CINCINNATI -- When the Reds signed reliever Jose Arredondo in 2010 knowing that he couldn't pitch because of Tommy John surgery, they were anticipating the kind of results they have gotten from the right-hander lately.Arredondo -- who entered Saturday with a 2-0 record and 2.70 ERA in nine appearances -- came in with a streak of 16 straight batters retired, and hadn't allowed a run in seven-straight games. Last season, Arredondo had a 3.23 ERA in 53 games, but 31 walks to go with his 48 strikeouts in 53 innings. He retired only 31 of his first batters faced, as he was prone to pitches up and out of the strike zone. What's been the difference this season? "Strike one," Reds manager Dusty Baker replied on Saturday. "Strike one is always a change. We figured he'd be even better two years removed from his operation. He's approaching where he was when he was with the Angels. He was coming in before and walking that first batter a lot of times." Left-handers came in 0-for-13 vs. Arredondo, who signed a two year, $2 million deal in the offseason, while right-handers were 5-for-20 (.250).
Hanigan's experience helps pitching staff
CINCINNATI -- The pitching statistics in the early going indicated that experience counts a lot with the Reds catching duo of Ryan Hanigan and Devin Mesoraco.When Hanigan starts, pitchers entered Saturday 8-3 with a 2.64 ERA. When Mesoraco starts behind the plate, they are 1-8 with a 4.87 ERA. Hanigan broke into the Majors in 2007, while Mesoraco is a rookie. "Mes is very aware. He came in and talked to me about it," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "I told you when the season started that two of the most vulnerable positions we had were occupied by young players -- Mesoraco and [shortstop Zack] Cozart. There's a learning process. They have a lot to learn -- the defensive side, game calling side, pitch calling side, the handling of the pitching staff, not to mention the hitting side. There aren't many Buster Poseys that come along. That's rare." Offensively, Hanigan entered batting .256 in 11 games, while Mesoraco was hitting .276 in 10 games. He notched his first home run on Friday. Hanigan had split the previous three seasons with Ramon Hernandez, and his playing time increased gradually. Before that, he was a younger player like Mesoraco, learning his way. "I think I have a good working knowledge of a lot of these hitters, because I've been around for a little bit and I watch," Hanigan said. "I try to come up with a plan that will best help my pitcher pitch with the strengths that he has. The biggest thing is being able to deviate from the pre-existing scouting report on the fly. Scouting reports are great, but guys make adjustments. You have to try and see it before it happens. It's worked out so far. Guys are pitching decent, and we're working well together." Having compiled information on both of the league's hitters, as well as his own pitchers has served Hanigan -- and the Reds -- well. "I try to make my pitcher as aware of what we're trying to do in every situation, and not let anything go to 'maybe he knows,'" Hanigan said. "I want him to understand and be on the same page. I try to get the guys into a good rhythm and feel like they're pitching at a pace that will help them execute. Then you hope for some luck, some bad swings and things to go your way."
Bruce trying to stay consistent at plate
CINCINNATI -- Following a career-long 0-for-19 slump, Reds right fielder Jay Bruce has been on a tear lately.Bruce came into Saturday with hits in seven of his last eight games, while batting .406 (13-for-32) with two home runs and six RBIs. Four of the games have had at least two hits. "I'm just trying to be more consistent," Bruce said. "Obviously 0-for-19 and then going on a tear is not consistent. I just try to take the cliché one day at a time thing. Honestly, I try to be prepared every day. It's hard, but I try not to focus on the results as much as the work that I do, and the way I go about my business, and just be ready to play every single day and help my team win every way that I can. Pieces will fall where they may."
Bengals 2012 draft picks Devon Still, Mohamed Sanu and Brandon Thompson delivered the game ball to the field before Saturday's game. Entertainer Nick Lachey attended Saturday's game, and served as the Reds' honorary team captain as part of a fundraiser for Big Brothers and Big Sisters.