Reds roll into break with wins in San Diego and a 6-5 Left Coast trip
Somehow, the Reds won yesterday afternoon despite going 1-15 with runners in scoring position. Johnny Cueto was able to notch his 10th win, a nice round number to reach before the ASB and one more than his 2011 total. Even with the win, the Reds snapped their 2012 West Coast Quality Start Streak. The 10 consecutive Quality Starts was the team's longest since 1994.
- Unfortunately, the Pirates and Cards also won. The Reds go into the break a game behind Pittsburgh and 1.5 games up on St. Louis. I still don't believe in Pittsburgh, though this tidbit from Joel gave me pause (and concerns about the Reds' offense): Non-pitcher, Non-Votto #Reds are hitting: .241/.301/.404 Non-pitcher, Non-McCutchen #Pirates are hitting: .237/.293/.391. The Pirates have a soft second-half schedule, but according to this guy the Reds have the easiest: The Reds have 42 of their final 77 games at home, and only 24 games remaining against teams that are over .500.
- The Reds will host the Redbirds for the first series of the second half, with Mat Latos going against Adam Wainwright. Following Latos will be Leake, Cueto, Arroyo, and Bailey. There's been no talk of limiting Cueto's innings, but he's on pace to pitch well beyond his prior workloads. He's at 120 innings already, and with another 15 second-half starts his season total could surpass 210 innings. He threw 156 last year and 190 in 2010 (including the postseason). I'm not terribly concerned, but it's something to keep on eye on going forward.
Risking the ire of Bearcat fans, the Reds have signed Xavier Paul
He'll report to Louisville, which sorely needs OF depth. The Nationals released him earlier this week. Paul last played in the bigs for Pittsburgh last season, where he slashed .254/.293/.349 in 251 PAs.
Baker can and will refuse questions about the Toddfather
Scott Rolen returned to the starting lineup yesterday after sitting out a week with back spasms. Rolen's health, and perceived matchup advantage with San Diego starter Jason Marquis, figured into Baker's decision. But frankly, Dusty's getting tired of the second-guessing: "I don’t want to be answering this every day about Scottie and Frazier.... You get tired of talking about it. It’s going to be talked about over and over for the rest of the year. Let them talk and let me work."
Problem is, the Reds' offense of late has been less than advertised and Frazier has been the team's second-best hitter. Another consideration is that Rolen might not have it in him anymore to be an everyday player. He started in the team's first five games after returning from the DL on June 18, and hit .389 with power. Since then? 0 for 19. Two starts a week, plus a couple of PHs, might be the best way to use him. Even Dusty concedes that time is short for Scotty Ballgame: "Eventually, the job’s going to be Frazier’s. Not to say when, but Scottie’s not a spring chicken. Frazier has a good attitude about things."
The Future was yesterday
Billy Hamilton and the 'mericans dominated the International squad, 17-5. Billy Quix tripled in two runs to get the scoring going. Interview of him at the game is here (h/t to Pack Fan), and the triple is at the 1:40 mark. Kyle Lotzkar also looked good. According to Jim Callis, Lotzkar threw 93-94-94-93. Arm strength has never been the issue.
The Present is tomorrow
The starting pitchers for tomorrow's exhibition will be announced at a press conference later today, but the unsurprising word is that Justin Verlander will start for the AL. The Dinger Derby is tonight at 8:00.
Reds pitchers are starting what the finish
At least, compared to other NL staffs. Fay notes that with Bronson Arroyo’s complete-game shutout on Friday, all five Reds starting pitchers have completed a game. That may not sound so remarkable, but it hasn't happened since the year 2000 (can you name 'em?). It also underscores the durability and effectiveness of the rotation, which has yet to miss a start, leads the majors in complete games (7), and is third in innings/game (6.3). Each member sports an adjusted ERA above average, and the staff overall paces the NL in adjusted ERA (124). Dusty: "It’s a good sign that they’re ready to go deep into game and make the quality pitches to go deep and have complete games. During their complete games — something that’s we’re very conscious of — is their pitch counts have been relatively low and their walks have been relatively low." Said Strawman Dusty: "It's my contract year, so you can bet that I'm gonna ride these turkeys hard every night."
- Buster the Lonley tweets that Juan Pierre is "drawing interest" from the Reds
It's not a popular idea in the Reds' blogosphere, and for good reason. Pierre's currently hitting .312, but with little walks and no power. And it's likely to get worse since he's hit in the .270s in the last two seasons (in each of which he's led the league in caught stealings - how 'bout that!). So yeah, pass.
- Dmitri Young and the desert island question
Reds Weekly sat down with Da Meat Hook, who seems like a pleasant interview. So what would Dmitri take with him if he was cast away? Wow, wow that’s a good one. I wouldn’t need to have sushi, I could fish for that. I guess HD TV with DirecTV. Item number two would be a computer with internet. Item number 3 would be, oh man, I guess my wheatgrass. I’m a big wheatgrass lover. As funny as it sounds, wheatgrass has helped me get healthy. I’m at 220. I haven’t been that low since high school.
- Pwnings returns, with no pretext of pitching
Micah Owings wowed fans in Arizona, Cincinnati, and now San Diego with his prodigious power and not-terrible-if-you-squint pitching, but a strained forearm has convinced him to focus on hitting (and fielding) full-time. For his career, Owings' ERA+ is 91 and OPS+ is 106.
- C-ing Red likely needs a new stopwatch after clocking Billy Hamilton 100 times
Among those dusted by Billy was Tetris, level 19. This dude's flyin'. Perhaps to Pensacola, if Twitter is to be believed.