• The Reds have officially announced that Matt Maloney will be called up before Saturday’s game with the Los Angeles Dodgers. It had been suggested that Micah Owings would take that start if he wasn’t used out of the bullpen in Milwaukee. He wasn’t used in any of those three games, but the club still decided to go with Maloney. Is this foreshadowing of a bullpen role for Owings in 2010? Is Micah injured or has he been moved to the bullpen to protect the load on his shoulder?
  • I wish they’d be that careful with Johnny Cueto. Cueto had a bullpen session Wednesday and reportedly feels fine. (He also said he felt fine before going on the DL.) He is scheduled to pitch one of the games in Monday’s doubleheader against the Pirates. Kip Wells lines up to be the other starter.
  • The Reds need to take a page from the Washington Nationals play book and sign a guy like Livan Hernandez to get them through the last month of the season. Cueto has played Winter Ball and the World Baseball Classic. If the Reds want to have any chance of competing in 2010, they can’t do it with Edinson Volquez and Cueto both on the surgeon’s table.
  • With the off-day next Thursday, Cueto’s health permitting, that could mean that we will see Maloney for just one start. Walt Jocketty spoke with reporters Thursday about September callups.

    “We haven’t really finalized it yet but there won’t really be that many. We have most of them here. It’s more a question of playing time. If you don’t have playing time, there’s no reason to bring them up.”

    Louisville’s regular season ends September 7, but the organization rightfully plans to keep the AAA team intact throughout the minor league post-season.

  • The Dodgers come to town this weekend holding the same position as they did when the Reds played them in California – 1st place in the NL West with the best record in the National League. However, since completing a sweep of the Reds on July 22, the Dodgers have gone 15-18, letting the Rockies gain 5 games in the standings. The Rockies sit just 4 games behind the Dodgers with 34 to play. The Reds play both teams in the coming weeks with the 3-game weekend series against the Dodgers and a 4-game series with the Rockies in Colorado beginning on Labor Day. The pitching matchups for this weekend are:

    Fri vs LAD: RHP Homer Bailey (3-4, 6.82) vs RHP Chad Billingsley (12-7, 3.73)
    Sat vs LAD: RHP Matt Maloney (0-2, 6.11) vs RHP Charlie Haeger (1-1, 1.93)
    Sun vs LAD: RHP Bronson Arroyo (11-12, 4.43) vs LHP Clayton Kershaw (8-7, 2.96)

  • What is the value of a closer? The NL Central leading St. Louis Cardinals believe it is $6.5 million over 2 years. That is the reported amount that St. Louis will pay former Red reliever and current Cardinal closer Ryan Franklin. It includes picking up his 2010 option for $2.75 million and paying him a base salary of $3.75 million in 2011. Undisclosed incentives could push those figures higher.

    In his first season as the fulltime Cardinals closer, Franklin has saved 34 of 36 save opportunities. How does Franklin’s time in St. Louis (2007-2009) compare to Francisco Cordero’s performance the past three years?

    Player W-L ERA WHIP IR IR Score IR Score%

    Cordero 7-11 2.88 1.259 36 16 44%

    Franklin 12-11 2.76 1.163 63 16 25%

    Franklin and Cordero have allowed the same number of inherited runners to score, while Franklin has inherited 27 more runners. Cordero’s career IRS% is 36%.

    It’s moves like this that will allow the Cardinals to also retain Matt Holliday.