Tag:Johnny Cueto
Posted on: June 8, 2011 4:02 pm
Edited on: June 8, 2011 4:33 pm

Hair's the difference for Volquez?

Edinson Volquez

By C. Trent Rosecrans

CINCINNATI -- Edinson Volquez may be the reverse Sampson -- cut your hair and pitch better.

Between his demotion to Triple-A and his call up to pitch on Tuesday, the Reds right-hander cut his dreadlocks and allowed just one run in seven innings against the Cubs in a Reds victory, his fourth of the year.

In 2007, the Rangers demoted Volquez and ordered him to cut his hair, but this time it was his own decision, sporting the dreads in his starts in Louisville.

"I love my hair, but it's too hot," Volquez said before Wednesday's game against the Cubs at Great American Ball Park, where the Reds gave out free cups of water and ice to fans because of the temperatures in the 90s.

After his start on Tuesday, Volquez joked to reporters that he'd kept his hair and would bring it in Wednesday. True to his word, he had a plastic bag with his dreadlocks in it.

Edinson Volquez

In the locker next to Volquez's, the dreadlocked Johnny Cueto shook his head and said his hair's not going anywhere. 

However, Volquez's return to a cleaner look may be just what he needed -- at least to the stats collected at the blog Mustached Baseball Head. According to the site, during his tenure with the Reds, Volquez is a better pitcher without the extra baggage under his cap.

Dreadlocked Volquez: 163 1/3 innings pitched, 93 runs, 90 earned runs, 140 hits, 105 walks, 167 strikeouts, 4.97 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 13 quality starts

Non-dreadlocked Volquez: 203 innings pitched, 83 runs, 71 earned runs, 174 hits, 95 walks, 211 strikeouts, 3.15 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 20 quality starts.

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Posted on: May 24, 2011 4:28 pm
Edited on: May 25, 2011 12:57 am

On Deck: Beckett looks to slow down Indians


By Matt Snyder

Are we in for a low-scoring night? From established aces like Justin Verlander and Dan Haren to up-and-comers like Jhoulys Chacin and Zach Britton, there are plenty of solid arms in action Tuesday night. In fact, there are 21 starting pitchers on the schedule with ERAs below 3.50 and 10 below 2.75 -- and this excludes Josh Collmenter (0.69) and Jorge De La Rosa (3.34), as the Rockies and Diamondbacks are already underway. Granted, some of the guys included are small samples like Johnny Cueto and Vance Worley, but it's still quite a night for good pitching.

Beckett vs. Red-Hot Tribe: It's pretty safe to say the Indians have been on a hot streak for the entire season, or at least at home. The Indians are the best team in baseball at 30-15 but are a ridiculous 19-4 at home. Asdrubal Cabrera stands out as the star of the team at this point, but he hasn't been carrying them or anything. This is a true team in every sense. Trying to slow the Indians down is Josh Beckett, in what should be a good battle. Beckett brings in an AL-best 1.73 ERA. He lost his first start of the season at Cleveland but has been on a different level since then, sporting a 1.38 ERA with 48 strikeouts in 52 1/3 innings. In four of those eight starts, he has allowed zero runs. In two more, he's allowed just one. Unstoppable force vs. immovable object? We'll see. Fausto Carmona (3-4, 4.76) toes the slab for the Tribe. Boston at Cleveland, 7:05 p.m. ET.

Opposite Directions: As Stats, Inc. pointed out Tuesday afternoon (via Twitter), the Twins are looking to avoid their longest home losing streak since they weren't even the Twins. A loss against the Mariners Tuesday evening would mark the 10th straight in Target Field and would match a franchise high ... with the 1957 Washington Senators. As always, the Twins entered the season with high expectations, but they're clearly the worst team in baseball at 15-31. Meanwhile, the Mariners are riding high. They were the consensus last-place prediction in the AL West heading into the season. But after six consecutive victories, they trail the Rangers by just 1 1/2 games in a division that seems completely up for grabs. For Tuesday night, it will be Doug Fister (2.93 ERA and 1.29 WHIP) for the Mariners vs. Nick Blackburn (3.40 ERA, 1.40 WHIP) of the Twins. As Monday night proved, however, the starting pitchers may not be what determines the outcome. Seattle at Minnesota, 8:10 p.m. ET.

Reeling Reds: After sweeping the Cardinals and Cubs at home by the middle of last week, the Reds were sitting pretty. They had won 11 of 13 overall and appeared to be opening up a decent lead in the NL Central. Then they lost two to the Pirates at home and were swept at Cleveland. After a 10-3 drubbing on Monday night at the hands of the Phillies, the Reds had lost six in a row and are now 3 1/2 games behind the Cardinals. Johnny Cueto (1.45 ERA in three starts) takes the hill and will attempt to stop the bleeding for Cincy. His counterpart will be Philly's rotation replacement Vance Worley, who has been stellar this season in somewhat limited action (1.13 ERA in 16 innings). Someone on the Reds you may not have noticed as they've been losing is Jay Bruce. The 24-year-old outfielder is white hot. He's gone 11-18 (.611) with four home runs, six RBI, five runs and a 1.983 OPS in his last five games. Cincinnati at Philadelphia, 7:05 p.m. ET.

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Posted on: May 15, 2011 4:59 pm
Edited on: May 15, 2011 6:35 pm

Reds-Cardinals end game in shouting match

By Matt Snyder

The bad blood between the Reds and Cardinals just keeps growing. Sunday, as the Reds polished off the Cardinals for a three-game sweep and control of the NL Central, a war of words broke out after the final out between the two teams.

On the Reds' end, it was Francisco Cordero with a little support from Johnny Cueto screaming into the Cardinals' dugout. I'm not a great lip reader, but it appeared Cordero politely (please note sarcasm) telling the Cardinals to go home. Cueto was more jovial for the most part, waving good-bye and smiling through most of the exchange.

On the Cardinals' end, it wasn't initially clear who was doing the yelling and about half the dugout seemed to be perplexed. After the game, however, reports indicated Gerald Laird was yelling at Cordero about hitting Albert Pujols in the wrist with a pitch. (Mark Sheldon via Twitter)

That's pretty ridiculous. I understand there are bad feelings from the Cardinals' dugout about the Reds, specifically Cueto and Brandon Phillips because of some comments and actions toward St. Louis last season. Rightfully so, considering Phillips called the Cardinals "little bitches" and Cueto was trying to kick people in the head with cleats during their brawl. But in this situation, there is no way the Reds wait until the top of the ninth and in the middle of a game-altering rally to dot Pujols on purpose. The Cards had already scored five runs to cut the lead to 9-7 and Pujols represented the tying run. With Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman being the next two hitters, putting Pujols on base on purpose is one of the dumbest possible things the Reds could do there -- aside from bringing in Aroldis Chapman, which had already been done to jump-start the rally. Both Cordero and catcher Ramon Hernandez said as much after the game to reporters.

“When you’re up by two, do you really want to put the tying run on first base with one out and Holliday and Berkman – one of the hottest hitters of the season so far?" Hernandez asked.

"Gerald Laird did not even play and he’s the one yelling at me because I hit Pujols 0-2 … 0-2," Cordero said. "I wasn’t trying to hit him. I’ve got to face Holliday next. They can take the lead with one swing. Lance Berkman is one of the great hitters in the National League. All I know is [Laird] was loud and saying something to me. I said something back to him."

Still, apparently there were some on the Cardinals who took issue with the pitch.

“We don’t like it when somebody like Albert gets hit, especially in that type of situation," said Cardinals acting manager Joe Pettini (all quotes via Mark My Word). "A lot of guys took offense to it, didn’t like it. That’s baseball. You pitch inside, but you better have a clue when you come inside. They took offense to it, we took offense to it, and the soap opera continues between these guys. There’s always something when you come in here.”

Maybe it was simply emotions after getting swept and losing first place, but any complaints coming from the Cardinals should be at their own failings in the past three games.

For the record, Pujols told reporters after the game he didn't think the hit-by-pitch was intentional. (Joe Strauss via Twitter)

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Posted on: May 14, 2011 10:30 am

On Deck: Beckett, Sabathia poised for showdown


By Evan Brunell

BEST MATCHUP: For the second straight day, Red Sox-Yankees highlight the proceedings. It's not East Coast bias, honest. It's the fact that Josh Beckett and CC Sabathia are going up against each other, and it's real hard to ignore their numbers on the season. This is shaping up to be a fantastic pitcher's duel as Beckett has roared back from a forgettable 2010 season to post a 1.99 ERA so far. Yep, his ERA is under 2.00, which places him third in the AL. He'll be opposed by Sabathia, who has been excellent as well with a 2.89 ERA for the Bombers. While the Red Sox can't reach .500 with the victory, they can strike panic in the heart of the Bronx by pulling to one win behind the club even if they'll remain two games back. That's because the Red Sox have played two more games on the year. Red Sox at Yankees, 7:10 p.m. ET

: Another game repeat from Friday's On Deck, but this one is a game the Cardinals have been wanting for a while. There's no love lost for Cueto in the Cardinals clubhouse. It's Cueto's first time on the mound since ending backup catcher Jason LaRue's career after a series of kicks to the head (yes, this really happened) during a brawl last August where Cueto felt himself cornered and lashed out -- it's also just Cueto's second start of the year after beginning the year on the DL and shining in his debut. "I don't think our guys have anything more than going out there trying to beat him," Cardinals acting manager Joe Pettini told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "What happened last year, I think, still leaves a mark. I think they remember and think about it." A motivated StL team will send Kyle McClellan to the hill, who is undefeated in his conversion to the rotation with a 5-0, 3.30 mark. He'll find it tough to keep other thoughts from creeping into his mind; he's bailing to St. Louis right after the game as his wife is expected to give birth to his first child, a daughter, on Sunday. St. Louis at Cincinnati, 4:10 p.m. ET

: The Angels have lost two straight; the Rangers have won two in a row including taking out the Angels on Friday night 4-1. Texas can leapfrog Los Angeles into first place with a victory but will have a hard road. The pitching matchup says it all, with Derek Holland (3-1, 5.18 ERA) going up against Dan Haren (4-2, 1.87 ERA). Haren boasts the best K/BB ratio in the majors, non-Phillies division, which is how we'll have to describe most accomplishments for the next few years. Anyways, he's got an even 7.00 rate with 56 whiffs and eight walks in 57 2/3 innings. Yeah, good luck, Texas. Angels at Rangers, 4:10 p.m. ET

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Posted on: May 8, 2011 11:33 pm

3 up, 3 down: Here's Johnny

By Matt Snyder

Johnny Cueto, Reds. For the second time in a week, a member of the Reds starting rotation returned from injury to make a solid season debut. Cueto's was even better than Homer Bailey's, as he worked six shutout innings, striking out four while only allowing five hits and a walk. He got in trouble a few times, but worked his way out. In a division that is clearly wide open, getting both Bailey and Cueto back will be a big shot in the arm for the defending Central champs.

Paul Konerko, White Sox. For the third time in his career, "Paulie" -- as homerific White Sox broadcaster Hawk Harrelson calls him -- collected five hits in a game. Yes, that's his career high. One of those hits was a double and Konerko added a run scored as the White Sox put togther two straight victories for the first time since April 25-26. Maybe it's what they need to get on track. There is certainly far too much talent to be playing sub-.400 ball.

Ryan Doumit, Pirates. The offensive-minded catcher entered an at-bat in the eighth inning having gone 0-2, but with one crack of the bat Doumit changed everything. A three-run jack put the Pirates up 5-4 and the lead held. The Pirates are now .500 on the season, which might not mean much to many teams, but the Pirates are still in the midst of a historically futile run of sub-.500 seasons. It's really early in the season, but being .500 after 34 games is a testament to the good young talent the Pirates are bringing along. They aren't going to make a playoff run this year or next, but they are on the road to respectability.

Cody Eppley/Yorvit Torrealba, Rangers. Yes, it appears the Rangers got jobbed on a call at first base to allow Nick Swisher an infield single in the Yankees' half of the eighth. First baseman Mike Napoli crossed over the bag and may have nipped it with the ends of his toes and the umpire called Swisher safe, saying Napoli completely missed the bag. It may have been a bad call, but it wasn't blatant. After that call, Eppley unraveled. The blow-by-blow following the play reads: single, single, home run (a grand slam by Francisco Cervelli), ground out, walk, home run by Mark Teixeira. Mercifully, Eppley was finally removed after that. A 6-5 deficit was now 12-5. To lead off the following inning, Torrealba was retired and made a fool of himself going nuts on the first base umpire, getting tossed in the process. So apparently he thought it was the umpire's fault? Give me a break.

Rockies' offense. The Rox were held to seven runs in a three-game series against the Giants, which normally would be forgiveable, but they didn't face Tim Lincecum in the stretch and were handcuffed by Ryan Vogelsong Sunday. Yes, the same Vogelsong who entered Sunday with a career ERA of 5.79 and could only get through four innings against the Mets last time out. He even had a perfect game through five against the now-punchless Colorado offense. The Rockies have lost four in a row and six of seven. There are several problems on the team -- such as late-inning relief pitching -- but they've got to hit the ball better than this. Of course, things could be worse ... see below.

Brewers' offense. The Brewers just concluded a 10-game road trip where they were shut out three times and scored only once three other times (like Sunday in a 3-1 loss). Kyle McClellan might have a 5-0 record, but he entered the game having allowed 14 hits, four walks and nine earned runs (7.59 ERA) in his past two starts. One of those bad outings came against the Astros, too. And he took a shutout into the ninth against these Brewers, who are supposed to have a strong offense. Of course, Yuniesky Betancourt hitting sixth should tell you all you need to know. It's not a deep lineup. And Prince Fielder is gone after this season. Meanwhile they've traded away virtually every decent prospect to make a run this season and are 14-20. Things need to turn around. Fortunately the Brewers return home -- where they're 8-5 -- for a six-game homestand against the Padres and Pirates. It could make them right. We'll see.

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Posted on: May 6, 2011 8:09 pm
Edited on: May 6, 2011 8:53 pm

Mike Leake could excel in long relief role


By Evan Brunell

Mike Leake was bumped from the rotation to the bullpen several days ago to make way for Johnny Cueto's return to the rotation Sunday. Cueto is finally over his injury troubles and coupled with Homer Bailey's own return to the staff has created some recent roster shuffling as the Reds try to get the rotation into gear. Until then, Baker's happy to have both Leake and Sam LeCure as long relievers.

"We were going to start the season with [Leake] as the long man and my sixth starter -- don't send him out to the Minor Leagues yet," Baker told MLB.com. "That's why we sent [Matt] Maloney down to get stretched out. The way my starters have been going, I've got him and [Sam] LeCure. I've got two long guys, which is what we need right now. Once they [in the rotation] start humming again, we'll deal with that when they get there. We've got to start humming first."

Baker feels as if Leake could be quite a find in the bullpen despite giving up eight earned runs in 2 2/3 innings last season in his stints as a reliever near the end of the year when Cincinnati was trying to manage the righty's innings. However, Baker brings up some good points as to why Leake may be ready to succeed as a long man.

"I think he'll be a very good long man. He stays in shape. He comes in, he throws strikes. He's keeping the ball down to get double plays," Baker said. "I don't have to hit for him if he comes up like you do a lot of relievers, because he can hit. Therefore, he can extend that part of my bullpen out, unlike a lot of guys.

"In the second half [of last year] and this year, he's had a little trouble with the lineup about the third time around. To me, that equals, in theory, a perfect long man."

Baker's right. A perfect long man would be someone who can chew up innings, and what better than someone who keeps the game moving by throwing strikes. The ability to have Leake stay in the lineup when he comes up to bat is a big one and will do nothing but improve his chances of staying on the mound.

But is Baker right about Leake struggling with the lineup the third time around? 


The first time around the order, Leake performs impressively, giving up an opponent batting line of .255/.310/.385. He keeps up the good times the second time through, actually limiting batters to less extra-base hits but also coughing up more walks for a .253/.333/.382 line. But then the wheels fall off, with a .324/.365/.500 mark his third time through. You don't want to see the numbers for the fourth-plus time through.

Cincinnati has eyes on winning the division, so needs to maximize the contributions of every player on the staff. With that in mind, Leake does appear to be a great option as a long reliever and sixth starter who can step into the rotation in a pinch, allowing the Reds to avoid making a quick roster transaction. But it's not the best use of his abilities as Leake must figure out a way to limit batters turning into Robinson Cano. He can't do that without practice.

That's why, while Leake may be a better pitcher than Sam LeCure, he could find himself optioned to Triple-A once Baker and the Reds feel comfortable with the rotation. That will allow Leake to get stretched back out as insurance and also enable him to work on his issues the third time through the order.


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Posted on: May 4, 2011 1:38 am
Edited on: May 4, 2011 1:45 am

3 up, 3 down: Liriano's no-no

Francisco Liriano
By C. Trent Rosecrans


Francisco Liriano, Twins -- I'm making a new rule here, you throw a no-hitter, you get in 3 up, 3 down. I'm sure Francisco appreciates it. A tip of the cap to White Sox starter Edwin Jackson, who was pretty good, too. Jackson gave up one run on six hits in eight innings.

Daniel Descalso, Cardinals -- The infielder's first career homer, a three-run shot off of Clay Hensley in the seventh inning, gave the Cardinals the lead, and ultimately the 7-5 victory over the Marlins. Descalso was 2 for 3, playing second and third in the game.

Raul Ibanez, Phillies -- Ibanez snapped an 0-for-35 streak with a fourth-inning ground-rule double off of the Nationals' Livan Hernandez. He added another double in the seventh inning that scored a run in the Phillies' 4-1 victory. He's now hitting a robust .168.


Mike Leake, Reds -- After Tuesday night's performance, the Reds announce Leake would be headed to the bullpen to make room for Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey to return to the rotation. Leake allowed seven runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings in a 10-4 loss to the Astros, but he did strike out five in that short time.

Rangers bullpen -- The Rangers' Pedro Strop gave up leads in the seventh and eighth inning as the Rangers lost in an opponent's final at-bat for the sixth time this season and second time in a row, also losing to the A's in the 10th inning on Monday. Darren Oliver allowed Hideki Matsui's walkoff on Monday, and gave up an RBI single to Jack Cust on Tuesday to score the winning run (even though it was charged to Strop). Neftali Feliz is scheduled to return soon, and it won't be too soon for the Rangers.

Josh Thole, Mets -- With bases loaded and one out in the ninth inning, the Mets catcher did the one thing his team couldn't afford him to do -- ground into a double play. The Mets then lost the game in the 10th on Aubrey Huff's homer off of Taylor Buchholz. Thole also had a throwing error in the fourth inning the helped lead to a Giants' run.

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Posted on: May 4, 2011 12:27 am
Edited on: May 4, 2011 12:27 am

NL Central rotations returning to normal

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Homer BaileyThe National League Central is slowly getting its pitchers back.

Milwaukee will get its first chance to see former Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke in the second game of the team's double header in Atlanta on Wednesday, while the Reds announced Homer Bailey and Johnny Cueto will return to the rotation this week.

Bailey, pictured, returns on Thursday, while Johnny Cueto will start Sunday at Wrigley Field against the Cubs. Cincinnati had planned on giving Cueto another rehab start before activating him from the disable list, but Mike Leake's clunker on Tuesday may have sped up Cueto's timetable.

Leake allowed seven runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings against the Astros on Tuesday and will likely be moved to the bullpen to serve as the long reliever, with Sam LeCure headed to Louisville in time for the Kentucky Derby.

"Coming out of spring training, [Leake] was going to be our long guy," Baker told reporters, including John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. "He performed well in those other guys' absence. Tonight was the first time he got whacked around in a while."

Bailey has looked good in his rehab starts, starting three games and allowing just one run on 11 hits in 16 2/3 innings, while striking out 14 and walking four. Cueto's made four starts for Triple-A Louisville, going 0-2 with a 6.28 ERA, allowing 10 earned runs (12 total) on 19 hits in 14 1/3 innings, striking out 13 and walking six.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com