Bad Edinson Volquez shows up; Reds in trouble

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Edinson Volquez was pulled from Game 1 of the NLDS in the second inning with the Reds trailing the Phillies 4-0, leaving Cincinnati in a major hole against an obviously sharp Roy Halladay.
Reds manager Dusty Baker took a big risk in going with the volatile Volquez in Game 1. Volquez earned consideration for the assignment by reeling off four straight quality starts last month. Volquez, though, had four starts in which he had more earned runs allowed than innings pitched in 12 outings since returning from Tommy John surgery.
The safe play for Baker would have been Bronson Arroyo, who won 17 games this year. Arroyo, though, struggles against lefties and is 1-5 with a 5.54 ERA lifetime against the Phillies. He’ll go in Game 2 anyway.
The gutsy call would have been Travis Wood. Wood finished the year with a 3.51 ERA, and he pitched a one-hit shutout in his start against the Phillies back on July 10. Wood, however, was left out of the original rotation. He’s working in relief now trying to keep the Reds in the game, and if he’s successful, one has to figure he’ll be penciled in to start Game 4 should the series get that far.

Report: Nationals sign Joaquin Benoit to a one-year deal

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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Nationals have signed reliever Joaquin Benoit to a contract. Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post adds that it’s a one-year major league deal worth $1 million.

Benoit, 40, spent last season with the Phillies and Pirates. He put up a mediocre 4.65 ERA with a 46/22 K/BB ratio across 50 1/3 innings. Only 8/13 innings came with the Pirates as he dealt with a left knee injury that kept him out of action for much of the final month and a half. He also left the team in mid-September to attend to a family matter in the Dominican Republic.

Given his age and declining performance, as well as the Nationals’ bullpen depth, Benoit doesn’t figure to pitch in many high-leverage spots, but that could change with injuries.