|Cincinnati Reds (34-35)||6||13||0|
|Pittsburgh Pirates (34-36)||5||13||2|
|W: Ondrusek (2-2) L: Grilli (0-2) S: Chapman (12)|
|Fangraphs Win Probability | The Worldwide Leader’s Box Score | MLB Game Videos|
Todd Frazier, we aren’t worthy.
Joey Votto drove in three runs with a pair of singles, making it seven RBI in his seven games since returning from the DL. He’s hit .348/.423/.478 in June before tonight.
Billy Hamilton was on base four times, with a double, two bunt singles and a walk. He scored two runs.
Ryan Ludwick had two hits and knocked in a run. The left fielder’s hitting line is now .277/.339/.428. Sometimes a little job insecurity can be wonderful motivation. Accountability über alles.
Johnny Cueto struggled with his command in every inning but the first. Cueto threw 69 pitches in the first three innings against the battling Pirates. He walked four batters and only struck out two in six innings. But in the end, Cueto only gave up two runs, stranding seven Pirates.
The Reds made several outstanding defensive plays. In the third inning, Brayan Peña took a throw from the outfield that was off the plate and lunged about ten feet to nip the elusive Andrew McCutchen. In the sixth inning, Zack Cozart and Todd Frazier teamed up on a heads-up play to get Josh Harrison at third base on a ground ball to short. Chris Heisey’s (gulp) catch to end the game wasn’t bad, either.
Before tonight, Aroldis Chapman had struck out an absurd 55.4 percent of the batters he has faced. He struck out two more tonight.
The Reds are within one game of .500 for the first time since they were 15-16. This victory gives them five in the last six games, dating back to the final two games of the Dodgers series.
[Let the record show it was extra-difficult to adhere to the site’s guidelines concerning profanity in writing this section.]
Sam was once again LeProblem in the seventh inning, giving up three hits, a walk two runs and left the game with two runners on base. After Manny Parra retired the one batter he was allowed to face, Logan Ondrusek gave up a game-tying single to the first batter he faced. Sigh.
The Reds will continue to struggle in the seventh inning with this roster as long as Bryan Price is locked into the blinders of fixed roles. Bryan Price uses every mix-match-whatever combination of unreliable pitchers in crucial games because it’s their role. Their stupid role. As soon as LeCure got into trouble (two on base) you send Aroldis Chapman in to face the middle of the Pirates line-up, snuff out the rally, let Chapman pitch the eighth and Jonathan Broxton the ninth.
Amazingly, Ondrusek was left in to pitch the eighth inning – against the top of the Pirates line-up. He walked a hitter, of course, because that’s become his signature move and gave up a hit before pitching out of trouble. Just because it worked (barely) doesn’t mean there is a good reason why Broxton shouldn’t have pitched then.
The bullpen situation is not primarily Bryan Price’s fault. The Reds’ pen has been short on talent all year long and the general manager has provided no, uh, relief for the situation either externally or through promotion. Price only has the arms available that are on the roster. But he does have the option of using Aroldis Chapman more, as he said he would when he was hired. The Reds could be *two games* closer to Milwaukee right now if he’d managed the seventh inning differently on Saturday.
If Walt Jocketty and Bryan Price think they can catch the St. Louis Cardinals with Logan Ondrusek pitching high-leverage innings, they are delusional. They have got to get together and talk this over and come up with a better solution, one way or another.
Not so random thoughts
One positive outcome of tonight’s box score is this. Assigning the “win” to Logan Ondrusek may be enough to cause Major League Baseball to abandon the win-loss stat for pitchers.
As further evidence of how unusual a night it was for Johnny Cueto, it was his first start since May 11, 2008 — the eighth start of his rookie season — where he allowed two stolen bases. That’s 166 games in-between.
Brandon Phillips extended his streak of at bats without a K to 46 before he struck out in the seventh inning.
Ruh-roh. Jay Bruce was lifted in the ninth inning for Roger Bernadina. Hope that was just a precautionary move. Not sure which would be more disturbing, that he has a slight injury or that this was a defensive replacement.
Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.