After being shut out for the first time all season, the Reds have now dropped two in a row, falling to the Indians by a score of 4-0.
Out there somewhere is someone pushing a panic button. Or just an easy button that they keep in their man cave that doubles as a panic button since it’s big, red and not all that expensive when you purchase it from Staples.
The crowd of just over 3,000 that ventured down to Goodyear Ballpark today certainly did not get to see much offense, but for the traditionalists in the Grand Canyon State, that is not always a negative.
Offensive Side of the Diamond:
Yikes. If yesterday was a decline in production, today was rock bottom. Not to concern anyone, but you probably haven’t heard of any of the pitchers the Indians sent to the mound today outside of John Axford, former closer for the Milwaukee Brewers.
As for positives, Jay Bruce drew a walk and hit a rocket into centerfield for a basehit before being pulled. Ryan Ludwick also joined him with a single right after Bruce’s in the fourth for the Reds only string of hits on the afternoon.
They menacingly rallied in the ninth to the tune of a double by Max Ramirez, a throwing error that allowed Juan Duran to reach and a walk to Donald Lutz (hey, you should know him!). With the bases loaded with two outs in the top of the ninth with his team trailing by four, Rossmel Perez (you shouldn’t know him) lofted a fly ball into the glove of right fielder Carlos Moncrief to close out the Reds dreadful offensive performance on the day.
Reds’ Toeing the Rubber:
Making the start this afternoon was the man the Reds placed a lot of faith in for the future when they signed him to his 6-year/$105 million deal, Homer Bailey.
The logic behind letting Bailey start the game is that he can face hitters that are at least comparable to Major League level, if not in the show themselves. That’s why after walking Lonnie Chisenhall and giving up a two-run big fly to Ryan Raburn, there should be no cause for concern.
Relieving him today was one of the more exciting stories to watch in Spring Training for the Reds this year, Jeff Francis. He has suffered (as much as anyone can suffer with a Major League paycheck) through a career of Rocky Mountain Air Syndrome, which of course, levels its patients with an aptitude of giving up towering homeruns that would normally not travel out in other ballparks. Francis is obviously on the backend of his career, but it would not come as a surprise to see him make a start or two as a Cincinnati Red before his clock strikes zero. He got his season off on the right foot with two shutout innings this afternoon.
Striking out the side in order on his 26th birthday was the Cuban Missile himself, Aroldis Chapman. Granted, the batters he faced were not prime material, but three punchouts are impressive against anybody, especially when they come from the league’s hardest throwing lefthander.
Chapman was not the only member of the Reds to strike out the side on this day, as bullpen hopeful, and forgotten man in the mix, Logan Ondrusek let the world be known that he still believes he has a chance at making the club. “The Big O” was nearly swapped for former Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino at the 2012 Trade Deadline, but the deal was nixed at the last moment, with the front office tipping the scales in favor of his potential.
Should Ondrusek be able to throw strikes enough on a consistent basis, he will undoubtedly be in the back end of a team’s bullpen in 2014, whether he is a member of the Reds or not. Ondrusek still possesses immense value, not only for the Reds to use, but as a trade chip as well.
The untouchable super prospect, Stephen Strasburg 2.0 some have said, Robert Stephenson, had a bit of difficulty in his first outing of the spring. After retiring the first two batters he faced on fly balls to centerfield, Stephenson stumbled by walking a hitter, then gave up back-to-back singles before Juan Duran started throwing the ball all over the diamond, allowing both base runners to score.
Only one run was earned, and even so, there is no reason to assume complete dominance from the young Stephenson. A September call-up at best will have the entire season to develop his repertoire under the tutelage of pitching coaches that have helped develop nearly the entire Reds staff.
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The Reds don’t have to travel far for their game tomorrow afternoon; in fact, it will be at the same place the first three have been, at home, in Goodyear Ballpark.
The club welcomes in the Colorado Rockies as Mike Leake takes to the hill for his first action in 2014 with a planned start of 3:05 PM.