Hunter Greene hurt by more home runs in Reds loss to New York Mets

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Hunter Greene received a mulligan on his start against the New York Mets on Monday after his offense erased an early three-point deficit, but it still wasn’t enough.

As much potential as Greene blinks, his latest start was another example of how he needs to catch up on the league’s learning curve. Greene gave up a home run in the fifth inning and left two runners in scoring position who scored later in the sixth.

Greene suffered his 10th loss of the season, which is the second most in the Majors, after the Cincinnati Reds fell 7-4 to the Mets in their series opener at Great American Ball Park. . The Reds are 3-13 in Greene starts.

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There’s a big learning curve for Greene, 22, who entered the season as a second-youngest Majors pitcher. Despite a fastball that hits 100 mph and a slider that can overpower hitters, he’s given up 22 MLB-leading homers this season.

Greene had retired 10 straight batters before Francisco Lindor threw a 100 mph fastball into the right field seats. A loud “Let’s go Mets” chant rang out through the crowd of 19,533. Lindor fouled two more fastballs on his six at-bats before hitting his 13th homer of the season on a fastball that was in the middle of home plate.

It was a first-pitch slider that cost Greene in the second inning. Brandon Nimmo threw the pitch 388 feet for a three-run homer. No other MLB pitcher has allowed more 18 homers, four less than Greene, who allowed seven hits and six runs Monday.

New York Mets second baseman Jeff McNeil (1) reaches first base safely as Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Hunter Greene (21) attempts to score first base in time during the first inning of a baseball game, Monday, July 4, 2022, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

Finding a reliable third pitch, be it his substitution or something else, will be instrumental in Greene’s development. He totaled five strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings and they all hit his fastball, which was around 96 mph in the first inning and up to 100 mph in the fifth inning. Then there were times when his fastball didn’t run out of bats, including a 12-pitch at-bat against Nimmo two batters before Lindor hit in the fifth inning.

The Reds knew it would be a learning year for Greene, the No. 2 pick in the 2017 MLB Draft who pitched less than 180 innings during his minor league career. The way he’s struggling to catch up to the league’s learning curve isn’t unique.

Greene has a 6.01 ERA in 16 starts with 22 homers allowed in 79 1/3 innings. Luis Castillo, at the same time in 2018 in his first full year as a starting pitcher, had a 5.70 ERA with 18 homers allowed in 83 2/3 innings. Castillo, like Greene, was a power pitcher who lacked a reliable third pitch before becoming one of the best starters in the National League. The Reds hope Greene can follow a similar path.

Led 3-0 in the third set, Brandon Drury blasted a three-run homer in right field. It was Drury’s 17th home run of the season, his career high in a single season.

Cincinnati Reds third baseman Brandon Drury (22) is congratulated in the dugout after hitting a three-run home run in the third inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets on Monday, 4 July 2022, at the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

Drury played for the Mets last year, spending most of the season at Triple-A. He was called up to the big league roster for 51 games and mostly came off the bench as a backup utility player.

In just one year, Drury went from a player who started just 15 MLB games to a potential National League All-Star. He provided power atop the Reds roster, leading the club in home runs, RBI (45) and runs (49). He will likely be one of the team’s top trade candidates, eligible for free agency after the season.

It was the fourth time Mets starter Taijuan Walker had more than two earned runs in 14 starts this year, but Greene couldn’t match it. The Reds have lost 11 of their last 12 home games.

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