Look, I’m not going to pull punches. This has me scared:
- June 17: Johnny Cueto vs. Brandon Cumpton
- June 18: Alfredo Simon vs. Edinson Volquez
- June 19: Homer Bailey vs. Jeff Locke
That is just ridiculously one-sided, even if Volquez and Locke have been pitching relatively well recently.
Johnny Cueto has thrown two complete games against the Pirates, giving up a grand total of one run and striking out 16 in those 18 innings. It’s tempting to argue that Cueto’s been slightly more mortal lately than his 1.85 ERA might suggest; in his last five starts, he’s given up 11 earned runs and 16 total runs in 30 innings. The problem is that he’s still got a ridiculous 33:4 K:BB ratio in those five starts and he’s only given up one home run, so it’s not like he’s falling apart at the seams.
The Pirates have won Brandon Cumpton’s last two starts, but he’s essentially a dead man walking in the rotation right now, assuming that Gerrit Cole’s return isn’t far off. That’s because Jeff Locke has looked really good lately, and Vance Worley is now up without options and with one great start in the bank, while five innings and two runs allowed qualifies as a really good outing for Cumpton.
Of course, the Pirates have arguably baseball’s best offense over the last two weeks (no, really), and so maybe even the likes of Johnny Cueto isn’t enough to slow them down at this point. Certainly, finding a way to take two of these three from the Reds would be a huge thing for the Pirates before their schedule weakens a bit.
First pitch tonight is at 7:05.