The Mets face (l to r) Mat Latos, Mike Leake and Homer Bailey during a midweek series at Great American Ball Park.
METS (55-60, third place/NL East) vs. CINCINNATI REDS (69-46, first place/NL Central)
Reds short hops
• Joey Votto (.342, 14 HR, 49 RBIs) underwent arthroscopic left knee surgery July 17 to repair torn meniscus cartilage. He originally suffered the injury June 29, sliding into third base against San Francisco. Votto further injured the knee sliding last Wednesday while working toward a return and had a second, brief procedure two days later to remove floating cartilage. Votto is expected to return before the end of the month. Cincinnati is 19-8 since Votto became sidelined.
• Rutgers product Todd Frazier has manned either first or third base the past 13 games. Third baseman Scott Rolen (back) missed a fourth straight game Sunday because of back spasms. Minus Votto and Rolen, either ex-Met Miguel Cairo mans first and Frazier third, or Frazier mans first and fellow ex-Met Wilson Valdez handles the hot corner.
• Slumping right fielder Jay Bruce was hitless in 13 at-bats before producing a two-run homer Sunday. He had sat the previous two games because of a lack of production. Despite 22 homers this season, Sunday’s long ball was Bruce’s lone long ball in August. He is hitting .223 (21-for-94) since the All-Star break. Bruce, an All-Star, nonetheless has joined Frank Robinson as the only players in Reds history to reach the 20-homer plateau in each of their first five seasons in the majors.Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Aroldis Chapman has surrendered only one earned run against National League foes this season.
• Left-hander Aroldis Chapman, named to his first All-Star team this season, is a Cy Young candidate along with fellow closer Craig Kimbrel of the Braves. Chapman registered 103 mph with his fastball multiple times during the weekend and has a historic strikeout rate.
Chapman was named MLB’s Delivery Man of the Month for July after going 13-for-13 in converting save chances while striking out 31, allowing six hits and walking two in 14 1/3 scoreless innings. The 13 saves fell one shy of the franchise record for any month, set by Jeff Shaw in September 1997.
Chapman has converted 20 straight save chances, the longest streak by a Red since Rob Dibble in 1991 tied John Franco’s single-season franchise record by converting 23 straight. Ex-Red Francisco Cordero converted 29 straight spanning the 2008 and ’09 seasons. Chapman has a 0.17 ERA against NL teams this season. The Mets tallied an unearned run against him May 17, while Pittsburgh is the lone NL team to produce an earned run. The flame-throwing southpaw allowed seven earned runs in interleague play.
• The Reds acquired Jonathan Broxton from the Royals at the trading deadline for right-hander Juan Carlos Sulbaran and left-hander Donnie Joseph. Broxton had a 2.27 ERA and 23 saves in 27 chances with Kansas City, but has surrendered four runs in four innings spanning five appearances since the deal.
• Catcher Devon Mesoraco returned from a seven-day concussion DL stint Thursday. He has appealed a three-game suspension for bumping ump Chad Fairchild on July 30, the day he suffered the concussion. Dioner Navarro was demoted.
• Second baseman Brandon Phillips missed five games last week with a strained left calf, but is hitting .347 (34-for-98) since the All-Star break.
• Cincinnati has used only five starting pitchers this season -- Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey, Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos and Mike Leake. That’s a modern franchise record. The last major league team that used five starting pitchers wire-to-wire was the 2003 Seattle Mariners, also with Bryan Price as pitching coach. Cincinnati’s streak is expected to end Aug. 18 with a day-night doubleheader.
• The Reds are an MLB-best 22-8 since the All-Star break.
Last series results
Cincinnati won, 3-0, at Citi Field, June 15-17 (AP game recaps)
Reds 7, Mets 3: Jay Bruce hit an inside-the-park homer that left Jason Bay with another concussion and Bronson Arroyo notched his first victory in 5½ weeks. Brandon Phillips added a two-run shot. Reds slugger Joey Votto and Mets star David Wright were both hit by pitches, but neither led to any trouble. Arroyo (3-4) was pulled in the seventh, having allowed Kirk Nieuwenhuis’ third homer in two games and a two-run drive by Scott Hairston. More
Reds 4, Mets 1: Homer Bailey pitched out of trouble for eight innings and Jay Bruce hit a three-run homer. David Wright hit two of four Mets drives that were caught within steps of the wall. One night after Joey Votto and Wright were both hit by pitches, this time it was Bruce and Lucas Duda. But again, no trouble ensued. Bailey was hit hard by the Mets twice last year in his only previous outings against them. This time he allowed six hits and one walk while striking out three to improve to 4-1 in his last six starts. Aroldis Chapman tossed a hitless ninth for his eighth save. Jon Niese (4-3) made one big mistake to Bruce during seven otherwise effective innings. He struck out seven and walked one. More
Reds 3, Mets 1: Second baseman Brandon Phillips made a between-the-legs flip to start a flashy double play and also hit a tiebreaking single, leading Johnny Cueto and the Reds to a sweep and their sixth straight win. Cueto (8-3) overcame an early bout of dizziness and struck out a season-high eight in seven innings. He also doubled for the first extra-base hit of his career. The only run against Cueto came when he issued a bases-loaded walk to Chris Young. Sean Marshall got four outs for his ninth save in 10 chances. It was 3-1 in the sixth when Lucas Duda led off with a single and Ike Davis followed with a hard grounder up the middle that Phillips backhanded. While in full stride, the All-Star tossed the ball with his bare hand between his legs to shortstop Zack Cozart, who made the relay. Phillips' single capped a three-run rally in the fifth, helped by Duda's wild throw from right. More