Originally written on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 11/10/14

The Reds shut down the Pirates and got two fluky home runs on Friday night, taking game one of the series and extending their division lead to 4.5 games. It was an incredibly frustrating game for the Bucs on many fronts.

Wandy Rodriguez pitched pretty well, but was victimized by a bad bounce off the short LF fence and a questionable call at home plate on Chris Heisey‘s inside the park home run in the second inning. Wandy continued to pitch well after that, but allowed a two-out single in the fifth to the #8 hitter. Then he innocently threw a first pitch fastball to pitcher Mat Latos, and Latos (who is a decent hitter) put a great swing on it and blasted it out of the park.  Rodriguez still ended up with a pretty good start, going seven innings with those three runs, no walks and four strikeouts.

Latos out-did Rodriguez, though, and not just because of his homer. He kept the Pirates silent at the plate, limiting the Bucs to just three singles in 7.1 innings. He did walk three, but every time the Bucs seemed to be anywhere close to a rally, they hit into a double play. Clint Barmes, Starling Marte, and Gaby Sanchez were the guilty parties. Brutal night at the dish for the offense.

The real kicker, though, came in the ninth. Aroldis Chapman came in, throwing his usual 100+ MPH heat. He predictibly retired Marte and blew away Travis Snider, bringing up Andrew McCutchen with two outs and a very three run lead. The first pitch–a fastball–came up and in with a purpose. Cutch took it off his arm about as calmly as possible (considering the circumstances), but you could still tell he was upset and he gave Chapman a pretty serious stare. Chapman made Garrett Jones look foolish for the final out, but after the game McCutchen was animated in the dugout, glaring angrily and yelling–clearly very upset at Chapman and the Reds.

Will this lead to some fireworks between these two clubs? I have to think it will.  Beanball wars are foolish, but if your superstar is nailed like that with 100 MPH heat and there’s reason to think there was intent, you have to do something, right? (It wasn’t blatantly intentional, but to me there is at least a very strong possibility that it was.) It might not come in the first inning (do you want James McDonald putting a free runner on against a powerful offense in such a big game?), it might not even come tomorrow (these teams still meet 8 more times), but expect a Red to get nailed at some point. They’ve already done something similar…against these same Reds.

One thing’s for sure–the Bucs are going to come out tomorrow fired up and even more hungry to knock off this Reds team after a rough start to the series tonight.

Reds 3, Pirates 0 / Box / 2012 Record: 60-45 / Next: Saturday, at Reds, 7:10

MVP: McKenry (+.046) / LVP: Barmes (-.152) / Key play: Latos’ HR

©2012 Raise the Jolly Roger. All Rights Reserved.

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