

With normal rest his turn would be Sunday.  The starter in Baltimore was scheduled to be Travis Wood but Wood was optioned to Louisville Wednesday morning.

Aroldis Chapman is nearing the end of his rehab assignment.  Chapman pitched one inning for Louisville against Pawtucket.  Chapman pitched hitless, scoreless inning.  He struck out one.

Champan is about to reach his limit for rehab strarts.




Travis Wood Optioned to Louisville Sam LeCure is Reinstated From the DL

The Reds sent Travis Wood back to Louisville prior to the doubleheader with the New York Yankees.  Wood was the losing pitcher on Monday night.

Wood has been spotty in his 16 starts.  He is 5-5 but lost two of his last three decisions.  He had a fourth start in which he had no decision, when he pitched eight innings and allowed two runs to San Francisco.

LeCure has been pitching well in his rehab assignment.  He pitched three scoreless innings against Toledo on Saturday.

Baseball Voices
Wood's next scheduled start was to be on Sunday at Baltimore.  He will probably start for Louisville in Toledo on Sunday.

Drew Stubbs Dropped in the Order For Game 1

The Reds have a day/night doubleheader on Wednesday.  The Tuesday night sellout against the New York Yankees was rained out.

Dusty Baker decided to put Freddie Lewis in the leadoff spot and dropped strike out prone Drew Stubbs to sixth in the batting order for at least the first game.

"It relieves a little pressure," Baker said.  "Freddie's been swinging the bat well lately.  When you're scuffling in the leadoff spot, those at bats add up quickly, especially if you're not walking much.  This is temporary. It is something we might do in interleague road games. Jonny (Gomes) will do most of the DH-ing.  These are the kind of things that come to you when you're trying to sleep."

Stubbs is a statistical contradiction.  He is fifth in the National League with 51 runs scored but also leads the NL with 99 strikeouts.

Mt St Joe/Purcell Marian Star Steven Matre Makes 2011 Debut

Steve Matre







Steve Matre pitched two scoreless innings in the Ogden Raptors, season opener against Idaho Falls.

Matre allowed two hits and struck out two in the Raptors, 12-4 win.

The 23-year old spent three months in extended spring training at the Los Angeles Dodgers facility in Glendale, Arizona until he was assigned to the short season rookie league.  The Pioneer League is the more advanced of the short season rookie leagues.

Matre was drafted in the 39th round by the Dodgers.  He missed the college
 season, recovering from elbow surgery.  The righthanded reliever pitched just two innings for the Arizona League rookie team last season.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Pete Rose May Manage in the Major Leagues After All

Pete Rose Junior standing next to his famous father
Pete Rose Jr. and Ken Griffey Jr were born five days apart in November, 1969 but their talent level was light years apart.

Both were sons of Big Red Machine heroes and both had the desire to compete.  One retired as one of the greatest hitters of all-time.  The other is working hard to make his mark on his own.

Rose Jr. is the manager of the Bristol White Sox in the Appalachian League.  The league is for freshly drafted players and Rose earned a shot at teaching and managing this talent in the Chicago White Sox organization.

The younger Rose clearly did not posses the bat speed necessary to become a star in the major leagues but that did not stop him from giving it his all.  He made himself into a decent minor league player for 21 years.  When age caught up to him, Rose still competed in the independent Atlantic League, chasing his dream.

It may have been blind a blind desire to follow in his father's footsteps but nevertheless, he worked as hard as anyone to make it on his own.

Rose Jr. was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles with its 12th pick of the 1988 draft out of Oak Hills High School in Cincinnati.  His minor league journey took him through the Cleveland, Chicago White Sox and Philadelphia Phillies organization before he landed in the Reds system.

Through nine seasons, he played just a handful of games above Double A.  In 1997 he had his best minor league season with the Chattanooga Lookouts in the Reds organization.  Rose hit .301 with 25 home runs for the Lookouts.

The Reds gave him a shot in September of that year.  Jim Bowden, playing to the crowd, decided to put him on the Major League team.  Jack McKeon was not crazy about the idea, thinking that Rose was being patronized.  McKeon knew he was not a big league prospect and thought the club would be better served to get a look at a prospect instead.

Yet, McKeon told the press following the Reds, "He's a fine young man.  He works as hard as anyone and will do anything you ask him to do."

Rose had 14 at bats and just two hits that September and never played in the Major Leagues again.

Hopefully, Petey, as he is known, can make his mark as a manager.  He is truly deserving if you judge by work ethic and desire alone.

    

Jack McKeon's Handicap Turns Into An Advantage With Florida Marlins Loudmouth Owner

Jack McKeon's hearing problems may be a blessing and no one knows better than Joe Girardi.

Girardi now is gainfully employed with the New York Yankees.  He cut his managerial teeth with the Florida Marlins.  The standup former major league player, who also attended academically, prestigious Northwestern University, left after one season.

Joe Girardi 2006
Girardi chastised Florida owner, Jeff Loria, for yelling at umpires during a game.  Loria, who attended Yale University, should own better behavior than that.  An art dealer by trade, the Marlins media guide generously, credit Loria with the teams 2003 World Championship.  If money can't buy brains, it can at least purchase good publicity, no matter how fictitious.                                    



Loria and Freddie Gonzalez
  The rift erupted at a game Aug. 6, when Loria berated an umpire while sitting behind the plate. From the dugout, Girardi told or asked the owner to stop, witnesses said. Loria angrily left his seat and confronted Girardi after the game during a 90-minute clubhouse meeting.
From an Associate Press Story August 27, 2006

Trader Jack McKeon
Florida won in 2003 because a good baseball man in Jack McKeon.  McKeon is 80-years old and has the advantage of being hard of hearing.  That will prove crucial when his loudmouth, cocky owner is yelling baseball strategy from the stands.  Several former players have anecdotes about how Loria is an obnoxious fan, who yells baseball strategy about which he knows nothing from his seats close to the dugout.

That behavior is the main reason Girardi went into broadcasting for two years before surfacing as the Yankees' skipper.

Edwin Rodriguez
More recently Edwin Rodriguez resigned as Florida manager.  Rodriguez took over for Freddi Gonzalez, who got little backing from his classless owner, when he needed it.  Rodriguez paid his dues.  He managed in Tampa Bay's minor league system, helping them develop into World Series participants.

The Marlins finished last season strong and were just one game behind Philadelphia, 10-games over .500, just three weeks ago.  Rodriguez lost the services of Josh Johnson, who is one of the most coveted pitchers in baseball.  Florida fell on hard times, losing 17 of 18 games.

Loria is so quick to take credit for Florida's World Series victory over the Yankees in 2003 but do you think he would take any blame for a losing streak?  Not a chance, he won't.

"Rodriguez is a great guy and manager,"  Jonny Gomes said.  "He was the first manager I had as a professional in rookie ball.  He had a way of communicating with players of all types and backgrounds."

Rodriguez had patience with younger players and given the chance could have turned the losing streak around. Unfortunately an owner who thinks he knows baseball better than someone who has spent a lifetime in the game, was too tough to ignore and overcome.

McKeon won't have that problem.  McKeon has worked for people who had no business being involved with on-the-field baseball before, including Loria.  As a younger manager he had to put up with Charlie Finley, who owned the Oakland Athletics when "Trader Jack" was the skipper.

While McKeon, who was the Reds last manager to have a winning season until Dusty Baker, was in Cincinnati, he would tell stories about Finley.

According to McKeon, Finley would call him around seven o'clock am from Chicago, waking Trader Jack at five o'clock am Pacific Time.  "McKeon are you still in bed," Finley would ask.  "Only whores make money in bed."  Finley would tell McKeon to play one shortstop, who had six home runs over another who had two.  "I think we should go with more power tonight," Finley would say.  

McKeon had similar problems with Jim Bowden with the Reds.  Bowden, who conned and played politics to become a general manager, was more suited to running a fantasy baseball team than a flesh and blood major league team.  Bowden was enamored with power hitters and radar gun readings.  McKeon tried to educate the "Boy Wonder" but Bowden knew better.  McKeon got enough out of these big, slow power hitters to win for a couple years but the Reds were awful at developing talent under Bowden.

McKeon took over for Jeff Torborg in 2003 and managed to get into the playoffs as a wild card.  His team upset Baker and the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS that year.  The Marlins continued by shocking the Yankees in the World Series behind the young arms of Josh Beckett and Dontrelle Willis.  McKeon brought Willis up soon after taking over the Marlins.

Now the cigar smoking octogenarian is back as a big league manager.

"God bless him," Girardi said before the Yankees opened a three-game series against the Reds on Monday. "At 80 years old, I just hope, I'm able to move around."

Who knows, if Girardi's hearing wasn't so good, he might still be managing in Florida.
 
             

Reds and Yankees Rained Out

Rain Postpones Reds - Yankees
Rain and the threat of rain forced the Reds to postponed the game against the New York Yankees on Tuesday night.

Johnny Cueto was supposed to face Yankee rookie, Brian Gordon.

That matchup will take place on Wednesday night after the regularly scheduled 12:35 contest.  Mike Leake will take the mound for the Reds.  Freddie Garcia will pitch for New York.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Yankees Early Rally Holds Up, Reds Late Rally Falls Short In Reds 5-3 Loss


 
The New York Yankees jumped on Cincinnati's emergency starter, Travis Wood, scoring four runs on five hits in the first inning.
 
Young Ivan Nova made them stand up in his eight innings of work.
 
Nick Swisher singled to open the game.  Wood struck out Curtis Granderson but Mark Texeira and Alex Rodriguez singled for one run.  Robinson Cano doubled a run home. Russell Martin's ground out to short scored Rodriguez, then Andruw Jones, who got the start because of the Reds late pitching change singled to knock in the fourth run of the inning.
 
Wood was starting on his normal rest because scheduled starter, Johnny Cueto, had a stiff neck.
 
"It was normal rest so I don't think it made a difference," Wood said.  "I tried to stay as calm as I could.  I made some pitches that were where I wanted but they put good swings on them.  I missed a couple pitches too."
 
Dusty Baker blamed pitch location.
 
"He had the leadoff hitter (Swisher) 2-2 and got a pitch up.  He was throwing waist high and thigh high," Baker said.  "After the double by Cano, he settled in."
 
The Reds got one back in the bottom of the first but were still disappointed.
 
Drew Stubbs singled and stole second.  Brandon Phillips drilled a pitch to right and they put Nova in the stretch right away.  Joey Votto hit a hard ground ball to Cano, who turned it into a double play.  Stubbs scored but that was the Reds offense for a long while.
 
Nova went 14 batters withoug allowing a hit or walk.  Stubbs struck out on a pitch in the dirt but reached first when the ball got past catcher, Russell Martin, two outs into the fifth.
 
"We had action in the first inning but didn't get a hit.  After that we had trouble getting the leadoff hitter on to put Nova in ths stretch right away.  Nova gave up hits to Paul Janish and Fredie Lewis but nothing else in eight innings.
 
"Obviously, he pitched a good game," Brandon Phillips, who had two of the Reds six hits.  "He got every thing over.  You had to hit the best you can.  You definitly didn't want to get to two strikes.  He had a nasty curveball.  You tip your hat to him."
 
Phillips brought the Reds to life by leading off the ninth inning with a single off Luis Ayala. 
 
"When I got that hit I thought here we come.  We are the comeback kids.  But we came up short," Phillips said.
 
Yankee manager pulled Ayala right away and sent lefty reliever, Boone Logan, to the mound to deal with Votto and Jay Bruce.
 
Logan hit Votto with a pitch. 
 
Exit Logan enter Yankee veteran closer, Mariano Rivera.  Bruce was the first out, grounding to Texeira at firstbase.  Scott Rolen's infield hit made it 5-2.  Chris Heisey hustled to beat out a double play ball and Votto scored.
 
Rivera earned his 18th save by striking out pinch hitter, Edgar Renteria.

Alex Rodriguez Has Normal Soreness in his Shoulder




As usually happen with the New York Yankees, the slightest incident or small pain, becomes a huge pain.

Alex Rodriguez is getting treatment on his shoulder but it is general soreness that comes with the game for everyday players, according to Yankee manager, Joe Girardi.

"It is just part of being an every day player," Girardi said.  "If you go into the training room, you will see 10 guys getting treatment of some kind.  It is like getting your ankles taped.  If you ask Russel Martin, (Yankees catcher) or (Mark) Texeira they have some soreness.  That thing was blown way out (of proportion)."

Girardi has tentative plans to give Rodriguez, who is four home runs shy of tying Ken Griffey for fifth on the all-time home run list, a day off Wednesday.  Rodriguez has 626 home runs.  Griffey retired last season with 630.  The pair broke in with the Seattle Mariners and were teammates for six seasons.

"I will see how the first two games go.  His (Rodriguez) shoulder has nothing to do with whether or not he gets the day off."


By Mark Schmetzer


Johnny Cueto's Start Delayed One Day Travis Wood Faces New York Yankees




Johnny Cueto reported a stiff neck before the game yesterday. The Reds decided last night to rearrange its pitching rotation.

Travis Wood will pitch with he normal rest. Cueto will pitch tomorrow.

"It was an easy decision," Dusty Baker said. "It is Travis' normal day to pitch. One day won't make a big difference to Johnny. He felt better today but why have him go out and have a short outing. Just give him another day of treatment."

The Yankees used the pitching change to rest Brett Gardner and get veteran Andruw Jones, hitting just .208 in limited playing time some at bats. Gardner is a lefthanded hitter while Jones swings from the right side.

"Day offs are hard to find, so we decided to give Brett one," Yankee manager Joe Girardi said. "Andruw's power numbers are better against lefthanders. It's tough for him coming off the bench and not getting regular playing time."

Jones is hitting .236 against lefthanded pitching with a home run and four doubles.



By Jerry Dowling


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Joey Votto Ends Mini Slump With Three Hits

It had been two years since Joey Votto was kept off the bases in three games in a row.

In the first two games against the team he rooted for growing up in the Toronto area, Votto had three hits in four at bats.

The first hit stopped an 0-for-10 slump.

The last time Votto went three games without getting on base through a hit, walk or getting hit by a pitch was in August 2009.

His three singles pushed his batting average to .327 on the season.

                                                                   


Arroyo Is a Number One Starter

Follow the playoffs on fullofschatz.blogspot.com.  I will be at every home game throughout the playoffs.  You can sign up to follow this blog by registering below also these posts will be submitted to Twitter @Colgar53......Please call 513-240-3120 to advertise in this space.  This is perfect for "watch parties" and specials during the playoffs, ask your suppliers about trade funds.


The statements is made over and over again. The Cincinnati Reds don’t have a number one starter. The Reds need a number one starter to win. The Cardinals have two number one starters. The Reds don’t have any. Really?


Let’s take a hard statistical look. First of all, there is a floating definition of a number one starter. Is it a pitcher you can count on to stop a losing streak? Is it the guy that pitches against the oppositions ace?

In baseball there is really is no such thing. Any pitcher in any given situation, can pitch a gem or a clunker. Over the long term of a season, those definitions will even out. One can point out anecdotal evidence to the contrary but if a good close analysis is made of the entire season, the cream rises to the top.

Games that end a losing streak are no more important in the standings as those that extend a winning streak or evens a given series up at one game apiece.Arroyo is one of only five pitchers in the Major Leagues with at least with 1,087.1 innings pitched.

Take a look at these facts, Arroyo is one of only five pitchers in the Major Leagues with at least 15 wins in each of the last 3 seasons (Roy Halladay,CC Sabathia, Jon Lester, Tim Lincecum). In each of the last 6 seasons, Arroyo has produced at least 32 starts and 200 innings pitched. He is one of only three pitchers to record at least 200 innings in each of the last six seasons, joining Dan Haren and Mark Buehrle, and his 1,292.2 innings pitched over the last six years are fourth-most in the majors behind only Sabathia (1351.0), Haren (1343.0) and Halladay (1322.2), Since he was acquired by the Reds prior to the 2006 season, he leads all Major League pitchers with 169 starts (tied w/Haren) and leads the National League with 1,087.1 innings pitched.

Also, Chris Carpenter, who is regarded as the Cardinals number one starter, has logged 117 quality starts. Arroyo in the same period has 149. The other Cardinals starter, Adam Wainwright, doesn’t have as much time as a starter compared to the other two, having only become a starter in 2007. Still in four seasons, including outstanding seasons in 2009 and 2010, Wainwright has produced a quality start in 7 out of every 10 starts. During the same time frame Arroyo is right there with 6.3 out of 10 starts were quality starts. The difference is less than one in 10 starts.

If Arroyo by definition is not a number one starter, then why is he in the statistical company of those that are considered number one starters.

Set aside the wins. Forget the ERA. Arroyo will keep his team in the game in an overwhelming number of starts. He will have games in which he is hit very hard and his ERA suffers but the statistics above prove that over the long haul, he is among the top five or six starters in the baseball.

"You know how Bronson is," Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said.  "He will be hit around for four or five games then throw seven good ones."

If Arroyo is not a number one starter, then there is genuinely, no such thing.

Arroyo allowed just one run against Toronto on Sunday over eight innings, his longest effort of the season.  He has quality starts in three of his last four outings.  The one outing he didn't get credit for a quality start, he pitched 7 2/3 innings in a 6-4 win in Los Angeles.  The fourth run kept him from it scored after he left the game.

While the Reds count on Arroyo to stop losing streaks and his numbers equal many pitchers, who are considered number one, he thinks Johnny Cueto is the Reds number one starter.



"The closest thing we have to a number one is Johnny," Arroyo said. "Honestly I wouldn't say I'm a number one.  Cueto is a guy that can go out there without his grade A stuff and give the other teams fits because he throws hard.  He is kind of dialing it in.  If I feel good on certain days, I can feel like I'm a number one.  I'm going to be consistent, man.  I have a lot of innings in my arm.  I'm not even what I was four or five years ago."

He felt like a number one today.

"When you leave the ballgame after eight innings and it's 2-1, I feel like I'm a number one."

Arroyo Masters Toronto Reds Win 2-1

Bronson Arroyo found a way to get Toronto Blue Jays hitters out.

He managed just 7 2/3 innings against the Blue Jays in his last three meetings with them but exceeded it on Sunday.

Aaron Hill hit a home run to lead off the fifth inning.  Juan Rivera and J.P. Arencibia followed with singles to put runners on first and third with no outs.  The Reds luck turned around on the next batter.

John McDonald was attempting to lay down a squeeze bunt but failed to get it down.  Joey Votto grabbed it and fired to an alert Miguel Cairo to double Rivera off third.  Arroyo allowed just two base runners in his last three innings.

"You need breaks like that," Dusty Baker said.

"It changed the game," Arroyo said.  "If we don't get that there, they probably score a run and have a man on second base.  That was huge.  We played some good defense today."

Miguel Cairo broke a 16 inning scoring drought with a two-run home run off his former mates.  Cairo had popped up to Adam Lind, the firstbaseman in his previous two at bats.

"Villanueva got me out with fastballs in the times before.  I was looking for a pitch middle in and I got it.  I put a good swing on it," Cairo said.

Francisco Cordero easily navigated through the meat of the Blue Jay's order to pick up his 15th win in 17 tries.  He got hard hitting, Jose Bautista out on a line drive to center.  Lind hit a hard ground ball down the line that Votto stabbed and completed the play to Cordero.  Hill hit a routine fly to right field to end the game and the mini losing streak.

Arroyo explained away the problems he had with Toronto in the past.

"It's a totally different lineup," Arroyo said.  "I drawing a blank on their names but you take the Puerto Rican kid in right (Alex Rios), the black kid in center (Vernon Wells) out of there.  You take those to guys and a couple more righties in the lineup.  The bottom of the order is a lot easier to pitch too and I face the pitcher."

Baker wasn't worried at all about Arroyo's history with Toronto.

"You know how Bronson is," Baker said.  "He'll get hit around four or five starts, then pitch seven good ones."


By Mark Schmetzer


Cairo Ends Drought

After 16 innings without scoring, SuperSub, Miguel Cairo hit a two-run home run into the left field stands.  The 365 ft long fly off Carlos Vilanueva, put the Reds up 2-1 over Toronto.

Cairo is playing thirdbase.  Scott Rolen is getting the day game after the night game off as Dusty Baker does regularly.

"I hate to have Scotty out of the lineup.  He feels good and has been swinging the bat well but I want him in the lineup, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and we have a day off Thursday.  I'm just trying to keep him so I can keep him," Baker said.

Reds Looking at Mapquest

The Reds have not scored in the last 16 innings.  Right now they couldn't find homeplate with Mapquest.


Bronson Arroyo's Trouble Against Toronto

Bronson Arroyo is as steady as any pitcher in baseball.  Arroyo wins 15 games and throws 200 plus innings annually.

The disturbing consistency has been his outings against the Toronto Blue Jays since 2005.

In September 2005 as a member of the Red Sox, Arroyo faced Toronto and allowed seven runs in three innings.

After his trade to the Reds he has faced Toronto twice.

On June 24, 2008, Arroyo didn't last the second inning.  Toronto had 11 hits and scored 10 runs before Arroyo left the game with no outs in the second inning. 

Exactly one year later, Arroyo scattered eight outs while the Blue Jays amassed seven runs, including one unearned run on eight hits.

The three-game total, 7 2/3 innings, 26 hits, 23 earned runs, seven walks, and nine home runs.  That calculates to an ERA of 27.00.

On Sunday, Yunel Escobar greeted Arroyo with a solid single to right.

Aroldis Chapman's Good Outing Paves the Way for a Return

Aroldis Chapman pitched two scoreless innings on Saturday for the Carolina Mudcats.  The important note is he walked none while striking out three.

It was Chapman's second scoreless outing in a row.  The Reds are not in a hurry to rush him back but Dusty Baker acknowledged that he is an important piece to his bullpen.

"The would help our situation big time," Baker said.  "He was an important part of our bullpen before he had that streak of wildness.  We will have some tough decisions to make.  A month ago we couldn't make these decisions."

Pitching injuries snowballed on the Reds.

Sam LeCure got the first save of his career on Saturday.  He pitched the seventh, eighth and ninth without allowing a run.  

"I talked to Sam.  He feels fine," Baker said.

Chapman could pitch Monday or Tuesday before being recalled.

"Chapman did what I asked him to do, finish strong," Baker said.  "I wanted him to pitch his way back."

Saturday, June 18, 2011

American League is Tough on Reds Toronto Beats Cincinnati 4-0

Brandon Morrow kept the Reds off the scoreboard.  While the usually reliable Reds defense let them down.

Edinson Volquez was the first starting pitcher in 12 games to pitch fewer than six innings. 

The shutout loss is the fifth straight against American League teams for the Reds.  They were swept in Cleveland in late May.

A leadoff double in the third inning and a leadoff home run in the fourth were enough to propel the Blue Jays to its second win of the three game set.

Volquez struck out the first two batters of the game and looked like he was going to dominate but Yunel Escobar hit a two-strike double.  The Reds defense, in particular, Volquez defense was subpar.  Former Red Corey Patterson bunted and Volquez threw the ball down the firstbase line.  The ball went behind the tarp and Jay Bruce thought it was lost but it rolled out from behind it and he threw Patterson out at third.

Jose Molina hit a home run in the fourth.  Rajai Davis followed with a triple and scored.

Corey Patterson led off the fifth with a double but the ball could have been caught by Chris Heisey.  Patterson scored on a single by Jose Bautista.

"We didn't play well tonight.  Especially on defense," Dusty Baker said.  "That's not like us.  We will keep working.  Edinson threw the ball well but hurt himself a couple times."

"I threw a pretty good game but I didn't play well," Volquez said.  "I was late covering first the first play."

Volquez could not get to a throw by Votto when Adam Lind grounded the ball deep at first base.  The error was properly charged to Volquez but was later improperly charged to Votto.  The Blue Jays loaded the bases but Volquez got out of that jam without a score.

Offensively the Reds had five singles off Morrow.  Brandon Phillips singled in the first but was thrown out stealing when Votto struck out.  Bruce broke a personal 0-for-17 slump with a single in the second inning but didn't move.  Paul Janish had a swinging bunt single in the third was sacrificed to second by Volquez and stranded there.  Bruce got his second single in the fourth.

The Reds didn't put more than one runner on base until the eighth and ninth but couldn't get a key hit.

"Morrow kept the ball up on us.  He pitched off his fastball," Baker said.  "He would throw one up and in, then move it away.  He pitched a good game."

Votto was 0-for-4 and struck out twice.  He has not reached base in the two games against his hometown team.  It is the first time since 2009 that he has gone two games without reaching base by a hit, walk or hit batsman.  In August 30, 2009 he was 0-for-5 against Los Angeles and the next day he was 0-for-9 in a doubleheader against Pittsburgh.


Baseball Voices


Joey Votto Will Receive the Lou Marsh Award Before Toronto Game

Joey Votto won the Lou Marsh Award, which goes to the athlete of the year in Canada.

The award itself will be presented to Votto before the game Saturday against his hometown, Toronto Blue Jays.

"It's a great honor," Votto said.  "The list of guys who won the award includes an Olympic Gold Medalist, Wayne Gretzky, Ferguson Jenkins.  It's like the Sports Illustrated Athlete of the year for Canada."

Votto is not one to promote himself.  He likes to remain private.  There are times that he can do that in Cincinnati but doesn't count on it.

"This is a smaller city but it's a baseball city," Votto said.  "I don't have a big problem (going unnoticed) but if you think your are going out to dinner and won't be recognized, you're fooling yourself."

Dusty Baker was asked about his young star.

"Votto is very recognizable but you hardly see him.  He's very polite to the people that do recognize him.  Canada should be proud.  He is outwardly humble but inwardly confident.  He is not austentacious, although his Lamborghini ain't exactly a Volkswagon," Baker said.