|Tuesday’s Red Sox-Reds matchups: Felix Doubront vs. Homer Bailey||05.06.14 at 9:08 am ET|
The Red Sox look to move on from a tough 10-inning loss to the A’s on Sunday when they start a two-game home series against the Reds on Tuesday, sending lefty Felix Doubront to the mound to face off against Homer Bailey.
Doubront has struggled in 2014, posting a 1-3 record in six games, all starts, with a 5.70 ERA, up from his career average of 4.70. While Doubront is walking less batters than he ever has, an average of 3.6 walks per nine innings (4.0 average in his career), his strikeout numbers are also down, an average of 6.3 per nine innings, down from his career average of 8.2.
Doubront was solid in his last start, a game against the Rays on May 1, going six innings while giving up four runs (three earned) on five hits, two of them being home runs. He struck out five and walked one. The Red Sox eventually lost, 6-5, but Doubront did not factor in the decision.
“He’s going to keep getting the ball,” Farrell said last week. “We’ve got to keep doing what we can to have those in-game adjustments happen a little more readily, because the work he’s following, the routine he’s following, all that remains is to be consistent start to start.”
The 26-year-old has not faced the Reds in his career.
Bailey, like Doubront, has gotten off to a rocky start in 2014. After back-to-back very good years, including a no-hitter in both 2012 and 2013, the 28-year-old Bailey has been mediocre, going 2-2 in six starts with a 5.50 ERA.
The Texas native was better in his last start, a May 1 game against Milwaukee, when he went eight innings and allowed three runs on eight hits, striking out four and walking one. The Reds won the game, 8-3, and Bailey picked up his second win on the year.
|Friday notes: John Farrell says Grady Sizemore ‘likely’ as his every day center fielder when ‘durability’ is on his side||03.21.14 at 12:53 pm ET|
CLEARWATER, Fla. — Grady Sizemore may or may not be the starting center fielder for the Red Sox when they take the field on March 31 at Camden Yards in Baltimore. But John Farrell made it clear that at some point, likely early in the season, when he does start to play, he’ll be the starting center fielder to stay.
“We have every reason to believe at this point that he is a likely candidate to become an every day player, with durability on his side at some point,” Farrell said of the veteran outfielder who is batting .360 in eight games this spring.
Recovering from chronic knee and back ailments over the past two seasons, Sizemore came into camp not having played a competitive game since Sept. 2011. Sizemore, who’s also had a sports hernia and a bad elbow, has impressed coaches and fans alike with athletic plays in the field and a compact, efficient swing at the plate.
“There’s a progression we’re following to get to everyday play but the most encouraging thing is he has not hit the proverbial wall where we’ve bumped up against the limits and have to pull back,” Farrell said before Friday’s game against Philadelphia at Bright House Field. “We haven’t reached that yet, which is all extremely positive.”
Sizemore played in all nine innings for the first time Thursday against the Yankees and Farrell said he came through it very well and is on schedule to return to the field in a minor league game Saturday. He’ll play for the Red Sox again on Sunday and Monday and be evaluated on Tuesday morning to see how he handled the three straight games and five in six days.
“The medical exam, the medical information is guiding us with a progression. But every piece of feedback from the medical staff has been positive with the end thought that he’ll become an every day player,” Farrell said. “”There’s no template. That why we have experts in [Sports Medical Director] Dan Dyrek and our medical staff that give us that guidance.”
Despite the encouraging tone, Farrell still would not commit to Sizemore even heading north with the team when they break camp on Saturday.
“I don’t know that I would go to that point yet,” Farrell said. “I think we need to get through this coming week first.”
If Sizemore does indeed start every day in center, he will likely be the leadoff hitter as well. Thursday night, he batted first, followed by Shane Victorino, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz and Mike Napoli. That is a scenario that could easily translate into the regular season.
“If we have Grady in the leadoff spot, it gives us another good player,” Farrell said. “The lineup we saw [Thursday] is one scenario, one version, right-handed, left-handed matchups that are there, rest requirements might be needed. I think you know who our guys are and roughly the spots they’re in the lineup. I think we showed early in the season and late in the season that we would make changes based on matchups or who’s swinging the bat a little bit better at a given time.”
|Jonny Gomes is not a platoon player: ‘I came into camp ready to play 162′||02.13.13 at 10:13 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Jonny Gomes made it very clear Wednesday that he does not consider himself a platoon player. He considers himself an everyday major league outfielder, ready to contribute to another winner.
“Platooning isn’t a position,” Gomes began. “There’s not platooning in high school, there’s not platooning in 12-year-old all-stars. We’re baseball players. Baseball players, there’s two ‘L’s. There’s leather, lumber and you play every single day. Have I platooned in the past? Yeah, and it’s helped us win. I figure, if you succeed at platooning, you should have the opportunity to have more on your plate. If you succeed at a task, you should be able to have more on your plate.
“Am I putting my foot down, asking for more time? No, absolutely not. I do whatever helps the team. Last year, I platooned with a couple of guys, no one ran their mouth, no one did anything [disruptive] and that all leads to success and that all leads to winning. As soon as you have guys butting heads for playing time, it all starts to go downhill a little bit. I came into camp to play 162. It’s not my choice, I don’t make the lineup but when my name is call, count on that I’ll be ready.”
Gomes was signed to a two-year deal in the offseason for $10 million to help fill a void in left field. He is a .284 hitter with a .894 OPS against left-handed pitching. He is .223 and .732 against righties. He helped Oakland to a wild and crazy ride to the AL West title in 2012, something he reminded everyone Wednesday at JetBlue Park.
“What can I add? Hopefully, some right-handed sock,” Gomes said. “I’ve got some speed as well. Just continue to play the game right. I’m open to batting anywhere in the lineup so up, down, move around, protect some guys, help some guys touch the plate.
“Obviously, I’m a little biased to the chemistry [factor]. I have three division titles in the last five years with three different teams. Last year with Oakland, $41 million payroll in the AL West. You can’t really say we did it with a bunch of Ferraris. I wouldn’t recommend building that team again and running it out there but what does it all go to, what does it all go to?
Everyone looks back into the clubhouse, it’s got to be the clubhouse, it’s got to be everyone being friends. Again, I did it in 2010 with the Reds and 2008 with the Rays, and what does it all have in common? It’s different for everybody but once you get inside that clubhouse, you figure some things out, it really does all add up. I definitely biased to it. I haven’t done it once, I haven’t done it twice, I’ve done it three times in the last five years. Granted, I don’t have a ring but division titles are pretty hard to come by these days and hopefully get some more.”
One more thing, don’t ask Gomes about the 2012 Red Sox.
“I think what’s different about me and some of the guys that came in here, we weren’t miserable last year,” he said. “I wasn’t. Do I know what happened here last year? Absolutely. But I’m not going to let that bring me down. I wasn’t a part of it. I won a division title last year. We had a great year. I don’t know about [being] miserable and butting heads with everyone in the clubhouse. I can’t respond to that because I didn’t do it. I’m not going to change the person I am by any means. I’m just going to come in here and do what I do.
“I’ve played the game long enough, been in the game for a while. I’ve seen it work, I know it works. At the same time, I’ve seen this place rock and roll. I was against these guys in 2004 and 2007. I’ve seen Sox Nation, Fenway, Boston just being at the highest level it could possibly be. We’re not too far removed from that. There are still some core pieces in here that have rings, that have Red Sox [World Series] rings. It’s not like were bringing the 70s or 80s [Red Sox teams] back. We don’t have to go too far back in the history books to find winning in a Red Sox uniform. These guys are still here.
“Time will tell, right?,” he said.
|Red Sox among four teams interested in closer Francisco Cordero||12.20.11 at 5:36 pm ET|
When the pistol fired on the free-agent shopping season, it was the market for closer’s that got off to the earliest jump. Jonathan Papelbon became the first prominent game-ender to move, signing a four-year, $50 million with the Phillies, and since his contract, Joe Nathan got $14.5 million over two years from the Rangers, Heath Bell (3 years, $27 million) has signed as a free agent, Matt Capps got $4.75 million for one more year with the Twins and the Mets signed both Frank Francisco (two years, $12 million) and Jon Rauch (one year, $3.5 million). Meanwhile, there were three notable trades involving late-innings relievers, with Huston Street being sent by the Rockies to the Padres, Sergio Santos going from the White Sox to the Blue Jays and Mark Melancon heading from Houston to the Red Sox.
All of that movement has significantly narrowed the field of potential destinations for those remaining on the market. That undoubtedly has been the case for Francisco Cordero, the most established closer on the free-agent market this offseason.
At season’s end, Cordero — who had a 2.45 ERA and 37 saves for the Reds in 2011, in a year when his strikeout rate fell to a career-low 5.4 per nine innings — received contact from eight to 10 teams, according to his agent, Bean Stringfellow. Since then, that number has been whittled to four.
The Red Sox, according to multiple industry sources, have shown interest in the 36-year-old closer. The Angels and another team have also been in dialogue with the pitcher, as have the Reds, who have said on multiple occasions that they were interested in bringing back the pitcher who averaged 71 appearances per year for them over the course of the four-year, $45 million deal that ran from 2008-11. Read the rest of this entry »
|Trade Deadline: Reds reportedly out of running for Carlos Beltran||07.26.11 at 11:24 am ET|
Depending on which you report you read, Carlos Beltran may or may not wish to stay in the National League, but the Reds, one of the senior-circuit teams who could be interested in the Mets outfielder, aren’t talking to New York about any deal, according to a tweet from ESPN’s Buster Olney.
The Reds appear to be all set in right field with Jay Bruce, who owns an .844 OPS to go with 21 HR and 57 RBI. They would have a bigger need in left, where Jonny Gomes doesn’t inspire too much confidence with his .211 average and .735 OPS. But it has been widely reported that Beltran would rather stay in right field than move to another position, thus probably negating any interest that the Reds may have had.
|Trade Deadline: Eight teams, including Yankees, send scouts to see Rockies’ Ubaldo Jimenez||07.15.11 at 12:27 pm ET|
Seventeen scouts from eight MLB teams ‘ including the Yankees ‘ were at Coors Field Thursday to watch Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenez pitch against the Brewers, Tracy Ringolsby of FoxSports.com reported. Not every team has expressed specific interest in Jimenez, but the Reds ‘ another team with scouts present Thursday ‘ have done so.
The Tigers, Braves, Phillies, Cardinals, White Sox and Indians also sent scouts to Thursday’s game.
Jimenez went six innings vs. Milwaukee, allowing two runs on six hits, with two walks and four strikeouts. He is 4-8 with a 4.14 ERA and a .241 BAA this season.
Red Sox fans may best remember Jimenez as the starting pitcher for Game 2 of the 2007 World Series. Jimenez pitched 4 2/3 innings against the Red Sox, giving up two earned runs on three hits and five walks with two strikeouts in a losing effort.
|Trade Deadline: Reds, Rockies not jumping ship yet||07.07.11 at 1:54 pm ET|
With the two teams just eight and 10 1/2 games back of the National League Wild Card-leading Braves respectively with less than half a season left to go, neither the Reds nor the Rockies are expected be testing the selling waters of the trade market in the immediate lead-up to the July 31 trade deadline.
Reds GM Walt Jocketty said that despite his team’s even 44-44 record, he will not add or subtract a player or two just to mix things up in the hopes of livening up his squad, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
“I don’t normally react that way,” Jocketty said. “If I make a move, I do so not to shake things up but to make the club better.”
The Rockies, on the other hand, seem to be in more dire straits as they stand below .500 at 41-46. According to The Denver Post, if anything Colorado will look to make additions to its pitching as well as one to its outfield. The Post only mentions former All-Star starting pitcher Aaron Cook and third baseman Ian Stewart, both of whom have struggled on the field with injuries in 2011, as pieces that the Rockies would be willing to let go. Meanwhile, they are expected to hold onto closer Huston Street and utilityman Ty Wigginton, who are expected to be more attractive trade pieces for contenders come the end of the month.
Colorado has already inquired about Twins starters, including Francisco Liriano, but Minnesota is similarly looking to hold out until it knows it is absolutely out of the running in both the AL Central and the Wild Card races.
|Reds channeling 2004 Red Sox||10.09.10 at 3:47 pm ET|
New Reds manager Dusty Baker came over to Red Sox skipper Terry Francona and exchanged a handshake and an embrace.
Baker and Francona have always had mutual respect for one another.
And on Saturday here in Cincinnati, less than 24 hours after his team committed four errors in a 7-4 meltdown at Citizens Bank Park – booting away a realistic chance of beating the powerhouse Phillies in the NLDS – Baker summoned the words of Francona from 2004.
It was then that Francona – down 3-0 to the Yankees – told his team just take care of business in the next game and the rest will take care of itself. By coming back and winning four in a row on their way to the title, the Red Sox not only gave their fans the gift of a lifetime, they provided inspiration and hope for every team that follows that no matter the odds, there’s always a chance.
On Saturday, Baker – just minutes before his team’s workout on a brilliant, sunny day at Great American Ball Park – reminded everyone that despite the predicament, the Reds still have a fighter’s chance.
” It is a tough spot, but it’s not impossible,” Baker said. “All things are possible through faith and perseverance. I’ve been in this situation, down 2-1, down three with three to go in 1980.”
“Arroyo was in Boston when they were down 3-0 in a best-of-7, and they came back and won four,” Baker recalled. “The hardest thing is to win one. And you win one, and you got yourself some action. And we’ve got our backs up against the wall, but this club performs well with our backs up against the wall. That’s the kind of club we have. I wish we didn’t always have our backs against the wall, but, you know, we’ve been there before, not necessarily in elimination, but we’re just trying to get one.”
Cabrera has likely seen his last action until the World Series – if the Reds can pull off a miraculous comeback – since he re-aggravated a left oblique injury turning a double play in the fourth inning Friday night.
Baker, who always handles himself with grace in answer questions, was asked if it’s easier having a young team in this position who may not know what they don’t know.
“No, I don’t think it’s easy to be in this situation at all,” Baker said. “I would rather be up 2-0. Personally, I was thinking this morning about, you know, when I was in the military, and you would rather be in a situation where, on your second or third tour of duty, to know what to do rather than your first tour.
“This is the first tour for these guys and you’re actually more resilient as you get older, because you’ve been through more, you’ve been through more problems. Like I said before the worst situation in your whole life, until you get the to next one. I’m not worried too much about these guys.
If you’re wondering if Baker loses sleep after coming out on the wrong end of a disastrous game like Friday, don’t.
“Well, you don’t exactly forget about it,” Baker said. “I have no trouble going to sleep. I can go to sleep in a matter of seconds. I’m a kind of mid-sleep insomniac, it wakes me up at 4, 4:30 thinking about things. And I try not to think about the game, because you can’t bring that back. Going forward, lineup changes, different things we have to do to win, because you cannot do anything about replaying the game. It’s impossible. It does no good.
“So one of the best books I read this year was, “The Power of Now”, which tells you to get out of the past and get into the present,” Baker said. “And that’s the only thing you can control, is right now. We can’t bring it back.”
But Baker wouldn’t mind if the spirit of the 2004 Red Sox showed up suddenly in 2010.
|After Boston, Arroyo finally front and center for Reds||10.07.10 at 10:35 am ET|
PHILADELPHIA — This figures to be a much, much different playoff experience for Bronson Arroyo.
He was part of the greatest baseball story ever written when the Red Sox overcame the 3-0 hole against the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS and swept the Cardinals in the World Series, ending 86 years of suffering.
Arroyo, Cincinnati’s leader with a career-high 17 wins this season, starts Game 2 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park on Friday for the Reds. And they need him now more than ever after the Redlegs were no-hit and overpowered by the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 1 of the NLDS on Wednesday, 4-0.
Arroyo, of course, has seen drama before in his big league postseason career. He was the starting pitcher in Game 3 against the Yankees in 2004, the game that ended 19-8, Yankees but began the most historic comeback in baseball history. But many forget that he was also the pitcher who came on in the eighth inning of Game 6 to relieve Schilling, the inning that featured the infamous Alex Rodriguez swipe at Arroyo’s glove.
So will all of that help Friday?
“I think just a little bit,” Arroyo said. “I think it’s overplayed a little bit. Because at the end of the day after you get through that first inning, everything kind of settles down, you get into your comfort zone. You feel like it’s a normal game for the most part until you get into a couple of sticky situations.
“But as long as you can control your emotions and your adrenaline level early on in the ballgame, you’re going to be fine. I think a guy like Roy’s been playing the game for a long time. I don’t think he’s going to have any problems dealing with the environment.”
He pitched twice in the World Series triumph over the Cardinals (Games 1 and 4), earning a ring and a place in Red Sox lore.
“I’ve said over the last couple days, I think it’s going to be hard to top ’04 for anything I do in my career again,” Arroyo said. “But as far as just getting to the playoffs and feeling that you’re a bigger part of the ballclub, this is definitely sweeter for me.
“In Boston I was flying under the radar, I was riding on the coattails of Curt Schilling and Derek Lowe and Pedro Martinez. And they just expected me to go out and pitch five or six innings and give them a chance to win. Where on this club for the last four or five years, I’ve been in the front of the rotation, and I’ve had to shoulder a lot more responsibility.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Reds feel ‘due’ after Game 1 ‘nightmare’||at 9:20 am ET|
PHILADELPHIA — Dusty Baker has seen a lot of history in his days as a major league manager.
Baker was on-deck when Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth‘s home run record on April 8, 1974. He watched his San Francisco Giants experience heartbreak in the 2002 World Series when they lost a 5-0 lead in Game 6. And he was in the dugout the next year managing the Chicago Cubs in 2003 when Steve Bartman – not Moises Alou – caught a foul pop near the left field wall at Wrigley Field in Game 6 of the NLCS, just five outs away from Chicago’s first trip to the World Series since 1945.
So he’s certainly seen both sides of history before. That should help as he readies his team for Friday night’s Game 2 in South Philly. What he saw Wednesday in Philadelphia certainly qualifies as Roy Halladay became the second pitcher in MLB postseason history to throw a no-hitter with a 4-0 gem over his Cincinnati Reds.
Get over it? Baker thinks his team certainly can.
“Well, I mean, you have no choice,” he said. “It still counts as a loss, but that was a very dramatic loss. That is the best pitched game I’ve seen since I’ve been going to the playoffs and the World Series. You have no choice but to bounce back. You’ve got to put that one behind us. Figure we got beat by a great performance tonight.
“The thing about it is, you know, I don’t think he threw anything down the heart of the plate, everything was on the corners and moving. I don’t know what his percentage was, but it looked like he threw 90 percent for first pitch strikes. Any time you do that with the stuff he has, then he can go to work on you after that.”
Baker managed his Reds to a 91-71 record and the NL Central Division title. He was rewarded Monday with a two-year contract extension.
Was Baker even thinking of this possibility before the game with Halladay on the mound?
“No, if I was thinking of this scenario, it would be like a nightmare, and I don’t like having nightmares. This is the last thing on my mind. You know, last time I think we hit him pretty good in Cincinnati. He made the proper adjustments. He was working very quickly. No, like I said, you don’t want to get beat, number one, and you hate getting shutout, number two, and even worse, no hits.
“One thing’s for sure, we’re due to get a lot of hits after this game.”
The flip side of the experience coin is Reds outfielder Jay Bruce, whose dramatic homer leading off the ninth inning eight days earlier gave his Reds the division title, feels the Reds can bounce back. But Bruce also admitted something else. The Reds were stunned by what hit them – or more to the point – what they didn’t hit on Wednesday.
“You have to have a short memory,” said Bruce, whose fifth-inning walk was the only thing between Halladay and a perfect game. “None of these guys are going to be easy. It’s the playoffs and we’re all here for a reason. There’s a little shock factor right now I think but I fully expect us to be ready to go the next game.”
Bruce – in only his second full season at the age of 23 – has become a true spokesman for one of the landmark franchises in the sport. And what he said after Wednesday night’s game spoke to why even teammates 10 and 15 years older respect him so much.
“Honestly I don’t think it’s going to be a problem,” Bruce said of the Reds’ psyche. “We’re all grown men here and we can be professional enough to move on and get ready for the next game ahead of us because, and I’m not discounting anything Roy did, at the end of the day, it’s just a loss.”
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