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OnBaseMachine
08-07-2008, 12:52 AM
Baker not worried about Volquez's slide

By Doug Harris

Staff Writer

Thursday, August 07, 2008

CINCINNATI Reds rookie pitchers may be inclined to conserve some energy to get through the strain of their first full seasons in the majors, but Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker would like to see them expend a little more.

"I tell our young pitchers all the time to run," Baker said. "Run, run, run, run, run.

"I remember watching Ferguson Jenkins in Chicago, and he'd run from line to line every game. Why'd he throw 300 innings? He ran.

"When I was with the Dodgers, Don Sutton, Tommy John, Rick Sutcliffe, they'd all take off before BP (batting practice) up a hill and they didn't come back until after BP. Guys get hurt doing that artificial stuff, the stationary bike and stair-climbers. I'm not saying they're bad, but there's no substitute for running."

Many wonder whether Edinson Volquez is feeling the effects of a long season, but Baker doesn't believe the right-hander's problems stem from fatigue.

In four starts since his All-Star game appearance, Volquez has allowed 19 runs (15 earned) in 201/3 innings, and his record has dropped to 13-5 while his ERA has climbed to 2.93.

He's pitched 138 inning this season, the most on the Reds, but that figure isn't even close to being in the top 10 in the National League. He played winter baseball, but he tossed just 82/3 innings in the Dominican Republic.

"That's not that many innings, and his velocity is still good," Baker said. "What's happened is he's set the bar so high for himself, No. 1. And No. 2, the league makes adjustments to you after watching film. These guys aren't going to let you keep getting them out. It's up to you to make adjustments."

Although he pitched a combined 1782/3 innings in 2007, including 34 for Texas, Volquez has complained of late that he hasn't had the same command of his pitches.

"Yeah, but who does?" Baker said. "It isn't called the dog days of August because it's April. Sometimes you've got to go into uncharted waters to learn. As long as you aren't hurt, you have to pull through it. Sometimes you have to give the dudes on the other side some credit. You have to make an adjustment. He'll make it."

Asked if he still sees the 25-year-old Volquez becoming a dominant pitcher, Baker replied: "Why not? It's his first year in this league. Not many guys have broken into the league the way he has. What am I going to do, jump off now because he's had a couple bad starts? He's still at the top of the league in a lot of stuff. He's fallen off strikeout wise, but he's still learning."

Manager likes aroma

Baker had a scented candle burning in his office when he greeted reporters before Wednesday's game, a gift from his wife.

Asked if the candle was intended to provide a little tranquility amid a losing spell, Baker shook his head and said, "It makes my room smell good."

He wasn't kidding.

"I have it in my contract that I get some fragrant flowers in my room on the road," he said. "They're supposed to be nonsmoking rooms, but someone is always smoking those cigars."

Sticking with relief

The Reds are desperate for quality starting pitchers, but new acquisition Nick Masset, who was part of the Ken Griffey Jr. trade, will remain in the bullpen for now.

The right-hander has a 3.60 ERA in five innings with the Reds.

"His endurance isn't up to starting. It's a little late in the year to get there," Baker said.

"But he's strong as a bull. I like what I see in Masset. He wants the ball. He isn't scared. He looks like a tough guy to me. You need tough guys."

http://www.daytondailynews.com/s/content/oh/story/sports/pro/reds/2008/08/06/ddn080708spredsnotes.html

OnBaseMachine
08-07-2008, 12:53 AM
And an article with some nice quotes from Bruce.

Bruce regains control of strike zone; Reds still lose
Rookie blasts his 11th homer, extends hitting streak to 10 games in a 6-3 loss to Brewers.

By Doug Harris

Staff Writer

Thursday, August 07, 2008

CINCINNATI Jay Bruce never had a hitting slump during his meteoric rise through the minors, not at Dayton, not at Sarasota, not at Chattanooga, not at Louisville.

But soon after a torrid start with the Cincinnati Reds this season, the 21-year-old outfielder fell into a funk.

"When I was going bad, it was just a matter of having a consistent approach and, really, swinging at strikes," Bruce said.

"You don't have to do anything you're not capable of. You just have to stay consistent. You look at the great hitters in the game, and they're all consistent. Go pull up the video right now, and they're not swinging at stuff all over the place. They're staying within the strike zone and staying within their means."

Bruce is back to swinging only at strikes and few are getting past him. Although the Reds dropped a 6-3 decision to the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday, Aug. 6, "B-r-u-u-u-u-ce" cheers again reverberated through the ball park.

He extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a two-run homer to center (his 11th) and an opposite-field double to left. He's hitting .361 in that span, lifting his average to .276.

He also was a defensive wizard. He made a lunging catch in right field and threw out a runner who had ventured too far off first. He later uncorked a perfect peg to the plate for another double play.

"I take pride in my defense, and, obviously, I take pride in hitting, but I take more pride in a win," he said somberly.

Bruce batted .591 in his first six games after being called up May 27, but he hit just .223 in June.

"We've had many discussions about being in command of the strike zone," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He's a very good pupil. He listens and responds and remembers and recalls. That's what you want young players to do be coachable and retain what you're telling them and take it to the field. That's what he's doing."

The Reds may be trying to educate pitcher Homer Bailey, but the lessons aren't sinking in. Although he reached the mid-90s with his fastball, he surrendered six runs (all earned) on eight hits and three walks in 51/3 innings while falling to 0-6.

"I stuck with him to try to get him this victory," Baker said. "It's called building young men into men and young pitchers into pitchers. That's what we're trying to do here, trying to accelerate the time process for them being big-league pitchers and big-league players."

http://www.daytondailynews.com/s/content/oh/story/sports/pro/reds/2008/08/06/ddn080708spreds.html

WVRedsFan
08-07-2008, 01:11 AM
Two comments...

Dusty's right. Volquez will be fine. He just needs to settle down and become a thinking pitcher. I get the feeling that he does things on instinct, like a lot of this team.

As for Bruce, he'll be fine too. He may not be the superstar many thought he would be, but he'll be solid. He's just 21 after all.

I look for Homer to head back to Louisville soon. Tomorrow's pitching matchup between Fogg and Oswalt is the classic mismatch. Unfortunately, bad pitching rears its ugly head again, at least on paper. Pray for a miracle.

OnBaseMachine
08-07-2008, 03:28 AM
As for Bruce, he'll be fine too. He may not be the superstar many thought he would be, but he'll be solid. He's just 21 after all.


I've seen nothing from Bruce to suggest to me that he won't be a star. I don't want to pin too high of hopes on him but I've been very, very impressed with his whole skill set. He's got a good chance to develop into one of the better players in the league for a long time IMO.

Jpup
08-07-2008, 05:40 AM
In 5 years, Jay Bruce will likely be the best hitter in the game. Just my opinion.

oneupper
08-07-2008, 06:28 AM
In 5 years, Jay Bruce will likely be the best hitter in the game. Just my opinion.

...and heading for Free Agency.

redsmetz
08-07-2008, 09:15 AM
As for the running comment by Baker, wasn't that Tom Seaver's mantra too. As I recall, his explosive pitching was due to the strength of his legs (and I recall him saying that if one knee - can't remember which one) wasn't dirty from touching the ground, he knew his mechanics were off).

MWM
08-07-2008, 09:24 AM
I just assumed all major league pitchers ran quite a bit. Even when I played in high school, our pitchers were always running. We'd be taking infiled, batting practice, etc... and they'd be running around the complex. I thought it was commonplace.

oneupper
08-07-2008, 09:26 AM
As for the running comment by Baker, wasn't that Tom Seaver's mantra too. As I recall, his explosive pitching was due to the strength of his legs (and I recall him saying that if one knee - can't remember which one) wasn't dirty from touching the ground, he knew his mechanics were off).

It would have to be the right (trailing) knee. I read one of Seaver's books, I think he mentioned this.

Jim Bouton, OTOH was adamant about his dislike for running in Ball Four.

redsmetz
08-07-2008, 09:45 AM
I just assumed all major league pitchers ran quite a bit. Even when I played in high school, our pitchers were always running. We'd be taking infiled, batting practice, etc... and they'd be running around the complex. I thought it was commonplace.

I think that was because really nobody wanted them around.... :D

Spring~Fields
08-07-2008, 12:58 PM
I've seen nothing from Bruce to suggest to me that he won't be a star. I don't want to pin too high of hopes on him but I've been very, very impressed with his whole skill set. He's got a good chance to develop into one of the better players in the league for a long time IMO.


"I tell our young pitchers all the time to run," Baker said.

Pitching expert is he ? Is he calling the pitches from the dugout too ?


"We've had many discussions about being in command of the strike zone," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He's a very good pupil. He listens and responds and remembers and recalls. That's what you want young players to do — be coachable and retain what you're telling them and take it to the field. That's what he's doing."

Hitting expert now too, is he ? Patterson, Votto, Dunn, Bruce, Encarncion ? His advice? I get tired of him taking the credit for guys who pitched or hit well long before they ever met Baker, then seem to go into some long slump, after his admitted advice, then these types of quotes come out eventually, where Baker acknowledges that he has said and done etc. What''s the common fan complaint about swinging at bad pitches, no hits, no runs, no RISP, etc. ???

Reds notebook
For Burton, shoulder becomes a real pain; Strained muscle continues to foil RH's comeback

Jared Burton had no idea that a little pain in the back of his shoulder was going to lead to nearly a month on the shelf.

"It's frustrating," Burton said. "I was going to try to test it Monday in a game situation but it wouldn't cooperate."

Burton has a strained lat muscle. It happened when he started throwing again after a long delay in the July 6 game with Washington.
Burton pitched once since then, an inning July 9.

The Reds hoped that shutting Burton down for the three-game series right before All-Star break along with the All-Star break itself would do the trick.
Three weeks later, Burton is still struggling with the injury.

"It feels good when I long toss," he said. "But when I get on the mound and go at game speed, I feel it."

Burton did not throw Tuesday or Wednesday. He'll resume throwing today.

Burton, the 27-year-old right-hander, was the Reds' most consistent reliever before the injury. He's 4-1 with a 2.23 ERA in 43 games.

HARANG PLAN: Aaron Harang isn't sure what the next step is for him.
"I haven't sat down and talked to them," he said.
Harang pitched six innings of shutout ball for Triple-A Louisville in a rehab start Monday.

The decision will be whether he makes another rehab start or simply rejoins the rotation.
Harang has been on the DL since July 13 with a right forearm strain.

"I feel fine," he said. "It's just a matter of what we decide to do."

Harang's day would be Sunday. Edinson Volquez is scheduled to start that day. If they push Volquez back, he'd have two extra days because of Monday's off day.

ROOKIE STARTS: Homer Bailey's start Wednesday was the 34th by a rookie for the Reds this year.
The rookies - Bailey, Johnny Cueto and Daryl Thompson - are a combined 7-19 with a 5.71 ERA.

WHAT ABOUT MERCKER: Kent Mercker (back) is eligible to come off the 60-man DL at any time.

"I probably could throw today," Mercker said. "But we're probably going to wait until September because of the roster. It's good some days and bad others."

http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080807/SPT04/808070358/1071&GID=99LkDj7/x9I21bNK4V5GMvExfFoBrCcsfIoX5dGg70w%3D


Baker hitting and pitching coach ? Does he call the pitches from the dugout too?

Has he had an effect on Cueto, Bailey, and now Volquez? Harang and Burton ?

Has he had an effect on Phillips, Dunn, Votto, Bruce and others?

I did not realize that Baker was a multi-talented specialist in hitting, pitching and fielding.

Everywhere that I read, it is Baker said, Baker said, Baker said, as if it is some expert testimony on all facets of baseball.

I look for the results and what do we see but a team that has been fading since April.

I wonder if he wants credit for the fielding that he and his expert fielding coach have sustained with the current Reds ?

Cincinnati W 52 L 63 WPCT .452 GB 17 RS 496 RA 578 DIFF -82

VR
08-07-2008, 02:02 PM
Candles. That's what Redszone needs right now. And flowers. Candles and flowers.