Arroyo denied 10th victory despite giving 'max' effort
By Hal McCoy
CINCINNATI | Bronson Arroyo won his ninth game more than a month ago, June 19, and Thursday was his sixth attempt for a 10th win.
Mission Unaccomplished, despite eight innings of holding the New York Mets to two runs (two solo home runs), six hits, no walks, eight strikeouts and 12 straight retired at one point.
After falling behind, 2-0, the Reds tied it, 2-2, in the fifth and Arroyo was snarling after that — striking out the side in the sixth.
"After we tied, I pitched with more max effort," he said. "You don't do that in the beginning of a game. But when you get to a point in a game when you know you might not have too many innings left, you try to give everything you have to hold the lead or keep the game tied."
After striking out Carlos Beltran to end the eighth, his eighth strikeout, Arroyo pumped his fist.
"They ran seven left-handed hitters at me and they have a lot of power," he said. "Once you tie the game you don't want to let the team down and let them take the lead back. Sometimes that can break your spirit, so it was huge for me to get to the end of the eight at 2-2."
But the Mets scored two in the 10th off Gary Majewski and won, 4-2.
Working under cover
Aaron Harang didn't take a nap nor did he assault the snack room during Wednesday's 2 1/2-hour rain delay after he pitched the first two innings.
He tried to keep his arm loose after throwing 51 pitches in the first two innings and falling four runs behind.
"I kept throwing in the cages (next to the clubhouse) during the rain," he said. "First I threw 15 pitches. Then I threw 15 more. After about an hour, they told me I wouldn't go back out there so I threw 25 more pitches to give me my normal 100-plus pitches."
The fact that he gave up four runs on four hits, walked two and hit a batter in two innings indicated Harang didn't bring his 'A' game. His velocity was down, his breaking pitches weren't sharp and his command was amiss.
"No, I wasn't at my best," he said, sniffling. "I've been fighting an allergy or something and I haven't been sleeping well. I just wasn't hitting my spots, one of those bad days."
Speaking of Harang
Manager Jerry Narron laughed about what he saw when outfielder Austin Kearns was traded.
"Kearns was barely out of the door when Harang was grabbing about a dozen of his bats," said Narron.
"Only two," said Harang. "They were boxing them up and I figured I had to do something to find some hits." Actually, Harang has seven hits this year after going 2 for 74 (.027) last year.
"I've more than tripled by hit total," he said. "But that's not good. The pitchers are throwing me sliders now and that's not fair."
Catch this one
Until catcher David Ross comes off the disabled list, probably Sunday, the Reds aren't interested in talking trade concerning catcher Jason LaRue.
There was talk the Reds and Colorado Rockies might put together a deal that wsould send LaRue to the Rockies for left-handed relief pitcher Ray King. The Rockies, though, say they plan to call up a catcher from their minor-league system and the Reds are not interested in King, a guy who has made a career out of retiring the Reds, wherever he pitched.
With Ross out, the Reds have two catchers, but that didn't prevent manager Jerry Narron from using catcher Javier Valentin as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning Wednesday, then again in the eighth inning Thursday.
So, if LaRue had been injured or ejected, who would catch?
"Ryan Freel," said Narron. "And Chris Denorfia, who hasn't caught, said he would do it." And, of course, Scott Hatteberg was a catcher with the Boston Red Sox.
Freel hasn't caught, either, but said he wants to add it to his resume and Denorfia said, "I might have caught once or twice in Little League but that would be it. But, yes, I'd strap on the gear."
Who are you?
A dozen members of the media assumed the man sitting in a chair in the manager's office was a friend of Jerry Narron's as he politely listened to the postgame interview in the early hours Thursday morning after Wednesday's rain-delayed game.
When the media departed, the man remained in the chair and Narron walked over and said, "Hi, I'm Jerry Narron. Who are you?"
It was a fan who somehow slipped through security with the media mob and grabbed a prime seat to listen to Narron's comments. Security escorted him out.