Johnny Cueto dominates the Pirates

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Johnny Cueto didn’t have too much trouble with the Pittsburgh Pirates today. All he did was toss a three-hit shutout while striking out 12 and not walking a soul. He needed 107 pitches so he didn’t get The Maddux, but he probably didn’t sweat too much all the same.

The Pirates beat Cueto convincingly in the NL Wild Card game last fall, but today was a totally different story. In some ways an umpire-assisted story — at least from the Pirates’ perspective — as eight of his 12 strikeouts came on called third strikes. Many Pirates hitters looked back at Triple-A umpire¬†Quinn Wolcott who was working the plate today. That stuff happens sometimes, though. We don’t have robot umps yet, so you sorta have to adjust your approach if you’re not getting the calls. The Pirates didn’t figure out how to do that.

Joey Votto hit a two-run homer, and the Reds ended up winning 4-0. It was the Reds’ first series win of the year.

Phillies sign Trevor Plouffe to minor league deal

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Infielder Trevor Plouffe has signed a minor league deal with the Phillies, Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News reports. Plouffe asked for and was granted his release from the Rangers earlier this month.

Plouffe, 31, had a double and a home run in 17 plate appearances with Triple-A Round Rock to start the 2018 season. He spent last year with the Athletics and Rays, putting up a meager .198/.272/.318 batting line in 100 games.

Plouffe has mostly played third base throughout his career, but can also handle the other three infield spots and both outfield corners, so he’ll serve as organizational depth at Triple-A Lehigh Valley for the Phillies.