Mar 31, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; A general view of opening ceremonies prior to the game against the Cincinnati Reds and the St. Louis Cardinals at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Reds Opening Day thoughts and questions

The Cincinnati Reds lost to the St. Louis Cardinals this afternoon in a low scoring, 1-0 game. Arguably the teams top pitcher was on the mound for each squad and as could have been expected, both pitched very well. One mistake by Johnny Cueto led to a solo home run by Yadier Molina and that, unfortunately, was all she wrote for the scoring on the day.

The good

  • Johnny Cueto looked outstanding. He made one bad pitch in the game.
  • Brandon Phillips showed patience at the plate and didn’t expand the strikezone. He is really good when he swings at strikes.
  • Logan Ondrusek looked good out of the bullpen.

The bad

  • Billy Hamilton struck out four times and looked very bad in doing so twice.
  • The worst case scenario happened after an offseason of concerns about how the offense would score. The Reds were shut out. A lot of fans feel their fears have been recognized.
  • Baserunning blunders. Twice the Reds ran on contact and the lead runner was easily tagged out.
  • THERE IS NO GAME TODAY.

Questions

  • Is Billy Hamilton overmatched or is Adam Wainwright really good?
  • Is the offense in general, in trouble?
  • Will the Reds keep using the defensive shift after it backfired twice on them?

Answers

  • Billy Hamilton was overmatched against Adam Wainwright, but Adam Wainwright is probably better than 90% of the pitchers he will face the rest of the season. He will need to adjust to the Major League breaking ball, but he saw one of the best around in game one and the rest will probably be quite a bit easier. Hamilton has made the adjustments and put in the work year after year and he will do all that he can to do it here as well. How quickly he can adjust will be key though as the Reds will need him to hold his own if the offense is going to find any consistency. He didn’t get the bunt down today after several tries. The bunt is something he worked on all spring. He will need that to help lessen the learning curve he is going to face.
  • It is far too early to tell if the offense is truly in trouble. If you question the offense at this point in time, no one should really blame you. But we are one game into the season too and we really don’t know what to expect from guys like Ludwick or Mesoraco for different reasons and they are both very important to just how far the Reds offense can go, along with Hamilton.
  • The Reds should continue to use the shift. In the 2013 season Matt Adams hit the ball to third base or left field 22% of the time. Twice today he did so. The shift is going to take away more hits than it gives up, but just like odds on anything, they work over the long haul and you need to commit to them. In a small sample you could see the negative side, but if you play the favorable odds you are going to win in the long run.

Tags: Cincinnati Reds

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