Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds  (11-11)
2 5 0
Pittsburgh Pirates  (9-14)
1 7 0
W: Cingrani (2-2, 2.86 ERA, 3.41 FIP)     L: Cumpton (0-1)     S: Broxton (4)
 Box Score  |   Play-by-Play    |    Photos    |    Depth Chart    |    FanGraphs Win Probability

Positives

With the win the Reds take the series from the Pirates 3-1. That’s three straight series wins and 5 of 7 against the Pirates in the past ten days. With this 5-2 start on the road trip and three-game winning streak, the Reds have evened their record at 11-11 as they head to first-place Atlanta for a three-game series this weekend. 

Ryan Ludwick (.293/.354/.431) drove in both runs for the Reds, taking a Brandon Cumpton fastball deep into left center field. Joey Votto and Todd Frazier were on base due to being hit by pitches. Manager Bryan Price’s decision to start Joey Votto during Brandon Phillips’ at bat avoided a certain 6-4-3 double play. 

For the second game in a row, a Reds starting pitcher struggled in the first inning. But despite throwing 32 pitches, Tony Cingrani allowed the Pirates only run on a walk and an error by Brandon Phillips infield single. Cingrani, in what was his first start against the Pirates, settled down to finish six innings, striking out seven, walking two and giving up a streak-snapping sixth hit. The close-up camera caught a vintage Cingrani snarl in the bottom of the sixth as the pitcher faced his final hitter with two runners on base.

The bullpen pitched three shutout innings. Logan Ondrusek looked sharp, retiring the top of the Pirates order, including Andrew McCutchen to end the seventh. Sam LeCure needed just 11 pitches to strike out the side in the eighth. It was LeCure’s second appearance in a row and his fastball sat consistently at 88 mph, once reaching 89. Jonathan Broxton pitched a clean ninth. The pen has acquitted itself fabulously the past two games. 

Chris Heisey and Todd Frazier made a couple nice defensive plays. Heisey saved a run in the second inning with two plays. One held Chris Stewart to a single and the second was a diving catch in right-center to rob Starling Marte of extra bases. 

Negatives

Brandon Phillips had a shaky series defensively. Pittsburgh’s one run today scored from second base on the kind of ground ball that Phillips has handled easily. The scorer ruled it a hit, though, for now. 

Not so random thoughts

Let’s hope Ike Davis doesn’t show up in Atlanta wearing a Braves uniform this weekend.

The Reds came within a stupid broken-bat home run from sweeping the four-game series in Pittsburgh. I know any series is just a snapshot of a long season, but the Pirates sure don’t seem like the team they were at the end of 2013. That’s not to say they aren’t dangerous or won’t be in contention at the end of the year. But for the moment, I’m a lot more worried about Milwaukee than I am Pittsburgh.

The Reds streak of ten games scoring at least four runs came to an end. They managed just five hits and two walks. On the other hand, it was a one-run win, as that number for the Reds starts to even out.

Top game thread comments

Al: Brewers are off today, STL is down 2-1 in the 7th. A loss for them puts us .5 games back of second place.

YorktownRed: Lower the Jolly Roger. Nice series win.

CI3J: Take the walk they are trying so hard to give you.

JDX19: It will be interesting to see if the defensive metrics this year will line up with all of our eye tests. To me, BP is clearly failing on many plays he would have easily made the in the past.

Sergeant2: Ludwick is due for a HR. (comment in second inning)

24 Responses

  1. al

    Mesoraco returned from the DL at right about the same time Votto was moved to the #2 spot in the lineup, and since then this offense has done a 180. Even today, when they didn’t score a ton, you just had a sense that they were going to keep threatening and get on the board.

    The first few weeks of the season, I had no confidence in the Reds ability to score at all.

  2. ToddAlmighty

    It’s cool, they hit… Neil Walker in game one. Totally equal.

  3. Davis Stuns Goliath

    “Vintage Cingrani snarl.” My three favorite words besides “free pepperoni pizza.”

  4. ToddAlmighty

    Yeah, Phillips was having an amazing season last year until he got hit. Wasn’t the same for the rest of the year as he played through it.

    Also don’t particularly like Hamilton taking a pitch on his leg.. or Votto/Mesoraco taking a pitch anywhere. Votto walks enough and Mesoraco is hitting enough that they should be willing to trade getting hit by a 90mph baseball for a free base.

  5. Earl Nash

    Pittsburgh just has too many holes in their lineup. Even last year they kind of done it with mirrors and unless someone like Ike Davis really surprises, I don’t see how they improve. Their pitching is ok, but I really tend to doubt Volquez will keep it up evening out the loss of Burnett over the whole season.

    Milwaukee stays healthy, they got a legit middle of the order. Just having Roidboy and Ramirez around should make a big difference, as both of them were gone last year for big stretches. Their starting pitching is decent, but it’s all middle of the rotation guys. They don’t have a 1-2 that matches with the Cards or the Reds. Their bullpen has been pretty good thus far, which was really bad last year.

  6. Chris

    The Pirates definitely won’t be the same as last season. Though I do admire their GMs ability to pick up a needed FA here or there. Whomever the acquire seems to give them just what they need. I imagine they’ll be working another trade over the next month or two.

  7. Dru

    What will be the league’a response to the simon situation? Assume he will be allowed to play until the legal system runs it’s course/Latos is back?

  8. Dru

    My apologies, just saw comment about refraining from discussing the ongoing situation regarding a certain fill-in starter. Please disregard previous question

    • redmountain

      Are you talking about Hamilton being an easy out? He is hitting .300 in his last ten. He strikes out a lot, but that does not mean he is not dangerous with the bat. In addition, Cozart is going to get 15 hr and 50-60 rbi. If your #8 hitter plays excellent defense and gives you that kind of production, why would you want to trade him?

    • CP (@nomoresalads)

      “He strikes out a lot, but that does not mean he is not dangerous with the bat.”

      Hamilton may be dangerous with his legs, but he may in fact be the least dangerous hitter in all of baseball.

      10 game samples mean absolutely nothing, particularly these cherry picked ones that the Hamilton “hope & prayers” crowd is throwing around now. I remember when Cozart was called up for his little 11 game trial run in 2011, or even 2012 when he started off scorching hot. The same crowd was going bonkers for him, while someone of us were quietly pointing out that Cozart has never shown the ability to get on base in the minors, and indeed, during the 11 game trial period, didn’t take a single walk.

      Nothing Hamilton has done makes me feel better about him as a hitter. Even during this 10 game stretch, Hamilton’s 2.2 % walk rate, his 22.2 K%, the .025 ISO, and .387 BABIP scream that this just a blip on the screen. I hope Hamilton proves me wrong, but the current version of Hamilton is a well below average hitter.

      (I’m perfectly fine with Cozart at SS…Price is using him correctly, the talk of upgrading is a waste of time. The Reds would get way more bang for their buck upgrading a LF/CF or getting a 3B and sliding Frazier out to LF.

    • VaRedsFan

      You throw out walk rate like he has a choice over if the pitcher will throw him 4 balls. They are throwing him strikes (hint you can’t walk while being thrown strikes). He will continue to get thrown strikes until he hits better. He is starting to hit better lately, the rate will go up.

    • CP

      “Hamilton, the least dangerous hitter in all of baseball? Ok, then.”

      Probably the least dangerous hitter who is an everyday player, yes. Zero power means zero dangerous. Just because he is terror on the basepaths doesn’t mean he suddenly becomes dangerous.

      Charlotte,

      I’m not saying he won’t grow into being an effective MLB hitter eventually. Just that he isn’t an effective MLB hitter right now and shouldn’t be leading off. He has shown ability to get on bases during the minors, but very minimal ability since he showed up in AAA.

  9. Jeff in TN

    Looks like the Reds dodged a bullet by not getting either of these two guys that fans were clamoring for during the off-season:
    Grady Sizemore .212/.264/.364
    Nick Franklin .125/.222/250

    Ouch. Glad Sizemore decided to go to Boston and Walt didn’t pull the trigger on a trade for Franklin. The Reds would have over-paid for either of them given how their seasons are going so far.
    BTW, Franklin just got sent down to AAA after only getting18 AB’s in Seattle this season.

    I don’t feel that either of them would have been an upgrade for anyone on the current roster. Even scuffling, first pitch-swinging Brandon Phillips or Billy Hamilrun.

    • VaRedsFan

      Amazing how everyone jumped off that Sizemore bandwagon after week 1.

  10. vegastypo

    I’m not sure I understand the hinting that the Reds needed to “get even” for those HBP. From what I saw, or thought I saw, those hit batters today, though numerous, weren’t intentional. …

    Their pitcher was struggling and kept losing the strike zone. As far as I’m concerned, the Reds played it the best by refraining from re-igniting that stuff from last season, and in the process leaving town with that third win largely BECAUSE the guy couldn’t aim straight.

    Let’s win a series in Atlanta while the Bucs and Birds tangle!

  11. VaRedsFan

    on Wednesday… two McCutchen bobbles in CF when the runner was CLEARLY going to stop at 1st. Both runners reached 2nd and were awarded doubles.

    • Janet

      You may be unaware, but the official scorer can change his call, even the next morning. The scoring was changed, and McCutch was awarded an error. He had two errors in that game.

  12. Eric the Red

    You beat me to this comment, Kyle. Even if Alvarez is credited with a hit, I don’t see how he gets an RBI or Cingrani gets charged with an earned run. It was a slow infield ball which Phillips fumbled into the outfield. No way it was a single that drove in the run from 2nd, even with two outs. I’d have scored it an error all the way, but if not that I honestly can’t come up with any plausible explanation for it not being an infield hit plus an error to score the run.

  13. Eric the Red

    It was poetic justice that both of our runs reached via HBP and Ludwick drove them in after being HBP earlier in the game. I don’t think they were intentional, but the Pirates were a little too reckless pitching inside this series, and it’s a bit coincidental Hamilton got hit in the leg and our hot-hitting catcher got nailed on the hand.

    Pitching inside is fine, but not if your control is uncertain enough to plunk that many batters. Next series, the Pirates need to be reminded of that fact. Neil Walker and Andrew McCutchen looked entirely too comfortable at the plate throughout this series, so pitching way inside to them under the right game circumstances seems like a reasonable opportunity for sending this reminder.

  14. Eric the Red

    3 times in one game, and 6 in the series. I don’t think they were intentional, either, but you have to take some responsibility for your control–or lack thereof–if you’re going to pitch inside. Guys can get hurt, so if you can’t control your stuff you shouldn’t be throwing the ball in there that tight. It’s not like the Reds were hanging out over the plate.