Not a good couple of days to be a Pirates fan.
After being one-hit by Johnny Cueto before dozens of fans last night, Pittsburgh was shut out again this afternoon, this time by Homer Bailey — he of the 7.24 ERA entering play today — on four hits. And there was no mucking about here. The game took two hours and nineteen minutes. The Buccos didn’t walk once. Bailey had to throw a total of 90 pitches. He could probably come out of the pen tomorrow if he had to.
This is the first time that the Reds have thrown back-to-back shutouts since Tom Browning and Jose Rijo did it to the Dodgers back in June of 1989. At least the Dodgers had the comfort of being the defending World Series champs. The Pirates? Well, they at least get to go home tonight and watch the Penguins game.
Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.
Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list
Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.
Angels first baseman C.J. Cron hit a grand slam against the Mets on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot on the major league roster as the club announced his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Infielder Nolan Fantana has been promoted from Salt Lake.
Cron, 27, was hitting a disappointing .232/.281/.305 with one home run and RBI in 90 plate appearances. I guess you can say that wasn’t the kind of Cron job the Angels were expecting. Cron was an above-average hitter in each of his first three seasons, finishing with an OPS+, or adjusted OPS, of 111, 106, and 115 (100 is average).
While Cron is figuring things out in the minors, Luis Valbuena, Jefry Marte, and Albert Pujols could each see some time at first base.