Note game time changes

This a reminder that Sunday’s game at St. Louis will be broadcast on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball at 8:05 p.m. ET. It originally was scheduled to begin at 2:15 p.m. ET

And the Reds announced that the Saturday Sept. 27 home game vs. the Pirates has been changed to 1:05 p.m. ET to accommodate a FOX Sports 1 broadcast. It originally was scheduled for 4:10 p.m.

Here is a tidbit: While being swept by the Cubs, the Reds scored one run total for a three-game series for the first time since June 18-20 at Seattle. Those were 1-0, 5-1, 1-0 losses to the Mariners.

Games 151-153: Reds at Cubs

I’m not working this series. Back on Friday from St. Louis.

Mesoraco, Phillips among hot hitters

As the Reds have two weeks left in their season, Devin Mesoraco is one of the hitters who appears poised to finish up very strong. Mesoraco, who was in a 1-for-32 funk recently entered Sunday hitting .349 (15-for-43) with three home runs and 11 RBIs.

Overall, Mesoraco has 23 homers and 22 as a catcher. One more homer and he has the most homers for a Reds catcher since Johnny Bench hit 23 from that position in 1980. Remarkably, Mesoraco has had a strong season while seeming to fly under the radar among the top hitting catchers of the league.

In 105 games, Mesoraco is batting .282/.369/.545 with 23 homers and 74 RBIs — and had two stints on the DL. He has a .914 OPS and a .155 OPS+ (a stat that is adjusted for different ballparks). His WAR is 4.8.

“I can tell you we appreciate his numbers and the way he’s grown into being a really strong offensive performer this season,” Reds manager Bryan Price said on Sunday. “I don’t know if the national baseball conglomeration fully appreciates Devin Mesoraco yet. I would hope the appearance in the All-Star game brought some positive attention to him.”

*Meanwhile, 2B Brandon Phillips seems to have turned the corner following an initially poor offensive return from the DL, after he missed 31 games with a torn thumb ligament repaired by surgery.

Phillips, who at one point was 0-for-20 and 2-for-27, is batting .321 (9-for-28) in his last nine games. On Saturday, he drew a walk with the bases loaded and hit an eighth inning single. Overall, it’s been a down year for Phillips, who is batting .260/.303/.364 with seven homers and 48 RBIs.

“We saw that taking six weeks off and going to face Major League competition coming off a hand surgery wasn’t as easy to return from as we thought it might be, or hoped that it might be,” Price said. “He looks normal. I didn’t think he looked terrible when he came back but his timing had to have been affected.”

Game 150: Reds at Brewers

Hamilton 8
Negron 5
Frazier 3
Mesoraco 2
Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Ludwick 7
Cozart 6
Leake 1

Frazier, others getting steals

The Reds’ Todd Frazier became a 20 homer-20 stolen base man when he swiped second base in Friday’s loss to the Pirates.

While there have been instances of the Reds being burned by their more aggressive ways on the bases this season, this is one of the successes this season.

“I think he’s established that he can do that,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “That’s kind of what we’ve been looking for with our group – to find more ways to exploit the strengths of our players. Todd is not a burner.”

Besides Billy Hamilton, who came in with 55 steals, the list of Reds stolen bases is interesting.

Frazier – 20-for-27
Bruce – 12-for-14
Heisey – 9-for-11
Cozart – 7-for-7

“That is in large part is combining instincts with opportunity,” Price said. “If they weren’t good instinctive players on the bases, they would be less likely to be given the opportunity to steal bases.”

*The Reds have made no formal decision for Wednesday’s starter at Chicago, but Daniel Corcino is listed on the game notes. It’s not a lock that Mat Latos (bone bruise in right elbow) won’t pitch, but it’s sure seemed less likely.

“We’re obviously not going to force this, force feed Mat his last few starts if he’s not feeling good,” Price said. “It doesn’t make much sense for us. I’d like him to pitch but I don’t want to exacerbate a pre-existing issue. He’ll have to come quite a ways in order to make that next start.”

Game 149: Reds at Brewers

Hamilton 8
Pena 3
Frazier 5
Mesoraco 2
Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Ludwick 7
Cozart 6
Holmberg 1

Pena catching Corcino

Brayan Pena, who was scratched with an illness from catching for Johnny Cueto on Thursday, was in the lineup on Friday. Pena was paired to catch for rookie Daniel Corcino, who is making a spot start for the injured Mat Latos. Regular catcher Devin Mesoraco, who replaced Pena on Thursday, got a night off.

“Pena was going to catch Cueto yesterday and he was sick and unable to make that start,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “I like to give Devin a breather every now and again. In this case with the language connection, even though Daniel is bilingual, it also plays well in giving Devin a day off here. He’ll still be catching regularly after today.”

The Reds will be seeing younger pitchers on the mound for the first two games against the Brewers — Corcino and David Holmberg on Saturday.

“This isn’t where we anticipated being at the end of the year but it is a chance for us to see some of our young prospects and be able to evaluate a bit for a next year,” Price said.

Latos hurt; Schumaker surgery

Daniel Corcino will start for the Reds tonight instead of Mat Latos, who has a bone bruise in his right elbow.

It is not known how Latos suffered the injury. We should learn more when the clubhouse opens soon.

IF/OF Skip Schumaker had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder.

Schumaker originally dislocated the left shoulder trying to make a diving catch on March 21 during Spring Training. On July 10 vs. the Cubs, he injured the same shoulder in a collision with the right field wall trying to make a catch. That incident also left him with a concussion.

Reds lineup:

Hamilton 8
Negron 5
Frazier 3
Bruce 9
Phillips 4
Heisey 7
Pena 2
Cozart 6
Corcino 1

Nice defense behind Cueto

Of course, Johnny Cueto’s latest masterpiece of pitching for eight innings will stand out the most from a 1-0 win over the Cardinals on Thursday for the four-game series win. But there was some help behind Cueto.

Two plays especially stood out:

To end the third inning with Matt Holliday batting, 1B Todd Frazier robbed him of a hit with a diving stop on the grass at the line. Frazier threw to Cueto covering first for the out, just in time.

To begin the seventh, Jay Bruce made the play of the day with a leaping catch at the wall to take a home run away from Matt Adams.

“Great defensive game,” Reds manager Bryan Price said.

Here is the Bruce play:

“He hit it well enough for it to squeak over but not well enough for it to get it far enough up,” Bruce said. “I was just able to time it up and get back there quickly enough and make the play.”

It’s the second time this season Bruce has robbed someone of a homer. He did it to Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton on GABP on Aug. 10.

“I’m just out there trying to do my job,” Bruce said.

See below:

From the contact off of Adams’ bat, Bruce felt like he had a play he could make.

“You’ve got to try and get back there as fast as you can and find the way in the process,” Bruce said. “I try to use my feet to feel the warning track. Playing baseball so much, you learn that kind of stuff.

“I knew it was going to be close. I didn’t know if it would be just out of reach. You don’t want to assume it’s gone and get back there and it hits the wall. You always want to assume you’re going to have a play on it.”

Game 147: Cardinals at Reds

UPDATE:

Pena has been scratched because of illness. Mesoraco will catch and bat fourth. Bruce will bat sixth.

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