PHILADELPHIA – The Reds are happy to have back catcher Devin Mesoraco in the lineup, and he did not disappoint, as he provided the team’s only runs, in their 3-0 series opening victory over the Phillies in Philadelphia Friday night. But, it was a long day for the backstopper.
There was the rain that delayed his flight for hours, a long wait in the airport and a mad dash to Citizens Bank Park after the plane landed. Mesoraco, who was flying from Norfolk, Va., following a three-game rehab assignment for Triple-A Louisville, rolled in at nearly 5 p.m. looking rusty of course just hours before game time.
“I was scheduled to leave early this morning and we didn’t end up pulling out of Norfolk until after 3,” Mesoraco said. “I was kind of panicked that I was going to be late. I was kind of tired from getting up early and sitting in the airport all day. My legs were tight. I couldn’t have felt a whole lot worse.”
Mesoraco had not played for Cincinnati since he strained his left hamstring in Atlanta on April 25. He hit a three run home run off of Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick in the first inning.
“It was good to have him back,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “He’s played a really important part on our club. Unfortunately, the hamstring injury set him back a little bit, but he came right back out like he started in St. Louis [on April 8] when he was activated the first time.”
It was Mesoraco’s fourth home run of the season. In 14 games, he is batting .460.
“I think things cleared up pretty well after that,” Mesoraco said. “I felt rushed all day just because I need a lot of time to prepare for the game, get the scouting reports down and do all my stuff in the weight room … and I didn’t have the time, so I was kind of panicked and flustered a little bit.”
Cincinnati starter Alfredo Simon, bounced back big time and gave the team a lift tonight. Coming off of his worst start of the season, a three-inning, five-run allowed vs. the Rockies last Saturday, Simon was much betters and effective tonight against the Phillies’ hitters. He pitched 7 2/3 innings and allowed five hits and a walk while striking out eight.
“I’m really happy,” said Simon, now 5-2 with a 2.45 ERA in eight starts. “I struggled in the last outing and now I feel like I tried to do my best today, and everything came true.”.
“Today he went out there and established that he was going to go right after guys and not mess around,” Mesoraco said. “He made a lot of good pitches with all his pitches, curveball, slider, changeup, and then he invented a couple of pitches sidearm, eephus pitches. I don’t know what he was doing, but it seemed to work.”
“I have no idea what that was. It was super slow,” Mesoraco said.
“It was a split,” Simon joked back.
The Reds, who have pitched two shutouts in their last three games, are now 5-9 in series openers. This was an important one as two tough pitchers
in Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee pitch the next two games for Philadelphia.
“It sure is nice to get the first two, so we’ll be fighting like heck to get that game [Saturday],” Price said.