Final R H E
Milwaukee Brewers (21-10)
2 3 1
Cincinnati Reds (14-16)
6 11 0
W: J. Cueto (3-2)   L: Y. Gallardo (2-1)   S: none
Box Score | Play-by-Play | Stats | Depth Chart | FanGraphs Win Probability

The Good

Give Johnny Cueto 4 runs and it’s a fait accompli. That’s French for “it’s done.” Four runs and Bernie Brewer was finished. Stick a fork in ‘em. Brayan Pena keeps giving the Reds surprising offense while we wait for Mez the Destroyer to return to the lineup. Brandon Phillips had 3 hits tonight. From an offensive standpoint, he needed this night badly. Perhaps the night off wasn’t such a bad idea. Todd Frazier and Ryan Ludwick both had good nights at the plate. The great thing about Todd is that he’s sooooo good defensively at third base, that when he has night’s like this, he becomes a really valuable chess piece. He looked to be centering everything tonight.

The Bad

Nothing really.

The Ugly

Nope. Nothing to see here.

Not so random thoughts …

Skip Schumacher was on the bench tonight. Which means the bench got a little fortification. Sam LeCure put another nail in the ONLY A SELECT FEW CAN PITCH THE 9TH coffin.

All anybody wants to talk about is Johnny Cueto. And why not? This is an incredible beginning to his season. I hope Cingrani sees what Johnny is doing. Guy has at least 4 pitches now he can not just throw, but locate. They both throw with deception. I also hope Tony keeps working on more pitches doesn’t use his fastball as a crutch. The great thing about having Bryan Price as your manager is that you probably don’t have to worry about pitcher development as long as he’s part of the organization.

Lot’s of complaining about Reds hitting last night. And many times it’s warranted. But, sometimes, you just have to acknowledge the guy on the hill. Tonight, the Brewers had to tip their caps to Johnny. Right now, Cueto is the best pitcher in the National League. And he can hit sometimes, too.


Join the conversation! 79 Comments

  1. Walt won’t pay $$$ for hitting, he better pay $$$ for pitching: Pay Johnny. ‘Nuff said.

  2. The hole in your anyone can close statement is it’s DIFFERENT when it’s three runs or less.

    • Teams win 95% of the games when they lead in the ninth inning. This statistic has held true every decade since the 1940s, no matter whether teams finished games with starters, closers, taking turns, whatever. Teams with one-run leads win 85% of the time, with 2-run leads win 93% of the time, with 3-run leads win 98% of the time and with 4-run leads, win 99% of the time. Those stats have held true for decades. Here’s a definitive article with all those stats. Joe Posnaski wrote it last year.

      • I should have specified that was sarcasm.

      • Interesting stats, and probably more reassuring than they should be, but they don’t disprove the need for good pitching to finish the game. I couldn’t pitch the 9th, for example (well, I could, but it would be the only topic of conversation on RLN for days), and the fact that teams with the lead in the ninth usually win is not independent of who is pitching the ninth–it’s at least partially a result of who is pitching the ninth. Even before the rigidly defined closer role became the rule, I don’t imagine that the job of protecting the lead was turned over to a worn-out scrub.

        • Not sure I get the point, so JJ Hoover gives you an equally likely chance to save a game as Broxton, or a better chance than Sam Lecure.
          I am positive we would have seen Broxton had there been 3 runs or less in the 9th. The only real point I can see attempting to be made is the Chapman should be starting when he is ready to pitch at MLB level

    • Why would you think that it ISN’T different when it’s 3 runs or fewer? (I understood that you were being sarcastic). Clearly a pitcher who is prone to melting down (Ondu?) is less likely to cost you the game if he pitches with a big lead than he is in a close game. I’m not supporting the concept of the rigid closer role, but if you want to win games in which you lead, you need to continue to pitch well.

      • If the Brewers had scratched across a run in the eighth, Broxton would have been out there for the 9th instead of LeCure. LeCure doesn’t have the closers mentality to deal with a three run lead but four runs is a walk in the cake. That is sarcasm.

        • Of course. And some of my favorite commentator remarks about the supposed value of the closer are that “the ball feels heavier in the ninth inning.” Really? Are you sure that’s not just from the accumulation of pine tar on the ball???

          And then there’s, “it takes a certain mindset to be a closer.” Yeah, not everybody can count to three outs, apparently.

        • Which part was sarcasm? The cake part? I wasn’t referring to “closer mentality,” but to simple effectiveness. Of course it matters who pitches any inning. Better pitchers pitch usually pitch better than mediocre pitchers, that’s all. My point stands: a small lead in the ninth is better protected by a good pitcher. Ipso facto: Any one can NOT close effectively.

        • Which part was sarcasm? The cake part? I wasn’t referring to “closer mentality,” but to simple effectiveness. Of course it matters who pitches any inning. Better pitchers usually pitch better than mediocre pitchers, that’s all. My point stands: a small lead in the ninth is better protected by a good pitcher. Ipso facto: Any one can NOT close effectively.

  3. Glad the rest of the boys made me eat crow for my thoughts last night!!!! Eating crow happily…….

  4. It is a fascinating article. It would make Jonathan Papelbon angry.

  5. Have to admit when Cueto gave up the 1st hr. I thought oh this poor guy is going to be beat 1-0 again!!!! So glad he got some much deserved run support.

  6. This was a good team win led by Cueto’s effort. The Reds need to back it up Sunday with another “w” if it is to really mean anything beyond feeling good for an evening.

  7. Yes sir, BP Brandon Phillips 3-4 with a double. maybe that will be a precursor to a nice stretch of hitting by BP and that may help some others get going (Bruce and Votto).

    • 3 straight hits, started 2 rallies as well, can’t believe you are letting “hitting” better than Votto go without a comment

  8. Why the strange 4:10 start for tomorrow’s game?

  9. I know that Johnny committed the Cardinal sin of offending the Cardinals but is this the year he finally gets an ASG invite ? Hope so

    • ASG invite? Johnny should be starting the game if he has another month like the last. He is the best pitcher in the NL – but as we all know the Cards were in the WS so another slap in the face might actually be on the horizon. Now if Simon can follow suit and pitch like he has been we might get the 3 out of 4 that we needed from this series. GO REDS (and Cubs – please sweep the Cards)

  10. The Bad: nothing really.

    Top of the order going 0 for 9? Votto 0 for 5? Maybe?

  11. If you needed more convincing that the whole FIP/xFIP thing isn’t so great… Cueto is currently 36th in FIP and 11th in xFIP in MLB despite the fact he’s 1st in ERA, IP, K, AVG, and 2nd in WHIP.

    Also brings up the point that the difference between bWAR and fWAR is ever so confusing, as bWAR has him at 2.7 (highest pitcher WAR by 1.1, 2nd highest WAR of any player in MLB) and fWAR has him at .9, or 19th among pitchers. (Who can name 18 pitchers they think are more valuable than Cueto so far this year? Who can name 5? 3?)

    Just tells me that the basic stats are still pretty good these days, because both them and my eyes tells me Cueto is the best in the league right now, bar none… regardless of the hip new stats like FIP and xFIP.

    • This. I find that the back of the baseball card will still tell you what you need to know.

      • Except it doesn’t tell you how many times a hitter has walked and his OBP. This bothered me as a kid in the 60’s. The Sporting News had that information, and I was shocked at how much walks depended on the hitter. The prevailing assumption at the time was that a walk was just the pitcher’s fault, not to do with the hitter.

    • I’m generally a proponent of advanced stats, and FIP has value, but I think it cheats a pitcher like Cueto. Basically, it assumes a pitcher has no control over BABIP. While there is certainly some merit to that thinking, it’s obviously not completely true. It’s the same for hitters – Votto consistently has a BABIP well above league average because he hits line drives. Same with Cueto – his BABIP against is consistently low specifically because he induces so many ground balls. He’s one of the best ground ball pitchers in baseball. And that’s not by accident. It’s a skill he’s developed because of his home park. He can allow for a slightly higher BB rate and WHIP because he’s able to get a lot of DP balls. He knows it and that’s how he pitches. It’s also interesting that almost all of the runs Cueto has given up so far this year have been HR’s. He’s already given up 6. He gave up 15 in all of 2013 and only 8 in 2012. FIP really really really hates HR’s and punishes pitchers accordingly. But unlike a lot of other advanced stats, for some reason it doesn’t account for ballpark. So while Cueto has given up more than his usual number of HR’s so far, most have been at GABP and most have been solo shots.

      I could be fundamentally misunderstanding FIP and if so someone correct me, but that would seem to explain to me why his ranking in that department doesn’t seem to match the eyeball test. I’ve watched all of Cueto’s starts and I don’t remember any particularly lucky breaks he’s gotten from his defense. It would be nice if he could start keeping those mistake pitches in the ballpark, especially once the weather starts heating up, but other than that it’s hard to find a meaningful stat that Cueto isn’t leading all of baseball in right now. I don’t know how we’re possibly going to be able to afford to re-sign him. Good thing he has an option for 2015.

      • SIERA takes into account ground ball rates, the other two don’t. Yes, a few pitchers can ‘cheat’ BABIP, even over a career. Cueto has done just that – he has a career BABIP of .278. But even granting that Ceuto out-performs league BABIP, his rate so far this season (.153) is unsustainable and partly a product of luck.

        Not sure what you count as meaningful stats – but while Cueto has been striking out more hitters, he’s nowhere near the league leader in K/9 or BB/9 or pitch velocity. We look at him and say he’s given up so few runs, and that’s right. But that’s just runs, not other ways to measure it.

        • 14 starting pitchers have better K/9 rates than Cueto and seven of them also have lower BB/9 rates.

        • I’ll give you K/9. I don’t think I’d count pitch velocity as a stat and again I think Cueto can live with a higher BB/9 than a lot of pitchers. But fair enough he doesn’t lead in those categories – I didn’t say he led in ALL, but he leads in most. bWAR, SO, ERA, H9, IP, CG, WPA, plus a whole host of other adjusted advanced stats. Plus he’s second in ERA+ and WHIP (to some guy named Jason Hammel). His bWAR is second in all of baseball ahead of Mike Trout.

          You’re right – the BABIP is way too low and will come up. But I’d also think his HR9 will come down. Not sure what to attribute the HR rate to, but it’s not like him and if I understand the math correctly that’s the primary cause of his inflated FIP. His K9, while not otherworldly, is significantly higher than it’s ever been so I guess you can think it’s either an anomaly that will come down or that he’s simply taken his game to the next level. Eyeball test tells me personally that it’s the latter.

      • xFIP is the stat that takes the ball park and home runs out of the equation – and Cueto’s xFIP (2.75) is accordingly lower than his FIP (3.20) for the reason you mention.

        • I usually look at BR, but checking out FG just now they have an FIP- stat which it describes as being FIP normalized and adjusted for park. They currently have Cueto at 83. Is there any conceivable way anyone could have watched Cueto’s starts this season and come away with the conclusion that he is 17% BELOW AVERAGE? Maybe it’s the small sample size so far, but that can’t possibly be an accurate assessment of either the performance Cueto has delivered or what should be expected going forward.

        • Ah…That does make considerably more sense. Although again, that ranks Cueto at #35. Funny how all of these things tend to find their own levels. AL made a nice post further down in this discussion about sequencing. That’s what I am trying to get at in terms of FIP seeming to be biased towards high K guys. Cueto has given up 6 solo HR’s so far this year. I think most of us can agree that, while that number is a bit high for him in a month, that’s not really enough to overshadow how he’s performed in every other category. And his K/9 of 9.8 is very good, but not going to shatter any records obviously. So it comes back to a judgement call. If FIP is being held up as a good prognosticating stat, I think most of us would agree that Cueto is probably going to do a lot better than his current 3.20 FIP suggests. SIERA and xFIP seem to be a lot more in line with what I would imagine his year is going to look like, but even those seem to be on the high side. And his ERA is, most likely, unsustainably low due in large part to his very low BABIP. It’s almost as if stats don’t always tell the whole story…who knew…I guess we should let them play the games and see what happens.

      • Well, FIP SHOULD hate HRs. It’s a pretty horrible outcome. One thing FIP doesn’t take into account is Cueto’s ability to hold runners and stifle the running game. When he has runners on base, they don’t go anywhere. That’s big for a pitcher. And there may be nobody better at holding runners than Johnny.

        • Of course HR’s are bad, but my very basic understanding looking at the equation for FIP is that it treats a solo HR as being infinitely worse than, say, a 2-run double. In fact it doesn’t pay any attention to any other kind of hit besides HR’s, which it adds a ton of value for. I get that this is the only way to remove “fielding” from the equation, but it also seems to ignore a lot of what a pitcher does both good and bad.

          My biggest gripe, if you can call it that, with FIP is that isn’t it almost ALWAYS higher than a guys’ ERA at the end of a season? If that’s the case then it doesn’t really mean much in terms of clarifying ERA. It’s just a completely separate statistic that shouldn’t lessen the value of how many ER’s a guy gives up. Assuming BABIP will normalize over an entire season and that no one has a team full of Cal Ripken’s behind him then ERA still seems like a pretty telling stat in the long term.

        • Which isn’t to say that FIP isn’t a valuable statistic, just that I don’t think it should be seen as the “more correct” measuring stick than ERA. It’s just a different statistic.

        • Eric, I think you are misunderstanding FIP.

          FIP should treat a solo HR worse than a 2 run double. Again, we’re talking about what a pitcher has control over–what he does with the 3 true outcomes–Ks, Walks and HRs.

          In isolation, a HR is worse than a double. That is undeniable. The circumstances around the double (the men on base when the double is hit) are precisely what FIP wants to remove, thus isolating ONLY what the pitcher can control.

          I can already hear the Eyeball Test Crowd wailing that those circumstances are part of the game. But that is not what FIP is measuring. It’s measuring the pitcher’s contribution and his contribution only. This is why ERA is so unreliable.

          Put Johnny Cueto behind an average group of fielders, and Johnny’s ERA would be different–worse. That’s not a knock on Cueto. It’s merely an acknowledgment of how team defense behind the pitcher, along with official scoring decisions, umpiring, outfield arms, lucky bounces, etc. fit into the “big picture.”

          This misunderstanding also helps explain why Zack Cozart gets so much grief. As bad as his hitting has been early this season, his elite defense has real value, value to the team and yes, Johnny Cueto. Which is why the Reds front office isn’t running around frantically looking for a new shortstop, as too many fans wish they would do.

        • Richard, my only point is that a pitcher could give up two screaming line drive doubles off the wall that result in 1 run and his FIP wouldn’t change at all but one solo HR increases it by a factor of 13. I’d much rather have the guy who gives up the occasional solo HR over the guy getting knocked around regularly with well hit balls. And FIP completely discounts that. I just don’t see how you can judge a pitcher without taking into account at all the non-HR hits he gives up. Yes, some of that is effected by luck and fielding, but it doesn’t make sense to me to completely discount hits all together because some fraction of them are out of the pitcher’s control. I don’t know much about SIERA seems really interesting, albeit pretty complicated. Right now Cueto is sporting a 2.79 in that category which ranks him 11th in the majors. That at least sounds closer to his perceived value right now than his relative FIP. Of course it’s also almost identical to his xFIP…where he also ranks 11th. Meanwhile his FIP of 3.20 has him ranked 36th. I think we can all agree there aren’t 35 better pitchers in baseball right now than Johnny Cueto. I guess maybe the biggest takeaway from crunching all of those numbers it that GABP does have a pretty noticeable effect.

        • “I’d much rather have the guy who gives up the occasional solo HR over the guy getting knocked around regularly with well hit balls.”

          Me too, Eric. None of what you wrote above here represents what FIP is all about. You just changed the discussion from one about isolating pitching events into one that compares excellent pitchers with lousy pitchers. Who wouldn’t want the former over the latter? It’s a strawman.

          Unfortunately, it doesn’t help us get closer to the truth.

    • Not sure what you mean by “isn’t so great.” Great at what? You may be trying to use those stats for purposes they aren’t intended.

      ERA tells you how a pitcher has done this year in terms of giving up runs – backward looking – how many runs has the pitcher given up. Cueto has been the best at that in the league. That’s why he has the best ERA – backward looking – stat. But it only measures that one thing *runs* that’s the R in ERA, runs. But run-scoring involves plenty of factors out of the pitcher’s control, like defensive skill, and flat out luck about where balls are hit – like the screaming line drive that Todd Frazier snags at 3B.

      FIP, xFIP and SIERA take the underlying factors that contribute to successful pitching – strikeouts, walks, ground ball rates etc. – and project them *forward* to indicate how that pitcher will do in the future. Neither is right or wrong, per se, it just depends on what you want to measure.

      Cueto’s ERA now stands at 1.31. His FIP is 3.20 and xFIP is 2.75. If you had to bet $1000 on which of those numbers came closest to Cueto’s ERA at the end of the season – 1.31, 3.20, 2.75 – I doubt you would honestly pick 1.31.

      This difference – between backward and forward looking – explains the gap in the WAR calculations between FanGraphs (who uses FIP) and Baseball-Reference (who uses ERA). So it just depends on what you want to measure. Neither is right or wrong.

      In terms of Cueto’s rankings – he’s behind other starters in xFIP because he’s got a lower K/9 than some of them or a higher BB/9. Cueto has pitched really well, but he’s also been really lucky with BABIP (.153), even measured against his own career (.278).

      Cueto isn’t responsible for that BABIP being lower than his career BABIP. It’s purely luck. So when you talk about “value” that a pitcher provides, are you factoring in that good fortune? Because FIP and xFIP do.

      • Glad you brought up xFIP. That was the stat I was trying to think of. That number does make a lot more sense to me than his 3.20 FIP. Like I said above, those HR’s are what’s killing his advanced numbers right now. Assuming he can get those back to his normal rates, though, with his improved K/9 I’d think he could end up with an ERA a lot closer to 2.00 than 2.75 and it wouldn’t shock me if it ended up starting with a 1.

      • My problem with advanced statistical measures of BABIP is that it is such a crude measure of luck. You need to break down into fly balls, ground balls, line drives.
        That’s begin to happen – you mention ground ball rates. Line drive rates also have to be factored in. I’ve seen BABIP broken down into line drives, fly balls, ground balls. The line drive rate is typically about .700. The lowest rates are for fly balls, because of course it’s only measuring ones that stay in the park, which are typically harmless popups, whether to the IF or the OF.

        • Sigh. I meant “advanced statistical measures based on BABIP”.

        • There is a stat, called xBABIP that does exactly what you’re talking about, and I’ve often wondered why it doesn’t show up on more sites like fangraphs.

          Because I totally agree, the idea that “everyone’s BABIP generally goes to about .300” is ridiculous. Everyone’s BABIP tends to go to their average, but that varies widely. Was Ted Williams hitting .400 because he got really lucky?

          His Career BABIP was .328, and he was usually a little above or below that. Never should someone have seen Ted Williams with a .330 BABIP and said, he’s probably just getting lucky.

          Ditto Joey Votto. Career .358 BABIP. Right now he’s at .308, and some people would just say, yeah, that’s about average, but that tells me that he’s actually been quite unlucky so far, for him. Because he hits the ball so hard all the time.

          here’s a link to xBABIP

    • How many games have you seen Jose Fernandez pitch? Or Max Scherzer? Your eyes can only compare Cueto to pitchers you’ve actually seen, right?

      • I know you don’t like the E-word, and your reasoning is perfectly valid, but I think Todd has a point that I don’t think you could name 18 pitchers who have been better than Cueto even if you’d watched every inning of every game played this year.

    • Todd, I’m usually right there with you on your posts, but this one I disagree with. I think both FIP and xFIP are often a lot more useful than ERA for predicting future performance.

      I will make two notes though in general support. FIP and xFIP both take out “sequencing,” that is, the ability of a pitcher to keep runners on base if they get on (i.e. not give up a bunch of hits in a row). Mostly has been shown that pitchers generally don’t have much control over the sequencing of the hits they give up.

      However, a guy like Cueto has consistently shown that he is capable of stranding more runners than average, controlling the running game etc, so FIP and xFIP always underrate him a little.

      The other note is that fangraphs uses FIP in their WAR, and BR uses ERA. That’s why Cueto is so much better in bWAR. The reason fangraphs does that is that they are trying to isolate what a pitcher does vs. what the defense does. The problem is that in there, they eliminate sequencing too.

      I tend to prefer bWAR for this reason, but it is more volatile.

      • I like your point about sequencing. It is what I was trying to drive at earlier in this post but you put it much better than I could have. FIP seems to heavily favor high K/9 guys and punish contact guys whose strength is giving up few extra base hits and stranding runners when they get on, not to mention shutting down running games. SIERA seems better at taking those factors into consideration but for the life of me I can’t figure out how it’s calculated. Fangraphs doesn’t even bother to show the equation.

  12. Watching the flagship this morning and little to nothing on Mr. Cuteo. Sad that a quality pitcher like him who had a great April and now yesterday’s May start and nothing…but hey Puig went yard…

  13. I don’t watch any of their offerings anymore except games/ events not available elsewhere. In particular, NBC/SN and CBSSPORTS have really improved their content as far a things I enjoy when a prime event such as Reds/ CBJ/ OSU football isn’t on. I don’t really miss the MouseSports at all.

    • If you get it, MLBTonight, the 24 hour baseball station, has by far the best baseball coverage, even with some weak commentators. Their one hour QuickPitch covers every game.

      • yes, agree with this. There still are some games that might get a little short shrift, but at least the games are not ignored.

      • Yes Pinson!! I love MLB Network. Yeah, some of the commentators aren’t the best but even the worst have some insights worth listening to.

  14. Let’s just hope that Cueto has learned his lesson and doesn’t hurt hit lats again – he had an amazing April, and is off to an amazing May.

  15. It was great to see BP not swinging to pull everything. And, not coincidentally, he got 3 hits. I fundamentally believe BP still has the skill to be a solid offensive contributor, and if he moves away from his pull-happy/every swing is going for a HR approach, I can even live with him batting 3rd. He just has to stick with this hitting approach.

    • He was definitely being more patient at the plate – I don’t think I saw him swing at a single first pitch all night. The mental day off might have been just what he needed. I agree with you that I still think he can be a solid 100 OPS+ hitter. But I still don’t want him in the 3 spot. Still, if he hits like he has over his career and he needs to be at the top of the order to keep his emotions in check, I can live with it. Assuming everything normalizes, there’s not a significantly better option on the roster for that spot.

      • Exactly, I think sometimes you feel you want mgmt to make a change due to the fans displeasure in their performance. Thinking about it objectively I do not believe Frazier will have better stats at the end of the year and I have no other candidates. I wonder if Brandon would be a better hitter if he batted lead-off?

    • BP is a better hitter with 2 strikes because after swinging for the fences on the first two strikes, he tries to put the ball in play.

      Even Price has said that BP pays way too much attention to where he’s hitting in the lineup. If he’s batting second, he sac bunts even when the manager doesn’t ask him to, and gets himself out trying too hard to go the other way with a runner on 2nd (they pitch him inside in that situation). When he bats leadoff, he thinks he has to steal bases, and gets thrown out a lot. When he batted cleanup, he insisted that the only stat that mattered was RBIs, as his BA and OBP fell to career lows.

      When batting 3rd, maybe he felt his job was to hit for power – or maybe he felt his job was simply to be the best hitter in the lineup. I’m sure Price has had a talk with him about that: A good hiting approach is a good hittng approach, regardless of where you’re batting in the lineup.

      • I think the fact that Phillips tries to change his game to fit where he is spotted even if at times it is misguided largely belies the notion continually put forth here that he is some sort of lurking troublemaker.

        • BP is a guy with a big ego and a big heart. He pays more attention than he should to his getting credit when the Reds win, but anyone who says he doesn’t care about “the team” is flat out wrong.

          After the Reds were swept by the Phillies in the 2010 divisional series, BP had tears coming down his face. Even down 2-0, he still thought the Reds could win it, he’s proud to be a Red.

        • A handful of “incidents” last year seem to have soured a lot of people to BP. I think they were all way overblown.It reminds me an awful lot of when Bengals fans turned on Chad Johnson. When he was in his prime, his attitude and persona were seen as playful and positive. As soon as he started to decline, the exact same behavior was a distraction and signs of an overblown ego.

          Whatever happens with the rest of BP’s career, he will go down as one of my all time favorite Reds. Watching him play defense over the last decade has been a privilege and there isn’t a better fan ambassador out there.

  16. Milwaukee came in having lost only 8 games all year, and just 2 away from home. Win or lose today, I think we’ve shown what will happen to the Brewers as they play better teams and as things normalize. (I hope we win today just to help drive that point home.)

    Cardinals vs Brewers, I’m still rooting for the Brewers. Pirates vs Brewers, I’m probably rooting for the Pirates as I just don’t think they have it this year. Ultimately, the Cardinals will be our main competition for the Division, so I hope their slump lasts awhile

    • Agreed. The Brewers are not “going away”, they’re a good team. But they’re not a dominating team – they are also not going to “run away” with the division title.

      And yes the Cardinals are the “proverbial team to beat”, but more so because of their pitching than in past years. Their offense misses Beltran, which does not surprise me. Matt Adams is a dangerous hitter, but he’s not Beltran and the Cards miss him off the bench.

    • Don’t disagree, but they don’t have Ryan Braun right now, That’s a pretty big bat to take out of your lineup and still expect to dominate. Not sure I’d write them off too quickly …

      • I’ll see your Braun and raise you a Mesoraco, Latos, and Chapman.

        • Easy there, the two aren’t exactly mutually exclusive. The Brewers can hang around the race, as Pinson said, especially with Braun returning at some point, but be outdistanced by the Reds if we come back at full(er) strength with Mes, Mat and Missile.

  17. Cueto’s line: 8 IP, 3 hits, 2 runs, 10 Ks, 1 BB is highly reminiscent of Mario Soto in his prime. Soto also had a great change up. And Soto also gave up more than his share of HRs.

    Price: “… the best part, for me, was that he didn’t back down after the solo shots. He continued to attack the strike zone. He wasn’t afraid of contact.”

    Opposing managers and pitching scouts would say about Soto: “I love the way he challenges hitters.”

  18. Looks like Schumaker is starting in center and leading off today

    • I’m good with that. He was hitting very well in Louisville and Heisey is starting to flash his “this is why I shouldn’t be a starter” colors. It’ll be good to see what Skip can bring to the table.

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