Great American BallPark | 7:10 | Snell vs. Johnny Cueto | Box
I can’t say that Ian Snell was cruising. But, he had held the Reds scoreless through four innings and was leading 3-0. He ran into a world of trouble in the fifth. After getting the punchless Corey Patterson to fly out, Snell walked the next three hitters. Brandon Phillips lifted a sac fly to plate one. Adam Dunn then drilled an absolute moon shot that was three rows from clearing the right field bleachers. Fox Sports Cincy estimated the ball traveled over 450 feet.
Snell ran into more trouble in the sixth and was relieved by Damaso Marte. He failed to stop the bleeding, allowing four of the five hitters he faced to reach base. The Reds tacked on four more runs all told in the sixth to put the game away.
The Pirates hit a pair of homers in the 9th off of Jeremy Affeldt to make the score closer.
Other than Dunn’s blast, the story of the night was the debut of Jay Bruce. He was 3-3 with a double, two walks, two runs and two RBI. He had a sac fly hit to him in the fifth in which he didn’t throw home. So, I have no idea what kind of an arm he has. Being a baseball nut, the question swirling in my mind is whether he should retire right now. If he does, he would tie John Paciorek for best career BA regardless of number of at bats. He could leave the US, play in Japan for as long as he wanted, be set for life and hold a goofy baseball record. It would be tempting to me.
Attendance was less than 20,000. I figured given all the hype around Bruce that there would be a lot of walk up ticket purchasers. But the weather in Cincy was a bit iffy and likely held the crowd down.
Johnny Cueto didn’t look particularly good. He got the win, but gave up three runs in five innings. His fastball was hitting the 93-94-95 region.
For the losing side, Jack Wilson returned, as Matt noted in the comments, with three hits. Snell walked seven and gave up six hits in six plus innings. The Pirates had 14 hits and six walks, but stranded 13.
The career of Johnny Cueto started off very well. He tossed seven innings of one hit ball in his ML debut and whiffed 10 hitters. Since then, things have been a bit more uneven. His record is 2-5 and his ERA is a full run worse than league average. He is striking out nearly a hitter per inning and his K/BB ratio is better than 3:1. His trouble: the long ball. Cueto has given up 12 of them. Only two players have surrendered more in 2008.
One of Cueto’s five Ls came against Pittsburgh back on April 13th. Xavier Nady homered off Cueto in that contest.
Still waiting for Ian Snell to show up. If anyone wants a picture of how much of a joke the Quality Start stat is, look no further: Snell and Daisuke Matsuzaka have each been credited with five Quality Starts in 2008. Dice K is 8-0 with a 180 ERA+. Snell is 2-3 with an ERA+ of 85.
Snell’s most recent win of 2008 came against the Reds on April 12th. Since then he is 0-3 with a 5.26 ERA.
The Reds are hitting a combined .291 off of Snell. They have seven homers in 141 ABs. Javier Valentin is 9-18 with a pair of homers. Adam Dunn is 2-20 with seven whiffs. Overall vs. the Reds, Snell is 3-4 with a 5.18 ERA.
Looks like the much anticipated ML debut of Jay Bruce could be tonight.