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Offense Spoils Another Cueto Gem. ATL 1, CIN 0.

If you're a Johnny Cueto fan, today's game was brilliant entertainment. If you're a fan of the offense, well, I hope you spent the afternoon outside.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

Johnny Cueto has been positively dominant this entire season, and his performance this afternoon played every bit of the part.  Cueto threw 8 innings of shutout ball (again), while striking out 11 (again) and allowing only 3 hits, and by the 4th inning it was already clear that the JNMHSotG was going to be his, yet again.  He's thrown 47 innings over his six 2014 starts, and he's struck out 50 batters in that time, all while sporting an obscene 0.77 WHIP.  That's as good of a month of pitching as any I've ever seen from a Cincinnati Reds pitcher, as not even the ridiculous 2nd half put up by Jose Rijo in 1993 can compare.

I'm completely in awe.

Honorable Mentions are due to:  Ryan Ludwick, who had a pair of hits and again looked like the only comfortable batter in the box for the good guys today; and Sam LeCure, who tossed a scoreless 9th inning.

Key Plays

  • The replay ruckus took center stage in the Bottom of the 1st after B.J. Upton drew a 1-out walk.  Cueto threw over to 1B, and though the throw clearly beat Upton back to the bag, Greg Gibson - the 1B umpire - ruled that Upton managed to dive back in safely before Votto's swipe tag hit his arm.  Bryan Price challenged the call, and despite replay after replay showing that Votto tagged Upton before he got back to the bag, the umpiring crew opted to let the play stand as called.  Price emerged from the dugout to say, roughly, that it's not humanly possible to botch a call that poorly, and for that, he was ejected from the game.  Homer Baileynever one to shy away from telling it like it is, was ejected as well for politely reminding the umpires that they get paid handsomely to make calls correctly.  It cost Cueto five extra pitches to get out of the inning, but fortunately no runs scored.
  • After Cueto, LeCure, Julio Teheran, and Jordan Walden finished mopping the floor with opposing batters, J.J. Hoover took the mound for the Reds in the Bottom of the 10th, and it went rather un-swimmingly.  Gerald Laird - who does even play, apparently - hit a rocket liner that just so happened to go right to Jay Bruce for the first out, but after Evan Gattis struck out in a pinch-hit PA, Jason Heyward crushed a single up the middle.  B.J. Upton then hit a soft chopper right back to Hoover for what should've been out number three, but the same sort of luck that's been in charge of hamstrings, meniscuses (meniscusii?), obliques, flexor masses, and replay somehow took charge of fielding, too, and the ball hit right off of Hoover's glove.  It was scored a single - because official scorers kill time during games watching Teletubbies, apparently - and when Manny Parra was brought on to face the lefty-hitting Freddie Freeman, he served up a pancake that Freeman consumed in a Charlie Scrabble-like manner, and not even Billy Hamilton could track it down.  That's Red Reporter-ese for "he crushed a pitch off the wall for a walk-off hit."  Just ask Rosetta Stone.  Reds lose, 1-0.

FanGraph That Could Only Look More Awesome if it Had Dreadlocks, Run Support, and No Memory of Previous 1-Run Games

Source: FanGraphs

Other Notes

  • Today was the first extra-inning game the Reds have played in this season.
  • If Luke Edwards was pitching with Clayton Kershaw in MLB The Show 14, his numbers wouldn't be as good as Johnny Cueto's right now.
  • The Reds lost by 1-run, again.  This is getting to be stupid.
  • I'm pretty sure the Instant Replay rule was put in place to help umpires look less silly, but it's not having that type of impact so far.  The inability to make correct calls is only part of it, too; requiring "challenges" and limiting the number available is every bit as egregious.  Replay's premise should be "get calls right," not "add roulette to the list of managerial responsibilities."  It's freaking stupid.
  • The Reds have not homered since Zack Cozart and Jay Bruce both honked dingers in the 7th inning of the game against the Cubs on April 20th.  That was 7 games ago.
  • Despite the recent miserable offense, rash of injuries, and three game sweep at the hands of the Braves, the Reds wrapped up their 10 game road trip with a 5-5 record, which isn't terrible.
  • Speaking of which, 'tHom noted at the start of today's broadcast that the Reds had played fewer home games than any other team in baseball thus far.  Fortunately, they get to catch up on that in the coming weeks.  The Reds return home and begin a three game series against the Chicago Cubs tomorrow, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:10 PM EST.  Alfredo Simon will be throwing it, which will make for a very awkward situation, indeed.
  • Tunes.