Chapman's problem might have been radar gun
When opposing teams' scoreboard radar gun readings start forcing teams to make decisions based on possible injuries, it might be time to re-think the whole idea.
That's what manager Dusty Baker seemed to be saying Saturday, four days after left-hander Aroldis Chapman was taken out of a game in San Diego after facing just two batters because he was reaching "only" 93 and 94 mph on the Petco Park radar gun.
Baker's concern is the readings can't be trusted.
"That's what kind of threw us off with Chapman," Baker said. "I'm serious. I've seen teams play with that radar gun -- you know, pump up theirs and turn down ours, and guys don't like looking up there and seeing that they're throwing under their norm. Then they try to do more and it ends up being less. For some teams we've played they'll turn on theirs, but not yours, you know what I mean? But they'll never get rid of it because the fans like it.
"I don't think it's a major league rule, because I've seen some teams turn it off when certain guys are pitching because they know it affects them. You'll see some guys rub up the ball and look at the radar gun every time. We use it more as a thing (to see) if a guy is losing it or is tiring, but some guys will lose it and start pitching more effectively because they get more movement. It varies from guy to guy."
Baker wouldn't mind seeing the speed indicators removed, he said.
"It lends itself to guys throwing instead of pitching," he said. "I've seen some guys throw it 95 and can't get anybody out because they show you the ball, but there are other guys throwing 89 who look like they're throwing 95 because you can't pick up the ball. Sid Fernandez was like that. It looked like Sid was throwing 100."
Regardless of what Reds starter Edinson Volquez hit on the gun Sunday, he wasn't effective. He allowed six earned runs in 5 2/3 innings in a 7-6 loss to Pittsburgh.
--RHP Logan Ondrusek's loss was the first of his career after seven wins, a record for a Cincinnati right-hander. His error on a sacrifice bunt led to the unearned run that snapped his winning streak one short of tying the overall club record set by LHP Rob Murphy in the mid-1980s.
--RF Jay Bruce pushed his average from .224 to .278 by going 4-for-5 with his second home run in three days, but he also was caught off first base after beating out a chopper with one out and the Reds trailing by one in the ninth. The catcher's throw sailed over first baseman Lyle Overbay's head, and Bruce took a couple of steps toward second before realizing that second baseman Neil Walker had backed up the play.
--LHP Bill Bray has allowed a hit in each of his last three games, including Sunday, but he didn't allow a run in any of his seven appearances. Bray has stranded all of the first three baserunners he inherited.
--LHP Travis Wood, Monday's Cincinnati starter, was the victim of a blown save in his last start on April 13 at San Diego. Wood pitched seven two-hit, shutout innings while getting the win in his only previous start against the Pirates last Aug. 2.
--INF Juan Francisco was scheduled to have his left calf looked at again after he left Saturday's game in the eighth inning with a cramp he suffered while running out a single. Manager Dusty Baker said Sunday the injury might be more severe than originally believed.
BY THE NUMBERS: 29.25 -- RHP Edinson Volquez's combined first-inning earned-run average in his four starts after he allowed four runs on three hits and three walks against Pittsburgh. He allowed home runs to the first two batters he faced for the second time this season and first since Opening Day. Volquez's start was delayed one day by his stiff neck. He is averaging 32 pitches per first inning after throwing 33 against Pittsburgh.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I was in no-man's land. You're kind of caught in the middle. I guess I was the hero and then I was sort of the goat." -- Jay Bruce, on his baserunning blunder that left the Reds with two outs and the bases empty in the ninth.
--2B Brandon Phillips (pulled groin muscle) missed his third start Sunday, but he took infield and should be ready any day.
--LHP Aroldis Chapman (left shoulder inflammation) threw lightly Saturday and reported no problems. Chapman hadn't thrown since being lifted from the game at San Diego on April 13.
--RHP Homer Bailey (sore right shoulder), on the disabled list since March 24, threw 40 strikes in 62 pitches over five two-hit, shutout innings of his first rehab start April 17 with Class AAA Louisville.
--RHP Johnny Cueto (right shoulder impingement), on the disabled list since March 22, pitched 3.1 innings for Class AAA Louisville on Saturday in his first rehab start. He allowed one earned run and two overall on two hits with two walks and four strikeouts. He is expected to make at least two more rehab starts.
--RHP Jared Burton (right shoulder inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 29. He suffered a setback in early April and was shut down from throwing.
--OF Fred Lewis (strained right side) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 27. He went 2-for-7 with a double and two strikeouts in the first two games of his rehab assignment with Class AA Carolina.
--RHP Jose Arredondo (Tommy John surgery in February 2010) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 25. He allowed two hits and one earned run with a walk and seven strikeouts in 3.2 innings spread out over the first three appearances of his rehab assignment with Class AA Carolina, where he is expected to stay the full 30 days.