Reds pitching is taking a beating. 15 runs on Thursday and another 10 yesterday. But the ball really travels here and the fielders have really had a tough time with the high sky. We've seen several fly balls and pop ups misplayed by the defense. So I'm not super worried; mostly everyone says Spring Training stats don't matter that much. What does worry me, however, is the injuries. Cueto is out to start the year and now we learn Bailey will start the season on the D/L. (I don't know why he didn't mention that to me when I met him yesterday; must not have realized I was a blogger.) And now Arroyo has mono. (Good thing Rachel only shook his hand yesterday when we met him.)
That leaves Volquez, Leake, and Wood as guys that started ST with a shot at the rotation. Presumably, Arroyo will be back by the third game (he never misses a start, right?) And we read yesterday that LeCure (who we'll see today against the Giants and Tim Lincecum in Scottsdale) as the fifth starter. Maloney has a shot, but he got roughed up for three runs on six hits in two innings yesterday. We'll see how LeCure does today.
That's the thing about being here, live, though. The stats don't tell the story. In a regular game the only thing that matters is did you get the job done. But here, how you pitch matters. Maloney pitched a great 8th, getting a double play after a pretty lucky hit, and then getting the first two guys routinely in the 9th. Then the Pads strung together a couple of hits and, all of a sudden, it's three more runs. Again, the stats just don't tell the story.
Volquez gave up five straight hits to start the game, but escaped the first having given up only two runs. He gave up only one more on a home run to Ryan Ludwick, pitching a total of 5 innings. Another potential run was cut down at the plate on a nice throw to home by Jay Bruce to preserve, at least for the moment, a two-two tie.
Bruce and Gomes then doubled back-to-back for the Reds third run and they had the lead. But it didn't last and the Reds went down 10-4.
Our host, Brandon Phillips, played yesterday. He started at second and batted lead-off. He struck out in the bottom of the first, but singled in the Reds' first run in the third in his only other at bat. He made a very nice play in the field (what else is new?) to save a run and end the fifth and keep the game tied before leaving for Miguel Cairo.
We got to go bowling with BP last night (I will do a full recap of the trip that's less baseball and more about how great a host Brandon has been at the end of the trip) and I got to ask him a "work question." What a treat for me to get to talk baseball with an All-Star, Gold Glover, 30-30 guy like BP. He explained to me his entire approach to the game. In the first, he took some extra pitches to see what the pitcher had. (Casey Kelly was the pitcher, the top prospect the Pads got in the A-Gon trade.) He was getting breaking stuff in and hard stuff away. Because of the extra takes, BP ended up in the hole and took a strike out.
But the next time up, with a guy on second, he singled through the hole at second for an rbi, and the Reds' first run. To me, it looked like he intentionally went the other way. He confirmed this to me at the bowling alley. He knew he'd get a fastball away, and saw the second baseman cheating toward the bag. So basically, he risked a strikeout to get more information on the pitcher in his first at bat, that he then used to drive in a big run when he had a runner in scoring position.
As I mentioned, we're off to Scottsdale to see the Reds take on the Giants. Look for a recap of that game tomorrow.
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