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Benches clear as Reds fall to Pirates 3-0

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The Pirates did what the Pirates do as they settle for a split in Cincinnati

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Player of the Game

When it rains, it pours, and today, Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Charlie Morton poured it on by shutting down the Reds bats en route to a 3-0 Pirates win.  The Reds countered with Keyvius Sampson in his first ever MLB start, becoming approximately the 43rd rookie pitcher to make a start for Cincinnati this season (Is that right?  I think that's right).  Sampson pitched reasonably well, giving up three earned runs on three hits and a walk in five innings.  But the three runs he gave up were enough for the Pirates to win, ensuring a 2-2 split in the four game series.

Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Player of the Game honors go to Pedro Villarreal on this day for the three innings of hitless shutout baseball he turned it, only allowing one walk and one hit batsman, both of which came in his final inning of work.

Of course, that hit batsman apparently meant more to the Pirates than it did to Villarreal, because they took it personally, as is their wont, and hit Brandon Phillips an inning later.  This lead to the benches clearing and Pirates players evidently putting their personal pride ahead of their desire to make the playoffs, as they risked injury and suspension to key players by instigating a fight over a hit by pitch by Villarreal that was clearly not intentional.  But that's how the Pirates have rolled these recent years, and it's not likely to change any time soon.  They're always in a beanball war with somebody, and at a certain point, you have to wonder why.

Key Plays

  • After a quick and quiet first two innings for both offenses, the Pirates got on the board in the top of the third as Sean Rodriguez doubled, Gregory Polanco drew a walk, and Starling Marte doubled, scoring both baserunners.  Pirates up 2-0.
  • Neil Walker led off the third inning with a solo home run. Pirates up 3-0.
  • In the top of the eighth inning, Pedro Villarreal hit Andrew McCutchen with a pitch with two out.  Apparently the Pirates believed it to be intentional, for no reason that I can fathom, other than the fact that the Pirates ALWAYS believe those things are intentional.
  • In the bottom of the eighth inning, Brandon Phillips was hit by a pitch from Tony Watson.  Benches and bullpens cleared and there was much pushing and shoving.  In the end, Sean Rodriguez of the Pirates and Joey Votto and Marlon Byrd of the Reds were ejected from the game.
  • In the bottom of the ninth, Mark Melancon hit Tucker Barnhart with a pitch and was immediately ejected from the game.  It was clearly not intentional, but rules are rules.  One would think this sort of thing would help the Pirates see the folly in treating ever single hit by pitch as a purposeful affront to all that is good and decent.  But somehow I doubt that happens.

Fangraphs

<iframe src="http://www.fangraphs.com/graphframe.aspx?config=0&static=0&type=livewins&num=0&h=450&w=450&date=2015-08-02&team=Reds&dh=0" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" height="450" width = "450" style="border:1px solid black;"></iframe><br /><span style="font-size:9pt;">Source: <a href="http://www.fangraphs.com/livewins.aspx?date=2015-08-02&team=Reds&dh=0&season=2015">FanGraphs</a></span>

Other Notes

  • Kyle Waldrop made his MLB debut in the fifth inning with a pinch hit appearance.  He struck out.
  • Todd Frazier has fallen back to earth with a rather noticeable thud in recent weeks, but he's still tied for second in home runs on the season in the National League with 27, along with the injured Giancarlo Stanton.
  • Even with today's loss, the Reds are 9-4 against the Pirates on the season.  That's good for a .692 winning percentage (compared to their .456 winning percentage overall).
  • Note to Pirates fans and broadcasters:<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Pretty hard to get high and mighty about a HBP when your team leads the majors &amp; have done so each of the last 2 years, too</p>&mdash; C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) <a href="https://twitter.com/ctrent/status/627921289844498432">August 2, 2015</a></blockquote>
    <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
  • <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Pirates?src=hash">#Pirates</a> pitchers lead MLB with 54 HBP. Led baseball with 88 in 2014 and 70 in 2013</p>&mdash; C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) <a href="https://twitter.com/ctrent/status/627926126313254912">August 2, 2015</a></blockquote>
    <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
  • <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Pirates?src=hash">#Pirates</a> pitchers now lead MLB with 55 HBP</p>&mdash; C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) <a href="https://twitter.com/ctrent/status/627930801171267584">August 2, 2015</a></blockquote>
    <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
  • The Reds don't play the Pirates again until September 7, more than a month from now.  Here's hoping cooler heads prevail by then.  But who am I kidding?  This is the Pirates we're talking about.
  • The Reds have an off day tomorrow, and will square off against the visiting St. Louis Cardinals at Great American Ballpark on Tuesday night.
  • Former Red Mike Leake is making his San Francisco Giants debut this afternoon against the Texas Rangers.  As of this writing Leake has given up four hits in three scoreless inning.
  • Tunes!