Monthly Archives: March 2013

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.

March 21, 2013

Aaron Harang honors Joe Nuxhall

Aaron Harang Wearing Joe Nuxhall's Name and Number in TributeI saw this story about Aaron Harang today making the rounds on various Reds blogs and thought I’d share.

Harang, as you may remember, was the one shining spot in the pitching rotation of the Cincinnati Reds during the first decade of the new millenium. Sadly, his best years were wasted on terrible, terrible Reds teams, and by the time competent people were in charge, Harang was on the down-side of his career.

He resurrected it in San Diego, though, and is now with the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he’s decided to change his uniform number from 44 to 41. In case that number sounds familiar, it’s one that legen–wait-for-it–dary Reds pitcher and broadcaster Joe Nuxhall wore.

Nuxhall moved to the broadcast booth in 1967 and called Reds games for 38 years, including Harang’s first two seasons in Cincinnati, in 2003-2004. The two struck up a friendship that lasted until Nuxhall’s death in 2007. Harang has donated to Nuxhall’s charity foundation, the Miracle Fields in and around Cincinnati, and still keeps in touch with his son to this day.

“He was just a special guy in general,” Harang said. “Everybody who came in contact with him thought the world of him.”

When Harang came to the Reds, he wore the number 39, which was Nuxhall’s first number. Harang changed to 41, another of Nuxhall’s numbers, when he was with the Padres, but it wasn’t available in L.A. Until last year when the wearer of it was traded. And now it’s Harang’s, assuming he can secure that fifth spot in the Dodger’s rotation.

March 20, 2013

In brief: Votto on mental preparation

bailey_out_20120923Last Game
The Reds’ offense put on a show during their 6-10 win over the White Sox yesterday. Homer Bailey was shaky to start, allowing 5 runs (4 earned) on 9 hits and a walk in 4.1 innings. Of course, three of those runs came from a first inning home run by Adam Dunn, and Bailey’s hardly the first guy to be the victim of one of those.

On the other side, Jay Bruce hit his fourth home run of spring training and his second in the last 2 games. Chris Heisey also tacked on a three-run homer in the fourth inning. Brandon Phillips is back in action and went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a couple runs scored.

Next Game
The Reds have the day off. It’s the last off-day until the season starts.

Votto: more than just a pretty face
Joey Votto sat down with Buster Olney to record this video for ESPN the Magazine. I like that Votto has put his own thought in to at-bats and how he ought to approach them. It’s necessary to accept outside feedback, but a guy has to think for himself, too.

(HT Cincinnati Enquirer blog)

What to Say to Sound Smart at the Water Cooler
The World Baseball Classic is over for another four years. The Dominican Republic was victorious over Puerto Rico, winning 0-3 last night in San Francisco. Yankees second baseman, Robinson Cano, was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.

March 19, 2013

In brief: Leake/Chapman question still unanswered

Bronson Arroyo and his red bat move towards the batter's box.

Bronson Arroyo and his red bat move towards the batter’s box.

Last Game
The Reds can actually win occasionally! They improved their record to 7-14-2 last night by beating the Rockies 4-3. Bronson Arroyo started for the Reds, giving up 1 run (earned) on 5 hits and 2 walks through 5.2 innings. The RBI belong to Devin Lohman, Donald Lutz, some guy called Jay Bruce who hit a solo shot in the sixth, and Arroyo himself.

Next Game
The White Sox come visit the Reds today at 4:05 p.m., so keep a lookout for Adam Dunn. Homer Bailey is starting for the Reds.

When the fifth rotation spot is the most interesting thing to talk about
It’s been a slow spring training. A team where most of the positions are already set is a team lacking the drama of guys breaking their backs to prove themselves. It’s a double-whammy of boringness: little roster drama and a team too busy perfecting their game to win.

Good problem to have, right? Yeah, I guess. No, it is.

The one position that isn’t decided is that fifth rotation spot. Will it be Mike Leake, the guy who has proven he can throw strikes and who could be better than a fifth starter on most every team out there? Or Aroldis Chapman, who is more of a question mark but could be the next Randy Johnson?

Fortunately for those of us who try to write something about this team most every day, the debate continues. Apparently the front office types met just yesterday afternoon and still aren’t announcing a decision. Since it’s about the only one they’ve got to make, I guess they can afford to wait.

What to Say to Sound Smart at the Water Cooler
It’s Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic finals. Puerto Rico had to beat 2-time WBC Champion Japan to get to this point. The game is at 8 p.m. tonight at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

March 18, 2013

In brief: Votto on The Cleveland Show

Still shot from The Cleveland Show

If you don’t have distinctive facial hair, you don’t have a prayer of being recognizable as a Cleveland Show character.

Last Game
The Reds got out to an early lead against the Indians yesterday, but let the Tribe come back to tie it in the ninth. This being spring training, they left it at that. Final score: Indians 7, Reds 7

Mat Latos started for the Reds and turned in a decent performance: 3 runs (2 earned) on 6 hits over 5.0 innings. In the first inning, Xavier Paul hit a 3-run home run and Todd Frazier hit a 2-run shot to provide the Reds that big opening inning. Chris Heisey and Denis Phipps hit solo shots in the seventh.

Considering how bad the Indians beat up on the Reds to start the spring training season this year, it was quite a show against Cleveland. I don’t know if I’d go so far as to call it The Cleveland Show, but we’ll get to that in a moment.

Next Game
Today the Reds visit the Rockies at 10:10 p.m. Bronson Arroyo will take the mound.

Votto appears on The Cleveland Show
Last night, Joey Votto and a couple other major leaguers made guest appearances on The Cleveland Show. Here’s a preview; Votto first shows up around 0:23.

The Cleveland Show seems to be written to suit the sense of humor of 15 year olds, and, in my mind, many professional athletes have the sense of humor of 15 year olds, so it’s a great match.

What to Say to Sound Smart at the Water Cooler
Other guest stars on The Cleveland Show have included KiD CuDi and Dale Earnhardt Jr.