The Reds offense came alive, scoring early and often in route to a 9-5 win over the Cardinals. The win ended the Reds two game losing streak, and was the Reds first win over the Cardinals since May 23rd (had lost 6 straight games to the Cardinals).

Final R H E
 Cincinnati Reds (68-77) 9 12 1
 St. Louis Cardinals (80-65) 5 14 2
W: Leake (11-11) L: Wacha (5-6) S: Chapman (31)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score | Game Photos | Game Thread

game graph

Biggest Play of the Game

According to Fangraphs WPA statistic (winning percentage added), the most important play of the game was Devin Mesoraco’s 2-run HR in the first inning off Michael Wacha. The HR increased the Reds chances of winning by 19.4% (from 56.6% to 72.6%).

Other important plays (+/- indicates how much each play increased or decreased the Reds chances of winning):

  • +10.6% – 4th inning – Leake’s RBI double. Reds lead 3-1. Runner on 2nd, 2 outs.
  • +10.4%: 1st inning – Leake gets Holliday to ground into a double play. Runner on 3rd, 2 outs.
  • +8.0: 7th inning – Diaz gets Pierzynski to line out to end the inning. Cardinals strand the bases loaded.
  • +6.9%:  5th inning – Mesoraco’s RBI double. Reds lead 4-1. Runners on 2nd & 3rd, 0 outs.
  • +6.8%: 8th inning – Parra gets Wong to ground into a double play. Bases empty, 2 outs.
  • -10.5%: 3rd inning – Peralta’s double off Leake. Runners on 2nd & 3rd.
  • -6.3%: 1st inning – Carpenter doubled off Leake to leadoff the game

Player of the Game

Devin Mesoraco: 2 for 3, HR, 2B, 2 BB, 3 RBI, 0.24  WPA

Mesoraco hit his 23rd HR of the season in the first inning. That homer moved Mesoraco even further up the list of most HR’s in a single-season by a Reds catcher (min 50% of games played as a catcher). I honestly thought Mesoraco would slow down a little bit in the second half, but he really hasn’t. Mesoraco is now hitting .287/.370/.557 with 23 HR, 73 RBI, and 156 wRC+. As a side note: can you believe Dusty Baker continuously refused to play Mesoraco?

meso

Positives

Mike Leake pitched a strong game tonight, allowing 3 runs in 6.0 innings (two of them crossed the plate after he left the game). Leake also added an RBI double in the 4th inning. It was nice to see Leake bounce back from a tough outing in Baltimore, where he allowed 7 ER. Leake’s final line on the evening: 6.0 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 1.62 FIP. The number that sticks out is the “0 BB.” Leake does a great job not hurting himself.

Chris Heisey had two hits, including a 2-RBI single in the 8th inning. Heisey is hitting .381 with 4 HR and 7 RBI in his last 21 at-bats.

Zack Cozart had two hits tonight, including a triple. He also made his usual great defensive play tonight too.

Brandon Phillips hit a 2-run double in the 5th inning to give the Reds a 6-1 lead. It was just Phillips 5th & 6th RBI since returning from the DL, and just his 4th extra-base hit.

Brayan Pena walked three times tonight. It was the first time in his career that he has ever done that. Pena entered tonight’s game with just 16 BB in 337 PA. Pena also made a brilliant catch on a rocket hit by A.J. Pierzynski to end the 7th inning. The Cardinals had the bases loaded at the time, and the score was 7-4.

Negatives

Jumbo Diaz struggled to say the least in relief tonight. Diaz allowed 3 hits and walk in an inning.

J.J. Hoover couldn’t even get out of the 9th inning, when he entered with a 9-4 lead.

Not so random thoughts……..

Jayson Stark of ESPN wrote a terrific piece called The mind-blowing stats of Aroldis Chapman today. What is truly mind-blowing is that Aroldis Chapman has now only pitched 46.0 innings this season. The Reds and Bryan Price have wasted a lot of bullets from Chapman this season, by saving him nearly exclusively for save situations.

Nick is a lifelong Reds fan who was born and raised in Cincinnati. He acquired his love of baseball from his late grandfather. Nick moved to the Cleveland area in 2014 with his wife, and his currently fighting to convert his beautiful baby daughter Emma to Reds fandom. Nick has been writing for Redleg Nation since 2013. Follow Nick on Twitter @nicholaspkirby.

Join the conversation! 69 Comments

  1. I decided to watch every out of this one, trying to will the Reds to win. They had a good opportunity with Wacha not yet in form. Getting ahead of him and then beating up some of the Cardinals middle relief worked out.

    It was a well-played game by the Reds, except for Jumbo and Hoover. If Pena doesn’t catch the rocket off Pierznyski’s bat, the score is 7-6 and I doubt the Reds win.

  2. On last night’s recap I said I wasn’t encouraged by BP’s 2 hits. I was definitely encouraged tonight. His 2 run double was driven harder than I’ve seen from him since his return. And he almost had another 2 RBIs on a line drive up the middle, but right at Wacha.

    • So isn’t it going to be really frustrating if BP warms up in these last 3 weeks and even more so if Joey plays the last week or so and looks like the real Joey?

      • I won’t mind if the Reds beat the crap out of the Brewers and Pirates the final week. Actually would enjoy it if they knock the Pirates out of the playoffs.

  3. I know I will get killed for this but why bring in Chappy for 1 freaking out just to get a meaningless save on the stat line. Saves are a stupid stat but you end up paying more in arbitration for them.

    • I don’t think he was brought in because of the save stat. He was brought in because Price wanted to win the game, and didn’t trust anyone else to get the final out. Hoover was gassed at 30 pitches and the freakin’ tying run was on deck. The Cardinals have come back from slimmer chances than that.

      • I think he brought in exclsuively for the save stat, he would have pitched the 9th from the beginning if the Reds do not score the runs in the 8th. If he really wanted to win why not bring him in to start it off, instead of the worst losing relief pitcher I can recall in Reds history.
        For whatever reason manager’s look out for their stopper but if they logically approached saves as Gaffer suggests it probably helps the team in that the stopper does pile up saves, get paid unnecessarily high salaries, and take away from the team in that they do not sign a player they cannot afford.

    • I was thinking there in the 7th inning that if the Reds has a reliable lefty in the pen, he would have been brought in instead of Jumbo seeing as how the Cards had Carpenter, Jay, and following Holiday, Adams and weren’t likely to PH for any of the 3.

      Then I remembered Chappy. I guess he couldn’t pitch then because then he wouldn’t have gotten a save.

      • Carpenter, et al. weren’t due up until the 9th (or the 8th if Parra got into trouble).
        Price wanted Chapman available for them. The bottom of the order was coming up in the 8th. Did you want him to pitch a 2 and 1/3rd inning save ?

        Bases loaded is also not the best time to bring in Chapman, he walks people.

        And he WAS needed for the final out, even when the lead stretched to 5 runs. Tying run on deck, are you going to trust Hoover or LeCure to close it out ?

        • We’re on different page here I think. In the 7th with 1st and 3rd and no outs, Jumbo was brought in to face a RH batter in the 9 slot. The guy singled. Then he faced Carpenter (game saving play by BHam), Jay (single), Holiday (single) Adams (FO), Peralta (walk), Pierzynski (game saving play by Peña).

    • While I agree with your prinicple, the fact is that we probably needed Chappy in there just to win the game, never mind the save. I could smell the jet fuel that Hoover was using on the field in Columbus.

    • I’ve got to stand up for Price on this. After the Chapman meltdown in Denver, I said I felt it was a huge mistake on Price’s part to allow Chapman to walk in a run before lifting him because it meant the guy coming in (which happened to be Hoover) was facing the potential losing run from his first pitch. Tonight he got the second reliever in there with 1 batter to work with before he faced the tying run (and does anybody believe the Reds could have gotten off the mat to turn around even a tie after blowing a 5 run lead).

    • Saves are only a stupid stat to some fans. To players and agents and teams they are a very important stat. It all depends on your aspect of it…

  4. Excellent win for Leake. His two out double drove in the 3rd run. With runners on 2nd and 3rd in the 6th, he gets out of it by striking out both Peralta and Molina on nasty sliders.

    • Unless there are negotiations going on and something getting close with Cueto or Latos, I think they need to go on and get Leake signed sooner rather than later lest he also become “too expensive:

      • I agree 100%. Even more so because he seems to be the least likely to be injured of the three in the future. Get it done Walt.

  5. It was great to finally watch a Reds win over the Cardinals. Two thoughts. It seems like no matter who we put out there( Jumbo or Chapman), the Cardinal hitters will find a way to foul off their 97-102 mph fastballs. Secondly, Hoover leaves all of his pitches up above the knees. He gets some strikeouts on the high fastball but his curve is average.

    • True about the Cardinal hitters. And also Hoover. I didn’t want to see him face another batter. And if he can’t protect a 5 run lead against mostly AAA hitters, what’s his value ?

      • Hoover is absolutely brutal – has been all year – I don’t think you can trade him and Ondrusuck together and get a rosin bag back in exchange –

        • Right but get rid of them anyway.

        • The Reds would be foolish to give up on Hoover after one bad season. Price needs to figure out what changed after he had 2 great seasons in 2012 and 2013.

          Now Ondrusek is a lost cause. Cut him yesterday, fine with me.

        • I’m with DocMike on this one. I think the Reds need to try to fix Hoover. The stuff is still there. He got a bit lucky on fly balls in 2012 and 2013, so perhaps he wasn’t as good as those years suggested; but he should be much better than he’s been this year. He needs to fix his command and he needs to work inside more. I think with his command issues he’s been wild both in and out of the strikezone and he’s been reluctant to throw inside for fear of hitting people. I think Hoover can get sorted out and that his stuff can still play.

  6. I see a lot of angst on here about Hoover. Yet, without the error committed behind him, Hoover pitches a 1-2-3 ninth and no one says anything negative.

    • Even with the error he had two out with a man 2B and a 5 run lead. That is hardly a leverage situation.

      • Angst regarding Hoover is deservedly so – cannot hide the guy anywhere – same for Logan – neither have any business on the 40 man roster

        • Still amazed at how people want to ignore 2 solid seasons’ worth of work by Hoover, and only focus on this season.

          Yes, he has been a disappointment this year. But 1 bad season out of 3 means there is no hope for his future? I bet if the Reds cut Hoover, other teams would line up to try to sign him in the hopes of fixing what went wrong this year. The potential to be a solid bullpen guy is still there.

      • The tying run was on deck, and it was a kid who hammered the Reds pitching last night. You’re saying it’s impossible for Hoover to give up a game tying HR ? In any case he was gassed at 30 pitches.

        • No, I meant at 2 outs and a man on 2B it wasn’t a leverage situation. Hoover proceeded to turn it into one. When he should have been able to close it out

    • One error or not, he should have been able to close it out. And the big “if” is what happens if Hoover stays in ? You’re surprised about anxiety over that ?

      • Who’s to say he wouldn’t have closed it out if he stayed in? Not saying they shouldn’t have taken him out, mind you. He had thrown 30 pitches and looked gassed, no need to leave him in and take the chance his confidence takes another hit.

        But remember that in facing 5 batters, he retired the first 3 then gave up 2 hits. That’s not exactly struggling. Without the error, the Cards don’t even score off of Hoover that inning. And that was my point, that if the defense had made the out instead of the error, then it is a 1-2-3 ninth and everyone is happy.

  7. Price is criticized for bringing in Chapman for the final out. Yet if he let Hoover or LeCure or Ondrusek blow the game, people would be calling for his head on a platter.

    • I agree with this. See on up the thread.

      • Then I don’t understand your quote in the comment I just made.

        • The last man Hoover faced was the potential 7th run. Chapman ended the game facing the guy who would have been the potential 8th run. The potential tying run never got to the plate. So Hoover wasn’t in the game long enough to give up a game tying homer. I am not questioning that he very well might have had he been left in long enough. That’s why I said well up the main thread of the entire recap it was good thing to get Hoover out of there when they did.

  8. OhioJim: “Even with the error he had two out with a man 2B and a 5 run lead. That is hardly a leverage situation.” It was a 4 run lead at that point and Hoover WAS left in for that situation. He gave up a single to Descalso which made it a 4 run lead with two runners on ? Bring in Chapman after the game is tied ?

  9. OhioJim: “No, I meant at 2 outs and a man on 2B it wasn’t a leverage situation. Hoover proceeded to turn it into one. When he should have been able to close it out.”
    Now I’ve got you. “Never mind.”

  10. Someday when Aroidis Chapman is being inducted into the HOF following in the footsteps of Goose Gossage (the pioneer of Closers) Chapman and others will acknowledge that the decision to make him a Closer is why he is standing there being inducted into baseballs HOF.

    • Goose Gossage was the pioneer of closers ? As a multiple inning closer, Elroy Face was 18-1 with Pirates in 1960. Also Rollie Fingers, etc.

      • Absolutely Gossage is considered the pioneer of Closers. Google Goose Gossage and read what Wikipedia says about the career of the “Goose” Ask any historian of baseball who they would consider the pioneer of the modern definition of “Closer”

    • I can’t disagree with you, Sarge, though we’ll never know what would have happened if the decision had been different. I understand the angst about Chapman pitching so few innings, but am obliged to point out that there is absolutely no certainty that he would be as dominant (or dominant at all) if he pitched more.

    • And just last night on MLB network, one of the analysts, I can’t recall which, said that he expected Chapman was going to be the first closer to sign a $100-million contract. I don’t think teams have bought into the whole “closers are overrated” idea; or I suspect most of them haven’t bought into it yet.

  11. More for OhioJim: Yes we were on a different page twice. My bad.

    Above you were saying bring in Chapman as soon as Leake left. I would have been OK with that. I thought you were saying bring in Chapman to face Pierzynski with the bases loaded. That was the scenario I played out.

    Reds win, it’s all good.

  12. Hamilton is seriously slumping and looks tired out there. Give the kid a day off.

  13. Great win tonight but unfortunately just an an anomaly. The Reds are likely to lose 90 games. The Reds window has not just closed but it has slammed shut. Right on the necks of BC and WJ. Very sad and frustrating. The Reds were positioned to have a much longer run of success than this and you can blame gross mismanagement on ownership and the front office as the reasons why.

    • Is Bryan Price the right manager in the wrong place at the wrong time or is he not MLB managerial material? Really impossible to determine definitively with this mess. Right or wrong this stink is going to stick to Price.

    • Votto, Phillips, Bruce, Mesoraco, Chapman, Marshall, Marshall, Ondrusek, Latos, Bailey, Cingrani, and on, and on. Darn that stupid Walt Jocketty for not knowing that the entire core of the Reds team would miss significant time due to injury and not have another 90+ win team all signed to contracts and ready to go the second the injuries happen.

      • Kyle Farmer-

        Latos, Mes and Chapman (all 40 innings, haha) are the only players you mentioned that were having good seasons and truly a loss when hurt. The others were struggling and mostly ineffective before injury. So getting them back does what? We couldn’t score runs with our starting eight healthy from game 1 on. What exactly is going to change? Nothing. The Reds will continue to not score runs offensively while losing its starting pitching over time. Window closed. Slammed shut. Very poor planning and roster management by the organization.

        • Votto was having a tremendous season before his injury.

          Oh, and by the way, Latos was injured prior to Spring Training beginning. So, he wasn’t having a good season when he was hurt….the season hadn’t even started.

        • Votto was not having “a tremendous season”, certainly not for a $20mm per year player. Ok average, great obp, no power to drive in runs. That’s not a $20mm per year season. Votto is my favorite player but his production does not come close to his contract and likely never will. That contract is an anchor around the neck of the Reds and is one of the huge problems the Reds have but not the only problem by any stretch. Overpaid for Votto, BP, Bruce, Bailey, Ludwick, Broxton (now gone), Marshall. Way too much dead money for a small market team. Slowly strangling the team. Will lose Cueto and/or Latos. Bruce is a bust. Votto is damaged goods. BP is way past prime. Bailey is way overpaid for a #3 starter which is what he is.

        • If my comments are violating the TOS of the site, please feel free to delete them rather than edit them. Thanks.

        • Just read in the guidelines that you have the right to edit my posts. My bad. Still not sure how I violated the spirit of the stie, but it seems that my posts get special scrutiny. Oh well.

          • Your exchange with C-bus Chris had elements that were personal attacks on each other. His comments were edited as well to take out negative direct comments about you. You weren’t singled out. I don’t get a chance to read all the comments, so I might have missed some. If I have the time, I edit them to leave the substantive points in tact.

        • :in tact”

          Nice little double entendre…

        • Are you seriously saying that losing Votto to injury is not “truly a loss”? I cannot fathom how anyone would think that having a healthy Votto in the lineup would not make a world of difference to the Reds’ offense. Bruce played hurt for some time as well, limiting his effectiveness early in the season.

          And I don’t know why you minimize the loss of Bailey, either. After a rough first couple months, he had been lights out for most of the summer. All indications were that losing Bailey meant losing several strong starts by him over the remainder of the season.

          And you’re saying we couldn’t score runs even with our starting eight healthy? Seeing how we practically never had all of our starting eight healthy at any one time, how would you even know? Personally, I would have loved to have seen how the season would have played out without all the injuries. I bet that having Votto, Bruce, Mesoraco, and Phillips healthy all season would have certainly made a difference in several of our ML-leading 1-run losses.

        • Bailey wasn’t having a bad season before being shelved for the year and in fact was really starting to turn it on before getting hurt. So, I’d add him along with Latos, Mes, and Chapman… Also, we don’t know how much Bruce has been impacted by his injury. He’s having an awful year and the injury may be playing at least a part. BP was at least having an adequate year before getting hurt so you may want to add him to the list too.

    • This has been a wretched season, but I’m not ready to say that it means that the “window has slammed shut.” There is a decent amount of talent–absent overwhelming injuries–and a few weaknesses to address, which is a description that fits pretty much every contender in the game.

      • DocMike-

        You already did see how a “healthy” Reds core would do over a season. The 2013 season. Votto, Bruce, BP, Mes, Frazier, Cozart, Hamilton healthy. Still had Choo and Arroyo to augment. Limped home, finished THIRD in the division, and got embarrassed in Pitt in WC game.

        Since then: Choo gone. Broxton gone. Arroyo gone. BP severe offensive decline due to age. Bruce fallen of cliff at plate. Chapman completely wasted (40 ip is ridiculous). Additions: none of consequence. Absolutely none since April 2013, a year and a half of roster atrophy. And nothing is going to change except more players lost, roster atrophy and erosion. Window shut. Slammed shut. This does not make me happy. I am not a troll. I’m a huge Reds fan and I am ticked at BC and WJ. I feel cheated and betrayed. Every other Reds fan should feel the same as me.

        • I don’t disagree that the Reds’ failing to add a hitter last off-season was a huge failure. Hardly anyone disagrees with that. Where we part ways is your concept of the window closing, an inapt metaphor because teams that spend $120 million can remodel. The case for the Reds in 2015 is taking the best of 2013 (healthy Votto, Bruce, Latos, Bailey, Cingrani) and combine it with the best of 2014 (healthy Cueto, Mesoraco’s big bat, Hamilton’s defense, Cozart’s defense, Simon). Add in Chapman, Leake and Frazier. The Reds need to get a LF and add to the bullpen. That’s nothing like a closed window.

        • Yes, let’s say that 2013 is a better representation of how a “healthy” Reds’ offensive core would do. How good were they last year?

          Total runs in 2013 = 698 (3rd out of 15 in NL)
          Total runs to date in 2014 = 545 (13th out of 15)

          OPS in 2013 = .718 (5th out of 15)
          OPS in 2014 = .668 (14th out of 15)

          By looking at the stats, we see that from last season to this season the Reds went from being one of the better offensive clubs in the league, to being one of the worst. Seems pretty clear that the losses of Votto, Bruce, Mesoraco, and Phillips to injury has played a MAJOR role in the Reds’ offensive decline. But sure, let’s act like the injuries had nothing to do with it.

          Since you mentioned that the Reds finished third in the division in 2013, let’s look at how the team fared for the whole year:

          Reds’ final record in 2013 = 90 W, 72 L (5th best record in NL)
          Reds’ record so far in 2014 = 69 W, 77 L (10th out of 15)

          Despite finishing third in the division in 2013, the team won 90 games and was 18 over .500. A successful year, even though it did not end the way we all wanted it too. This year has seen the bottom fall out, with the offensive failings being the chief culprit. I believe that comparing 2013 to this year, it is quite clear that injuries to key players has played a major role in the Reds’ offensive struggles.

  14. What I don’t get about the WPA is shouldn’t the chance that Reds win go down as soon as Hoover came in? 😉

  15. I’m not disputing the math, but did a 2-0 first inning lead really make anybody feel 73% confident the Reds would win?

    • If it weren’t the Reds… I think a 2-0 lead would lead to a win about 3/4 of the time. With the Reds’ bullpen, a 2-0 lead will lead to a win about 1/10 of the time.

      To be fair though, a 2-0 lead in the first inning for the Reds is the sum of all of their 1st inning contributions for this year!

  16. The angst for Hoover and Ondrusek is understandable. They’ve earned it by way of their performance. But how impressed are you with how the call-ups have pitched out of the bullpen so far? Pretty good. Corcino, Dennick, and especially Villareal, have all pitched well.
    I was glad to hear on the telecast two nights ago how Price has informed his bullpen pitchers that none of them have a guaranteed spot for 2015 with the exception of Chapman. They were talking about how Jumbo should be included with Chapman, but after last night, he will have to earn his spot too. I expect several new faces in the bullpen for 2015. Back to having a top flight bullpen.

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About Nick Kirby

Nick is a lifelong Reds fan who was born and raised in Cincinnati. He acquired his love of baseball from his late grandfather. Nick moved to the Cleveland area in 2014 with his wife, and his currently fighting to convert his beautiful baby daughter Emma to Reds fandom. Nick has been writing for Redleg Nation since 2013. Follow Nick on Twitter @nicholaspkirby.

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