The good news today is that there is nothing but sun in the forecast - perfect weather for an afternoon match up.
Johnny Cueto has faced the Pirates 3 times in his career, going 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA. He's probably pretty happy that Jason Bay and Xavier Nady are no longer with the team as those two were a combined 5 for 11 with a double, HR, and 3 RBI against Cueto last season. Ryan Doumit is the only remaining Pirate hitter to homer off of Cueto, while Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez are the only ones with multiple hits off of the right-hander.
What the Reds really need from Cueto today is not just a good outing, but an efficient one as well. If Cueto can avoid the 20+ pitch inning, then maybe he can manage to go 6 or even 7 innings in this game and show us all the reason why we were feeling pretty good about the starting rotation during the Spring.
He may also need to pitch that well because the Reds are facing Paul Maholm, a pitcher that has more or less owned the Reds over the last two seasons. In his past 5 starts against the Reds, Maholm has pitched 34.1 innings and surrendered just 8 runs (2.09 ERA). He doesn't strikeout many hitters, but he also doesn't walk a lot either, which is why the Reds have 5 home runs against him in those 5 starts, but only managed 8 runs. What's really scary about Maholm is that at 26 years old, he may just be putting it all together. That could be bad news for the Reds who seem to face him 4 or 5 times every year.
It's a beautiful day for a baseball game, so get inside and enjoy it on the television!