Reds send down Edinson Volquez after he calls out teammates

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Edinson Volquez reacts after giving up a run to the Philadelphia Phillies during the second inning in Game 1 of the MLB National League Division Series baseball playoffs in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 6, 2010. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

If you’re going to call out your teammates, you better a) have some stature in your respective league or on your respective team and b) be playing well yourself.

That does not describe Reds starter Edinson Volquez, who was sent down to Class AAA Louisville on Monday after he called out his teammates on Sunday following a loss to the Indians.

“Everybody has to step up, start to score some runs,” Volquez said. “In the last five games, how many runs have we scored? Like 13? That’s not the way we were playing last year. We’re better than that.”

This is coming from the same guy who gave up seven runs in only 2.2 innings of work and is now the proud owner of a 6.35 ERA.

Volquez is right: the Reds are better than what they’ve showed over their last six games (all losses). But they’re still second in runs scored in the National League behind the Cardinals, so obviously they’re just in a funk right now. It’s a long season – it happens.

Besides, the main point is that Volquez shouldn’t be the one calling his teammates out. If Joey Votto (who has a MVP to his name) or Brandon Phillips wanted to say something similar to what Volquez said, fine – no problem. But your words don’t carry much weight when you’ve contributed to the problem.

Hopefully for the Reds’ sake, Volquez will iron out his issues in the minors and when he returns, he’ll be ready to help the club in a more productive manner.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Tempers flair between Cardinals and Reds again

St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols (5) makes the play on a hard hit ground ball off the bat of Cincinnati Reds’ Paul Janish (not pictured) during the fifth inning of play in their MLB baseball game at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio, May 15, 2011. REUTERS/John Sommers II (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

It wouldn’t be a Cardinals-Reds series if somebody wasn’t yelling at somebody by the end of it.

On Sunday, Francisco Cordero was the recipient of some backlash from the Cardinals’ dugout after he hit slugger Albert Pujols with a pitch during an 0-2 count in the ninth inning. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, St. Louis backup catcher Gerald Laird was mainly doing the barking at Cordero.

“Just a little fun,” Cordero said. “I think it was because I hit Pujols 0-2, Gerald Laird was all loud in the dugout. He was yelling at me and pointing at me and saying a whole bunch of stuff.

“Out of all the guys that are great hitters, great players, Gerald Laird doesn’t even play. He’s the one yelling at me because I hit Pujols 0-2. 0-2! I wasn’t trying to hit him. I’ve got to face (Matt) Holliday next, who can take the lead with one swing, and he’s yelling at me.

“All I know is he was loud, so I said something back to him.”

I don’t blame Laird or any other member of the Cardinals for being upset about Cordero hitting Pujols. Brandon Phillips was the one who threw gasoline on the fire last year by calling the Cardinals “little bitches” so now St. Louis always has its guard up.

But Laird has to realize the situation. Cordero isn’t going to hit Pujols on purpose when he has him down 0-2 in the count. To put the tying run on base with Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman coming up just doesn’t make sense. One could argue that Cordero chose that moment to hit Pujols because he would have the perfect excuse to claim it was accidental. But even Pujols admitted after the game that he didn’t think Cordero did it on purpose.

“I’m pretty sure Francisco didn’t try to do that on purpose,” Pujols told the St. Louis Post Dispatch. “He doesn’t want to bring the winning run to the plate with two big hitters, Matt and Berkman (coming up next). It’s probably something that slipped. You turn the page and get ready for tomorrow.”

What has to be more frustrating for the Cardinals than the situation with Cordero is the fact that they were swept by the Reds. St. Louis went into the weekend with a small lead in the NL Central and came out of it looking up at Cincinnati in the standings.

Phillies roll into NLCS like a well-oiled machine

Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels celebrates after defeating the Cincinnati Reds in Game 3 of the MLB National League Division Series baseball playoffs in Cincinnati, Ohio, October 10, 2010. REUTERS/John Sommers II (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

Three wins, two shutouts and one well-deserving trip to the National League Championship Series.

They are your 2010 Philadelphia Phillies.

The Phillies completed their sweep of the Reds on Sunday night, as Cole Hamels threw the second shutout of the series (Roy Halladay’s lackluster peformance in Game 1 was the other shutout). Hamels scattered five hits and walked none as Philly was able to rest its bullpen for the NLCS, which will start on Saturday, October 16.

Reds’ starter Johnny Cueto and the bullpen kept their club in the ballgame by limiting the Phillies to only two runs, but Cincinnati’s bats never came around. They scratched together four runs in Game 2, but that was their total for the entire series.

The Phillies now await the winner between the Giants and Braves and if Game 4 will be anything like the first three games of that NLDS series, then that puppy is probably going five.

Roy Halladay wanted to impress in his first postseason game, so he didn’t allow a hit

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Roy Halladay delivers a pitch to the Cincinnati Reds during the first inning in Game 1 of the MLB National League Division Series baseball playoffs in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 6, 2010. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer (UNITED STATESSPORT - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

Roy Halladay had never pitched in a playoff game before Wednesday evening in Philadelphia.

Apparently he wasn’t nervous.

In the Phillies’ 4-0 win over the Reds in Game 1 of the NLDS, Halladay threw a no-hitter in the postseason for only the second time in baseball history. It was his second no-hitter of the season and he now joins Don Larsen, who is the only other pitcher to throw a no-no in the playoffs

Halladay’s only blemish on the night came in the top of the 5th when he walked Jay Bruce with two outs (the audacity!). Otherwise he was perfect while striking out eight hitters on just 104 pitches. And because he only threw 104 pitches, he could probably pitch again in Game 4 if the Phillies get into trouble in these next two games.

He also got into the act at the plate by singling home Carlos Ruiz in the second inning to make the game 2-0. He scored on a Shane Victorino single later that inning as the Phillies built a 4-0 lead, which was all the scoring they would need thanks to Halladay.

This isn’t exactly the start the Reds or their fan base envisioned when the club made the postseason for the first time since 500 B.C. Everyone knew Cincinnati would have trouble with Philadelphia’s pitching, but to get no-hit in the first game is a little appalling given some of the hitters the Reds have in their lineup.

They’ll try to pick up the pieces on Friday when they take on Roy Oswalt.

Sweet mother of pearl, the Reds are actually going to the playoffs

Cincinnati Reds right fielder Jay Bruce celebrates hitting a home run against the Houston Astros in the ninth inning of their MLB National League baseball game in Cincinnati, Ohio September 28, 2010.  REUTERS/Matt Sullivan  (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

For years, MLB writers have had it easy when it came to making season predictions for the Reds.

4. Cincinnati Reds
The Reds have loads of young talent and one day, it’ll all come together. But this is still the Reds – they’ll find a way to finish in the middle of the pack. It’s been 10 years since the last time they made the playoffs, so bank on them missing out again.

Rinse and repeat.

But that, “one day, it’ll all come together” part is happening right now.

Jay Bruce hit a walk-off home run in the 9th inning off Astros’ reliever Tim Byrdak on Tuesday as the Reds beat Houston 3-2 to win the NL Central for the first time in over a decade. The win also guarantees that they’ll be heading to the postseason for the first time in 15 years.

There’s no rest for the weary, however, as the Reds are in a battle with the Giants (and maybe the Padres if they can get their act together) for home field advantage in the NLDS. The Phillies have run away with the top seed in the NL, but home field advantage would obviously be huge for Cincinnati, as it would be for all clubs.

If the playoffs were to start today, the Phillies would have the top seed, followed by the Giants, then the Reds, then the Wildcard-winning Braves. Since the Braves and Phillies can’t play each other in the first round, Cincinnati would play Philadelphia and San Francisco would host Atlanta.

Teams aren’t going to back down from any opponent at this point in the year, but avoiding the Phillies would still be beneficial. Thus, the Reds need to finish strong and secure that second spot.

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