May 30, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco (39) hits a grand slam against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Devin Mesoraco absolutely stole the show.
This Reds catcher is quickly making himself a household name with his explosive hitting and intense throwing accuracy. His .355 batting average in 26 games can no longer be dismissed by baseball fans. Meso is tied for 24th in the National League for homers this season, despite only having 93 at-bats in 2014. Other NL sluggers that also have 8 jacks this season include: Carlos Gonzalez (of Colorado, 186 at-bats), Ryan Braun (MIL, 148 ABs), Garrett Jones (MIA, 187 ABs), Pablo Sandoval (SF, 199 ABs), Brandon Hicks (SF, 146 ABs) and Anthony Rizzo (CHC, 182 ABs).
As you can see, Mesoraco has dominated over the course of this season. He was dropped to the seven spot in the line-up tonight against Arizona, but that didn’t stop him from crushing a grand slam against former Cincy hurler, Bronson Arroyo. Being in the 7 slot also did not stop Devin from smacking another home run in the ninth, which brought the score to where it would end, at 6-4.
Mike Leake was largely forgettable for the game, allowing six hits in as many innings and three earned runs. But, I suppose that he did do enough to keep the Diamondbacks at bay in the end. I just expected a stronger outing for Mike, personally. He earns his third win of the season.
It should also of course be mentioned that Brandon Phillips made an absolutely incredible play to pull Leake out of a jam as well. Covering an Ender Inciarte line drove that flew past Roger Bernadina (started at 1st base tonight) between 1st and 2nd, BP uncorked a dynamite throw to Leake (covering first) on a turn that quite frankly looked like something out of Sony’s MLB 14: The Show. That dazzling play would end the inning. With the tying run on third base in a 5-4 ballgame, this was a dramatically vital turn of events that was challenged by Arizona manager, Kirk Gibson, but upheld by MLB officials in New York.
The throw by Phillips capped a sixth inning that saw Bernadina earn his second hit of the game on a towering fly-ball that was mere feet from clearing the deep center field wall in Arizona. He turned a double out of the ball that ricocheted off of the wall, and improved to 9 for 13 all-time against Bronson Arroyo in the process. Bryan Price has made a few questionable decisions this season, no doubt. But it certainly seems like utilizing Roger Bernadina was a brilliant move tonight. Now let’s all hope Roger can use this game as a springboard to improve on his .176 season batting average.
Sam LeCure pitched a one-hit inning in relief of Leake, while Jonathon Broxton held the D’backs to no hits and lowering his season ERA to 0.57. Aroldis Chapman demonstrated more of his off-speed attack to compliment his fireball fastball, as he struck out the 1st and 3rd batters of the ninth inning. The Cuban Missile forced a ground-out on the 2nd batter of the ninth. #54 pitched 10 strikes out of 13 tosses and brought his season ERA down to 2.00, all while earning his sixth save of the season.
The batting was dialed in tonight against the Diamondbacks, as the Reds had 11 hits in the game. Nine of those hits came against Arroyo over the course of his seven innings. The loss for Arizona now drops them to 9-20 at home on the season, while they are 14-14 on the road. The Reds improve their road winning percentage to 41.38% in 2014, or 12-17 (12-12 at home).
Tomorrow night, the Redlegs will play game 3 of their four-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks, as Johnny Cueto (4-4, 1.83 ERA) squares off against Brandon McCarthy (1-6, 4.87 ERA). The first pitch is scheduled for 10:10pm EST.
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