Milwaukee Brewers 3 Cincinnati Reds 2
Players of the Game:
Jeff Suppan: 7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K ND
Johnny Cueto: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 8 K ND
Wow. That's all that really can be said about an exciting 3-2 game at Miller Park. It was a back and forth matchup, keyed by unbelievable pitching by a veteran and a real deal future superstar in Jeff Suppan and Johnny Cueto.
I can't lie. Cueto is the legit. Even in the bleachers in right field behind the bullpen, you could see the movement, the location and the poise of this 22-year old rocket arm. The most impressive thing: He wasn't afraid to throw any of his pitches during any situation. And the only two people who figured him out were Jason Kendall and JJ Hardy who both went 2 for 2 with two singles. Otherwise the kid was lights out, and everyone in the Brewers dugout knew it. The Brewers only mustered 5 hits off of Cueto and spent much of the evening waiving at pitches that were in and out of the strike zone. With the exception of Hall's homerun and Kendall's opposite field rip, nothing really sparked me being hit hard. Cueto's slider was nasty, his sinker had a hard bite to it and for good measure he threw a high percentage of them for strikes. It just felt like nobody could seem to get around on him. He really is this year's Francisco Liriano, but let's hope without the Tommy John.
How come everyone has talked about Homer Bailey all this time, and left Cueto out of the discussion? Just a thought I had most of the game.
But let's not forget the Brewers side of things. Suppan threw 7 solid innings of baseball, while only giving up one run during his 7th and final inning. They always say that Soup pitches for contact and groundballs, and his 12-7 ratio says that he was dealing. However, if you asked Soup why he was doing so well, he really wouldn't say it was all him. It was two diving stops by Prince Fielder to take two hits away from Adam Dunn and solid defense by return 3rd baseman Bill Hall, who saved Suppan's hide inning after inning. Finally some quality defense shows up on the Brewers side of the field.
Gagne blew a 2-1 lead in the top of ninth, but on a pretty good pitch, regardless of the decision to throw a fastball. At least the guy is willing to admit that he's wrong. Nobody should be worried about Gagne just yet. It looks like he's finally decided to trust a veteran catcher and learn how to become more of a finesse pitcher. Funny thing is, three years ago that's an easy out at the warning track, but they added a legit field level party section in right for company parties. That party deck knocked off about 15 feet in that area of the park. Regardless, I can't believe Corey Patterson and his fishing line like arms knocked that ball out of the park.
But when all was said and done Brewers fans, myself included, go to watch Francisco Cordero warm up in the bullpen, all while heckling him that he'll never get in the game. And Brewers' fans were right. On a first pitch slider, Rickie knocked a solid groundball through the five hole for the victory in 10 innings, the Brewers' second extra inning victory of the year and their first walk off.
On a side note: I spent most of the night heckling Todd Coffey and David Weathers. I like these two guys actually, but I couldn't resist. Coffey was doing some exercises with the medicine ball, when my friend decided to go after him. I let him do his thing until Cordero came over when I yelled, "Todd, can you give an estimate as to when you're going to take CoCo's job? My fantasy team is in ruins and I need a reasonable closer. How many saves do you think you can get in 3/4 of a year?" Normally players can handle these comments quite well, but Coffey couldn't resist, started chuckling quietly to himself, looked at me nodded his head and sat down with Coco trying to not turn around. I also did my fair share of taunting the disrespectful Francisco Cordero. My favorite line of the night was definitely just yelling, "Akinori Otsuka", but they all handled it very respectfully. This is part of the professional game, and if you can't handle it, just call yourself John Rocker.
The Game Changing Play:
Bill Hall led off the 7th inning with a 7 pitch at bat that ultimately ended with a slider, I think, on the outside corner that he somehow pulled over the left field fence. This AB gave the Brewers the lead and forced Dusty Baker to pull Cueto one batter later since Hardy and Kendall had both figured out how to handle him.
Predictions Not so Good:
My predictions were absolutely brutal. Not only did Cueto deliver but he made Prince look silly at times. Add on the fact that Suppan pitched a gem and you can say I'm utterly ridiculous. But hey you can't win 'em all. I was right about Dunn though, but it didn't show in the box score. He just got robbed like nobody's business by Fielder on two different accounts with rocket ground balls in between first and second. I wouldn't mind being wrong about tonight's game too.
Who's on tap?
Dave Bush and Josh Fogg take the mound tonight at Miller Park. These two scare me as far as a quality game goes. They have a lot to live up to if they plan on matching yesterday's game, but I have a feeling these guys aren't that capable.
The Crew is 6-1 one now, and looking pretty impressive. How long can they keep it up?