by Danny Mehigan
These days, there are few things that get walloped as much these days as the Pirates offense. Let’s see, quickly off the top of my head: Ricky Hatton against Filipino fighters, Brad Miller‘s mouth against Rajon Rondo, the Hornets at home against the Nuggets, Amy Winehouse’s central nervous system against the drugs, the list goes on and on.
However, this should be more about Cincinnati’s pitching than Pittsburgh’s offense. Over the last four games, Pittsburgh has been shut out three times, but they came against Yovani Gallardo, Bronson Arroyo and Johnny Cueto. Those are three pretty damn good arms. The Reds have also been involved in three shutouts in the last four days, but they are on the good side. With an offense that’s quite eh, they will need pitching like this to continue to contend.
Friday – Reds 4, Pirates 0: Arroyo gave up two singles in the first inning and then just two more over the next seven. He walked three, struck out four and Francisco Cordero finished the shutout in the 9th. Zach Duke gave up just one run in seven innings but took another tough loss. His ERA is down to 2.21 but he’s only 3-2. For Cincy, Joey Votto and Ryan Hanigan had two hits apiece. Hanigan is up to .412 on the season and has settled nicely into his role as Arroyo’s “personal catcher.”
Saturday – Pirates 8, Reds 6: Holy shit, they did it! The Pirates scored for the first time since the 6th inning on Wednesday. Reds starter Micah Owings refused to follow the crowd (way to stay unique, buddy!) by not tossing a shutout and gave up five runs in 5.2 innings. The Reds racked up 14 hits, but a 9th inning rally stopped short when Alex Gonzalez struck out with the bases loaded – though he did have two hits including a 3-run jack. Owings has now lost eight straight on the road.
Sunday – Reds 5, Pirates 0: Now that Owings is no longer involved, the Reds got back to throwing shutouts. Johnny Cueto pwned the Pirates in dominating fashion to the tune of 8 innings, 9 strikeouts, 4 hits and 0 runs. In his last four starts, Cueto has given up 2 runs in 26.2 innings. Jay Bruce hit another dinger, while Ramon Hernandez had two hits and three RBI. The Pirates are currently too pitiful to discuss.
Hot Fire Player of the Series: Adam Rosales. When Rosales got called up from AAA last week, it was generally assumed he would just keep third base warm until Edwin Encarnacion healed up. But instead of being God awful like Señor Encarnacion (.127 BA), Mr. Rosales went 4-for-10, drew three walks against Pittsburgh and played some stellar defense (I saw him on Web Gems, so you know it’s true). It’s a small sample size, but he’s hitting .417, so I feel the need to honor the man.
Weak Sauce Player of the Series: Micah Owings. We’ll keep it simple. Hey! Micah! Quit being the only pitching that isn’t awesome! Dick.
Records: 13-11, tied for 2nd in the Central. 9-4 on the road (really? the hell is that all about?).
Next up: Aaron Harang and Edinson Volquez will pitch against the Marlins in this week’s first baby-sized 2-game series at Florida.