June 20, 2013 – Pirates @ Reds – 12:35pm – Gameday on the Computer – Reds on the Radio
Reds Record (44 – 29)
Home Record (26 – 13)
Pirates Record (42 – 30)
Away Record (17– 17)
Starters: Cumpton (0 – 0) vs. Bailey (4 – 5)
The Setting: I am following along at work as our workload allows. I have the radio on and Gameday on one of my screens.
The Game and Analysis:
•There were some lead changes, another hit batsman, a bunch of RBIs by Pedro Alvarez, and a tough loss for the Reds as the Pirates won 5 – 3 to split this four game series.
•Brandon Cumpton and Homer Bailey kept the score low, but left after five and six innings respectively. This game would come down to the bullpens, both of which had been taxed in this series. Cumpton allowed only one earned run, but left trailing 2 – 1. Bailey left with the score tied, and had thrown 113 pitches in his six innings of work.
•Starling Marte doubled to lead off the game. He has been killing the Reds with extra base hits and speed. True to form, he stole third base for his 22nd of the season. Bailey hit McCutcheon, because why not. This was the 19th hit batter of the year between these two clubs. Bailey would ultimately get out of the inning unscathed, striking out three batters.
•The Reds got on the board first, as Shin-Soo Choo led off the inning by reaching on an Alvarez throwing error, and then scored on a Joey Votto single to left field. Choo stole second base to set up the run.
•The Pirates tied the score with three straight singles with two outs in the third, as Alvarez knocked in McCutcheon. It was the start of a big day for Alvarez.
•Jay Bruce continued his home run barrage with a solo shot in the bottom of the fourth to retake the lead for the Reds 2 – 1. This was Bruce’s fifth home run in secen games, and his last four hits have all been home runs. Bruce hit this line drive to center, and McCutcheon stopped running after a few steps and just watched it sail into the grassy “batter’s eye” about 430 feet from home plate.
•Alvarez tied the game again in the sixth as he hit a solo home run to right-center. He has been on fire in the month of June after struggling with his batting average at the first of the season. He is the big bat that Pittsburgh has needed in their lineup, besides the perennial MVP candidate McCutcheon, of course.
•Alfredo Simon came on in relief for Bailey for the seventh inning, and found himself in some trouble. He gave up back to back hits to start the inning, and then recorded his only out on a bunt pop up that was caught in foul ground. Simon would then load the bases with a walk to McCutcheon that chased him from the game. Tony Cingrani would replace Simon and he immediately struck out Garrett Jones. Alvarez came to the plate, though, and cleared the bases with a three run double to the wall down the right field line. The Pirates were up 5 – 2, which ended up being plenty of cushion. All three runs were charged to Simon in his third of an inning.
•The Reds would get one run back in the bottom of the seventh, as Zack Cozart doubled and ended up scoring on a Jack Hannahan groundout two batters later. That made the score 5 – 3, which would be the final score. The Reds would get a runner in scoring position on a bunt single by Choo who went to second on a throwing error, but Xavier Paul flew out to end the inning and the final Reds threat.
•The announced attendance was over 40,000, which surprised me for a 12:35pm game on a Thursday. The Reds have been drawing fairly well this year, and it has gotten better and better over the last few years due to the team fielding a winner. This year has been the best ever for attendance in Great American Ballpark, which is good to see.
What Worked: Bailey had a good start, but got deep in the counts and ran his pitch total up. For the Pirates, Alvarez carried the team on his back. Votto picked up two more hits in the game, making him 9 – 21 in his last five games.
What Didn’t Work: The Reds could not get the necessary offense going when they had their opportunities. Choo was caught stealing again, as the Pirates seem to have his number, though he did get a stolen base early in the game. The Reds’ running game has been below average to bad on the year.
Where They Stand: The Reds are 44 – 30 and trail the Cardinals by 3.5 games in the NL Central. They are 0.5 game ahead of the Pirates.
Overall Thoughts: This is a tough Pirates club, and they look to be much better-rounded than the teams that have shown promise the last couple of years. They have the pitching and enough offense now that Alvarez has gone on a tear. For the Reds to split the series with the Pirates, it shows how evenly matched these two teams are. They are two of the best teams in baseball right now, and have been for months.
Up Next: The Reds travel to Arizona for a weekend series starting tomorrow night.