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Red Reposter - It's getting late early for Edinson

Pirates nip Reds after scoring four in the first
The Reds dropped another close one yesterday, but the focus was on Edinson Volquez's continued struggles in the first inning. He recovered nicely, retiring 10 of 11 at one point. Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle was impressed with Volquez's stamina: "His 95th pitch of the game was 98 mph. It was the best fastball he threw all day. It's nothing I haven't seen before. What I hadn't seen much of was the first inning. It was good for us to get what we got then."

Erardi - Will Reds' success translate to gate?
If Cincinnati is anything like Milwaukee, it should.  John Erardi does a nice job explaining the slingshot attendance boost Milwaukee has seen since assembling a winning team a few years ago.  The Brew Crew seized the moment when opportunity arose in 2008 – "We're going for it," said GM Doug Melvin at the trade deadline -- sending four players to the Indians, and made the playoffs for the first time since 1982. Fans had a good time going to the ballpark and have kept coming back, even though the Brewers haven't made it back to the postseason .... And, yes, the roof has helped.

Infirmiry update
Brandon Phillips wasn't happy with Dusty Baker's decision to sit him yesterday, but he should return soon. Same for Aroldis Chapman, who was held out again on Sunday as a precaution. Also, Homer Bailey was "sharp" in his rehab outing yesterday and that Cueto reported no pain from his.

Juan Francisco's injury, however, appears to be "more than a cramp" and it sounds like he's out again today. The Reds playing short-handed because of a minor injury to BP or Scott Rolen is one thing.  But I don't see the point in doing so when it's a bench player at issue.  END needs to be DL'd, pronto. No word of that by either Sheldon or Fay, however.

Will Carroll - Mauer, A-Rod mysteries, Reds on the rebound
Will Carroll has much more to report about the rehab outings of Cueto and Bailey, and it is positive.  Scott McCauley, announcer for the Indianapolis Indians, told Carroll: 

Both guys competed and took the rehab seriously. A couple of years ago that may not have been the case. Cueto's fastball was at 93 and he threw his slider with confidence, including some on 2-1 counts. He kept the ball down and is change had good drop to lefties. I don't know his timetable, but both managers thought he looked good and he went beyond his 45 pitch limit by 10. Best guess, one more like Saturday and he's back in Cincy. The next game the Indians got Bailey. In the first inning Bailey threw 9 fastballs -- all for strikes -- at 93-94 mph. At one point, he threw 28 pitches and 24 for strikes. His delivery was slow, free, and easy and the velocity was there. He threw the fastball by both right and left handed batters. He went five innings and at the end of the 5th he looked like he had plenty left in the tank. I've seen Bailey before and he has always looked bored in Triple-A. Today I thought he was locked in and pitched with a purpose.

Carroll also reports that BP's groin strain "is a bit more serious than they're letting on."  So that's not good.

Baker - "Jonny’s evolving. He’s turning more into a hitter instead of a slugger."
The April transformation of Jonny Gomes into a Kal Daniels-type has been well-documented around these parts. It's convenient, and probably correct, to attribute it to the vagaries of a small sample size. But hopefully it's more than that. Jonny thinks so: [Gomes] says it’s because he’s not afraid of being platooned again. When you spend six years in the majors battling for a job and a place on the lineup card every day, you’re a little insecure and very much into instant gratification. That translates into going to the plate and hacking. "When you’re a platoon player, you live for today," he explained. "If you work the count to 3-2 and he throws a ball three inches outside, you’re swinging, because a walk isn’t going to get you in the lineup the following day. A homer? Good chance." 

I'm not quite ready to say "In Dusty, I trusty" when it comes to Gomes.  His career splits are still fairly jarring.  But it's certainly possible that Dusty coaxes out another productive year out of Gomes (like his 2009 season, when he hit 267/338/541 - and slugged 539 against righties).  Baker's trust in Gomes represents his managing style very well, for better or worse.   

Paging Jeff Brantley
If you've ever been dismayed by those diminutive ballpark sundae-helmets, you may want to head up to Akron.  The Akron Aeros have introduced "The Screamer" - a five pound ice cream sundae served in a full-size souvenir Aeros replica batting helmet. Starting with a one-pound chocolate brownie foundation, the superlative sundae also features 21 scoops of ice cream, four bananas, hot fudge sauce, whipped cream, and sprinkles.

BB-Ref blog - Lance Berkman’s hot streak
If you haven't noticed, Lance Berkman has been on a bit of a tear lately, with 6 HRs in his last five games. Hopefully he cools off by the time the Reds arrive in St. Louis later this week.

Gas House Graphs - Albert and the inside pitch
Meanwhile, Albert Pujols has yet to get his season in gear. Again with the SSS caveats, it looks like Albert's struggling to come around on the inside heat. Let's hope Aroldis is feeling better by this weekend.

That's racist?  Past comments by Astros' suitor Jim Crane may prevent sale of club
BizofBaseball's Maury Brown follows up on rumors earlier this year on the potential sale of the Astros with some juicy tidbits. Crane appears to have the money but not the support of the other owners, possibly because of a prior government investigation of his company regarding their hiring practices.  Crane is alleged to have told his subordinates not to hire blacks because "once you hire blacks, you can never fire them." ... Crane also warned managers not to hire women of child-bearing age because their productivity would be low. And top company officers told employees that women aren't suitable for management positions because male managers won't work with a woman.

Last week Brent Lillibridge hit the 10,000th homer in White Sox history
The Reds reached that mark in 2001. Any guesses on who hit it?

Ramon Hernandez lives up to his clutch-man moniker
Ramon hit his 6th career Grand Slam on Saturday to break the game open. That's a decent career total and ties Monie with sluggers like Tony Perez and Pat Burrell. Can you believe it?