To quote the great Yogi Berra, “it’s déjà vu all over again!” For the second consecutive time he started in Great American Ball Park, Adam Wainwright blanked the Cincinnati Reds en route to a 4-0 final on Sunday Night Baseball.
Much in the same way his first start of the season against the Reds went, Wainwright was impenetrable. In his two starts in Cincinnati, he has allowed eight total hits, all of the single variety. In that same time span, a run has not crossed the plate, while 21 batters have struck out.
A slumping Reds offense was not the correct potion to unseat the current ace from his crown over baseball.
Five of the first six batters to stride in against Wainwright on Sunday night were victimized by the strikeout. Featuring his usual deadly arsenal of cutters, change-ups and exquisite curveballs, even if batters knew what was coming, it is highly doubtful they would have much of a chance.
No hitter suffered worse than Billy Hamilton. Made to look like a schoolchild, Wainwright disposed of Hamilton thrice on the evening with K’s, with him drawing a feeble base on balls in his other plate appearance. On the season, Hamilton is now 0-for-7 with seven strikeouts against the Cardinals’ ace.
The only hitter to reach base more than once again Wainwright was the eighth place hitter, Zack Cozart. Seemingly trending back up, Cozart has now raised his average up to .238 during his most recent hot stretch—a more than serviceable number. In his final at-bat, he made solid contact on a line to right field, but Allen Craig hauled in his smash and put an end to Cozart’s night.
Scoring runs has come at a premium thus far in 2014 for the Reds, and the “meat” of their order (Todd Frazier, Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce and Devin Mesoraco) went a combined 1-for-16 on a night where the team went scoreless. Against the league’s premier pitchers, it cannot always be the unsung heroes in to save the day.
A victim of a lack of run support once again, Mike Leake has to feel as if he is pitching on the wrong day every time through the rotation.
Going six, strong innings against the St. Louis Cardinals, Leake allowed only two runs. Unfortunately, for him, the catalyst for both runs to score came off the bat of light-hitting backup catcher, Tony Cruz. With no Yadier Molina in the lineup, Leake was looking at a reprieve, but rather got bitten by a rattlesnake.
Cruz was not the only forgotten member of the Cardinals crew that was a thorn in the side of the Redlegs during their primetime television game on Sunday.
The Cardinals organization is so high on young Kolten Wong that they said goodbye to 2011 World Series hero David Freese, in order to move Matt Carpenter to third, and make room for Wong over at second. After he banged home the first run of the night in the third, he was 5-for-6 in the series, and wreaking havoc at every turn, also stealing two bases.
Once Leake left after his six innings of work, the Cardinals bats turned it up a notch. Matt Carpenter narrowly avoided being gunned out by Jay Bruce stretching a double, but came around to score just two batters later on Matt Holliday’s infield single that turned into a throwing error.
Upon his entrance to the game, Sam LeCure was almost ejected right back out after Allen Craig nearly hit him between the numbers with a line drive. Happy to just give up a run and not his sternum, LeCure would cease the damage at just two runs, giving the Redbirds a 4-0 advantage.
With the way Wainwright was throwing, that would be enough for about 36 innings.
Not going the distance due to his 117 pitches thrown through eight innings, Wainwright seemed more than game to finish the contest off. In 17 combined innings at the hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park, Wainwright has tamed the beast of the jet stream and the inviting right field fence.
In eight starts against teams not named the Chicago Cubs, “Waino” has allowed all of three earned runs all season. The ace of not only the Cardinals, but also baseball itself at the moment, Wainwright has forgotten all about his past issues with the Redlegs.
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With the late Sunday Night start, the Reds are forced to hop on a red-eye out to Los Angeles ahead of their 8:05 p.m. (5:05 local time) start time on Memorial Day.
Taking the ball in the ever-important first game of the series (the Reds have won three in a row of those) will be Johnny Cueto. Potentially inspired by stark competition, Cueto will have to bring his “A” game as he battles Hyun-Jin Ryu.
As important as the contest on Monday evening is for the Reds, it is always imperative to keep baseball in perspective. Memorial Day is a day to salute those who have served our nation in any capacity, and thank them for their truly heroic efforts.
From all of us here at Blog Red Machine, thank you for your service, and God Bless.
Tags: Cincinnati Reds