|Washington Nationals (56-45)
|Cincinnati Reds (52-51)
|W: J. Cueto (11-6) L: G. Gonzalez (6-6) S: Chapman (22)|
|Box Score | Stats | Depth Chart | FanGraphs Win Probability|
[Good] Some beautiful defense, the kind we saw the entire first half of the baseball season—before the recent slump—occurred in the first two innings with a leaping catch in center field by Billy Hamilton, a diving stop at first base by Todd Frazier and an over-the-shoulder rundown of a blast by Jay Bruce followed by a nice throw that nailed Bryce Harper, who assumed Jay wouldn’t get to the ball, producing the always welcome 9-3 double play.
[Bad] The Reds pushed the running game in the second inning to no avail when Chris Heisey was caught leaving too early.
[Good] Johnny Cueto began to seriously find his groove in the third when he struck out the side.
[Good] Heisey’s ground rule double and subsequent steal of third resulted in a run after a base hit by Brayan Pena. At the end of the 5th, the Reds had one of the few leads they’ve had since the All Star break.
[Good] A 96 mph fastball on the outside corner by Cueto to send Jayson Werth back to the dugout looking was perhaps the highlight of the top of the 6th inning. He would go on to strike out the side for the second time in the game moments later. [7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 9 K]
Neat stat courtesy of Joel Luckhaupt: Since 2011, Johnny Cueto has a 2.04 home ERA. Only Clayton Kershaw (1.76) has a lower home ERA in that span.
Jonathon Broxton looked good to begin the 8th, then suddenly had control problems after getting two outs. Aroldis Chapman came in, immediately threw his first pitch up and in to LaRoche, sending a message, before recording the third out in the inning.
After walking the first batter of the 9th, Brayan Pena threw out the runner attempting to steal second. A moment later, Bryce Harper would strike out looking—and the Nationals were all but finished.
Not So Random Thoughts …
The Reds really had to have this game, which is why we saw Chapman in for a rare 4-out save. Cueto did what this club needed him to do, be the stopper. He gave that and more today. It’s not often that you win a game where you only manage 4 hits, one of them coming from your pitcher. But, that’s just what the Reds did today.
Now, the Reds can win the series. That would go a long, long, way to helping this team get back on track after a horrid start to the second half.
My Knob Creek Player of the Game: Cueto saves the day.