I don't know what to expect from Johnny Cueto anymore. I don't know if he's going through a dead arm period - he's basically been pitching since last Spring with only a short period off in the fall last year. I still wonder if maybe his back isn't completely alright. Or maybe it's just some regression since his numbers were a bit over how he was actually pitching. Whatever it is, he's been pretty bad of late. Since breaking a streak of 10 straight starts where he pitched into at least the 7th inning, he hasn't made it to the 7th inning in 6 straight starts and he's allowed nearly a run per inning pitched in that stretch. I think Cueto's seen some slip in his defensive help over those starts, which explains some of the drop off, but he's also not done well for himself in getting out of jams. In many ways, he's been much like the pitcher that we saw last year who struggled when he was forced to get extra outs. Perhaps it's a conditioning thing where he can't handle innings in which he throws too many pitches? Sounds like a study idea. Maybe on a day when I'm not so tired.
Yovanni Gallardo has had some success against the Reds in the past, but he also also had a start this season where he gave up 7 runs in 5 innings on just 3 hits. Both Edwin Encarnacion and Brandon Phillips have home runs off of Gallardo, with Edwin doing the deed twice. Gallarado's been beat up the last couple times out, and he's had control issues all year. Today is not the day to be swinging freely, getaway day or not. A little patience will do the Reds some good, especially since Gallardo has nasty stuff that's hard to hit in the first place.
Encarnacion, despite the 0-for-3 last night, is still batting .366/.435/.707 since coming off of the DL. Even though his seasonal batting average is just .221, his .341 OBP is good for 4th on the team behind Joey Votto, Ryan Hanigan, and Chris Dickerson. As we saw last night though, this offense is still too dependent of too few people. It seems like if Votto, Phillips, or Encarnacion don't come through with a hit, they don't score runs. That's no way to have a contender operate.