|W: Cueto (14-6) L: Hand (2-4)|
|FanGraphs Win Probability | The Worldwide Leader’s Box Score | Game Photos|
Devin Mesoraco crushed two home runs, his 19th and 20th of the season, while driving in six. The latter was his third grand slam of the season, which ties a Reds all-time record. Albert Pujols and Ernie Banks share the NL record for the most in a season (5). Alex Rodriguez has hit 24 in his career. Mesoraco’s numbers have come down a bit since I wrote it a few weeks ago, but he is putting up an MVP-caliber season.
Sparky Anderson wouldn’t have seriously considered sitting Johnny Bench every fifth game so that one of his starters could have a personal catcher. From 1970 to 1975, Bench averaged 650 plate appearances. If you extrapolated Mesoraco’s 2014 production to that many PA’s, he’d hit 40 doubles, 42 home runs and drive in 128 RBI. That’ll do. Mesoraco’s current OPS is higher than Bench recorded for any season. Brayan Peña is having a nice season for him, but his OPS (.710) is dwarfed by Mesoraco’s (.949).
The Reds worked three walks in the fifth before Mesoraco’s bomb, including a bases-loaded free pass to Todd Frazier. Walks will haunt. So will grand slams.
Johnny Cueto set a career high for strikeouts, with 181. His strikeout rate (25.7%) is the highest of his career by far. His second best season was 2013 (21.1%). Cueto gave up two runs, on solo shots by Giancarlo Stanton and Casey McGehee. In 20 of his 25 starts he’s given up 2 or fewer runs. J.J. Hoover pitched the ninth and his two strikeouts provided pizza for the house.
Ramon Santiago had two hits and a walk. Jay Bruce had a hit, a walk and missed a home run by a couple feet. Bruce also robbed Stanton of a second home run in the eighth inning, leaping more than a foot above the right field fence. With Junior in the house. Gotta be the shoes.
With the win, the Reds avoided being swept at home for the first time this season. They started the day 3 games out of the second Wild Card slot. The Reds have 44 games remaining and next play two home games against the Boston Red Sox after an off day tomorrow.
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.