6/29/2014 3:28 A.M. ET
Reds confident in heavy use of Chapman
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Reds closer Aroldis Chapman already worked three days in a row, but manager Bryan Price didn't feel like he was playing with fire Saturday by using him a fourth vs. the Giants.
This time, Chapman did not get a save. He blew his second in 18 chances by giving up a ninth-inning run that erased a 2-1 lead. The Reds survived to take a 7-3 victory in 11 innings. Price did not second-guess himself.
"Second-guess is something you do when you're not sure what you should do before the game starts," Price said. "I went out and watched him throw in the outfield, I talked to him, Jeff [Pico, the pitching coach] talked to him, he felt great; as you saw, he was 99-102 mph with a good slider."
In the previous three games, Chapman threw nine pitches, 10 pitches and 20 pitches. On Saturday, he wound up throwing 31 pitches. The only other time he worked four days straight, Sept. 3-6, 2013, Chapman struck out the side in the fourth game.
This time, Chapman's first batter, Hunter Pence, beat a shift and rolled a single through an open right side. In a 10-pitch plate appearance that exceeded Chapman's pitch count from the previous night, Pablo Sandoval fouled off four two-strike pitches and drew a walk. Pinch-hitting, Buster Posey laced the game-tying RBI double to the left-field wall, scoring Pence, and putting runners on second and third base with no outs.
With his infield playing in, Chapman battled through and got back-to-back groundouts from Hector Sanchez and Joaquin Arias. Adam Duvall struck out on a 100 mph fastball to end the inning.
"It was very impressive because he stayed strong," Price said. "That's one of those games as a closer that the game can get away from you and you can get a loss, but he buckled down big-time and gave us that opportunity for the big inning and gave us the ability to win that game.
"That saved the game for us. He didn't save the game for us in the ninth, but he saved the game for us in the ninth."
The strikeout of Duvall to end the ninth gave Chapman at least one strikeout in 35 straight appearances, dating back to last season. It's the longest active streak in the Majors by a reliever and is tied for the second-longest in league history since 1900. Eric Gagne also had a 35-game streak in 2003-04 and Bruce Sutter holds the record of 39 straight games with a strikeout in 1977.
Chapman has a 2.66 ERA in 23 games this season. Don't expect him to get a fifth straight day of work.
"It was really a gritty performance and we knew if he pitched today, he wouldn't most likely be able to pitch tomorrow," Price said. "That most likely will be the case. I don't like to say that, but I think the Giants can figure it out."
Votto lauds Frazier as strong All-Star candidate
SAN FRANCISCO -- Reds third baseman Todd Frazier has not been shy about his desire to go to the All-Star Game for the first time. Frazier, however, currently resides outside of the top five in fan balloting.
When asked Saturday about Frazier's success this season, first baseman Joey Votto was also not shy about promoting his teammate.
"First of all, I'd like to say publicly that Todd 100 percent needs to get into that All-Star Game. It would be a crying shame if he's not in the All-Star Game," Votto said. "I was in a very similar position to him in 2010. I wasn't getting a lot of momentum voting-wise. My guess is he'll get voted in by the players. He's played fantastic. He's been the best player on our team this year. He has carried us over stretches and come up with big hits. He's played excellent defensively at third base. He's been a steady presence in our lineup all year."
Frazier entered Saturday leading all National League third basemen in home runs, slugging percentage, stolen bases and extra-base hits. He's well ahead of last year's pace in most offensive stats after he batted .234/.314/.407 with 19 homers and 73 RBIs in 2013.
"To see him go from last year, which was clearly a frustrating year for him, to in all likelihood get to be an All-Star this year is exactly the type of story you want to tell yourself at the end of the year," said Votto, a four-time NL All-Star. "It's the type of turnaround you work hard for in the offseason. To see the fruits of his labor is fantastic. I'm very happy for him."
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday at 11:59 p.m. ET. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15 on FOX.
Reds not fretting Cueto's All-Star availability
SAN FRANCISCO -- If the Reds stay on the current pitching rotation setup, ace Johnny Cueto would start vs. the Pirates on July 13, the final game before the All-Star break. That would mean that Cueto could be unable to pitch in the All-Star Game on July 15. If he elected to be unavailable, he would still be recognized as an All-Star and go to the event even after Major League Baseball names a replacement pitcher.
Manager Bryan Price wasn't worried about whether Cueto -- the Major League leader in ERA and innings -- would miss out on pitching in his first All-Star Game if he worked the previous Sunday.
"What's important for us is for Johnny to be able to pitch when it's his turn to pitch and help us win games. That's the most important thing," Price said Saturday. "If you can accommodate both, that's great."
With an off-day coming up Thursday and a day-night doubleheader looming July 8 vs. the Cubs, the Reds could see their rotation affected. Cueto is currently scheduled to pitch one of the games vs. Chicago. Price hasn't determined who would start the second game, but it would likely be someone from Triple-A Louisville or Double-A Penscola called up for the outing.
"I'll be honest with you, I haven't looked at it," Price said. "We were hoping to have [injured lefty Tony] Cingrani available for the doubleheader. That looks unlikely. We're going to have to get creative on that doubleheader day, it looks like."