Game 12: Reds at Pirates (1:35 PM EDT) Latos vs. Irwin

Mildly-Exasperated Dusty Baker - Joe Sargent
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Cincinnati Reds
@ Pittsburgh Pirates

Sunday, Apr 14, 2013, 1:35 PM EDT
PNC Park at North Shore

Mat Latos vs Phil Irwin

Partly cloudy. Winds blowing from right to left field at 5-10 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 55.

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Instead of moving two steps forward and one step back, as initially planned, the Reds are now facing being swept and losing their fifth straight game as they take the field against the Pirates on Sunday. Mind you, the Reds longest losing streak in 2012 was five games as well. Is this time to panic? Well, probably not for the underperformance. What should be concerning, however, is the health of the team. With Sean Marshall and Ryan Ludwick on the DL and now Johnny Cueto's ability to pitch up in the air, the everyday eight and Mat Latos must step up. Most importantly, they need to start today against the Pirates to avoid a pretty embarrassing outcome to the team many have pegged to be marginally better than the Cubs.

The Reds have it cut out against them this afternoon. While he's been pitching the best out of all the healthy starting pitchers, Latos has been a slow starter throughout his career. The good news is, however, that Latos is undefeated against Pittsburgh in his career (4-0) with an ERA of 2.11. Going for the Pirates will be Phil Irwin making his Major League debut. Irwin, 26, was 8-7 with an ERA of 2.83 moving up from Single-A to Triple-A in 2012. With that, Red Legs Nation turns its lonely eyes to Derrick Robinson a returning Brandon Phillips and the hopefully-soon-to-be-invigorated boomsticks of Jay Bruce and Joey Votto.

Lineups

REDS PIRATES
Shin-Soo Choo CF Starling Marte LF
Zack Cozart SS
Travis Snider RF
Joey Votto 1B Andrew McCutchen CF
Brandon Phillips 2B Garrett Jones 1B
Jay Bruce RF Neil Walker 2B
Todd Frazier 3B Pedro Alvarez 3B
Chris Heisey LF Michael McKenry C
Ryan Hanigan C John McDonald SS
Mat Latos P
Phil Irwin P

When your bullpen is a bit taxed, particularly the long relievers, a sudden injury to your greatest innings eater is not what the doctor ordered. Even if the Reds are not in a save situation today, Aroldis Chapman and Jonathan Broxton may be expected to pitch. With both Hoover and Aldredo Simon getting the J.J. Hoover Treatment, Brian Price's two best bullpen horses will likely complement Sam LeCure today if Mat Latos doesn't go nine innings. Regardless, I hope I do not have to label any of these fine gentlemen as "Hard Luck Losers" later this afternoon.

Bullpen Log

Reliever 4/9 4/10 4/11 4/12 4/13 5 day totals
Aroldis Chapman

- -
0.0 IP, 0 pitches
Logan Ondrusek
1.0, 7p - 1.2, 20p
2.2 IP, 27 pitches
Jonathan Broxton
- -
0.0 IP, 0 pitches
Sam LeCure

- -
0.0 IP, 0 pitches
J.J. Hoover

- 0.1, 14p 1.2, 27 1.3 IP, 41 pitches
Manny Parra 2.0, 34p
- 0.0, 5p
2.0 IP, 39 pitches
Alfredo Simon
2.0, 42p -
1.2, 52p

3.2 IP, 94 pitches


Today is the first day of the rest of the season for the Reds. It is clear that they need more than one token player such as Phillips, Cozart, or Choo to step up. They need some solid starting pitching going deep into games. They need Joey Votto and Jay Bruce to get some pitches to hit far. They need the Pirates to play like the Pirates. Also, they need to stop getting hurt. The last thing they need is to gobble up their entire deductible with Doc Poking Stick Health Insurance before we get out of April.

Go Reds, they're (still) my favorite team!

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