Adam Rosales was the casualty, the player optioned to Class AAA Louisville to make room for pitcher Homer Bailey.
Rosales, who started fast when he was called up from Louisville to replace Edwin Encarnacion on April, is hitting .082 (4-49) over his last 18 games — time to go back to the minors and find the misplaced base hits.
“We tried to play him as much as we could,” said manager Dusty Baker. “He was struggling and it makes it even harder not to struggle when you are spot playing He needs to get his confidence back and his stroke back.
“He needs to make some adjustments because pitchers started working on him pretty good,” Baker added. “One thing he did do was improve defensively big-time, really worked on it. He’s a hard worker and he’ll be back,” said Baker.
Rosales was apologetic over his demise with the bat and said, “I’m just sorry I didn’t perform the way I wanted,” he said. “Dusty told me to go get my mind right and my game right.”
Rosales said it is all about confidence, something he had in abundance when he came up hitting .432 in Louisville.
“Like Yogi Berra said, 90 per cent of the game is half mental,” Rosales said. “You learn and rise above it. It’s all about confidence. I had momentum coming in and wanted to make a strong impact and help the team. When you start scuffling, the game speeds up on you and mentally you have to slow it down.”
There is talk about the stability of Cleveland Indians manager Eric Wedge’s job, mostly from the media, and Baker said. “That’s why I don’t read blogs or listen to talk radio or read anything. Just go on about your job. It’s part of it and nobody likes it. People forget whatever success you’ve had rather quickly. You have to remain confident and positive in yourself and in your abilities.”
The National League was 101-122 in interleague play against the American League before Saturday’s game, prompting Baker to launch into another lecture on the superiority of American League firepower.
“We knew from the start we weren’t a high octane offense to begin with,” he said. “We knew we had to pitch and play defense to win. And you really have to pitch and play defense against American League teams.
“The Philadelphia Phillies are 6-12 and they’re world champions,” he added. “The AL is built for offense with the DH. You can’t pitch around the No. 7 or No. 8 hitter to get to the pitcher because with the DH the No. 9 hitter is usually a very good hitter.”
Suddenly, all that good starting pitching the Reds were getting last month isn’t so good any more. In their last eight games, the starters own a 6.39 earned run average.
After taking a beating Friday night, Aaron Harang hinted that he was trying to be perfect on every pitch, perhaps knowing he wouldn’t get many runs from the dormant offense.
“Your job is go out there and pitch,” said Baker. “You can’t control the runs scored for you. All you can control is the amount of runs scored against you.”
“I wish nobody had ever talked about Homer Bailey’s new split-fingered pitch before the game. It’s like war. You have a new weapon, you want everybody to know about it before you use it.” — Manager Dusty Baker on Bailey’s new split-finger fastball.