Edinson Volquez gives up seven runs, points finger at Reds’ offense

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Edinson Volquez was knocked around by the Indians yesterday, allowing seven runs while failing to make it out the third inning as his ERA rose to 6.35.

He’s struggled all season with 38 walks and nine homers allowed in 51 innings, but what made yesterday’s ugly outing different than his previous ugly outings is that afterward Volquez took the opportunity to criticize the Reds’ lineup. Seriously.

When speaking to reporters following the game, Volquez said:

I think everybody has to step up and start getting some runs. The last five games, we’ve scored how many runs? Thirteen in five games? It’s not the way we were playing last year. We’re better than that.

Thanks largely to Volquez the Reds allowed 12 runs yesterday and the lineup did well enough scoring four times, which makes it an awfully strange moment to talk about how “everybody has to step up and start getting some runs.”

Last season the Reds led the NL in runs and this season they rank second. The big change has been the pitching staff going from seventh to 14th in ERA and Volquez has led the way with his ERA rising from 4.31 to 6.35. So yes, maybe the Reds’ offense hasn’t been particularly productive for the past week, but Cincinnati has still scored the second-most runs in the league this season and Volquez has still been one of the worst performers on one of the league’s worst pitching staffs.

And just so no one thinks Volquez’s quote was taken out of context, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com notes that the above statement came in response to a question about his lack of command yesterday. Clearly the guy just had something to get off his chest. Shame it doesn’t make any sense.

Blue Jays release John Axford

John Axford
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The Blue Jays have released right-handed reliever John Axford from his minor league contract, per an announcement on Saturday. Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi speculates that the move could provide an avenue for the club to rework Axford’s contract, but the Blue Jays have yet to confirm or deny the report.

Axford, 35, was dealt a blow on Thursday after getting diagnosed with a stress reaction in the olecranon bone of his right elbow. Elbow soreness dogged the right-hander through much of his time in camp, and although he was scheduled for a follow-up examination later this spring, a definite return date had not been established.

Prior to the diagnosis, Axford was tabbed for a setup role with the team in 2019. He pitched to mixed results in 2018 (thanks in part to a late-season fracture of his right fibula) with a 5.27 ERA, 4.9 BB/9, and 9.8 SO/9 through 54 2/3 innings with the Blue Jays and Dodgers. Now, however, it’s not certain that he’ll return to the mound this season in any capacity.

Axford isn’t the only reliever the Blue Jays have lost to injury lately, either, as right-handers Ryan Tepera and Bud Norris have been sidelined with right elbow inflammation and forearm fatigue, respectively. Per Davidi, the Blue Jays offered Norris a $100,000 retention bonus to prevent him from opting out of the minor league contract he signed in February.