Tag: Joey Votto

Starling Marte

Mark Melancon owes Starling Marte a nice steak dinner


Pirates closer Mark Melancon has been pretty good this season. Great, in fact. He entered play Friday having strung together 21 consecutive scoreless appearances and hadn’t allowed an earned run since May 11. As a result, he was 32-for-33 in save situations with a 1.32 ERA in 47 2/3 innings.

Melancon’s streak was in danger of ending on Friday night against the Reds. Staked to a one run lead, he took the mound in the bottom of the ninth, but immediately served up a leadoff single to Brandon Phillips. Jason Bourgeois laid down a bunt to move Phillips into scoring position. The red-hot Joey Votto drew a walk, putting the potential winning run on first base and bringing 2015 Home Run Derby champion Todd Frazier to the plate.

Frazier ripped a single past a diving Aramis Ramirez into left field. Marte fired a strong one-hopper to catcher Francisco Cervelli, who easily applied the tag to Phillips for the second out of the inning. Votto, now the potential tying run, stood on second base as Marlon Byrd stepped to the plate.

Byrd lined a 3-2 breaking ball towards Marte in left field. Marte ranged to his right and dove, snagging the sinking liner just before it could make contact with the grass at Great American Ballpark. On consecutive plays, Marte’s defense allowed the Pirates to walk away 5-4 winners and he kept Melancon’s scoreless streak alive.

It looks like Marte might’ve dinged up his wrist in making the catch. Hopefully it’s nothing a nice steak dinner — on Melancon’s tab — can’t help heal.

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights


Yankees 21, Rangers 5: Well this was a ridiculous game. Down 5-0 after one inning, every Yankees fan I know on Twitter was giving up, changing the channel and/or cursing Chris Capuano, who didn’t even make it through that first inning. Then the Yankees put up an 11-spot in the second, capped by a Chris Young grand slam, and never looked back. It was 98 degrees at game time and this one lasted three hours, thirty-eight minutes. Rangers pitchers needed 97 more pitches to get through nine innings than the Yankees pitchers did. The box score looks like a crime scene. I’m gonna nominate this one for the least-fun game of the year in Major League Baseball.

Athletics 2, Dodgers 0: Sonny Gray tossed a three-hit, complete game shutout, striking out nine and lowering his ERA to 2.16. I watched this one. Because of the pace it was the rare west coast start I could see (almost) all of before falling asleep. That’s quite a brag for a 42-year-old guy who wakes up at 5:30 every day.

Orioles 7, Braves 3: Two homers and five driven in for Chris Davis and another crap road performance for Julio Teheran. Dude has a 2.37 ERA at Turner Field and a 7.24 ERA on the road. He must REALLY not like hotels.

Phillies 3, Blue Jays 2: Adam Morgan gave up a leadoff homer and found himself down 2-0 after two, but Philly came back with three in the fifth inning and then Ken Giles closed it out for his first save in the post-Papelbon era. The Phillies are on fire, having won 9 of 10 since the break. If they win out that’s 99 wins and I bet that would take the NL East this year. Just sayin’.

Royals 2, Indians 1: Not gonna say things are going great for the Royals right now, but things are going great for the Royals right now:


White Sox 9, Red Sox 4: Jose Abreu and Geovany Soto homered for Chicago. Soto’s broke the windshield of a car parked in a lot behind the Green Monster. Abreu’s caused this:


If you catch a ball going over the fence, you automatically become a wide receiver and have to maintain possession. Sorry, Mookie, them’s the breaks. In other news, Jeff Samardzija was solid until he ran out of gas in the ninth. Not that it matters much, but Chicago moved into sole possession of third place, a game ahead of the skidding Tigers.

Rays 10, Tigers 2: Did you hear the Tigers are skidding? Because they are. This time even their ace David Price couldn’t help them, with the Rays touching him for five runs in six innings. They touched the pen pretty good too, for five more runs in three, with Neftali Feliz doing most of the kerosene-spreading. He’s the Tigers’ big trade deadline pickup so far, you guys.


Mets 4, Padres 0: Noah Syndergaard was fantastic, retiring the first 18 Padres to start the game. He finished the game having only allowed three hits and no walks while striking out nine over eight innings. The Mets are only one back of Washington, who . . .

Marlins 4, Nationals 1: . . . lost to the Fish. Jose Fernandez worked around four walks in six innings, ending up allowing only one run. He’s now 15-0 for his career in Miami.

Rockies 7, Cubs 2: All-Star D.J. LeMahieu had three hits, extending his hitting streak to 18 games, and scored twice as the Rockies move to 1-0 in the Post-Tulowitzki era. The starting pitchers in this one were named Dallas Beeler and Yohan Flande. Those sound like hockey players, right? I’m pretty sure they’re hockey players.

Pirates 8, Twins 7: Jung Ho-Kang hit a tie-breaking homer in the ninth to give the Pirates their fourth win in five games. He had two hits, scored two runs and was hit by a pitch. His pickup is looking like one of the better ones of last offseason, especially given the Pirates infield injuries. Mark Melancon got the five-out win. Not a lot of closers, save situation or otherwise, are allowed to get five outs these days.

Astros 10, Angels 5: The AP gamer leads with “Jose Altuve is the spark plug that powers the Houston Astros.” Sadly, nfor now anyway, he is only the second-best spark plug in Astros history. No word on whether he’s “gritty.” He’s good, though, and here he drove in five runs as Houston takes the first in a key three-game series against the Angels, putting them in a virtual tie for first place. Houston overcame an early 4-1 deficit in this one. Mike Trout sat this one out with a bum wrist. Bad time for the best player in baseball to be on the shelf. He’s day to day.

Reds 4, Cardinals 0: Mike Leake’s final audition for other teams went well, as he tossed eight shutout innings. Joey Votto was the primary supporting player here, hitting a three-run homer on this 3-for-3 night. He walked too.

Diamondbacks 8, Mariners 4: David Peralta had three hits and drove in two in support of Zack Godley. There are an awful lot of Zacks/Zachs in Major League Baseball today. Really, I think we’ve reached Peak Zack.

Brewers 5, Giants 2: Wily Peralta pitched in a big league game for the first time in two months and he pitched well, allowing two runs over six innings and cooling off the hot Giants. Gerardo Parra tripled, doubled, singled and scored three runs.

“The fire sale is in full swing” for the Cincinnati Reds

GOODYEAR, AZ - FEBRUARY 22: President and General Manager Walt Jocketty of the Cincinnati Reds speaks with the media during a press conference at the Cincinnati Reds Development Complex on February 22, 2010 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

Cincinnati is still feeling some positive vibes from a highly successful week of All-Star festivities, but big business is underway in the executive offices at Great American Ball Park. This comes from John Fay’s latest in the Cincinnati Enquirer

The fire sale is in full swing. The Reds have put all the players they [are] willing to part with on the shelf. Owner Bob Castellini has given go-ahead to trade as needed.

Reds general manager Walt Jocketty has stated that Home Run Derby hero Todd Frazier will not be traded, and we can probably rule out Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, and Homer Bailey because of their contracts (and other factors). But it seems plausible that Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, Aroldis Chapman, Jay Bruce, Marlon Byrd, Skip Schumaker, and Brayan Pena could all be on the move ahead of the July 31 trade deadline. Cueto and Leake definitely because of their status as big-ticket impending free agents.

Fay notes that Jocketty’s approval rating has “eroded” in Cincy, so this is going to be an important couple of weeks for him personally. It’s also an important couple of weeks for the organization, which has been in bad need of a rebuild. The club’s record as of Sunday morning was 40-48. And the farm system isn’t great.

Reds only hurting themselves batting Billy Hamilton ninth

Billy Hamilton, Josh Harrison

At what point does speed outweigh a lousy OBP?

Joe Morgan was fond of saying that speed was the No. 1 factor in searching for a leadoff hitter. Statheads used to believe that OBP was everything, that it made far more sense to put a slow guy with a big OBP in the leadoff spot than a fast guy who didn’t get on base.

Billy Hamilton pretty much sucks at getting on base. But he’s so ridiculously good when he does get on that he’s a viable leadoff hitter anyway.

Hamilton has hit leadoff for the Reds 36 times this year and scored 27 runs in those games. Brandon Phillips, though, has been leading off while healthy these last seven weeks. He’s scored 19 runs in 37 games leading off.

Of course, that’s not really a valid test of speed versus OBP. Oddly enough, both have .280 OBPs in their time batting leadoff. Both have also hit three homers as leadoff man, so that doesn’t really factor in. And while Phillips isn’t quite a burner these days, he’s actually gone 6-for-7 stealing bases from the leadoff spot.

The run totals, even if they’re a bit fluky, suggest that Hamilton should be leading off for the Reds. His .280 OBP is probably worth about the same there as a .330 mark from a merely decent runner. He wouldn’t continue scoring three runs every four games if returned to the spot, but then, who does? Mike Trout and Brian Dozier currently lead the majors in runs scored (largely because they have 27 and 20 homers, respectively) and they’re barely better than that (.775 runs scored per game).

And the Reds’ alternatives simply aren’t any good. Phillips has never been an on-base guy, and the other four guys to have opened a game in the leadoff spot for the Reds this year (Zack Cozart, Skip Schumaker, Ivan De Jesus Jr. and Kris Negron) have posted even worse OBPs. Plus, Joey Votto has thrived on those occasions in which he’s hit second behind Hamilton. Unless the Reds somehow come up with a viable option in one of their upcoming trades involving Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake or Jay Bruce, Hamilton is going to be their best option at the top the rest of the way.

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

Johnny Cueto


Reds 5, Nationals 0: Johnny Cueto has submitted his resume to the other 29 teams, nailed the interview and now awaits offers. Or at least the Reds do, and they’re likely going to get a nice haul for him. A complete game two-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts and not a care in the world that his opponent was Max Scherzer. Joey Votto didn’t much care that he was facing Scherzer either, as he went 3-for-5 with a double, homer and three driven in. Neither Votto nor Cueto was selected for the All-Star team, by the way.

Pirates 3, Padres 2: A couple of Pirates, including Gregory Polanco got a save here. As in helping save a groundscrew member who was being swallowed up by the tarp during a third inning rain delay:

Later an even better highlight: Justin Upton stone-cold robbing Andrew McCutchen of what would’ve been a go-ahead homer in the fifth:


The Pirates got the win anyway, again with help from Polanco, who hit a go-ahead triple in the eighth.

Royals 9, Rays 5Royals 7, Rays 1: The walkoff grand slam by Paulo Orlando in the first game was only soured a tad for the Royals in that it came against Brad Boxberger, who Royals manager Ned Yost had just added to the All-Star team the day before. Maybe rethinking the omission of Corey Kluber is in order? Eh, maybe not. In the second game it was the Alex Gordon show, as he drove in four on a 4-for-5 night. The Royals are now four and a half up in the Central, tied for the biggest division lead in all of baseball with the Cardinals.

Cubs 7, Cardinals 4Cubs 5, Cardinals 3: The Cardinals’ lead was reduced thanks to dropping both ends of this twin bill. Jake Arrieta held their bats at bay and Anthony Rizzo homered. Worse: Kolten Wong went out with a head contusion. Addison Russell helped lead a comeback in the nightcap, giving the Cubs the first doubleheader sweep of the Cardinals since 1992. Note: the Addison Russell hit in that comeback was REALLY controversial. More on that later.

Athletics 4, Yankees 3: Bad day for All-Star relievers, eh? Here Brett Lawrie homered off Dellin Betances in extras. Not that Lawrie dominated the night — he struck out thrice and was behind in the count to Betances, almost to the Golden Sombrero — but he certainly made up for it. Oakland has strangely owned the Yankees of late, having won 12 of their last 15 meetings.

Red Sox 4, Marlins 3: The Sox came from behind with a three-run seventh, with all of those runs coming off the bat of Xander Bogaerts, who cleared the bases with a single. Wade Miley struck out nine.

Indians 2, Astros 0: Corey Kluber: not an All-Star, but he did shut down one of the scariest lineups in the American League, tossing shutout ball into the seventh. Michael Brantley was 3-for-4 with a homer.

Diamondbacks 4, Rangers 2: Robbie Ray took a shutout into the eighth inning, outdueling Yovani Gallardo, whose long-playing scoreless innings streak ended at 33 and a third.

Blue Jays 2, White Sox 1: Felix Doubront started this one, his first start since last year. It went well: six and two-thirds innings, one earned run and six strikeouts. Josh Donaldson’s fourth inning homer was the eventual game-winner, as the Jays played a rare low-scoring game.

Braves 4, Brewers 3: Manny Banuelos put up his second nice start to begin his major league career, allowing one run in five and a third. This after his debut in which he pitched five and two-thirds shutout innings against the Nats. A.J. Pierzynski homered and had three hits in all. Pierzynski is hitting .289 on the year and has an OPS of .778. I never would’ve guessed he’d be that solid, but he’s been a solid pickup for Atlanta.

Twins 8, Orioles 3: Miguel Sano hit his first career homer — a two-run shot — and walked with the bases loaded. He has hit safely in all six games since he was called up. This has been an absolutely nuts year for great young players being called up.

Angels 10, Rockies 2: Four homers from the Angels’ bats: Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, Matt Joyce and Chris Iannetta. The Angels have won four straight, scoring 43 runs in those games. It’s almost as if playing the Rangers in Texas and the Rockies in Colorado is good for offense.

Mariners 7, Tigers 6: Robinson Cano with a walkoff single in the bottom of the 11th. Cano also hit a solo homer. The Tigers had their chances in the 10th and 11th innings, having the go-ahead run at third both times, but couldn’t deliver.

Phillies 7, Dodgers 2: Chad Billingsley faced his old mates in Dodger Stadium and notched his first win in over two years. A nice story after the dude had two elbow surgeries. Not a lot of guys could come back from that. The Phillies beat up Brett Anderson a bit, who didn’t look completely right after slipping on the mound early on, but he apparently didn’t hurt himself or anything. Maybe it was my imagination.

Giants 3, Mets 0: Hunter Pence comes back and just like that the Giants’ seven-game losing streak ended. Pence made a sweet sliding catch to turn a double play and drove in two runs on a single and a fielder’s choice. Matt Cain tossed six shutout innings.