The latest podcast installment comes from the game the Cincinnati Reds played against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Memorial Day this week. It was our first trip out to visit the Pirates’ beautiful park, and we discuss that during an abbreviated 8th inning show.
Over Memorial Day weekend, we traveled down to Pittsburgh to visit PNC Park for the first time. The park is as beautiful as advertised. Having now made it to all 6–for now–of the National League Central stadiums, I’d have to rank PNC as the second-nicest. The Reds’ park is number one, thanks to the constant care and attention to detail from the Castellini ownership group.
The other NLC parks.
In his first start in May, Latos, who is horrible, just horrible, in his career in April, had his best start as a Cincinnati Red. He struck out a career high 11 over the course of 6 innings, allowing no runs, 2 hits and 3 walks. Plus, he did all this while pitching with the dreaded flu-like symptoms.
“I was not feeling good at all this morning,” he said. “I woke up throwing up. It wasn’t pretty.”
Latos was still feeling queasy when he took the mound. It didn’t help that the first inning lasted a long time.
“I thought I was going to throw up a couple of times,” Latos said.
Eww. That would’ve been gross. I do wonder if that’s ever happened on a pitching mound in the middle of a game. That would certainly get you on SportsCenter.
The Reds’ relievers have been lights out lately, having pitched 21 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball. They were no different today. After taking over for the ailing Latos after the 6th, they continued the shutout and preserved the win.
The offense was good, too, and got off to an early start. Joey Votto drove in Drew Stubbs in the first inning of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ starter Charlie Morton. Todd Frazier, who must have been starting instead of Willie Harris due to a clerical error, hit a home run in the second to make it 2-0. And then Drew Stubbs made it 4-0 with a home run in the 3rd.
The win puts the Reds one game back over .500 at 14-13. They take the series with the Pirates and will head to Milwaukee to face the Brewers tomorrow. Bronson Arroyo will go for the Reds with Yavani Gallardo starting for the Brewers at 8:10pm EDT.
That was a great game last night, wasn’t it?
Johnny Cueto was awesome. Again. And the offense actually showed up. It felt like it was the first time in forever that the offense wasn’t rained out. How nice that it gave the Cincinnati Reds their first time above .500 since April 8.
Cueto continues to show himself as the best home-grown Reds pitcher since Tom Browning. Granted, that may sound like damning him with faint praise considering the team’s horrendous track record at developing starting pitching. But Cueto’s pitching like an ace. His complete game effort against the Pittsburgh Pirates was just another exhibit in that case. On the night, his line was 9 innings, 1 run, 7 hits, and 4 strikeouts.
The offense was lead by three home runs, one each from Zack Cozart, Drew Stubbs, and Jay Bruce. Of course, by that point, the Reds were already ahead 3-1 thanks to some timely hitting that we haven’t seen the team do much of this year.
Hopefully that will continue tonight when Mike Leake faces James McDonald at 7:05pm EDT.
I remember watching Andrew McCutchen play when he was with the Pittsburgh Pirates’ AAA affiliate, the Indianapolis Indians in 2008. Even then, at the tender age of 21, it was clear McCutchen was going to be good.
Apparently, the Pirates saw some of the same things I did. Today, they announced a six-year extension with McCutchen. That’s six years for $51.5 million, with a $14.75 million club option. This buys out all of McCutchen’s arbitration-eligible years, plus two free agent years–three if the option is picked up.
Pat Lackey of Where Have You Gone, Andy Van Slyke? is excited about the deal.
One of my favorite aspects of this deal is the commitment that it requires from both sides. That seems like an obvious statement when we’re talking about 6-7 years for the player and $51.5-$66 million for the team, but I mean on an even deeper level. The Pirates have been saying since even before McCutchen arrived in 2009 that they were going to be willing to break out the checkbook when the young players on the team warranted it. There was no real reason to not believe them — they’ve certainly kept their word when it comes to spending on the draft and spending internationally — but there was also no evidence to back them up. McCutchen is the first real star that this management team has had from the beginning of his career, the first real test of the promise to pay to keep young players in Pittsburgh beyond their league-mandated six years. When it came down to it, the Pirates could’ve tried to use McCutchen’s age relative to [Jay] Bruce and [BJ] Upton to negotiate him down. They didn’t. They came through.
And he’s right. The Pirates under general manager Neal Huntington have been making slow, incremental progress. It takes many, many seasons to rebuild what was decimated over almost 2 decades. Now they have a genuine star player in the making. Not only did they correctly assess that McCutchen is worth investment, but McCutchen also wanted to continue being a Pirate.
I know the team is full of holes and still has a long road ahead before contending, but it’s moves like this that make me think there’s a chance McCutchen might be a part of a Pirates’ playoff game before this contract is up.