It was the rubber match between two of the best young teams and pitchers in the National League and the Cincinnati Reds‘ Johnny Cueto outlasted Washington Nationals‘ Stephen Strasburg in a Reds 6-3 win.
While fans of both teams thought it was going to be a “whoever scores first wins” type of game, it was anything but that. The two teams combined for nine runs on 19 hits on a day where both the aces of the staff were to pitch against each other.
Cueto was coming off a magnificent performance against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and he followed that up with a pedestrian outing today of six innings, seven hits, three runs, three walks and six strikeouts. Cueto really struggled with his location today, and his numbers as well as box line prove it as well. But hey, everyone has an off day, right?
The story of the day has to be the Reds’ ability to cash in with runners in scoring position. It was something that troubled the Reds last season and has reared its ugly head this year. I was worried the Reds would have a tough time scoring today against Strasburg who has shown that he has the kind of stuff to win a NL Cy Young Award. But, the Reds being the Reds, pounced when they had their chances, and jumped on him for six earned runs.
Another big story line was Jay Bruce at the plate today. The season has started off on the wrong foot for Bruce, but he bounced back with a nice 2-hit day and drove home three runs. This was a big confidence boosting type of game for Bruce, and the Reds are going to need more of that from him throughout the season.
For the first time this season, Reds’ fans saw the Nasty Boys part II today, and they did not disappoint. The combination of Jonathan Broxton, Sean Marshall and Aroldis Chapman sealed the deal today with a combined three innings of one hit, no runs, no walks and four strike outs. Now that Marshall is back and healthy, the bullpen is at full strength and it could be tough sledding for opposing teams.
Follow Brad Stiene on Twitter @bs_rant1