Cincinnati Reds Shutout by Former Teammate
By Jesse Borek
Normally, offenses are rested and raring to go after an off day. With the Cincinnati Reds having Monday night off, they responded with a 3-0 shutout loss at the hands of Travis Wood and the Chicago Cubs to fall back to six games under .500.
With Sean Marshall sitting in the Reds dugout recovering from shoulder surgery, the man he was traded for in Travis Wood took to the mound against the Reds and carved apart whatever remaining hope and fervor the club had. In his six innings of work, a runner did not so much as reach second base.
Even with Wood in cruise control, the Reds had their man on the mound in Johnny Cueto. The question asked after the contest will invariably shift to if Cueto has reached his innings plateau and is now beginning to descend into some prolific slump of ineffective pitching, which could be not further from the truth.
Just as the game got underway, the rain droplets fell from the heavens. Throwing what appeared to be a wet sponge, opposed to a baseball, Cueto watched as Anthony Rizzo (he of the 1-for-15 career numbers against Cueto) crushed a solo shot into the sparsely populated seats in the moon deck. Immediately after throwing the ball, Cueto began to scream and yell, while wiping his hand off on his pants.
Post-rain delay, Cueto was back to normal. He would retire the first 10 batters he would face coming back out on the field. He only incurred trouble again in the seventh inning when substitute Matt Szczur laced a single before Arismendy Alcantara walloped a two-run blast deep into the night.
Tuesday evening would be one of the rare nights when Johnny Cueto barely snuck into the bracket of eligibility for a quality start, but he would extend his National League lead, going 6.1 innings, while allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks, in addition to striking out eight.
As has been the story for Cueto, and the rest of the Reds staff in 2014, the offense just never came. No longer are the Reds running out a lineup of replacement level players, with all starters but Joey Votto having returned. There were three measly hits all evening long: one on a bunt from Skip Schumaker in the eighth, a Todd Frazier flare single and a Zack Cozart base hit. Up until the games final two innings, there was barely a hard hit ball.
Although the Reds were victims of two incredibly suspect calls by home plate umpire Bill Miller (one was strike three called on Ryan Ludwick that nearly hit him in the kneecaps, the other a “foul tip” by Kristopher Negron in which the ball never even came remotely close to the bat), there was no defending their lack of offensive output. Striking out nine times themselves, they were mowed down by the combination of Wood, Neil Ramirez, Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon.
It was not a complete wash for those in attendance, as thanks to Logan Ondrusek, they got themselves some free pizza. Punching out Arismendy Alcantara for the team’s 11th strikeout of the game to end the eighth, the fans erupted in cheers more for the pizza then the filthy splitter the tall right-hander threw.
Making his Major League debut in the top of the ninth was Daniel Corcino. At one time hailed as a “Johnny Cueto” type pitcher, Corcino has undergone some bumpy roads in his journey. Finally making his debut on the day of his 24th birthday, Corcino would punch out the first two batters he would face on devastating sliders that neither man could have hit with a club.
Donning the rookie number 64, Corcino had a moment he will never forget for the rest of his life, even if he goes to become a cornerstone of a franchise.
Taking the ball on Wednesday evening will be the newest father the Redlegs have. With Mat Latos’ wife giving birth to Landon Marshall Latos, Mat will look to pick up the win in his first start of fatherhood.
He will be facing a familiar foe, but not one normally seen in a Cubs uniform. After his start against the Reds a few weeks back, the Miami Marlins cut Jacob Turner. In need of healthy bodies to pitch innings, the Cubs took a flier on the former first-round pick in hopes of bottling some of that lightning for themselves.
The game will get underway at 7:10 p.m. as the two tall right-handers square off.