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Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Game 96 Recap: Weak Bats, Shaky Defense Prove Costly

Karstens was the tough luck loser.

Cincinnati took advantage of two errors by Chase D’Arnaud and Johnny Cueto was effective again as the Reds managed to take the last game in a three game set. Jeff Karstens was on the losing side despite pitching well once again.

The Reds scored their first run of the series in the first and it was gift wrapped. Chase D’Arnaud’s throwing error allowed Chris Heisey to reach second base. Edgar Renteria bunted him to third and Joey Votto’s sac fly brought him home. Karstens was uncharacteristically wild to start the second. He walked lead off hitter Jay Bruce. He stole second and moved to third on a Jonny Gomes single. Miguel Cairo delivered a sac fly to make it 2-0 Reds.

The Pirates were unable to do much against Cueto. Karstens doubled with two down in the third. He moved to third on Alex Presley’s single. But D’Arnaud was retired to end the inning. The Bucs scored in the fourth after Cueto plunked Neil Walker and gave up an RBI double to Andrew McCutchen. But Cutch was stranded when Lyle Overbay, Garrett Jones and Brandon Wood were retired in succession.

The Reds immediately got the run back in the top of the fifth. Cueto reached with two outs on misplay by D’Arnaud. Heisey and Renteria each singled to bring in the final run of the game.

The Pirates last, best attempt was in the seventh. Michael McKenry reached on an error and Matt Diaz followed with a single. But Presley’s bunt attempt resulted in McKenry being forced at third. D’Arnaud and Walker both went down without doing damage. The final eight Pirate hitters were retired in order, with Francisco Cordero pitching a perfect ninth.

Karstens went seven and allowed just one earned run (three total). He walked one and struck out one while surrendering six singles and a double. Cueto gave up two doubles, two singles and two walks in six innings. That yielded just a single run and pushed his ERA below 2.00. He struck out four.

The Good
No complaints about Karstens.

Three double plays from the defense.

The Bad
D’Arnaud continues to rack up errors. He now has seven on the year.

The hitting. Bucs took two of three but managed only four runs. Hitters were 1-9 with runners in scoring position this game.

Walker’s 13 game hitting streak was stopped.

The Rest
Cueto is 10-4 against Pittsburgh and Karstens is 0-5 against the Reds.

Some acquisition news earlier in the day as Pittsburgh signed Jason Grilli who was released from his minor league deal.

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Despite getting 2 wins in the series, these were boring games. Since I pick up the Reds, I watched most of the series. I like Chase, but those errors continue to mount. The Legend has all but disappeared. Overbay had a good series defensively, but is close to a waste when batting.

Who could have any doubt that hitters should be a priority for this team? The bullpen is above average! The A’s lefty would seem to be a good pickup if the cost isn’t high. One earned run given up in 3 games vs. one of the best hitting teams in the league. Pirates cross the plate FOUR times in 3 games. Give credit to the Reds for pitching well, but if Presley, Walker and Cutch are shut down there’s not much left.

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