Is it time to worry about Nick Masset?
The Reds have lost only four games so far in this young season, but three of those Ls are tallied in Masset's ledger. He's thrown only 6.3 innings, but his last four times out have been unqualified disasters. He's given up seven earned runs and five walks to only five strikeouts so far. With the obvious caveat that the season is still very young, and it's especially difficult to divine anything from six innings from a reliever, what are the Reds going to do about Nick Masset?
The rest of the bullpen, including Francisco Cordero, Aroldis Chapman, Bill Bray, Logan Ondrusek, and Jordan Smith (but excluding Matt Maloney) has only given up two earned runs in the 27 and 1/3 innings they have thrown collectively. So part of our frustration with Masset is that by comparison to the way everyone else has pitched, he's looking even worse than he really is. He's not been good, that's for sure, but it can't help his case to be standing alongside these guys who are pitching so well.
So what to do? I'm of the opinion that it is way too early to do anything drastic, but a few days off can't hurt him. Hopefully Bronson Arroyo and the rest of the 'pen can give Masset the day off on Friday, but Chapman will most likely be inactive as well (more on that later). But even if they have to call on him, it should be in a low-leverage situation. Let him and Ondrusek flip roles for a few games and get Masset's confidence back up.
In the long run, this is probably just a small hiccup. I'm pretty confident that by the end of the season we will all have mostly forgotten about when Masset blew three saves in the 8th on the West Coast trip, but that doesn't change the fact that right now, he's not a good a pitcher. He will be again, and most likely pretty soon, but right now he needs to take a break and hit the reset button. And we should all remember that we are 8-4 and still in 1st place in the NL Central.
This is probably nothing (right?)
but that sudden drop in atmospheric pressure in the greater Cincinnati area yesterday evening was the collective gasping of Reds fans when the trainer was called out to check on Aroldis Chapman. Chapman, who has pitched four of the last five days, was struggling with his fastball. He regularly hits 100 on the radar gun, but yesterday the fastest pitch he threw registered only at 94. Ramon Hernandez was concerned and called the trainer out to check on his young pitcher. "Yesterday, he threw what 93, 94″, Hernandez said. "Then today, he’s throwing 91. He’s throws almost 100 over every pitch. Now, he can’t get up to 93. There’s got to be something. You can’t lose it in one day."
Chapman said he was okay and was irked to have everyone fussing over him, but the Reds are right to be cautious with him. Four games in five days is probably pushing the upper limits of his stamina. Hopefully the alarming drop in velocity is just from over-tiredness, but I probably won't feel okay about it until he goes out there again and hits 100+ again.
Josh Hamilton broke his arm the other day sliding head-first into homeplate
Dusty recalls his rookie season with the Braves (did you know he played with Hank Aaron?) when he slid head-first into home. "I did that as a rookie with the Braves," Baker recalled. "I had Donn Clendenon with the Mets, he called me over immediately. He said, 'Hey, kid, don't you ever slide headfirst into home.' This was a guy from another team that told me this. He told me, 'Jerry Grote, Randy Hundley and Johnny Bench would break your neck.'" The Reds thusly discourage their players from doing so.
Both Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey did some work earlier this week
and are now ready to begin rehab assignments in Louisville. Cueto will start for the Bats on Saturday, and Homer will start on Sunday.
Brandon Phillips tweaked his groin yesterday retrieving Aroldis Chapman's errant throw in the 8th inning
"I went after the ball and I tried to plant and throw," Phillips said. "When I planted, my back leg slipped underneath me. I think I strained it. It's nothing big." It was bad enough that Miguel Cairo was called upon to replace him in the 9th. BeeP will take the off-day to recoup and will hopefully be in the lineup tomorrow night against the Pirates.
Jay Bruce is also nursing a sore groin
He sat yesterday in favor of Chris Heisey. Much like BeeP, it's nothing major and he's confident that the two days off will be enough for him to recover.
Red Reporter's own andromache has ventured out from the cozy shelter of RR to start her own Reds-centric blog
So firstly, add C-ing Red to your RSS. Secondly, follow the link and read a really interesting study on the cenergy of speed and discipline. Basically, she put together a formula not unlike Bill James' power-speed number to represent the players who most exemplify the qualities of Rickey Henderson (the patron saint of speed-discipline). The career list is of course topped by Henderson, and it isn't even close. Coming in second is our very own Joe Morgan, and one of my personal faves, Kenny Lofton, clocks in at #19.
Eddie Joost, the last surviving member of the 1940 World Champion Reds
has passed away at the age of 94. Joost was just a utility infielder for those Reds, but later had great success for the Philadelphia A's as their starting shortstop. Here's what John Erardi had to say in remembrance of Joost: "I always enjoyed his observations and reminiscences, whether it was about playing for the 1940 World Champions or living in Cincinnati before the war or playing at Crosley Field," Erardi said. "I always felt Eddie had a lot of insight, a lot of soul, and that he was one of those players who knew more than anybody except the manager when it came to what made a particular ballclub tick."
John Sickels takes a look back at Scott Rolen the prospect
He drew serious comparisons to Mike Schmidt as a youngster, but didn't quite live up to that nearly-impossible expectation. Still, the dude has put together a legitimate Hall of Fame resume over his career, comparing favorably to other 3Bs of note Graig Nettles and Ron Santo. Unfortunately, neither of them are in the HoF.