I'd like to be able to put all my irrational faith in Johnny Cueto to save the Reds from themselves, but last time he tried to put the team on his shoulders it ended in - you guessed it - a one-run loss. And tears. Cueto now stands alone as the only Reds starter with an ERA below 4.00. He's below 2.00 also, but JC can only pitch every 5 days. The Reds have to find at least one more starter, like now, capable of pitching as well as Paul Maholm currently is to harbor any illusions of staying in the race. Cozart is batting .333, so I'm going to go ahead and mark Phase I complete.
The botched steals, managerial missteps and choke jobs are a problem. And they're magnified in close game situations. I hate that Renteria is hitting second. I hate that Cordero gave a ree pass to George Kottaras. But at the macro level, it's still the starting pitching. The starting pitching, whether it's still throwing BP in the first inning or running out of steam in the 5th or 6th, is setting up the Reds for disappointment in the last third of the game. Clutch performances are remembered because they take place toward the end of the game, in high leverage situations. But it's easy to lost sight of the fact that most of the game is played by that point. The Reds win expectancy was as low as 25% entering the 7th inning last night. It's a credit to last hitting that the game ended up so close.
|2011 - Johnny Cueto||5-3||10||11||2||0||0||0||76.1||51||19||15||5||22||48||1.77||.96|
|2011 - Shaun Marcum||7-3||18||18||0||0||0||0||105.2||87||41||39||12||30||97||3.32||1.11|