Mike Leake pitched a gem tonight, but he left with nothing to show for it. After seven shutout innings, he gave up a leadoff "triple" to start the eighth. It was really a routine fly ball to center, but Drew Stubbs lost the ball in the lights or clouds or something. One more double, and Leake exits trailing 1-0. A Brandon Phillips home run got Leake off the hook, but it wouldn't be enough, as the Pirates went on to win 2-1.
(I got to watch a few innings of the game on my MLB At Bat 2010 app on my iPod Touch. It was the first game I've really watched, and I was very pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to watch on the small screen. If you are considering the app, it is well worth the $15.)
As far as I could tell from the parts I saw, the pivotal play in the game was the Stubbs misplay. Stubbs has a reputation as an excellent center fielder. When his bat was struggling and Dusty Baker dropped him in the lineup, Baker defended him by saying that Stubbs had to stay in the lineup because his glove was needed in center. The fact is, however, Stubbs has not played well in the field this season, and tonight's gaffe doesn't exactly instill confidence that he is the long-term answer in center. According to fangraphs, his UZR for the season stands at -4.0, meaning he's cost the Reds a 4 runs (or a little under half a win) this season when compared to an average CF. In contrast, his UZR was 6.3 in just 42 games last season. I wonder which one is the real Drew Stubbs. There have always been questions about his bat, especially because of his tendency to strikeout. With a brutal 31.3% - even worse than Adam Dunn, who the Reds drove out of town because of all the strikeouts - Stubbs has the 8th highest K% in all of baseball. If Stubbs continues to whiff at such prolific rates and continues to play such sloppy sloppy defense, we may be looking for a new center fielder soon.