The Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals have played 18 baseball games this year. Even though the Reds are 24 games below .500, they have played the Cardinals tough, splitting the season series down the middle. This week, with crushing pressure bearing down on the Cardinals, the Reds have won two of three. The two teams meet for the final time tomorrow night. The Reds hang like the Sword of Damocles over the Cardinals postseason chances.
And I’ve got the feeling someone’s gonna be cuttin’ the thread.
Anthony DeSclafani pitched six innings, striking out three and walking two. His two best pitches of the evening might have been to the last batter he faced. Against dangerous lefty Brandon Moss with runners at second and third, DeSclafani threw two sliders a few inches above the plate. Moss swung over the top of both.
Michael Lorenzen pitched the 7th inning and retired the side on 8 pitches including a strikeout. It’ll make a sizable chunk of Redleg Nation unhappy, but Lorenzen (ERA 2.83, SIERA 2.89) is going to close for the Reds next year. I’m telling you that right now, just to remove the suspense.
Raisel Iglesias pitched the 8th and worked around a walk, hit batter and wild pitch. On the latter, Ramon Cabrera showed “as bad a catching technique as I’ve ever seen.” (Marty Brennaman) Newsflash: Cabrera is a huge drop-off defensively from Tucker Barnhart. Iglesias stayed in to pitch the 9th and gave up a lead-off triple to Kolten Wong. But the Cuban pitcher followed that by retiring the next three batters safely, sealing the win.
Mike Leake jammed Adam Duvall in the top of the 3rd, but the Reds left fielder was able to power a bloop single into left field with two outs, driving in two runs. Duvall also added a triple and a couple of nice defensive plays. Leake (28) was traded to the San Francisco Giants for Duvall (28) and headliner Keury Mella (23) last summer at the trade deadline. Leake signed a 5-year, $80 million contract with the Cardinals. Duvall, who is earning $510,000 this year, won’t be eligible for arbitration until 2019 and free agency in 2o22. Duvall has out-earned Leake this year, based on WAR. And that doesn’t even take into consideration Leake’s disconcerting facial hair.
Jose Peraza had three singles. Peraza’s walk-rate remains microscopic and power barely visible. But he’s shown a good hit skill (AVG: .330) over 238 plate appearances this year. Tony Renda had two hits, subbing for Brandon Phillips. He and Peraza also turned a nice double play.
Jay Bruce hit a 2-run homer for the Mets tonight, his second in two nights. Bruce has hit three home runs in the past five games and has 32 on the season. The Mets lead for the first NL Wild Card slot.