Andrew McCutchen was recently named the NL's Player of the Month for July, one month after taking home the same award in June. McCutchen finished July with a .446 batting average, seven home runs and 15 RBIs. He also put together a .510 on-base percentage and led the Major Leagues with 41 hits. "He's been coming for the last couple years. He's just arrived there, that's all," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He's one of the most talented guys in this league. If you had to pick an MVP right now it'd probably be him." McCutchen leads the Majors with a .373 average. Pittsburgh's 75 long balls away from home are easily the highest total in the league. Only the Angels, who have gone deep 79 times on the road, rank higher across baseball. The Pirates have homered 11 times in the first eight games of their current road trip and recorded at least one home run in 19 of their last 23 games. Garrett Jones went 0-for-4 on Friday night, failing to bring his nine-game hitting streak to double digits. Reds: Leake coming off his shortest start of the season
Leake got the loss in his last outing, which saw the end of Cincinnati's 10-game winning streak. Facing the Padres, he was tagged for five runs in just 1 2/3 innings. He threw 49 pitches -- 25 of which went for strikes --and walked three batters. It was the first time this year that Leake failed to make it through at least two innings. The Reds' recent success is made more impressive after factoring in the absence of Joey Votto, who has not played since July 15 and had arthroscopic surgery to repair torn meniscus cartilage in his left knee on July 17. Plenty of players have picked up the slack, the most notable of whom is probably Ryan Ludwick. He has hit .358 (19-for-53) with six home runs and 20 RBIs since Votto was sidelined. Aroldis Chapman won the Delivery Man of the Month award for July, which goes to the most outstanding relief pitcher during each month of the regular season as voted on by a panel from Major League Baseball. Chapman went 13-for-13 in save opportunities and threw 14 1/3 scoreless innings. The left-hander allowed just six hits and two walks with 31 strikeouts in his 15 July appearances. Chapman earned his 24th save Friday night. Worth noting
The season series between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati is tied at five games apiece. In the ninth inning of Cincinnati's win on Friday, Chapman's first pitch to McCutchen registered 101 mph and hit what appeared to be the center fielder's shoulder. The ball was high and tight, but McCutchen was able to protect his head from the heater. He took his time in walking to first base, and was visibly upset in the dugout following the final out.