Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Defense Fails Reds; Dodgers Win 10-3


For the Redlegs, their first night contest of the young season did not go as planned. 

A team that is normally defensively astute, saw a litany of errors overshadow the efforts of the club on the mound as the team fell 10-3 to the Los Angeles Dodgers.  The best team that money can buy showed their powerful presence once the Reds new 100 million dollar man exited the game. 

Two errors and two misplays virtually led to the majority of the Dodgers offense on this evening, skewing the pitching results to look far worse than they really were. 

Offensive Side of the Diamond:

The legend of Billy Hamilton continues to grow as he dropped down a bunt to lead off the game, immediately setting the tone.  Before he had the opportunity to make a mad dash towards second, Brandon Phillips laced a first pitch fastball towards Cuban sensation Yasiel Puig, halting the esteemed Hamilton in his tracks. 

It looked as if Joey Votto was about to bounce into a double play, before shortstop Miguel Rojas chucked the return throw into the Dodgers’ dugout, allowing the speedster Hamilton to scamper across the plate. 

They got back on the board in the bottom of the second after Todd Frazier’s leadoff single was made worthwhile after an extended bat from designated hitter Juan Duran allowed Hamilton to get back up to the plate.  Getting to swing from the right side, Billy the Kid showed that he can do so much more than run, as he dropped a RBI single into right as Todd Frazier managed to scoot by catcher Tim Federowicz after Puig’s heat-seeking missile narrowly missed gunning him down. 

After that, the offense dissipated.  Outside of Neftali Soto’s smash down the right field line, the team went cold.  Mustering only three hits after the second inning (one being an infield tapper), the team’s bench looked overmatched facing the Dodger relievers.

Reds’ Toeing the Rubber:

Everyone’s new favorite flavor of the week to make the Opening Day start, Homer Bailey, looked as dynamic as can be on Wednesday night.  Just nine batters were faced, with a measly one reaching base on a walk that only seemed to occur because Bailey was working on the control of his breaking pitches. 

Following him was the Vancouver native, and Louisville Bat, Jeff Francis.  His first inning of action was quite impressive as he mowed through the combination of Dee Gordon, Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig with little effort.  Unfortunately, it all went downhill in the fifth for the southpaw.

With a runner on first and nobody out, Juan Uribe lifted a shallow pop up to right centerfield, for an old-fashioned “Texas Leaguer” that hung up in the air seemingly forever.  Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce were the main parties converging on the ball, and when Bruce called off the infielder, he nearly immediately slipped and fell, allowing the ball to drop in for a “hit.” 

Coming unraveled, Francis walked the next batter and nearly pulled a muscle in his neck watching new Cuban sensation Alex Guerrero clobber a Grand Slam down the left field line, giving the Dodgers a 4-2 lead and putting them ahead for good. 

Next up was the first member of the bullpen mob, “Sudden” Sam LeCure.  Facing “El Titan” Adrian Gonzalez, he found himself on the wrong end of a ball being rocket launched over 400 feet past the right centerfield fence.  If LeCure could have ended the bleeding there, his evening may have been much more enjoyable.

He seemed to have been out of trouble when Joc Pederson hit a bouncer up the middle directly at the second base bag, which should have been an easy double play, but Kristopher Negron booted what should have been an inning-ending twin killing. 

Already leaning on the ropes, LeCure was still just an out away from getting out of trouble when Tim Federowicz strolled into the box.  He lofted a high fly ball down the left field line with Skip Schumaker making a dead sprint effort to get to the ball.  To say it was misjudged would be an understatement as it landed a solid 10-15 feet behind where Schumaker had just come from, bounding into the stands for a two-RBI ground-rule double, adding even more distress to LeCure’s night. 

* * *

Tomorrow at 3:05 PM, the Reds return to their afternoon schedule as Tony Cingrani takes the mound opposing the newest San Francisco Giant, Tim Hudson. 

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Tags: Cincinnati Reds

  • Ron Fulton

    This is why Votto needs to bat second. With Hamilton on first you don’t swing at the first pitch like Phillips does. When is Price going to get out of the Baker mindset and put Votto where he belongs, in the 2 hole. I recomend you bloggers read Daugherty’s column this am. He is right, Votto needs to be in the two hole.

    • Doug Gray

      There is minimal difference in batting second or third in terms of what it does. Sure, it gives Votto an extra 10-15 plate appearances. But I would actually argue that in terms of impact that Brandon Phillips is the best guy for the second spot. Hear my out though. Ideally, Phillips isn’t best suited there because of his average-ish OBP and you would like a higher OBP guy there. I get that and under normal circumstances, I would not put him there.

      But Phillips hits the fastball better than most guys on the team and he doesn’t hit the other pitches nearly as well. With Billy Hamilton batting leadoff, Phillips is likely to see a lot more fastballs as duos will throw them to try and give themselves a chance to throw him out. Votto on the flip side does well with any of the pitches he faces, so he wouldn’t benefit nearly as much from having more fastballs thrown his way than a guy like Phillips who feasts on them, but struggles with the rest by comparison.

      As a side note to the whole argument though, it isn’t the “Baker” mindset. Other than Mike Trout, is there a hitter out there that is clearly the best hitter on their team that is hitting 2nd? The only reason Trout hits 2nd is because they have so much money tied up in Pujols and well, there is that whole “respect” thing that managers still have to deal with when it comes to superstars.

      • Ron Fulton

        I disagree, Phillips in not a patient hitter, not to mention he hits from the right side, which gives the opposing catcher a distinct advantage. As far as your statement about 2 hole hitters, what about Robinson Cano. Votto needs to bat second to maximize Hamilton’s speed and confidence in his rookie year.

        • Doug Gray

          Phillips isn’t a patient hitter, but my point is that of everyone on the Reds, he will benefit the most from being in the 2 spot versus anywhere else in the lineup. Votto is going to be Votto no matter where he hits. Brandon Phillips isn’t. He gets a significant advantage by facing more fastballs because it is the one pitch he crushes historically.

          Hamilton’s speed has nothing at all to do with anyone at the plate. He is going to run because of the pitcher and catcher, not the hitter.

          As for Cano. In 2013 he hit 3rd 464 times. He hit 2nd 182 times. The rest were spent at cleanup.

          In a perfectly balanced lineup (which hardly any team has), Votto is a great option for #2 and Phillips is a #7 hitter. But that just isn’t reality on this, or hardly any other team.

          • Ron Fulton

            Everyone has their own opinion, but nothing you said has changed my mind about Votto being the prototype 2 hitter. Leads the league in walks and obp, hits .300, and hits to all fields. Strictly a line drive hitter, not a home run hitter. Doesn’t have that upper cut swing like Bruce. I would be super surprised ih he hits 35 homers again. He belongs in the 2 hole with Phillips batting third until Jocketty can get the bopper they need to fill that 3 hole.

          • Doug Gray

            Phillips belongs nowhere near the 3 spot. For as iffy of an idea he is at #2,he is worse at #3. Joey Votto and Jay Bruce are the only two guys that belong in the #3 or #4 spots of the lineup. Price has the right idea to bat them back to back against right handers and the team is going to see the benefits from that.

          • Ron Fulton

            Well I guess we agree to disagree