Four reasons the Cincinnati Reds are not headed for St Louis for the National League Division Series but are headed for fishing trips, golf vacations and barbecues in the backyard:
ONE: An hour before the game, the crowd in PNC Park was chanting, “Let’s go Bucs, Let’s go Bucs,” and their cheering and chanting drowned out the pregame introductions of the Reds, except when they loudly booed Aroldis Chapman and Joey Votto. Pirates fans were ready and it was evident the Reds were in for an ear-splitting night.
TWO: Johnny Cueto couldn’t keep his pitches below the belt, so Marlon Byrd and Russell Martin both belted high pitches out of the ballpark in the second inning, an early indication that Cueto was not facing the Houston Astros or the New York Mets. He lasted 3 1/3 innings and manager Dusty Baker did a death march through his bullpen.
THREE: The first nine Reds went down in order in the first three innings against left-hander Francisco Liriano and not one ball was hit beyond the infield. For his seven innings Liriano induced 15 outs on ground balls and struck out five. Only two of his outs came on fly balls to the outfield. Teams don’t score runs by not hitting the ball out of the infield.
FOUR: Joey Votto (0 for 4, two strikeouts) and Brandon Phillips (0 for 4) combined to go 0 for 8 with two strikeouts to cripple the middle of the Reds batting order, and the player taking the most criticism lately, two-hole hitter Ryan Ludwick, had two of the Reds’ four hits.