Few things in life are certain; death, taxes and playing a scheduled Spring Training game in the state of Arizona.
Almost improbably, today’s contest against the Colorado Rockies was nearly washed out as the Valley experienced their worst nightmare coming to life; rain.
Thankfully, it stayed away long enough to allow the Reds top the Rockies by a final score of 3-2.
Interestingly enough, today’s opponents featured some familiar faces from the ghosts of Reds past. Getting the start at shortstop, backing up the immensely talented Troy Tulowitzki, was the slick-fielding Paul Janish. Taking the mound for Colorado was their long-time reliever Matt Belisle, who had at one point been slated as the heir apparent to the Reds closer role.
Due to the rain, no offensive starters saw any time, but pitchers, being the creatures of habit that they are, still got their work in.
Offensive Side of the Diamond:
The club got on the board twice in the second inning by playing some small ball that begun by backup catcher Brayan Pena slamming a double to centerfield. He was moved over on a groundout by Chris Nelson and promptly driven home on a sharp liner off the bat of Ramon Santiago to put the team ahead.
Once reaching base, Santiago showed that while he was might be getting up there in age, his grizzly veteran legs still have some juice left in them as he swiped second base. He moved over to third after a groundout from Ryan LaMarre, and then scampered home once the ball grazed off the glove of Jordan Pacheco, allowing him to score on a passed ball, putting the club ahead 2-0.
Facing former Red Matt Belisle in the bottom of the third, the team took advantage of Belisle’s misfortune after he plunked Roger Bernadina to put two men on, with nobody out. After Chris Heisey bounced into a force out, Neftali Soto went the other way and served up a RBI double to give the Reds a 3-1 edge that they would not relinquish.
Going two-for-two was Travis “Moose” Mattair (@mooser3226), who until today, not many folks knew was in the organization. The 6’5”, 23-year old third baseman had his moment to shine this afternoon after reserve third baseman Jack Hannahan was announced to have had off-season shoulder surgery, that will continue to sideline him for the near future.
Reds’ Toeing the Rubber:
Getting the nod at the start of the day was the newest member of the Reds starting rotation, Tony Cingrani.
After serving up a measly single in the first, the hard-throwing lefty bowed his neck and struck out the side in the second to complete what was an impressive debut in 2014. If he can show some consistent development in his secondary pitches (slider and changeup), the Reds may truly have something special on their hands in young Mr. Cingrani.
Following him was Chien-Ming Wang, one of the Reds many off-season additions that was slotted into the category of “low risk, high reward.” On a minor league deal with an invitation to Major League camp, Wang has everything to prove and the Reds can still use him as a security blanket down the road.
His first outing was not awe inspiring, as he served up five hits, surrendering a run in his two innings of action.
After Nick Christiani gave up a run in the fifth, it was time for the Reds bullpen to shine.
First up was newly signed Manny Parra who set the side down in order before handing it off to “Steady” Sam LeCure, who’s facial whiskers were as impressive as ever. Just three batters later and J.J. Hoover became the next man in line. Hoover was bailed out by a double play behind him, but ultimately kept the Rockies from scoring, showing just how lights out the bullpen can potentially be heading into the season.
The save came from the unlikeliest of places when Pedro Beato, a long shot to make the roster, slammed the door for the Redlegs, pushing their Spring Training record back to .500 (as if anyone gives a damn).
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Tomorrow afternoon, the Reds will head to Peoria for a matchup against the San Diego Padres, who will be “splitting their squad” at 3:05 PM.
Tags: Cincinnati Reds