Scooter Gennett is far from a household name, although after his performance Tuesday night he’s sure to gain some fans. Not known as a potent offensive threat, Gennett’s value has always been in his defense, which allowed him to bounce back with the Reds after the Brewers cut him in March. Although it’s typically his glove that earns his paychecks, he put on a show at the plate last night that stands up there among the all-time great single game performances in baseball history. With a 5-for-5 night that featured 4 home runs, Gennett set a career high with 10 RBI’s while also scoring 4 runs. As just the 17th player to ever hit 4 homers in a game, Scooter joined company even more exclusive than the list of players who have thrown a Perfect Game (of which there are 23).
As a 5’10” utility player, this sort of offensive outburst was unanticipated, with even Scooter himself saying he never imagined he could hit 3 home runs in one game, let alone 4. Entering the game with 38 career homers (in over 500 games), it’s clear that power is not his forte. Not only is power in short supply for Scooter, but his perfect night came on the heels of an 0-for-18 slump, which he broke out of in the 8th inning on Monday night. Amazingly, Gennett wasn’t even supposed to start, until rain canceled batting practice and Reds coach Bryan Price decided against starting Scott Schebler, who would’ve been playing in his first game back since injury. Rather than risk Schebler aggravating his injury, Scooter was given another shot to play, and he certainly took advantage of it.
Using a common fantasy scoring method which allots 1 point for every total base, RBI, walk, stolen base, or run scored, Gennett’s effort was good for 31 points, just 1 point behind the all-time record of 32 points and tied with the likes of Tony Lazerri, Gil Hodges, and Anthony Rendon. The 32 points scored by Shawn Greene and Mark Whiten were certainly amazing in their own right, with Greene managing a 6-for-6 night with 4 home runs (although he only had 7 RBIs) and Whiten going 4-for-5 with 4 home runs and 12 RBIs, but it is hard to argue either of those games is distinguishably better than Scooter’s. While any of these amazing single game performances can be regarded as the best, the unlikely nature of Gennett’s historic night makes it truly stand out to me, as he wasn’t even in the starting lineup until right before the game.