Happiest of all folks to see the sun shining on the beautiful state of Arizona today may have been the Reds offensive regulars, who unleashed a Herculean bludgeoning on the young foes from San Diego in the club’s first true road test.
By a final of 15-4, the modern day Big Red Machine steamrolled the minor league pitching of the perpetually stumbling San Diego Padres.
In what was undoubtedly the most complete effort thus far into the young season, 20 hits and 15 runs is significant, no matter the circumstances.
Offensive Side of the Diamond:
Everyone wearing black was the hero on this day. Besides everyone but Joey Votto and Ryan Ludwick, the “meat” of the Reds order, who both spit out a 0-fer. Have no fear though; I’m sure that Votto character will manage to help the club in a way or two once the season gets underway.
Before we get into extra-base hits and lined smashes, there is a brilliant piece of news I feel as if I must share: TWO PLAYERS NOT NAMED BILLY HAMILTON STOLE A BASE! No, seriously. Zack Cozart, he of the zero swiped bags last season, got one. Todd Frazier figured that he should join in on the act, so he got one as well. Switching from Dusty Baker, he of the “no stolen bases” strategy, to Bryan Price, he of “let ‘em run free” concept could prove to make not only a more exciting brand of ball, but more W’s in the right column.
Now, to those extra-base hits and lined smashes.
Seemingly, everyone in black felt it their contractual obligation to get a hit and bring in the man in front of him on this afternoon; if only that kind of mindset could be channeled and applied at the appropriate hour.
Six players had multi-hit games, including: Skip Schumaker, Jay Bruce, Donald Lutz, Zack Cozart, Neftali Soto and Roger Bernadina. Granted, the only San Diego Padre pitcher who will realistically be sniffing a big league payday was Tyson Ross and he was flawless for two innings of action. Thankfully, statistics are subjective and we can choose to be overjoyed by this outburst of completely irrelevant offense.
We can also choose to be overzealous about the fact that despite the team’s blatant struggles with runners in scoring position (more specifically with two outs) last season, both of those categories were stellar on this afternoon.
With two outs, the team collected an additional seven RBI’s (Bruce, Mesoraco, Lutz all with one, and Phillips and Schumaker with two) to tack onto the final tally, giving a boost of life right before the inning was seemingly coming to a close.
With runners in scoring position, they were an impressive 8-for-20 (.400 for you stat crazed fanatics out there) against names such as Burch Smith and Dennis O’Grady, who sound more aptly named for a remake of Boondock Saints than they do a Major League bullpen.
The high praise for Donald Lutz will continue as long as he continues to massacre baseball’s like he did in the ninth inning of today’s affair. It may seem like a small nuance to the common fan; but, top of the 9th, two outs, and your team ahead by 10 runs, it would have been easy for the big German to cash in his at-bat and play some pick-up hoops at the park around the block in Peoria. Before any of that, he took the aforementioned O’Grady out to deep left centerfield. Going 2-for-3 on the day with three “ribeyes,” Lutz continues to mash everything in his path.
Reds’ Toeing the Rubber:
If you were a Reds pitcher and took to the mound today; bravo, job well done. Unless your name is Daniel Corcino, then…not so much.
This isn’t to single out the young Dominican, he just really was the weed amongst a blossoming garden.
The rest of the staff: 8 1/3 innings pitched, 1 hit, 0 earned runs and 7 strikeouts
Daniel Corcino: 2/3 of an inning pitched, 4 hits, 4 earned runs, 2 walks and 1 strikeout
Once regarded as a very high prospect in the Reds system, Corcino has all but fallen off the rails.
* * *
Tomorrow afternoon, the man the Reds always seem to turn to in a pinch, Alfredo Simon, takes the hill at 3:05 PM in a start against the Seattle Mariners. With Mike Leake still ailing with finger trouble and Mat Latos not ready to return to baseball action quite yet, the Reds long man extraordinaire takes the bump to start the day back in Goodyear.