Reds Insider
From news of the day to news of the weird, John Fay provides a glimpse of what it’s like to cover the Cincinnati Reds

John Fay
John Fay has been the Reds beat writer for the Enquirer since 2001. Prior to that, he served in a variety of roles for the Enquirer: backup Reds writer, UC beat writer, backup Bengals writer and as a general assignment reporter. He is a Cincinnati native and a graduate of Elder High School and the University of Dayton.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

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Baker suspended

Reporter John Fay just called in with this tidbit from Reds PR man Rob Butcher:

Manager Dusty Baker has been suspended for two games following his ejection from Thursday night's game against the Padres.

Baker was ejected from the game in the seventh inning for arguing with home plate umpire Eric Cooper. Cooper had thrown third baseman Edwin Encarnacion out for arguing a called third strike.

John will be updating this soon.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Lineup v. Padres, notes

I'm posting this at new and old blog in case the new one is working for you. The new blog can be found at http://news.cincinnati.com/redsblog, so be sure to update your bookmarks.
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here: http://sitelife.cincinnati.com/ver1.0/Blog/BlogRss?plckBlogId=Blog:e57bcc87-152a-4f72-96fb-cc08b1f396ef

Ryan Freel cf
Paul Janish ss
Ken Griffey Jr. rf
Brandon Phillips 2b
Adam Dunn lf
Edwin Encarnacion 3b
Joey Votto 1b
Paul Bako c
Aaron Harang p
vs. LH Randy Wolf

--Dusty Baker said Ryan Freel will likely start the next two games as well with lefties throwing for the Padres. "Corey (Patterson) has good numbers against some of those lefties," Baker said. "But he's just not hitting or getting on base."

--Jerry Hairston Jr. is available. He had been sick for a for a few days before last night's game. He said he felt better during batting practice, but he got sick just before the game. He left the game after hitting in the first. "During that at-bat I felt like I was in outer space," he said. "I never been disoriented like that." He used to think the same thing was everyone else: "How does an athlete get dyhydrated? With all the Gatorade and stuff around."

Hairston brother, Scott, is a member of the Padres. It's first time they'll play against each other since 2004. The Hairston's family has the most players to make the majors: Sammy, his sons Jerry Sr. and Johnny and Jerry's sons Jerry Jr. and Scott.

His grandfather, who passed away in 1997, played mostly in the Negro Leagues and was the first African-American player with the White Sox. "He used tell all those stories about the Negro Leagues -- Jackie (Robinson), Cool Papa Bell, Double Duty Radcliffe. Double Duty was a good friend of the family."

Blog move

This blog has moved! The new blog can be found at http://news.cincinnati.com/redsblog, so be sure to update your bookmarks.

If you subscribe to this blog via an RSS reader, the new RSS feed is located


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Swept: L.A. 5, Reds 2

Maybe the Reds ought to bring back Brandon Claussen. He's the last Reds' winning pitcher in Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers completed the sweep Wednesday night. That's nine straight losses overall for the Reds in Chavez Ravine.

The Reds are in another offensive funk -- three runs total the last two nights.

It's hard to get going when your leadoff man has a .262 on-base percentage as Corey Patterson does and your No. 3 hitter hasn't hit a homer in month as Ken Griffey hasn't.

It was extremely windy here tonight. Extremely. A fine layer of dust built up on my computers -- must be blowing in with the wind.

Johnny Cueto went five innings and allowed four runs -- two earned -- on seven hits. He labored, throwing 114 pitches. He wasn't hit hard -- two infield hits, two bloops hung up by the wind. One run scored a wild pitch, another on squeeze, another on passed ball and another on Cueto's pickoff throw to first that went into the stands.

"We gave them three runs tonight," Dusty Baker said. "You can't do that when you're not scoring runs. This is the big leagues. That was the difference in the game."

Reds scored one in the second. Adam Dunn hit check-swing double, thanks to the shift. Edwin Encarnacion singled. Dunn scored on Joey Votto's fielder's choice.

The Dodgers came up with two in the bottom of the inning. Cueto walked leadoff hitter James Loney, then gave up a single to Matt Kemp. Loney scored on a wild pitch. Kemp moved to third on Blake DeWitt's groundout. Kemp scored on Chin-lung Hu's squeeze. Cueto made nice play on the ball, flipping it to catcher Paul Bako with his glove. But the flip was a bit high.

The Reds tied it in the fourth. Brandon Phillips and stole third. Encarnacion got him home with a sac fly.

Cueto gave up an unearned run in the fourth another in the fifth on 12-foot high pickoff throw.

Jerry Hairston Jr. left the game after the top of the first. he pulled up running out a grounder to third. Paul Janish replaced him. Hairston went out with dizziness due to dehydration.

Jocketty's here

Walt Jocketty joined the Reds in the L.A. today. So my first question to him was any significance to showing up now? The short answer: No. He had planned to be on the whole trip, but he had to attend a memorial service in the St. Louis and a funeral in Minneapolis.

He did take a side trip on the way to St. Louis to see Jay Bruce play at Louisville.

"I told him to be patient," Jocketty said. "What he's doing is not going unnoticed. Keep working. He went out and went 2-for-4 with a home run."

I'm saying with prediction that Bruce gets the call when the Reds return home. Again, that's just a hunch.

Jocketty saw left-hander Matt Maloney throw. "He looked very good," Jocketty said.

Daniel Herrera, the little lefty the Reds got in the Josh Hamilton deal, also threw. Herrera was 0.61 ERA and has allowed only eight hits 14 2/3 innings. His out pitch is a screwball.

"Everything is slow," Jocketty said. "But he keeps hitters off balance."

Lineup v. Dodgers

Patterson cf
Hairston ss
Griffey rf
Dunn lf
Encarnacion 3b
Votto 1b
Bako c
Cueto p

v. RH Hiroki Kuroda

Reds add station in Louisville

From the Reds:

CINCINNATI (May 21, 2008) – The Cincinnati Reds have announced that Cumulus station WQKC-FM 93.9 “The Ticket” will be the newest affiliate of the Reds Radio Network. The first broadcast will be the Reds vs. San Diego Padres game on Thursday, May 22 at 10:10 EST.

Minor matters, plus a prediction

You read it here first: Todd Frazier will be in the mix for one of the corner outfield positions next season if the Reds don't sign Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn. Frazier, last year's supplenmental first-round pick, played shortstop at Rutgers. The Reds played him there until his promotion to Sarasota. He's been played four games in the outfield with Sarasota. He's got power. He gets on base. And he hits right-handed. Of course, I could be completely wrong.

Now back the minor league report from Jamie Ramsey:

FRAZIER NAMED FSL PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Sarasota’s Todd Frazier on Monday was named Florida State League Player of the Week for 5/12-5/18...In 7 games, he batted .321 (9-for-28) with 3 homers, 6 RBI, 7 runs scored, 2 doubles and a .714 slugging pct...Frazier, 22, overall this season is batting .304 with 11 HR and 30 RBI in 42 games split between Sarasota and Dayton (.376obp, .595slg)...he was promoted to Sarasota on 5/7

Includes Louisville’s shutout victory this afternoon.
Louisville blanks Indianapolis this afternoon…Alvin Colina takes care of all the game’s scoring with a 2-run homer…Jay Bruce with 2 hits…Justin Mallett outstanding in his 5.0 shutout innings (3h, 2bb, 5k)…the Bats lose last night…Bruce with a pair of hits…The Lookouts were off yesterday (Weights and Measures Day)…they’ll get back at it tonight in the first game of a 5-game set at West Tenn…Sarasota falls to Brevard County…the SaraReds have dropped 4 straight…Dayton loses in 11 innings to Lansing…Luis Montano solid in his 6.0 innings (4h, 1r, 1bb, 6k)…Terrell Young perfect in relief (2.2ip, 5k).

Jay Bruce: 5 sacrifice flies (T2nd), 109 total bases (T4th), 60 hits (9th), .336 avg (11th), 665 slg pct. (11th)
Chris Valaika: 61 hits (T5th)
Chris Heisey: 18 doubles (T2nd)
Tonys Gutierrez: .362 avg (15th)
Enerio Del Rosario: 1.41 ERA (11th)
Derrik Lutz: 21 games (T4th)
Jose Castro: 24.80 TPA/K ratio (1st)
*entering today’s games

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dodgers 4, Reds 1

Matt Belisle pitched well -- 6 innings, 7 hits, 3 runs. But the Reds didn't hit and the defense was shaky in the second.

"That's the best I've seen him," catcher David Ross said. "He had command of the strike zone. It's one of the best I've caught all year."

"To be blunt," Belisle said. "I had to step up. . . it stings not to come out on top. The bottom line is results. We're sick of losing out here."

The Reds have lost eight straight at Dodger Stadium and are 9-21 on the West Coast since 2006.

Ugly inning in the second for the Redlegs. Jeff Kent and James Loney singled to start it. Matt Kemp hit a ball that Edwin Encarnacion made a nice play on. But his throw went off Ross' glove for an error. Should have been one out, runners at first and second, no runs in. Instead, it was 1-0, no outs, runners at second and third.

Blake DeWitt hit one to Paul Janish that he bobbled. It was ruled a hot, loading the bases. Chin-lung Hu hit into a fielder's choice, forcing Loney at home. It looked like Joey Votto stepped on first, taking off the force but the umpire ruled the other way.

Pitcher Chad Billingsley singled on first pitch to get another run in. All in all, it was astonishing that the Dodgers only scored two runs.

Reds had a great chance in the sixth. Corey Patterson singled and stole second. He went to third on Paul Janish's groundout. Ken Griffey Jr. walked. But Brandon Phillips bounced into a 6-4-3 double play.

Belisle left after giving up a single to start the seventh. Bill Bray came on, got an out on a sacrifice adn then proceeded to give up back-to-back hits. They led to a pair of runs.

It's been a while -- and almost

Ken Griffey Jr. went into Tuesday night without a homer in his last 83 at-bats. That's the longest streak since he went 101 at-bats from 5/22-6/20, 1990.

He's up to 85 now. He singled in the first tonight. In his second at-bat, Griffey nearly ended the drought. But center fielder Matt Kemp made a leaping catch at the wall. That's the second time he's been robbed since his last homer. Felix Pie got him at home on May 5.

Lineup v. Dodgers

Corey Patterson cf
Paul Janish ss
Ken Griffey Jr. rf
Brandon Phillips 2b
Adam Dunn lf
Edwin Encarnacion 3b
Joey Votto 1b
David Ross c
Matt Belisle p

I saw the TMZ video. It's nothing. Griffey missteped on a curb: Film at 11! All it shows is camera phones are bad thing if you're famous.

Minor matters

From Jamie Ramsey:

The Bats finally got a chance to kick back and enjoy a day off…Chattanooga uses the left arm of Ben Jukich to beat Mississippi (6ip, 6h, 1r, 2bb, 8k, 1hr)…Shaun Cumberland homers for the 2nd straight day…Tonys Gutierrez reaches for the 27th consecutive game (also has a 9-game hitting streak)…Sarasota gave up 7 runs in the 4th inning and lose to Brevard County…Jason Louwsma homers…The Dragons snap a 6-game losing streak…Matt Klinker outstanding in his 7.0 shutout innings (3h, 0bb, 6k, 82 pitches)…Devin Mesoraco belts his first homer.

HE’S BEN REALLY GOOD: Chattanooga’s Ben Jukich last night vs. Mississippi earned his 4th victory by allowing just 1 run (1hr) on 6 hits in 6.0 innings (2bb, 8k)...it was his first appearance since firing a complete game 6-hitter (2r) on Wednesday at Carolina…Since 4/23, Jukich has collected 6 consecutive quality starts (4-1, 1.73era, 41.2ip, 8r/8er, 15bb, 31k, .212oba, 1cg)…Overall this season, he’s 4-2 with a 2.25era in 9 starts...the lefthander is holding righties to a .197 batting average…Jukich was acquired by the Reds along with RHP Marcus McBeth as the “player to be named later” in the April 2007 trade with Athletics that sent OF Chris Denorfia to Oakland.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Dodgers 6, Reds 5

The six-game winning streak ended with one that got away. The Reds lost to Los Angeles Dodgers 6-5 Monday night on rookie Blake DeWitt’s single in the ninth.

This is one the Reds should have won. They led 4-0 and 5-2. Two errors -- by two different shortstops -- led to three runs.

"We had been playing such good defense," Dusty Baker said.

Russell Martin led off the ninth with a groundball off David Weathers. Shortstop Paul Janish fielded it and threw over first baseman Joey Votto’s head. It was scored a hit and an error. Russell went to third on Jeff Kent’s groundout. James Loney and Matt Kemp were intentionally walked to load the bases.

That brought up DeWitt. He singeld sharply in left to win it.

"This one hurts big time," Baker said. "We wanted to start the road trip off good We'll start a new streak tomorrow."

The Reds have lost seven straight in Dodger Stadium.

Adam Dunn's two-run homer in the third gave him one in five straight games. That tied the club record. Ken Griffey Jr. (2003), Johnny Bench (1972) and Ted Kluszewski (1954) had done it previously. Dunn has an RBI in eight straight games.

The Reds scored one in the first. Ryan Freel walked. He was eliminated on a Corey Patterson fielder's choice. But Griffey singled, sending Patterson to third. Brandon Phillips got him home. It was Phillips' seventh RBI in his last five games.

Two-out hits with runners in scoring position led to a run in second. Paul Bako fouled off four 3-2 pitches before walking. Bronson Arroyo bunted him over. Freel singled, but Bako had to hold at third. Patterson singled Bako in.

Phillips singled to lead off the third. Dunn followed with towering shot to right. The Red were up 4-0.

Arroyo got in some two-out trouble in the third. But he made the pitch to get out of it. With runners at second and third, Russell Martin grounded one to short. Jerry Hairston looked shaky from the start. He took an indirect route to the ball, then took an extra step or two before throwing. The throw was in dirt, it skipped by first baseman Joey Votto for a two-run error. It ended Arroyo's 14-inning scoreless streak.

"It was kind of funky play for Jerry," Arroyo said. "The runners were in front of him. It was a still a (4-2) game. That's pretty managable. I should have been able to get us to the sixth with the lead."

The error probably added eight pitches to Arryo's pitch count.

Griffey singled to start the fifth. He got thrown out at second when he tried to advance when Matt Kemp bobbled the ball. Phillips followed with a triple. He's the fastest Red from first to third since Barry Larkin was in his prime, by the way. Dunn lined a single to right to score Phillips.

Arroyo gave up the lead in the fifth. He gave up four straight two-out hits, three of which scored runs.

Lineup v. Dodgers (updated version)

Ryan Freel 3b
Corey Patterson cf
Ken Griffey Jr. rf
Brandon Phillips 2b
Adam Dunn lf
Joey Votto 1b
Jerry Hairston ss
Paul Bako c
Bronson Arroyo p

V. RH Brad Penny

Edwin Encarnacion is getting a day off. He's 9-for-53 over his last 14 games with only four RBI.

"I think he needs a day," Dusty Baker said. "I told him last night and he didn't fight it, so you know he needs it."

Ryan Freel is 7-for-17 off Penny.

Paul Janish or Hairston is a tough call. Janish had the big game yesterday. But Hairston is hitting .500 (7-for-14) in his last four starts with a double in each game. I know his career numbers aren't very good, but he seems to bring a lot energy to the lineup.

"I've two guys going good," Baker said. "That's a good situation."

Greetings from L.A.

Saw a gas station on the corner of Olympic and Beverly, where regular was $4.15 and premium was $4.55. I think it was full service.

Anyway, if the Reds are really to turn it around, they're going to have to do better out here. They are 9-19 on the left coast since 2006:

0-6 in L.A.
5-5 in San Francisco, including 2-1 this season
2-4 in San Diego
1-2 in Oakland
1-2 in Seattle

It's delightful here in Dodger Stadium, a bit warm but nothing but blue skies.

Attendance is up

By the way, the Reds are ahead of last year's pace now. They've drawn 521,190 or an average of 22,660 through 23 dates. Last year, they had drawn 516,629 or 22,462 through 23 dates.

Minor matters

From Jamie Ramsey:

Louisville beats Indianapolis…Matt Maloney with his 3rd straight quality start (6.1ip, 5h, 2r, 1bb, 4k)…Jay Bruce mired in a 27-for-51 slump since 5/10 (14g, .529, 16r, 15rbi, 1.598ops) went 2-for-4 with a home run (#10) and 2 runs scored…Jolbert Cabrera with a big 3-run double…The Bats today get their first true off day since 4/21…The Alphabet outscores the Runs Total in last night’s Chattanooga Lookouts/Mississippi Braves game 36-28 - the Lookies actually defeated the Braves 17-11 (31 combined hits, 1 error)…Eric Eymann ties a franchise record with 8 RBI…Shaun Cumberland homers…Cody Strait with 3 hits…Tonys Gutierrez reaches base safely again (26 straight games, 8-game hitting streak)…Sarasota nearly comes back to beat Brevard County (home of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station)…Todd Frazier with 2 more hits…Dayton loses their 6th straight game, falling to Great Lakes…Brandon Waring with 3 hits, including his 9th homer…Justin Reed also went deep…Enerio Del Rosario solid in defeat (6.1ip, 5h, 3r/2er, 2bb, 3k).

Louisville’s Matt Maloney today was named International League’s Pitcher of the Week for 5/12-5/18...Maloney for the week went 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA in 2 starts (13.1ip, 2r, 3bb, 11k)…Jay Bruce, who went 15-for-29 for the week (.517, 4 2B, 4hr, 9rbi), was not named the International Player of the Week...Rochester’s Denard Span took home the treasured award with a .619 batting average (13-21) and a 1.190 slugging percentage.

Terry Tiffee.... LVG............. 73
Mat Gamel....... HUN............. 65
Jesus Guzman.... MID............. 62
Pablo Sandoval.. SJO............. 62
Jamie D’Antona.. TUC............. 61
Mike Aviles..... OMA............. 60
Chris Valaika... CHA............ *59
Sean Doolittle.. STO............. 59
Michael Jones... GRE............. 59
Jay Bruce....... LOU............. 58

* Includes Valaika’s 49 with Sarasota and 10 with Chattanooga

Blog changes

Starting later this week, this blog will be published in a new blog tool on our new Cincinnati.Com Web site. The blog focus isn’t changing, but it will have a lot of technical improvements.

When we move to the new blog, this one won’t go away just yet, but it will have a link to the home of the new blog. Eventually, any bookmarks and links to this blog will take you to the new one.

Once reporters start posting to the new blog, you’ll get a sneak peek at the new Web site before anyone else. A link will be posted here when that happens.

We’ll also be launching a couple of new sports blogs on the new Web site. One will be dedicated to sports in Kentucky – with University of Kentucky athletics and Kentucky Speedway as the focus - and the other will be a general sports blog written by the entire Sports staff that will offer off-beat news that doesn’t fit anywhere else and links from around the Internet to give a glimpse at what the rest of the world is saying about our local sports and athletes. We’ll provide links to those new blogs when they’re started.

One big change: On the new blogs, you’ll need to sign up for an account (it’s free) in order to post comments. Anonymous comments will no longer be permitted.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sweep: Reds 6, Indians 4

That's six in a row, all against first place teams.

First 6-0 homestand since 1995. Seven straight home wins overall, tying a Great American record. First sweep of the Indians.

Adam Dunn is a on a big time roll. Home runs in four straight games. The Reds gave up a total of the nine runs in the series.

The most impressive thing to me was four straight two-out hits to chase Cliff Lee in the fifth.

Has your impression of this team changed over the last six games?

Minor matters

From Jamie Ramsey:

Tough night for the Reds farm clubs (0-5)…Louisville loses to Indianapolis…Tom Shearn victimized by the blown save (6.2ip, 7h, 4r, 1bb, 2k, 2hr)…Jolbert Cabrera with 3 hits…Kevin Barker and Ryan Hanigan both homer…Jay Bruce 1-for-5…Chattanooga commits 4 errors, 3 in the 7th and lose to Mississippi…Daryl Thompson started for the Lookies (6ip, 6h, 4r/3er, 3bb)…Tonys Gutierrez extended his on-base streak to 25 straight games (7-game hitting streak)…Sarasota falls to Clearwater…Alex Smit was outstanding in his 7.0 innings (4h, 2r, 2bb, 4k, 1hr)…Jason Louwsma hit a 2-run homer…Dayton drops both games of a doubleheader vs Great Lakes…Daniel Perales homers.

Jay Bruce........... LOU.......... .359
Tonys Gutierrez CHA.......... .354
Chris Valaika..... CHA......... .328
Andy Phillips..... LOU......... .322
Justin Turner..... CHA......... .315

Todd Frazier...... SAR............. 11
Jay Bruce........... LOU............... 9
Chris Valaika..... CHA............... 8
Brandon Waring DAY............... 8

Jay Bruce........... LOU............. 35
Chris Valaika..... CHA............ 34
Juan Francisco... SAR............. 30
Todd Frazier ... SAR......... 30

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Reds 4, Indians 2

That old try-to-bunt, then-swing-away strategy works again. Adam Dunn's three-run homer, walkoff homer beat the Indians. Dunn tried bunt on first two pitches. The ball he hit was well struck, as they say. The at-bat went exactly like Edwin Encarnacion's against Arizona in the first series.

That's nine RBI in six games for the Dunn and homers in three straight games.

I talked to Walt Jocketty today for the Insider for the paper. Three things worth mentioning:

--There have been no calls from other teams about Ken Griffey Jr.

--The Reds haven't approached Dunn or any free agents about new contracts.

--Starting the arbitration clock is not a factor with Jay Bruce. Jocketty said what he said the other day: It's a playing time issue. "We're going to have do it sometime and just figure it out."

Minor matters

From Jamie Ramsey:

Louisville splits a doubleheader with Scranton/WB…Jay Bruce snaps a 1-game homerless drought…Justin Mallett with 4.0 shutout innings in game 2…Andy Phillips had his 17-game hitting streak end…the Lookouts lose to Mississippi…Tonys Gutierrez extends his on-base streak to 24 straight games…Eric Eymann with 3 hits…Sarasota evaporates Clearwater…Todd Frazier belted 2 homers…he’s homered 3 times in 2 days…Danny Dorn (3 hits) hit just 1 over the fence…Jordan Smith earned his 7th win…Dayton squanders the lead and lose to Great Lakes…Scott Carroll victimized by the blown save (6ip, 7h, 2r, 1bb, 3k)…Logan Parker (former Bearcat) blasts his 3rd homer…the Dragons play a day/night doubleheader today/tonight.

E. Del Rosario.... DAY. 2-1, 1.13
Daryl Thompson ....CHA. 2-1, 1.28
Jordan Smith...... SAR. 7-1, 2.03
Ben Jukich........ CHA. 3-2, 2.34
Travis Wood....... SAR. 3-3, 2.38
Justin Lehr....... LOU. 4-2, 2.41
Scott Carroll..... DAY. 1-2, 3.14
Homer Bailey...... LOU. 4-4, 3.88

Rank/Team W/L PCT.
1. NY Yankees 106-60 .639
2. Texas 101-60 .627
3. Oakland 98-64 .605
4. Washington 94-68 .580
5. Cincinnati 91-73 .555


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