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

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

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Friday, May 23, 2008

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

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Baker suspended

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

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

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

John will be updating this soon.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Lineup v. Padres, notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blog move

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

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


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Swept: L.A. 5, Reds 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jocketty's here

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lineup v. Dodgers

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

v. RH Hiroki Kuroda

Reds add station in Louisville

From the Reds:

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

Minor matters, plus a prediction

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

Now back the minor league report from Jamie Ramsey:

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dodgers 4, Reds 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It's been a while -- and almost

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

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

Lineup v. Dodgers

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

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

Minor matters

From Jamie Ramsey:

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

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

Monday, May 19, 2008

Dodgers 6, Reds 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Reds have lost seven straight in Dodger Stadium.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lineup v. Dodgers (updated version)

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

V. RH Brad Penny

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

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

Ryan Freel is 7-for-17 off Penny.

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

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

Greetings from L.A.

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

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

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

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

Attendance is up

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

Minor matters

From Jamie Ramsey:

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

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

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

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

Blog changes

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sweep: Reds 6, Indians 4

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

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

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

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

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

Minor matters

From Jamie Ramsey:

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

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

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

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

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Reds 4, Indians 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

Minor matters

From Jamie Ramsey:

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

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

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

Friday, May 16, 2008

Welcome home, Jensen Lewis

Right-hander Jensen Lewis, a graduate of the Anderson High, was the losing pitcher for the Indians.

He came in with one out in the eighth. He walked Brandon Phillips, then gave up a bloop double to Joey Votto, he then walked Edwin Encarnacion to load the bases. He went to a full count on Adam Dunn. Dunn fouled one back, fouled another, then took ball four to force in the go-ahead run.

"It wasn't exactly the the homecoming you envision," Lewis said. "Obviously, some emotion played into it."

Lewis was Cleveland's third round pick out of Vanderbilt in 2006. He was 1-1 with a 2.15 ERA in the 26 games last year. He came into Friday 0-1 with 2.82 ERA in 16 games this year.

Today is his 24th birthday.

SRO for tomorrow, 33,344 tonight.

Only $12 standing-room-only tickets are available for tomorrow's 3:55 p.m. game with the Indians. I'd guess 26,000 tonight. I was way off. 33,433. Glad we don't do the attendance pool anymore.

Reds 4, Indians 3

The Reds have won four in a row.

Adam Dunn got the winning run home with a bases-laoded walk in the eighth.

"Any way you can get that run in," Dusty Baker said.

Francisco Cordero struck out the side in the ninth to save.

"A lot of people were here to support us," Cordero siad. "You want to send them home happy."

Johnny Cueto did not given up a hit through five innings, then gave up three home runs, including back-to-backers, in the sixth. Cueto's line: 6 IP, 3 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts.

The Reds led 3-0 early. Brandon Phillips followed Ken Griffey Jr.'s walk with a drive in the second deck in left for his eighth homer.

Dunn hit his eighth in the second.

Cueto retired the first eight batters he faced before walking pitcher Jeremy Sowers. He got Grady Sizemore to pop out to right to strand him. Cueto went 1-2-3 in the fourth, then struck out the side in the fifth. He went 3-0 on Ben Francisco to start the inning. He then struck out Francisco on three pitches and Ryan Garko and Asdrubal Cabrera on total of seven pitches.

Casey Blake led off the sixth with home to center. Pinch-hitter Travis Hafner follwed with a shot that just stayed fair in right. He got an out then gave up one Jhonny Peralta.

Good stat on Volquez v. Lee

From the Reds via Elias Sports Bureau:

If Edinson Volquez and Cliff Lee remain the league leaders in ERA through tomorrow’s games, the leagues’ ERA leaders will face each other for only the third time:

6/26/1998 1.60 Leiter, Al NYM vs NYY
6/26/1998 2.19 Irabu, Hideki NYY at NYM

6/16/2002 1.89 Lowe, Derek BOS at ATL
6/16/2002 1.53 Glavine, Tom ATL vs BOS

Lineup v. Indians

Ryan Freel cf
Jerry Hairston Jr. ss
Ken Griffey Jr. rf
Brandon Phillips 2b
Joey Votto 1b
Edwin Encarnacion 3b
Adam Dunn lf
Paul Bako c
Johnny Cueto p

v. LH Jeremy Sowers, former Reds' No. 1 pick who did not sign. Sowers made a total of 28 big league starts. This is fourth against the Reds. He's 0-2 with 9.60 ERA.

Minor matters, Super 2 explanation

Here is the rule on Super 2s from Players Association website:

Q: When does a player become eligible for salary arbitration?
A: A player with three or more years of service, but less than six years, may file for salary arbitration. In addition, a player can be classified as a "Super Two" and be eligible for arbitration with less than three years of service. A player with at least two but less than three years of Major League service shall be eligible for salary arbitration if he has accumulated at least 86 days of service during the immediately preceding season and he ranks in the top 17 percent in total service in the class of Players who have at least two but less than three years of Major League service, however accumulated, but with at least 86 days of service accumulated during the immediately preceding season.

Because of the 17 percent clause, the date on Super 2s changes year-to-year. Homer Bailey, by the way, got 41 days of service last year.

From Jamie Ramsey:

The cold Kentucky rain came pouring down in Louisville last night…the Bats and Yanks will play 2 tonight…Homer Bailey expected to start…Chattanooga slams Mississippi…B.J. Szymanski with a 4-run homer…Tonys Gutierrez again reaches base safely (23 straight games)…Sam Lecure sharp in his 7.0 innings (4h, 1r, 2bb, 6k)…Sarasota loses a tough one to Clearwater…Travis Wood outstanding (7ip, 2h, 1r, 3bb, 3k)…Todd Frazier homers…Dayton loses to Lansing…the Dragons went 2-for-16 with runners on…Kevyn Feiner hits one over the fence…Phil Valiquette magnifique out of the bullpen.

Jay Bruce........... LOU......... .366
Tonys Gutierrez CHA......... .350
Chris Valaika..... CHA......... .337
Andy Phillips..... LOU......... .327
Todd Frazier...... SAR......... .317
Keltavious Jones DAY......... .315
Mike DeJesus..... SAR......... .312
Shaun Cumberland CHA.... .311
Justin Turner..... CHA........ .309
Juan Francisco... SAR......... .308

Chief Bender auction

If you're into collectables, this is worth checking out:

Everything But the House is pleased to announce that they will be auctioning the estate of Cincinnati Reds and baseball legend, Sheldon “Chief” Bender. The auction includes a wonderful selection of baseball memorabilia as well as the complete contents of his beautiful home in Hamilton, OH.

Chief Bender retired in 2005 after spending 64 years in baseball as a player, manager and executive. He spent the last 39 years of his career as a member of the Reds front office staff in scouting and player development. Under his leadership, the farm system produced many future stars including Johnny Bench, Dave Concepcion, Ken Griffey Sr., Don Gullett, Chris Sabo, and Eric Davis just to name a few.

Highlights of this auction will include a wide range of baseball memorabilia including signed and game used bats and balls, World Series and All Star game team signed balls, ticket stubs, baseball books autographed by such greats as Stan Musial, Johnny Bench and Sparky Anderson, and Sheldon’s “King of Baseball” Louisville Slugger (one of only two, the other on display in the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame).

In order to accommodate the many fans that would like to participate and own a piece of baseball history, this internet only online auction will remain open from Thursday, May 15th through Sunday, May 25th 4PM EST. There will be an opportunity to preview the baseball memorabilia and the complete contents of his estate including antiques, art, pottery, furniture and more at his long time residence in the historic section of Hamilton, OH on Friday, May 23rd from 3PM to 7PM EST. Please visit www.ebthauctions.com for additional sale information, photographs of all available items, and in order to register and bid online now.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Why aren't you going to games?

Attendance at Reds games is down significantly this year. After 20 dates last year, they had drawn 452,655 and were averaging 22,633. They year, they've drawn 411,122 and are averaging 20,556.

Why aren't you coming to games?

Is it ticket prices?

Is it gas prices?

Is it the fact that team is on streak of seven straight losing seasons? Let us know by posting a comment on our message board.

Rained out, no makeup set

No makeup date set yet. The Players Association must approve any date. Both team have an off days Aug. 18 and 25.

The Reds are going to skip Matt Belisle. Johnny Cueto, Aaron Harang and Edinson Volquez will start the three games against the Indians this weekend.

This from the Reds:

Despite several news media reports, a makeup date for tonight’s rainout with the Marlins has not been approved, scheduled or announced.

Here's the ticket exchanged policy:

Tickets for tonight's game can be used for that yet-to-be-scheduled makeup game, without exchange. Tickets for tonight's game also can be exchanged for another game, depending on availability.

Minor matters, Bruce quote

"I just have to let my play on the field do the talking," Jay Bruce told the Louisville Corier-Journal. "It's not going to do any good to sit here and talk about it and wonder. You start wondering, you get your mind off the game and that can't be good."

I'd expect no less from Bruce. He's a very bright kid nad he's not going to make waves. But it's got to be killing him not to be here. The Reds could use him tonight. He's hitting .383 off lefties. Ken Griffey Jr. is hitting .158; Adam Dunn .152.

From Jamie Ramsey:

Louisville beats Scranton…the Bats have won a season-high 5 straight…Jay Bruce (as noted yesterday) swinging a red-hot bat…Andy Phillips has hit safely in a league-best 17 straight games…Homer Bailey takes the mound tonight for Louisville…Chattanooga takes the series at Carolina…Ben Jukich the star of the game - he fired a complete game 6-hitter (2r, 1bb, 5k)…it marks his 5th straight quality start…Tonys Gutierrez (1-for-3) reaches base for the 22nd straight game…Chris Valaika with 2 hits and an RBI…Sarasota loses the final game of a 3-game series at Ft. Myers…Drew Stubbs homers…Dayton blanked on 4 hits at Lansing…with a win tonight the Dragons will have won 6 of their last 7 series.

YESTERDAY’S TRANSACTIONS: IF Mike Griffin was promoted from AA-Chattanooga to AAA-Louisville...in 38 games this season for the Lookouts, he batted .289 with 12 doubles, 9 RBI and 7 stolen bases...IF Justin Turner was promoted from A-Sarasota to AA-Chattanooga...Turner was batting .316 in 33 games with the SaraReds (43-136, 11rbi, 12bb)...IF Jake Kahaulio was transferred from GCL to A-Sarasota...OF Anthony Gressick was transferred from R-Billings to A-Sarasota.

The question is will we play?

Kent Mercker thinks this one gets rained out. "I saw Noah at Lowe's. He was buying wood and nails. And my dogs are missing. I figure we're not going to play."

The forecast doesn't look good but the Marlins don't come back. Stay tuned.

Lineup, Janish note

Ryan Freel cf
Jerry Hairston Jr. ss
Ken Griffey Jr. rf
Brandon Phillips 2b
Edwin Encarnacion 3b
Javy Valentin 1b
Adam Dunn lf
David Ross c
Matt Belisle p

v. LH Andrew Miller

Paul Janish was the first player with a walkoff RBI in his major league debut since Miguel Cabrera did it on June 20, 2003. He's the first Red to do it since Eric Owens June 6, 1995. He was first player to have a game-winner with his first hit since Randy Keisler on May 24, 2005. That from Elias Sports Bureau.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Reds 7, Marlins 6 in 10

Tried to post this last night. It didn't show. Blogger is back working:

Paul Janish, instant fan favorite.

The cheered him when he made two straight plays at short. They cheered him when he made a loud out. And they went nuts when he won the game with a single in the 10th.

It was Janish's first big league hit.

"Hopefully, it will only get better,” Janish said. “But that’s going to be hard.”

Janish got the traditional walk-off beat-down from his teammates in the celebration.

"I got crushed," he said. "Somebody caught me in the nose. I actually got a bloody nose. But it was worth it."

"To have the game-winner in your major league debut, that’s heaven sent," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "Sometimes, it’s your day."

The Reds have won they in a row. Of course, they a blew a 6-0 lead in ninth to set up the 10th inning drama. But the way this season has gone, they aren't going to quibble with any victory.

Jocketty on Bruce, Griffey

Jay Bruce might be the hottest hitter on the planet. He went 3-for-3 with a double, triple and home run for Triple-A Lousville in an 11-6 win over Scranton today. He's hitting .667 with three home runs and nine RBI over his last five games. He's hitting .611 over his last 10 games.

Does it get the point where the Reds need to bring him up?

"The main thing is you've got to make sure you've got enough playing time," GM Walt Jocketty said. "I don't think we feel comfortable that we have the adequate playing time. At some point, we just have to do it. Believe me, it hasn't gone unnoticed. We have so many good left-handed hitting outfielders, we have to see what would be the best time to bring him up."

"At some point, you just do it."

An opening would obviously be created if the Reds traded Ken Griffey Jr. But for all the talk about that, nothing is even remotely close to happening.

"I've had no trade discussions," Jocketty said.

Jocketty has talked to Griffey about the situation. As a player with 10 years experience and five years tenure with his current club, Griffey must approve any trade.

"I've talked with him," Jocketty said. "Not knowing Junior that well, I wanted to make sure we had a line of communication open. He assured me that he'd like to play here and hopefully win a championship."

That's a record or something, HR drought

Edinson Volquez tied a major league record by going eight starts and allowing one earned run or fewer in each one. Three others have done that:

Mike Norris, Oakland, 1980
Dana Fillingim, Boston Braves, 1918
Dutch Leonard, Boston Red Sox, 1914

Ken Griffey Jr. homerless streak is up 63 at-bats. He went 67 at-bats in 2004 with a homer. That was longest streak since 1993 when he had a 79 at-bat streak.

No lineup yet.

It's official: It's Janish

From the Reds:

Today the Reds placed on the 15-day disabled list SS Jeff Keppinger (fractured left kneecap) and recalled from Class AAA Louisville IF Paul Janish (pronounced YAH-nish)…Janish will wear uniform number 7.

Keppinger suffered the injury on a foul ball in the second inning of last night's game…he is scheduled to have an MRI later today.

When he plays Janish will become the second Reds player this season to make his Major League debut (RHP Johnny Cueto)...Janish has spent the season at Class AAA Louisville and in 35g for the Bats hit .293 (4 2b, 1 3b, 4hr, 20rbi, 2sb)...he hit safely in each of his last 7g there (10-26, .384).

Keppinger, Janish

From the Reds' media relations:

Today the Reds placed on the 15-day disabled list SS Jeff Keppinger (fractured left kneecap) and recalled from Class AAA Louisville IF Paul Janish (pronounced YAH-nish)…Janish will wear uniform number 7.

Keppinger suffered the injury on a foul ball in the second inning of last night's game…he is scheduled to have an MRI later today.

When he plays Janish will become the second Reds player this season to make his Major League debut (RHP Johnny Cueto)...Janish has spent the season at Class AAA Louisville and in 35g for the Bats hit .293 (4 2b, 1 3b, 4hr, 20rbi, 2sb)...he hit safely in each of his last 7g there (10-26, .384).

The morning after

I wasn't at the game last night. The wife and I were coming back from dinner when Marty announced what had had happened to Jeff Keppinger. You could tell by Marty's voice what a blow it was to the team.

You've got to feel for Keppinger. He's a guy a lot of people didn't think could play every day in the big leagues, who was playing every day, playing shortstop and playing extremely well.

Where do the Reds go from here? Here's my take on the some questions that I saw in posts:

--Paul Janish is a defensive whiz. They can plug him in a short and he'll be fine defensively. But the fact that he was hitting .293 at Triple-A was a surprise. He's a guy who hit .235 with four home runs and 39 RBI in over 500 at-bats last year, splitting time between Triple-A and Double-A.

--Alex Gonzalez is a ways off from returning. He hasn't even started running yet. I'd be surprised if he's ready 30 days from now.

--Jerry Hairston Jr. is an alternative. He played short coming up. He's been sure-handed the last several years. He's athletic and brings a lot of energy.

--Chris Valaika, the shortstop at Chattanooga, is one of the best pure hitter in the Reds minor league system. Someone in the front office called him "Keppinger with more power." But he's played five games above Single-A and he's not on the 40-man. Todd Frazier is another top prospect. But he just moved to high A Sarasota.

My guess is Janish and Hairston split time until one wins the job.

Obviously, this is a huge blow. But, remember, when Gonzalez went on the bereavement list last year in July Pedro Lopez started nine straight games at short. Then one day in Atlanta, Pete Mackanin put Keppinger at short, as sort of an experiment. That worked out pretty well. The Reds need someone like Keppinger to emerge. That's a pretty tall order.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Reds win 5-3, but the victory was overshadowed by Keppinger's injury. Dusty Baker said his X-ray could have produced worse news, but it was still a “big blow.”

Keppinger’s status will be better determined by the MRI.

“It’s a really big loss, but you’ve got two choices: you can either feel sorry for yourself or you can figure out a way to get the job done,” Baker said.

So who will play short stop today? Baker said he’s not sure yet.

Hairston is a versatile player who said he is “very comfortable” playing shortstop and could fill the role.

Paul Janish could be another replacement. The shortstop is doing well in Triple-A Louisville, and was pulled in the eighth inning of the Bats’ game Tuesday night.

“He’s one of the candidates, definitely. But like I said, we haven’t decided yet,” Baker said.


In six innings, Volquez allowed seven hits, one run (earned), walked two and struck out five. He was replaced by Jared Burton in the seventh inning. Burton lasted 2/3rds of the inning and was replaced by Bill Bray. David Weathers is pitching in the eighth.


Keppinger appeared to hurt himself in the second inning when he fouled a ball off the inside of his leg. Corey Patterson pinch hit for him in the fourth. In the fifth, Jerry Hairston Jr. moved to short stop, Ryan Freel moved to right field, and Patterson moved to center field.

UPDATE: An X-ray revealed that Keppinger fractured the patella in his left knee. He will have an MRI tomorrow.

Reds up 5-2 entering the eighth

Ryan Freel's single scored Jerry Hairston Jr. from third base and gave the Reds their first run Tuesday night.

With bases loaded, Freel connected on a hit near first base that Wes Helms corralled. But Freel slid into the bag before pitcher Mark Hendrickson covered it, and Hairston scampered home.

Hendrickson walked Jeff Keppinger with bases loaded and David Ross crossed home plate for a 2-0 lead in the second inning.

Adam Dunn scored Edwin Encarnacion in the third.

In the top of the fifth, Marlins batters loaded the bases and Hanley Ramirez’s sac fly RBI yielded their first run. Hendrickson tagged up after Freel made a right field catch. Edinson Volquez walked Jorge Cantu, loading the bases again. But Dan Uggla struck out swinging and stranded the runners on base.

The bottom of the inning, Hairston doubled and stole third base. David Ross' bunt brought him in.

Joey Votto hit a solo home run into the left field stands in the seventh.

Griffey gets a break

Ken Griffey Jr. got a day off - and it had nothing to do with the ball he dropped Monday, or the one he bobbled. Reds manager Dusty Baker said it was simply time for a breather.

“He’s played every day. And I’m sure he didn’t want a day off, but sometimes you’ve just got to do it,” Baker said.

Griffey would rather have played, but was in good spirits this afternoon.

"It’s a good solid benching," he joked.

Griffey said Baker alerted him of the day off a couple days ago.

He elaborated on his error in the eighth inning of Monday's game (he was trying to protect himself as a speeding Brandon Phillips came toward him). He also reeled in the inning-ending out after bobbling a fly ball.

"If I'd have dropped the second one, I probably would have thrown my glove into the stands," he said.

Minor matters

Talked an AL scout who has seen Daryl Thompson pitch twice. He said the times he saw Thompson, Thompson's stuff was good enough to get big leaguers out. "The first batter of the game he throws a 74-mph curve for a strike. The next pitch is 94 on the inside corner. As hitter, you're thinking: What the hell is coming next?"

From Jamie Ramsey

Louisville sweeps a doubleheader at Richmond…Jay Bruce 4-for-4 (HR) and 1-for-3 in the 2 games…he’s leading the league with 48 hits and a .348 average…Andy Phillips extends his hitting streak to a league-best 15 straight games…Chris Dickerson homers…Matt Maloney was 2 outs away from a no-hitter…Tom Shearn solid in game 2 (6ip, 3h, 1r, 0bb, 4k)…Chattnooga squanders a 6-1 lead and spoils another fine outing by Daryl Thompson (6ip, 1r/0er, 4bb, 5k)…Cody Strait working on a 10-game hitting streak…Tonys Gutierrez has reached base safely in 20 straight games (28-67, .418)…Sarasota tops Ft. Myers…Alex Smit outstanding in his 6.0 innings (3h, 1r, 2bb, 8k)…Mike DeJesus with 3 hits…Juan Francisco extends his hitting streak to 7 games…Dayton wins today to go 7 games over .500 for the first time this season…Enerio Del Rosario continues to excel since his move to the rotation…the Dragons won last night, too…Curtis Partch fantastic in his 6.0 innings (2h, 1r/0er, 1bb, 7k)…Phil Valiquette tres bien in relief.

Reds minor league starting pitchers over the last 6 games are 4-0 with a 0.49 ERA (37ip, 18h, 5r/2er, 9bb, 36k).

THOMPSON’S GETTING BULLIED: Chattanooga’s Daryl Thompson is 2-1 with a 1.28 ERA in 8 starts this season...In each of his 5 no-decisions, the Lookouts were leading when he left the game (5 blown saves)…In his only loss of the season (4/25 vs. Carolina), Thompson allowed 3 unearned runs on 4 hits in 7.2ip (3bb, 11k)…Overall, 7 of Thompson’s 8 appearances have been quality starts…He’s holding opponents to a .200 batting average and leads all Reds minor league pitchers in ERA (1.28) and strikeouts (49).

Tonight's lineup v. Marlins

Ryan Freel cf
Jeff Keppinger ss
Brandon Phillips 2b
Edwin Encarnacion 3b
Joey Votto 1b
Jerry Hairston Jr. rf
Adam Dunn lf
David Ross c
Edinson Volquez p

v. LH Mark Hendrickson

Seattle angle on Griffey

From the Seattle Post intelligencer:

The quest to add more pop to the Mariners lineup may be taking a swing through Cincinnati.

The Reds apparently are more than willing to trade outfielder Ken Griffey Jr., and Griffey's original team, the Mariners, is in the process of checking out the 38-year-old slugger to see if he might be the answer to an underperforming offense.

Duane Shaffer, a special assistant to Mariners general manager Bill Bavasi, was in New York on Sunday to watch the Reds and the Mets play at Shea Stadium and, more specifically, to watch Griffey, who went 0-for-2 with two walks.

Mariners sources say no deal is imminent, but as long as the club continues to struggle, every time a Mariners scout watches the Reds, it will be news.

Entering play this week, the Mariners have a need for a middle-of-the-lineup power hitter (a lefty, like Griffey, would be the best fit). Off the field, Griffey would be a major draw in the city that was his home for a decade. After eight of the 10 smallest crowds in Safeco Field history have turned up this season, the ballclub would have to consider the attendance implications and financial advantages of having Griffey back in a Mariners uniform.

How much Griffey has left as a player isn't clear. He hit 30 home runs last season in 144 games, and has averaged 31 homers the past three seasons. But he has just four in the first six weeks of the 2008 season to go with a .254 batting average.

The story goes on to say:

But there are potential barriers to a deal. Suggestions that he come aboard in Seattle as the designated hitter probably wouldn't go over well with Griffey, who is playing right field for the Reds and wants to play in the field. If the DH job is all the Mariners can offer, a deal probably will never have any legs.

For the Mariners to fit him in the outfield, they'd probably have to shift left fielder Raul Ibanez to DH and right fielder Wladimir Balentien to left.

Griffey is a 10-and-5 player (10 or more years in the big leagues, the past five with the same team) with the right to veto any trade. If no trade happens in the coming weeks, the Mariners are expected to be a serious suitor for his services should he become a free agent this offseason.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Is it time for Bruce?

Is it time?

Jay Bruce, the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball, is on a tear. He went 4-for-4 with two doubles and home run in the first game of Triple-A Louisville’s doubleheader and 1-for-3 with run scored in the second game. He’s hitting .348 with seven home runs and 29 RBI. He has 17 hits in his last 29 at-bats.

The Reds started Corey Patterson, who is hitting .196 in center fielder Monday.

Bruce is a left-handed hitter, but he’s hitting .370 this year off lefties. Adding Bruce would allow the Reds to use Ryan Freel, who is hitting .350 off lefties, to spell Adam Dunn (.167 vs. lefties) and Ken Griffey Jr. (.162 off lefties).

The Reds look like a team in need of a boost. Sometimes a player can do that. Milwaukee got major boost last year after calling up their top prospects, Ryan Braun, on May 25. Braun won the NL Rookie of the Year.

Is it time for Bruce?

Reds 8, Marlins 7

The seventh inning was just what Dr. Baseball ordered for the Reds. The eighth inning was evidence of how hard wins are for the Reds to come by.

"All my hair is going to gray," Dusty Baker said. "I'm going to call Keith Hernendez for some of that stuff.

The seventh: Blog whipping boy Corey Patterson led off with a perfect bunt for a single. Jeff Keppigner squared to bunt on the first pitch, then hit the secondf pitch out to left. Ken Griffey Jr. walked. Brandon Phillips followed with a shot to the second deck.

Two swings, four runs -- 8-4 game.

The eighth: David Weathers came in and gave up a single. He got two outs, then walked a batter. Dusty Baker decided to go with the percentages and bring in left-hander Jeremy Affeldt to face Luis Gonzalez. Gonzalez singled home a run. Baker then went with closer Francisco Cordero. He hit Wes Helms with a pitch to load the bases. He got Mike Rabelo to fly to short right. Griffey came in and called off Phillips. The went off Griffey's glove as he closed it. Two runs scored to make it 8-7. Former Red Cody Ross walked to load the bases. Alfredo Amezaga gave one a ride to right center. Griffey ran it down, but it bounced out of his glove. He caught it again before it hit the ground.

Griffey said Phillips coming at him distrached him on the first one and just missed it. The second one? "It hit the palm. I was able to gather it in with my good Moeller hands."

Cordero pitched a 1-2-3 for his sixth save.

Aaron Harang gave up back-to-back home runs to Jeremy Hermida and Hanley Ramirez in the first. He have up another one in the fourth to Dan Uggla.

The Reds got nothing going against rookie right-hander Burke Badenhop early. But Paul Bako singled with an out in the fifth. Harang sacrificed him over, and Patterson doubled him in. Keppinger hit a routine groundball to former Red Jorge Cantu at third. Cantu threw it away, allowing Patterson to score.

The Reds took the lead in the sixth. Joey Votto walked. Edwin Encarnacion doubled. Adam Dunn got Votto home with a sacrifice fly. Encarnacion took third on the play. That proved large. He scored an out later on a wild pitch.

Harang could not hold the lead. Uggla led off with a double. Wes Helms followed with a roller that stopped on the third baseline. Mike Rabelo hit a sac fly to tie it.

Baker on Cueto, Patterson

Dusty Baker met with Johnny Cueto before Monday's game. The message was simple: When catcher Paul Bako puts down a sign, throw the pitch he asks for. Cueto shook off Bako quite a bit in Sunday's start.

"That alleviates him having to do a bunch of thinking and concentrating and delivering the pitch," Baker said. "This way he can be more committed to making that pitch. All he has to think about is making that pitch and locating it."

Baker has full confidence in Bako.

"That's Bako's strong suit," Baker said.

Edinson Volquez, the Red other young right-hander, rarely shakes off Bako.

ON PATTERSON: Baker was asked if he's thought about moving Corey Patterson down in the lineup.

"Yeah, what makes it kind of rough is you don't want to me left-handers in a row," Baker said. "That's what I'm trying to stay away from. He's going to get going. Guys usually end where there (career) average is. . . we don't have a bunch of speed. You need speed, especially in close games."

Patterson is hitting .196 with a .252 on-base percentage. He has five steals but he's been caught three times.

Ryan Freel, hitting .313. with a .356 on-base, will be in tomorrow against left-hander Mark Hendrickson.

Lineup v. Marlins

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

v. RH Burke Badenhop

Sad note, minor matters

Third base coach Mark Berry's father, Harvey, died Saturday in Glendale, Ariz. My thoughts and prayers are with the Mark nd family.

From Jamie Ramsey:

All 4 of the active Reds farm clubs are over .500
Louisville and Dayton were rained out yesterday…The Bats are playing a doubleheader today…Chattanooga falls to Carolina…the Lookouts were victimized by a 9th inning walkoff homer…Ramon Ramirez with another quality start (6ip, 8h, 3r, 0bb, 7k, 2hr)…Robert Manuel keeps putting up zeroes out of the Chattanooga bullpen…Cody Strait and Tonys Gutierrez are swinging hot bats…The SaraReds had Mother’s Day off...The Dragons tonight are in Lansing (capital of Michigan) to play their first road game of the month.

IF Andy Phillips: current 13-game hitting streak (20-55, .364, 3hr, 14rbi, 9r, 2 2B) to lift batting average 39 points (.316).
OF Jay Bruce: 12 hits in last 22ab to lift batting average to .328 (3rd in International League)...his 43 hits rank T1st in the IL.
SS Paul Janish: 8 hits in last 16ab.
LHP Danny Herrera: has not allowed a run since his promotion to Louisville on 4/24 (7g, 11.1ip, 7h, 10k).
RHP Gary Majewski: 1-0-2, 0.75era over last 9g (9h, 1r, 1bb, 7k).
1b Tonys Gutierrez: has reached base safely in 19 straight (26-63, .413)...leads the Southern League with a .467obp...ranks 5th with a .336ba.
OF Cody Strait: current 9-game hitting streak (11-25, .440).
RHP Robert Manuel: 0 earned runs in 15 games split between Chattanooga and Sarasota (23.2ip, 31K).
LHP Ben Jukich: 2-1, 1.69era over last 4 starts (26.2ip, 5r, 18k, .206oba).
RHP Jordan Smith: 24.2ip, 3r, 1.09era over last 3 starts...1.45era ranks 4th in Florida State League.
3b Juan Francisco: current 6-game hitting streak (10-25, .400).
OF Denis Phipps: current 12-game hitting streak (21-47, .447), including a current 7-game multi-hit streak (15-29, .517)... .325 batting average ranks 6th in the Midwest League.
OF Keltavious Jones: current 7-game hitting streak (10-29, .345)....344 batting average ranks 4th in the Midwest League.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Kepp's streak ends

Joe Smith, the Amelia High and Wright State product, struck out Jeff Keppinger in the eight inning to end his streak of seven straight hits and streak of reaching base eight straight times.

Smith fell behind 3-0. Keppinger took two strikes and then swung through an inside sinker.

“That’s a lot of hits in a short period of time,” Dusty Baker said. “That’s one of the best runs I’ve ever seen there.”

From the Reds: Keppinger’s 7 straight hits are the most by a Reds batter since Adam Dunn produced hits in 7 consecutive at bats from 7/26-7/27 of last season at Houston. No Reds batter has produced more than 7 straight hits since Dmitri Young had hits in 9 consecutive AB from 6/27-6/29, 2001.

More Keppinger:
Reaching via hit, walk, or HBP (consecutive plate apps)
8 (7h, 1bb), Jeff Keppinger, 5/10-5/11, 2008 at NYM
9 (7h, 2bb), Adam Dunn, 7/26-7/27, 2006 at Hou
10 (9h, 1bb), Dmitri Young, 6/27-6/29, 2001
13, Barry Larkin, 5/25-5/27, 1997 (club record)
14, National League record, Pedro Guerrero, 7/23-7/26, 1985

Mets 8, Reds 3

Johnny Cueto gave up three runs in the first inning. He gave up two doubles and a triple.

Cueto settled in, only allowing one hit in the second through fourth. The fifth was not so good. He gave up a pair of home runs -- a two-run shot to Carlos Beltran and solo shot to Ryan Church.

Another rough outing: 4 1/3, 8 hits, 6 runs, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts.

The Reds scored three in the sixth, but the bullpen gave up in the bottom of the inning.

The Reds batted out of order in the ninth. David Ross went up and hit in the eighth spot. He made an out. Mets manager Willie Randolph pointed it out to the umpires. That led to a 12-minute delay while they sorted things out. Corey Patterson, who actually in the eighth spot, was credited with an out. Ross went back up and singled.

"It's my fault," Dusty Baker said. "It was on the board with Patterson first and on my card, but I didn't check it."

Lineup vs. Mets, notes

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

v. LH Oliver Perez

SHOWCASE: "I'm being showcased," Griffey joked. "Day game after a doubleheader." The real reason: Griffey's on 5-game hitting streak. He's hitting .436 over that period with 3 RBI.

MOTHER'S DAY: The Reds are using pink bats to promote breast cancer awareness on Mother's Day. Griffey will wear black shoes trimmed in pink with pink laces. Griffey has six home runs on Mother's Day, most of any active player. He hit one last year off Mark Hendrickson in L.A.

ON THE ROTATION: The Reds are listing TBA for Wednesday and Thursday. Bronson Arroyo will likely start on short rest Wednesday. I asked Dusty Baker if Matt Belisle would definitely make his next start: "We haven't discussed it yet. I don't want him walking around here like he's on death row."

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Game 2: Reds 7, Mets 1

Bronson Arroyo had his best outing of the year -- 8 innings, 1 runs, 4 hits, 2 walks, 9 strikeouts.

That way the key to getting the split.

"That’s huge," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "That was big on a lot of fronts. That's the best game Bronson's thrown. He had them off balance. He had great location with his fastball. He was dealing. That's where it starts. You get good starting pitching and it makes everyone feel a whole lot better."

The hitting star was blog favorite Jeff Keppinger. He went 5-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI. He had six hits in the doubleheader to raise his average from .292 to .317.

When was the last time he went 5-for-5?

"College," he said. "I think I'm right on that. I never did in the minors. I had a lot 4-for-5s. That fifth one is hard to get."

Baker is a Keppinger fan.

"He works at it," Baker said. "He thinks about it. He concentrates. He focuses. He's trying to maximize his opportunity to play. Boy, that was big, especially for a guy with that slight of build to have that kind of game in the second game after a long, long day night. That shows what kind of shape he's in."

Reds went up 1-0 in the first on Ken Griffey Jr.'s RBI single. He's at 60 ABs since his last home run. But he has four straight two-hit games.

Scott Hatteberg doubled in Keppinger with a go-ahead run in the sixth.

Hatteberg made it a 3-RBI day with hit-and-run RBI single in the eighth. Paul Bako followed with an RBI single.

Bad night for Bailey

Homer Baiely gave up seven runs (six earned) on 11 hits for Louisville againstr Rickmond. He gave up five in the fifth. It's the first time in eight starts that Bailey has gotten beaten up.

Jay Bruce went 2-for-4 with a three-run homer.

The Bats ended up winning 10-7. Gary Majewski got the win in relief. Paul Janish hit a two-homer in seventh to tie it. The Bats scored two in the eighth as well.

Lineup for Game 2

Ryan Freel CF
Jerry Hairston Jr. 2B
Ken Griffey Jr. RF
Edwin Encarnacion 3B
Adam Dunn LF
Jeff Keppinger SS
Scott Hatteberg 1B
Paul Bako C
Bronson Arroyo P

v. RH Mike Pelfrey

Right: Shea with the new Citi Field in the background. The new place looks good. Not so much with Shea.

Game 1: Mets 12, Reds 6

Matt Belisle had another rough start -- five innings, six runs, five earned runs, seven hits, three walks, two strikeouts.

He's had one decent start, one so-so and two bad ones. The Reds are listing TBA for Wednesday's and Thursday's starters. Might be time to shake up the rotation. Of course, Bronson Arroyo is going in Game 2 tonight. Arroyo's struggled mightily as well.

Belisle afterward: "There were a lot of hits today. But I’m not going too far down. I still feel good. I’ve made some mechanical adjustments I’m going to stick to. Maybe I wasn't quite as sharp as last time -- but good enough and I’m going to get better."

Edwin Encarnacion has driven in two runs for Reds. He hit his eighth home in the fourth. He drove in Brandon Phillips, who had tripled, with a single in the sixth. Scott Hatteberg got the other home with a two-out, pinch-hit single. His first pinch-hit in 10 tries this year.

Bill Bray gave hits to only two batters he faced. Mike Lincoln took over. He walked two, including one to force in a run, then gave up a three-run triple to Carlos Beltran.

Game 1 lineup v. Mets

Corey Patterson cf
Ryan Freel lf
Ken Griffey Jr. rf
Brandon Phillips 2b
Joey Votto 1b
Edwin Encarnacion 3b
Jeff Keppinger ss
David Ross c
Matt Belisle p

v. LH Johan Santana

Dusty Baker said Griffey and Phillips probably won't start Game 2. It's partly cloudy and cool here.

Friday, May 9, 2008

It's postponned

Tonight's Reds-Mets game was postponned. They'll a day-night doubleheader at 1:10 and 7:30 p.m. tomorrow.

It's will be Matt Belisle v. Johan Santana in Game 1 and Bronson Arroyo v. Mike Pelfrey in Game 2.

Both games will be on FSN Ohio.

Dusty Baker to the writers: "Wasted day. Life owes you a day."

Lineup v. Mets, notes

Ken Griffey was a late scratch. He's ill.

Jerry Hairston Jr. 2B
Ryan Freel, RF
Corey Patterson, CF
Joey Votto, 1B
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
Adam Dunn, LF
Jeff Keppinger, SS
Paul Bako, C
Matt Belisle, RHP

v. RH Mike Pelfrey

Brandon Phillips is out because of the bruised calf. He's available to pinch-hit with two outs, so he doesn't have to run too much. Dusty Baker hopes to have him back the next two days with the Reds facing left-handers Johan Santana and Oliver Perez. Phillips is hitting .452 off lefties, second in the league.

One of the reasons, Edinson Volquez went seven innings and 118 pitches Wednesday was that Kent Mercker wasn't available.

It's still raining here. If the game's banged, they'll play a day-night doubleheader at 1 and 8 tomorrow.

I thought I had a bad travel day. Hal McCoy's was worse. He left at 7. The plane had to turn around and return to Dayton when passengers became ill from fumes. He ended up going through Washington and getting in about 4.

So he left two hours before me and got in a hour after me -- and his luggage didn't make it.

I had one more glitch after the air travel woes. The subway train stopped about two stops from Shea. "We're waiting for police and medical emergency personnel." The delay was about 30 minutes. We ended up talking to Dusty at 5, rather than 3:40.

Then we couldn't get on wireless. I love New York. Hate the hassles and Shea.

Mercker on DL, Bray recalled

The Reds put Kent Mercket on the disabled list with a sore lower back. The move is retroactive to Tuesday. They recalled Bill Bray from Louisville.

I may have to cover the game off TV. I'm still waiting for my 9 a.m. flight to board.

I made it to New York. I'd put the chances of rainout at 60-40. If I get my luggage, I'll have time to to hotel, drop off and head to the yard. Got my bag. I'm about 200th in the cab line.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Free agents, 13 of them

Much has been made about the fact that Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn are free agents after the season. In Griffey's case, the Reds hold an option. But they can let him go with a $4 million parting gift.

But 11 other players on the current 25-man roster are free agents as well. That's the most in baseball. Here's the list:

David Ross
Javy Valentin
Paul Bako
Scott Hatteberg
Jerry Hairston Jr.
Corey Patterson
David Weathers
Jeremy Affeldt
Kent Mercker
Mike Lincoln
Josh Fogg

Ross also has an option -- for $3.5 million.

Walt Jocketty is going to have a chance to makeover the roster. Those 13 players accounted for $43 million of the $74.1 million payroll.

But the veterans under contract for next year all get good raises, so the Reds are on the hook for $46.5 million for six players:

Bronson Arroyo $9.5 million
Francisco Cordero $12 million
Aaron Harang $11 million
Brandon Phillips $4.75 million
Ryan Freel $4 million
Alex Gonzalez $5.375 million

I hate to write about money and contracts, but this all affects what the Reds can and cannot do.

Hopefully, this post will change the current debate, which I'm not entirely sure is about.

Mr. Redlegs loses his head

Did you see this? It happened before Wednesday game. Mr. Redlegs was standing on the back of a motorized cart driven by Gapper, the other Reds mascot, when Mr. Redlegs fell off the cart. ESPN's "SportsCenter" included it in its Top 10 highlights. Here it is on YouTube.

NOTE: The video was removed from YouTube this afternoon due to a copyright claim by MLB Advanced Media.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Volquez in new territory

Edinson Volquez hasn't allow more than one earned run in any of his first seven starts. No Reds pitcher had accomplished that feat since earned runs became an official statistic in 1912, according to courtesy Elias Sports Bureau.

Volquez was able to throw seven shutout innings on a day he struggled with his control -- six walks. He threw 118 pitches. But he threw a 95 mph fastball to last batter he faced.

“The thing about him is he has the stuff to strike himself out of trouble,” Dusty Baker said. “A lot of guys don’t have that ability. We’d still like to see him minimize his pitches some, so he can go deep into games.

“We’ll take what he’s doing now.”

Reds 9, Cubs 0: 7 homer day

Hear those fireworks?

The Reds hit seven homers today -- Joey Votto hit three -- breaking their Great American Ball Park record. It's most the Reds have hit in a game since they set a National League record with nine in Philadelphia on Sept. 4, 1999.

Votto is the 23rd Red to hit three in a game. The last was Aaron Boone May 8, 2003.

Votto grounded out in the eighth in his bid to tie the MLB record.

Edinson Volquez (5-1) had another great outing -- seven innings, four hits, six walks, 10 strikeouts. His ERA is 1.06 after seven starts. He's allowed 28 hits, 24 walks and struck out 52 in 42 1/3 innings. He struck out DLee with a 94 mph fastball to finish his day.

The Reds hit four homers in the second inning. That tied a club record for home runs in an inning. The last time they did it was Aug. 17, 1996. Eddie Taubensee, Reggie Sanders, Jeff Branson and Barry Larkin hit them.

It's only the second time a Cub pitcher allowed four homers in an inning.

Votto and Adam Dunn went back-to-back to start in the second. An out later, Paul Bako went deep. All three were to nearly the same place in the right-field seats. Edinson Volquez singled. Corey Patterson took a called third strike. Then Jerry Hairston went deep to left.

Jon Lieber had only given up two home runs coming in.

Brandon Phillips and Votto went back-to-back in the fifth. Phillips' hit off the foul pole. Votto's went into the Reds' bullpen in right-center.

Phillips left the game with a bruised left calf. He fouled a ball off it.

Lineup v. Cubs

Corey Patterson CF
Jerry Hairston SS
Ken Griffey Jr. RF
Brandon Phillips 2B
Joey Votto 1B
Adam Dunn LF
Edwin Encarnacion 3B
Paul Bako C
Edinson Volquez P

v. RH Jon Lieber

Jeff Keppinger is getting a day off. Right-handers are hitting .241 off Lieber, left-handers .348.

Minor matters: Mesoraco to Dayton

From Jamie Ramsey:

A clean sweep last night for the Reds farm teams (4-0)…The Bats snap a 4-game losing streak…Adam Rosales with 3 hits…Andy Phillips homers…Jay Bruce (2h) triples…Tom Shearn with a quality outing (6ip, 5h, 2r, 1bb, 5k)…Danny Herrera retired all 6 he faced…Chattanooga tops Tennessee…Ramon Ramirez allowed just 1 hit in 6.0 innings (36k in 32.2ip this season)…B.J. Szymanski and Jerry Gil both homer…Mike Griffin extends his hitting streak to 5g…Sarasota “hands” Palm Beach a de-“feet”…Jason Louwsma with 3 hits…Ramon Geronimo pitches another scoreless inning out of the bullpen (14g, 0r, 16.2ip, 22k)…Dayton “swings” into sole possession of first place by pounding Quad Cities for the second day in a row…the Dragons collect a season-high 16 hits and 11 runs…Todd Frazier and Jason Bour tally 3 hits apiece…Denis Phipps homers and has now hit safely in 9 straight…Mike McKennon triples twice…Enerio Del Rosario solid in the start (6ip, 3h, 1r, 1bb, 6k).

SS Chris Valaika has been promoted from Class-A Sarasota to Double-A Chattanooga...in 32g this season for the SaraReds, the reigning FSL Player of the Week is batting .363 with 7hr and 31rbi (20r, .585slg, .393obp)...SS Todd Frazier has been promoted from Class-A Dayton to Class-A Sarasota...Frazier is batting .321 and ranks among Midwest League leaders in most offensive categories...C Devin Mesoraco and 1B Logan Parker (University of Cincinnati) have been promoted to Class-A Dayton...Mesoraco, last year’s first round pick, had been playing in extended-spring training.

New voice in the booth

From the Reds:

BROADCAST BOOTH NEWS: Class AAA Louisville Bats veteran announcer Jim Kelch will join Hall of Famer Marty Brennaman or Jeff Brantley on 14 Reds on Radio broadcasts this season...Kelch is in his 20th season as the play-by-play voice of the Louisville club...he previously worked Major League games as a fill-in for the Reds and St. Louis Cardinals broadcast teams...the Peoria, Illinois native began his broadcast career with the Class A Peoria Chiefs in 1984...he joined the Bats in 1989 after a 2-year stint as broadcaster for the Class AA Chattanooga Lookouts...Kelch also is the radio voice of the University of Louisville's women's basketball team...for the Reds, he is scheduled to work 5/12-5/15, 5/30, 6/1, 7/18-7/19, 9/2-9/4 and 9/18-9/20.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Cubs win

The Reds' bats never got going in the 3-o loss. Dusty Baker said the difference in the game was Chicago's two two-out hits.

“You’ve got to get some RBI hits. You’ve got to drive in some runs. And when you’re not hitting, it makes it look like you’re lethargic and not playing and not trying, and that’s not the case. But that’s what it looks like,” Baker said.

Make that a three-run Cubs lead

Harang walked Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez in the fourth. Kosuke Fukudome’s sacrifice bunt moved the runners to third base and second base, respectively. Ronny Cedeno knocked both players in with a single to right center. The Cubs lead 3-0 heading into the bottom of the inning.

Cubs up 1-0

After two innings, Chicago leads. The Cubs scored in the first. Aramis Ramirez connected on a ball that whizzed past Aaron Harang and dropped in shallow center field.

Ramirez scored Ryan Theriot, who had singled to right field and stolen second base on Derrek Lee’s at-bat.


Both Ken Griffey Jr. and his agent, Brian Goldberg, say the hype surrounding today's USA Today article is overblown.

In the article, Griffey said “everybody’s dream to go back to where they started.” In his case, that means Seattle.

The Reds’ 13-20 record has many wondering what sort of lineup shakeups could happen here - and the ninth-year Reds player is eligible to enter the market as a free agent after this season if the Reds don’t pick up his $16 million option for 2009. The story said Griffey expects the Reds to approach him before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline seeking his approval for a trade.

From Griffey, on the Seattle comment:
“OK, I said the exact same thing last year. The exact same thing. So why is it such a big story now?” Griffey said. “If I would have changed anything from last year, it would be a story. But I said the same thing.”

The difference this time is that players could be traded soon, and Griffey has more control of his destiny, a reporter said.

“I had control of it last year and the year before that. So why is it such a big deal?” Griffey said.
Griffey was asked if he would go somewhere else.

“That is not even…you guys are making more of an issue than I am,” Griffey said.

Goldberg said Griffey’s priority is to be part of a winning team – and he wants it to be in Cincinnati.

Today's lineup

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

v. RH Carlos Zambrano

Griffey in USA Today

Bob Nightengale from USA Today did a Ken Griffey Jr. cover story. Seattle's owner seems open to bringing him back. Here's a link.

Minor matters

From Jamie Ramsey:

Louisville, Chattanooga and Sarasota combine for 3 runs as all 3 teams were defeated last night…Homer Bailey pitched for Louisville and gave up 4 runs on 7 hits in 7.0 innings (3bb, 7k)…Jolbert Cabrera homered…Jay Bruce had a couple of hits…the Lookouts went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10…Sarasota lost in the bottom of the 9th…Jordan Smith was lights-out once again for the SaraReds (8ip, 5h, 1r, 0bb, 2k)…Dayton wins and moves into a first place tie…Curtis Partch notched his first win with an excellent outing (6ip, 5h, 1r/0er, 0bb, 4k)…Justin Reed with 4 hits, including his 2nd homer in as many days…Denis Phipps with 3 hits…Brandon Waring homers.

SS Chris Valaika (12-for-28, .480, 2hr, 4rbi, 6r, .750slg)
LHP Travis Wood (2-0, 13ip, 8h, 2r, 4bb, 9k)

*Sarasota’s Jordan Smith, 22, last night at Palm Beach allowed a run on 5 hits in 8.0 innings (0bb, 2k)...it marked his second consecutive start in which he gave up 1 run over 8.0 innings...for the season the righthander is 5-1 with a 1.52 ERA in 7 starts (6 quality starts)...over 47.1 innings this season, he’s given up 11 runs (8er) and 5 walks while striking out 31 and holding opponents to a .237 batting average...Smith (6’4”, 174lbs) last season for Dayton went 10-8 with a 3.84 ERA in 26 starts...he was obtained in the 6th round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Weathers v. Brantley

David Weathers was listening to radio on his way home from working out Sunday when he heard Jeff Brantley say something he didn’t like.

When asked about Monday. Weathers let Brantley have it.

"All I said if this easy to play baseball, he should find a uniform and play," Weathers said. "I was basically was taking up for my teammates. I heard some comments that he thought guys were quitting. I didn’t feel that way. It’s easy to say that when things are going tough for a team. It’s easy to dog-pile. I felt like he was doing that."

Brantley stood by the gist of what he said.

"I said there are guys on the team that obviously trying much harder some of the other guys," he said. "This team needs some spark and jump start to get back playing the game the right way. That’s what I said -- if I remember correctly."

Weathers said he and Brantley are good friends. Weathers tried to downplay and said he's not mad at Brantley.

"Sometimes things are said," Weathers said. "We take a lot of pride in what we do. You hear things – I’ve been on DL watching and listening – sometimes you’ve got to defend your guys. I don’t feel like we have anybody quitting. Do we have guys struggling? Yeah. That doesn’t mean you quit."

The interesting thing in this is Weathers and Brantley are similar. Brantley would have done the same thing in roles were reversed.

Reds 5, Cubs 3

Sometimes a win is so sweet because of how hard the loss would have been.

That was case Monday night.

"That's a good game to win," Dusty Baker said. "It would have been devastating to lose."

Francisco Cordero had about as rough an inning as you can possibly have without giving up a run. But he got the save and the Reds five-game losing streak is over.

"It got a little edgy at the end," Adam Dunn said. "But I don't care how we win as long as we win."

Johnny Cueto bounced back from his debacle in St. Louis with a solid start. He went six innings, allowing three runs on six hits. He struck eight and walked two.

Let's if the Reds can build on it tomorrow. It's Carlos Zambrano v. Aaron Harang.

Sad note, lineup, Bray optioned

Ken Griffey Jr. was originally not in the lineup. His best friend, Frank King, died earlier today in Orlando at age 38 from complications from cancer.

"That's why I had him out," Dusty Baker said. "I talked yesterday in the meeting about playing for someone. He said that was what his friend would want. . . It was a big deal for him to play."

Griffey and King were close as brothers. I got to know Frank a little, very good guy. He was well-known around the clubhouse. He's survived by 14-year-old and 3-year-old.

"Everyone's asking me if I'm all right," Griffey said. "I worried about them. Melissa, my mom and Frank's wife were with him."

My thoughts and prayers are with Frank's family.

The lineup for tonight v. the Cubs:

Ryan Freel cf
Griffey rf
Brandon Phillips 2b
Joey Votto 1b
Edwin Encarnacion 3b
Adam Dunn lf
Jeff Keppinger ss
Paul Bako c
Johnny Cueto p

v. RH Ryan Dempster

Bill Bray was optioned to Triple-A Louisville. David Weathers was activated from the disabled list.

Bray took the news well. He pitched in the last three games.

"That's the first time I've done that in couple of years," he said. "I feel great today. I'm excited about that."

Minor matters

From Jamie Ramsey:

Louisville falls to Richmond in exra-innings…Adam Rosales homers…Chris Dickerson had his 10-game hitting streak snapped…Homer Bailey set to start tonight…the Bats look to end a 3-game losing skid…Chattanooga gets great pitching from Ben Jukich as the Lookouts beat Missississippi…Shaun Cumberland (.355) homers…Sarasota edges Palm Beach…Travis Wood was outstanding in his 7.0 shutout innings…Ramon Geronimo with another scoreless inning of relief (he hasn’t allowed a run this season in 13g/15.2ip)…Dayton blanks Burlington thanks to 7.0 scoreless frames from Scott Carroll…Carroll is working on a 16.1 consecutive scoreless innings streak…Justin Reed homers.

Louisville: RHP Justin Lehr – 6.2ip, 7h, 4r, 0bb, 1k
Chattanooga: LHP Ben Jukich – 6ip, 5h, 1r, 2bb, 4k
Sarasota: LHP Travis Wood – 7ip, 3h, 0r, 1bb, 4k
Dayton: RHP Scott Carroll – 7ip, 5h, 0r, 2bb, 4k

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Arroyo update, team meeting

I asked Dusty Baker if Bronson Arroyo might need some time in the bullpen to get straightened out.

"We're kind of lost right now," he said. "We're going to get him checked out maybe something is wrong with him. His pitches aren't sharp. His breaking ball isn't crisp. He's kind of gotten a little bit predictable as far as throwing the 3-2 breaking ball. Ordinarily, that ball (Tom) Glavine hit doesn't stay up in the zone. We'll get him examined. You don't want to find anything. But, hopefully, we can up with some kind of solution. I know he's going crazy, too."

Arroyo was pretty clear that he doesn't think anything is physically wrong with him.

"There ain't nothing to check out," he said. "They said they want to check me out? That's probably the best I felt in years on a day game. I've got no excuses. They just beat my ass. I had a good fastball, decent command, everything felt good."

"I felt like I had pretty good stuff. Two strikes to (Jeff) Francoeur with one guy on. He blooped it into to center. The next guy, the one hit off (Ryan) Freel. Bases loaded against a lineup. That puts the ball in play. Letting Glavine get that hit didn't help. There's nothing else to say. They hit the ball well. They hit on the screws. That's it."

The club had a meeting before the game.

"It was kind of an in-house thing," Adam Dunn said. "It's not something to talk about really."

"They outslugged us. That's how we're going right now. They score two, we score one. They score 13, we score seven. We'll keep plugging along and try to turn it around."

Dunn thinks the club is pressing.

"I think we're trying too hard," he said. "I don't know how to get out of it without trying hard. But I guess there's a fine line between pressing and relaxing. It's been a very difficult and weird start for us."

Braves 14, Reds 7

Didn't see that coming.

Given a 7-0 lead, Tom Glavine could not get out of the fifth for the Braves.

Bronson Arroyo had te shortest outing of his career: 1 1/3 innings, seven runs on seven hits. The last batter he faced, Chipper Jones, hit a three-run homer.

Paul Bako homered in the third. In the fourth, Joey Votto singled home a run, Adam Dunn doubled home two more and Jeff Keppinger singled in another. It's an 8-5 game.

The Reds added a run in fifth.

But Josh Fogg and Bill Bray combined to gave up four in the fifth.

Minor matters

I'm on my own today. My man, Jamie Ramsey, was busy running the Flying Pig Half Marathon. Word is he finished in 1:55. Nice effort.

Louisville lost 4-3 to Richmond. Jay Bruce went 0-for-4. He's down to .284. . . Chattanooga falls to Mississippi 2-1. Sean Henry, the outfielder obtained in the Jeff Conine trade, hit his third homer. He's hitting .333 and he's only 22. . . Sarasota lost to Palm Beach, but shortstop Chris Valaika hit his seventh home run. The two-run shot gave him 31 RBI. He's hitting .387. I'd move him to Chattanooga. . . Todd Frazier went 3-for-5 in Dayton's 10-1 loss to Burlington. Luis Montano, 23-year-old right-hander, suffered his first loss. He's 4-1 with a 1.69 ERA and Mario Soto speaks highly of him.

Lineup v. Braves, RISP with 2 outs

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

v. LH Tom Glavine

The Reds' problem -- well, one of their problems -- has been getting that big two-out hit. They are hitting .125 with runners in scoring position and two outs. That is the worst in the baseball. The New York Mets, at .171, are the second worst.

The guys who have been No. 3, 4 and 5 in the order most of the year are 1-for-22. Griffey is 0-for-4, Phillips is 1-for-12, Dunn is 0-for-6. I don't have the breakdown on everyone in baseball. But look at the Braves: Chipper Jones is 1-for-9, Mark Teixeira is 3-for-16 and Brian McCann is 2-for-18.

With runners in scoring position overall, the Reds are hitting .260. That's 17th in baseball.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Braves 9, Reds 1

Dusty Baker shook it up:

Tonight’s lineup includes Ken Griffey Jr.'s first start batting second in the order since 5/3/05, Joey Votto's first career start batting cleanup, Adam Dunn's first start of the season batting sixth and Jeff Keppinger's first start of the season batting seventh.

The new lineup finally produced a run in the sixth. Brandon Phillips drove in Ryan Freel with a single. But the inning ended with Adam Dunn striking out with runners at second and third.

The run ended a 21-inning scoreless streak for the Redlegs and made it 2-1.

The bullpen, specifically Mike Lincoln, Jeremy Affeldt and Jared Burton, got lit up for six runs in the seventh. And that, as they say, was that.

Matt Belisle had his best start since coming off the disabled list. He went 5 1/3 innings, allowing tweo runs on seven hits. He walked none and struck out two.

The Reds could little against the incomparable Jo-Jo Reyes. He also went 5 1/3, allowing one run on four hits. He walked three and struck out five.

Lineup v. Braves

Ryan Freel cf
Ken Griffey rf
Brandon Phillips 2b
Joey Votto 1b
Edwin Encarnacion 3b
Adam Dunn lf
Jeff Keppinger ss
David Ross c
Matt Belisle p

V. LH Jo-Jo Reyes

Jeff Keppinger was standing behind me as I was copying it down. "I like it," he said. "I like it."

Griffey volunteered to hit second coming out spring training.

"I don't know if he was serious or not," Dusty Baker said.

Said Griffey: "I'm just trying to move up to the leadoff spot."

The Reds face another left-hander tomorrow -- Tom Glavine -- so you could see the same lineup, although left-handers are hitting .500 over Glavine this year and right-handers are hitting .241.

Long-term look

I just got finished writing my Sunday Insider for the paper. I know a lot of you want Walt Jocketty to turn the roster over. You want people released. You want trades.

But making moves right now is the baseball equivalent of re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic. If Junior Griffey, Adam Dunn and Brandon Phillips don't hit, this season is lost. Period. They will hit. It has to be soon to save this season.

However, that's not what I see as the fundamental problem with this team. Friday night, the Braves ran out a lineup with six home-grown players. The Reds had two -- Dunn and Joey Votto.

For the Reds to compete long term, they're going to have to be a lot more like the Braves as far as drafting and development. In the 2002, the Braves picked Jeff Francoeur and Brian McCann in the Rounds 1 and 2. The Reds, picking 20 picks, earlier picked Chris Gruler and Votto. Votto was a nice pick but I'd take Francoeur McCann over him. And Gruler? Well, you get the picture.

The Braves players come to the big leagues playing the Atlanta way. The Reds current starting eight came up in six different organizations. No telling what way they might play.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Braves 2, Reds 0

When we got in the clubhouse tonight, Edinson Volquez was studying video of the home he gave up to Brian McCann.

“I wanted to see where it was,” he said. “It was in middle of the plate. That’s what happens when you throw it there in the big leagues.”

It was the first home run Volquez allowed after 32 2/3 innings work. It followed Corey Patterson's drop of flyball from Chipper Jones earlier in the inning.

That was the ballgame.

Volquez looked good -- consistently 94, some 95s, at least one 96. He went six innings, allowing the two runs on four hits. He walked two and struck out nine.

Unfortunately for the Reds, Tim Hudson has looked better. The Reds had three singles and Hudson struck out a season-high 10.

Reds v. Braves lineup, notes

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
Edinson Volquez p

v. RH Tim Hudson

--Dusty Baker said Ryan Freel will start the next two days.

"It boils down to the big boys in the middle of the lineup," Baker said. "We've got to get one of them hot. Give me an MVP for a week."

--Baker said he's conisdered moving Edwin Encarnacion and Joey Votto up because of the struggles of Giffey and Dunn.

"Don't think there's a combination I haven't thought about," he said.

--Mario Soto had his first session with Johnny Cueto. "We want to get him back to the way he was throwing," Soto said. "I saw him on TV he's throwing completely differently than he did in the minors and his first couple of outings." Soto said he tweaked the grip on the Soto's change-up.

Minor matters; Castro released

The Reds released Juan Castro. He had been designated for assignment 10 days ago.

From Jamie Ramsey:

Louisville wins at Richmond thanks to insurance runs in the 9th…Kevin Barker homers…Chattanooga gives up 5 runs over the final 2 innings to lose at Mississippi…Robert Manuel continues to put up zeroes out of the Lookouts’ bullpen…Shaun Cumberland among Southern League’s offensive leaders…Daryl Thompson set to start tonight…Sarasota falls to Tampa…Chris Valaika extends his hitting streak to 10 games…he’s hit safely in 24 of 27 games and leads the Florida State League in several offensive categories…pre-game concert tonight at the Ed…Dayton was off (Mother Goose Day)…Yesterday marked the 23rd anniversary of Donnie Scott’s first and only big league stolen base.

4/3 at Montgomery: W, 6ip, 3h, 1r/0er, 0bb, 5k
4/8 vs. Birmingham: 6ip, 2h, 0r, 1bb, 8k
4/15 at Huntsville: W, 5.2ip, 5h, 1r/1er, 0bb, 7k, 1hr
4/20 vs. Mobile: 6ip, 6h, 1r/1er, 0bb, 5k
4/25 vs. Carolina: L, 7.2ip, 4h, 3r/0er, 3bb, 11k


1. Texas 70-35 .667
2. Oakland 68-41 .624
3. NY Yankees 68-39 .636
4. Cincinnati 62-45 .579
5. Washington 60-45 .571

Dr. Soto in the house

Mario Soto is here in Atlanta to work with Johnny Cueto. At least, I saw him in the hotel lobby. If he's not here to work with Cueto, that would be a bizarre coincidence, eh? Good move by the Reds.

I hear a lot of talk that the Reds need to youth movement.

Other than inserting Jay Bruce in center field, there's not a lot they can do. Is Bruce ready? Maybe. But 25 strikeouts in 101 at-bats and .324 on-base percentage tell me another month in Triple-A won't hurt.

I'd have Homer Bailey up here -- maybe in relief -- some time soon. But other than those two I don't see anyone who can make any kind of impact.

Other than Junior Griffey the Reds don't play anyone very old. Average age of the infield is 26.


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