Friday, May 8, 2009

Do They Need Phillips And Votto?

Of course they do. It is nice to see a young team pick up the slack and put together back to back wins with two of their biggest guns out sick. The Reds took the first game of the series against the Cardinals Friday night 6-4. Johnny Cueto was awesome again. He did allow a run, and that is front page news. After allowing 4 runs in his first start of the season, Cueto has allowed 1 run or less in his last 5 starts. Zilch, zero, nada in two of those starts. Cueto (3-1) says there's a big difference between the 2008 edition of Johnny and 2009. He felt like he was tipping his pitches last year. Ramon Hernandez played interpreter after Friday night's game as Cueto talked about the difference so far this season.

The Reds are 2-0 with the current lineup, but you know Dusty wants his guns back as soon as possible. Still, I had to ask, and Dusty had a nice answer.

Sometimes Dusty gets drilled for his game management, but he has a big picture approach to the season. The video clip above is a window into that kind of thinking. There was also this: Arthur Rhodes begins the 8th inning with a 6-1 lead. He retires one batter, then Dusty yanks him for David Weathers. Weathers allowed 3 runs, the first runs he's allowed all season. I'm not sure why you would use two of your bullpen hammers in a 6-1 game except to keep them sharp. But I'm not a big picture guy. I asked Dusty if he was just looking to get Weathers some work. Dusty said the reason Rhodes only faced one batter was to keep him fresh for the entire weekend because the Cardinals run a lot of lefty batters at you. He also said it's a long season and you want to keep Rhodes fresh for the long haul. I understand some of that, I'm not sure I understand all of it. But I'm really bad about looking at the big picture when it comes to a 162 game season. I probably would have just run Burton out there since he had not pitched since Monday. Burton came on to finish the 8th inning for the Reds. But maybe there's more to it than Dusty wanted to let on. Injury or illness, who knows? That I can understand. Bottom line, the Reds beat first place St. Louis and are 2 1/2 games back.

Dusty added that Brandon Phillips will be back in the lineup Saturday night. Votto? Not so sure. It's too bad if Joey misses his own bobblehead night.

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