In hindsight, was starting a pitcher who missed most of the season, in a one game, winner take all, playoff, really a good decision? The Reds sent staff ace Johnny Cueto to the mound in last night’s Wild Card game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. From the start it was obvious that Cueto did not have his best stuff, not did he have the command of the strike zone typically demonstrated by a team’s #1 starting pitcher.
It was clear from the start that any of the Reds other starting pitchers would have been a better choice. Cueto pitched behind in the count and it didn’t take long for the Pirates to touch him up. If not for the great defense of Todd Frazier the game could have been out of hand by the 3rd inning. As it was, it got out of hand soon enough, and the Reds hopes for advancing evaporated in the hostile environment of PNC Field.
On the flip side, the Pirates are the feel good story of the season. Their faithful fan base has been deprived of a playoff appearance long enough and they deserve to enjoy their team’s success. Not only that, but the Steelers have the good folks of Pittsburgh mourning an 0-4 start and a declaration by Big Ben that they are the worst team in the NFL. I know this is a baseball story, but how much does a Cincinnati sports fan have to love hearing the Steelers starting QB make such a pitiful claim? So Pirate fans, “Go enjoy your moment because the Cardinals are waiting to cut the celebration short!”
Back to the dugout before we wrap this post up… Another winter of “what if’s?” await the Reds. What if Joey Votto had hit like an MVP is supposed to hit? What if the Reds gad started Latos or Bailey? What if Ludwick had been the power hitter everyone had hoped he would be? What if Walk Jockety had made the trade to put them over the top? What if…
- Todd Frazier Makes Sick Catch to Save Reds from Big Inning (bleacherreport.com)
- Colin Dunlap: Pirates Fans Had A Huge Part In Wild Card Win (pittsburgh.cbslocal.com)
- National League Wild Card game: Reds-Pirates lineups (hardballtalk.nbcsports.com)
With a 3-2 win over the New York Mets the Reds have clinched a berth in the playoffs. For the first time since 1975-1976 the Reds will be going to the playoffs in back to back seasons.
Johnny Cueto looked sharp going 7 innings, striking out 5, and only giving up one earned run. A healthy Cueto will be a huge boost to the Reds if they play deep into the playoffs.
Shin Soo Choo led the offense going 3 for 6 with 2 RBI’s and 2 stolen bases. He drove in the game winning run with a walk-off hit in the bottom of the 10th inning. Billy Hamilton added another stolen base tonight to ad to his total of 13 on the season. A Major League season that started just three weeks ago for the speedster.
The Cardinals and Pirates have also clinched playoff spots along with the Reds. All three teams will continue to battle to determine who wins the division and who gets the wild card spots. It looks to be an interesting week ahead in the NL Central.