Well, that stung.
It never feels good to lose to a team like the Pirates, especially by one run. That goes double with the Pirates hitting as terribly as they were heading into last night’s heartbreaker. Before last night’s game, the Pirates were hitting a measly .153/.230/.218, which was by far the worst for any team in the majors for every category.
Well, could have fooled Mike Leake. They stormed out of the gate like the 1927 Yankees, blasting Leake for 5 runs in just 1+ inning. It was an ugly start, but he somehow managed to go 6 innings, giving the Reds some needed bullpen rest. It looked like the Reds were primed for one of their trademark comebacks, however, as they tied it up in the top of the 7th. However, then JJ Hoover happened. He served up a meatball to Andrew McCutchen, and the lead was gone. I was really excited to see this guy make the team, but his 0-3 record and ERA nearing 8 haven’t been spectacular so far. I’d say the Reds give him a few more chances before we see the return of Jose Arredondo. Oh, and Hoover’s FIP isn’t any better, at 10.16. Yowzers.
Brandon Phillips was the offensive MVP last night, as he drove in 3 runs on 2 home runs to dead center. So, naturally, he’s sitting tonight. Phillips seems to have taken a liking to the cleanup role so far this season, as he’s hitting over .300 while leading the Reds in home runs and RBI. As a fun fact, Phillips already has as many road home runs this season as he did in all of 2012 (3.) Also, when will the Reds see that Chris Heisey is not the option at left field? He’s hit well off of the bench the past few seasons, but given the chance to start, he always seems to whiff it. Frazier to left and Hannahan to third? meh.
At least don’t have him hitting second, Dusty.
Anyway, it’s time to look ahead. The Reds were at the bad end of a lopsided pitching matchup, with the Pirates sending their ace AJ Burnett out to the mound with the Reds sending their number 5 starter to the mound in Leake. With the beating that AJ Burnett delivered to the Reds last season, I’m actually pretty impressed that they managed to get 3 off of him and get him out of the game fairly early. No pitcher won more against the Reds last season, and one could even argue that the 2 losses he suffered could/should have been wins.
Well, the Reds shake the odds in their favor tonight by sending out their stopper Johnny Cueto against some guy named Jeff Locke. Locke has a 5.84 career ERA as well as a 1-7 record. This guy might not seem like much of a threat, but he is a lefty, which potentially essentially neutralizes Choo and Bruce, for the start of the game at least. The Reds also did seem to struggle against young pitchers with limited track records last season (Tyler Cloyd, anybody? Jacob Turner?)
Johnny Cueto has pitched pretty much like Johnny Cueto so far this season. He’s gone 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA and, interestingly, a 10.39 K/9, which is incredibly high, especially for Cueto. He is the Reds ace, and they’ll need him to be a stopgap for this 3 game skid.
The Reds haven’t had much experience against Locke, with only 9 total at bats between the team. Joey Votto hit a double off of him, apparently. That’s about it. The Pirates, meanwhile, have had a lot of experience with Cueto. As a team, over their careers, have hit .214/.287/.352 with 4 homers and 13 RBI against Cueto. Meanwhile, Cueto held the Pirates to a 2.05 ERA last season, going 2-1 in the process.
Shin-Soo Choo (.350/.480/.625)
Zack Cozart (.111/.114/.286)
Joey Votto (.294/.510/.382)
Todd Frazier (.333/.400/.639)
Jay Bruce (.283/.313/.370)
Chris Heisey (.143/.189/.286)
Ryan Hanigan (.043/.148/.043)
Cesar Izturis (.200/.200/.200)
Johnny Cueto (0-4)
Starling Marte (.350/.394/.450)
Neil Walker (.152/.282/.152)
Andrew McCutchen (.265/.333/.529)
Garret Jones (.286/.286/.429)
Russell Martin (.074/.194/.111)
Pedro Alvarez (.091/.143/.091)
Travis Snider (.250/.368/.313)
Clint Barmes (.111/.143/.185)
Jeff Locke (0-2)
Johnny Cueto (1-0, 2.77) vs. Jeff Locke (0-1, 6.00)
Time to get back on the winning side of things. Feel free to use thread to discuss the game.