Mistake pitch to Molina costs Reds series
Even though the Reds dropped two of three to their top rival, yesterday's game had its positives. Edinson Volquez cruised for nearly six innings and avoided his first inning hiccups altogether. A Yadier Molina 3R HR with two outs in the sixth accounted for all the game's scoring. According to Sheldon, it came on a pitch that wasn't supposed to be: Ryan Hanigan called for a changeup to start the at-bat. Volquez shook him off and wanted the fastball. A little miss with the location became a very big mistake.... "He wanted a changeup because we got him out the AB before with a breaking ball, changeup and a fastball two-seamer to strike out in his last at-bat," Volquez said. "He was looking straight fastball." Trust your catchers, guys.
Perhaps in retaliation for Molina's exagerated HR celebration, Aroldis Chapman threw some inside heat when Molina came up in the 8th with two runners on. There was some staring, and both benches were warned. Dusty Baker told Sheldon that there were no hard feelings about Molina's celebration, but what exactly is he going to say there?
Back to the drawing board?
The mistake pitch was certainly damaging, but those aren't going to matter if the team fails to score any runs. Fay reports that Baker's frustrated by the lineup and will "go back to the drawing board." A lineup shuffle could be in store. Fay advocates for BP moving to the cleanup spot, but I think he's better suited at the second (or sixth) slot given his declining power. I'd love to see Bruce hit in front of Votto to get him some more fastballs, but since that's not going to happen I wouldn't mind seeing Bruce bumped up to cleanup. Kid's gonna get hot, it's just a matter of time.
Fay - Reds DL Rolen, call up Valaika
Things weren't getting better for Scott Rolen's shoulder, so the team elected to place him on the DL. He'll be eligible to return on May 6. The Reds called up Chris Valaika to fill the spot. I think Valaika is a useful player to have on a roster, but not this one at this time. Miguel Cairo is now the primary thirdbaseman on the roster, which is a little scary. Valaika has played almost exclusively at short and second in his career, though he's recently played a few games at the hot corner. Paul Janish may see some time at third on days Edgar Renteria starts. Even Chris Heisey could get involved in the 3B mis. He told Fay: "I took balls there the other day. As confident as I am in myself . . . just in batting practice, it was amazing how hard guys were hitting balls down there. That ball I hit at home to (Ryan) Roberts, how did he even catch it? I’d be pretty nervous." Yeah, maybe the Reds should stick with actual infielders here.
- Homer Bailey threw 72 pitches yesterday in his second start for Louisville. In 5 1/3 innings, he allowed three hits, one walk, no runs, and struck out six. Depending on how he feels today, his next start could be with Cincinnati.
- Johnny Cueto had a rough rehab start on Thursday for Louisville. He'll pitch again on Tuesday against Durham.
- Joining Cueto in Louisville will be Fred Lewis. He's been rehabbing his strained right oblique with Carolina, hitting .261/.370/.391 in seven games for the Mudcats.
Red Hot Mama - Hi, Hello, and Welcome Back: George Grande returns
Reds fans might need some good news, or at least a more positive message, given the team's recent play and rash of injuries. Thankfully, heaping doses of unbridled optimism are on the way in the form of George Grande. He'll return tonight on FSO's broadcast of the Reds-Brewers tilt. You sure won't catch the Grande Man making double entendres like those we heard from Bobby Valentine last night: "[Eduardo Sanchez] has balls that move all over the place, Orel. Real confident, cocky pitcher."
Happy 47th, Barry!
Barry Larkin is enjoying his new gig with ESPN, as expected. Apparently the Reds Larkin offered Larkin a chance to do some TV games for this season, a la Sean Casey, but he declined due to the complicated travel logistics the job would require. Karen Forgus, senior vice president of business operations, stressed that the team wants to be able to work with Larkin and other former players in the future. "It is important to us culturally we stay connected to as many former Reds as possible," she said. "We are ... interested in former Reds who are involved in broadcasting who could add to the quality of our coverage. Fan feedback on this is fantastic."
C-ing Red - Your 2011 Reds: Extremely Silly Shakespeare Edition
And speaking of birthdays, William Shakespeare's was this past Saturday. At least, that's when it's celebrated. Shakespeare may not have much of a baseball connection - with the exception of Pete Rose screaming at Jim Bouton "Fuck you, Shakespeare" after Ball Four was published - but our own andromache has paid a loving tribute to The Bard with quotes matching her favorite Reds. On Jay: "The course of true love never did run smooth" A Midsummer’s Night Dream – Jay Bruce has a lot of potential, and I do trust that he will be a very good ball player – but he’s still young, and still developing. He hasn’t just come out of the gate slugging like Mantle, and although he had a great last part of the season last year, it’s likely that we’ll see more ups and downs before we see Bruce’s true potential.
Burton undergoes shoulder surgery
Things keep getting better for Jared Burton. He went underwent arthroscopic shoulder surgery in Cincinnati on Friday and will be sidelined "indefinitely." I doubt we see him again this year - or ever again in a Reds uniform. Which is a shame. According to Baseball Prospectus: Mariano Rivera and Burton threw over half of the 500 pitches thrown by right-handed pitchers (from 2008-2010) that traveled at least 90 miles per hour with as much cutting action as Mo’s Sunday nighter.
Brewers eye revenge in upcoming series
Milwaukee has played much better after their season-opening sweep in Cincinnati. And apparently, they also have a secondbaseman that's not exactly shy when it comes to declaring his team's capabilities. Rickie Weeks: "That's a good team, but I think we're a better team. That's just the way it is. [Series like this] are part of the game, and it's a wakeup call. But we're going to play better." Hopefully Goodroyo takes the winds out of Milwaukee's sails, and the Reds offense decides to show up.
Blonde moment? Ryan Braun fan brings proposal sign to Brewers game, gets more attention than she bargained for
Stopping Ryan Braun will be critical to the Reds' fortunes over the next few days. Braun has enjoyed success on and off the field this year, OPSing 1.167 and signing a contract extension last week that could keep him in Milwaukee through 2020. Now with long-term stabililty to accompany his hitting prowess, Milwaukee has not seen a bachelor this eligible since Arthur Fonzarelli fixed jukeboxes at Arnold's with a well-placed punch. Last week, Braun received an ill-advised marriage proposal from a woman attending the Brewers game holding a sign. The ballpark proposal itself is not so unusual, but what was strange was the woman's decision to list her phone number on the sign. Braun actually called the proposer but she did not answer after receiving a slew of calls from disingenuous suitors. Braun couldn't even leave a voice mail because her box was full. Braun: "I guess it wasn't meant to be."
CBS Sports - Overshadowed Janish quietly seizing shot with Reds
This is a couple of weeks old, but I hadn't heard about Dusty's reintroduction of The Bad Man (Rich Aurilia) to the Reds organization as senpai to Paul Janish's cohai. Less specifically, Aurilia was retained last summer to act as a "psychological tutor" for young Janish. "Richie had to do it three times," Baker says of his former shortstop having the rug pulled out from under him as a young player. "Paulie had to do it once. "At least this time I had a little more input than last time with Rich."
There's also this choice Janish quote: "I do more listening to music than playing. I'm more of a hanger-outer than anything else."
BLS - RIP, Stanley: To save their bullpen, Mets sacrifice a toolbox
This is exactly what it sounds like. Last week the Mets destroyed a team toolbox, Office Space-style, in order to battle the team's bad ju-ju. The Mets have won six games in a row, and four since the beat-down.
Tater Trot Tracker - Trot Times for April 22
If you saw Brandon Phillips' HR on Friday night, you probably noticed how quick his HR "trot" was. Turns out it wasn't even the fastest that night. BP cleared the bases in 18.18 seconds, and the Tracker notes it would have been quicker if the visitors' dugout wasn't on the third base side. Carlos Gomez of the Brewers did not have the dugouts aligned that way and cleared the bases for his HR in 16.93 seconds.
BtB - Expanding to a 10-team Playoff is a Bad Idea
Last Thursday, Bud Selig stated for the record that he believes the playoffs will expand from eight teams to 10 beginning next season. I'm not a fan of further playoff dilution, and neither is Bill Petti at BtB: Extrapolating further, the shorter the series, the greater the likelihood that the inferior team could win simply based on chance. Now imagine if MLB decides to go to a 3-game play-in series, or a single game. Sure, it will add some excitement but it will increase the likelihood that an unworthy team will advance in the playoffs. Not everyone agrees. BPro asks if adding more teams makes the pennant races and postseason more enjoyable, then why not do it? Given some of the WS champions of the past ten years, it's a fair point.
The New Pornographers and The Walkmen are coming to Cincinnati
Call the sitter. Tomorrow The New Pornographers, the Joey Votto of indie rock due to their Canadianness, and The Walkmen, who lend themselves to no easy Reds analogy, will play at Bogart's. Yes, please.