Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

Cincinnati 2
Milwaukee 1

W: T. Cingrani (6-2)
L: K. Lohse (8-8)
S: A. Chapman (30)

–What a night for young catcher Devin Mesoraco. As our man John Fay put it:

He had two hits, a run scored, a nice play on a pop behind the plate for a critical out, a caught stealing and an unassisted tackle (more on that later). He also directed the pitching staff through another solid performance.

That caught stealing was particularly important. With one away in the bottom of the eighth, Mesoraco threw an absolute laser to second to nab Milwaukee’s Jeff Bianchi — the potential tying run — trying to steal.

–That Joey Votto guy had a good game too: he hit the sixth inning homer that provided Cincinnati’s winning margin.

–Tony Cingrani continued his outstanding season. Tonight, he went six and a third, allowing one run on four hits and a walk, while striking out nine. Good stuff.

–Excellent bullpen work by Sam LeCure, Manny Parra, Jonathan Broxton, and Aroldis Chapman.


–That’s five straight wins for the mighty Redlegs, eight of their last nine, and ten wins out of thirteen. After that disastrous St. Louis series, the Reds have played much better. It’s always darkest before the dawn, you know?

–How good have the Reds starters been this season? Well, they’ve been even better than that recently. Over the last seven games, Cincinnati’s rotation has posted a 1.35 ERA.

–Where are all the people who gave up on Mesoraco back in April and May? Those guys are probably out having a beer with the people who gave up on JJ Hoover. (Though the old guy who gave up on Homer Bailey and Jay Bruce couldn’t go out for a drink tonight; he’s preparing for tomorrow’s radio broadcast.)

–I thought this was an interesting exchange:

–The Reds are just 2.5 games behind first-place Pittsburgh. The National League Central is a race once again.

Source: FanGraphs

64 Responses

  1. Matt WI

    Chad hit it right off the top: What a game by Mes. Good for him. And nice for Votto to hit one where nobody was going to rob him of a game winner. Crrrrushed.

  2. vicferrari

    Just curious what the consensus is, as it appears the correct decision was made on Chapman. (still feel they need his potential dominance as a starter in the playoffs)
    Could you expect more than 20-9 out of Cueto/Chapman at this point. This does not factor in injuries, nor a gap at closer. Even if Chapman was effective would he be that much better than Leake and Cigrani? I assume Leake starts out in the bullpen and takes over when Cueto goes down and Cigrani comes out of the bullpen.
    I am too lazy to determine all the combo actual stats, but I am sure Cueto/Leake/Cigrani would near expectations of anything had many posters got their wish and had Chapman start

    • msanmoore

      @vicferrari: My opinion (and it’s worth exactly what you pay for it) and based on some reading I’ve done says Cueto won’t be back in the rotation this year. He’s just been shut down for too long to get in “fighting form”. He’s more likely a bullpen option IF he can pitch this year at all. We all remember this same injury during Game 1 last year. Frankly, Leake has been stellar and I’ve got no problem with him being part of the rotation. Cingrani might be “over his limit” by then, so we’ll have to wait and see there.

      As for Chapman, I believe he’s our closer now and in the future. We have zero evidence (and I don’t count Spring Training) that he can be an effective MLB starter. We have plenty of evidence that he can handle the closer role and that is something every MLB team has and will continue to have. I for one, don’t think he ever had the durability to start at this level.

      • greenmtred

        @msanmoore: Interesting article by John Fay–all of you probably read it–that posits that the best predictor of playoff success is strikeouts, defense, and closer performance. I read something similar years ago, I think in Sports Illustrated, where the point was made that the 1990 Reds exemplified those traits and probably shouldn’t have been heavy underdogs (duh). I don’t doubt that closer is overvalued and misused during the season, but perhaps that changes in the postseason.

  3. Davis Stuns Goliath

    Just 6 hits, but a win is a win. Happy dance. Still, let’s recap the offensive prowess during the “hot” streak:

    Sunday: 5-42
    Monday: 4-28
    Tuesday: 8-39
    Wednesday: 7-34
    Tonight: 6-28
    Total: 30-171 (.175)

    Unless the bats heat up, you can only play Russian Roulette for so long before things get ugly.

    • EastCoastVibes

      It sure doesn’t feel like they won 8 of 9. A win is a win but I just have no confidence in this offense. @Davis Stuns Goliath:

      • greenmtred

        @EastCoastVibes: I don’t either, but they’ve definitely picked up the tempo on defense, and they seem scrappy and motivated now, not listless. Fun to watch.

    • Y-City Jim

      @Davis Stuns Goliath: Pittsburgh has been winning all season with poor offensive numbers. That said, this offense still sucks.

    • RedZeppelin

      @Davis Stuns Goliath: I came here to add “The offense” to the list of negatives, but I see my work has been done. Nice stats.

      On one hand: Cringe.
      On the other hand: Imagine how good this team would be if they started hitting.

  4. Matt WI

    Let’s not sour a winning streak by rehashing the Chapman debate. Reds win. 2 1/2 games out. Fun times.

    • vicferrari

      @Matt WI:
      I was not rehashing the debate, just curious if people would have taken the stats that Leake/Cigrani have actually put up.
      I cannot imagine anyone could justify another being as effective as Chapman as closer, keep in mind Broxton’s injuries and the way a lot of the bullpen looked in April. So in hindsight it is obvious it was the best decision with the injuries
      If Puig fades, any talk of Cigrani mentioned as ROY?

      • MrRedlegs3900

        @vicferrari: Sorry to be the downer here, but Cingrani is getting no votes for ROY while Matt Harvey keeps pitching the way he has all year.

      • RyanR

        @MrRedlegs3900: I think Harvey used up his rookie status last year but even still Cingrani would have to compete with guys like Fernandez, Ryu, Miller, and Teheran who have all been pitching at a high level with more innings. In a normal year he would get a serious look but it seems like the rookies this year are ridiculous.

      • vicferrari

        Did not realize that (scratch the ROY), looks like Harvey only threw 59 innings last year, what’s the rule on qualifying?

        Regardless the spirit of my point was valid, Cigrani has been unexpectantly good. What amazes me is that he has not had a bad outing, he underratedly saved the season with his performance against the Cardinals, and he has not had the best defense at times and looks mentally tough.

        Just imagine if he develops a killer change-up

      • greenmtred

        @Shchi Cossack: Yes indeed, paging Soto. Cingrani looks much better to me than he did earlier this year–not throwing much off-speed stuff, but enough and well enough to keep hitters guessing a little.

      • down with dusty

        @MrRedlegs3900: Matt Harvey is not eligible. He threw too many innings last season.

        But replace “Matt Harvey” with “Jose Fernandez” and I see your point.

      • CP

        @vicferrari: This is a really close ROY race, with Puig, Fernandez, Shelby Miller, and Ryu all in the mix. Puig, likely wins absent some sort of collapse, simply because the pitchers will really give voters fits…Fernandez, although inconsistent, has probably been the “best” pitcher, but Miller & Ryu both have more wins and play for contenders. They’ll probably poach each other’s votes.

      • TC

        @CP: I’m not a fan of Puig because of the brawl with the D-Backs but it is hard to consider anyone but Puig as the ROY.

      • prjeter

        @CP: Fernandez has not been inconsistent at all. He’s been a model of consistency. He’s given up 5 ER once, 4 ER twice. All three of those starts were in April and May. He’s given up 0, 1, or 2 ER in his next 15 of 16 starts. The other start, he gave up 3 ER. He’s been the best pitcher in the league since June 1, in my opinion.

  5. Josh

    Cingrani and Mesoraco were brilliant, watching them develop right before our eyes. I def think we made the right choice keeping Mes and not Grandal. 8 out of 9 is great, MUST keep on rolling, the next 10 games are very favorable and very important. I really hope Sean Marshall’s strength test goes well, it’ll tell us what to expect.

    • Latos_intollerant

      Cingrani and Mesoraco were brilliant, watching them develop right before our eyes. I def think we made the right choice keeping Mes and not Grandal. 8 out of 9 is great, MUST keep on rolling, the next 10 games are very favorable and very important. I really hope Sean Marshall’s strength test goes well, it’ll tell us what to expect.

      I’m glad you mentioned that. Cingrani is loved by many on here but I still feel like we are taking for granted just how well he has pitched in the rotation. Sometimes we complain that the Cardinals as an organization are run so well, a guy goes down and they just plug someone else in he is just as good. Isn’t that what the Reds have done as well? Votto goes down and guys step up and we win the division, Frazier takes over for Rolen, we pick up guys like Simon, and Hoover, and Parra. Cueto goes down and Cingrani steps in. And that’s all I have to say about that!

      • down with dusty

        @Latos_intollerant: I think your comparison with the Cardinals is off base. Yes it did happen with Cingrani. But we also got a heaping dose of Xavier Paul and Derrick Robinson in place of Ludwick and a whole lot of Ondrusek and Partch where Marshall should be. The Reds just don’t have anything resembling the major league-ready depth that St Louis has. And you know what? Who cares? Only 1.5 back right now and trending up, baby!

      • TC

        @down with dusty: I completely agree. The Reds have had better than average replacements for injured players over the past two years, but AAA is thread-bear right now. IMO the Reds don’t have anything even close to the Cardinal’s depth. The two teams are noot even on the same planet.

  6. RisingRed

    Probably next the guys who gave up on Mike Leake.

  7. JerBear

    I think you are right Latos on taking things for granted. Walt Jockety is one of the best GMs in baseball. Top 5 at least right? The pitching is the main thing he seems to have turned around. I believe Jocketty drafted Cingrani and Leake right? He signed Aroldis Chapman. Then brought in Simon, Parra, traded for Marshall.

    Most importantly he has built up the farm system. Look at all the good and productive players the Reds have traded. Alonso, Wood, Encarnacion, Gregorious (would kind of like to have him back!)…As fans we always wanted the Reds to go for it now…They traded a lot of talent just for Latos and Choo. But that’s what the good organizations do who have good farm systems.

    We have to give Dusty B. some credit too, but Jocketty, and ultimately the owner Castellini have turned around Cincinnati baseball.

    The offense stinks, and I have a hard time thinking they’ll make a run in the playoffs, but it’s a fun time to be a Reds fan overall.

    • RedTitan19

      @JerBear: I think you are giving Walt too much credit for turning the pitching around. You gotta think Bryan Price was the key ingredient there. Simon and Parra each started out rough until BP2 had a chance to work with them.

  8. Boneill1621

    Hold the presses..

    NL Central Race? But Marty, Doc Rodgers and the 700 crew told me the season was over.. In all seriousness (I’m not blasting them on their opinions) but I can see why Homer Bailey feels the way he does. The radio personalities are so quick to criticize and give up on teams/players. Obviouasly fans everywhere are like that too but someone needs to calm down Redlegs fans so they dont go jump off the Roebling bridge. I feel like someone at the station should fulfill this role

    • TC

      @Boneill1621: Fans in earshot of WLW are the worst. Marty has become a curmudgeon. Lance and Mo are better than what we’ve had for the past 30 years but that whole travesty with Homer after the no-hitter (which Lance didn’t participate in) was embarrassing.

  9. RES

    IIRC, back in August 2010 when we had the “whiny little bitches” kerfuffle the Cards swept three from the Reds, leaving our boys broken and near death … then the Reds went 13 and 4 the rest of month and took the division by five.

  10. sezwhom1

    Only thing left for Dusty to do is move Ludwick into the cleanup slot and drop BP down to 2nd, then Frazier to 6th. Can’t do it yet but maybe in a week or two. I mean, that was the Opening Day lineup. Okay, Mez over Hanigan too but you get the idea.

    Thank gawd our pitching has been so good.

    • Mwv

      @sezwhom1: Ludwick is still very very rusty. I can’t see him being worth moving up even in a week or two. I hope I’m wrong but he’s out there just flailing right now.

      • vicferrari

        Agree, no way Ludwick bats clean-up, would not be surprised to see him in the 2-hole once Frazier “gets going”
        Despite the line-up woes, the dubious collective OBP, and poor AB the Reds have had a pretty good season so far. It is like the have found some formula, every pitcher has a career year, strange how great pitching wins games?

      • Shchi Cossack

        @Mwv: The silver lining is that even with no production from Ludwick, the Reds have not lost any production from LF after his return to the lineup and the Reds are winning without any production from LF. I agree that Ludwick is not close to being ready, but the line drive he hit with the bases loaded was a good sign that he’s making progress. Until Ludwick proves to ready to produce, I would like to see Mesoraco/Hanigan hitting 6th with Ludwick bumped down to 7th, but that’s a minor detail.

      • bohdi

        @Shchi Cossack: Agree. I mentioned that a few days ago. It’s splitting hairs, but in the case of last night’s game could have made a big difference having Mez up with bases loaded instead of Ludwick. Regardless, it was a a well struck ball that found a glove, but why not put the hotter hitter higher up in the order.

  11. Kyle Farmer

    I have to admit that after the Sunday loss to STL a couple of weeks ago I thought that the division was out of reach. The new MLB schedule really can aid in keeping these division races alive with so many games within the division.

    Not to be a downer, but this thought kept occurring to me last night – How big a mistake was it that the organization let Cingrani pitch in Louisville when they knew Cueto was hurt (or at least not right) after his start in Pittsburgh earlier this year? That set up the shelling of Villareal by the Rockies at GABP because Cingrani was unavailable. In a year where a single game could mean the division or the difference between a home and road wild card game, that really becomes huge. I said it at the time that it was terrible to not have Cingrani ready to go.

    Also, because I can’t post without a negative Dusty comment, Cingrani has absolutely earned a start in the division series. There is no way Dusty will give it to him, but did anybody think that Cingrani would be Cueto’s equal when he replaced him in the rotation? The kid has been HUGE for this club. If the division series is against STL then I’d give Cingrani the ball over both Leake and Arroyo.

    Speaking of Cingrani – does anybody else think we may be seeing the development of a Kershaw-esque pitcher? I’m not saying that he will become the best pitcher in the game, but I don’t think it’s out of the question based on his performance so far for him to develop into a top of the rotation lefty. I’m very excited about his future.

    Finally, I have to say that Mes is quickly becoming my favorite player. Grit, hustle, determination. I love his style of play. The more we’ve had a chance to see him develop, it’s clear that he’s pretty much the anti-Dusty which is why I think he spent so long in the dog house and really only emerged after it was clear that Corky Miller couldn’t be the number one catcher.

    • vicferrari

      @Kyle Farmer:
      Good points, was going to post similar things:
      1) Seeing 3 other spot starters over the past 2 seasons puts things in perspective how unbelievably good Cingrani has been. Probably better than what management had expected, I do not recall much hype about him even cracking the starting rotation.
      2) Someone else posted on the game thread about starting Cigrani in the post season, interesting decision, especially if Cueto is available. I suspect he is used as a reliever.

      • Kyle Farmer

        @vicferrari: I was basing my comment on the belief that Cueto will not be available. My preference would be for the club to just shut him down for the rest of the season at this point and start fresh next year. I would hate to see a replay of last year where he starts a playoff game and has to leave early creating a bad situation for the bullpen in a short series.

        The performance of LeCure and Latos in game 1 last year was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in baseball. Still gives me goosebumps. I wouldn’t want to risk trying to catch that lightning twice.

  12. Chris DeBlois

    Really nice game for Mesoraco last night – it’s exciting to watch his development on an ongoing basis. The combination of offense, defense, game calling, and hustle was great fun and will hopefully give him even more confidence going forward.

    Really nice pitching by Cingrani last night and the entire starting staff lately, and by the bullpen last night and the entire bullpen lately. Pitching wins games, pennants, and rings.

    Disappointed by the offense, and I think Votto’s home run distracted us from the one negative last night. The Reds had a great chance to stretch the lead. I don’t remember the inning, but Choo steals third (I love that play) with one out. Votto strikes out against a righty, and Phillips can’t get him in. Insurance runs like that can be huge against playoff caliber teams. Can’t let that opportunity go begging. Happy for the win, nervous about the offense.

    It’s been so much fun watching the standings this last week. Go Reds!

    • Steve Mancuso

      I don’t remember the inning, but Choo steals third (I love that play) with one out. Votto strikes out against a righty, and Phillips can’t get him in. Insurance runs like that can be huge against playoff caliber teams.

      That was such a strange AB for Votto. He gets up 2-0, pretty obviously the rookie pitcher isn’t going to challenge him. Votto is on the glidepath to another walk. Then Choo steals third base. All of a sudden, Votto becomes Brandon Phillips and swings at three consecutive pitches well out of the strike zone. (I wonder how often that happens?) It’s almost like for a brief moment, Votto gave up on his own philosophy of ignoring RBI and just challenging the pitcher. Instead, he shifted into “do anything for an RBI” and ended up failing.

      • greenmtred

        @Steve Mancuso: Steve, do you really think that Votto should (or could) ignore the rbi in a situation such as that? The Reds’ offense isn’t close to reliable enough for him to trust that anyone behind him will get the run in.

      • RC

        @greenmtred: I think the key point is that, in that situation, no pitcher in the world was going to throw Votto anything hittable. According to Marty, at least, strike three was *way* off the plate. (Admittedly, I didn’t get to see any of the game, and only heard the last couple of innings.)

      • Steve Mancuso

        @greenmtred: There are limits to how far out of the strike zone he should go to hit a fly ball. If he takes a walk, Brandon Phillips can hit a fly ball and he’s been pretty good at that. And if Votto walks and Phillips gets a hit then there could be more than one run. I didn’t think any of those three particular pitches were worth swinging. Something an inch off the plate, sure.

    • WVRedlegs

      @Chris DeBlois:

      That was in the top of the 8th. It would have been a huge run, but as it turned out the Reds didn’t need it. Votto and Phillips both failing to get that run in sure made the bottom of the 8th a bit ansy when Broxton came in. I was having anxiety issues in the bottom of the 8th because they didn’t get that run in during the top of the 8th. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. It all turned out well in the end anyway. Big Brox held them in check and Chap closed them out.

    • greenmtred

      @Chris DeBlois: Yeah, Mes is looking better and better–really love the hustle, and thought the little pat he gave Francisco before he took off to second was hilarious. I do note, unrelatedly, that the Brewers have, at shortstop and centerfield, what looks like the foundation of a scary-good team.

  13. VottoManCrush

    Meso also made a tremendous block in the dirt that kept the runners at 1st and 2nd and kept the double play in order. A couple pitches later, the batter grounded into a 1-6-3 double play that ended the inning. Great game by Devin, it’s been fun watching him develop over the past year. He’s becoming a real “firecracker” https://redlegnation.com/wp-includes/images/smilies/icon_smile.gif

  14. Jared

    I felt all along that, with the Pirates in first, the division would never be out of reach. Never expected it to be this close this soon though.

    Mesoraco has been an absolute stud for what, the last month? What’s great is the team isn’t about flashy stats, breaking doubles records, leading whatever pitching category.. they’re just a good team winning games.

  15. Sultan of Swaff

    I hate to even bring it up, but we’re really screwed if one of our starting pitchers goes down. We’ve really got nothing to replace them with.

    My 2 cents on the Cardinals ability to bring up great players seemingly all the time—not true. I mean, the kid who replaced Molina (back today) was brutal. Wacha is gonna be a stud, but for now he’s a one pitch pitcher. Martinez wasn’t very good. Cingrani vs. Miller is a push. Tavares is shut down for the year w/ ankle surgery. Wong just got promoted to play 2b (Carpenter to 3b, Freese to the doghouse). I can’t imagine a rookie thrown into the fire will perform much better than Freese.

    Like the vaunted Royals farm system a few years back, things tend to even themselves out.

  16. NastyBoys3

    At least the lineup is Dusty-proofed now. Frazier in the 2-hole is perfect for OBP. If Dusty wants to move Ludwick to 4, BP to 2, and Frazier to 6, there’s no way he gives BP the bunt sign with his 90 RBIs this year.

  17. Tennessee Red

    I would not move BP out of the 4 spot. He’s batting, what? .370 with RISP?

      • prjeter

        @Tennessee Red: Probably because of the ongoing debate on this site about how BA with RISP doesn’t really matter. Well, not that it doesn’t matter, but that it’s not a large enough sample to draw a meaningful conclusion from without a lot more at-bats than can be had in a single season. Which is why I stated BP’s 2010-2012 stats in the department. He’s done .370 so far this year, as you state, but that doesn’t mean he’s all of a sudden a better hitter with RISP than he’s been over his career (or even in 2010-2012, where he was a better hitter than he’s been this year).

      • Jared

        @prjeter: Only when it serves their purpose. It’s (seemingly) the same people complaining about guys left on base night after night.

    • prjeter

      @Tennessee Red: What skill has BP acquired this year that makes him a great hitter with RISP all of a sudden? 2010-2012 he hit .290 with RISP. His total average over that time was .285, also.

  18. 666wolverine

    Big deal we are beating up sub .500 teams!!! Do some damage against some good clubs for once then maybe I will start getting excited for real.

    • TraviXDM

      @666wolverine: One way to look at it from an objective point of view is to realize that even good teams pad their records by beating up on teams they are supposed to be beat up on. The Cubs, Brewers, Marlins etc.

      I don’t have the stats handy (mainly because I can’t find any online), but I’m pretty sure the Reds are playing close to .500 ball against winning teams right now. Maybe a little under, but its not like they’re only beating up on teams like the above, and then getting manhandled by the winning teams. According to Baseball Reference: The Reds are 6-7 against the Pirates this year, 4-8 against the Redbirds, 3-4 against the Braves, 1-2 against the Rangers etc. Yeah, those are losing records – but outside the Redbirds, the Reds have/hung tough with the best.

      And a lot of those could probably be different if not for blunders in the field/dugout.