Cueto brilliant in 10-2 Reds victory; Gordon unable to Aaron Small himself out of disappointing start

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

In a game the Reds sorely needed to win to avoid being swept at home, Johnny Cueto came up huge, hurling seven innings of two-hit, one-run ball — the lone blemish on his ledger a Nick Swisher solo home run in the second — and enabling the Reds to beat the Yankees 10-2. The loss snapped the Bombers’ four-game win streak — which tied the team’s high water mark for consecutive victories — prevented the Yankees from sweeping their third three-game set of the season and represented the team’s largest margin of defeat in 2011.

Brian Gordon, who pitched well enough in his debut last week against the Rangers, wasn’t as sharp this time out, throwing five innings of four-run ball. All four runs came via the long ball, as Gordon surrendered two home runs to Chris Heisey of all people, and a solo shot to Johnny Gomes. The three home runs allowed tied a season-high for a Yankee starter. While Gordon wasn’t awful, the three home run pitches were. The Gomes home run in particular really hurt, coming on an 0-2 count. Oh, and to add insult to injury, Chris Heisey hit a third home run later on in the eighth inning.

Gordon — who did retire 10 in a row at one point — may have bought himself another start, and I suppose it’s possible he could Guy-The-Opposition-Has-Never-Seen-Before a few more teams before the league catches on, but with a 5.23 ERA over 10 1/3 innings through two outings, I’d be perfectly happy if the Yankees gave someone else  Adam Warren? — a shot to start next go-round. Gordon is what he is — a 32-year-old minor league vet with an 89mph fastball that’s going to get crushed if he misses his spots. Hector Noesi, who’s been pretty strong in relief for the most part, probably didn’t help his starting case last night with six earned runs in 1 2/3 innings, though if our performance expectation out of Gordon’s slot in the rotation is a 5.00-plus ERA, I’m pretty sure I’d rather watch Noesi or Warren do that.

After mustering two measly baserunners through the first six innings, the Yankees appeared poised to finally break through against Cueto in the seventh, as an Alex Rodriguez single and Swisher walk put men on first and second with none out. Cueto struck Russell Martin out on a ridiculously nasty slider, then got pinch-hitter Robinson Cano to roll over on a grounder that Cueto dropped at first, loading the bases. But if you were a Reds fan, you had to feel pretty good about Cueto getting out of the jam, especially with Ramiro Pena coming up. To the surprise of no one, and the anger of many, Pena swung at the first pitch he saw, grounding into a forceout. Joe then went to his bench again, pinch-hitting Jorge Posada. Posada — hero of game one — rewarded this decision by copying Pena and swinging on the first pitch and also grounding out to the second basemen. Two pitches, two outs. Awful.

Not that this would end up mattering all that much, but umpire D.J. Reyburn’s strike zone seemed hella tight, at least through the first few innings.

In any event, as nice as it would have been to sweep the Reds, it’s difficult to get too worked up over this loss, which — based on the pitching match-up — was essentially preordained. There’s no shame in falling to one of the best starters in the National League, and going 4-2 in National League ballparks is not an easy feat to achieve. Looking forward to the Yankees getting back to playing real baseball this weekend in the Bronx, as they host the Rockies for a three-game set for just the second time in Interleague history.

6 thoughts on “Cueto brilliant in 10-2 Reds victory; Gordon unable to Aaron Small himself out of disappointing start

  1. Duh, Innings!

    The talk about Jeter batting leadoff when he returns is ridiculous.

    Swisher’s OBP .364
    Gardner’s OBP .363
    Granderson’s OBP .356

    Rodriguez, Teixiera, Cano, and Martin have higher OBPs than Jeter and Posada’s OBP is .321, only three points less than Jeter’s, which means Jeter has the second-worst OBP among the starting nine and the worst OBP among the everyday players who play the field.

    But we have to bat Jeter leadoff because like, well, you know, he’s Jeter. PSSSHHHH!!!

    I want the Yankees to sign Jose Reyes in the offseason, make him the everyday shortstop and leadoff hitter, and make Jeter the ninth-slot hitting part-time DH who learns all three bases so he can make all the starts at each base and SS when the everyday guys need a rest. Hopefully this makes him want to retire or request a trade during or after next year.

    Letting go of Posada, Igawa, and Marte for $20.85M would offset most of Reyes’ 2012 salary.

  2. Duh, Innings!

    What’s the matter? Afraid I’ll blow you pro-Jeter dudes out of the water?

    He has the second-worst OBP among the starting nine and the worst OBP among the everyday eight who play the field.

    Respond to that.

    • Duh,

      I think 95% of the readers of this site would agree with you that Jeter should not continue to hit in the leadoff slot. You’ll be hard-pressed to find too many people who like Jeter less than I do; I was hoping they’d let him walk last winter.

      However, I have a post coming up at 5pm today that shows that, numbers-wise, the run difference between Derek at the top of the lineup and the bottom is so minimal that it’s probably not worth the energy spent complaining about it.

      • Duh, Innings!

        You were hoping the Yankees would let Jeter walk after his first really bad season and he would collect his 3000th hit somewhere else? Jeez. I would’ve offered him a year and what he’s making this year ($15M) take it or leave it and he’d have taken it because was he really collecting his 3000th hit elsewhere? I doubt it. He’d really want to look back and say “I collected over 3000 hits in my career, but I didn’t get my 3000th hit as a Yankee or 3000 hits with the Yankees and I finished my career with the (whoever he signed with)”? I doubt it.

        Are you comparing Jeter 2011 to Jeter 1996-2010? If so, the difference is far from minimal.

        Bottom line is if Nunez posts the same BA and OBP as Jeter, Jeter is worthless because Nunez will provide better defense, faster legs on the basepaths, more stolen bases, and perhaps more power. Nunez already has as many homeruns as Jeter, one more stolen base than Jeter, only 5 less doubles than Jeter, and only 9 less RBI than Jeter in far fewer at-bats. Nunez also has a higher SLG than Jeter.

      • roadrider

        Larry I hope you mean that there are few people who like Jeter’s performance less than you do. I certainly don’t like it but I wouldn’t say I dislike Jeter. I think he’s done but given his contributions to the organization I’m willing to cut him quite a bit of slack in coming to that realization, given that the team is winning and there really isn’t much of an alternative available (I regard the Reyes trade talk as pure fantasy – the Mets will not let that happen).

  3. […] finest career start (at 8.0 innings, it’s still his longest-ever outing), as well as a huge outing from Reds ace Johnny Cueto (and two homers from Chris Heisey of all people) in the finale, helping Cincinnati stave off a […]

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