Johnny Cueto, Chris Heisey Duo Lead Cincinnati Reds Again


Amidst some controversy, the Cincinnati Reds picked up their first win in the month of September by a final of 2-1 over the New York Mets.

At the forefront of the masterful pitching outing was Reds starter Johnny Cueto. Having a tremendous season in the unluckiest of seasons to have one (Clayton Kershaw/disappointing 2014 season as a team), the Redlegs ace dominated the Metropolitans for the first time in his career.

Entering the start, Cueto had a 4.50 ERA in nine career starts against the senior circuit New York squad. After having a win ripped away from him earlier in the season back on April 5 in Queens, Cueto was fearful the same circumstance would strike him again on Saturday.

In the early April start, Cueto would allow five hits over all seven innings. On Saturday afternoon, the Mets would collect five hits by the second inning. Aided by a strike-‘em-out-throw-‘em-out double play in the first inning, Cueto would only allow a run on a base hit by 20-year-old second baseman Dilson Herrera in the second frame.

After a double from Wilmer Flores later in the inning, Cueto would retire 13 consecutive batters. Going into one of those zones where his changeup was dipping and diving in stride with his slider slicing through the zone. There would be no 14 runs and 18 hits for the Mets on Saturday.

As has usually been the case with Cueto in 2014, he had little to no run support. It took all the way until the sixth inning for the scuffling Reds offense to get on the board. The only consistent member of the offense in the lineup on Saturday was Todd Frazier, who showed off why he may be the team’s offensive MVP on the season. It was another multi-hit day, including the game-tying home run in the bottom of the sixth that just evaded the grasp of Gold Glover-to be Juan Lagares.

Earlier in the day, it was mentioned in the starter report that while Mets starter Dillon Gee has had an incredibly solid season despite spending time on the disabled list, he had been giving up a disproportionate number of home runs for his innings pitched. As many Reds fans know, pitching in Great American Ball Park is not the place to squelch those concerns.

The last time the Cincinnati Reds won, it was with Johnny Cueto on the hill. In that game, Chris Heisey smacked two home runs in a spot start, accounting for all three runs the Redlegs would score. Even though Heisey would not start in Cueto’s start on Saturday, he would be the catalyst to him picking up his 17th victory.

Sitting cold on the bench for over two hours, Heisey would waste no time, smashing Gee’s first pitch offering on a line into the left field stands. His blast would put Cincinnati up 2-1. It was his fourth pinch-hit home run of the season, giving him sole possession of the league lead.

With former set-up man Jonathan Broxton now a member of the Milwaukee Brewers, Jumbo Diaz seems to be the man tabbed with being the vice president of the Aroldis Chapman tenure. After striking out both Matt den Dekker and David Wright, Bryan Price was not fooling around, and called for his tall left-hander.

What would a Reds win be without controversy at this point? It was clear as day that Aroldis Chapman did not have his best stuff after having nearly a week off. As a pinch-runner, Eric Young Jr. would swipe second base, and then seemingly swipe third. A season ago, there would have been a long-winded argument by manager Bryan Price that would have fallen on deaf ears. But now with the ability to replay, the Reds were in luck. Young Jr. had slid through the bag too hard, meaning that when he popped off, Kristopher Negron had the tag applied. Young Jr. was called out and the Redlegs had averted disaster for the moment.

It would be 26 strenuous pitches for Chapman, but the last one clocked at 103 MPH would be the 27th out of the game. Pinch-hitter Eric Campbell went down swinging as Chapman smiled and breathed a sigh of relief.

That leaves Sunday afternoon as the rubber match. It will be Mat Latos taking on a seemingly younger version of himself in Zack Wheeler. Both possess lethal breaking stuff and the ability to throw their fastballs by hitters. First pitch is currently scheduled for 1:10 p.m., although with NFL Sunday taking flight, the ballpark may look a bit barren.