Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Reds Win But...

When will they win two in a row? The Reds score three runs (one earned) in three games at Pittsburgh. They were lucky to get out of there with one win. A loss would have left the Reds four games under .500 and six games behind the Pirates. Now they are two under and four games out of first. Not great, but still doable, and it looks and feels better than the alternative. Cueto looked awesome again and the relief pitchers did their job, including closer Francisco Cordero. Cordero has bounced back from that disastrous three-blown-saves week before the All-Star break. But the curious move of the game for the Reds came in the seventh inning. Miguel Cairo was on second with one out. Johnny Cueto came to the plate. He had already thrown 97 pitches on a hot, humid day in Pittsburgh. I can't imagine the Reds really want to push him much further. But Cueto hit for himself and grounded out to short. The Reds ended up stranding the runner. Then begins the bottom of the seventh. Cueto throws one pitch and it's drilled too hard for Rolen to handle and resulted in a Pirates runner on first. Cueto was pulled then and there. Obviously Cueto was on a very short leash to begin with. Dusty said after the game they hoped Cueto could make it through the seventh. On this day, I would have been happy with 6 innings, especially with 97 pitches on a brutal day. But that's what makes baseball great, a lot of second-guessing. Now the Reds need to start stringing wins, and it begins by winning back to back games. They haven't done that since June 14-15. Astounding!!!

What made the Cueto move even more baffling to me was the Reds chose to make a defensive substitution heading to the bottom of the seventh. Stubbs replaced Gomes in the lineup. Gomes had been hitting seventh. So, hitting Stubbs for Cueto and inserting the pitcher's spot in the seventh slot in the lineup might have been the way to go. Oh well, who knows???

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