Wednesday, June 29, 2011

June Recap

Here's the good, the bad and the ugly for the Reds as we reflect back on the month of June....a month in which they posted a 14-12 overall record (6-7 home, 8-5 away).

The Good
  • The Reds were 5-1 on games played on Wednesday or Thursday.
  • 5-2 West Coast road trip against LA/SF (6/9-6/15).
  • Chris Heisey smacks three home runs against the Yanks in a 10-2 win (6/22).
  • Johnny Cueto (3-0, 1.51 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, .163 OPP BA, 35 2/3 IP)
  • Bronson Arroyo (4-1, 3.67 ERA, 34 1/3 IP)
  • Francisco Cordero (9 appearances, 6 saves, 1.00 ERA, .037 OPP BA....yea that's right. Opposing hitters batted just .037 off Coco last month).
  • Jonny Gomes (.319 [15-47], 4 HR's, 11 RBI's)
  • Despite being only 2 games over .500 at this juncture, (42-40) they remain just 3 games back in the division. 
  • No more Interleague games after this weekend.  Only Kansas City (11) has more losses in Interleague play this year than Cincy (10).
The Bad
  • Three teams stand between them and first-place in the division (Milwaukee, Pittsburgh & St. Louis).
  • Jay Bruce - After being named the NL Player of the Month for May he followed June up with a dud (.227 [20-88], 2 HR's, 7 RBI's).
  • A combined 2-6 record on Fridays and Sundays.
  • Paul Janish's and Scott Rolen's OBP. (Janish .269 in 67 plate appearances....Rolen .270 and only 1 walk in 78 PA). 
The Ugly
  • Jose Arredondo (0-3 with a 4.63 ERA in 12 appearances).
  • Drew Stubbs' 39 strikeouts (leads MLB with a staggering 111 for the season).

Series Preview vs. Cleveland Indians

The Reds (42-40) will undoubtedly have revenge on their minds when they host the Indians (42-37) for a three-game set at Great American Ball Park beginning Friday night.

Manny Acta's crew won all three games against Cincy in their series last month at Progressive Field -- marking their first sweep over the Reds in seven years.

However, a lot has changed for The Tribe since then.  They own a modest 13-22 record since that point and have recently dropped six of their last nine contests. 

Luckily for Cleveland their downstate rivals haven't exactly been setting the world on fire either.  Dusty Baker's guys enter play this weekend having posted wins in five of their last twelve, but are on the upswing after taking two out of three from the Rays in Tampa Bay. 

Will C-Town continue their 2011 dominance over the Reds, or will Cincinnati stand up and prove victorious in the comfy confines of their home park?  Here are the game times, pitching probables and notables on the series:

7/1/11 7:10 PM
CLE Masterson (5-6, 2.98 ERA) vs. CIN Arroyo (7-6, 5.01 ERA)

7/2/11 4:10 PM
CLE Carmona (4-10, 5.39 ERA) vs. CIN Bailey (3-2, 3.86 ERA)

7/3/11 1:10 PM
CLE Talbot (2-4, 4.96 ERA) vs. CIN Leake (7-4, 3.89 ERA)

Notables:
-Kings of the Queen City. The Reds are 9-3 against The Tribe in their last 12 meetings at Great American Ball Park.
-The Chief. Bronson Arroyo is 5-1 with a lifetime ERA of 3.61 in 7 starts vs. Cleveland.  It should be noted though that only one of those wins have come at GABP.
-Haunting his old team. Brandon Phillips is hitting .333 (41-123) with 5 HR's and 21 RBI's in 32 career games versus his former team.
-A lost cause? Fausta Carmona leads all big league pitchers in losses (10), runs allowed (75), and ERA (5.89) this season. Ouch.
-Gold-glove defense. Cincinnati is tied for the second-fewest errors committed in the majors with 40. 
-Game over. C-Town closer Chris Perez is 3rd in the AL in saves (19).  He has blown just one opportunity all year (April 21st vs. KC).
-Master-ful. Justin Masterson owns the 10th-best ERA of any pitcher in the AL (2.98).  Not bad for a guy with a losing record.  This could partly be attributed to the fact that his team only scores an average of 4.68 runs in his starts....10th lowest run support average of any pitcher in the AL. 

Reds Escape Tampa With A Victory

After losing a one-run decision the night before, the Reds (42-40) got some revenge on Wednesday when they slid past the Rays (45-36) 4-3 at Tropicana Field.
Edinson Volquez
J. Meric/Getty Images

Once again both clubs got great pitching from their starters.

Volquez (5-3) limited the Tampa Bay offense to three runs and four hits before exiting the game with one out in the bottom of the seventh.  He also struck out seven and walked three.

His counterpart, Shields (8-5), surrendered all four of Cincinnati's runs and all seven of their hits in his seven innings of work.  He did, however, retire 10 Redleg hitters by way of strikeout -- building upon Cincy's propensity to whiff at the plate during this series.

The offense for the visiting Reds came from the unlikely bat of Ryan Hanigan who homered, singled and drove in three runs to help his team improve to 3-3 on the road trip.

After an off-day on Thursday the Reds will return home to Great American Ball Park to welcome the Cleveland Indians (41-37) to town for the Battle of the Ohio Cup beginning Friday night. 

Notables:
-Cincinnati is now 8-1 all-time versus the Devil Rays.
 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Longoria Sends Rays to Walkoff Win

Thanks to an Evan Longoria solo homer in the ninth, the Rays (44-36) managed to even up the series by stunning the Redlegs (41-40) 4-3 Tuesday at Tropicana Field.
David Price
J. Meric/Getty Images

After Jay Bruce tied the game at three in the top of the inning with a homer of his own, Longoria provided the game's final blow in the home half when he launched his tenth homer of the season over the wall in left. 

The contest saw five lead changes and because of it both teams squandered terrific pitching performances by their starting pitchers.

David Price was sensational in his 7 2/3 innings of work as the left-hander allowed just two runs on six hits while striking out a career-high 12 batters. 

Not to be outdone by Price, Reds starter Johnny Cueto also delivered a solid outing for his ball club.  The Dominican native surrendered just four hits and four runs before exiting the game with two outs in the bottom of the eighth.

Johnny Damon recorded a double, a homer and three RBI's to help the Rays win for the ninth time in their past eleven games.

The Rays and the Reds will meet for the rubber game of the series Wednesday afternoon at 12:10 PM. 

June 28, 2011

Reds 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 3 8 0
Rays 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 1 4 6 0

WP - Farnsworth (3-1)
LP - Ondrusek (3-3)
2B - (CIN) Votto, Phillips (TB) Kotchman, Damon
3B - (CIN) Stubbs
HR - (CIN) Bruce (TB) Damon, Longoria

Notables:
-The win over Cincinnati is only the first in Rays franchise history (all-time record versus Reds is 1-7).
-The Reds are now 4-10 in Interleague play this season....that is the most losses of any other team in the big leagues. 

Leake, Reds Wash Away TB

The Redlegs (41-39) picked up a huge road win Monday night when they pummeled host Tampa Bay (44-35) 5-0 before 19,891 fans at Tropicana Field.
J. Meric/Getty Images

Starter Mike Leake delivered six, stellar innings for his team limiting the Rays to no runs and only four hits before giving way to the bullpen in the seventh.

On the offensive side of things, Brandon Phillips made a resounding case for why he should be the starter for the NL in the upcoming All-Star Game.  He banged out four hits, drove in two runs and scored two runs of his own to help raise his batting average to .299 on the year.

The Rays fell to 0-7 in franchise history against Cincinnati -- the only team in MLB they have yet to beaten.

Matt Joyce and Ben Zobrist each collected a pair of doubles in the contest, but it wasn't enough as the loss snapped Tampa Bay's modest four-game winning streak.

The two teams will hook up for game two of the series Tuesday night when the Reds send ace Johnny Cueto (5-2, 1.63) to the hill to counter David Price (8-6, 3.51) of the Rays.  First pitch scheduled for 7:10 PM. 

June 27, 2011

CIN
2
0
0
2
0
0
1
0
0
5
11
0
TB
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
6
2

WP - Leake (7-4)
LP - Hellickson (7-7)
2B - (CIN) Phillips (TB) Zobrist (2), Joyce (2), Jaso
HR - (CIN) Gomes

Notables:
-It was a homecoming for Jonny Gomes who played for the Rays from 2003-08.  He greeted his former team with a solo blast in the top of the fourth -- his third homer in the past five games.        

Monday, June 27, 2011

All-Star Voting Update (NL)

An updated tally of voting for the 2011 All-Star Game was released Monday by MLB and there are a few Cincinnati Reds who continue to rank near the top at their respective positions.

As voting nears a close on Thursday it appears the first and second base starting nods for the NL will come down to the wire -- and two Reds players are right in the thick of things. 

Brewers 2B Rickie Weeks overtook Brandon Phillips for the top spot at second base this past week, but yet Phillips still remains very much in striking distance as he trails Weeks by just 80,000.  Reigning NL MVP Joey Votto also slipped one spot to third place in the voting tally this week behind the Brewers' Prince Fielder and the injured Albert Pujols of the Cardinals. 

Holding his ground in sixth place among NL outfielders for the third consecutive week was Jay Bruce.  His chances of a first-career All-Star Game start look grim at this point as he still remains nearly 800,000 votes shy of the third-place occupant, Matt Holliday.

Meanwhile, Redlegs veteran Scott Rolen slid back into fifth in voting at third base this week, however trails Placido Polanco by nearly two million votes for the position lead.
 
Here is a complete breakdown of the NL voting leaderboard as of June 26th:

2011 NATIONAL LEAGUE ALL-STAR BALLOTING

CATCHER
Brian McCann, Braves: 3,062,884
Yadier Molina, Cardinals: 2,271,887
Buster Posey, Giants: 1,849,984
Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers: 1,451,280
Carlos Ruiz, Phillies: 1,392,944
FIRST BASE
Albert Pujols, Cardinals: 3,358,432
Prince Fielder, Brewers: 2,903,584
Joey Votto, Reds: 2,832,857
Ryan Howard, Phillies: 1,881,711
Freddie Freeman, Braves: 702,911
SECOND BASE
Rickie Weeks, Brewers: 2,869,583
Brandon Phillips, Reds: 2,791,186
Chase Utley, Phillies: 2,406,965
Dan Uggla, Braves: 1,223,812
Freddy Sanchez, Giants: 1,184,145
THIRD BASE
Placido Polanco, Phillies: 3,261,718
Chipper Jones, Braves: 2,040,594
Pablo Sandoval, Giants: 1,584,671
David Wright, Mets: 1,497,778
Scott Rolen, Reds: 1,417,248
SHORTSTOP
Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies: 2,955,609
Jose Reyes, Mets: 2,710,777
Jimmy Rollins, Phillies: 1,724,166
Alex Gonzalez, Braves: 1,142,470
Yuniesky Betancourt, Brewers: 1,131,078
OUTFIELD
Ryan Braun, Brewers: 3,932,100
Lance Berkman, Cardinals: 3,208,183
Matt Holliday, Cardinals: 2,935,965
Matt Kemp, Dodgers: 2,743,927
Andre Ethier, Dodgers: 2,264,640
Jay Bruce, Reds: 2,119,267
Shane Victorino, Phillies: 1,742,128
Carlos Beltran, Mets: 1,639,362

Remember, you can cast your All-Star ballots all the way up until this Thursday, June 30th at 11:59 PM ET when at that time the official fan voting ends. Remember to vote now, vote often, and vote Reds!  Let's give Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips the final push they need to give them both their first ever All-Star Game starts. 

If you would like to see who I selected to represent the National League squad in this year's Midsummer classic you can view that blog entry here

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Series Preview @ Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay (44-34) plays host to Cincinnati (40-39) for an Interleague clash set to begin Monday night at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.  The fledgling Reds (40-39) come into the three-game series sporting one of the worst records of any team in Interleague competition this season at 3-9.  They'll hope to change that against Joe Maddon's club this week.

After losing 7-5 to the Orioles on Wednesday, Cincy enters play Monday as losers of six of their previous nine.  Despite their lackluster play of late, the reigning National League Central Division Champs remain just four games back of the front running Milwaukee Brewers (44-35).  However, to keep pace with Prince Fielder and The Brew Crew the boys from the Queen City must improve their performance against the American League.

Unfortunately for Joey Votto and the Reds, Tampa Bay doesn't look like a team that's going to lay down for them.  The surging Rays have won four straight and eight of their last nine to pull even closer to first place in the AL East Division.

Will the Cincinnati offense begin to heat back up in the south, or will Tampa Bay's stable of hard-throwing arms silent the visitor's bats?  Here are the game times, pitching probables and notables on the three-game set:

6/27/11 7:10 PM
CIN Leake (6-4, 4.19 ERA) vs. TB Hellickson (7-6, 3.09 ERA)

6/28/11 7:10 PM
CIN Cueto (5-2, 1.63 ERA) vs. TB Price (8-6, 3.51 ERA)

6/29/11 12:10 PM
CIN Volquez (4-3, 5.77 ERA) vs. TB Shields (8-4, 2.29 ERA)

Notables:
-Cincinnati won all three games in the last series between these two teams back in June, 2005 at GABP.  They also swept a 3-game set from the Rays in their last meeting at Tropicana Field in '03. 
-Defensive prowess. Tampa Bay has committed the second-fewest errors in the majors with 37.
-Stingy pitching. Opposing batters are hitting a mere .234 against TB pitching this season which is the lowest average allowed by any staff in the AL.  Their five blown saves are the fewest in the AL...simply put their bullpen doesn't give up very many leads.
-Shield-ing opposing offenses. Jamie Shields ranks 4th in MLB in three key pitching categories including ERA (2.29), strikeouts (117), and innings pitched (121 2/3).
-Rays of sunshine. David Price boasts the second highest K/BB ratio in the AL at 4.95 while Jeremy Hellickson is holding opposing hitters to a .202 clip in '11 (5th best in AL).
-Uncharted territory. None of the three, probable starters for Cincy in this series have ever faced Tampa Bay.
-Stingin' the Rays. Ramon Hernandez is hitting .325 (81-249) with 6 HR's and 45 RBI's in his career versus the Rays.  That average raises to .345 (38-110) when playing at Tropicana Field.
-Stingin' the Rays II. Closer Francisco Cordero owns a 2-0 record, 1.96 ERA and 5 saves in 21 lifetime appearances against TB.
-Best vs. Worst. The boys from St. Pete have the most wins of any team in MLB in Interleague play this year (9) while 'Nati begrudgingly owns the most losses (9).

Interleague Woes Continue For Cincy

Baltimore (35-40) took the game, and the series, from Cincinnati (40-39) on Sunday by defeating the visitors 7-5 at Camden Yards.
Jeremy Guthrie
Rob Carr/Getty Images

With the loss Dusty Baker's team fell to 3-9 against American League opponents this season -- the second-worst record of any MLB team in Interleague play this year. 

Derrek Lee homered for the second time in the series by launching a three-run bomb in the fourth.  Nick Markakis and Mark Reynolds each added solo homers while Nick Markakis pitched in three hits for the O's. 

Baltimore starter Jeremy Guthrie earned only his third victory of 2011 (against nine losses) after the right-hander tossed 5 2/3 innings of 6-hit, 4-run baseball.

The Redlegs hope to turn their Interleague fortunes around when they travel southward into the Sunshine State to do battle with the Tampa Bay Rays (43-34) starting Monday. 

June 26, 2011 Box score

Reds 0 0 0 0 1 3 0 0 1 5 9 0
Orioles 0 0 1 4 0 1 1 0 - 7 11 2

WP - Guthrie (3-9)
LP - Bailey (3-2)
S - Gregg (14)
2B - (CIN) Cairo (BAL) Jones
HR - (CIN) Hernandez, Phillips (BAL) Lee, Markakis, Reynolds

Notable:
-Homer Bailey was activated from the 15-day DL Sunday morning.  To make room for Bailey Carlos Fisher was demoted to the Louisville Bats.

NL All-Star Team Picks (Pitchers)

Below are the rest of my selections for the National League All-Star squad with respect to the 2011 MLB All-Star Game to be played July 12th in Phoenix. In this post I have chosen a 14-man pitching staff to represent the league against the AL next month -- nine starters and five relievers.  (You can view the rest of my selections for the NL All-Star Team roster at this link).

I feel that this staff not only recognizes the most deserving candidates through one-half of the season, but it also gives the NL the best chance in beating the American League and therefore earning the right for home-field advantage during the World Series.

Remember, voting for the 82nd edition of the annual Midsummer Classic ends soon on June 30th at 11:59 PM ET. So what would your NL All-Star ballot look like?

The Redlegs Review NL All-Star Team (Pitchers)

SP - Matt Cain (SF) 7-4, 3.22 ERA, 106 1/3 IP, 1.11 WHIP
SP - Roy Halladay (PHI) 9-3, 2.51 ERA, 118 1/3 IP, 119 K's, 4 CG's
SP - Cole Hamels (PHI) 9-4, 2.49 ERA, 112 IP, 108 K's, 0.96 WHIP
SP - Tommy Hanson (ATL) 8-4, 2.48 ERA, 83 1/3 IP, 1.03 WHIP
SP - Jair Jurrjens* (ATL) 10-3, 2.07 ERA, 95 2/3 IP, 1.14 WHIP
SP - Ian Kennedy (ARI) 8-2, 2.90 ERA, 108 2/3 IP, 1.09 WHIP
SP - Clayton Kershaw (LA) 7-3, 3.01 ERA, 107 2/3 IP, 117 K's
SP - Cliff Lee (PHI) 8-5, 2.87 ERA, 113 IP, 114 K's, 1.12 WHIP
SP - Anibal Sanchez (FLA) 6-1, 2.90 ERA, 99 1/3 IP, 101 K's
RP - Heath Bell (SD) 2-3, 2.70 ERA, 30 apps, 19/20 save opps
RP - Joel Hanrahan (PIT) 0-1, 1.24 ERA, 36 apps, 22/22 save opps
RP - J.J. Putz (ARI) 1-1, 2.45 ERA, 32 apps, 21/24 save opps
RP - Huston Street (COL) 0-1, 3.53 ERA, 37 apps, 23/25 save opps
RP - Brian Wilson (SF) 5-1, 2.50 ERA, 36 apps, 23/25 save opps

Just missed the cut: Shaun Marcum (MIL), Jhoulys Chacin (COL), Kevin Correia (PIT), Yovani Gallardo (MIL), Daniel Hudson (ARI), Kyle Lohse (STL), Leo Nunez (FLA), John Axford (MIL) & Francisco Rodriguez (NYM).    
    
* Denotes starting pitcher for NL in All-Star Game
** All statistics as of mid-afternoon 6/26

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Redlegs Run By Baltimore

Backed by a huge night by Joey Votto the Reds (40-38) outslugged the Orioles (34-40) 10-5 Saturday night at Camden Yards.
Joey Votto
Mitchell Layton/
Getty Images

The reigning NL MVP tallied three hits in the ball game -- including his 10th and 11th homers of the season -- and also drove in a season-high five runs.

The win for Cincinnati was just their third in eleven tries this season against American League opposition.

Starter Bronson Arroyo didn't have his best stuff on this night but the veteran, right-hander pitched well enough to earn his seventh victory of the year.  He allowed nine hits, five runs and three walks before exiting the game with one out in the home half of the seventh. 

Brandon Phillips helped his potential All-Star Game chances by smacking three hits, scoring two runs and recording an RBI.

J.J. Hardy and Nick Markakis each chipped in two hits a piece for the Birds, however, in a losing fashion.

The rubber match of the series will take place Sunday as Homer Bailey (3-1, 3.00 ERA) makes his return from the DL to counter the O's Jeremy Guthrie (2-9, 3.79 ERA).  First pitch is slated for 1:35 PM.

June 25, 2011 Box score

Reds 0 1 3 0 2 0 2 2 0 10 13 0
Orioles 1 0 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 5 9 1

WP - Arroyo (7-6)
LP - Matusz (1-3)
2B - (CIN) Phillips, Heisey (BAL) Scott
HR - (CIN) Votto (2), Rolen, Gomes, Stubbs (BAL) Hardy, Markakis, Jones, Wieters

Notables:
-Bang for your buck. The fans were treated to an astonishing nine homers in the contest. 
-Despite their team's offensive outburst on Saturday Jay Bruce and Chris Heisey both recorded the hat trick by striking out three times.
-It marked the first win for Cincy over the Orioles since June 12th, 2005.

Cincy Falls to O's In Extras

Cincinnati (39-38) kicked off their road trip by losing a nailbiter to Baltimore (34-39) 5-4 in 12 innings Friday night at Camden Yards.
Derrek Lee & teammates
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The major blow came from the bat of veteran Derrek Lee who's solo homer in the bottom of the 12th sent the home team to a walk-off victory.

For the Reds it was their fourth straight extra inning defeat.

Lee, J.J. Hardy, Blake Davis, and Matt Wieters all each recorded multiple base hits for Baltimore while Brandon Phillips, Scott Rolen, Jay Bruce, and former Oriole Ramon Hernandez contributed multiple hits for Cincinnati albeit in a losing cause.

The two clubs will hook up once more for game two of the series Saturday night -- a game set to begin at 7:05 PM. 

June 24, 2011 Box score

CIN
0
0
0
0
3
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
4
12
0
BAL
0
2
1
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
5
11
0

WP - Gonzalez (1-1)
LP - Arredond (0-3)
2B - (CIN) Hernandez, Phillips, Gomes, Votto, Bruce (2) (BAL) Wieters (2), Lee, Hardy
3B - (BAL) Davis
HR - (BAL) Jones, Lee

Notables:
-The game was the first ever meeting between the two teams at Camden Yards.
-It was the third walk-off homer of Lee's career.
-A soldout crowd of 45,382 was on hand to watch the Redlegs make their first appearance in the city since the 1970 World Series. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Series Preview @ Baltimore Orioles

After thumping the New York Yankees 10-2 on Wednesday, Cincinnati (39-37) heads eastward to square off against the struggling Baltimore Orioles (33-39) for a three-game set beginning Friday night at Camden Yards.  The O's welcome the Redlegs to town hoping to turn around their tough luck as of late.  Manager Buck Showalter's team has dropped eight of their last eleven contests and suddenly find themselves in the basement of the AL East Division -- 10 games back of the first-place Boston Red Sox.

Like the Orioles, Cincy also enters the weekend on a bit of downturn.  Dusty Baker's bunch squandered a chance to make up ground in the NL Central this past week by going 2-4 against the likes of the Yankees and the Blue Jays -- making their three-game sweep of the Dodgers a week ago in LA seem like a distant memory.

Can last year's NL Central Champions get back to their winning ways in Maryland, or will the Birds hold their ground and defend their home nest, err, I mean turf?  Here are the games times, pitching probables and notables on the series:   

6/24/11 7:05 PM
CIN Volquez (4-3, 5.61 ERA) vs. BAL Jakubauskas (2-0, 5.14 ERA)

6/25/11 7:05 PM
CIN Arroyo (6-6, 4.86 ERA) vs. BAL Matusz (1-2, 5.60 ERA)

6/26/11 1:35 PM
CIN Bailey (3-1, 3.00 ERA) vs. BAL Guthrie (2-9, 3.79 ERA)

Notables:
-The Reds won two out of three against the O's in the two franchise's only series back in June, 2005 at GABP.
-Not worth the risk. Only the Chicago Cubs (33 attempts) have attempted fewer stolen bases this year than Baltimore (35 attempts).  The Birds have successfully stolen just 27 times this year which ties them with Detroit for the least SB's in the AL. 
-Patience is a virtue? Baltimore hitters have shown a tendency to be impatient so far in 2011 as their 214 total walks are the second fewest of any team in the AL.  That's great news to a Reds pitching staff who has allowed the second most free passes of any team in the NL with 270.
-No offense? No way. This series is sure to feature tons of offense.  'Nati ranks 13th in the league with a team ERA of 4.06 while the O's team ERA of 4.26 is the second highest of any pitching staff in the AL.
-Vlad the Reds Impaler. In 52 career games against the Reds, Vladimir Guerrero is batting a lofty .366 (70-191) with 11 longballs and 45 RBI's.  He also owns a mighty, lifetime OPS (OBP + SLG) of 1.073 against them.
-Split results. Bronson Arroyo is a modest 2-2 with a 5.57 ERA in 9 career appearances against Baltimore. However, in his 3 lifetime starts at Camden Yards he is 2-0 with a 2.55 ERA.
-Bird food. In 134 career at-bats against the Orioles Jonny Gomes is hitting near the Mendoza Line with a measly .201 average.  That average rises just slightly to .203 (15-74) when playing in the friendly confines of Camden Yards.
-Interleague nightmare. Cincy will hope to improve upon their MLB-worst 2-7 record against interleague opposition this weekend. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Heisey Powers Reds Past Yanks

Cincinnati (39-37) earned a split of the day-night doubleheader on Wednesday when they raced past visiting New York (43-30) 10-2 at Great American Ball Park.
Chris Heisey
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Redlegs skipper Dusty Baker gave Chris Heisey the starting nod in left field for the night cap of the doubleheader and the 26-year old did not disappoint.  Heisey helped awaken the National League's top run-producing offense by belting three home runs, driving in five runs, and scoring four times.  It was his first multi-hit home run game in his career.

Meanwhile, starter Johnny Cueto delivered yet another dominating performance holding the powerful Pinstripe offense to only one run on two hits in his seven innings of work.  He also fanned six while walking three to help lower his overall season ERA to a tidy 1.63. 

Ramon Hernandez, Paul Janish, Scott Rolen and Jonny Gomes each recorded two hits a piece in the ball game as the home squad outhit the visitors by a 14-4 tally.

With the conclusion of their victory today the boys from the Queen City now pack their bags and head to Baltimore for a three-game set with the last place Orioles (33-39) beginning Friday night.

June 22, 2011

Yankees 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 4 0
Reds 1 1 0 0 2 0 3 3 0 10 14 1

WP - Cueto (5-2)
LP - Gordon (0-1)
2B - (NYY) Rodriguez (CIN) Rolen
HR - (NYY) Swisher (CIN) Heisey (3), Gomes

Notables:
-The Reds won for just the second time in nine tries against American League opponents in 2011.
-41,367 fans took in tonight's ball game on the banks of the Ohio River.   

Posada Leads NY Past Cincy

The Yankees (43-29) took game one of the day-night doubleheader on Wednesday by getting past Cincinnati (38-37) 4-2 before 40,010 fans at Great American Ball Park.
Jorge Posada
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Jorge Posada broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the sixth when he belted a two-run homer off Reds starter Mike Leake to give his club the lead. 

As it turned out, it would be all the Yankees pitching staff needed as the combination of Freddy Garcia, David Robertson, and Mariano Rivera held the recently, woeful offense of Cincy to just four hits in the contest.

Garcia improved his record to 6-6 on the year after he needed just 89 pitches to limit the Redlegs to three hits and two runs (both unearned) in seven strong innings.

The final matchup of the series will take place later on tonight as the two team's makeup a rainout game from Tuesday.  The Bronx Bombers will send out Brian Gordon (0-0, 3.38 ERA), who is making his second career MLB start, to counter right-hander Johnny Cueto (4-2, 1.68 ERA).  First pitch scheduled for 7:10 PM.

June 22, 2011 Box score

Yankees 0 0 2 0 0 2 0 0 0 4 6 3
Reds 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 2 4 0

WP - Garcia (6-6)
LP - Leake (6-4)
S - Rivera (19)
2B - (NYY) Nunez (CIN) Phillips, Bruce

Notables:
-New York improved to 20-4 in day games this season, the best by far of any team in the big leagues.
-Freddy Garcia lifted his lifetime record to 4-0 in four career starts at GABP.
-Before today's ball game the Reds activated RHP Sam LeCure from the 15-Day DL while optioning LHP Travis Wood to Triple-A Louisville.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

NL All-Star Voting Update

An updated tally of voting for the 2011 All-Star Game was released Monday by MLB and there are a few Cincinnati Reds who continue to rank near the top at their respective positions.

Brandon Phillips remains the top National League vote-getter at second base while Joey Votto currently sits in 2nd behind the injured Albert Pujols at first base. Scott Rolen fell out of the top five in voting at third base this week while Jay Bruce held steady at 6th among the NL outfielders.

Here is a complete breakdown of the NL voting leaderboard as of June 20th:

2011 NATIONAL LEAGUE ALL-STAR BALLOTING

CATCHER
Brian McCann, Braves: 2,301,252
Yadier Molina, Cardinals: 1,836,490
Buster Posey, Giants: 1,573,484
Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers: 1,098,507
Carlos Ruiz, Phillies: 1,095,081
FIRST BASE
Albert Pujols, Cardinals: 2,806,864
Joey Votto, Reds: 2,270,211
Prince Fielder, Brewers: 2,066,327
Ryan Howard, Phillies: 1,477,478
Freddie Freeman, Braves: 559,762
SECOND BASE
Brandon Phillips, Reds: 2,286,378
Rickie Weeks, Brewers: 2,094,502
Chase Utley, Phillies: 1,827,194
Dan Uggla, Braves: 1,012,370
Freddy Sanchez, Giants: 987,606
THIRD BASE
Placido Polanco, Phillies: 2,599,925
Chipper Jones, Braves: 1,558,895
Pablo Sandoval, Giants: 1,302,098
David Wright, Mets: 1,228,710
Scott Rolen, Reds: 1,102,626
SHORTSTOP
Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies: 2,385,991
Jose Reyes, Mets: 1,972,820
Jimmy Rollins, Phillies: 1,354,896
Alex Gonzalez, Braves: 928,992
Yuniesky Betancourt, Brewers: 860,163
OUTFIELD
Ryan Braun, Brewers: 3,034,057
Lance Berkman, Cardinals: 2,562,428
Matt Holliday, Cardinals: 2,390,118
Matt Kemp, Dodgers: 2,062,667
Andre Ethier, Dodgers: 1,889,298
Jay Bruce, Reds: 1,681,613
Shane Victorino, Phillies: 1,357,115
Carlos Beltran, Mets: 1,261,308

You can cast your All-Star ballots all the way up until June 30th at 11:59 PM ET when the official fan voting ends.  Remember to vote now, vote often, and vote Reds!

If you would like to see who I selected to represent the National League squad in this year's Midsummer classic you can view that blog entry here

Monday, June 20, 2011

Super-Nova, Yankees Derail Reds

New York (42-29) continued their hot play by downing Cincinnati (38-36) 5-3 Monday night before a soldout crowd at Great American Ball Park.
Ivan Nova
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Travis Wood was forced to make the start a day earlier than expected after the game's probable starter, Johnny Cueto, was scratched just hours before the game with a stiff neck.  Wood struggled out of the gate surrendering four runs in the top of the first, but would later settle down to hold the Yanks scoreless in his next six innings of work. 

His counterpart, Ivan Nova, was sensational in this one limiting the slumping Redlegs offense to only one run on four hits while striking out seven over eight innings.  The 24-year old right-hander also exhibited excellent control and efficiency in the ball game as he tossed just 105 pitches (61 for strikes) and did not walk a batter.

Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez each had two hits and an RBI in the contest helping their team win for the ninth time in their last eleven games. 

Cincy will hope to even up the series Tuesday night when they trot out Johnny Cueto (4-2, 1.68 ERA) to do battle against Brian Gordon (0-0, 3.38 ERA) and the Pinstripes.

June 20, 2011 Box score

Yankees 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 5 9 0
Reds 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 3 6 1

WP - Nova (7-4)
LP - Wood (5-5)
2B - (NYY) Cano

Notables:
-Drew Stubbs recorded the hat trick on the evening by striking out three times in four plate appearances. His 99 punchouts on the year are the most of any player in all of MLB. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Series Preview vs. New York Yankees

The Pinstripes head southward for a three-game series with the Reds (38-35) beginning Monday night at Great American Ball Park.  New York (40-29) storms into Cincinnati as winners of eight of their last ten and currently find themselves 1.5 games back of the AL East leading Boston Red Sox.  Meanwhile, the Redlegs stumble into the series after losing two out of three to the Blue Jays over the weekend -- a series in which Dusty Baker's potent offense only managed to plate four runs in the entire series.  Will the National League's top, run-producing offense see a resurrection against the Yanks, or will the richest team in baseball trump the small market boys from the Queen City?  Here's a look at the game times, pitching probables and things of note on the series:

6/20/11 7:10 PM
NYY Nova (6-4, 4.46 ERA) vs. CIN Cueto (4-2, 1.68 ERA)

6/21/11 7:10 PM
NYY Gordon (0-0, 3.38 ERA) vs. CIN Wood (5-4, 5.11 ERA)

6/22/11 12:35 PM
NYY Garcia (5-6, 3.63 ERA) vs. CIN Leake (6-3, 4.04 ERA)

Notables:
-The last time these two teams hooked up was in '08 when visiting Cincinnati won two of three in the Big Apple.
-Good to see you again. These two franchises last met in Cincinnati back in June 2003 with the Reds winning two out of the three matchups. 
-Bronx Bombers. The Yankees feature two of the top sluggers in the game today with Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira.  The pair are tied for the major league lead in homeruns with Toronto's Jose Bautista with 21.
-Run-ning amuck. This series will feature two of the top three run-producing offenses in baseball.  NY is 2nd in MLB having scored 362 runs on the year while Cincinnati ranks 3rd with 347.
-A city/team that never sleeps. New York may want to rethink that motto as the club is just 21-25 in night games this season.  However, Wednesday's 12:35 start time may bode well for the Yanks as they are a staggering 19-4 in games played during the day so far in '11.
-Seeing Red. Freddy Garcia is 3-0 with a 2.57 ERA in 3 career starts against Cincy including a 2-0 mark in the friendly confines of Great American Ball Park. 
-A-fraud. Although a .302 hitter in his career, Alex Rodriguez is batting just .182 (4-25) with no homeruns and no RBI's in his lifetime against the Redlegs. 
-Derek's plight. The Yankees will be without the services of their longtime, shortstop Derek Jeter during the three-game set who is sidelined with a calf injury.  He is six hits shy in his pursuit for 3,000 career hits and unfortunately it won't happen on the shores of the Ohio.
-A bite out of the Big Apple. In 24 lifetime appearances against the Pinstripes Francisco Cordero boasts a 2.70 ERA and 5 saves. 

NL All-Star Team Picks

Below are my selections for the National League All-Star squad with respect to the 2011 MLB All-Star Game to be played July 12th in Phoenix.  I have chosen eight starters for the team (excluding a pitcher) as well as a 12-man list of reserves (excluding pitchers). 

I feel that this roster not only recognizes the most deserving candidates through one-half of the season, but it also gives the NL the best chance in beating the American League and therefore earning the right for home-field advantage during the World Series.

Remember, voting for the 82nd edition of the annual Midsummer Classic ends on June 30th at 11:59 PM ET.  So what would your NL All-Star ballot look like?      

The Redlegs Review 2011 NL All-Star Team

STARTERS
C - Brian McCann (ATL) .298/.375/.498, 11 HR's, 39 RBI's
1B - Prince Fielder (MIL) .301/.418/.613, 20 HR's, 61 RBI's
2B - Brandon Phillips (CIN) .276/.332/.380, 5 HR's, 36 RBI's, 42 RS
SS - Jose Reyes (NYM) .341/.385/.517, 3 HR's, 29 RBI's, 26 SB's
3B - Chipper Jones (ATL) .266/.361/.446, 7 HR's, 40 RBI's
LF - Ryan Braun (MIL) .310/.395/.557, 15 HR's, 51 RBI's, 16 SB's
CF - Matt Kemp (LA) .331/.416/.627, 20 HR's, 57 RBI's, 16 SB's
RF - Lance Berkman (STL) .309/.423/.604, 17 HR, 51 RBI's

RESERVES
C - Miguel Montero (ARI) .284/.364/.488, 8 HR's, 37 RBI's
1B - Joey Votto (CIN) .327/.449/.506, 9 HR's, 43 RBI's, 49 RS
1B - Albert Pujols (STL) .279/.355/.500, 17 HR's, 45 RBI's, 52 RS
1B - Gaby Sanchez (FLA) .310/.388/.509, 12 HR's, 44 RBI's
2B - Rickie Weeks (MIL) .288/.356/.508, 14 HR's, 32 RBI's, 51 RS
3B - Placido Polanco (PHI) .295/.342/.375, 4 HR's, 38 RBI's
SS - Troy Tulowitzki (COL) .274/.341/.496, 13 HR's, 46 RBI's
SS - Jimmy Rollins (PHI) .260/.334/.375, 6 HR's, 28 RBI's, 15 SB's
OF - Jay Bruce (CIN) .281/.356/.524, 17 HR's, 48 RBI's, 46 RS
OF - Hunter Pence (HOU) .321/.361/.497, 9 HR's, 51 RBI's
OF - Andrew McCutchen (PIT) .277/.378/.462, 10 HR's, 36 RBI's
OF - Michael Morse (WAS) .309/.357/.564, 13 HR's, 43 RBI's

Just missed the cut: Todd Helton (COL), Ryan Howard (PHI), Yadier Molina (STL), Starlin Castro (CHC), Shane Victorino (PHI), Carlos Gonzalez (COL), Carlos Beltran (NYM), Andre Ethier (LA), Justin Upton (ARI) & Michael Bourn (HOU). 

* All statistics as of mid-day on 6/19

Cairo's Blast Leads Reds Past Jays

The Redlegs (38-35) narrowly escaped a sweep on Sunday afternoon when they squeaked past visiting Toronto (36-36) 2-1 before 32,618 fans in attendance at Great American Ball Park. 
Bronson Arroyo
AP Photo/Al Behrman

Bronson Arroyo, who had struggled against the Jays in the past, turned in eight innings of five-hit, one-run ball to lift his season record to an even .500 on the season.  His only mistake on the day was allowing a leadoff, solo homer to Aaron Hill in the fifth. 

The offensive firepower for the home squad came from the unlikely bat of Miguel Cairo -- who's sixth inning, two-run blast ended a dismal, 16 inning scoreless streak for the Reds.  It also gave them a 2-1 lead in which they would hold onto the rest of the way.

Reigning NL MVP Joey Votto sprayed three hits in the affair after going 0-8 in the first two games of the series.  Jay Bruce pitched in two hits as well.

Dusty Baker's crew will now shift their attention to welcoming the New York Yankees (40-29) into town for a trio of games beginning Monday night.

June 19, 2011 Box score

Blue Jays 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 5 0
Reds 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 9 0

WP - Arroyo (6-6)
LP - Villanueva (4-1)
S - Cordero (15)
2B - (CIN) Lewis, Bruce
HR - (TOR) Hill (CIN) Cairo

Notables:
-Cordero moved into sole possession of 19th place on the all-time saves list by recording his 305th career save. 

Toronto Shutouts Cincy 4-0

The Blue Jays (36-35) guaranteed themselves a series win on Saturday night when they blanked the Reds (37-35) 4-0 at Great American Ball Park.
Jose Molina
John Grieshop/
Getty Images

Toronto starter Brandon Morrow had Cincinnati hitters off balance all night long as he held the NL's top offense to no runs and 5 hits in 6 2/3 innings.

Jose Molina and Jose Bautista each had two hits and an RBI in the contest as the Bluebirds won their sixth game over the Redlegs in the club's last eight meetings.

Scott Rolen and Jay Bruce both chipped in for a pair of singles in the losing cause.

Cincy will try and avoid a 3-game sweep Sunday afternoon as Dusty Baker hands the ball to Bronson Arroyo (5-6, 5.23 ERA) to square off with undefeated Carlos Villanueva (4-0, 3.25 ERA).

June 18, 2011 Box Score

TOR
0
0
1
2
1
0
0
0
0
4
8
0
CIN
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
7
2

WP - Morrow (3-4)
LP - Volquez (4-3)
2B - (TOR) Molina, Escobar, Patterson
HR - (TOR) Molina

Notables:
-Cincy is now 0-5 in interleague games this season.
-It marked the third time the Redlegs have been held scoreless in 2011.