Sunday, April 27, 2003

Solid start relieves Graves


Doesn't get win, but makes strides

By Dustin Dow
The Cincinnati Enquirer

For five innings Saturday, pitcher Danny Graves gave the Reds exactly what the team will need from him this season in the starting role: a low pitch count, ground-ball outs and good control.

He took a 3-1 lead over the Padres into the sixth inning at Great American Ball Park with just one major error - a home run to Rondell White in the fourth inning. After beginning the season 0-2 in four starts and an 8.02 ERA , this was turning into the type of game that proved the switch from career reliever to starter was the right move.

"That's as good as he's pitched since day one of spring training," said Reds manager Bob Boone. "That looked more like Danny Graves. He was hitting his spots and getting good movement. I saw him get the ball in on some guys and break some bats. He was very pitch efficient. I expect to see that from him all the time."

What Boone and Graves don't expect is the type of blowup that occurred in the sixth inning, when Graves walked Keith Lockhart and Mark Loretta before giving up a one-out, three-run homer to Ryan Klesko. Just that fast, Graves' first win was a 4-3 deficit. The Reds went on to win 7-6 in 10 innings, , but Graves was left thinking about the two walks he gave up in the sixth that changed the scope of the game.

"I'm not giving myself a chance to get guys out and not giving the fielders a chance to make some plays, which they were doing all day," Graves said. "It just goes to show, you walk a couple guys and one bad pitch, and all of a sudden you lose the lead. It's very frustrating."

Until the Klesko homer, Graves had yielded three hits and no walks. He said he lost his focus in the sixth after walking Lockhart, who was pinch-hitting for Padres starting pitcher Clay Condrey, to open the inning.

"At the time it definitely spoiled (the outing)," Graves said. "But I made a lot of other strides forward today. And we won, so that makes it even better. It makes me feel a little better. Every time you go out and pitch you learn something different. I've learned now, you've got to let them hit it. You can't walk anybody."

Graves went deeper into the game Saturday (6 1/3 innings) than he has all season, yet he's still winless in five starts, three of which are Reds wins. Taking into account his bullpen experience, Graves realizes the importance of staying on the mound as a starter.

"Those first couple starts in the back of your mind, you think it can't get any worse, Graves said. "It can only get better.

"Get out there and do what you can, go as hard as you can for as long as you can. I'm going to lose sleep over those two walks because I could have gotten into the eighth, possibly the ninth inning, if I don't walk those two guys."




SUNDAY BASEBALL
Reds 7, Padres 5
Sunday Box, Runs
Phillies' Millwood no-hits Giants

SATURDAY BASEBALL
Reds 7, Padres 6
Photo gallery | Box, Runs
Kearns shows power, promise and poise
Reds E-Mail: Boone genius or time to go?
Reds Chatter
Solid start relieves Graves
Reds Notebook: Wily Mo gets a start

BENGALS DRAFT ( Complete draft coverage )
Fourth pick Weathersby recovering from gunshot
Bengals all offense on draft's Day 1
Guard Steinbach slips out of first round
Size, speed make WR Washington a threat
Palmer glad fuss is over

NFL DRAFT
Rating the draft: Winners & losers
Draft picks by team | By number
Defensive line dominates first round
Surprise: Browns take center
Ravens, Steelers trade up to fill needs
Three UC players drafted
Five Buckeyes selected
Jets take Colerain grad Askew
Jags get Leftwich; big questions to come
Newman goes to Cowboys
Jets trade up for UK's Robertson
Bad news, good news for Simms
Reds' Minor League Notebook
Toledo 4, Louisville 0
NL: Dodgers finally get big hit
AL: Angels get lift from Shields
Who's Hot & Who's Not

KENTUCKY DERBY
Fan's guide to the Kentucky Derby
Other Derby Week Events
Where else to go in Louisville
Derby Notebook: New owners for Domestic Dispute

FLYING PIG MARATHON
Flying Pig gets new start

XAVIER BASKETBALL
DAUGHERTY: Let's hope XU reason kids come
What's the motta with Matta?

UC FOOTBALL
UC defense bares teeth
Three UC players picked in NFL draft

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Lesser-known Buckeyes star in spring game
UK unveils two-headed QB

NBA PLAYOFFS
NBA: Jazz not ready to crown Kings

NHL PLAYOFFS
NHL: Ducks take 2-0 lead on Stars

LOCAL SPORTS
Cyclones go down 3-0 in series
Vogelgesang cracks PBA top 60
College Update: For NKU, winning starts with pitching
Enquirer Power Rankings
Sports on TV-Radio

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
Mayo billed as next LeBron
Saturday's High School Results

Return to Reds front page...