On to Cleveland, tough road trip
That wasn’t really the way the Reds would have liked to go into the longest, and potentially most difficult, road trip of the season.
It was a 5-3 loss to the Pirates to get swept in the two-game series. It was a 5-1 game after 7 1/2 innings when the Reds added one in the eighth and one in the ninth, but it never felt like one of those dazzling comebacks was in the air.
The Reds went 11-5 in a 16-game stretch against all NL Central clubs. If there is any good news for you the fan, the Pirates don’t return to Cincinnati again this season. The Reds don’t see them again in Pittsburgh until July 18-20.
Up next are 10 games in a row vs. two first place teams and a contender. If the Reds can get through Cleveland, Philadelphia and Atlanta and have a .500 trip, they should fly home happy when it’s over.
“It will be our toughest one all year, but I think we’ll be fine,” right fielder Jay Bruce said. “We’re playing well, so we just play our game and not worry about anything else, just take care of business.
*Johnny Cueto looked brilliant over his first two starts but certainly had some difficulties at times today, especially in the second inning. During a 31-pitch inning, he reached a three-ball count to four of the six hitters faced and walked two.
*Still bothered by a head cold, Jay Bruce was hacking and coughing by his locker after the game. But the day off Wednesday did him some good. Bruce was the only Reds hitter to have a robust afternoon at the plate. He was 3-for-4 with a leadoff homer to right field in the second inning and a leadoff homer in the bottom of the ninth.
*Ramon Hernandez’s 11-game hitting streak is over after a 0-for-4 game.
*Brandon Phillips has a season-high hitting streak of 10 games after his two-hit day.
*The Reds are 1-5 vs. the Pirates this season, but 19-7 vs. the rest of the NL Central.
*The Reds haven’t dropped consecutive games since May 1-3 vs. Florida and Houston.
“The day off helped me, I think, kind of get some energy back. But obviously we should have won. The Pirates have given us a tough time so far.” — Jay Bruce
“Aggressiveness is fine but at the same time, there are no outs and it’s 4-1. You’ve got to make that almost standing up. He’s trying to make something that just wasn’t the appropriate time trying to make it happen in that situation. Invariably, it seems like every time you get thrown out, the next guy gets a hit.” — Dusty Baker on Brandon Phillips getting thrown out at second base leading off the seventh trying to stretch for a double.
“[Cueto] had those three-ball counts and the ball was missing off the plate, kind of cutting on him. It was a tough ball for Brandon and the 3-2 count on Walker – this guy has been a thorn in our side big time. I don’t know what he’s hitting against us but it’s a ton. We have to figure a way to get him out. He’s the guy doing most of the damage.” — Baker on Cueto’s second inning.
“We just kind of waited him out today. He has tremendous stuff. He’s got a lot of pitches that have a lot of movement and we just kind of waited for our pitch. We know that he has a tendency to throw balls and go into long counts, so that was our gameplan – wait him out, wait for pitch we could handle, don’t swing at his pitches. It worked out.” — Pirates catcher Ryan Doumit on Cueto.
“Very big for us. We know every time we come in here and every time we play the Reds in general, it’s going to be a battle from first to ninth inning. It’s important for us not to let off the throttle when we get up and let games go that our in our grasp. ” — Pirates 2B Neil Walker, who was 2-for-4 with two doubles. Walker had a two-out, two-run double off Cueto in the fifth.