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)
The Reds wrapped up a three game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers with a sweep! And that after taking three of four from the Cardinals. The Reds appear to be peaking at just the right time. However, the Reds are notorious for winning critical games against difficult opponents only to drop three of four against teams they should easily beat. With that said, the Reds need to guard against multiple losses to Chicago this week.
As the pennant race heats up it will be interesting to see if the Pittsburgh Pirates continue to slide. Pirate fans are all too familiar with this scenario. A great season ends with wilting in September. Regardless, it appears that Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis will make the play-offs this year.