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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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Congrats Bats

From the Reds:

Class AAA Louisville went 16-11 in April, including today’s 4-3 win vs Toledo, to tie the franchise record for victories in the season's first month...team pitching leaders in April included RHP Homer Bailey (6gs, 4-2, 2.29), RHP Justin Lehr (3-1, 2.20), RHP Tom Shearn (5gs, 3-1, 4.15) and RHP Jon Adkins (10g, 0.52era, 4sv)...OF Jay Bruce leads the Bats in hitting (.316), HR (5) and RBI (19) and ranks second in stolen bases (6).

Cardinals 5, Reds 2

Aaron Harang got hit around in the second and third like you don't see him get hit around. Seven hits and three runs in the two innings.

That was the ballgame. The Reds did nothing offensively after the second. Tough loss. Could have won the series. Could have took a little momentum into the off day.

Harang's line: 6 innings, seven hits, three runs, three walks, four strikeouts.

He left with the Reds down 3-2. Kent Mercker gave up two runs in the seventh.

Edwin Encarnacion hit his seventh home run -- a shot down the line that just got over the wall -- in the seconf. Ryan Freel drove in the other run with infield single in that inning. Joey Votto had doubled and moved up on Harang's groundout.

Seven home runs in April is a 42 home run pace.

Couple of notes

--On second thought, the Reds decided to keep Bronson Arroyo his turn and give the extra rest to Johnny Cueto. That gives Cueto two bullpen sessions, instead of one between starts. Dusty Baker is trying to get Mario Soto in to work with Cueto. Soto was supposed to come in once a month. That's no slight of pitching coach Dick Pole.

"Mario helped raise this young man," Baker said.

Bronson Arroyo will start Sunday in Atlanta. Cueto will Tuesday at home vs. the Cubs.

--I asked Jeff Keppinger about the base-running blunder last night. He saw Corey Patterson wave.

"I thought he was waving me back," Keppinger said. "He was waving Brandon (Phillips) to get to second."

Reds v. Cardinals

Ryan Freel CF
Jeff Keppinger SS
Ken Griffey Jr. RF
Brandon Phillips 2B
Adam Dunn LF
Edwin Encarnacion 3B
Joey Votto 1B
David Ross C
Aaron Harang P

v. RH Braden Looper

Former Red Jason LaRue is catching. He comes in hitting .045.

Minor matters

From Jamie Ramsey:

Louisville falls to Toledo…Justin Lehr suffers his first loss…David Weathers makes his first rehab appearance for the Bats (1ip, 1k – rehabbing ulnar nerve irritation in right elbow)…Drew T. Anderson with 3 hits…Homer Bailey pitches today…The Lookouts and SaraReds were both off yesterday (National Dance Day)…Chattanooga begins a 5-game series this afternoon at Mississippi (Braves)…Sarasota begins a 3-game series tonight vs Tampa (Yankees)…Jordan Smith set to start for the SaraReds…Dayton beats Peoria thanks to 2 home runs from Brandon Waring…Zack Cozart extends his hitting streak to 6g…Scott Carroll was outstanding (6.1ip, 3h, 0r, 1bb, 3k).

Organization’s Top Pitchers
Daryl Thompson............ CHA.......... 2-1, 0.57
Luis Montano............... DAY......... 4-0, 1.27
Jordan Smith............... SAR......... 4-1, 1.72
Homer Bailey... ........... LOU......... 3-2, 1.95
Danny Herrera............ LOU/CHA....... 3-0, 2.05
Justin Lehr............... LOU.......... 3-1, 2.20
Ben Jukich................ CHA.......... 1-1, 2.60
Travis Wood............... SAR.......... 2-2, 2.66
Scott Carroll............. DAY.......... 0-1, 3.86

Organization’s Strikeout Leaders
Daryl Thompson............. CHA................... 36
Justin Lehr................ LOU................... 27
Travis Wood................ SAR................... 27
Matt Maloney............... LOU................... 24
Jordan Smith............... SAR................... 24

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cardinals 7, Reds 2

The Reds kept Albert Pujols from hurting them. He went 0-for-4.

The rest of lineup is 15-for-34, however, including 8-for-13 off Johnny Cueto.

Johnny Cueto's sixth start was by far his worst. He went 1 2/3 innings, allowing seven runs (six earned) on eight hits. They hit some rockets off him. It's hard to tell much from the press box -- it's right about even with the top of arch.

"He was throwing well but he wasn't locating well," Dusty Baker siad. "Too many balls over the heart of the plate and up."

Sleep fast, as Jack McKeon would say, first pitch tomorrow is 12:15 St. Louis time. the game is on FSN Ohio. A rarity for weekday day games.

Remember the rules

I'm rejecting a lot of posts lately. Don't use another posters name in a post. Try to be civil. You can be a negative as you want about the Reds. Just don't be nasty.

Rotation turn

The Reds changers their rotation because of Thursday's off day:

Friday, Edinson Volquez
Saturday, Matt Belisle
Sunday, Johnny Cueto
Monday, Aaron Harang
Tuesday, Bronson Arroyo

The net effect is Belisle gets an extra day of rest and Arroyo gets two extra days of rest. Everyone else stays on turn.

They've got another off day May 8, so they may adjust again.

Lineup v. Cards

Corey Patterson cf
Jeff Keppinger ss
Ken Griffey Jr. rf
Brandon Phillips 2b
Adam Dunn lf
Edwin Encarnacion 3b
Joey Votto 1b
Paul Bako c
Johnny Cueto p

v. RH Joel Pineiro

Talking to Krivsky

I finally talked to Wayne Krivsky today after playing phone tag for a day or two. He sounded good, obviously still disappointed. He wanted to clear up some things:

--No talks have gone on with Adam Dunn about an extension. No figures have been exchanged. Nothing.

--The Gary Majewski case reached Bud Selig's deck within the last month or so.

--He didn't reveal that A's picked up Rheal Cormier's $2 million salary as part of the trade for Chris Denorfia in order not to make Billy Beans look bad. That is classic Krivsky. He wouldn't throw the other guy under the bus, even though the local media -- me included -- continually mentioned the Cormier deal as one of the Krivsky's failure.

--He's been contacted by two clubs about jobs. My guess is he'll have one soon. "I wouldn't mind scouting the National League out of Great American Ball Ball Park," he said. "I'd be comfortable walking in there."

He's still thinking like a guy with budget to meet. I told him that all the front office people are here in St. Louis. I ran off the list. "Man, that's got to be costing a lot money to have them all there."

Communication was a big factor in him losing the job. He regretted not putting things in writing for CEO Bob Castellini. "I communicate on the phone or in person," Krivsky said. "He likes things in memos."

He talked wistfully of how things may have worked out with him staying as GM and Jocketty as team president.

"The relationship got better," he said. "Walt and I are 180 degrees different as far as style but we're close as far as baseball philosophy. Walt may be able to do a better job of managing Bob."

Monday, April 28, 2008

Reds 4, Cardinals 3

I think I suggested in one of these postgame missives a few weeks ago that Eddie Encarnacion might need a little time in Triple-A. I'm not sure. I could look it up but I took the red-eye last night and I'm tired.

Anyway, if I did, I was wrong.

Encarnacion saved the game Monday night with a great defensive in the seventh inning. He went 2-for-4 with two RBI doubles. He's 26-for-70 (.371) with five home runs and 11 RBI in last 18 games.

He also made an error -- his eighth of the year -- in the game. But you've got to live with the good and bad. He's a talented kid. He works hard at it.

Talking about his fielding -- a good play -- made Encarnacion smile.

"You focus and you get an opportunity to make a play like that and help your team to win," Encarnacion said.

Encarnacion understands he needs to make the routine plays as well.

"He's conscious of it," Dusty Baker said. "He needs to be consistent. Someday he's got a chance to be gold. He works it."

And, oh yeah, the Reds have finally won three in a row. Bronson Arroyo said the key to his first quality start was swimming laps. I'm not making that up.

Freel's frustrated, really frustrated

Ryan Freel isn't in the lineup for tonight's game with Cardinals. I approached him for a "Gee, you're hitting well" note. I got a little more of a story.

Freel is angry and frustrated.

"I'm trying to be careful about what I say,” Freel said. “I've really got nothing good to say right now. There was a lot of stuff said that misinterpreted or mis-communicated this offseason."

"It would have stunned a lot of people if they heard what was said about me. Apparently, I said I couldn't play every day to the manager. Apparently, I told him that this offseason. That would have never come out of mouth."

Therein lies the problem. Freel thinks that Dusty Baker misunderstanding of something Freel said led to some of the moves the Reds made -- like bringing in Corey Patterson to play center field and leadoff.

"I talked to Wayne (Krivsky) to tell him I didn't say that," Freel said. "I would never in a million years say that. They gave me a two-year ($7 million) deal. I don't think it was to do this. It's frustrating. I can't explain it. There’s a lot going on. It's a shame that I had to address it like this. I didn't want to get the media involved."

Freel and Baker have talked.

"It was a misunderstanding," Baker said. "I thought it was over. It's over as far as I'm concerned."

But Freel remains frustrated. He's clearly outhit Patterson lately. Freel was 5-for-11 with two doubles and three RBI in the San Francisco series. He's made eight starts. He's had hits in last seven. He's hitting .387 with a .424 on-base percentage in his starts.

Freel admits he wasn't very good last year. But he spent most of the year injured or coming back from injuries.

"I wouldn't talk about this if we were winning. But we're losing. This isn't team we are. We're not an under .500 team. It's kind of hard to do anything about it when you're sitting around playing only every four days. I wasn't the issue before last year.”

Freel hit .245 with .308 on-base last year with 15 steals.

"They never gave me an opportunity to come in and rebound from last year."

Minor matters

From Jamie Ramsey;

Louisville wins again...they set a season-high with 13 runs in yesterday’s win over Columbus...The Bats are off to their best start since 2003 (15-9)...a victory in any of their next 3 games will match the franchise record for wins in April (16-6, 2000)…Paul Janish with a grand slam, 6 RBI…Chattanooga was 3 outs away from victory before impatient Mother Nature ruined all the fun (Lookouts up 2-0 vs. Carolina after 4 innings – game will resume from that point tonight)…Longtime Chattanooga fan and current Reds PA announcer Joe Zerhusen celebrates his 73rd birthday today… Sarasota couldn’t drive in the runs to win yesterday - they lose in 13 innings to Dunedin…Justin Turner extends his hitting streak to 13 games (25-55, .455, 13r)...he’s leading the Florida State League with a .395ba …Dayton yesterday at Kane County shut out their opponent for the first time this season…Luis Montano is hotter than an August beard (6ip, 1h, 0r, 0bb, 8k)…Zack Cozart’s belted his first career grand slam…Keltavious Jones with 3 hits.

Chris Valaika ranks T2nd in all of minor league baseball with 25 RBI
Sarasota’s .287 team batting average leads the FSL by 18 points

1. Texas Rangers 60-30 .667
2. NY Yankees 64-34 .653
3. Oakland A’s 57-35 .620
4. Florida Marlins 54-38 .587
5. Cincinnati Reds 53-40 .570

Coffey out; Bray in

The Reds called up left-hander Bill Bray and optioned right-hander Todd Coffey to Triple-A Louisville.

Here's the release:

Today the Reds recalled from Class AAA Louisville LHP Bill Bray (#45) and optioned to Louisville RHP Todd Coffey.

In 8 apps for the Bats Bray went 0-0, 1.04 with 1 save (8.2ip, 4h, 1er, 3bb, 14k, 1hr, .133oba)...he began spring training with a sore left shoulder and didn't appear in an exhibition game until 3/12...finished the spring with a 3.68era in 6 apps (7.1ip, 5h, 3er, 2bb, 6k) before he was optioned to the minors the day before camp broke.

Coffey posted a 6.46era in 14 relief apps for the Reds.

Greetings from St. Louis

The sun is peaking through new. It was raining this morning when I got here via the red-eye, through Atlanta, where it was also raining.

On the walk from the metro station to the hotel, I noticed that the development around noew Busch is gonig like the development around Great American -- very slowly. The block directly in front of the ballpark is a hole in the ground. With the rain, there was a little lake. May they can offer game time cruises.

Putting a new ballpark where the old ballpark was when the old one didn't spur development 30 years doesn't make a lot sense. But that's just me. I was a Broadway Commons guy.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Would you make the deal?

The Reds beat the Giants 10-1.

Edinson Volquez went seven innings. He gave up the one run on five hits, walked three and struck 10.

So the question of the day is this: Would you make the Josh Hamilton-Volquez trade again?

Volquez is 4-0 with 1.23 ERA -- 29 1/3 innings, 20 hits, 16 walks, 33 strikeouts.

Hamilton is hitting .333 with 5 home runs and 27 RBI.

Volquez is 24. Hamilton is 27.

I'm talking about the deal that was made -- Hamilton for Volquez and Danny Herrera. The Reds had to give up Hamilton to get Volquez. The Ranger would not have givn him up for Adam Dunn or Edwin Encarnacion or anyone else.

So would you do it?

How do you like that lineup now?

Reds sent 10 to the plate and scored six in the first. Barry Zito was awful. But the Giants' defense was about as bad. One error. One should-have-been-an-error.

Paul Bako now has three triples -- tied for the league lead.

Hatteberg trade? (update)

Peter Gammons floated the idea of the New York Mets trying to obtain Scott Hatteberg to spell/platoon with Carlos Delgado.

Hatteberg isn't demanding a trade. But he'd welcome one.

"First and foremost, I'd like to be here and help the team win," he said. "I play baseball to play."

I talked to Walt Jocketty after the game. He's heard from no teams about Hatteberg. Would Jocketty considered moving Hatteberg if a team made an offer?

"He's been an important part of the team," Jocketty said. "I'll all try to do anything to make the team better."

Hatteberg is in strictly a backup/pinch-hitting role with the emergence of Joey Votto. Hatteberg's 0-for-7 as a pinch-hitter and hitting .161 overall.

"It's difficult," he said. "I've never been a very good pinch-hitter. I'm trying to figure it out. I'm trying."

The only pitch a pinch-hitter gets to hit is often times the first one. Hatteberg rarely swings at first pitches.

"That flies in the face of the way I hit," he said. "This is my 13th year in the major leagues. I have a theory behind how I like to hit. I like to see a lot of pitches. Pinch-hitting isn't really conducive to that. I change my approach a little bit."

Reds v. Giants

Jerry Hairston RF
Corey Patterson CF
Jeff Keppinger SS
Brandon Phillips 2B
Edwin Encarnacion 3B
Joey Votto 1B
Ryan Freel LF
Paul Bako C
Edison Volquez P

v. LHP Barry Zito

Dusty Baker on Junior Griffey and Adam Dunn being out of the lineup: "Griff needs it physically. He's been playing a lot. I've been seeing him committing kind of early on his swing. He hasn't played this much early in three years. He wants to play. Dunn needs mental day. Hopefully, this will get back on stage like it did Brandon (Phillips)."

Phillips has gone 3-for-7 with a homer and four RBI since not being in the linep on Friday.

Reds 10, Giants 9

Francisco Cordero earned a good bit of his $46 million Saturday night. If he hadn't nailed down the save, the season on the brink may have been completely lost.

"That would have been Heartbreak Hotel right there," Dusty Baker said.

Cordero was expecting the night off until the game went from a lock to scary situation faster than you can say Todd Coffey.

"We haven't been playing good," Cordero said. "When it went from 10-5 to 10-9, I said we can't lose this."

Cordero got a groundout and then struck ot Ray Durham on three pitches to close it.

"Hopefully, this get us on roll," Paul Bako said.

We'll see. The Reds face Barry Zito in roughly 15 hours.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Jocketty on Bailey

I asked Walt Jocketty before the game if the Reds would consider bringing Homer Bailey up as a reliever:

“I haven’t thought of him as anything other than a starter,” Jocketty said. “I haven’t really talked to anybody about that.”

Bailey is doing what he done the last three years: Dominating in the minors. He’s 2-1with a 1.95 ERA for Triple-A Louisville.

Jocketty brought up Adam Wainwright in St. Louis as a reliever. Wainwright went 2-1 with a 3.12 ERA in 61 games of relief in 2006. Last year, he was 14-12 with 3.70 ERA as a starter.

What would I do?

Through a wireless/blogger glitch this didn't get posted whewn the headline went up. You guys did fine without me. Here's my take:

I think a blowup or youth movement may be the way to fix things. A lot of you think the same thing. For that to happen, Walt Jocketty has to agree and sell it to Bob Castellini on it. The only way he'll buy it is if he's convinced it's the fastest way to win.

Given what Castellini said the press conference, I don't think he's going to sign off on blowing off this season for 2009 or '10.

Short term, there's not a lot to do except hope the players play better. Bringing up Jay Bruce to play center, doesn't solve the leadoff problem. (But I'd have Bruce and Homer Bailey here pronto). There's no one to bring up catch. Trading Adam Dunn and/or Ken Griffey Jr. isn't isn't going to bring much in return -- in terms of young players. It would free up money, but there's nothing to spend on right now.

My guess is Jocketty has a plan, he just wants to be very sure of it before he begins to launch it.

I'll expand on the subject for the paper.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Giants 3, Reds 1

An ugly loss.

A wasted good start by Aaron Harang. Harang was ticked off at himself afterward. But his comments were pretty tame. "He pitched better," he said, referring Jonathan Sanchez, the 25-year-old left-handed that Reds made look like Johan Santana.

The season is spiraling. Three losses in a row -- 11 of 14.

"It feels like Groundhog Day," Dusty Baker said.

I'm not big on moves for the sake of making moves, but Baker or Jocketty should do something.

Talking to Jocketty

I just spoke to Walt Jocketty for the first time since he took over as GM. It sounds like he's in the gathering information mode. But moves will come.

"I think they will come eventually," he said. "It's a little early yet."

Jocketty is taking that approach on what to do about Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn. Dunn becomes a free agent after this season. The club holds an option on Griffey for 2009. Jocketty says he hasn't made a call on either.

"Not yet," he said. "Again, this all came pretty fast. I was getting to know the organization. That's something I'm going to listen to a lot people in the organization on before moving forward on anything."

Jocketty pointed to driving in runs in key situations as one of the Reds' big problems. That's pretty apparent. But are there things a GM can do during the season to change that?

"Hopefully," Jocketty said. "The other thing I hope to do is talk to players, get their thoughts on different things. Give them an opportunity to speak their minds."

Jocketty saw the club through spring training. He's been at nearly every home game and he was on most of the last road trip. So he's seen some things he doesn't like. But, again, he says he's taking a patient approach.

"I had some ideas. But I want to get the ideas of other people," he said.

That's what he's been doing since taking over.

"I've been very busy just trying to get with people," Jocketty said. "I had some conference calls and set up some meetings. I've got some (Reds front office people) coming into St. Louis. I"m being brought up to speed on a lot of things.”

Lineup v. Giants

Freel cf
Hairston 2b
Griffey rf
Encarnacion 3b
Dunn of
Keppinger ss
Votto 1b
Ross c
Harang p

v. LHP Jonathan Sanchez

Minor matters

From Jamie Ramey:

Louisville beats Indianapolis…Justin Lehr with another sterling performance (6ip, 5h, 0r, 0bb, 2k)…Farm Report correspondent Jim Kelch reports Lehr has now picked a runner off first base in 3 straight starts…Bill Bray with 2 scoreless innings…Jay Bruce paced the offense (3-for-4, HR, double, 1sb, 3r)…over his last 8 games Bruce is 11-for-26 (.423) to raise his BA 44 points…Chattanooga with a dramatic win over Carolina…Cody Strait rips a 2-run walkoff homer to give the Lookies their 4th win in a row…Sam Lecure outstanding again (7ip, 4h, 1r, 2bb, 5k)…Sarasota drops Clearwater…Chris Valaika with 4 hits…a 3-hit night for Drew Stubbs (2 doubles, 2sb, 2rbi)…Justin Turner extends his hitting streak to 10 games…Jordan Smith improves to 4-1 (6ip, 6h, 4r/2er)…The Dragons were off yesterday (Library of Congress Day).

RHP Homer Bailey (Louisville) and RHP Daryl Thompson both scheduled to pitch tonight.

I'm back blogging

I'm back on the job. It's a been a very difficult few weeks for my family and I. As a lot of you may know my brother, Tim, died after a long battle with cancer. It was probably the hardest thing I've gone through in my life.

But you've got to go on. I'll try to -- with a healthy dose of perspective.

One aside before we move on, I want to thank the people at Mercy Western Hills Hospice in particular and hospice workers in the general. They do God's work.

As for the Reds, a little bit happened while I was out, eh?

I weighed in a bit on the Wayne Krivsky firing. I think it came down to some bad contracts, problems working with others in the front and Bob Castellini's impatience with losing.

But one thing that occurred to me today: What if the big-trade with Nationals had worked out? If Gary Majewski was healthy and pitched like he was capable of, if Royce Clayton was better than marginal, and if Bill Bray was more consistent? (I know that's a lot of ifs) But the Reds would have likely finished above .500 two years, maybe even won the division. Instead, they finished 80-82.

The trade that was supposed to fix the bullpen didn't. More roster tinkering was done that offseason, including signing Mike Stanton. You really can the case that the Nats trade was the beginning of Krivsky downfall.

And the fact that it didn't work was just back luck -- the case of Majewski and Bray.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Astros 5, Reds 3 - middle of 5th

Not a good day for Johnny Cueto. He gave up two more runs in the top of the fifth. It's no surprise that Lance Berkman accounted for one of them with an RBI double to right, scoring Darin Erstad , who had singled to drive in Hunter Pence. Cueto has allowed five runs on seven hits.

Reds 3, Astros 3 - middle of 4th inning

Johnny Cueto gave up a two-run homer to Lance Berkman in the first. The Astros scored again in the second on a two-out RBI single by pitcher Jack Cassel. The Reds countered with a run in the first on Griffey's RBI single and two in the second. Scott Hatteberg's double scored Edwin Encarnacion, who extended his career-high hitting streak to 14. Paul Bako then scored Hatteberg with a single to center.

Reds 3, Astros 3 - fourth inning

Baker on Bruce and Bailey

Reds manager Dusty Baker is as eager as most Reds fans to see outfielder Jay Bruce and pitcher Homer Bailey in a Reds uniform, but he says the club has to make sure it does the right thing by the two highly-regarded prospects while considering the club’s long-term needs.

“You’re not going to bring them up and don’t play them,” Baker said Thursday. “You want them to tear it up versus coming here prematurely and then have to go back. Even if we need them, you’ve got to do what’s right, number one, for the kids because when they get here, they’re not going back.”

Has it reached the point during the Reds’ slow start where they really do need Bruce and Bailey?

“Need is not the issue right now,” Baker said. “The issue is we’ve got guys here that have done the job and are about to do the job. I mean, are you going to tell me Adam Dunn is not going to hit 40 home runs? Are you going to tell me Griff’s not going to hit 30 home runs?
“I’m dying for them to get here. I really am. I’m excited about it. But sometimes you have to sit on your hands and let them play.”

Asked if he believed that Bruce and Bailey were ready to succeed in the big leagues, Baker said he wasn’t sure.

“I’m not there with them,” he said. “I see the reports. Three weeks isn’t a real long period of time. Jay Bruce has been there three weeks and for Homer Bailey it’s his second tour there.

“Homer has cut down his pitches. He’s cut down his delivery so they don’t run on him all the time. There’s more things to learn than just hitting and pitching if you’re going to win in the big leagues because those guys will capitalize on the little things you don’t do that may not show up in the box scores.”

Today's lineups


Hunter Pence - RF
Darin Erstad - CF
Miguel Tejada - SS
Lance Berkman - 1B
Geoff Blum - 3B
Jose Cruz, Jr. - LF
Mark Loretta - 2B
J.R. Towles - C
Jack Cassel - P


Corey Patterson - CF
Jerry Hairston - SS
Ken Griffey Jr. - RF
Brandon Phillips - 2B
Adam Dunn - LF
Edwin Encarnacion - 3B
Scott Hatteberg - 1B
Paul Bako - C
Johnny Cueto - P

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Wayne Krivsky truly seemed blind-sided by the news of his firing. He spoke to the media Wednesday afternoon at the ball park, and even got a little emotional about halfway through.

“I did not see this coming all,” Krivsky said. “Having said that, I told Bob (Castellini) I was real appreciative of the opportunity. I worked 29 years to get an opportunity like this in the city of Cincinnati, starving for a winner, (with a) great sports town and great tradition, and I still think it’s a gold mine. I really do. That’s what hurts so much - not to see the job through to the end and bring that winner to Cincinnati.”

There was one thing Krivsky wanted to set straight, and that was about reliever Rheal Cormier. Cormier was designated for assignment early last season after a poor start, and was reportedly owed about $2.25 million.

“Just so you all know, there was a whole bunch of money in one transaction that paid for Rheal Cormier’s contract,” Krivsky said.

“I guess I can come forward with that right now. There was $2.08 million in one transaction that paid for his contract specifically, so if you can wipe that one off my ledger, I’d appreciate that,” Krivsky said.

Press conference comments

Comments from the Reds' 4 p.m. press conference.

Bob Castellini:

"I don't think anyone in the organization is happy with the results in a won-loss basis. We've had two losing seasons under the new ownership. We started this season poorly ... and that's the primary reason we made the change."

"This has been a very tough decision. And Wayne Krivsky did a whale of a job in so many areas. We've just come to a point where ... we're just not going to lose any more."

Walt Jocketty:

"Bob came to me last night and asked if I was ready to do this for him. We talked about it for a while and it's been 6 months ... it was a tough decision. I talked to my wife, my kids. I knew this was tough for Bob. I know it's tough replacing Wayne. ... I'm charged up and ready to go and I think this organization is going in the right direction. I talked to Bob quite a bit a few years ago when he was contemplating buying this franchise and we talked at the time about what a great franchise this was, the history of the franchise, and how it was very similar to the situation I had in St. Louis, with a winning tradition, great fans and great community. But they hadn't won in St. Louis in a long time either. So there are a lot of similarities."

"Trust me, me and Dusty are very motivated. We're both guys with a vendetta and chip on our shoulders."

"I think one thing I talked with Dusty about today ... we need to change the culture and mindset to have everyone believe we can win. ... You have to surround yourself with positive people. We'll evaluate that in the coming weeks and months."

"It's a great ownership group. That's the main reason I came here in the first place. ... I know how dedicated they are in making this a first-class organization and a winning franchise."

"Both Dusty and I hate losing. We're not going to stand for it."

"I will at some point (address the team). I've discussed that with the staff a little bit today. ... We may wait until we get on the road to do it."

"At some point we may have to change the personnel but right now we're going to stay with the guys we have."

What's next?

I think one of the biggest thing to watch in the short term is what happens to all the people Wayne Krivsky hired.

You have to go pretty far down the food chain to find someone who was in the organization before Krivsky arrived. Bob Miller, Scott Nethery, J Harris, Chris Buckley, Tony Arias, Jim Stoekel and Squeaky Parker. That's seven of 10 people listed immediately after Krivsky in the media guide.

I don't know who call it was but it wasn't a good sign when the Reds picked a player in the Rule 5 draft who never even got in a game.

But I think one of things things that really hurt Krivsky was Johnny Almaraz leaving. Bob Castellini saw Almaraz as a potential GM. He quit because he had trouble working with Krivsky. Almaraz, the guy who signed Johnny Cueto, ended up with the Braves. That says a lot about his reputation.

Tonight's lineup

Jerry Hairston Jr. CF
Jeff Keppinger SS
Ken Griffey Jr. RF
Brandon Phillips 2B
Adam Dunn LF
Edwin Encarnacion 3B
Joey Votto 1B
David Ross C
Bronson Arroyo P

vs. RHP Chris Sampson

Hopper to DL

TODAY'S TRANSACTIONS: Today the Reds returned from a rehabilitation assignment and reinstated from the 15-day disabled list C David Ross (lower back spasms) and placed on the 15-day DL, retroactive to Saturday, OF Norris Hopper (right elbow inflammation)...Ross has been on the DL all season and made 13 rehab apps at Class A Sarasota and Class AAA Louisville (7-41, .171, 6r, 1 2b, 1 3b, 1hr, 3rbi, 6bb, 16k)...Hopper is eligible to be reinstated from the DL the first day of the next homestand, on 5/5 vs the Cubs.

Castellini: It was time

I just spoke briefly to Reds CEO Bob Castellini. I asked him why they made the move with Wayne Krivsky now.

"We're not winning. We haven't started well. It was time."

He said the move was a difficult one.

"He gave it his all. He's a good guy."

Castellini will have more to say at the 4 p.m. press conference.

I think the thing that did Krivsky in was contracts. Mike Stanton, Rheal Cormier, Juan Castro. I've also heard that he and Walt Jocketty were not getting along great.

Krivsky and I had our differences. But I liked the guy. He'll land on his feet.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Comment moderation

Sorry blog fans, but we had to go back to comment moderation, and I highly doubt we'll ever return to open commenting after this latest episode. We tried to open up the floor because John was away, and because this blog is by far our most popular in terms of comments, but we couldn't even do that for a couple hours without the blog degenerating into a childish display. Sometimes it's hard to believe adults can act this way, but it is what it is. For the people who want a civil discussion and yes, even civil debate, I apologize for the move, and for having to read through personal attacks that are nothing other than a waste of your time. A few bad apples have spoiled the whole bunch.

Monday, April 21, 2008


Reds lose 9-3 behind a disastrous start. Couple notes....

-"We got beat up today," Dusty Baker said.

-Joey Votto’s ninth-inning homer off Chan Ho Park traveled an estimated 466 feet. It’s the 14th-longest home run hit at Great American Ball Park.

- Edwin Encarnacion hit his fifth homer of the season in the seventh inning off Park. It was the fifth time Encarnacion hit a home run into the ball park’s bleacher seats, tying him with David Ross on that all-time list. Encarnacion extended his hitting streak to 11 games, a new career high.

-With the Dodgers loss, the Reds haven’t won the first game of a series this season (0-7).

Quick hits

This blog is taking a while to publish entries, so I'll get a few things out right now:

Score: 9-1 Dodgers, sixth inning

Belisle: In four innings, he gave up 12 hits, seven runs (five earned), one walk, struck out three, and allowed a home run. Fifty-two of his 84 pitches were strikes.

Jeremy Affeldt came in, then Josh Fogg, who hit Russell Martin with a pitch and surrendered a two-run homer to Nomar Garciaparra.

Reds down 5-0

Entering the bottom of the third. Fans started booing Belisle after James Loney's 2 RBI, which upped the Dodgers lead to five. After a quick meeting with Dick Pole, Belisle struck out Andruw Jones. Loney was caught stealing and Brad Penny grounded out to end the inning.

Dodgers up 3-0

Heading into the bottom of the second. They've scored as many runs in two at-bats tonight as they had in their last three games.


It didn't take long for the Dodgers to rattle Matt Belisle. Leadoff batter Rafael Furcal hit the ball 378 feet into right field for a home run. Russell Martin doubled. Andre Ethier walked. Matt Kemp struck out swinging to end the inning, but it was undoubtedly not the start Belisle wanted upon his return from the DL.

Today's transactions

Today the contract of IF/OF Jerry Hairson Jr. was selected from Class AAA Louisville and IF Juan Castro was designated for assignment.

Reds GM Wayne Krivsky said Castro was informed at about 2:35 p.m. today.

“That was really difficult. He makes any team better that he’s on. It’s not a good day when you have to tell him you’re making a change,” Krivsky said. “Hopefully we can find him something in the Major Leagues and go forward, but I can’t say enough about him as a person, as a man and as a teammate. I just think the world of the guy.”

Castro made two starts, both at SS (April 7 vs. Philadelphia and Sunday at Pittsburgh). Last season he appeared in 54 games, including 18 starts (11 at SS, 5 at 3B and 2 at 2B).

Hairston, who will wear No. 15, hit .421 in Louisville in 14 games. He had seven doubles, two triples, three homers, 15 RBI and one stolen base.

“Hairston’s been playing really well, hitting .420. We decided to bring him up here, and he gives us a little more versatility from the standpoint that he can play the infield and the outfield, and he can run. He’s swinging a hot bat right now, so there he is," Krivsky said. "Good day for Jerry, and tough day when you have to tell Juan Castro goodbye for now.”

Tonight's lineup

Ryan Freel CF
Brandon Phillips 2B
Ken Griffey Jr. RF
Adam Dunn LF
Jeff Keppinger SS
Joey Votto 1B
Edwin Encarnacion 3B
Paul Bako C
Matt Belisle P

vs. Dodgers RHP Brad Penny

Note on Sunday's homers

From the Reds' media relations:

Edwin Encarnacion and Paul Bako hit back-to-back HR off Eric Gagne in the 10th inning of yesterday's 4-3 win vs Mil...it was only the second time in the last 11 seasons that a Major League team hit consecutive home runs in extra innings at home...Cin also was the previous team to do it, on 8/20/01 vs StL by Todd Walker and Kelly Stinnett off Andy Benes in the 10th inning...the Reds would win that game, 5-4, in the 11th on Ken Griffey Jr.'s inside-the-park walkoff HR off Benes (courtesy Elias Sports Bureau).

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Post-game wrap

Dusty Baker was thrilled after the win - for the team, for Edwin Encarnacion, and for Aaron Harang.

He was asked about the back-to-back Encarnacion-Paul Bako homers that set up Ken Griffey Jr.'s game-winning RBI-single.

“Everyone knows lightning doesn’t strike twice, but it struck twice today. In the rain and everything. Man, that’s wonderful,” Baker said.

Baker hopes the victory will jumpstart the Reds. It was a key win - averting an eighth loss in nine outings and a 7-12 start. The Reds approach the Dodgers at 8-11.

"I just want to enjoy this one today. I’ll tell you, what a game. What an exciting ballgame. I’m just happy."

Reds rally to win in 10

From Enquirer reporter Shannon Russell:

Ken Griffey Jr.'s hit to right field in the bottom of the 10th inning scored pinch runner Ryan Freel and gave the Reds a 4-3 win over Milwaukee today.

The Reds averted a series sweep on a drizzly Sunday at Great American Ball Park before 26,902 fans.

Edwin Encarnacion, who hit two home runs in a game for the third time in his career, redeemed himself after late fielding miscues. He bobbled a grounder that loaded the bases in the top of the 10th.

Milwaukee's Gabe Gross scored on Jared Burton's wild pitch to break open a 1-1 game. Then J.J. Hardy connected on a base hit RBI for a two-run lead, which disappeared in the bottom of the inning.

But, after falling behind 3-1 in the top of the 10th, Encarnacion and Paul Bako knotted the score with back-to-back home runs off Brewers closer Eric Gagne.

The game initially featured a showdown between Aaron Harang and the Brewers’ Yovani Gallardo, who made his first start of the season Sunday.

Gallardo was fresh from being reinstated from the 15-day disabled list, following a Feb. 19 surgery to repair his left knee’s torn lateral meniscus.

Harang struck out four of his first nine batters – three swinging, one looking – and allowed only one hit in the first three innings.

The hitter was Gallardo. He doubled to left field in the top of the third but was stranded on base when Rickie Weeks popped out to right center.

Hardy broke the scoreless deadlock by hitting his first home run this season in the top of the fourth.

Reds fireworks were unleashed in the bottom of the fifth when Encarnacion hit his first homer. He extended his hitting streak to 10 games, tying a career high, with a 414-foot shot into the left field stands.

The Reds had opportunities following the homer, starting with Bako’s bat-breaking base hit. Harang’s sacrifice bunt moved him to second, and then Corey Patterson walked.

But Brandon Phillips’ grounder to third base ended the inning and left Bako and Patterson on base.

Gallardo finished after the seventh inning. He gave up four hits, one run, walked three, struck out four, and surrendered a home run. He threw 112 pitches, including 68 strikes.

Harang pitched eight innings, and allowed four hits and one run. He struck out eight and and gave up a home run. Seventy-four of his 114 pitches were strikes.

We're going to 10

Tied at 1 after nine, we're headed for a second extra-innings game in as many days.

Still tied

1-1 heading into the eighth. Edwin Encarnacion popped out to center field, and Paul Bako and Aaron Harang struck out to end the seventh inning.

Tied up again

Edwin Encarnacion hit his third home run this season in the bottom of the fifth. He extended his hitting streak to 10 games, tying a career high, with a 414-foot shot into the left field stands.

It's 1-1, heading into the sixth.

Brewers ahead, 1-0

JJ Hardy hit his first home run this season in the top of the fourth. He drilled the ball into the left field stands, breaking open the scoreless game.

0-0 after three innings

Entering the fourth, neither team has a run, hit or error.

Aaron Harang has had a strong start. He struck out four of his first nine batters - three swinging, one looking.

Weathers on the DL

Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky said pitcher David Weathers is on the disabled list beginning today.

Weathers came out of Saturday's game with a sore right elbow. An MRI last night was normal, but he went on the 15-day disabled list with ulnar nerve irritation in the elbow.

“We’re going to put Weathers on the DL,” Krivsky said. “With (Matt) Belisle being active tomorrow…whether there’s something else, we’ll see. But right now, Weathers will go on the DL starting today."

No other roster move was made.

“We’re just one short today. Everybody’s available,” Krivsky said.

Today's lineup

Corey Patterson CF
Brandon Phillips 2B
Ken Griffey Jr. RF
Adam Dunn LF
Jeff Keppinger SS
Joey Votto 1B
Edwin Encarnacion 3B
Paul Bako C
Aaron Harang P

vs. Brewers RHP Yovani Gallardo

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Brewers win; Weathers update

David Weathers hurt his arm and is getting an MRI later today. Brewers win 5-3 in 10 innings.

Update: An MRI this evening was normal. He is day-to-day.

Reds up

It's the bottom of the 10th. The Reds are down 5-3. Up next: Edwin Encarnacion, Joey Votto, Javier Valentin.

Bako ejected, Cueto's line

Catcher Paul Bako was thrown out of the game in the eighth after arguing with the home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt. Javier Valentin replaced him.

On Cueto: He went seven innings and allowed five hits, three runs (two earned), two walks and a home run. He struck out five. Reliever Mike Lincoln took over in the eighth.

All tied up

The score is locked at 3 heading into the eighth inning, courtesy of Joey Votto. He manhandled pitcher Brian Shouse, who replaced starter Jeff Suppan at the end of the seventh. Votto belted a 380-foot hit to right field. He drove in Edwin Encarnacion in the two-run HR.

Reds are on the board

Leading off in the bottom of the fourth, Jeff Keppinger doubled to left center. Ken Griffey Jr. scored him from third base two batters later. Score: 3-1 Brewers.

Brewers up 3-0 in the fourth

The Brewers made an offensive charge in the fourth inning. Price Fielder doubled to left center, Corey Hart was hit by a pitch, and Bill Hall nailed a hit to left field. The single RBI drove home Fielder. An error was attributed to Adam Dunn for a bad relay, which advanced Hart to third and Hall to second.

Gabe Gross’ sacrifice fly RBI scored Hart and gave the Brewers the 3-0 advantage.

Cueto's start

Johnny Cueto has struck out three of his first six batters. He gave up a home run to Corey Hart, and the Brewers lead 1-0 heading into the bottom of the second.

Pitching change Monday

Reds GM Wayne Krivsky said Matt Belisle will be pitching in place of Josh Fogg on Monday.

From media relations director Rob Butcher:

On Monday, RHP Matt Belisle (sore right forearm) is expected to be reinstated from the 15-day disabled list to start that night’s game against the Dodgers.

RHP Josh Fogg had been scheduled to start that game.

A corresponding roster move will be made when necessary.

Dusty on Arroyo

Bronson Arroyo said he just wasn’t clicking the way he wanted to Friday night. Reds manager Dusty Baker agreed, saying many of his pitches were near-misses.

In 5.2 innings, Arroyo allowed eight hits, five runs (four earned) and a home run. He walked three and struck out four.

Baker pulled Arroyo after he allowed a Jason Kendall hit that scored Gabe Gross and upped the Brewers’ lead to 5-0.

But after the game, and Saturday, the skipper threw praise Arroyo’s way.
“Bronson, I’ve really got to commend him for taking one for the team because he threw a lot of pitches and saved our bullpen,” Baker said.

“Even though he lost the game, an earlier departure would have really messed us up. We were already kind of reeling, you know, the last couple days.”

Today's lineup

Corey Patterson CF
Jeff Keppinger SS
Brandon Phillips 2B
Ken Griffey Jr. RF
Adam Dunn LF
Edwin Encarnacion 3B
Joey Votto 1B
Paul Bako C
Johnny Cueto P

Facing Brewers RHP Jeff Suppan

Friday, April 18, 2008

Brewers 5, Reds 2

The way Ben Sheets was pitching I had the Reds down for no chance of coming back. But Sheets was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the sixth. He left with tightness in right triceps. He went five innings. He allowed just two hits. He walked none and struck out four.

Bronson Arroyo's line: 5 2/3 innings, five runs, eight hits, three walks, four strikeouts. He's failed to make it through the sixth in any of his fourth starts. His ERA's at 5.90.

The Reds loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth. But against a left-hander, they had to send to Paul Bako and Scott Hatteberg, both left-handed hitters, to the plate. The lack of power right-handed bat on the bench is glaring.

The Reds ended up scoring two in the ninth and getting the tying run to the plate twice. The Reds are 0-6 in series openers.

No moves

Wayne Krivsky and Dusty Baker met today. You didn't miss any announcement. No moves were made.

Some will be coming shortly, I would guess. Krivsky just returned from Triple-A Louisville. He said catcher David Ross and right-hander Matt Belisle are about ready.

So something's got to give here, right?

"It's a nice problem to have," Krivsky said. "We have good choices."

Josh Fogg is listed as Monday's starter, but it sounds to me like Belisle could be moved into that slot.

"He looked good," Krivsky said. "He pitched seven innings the night I saw. He went over 100 pitches. He threw all his pitches, threw them for strikes, got ahead of the hitters. He had a good outing."

If he comes up, will it be as a starter?

"We're looking at him as a starter," Krivsky said. "We made that commitment last year."

Krivsky didn't sound ready to address the Reds' struggles against left-handers with a roster moves.

"It's too small a sample to me," Krivsky said. "We're a better hitting team than we've showed here in spots. Every team goes through struggles at various points in time. Nothing says you're going to hit .275 against righties and .275 against lefties."

Also from Krivsky:

On David Ross: "He's playing a lot down there. He's healthy and getting his timing. I hope he'll be ready (by April 23)."

On Homer Bailey: "He looked good. Ross caught him in fact. I talked to David the next day. He said Homer has made tremendous improvement. He's locating his pitches better. He's doing well."

Tonight's lineup

Norris Hopper CF
Jeff Keppinger SS
Ken Griffey Jr. RF
Brandon Phillips 2B
Adam Dunn LF
Edwin Encarnacion 3B
Joey Votto 1B
Paul Bako C
Bronson Arroyo P

vs. RHP Ben Sheets

Minor matters

From J.Ram:

There’s no quit in Louisville, but they fall to Norfolk in 11 innings…Adam Pettyjohn fantastic in 6 of his 7 innings (allowed all 4 of his runs in the 5th)…Andy Green with 3 hits…Kevin Barker and Paul Janish both homer…Jay Bruce in the lineup tonight…Chattanooga scores 4 times in the 9th on 2 home runs to overtake Huntsville…Drew Anderson (solo) and Luis Bolivar (3-run) were the 9th inning heroes…James Avery with a quality start (6ip, 5h, 3r, 3bb, 4k)…Sarasota and Dayton were off yesterday (National High Five Day).

Organization’s Top Pitchers
Daryl Thompson............. CHA.......... 2-0, 0.51
Justin Lehr.................... LOU.......... 2-0, 0.60
Jeremy Horst................. DAY......... 1-0, 0.77
Matt Belisle........... LOU/CHA/SAR... 3-0, 1.09
Jordan Smith................. SAR.......... 2-1, 1.40
Homer Bailey................. LOU.......... 2-1, 1.42
Luis Montano................. DAY......... 2-0, 1.76
Danny Herrera............... CHA.......... 2-0, 3.55

New rule

If you mention another poster's name in a post, I'm rejecting it. I don't care what you think of others posters. Keep the conversation to Reds talk.

Trivia redux

Who is the first pitcher to beat all 30 current teams?

This is a tough one.

It stumped a bunch of us in Pittsburgh.

A reader tells me that I worded the question wrong. I should have said current "franchises," not teams. Al Leiter beat the Montreal Expos, but not the Washington Nationals.

So who was first to beat the 30 current teams?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Reds 9, Cubs 2

The Reds beat the Cubs 9-2 this afternoon.

The Reds got something in the fourth inning that's been all too rare for them this season -- a three-run double. I can't remember another one by a Red this year. Certainly not on this road trip. Adam Dunn walked. Jeff Keppinger followed with his second hit. Edwin Encarnacion walked. Joey Votto then smoked one into the right-center gap, clearing the bases.

Votto wrapped up the Star of the Game race with a two-run homer in the sixth. He swings nice and easy but the ball jumps off his bat.

Ken Griffey Jr. hit home run No. 596 -- a three-run shot in the seventh -- to make it 8-2.

Edinson Volquez went five innings, allowing one run on four hits. He walked four and struck out seven. That pushed his pitch count to 112 in the innings. He's 2-0 with a 1.12 ERA.

He had his good stuff. His first pitch was 96. 16 pitches, 12 strikes in the first. He got Derrek Lee with a 78 mph change-up on a full count.

He struggled a bit with control after that. He walked pitcher Ted Lilly with the bases loaded in the second.

His pitch count reached 94 after 4. But he worked a 1-2-3 fifth, striking out Aramis Ramirez with a 95 mph fastball on the last pitch.


Dusty Baker talked a little bit about possible changes and then allowed this:

“It’s a very interesting situation,” Baker said.

How so?

"It's just interesting – the whole thing."

Here's some things I think you'll see:

--Josh Fogg will be out of the rotation. I don't know if he'll be off the team, but who starts is Baker's call. He's not big on Fogg. I'm told, in fact, that he didn't know the Reds were signing Foog until after the fact.

--Jerry Hairston Jr. or Jolbert Cabrera will be up here shortly. It's believed Hairston has an out in his contract after a month. He's hittting .429 with two home runs and 10 RBI with a .467 on-base and .785 slugging.

The Reds made no move Thursday.

“I’ve got to get home and talk to Wayne (Krivsky) first,” Baker said. “Wayne’s in Louisville now. We’ll talk on the phone or as soon as we get back.”

It was noted that starting pitchers and hitters are doing well in the minors. David Ross and Matt Belisle are due to come off the DL as well.

“Something’s got to shake out," Baker said. "And you’ve got some guys doing well down there. Guys we liked in spring training.”

Lineup and a little Dusty

Norris Hopper CF
Ryan Freel 2B
Ken Griffey RF
Adam Dunn LF
Jeff Keppinger SS
Edwin Encarnacion 3B
Joey Votto 1B
Paul Bako C
Edinson Volquez P

V. LH Ted Lilly.

WHY NO BRANDON PHILLIPS? "I think he needs a day," Baker said. "He's played every day, every inning. I see him swinging at bad pitches and taking good ones. He's really upset with himself. Plus, he's 0-for-13 against Lilly. Day game after a night game. When you add all up, this is the day."

Phillips agrees.

"I'm trying to do too much. I was trying to do that one thing to pump the team up rather than let the game come to me. Dusty saw it and pulled me aside."

CRANK IT UP: Music was blaring in the visitors clubhouse, coming from Bronson Arroyo's iPod, which was hooked up to the stereo. "It's better than that morgue that's been in there," Baker said. "Bronson asked me. I said go ahead. That's a sign of leadership."

Minor matters

From Jamie Ramsey:

Louisville wins and are off to their best start in 10 years…Jay Bruce with a big night (3-for-3, HR, triple, 2rbi, 2r)…Jerry Hairston homers again and is batting .429…Chattanooga loses yesterday afternoon…they were doomed by a 6-run 7th…Sean Henry hit his second homer in as many days…Cody Strait also went deep…B.J. Szymanski riding a 12-game hitting streak and leads the Southern League with a .386 average…Sarasota falls to Lakeland…Justin Turner has 8 hits in his last 14 at-bats…SaraReds off today (National High Five Day)…Dayton beats Beloit…Brandon Waring with 2 homers, including a grand salami…Denis Phipps also homers…Kel Jones with a 6-game hitting streak (2 hits last night)…Luis Montano sharp in the start (5ip, 1er)…Dayton’s bullpen has given up just 4 runs in last 36.1 innings…Dragons are off today (Blah, Blah, Blah Day).

Jerry Hairston...............LOU................ .429
Kel Jones....................DAY................ .412
B.J. Szymanski.............. CHA................ .386
Justin Turner................SAR................ .375
Brandon Waring............. .DAY................ .373
Jolbert Cabrera............. LOU................ .359
Chris Valaika............... SAR................ .345
Juan Francisco.............. SAR................ .339
Jay Bruce................... LOU................ .333
Todd Frazier................ DAY................ .333

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Changes on the way?

I aksed Dusty Baker if the Reds might have to go to minors to get some pitching help in the wake of the 12-3 bashing Wednesday.

His answer: "We might."

But the look on his face said: We better.

Josh Fogg has averaged 3 1/3 innings in his three starts with the Reds. That kills the bullpen.

The Reds have plenty of choices in the minors: Homer Bailey is 2-1 with a 1.42 ERA in three starts for the Triple-A Louisville. Matt Belisle is 3-0 with a 1.09 ERA in three minor league rehab starts. Daryl Thompson is 2-0 with 0.51 ERA at Double-A.

It's early. But it will get late quick if the Reds don't turn it around.

Bruce update

Jay Bruce apparently jammed his right shoulder, diving back to first on a pickoff attempt. That's why he was taken out of the game. He went 3-for-3 with a homer (his third) and a triple.

He probably won't play tomorrow. But it's not thought to be serious.

Cool it, one more thing

Stopping attacking other posters.

It's gotten out of hand again. I've rejected more posts tonight than I ever have. And please, for the love of God, don't send me posts about how someone else started it.

I'm not the only one who moderates posts, so some of the attacks may get through. Here's a little tip: If you mention another poster by name you're porbably attacking him or her.

One more thing: No more posts wishing for players to be injured.

Cubs 12, Reds 3

Josh Fogg did not retire a batter in the third inning. When he left, it was 7-1 with runners on second and third. The inherited runners scored off Mike Lincoln, as well as another run.

Fogg's line: 2-plus innings, 7 hits, 9 runs, 9 earned runs, 2 walks, 2 Ks.

Fogg has made the Reds' two shortest starters of the year. With Matt Belisle and Homer Bailey pitching well in the minors, you wonder how much longer the Reds will go with him.

The Cubs scored four in the first. Fogg wasn't fooling anyone. The Cubs' four hits were all rockets.

The Reds scored a run in the second when left fielder Mark DeRosa circled Joey Votto's high flyball but came nowhere near catching it. The Wrigley wind can make the best outfielders look bad.

Fogg pitched a 1-2-3 second, but Derrek Lee led off the third with his fifth home run of the year. It got uglier from there.

Fogg left six innings for the bullpen to pitch. Not good when club is two games into a stretch of 16 games in 16 days.

On positive note: Jeremy Affeldt looked really good. Faced seven batters, struck out five.

Minor note: Jay Bruce was a double away from the cycle for Louisville when he was pulled for a pinch-hitter, trying to find out why). Jerry Hairston Jr. has homered also. Unless, the Reds turn it around soon, I'm predicting a Friday shakeup.

Lineup, Dusty on moving Dunn

The wind was howling out. Now, it's blowing hard toward left field.

Corey Patterson cf
Jeff Keppinger ss
Ken Griffey Jr. rf
Brandon Phillips 2b
Adam Dunn lf
Edwin Encarnacion 3b
Joey Votto 1b
Javy Valentin c
Josh Fogg p

I asked Dusty Baker if he considered moving Dunn somewhere else in the lineup, given that Dunn is walking so much and hitting so little:

"Well, it's kind of two-fold. A lot of the walks he gets he gets that one pitch to hit. Sometimes he takes it. Most of the time he's been fouling it off. Pitchers aren't going to come at him, come at him, come at him. I told him the other day: Hey man, you're fouling a lot of balls off. You're fouling them straight back, which means you're on them but underneath them. With our situation here, it's not that easy to flip flop that lineup. We'd too many lefties in a row. A lot of it falls in Eddie (Encarnacion). As Eddie goes, we're going to go. Eddie has a lot of chances. I'll try to stick with this for a while. Hopefully, some of the guys come out of it. As far as protection, Hank Aaron used to tell me I was his protection. He told me to get some doubles and singles and that'll stop them from walking him. I had (Keppinger) batting behind (Dunn) a couple of days. He's our hottest hitter right now. He's a prototypical second hitter."

Baker says he constantly considering different lineups.

"My wife gets on me for turning on the light in the middle of the night. I'm a note taker. I learned to write with a flashlight."

Minor matters

From Jamie Ramsey:

Includes today’s Chattanooga game.

The Reds and Dragons today jointly announced a 4-year extension of their player development contract. The agreement guarantees affiliation between the Reds and Dragons through the 2012 baseball season.

Louisville beat Norfol. . . Matt Belisle with another fine rehab start (7ip, 8h, 1r, 1bb, 6k, 105TP) . . . Marcus McBeth keeps putting up zeroes out of the bullpen . . . Jerry Hairston with the big hit of the night (3-run homer) . . . Kevin Barker makes Louisville history (has now played for the Redbirds, RiverBats and Bats) . . . he comes off the DL just in time for “Dog Day” at Slugger Field tonigh . . . Lookouts lose this afternoon (11:30 start . . . Sean Henry homers for the second straight day . . . B.J. Szymanski keeps his hitting streak alive and leads the Southern League with a .417 batting average . . . Chattanooga won last night behind the right arm of Daryl Thompson - the reigning Southern League Pitcher of the Week turned out another solid performance (5.2ip, 5h, 1r, 0bb, 7k, 1hr). . . Craig Tatum with 3 hits . . . Sarasota lost yesterday (10:30am start) . . . Juan Francisco homered. . . Justin Turner has 6 hits in his last 10ab . . . The Dragons lost a heartbreaker last night . . . after erasing a late 3-run deficit, they lose in 11 innings (a 2-run homer with 2 outs and 2 strikes) . . . Kel Jones almost hit for the cycle (he needed a single) . . . Todd Frazier belted his 5th homer.

Jerry Hairston (International), .421ba
Louisville Bats (International), .272ba
Homer Bailey (International), 19.0ip
B.J. Szymanski (Southern), .417ba
Daryl Thompson (Southern), 0.51era
Daryl Thompson (Southern), 17.2ip
Mike Griffin (Southern), 8 doubles
Mike Griffin (Southern), 8xbh
Luis Bolivar (Southern), 10 runs
Drew Stubbs (Florida State), 7 steals
Sarasota Reds (Florida State), .290ba
Juan Francisco (Florida State), 19h
Juan Francisco (Florida State), 7 doubles
Juan Francisco (Florida State), 10xbh
Chris Valaika (Florida State), 19h
Todd Frazier (Midwest), 5HR
Todd Frazier (Midwest), 10xbh
Todd Frazier (Midwest), 14 runs

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Cubs 9, Reds 5

The Reds scored enough runs Tuesday night to win most Aaron Harang starts. But Harang gave up as many earned runs as he did in his previous three starts combined.

And the bullpen? It looked a lot like the 2007 bullpen.

"We swung the bats better," Dusty Baker said. "But our pitchers got some balls up in the zone to guys who don't miss them."

Harang was feeling a bit sick. Harang went six innings, allowing five runs on eight hits. He walked two and struck out six. All the runs scored on home runs. Harang had made a quality start in each of his previous three outings.

"I didn't feel like I had my best stuff," Harang said. "I couldn't locate early. I had a tough time getting loose. I just tried to keep us in the game the best I could."

I'll admit I was stunned to see Todd Coffey in the game. Might have been "I'm going to use who you given me" move by Baker.

And I'll close on a bit of good news for Reds fans: Daryl Thompson had another good outing for Chattanooga -- 5 2/3 innings, 5 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 6 Ks. He's allowed one run and 10 hits in 17 2/3 innings. He's walked one and struck out 20. I beginning to think we may see him before the year is over.

On the Piazza rumor

I think there's something to the Mike Piazza rumor. That is not to say it's going to happen. I've got a call out to his agent but haven't heard back.

A person I talked to said the Reds are looking at lot of possibilities to get some more right-handed pop. Piazza could provide that. But it sounded like the Reds hadn't gotten very far in talks.

I asked Dusty Baker if he would like more right-handed power in his bench.

"Good question, John,” Baker said. "Pittsburgh was pretty evident of that. We've talked about it many times."

Jorge Cantu's name has come up a lot on the blog recently. Our buddy CSA asked what my opinion was on why they let him go. They said the time it was to clear a spot of the 40-man to make Rule 5 pick. That turned out to be a bad reason because Sergio Valenzuela was sent back to Atlanta before he ever pitched in a game.

But that's only part of the reason. Cantu was arbitration-eligible. That means the Reds would have had to pay him at least $1 million. They didn't think he was worth it evidently.


Patterson cf
Keppinger ss
Griffey rf
Phillips 2b
Dunn of
Encarnacion 3b
Votto 1b
Bako c
Harang p

Minor matters

From Jamie Ramsey (includes today’s Sarasota game):

Louisville splits a doubleheader with Pawtucket. . . Homer Bailey with another solid outing (6.1ip, 5h, 2r, 1bb, 4k, 81TP/54K). . . David Ross tripled. . . Matt Belisle is due to pitch tonight for the Bats…Chattanooga falls to Huntsville (home of Stewart Cink. . . B.J. Szymanski homered…he’s currently riding a 10-game hitting streak and leading the Southern League with a .417 batting averag. . . Sarasota rolled out of bed this morning and lost to Lakeland by 2 touchdowns (10:30 first pitch)…Juan Francisco homere. . . he’s batting .365. . . the SaraReds did beat the Flying Tigers last night, though . . . Justin Turner had 4 hits. . . Chris Valaika homered. . . Dayton wins again. . . they've won 6 of their last 7 games to move into a first-place tie with Lansing. . .Jake Long had 4 hits and 5 RBI. . . he has 8 hits in his last 12ab. . . Raymond Jeffords keeps striking people out – he struck out 5 of the 7 batters he faced last night and has 17k in 8.2 innings so far this season…Jeffords was a 19th rounder in last year’s draft (attended Spartanburg Methodist Junior College and the University of South Carolina). . . in 16 games with Billings last year, he fanned 33 in 23.2ip . . . Dayton’s bullpen has been scored upon in just 1 inning over the last 7 games.

CONGRATULATIONS: To Chattanooga’s Daryl Thompson, who yesterday was named Southern League Pitcher of the Week for 4/3-4/13 (2g, 12ip, 5h, 0r, 1bb, 13k, .122oba). . . Thompson is due to pitch tonight for the Lookouts…in case you missed yesterday’s report, Justin Lehr was named International League Pitcher of the Week (2-0, 0.60era).

Monday, April 14, 2008

Gonzalez update

An MRI showed Alex Gonzalez still has fracture in his knee. He can take groundballs but he can't run for 2 to 4 weeks.

Minor matters

From Jamie "Mr. Minor League Report" Ramsey:

Mother Nature shuts out Louisville…The Bats will play 2 today…Homer Bailey and Tom Shearn are the expected Louisville starters…The Lookouts were off yesterday (International Plant Appreciation Day)…They’ll look to (Bron-Y-Aur) Stomp the Huntsville Stars tonight…Sarasota gets blanked on 3 hits to spoil another fantastic outing by Jordan Smith (7.1ip, 7h, 1r, 0bb, 5k)…Drew Stubbs has 10 hits in his last 17ab…The SaraReds tonight open a 3-game series at Lakeland (home of John Wesley “Boog” Powell)…The snow stopped in Wisconsin, allowing the Dragons and Timber Rattlers to split a doubleheader…Lakota West High’s Matt Klinker earned the win in game 2 (5ip, 5h, 1bb, 4k).

Louisville’s Justin Lehr today was named International League Pitcher of the Week for 4/3-4/13 (2gs, 2-0, 15ip, 6h, 1r, 1bb, 10k).

Off-day offering

I've been working on my story for tomorrow's paper I while wait for my flight in the Pittsburgh airport. Free wireless, by the way, which is mark of a good airport.

Anyway, the theme of the off-day analysis is this: The debacles like the one in Pittsburgh this weekend happen. It's early, so you can't make too much of any three games. But the series pointed to a major flaw in this team. This team, like last year's, can't beat left-handers. Paul Maholm and Tom Gorzelanny held the Reds to a total of one runs in two starts. That ain't good. Last year's team was 23-36 against lefty starters. That ain't good, either.

I give my opinion on how to fix it. What's yours?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Pirates 9, Reds 1 -- sweep complete

A very bad end to a very bad series.

"There ain't a whole bunch to say," Dusty Baker said. "We got our butts kicked."

It was the first three-game sweep of the Reds by Pirates since July of 2003.

Johnny Cueto's day: 6 IP, 5 hits, 5 runs, 1 walk, 6 Ks. He's was OK right up to the point that Xaiver Nady took him deep with two outs in the sixth.

When we asked Paul Bako about Cueto, he asked: "What was his line?"

He was given it.

"Other than the pitch to Nady, he pitched pretty well -- better than his line indicates as far as runs."

The Nady home run came in the sixth -- Cueto's first ugly inning in three starts. Leadoff double to Nate McLouth. An out. Jason Bay reached on an infield single. Ryan Doumit sac fly. Nady goes deep to left.

Todd Coffey gave up a four spot in the seventh. A three-run homer from Bay put the game one one ice.

And the Reds alleged offense? Nine left on base, 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position. For the series, they left 32 on base and were 6-for-35 (.171) with runners in scoring position. Four runs in three games.

Lineup v. Pirates, notes

Ryan Freel CF
Norris Hopper LF
Ken Griffey Jr. RF
Brandon Phillips 2B
Jeff Keppinger 1B
Edwin Encarnacion 3B
Juan Castro SS
Paul Bako C
Johnny Cueto P

v. LHP Tom Gorzelanny

Some pregame Dusty Baker:

On the lineup: "We've got to do something with these lefty. . . We've got a little more speed lineup, a create-things lineup."

On Adam Dunn: "I could see Dunner's getting a little frustrated. This way he's getting two days. He usually hits well in Chicago. So I said, 'get your mind right for Chicago.' This is a mental day off for him. I could see him getting frustrated. You can tell. Different guys show it different ways but he gets real quiet. Has that stare."

On the offensive malaise: "You can't hit for them. You can't find holes for them. It's like springtime. Hot one day, cold one day. That's how spring is. Sometimes there's no explanations. Everyone wants an explanation. But sometimes there is no explanation. The next day you go out and score eight runs. Springtime. You don't like it, but you've got to fight through it. The guys are working. They're going to the cage. They're working tirelessly."

Ross out: David Ross is sick with the flu and won't play for Louisville tonight. In fact, he was sent back to Cincinnati, so he wouldn't get the rest of the team sick. The hope is he'll be able to catch Tuesday when Matt Belisle starts for the Bats.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Pirates 4, Reds 3

The numbers tell the story:

--14 hits, 3 runs Saturday; 21 hits, 3 runs in the series.

--11 runners left on base, 23 in the last two days.

--5-for-17 with runners in scoring position Saturday after going 0-for-10 Friday.

"I looked up on the scoreboard and we had 14 hits. They made one error," Jeff Keppinger said. "That's 15 runners on base, and we only scored three runs. That's not going to cut it."

"He who gets the most two-out hits wins," Dusty Baker said. "They did and we didn't."

I don't have any quick solutions. But I'd consider strongly sending Edwin Encarnacion to Triple-A. I think he'll be a good player again. But he's a long way from it right now. Jolbert Cabrera is tearing it up at Louisville (.407, .471 on-base, .593 slugging). Put him at third until Encarnacion finds his stroke. Cabrera hit .282 with the Dodgers in 2003 and .270 with the Mariners in '04 before going to Japan. Those of you who saw him in spring training knows he's got some pop in his bat.

Question for tomorrow: Can Johnny Cueto be a stopper?

Lineup v. Pirates

7:05 p.m. first pitch. No rain.

Corey Patterson CF
Jeff Keppinger SS
Ken Griffey RF
Brandon Phillips 2B
Adam Dunn LF
Edwin Encarnacion 3B
Joey Votto 1B
Javy Valentin C
Bronson Arroyo P

Big start for Arroyo. He's facing Ian Snell (1-0, 3.75 ERA).

Minor matters (update)

Jay Bruce hit his second home run of the year last night for Louisville. He's up to .324. But he has 10 strikeouts in the 37 at-bats. Bill Bray has been dominant: 3 2/3 innings, one hit, six strikeouts. . . Juan Francisco hit his second homer for the Sarasota. He's hitting .385 -- with nine strikeouts and no walks in 39 plates appearances. . . Daniel Guerrero took a bit of beating for the Sarasota -- 2 2/3 innings, 10 runs, 10 hits, three home runs.

The Bats played a day game. They beat Pawtucket (where a man was once from) 3-1. Justin Lehr pitched seven shutout innings -- five hits, one walk, five Ks.

David Ross went 0-for-2 with a sacrifice fly for Louisville. He's 2-for-15 on the his rehab assignment.

Two of the guys who were impressive in the spring -- Jerry Hairston Jr. and Jolbert Cabrera -- are tearing it up for Louisville. Hairston is hittng .484 with four doubles and two triples in 31 at-bats. Cabrera is hitting .407 with a five doubles and a .471 on-base percentage in 27 at-bats.

Given the Reds struggles against lefties -- .201 team average -- it might be time to get one of the two up here. Both are right-handed hitters who can play all over the place.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Pirates 1, Reds 0

Jason Bay's 423-foot home run off Jared Burton in the sixth was all the Pirates needed to beat the Reds on the night when a couple of well-placed gappers would have meant four or five runs for Redlegs.

“Burton pitched well except that one pitch to Bay,” Dusty Baker said. “That’s one guy who you don’t want to hurt you and he hurt you. That was one mistake was the whole ball game.”

The missed chances had Baker shaking his head. They left 12 runners on base. They loaded the bases in the first and seventh. Each time, Edwin Encarnacion, who came into the season hitting .488 with the bases full, popped out. Overall, the Reds were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

“We had a number of chances,” Baker said. “We had a runner in scoring position every inning through the seventh. We just couldn’t get that one hit.”

Edinson Volquez didn’t have his best stuff, He only struck out one, but he managed to throw five shutout innings.

“We keep getting that good pitching and we’re going to win a bunch of games in a row,” Baker said. “But it doesn’t take away the pain of tonight.”

The game was delayed 20 minutes at the start and 62 minutes in the sixth.

The Reds put four runners on base in the first and didn't score. Norris Hopper reached on an error. Jeff Keppinger hit into 6-4-3 DP. Junior Griffey was hit by a pitch. BPhillips singled. And Adam Dunn walked. But Edwin Encarnacion, a .488 career hitter with the bases full, grounded out.

The Reds blew another opportunity in the second. Paul Bako singled with one out. Volquez tried to bunt him over. Catcher Ryan Doumit's throw had Bako at second but Luis Rivas mishandled it. Hopper tried to bunt Bako in. Instead Hopper lined a bunt at first baseman Adam LaRoche, who threw to third for double play. Had there been no outs, it would have been as easy triple play.

“I just got under,” Hopper said. “In that situation I’m usually money. Hopefully, it won’t happen again.”

Lineup, notes

Reds v. Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Oddly enough it's not raining at the moment.

Norris Hopper CF
Jeff Keppinger SS
Ken Griffey Jr. RF
Brandon Phillips 2B
Adam Dunn LF
Edwin Encarnacion 3B
Joey Votto 1B
Paul Bako C
Edinson Volquez P

Hopper is hitting .455 off LH Paul Maholm, the Pittsburgh starter. "Sometimes, we go with matchups," Dusty Baker said. "Sometimes, we go how a guy's going."

The rotation will be as speculated upon post off day: Aaron Harang Tuesday, Josh Fogg Wednesday, Edison Volquez Thursday v. the Cubs in Wrigley. Johnny Cueto, Bronson Arroyo and Harang v. the Brewers at home.

Sounds like David Ross will not be coming off the DL Tuesday. "He needs to get at-bats," Dusty Baker said. "I was hoping he'd get at-bats at high level sooner."

Matt Belisle's next start will be for Louisville. Belisle through a complete game for Chattanooga Thursday. He allowed two earned on seven hits -- no walks, three strikeouts.

In the case of Ross, he can be on rehab for up to 20 days. Beilise can be on the rehab for up to 30 days. Ross' rehab will be up April 22, Belisle's May 4.

Two other things to remember: Just because a player's rehab is up, he doesn't have to be re-instated, and Belisle has an option.

Ross to Louisville

From the Reds:

C David Ross' (low back spasms) rehabilitation assignment was transferred from FSL Sarasota to Class AAA Louisville. . .he is expected to join the Bats in time for tonight's home opener vs Pawtucket. . .in 4 rehab apps for the FSL Reds, Ross went 2-for-11 with 1 rbi.

It's going to be interesting when Ross is ready to come back. I don't think Paul Bako is going anywhere, given the way he's worked with Johnny Cueto and Edinson Volquez. Aaron Harang also gave him a lot of credit yesterday.

They could go with three catchers -- making Javy Valentin primarily a pinch-hitter. But they need to move someone else to open a spot to do that.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

It's over: Reds 4, Brewers 1

Guess the day off did Edwin Encarnacion some good. He hit a two-run homer in the seventh. That was the big blow on day when the Reds offense didn't do a lot.

But it didn't have to. Aaron Harang went eight innings, allowing one run on five hits. He struck out three and walked none.

Former Brewer closer Francisco Cordero pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his second save as a Red. He was greeted with boos when he was took the mound.

The Reds have not lost any their three series. They are 6-4 on the year.

The Reds did most of their damage in the seventh.

Scott Hatteberg followed Encarnacion's homer with a double. Paul Bako singled Hatteberg in. Aaron Harang, fresh off a failed squeeze, punched one by third for a hit. That was it for Brewer starter Carlos Villanueva. Corey Patterson got the runners over with groundout. The Brewers intentionally walked Jeff Keppinger to get the lefty-left match with Ken Griffey Jr. and Brian Shouse. The Brewer got the double play ball they wanted.

But it was 4-1 on a day when Harang was pitching well.

Harang's turned into a groundball pitched today. He had 13 11 groundball on the day. He retired 20 of the last 22 he faced.

His only mistake was he threw too good of a 0-2 pitch to Bill Hall in the second. Hall hit for leadoff double. Corey Hart bunted him to third. Dusty Baker brought the infield in. J.J. Hardy bounced one up the middle that would have be a routine play. But it went for a single to make it 1-0. Seems a little odd to play the infield in that early.

The Reds had no hits and only one base-runner against Carlos Villanueva through three.

Encarnacion led off the fifth with a walk. Hatteberg singled. Bako doubled, scoring Encarnacion. The Reds tried to squeeze with Harang at the plate. Harang didn't get the bunt down. Hatteberg was out easily.

Lineup, notes

Reds v. Brewers, 1:05

Corey Patterson CF
Jeff Keppinger SS
Ken Griffey Jr. RF
Brandon Phillips 2B
Adam Dunn LF
Edwin Encarnacion 3B
Scott Hatteberg 1B
Paul Bako C
Aaron Harang P

--No decision has been made on what to do with the rotation with Monday's off day. "We're wrestling with it," Dusty Baker said.

The Reds would like to keep Harang on his five-day turn. But they may slip Josh Fogg in behind him. Baker doesn't think giving Johnny Cueto and Edinson Volquez extra rest harms anything.

"There going to make 10 to 12 more starts than they've ever made," he said. "You saw it with (Detroit's Justin) Verlander two years ago. He was out of gas. It's kind of like college players coming out to the NBA."

--Baker thought about giving Encarnacion another day. "Two days is too many this early." he said.

Minor matters

From Jamie Ramsey:

Louisville shuts out Scranton/WB for the second night in a row…Tom Shearn keeps putting up zeroes – he tossed another 5.0 scoreless innings (2gs, 10ip, 0r, 3h, 4bb, 7k)…Jon Adkins sharp in relief (3ip, 0r, 1h)…Alvin Colina homers and drives in 5 runs…he’s hit in all 4 games he’s played (7-13, .538, 9RBI)…The Lookouts got blanked vs. Birmingham…Luis Bolivar collected another hit…B.J. Szymanski extended his hitting streak to 7 games (10-25, .400, 2hr, 8rbi, 5r)…Matt Belisle pitches tonight for Chattanooga…Sarasota lost to Lakeland…Juan Francisco homers…David Ross caught 6 innings without complaint…Lee Tabor looked good in relief (3ip, 0h)…”Dollar Night” tonight at The Ed…Dayton beat Ft. Wayne into submission…Todd Frazier belted his 3rd homer in 2 games…he’s on fire, as is teammate Brandon Waring, who had 2 hits but surprisingly didn’t homer (7-game hitting streak).

Todd Frazier: 7g, 10-21, .476, 10r, 3 doubles, 4hr, 8rbi, 8bb, 1sb, .621obp, 1.190slg, 2k
Brandon Waring: has hit safely in all 7 games, 11-24, .458, 8r, 3hr, 7rbi, 4bb, .536obp, .875slg

1991: In his first start of the season, RHP Chris Bosio (today Chattanooga’s pitching coach) allowed just 4 hits over 8.0 shutout innings (2bb, 6k) to beat Kevin Brown and the Texas Rangers, 6-0 in front of 15,293 sullen fans at Texas’ Arlington Stadium.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

More minor matters

Todd Frazier hit another home run for Dayton tonight, his fourth. He and Brandon Waring have been tearing it up for the Dragons. Frazier had three hits tonight, Waring two. Frazier is hitting .476 with a 1.811 OPS. Waring is hitting .458 with a 1.411 OPS. It's only seven games but . . .

Both were All-Americans last year in college -- Frazier at Rutgers and Waring at Wofford. They could be on the fast track.

David Ross is back in the lineup for Sarasota.

Reds 12, Brewers 4

One of the things I like about Dusty Baker is he says things that other manager's don't. Like this:

"That's a huge win for us tonight. It's the difference between being 1 1/2 back and 3 1/2 back."

Everyone knows how important a good start is for the Reds. Baker talks about it openly. I don't think that puts more pressure on the players; it just acknowledges the importance of these early NL Central games.

The Reds finally hit tonight: 14 hits, four sac flies, two-run homers from Adam Dunn and Corey Patterson.

Josh Fogg was pretty good in his second start. He went five innings, allowing only one earned run on four hits. Two other runs scored as a result of two Reds' errors in the fifth.

"I told Griff: Get me 12 a night and I'll be a pretty good pitcher," Fogg said.

Reds got aggressive on the base paths and it led to two runs in the second. Brandon Phillips singled and Dunn walked to start the inning. With Jeff Keppinger at the plate, Phillips stole third. Dunn stole two pitches later.

Scott Hatteberg lofted a flyball into shallow right. It was a risk sending a runner, even one as fast as Phillips. But he slid past Jason Kendall as the throw arrived from Corey Hart. It skipped past Kendall, allowing Dunn to score as well.

Ryan Braun got the Brewers on the board with home run on the ninth pitch of his at-bat in the fourth.

Fogg gave up a two-out hit to pitcher Dave Bush in the fifth. Kendall followed with a slow roller that Ryan Freel bare-handed at third. He threw wildly to first. The runners ended up and at second and third. Fogg got the groundball he needed. But it went right through Phillips. Both runners scored to make it 3-2.

"It seemed lie that woke us up even more," Baker said.

It sure looked like it. The Reds came right back with three in the sixth. A big play in the inning came when Phillips took second on Dunn's sac fly to left.

"That's what we preach: Be aggressive," Baker said. "It's not hard with these guys. They're an aggressive bunch of guys."

They kept adding on, as Jack McKeon liked to say: two in the seventh, three in the eighth, two in the ninth.

Early Dusty

Some tidbits from the pregame session with Dusty Baker:

--On Edwin Encarnacion: "Give him a mental day off and let him hit, hit, hit. He's been hitting in the cage. He hit on the field. Just give him a day off and give (Ryan) Freel a start."

--On EE's mental state: "He seemed better today. But it's killing him honestly. I heard he started like this last year. That gets in your head. Mentally, you think: Dang, here we go again. It happens to everybody."

--On Reds' pinch-hitters being 0-for-11: "When we first started, I said early in the season they're going to be pinch-hitting a lot because pitchers don't go that deep. In this National League, you win a lot of games with pinch-hitters. We hit extra a lot. But there's nothing like live pitching."

--The Reds are set up so they could keep Aaron Harang on normal rest and skip Josh Fogg for Tuesday's start against the Cubs in Wrigley. "We're discussing that now," Baker said.

--Baker had heard about Homer Bailey's 5 2/3 inning, four-hit, one-walk, seven-strikeout performance. Baker's question: Why did he only go 5 2/3? The reason was Bailey's pitch count was around 90.

All shook up lineup

Here's the lineup for tonight's 8:05 tilt with the Brewers:

Corey Patterson CF
Ryan Freel 3B
Ken Griffey Jr. RF
Brandon Phillips 2B
Adam Dunn LF
Jeff Keppinger SS
Scott Hatteberg 1B
Javy Valentin C
Josh Fogg P

Griffey has three home runs off Milwaukee starter Dave Bush. He's 7-for-15 off Bush overall. Others v. Bush: Hatteberg .400 with a homer. Freel .455, Valentin .429.

Minor matters

From Jamie Ramsey, who puts out the finest minor leauge reports in Reds history:

Louisville’s first inning run proves to be the game winner at Scranton/WB…Homer Bailey continues to shine (5.2ip, 4h, 0r, 1bb, 7k)…Jay Bruce RBI-double…The Lookouts fall in 11 innings…Daryl Thompson outstanding again (6ip, 2h, 0r, 1bb, 8k)…Luis Bolivar with 3 more hits…Drew M. Anderson goes deep…Cody Strait 3-for-5…Sarasota tames the Tigers…Jordan Smith (7ip, 5h, 0r, 0bb, 7k) outduels phenom Rick Porcello…Juan Francisco with 2 hits (RBI-double)…Dayton wins, thanks to Todd Frazier’s walkoff homer…it was Frazier’s 2nd homer of the game…and speaking of home runs, yep, Brandon Waring hit another one…Phil Valiquette sharp in relief (3.2 perfect innings, 4k).

* Dayton’s Todd Frazier and Brandon Waring have hit 6 of the team’s 7 homers, collected 12 of the club’s 20 RBI and scored 14 of Dayton’s 21 runs.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Brewers 3, Reds 2

Johnny Cueto went 6 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits. He struck out eight and did not walk a batter. 96 pitches, 66 strikes. He left on the hook for a loss after Bill Hall gave the Brewers a 2-1 lead with a home run to lead off the seventh.

This was one was strike away from being over when Corey Patterson hit one out to tie it off Brewer closer Eric Gagne in the 9th.

The Reds and David Weathers lost it in the 10th.

"Johnny Cueto threw a great game," Dusty Baker said. "That's why I left him in there in the seventh. I said, 'Dude, you deserve a chance to win this game.' He was throwing great."

But Cueto hung a 2-1 breaking ball to Hall.

"The only mistake he made," Baker said.

The Reds aren't hitting. They left 11 runners on. They're hitting .232 as a team. Jeff Keppinger (.387), Junior (.333), Paul Bako (.316) and Brandon Phillips (.303) are above .300. Patterson's at .269 and Votto's .267. Everyone else is below .200 -- Adam Dunn (.130), Norris Hopper (.1250, Scott Hatteberg (.071), Edwin Encarnacion (.083) are struggling.

Here's rundown of Cueto's second start:

Cueto's first: Went 1-2-3 -- stunningly without a strikeout. He threw 11 pitches, nine of which were strikes. Joey Votto made a nice play on a hard hit ball by Prince Fielder. Cueto hit 96 once on the scoreboard radar readout.

Cueto's second: Struck out Ryan Braun on four pitches. Cueto went to a 3-ball count for the first time in career on Bill Hall but he struck him out with his first changeup of the night. Struck out Corey Hart on four pitches. 14 pitches, 9 strikes.

Cueto's third: J.J. Hardy grounded a single past short. It was the first Cueto had to go to the stretch. Jeff Suppan bunted Hardy over. Jason Kendall singled to score him. Cueto struck out Rickie Weeks and Gabe Gross grounded out. 18 pitches, 12 strikes.

Cueto's fourth: 1-2-3, 7-pitch inning against Fielder (fly to 7), Braun (fly to 8), Hall 6-3. Pitch speeds: 85, 94, 92, 96, 85, 90, 86.

Cueto's fifth: Hart struck out looking. Hardy singled. Suppan bunted him over. Kendall singled. But Weeks struck out to strand the runners.

Cueto's sixth: 1-2-3, 7 pitches. He struck out Fielder on a 95 mph fastball.

Reds tied it in the seventh on Corey Patterson's two-out RBI single.

Cueto's seventh: Hall led off with homer that just got out to left. Cueto struck out Hart, the last batter he faced.

Nice outing by Homer Bailey tonight: 5 2/3 scoreless innings, 4 hits, 1 walk, 7 Ks.

Key to the Nats trade?

Daryl Thompson, the fifth of the five players, the Reds got in the big trade with the Washington Nationals, is off to quite a start.

He pitched six innings of two-hit, shutout ball tonight for Chattanooga. He's pitched 12 innings in his two outing. He's allowed five hits, one walk and struck 13.

He's a 22-year-old right-hander. I saw him in spring training. He struck out the side against the Yankees, I believe. He's got good stuff.

Ross update

David Ross missed three games on his rehab stint. It has nothing to do with his back. He slightly strained a leg muscle. He's expected to catch Thursday. Ross is eligible to come off the DL April 14.

Ryan Hanigan, the catcher at Louisville, went on the DL there with a strained oblique. It's a 7-day DL in the Louisville.

Lineups: Reds v. Brewers

Greetings from Miller Park. I hate the concept of roofed ballparks. But on a day like today -- rainy, cold, miserable -- they're a great thing.

Corey Patterson CF
Jeff Keppinger SS
Ken Griffey Jr. RF
Brandon Phillips 2B
Adam Dunn LF
Edwin Encarnacion 3B
Joey Votto 1B
Paul Bako C
Johnny Cueto P

Rickie Weeks 2B
Gabe Gross CF
Prince Fielder 1B
Ryan Braun LF
Bill Hall 3B
Corey Hart RF
J.J. Hardy SS
Jeff Suppan P
Jason Kendall C

I know Suppan hit a towering home run off Kevin Kelly when they were about 13. Maybe that's why he's hitting eighth. Actually, Ned Yost only does it when Kendall's playing.

Minor League Report

From Jamie Ramsey:

Clean sweep for the Reds farm teams…Louisville beats Scranton/WB thanks to near perfect pitching by Justin Lehr (8ip, 1h, 1r/1hr, 0bb, 5k, perfect game through 7.1ip)…Jerry Hairston almost hit for the cycle…Jay Bruce homered and tripled…Chattanooga wins the series vs. Montgomery…Luis Bolivar entered the record books, becoming just the 11th player in the storied history of the Southern League to collect 6 hits in a game…Shaun Cumberland hit one over the fence…B.J. Szymanski swinging a hot bat…Sarasota beats up on the Yankees…Chris Valaika is currently murdering the ball – he had 4 hits including a circuit clout…Travis Wood was sharp in the start (4.2ip, 2h, 2bb, 7k)…The Dragons win in their home opener thanks to a late-inning Denis Phipps RBI-single…Brandon Waring is pretty efficient at hitting home runs – he hit another one last night.

Results for Louisville’s starting pitchers after the first spin through the rotation:

RHP Homer Bailey: 0-1, 7ip, 1r, 1bb, 2k, 1hr
LHP Matt Maloney: 3.2ip, 7h, 3r, 1bb, 2k
RHP Tom Shearn: 1-0, 5ip, 0h, 0r, 3bb, 5k
LHP Adam Pettyjohn: 7ip, 7h, 2r, 2er, 1bb, 6k, 1hr
RHP Justin Lehr: 8ip, 1h, 1r, 1er, 0bb, 5k, 1hr

Goodyear questions and answers

I've been getting a lot of questions on Goodyear. I checked in with John Allen on some of them:

Where is Goodyear? You go west on I-10 out of Phoenix. "With no traffic, it takes me 20 minutes," Allen said. "With traffic, 30 to 25. Goodyear is right off the highway. The facility is five minutes from the I-10."

When will the Reds start training out there? 2010.

How long is the lease? 20 years with two 5-year options.

What happens to the Reds team in the Florida State League? That hasn't been decided yet. The Reds own the franchise. "That's something we have to address," Allen said. "We've had some preliminary discussions."

What happens to the Reds team in the Gulf Coast League? It will be shifted the Arizona League. The GCL team is a half-season league. They don't even charge admission to games. The games are played on the practice fields. The Reds will retain control of the two of their six fields year-round. Goodyear is free to use the other four fields when the Reds aren't in spring training.

Will the Reds year-round rehab operation be moved to Goodyear? Yes.

Are the Reds going to definitely be in Sarasota in 2009? "I assume so," Allen said. "We have until Aug. 1 to exercise our option. We haven't done so yet. But I can't imagine a scenario where we wouldn't."

When does construction on the Reds portion of the project begin? "Probably sometime this fall," Allen said. Goodyear still has to contract with architects and construction companies to do the project. The thought is the same people who designed and built the Cleveland facility will do for the Reds. "Our baseball operations people are already talking about plans," Allen said. "We'll get started right away."

What are the Reds telling fans who wanted the club to stay in Florida? "You can't fool anybody. Phoenix farther than Sarasota, Fla.," Allen said. "But by the same token we have a lot of fans not only in Arizona but in the Southwestern United States -- displaced Ohioans or whatever. It's 14 or 15 games. We'll probably lose same fans, but we 'll compensate with new fans. It's a neat place. Everything is new. There's a lot of development."

How many times will the Reds play the Indians? Probably four. That's what the Rangers and Royals, who share a facility at Surprise, do.

Will we have many 10 p.m. (Cincinnati time) starts? "I don't know," Allen said. "We haven't gotten into scheduling. There will probably be a sprinkling."

Monday, April 7, 2008

Going to Goodyear

Goodyear City Council approved the Memorandum of Understanding, the big step in the bringing the Reds to Goodyear.

The vote was 6-0. Joanne Osborne, the council woman who said she was opposed a few weeks ago, was swayed in the last couple of weeks.

The city has stepped forward to fund the $33 million project.

John Allen was at the meetin. He passed out Reds hats to the council members after the vote.

Reds trade Coutlangus

From the Reds:

Tonight the Reds acquired from the Diamondbacks minor league OF Daniel Perales in exchange for LHP Jon Coutlangus.

Perales, 23, was selected by Arizona in the 22nd round of the June 2006 first-year player draft...last season at Class A South Bend he hit .282 and led the Diamondbacks organization with 92rbi while ranking among the Midwest League leaders in hits (156, 1st), extra base hits (58, 1st), doubles (32, 5th), runs scored (80, 3rd) and triples (10, 3rd)...he has been assigned to FSL Sarasota.

Coutlangus, 27, was designated for assignment as 1 of 11 roster moves on Opening Day.

Phillies 5, Reds 3: 'Up, away' and it's over

"Up, away."

That's how Javy Valentin described the pitch home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt called him out on to end Monday's game.

I've got to agree with Valentin. If it's close with tying run at second, Valentin is hacking.

"I looked at the replay," he said. "It was a bad pitch. No way I can put that ball in play."

The Phillies beat the Reds 5-3 Monday in the wrap-up of the seven-game, season-opening homestand. The Reds finished the stand 4-3.

"5-2 sounds a lot better," Dusty Baker said. "But it's over. There's nothing we can do about it."

The Reds got the tying runs in scoring position in the ninth against Philly closer Brad Lidge. Paul Bako walked with two outs. Corey Patterson reached on So Taguchi's two-base error. Ken Griffey Jr., on the bench for the day, pinch hit for Ryan Freel. He was intentionally walked after getting ahead 3-1. Valentin was then sent up to hit for Juan Castro. With Valentin at the plate, Lidge threw a wild pitch. Bako socred, Patterson went to third and Griffey to second. Valetin took a called third on a 3-2 pitch.

"You know Javy's not going to take a 3-2 fastball," Baker said.

They were behind from the start in this one. Bronson Arroyo gave up a leadoff home run to Jimmy Rollins. Arroyo got two easy outs, then gave up a double to Ryan Howard and two-run bomb to Pat Burrell.

Reds scored 2 in the first. Ryan Freel doubled, Juan Castro walked. Freel stole third and Castro moved to second when the ball got through third baseman Pedro Feliz. Freel scored on Brandon Phillips groundout. Jeff Keppinger singled Castro in.

Arroyo got two quick outs in the third and then gave solo shots to Burrell and Geoff Jenkins.

Arroyo's line: 5 2/3 innings, 9 hits, 5 runs, 0 walks, 6 Ks. The four home runs, obviously, ruined his day.

Jeremy Affeldt did a nice job in relief of Arroyo. Affeldt stranded two runners in the sixth and then pitched a 1-2-3 seventh.

Philly lefty Cole Hamels was excellent. His line: 7 IP, 5 hits, 2 runs, 1 earned run, 3 walks, 4 Ks.

Early Dusty

Some tidbits from the pregame session with Dusty Baker:

On giving Junior Griffey the day off: "I'm trying to keep him strong. We've had a lot of day games. He's going to play a lot on this road trip because of the teams we're playing. He hasn't seen Hamels much. It's a good day to rest him.

On resting Junior in general: "You don't need days off that much early. He might only get one off this month. Another month he might get three or four. It averages out. He's got some hop in his step. That means his legs are feeling good. If his legs are feeling good, his bat feels good."

On the lineup: "(Juan) Castro hadn't played yet. (Norris) Hopper hadn't started yet. (Cole) Hamels today is especially tough on big swingers. We tried to find more speed and defense."

On bench players: "That's hardest part about starting the season. In spring training these guys play almost everyday. Rarely do they go more than two days without playing. Then the season starts and for a week or so you don't play. You lose your stroke and your timing. Then all the sudden you call on them to do something and they don't feel ready -- and they're not ready."

On the schedule ahead: "This is a big road trip. It's all in the division. We're playing teams that play well at home."

Is a chance to make a statement? "I just look at chance to gain ground and not lose ground. You can make it up quick or you can lose it quick. I'm not concerned about making statements. I'm just trying to figure out a way for us to win games."

First base breakdown between Joey Votto and Scott Hatteberg: "It's more how Votto settles in. It's sort of synonymous with the way the Brewers when they had young Prince (Fielder) and (Lyle) Overbay. You know Votto's going to have more power and productivity, but, right now, Hatteberg is a better hitter."

Minor league report

From Jamie Ramsey:

Louisville loses a heartbreaker in the 9th inning to Syracuse…Adam Pettyjohn was outstanding in his first start for the Bats (7ip, 7h, 2r, 1bb, 6k)…Alvin Colina with 3 hits…Chattanooga splits a doubleheader with Montgomery…B.J. Szymanski belts 2 homers, including a grand slam…Sarasota gives up 10th inning runs to lose to Tampa…Dayton also falls in the late innings, squandering a 3-2 lead in the 9th inning…Mike McKennon homers…Todd Frazier with a pair of hits.

Business Man's Special Lineup

Ryan Freel CF
Juan Castro SS
Brandon Phillips 2B
Adam Dunn LF
Jeff Keppinger 1B
Edwin Encarnacion 3B
Norris Hopper RF
Paul Bako C
Bronson Arroyo P

The Phillies are throwing left-hander Cole Hamels. Phillies lineup is the same as yesterday's, except for Hamels.

The Reds are leading the NL with 54 strikeouts in six games. They haven't led the league in strikeouts since 1992. That, in fact, is only time since 1967 the led the NL.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

My scouting report on Volquez

I didn't work the game today, but I went to see Edinson Volquez. I walked around and stood all day. Watching him from center field, you could see his pitches moving. Saw him hit 97 on the radar once. But he pitched mostly at 94. He threw almost all change-ups and fastballs and handful of sliders. He, like Johnny Cueto, really kept the ball down.

In some ways his outing was more impressive than Cueto's. Volquez was facing a much better hitting team; he was facing them for the third time; and he had a to work out of jams.

I'd take either one, however.

I was standing along the third base line when I heard a kid, maybe 9 or 10, say to his dad: "This pitcher is crazy, dad."

I'm going to be on the Sports Rock on the Channel 5 tonight. I don't think I'm on the panel where every one yells at each other, but we'll see.


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