Wild Card recap: Cincinnati Reds’ season cut short by Pirates

By: Nick McGill

After a hard fought season the Reds fell to the Pirates 6-2 in the NL Wildcard Game Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.

After fighting to keep pace with the Cardinals and Pirates all season long, the Reds settled with the second Wild Card spot, being the last team from the National team to make it to the Postseason.

The Pirates jumped out to a quick lead in the second inning with two homeruns by Marlon Byrd and Russell Martin.

They added on another run in the third with a sacrifice fly by Pedro Alvarez. The Reds got on the board with a two-out RBI single by Jay Bruce.

Adding their fourth and fifth runs in the fourth inning, the Pirates took a commanding 5-1 lead.

Shin Soo Choo added to his impressive free agency resume with a homerun in the eighth.

A major factor to the Reds demise was starting pitcher Johnny Cueto’s inability to keep the ball low in the strike zone and get runners out.

Cueto lasted only 3 1/3 innings before being pulled out of the game by manager Dusty Baker.

The Reds did have opportunities to score with the closest being in the fourth inning when third baseman Todd Frazier hit a towering shot to left field that passed just left of the foul pole into foul territory with two men on base.

The Reds offensive struggles were defined by their inability to string together consecutives hits to advance runners and bring them home.

Having the success of making it to the playoffs in three of the last four seasons, the Reds have failed to execute in all three appearances.

In 2010 the Reds were swept by the Phillies, including the historic no-hitter by Roy Halladay. In 2012 the Reds jumped to an early 2-0 against the Giants before losing three straight at home to lose the series.

And now the Reds have lost in the one-game playoff in Pittsburgh.

In his six years as the manager of the Reds, Baker has led the Reds to three playoff appearances but has failed to move them past the first round of the playoffs.

Baker is a players’ manager and is viewed well by the fans, but if he cannot manage a winning team through the playoffs, his position may be in jeopardy.

Reds fans can now only wait until next season and hope for a happier ending next year.