L Flag in Wrigley: Reds Win 3-0

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

Johnny Cueto.  The youngster went seven strong innings of shutout baseball, giving up only four hits.  He struck out three and, most impressively, didn't walk anyone.  He also pitched in offensively with two hits.

Key Plays

  • Cueto looked shaky in the early going, giving up one-out singles to Fukudome and Lee before striking out Chump-Supreme, Milton Bradley, and getting a grounder out of Aramis Ramirez.
  • Things started to turn in the third inning.  Alex Gonzalez got his 4th hit of the year (and second in as many days) on a bunt back to the pitcher, which Lilly then threw away.  Gonzalez scooted to second on the error, then took third on Cueto's beautiful bunt single.  Willy Taveras hit a sac fly to score Sea Bass.
  • Bruce singled in the fourth inning, and Phillips broke a looooong dry spell with a single.  Then he stole a base to put runners on second and third with two outs, but Hernandez grounded out to end the threat.
  • After retiring 8 straight batters, Cueto gave up a single to Lee to start the bottom of the fourth, and hit Ramirez with a pitch.  Some shaky fielding seemed to prolong the inning, but Cueto struck out Theriot to keep things rolling.
  • In the fifth inning, Cueto got his second hit, and the Reds once again got a break when Taveras reached on Lilly's error when he failed to cover first base.  Unfortunately, Hairston grounded into a double play to end the inning.
  • Hairston made amends by hitting a single in the 8th off Angel Guzman, and super hero Joey Votto hit a double to drive him in.
  • Jay Bruce hit a home run in the 9th to ice it.  It was his second home run in as many days.  It would seem his hand is feeling better.

4-21-09_medium

via FanGraphs

Other Notes

  • Several Reds had good days at the plate.  Brandon Phillips got two hits and stole a base.  Alex Gonzalez had a hit and scored a run.  Johnny Cueto got his first two hits of the season.  Jerry Hairston had a hit.  Yay for getting off the schneid!
  • Cueto's hits were the first for a Reds pitcher not named Micah Owings.  Although Micah Owings has only gotten hits when used as a pinch-hitter.
  • Willy Taveras has two RBI this year, and both have come off of sac flies.
  • Jay Bruce is evolving into a Cubs killer.  In eleven games against them, he has 4 home runs and is OPSing nearly .950.  He has home runs in the first two games of this series.
  • The cleanup spot continues to be a black hole of suck.  Brandon Phillips responded well to being dropped in the order, but Encarnacion went 0-4 with 2 strikeouts.  The Reds definitely need a big bat to complement Joey Votto (who has 13 RBI in 14 games, and has reached base in all but one of them).  Might it be an emerging Jay Bruce?
  • The Cubs' cleanup situation is worse though.  Ballyhooed offseason acquisition Milton Bradley went 0-4 with 3 strikeouts, and is now batting .043 on the season.
  • David Weathers has not given up a run in six games, and only 1 run in his last 13 games, stretching back to last season.


Final - 4.22.2009 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Cincinnati Reds 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 3 9 0
Chicago Cubs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 2
WP: Johnny Cueto (1 - 1)
SV: Francisco Cordero (6)
LP: Ted Lilly (2 - 1)

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