Alexis Díaz got his first major league save last night and did so in dramatic fashion. With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the 10th innings with the Cincinnati Reds clinging to a one-run lead over the Cleveland Guardians, Díaz got All-Star Jose Ramirez to swing and miss for strike three.
Díaz, overwhelmed by emotion, pounded his chest and screamed toward the Cincinnati dugout. The first player to greet and congratulate him was his battery-mate Tyler Stephenson. The Reds catcher was instrumental in helping Díaz navigate the at-bats and eventually record the final out.
Much of the Cincinnati Reds season has not been rainbows and sunshine, but rather gloom and doom. However, Díaz and Stephenson have been two bright spots in an otherwise dark start to the beginning of the 2022 season. Could these two do something that Reds fans haven't seen since 2014?
Will Tyler Stephenson and Alexis Díaz represent the Reds in the All-Star Game?
The Cincinnati Reds have had multiple representatives in the All-Star Game for the last several seasons. Believe it or not, the last time Cincinnati sent just one player to the Midsummer Classic was in 2009 when Francisco Cordero was the lone Reds player on the field at Busch Stadium.
But, the Reds have not sent battery-mates to the All-Star Game since 2014 when catcher Devin Mesoraco was joined by relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman and starter Alfredo Simon. Prior to that, Cincinnati hadn't sent a backstop to the All-Star festivities since Bo Diaz joined John Franco and Eric Davis in 1987.
There's bound to be stiff competition for a spot on the All-Star squad, especially for the Cincinnati Reds. While Tyler Stephenson is arguably the best catcher in the National League, very few fans know much about Alexis Díaz. But that could change very quickly.
Stephenson is hitting .329/.390/.562 and has an OPS+ of 157. The 25-year-old has four home runs and 21 RBIs on the young season, and this is despite the Georgia native being sidelined for almost two weeks with a concussion.
Díaz has been lights out, and with recent injuries to Justin Wilson and Lucas Sims, the right-hander has been thrust into much higher-leverage situations of late. After earning his first save last night without allowing a run, Díaz lowered his ERA to 0.52. No player in the NL with at least 15 appearances has a lower ERA than Díaz.
Both Tyler Stephenson and Alexis Díaz will have to work very hard over the next couple of months if they wish to be the first pair of Cincinnati Reds battery-mates to make it to the All-Star Game since 2014. But things are definitely progressing in the right direction.