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Reds 11, Pirates 2: James McDonald, Bucs Relievers Struggle In Blowout Loss

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Not much to love about this one. James McDonald came out throwing mostly 91 MPH fastballs that Bob Walk was describing as two-seamers, but (as Walk himself pointed out later) didn't have much movement, given that they were supposed to be two-seamers. That worked fine for a while as he kept them down in the zone, and he threw in a couple of good changeups in the first couple of innings as well. Unfortunately, he again struggled with his command, and left pitches up in the zone and right down the middle of the plate for Jonny Gomes and Ramon Hernandez to crush over the fence.

The Hernandez homer, which came in the fifth, was a grand slam, and the first batter to reach base that inning got there on another Pedro Alvarez error after a ball took an awkward hop. Alvarez is great at fielding weak ground balls because he gets to them quickly when he runs forward and because he can use his cannon of an arm, but hard-hit balls, not so much.

Anyway, Mike Crotta relieved McDonald and gave up another homer to Drew Stubbs (on a pitch that actually wasn't that bad). Joe Beimel made his 2011 debut after that and promptly allowed a triple to Joey Votto and another homer by Gomes. Chris Resop pitched a scoreless inning, and then Evan Meek came in and was visibly grimacing while he warmed up, and then his fastballs were only coming in at 90-94 MPH. Not a particularly good day for the Pirates' pitchers.