There’s not much to talk about right now: the Reds had the day off, the division is well in hand, and our manager doesn’t go around telling people he . There is some mild concern in the Cueto arena. He’s had three increasingly distressing starts. It started with a reasonable, but somewhat hard luck start, where four runs scored, via two home runs – and we all sort of knew Cueto’s home run had to run out at some point. The last two have been more in the way of bad.
It doesn’t seem like an issue, but it’s nice to remember that we have other capable pitchers in the rotation. Leake hasn’t been so great of late, but he’s more than serviceable for a No. 5 . All members of the rotation show up in this list – it seems unlikely, but it actually includes the top 7 pitching performances, since three starts are tied for number 5. Yes, I’ve used game score, as is my wont. I like it.
Number 5 (ish): Johnny Cueto, June 23; Homer Bailey, May 29; Mike Leake, August 15
- This is Cueto’s only appearance on the list, somewhat surprisingly – not too much, because Cueto’s byword is sustained excellence, not individual performances here and there. Cueto pitched this perfect game against the Twins. The three hits he allowed included a double by Joe Mauer, but no other extra base hits, and he yielded only one run, with 9 strikeouts. He did hit a dude, as well, but I think that doesn’t count towards gamescore.
- Bailey appears one more time on the list, but this game was against the Pirates, who we know Homer loves to face. He pitched a complete game, allowing only 1 run on 4 hits – with 1 BB and 5 K. Bailey’s complete game was in contrast to the Pirates, who used 6 pitchers after starter Charlie Morton left after the fourth
- This is also Leake’s only game on the list, just one month ago versus the Mets. Mikey outpitched R.A. Dickey in this one – throwing a complete game, 1 R, 0 BB, 4K. None of the hits he allowed were for extra bases, and went to only two of the Mets hitters – he shut down the other 3/4 of the line up entirely.
Number 4: Homer Bailey, September 1.
This is sort of a horrible one, because, as you might remember (it was only two weeks ago), the Reds actually lost this game – and not even in extra innings. Homer Bailey pitched about as well as you could want – though to the not-well-hitting Houston Astros. He went 8 innings, allowed 1 run on 3 hits, a walk, and 9 strikeouts. Of course, one of those hits was a home run – which figures for the run scored. Homer’s mistake was throwing 107 whole pitches in that 8 innings, which meant that Sean Marshall took over the mound in the bottom of the 9th, with the game tied 1-1. Marshall allowed a double, intentionally walked the next guy, and hit the guy after that. Thus, when Brandon Phillips made on error on Jose Altuve’s groundball, the Astros walked off, despite all Bailey’s fine work. Boo.
Numbers 2 and 3: Mat Latos and Mat Latos, June 25 and June 30
Mat Latos really outdid himself against the Brewers on June 25 – pitching a complete game, with a very impressive 13 strikeouts, especially since that’s a team that can kind of hit. It’s tough to come back and try to match that performance, but Mat did it against the Giants. Exactly. Obviously the game wasn’t exactly the same, but he matched his gamescore of 86 exactly with another complete game – one run allowed, no walks and 7 strikeouts. Latos has struggled with home runs at Great American, but you can still tell that he’s a great pitcher in the making.
Number 1: Bronson Arroyo, July 6
It’s appropriate that number one on this list belongs to the elder statesman of the Reds rotation – who has both struggled and excelled during his time with the Reds, but whose innings numbers will be hard to match. It the only shutout pitched by a Reds pitcher in 2012. Arroyo did so in PetCo against the Padres, which perhaps hints at the secret of Bronson’s success, but it’s undoubtedly a great pitching performance anyway: 9 innings, 0 runs, 3 hits, 1 BB, 8 Ks. That’s the second best number of Ks in a game for Bronson this year, so you know it was a pretty great day for him all-around.
So now that we’re all thinking happy thoughts, let’s not lay awake in our beds, obsessing about the playoff rotation. Go to sleep friends, it will be alright. There’s baseball tomorrow.