Prior to the second game, of a three series at Great American Small Park, the announcement of Gregory Polanco being on the bench with Phillip Evans in his place brought exuberant applause from many a Pirates Fan; and in all honestly how could you blame them after his 1 for 14 start to the season. Looking lost at the plate at times, as well as in the field, it was almost a no-brainer to give him the night off in favor of the streaking Evans; who had homered the previous night to follow up a three hit performance on Easter Sunday.
On the mound for Pittsburgh was a bit of a wild card in the form of Trevor Cahill; brought in by the Pirates toward the end of Spring Training, and appearing in only two games, Cahill had spent the majority of his past two seasons as a regular starter that was eventually relegated to the bullpen during his time with both the Angels and Giants. In Los Angeles he struggled in the role of a reliever/opener, but thrived for the Giants as he once had with the Cubs; posting a 3.24 ERA and 1.200 WHIP with 31 Ks in 25 innings.
As I sat down to watch the game I was cautiously optimistic about both situations, however, part of this enthusiasm was quickly swept away as the Reds leadoff hitter, Tyler Naquin, took Cahill’s offering deep, over the right field wall. Then it was ultimately crushed in the bottom of the second as Naquin homered again, this time with two runners on base, to give Cincinnati a 5-0 lead. Throw in an error, a wild pitch, a couple more innings, two more runs and Cahill’s day was done after 4 innings.
Unfortunately, even with Cahill out, the Pirates day didn’t get any better. Clay Homes lasted only a third of an inning; surrendering three runs of his own and getting stuck with five total when Duane Underwood Jr. allowed his inherited runners to score on a Naquin single; bringing the Reds total to 12 on 14 hits.
Meanwhile the Pirates did their very best to make the Reds lefty, Wade Miley look like a Cy Young candidate by only compiling 2 hits and striking out 6 times through 6 innings. Eventually some of the initial hope was restored when Evans homered in the top of the seventh, his second in as many days, but after that I was almost praying for the game to end quickly before things got any worse; which was near impossible at that point.
When all was said and done the Pirates fell to the Reds 14-1 in an all out shellacking in Cincinnati.
News and Notes:
- The Reds Tyler Naquin went 3 for 4 with 7 RBIs.
- Phillip Evans is now 5 for 12 on the season with 2 homers, and pitched a scoreless bottom of the 8th, so there’s that.
- Bryan Reynolds has at least one hit in all 5 games.
- Dustin Fowler recorded his second hit of the season, while Anthony Alford is now 0 for 10 with 7 Ks.
- The Pirates only have one game without an error this season. Tonight obviously wasn’t the one.
The Pirates and Reds are back at it at 12:35 PM EST, as Pittsburgh looks to avoid the sweep, with Chad Kuhl (0-0, 3.00 ERA) on the mound for his second start of the season. For the Reds, Luis Castillo (0-1, 21.60 ERA) is looking to bounce back from his disastrous first outing of the season.