Falling once again this afternoon, were the Cincinnati Reds by the score of 8-5 at the hands of the San Francisco Giants. For some fans (myself included), the thought of losing to the Giants at any point makes my skin crawl after the 2012 National League Division Series.
Of course, it was a Joaquin Arias infield hit that kept the Giants first rally going today (sound familiar?) as the game was nearly through after three innings.
With the loss, the Reds have fallen to 4-11, which is the third worst record in the Cactus League, barely in front of the St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies.
Offensive Side of the Diamond:
In his four at-bats today, Billy Hamilton reached base twice, once by walk and the other on a RBI double in the second. By my math, that’s a 50 percent rate of getting on-base. Come the regular season, any game in which Hamilton gets to reach the basepaths twice, should nearly be a win. It was not too long ago that a speedster by the name of Drew Stubbs was tearing up the sacks as a member of the Reds, and when he scored, the team’s odds of winning improved exponentially. Now, replace his memory with the real-life version of the Flash, and calculate that.
The team got on the board early after Todd Frazier’s two-RBI smash in the first inning that plated both Hamilton and Jay Bruce to stake the team to an early lead off veteran Tim Hudson. On the day, Frazier went 2-for-3 with those two RBI.
Also going 2-for-3 was the obscenely hot Skip Schumaker. Now 11-for-20 on the young spring, Schumaker jacked his first home run off Hudson in the fourth. Starting the game in left field, Schumaker once again displayed his versatility to the club, as he is more than serviceable at all three outfield spots, as well as second base.
After Roger Bernadina tripled to open up the seventh, he jogged home after Joey Votto knocked him in in his fourth at-bat of the day. With mid-March approaching, expect to see a majority of players get a longer look in games from time to time.
Reds’ Toeing the Rubber:
All was smooth sailing for the newest member of the Reds starting rotation for his first eight outs of work. That is, until Joaquin Arias came to the plate. (Cue the ominous Jaws music here)
Arias lined a single to center, and then got to trot home on Buster Posey’s first home run of the spring, a three run shot off the young left-hander.
Things got much worse come the top frame of the fourth. A two-run shot from Ehire Adrianza, he of the career .248 batting average in the Minor Leagues, set the tone for the type of afternoon Cingrani would have. Immediately following, Hudson stroked himself a ground-rule double, and then scored on Buster Posey’s RBI double that effectively ended Cingrani’s day.
The most telling information to arise from the game today, was the fact that Aroldis Chapman pitched not one, not two, but three innings in relief. No, he is not preparing to be a starter in an emergency pinch. Bryan Price is clearly outlining his plan of using Chapman for more than one inning if necessary. As dominant as the Reds bullpen may prove to be, Chapman is the alpha male. Should a situation arise in the midst of the seventh inning (say, versus the Cardinals or Pirates) where he could be utilized, not using him would be illogical.
The best part of the entire situation was that Chapman did not seem to falter whatsoever with the extra workload. His first and last inning were a clean, 1-2-3 affair, with the middle inning being escaped after getting folk hero Joaquin Arias to bounce into an inning ending double play.
Also making appearances on the afternoon were Lee Hyde, Manny Parra and Drew Hayes. Hayes was the only member of the three to allow a run, mainly befallen due to his two walks. As the screen at Great American Ball Park reminds us, walks will haunt.
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Next up on the docket for the Redlegs is a trip to the Colorado Rockies facility in Scottsdale, Salt River Fields. Personally, it is one of my favorite venues to attend with its prime location and picturesque ballpark.