|Cincinnati Reds (46-42)||9||10||1|
|Chicago Cubs (38-49)||3||11||0|
|W: Leake (7-7) L: Jackson (5-9)|
|Box Score | Play-by-Play | Game Thread | Depth Chart | Win Probability|
Biggest Play of the Game
According to Fangraphs WPA statistic (wining percentage added), the most important play of the game was Jay Bruce’s 2-run HR in the Bottom of the 7th inning, giving the Reds a 6-3 lead. That increased the Reds chances of winning by 15.9% (from 78.5% to 94.5%).
Other significant plays:
- 6th inning: Darwin Barney flied out to right. Welington Castillo out at home. Schumaker throw, Mesoraoco tag (increased the Reds chances of winning from 71.0% to 86.3%)
- 5th inning: Billy Hamilton’s RBI single, giving the Reds a 2-1 lead (increased the Reds chances of winning from 57.7% to 72.4%)
- 5th inning: Todd Frazier’s RBI single, giving the Reds a 3-1 lead (increased the Reds chances of winning from 72.4% to 82.8%)
- 1st inning: Todd Frazier’s single advancing Billy Hamilton to 3rd base (increased the Reds chances of winning from 58.1% to 67.7%)
- 5th inning: Ramon Santiago’s single advancing Skip Schumaker to 3rd base (increased the Reds chances of winning from 59.2% to 66.0%)
- 5th inning: Mike Leake struck out Starlin Castro with runners on 1st and 3rd with 2 outs (increased the Reds chances of winning from 49.6% to 56.2%)
- 6th inning: Devin Mesoraco’s RBI double, giving the Reds a 4-1 lead (increased the Reds chances of winning from 88.0% to 94.4%)
Player of the Game
Billy Hamilton: 2 for 4, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 1 Run
Hamilton had got off to quiet start to July, hitting just .143/.143/.333 through his first five games, but had an excellent game tonight. Billy the kid had a huge RBI single in the 5th inning, breaking a 1-1 tie. He blew the game wide open in the 8th inning, with a 3-RBI triple, giving the Reds a 9-3 lead. That hit allowed Aroldis Chapman to have the day off, and maybe save a bullet in the chamber.
Mike Leake did allow 9 hits in 7.0 innings, but was able to pitch around danger to give the Reds a quality start. Leake’s line: 7.0 IP, 9 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. Leake now has an impressive 3.42 ERA on the season.
While Billy Hamilton was named our player of the game tonight, Todd Frazier actually had the highest WPA (win percentage added) of 17.8% tonight. Frazier went 2 for 5, with a key RBI single, and a key single to move Hamilton 1st to 3rd with 0 outs in the first inning. Frazier is now hitting .293/.356/.499 on the season.
Jonathan Broxton pitched a scoreless 8th inning, and has now lowered his ERA to an incredible 0.62.
Jay Bruce got the start at 1B tonight (more on that below). He didn’t play a terrible game defensively at 1B, but did have a costly error that allowed the Cubs to tie the game in the 5th inning. It wasn’t an easy play, but one that most 1B would make 99% of the time.
Ryan Ludwick went 0 for 4, and is struggling of late. Ludwick has just 2 hits in his last 29 at-bats (.069) with 9 K. It seems like he is cooling off from his impressive June when he hit .310/.355/.500.
Not so random thoughts….
We all expect Joey Votto to go on the DL, and that is most likely the smart move for the Reds. I don’t think trying Bruce at 1B is necessarily a bad move. He is a terrific defensive RF, and you hate to move a great fielder out of their spot. The Reds will without question have to acquire another bat if they want to contend if Votto is out for the season. I would guess that it would be easier to find an OF for the remainder of 2014, and maybe even easier to find an OF that the Reds could have under control past just this season. If the Reds were to move Bruce to 1B, that would give them more options. If Votto were to come back in say September, then Bruce moves back to RF, the OF you acquire could move to LF, and all is right in the world. I’m not convinced Bruce can play 1B everyday, but we will need a little bit more of a sample size to get a better feel.
As I type this, the Brewers are trailing 3-2 to the Phillies in the 8th. If that score holds, the Reds would only trail the Brewers by 5.0 games in the NL Central. The Reds are also just 2.0 back of a wildcard spot at the moment. With four more games still to go in this series against the Cubs, this in an excellent opportunity for the Reds to make a serious push heading into the All Star break.