Cordereo Trying To Hang On To Job

A few days ago, Francisco Cordero was wondering about why he wasn't picked the NL All-Star team. Now, he's wondering how much longer he'll be closing for the Reds if he doesn't turn his season around.

"If I want to keep my job, I've got to do a better job," he said.

Cordero blew his third consecutive save opportunity Sunday in the Reds' 4-3 loss at Milwaukee.

"It's frustrating," Cordero said. "My team is fighting. We were playing against the first-place team. They're doing a good job. I came in the last four games and blew three saves. We should be tied for first or one game behind the Brewers.

"Now, we're four games behind. I'm not doing my job. It doesn't feel good."

Cordero was good up until Wednesday, when he gave up solo home run to blow a save in St. Louis. Until then, Cordero had converted 17 of 19 save chances and had allowed fewer baserunners than any other closer in the NL.

Starting with that outing, he's gone 3 1/3 innings and allowed seven runs on eight hits. He's walked four and struck out only one.

"I just got to stop doing this," Cordero said. "It happened last year. I had a lot of blown saves. I've got three in a row. I've got to do better job."

--RHP Johnny Cueto will start the first game after the All-Star break. RHP Bronson Arroyo is tentatively scheduled for the second game, although the Reds are holding off on announcing it. RHP Homer Bailey likely would go third, followed by RHP Mike Leake. "We like to go hard, soft, hard, soft," manager Dusty Baker said.

--RHP Carlos Fisher was optioned back to Class AAA Louisville before Sunday's game to make room on the roster for LHP Dontrelle Willis, who started Sunday's game. Fisher had been recalled Thursday. He did not pitch during his third stint with the Reds this season.

--3B Scott Rolen was added to the National League All-Star team after Atlanta's Chipper Jones pulled out with a knee injury. Rolen planned to spend the break with his family in Bloomington, Ind. His 6-year-old wasn't thrilled. "My daughter cried when she heard," Rolen said. "She didn't think I was coming home for the All-Star Break. I'm going to go there and get them and then go to Arizona."

--C Ryan Hanigan was too sore to play Saturday and Sunday after being run over at the plate by Brewers OF Nyjer Morgan in Friday's game. Hanigan's neck and shoulders were sore.

--LHP Dontrelle Willis went six innings and allowed two runs on four hits Sunday in his Reds debut. He walked four and struck out four in a no-decision against the Brewers. "I was a little too excited early," Willis said, "but I came back and competed against a great ballclub. I did that. I like the way we're playing baseball. I think nine times of 10 we're going to win that ballgame. I just want to go out and compete." Willis was 5-2 with a 2.63 ERA in 13 starts for Class AAA Louisville this season before his promotion.

BY THE NUMBERS: 22 -- Games since the Reds last won consecutive games. Since sweeping a three-game series at Dodger Stadium from June 13-15, Cincinnati is 8-14.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "This whole road trip has been tough. It doesn't make for a very pleasant All-Star break. It's the same as we ended last year against the Phillies. We've got to rebound like we always do." -- Reds manager Dusty Baker.

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