MLB Team Report - Cincinnati Reds - INSIDE PITCH
The Cincinnati Reds -- or, at least, their fans -- have finally rescued their ballpark from the clutches of their Chicago Cubs counterparts.
If the Reds, 5-4 losers to the Cubs on Sunday, were going to draw big crowds for any series, it was going to be this past weekend's three-game matchup with Chicago.
The Cubs traditionally are followed by a huge contingent of fans wearing royal blue when they travel to Cincinnati. Chicago supporters can make the relatively short drive easily and usually could count on finding enough tickets available to maintain a significant presence in the Reds home ballpark.
Throw in the holiday weekend and a hot Reds team and the formula for huge crowds was elementary, so it was no surprise to anybody -- especially Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker -- when the Reds announced that they had sold out an entire series for the first time since July 31-Aug. 1, 2010, against Atlanta.
"That's how we want it," Baker said. "It was like it was in Milwaukee. They started winning and people started coming out, and they're still coming out. We're happy, too, because we're drawing crowds and winning. There is nothing more disappointing than losing in front of a full house."
Baker also noted what he saw as a significant downgrade in the number of Cubs fans mixed in with the Reds supporters among the three crowds, which totaled 122,946 at 42,319-seat Great American Ball Park.
"There aren't as many in from Chicago either," said Baker, a former Cubs manager. "Cubs fans are still there, but they're blending in. You used to see a lot of blue, especially behind their dugout. Now there is more red to fill in. Before (Cubs fans) were half the stands."
The series left the Reds with an average attendance of 29,017 fans through their first 25 home dates, leaving them on a pace to draw 2,350,377. That would be second at Great American Ball Park only to the 2,355,259 in 2003, the year the ballpark opened for business.
MLB Team Report - Cincinnati Reds - NOTES, QUOTES
STREAK: Lost one
PAST 10 GAMES: 7-3
NEXT: Indians (Ubaldo Jimenez, 3-3, 6.04) at Reds (Mike Leake, 4-2, 3.25).
--RHP Johnny Cueto made his second start since returning the disabled list Sunday and looked sharper with seven strong innings, allowing one run on four hits. Reds manager Dusty Baker said Cueto badly needed to pitch deep into Sunday's game and he delivered, giving up just one hit through six innings. A rough seventh pushed his pitch-count to 106, but he was more aggressive and sharp Sunday, said Baker.
--CF Shin-Soo Choo has come back to earth a bit, with his average dipping below .300 for the first time. Choo still has reached base in 13 of his past 14 appearances including 17 walks. He reached base in each of the first 22 games this season. Choo's steady improvement on defense has been lauded by Reds manager Dusty Baker, and speculation continues about whether his tenure in Cincinnati will extend beyond this season. He was signed to a one-year contract in February.
--RHP Logan Ondrusek hadn't allowed a run in his previous five appearances. But Sunday he helped squander a three-run lead by allowing three runs in the eighth inning, including a game-tying, two-run home run by Alfonso Soriano. It was the fourth home run allowed this season by Ondrusek, who allowed three earned runs in just two-thirds of an inning.
--LHP Manny Parra made his first appearance since being reinstated from the disabled list on Sunday. He allowed a hit and a walk in one-third of an inning but did not allow a run. With LHP Sean Marshall on the DL again, Parra's role as a situation left-hander in the late innings could be key for the Reds. Parra has mostly struggled this season, recording a 7.71 ERA in seven appearances.
--RHP Mike Leake has been on a roll. Leake has not allowed a run in his past 13 2/3 innings, which is 3 1/3 innings shy of a career high. In his past seven starts, Leake is 4-2 with a 2.28 ERA, including a 2.05 ERA in four starts in May. He also is an offensive weapon, with 50 hits the past four seasons which leads all major league pitchers.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We went as far as we could with Johnny. He had outstanding stuff. That's Johnny. He was a little tentative last time out in New York. He was afraid to hurt something. He was a little more aggressive today." -- Manager Dusty Baker on RHP Johnny Cueto.
MLB Team Report - Cincinnati Reds - ROSTER REPORT
--LHP Sean Marshall (sprained left shoulder) was placed on the 15-day disabled list for the second time this season on May 24. Marshall was on the DL for left shoulder tendinitis from April 10-26.
--LF Chris Heisey (strained right hamstring) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 28. He began a rehab assignment May 13 with Double-A Pensacola but re-strained his hamstring and was sent back to Cincinnati to be examined by Dr. Tim Kremchek.
--RHP Nick Masset (right shoulder surgery in September 2012) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on April 21.
--LF Ryan Ludwick (torn labrum in right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 1, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on April 15. Ludwick had surgery April 3. He might not return before July.
RHP Mat Latos
RHP Bronson Arroyo
RHP Homer Bailey
RHP Mike Leake
RHP Johnny Cueto
LHP Aroldis Chapman (closer)
RHP Jonathan Broxton
LHP Manny Parra
RHP Sam LeCure
RHP J.J. Hoover
RHP Alfredo Simon
RHP Logan Ondrusek
1B Joey Votto
2B Brandon Phillips
SS Zack Cozart
3B Todd Frazier
INF Jack Hannahan
INF Cesar Izturis
LF Xavier Paul
CF Shin-Soo Choo
RF Jay Bruce
OF Derrick Robinson
OF Donald Lutz