|Johnny Cueto tips his cap to Red Sox after allowing career-high 13 hits in loss: ‘They just beat me’||08.21.15 at 10:52 pm ET|
If that was an audition, Johnny Cueto may want to petition for a do-over.
The Royals ace acquired from Cincinnati on the Sunday before the trade deadline was racked for a career-high 13 hits and seven runs – six earned – over six innings in a 7-2 Red Sox win Friday night at Fenway Park. For some perspective, Cueto hadn’t allowed double figure hits in a single outing since June 21, 2013, when he was tagged for 11 hits and seven runs in a loss to the Diamondbacks. One outing later, Cueto headed to the disabled list for two months with a lat strain, derailing Cincinnati’s hopes of a division title.
Both Cueto and his manager Ned Yost insisted afterward this was a one-game blip and not a warning flag.
“[He looked] completely comfortable,” Yost said. “He kept competing his tail but just wasn’t really sharp. He never stopped competing but he just wasn’t exceptionally sharp. He was competing through it. He just got some pitches up and got slapped the other way. Pitches hit up the middle. It was one of those nights.”
Cueto, who appeared to be stretching his side occasionally on the mound, said the outing was more about the Red Sox batters than his ineffectiveness.
“First of all, they made adjustments to me,” Cueto said. “I didn’t leave too many [pitches] up. But the ones I did leave up, they put good swings on them. They just beat me today. Those guys are major league baseball players and they’re in a major league lineup and they just beat me.”
To Cueto’s point, Mookie Betts set the tone by taking a Cueto slider the other way to right-center for a double to open the Boston first inning. He didn’t score but it was one of three hits for Betts on the night off Cueto. Blake Swihart went the other way in his first two at-bats against Cueto for base hits. The big adjustment? Look for Cueto’s nasty off-speed stuff and go to the opposite field and up the middle. It worked all night for the Red Sox, who made Cueto sweat on a humid night in Boston.
The capper was Josh Rutledge crushing a pitch from Cueto over the Green Monster in the sixth for a two-run homer that salted the game away. It was the fifth hit in six career at-bats for Rutledge off Cueto.
“It just a bad outing. I’m going to keep my head up and get ready for the next start,” Cueto said.
Just on Thursday, Cueto, who turns 30 in February, said he would want to come to Boston in 2016 as a free agent because the Red Sox are a championship-caliber contender. Maybe Cueto is also aware of just how much the Red Sox have hammered other “aces” this season, with the likes of Sonny Gray, Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez (2x), Chris Sale and Cole Hamels all going down to defeat to Boston.
|Cuban Missile Aroldis Chapman blows away Brock Holt, AL stars in remarkable show||07.15.15 at 1:35 am ET|
CINCINNATI — The Cuban Missile was deadly Tuesday night.
In the ninth inning of the American League‘s 6-3 win over the National League at Great American Ball Park, Reds closer Aroldis Chapman showed why he is one of the most feared pitchers in baseball, firing 14 pitches, averaging just over 101 mph.
Of the 14 pitches he threw, only two were below the century mark. He struck out the side in the ninth, starting out with Brock Holt, followed by Kansas City’s Mike Moustakas and capped off by a flame-throwing performance against New York Yankee Mark Teixeira.
“I feel really happy. I can’t describe it but I feel like I had so much fun,” Chapman said through an interpreter. “I want to do this. I’m happy I threw the ninth. I had a chance to show the fans and everybody else what they’re used to seeing every night, pitching the way I do.”
The opposing batters may not have felt the same way, at least not Holt, who was making his first career All-Star appearance in the batter’s box.
“As soon as I made the team, I kind of figured I would face Chapman,” Holt said. “I was trying to get mentally prepared for that about a week ago. It still didn’t help me out. I knew I would probably get an at-bat late and he would be throwing late. He’s not fun to face. You want to face the best and he’s one of them. It was fun.”
|Todd Frazier wins HR Derby in dramatic fashion: ‘I can’t let [Pete Rose] down’||07.14.15 at 12:24 am ET|
CINCINNATI — Fans in Cincinnati finally have a hero they can really rally around.
Todd Frazier pulled off one of the more dramatic finishes in 30-year history of the Home Run Derby here in his home of homer-friendly Great American Ball Park.
Needing 15 home runs in the final round to beat Dodger rookie sensation Joc Pederson, Frazier tied Pederson with a home run late in the final round and hit his first offering from his nervous brother, Charlie, to left to become the first player since the Cubs’ Ryne Sandberg in 1990 to win the contest in his home park.
The Frazier line drive to left sent off loud fireworks and pandemonium in the stands of the win-starved Cincinnati crowd. The PA, sounding like Yankee Stadium after a Yankee win, played Frank Sinatra’s “I Did It My Way” for the New Jersey native and Cincinnati hero.
“I had no clue they were going to do that,” said Frazier, who has Sinatra’s “Send Me To The Moon” as his walk-up music. “That was pretty nice. I do enjoy that music. It’s a beautiful thing once you win something. To hear that makes it even better.”
With the threat of rain, storms and lightning late in the evening, Major League Baseball decided to shorten each of the three rounds by a minute, from five to four. Frazier, who seemed gassed at times in each of the three rounds, found new energy just in time in each round, beating two-time champ Prince Fielder, 14-13, in the first round, Josh Donaldson, 10-9, in the second and Pederson, 15-14, in the final.
“It made for a little more opportunity,” Frazier said. “It meant you were going to have to pick the pace up a little bit. You swing at everyting, really, once you’re down. I felt like a little kid out there sometimes, in the backyard, swinging at everything. It was pretty cool.”
The Great American Ball Park crowd played a huge role in Frazier’s heroics. Starting with the first round, when he beat two-time champ Prince Fielder on a last-second blast to left, the crowd roared every ball over the fence. Frazier beat Josh Donaldson on another last-second shot in the second round before clubbing 10 home runs in the final three minutes to come from behind and beat Pederson.
“Big-time impact,” Frazier said of the 43,587 in the park. “Just hearing the crowd roar, call my name, adrenaline. And those last minutes of each round really picked me up and drive the ball out of the park a lot more. It was a lot of fun. I appreciate that a lot.”
|Jonathan Papelbon thinks both Pete Rose, Alex Rodriguez ‘100 percent’ belong in HOF||07.13.15 at 5:55 pm ET|
He thinks both should eventually have a place in Cooperstown.
The subject of Pete Rose and his 1989 lifetime ban from baseball for betting on games as a player-manager is again front and center this week here in his hometown. This past March, Rose formally reapplied for reinstatement. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said he was open to sitting down with Rose to discuss it. Some took that willingness to reopen the case as a sign that reinstatement might be around the corner.
ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” reported two weeks ago that there was new evidence that Rose bet on Reds’ games in 1986. Still, there is speculation that Manfred might be willing to listen to the argument for reinstatement and maybe, just maybe, that will lead to a discussion on whether he should be inducted in Cooperstown, which would have to come via the Veterans Committee.
The last time the All-Star Game was here in Cincinnati (1988), Rose was the manager of the Reds. Just over a year later, he was banished from the game in Aug. 1989 by then-Commissioner Bart Giamatti. Tuesday night, he will be permitted to take part in ceremonies in the park he never played or managed in.
“Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame, 100 percent, 100 percent,” Papelbon said. “If you don’t want to put him in as a manager, put him in as a player. He made mistakes as a manager but didn’t make mistakes as a player. Personally, I don’t think there’s no reason whatsoever why he shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame.”
Rodriguez was banned from baseball for the entire 2014 season for his role in the Biogenesis PED scandal. A-Rod is 5-for-17 in his career against Papelbon, including two home runs.
Papelbon, who will be in the bullpen for the National League on Tuesday night, was asked who should make the Hall first, Rose or Rodriguez?
“I would hope Pete Rose because he’s already waited long enough and Alex is still playing,” Papelbon said, before adding, “Alex is definitely a Hall of Famer for sure, 100 percent.”
|Ken Griffey Sr. recalls Fenway as ‘one of the best places to hit’||07.12.15 at 3:13 pm ET|
CINCINNATI — Most Boston fans fondly remember the 1999 All-Star Game at Fenway Park, featuring Pedro Martinez starting and striking out the side of the National League batters in the first inning and five altogether in the American League‘s 4-1 win.
But the previous night, it was Ken Griffey Jr. stealing the thunder from Mark McGwire and capturing the Home Run Derby. That was the night that McGwire put shot after shot onto the mobbed Lansdowne Street, only to have Junior beat McGwire in the final round.
Turns out, Junior’s dad was also a big fan of Fenway, too.
“It was one of the best places to hit in my career,” Ken Griffey Sr. said, before managing Team USA in the Futures Game here at Great American Ball Park. “I hit there toward the end of my career and really, really enjoyed it.”
Griffey has very good reason to have fond memories of Fenway. He doubled to left-center off Dick Drago with two out in the top of the ninth, scoring Dave Concepcion with the go-ahead run in a 3-2 Reds’ win that evened the series, 1-1, headed back to Cincinnati.
Then in the top of the ninth of Game 7, he worked a walk and scored the series-clinching run with two out when Joe Morgan blooped a single to center off Jim Burton.
Griffey then played for the Yankees from 1982 to midway through 1986, before being traded to the Braves. He finished his career playing in Seattle with his son in 1990-91. Overall, Griffey Sr. hit .411 in 23 regular season games (99 plate appearances) at Fenway, his best average at any MLB park.
“I hit well at Dodger Stadium, Yankee Stadium and of course Riverfront, too,” Griffey recalled Sunday.
His son, by comparison, hit .297 with eight homers in 73 games at Fenway. On Feb. 10, 2000, Junior was traded to the Reds for pitcher Brett Tomko, outfielder Mike Cameron, and minor leaguers Antonio Perez and Jake Meyer. Griffey signed a nine-year, $112.5M contract with the Reds after the trade was completed, with a club option for a tenth.
“People forget that the biggest reason he came home here to Cincinnati was that it was his hometown,” Griffey said of Junior agreeing to the trade in early 2000 that paved the way for his exit from Seattle. “He could’ve been a free agent and taken a lot more money from New York or Boston but he really wanted to play here.”
|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.
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