Dusty was asked about the outfield situation
and particularly, about the lack of playing time for Chris Heisey. "I’ve tried to protect Heisey, like I did last year with Gomes to match ‘em up against certain guys they have a better chance to hit," Baker said. "I really like Heisey. I know a lot of people are screaming, ‘Heisey, Heisey, Heisey,’ but I’m trying to put him in certain positions to succeed, against pitchers I think he can hit. Right now. He can hit, but he’s still learning, too, and he listens."
The interesting thing to me is that this whole conversation is framed as "Heisey should play over Stubbs or Bruce, who are slumping so bad." My question is, why is Jonny Gomes immune to these criticisms? Since June 1st (selective endpoint!), the entire outfield has been absolutely brutal. Gomes has been the "best" of the bunch, slashing .239/.293/.388. Bruce has been slightly less jaundiced, slashing .251/.290/.372. Stubbs comes in at .222/.271/.364. Now, these are just the past two months, which obviously ignores Stubbs' and Gomes' hot May's and Bruce's steady first 3 months. But Hal framed the question in terms of "what have you done for me lately?" so I decided to look at just these past 2 months. Thing is, Gomes is hitting the ball only slightly better than the other two, but he's the one who doesn't play Gold-Glove defense. I agree that Heisey should be playing more (a good bit more), but it should be the expense of Gomes as much as anyone else. And Nix can sit on it for all I care.
Carlos Fisher was sent out to Louisville in exchange for Russ Springer
Springer was not on the 40-man, but as far as I can tell the Reds had an open spot anyway so no move had to be made to accommodate him. "He adds experience," said Reds manager Dusty Baker. "He's been in pennant races, World Series. We're young [in the bullpen]. We need a stabilizer to go along with Arthur [Rhodes] and [Francisco] Cordero." Springer is pretty much strictly a ROOGy at this stage in his career, so hopefully Dusty doesn't let him face too many lefties. The bullpen has been so solid lately I kinda fear upsetting that chi. Hopefully he pitches well.
Homer Bailey pitched very well Saturday night in his second rehab start
He threw 6.2 scoreless while walking 2 and striking out 3. He should be ready to return to the Reds later this week. The big question is not when, but rather where? If he were to return to the rotation, who would he bump? Travis Wood has been great and Volquez deserves a longer leash than 3-4 starts. Mike Leake probably has around 50 innings left in the tank for the season, and I wouldn't want to pull him out of the rotation until then. Homer has said he is amenable to a stint in the bullpen, but who would he bump there? Carlos Fisher was just sent on his way to make room for Russ Springer, and Jordan Smith is pitching like a madman. Consarn it, we just have too many good pitchers!
This is what makes Dusty Baker a not-horrible manager
When asked about the lack of activity at the deadline, Brandon Phillips had this to say: "I love this team and I feel comfortable with this team," he said. "But whatever Walt Jocketty and Dusty Baker come up with - I believe in them more than anything. They're doing the right thing. If they feel like we can win, I believe in this team." Baker has the full confidence of his players, and though he may hit bad hitters at the top of the lineup and leave bench players to rot, I think the trust thing is pretty important. I still don't know what to think about a contract extension for him. Some days I'm ok with it, others I'm not. We should find out about that soon, as the word is they are going to have discussions this month.
I have to admit
when the Reds brought Jordan Smith to the big club straight from AA I had no idea what they were thinking. He was pretty hittable in Carolina earlier this season, and his minor league career thus far (he was drafted in '06) had been fairly unremarkable. He had a decent ground ball rate and he didn't walk many hitters, but he was mostly a raw and unproven pitcher. But damn, he was ready. He's pitched 21.1 innings so far and only given up 6 runs.
"I got myself mentally prepared that ‘If I get up there, I’m going to give it all I got,’ " (Smith) said. "I’ve been ready to pitch in the big leagues for awhile now...I get locked in. My attitude is, ‘I hate losing, but I’m not afraid to lose. Here’s the ball, hit it.’ The rest of the bullpen is doing the same." The Reds All-Star infield has done a fantastic job of gobbling up all those grounders Smith serves up, which is really a testament to Walt and the front office. Few beyond them believed Smith was the right guy for this job, but damned if he ain't.
Q: Why all the concern about Mike Leake’s innings in 2010? How many innings did he pitch last year at Arizona State and since colleges play only 60 or 70 innings I can’t believe he was overworked? — Larry, Piqua.
A: It isn’t a case of him being overworked at Arizona State. He wasn’t. He pitched 142 innings. The concern is that he has never pitched MORE than that in one year and he is approaching that number of innings with the Reds. They are worrying about him running out of arm strength. And who knows how overworked he might have been in his ecology, medieval history and advanced statistics class at ASU – or was it phys ed?
Q: How many more starts do you give Edinson Volquez before you send him back to Louisville to work on post-operation control issues? — Pat, Troy.
A: I can’t even make my wife go to the bank, so I certainly can’t make Volquez go back to Louisville. Remember, he already had four minor-league rehab starts. He was unhittable in his first start with the Reds, then was plug-ugly in his next two. You could almost see the rust falling off his arm. Maybe he should rub some 3-in-One oil or Rustoleum on his arm until the rust is gone.
azruavatar at Viva el Birdos has a detailed and level-headed analysis of the Cardinals big deadline deal
that sent Ryan Ludwick to the Padres and brought Jake Westbrook to St. Louie. Basically, what he says is that the Cardinals traded future value for present value in attempt to win the division (not likely). Ludwick is a quality outfielder with one year of arbitration eligibility left, but their rotation was hurting so much that they needed help there more than they needed Ludwick. Personally, I think it's a lateral move at best for them, but Dave Duncan is probably going to turn Westbrook into vintage Brandon Webb. Jerk.