According to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com, Reds utility man Skip Schumaker said this morning that he has a dislocated left shoulder and expects to miss around a month of action.
Schumaker suffered the injury while attempting to make a diving catch in the seventh inning yesterday. Reds trainer Paul Lessard was able to pop his shoulder back into place after he left the field. Schumaker was worried that he would be facing a similar situation as new teammate Ryan Ludwick, who tore the labrum in his shoulder on Opening Day last year and ended up missing four months, so the diagnosis is pretty good news under the circumstances.
The owner a .285/.344/.372 batting line in the majors, Schumaker signed a two-year, $5 million deal with the Reds over the winter.
Reds slugger Jay Bruce was 0-for-11 against Pirates starter Francisco Liriano entering this National League Wild Card Game and struck out on three straight sliders in his first meeting Tuesday night against the left-hander, but Bruce got Cincinnati its first run of the night with an RBI single in the top of the fourth inning after Shin-Soo Choo was hit by a Liriano pitch and Ryan Ludwick slapped a single.
Reds starter Johnny Cueto was lifted by manger Dusty Baker in the bottom of the fourth following a one-out double by Starling Marte and left-handed reliever Sean Marshall could not erase that threat, yielding an RBI double to the Steel City’s hometown hero, Neil Walker. Marshall then issued an intentional walk to Andrew McCutchen and a base-on-balls to Justin Morneau. Cincy turned next to right-hander JJ Hoover, who surrendered the Pirates’ fifth run of the game when Brandon Phillips botched what should have been an inning-ending doubleplay.
Pittsburgh is on top 5-1 as this NL Wild Card Game moves to the top of the fifth.
Pirates starter Francisco Liriano struck out Reds leadoff man Shin-Soo Choo on four pitches to open the game and then induced groundouts from Ryan Ludwick and Joey Votto for a quick, nine-pitch first inning. That set the early tone in this NL Wild Card Game at a fired-up and blacked-out PNC Park.
Liriano was even more dominant in the top of the second and the Pirates’ offense came alive against Reds starter Johnny Cueto in the bottom half of that frame with solo home runs from Marlon Byrd and Russell Martin. Near-constant chants of “Cue-to, Cue-to” are ringing through the PNC Park stands and the Reds righty sure looks rattled.
It’s a 2-0 lead for host Pittsburgh as we move to the top of the third inning.
Here are the lineups for tonight’s National League Wild Card Game between the Reds and Pirates, in Pittsburgh:
CF Shin-Soo Choo
LF Ryan Ludwick
1B Joey Votto
2B Brandon Phillips
RF Jay Bruce
3B Todd Frazier
SS Zack Cozart
C Ryan Hanigan
SP Johnny Cueto
Ryan Ludwick only drew three starts as the No. 2 hitter all season, but they were in the final three games of the year and with left-hander Francisco Liriano on the mound manager Dusty Baker no doubt wanted a right-handed bat with some pop between lefties Shin-Soo Choo and Joey Votto. Zack Cozart, who was the primary No. 2 hitter for the Reds this season despite a ghastly .284 on-base percentage, is now hitting seventh.
LF Starling Marte
2B Neil Walker
CF Andrew McCutchen
1B Justin Morneau
RF Marlon Byrd
3B Pedro Alvarez
C Russell Martin
SS Clint Barmes
SP Francisco Liriano
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle is going with his standard late-season lineup, which includes Starling Marte starting in left field and leading off and trade pickups Justin Morneau and Marlon Byrd in the 4-5 spots. Overall this season the Pirates’ most-used cleanup hitters were Garrett Jones and Pedro Alvarez, but Jones is on the bench in favor of Morneau and Alvarez is down in the sixth spot.
Last week Reds outfielder Ryan Ludwick called out Cincinnati fans for their lack of energy. Our own Craig Calcaterra noted that Ludwick had put himself in a no-win situation and, sure enough, a short time later he quasi-apologized.
And now Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler has done more or less the same thing, calling out Texas fans for not packing the ballpark Sunday:
We’ve been to the postseason three years in a row. We’re fighting for our playoff lives. I’m just a little disappointed this place wasn’t sold out and rocking. You can’t say it’s the Cowboys because they were on the road. The fans were chanting “baseball town” and stuff like that, and we can’t sell out.
Todd Willis of ESPN Texas notes that the Rangers announced a crowd of 40,000, which meant there were about 9,000 empty seats. But the issue isn’t necessarily whether Kinsler has a point or not, but rather that players making millions of dollars per season ($13 million in Kinsler’s case, to be exact) calling out fans for not paying money to come watch them play baseball always comes across poorly.