New York Metropolitans 4
Cincinnati Reds 2
W: J. Niese 8-8
L: M. Leake 14-7
— The other eight innings.
— The Reds bullpen of Zach Duke, Logan Ondrusek, Sean Marshall, J.J. Hoover and Alfredo Simon combined for seven shutout innings.
— Shin-Soo Choo and Ryan Ludwick each had two hits. Brandon Phillips had a hit and a walk. Devin Mesoraco had an RBI.
— Mike Leake, who went into the game with a streak of over 20 scoreless innings (Cubs and Astros caveats apply), suffered his shortest and worst start of the 2013 season, giving up four runs in 1.2 innings. It’s possible that Mike Leake has thrown his final pitch of the season, which would be a sad way for him to end an otherwise successful year.
— The Reds managed only nine base runners in the game. Joey Votto and Jay Bruce combined to go 0-8 with five strikeouts and 6 runners left on base. The best part of the Reds offense in the final four innings was an advance to first on a strikeout wild pitch.
— Neftali Soto played and Billy Hamilton didn’t.
— The combination of the Reds loss and the Cardinals win means the Reds can realistically forget about the possibility of winning the NL Central Division. Organizational complacency has triumphed. Welcome to the coin flip to see if your team advances to the postseason.
— If the Reds win tomorrow’s afternoon game, regardless of what the Pirates do in their finale in Chicago, home field advantage for the coin flip will come down to who wins the final three-game series in Cincinnati this weekend.
— With Johnny Cueto apparently healthy enough, the Reds have announced that Mat Latos will take the mound for the Reds tomorrow, setting him up to pitch the Wild Card game. The starters for the Pirates series will be Homer Bailey, Bronson Arroyo and Cueto
— The Mets scored all their runs tonight in one improbable inning. After Mike Baxter doubled, Travis d’Arnaud struck out. Then Wilfredo Tovar hit a twelve hop ground ball that eluded Zack Cozart by about six inches. Baxter scored on the play. Then pitcher (pitcher!) Jonathan Niese hit another ground ball single to right field. But Jay Bruce gunned down Tovar at the plate for the second out. After Eric Young hit a long ground rule double to left center field, Daniel Murphy came to the plate for the fateful at bat. Even with first base open, David Wright’s presence in the on deck circle likely prevented Leake from giving in to Murphy. Mike Leake got ahead 1-2, but on the tenth pitch of the at bat, Murphy lined a home run to right field. And that was that.
— Neftali Soto came into the game with ten previous major league at bats, still looking for his first hit. It’s not just that Soto was 0-for-10. It’s that anyone who has watched those at bats knows that Soto hasn’t come remotely close to a hit. Soto had struck out five times, looking lost, grounded out once and flew out three times. He did manage to get hit by a pitch once. Neftali Soto tonight was not only still looking for his first-ever hit, he was looking for his first major league line drive. With runs in the fourth inning counting as much as runs later in the game, and with two outs and a runner in scoring position, presumably Dusty Baker should have sent up the hitter he thought most likely to drive in that run. In no conceivable universe, was Neftali Soto that person. Predictably, Soto struck out, looking utterly overmatched. What’s the expression about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?
— Zach Duke’s innings lasted longer than a Senate filibuster.
— Almost forgot. Rockin’ the redlegs tonight – Mike Leake and Zack Cozart.
Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.