Rotation on a roll, despite loss

You can read about the Reds 10th inning downfall in extra innings to the Cubs by clicking here and reading the full story on MLB.com. Overshadowed, at least for one night, was another brilliant night of starting pitching from the rotation.

This time it was LHP Tony Cingrani with 7 ip, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 1 HR 99 pitches/66 strikes. He has 17 strikeouts in 12 innings over two starts.

The Reds rotation has a 1.71 ERA through the first nine games of this home stand. No one in the five-man group has allowed more than two earned runs. Eight of the nine guys have quality starts. This is an impressive run for a crew that’s missing ace Johnny Cueto.

If there was one complaint from Tuesday, Cingrani didn’t do a very good job in the second inning of watching Alfonso Soriano. He easily ran on Cingrani to steal both second and third base before scoring the game’s first run on a sac fly. It’s stuff he will likely tighten up down the road.

To answer the question you’ll likely have that I already have been getting on Twitter, I do not know what becomes of Cingrani once Cueto gets back. I’d gather Cueto is at least a couple of weeks away since he’s not working from a mound yet and has just resumed throwing. A lot can happen between now and then. Certainly right now, no one has pitched poorly lately to warrant being punted from the rotation. If Cingrani has to go back to Triple-A, it won’t be fun or deserved at the current pace … but it won’t kill him.

*The Reds pitching staff struck out 13 (more pizza for ticketholders) and have struck out at least 10 batters in six-straight games.

*Manny Parra on the other hand, did not help himself as Sean Marshall prepares to be activated from the DL soon. Even though a worn down bullpen forced him to work a second inning he normally wouldn’t have, he now has 15 hits and seven runs allowed over 6 2/3 innings and six appearances.

Three stars:

No. 3 star: Tony Cingrani (see above).

No. 2 star: Shin-Soo Choo, 3-for-4, walk, run scored — Choo has reached in all 20 games he’s played this season and 18 of his last 23 plate appearances.

No. 1 star: Carlos Villanueva, CHC — 8 1/3 ip, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 99 pitches/63 strikes.

“A lot of junk. A lot of off-speed pitches,” Reds third baseman Todd Frazier said. “He pitched a great game, hat off to him. He almost finished it. We were all over the place with him on those off-speed pitches. He threw a pretty good game.”

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