March 22, 2013

In brief: Cueto, Prior, Leake, and Chapman

Last Game
It appears that the Reds’ offense has woken up for the season. I say that just because the Reds have scored 46 runs in their last six games. The 9 they added to that total last night against the A’s, though, still weren’t enough due to the giving up of 10 runs. The pitchers may still be a little groggy yet.

Johnny Cueto had a rough time of it. He gave up 5 runs (earned) on 5 hits and 2 walks in just 1.2 innings of work. Nick Christiani gave up the next 2 runs in the following 1.1 innings. By this point, Logan Ondrusek’s 1 run allowed in 1.0 innings must have looked pretty good. Wilkin De La Rosa was the unlucky one to get credit for the final 2 runs, including the game winner in the bottom of the ninth.

Despite all the runs, no one really stands out offensively, thanks to the fact that 25 different guys took the field for the Reds in yesterday’s game. Zack Cozart did go 3-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI. Joey Votto went 1-for-2 with a walk and a run scored. His .394 spring training batting average is gaudy.

Aroldis Chapman about to throw. Fast

Aroldis Chapman about to throw. Fast

Next Game
Today the Reds visit the Dodgers at 4:05 p.m. Mike Leake is starting and Aroldis Chapman is also scheduled to take the mound later in the game.

Everyone will be scrutinizing the nature of Chapman’s contribution to try to get a hint at which of these two guys is going to get that fifth rotation spot.

Prior offenses
I bet crappy headlines like that got used all the time while Prior was pitching for Chicago.

Mark Prior pitched an inning for the Reds yesterday. He was the only one of the seven pitcher who didn’t allow so much as a hit.

Prior is the Benjamin Button of baseball players, breaking into the majors in his first season after being drafted at age 21. He pitched 167 innings his first year and 211 his second year with the Cubs, where our own Dusty Baker was managing at the time. 2006 was the last year for both of them in Chicago, and Prior has been in the minors ever since.

Baker took a lot of flak for the breaking of Prior, but it was in the larger context of Cubs dysfunction. The Reds have a whole group of experts deciding how many innings guys should pitch these days. It takes a village, guys.

Anyway, it sounds like they might be bringing Prior up at some point this season. I hope it works out really well for him. I have to admire a guy who’s still willing to go pay his dues in the minors for all those years.

What to Say to Sound Smart at the Water Cooler
Nick Cafardo at the Boston Globe ranked Dusty Baker as the 12th best manager in the game going into this season.

I’d link to it, but it’s behind a paywall and I’m not shelling out $.99 for 4 weeks of access to Boston-area news. You can read about it how I did, though, via the gently dissenting opinion at Firebrand of the American League.

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